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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 02/24/2008 - 03/02/2008
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Worldwide Telescope

great stuff...!
Science educator Roy Gould and Microsoft's Curtis Wong give an astonishing sneak preview of Microsoft's new WorldWide Telescope -- a technology that combines feeds from satellites and telescopes all over the world and the heavens, and weaves them together holistically to build a comprehensive view of our universe.

visit the worldwide telescope site here...


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"The U.S. banking sector is headed for a credit downturn that will be 'the worst in generations'"

all it's going to take is the failure of one major bank and all hell is going to break loose...
The U.S. banking sector is headed for a credit downturn that will be "the worst in generations," featuring widespread defaults on a range of debts and a national housing price slide not seen since the Great Depression, one of the most influential analysts on Wall Street says.

The banks face massive loan losses -- "far more dramatic" than most bank executives and ratings agencies have forecast -- as the next chapter in financial-sector turmoil unfolds, said Meredith Whitney, an analyst with Oppenheimer &Co. Inc.

"We believe loss rates will exceed the highest levels since 1990 by a significant margin," she said in a note Monday.

"Bank losses will be the highest in the past 20-plus years as a result of greater numbers of individual defaulting on mortgages and/or other loans and from [loan balances that] are far higher than they were in the last housing cycle."

Whitney -- who is also a panelist for Fox News and the No. 2-ranked analyst on a Forbes list of top stock pickers for 2007 -- shot to global infamy last year after her gloomy, but accurate, predictions about the scale of subprime problems facing Citigroup Inc. led to a worldwide sell-off of banking stocks.

In Monday's note, the Oppenheimer analyst slashed her already-depressed forecasts of what large U.S. banks will earn in 2008 by 29 per cent and by 13 per cent for 2009, citing concerns about mortgages, credit-card balances and other loans.

bring it on... let's get this collapse underway and stop kidding ourselves that everything is going to turn out just peachy-keen...

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No, no, no, no, and no... Contempt citations DON'T substitute for IMPEACHMENT, dammit...! [UPDATE]

are we supposed to think that, after sitting on your ass AND the contempt citations for SEVEN GODDAM MONTHS, and then filing them knowing DAMN GOOD AND WELL that the doj would refuse to take action, SUBSTITUTES for REMOVING THE CRIMINALS FROM THE WHITE HOUSE...? if that thought even crossed your fuzzy little brain, nancy, i am F****** OUTRAGED...
House Democrats really didn't expect the Justice Department to present their contempt citations against two of President Bush's top aides to a federal grand jury for prosecution.

But the effort and having a civil lawsuit at the ready as a backup in their fight against the White House over the 2006 firings of nine federal prosecutors has satisfied, for now, some liberals who for a year have wanted much more: Bush's impeachment.

Even before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi became the first woman to reach Congress' highest office, the California Democrat had rejected demands from many in her party for impeachment.

Until two weeks ago, she had sat for seven months on the contempt citations sought by Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee against Bush's chief of staff, Josh Bolten, and his former counsel, Harriet Miers.

and NOW we're supposed to WAIT for the CIVIL SUIT to move glacially forward...? NO, i say... INHERENT CONTEMPT AND IMPEACHMENT...!


my final letter to pelosi...
Madame Speaker,

I just finished reading the following news item in the Associated Press (link follows).

[excerpts from above article]

I am outraged. So far, I have attempted to be polite and reasonable in my communication with you and my U.S. Senator, Harry Reid. I have repeatedly expressed my desire to have both of you take strong action against the criminals who currently occupy the White House. However, now that you have stonewalled impeachment hearings for fourteen months, stalled for seven months prior to submitting contempt of Congress citations (all the while knowing that the Department of Justice would not pursue them), and failed to invoke the option for inherent contempt (CRS Congressional Oversight Manual, May 1, 2007), I have no choice but to conclude that you have violated your oath of office.

I am abundantly clear that the unconstitutional, balance of powers-negating mechanisms of unfettered executive power seized by George W. Bush under the bogus claim of the "unitary executive" and an illegal interpretation of our Constitution, will remain intact as the new president is sworn in on 20 January 2009.

Madame Speaker, regretfully I can no longer entrust you, your leadership, or your colleagues with the sacred and sworn obligation to preserve, protect, and defend the United States Constitution. There is nothing left for those of us who cherish our country but to move to replace our government with one which will respect the principles upon which the United States was founded.

This will be my final communication with you.


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The Bush sock-puppet, Mukasey, responds

as previously advertised...
Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Friday rejected referring the House's contempt citations against two of President Bush's top aides to a federal grand jury. Mukasey says they committed no crime.

Mukasey said White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former presidential counsel Harriet Miers were right in refusing to provide Congress White House documents or testify about the firings of federal prosecutors.

"The department will not bring the congressional contempt citations before a grand jury or take any other action to prosecute Mr. Bolten or Ms. Miers," Mukasey wrote House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The House voted two weeks ago to cite Bolten and Mukasey for contempt of Congress and seek a grand jury investigation. Most Republicans boycotted the vote.

Pelosi requested the grand jury investigation on Thursday and gave Mukasey a week to reply. She said the House would file a civil suit seeking seeking enforcement of the contempt citations if federal prosecutors declined to seek misdemeanor charges against Bolten and Miers.

ok, nancy... let's you and your colleagues get your respective asses in gear and PUSH this... you've diddled long enough... from this point on, let no grass grow under your feet...

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Calling for a Congressional encore

yep, yep, yep...

(Click on image for larger version - PDF)

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Friday, February 29, 2008

Ricin in Vegas [UPDATE]


Police in Las Vegas, Nevada, are investigating the discovery of what they said is the deadly poison ricin in a hotel room.

No one has shown symptoms of ricin poisoning after the toxin was found Thursday at a Las Vegas, Nevada, hotel.

Authorities were called to an Extended Stay America hotel around 3 p.m. PT Thursday after a man brought a bag with a small container to the manager's office. The man said he found it while retrieving items from a hotel room.

The substance is "100 percent ricin," said Capt. Joe Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. "We don't know who [the ricin] belongs to or why it would be here at this time."

FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said Friday there does not appear to be a link to terrorists.

the most trusted name in news, keepin' that fear quotient high, 24/7...


evidently, the man who found the ricin had come to collect the belongings of a friend or relative who succumbed to the poison after a stay in the room...
A man who stayed in a Las Vegas hotel room where ricin was found is in critical condition at a hospital, where he has been since mid-February, said a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department official.

Deputy Chief Kathy Suey said the man called for medical help on February 14, saying he was suffering from respiratory distress, and was transported to the hospital.

A friend or relative of his who came to remove his belongings from the room found the ricin Thursday, Suey said.

(thanks to commenter, karen...)

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Dick Cheney - need I say more?

as y'all know, i'm not into pushing books, movies, or products... occasionally, when something has made a particular impact on me, i'll post something here... today is one of those days...

alternet enters the mad, mad world of book publishing...

A wickedly funny faux-children's biography recounts Young Dick Cheney’s youthful lust for guns, oil, and the girl of his dreams.

He was born among the big skies and cow pies of the Great American West. And yet from these humble beginnings, he would grow to become the most famous, most powerful Dick ever to inhabit the Vice Presidency. In this often shocking, frequently touching, clearly unauthorized biography, faux journalists Bruce Kluger and David Slavin (National Public Radio) reveal the inspiring and sometimes even true story of Richard B. Cheney—frontiersman, freedom fighter, fatty. Meticulously reported (including a footnote!) and lushly illustrated by renegade artist Tim Foley, this unprecedented, spell-checked triumph of painstaking conjecture brings to life the Dick nobody knows: a secretive yet sensitive boy from Wyoming with a shoot-from-the-hip, shoot-in-the-face style all his own. From his mischievous boyhood friendships, to his high-octane high school romance with the one girl who knew what made Dick tick, Young Dick Cheney: Great American is destined to be cherished by patriots and Democrats alike—a book that will captivate readers everywhere for months to come.

ok... just to keep things completely off-balance, here's lewis black's take on dick cheney... (if this doesn't have you rolling on the floor, i'm afraid there's no hope for you...)

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Kucinich doesn't buy that he hasn't been paying attention to his district (and neither do I)

you go, dennis... i wish i had a couple hundred to throw in your campaign coffers...

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A brief pause in our regular programming

watch it...

A photo of Lawrence King lays at a memorial in his honor.
(courtesy of the LA Times)

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Forest fires in Chubut Province, Argentina

i confess... i'm not a follower of local news anywhere, and it's only on rare occasions that i tune in to something local... this reuters story caught my eye for a couple of reasons... one, i happen to be in residence in my part-time home in buenos aires at the moment... and, two, the central-east portion of the country that includes buenos aires has been inundated with heavy rains the past few days, and i guess i didn't realize that more southerly parts of the country were battling severe dry weather...

Fires continued to blaze through forests in southern Argentina
, burning over 7000 acres of land.

Firefighters battled forest fires in Argentina's Patagonia region on Thursday, but thousand-year-old trees in a national park were not threatened by the flames, a provincial official said.

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One out of every one hundred adults in the U.S. are in jail

no wonder the privatized "corrections" business is thriving...

a follow-on to the previous two posts...

For the first time in U.S. history, more than one of every 100 adults is in jail or prison, according to a new report documenting America's rank as the world's No. 1 incarcerator. It urges states to curtail corrections spending by placing fewer low-risk offenders behind bars

Using state-by-state data, the report says 2,319,258 Americans were in jail or prison at the start of 2008 — one out of every 99.1 adults. Whether per capita or in raw numbers, it's more than any other nation.

The report, released Thursday by the Pew Center on the States, said the 50 states spent more than $49 billion on corrections last year, up from less than $11 billion 20 years earlier. The rate of increase for prison costs was six times greater than for higher education spending, the report said.

The steadily growing inmate population "is saddling cash-strapped states with soaring costs they can ill afford and failing to have a clear impact either on recidivism or overall crime," the report said.

Susan Urahn, managing director of the Pew Center on the States, said budget woes are pressuring many states to consider new, cost-saving corrections policies that might have been shunned in the recent past for fear of appearing soft on crime.

"We're seeing more and more states being creative because of tight budgets," she said in an interview. "They want to be tough on crime. They want to be a law-and-order state. But they also want to save money, and they want to be effective."

just another growing and highly profitable corporate market niche...

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"Prison privatization at its best" [UPDATE]

as a follow-on to the previous post, here's a bit from the corrections corporation of america website...

CCA Facility Locations (note: see the update provided by commenter johann below)

B.M. Moore Correctional Center
8500 North FM 3053
Overton, Texas 75684
Fax: 903-834-6576

Bartlett State Jail
1018 Arnold Drive
Bartlett, Texas 76511-0650
Fax: 254-527-4489

Bay Correctional Facility
5400 Bayline Drive
Panama City, Florida 32404
Fax: 850-769-1942

Bay County Jail
314 1/2 Harmon
Panama City, Florida 32401
Fax: 850-763-3099; 805-522-8967

Bay County Jail Annex
5600 Nehi Road
Panama City, Florida 32404
Fax: 850-769-7376

Bent County Correctional Facility
11560 Road FF75
Las Animas, Colorado 81054-9598
Fax: 719-456-2615

Bradshaw State Jail
3900 West Loop 571 North
Henderson, Texas 75652
Fax: 903-655-0500

Bridgeport Pre-Parole Transfer Facility
222 Lake Road
Bridgeport, Texas 76426
Fax: 940-683-5880

California City Correctional Center
22844 Virginia Boulevard
California City, California 93505
Fax: 760-373-3529

Camino Nuevo Correctional Center
4050 Edith Boulevard NE
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87107-2222
Fax: 505-343-7099

CCA Headquarters (Facility Support Center)
10 Burton Hills Blvd.
Nashville, Tennessee 37215
Fax: 615-263-3140

Central Arizona Detention Center
1155 North Pinal Parkway
Florence, Arizona 85232
Fax: 520-868-3667

Cibola County Correctional Center
2000 Cibola Loop
Milan, New Mexico 87021
Fax: 505-285-6686

Cimarron Correctional Facility
3700 South Kings Highway
Cushing, Oklahoma 74023
Fax: 918-225-3363

Citrus County Detention Facility
2604 W. Woodland Ridge Drive
Lecanto, Florida 34461
Fax: 352-527-6561

Coffee Correctional Facility
1153 North Liberty Street
Nicholls, Georgia 31554
Fax: 912-345-5086

Correctional Treatment Facility
1901 E Street, S.E.
Washington, District of Columbia 20003
Fax: 202-698-3301

Crossroads Correctional Facility
75 Heath Road
Shelby, Montana 59474
Fax: 406-434-7068

Crowley County Correctional Facility
6564 Highway 96
Olney Springs, Colorado 81062
Fax: 719-267-4517

Davis Correctional Facility
6888 East 133rd Road
Holdenville, Oklahoma 74848-9033
Fax: 405-379-6496

Dawson State Jail
106 West Commerce Street
Dallas, Texas 75207
Fax: 214-744-3113

Delta Correctional Facility
3800 County Rd.
Greenwood, Mississippi 38930
Fax: 662-455-9240

Diamondback Correctional Facility
Route 2, Box 336
Watonga, Oklahoma 73772
Fax: 580-614-2020

Diboll Correctional Center
1604 S. First Street
Diboll, Texas 75941
Fax: 936-829-2296

Eden Detention Center
Highway 87 East
Eden, Texas 76837-0605
Fax: 325-869-5147

Elizabeth Detention Center
625 Evans Street
Elizabeth, New Jersey 07201
Fax: 908-352-7247

Eloy Detention Center
1705 East Hanna Road
Eloy, Arizona 85231
Fax: 520-466-7750

Florence Correctional Center
1100 Bowling Road
Florence, Arizona 85232-2667
Fax: 520-868-9565

Gadsden Correctional Facility
6044 Greensboro Highway
Quincy, Florida 32351
Fax: 850-875-9710

Hardeman County Correctional Center
2520 Union Springs Road
Whiteville, Tennessee 38075
Fax: 731-254-6060

Hernando County Jail
16425 Spring Hill Drive
Brooksville, Florida 34604
Fax: 352-796-8536

Houston Processing Center
15850 Export Plaza Drive
Houston, Texas 77032
Fax: 281-449-3021

Huerfano County Correctional Center
304 Ray Sandoval Street
Walsenburg, Colorado 81089
Fax: 719-738-3260

Idaho Correctional Center
P.O. Box 70010
Kuna, Idaho 83707
Fax: 208-331-2766

Kit Carson Correctional Center
49777 County Road V; PO Box 309
Burlington, Colorado 80807
Fax: 719-346-9461

La Palma Correctional Center
East Hanna Road
Eloy, Arizona 85231

Lake City Correctional Facility
7906 E Highway 90
Lake City, Florida 32055
Fax: 386-752-7202

Laredo Processing Center
4702 E. Saunders
Laredo, Texas 78041
Fax: 956-727-3363

Leavenworth Detention Center
100 Highway Terrace
Leavenworth, Kansas 66048
Fax: 913-727-2231

Lee Adjustment Center
2648 Fairground Ridge Road P.O. Box 900
Beattyville, Kentucky 41311
Fax: 606-464-9654

Lindsey State Jail
1620 Post Oak Road
Jacksboro, Texas 76458
(940) 567-2272
Fax: (940) 567-2292

Marion Adjustment Center
95 Raywick Road
St. Mary, Kentucky 40063-0010
Fax: 270-692-1333

Marion County Jail II
730 E. Washington Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46202
Fax: 317-266-0884

McRae Correctional Facility
1000 Jim Hammock Drive
McRae, Georgia 31055
Fax: 229-868-7964

Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility
5115 Harding Place
Nashville, Tennessee 37211
Fax: 615-831-9061

Mineral Wells Pre-Parole Transfer Facility
759 Heintzelman Road
Mineral Wells, Texas 76067
Fax: 940-325-1917

New Mexico Women's Correctional Facility
1700 East Old Highway 66; Mailing: P.O. Box 800
Grants, New Mexico 87020
Fax: 505-285-6828

North Fork Correctional Facility
1605 East Main
Sayre, Oklahoma 73662
Fax: 580-928-9282

Northeast Ohio Correctional Center
2240 Hubbard Road
Youngstown, Ohio 44505
Fax: 330-746-3318

Otter Creek Correctional Center
Highway 306, P.O. Box 500
Wheelwright, Kentucky 41669-0500
Fax: 606-452-9703

Prairie Correctional Facility
445 South Munsterman Street
Appleton, Minnesota 56208
Fax: 320-289-2059

Red Rock Correctional Center
1750 East Arica Road
Eloy, Arizona 85231
Fax: 520-464-3899

Saguaro Correctional Center
1250 East Arica Road
Eloy, Arizona 85231
Fax: 520-464-0599

San Diego Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 438150
San Diego, California 92143-8150
Fax: 619-661-9120

Shelby Training Center
3420 Old Getwell Road
Memphis, Tennessee 38118
Fax: 901-794-2661

Silverdale Detention Facilities
7609 Standifer Gap Rd., P.O. Box 23148
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37422
Fax: 423-894-5425

South Central Correctional Center
555 Forest Ave., P.O. Box 279
Clifton, Tennessee 38425
Fax: 931-676-5104

Stewart Detention Center
146 CCA Road, P.O, Box 248
Lumpkin, Georgia 31815
Fax: 229-838-6816

T. Don Hutto Residential Center
1001 Welch St., P.O. Box 1063
Taylor, Texas 76574
Fax: 512-218-2450

Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility
295 U.S. Highway 49 South
Tutwiler, Mississippi 38963
Fax: 662-345-8527

Torrance County Detention Facility
209 E. Alan Ayers
Estancia, New Mexico 87016
Fax: 505-384-5184

Webb County Detention Center
9998 S. Highway 83
Laredo, Texas 78046
Fax: 956-723-4602

West Tennessee Detention Facility
6299 Finde Naifeh Jr. Drive, P.O. Box 509
Mason, Tennessee 38049
Fax: 901-294-2936

Wheeler Correctional Facility
1100 North Broad Street, P.O. Box 466
Alamo, Georgia 30411
Fax: 912-568-1710

Whiteville Correctional Facility
1440 Union Springs Road, P.O. Box Box 679
Whiteville, Tennessee 38075
Fax: 731-254-9407

Wilkinson County Correctional Facility
2999 U.S. Highway 61 North
Woodville, Mississippi 39669
Fax: 601-888-3235

Willacy County State Jail
1695 South Buffalo Drive
Raymondville, Texas 78580
Fax: 956-689-4001

Winn Correctional Center
Gum Springs Road, Highway 560, P.O. Box 1260
Winnfield, Louisiana 71483-1260
Fax: 318-628-4683


commenter johann did some counting, a little task that had occurred to me but that i ultimately decided was too much trouble... thanks, johann...
By my count - 67
Texas - 14
Tennessee - 8
Florida - 7
Arizona - 5
4 states at 4
2 states at 3
1 state at 2
9 states at 1

Interesting that 21 of the 67 (almost 1/3) are from states which are or were governed by the Bush family.

Could it be that the Bush family has an interest in CCA or that they just do not trust their fellow man?

It would also be interesting to see a follow-up to see whether the states involved had Republican or Democratic governors when this privatization occurred.


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T. Don Hutto, America's "family prison"

corrections corporation of america runs this delightful, resort-like facility just north of austin, texas...

Watch this short film on the T. Don Hutto "residential facility", the nation's for-profit family prison for non-criminal immigrant families. ... all » This prototype for privatized family detention is located just north of Austin, TX. As they get rich off our tax-dollars, corporations terrorize and traumatize families just trying to keep survive. A determined people stand in solidarity with the families inside Hutto and work to close this immoral prison.

(thanks to brasscheck tv...)

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Enforcement of contempt of Congress charges...? Hmmmm... Pro'ly not...

from kagro x at daily kos...

This just in:

February 28, 2008

The Honorable Michael B. Mukasey
The Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

Dear Mr. Attorney General:

In accordance with 2 U.S.C. § 194 and the attached House Resolution 979 (adopted on February 14, 2008), I have today sent a certification to the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, Jeffrey Taylor, advising him of the failure of former White House Counsel, Harriet Miers, to appear, testify and produce documents in compliance with a duly issued subpoena of a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee and of the failure of Joshua Bolten, White House Chief of Staff and custodian of White House documents, to produce documents in his custody as required by a duly issued subpoena of the House Judiciary Committee.

Under section 194, Mr. Taylor is now required "to bring the matter before the grand jury for its action." The appropriate grand jury action is a criminal charge for violation of 2 U.S.C. § 192, which provides: "Every person who having been summoned as a witness by the authority of either House of Congress to give testimony or to produce papers . . . willfully makes default . . . shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor" and shall be subject to a fine and "imprisonment in a common jail for not less than one month nor more than twelve months."

According to the testimony of your predecessor, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and your recent testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, the Justice Department intends to prevent Mr. Taylor from complying with the statute and enforcing the contempt citations against Ms. Miers and Mr. Bolten. You claimed that "enforcement by way of contempt of a congressional subpoena is not permitted when the President directs a direct adviser of his... not to appear or when he directs any member of the executive not to produce documents." Hearing on Oversight of the Dep't of Justice Before the H. Comm. on the Judiciary, 110th Cong. 87-88 (Feb. 7, 2008). You purported to base your view on a "long line of authority," but cited no court decision that supports this proposition.

There is no authority by which persons may wholly ignore a subpoena and fail to appear as directed because a President unilaterally instructs them to do so. Even if a subpoenaed witness intends to assert a privilege in response to questions, the witness is not at liberty to disregard the subpoena and fail to appear at the required time and place. Surely, your Department would not tolerate that type of action if the witness were subpoenaed to a federal grand jury. Short of a formal assertion of executive privilege, which cannot be made in this case, there is no authority that permits a President to advise anyone to ignore a duly issued congressional subpoena for documents.

Your press spokesman has stated that you will "act promptly" to review this matter and reach a final decision. We will appreciate your acting with appropriate dispatch on this important matter. I strongly urge you to reconsider your position and to ensure that our nation is operating under the rule of law and not at presidential whim. If, however, you intend to persist in preventing Mr. Taylor from carrying out his statutory obligation to present this matter to the grand jury in the District of Columbia, we respectfully request that you inform us of that decision within one week from today, so that the House may proceed with a civil enforcement suit in federal district court.

Thank your for your prompt consideration and attention to this matter.

best regards,

Speaker of the House

Next up: US Attorney Jeffrey Taylor ignores the vote of the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Judiciary Committee files a civil suit seeking enforcement of their subpoenas.

One week. Start the clock.

< checks watch, sets alarm >

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Germany - a citizen has "a guarantee of confidentiality and integrity in information-technology systems"

you'll notice that THIS one ain't getting any coverage in the u.s... wonder why...?
A verdict by Germany's highest court this week on the controversial question as to whether the government has the right to sift remotely through a citizen's hard drive has not only pointed the way for an upcoming federal law. It has done nothing less than establish a new "fundamental right" for the 21st century, according to German observers. Now that the court has spoken ..., lawmakers and police have some idea of where a person's "private sphere" starts and ends -- even if the suspect is surfing a wireless connection, outdoors, on a laptop.

Until now, the legal status of a person's hard-drive data while doing something so harmless was incredibly vague. The new verdict sets guidelines for how far the government can intrude in Germany. And it establishes a civil right that may not be so clearly defined anywhere else in the world.

The German Constitutional Court ruled Wednesday that a surveillance law passed in 2007 in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia gave police and state officials too much power to spy on citizens using "trojan horse" software, which can be delivered by e-mail and used to scan the contents of a hard drive.

Not only did the law violate the right to privacy, the court said, but it also violated a basic right for a citizen using a computer with an Internet connection to "a guarantee of confidentiality and integrity in information-technology systems."

leave it to the europeans to show us the way...

ya also gotta love it... "even if the suspect is surfing a wireless connection, outdoors, on a laptop..." i'm assuming that the use of the word "suspect" is deliberate, meaning that even a suspect has the right to protection from unauthorized, secret spying...

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Ruh-roh... More holes in the official 9/11 story...

the official line is unraveling faster than a twelve-dollar, wal-mart, polyester sweater...

larisa alexandrovna and raw story have the scoop and a lot more...

Newly-released records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request contradict the 9/11 Commission’s report on the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and raise fresh questions about the role of Saudi government officials in connection to the hijackers.

The nearly 300 pages of a Federal Bureau of Investigation timeline used by the 9/11 Commission as the basis for many of its findings were acquired through a FOIA request filed by Kevin Fenton, a 26 year old translator from the Czech Republic. The FBI released the 298-page “hijacker timeline” Feb. 4.

The FBI timeline reveals that alleged hijacker Hamza Al-Ghamdi, who was aboard the United Airlines flight which crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center, had booked a future flight to San Francisco. He also had a ticket for a trip from Casablanca to Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.

Though referenced repeatedly in the footnotes of the final 9/11 Commission report, the timeline has not previously been made available to the public.

The FBI timeline is dated Nov. 14, 2003 but appears to have been put together earlier (since the last date mentioned in the document is Oct. 22, 2001) and was provided to the 9/11 Commission during its 2003 investigation. The final Commission report cites the FBI timeline 52 times.

The FBI timeline reveals that Al-Ghamdi, the alleged United hijacker, was booked onto several flights scheduled for after the 9/11 attacks, a piece of information not documented in the Commission’s final report. According to the FBI timeline, Al-Ghamdi was booked on another United Airlines flight on the very day of the attack.

and ya gotta LOVE this line...
“There are enough discrepancies and unanswered questions in the 9/11 Commission report that under a friendly administration, the 9/11 investigation should be re-opened,” Baer wrote in an email message Tuesday night [Robert Baer, a former CIA case officer in the Middle East whose See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism became the inspiration for the award winning film Syriana].

we need the truth and i'm sick and goddam tired of waiting for it...

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Presidential press conference [UPDATE] [UPDATE II] [UPDATE III] [UPDATE IV] [UPDATE V]

honest to god, this will be the first one i've watched... not sure i'm going to be able to take it...


"abusive lawsuits"

gag me with a spoon...


fear, fear, terror, terror, iraq, "the surge is working," "democrats just want to retreat," "the same old call for withdrawal"...


"you can't expect telephone companies to participate if they think they're going to be sued..."

they're not going to be sued if they're operating within the law...

btw, i'm not doing very well watching this bastard... i may not last very much longer...

"my judgment happens to be the will of the people..."



i've got the "And, yes, I DO take it personally" radio show coming up in 15 mins on blog talk radio with co-blogger brother tim... thank god... i'll have to shut george down...


you miserable, rotten, son-of-a-bitch... you refuse to talk with "tyrants" like raúl castro but you feel perfectly comfortable talking about religious freedom with the chinese premier, arguably a tyrant on a much greater scale than the castro brothers...

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1 million on no fly list by summer

you have GOT to be f****** KIDDING me...!
More than 900,000 people are currently listed as suspected terrorists on the US government's "do not fly" list, and that number will grow to beyond 1 million by summer, says the American Civil Liberties Union.

"If there were a million terrorists in this country, our cities would be in ruins," Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU's Technology and Liberty Program, stated in a press release from the group. "The absurd bloating of the terrorist watch lists is yet another example of how incompetence by our security apparatus threatens our rights without offering any real security."

The ACLU has launched a new Web site to track the growth of the watch list, which it says includes thousands of innocent Americans, including prominent politicians and authors as well as people with common names.

The group says its count is "extrapolated from a September 2007 report by the Inspector General of the Department of Justice, which reported that the Terrorist Screening Center had over 700,000 names in its database as of April 2007, and that the list was growing by an average of over 20,000 records per month." As of Wednesday afternoon, the ACLU said there were about 917,500 names on the list.

once again, i take serious issue with the accusation of incompetence... read my lips, THERE IS NO INCOMPETENCE OPERATING HERE... this is a deliberate, conscious and completely purposeful effort, carefully crafted to instill fear in the population... as the list grows, you can be sure that someone you know - or you yourself - will be put on it, and won't even know until it's time to travel... as much traveling as i do, i already wonder if the next time i go to the airport will be the time i'm turned back... that little episode two years ago june of having my electronics seized at customs and not returned for three weeks, i can assure you, has left an indelible mark...

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Jimmy Carter says secrecy is a violation of human rights

and you know WHY he thinks that...? because not having access to information stifles growth and change... it's become an axiom, thanks to research on complex adaptive systems, that for complex systems to be effective, for them to even survive, they must be OPEN, open to change, open to adaptation, and adaptation and change cannot take place without new information about changing conditions in the larger environment... a corollary to that axiom is that closed systems, sooner or later, die...
The Bush administration has violated Americans' basic human rights by blocking access to information and creating more government secrets than at any other time in U.S. history, former President Carter said Wednesday.

Carter made the remarks at the start of a three-day conference aimed at helping other countries develop "access to information" laws, drawing participants from nearly 40 nations.

To applause, Carter said he looks forward to more freedom after a new U.S. administration takes office in January.

The Atlanta-based Carter Center has been working to help other countries with right-to-information laws since 1999, when it piloted a program in Jamaica. At that time only a handful of countries had such laws.

Today, nearly 70 nations have laws granting the public access to government information.

"Powerful leaders in order to stay in office deprive their citizens of a right to know," Carter said. "Access to information can change the landscape of an entire society."

access to information not only "'CAN' change the landscape of an entire society," it WILL change it...

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Diebold accidentally leaks 2008 election results

it takes all the fun out of it if you don't have to wait to see the results of the vote you wasted in the sham election...

from onn
(onion news network)...

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Trailer - Taxi to the Dark Side

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Using advanced technology to terrorize 10 year-olds in the UK

let's get this straight... if you come here, you go inside, buy something, and then get the hell out, and don't stop on the sidewalk to eat your goddam candy bar either... we got your money, now beat it...
Jordan Webb can predict the exact time of day his head will start aching. If the 10-year-old lingers outside the Reynolds grocery store past 5 p.m., a small black device latched onto the storefront and operated on a timer will emit a high-pitched sound that makes the boy's skull feel like it's popping.

"It sounds like 'Eeeeeeeek' and gives me a big headache," said Jordan, who then covered his ears and made a face reminiscent of Macaulay Culkin's famous pose in the "Home Alone" movies.

Jordan is referring to the Mosquito, a $975 transmitter designed to disperse young loiterers by making a loud humming noise that most people older than 25, such as his 41-year-old mother, can't hear. The Mosquito has sparked a new sort of buzz in Britain, this time among political and civil rights groups that say the device is discriminatory and treats young people as second-class citizens.

Others have worried that the Mosquito is the next step in Britain's Big Brother society. Britons are among the most photographed, filmed, speed-checked and monitored people in the world, thanks to an interlocking system of computerized government devices.

an ominous turn of events...

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RNC: We don't need no ste-ee-enking accountability

just buzz off, will ya...?
After promising last year to search its computers for tens of thousands of e-mails sent by White House officials, the Republican National Committee has informed a House committee that it no longer plans to retrieve the communications by restoring computer backup tapes, the panel's chairman said yesterday.

The move increases the likelihood that an untold number of RNC e-mails dealing with official White House business during the first term of the Bush administration -- including many sent or received by former presidential adviser Karl Rove -- will never be recovered, said House Democrats and public records advocates.


Spokesman Danny Diaz said in a statement that the RNC "is fully compliant with the spirit and letter of the law." He declined further comment.

a promise...? just words... the big boss doesn't keep 'em, why should WE...?

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Oil - record high... Dollar - record low...

the perfect storm...


Oil prices strike record high 102.08 dollars

Crude oil prices surged to a record above 102 dollars per barrel on Wednesday, energised by the weak US dollar and concerns that OPEC could cut output next week, analysts said.


Dollar plunges to fresh record euro low

The dollar plunged to another record low against the European single currency on Wednesday as a stream of negative US data undermined the greenback, analysts said.

In morning deals, the euro surged as high as 1.5088 dollars, after smashing through the 1.50 barrier for the first ever time in US trade on Tuesday.

so stop stalling... let's have the collapse already...

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cue the Obama smears

the floodgates are about to open, and not just from the hillary side of the road...
While some cynics still view Barack Obama’s appeal for “change” as empty rhetoric, it’s starting to dawn on Washington insiders that his ability to raise vast sums of money from nearly one million mostly small donors could shake the grip that special-interest money has long held over the U.S. government.

This spreading realization that Obama’s political movement might represent a more revolutionary change than previously understood is sparking a deepening resistance among defenders of the status quo – and prompting harsher attacks on Obama.

Right now, the front line for the Washington Establishment is Hillary Clinton’s struggling presidential campaign, which has been stunned by Obama’s political skills as well as his extraordinary ability to raise money over the Internet. Obama’s grassroots donations have negated Clinton’s prodigious fundraising advantage with big donors.

Powerful lobbies – from AIPAC to representatives of military and other industries – also are recognizing the value of keeping their dominance over campaign cash from getting diluted by Obama’s deep reservoir of small donors. It’s in their direct interest to dent Obama’s momentum and demoralize his rank-and-file supporters as soon as possible.

So, neoconservatives and other ideological movements – heavily dependent on grants from the same special interests – are now joining with the Clinton campaign to tear down Obama by depicting him as unpatriotic, un-vetted, possibly a “closet Muslim.”

whatever you thought was ugly in past campaigns is about to get considerably uglier...

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Glenn reviews CNN's John King's interview of Mike McConnell

our government bought-and-paid-for propaganda machine at work...
[DNI Mike] McConnell is burdened by one of the most glaring conflicts of interest that we've seen in any significant political debate over the last seven years. His career before becoming DNI was devoted to the very private telecom sector on whose behalf he's now demanding immunity. When he claims that the Fate of the Nation rests on granting retroactive immunity to the telecom industry, he's advocating for his long-time partners, colleagues, and business associates. In the job he held prior to becoming DNI -- director of defense programs at Booz Allen -- he was directly involved with the very people, and possibly the very programs, for which he is now demanding amnesty


CNN invited a high government official onto its news program to issue extremely dubious, fear-mongering demands for more government surveillance power and for a huge gift for the industry of which he was long a critical part, threatening Americans that they would be in severe danger if they didn't assent in full. They had nobody on with him or afterwards to contradict anything he said. The interviewer confessed to knowing almost nothing about the topic and spent his time doing very little other than vouching for the government official's honesty and apolitical integrity. After several minutes of airing uncontradicted government propaganda, the interview ended and the interviewer profusely thanked the government official for coming on.

do these "news" outlets really get it that we're on to them...?

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"Tens of millions of workers in America go to work every day [where] they could be swept up in a massive raid conducted by armed government agents"

are you an american citizen...? do you believe you have constitutional rights...? do you believe those rights should be extended to everyone, no matter what their status, who is on american soil...? so do i, but we are a friggin' long way from that these days...
At the gathering at the Hay-Adams hotel in the District, witnesses and members of the 10-person panel accused Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials of using arrest warrants for a limited number of illegal immigrants who work at a given company as a pretext to detain the entire workforce, including many U.S. citizens, while agents determine whether there are additional illegal immigrants among them.

"Tens of millions of workers in America go to work every day without . . . an awareness that at their workplaces, without any warning, they could be swept up in a massive raid conducted by heavily armed government agents," said Joe Hansen, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and chairman of the National Commission on ICE Misconduct and Violations of 4th Amendment Rights. "Workers are not aware that they could be detained at gunpoint. That they could be handcuffed. . . . That they could be denied any contact with family members or legal counsel."

The commission heard testimony from two workers who are U.S. citizens who said they were detained for several hours during an ICE raid of six Swift meatpacking plants in December 2006. The union has filed a class action on their behalf.

Afterward, Pat Reilly, an ICE spokeswoman who attended the hearing as an observer, said the agency's procedures for questioning workers during raids at businesses are fair and humane and have been routinely upheld by courts.

"I would imagine that some people may be detained beyond what they feel is reasonable. But it's subjective," she said. "What we're trying to do is get to the bottom of who has the right to be here and who might be posing as a U.S. citizen."

there is a deeper, darker, underlying purpose of these raids, and that is to produce fear and get us accustomed to seeing heavily armed federal agents sweeping through places that we once felt safe, and to instill the belief that, "wow, that could be ME they're hauling away..." and if you think that isn't part of the plan, i've got a private island off the coast of belize i want you to consider purchasing...

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When the first one falls, stand back...!

bank failures are comin'... bet on it...

from the wsj

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is taking steps to brace for an increase in failed financial institutions as the nation's housing and credit markets continue to worsen.

The FDIC is looking to bring back 25 retirees from its division of resolutions and receiverships. Many of these agency veterans likely worked for the FDIC during the late 1980s and early 1990s, when more than 1,000 financial institutions failed amid the savings-and-loan crisis.


"Regulators are bracing for well over 100 bank failures in the next 12 to 24 months, with concentrations in Rust Belt states like Michigan and Ohio, and the states that are suffering severe housing-market problems like California, Florida, and Georgia," said Jaret Seiberg, Washington policy analyst for financial-services firm Stanford Group.

(thanks to calculated risk via atrios...)

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In the endless distraction of the 2008 campaign, let's not forget what's REALLY going on

most of us are well aware of naomi wolf and her book, The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, but this 38-minute youtube interview of naomi by mark molaro bears watching, if for nothing else than to remind ourselves of what is REALLY happening out there... as much as we yearn for the full dawning of the light and as much as we are all working to that end, we cannot afford to be blind to the plans the dark has for us...

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Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and George Bush - all robed

US Democratic front-runners Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have traded accusations over a photo of Mr Obama circulating on the internet.

The picture, sent to the Drudge Report website, shows Mr Obama wearing traditional Somali dress during a visit to Kenya in 2006.

The website said it was circulated by Mrs Clinton's staff but her team denied they had sanctioned its release.

The row comes as the rivals campaign for two crucial primaries next week.

Barack Obama - robed

disgraceful... just as disgraceful as these other three...

Bill Clinton - robed

Hillary Clinton - robed

George Bush - robed

(thanks to juan cole...)

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Monday, February 25, 2008

The real story of Kosovo

Kosovo in relation to Serbia

from ihc...
Following the NATO invasion of Kosovo in June of 1999, the US and its allies stood by as the Albanian mafia and gangs of criminals and paramilitaries spread out across the province and systematically cleansed Kosovo of hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Romas and other ethnic minorities. They burned down houses, businesses and churches and implemented a shocking campaign to forcibly expel non-Albanians from the province. Meanwhile, the US worked closely with the Kosovo Liberation Army and backed the rise of war criminals to the highest levels of power in Kosovo. Today, Kosovo has become a hub for human trafficking, organized crime and narcosmuggling. In short, it is a mafia state. Is this the "democracy" Hillary Clinton speaks of "promoting" in "the heart" of Europe?

It didn't take long for the US to begin construction of a massive US military base, Camp Bondsteel, which conveniently is located in an area of tremendous geopolitical interest to Washington. (Among its most bizarre facilities, Bondsteel now offers classes at the Laura Bush education center, as well as massages from Thai women and all the multinational junk food you could (n)ever wish for). In November 2005, Alvaro Gil-Robles, the human rights envoy of the Council of Europe, described Bondsteel as a "smaller version of Guantanamo." Oh, and Bondsteel was constructed by former Halliburton subsidiary KBR.

i always wondered why serbs, macedonians, and the people of the former yugoslavia hated clinton with such a passion... an american visiting belgrade for the first time, as happened with me in 2005, before even being dropped at the hotel, is driven past the still shattered nato bombing sites which are quietly pointed out without comment... go read this article in full and weep for the seemingly never-ending horrors inflicted on the world by my country...

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"What kind of culture would produce a product of this kind?" - rethinking sustainability

from nhne news...
Architect and designer William McDonough asks what our buildings and products would look like if designers took into account "All children, all species, for all time." A tireless proponent of absolute sustainability (with a deadpan sense of humor), he explains his philosophy of "cradle to cradle" design, which bridge the needs of ecology and economics. He also shares some of his most inspiring work, including the world's largest green roof (at the Ford plant in Dearborn, Michigan), and the entire sustainable cities he's designing in China.

damn good questions and even better answers...

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VoteVets on McCain and Iraq

good job...

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Neither Barack nor Hillary will renounce interpretive signing statements

this is PRECISELY why i have been making daily full burnt offerings to whatever gods there may be that the bush cabal is forced from office prior to 20 january 2009, and the unlawful and unconstitutional mechanisms of unfettered power are both rolled back and forcefully repudiated...
Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Barack Obama (D-IL) will not commit to ending President George W. Bush's practice of signing statements -- a tactic whereby the president adds his interpretation to laws passed by Congress, possibly allowing his office to circumvent the law -- according to a little-noticed article Monday.

Sen. John McCain R-AZ), however, asserts he would. Asked by a Washington Post reporter, he said he'd never consider it.

"Never, never, never, never," McCain said. "If I disagree with a law that passed, I'll veto it."

Signing statements are a long-time presidential practice, dating to the fifth US president, James Monroe. No constitutional provision or federal law prohibits their usage. They didn't become popular, however, until President Ronald Reagan -- before Reagan, just 75 such statements had been issued.

this is no reason to vote for mccain, but it certainly throws another kind of light on barack and hillary...

p.s. let me be clear... i see nothing wrong with a president adding a statement to a bill upon signing... those messages can be used to communicate many things, but to use them as a means to declare that the president of the united states reserves the power to defy the intent of the law he is signing cannot be one of them...

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Looting in Belgrade

having walked up and down belgrade's main shopping street a fair number of times, this you tube clip cuts a bit close to home...

A video of two young women looting with gay abandon during rioting in the Serbian capital Belgrade was becoming a Balkan smash hit on the video-sharing Web site YouTube Friday.


A persistent amateur cameraman followed the women as they loaded up with chocolates at a corner shop, came out giggling, then went after designer bags, shoes and clothes at Belgrade's swankiest stores in its vandalized main shopping street.

"Get lost, stop filming," one of them shouted, so laden down with booty that clothes and bags dripped to the ground amid the broken glass below emptied storefronts.

"But you are the heroines of this protest for me," the cameraman replied sarcastically above the din of burglar alarms.

Looters seized their chance as rioters attacked Western embassies during a mass rally to protest at U.S. and European support for Kosovo's independence.

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For a change, the Oscar committee had their heads screwed on straight

i went to see no country for old men in december... as i was buying my ticket at the window and the man at the window next to me heard me tell the cashier which movie i wanted to see, he turned and said to me, "great movie, terrific movie..."

since i choose my movies very carefully, not wanting to dump out good money on a dud, i had already read several reviews and figured i was going to see something pretty good, but i had no idea HOW good... not only am i a fan of the coen brothers, but i'm also an avid reader of cormac mccarthy, upon whose book the movie was based, and who, imho, is one of the great writers of all time (although this is one i haven't read)...

i was unable to comprehend how any of mccarthy's works could be turned into film without destroying it (all the pretty horses comes to mind), but this was one of those movies that, when it was over, the audience just sat there, stunned, until the credits stopped rolling, and, even then, were slow to begin leaving the theater...

Directors Ethan Coen (L) and Joel Coen (R) pose at the Governor's Ball after
winning Oscars for best director and best adapted screenplay, next to
producer Scott Rudin who holds an Oscar for best picture for their work
in "No Country for Old Men", following the 80th annual Academy Awards,
the Oscars, in Hollywood February 24, 2008.

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Actor Javier Bardem poses with his Oscar statuette after
winning best supporting actor for his work in "No Country
for Old Men" at the 80th annual Academy Awards in
Hollywood, February 24, 2008.

REUTERS/Mike Blake

here's the trailer, and if this doesn't do it for you, then just move along...

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

As citizens of the U.S., we owe it to ourselves to keep Dennis Kucinich in Congress

it's just like the new heading i put up today at the top of this blog... truth-tellers can indeed be perceived as raving lunatics, most sadly of all, even by the members of their own political party... dennis may not have been everyone's number one choice for president but, dammit, but he at least stands up for what he believes in and isn't so busy sucking up to the monied elites that he's afraid to speak the truth as he sees it... losing dennis in congress would be a tragedy for ohio, the congress, and our country...

from the people's email network...

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raúl, pronounced rah-OOL...
The Cuban National Assembly voted Raúl Castro as its new president on Sunday, the first time the country has had a new leader since his brother Fidel seized power in 1959.

Mr. Castro, the 76-year-old armed forces minister, had been widely expected to be named president by the 614 members of the assembly. Mr. Castro, dressed in a gray suit and steel-colored tie, cast the first vote for president of the assembly with a smile and wave at about 11:15 a.m. Fidel Castro was said to be too ill to attend the meeting, and he voted through a proxy.

hey... no problem... now nobody has to stop referring to cuba's president as castro...

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Sunday videoblogging: Feria Mataderos, Buenos Aires

two friends and i decided to visit the feria mataderos last evening... i had been there once before over a year ago, and had been quite impressed, but last evening falls into that rare category of "peak experience"...

i have always had a warm spot in my heart for latin america, mostly due to an indefinable quality that i can only call corazón, which, literally translated, of course, means "heart," but also means "core"... if the feria mataderos experience can be defined, i would have to call it the corazón or core of argentina, and, indeed, of latin america...

what you will see in these video clips is, to me, the very core of argentina - happy people, música, baile (dancing), families, old, young, food, drink, traditional crafts, classic colonial setting, and the smell of the omnipresent argentine parillada (b-b-q) wafting through the air...

(in the last clip, keep your eye on the older, balding gentleman in the blue shirt... he is an amazing dancer and he was having SO much fun...)


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