Friday, June 30, 2006

Yea, Mr. Bush, Go After the Kids again

A Medicaid rule takes effect tomorrow that will require more than 50 million poor Americans to prove their citizenship or lose their medical benefits or long-term care (this includes many children - Dr.C.).

Under the rule, intended to curb fraud by illegal immigrants, such proof as a passport or a birth certificate must be offered at the time a person applies for Medicaid benefits or during annual reenrollment in the state-federal program for the poor and disabled.
This forced us to put a sign up in the office (in Spanish).
Medical care for children who are currently patients in this office and have been covered by Medicaid (SCHIP) will continue to be covered even if the insurance has been cancelled because of immigration status.

Alright, so they aren't Hispanic. They're still cute.

Bonus Crab

Look, I see Elvis in Iraq!!!

Bush takes Koizumi for tour of Graceland
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - President Bush's going-away present to Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was some kind of "Good Luck Charm." Amid the ceramic monkeys, floor-and-ceiling green shag carpet and animal-head armrests of Graceland's Jungle Room, the delighted prime minister just couldn't hold back the Elvis lines.

Friday Crab Blogging

Thursday, June 29, 2006

How not to run a country

Supreme Court blocks Bush, Gitmo war trials

Bush vows to pursue detainee war trials

What is YOUR definition of Democracy

Sunday, January 30, 2005
President Congratulates Iraqis on Election
By participating in free elections, the Iraqi people have firmly rejected the anti-democratic ideology of the terrorists. They have refused to be intimidated by thugs and assassins. And they have demonstrated the kind of courage that is always the foundation of self-government.
Thursday, January 26, 2006

HAMAS Wins in Palestine
The victory of Hamas in yesterday's parliamentary elections in Palestine raises some interesting questions. Before I get to those, I want to point out that the election was monitored by the National Democratic Institute, with Jimmy Carter in the lead, and according to their analysis, the election was fair.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Israelis arrest dozens of Hamas officials
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Israeli troops rounded up dozens of ministers and lawmakers from the Palestinians' ruling Hamas party Thursday, including the deputy prime minister, while forging ahead with a military campaign in Gaza meant to win the release of an Israeli soldier held by Hamas gunmen.
Now, what was your definition of democracy again?

In the beginning there was Mario

Is the sleeping giant about to wake?
Berkeley votes to impeach Bush
By Kristin Bender, STAFF WRITER Inside Bay Area

BERKELEY - The People's Republic of Berkeley has done it again.
The liberal, left-leaning city has become the first city in the nation to put a referendum on the Nov. 7 ballot to impeach President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Anti-war mom Cindy Sheehan and Daniel Ellsberg, a Vietnam whistle-blower who in 1971 released the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times, both spoke in favor of the resolution at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

``Berkeley is a place where things begin,'' said Mayor Tom Bates. ``It was the first place in the nation that called for divestment from South Africa, it was the first city in the nation to have curb cuts for disabled people, we were the first city in the nation to have dog parks and the first city in the nation to really protest the Vietnam War,'' Bates said.
And it started with Mario Savio:
Savio rose to prominence as a leader of Berkeley's Free Speech Movement, delivering a fiery speech in Sproul Plaza on December 2, 1964.

Mario Savio, in my opinion, was the true beginning of the anti-Vietnam War movement. and as such, some interesting things happened to him:
In 2004, it was revealed that Mario was the subject of a massive FBI surveillance program even after he left the Free Speech Movement. The FBI trailed Mario Savio for more than a decade after he left UC Berkeley, and bureau officials plotted to "neutralize" him politically, even though there was no evidence he broke any federal law. [1] According to hundreds of pages of FBI files, the bureau:

Collected, without court order, personal information about Savio from schools, telephone companies, utility firms and banks and compiled information about his marriage and divorce.
Monitored his day-to-day activities by using informants planted in political groups, covertly contacting his neighbors, landlords and employers, and having agents pose as professors, journalists and activists to interview him and his wife.
Obtained his tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service in violation of federal rules, mischaracterized him as a threat to the president and arranged for the CIA and foreign intelligence agencies to investigate him when he and his family traveled in Europe. (emphasis added)

But it gets even worse:
Put him on an unauthorized list of people to be detained without judicial warrant in event of a national emergency, and designated him as a "Key Activist" whose political activities should be "disrupted" and "neutralized" under the bureau's extralegal counterintelligence program known as COINTELPRO.
So, the question I have for you is: "Where is COINTELPRO now and are you on it?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Freedom of the Press

"The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them." --Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 1787. ME 6:57

"I am... for freedom of the press, and against all violations of the Constitution to silence by force and not by reason the complaints or criticisms, just or unjust, of our citizens against the conduct of their agents." --Thomas Jefferson to Elbridge Gerry, 1799. ME 10:78

House Republican leaders are expected to introduce a resolution today condemning The New York Times for publishing a story last week that exposed government monitoring of banking records.

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Update: As usual, Glenn Greenwald is on this issue like a laser. He has several posts that are well worth reading. I agree with him that this is one of the, if not the most, significant issues of our time.

A Few Mid Week Crabs

The Precedent of anti-Civilian Warfare

This is the way Israel fights back:
RAFAH, Gaza Strip - Israel kept up the pressure on Palestinian militants to release a captive Israeli soldier Wednesday, sending its warplanes to bomb a Hamas training camp after knocking out electricity and water supplies for most of the 1.3 million residents of the Gaza Strip.(emphasis added)
I guess we have the precedents in this:

Spraying Agent Orange in Vietnam.

The effects of Agent Orange.

And more recently we have a power plant bombed in Yugoslavia:

But that was preceded by this:

As we have discussed here before, the gravest threat to civilization is that Israel has 200 nuclear weapons with a clear precedent of asymmetric retaliation.

Thank you Douglas Feith (now a proud professor at Georgetown University) and all the other criminals of the Bush administration.

Update: 06/28
Juan Cole goes on about the incursion into Gaza today. He also says:
The Israeli Army has a long history of using plausible deniability to muddy the waters about its accountability in deaths of innocents. If we had videotape of everything they have done in the West Bank and Gaza, we'd be having war crimes trials for the rest of the century.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

There Goes the Neighborhood

I have never been completely sure why people who live here:

On land that belongs to people who live right next to them:

Should feel they have the right to use this:

Against this:

Which leads ultimately to this:

and this:

It is always the children who suffer.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Bears and Hookers

Justices refuse Winnie the Pooh case

so they could hear:

Supreme Court backs Ex-Playmate's Effort

But they won't even think about determining whether Bush can break the laws of our country because, (heh, heh) as soon as it comes up in a lower court they claim "State Secrets" and it gets thrown out. The ultimate Catch-22.

Maybe when the next Congress seats in January, if we make it that far.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

An Observation

Many have observed the incivility of our current society, particularly in America. One would think that in a land that has, literally, unlimited wealth, the populace would be quite happy. This, of course, is not the case. While bloggers, as obsessed as we are with the latest tidbit of news, tend to blame this on the chaos in the World, particularly in the midEast, I would beg to differ.

My humble observation of the average American is that he/she knows little of what is going on outside their own little life. Part of this may be the normal psychological relex to block out horror. It is hard for me to see, day after day, the carnage visited on the children of Iraq, as so well shown in Gorilla's Guides. Others of my compatriots will turn away from this horror and, "out of sight, out of mind."

But, that is not the point I want to make. I think that we have to look at the power structure as it relates to age in our society. When my generation was young, youth was worshiped. In spite of their grumbling, adults were anxious for new blood in many fields, particularly in science (after Sputnik.) Young people were able to move rapidly into the top echelons of society. I remember a mentor in graduate school that was a full professor at Brown before the age of 30. This would have been unheard of in the world of our fathers and grandfathers.

That assumption of power continued as the wave of the baby boom passed over the populace. However, those who came into power have been very reluctant to give it up and to welcome new blood as they were welcomed. It is my opinion that this is the basis for the incivility. That younger people are tremendously frustrated, particularly in their ability to control their lives. (It doesn't help that the power held by the American State in 2006, economic and military, is about as far beyond imagining as to seem to be another planet.)

Usually I would put in a blurb here about the current Administration and its tenacious hold on power and our lives, but I'll refrain.

I could, of course, be wrong. Humility is usual not one the attributes of my generation, however. Particularly when it comes to admitting that you are wrong on something really big. Like a War. Like invading Iraq.

Anyway, I am going to continue to think about this.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Angel Crab

(as opposed to Deviled Crab)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Crab Song

It is the end of Swan Crab Lake. All the crabs are dancing around the Blue Crab. It is time for him to leave.* (for a while, anyway)

*Music by the Grateful Dead

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Sins of the Son

This morning (Father's Day) we learn from (via Raw Story) that it is highly likely that George W. Bush will pardon "Big Wheel" Libby before his trial. This follows close upon the heels of the disclosure by his lawyer that Karl Rove will not be indicted. What, exactly, is going on here? A crime was committed. An undercover CIA agent was outed. Remember this?
"Even though I'm a tranquil guy now at this stage of my life, I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors."
-- George Herbert Walker Bush, 1999
This is the guy's father, for Christ's sake! Supposedly the tightest of bonds.

Humans have a great capacity for amnesia, particularly of nastiness. Unfortunately, if we turn a blind eye to lawlessness in our Government, as we are showing every indication of doing, we have bought ourselves a heap of trouble.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Starter Castles

Many Americans, and I would venture to guess all prominent Republicans, live in houses like this. Yet:
Report reveals global slum crisis

Slum-dwellers who make up a third of the world's urban population often live no better - if not worse - than rural people, a United Nations report says.

Anna Tibaijuka, head of the UN Habitat agency, urged governments and donors to take more seriously the problems of at least a billion people.
That is, one out of seven citizens of the World (a meaningless phrase if there ever was one) live like this:

or like this:

Children who live like this grow up to be physcially, intellectually and emotionally stunted, like this:

But increasingly, they will wind up like this:

Terrorists were once children. Terrorism is not a conscious decision; it is a learned response.

Houston, we have a problem.

Our Dear Gov - 43


Friday, June 16, 2006

Nanog of the North

It is appropriate that this discovery was made in the North.

This is a truly amazing discovery. It may be more significant in the long run than Watson and Crick. It brings up a whole host of questions that are out there underneath biology, like why we have disease and why we die. I hope to blog about the first tomorrow:
A University of Edinburgh team, writing in Nature, reports that the protein Nanog acts as a switch, turning on a host of genes which are responsible for stem cell's much-touted special properties of renewal and repair. It's hoped they will provide treatments for currently incurable conditions such as Parkinson's and spinal cord injury. The stem cells in adult tissues do not have the same breadth of potential as those found in embryos.

Say What?

This vote is "sending a message about what they believe America's capable of doing, and about whether the global war on totalitarianism is worth fighting," said House Republican Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri. (emphasis added)
Global war on totalitarianism? Sort of like the Unitary Presidency you might think.

Friday Crab Blogging (6)

If you haven't figured it out by now, the crabs are running.

Friday Crab Blogging (5)

Friday Crab Blogging (4)

Friday Crab Blogging (3)

Friday Crab Blogging (2)

Sweet Little Sixteen

I'll admit, I danced and sang along to Chuck Berry records in the 1950's. If asked at that time, we would have said he was "cool." This AM I heard one of his hits, "Sweet Little Sixteen." Here are some of the lyrics:
Sweet Little Sixteen
She's got the grown up blues
Tight dress and lipstick
She's sportin' high heal shoes
Oh, but tomorrow morning
She'll have to change her trend
And be sweet sixteen
And back in class again
This sounds rather idyllic, doesn't it? I doubt seriously if Chuck Berry was singing to a Black audience. They had more serious things on their mind:

What I am trying to say here is that History can frequently be distorted. The reality is that black children in the 1950's were probably not living the life depicted by Chuck Berry. (Just as Baghdad is not the place that George Bush thinks it is.) We projected our white faces onto the persona of those people in Berry's songs. For instance, Johnny B. Good was almost certainly a Black, Johnnie Johnson, Berry's piano player:
On earlier unreleased takes Chuck sang 'colored boy' for 'country boy', but the Chess-brothers decided that that would not sell.
Finally, from here:
Not all racial segregation laws have been repealed in the United States, although Supreme Court rulings have rendered them unenforceable. For instance, the Alabama Constitution still mandates that Separate schools shall be provided for white and colored children, and no child of either race shall be permitted to attend a school of the other race. [7] A proposal to repeal this provision was narrowly defeated in 2004.

Friday Crab Blogging (1)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I think I'm going to Ralph

Sneak Preview Crab Blogging

We've Come a Long Way, Baby (Sort Of)

I had always thought that America meant that things had changed for people. That we were a country that recognized the Rights of Man. Clearly, I have been mistaken:
Judge Rules That U.S. Has Broad Powers to Detain Noncitizens Indefinitely

A federal judge in Brooklyn ruled yesterday that the government has wide latitude under immigration law to detain noncitizens on the basis of religion, race or national origin, and to hold them indefinitely without explanation.
The decision is profoundly disturbing because it legitimizes the fact that the Bush administration rounded up and imprisoned our clients because of their religion and race."
Of course there is precedent for this in Roman Citizenship:
While citizen rights varied over time, a partial list of them includes:

The right to vote in the Republic.
The right to make legal contracts.
The right to have a lawful marriage.
The right to stand for public office.
The right to sue (and be sued) in the courts.
The right to appeal from the decisions of magistrates.
The right to have a trial (to appear before a proper court and to defend oneself).
Citizens could not be subjected to torture.
(emphasis added)
So, if you were a citizen of the Roman Empire you had the right to a trial. Clearly, if you were not a citizen, you didn't have these rights. You were in the same situation as a Muslim in New York or Guantanamo.

Remember, we're talking the Roman Empire here circa 50 BC. We used to hold up the Emperor of Rome (Caesar, etc.) as being the ultimate example of unfettered authority. That has just changed.

May I also remind you that Caesar didn't have nuclear weapons at his disposal.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Its about Credibility, Mr. Bush

Long ago we had this:
Mr. Bush said in June 2004 that he would fire anyone in his administration shown to have leaked information that exposed the identity of Plame, the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, an outspoken critic of the president's Iraq policy. (emphasis added)
Even earlier we had this:
McClellan at a September 29, 2003, press briefing:

McCLELLAN: The president has set high standards, the highest of standards for people in his administration. He's made it very clear to people in his administration that he expects them to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. If anyone in this administration was involved in it [the leaking of Plame's identity], they would no longer be in this administration. (emphasis added)
So, Mr. President, what about Karl Rove? And don't say it is an ongoing investigation, because, according to Rove's lawyer, he is off the hook.

We're waiting......and waiting.....and waiting.

Oops, its November, 2008.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Rival US Labs in Arms Race to Build Safer Nuclear Bomb

Read that headline again. Think about it. A Safe A-Bomb.

Two of our premier research labs are involved:
Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico are locked in an intense competition with rivals at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the Bay Area to design the nation's first new nuclear bomb in two decades.
In the meantime, the first tropical storm of the season turned into a hurricane and it is likely that the hurricane activity of the last few years is due to global warming.

Don't you think these scientists should be working on that?

In any case, the only safe nuclear weapon is one that can't explode.


If ever there was an evil man, it is Karl Rove. Why Fitzgerald let him off the hook in the Plame case is a puzzle, but I trust Mr. Fitzgerald to do the right thing. However, this frees Rove up to subvert the 2006 November elections which is not a good thing for our democracy.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Count Me Out

Haditha defense lawyer says killings were legal

O’BRIEN: Okay. My understanding is that at least from their description you have to selectively shoot the threats. In other words, you can’t just open fire in a room that might have civilians inside, you have to determine where the threats are coming from and shoot at the threats. And if you listen to the description by CNN employees who viewed the photos, the aftermath. There’s a description of women, and a child shot in bed. Elderly woman shot. Other reports have said an old man in a wheelchair was shot nine times. A group of girls between the ages of one year old and fourteen years old all dead. I’m not sure how those would be perceived—a one year old baby shot would be perceived as a threat.

PUCKETT: No that wouldn’t be perceived as a threat if you had the time to give it some deliberate thought. But when you think that people who are behind a door who are going to kill you, and you don’t know who’s behind the door—perhaps the Marines were taking care of themselves first. And looking out for their own safety. And I think most of the American people understand and need to do that. (emphasis added)
No, actually, most Americans are horrified. What you give here, Mr. Lawyer, is the best justification for barbarism since Atilla the Hun. No, I'll take that back, Vlad the Impaler.

What is more important?

An Iraqi youth carries his wounded sister to a local hospital in Baghdad. President George W. Bush opens a two-day summit on the war in Iraq, as the US commander there and a senior Iraqi security official predict cuts in the US-led military presence(AFP/File/Wissam Al-Okaili)(emphasis added)

Sounds reasonable, doesn't it. Here, from Gorilla's Guides is the truth:

The third child Ibtisam Mahmoud is aged 9. She was injured by the bomb targeting a police patrol in the Al-Sadriya market. Her condition isn't known but isn't thought to be very serious. She's being carried away from the hospital by her brother*. Ibtisam was not treated at the hospital. She was turned away. The hospital was too full to take any more patients so her brother had to carry her through a neighbourhood that's now regularly bombed, on foot, in scorching heat, to see if he can find a hospital that will treat her.

*One report describes him as her uncle — mfi (emphasis added)
Clearly, for the press, it is more important what Boy King does than the life of a child. I am sure he is going to announce an increase in military activity rather than getting out, like we should have done a long time ago.

I'm so tired I could scream.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Isolated Suicide an "Act of War"?????

Guantanamo suicides 'acts of war'
"They have no regard for human life," he (base commander Navy Rear Adm. Harry Harris) said. "Neither ours nor their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation but an act of asymmetric warfare against us."
Justifies their torture, see? Illegal combatants, etc., etc., etc.

Beam me up, Scotty.

Letters to the Editor

Recently a friend of mine was commiserating with me about the potential loss of funding for a school computer program. I said that I thought a letter to the editor would be a good idea. He stated that "nobody reads letters to the editor." Wrong. They do. He wrote his letter and was inundated with replies.

So, my suggestion, go and do it. I keep trying (edited for the NSA).

To the Editor of **********:

Mr. *****, a retired Army officer I assume, has an important comment in the Sunday *****. In short, he reinforces your prior editorial and concludes that a change of the Army Field Manual to allow “humiliating and degrading treatment” would place us in “clear violation of our duties under the law.” This is a serious matter. It is of overwhelming seriousness. It goes to the very fabric of our Society as described in that time worthy document, the U.S. Constitution. It is a moment of stealth and deceit, signifying everything. But, sadly, it is not new.

As documented by Charles Savage of the Boston Globe, President Bush has issued over 750 “signing statements” in the last five years. What is a signing statement, you might ask? It is a statement attached to a Law (passed by Congress) by the President exempting him from the strictures of the document he has just signed! Did you know a president could do that? I didn’t. As detailed by Elizabeth Drew in the current issue of the New York Review of Books, Mr. Bush issued a signing statement with the McCain amendment making torture illegal indicating that he would “interpret the bill as he wished.” Now we have that interpretation and it is the direct opposite to the intent of the McCain amendment.

We no longer have a President of these United States under the rule of Law. We have a megalomaniacal disaster.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Presidential Timber?

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) expects to run for president in 2008 if the contest for the Republican nomination still seems wide open late next year, he said yesterday.

It is literally inconceivable to me that any intelligent person would vote for this hypocrite. (Borking his secretary at the same time that he was bashing Clinton.)

In the afterlife, if there is an afterlife, he will be eternally consigned to riding at the back of the plane.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Ho, Hum....

Picnickers die in attack on Gaza

Staff and agencies
Friday June 9, 2006

Israeli forces today attacked the northern Gaza Strip with a series of air strikes and artillery fire, killing at least nine Palestinians, including six civilians who had been enjoying a family picnic at the beach.
A woman and two young children, six months old and 18 months old, were among the dead, medical officials said.
Just another day of child killing in the midEast.

Thanks, George.

"Say, What?" Department

I'm a great fan of Al Gore and am anxious to see "An Inconvenient Truth." So, I am pondering the following:
Gore also said that he would consider on-screen nudity if it was necessary to progress the story.

Bonus Friday Crab