Ok…One Good Thing.

My university, the University of Idaho, just received word that our Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival has been awarded the National Medal of Arts for 2007, by George W. Bush. This is the first time a public university has won this honor. The University President, Timothy P. White, will accept the award in an East Room ceremony in the White House on Thursday.

The National Medal of Arts, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States Government. The NEA’s website states, “The National Medal of Arts is awarded by the President of the United States to individuals or groups who, in his judgment, ‘…are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States.’”

I think that’s pretty cool. We’re pretty proud of our Lionel Hampton School of Music, and now our annual Jazz Festival gets a prize. Thanks, President Bush. (ow)

Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections

H/T: The Brad Blog

Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections

a film by David Earnhardt

UNCOUNTED is an explosive new documentary that shows how the election fraud that changed the outcome of the 2004 election led to even greater fraud in 2006 – and now looms as an unbridled threat to the outcome of the 2008 election. This controversial feature length film by Emmy award-winning director David Earnhardt examines in factual, logical, and yet startling terms how easy it is to change election outcomes and undermine election integrity across the U.S. Noted computer programmers, statisticians, journalists, and experienced election officials provide the irrefutable proof.

UNCOUNTED shares well documented stories about the spine-chilling disregard for the right to vote in America. In Florida, computer programmer Clint Curtis is directed by his boss to create software that will “flip” votes from one candidate to another. In Utah, County Clerk Bruce Funk is locked out of his office for raising questions about security flaws in electronic voting machines. Californian Steve Heller gets convicted of a felony after he leaks secret documents detailing illegal activities committed by a major voting machine company. And Tennessee entrepreneur, Athan Gibbs, finds verifiable voting a hard sell in America and dies before his dream of honest elections can be realized.

UNCOUNTED is a wakeup call to all Americans. Beyond increasing the public’s awareness, the film inspires greater citizen involvement in fixing a broken electoral system. As we approach the decisive election of 2008, UNCOUNTED will change how you feel about the way votes are counted in America.

All in the family..

via: Raw Story and ABC News

Brother of State Dept. Official Linked to Blackwater

State Dept. IG Recuses Himself From Blackwater Case After Family Link Revealed

In a dramatic turn of events on Capitol Hill today, the State Department inspector general recused himself from all Blackwater-related issues after admitting to Congress that his brother served on the private security contractor’s advisory board.

After initially rejecting allegations that his brother, Alvin “Buzzy” Krongard, was a Blackwater board member, Howard Krongard later told lawmakers that his brother was in fact on the board.

Continue reading..

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Good Afternoon from Europe – 432 Days to Go

 Swing at the “Tenuta Le Piane”

Who wants to rule France? “Le Petit Nicholas” will have to try and overcome the French’s resilience, when it comes to giving up their cherished vested rights. Sarkozy will find out presently, whether his plans to cut pensioner’ rights, social security and many other long-fought-for privileges, will stand a chance against the rebelliousness of his people.

If all else fails, the French still have their wine and even find an upside to global warming.

A German saying goes: “Ein Affe, ohne zweiten, kann nicht streiten!”  (One monkey, without another one, can’t get into a fight). Apt, when one considers the USA-Iran conflict. Whenever the Bush Administration is toning down the language even one tiny bit or remains silent for a change, rest assured, Ahmadinejad will step up the warmongering rethoric. Now, to keep the tempers up, there is infighting in Tehran, seasoned with a slight against Britain.

The well informed neo-con elite knows, that Iran is not a nuclear power, but claims it’s plenty dangerous. Pakistan, however, has nukes. And Pakistan is in political turmoil. Worrying, isn’t it?

Well, no, not really says the Pentagon:

 “At this point, we have no concerns,” said Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell. “We believe that they are under the appropriate control.”

Ohokay…

And finally a ray of hope.

 Michael Mukasey, who was sworn in Tuesday, has reopened a dormant inquiry into the US government’s warrantless wiretapping programme which was effectively blocked by the president 18 months ago.

 “Europeanview” will go to sleep now and hopefully wake up to a better world tomorrow morning. You all stay safe and take care!

Alarming Suicide Rate Among Veterans

CBS News, via ThinkProgress:

CBS News conducted a months long investigation into the suicide rate of veterans, and found truly staggering numbers.

CBS News’ investigative unit wanted the numbers, so it submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Defense asking for the numbers of suicides among all service members for the past 12 years.

Four months later, they sent CBS News a document, showing that between 1995 and 2007, there were almost 2,200 suicides. That’s 188 last year alone. But these numbers included only “active duty” soldiers.

But those numbers weren’t nearly accurate…

So CBS News did an investigation – asking all 50 states for their suicide data, based on death records, for veterans and non-veterans, dating back to 1995. Forty-five states sent what turned out to be a mountain of information.

And what it revealed was stunning.

In 2005, for example, in just those 45 states, there were at least 6,256 suicides among those who served in the armed forces. That’s 120 each and every week, in just one year.

Got that? In 2005 alone, in 45 states, 6,256 suicides of veterans — 120 per week. The highest suicide rate is among veterans between the ages of 20 and 24.

Dr Ira Katz, Department of Veteran’s Affairs, prior to this investigation had said that suicide was a major problem among veterans, but there was no epidemic. After the investigation Katz said, “Suicide in America is an epidemic, and that includes veterans.”

Thanks for acknowledging it, Dr. Katz.

Read the read of the story here.