Another Outsourced Job – Texan of the Year

The Dallas Morning News has decided that their 2007 Texan of the Year is (drumroll, please) The Illegal Immigrant.!

We can’t seem to live with him and his family, and if we can live without him, nobody’s figured out how. He’s the Illegal Immigrant, and he’s the 2007 Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year – for better or for worse.

(H/T to Drew Curtis’

Iraq’s Deadliest Year

Another flagged draped coffin returns. According to the Associated Press, 2007 has been the deadliest year in Iraq for the US military.

BAGHDAD – The second half of 2007 saw violence drop dramatically in Iraq, but the progress came at a high price: The year was the deadliest for the U.S. military since the 2003 invasion, with 899 troops killed.

American commanders and diplomats, however, say the battlefield gains against insurgents such as al-Qaida in Iraq offer only a partial picture of where the country stands as the war moves toward its five-year mark in March.

Two critical shifts that boosted U.S.-led forces in 2007 — a self-imposed cease-fire by a main Shiite militia and a grassroots Sunni revolt against extremists — could still unravel unless serious unity efforts are made by the Iraqi government.

Continue reading

Happy New Year – Dinner for One

“Europeanview” wishes you all a very happy, healthy, successful and peaceful New Year! It is going to be a really eventful year by all means with the US Presidential Elections coming up, which I hope and trust will bring the beginning of a change for the better.

But let’s not worry today. Silvester’s for partying and “same procedure as every year” we’ll ring in the festivities with “Dinner for One”.

See you all Next Year!

Sunday night vocals

Almost painfully beautiful version of this song, written by Ray Charles. Emmylou is joined by the Hot Band, who supported her for years. I had the privilege of seeing them together several times, including the chance to sit in the Old Waldorf with my hip literally pressed against the stage and Emmylou within reach. I restrained myself, but it was difficult.

“I Would Walk 500 Miles” for Impeachment

via: AlterNet

John Nirenberg would walk 500 miles. And it sounds like he would walk 500 more. But unlike the persistent pop tune by The Proclaimers, he refuses to be the man who falls down at Nancy Pelosi’s door.

Nirenberg, a hearty New York City native and current resident of Brattelboro, Vermont, intends to be standing when he reaches Washington, D.C. around January 10, at the conclusion of a scheduled 40-day walk that began in Boston on December 1. This fall, the 60-year-old professor of organizational behavior and Air Force veteran decided to traverse Route 1 on foot to implore House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to begin impeachment proceedings against President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

“It was about a whole collection of issues around the Constitution and the behavior of this administration,” explains Nirenberg, who finds that his sense of outrage and jogging background help him complete 15 miles per day. “Especially the torture issue, the spying, and an illegal war. All of this, at some point, was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I decided that I needed to do something different.”

Read on..

Check out March In My Name.

BBC Censors Bhutto Video

The Existentialist Cowboy has an extremely interesting post today, alerting us to the fact that the BBC has censored the portion of Benazir Bhutto’s video where she says Osama bin Laden was murdered. He includes the original video clip from the BBC (YouTube), then adds a link to the BBC website with the same video clip (sans the sentence concerning bin Laden).

Here was the same original video in a post here on The Zoo from two days ago. It was uploaded to YouTube in November 2007, following the first assassination attempt on Bhutto and Frost interview, by AlJazeeraEnglish.

The comment about the murder of bin Laden is at 6:15.

Here is the censored version (downloaded directly from the BBC website):

The missing comment is at about 5:02.

Now, why on earth would they do something like that? Might the answer to that question might go toward solving this crime? Benazir Bhutto may have been the woman who knew too much…

Again, from The Existentialist Cowboy:

Bhutto herself has exposed the fraudulent nature of the Bush/Blair “war on terrorism”. If Bin Laden is dead, as has been reported, then the various tapes that he is alleged to have made are all phony. The war on terrorism itself is a callous, calculated fraud perpetrated by a murderous Bush regime, a murderous Blair regime, a murderous puppet regime of Musharraf.

Below the fold is the exact text of the AlJazeeraEnglish video clip (just the segment that includes the part that was cut from the BBC version):

Continue reading


From BBC News:

Breaking: Good Christians in Reeves, Louisiana escape their long burden of carrying the number of the beast.

Christians in Reeves have been unhappy since the early 1960s about being given the prefix, 666 – traditionally known as the Biblical “number of the beast”.

For the next three months, households will be able to change the first three digits of their phone numbers to 749.

Mayor Scott Walker said CenturyTel’s decision was “divine intervention”.

However, he admitted it helped that Louisiana’s two senators had also lobbied for the change with the phone company and the state Public Service Commission.

“It’s been a black eye for our town, a stigma,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s anything bad on us, just an image,” he added. “We’re good Christian people.”

But really, how do we know that’s not the devil talking…?

Latest: Bhutto’s son, 19, to lead Pakistan’s opposition

Bilawal Bhutto, 19, is appointed co-chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party together with his father Asif Ali Zardari, who will effectively lead the Party until Bilawal has finished his education. The young man will probably play an active role in the upcoming elections, but will return to Oxford to resume his studies next year. Bilawal is still too young to run for office himself, candidates must be at least 25 years of age.

Read more herehere and here.

Good Morning from Europe – 3 Days Left (till the Iowa caucus, that is)

The Iowa caucus is three days away, so it’s time to see what European media make of it. The 2008 Presidential Elections will surely be closely monitored by them, too much is at stake for the whole world. With the crisis of the broader Middle East, the economic turmoil of an impending recession and the ecological desaster of global climate change, there are three problems to tackle, without any room to breathe before starting. Will new ideas and the will to change the status quo in Washington prevail or the exact opposite, the full knowledge of Washington’s ways and the ability to negotiate the dark alleys of the corporate interests capital? “Europeanview” is biased in her views, so let’s have a look at the main newspapers below the fold: Continue reading

Sunday Morning Crooner – Chansons Francaises

Next to the most formidable wine, excellent food, the existentialist’s breakfast of “gauloises et café”, beautiful castles, art and literature, France has one great achievement: Les Chansons! I picked four, at this time of the day best taken with a nice cup of coffee, the cigarette is optional.

The “grand seigneur” Charles Trenet – La Mer:

The greatest of them all, Edith Piaf – Padam Padam:

The ironic Yves Montant – Le chat de la voisine:

The Intellectual Juliette Greco – Les feuilles mortes:

Rice Scripted Bhutto’s Return then Left her Unprotected

An update on the Benazir Bhutto assassination from the American Everyman:

Two months ago Secretary of State, Condi Rice, convinced Pakistan’s president and current dictator, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, to allow exiled Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto back into the deeply troubled country.

Rice also had to convince Bhutto it to come out of exile and go back into public spotlight and the rough and tumble world of Pakistani politics. She did so with a promise of US support and a shared power structure agreement with Musharraf. (Slate story here.)

But after two attempts on her life, beginning almost the minute she touched down in Pakistan, one might start to wonder if the former Prime Minister wasn’t set up from the beginning. Especially when you consider Bhutto was sent there with no additional security.

However, the State Department didn’t offer her any personal protection, even though they all knew that Bhutto’s past history with the Pakistani Taliban and al Qaeda would make her an instant target. Rice didn’t even offer the services of private firms like Blackwater, which the State Department routinely uses all across the globe to protect important diplomats.

The results? An attempt on her life the moment she touched down in Pakistan which killed 158 innocent civilians and another one this week that did take the life of Benazir Bhutto. At least, one of the three official causes of death took the life of the “last hope of Pakistan.”

Keep reading…

Oregon Domestic Partnership Law Halted

AP, by Sarah Skidmore, via Common Dreams:

PORTLAND, Ore. – A federal judge on Friday placed on hold a state domestic partnership law that was set to take effect Jan. 1, pending a February hearing.

The law would give some spousal rights to same-sex couples.

Opponents asked U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman to intercede after the Oregon secretary of state’s office ruled in October that they had failed to collect enough valid signatures on a referendum to block the law.

The Oregon measure covers benefits related to inheritance rights, child-rearing and custody, joint state tax filings, joint health, auto and homeowners insurance policies, visitation rights at hospitals and others. It does not affect federal benefits for married couples, including Social Security and joint filing of federal tax returns.

After the Legislature approved the domestic partnership law this year, gay rights opponents launched an effort to collect enough signatures to suspend the law and place it on the November 2008 ballot for a statewide vote.

But state elections officials said this fall that the effort fell 116 valid signatures short of the 55,179 needed to suspend the law.

Funny how certain people try so hard to keep basic rights away from an entire segment of our population, especially when it costs them none of their own rights.

Some might say it’s the “gay,” but I think it’s just the “hate.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Insurance Company Refuses to Pay for Child’s Only Food

From The Journal News, Lower Hudson Online:

YORKTOWN — Three-year-old Hannah Devane is allergic to food. Not the kind that makes kids spit out their broccoli; the kind that can kill.

The Yorktown preschooler has a condition called eosinophilic esophagitis, a severe food allergy that causes a type of white blood cell to congregate in the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach, damaging the tissue when she eats.

A doctor-prescribed formula has allowed Hannah to grow to a robust 40 pounds, a normal weight for a child her age. Without it, Hannah could wind up with a feeding tube.

But the insurance program that covers her family through her father’s job as a New York City police lieutenant has stopped paying for the formula, which costs $1,200 a month. Food supplements and other over-the-counter items are not covered under the family’s insurance, the prescription plan administrator said.

Let’s hear from little Hannah’s doctor…

Dr. Barry Wershil, a pediatric gastroenterologist at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx, doesn’t hide his indignation over the insurance hurdle.

“This kid can’t eat food,” he said. “This formula is her only source of nutrition. The insurance (provider) saying they will not cover it is a travesty. It’s like telling a diabetic they can’t take insulin.”

“This is not a supplement an athlete is taking to build muscle,” Wershil said. “It’s her only source of nutrition. It’s this kid’s medicine. For the insurance to consider it a supplement is incorrect and unjust.”

Now let’s hear from the insurance company rep…

The family had been getting coverage for Elecare because of an error, said Helen Sweeny, the administrator of the self-insured medical benefits fund run by the Superior Officers Council.

The program would be broke if we tried to cover food,” said Sweeny, who has run the program for 32 years. (emphasis added)

Ms Sweeny has advised the family to apply for relief from the company that makes the special formula, or the Police Relief Fund (Hannah’s father is a policeman).

Somehow, I think Ms Sweeny will sleep just fine if little Hannah starves — as long as her program doesn’t go broke…

Bhutto Assassination News

Here’s a roundup of news on the assassination death of Benazir Bhutto.

McClatchy: As deadly protests continued to rage on Pakistan’s streets, the country’s Interior Ministry said that Bhutto — buried Friday without an autopsy — had died after she was thrown against the lever of her car’s sunroof, fracturing her skull.

Initially, the government had said that flying shrapnel killed Bhutto, 54, after a shooting and suicide bombing as she left a political rally in the city of Rawalpindi.

The Australian: Ms Bhutto, 54, began her day meeting party leaders to plan the campaign for parliamentary elections, scheduled for January 8 but now thrown into doubt. Backed by the US, she had hoped to win a third term as prime minister, restoring democratic rule after President Pervez Musharraf’s resignation as army chief last month.

After talking tactics with senior aides, she met Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the end of his two-day visit to Pakistan. Ms Bhutto told Mr Karzai that if elected again, she would work with him to fight the Taliban and al-Qa’ida militants who are sheltering in northwestern Pakistan and who have repeatedly threatened to kill her.

Muhammed Salman, a senior member of the PPP, said he was standing a few dozen metres from her vehicle when he heard the blast.

“When I turned around there were lots of people lying dead in the roads,” he said. “I thought our vehicle had left safely and that she would be safe. Then I got back to the hotel and realised what had happened.”

Other witnesses gave conflicting accounts as shocked bystanders and emergency workers carried the dead and injured from the blast site. In the confusion, party officials originally said that Ms Bhutto had escaped unhurt. But within minutes they announced she had been wounded and was in surgery, and half an hour later a PPP official, Rehman Malik, broke the news of her death.

Huffington Post has slides of skull x-rays purported to be from Ms Bhutto.

Continue reading

Missouri Debates it’s New “Castle Doctrine” Law

From the Kansas City Star online:

Missouri has passed it’s own version of Texas’ “castle doctrine” law, which allows deadly force to defend one’s home and stuff, and it appears to have all the bells and whistles of it’s predecessor.  TheZoo’s nwmuse did a story earlier this month entitled, “Murder?  Or self-defense?” about the Texas man who shot two men to death who had just burglarized his neighbor’s house.

We had a lively debate on TheZoo, and Missouri is debating the new law as well.

A similar Missouri law enacted this year appears to allow killings like those [in Texas], according to judges and lawyers. Advocates praise it as allowing innocent people to defend themselves against criminals. Opponents fear it could cause unnecessary deaths, such as killings of petty thieves.

Under a most basic reading, it allows carte blanche to kill anyone unlawfully entering a house or a car or committing a forcible felony, such as kidnapping, armed robbery, burglary, arson, assault, rape or sodomy.

You know, if someone is committing a violent crime against me or mine, I can get behind doing what it takes to stop them — hopefully short of killing the person.  But if someone is just stealing my possessions or money, and trying to get away, I would gladly allow that person to get as far away from me as possible.

Advocates praise [the law] as allowing innocent people to defend themselves against criminals. Opponents fear it could cause unnecessary deaths, such as killings of petty thieves.

Just how far can Missourians go? Shoot a drunk who staggers into your home? Probably. Kill the teen burglar who raises his arms in surrender? Possibly.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has helped push through laws such as the “castle doctrine” in 15 states over the last couple of years.  Why is the NRA interested in laws which actual criminals can use to cover their murders?

Already, the 2007 law helped prompt Jackson County prosecutors to drop a murder charge against a Kansas City man and accept an involuntary manslaughter plea instead.

Prosecutors also fear the law will make it more difficult to file and win cases against even hardened criminals, who may twist the law to help them kill others legally.

“Bad people are going to get away with murder because of this statute,” said assistant Jackson County prosecutor Bryan Krantz. “A lot of people are going to get away with murder.”

The Missouri law has a “reasonableness” clause in it, “meaning you had to believe that you, or another person, was in serious danger before using deadly force.”  That’s pretty wide-open, isn’t it?  People talk themselves into believing all manner of ridiculous things on an everyday basis.

In my opinion, laws such as these allow ordinary people to become legalized murderers.  Such as in the case of the Texas man, Mr Horn, who observed his neighbor’s house being burglarized, and called the police — that’s all that was necessary.  His life was not in danger, and these men were not threatening his family or property, and the 911 operator was telling him over and over again to stay inside his home.  Mr Horn made a conscious and premeditated decision to shoot the men in the back, as they ran away from him.  Legal murder.

Read the whole article here.

Huckabee Blasts the Irony Meter ™ to Smithereens

From PERRspectives Blog:

I don’t know if I should laugh or cry…

In Iowa on Friday, Huckabee with no apparent sense of irony offered his analysis of the forces that led to Bhutto’s doom. As the Huffington Post reported:

Huckabee called Bhutto’s death a tragedy, but he suggested she had been a threat to Islamic fundamentalists. “An educated, sophisticated, strong, capable woman leader — that does pose a threat to those who don’t believe that women should be given that platform and that level of equality,” Huckabee said.

Huh?  Wait a minute….didn’t Huck say….?

Americans could be forgiven for their confusion. Huckabee, after all, has made it clear that he himself is one of those “don’t believe that women should be given that platform and that level of equality.” As I noted previously, in 1998 then Governor Huckabee was one of 131 signatories on a full page ad in USA Today which praised the Southern Baptist Convention, for among other things, its defense of traditional marriage and the subservient position of women. The ad declared:

“You are right because you called husbands to sacrificially love and lead their wives. You are right because you called wives to graciously submit to their husband’s sacrificial leadership.

More importantly, you are right because your statement is based on biblical truth.”

Soooo, was he lying in the ad, or is he lying now?  The Flying Spaghetti Monster will be displeased either way.

The Angry One says it best.  Read the whole post here.

Vermont Town Seeks Bush & Cheney Arrests

From Raw Story:

Maybe I’ll move to Vermont when I’m done with school. They’ve got spunk!

President Bush may soon have a new reason to avoid left-leaning Vermont: In one town, activists want him subject to arrest for war crimes.
A group in Brattleboro is petitioning to put an item on a town meeting agenda in March that would make Bush and Vice President Cheney subject to arrest and indictment if they visit the southeastern Vermont community.

“This petition is as radical as the Declaration of Independence, and it draws on that tradition in claiming a universal jurisdiction when governments fail to do what they’re supposed to do,” said Kurt Daims, 54, a retired machinist leading the drive.

As president, Bush has visited every state except Vermont.

The town meeting, an annual exercise in which residents gather to vote on everything from fire department budgets to municipal policy, requires about 1,000 signatures to place a binding item on the agenda.

The measure asks: “Shall the Selectboard instruct the Town Attorney to draft indictments against President Bush and Vice President Cheney for crimes against our Constitution, and publish said indictment for consideration by other municipalities?”

Read the rest of the story here.