Saturday, November 3, 2007

Martial law declared in Pakistan

Faced with increasing violence and unrest, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf on Saturday declared a state of emergency, government sources told CNN.

Musharraf issued a provisional constitutional order proclaiming the emergency and suspending the nation's constitution, according to a statement read on state television.

The Supreme Court has declared the state of emergency illegal, claiming Musharraf had no power to suspend the constitution, Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry told CNN.

In Islamabad, troops entered the Supreme Court and were surrounding the judges' homes, according to CNN's Syed Mohsin Naqvi.
This is very bad. It will be interesting to see if Benazir Bhutto is allowed to re-enter the country, she just left for Dubai to visit family again, or if the Supreme Court is allowed to go to work when it is next scheduled to meet.

Everyone should remember that this is our "great ally in the global war on terror" where, according to President Bush last year

We support democracy in Pakistan. President Musharraf understands that in the long run, the way to defeat terrorists is to replace an ideology of hatred with an ideology of hope. And I thank you for your extensive briefing today on your plans to spread freedom throughout your country. President Musharraf envisions a modern state that provides an alternative to radicalism.

The elections scheduled for 2007 are a great opportunity for Pakistan. The President understands these elections need to be open and honest. America will continue to working -- working with Pakistan to lay the foundations of democracy. And I appreciate your commitment.

Open and honest elections and if he doesnt like the results .. declare martial law. Heckuva democracy they have there.

I guess we just have to take him at his word, from the same press conference, that
I will never violate the constitution of Pakistan.

Stay tuned

I feel Like Dancing

OK, well I don't but a friend did and I thought that this ancient Leo Sayers and the Muppets video would give everyone a giggle.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Since Garth Brooks has a new CD coming out on Tuesday

And since I think this is one of the best love songs I know of ...... I just wish it embedded

Thursday, November 1, 2007

John Cole Converts

Long story short, I got up there to register as an independent, said “Fuck it,” and now I am a Democrat. I certainly don’t agree with all their positions, but they are not bat-shit crazy like the GOP. That has to count for something. Additionally, I no longer have to read posts by the 24% crowd calling me a “true conservative” with quotes o’sarcasm (you know who they are). Not any more, bitches. I repudiate you, your party, and whatever the fuck it is you are currently pretending is “conservatism.” It isn’t.

I couldn't have said this better.

Go see his conversion statement at Balloon Juice


US embassy in Iraq

  • on time and on budget

  • or not
  • Westboro Baptist Church Loses Big

    Good. Bankrupt these evil bastards.

    Wednesday, October 31, 2007

    Glass half empty at the Globe and Mail

    No magic cure for Canada's problems in budget
    Is the headline at Now leaving aside that the loonie is at a historical high and unemployment is down and the government is in a position to cut taxes and still balance the budget I guess the economy is in horrible shape.

    The article itself isnt half bad and talks about the fact that companies have to take this opportunity to invest but holy shit who wrote that headline.

    Svenska Akademien with Bonus Snow

    I have no clue what they are saying but I REALLY like this.
    of course, I also like this so YMMV

    YouTube - Danko Jones "First Date"

    I really love this song but whoever thought it was a good idea to do this video for it should be beaten with a stick.
    Go listen to the new stuff

    Danko Jones - Dance

    Have I ever mentioned that I would love to see Danko Jones live?
    Go listen to the new stuff

    Rudy Giuliani Relies on Innumeracy

    Specifically, The Commonwealth Fund report features a chart showing that, in 1997, the incidence of prostate cancer in the U.S. was 136 per 100,000 males and the mortality rate (death rate) was 26 per 100,000 males. By comparison, in the U.K. the prostate cancer incidence was 49 per 100,000 and the death rate was 28 deaths per 100,000. (The prostate cancer incidence rate—which is the number of men diagnosed with the disease in a given year—in the U.S. is thought to be higher because prostate cancer screening is much more common in this country.)

    The Giuliani campaign dishonestly uses the above information to calculate survival rates. It is my belief that he is relying on the fact that the average american thinks that math is hard and so won't look behind the numbers. What I do for a living relies on me explaining complicated numbers in a clear and concise manner. What Giuliani is doing here is simply misusing the numbers and, to my mind, willfully lying.

    I know that I shouldn't be shocked that this asshole lies about something but this is such a basic thing and such an easily checked thing that I have to hope that every single male in the media will call him on it.

    Then there is this recent article from the cbc

    So what would you do if you found out that several of the top prostate cancer doctors think the disease is being over-diagnosed and over-treated?

    Take Toronto medical oncologist Dr. Ian Tannock. "I absolutely refuse to be screened. I don’t know my PSA [prostate-specific antigen level]. I think it’s overdone and men are having surgery they don’t need. Even the most gung-ho urologist would admit a lot of men are having prostatectomies [prostate removal] that weren’t going to die of it. The real challenge is picking up the men who would benefit."

    His thoughts are echoed by one of the top prostate cancer researchers in the United States, Dr. James Talcott of Massachusetts General Hospital.

    "You’re certainly more likely to be harmed than helped by being screened and diagnosed," Dr. Talcott says. "With immediate treatment you pay the price right away in terms of sexual dysfunction and other problems. There’s no question the prostate cancer mortality rate would be zero if we took out the prostate of every 25-year-old man, but at what price?"

    And from the National Cancer Institute

    A complicating feature of any analysis of survival after treatment of prostate cancer and comparison of the various treatment strategies is the evidence of increasing diagnosis of nonlethal tumors as diagnostic methods have changed over time. Nonrandomized comparisons of treatments may therefore be confounded not only by patient-selection factors but also by time trends. For example, a population-based study in Sweden showed that from 1960 to the late 1980s, before the use of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) for screening purposes, long-term relative survival rates after the diagnosis of prostate cancer improved substantially as more sensitive methods of diagnosis were introduced. This occurred despite the use of watchful waiting or palliative hormonal treatment as the most common treatment strategies for localized prostate cancer during the entire era (<150 radical prostatectomies per year were performed in Sweden during the late 1980s). The investigators estimated that if all cancers diagnosed between 1960 and 1964 were of the lethal variety, then at least 33% of cancers diagnosed between 1980 and 1984 were of the nonlethal variety.[3][Level of evidence: 3iB] With the advent of PSA screening, the ability to diagnose nonlethal prostate cancers may increase further.

    What that means is that when you use PSA to screen you are picking up more cancers that would NEVER KILL YOU ANYWAY. There is an old saying that you are more likely to die with Prostate Cancer than of it. This is something to bear in mind when someone trots out the "ooooo scary cancer" BS about this particular disease. All cancers are not created equal and the diagnosis of Prostate Cancer is not a death sentence either here or in any other country in the world.

    The press release from the COmmonwealth Fund can be found here

    Danko Jones, Not live but still smoking

    A little more Danko Jones.

    "Every time you see her she'll get a little hotter"

    oh yeah!!

    Go listen to the new stuff

    Danko Jones - Smoking Hot Live !!

    Just a very good band. And yes ... Canadian and yes .. this is dedicated to someone

    Tuesday, October 30, 2007

    Genarlow Wilson and the plea deal that he didnt take

    "It might've been lesser time, but then again, I would have nowhere to go because I would have no home," Wilson said during a CNN interview scheduled to air Monday at 8 p.m.

    "I wouldn't be able to stay with my mother because I have a little sister. You know, when you're a sex offender you can't be around kids. Basically, I can't even have kids myself, you know, so what is the point of life?" he asked.

    Genarlow, go and be well. I hope for your sake that you can eventually fade into anonymity and not have this be the only defining moment in your life. I hope you get married, have kids and have a successful career doing something that makes you happy.

    Full story at CNN

    Monday, October 29, 2007

    What is Obama thinking?

    To quote a dear friend of mine ... *headdesk*

    Huckabee - so much for the sane part

    Huckabee, behind in the polls and not wanting to be outdone by the “we must go to war with Iran” Giuliani campaign, went on Late Edition this Sunday morning and tried his best to prove he’s just as capable of starting an unnecessary war based on bad intelligence as any other Republican candidate. Repeating the lie that Ahmadinejad said he wants to destroy Israel, Huckabee swears he will do “whatever it takes,” and will not even rule out using tactical nukes in doing so.
    Someone recently said that Mike Huckabee was a sane and likeble conservative.

    Personally, I think he has Kool Aid poisoning.

    Go look at Crooks and Liars

    Sunday, October 28, 2007

    Glenn Greenwald Hits A Nerve

    I do enjoy reading your diatribes as they provide comic relief here in Iraq. The amount of pure fiction is incredible. Since a great deal of this post is just opinion and everyone is entitled to their opinions, I will not address those even though they are shall we say -- based on few if any facts. That does surprise me with your training as a lawyer, but we will leave those jokes to another day. . . .

    You are either too lazy to do the research on the topics to gain the facts, or you are providing purposeful misinformation -- much like a propagandist. . . .

    Now, do those sound like the words that would come from a highly trained, professional, non-political military press officer or do they sound like they come from Michelle Malkin or Pam Geller?

    Read the entire bizarre exchange at Glenn Greenwald's spot on

    Chris Dodd -- Leader

    "Mr. Mukasey's position that the President does not have to heed the law disqualifies him from being the chief attorney for the United States. We have seen for too long, and at great expense to our national security, an Administration that has systematically attacked the rule of law and turned our Justice Department into a political wing of the White House. I'm afraid that Mr. Mukasey as Attorney General would be more of the same."

    I am not ashamed to say that this actually made me cry tears of joy.

    The full statement is here but the more important link is here.

    14 Characteristics of Fascism

    1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. From the prominent displays of flags and bunting to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy, was always obvious. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia.

    2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. The regimes themselves viewed human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.

    3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The most significant common thread among these regimes was the use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice—relentless propaganda and disinformation—were usually effective. Often the regimes would incite “spontaneous” acts against the target scapegoats, usually communists, socialists, liberals, Jews, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and “terrorists.” Active opponents of these regimes were inevitably labeled as terrorists and dealt with accordingly.

    4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it. A disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.

    5. Rampant sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, these regimes inevitably viewed women as second-class citizens. They were adamantly anti-abortion and also homophobic. These attitudes were usually codified in Draconian laws that enjoyed strong support by the orthodox religion of the country, thus lending the regime cover for its abuses.

    6. A controlled mass media. Under some of the regimes, the mass media were under strict direct control and could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Other regimes exercised more subtle power to ensure media orthodoxy. Methods included the control of licensing and access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders of the mass media were often politically compatible with the power elite. The result was usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the regimes’ excesses.

    7. Obsession with national security. Inevitably, a national security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite. It was usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting “national security,” and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.

    8. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Unlike communist regimes, the fascist and protofascist regimes were never proclaimed as godless by their opponents. In fact, most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of that religion. The fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with the precepts of the religion was generally swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents of the “godless.” A perception was manufactured that opposing the power elite was tantamount to an attack on religion.

    9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of “have-not” citizens.

    10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice.

    11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities were tightly controlled; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or expressions of dissent were strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed. To these regimes, art and literature should serve the national interest or they had no right to exist.

    12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police were often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. “Normal” and political crime were often merged into trumped-up criminal charges and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or “traitors” was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.

    13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.

    14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls were usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.

    I have seen these quoted here and there and thought that my cats would like to be educated by having them here since this is the only blog that their computer is allowed to visit.

    I encourage everyone else to go read them in context at Council for Secular Humanism


    In honour of Fox news Sunday I Bring you L7.

    Go watch the ickiness that is FNS at Crooks and Liars

    Have I ever mentioned that I think that Donita Sparks is just the kind of girl that I would love to take home to meet my mom? .. oh .. well .. never mind then

    A Sunday Funny

    A friend pointed me at this and it made me giggle so I thought I would pass it along here so that the cats can read about it.

    As an added bonus, here is an "interview with mike"

    Magna and the unions-a lesson?

    For more than a year however, Mr. Stronach has been talking about letting both the Canadian Auto Workers and the United Auto Workers unions in as a way to put aside old management-labour divisions in the North American auto industry and ensure its survival. The hope is that the newfound co-operation could foster a new work model -- and keep auto parts and automaking jobs that might otherwise move to other continents. As Dan Luria, an analyst at the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center put it, Mr. Stronach "wants to be able to say he remade labour relations in North America."

    And this, boys and girls, is how a CEO with a clue deals with unions nowadays. Frank Stronach is above all interested in making money. If he thinks that making the unions a partner is going to make him more money then that is what he is going to do. Compare that with the stupidity that you often see where union leaders are said to be in favour of making companies uncompetitive.

    Go read the story.

    Ponderings On Fear

    Does it make me hopelessly gutless that I chose not to go to the peace rally in Boston on Saturday because I was afraid that all it would take was being next to the wrong person at the wrong time and I would end up tossed out of the US on my ear?

    Or even does writing this dopey little blog that no one actually reads except my cats constitute something that could put my status here in jeopardy?

    Or am I just being overly paranoid?

    Go read about some people that weren't afraid.