Reporter Jill Carroll was "acting" to win her freedom when she praised her kidnappers and criticized the U.S. occupation of Iraq in a video, her dad said yesterday.
"After listening to them for three months, she already knew exactly what they wanted her to say, so she gave it to them with appropriate acting to make it look convincing."
A spokeswoman for the Monitor said Carroll really didn't have any choice but to comply with the kidnappers' demands.
"They told her she would be freed if she made the video," Ellen Tuttle said. "She was also told they had killed another American hostage. So you can imagine what was going through her head."
NASA Administrator Michael D. Griffin unveiled new rules yesterday that govern the release of agency information to news media and the public, his most detailed response yet to embarrassing allegations that NASA's public affairs office had sought to suppress the release of scientific information not consistent with the views of the Bush administration.
The new eight-page policy, written by an internal team of scientists, lawyers, public affairs specialists and managers, states that NASA scientists are free to talk to members of the media about their scientific findings and even express personal interpretations of those findings -- the heart of the controversy that has engulfed the agency since January.
With the recent 60 Minutes interview, this was bound to happen. Perhaps Conservatives will stop saying that scientists don’t agree about Global Warming, now that they can’t change science research to appear that scientists don’t agree.
I have tried to contact you about your claim that research points to negative effects of homosexual parenting. It seems that my request for sources has not been successful. This is my final attempt at contacting you. If I do not receive a response I will be letting my readers know that my attempt to verify your sources has fallen on deaf ears, including my opinion that you either do not feel obliged to provide your sources, or that you actually lied about having read research.
Still Patiently Waiting,
ATHENS, Ga. — A bumper sticker that takes a double-entendre dig at President Bush has landed a woman in trouble with the law.
Denise Grier, 47, of Athens was recently pulled over in suburban Atlanta's DeKalb County where she works as a nurse when a police officer spotted her bumper sticker that reads: "I'm Tired Of All The BUSHIT."
The officer who stopped her thought it was lewd, and she was cited for violating a state law prohibiting lewd or profane stickers and decals on vehicles.
Grier said the sticker is simply a political statement.
The Georgia Supreme Court ruled more than a decade ago that the law against lewd bumper stickers is unconstitutional, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
There’s no proof that she was ticketed because her bumper sticker was anti-Bush. Personally, I think that it was, but that isn’t even the issue. If a law has been ruled unconstitutional, why are there still tickets being handed out for it? This is a total waste of Georgia taxpayers’ money. Now they have to pay for this long, lengthy trial and, most likely, any legal fees involved.
The funny thing about this is that I know there are rabid Conservatives waiting in the shadows to use this as a slam on the awesome ACLU. I can already hear it. “Look at the ACLU causing good people to go to court and costing all of us this money.” Yeah, one problem- it is this cop’s fault, not the ACLU’s. If this cop hadn’t done something that was unconstitutional this would never have happened. Put the blame where it belongs, and it doesn’t belong on the ACLU. Once again, they are fighting for another person’s rights.
A second major issue was whether hiring a conservative activist as a blogger was a reasonable stab at "balance" when there was no self-proclaimed liberal blogging away, as opposed to left-leaning journalists. I think that's a fair point, but I don't want to see washingtonpost.com or any other MSM outfit abandon efforts to include voices from the right.
First of all, WaPo does not have a “liberal bias”. In fact, they are more to the right side of the spectrum. They have shown this time and time again by labeling anyone who disagrees with a Bush policy, or an aspect of the Iraq war, as a liberal. Quite frankly, if you think that people are to the left because they do not agree with everything a president does, that means that you are not in the center.
I hope that more people with conservative, free-market or libertarian viewpoints decide to go into mainstream journalism to balance those of more liberal persuasions. But we can't force that to happen if that's not their goal.
And this, right here, is the reality of the liberal bias argument. The situation is the same for both universities and news outlets. If they have more liberal people working there, it is because more liberal people are applying for the job. If one of these places has a lot of liberal-leaning people, the remedy for conservative minded people is simple. Get an education in these types of things and then go apply there. Stop whining about “liberal bias”, because the problem is made by you, and you are the only ones that can fix it.
In his third speech this month to bolster public support for the war, Bush worked to counter critics who say the U.S. presence in the wartorn nation is fueling the insurgency. Bush said that Saddam was a tyrant and used violence to exacerbate sectarian divisions to keep himself in power, and that as a result, deep tensions persist to this day.
"The enemies of a free Iraq are employing the same tactics Saddam used, killing and terrorizing the Iraqi people in an effort to foment sectarian division," Bush said.
Please allow me to interject some reality here. The blame for the Iraqi violence falls squarely at the feet of the Iraqi people. They are the ones who are engaging in this civil war. It is not the fault of our occupation, or the fault of Saddam. The different factions in Iraq hate each other, plain and simple.
This is the point that Democrats have been trying to make, but the Republicans refuse to listen to. Ultimately, Iraq belongs to the Iraqi people. We can only offer so much support. If the Iraqis choose not to form a government, then that is their choice. We cannot simply stay there forever, hoping that they will pull it all together. We need to pressure them by telling them the consequences if they cannot get together and form a government. If they choose to not listen to our warning, then that is squarely on them. This current trend of sitting back and waiting for them to stop warring with each other isn’t working.
A gay Maryland father who was forced to choose between custody of his son and living with his male partner has won court permission to reunite the household.
On Monday, a Montgomery County judge ended the four-year-old cohabitation ban set in place by an Alexandria, Va., court. The 2002 ruling awarded custody to the father, contingent upon his partner moving out. The couple moved to Maryland, which is considered friendlier to same-sex couples.
I can’t even imagine how a judge could have handed down the original ruling. I guess that legally speaking, it was the correct ruling, but something needs to be done about the law that allows this. How can a law limit custodial rights based on a parent’s cohabitation choices? Without proving that there is some sort of harm, who a parent lives with should never even enter the discussion. Living in a normal area, I sometimes forget that there are things like this in other places.
• The Times has an article posted highlighting what former FISA judges have to say about the NSA program. I think their comments are interesting, but there is no way that anything will ever happen to Bush. The Republicans are too afraid to hold him accountable for breaking the law. I do believe that something will be passed, probably Specter’s bill, to give this program some sort of oversight. It’s interesting that Congress is calling for oversight, yet thinks that the program is legal. If it was legal before, why does it need to be changed?
I’m not knocking the oversight proposal, because it is a great step. There needs to be safeguards in place to make sure that the program can not be abused. I just wish that the law would be upheld here, even if that means actions against the president. To me, this is just another example of why the Republicans cannot be trusted to uphold our laws.
• Though it has taken a few years, Americans are finally realizing the truth about the Republican Party. Every single poll has Democrats in the lead when it comes to Congress. After so many years of Republican screw ups and scandals, Americans are finally ready for a change. This gift that Republicans handed Democrats may not be enough, so Democrats really need to get out their platform.
WASHINGTON - Eyeing House and Senate elections this fall, Democrats are stepping up their effort to cut into the public perception that Republicans are stronger on national security.
Congressional Democrats vow to provide U.S. agents with the resources to hunt down Osama bin Laden and ensure a "responsible redeployment of U.S. forces" from Iraq in 2006 in a national security policy statement House and Senate Democratic leaders were announcing Wednesday.
"We need a new direction on national security, and leaders with policies that are tough and smart. That is what Democrats offer," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in remarks prepared for delivery Wednesday.
It’s nice to see Democrats actually getting out and speaking about their ideas. The best part of the article though, would be:
"I trust in the common sense of the American people to see these efforts for what they are: misguided political attacks that are simply a bob-and-weave effort by those who have no real solutions or proposals of their own," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said.
Only a Republican would think that Americans are stupid enough to believe a political attack which accuses others of committing a political attack. Note to Republicans: Actually wanting to protect our national security is not a political attack. It’s actually one of the most important issues in the country.
Rep. Debra Maggart, R-Hendersonville, said she still believes homosexual couples should not be allowed to adopt children. In fact, in addition to e-mail correspondence with a master’s student at Vanderbilt publicized recently, in which she said as much, she has also said homosexual couples may molest the children they adopt.
"We also have seen evidence that homosexual couples prey on young males and have, in some instances, adopted them in order to have unfretted access to subject them to a life of molestation and sexual abuse," she said.
Maggert said it's just the opposite, and the research she's read comes from a variety of sources, including the ACLU and Focus on the Family, a Christian group.
I would love to actually see this research from the ACLU, or anywhere, really. It seems that she is making this stuff up, seeing as the APA, The American Academy of Pediatrics, and a host of other organizations that actually do the research seem to disagree with her.
We have got to call her on this. There is no reason that a voter instated official should be allowed to get away with this sort of thing. If you have time, please contact her and ask her for her sources.
Update 1: My attempts to contact Ms. Maggart have yet to yield any information on this supposed “research”. I’ll still make attempts, but it isn’t looking to good for her.
Greenpeace released maps last weeks showing that less than 10 percent of the world's forests remained intact, and environmentalists said governments worldwide have failed to honor their commitments to the Global Fund for the Environment, another product of the Earth Summit, leaving the fund with only $10 billion — or $67 billion less than promised.
I’ve always realized that there was severe degradation to our biosphere, but it never really hit me until I saw that 10 percent number. I’m not sure why others don’t get worried about these things. Perhaps… perhaps they think that it’s all hippy stuff and that the environment doesn’t matter. All I know is that if world governments do not starting taking the environment seriously, we are all going to be screwed.
At least Brazil is taking some small steps.
Brazil's Environmental Ministry said late Sunday that 84,000 square miles of the Amazon rain forest — an area about the size of Kansas — would be declared a protected zone over the next three years.
A summit of evangelical Christians and conservative Catholic and Jewish activists yesterday produced a "Values Voters' Contract with Congress," an outline of what the religiously minded expect their elected representatives to bring about in the near future.
Modeled after the Republican Party's 1994 "Contract with America," the "Values Voters' Contract" stipulated 10 aims, ranging from legislation to keep the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance to laws guaranteeing greater religious freedoms in the workplace, prohibiting human cloning and embryo research, and guaranteeing a "right to life" to all children before birth.
"Let's not say, 'Oh, it's not that bad,' " said the Rev. Tristan Emmanuel, director of the Equipping Christians for the Public Square Centre in Jordan Station, Ontario. Secularists, he added, practice "Christophobia," which he deemed "an irrational fear of anything Christ-based."
"When you listen to their rejection of our participation in the public square, it's visceral," he said.
It seems that some of these lobyists may be incapable of comprehending the point. It isn’t that we have an irrational fear of anything Christ-based, but the fact that we do not want people dictating to us how we should act in regards to personal morality decisions. When America is called “The Land of the Free,” that doesn’t mean that everyone is free to control each other. In a truly free land, people should be able to do anything that doesn’t pose an obvious risk to society. Gays getting married, abortion, pornography, and any other social issue should be left up to each person, so that they may act according to their own moral beliefs. It should not be anyone’s decision on who I marry or adopt, except for me and the others involved.
During an unpublicized March 8 talk at the University of Freiburg in Switzerland, Scalia dismissed the idea that the detainees have rights under the U.S. Constitution or international conventions, adding he was "astounded" at the "hypocritical" reaction in Europe to Gitmo. "War is war, and it has never been the case that when you captured a combatant you have to give them a jury trial in your civil courts," he says on a tape of the talk reviewed by NEWSWEEK. "Give me a break." Challenged by one audience member about whether the Gitmo detainees don't have protections under the Geneva or human-rights conventions, Scalia shot back: "If he was captured by my army on a battlefield, that is where he belongs. I had a son on that battlefield and they were shooting at my son and I'm not about to give this man who was captured in a war a full jury trial. I mean it's crazy."
The problem is that the court is set to hear a case today that will be deciding this exact issue, causing a group of retired army generals to ask Scalia to recuse himself from the case.
In a letter delivered to the court late yesterday, a lawyer for the retired officers cited news reports of Scalia's March 8 remarks to an audience at the University of Freiburg in Switzerland. Scalia reportedly said it was "crazy" to suggest that combatants captured fighting the United States should receive a "full jury trial," and dismissed suggestions that the Geneva Conventions might apply to detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Scalia's remarks "give rise to the unfortunate appearance that, even before briefing was complete, he had already made up his mind" about issues in the case, the lawyer, David H. Remes, wrote. Noting that Scalia reportedly had discussed the rights of accused terrorists in the context of his son Matthew's recent tour as an Army officer in Iraq, Remes wrote that this creates an appearance of "personal bias arising from his son's military service."
The case to be heard today -- Hamdan v. Rumsfeld , No. 05-184 -- is one of the most important terrorism-related cases to reach the court. It is a challenge by Osama bin Laden's former chauffeur, now being held at Guantanamo Bay, to the legality of the military commission that seeks to try him for war crimes. Military trials for terrorist suspects are a centerpiece of the Bush administration's anti-terrorism policy, but they have been criticized by human rights activists, especially in Europe.
During the confirmation hearings of Alito and Roberts, the two judges refused to answer questions if the case could come before the court. I do not understand the double standard here. How can these people have a fair trial, when Scalia has already made up his mind and spoke on it? This is a very important case for human rights, so hopefully Scalia will do what is right and recuse himself. Everyone deserves to have an impartial panel judge them in court.
But he wouldn't mind taking a class on the holy text if it were offered at his high school in Decatur, Ga. After all, "You look at 'The Old Man and the Sea,' 'King Arthur' and even 'The Matrix,' all have biblical allusions," the junior says. "It'd be useful to know exactly what's in it."
The Georgia legislature seems poised to endorse just such a course. Though students in many states enroll in classes related to the Bible, Georgia would become the first to require its Department of Education to put in place a curriculum to teach the history and literature of the Bible. Schools would use the book itself as the classroom textbook. Specifically the bill would establish electives on both the New and Old Testaments.
It has overwhelmingly passed both chambers, but needs a final vote on a minor House change. The vote is expected as early as Monday. If it passes, the state's Department of Education has a year to establish Bible elective courses in the curriculum.
It is already legal to allow classes to teach the bible in a historical and literary sense. For what reason does the Georgia Congress feel the need to require public schools to have these classes? I can think of over fifty different texts that are superior to the bible when it comes to literary content. Perhaps they should be the required text, seeing as, you know, they are better literary texts.
If classes want to focus on the historical impact of the bible on our culture, they can use a textbook to do this. Why do they need the actual bible, when only 1/50th of it would have any relevance to the history of our culture? Quite simply, they are going to use the bible and then supplement it with other things, leaving the bible the focus of the class.
This is simply a thinly veiled attempt to get the bible in the classroom. Allow each school district to make the choice on using the bible in curriculum. There is absolutely no need for the state to require its schools to have classes that use the bible as a text.
When this passes, it will be a sad, sad day for education.
WASHINGTON - As immigration rights activists rallied outside the Capitol, senators broke Monday from the House's get-tough approach by refusing to make criminals of people who help illegal immigrants.
The Senate Judiciary Committee adopted an amendment by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., that would protect church and charitable groups, as well as individuals, from criminal prosecution for providing food, shelter, medical care and counseling to undocumented immigrants.
"Charitable organizations, like individuals, should be able to provide humanitarian assistance to immigrants without fearing prosecution," Durbin said.
The committee also approved more than doubling the current force of 11,300 Border Patrol agents in an effort to stem the tide of new undocumented workers arriving daily. It voted to add 2,000 agents next year and 2,400 more annually through 2011.
Update 1: It seems the Senate Judiciary Committee has come to a final decision on this immigration bill.
WASHINGTON - The Senate Judiciary Committee approved sweeping election-year immigration legislation Monday that clears the way for 11 million illegal aliens to seek U.S. citizenship without having to first leave the country.
I think that this is a good idea. Immigrants who have lived here and worked here for a long time should not have to be sent back to their countries of origin. To be quite honest, I’m surprised that Republicans allowed this --well they all didn’t, but enough did-- because it seemed that immigration was their new pet project. I really expected them to go at this with full far-right fervor, leaving me totally hating everything they came up with. You know, the whole Conservative horrible idea machine.
The 12-6 vote was unusual, with a majority of Republicans opposed to the measure even though their party controls the Senate.
At several critical points, committee Democrats showed unity while Republicans splintered. In general, GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Sam Brownback of Kansas and Mike DeWine of Ohio, who is seeking re-election this fall, sided with Democrats. That created a majority that allowed them to shape the bill to their liking.
That’s right folks, some Republicans actually strayed away from a party line vote. It’s like Armageddon, or something.
In purely political terms, the issue threatened to fracture Republicans as they head into the midterm election campaign — one group eager to make labor readily available for low-wage jobs in industries such as agriculture, construction and meatpacking, the other determined to place a higher emphasis on law enforcement.
That was a split Bush was hoping to avoid after a political career spent building support for himself and his party from the fast-growing Hispanic population.
It seems we are finally seeing a split between the far-right Republicans and the more moderate Republicans.
I agree with this entire legislation. For once, I feel that Republicans and Democrats worked together to produce something that I can agree with. Hopefully this bill will not be eroded when it comes out of the full Senate. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually agree with this 100 percent.
Minutes after receiving the Eucharist at a special Mass for lawyers and politicians at Cathedral of the Holy Cross, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had a special blessing of his own for those who question his impartiality when it comes to matters of church and state.
“You know what I say to those people?” Scalia, 70, replied, making an obscene gesture under his chin when asked by a Herald reporter if he fends off a lot of flak for publicly celebrating his conservative Roman Catholic beliefs.
“That’s Sicilian,” the Italian jurist said, interpreting for the “Sopranos” challenged.
“It’s none of their business,” continued Scalia, who was the keynote speaker at yesterday’s Catholic Lawyers’ Guild luncheon. “This is my spiritual life. I shall lead it the way I like.”
The conduct unbecoming a 20-year veteran of the country’s highest court - and just feet from the Mother Church’s altar - was captured by a photographer for the Archdiocese of Boston newspaper The Pilot, whose publisher is newly minted Cardinal Sean O’Malley.
Although one of his sworn duties is to uphold the freedom of the press, a jocular Scalia told the shutterbug, “Don’t publish that.”
For Phase One: The Senate Judiciary Committee will be holding more hearings on the illegal domestic NSA spying without a warrant on Tuesday. They will also be holding hearings on Sen. Russ Feingold’s censure resolution on Friday. We’d like to get their attention, and let them know that illegal actions of the President and upholding the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are issues about which Americans care deeply.
So here is what we want you to do:
We’re headed back to the FAX machines this morning. Please take some time to FAX the members of the Judiciary Committee and let them know how you feel about this issue.
Check it out and participate. It’s important that we be heard.
Abdul Rahman has yet to be released, as officials debate how to move forward.
Officials said the case was dropped Sunday partially because of concerns that Abdul Rahman is mentally unfit to face trial. The move also followed strong pressure from Western governments.
Prosecutors have said they want doctors to examine Rahman, but they have not confirmed that he would be released. Prosecutor Sarinwal Zamari said state attorneys were working on the case Monday and an announcement would be made later in the day. He declined to elaborate.
An Afghan official closely involved with the case told The Associated Press that the 41-year-old would be released, but authorities were debating how and when it would be done.
Simply, I have no doubt in my mind that this man will be killed when he is released. I want to be optimistic, but Afghani citizens are calling for his death due to his law breaking. I know I’m going to get slammed by Conservatives for this, but perhaps he should be placed in a mental facility. At least there he can some sort of security.
Face it, no matter how much we speak out about this, we are never going to convince an entire culture that their beliefs are wrong and that ours are right. In some ways, I think we may have made the situation worse. The Afghani community is even more upset, protesting western culture for interfering. This is no longer about a Christian convert. It has become a struggle between two different cultures, both with strong beliefs rooted in a couple thousand years of religious thinking.
I really don’t know what is left for us to do. I hope, with all that I am, that nothing happens to this man. Basic human rights should be the cornerstone of any country.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Police found 30 more victims of the sectarian slaughter ravaging Iraq — most of them beheaded — dumped on a village road north of Baghdad on Sunday. At least 16 other Iraqis were killed in a U.S.-backed raid in a Shiite neighborhood of the capital.
Accounts of the raid varied. Aides to the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and Iraqi police both said it took place at a mosque, with police claiming 22 bystanders died and al-Sadr's aides saying 18 innocent men were killed.
The Americans said Iraqi special forces backed by U.S. troops killed 16 "insurgents" in a raid on a community meeting hall after gunmen opened fire on approaching troops.
"No mosques were entered or damaged during this operation," the military said. It said a non-Western hostage was freed, but no name or nationality was provided.
Associated Press videotape showed a tangle of dead male bodies with gunshot wounds on the floor of what was said by the cameraman to be the imam's living quarters, attached to mosque itself.
The tape showed 5.56 mm shell casings scattered about the floor. U.S. forces use that caliber ammunition. A grieving man in white Arab robes stepped among the bodies strewn across the blood-smeared floor.
A total of at least 69 people were reported killed Sunday in one of the bloodiest days in weeks. Most of the dead appeared to be victims the shadowy Sunni-Shiite score-settling that has torn at the fabric of Iraq since Feb. 22 when a Shiite shrine was blown apart in Samarra, north of Baghdad.
Much of the recent killing is seen as the work of Shiite militias or death squads that have infiltrated or are tolerated by Iraqi police under the control of the Shiite-dominated Interior Ministry.
Many of the victims have been found dumped, mainly in Baghdad, with their hands tied, showing signs of torture and shot in the head.
It’s apparent, to me at least, that the deaths in Iraq are being caused by Iraqis fighting and killing each other. There is a culture war taking place inside of that country, and to be quite honest, I’m not sure why the hell this is America’s problem.
Seeing as the Republicans are the party in power, perhaps they should get on the ball and offer up some solutions for this Iraq situation. As of right now, their solution seems to be to sit back and wait for this civil war to burn itself out. The Republican policy of do nothing will lead to their eventual loss of power. Democrats need to step up their calls for a timetable so that American voters can see that they are serious and have a plan, unlike the GOP.
Oh, and before some Republican comes here and burns up some strawman, let me say that I’m not talking about leaving Iraq, right now. In fact, that isn’t what Democrats are even trying to suggest. The Democratic strategy is simple: give the Iraqi government a timetable so that they know we are serious. This civil war isn’t our problem, and we need to let the Iraqis know that we are not going to fight their wars for them.
Republicans can try and attack this strategy all they want, but the truth is, it’s much better than their no strategy.
KURTZ: Thank you.
Bush and Cheney essentially seem to be accusing you and your colleagues of carrying the terrorist message by reporting on so many of these attacks. What do you make of that?
LOGAN: Well, I think that's -- that is a very convenient way of looking at it. It doesn't reflect the value judgment that's implicit in that.
As a journalist, if an American soldier or an Iraqi person dies that day, you have to make a decision about how you weigh the value of reporting that news over the value of something that may be happening, say, a water plant that's being turned on that brings fresh water to 200 Iraqi people. I mean, you get accused of valuing human life in a certain way depending on how you report it.
And also, as -- I mean, what I would point out is that you can't travel around this country anymore without military protection. You can't travel without armed guards. You're not free to go every time there's a school opening or there's some reconstruction project that's being done.
We don't have the ability to go out and cover those. If they want to see a fair picture of what's happening in Iraq, then you have to first start with the security issue.
When journalists are free to move around this country, then they will be free to report on everything that's going on. But as long as you're a prisoner of the terrible security situation here, then that's going to be reflected in your coverage.
I get this… overwhelming feeling that Republicans are going to try and blame everything Iraq related on the media. Their accusations that reporters are only reporting the negative, and not the positive, seem totally opposite of my beliefs. When I watch the news, I feel like they are softening the war a bit. Iraq is a total war zone, but when reporters report, everything feels so medicated.
POLICHARKI, Afghanistan - An Afghan court has dismissed case against a man who converted from Islam to Christianity for lack of evidence, an official said Sunday.
The court, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, had been under intense international pressure to drop the case against Abdul Rahman, who faced a possible death sentence for his public conversion.
Some Islamic clerics had called for his execution, saying Rahman would face danger from his countrymen if he were released.
About 200 people protested outside a town hall-style meeting held by Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., a leading sponsor of the House bill. He defended the legislation, saying he's trying to stop people from exploiting illegal immigrants for cheap labor, drug trafficking and prostitution.
"Those who do that are 21st-century slave masters, just like the 19th-century slave masters that we fought a civil war to get rid of," Sensenbrenner said at the meeting.
"Unless we do something about illegal immigration, we're consigning illegal immigrants to be a permanent underclass, and I don't think that's moral."
Since Thursday tens of thousands of people have joined in rallies in cities including Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Atlanta, and staged school walkouts, marches and work stoppages.
The demonstrations are expected to culminate April 10 in a "National Day of Action" organized by labor, immigration, civil rights and religious groups.
However, AP does not inform readers that author Jeanne Howard is passionately involved in promoting acceptance of homosexuality in her work with P-FLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).
“Homosexual activists’ handprints are all over this one,” says Robert Knight, director of the Culture & Family Institute, an affiliate of Concerned Women for America. “Take it with a grain of salt. They funded it and will no doubt promote it, hoping the public will be too distracted to check its pedigree.”
Knight applauds AP for noting “that the study’s funding came from homosexual activist groups.” But he faults the news service for not informing “readers that the study’s author apparently is an activist with the radical homosexual group P-FLAG, which promotes acceptance of homosexuality among children and teens. For years, P-FLAG has urged schools to provide books with graphic seduction scenes between adults and minors. P-FLAG regularly characterizes any parents who object as bigots motivated by ‘hate.’
“Does this disqualify Ms. Howard’s study?,” Knight asks. “No, but it shows that the study did not emerge in a scientific vacuum.”
WASHINGTON -- When President Bush signed the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act this month, he included an addendum saying that he did not feel obliged to obey requirements that he inform Congress about how the FBI was using the act's expanded police powers.
The bill contained several oversight provisions intended to make sure the FBI did not abuse the special terrorism-related powers to search homes and secretly seize papers. The provisions require Justice Department officials to keep closer track of how often the FBI uses the new powers and in what type of situations. Under the law, the administration would have to provide the information to Congress by certain dates.
Bush signed the bill with fanfare at a White House ceremony March 9, calling it ''a piece of legislation that's vital to win the war on terror and to protect the American people." But after the reporters and guests had left, the White House quietly issued a ''signing statement," an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law.
"The Bush administration simply cannot let this happen. They have to stop this one way or the other. It would make a mockery of much of what President Bush has about our creation of a new democracy in Afghanistan," said Professor Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia, a keen analyst of American political trends.
In the past 24 hours, we learned of allegations that Ben Domenech plagiarized material that appeared under his byline in various publications prior to washingtonpost.com contracting with him to write a blog that launched Tuesday.
An investigation into these allegations was ongoing, and in the interim, Domenech has resigned, effective immediately.
I guess that social experiment has failed.
The second bullet, this plagiarism bullet, is one that needs to be looked at by WaPo. Anyone that has plagiarized another’s work needs to be held accountable. WaPo has no business employing someone that steals from others and then passes the work off as his own. If WaPo doesn’t want to support stealing, then they need to show Ben the door. This type of behavior should not be tolerated. It’s time for WaPo to take a stand.
"If what you are asking is, has George Bush as president of the United States established priorities in spending for his administration? The answer is yes," said Wade F. Horn, who as assistant secretary for children and families at HHS oversees much of the spending going to conservative groups. "That is a prerogative that presidents have."
Horn and other officials said politics has not played a role in making grants. "Whoever got these grants wrote the best applications, and the panels in rating these grants rated them objectively, based on the criteria we published in the Federal Register," he said. "Whether they support the president or not is not a test in any of my grant programs."
A lot of Conservative groups are deserving of this money, because they do a lot of good in society. With that said, I have a hard time believing that there is nothing political about some of these grants. The Bush administration has given a lot of money to abstinence-only programs, which could only be a political move to appease his radical base. Why else would the administration give so much money to people who advocate teaching an education system that has been shown to be ineffective? If it is not political, then what is it?
In a Dec. 12, 2002, executive order, Bush addressed one of the major concerns of religious groups considering applying for public money. Bush declared that religious groups receiving federal grants would not be required to comply with certain civil rights statutes, and could discriminate by hiring employees of specific religious faiths.
This is something that I have always disagreed with. If a religious group is going to get money from the state, they should have to follow all laws, including ones that disagree with their religious beliefs. These religious groups made the choice to get money from the government, which should allow the government to regulate them. If a religious group wants to get involved with the state, they have broken down the wall of separation and should have to uphold on laws.
That crusade may be nearing an end. The Veterans department said this week that it is nearing a decision on several requests for memorial markers adorned with Pentacles, including one from the widow of a National Guardsman killed in a helicopter attack in Afghanistan.
"We expect a decision soon," said Jo Schuda, a VA spokeswoman.
In a step interpreted as partially smoothing the way for Pentacle approval, the VA's National Cemetery Administration amended a rule last October that had been a bureaucratic roadblock. Until then, applicants had to submit a letter from a "recognized central head" of the faith attesting to the fact that the requested symbol in fact represented the religion.
But because the Wiccan faith and its related sects are substantially decentralized, that requirement was essentially impossible to meet. Now, the National Cemetery Administration asks for a letter from "a recognized leader."
When asked where they got their news "yesterday", 57 percent of the 3,011 respondents included local television among their sources, 49 percent included national television, 49 percent included radio and 43 percent included the Internet.
By comparison, only 38 percent said they had read a local newspaper, and 17 percent, a national paper.
Among the more intense home users of the Internet, who account for 40 percent of all home broadband customers, 71 percent said they had used online sources for news, while 59 percent cited local television, 53 percent mentioned radio and 52 percent cited national television newscasts.
Just as noteworthy was the rise of foreign and non-traditional news sources for high-speed home Web users. One-quarter get their news from such sources, like the Al-Jazeera and British Broadcasting Corp (BBC) websites, and, to a lesser extent, websites which aggregate news like the conservative Newsmax.com and the liberal Alternet.com.
A toy rabbit, pastel-colored eggs and a sign with the words "Happy Easter" were removed from the lobby of the City Council offices, because of concerns they might offend non-Christians.
A council secretary had put up the decorations. They were not bought with city money.
The dueling opinions themselves were relatively straightforward; as has
often been the case in the court's recent past, although not so far this term, the justices revealed their real feelings in the footnotes.
Writing for the majority, Justice David H. Souter said the search was unreasonable,
given the vocal objection of the husband, Scott Randolph. True, Justice Souter said, the court had long permitted one party to give consent to a search of shared premises under what is known as the "co-occupant consent rule." But he said that rule should be limited to the context in which it was first applied, the absence of the person who later objected.
The presence of the objecting person changed everything, Justice Souter said, noting that it defied "widely shared social expectations" for someone to come to the door of a dwelling and to cross the threshold at one occupant's invitation if another objected.
"Without some very good reason, no sensible person would go inside under those conditions," he said.
"We have, after all, lived our whole national history with an understanding of the ancient adage that a man's home is his castle," Justice Souter said. "Disputed permission is thus no match for this central value of the Fourth Amendment."
"The fact is that a wide variety of differing social situations can readily be imagined, giving rise to quite different social expectations," Chief Justice Roberts said. For example, he continued, "a guest who came to celebrate an occupant's birthday, or one who had traveled some distance for a particular reason, might not readily turn away simply because of a roommate's objection."
Noting that "the possible scenarios are limitless," he said, "Such shifting expectations are not a promising foundation on which to ground a constitutional rule, particularly because the majority has no support for its basic assumption — that an invited guest encountering two disagreeing co-occupants would flee — beyond a hunch about how people would typically act in an atypical situation."
The Senate Parliamentarian last week gave Specter jurisdiction over two different bills that would provide more checks on the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program.
One bill, written by Specter, would require a secretive federal intelligence court to conduct regular reviews of the program's constitutionality. A rival approach — drafted by Ohio Sen. Mike DeWine and three other Republicans — would allow the government to conduct warrantless surveillance for up to 45 days before seeking court or congressional approval.
Specter said the House and Senate intelligence committees could have had authority over the program under the 1947 National Security Act, which lays out when the spy agencies must tell Congress about intelligence activities.
But, Specter said, the committees haven't gotten full briefings on the program, instead choosing to create small subcommittees for the work.
"The intelligence committees ought to exercise their statutory authority on oversight, but they aren't," Specter said. "The Judiciary Committee has acted. We brought in the attorney general. We had a second hearing with a series of experts, and we are deeply involved in it."
Some 67 percent of Californians support the rights of gays and lesbians to serve in the military, 59 percent favor prohibiting employers from discriminating against homosexuals and 55 percent say gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to adopt children, according to the telephone poll conducted Feb. 12-26.
In the survey of 1,000 adults, including 680 registered voters, Californians by a 57 percent to 33 percent margins also said they believe homosexual relations between consenting adults should be legal. The margin is higher among registered voters, 64 percent to 27 percent.
But on the question of marriage, just 43 percent of the state's residents support legalizing same-sex marriages, while 51 percent disapprove. The numbers are similar among registered voters: 44 percent in favor of gay marriage compared with 50 percent against it.
Although they don't want to sanction gay marriage, state residents by a 50 percent to 40 percent margin oppose amending the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as being only between a man and a woman.
While Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said, "The consensus has still not moved toward supporting same-sex marriage," he said the poll reveals that gay marriage is significantly more acceptable to younger residents. And he said other poll indicators reveal a growing acceptance of homosexuals in society.
For example, only 29 percent of Californians aged 65 or older back same-sex marriage, compared with 64 percent who believe it should be illegal. But among residents 18 to 29, 54 percent support gay marriage and 42 percent are against it.
CONCORD, N.H. --The New Hampshire House voted overwhelmingly Tuesday against a proposed amendment to the state constitution to ban gay marriage.
The late afternoon vote was 207-125
WASHINGTON, March 21 — An Army dog handler was found guilty today of abusing inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq by frightening them with his unmuzzled Belgian shepherd for his own amusement.
The incident seemed like so many others from this war, the kind of tragedy that has become numbingly routine amid the daily reports of violence in Iraq. On the morning of Nov. 19, 2005, a roadside bomb struck a humvee carrying Marines from Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, on a road near Haditha, a restive town in western Iraq. The bomb killed Lance Corporal Miguel (T.J.) Terrazas, 20, from El Paso, Texas. The next day a Marine communique from Camp Blue Diamond in Ramadi reported that Terrazas and 15 Iraqi civilians were killed by the blast and that "gunmen attacked the convoy with small-arms fire," prompting the Marines to return fire, killing eight insurgents and wounding one other. The Marines from Kilo Company held a memorial service for Terrazas at their camp in Haditha. They wrote messages like "T.J., you were a great friend. I'm going to miss seeing you around" on smooth stones and piled them in a funeral mound. And the war moved on.
There are also questions about why the military took so long to investigate the details of the Haditha incident. Soon after the killings, the mayor of Haditha, Emad Jawad Hamza, led an angry delegation of elders up to the Marine camp beside a dam on the Euphrates River. Hamza says, "The captain admitted that his men had made a mistake. He said that his men thought there were terrorists near the houses, and he didn't give any other reason."
But the military stood by its initial contention—that the Iraqis had been killed by an insurgent bomb—until January when Time gave a copy of the video and witnesses' testimony to Colonel Barry Johnson, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad. After reviewing the evidence, Johnson passed it on to the military command, suggesting that the events of Haditha be given "a full and formal investigation." In February an infantry colonel went to Haditha for a weeklong probe in which he interviewed Marines, survivors and doctors at the morgue, according to military officials close to the investigation. The probe concluded that the civilians were in fact killed by Marines and not by an insurgent's bomb and that no insurgents appeared to be in the first two houses raided by the Marines. The probe found, however, that the deaths were the result of "collateral damage" rather than malicious intent by the Marines, investigators say.