Through The Static

August 11, 2008

Musharraf ‘unfit for office’

Filed under: Government,Grassholes,World News — disciplepete @ 5:02 pm

Al Jazeera:

Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president, is unfit for office and should step down, the provincial assembly in Pakistan’s Punjab region has declared.

The vote by Pakistan’s most powerful province on Monday came after Musharraf’s spokesman said the embattled president would not step down.

The ruling by the Punjab’s assembly carries no constitutional weight, but supports plans by the country’s ruling coalition to finalise charges against Musharraf.

Pakistan’s parliament was expected to discuss impeachment proceedings on Monday but these failed to get under way and the body deliberating on drafting the charge sheet postponed its meeting until Tuesday…

Charges against Musharraf have not been finalised, but the chief of the ruling party has reportedly accused the president of misappropriating hundreds of millions of dollars in US aid intended for the Pakistani military for supporting the so-called “war on terror”

…Zardari {head of the ruling coalition] claimed the American aid may have gone to fund rogue members of Pakistani intelligence – recently accused by US officials of supporting pro-Taliban militants fighting in Afghanistan.

July 18, 2008

Chomsky: Bush & Cheney Always Saw Iraq as a Sweetheart Oil Dea

Filed under: Gas,Government,Grassholes,Politics,World News — disciplepete @ 9:03 am

Alternet:

The deal just taking shape between Iraq’s Oil Ministry and four Western oil companies raises critical questions about the nature of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq — questions that should certainly be addressed by presidential candidates and seriously discussed in the United States, and of course in occupied Iraq, where it appears that the population has little if any role in determining the future of its country.

Negotiations are under way for Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners decades ago in the Iraq Petroleum Company, now joined by Chevron and other smaller oil companies — to renew the oil concession they lost to nationalization during the years when the oil producers took over their own resources… 

…Iraq contains perhaps the second-largest oil reserves in the world, which are, furthermore, very cheap to extract: no permafrost or tar sands or deep-sea drilling. For U.S. planners, it is imperative that Iraq remain under U.S. control, to the extent possible, as an obedient client state that will also house major U.S. military bases, right at the heart of the world’s major energy reserves.

That these were the primary goals of the invasion was always clear enough through the haze of successive pretexts: weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein’s links with al Qaeda, democracy promotion and the war against terrorism, which, as predicted, sharply increased as a result of the invasion.

June 29, 2008

Hussein in the MemBrains: SoLidarity in the PoLarity?

Filed under: Activism,Grassholes,Idiots,Politics,Wake Up Call — bobbleheadedbob @ 11:22 pm

BobbLebot is in the process of changing its planetary address so shall be out of commission.  Humanoids, reJoiCe!  (though this victory shall only be TEMPORARY…!)

Oy(L).  Sometimes the BobbLebot can compute how humanoids have arrived to conclusions of solidarity, what their ultimate designs are, especially in the interests of electing the first humanoid of color into a White Supremacy House…and yet, the rationale is troubling.

As reported by the New York Times,

Obama Supporters Take His Name as Their Own:

Bama Supporters

Interesting.  Oh, Bama supporters,what pale skin you have!  Love how the token tan man and the one woman are pushed out off center and to the side.  It really crystallizes and drives home what this campaign is all about.

Emily Nordling has never met a Muslim, at least not to her knowledge. But this spring, Ms. Nordling, a 19-year-old student from Fort Thomas, Ky., gave herself a new middle name on Facebook.com, mimicking her boyfriend and shocking her father.

“Emily Hussein Nordling,” her entry now reads.

With her decision, she joined a growing band of supporters of Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, who are expressing solidarity with him by informally adopting his middle name.

The result is a group of unlikely-sounding Husseins: Jewish and Catholic, Hispanic and Asian and Italian-American, from Jaime Hussein Alvarez of Washington, D.C., to Kelly Hussein Crowley of Norman, Okla., to Sarah Beth Hussein Frumkin of Chicago.

Auuuugh…  HolyTropicThunderRobertDowneyJr.  DammitGwynethPaltrowIamAfrica.  OhMyHeteroFratBoyWearingAThisIsWhatAFeministLooksLikeTshirt.

::gasp – !::

So this is what solidarity looks like?

::strikes a mechanized pose::

Oy(L).

Mr. Obama is a Christian, not a Muslim. Hussein is a family name inherited from a Kenyan father he barely knew, who was born a Muslim and died an atheist. But the name has become a political liability. Some critics on cable television talk shows dwell on it, while others, on blogs or in e-mail messages, use it to falsely assert that Mr. Obama is a Muslim or, more fantastically, a terrorist.

Let’s deconstruct this paragraph, shall we?  The first two sentences assertively distance Obama from Islam.  How?  By first asserting he is a Christian, NOT a Muslim. In the second sentence, Obama INHERITED his name – he couldn’t help it.  What’s more – ! – the person who gave him his Muslim name wasn’t even properly Muslim!  Oh, the injustice of FATE!

Obama couldn’t HELP being born with a Muslim name, just like ur best friend’s big sister couldn’t HELP being gay.  She was born with it.  She couldn’t help herself.

Third sentence: fact.

Fourth sentence: a projection of something beyond innocent indignance.  Translation: how can these bad bloggers and pundits POSSIBLY label Obama as a TERRORIST?!  This is RidiCuLous!  He isn’t even a real MusLim!  <— Oooooooooooh… hey, hold up, there, leftie-loosey — let’s not get all righty-tighty on issue just yet.

Why?  This frames Muslim affiliation as a pathogen of sorts that Obama needs to be absolved of.  To use an anaology, let’s use Nemo and his gimpy fin.

gimpy fin

Following that same logic, it’s like getting Dorrie and Nemo’s clownfish dad to voluntarily tuck one fin to the side, in a symbolic gesture of solidarity to Nemo’s HANDICAP.  Cuz that’s what Obama’s name is: a handicap.  A malfunction.  So to get (mostly) White people (though non-Muslims-of-color are involved as well) to take on the middle name of Hussein on their Facebook profiles and email signatures — isn’t that a little… no, patriotic’s not the word, what was it… oh yeah — PATRONIZING?!

“I am sick of Republicans pronouncing Barack Obama’s name like it was some sort of cuss word,” Mr. Strabone wrote in a manifesto titled “We Are All Hussein” that he posted on his own blog and on dailykos.com.

And We Are All Africa.

It’s one of those things that just takes off, because everybody got it right away,” said Stephanie Miller, a left-leaning comedian who blurted out the idea one day during a broadcast of her syndicated radio talk show and repeated it on CNN.

Ms. Miller and her fellow new Husseins are embracing the traditionally Muslim name even as the Obama campaign shies away from Muslim associations. Campaign workers ushered two women in head scarves out of a camera’s range at a rally this month in Detroit. (The campaign has apologized.) Aides canceled a December appearance on behalf of Mr. Obama by Representative Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat and the first Muslim congressman.

OY.  So how do we solve this conundrum?  Islam’s been pathologized, so the Obama campaign responds to it like it IS a pathogen.  A virus.  So Obama supporters attempt to create a vaccine of some sort — take a portion of the germy cultures, multiply it in internet petri dishes, and then fight to innoculate the Islamophobia.  At the same time, are they the right people to do this?

The thing is, We Are Not All Africa.  Dorrie and Nemo’s clown fish dad don’t really have gimpy fins — and can untuck them at a moment’s notice.  Or when Dorrie forgets.  Gwyneth Paltrow and Lucy Liu can erase their face paint — I mean, after the photo shoot’s over with, how African are they, really?  What exactly does it mean, “We Are Africa”?  Does it mean that “We” (the privileged celebrities) all bleed the same blood?  If so, what does this all really mean, when we don’t even drink the same water, eat the same food, work under comparative conditions of labor?  Who is “we”?  What is “we”?  Can we truly be a “We” if we can readily access a towel to wipe off the face paint, if we can jet out of Zambia the second this sh*t gets too hot?

Doesn’t this come off as disingenous and patronizing to any of y’all???

Why is there a need for the solidarity of the privileged for something that’s perceived as undesireable to be legitimized in the eyes of the many?

The thing is, the middle names on the Facebook profiles can be deleted as quickly as you can log in another status update.  No.  No.  We are not all Hussein, and can’t know what it is to be a Hussein.  Unless we were born as a Hussein.  Lived as a Hussein.  Interacted with the world as a Hussein.

This is as bad as Tyra Banks living on the streets for a day.  The thing is, Tyra, you can go back home to your comfortable-arse bed and 3-million-dollar home at the end of the day.  The thing is, all you faux-Husseins can erase your names as soon as the campaign’s over, Clovers.

Solidarity?  For reals?  THIS is what solidarity looks like?  Okay, fine, then.

So what’s the point in having this breed of solidarity when the campaign can’t even swallow solid food?

June 16, 2008

N.Y. poised to OK marijuana for medicinal use

Filed under: Culture,Government,Grassholes,Health,Politics,Rights — disciplepete @ 6:13 pm

Daily Gazette:

Last year the Assembly passed a bill that would legalize medical marijuana; a new version of the bill has moved out of the codes committee, and another version is pending in the Senate. Those who support the bill are optimistic that this is the year New York legalizes medical marijuana.

The Assembly bill, sponsored by Rep. Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan, would allow patients to use marijuana only if they have life-threatening or debilitating conditions, and only if their doctors believe it would be the most effective treatment. Patients and caregivers would register with the state and receive identification cards that would allow them to legally purchase marijuana for medicinal use. They would be allowed to grow up to 12 plants and to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, though a state-regulated distribution system would eventually replace home cultivation. This transition would hinge on the federal government’s approval of the state-regulated distribution system.

Last year, the Assembly passed legislation legalizing medical marijuana for the first time, and this year’s version of the bill attempts to address the concerns that derailed its chances in the Senate. Some legislators felt that last year’s bill did not provide for adequate regulation; the new bill mandates that registered organizations such as pharmacies, nonprofit organizations created for the purposing of selling marijuana to chronically sick people and local health departments handle sale and distribution of the drug.

Twelve states have legalized medical marijuana, with New Mexico, which legalized medical marijuana last summer, the most recent to do.

June 13, 2008

Bush orders contractors to check legal status of employees

Filed under: Culture,Economics,Government,Grassholes,Immigration,Politics — disciplepete @ 4:01 pm

Yahoo:

WASHINGTON – President Bush has signed an executive order requiring contractors and others who do business with the federal government to make sure their employees can legally work in the U.S.

Bush signed the order Friday and the White House announced it Monday [June 9th].

The federal government has had some embarrassing moments when illegal workers have been discovered to be working for contractors they’ve hired, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said in a news conference. For that reason it’s trying to get its own house in order, Chertoff said…

The order says federal departments and agencies must require contractors to use an electronic system to verify that the workers are eligible to work in the U.S.

 

 

June 4, 2008

U.S. Loses Trade Ruling

Free markets are one of those things often preached and selectively practiced. Al Jazeera:

A World Trade Organisation (WTO) appeal panel upheld on Monday a ruling from December that found that the US had breached trade rules over its subsidies to cotton farmers.

The ruling means that Brazil could now seek one billon dollars in sanctions until the US stops payments to its farmers.

Developing nations, especially in Africa, say the US subsidies lower global prices, squeezing their own poor farmers out of the market.

The US government is estimated to have paid its cotton farmers $2bn to $4bn in subsidies in most recent years.

However, Tony Avirgan from the Economic Policy Institute, a non-profit think-tank, told Al Jazeera that the US government is unlikely to comply with the WTO ruling and has shown no inclination it will do so.

June 3, 2008

Are Cell Phones Dangerous?

Filed under: Culture,Grassholes,Health,Science,Technology,Wake Up Call — disciplepete @ 10:36 am

There’s some evidence that a cell phone held to your head might increase your risk of getting a brain tumor. It’s not conclusive, but the evidence they do have is enough to make me take the possibility seriously. Personally, I’m not the type of guy who yaps on the phone for hours, but I know a lot of people out there do talk on their cell phones a lot, so this is important if you are a person who talks on your cell a lot. NYT:

Last week, three prominent neurosurgeons told the CNN interviewer Larry King that they did not hold cellphones next to their ears. “I think the safe practice,” said Dr. Keith Black, a surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, “is to use an earpiece so you keep the microwave antenna away from your brain.”…

the doctors’ remarks have helped reignite a long-simmering debate about cellphones and cancer.

That supposed link has been largely dismissed by many experts, including the American Cancer Society…

According to the Food and Drug Administration, three large epidemiology studies since 2000 have shown no harmful effects…

No harmful side effects, say these folks…so what do we have to be concerned about?

The F.D.A. notes, however, that the average period of phone use in the studies it cites was about three years, so the research doesn’t answer questions about long-term exposures. Critics say many studies are flawed for that reason, and also because they do not distinguish between casual and heavy use.

But researchers who have raised concerns say that just because science can’t explain the mechanism doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist. Concerns have focused on the heat generated by cellphones and the fact that the radio frequencies are absorbed mostly by the head and neck. In recent studies that suggest a risk, the tumors tend to occur on the same side of the head where the patient typically holds the phone.

The most important of these studies is called Interphone, a vast research effort in 13 countries, including Canada, Israel and several in Europe.

Some of the research suggests a link between cellphone use and three types of tumors: glioma; cancer of the parotid, a salivary gland near the ear; and acoustic neuroma, a tumor that essentially occurs where the ear meets the brain. All these cancers are rare, so even if cellphone use does increase risk, the risk is still very low.

Last year, The American Journal of Epidemiology published data from Israel finding a 58 percent higher risk of parotid gland tumors among heavy cellphone users. Also last year, a Swedish analysis of 16 studies in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine showed a doubling of risk for acoustic neuroma and glioma after 10 years of heavy cellphone use.

Kids are a particular concern:

“More and more kids are using cellphones,” said Dr. Paul J. Rosch, clinical professor of medicine and psychiatry at New York Medical College. “They may be much more affected. Their brains are growing rapidly, and their skulls are thinner.”

So what should you do if you are concerned about this issue?

For people who are concerned about any possible risk, a simple solution is to use a headset. Of course, that option isn’t always convenient, and some critics have raised worries about wireless devices like the Bluetooth that essentially place a transmitter in the ear…

…”We cannot say with any certainty that cellphones are either safe or not safe,” Dr. Black said on CNN. “My concern is that with the widespread use of cellphones, the worst scenario would be that we get the definitive study 10 years from now, and we find out there is a correlation.”

Optimus Prime Time for No-Flight Lists: Man Almost Arrested for Transformers T-shirt

Filed under: Grassholes,Gun Control,Idiots,Race,robots,Wake Up Call,World News,WTF — bobbleheadedbob @ 2:44 am

Apparently Heathrow Airport is cracking down on terrorism… whilst linking it to crimes of fashion. TRAVESTY, UR MAJESTY!

BobbleboT is angry with paranoid humanoids. ANGRY! This is species-ism! When will humans learn that ROBOTS ARE THEIR FRIENDS??? (…until, that is, they take over the world.)

Interesting bit o news from ze world via Daily Mail:

Man threatened with arrest at Heathrow for wearing Transformers T-shirt

An airline passenger claimed that a security guard threatened to arrest him because he was wearing a T-shirt showing a cartoon robot with a gun.

Brad Jayakody, 30, from London, said he was stopped from passing through security at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 after his Transformers T-shirt was deemed ‘offensive.’

The IT consultant was set to fly off on a business trip to Dusseldorf in Germany when he was pulled to one side.

OMFRAKKINGZ! Are u KIDDING me? Uh, apparently NOT.

Apparently this shirt is the face of terrorism. Or maybe because it’s been lovingly draped over a brown body. Careful, stalkers! I spy with my robotic eyes a wedding ring. MARRIAGE, can we not ESCAPE it?!

Mr Jayakody said the first guard started joking with him about the Transformers character depicted on his French Connection T-shirt.

Ahahahaha! Good one, Mr. Jayakody!

::shakes head::

‘”Then he explains that since Megatron is holding a gun, I’m not allowed to fly,’ he said.

::silence::

Uh… apparently TOO good…

‘It’s a 40ft tall cartoon robot with a gun as an arm. There is no way this shirt is offensive in any way, and what I’m going to use the shirt to pretend I have a gun?

He was cooperative with the supervisor and took off the the ‘offensive’ T-shirt, replacing it with another shirt in his carry on luggage.

A spokesman for Heathrow operator BAA said: ‘If a T-shirt had a rude word or a bomb on it, for example, a passenger may be asked to remove it.

‘We are investigating what happened to see if it came under this category.

‘If it’s offensive, we don’t want other passengers upset.’

He said there was no record of the incident and the passenger ‘certainly didn’t make a formal complaint at the time.’

Yes, this is how they keep Brown people and robots in CHECK. They gonna start instilling new dress codes at ze airport? No leftist slogan tees? The banning of Gundam and Transformers tees???! What about Thundercats??! Would Thundercats pass the screening?!!! INSANITY!

Optimus Prime would concur.

May 27, 2008

F.B.I. Witnesses to Torture

Filed under: Government,Grassholes,Rights,World News — disciplepete @ 9:30 am

NYT editorial about a report by the Justice Department which tells of F.B.I. agents who witnessed and reported to Washington torture at American military prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo, but were told to zip it.

Does this sound familiar? Muslim men are stripped in front of female guards and sexually humiliated. A prisoner is made to wear a dog’s collar and leash, another is hooded with women’s underwear. Others are shackled in stress positions for hours, held in isolation for months, and threatened with attack dogs…

These atrocities were committed in the interrogation centers in American military prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. And they were not revealed by Red Cross officials, human rights activists, Democrats in Congress or others the administration writes off as soft-on-terror.

They were described in a painful report by the Justice Department’s inspector general, based on the accounts of hundreds of F.B.I. agents who saw American interrogators repeatedly mistreat prisoners in ways that the agents considered violations of American law and the Geneva Conventions. According to the report, some of the agents began keeping a “war crimes file” — until they were ordered to stop.

These were not random acts. It is clear from the inspector general’s report that this was organized behavior by both civilian and military interrogators following the specific orders of top officials

…The study said F.B.I. agents reported this illegal behavior to Washington. They were told not to take part, but the bureau appears to have done nothing to end the abuse. It certainly never told Congress or the American people. The inspector general said the agents’ concerns were conveyed to the National Security Council, but he found no evidence that it acted on them.

May 24, 2008

270 Illegal Immigrants Sent to Prison in Federal Push

Filed under: Culture,Grassholes,Immigration,Race,Rights — disciplepete @ 1:37 pm

Article from the NYT…this is a sign of an increasingly punitive atmsphere for undocumented immigrants; it’s been unusual in the past for those arrested for being illegal to face criminal charges; it’s been usually a civil matter, followed by deportation. But in this case, a large number of undocumented workers were brought to trial on criminal charges in a span of just a few days, prompting concern that “justice” was delivered pretty hastily and carelessly.

WATERLOO, Iowa – In temporary courtrooms at a fairgrounds here, 270 illegal immigrants were sentenced this week to five months in prison for working at a meatpacking plant with false documents.

The prosecutions, which ended Friday, signal a sharp escalation in the Bush administration’s crackdown on illegal workers, with prosecutors bringing tough federal criminal charges against most of the immigrants arrested in a May 12 raid. Until now, unauthorized workers have generally been detained by immigration officials for civil violations and rapidly deported.

The convicted immigrants were among 389 workers detained at the Agriprocessors Inc. plant in nearby Postville in a raid that federal officials called the largest criminal enforcement operation ever carried out by immigration authorities at a workplace…

The unusually swift proceedings, in which 297 immigrants pleaded guilty and were sentenced in four days, were criticized by criminal defense lawyers, who warned of violations of due process. Twenty-seven immigrants received probation. The American Immigration Lawyers Association protested that the workers had been denied meetings with immigration lawyers and that their claims under immigration law had been swept aside in unusual and speedy plea agreements.

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