This page is inspired by something on the web years ago, where someone kept his own day by day log of major or interesting news events. The neat thing was that he had a long memory, so you'd get more follow-up, or juxtaposition, than one usually does. We'll see how far (or how regualr) I get.

Tangent: stability of democracies. Really neat related pages, too.

8 December 2005

  • Washington Post article on the CIA's overseas gulag, secret prison camps where torture illegal in the US and the host countries can take place, complete with what are at best negligent homicides.

    27 November 2005

  • Essay on the partial-birth-abortion ban limiting the options of mothers whose fetus is already dead, keeping them from the safest option.
  • Hoax calls get restaurant managers to strip search and abuse employees.

    21 August 2005

  • Systematic prison abuse in Orange Country.

    6 July 2005

  • Gay teen brainwashing. "I would rather you commit suicide than have you leave Love In Action wanting to return to the gay lifestyle. In a physical death you could still have a spiritual resurrection; whereas, returning to homosexuality you are yielding yourself to a spiritual death from which there is no recovery." -The Final Indoctrination from John Smid, Director, Love In Action (LIA), San Rafael's "ex-gay" clan.

    20 June 2005

  • Chinese farmers were encouraged by China to use a human anti-flu drug on chickens, and now it won't work against bird flu.
  • Turkish honor killings in Germany. And last night, I read a Nation essay on Muslims in the Netherlands, quoting someone as saying that current Islamic culture is fairly receptive to democracy; the real divide between it and the West, and between it and Europe in particular, is sex. Europe takes equal rights for women and gays almost for granted now (more so than the US).

    12 May 2005

  • Sen. George Voinovich, who stunned the Foreign Relations Committee in April when he backed Democratic demands for more time to examine Bolton's record, said he viewed Bolton as "the poster child of what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be." This regarding Bolton's nomination to be US ambassador to the UN.

    11 May 2005

  • The Army isn't meeting recruiting goals and some recruiters are using unethical tactics, such as threatening candidates with arrest for not showing up, and faking physical test scores. One recruiters says he was demoted for not meeting his quota, which to me says the Army isn't completely innocent -- it may not condone the tactics, even suspending recruiting for a day to re-instruct people -- but it puts pressure on them such that they feel they have no choice.

    9 May 2005

  • A friend found this page of worldwide prison rates and populations. USA: We're number one!
  • The New York Times had a frontpage article on large chlorine processing plants right next to NYC still being barely guarded, while money gets spent in low-risk areas such as Kentucky. New Jersey seems to be doing a decent job at the state level, but Homeland Security seems like a farce.
  • Bush says no country shall harbor terrorists. Except maybe for us.

    7 May 2005

  • The Independent wrties on Kansas's new war on evolution, with mention of ther activities in the Axis of Ignorance, such as "God Hates Fags" signs on the streets and Christian hymns in the capitol.
  • Bush says Soviet control of the Eastern bloc was one of the great crimes of history. Baltic states call for an apology from Russia for Soviet crimes. Putin refuses, says they're trying to cover up their Nazi past, that the Red Army liberated 11 countries, and that the demise of the USSR was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century. article
  • Thomas Reese, the editor of influential magazine America is apparently forced to resign by the modern Inquisition, for fostering too much debate in the church over things like priestly celibacy, women priests, and the use of condoms to slow AIDS.
  • 300 people killed in Iraq by insurgents this week.
  • Peter Rabinovitch and colleagues report that mice engineered to produce more of the antioxidant catalase in their mitochondria live 20% longer.
  • A big reactionary Christian rally in Kentucky against the filibuster, with James Dobson calling the Supreme Court "unelected and unaccountable" and "out of control." Journalists were warned not to approach churchgoers under threat of expulsion; handpicked members were provided later for interviews.
  • East Waynesville Baptist Church in North Carolina expelled nine members for not supporting their pastor's Republican views.

    6 May 2005

  • Result of yesterday's elections in Britain: (BBC)
    Labour 35.6%, Tory 32.6%, LibDeb 22.3%, Others 9.5% -- popular vote
    projected Seats: 356, 197, 62, 30
    Seat %: 55%, 30.6%, 9.6%, 4.6%
    That 35.6% is the lowest vote for a winning party in UK history. But look! They still got a majority! While over a fifth of the country voted for the Liberal Democrats, but they didn't even get a tenth of the seats. If that doesn't show the bankruptcy of first-past-the-post elections, what does? The LibDems, who were the only major anti-war party gained 11 more seats and 4% more of the vote.
  • The Air Force Academy is reportedly in the grip of evangelical Christians, with prayers at mandatory cadet meetings, born-again instructors encouraging their classes to be born again, and chapel-declining cadets called a "Heathen Flight" and marched back to their dorms during basic training.

    24 Apr 2005

  • Sidney Blumenthal on the unprecedented alliance between Bush and the Papacy.

    23 Apr 2005

  • Syria pulls out of Lebanon!

    20 Apr 2005

  • Tom DeLay calls the Supreme Court out of control for not doing what he wanted in the Terri Schiavo case. I shudder at the thought that he thinks Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas are "out of control". Some people might think that maybe if every one of a couple dozen judges, some of them quite religious and "conservative", and more informed about the case, disagree with you, then you might be wrong about the case. But no such humility for DeLay! Instead he tells us that the separation of church and state isn't in the Constitution, despite the First Amendment and ban on religious tests for office.

    31 Mar 2005

  • A presidential commission says the intelligence on Iraq's WMDs was "dead wrong". Nice to have it official. It recommends listening to dissent -- we need to be told this? Bush officials acknowledge that Bush and Rice didn't read footnotes to a 90 page document, while Kerry aides say Kerry didn't even read the document before voting to give Bush the authority to go to war. People, 90 pages is not that much to read before GOING TO WAR.

    7 Dec 2004

  • US Special Forces threatened government witnesses of US abuse of prisoners in Iraq.
  • China bans a computer game for "harming Chinese sovereignty" by listing Hong Kong and Taiwan, among others, as countries.

    4 Dec 2004

  • Purdue researchers report that injections of polyethylene glycol within three days of injury allowed many paraplegic dogs to recover from their spinal cord injuries.

    24 Nov 2004

  • Rumsfeld suggests Latin American countries rethink the separation of military and police functions which we've been pushing for decades on human rights grounds. Terrorism and national security to trump human rights.

    22 Nov 2004

  • Northern indigenes lack words for the funny animals they're seeing these days, like robins and salmon and elk. But it's not like global warming is happening, is it?

    21 Nov 2004

  • The Chicago Tribune reports that the middle class is fleeing Iraq.

    18 Nov 2004

  • Congress raises debt limit to $8.18 trillion; it's gone up $2.4 trillion since Bush took power. Republicans blamed Democratic spending for the increase, despite having controlled Congress and the White House for the last 4 years. Seems a classic case of crying "victim!" while being in charge.

    17 Nov 2004

  • House GOP removes a rule requiring their leader to step aside if indicted on felony charges. This due to fears that Tom DeLay, current majority leader, might be indicted, since 3 of his associates have been indicted for illegal campaign contributions to a PAC associated with DeLay. Supporters say they're just making sure a Democratic prosecutor can't knock out their leadership. GOP opponents Zach Wamp and Christopher Shays says it sends the wrong signals, and that their colleagues have forgotten they came to power a decade ago promising to eliminate favoritism for lawmakers. The Democrats currently require committe chairs but not top leaders to step aside; Pelosi says the rule will be expanded to include leaders. Wamp requested a secret ballot, but a voice vote was used instead.

    16 Nov 2004

  • US proposes measures to protect sharks, having already taken steps itself to stop shark finning in its waters; a ban for the Pacific went into effect in 2002. Even under Bush we can do things like this.

    12 Nov 2004

  • Just say Sorry: apologizing, owning up to mistakes (and offering settlements up front) might reduce malpractice suits and costs. Funny, that.

    10 Nov 2004

  • Vitamin E supplements may not be good for you; a large study found people taking them dying a bit sooner, the opposite of the desired effect. This isn't the first study I've heard of with this result.

    8 Nov 2004

  • The campus paper reports that Indiana is considering putting restrictions on cold medicines with pseudoephedrine because it's an ingredient in meth. Right now you can grab it off the shelf and go buy it, but the recommendation is to have to sign for it and show ID at a pharmacist's window, meaning longer lines for us all. And possibly limits on how much you can buy, so no stocking up if it's on sale. All to stop some people from playing with their brains.

    7 Nov 2004

  • "If we want to have a hopeful and decent society, we ought to aim for the ideal, and the ideal is that marriage ought to be, and should be, a union of a man and a woman," Bush political aide Karl Rove told 'Fox News Sunday.' (Reuters)
  • The school board of Grantsburg, northwest Wisconsin (1000 students), has revised its curriculum to allow Creationism to be taught. The usual protests from college faculty (both biology and religious studies) and deans followed. This follows the Dover School Board in Pennsylvania voting to require teaching "Intelligent Design". (AP)
  • Google seems inclined to buck the usual trend and not split its stock. Partly because they admire Warren Buffet, partly (this is related) because they want to discourage short-term speculation on their stock, vs. long-term holding. And possibly, I speculate, their "don't be evil" philosophy recoils at why most corporations like stock splits: the lower price per share gives the stock price a short boost because it seems cheaper, even though no real value was created. (Source: article by AP writer MICHAEL LIEDTKE)
  • Texas approves sex-ed textbooks talking about abstinence to the near exclusion of birth control. As the second largest market, Texas may influence textbooks elsewhere. The CDC says Texas has been in the top five states for teenage pregnancies.

    6 Nov 2004

  • Thought inspired by a blog: Dick Cheney's daughter can't marry a woman she loves because she's gay. Obvious enough, but maybe there's mileage in making these things concrete. George Bush wants to prevent his VP's daughter's marriage, her right to adopt like normal people, to visit her partner in hospitals like normal people.
  • A few reasons for optimism, after the election disaster. The stem cell research measure in California passed, and 'moderate' (including Orrin Hatch) Republicans in Congress say they will try to push Bush to loosen his restrictions (limiting funding to about 22 lines, apparently none of which are medically usable because they all have genes fostering rejection.) Medical marijuana passed in Montana, by the biggest percentage ever. Marijuana legalization did not pass in Alaska, but it did get 43% of the vote, which apparently was a pleasant surprise to its backers. 11 states banned gay marriage, and 8 of them civil unions as well, but more young people support gay rights than older ones, so the long-term outlook may be favorable. "We will bury them." Outside the world of politics, Australian scientists say they've developed a tuberculosis vaccine they think is more effective and longer-lasting than the current one. Los Angeles had its cleanest air on record this year, though it still sucks on ozone.
  • Some election links: Purple USA, Red and blue states by IQ (but also see these questions, and by education. Red and blue counties. Purple counties (big). Purple counties, textured to show population (bigger). A distribution of margin of victory -- Bush is spread all over, Kerry's victories are huge but localized. And another 3D map. And the top purple source.
  • More! County cartograms. And again.

    24 August 2003

  • Iraqi UAVs not meant for delivery of biological or chemical weapons, contrary to Bush's claims before the war, US weapons experts say. [URL dead]

    6 August 2003

  • Kid arrested for note in baggage.

    28 July 2003

  • Arabists driven out of Washington. [URL dead]

    27 July 2003

  • Husseins shocked by their own collapse. One wonders how much they were lied to by their own underlings, totalitarian governments often failing this way. Perhaps our "intelligence" on their WMDs was based on their own falsified reports to their own leaders. Not that our leaders have even presented that much evidence.
  • King George -- Americans detainable without charge or counsel.

    22 July 2003

  • A House subcommittee increases funding for highways and cuts all money for bike paths and stuff. They even gave more money than Bush asked for for highways. We can hope this gets fixed in the legislative sausage machine.

    14 July 2003

  • Pentagon's lack of planning for post-war Iraq.

    15 June 2003

  • Just saw a 60 Minutes program on Diego Garcia, a British "owned" island in the Indian Ocean which the US has been using as an air base for some time. Air base for attacks on Baghdad and such. The key thing is that the island had over a thousand inhabitants, which the British forcibly moved to Mauritius without compensation or most of their possessions so that we could have the island to ourselves; the British got weapons savings of $14 million dollars. The people didn't have many prospects either, since they'd been island fishers and were dumped into urban slums. Recently President Bush was asked to at least let them go back to visit their old gravesites; our spiritual and compassionate president denied the request.

    31 May 2003

  • What did you do during the African Holocaust?
  • Blair accused by MPs of lying about WMDs in Iraq. "We were told Saddam had weapons ready for use within 45 minutes. It's now 45 days since the war has finished and we have still not found anything."

    6 May 2003

  • Life Under the Patriot Act

    27 March 2003

  • The neocon plan for the Middle East. We'll topple tyrannies we've supported for years and expect the people to gratefully set up friendly democracies. Or crush them if they don't. Because empires have worked so well the last few centuries...
  • Native US citizen, held on US soil, for 10 months, without access to lawyer. Story. It's the alleged dirty bomber, Jose Padilla. He got ruled an "enemy combatant" and was transferred to military custody for "interrogation" last June. Merits of the case? Who knows? The public doesn't need to...

    24 March 2003

  • Texas sodomy law goes before SCOTUS this week, and is being heavily defended by Texas governor and legislators. They did manage to have an openly gay (Democratic) Rep. Georgia has repealed its law, which had been upheld by SCOTUS in 1986.
  • Censorship warnings to websites in Israel.

    23 March 2003

  • Shock and awe -- or first use of nukes?

    22 March 2003

  • HRW global report for 2002. Doesn't talk directly about the war, but its criticism of the US is I think a good summary -- rule of law, need for a positive vision, etc. Also criticises the EU and notes US leadership on human rights.
  • Letter from Representative Waxman to George Bush, accusing him of having knowingly used faked evidence (regarding Iraq trying to get uranium from Niger) to get support for war. Waxman voted for using force against Iraq. [Dead URL]
  • Washington Post article about that faked evidence..
  • Human Rights Watch summary of abuses in Israel. Note that HRW is explicit about condemning suicide bombings as well.
  • And the HRW report on the USA.
  • New York Times reports growing concern with Bush's silence on the costs of the war, as well as people, even Republicans, connecting this with secrecy regarding Cheney's energy task force and post 9/11 detainees.

    20 March 2003

  • Senate votes to reduce the tax cut by $100 billion, to keep some money to pay for the war.

    10 March 2003

  • Bush et al. hoping for a majority vote on the Security Council, to gain moral force in the face of vetoes by France, Russia, and China. He's not getting them as yet. I find a certain irony here, given that Bush didn't get a majority or even plurality of the popular vote in his own election.
  • The US today is accusing Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons. The US is ignoring North Korea basically saying it has nuclear weapons, as well as testing missiles. Ari Fleischer says "This is one of the reasons the president ... referred to Iraq, Iran and North Korea as the axis of evil, because of their willing desire to flaunt international accords in pursuit of nuclear weapons." It's commonly assumed Israel has nuclear weapons, also in defiance of international accords. Hmm.
  • Thursday's NEJM will have an article about a treatment for peanut allergies. Woo!

    9 March 2003

  • Reuters has an article on the "dollar diplomacy" of the US, generally trade deals with nations on the Security Council, such as Russia trying to get out of the Jackson-Vanik Cold War trade restrictions. Looks like blatant vote-buying to me.

    8 March 2003

  • National Cancer Institute concludes neither miscarriages nor induced abortions increase breast cancer risk, contrary to some worries based in the early 1990s. Earlier studies were flawed, and the ones since 1995 found nothing, especially a big Danish cross-reference study.
  • Iranian women rally for equal rights. Note they already get to vote and hold public office, and while the clerics wield a lot of power, the voting isn't entirely meaningless either. Unlike the situation in our ally Saudia Arabia.
  • US-UK jets attacked mobile radar in western Iraq. Nothing new, just a little reminder that we never really stopped being at war with Iraq. All without a Congressional declaraiont of war!

    7 March 2003

  • INS deports Canadians for no good reason. [Dead URL] Also this.

    5 March 2003

  • John Nichols of the Nation reports some members of Congress are suing to bar Bush from ordering an attack without a Congressional declaration of war. Sounds great to me. Even if you do think the war is justified -- especially then, in fact -- you should be able to support Congress declaring war on Iraq before we attack it. Resolutions are one thing, but the Constitution says Congress has the power to declare war, so Congress should.

    4 March 2003

  • North Korea is building nuclear weapons and buzzed our recon plane yesterday, and sells missiles to Yemen and other places, but Bush says we can still resolve our differences diplomatically. Iraq, which has not explicitly done anything for the last decade besides starve, spout off, and shoot ineffectually at our planes in its airspace, has a quarter-million US troops ready to invade. 3 March 2003

  • (AP) "In a sense, the war has already begun. U.S. warplanes enforcing no fly zones in northern and southern Iraq have become much more aggressive in recent days, and have begun to go beyond their traditional targets of anti-aircraft weapons.

    Now, they are now attacking surface-to-surface missile batteries they say are in range of U.S. troops in Kuwait or of positions U.S. troops could take up in Turkey - although the stated purpose of the no fly zones is to protect Shiite Muslims in the south and Kurds in the north.

    An Iraqi military spokesman told the official Iraqi News Agency on Monday that a U.S. airstrike Sunday night killed six civilians and wounded 15 in southern Basra province. There was no way to verify the claim.

    American warplanes attacked four more military communications facilities and one air defense facility on Monday, the U.S. Central Command said."

  • A UN report says added sugars should be less than 10% of your calories. Food industry protests. "The Grocery Manufacturers of America, the world's largest association of food, beverage and consumer product companies, also objected to the targeting of sugar. It maintained that all foods can be part of a healthy diet when eaten in moderation and combined with the right amount of physical activity." That second sentence reads like a line straight out of Food Politics.
  • A poll in The Australian says the percentage of Australians supporting war even without UN action has risen from 18 to 22%. Two comments: since the margin of error on such polls is usually 3 or 4% it's not clear to me if this "rise" is significant; and that's still not a lot of support.
  • Reuters: another Israeli incursion into Gaza killed 8 Palestinians, reportedly including a pregnant woman (falling debris when they blew up a house) and a 13-year old boy.
  • Ha'aretz: Shinui takes over Interior Ministry in Israel. Minister Avraham Poraz wants to move to allow civil marriage, at least for those not allowed to marry under Jewish law, and is skeptical of his ministry's power to shut down newspapers, calling it 'anachronistic'. Also opposes a previous decision to strip Arab Israeli's accused of terror of their citizenship.

    2 March 2003

  • Jeff Donn of the AP reports 9 former FBI agents say informants are often allowed to get away with violent crimes, including murder. It's not official FBI policy -- that bans violent crimes by informants -- but field agents will look the other way, or ask not to be told, to protect their sources. And offer FBI information to local police in exchange for not pursuing an informant.
  • Iraq has begun destroying missiles under UN inspection; the US dismisses this as part of a game of deception. Damned if they're don't, damned if they do? '"The president has always predicted that Iraq would destroy its al-Samoud missiles as part of their game of deception," White House spokeswoman Mercy Viana said.' I wonder if they can provide a cite for that prediction, or is this like his mythical quote about "hitting the trifecta"?
  • Turkey's parliament refuses to allow US troops to attack Iraq from Turkey, even with a $16 billion bribe. Also note that Schroeder of Germany actually made the war (or opposition to it) part of his campaign platform, thereby getting re-elected. He has much more of a popular mandate for his position than Bush and Blair do for theirs -- Blair wouldn't dare call a referendum on war.
  • Reuters says that in Gaza today Israel killed two more Palestinians, possibly wounding 25 others, and demolished 10 homes and an 8 story building. This is confirmed by Ha'aretz, which says 72 Palestinians were killed in the last month, including 3 children under age 10, and 25 who did not belong to militant groups.
  • The alleged mastermind of 9/11 is captured in Pakistan, raising a question: so with all this attention on Iraq, whatever happend to Osama bin Laden?
  • (AP) Iraqi official says Iraq could stop destroying missiles if war seems inevitable. Duh. It's like North Korea: they get called part of an axis of evil, they see us going after Iraq and making noises about Iran, they start waving their nuclear capability around. "We're already armed! Don't mess with us!"

    1 Mar 2003

  • Thomas Lubanga, head of the Union of Congolese Patriots, says other rebels killed hundreds of people and raped 47 girls. Hard to verify the claim, as the UN says the area is too dangerous to investigate. "We know that there has been fighting."
  • Arabs are skeptical of Bush's claims to democratize Iraq. They don't associate us with rebuilding Germany and Iraq, they associate us with support for the fundamentalist monarchy of Saudi Arabia and with support of Israel's military occupation in Palestine, where millions of Palestinians have lived under "the only democracy in the Middle East" for 36 years without voting. Well, they did get to vote for the Palestinian Authority, but they're still not a shining example of our support for self-determination.

    28 Feb 2003

  • Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov says Russia is ready to veto a US-UK resolution on Iraq if needed to preserve international stability. It's not just the French opposing us, "freedom fries" people.
  • Rumsfeld says it's impossible to estimate the costs of a war. Pentagon insiders reportedly say $60-$100 billion and that's just for the war, never mind rebuilding. Note that the record deficits we're already looking at do not include any money for a war. The army chief of staff says it would take hundreds and thousands of troops to keep the peace after a war; Rumsfeld dismisses that too. (AP)
  • The House of Representatives votes to ban all human cloning, even for therapeutic research purposes, with fines as high as $1 million. Because embryos are human beings, you know. And we're worried about religious fundamentalism abroad?
  • Hundreds of American special ops troops may be in combat positions in the Phillipines, fighting rebels there. (AP) This may not be such a bad thing there, but it'd be nice to know where we're fighting, yes?

    27 Feb 2003

  • Zell Miller supports Bush's tax cut plans. "President Bush is not only our commander in chief, he is our chief of common sense who knows that the best and fairest way to grow an economy is to simply not take that hard-earned money from the taxpayer in the first place." And how many people struggling to get by will be helped by a tax cut on dividends? Republicans lawmakers express doubts. Bush says this is necessary to stimulate the economy. Of course, when the economy was booming, we needed tax cuts to give money back to people, although if they're stimulating they would have overstimulated the economy then. Economy up -- tax cuts. Economy down -- tax cuts.

    26 Feb 2003

  • Tom Ridge says "be prepared, don't panic". I'd like to see someone estimate the medical costs of extended stress across the whole population.