Friday, May 9, 2008
Bush expects to raise $500 million for the library making it the costliest Presidential Library to date. The half-a-billion dollars is twice the total amount Bush spent on his entire 2004 Presidential campaign! Just think if public libraries had that kind of kind of support while he was in office.
Among the contributors to the Presidential Library are:
A sheik from the United Arab Emirates, who contributed at least $1 million.
The state of Kuwait.
The Bandar bin Sultan family.
The Sultanate of Oman.
King Hassan II of Morocco.
The amir of Qatar.
The former Korean prime minister.
China also gave tens of thousands of dollars to the library. In addition, funds were received from the late Kenneth Lay, the former head of Enron, and Dick Cheney, the current Vice President.
I received a press release the other day from Rev. Andrew J. Weaver, an outspoken critic of Bush's plan to house the library at SMU. Weaver points out that in a recent vote among members of the United Methodist Church members voted 844-20 on a petition calling for the rejection of the Bush project! How's that for an approval rating.
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There it sits, bottom shelf, aisle four at the Colonialtown Publix. One little packet of sustenance – wheat flour, thiamine mononitrate, canola oil, cottonseed oil, hydrolyzed soy, corn and wheat protein, monosodium glutamate and a laundry list of other stuff you really shouldn't eat – neatly wrapped in red plastic and priced at 20 cents, its 380 calories (120 from fat) all adding up to the universal symbol for just getting by: Top Ramen. There are 320,000 people currently living on food stamps in Central Florida, many of whom are probably familiar with Nissin's three-minute "oodles of noodles" concoction. Statewide, more than 1 million people benefit from the federal food stamp plan; 28 million in the country. On average, most beneficiaries survive on $85 a month for groceries, even when the United States Department of Agriculture, which oversees the food stamp program, estimates that a family of four on a "moderate cost" shopping plan averages $900 a month at their local market. A recent University of Washington study put grocery prices to the test. Among the 370 foods sampled, they found that energy-dense junk food cost an average of $1.76 per 1,000 calories, while nutritious, unprocessed foods came in at a whopping $18.16 per 1,000 calories. The disparity helps explain the myth that the nation's obese poor are fat because they choose to be. In reality, there isn't much choice at all. - more -
There it sits, bottom shelf, aisle four at the Colonialtown Publix. One little packet of sustenance – wheat flour, thiamine mononitrate, canola oil, cottonseed oil, hydrolyzed soy, corn and wheat protein, monosodium glutamate and a laundry list of other stuff you really shouldn't eat – neatly wrapped in red plastic and priced at 20 cents, its 380 calories (120 from fat) all adding up to the universal symbol for just getting by: Top Ramen.
There are 320,000 people currently living on food stamps in Central Florida, many of whom are probably familiar with Nissin's three-minute "oodles of noodles" concoction. Statewide, more than 1 million people benefit from the federal food stamp plan; 28 million in the country. On average, most beneficiaries survive on $85 a month for groceries, even when the United States Department of Agriculture, which oversees the food stamp program, estimates that a family of four on a "moderate cost" shopping plan averages $900 a month at their local market.
A recent University of Washington study put grocery prices to the test. Among the 370 foods sampled, they found that energy-dense junk food cost an average of $1.76 per 1,000 calories, while nutritious, unprocessed foods came in at a whopping $18.16 per 1,000 calories. The disparity helps explain the myth that the nation's obese poor are fat because they choose to be. In reality, there isn't much choice at all.
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Actor and comic Tommy Chong says he is linked to FBI raids Wednesday in Newport and Clermont County's Union Township.
Chong tells Local 12 federal agents were after thousands of DVD copies of a documentary he recently made.
Tommy Chong, 30 years ago, appeared in the movie that made him famous, "Up In Smoke."
But today, Tommy Chong is 69-years-old and selling a different movie, called "The United States of America Vs. Tommy Chong."
The documentary details Chong's 2003 federal prosecution and guilty plea for distributing drug paraphernalia. He was selling pot pipes online. Chong served nine months in prison.
Wednesday night, Chong told Local 12 he's the focus of an FBI raid of two, local offices.
"They apparently confiscated 10,000 copies of the movie, "a/k/a Tommy Chong," said Chong.
Only Local 12 cameras were on Mt. Carmel Tobasco Road Wednesday evening, watching federal agents raid the offices of 513 Ventures Agents also took evidence from the Spectrum Labs offices in Newport.
The companies market "detoxification products," meant to help someone pass a drug test.
But Chong says agents seized 10,000 DVDs of his documentary. Federal prosecutors may be targeting Chong for trying to profit off his prosecution.
"I'm not profiting off the story of my first amendment violation at all," said Chong.
The FBI isn't confirming any of this. In fact, agents simply aren't saying a thing about why they conducted the raids or what they were after.
Local 12 contacted one of the local people connected to Spectrum Labs and its affiliates, a Delhi man named Chris Swain. Mr. Swain said he would not have any comment.
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by Robert Higgs
Thucydides tells us that "the strong do what they will, while the weak suffer what they must."
We recall these words even after 2,400 years because they have the ring of truth. And a hard truth it is, especially for those of us who cannot but regard ourselves as ensconced among the weak. As we look about, we see that the strong, who control the state, are rampaging in every jurisdiction and, sure enough, in countless ways the weak are suffering the consequences of these destructive rampages.
Libertarians habitually indulge in wishful thinking. We live in a country where freedom is under relentless attack in ways too numerous even to categorize easily. Governments at every level seem determined to crush each remaining molecule of liberty, and, worst of all, most of the citizens readily accept, when they do not affirmatively demand, the suffocation of freedom wherever it dares to raise its head. Schumpeter foresaw our present situation with clear eyes when he wrote in his diary: "Humanity does not care for freedom. The mass of the people realize they are not up to it: what they want is being fed, led, amused, and above everything, drilled. But they do care for the phrase." Ah, yes, "land of the free"―try to utter that phrase three times without breaking down in laughter or weeping. Yet libertarians are constantly seizing on some little tactical retreat by Leviathan or some little endorsement of liberty and describing it as the beginning of an imagined "revolution."
What are they thinking? Few friends of liberty are willing to recognize forthrightly just how formidable are the legions that oppose us and therefore how close to hopeless is our cause. In the United States today the enemies of liberty have both the big battalions and the big bucks.
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Official's testimony draws ire from Senate environment committee chair
WASHINGTON - An EPA official said Tuesday there's a "distinct possibility" the agency won't take action to rid drinking water of a toxic rocket fuel ingredient that has contaminated public water supplies around the country.
Democratic senators called that unacceptable. They argued that states and local communities shouldn't have to bear the expense of cleansing their drinking water of perchlorate, which has been found in at least 395 sites in 35 states — or the risk of not doing so.
The toxin interferes with thyroid function and poses developmental health risks, particularly to fetuses.
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By Thomas Ferraro
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff was subpoenaed on Wednesday to testify in a congressional probe of the administration's treatment and possible torture of enemy combatants.
House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, issued the subpoena to David Addington a day after it was authorized by a House panel.
The administration contends its aides can not be forced to testify. But Addington has indicated he may do so if subpoenaed, congressional staffers said.
Megan Mitchell, spokeswoman for the vice president's office, said, "I can confirm that we have received the subpoena. We are reviewing it and will respond accordingly."
The subpoena orders Addington to appear on June 26 before the House Judiciary's subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, which is examining the administration's treatment of detainees.
Addington reportedly played a key role in drafting U.S. strategies to combat terrorism after the September 11 attacks on the United States.
Bush maintains the United States does not torture, but he has refused to discuss interrogation techniques, saying he does not want to tip off the enemy.
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by Dennis Welch
Taxpayers have cut a check for nearly $38,000 to a local newspaper because the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office refused to release public records to the paper.
The sheriff's office agreed Tuesday to cover the West Valley View's court costs after the paper had successfully sued the department for failing to respond to a public records request for routine press releases given to all other media.
"It would have been a lot easier to send out the press releases," said Dan Barr, an attorney representing the newspaper.
The sheriff's office stopped sending press releases to the paper in the summer of 2005 because it was unhappy with its coverage of the department.
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By Allison Hoffman
This photo released by the Drug Enforcement Agency, Tuesday, May 6, 2008, shows a text message used by one student to advertise drug sales, in connection with an undercover narcotics operation at San Diego State University. The university has suspended six fraternities after a sweeping drug investigation that landed dozens of students in jail on suspicion of openly dealing drugs on campus. (AP Photo/Drug Enforcement Agency)
SAN DIEGO—Undercover agents who posed as college students to bust more than 100 suspected drug dealers at San Diego State University never had to crack a book to gain acceptance on campus. All it took was cash.
The federal agents went to one or two parties but never actually went to class or lived in the dorms. Instead, they merely arranged meetings with suspected dealers and asked about buying cocaine, Ecstasy, methamphetamine, marijuana and other drugs, authorities said Wednesday.
"All it took was saying, `Hey, I go to State, can you hook me up?'" said San Diego County prosecutor Damon Mosler. "And then it was off to the races."
The day after the drug sweep landed members of three fraternities in jail and led to the suspension of six frats, investigators revealed how easy it was to penetrate the university's drug culture.
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Commencement advice you're unlikely to hear elsewhere.
By P.J. O'Rourke
Well, here you are at your college graduation. And I know what you're thinking: "Gimme the sheepskin and get me outta here!" But not so fast. First you have to listen to a commencement speech.
Don't moan. I'm not going to "pass the wisdom of one generation down to the next." I'm a member of the 1960s generation. We didn't have any wisdom.
We were the moron generation. We were the generation that believed we could stop the Vietnam War by growing our hair long and dressing like circus clowns. We believed drugs would change everything -- which they did, for John Belushi. We believed in free love. Yes, the love was free, but we paid a high price for the sex.
My generation spoiled everything for you. It has always been the special prerogative of young people to look and act weird and shock grown-ups. But my generation exhausted the Earth's resources of the weird. Weird clothes -- we wore them. Weird beards -- we grew them. Weird words and phrases -- we said them. So, when it came your turn to be original and look and act weird, all you had left was to tattoo your faces and pierce your tongues. Ouch. That must have hurt. I apologize.
So now, it's my job to give you advice. But I'm thinking: You're finishing 16 years of education, and you've heard all the conventional good advice you can stand. So, let me offer some relief:
1. Go out and make a bunch of money!
Here we are living in the world's most prosperous country, surrounded by all the comforts, conveniences and security that money can provide. Yet no American political, intellectual or cultural leader ever says to young people, "Go out and make a bunch of money." Instead, they tell you that money can't buy happiness. Maybe, but money can rent it.
There's nothing the matter with honest moneymaking. Wealth is not a pizza, where if I have too many slices you have to eat the Domino's box. In a free society, with the rule of law and property rights, no one loses when someone else gets rich.
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By Don Davis
"HOW IN HELL DO THEY EXPECT ME TO HAVE A DRIVERS' LICENSE, WHEN I WALKED BAREFOOT ALL THE WAY HERE FROM GALILEE."
Crooks & Liars with the story.
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Living by "green" principles can be extremely satisfying, but how do you do it? Surely, it's not by purchasing more "green" products, because buying and using more "things" is all part of the problem.
This Lifehack article has got a great point, though, that a better guide to Green Living might well be David Allen's Getting Things Done, since the principles of Green Living are not all that different from the principles used to be more productive.
1. Strive for Simplicity: More stuff means more complexity; more upkeep, more keeping track, more things to do. In global terms, it means more wasted resources.
2. Fairness: Much of our consumption-driven market is based on unfairness. If everyone along the chain, from a Bolivian granny making hand-woven grocery bags to the Wal-Mart worker, actually were paid what you'd expect, that hand-woven grocery bag would be out of most people's price range.
3. Community: If you've ever had the pleasure of attending a local farmer's market, you've experienced something few of us do these days: an encounter with a part of your community, an actual living and breathing person, who made that which you're about to buy.
4. Sustainability: A system is sustainable when the negative outputs of that system are accommodated and turned into positive outputs. However, most of our global production is not sustainable.
5. Planning: Planning means looking ahead toward a desired outcome. It also means thinking a little bit about the community that isn't here yet and dealing fairly with them. The decisions we make now will create the conditions our grandchildren and their grandchildren will have to deal with.
6. Transparency: Planning, community, fairness, and ultimately sustainability require transparency, but most decisions these days are made behind closed doors.
To take Green Living a bit closer to home, I also encourage you to look into the principles of Bau-Biologie. Bau-Biologie is the holistic study of the man-made environment, human health and ecology, and you can use many of their principles to create a healthier indoor environment for yourself and your family.
By David Ward
SAN DIEGO -- Take Two Interactive is touting "Grand Theft Auto IV" as the richest launch in entertainment history on the strength of a record $500 million in first-week global sales.
All told, more than 6 million "GTA IV" games have been sold since the game's April 29 launch, including a staggering 3.6 million units on the first day alone, generating $310 million in revenue just in the initial 24 hours.
The numbers easily surpassed projections from analysts who already expected record revenue, not to mention the $300 million in global sales achieved by the previous first-week record holder, Microsoft's "Halo 3," which bowed last fall. However, that game was only available on Microsoft's Xbox 360, while "GTA IV" is available on both Xbox and Sony's PlayStation 3.
" 'Grand Theft Auto IV's' first-week performance represents the largest launch in the history of interactive entertainment, and we believe these retail sales levels surpass any movie or music launch to date," said Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick.
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The Illinois senator says, "Yes, we can," but he won't make it to the White House without the right running mate. Which veep would you pick?
Editor's note: Coming next week: McCain Veepstakes. And take our Hillary Veepstakes quiz here.
May 8, 2008 | The math favors Barack Obama. Barring a revolt of the superdelegates, the Illinois senator's pledged delegate total makes him the prohibitive favorite to become the Democratic candidate for president. Eventually. Like maybe this summer.
That means that when this Democratic primary season finally ends, presumably before Nov. 4, Obama will need to pick a running mate. This is your opportunity to give him some helpful hints.
Using a method that crosses painstaking care with a dartboard, Salon has chosen 15 possible running mates for Obama. By answering the following questions, you will determine which three of those 15 best fit your criteria for vice president. When you press "Vote" at the bottom of the page, their names and faces will come swirling toward you out of the mists, ranked in order of closest match from one to three.
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VOTE FOR RON PAUL!
If Ron Paul gets enough delegates, they will have to let him make a speech on national television during the convention, where he can say things like END THE WAR NOW!
ELECTION MANIPULATION: NEVADA GOP SABOTAGES RON PAUL DELEGATE VOTE
The Republican Party has a real problem with Ron Paul. He just won't go away quietly. He is still a candidate for President. He hasn't conceded or dropped out--despite media wishful thinking. Best of all, he refuses to endorse front runner John McCain, the worst warmongering candidate of the entire Republican field. Frankly, Dr. Paul both scares and embarrasses the Republican leadership. They are afraid that if he gets any momentum or significant number of delegates to the convention they will have to let him make a major address on prime time TV and thus more converts. And, Dr. Paul is certainly capable of making converts. He takes all the traditional positions the Republican Party was built upon and that core Republican voters love: small and limited federal government, low regulation, non-aggressive foreign policy, honest money, anti-abortion, and pro-family values. The Republican National Committee wants him to go away so they can get on with the promotion of Sen. John McCain--a totally dishonest and corrupt insider, according to his own son---and continue the hidden globalist agenda which now rules the Party at the highest levels. This week in the Nevada GOP convention, the party leadership shut down the convention when it became obvious that Ron Paul supporters outnumbered those loyal to party leaders who wanted to elect only McCain delegates to the national convention--even though Romney won the primary and Paul came in second, above McCain. It's as if they are saying, "If we don't like the results of the vote, we'll adjourn till we can muster enough of our people to outnumber you!". For a one-time sample copy of these briefings, send an email to "editor@worldaffair
1200 3rd Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
Who should come
How to find the organizer(s)
S. Chad Peace http://tinyurl.
by Erik Deckers
I did my civic duty with great pride on Tuesday when I voted in Indiana's primary election. I even wore the little sticker they gave to all the voters.
"I vote, I count," said my little symbol of adhesive activism. However, it was poorly designed, using one big "I," next to the words "vote" and "count."
It looked like "I vote count," so I had to explain to everyone what it meant.
"I vote, I no design good."
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Mothers' Day is just around the corner and we here DumbCriminals.com want to honor all the mothers out there by using this cruel, tragic and badly timed story to remind all of your ungrateful children who haven't bought you a present yet that your mother can and will shoot in the leg with a BB gun anytime they want. Hey, she's your Mom. What are you going to do? Shoot her in the leg with a BB gun? Yeah right, that will only make her angrier.
According to the AP, a woman was arrested and charged for shooting her daughter in the leg with a BB gun after her boyfriend bet her a dollar that she wouldn't.
Police discovered the bruise on the 8-year-old child's leg and asked the child how she got it. She said she did it so she could win a $1 bet from her boyfriend. Hey, cigarettes don't pay for themselves.
The little girl was wearing three pairs of pants at the time and still had a circular bruise on her leg. The BB bounced off of her and hit her 7-year-old daughter. Well Annie Oakley, you should have gotten $2 for a trick shot like that.
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Posted by Cory Doctorow, May 9, 2008 3:15 AM | permalink
I was just alerted that the House of Reps has passed HR 4279, with the lovely name, PRO-IP (Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008). Like the doublespeak PATRIOT Act and Peacekeeper missiles, PRO-IP puts local law enforcement in a position to demand the forfeiture in criminal proceedings of stuff used to violate copyright. Which means that instead of the RIAA simply trying to collect fines, they can also incite local authorities to collect all the computers and related gear that was used to pirate.PDF Link
This isn't a judgment on my part as to whether piracy is good or bad (I think copyright deserves to be protected through reasonable methods), but I am always horrified when civil enforcement morphs into criminal enforcement. Conservatives and liberals should be up in arms alike that local prosecutors and/or police could intervene as they desire in essentially a private affair arranged by the RIAA, and permanently seize thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in private property in addition to any civil penalties.
If this bill is passed in its present form by the Senate and signed, that means there's no more pro forma RIAA lawsuit payoffs, because if you wind up settling with the RIAA, you could still lose all your stuff in addition to any fee you paid them.
This is particularly irksome in light of the MSN Music shutdown, about which the EFF has written a strong and powerful letter. It is increasingly likely a normal person could have purchased music legally from an online site, burned it to an ordinary audio CD, and in the right set of circumstances be branded a pirate because the original "granting" authority no longer exists to prove that the consumer was a legitimate purchasers.
The more the law is constructed to sweep in folks who are absolutely observant of it, the more we need broader protections.