Flying Snail

Freedom of expression and freedom of speech aren't really important unless they're heard...It's hard for me to stay silent when I keep hearing that peace is only attainable through war. And there's nothing more scary than watching ignorance in action. So I dedicated this Emmy to all the people who feel compelled to speak out and not afraid to speak to power and won't shut up and refuse to be silenced. - Tommy Smothers

Neon Napalm and Mike Wilhelm
Mike Wilhelm and his Bottle Rock Blues & Rhythm Band featuring Neon Napalm
Mike Wilhelm & his Bottle Rock Blues & Rhythm Band featuring Neon Napalm
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Marliese's Corner - San Francisco Events

Karl Cohen
Association International du Film d'Animation
(International Animated Film Association)
May 2009 by Karl Cohen

“SITA SINGS THE BLUES,” THE GREATEST BREAK-UP STORY EVER TOLD, AT THE RED VIC MAY 8 – 12 Help spread the word. Help the world discover her wonderful film. Her distributor and the theater can only do so much; we can also help keep the seats warm. Nina says, “I am thrilled that Sita is going to be at the Red Vic, one of my favorite SF theaters… I feel so triumphant!“ - So help this short run in SF become a triumph for Nina.

NINA PALEY HAS BEEN INVITED TO CREATE THE POSTER FOR INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION DAY 2009 This is quite an honor as the poster is used in 30 or 40 countries around the world to honor animation. The official announcement that said Nina has accepted the invitation came from Juliette Crochu of the French Animated Film Association (AFCA). They are France’s ASIFA chapter (the national organization was founded prior to the organization of ASIFA in 1960). ASIFA chapters around the world honor this annual event with celebrations in late October that range from individual programs to weeklong animation festivals.

EMMY WINNER CHARLIE CANFIELD HAS RECEIVED HIS THIRD EMMY NOMINATION He has provided animation for a series of documentaries on the rebuilding of the Bay Bridge. All three episodes have been nominated for regional Emmy awards for his animation. Charlie won an Emmy for the first part, “A Bridge So Far, a Suspense Story.'” David L. Brown, the series producer, also won the best documentary award. This year “A Span in Time” has been nominated both for its animation and as a documentary. The awards ceremony is May 9. The films first aired! on KQED 9.

CHELSEA WALTON IS PROVIDING ANIMATION FOR A REALLY UNUSUAL DOCUMENTARY She says, “I'm working on animation for a locally produced documentary called The Beard Club by Laura J. Lukitsch, Director and Producer. [Continue Reading]

7.1 Upgraded to 7.3 Honduras Earthquake recorded by ARPSN 200905.28
7.1 Upgraded to 7.3 Honduras Earthquake recorded by ARPSN 200905.28
Collection of Seismic Events (Earthquakes) Recorded by ARPSN

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BITTER: Nobody cares what you are doing now.
Dial-up denies Pursuit of Happiness, eliminates Net Equality, and created a disgruntled dial-up 'tweet' called Bitter...

200905.24 - 16:00 UTC

Working on, what I call, Compensational Math to replace a broken HF transceiver.

Compensational Math

Compensational Math can be applied to many things and in this case I will use coffee for an example.

While living in a city we bought roasted beans and drank double latte's at our 'favorite coffee place'. Between beans, store latte's, and tips, we spent about $300 a month or $3,600 a year on coffee.

I know $3,600 +/- is an amazing figure and if one 'buys out', open a calculator and figure how much is spent on coffee; remembering, two double latte's 7 days a week equals about $2,920 per year with tips.

Trips to a coffee shop ended when we moved from the city to a remote, located, area (too far to drive for coffee) and the cost of roasted coffee beans, including shipping, was ranging between 40 and 60 dollars a month, or rounded off to about $600 a year.

I was impressed with the cost reduction, and evoked, what I term as, or call, "compensational mathematics", which allows me to spend money on things (all my coffee equipment and green beans) that ultimately save me money.

For example, under compensational math, the move to the ranch was now saving us 3,000 dollars a year on coffee.

The cost of my first year roasting beans, sans electricity and equipment, was 280 dollars => insert "compensational math" and: city = $3,600/year -> country = $600/year -> roasting my own beans = $280/year = = now saving us $3,320 per year.

Today, my cost is around $364/year because I use organic beans.

Brokedown Coffee

Bitter Archive

An Art Key is Freedom - Nobody for Governor of California
Nobody Balanced the Budget In California
Nobody Should Be Governor of California &
None of the Above Should Be On Voter Ballots!
Nobody Lives In Upstate California and Will Split the State!

I really can't believe I still having to protest over this stuff

Obama and Netanyahu: up close and personal
Obama and Netanyahu: up close and personal - Steve Bell
Israel Terrorists Defy U.S. On Illegal Settlements

"Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . . . I want to tell you something very clear: Don't worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it." - 3 October 2001 - Israel Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon

Why Didn't the Air Force Stop 9/11?

Cheney Caught Ordering Air Force Standdown on 9/11
Cheney Caught Ordering Air Force Stand down on September 11, 2001. 9/11 Commission Report ... - 4k - Cached - Similar pages

The "Stand Down" of the Air Force on 9/11
Jun 18, 2006 ... Why there was NOT a "stand down" order: explaining the "failure" of the Trillion Dollar Air Force to defend its headquarters ... - 107k - Cached - Similar pages

Cheney stand down order
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Were Stand-Down Intercept Orders Given On Morning Of 911?
The Air Force spokesman confirmed that AFTER the alerts and requests for ... somewhere in the executive branch a STAND DOWN ORDER was issued --- to a pretty good ... about Bush having to make the decision to shoot down flight 77 on 9-11-01. .... Mr. Cheney is attempting to misinform by pretending that intercept ... - 34k - Cached - Similar pages

Norman Mineta Confirms That Dick Cheney Ordered Stand Down on 9/11
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Norman Mineta Confirms That Dick Cheney Ordered Stand Down on 9/11 ...
... text alongside him– that Mineta was indeed talking about a stand down order not to shoot down hijacked ... “We had access, secured communications with Air Force One, ... - 90k - Cached - Similar pages

Norman Mineta Confirms That Dick Cheney Ordered Stand Down on 9/11 ...
The idea that “the order still stands” matches up with a change in NORAD and Pentagon ... “We had access, secured communications with Air Force One, ... the Vice President's role in ordering NORAD to stand down on 9/11. ... - 45k - Cached - Similar pages

Norman Mineta Confirms That Dick Cheney Ordered Stand Down on 9/11
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Mineta, Cheney and A the orders still stand @ controversy:
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
Further evidence that Vice President Cheney. = s order on 9/11 regarding .... accounts that Bush was airborne in Air Force One when shoot down order ... - Similar pages

9-11 Review: The 'Stand-Down Order'
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Jul 1, 2002 ... Vice President Cheney said on MEET THE PRESS September 16th that the FAA had open ... The bases did so under an order affecting major Army installations ... - 26k - Cached - Similar pages

Norman Mineta Confirms That Dick Cheney Ordered Stand Down on 9/11
Jun 26, 2007 ... Alex Jones' American Dictators -- Order Now and let Your Friends and Family Know ... "We had access, secured communications with Air Force One, ... about the Vice President's role in ordering NORAD to stand down on 9/11. ... - 23k - Cached - Similar pages

Exposing NORAD's Wag The 911 Window Dressing Tale ...
NORAD says they actually waited till 9:24 a.m. to order Langley AFB to scramble. ..... 9:11 a.m.: The two F-15 Eagles from Otis Air National Guard station in Falmouth; ... 9:23 a.m.: Bush talks privately with Cheney, his National Security ..... Stand Down. The United States Air Force is the most technologically ... - 118k - Cached - Similar pages

John McQuaid: The Cheney Campaign
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Cheney Implicated 9/11
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Cheney's Bunker Mentality | Mother Jones
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Jun 17, 2008 ... We had access, secured communications with Air Force One, ..... It makes clear that Cheney issued a shoot-down, not a stand-down, order. ... - 106k - Cached - Similar pages

The Andrews Air Force Base Stand Down: How the ...
The Stratcom Stand Down on 9/11 · "Ringing Like Crazy": Were U.S. Military ... Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the Secret Government ... Andrews Air Force Base is located just 10 miles southeast of Washington, DC, .... He told the Secret Service agent, "I would feel more comfortable receiving such an order from someone ... - 92k - Cached - Similar pages

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Posted on March 11, 2008 by Scott Gallup ... Obviously Cheney had not issued a shoot-down order but a stand-down order. ... and what was then an amazingly flatfooted response from our US Air Force. ... - 48k - Cached - Similar pages

What Corporate Media Failed to Mention About 9/11
[New Air Rules Were In Place After A Small Plane Crashed Into White House]

Unimpeded, Intruder Crashes Plane Into White House

Published: Tuesday, September 13, 1994

Shortly before 2 A.M. today, a small red-and-white plane flew low over 17th Street in the heart of the capital's downtown, banked left in a U-turn near the Washington Monument, and headed straight toward the President's bedroom in the White House.

No one tried to stop it.

Administration officials, who pieced together the flight path, said that the Secret Service agents stationed outside the South Portico had only seconds to scramble out of the way as the two-seat, propeller-driven Cessna 150, its power apparently shut off and only its wing lights on, came straight at them.

Gliding over the treetops, the Cessna passed the fountain and the red cannas blooming on the South Lawn, bounced off the grass just short of the White House, crashed through the branches of a magnolia tree planted by Andrew Jackson and came to rest in a crumpled heap two stories below the Clintons' unoccupied bedroom.

President Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton and their daughter, Chelsea, were sleeping across Pennsylvania Avenue at Blair House, the guest house for visiting dignitaries, while repairs were being made to the ventilation system in the White House residence. The Clintons moved back into the White House today.

The authorities said the plane had been stolen and the pilot was Frank Eugene Corder, a 38-year-old truck driver from Maryland. His relatives said he had struggled with vertiginous moods, alcohol, a drug conviction, financial problems, the recent rupture of his third marriage and the death of his father.

Associates said that Mr. Corder, who was killed in the crash, even told a friend last year that he felt so hopeless he might fly a plane on a suicide mission to the White House. That could not be confirmed.

As the chilling sight of the crumpled airplane at the base of the mansion was beamed around the world, a debate began about whether White House security was lax.

Security officials said today that the plan for protecting the President against aerial attack relied more on moving him quickly to safety than on stopping the attack.

Secret Service officials, asserting that their shield around the President himself had not been penetrated, said their initial conclusion was that Mr. Corder was not trying to kill the President and appeared to have acted alone, though law-enforcement officials and several agencies would investigate.

Mr. Clinton was awakened at 2:35 A.M. by his chief of staff, Leon E. Panetta, who had been alerted to the 1:49 A.M. crash through a series of calls set in motion by a military aide who was sleeping in the basement of the White House residence, Lieut. Comdr. Richard Fitzpatrick. After being told of the crash, the President went back to sleep, aides said.

Mrs. Clinton returned to the family quarters this morning and watched from the Truman balcony above the diplomatic entrance as Secret Service agents, police officers and firefighters prowled the area, removing the wreckage, hosing away fuel and planting yellow flags to set off the gouge in the lawn left by the plane.

The South Lawn, where the Middle East peace pact was signed last year, was a remarkable sight today to those who had assumed that the White House had a sophisticated security system, with anti-aircraft guns and perhaps even rooftop missiles that could shield the mansion from an aerial intrusion, especially one so unsophisticated. Only 50 yards from the Oval Office, just around the corner from the Rose Garden, sat the tangle of metal, what was left of the plane's nose inches from the barred office window of the White House physician, Comdr. E. Connie Mariano, one floor below the State Dining Room. Near the Patio Furniture

The wreckage sat next to a set of white, wrought-iron patio furniture, across from the wide lawn where bleachers had been set up in anticipation of an afternoon ceremony today for the National Service plan, a ceremony that was moved. The cockpit was reminiscent of a crushed beer can, and the tail was tilted up, mostly intact. A tarpolin had been hung over the plane to conceal its identification numbers. A twisted brown aircraft seat rested in the dirt just left of the wreckage.

The scene was frightening proof of what military and security officials, planning against terrorist attacks, had long privately believed: that the White House is more vulnerable than anyone admits.

Judging from what happened today, either someone made a terrible security mistake or the integrity of the "secure" air space around downtown Washington -- one nautical mile on either side of the White House, extending up to 18,000 feet, and broadening to envelope the Mall, the Capitol and most of the area's well-known monuments and museums -- depends on intruders playing by the rules.

Passers-by can often see Secret Service agents walking on the White House roof or on duty in an observation post there. But experts said it would be dangerous to fire missiles in downtown Washington. A hit might send an aircraft crashing into a nearby landmark, like the Hay Adams Hotel or the Treasury Department. And, as a senior White House official noted today, "If you missed, E Street becomes pretty ugly, pal."

At a White House briefing this afternoon, a Secret Service official painted a picture of frantic activity and jittery uncertainty as the Cessna dropped quietly out of the night sky, landing without flame or fireball.

The official, Carl Meyer, said that agents had spotted the plane only after it completed its U-turn toward the White House and that they only had "enough time to run for cover."

Mr. Meyer added that he did not know if the Federal Aviation Administration's radar had detected the Cessna as it approached and violated the capital's restricted air space, saying that radar could probably not track a small aircraft flying at tree-top level, particularly if it was not using a standard electronic device that identifies the aircraft and enhances its image on radar screens.

Once the plane crashed, officials tried to determine whether the landing was an accident or part of an elaborate assassination attempt -- and whether the plane might still have explosives aboard.

"The first thing we had to determine was, what was the situation?" Mr. Meyer said. "Was this just a plane that ran out of gas? Did somebody have a heart attack? We just didn't have a good sense of what was involved here. Or, was it a diversion, was something going to come?"

Adolphus Roberts, an eyewitness who was on the mall and saw the plane approach from the north, over 17th Street, told investigators and reporters that the plane had flown near the Washington Monument and then made a left-hand turn toward the White House.

"It had lights on both wings, it turned left and lined up with the White House," he said. "I heard a large boom sound. There was no fire, no nothing." He said he heard no engine noise, suggesting that Mr. Corder may have cut his engine as he glided down toward the lawn.

By early morning, the wreckage was already a tourist attraction. No Plans 'Against a Lunatic'

Patrick Porter, 46, a software engineer for General Electric from Portland, Ore., looked at the South Lawn from behind yellow police tapes. "It just proves you can make all the plans in the world and there's nothing you can do to plan against a lunatic who doesn't think rationally," he said.

In Aberdeen, a small Maryland town 25 miles northeast of Baltimore, Mr. Corder's brother did not seem to know of any particular grudge that he might have held against Mr. Clinton. "Shock," said Mr. Corder's brother, John. "Surprise. It hit us right out of the blue."

After daylight, Mr. Clinton, wearing black jogging clothes and a baseball hat, returned to the White House and later peered out a window at the wreckage. Both he and his wife sought to play down the incident. In remarks by satellite to new members of his Americorps volunteer program, the President said that the White House "will be kept safe, and it will be kept open and the people's business will go on."

Mrs. Clinton told guests that it "has been quite an unusual day here at the White House."

Photos: Frank Eugene Corder, a trucker from Maryland, died when the small, single-engine plane he was piloting crashed on the South Lawn behind the White House early yesterday, the authorities said. He is shown in a 1993 photograph, above. At top, an investigator by the wreckage, just outside the Presidential private quarters, which were unoccupied at the time of the crash. (Photographs by Agence-France Presse (top), Associated Press (right) (pg. A1); Remnants of the plane that crashed near the White House's South Lawn being taken away yesterday. (Stephen Crowley/The New York Times) (pg. A20) Map/Diagram: "WHAT HAPPENED: The Crash at the White House" 1. Frank Eugene Corder stole a Cessna 150, a two-seat, single-engine airplane, from Hartford County Airpark, a private airport in Maryland, and took off after midnight yesterday. 2. He flew south toward Washington. 3. The plane entered the restricted flight zone at the center of Washington, near the White House. 4. After making a 180-degree turn west of the Washington Monument, Mr. Corder headed toward the White House. 5. The plane crashed at 1:49 A.M. on the South Lawn of the White House and skidded 50 feet along the ground into the wall two floors below President Clinton's bedroom; the Clintons were across the street at Blair House. Mr. Corder died in the crash. (Sources: Associated Press, Federal Aviation Administration) (pg. A20)

Crash at the White House - New York Times - 1994 -- More?

TRUTH Has As Many Letters As TRUST

Smash The State ...of Humanity
Cartoon of government wire taps on U.S. Citizens from Cagle Cartoons
with AT&T's 'We're Not Spies' 3G Wireless Network

EFF and ACLU Planning to Appeal
Dismissal of Dozens of Spying Cases

Judge Rules Telecoms Have Immunity Under Unconstitutional FISA Amendments Act

San Francisco - A federal judge today dismissed dozens of lawsuits over illegal domestic surveillance of American citizens, ruling that telecommunications companies had immunity from liability under the controversial FISA Amendments Act (FISAAA). The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) California and Illinois affiliates are planning to appeal the decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that FISAAA is unconstitutional.

"We're deeply disappointed in Judge Walker's ruling today," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "The retroactive immunity law unconstitutionally takes away Americans' claims arising out of the First and Fourth Amendments, violates the federal government's separation of powers as established in the Constitution, and robs innocent telecom customers of their rights without due process of law."

Signed by President Bush in 2008, the FISAAA allowed for the dismissal of the lawsuits over the telecoms' participation in the warrantless surveillance program if the government secretly certifies to the court that the surveillance did not occur, was legal, or was authorized by the president. Then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey filed that classified certification with the court in September and demanded that the cases be dismissed.

"The immunity legislation that the court upheld today gives the telephone companies a free pass for flouting the law and violating the privacy rights of millions of their customers," said Ann Brick, ACLU of Northern California staff attorney.

In today's ruling, Judge Walker left the door open to accountability for the government, holding that "plaintiffs retain a means of redressing the harms alleged in their complaints by proceeding against governmental actors and entities who are, after all, the primary actors in the alleged wiretapping activities." EFF is also suing the government for the illegal surveillance in a separate case, Jewel v. NSA.

EFF and the ACLU are co-coordinating counsel for all 46 outstanding lawsuits concerning the government's warrantless surveillance program. Additionally, EFF is representing the plaintiffs in Hepting v. AT&T, a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of millions of AT&T customers whose private domestic communications and communications records were illegally handed over to the National Security Agency.

"By passing the retroactive immunity for the telecoms' complicity in the warrantless wiretapping program, Congress abdicated its duty to the American people," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "Now it is up to the Court of Appeals to stand up for the Constitution, and reverse today's decision."

For the full order from Judge Walker:

[ Permalink]


Rebecca Jeschke, Media Relations Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation,

Rebecca Farmer, Media Relations Director, ACLU of Northern California,

Related Issues: NSA Spying - Related Cases: Hepting v. AT&T, NSA Multi-District Litigation

Republicans and Democrats Protect Corporate Criminals
Manipulation Accomplished by War Criminals Cheney and Bush
War Criminals Give Thumbs Up On Manipulation Accomplished

Telecom Crimes

Violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution

Violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution

Unlawful electronic surveillance or disclosure or use of information obtained by electronic surveillance in violation of 50 U.S.C. §1809.

Unlawful interception, use or disclosure of Class communications in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2511

Unlawful solicitation and obtained disclosure of the contents of communications in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2702(a)(1) or (a)(2)

Unlawful solicitation and obtained disclosure of non-content records or other information in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2702(a)(3)

Violation of the Administrative Procedures Act

Violation of the constitutional principle of separation of powers

Telecom Punishment

Congress votes to immunize lawbreaking telecoms, legalize ...
Jul 9, 2008 ... It plainly violates the Fourth Amendment." EFF, the other non-profit organization behind the telecom lawsuits, announced the same, ...

The Democratic-led Congress this afternoon voted to put an end to the NSA spying scandal, as the Senate approved a bill -- approved last week by the House -- to immunize lawbreaking telecoms, terminate all pending lawsuits against them, and vest whole new warrantless eavesdropping powers in the President. The vote in favor of the new FISA bill was 69-28. Barack Obama joined every Senate Republican (and every House Republican other than one) by voting in favor of it, while his now-vanquished primary rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, voted against it. John McCain wasn't present for any of the votes, but shared Obama's support for the bill. The bill will now be sent to an extremely happy George Bush, who already announced that he enthusiastically supports it, and he will sign it into law very shortly. [Continue Reading]

Senate Approves Telco Amnesty, Legalizes Bush's Secret Spy Program ...
That amendment got 57 votes, but due to an agreement by Senate Majority ..... It's also not in violation of the constitution, as it only applies to non-citizens. ..... 4th. Every law that alters the legal rules of evidence, and receives ... [Continue Reading]

Wiretapping, Telecom Companies, and You | The Legality
Feb 20, 2008 ... Discussion of warantless wiretapping, telecom immunity, ... Warrantless wiretaps violate the Fourth Amendment guarantee of freedom from ...

The telecom companies have a powerful ally in the U.S. federal government: officers of the federal government who approved wiretaps without a warrant may face widespread civil or criminal liability if any wrongdoing comes out in court. The law takes abuse of power very seriously, and under 50 U.S.C. § 1809, an agent of the government who monitors an illegal wiretap or uses information obtained from unlawful surveillance can be punished with a fine of $10,000, five years in jail, or both. [Continue Reading]

Off the Table Friends
"Off the Table" Friends
or that Republicans and Democrats Allow
Selective Terrorism On U.S. Military

Alberto 'Torture Queen' Gonzales

Supreme Court to democracy: Drop dead

With a single rash, partisan act, the high court has tainted the Bush presidency, besmirched its own reputation and soiled our nation's proudest legacy.

By Gary Kamiya

Dec. 14, 2000 | Tuesday, Dec. 12, is a day that will live in American infamy long after the tainted election of George W. Bush has faded from memory. With their rash, divisive decision to dispense with the risky and inconvenient workings of democracy and simply award the presidency to their fellow Republican, five right-wing justices dragged the Supreme Court down to perhaps its most ignominious point since the Dred Scott decision.

The court was the last American civic institution to have preserved an aura of impartiality, to be regarded as above the gutter of partisanship and self-interest. The reality, of course, is that no court, no judge, no human being, is completely free of those entanglements. Yet the court has generally acted wisely in avoiding judgments that would inevitably and utterly besmirch it. With one reckless and partisan ruling, it squandered its most precious possession: its reputation. It may take years, even decades, to repair the damage done by the Scalia-Rehnquist court's decision to cancel the election and crown the winner.

It's hard not to conclude, now that this whole sorry saga is over, that the fix was in from the beginning. Not the crude, "vast right-wing conspiracy" fix of Hillary Clinton's imagination, but a de facto fix. Why shouldn't one think the game was rigged, when five Republican-appointed justices -- one of whose son works for the law firm of the lawyer representing Bush, another of whose wife is recruiting staff for the Bush admininstration and two of whom have made clear their desire to retire under a Republican administration -- trashed their entire judicial philosophy to ram through, with only the most cramped of legal justifications, a last-second victory for a Republican who lost the national popular vote and, when the votes in Florida are actually counted, is likely to have lost the Florida one as well?

Perfect justice does not exist. But this was judicial folly, politically explosive and judicially threadbare. This was the court stepping in and awarding victory to one side before the game was over. Even those of us who don't often agree with the court's conservative majority expected better. [Continue Reading]

Cartoon of delivery services snooping by Danziger

Memos Reveal War Crimes Warnings

Could Bush Administration Officials Be Prosecuted For 'War Crimes' As A Result Of New Measures Used In The War On Terror? The White House's Top Lawyer Thought So....during January 2002.

Updated: 1:21 p.m. ET May 18, 2004

By Michael Isikoff

May 17 - The White House's top lawyer warned more than two years ago that U.S. officials could be prosecuted for "war crimes" as a result of new and unorthodox measures used by the Bush administration in the war on terrorism, according to an internal White House memo and interviews with participants in the debate over the issue.

The concern about possible future prosecution for war crimes—and that it might even apply to Bush adminstration officials themselves— is contained in a crucial portion of an internal January 25, 2002, (.pdf ) memo by White House counsel Alberto Gonzales obtained by NEWSWEEK. It urges President George Bush declare the war in Afghanistan, including the detention of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters, exempt from the provisions of the Geneva Convention.

In the memo, the White House lawyer focused on a little known 1996 law passed by Congress, known as the War Crimes Act, that banned any Americans from committing war crimes—defined in part as "grave breaches" of the Geneva Conventions. Noting that the law applies to "U.S. officials" and that punishments for violators "include the death penalty," Gonzales told Bush that "it was difficult to predict with confidence" how Justice Department prosecutors might apply the law in the future. This was especially the case given that some of the language in the Geneva Conventions—such as that outlawing "outrages upon personal dignity" and "inhuman treatment" of prisoners—was "undefined."

One key advantage of declaring that Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters did not have Geneva Convention protections is that it "substantially reduces the threat of domestic criminal prosecution under the War Crimes Act," Gonzales wrote.

"It is difficult to predict the motives of prosecutors and independent counsels who may in the future decide to pursue unwarranted charges based on Section 2441 [the War Crimes Act]," Gonzales wrote.

The best way to guard against such "unwarranted charges," the White House lawyer concluded, would be for President Bush to stick to his decision—then being strongly challenged by Secretary of State Powell— to exempt the treatment of captured Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters from Geneva convention provisions.

"Your determination would create a reasonable basis in law that (the War Crimes Act) does not apply which would provide a solid defense to any future prosecution," Gonzales wrote.

[Ed. Note: premeditation, pre·med·i·ta·tion [pree mèddi táysh'n] noun - Definition: 1. contemplation of intended crime: the act of thinking about and planning a crime beforehand, rather than acting on impulse in a moment of passion or mindlessness]

The memo—and strong dissents by Secretary of State Colin Powell and his chief legal advisor, William Howard Taft IV—are among hundreds of pages of internal administration documents on the Geneva Convention and related issues that have been obtained by NEWSWEEK and are reported for the first time in this week's magazine. Newsweek made some of them available online today.

The memos provide fresh insights into a fierce internal administration debate over whether the United States should conform to international treaty obligations in pursuing the war on terror. Administration critics have charged that key legal decisions made in the months after September 11, 2001 including the White House's February 2002 declaration not to grant any Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters prisoners of war status under the Geneva Convention, laid the groundwork for the interrogation abuses that have recently been revealed in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

As reported in this week's magazine edition, the Gonzales memo urged Bush to declare all aspects of the war in Afghanistan—including the detention of both Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters—exempt from the strictures of the Geneva Convention. In the memo, Gonzales described the war against terorrism as a "new kind of war" and then added: "The nature of the new war places a high premium on other factors, such as the ability to quickly obtain information from captured terrorists and their sponsors in order to avoid further atrocities against American civilians, and the need to try terrorists for war crimes such as wantonly killing civilians."

But while top White House officials publicly talked about trying Al Qaeda leaders for war crimes, the internal memos show that administration lawyers were privately concerned that they could tried for war crimes themselves based on actions the administration were taking, and might have to take in the future, to combat the terrorist threat.

The issue first arises in a January 9, 2002, draft memorandum written by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) concluding that "neither the War Crimes Act nor the Geneva Conventions" would apply to the detention conditions of Al Qaeda or Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo Bay Cuba. The memo includes a lengthy discussion of the War Crimes Act, which it concludes has no binding effect on the president because it would interfere with his Commander in Chief powers to determine "how best to deploy troops in the field." (The memo, by Justice lawyers John Yoo and Robert Delahunty, also concludes—in response to a question by the Pentagon—that U.S. soldiers could not be tried for violations of the laws of war in Afghanistan because such international laws have "no binding legal effect on either the President or the military.")

But while the discussion in the Justice memo revolves around the possible application of the War Crimes Act to members of the U.S. military, there is some reason to believe that administration lawyers were worried that the law could even be used in the future against senior administration officials.

One lawyer involved in the interagency debates over the Geneva Conventions issue recalled a meeting in early 2002 in which participants challenged Yoo, a primary architect of the administration's legal strategy, when he raised the possibility of Justice Department war crimes prosecutions unless there was a clear presidential direction proclaiming the Geneva Conventions did not apply to the war in Afghanistan. The concern seemed misplaced, Yoo was told, given that loyal Bush appointees were in charge of the Justice Department.

"Well, the political climate could change," Yoo replied, according to the lawyer who attended the meeting. "The implication was that a new president would come into office and start potential prosecutions of a bunch of ex-Bush officials," the lawyer said. (Yoo declined comment.)

This appears to be precisely the concern in Gonzales's memo dated January 25, 2002, in which he strongly urges Bush to stick to his decision to exempt the treatment of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters from the provisons of the Geneva Conventions. (Powell and the State Department had wanted the U.S. to at least have individual reviews of Taliban fighters before concluding that they did not qualify for Geneva Convention provisions.)

One reason to do so, Gonzales wrote, is that it "substantially reduces the threat of domestic criminal prosecution under the War Crimes Act." He added that "it is difficult to predict with confidence what actions might be deemed to constitute violations" of the War Crimes Act just as it was "difficult to predict the needs and circumstances that could arise in the course of the war on terrorism." Such uncertainties, Gonzales wrote, argued for the President to uphold his exclusion of Geneva Convention provisions to the Taliban and Al Qaeda detainees who, he concluded, would still be treated "humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessarity, in a manner consistst with the principles" of the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war.

In the end, after strong protests from Powell, the White House retreated slightly. In February 2002, it proclaimed that, while the United States would adhere to the Geneva Conventions in the conduct of the war in Afghanistan, captured Taliban and Qaeda fighters would not be given prisoner of war status under the conventions. It is a rendering that Administration lawyers believed would protect U.S. interrogators or their superiors in Washington from being subjected to prosecutions under the War Crimes Act based on their treatment of the prisoners. © 2004 Newsweek, Inc. - [More?]

Caution: Vehicle may be Transporting Political Promises!
Caution: Vehicle may be Transporting Political Promises!
None of the Above
Should Be On Voter Ballots
Nobody for President

Photo of boots by Ward Reilly, member of VVAW, VFP, Advisor to IVAW.
Photo of boots by Ward Reilly, member VVAW, VFP, Advisor to IVAW.
via and Dahbud Mensch

Federal agents serve warrants at Upper Lake business, residence

Written by Elizabeth Larson
Saturday, 06 June 2009

[[Ed. Note: So, let me see if I have this correct. I joined the military to protect the United States Constitution from those who would prevent liberty, freedom, and pursuit of happiness of United States citizens. And it ends up our New World Order, Off the Table, CONGRESS are the real enemy of the people and democracy? Read entire article and comments because (imo) you will not believe what happened: Nobody was arrested!]]

Come to the LaySir MyKö Eclectic Nostalgia
Music Evening at the Lodge in West Marin!
Tuesday, June 9, 8-11PM Free Live Music
Papermill Creek Saloon 415 488-9235
1 Castro St., Forest Knolls, CA 94933

At Forest Knolls intersection, between San Geronimo
and Lagunitas. Visible from Sir Francis Drake.
Thought for the day:
Two fish swim into a concrete wall. The one turns to the other and says "Dam!"
Happy Trails...........Michael

Sowing and Reaping
Four Reasons Why iPhone Owners Hate AT&T

by Daniel Ionescu, PC World

With the iPhone 3G S news now in the wild, the discussion digressed from the announcement of the 3G S itself to AT&T, the iPhone's exclusive carrier in the U.S. (at the moment). Without a doubt, this relationship is where Apple's weaknesses lie.

The S is (Supposed to Be) for Speed

Over the last couple of years, many iPhone customers have complained about AT&T's signal coverage quality across the country, including those in some densely populated areas. And while the carrier plans to improve its network over the coming years, by then, this would be the iPhone 3G S's (or any follow-up device's) soft point.

The iPhone 3G S can work on the much faster HSDPA network, with speeds up to 7.2 Mbps, but AT&T will start rolling this network technology only later this year and will complete the transition is 2011. This means that nationwide, two more iPhone generations will have to bear lower speeds on their devices.

MMS and Tethering on Standby

As my colleague Ginny Mies points out, MMS and tethering (iPhone as a modem) have been on the top of iPhone users' wish lists for quite a while now. And with the arrival of the 3.0 software update and the 3G S itself, these long-awaited features are finally there. Somehow there, that is.

U.S. customers won't have the benefit of MMS until late summer because AT&T is still "finalizing internal system upgrades." Tethering is not on the list either until later this year, because the carrier is reportedly working on some sort of data plan mash-up between data and tethering for around $60 to $70 per month. And, no, this price doesn't include texts.

A Hefty Price for an Early Upgrade

The carrier announced that only new and upgrade-eligible customers will be able to pick up a 3G S for the advertised prices of $199 (16GB) and $299 (32GB), or even an iPhone 3G for $99 (8GB).

Existing iPhone 3G customers, who endured those long queues last July, will have to shell out $599 for a new 16GB 3G S and respectively $699 for the 32GB model. Alternative upgrade pricing comes at $399 and $499.

If you plan on taking on a different route to paying the upgrade prices, AT&T will charge you around $175 to cancel your current contract and only 90 days later (after losing your phone number) you can sign up again for a new iPhone contract.

Crippling iPhone Apps Development

Besides Apple's iron fist on good taste within its App Store, AT&T plays a crucial role in the feature set of certain apps. This year we have seen two major apps getting crippled by AT&T's terms of service: Skype and SlingPlayer.

Both Skype and SlingPlayer for iPhone work only via Wi-Fi, although theoretically these tasks could be performed over a strong 3G network as well. But that would have a put a much larger strain on AT&T's network, which was already shook up at the South by South West Festival just a couple of months ago. [Visit article source for links and pictures. - PC World]

Mike Wilhelm and Neon Napalm - Tuscan Village - Lower Lake, CA - June 12, 2009 - 6-8 PM
Mike Wilhelm
& Neon Napalm
Tuscan Village, Lower Lake, CA
Friday, June 12th 6-8 PM

*****New Mike Wilhelm & Neon Napalm Video *****

Tore Down Tuscan Village

Mike Wilhelm, the "Kaiser of the Blues", plays a classic, accompanied by Neon Napalm, the local vocal phenomenon from Lake County, CA

New Old Pawnshop Blues, live at the Garage Theater, Home, CA

Mike Wilhelm, founder of the amazing Charlatans and finger picking guitarist extraordinaire, plays his "New Old Pawnshop Blues". Taught by Brownie McGhee himself, Mike gives it his contemporary twist...

Bill Graham, Unleashed

Published: May 29, 2009, The New York Times

THERE is a famous exchange early in the documentary “Fillmore: The Last Days” in which Mike Wilhelm, a veteran of the 1960s San Francisco rock scene, tries to persuade Bill Graham to put his new band on the bill at the Fillmore West. The conversation does not go well. Before long Graham is marching Mr. Wilhelm out of the office and yelling, “I’ll take your teeth out of your mouth and shove ’em through your nose.

It’s the blustering, abusive side of Graham, the promoter who ruled live music in the Bay Area from the late ’60s to his death in 1991, but it’s also a sign of his honesty: he had invited the cameras to be there. The movie, released in 1972 as “The Last Days of the Fillmore,” is part concert film, documenting the final week of shows at the Fillmore West in July 1971. The other part, interspersed with the music, is an approved biography of Graham, who talks about his life and conducts an endless round of entertainingly profane telephone negotiations for the valedictory concerts.

People who lived in the Bay Area in the ’60s, ’70s or ’80s and cared about live music will have their own strong opinions of Graham, which the film, brought back into print on DVD this week by Rhino, won’t change. But they’ll likely be enchanted by the time-capsule snippets of bands like Hot Tuna and Quicksilver Messenger Service and captured moments like Jerry Garcia noodling on the steel guitar while the Grateful Dead sets up.

Most striking is the air of nostalgia that has set in just a few years after the Summer of Love. For Graham the magic of the San Francisco experiment is resolutely past tense: “The key to those years for me was that everybody won and nobody lost.

Martin Rowson Swine Flu Cartoon
Martin Rowson

Stock Market and Home Values Continue to Decline
Americans see $1.3 trillion wealth vaporize in First Quarter 2009

[Ed. Note: Nobody in their right mind says, "Yes, We Can't."]

Global Research, June 13, 2009
Azeri News Agency via Prez, USA-Exile

Baku - Americans saw $1.3 trillion of wealth vaporize in the first quarter of 2009, as the stock market and home values continued to decline, according to a government report released Thursday.

Household net worth fell to $50.4 trillion, according to the flow of funds report by the Federal Reserve.

Americans’ stock holdings plunged 5.8% to $5.2 trillion and mutual funds holdings slid 4.1% to $3.3 trillion, while their home value dropped 2.4% to $17.9 trillion.

The nation’s households have now seen their net worth shrink for seven straight quarters. Family net worth had hit an all-time high of $64.4 trillion in the second quarter of 2007, thanks to the housing bubble and a strong stock market.

"It’s more of what we saw late last year," said Scott Hoyt, senior director of consumer economics at Moody’s "Consumers are cutting back on their borrowing to some extent, but the decline in value of assets is swamping that."

The results are not surprising. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 11.7% in the quarter, while home values fell 14.2% from the prior-year period, according to

Though Americans are getting poorer, the rate of decline is slowing. Last year, households’ net worth dropped by a record $10.9 trillion, or 17.4%. It ended the year at $51.7 trillion. The fourth-quarter loss of $4.9 trillion, or 8.6%, was the largest quarterly plunge since the Fed started keeping records in 1951.

Americans also continued to pull back on their borrowing. Household debt fell at an annual rate of 1.1% to $13.8 trillion for the first quarter, after contracting 2% in the fourth quarter of 2008. That was the first time household debt shrank.

During the white-hot housing boom, Americans piled on debt. Between 2002 and 2006, annual household borrowing grew at double-digit rates.

Such debt levels are unsustainable and had to come down to restore Americans’ household financial health, said Amir Sufi, finance professor at the University of Chicago. This contraction is a major factor behind the recession.

"Household deleveraging has to happen even though it’s painful," Sufi said.

Mortgage borrowing remained flat, after falling for the previous three quarters. Consumer credit, however, dropped at an annual rate of 3.5%, the largest dip in at least 35 years, as people slowed their use of credit cards and auto loans.

The plunge in consumer credit concerns Paul Wachtel, economics professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business. It shows that either consumers are not able or willing to borrow.

"The ability of the consumer sector to start spending again is what will pull the economy out of the recession," he said.

Homeowners’ equity also fell to a record low 41.4% as values continued their plunge. More than one in five homeowners now owe more than their houses are worth, according to

Businesses also decreased their borrowing for the first time since 1992, slipping 0.3% for the quarter. The federal government, however, pumped up its borrowing by 22.6% in an attempt to stabilize the economy.

Federal debt grew by 39.2% in the third quarter of 2008 and 37% in the fourth quarter.

Does the Right Want a Civil War?

Posted by Sara Robinson via Prez USA-Exile

People are being shot dead at the rate of several per month now. And it's figures on the Right that are putting the killers up to it.

Dear Conservatives:

Your fellow Americans demand an answer -- and we want it now. Just one simple question:

Are you deliberately trying to start a civil war?

Just answer the question. Yes or no. Don't insult us with elisions, evasions, dithering, qualifications, or conditional answers. We need to know what your intentions are -- and we need to know NOW. People are being shot dead in the streets of America at the rate of several per month now. You may not want responsibility for this -- but the whackadoodles pulling the triggers make no bones about who put them up to this.

You did.

The assassins themselves are ratting you out. They're telling us, straight up, that they were inspired to act by the hate radio talkers that you empowered -- one of whom is now the de facto head of the Republican party. They got it from media outlets owned by your biggest donors. They got it from bloggers who receive daily talking points faxed in from the GOP. They got it from activists representing causes that would have never become causes in the first place if the issues hadn't been politically expedient for you.

Beyond that: You've already admitted your own complicity.

When the Department of Homeland Security expressed their worries about right-wing extremist violence last April, practically every conservative pundit in the country went into a righteous fit. DHS never named anyone directly, so it was astonishing how many of you on the right were so quick to step up and claim that that memo was slandering you, personally and collectively. Since you were so eager to claim that that memo was all about you, now that the violence has come to pass, we're well justified in holding you to that.

And please don't insult our intelligence by saying that these acts are the work of lone wolves, and that you don't have anything to do with this, and that it's all the fault of the left. It's true that there have always been crazies in our midst. But by choosing to gain power through a politics that only motivates through hate and fear, you've recruited a good-sized army of those crazies, armed them up, and turned them into paranoid monsters that are now running loose on the American landscape.

We know you have absolute and utter contempt for the intelligence of the average American, but trying to blame the left for creating this situation is a fabrication so vast that it tells us you don't even have so much as a shred of respect for yourselves. Even you seem to know that your word is worth nothing to most Americans now -- and you don't seem to care.

You don't seem to give a damn about the future of this country, either. You're just in it to win the next election, increase profits for the next quarter, or boost your ratings in the next book. As long as selling hate accomplishes any of these goals, you'll do it -- without regard for the cultural sewage you're creating, without regard for the way you've polluted the political landscape, and now apparently without even a moment's regard for the innocent lives that are being lost because you seem bent on destroying every shred of trust required for our democracy to function.

But the bodies are piling up. We are demanding an accounting from you. We are demanding that you take responsibility for the situation you've created. We are looking you straight in the eyes and demanding a straight answer:

Are you deliberately trying to start a civil war?

If your answer is yes, then stop this cowardly half-assed screwing around. You speak the language of war and honor; but the honor code of the warriors you pretend to revere demands that you declare your intentions. If you really believe that the only way to get the America you want is to negate a fair election, shred the Constitution, and violently cleanse the country of everyone who doesn't agree with you, then man up and get on with it. If it's a shooting war you want, do not doubt that there are plenty of progressives who will oblige you. If this goal is so important that you're really willing to kill for it, please don't forget that you will also need to be willing to die for it. Because, like martyrs Greg McKendry and Steven Johns proved, we are willing to do whatever is necessary to stop you.

If your answer is no, then you have just one other choice. Knock off the tantrums, grow up, rebuild your party, come back to the table, and sit down and govern with us. (We know this will be a stretch, but we think some of you are capable of it.) You will need to learn, many of you for the first time, to get your way as adults do -- without fear-based politics, polarizing rhetoric, on-air threats against those who disagree with you, and repeating outrageous lies in the face of stone facts and irrefutable evidence.

And most of all: you need to stop feeding the crazies. You need to disavow them in every way possible -- sincerely, emphatically, and with full awareness that every time one of these people acts, it destroys the credibility of "conservatives," "Republicans," and "the right wing" in the eyes of the country. You cannot assassinate your way back to power. And don't doubt for a moment that the majority of Americans -- even those who agree with your ideas -- will abandon your cause forever once it realizes that's what you're trying to do.

Since you're the ones funding the violent radicals on your flank, you need to stop sending them money. Since you know far more about their activities than any one else, you need to be the ones who turn them in. Since you're the ones who make heroes and martyrs out of them, you need to be the ones who call them out as criminals. Until you do this -- consistently, wholeheartedly, and responsibly -- we can only conclude that these assassins are operating with your support and approval, and that you are intentionally trying to start an armed revolution in America.

That's your choice. Are you deliberately trying to start a civil war? Or are you willing to work for real civility, and return to your seat at the table, ready to help us choose the country's future?

Yes or No. Right now. The window is closing fast behind you. And once it closes, none of us -- not you, not us, not anyone -- will have the choice to avoid the catastrophe that will follow. It's your decision. And you need to make it now.

Sara Robinson is a Fellow at the Campaign for America's Future, and a consulting partner with the Cognitive Policy Works in Seattle. One of the few trained social futurists in North America, she has blogged on authoritarian and extremist movements at Orcinus since 2006, and is a founding member of Group News Blog.

The Uncomfortable Circle, a Xeth cartoon
"I'm offended by your intolerance against
reverse-racism bigotry prejudice bias!"

The Uncomfortable Circle by Xeth -

Crop 2009/06
Phoenix crop circle may predict end of the world -

The 400-foot design was discovered in a barley field in Yatesbury near Devizes and depicts the mythical phoenix reborn as it rises from the ashes.

The formation, measuring 150ft in diameter, is apparently a coded image representing the first 10 digits, 3.141592654, of pi.

This could be interpreted as the human race or earth rising again after a monumental event. [Visit Above Link for complete text and photographs.]

Swarm or Not A Swarm?

M3.0 2009/06/22 11:45:57 38.812 -122.817 2.9 -- NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
M3.2 2009/06/22 11:27:09 35.042 -119.031 8.9 ---- CENTRAL CALIFORNIA
M2.8 2009/06/22 08:32:08 19.005 -64.245 65.8 VIRGIN ISLANDS REGION
M2.9 2009/06/22 07:25:49 18.894 -64.172 66.8 VIRGIN ISLANDS REGION
M3.0 2009/06/22 05:35:16 19.008 -64.235 66.5 VIRGIN ISLANDS REGION
M3.5 2009/06/22 05:23:12 19.214 -64.342 31.9 VIRGIN ISLANDS REGION
M3.3 2009/06/22 05:14:45 19.038 -64.287 62.0 VIRGIN ISLANDS REGION
M3.6 2009/06/22 04:48:10 19.241 -64.281 24.8 VIRGIN ISLANDS REGION
M2.8 2009/06/22 04:29:44 19.250 -64.438 17.7 VIRGIN ISLANDS REGION
M3.4 2009/06/22 04:26:43 19.050 -64.291 57.5 VIRGIN ISLANDS REGION
M2.9 2009/06/22 04:00:55 19.150 -64.356 50.8 VIRGIN ISLANDS REGION
M2.7 2009/06/22 03:07:29 18.909 -64.240 71.1 VIRGIN ISLANDS REGION
M3.1 2009/06/22 03:07:29 19.038 -64.284 61.6 VIRGIN ISLANDS REGION
M3.2 2009/06/22 03:01:45 19.180 -64.345 24.6 VIRGIN ISLANDS REGION
M3.4 2009/06/22 02:57:56 19.097 -64.191 24.4 VIRGIN ISLANDS REGION
M3.3 2009/06/22 02:32:43 19.287 -64.355 26.4 VIRGIN ISLANDS REGION
M3.6 2009/06/22 02:29:51 19.157 -64.373 24.5 VIRGIN ISLANDS REGION
M3.3 2009/06/22 02:20:57 19.101 -64.452 08.9 VIRGIN ISLANDS REGION
M3.3 2009/06/22 02:17:28 19.151 -64.257 22.2 VIRGIN ISLANDS REGION
M3.3 2009/06/22 02:15:32 19.804 -65.449 25.0 --- PUERTO RICO REGION
M4.0 2009/06/22 02:10:44 19.206 -64.351 24.9 VIRGIN ISLANDS REGION

Earthquake swarms are events where a local area experiences sequences of many earthquakes striking in a relatively short period of time. The length of time used to define the swarm itself varies, but the United States Geological Survey points out that an event may be on the order of days, weeks, or months.[1] They are differentiated from earthquakes succeeded by a series of aftershocks by the observation that no single earthquake in the sequence is obviously the main shock. Earthquake swarms are one of the events typically preceding eruptions of volcanoes.

One example is along the Cerro Prieto fault near Mexicali, BC in Mexico where over 500 quakes and aftershocks hit in February, 2008.[2] Another is a swarm that's been dubbed "The Mogul earthquake sequence" that began in February 2008 near Reno, Nevada and continued for several months, ending in November 2008.[3] Between February and April the swarm produced more than 1,000 quakes of small magnitude, although the largest measured 4.7. - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Redoubt Volcano Webcams
[Click on Thumbnail Image to View]
Redoubt Volcano - Hut Redoubt Volcano - CI Redoubt Volcano - DFR
Alaska Volcano Observatory -

Locking Up Music
ASCAP Stops the Girl Scouts from Singing around the Campfire

You may think that it's O.K. for little campers to sing "Happy Birthday" and "Row, Row, Row" around the campfire for free, without asking for permission. But in fact, you may have to pay a license to a licensing society known as ASCAP. ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, is a performance rights body that licenses copyrighted works for non-dramatic public performances. It then distributes royalties collected from those performances and channels them to the appropriate composers, authors and publishers. The system is intended as a way to assure that creators receive monies for the public performances of their works.....even some campfire songs.

In 1996, ASCAP decided that that since hotels, restaurants, funeral homes and resorts pay for the right to "perform" recorded music, and since many summer camps resemble resorts, why shouldn't they pay too? Under copyright law, a public performance occurs "where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered." Like a summer camp.

After reportedly opening its negotiations with the American Camping Association with an offer of $1,200 per season per camp, ASCAP eventually settled on an average annual fee of $257. But once ASCAP's plan went public, and people learned that the Girl Scouts were among the 288 camps being dunned, the group beat a hasty and embarrassed retreat.

ASCAP Wants To Be Paid When Your Phone Rings

Legal Analysis by Fred von Lohmann

ASCAP (the same folks who went after Girl Scouts for singing around a campfire) appears to believe that every time your musical ringtone rings in public, you're violating copyright law by "publicly performing" it without a license. At least that's the import of a brief [2.5mb PDF] it filed in ASCAP's court battle with mobile phone giant AT&T.

This will doubtless come as a shock to the millions of Americans who have legitimately purchased musical ringtones, contributing millions to the music industry's bottom line. Are we each liable for statutory damages (say, $80,000) if we forget to silence our phones in a restaurant?

ASCAP's outlandish claim is part of its battle with major mobile carriers (including Verizon and AT&T) over whether ASCAP is owed any money for "public performances" of the musical ringtones sold by the carriers. The carriers point out that the owners of the musical compositions (i.e., songwriters and music publishers) are already paid for each ringtone download, but ASCAP claims that it's owed another royalty for the "public performances" (i.e., ringing in a restaurant) of those same ringtones.

Fortunately, ASCAP is wrong. Even if the incidental mobile phone playback of a short snippet in a public place were viewed as a "public performance" (something no court has ever held, and that would also put you in jeopardy for playing your car radio with the window down), the Copyright Act has a specific exception, 17 U.S.C. 110(4), that covers performances made "without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage." That should take care of ringtones going off in the restaurant.

Confronted with Section 110(4), ASCAP makes an even more dangerous and wrongheaded argument -- that the carrier cannot "stand in the shoes of its customer" when asserting a copyright defense like Section 110(4). In other words, because AT&T is in the ringtone business for the money, it's on the hook even if the customer isn't.

To appreciate how anti-consumer this argument is, consider what it would mean in practice. Congress has decided that many activities should be beyond the reach of copyright law, including not only the performances covered by Section 110(4), but also fair use and first sale, among other things. It's thanks to these exceptions and limitations that libraries can lend books, you can use a TiVo, and Apple can sell iPods to help you get the most from your CD collection. ASCAP is arguing, however, that just because you can't be held liable for copyright infringement for these things, a copyright owner could still sue any technology company that helps you enjoy your rights under copyright law.

Fortunately for consumers, ASCAP's theory is foreclosed by the Sony Betamax ruling, where the Supreme Court held that because it's a fair use for you to time-shift TV, it's also perfectly legal for Sony to sell you a VCR to do it. Sony did not have to run a second fair use gauntlet for its commercial VCR-selling business.

In short, if there's no infringement liability for the customer, there can be no secondary liability for the carriers. (ASCAP also has a theory that the carriers are direct infringers because they set up the system that causes phones to ring in public, but that theory is pretty handily wiped out by the recent Cablevision ruling, where the court found that setting up a "remote DVR" service doesn't make you a direct infringer when your customers use it.)

Or, put another way, if it's noninfringing for you, it's also noninfringing for a technology company to provide you with the means to do it.

FTC Is Ready to Pounce on Dishonest Bloggers

Doesn't the Federal Trade Commission have anything better to do than exposing conflicts of interest on blogs and Twitter?

by John C. Dvorak via

According to reports by the Associated Press, the Federal Trade Commission is concerned about bloggers who get free stuff and then blog about the free stuff without mentioning that they got it for free. The FTC may actually go after these individuals and take some sort of action. This also goes for Twitter users who promote some product without telling people they were paid to promote it.

While I think full disclosure is a good thing—"Hey I got this computer free from the company and I really think this machine is hot!"—doesn't the FTC have anything better to do than going after friggin' bloggers and people on Twitter?

I mean, come on.

This is like the government, in cahoots with the RIAA, going after some mom in Ohio for stupidly leaving Kazaa running on her machine and discovering she's been a transit point for the "Best of Bee Gee's" for the past two years. Meanwhile, the Asian mobs off the Indonesian coast are cranking out commercial counterfeit CDs by the millions. Do something about that first before you go after the oh-so-dangerous mom in Ohio.

The same holds true here. I could care less that Milly the Yarn Spinner at is getting free samples of yarn to review on her blog. Has she disclosed it was free yarn? Will she return the sweaters she knits from the yarn? Who cares?

We do not need the FTC looking into Milly when there are large corporations ripping off the public every day. The community of bloggers can make Milly miserable for her misleading review, but the public can do little about financial scams, major price fixing, overbilling by the phone companies, or any number of big scams. Where is the FTC?

Apparently they will be looking into the @I-love-klondikebars tweet advocating that people buy Klondike bars. "Did Klondike pay you to say that on Twitter? Did you get a free Klondike bar?"


While there are rules and codes prescribing what a staff writer at a newspaper or magazine can and cannot do regarding free stuff, there are no laws. There is no law that says you can accept a $20 T-shirt free but not a $50 windbreaker.

DISCLOSURE: I have two windbreakers that I grabbed over the years. One says Kingston on it and the other says Samsung. The Samsung windbreaker is actually quite nice, and I got it at some showcase along with everyone else who was there. I would be forbidden to accept it if I worked for the New York Times, as if that will make the big difference in my coverage of the company.

Do windbreakers color the media's coverage of these companies? Absolutely—if they get covered (I never wrote anything about the Samsung products). Does it color coverage any more than other variables? No. And this "no" needs to be understood. All coverage is colored, whether you get a free trip to Europe to be bored stiff by elaborate presentations or a free laptop or a free windbreaker or a free $20 T-shirt (the New York Times limit). It's also colored by not getting anything, or by getting punched in the gut on your way out of the press conference.

Coverage is colored. It's colored by the people you meet from the company. It's colored by the company's PR material. It's colored by a free key ring, the free pen in the booth, the TV ads.

I personally have gotten a lot of free stuff, and I make it clear what I got, where I got it, and so forth. I then let people judge how much it affected my final pronouncements on products. And, yes, a newcomer with little experience might get giddy over a sample product, or feel obligated to say nice things because of a fancy dinner or a boat ride. These people need to get a grip. It sickens me to read someone gushing over a freebie. I lose respect for both them and the company they are fawning over. I'm not alone.

The question is: How corruptible is the person doing the coverage? I suppose that someone out there could be corrupted by the single Klondike bar. But if so, they probably like the Klondike bar in the first place, if you think about it. So they are not actually dishonest—just cheap. Whatever the case, why is the FTC wasting time on this?

Go after insidious public relations companies who do fake grassroots campaigns (called astroturf initiatives). Why go after someone on Twitter? The public would be better served by learning which PR agencies are orchestrating public opinion on trends rather than simply watching a blogger get beat down.

Is there really a difference between: "Klondike gave me a free ice cream bar. I love the Klondike bar!" and "I ate a Klondike bar. I love the Klondike bar!"

Purists will say "Yes, there is a distinct difference. At least I know he got the bar free." Okay. I can accept that. But is it so important that the FTC needs to get involved? Do we want the government meddling with this sort of minutiae when those of us in the business of writing can do it ourselves?

Discovering the free Klondike bar scam is material for me, so stay out of it, FTC! Do your job and go after the phone companies and their dubious charges and practices! Isn't that what the FTC is supposed to be doing?

DISCLAIMER: John C. Dvorak received no Klondike bars and has no interest in the Klondike bar company. He also knows of no Klondike bar scam. He does think that the Klondike bar is a tasty treat. He is not scheduled for any free trips anytime soon. In fact, he is seldom invited to anything since he complains a lot. His blog contains paid advertising. He genuinely likes both Intel and AMD, and does not play favorites with any company that has provided him with a windbreaker or T-shirt. He collects pens from trade shows, too. He has received numerous free meals from various companies, and he knows a lot of people as a result.

June 22, 2009 Earthquake at The Geysers/Cobb as recorded by ARPSN (Amateur Radio Public Seismic Network
The Geysers/Cobb, CA 200906.22 Earthquake FFT recorded by ARPSN - more? - USGS

Deep in Bedrock, Clean Energy and Quake Fears

A huge geothermal project north of San Francisco has raised fears of earthquakes.

By JAMES GLANZ, New York Times via RainbowPuddle
Published: June 23, 2009 - Visit NYT for links and pictures

BASEL, Switzerland — Markus O. Häring, a former oilman, was a hero in this city of medieval cathedrals and intense environmental passion three years ago, all because he had drilled a hole three miles deep near the corner of Neuhaus Street and Shafer Lane.

He was prospecting for a vast source of clean, renewable energy that seemed straight out of a Jules Verne novel: the heat simmering within the earth’s bedrock.

All seemed to be going well — until Dec. 8, 2006, when the project set off an earthquake, shaking and damaging buildings and terrifying many in a city that, as every schoolchild here learns, had been devastated exactly 650 years before by a quake that sent two steeples of the Münster Cathedral tumbling into the Rhine.

Hastily shut down, Mr. Häring’s project was soon forgotten by nearly everyone outside Switzerland. As early as this week, though, an American start-up company, AltaRock Energy, will begin using nearly the same method to drill deep into ground laced with fault lines in an area two hours’ drive north of San Francisco.

Residents of the region, which straddles Lake and Sonoma Counties, have already been protesting swarms of smaller earthquakes set off by a less geologically invasive set of energy projects there. AltaRock officials said that they chose the spot in part because the history of mostly small quakes reassured them that the risks were limited.

Like the effort in Basel, the new project will tap geothermal energy by fracturing hard rock more than two miles deep to extract its heat. AltaRock, founded by Susan Petty, a veteran geothermal researcher, has secured more than $36 million from the Energy Department, several large venture-capital firms, including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Google. AltaRock maintains that it will steer clear of large faults and that it can operate safely.

But in a report on seismic impact that AltaRock was required to file, the company failed to mention that the Basel program was shut down because of the earthquake it caused. AltaRock claimed it was uncertain that the project had caused the quake, even though Swiss government seismologists and officials on the Basel project agreed that it did. Nor did AltaRock mention the thousands of smaller earthquakes induced by the Basel project that continued for months after it shut down.

The California project is the first of dozens that could be operating in the United States in the next several years, driven by a push to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases and the Obama administration’s support for renewable energy.

Geothermal’s potential as a clean energy source has raised huge hopes, and its advocates believe it could put a significant dent in American dependence on fossil fuels — potentially supplying roughly 15 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2030, according to one estimate by Google. The earth’s heat is always there waiting to be tapped, unlike wind and solar power, which are intermittent and thus more fickle. According to a 2007 geothermal report financed by the Energy Department, advanced geothermal power could in theory produce as much as 60,000 times the nation’s annual energy usage. President Obama, in a news conference Tuesday, cited geothermal power as part of the “clean energy transformation” that a climate bill now before Congress could bring about.

Dan W. Reicher, an assistant energy secretary in the Clinton administration who is now director of climate change and energy at Google’s investment and philanthropic arm, said geothermal energy had “the potential to deliver vast amounts of power almost anywhere in the world, 24/7.”

Power companies have long produced limited amounts of geothermal energy by tapping shallow steam beds, often beneath geysers or vents called fumaroles. Even those projects can induce earthquakes, although most are small. But for geothermal energy to be used more widely, engineers need to find a way to draw on the heat at deeper levels percolating in the earth’s core.

Some geothermal advocates believe the method used in Basel, and to be tried in California, could be that breakthrough. But because large earthquakes tend to originate at great depths, breaking rock that far down carries more serious risk, seismologists say. Seismologists have long known that human activities can trigger quakes, but they say the science is not developed enough to say for certain what will or will not set off a major temblor.

Even so, there is no shortage of money for testing the idea. Mr. Reicher has overseen a $6.25 million investment by Google in AltaRock, and with more than $200 million in new federal money for geothermal, the Energy Department has already approved financing for related projects in Idaho by the University of Utah; in Nevada by Ormat Technologies; and in California by Calpine, just a few miles from AltaRock’s project.

Steven E. Koonin, the under secretary for science at the Energy Department, said the earthquake issue was new to him, but added, “We’re committed to doing things in a factual and rigorous way, and if there is a problem, we will attend to it.”

The tone is more urgent in Europe. “This was my main question to the experts: Can you exclude that there is a major earthquake triggered by this man-made activity?” said Rudolf Braun, chairman of the project team that the City of Basel created to study the risks of resuming the project.

“I was quite surprised that all of them said: ‘No, we can’t. We can’t exclude it,’ “ said Mr. Braun, whose study is due this year.

“It would be just unfortunate if, in the United States, you rush ahead and don’t take into account what happened here,” he said.

Basel’s Big Shock

By the time people were getting off work amid rain squalls in Basel on Dec. 8, 2006, Mr. Häring’s problems had already begun. His incision into the ground was setting off small earthquakes that people were starting to feel around the city.

Mr. Häring knew that by its very nature, the technique created earthquakes because it requires injecting water at great pressure down drilled holes to fracture the deep bedrock. The opening of each fracture is, literally, a tiny earthquake in which subterranean stresses rip apart a weak vein, crack or fault in the rock. The high-pressure water can be thought of loosely as a lubricant that makes it easier for those forces to slide the earth along the weak points, creating a web or network of fractures.

Mr. Häring planned to use that network as the ultimate teapot, circulating water through the fractures and hoping it emerged as steam. But what surprised him that afternoon was the intensity of the quakes because advocates of the method believe they can pull off a delicate balancing act, tearing the rock without creating larger earthquakes.

Alarmed, Mr. Häring and other company officials decided to release all pressure in the well to try to halt the fracturing. But as they stood a few miles from the drill site, giving the orders by speakerphone to workers atop the hole, a much bigger jolt shook the room.

“I think that was us,” said one stunned official.

Analysis of seismic data proved him correct. The quake measured 3.4 — modest in some parts of the world. But triggered quakes tend to be shallower than natural ones, and residents generally describe them as a single, explosive bang or jolt — often out of proportion to the magnitude — rather than a rumble.

Triggered quakes are also frequently accompanied by an “air shock,” a loud tearing or roaring noise.

The noise “made me feel it was some sort of supersonic aircraft going overhead,” said Heinrich Schwendener, who, as president of Geopower Basel, the consortium that includes Geothermal Explorers and the utility companies, was standing next to the borehole.

“It took me maybe half a minute to realize, hey, this is not a supersonic plane, this is my well,” Mr. Schwendener said.

By that time, much of the city was in an uproar. In the newsroom of the city’s main paper, Basler Zeitung, reporters dived under tables and desks, some refusing to move until a veteran editor barked at them to go get the story, said Philipp Loser, 28, a reporter there.

Aysel Mermer, 25, a waitress at the Restaurant Schiff near the Rhine River, said she thought a bomb had gone off.

Eveline Meyer, 44, a receptionist at a maritime exhibition, was on the phone with a friend and thought that her washing machine had, all by itself, started clattering with an unbalanced load. “I was saying to my friend, ‘Am I now completely nuts?’ “ Ms. Meyer recalled. Then, she said, the line went dead.

Mr. Häring was rushed to police headquarters in a squad car so he could explain what had happened. By the time word slipped out that the project had set off the earthquake, Mr. Loser said, outrage was sweeping the city. The earthquakes, including three more above magnitude 3, rattled on for about a year — more than 3,500 in all, according to the company’s sensors.

Although no serious injuries were reported, Geothermal Explorers’ insurance company ultimately paid more than $8 million in mostly minor damage claims to the owners of thousands of houses in Switzerland and in neighboring Germany and France.

Optimism and Opportunity

In the United States, where the Basel earthquakes received little news coverage, the fortunes of geothermal energy were already on a dizzying rise. The optimistic conclusions of the Energy Department’s geothermal report began driving interest from investors, as word trickled out before its official release.

In fall 2006, after some of the findings were presented at a trade meeting, Trae Vassallo, a partner at the firm Kleiner Perkins, phoned Ms. Petty, the geothermal researcher who was one of 18 authors on the report, according to e-mail messages from both women. That call eventually led Ms. Petty to found AltaRock and bring in, by Ms. Petty’s tally, another six of the authors as consultants to the company or in other roles.

J. David Rogers, a professor and geological engineer at the Missouri University of Science and Technology who was not involved in the report, said such overlap of research and commercial interests was common in science and engineering but added that it might be perceived as a conflict of interest. “It’s very, very satisfying to see something go from theory to application to actually making money and being accepted by society,” Professor Rogers said. “It’s what every scientist dreams of.”

Ms. Petty said that her first “serious discussions” with Ms. Vassallo about forming a company did not come until the report was officially released in late January 2007. That June, Ms. Petty founded AltaRock with $4 million from Kleiner Perkins and Khosla Ventures, an investment firm based in California.

The Basel earthquake hit more than a month before the Energy Department’s report came out, but no reference to it was included in the report’s spare and reassuring references to earthquake risks. Ms. Petty said the document had already been at the printer by the fall, “so there was no way we could have included the Basel event in the report.”

Officials at AltaRock, with offices in Sausalito, Calif., and Seattle, insist that the company has learned the lessons of Basel and that its own studies indicate the project can be carried out safely. James T. Turner, AltaRock’s senior vice president for operations, said the company had applied for roughly 20 patents on ways to improve the method.

Mr. Turner also asserted in a visit to the project site last month that AltaRock’s monitoring and fail-safe systems were superior to those used in Basel.

“We think it’s going to be pretty neat,” Mr. Turner said as he stood next to a rig where the company plans to drill a hole almost two and a half miles deep. “And when it’s successful, we’ll have a good-news story that says we can extend geothermal energy.”

AltaRock, in its seismic activity report, included the Basel earthquake in a list of temblors near geothermal projects, but the company denied that it had left out crucial details of the quake in seeking approval for the project in California. So far, the company has received its permit from the federal Bureau of Land Management to drill its first hole on land leased to the Northern California Power Agency, but still awaits a second permit to fracture rock.

“We did discuss Basel, in particular, the 3.4 event, with the B.L.M. early in the project,” Mr. Turner said in an e-mail response to questions after the visit.

But Richard Estabrook, a petroleum engineer in the Ukiah, Calif., field office of the land agency who has a lead role in granting the necessary federal permits, gave a different account when asked if he knew that the Basel project had shut down because of earthquakes or that it had induced more than 3,500 quakes.

“I’ll be honest,” he said. “I didn’t know that.”

Mr. Estabrook said he was still leaning toward giving approval if the company agreed to controls that could stop the work if it set off earthquakes above a certain intensity. But, he said, speaking of the Basel project’s shutdown, “I wish that had been disclosed.”

Bracing for Tremors

There was a time when Anderson Springs, about two miles from the project site, had few earthquakes — no more than anywhere else in the hills of Northern California. Over cookies and tea in the cabin his family has owned since 1958, Tom Grant and his sister Cynthia Lora reminisced with their spouses over visiting the town, once famous for its mineral baths, in the 1940s and ’50s. “I never felt an earthquake up here,” Mr. Grant said .

Then came a frenzy of drilling for underground steam just to the west at The Geysers, a roughly 30-square-mile patch of wooded hills threaded with huge, curving tubes and squat power plants. The Geysers is the nation’s largest producer of traditional geothermal energy. Government seismologists confirm that earthquakes were far less frequent in the past and that the geothermal project produces as many as 1,000 small earthquakes a year as the ground expands and contracts like an enormous sponge with the extraction of steam and the injection of water to replace it.

These days, Anderson Springs is a mixed community of working class and retired residents, affluent professionals and a smattering of artists. Everyone has a story about earthquakes. There are cats that suddenly leap in terror, guests who have to be warned about tremors, thousands of dollars of repairs to walls and cabinets that just do not want to stay together.

Residents have been fighting for years with California power companies over the earthquakes, occasionally winning modest financial compensation. But the obscure nature of earthquakes always gives the companies an out, says Douglas Bartlett, who works in marketing at Bay Area Rapid Transit in San Francisco, and with his wife, Susan, owns a bungalow in town.

“If they were creating tornadoes, they would be shut down immediately,” Mr. Bartlett said. “But because it’s under the ground, where you can’t see it, and somewhat conjectural, they keep doing it.”

Now, the residents are bracing for more. As David Oppenheimer, a seismologist at the United States Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Calif., explains it, The Geysers is heated by magma welling up from deep in the earth. Above the magma is a layer of granite-like rock called felsite, which transmits heat to a thick layer of sandstone-like material called graywacke, riddled with fractures and filled with steam.

The steam is what originally drew the power companies here. But the AltaRock project will, for the first time, drill deep into the felsite. Mr. Turner said that AltaRock, which will drill on federal land leased by the Northern California Power Agency, had calculated that the number of earthquakes felt by residents in Anderson Springs and local communities would not noticeably increase.

But many residents are skeptical.

“It’s terrifying,” said Susan Bartlett, who works as a new patient coordinator at the Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco. “What’s happening to all these rocks that they’re busting into a million pieces?”

Mike Wilhelm New Video
New Mike Wilhelm Videos

FlyingSnail - Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

The man whispered, "God, speak to me" and a meadowlark sang. But the man did not hear. So the man yelled "God, speak to me" and the thunder rolled across the sky. But the man did not listen. The man looked around and said, "God let me see you" and a star shined brightly. But the man did not notice. And the man shouted, "God show me a miracle" and a life was born. But the man did not know. So the man cried out in despair, "Touch me God, and let me know you are there" Whereupon God reached down and touched the man. But the man brushed the butterfly away and walked on.

Don't miss out on a blessing because it isn't packaged the way you expect!

'I saw papers that show US knew al-Qa'ida would attack cities with aeroplanes'

Whistleblower the White House wants to silence speaks to The Independent

By Andrew Buncombe in Washington - Friday, 2 April 2004

A former translator for the FBI with top-secret security clearance says she has provided information to the panel investigating the 11 September attacks which proves senior officials knew of al-Qa'ida's plans to attack the US with aircraft months before the strikes happened.

A former translator for the FBI with top-secret security clearance says she has provided information to the panel investigating the 11 September attacks which proves senior officials knew of al-Qa'ida's plans to attack the US with aircraft months before the strikes happened.

She said the claim by the National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, that there was no such information was "an outrageous lie".

Sibel Edmonds said she spent more than three hours in a closed session with the commission's investigators providing information that was circulating within the FBI in the spring and summer of 2001 suggesting that an attack using aircraft was just months away and the terrorists were in place. The Bush administration, meanwhile, has sought to silence her and has obtained a gagging order from a court by citing the rarely used "state secrets privilege".

She told The Independent yesterday: "I gave [the commission] details of specific investigation files, the specific dates, specific target information, specific managers in charge of the investigation. I gave them everything so that they could go back and follow up. This is not hearsay. These are things that are documented. These things can be established very easily."

She added: "There was general information about the time-frame, about methods to be used ­ but not specifically about how they would be used ­ and about people being in place and who was ordering these sorts of terror attacks. There were other cities that were mentioned. Major cities ­ with skyscrapers."

The accusations from Mrs Edmonds, 33, a Turkish-American who speaks Azerbaijani, Farsi, Turkish and English, will reignite the controversy over whether the administration ignored warnings about al-Qa'ida. That controversy was sparked most recently by Richard Clarke, a former counter-terrorism official, who has accused the administration of ignoring his warnings.

The issue ­ what the administration knew and when ­ is central to the investigation by the 9/11 Commission, which has been hearing testimony in public and private from government officials, intelligence officials and secret sources. Earlier this week, the White House made a U-turn when it said that Ms Rice would appear in public before the commission to answer questions. Mr Bush and his deputy, Dick Cheney, will also be questioned in a closed-door session.

Mrs Edmonds, 33, says she gave her evidence to the commission in a specially constructed "secure" room at its offices in Washington on 11 February. She was hired as a translator for the FBI's Washington field office on 13 September 2001, just two days after the al-Qa'ida attacks. Her job was to translate documents and recordings from FBI wire-taps.

She said said it was clear there was sufficient information during the spring and summer of 2001 to indicate terrorists were planning an attack. "Most of what I told the commission ­ 90 per cent of it ­ related to the investigations that I was involved in or just from working in the department. Two hundred translators side by side, you get to see and hear a lot of other things as well."

"President Bush said they had no specific information about 11 September and that is accurate but only because he said 11 September," she said. There was, however, general information about the use of airplanes and that an attack was just months away.

To try to refute Mr Clarke's accusations, Ms Rice said the administration did take steps to counter al-Qa'ida. But in an opinion piece in The Washington Post on 22 March, Ms Rice wrote: "Despite what some have suggested, we received no intelligence that terrorists were preparing to attack the homeland using airplanes as missiles, though some analysts speculated that terrorists might hijack planes to try and free US-held terrorists."

Mrs Edmonds said that by using the word "we", Ms Rice told an "outrageous lie". She said: "Rice says 'we' not 'I'. That would include all people from the FBI, the CIA and DIA [Defence Intelligence Agency]. I am saying that is impossible."

It is impossible at this stage to verify Mrs Edmonds' claims. However, some senior US senators testified to her credibility in 2002 when she went public with separate allegations relating to alleged incompetence and corruption within the FBI's translation department.

Steve Bell cartoon with Bush as a big gun saying  "violence is  wrong"
Steve Bell

Energy companies accused of overcharging

Consumer report says firms failed to pass on billions of pounds worth of savings; the average household is overpaying by £74 a year

by Hilary Osborne and agencies -, Thursday 25 June 2009 10.37 BST

Energy companies are overcharging customers and failing to pass on billions of pounds worth of savings made because of falling gas and electricity prices, it was reported today.

A report by the watchdog Consumer Focus, which took over from Energywatch in October last year, says the fall in wholesale prices has saved energy companies around £1.6bn but this has not been reflected in domestic bills.

Rising oil prices in the first half of last year pushed up wholesale energy prices and these increases were passed on to consumers by all the major energy companies in several rounds of price rises.

By the end of 2008, energy bills had risen by 42%, with the average household paying £1,293 for the year.

Energy providers have started cutting prices this year, but analysis by the watchdog suggests consumers have not benefited fully from recent falls in wholesale prices. It claims gas prices were now 7.4% higher than they should be, while electricity prices should be 3.1% lower.

As a result of overcharging, the average household is now overpaying by £74 a year, it said.

The research also suggests that additional price cuts of up to 8% (£65) for gas and 4% (£17.80) for electricity should be made by the end of the year, if market conditions do not substantially change.

This, combined with an immediate cut, would save £157 on current prices by winter, which would make a huge difference to many cash-strapped consumers, it added.

Consumer Focus's deputy chief executive, Philip Cullum, said: "Consumers have feared for months that the big six suppliers might not have passed on the full cuts in wholesale energy prices, but the companies claimed to have acted fairly. Our new research for the first time shows the reality."

He added: "Energy firms should take immediate action to put things right for their customers. A failure to act and to ensure that people pay a fair price for energy could have serious consequences for the sector."

Consumer Focus said while recent energy price cuts had lifted up to 160,000 homes out of fuel poverty – defined as spending more than 10% of household income on energy – rising unemployment had pushed many more into difficulties and around 5.4 million households are now fuel poor.

Garry Felgate, chief executive of the Energy Retail Association which represents the industry, said the watchdog had made basic mistakes in its report.

He said: "The amount of gas and electricity a customer uses can form as little as half their annual bill.

"The remainder includes other costs, such as transporting gas and power and meeting the government's carbon emissions reduction targets – all these costs have risen sharply in recent years."

On Monday, price comparison website warned if energy bills continued to rise at their current rate, the average household could be paying £4,700 a year by 2020.

Rest In Peace Michael
Rest In Peace Michael, We Loved Your Music!

Honk If You Love Jesus

via Robin Kilgore

Grandma is eighty-eight years old and still drives her own car. She writes:

Dear Grand-daughter,

The other day I went up to our local Christian book store and saw a 'Honk if you love Jesus' bumper sticker ..

I was feeling particularly sassy that day because I had just come from a thrilling choir performance, followed by a thunderous prayer meeting..

So, I bought the sticker and put it on my bumper.

Boy, am I glad I did; what an uplifting experience that followed.

I was stopped at a red light at a busy intersection, just lost in thought about the Lord and how good he is, and I didn't notice that the light had changed.

It is a good thing someone else loves Jesus because if he hadn't honked, I'd never have noticed.

I found that lots of people love Jesus!

While I was sitting there, the guy behind started honking like crazy, and then he leaned out of his window and screamed, 'For the love of God!'

'Go! Go! Go! Jesus Christ, GO!'

What an exuberant cheerleader he was for Jesus!

Everyone started honking!

I just leaned out my window and started waving and smiling at all those loving people.

I even honked my horn a few times to share in the love!

There must have been a man from Florida back there because I heard him yelling something about a sunny beach.

I saw another guy waving in a funny way with only his middle finger stuck up in the air.

I asked my young teenage grandson in the back seat what that meant.

He said it was probably a Hawaiian good luck sign or something.

Well, I have never met anyone from Hawaii , so I leaned out the window and gave him the good luck sign right back.

My grandson burst out laughing.

Why even he was enjoying this religious experience!!

A couple of the people were so caught up in the joy of the moment that they got out of their cars and started walking towards me.

I bet they wanted to pray or ask what church I attended, but this is when I noticed the light had changed.

So, grinning, I waved at all my brothers and sisters, and drove on through the intersection.

I noticed that I was the only car that got through the intersection before the light changed again and felt kind of sad that I had to leave them after all the love we had shared.

So I slowed the car down, leaned out the window and gave them all the Hawaiian good luck sign one last time as I drove away. Praise the Lord for such wonderful folks!!

Will write again soon,

Love, Grandma

Mike Wilhelm and his Bottle Rock Blues and Rhythm Band at the Blue Wing Monday June 29th - 6-8 PM
Mike Wilhelm & his Bottle Rock Blues & Rhythm Band featuring Neon Napalm
(fwiw) Neon is Native American and her last name is Knepalm, which sounds like napalm.
Blue Wing - Monday June 29th, 6-8 PM - Upper Lake, CA
New Mike Wilhelm Video -

Steve Bell cartoon with Bush telling us when 'the war a.k.a. Bush's War' will be over - June 30th, 2004
Steve Bell - 2004

Uprising in Iraq could derail Bush
As US forces suffer another bloody day, Republicans turn on president

by Julian Borger in Washington, The Guardian, Wednesday 7 April 2004 03.49 BST

President George Bush was yesterday struggling to prevent the escalating violence in Iraq from engulfing his re-election campaign, after his worst political week this year triggered bipartisan calls for a rethink of US strategy there.

Fighting spread across the country as the US-led coalition fought a two-front war against Sunni rebels concentrated in the western town of Falluja and a radical Shia uprising in south and central Iraq.

Thirty American soldiers and 130 Iraqis have been killed since the weekend in Falluja, where heavy combat continued last night. Unconfirmed reports said US planes fired rockets yesterday, destroying four houses and killing 26 Iraqis.

US forces confirmed last night that up to 12 marines had been killed in Ramadi, 36 miles west of Falluja. Dozens of Iraqis attacked a US marine position near the governor's palace, a senior US defence official said from Washington.

Early today, the White House responded to the deaths by declaring that US resolve was "unshakable". Its spokesman Scott McClellan said: "We will prevail. The president was told that our troops are performing well. The president is proud of our troops."

In the southern Iraqi town of Amara, British troops killed 15 Iraqis in clashes with followers of the radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, and another 15 Iraqis died in fighting with Italian troops in Nassiriya. Bulgarian and Polish troops also suffered casualties.

Washington insisted yesterday that US commanders would have all the troops and resources they needed, and Mr Bush signalled once more that he was prepared to stake his presidency on defeating the insurgents. "There are thugs and terrorists in Iraq who are trying to shake our will," the chief White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, told journalists. "And the president is firmly committed to showing resolve and strength ... They cannot shake our will."

However, with even Republicans warning of the imminent danger of a civil war in Iraq, and the administration's handling of the terrorist threat under increasing scrutiny, the president's image as a wartime leader is taking a battering.

The news that Tony Blair is flying to the US next week for consultations has only added to the sense of crisis. [Continue Reading at The]

If "Off the Table" War Criminals Walk Free,
Why Not Me?
- Bernard - Prison Bitch - Madoff ?

An evening of Eclectic Nostalgic LaySir MaiKö
Music and Various Insundries.

Tuesday, June 30, 8-11PM Free Live Music
Papermill Creek Saloon 415 488-9235
1 Castro St., Forest Knolls, CA 94933

At Forest Knolls intersection, between San Geronimo and Lagunitas. Visible from Sir Francis Drake.

Thought for the day: Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal?
His goal: transcend dental medication.

Happy Trails...........

Oh, I hope that I see you again I never even caught your name As you looked through my window pane -- So I'm writing this message today I'm thinking that you'll have a way Of hearing the notes in my tune -- Where are you going? Where have you been? I can imagine other worlds you have seen -- Beautiful faces and music so serene -- So I do hope I see you again My universal citizen You went as quickly as you came -- You know the power Your love is right You have good reason To stay out of sight -- But break our illusions and help us Be the light - "Message" by Michael Pinder

Previous Articles Moved To May Archive or index2

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Gallery d'Ann - Blender Animation - Animation for the Appliance Challenged Gallery - Hackers - Missing BBS Files - Sprung - Harley-Davidson Springer Enthusiast - Flying Snail Studios Podcasts - Rubbermaid (Band) = Amateur Radio - Amateur Radio Public Seismic Network - ARPSN/Cobb Weather and Seismic Heliplots - United State Cafe - Haight/Ashbury - Apple/Mac Tech with a little GNU Linux - Brokedown Coffee - Hunger and Shame by Dr. Mary Howard and Dr. Ann V. Millard - Sailing on the Flying Snail - Emmy - ALERTS, Notes from ~@~ - Flying Snail Archive - Browsing Tips - Captain Crunch - John Draper - CASHCPR - Citizen's Against Second Hand Cellular Phone Radiation - NCast Dancing Frogs at YouTube - Disclaimer - Ira Cohen - Karl Cohen - Keith Lampe - Links - Marliese's Corner - Mike Wilhelm - Mobile page for Phones and Pods - NCast - Paul Krassner - Remnant of Paradise - Site Map: - Steven Leech - WVUD-FM Streaming Audio - David Normal - Michael Stickrod - THEY Have Returned - H.323 - Pacific Packet Radio Society - PPRS intorduced wireless digital communications to the United States - Nobody for President = Put NONE OF THE ABOVE on voter ballots