Archive for March 10th, 2004

The New Pentagon Papers


more detail than you want to know about the exact coercive mechanisms
and petty deceptions used by the American Empire clique (empiristas?)
running the government these days to get control of power centers in
the Pentagon and push America into the war in Iraq. These are the guys
who think Colin Powell is a wimp.

However, the article is long and logwinded, and bereft of tart turn
of phrase or punchy prose, so that we lost interest on page 3 (of 5).
But then again, we
make it through the original Pentagon Papers, either.

A high-ranking military officer reveals how Defense Department extremists
suppressed information and twisted the truth to drive the country
to war.

The author is Karen Kwiatkowski, who seems to know her subject:

In July of last year, after just over 20 years of service, I retired
as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. I had served as a communications
officer in the field and in acquisition programs, as a speechwriter
for the National Security Agency director, and on the Headquarters Air
and the office of the secretary of defense staffs covering African
affairs. I had completed Air Command and Staff College and Navy War College
programs, two master’s degrees, and everything but my Ph.D. dissertation
in world politics at Catholic University.

Here is her dilemna in a nutshell.

From May 2002 until February 2003, I observed firsthand the formation
of the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans and watched the latter stages
of the neoconservative capture of the policy-intelligence nexus in the
run-up to the invasion of Iraq. This seizure of the reins of U.S. Middle
East policy was directly visible to many of us working in the Near East
South Asia policy office, and yet there seemed to be little any of us
could do about it.

So she wrote about it in Salon.

The Beauty of Mother Nature


the past, the Dowbrigade News has been accused of having it’s journalistic
mind in the gutter, and of being obsessed with female anatomy.  To
demonstrate our well-rounded interest in other topics, completely non-sexual,
like astronomy, let me exhibit the following photos.

For those of us who
grew up wanting to be astronauts, NASA’s spectacular photographs
as we
ever get. However,
how nice to be able to surf over to the NASA site Earth
Observatory News,
and peruse the latest satellite snapshots.
In addition to being exciting science, these photographs are works
of art in and of themselves. It’s
kind of like lying on your back on a summer day and imagining things
in the
clouds. Do you see an elephant? A basketball eating a banana? Take
these recent photos of Tropical Storm Monty as it raged over the coast
of Africa,
for example….

A wall
of Saharan
Desert dust that was captured in an image from March 3, 2004,
had billowed
to spread northward by the next day. The leading edge of the dust storm
in several places was advancing at speeds of up to 50 km per hour.
The above image of the massive plume of dust was captured by the Moderate
Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), aboard NASA’s Terra satellite
on March 4, 2004.

untouched photos – originals from NASA

With Role Models Like These…


Parents frantic to get their kids to "Just Say No"
have been touting the effectiveness of "Virginity Pledges" where young
sign symbolic contracts to remain virgins until marriage. The idea is
to cut down on teenage pregnancies, Sexually Transmitted Diseases and
single parenthood. Does it work? Is it worth it? Preliminary evidence
seems to show that pledge-signers have less fun but get in just as much

PHILADELPHIA – Teenagers who make a one-time pledge to remain
virgins until marriage
catch sexually
as often as those who don’t pledge abstinence, according to a study
of the sex lives of 12,000 adolescents.

Those who make a public pledge to delay also wind up having fewer sex
partners and get married earlier, the research shows. But the two
groups’ STD rates
were statistically similar.

No premarital sex? Earlier marriage? Fewer sex partners? That’s three
strikes against this policy, in the Dowbrigade book!

One of the problems, researchers found, is that virginity pledgers
are less likely to use condoms.

So that’s how come they have less sex but just as many STD’s. Pledge
signers are much less likely to be carrying protection in their wallet
or purse!

”It’s difficult to simultaneously prepare for sex and say you’re
not going to have sex,” said Peter Bearman, chairman of Columbia
department, who coauthored the study with Hannah Bruckner of
Yale University.

‘The message is really simple: `Just say no’ may work in the
short term but doesn’t work in the long term,” Bearman said.

From our experience, in many cases it doesn’t even work in the
short term.

from AP

Oh, And a Wheelbarrow for the Change



A woman was caught trying to use a
fake $1 million bill to buy $1,675 worth of merchandise at a Wal-Mart,
and was later found with two more of the bills in her purse, police said.

The United States Treasury does not make $1 million bills, but people can buy
souvenirs of such a bill at some stores, police said.

"It looks real, but of course there’s nothing real about this," Covington
Police Chief Stacey Cotton said Tuesday. "People do crazy things all the
time. I think it’s just another example of some odd things that occur."

from AP

She Should Have Hired Jimmy Stewart


Georgie Ann Geyer has an interesting take on Marthagate, in which she
concludes that the domestic diva’s fatal mistake was hiring "fancy New
York lawyers" rather than "some country lawyers who understand the jealousies
and resentments of social status".

Geyer cites as exhibit one the startling reverse-hubris of NOT having
their celebrity client take the stand in her own defense, offering instead
a single witless witness in a twenty-minute micro-defense.

I sat back in my chair in wonderment. What could they possibly be thinking?
Here is this woman, good-looking, blond and obviously multi-talented,
rich as Croesus and "homey" as a haughty Long Island prima
donna, disliked by just about everybody. So for good measure, they
were going to add to the list, especially for the jurors: "This
woman is so much above you that she won’t even get up in court and
explain herself"?

While her choice of legal representation obviously left something
to be desired, we prefer to see Martha’s conviction as the latest
hopeful sign that not even the richest and most famous Americans are
above the law. For far too long the ability to hire slick lawyers and
mobilize "fan" and "press" support has imbued the glitterati with
a virtual Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card.

Anyone doubting Martha’s incarceration is part of a growing trend
to castigate the rich and famous, or that the Judiciary branch has
no sense of humor, need look no further than the prosecution and incarceration
of Tommy Chong for selling bongs over the Internet.

Here’s hoping the newfound enthusiasm for having crack addicts share
cell space with bankers, CEO’s, media magnates and movie stars can
be extended to include politicians who do things like lie to voters,
play bait and switch with educators, first responders, etc., bankrupt
future retirement benefits to funnel money to crooked cronies, or use
the US military to settle family feuds.

Geyer column

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