6-17-2005 Intemperate musings

If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime--Pol Pot or others--that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners.--Illinois Senator Dick Durbin on Tuesday

This administration should apologize to the American people for abandoning the Geneva Conventions and authorizing torture techniques that put our troops at risk and make Americans less secure.--The Illinois Dickhead on Wednesday

The Geneva Convention does not in any way afford any protections to rogue terrorists not wearing the uniform of any country. And Dickwad knows as much.

American soldiers make do with C-rations. Dinner on an America West flight from New York to Las Vegas consists of one small bag of peanuts. Meanwhile, one recent menu for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo consisted of orange-glazed chicken, fresh fruit crepe, steamed peas and mushrooms, and rice pilaf. Sounds like the sort of thing you'd get at Windows on the World if it still existed.--Ann Coulter

Hey! Windows on the World? I remember that place.

What in the fu>k is that "Bush Lies, America cries" hysterical hogwash somebody professing to be enlightened went and posted on my fu>king forum page? Jesus, man!

While there's no doubt the writer from the SF Gate (???) is somewhat talented, there's also no doubt that he adroitly cited a conspiracy theory with each passing paragraph. I really hate to break it to the "awakened/enlightened choir," but there is not, nor has there ever been a bigger and better conspiracy hiding under each and every pebble.

It's completely foolhearty and ultimately suicidal to suggest that our nation's foreign policy should amount to little more than kowtowing to the court of world opinion. Actually, it belies the fact that the author has no real understanding of the underlying causes of what brought the sorry state of geopolitics to where it is today. U.S. policies, past and present, are to blame for all that ills the world??? You people should take a step back and listen to yourselves. What you provide is little more than comic relief that is, sadly, somehow confused with expert political punditry. And as an ideology, it's frightening.

And what's up with a writer who refers to his readers as "sweetheart?" Squatted upon one too many lubricated spindles, perhaps? I mean, we are talking San FranFreako here, right?

May peace, illegal drugs & bongo drum circles triumph,

The death march of homicidal zombies in Iraq is trying to push us toward accepting the idea that acts of unrestrained violence against other human beings is now a normal part of politics. It is not normal. Any civilized person should want to resist the normalization of civilian killing as a political act--whether in Iraq, Spain, Indonesia or Kashmir.--Daniel Henninger, Opinion Journal


I'm curious about something. If I eat a bowl of dirt, does that mean I'm destroying the environment, too? I sure hope not. I really enjoy a good bowl of dirt every now and again. It's lo-cal, lo-fat and soooooo organic, sweethearts.

Lemme know.

For those who felt the need to rip Mayor Tom Leighton to shreds for boldly daring us to believe in our city, I thought a blast from the past might serve as an overdue reality check.

From PoliticsPA.com's Worst Mayors of '03 list:

Mayor Tom McGroarty (Wilkes-Barre): From missed deadlines that reportedly cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars to accusations of gross mismanagement of redevelopment projects and the city's finances, McGroarty just cannot seem to catch a break. The city can't pay its bills - devastating its credit rating - and is doing a great job of making Scranton look good. The Times Leader had this to say: "We've always thought Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom McGroarty had those good intentions. We just never thought that he could do so much damage to a city in such a short time." Former Governor Mark Schweiker called McGroarty "inept." But even without that input, McGroarty tops our list.

Don Sherwood: Philanderer? Or Pillar of Morality?

Do I think he beat the snot out of his little honey, er, acquaintance on a regular basis? No way.

Is it possible that he went Iron Mike on her once or twice after she refused to do that special trick with the Kaopectate smeared all over her mammalian protuberances? DING! We may have a winner.

Wherever the truth might lie, I surely do not care. But what is Mr. Family Values himself doing giving massages to a twenty-something all alone in his bungalow? Can you say "Dirty old man?"


Your ISP as Net watchdog

Published: June 16, 2005, 4:00 AM PDT
By Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

The U.S. Department of Justice is quietly shopping around the explosive idea of requiring Internet service providers to retain records of their customers' online activities.

Data retention rules could permit police to obtain records of e-mail chatter, Web browsing or chat-room activity months after Internet providers ordinarily would have deleted the logs--that is, if logs were ever kept in the first place. No U.S. law currently mandates that such logs be kept.

In theory, at least, data retention could permit successful criminal and terrorism prosecutions that otherwise would have failed because of insufficient evidence. But privacy worries and questions about the practicality of assembling massive databases of customer behavior have caused a similar proposal to stall in Europe and could engender stiff opposition domestically...

Read the entrie article

From the e-mail inbox Subject: Non Living Things

You may not know that many non-living things have a gender. For example:

1) Ziploc Bags -- They are Male, because they hold everything in, but you can see right through them.

2) Copiers -- They are Female, because once turned off, it takes a while to warm them up again. It's an effective reproductive device if the right buttons are pushed, but can wreak havoc if the wrong buttons are pushed.

3) Tire -- Male, because it goes bald and it's often over-inflated.

4) Hot Air Balloon -- Male, because, to get it to go anywhere, you have to light a fire under it and, of course, there's the hot air component.

5) Sponges -- Female, because they're soft, squeezable and retain water.

6) Web Page -- Female, because it's always getting hit on.

7) Subway -- Male, because it uses the same old lines to pick people up.

8) Hourglass -- Female, because over time, the weight can shift to the bottom.

9) Hammer -- Male, because it hasn't changed much over the last 5,000 years, but it's handy to have around.

10) Remote Control -- Female. Ha! You thought it'd be Male. But consider this -- it gives a man pleasure, he'd be lost without it, and while he doesn't always know the right buttons to push, he keeps trying.

Mixed bag here

From the e-mail inbox Dear Mark,

Tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET NBC Dateline will air an in-depth, undercover investigation of sweatshop production in Bangladesh for major U.S. retailers like Wal-Mart. The National Labor Committee worked with NBC Dateline on this investigation.

Young women in Bangladesh are forced to work 14 hours a day, often seven days a week for wages as low as 13 cents an hour, leaving them trapped in inhuman living conditions. The workers are paid just 10 cents for every Wal-Mart shirt they sew.

If Wal-Mart and the other giant retailers would pay just 37 cents an hour, these women could climb out of misery and at least into poverty--which is their goal.

The National Labor Committee is launching a campaign calling upon Wal-Mart to pay 20 cents more per garment.


Alert everyone you know--and ask them to do the same--that the NBC-Dateline undercover investigation of sweatshop production in Bangladesh for Wal-Mart will air Friday, June 17 at 8:00 p.m.

BUILD THE CAMPAIGN: It is time to challenge Wal-Mart's model of greed. We are calling upon Wal-Mart to pay just 20 cents more per garment, which would allow millions of women across the developing world who are sewing their garments to climb out of misery and at least into poverty.

Visit the National Labor Committee's website http://walmartwatch.bluestatedigital.com/page/m/22abl67g2ec/Bwycsb to read more and participate in the campaign.

Visit the WalmartWatch.com Blog to joing in the discussion.

Paid for by WalmartWatch.com, a campaign of Five Stones and The Center for Community and Corporate Ethics

Pennsylvania Environmental Council (www.pecpa.org)

June 14, 2005

Peterson Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Accelerate Cleanup of Hazardous Abandoned Coal Mines

Cubin-Rahall Bill Steers More Than $1.2 Billion to Non-Reclamation "Rainy Day" Projects in Wyoming while Neglecting Mine Reclamation Needs of Historic Coal States

Washington - U.S. Congressman John Peterson (R-PA/5) was joined by a bipartisan coalition of 16 House Members from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee and Maryland to introduce legislation that would reauthorize the Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) program and speed up the reclamation of thousands of hazardous abandoned coal mines across the country.

The bipartisan bill would greatly reduce the health, safety and environmental hazards of abandoned coal mines left over from decades of coal mining that took place before Congress passed mining reforms in 1977. Abandoned mines are commonplace throughout Appalachia, particularly in states like Pennsylvania and West Virginia where the majority of America's coal was mined throughout the industrial revolution and two world wars.

Under the current AML program, mine reclamation dollars are raised through a per-ton fee on coal and are allocated to states based on their current level of coal production. As a result, the majority of funds are directed to states like Wyoming which only recently began mining coal as the industry moved west. Since Wyoming has been certified since 1982 to have no abandoned mine problems, the state has used the millions of dollars they receive from the AML program for building construction, road paving and other miscellaneous projects. Consequently, only 52 percent of AML program funding is currently being used to clean up hazardous abandoned mines.

At the same time, states like Pennsylvania and West Virginia are still decades away from completing reclamation work on thousands of hazardous abandoned coal mines. At least 40 people have been killed and many more injured at abandoned mines in Pennsylvania alone over the past 15 years. More than $1 billion is still needed to clean up the 4,600 mines that are dangerous or environmentally harmful, and more than 1.6 million Pennsylvanians live less than a mile from a dangerous mine. Over 3,000 miles of streams and rivers in the Commonwealth are polluted with acid mine drainage. Many of these same hazards exist throughout Appalachia.

Under the Peterson bill, future AML funding would be directed to areas that need it, providing reclamation dollars to states based on their number of abandoned mines that present a public health and safety risk. By refocusing the AML program on its intended purpose of cleaning up abandoned coal mines, the Peterson proposal would clean up all high-priority mine sites in 25 years instead of the 50-60 years that is estimated under the current AML program.

According to Peterson, "This common sense legislation simply asks that the AML program be used for its intended purpose of cleaning up abandoned coal mines, and not to pave roads or fund other 'rainy-day' projects. This proposal will greatly improve states' ability to clean up hazardous abandoned mines in a timely manner. Families in Pennsylvania and throughout Appalachia have lived for too long with the health, safety and environmental hazards resulting from abandoned coal mines, and this bill will finally refocus the AML program on mine reclamation."

The Peterson bill would raise the minimum state AML program grant from $2 to $3 million, benefiting Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and several other 'minimum program' states. In addition, the bill increases funding for the 17,000 retired mine workers covered under the Combined Benefit Fund (CBF) by removing the $70 million cap which currently exists on the amount of interest transferred annually into the fund. The bill also makes interest earned on the account available for transfer as needed, including $76 million in "stranded" interest from prior years.

Under Peterson's proposal, Wyoming would be fully reimbursed for the $465 million in fees paid into the AML program by companies that mine coal in Wyoming, fulfilling a commitment made under the current AML program. This is despite the fact that 96 percent of Wyoming's coal is mined on federal land, and 93 percent of the coal mined in Wyoming is sold in other states where American consumers - not Wyoming producers - end up paying the fee.

While the Peterson bill would re-focus the AML program on cleaning up high-priority abandoned coal mines, a competing proposal, the Cubin-Rahall bill, would continue to neglect current mine reclamation needs in favor of maintaining and increasing the 'rainy day' fund for Wyoming.

In addition to protecting the multi-million dollar funding stream which currently flows to Wyoming, Cubin-Rahall creates an entirely new $1 billion pot of money for non-reclamation projects, the vast majority of which would also end up in Wyoming. At the same time, Cubin-Rahall bill would cut $120 million from the Federal operations budget which is used for abandoned mine emergencies, drinking water contamination, watershed cooperative agreements, supplemental grants to minimum program states, and the Clean Streams Initiative which is used to clean up acid mine drainage in streams, rivers and watersheds across the country.

According to an analysis by the U.S. Office of Surface Mining (OSM), Cubin-Rahall would steer more than $1.2 billion in non-reclamation funding to Wyoming over the next 25 years, while leaving a shortfall of more than $1 billion for priority mine reclamation projects in states like Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kansas and Oklahoma. After 25 years, Pennsylvania would still need $566 million and West Virginia would still be $256 million short of completing high-priority mine reclamation projects under the Cubin-Rahall proposal.

The Peterson bill, which would clean up all current high-priority abandoned mines within the next 25 years while saving the program several billion dollars, has already been endorsed by Trout Unlimited and the PA Audubon Society. A similar bill introduced by Peterson last year was endorsed by the Bush Administration, Pennsylvania's Democratic Governor Ed Rendell, and numerous organizations including the PA Environmental Council.

According to Peterson, "This bill represents the combined efforts of a broad coalition of interests and ideologies - all coming together to do what is necessary to clean-up and reclaim abandoned mines before these sites cause even more damage to our citizens' health and communities. As this discussion moves forward, we will have to decide whether the Abandoned Mine Lands program is going to be used for abandoned mine reclamation, as was originally intended, or whether it will continue to be a multi-million dollar slush fund for Wyoming."

In their new endorsement, the PA Audubon Society stressed the importance of mine reclamation, citing our "unique responsibility and cost-effective opportunity to take a leadership role in abandoned mine reclamation, while simultaneously contributing to the survival of imperiled bird populations." The endorsement continued, "We are particularly pleased that you have acknowledged the need to finish the job of repairing the enormous problems that remain in states like Pennsylvania that fueled this country's industrial past. To that end, we wholeheartedly agree with your recommendation to distribute funds to states based upon their historic production."

H.R. 2721, the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Program Extension and Reform Act of 2005, was officially introduced by Peterson and a bipartisan coalition of House Members on Thursday, May 26th.

Gallery of Sound

Gotta go. I've got grandkids coming out of the freakin' walls and I think they got into the sugar or something.