31 October 2005

Quote of the Day

"We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. . ."
~~Edward R. Murrow (1908 - 1965) broadcast journalist

Rosa Parks Makes History Again. . .

I must say that I'm quite impressed and deeply moved by the honours the government has bestowed upon Rosa Parks.


Mourners Pay Homage To Rosa Parks
Thousands of people have been lining up to pay respects to US civil rights icon Rosa Parks, who died last week.

Her body is lying in the building housing the US Congress, a rare honour given usually only to presidents and other eminent political figures.

President Bush ordered flags at home and abroad to be flown at half mast.

Her refusal to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Alabama in 1955 prompted a mass black boycott of buses, organised by Martin Luther King Jr.

Mrs Parks' actions inspired the mass movement which culminated in the 1964 Civil Rights Act and an end to segregation.

Earlier hundreds including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice attended a memorial service in Alabama.

Ms Rice told those gathered: "I can honestly say that without Mrs Parks, I would not be standing here today as secretary of state."

Mrs Parks died at her Detroit home last Tuesday aged 92.


Sunday's memorial was held at the St Paul AME church in Montgomery, where Mrs Parks was once a member.

An additional wing had to be opened to accommodate the large number of mourners.

The governor of Alabama, Bob Riley, said: "I firmly believe God puts different people in different parts of history so great things can happen. I think Rosa Parks is one of those people."

The body of Mrs Parks was then taken to Washington to lie in honour at the US Capitol Rotunda until Monday.

Crowds cheered loudly as the motorcade, led by Parks' hearse and a vintage DC Metro bus, arrived.

President George W Bush and other senior figures paid tribute to her, along with thousands of other mourners.

The coffin was carried up the steps to the Capitol and placed in the centre of the Rotunda, a large circular room below the Capitol's dome.

"Tonight, inspired by her life and leadership, as your free children, we say to Mrs Rosa Parks: Ride on, ride on, ride on in the direction of endless hope to the table of equal justice and eternal peace," said the Reverend Daniel Coughlin, the chaplain of the House of Representatives.

Only 30 people have lain in honour there since 1852, none of them women.

Mrs Parks' body will be flown on Monday to Detroit for burial.

Mrs Parks was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996, and the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation's highest civilian honour, three years later.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/10/31 02:18:34 GMT


Halloween Capital of the World?

I saw this on the History Channel the other night.
Very interesting!

Anoka Minnesota: Halloween Capital of the World

Anoka, Minnesota is believed to be the first city in the United States to put on a Halloween celebration to divert its youngsters from Halloween pranks. When Anokans awoke to find their cows roaming Main Street, their windows soaped and their outhouses tipped over, they decided something had to be done.

Getting Organized

In 1920, George Green and other Anoka civic leaders suggested the idea of a giant celebration. The idea was adopted by the Anoka Commercial Club and the Anoka Kiwanis Club; both giving their full support..In September of that year, a Halloween committee was organized. Working hand in hand were businessmen, teachers from the Anoka public and parochial schools, parents, and students..For weeks before the big event, more than a thousand Anoka school children made plans and costumes for the big event.

Taking It Down Main Street

A parade was scheduled for the evening. Participants included local and neighboring bands, drum corps, the Anoka police and fire departments, the Kiwanis club, the Commercial Club, and the Anoka National Guard; all working together to make the evening a success. Afterward, hundreds of bags of popcorn, candy, peanuts and other treats were given away to the children who marched in the parade. And, everyone was invited to a large bonfire that was staged at Bridge Square. Celebrations have been held every year since 1920 with the exception of 1942 and 1943 when the festivities were cancelled because of World War II.

Taking It To The Capitol

By the 1930s, the festivities had expanded as had the attendance at the parades. There were over 2,000 costumed children marching down Main Street. It was estimated that 20,000 spectators lined the streets to watch this night-time spectacle. In 1937, 12-year-old, Harold Blair, donning a sweater embellished with a Halloween Capital insignia, carried with him to Washington, D.C. a proclamation naming Anoka the Halloween Capital of the World.

Ever-Evolving Celebration

Anoka has always worked to keep a family spirit alive in its Halloween festivities. Activities have included pillow fights, a kangaroo court, fireworks displays, royalty coronations, concerts, dances, window painting contests, house decorating contests, celebrity appearances, costume contests, style shows, story-telling, races and, in the 1960s, a snake dance that took long lines of participants in and out of area businesses and homes.

The Tradition Lives on

Anoka's Halloween celebration continues to be world class. Participation in the night parade and Grand Day parade has grown to include units from all over the midwest. The original concept of having costumed students parade down Main Street continues on as well on the Friday preceding the Grand Day parade. Anoka residents can watch their grandchildren or great grandchildren continue the tradition they started so many years ago.

Button Puts His Foot Right In It...

WTF?!? Is he taking the piss? Does Jenson Button not know what year it is? His is now officially on my Sh*t List, and to think I once fingered him as the possible future of the sport. And to think that it would take a member of the previous racing generation to set him straight.

Let's do hope that Katherine, Danica or Sarah do get the honest opportunity to hand him his own arse on the track someday soon. I want to be there to see that! Wanker!!!


Mansell tells Jense: 'Button it'

Nigel Mansell has slammed Jenson Button after the Brit's recent "stupid" comments about female race driver.

Button angered and amazed many of his fans - female and male - when he controversially slammed women race drivers in this month's FHM magazine.

"One week of the month you wouldn't want to be on the circuit with them, would you?" he told the mag.

"A girl with big boobs would never be comfortable in the car."

"And the mechanics wouldn't concentrate. Can you imagine strapping her in?"

The BAR driver's comments also angered former F1 driver Nigel Mansell, who believes Button needs to learn when to keep his mouth closed.

"When you look at Jenson, having just done his 100th grand prix, I think he gets away with murder at times," he told ITV.

"I don't thank him for the press chasing me around for his stupid remarks about women drivers."

"I think he scored another home goal there. If you can't say the right things, say nothing."

Bu$h: SCOTUS 2.0...?

Hey, here's a novel idea, let's nominate ajudge to be a Supreme Court Justice!

Don't buy into to the smiling mug, this one is a true legal predator. Beware, be wary. . .


Bush 'Picks Judge For Top Court'
President George W Bush will nominate federal appeals court judge Samuel Alito to the US Supreme Court on Monday, US media reports say.

Mr Alito has a long judicial record and is seen as a staunch conservative.

Mr Bush's first choice, Harriet Miers, withdrew following opposition from both Democrats and conservative Republicans.

The new nomination comes at a tense time for the White House, with a senior aide to the vice-president having been indicted in connection with a CIA leak.

If he is appointed to the Supreme Court, the 55-year-old Mr Alito would take the place of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who is seen as holding a key swing vote.

The nomination is expected officially to be announced at 1300 GMT.

Once nominated by a US president, candidates must be approved by the Senate before they can take a seat on the nine-member Supreme Court bench.

The BBC's Justin Webb in Washington says the choice of Mr Alito is likely to prove highly controversial.

As a supporter of restricting, if not entirely abolishing, the constitutional right of American women to have abortions, Mr Alito's selection would galvanise the conservative base of Mr Bush's Republican party but horrify the US Left.

If he gets to the Supreme Court, he will be in a position to join forces with other social conservatives to reshape the culture of the nation, our correspondent adds.

Republican Senator John Cornyn has praised Mr Alito as a "man of outstanding character, who is deeply committed to public service", the Reuters news agency reports.

But Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid told CNN on Sunday that a nomination for Mr Alito would "create a lot of problems".

Mr Reid and other Democrats urged the president to pick a consensus candidate rather than bowing to pressure from conservative Republicans.

Immense power

Mr Alito is considered a quiet and reserved member of the federal appeals courts, sitting on the Third Circuit in Philadelphia.

From New Jersey and of Italian descent, he was appointed to the bench in 1990 by the first President George Bush.

He is known for consistently conservative judgements, leading commentators to compare him to current Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

The justices of the Supreme Court have immense power and are appointed until they die, resign or are impeached.

They can overrule politicians and declare decisions of the president unconstitutional.

In the near future, the court is expected to consider some of America's most bitterly contested social issues, including assisted suicide, abortion, same-sex marriage, human cloning and campaign finance law.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/10/31 13:01:22 GMT


30 October 2005

2006 Tour de France

Only 244 shopping days left!
I'm not terribly happy to see the TTT left out, but glad to know it's not gone for good.

My money's on Ullrich at this point in time...


BBC Tour de France Itinerary Unveiled
The itinerary for the 2006 Tour de France includes 18 climbs, including a stage on the infamous Alpe d'Huez.

The team time trial is axed and there will be three individual time trials, one on the eve of the final stage.

The 1-23 July race will begin in Strasbourg, head towards Brittany and then on to the Pyrenees.

The race could be decided in week three when the riders tackle Alpe d'Huez on 18 July before a finish at the top of La Toussuire ski resort the next day.

Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc said: "It is a classical, well-balanced course. There are five wonderful mountain stages.

"It is a change of era. A period of long domination is over. There will be [Jan] Ullrich and [Ivan] Basso, and others coming through as well. The path is open. It is an exciting time."

The tour will also visit Pla de Beret, on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees, for the first time, for a mountain-top finish.

Strasbourg beat a number of candidates, including London, to host the opening stage and was chosen to coincide with the 2006 World Cup finals in nearby Germany.

Next year will see a different winner after Lance Armstrong retired following his seventh straight victory this year.

Germany's 1997 winner Jan Ullrich, Italians Ivan Basso and Gilberto Simoni and Spain's Alejandro Valverde are among the riders hoping to succeed the American as the champion.

Basso's Team CSC director, 1996 Tour winner Bjarne Riis, said the new course favoured Ullrich.

"It's a nice Tour for Ullrich I think," Riis said. "Two nice long time trials, and not so hard in the beginning. Basso won't lose a lot [in the time trials], but he'll be competing against Ullrich."

Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc, who steps down after next year's race, said Basso was likely to wear the number one jersey because he finished second last year. Ullrich was third.

Meanwhile, Prudhomme said the decision to scrap the team time trial is a temporary decision due to scheduling difficulties, and that the event will return either in 2007 or 2008.

2006 Tour de France itinerary (1-23 July)

1 July: Prologue in Strasbourg - 7 km
2 July: 1st stage - Strasbourg - Strasbourg - 183 km
3 July: 2nd stage - Obernai - Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg) - 223 km
4 July: 3rd stage - Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg) - Valkenburg (Netherlands) - 216 km
5 July: 4th stage - Huy (Belgium) - Saint-Quentin - 215 km
6 July: 5th stage - Beauvais - Caen - 219 km
7 July: 6th stage - Lisieux - Vitre - 184 km
8 July: 7th stage - Saint-Gregoire - Rennes (individual time trial) - 52 km
9 July: 8th stage - Saint-Meen-le-Grand - Lorient - 177 km
10 July: Rest day in Bordeaux
11 July: 9th stage - Bordeaux - Dax - 170 km
12 July: 10th stage - Cambo-les-Bains - Pau - 193 km
13 July: 11th stage - Tarbes - Val d'Aran, Pla-de-Beret (Spain) 208 km
14 July: 12th stage - Luchon - Carcassonne - 211 km
15 July: 13th stage - Beziers - Montelimar - 231 km
16 July: 14th stage - Montelimar - Gap - 181 km
17 July: Rest day in Gap
18 July: 15th stage - Gap - L'Alpe d'Huez - 187 km
19 July: 16th stage - Le Bourg d'Oisans - La Toussuire - 182 km
20 July: 17th stage - Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne - Morzine - 199 km
21 July: 18th stage - Morzine - Macon - 193 km
22 July: 19th stage - Le Creusot - Montceau-les-Mines (individual time trial) - 56 km
23 July: 20th stage - Antony - Paris (Champs-Elysées) - 152 km

Story from BBC SPORT:

Published: 2005/10/27 11:17:41 GMT


29 October 2005

The Hurricane Hit Parade Continues...

This year I've been quite happy to be surrounded by Bluegrass and mountains!


Hurricane Beta hits the Caribbean
Tropical Storm Beta has been upgraded to a hurricane as it hits the Colombian island of Providencia.

The US National Hurricane Center said maximum sustained winds had increased to nearly 75mph (120 km/h) - making it a Category One hurricane.

The hurricane is expected to hit Central America as a Category Two storm. Thousands of Nicaraguans are being evacuated.

Beta is the 13th hurricane of the Atlantic season - a record.

On the mountainous Caribbean island of Providencia, Beta's high winds ripped the roofs from low-lying wooden homes while residents took refuge in brick shelters built on high ground.

All the islanders were believed to be safe but many homes had been damaged, Capt German Collazos, chief of ports, told the Associated Press news agency.


Beta is expected to make landfall on Nicaragua's border with Honduras on Sunday morning.

Both countries have issued hurricane warnings.

Strong winds and heavy rain have already begun hitting the Nicaraguan coastal town of Puerto Cabezas, about 250 miles (400km) north-east of the capital Managua.

Up to 8,000 residents of low-lying coastal communities, mainly Miskito Indians, are being moved to schools and other temporary shelters in the town.

Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolanos said damage to property was unavoidable, adding: "The important thing is to save lives."

In Honduras, officials have set up shelters, and sent food and other supplies to areas that might be affected by the storm.

Storm names exhausted

This hurricane season has seen 23 named storms, more than at any point since record-keeping began in 1851. The previous record of 21 was set in 1933.

Last week Tropical Storm Alpha was named as it formed - the first time a letter from the Greek alphabet has been used because the list of storm names has been exhausted.

Alpha, which struck earlier this week, killed 26 people in the Caribbean and caused flooding and mudslides in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. It has now subsided.

Earlier this month, hundreds of people were killed in Guatemala by mudslides triggered by Hurricane Stan.

Meanwhile, residents in Florida are continuing with the clear-up following Hurricane Wilma last weekend.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially ends on 30 November.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/10/29 07:59:16 GMT


28 October 2005

Another One Bites the Dust...

Just as my brother David predicted. Grab yourself a snack, get comfortable, settle in and enjoy the Implosion.

The Bu$h Administration's Teflon suits are starting to look a bit sad and frayed...


Cheney Aide Resigns Over CIA leak
A top aide to the US vice-president has resigned after being charged with perjury over an investigation into the unmasking of a covert CIA agent.

Lewis Libby, chief-of-staff to Dick Cheney, was also charged with obstruction of justice and making false statements to the federal grand jury.

Presidential adviser Karl Rove appears to have escaped immediate indictment.

The identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame - whose husband criticised the Iraq war - was leaked to a US reporter in 2003.

Revealing the identity of a covert agent is a federal offence.

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has charged Mr Libby on five counts including obstruction of justice, perjury and providing false statements to the two-year inquiry.

He will hold a news conference at 1800 GMT giving details of his investigation.

The BBC's Washington correspondent, Matt Frei, says the announcement is mixed news for the president.

He can take some comfort in the fact that his own right-hand man, Karl Rove, has for now escaped prosecution - even if he remains under investigation for the next six months.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/10/28 17:38:44 GMT


Rosa Parks: First Again...

A big thanks to my brother David for the heads-up on this story!

It is most fitting that she should received this honour, for she was a soldier. She led the charge and fought bravely in the War for Justice and Equality for All...


Rosa Parks Set to 'Lie in Honour'
The body of civil rights icon Rosa Parks is set to lie in honour in the US Capitol Rotunda - the first time that a woman has received the tribute.

The US Senate voted on Thursday to allow the move and Congress is set to approve the decision on Friday.

The text of the Senate resolution said that the honour should allow US citizens "to pay their last respects to this great American."

Ms Parks died at her Detroit home on Tuesday at the age of 92.

Her 1955 refusal to give up her seat to a white man on a bus prompted a mass black boycott of buses, organised by Baptist minister Martin Luther King Jr.

Ms Parks' actions inspired the mass movement which culminated in the 1964 Civil Rights Act and an end to segregation.

'Brave act'

Lying in honour is a tribute usually reserved for presidents and soldiers.

Presidents Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, John F Kennedy are among the US leaders to have received the honour.

World War II General Douglas MacArthur and the bodies of several unknown soldiers have also been given the tribute.

"Rosa Parks' brave and simple act ignited a movement that rewove America's social fabric," Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said.

"Allowing Mrs Parks to lie in honour here is a testament to the impact of her life on both our nation's history and future."

Her remains will lie in the Capitol Rotunda on Sunday and Monday.

Ms Parks was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996, and the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation's highest civilian honour, three years later.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/10/28 11:21:42 GMT


27 October 2005

Gaza: "One Big Prison?"

Most interesting...


Judge Israel's Deeds, Not Words
Monday, October 10, 2005
Commentary by Norman G. Finkelstein

On the night of August 24, 2005, Israeli troops shot dead three teenage boys and two adults in a West Bank Palestinian refugee camp. An army communique claimed the five were terrorists, killed after opening fire on the soldiers. An investigation by Israel's leading human rights organization, B'Tselem, and its leading newspaper, Haaretz, found, however, that the teenagers were unarmed and had no connection with any terrorist organizations, while neither of the two adults was armed or wanted by the Israelis.

In Israel, as elsewhere, it's prudent to treat official pronouncements with skepticism. This is especially so when it comes to the "peace process."

Israel's announcement that it would withdraw from the Gaza Strip won high praise in the American media as a major step toward ending the occupation of Palestinian land. Human rights organizations and academic specialists were less sanguine, however.

In a recent study entitled One Big Prison, B'Tselem observes that the crippling economic arrangements Israel has imposed on Gaza will remain in effect. In addition, Israel will continue to maintain absolute control over Gaza's land borders, coastline and airspace, and the Israeli Army will continue to operate in Gaza. "So long as these methods of control remain in Israeli hands," it concludes, "Israel's claim of an 'end of the occupation' is questionable."

The respected organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) is yet more emphatic that evacuating troops and Jewish settlements from inside Gaza will not end the occupation: "Whether the Israeli Army is inside Gaza or redeployed around its periphery, and restricting entrance and exit, it remains in control." The world's leading authority on the Gaza Strip, Sara Roy of Harvard University, predicts that Gaza will remain "an imprisoned enclave," while its economy, still totally dependent on Israel after disengagement and in shambles after decades of deliberately ruinous policies by Israel, will actually deteriorate. This conclusion is echoed by the World Bank, which forecasts that, if Israel seals Gaza's borders or curtails its utilities, the disengagement plan will "create worse hardship than is seen today."

Matters are scarcely better in the West Bank. Although Israel has announced its intention to dismantle four of the 120 settlements there, this decision pales beside its relentless annexation of wide swathes of the West Bank.

A recent UN report finds that the wall Israel is constructing encroaches deeply into Palestinian territory, resulting in the isolation of tens of thousands of Palestinians and the confiscation of fully 10 percent of West Bank land, "including the most fertile areas in the West Bank."

According to Roy, Palestinians will have access to only half the West Bank once the wall is complete, "deepening the dispossession and isolation of Palestinian communities."

Israel proclaims that it is building the wall for "security" reasons, but human rights organizations disagree. Its real purpose, they suggest, is "to make contiguous with Israel illegal civilian settlements" (HRW) and "to facilitate their future annexation into Israel" (B'Tselem).

In a landmark July 2004 decision on the wall, the International Court of Justice unanimously agreed that establishment of these Jewish settlements "violates" (U.S. Judge Buergenthal) the Geneva Convention, and overwhelmingly ruled that construction of the wall was "contrary to international law."

Yet, nowhere have official Israeli words about peace been more dramatically belied by bitter deeds than in Jerusalem.

In a recent report entitled "The Jerusalem Powder Keg," the authoritative International Crisis Group finds that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon "risks choking off Arab East Jerusalem by further fragmenting it and surrounding it with Jewish neighborhoods/settlements." Hundreds of thousands of Arab Jerusalemites will be isolated from the West Bank and placed under stricter Israeli control inside the city's new borders, while tens of thousands of Arab Jerusalemites will be stranded on the outside and cut off from their city.

In the meantime Israeli plans, well under way, to incorporate far-flung illegal Jewish settlements into Jerusalem "would go close to cutting the West Bank into two."

Israeli annexationist policies in and around Jerusalem, according to Crisis Group, will have "arguably devastating consequences," not least because "it remains virtually impossible to conceive of a Palestinian state without its capital in Jerusalem."

Although Sharon gives lip-service to a two-state settlement, the actions of the Israeli government, Crisis Group concludes, "are at war with any viable two-state solution and will not bolster Israel's security; in fact, they will undermine it, weakening Palestinian pragmatists, ... and sowing the seeds of growing radicalization."

Those committed to a just and lasting peace in the Israel-Palestine conflict would do well to pay closer attention to Israeli deeds than to the official words accompanying them.

Norman G. Finkelstein teaches at DePaul University in Chicago. His latest book is "Beyond Chutzpah: On the misuse of anti-Semitism and the abuse of history." This commentary, rejected by several U.S. newspapers, is reprinted by permission.

The Last Laugh...

Yes, I'm quite old enough to remember the Giant...


Voice of Jolly Green Giant Dies
The American entertainer whose voice boomed out "Ho, ho, ho" in the Jolly Green Giant vegetable adverts for decades has died at the age of 80.

Elmer Dresslar, originally from Kansas, died of cancer, his daughter announced in California where he had been living since his retirement.

Dresslar periodically re-recorded the famous jingle and sang a fresh "Ho, Ho, Ho" about 10 years ago.

"If nothing else, it put my sister and I through college," said daughter Teri.

"He never got tired of it," she added.

The phrase, one of the most distinctive taglines in advertising history, was created by Leo Burnett.

A spokeswoman for General Mills, the owner of the Green Giant Company, said Dresslar had been "the most consistent and most frequent voice of the Jolly Green Giant over the years - the one consumers are going to recognise".

However, Dresslar never acted the Giant in TV commercials, despite being over 6ft (1.82m) tall.

The figure viewers saw on screen was Keith Wegeman, an Olympic ski jumper.

A navy veteran, Dresslar studied voice in Chicago in the 1950s and by the following decade had carved out a career singing in clubs, on television and in advertising jingles, the Associated Press news agency notes.

He recorded 15 albums with The Singers Unlimited jazz group and appeared on the CBS television show In Town Tonight from 1955 to 1960.

Other jingles he recorded advertised Rice Krispies cereal, Amoco oil, Dinty Moore canned beef stew and Marlboro cigarettes.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/10/27 01:29:13 GMT


"US can hardly be proud..."

Camp X-Ray is starting to stink like a concentration camp, enit?


Judge Rules On Guantanamo Strike
Lawyers for scores of terror suspects on hunger strike at the Guantanamo Bay jail must be told before detainees are force-fed, says a US federal judge.

District Court Judge Gladys Kessler also ordered the US government to give medical records going back a week before such feedings take place.

She said the US "can hardly be proud" of its conduct if it was true that the jail had been using brutal methods.

The US denies using inhuman treatment of foreign suspects in its Cuba prison.

The Pentagon says 26 out of some 500 prisoners are on hunger strike that started in August, but one human rights group puts the figure at more than 200.

Most of prisoners at the US naval base in southern Cuba have been held for more than three years without being charged.

'Deeply troubling'

Judge Kessler said the US must notify the lawyers at least 24 hours before force feedings begin and also provide information at least weekly until suspects are no longer being fed by force.

She acted after the lawyers representing about a dozen of Guantanamo detainees made an emergency petition, expressing concerns over the health of their clients

The judge spoke of "deeply troubling" allegations of forced feedings in which US jail personnel were accused of inserting thick tubes through the detainees' noses and into their stomachs without anaesthesia or sedatives.

"If the allegations are true - and they are all explicitly, specifically and vigorously denied by the government - they describe the conduct of which the United States can hardly be proud," the judge wrote.

However, she denied the lawyers' request for immediate telephone access to their clients.

The ruling affected a group of detainees from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Afghanistan.

US says 26 detainees on hunger strike; pressure group Reprieve says about 150
US says hunger strikers are "clinically stable"; Reprieve says some are in "grave peril"
US denies Reprieve's claims force-feeding is being used deliberately to harm detainees
US says only doctors and qualified nurses carry out the procedure; Reprieve says guards do too
US says detainees are being treated in accordance with Geneva Conventions; Reprieve says there are beatings and incidents of the Koran being disrespected

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/10/27 02:01:07 GMT


NOLA 2005: Aktion T 4...?

Someting stinks here and it ain't the rancid floodwaters...


Medics In Hurricane Deaths Probe
US prosecutors have called dozens of hospital staff to give evidence over claims of a euthanasia policy in dealing with Hurricane Katrina victims.

A total of 73 staff at New Orleans' Memorial Hospital were issued with the subpoenas, a spokeswoman for Louisiana's attorney general said.

Those called include doctors, nurses, and support staff.

A spokesman for Tenet Healthcare Corporation, the hospital's owner, said it was co-operating with investigators.

Previously, Tenet said that 34 patients had died after the hospital was cut off by flood waters, and 24 of those had been in a facility on the hospital grounds run by a separate company.

In all, more than 970 people are known to have died in the city and the surrounding state of Louisiana, and more than 200 in neighbouring Mississippi.

Legal rights

Louisiana attorney general's office said on Tuesday it was investigating the deaths of more than 200 people in total at nursing homes and hospitals during and after the hurricane.

Allegations range from negligence to euthanasia, spokeswoman Kris Wartelle told Reuters news agency, adding that many were likely to be unsubstantiated.

However, on Wednesday prosecutors issued the 73 summonses "for all levels of personnel" at Memorial Hospital.

"All we can say is that we had to issue the subpoenas to get those people to talk to us," Ms Wartelle said.

Two weeks ago Tenet's assistant general counsel, Audrey Andrews, sent out a memo detailing the legal rights of staff and pointing out that employees could decide whether or not they wanted to be interviewed.

The Memorial Hospital denied any attempt to dissuade people from coming forward.

"We have never discouraged any employee from working with the Louisiana attorney-general's office," CNN quoted a spokesman as saying.

Two nursing home owners were charged with manslaughter in September over the deaths of 34 people at St Rita's home.

Mable Mangano and Salvador Mangano Sr were accused of ignoring mandatory orders to evacuate residents.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/10/27 11:59:30 GMT


Stirring the Pot?

Rule #1: Don't shit where you eat (or live)!
Rule #2: Don't tug on Superman's cape!
Rule #3: Don't let your mouth write checks your ass can't pay for!

Man, you have managed to f*ck all three of these in one shot.

Mind you, I am no fan of Israel's policies and practices regarding the Arab and Islamic world, but, I do know stupid when I hear it or read it. Mr Ahmadinejad's statement has done neither his country, nor his cause, any favours. Does he not realize that Bu$h is already has Iran in the crosshairs and already attempting to compute a firing solution?


Iran Leader's Comments Condemned
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's call for Israel to be "wiped off the map" has drawn widespread condemnation from Israel, Europe and North America.

The UK, France, Spain and Canada are summoning Iranian diplomats to demand an explanation for the remark.

Israel's Vice-Prime Minister Shimon Peres called for Iran to be expelled from the United Nations.

The White House said the comment showed the US was right to be concerned about Iran's nuclear programme.

Washington suspects Tehran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, but Iran says its programme is for peaceful purposes only.

Mr Ahmadinejad made his comments at a conference in Tehran entitled The World without Zionism, the official Irna news agency reported.

Western governments are bound to see it as further proof that Iran's hardline president is disinclined to curb his country's controversial nuclear programme, the BBC's diplomatic correspondent Bridget Kendall says.

They may hope that a co-ordinated diplomatic protest will help step up the pressure, she says.

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report last month said questions about Iran's nuclear programme remained unanswered, despite an intensive investigation.

The UK, France, Germany and the US are pressing Iran to provide more access to its nuclear plans.


The UK's Foreign Office described the comments as "deeply disturbing and sickening".

"We have seen in Israel today the horrible reality of the violence he (Mr Ahmadinejad) is praising," a spokesman said, referring to a Palestinian suicide attack on Wednesday in the Israeli town of Hadera that killed five people and injured up to 30 others.

Mr Peres said the remark "contravenes the United Nations charter and is tantamount to a crime against humanity.

"We must submit a clear-cut request to the UN Secretary General and the Security Council to obtain Iran's expulsion from the United Nations," he said in an open letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said his country regarded Iran as "a clear and present danger".

"If these comments are true, they are unacceptable. I condemn them with the greatest firmness," French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Mr Ahmadinejad's opinion "underscores the concerns we have about Iran's nuclear operations".

Spain, Canada and Germany also condemned Mr Ahmadihejad's comments.

'World oppressor'

Mr Ahmadinejad told some 3,000 students in Tehran that Israel's establishment was "a move by the world oppressor (the West) against the Islamic world".

Referring to Iran's late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Mr Ahmadinejad said: "As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map."

This is not believed to be the first time a senior Iranian leader has made such comments. In 2001, former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani called for a Muslim state to annihilate Israel with a nuclear strike.

Such calls are regular slogans at anti-Israeli or anti-US rallies.

Mr Ahmadinejad warned leaders of Muslim nations who recognised the state of Israel that they "face the wrath of their own people".

He added: "Anyone who signs a treaty which recognises the entity of Israel means he has signed the surrender of the Muslim world."

Mr Ahmadinejad came to power earlier this year, replacing Mohammad Khatami, a reformist who attempted to improve Iran's relations with the West.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/10/27 09:12:27 GMT


26 October 2005

Anyone Up For A Good Old Fashioned Show Trial?

Well, once again (are we really surprised?), the Bu$h Administration has wiped it's ass with international treaty laws. Why in the bloody hell are we wasting time, f*cking about with this poor schmuck while Bin Laden (remember him?) and the leadership of Al Queda remain free and loose? Oh shit! I forgot, we're supposed to be fooled into thinking that this will make us safer!

Mr. Bu$h should be quite careful about which precidents he chooses to set. You never know when some Good Citizen of the World may decide to extradite his, Chenney's and Rumsfeld's happy asses to Belgium or to The Hague to stand trial for their crimes against humanity...


Afghan 'Drug Lord' Handed To US
An alleged drug lord with reported links to the Taleban has become the first Afghan citizen to be extradited to the US, prosecutors in New York say.

Baz Mohammad is accused of heading an international cartel responsible for taking more than $25m (£14m) worth of heroin into the US and other countries.

He is alleged to have said that selling heroin in the US was an act of "jihad", or holy war, against America.

Mr Mohammad, 47, says he is innocent. He faces life in prison if convicted.

The BBC's Andrew North in Kabul says western officials hope Mr Mohammad's case will set a precedent, encouraging the Afghan government to support other extraditions of suspected drug traffickers.

He says the Afghan government has faced criticism over the past few years that it is not prepared to tackle the bigger players in the illegal trade, many of whom have government positions.

'Clear message'

Mr Mohammad was extradited from Afghanistan late last week, US federal prosecutors announced on Monday.

He is accused on two counts of conspiring to violate US narcotics laws since 1990.

According to an indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court, Mr Mohammad controlled opium fields in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province, processed the opium into heroin and shipped it into the US.

He is also alleged to have told members of his organisation that "selling heroin in the US was a jihad because they took the Americans' money and at the same time the heroin they sold was killing them".

The prosecution believes Mr Mohammad had close links to the Taleban regime that was ousted from power during the US-led invasion in 2001.

"The extradition... is an historic step in our work with the Afghan people to end the dual threat of narco-terrorism," said US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Mr Gonzales said the move also "sends a clear message to drug lords around the world: those who seek to destroy American lives will be brought to justice".


Mr Mohammad was arrested by Afghan authorities in the south of the country in January, sources have told the BBC.

He was extradited from Afghanistan on 21 October, and was in Afghan custody between his arrest and departure from the country.

The arrest was at the request of the US government, a western official told the BBC, based on information from the US government's Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

He said Baz Mohammad was believed to have close ties to another suspected Afghan drugs trafficker, Bashir Noorzai, who was arrested in America in April. Noorzai is accused of being one of the "kingpins" of the Afghan heroin trade.

At his arraignment, Mr Mohammad pleaded not guilty to all charges. "I am innocent," he said through a translator.

A further hearing is scheduled on 14 November.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/10/25 13:18:05 GMT


Two Thousand. . .

I do think it's most interesting that the domestic American media has all but ignored this story. Thank God for the BBC...


Death Toll an Awkward Yardstick on Iraq
By Matthew Davis
BBC News, Washington

Another death, another grim milestone for US forces in Iraq.

First it was 100, then 1,000, now 2,000 killed in action for a goal still elusive two-and-a-half years after the invasion.

Whether a landmark or - as the Pentagon says - "an artificial mark on the wall", the latest casualty count is a reminder of the hard road still ahead in Iraq - and at home.

It was supposed to be so easy.

The same images are still fresh in the mind: the triumphant toppling of Saddam's statue, President George W Bush flying in to declare "Mission accomplished", a defiant president urging soldiers, "Bring them on".

But now flagging public support for the mission, and the president, is facing another psychological test.

War critics are using the occasion to advance their cause.


Candlelight vigils are planned across the states. Activists will besiege the gates of the White House. Television ads will pose the question, "How many more?"

In anticipation of the barrage of criticism, the White House is trying to put the losses into perspective, talking up the success of Iraq's constitutional referendum - and standing firm on the mission.

On Tuesday, Mr Bush again portrayed the conflict in Iraq as the central front of the war on terror, saying winning it was the best way to stop terrorists striking America again.

The troops deserved "unwavering commitment to the mission and a clear strategy for victory", he told a luncheon for military spouses at a US air base.

But he also warned that progress would require "more sacrifice, more time and more resolve".

Positive signs

Cold military logic dictates that current casualty rates pose little threat to the viability of US operations in Iraq.

The losses are tragic, but sustainable, and do not compare to the 58,000 US deaths in Vietnam, or the 37,000 troops killed in Korea.

Officials point to the relatively low level of violence in the three-day lockdown of Iraq during the constitutional referendum as a positive sign.

It is hoped that political progress will take its own toll on the power and pull of the insurgency. Yet the bombings continue and US casualty rates show little sign of slowing.

Military officials have concerns about new trends in the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) used by insurgents.

US forces have now seen repeated uses of "explosively formed projectiles" able to pierce through armoured vehicles, posing a more deadly threat to soldiers.

Meanwhile, a leading military think tank said continuing violence and instability was likely to mean US troops would probably have to remain in Iraq until well after the US presidential elections in 2008.

"We're likely to see continued bloodshed and instability inside Iraq," said Patrick Cronin, director of studies at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

"This is a long-term proposition, and I would expect the next US administration to have forces inside Iraq at a fairly large number for some years to come."

Poll concerns

There are now about 159,000 US troops in Iraq. While 2,000 soldiers have died since March 2003, a further 15,000 have been wounded.

Such sacrifices are taking a toll on public opinion.

For the first time, a majority of Americans believe that the Iraq war was the "wrong thing to do", according to a new poll in the Wall Street journal newspaper.

Some 53% of those surveyed said they felt taking military action against Iraq was the wrong move, against 34% who thought it was correct.

Meanwhile, Mr Bush's personal popularity is also at an all-time low.

The commander-in-chief is standing firm on the Iraq mission, but events may send the political costs of the war even higher.

The most immediate threat is the culmination of the investigation into the leaking of a CIA agent's identity, the central issue of which harks back to the justifications used for the Iraq war.

If anyone in the administration is indicted it will revive an uncomfortable debate.

Measures of progress on the ground are fast needed to balance the count of lost lives that for some has again become a gauge of the president's wisdom in deciding to invade.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/10/25 20:50:53 GMT


Quote of the Day

"The death of an assumption always breaks your heart..."

~~Poppy Z. Brite,author

Indigenous Genocide 2.0: Curse of the Blood Diamond...

It's the same story of How the West Was Lost. This time it's the San instead of the Lakota, being killed over diamonds in the Kalihari instead of gold in the Paha Sapa. Once again, the Indigenous are treated as expendable and disposable.

How very very sad...


The Shots That Killed Democracy
Miriam Ross - Survival International
Oct 22, 2005

NOTE FROM RAY: Yesterday's post was about the Native American author Alvin Josephy, who wrote the native history called "500 Nations". Today is a report of another First Nation on another continent, Africa. If you are native, the story will sound more like a story from the Wild West and the Gold Rush Fever, except in this case, instead of gold, it is all about diamonds. I don't know what can be done to help the Bushman people, but they do deserve to have their story heard, and they do need our prayers. Thanks for listening.

Three Bushmen, including one child, have been shot and wounded in recent days by Botswana police during incidents designed to intimidate the Bushmen still surviving inside the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and force them out once and for all.

Kekailwe (aged 7) was shot in the stomach as the police arrested his father when he refused to let them search his hut without a warrant. In a separate incident, Kesodilo Ntwayamoga was shot from behind in each leg as he stood with both hands raised. Witnesses confirmed that police were trying to force him to admit to hunting.

In the third incident, Mokgakalaga Gaoberekwe was shot in the jaw on 24 September as he and others attempted to enter the Game Reserve to take water and food to their families. He is badly wounded and still recovering in hospital.

The Bushmen party, including several babies and children, was attacked by heavily armed police and soldiers under the personal command of Sydney Pilane, the attorney acting for the government in the high court case in which the Bushmen are claiming rights to their ancestral land. The police fired tear-gas and bullets at the unarmed Bushmen. Many were beaten and imprisoned for several days. The group included the 2005 alternative Nobel prize-winner, Roy Sesana who was unaware that he and his Bushman organization had won the award. The Bushmen have now been charged with 'unlawful assembly'.

Police have been trying to prevent Bushmen from returning to their reserve. The Bushmen in the reserve are forbidden to hunt and gather, have had their water supply cut off, and are now threatened with starvation after the government claimed their goats were diseased (a claim rubbished by a group of eminent international vets). Officials forcibly removed all goats from the reserve earlier this week.

Today, a small group of Bushmen emerged after evading the police who had surrounded their huts and walking for three days through the drought-stricken desert. Kangotla Kanyo said today, 'the others and I came out of the reserve to tell the outside world that we are really suffering with thirst and hunger. The police are camped at our settlement and we are not allowed to gather or dig anything to eat. The policeman called Dibuile told us, 'If you die, the government doesn't care. This is the time to show you that you are nothing.' The police said that we have to suffer thirst and hunger so that we will leave the reserve.'

Officials told the Bushmen in 2002 that they had to abandon their land because diamonds had been discovered there. All Botswana's diamond mines are run by De Beers, which retains rights to a large deposit in the reserve.

Stephen Corry, Survival's director, said today, 'Botswana's President Mogae has drawn a veil across the great sand-face of the Kalahari so that his henchmen can bully the Bushmen in secrecy. But the veil has not muffled the shots which spilled the blood of a child and two unarmed men guilty of wanting to live in peace on their ancient land. These shots - ordered by a lawyer - have killed all pretence of a democratic Botswana. People who care about the Bushmen should not support this regime by buying De Beers's diamonds or by holidaying there. These diamonds are bought with the blood of the Bushmen.'

For further information, please contact Miriam Ross on +44 20 7687 8734 or email mr@survival-international.org

To see this press release online go to: http://www.survival-international.org/news.php?id=1076

25 October 2005

Rosa Parks (1913 - 2005)

Along with Leonard Peltier, Rosa Parks was, and remains, a huge inspiration for my activism. That one, simple, small act of defiance, set loose a landslide of Justice that has yet to be silenced. She is a veteran of the "Good Just War" known as the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, let noone doubt her bravery...

We give thanks to the Creator for visiting her upon our lives.
May she aways walk in Beauty and Peace...


Obituary: Rosa Parks
It was a small act of defiance, but Rosa Parks' refusal, as a black woman, to give up her bus seat to a white man, would change the course of American history.

On 1 December 1955, the 42-year-old seamstress, and member of the Montgomery chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), was sitting on a bus when a white man demanded to take her seat.

"Are you going to stand up?" the bus driver, James Blake, asked.

"No," she answered.

"Well, by God," the driver replied, "I'm going to have you arrested."

"You may do that," Mrs Parks responded.

At that time, the southern states' rigid segregation laws, which had been in force since the end of the Civil War in 1865, demanded separation of the races on buses, in restaurants and other public areas.

Huge legacy

Even in the North, generally regarded as liberal, blacks were barred, by law, from many jobs and neighbourhoods.

Found guilty of breaking the law which required black people to give up their bus seats to whites, Rosa Parks was fined $14.

Mrs Parks was not the first person to defy the law. Two black women, Claudette Colvin and Mary Louise Smith, had already been arrested for the same offence.

It was a local civil rights leader, ED Nixon, who decided to give Rosa Parks his backing as a standard-bearer of the civil rights movement.

As he said later: "Mrs Parks was a married woman, she was morally clean, and she had fairly good academic training...

"I would probably have examined a dozen more (cases) before I got there, if Rosa Parks hadn't come along, before I found the right one."

'Like any other day'

Her arrest led to a 381-day boycott of the Montgomery bus system, organized by a then unknown Baptist minister, one Reverend Martin Luther King.

This spawned the mass movement which culminated in the 1964 Civil Rights Act and an end to segregation.

"At the time I was arrested I had no idea it would turn into this," Mrs Parks recalled. "It was just a day like any other day. The only thing that made it significant was that the masses of the people joined in."

She was born Rosa Louise McCauley on 4 February, 1913, in Tuskegee, Alabama. Family illness interrupted her high school education, but she graduated from the all-African American Booker T Washington High School in 1928, and attended Alabama State College in Montgomery for a short time.

After marrying Raymond Parks in 1932, she became involved in the NAACP, where she gained a reputation as a militant and a feminist and was the driving force in campaigns to encourage black voter registration.

But Rosa Parks' fame brought its own burdens. Unable to find work in Alabama, and after a number of threats had been made against her, she and her husband moved to Detroit, where a street and a school were named after her.

From 1965 until her retirement in 1988, she worked as an aide to Congressman John Conyers. Widowed in 1977, she founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development a decade later, to develop leadership among Detroit's young people.

But she later became worried that younger black people were in danger of taking their rights for granted, saying that older African-Americans "have tried to shield young people from what we have suffered. And in so doing, we seem to have a more complacent attitude.

"We must double and redouble our efforts to try to say to our youth, to try to give them an inspiration, an incentive and the will to study our heritage and to know what it means to be black in America today."

In 1996, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom before being awarded the United States' highest civilian honour, the Congressional Gold Medal, in 1999.

Beyond this, Rosa Parks was an admirer of Malcolm X, a high-profile campaigner against apartheid in South Africa and an outspoken critic of continuing sexism in the civil rights movement.

"I am leaving this legacy to all of you," she said in 1988, "to bring peace, justice, equality, love and a fulfilment of what our lives should be.

"Without vision, the people will perish, and without courage and inspiration, dreams will die - the dream of freedom and peace."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/10/25 11:13:08 GMT


18 October 2005

10.October 2005: Native American Day!

At long last!


Native American Day
© Indian Country Today October 17, 2005. All Rights Reserved
Posted: October 17, 2005
by: David Melmer / Indian Country Today

CRAZY HORSE, S.D. - Native American Day has replaced Columbus Day in South Dakota, observed this year on Oct. 10, and reconciliation and education were the focal points of a celebration of American Indian culture at Crazy Horse Memorial.

Two cultures - one ancient; the other relatively new - look at stars in different ways but with a similar conclusion, as was borne out during the celebration's program.

Phillip Whiteman Jr., Northern Cheyenne, said he thought of what his grandfather told him about the stars as he listened to featured speaker and astrophysicist Theodore Gull, of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

''The Cheyenne people are known as Spirit Seekers and came from other planets and from Mother Earth. The Creator shared stories with us to give us direction, to keep Mother Earth alive. Mother Earth goes through a cleansing. And I think the hurricanes are a way for Mother Earth to cleanse.''

Gull said that exploding stars emit minerals not originally found on Earth. The human body is made up of those minerals, and the exploding stars spread them around.

American Indian culture is celebrated in a spirit of reconciliation on Native American Day; not as a tribute to the so-called ''discoverer of the Americas,'' but to the indigenous people who live on the continents today. Education plays a very important part in the understanding of the cultures to achieve the goal of reconciliation.

Students from more than 13 tribes, and non-Indian students from local schools, engaged in educational activities a complementary buffalo stew lunch and entertainment. In all, nearly 1,000 students, adults and teachers from various schools statewide attended the event.

Alicia Robertson, Navajo, performed Navajo songs and the Bad Nation drum group provided Lakota songs.

Oglala Lakota elder Nellie Two Bulls, a perennial participant in Native American Day festivities, told stories and sang the Lakota Flag Song.

Featuring hands-on bead working, artifact hunting, buffalo hide scraping, music and an opportunity to explore history within the Indian Museum of North America, the event brings together children and adults from many cultures to learn and interact. Storytelling is a special feature of the events.

''The same colors I see in the rainbow and the same colors I have in my Grass Dance outfit are the same colors I see in the audience,'' Whiteman, who educates young people through storytelling, music and dance, said. He received a special honor at the Black Hills Pow Wow for his Grass Dance story.

Before playing a flute, Whiteman related the story: ''A young man was walking in the woods and heard sobbing. He found a woodpecker on a tree stump, crying. The woodpecker said he wanted to be like the other birds and sing. He asked why the Creator didn't make him like other birds. He said, 'I only make holes and carve wood.'

''The woodpecker was told to make seven holes in a piece of cedar and put two pieces together. The wind then blew and made a beautiful sound never heard before in the forest.''

Gull's family settled in South Dakota. He said his grandfather came to the area, probably not liking the American Indian; and the American Indians didn't like him for taking land.

He developed an interest in astronomy while attending school nearby in Edgemont. His school principal, William Smith, from the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, was stern but fair: and he encouraged him and other students. From there he went on to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received a degree in physics. He now works with the Hubbell Space Telescope.

''When you get to be adults, you may find planets like your own,'' he told the students. ''Why is there life only here on Earth? If it exists, can we communicate?''

Gull works with Oglala Lakota College and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology as a mentor and educator to encourage American Indian students to pursue education in the sciences and math.

Each year, a teacher is named ''Teacher of the Year'' by the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation Scholarship Fund.

Marlyce Miner, Oglala Lakota, was honored with the award this year and received a $1,000 check for the Rapid City Academy.

''Education is all about the students. Education is the key to racial reconciliation,'' Miner said.

She teaches at Rapid City Academy, an alternative school; she has worked as a long-time guidance counselor at Crazy Horse School in Wanblee on the Pine Ridge Reservation and a part-time instructor at Oglala Lakota College, where she received a portion of her education. Her goal, she said, is to achieve a doctorate in education.

Whiteman, Gull and Miner are all teachers, although they use different methods to open student's minds. Miner incorporates American Indian culture into her teaching; she organized the Native American Day at her school. Whiteman engages youth by using cultural stories, and helps them with the use of horses and Cheyenne ways.

In 1990, then-Gov. George S. Mickleson, while attending the 100th anniversary gathering at Wounded Knee, declared a year of reconciliation. The declaration was later changed to a ''century of reconciliation.'' The South Dakota Legislature subsequently passed legislation creating Native American Day.

Sand Creek Memorial Run. . .

Hoka Hey! These are amazing youths. Their Families, their Ancestors and their Oyate should all be very proud of them.
We are very proud of these young Warriors!

Hoka Hey!

Sand Creek Memorial Run Ignites Emotions

Sand Creek memorial run ignites emotions
© Indian Country Today October 17, 2005. All Rights Reserved
Posted: October 17, 2005
by: Rick St. Germaine / Indian Country Today

Cheyenne/Arapaho runners confront city of Denver

DENVER - More than three dozen Cheyenne and Arapaho runners carrying ceremonial eagle staffs burst into the colossal Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver, wove their way down carpeted hallways, and finally formed a Grand Entry procession that riveted the attention of more than 1,000 educators assembled at the National Indian Education Association Convention.

The runners, many of whom were teenagers, wide-eyed and sinewy in their running gear, suddenly became solemn as an Arapaho drum group rendered several tribal songs for this special occasion. Cheyenne and Arapaho elders blessed the runners, then turned to address the large assembly with stories of American atrocity at Sand Creek, where, in 1864, 800 Colorado vigilantes attacked a peaceful Indian village of mostly women, children and elders.

With their young men out hunting, about 170 defenseless villagers were annihilated on a cold November morning.

At first sight of the soldiers circling around the encampment, Southern Cheyenne Chief Black Kettle raised the American flag and a white flag above his tipi. It made no difference.

Col. John Chivington's raiders fired 2,000 pounds of howitzer and rifle ammunition upon the helpless Indians; then, in a crazed fury, they moved in with sabers and knives to hack the wounded and dying to bits.

Stunned Indian educators from more than 150 tribes wiped tears from their faces as they listened to the stories of savagery and of modern-day attempts of the Southern and Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes to raise Americans' consciousness about this horrific event with legislative recognition, annual spiritual healing runs and education awareness.

This year's Sand Creek Massacre Memorial Run began with prayers and blessings 48 hours earlier on Oct. 5 at the killing site, about 200 miles to the southeast. Runners pushed their away along rural roads and semi-modern highways on their way to the NIEA Convention.

Many of the tribal runners had done this before - on Nov. 29 of previous years, when it was raining, snowing and windy. Billy Mills, Olympic gold medalist and founder of Running Strong for American Indian Youth, was with them, as he has been for so many tribal communities.

''Body parts and scalps, cut up by the soldiers, were paraded past cheering crowds in the streets of Denver,'' noted Steve Brady, vice chairman of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe in Lame Deer, Mont.

According to Brady, some of those remains still reside in museums - one of which is in Denver, just blocks from the convention center. He was one of several spokesmen for the descendants of the massacre.

''Officers at Fort Lyon told Chivington that the Sand Creek village was at peace, they were on their reservation where they belonged; but it didn't matter,'' said Brady, who at times paused to steady himself.

''My great-grandparents woke up to the sounds of gunfire,'' he stated, ''and horses stampeding through camp.

''He roped a horse with his lariat and put his wife on a horse, even though he was wounded in the elbow,'' added Brady, again pausing. ''Then he sang his death song - 'Only the stones will live forever ...' - which we still sing today.''

Brady explained that Black Kettle - his great-grandfather - went miles upstream in search of his wife, who was pregnant with their first child.

''Black Kettle, who had put on his peace medals for the soldiers to see, left his wife - who was drenched in blood - as he assumed she was dead,'' said Brady, again clearing his throat before he moved on.

''Killings went on all day ... then the cavalry moved in and the butchering commenced,'' he continued.

Chivington later took to the Denver stage, where he charmed audiences with his stories of the massacre and displayed 100 Indian scalps, including the pubic hair of women.

The Cheyenne and Arapaho headmen later brought their hunters back to the village to look for survivors and gather the horses. Brady's great-grandfather told his son that the entire village was decimated, with piles of burned bodies and burned buffalo robes. Camp dogs were feeding on the bodies.

Black Kettle found his pregnant wife, who didn't miscarry. Their first son, the uncle of Brady's father, was named Whistling Elk.

''This has had a profound impact on my life and my family,'' he said, ''and we try to do our best to perpetuate the memory of our ancestors.''

''Going to school, we were all told a different point of view of this,'' stated Tina Hurtado, the great-great-granddaughter of Black Kettle. Hurtado, a Southern Cheyenne, came to the NIEA convention to experience this moment.

''When we were young, we heard the truth about this - Sand Creek, Washita, and Little Big Horn - from our grandparents,'' she said.

Lee Pedro, Arapaho from Oklahoma, told the assembly that recently (as in seven years ago), the Cheyenne and Arapaho decided it was time to bring closure, to bring back the bones to give them a respectful burial they deserve.

He continued, ''You can still feel it - the mournful bad feelings - and we pray that it gets better.''

The three tribes have lobbied Congress for legislation to assist the National Park Service and the state of Colorado in the development of the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site near Chivington, Colo. Two thousand and five hundred of the 12,500 acres Congress authorized for the site have now been purchased. The site is not yet open to the public, as the remaining property is still under private ownership.

''The spirits of the deceased are still there,'' stated Carol White Skunk, Southern Cheyenne from Weatherford, Okla. ''There's a very spiritual feeling there.''

Colley Willow and Shayne Armajo, Northern Arapaho and recent graduates from St. Stephens High School on the Wind River Reservation, participated in the trek from Sand Creek to Denver and are veterans of previous memorial runs. The two were stars on the basketball team that won the Wyoming state championship in 2004.

''It is a special place for us,'' said Willow, ''and it looks exactly like [the paintings].''

Until the national historic site opens, the descendants provide teacher-training workshops to improve awareness and truth about the tragic event with attention to American circumstances that led to the massacre.

''A teacher here walked out of our curriculum workshop,'' said Brady, ''because she thought this shouldn't be taught to students.'' But the descendants are determined. The memory of Sand Creek lives on in their hearts and in their minds.

The descendants can be contacted at www.sandcreek.org.

Rick St. Germaine can be contacted at stgermainerick@aol.com.

15 October 2005

Leonardo's Secrets...

Truely magnificent stuff! Da Vinci and Vermeer are both "must-sees" in my book. Don't miss an opportunity to see a Da Vinci in person if you ever get the chance. I remember spending two hours just looking at Lady With an Ermine...


Unseen Da Vinci Work Goes On Show
A previously unseen painting by Leonardo da Vinci has gone on public display for the first time in Italy.

Da Vinci created the version of the painting known as Virgin of the Rocks with his student Giampetrino between 1495 and 1497.

It is being exhibited at Ancona's Mole Vanvitelliana museum alongside a portrait of Mary Magdalene, also said to have been painted by the pair.

However historians say the portrait may have been painted by Giampetrino alone.


Virgin of the Rocks shows Mary sitting in a grotto with Jesus, Saint John and the archangel Uriel.

Two other versions of the painting are kept at the Louvre in Paris and in London's National Gallery.

The latest version was found three years ago in a private Swiss collection, along with the semi-naked portrait of Mary Magdalene.

Unseen for 50 years, the portrait was believed to have been completed by Da Vinci with Giampetrino's help in 1515, four years before the master's death.

Depicting Mary Magdalene holding a veil over her bare breasts, if it is proved to be an authentic Da Vinci it would be one of the master's very few paintings of a nude.

Art historian Carlo Pedretti believed Giampetrino was unlikely to have created the portrait alone, but said further examination was necessary.

"There is no painting by Leonardo or by the Leonardo school of which the authenticity can be ascertained by just laboratory examinations," he said.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/10/15 10:30:02 GMT


Gestapo 2.0...?

WTF!!! The Bu$h Administration has really outdone itself with this one. No doubt Hitler, Himmler and Goebbels are turning in their graves with envy...

If you've got AOL, I suggest you re-evaluate your situation...

DHS and AOL: An Unholy Alliance

October 3, 2005
by Martin McKinney
The Financial Reporter (U.K.)

Washington- The American-based internet giant, AOL, wholly-owned by Time-Warner, has formed a working partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to permit unlimited surveillance of the millions of AOL online members, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

"AOL works 'closely with the DHS' to supply information on any AOL
customer and allows agents from these entities `free and unfettered'
access to AOL Hq at Dulles, VA for the purpose of `watching over and
keeping surveillance ' on the millions of AOL customers,' according
to the report.

The legal basis for this is the recently Congress-approved Patriot Act
which permits warrantless searches of persons and property. While
information gleaned from delving into personal computer messages is
supposed to be kept confidential, it appears that the DHS has exceeded their brief and obtained what appears to be strictly personal
information which is then circulated to entities outside the DHS.

The Department of Commerce report also states that news of this
surveillance has leaked out and is causing serious concern in the
American, and European, business communities who are fearful that
trade secrets may be given to other business entities, considered as
"friendly" to the Bush Administration.

"But I Slept At A Holiday Inn. . ."

Don't say I didn't warn you. Let the implosion begin!


Chorus of Disapproval Over Court Pick

By Justin Webb
BBC News, Washington

President Bush is involved in an increasingly rancorous political battle with people who used to be his most ardent supporters, a battle which is leading to fresh questions about his judgement and the future of his administration.

The strange turn of events has come about because of the president's decision to pick a close friend - the White House chief lawyer Harriet Myers - for the vacant seat on the Supreme Court.

The religious right had been hoping that one of their own would get the nod and the court would be swung decisively in their direction. They are accusing Mr Bush of flunking his big moment.

"I have known Harriet Miers for more than a decade," the president said last week.

"I know her heart, I know her character. I am confident that Harriet Miers will add to the wisdom and character of our judiciary when she is confirmed as the 110th justice of the Supreme Court."

But what was the president thinking? Social conservatives held their heads in their hands after his announcement on Ms Miers.

Their thinking went like this, according to Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post: "Is the president doing this because he feels weak at the moment because the news from Iraq continues to be bad, Hurricane Katrina was a disaster in more ways than one.

1985: First female president of the Dallas Bar Association
1992: First woman to head the Texas State Bar
1995-2000: Chairwoman of the Texas Lottery Commission
2001: Joins White House staff as president's staff secretary
2003: Appointed Deputy Chief of Staff
2004: Named White House counsel

"Or is he feeling all-powerful and essentially saying to betrayed-feeling conservatives, I am the president, I can do what I want to do."

You'll notice that neither of those alternatives is particularly flattering. Both suggest that the right think their man has lost the plot.

The right-wing former presidential hopeful Pat Buchanan put it like this: "Ms Miers' qualifications for the Supreme Court are utterly non-existent.

"She has not only not ruled or written on any of the great controversies of our time - religion or faith, morality - she has shown no interest in them in 40 years.

"This is a faith-based initiative, the president of the United States is saying trust me, and when you have the decisive vote on the US Supreme Court, that is not an option."

Personal notes

There have been conservatives who have defended Ms Miers, some after receiving phone calls from the White House mysteriously suggesting that all will be fine in the end.

The woman herself has said only this: "If confirmed I recognise that I will have a tremendous responsibility to keep our judicial system strong."

Some conservatives point out that that does not add up to a fully-fledged judicial philosophy.

Released this week, the personal notes Ms Miers used to send to Mr Bush when he was governor of Texas - "you're the best governor ever", etc - only serve to add to the sense that her chief qualification really is her friendship with the president.

Sam Brownback is a Republican Senator on the judiciary committee who was looking forward to supporting a tough-minded social conservative with an anti-abortion, anti-gay rights track record.

"Harriet Miers doesn't have that track record and doesn't seem to be well-formed in her judicial philosophy, having never being on the bench.

"And over a period of time - and this is the second point of what is going on - [justices] that have been appointed by a Republican president have tended to veer to the left over a period of time if they are not well formed in their judicial philosophy."

Conservatives 'feel betrayed'

Ms Miers faces nomination hearings in the Senate next month, but already the heat is on. And from her own side.

Senator Arlen Specter, Republican chairman of the judiciary committee, paints a vivid picture of the trial that awaits the president's woman.

"What you have here on Harriet Miers is not a rush to judgement but a stampede to judgement. She has faced one of the toughest lynch mobs ever assembled in Washington DC, and we really assemble some tough lynch mobs," Mr Specter said.

There is a history here. The president's first supreme court choice, John Roberts, was also not a firebrand right-winger.

Social conservatives were told to be patient, and according to Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post they feel betrayed.

"The conservative base said, OK well we can take Roberts, he's bright, we can tell he is conservative. Then to come up with Harriet Miers, the fact is that we don't know where she stands, she is not identified with any particular philosophy, she has left no paper trail," Robinson said.

Assuming that Ms Miers is confirmed by the Senate next month it does look as if Mr Bush's Supreme Court legacy will be more measured than many had hoped or feared.

Mr Bush has not delivered to his core constituency on the religious right and many of them will not forgive him.

As one put it: "We accept that the Lord works in mysterious ways, but we have different standards for the president."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/10/14 16:02:42 GMT



Well folks, the Bird Flu Virus is no longer sitting at Europe's threshold. It has opened the door and invited itself in. Just a jet plane ride away now.

Don't forget your flu shot this Fall...

Romania Bird Flu Is Lethal Strain
The bird flu virus detected in Romania is the same lethal strain which struck in Asia.

Confirmation came following tests at the Veterinary Laboratory Agency in Weybridge in the UK.

The H5N1 strain has caused heavy losses of livestock in south-east Asia since 2003 and more than 60 human deaths.

Although its human victims contracted the disease from contact with birds, there are fears a mutant form of the virus may start passing between humans.

The WHO has warned millions could die in a global pandemic if this happens.

Cases of bird flu were reported in two villages in eastern Romania earlier this month.

The test result confirms that the lethal variant of the virus has arrived on the European continent.

"The results are that it is H5N1 but further laboratory results are required in order to confirm the origin of the virus," said a spokesman for the UK agriculture ministry.

Romanian officials have said further drastic measures will be needed to contain the outbreak.

Domestic poultry has already been culled in the affected area, and a 3km quarantine zone has been set up around it.

Romanian agriculture and veterinary officials are to meet local and government politicians to discuss a response to the outbreak.

'No risk to public'

Turkey has already reported the discovery of the lethal strain of the virus among birds in the west of the country.

The EU has banned imports of live birds and poultry products from Romania and Turkey.

Speaking after it was confirmed that the strain of bird flu discovered in Romania was the same as that in Turkey, EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said action had already been taken.

"The Commission had already been working on the assumption that the virus found in Romania was also the H5N1 strain," he said. "Therefore appropriate measures are already in force."

EU veterinary experts said on Friday that the bird flu outbreak did not represent a risk to the general public "at present".

In a statement released after talks in Brussels they said the disease "remains confined to poultry and wild birds".

They urged governments to identify areas where the disease was most likely to strike and to make sure poultry was not exposed to wild birds.

The H5N1 strain remained largely in South-East Asia until this summer, when Russia and Kazakhstan both reported outbreaks
Scientists fear it may be carried by migrating birds to Europe and Africa but say it is hard to prove a direct link with bird migration.

Principally an avian disease, first seen in humans in Hong Kong, 1997
Almost all human cases thought to be contracted from birds
Isolated cases of human-to-human transmission in Hong Kong and Vietnam, but none confirmed

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/10/15 15:44:35 GMT


07 October 2005

Bu$h's Battleplan: Incestuous Treason...?

Here's another one for the "WTF File": Get this, our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are facing serious shortages of ammunition, particularly for small calibre weapons. These are the weapons that nearly every combat-deployed soldier carries with them 24/7. This shortfall was recently acknowledged and documented in a GAO report.

Small calibre weapons are the "backbone" of an infantry unit. Therefore, a bullet shortage is a butt-puckering situation for an infantryman. Given a choice, he (or she) would probably rather give up food or even water over their precious ammo. Once a firefight begins, time is not measured in seconds or minutes, but in how much ordinance is readily available.

With that in mind, examine and evaluate the recent decision of the Bu$h Administration (See Story Below) to sell $400 million dollars worth of military hardware and ordinance, including small calibre ammunition to Saudi Arabia. The same Saudi Arabia that is quite possibly providing aid and abettment to the very insurgants our forces are locked in battle with. WTF!!! I give up!

If you can figure this crap-pile out, please explain it to me...


(Honour the Warrior, not the war!)

Two billion dollars in possible US military sales to Saudis: Pentagon News

Tue Oct 4, 4:09 PM ET

The Pentagon has notified the US Congress of possible military sales to Saudi Arabia valued at more than two billion dollars, if all options are exercised.

The proposed sales include a laundry list of armored personnel carriers, command vehicles, water cannons, a variety of trucks, ambulances, ammunition and assault rifles for the Saudi Arabian National Guard.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which notified Congress Monday of the possible sale, valued that proposed sale at up to 918 million dollars.

Another proposed sale, valued at up to 401 million dollars, was for a system that distributes information through data links to fighter aircraft.

The system "will increase pilot operational effectiveness by providing an at-a-glance portrayal of targets, threats and friendly forces on an easy-to-understand relative position display," the DSCA said.

When combined with AWACS radar planes and ground command and control, the system "will provide allied forces greater situational awareness in any coalition operation," the agency said.

The third proposed sale, valued at up to 760 million dollars, was for continued technical and logistical support for a wide spectrum of Saudi military aircraft, aircraft engines and missiles, the agency said.

05 October 2005

"Panther Crossing the Sky..."

Today is the 192nd anniversary of Tecumseh's death...



"Panther Crossing in the Sky"


In the dark and bloody year of 1768, a woman born Tsalagi but captured and married into the Shawenese and named Methotase gave birth to a healthy boy. At the very moment of his birth, a comet flashed low across the sky. This boy's father, a highly respected Shawenese warrior named Puckesinwa, himself the grandson of a famous chief, named his son "Tecumseh" or "Panther crossing the Sky." Because of this great sign, Puckesinwa knew that this man-child was destined for greatness. A national hero had been born into the Kispotho sept.

Tecumseh grew up in the company of six siblings. History has always associated him with his infamous brother Laulewasika (Makes a Loud Noise) because he was an ill-tempered infant and later known as Tenskwatawa (The Prophet). However, Tecumseh was closer to his older brother Chiksika, and his older sister, Tecumapese, whom he deeply loved.

Tecumseh grew to manhood amid the border warfare that ravaged the Ohio Valley during the last quarter of the eighteenth century. In 1774, his father was killed at the Battle of Point Pleasant, and in 1779 his saddened mother left with those Shawnees who migrated to Missouri. Tecumseh was raised by his older sister, Tecumapese. He accompanied an older brother, Chiksika, on a series of raids against frontier settlements in Kentucky and Tennessee in the late 1780s.

By 1800, Tecumseh had emerged as a prominent war chief. He led a band of militant, younger warriors and their families located at a village on the White River in east-central Indiana. There in 1805, Lalawethika (Makes a Loud Noise) experienced a series of visions that transformed him into a prominent religious leader. Taking the name Tenskwatawa, or "The Open Door", the new Shawnee prophet began to preach a new belief that seemed to offer the Indians a religious deliverance from their problems.

Tecumseh seemed reluctant to accept his brother's teachings, but after it appeared that he had accurately predicted an eclipse of the sun and a huge earthquake in New Madrid, Indians from throughout the Midwest tribes flocked to the Shawnee village at Greenville, Ohio.

Once gathered there, Tecumseh slowly transformed his brother's religious followers into a political movement.

After returning from the South, Tecumseh tried to rebuild his shattered confederacy, but when the War of 1812 broke out, he withdrew to Michigan where he assisted the British in the capture of Detroit and led pro-British Indians in subsequent actions in southern Michigan and northern Ohio.

When William Henry Harrison invaded Upper Canada, Tecumseh reluctantly accompanied the British retreat. He was killed by American forces at the Battle of the Thames on October 5, 1813. His body was never recovered.

Quote of the Day

"It was prophesized that the time would come when the voice of indigenous Peoples would rise again after five hundred years of silence and oppression, to light a path to an eternal fire of Peace, Love, brotherhood and sisterhood amongst all Nations..."

~~ Grandfather William Commanda, Keeper of the Sacred Wampum Belt, Bearer of the Seven Fires Prophecy (Algonquin)

03 October 2005

Harriet Miers: Latest Bu$h Judicial Shill...

Profile: Harriet Miers
White House counsel Harriet Miers has been a trusted adviser to US President George Bush since the 1980s.

The two met in Texas, where she was his personal lawyer, then served on his gubernatorial campaign in 1994 and again during his presidential election of 2000.

Officially described as deputy chief of staff for policy, Harriet Miers, 60, has been serving as President Bush's top legal counsel since November 2004.

At the time of her appointment, Mr Bush said he relied on her for "straightforward advice".

If confirmed as the president's choice for the Supreme Court vacancy, Miss Miers would join Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the second woman on the nation's highest court.


Miss Miers has never served on the bench, which means observers have found it difficult to predict whether her nomination would dramatically move the court to the right.

Before her nomination, White House press secretary Scott McClellan told the Associated Press news agency that Democratic and Republican senators had recommended Miss Miers as a possible nominee.

Friends and colleagues describe the single woman as assertive and ambitious, whilst being discreet and selfless.

"She is defined by hard work, dedication and client loyalty," says Jerry Clements, partner at the Locke Liddell & Sapp firm of lawyer in Texas where she worked before moving to Washington DC.

And her hard work appears to have paid off - not only in mounting the echelons of power but also in overcoming gender-based bias.

"She just overcame any obstacles with hard work and dedication," said Mr Clements.

She became the first woman hired by Locke Purnell Boren Laney & Neely - an old Dallas legal firm.

In 1992, Miss Miers became the first woman president of the Texas State Bar, having become the first woman president of the Dallas Bar Association in 1985.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/10/03 12:14:17 GMT


Bu$h Attempts 'End-Run' With Supreme Court Appointment

Appointing someone who isn't a judge (and, therefore no judicial record) for the top judicial tier in the land is supposed to stop all of us thinking liberals dead in our tracks - steal our thunder, so to speak.
Hmm, this has the foul stench of Karl Rove all over it, Curious George just ain't smart enough to come up with this one all on his own...


Bush Picks Aide for Supreme Court

Bush 'Picks Aide For Justice Job'
President George Bush is to nominate White House counsel Harriet Miers for the US Supreme Court, officials say.

If approved by the Senate, Ms Miers - who has never sat as a judge - will take up the seat left by Sandra Day O'Connor who stepped down in July.

Democrats are likely to fight the nomination if they think it tips the court's balance towards the right.

Mr Bush's announcement coincides with John Roberts' first day of work at the helm of the Supreme Court.

Approved by the Senate last week, Chief Justice Roberts holds one of the most influential posts in US public life.

'Trusted adviser'

Mr Roberts had originally been picked to replace Ms O'Connor. But when Chief Justice William Rehnquist died last month, Mr Bush decide to nominate him for the top job.

Ms O'Connor was considered the holder of a key swing vote on the court, which is why the appointment of a conservative could tip the balance of the court.

Harriet Miers, 60, has been serving as President Bush's top legal counsel since November 2004.

She also served on Mr Bush's gubernatorial campaign in 1994 - and again during his presidential election of 2000.

"Harriet Miers is a trusted adviser on whom I have long relied for advice," said Mr Bush when he elevated her from the position of assistant to the president and staff secretary to top adviser.

Friends and colleagues describe her as assertive and ambitious, whilst being discreet and selfless.

If she is confirmed by the Senate, Ms Miers will join the eight other justices in considering some of the most bitterly contested social issues in the US, including assisted suicide, abortion, same-sex marriage, human cloning and campaign finance law.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/10/03 11:45:12 GMT