Today: "Technology vs. Iraqi Prisoner Abuse"
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 Today: "Stupidity Meets Overreaction in Beantown Bomb Scare"

Edited by Lauren Weinstein

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As of October 1, 2003, new items of interest will be incorporated into Lauren Weinstein's Blog at http://lauren.vortex.com rather than on this page! Please see Lauren Weinstein's Blog for new updates. Thank you.

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U.S. soldier shoots rare, caged tiger in Iraq What would the nearly $100 billion that George, Jr. wants for continuing operations in Iraq be paying for? One has to wonder after this story. A group of U.S. soldiers were having a drunken party at the Baghdad Zoo. One of the soldiers stupidly forced his way into a tiger cage to try feed it. When the tiger (not surprisingly) attacked -- injuring the drunken soldier's hand and arm -- another soldier shot and killed the rare, 14-year-old Bengal tiger. Zoo officials said they have no way to stop U.S. forces from holding their "parties" at the zoo.
Ticketmaster joins the scalpers Ticketmaster, in an apparent attempt to prove once and for all that the only aspect of concert-goers they care about is their money, has announced that it will essentially start scalping tickets itself -- auctioning off the best seats to the highest bidders -- the sky's the limit! As far as Ticketmaster is concerned, if you're a fan and you're not rolling in dough, you don't exist.
Spearing Bambi: Bad Will Hunting Looks like Prince Williams might have the attitude it takes to get the old Tower of London torture chamber out of mothballs, as he demonstrated by needlessly and inhumanely killing a 14-inch antelope by skewering it with a spear while on holiday. I guess that proves he's a real man now!
Drug companies' campaign contributions and their lobbyists win -- patients and seniors get the shaft From the money talks file... The big pharmaceutical campanies spent a fortune in campaign contributions -- and massive lobbying -- to try head off a strong Medicare drug benefit that might lead the way to lowering the outrageously high drug prices paid by most U.S. patients. Looks like the drug firms won big. The weak drug benefit emerging is likely to be cause for celebration at corporate headquarters.
"Macho Man" Bush speaking of Iraqi attackers: "Bring them on!" When George, Jr. wants to play jet fighter combat pilot on an aircraft carrier that's one thing. When his cowboy movie mentality could incite more attacks on our own troops, that's something else again. "Shameful" is hardly a strong enough word.
Dueling "Spikes" From the trademark madness file... Sat/Cable network TNN (formerly "The Nashville Network," then "The National Network") was all set to change their name again, this time to "Spike TV." Filmmaker Spike Lee got a court injunction blocking the switch, claiming he owned the rights to the word "Spike." Now TNN is firing back, with statements from heirs to musical novelty master Spike Jones, saying that the Jones family also has rights to the word "Spike," and that nobody should be able to block its use by others. Yes, we have no bananas!
Senator Hatch says "destroying" file traders' computers would be OK! In remarks that stunned onlookers at a Senate hearing, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch said that he'd support the development of systems to remotely "destroy" the computers of persons believed to be engaged in illicit file trading of music or movies, if less drastic measures don't seem to solve the problem. For more on this incredibly ludicrous and dangerous idea, please hear the short Fact Squad Radio segment "Senator Hatch & The Computer Destroyers!"
U.S. Army details new biological warfare weapon in patent! While nobody so far has been able to find the Weapons of Mass Destruction that George, Jr. and Britain's Tony B. claimed were the main reason for the Iraq war, some searchers might have more luck looking closer to home. Seems the U.S. Army has patented a new biological warfare weapon -- possibly ideal for terrorist use -- complete with descriptions and diagrams. Looks like "intellectual property protection" will trump "people protection" every time!
Fat cats at Bush tax-cut event ordered to remove neckties to look "ordinary" George Jr. keeps insisting that his tax cut plan for the rich would trickle down to ordinary folks. At a recent event pushing his plan, most of the VIP fat cats behind the President were ordered to remove their neckties so that they'd look more like the unwashed masses. Who needs ethics when there's a photo op to stage?
U.S. makes deal with Iranian terrorist group Here we go again. The U.S. supported Osama and Saddam when it seemed convenient. After 9/11, George, Jr. said that the fight against terrorism was black and white. Now comes word that his administration has made a deal with a U.S.-designated Iranian terrorist organization.
Man saves children from fire -- then is arrested From the "no good deed goes unpunished" file... A 22-year-old man risked his life and saved three children from a burning apartment building, then was arrested when a deputy recognized him as being wanted for a parole violation (relating to a burglary conviction) for missing a meeting with his parole officer last month.
Girl forced to publicly remove artificial leg at airport The brilliant security specialists of Chump, er, that's "Chubb" Protective Services subjected a 16-year-old Australian girl to humiliation, and horrified other passengers, by insisting that she remove her obviously artificial leg at Adelaide Airport. Other youths, some in wheelchairs, were also subjected to "extra scrutiny" by security drones as they all returned from the 12th National Junior Games for the Disabled. Looks like airport security stupidity isn't limited only to here in the U.S.
Bush team now fears anti-American, fundamentalist Islamic government forming in Iraq In the "oops, maybe they should have thought about this first before promoting democracy in Iraq" department, Bush officials are expressing alarm at the rising fervor of majority Shiite, fundamentalist Islamic political power in post-war Iraq, and the disdain that Iraq's population is showing for Bush's hand-picked expatriate leaders. Will replacing the anti-American, secular government of Iraq with an anti-American, Islamic theocracy, end up being George, Jr.'s most memorable contribution to history?
Backlash growing to Patriot Act and Homeland Security Act Across the U.S., individuals, municipalities, and a range of other organizations are beginning to fight back against the draconian, unconstitutional, and civil rights violating aspects of the USA Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act, both passed in knee-jerk fashion after 9/11.
Billions for Iraq and the rich, but not for working people President Bush has billions of dollars for rebuilding Iraq, and has made helping the rich get even richer the foundation of his economic planning. But what of the working people in Wichita?
Previously unseen photos show Saddam statue "pull down" was staged You've of course seen the photos of the Saddam statue being pulled down by a crowd of enthusiastic Iraqi citizens, with help from the U.S. Army. But wait a minute, was it really a spontaneous crowd? Was it a crowd at all? Or was it a purely manipulated media event? Some previously unseen photos do indeed appear to reveal the true story. For additional commentary on this topic, please see "Victory on Quicksand".
French's Mustard panics: "We're not French!" The makers of French's Mustard have put out a press release reminding everyone that their founder, R.T. French, and the mustard have nothing to do with France. With various cretins boycotting anything that even sounds like it's from France (presumably to try "punish" the country for refusing to back the U.S.'s attack on Iraq) the company was concerned they might be caught up in the stupidity.
CIA analysts claim pressure to match Bush policies Analysts at CIA say they've been under pressure to make their reports conform to Bush policies (e.g., emphasizing any possible links between Iraq and Al Qaeda) at the expense of accuracy.
GOP donors, Chaney's firm set to profit bigtime from Iraq war Various big corporations -- mostly large GOP donors and including the Vice President's pals at Halliburton -- are using secret bids in their lust for slices of the massive Iraq rebuilding-contract pie.
U.S. war on Iraq may be illegal Many leaders and experts say that the U.S. war on Iraq is illegal, potentially subjecting participating countries and leaders to war-crimes prosecutions.
(Linked article is no longer available.)
Lack of girlfriends may drive computer virus writers Most computer virus writers are males between the ages of 14 to 34, with a chronic lack of girlfriends. Need I say more?
Anti-war movement biggest since Vietnam It took many years for anti-war protests in the U.S. to grow to very large levels during the Vietnam war. Protests against the U.S.'s Iraq war, both in the U.S. and around the world, are already of a scale and staying power that are surprising observers.
World at large not buying into Iraq war Contrary to the Bush, Jr. White House predictions, most of the world is not "falling into line" behind Bush's war since the start of the U.S. attacks. In fact, positions against the war have been hardening. [registration required]
Justice Scalia bans media from free speech award ceremony Nope, not a joke. Scalia said he'd only accept the City Club's Free Speech Award if all media were excluded from the event. However, the perverse, inverted logic of his reasoning at least seems to be in line with many of his court decisions, so you can't say he isn't consistent.
Justice Scalia says most of your rights are expendable That bastion of progressive thinking, Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, declares that most of what we assume are our "rights" aren't listed in the Constitution, and he's perfectly willing to strip them away in time of "war" -- presumably including undeclared wars -- the only kind the U.S. has had since WWII. Looks like the growth stocks might be companies making barbed and concertina wire for "relocation" camps.
Leave your home, get shot as a terrorist New Jersey says that if the rainbow color code system goes to "red alert" (we're already at "orange" again) anyone leaving their home will be assumed to be a terrorist... and presumably shot.
Israeli bulldozer kills American protester A 23-year-old American woman, protesting the demolition of residences by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) in the Gaza Strip, was killed by an Israeli bulldozer that reportedly refused to stop and ran over her twice.
The Academy Awards and War There's a good chance that the upcoming award ceremonies will feature some of the most "political" acceptance speeches in the show's history. That's what freedom of speech is all about.
Intelligent life in space? The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is about to comprehensively investigate the most interesting locations for possible intelligent life. No doubt they'll have better luck in deep space than here on Earth.
Chilling note placed in baggage during inspection An airline passenger finds a note in his checked baggage after inspection, accusing him of being anti-Amercian for having anti-war signs in his suitcase. Big Brother looking through your underwear.
The Torturer's Apprentice Alan Dershowitz proposes "torture warrants" and the use of (for example) "sterile needles" under fingernails, despite strong evidence that torture is generally the worst way to get accurate information, and would make us exactly the evil that our enemies claim we are. There's someplace else on his body where Alan could put his needles...
Concerns continue over traveler screening plans The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) continues assuring us that their new CAPPS II system -- for doing background checks on everyone who flys -- won't invade our privacy or liberties. Many people remain skeptical, to say the least. "Achtung! Show me your papers!"
Important anti-Iraq document was forged A key document the U.S. has been using to build a case for war with Iraq turns out to be a forgery. Now, who could possibly want to create such a fake?
Phone bills to the grave Remember the old "Twilight Zone" episode with the woman getting calls from her dead husband? Looks like the telephone company is finally billing him.
Cut off your clothing tags! Manufacturers of all sorts of goods are planning to put remotely-interrogated ID tags into their products, that can track you even after they're sold.
Advocacy groups for everyone! No matter how specialized or bizarre, there seems to be an advocacy group for every possible interest, taste, or inclination.
U.S. airlines' collapse predicted if Iraq war, more terrorism U.S. airlines have gotten themselves into such bad shape that forced nationalization is being seriously discussed as a possibility.
Tiny cell phones with tiny performance New wireless phones are small, but manufacturers may be trading functionality for glitz.
UK scales back telecom "snooping charter" Blair's government agrees to scale back their insanely massive telecom snooping plan, making it merely incredibly massive instead.
Judge orders that "dirty bomber" see his lawyer In the continuing "Bush vs. the Constitution" series: Judge orders that U.S. citizen "dirty bomber" has a right to see his lawyer. That pesky Bill of Rights!
U.S. House eateries ordered to remove "French" from menus Further proof that elective office is no indicator of intelligence, and that House members apparently have too much spare time.
SAG on freedom of speech An eloquent statement from the Screen Actors Guild regarding freedom of speech and "wartime" blacklists.
Airport security confiscations Millions of items have been confiscated lately by airport security, including many of highly arguable risk -- like the Greek god Apollo!

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