Are Men Necessary?

By Annalee Newitz

Scientists in Norway have discovered that male-dominated societies are doomed to extinction.

The way it happened was that somewhere at a university in Oslo, a bunch of researchers decided to perform a rather mean experiment on a bunch of lizards. They created a group of lizards whose population was three-quarters male, then another that was three-quarters female, and compared the behavior of both to a control group with gender balance.

It turns out that when male lizards are in the majority, female lizards die younger, have fewer babies, and receive two to three times as many wounds from male lizards during the mating process. Over time, the population skews more and more male and shrinks precipitously. Eventually, the researchers speculate, a male-dominated lizard group would simply die out. They call this process an "extinction vortex." Female-dominated lizard groups, on the other hand, are models of happy cooperation, growing larger and flourishing over time.


Gold Tops $500 in Asia

Not the most confidence inspiring development. . .

TOKYO -- Gold prices broke through the critical threshold of $500 an ounce in Asian trading Tuesday for the first time since late 1987, driven by investor demand for the metal as a diversifying asset. Prices retreated in later trading.

A fourth consecutive day of strong Japanese buying sent gold above the milestone, traders said, bringing the metal's gains to 10 percent in less than four weeks.

Spot gold rose as high as $502.80 per troy ounce in intraday trading before slipping back to settle at $499.20 in New York trading.

December gold futures settled on the New York Mercantile Exchange at $499.10 an ounce, up 80 cents from the previous day.

December silver was 5.7 cents lower at $8.296 an ounce.

Gold's appeal as a hedge against currency weakness, inflation and financial instabilities in general has driven the recent rise in prices, traders said.


Miami police plan antiterror tactics

A police state is when the police exercise power on behalf of the executive and the conduct of the police cannot be effectively challenged. In such regimes there is no significant distinction between the law and the will of the executive. Bienvenidos a Miami.

(AP) Police are planning "in-your-face" shows of force in public places, saying the random, high-profile security operations will keep terrorists guessing about where officers might be next. As an example, uniformed and plainclothes officers might surround a bank building unannounced, contact the manager about ways to be vigilant against terrorists and hand out leaflets in three languages to customers and people passing by, said police spokesman Angel Calzadilla. He said there would be no random checks of identification. "People are definitely going to notice it," Deputy Police Chief Frank Fernandez said Monday. "We want that shock. We want that awe. But at the same time, we don't want people to feel their rights are being threatened. We need them to be our eyes and ears."



The real glass ceiling is at home

a gem
By Linda Hirshman, The American Prospect

Half of the wealthiest, most-privileged, best-educated females in the country stay home with their babies rather than work in the market economy.

When in September the New York Times featured an article exploring a piece of this story, "Many Women at Elite Colleges Set Career Path to Motherhood," the blogosphere went ballistic, countering with anecdotes and sarcasm.

Slate's Jack Shafer accused the Times of "weasel-words" and of publishing the same story -- essentially, "The Opt-Out Revolution" -- every few years, and, recently, every few weeks. (A month after the flap, the Times' only female columnist, Maureen Dowd, invoked the elite-college article in her contribution to the Times' running soap, "What's A Modern Girl To Do? about how women must forgo feminism even to get laid.)

The colleges article provoked such fury that the Times had to post an explanation of the then-student journalist's methodology on its Web site.

There's only one problem: There is important truth in the dropout story. Even though it appeared in The New York Times.

I stumbled across the news three years ago when researching a book on marriage after feminism. I found that among the educated elite, who are the logical heirs of the agenda of empowering women, feminism has largely failed in its goals. There are few women in the corridors of power, and marriage is essentially unchanged. The number of women at universities exceeds the number of men. But, more than a generation after feminism, the number of women in elite jobs doesn't come close.

Why did this happen? The answer I discovered -- an answer neither feminist leaders nor women themselves want to face -- is that while the public world has changed, albeit imperfectly, to accommodate women among the elite, private lives have hardly budged. The real glass ceiling is at home.


Burying College Grads in Debt

By Elana Berkowitz and John Burton, Campus Progress

Congratulations, parents of the Class of 2009! As you read this, your child is settling into the routines of college life: ill-timed early morning lectures, inevitable all-night cram sessions, and the search for parties on a now fairly familiar campus.

While the pleasures of college life remain the same, the economic security that a degree used to guarantee has disappeared. This fall, the Class of 2009 joins the ranks of an emerging debtor class composed of educated young adults.

The average student borrower now graduates with $27,600 of debt, almost three and a half times what it was a decade ago. 84 percent of black students and 66 percent of Latino students graduate with debt. And 39 percent of all student borrowers graduate with unmanageable levels of debt, according to the Department of Education.

After graduation, young people confront unaffordable rents in markets like San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago or New York, where the majority of young adults pay between 30 and 50 percent of their income to rent.

And what income? Between 2000 and 2003, wages for college educated men and women between 23 and 29 years of age were down 3.5 percent and 1.2 percent respectively. In this flat, stagnant job market, most new opportunities are in jobs like burger flipping and jeans folding. Manpower, a temp agency, is the biggest private employer in the country. Many jobs in more desirable and competitive industries have salaries starting in the low $20,000s that offer little by way of benefits or healthcare.

Add to that young people's average credit card debt of over $4,000. Set aside your stereotypes of irresponsible youth: Over 70 percent of undergraduates use credit cards to buy school supplies, food and textbooks. 24 percent use their credit cards for tuition. Credit card companies are becoming the high-interest student loan industry of last resort. When it's all totaled up, young people spend 25 percent of every dollar earned on paying off debts and loans.

Federal policy isn't keeping pace with reality. Soaring education costs and inflation have not been met with aid increases. Caps on federal student loans have forced students to seek private loans, which were up from $1.1 billion in 1995-96 to $10.6 billion in 2003-04.These loans have much higher, often predatory, interest rates.

Today, the average Pell Grant covers only 40 percent of college tuition, compared to 77 percent 25 years ago. And under President Bush, the Department of Education revised Pell Grant eligibility guidelines, effectively excluding almost 100,000 young people from the program and reducing grant money for another 1.2 million.

This month, the U.S. Congress poured salt in the wounds: The Senate recommended slashing $14 billion in student aid programs as part of the budget reconciliation process. The House of Representatives proposed nearly $9 billion in similar cuts, forcing the average student borrower to pay an additional $5,800 in already unaffordable debt. Despite some unusual Republican dissent in the ranks, late last night, the budget bill passed by a razor thin margin. The final bill included $50 billion in cuts including $14.3 billion in cuts to federal higher education funding — the largest cuts to federal student loans in American history. (Though the reconciliation bill received much negative response from Democrats and even a few Republicans, very few people spoke out against the education cuts, focusing instead on issues like Medicare and food stamps.) Eighteen-year-olds now must borrow tens of thousands of dollars to invest in themselves — because their country will not invest in them.

Moreover, federal tax policy isn't exactly working in the favor of young people making low wages. We can't ask our buddies in the White House to just write off our student loan payments. We pay taxes on each and every dollar that we make in wages, tips, and salaries. We don't have stock portfolios, houses, and other assets to re-structure our tax liability. We bear the full brunt of life without loopholes — but forget fairness: struggling to limit the size of a hurricane-wrecked federal budget, Congress has made it clear that they are prepared to treat us a good deal worse than they already have — before they dare close the loopholes, shut down the giveaways, and trim the no-bid contracts for the well-connected and well-off.

Parents: remember that youthful knot in your stomach as you looked at the world after graduation and wondered about your place in it? We do that too. Only we look at the world as twenty-somethings sandbagged with the kind of debt that, until recently, would have taken decades to accrue. Recent surveys by the Cambridge Consumer Index and the Education Department confirm that student borrowers are deferring major life decisions like the purchase of a first home or marriage.

Energetic young college grads could soon invest in start-ups, emerging markets and new technologies if we entered adulthood burdened only by our high expectations and ideals. Educational debt hobbles the very group of risk-takers and innovators that has historically rejuvenated the American economy when, like now, it starts to flag. Love us, hate us, tolerate us — young people are your future. Fail to invest in us at your own peril. Thirty years from now we won't be able to take care of our parents if we're still living in a converted closet in a group house.

So here's our counter-offer: We need common sense policies that relieve the debt burden on students and recent graduates. Parents of students and recent graduates: tell them not to cut one dime of student aid. Tell them you'll remember how they voted and promise to hold them accountable. We'll do the heavy lifting, but we need you to let Washington to know that you're watching and that you care about the issue.

Work with us now to affect change, and we promise we'll never have to trade you into the traveling circus for a week's worth of Ramen noodles or sell you on eBay to cover the rent.


Sony's long-term rootkit CD woes

Sony BMG, the world's second largest record label, has for the past three weeks been the subject of a corporate embarrassment that rivals earlier public relations nightmares involving tampered Tylenol and contaminated Perrier.

While in the short-term one of the world's best-known brands has suffered enormous damage, the longer-term implications are even more significant - a fundamental re-thinking of policies toward digital locks known as technological protection measures (TPMs).

The Sony case started innocently enough with a Halloween day blog posting by Mark Russinovich, an intrepid computer security researcher.

Mr Russinovich discovered his own tale of horror - Sony was using a copy-protection TPM on some of its CDs that quietly installed a software program known as a "rootkit" on users' computers.

The use of the rootkit set off alarm bells for Mr Russinovich, who immediately identified it as a potential security risk since hackers and virus writers frequently exploit such programs to turn personal computers into "zombies" that can send millions of spam messages, steal personal information, or launch denial of service attacks.


Chinese build a high-tech army within an army

Shi Jin wears a jean jacket, has razor-cropped hair, and seems gravely earnest. An officer in the People's Liberation Army, he was wooed from a Beijing vocational college three years ago by recruiters who talked up his technical aptitude - and his patriotism. In the past decade, China has undergone two military high-tech reforms designed to give the country a modern fighting force. To sustain that progress, it must attract many more gung-ho young engineers like Shi, who spends most of his time working on an "informational" revolution that planners hope will one day allow them to "see" a battlefield with the same depth as the US military. "I will not do any direct fighting if there is a war, but I am contributing on the technical side," he says. "We are all needed in the new Army." China's desire, often stated, is to be a great nation. Many in Beijing feel that the country's natural right is to be the major power in Asia. But China has rarely been given high marks in global military annals. It has a "brown water" Navy that doesn't navigate open seas. It can't project power by sending forces abroad. It has relied on states like Russia for jet fighters, cruise missiles, and other advanced weapons. Yet it now appears China is methodically changing this equation. In a surprisingly short time, China has accomplished two feats. One, it has focused its energy and wealth on creating an army within an army. It has devoted huge amounts of capital to create a small high-tech army within its old 2.2 million-member rifle and shoe-leather force. The specialty of this modern force, about 15 percent of the PLA, is to conduct lightning attacks on smaller foes, using an all-out missile attack designed to paralyze, and a modern sea and air attack coordinated by high-tech communications. In other words, this new modern force is designed to attack Taiwan. Second, China has taken painful but successful steps to create a "defense industrial base," or weapons-building capability. The PLA has improved its factory quality control and its ability to adapt foreign technology. It is bringing an indigenous small-wing F-10 fighter off the production line, and it is moving rapidly toward a "blue water" Navy with ships built in China.



The Battle of the Compañeros

New York -- You've gotta love Wal-Mart. The enormous range: everything from apples to Zingers by way of bikes, guns and frozen cheesecake. The low prices. The logistical muscle, thanks to which victims of Hurricane Katrina were offered food, supplies, emergency generators and a cheery helping hand long before state aid arrived. Then, of course, there are the figures: 3,800 branches in the United States, 1,700 more worldwide, including 88 "supercenters" in Germany. More than 138 million customers can't be wrong.

Or can they? Robert Greenwald thinks so. The California-based documentary filmmaker famed for "Outfoxed," his cinematic broadside against Rupert Murdoch's cable TV channel Fox News, is taking the retail giant to task.

"Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price," his 97-minute cinematic indictment à la Michael Moore originally screened in New York and Los Angeles and went into wider release across the rest of the country on Friday. In the film, Greenwald reproaches the multibillion dollar company for a catalogue of sins as long as the country's regal canyons: deserted small towns, ruined small businesses, rotten working conditions. "And for the most part," explains one shop assistant bitterly, "they do it all with a smile."


Separate and Unequal


The summer of 1967 again brought racial disorders to American cities, and with them shock, fear and bewilderment to the nation.

The worst came during a two-week period in July, first in Newark and then in Detroit. Each set off a chain reaction in neighboring communities.

On July 28, 1967, the President of the United States established this Commission and directed us to answer three basic questions:

What happened? Why did it happen? What can be done to prevent it from happening again?

To respond to these questions, we have undertaken a broad range of studies and investigations. We have visited the riot cities; we have heard many witnesses; we have sought the counsel of experts across the country.

This is our basic conclusion: Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.

Reaction to last summer’s disorders has quickened the movement and deepened the division. Discrimination and segregation have long permeated much of American life; they now threaten the future of every American.

This deepening racial division is not inevitable. The movement apart can be reversed. Choice is still possible. Our principal task is to define that choice and to press for a national resolution.


Music industry's new piracy crackdown

STOCKHOLM--The music industry's top lobby group said on Tuesday it was launching new legal action against those who illegally share files over the Internet, which it blames for diminished sales.The International Federation for the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said it was launching 2,100 legal cases and extending the action to five new countries in Europe, Asia and, for the first time, South America. It said file-sharers in Sweden, Switzerland, Argentina, Hong Kong and Singapore faced prosecution for the first time.

"It's the thinking of dinosaurs for anyone to believe that they can steal music after all the education and campaigns that we have had," IFPI head John Kennedy told Reuters. The group said it was taking further action against uploaders, people who put music out on the Internet via peer-to-peer software, which allows others to download the files.The group said the actions, which are either civil complaints or criminal prosecutions launched on Tuesday or brought recently, took the total number of legal cases against uploaders to more than 3,800 in 16 nations outside the United States.


Chirac in new pledge to end riots

French President Jacques Chirac has vowed to create new opportunities for young people in an effort to prevent any resurgence of urban violence. In his first national address since the riots began, Mr Chirac spoke of "crisis of meaning, a crisis of identity". He condemned the "poison" of racism, and announced measures for the training of 50,000 youths in 2007. Mr Chirac, who has been accused of weak leadership during the crisis, also said the rioters must be brought to justice.

Speaking at the Elysee Palace in front of the flags of France and the EU, Mr Chirac said the wave of violence had highlighted a "deep malaise" within French society. "We are all aware of discrimination," the president said, calling for equal opportunities for the young and rejecting suggestions of a US-style quota system. "How many CVs are thrown in the waste paper basket just because of the name or the address of the applicant?"


Protests at Thai power sell-off

Violence broke out after protestors tried to prevent staff at Thailand's Electricity Generating Authority (EGAT) from entering its Bangkok headquarters. The government plans to sell a 16% stake in EGAT for $855m (£492m). Critics have claimed the sell-off will lead to higher electricity prices and are mounting a legal challenge. A Thai court is set to rule on Tuesday whether the part-privatisation - Thailand's single largest flotation - should be put on hold while legal challenges are heard. Thai media said the violent scuffles involved only a handful of the hundreds of protestors who camped outside EGAT's headquarters. Uncertainty over whether the flotation will proceed as planned hit the Thai stock market, which fell 1% in trading on Monday.


Spain probes 'secret CIA flights'

Spain is launching an investigation into claims that CIA planes carrying terror suspects made secret stopovers on Spanish soil. Interior Minister Jose Antonio Alonso made the announcement on Spanish television on Tuesday. He said that if proven, such activities could damage relations between the Spanish and US governments. According to Spanish press reports, the CIA is suspected of having used Majorca for such prisoner transfers.

"If it were confirmed as true, we would, of course, be looking at very serious cases," Mr Alonso told the private channel Telecinco.


China fears domestic oversupply

Chinese industrial production is continuing to grow strongly, but some government sources have started to warn of growing domestic oversupply. The country's industrial output grew at an annual rate of 16.1% in October, slightly down on September's 16.5%, said the National Bureau of Statistics. Jia Yinsong, an official at the National Development Reform Commission, said steel was one area overproducing. Excess steel production is expected to top 100 million tons this year. Chinese steel demand is set to exceed 300 million tons in 2005 official figures show, with production above 400 million tons. Demand is predicted to rise only marginally to 320 million tons by 2010, but output capacity is estimated to hit 530 million tons by 2008. Another official report warns that Chinese car production could be double that of domestic demand by 2010.


The Woman Behind Arnold's Defeat

By Kathleen Sharp, Pacific News Service

Women have had a bruising time in the public eye lately, ranging from Judith Miller's deceptive reports in the New York Times to Harriet Miers' embarrassing qualifications for the Supreme Court. So when a woman manages to outperform the most confident governor in America, it's worth celebrating. On Tuesday, Nov. 8, every one of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's pet initiatives failed, in large part because of Rose Ann DeMoro, the chief executive of the California Nurses Association (CNA). She and her 65,000-member union spent most of this year building a broad-based populist movement that the once-powerful governor tried to dismiss with glib one-liners.


Chavez and Fox dispute escalates

The Mexican President, Vicente Fox, has threatened to cut off all diplomatic ties with Venezuela. He said he would take that action if Venezuela's leader, Hugo Chavez, kept on making comments about him or Mexico. Earlier, both countries withdrew their ambassadors from each other's capitals after a row over free trade degenerated into bitter exchanges. Mr Chavez had refused to apologise for calling the Mexican President a "puppy" of US imperialism. The row began last week, after Mexico supported a failed US bid to relaunch the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) at the Summit of the Americas early in November.



"I Have Long Been Wondering When the Situation Would Explode"

Just who are the rioters in France? In an effort to find out, SPIEGEL ONLINE spoke with French immigration expert Laurent Mucchielli. He says feelings of anger, injustice and exclusion are fuelling the violence.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: The riots in France will soon be two weeks old and have required equipping the state with the power to impose curfews. Did anyone see this coming?

Laurent Mucchielli: Like many observers, I have been wondering over the past few months, when the situation in the suburbs of
France, blighted as they are with lingering tensions and permanent unrest, would start to explode. Indeed, none of the major issues faced in the suburbs over the past 15 years have been effectively resolved or even addressed.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: The media has been portraying the suburbs of
Paris as an urban wasteland full of shiftless youths with no futures. What is the root cause of the rioting?

Mucchielli: The root cause is the economic plight of the country. The politicians and the media keep focusing on the rise and fall of the national unemployment rate. But that statistic ignores the level of unemployment faced by local youths in the suburbs. Take, for example, those young people with a working class background and no higher education degree. Among these people, unemployment is sometimes as high as 50 percent. If you factor in racial discrimination, it can be even higher. Such is the economic reality faced by youths in the suburbs and it fuels feelings of anger, injustice and exclusion.


Subpoena Threatened over Katrina Response

House Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-Va.) yesterday threatened to subpoena three members of the Bush Cabinet and White House counsel Harriet Miers if they do not comply with document requests issued by his select committee on Hurricane Katrina response. During a committee hearing yesterday, Davis decried the failure of White House officials to release e-mails and other communication records related to the hurricane and its aftermath. Davis set a hard deadline of Nov. 18 for all federal agencies to comply with his requests. “If documents aren’t produced by that date, I’m ready to proceed with subpoenas,” Davis said.



Iraq plans hotel and theme parks for a tourism boom

By Kim Sengupta in Baghdad

Published: 07 November 2005

A £48m, five-star, 23-storey hotel rising in the city centre; an opulent palace complex being turned into a theme park; cheap flights to the picturesque "Venice of the east" - all the trappings of a country gearing up for a tourist boom.

Except the country in question is Iraq. With a new constitution and elections in the offing, officials insist there is a new beginning. The tourist board has 2,400 staff and 14 offices.

There has been a rise in the volume of travellers, with Iraqis either leaving or expatriates returning for visits. And there is also the continuous and steady number of foreigners, mainly contractors, coming in for the huge wages they can now command for working in such a risky environment.

The Battle for Fallujah

Matthew B. Stannard, Chronicle Staff Writer

San Francisco Chronicle

"We shouldn't be underestimating the potential for civil casualties here, " Gresham said. "Somewhere out there are 50,000 Iraqis -- allegedly -- that we don't know about."

U.S. and Iraqi forces smashing their way through Fallujah's outer defenses may soon face a wild card -- tens of thousands of noncombatant civilians at dire risk in the war zone -- that could dramatically reshape their strategy, analysts say.

As a military target, Fallujah resembles three concentric rings: "a hard outer crust, a softer and less-defined inner core and then probably a hard core or bastion where the final battle will take place inside the town," said John Gresham, co-author with Tom Clancy of "Special Forces: A Guided Tour of U. S. Army Special Forces.''

Right now, Gresham said, coalition forces are focusing on that outer crust, made up of generally lightly armed insurgents firing from behind heavily fortified, and in some cases booby-trapped, barricades. But as troops move farther into the city, the number, location and behavior of civilians could determine the speed and ferocity of the next stage of combat.

CNN reporters embedded with the troops described U.S. forces firing 120mm shells from M1 Abrams tanks at booby-trapped barricades, setting off huge explosions. Other reports said the invaders were using mortars and air attacks to set off explosives on the city's perimeter as Iraqi troops backed up by U.S. forces took over a train station.

That pounding approach is different from tactics used in recent battles within Iraq, leading some analysts to suggest that the military is approaching Fallujah with a different perspective.

"It is certainly a more muscular, robust approach to Fallujah than we used in Samarra or Najaf," said John Pike, a defense analyst and director of, an independent think tank. "They basically think that this is enemy territory ... whereas in Samarra and Najaf they were convinced that the enemy had holed up in friendly territory."



What's Wrong with Europe?

What’s wrong with Europe?

They will say that the problem is Islam. It is not. They will say that the problem is acculturation. It is not. They will say that these people are not French. They are. But they are not white. Therein lays the rub. Europe is racist and greedy (like you didn’t know). The problem that has erupted in the suburbs of France has its roots in poverty, racism and oppression. With more intellectual production per capita than any other country you might think that France could have avoided this one. But no, alas, it cannot be. France, more so than any other nation, is delusional. We are French they say, “Liberty, Fraternity and Equality” – Bullshit! You are the same greedy racist, imperial, capitalist as your other European brethren. Let’s be honest you were a nation founded by barbarians; plundering, murdering, conquering, barbarians.

This leads me to another point. Europe is about to become a hotbed of racism and hypocrisy the likes of which have not been seen since the inquisition. And it will all be for the sake of purity. How long can an identity be constituted against a negative ideal and remain coherent. How long has Europe gorged herself on the riches of the world? How long has she destroyed countries so that she could live a while longer in the sun? How long has Europe laughed and ignored the poverty and hunger of those countries she exploited – replying to their pleas for aid and relief with: be French, speak French, live French. “Let them eat Cake!” What’s wrong with Europe? The same thing that is wrong with France. It has become a tyrant and a leach. Draining the world of its resources and repressing the darker people of the world. If it was bad policy for the United States what makes you think it would work for Europe?

The rioters are the children of immigrants from North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. Schools have been on holiday in France, giving these youths even more time on their hands, and it's also the end of the Ramadan fasting period, a time when nerves are already on edge. Their rebellion is directed against anything that even remotely reminds them of state authority, even the mailman. They are beyond reason, and no one, not their parents, not their teachers and least of all the authorities can get through to them.

Social divisions in today's French society run along ethnic and religious lines, and they also signify deep cultural rifts. The ideal of the French republic -- the nation as a community of the willing, of citizens who enjoy equal rights, regardless of their ethnic origins or religious beliefs -- is giving way to a volatile co-existence among communities that want to retain their identities and live according to their own rules. The official French position has always been to condemn multiculturalism -- and yet the state must now deal with the consequences.


The way we were

"It is also a fact that America is too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad. This limits the use of America's power, especially its capacity for military intimidation. Never before has a populist democracy attained international supremacy. But the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public's sense of domestic well-being. The economic self-denial (that is, defense spending) and the human sacrifice (casualties, even among professional soldiers) required in the effort are uncongenial to democratic instincts. Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization." —from The Grand Chessboard

Zbigniew Brzezinski

Sacred ignorance

By Scoop Jackson

Page 2

In October 1999, these words came out of his mouth:

"I don't mean to say [that] as a snide remark toward a certain population in our society, but they have a limitation of their attention span, a lot of it probably due to too much rap music going in their ears and coming out their being."

OK. Let that one slide. Chalk it up as generational hate. Cultural Alzheimer's.


In October 2005, these words came out of his mouth:

"I think it's important that the players take their end of it, get out of the prison garb and the thuggery aspect of basketball that has come along with hip-hop music in the last seven or eight years."

OK … the camel's thoracic and lumbar vertebrae just went into trauma. Forget a broken back, this is spondylitis. A disease.

Now, I'm not calling Phil Jackson an Al Campanis, a Marge Schott or a Jimmy the Greek, but I will say for those comments he needs to meet the same fate.

Not necessarily being fired -- something beyond that. At this point he should be placed in the same sports pantheon of bigots and frauds that have come along in this post-Adolf Hitler/Jesse Owens generation of athletics.

"Limitation of their attention span … due to too much rap music"? "Prison garb and thuggery … that has come along with hip-hop music"?

Forget calling the kettle black, let's just call the hypocrite white.

Or should I say, hippie?

One who was a member of an anti-American culture that made marijuana mainstream, one that dressed in Woodstock and Vietnam garb.

But before we go there, let's deal with the greater issue: the cultural and racial ignorance of Phil Jackson.


Timeline: French riots


A chronology of key events:

25 October: Visiting the Paris suburb of Argenteuil to see how new measures against urban violence are working, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy is pelted with stones and bottles. He says that crime-ridden neighbourhoods should be "cleaned with a power hose" and describes violent elements as "gangrene" and "rabble".

27 October: Teenagers Zyed Benna and Bouna Traore are electrocuted after climbing into an electrical sub-station in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, in what locals say was an attempt to hide from police. The police deny this, but news of their deaths triggers riots in the area which is home to large African and Arab communities. Arsonists destroy 15 vehicles.

29 October : As unrest creeps across the Seine-Saint-Denis administrative region, a silent march to remember Zyed and Bouna is held in Clichy-sous-Bois by mourners in tee-shirts reading "dead for nothing".

30 October : Mr Sarkozy pledges "zero tolerance" of rioting and sends police reinforcements to Clichy-sous-Bois. A junior minister in charge of equal opportunities, Azouz Begag, condemns the use of the word "rabble". A tear gas grenade, like those used by riot police, explodes at a Clichy-sous-Bois mosque, provoking further anger.

1 November: Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin pledges a full investigation into the deaths of Zyed and Bouna at a meeting with their families. Rioting spreads out of Seine-Saint-Denis to three other regions in the Paris area.

2 November: Rioters ransack a police station at Aulnay-sous-Bois, police report coming under fire from at least two live bullets at La Courneuve and 177 vehicles are burnt.

3 November: Violence spreads beyond the Paris region to the eastern city of Dijon and parts of the south and west, with 400 vehicles burnt.

6 November: President Jacques Chirac promises to restore order after a meeting with his government. There follows the most dramatic night of rioting to date with nearly 1,500 vehicles burnt and nearly 400 arrests. Most attacks are now occurring far beyond the Paris area. Two policemen are seriously injured in clashes in town of Grigny, near Paris.

7 November: Jean-Jacques Le Chenadec, 61, dies of injuries he received in an assault on Friday in the town of Stains, Seine-Saint-Denis. French media suggest he is the first fatality of the riots.

Rioting Spreads to 300 Towns in France

Rioting by French youths spread to 300 towns overnight and a man hurt in the violence died of his wounds, the first fatality in 11 days of unrest that has shocked the country, police said Monday.

As urban unrest spread to neighboring Belgium and possibly Germany, the French government faced growing criticism for its inability to stop the violence, despite massive police deployment and continued calls for calm.

On Sunday night, vandals burned more than 1,400 vehicles, and clashes around the country left 36 police injured, setting a new high for overnight arson and violence since rioting started last month, national police chief Michel Gaudin told a news conference.

Australia, Austria, Britain, Germany and Hungary advised their citizens to exercise care in France, joining the United States and Russia in warning tourists to stay away from violence-hit areas.


Anti-Bush riots jolt summit

MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina - More than 1,000 demonstrators angry about President Bush's policies clashed with police, shattered storefronts and torched businesses Friday, marring the inauguration of the Summit of the Americas as leaders began debating creation of one of the world's largest free-trade zones.

The chaos reflected the often violent, worldwide debate on free trade as the United States and Mexico pushed to relaunch talks on a zone stretching from Canada to Chile. Past summits on the issue, including last year's gathering of Asian-Pacific leaders in Chile, have drawn bitter opposition and similarly angry protests.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez emerged as the most strident opponent of the plan, addressing a separate crowd of more than 25,000 peaceful protesters hours before the summit convened in this normally tranquil seaside resort.

Chavez vowed to defeat the Free Trade Area of the Americas once and for all. Speaking before a six-story banner of revolutionary Che Guevara, Chavez urged the throng, including soccer great Diego Maradona and Bolivian presidential hopeful Evo Morales, to help him fight free trade.


20 Amazing Facts About

by Angry Girl

Did you know....

1. 80% of all votes in America are counted by only two companies: Diebold and ES&S.

2. There is no federal agency with regulatory authority or oversight of the U.S. voting machine industry.

3. The vice-president of Diebold and the president of ES&S are brothers.

4. The chairman and CEO of Diebold is a major Bush campaign organizer and donor who wrote in 2003 that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."

5. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel used to be chairman of ES&S. He became Senator based on votes counted by ES&S machines.

6. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, long-connected with the Bush family, was recently caught lying about his ownership of ES&S by the Senate Ethics Committee.

7. Senator Chuck Hagel was on a short list of George W. Bush's vice-presidential candidates.

8. ES&S is the largest voting machine manufacturer in the U.S. and counts almost 60% of all U.S. votes.

9. Diebold's new touch screen voting machines have no paper trail of any votes. In other words, there is no way to verify that the data coming out of the machine is the same as what was legitimately put in by voters.

10. Diebold also makes ATMs, checkout scanners, and ticket machines, all of which log each transaction and can generate a paper trail.

11. Diebold is based in Ohio.

12. Diebold employed 5 convicted felons as consultants and developers to help write the central compiler computer code that counted 50% of the votes in 30 states.,2645,61640,00.html

13. Jeff Dean was Senior Vice-President of Global Election Systems when it was bought by Diebold. Even though he had been convicted of 23 counts of felony theft in the first degree, Jeff Dean was retained as a consultant by Diebold and was largely responsible for programming the optical scanning software now used in most of the United States.

14. Diebold consultant Jeff Dean was convicted of planting back doors in his software and using a "high degree of sophistication" to evade detection over a period of 2 years.

15. None of the international election observers were allowed in the polls in Ohio.

16. California banned the use of Diebold machines because the security was so bad. Despite Diebold's claims that the audit logs could not be hacked, a chimpanzee was able to do it! (See the movie here:,2645,63298,00.html

17. 30% of all U.S. votes are carried out on unverifiable touch screen voting machines with no paper trail.

18. All -- not some -- but all the voting machine errors detected and reported in Florida went in favor of Bush or Republican candidates.,2645,65757,00.html

19. The governor of the state of Florida, Jeb Bush, is the President's brother.

20. Serious voting anomalies in Florida -- again always favoring Bush -- have been mathematically demonstrated and experts are recommending further investigation.,10801,97614,00.html

NOTE: Please copy the above list and distribute freely!
Thank you!


U.S. Military Wants to Own the Weather

What makes rain, hail, fire and earthquakes? The Son of Man.

The one-two hurricane punch from Katrina and Wilma along with predictions of more severe weather in the future has scientists pondering ways to save lives, protect property and possibly even control the weather.

While efforts to tame storms have so far been clouded by failure, some researchers aren’t willing to give up the fight. And even if changing the weather proves overly challenging, residents and disaster officials can do a better job planning and reacting.

In fact, military officials and weather modification experts could be on the verge of joining forces to better gauge, react to, and possibly nullify future hostile forces churned out by Mother Nature.

While some consider the idea farfetched, some military tacticians have already pondered ways to turn weather into a weapon.

Lobbyists Screw Choctaws' Jena Band

Is it me or is this Déjà vu? One would think the Native Americans would have learned you can’t trust ‘em.

The Interior Department's former No. 2 official denied on Wednesday that he gave preferential treatment to a lobbyist under investigation for his work on behalf of Indian tribes and their casino interests.

Steven Griles' assertion was challenged by a one-time colleague and by senators who cited e-mails by the lobbyist, Jack Abramoff.

To the Senate committee investigating Abramoff and his partner, Michael Scanlon, Griles said it was "outrageous" and "untrue" that they had special access to him, as they claim.

But Michael Rossetti, a former legal counselor to Interior Secretary Gail Norton, told senators he was "alarmed" when Griles "all of a sudden had an inexplicable desire to be involved" in meetings with Norton dealing with the Jena Band of Choctaw tribe's effort to open a casino near the Texas-Louisiana border.

"Repeatedly on at least half a dozen occasions, he insisted on being in on meetings" affecting the Jena Band, Rossetti said.

Griles resigned in December as the department's deputy secretary.

Rossetti described an exchange in front of at least two witnesses in which he challenged Griles on "whose water he was carrying on this issue."

Abramoff and Scanlon were hired as lobbyists by the Louisiana Coushatta tribe to work against efforts by the rival Jena Band of Choctaws to open a casino that could compete with the Coushatta's gambling operation near Lake Charles, La.

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee is investigating Abramoff and Scanlon and the more than $80 million they were paid between 2001 and 2004 by six Indian tribes with casinos, including the Coushattas.



Rumsfeld's growing stake in Tamiflu

By Nelson D. Schwartz, Fortune senior writer

NEW YORK (Fortune) - The prospect of a bird flu outbreak may be panicking people around the globe, but it's proving to be very good news for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other politically connected investors in Gilead Sciences, the California biotech company that owns the rights to Tamiflu, the influenza remedy that's now the most-sought after drug in the world.