The Constitution Does Not Apply

Molly Ivins

Uh-oh. Excuse me. I'm so sorry, but we are having a constitutional crisis. I know the timing couldn't be worse. Right in the middle of the wrapping paper, the gingerbread and the whole shebang, a tiny honest-to-goodness constitutional crisis.

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country: Damn the inconvenience, full speed ahead. On his own, without consulting the Congress, the courts or the people, the president decided to use secret branches of government to spy on the American people. He is, of course, using 9-11 to justify his actions in this, as he does for everything else -- 9-11 happened so the Constitution does not apply, 9-11 happened so there is no separation of powers, 9-11 happened so 200 years of experience curbing the executive power of government is something we can now overlook.

That the president of the United States unconstitutionally usurped power is not in dispute. He and his attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, both claim he has the right to do so on account of he is the president.


Russia's oligarchs: Their risky routes to riches

Russia's business oligarchs - Greek for the few who rule - have enriched themselves over the past 15 years beyond most people's wildest dreams. They count their fortunes in billions of dollars. But even more spectacular than their rapid rise is the way some rags-to-riches adventures have ended in tears. The careers of two of Russia's most successful oligarchs, Mikhael Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev, are now under the microscope in a Moscow court where they face charges of fraud, forgery and tax evasion. The story about the risks they - and other oligarchs - ran and the deals they made says much about Russia's recent history.


'They' Destroyed New Orleans

There is an ominous truth in America that goes unspoken and ignored. It is the descendant of delusional Puritan ideology and the white supremacy inherent in the “American Ideal,” it is the fact that America is, has, and, for sometime, will be a country that has little value for human life, particularly if those lives are sheathed in Black bodies. We, as Black people, have tried to tell America about her tendency towards homicidal narcissism but our warnings have fallen upon deaf ears. They have been drowned out by the stereotype of Black inferiority or the myth of American equality or the fiction of European humanism. While Americans remain situated in their offices, in which they spend more time than their living rooms, Black people in America see the writing on the wall – they are coming. Actually, they are here. If you do not understand that capital reduces all things, including human life, to a price, you soon will. Slave.

"We could hear 'em that night," Horace said, "blowing the levees. They knew if they didn't, the water was gonna get to the French Quarter or to the white people uptown. And they didn't want that."

When it was all over, Betsy killed at least 60 people in Louisiana, a small number compared to Katrina, but when the people of the lower Ninth Ward found out their neighborhood took the brunt of the hit because a levee collapsed, the controversy started. For them the levee failing wasn't an accident. It was a sacrifice, another example of white people looking out for themselves. It was in this environment that "they" first appeared and became a part of New Orleans folklore.


Outspoken Putin aide set to quit

An outspoken aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered his resignation in protest against changes in government policy. Economic adviser Andrei Illarionov said Russia was no longer politically free but run by state corporations acting in their own interests. "I did not sign a contract with such a state," Mr Illarionov told reporters. He has been the most vocal critic in the corridors of Russian power for some time, our correspondent says. His remarks are seen by some experts as potentially embarrassing for Mr Putin, as Russia prepares to take over presidency of the G8 club of industrialised nations later this week.


Russia closer to controlling NGOs

Sound familiar?


The upper house of the Russian parliament has approved a controversial bill to tighten state control over non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The Federation Council's approval came after the bill was passed by the lower house, the Duma, last week. President Vladimir Putin is expected to sign it into law. Human rights groups and western politicians have criticised the bill, which would give the state powers to oversee NGO funding and activities.

Spying claims

The bill sets out stricter registration procedures for foreign and domestic NGOs and gives the state the power to close them down. The Russian authorities say the legislation is needed to prevent foreign governments and organisations from using NGOs to undermine Russia's security.


Cardinals issue marriage warning

Ratzinger, the former Nazi, and his church are starting down that quite little road to eugenic annihilation.

A number of Catholic cardinals have warned Italian women against mixed marriages with the rising number of Muslims in the country. Church officials say that as Italy's Muslim population touches the one million mark, some 20,000 mixed marriages took place this year alone. That is an increase of around 10% on last year.


French sex inquiry 'must be open'

Witch hunts are easier than you think.


Thirteen people jailed for - and later cleared of - paedophilia in France have demanded that a parliamentary inquiry into the scandal be held in public. In a petition they said they feared a closed inquiry would suffer the same secrecy that dogged the whole case.

Inquiry head André Vallini insisted the inquest would remain private. But he said individual witnesses might be allowed to give evidence in public. "Case by case, we can open our work to the public and press," he said. The affair, centred on the north-eastern town of Outreau, shocked France, first with the extent of the alleged child abuse, and then when so many of those convicted turned out to be innocent. The 13 were implicated by two women, who admitted paedophilia. After they admitted they had lied, seven of those accused were freed, but six others remained in jail until their convictions were quashed earlier this month. Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said the trial had been "a judicial mess". All the accused spent years in preventive detention and were barred from seeing their own children.



QUALCOMM Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM), pioneer and world leader of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) digital wireless technology, and American Airlines, the world’s largest carrier, today successfully demonstrated in-cabin voice communications using commercially available CDMA mobile phones on a commercial American Airlines aircraft. Through the use of an in-cabin third-generation (3G) “picocell” network, passengers on the test flight were able to place and receive calls as if they were on the ground.

“Today, American Airlines and QUALCOMM showcased their strength as technology pioneers and market leaders in their respective industries,” said Dan Garton, executive vice president of marketing for American Airlines. “American is committed to researching and providing innovative, cutting-edge products and services that enhance our passengers’ traveling experience and give our customers what they value. Even though commercial availability of cell phone use in flight is approximately 24 months away, American Airlines knows that our customers want to stay connected and this proof-of-concept event is an important step in bringing in-cabin wireless services to our customers.


File the Bin Laden Phone Leak Under 'Urban Myths'

President Bush asserted this week that the news media published a U.S. government leak in 1998 about Osama bin Laden's use of a satellite phone, alerting the al Qaeda leader to government monitoring and prompting him to abandon the device.

The story of the vicious leak that destroyed a valuable intelligence operation was first reported by a best-selling book, validated by the Sept. 11 commission and then repeated by the president.

But it appears to be an urban myth.

The al Qaeda leader's communication to aides via satellite phone had already been reported in 1996 -- and the source of the information was another government, the Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan at the time.

The second time a news organization reported on the satellite phone, the source was bin Laden himself.

Causal effects are hard to prove, but other factors could have persuaded bin Laden to turn off his satellite phone in August 1998. A day earlier, the United States had fired dozens of cruise missiles at his training camps, missing him by hours.

Bush made his assertion at a news conference Monday, in which he defended his authorization of warrantless monitoring of communications between some U.S. citizens and suspected terrorists overseas. He fumed that "the fact that we were following Osama bin Laden because he was using a certain type of telephone made it into the press as the result of a leak." He berated the media for "revealing sources, methods and what we use the information for" and thus helping "the enemy" change its operations.

South Korean Stem-Cell Researcher Resigns

Wait! You mean to tell me that the Koreans tried to pass off a fake?? No!

South Korean researcher Hwang Woo-suk resigned from his university on Friday after the school said he fabricated stem-cell research that had raised hopes of new cures for hard-to-treat diseases. A university panel, releasing initial findings of a probe, accused Hwang of damaging the scientific community with his deception, while South Korea's government rued the scandal surrounding the country's star scientist and said it may pull its funding for his research. "I sincerely apologize to the people for creating a shock and disappointment," Hwang told reporters as he was leaving his office at Seoul National University, considered the country's top institution of higher learning.


Singapore film disqualified for Oscar nomination

Vanity and hubris, a bad combination.

The film "Be With Me" from Singapore director Eric Khoo was disqualified earlier because the predominant language is English, Teni Melidonian, spokesman for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, told AFP. The film was entered in the foreign language category but "English isn't a foreign language" for the Oscars, Melidonian said.



Shed so many tears

Its impossible for a discriminable mind to fathom the miraculous transition of a redeemed soul. Contrary to the popular misconception, redemption is not a biblical ethos, exclusive to saints, prophets, elitists or the holier-than-thou. It is of earthly accessibility through human initiative. I aver that the process of being redeemed is available to any individual regardless of gender, race, color, creed, social stratum or background. Yes, even a wretched Black man, akin to the former me, can transform and be redeemed.

Tookie Williams

Though I am not a KRS One fan, anymore, this article is worth review – for those of us beyond redemption and too tired to go on. The long night is done.



A man came home from work, sat down in his favorite chair, turned on the TV, and said to his wife, "quick, bring me a beer before it starts".

She looked a little puzzled, but brought him a beer. When he finished it, he said, "quick, bring me another beer. It's gonna start."

This time she looked a little angry, but brought him a beer. When it was gone, he said, "quick, another beer before it starts."

"That's it!" She blows her top, "You bastard! You waltz in here, flop your fat ass down, don't even say hello to me and then expect me to run around like your slave. Don't you realize that I cook and clean and wash and iron all day long??"

The husband sighed. "Oh shit, it's started."


Burned Out?


So what are some symptoms you're suffering from job burnout? Mary Rose Remington, author of "Career Quest, a Practical and Spiritual Guide To Finding Your Life's Passion" (Heartwood Publishing), says there are 10 signs that it's close to quitting time -- concrete indicators that you are "crispy."

1. Sunday evenings depress you.

2. The quality of your work has suffered, but you don't care.

3. You arrive consistently late to work.

4. You call in sick when healthy.

5. You've become emotionally distant from your coworkers.

6. Your job has taken a toll on your mental and/or physical health to the point where friends and family have expressed concern.

7. Upon hearing rumors of layoffs, you pray, "Please, God, take me!"

8. You don't have enough work to keep busy, but lack motivation to seek new assignments.

9. Time drags and you constantly watch the clock.

10. The lights around your desk or workspace burn out frequently.


The Constitution – just another piece of paper

The more things change the more they stay the same, welcome to the world of the Crow; Jim Crow that is. I can’t help but giggle my ass off. I mean these boys are off the chain – no foreplay or nothin’. Damn G –Dub. Its like that? “Fuck a constitution, I’m rich Bitch!”

Remarks by the President in a Conversation on the USA Patriot Act April 20, 2004

Secondly, there are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.

But a roving wiretap means -- it was primarily used for drug lords. A guy, a pretty intelligence drug lord would have a phone, and in old days they could just get a tap on that phone. So guess what he'd do? He'd get him another phone, particularly with the advent of the cell phones. And so he'd start changing cell phones, which made it hard for our DEA types to listen, to run down these guys polluting our streets. And that changed, the law changed on -- roving wiretaps were available for chasing down drug lords. They weren't available for chasing down terrorists, see? And that didn't make any sense in the post-9/11 era. If we couldn't use a tool that we're using against mobsters on terrorists, something needed to happen.

The Patriot Act changed that. So with court order, law enforcement officials can now use what's called roving wiretaps, which will prevent a terrorist from switching cell phones in order to get a message out to one of his buddies.

Thirdly, to give you an example of what we're talking about, there's something called delayed notification warrants. Those are very important. I see some people, first responders nodding their heads about what they mean. These are a common tool used to catch mobsters. In other words, it allows people to collect data before everybody is aware of what's going on. It requires a court order. It requires protection under the law. We couldn't use these against terrorists, but we could use against gangs

Press Conference of the President December 19, 2005

Q It was, why did you skip the basic safeguards of asking courts for permission for the intercepts?

THE PRESIDENT: First of all, I -- right after September the 11th, I knew we were fighting a different kind of war. And so I asked people in my administration to analyze how best for me and our government to do the job people expect us to do, which is to detect and prevent a possible attack. That's what the American people want. We looked at the possible scenarios. And the people responsible for helping us protect and defend came forth with the current program, because it enables us to move faster and quicker. And that's important. We've got to be fast on our feet, quick to detect and prevent.

We use FISA still -- you're referring to the FISA court in your question -- of course, we use FISAs. But FISA is for long-term monitoring. What is needed in order to protect the American people is the ability to move quickly to detect.

Now, having suggested this idea, I then, obviously, went to the question, is it legal to do so? I am -- I swore to uphold the laws. Do I have the legal authority to do this? And the answer is, absolutely. As I mentioned in my remarks, the legal authority is derived from the Constitution, as well as the authorization of force by the United States Congress.

Next thing you know he’ll be claiming authority from the Bible.


On Tap at the WTO: Private Water

By Joshua Holland

Water is viewed as one of the last "profit centers" by the international financial institutions and trade can impact whether it becomes a commodity or stays in public hands -- 90 percent of the world's water supplies remain in the public trust. Most notably water's on the table with the privatization of municipal water systems being aggressively pushed under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), a wide-ranging treaty that covers a host of services, both public and private.

Vandana Shiva, the scientist and global justice activist, argued this week that "we need to recognize that 90 percent of humanity lives on water as commons today." She lambasted a recent World Bank report urging poor countries to privatize their water systems, saying, "It actually talks about one major threat to water markets being community rights to water, and says these must be dismantled. As if there's something wrong with the commons, as if it's a primitive stage of human existence."


Why Women Snap

by Silja J.A. Talvi
Oxygen, a women-oriented cable channel, hypes its popular "Snapped" series this way: "From millionaire brides with everything to lose, to small-town sweethearts who should simply know better, these shocking but true stories turn common assumptions about crime and criminals upside down."

Nationally, some 200,000 women are now sitting in jails or prisons -- more than eight times as many incarcerated women as in 1980. At least 75 percent of these women are mothers. Out of the 7 million Americans under some form of correctional supervision, 1 million are women.

Two eye-opening new books, Nell Bernstein's All Alone in the World: Children of the Incarcerated and Renny Golden's War on the Family: Mothers in Prison and the Families They Leave Behind, highlight another byproduct of women's mass incarceration that has, thus far, been overlooked. As Bernstein and Golden discuss, one in 10 American children have a parent ensnared in the criminal justice system, while one in 33 will go to sleep tonight without being able to see a parent because she or he is behind bars.

Not only do the vast majority of these women in jail or prison leave at least one child behind when they get locked up, they also are more likely than male prisoners to arrive there with serious histories of emotional, sexual and physical abuse at the hands of family members, partners or strangers. Many are already mentally ill, sick, or both, with chronic diseases, including cancer, hepatitis C and HIV, diseases that end up costing taxpayers millions of dollars, and which often result in the end of a prisoner's life while still incarcerated.


Cuba cutting `world class' trail in biotech research

HAVANA -- On the outskirts of Havana sits a cluster of drab buildings that are part of an effort to propel Cuba to the forefront of biotechnology even as its population struggles with blackouts, shortages and crumbling infrastructure.

Known as the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, or CIGB, the institute is one of 52 government facilities dedicated to human, animal and agricultural research that have recorded a string of successes.

Using more than $1 billion in state funding, Cuban scientists have produced a hepatitis B vaccine sold in more than 30 countries and streptokinase, a potent enzyme that dissolves blood clots and improves the survival rate of heart attack victims. The country also makes recombinant interferon that strengthens the immune system of cancer patients, and a meningitis B vaccine.

In the pipeline are products ranging from an injection that closes ulcers and improves circulation in diabetics to vaccines against cholera and hepatitis C, according to Cuban officials.

"We've been very impressed by the biotech industry in Cuba," said Anne Walsh, vice president for communications at GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies. "It's world class.


North Carolina Sued for Illegally Certifying Voting Equipment

"This is about the rule of law," said EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. "The Board of Elections has simply ignored its mandatory obligations under North Carolina election law. This statute was enacted to require election officials to investigate the quality and security of voting systems before approval, and only approve those that are safe and secure. By certifying without a full review of all relevant code, the Board of Elections has now opened the door for North Carolina counties to purchase untested and potentially insecure voting equipment."

EFF Asks Court to Void Approval of Diebold and Others Without Source Code Review

Raleigh, North Carolina - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on Thursday filed a complaint against the North Carolina Board of Elections and the North Carolina Office of Information Technology Services on behalf of voting integrity advocate Joyce McCloy, asking that the Superior Court void the recent illegal certification of three electronic voting systems.

North Carolina law requires the Board of Elections to rigorously review all voting system code "prior to certification." Ignoring this requirement, the Board of Elections on December 1st certified voting systems offered by Diebold Election Systems, Sequoia Voting Systems, and Election Systems and Software without having first obtained – let alone reviewed – the system code.


RIP Tookie: War unto death

The dedication of William’s book “Life in Prison” casts significant doubt on his personal redemption. This book was published in 1998, several years after Williams’ claimed redemptive experience. Specifically, the book is dedicated to “Nelson Mandela, Angela Davis, Malcolm X, Assata Shakur, Geronimo Pratt, Ramona Africa, John Africa, Leonard Peltier, Dhoruba Al-Jahid, George Jackson, Mumia Abu Jamal, and the countless other men, women and youths that have endured the hellish oppression of living behind bars.” The mix of individuals on this list is curious. Most have violent pasts and some have been convicted of committing heinous murders, including the killing of law enforcement. Full

This is one of the reasons cited by the govenator for the execution of Mr. Williams. In short he cited too many uppity niggers and he scared white folk. The other reasons being testimony from people being tried for murder or cutting deals while in jail. I understand now why lawyers and judges drink at the end of the day; you need something to wash down all that bullshit. But, we know that the legal system is a whore house and politicians nothing more than madams. The real reason Tookie is dead is because black folk don’t give a shit and Arnold knows it. The governor will not lose one vote, Russell Simmons, Sean Combs, Calvin Brodus, Jesse Jackson, none of these individuals will organize or exert the effort to hold the governor and the prosecutors accountable for their actions. More importantly, what will the people in California for whom this was an issue do about it? Probably nothing. So long as this is the case the government will continue to lynch at will. Another life destroyed in the name of “Justice.” Damn I miss Johnny.


Two countries, one booming, one struggling: which one followed the free-trade route?

Expect much gnashing of teeth in Hong Kong this week. The chances of securing a comprehensive trade deal are non-existent, with the talks now really about damage limitation and the apportionment of blame. The development charities will say that the selfish behaviour of the developed world has condemned poor nations to further penury. Washington and Brussels will say the negotiations have been stymied by the obduracy of India and Brazil. Economists will have a field day explaining how the world is turning its back on millions of dollars' worth of extra growth, and that the poor countries will be the ones who will really suffer if the global economy lapses back into a new dark age of protectionism. That's certainly the accepted view. An alternative argument is that the trade talks are pretty much irrelevant to development and that in as much as they do matter, developing countries may be buying a pup. The Harvard economist Dani Rodrik is one trade sceptic. Take Mexico and Vietnam, he says. One has a long border with the richest country in the world and has had a free-trade agreement with its neighbour across the Rio Grande. It receives oodles of inward investment and sends its workers across the border in droves. It is fully plugged in to the global economy. The other was the subject of a US trade embargo until 1994 and suffered from trade restrictions for years after that. Unlike Mexico, Vietnam is not even a member of the WTO.


Supreme Court to Review Texas Redistricting

Rule of Law my ass!

The Supreme Court said Monday it would consider the constitutionality of a Texas congressional map engineered by Rep. Tom DeLay that helped Republicans gain seats in Congress.

The 2003 boundaries helped Republicans win 21 of the state's 32 seats in Congress in the last election_ up from 15. They were approved amid a nasty battle between Republican leaders and Democrats and minority groups in Texas.

The contentiousness also reached Washington, where the Justice Department approved the plan although staff lawyers concluded that it diluted minority voting rights. Because of past discrimination against minority voters, Texas is required to get Justice Department approval for any voting changes to ensure they don't undercut minority voting.

Justices will consider a constitutional challenge to the boundaries filed by various opponents. The court will hear two hours of arguments, likely in April, in four separate appeals.

The legal battle at the Supreme Court was over the unusual timing of the Texas redistricting, among other things. Under the Constitution, states must adjust their congressional district lines every 10 years to account for population shifts.

But in Texas the boundaries were redrawn twice after the 2000 census, first by a court, then by state lawmakers in a second round promoted by DeLay.


The cases are League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry, 05-204; Travis County v. Perry, 05-254; Jackson v. Perry, 05-276; GI Forum of Texas v. Perry, 05-439.


Lawless Iraq is 'key drug route'

Drug smugglers exploiting internal chaos in Iraq have turned the country into a transit route for Afghan heroin, an influential drug agency says. High levels of insurgent violence and porous borders have drawn traffickers to Iraq, according to the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). The board says Jordan has seized large quantities of drugs on the Iraq border. Authorities in Afghanistan say their drug problem is so severe the country's existence could be threatened. Drugs are transported through Iraq and into Jordan, where they are moved onto traditional trafficking routes into Europe. Apart from heroin and other opium-based drugs, Jordan has seized significant amount of cannabis resin and amphetamine-type pills on its borders.



American Hell

Around this time, I ran into Christopher's mother at a party and surprised her by asking, "How's Christopher?" "Wow, good memory," she said. "He's eleven and in the sixth grade now. He's all grown up." It caught me by surprise, for I had pictured him at a portable age all that time. Still in his swishy little cordoroys and diaper. I pictured him going to school in an SUV, coming home to a house as big and white and darkly shingled as the homes that turn up in Hollywood movies. You know the sort: a hundred-year-old colonial on a corner lot, leaf-strewn -- a pecan pie always baking in the oven.

These are just American images of what a home is, or what Hollywood tells us is the ideal, but the longer I live in New York, the more confused I become over the way such visuals have me furtively wiping my eyes at the cinema -- and then hating myself for being such a sop. I had a picture of what my life would look like, and that proved to be wrong. With each year, though, as I swear off muscle cars and watching sports, find myself eating dinner alone at restaurants and frowning at religiosity, it seems to have been more off-base than I could have ever imagined. I don't have time to be a dad now, let alone enough hours in the day to be a good one. I have begun hoping my older brother has a kid.


Love Stinks

Many popular erotic toys are made of polyvinyl chlorides (PVC) -- plastics long decried by eco-activists for the toxins released during their manufacture and disposal -- and softened with phthalates, a controversial family of chemicals. These include invitingly soft "jelly" or "cyberskin" items, which have grown popular in the last decade or so, says Carol Queen, Ph.D., "staff sexologist" for the San Francisco-based adult toy boutique Good Vibrations. "It's actually difficult for a store today to carry plenty of items and yet avoid PVC," Queen says. "Its use has gotten pretty ubiquitous among the large purveyors, because it's cheap and easy to work with."



Brain nurtured in a Petri dish learns to pilot a fighter plane

Holy Shit!

It sounds like science fiction: a brain nurtured in a Petri dish learns to pilot a fighter plane as scientists develop a new breed of "living" computer. But in groundbreaking experiments in a Florida laboratory that is exactly what is happening. The "brain", grown from 25,000 neural cells extracted from a single rat embryo, has been taught to fly an F-22 jet simulator by scientists at the University of Florida.



Living Single

This is actually part 2 of a four part series that the Chicago Sun Times ran. It must be that time again, Mary, Mariah and Toni all have new albums. Who knew the very model of a modern major general would be Oprah.

While some single women are thrilled to be "marriage free," those unattached females who draw most of the media ink are those who'd rather not be. Women today put it all out there, trying everything from pricey dating services to church singles groups, from co-ed cooking classes to old-fashioned blind dates. But in an age where upwardly mobile professional women can afford life's necessities and then some, why do they still find it so important to find a man? Finding and landing Mr. Right in today's commodity-driven world is probably one of the toughest deals these successful women will ever try to close.


Part 1 Redefining single

Part 3 Established, older women tackling parenthood solo

Part 4 Black woman's quandary


A little old couple prepares to go to bed. They no sooner

hit the pillows when the old man farts and says, "Seven

Points." His wife rolls over and says, "What in the world

was that?" The old man replied, "It's fart football."

A few minutes later his wife lets one go and says,

"Touchdown, tie score." After about five minutes the old

?man lets another one go and says, "Aha, I'm ahead 14 to 7.

" Not to be outdone, the wife rips out another one and says,

"Touchdown, tie score." Five seconds go by and she lets out

a little squeaker and says, "Field goal, I lead 17 to 14."

Now the pressure is on the old man. He refuses to get beat

by a woman, so he strains real hard, but to no avail. Realizing

a defeat is unacceptable, he gives it everything he's got,

and accidentally he poops in the bed. The wife says,

"What the heck was that?" The old man says, "Half time, switch sides."


Backpacks A Heavy Burden for Kids

MONDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Backpacks carried to and from school by the average American child are too heavy for safety and need to be reduced, warns a new report.

The University of California, San Diego-led study included five girls and five boys, aged 13, who wore identical backpacks fitted with pressure sensors in the shoulder straps. The children first carried 10 percent of their body weight in the packs, then 20 percent, and finally 30 percent of their body weight.

With each increase in weight, the children reported increased shoulder pain levels. Surface pressure was higher than the pressure threshold (30mmHg) that obstructs normal skin and muscle blood flow.



Revolutionary Venezuela is challenging centuries-old machismo prejudices

Revolutionary Venezuela is challenging the centuries-old prejudices of machismo and homophobia, the legacy of Spanish colonialism in Latin America. Yet as Heisler Vaamonde of the Revolutionary Gay Movement (MGR) told Green Left Weekly’s Kiraz Janicke and Federico Fuentes, they still have a way to go. Vaamonde is standing as a candidate outside of the official “Chavista” pro-revolutionary alliance for the December 4 National Assembly elections in Venezuela. He works in the office for the promotion of social rights in Alcaldia in Caracas and is also the coordinator of the Bolivarian Network of Homosexuals, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transexuals and Transgenders, and a strong campaigner against what he describes as the “Catholic neo-inquisition." On December 15, 2002, three years after the new constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela was adopted, President Hugo Chavez said on his weekly television program Alo Presidente that a big mistake had been made in 1999 during the National Constituent Assembly, when the rights of gays and lesbians were left out of the new constitution.