Monday, December 31, 2007


It is the last day of 2007, a time for reflection and a time for promises. A time to dream and plan.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Benazir Bhutto

Let us heed her words in her memory:
"Dictatorship neglects the basic needs of the people. And when their basic needs to clothing, to housing, to drinking water, to economic advancement is neglected, the poverty and the desperation is a fertile ground for the extremists to exploit."
-- Benazir Bhutto on NPR this June (see )

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Friday, December 21, 2007

EPA has federalism all wrong

Stephan Johnson , the director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has it got it all wrong regarding how auto emissions standards have come to be set, the Clean Air Act of 1970 which gave California and other states the authority to set its own clean air standards. He overruled his own technical and legal staff in favor of the automobile industry! Long Live the automakers--who historically did not want to put in seat belts, or build safer cars, not to mention energy efficient vehicles or cleaner ones...
To hell with clean air, to hell with citizens who suffer from respiratory ailments!
He claims that a national standard of CO2 emissions was preferable than a patchwork approach--yet the EPA and/or Congress has NOT set that national standard. Historically, California has lead the way--with other states following, until the federal government has caught up.
This is part of the sympatico of federalism and states rights.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

We Live in a Material World

Its the Holidaze, in case you have not noticed the buying frenzy at your local stores/malls. What a perfect time to view this short film (in very very short multi-parts) "The Story of Stuff."

Ch. 1 h
Ch 2
Ch. 5
Ch. 6
Ch. 7


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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Parsing torture

Torture, no matter what it is called, is "torture." I can not believe how people are parsing out water boarding--saying it is not torture.
Plus, if some one thinks they are drowning/dying and know that if they say anything--including whatever their interrogators want to hear--how much truth do you think those statements hold?
Remember, even sleep deprived suspects in police cases cop to the crime, even if they had not committed it, in order to end their ordeal.

Torture, by any name, is wrong.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Correcting Mitt

Mitt Romney's speech December 6th was an abomination of our founders' sentiments. He claimed that he would not "separate us from the God that gave us liberty. . .[or our] religious heritage" (italics, mine). While we have a lot of trappings of being a Christian Nation as the religious right would want --Sundays were for worship only until capital materialism began competing; and Christmas is a federal holiday--we are not a theocracy!
Our founders were adamant that our country was a secular one--the Constitution explicitly states that there is no religious test for public office; the separation of church and state, the anti-establishment clause and the freedom of religion --which is the freedom for and the freedom of religion-- is found in the First Amendment.

Now, I understand why and what Romney was trying to do, appealing to and appeasing the Religious Right as a voting block. He wants to get nominated and elected, this block is 22% of the vote. This block of the blinded by faith are not nuanced thinkers much less critically thinkers--their leaders pick and choose what they are to think (i.e., if they really followed the Bible ham would not be served for Christmas dinner, Norelco shavers would not be stockings, the other cheek would have been turned on 9/11...).

Religion has taken a public stance in our 21st century America courtesy of Reagan opening the door. But being religious is not a test of morality and we are not a theocracy. I would much rather hear our presidential candidates explain their concept of justice, and talk policy.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Habeas Corpus

Habeas Corpus, produce the body, or evidence, is the essence of due process. That the detainees in Guantanamo have not had fair hearings at the military tribunals is evidenced by Murnat Kurnaz, a German who has been held there even after German Intelligence had declared that he was not a terrorist and American authorities agreed and were to release him in a few weeks, back in 2002.
He was not released until 2006, since he had been found and held as an enemy combatant after a subsequent military tribunal. See

This is why the Supreme Court is hearing arguments regarding if the detainees have the right to a habeas corpus challenge to their imprisonment: Does the government have a valid basis for such imprisonment.

After the Supreme Court had previously ruled that the detainees had rights, since the naval base was functionally considered American territory, Congress quickly passed the Military Commissions Act. (Here is the White House Fact Sheet on the Act citation: This act strips courts of the jurisdiction to hear detainees' habeas corpus cases.

This is what is before the Supreme Court today...the fundamental essence of due process.

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

December 1: World AIDS Day

Today is the day the world remembers those who have died because of AIDS, and reaches out to those who are HIV+ or persons living with AIDS (PWA) or those who might become infected--which means ALL of us are potential PWAs IF the response to AIDS and HIV remains status quo.

From the CDC website:

"Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing heterosexual sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Research on the effectiveness of latex condoms in preventing heterosexual transmission is both comprehensive and conclusive. The ability of latex condoms to prevent transmission has been scientifically established in laboratory studies as well as in epidemiologic studies of uninfected persons at very high risk of infection because they were involved in sexual relationships with HIV-infected partners. The most recent meta-analysis of epidemiologic studies of condom effectiveness was published by Weller and Davis in 2004. This analysis refines and updates their previous report published in 1999. The analysis demonstrates that the consistent use of latex condoms provides a high degree of protection against heterosexual transmission of HIV. It should be noted that condom use cannot provide absolute protection against HIV. The surest way to avoid transmission of HIV is to abstain from sexual intercourse or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and you know is uninfected. "

And, for males who have sex with other males (gay men, those on the downlow, married men who tap their feet in toilet stalls of public men's rooms, etc.)--the CDC has the following:

The Dr.JAM word on safe sex; FULL BODY CONDOMS! Saving that using condoms correctly...

How to use a condom:

How to use a female condom:

Knowing your partner's HIV status, is only knowing it for that day that s/he was tested!


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