August 31, 2005

The Iraq/Katrina Connection, and Riffs for Bush

Greetings. Is there a direct connection between the disaster of Hurricane Katrina and spending on the Iraq War? You betcha. Please see the link over at Out of Iraq Now. Also over at that site, see how President Bush spent his time while the Katrina disaster unfolded. Pictures speak louder than words.


Posted by Lauren at 09:59 AM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
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August 26, 2005

New Site: "Out of Iraq Now"

Greetings. Just a quick note. I've started a new site:

It's not certain exactly how this site will be used, but I felt that it was important to get it going. Suggestions are definitely appreciated.

I will be spelling out details of my thinking on this issue, but it is now clear that we are watching, if not a rerun of Vietnam, then at least a sequel -- all the more dangerous for the enormous boost that it has given global terrorism.

Respect for coalition troops in Iraq now requires not that we "stay the course" for a country that in all likelihood is about to undergo either the creation of an Iranian-style theocracy or a civil war, but rather that we bring our troops home -- alive -- as rapidly as possible. Iraq will be a battleground for years and decades to come -- as that region has been throughout most of history. But it must not be our battle any longer.

Future historians will place the blame for the fiasco of this war, but for now it's time that the deaths and injuries of coalition troops in the name of Iraq come to an end.


Posted by Lauren at 08:42 AM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein

August 24, 2005

CNN Dropped From U.S. Naval Academy Video Network Over $3500

Note: This item supersedes my short blog entry on this issue from yesterday, which was removed since it had become redundant.

Greetings. It was recently brought to my attention that CNN was dropped a bit over two weeks ago from the U.S. Naval Academy's (USNA) internal video network used for academic functions, which feeds to classrooms, more than 4000 students, etc. This left FOX News as the only news channel on the USNA video network, which is operated by the academy's Multimedia Support Center (MSC).

While there are reportedly some at the academy who are not sorry to see CNN go -- I'm told it is routinely referred to as the "Communist News Network" by many USNA officers and civilians -- there are also persons at the academy who are very upset at CNN's plug being pulled.

Remarkably, this all appears to be about a $3500/year fee that I'm told CNN wants the academy to pay, and that MSC has determined they cannot afford, given other budget priorities.

This is the information that I've been able to collect to this point, and I'll update if I learn more.

If CNN's signal is really being withheld at USNA over $3500, then we're looking at a sorry situation indeed. In particular, it would seem in the best interests of CNN (and this country) to make sure that the U.S. Naval Academy network has full access to CNN programming, even if that meant not collecting any fee at all.

FOX News has its place of course, but leaving them as the only news channel on a venue as important as the USNA video network, makes it look like CNN is trying to shoot itself in the foot.


Posted by Lauren at 09:14 AM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein

August 19, 2005

Wildlife Police vs. the Rescued Duckling

Greetings. The infamous "BTK" killer was sentenced yesterday for his stream of gruesome murders. Until he was caught, he worked as a code enforcement supervisor for a Wichita, Kansas suburb, known for his zealous focus on even trivial transgressions.

All too often these guys let their "authority" go to their heads, and want to play bigtime cops.

Washington State provides another fine example. An Auburn, Washington woman cared for an injured day-old duckling (who had been attacked by a crow) brought to her by a friend, and nursed it back to health.

When the gang over at the state Fish and Wildlife department found out about this, they sent in the goon squad. The Good Samaritan declined their demands to immediately hand over the duck, so she was threatened with arrest by a wildlife official waving his handcuffs around, and was reportedly struck in her chest when they triumphantly grabbed the duck.

Word is that the wildlife department is looking into possibly charging the accused "ducknapper" with illegal possession of wildlife -- and she has filed a police complaint over the way she was treated when the duck was snatched from her.

Meanwhile, the state of Washington is treating the current location of the duck itself as a top secret.

And to think, these guys actually get paid for behaving like total jerks.


Posted by Lauren at 03:42 PM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein

August 17, 2005

The Keystone Cops -- in Charge in London?

Greetings. You no doubt remember the recent case of the innocent Brazilian shot multiple times in the head by London plainclothes police, who claim they thought he was a terrorist about to detonate a bomb in the subway. At the time, I questioned the police procedures involved, in the "DayThink" audio feature Shoot to Kill.

Everyone understands that in the wake of the London bombings, the police have a very difficult job. But now, in police documents leaked to a British television network, we learn that many of the supposed "facts" that the London police released supporting their actions were, simply put, false. The statements turn out to be so blantantly untrue that it's difficult to view them as anything other than utter incompetency combined with a purposeful cover-up.

Almost everything the police claimed publicly was inaccurate. The victim wasn't wearing a heavy jacket (nor was he carrying or wearing a suspicious bag). No unusual behavior. He didn't run from the police. He didn't jump over the subway turnstiles. He didn't ignore police orders (in fact, no orders were ever made to him). He calmly walked into the station, bought a ticket, and picked up a newspaper. He got on a train and sat down. The police then rushed in and blew his brains out.

His only "crime" turns out to have been living in an apartment in a complex that was under surveillance, since police thought one of the bombers might have been in a different apartment there. His identification was also mishandled when a key police officer chose a critical moment to "relieve himself" and was unable to make the appropriate observations.

We all want to support the police in their difficult work against both crime and terrorism. But that's no excuse for gross incompetence and apparent cover-ups. Such actions, especially if left unpunished, seriously undermine confidence and trust in police forces, just when we need them the most.


Posted by Lauren at 06:52 PM | Permalink
Twitter: @laurenweinstein
Google+: Lauren Weinstein