Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Falwell funeral IED suspect pleads not guilty

WAVY TV 10 - News, Weather, Traffic, Sports for Hampton Roads, Virginia - North Eastern North Carolina - Liberty U. student denies making bomb; trial scheduled: "LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) - A Liberty University student pleaded not guilty today to charges of possessing a bomb the night before the Reverend Jerry Falwell's funeral in May."

Well, we'll see how it goes. I think he's a pissant with delusions of grandeur. That's no big deal, except he's a pissant with violent delusions of grandeur.

Maybe he can start a prison ministry like Kent Hovind.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

It's called a straw man argument

I don't know who produces these videos. They can be pretty hateful. I think theism's role in modern society is something we need to evaluate. Crap like this does not contribute to the discussion.

First seen on Sandwalk.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Former Army officer admits accepting kickbacks

Former Army officer admits accepting kickbacks: "Standing bolt upright in federal court in Austin on Monday, his cleanly shaved head shining above a charcoal gray suit, retired Army Maj. John Allen Rivard pleaded guilty to bribery and other charges for receiving kickbacks on contracts he administered while serving in Iraq.

Rivard, 49, used to live in Georgetown. His roommate there said Rivard began sending his friends and family envelopes of cash after he was deployed to Iraq in 2004."

This schmuck was low-hanging fruit. He was mailing home envelopes stuffed with money. Not exactly a criminal mastermind.

I do not care for the plea-bargain at all. In fact, I don't even care for the venue. This open running sore on the buttocks of humanity should have been brought back on active duty and tried under court martial.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Health workers released

Nurses' return ends 8-year ordeal in Libya - International Herald Tribune: "SOFIA: After more than eight years in prison in Libya, five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor stepped off the French presidential plane in Bulgaria's capital early Tuesday, greeted by the hugs of crying relatives and Bulgaria's top officials."

I am very glad they're finally free.

The NY Times has a blog entry about the final bill for their freedom. Libya made out like a bandit. Sadly, other countries are watching and I'm sure this case will be the first of many governmental hostage-takings.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Steady progress on imprisoned health workers

BBC NEWS | Africa | Libya revokes HIV death sentences: "Death sentences on six foreign medics convicted of infecting Libyan children with HIV have been commuted to life in prison by Libya's top legal body.

Relatives of the 438 children earlier dropped calls for the death penalty, after accepting compensation reportedly worth $1m (�500,000) per child."

So now 6 innocent people are just sentenced to life in prison instead of condemned to death. I guess that's progress. It would be nice if it didn't take a $438 million dollar bribe to get it, but progress is progress.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Apparently religious freedom is only for a select few

Hindu prayer in the Senate draws protesters - CNN.com: "WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Three protesters disrupted a prayer by a Hindu chaplain Thursday at the opening of a Senate hearing, calling it an abomination and shouting slogans about Jesus Christ."

In my search for a Christian leader condemning the bigotry I found the American Family Association website. It wasn't what I was looking for.

Hopefully, we're just going through a phase and we're going to grow out of this.

If you'd like to watch the incident on YouTube, the link is here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

TheHill.com - Ex- convicts and addicts may get DoD clearance

TheHill.com - Ex- convicts and addicts may get DoD clearance: "Under the law, members of the military services, employees of the Department of Defense or contractors working for the Pentagon cannot receive a security clearance if they were convicted of a crime in any U.S. court and went to prison for at least one year; if they are unlawful users of illegal substances; if they are considered mentally incompetent or if they were dishonorably discharged or dismissed from the armed forces. "

This has nothing to do with existing law limiting “... the ability of the Department to manage its security clearance program and may create unwarranted hardships for individuals who have rehabilitated themselves as productive and trustworthy citizens.” The DoD really isn't about forgiveness and rehabilitation.

I believe this is being driven by the private military contractors (PMCs). PMCs such as Blackwater who draw from a candidate pool of increasingly dubious quality. The current DoD security clearance standards force at least some hiring standards onto the PMCs.

I will agree that a guy who smoked pot in college has not demonstrated himself to be untrustworthy, we could change that. But someone with a year or more in prison? A service member who was dishonorably discharged? I'm sorry both of those are signs of both bad character and terrible judgment.

If you'd like to read a little more about PMC hijinks, this is a good link.

First seen on Wonkette.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Reservist fighting his fifth war call-up - 07/08/2007 - MiamiHerald.com

Reservist fighting his fifth war call-up - 07/08/2007 - MiamiHerald.com: "The 26-year-old Port St. Lucie man has been ordered to report to Fort Jackson, S.C., on July 15 for his fifth deployment. And that has compelled Botta, a first-generation American who counts himself a quiet patriot, to do something he never thought he'd do: sue the Army."

Thirty-seven percent of the active duty Army has never deployed. This guy already has four deployments since 2001. I understand the whole "take the money... do the job..." thing, but I think Eric has earned a break.

The target tempo is one deployment every four years. Naturally, some jobs are going to get hit harder than others. An infantryman is going to go more times than a drill instructor. But five times in six years is ridiculous.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Moral gymnastics

Bush Rationale on Libby Stirs Legal Debate - New York Times: "In commuting I. Lewis Libby Jr.’s 30-month prison sentence on Monday, President Bush drew on the same array of arguments about the federal sentencing system often made by defense lawyers — and routinely and strenuously opposed by his own Justice Department."

I'm personally upset about two facets of this case. The first is the failure to indict Carl Rove. I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was actually convicted of interfering with the leak investigation. Mr. Libby was not the source of the leak. There is credible evidence that Carl Rove was the source of the leak. Somehow, Carl Rove hasn't been indicted.

The second upsetting facet is the government's schizophrenia on sentencing guidelines. Victor A. Rita, a veteran of two wars, obstructed a federal investigation into the possible violation of gun registration laws. Mr. Rita was sentenced under the same guidelines as Mr. Libby. While Mr. Rita did commit a crime, his crime pales in comparison to ending the career of a CIA officer who hunted weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Rita appealed his sentence all the way to the Supreme Court saying it was unnecessarily harsh. The Justice Department filed a friend of the court brief defending the federal sentencing guidelines. Those would be the guidelines that president Bush said were excessive in the case of Mr. Libby.

For those of you who have lost track of the Valerie Plame case, I recommend going to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The one statement that isn't there is the president's press secretary, Scott McClellan's statement that: "... if someone commits a crime, they're not going to be working any longer in this administration." Those are good words. That's an appropriate standard for government service at the highest levels. Sadly, I think they're just words. I think Carl Rove endangered Valerie Plame, her sources and our country for political ends and I think he's gotten away with it.