Torture anywhere is an affront to human dignity everywhere

Today the power structure of the United States rejected habeas corpus for a group of people held in detention by the United States. In the name of preventing terrorism.

Today the power structure of the United States embraced water boarding, sleep depravation, and extreme temperature confinement. In the name of preventing terrorism.

Today the bottom feeders implicated in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal sit in cells; waiting for the day when they are released. And embraced by the extremists in the United States.

If you aren't disgusted yet, read this statement from the President of the United States released 1,190 days ago.

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 26, 2003

Statement by the President
United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Today, on the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the United States declares its strong solidarity with torture victims across the world. Torture anywhere is an affront to human dignity everywhere. We are committed to building a world where human rights are respected and protected by the rule of law.

Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right. The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, ratified by the United States and more than 130 other countries since 1984, forbids governments from deliberately inflicting severe physical or mental pain or suffering on those within their custody or control. Yet torture continues to be practiced around the world by rogue regimes whose cruel methods match their determination to crush the human spirit. Beating, burning, rape, and electric shock are some of the grisly tools such regimes use to terrorize their own citizens. These despicable crimes cannot be tolerated by a world committed to justice.

Notorious human rights abusers, including, among others, Burma, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Zimbabwe, have long sought to shield their abuses from the eyes of the world by staging elaborate deceptions and denying access to international human rights monitors. Until recently, Saddam Hussein used similar means to hide the crimes of his regime. With Iraq's liberation, the world is only now learning the enormity of the dictator's three decades of victimization of the Iraqi people. Across the country, evidence of Baathist atrocities is mounting, including scores of mass graves containing the remains of thousands of men, women, and children and torture chambers hidden inside palaces and ministries. The most compelling evidence of all lies in the stories told by torture survivors, who are recounting a vast array of sadistic acts perpetrated against the innocent. Their testimony reminds us of their great courage in outlasting one of history's most brutal regimes, and it reminds us that similar cruelties are taking place behind the closed doors of other prison states.

The United States is committed to the world-wide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example. I call on all governments to join with the United States and the community of law-abiding nations in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture and in undertaking to prevent other cruel and unusual punishment. I call on all nations to speak out against torture in all its forms and to make ending torture an essential part of their diplomacy. I further urge governments to join America and others in supporting torture victims' treatment centers, contributing to the UN Fund for the Victims of Torture, and supporting the efforts of non-governmental organizations to end torture and assist its victims.

No people, no matter where they reside, should have to live in fear of their own government. Nowhere should the midnight knock foreshadow a nightmare of state-commissioned crime. The suffering of torture victims must end, and the United States calls on all governments to assume this great mission.

Congrats to the Contender

Congrats to two of my contenders on making the Final Four!  It's awesome to know that my system works.  Well, my system of assessing a designer's competetive strength based solely upon a bio and a picture.  Can't wait 'til the final show!


Path To 9/11

Holy moly.

Countdown (with Keith Olbermann) just ran a devastating report on the 9/11 timeline beginning with the Clinton Presidency. Devastating to the Bush Administration, that is. Even though this is all public information, the narrative has never been presented this clearly and concise.

If ... IF... If the Democrats had a national strategy they would:
1 - copy this video
2 - post it everywhere on the web
3 - have their people refer to it anytime they do media (television, radio, web, print)

The Republicans really can't defend their Administration's record on terror up to that day in September. And then the Dems just need to start a national discussion: Bush wasn't concerned about the threat of terrorism before Sept 11, and the NIE confirms that Bush's War in Iraq is increasing the strength of global terror groups.

While I'm giving out advice to the Dems, I'd like them to clear up their position on Iraq.

1. There is a difference between what we want and what we need.

2. We want to leave any occupied country where a large majority of the citizens want us to leave. Therefore, we want to withdraw all of our troops today. Unfortunately, we can't because...

3. We need to find a way to create a secure social infrastructure in the country. This means we can't bring all of our troops home today. But that doesn't mean we can't take a step back and reassess our situation.

Nobody has a silver bullet solution for this mess in Iraq. This Administration refused to listen to our nationally recognized experts before the war. We're not sure who the Administration is listening to now. Therefore, it's in the nation's best interest to elect Democrats and reinstitute our system of checks and balances.

The Dems are in a bit of trouble, because it's so difficult to change the message that 'The Dems have no plan.' Basically, because it's true. It hardly matters that the President doesn't have a plan, because he can just say 'Stay the course' even though it is quite meaningless. He never had a plan, there's no overall strategy now, and he's made it clear that the next President has to get us out of Iraq. Unfortunately, it's hard to summarize that up in five words. The best they can try to do is ask, "What is the course?" and force the President to grapple with an explanation.

But, I digress. As soon as the Countdown video is online, I'll post a link. And I should try to avoid discussing Democrat strategy, because it's a little depressing.


No Intelligence Estimate

So it seems that we have a new National Intelligence Estimate, a document that was created by an expensive and time-consuming process. A document that basically confirms what we all knew in Dec 2001 before we embarked on our insanely expensive mission in Iraq...

You can read the four page summary yourself, but it seems to confirm that many anti-war arguments were correct. The jihad extremists are decentralized; unbound from nationality and citizenship. The goals of jihad are untenable to every citizen on the planet. Iran and Syria are the main sponsors of Al Qaeda. Iraq would become a training ground for the next generation of terrorists if we invaded.

Basically, this NIE says that the anti-Iraq War crowd understood the reality of the situation. However, the document asserts that elements of the neocon 'vision' of Iraq could be correct. IF. If we can help create stable governments and economic parity in the region.

Unfortunately, Bush really doesn't have a plan for creating a stable government in Iraq or anywhere else. So we're stuck with this bleak reality-based assessment of global terror trends. Even worse, it ends with those bullet point.
We judge that groups of all stripes will increasingly use the Internet to communicate, propagandize, recruit, train, and obtain logistical and financial support.

I suspect the Bush Adminstration will read this report and decide that the best way to fight terror will depend on reducing our online freedom... Oh, a teensy, tiny little war in Iran that will totally pay for itself.


I Love Craiglist

Marginalized Christian seeks Marginalized Christians - 34
Reply to: pers-211044472@craigslist.org
Date: 2006-09-22, 10:17PM CDT

Does your pastor avoid you? Do the people in your Sunday school or Bible study class think you are "different?" Does it bother you that your church spends more money on landscaping than they do on missions? Do you struggle alone with issues in living the Christian? Then maybe we can be friends.

I am looking for Christian men, women, couples, or groups in the Fort Bend County area for friendship, fun, or service or any combination thereof.

If interested, fire off an e-mail. Thanks.

* this is in or around Fort Bend County
* no -- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Strictly Platonic



That's right... You can buy milk at Amazon.

Normally I'd pass on this type of product, but the reviews have me reconsidering...

Believe the hype, August 3, 2006
Reviewer: R. Moses (New Hampshire) - See all my reviews
There's been a lot of talk on the streets lately about Tuscan Whole Milk: It refreshes, it invigorates, it folds, it spindles, it mutilates. Well let me tell you friends, all this is true and more! Tuscan Whole Milk cured my grandmother's scurvy! Tuscan Whole Milk tackled a pair of armed robbers who broke into my kitchen last night. Tuscan Whole Milk sat in with my band Friday night when our bass player got too drunk to play. Never in my life have I encountered an elixir so potent, so incredible, so MMMMMMMM-WAH! as Tuscan Whole Milk. Get some today, pour it down the front of your pants, and sit in it. Won't you?

This is no milk of magnesia, August 3, 2006
Reviewer: Bailiff "Not Working" (Cali) - See all my reviews
At first I was struck with despair when my cat got into my gallon of Tuscan whole milk, but what was once consternation quickly turned to joy as seconds later my cat became Halle Berry dressed in a black leather cat outfit. I cannot thank the creators of Tuscan whole milk and Gristedes Supermarkets of New York for the limitless pleasure which ensued.

A riveting tour-de-force of bovine lactation -- A MUST DRINK!, August 8, 2006
Reviewer: Darcy (Cambridge, ma) - See all my reviews
Before "Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 Gallon, 128 fl oz", I did not consider my self a big Tuscan fan. Sure, I was familiar with Tuscan's other notable works, "1/2 gallon skim" and "drinkable yogurt", but neither of these gripped me with the texture and coherency I found in Whole Milk, 1 Gallon, 128 fl oz.

********Warning THIS REVIEW CONTAINS A SPOILER ************

On glass two, I found myself peaking at the bottom of the plastic container---not yet sure I could get through the entire 128 fl oz. But then, somewhere between oz 25 and 50, Tuscan had won me over. I kept thinking "who will it be? me or the milk?" Who indeed will be the first one down the drain. Me--receiving my cow juice via UPS ground, or the milk, for beginning to coagulate somewhere between the Hartfort drop-off and the Beaverly, MA sorting station...

A real glass-pourer; this milk should be required-drinking in schools across the country!


Miss Stress

Continuing my series of influential DJs, I present Misstress Barbara. I first saw the Misstress in February 2001 when she played the closing set at an Austin Music Hall party. (After Donald Glaude had jacked us up something crazy.) She devastated the floor with Thomas Schumacher's remix of Access and didn't stop until 6 AM.

Misstress made a name for herself with a hard techno sound that has evolved into a personal blend of rhythmic techno and deep house. She lost a few old fans along the way, and I even questioned the direction she was heading. In this recent set, Barbara presents an audio landscape that is minimal yet relentless. I'm glad to hear that she's back on top, and it inspires me to continue looking for compelling sounds to add to my mixes.

Loft, Barcelona, Spain August 25 2006 pt 1

Loft, Barcelona, Spain August 25 2006 pt 2

(right click, save as)
(photo stolen from globalbeatz)


Project Jay Continues

Jay McCarroll, Season One Winner of Project Runway, shows his first collection at Fashion Week. More later when Blogger finishes updating...


On The Road Again

Yeah, that's right. Willie Nelson got busted with weed and mushrooms.
A search of the bus produced 1 1/2 pounds of marijuana and 0.2 pounds of narcotic mushrooms, according to state police.

Boy, I bet that was some good weed, too. I had no idea that you could get off with a written citation for 'shrooms.

Of course, we've had photographic proof of his drug use for years...

A Runway Preview

Maybe I'll catch up with my Project Runway posts... Until then, how about a preview of the final show? (The first collection is Laura's, but the rest should be obvious.)

Who are your top 5 DJs of the year?

Starting off the week on a different fin: this one's for the electronica-oriented readership.

DJ Mag is having their online vote for the top 100 DJs of the year. Show your support for your favorite djs and vote here.

Who I voted for:

DJ Preach
Tom Hades
Andrei Morant
Frankie Bones

Post your votes in comments!


Deep in the heart of Texas, we are blue

I immediately apologize for the poor quality of pictures. Tuna has the digital camera, so I used my cell phone.

Rotunda of the state capitol, looking down from the second level.

Ann's casket is draped with the Texas flag.

Although the rain was pouring down, the line extended halfway across the south grounds. Local news reports that approximately 2,000 people paid their respects yesterday. People of all colors and of all ages were there to say good-bye. Go with peace Ann, and we will remember that you opened government to all.

On A Lighter Note

I wish the article would have said if the dough is made fresh or bought from a store.

Blistering heat was just what Sandi Fontaine needed to bake cookies for her co-workers — on the dash of her Toyota RAV4.

With temperatures soaring Wednesday, Fontaine placed two trays of cookie dough on the dashboard, shut the doors and retreated inside to her air-conditioned office.

"My husband wanted me to run some errands this morning," said Fontaine, who works at Baldwin and Clarke Corporate Finance. "I said, 'I can't. I'm baking cookies.'"


Texas says goodbye to one of its greatest citizens

Yesterday witnessed the passing of one legendary Texas woman, Ann Richards.

Despite the current political atmosphere here in Texas, it would probably surprise most to know that Texas has a history of active progressivism. And like many other states, Texas can boast of some incredibly remarkable women. Ann Richards will be remembered among the best of them. She was our governor from 1991 to 1995, and while I disagree with a few of the things she accomplished, she made some very important decisions that reflect her belief in equality. She appointed the first black to the University of Texas Board of Regents, and she saw the first blacks and females accepted into the Texas Rangers.

Ann is pure embodiment of a Texas woman. Texas women aren't afraid to put on boots and go outside to work with their husbands. Nor are they afraid to go hunting with you. Most of them have a streak of feminism in them, and Ann was certainly no exception. Something I just read about her is that her first campaign was for Sarah Weddington, another remarkable Texas woman who successfully argued Roe v. Wade (Sarah is something of a local heroine on the UT campus, where she happens to teach). Texas women like to have a beer with you, and Ann had many in her day. Her alcoholism broke up her marriage, and she pushed herself into rehab. Richards later admitted, "I smoked like a chimney and drank like a fish."

I could list more of her accomplishments, like getting a motorcycle license at the age of 60, but I think her quotes are also very insightful as to the person she was.

"Let me tell you that I am the only child of a very rough-talking father. So don't be embarrassed about your language. I've either heard it or I can top it."

(On ineffective government programs) "You can put lipstick and earrings on a hog and call it Monique, but it's still a pig.''

"I thought I knew Texas pretty well, but I had no notion of its size until I campaigned it."

"Power is what calls the shots, and power is a white male game."

"I have a real soft spot in my heart for librarians and people who care about books."

"I did not want my tombstone to read, 'She kept a really clean house.' I think I'd like them to remember me by saying, 'She opened government to everyone.'"

I had the great pleasure of meeting Ann a few times at a tailor shop I used to work at. I thought it was pretty neat that she ran her own errands, and that she was always very friendly. I did not know that she had cancer, and reading the news of her death today left a lot of sadness in my heart. She shined brighter than most, and I am grieved to know that she is no longer among us. She was one spunky lady.

Quotes courtesy of NYT and About.com


From the BOR:

Ann Richards, the former Democratic governor who died Wednesday, will be remembered at a noon service Monday at the University of Texas' Erwin Center in Austin.

She will lie in state in the Texas Capitol Rotunda from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Both the services and Capitol events are open to the public.

Her burial at the Texas State Cemetery will be a private ceremony, the family said today through spokeswoman Cathy Bonner.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial gifts be made to the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, to open in August in the Austin school district, through the Austin Community Foundation, P.O. Box 5159, Austin, TX 78763, (512) 472-4483, or online at www.austincommunityfoundation.org.

When I was composing this post, I ran through my head the women in Texas that I look up to, and who set stunning examples for other women. The first woman I stumbled upon was Molly Ivins, a revered Texas columnist and author, who has been critical of GW since his days of campaigning against Ann in the gubernatorial race. I found a tribute column written by Molly to her friend, and it is well worth the read. It can be read here.

I regret not mentioning the leadership school she created for young girls - thanks Tuna.


Swimming Upstream

Tonight instead of marking the anniversary of 9/11 with a speech that looks forward to an optimistic future, Bush offered the most specious of arguments: a justification of the invasion of Iraq. My hope for optimism is reduced as the speech progresses; I change the channel unsettled that this speech is a relic from a previous campaign stop.

In three years we'll finally have a new President to help mark this day. Will we still be discussing the case for war in Iraq? Or Iran? Is this really the best way we can honor the fallen?


Twist 1

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of techno and dj my own techno mixes. I'm working on a new mix that is 90% complete right now. In anticipation of uploading the final mix in a few weeks, I will be posting some great new mixes from other DJs that inspire me.

Without further ado, here's a recent DJ Preach set from Amsterdam.

DJ Preach Dance Valley Mainstage 2006 (90 minutes, Right-click -> Save)


Do-Nothing Congress

Well...I had a very nice blog laid out regarding the big stink the Republicans have made over immigration. I'm sure you remember it - the news was all over it, hundreds of thousands of immigrants protesting in the streets, and Lou Dobbs salivating over the sudden spotlight on his great vexation, that which keeps him awake at night. And as quickly as this topic came into the public discussion, it has swiftly exited. I read in the NYT yesterday that the Republicans have shelved immigration reform, and that the topic isn't even on Senator Frist's congressional agenda. Huh? Given the saber-rattling on behalf of the Republican'ts, you would have thought that every American's safety depended on stopping the flow of illegal immigrants NOW. How transparent the Republicans are - the November election is around the corner, and they've got to run on agendas that get their brain-dead zombies to the polls.

So what, then, is Congress working on? Iraq is on the brink of civil war, we have a milieu of problems here at home, including those poor Katrina victims, and Britney's having another baby. Yep, things aren't looking so hot for the average American. But things are about to look up for American horses, depending on if you're a lefty or righty equine. Congress is set to vote on legislation that would shut down plants that slaughter horses for overseas consumption, and effectively eliminate the practice. Watch out, the Terri Schiavo crowd is back in action!

On a personal note, I'm very happy to report that it finally rained in Austin on Monday, after more than a month of no rain at all. It's been a cool 75° in the evenings and mornings!

Best of luck with the appendage Tuna.