A federal grand jury investigating Blackwater Worldwide heard witnesses Tuesday as a private lawsuit accused the government contractor's bodyguards of ignoring orders and abandoning their posts shortly before taking part in a Baghdad shooting that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead.
Filed this week in U.S. District Court in Washington, the civil complaint also accuses North Carolina-based Blackwater of failing to give drug tests to its guards in Baghdad _ even though an estimated one in four of them was using steroids or other "judgment altering substances."
Amy Winehouse has cancelled all remaining live and promotional appearances for the remainder of the year on the instruction of her doctor. The rigours involved in touring and the intense emotional strain that Amy has been under in recent weeks have taken their toll. In the interests of her health and well-being, Amy has been ordered to take complete rest and deal with her health issues.
Amy says - “I can’t give it my all onstage without my Blake. I’m so sorry but I don’t want to do the shows half-heartedly; I love singing. My husband is everything to me and without him it’s just not the same.”
Refunds for the remaining dates will be issued from the point of purchase.
Her family has requested that the media respect Amy’s privacy at this time. There will be no further comment.
I did a Google image search of Lead toys and recalled toys. More than 400,000 images were found. The collage below contains a few of them that I selected for this short rant. Nothing I have to say in it is particularly new, but I feel better now that I have written it. I'm a parent of 3 children, and the thought that the toys I buy for my kids would somehow poison them scares the hell out of me. It makes me angry, too, to know that my government is complicit in endangering our children.
The Republican Party sells family values in its advertisements, but they push corporate values as legislators. A major thrust of republican efforts is to reduce the role of government in corporate affairs or, as Grover Norquist says “to drown government in the bathtub.”
For Republicans, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the agency charged with protecting citizens “against unreasonable risks of injuries associated with consumer products”, is an impediment to free trade. Consistent with this idea, Bush appointed Nancy Nord, a former Kodak executive, to head the agency. Nord has opposed legislation that would empower her agency, as
virus head points out:
In two different letters, Nancy Nord has asked lawmakers not to approve legislation that would increase the agency’s authority, double its budget and increase its ever more pathetic staff. She opposes increasing the maximum penalties for safety violations. She opposes making it easier for the government to make public reports of faulty products. She opposed protecting industry whistle-blowers. And of course she opposes prosecuting executives of companies that willfully violate laws.
It’s not like her agency is overstaffed. You know that mythological character named Santa Claus who makes toys for everyone in the world? How old were you when you questioned the possibility that one man, even with helpers, could deliver toys to everyone in the world? 6 years old? 7 years old? Well, do you believe that the one full-time toy tester in the Consumer Products Safety Commission can assess the safety of all of the toys sold in the US?
The agency has suffered from a steady decline in its budget and staffing in recent years. Its staff numbers about 420, about half its size in the 1980s. It has only one full-time employee to test toys. And 15 inspectors are assigned to police all imports of consumer products under the agency’s supervision, a marketplace that last year was valued at $614 billion.
The Bush administration’s pro business policies increase the risk to children in multiple ways.
The Bush administration has hindered regulation on two fronts, consumer advocates say. It stalled efforts to press for greater inspections of imported children’s products, and it altered the focus of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), moving it from aggressive protection of consumers to a more manufacturer-friendly approach.
But the problem isn’t the poisons in the toys; it’s just a labeling problem.
But in a March 12 filing, China was the only one of 48 interested parties to tell the panel that it opposed new restrictions on lead paint in children’s jewelry. Guo LiSheng, the deputy director of a Chinese global trade agency, warned against “unnecessary obstacles to trade” and advocated international rules that allow some lead content. He added that good product labeling was sufficient.
Shamanism is medicine for the spirit.
It's hard-wired into the human psyche.
It's lasted for hundreds of thousands of years because it really works.
Otherwise our ancestors wouldn't have continued using it.
First light sage or juniper, something to purify the space.
Something to call in the spirits.
Ask them for help, ask them for guidance.
Ask them to be your allies in this your great task, your great intention.
Then close your eyes and journey.
Ride the sound of the drum or the rattle.
Played by you or by someone else or on a tape or a CD.
Ride that sound into non-ordinary reality, the realm of the spirits, outside of space and time.
Whatever you see or experience when you drum is real.
There's a crossover of power from nonordinary reality to ordinary reality.
That's how healing occurs.
Listen to me, little Dickie
It's time to heal that heart of yours
You can play the tough guy for however long you want
But meanwhile your heart's being eaten from the inside out
Being eaten alive, Dickie, that soft heart of yours
So throw away them pills, through away that pacemaker too
They ain't doing a thing for you
And smile, little Dickie
Cry and smile
Ask the spirits for help and they'll come to you
Ask the spirits of the plants, spirits of the animals
Spirits of the woods and the forest too
Ask the spirits of petroleum, the coal deep in the ground
Ask the spirit of gasoline to heal you
Did you ever notice that if you REALLY want something to happen, it does?
If enough of us see it and feel it and sense it, it happens.
And what do we want to have happen?
We want to heal Dick's heart.
Underneath that armored body, inside that beartrap mind, below all the greed and manipulation, there's a little boy calling out.
No matter who he thinks he is.
No matter what he's done.
We just need to get in there and make the connection.
Cry and smile, you gotta cry before you can smile
In spite of the things you've thought and said and done
We don't blame you, Dick
Cause deep inside your heart is sweet and clean and pure
Yeah sweet and clean and pure
Heal your heart before it's too late
If there's any tears in your eyes, let them flow
Come on, little Dickie, you can do it
We're cheering you on, we've all been there too
Cause you've got a heart and I do too
Everybody's got a heart to heal and so do you
The Mexicans too
The Iraqis too
The Afghans too
Heal you heart, little Dickie
Come out and laugh and sing and play
You only have today...
When I took my last long trip, I took along George Carlin's "When Will Jesus Bring the Porkchops." I've been a fan for years, but was particularly struck by his treatment of the prevalance of euphemisms. For a long time, I've noticed sanitized language used to talk about war (eg. "collateral damage" or "precision bombing"). It's not hard to find it when reading history (eg. "Indian removal" or "internment camps"). I've been thinking about the propaganda and the framing of messages we've seen in the more recent past, and it all fit.
As George points out, euphemisms obscure meaing rather than enhance it; they shade the truth. They may replace words that people are uncomfortable with or simply put a better face on things that sound too negative. They may also dress up something that seems too ordinary. "Thighs" become "drumsticks," "crow's feet" are "laugh lines," and "pimples" are "blemishes."
"Toilet paper" is "bathroom tissue," and "sweatpants" are "active wear." "Second-hand clothing" is now "vintage apparel." "Toupees" have been referred to as "hair appliances" or even a "hair replacement system," much as an "answering machine" is an "answering system" or a "mattress and box spring" is a "sleep system." Cars now have "braking systems" rather than just brakes, and the seat belts and air bags are an "impact-management system." We watch "animation" rather than lowly "cartoons" or "daytime dramas" rather than "soap operas."
Theaters have become "performance spaces," and arenas are now "event centers." Hospitals are "medical centers," libraries are "learning resource centers" and so on. "Profits" are "earnings," "criticism" is "feedback" and "special delivery" is now "priority mail." "Trailers" are "manufactured homes," "mouthwash" is a "dental rinse," "soap" is a "clarifying bar," and "hair spray" is a "holding mist" or "sculpting gel. "Cough drops" are "lozenges," and "constipation and diahrea" are "occasional irregularity and lower gastric distress."
Euphemisms have been used to "soften the language" when it comes to the condition in combat where a soldier's nervous system has reached the breaking point. In World War I, it was called "shell shock." In World War II, it became "battle fatigue," definitely less harsh-sounding, though two syllables became four.
By the Korean War, the condition became known as "operational exhaustion," nice and sterile sounding, like something that might happen to your car. Finally Vietnam, and "post-traumatic stress disorder." It still has eight syllables, but has been hyphenated.
He will be awarded a government contract for "monitoring" hip and knee replacements.
The case against him (for torture) in France was just dropped by a judge.
YouTube has his very horrible singing video with his self-composed song "A Mighty Eagle."
This collage is made up of all porn pictures.