Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Letter to Pres Bush Concerning the “Downing Street Memo”

Join the call from Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) to sign his petition to the President regarding the Downing Street Memo.  Conyers is looking for 100,000 signatures.

The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005

Dear Mr. President:

We the undersigned write because of our concern regarding recent disclosures of a Downing Street Memo in the London Times, comprising the minutes of a meeting of Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top advisers. These minutes indicate that the United States and Great Britain agreed, by the summer of 2002, to attack Iraq, well before the invasion and before you even sought Congressional authority to engage in military action, and that U.S. officials were deliberately manipulating intelligence to justify the war.

Among other things, the British government document quotes a high-ranking British official as stating that by July, 2002, Bush had made up his mind to take military action. Yet, a month later, you stated you were still willing to “look at all options” and that there was “no timetable” for war. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, flatly stated that “[t]he president has made no such determination that we should go to war with Iraq.”

In addition, the origins of the false contention that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction remain a serious and lingering question about the lead up to the war. There is an ongoing debate about whether this was the result of a “massive intelligence failure,” in other words a mistake, or the result of intentional and deliberate manipulation of intelligence to justify the case for war. The memo appears to resolve that debate as well, quoting the head of British intelligence as indicating that in the United States “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”

As a result of these concerns, we would ask that you respond to the following questions:
1)Do you or anyone in your administration dispute the accuracy of the leaked document?
2) Were arrangements being made, including the recruitment of allies, before you sought Congressional authorization to go to war? Did you or anyone in your Administration obtain Britain’s commitment to invade prior to this time?
3) Was there an effort to create an ultimatum about weapons inspectors in order to help with the justification for the war as the minutes indicate?
4) At what point in time did you and Prime Minister Blair first agree it was necessary to invade Iraq?
5) Was there a coordinated effort with the U.S. intelligence community and/or British officials to “fix” the intelligence and facts around the policy as the leaked document states?

These are the same questions 89 Members of Congress, led by Rep. John Conyers, Jr., submitted to you on May 5, 2005. As citizens and taxpayers, we believe it is imperative that our people be able to trust our government and our commander in chief when you make representations and statements regarding our nation engaging in war. As a result, we would ask that you publicly respond to these questions as promptly as possible.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Go to http://www.johnconyers.campaignoffice.com/index.asp?Type=SUPERFORMS&SEC= to sign the petition.

Posted by Nuttshell on 05/31 at 06:02 PM
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The ‘I’ word

By Ralph Nader and Kevin Zeese | May 31, 2005

in the Boston Globe

THE IMPEACHMENT of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, should be part of mainstream political discourse.

Minutes from a summer 2002 meeting involving British Prime Minister Tony Blair reveal that the Bush administration was ‘’fixing” the intelligence to justify invading Iraq. US intelligence used to justify the war demonstrates repeatedly the truth of the meeting minutes—evidence was thin and needed fixing.

President Clinton was impeached for perjury about his sexual relationships. Comparing Clinton’s misbehavior to a destructive and costly war occupation launched in March 2003 under false pretenses in violation of domestic and international law certainly merits introduction of an impeachment resolution.

Eighty-nine members of Congress have asked the president whether intelligence was manipulated to lead the United States to war. The letter points to British meeting minutes that raise ‘’troubling new questions regarding the legal justifications for the war.” Those minutes describe the case for war as ‘’thin” and Saddam as ‘’nonthreatening to his neighbors,” and ‘’Britain and America had to create conditions to justify a war.” Finally, military action was ‘’seen as inevitable . . . But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”

Indeed, there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, nor any imminent threat to the United States:

The International Atomic Energy Agency Iraq inspection team reported in 1998, ‘’there were no indications of Iraq having achieved its program goals of producing a nuclear weapon; nor were there any indications that there remained in Iraq any physical capability for production of amounts of weapon-usable material.” A 2003 update by the IAEA reached the same conclusions.

The CIA told the White House in February 2001: ‘’We do not have any direct evidence that Iraq has . . . reconstitute[d] its weapons of mass destruction programs.”

Colin Powell said in February 2001 that Saddam Hussein ‘’has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction.”

The CIA told the White House in two Fall 2002 memos not to make claims of Iraq uranium purchases. CIA Director George Tenet personally called top national security officials imploring them not to use that claim as proof of an Iraq nuclear threat.

Regarding unmanned bombers highlighted by Bush, the Air Force’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center concluded they could not carry weapons spray devices. The Defense Intelligence Agency told the president in June 2002 that the unmanned aerial bombers were unproven. Further, there was no reliable information showing Iraq was producing or stockpiling chemical weapons or whether it had established chemical agent production facilities.

When discussing WMD the CIA used words like ‘’might” and ‘’could.” The case was always circumstantial with equivocations, unlike the president and vice president, e.g., Cheney said on Aug. 26, 2002: ‘’Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.”

The State Department in 2003 said: ‘’The activities we have detected do not . . . add up to a compelling case that Iraq is currently pursuing . . . an integrated and comprehensive approach to acquire nuclear weapons.”

The National Intelligence Estimate issued in October 2002 said ‘’We have no specific intelligence information that Saddam’s regime has directed attacks against US territory.”

The UN, IAEA, the State and Energy departments, the Air Force’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center, US inspectors, and even the CIA concluded there was no basis for the Bush-Cheney public assertions. Yet, President Bush told the public in September 2002 that Iraq ‘’could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order is given.” And, just before the invasion, President Bush said: ‘’Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof—the smoking gun—that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.”

The president and vice president have artfully dodged the central question: ‘’Did the administration mislead us into war by manipulating and misstating intelligence concerning weapons of mass destruction and alleged ties to Al Qaeda, suppressing contrary intelligence, and deliberately exaggerating the danger a contained, weakened Iraq posed to the United States and its neighbors?”

If this is answered affirmatively Bush and Cheney have committed ‘’high crimes and misdemeanors.” It is time for Congress to investigate the illegal Iraq war as we move toward the third year of the endless quagmire that many security experts believe jeopardizes US safety by recruiting and training more terrorists. A Resolution of Impeachment would be a first step. Based on the mountains of fabrications, deceptions, and lies, it is time to debate the ‘’I” word.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate. Kevin Zeese is director of DemocracyRising.US. 

Posted by Nuttshell on 05/31 at 02:02 PM
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Girl 9, Charged with stabing 11 year old pal.

NEW YORK - A 9-year-old girl fatally stabbed an 11-year-old girl in the chest with a kitchen knife during a fight over a ball, authorities said.  The 9-year-old, whose name wasnít released, was charged with manslaughter.  Police spokesman Paul Browne told The New York Times that he was ìunaware of anyone younger implicated in such an act in New York City.î

The victim, Queen Washington, 11, was pronounced dead at a hospital.

ìI donít understand how this could happen,î Joyce Porter, Queenís grandmother, told the Times. She said Queenís mother had called her earlier that afternoon. ìShe told me, íQueen is dead,îí Porter said, adding, ìIt was over a ball.î

The girls had been playing together at the 9-year-oldís apartment on Monday, but the girlís mother had stepped out to borrow something from a neighbor, police said.

A spokesman for the Brooklyn district attorneyís office said the case would go to family court because the girl is younger than 14.

In 1999, 12-year-old Lionel Tate became the youngest person in modern U.S. history to be sentenced to life in prison for the killing of 6-year-old Tiffany Eunick in Florida.

now if you ask me this seems to be hapening a whole lot more.  sue we can blame it on parental absentism, or violent video games, and violent movies ~ but havn’t those been the prelude to the unleasing of the beast upon the earth?  Yeah I know that might sound a litle wacko to some of you but look at this a 9 year old girl stabbed her buddy to death while they where playing ball.... now think about this what on earth POSESSED this childs mind to do this, yes i use the word POSESSED.  We are entering some very dark times I think and there is more evidence than just follies as these.  Look at the attack on Iraq.  The false pease in Isreal.  The time is here but we don’t know the moment.

Posted by bbeard on 05/31 at 09:23 AM
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Saturday, May 28, 2005

Movie Review! “Hotel Rawanda”

This will be a hard review to write.  I waited a while to see this film/DVD and it surpased my expectations right away I will tell you that my rating for this film is a 6 out of 6 stars and I believe everyone should set aside some time to view the film not only will it possibly change your views on humanty but it just might have a gigantic opportuntiy at wedging some love in your black hearts for you family as well ~ this film may hold they very key to success in the modern world around us; that key - compassion the film spells it out cleanly and in a dignified way. 

The main character Paul ,the hotel manager, is so obsessed with stockpilling favors from his military friends that frequent his five star hotel and love his scotch.  Quickly Paul’s attitude changes from neccesity when he returns home from work and finds his wife and 15-20 neighbors hiding in his upper middle class paddock/home.  They are hidding in the safe-room from the soliers that are storming the streets and looting and pillaging the neigborhood.  Soon a miliraty vehicle shows up and demands his presence at the hotel because there is a disturbance P aul realizes he can not leave any of these people behind or they will be murdered.  He pleads for thier passage and packs them all into his passenger van enroute to the Hotel Rawanda.  On the wa the make a stop at a local bank where Paul is forced to get some keys that are of special interest to the sargent.  in the time that it takes to fetch the keys from the vault the sargent has changed his mind about the extra travelers: he demands 5,000 francs for each ones life.  Of course Paul does not have that kind of money on him there are too many people but quick thinking saves his travelers and family.  He begs the sargent for the lives of his family for a fair sum and offers the rest of the money for the rst of the people and asks that he allow them to pay what they can - of course money watches chains etc come forward imediatley.  Paul also promises 10,000 Francs for the lot and the sargent agrees.  they travel off to the Hotel Rawanda once inside Paul opens a safe gets the money exchanges for the people and brings them inside.  By this time its a full war zone outside the Hotel and inside its more of a triage and refugee camp.  He manages to find accomodations for all of his family and friends.

It was this one scene in the movie that really got a hold on me the deep compassion that Paul showed his fellow man so deep that he was willing to risk everything his job, everything, to save thier lives, and i asked my self would i do that?  I would like to say that I would - untill faced with the challenge I’ll never know exactly what I’m made of, but I sure would like to think that GOD blessed me some courage like that, now that man saved some lives not just some lives some lineage, some stories, he saved some roots, some deep roots.

I still insist that this is a MUST watch film.  For me it was much less about the battle between the Tutsis and the Hutus; Although that was extreemly educational for me.  For me it was the tender relearning of what compassion really is and why it is SO important!

Again 6 out of 6 stars.  And a strong reccomendation to watch if not to purchase

Posted by bbeard on 05/28 at 12:13 AM
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Friday, May 27, 2005

I’m on vacation for a few days.

So, if I miss anything special, I’ll try and catch up on my return.  I won’t have easy access to a computer during this time.

Posted by SPN on 05/27 at 06:55 PM
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Confessions of a Blue State Christian

The only thing Americans are more weary about than discussions about
by Donna Britt in Sojourner’s Magazine

As a pre-teenager, I was furious with my mother because she wouldnít let me see James Bond movies.

Her concern wasnít so much that people were shooting, stabbing, and otherwise dispatching each other in the spy series. By the late í60s, most kids saw that stuff on TV. Momís principal problem was that Agent 007 was shown as having “relations” with numerous women - not one of whom answered to “Mrs. Bond.” In an era in which TV husbands and wives didnít share beds - or, it appeared, have sex - this clearly contributed to my wheedling to see the films.

Unmoved, Mom didnít agree to let me see a Bond movie until I was in my teens.

How quaint that seems today. At any hour of the night or day on TV, in movies, in magazines, and on the Internet, people of every age-gender-racial-numeric combination can be found sharing beds, floors, sex toys, and everything else you can - and couldnít begin to - imagine. Millions of busy, indifferent, or overwhelmed parents give their children mostly free rein to observe the smutfest. Some who would battle the trend often feel intimidated by the sheer volume of swill.

Ironically, when it comes to the sexually active throng cavorting in todayís media, married people - or at least people married to each other - appear to be in a definite minority.

As a blue-stater who voted Democratic in the last election, Iím supposed to feel fine about this turn of events. My assumed liberalness, combined with the fact that I came of age in the Swinging Seventies, should ensure that Iím a free-love, church-disdaining, censorship-despising “Why is Janet Jacksonís boob a big deal?” kinda girl.

In fact, I am constantly appalled by the crudeness, brutality, and overly sexualized nature of our popular culture. I worry about its effect on my three children and the nationís. Not only do I attend church regularly, but I commune with the Creator even more. I even watch my language - and though Iím hardly expletive-free, I have been known to stop young people who are cursing loudly on the street, politely reminding them that children and sensitive adults can hear them. Most often, they apologize.

Speaking of apologies, as a columnist for The Washington Post I sometimes write articles in which I unapologetically use a word terrifying to blue state op-ed pages and much of the Democratic party. If you think the F-word is scary, try seriously bandying the more even dreaded G-word: God.

As weird as it seems, not writing about my belief and how it guides my opinions and behavior would feel dishonest. But at some point in the last few decades, public expressions of faith began to seem odd at best and ridiculous at worst. These days, exposing oneself as a believer can mean seeming corny, embarrassingly retro, or slightly addled. As a result, Iíve sometimes felt leery about expressing my beliefs.

Just like many Democratic politicians, it would seem.

Okay, so Iím not running for office. Yet every time I have written columns about my faith and other peopleís, about beliefís impact on our lives and how spirituality has gone missing from popular culture, the response from readers - many of them self-declared liberal Democrats - has been overwhelmingly positive.

These readers say theyíre grateful that an apparently with-it person under 70 dares to express such beliefs in the newspaper. They say that as spiritual people they feel under siege - and that although they think of themselves as open-minded and even hip, the stuff they see and hear in the mass media makes them feel almost Amish in their repugnance. They fondly remember when parents actually could shield children from inappropriate images by telling them, “You canít see that.” A few recall prayer in school as a not-bad thing. Most marvel that once upon a time, TV and movies helped adults to protect children and the rest of us from everyday exposure to violence, profanity, and smut.

No more. Today, if youíre a parent concerned about the popular culture, an American appreciative of public courtesy and restraint, or a believer searching for public validation of your faith, youíre pretty much on your own.

Unless, of course, youíre a Republican. Some Americans probably are Republicans - or have at least toyed with the notion of joining the GOP - for just that reason.

Yes, Iím talking about values - despite the fact that the only thing that Americans are more weary of than discussions about “core values” is the lack of such values in popular representations of their daily lives.

LINDA THOMPSON of Silver Spring, Maryland, is a young-looking 46, a lobbyist for affordable housing issues, and a Christian. Sheís also a married African-American mom of three who has one word to describe of the state of values in American pop culture: “Horrible.”

“Itís just horrible,” Thompson repeats. “If I could control TV and the radio, 95 percent of the stuff thatís on wouldnít be there.” Although she still maintains some control over what her 9-year-old son Tyler sees and hears, she realizes that “all children go to their friendsí houses.... They talk to their friends at school, who tell them stuff they saw and heard.” As a parent, “all you can do is really try to instill your values in [your children].

“Because theyíre going to be exposed to the awful stuff.”

Thompson prays that the lessons that she and her husband have tried to instill will be remembered when their kids inevitably are confronted by such messages. She also encourages her children to look deeper. Her daughters, Melanie, 17, and Jennifer, 16, sometimes watch music videos on MTV and BET featuring nearly-naked, rump-shaking young women who - except for their state of undress, Thompson realizes - resemble her daughters.

Pointing at the videos, Thompson asks her girls, “What do you think other people think about this?”

She reminds Melanie and Jennifer that they, like many of the booty-shakers, are young black women. “Youíre going to have to go on job interviews and maybe compete against white girls,” she says. Your would-be employers may watch such videos, she continues, and be guided by what they suggest about black womanhood.

“What choice do you think theyíll make, even if youíre similarly qualified?”

Yet Thompson, like most African Americans, is a Democrat. And sheís frustrated that “family values” is seen as a Republican concern. “I want Democrats to address this,” she says. “But where are they? I think, ëCome on, speakí - the [state of] popular culture isnít a ëliberalí issue, so they canít be afraid of having the L-word thrown at them.

“Maybe they just didnít understand the last election.”

The Democrats wouldnít be alone. The election also baffled my neighbor Mary Jo, a social worker and an Ohio-born Mennonite who takes the denominationís long-held abhorrence of violence seriously. Her disapproval of the war in Iraq and the president who led the nation into it has been passionate since the conflict was in the “what if?” stages.

Yet last November as the nation was settling into its second year of war, Mary Jo knew that most of her family members in Ohio would be voting to re-elect Bush - including her formerly Democratic-voting father and younger brother. “Itís the moral issue,” Mary Jo explains, citing President Bill Clintonís “sexcapades” as an early contributor to her familyís disillusionment with the Democrats.

“They think the Republicans better represent the things they think are important: good moral character, clean living...the emphasis on family,” she continues. “My family is very Christian - and the Republicans...talk more about God, about Jesus. They see [Republicans] as leading us the right way because they say theyíre being led by God.

“I think itís more than just morals,” Mary Jo says. “I believe itís the emphasis on God.”

Not all Mennonite churches place the same emphasis on the denominationís “peace tradition,” Mary Jo acknowledges. But itís striking that her Midwestern relatives - men and women who were raised as and who remain active members of this historically peace-loving group - would support a president who started a war for now-disproven reasons.

All because they feel heís being led by God.

Of course, smart people become Republicans for a host of reasons other than party representativesí ease with expressions of religious faith. But some folksí allegiance could be at least partly the result of effective packaging. In our consumerist culture, any product may be helped or hindered by how itís marketed.

And if you think God hasnít become a hot-button political commodity, you may not have been paying attention.

AUTHOR PATRICIA RAYBON didnít realize how effective the Republican Party has been at, as she puts it, “packaging politics into faith envelopes” until she began marketing her new book, I Told the Mountain to Move, a frank and eloquent exploration of her struggle to pray more effectively.

Raybon, 55, wasnít sure how Mountain should be marketed. If the publisher targeted the African-American women of faith whom Raybon, whoís black, imagined as her “first audience,” she risked losing women and men of all ethnicities who would relate to the power of its message. Consumers, she recognized, have an extremely limited amount of time in which to judge a productís worthiness. So packaging becomes vital for anyone hoping to communicate a message to a broad spectrum of people.

Suddenly, Raybon found herself thinking about politics. And she realized that the Republican party has “staked out, conquered, and owns the faith franchise,” she says.

“The faith envelope puts a sheen on anything they put into it,” she continues. Properly packaged, any issue can be assigned to it: “childrenís issues, family life, health care, housing.” Because few people have time to deeply ponder whether or even why something might work for them, “buyers need to understand a [productís] message immediately, to be able to instantly discern if A or B is the right fit.”

And in politics? “The faith position that Republicans have claimed implies that all of their positions line up with faith values,” Raybon suggests. Time-strapped voters “tell themselves, ëOh, these are the faith peopleí and they assume they can vote for them.”

In fact, she points out, “a lot of Republicans are talking faith talk without walking a faith walk. They arenít necessarily working for affordable housing, or family values, or excellence in education for all children” - issues that followers of Jesusí doctrines would likely support.

So a war with Iraq - a nation that the Bush administration falsely suggested was directly connected to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks - gets put into the faith envelope, despite Christís stated commitment to peace. The apparent misdeeds of “conservative” politicians or pundits - think Tom DeLay, Rush Limbaugh, or Bill OíReilly - appear to be minimized or overlooked because their stances on many issues fit nicely into the faith envelope. Even ignoring the poor can be an envelope-worthy impulse if the indigent are portrayed as lazy, greedy, or otherwise undeserving of Christian assistance.

FITTING PEOPLE and issues into envelopes is easy - goodness knows, many liberals and Democrats unfairly squeeze intelligent and sincere Christians and/or Republicans into envelopes marked “misguided,” “unsophisticated,” or “fanatic.”

Envelope-stuffing is especially easy if you donít know the people youíre tucking away. Mary Jo feels she might see things differently if sheíd never left Ohio. “I grew up in same house, with the same parents, as my [Republican] siblings,” she says. But the three months she spent in Haiti studying and assisting at a school, and almost three decades of working with poor people in the nationís capital, showed her a more complex world. “Knowing people who are gay...and who are poor makes all the difference,” she says. “That has shaped my life, my politics.”

She recalls one of her brothers commenting about her work with poor, single mothers that he “doesnít really know people like that.... I think heíd be open to...learning that they arenít just women whoíve been on welfare for five generations.”

Similarly, some so-called conservatives have no idea how traditional so-called liberals such as me can be when it comes to protecting our children. We, too, are frustrated and frightened by the cultureís ever-spiraling crudeness. We, too, are humbled and guided by our love of God and Godís son. Sadly, many Democratic politicians seem just as clueless. For decades, the Democratic party has been known as a “big tent” party, as more embracing of people of varying beliefs, incomes, skin colors, religions, creeds, and sexual orientations than the Republicans - a reputation that Democrats havenít always earned or even sought.

Everyone knows what happens when a multitude crowds beneath one umbrella. It isnít just uncomfortable.

Some folks get drenched.

The Demsí dilemma reminds Raybon of her publisherís question about marketing her book: Would targeting a specific audience turn off other people of faith who could appreciate it? “But the basic rule of the marketplace requires that you have a clear primary audience,” Raybon insists. “The Republicans decided their audience is conservative people of faith - and theyíve been very successful by narrowing that focus.”

So how does a big-tent party authentically define itself in terms of faith, values, and religion without offending - or even worse, seeming false or wishy-washy? By reminding itself and the electorate that theirs is the party that represents the majority of Americansí deeply held beliefs. By embracing its own religiosity and by acknowledging that God, too, is huge - too expansive to be defined as limited and rigid; too intimate in our personal connections to fit one-size-fits-all characterizations. Limiting peopleís perception of God runs counter to the reason this nation was founded in the first place.

I mean, really. Could the Creator of all that is and ever was be squeezed into the confines of anything as self-interested, as flawed, as human as a political party?

Spiritually minded Democrats of genuine faith shouldnít be afraid, as Raybon puts it, “to talk the talk.” They should vocalize about how religion and morality intersect within the popular culture. They should risk describing how their spiritual beliefs affect their policies and their lives. They must be “clear and consistent and let people know where [they] stand,” she says.

Much can be said, good and bad, about President Bush. Whatís rarely stated by either his supporters or detractors is, “You canít tell what he stands for.” The president isnít afraid to take unpopular stances in which he believes: A majority of Americans opposed the war that nevertheless was coaxed down our largely unprotesting throats. Three-quarters of Americans opposed congressional intervention in the Terry Schiavo case; even most evangelical Christians favored the removal of her feeding tube. Yet the president cut short a visit to his ranch to sign - at 1 in the morning - a bill intended to overturn several courtsí rulings in Schiavoís case.

Being everything to everybody isnít just politically unwise. Itís impossible to do. Plus, “thereís probably something in human nature that is just not comfortable with ambiguity,” Raybon suggests. “A consistent person is consistent anyway - not just because itís politically advantageous.”

In a religiously tolerant nation, conflict is inevitable, even desirable. Certain issues, such as abortion and gay marriage, are non-negotiables for some Christians, and their political choices reflect that. My own relationship with God is everything to me - yet I canít pretend that my relationship is exactly like any other believerís. Some Americans couldnít be more genuine in their heartfelt lack of belief.

Canít faith-minded Democrats embrace that complexity while acknowledging the deity that more than 80 percent of their fellow citizens believe in? “At the end of the day, itís about people knowing who they are,” Raybon says. It is “standing in that position...and letting the chips fall where they may.

“We didnít get that this last time from the Democrats.”

PARENTSí PROBLEMS, too, are complex, inevitably producing arguments such as whether the unexpected Super Bowl appearance of Janet Jacksonís breast was cataclysmic or shrug-worthy (for the record, I was in the first camp). The distinction between what is “inappropriate” and “free expression,” between whatís “pornographic” and “art,” has never seemed more blurred. In a 500-channel, 24/7 cable TV and Internet world, how does one legislate - or even keep up with - what oneís kids see, hear, and absorb? Which brings me to the question Iíd most like to ask faith-filled but silent Democrats:

In such a world, whatís more worth discussing, exploring, or arguing about than God?

Today, James Bond movies seem comparatively Puritanical. We live in a country in which stopping for a light often means rolling up the windows to avoid hearing the car-next-doorís 10-decibel expletives. A movie that graphically depicts people being beheaded, dismembered, relieved of their testicles, and even eaten (Sin City) recently opened in the number one box-office position. Middle-school girls think oral sex is “safe” and wear T-shirts asking “Can you afford me?”

In such a world, can spiritual people of any stripe persuasively argue that God should be limited to a single political party?

Even James Bond would have trouble wriggling out of that one.

Donna Britt has been a columnist for The Washington Post since 1991.


Confessions of a Blue State Christian. by Donna Britt. Sojourners Magazine, June 2005 (Vol. 34, No. 6, pp. 12-17). Cover.

(Source: http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=magazine.article&issue=soj0506&article=050610)



[url=http://www.sojo.net]http://www.sojo.net[/url]
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Posted by Nuttshell on 05/27 at 01:14 PM
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God-talk in the GOP

by David Domke and Kevin Coe
in Sojourner’s Magazine

George W. Bush is delivering two commencement addresses this spring. One will be Friday at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland - an unsurprising venue. The other took place last week at Calvin College, a small evangelical Christian school in western Michigan. The latter is the latest attempt by the administration and the Republican Party to use God for political gain.

In the past two months alone, GOP leaders have invoked God in public discussions about the medical care of Terri Schiavo, judicial-nominee votes in the U.S. Senate, and the treatment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay over charges of unethical conduct.

Welcome to the new world of religious politics, made successful by President Bush and increasingly adopted by other Republicans.

For some time now there has been a heated debate regarding whether Bush is different from other presidents in his religious rhetoric. Here’s the answer: He is. What sets Bush apart is how much he talks about God and what he says when he does so.

In his inaugural and State of the Union addresses earlier this year, Bush referenced God 11 times. This came on the heels of 24 invocations of God in his first-term inaugural and State of the Union addresses. No other president since Franklin Roosevelt took office in 1933 has mentioned God so often in these high-state settings.

The closest to Bush’s average of 5.8 references per each of these addresses is Ronald Reagan, who averaged 5.3 in his comparable speeches. No one else is close. Jimmy Carter, considered as pious as they come among U.S. presidents, only had two God mentions in four addresses. Other also-rans in total God-talk were wartime presidents Franklin Roosevelt at 1.8 and Lyndon Johnson at 1.5 references per inaugural and State of the Union address.

Bush also talks about God differently than have most other modern presidents. Presidents since Roosevelt have commonly spoken as petitioners of God, seeking blessing, favor, and guidance. This president positions himself as a prophet, issuing declarations of divine desires for the nation and world. Among modern presidents, only Reagan has spoken in a similar manner - and he did so far less frequently than has Bush.

This striking change in White House rhetoric is apparent in how presidents have spoken about God and the values of freedom and liberty, two ideas central to American identity. Consider a few examples: In a famous 1941 address delineating four essential freedoms threatened by fascism, Roosevelt said: “This nation has placed its destiny in the hands and heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women; and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God.”

Contrast this statement with Bush’s claim in 2003 that “Americans are a free people, who know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation. The liberty we prize is not America’s gift to the world, it is God’s gift to humanity.”

Bush’s is not a request for divine favor; it is a declaration of divine wishes. And now his Republican Party colleagues are adopting the same strategy.

David Domke is an associate professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. He is the author of God Willing? Political Fundamentalism in the White House, the “War on Terror,” and the Echoing Press (Pluto Press, 2004). Kevin Coe is a doctoral student in the Department of Speech Communication at the University of Illinois.

Posted by Nuttshell on 05/27 at 10:19 AM
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Bush’s Calvin College surprise

by Jim Wallis of Sojourner’s Magazine

As I’ve traveled the country this spring - 82 events, 48 cities, and hundreds of media interviews since January - I’ve witnessed a new movement of moderate and progressive religious voices challenging the monologue of the Religious Right.

An extremely narrow and aggressively partisan expression of right-wing Republican religion has controlled the debate on faith and politics in the public square for years. But that is no longer true. 

At packed book events around the country these days, I often make an announcement that elicits a tumultuous response: “The monologue of the Religious Right is finally over, and a new dialogue has begun!” Smiles light up the faces of thousands of people as they break out in thunderous applause.

That new dialogue was visible recently at Calvin College. Karl Rove, seeking a friendly venue for a commencement speech in Michigan, approached Calvin and offered President Bush as the speaker. The college, which had already invited Nicholas Wolterstorff of Yale to deliver the speech, hastily disinvited him and welcomed the president. But the White House apparently was not counting on the reaction of students and faculty. Rove expected the evangelical Christian college in the dependable “red” area of western Michigan to be a safe place. He was wrong.

The day the president was to speak, an ad featuring a letter signed by one-third of Calvin’s faculty and staff ran in The Grand Rapids Press. Noting that “we seek open and honest dialogue about the Christian faith and how it is best expressed in the political sphere,” the letter said that “we see conflicts between our understanding of what Christians are called to do and many of the policies of your administration.”

The letter asserted that administration policies have “launched an unjust and unjustified war in Iraq,” “taken actions that favor the wealthy of our society and burden the poor, “ “harmed creation and have not promoted long-term stewardship of our natural environment,” and “fostered intolerance and divisiveness and has often failed to listen to those with whom it disagrees.” It concluded: “Our passion for these matters arises out of the Christian faith that we share with you. We ask you, Mr. President, to re-examine your policies in light of our God-given duty to pursue justice with mercy....” One faculty member told a reporter, “We are not Lynchburg. We are not right wing; we’re not left wing. We think our faith trumps political ideology.”

On commencement day, according to news reports, about a quarter of the 900 graduates wore “God is not a Republican or a Democrat” buttons pinned to their gowns.

The events at Calvin, along with the growing crowds at our events around the country, are visible signs that the Religious Right does not speak for all Christians, even all evangelical Christians. What I hear, from one end of this country to the other, is how tired we are of ideological religion and how hungry we are for prophetic faith. The students and faculty at Calvin College are the most recent sign of that hunger.

Posted by Nuttshell on 05/27 at 09:57 AM
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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Art work for sale on Ebay.

Please take a look and pass the word around.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=20149&item=7325919768&rd=1&ssPageName=WDVW

Posted by SPN on 05/26 at 09:10 AM
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Roundtable discussion question #1

If economic globalisation is inevitable, should it primarily serve humanity rather than the interests of trans-national corporations?

Posted by SPN on 05/26 at 07:22 AM
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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Here’s How They Do It

My right-wing degree—Salon Magazine

How I learned to convert liberal campuses into conservative havens at Morton Blackwell’s Leadership Institute, alma mater of Karl Rove, Ralph Reed, Jeff Gannon and two Miss Americas.

By Jeff Horwitz

May 24, 2005 | One recent Sunday, at Morton Blackwell’s Leadership Institute, a dozen students meet for the second and final day of training in grass-roots youth politics. All are earnest, idealistic and as right wing as you can get. They take careful notes as instructor Paul Gourley teaches them how to rig a campus mock election. 

It’s nothing illegal—no ballot stuffing necessary, even at the most liberal colleges. First you find a nonpartisan campus group to sponsor the election, so you can’t be accused of cheating. Next, volunteer to organize the thing. College students are lazy, and they’ll probably let you. Always keep in mind that a rigged mock election is all about location, location, location.

“Can anyone tell me,” asks Gourley, a veteran mock electioneer, “why you don’t want the polling place in the cafeteria?”

Stephen, a shy antiabortion activist sitting toward the rear of the class, raises his hand: “Because you want to suppress the vote?”

“Stephen has the right answer!” Gourley exclaims, tossing Stephen his prize, a copy of Robert Bork’s “Slouching Toward Gomorrah.”

The students, strait-laced kids from good colleges, seem unconvinced. The lesson—that with sufficient organization, the act of voting becomes less a basic right than a tactical maneuver—doesn’t sit easy with some students at first. Gourley, a charismatic senior from South Dakota and the treasurer of the College Republican National Committee, assures them: “This is not anti-democracy. This is not shady. Just put [the polling place] somewhere where you might have to put a little bit of effort into voting.” The rest, Gourley explains, is just a matter of turnout.

When the state or national candidate you’re backing wins by a suitably large margin, as he or she surely will, have the nonpartisan group that sponsored the election sign off on your prewritten celebratory press release and send it statewide. Reporters will almost certainly ignore it, but after a dozen similar victories, they’ll start dashing off articles about the youth phenomenon behind your candidate’s campaign—or better yet, just start plagiarizing your press releases.

There is no better place to master the art of mock-election rigging—and there is no better master than Morton Blackwell, who invented the trick in 1964 and has been teaching it ever since. Blackwell’s half-century career in conservative grass-roots politics coincides neatly with the fortunes of the conservative movement: He was there when Goldwater lost, when Southern voters abandoned the Democratic Party in droves, and when the Moral Majority began its harvest of evangelical Christian voters. In the 1970s, Blackwell worked with conservative direct-mail king Richard Viguerie; in 1980, he led Reagan’s youth campaign. Recently, he’s been fighting to save Tom DeLay’s job.

Yet Blackwell’s foundation, the Leadership Institute, is not a Republican organization. It’s a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) charity, drawing the overwhelming majority of its $9.1 million annual budget from tax-deductible donations. Despite its legally required “neutrality,” the institute is one of the best investments the conservative movement has ever made. Its walls are plastered with framed headshots of former students—hundreds of state and local legislators sprinkled with smiling members of the U.S. Congress, and even the perky faces of two recently crowned Miss Americas. Thirty-five years ago, Blackwell dispatched a particularly promising 17-year-old pupil named Karl Rove to run a youth campaign in Illinois; Jeff Gannon, a far less impressive student, attended the Leadership Institute’s Broadcast Journalism School.

The institute’s classes aren’t tickets into an exclusive and shadowy club, however: I am also an institute graduate. In March, I attended its Youth Leadership School, a one-weekend, 28-hour crash course in political organizing. Registration was open to the public and cost $60, which got me a sourcebook, six free meals, up to three nights in a dorm, and a six-hour lecture on political principles delivered by the 65-year-old Blackwell himself. The morning I arrived at the Leadership Institute, I identified myself as a reporter for Salon. “That’s great,” said communications director Michelle Miller. By the end of the weekend, Blackwell took me on a tour of the headquarters, chatted with me for nearly an hour, and gave me a copy of the institute’s antisocialism in-house film, “The Roots of the Ultra Left.” The institute is a very friendly place.

Over the last 25 years, more than 40,000 young conservatives have been trained at the institute’s Arlington, Va., headquarters in everything from TV makeup for aspiring right-wing talking heads to prep courses for the State Department’s Foreign Service exam. Classes are taught by volunteers recruited from the ranks of the conservative movement’s most talented organizers, operatives and communicators.

The Leadership Institute has succeeded, in part, because it’s had little to no competition from the left. College campuses may still be havens for liberal thought, but the right-wing students are the ones organized enough to win major battles. Perhaps expecting that American youth would organize themselves as they did in decades past, progressive organizations have been outstripped by their conservative counterparts in professionalizing the ragtag world of college activism. “When it comes to campus controversy, from affirmative action to free speech, the right wing pumps in money and expertise and shows [students] how to out-hustle their opponents,” says David Halperin of the liberal Center for American Progress.

Still, Blackwell says conservatives are underdogs on college campuses. Conservative students may be better organized, but they’re still outnumbered. The Leadership Institute contends that liberal higher education is robbing the conservative movement of new blood—and thereby handicapping the institute’s efforts. “You know, the most conservative students are the freshmen,” Blackwell told me. “There is an acculturation there.”

And that’s where the institute is taking its fight. For most of its 25-year history, it has focused on grooming students to work in conservative politics; it’s now increasingly devoting its efforts to making campuses more conservative places. Through its Campus Leadership Program, the institute is leading a growing effort to found and support a national network of conservative student groups and publications capable of permanently altering the intellectual and social environment of universities to conservatives’ advantage. That goal alone is a stark rejection of the standard conservative complaint that post-Vietnam War higher education is not just grossly liberal, but irredeemably so. Already, the program has shown considerable success. Asked about his campus initiative, Blackwell simply says, “You’re talking about the major project for the rest of my life.”

In the wake of the 2004 election, some progressive groups have been working to reinforce their positions on campus. Last February, the Center for American Progress launched Campus Progress, a student activism support center, to combat what Halperin describes as “30 years of effective organizing” by conservative groups like the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Young Americans for Freedom, and of course, the Leadership Institute. But Blackwell is unfazed by the competition. “If they asked me, which they haven’t, I could let them know that it’s a lot harder than it appeared on the surface,” he told me. “You’ve got to work years before you see any results.”

And Blackwell has put in those years. A young Louisiana Republican in the days when Democrats owned every statewide office, he cut his political teeth on Barry Goldwater’s doomed 1964 presidential bid. “Don’t fully trust anyone until he has stuck with a good cause which he saw was losing,” is an institute maxim rooted in Blackwell’s own political education. “After Goldwater’s defeat, the number of people who would admit to being movement conservatives could all have fit into an average phone booth,” Blackwell said in an interview. “And among us, we didn’t have a dime for a telephone call.”

That was a long time ago. According to Blackwell, allied “movement conservatives” took the first steps toward outmaneuvering their party’s moribund minority leadership in the ‘70s. More than a test of character, conservatism’s formerly abject status provided the key to those gains. With a wealth of political talent but few resources or constituencies, conservatives had no choice but to look beyond the two- and four-year cycles that dictate traditional political strategy. Instead of fighting an intra-party struggle they were certain to lose, they built an infrastructure outside the Republican Party dedicated to promoting talent, not winning the next election.

The Leadership Institute is a perfect example of that strategy, according to Peter Murray, a progressive management trainer who studied the institute’s model before launching his own nonprofit political training organization, the Center for Progressive Leadership, last year. “Being a 501(c)(3) not only means they can get tax deductions for their donors and build endowments, but they’re forced to look long term,” Murray says. “They’re not allowed to endorse candidates and get sucked into electoral politics. Year in and year out, all they do is build leaders.”

It’s an approach, Murray believes, that has long since paid off. “Sure, [Blackwell] has trained Karl Rove and Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist and 223 other legislators and members of Congress,” Murray notes, “but more importantly, he’s trained 40,000 other local organizers.” The institute’s graduates, in other words, are part of a movement. “We spent $2 billion trying to win this last election,” Murray says of progressives. “They already spent 25 years, and nearly $100 million, building the talent pool that won the election. And which will consistently win them elections for the next several decades.”

The structure of Blackwell’s Campus Leadership Program is simple. The Leadership Institute trains promising conservative college graduates over the summer and dispatches them to campuses in the fall with a mandate to start conservative student organizations. Need $500 and some ideas to start a combative right-wing campus publication? The institute would love to help you. Is the campus administration discriminating against your Second Amendment club? The institute will help you take your cause to the Internet. No one on campus at your Christian college has ever heard of the institute? Staffers will be glad to drive down, take you to a steakhouse, and talk it up. Last year, the CLP doubled in size, to 418 clubs and counting. By the end of 2006, Blackwell is confident he will have created 1,000 conservative campus organizations.

Unlike chapter-based political organizations, CLP clubs are unaffiliated with either the Leadership Institute or each other. According to Blackwell, this trait offers a serious advantage: “No purges.” The clubs’ independence also comes with the benefit of plausible deniability. “You can get away with stuff that you would take a lot of flak for doing in the College Republicans,” says CLP director Dan Flynn. “Because we’re independent, we can do activities that push the envelope,” agrees University of Miami senior Sarah Canale, whose CLP-organized Advocates for Conservative Thought threw an affirmative action bake sale last year in which the price of a cupcake varied according to the race of its buyer. That it was controversial, she believes, was a victory in itself.

The Leadership Institute teaches the same principle. Controlled controversy—making your point in a manner so bombastic that your opponents blow their cool—is a Blackwell specialty. Before the 2004 Republican Convention, the conservative elder personally went to a drugstore and bought little pink heart stickers, bandages and purple nail polish. At home, he made the “Purple Heart Band-Aids” that he later distributed in Madison Square Garden to mock John Kerry’s war wounds. From Blackwell’s perspective, the Kerry camp’s outrage at the gag was a tactical disaster. Democratic Party chairman Terry McAuliffe, Blackwell says, kept the story alive for days by “running around like a chicken with its head cut off.”

A stunt is one way to get press—but a more effective and sustainable method is to start your own publication. The Leadership Institute trains around 250 students yearly in its student publication workshop, and CLP staff assisted in launching 22 campus publications last year alone.

The Rutgers Centurion is a conservative monthly that got off the ground this fall with institute help. Rutgers student James O’Keefe founded the magazine after coming across a conservative publication at Tufts. “I said, why don’t we have this?” O’Keefe remembers. He taught himself a page-layout program and got in touch with the Leadership Institute, which dispatched a staffer to take him and his coeditors to dinner at an upscale local brewery. The institute gave O’Keefe books on starting a publication, awarded him a $500 “Balance in Media Grant,” and suggested never-fail places on campus to ferret out liberal excess. “They were really excited,” O’Keefe recalls.

The Rutgers Centurion has since analyzed faculty campaign contributions that favored John Kerry over George W. Bush 104 times over, and it accused one of Rutgers’ most esteemed alumni, African-American author and actor Paul Robeson, of being a Stalinist. The magazine has published poetry about abortion from a fetus’s point of view and run allegations of prejudice against Condoleezza Rice, “The Black Woman Liberals Love to Hate.”

The Centurion’s favorite subject, however, seems to be people who don’t like the Centurion. Rutgers student Tabitha Rice earned the February “Liberal of the Month” title for allegedly defacing copies of the Centurion’s previous issue, and in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, the editors framed an excerpt from their hate mail—“‘F*** [The editors of The Centurion.] F*** Them till they’re dead’”—in a heart-shaped box.

The Centurion’s assertion that campus liberals are intolerant lends its vitriolic criticism of leftists the veneer of the free speech movement. CLP coordinator Flynn, the author of “Why the Left Hates America,” recalls that during a speech at Berkeley, he encountered “a Nazi-style book burning” of his work and an attempt to rip his microphone cord from the wall. That might not have quite the allure of Mario Savio’s rallying a crowd from a squad car’s roof during Berkeley’s student protests, but it’s a start.

CLP publications play a crucial role in publicizing such run-ins. Right-wing watchdog groups like Accuracy in Media have railed against liberal bias in the classroom for years, but as outsiders, they lack both standing and a direct connection to campus life. CLP publications have both, allowing them to monitor bias in every classroom. In December, the editor of the Louisville Patriot, a CLP-organized publication at the University of Louisville, reported that sociology lecturer John McTighe had made a very, very tasteless joke about how religious conservatives who had voted for Bush ought to be shot. With sufficient outrage, the story jumped from the Patriot to the local media and the Internet, resulting in McTighe’s suspension and a thoroughly public debate of liberal bias in, of all places, Kentucky.

Sparking such scandals is “absolutely” a part of CLP’s plan, Blackwell says. “In the last year or so, not taking into account the flap over Ward Churchill, you have no doubt noticed more news coverage about complacent leftists’ abuses on campus,” he says. “Academia is the last unbreached citadel of the left, and I believe we are today over the moat.”

There’s still plenty to do before then. Chris Stio, an institute staffer who directed the Bush-Cheney field operations in northeast Michigan, warns his students not to buy into second-term crowing about America’s irrevocable slide into conservatism. “Enough people were yelling and screaming about the president that if they’d actually picked up the phone book and started calling, they might have won,” he says. “They went to concerts, they bashed the president, but they didn’t work. If enough people had, maybe we’d have a different president. The election was not inevitable. And too many think it was.”

Some progressives have come to that conclusion as well. “This was certainly needed 25 years ago,” says Peter Murray, of the Center for Progressive Leadership. “Investing beyond any individual election cycle is the way that we’re going to develop the progressive movement into a more robust, coordinated, compact force that can win elections.” But getting donors to think beyond 2008 is a tough sell. “Our budget this year will be just over a million. We’d love to be bigger than that,” he says. “It’s really going to be up to the progressive donor community as to whether they’re going to look long term and invest in a superstructure. If they do, we can build it relatively quickly.”

In the meantime, the Leadership Institute will continue its work. Blackwell has found plenty of humor in his recent vilification as the evil genius that smoothed fake reporter Jeff Gannon’s path to White House press briefings. “If they want to believe that there’s a vast conspiracy, and they want to waste their time trying to decide who gives all the orders to the conservative movement, well, let ‘em spend their time on that,” he says, laughing.

The Leadership Institute has better things to do, Blackwell says, than conspire to put a male escort up to lobbing softballs to White House spokesman Scott McClellan. For example, training the next generation of Karl Roves.

“Everyone knows that for certain breeds of dogs it is customary to cut their tails short when they are a few weeks old,” begins Blackwell’s lecture to us on the importance of releasing negative information on your opponent incrementally. “Every time you clip the puppy’s tail it hurts. It hurts. You might traumatize the puppy for life.”

“The moral is that if it’s your tail that’s being clipped, you want it clipped once,” concludes Blackwell. “But if you get a chance to clip your opponent’s tail, clip that puppy as often as you can.”

It may be hardball, but it isn’t cheating, and it would be far less effective if it were. “These are powerful techniques,” Blackwell tells the class at the end of his marathon lecture. “So I don’t want anyone going out of here and acting unethically. It’s not necessary.”

- - - - - - - - - - - -

About the writer
Jeff Horwitz, a former editorial fellow at Salon, writes for the Washington City Paper. 

Posted by Nuttshell on 05/25 at 02:54 PM
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..as promised here she is “lil red”

image

... you wanna go for a ride?

http://soulphoto.net/gallery/bbeards-Tibby

Posted by bbeard on 05/25 at 02:38 PM
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Budget “Poorsche” buildoff!

I’ve just done the figuring and re-figuring finger, stump and toe-counting.  According to my calculations and estimates of the modifications over the stock configuration on the new Whip are as follows:

Horse power= 213.28 at the crank
Torque =224.14 at the crank

stock HP power = 172 / stock TQ = 181

Modifications are:
Removal of the restrictive factory exhaust system and installation of a custom 2.5” cat-back piping into dual Magnaflow (mufflers) and by custom stretching I used the stock tips to stay “factory” to keep the Po-Po off my back-side and keep the power a surprise to unfortunate “victims”

Special order K-and-N intake.  Utilizes factory CAI but increases efficiency compounded with the exhaust by 12-17%; alone by only 4-7% still a power booster and mileage saver any way you look at it K-and-N has ALWAYS worked on ALL of my vehicles!

Thats about an even 24% increase over stock accross the board.  I’ve noticed just with only 1 tank of gasoline a 3.5 mpg INCREASE and that is WITH spirited driving.  I’m assuming that I will increase my savings if I lighten my foot.  Power is effortless now and it really pins you back in the seat on acceleration.  Whats nice is, that it’s a sports coupe with an alluminum V-6 when it’s time to run the A/C you don’t have to sacrafice power anymore, there is more than enough torque to go around!  If your at a stop light and some one is challenging you - rev it to 3k but no more! any more than 3k with the new modifications and I’ll smoke the tires right off the rims, it’ll just sit and spinn - 1st gear 6k bam, 2nd gear 6k still smoken, 3rd gear 6k still smoken lots of power!!

The increase in power also translates to a 2 sec decrease in the 0-60 times and the quarter mile lap time as well.  This puts the car at home in the same stable as the Porsche 911, Corvette, Nissan 350Z-Track, Subaru Imprezza WRX-STI, and Infinity G35 sport coupe and at a fraction of the cost.  What is nice is the Whip came with most everything standard - I’ll post pix 2 marrow as the paint is done.  The moonroof, anti-lock brakes, custom interior, aftermarket stereo system (important for hooking up those amps) aluminum racing pedals, titanium trim, Super light factory alloys, and Michelin pilots for an extra stickey compound, side curtain air bags (that also protect rear passengers), passenger air bag, steel reinforced beamhuge vented front brakes with red front calipers,

The quater mile time and speed go from a respectable 15.9 @87.6 mph to an even more respectable mph.  the slalom speed stays the same, 66.3 mph untill I lower and brace it then that will put it in super car g-force grip territory of arround 75 mph on the slalom and g-skid pad of around 1.25 g’s

Stable Spechs

2005 Hyundai Tiburon SE (Tuscani 2.7 Elisa) Price as testing = $21,000.00, 0-60 time = 5.6, slalom speed = 66.3 MPH, QTR mile , around town ACTUAL 23 MPG (spirited driving!)

Acura NSX, list price = $92,000.00, 0-60 time = 5.0 sec, slalon speed = 65.8 MPH,
QTR Mile , 18.4 MPG

Chevy Corvette, List price $58,000.00, 0-60 time = 4.8 sec, slalom speed 65.5,
QTR Mile MPH, town mpg = 14mpg

Infinity G35 Sport Coupe, Price $34,010.00, 0-60 time = 5.9 sec, slalom speed 66.7 mph,
QTR Mile 14.4 @ 100.6 MPH, Hiway MPG 18.4

Nissan 350Z track, Price $35,000.00, 0-60 time = 5.8 secs, slalom speed = 67.3 MPH
QTR Mile 14.4 @ 99.7MPH, claimed 21.0 hiway

Porsche Boxster, Price $51,000.00, 0-60 time = 6.0 secs, slalom speed 68.6 MPH,
QTR Mile 14.6 @ 96.5 MPH, claimed 21mpg hiway

Porsche 911, base price $85,000.00, 0-60 time = 5.0 secs, slalom speed = 65.5 MPH,
QTR MIle 13.5 @ 104.9 MPH, claimed hiway MPG is 19.0

Toyota Celica-GTS, Price $26,000.00 base, 0-60 time = 6.8 secs, slalom speed = 63.6 MPH
QTR Mile 15.4 @ 91.5 MPH, 24.7 claimed hiway mpg

Subaru Impreza WRX-STI, Base Price $33,000.00, 0-60 time = 4.9, slalom speed = 68.4 MPH
QTR Mile 13.3 @ 103.0 MPH, 20.10 claimed hiway MPG

Volkswagen Golf-R32, Price $31,000.00 base, 0-60 time =5.8 secs, slalom speed = 66.1 MPH
QTR Mile 14.1 @ 99.2 MPH, Claimed Hiway MPG of 19.0

When I did my research I was surprised to see that the times and spechs were so close to my car and the porsche 911.  With another couple of thousand investedinto things such as headers, programable ECU’s, blower kits, larger throttle bodies; I’ll easilly be smoking the tires off the competition such as a corvette ZO6, maybe even a turbo 911?!!  all the rice racers out there make way for the big dog, woof

Posted by bbeard on 05/25 at 01:46 AM
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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Why Aren’t More People Up in Arms?

The Downing Street “Memo”

The Downing Street “Memo” is actually a document containing meeting minutes transcribed during the British Prime Minister’s meeting on July 23, 2002óa full eight months PRIOR to the invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003. The Times of London printed the text of this document on Sunday, May 1, 2005, but to date US media coverage has been limited. This site is intended to act as a resource for anyone who wants to understand the facts revealed in this document.

The contents of the memo are shocking.

http://www.downingstreetmemo.com/

The contents of the memo are shocking. The minutes detail how our government did not believe Iraq was a greater threat than other nations; how intelligence was “fixed” to sell the case for war to the American public; and how the Bush administrationís public assurances of “war as a last resort” were at odds with their privately stated intentions.

When asked, British officials “did not dispute the document’s authenticity.” and a senior American official has described it as “absolutely accurate.” Yet the Bush administration continues to simultaneously sidestep the issue while attempting to cast doubt on the memoís authenticity.

Nobody wants to go to war. We trust our leaders to shed blood in our name only when absolutely necessary. But the facts revealed by the Downing Street Memo force us to ask ourselves: Was I misled? Did President Bush tell me the truth when he said he would not take us to war unless absolutely necessary?

More than two years after the start of the Iraq War, Americans are just learning that our government was dead set on invasion, even while it claimed to be pursuing diplomacy.

Posted by Nuttshell on 05/24 at 05:16 PM
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Right wing bloggers howl over Senate deal

This is really good stuff.—Salon

-- Eric Boehlert

[08:08 EDT, May 24, 2005]

Speaking at the press conference yesterday that announced the compromise to avert a filibuster showdown, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., conceded some conservatives would be angry at him for not helping to push the nuclear button. That’s putting it mildly. If the right-wing bloggers are any indication, hardcore conservatives think the GOP gave away the store and delivered a key victory to Democrats.

Captain’s Quarters complained, “This, in short, has been a clear victory for the Democrats and a massive failure for the GOP and the White House. The GOP just endorsed the filibuster, and will have no intellectual capacity to argue against its use later on.”

The Buzz Blog mocked the negotiating skills of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.: “The Senate Leadership and President Bush have been sold down the river by these seven Republicans. This so called “deal” was a retreat from earlier claims that Democrats were willing to approve five of the seven filibustered nominees. Talk about bad negotiating tactics—McCain and company actually lost ground when the GOP held all the cards. This is a sad day for the Republic.”

Powerline called the compromise a fiasco for the GOP: “What a hideous deal! Someone explain to me why the Republicans haven’t been rolled once again. To me, it looks like a pathetic collapse on the part of the Republicans--not the leadership, but Senators like McCain who sold out their party.”

And Michelle Malkin complained, “The GOP parade of pusillanimity marches on. With this pathetic cave-in, the Republicans have sealed their fate as a Majority in Name Only.”

But not all conservatives would blame moderates who reached a deal. At Redstate.org, Josh Trevino wrote that the whole controversy was a Republican black eye: “Historians will look back with no small amount of wonder at this bizarre episode, wherein a majority seized with a maximalist vision of its own power and mission, and facilitated by the personal ambitions of one man, decided to sweep away the institutional checks upon which it itself so recently relied to stymie its opposition’s plans.”

Posted by Nuttshell on 05/24 at 02:05 PM
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