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Current Topic: Current Events

Bush Seeks to Mobilize Religious Conservatives
Topic: Current Events 11:01 am EDT, Jul  2, 2004

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush, seeking to mobilize religious conservatives for his reelection campaign, has asked church-going volunteers to turn over church membership directories, campaign officials said on Thursday.

In a move sharply criticized both by religious leaders and civil libertarians, the Bush-Cheney campaign has issued a guide listing about two-dozen "duties" and a series of deadlines for organizing support among conservative church congregations.

Bush Seeks to Mobilize Religious Conservatives

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | US war crimes immunity bid fails
Topic: Current Events 3:11 pm EDT, Jun 23, 2004

The US has given up trying to win its soldiers immunity from prosecution at the new International Criminal Court.

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan had warned the Security Council not to renew the measure, partly because of the prisoner abuse scandal.

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | US war crimes immunity bid fails

Sarin Shells Made Before 1991 War
Topic: Current Events 5:05 pm EDT, May 27, 2004

The 155-mm shells containing sarin gas that exploded in Iraq May 17 were manufactured before 1991, a senior U.S. official said Wednesday. That was a pre-Gulf War shell, a different category than the weapons being sought by the Iraq Survey Group, Brig. Gen. David Rodriguez, the joint staff deputy director for operations, told a Pentagon news briefing.


For what it's worth in the debate over the shells.

Sarin Shells Made Before 1991 War

Picture of British Soldier Pissing on Iraqi Prisoner
Topic: Current Events 6:20 pm EDT, May  2, 2004

Pictures of the British (this time) mistreating Iraqi prisoners.

Picture of British Soldier Pissing on Iraqi Prisoner Politics | Gas prices taking priority in campaign
Topic: Current Events 2:16 pm EST, Mar 25, 2004

It's the presidential campaign season, gasoline prices are climbing, and the challenger is demanding that the president get more oil on the market and stop foreign suppliers from ‘‘holding our nation and our consumers hostage...
AAA, formerly the American Automobile Association, reported Tuesday that the price for a gallon of self-serve unleaded hit a national average of nearly $1.74 -- a record in constant dollars, although not when inflation is taken into account. Using today's dollar, motorists paid the equivalent of $2.90 a gallon in March 1981, the government has said....
The $2-a-gallon symbolic barrier has already been broken in the West, and Michigan pollster Ed Sarpolus said his surveys have found people in his state seem willing to put up with a hypothetical $3 gallon before they change their driving habits. Politics | Gas prices taking priority in campaign

Texas Safe Voting - Leaked Video of Texas Certification of Diebold Machines
Topic: Current Events 12:09 am EST, Mar 19, 2004

] Texas Safe Voting reviewed the videotapes of the January
] 2004 closed meetings used to review voting systems for
] certification (the videos were acquired by open records
] requests).
] What we saw may shock you. Here's a two minute clip, in
] Windows and Quicktime format. The clips show how the
] state of Texas examines voting machines for
] certification.
] A group of examiners reviews voting systems, and makes
] certification recommendations to the Secretary of State.
] You might think that these examiners would conduct a
] comprehensive testing process, assessing the voting
] machines against a set of detailed critieria and
] discussing the underlying code.
] But there was nothing on the videotapes that resembled a
] testing process. The examiners didn't start with a set of
] criteria to test against. They didn't even start with a
] comparison the new machines to the older versions.
] Instead, the Diebold representatives gave a demo.
] Reviewers voted on the machines and looked at the final
] output. A few of the committee members watched closely,
] while others chatted together.

This is a _must_ see.

Texas Safe Voting - Leaked Video of Texas Certification of Diebold Machines

Laid-Off: A No Nothing Production
Topic: Current Events 7:41 pm EST, Mar  8, 2004

If you ever wanted to feel better about being laid off or unemployed, you should check this out. Personally, it made my day. For those of you who have mon-ay, give this guy a dollar, ok?

Laid-Off: A No Nothing Production

Getting around that nasty NYT registration thingy
Topic: Current Events 2:07 am EST, Feb 24, 2004

So I was talking with Decius the other day about the NYT. If you folks haven't noticed you can access NYT articles through google news without needing an account. Google simply adds a parameter "partner=google" to the end of the NYT URL. I figured Decius and I could could write a script that checks for recommended memes for NYT stories and insert this at the end, not allow for people without accounts to read stories.

However this is not what NYT checks for. If you go to a NYT article through a standard google search, the "partner=google" is not added to the URL, but you can still access the story So how does NYTs do this? With the "referer" field on a standard HTTP GET request.

So tonight I had an idea. WGET! it has a nice litte option "--referer=". Sure enough, you can grab NYT stories using WGET.

Thus to read for example the Theory-vs-reality story, using:


will save the login screen but

wget --referer=

will grab the page. Yes yes yes, I know, as Decius told me: "Just get a freaky account dude."

Getting around that nasty NYT registration thingy

NBC -- Meet the Press with George W. Bush
Topic: Current Events 5:12 pm EST, Feb  9, 2004

] Tim Russert: And we are in the Oval Office this morning with
] the President of the United States. Mr. President, welcome
] back to Meet The Press.

I watched the interview, and listened, but I dunno if it's going to change any minds. I think people who had already made up their mind up to hate Bush, just came out still hating him, and those who already supported the war, still supported it after the show.

In any case, I still think the transcript is worth reading, but do it quick, since it *is* an election year, so of course it's going to be rapidly and thoroughly misquoted by both sides. ;)

NBC -- Meet the Press with George W. Bush

USA Today: Cubans in car-boat are stopped at sea
Topic: Current Events 12:09 am EST, Feb  5, 2004

MIAMI (AP) — Eleven Cubans trying to sail to Florida in a 1950s Buick converted into a tailfinned boat were intercepted at sea by the Coast Guard and will be sent back to their homeland, exile activists said Wednesday.

A group of Cubans sails toward the Florida Straits on a modified 1959 Buick Tuesday. Tho boat was intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard.

I did not realize Monster Garage was playing in Cuba now...

It's an improvement. Last year they were using pick-ups.

USA Today: Cubans in car-boat are stopped at sea

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