They Must Be Astonishingly Bad

Supreme Court rules to keep detainee abuse photos secret

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court did all it could Monday to lock up forever some incendiary photos that show U.S. soldiers abusing foreign prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan .

Yielding to Congress and the White House , justices took the expected but formal step of reversing a lower court’s order that the pictures be released. Using its budget powers, Congress already had moved to keep the photos secret.

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God Of Love, Heaven On Earth

Uganda proposes death penalty for HIV positive gays

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 is going through Uganda’s Parliament after receiving its first reading last month.

According to Clause 2 of the Bill, a person who is convicted of gay sex is liable to life imprisonment. But if that person is also HIV positive the penalty — under the heading “aggravated homosexuality” — is death.

The Bill has not been endorsed by the Ugandan government but it has allowed it to proceed, and some top officials are said to have praised it.

“The Family” Behind Anti-Gay Act in Uganda

Africa has increasingly become a battle ground in the global proxy wars led by the American Religious Right. An important dimension of the struggle was discussed yesterday, by Jeff Sharlet, Talk to Action contributor and author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, appeared on the nationally syndicated NPR program, Fresh Air, with Terry Gross. In the course of the interview, Sharlet discussed the role of such prominent Family members in the news as Sen. John Ensign, Rep. Bart Stupak and Rep. Joe Pitts.

Sharlet also revealed that the sponsor of the notorious proposed, Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Act, David Bahati’s is a member of The Family, as are other leading advocates, as well as President Museveni. There is a growing international effort to stop the bill.

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Breaking News

Gunman Kills Four Officers in Pierce County

PARKLAND, WA (KPLU) – A gunman killed four police officers at a Lakewood/Parkland area coffee shop Sunday morning. A massive manhunt is underway in Pierce County to find the shooter. The shooting happened at 8:15 a.m. at Forza Coffee on Steele Street South, near McChord Air Force Base.

New information from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the four victims as officers with Lakewood Police. Three are male, one female. The four were in full uniform, wearing bullet-proof vests. They were working on their laptops, beginning their day shifts, when the gunman entered the coffee shop and shot them at close range. Sheriffs Office spokesman Ed Troyer described the shooting as “an execution.” No one else at the coffee shop was injured.

Update: Huckabee’s done.

Maurice Clemmons, the 37-year-old Tacoma man being sought for questioning in the killing this morning of four Lakewood police officers, has a long criminal record punctuated by violence, erratic behavior and concerns about his mental health.

Nine years ago, then-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee granted clemency to Clemmons, commuting his lengthy prison sentence over the protests of prosecutors.

Russia hunts for train bombers

MOSCOW (AFP) – Russian police on Sunday hunted for the bombers behind an attack that killed around 25 people on an elite passenger train, while relatives undertook the grim task of identifying bodies.

It remained unclear why attackers had struck the Nevsky Express, a train popular with well-off Russians and foreign tourists, as it ran from Moscow to Saint Petersburg late Friday evening.

“An active investigative and operational effort is under way to identify and find the individuals involved in the crime,” Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for investigators, said on state television.

Markin said forensic experts had returned Sunday morning to the scene of the disaster, a wooded area about 400 kilometres (250 miles) northwest of Moscow, to look for clues.

The chief of Russia’s FSB security service had said earlier that the blast which derailed the train was caused by an improvised explosive device with the force of seven kilograms (15 pounds) of TNT.

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Upping The Ante

Iran to build 10 new uranium enrichment plants: Report

TEHRAN: Iran’s government has approved plans to build 10 new uranium enrichment plants, the state broadcaster said on Sunday, a clear show of defiance after the UN nuclear watchdog rebuked Tehran over secret nuclear work.

The new enrichment plants would be the same size as its main enrichment complex at Natanz and work would begin within two months, the broadcaster said.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran should aim to produce 250-300 tonnes of nuclear fuel a year, it added.

“Ten new enrichment plants will be built,” the semi-official Mehr News Agency quoted Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, as saying.

State broadcaster IRIB said location of five the plants had already been decided and that work on these should start within two months. At the same time, the Atomic Energy Organisation should find suitable location for other five. The enrichment plant decision will aggravate tensions between the Islamic Republic and major powers seeking a diplomatic solution to a long-running dispute over Iranian nuclear work.

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100 Greatest Guitar Solos

6) “November Rain” (Slash)

Long before the world embraced Guns N’ Roses as the quintessential Eighties rock band, the L.A.-based outfit recorded in one day a demo tape that featured many of what would become the band’s best-known songs, including “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Paradise City” and “Mr. Browstone,” all of which would wind up on the band’s 1987 breakthrough album, Appetite For Destruction. Also on the tape was a song called “November Rain,” a sprawling, grandiose piano-driven ballad that would lie dormant for the remainder of the decade, eventually resurfacing in 1991 on the band’s two record set, Use Your Illusion.

“I think that demo session was the first time we played ‘November Rain’ together as a band,” says Guns guitarist Slash. “We actually did it on paino and acoustic guitar. As far as the guitar solo, it was so natural from the first time I ever played it on the demo that I don’t even know if I made any changes to it when we did the electric version on Use Your Illusion. I never even went back and listened to the old tapes. One of the best things about a melody for a guitar solo is when it comes to you the same way every time, and that was definitely the case with ‘November Rain.’ When it came time to do the record, I just went into the studio, played the solo through a Les Paul Standard and a Marshall [2555, Jubilee head] and said, ‘I think that sounds right,’ ” he laughs. “It was as simple as that.”

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The Next Wave

Dubai debt crisis: Now British banks face fresh crisis after investing billions

Barclays, RBS and HSBC face losing billions
Wall Street plummets by 2 per cent after late opening
FTSE falls by 1.5 per cent before stabilising
Banks see £14billion wiped off market value in one day
Dubai may consider selling QE2 to tackle debt

British banks were teetering on the brink of a fresh meltdown today after it emerged they had invested heavily in crisis-hit Dubai.

An $80billion debt default in the emirate has already reawakened the spectre of a global ‘double dip’ – that the first shoots of recovery could be wiped out by a second wave of recession.

But the level of exposure that the crippled British banking sector faces is now under renewed scrutiny.

The crisis was prompted by Dubai World, the development company behind three palm shaped islands as well as an off-shore replica of the globe , defaulting on its debt.

I am sure that this is the fault of the poor somehow. And ACORN, too. Also.

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100 Greatest Guitar Solos

7) “One” (Kirk Hammett)

“I had a very clear idea of where I wanted to go with my guitar playing on …And Justice for All,” recalls Kirk Hammett. “Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time for me to fully execute my ideas.

“We worked on basic tracks for six or seven months, and then I only had eight or nine days to record all my leads because we were heading out on the Monsters of Rock tour [with Van Halen, Scorpions, Dokken and Kingdom Come]. To get that done, I had to do incredibly long, grueling days—like 20 hours at a pop—and it took so much out of me. As soon as I finished one solo, I had to do the next one. There was no time to breathe, as the whole vibe was to do it the best you could and keep moving. It was a pretty frustrating experience, to be honest.”

Continue reading “100 Greatest Guitar Solos”

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The Mote In God’s Eye

Commission finds Church covered up child sex abuse

The Roman Catholic Church and the police in Ireland systematically colluded in covering up decades of child sex abuse by priests in Dublin, according to a scathing report released Thursday.

The cover-ups spanned the tenures of four Dublin archbishops and continued through to the mid-1990s and beyond, even after the church was beginning to admit to its failings and had professed that it was confronting abuse by its priests.

But rather than helping the victims, the church was concerned only with “the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the church, and the preservation of its assets,” said the 700-page report, prepared by a group appointed by the Irish government and called the Commission of Investigation Into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin.

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