Archive for May, 2005

Dis(as)sembled

May 31, 2005

It means you lied, George.

free! government! money!

May 22, 2005

I am on a government listserv that sends out announcements about federal funding opportunities. You can select which announcements you wish to receive by specifying topics or agencies; I have my account set to receive anything coming out of the Department of Health and Human Services, since they fund the majority of the government’s initiatives in HIV and AIDS (I work for a non-profit HIV/AIDS services and prevention agency, for those of you who haven’t been paying attention). Most of the notices are outside of my agency’s purview, and most are pretty dull….announcements for research funding, stuff like that.

Imagine, then, my surprise at receiving the following howler on this usually staid government listserv:

Funding Instrument Type: Grant
Category of Funding Activity: Health
Expected Number of Awards: 4
Estimated Total Program Funding: $950,000.00
Award Ceiling: $300,000.00
Award Floor: $200,000.00
CFDA Number: 93.007 — Public Awareness Campaigns on Embryo Adoption
Cost Sharing or Matching Requirement: No

Eligible Applicants

Others (see text field entitled “Additional Information on Eligibility” for clarification)
Additional Information on Eligibility:
Eligibility to compete for this announcement is limited to particular applicant organizations. Eligibility is limited to organizations that can demonstrate previous experience with embryo adoption and are knowledgeable in all elements of the process of embryo adoption Only agencies and organizations, not individuals, are eligible to apply. Eligible applicants include public agencies, non-profit organizations, and for-profit organizations. One agency must be identified as the applicant organization and will have legal responsibility for the project. Additional agencies and organizations can be included as co-participants, subgrantees, subcontractors, or collaborators if they will assist in providing expertise and in helping to meet the needs of
the recipients. Any public or private nonprofit organization or agency is eligible to apply for a grant. However, only those organizations or agencies which demonstrate the capability of providing the proposed services and
meet the requirements of this announcement are considered for grant awards. Faith-based and community-based organizations are encouraged to apply for embryo adoption public awareness grants. Please note, however, that grant funds may not be used for inherently religious activities, such as worship, religious instruction, and proselytization. If an organization engages in such activities, they must be offered separately in time or location from the grant-funded program and participation must be voluntary for program beneficiaries.
An embryo adoption public awareness campaign program, in providing services and outreach related to program services, cannot discriminate against current or prospective program beneficiaries on the basis of religion, a religious belief, a refusal to hold a religious belief, or a refusal to actively participate in a religious practice. Applicants should note that section 74.81 of the DHHS grants administration regulations (45 CFR part 74) indicates that, except for awards under certain “small business” programs, no grant funds may be paid as profit to any recipient even if the recipient is a commercial organization. Profit is any amount in excess of allowable direct and indirect costs.

Agency Name

Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Health and Science

Description

The Office of Public Health and Science (OPHS) of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announces the availability of funds for FY 2005 and requests applications for grants for public awareness campaigns on embryo adoption. The OPHS is under the direction of the Assistant Secretary for
Health (ASH), who serves as the Senior Advisor on public health and science issues to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The Office serves as the focal point for leadership and coordination across the Department in public health and science; provides direction to program offices within OPHS; and provides advice and counsel on public health and science issues to the Secretary. The increasing success of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) has resulted in a situation in which an infertile couple typically creates several embryos through in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
During IVF treatments, couples may produce many embryos in an attempt to conceive with several being cryopreserved (frozen) for future use. If a couple conceives without using all of the stored embryos, they may choose to have the remaining unused embryos donated for adoption allowing other infertile couples the experience of pregnancy and birth. Embryo adoption is a relatively new process in which individuals who have extra frozen embryos agree to release the embryos for transfer to the uterus of another woman, either known or anonymous to the donor(s) for the purpose of the recipient(s) attempting to bear a child and be that child’s parent.

But what’s really hilarious about this is: THEY’RE NOT KIDDING! They’re REALLY going to give away a MILLION DOLLARS to groups that promote EMBRYO ADOPTION!

Embryo adoption, folks. Welcome to the infinite clown show that is post-rational America.

This, of course, is a small gambit in the larger debate about stem-cell research. Critics of GW’s silly, half-baked, Sunday School position on stem cell work have pointed out that there are thousands of embryos created every day as a byproduct of invitro fertilization, and that most of them will be destroyed anyway.

This discussion was renewed on Friday by the following statement by our esteemed Chimperor:

“I’ve made it very clear… the use of federal money, taxpayers’ money, to promote science which destroys life in order to save life, I’m against that,” *

As matters currently stand, IVF is the paradigmatic case of “science that destroys life” (for those who consider embryos to be human beings), and yet you don’t hear much about IVF from the fetus fetishists. That’s not hard to understand. Fertility treatments of various kinds are extremely popular with Americans of all political stripes. The treacly sentimentality of the American middle class holds on some unconscious level that every couple is entitled by God to make a baby from their very own semen and ova, no matter how many hundreds of thousands of dollars it costs.

I personally think that the whole IVF industry is morally questionable from a number of perspectives. But the great scandal presented by IVF for the “pro-life” folks in context of the stem cell debate is that the major waste product of IVF is the hundreds of thousands of embryos languishing in cryogenic freezers around the country. Those embryos were created for basically nothing — they make a bunch, pick the “best one” for implantation, and freeze the rest — and that seems at least as bad (if not worse) than the creation of zygotes for stem cell research that could result in new therapeutic applications.

But now, praise the Lord! All those Microscopic-American babies are gonna get adopted! I can’t imagine a better use for the tax dollars that are deducted out of your and my paycheck, week-in and week-out.

* In order to preserve federal funding for private defense contractors and give the impression that American foreign policy is in some way related to the stated moral principles of this administration, the Office of Management and Budget has determined that “life” will henceforth be understood to refer to this:

and not this:

ol’ non-smokey

May 19, 2005

Anyone who used to read my old blog over at diaryland knows that I have tried to quit smoking about sixteen trillion times, and only succeeded in gaining weight and relapsing. And writing a bunch of angry crap on my blog.

Today, it occurred to me that I have yet to mention to anyone outside a few close friends that I quit smoking on February 1st, and have managed to “stay quit” (3 months, 19 days….not that I’m counting).

And I have to say, I’m pretty damned pleased with myself about it!

Just like our Democratic leadership, but with testicles!

May 19, 2005

Let me just say that as I watched George Galloway singe the short-n-curlies off of Sen. Norm Coleman, I was — for the first time in my entire life — envious of the British. What must it be like to have a real opposition that will actually speak up and oppose, rather than just mumbling politely out of their mealy little mouths? You could just feel all the stale, over-polite, underwhelming Washington lies and bullshit being blown right out of the room. Galloway wouldn’t play this little Rethug game where they make insane allegations, and then tut-tut about your crazy “politics of personal destruction” when you point out they’re lying. I’m just sick to death of it. American politics is the social/collective equivalent of having severe, long-lasting diarhrea….it just wears you out. And after 5 years of it, my asshole really hurts.

So thanks, George, for reminding America what democracy sounds like in countries where elected representatives aren’t bought-and-paid-for candyasses.

Here is the full transcript of his statement:

“Senator, I am not now, nor have I ever been, an oil trader. and neither has anyone on my behalf. I have never seen a barrel of oil, owned one, bought one, sold one – and neither has anyone on my behalf.

“Now I know that standards have slipped in the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer you are remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice. I am here today but last week you already found me guilty. You traduced my name around the world without ever having asked me a single question, without ever having contacted me, without ever written to me or telephoned me, without any attempt to contact me whatsoever. And you call that justice.

“Now I want to deal with the pages that relate to me in this dossier and I want to point out areas where there are – let’s be charitable and say errors. Then I want to put this in the context where I believe it ought to be. On the very first page of your document about me you assert that I have had ‘many meetings’ with Saddam Hussein. This is false.

“I have had two meetings with Saddam Hussein, once in 1994 and once in August of 2002. By no stretch of the English language can that be described as “many meetings” with Saddam Hussein.

“As a matter of fact, I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and to give him maps the better to target those guns. I met him to try and bring about an end to sanctions, suffering and war, and on the second of the two occasions, I met him to try and persuade him to let Dr Hans Blix and the United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country – a rather better use of two meetings with Saddam Hussein than your own Secretary of State for Defence made of his.

“I was an opponent of Saddam Hussein when British and Americans governments and businessmen were selling him guns and gas. I used to demonstrate outside the Iraqi embassy when British and American officials were going in and doing commerce.

“You will see from the official parliamentary record, Hansard, from the 15th March 1990 onwards, voluminous evidence that I have a rather better record of opposition to Saddam Hussein than you do and than any other member of the British or American governments do.

“Now you say in this document, you quote a source, you have the gall to quote a source, without ever having asked me whether the allegation from the source is true, that I am ‘the owner of a company which has made substantial profits from trading in Iraqi oil’.

“Senator, I do not own any companies, beyond a small company whose entire purpose, whose sole purpose, is to receive the income from my journalistic earnings from my employer, Associated Newspapers, in London. I do not own a company that’s been trading in Iraqi oil. And you have no business to carry a quotation, utterly unsubstantiated and false, implying otherwise.

“Now you have nothing on me, Senator, except my name on lists of names from Iraq, many of which have been drawn up after the installation of your puppet government in Baghdad. If you had any of the letters against me that you had against Zhirinovsky, and even Pasqua, they would have been up there in your slideshow for the members of your committee today.

“You have my name on lists provided to you by the Duelfer inquiry, provided to him by the convicted bank robber, and fraudster and conman Ahmed Chalabi who many people to their credit in your country now realise played a decisive role in leading your country into the disaster in Iraq.

“There were 270 names on that list originally. That’s somehow been filleted down to the names you chose to deal with in this committee. Some of the names on that committee included the former secretary to his Holiness Pope John Paul II, the former head of the African National Congress Presidential office and many others who had one defining characteristic in common: they all stood against the policy of sanctions and war which you vociferously prosecuted and which has led us to this disaster.

“You quote Mr Dahar Yassein Ramadan. Well, you have something on me, I’ve never met Mr Dahar Yassein Ramadan. Your sub-committee apparently has. But I do know that he’s your prisoner, I believe he’s in Abu Ghraib prison. I believe he is facing war crimes charges, punishable by death. In these circumstances, knowing what the world knows about how you treat prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison, in Bagram Airbase, in Guantanamo Bay, including I may say, British citizens being held in those places.

“I’m not sure how much credibility anyone would put on anything you manage to get from a prisoner in those circumstances. But you quote 13 words from Dahar Yassein Ramadan whom I have never met. If he said what he said, then he is wrong.
“And if you had any evidence that I had ever engaged in any actual oil transaction, if you had any evidence that anybody ever gave me any money, it would be before the public and before this committee today because I agreed with your Mr Greenblatt [Mark Greenblatt, legal counsel on the committee].

“Your Mr Greenblatt was absolutely correct. What counts is not the names on the paper, what counts is where’s the money. Senator? Who paid me hundreds of thousands of dollars of money? The answer to that is nobody. And if you had anybody who ever paid me a penny, you would have produced them today.

“Now you refer at length to a company names in these documents as Aredio Petroleum. I say to you under oath here today: I have never heard of this company, I have never met anyone from this company. This company has never paid a penny to me and I’ll tell you something else: I can assure you that Aredio Petroleum has never paid a single penny to the Mariam Appeal Campaign. Not a thin dime. I don’t know who Aredio Petroleum are, but I daresay if you were to ask them they would confirm that they have never met me or ever paid me a penny.

“Whilst I’m on that subject, who is this senior former regime official that you spoke to yesterday? Don’t you think I have a right to know? Don’t you think the Committee and the public have a right to know who this senior former regime official you were quoting against me interviewed yesterday actually is?

“Now, one of the most serious of the mistakes you have made in this set of documents is, to be frank, such a schoolboy howler as to make a fool of the efforts that you have made. You assert on page 19, not once but twice, that the documents that you are referring to cover a different period in time from the documents covered by The Daily Telegraph which were a subject of a libel action won by me in the High Court in England late last year.

“You state that The Daily Telegraph article cited documents from 1992 and 1993 whilst you are dealing with documents dating from 2001. Senator, The Daily Telegraph‘s documents date identically to the documents that you were dealing with in your report here. None of The Daily Telegraph‘s documents dealt with a period of 1992, 1993. I had never set foot in Iraq until late in 1993 – never in my life. There could possibly be no documents relating to Oil-for-Food matters in 1992, 1993, for the Oil-for-Food scheme did not exist at that time.

“And yet you’ve allocated a full section of this document to claiming that your documents are from a different era to the Daily Telegraph documents when the opposite is true. Your documents and the Daily Telegraph documents deal with exactly the same period.

“But perhaps you were confusing the Daily Telegraph action with the Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor did indeed publish on its front pages a set of allegations against me very similar to the ones that your committee have made. They did indeed rely on documents which started in 1992, 1993. These documents were unmasked by the Christian Science Monitor themselves as forgeries.

“Now, the neo-con websites and newspapers in which you’re such a hero, senator, were all absolutely cock-a-hoop at the publication of the Christian Science Monitor documents, they were all absolutely convinced of their authenticity. They were all absolutely convinced that these documents showed me receiving $10 million from the Saddam regime. And they were all lies.

“In the same week as the Daily Telegraph published their documents against me, the Christian Science Monitor published theirs which turned out to be forgeries and the British newspaper, Mail on Sunday, purchased a third set of documents which also upon forensic examination turned out to be forgeries. So there’s nothing fanciful about this. Nothing at all fanciful about it.

“The existence of forged documents implicating me in commercial activities with the Iraqi regime is a proven fact. It’s a proven fact that these forged documents existed and were being circulated amongst right-wing newspapers in Baghdad and around the world in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the Iraqi regime.

“Now, Senator, I gave my heart and soul to oppose the policy that you promoted. I gave my political life’s blood to try to stop the mass killing of Iraqis by the sanctions on Iraq which killed one million Iraqis, most of them children, most of them died before they even knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other reason other than that they were Iraqis with the misfortune to born at that time. I gave my heart and soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did commit in invading Iraq. And I told the world that your case for the war was a pack of lies.

“I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11 2001. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning.

“Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.

“If the world had listened to Kofi Annan, whose dismissal you demanded, if the world had listened to President Chirac who you want to paint as some kind of corrupt traitor, if the world had listened to me and the anti-war movement in Britain, we would not be in the disaster that we are in today. Senator, this is the mother of all smokescreens. You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you supported, from the theft of billions of dollars of Iraq’s wealth.

“Have a look at the real Oil-for-Food scandal. Have a look at the 14 months you were in charge of Baghdad, the first 14 months when $8.8 billion of Iraq’s wealth went missing on your watch. Have a look at Haliburton and other American corporations that stole not only Iraq’s money, but the money of the American taxpayer.

“Have a look at the oil that you didn’t even meter, that you were shipping out of the country and selling, the proceeds of which went who knows where? Have a look at the $800 million you gave to American military commanders to hand out around the country without even counting it or weighing it.

“Have a look at the real scandal breaking in the newspapers today, revealed in the earlier testimony in this committee. That the biggest sanctions busters were not me or Russian politicians or French politicians. The real sanctions busters were your own companies with the connivance of your own Government.”

Finally, something WORTH getting your panties in a twist over!

May 19, 2005

I’m pretty sure you won’t see Scott McLellan and 14 billion wingnut blahggers frothing at the mouth about this.

or maybe i just need more coffee…

May 19, 2005
You scored as Postmodernist. Postmodernism is the belief in complete open interpretation. You see the universe as a collection of information with varying ways of putting it together. There is no absolute truth for you; even the most hardened facts are open to interpretation. Meaning relies on context and even the language you use to describe things should be subject to analysis.

Postmodernist

88%

Cultural Creative

88%

Existentialist

75%

Modernist

63%

Romanticist

38%

Materialist

31%

Idealist

25%

Fundamentalist

19%

What is Your World View? (corrected…hopefully)
created with QuizFarm.com

cred

May 17, 2005

“People are dead because of what this son of a bitch said. How could he be credible now?”
-Pentagon Spokesman Lawrence DiRita