Aug. 3rd, 2007

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

The Crypt’s Blog - Politico.com
In a massive flare-up of partisan tensions, Republicans walked out on a House vote late Thursday night to protest what they believed to be Democratic maneuvers to reverse an unfavorable outcome for them.

The flap represents a complete breakdown in parliamentary procedure and an unprecedented low for the sometimes bitterly divided chamber.

The rancor erupted shortly before 11 p.m. as Rep. Michael R. McNulty (D-N.Y.) gaveled close the vote on a standard procedural measure with the outcome still in doubt.


Pretty sad. Looks like the government is falling apart.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Danger Room - Wired Blogs
Robots have been roaming the streets of Iraq, since shortly after the war began. Now, for the first time — the first time in any warzone — the machines are carrying guns.

After years of development, three “special weapons observation remote reconnaissance direct action system” (SWORDS) robots have deployed to Iraq, armed with M249 machine guns. The ‘bots “haven’t fired their weapons yet,” Michael Zecca, the SWORDS program manager, tells DANGER ROOM. “But that’ll be happening soon.”

The SWORDS — modified versions of bomb-disposal robots used throughout Iraq — were first declared ready for duty back in 2004. But concerns about safety kept the robots from being sent over the the battlefield. The machines had a tendency to spin out of control from time to time. That was an annoyance during ordnance-handling missions; no one wanted to contemplate the consequences during a firefight.

So the radio-controlled robots were retooled, for greater safety. In the past, weak signals would keep the robots from getting orders for as much as eight seconds — a significant lag during combat. Now, the SWORDS won’t act on a command, unless it’s received right away. A three-part arming process — with both physical and electronic safeties — is required before firing. Most importantly, the machines now come with kill switches, in case there’s any odd behavior. “So now we can kill the unit if it goes crazy,” Zecca says.

“Terminator” anyone?

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Quotes of the Day:

From “The Devil’s Dictionary” by Ambrose Bierce . . .

Representative: In national politics, a member of the Lower House in this world, and without discernible hope of promotion in the next.

Senate: A body of elderly gentlemen charged with high duties and misdemeanors.

Subject: Why we’re confused, and what to do about it

We admit it. We’re confused. We would like to be able to tell you what is happening with the so-called FISA “modernization” bill — which may legalize government spying on innocent Americans — but we can’t. No one understands what is going on with this bill, including the members of Congress.

There are so many different versions of this bill, and amendments to it, and back-room negotiations and deals being made, that no one really knows anything about what will come to the floor. And yet, Congressional leaders want to rush to a vote before they recess.

This shouldn’t be happening, and it couldn’t happen if DownsizeDC.org’s “Read the Bills Act” was the law of the land.

There’s also a lot of lying going on. For instance, President Bush has claimed that the FISA law hasn’t been updated since 1978. TRUTH: The FISA law has been updated more than 50 times since 1978, including multiple times since Bush was elected.

President Bush signed these updates into law! Our elected leaders really are scoundrels.

Here’s what we’re going to do. Let’s hit them on two fronts today. First, send Congress a message telling them not to rush to a vote on FISA modernization before they leave. Stress this in your comments. NO RUSHED VOTES!

We’ve defeated this monster before by delaying a vote, and there’s a real chance we can do that again now.

You can send that message here.

Second, hit them on the “Read the Bills Act.” Send them a message about RTBA. Tell them the confused rush to a vote on FISA modernization is proof that we need DownsizeDC.org’s “Read the Bills Act” with its 7-day waiting period before a vote can be held on any bill.

You can send that message here.

Finally, it would be really helpful if you could make phone calls too, stressing these points. You will see the phone numbers for your elected representatives when you log-in to send your message to Congress (or when you register if you are sending a message for the first time).

Sorry for the confusion, but that’s the way these guys operate.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.

Perry Willis
Communications Director
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Bush Insults BBC Political Editor at Press Conference
NEW YORK At a recent press conference at Camp David, President George Bush insulted BBC political editor Nick Robinson, the Daily Mirror reports.

Robinson, who has asked Bush pointed questions in the past such as whether the president was “in denial” over the Iraq war, posed a question to Bush about whether he could trust visiting British Prime Minister Gordon Brown not to “cut and run” from Iraq.

Bush replied with a dismissal: “Are you still hanging around?”

Later on, Bush poked fun at the bare-pate of Robinson, joking, “You’d better cover up your bald head, it’s getting hot out.”

The respected British reporter shot back, “I didn’t know you cared.”

Bush responded with a cool, “I don’t.” The Mirror reports that Bush then “snorted disdainfully” and “walked away to laughter.”

Isn’t it great to have such an awesome President? Good grief. What a piece of shit.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Privacy: Proposed Legislation In Ohio Would Require Women To Get A Man’s Permission To Have An Abortion - Consumerist
New proposed legislation in Ohio would make it illegal for a woman to get an abortion without a man’s permission, according to the Record-Courier.

Not knowing who the father of the fetus is couldn’t be used as an excuse under the new law. Women would have to provide a list of potential fathers who would then be required to submit themselves to paternity testing until a father is found. It would also make it illegal for a man who isn’t the father to provide the permission.

What about rape or incest? A woman seeking an abortion would have to provide “reasonable cause” for the doctor to believe the rape of incest occurred, which, in our estimation, would probably mean police reports and charges filed.

My head just exploded.

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