Friday, September 23, 2005

Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents

Blogs get people excited. Or else they disturb and worry them. Some people distrust them. Others see them as the vanguard of a new information revolution. Because they allow and encourage ordinary people to speak up, they’re tremendous tools of freedom of expression.

Bloggers are often the only real journalists in countries where the mainstream media is censored or under pressure. Only they provide independent news, at the risk of displeasing the government and sometimes courting arrest.

Reporters Without Borders has produced this handbook to help them, with handy tips and technical advice on how to to remain anonymous and to get round censorship, by choosing the most suitable method for each situation. It also explains how to set up and make the most of a blog, to publicise it (getting it picked up efficiently by search-engines) and to establish its credibility through observing basic ethical and journalistic principles.

Download a PDF or read it online

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Sometimes you just need to smack a bitch

"So Many Of The People In The Arena... Were Underprivileged Anyway, So This Is Working Very Well For Them" - Barbara Bush during a tour of a hurricane relief center in Houston.

Off the cuff callous statements like that aren't a surprise from the elder lady Bush. This is the same woman that spit out the following gem on Good Morning America (March 18th 2003) shortly before the invasion of Iraq kicked off.

"Why should we hear about body bags and deaths, Oh, I mean, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"

Tell that to the friends and families of the fallen soldiers, Barb. I think they'll have a word or two about your "beautiful mind".

Why do I get the feeling that entire family really doesn't give a shit about the common people (not to mention soldiers who they send off to war)? With comments like that, and W's performance last week, hopefully America is slowly waking up and seeing through the photo ops and faux compassion.

.... and your entire family.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Who to blame for Katrina

The following is a rant by Michael Rivero that I think sums up the current state of affairs in DC, the media and internet message boards regarding the deadly hurricane last week.
Don't fall for this trick. This isn't an issue about Republicans versus Democrats, conservatives versus liberals, or red versus blue.

This is about a people lied into an illegal war by a government which then looted the nation's emergency preparedness to pay for that illegal war.

The government gambled an entire city on their war. The government cut funding for flood control and spent it in Iraq and HOPED the city of New Orleans would not need those flood control systems.

The government lost that bet. New Orleans is destroyed, more thoroughly than any terrorist could have done. More than New Orleans, the failure to maintain the flood control systems has closed the Mississippi river as a shipping route, isolating America's heartland. Cargill, the largest food exporter in the region cannot empty its silos of grain into ships to send to foreign markets, and the fall harvest is at hand. With the silos already full, there is no place to store the new harvest, which means more adverse weather could wipe out the entire crop. Like the former Soviet Union, we may see the specter of vast amounts of food sitting and rotting in the sun because the transportation system is wrecked due to government oversight.

The government gambled with a city, indeed with the entire central plains. And they lost that bet.

The government knows that YOU know what they did and they are scared, and they are playing every dirty trick they can to keep you from directing your anger where it belongs, at Washington DC.

So, you will see tons of propaganda about how this is a Republican versus Democrat issue, or it's a rich versus poor issue, and maybe even some good old fashioned race-baiting as well, along with the usual phony opinion polls, all to keep the American people squabbling amongst themselves while the real authors of this disaster breath a sign of relief at their narrow escape, and laugh again at how easily fooled the stupid American people are.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


What a disaster Hurricane Katrina caused. My heart goes out to everyone affected in the Gulf Coast area. Please consider donating to the various charities that help in disasters. In my opinion, the best places to donate are the local charities preparing trucks to go on down there and help out.

Since Katrina hit, I've seen a few articles blaming Bush for a lot of it. At first, I'm thinking well that's a bit of a stretch, come on now. However, when you read into it, you see some valid points being made. Most of it centers around the fact that W cut funding that was supposed to go to New Orleans. Shipping off a few thousand of the state's National Guard off to Iraq also didn't help.

From the looks of it, chances are there would still be a disaster happening down there. However, if Orleans got that funding to strenghten the levees, things probably would not be near as bad. Remember the fears of the hurricane hitting New Orleans directly pretty much didn't happen. It was the rain and water that flooded 80% of the city already below sea level.

On a related note, some of the looting is pretty disturbing. There's one thing to take essential things like food, liquids, clothing before it goes rotten or washes away. It's another thing to walk out of stores with a couple big screen plasma televisions.

Don't get me started on some of the reporters. One on Fox News, Shepherd Smith, was on the phone, talking about how he was trapped in a hotel with thousands of New Orleans citizens. The guy was practically begging to be helicoptered out. He said it would be unfair for him to remain there any longer because he and his crew would be taking needed food and water from others in the hotel. Why do I think that wouldn't exactly have been the response of the top reporters of the previous generation? If Smith and his crew stayed, but offered transportation that would have been given to him and his crew to the most elderly or needy citizens at the hotel, then he could stay and do his job and a few lives could be saved. Instead, he wanted out. He came there for a photo op, not to be stuck in a hotel without food and water and flushing toilets. Someone like Peter Jennings (R.I.P.), wouldn't have been worried about clean underwear and a five-star meal. He wouldn't have been admitting on national TV he wanted a proverbial lifeboat before the women and children. Shephard Smith, you sir, are a jackass.

"No one can say they didn't see it coming"
In 2001, FEMA warned that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S. But the Bush administration cut New Orleans flood control funding by 44 percent to pay for the Iraq war.

How New Orleans Was Lost
Chalk up the city of New Orleans as a cost of Bush's Iraq war. There were not enough helicopters to repair the breached levees and rescue people trapped by rising water. Nor are there enough Louisiana National Guardsmen available to help with rescue efforts and to patrol against looting. The situation is the same in Mississippi. The National Guard and helicopters are off on a fool's mission in Iraq.

Did New Orleans Catastrophe Have to Happen?
In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain, according to a Feb. 16, 2004, article, in New Orleans CityBusiness.