The Peach

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Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Voice Of Reason Steps In

No, it's not the basso oration of John Huston as the voice of God. Rather, it is the rational thinking of a federal judge in Georgia. U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper ordered that stickers stating that evolution is "a theory, not a fact" be removed from science books in Cobb County. The judge stated that the disclaimers were an unconstitutional endorsement of religion:
"By denigrating evolution, the school board appears to be endorsing the well-known prevailing alternative theory, creationism or variations thereof, even though the sticker does not specifically reference any alternative theories."
The school district's attorney, on the other hand, argued that "Science and religion are related and they're not mutually exclusive." Really? Well, scientists can explain how rain is created or why earthquakes happen, but The Peach will be damned if anyone has ever convincingly proved they were acts of God. At least this time sane minds prevailed.

Who Else Needs A Slice Of Pie?

In yet another case of "It's not what you know, it's who you know" the Associated Press is reporting that the day after Tom Ridge was named the head of Homeland Security, he visited the Arizona home of a friend who represented companies that later received homeland security contracts. The home was that of David Girard-diCarlo, a prominent Bush-Cheney fundraiser. At the time of the trip, Girard-diCarlo represented Raytheon, one of a team of companies awarded border protection security work. This is work that Homeland Securtiy is paying upwards of $10 billion for over the next ten years.

The article also points out that many of Ridge's aides had been hired by Girard-diCarlo's lobbying firm, Blank Rome, including Ridge's former chief of staff when he was Pennsylvania governor, Mark Holman. It seems that rather than protecting Americans, this administration is helping to pay for a lot of friends' really nice vacations.

You Idiots!

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that a new FBI computer program meant for sharing information to ward off terrorist attacks may have to be scrapped, further delaying the proposed $500 million overhaul of their archaic computer system. The bureau has already paid Science Applications approximately $170 million dollars on the system called Virtual Case File, a system which is now considered inadequate and already outdated. It is estimated that $100 million would be lost if the program is scrapped. The overhaul has already cost taxpayers $581 million, and there is already a debate as to whether or not the FBI is spending the money wisely. From The Peach's viewpoint that answer would be a big, fat NO.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Hello, Is This Thing On?

Two things coming out of Iraq makes The Peach want to bang its fuzzy head against the wall.

First, Iraqi leaders are now acknowledging that a nationwide election is impossible. Apparently, some of the country is just too dangerous for voting (well, duh). The Iraqi foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, told an Egyptian newspaper that voting could probably be held in 14 of the 18 provinces. The Peach wonders if Bush goes for this maybe in the next election we can consider excluding some red states from voting because they're too backwards?

The second thing is that the search for WMD's had been secretly abandoned before Christmas. The administration stated that the September 30th report made by Charles Duelfer, which said (hold on to your seats) no weapons would be found, would stand.

The Peach has it on good authority that the reason the search ended before Christmas was because those agents were reassigned to search for Santa Claus' north pole home. It seems Bush was concerned about having some mysterious fat guy in a red suit flying through White House air space, you know with all the terrorist activity going on and stuff. They just wanted to perform a little un-Geneva interrogation. That's all.

Cheap Bastards

The Washington Post is reporting that the Bush administration is refusing to reimburse the District of Columbia for costs of the Bush inauguration, forcing the district to divert $11.9 million from homeland security projects. This is money originally set aside because the area is among the places at highest risk of a terrorist attack.

What this means is that rather than spending the money on better equipping firefighters, police officers and hospitals in the event of another 9/11, Bush would rather spend it on a bigger pat on the back. How can anyone feel safer with this Bozo?

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Wise Men and Fools

The Peach is surprised that no one in the SCLM seems to have caught Tom DeLay's latest gaffe: a turn at a Congressional Prayer Breakfast that was broadcast this past Tuesday on C-SPAN. Following some of his colleagues' comments on the tsunami in Asia, with its attendant death toll of over 150,000 so far, DeLay held forth with a bible-reading that could be construed as his explanation for the tragedy.

From the Gospel according to Matthew, he read a passage from Chapter 7, concluding:
Everyone who listens to these words of mine, and acts on them, will be like a wise man, who built his house on a rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew, and buffeted the house, but it did not collapse; it has been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine, but does not act on them, will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew, and buffeted the house, and it collapsed and was completely ruined.
The Peach assumes it is obvious who are the wise and who are the foolish in DeLay's scenario. What we can't understand is how this kind of thing is less obscene than, say, Howard Stern spanking prostitutes on his radio show.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

An article from the AP is reporting that government scientists collected millions of dollars in royalties from experimental drugs while not telling patients testing the drugs that researchers had a financial interest. What is even more distressing is that the NIH did not make a policy that researchers supply such disclosures until last week, leaving thousands of patients unaware that they may have been taking part in an experiment in which scientists may have been financially motivated.

The Peach feels that this disclosure has come about due to the increasing controvery surrounding the flawed AIDS drug nevirapine, and the NIH's attempt to hide the truth about the drug's shortcomings. This drug has already been distributed to hundreds of thousands of AIDS victims in Africa. Just recently it was reported that a Tennessee woman died over a year ago from the then experimental drug, and scientists and doctors connected to the experiment lied about the cause of death. The woman's family is now suing.

In an act of courage Dr. Jonathan Fishbein spoke out against the methods and policies at the NIH and was subsequently fired for his honesty. The Peach hopes that his spark encourages further investigations into the NIH and drug industry so that we can all feel safer.

Breaking News: Bush Lied To Pope

As if lying to the American people were not enough, the AP wire is reporting that Bush lied to an Italian cardinal sent by Pope John Paul II to disuade him from invading Iraq. Apparently, Bush's response to his eminence at that time was that any American attack would be quick and that "we would do well in Iraq."

In the article, Cardinal Pio Laghi, the Pope's official envoy, went on to conclude that things have taken a "different course" and that "Bush was wrong." The Peach would like to know if this puts a dent in Bush's supposed Christian support?

"They Are Kidding Themselves"

That's the response from Saad Abdul-Aziz Rawi, the head of the 13-member electoral commission of Sunni dominated Anbar province, just after the entire commission resigned and went into hiding. Insurgent attacks have prevented voter registration in the province making it "impossible to hold elections."

Even though the U.S. insists that Sunni participation is necessary to make the vote legitimate, this is the second major blow to the planned elections. Last month the largest political party representing Sunnis announced it was withdrawing.

The U.S. response to all this is to step up their attacks in violent neighborhoods. Unfortunately, and not suprisingly, this strategy is yet another misstep in the Iraq debacle. One attack narrowly missed an elementary school filled with children taking exams. In another, the Army claimed that it had mistakenly dropped a 500 pound bomb on the wrong house killing 14 members of one family, including 10 women and children.

There are numerous other accounts of stressed out soldiers becoming more and more trigger happy, killing innocent civilians. The Peach wonders how any election can be perceived as legitimate in such a desperate and chaotic climate.