discarded lies: thursday, march 22, 2018 3:39 pm zst
it's jolla pickling
daily archive: 01/28/2005
zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Get A Life
I know this is like my third "WTF?!" in two days but don't these people have real jobs?
A German court spokesman said Friday no decision had been made on whether to prosecute U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for the Abu Ghraib prisoner scandal.

The daily Tagesspiegel reported German justice authorities would not act on a criminal complaint filed by an international legal team in November against Rumsfeld and other U.S. senior officials because no German nationals were involved.

But a German court spokesman said: "We have yet to decide whether or not to pursue the charge."

Tagesspiegel said German law prevents federal Prosecutor Kay Nehm from taking legal action unless Germans were involved -- either as suspects or victims.

German justices consider trying Rumsfeld

Allright, so: there were no Germans involved, the law prevents them from taking any action unless Germans were involved, wtf is their problem?!

(a thimbleful of cognac to evariste and i'm adding a wtf category, i can't be constantly cursing like this in front of bloggie.)
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Every Child Left Behind
A Rhode Island school district has decided to eliminate this year's spelling bee because it just...isn't fair to everyone. It's almost like a competition.

Assistant Superintendent of Schools Linda Newman said the decision to scuttle the event was reached shortly after the January 2004 bee in a unanimous decision by herself and the district’s elementary school principals.

The administrators decided to eliminate the spelling bee, because they feel it runs afoul of the mandates of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

"No Child Left Behind says all kids must reach high standards," Newman said. "It’s our responsibility to find as many ways as possible to accomplish this."

The administrators’ decision to eliminate the bee wasn’t a difficult one, Newman said.

"There was no debate at all. It was one of the easiest decisions," the assistant superintendent said because "there was no question among the administrators" that a spelling bee was "contrary to the expectations" of No Child Left Behind.

School district cancels spelling bee

I'm good with that! Speling isn't that importent, anyways. I also strongly beleive that grades shoud be elaminated and exams as well. And what about those recitels, how come some people play violin beter then others? And if you realy don't want to leave No Child Behind, get rid of the math! (I'm not to crazy about grammer either, but I'll right about that in another post.)

Via Best of the Web
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Children of the Revolution
We've posted before about bloggers being tortured in Iran. From Eric the Unread - who's not so unread after all, this is like the third or fourth time I'm linking to him - we discovered the Committee to Protect Bloggers and blogger Hanif Mazroui's account of his time in prison:
Asked about his time in prison, Mazroui dropped his chin, studied his shoes and said, "I prefer not to talk about it."

Then, after a moment of awkward silence as he slumped at his father's side, he fished into the pocket of his peacoat, drew out a bundle of black cloth and handed it over. It was a frayed blindfold, cut from thick canvas, with a tiny triangular wedge sliced out for a nose. He'd been forced to wear it in prison, he explained, and he'd smuggled the blindfold out with him as a keepsake.

"I just want to remember where I was," he said. "I'm grateful for my time in prison, because I realized how much we should pay for freedom, and that freedom can't be got easily. I'm a small drop of that."

After toiling for years to silence dissent within the Iranian republic, the mullahs have turned their war against free press to the last reserve of open political debate: the Internet. Since the summer, Iran's Web loggers, or bloggers, and online journalists have been demonized as CIA collaborators, their work whitewashed from many Iranian computers with filters.
Iran Attempts to Pull Plug on Web Dissidents
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Chinese GDP growth
I call bullshit
Boston.com / News / World / Asia / China Growth Exceeds Expectations, Rates in Focus
China's economic growth sped up to 9.5 percent in the year through the fourth quarter, but a senior official dampened speculation on Tuesday of any imminent currency revaluation or interest rate rise to curb the rampant economy.

The strong figure, exceeding expectations for an 8.6 percent expansion, led chief statistician Li Deshui to signal there would be no let-up in the campaign to restrain growth.

"We will strengthen and improve macro-economic controls and keep controls on credit and land," he said.

But any change to the currency policy would take time and he saw no immediate need to raise interest rates, he later told Reuters in an interview.

"Whether we need to raise interest rates will be based on the economic situation," he said in the interview. "But I can't see any need right now."

The growth figure compared with 9.1 percent in the year through the third quarter and indicated that China's economy was not heading for a sharp slowdown.

China has taken steps, including its first interest rate rise in nine years in October, to try to cool growth for fear heavy investment in key sectors could lead to overheating.

The country's growth rate has become a key issue for financial markets, which view the world's seventh-largest economy as a major driver of the global economy. Investors have worried that China, in slamming on the brakes, would curb demand for imported raw materials, machinery and components.

Gross domestic product for all of 2004 was 9.5 percent higher than a year earlier thanks in part to robust exports and agricultural production, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

That compared with growth of 9.1 percent in 2003 and was the strongest since 1996, when the economy grew 9.6 percent.
Yeah right. 9.5 percent.
I didn't believe their numbers for the whole nineties and I'm not about to start now. Forbes.com: Casting A Cold Eye On China's GDP Numbers
If you've bet the farm on China's continued growth, then Thomas Rawski has a pertinent question for you. "Could China experience a big drop-off?" asks Rawski, professor of economics at the University of Pittsburgh. "The answer has to be yes."

Since companies from around the globe are rushing to China to pan for gold, we decided it was time to visit the Harvard-educated Rawski for his view. For the last 30 years, Sinologist Rawski has trawled secondary sources--everything from airline occupancy rates to little-read Chinese statistical trade journals--to verify or debunk official government claims about the Chinese economy. It's an imperfect art, he admits, judgments based on instinct and "built on fragments."

Two years ago, however, this mild-mannered professor made headlines around the world when he presented his case that the Chinese government had systematically falsified its gross domestic product data to hide an economic downturn that took place in 1998 and 1999. The government view, widely taken at face value, is that China has experienced uninterrupted growth since the late 1970s. By Rawski's reckoning, however, China's economy at best grew less than half the official GDP average of 7.6% between 1998 and 2001, and possibly even contracted during the crucial years of 1998 and 1999.

Many have reluctantly and to varying degrees come around to his view. Earlier this year, for example, Goldman Sachs (nyse: GS - news - people ) began its own calculations of China's GDP, and endorsed Rawski's take that the Chinese economy was caught in a downdraft in the late 1990s, estimating a 3.5% GDP growth rate for 1998 versus the 7.8% rate officially reported. (Goldman equally believes that China's vibrant but underreported service sector means its GDP can also be understated in some aspects.)

But the government's handling of the SARS epidemic earlier this year has also strengthened Rawski's case. "Now everybody knows the Chinese government suppressed health statistics until a Beijing physician pulled the plug on them," he says. "The only question now is whether [the government's suppression of bad news] spreads into the economics area as well as health. There is no question that falsification of economic data at the local and provincial level is widespread. We know this because in 1999 the National Bureau of Statistics, on the front page of a national daily, said the provincial statistics were 'cooked' [by local officials]. That was the term they used."

If you look at retail sales and energy reports, Rawski says, it's pretty clear the Chinese economy took a hard but short-term hit when the SARS crisis was raging. He believes "growth was pushed to near zero" for three months this summer. He equally believes, based on the U.S. experience during the 1918 influenza epidemic, that China will have resumed its torrid growth by the first quarter of 2004. "But I'm afraid the official stats went off the rails. Beijing City, for example, reported a 27% increase in GDP between the first and second quarter [when the city came to a virtual standstill]. That just did not happen."

Rawski says he sees a clouded picture going forward: a genuinely dynamic economy threatened by seriously "unpleasant elements." China's banking sector is already a well-known danger zone; Chinese economists and technocrats are themselves writing that a "financial crisis"--their term--is possible. Of course, officially, the Chinese authorities will only admit to nonperforming loans of 30% at the leading state banks. Rawski says a little-known statistic ("rate of interest recovery") suggests that "50% is a better jumping-off point."

Intriguingly, Rawski says Chinese statisticians and technocrats not only provide his raw data but sometimes reveal in clever ways that their political masters are forcing them to cover up. As an example, he freely translates an article taken from his cluttered desk, written by "this smiling young lady" working in the "risk management department" at one of the leading banks. "For the four state-owned banks," writes the risk manager, "the figure for bad loans, which is released to outsiders, is near 30%." Says Rawski: "There's the flag. She's a technocrat and they told her to release the official figure, but 'released to outsiders' is the signal that says, 'I don't believe this and you better not believe it either.' Of course she knows the real figure."

But Rawski says a banking crisis, if it were to happen, would only be a symptom of a deeper malaise in the "bowels of the Chinese economy." Investment accounts for 40% of China's GDP but it is to a large extent controlled by the state, politically driven and inefficient. One trade article he came across suggested "50% or 60%" of the funds in some government projects were consumed before construction even began. Such investments, he says, "muck up the financial system, create losses, result in nonperforming loans, no product, no employment and the empty buildings which are a common feature of the Chinese landscape."

Research that Rawski conducted for the International Labor Office in Geneva led him to the conclusion that China has been experiencing a "jobless recovery" since the late 1990s, with a spike in urban unemployment aggravated by 100 million to 200 million farmers migrating towards the urban centers in search of work. That's why it is paramount that Beijing loosen its state-controlled stranglehold on investments. Such crowding-out prevents the dynamic private sector from accessing funds and creating jobs, and places unbearable pressures on the productive investments to create the 7% or 8% GDP growth Beijing needs to keep moving ahead.

But what about China's hugely productive direct foreign investment, which at last count stood at $53 billion? Impressive, Rawski says, but even such amounts get lost in a developing country the size and population of China.
I previously expressed my intense scepticism of Chinese economic figures here and gave different links and sources for my scepticism; read it for a complete picture of why I think this.
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
A Socratic dialogue with Glen Wishard
Hey, that Noonan piece bugged me too. It brought out that irritating side of her that I can't stand, the fatalist side. I thought she was just being contrarian for the sake of it, really. Why'd she have to pee on the parade? Glen figured out how to bitch her out and be funny about it, which was eluding me ;-)

GLEN: What the hell is Peggy Noonan’s problem?

SOCRATES: Could you be more specific?

GLEN: What is this ditzy blonde-blither about George Bush’s speech being “over the top? and full of “mission inebriation?? And what is this crap about fur coats at the inauguration? Are there not enough protein-starved vegan halfwits in the world without her pitching in to help?

SOCRATES: Let us examine your first question. I’m surprised by your objection to Noonan’s cautionary note about the pitfalls of utopian thinking, and the tendency of power to corrupt good intentions. As someone who’s been smoking conservative theory like crack for as long as you have, I would think that this familiar tune would make you play the air-guitar.

WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY: Yes. One might say, for example, that Bush is attempting to immanentize the Eschaton. One mustn’t immanentize the Eschaton. And one must also remember Lord Acton’s seminal observation …

GLEN: Who the hell was talking to you?

SOCRATES: See what I mean? I think that Noonan has struck a guilty nerve in your conservative conscience, such as it is. She is correct to point out that the Kingdom of Heaven is not of this earth. Human nature is human nature, and we live in a human world – an all too human world, as Nietzsche would say. You can’t just build yourself a new planet out of rhetoric and unrealistic expectations. You have to live in the real world, Glen.

GLEN: Don’t talk to me about the real world. Every pig thinks that his own particular sty is the real world. The world of ideas and imagination is real, too.

SOCRATES: Yes, especially the ideas you agree with, right? You pay small heed to the ones you don’t like. And don’t tell me you don’t recognize the hypocrisy of expecting those political leaders whom you disagree with to be ignored, while everybody is supposed to drop everything and follow your favorite crusaders. It was your contempt for such a double standard that once prompted you to hurl an empty Jim Beam bottle at the celebrated American historian, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

GLEN: I didn’t throw a bottle at Arthur Schlesinger.

SOCRATES: Well, at his image on the television device, I mean.

GLEN: It was Doris Kearns Goodwin, and I missed.

SOCRATES: Which proves the salient points of my argument all the more. First of all, you couldn’t hit an elephant in the ass with a shotgun to save your life; secondly, you’ve had an irrational problem with blond women ever since one of them threw up on you, and thirdly, your conservative instincts go to sleep when George Bush starts raving about democracy and freedom.
I just about plotzed at the immanentizing the Eschaton line. Glen, you are so. fucking. funny.
Read the rest: CANIS IRATUS.: It Rang Like It Meant Something
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Russian Officers May Be Accomplices in Beslan Massacre
The head of the Russian parliamentary commission investigating the September terrorist attack in the North Ossetian town of Beslan told journalists on Thursday that senior Russian officers and federal officials had helped organize the hostage-taking raid in which more than 330 people, half of them children, were killed. Commission head Alexander Torshin, who is also a deputy speaker of parliament's upper chamber, the Federation Council, said two of the terrorists’ accomplices have been arrested, three have been placed on the wanted list, and evidence implicating two others has been passed on to the General Prosecutor’s Office. Torshin said the accomplices were Russian officers holding ranks higher than lieutenant-colonel. Another member of the commission, Vladimir Kulakov, said the accomplices were not only republican officials from North Ossetia, but were also federal officials, who still occupy their posts.
Russian officials linked to Beslan tragedy
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guest author: Jefe in Discarded Lies:
Traveling Around Ireland With The Band - Day 6
Day 6 - Monday

Finally, a day without travel. We had the option of a bus trip to Waterford and Kilkenny for the day, which about half the tour took, but Julie & I decided sleep and a walking tour of Wexford would be nicer. We met Buddy (Gail had taken the bus trip) and Lindsay (of the beer balancing head), and wandered around the Wexford harbor area. We decided to pick a decent looking pub for lunch, and we happened on a place called Simon's. We picked it because the lunch specials sounded good. Inside, the food was indeed excellent, and we were joined by Simon. He was a very friendly older guy and asked us all about where we're from , where we had been, and where we were going. I realized that being from Wexford, he might know or have heard of Larry, so I told him we were travelling with Larry Kirwan. Simon was speechless for a moment, then said he was good friends with Larry's father, who had passed away the year before. Larry's parents, and Larry himself, were regulars at Simon's. He had a portrait of Larry up in the pub but had taken it down during the recent renovation. Simon had us pass on a hello to Larry for him. When we talked to Larry, he was pleasantly surprised. He had meant to tell the tour group to stop in at Simon's if we had the chance but had forgotten.

After dinner, the farewell party was at Larry's favorite Wexford hangout, Mary's Pub. For Christine, the highlight was apparently the end of her bout with constipation. The owners were kind enough to keep the bar open late for us, but they eventually had to close down. Most of us had decided not to go to bed, since we had to leave for the Dublin airport early the next morning. The hotel kept the lounge open for us, and Mr. Belvedere kindly served us 'Shmidicks' as fast as he could. After packing, showers, and breakfast, we hit the road for Dublin (paved and smooth, not rocky at all). We were all sad to be leaving, but we agreed that it was probably best for our health. Especially since we were starting to feel the affects of a flu bug that was passed around and had most of laid up back in the U.S. for the next several days.

If you want to see more, check out the rest of mine & Julie's pictures, and some from other tour members:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Our zorkie's debut at Winds of Change.NET
So, I'm just tickled pink and super proud to announce that zorkie is now doing half the Hatewatch Briefing over at Winds of Change.NET along with Lewy14's no-blog-having self. The first Hatewatch Briefing that zorkie worked on is up! Topics include:
Religious Hate: Hizballah threatens suicide attacks in the UK; Khamenei: still open season on Rushdie; Bakri declares Britain Dar ul-Harb; Saudi Professor: Tsunami “collective punishment?; Gunmen dig up dead Italians in Mogadishu; Hirsi Ali emerges from hiding; prayer area causes friction between Muslims and Christians in Manila.

Idiotarian Seethings: British Muslim leader: no such thing as Islamic terrorist; Berkeley intafadah, part deux; double standards for the victims of communist oppression; Ramsey Clark: Saddam “demonized?; Americans harass Indian call centers.

Race and Culture: Anti-semitism erupts in Russia; European amnesia and the Holocaust; Stern magazine: Condi “at the service of her Master?; Global Zionism abducts children of the Tsunami; filmmaker confronts the Protocols; Mohammed al-Dura's death possibly staged; PA conducting Nazi propaganda against Jews.

A Hopeful Note: teaching children diversity in Indonesia; Auschwitz: reclaiming perspective.
Tips to spot zorkie's work: when your heart starts beating fast and butterflies flap around in an empty space where you used to think your stomach went, you're reading zorkie's stuff. Or maybe that's just me, I don't know. OK, seriously? She did all the good ones. I'm sure Lewy's work is nice too. *waves hand dismissively* anyway. This means our presence over there has expanded once again, and you can now spot us in the following places over at Winds of Change.NET: I'm doing Winds of War on Mondays with Bill Roggio of the fourth rail. And zorkie's doing Hatewatch Briefing with Lewy14 every other Friday. And don't forget every single Friday, including this one, we're doing a featured weekly post over there. This week we're running another installment of the Children of the Stoplights feature, about child trafficking in Europe, and it's up too! So, go read Hatewatch and stuff. That would be your smartest move right about now. Yeah.
What, still here? OK, want a little insider action? Let me tell you what's going on in some people's minds...
Me and zorkie:
Heh heh heh...we continue to slowly take over Winds of Change.NET from the inside!
Joe Katzman:
Bwa ha ha! My scheme to sucker them into blogging for me for free is working beyond my wildest dreams! I am truly a blogo-fatcat. I wonder if I can get them to paint my garage...?
Me and zorkie:
Armed Liberal:
I'm a liberal with a gun!
Me and zorkie:
And we're a Palestinian and a Greek who like Jews!
Armed Liberal:
Damn it.
Me and zorkie:
Heh. We win! Don't feel bad, AL. Here, we'll pet you. You're so cute with your big gun.
Hey AL, want to do a guest author post for us? ...hey where are you going?
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Children of the Stoplights - Part 2
Note-this continues the Children of the Stoplights series, begun here: Discarded Lies: Children of the Stoplights - Part 1 and simulcast over at Winds of Change.NET, as our weekly feature.

Salonica, Aristotelous square: Fashionable shops, bookstores, art galleries, people enjoying the sunshine at sidewalk cafés and restaurants, the meeting place for the whole city. People barely glance at the children as they hover at each table for a moment or two, offering flowers for sale, pocket tissues, small paper icons. They seldom speak, they just hold out their merchandise. Some people ignore them completely. Others shake their head "no." Some people feel sorry for them and give the 50 cents.
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