Loading...
Please write and send praise, critique, interesting links or random musings to touchthehandthatfeedsyou@yahoo.com

Friday, December 31, 2010

Quote Of The Day - New Year's Eve Edition

Dec 31st, 2010


"New Year's Resolution: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time." -- James Agate

Thursday, December 30, 2010

If We Really Are What We Eat...

Dec 30th, 2010


...Then we are in some seriously bad shape. From The Johns Hopkins Center For A Livable Future:


"In accordance with a 2008 amendment to the Animal Drug User Fee Act, for the first time the FDA released last week an annual amount of antimicrobial drugs sold and distributed for use in food animals. The grand total for 2009 is 13.1 million kilograms or 28.8 million pounds. I found the stories covering this revelation interesting, but they did not convey the whole picture. It is important to understand how this amount compares to the total available for people. So, I decided to find out for myself and contacted the FDA for an estimate of the volume of antibiotics sold for human use in 2009. This is what a spokesperson told me:
“Our Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology just finished an analysis based on IMS Health data. Sales data in kilograms sold for selected antibacterial drugs were obtained as a surrogate of human antibacterial drug use in the U.S. market. Approximately 3.3 million kilograms of antibacterial drugs were sold in year 2009. OSE states that all data in this analysis have been cleared for public use by IMS Health, IMS National Sales Perspectives™.”

3.3 million kilograms is a little over 7 million pounds. As far as I can determine, this is the first time the FDA has made data on estimates of human usage public. Below is a breakdown of the FDA numbers prepared by my colleague, Dr. David Love, also from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, which compares the estimated amounts of human usage with food animal usage."

Quote Of The Day 2

Dec 30th, 2010

A follow up the today's first quote. Again, I would like to share the words of Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler, USMC. Maj. Gen. Butler genuinely embodied the troubling contradictions of our country's journey into modernity. A man of imperious discipline, he fought many bloody conflicts in our name. He later showed even greater bravery by utterly repudiating our colonial tendencies.

"I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested." -- Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler, USMC

Quote Of The Day

Dec 30th, 2010

"I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.


I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers." -- Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler, USMC

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Truth About Effective Tax Rates

Dec 29th, 2010


Blogger Raymond Medeiros Jr. has a very good post at his site, Defending America's Promise, detailing 30 years of Republican lies regarding the actual tax burden faced by American corporations:


"The lie that we hear every single election year is, the corporations are paying too much in taxes, that's why the middle class is hurting and that is why our factories are closing.  The liberals raised taxes to much on the businesses and they went off to greener pastures. Again that is the LIE they have sold us.  Look at this picture and read this World Bank article."


Mr. Medeiros also provided this very informative graphic. Please check out his other work.







Continuing Republican Budget Madness

Dec 29th, 2010

In an article for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Robert Greenstein and James R. Horney expose the continuing folly and disingenuous nature of the incoming Republican house majority:

The So-Called Liberal Media

Dec 29th, 2010

Here is a tale of two videos. Well, one video really. It is shown in two different ways and to very, very different ends. It is but a single example of our major news organization's complicity in keeping the public uniformed. It is also typical. The first media embed is from CBS News coverage of a few seconds from the helicopter gunship recording that put Wikileaks on the map. Watch please...



Did you see the obvious war crime caught on tape? Neither did most people who watched good old "liberal" CBS for information on the release of the video.

Now, please watch the second video...



The CBS coverage is questionable in the extreme. The highly respected Namir Noor Eldeen is not mentioned by name. There is no mention that the American soldiers mis-identified a 10" camera lens as an RPG-7, an item roughly 3 feet longer when unloaded. There is no mention that the soldiers involved lied and stipulated that it was a "battle" with insurgents. There is no mention that there were children on the scene when the helicopter gunships engaged a second time in an attempt to kill the wounded (a war crime under Common Article 3 of The Geneva Conventions) and those who attempted to provide them assistance (a war crime under Common Articles 9, 12 and 15 of The Geneva Conventions).

The money quote from the network's 90 second story:
"Now it appears from the tape that at least some of those hit on the ground were unarmed, but a journalist who was in the general area that same days says it is important for all of us to remember it was a hectic, violent and uneasy day."

Excuse me? The second wave of unprovoked fire wounded rescuers and two children almost killing them. It is as clear a record of a war crime that we have seen here at home from our Iraq misadventure. Yet, CBS chose to carry the water for our military in it's attempts to cover up the incident and diminish public anger.

The network should be ashamed. To be fair, guys like Murrow and Cronkite wouldn't be caught dead working for them now. And that's the way it is.

The Year's Best Satire... Seriously

Dec 29th, 2010

When Keith Olbermann took on the "Obama is a secret Muslim" crowd, the piece was as hilarious as it was acerbic. Enjoy.


Quote Of The Day

Dec 29th, 2010


"The test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough to those who have little." -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Eric Cantor & Orly Taitz

Dec 29th, 2010

Far Right ideologue and greed monkey Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) deserves a good talking to from his party about his lack of judgement.

From Salon:
"Orly Taitz, the dentist-cum-lawyer-cum-Birther leader, yesterday posted on Facebook the above picture of herself with incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. 

Taitz put the image in an album titled "12/27/10," suggesting it was taken Monday, though that could not immediately be confirmed."

Wikileaks Reveal Mel Martinez As Water Boy For Torturers

Dec 29th, 2010


From a report in The Miami Herald using wikileaks as a source comes news that former Republican Senator Mel Martinez was sent to attempt to manipulate Spanish legal proceedings against U.S. figures tied to the torture of five Gitmo detainees. The betrayal of our principles by President Obama's administration for reasons of supposed pragmatism is but a part of this.

It was three months into Barack Obama's presidency, and the administration -- under pressure to do something about alleged abuses in Bush-era interrogation policies -- turned to a Florida senator to deliver a sensitive message to Spain:

Don't indict former President George W. Bush's legal brain trust for alleged torture in the treatment of war on terror detainees, warned Mel Martinez on one of his frequent trips to Madrid. Doing so would chill U.S.-Spanish relations.

Rather than a resolution, though, a senior Spanish diplomat gave the former GOP chairman and housing secretary a lesson in Spain's separation of powers. "The independence of the judiciary and the process must be respected,'' then-acting Foreign Minister Angel Lossada replied on April 15, 2009. Then for emphasis, "Lossada reiterated to Martinez that the executive branch of government could not close any judicial investigation and urged that this case not affect the overall relationship.”

It is strongly recommended that you read the full article. There is so much wrong here not the least of which is the image of an American Senator being schooled by a foreign official on the principle that an executive branch ought not leverage or intimidate a judiciary branch of government. That this is supposed to be one of the Cardinal Virtues of the American system seems to have been utterly lost on Martinez and the President. It points to how removed from our values they and so many of our other representatives have become in the years following 9/11. 

WTF? Drug War Eugenics?


Dec 29th, 2010

One of the most jaw dropping stories of the year comes from Campus Progress:

"Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity (CRACK), a non-profit based in California, will give $200 cash to any drug-addicted man or woman willing to undergo sterilization. And they offer a more lucrative option for women: they will pay clients $200/year to take long-term birth control like Depo-Prevara or Norplant.


Barbara Harris, the founder of CRACK, established the organization after having adopted four children born to drug-addicted parents—something she claims her critics should try before they oppose her organization. Her mission: "Save our welfare system and the world from the exorbitant cost to the taxpayer for each drug-addicted birth" by offering "effective preventive measures to reduce the tragedy of numerous drug-affected pregnancies."

"Their strategy targets low-income neighborhoods and includes messages such as the provocative: “Don’t Let Getting Pregnant Get in the Way of your Drug Habit.”
The terrifying and unethical act of offering the most desperately addicted in our society money in exchange for a life-changing procedure while they are actually using a drug is akin to the proposals of the worst eugenicists of the 1930s for manipulating "undesirables" to "volunteer." Someone in the throes of an active addiction is, by definition, unable to make reasoned decisions. 
There is another group named Project Prevention performing similar acts and they have extended their activities into both Canada and Great Britain.
These groups are simply evil and must be stopped.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Have They Even Read The 1st Amendment?

Dec 28th, 2010

F. Grey Parker

Although it's meaning is clear to almost anyone who has read the very first line of The Bill of Rights that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," it seems The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority holds themselves to be well above such petty limitations on governmental overreach as proscribed. 



They are preparing to potentially underwrite up to a quarter of the costs for building the creationism theme park proposed for construction there.

"The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority has granted preliminary approval for a creationist theme park to get up to $37 million in tax incentives, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.

The theme park -- dubbed Ark Encounter -- is backed by both Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) and Answers in Genesis, a Christian organization that also built a similar attraction, the  Creation Museum.

In the news release announcing the plans, Beshear touted that the park would create around 900 jobs and bring 1.6 million tourists to the state in its first year. Those numbers were based on a feasability study, commissioned by Ark Encounters LLC -- a study that state officials, including Beshear, reportedly never actually saw."

Let's be clear, the early reports of Gov. Beshear's public support of the park were controversial enough. The Governor's office being used to promote so specific an interpretation of a major religion runs contrary not just to Jeffersonian tradition but to a simple understanding of being the servant to all of the state's people. The fact that the project is now poised to be financially supported by the taxpayers of Kentucky during the national debate over the financial crisis and calls for fiscal restraint is abominable.

Kentucky is facing a 500 million shortfall and Gov. Beshear has told all state agencies to plan for a 4% budget cut. In the last year, the Republican dominated state legislature has made sweeping restrictions on state Medicaid recipients' services which could lead to potentially dangerous early hospital discharges and has imposed furloughs and wage cuts on state workers. Over the past two years, Kentucky has cut aid to it's local school districts as well as it's public colleges and universities directly causing an average in-state tuition increase of 5.2%. 

Even if the backer's own projections on job creation prove to be any more accurate than their view of the miracle of creation itself, this is a bad investment. Think the numbers through. For all of the cherry picking by the right wing over the cost of the jobs created by the still divisive stimulus package, it would seem that a state with such obvious budget difficulties allocating roughly $45,000 in revenue offsets per hire for an army of "carnys" is rather extravagant.

It's not only Constitutionalists and the budget conscious who should be alarmed at the KTDFA's postion. Christians themselves should be appalled. The vast majority of self identified Christians in America, of whom I am one, don't believe in Biblical literalism. For one thing, it has been conclusively proven that the skies above us are not actually a solid, preventive flood gate. Which brings us to the proposed Noah's Ark exhibit. In the interests of teaching children the tale of the Great Flood, their Ark is going to include dinosaurs (they are calling them "dragons") and unicorns.

Joe Sonka, of the dynamite blog Barefoot and Progressive, notes with dismay:

"Thanks to Steve Beshear, Kentucky is no longer just known as the state whose governor endorsed and gave $40 million in tax breaks to people who want to tell children that science and history explain that a 600 year old man herded dinosaurs onto a big boat 4,000 years ago.

No, Kentucky will now be known as the state whose governor endorsed and gave $40 million in tax breaks to people who want to tell children that science and history explain that a 600 year old man herded dinosaurs, fire-breathing dragons and unicorns onto a big boat 4,000 years ago."

One must wonder if the Governor and the park's backers are as unfamiliar with the Book of Matthew as they are with the 1st Amendment.

"No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money." -- Matthew 6:24

Republican Budget Cut Proposal Idiocy

Dec 28th, 2010


It doesn't get much better than this. From the NY Times:
"Note to the incoming Republican majority in the House: Eliminating government programs that do not exist does not save money. 


Of the few specific cuts that Congressional Republicans have proposed in their promised assault on annual budget deficits, one of the biggest by far would save $25 billion over 10 years, they claim, by ending an emergency welfare fund. The Republican Study Committee, which includes more than 100 of the most conservative House Republicans, promoted the idea in a statement this week, saying, “With the national debt quickly approaching $14 trillion, Washington needs to get serious about cutting spending.”
Well, seriously, the fund expired Sept. 30."
We have 2 years of this to look forward to. This is a reminder of what President Obama is up against.

Quote Of The Day

Dec 28th, 2010


"Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break." -- William Shakespeare

Monday, December 27, 2010

"Da Tale Of Da Guy From Da Sowt West Side..."

Dec 27th, 2010

"Hi Sean, Police are looking for a man last seen running in nothing but his underwear..." 

Not "Da Guy" - Reasonable facsimile
I am not sure what's more dumbfounding: The fact that this happened at all? Or the fact that the first truly, horribly, tragically and disgustingly funny Christmas-Disaster News item didn't arrive on my radar until the 27th of this year?

The sum up... Chicago guy goes to Da Bears game. Said guy gets loaded. Girlfriend tells guy, "don't come home" because when loaded, guy in question gets "Crazy." Guy comes home anyway. Girlfriend gives in and opens door. 

BAD MOVE, DOLL. 

What happens next? Sowt West Side Guy strips down to boxers, sets Christmas tree on fire, flees into snowy Chicago night and... outruns police without shoes. His whereabouts are still unknown.

The money quote: "Police sources tell me they've been called to this home 'many times'."

The Annual Senator Tom Coburn Psycho Declaration

Dec 27th, 2010


It was just over a year ago that Sen Tom Coburn (R-OK) made himself the most prominent voice of the tin foil hat brigade on the subject of health care reform. You may not remember as there has been so very much lunacy in the intermediate months. It was he who said on the floor of the Senate, “I have a message for you seniors: You're going to die sooner.

How do you top a performance like that? Simple. You suggest that unless we elimante our basic social contracts and cut the essential safety nets for our most vulnerable citizens it will cause an economic “apocalypse.”

Am I the only one who's wondering how the hell he's going to top this next December?



Hire The Detective

Dec 27th, 2010

The more things change... 


It used to be we'd look for lipstick on the collar, call the hotel she was staying at on that "business trip" or perhaps just hire a detective. There are likely a million ways men and women have attempted to learn the things they didn't want to know over the years. They've questioned, they've followed and sometimes they've just assumed the worst and gotten on with their lives one way or another.

In the age of increasingly tough anti-fraud and anti-identity theft legislation, however, it's a really, really bad idea to read your spouse's e-mail:

From the Chicago Tribune:

"ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. — 
A Rochester Hills man who says he learned of his wife's affair by reading her e-mail on their computer faces trial Feb. 7 on felony computer misuse charges. Thirty-three-year-old Leon Walker used his wife's password to get into her Gmail account. Clara Walker filed for a divorce, which was granted this month. Leon Walker tells The Oakland Press of Pontiac he was trying to protect the couple's children from neglect and calls the case a "miscarriage of justice." Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Sydney Turner says the charge is justified. 

Privacy law writer Frederick Lane tells the Detroit Free Press the law typically is used to prosecute identity theft and stealing trade secrets. He says he questions if a wife can expect privacy on a computer she shares with her husband."

Seriously... Hire the detective.


Quote Of The Day

Dec 27th, 2010


"America is a passionate idea or it is nothing.  America is a human brotherhood or it is chaos." -- Max Lerner

Sunday, December 26, 2010

U.S. Chamber Lobbyist Tapped To Oversee CFTC

Dec 26th, 2010

In what is one of the most wildly destructive moves by the ascending Republican leadership of the 112th Congress so far, Ryan McKee, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbyist devoted to blocking new policies that might have prevented the derivatives scandals of the past several years and their corresponding international fallout has been tapped to oversee the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Insert your analogy here. Read more at Politico, Think Progress, AlterNet.

The Timeliness Of Dickens

Dec 26th, 2010

I noted the depressing similarity between Scrooge's pre-ghostly opinions and those of contemporary supporters of "tough love" and "austerity" for the poor during my annual viewing of the delightful 1938 Joseph Mankiewicz production of Dickens' 
"A Christmas Carol." I was not alone. 

John Nichols writes over at Common Dreams:

"Ultimately an optimist, Dickens imagined that spirited prodding from the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future would change Scrooge -- just as there are those today who imagine that a bit more enlightenment might cause even the most rigid Republican to reconsider his disdain for the unemployed, the underemployed and the never employed."


Quote Of The Day


Dec 26th, 2010


The trouble is not that the world is full of fools, it’s just that lightning isn't distributed right.” -- Samuel Clemens

Saturday, December 25, 2010

O Tannenbaum

Dec 25th, 2010
Reposted from yesterday. Peace to all.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Dec 25th, 2010

Merry Christmas, Baby!

Dec 25th, 2010

It's a Wonderful Life - The Last Scene

Dec 25th, 2010

May miracles happen for those in need. May love fill as many hearts as possible. Peace to all.

Question The Preachers... Not The Message...

Dec 25th. 2010

If you find your truth and you feel what you know to be true, no one can take it way from you unless you let them. 


From the Book of Matthew By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 

Tom Lehrer - A Christmas Carol

Dec 24th, 2010

Merry Christmas

Dec 25th, 2010

Quote Of The Day - Christmas Edition

Dec 25th, 2010


"And the angel said unto them, "Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, Which shall be to all people. "For unto you is born this day in the city of David A Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, Lying in a manger." -St. Luke

Friday, December 24, 2010

Twas The Night Before Christmas

Dec 24th, 2010


Please enjoy Clement Clarke Moore's classic. Merry Christmas!


"Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.




The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.


When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.


The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.


With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!


"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"


As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.


And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.


He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.


The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!


He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.


He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.

And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!


He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

The Simpsons- Twas The Night...

Dec 24th, 2010
Joy to all...

Linus' Soliloquy

Dec 24th, 2010

No one has ever explained the meaning of Christmas as well as Linus Van Pelt. The Gospel of St. Luke is poetry. But, to read it aloud and to convey it's beauty are two very different things. God Bless One And All.

Christmas time (is here again)

Dec 24th, 2010

Christmas Time Is Here

Dec 24th, 2010

Silverbells

Dec 24th, 2010

One of my favorites. Bob Hope from "The Lemon Drop Kid."

Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time

Dec 24th, 2010

The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come...

Dec 24th, 2010

Although most critics regard the 1951 version of a Christmas Carol, starring the magnificent Alistair Sim, as the definitive adaptation, this 1938 production starring Reginald Owen has always been my favorite. Here is the great next to last act.

SNOW

Dec 24th, 2010

I Believe In Father Christmas

Dec 24th, 2010

A stunning cover by U2 of Greg Lake's classic "I Believe In Father Christmas."

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Song

Dec 24th, 2010
For the little ones...

Vince Guaraldi Trio - O Tannenbaum

Dec 24th, 2010
Peace to all.

Quote Of The Day - Christmas Eve Edition

Dec 24th, 2010


"I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys." -- Charles Dickens

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Dec 21st Lunar Eclipse -Time Lapse

Dec 23rd, 2010


One William Castleman created this time lapse wonder of the other night's lunar eclipse and set it to the strains of Debussy's "Nocturnes -- Sirènes". Simply beautiful...

Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse from William Castleman on Vimeo.

Farewell To Politics Until The 26th

Dec 23rd, 2010

I have spent quite a bit of time over the last week finding fun Christmas stuff for my blog. That's right, kids... there will be no politics in this space until the 26th. 

If I can tear myself away from the fights for a couple of days, you can too. I will be posting "the happy" for 2 days straight.  

Be kind and decent. Give love in abundance and treasure every fleeting moment. For those of you who will be so very blessed to have Christmas morning with your children, remember that yours will be the greatest gift of all.

Are Dogs Better Than People?

Dec 23rd, 2010
This is simply amazing. The video below shows an act of courage by a humble dog. It is selflessness of a kind that is not often matched in people. Be warned, the first portion of the video is hard to watch.

U.N. Looking Into Bradley Manning's Confinement

Dec 23rd, 2010

If reports are true that hero/traitor Pfc. Bradley Manning has been kept in solitary confinement for 7 months, this was bound to happen.

"HAGERSTOWN, Md. -- The United Nations' top anti-torture envoy is looking into a complaint that the Army private suspected of giving classified documents to WikiLeaks has been mistreated in custody, a spokesperson said Wednesday. The office of Manfred Nowak, special rapporteur on torture in Geneva, received a complaint from one of Pfc. Bradley Manning's supporters alleging conditions in a Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va., amount to torture, said spokesperson Xabier Celaya. Visitors say he spends at least 23 hours a day alone in a cell. The U.N. could ask the United States to stop any violations it finds. The Pentagon has denied mistreating Manning. A Marine Corps spokesman says the military is keeping Manning safe, secure and ready for trial."