Out of the Mountains
Ramblings from a relocated and under-employed Southeastern Kentuckian. Liberal politics, art, music, movies, books,sports, games, whatever else strikes my fancy....Sad and strange the days that are no more...
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Hundreds of Thousands at DC Anti-War Demonstration
From truthout here's video and the latest on the Iraq War demonstrations in Washington last weekend.
Anti-War Marches Draw Hundreds of Thousands
By Aaron Glantz- Inter Press Service
Washington - Peace activists from across the United States gathered in Washington Saturday for what they said was the largest demonstration to date against the Iraq war.
"It's time for a new day," the Reverend Jesse Jackson told what organisers estimated as a crowd of 500,000 demonstrators gathered outside the halls of Congress on the National Mall.
"We do not need more troops in Iraq, we need more money at home," Jackson said. "We need a vision of hope over fear, of preparing smart children not smart bombs. A vision realising that right makes might; might does not make right."
The demonstration, which was pulled together by an umbrella group called United for Peace and Justice, also featured speeches by a half dozen antiwar Congresspeople.
Among them was a founder of Congress' "Out of Iraq Caucus," Maxine Waters, a California Democrat, who pledged not to vote "one dime for this war."
Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson also spoke, as did actors Jane Fonda and Sean Penn, members of the National Organisation for Women and other feminist groups, members of the United States military and veterans groups opposed to the war, and representatives of organised labour.
Labels: Anti-war protests
Newsweek Poll: Do You Wish Bush's Presidency Was Over?
[M]ore than half the country (58 percent) say they wish the Bush presidency were simply over, a sentiment that is almost unanimous among Democrats (86 percent), and is shared by a clear majority (59 percent) of independents and even one in five (21 percent) Republicans. Half (49 percent) of all registered voters would rather see a Democrat elected president in 2008, compared to just 28 percent who’d prefer the GOP to remain in the White House.---Newsweek
Name the Baby Pandas
Here you go; Name all 18 baby giant pandas:
From July to September 2006, 11 giant pandas gave birth to 18 cubs at the Research and Conservation Center for Giant Panda in the Wolong Nature Reserve in southwest China's Sichuan Province. As of February 10, 2007, all 18 cubs will no
longer live with their mothers and will start an independent life. As usual, they will be given their own names. At the moment, the giant pandas are named from No.1 to No 18.
The Research and Conservation Center for Giant Pandas is launching a public solicitation for names for these cute animals. www.chinadaily.com.cn is authorized to collect the English names and you can post your choice here. The deadline for submitting the names is February 5, 2007.
Labels: Giant Pandas
Monday, January 29, 2007
The Top Ten solutions
Friday, January 26, 2007
Daily Show on That Blitzer Dick Dick Interview
Labels: Daily Show
Republican's Filibuster Kills Minimum Wage Hike
Yesterday the Republicans filibuster killed the Minimum Wage increase(remember when the Republicans REALLY wanted to nuke the filibuster option). Here's Down With Tyranny and the list of the American worker hating Republicans who doomed the minimum wage increase for working families. No only did they block it, they actually tried to kill the minimum wage altogether. My own senator Mitch "Mo' Money" McConnell who never met a fat cat he couldn't fellate is on the list (of course) and our senile old fart Jim "I used to play baseball" Bunning. McConnell and his fat cats are up for re-election next year:
.."not a single Democrat joined this insanity, not even Ben Nelson. And the GOP caucus was split down the middle. These are the Republican senators who voted to abolish the federal minimum wage. (The ones in bold/red are up for re-election next year.)
• Alexander (R-TN)
• Allard (R-CO)
• Bennett (R-UT)
• Bond (R-MO)
• Brownback (R-KS)
• Bunning (R-KY)
• Burr (R-NC)
• Chambliss (R-GA)
• Coburn (R-OK)
• Cochran (R-MS)
• Cornyn (R-TX)
• Craig (R-ID)
• Crapo (R-ID)
• DeMint (R-SC)
• Ensign (R-NV)
• Enzi (R-WY)
• Graham (R-SC)
• Gregg (R-NH)
• Hagel (R-NE)
• Hatch (R-UT)
• Inhofe (R-OK)
• Isakson (R-GA)
• Kyl (R-AZ)
• Lott (R-MS)
• McCain (R-AZ)
• McConnell (R-KY)
• Sununu (R-NH)
• Thomas (R-WY)
Thanks to Bob Geiger and DWT here's what Ted Kennedy had to say about the hatred of these Republicans for the working men and women of America:
"When does this greed stop?... Do you have such disdain for hard-working Americans that you want to pile all your amendments on this? Why don’t you just hold your amendments until other pieces of legislation? Why this volume of amendments on just the issue to try and raise the minimum wage? What is it about it that drives you Republicans crazy? What is it? Something. Something! What is the price that the workers have to pay to get an increase? What is it about working men and women that you find so offensive?"
Labels: Minimum Wage increase
Yo-Yo Ma on YouTube
One Factory Farm to Phase Out Gestation Crates
I'll be a MUCH happier carnivore if they can just start growing my meat in vats and leave the animals out of it.
Nation’s Largest Pork Producer Moves to Phase Out Confinement of Pigs in Gestation Crates
Smithfield Foods Inc., the nation's largest pork producer, announced today it will phase out the confinement of pigs in gestation crates over the next decade.
The decision comes after voters in Arizona and Florida—in
ballot initiatives spearheaded by The HSUS—approved measures to outlaw the crates. The Arizona measure, Proposition 204, was approved in November 2006 by 62 percent of voters, in spite of a vigorous campaign by the animal agribusiness industry to defeat it.
"This is an earthquake in the pig industry," Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, said. "Gestation crates are one of the most inhumane confinement systems used in modern agribusiness, and this decision is a signal by the industry leader that these crates have no place in the future of American agriculture. The HSUS calls on the other major pork producers to follow Smithfield's lead, and rid the industry of this extraordinarily inhumane confinement system."...
Gestation crates are 2-foot by 7-foot metal cages that house breeding pigs. The sows have a gestation period of four months, and are in the crates for nearly their entire pregnancy. After giving birth, they are re-impregnated and placed back in the crates, enduring perhaps eight or 10 successive pregnancies in the crates before the animals are reproductively "spent." The crates are so restrictive that the animals can't even turn around for months on end. Pigs confined in gestation crates suffer both leg and joint problems along with psychosis resulting from extreme boredom and frustration.
Labels: Factory Farms
Quote of the Day; "Because I Told Them it Had to."
In an interview, Pelosi also said she was puzzled by what she considered the president's minimalist explanation for his confidence in the new surge of 21,500 U.S. troops that he has presented as the crux of a new "way forward" for U.S. forces in Iraq.Here's the exchange:
"He's tried this two times — it's failed twice," the California Democrat said. "I asked him at the White House, 'Mr. President, why do you think this time it's going to work?' And he said, 'Because I told them it had to.' "
Asked if the president had elaborated, she added that he simply said, " 'I told them that they had to.' That was the end of it. That's the way it is."
PELOSI: He's tried this two times — it's failed twice. I asked him at the White House, 'Mr. President, why do you think this time it's going to work?'
BUSH: Because I told them it had to.
PELOSI: Why didn't you tell them that the other two times?
Stars Like Grains of Sand
Thursday, January 25, 2007
The Top Twenty
Guitar World's has the 100 greatest guitar solos of all time. Here's Cityrag's top twenty of all time(videos):
---------------------------------(Jimmy Page)-------------------------------Here's their top five:
1. Stairway To Heaven - Jimmy Page
2. Eruption - Edward Van Halen (Option 2)
3. Freebird - Collins/Rossington
4. Comfortably Numb - David Gilmour (Option 2)
5. All Along The Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix
You should see the rest especially : Stevie Ray Vaughan, BB King & Albert Collins "Texas Flood" 1988
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Give to Blogpac Help the Progressive Movement
...The right has a well-developed infrastructure, and that's why they tend to win. They take care of their people. We don't, and so our people quit, or leave, or become consultants, etc. Now, there are lots of sob stories that are much much worse than anything progressive activists deal with, and that's not my point. I want to make an argument about strategy, and why we need to reorient our priority towards funding people that make things happen...
...This is best illustrated with an example: Lane Hudson. Lane is the person who moved Mark Foley's scandalous behavior into the national discourse on a blog called Stop Sex Predators. When it was discovered that he was responsible for pushing Foley into the national news, Lane was fired without severance from his position at the gay rights group where he worked, the Human Rights Campaign. Were Lane on the right, he would be taken care of and put into a think tank, corporate job, or consulting shop, simply because he had proved that he is an incredibly valuable asset to the movement. But on our side, though Lane arguably delivered Democrats control of Congress, he is unemployed and struggling to pay his rent. I don't really need to point out that this is no way to run a movement...
...Think about this for a second. The incentive baked into the cake if you are a progressive activist or Democrat is that under no circumstances here should you ever take a public risk; you'll sully your name and no one will help you. Is it any wonder we have a party lacking leadership and built on caution?...
...Chris and I run Blogpac, and Blogpac cut Lane a $2000 check to help tide him over. Blogpac has raised its money from you, mostly from being included on the netroots page in 2006. In 2006, we took this money and used it on a few homegrown projects (like Use it Or Lose and Google-bombing the election), but mostly what we did is cut small but useful checks to activists doing great work who couldn't get money from rich people. You can find a list here, on Blogpac's website...
...Here are the specific details. . .Blogpac is trying to raise around $10K this week. Here's where you can give. We've gotten 49 donations totally slightly above $1400. We need about 86 more of you to put up $100 to get to $10K...
...So anyway, if you have $100 or another amount to spare, please help out. Over the next two years, many candidates and groups are going to ask you for money and pledge all sorts of things about how they will change the country. And they aren't lying. Still, I can pretty much guarantee you that your money will have no greater impact than making sure that this movement continues to have people like Lane Hudson in it...
Pink's "Dear Mister President"
Here's Pink's look at dubya. I didn't see the SOTU speech. I can't bear watching Bush smirk and soil the English language. I'll read my paper, read the Blogs and figure the speech was somewhere between. Anyway here's Pink. I've posted this before, and I'm not generally a Pink music fan but this is very awesome:
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
The Death Squads
Sheriff Andy Taylor vs. The Patriot Act
Bob Harris says | "Unelectable, and rightly so"
As usual Bob Harris says it much better than I. Here he is on Hillary's entrance into the big race. I don't completely agree with him that she's un-electable, but if she's the eventual Democratic nominee I'll be another of those "holding my nose" to vote for her.
.."Everybody must surely realize that 30 to 40 percent of this country -- the same hard-skulled core of lunatics who still support our Criminal-in-Chief -- will simply never, ever vote for Hillary Clinton.
Of the remainder who might vote for Hillary, at least half were opposed to the war from the outset. Remember, the Iraq War was never particularly popular; Zogby figured 42% of the US was opposed before the first bomb ever fell; most of these, obviously, were Democrats. And Hillary, these early war opponents will remember, was an active, enthusiastic accomplice to the crime. (See below.)
If these numbers are even close, then Hillary has a maximum of roughly 35% of the electorate who could conceivably support her with gusto.
In short: if Hillary wins the nomination, the Democrats just ain't likely to win the White House in 2008.
I mean, come on -- the GOP death machine could prop up the corpse of Augusto flicking Pinochet and get 35 percent. About that many people still support George W. Bush, for gods' sake, despite Iraq, New Orleans, warrantless spying, and a dazzling array of further crimes and incompetence that could fill this page.
Now, I'm not saying Hillary has been treated fairly, or that she's one tenth the hellion she's made out to be. I'm not siding with the contemptible nutjobs who long ago convinced themselves that she's a Chinese communist agent who had a tawdry affair with Vince Foster and then killed him using the lead pipe on the grassy knoll. These same bastards happily call anti-war veterans "cowardly" for merely having a lick of goddam experience and sense, not to mention the occasional three limbs blown off, and they now try to imply Obama might have been on the wrong side of 9-11. They'd frame Bill Clinton for the Fatty Arbuckle case if they could. In their minds, Hillary is part Black Panther, part castrating mama figure, Tanya from the SLA in a Brooks Brothers catsuit, an evil so frightening that no lie can be greater.
It must suck to be Hillary sometimes. I get that.
But here's what sucks worse: the Iraq war is one of the deadliest, stupidest, and most criminal foreign policy mistakes of our lifetimes. (Just making that list is a major accomplishment, btw, considering Guatemala, East Timor, Cambodia, etc.) And Hillary, despite her recent weaseling -- sorry, triangulation is the term of art -- vigorously supported Bush's Iraq adventure from the start.
In the wake of 9-11, it wasn't just George W. Bush telling the world "every nation has to be either with us or against us." It was Hillary, as you can hear for yourself.
In October 2002, during the debate about giving Bush authorization to invade Iraq, it wasn't just Dick Cheney telling the world in that Saddam Hussein had links to Al-Qaeda. It was Hillary, from the floor of Congress.
And in February 2005, it wasn't just John McCain claiming that democracy was taking root in Iraq, and that the insurgency was in its last throes. It was Hillary, standing right at John McCain's side..."
Labels: Hillary Clinton
Climate Change Added to Doomsday Clock
Experts assessing the dangers posed to civilisation have added climate change to the prospect of nuclear annihilation as the greatest threats to
As a result, the group has moved the minute hand on its famous "Doomsday Clock" two minutes closer to midnight.
The concept timepiece, devised by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, now stands at five minutes to the hour.
The clock was first featured by the magazine 60 years ago, shortly after the US dropped its A-bombs on Japan.
Not since the darkest days of the Cold War has the Bulletin, which covers global security issues, felt the need to place the minute hand so close to midnight.
That Iraqi Bacteria - "acinetobacter baumannii"
Regarding that Iraqi bug that's killing our troops and even some civilians. Get more at Firedoglake and Crooks and Liars.
This from Wired Magazine:
"In the taxonomy of bad bugs, acinetobacter is classified as an opportunistic pathogen. Healthy people can carry the bacteria on their skin with no ill effects - a process known as colonization. But in newborns, the elderly, burn victims, patients with depressed immune systems, and those on ventilators, acinetobacter infections can kill."
Monday, January 22, 2007
The Death Sentence Record
Dubya's | It's A Wonderful Life
How This Must End
Dozens of Americans killed over the weekend in Iraq and of course an untold number of Iraqis. Death and destruction based on lies and corporate profits.
Ava Lowry's vid shows you what you already know.
There will be massive protests on the streets of Washington DC this weekend.
Friday, January 19, 2007
The Democrats First 100...Er.. 42 Hours
You want efficient government? Elect Democrats.
House Democrats brought their "100-hour" legislative agenda to a successful close Thursday evening.... The House finished work on all six measures in about 42 hours of floor time, less than half the limit set on their self-imposed clock.
From legislation to repeal welfare subsidies to oil and gas companies, and investing in clean, renewable energy sources. The House also passed bills to implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations, increase the minimum wage, expand stem cell research, lower prescription drug costs, and cut student loan interest rates.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Protesting Mis-treatment of Animals is Now Terrorism?
Bushco will gladly tell you terrorism is what they tell you it is and the corporate "News" media will meekly agree.
A new breed of terrorists
by Lori Lovely
One of the final pieces of legislation approved during the second session of the 109th Congress, signed into law by President Bush on Nov. 27, 2006, was the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA). Passed unanimously in the Senate, it slipped through the House by a voice vote under suspension of the rules when only six representatives were present.
According to the language of the act, causing any business classified as an “animal enterprise” — including animal factories, fur farms, puppy mills, research labs, zoos, rodeos and circuses — to suffer a profit loss is a crime, punishable by fines and imprisonment, even if the company’s financial decline is caused by legal protests, peaceful demonstrations, consumer boycotts, whistle-blowing or undercover investigations of animal abuse.
According to William Rivas-Rivas, PETA’s major gifts officer, no other industrial sector in U.S. history has ever been given such legal protection against people exercising their First Amendment free-speech rights. “Passage of this act is a great disservice to humans and other animals, and serves only to intimidate those who advocate for more humane treatment of animals. On a personal note, as a former U.S. Naval Officer and Persian Gulf veteran, it offends me to have someone suggest speaking out for animals is terrorism.”
PETA and Rivas-Rivas aren’t the only ones offended by the law. Opposition comes from thousands of constituents and more than 160 groups, including the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, American Civil Liberties Union, League of Humane Voters, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and the Humane Society of the U.S. (A complete list of all the organizations opposed to AETA is available at www.noaeta.org/opposition.)
Complaints against the bill include its broad reach and its vagueness. Critics allege that AETA threatens legitimate advocacy by using ambiguous terms that can be interpreted to include lawful, peaceful actions. In a letter to Congress, the ACLU wrote, “The AETA criminalizes activities such as demonstrations, leafleting, undercover investigations and boycotts. It will effectively chill and deter Americans from exercising their First Amendment rights to advocate for reforms in the treatment of animals.”
Opponents also believe the legislation threatens First Amendment rights of free speech. By setting a precedent for punishing content-based speech, it creates a slippery slope whereby any unfavorable group can be labeled as terrorists and targeted for punishment.
The EDGE Top 100 Endangered Animals
EDGE: -Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered-
The Top 100:
Recent studies indicate that almost 75 per cent of the world’s most extraordinary threatened mammals are receiving little or no conservation attention. If these species go extinct, they will be lost forever. There are no similar animals on earth to replace them.
Here's the top two:
Yangtze river dolphin (Lipotes vexillifer) - Critically endangered
Long-beaked echidna (Zaglossus bruijni) - Endangered
LA Times | A voice from Gitmo's darkness
One of the residents being broken at Bushco's gulag at Guantanamo.
USA: Further information on health
concern/torture: Jumah al-Dossari (m)
Thanks to Boingboing
A voice from Gitmo's darkness
A current detainee speaks of the torture and humiliation he has experienced at Guantanamo since 2002.
By Jumah al-Dossari, JUMAH AL-DOSSARI is a 33-year-old citizen of Bahrain. This article was excerpted from letters he wrote to his attorneys. Its contents have been deemed unclassified by the Department of Defense.
.."In January 2002, I was picked up in Pakistan, blindfolded, shackled, drugged and loaded onto a plane flown to Cuba. When we got off the plane inContinue:
Guantanamo, we did not know where we were. They took us to Camp X-Ray and locked us in cages with two buckets — one empty and one filled with water. We were to urinate in one and wash in the other.
At Guantanamo, soldiers have assaulted me, placed me in solitary confinement, threatened to kill me, threatened to kill my daughter and told me I will stay in Cuba for the rest of my life. They have deprived me of sleep, forced me to listen to extremely loud music and shined intense lights in my face. They have placed me in cold rooms for hours without food, drink or the ability to go to the bathroom or wash for prayers. They have wrapped me in the Israeli flag and told me there is a holy war between the Cross and the Star of David on one hand and the Crescent on the other. They have beaten me unconscious.
What I write here is not what my imagination fancies or my insanity dictates. These are verifiable facts witnessed by other detainees, representatives of the Red Cross, interrogators and translators.
During the first few years at Guantanamo, I was interrogated many times. My interrogators told me that they wanted me to admit that I am from Al Qaeda and that I was involved in the terrorist attacks on the United States. I told them that I have no connection to what they described. I am not a member of Al Qaeda. I did not
encourage anyone to go fight for Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden have done nothing but kill and denigrate a religion. I never fought, and I never carried a weapon. I like the United States, and I am not an enemy. I have lived in the United States, and I wanted to become a citizen.
I know that the soldiers who did bad things to me represent themselves, not the United States. And I have to say that not all American soldiers stationed in Cuba tortured us or mistreated us. There were soldiers who treated us very humanely. Some even cried when they witnessed our dire conditions. Once, in Camp Delta, a soldier
apologized to me and offered me hot chocolate and cookies. When I thanked him, he said, "I do not need you to thank me." I include this because I do not want readers to think that I fault all Americans.
But, why, after five years, is there no conclusion to the situation at Guantanamo? For how long will fathers, mothers, wives, siblings and children cry for their imprisoned loved ones? For how long will my daughter have to ask about my return? The answers can only be found with the fair-minded people of America.
I would rather die than stay here forever, and I have tried to commit suicide many times. The purpose of Guantanamo is to destroy people, and I have been destroyed. I am hopeless because our voices are not heard from the depths of the detention center.
If I die, please remember that there was a human being named Jumah at Guantanamo whose beliefs, dignity and humanity were abused. Please remember that there are hundreds of detainees at Guantanamo suffering the same misfortune. They have not been charged with any crimes. They have not been accused of taking any action against the United States. Show the world the letters I gave you. Let the world read them. Let the world know the agony of the detainees in Cuba.
More on That UN Iraqi Death Toll Number
More on the UN death totals for dubya's war on Iraq.
Iraqi Death Toll: Why the UN Can't Count
By Jon Wiener, TheNation.com.
The UN has drastically underreported the number of Iraqis killed in 2006.
The new UN estimate of 34,000 Iraqis killed in 2006 made headlines around the world, but it's almost certainly far too low. The number, as the New York Times reported, was "the first attempt at hand-counting individual deaths for an entire year," and was based on information from "morgues, hospitals and municipal authorities across Iraq."
The first problem with the UN count is that refers only to civilians -- and thus almost certainly omitted deaths of Iraqi policemen, soldiers, insurgent fighters, and members of private militias like the Badr brigade. News media failed to report how the UN separated "civilian" casualties from the total, and the UN notably failed to report the total including non-civilians.
The second problem is the UN's methodology, which relied mostly on tallying official death certificates. The UN, according to the Times, argues their methodology is reliable because "a vast majority of Iraqi deaths are registered" with officials because Iraqis want to "prove inheritance and receive government compensation." But many bodies found in mass graves or ditches are unidentified. And there's another problem: according to the L.A. Times, "Victims' families are all too often reluctant to claim the bodies ... for fear of reprisals." And of course chaotic wartime conditions in several provinces make it difficult for officials there to issue death certificates even when victim's families do not fear reprisals.
None of the reports in leading newspapers mentioned the other count of Iraqi deaths: the Johns Hopkins study reported last October in the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet. They estimated that 650,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the war -- 600,000 from violence and 50,000 from other war-related causes. President Bush rejected that figure -- "I don't consider it a credible report," he told a press conference last October -- and most of the media seem to have agreed.
But The Lancet study used state-of-the art demographic techniques, the same methodology employed to estimate war deaths in Kosovo, Congo, and Rwanda, and in natural disasters around the world. World leaders have cited those figures repeatedly without questioning their validity. It's the same methodology used in political polls in the US: the random sample.
Labels: Iraqi Death toll
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Iraq | Death Toll Rises From University Bombing
Heckuva job dubya! Hey! I know let's send more US soldiers into this butcher shop you made. GE and Halliburton can use the money.
From Juan Cole.
125 Killed, Hundreds Wounded by Bombings, Assassinations
Guerrillas kill 4 US Troops
UN Says 34452 Iraqi Civilians Killed in 06
Resolution Condemning Escalation Introduced in Senate
Reuters reports that the death toll from the bombings at Mustansiriya University on Tuesday rose to 70, with 180 wounded. A lot of them were 17 and 18 year-old girls. I report these attacks every day, and have seen some violence in my time, but this one is tough. You think about 70 families in black, their little girl's or little boy's pieces laid quickly to rest. And the wounded. How many disfigured or left incapacitated for life by a raging fireball enveloped by black smoke?
Kennedy | For the Last, Stubborn Holdouts on Global Warming
Last week I saw robins and bluebirds in upstate New York where they don't usually arrive before April. Crocuses and daffodils were in bloom everywhere. A friend ate asparagus he harvested in the normally frozen Catskills in the first week of January. Turtles in downstate New York, like bears in Scandinavia,Continue:
forgot to hibernate for the first time in human history.
For those last stubborn holdouts still skeptical about the existence of global warming--e.g., CNN's chief corporate fascism advocate Glenn Beck, who broadcast another of his denial tirades last week--and to those who exalt the warmer weather as
preferable to a snowy winter, consider the impacts on our fellow creatures. Last April an early spring in Wyoming's Teton Range caused horseflies to arrive early. The young Redtail hawks, who were still unfeathered, were devoured in their nests by the voracious bloodsuckers. Not a single baby Redtail survived to fledge in the Jackson Hole valley.
The macro impacts of global warming--catastrophic storms, flooded coastlines, melted icecaps, shrinking glaciers, dwindling water supplies and agricultural disruptions are finally getting some attention by America's lethargic press. But the seismic shifts in global weather patterns are already dramatically altering the local ecosystems that for eons have defined America's landscape. Nature has achieved a balance that has been relatively stable for 20,000 years. The reliable milestones of its annual rhythms--like flowers blooming and robins returning in the spring, and animals hibernating in winter--form the pulse and fabric of the passing years. They connect us to our history, give context to our communities and form the foundation of American culture, our art, literature, poetry and architecture.
The recent disruptions to animal and plant behavior are evident to anyone except for ideologically blinded right-wing flat-earthers and Exxon/Mobil's political and media toadies like Michael Crichton, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.
Cost Of Iraq War: $1.2 Trillion...
What $1.2 Trillion Can Buy
by DAVID LEONHARDT
The human mind isn’t very well equipped to make sense of a figure like $1.2 trillion. We don’t deal with a trillion of anything in our daily lives, and so when we come across such a big number, it is hard to distinguish it from any other big number. Millions, billions, a trillion — they all start to sound the same.
The way to come to grips with $1.2 trillion is to forget about the number itself and think instead about what you could buy with the money. When you do that, a trillion stops sounding anything like millions or billions.
For starters, $1.2 trillion would pay for an unprecedented public health campaign — a doubling of cancer research funding, treatment for every American whose diabetes or heart disease is now going unmanaged and a global immunization campaign to save millions of children’s lives.
Combined, the cost of running those programs for a decade wouldn’t use up even half our money pot. So we could then turn to poverty and education, starting with universal preschool for every 3- and 4-year-old child across the country. The city of New Orleans could also receive a huge increase in reconstruction funds.
The final big chunk of the money could go to national security. The recommendations of the 9/11 Commission that have not been put in place — better baggage and cargo screening, stronger measures against nuclear proliferation — could be enacted.
Financing for the war in Afghanistan could be increased to beat back the Taliban’s recent gains, and a peacekeeping force could put a stop to the genocide in Darfur.
All that would be one way to spend $1.2 trillion. Here would be another:
The war in Iraq.
In the days before the war almost five years ago, the Pentagon estimated that it would cost about $50 billion. Democratic staff members in Congress largely agreed. Lawrence Lindsey, a White House economic adviser, was a bit more realistic, predicting that the cost could go as high as $200 billion, but President Bush fired him in part for saying so.
Labels: Iraq war costs
April 1916-The Easter Rebellion
White House Correspondents Dinner to be Solemn This Year
After that last appearance by that horrible American Stephen Colbert. This year the WHCA will make sure there's as little laughter as possible. Dubya won't even need to wipe the smirk off his face. This years guest of honor.... Rich Little! The man who was cutting edge funny in... well never...but had a pretty good act in the days of Richard Nixon. Dubya must have given them all a serious spanking over that mean old Colbert.
The tragic news from Wonkette.
Hello! Any National "News" Media Out There? Didn't Think So
Monday, January 15, 2007
Governor Fletch Really in Trouble, No Really..
Apparently Governor Fletcher's fame is growing. This report is from Down With Tyranny. I would just add that falling from grace in the eyes of Mitch "Mo' Money" McConnell is not necessarily a bad thing to most ethical people. But when even McConnell avoids you, you know you've been an extremely BAAAD boy.
UPHEAVAL IN KENTUCKY REPUBLICAN POLITICS-- FLETCHER VS NORTHUP
A few days ago there was an online pissing contest about who has the worst governor (now that Taft, though still not in prison) is no longer running the crime ring formerly known as Ohio. Lotta votes for Blunt (MO), Daniels (IN), Perry (TX), Barbour (MS) but I was diggin' my heels in on Ernie Fletcher, Kentucky's one-man crime wave. He hasn't been put in prison yet either but as truly horrid as Blunt, Daniels, Perry and Barbour are-- no arguments from me on any of that lot-- Fletcher really could be the real bottom of the barrel.
Today's Washington Post acknowledges that he's in trouble. They claim he's "been hurt by a series of scandals centered on rewarding campaign contributors with state jobs. His cratering poll numbers have coincided with his fall from grace in the eyes of Sen. Mitch McConnell, the unquestioned godfather of the state's Republican politics."
Happy Martin Luther King Day!
Chertoff's "Homeland Security" Missing Nearly Half It's Funds
From FDL here's more Bushco theft on a world class scale. I remember saying right after Katrina (while dubya was still doing photo ops a thousand miles away from N.O.) that the Katrina disaster would be a money pit for corporate America right up there with Iraq. There's nothing these people won't use to siphon taxpayer monies to cronies and pet corporations. No cooked up war, no disaster is to great or horrible. They deal in human misery as profit.
Hypocrisy Alert: Homeland Security Undocumented!
...Here’s my favorite. It’s a doozy folks. You may want to read it twice: FEMA was unable to fully support the accuracy and completeness of certain unpaid obligations, and accounts payable, and the related effects on net position, if any, prior to the completion of DHS’s 2006 PAR. These unpaid obligations, as reported in the accompanying DHS balance sheet as of September 30, 2006, were $22.3 Billion or 46% of DHS consolidated unexpended appropriations at September 30, 2006. (emphasis mine]
To give some idea of proportionality, in fiscal year 2005 the entire Grants and Training (formerly know as State and Local Government Preparedness, a/k/a grants to get working radios for NYC firemen and protection for bridges, tunnels, chemical plants and nuclear facilities) was only $171 million....
...So, follow me here, FEMA has lost and/or failed to account for a sum of money that is almost half of DHS’s entire budget and 130 times greater than the amount of money that the Department of Homeland Security is willing to spend to secure the homeland.
There are two scandals here folks.
The first is that DHS is still not getting it. First responders in target cities need equipment that works, and meaningful training to cope with new emergent disaster
The second is that the no bid contracts given to campaign contributors and those with the “right” K Street lobbyists at inflated prices were not enough for these mutts. They had to rub salt in the wound, by squandering what goods and services were actually delivered and stockpiling them where they could not be used, and then pour lemon juice in those salted wounds by failing to even keep track of how much money they gave to them...
Iraq: Death In A Garbage Dump
From Gorillas Guide via The Agonist
The Wages of Sin
Welcome to the New Iraqi Economy a vision of horror, prostitution and all of those other moral and mainstream behaviors that the invasion was supposed to establish. Gorillas Guides scores two must read posts in a week.
Death In A Garbage Dump
"...I find it impossible to describe what goes through my mind and through my heart when I see a child pick up a piece of rotted food in a garbage dump and eat it. I simply have no words for how I feel when I see that.
On my son Dubhaltach’s last trip to Iraq he was approached no less than 5 times by young parents asking him to take their children. Not even selling the poor kids. They’d been driven beyond and below even that level of desperation. No, all they wanted for him to just ”please take them so that they can eat.” I find it impossible to describe how Erdla and myself felt as Dubhaltach broke down helplessly describing how he wished he could have done what they wanted. As he tried to tell us how he felt when he was approached by a recently widowed young woman offfering him her eight year old daughter and seven year old son:
“They are good children. Very beautiful.
“They are good children. Very obedient.
“Take them, feed them, they are very obedient. They will do anything you want…”
Hands over her eyes and her face gripped with terror, the woman's fear of death is all too obvious.Continue:
The remarkable mummy was found in a hidden burial vault in the Amazon.
It is at least 600 years old and has survived thanks to the embalming skills of her tribe, the Chachapoyas or cloud warriors.
Eleven further mummies were recovered from the massive cave complex 82ft down.
The vault - which was also used for worship - was chanced upon three months ago by a
farmer working at the edge of northern Peru's rainforest. He tipped off scientists who uncovered ceramics, textiles and wall paintings.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Prather | "I'm Not A Liberal"
Back from a visit to the country and the old home place. Went to the cemetery(my Mom and Dad), visited the nursing home twice(older brother), and went to their old house(cold and deserted) which used to be crowded at times with family and friends. It's a sad trip down there these days. I sat down a moment in a chair in the living room, looked out the windows and tried to pretend for just a moment I was back there in time. It just made it sadder still.
Oh well..I did read this article by Paul Prather from the Lexington Herald-Leader Saturday. In the Faith and Values section of all places. Here's a conservative who gets it.
Being a liberal isn't so bad — but I'm not one
Still, if I were a liberal, I wouldn't be ashamed of it.
We seem to forget that virtually every political and religious breakthrough we now take for granted was, in its time, considered liberal, blasphemous, pinko, wacko.
Here's a short list of liberals and their batty ideas:
• Jesus was a liberal. He challenged the status quo, the ruling elite, at every turn. He fed the masses for free. He worked on the Sabbath. He dined with tax cheats and hookers while poking fun at the hyper-religious Sadducees and Pharisees. He preferred the sick and outcast to the rich. The establishment killed him for such supposed sins.
• John Wycliffe was a liberal reformer. He thought the church should be stripped of all its wealth and political influence. He wanted religious leadership placed in the hands of "poor priests" who would be bound by no formal creeds. To these ends, he helped produce the first English translation of the New Testament, so common people such as you and I could read the Bible for ourselves. He was persecuted as a heretic.
• The Founding Fathers were liberals. In fact, they were revolutionaries, which is why their war is called the Revolutionary War. Their beliefs in, among other things, free speech, a free press and freedom of religion were truly radical.
• In the mid-1800s, those who wanted to abolish slavery were specifically labeled radicals by their opponents. Conservatives thought the owning of slaves was a God-given right. We fought a civil war over that one.
• Until less than a century ago, evangelical Christianity ranked among the more politically liberal of church movements. Evangelicals championed everything from abolition to free universal education to the fair treatment of Indians -- and for their efforts were dismissed as subversive bleeding hearts.
• Those who promoted women's suffrage were liberals.
• Virtually all the civil rights leaders of the 1950s and 1960s were decried as liberals -- and even as traitors to the American way.
• The people who protested the Vietnam War were liberals.
• In the 1970s, those who thought women should be able to work outside the home and earn wages equal to those paid to men were liberals.
If you love Jesus; if you're blessed to read his words in English; if you enjoy living in a free country where you can preach any fool thing you want to; if you're happy that slavery is illegal; if you've benefited from public schools; if you're relieved that women can vote; if you're glad black people share full rights as citizens; if you're sorry we lost 58,000 men in Vietnam but grateful we didn't lose more; if you think it's fair that one half of the population is eligible to earn as much as the other half -- then thank a liberal.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Richard Dawkins-Questions on Youtube
Bloggers get seats at Libby Trial
Too Casual To Sit on Press Row?
Bloggers' Credentials Boosted With Seats at the Libby Trial
By Alan Sipress, Washington Post
When the trial of Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice opens next week, scores of journalists are expected to throng the federal courtroom in Washington, far too many for the 100 seats set aside for the media.Continue:
But for the first time in a federal court, two of these seats will be reserved for bloggers. After two years of negotiations with judicial officials across the country, the Media Bloggers Association, a nonpartisan group with about 1,000 members working to extend the powers of the press to bloggers, has won credentials to rotate among his members. The trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the highest-ranking Bush administration official to face criminal charges, could "catalyze" the association's efforts to win respect and access for bloggers in federal and state courthouses, said Robert Cox, the association's president.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Olbermann on the Bush Escalation in Iraq
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Nancy Pelosi Getting it Done
Way to go Nancy Pelosi!
This afternoon, the House voted overwhelmingly to raise the federal minimum wage. It will go from $5.15 to $7.25 over the next two years. It is the second of Speaker Pelosi's First 100 Hour Agenda (HR 2) and it was passed without any of the "sweeteners" Republicans and reactionary Democrats are looking for for their business allies. Republicans and quasi-Republicans will attempt to sabotage the bill in the Senate.
Not a single Democrat abstained and not a single Democrat voted with the Republican leadership, which, led by anti-worker extremists John Boehner (R-OH), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Howdy Doody (aka- Adam Putnam- R-FL) and Buck McKeon (R-CA), tried to kill the bill. Yesterday 68 Republicans abandoned their reactionary leaders to vote for Speaker Pelosi's bill to enact the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. Today 82 Republicans fled from the corrosive GOP leadership to join Speaker Pelosi in passing this long overdue legislation. Even arch-reactionaries who voted against the 9/11 bill yesterday-- far right dead-enders like Phil English (R-PA), Virgil Goode (KKK-VA), and Ted Poe (R-TX)-- joined the gaggle of yesterday's Republicans who are petrified of 2008 voter retribution because of close races in November (such as Mean Jean Schmidt, Vern Buchanan, Deborah Pryce, Thad McCotter, Jim Gerlach, Robin Hayes, etc.).
Continue at DownWithTyranny.
Ted Kennedy's Iraq Speech
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Mercy Me Look Who's 63
Happy 63rd Jimmy Page!
Labels: Jimmy Page
Monday, January 08, 2007
DUCK! Dick Cheney's Hunting
Dick "Dick" Cheney's on another hunting trip. This man just LOVES to kill things. I assume that these will be more of the cage raised, cage fed birds, raised and released to be killed by Dick "Dick" and his ilk. Dick, try not to shoot anyone! I'd hate to see another Republican lawyer have to apologize for letting you shoot them in the face.
Labels: Dick Cheney hunting again
Finally | That Bush/Abramoff Photo
New Source of Stem Cells
You've probably already seen this but it could be a major discovery.
New Source of Stem Cells Discovered
"..Scientists on Sunday reported the discovery of a new source of human stem cells that have the capability to develop into many different types of cells, including muscle, bone, fat, blood vessel, nerve and liver cells.Continue:
These stem cells, found in amniotic fluid, could one day lead to a readily available supply of stem cells that don't come with the ethical(*) problems surrounding embryonic stem cells.."
(*) = Rightwing
Labels: Stem Cell Research
Koufax Award Nominations
The Koufax Awards are named for Sandy Koufax, one of the greatest left handed pitchers of all time. They are intended to honor the best blogs and bloggers of the left. At the core, the Koufax Awards are meant to be an opportunity to say nice things about your favorite bloggers and to provide a bit of recognition for the folks who provide us with daily information, insight, and entertainment. The awards are supposed to be fun for us and fun for you.
.."This is the fifth year of the awards, which in internet time, makes us old and venerable (or perhaps decrepit). The 2002 winners may be found here. The 2003 winners are listed here, the 2004 winners are here, and the 2005 winners here.."
Labels: Koufax Awards 2006
Doonesbury - "Heckuva Job Bushie"
There's a new Doonesbury collection out covering the Bushco years. I love Doonesbury. I discovered it somewhere around the mid seventies and have been a fan ever since. "Heckuva Job Bushie" covers the Bush years(of course).
Thanks to Boingboing:
"These were seminal strips in the long-lived Doonesbury storyline -- BD goes to war, loses a leg and comes home with PTSD; two color Sunday strips consist of nothing but lists of American Iraq casualties in 9-point type; Mike's kid goes to college, bloggers come to the strip, Duke copes with the death of Hunter S Thompson. There were hundreds of laughs between these covers, and not all of them bitter. This is the perfect semi-sweet balm to tide us over until 2008."
A few samples:
Saturday, January 06, 2007
The Bush Attack on Iraq
The comment below needs repeating. I found it in digby's comments of all places by elephty.
No, Iraq is not like Vietnam; it is worse, as if the slaughter of human being can be worse in one case over another.
There are a couple of things history teaches us about war that everyone can agree on.
War is the slaughter of human beings.
There are dangerous limitations to war's predictability.
If attacked war is an act of self-defense and justifiable.
If it is an invasion it is either reckless or murder.
War is justifiable or it is criminal (a war crime.)
An unjustifiable act of aggression against a sovereign nation is a war crime.
History teaches us that a guerrilla war in which the civilian population supports the guerrilla's cannot be won unless the invading force is willing to commit genocide or the civilian population believes that resistance is hopeless, (an overwhelming force is committing genocide.)
Genocide is a war crime.
If the resistance is minimal and the overwhelming force is merciless in its attack (Germany's invasion of Poland,) the invasion force is guilty of war crimes.
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Elliot Abrams, Richard Perle, some members of the news media, a few publishers, several corporations, a few other organizations, and several others are the responsible parties for this war. Depending on peoples inherent prejudices these men are war criminals or they are not, and only a war crimes trial can determine responsibility. International law does matter regardless of statements that were made to the contrary by criminal suspects.
Rewriting American laws to justify war crimes is a fraudulent act, and is not law.
This horrific tragedy must end now. There is no justification for crimes against humanity.
One does not have to be correct on every detail to understand when war is wrong. There is no justification for continuing to sacrifice American lives for a criminal war.
Under international law the Iraq invasion has a high probability of being recognized as a criminal act.
Saddam Hussein was a dictator not unlike other dictators in the region; all of which have committed crimes against their own people, (if one considers revolutionaries, would be assassins, and traitors a country's own people,) and all use some form of Roman law, (guilty until proven innocent.) Therefore, it is only a nation's sovereignty that protects it from invasion.
We also know that Iraq surrendered, (agreed to all demands - the Ba'ath Party is not comprised of idiots, they knew that they would lose control when the U.S. attacked,) three days prior to the attack, and the U.S. invaded Iraq as if capitulation to all demands was meaningless.
Nazi Germany deserved preemption because it built the most powerful mechanized war machine in history. Iraq was nowhere close to doing the same thing.
Iraq did not represent an imminent threat, nor was it committing genocide against its own people. Iraq's military was crippled by the Gulf War, economic sanctions, and targeted bombings of select sights during the suspension of hostilities.
Saddam Hussein offered $25,000 per family of suicide bombers. While this may have justified a state sanctioned assassination of Iraq's leader, it did not justify the slaughter of Iraq's people.
Under a dictatorship the people cannot be held responsible for for the criminal intent of its leaders, especially in a country where the people only know the propaganda of a particular political party, and is a reason why the American people cannot be held responsible for the crimes of U.S. leaders and corporate advocates for the slaughter of another nation's people.
Friday, January 05, 2007
Anna Mae Aquash and the FBI
The FBI and the Struggle for the Soul of Indian Country
-by Steve Hendricks
AS THE FBI told the story, it happened like this.
On February 24, at a quarter to three in the afternoon, a rancher on that part of the South Dakota steppe that crumbles into the Badlands was looking for a place to run a fence line when he turned a bend in a gully and found, curled on its left side, clothed in a maroon jacket and blue jeans, and looking for all the world like someone sleeping in perfect peace,a corpse. Its place of rest was the bottom of an embankment twenty feet high and not fifty steps from Highway 73 but hidden from the road by the embankment. The nearest settlement lay ten miles to the southwest, at a smattering of chipboard federal houses called Wanblee; a few miles to the north, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, on which the corpse rested,petered out into one of continental America’s emptier expanses. The body lay, if not in the precise middle of nowhere, hard on the edge of it..."
Thursday, January 04, 2007
The 2007 "Edge" Question
The 2007 Edge Question. "...As I make my way through life and try to sort things out, I need the help of both dreamers and thinkers. I just wish they would keep their missions straight, although the intellectuals lately encroach more into the wishful-thinkers' territory than the artists do into the scientists'. At least I never heard Lennon sing, "Imagine quantum physics, it would make Einstein cry ..."
"when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully."
Conventional wisdom tells us that things are bad and getting worse. Yet according to Edge — the heady website for world-class scientists and thinkers, and the brainchild of author and entrepreneurial idea man, John Brockman, there's good news ahead. Each year, through their World Question Center, they pose a provocative query to their high-minded community.
The 2007 Edge Question:
What Are You Optimistic About? Why?
The 160 responses to this year's Edge Question span topics such as string theory, intelligence, population growth, cancer, climate and much much more. Contributing their optimistic visions are a who's who of interesting and important world-class thinkers.
Got optimism? Welcome to the conversation!
Dreamers and thinkers, Leo Morris
"...As I make my way through life and try to sort things out, I need the help of both dreamers and thinkers. I just wish they would keep their missions straight, although the intellectuals lately encroach more into the wishful-thinkers' territory than the artists do into the scientists'. At least I never heard Lennon sing, "Imagine quantum physics, it would make Einstein cry ..."
Here's one of my favorites:
by Kai Krause
Labels: 2007 Edge Question
Blogging the Scooter Libby Trial
The folks at Firedoglake are going to be Blogging from the Scooter Libby trial. What a scoop! If you can afford to help them out with rent/food while they're camped out in DC go here. Congrats FDL!
Guess Who Is Going To DC?
.."After several months of phone calls and e-mails for logistical assistance, tracking down just the right person for inquiries at the courthouse, and lots of leg work, and thanks to the gracious assistance of Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post, we have managed to secure one of the very limited press passes for the Scooter Libby trial. (A huge thank you to Arianna for all of her assistance in this.)
Yep, that is correct: your intrepid pals at Firedoglake, with the more than able assistance of Marcy Wheeler, Emptywheel of The Next Hurrah, and fabulous
author of Anatomy of Deceit, and a few other all stars who have talked with us about covering various aspects of the trial process, are headed to DC to cover as much of the trial as we can manage to see and hear.."
.."We are all very excited about this — obtaining a press pass was not easy, and we plan to make the most of it as much as we humanly can do so. Thanks to everyone for all the support on the coverage of this CIA Leak Case from the start of the investigation until now. And thanks to anyone who can chip in a bit to help us in our coverage over the next few weeks.
Just think, your contribution puts us that much closer to being eyeball to eyeball with Dick Cheney on the stand. (Or at least, sitting in the room while he and Fitz are eyeball-to-eyeball, which is just as intriguing…) The trial will not be covered live on television because federal courts do not allow cameras in the courtroom, so in order to do detailed coverage, we need to be there in person. Thanks to anyone who can help us to make that happen.."
Give FDL some funding if you can. I mean, I don't want to be sitting "eyeball to eyeball" with (The)Dick Cheney, do you?
Labels: Scooter Libby trail
From "Planet Earth"
While I'm on YouTube here's a creepy video from the BBC series "Planet Earth" showing a fungi that attacks, immobilizes and then grows to attack again. Watch the part where it grows from the ant's body. There should be a creepy horror movie where these things mutate to attack people:
Thanks to BoingBoing
Those Talking Dogs
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Crazy Pat Dreaming Disasters Again
Uh Oh! God has apparently told Pat Robertson about a terrorist attack in the US in late 2007 causing "mass killing".
"Evangelical broadcaster Pat Robertson said Tuesday that God has told him that a terrorist attack on the United States would cause a "mass killing" late in 2007.
"I'm not necessarily saying it's going to be nuclear," he said during his news-and-talk television show "The 700 Club" on the Christian Broadcasting Network.
"The Lord didn't say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that."
Robertson said God told him about the impending tragedy during a recent prayer retreat.
God also said, he claims, that major cities and possibly millions of people will be affected by the attack, which should take place sometime after September."
I agree with Thers, couldn't God been a little more specific? Or couldn't Pat asked for a little more info? Or surely God would(at least for Pat) stop this horror? On the other hand I bet that Pat asked viewers to send a little money somewhere before or after this fortune telling. I reeeaallly hope "God" was pulling Pat's leg like with all his other predictions.
You reckin' Pat's holier than thou?