Saturday, March 25, 2006

One Way to Measure

Cost of the war in Iraq, from the National Priorities Project, via we move to canada:

Click on the link & click again on "See the cost in your community". It will astound you.

And that's just the cost of Commander Codpiece's Cockup measured in money. It measures nothing of the lives shattered, American and Iraqi.

They're Coming To Take Me Away ho ho hee hee ha haaa

K.T. McFarland on MSNBC's Hardball, March 6, 2006

Not that Hillary Clinton has to lift a finger to get re-elected Senator from New York, but her cakewalk is assured if this is the best New York Republicans can come up with:


ALBANY - A Republican challenger to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is bizarrely claiming that the former first lady has been spying in her bedroom window and flying helicopters over her house in the Hamptons, witnesses told The Post yesterday.

Former Reagan-era Pentagon official Kathleen "KT" McFarland stunned a crowd of Suffolk County Republicans on Thursday by saying:

"Hillary Clinton is really worried about me, and is so worried, in fact, that she had helicopters flying over my house in Southampton today taking pictures," according to a prominent GOP activist who was at the event.

"She wasn't joking, she was very, very serious, and she also claimed that Clinton's people were taking pictures across the street from her house in Manhattan, taking pictures from an apartment across the street from her bedroom," added the eyewitness, who is not involved in the Senate race.

Suffolk County Republican Chairman Harry Withers, who hosted the reception in East Islip, confirmed McFarland's paranoid statements.

"Yes, she said that," Withers told The Post.

Which brought to mind this song from my youth:

Napoleon XIV
They're Coming To Take Me Away (1966)


And they're coming to take me away ha-haaa
They're coming to take me away ho ho hee hee ha haaa
To the funny farm
Where life is beautiful all the time
And I'll be happy to see those nice young men
In their clean white coats
And they're coming to take me away ha haaa

You thought it was a joke
And so you laughed
You laughed when I said
That losing you would make me flip my lid

Right? You know you laughed
I heard you laugh. You laughed
You laughed and laughed and then you left
But now you know I'm utterly mad

And they're coming to take me away ha haaa
They're coming to take me away ho ho hee hee ha haaa
To the happy home with trees and flowers and chirping birds
And basket weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes
And they're coming to take me away ha haaa


Common Ground

Too funny.

Yellow Dog Died: What I have in Common with Bush

As you all know, I am all about building bridges. In that spirit, I have decided I must search for some common ground with the President. Here goes:

1) I was born and raised in New England. When it serves my interests, I must fake a Texas drawl.

2) I, too, have a hard time putting food on my family.

3) I don't spend alot of time thinking about Usama Bin Laden.

4) I really have no concept of how the other half lives.

5) I don't believe that my history of drug use is any of your business.

6) I have a silly laugh for a grown man.

7) I am not prepared to run a whole country.

8) I had no idea that Usama Bin Laden intended to attack us.

9) I once swore an oath to protect and defend the US Constitution without having read it.

10) I wasn't smart enough to get into Yale either.

'End the Gendercide'

Great article by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born Dutch legislator, who "lives under 24-hour protection because of death threats against her by Islamic radicals since the murder of Theo van Gogh, with whom she made the film 'Submission' about women and Islam."

From the International Herald Tribune, via commondreams:

Women Go 'Missing' by the Millions

As I was preparing for this article, I asked a friend who is Jewish if it was appropriate to use the term "holocaust" to portray the worldwide violence against women. He was startled. But when I read him the figures in a 2004 policy paper published by the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, he said yes, without hesitation.

One United Nations estimate says from 113 million to 200 million women around the world are demographically "missing." Every year, from 1.5 million to 3 million women and girls lose their lives as a result of gender-based violence or neglect.

How could this possibly be true? Here are some of the factors:

In countries where the birth of a boy is considered a gift and the birth of a girl a curse from the gods, selective abortion and infanticide eliminate female babies.

Young girls die disproportionately from neglect because food and medical attention is given first to brothers, fathers, husbands and sons.

In countries where women are considered the property of men, their fathers and brothers can murder them for choosing their own sexual partners. These are called "honor" killings, though honor has nothing to do with it.


We need a worldwide campaign to reform cultures that permit this kind of crime. Let's start to name them and shame them.

In the past two centuries, those in the West have gradually changed the way they treat women. As a result, the West enjoys greater peace and progress. It is my hope that the third world will embark on this effort. Just as we put an end to slavery, we must end the gendercide.

Eight Ounces of Crude for Breakfast

Another way of looking at the 'cost' of food: What amount of fossil fuel does it take for me to get my coffee from Sumatra, or olive oil from Spain, or ham from Poland? More than you would think. From, via truthout:

My Saudi Arabian Breakfast

On the table in my small Berkeley apartment this particular morning is a healthy looking little meal - a bowl of imported McCann's Irish oatmeal topped with Cascadian Farms organic frozen raspberries, and a cup of Peet's Fair Trade Blend coffee. Like most of us, I prepare my breakfast at home and the ingredients for this one probably cost me about $1.25. (If I went to a café in downtown Berkeley, I'd likely have to add another $6.00, plus tip for the same.)

My breakfast fuels me up with about 400 calories, and it satisfies me. So, for just over a buck and half an hour spent reading the morning paper in my own kitchen, I'm energized for the next few hours. But before I put spoon to cereal, what if I consider this bowl of oatmeal porridge (to which I've just added a little butter, milk, and a shake of salt) from a different perspective. Say, a Saudi Arabian one.

Then, what you'd be likely to see - what's really there, just hidden from our view (not to say our taste buds) - is about four ounces of crude oil. Throw in those luscious red raspberries and that cup of java (another three ounces of crude), and don't forget those modest additions of butter, milk, and salt (another ounce), and you've got a tiny bit of the Middle East right here in my kitchen.

Now, let's drill a little deeper into this breakfast. Just where does this tiny gusher of oil actually come from? (We'll let this oil represent all fossil fuels in my breakfast, including natural gas and coal.)

Nearly 20% of this oil went into growing my raspberries on Chilean farms many thousands of miles away, those oats in the fields of County Kildare, Ireland, and that specially-raised coffee in Guatemala - think tractors as well as petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides.

The next 40% of my breakfast fossil-fuel equation is burned up between the fields and the grocery store in processing, packaging, and shipping.

Brought To You By The Bushco Cretins

1. Our government refuses to give one dime to any world organization that teaches contraception, gives out condoms, or mentions abortions, resulting in horrors like this:

feministing: 90 African women die every day from unsafe abortions

90 percent of the abortions in Africa are done using terrifying methods: “inserting sharp objects into the uterus, flushing the vagina with caustic liquids, throwing oneself from high places or repeated blows to the abdomen.”

Just horrible.

2. The chickenhawks running our government may have yellow ribbons on the bumpers of their Hummers, but they don't really give a shit about the troops. Otherwise they'd make sure they had proper body armor, wouldn't let Halliburton give them dirty water to drink, and for damn sure they wouldn't be taking back the signing bonuses of Purple Heart winners:

dailykos: Purple Heart recipient forced to repay signing bonus

Iraq War veteran who received Purple Heart says Army is making him repay money

When Fontana resident and 2001 Fontana A.B. Miller High School graduate Kevin Stonestreet joined the U.S. Army in the summer of 2001 as a member of the infantry, he was given a $20,000 bonus to be paid out over his six-year enlistment.

However, when Stonestreet was honorably discharged from the Army in 2005, he found out he needed to repay $3,800 of that bonus because he did not complete his six years.

But Stonestreet, who is now 23, said he was kicked out of the Army because he was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression from serving in Iraq.

In addition, Stonestreet, who was awarded the Purple Heart and was considered for the Bronze Star for bravery in combat, said the amount he was to pay back was originally $6,000, but the government repossessed his final paycheck of $2,200.

"They were nice enough to take out the $170 for my child support," Stonestreet said, laughingly.

Stonestreet is represented by Congressman Joe Baca -- a Democrat -- whose office hasn't managed to return Stonestreet's calls yet. Let's give him a ring on Monday, shall we? (909)885-2222

3. And, finally, the party that hates government regulation is a danger to all American workers.

Confined Spaces: Just Another Day In The American Workplace
(go to Confined Spaces for links)

There are no good days in the American workplace.

Still, it seems like some days are worse than others. This is a small sampling of what arrived in my in-box today:

OSHA investigates Metro East man's workplace death

SAUGET, Ill. Federal workplace-safety officials are investigating a man's death while he worked at a Metro East plant.
Police say 27-year-old J-D Croom of Cahokia died yesterday when he was sucked into a large machine at the Mid-America Fiber Company plant in Sauget.

Worker Dies After He Is Pulled Into Machine

NEW HAVEN -- A worker died after he was pulled into a machine at a scrap metal yard Wednesday, police said.

The accident occurred at about 4:15 p.m. at Regan Metal Corp., 69 Poplar St., police said. Richard Larson, 54, of Kensington, was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:45 p.m., Sgt. Robert Dudley said.

Police said Larson was loading metal into a machine that coils the metal. His work glove apparently got caught in the machine when he went to adjust a bar, and the machine pulled him in, Sgt. Andrew Muro said.

OSHA is to review fatal work accident

BRUNSWICK HILLS TWP. - The federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration is expected to probe Tuesday's death of a delivery man crushed by about a ton of granite slabs.

Owatonna man killed in job accident

OWATONNA, Minn. — A 25-year-old Owatonna man died in a workplace accident, police said Wednesday.

Patrick Donahue was pinned under a crate that weighed nearly a ton while working in the shipping area at Viracon Inc., an architectural glass fabricator based in Owatonna.

White Mills Man Dies In Construction Accident

(RADCLIFF, Ky.) -- A construction worker died on Thursday morning when the trench he was working in collapsed on top of him.

Tommy Hensley, 42, was standing about eight feet deep in the trench in a new construction site off Hill Street when the sides of the trench caved in, Radcliff Police spokesman Bryce Shumate said.

Days like this always bring to mind the wise words of the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Senator Michael Enzi (R-WY):

Cooperation, not confrontation is essential in making our workplaces safer. The notion that employers care little about worker safety, or are prepared to sacrifice worker health in the pursuit of profit is a dangerous myth.

In fact, most employers are concerned for the welfare of their employees and are fully prepared to comply with laws aimed at enhancing their safety on the job.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Just for Laughs

I received this in an email:

A Lesson In Political Science


You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.
You feel guilty for being successful.
Barbara Streisand sings for you.


You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.


You have two cows.
The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.
You form a cooperative to tell him how to manage his cow.


You have two cows.
The government seizes both and provides you with milk.
You wait in line for hours to get it.
It is expensive and sour.


You have two cows.
You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd of cows.


You have two cows.
Under the new farm program the government pays you to shoot one, milk the other, and then pours the milk down the drain.


You have two cows.
You sell one, lease it back to yourself and do an IPO on the 2nd one.
You force the two cows to produce the milk of four cows. You are surprised when one cow drops dead. You spin an announcement to the analysts stating you have downsized and are reducing expenses.
Your stock goes up.


You have two cows.
You go on strike because you want three cows.
You go to lunch and drink wine.
Life is good.


You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
They learn to travel on unbelievably crowded trains.
Most are at the top of their class at cow school.


You have two cows.
You engineer them so they are all blond, drink lots of beer, give excellent quality milk, and run a hundred miles an hour.
Unfortunately they also demand 13 weeks of vacation per year.


You have two cows but you don't know where they are.
While ambling around, you see a beautiful woman.
You break for lunch.
Life is good.


You have two cows.
You have some vodka.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You have some more vodka.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
The Mafia shows up and takes over however many cows you really have.


You have all the cows in Afghanistan , which are two.
You don't milk them because you cannot touch any creature's private parts.
You get a $40 million grant from the US government to find alternatives to milk production but use the money to buy weapons.


You have two cows.
They go into hiding.
They send radio tapes of their mooing.


You have two bulls.
Employees are regularly maimed and killed attempting to milk them.


You have one cow.
The cow is schizophrenic.
Sometimes the cow thinks he's French, other times he's Flemish.
The Flemish cow won't share with the French cow.
The French cow wants control of the Flemish cow's milk.
The cow asks permission to be cut in half.
The cow dies happy.


You have a black cow and a brown cow.
Everyone votes for the best looking one.
Some of the people who actually like the brown one best accidentally vote for the black one.
Some people vote for both.
Some people vote for neither.
Some people can't figure out how to vote at all.
Finally, a bunch of guys from out-of-state tell you which one you think is the best-looking cow.


You have millions of cows.
They make real California cheese.
Only five speak English.
Most are illegals.
Arnold likes the ones with the big udders.

Box Turtle Ben Go Bye-Bye

It had to happen. Box Turtle Ben has fallen on his sword:

Ben Domenech Resigns

In the past 24 hours, we learned of allegations that Ben Domenech plagiarized material that appeared under his byline in various publications prior to contracting with him to write a blog that launched Tuesday.

An investigation into these allegations was ongoing, and in the interim, Domenech has resigned, effective immediately.

When we hired Domenech, we were not aware of any allegations that he had plagiarized any of his past writings. In any cases where allegations such as these are made, we will continue to investigate those charges thoroughly in order to maintain our journalistic integrity.

Plagiarism is perhaps the most serious offense that a writer can commit or be accused of. will do everything in its power to verify that its news and opinion content is sourced completely and accurately at all times.

We appreciate the speed and thoroughness with which our readers and media outlets surfaced these allegations. Despite the turn this has taken, we believe this event, among other things, testifies to the positive and powerful role that the Internet can play in the the practice of journalism.

We also remain committed to representing a broad spectrum of ideas and ideologies in our Opinions area.

Jim Brady
Executive Editor,

So, Brady has another wingnut in the wings? Or will BlueStateBlogger commence? (Note to Jim Brady, I'm available! For a high price.)

March 24, 1911

Today is the 95th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.

Dailykos: Today in Labor History: They Died For Us; Let's Not Forget Them

One of my teachers used this case to inspire me as a lawyer. Did you know that

The factory owners were put on trial but acquitted.

So it's not whether you win or lose. Sometimes you change things just by fighting the fight.

Cornell University Triangle Shirtwaist Factory website.

University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Trial website

Update: Good article from pointing out that workers are still being locked into their factories, in places like Bangladesh: Triangle Shirtwaist Fire – Then and Now

Today's Climate News

GREENLAND: Some 130,000 years ago, in a period just slightly
warmer than today, much of the region's ice cap melted away.

Christian Science Monitor: Little time to avoid big thaw, scientists warn
Arctic temperatures near a prehistoric level when seas were 16 to 20 feet higher, studies say.

Global warming appears to be pushing vast reservoirs of ice on Greenland and Antarctica toward a significant, long-term meltdown. The world may have as little as a decade to take the steps to avoid this scenario.

Those are the implications of new studies that looked to climate history for clues about how the planet's major ice sheets might respond to human-triggered climate change.

Already, temperatures in the Arctic are close to those that thawed much of Greenland's ice cap some 130,000 years ago, when the planet last enjoyed a balmy respite from continent-covering glaciers, say the studies' authors.

By 2100, spring and summer temperatures in the Arctic could reach levels that trigger an unstoppable repeat performance, they say. Over several centuries, the melt could raise sea levels by as much as 20 feet, submerging major cities worldwide as well as chains of islands, such as the present-day Bahamas.

The US would lose the lower quarter of Florida, southern Louisiana up to Baton Rouge, and North Carolina's Outer Banks.
The ocean would even flood a significant patch of California's Central Valley, lapping at the front porches of Sacramento.

These estimates may understate the potential rise. []

Good article, though I do have to question the use of the phrase 'some 130,000 years ago, when the planet last enjoyed a balmy respite from continent-covering glaciers'. Is the author trying to be funny? Or is he trying to soft-pedal the ominous message? It's inappropriate, either way.

A NEW US COAST? In a few centuries, the US could lose major portions of its coastline (shown in red) because melting polar ice caps could slowly raise sea levels 20 feet, according to new research.

How Does Your Organic Milk Rate?

From gristmill:

Got organic milk?

with a handy alphabetical list of organic milk producers and their ratings:

The Cornucopia Institute Organic Dairy Report

I buy Organic Valley, which gets 4 cows in the ratings.

Sign of Spring

From the Gothamist, via

Pale Male and Lola Are at It Again

Is it so wrong of me that I want the hawks to drop more dead pigeon carcasses on Paula Zahn?

The Dog Ate My Homework

Remember that old Reader's Digest feature, "Was My Face Red?" WaPo isn't there yet, but it will be:

Howie "Married to a Republican Strategist Who Currently Works for John McCain" Kurtz, WaPo: Some Readers See Red Over's New Blogger

Late yesterday, the liberal Web sites Daily Kos and Atrios posted examples of what appeared to be instances of plagiarism from Domenech's writing at the William & Mary student paper. Three sentences of a 1999 Domenech review of a Martin Scorsese film were identical to a review in Salon magazine, and several sentences in Domenech's piece on a James Bond movie closely resembled one in the Internet Movie Database. Domenech said he needed to research the examples but that he never used material without attribution and had complained about a college editor improperly adding language to some of his articles.

All his editors were in a giant conspiracy to scour the web for better writing to pass off as his? Balderdash.

Update: Roger Ailes (the good one) has the funniest Box Turtle Ben headline yet:

Bitch Set Himself Up

RedAmerica Lives Another Day

As I predicted, the racist plagiarist is still employed by the WaPo. Amazing. What do you have to do to get fired by that paper? Here's a great deconstruction by Joe Conason on (I saw this on AMERICAblog.) You have to register to read it, but it's worth it: A portrait of the blogger as a young plagiarist

First sentences:
Does the Washington Post intend to maintain journalistic standards in the brave new blogosphere? Or are those standards incompatible with the Post company's ambitions for

Last sentence:
For now it looks like the paper hired the love child of Janet Cooke and Donald Segretti.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Steal This Post

The Washington Post's new racist Republican blogger exhibits many of the traits that characterize Republicans. For example, he's a thief! He's plagiarized work from many other publications in his illustrious "journalist", blogger and college journalist past.

So far (and the hits just keep on coming) it has been determined that (as Atrios hilariously calls him) Box Turtle Ben stole and republished the work of

P.J. O'Rourke

Stephanie Zacharek of

Steve Rhodes of IMDB (the Internet Movie DataBase)

Mary Elizabeth Williams of

Cox News Service

Liz Braun at (stealing from a Christian website! Who'da thunk it?)



Edward Walsh and Roberto Suro of the Washington Post

Ben, if you can't think of anything to post on the Post tomorrow, you can steal this post.

When I wake up in the morning, will the racist word-thief have a job? Normally plagiarism is a line real journalists aren't allowed to cross, but Ben's not really a journalist, and the WashingtonPostonline doesn't seem to be populated by any journalists. So the forecast for tomorrow is Ben keeps his job. Let's hope I'm wrong and Jim Brady is burning the midnight oil, sweating buckets over his latest gaffe.

Amazon Rainforest in Peril

Reuters: Amazon residents stand on logs felled from the Amazon rainforest in Ressaca village in the state of Para, northern Brazil, in this August 18, 2005 file photo. About 40 percent of the Amazon's rainforests could be lost by 2050 unless more is done to prevent what could become one of the world's worst environmental crisis, scientists said on March 22, 2006.

Reuters: Greater efforts needed to save Amazon rainforests

LONDON (Reuters) - About 40 percent of the Amazon's rainforests could be lost by 2050 unless more is done to prevent what could become one of the world's worst environmental crisis, scientists said on Wednesday.

Existing laws and preserving public wildlife reserves will not be enough. Measures are also needed to protect rainforests from the impact of profitable industries such as cattle ranching and soy farming, they added.

"By 2050, current trends in agricultural expansion will eliminate a total of 40 percent of Amazon forests, including six major watersheds and ecoregions,"
Britaldo Soares-Filho, of the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil, said in a report in the journal Nature.

Gratuitous Katherine Harris Photo

From Princess Sparkle Pony:

Washington Post's New Racist Blogger

Steve Gilliard points out that Ben Domenech posted this last month, without comment, at First Things:

People who are poor and black are a drag on society. We would all be better off if there were fewer of them. Since we have, with little success, spent trillions of dollars over the past several decades trying to make poor blacks non-poor, it is time we recognize that there are more efficient means of eliminating the drag. Stated so bluntly, many readers might find that way of putting the matter morally problematic. The extermination of anti-social elements does, after all, have a somewhat controversial history.

So the Post has given an out-and-out racist a blog platform. Shame, shame. Katherine Graham must be rolling over in her grave.

RedAmerica, the blog, should be exterminated.

A Tale of Two Halves

Corey Gibbs (USA) battles Gerald Asamoah (GER)

Dismal 2nd Half Spells Doom for U.S.
Germany 4, USA 1

Way overblown headline by the WaPo. This was a good tuneup & a good lesson for the 5th in the world US squad. As in, that ranking is bogus & you're going to have to play your best to advance.

The US controlled the first half, but didn't do much in the final third of the field. Ching was a block of wood except for one fine shot. Gibbs, Mastro, & Convey shone and GAM (Eddie Johnson) looked good. I haven't seen Gibbs play much & was suitably impressed. He was super fast and very poised against a big rough German team.

Arena started out with his beloved 3-5-2 lineup but returned to sanity and went 4-4-2 after about 15 minutes. I hate three in the back. We're not fast enough or technically skilled enough to play that way -- especially when we're playing our B squad.

2nd half, Germany's A team finally broke through USA's B team. Giving up all those free kicks had to come back to haunt us & it did. Berhalter was abysmal in the back and left Conrad out to dry a few times. Even Cherundolo made a few uncharacteristic errors.

This was definitely our B team, though. Look at the missing: McBride, Donovan, Beasley, Reyna, O'Brien, Dempsey (Clint, control your temper!), Gooch, Pope, Hejduk, Lewis. Add Keller to that ten and you'd have a fine starting "A" lineup.

*I'd put in a pretty picture, but blogger's photo function is screwy. Sorry.
Update: Apparently this is a blogger problem, lots of folks over there at blogger help getting the white screen instead of "Done".

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I *Heart* Will Durst

I saw Will Durst in a comedy club in Cambridge during the administration of Bush-my-son-makes-me-look-smart, back in the 80s. I laughed so hard and so loud that he kept looking over at me, like, who is that loon?

He's still at it, and he's still got it.

Impeachment? Hell, no. Impalement.

I don't know about you guys, but I am so sick and tired of these lying, thieving, holier-than-thou, right-wing, cruel, crude, rude, gauche, coarse, crass, cocky, corrupt, dishonest, debauched, degenerate, dissolute, swaggering, lawyer shooting, bullhorn shouting, infrastructure destroying, hysterical, history defying, finger-pointing, puppy stomping, roommate appointing, pretzel choking, collateral damaging, aspersion casting, wedding party bombing, clear cutting, torturing, jobs outsourcing, torture outsourcing, "so-called" compassionate-conservative, women's rights eradicating, Medicare cutting, uncouth, spiteful, boorish, vengeful, noxious, homophobic, xenophobic, xylophonic, racist, sexist, ageist, fascist, cashist, audaciously stupid, brazenly selfish, lethally ignorant, journalist purchasing, genocide ignoring, corporation kissing, poverty inducing, crooked, coercive, autocratic, primitive, uppity, high-handed, domineering, arrogant, inhuman, inhumane, insolent, know-it-all, snotty, pompous, contemptuous, supercilious, gutless, spineless, shameless, avaricious, poisonous, imperious, merciless, graceless, tactless, brutish, brutal, Karl Roving, backward thinking, persistent vegetative state grandstanding, nuclear option threatening, evolution denying, irony deprived, depraved, insincere, conceited, perverted, pre-emptory invading of a country that had absolutely nothing to do with 911, 35 day vacation taking, bribe soliciting, incapable, inbred, hellish, proud for no apparent reason, smarty pants, loudmouth, bullying, swell headed, ethnic cleansing, ethics eluding, domestic spying, medical marijuana busting, kick backing, Halliburtoning, New Deal disintegrating, narcissistic, undiplomatic, blustering, malevolent, demonizing, baby seal clubbing, Duke Cunninghamming, hectoring, verbally flatulent, pro-bad- anti-good, Moslem baiting, photo-op arranging, hurricane disregarding, oil company hugging, judge packing, science disputing, faith based mathematics advocating, armament selling, nonsense spewing, education ravaging, whiny, unscrupulous, greedy exponential factor fifteen, fraudulent, CIA outing, redistricting, anybody who disagrees with them slandering, fact twisting, ally alienating, betraying, god and flag waving, scare mongering, Cindy Sheehan libeling, phony question asking, just won't get off the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling, two-faced, inept, callous, menacing, your hand under a rock-the maggoty remains of a marsupial, oppressive, vulgar, antagonistic, brush clearing suck-up, showboating, tyrannizing, peace hating, water and air and ground and media polluting which is pretty much all the polluting you can get, deadly, illegal, pernicious, lethal, haughty, venomous, virulent, ineffectual, mephitic, egotistic, bloodthirsty, incompetent, hypocritical, did I say evil, I'm not sure if I said evil, because I want to make sure I say evil...EVIL, cretinous, fool, toad, buttwipe, lizardstick, cowardly, lackey imperialistic tool slime buckets in the Bush Administration that I could just spit. Impeachment, hell no. Impalement. Upon the sharp and righteous sword of the people's justice.

Imagine He Is President

I saw this on dailykos:

Lost Al Gore Documentary by Spike Jonze

Al Gore, the rightly-elected President of 2000, smart, warm, funny, in this 13-minute compilation of clips. The full video is available at Wholphin.

Have a nice day, Sandra Day O'Connor.


(via Blue Gal)

Planned Parenthood Finds a Home in Virulently Anti-Choice South Dakota

A leader of courage. Cecilia Fire Thunder, I salute you.

DailyKos: Oglala Sioux Stand up to SD abortion Law

According to an Native American Times article by Tim Giago, {Cecilia Fire Thunder, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe at Pine Ridge, SD] was "incensed...that a body made up of mostly white males would make such a stupid law against women."

"To me, it is now a question of sovereignty," she said to [Tim] last week. "I will personally establish a Planned Parenthood clinic on my own land which is within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Reservation where the State of South Dakota has absolutely no jurisdiction."

: Enterprising Kathrynt spoke directly to Ms. Fire Thunder, and they are accepting contributions toward the establishment of the Planned Parenthood clinic.

If you want to mail donations to the reservation, you may do so at:

Oglala Sioux Tribe
ATTN: President Fire Thunder
P. O. Box 2070
Pine Ridge, SD 57770

OR: and this may be preferred, due to mail volume:

PO BOX 990
Martin, SD 57751

Enclose a letter voicing your support and explaining the purpose of the donation. Bear in mind, the Pine Ridge Res is not exactly dripping with disposeable income, so do consider donating funds directly to the tribe as well as specifically for this effort.

Falling Upward

The Washington Post has hired a 24-year-old, home-schooled, white male Republican blogger to write a blog for its site called "RedAmerica". Straight out of the Bush Crony School, as Ben Domenech had a summer job as a White House speechwriter in 2002. (At the age of 20, I'm sure he had a lot to offer President English Mangler. I bet he contributed "heh, heh", at the very least.)

Here's what he called people like me on his very first day on the WaPo: "the shrieking denizens" of the Democrats’ "increasingly extreme base [] the unhinged elements of their base, motivated by partisan rage."

Oh, yeah, I'm feeling the balance there.

He had a high opinion of the Washington Post while he was in the White House:


Live and Almost Legal at the EEOB
Today is my last day working in the speechwriting office. It's been a great summer, and I've done a good amount of work. It's been an interesting experience to work in this office, to see the reality of what goes on here as opposed to the Post's version. Believe me, truth is far more interesting than fiction.

Blogtopia has a little something to say about this.


Wankers of the Day

Memories of Domenech

Meet Ben Domenech

Meet Young Ben Domenech

Life Among the Domenech

Looking in the Mirror

Clan Domenech


The News Blog: Post to hire home schooled wingnut for blog

If you ever wonder about the power of the GOP training machine, this little freak, who should be humping a guard post in Iraq, gets a blog on the WaPo. In a city mostly minority, you think a young black person or Latino or a woman would get the opportunity to expound on politics. Yeah, right.

But when you suggest such a thing, the blogzombies of the right scream about racial spoils and the like. But not when their little undead can get what they want.

What the hell has this little freak done to merit being hired by the WaPo to expound on politics?

Be a white male Republican with friends.


This is what the WaPo's newest columnist said about the funeral of Coretta Scott King

Remember this from racist Red State

By: Augustine

The President visits the funeral of a Communist. And phones in a message to the March for Life. I think we can get a little pissed about this.
This story shall the good man teach his son

Yep, I'm sure the Washington Post's large black audience will wonder why it's newest columnist is a racist who thinks the Kings were communists for wanting blacks to have equal rights.

Late Nite FDL: Aw Shucks, Brady, You Shouldn’t Have

Just as the time of reckoning approaches and the Washington Post will, like it or no, have to take responsibility for all the flagrant, credulous warmongering it did in a fit of BushCo. access rapture, you guys hire the most thick-witted, mouth breathing home schooled freak you could lay your hands on. The respectable journalists who have managed to survive the Patrick Ruffini sycophancy of John WATB Harris, the jejune truthiness of Deborah Howell and the simple fact that one of the biggest stories of last year was how the paper’s own superstar fucked you over and then wouldn’t talk to you about it are no doubt cringing in the bathroom stalls.

Talking Points Memo

So, to 'balance' Froomkin, who may be a commentator with liberal tendencies, the Post goes out and gets a high octane Republican political activist who hits the ground running with a tirade of Red State America revanchism and even journalism itself.

That's balance. That's the Post's balance.

Managing perceptions is the death of good journalism, especially manufactured perceptions, and even more those manufactured for the easily cowed.

I'm embarrassed for the Post. Embarrassed by the Post.

Their explanation doesn't cut it. If they want to make a blogger Crossfire with a firebreather on the left and on the right, they should do it. It might even be interesting. But here they've just been played by bullies and played for fools.

Jump! How high?

I can think of more than a few actual journalists at the Post who must feel a bit embarrassed too.

Another Reason To Support Chimpeachment


Bush: U.S. Troops Will Remain In Iraq Through The End Of My Presidency

REPORTER: Will there come a day, and I’m not asking you when — I’m not asking for a timetable — will there come a day when there will be no more American forces in Iraq?

BUSH: That, of course, is an objective, and that will be decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq.

Pretty Soon We'll All Be 'Just Standing Around in our Shorts, Stunned and Amazed'

Not one member of the White House press corps asked President Dumbass a question about global warming yesterday. While the Iraq war is a pressing problem, the potential loss of life from global warming is exponentially greater. Why isn't anyone talking about it? And, finally, the Washington Post writes an article about global warming and calls it global warming. Way to get a clue, there, boys.

WaPo: Inuit See Signs In Arctic Thaw
String of Warm Winters Alarms 'Sentries for the Rest of the World'

The global warming felt by wildlife and increasingly documented by scientists is hitting first and hardest here, in the Arctic where the Inuit people make their home. The hardy Inuit -- described by one of their leaders as "sentries for the rest of the world" -- say this winter was the worst in a series of warm winters, replete with alarms of the quickening transformation that many scientists expect will spread from the north to the rest of the globe.

The Inuit -- with homelands in Alaska, Canada, Greenland and northern Russia -- saw the signs of change everywhere. Metuq hauled his fishing shack onto the ice of Cumberland Sound last month, as he has every winter, confident it would stay there for three months. Three days later, he was astonished to see the ice break up, sweeping away his shack and $6,000 of turbot fishing gear.

In Nain, Labrador, hunter Simon Kohlmeister, 48, drove his snowmobile onto ocean ice where he had hunted safely for 20 years. The ice flexed. The machine started sinking. He said he was "lucky to get off" and grab his rifle as the expensive machine was lost. "Someday we won't have any snow," he said. "We won't be Eskimos."

In Resolute Bay, Inuit people insisted that the dark arctic night was lighter. Wayne Davidson, a longtime weather station operator, finally figured out that a warmer layer of air was reflecting light from the sun over the horizon. "It's getting very strange up here," he said. "There's more warm air, more massive and more uniform."

Villagers say the shrinking ice floes mean they see hungry polar bears more frequently. In the Hudson Bay village of Ivujivik, Lydia Angyiou, a slight woman of 41, was walking in front of her 7-year-old boy last month when she turned to see a polar bear stalking the child. To save him, she charged with her fists into the 700-pound bear, which slapped her twice to the ground before a hunter shot it, according to the Nunatsiaq News.

In the Russian northernmost territory of Chukotka, the Inuit have drilled wells for water because there is so little snow to melt. Reykjavik, Iceland, had its warmest February in 41 years. In Alaska, water normally sealed by ice is now open, brewing winter storms that lash coastal and river villages. Federal officials say two dozen native villages are threatened. In Pangnirtung, residents were startled by thunder, rain showers and a temperature of 48 degrees in February, a time when their world normally is locked and silent at minus-20 degrees.

"We were just standing around in our shorts, stunned and amazed, trying to make sense of it," said one resident, Donald Mearns.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Hot Seat

In the rest of the world, soccer is a passion. Can you imagine national angst over a national team coach in the USA, in any sport?

BBC: Klinsmann under pressure

Less than three months remain until the start of the World Cup in Germany - and the host nation is worried.


Paul Chapman, a journalist who has covered German football for 30 years, told the BBC: "If it goes wrong against the USA, the whole country will be up in arms.

"People are still ready to give him a chance, up to and including this match against the USA.

"He has still has got credit. He was a very popular player, he always played with a smile on his face, he was good for an interview and I think he's still got some credit left over.

"But time is running out."

NYTimes: German Coach and American Ways Are a Tough Match

Those unhappy with Klinsmann were surely unmoved by the latest rankings from FIFA, soccer's world governing body, which put the United States fifth, the highest it has ever been, and Germany 22nd, the lowest it has been.


Criticism grew so intense by last week that Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, felt it necessary to deflate mounting pressure on Klinsmann. She declared that he was "on the right track" and urged him to ignore his critics.


Stefan Effenberg, a former teammate of Klinsmann's, urged that he be fired immediately, saying, "The rest of the world is laughing at us."

Some politicians even wanted Klinsmann censured before a sports subcommittee of the Bundestag, Germany's parliament
, according to Markovits, the Michigan professor. "That's like Larry Brown being cited before Congress for only bringing home a bronze from the Athens Olympics," Markovits said, referring to the Knicks' coach. "Absurd."


Germany's recent exhibition loss to Italy unleashed an angry response. "Disaster," proclaimed the soccer magazine Kicker. The Bild tabloid, Germany's largest daily and one that has been highly critical of Klinsmann, wrote, "Mama Mia We Are Bad." The tabloid showed a picture of a grinning Klinsmann ("Grinsi Klinsi") and added, "With you, one can only cry about our national team."

Die Tageszeitung wrote that Klinsmann threatened the expected $9.5 billion economic windfall from the World Cup and sapped Germany of its anticipation and general optimism. "Euphoria has been replaced by depression," the paper said, adding, "At most, the gastronomy branch can hope that, out of desperation, the masses grab for the bottle."


If Germany wins the World Cup on July 9, Klinsmann will again be a national icon. If things go badly, Markovits said a German journalist recently suggested to him that Klinsmann would become persona non grata in his home country.

"Maybe he could visit his parents, but he would be completely vilified," Markovits said. "I would seriously worry about his safety if the Germans lose in the quarterfinals."

I only got to see Klinsmann play live once, at a charity exhibition at RFK Stadium in DC. Klinsmann was retired, and was subbed in during the second half. He was electric. Every time he touched the ball, the game slowed down, and you just waited to see what he would do next. Unfortunately, I was at the game with my sister, who doesn't really care that much about soccer, and she insisted on leaving before the game was over to watch the Yankees in the baseball playoffs. Aargh.

That said, I look forward to Germany going down in a heap in the World Cup, after they stole a game from us during the 2002 World Cup on a Thorsten Frings handball in the penalty area (not called by the moronic Scottish referee Hugh Dallas).

Vacationing Bush Administration Ignored FBI Agent's Attempts to Prevent 9/11

While President Smirky McAWOL spent the month of August 2001 on vacation, FBI agents in Minnesota spent a fruitless month trying to get the FBI in Washington to take their information seriously. Testimony in Moussaoui's trial yesterday established that Agent Harry Samit made more the 70 separate attempts to get the Bush Administration to realize that Moussaoui was a serious threat, and that he was plotting to hijack an airplane. Samit contacted his superiors at the FBI, as well as FBI's London, Paris and Oklahoma City offices, FBI headquarters files, the CIA's counterterrorism center, the Secret Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Federal Aviation Administration, possibly the National Security Agency (he couldn't say the name in court), and the FBI's Iran, Osama bin Laden, radical fundamentalist, and national security law units at headquarters. Yet no one took him seriously.

When incompetent, idiotic liars run the government, disasters happen.

FBI Was Warned About Moussaoui
Agent Tells Court Of Repeated Efforts Before 9/11 Attacks

An FBI agent who interrogated Zacarias Moussaoui before Sept. 11, 2001, warned his supervisors more than 70 times that Moussaoui was a terrorist and spelled out his suspicions that the al-Qaeda operative was plotting to hijack an airplane, according to federal court testimony yesterday.

Agent Harry Samit told jurors at Moussaoui's death penalty trial that his efforts to secure a warrant to search Moussaoui's belongings were frustrated at every turn by FBI officials he accused of "criminal negligence." Samit said he had sought help from a colleague, writing that he was "so desperate to get into Moussaoui's computer I'll take anything."

That was on Sept. 10, 2001.


MacMahon zeroed in on increasingly urgent warnings Samit issued to his FBI supervisors after he interviewed Moussaoui at a Minnesota jail in mid-August 2001. Moussaoui had raised Samit's suspicions because he was training on a 747 simulator with limited flying experience and could not explain his foreign sources of income.

By Aug. 18, 2001, Samit was telling FBI headquarters that he believed Moussaoui intended to hijack a plane "for the purpose of seizing control of the aircraft." A few days later, he learned from FBI agents in France that Moussaoui had been a recruiter for a Muslim group in Chechnya linked to Osama bin Laden.

AP: FBI Agent Slams Bosses at Moussaoui Trial

MacMahon walked Samit through e-mails and letters the agent sent seeking help from the FBI's London, Paris and Oklahoma City offices, FBI headquarters files, the CIA's counterterrorism center, the Secret Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Federal Aviation Administration, an intelligence agency not identified publicly by name in court (possibly the National Security Agency), and the FBI's Iran, Osama bin Laden, radical fundamentalist, and national security law units at headquarters.


MacMahon introduced an Aug. 31 letter Samit drafted "to advise the FAA of a potential threat to security of commercial aircraft" from whomever Moussaoui was conspiring with.

But [FBI headquarters agent Mike] Maltbie barred him from sending it to FAA headquarters, saying he would handle that, Samit testified. The agent added that he did tell FAA officials in Minneapolis of his suspicions.

Incompetent Idiot Liar

Even presstitute Jim VandeHei is questioning Der Leader. However, because he is Jim VandeHei, he manages to do so without using the words incompetent, idiot or liar. ("Incompetent" from the Pew Research poll becomes "skeptical [of] administrative competency"). Of course, he does manage to throw in the old RNC talking point that Bush is a strong and trustworthy leader. Even when describing Bush's lies, he does so gently, using the passive voice. The stuff in brackets is all mine:

WaPo: Old Forecasts Come Back to Haunt Bush
Erosion in Confidence Will Be Hard To Reverse, Say Pollsters, Strategists

Three years of upbeat White House assessments about Iraq that turned out to be premature, incomplete or plain wrong.... [INCOMPETENT IDIOT LIAR]

....House optimism that skeptics contend is at odds with the facts on the ground in Iraq..... [LIAR]

.......the administration's sunny-side-up appraisals,... [LIAR, IDIOT]

.......Rep. Heather A. Wilson (R-N.M.) said in an interview that Cheney was wrong about the insurgency being in its last throes......."I am always cautious about always seeing things in the best light because war is not like that" and the public knows it........ [LIAR, IDIOT]

...Michael Dimock, associate director of the nonpartisan Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, said a recent survey by his group showed the public skeptical toward Bush, about both his administrative competency and his personal credibility. Only 40 percent of respondents said Bush was trustworthy, a 22-point drop from September of 2003, six months after the invasion of Iraq.....[INCOMPETENT, IDIOT, LIAR]

.....Bush is waging the wrong argument.....[LIAR, IDIOT]

......The erosion in the public's support for Bush at a personal level is a striking reversal for a president who for most of his first term was described by the public as a strong and trustworthy leader, especially on national security measures.....[LIAR, IDIOT, INCOMPETENT]

....In recent months, Bush has moved to talk more candidly about the problems in Iraq and yesterday said repeatedly that he understood the public's concerns.....[LIAR]

....There were the famous claims by Cheney and others that U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators after the invasion.....[LIAR, IDIOT, INCOMPETENT]

Other statements were proved wrong. The weapons of mass destruction the administration said Saddam Hussein possessed before the war have never been found -- and many experts believe never existed. White House officials hammered then-chief economic adviser Lawrence B. Lindsey for claiming the war could cost as little as $100 billion, saying the estimate was too high. The actual tally is fast approaching four times that amount, according to the Congressional Research Service, which estimates a $360 billion price tag to date.[LIAR, IDIOT, INCOMPETENT]

Perhaps the most famous rosy statement came nearly three years ago when Bush proclaimed: "We have seen the turning of the tide" under a banner that read "Mission Accomplished." Since then, more than 2,300 Americans have died in Iraq. [LIAR, IDIOT, INCOMPETENT, WORST PRESIDENT EVER]

Monday, March 20, 2006

We Love Lists

Index of the 100 science fiction books you just have to read

I haven't gone on a sci-fi reading binge in over a decade, but I've still read 15 or so of these. As usual, it's a male writer-heavy list. I'd add:

Woman on the Edge of Time, by Marge Piercy
He, She and It, by Marge Piercy
The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood

I saw this on Trish Wilson's blog, The Countess

If You're Not Part of the Solution, You're Part of the Problem

The New York Times letting its op-ed pages be hijacked by the right is a problem. I saw this on Atrios, who appropriately entitled his piece "Your So-Called Liberal Media".

American Prospect (online): Man Alive
Is The New York Times still pro-choice? You wouldn’t know it from reading the op-ed page.

A Prospect examination of the authors published between late February 2004 and late February 2006 found that 90 percent of writers -- including staff columnists -- who discussed abortion on the Times op-ed page over the past two years were male. These men wrote 83 percent of the op-eds that mentioned abortion.

James Hansen of NASA: Not Afraid to Say, 'Global Warming'

His boss sure doesn't want James Hansen to say anything, though. The White House now 'reviews' all climate related press releases.

CBS News: Rewriting The Science

(CBS) As a government scientist, James Hansen is taking a risk. He says there are things the White House doesn't want you to hear but he's going to say them anyway.

Hansen is arguably the world's leading researcher on global warming. He's the head of NASA's top institute studying the climate. But this imminent scientist tells correspondent Scott Pelley that the Bush administration is restricting who he can talk to and editing what he can say. Politicians, he says, are rewriting the science.

But he didn't hold back speaking to Pelley, telling 60 Minutes what he knows.

Asked if he believes the administration is censoring what he can say to the public, Hansen says: "Or they're censoring whether or not I can say it. I mean, I say what I believe if I'm allowed to say it."

What James Hansen believes is that global warming is accelerating. He points to the melting arctic and to Antarctica, where new data show massive losses of ice to the sea.

Is it fair to say at this point that humans control the climate? Is that possible?

"There's no doubt about that, says Hansen. "The natural changes, the speed of the natural changes is now dwarfed by the changes that humans are making to the atmosphere and to the surface."

Those human changes, he says, are driven by burning fossil fuels that pump out greenhouse gases like CO2, carbon dioxide. Hansen says his research shows that man has just 10 years to reduce greenhouse gases before global warming reaches what he calls a tipping point and becomes unstoppable. He says the White House is blocking that message.

"In my more than three decades in the government I've never witnessed such restrictions on the ability of scientists to communicate with the public," says Hansen.

Restrictions like this e-mail Hansen's institute received from NASA in 2004. "… there is a new review process … ," the e-mail read. "The White House (is) now reviewing all climate related press releases," it continued.

Why the scrutiny of Hansen's work? Well, his Goddard Institute for Space Studies is the source of respected but sobering research on warming. It recently announced 2005 was the warmest year on record. Hansen started at NASA more than 30 years ago, spending nearly all that time studying the earth. How important is his work? 60 Minutes asked someone at the top, Ralph Cicerone, president of the nation’s leading institute of science, the National Academy of Sciences.

"I can't think of anybody who I would say is better than Hansen. You might argue that there's two or three others as good, but nobody better," says Cicerone.

And Cicerone, who’s an atmospheric chemist, said the same thing every leading scientist told 60 Minutes.

"Climate change is really happening," says Cicerone.

Asked what is causing the changes, Cicernone says it's greenhouse gases: "Carbon dioxide and methane, and chlorofluorocarbons and a couple of others, which are all — the increases in their concentrations in the air are due to human activities. It's that simple."

But if it is that simple, why do some climate science reports look like they have been heavily edited at the White House? With science labeled "not sufficiently reliable." It’s a tone of scientific uncertainty the president set in his first months in office after he pulled out of a global treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"We do not know how much our climate could, or will change in the future," President Bush said in 2001, speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House. "We do not know how fast change will occur, or even how some of our actions could impact it."

Annoyed by the ambiguity, Hansen went public a year and a half ago, saying this about the Bush administration in a talk at the University of Iowa: "I find a willingness to listen only to those portions of scientific results that fit predetermined inflexible positions. This, I believe, is a recipe for environmental disaster."

Since then, NASA has been keeping an eye on Hansen. NASA let Pelley sit down with him but only with a NASA representative taping the interview. Other interviews have been denied.

"I object to the fact that I’m not able to freely communicate via the media," says Hansen. "National Public Radio wanted to interview me and they were told they would need to interview someone at NASA headquarters and the comment was made that they didn’t want Jim Hansen going on the most liberal media in America. So I don’t think that kind of decision should be made on that kind of basis. I think we should be able to communicate the science."

Conservatives: Whiny Babies From Cradle to Grave

I saw this article on Suburban Guerilla

Toronto Star: How to spot a baby conservative
KID POLITICS | Whiny children, claims a new study, tend to grow up rigid and traditional. Future liberals, on the other hand ...

Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints? Chances are he grew up to be a conservative.

At least, he did if he was one of 95 kids from the Berkeley area that social scientists have been tracking for the last 20 years. The confident, resilient, self-reliant kids mostly grew up to be liberals.


But the new results are worth a look. In the 1960s Jack Block and his wife and fellow professor Jeanne Block (now deceased) began tracking more than 100 nursery school kids as part of a general study of personality. The kids’ personalities were rated at the time by teachers and assistants who had known them for months. There’s no reason to think political bias skewed the ratings — the investigators were not looking at political orientation back then. Even if they had been, it’s unlikely that 3- and 4-year-olds would have had much idea about their political leanings.

A few decades later, Block followed up with more surveys, looking again at personality, and this time at politics, too. The whiny kids tended to grow up conservative, and turned into rigid young adults who hewed closely to traditional gender roles and were uncomfortable with ambiguity.

The confident kids turned out liberal and were still hanging loose, turning into bright, non-conforming adults with wide interests. The girls were still outgoing, but the young men tended to turn a little introspective.

Block admits in his paper that liberal Berkeley is not representative of the whole country. But within his sample, he says, the results hold. He reasons that insecure kids look for the reassurance provided by tradition and authority, and find it in conservative politics. The more confident kids are eager to explore alternatives to the way things are, and find liberal politics more congenial.

Repeat After Me: Global Warming Is The Problem

The Washington Post runs yet another all-this-weird-weather article without using the crucial phrase "global warming". The closest they come is the graphic caption, "River Warming"; a quote from a scientist: "These changes are linked to warmer temperatures in late winter and early spring."; and the concluding sentence: "If the trend continues, say scientists, the wood lilies and ladies'-tresses may soon be gone in the warming winds." But they never come flat out and say, this is caused by global warming.

Say it after me: Everything in this article is caused by GLOBAL WARMING.

Global warming
Global warming
Global warming

WaPo: Early Spring Disturbing Life on Northern Rivers

"Northeastern rivers have 20 fewer days of ice cover each winter now than they did in 1936," said Hodgkins, who said the total now averages 92 days. "A lot of that decrease has occurred since the 1960s."


"Lack of ice on rivers severely affects fish, especially anadromous* fish like endangered Atlantic salmon," said Trial, a biologist at the Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission in Bangor. "Ice cover insulates rivers and streams, protecting young salmon from cold. Without that cover, the salmon are also more susceptible to predators." Bald eagles, for example, are able to snare their piscine prey only from open water.


The most difficult winter situation for salmon and other fish, biologists say, is on-again, off-again ice cover: rivers that freeze over one week and then are open the next.

"Fish expend critical energy responding to these unstable conditions," Trial said. Ice that doesn't stay frozen may also contribute to the deaths of aquatic animals such as northern leopard frogs, which overwinter far beneath a chilled-to-freezing blanket.

"The reduction in river ice between January and April has important ecological effects," Hodgkins said, "including more frequent formation of 'anchor ice.' " Anchor ice, a spongy, smothering type of ice, covers the bottom of a river instead of "floating" on top, but it can't form when the surface is already frozen, he said. "Anchor ice slows down or eliminates water flow near the riverbed, which leaves fish embryos starved for oxygen."

When river ice finally breaks up in spring, the process results in what's known as ice-jam flooding: water spilling over the banks behind piled-up ice. Ice-jam flooding, say Prowse and Culp, is the main way water levels are sustained in ponds and wetlands alongside rivers. Without this flooding, habitat for migrating waterfowl and aquatic mammals such as beavers and mink often disappears. If there is not enough ice during winter, wetlands can quickly become dry lands when spring arrives.

*Anadromous fishes are those that spend all or part of their adult life in salt water and return to freshwater streams and rivers to spawn.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Three Years of War In Iraq

An appropriate front page, from the Independent (UK):

Was It Only a Pileated Woodpecker? Doubts cast on superstar woodpecker's return

The story concerning the rediscovery of the ivory-billed woodpecker (see below) took another turn on Thursday with the publication of two new papers in Science. Michael Patten, at the University of Oklahoma, US, and David Sibley, author of a field guide to North American birds, and colleagues challenged the Cornell University team's interpretations of a video of the supposedly extinct bird.

They conclude the video actually shows a pattern of black and white markings typical of a pileated woodpecker. In particular, some frames appear to show a black stripe behind the white wing markings, which does not occur on the ivory billed woodpecker.


The problem is that the video – still the best evidence of the woodpecker's existence – contains no more than a blurry, four-and-a-half-second glimpse of a distant bird as it takes off from a tree and flies away into the forest. See the video here (.mov format).

Fitzpatrick's team has painstakingly examined the footage frame by frame, and they remain convinced it shows enough detail to prove that the bird is an ivory-billed woodpecker and not a pileated woodpecker, the only other woodpecker of similar size and appearance.

President Out-of-Touch Moron Meets the Seniors

The Smirking Chimp: President Out-Of-Touch: When choosing a Medicare plan, it helps to kick the tires

This is so good I'm taking the liberty of reproducing it in its entirety. President Dumbass at his worst:

Sometimes you can't even win with hand-picked supporters. Here is President Out-Of-Touch Moron explaining Medicare pricing to senior citizens in Maryland on March 15:

This guy has got a great question because really what he's talking about is transparency in pricing. When you go buy a car, you know exactly what they're going to charge you.

Uh oh. The audience responds with spontaneous, derisive laughter.

Well, sometimes you don't know.

More laughter.

Well, you negotiate with them.

Nice going, Monkey Boy. Dig yourself in deeper. More laughter from the audience.

Well, they put something on the window that says price.

Another volley of laughter.

Boy, you can smell the smoke all the way over here as POTUS-brain synapses strain to find one another. Think hard, man -- what did it say on Karl's flash-cards?

His point is, is that the more you know about price, the better you can make better decisions, and I appreciate that.

It's here that Bush's finely-honed fight-or-flight instincts kick in:

Listen, you're paying me a lot of money to work, and so I think I'm going to have to head back home. But I'm honored. Got any more questions, I'll be glad to answer them.

Run away! Run away!

Because We Don't Look Like Them

New York Times: Why Do So Few Women Reach the Top of Big Law Firms?

Duh. Big law firms are partnerships, and those partnerships are almost all male. They hire people they feel comfortable with: people like themselves. And men aren't out there looking for self-knowledge. If you don't hit them over the head with their passive discriminatory ways, they don't see it.

I was the only woman lawyer in my 10-lawyer law firm for five long years. I got along with all my fellow attorneys, and half or more of them would say they were my friends. But they excluded me in many ways, large and small. From their jovial calls to start attorney meetings 'OK, boys, what's on the agenda today'; to not inviting me out to lunch, or to golf, or for drinks; to paying me less and telling me my pay was the same. I was different, and alone, and I was always aware of that, even if they weren't.

I had my revenge. I took a pro bono sex discrimination case, settled it, and got local and national press. Before my afternoon of press conferences and photographers and interviews, I went in to my managing partner's office, ostensibly to go over my talking points for the day. [Democrats take note: The message is the message.] But I had a personal agenda.

After going through my press points, I said, I have just one question I don't know how to answer. When a journalist asks me, 'If you're a discrimination lawyer, why are you the only female lawyer in your law firm?', what do I say?

There was a very long silence. His face reddened, alarmingly. He sputtered, and came back at my very angrily. They didn't discriminate. There was no intent. That was ridiculous.

I didn't go into my litany of complaints. I just said, I don't think a really good journalist will be satisfied with that answer. And I left, because the Boston Globe was in the reception area, and I had a busy afternoon ahead of me.

The next day the managing partner came in, said he thought about it the night before, accepted my complaint, and asked me how things should change.

Things changed, and I did eventually make partner.

I was lucky, and unusual. Established law firms are not hospitable environments for women lawyers.

Incompetent Idiot Liar

Want to know why the Pew Research poll found "liar" the #4 word Americans associate with George W. Bush? Here's one reason:

"One thing is for certain: There won't be any more mass graves and torture rooms and rape rooms."
George W. Bush, Jan. 12, 2004

New York Times, March 20, 2006, the three-year anniversary of Bush's disastrous War in Iraq:

Task Force 6-26
Before and After Abu Ghraib, a U.S. Unit Abused Detainees

As the Iraqi insurgency intensified in early 2004, an elite Special Operations forces unit converted one of Saddam Hussein's former military bases near Baghdad into a top-secret detention center. There, American soldiers made one of the former Iraqi government's torture chambers into their own interrogation cell. They named it the Black Room.

In the windowless, jet-black garage-size room, some soldiers beat prisoners with rifle butts, yelled and spit in their faces and, in a nearby area, used detainees for target practice in a game of jailer paintball.
Their intention was to extract information to help hunt down Iraq's most-wanted terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, according to Defense Department personnel who served with the unit or were briefed on its operations.

The Black Room was part of a temporary detention site at Camp Nama, the secret headquarters of a shadowy military unit known as Task Force 6-26. Located at Baghdad International Airport, the camp was the first stop for many insurgents on their way to the Abu Ghraib prison a few miles away.

Placards posted by soldiers at the detention area advised, "NO BLOOD, NO FOUL." The slogan, as one Defense Department official explained, reflected an adage adopted by Task Force 6-26: "If you don't make them bleed, they can't prosecute for it." According to Pentagon specialists who worked with the unit, prisoners at Camp Nama often disappeared into a detention black hole, barred from access to lawyers or relatives, and confined for weeks without charges. "The reality is, there were no rules there," another Pentagon official said.

Democrats: It's Time To Start Playing Offense

I talked to a friend who is active in New York politics a few weeks back, and she said, wonderingly, 'those people at headquarters think we can just wait for the Republicans to mess up, that we don't have to fight.' We both know that is just political suicide. So does Pachacutec at firedoglake:

FDL Late Nite: The Silent Majority

Today’s Silent Majority wants to see action from leaders in Washington, not just timid posturing. In that vein, I have some advice for Harry Reid (Minority Leader) and Chuck Schumer (head of the DSCC) in the Senate: take a look at those polls again. It’s time to play some offense. Get in front of the parade by getting behind Feingold’s censure motion.

If you do, I’ll bet many of the remaining 26% of democrats who currently oppose censure will flip to support it, moving overall population support for censure from 48% to well over 50% (hat tip to eRiposte). Some independents will follow along, too, if you stand together and make your case to a public starving for alternative leadership. (Note: censure polling varies by the wording of the question.) That will boost democratic turnout for the midterms, and also happens to be a political stance for the right fucking principle: the president does not get to break or ignore the law at his whim.


All this friendly advice comes with a warning: the Silent Majority will not be denied. The tectonic plates of American politics are fundamentally shifting. To those who would get in the way of the new majority politics, consider: like that guy in the picture [Muhammad Ali], we in the Silent Majority know how to handle those who stand in our way.