Saturday, December 09, 2006

Five Years After 9/11

The Iraq Study Group reports that only six of the 1000 employees at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq speak fluent Arabic.

Another heckuva job by the Bushies.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday Round-Up, December 8, 2006

An empty pushchair amid the wreckage in West London. Photo sent in by Ian Carter. (bbc)

Great interview with President Al Gore in GQ. I really hope he runs. Remember Al? Against the war from the get-go? Smartest guy in the room? If somebody's got to mop up the Chimperor's excesses, I nominate Al.

The BBC has an article on how we are polluting the oceans with plastic. I'm moving from a 'recycle everything' mindset to a 'don't buy plastic if you don't need to' one. I do get odd looks in the grocery store when I spill my veggies out onto the conveyor belt without plastic bags, but so what.

Global warming news: Tornado strikes London yesterday, injuring 6 people and damaging up to 150 homes. Could have something to do with all this warm weather.

Go read Krugman: At the official link, or here, or here. As a person who screamed at her TV from 9/12/01 on at the fawning media coverage of C+ Augustus, the biggest catastrophe in U.S. history, it's nice to hear someone praise our side in the corporate media.

Tom Friedman, billionaire, has run out of Friedmans. Now he says, set a date and get out. A little late, Tommy boy. Who cares. He was wrong from the start. Why should we listen to any of these fools?

Sunil Gulati putting coal in my stocking: Jurgen Klinsmann issued a statement yesterday saying he is withdrawing his name from consideration as USMNT coach, after six months of talks. And Bob Bradley has been named interim coach. A good round-up of the sports press take here.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Only The New York Post

I saw this on TPMMuckraker.

Happy Birthday Larry Legend

Kodak Moment

It's Larry Bird's 50th birthday. He'll always be older than me!

Bill Fitch, Larry's first professional coach, gave him the name Kodak. He described Bird as running up and down the court, constantly taking photographs with his eyes. He was the star of the 1980s for me and most of Boston.

SI, November 9, 1981: Gifts That God Didn't Give
Larry Bird was blessed with his height, but lots of work made him the NBA's most complete player since Oscar Robertson

Bob Ryan, Boston Globe: A day to celebrate Bird's greatness

Boston Herald: Larry Bird turns 50 (photo gallery)

Boston Herald: A legend turns 50: Bird reflects on his milestone birthday

And, of course, there are the legendary taunts of opponents. From Wikipedia:

Bird's competitive nature is also shown through by his constant trash-talking on the court. Some notable examples:

* During one game on Christmas Day against the Indiana Pacers, before the game Bird told Chuck Person that he would give him a Christmas present. During the game, when Person was on the bench, Bird shot a three-pointer on the baseline right in front of Person. Immediately after the shot, Bird said to Person, "Merry fucking Christmas!", and the shot went in.

* During the three-point shooting contest on All-Star Weekend 1986, Bird told the competitors before the contest "I want all of you to know I am winning this thing. Who's playing for second (place)?" Bird indeed won the contest, and would also win in 1987 and 1988.

* In a game against the Seattle SuperSonics with the game all tied up, Bird told Supersonics forward Xavier McDaniel, who was guarding him, exactly where he would hit the game winning shot. After a timeout, Bird made two baseline cuts, then posted in the exact spot he had indicated to McDaniel, paused and turned and hit the shot in his face.

* On a night in 1984 versus Philadelphia where he was outscoring Julius Erving by a margin of 42–6, he continuously informed Erving of their tallies every chance he got, which resulted in first a shoving match, then swings taken by both players and culminated in a bench-clearing brawl.

Operation Ignore

The Iraq Study Group issued its report yesterday (I saw a caption of Bush holding the report on some blog yesterday with the caption "Iraq for Dummies").

It's not going to affect anything Bush does. Why?

Because, as Philip Slater says on HuffPo today, Bush is a lunatic:

One of the main reasons we should keep troops in Iraq, the neo-cons say, is that if we leave, it will de-stabilize the Middle East. This is hilarious, considering the fact that it was the Bush administration's boneheaded adventurism that has de-stabilized it already. Only a lunatic would think that bombing and invading a country, destroying its infrastructure, and firing its entire security force would bring stability to the region.

He's never leaving Iraq. All the studies in the world won't make him leave Iraq. Iraq is the next President's problem, and of course thousands of innocents will die for C+ Augustus to get his lunatic way.

A Day That WIll Live In Infamy

Today is the 65th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. The New York Times has a special section all about it, including articles never before published because of war censors, about the salvage operation after the attacks.

America Before Pearl Harbor - Early Kodachrome Images on dailykos has a beautiful set of photographs of pre-Pearl Harbor, pre-WWII America.

WaPo: One Last Mission for Ship Sunk in Pearl Harbor Attack
Scientists in Md. Hope Arizona Stability Study Might Aid Others

For 65 years, the wreck of the USS Arizona has been leaking oil from its grave at the bottom of Pearl Harbor, staining the water, visitors often say, as if it were the ship's blood.

The leaks come from about 500,000 gallons of thick, bunker C fuel oil that remain trapped in the deteriorating hulk -- oil whose "catastrophic" release experts now think is inevitable.

The Naval Historical Center has an overview, with photographs.
National Geographic also has a Pearl Harbor page, including a searchable archive of survivor's stories.

One of the pilots who defended Pearl Harbor died just after Thanksgiving:
LATimes: Kenneth M. Taylor, 86; Army Air Forces pilot shot down enemy planes after Pearl Harbor attack

Ken Taylor: The Reluctant Hero
tells his story.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Footie News

The many faces of Jurgen Klinsmann

FoxSports reports that Jurgen Klinsmann is to be the next USMNT coach. Let's hope so!

via duNord, Eurosport reports that Real Madrid has made a bid for Gooch, Oguchi Onyewu, our massive defender currently toiling for Standard Liege in Belgium. Real Madrid! Teammate of Beckham, von Nistelrooy, and Raul! My god, he could be playing next to Roberto Carlos. Another report we hope is correct.

From Who Ate All The Pies (it's an English thing), video of current England soccer players in their youth. Look for the Michael Owen goal about 3/4 of the way along - he scores from the kickoff. Oh, and Robbie Savage with a cameo as Little Lord Fauntleroy.

Clint Dempsey (The Deuce) has reportedly been offered a deal by Fulham FC, but is going to have to appeal for a work permit, as he doesn't have sufficient appearances for the US National Team to automatically qualify.

Reading, home of Americans Bobby Convey and Marcus Hahnemann, are 6th in the table in the EPL. They did have the highest point total ever in the Championship last season, but their start is amazing.

Dear Santa,

I want one of these.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Inconvenient News

A New Zealand frigate sails past the Ross Ice Shelf in 1999. An iceberg warning has been issued for ships in the Southern Ocean after more than 100 were sighted just south of New Zealand.(AFP/File)

New Zealand Herald, via Common Dreams: Massive Ice Shelf 'May Collapse without Warning'

The Ross Ice Shelf, a massive piece of ice the size of France, could break off without warning causing a dramatic rise in sea levels, warn New Zealand scientists working in Antarctica.


Antarctica stores 70 per cent of the world's fresh water, with the West Antarctic Ice Sheet holding an estimated 30 million cubic kilometres.

In January, British Antarctic Survey researchers predicted that its collapse would make sea levels rise by at least 5m, with other estimates predicting a rise of up to 17m.

Farewell The Mustache

WaPo: John Bolton Resigns as U.S. Ambassador to U.N.

Why? Because Harry Reid announced he would keep the Senate in session with no more than one week off. Bush wasn't going to be able to sneak another recess appointment through. Go Harry!

This Is My Brother

Jose Padilla, fitted with blacked-out goggles, was videotaped by the government when he was allowed outside solitary confinement to see a dentist.

Am I my brother's keeper?

Cain's words have come to symbolize people's unwillingness to accept responsibility for the welfare of their fellows — their “brothers” in the extended sense of the term.

The government's continued torture of Jose Padilla, AN AMERICAN CITIZEN, while he is held on trumped-up charges, is a national disgrace. He has been subjected to extreme sensory deprivation and is treated as though he were the fictional character Hannibal Lector. Lector is not only a fictional creature, in his fictional world, he's a convicted murderer. In the twisted Bushworld, innocent until proven guilty American citizen Padilla has been the subject of wild accusations by former Attorney General John Witchcroft in the court of public opinion. In actual court, he's charged with nothing more than vague and unsupported allegations of terrorist activity.

The Newsweek article reports that there is videotape of his interrogations. Like the pictures of Abu Ghraib, which when justice is finally served, these videotapes will be evidence in the trial of the people who tortured him.

Padilla is my brother. He's your brother, too. This could happen to any of us. The government decides you are a threat, and you are disappeared. This is the type of criminal behavior we associate with fascist dictatorships, not with the United States of America. We're not a beacon of freedom as long as we let atrocities like this occur without speaking up and dissenting from the government's abuse of its awesome power.

NYTimes: Video Is a Window Into a Terror Suspect’s Isolation

Glenn Greenwald: The ongoing national disgrace of lawless indefinite detentions

Digby: Breaking The Furniture

Newsweek: Courtroom Showdown
Accused terrorist Jose Padilla wants to describe how he was treated in a military brig. The government is trying to keep him quiet.

We Love Lists

TreeHugger's Green Gift Guide 2006

The list is still being compiled, so you can also check out the 2005 list. So far they have the 2006 lists for foodies and kids up.

Chambaware looks pretty cool.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

What Do the Himalayas and the Catskills Have in Common?

Flooding, Sullivan County, New York, June 2006

Guardian (uk) (via RawStory):
Nepal's farmers on the front line of global climate change
Himalayan communities face catastrophic floods as weather patterns alter

Khetbari expects a small flood every decade or so, but what shocked the village was that the two largest have taken place in the last three years. According to Mr Tamang, a pattern is emerging. "The floods are coming more severely more frequently. Not only is the rainfall far heavier these days than anyone has ever experienced, it is also coming at different times of the year."

NYTimes, Nov. 28, 2005: Dam at a Catskill Reservoir Needs Emergency Repair, City Says (TimesSelect Wall)

The Schoharie Valley was hit with 100-year-floods in 1955, 1987 and again in 1996, when the Schoharie Reservoir reached its all-time high water level, more than six and a half feet over the top of the dam. A flood in April nearly matched that, and the area was hit with record rainfall in October.

''Seems like we've got 100-year floods coming every nine years now,'' said Fred Risse, a local farmer whose land lies in the flood plain of the Schoharie Creek. ''What happens when we get another?''

TimesHerald Record, June 30, 2006: Dealing with the aftermath

Along the Susquehanna in Binghamton and Wilkes-Barre, Pa., the deluge was severe. And here in northern Sullivan County the it was the worst anyone could recall. In fact, one early assessment suggested the Upper Delaware Valley had witnessed the kind of flooding thought to occur only two or three times a millennium.

"This was definitely a record flood," said Ward Freeman, assist director of the U.S. Geological Survey's Weather Science Center in Troy. "In the Delaware, the levels were the highest we've seen since we've been keeping track."

The agency has had gauges along the Delaware for 56 years.

At least one flood gauge posted at the mouth of the Callicoon Creek reported the Delaware had reached its 500-year flood stage.