September 5, 2007 archive

Four at Four

The News at 4 o’clock. Four stories, only four, that are interesting or important. The headlines:

  1. B-52 mistakenly flies across America with nukes aboard

  2. New Zealand’s prime minister heads into APEC nuke showdown

  3. New fears for Congo gorillas as rebels seize Virunga reserve

  4. USGS Looking for Fossil Fuels in the Arctic

The stories are below the fold.

Blog Roll Call

Please give your suggestions for additions to the Blog Roll. 

Does anyone have any objections to the sites I have already listed?  (I have to include all the places buhdy cross-posts… not sure what they all are, but MLW is one of them)

Should we create more subsections, e.g. Politics, News, Take Action, Congress, Humor, etc.  (or put some of these in their own blox)?

Also, if you are a contributing editor here and I haven’t listed your alternate blog(s), I apologize. Please let me know the name and URL and I will add it.

My friend from Santa Rosalia, Baja

This is a slightly edited version of a story I did last year in July about a friend of mine. Juan didn’t go back to Baja after all past Christmas. He told me it would be too difficult to return here and he has few people left in Santa Rosalia now. He’d like to go back before he dies, though. That’s what he told me.

I haven’t seen Juan for almost four months – the longest it’s been since I met him years ago. When the weather gets cold here in Seattle, perhaps he will knock on my door.

Juan, I have more work for you, and a pot of coffee to brew.

There is a town by the name of Santa Rosalia on the Sea of Cortez, in Baja California.  When you hear a Santa Rosalia native say the name, the word “Rosalia” has the most lyrical and lovely sound, and you imagine the town as a woman, dark hair captured at the nape of a long and elegant neck, red rose behind the ear, smoky eyes. A sultry rolling “R”, a slightly flat “O”, and softer “S” – “Rosalia”.

Sunset at Santa Rosalia A story below the fold…

in Other news…

Welcome to a weekly news roundup of news related to the gay, lesbian, trans, and otherwise “other” community.  I haven’t yet decided on the final form for this kind of roundup, so suggestions are much appreciated:

  • September will be a busy month for pro-LGBT legislation.  The Senate is considering a Hate Crimes Prevention act (also known as “The Matthew Shepard Act“), which would allow the Justice Department to aid local law enforcement in crimes motivated by bigotry.  The text of this one seems a little too ambiguous to be comfortable: the Justice Department would be able to claim jurisdiction over local law enforcement if it feels the locals are “unwilling” to prosecute hate crimes.  Nonetheless, it has an impressive list of supporters.

See below for more…

Scheduling note

Admins and editors who haven’t signed in to docudharmaadmin, please do. And check it, every day. Ek has put up a weekly schedule, so you can see which slots are taken, and which are open. Once we go live, it will be important that everyone keep track of where they can fit their front page posts, so we aren’t stepping on each other, and aren’t leaving any dead slots.

ElBaradei: ‘We Are Moving Rapidly Towards an Abyss’

With tensions again building between the Bush Administration and the current regime in Iran, this would seem to be a good time to consult the world’s foremost objective expert on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.  Spiegel Online did just that, in a wide-ranging interview with United Nations chief weapons inspector, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mohamed ElBaradei.

SPIEGEL: Mr. ElBaradei, the international community suspects that Iran aims to build nuclear weapons. Tehran denies this. Have we now reached the decisive phase in which we will finally get an answer to this central question of world politics?

Mohamed ElBaradei: Yes. The next few months will be crucial for the overall situation in the Middle East. Whether we move in the direction of escalation or in the direction of a peaceful solution.

SPIEGEL: You have been given a central role. The new report on Iran by your International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) could lead to more severe sanctions against Tehran.

ElBaradei: The international community will have to make that decision. We can only deliver the facts and our assessment of the situation. There are hopeful and positive signs. For the first time, we have agreed, with the Iranians, to a sort of roadmap, a schedule, if you will, for clarifying the outstanding issues. We should know by November, or December at the latest, whether the Iranians will keep their promises. If they don’t, Tehran will have missed a great opportunity — possibly the last one.

Time Out

Meditations on Punishment

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Quote for Discussion

So, some of you may know that every once in a while, I throw up a diary on Daily Kos called “Quotes for Discussion”.  Sometimes the quote is from a play or a book, sometimes it is from the news or from history, and sometimes it is just the lyrics to a song or a bit from a comedian.

Anyways, I was thinking of doing it more regularly as a feature here.  But does anyone at all besides me have an interest in that?

Stalin the Statesman

Via Yglesias, comes a review by Andrew Bacevich of a revisonist history of Stalin. I find the review to be brilliant. I am curious to see what others here will think. Here is a piece:

Midnight Cowboying: What You Will Drive in Ten Years

The way you drive today will not be the way you travel in 10 years. Unfortunately, there will no be Jetson cars, lifter technology is still in its infancy. But by around 2012 a transformation will begin to happen to our infrastructure that will be a much needed breath of fresh air.

Follow me while I futurize:

Remarkable NY Times Analysis on Bush’s Iraq Trip

In a remarkable news analysis piece — not an editorial — David E. Sanger of the New York Times takes down President Bush’s Iraq visit with a series of haymakers.

Mr. Sanger begins by pointing out that Mr. Bush is trying to shift focus from the many failures of Iraq’s central government, to apparent shifts of allegeance among local leaders in Anbar province. 

From there:

News Analysis

Bush Shifts Terms for Measuring Progress in Iraq

Published: September 5, 2007

— snip —

By meeting with tribal leaders who just a year ago were considered the enemy, and who now are fighting Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a president who has unveiled four or five strategies for winning over Iraqis – depending on how one counts – may now be on the cusp of yet another.

— snip —

It was the White House and the Iraqi government, not Congress, that first proposed the benchmarks for Iraq that are now producing failing grades, a provenance that raises questions about why the administration is declaring now that the government’s performance is not the best measure of change.

The White House insists that Mr. Bush’s fresh embrace of Sunni leaders simply augments his consistent support of Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.

But some of Mr. Bush’s critics regard the change as something far more significant, saying they believe it amounts to a grudging acknowledgment by the White House of something these critics themselves have long asserted – that Iraq will never become the kind of cohesive, unified state that could be a democratic beacon for the Middle East.

— snip —

The scathing analysis continues for many paragraphs.  Mr. Sanger implies, by indirection, that Mr. Bush is cutting off Mr. Maliki.  By flying into Anbar province and not into Baghdad, Mr. Bush is as much as admitting that the central government is finished, and the American government gets to make that decision.

Mr. Sanger notes that Mr. Bush is quick to heap praise in superlatives upon the new favored Iraqi leaders.

Mr. Bush, of course, has had similar public praise for just about every Iraqi leader he has met, even a few leaders now disparaged by White House officials as unreliable, powerless or two-faced.


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