September 8, 2007 archive

The Sydney Distraction on Climate Change

or, as Alexander Downer himself calls it, a political stunt.

All Hail Market Based Policy!

All Hail the Status Quo!

All Hail the Sydney Declaration on Climate Change!

Bush, far right in the photograph, seems so exhausted by his trip to OPEC or Austria or wherever the hell it was that he can’t even lift up his paw in time with the rest. You can almost hear the photographer: your other right, Mr. President.

Let’s make sure we’ve got our priorities straight right off the bat:

The pursuit of climate change and energy security policies must avoid introducing barriers to trade and investment.

Economic growth, a recurring subject in the text, is mentioned before climate change in the very first sentence. Sounds like a good plan: endless economic expansion, with no piper to pay.

Four at Four

Four stories in the news at 4 o’clock. Simple, huh?

  1. According to The Telegraph, Britain is set to withdraw 500 troops from Iraq. “Britain will withdraw 500 troops from southern Iraq over the next few months, the Ministry of Defence said today. The announcement comes six days after 550 British troops pulled back from Basra Palace, handing security over to Iraqi forces… ¶ It added that further reductions in manpower would be implemented in the coming months as part of ongoing reviews.”

  2. In a surprise to probably no one, The New York Times reports that F.B.I. data mining went beyond targets. “The F.B.I. cast a much wider net in its terrorism investigations than it has previously acknowledged by relying on telecommunications companies to analyze phone-call and e-mail patterns of the associates of Americans who had come under suspicion, according to newly obtained bureau records. ¶ The documents indicate that the F.B.I. used secret demands for records to obtain data not only on the person it was targeting but also details on his or her ‘community of interest’ — the network of people that the target in turn was in contact with. The F.B.I. recently stopped the practice in part because of broader questions raised about its aggressive use of the records demands, which are known as national security letters…”

  3. Bleak outlook for polar bears, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. “The polar bear population could be reduced by two-thirds by mid-century, if forecasts of melting sea ice hold true, the US Geological Survey has reported. ¶ The fate of polar bears could be bleaker than that estimate, because sea ice in the Arctic might be vanishing faster than the models predict, the geological survey said in a report to determine if the big white bear should be listed as a threatened species… ¶ That means that polar bears – about 16,000 of them – will disappear by 2050 from the north coasts of Alaska and Russia, where sea ice is melting most rapidly, researchers said. By century’s end, polar bears might be contained to the Canadian Arctic islands and west coast of Greenland.” But, maybe not Greenland, see this story from The Guardian, Melting ice cap triggering earthquakes.

  4. Not only are the polar bears going, but The Independent reports our national parks have been hit by global warming. “The Bush administration has again been criticised for failing to tackle climate change, which is rapidly transforming America’s national parks, forests and marine sanctuaries… ¶ This week, the Government Accountability Office criticised the President for failing to show leadership in tackling the problems. ‘Without such guidance, the ability to address climate change and effectively manage resources is constrained,’ it warned.

One more story below the fold…

A Tribute to God’s Own Outlaw Journalist – Hunter S. Thompson

I have recently had more than one occasion to quote from the inimitable Hunter S. Thompson, a favorite writer from back in the day who is recently deceased from a lethal overdose of harsh reality. 

I was just a sprout when I read Hell’s Angels, Thompson’s first major commercial success.  I found the writing extremely entertaining, the author’s skill with language uncanny.  I had no idea that he was just getting warmed up for what would become a phenomenal gale of journalistic and literary hyper-excellence the likes of which the world had never seen.  By the sheer power of his writing he lifted himself into a whole new category in which he remains the sole member.  We’ll not likely see another like him.


Social Justice

Wasn’t feeling very inspired yesterday when I wrote my weekly piece here at Docudharma.  And it showed.

andgarden made a comment that wasn’t very tactful perhaps, but was deadly accurate:

I mostly agree, but

I hope it will be something new and different, that we’ll all find a way to change the paradigm of how we speak to each other as Americans.  I hope we’ll talk about social justice, the deep primal human needs that percolate through our sophisticated and civilized minds and find their finest expression in laws, laws that apply to everyone equally.

seems just a tad bombastic. I’m just here to pass the time. And, you know, maybe force the establishment to see the error of their ways–if that’s possible.

And that is true.  I was being more than a tad bombastic.  It’s hard sometimes to get down to the real feelings on this.  The very term “social justice” is a ponderous and bombastic couple of words.

So I’m gonna try again, leaving out the bombast, I hope, and reaching more for the nitty gritty.

Reflections on Madeleine

Because you’re not what I would have you be, I blind myself to who, in truth, you are.

Madeleine L’Engle died this past Thursday. The New York Times and The Washington Post published moving obituaries, and others’ memoriams are beginning to make appearances on the internet.

Is this going to be on the test?

I’ve been a teacher for 31 years.

Never in any of that time was it not the case that students wanted me to teach to the test.  “Is this going to be on the test?” is the single most asked question I have received.  If I were to tell the students the material was not on the test, the majority would have tuned out immediately.

There have been the few…a very thin layer indeed…who have actually wanted to learn the material deeply, who asked, “Why?” and weren’t content with “Because.” as an answer.  I have cherished each of those students.  They are the reason I have been able to come back to teach every year.  It is for them that I refuse to give up.

Hard and Fast Launch Date

Wednesday: 11:45 A.M. EDT ~~ 2:45 PDT (depending on the HTML Dieties of course)

Any objections?

The reasoning, competing with 9/11 and the Petraeus crap makes no sense.

It takes the pressure of re me being hooked up or not, and gives our fine blog tuners more time to get it where they want it.

The site is really looking great by the way!!!

PONY PARTY. . . stuff to do, part II

Here are some are some things moving westward…

so, what do you like to do???

chit chat about anything…

On Iraq: Richardson’s Selfish Op-Ed

WaPo has a deceptive title on Bill Richardson’s Op Ed piece. They call it “Why We Should Leave Iraq Now.” It should be called “Watch Richardson Try TO Exploit ‘Differences’ on 2009 Iraq Policy and NOT Talk About Leaving Iraq Now.” Read the first three grafs of the piece:

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards have suggested that there is little difference among us on Iraq. This is not true: I am the only leading Democratic candidate committed to getting all our troops out and doing so quickly.

In the most recent debate, I asked the other candidates how many troops they would leave in Iraq and for what purposes. I got no answers. The American people need answers. If we elect a president who thinks that troops should stay in Iraq for years, they will stay for years — a tragic mistake.

Clinton, Obama and Edwards reflect the inside-the-Beltway thinking that a complete withdrawal of all American forces somehow would be “irresponsible.” On the contrary, the facts suggest that a rapid, complete withdrawal — not a drawn-out, Vietnam-like process — would be the most responsible and effective course of action.

The fact that there is a Congressional debate in Congress NOW on Iraq does not enter Richardson’s thinking in the least. I do not know about you, but I truly detest what Richardson is doing here, selfishly trying to make political hay for himself at the expense of the real issue NOW – the Congressional debate on Iraq. Richardson is my least favorite candidate right now.

What is it like to be learning disabled?

(reposted from Daily Kos)
Being learning disabled sucks.  But it doesn’t completely suck.  It’s not like I’m a Republican or something.

Being LD defines me, but it doesn’t completely define me.  I’m LD.  I’m also a liberal, a Jew, an atheist.  A man, a husband, a father.  An American.  A New Yorker.  Most of all, like all of you, a human.  Humans are complex.

So, below the fold, I talk about what it’s like to be me, what it’s like to be LD, and, most specifically, what it’s like to be LD me.  I don’t talk much about my politics, my religion, my ideas, and so on.  But don’t get the idea that LD is the most important thing in my life – it isn’t.  It’s just the most important thing in this diary.

And don’t get the idea that every LD person feels the way I do about being LD.  They don’t.  Some feel the way I do; some are angrier.  Some are less angry.  And LDs differ a lot.  I’ve got nonverbal learning disability, and even we NLDers vary.  A lot.  We say

  When you’ve seen one person with NLD, you’ve seen one person with NLD

enough preamble!  Follow me below the fold

The Spirit of Goyathlay (“one who yawns”), or Geronimo

An elder told me that the Navaho took Geronimo’s bones and gave them a proper burial before the U.S. Army only thought that he remained buried at Fort Sill after they buried him there. I told her I had been to the grave site. She asked me, “Did it feel like he was in there?” “No,” I said. “They ‘buried’ him in the grave stone by stone, so he wouldn’t ever come back,” she said. I personally don’t believe he is at Fort Sill, and I don’t believe this either –

Whose Skull and Bones?

“The skull of the worthy Geronimo the Terrible, exhumed from its tomb at Fort Sill by your club & the K — t [Knight] Haffner, is now safe inside the T — [Tomb] together with his well worn femurs[,] bit & saddle horn.”

Geronimo died in 1909, that letter was in 1918, and Geronimo’s great-grandson wrote Bush about that letter.Curiously, that all makes me wonder – “Why didn’t they want him to come back from his (alleged) grave?”

PONY PARTY. . . stuff to do, part I

Good morning all… for this PONY PARTY… I thought that, in the event any of you do have a life in the REAL world, it might be fun to point towards some events going on on the EAST COAST.

For today’s noon PONY PARTY, I’ll hit a few midwest and left coast goings on…

So… what do you do on your Saturday mornings????

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