September 9, 2007 archive

Four at Four

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

  1. A story from The Jakarta Post picked up by AFP reports that “Indonesia is seeking access to some 72 migrant workers who have been kept at US military camps in Iraq despite the expiry of their employment contracts… The cooks, technicians and cleaners served 17-month contracts in the camps but have been there for more than 20 months” and “Indonesian officials had been seeking access to the workers for more than three months through US embassies”. “US officials initially denied the workers were being kept beyond their contracts”. Teguh Wardoyo, the foreign ministry’s director for the protection of Indonesian, said “the US military authorities are dependent on our workers and are afraid they won’t come back”.

  2. Polar bears are in deep water.While the ice is disappearing at a catastrophic rate, “polar bears – the very symbol of the Arctic’s looming environmental disaster – are crashing towards extinction as a result of global warming, the US government has found.” The Independent reports more on the appalling fate of the polar bear, symbol of the Arctic. “Campaigners know that climate change and pollution are the biggest threats to polar bear survival, but believe that stopping sports hunting is symbolically important… ¶ American hunters exploit a loophole in the Marine Mammal Protection Act that allows them to get licences to import polar bear trophies from Canada. Some 953 have been granted or applied for since 1994. [Democratic] Senator [John] Kerry is now co-sponsoring with Republican Senator Olympia Snowe a proposed Polar Bear Protection Act in the US Senate that would stop the skins being imported”. The Observer reports that thanks to climate change now one in four mammals under threat and “most dramatically” of all are the polar bears.

  3. McClatchy Newspapers report, as Brazil’s rain forest burns down, planet heats up. “As vast tracts of rain forest are cleared, Brazil has become the world’s fourth-largest producer of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, after the United States, China and Indonesia… ¶ And while about three-quarters of the greenhouse gases emitted around the world come from power plants, transportation and industrial activity, more than 70 percent of Brazil’s emissions comes from deforestation. ¶ Burning and cutting the forest releases hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide, methane and other gases that the vegetation had trapped.”

  4. The National Science Foundation has informed the the Arecibo Observatory, the largest and most sensitive radio telescope on Earth, that it must shutdown unless it can find at least $4 million dollars to keep it running. A story in the Washington Post, Radio Telescope And Its Budget Hang in the Balance, has the details. The observatory, located in Puerto Rico, “is the only facility on the planet able to track asteroids with enough precision to tell which ones might plow into Earth — a disaster that could cause as many as a billion deaths and that experts say is preventable with enough warning.”

One more story below the fold…


If you want to be knowledgeable about what goes on in Israel you have to read websites like Haaretz, Jerusalem Post, Forward, ynet and JTC everyday because you will not get a full picture from American newspapers or network & cable news. When I was writing diaries for daily kos, I read everyone and then some. For those of you that really care about Israel, I can’t imagine why you would not want to know the facts on the ground and keep informed.

Usually reading these papers are enough to get the picture. Sometimes I go to papers like Palestinian Chronicle or al jazeer, but I find plenty of stories just from the Israeli papers

Bin Laden’s Back and Bush Is To Blame

Every time Osama bin Laden’s vile visage reappears on America’s television screens, the pundits hyperventilate with excited anticipation of the political benefits for Bush. John Kerry blames his 2004 defeat on bin Laden’s sudden reappearance, on tape, in the days before the election. The calcified conventional wisdom persists that when Americans are reminded of bin Laden and terrorism, they quiver in fear and cower for the cover of their big bad Republican protectors. This is, of course, at best, absurd. In 2004, some right wing shrillmongers even insisted that bin Laden was openly hoping for a Kerry victory. That exact presumptive political calculus actually explains bin Laden’s true motives.

When Bush needs a boost, bin Laden is there to lend a hand. Bin Laden is no fool, and he understands the foolishness of the American media. He understands that they will comply with his true desire, which is to bolster Bush and to help facilitate the continuance of Bush’s national security policies. Unlike the idiots in the American punditocracy, bin Laden is mockingly confident that whatever Bush does will be to bin Laden’s benefit. Never in American history has an American administration’s ineptitude so consistenly benefited America’s enemies.

Once again, because they need be continually explicated, these are the facts:

On Learning to Fly

Here’s an interesting take on the history of black/white relations in the US from Ampersand at Alas! A Blog.

I think this cartoon makes a powerful statement about how the game is played these days. But its all about climbing over each other to get to some destination where the table has already been set by the guys in charge. I was reminded of all this by a comment keres made in a diary at Booman Tribune.Here’s what she said:

PONY PARTY… it’s an OPEN CORRAL, i mean forum


You know, I only have so much material. To be entertaining that is. You know how I found this out? Babysitting my nephew. When he was around 3-years-old. A three-year-old knows everything and everything they know is correct. Did you know that? It’s true.

But I am limited and finite. And so was my ability to sing songs, play with blocks, talk funny, and make up stories. It was humbling, I have to admit, to know I could only go toe-to-toe with a toddler for about an hour and a half… at most.


The kid did teach me some things, though. He helped me to forget being a grown up when I was with him. He helped me to remember lots of kid stuff in general… songs i used to sing and books i used to love. And he gave me something hard to explain: the understanding that giving is a completing act.

Love that kid and his brother… the baby of our family will be my next story… what are your babysitting stories???

America Dreaming

Chips and Cancer: Who Knew?

The AP published a story by Todd Lewan which is full of descriptions all sorts of problems with public safety, science and ethics in the US. Underlying it all is the active resistance to both governmental and private organizations and individuals to do the right thing. Over and over and over, known problems are hidden from view, and appointed government officials jump from their positions where they have oversight and regulatory authority to the very organizations for which they were charged to oversee on behalf of the public interest and safety.

Pony Party… hey this is an OPEN THREAD

It’s Sunday… almost, anyway. But I’m not actually here here, as you read this. I’m setting this to auto-publish at 9am and, because I plan to lie in as my dutchman says, it’ll only seem like i’m here, which of course i’m not.

And because it’s an open thread, I don’t actually need to be here with you.

But YOU need to be here.

To Parents & Teachers from a kid

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
From Truth & Progress
Dear Teachers and parents,

I just read the most upsetting story about 2/3 of polar bears being gone in 40 years this morning, and was so upset, that I’m even more motivated to get this project off the ground–or on the ground, as the case may be. So far, I think I’ve spoken to every teacher and principal within my reach, so I really appreciate you allowing me to expand my reach to the blogosphere. 

Unlike most kids my age, it seems that I was born with a deep appreciation for our environment.  My mom’s been trying to clean up a coal and oil burning power plant about a mile from my house since I was a toddler.  Then she went back to school to learn more about energy and environmental policy, pretty much bringing the whole family along, so without realizing it, I have learned a few things too.  But something has happened recently that put me in motion. 

Global warming is looking so much worse than anyone had imagined.  Kids are learning this at school and they’re scared and upset.  They try to conserve, but they can’t vote and nobody really listens to them.  And worse, they’re about to inherit this mess.
Here’s what I had in mind. 

Messing with your minds.

I have changed exactly 2 settings tonight.

I’ve changed the Blox headers to OTB Maroon.

This echos the maroon in the eyes

I’ve changed the blockquote background to a very light yellow, hopefully echoing the gold of the Buddha while evoking our Revolutionary Blue and Patriot Buff.

It’s very contrasty, but I can hear the fifes and drums marching.

We could maybe go a little golder.

saturday evening poetry and whatnot diary

Good evening all.

It is a warm Saturday evening here in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

I am liking the look of this community so far, very promising indeed.

In the spirit of sharing and creativity, I thought I would share a few of the things (poems and whatnot) that I have done lately.

I would love to hear your thoughts and if you, the reader, could share some of your own works.

Or, even if you want to share a youtube video that caught your attention recently, it’s all good.

How to be a more effective irrational pressure group

This is, obviously, prompted by my discussions with Armando on the role of the netroots.  I’m happy to see this debated on Big Orange.  I would not pursue this effort because I think it’s doomed to fail, but for those of you who think that defunding is attainable — rather than just something to support for (ugh) Overton Window-sliding reasons — I’d love to see this happen, because I think it’s the way you could truly be most effective.  YMMV.  And yes, the title is provocative, but meant affectionately.

This diary is not affiliated with any candidate or campaign.
And take a look at how to celebrate Constitution Day, Sept. 17, here.

People have got to learn the word “exogenous“: “an action or object coming from outside a system.”  If you don’t understand the concept, you will not be much of an activist.

Politics — from within the system and outside of it — is largely about finding the levers of power.  Think about that analogy of a lever for a moment.  A lever is something you can grasp, exert force on, and change something.  If you exert something on something that you can’t grasp or exert force on, you’re not going to change anything.

Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are not exogenous in the Iraq debate.  The fire we aim at them is misplaced.  More below.

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