September 14, 2007 archive

Friday Philosophy: The Closet

The Closet is a scary place, filled with gremlins and goblins and things that go bump in the night.  I lived there until I was 44.  Or maybe I didn’t.

Maybe it’s all a matter of point of view.

Recently I have been expressing my displeasure about people talking about “self-loathing, in the closet gays.”  Sure, they have couched it in terms of Republicans, but political party doesn’t change the adjectives which have been used.  They still hurt.

They still have displayed how much little understanding there is of people who are different in fundamental ways from others.

So do the gay jokes.  Or rather, the anti-gay jokes.  My ears don’t hear any difference.

When Confidence Stumbles

The past few weeks there have been lots of discussions about the dissatisfaction with the Democrats. We elected them to do a job and the damn well should have done it. Nope, they dumped us over board and left us afloat and we’re pissed. Now we are trying to figure out what to do next.

In keeping with that theory, I wrote something back in the spring of 2006 for my personal blog, that came back to remind me of how we have two choices: give up or swim.

So I’m offering the parable of the Tuolumne River…at flood stage: 13,200 cfs for 17 miles – Class V from start to finish. Swimming or not…real time…

For comparison: this picture is of the Upper Klamath at Class IV. And yes I’m in the front of the boat…on the right side as you’re looking at the pic!


Hey, why am I the only one yelling?

Bob Fertik stopped yelling.

David Swanson stopped yelling.

Buhdy stopped yelling.

OPOL stopped yelling

Sheehan and Yearwood are yelling about the war.

Should I stop yelling too or YELL LOUDER!!!!!?

All politics is cosmic

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.
  – John Donne, Meditation XVII

We the People  of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
  – Constitution of the United States of America

We’re all in this together.
  – High School Musical

Bush’s Prime Directive

(cross-posted at DK… )

I have seen the light.  Everything he says makes perfect sense.  Really.  You just have to unnerstand, ya hear?

If you wrap your mind around the Prime Directive of:

  Accumulate money for family and friends at any and all costs. can then understand the cornerstones of his overarching action plan:

  1. Control oil, as much as possible, which long term requires that you maintain:

  2. regional (mideast) military domination presence within close striking distance of anyone who dare assert any actual sovereignty over it which will enable the fringe benefit of:

  3. enriching the military industrial complex management base which in turn requires:

  4. consolidation of powers in the US to fend off pesky libruls that catch on to the plan and dare notice the plight of most of the people in the US.

The largest economy in the world (US) is and has been based on petroleum.  Every sector spends money to buy petroleum products.

Controleum the Petroleum, and you will own the money spigot.

Four at Four

This is an OPEN THREAD, but it also features four stories in the news at 4 o’clock. It’s like trying to dunk a donut by grasping it by the ears.

  1. Bush and Abu RishaThe headline of the The Independent today reads: FATAL ATTRACTION — “Last week: George Bush flew into Iraq to meet Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, leader of Anbar province. This week: General David Petraeus told the US Congress how Anbar was a model for Iraq. Yesterday: Abu Risha was assassinated by bombers in Anbar.” From the story, “Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha and two of his bodyguards were killed either by a roadside bomb or by explosives placed in his car by a guard, near to his home in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar, the Iraqi province held up by the American political and military leadership as a model for the rest of Iraq. ¶ His killing is a serious blow to… Bush and the US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, who have both portrayed the US success in Anbar, once the heart of the Sunni rebellion against US forces, as a sign that victory was attainable across Iraq.” The Washington Post gives news of the Abu Risha assassination equal billing to Bush’s televised speech. According to the Post, “Bush, during a visit to Anbar last week, met with Abu Risha and said the province suggested ‘what the future of Iraq can look like.’ Abu Risha was regarded by Americans as a rare leader willing to stand defiantly alongside U.S. forces, while able to both cajole and intimidate his fellow Sunnis into agreement.” The headline for The New York Times? Bush Says Success Allows Gradual Troop Cuts. The NYT places their story about the assassination beneath Bush’s propaganda speech, which according to the Times “Iraqi and American officials were caught off guard by the assassination, which came just hours before Mr. Bush addressed the American people about his plans for Iraq… In his speech, Mr. Bush acknowledged the killing.” The front pages of the three newspapers are shown below the fold.

  2. The International Herald Tribune reports that cracks now appear in allied coalition in Afghanistan. “The coalition established to stabilize Afghanistan after the ouster of the Taliban by U.S. forces in 2001 is weakening as countries fighting in the volatile south criticize the lack of military support from other NATO allies, defense officials said Thursday. ¶ Britain, Canada and the Netherlands face crucial decisions on whether to renew their commitments in the increasingly violent region where the Dutch contingent now commands alliance forces fighting a growing resurgence by Taliban and Al Qaeda forces. ¶ The intensifying debate in Europe comes as disarray in Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party following the resignation of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is likely to interrupt and perhaps end the Japanese naval force’s six-year participation in Afghanistan.” Plus DW-World is reporting that EU’s Afghan training mission hampered by fresh troubles and “Brigadier General Friedrich Eichele is returning to Germany just months after he was appointed to head the EU training mission in Afghanistan.”

  3. According to BBC News, the US chief scientist has told the BBC that climate change is now a fact. “Professor John Marburger, who advises President Bush, said it was more than 90% certain that greenhouse gas emissions from mankind are to blame. The Earth may become ‘unliveable’ without cuts in CO2 output, he said, but he labelled targets for curbing temperature rise as ‘arbitrary’… ¶ There may still be some members of the White House team who are not completely convinced about climate change…” He’s told the BBC, but will he tell Bush? More importantly will Cheney let him and will Bush even care? While the Bush administration is slowly waking from its global warming denial, Spiegel Online investigates what will become of Tuvalu’s climate refugees? “International legal experts are discovering climate change law, and the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu is a case in point: The Polynesian archipelago is doomed to disappear beneath the ocean. Now lawyers are asking what sort of rights citizens have when their homeland no longer exists… ¶ Environmentalists have long worried about the fate of this tiny Pacific state. Now, however, international legal experts have also taken up the topic of its imminent demise. A nation’s ‘territorial integrity’ is one of the paramount legal principles. It’s unprecedented, however, for a country to completely lose its territory without the use of military force… ¶ Since it joined the United Nations in 2000, the island nation has managed to place its concerns high on the organization’s agenda. Its efforts seem to have borne fruit: Tuvalu is now regarded as a prime example of just how much damage climate change can do to a country.”

  4. News from the Los Angeles Times today that after a long delay, Japan launches their lunar orbiter. “Taking advantage of a lull in rainy weather, the Kaguya orbiter lifted off from Tanegashima island in southern Japan, propelled by a domestically built H-2A solid-fuel rocket. Its 21-day trip to the moon begins a yearlong mission that Japan’s civilian space agency, known as JAXA, is promoting as the most significant lunar expedition since America’s Apollo program of the 1960s and early ’70s.” The Guardian reports that “the successful launch of the 55bn yen Kaguya was greeted with relief among space officials. The agency was forced to cancel the planned launch of another lunar probe in 2004 after repeated mechanical and financial setbacks.” America should have never abandoned the Moon in the first place.

A little more below the fold…

Free Beer and Everybody Gets Laid

(Xposted at DK, as a cheap PR tactic)

This Dinette set could be yours!


A full set of Encyclopedia Brittanica!

But don’t order yet! We will also send you six steak knives!

How about not going down in history as abetting a war crime and ethnic cleansing?

How about keeping your frikking jobs?

Hey Congress….HEY AMERICA!!!

What is it going to take?

Fred Thompson Can’t Remember His Shiavo Law & Order Episode

Poor Grandpa Fred, he has no idea where he is or what he is doing. Thank god that trophy wife of his helps pull his puppet strings all day, or he might just sit in a chair all day demanding more go-carts on his pancakes. But now that they have trotted the zombie remains of Ronald Reagan out on the road and into the public sphere, let the gaffes begin!

Today Grandpa Fred was in Florida, where he signed autographs, and unfortunately talked to the cameras.

Friday fun around the webs

To accompany the release of the Red List, a few videos of what we
stiil have left of the web of life. Some you’ve seen before.

You need to watch this first one very intently to catch the surprise.

Before I forget, I wanted to point everyone to emPivot. It is a site
and community about specifically green videos, which are lost in the
shuffle at Youtube, etc. Note that it is not a rah rah site but a
resource site: you can find the denialist film The Great Golbal
Warming Swindle
there, and a comprehensive debunking of it:
Scam of the ‘Great Global Waming Swindle’.

Here’s an octopus with a novel trick for confusing predators:


Often left wing bloggers describe themselves as progressives, shying away from the L word–liberal, and that upsets me.  Saint R Reagan succeeded in making “liberal” a dirty word and instead of fighting back, too many moved on.  Well, I’m a freakiin liberal–a proud liberal, an unambiguous liberal, a fanatic liberal, a civil rights liberal, a human rights liberal, an environmental liberal, and a drinking liberal.

Nadler Follow Up

Love the concept of two diaries per day – rather than add this to the long essay I posted last night, I can now publish another.  Very cool, Buhdy and crew!

Anyway, just received this in an email from a friend and constituent of Nadler re the Gonzales resignation.  He received it from Nadler’s office today.  Hmmm, wonder if he knew we were talking about him?  😉

Check out his closing statement.

Is It As Hopeless As ‘The Long Emergency’ Says It Is?

NB. Likely to be cross-posted other places, but you heard it here first.

What is “It”? Well, America’s future.

James H. Knustler’s The Long Emergency (also Wikipedia) presents a very bleak picture of the future for much of America over the century ahead.

Broadly breaking the US into five regions, the Southwest will be quite possibly taken back by Mexico and in any event largely depopulated, the Southeast will descend into neo-feudalism, the Inland West (mountains and great plains north of the Southwest) will be massively depopulated returning to migratory bands of subsistence hunters, and the Pacific Northwest faces the risk of being preyed on by voracious Asian pirates.

Only the “Old Union” has a plausible prospect for surviving more or less intact, though living at an 18th century standard of living modestly improved by some of the most robust of scientific advances, like the knowledge that infection is causes by microbes.

Fortunately for my peace of mind, the organization of the book let me into the most substantial flaw in Knustler’s argument well in advance of the start of painting this grim picture, and so the understanding that, “it will probably be bad, but at least it doesn’t have to be this bad” was the silver lining to working through his dark picture.

… meet you after the fold.

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