October 14, 2007 archive

Eye On The Sky

*all photos courtesy of NASA

Keep a fire burning in your eye
Pay attention to the open sky
You never know what will be coming down

from Jackson Browne’s For A Dancer

Of the many strange episodes that have played themselves out in the course of my life, one of the more interesting was the two and a half years I spent working on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope (HST) project.


Four at Four

OPEN THREAD, this is. Hmmmmmm… Four stories, there are. Yes. Get you started, they will. Hmmmmm…?

  1. Elizabeth Bumiller reports for The New York Times that At an Army school for officers, there is blunt talk about Iraq.

    As the war grinds through its fifth year, Fort Leavenworth has become a front line in the military’s tension and soul-searching over Iraq. Here at the base on the bluffs above the Missouri River, once a frontier outpost that was a starting point for the Oregon Trail, rising young officers are on a different journey — an outspoken re-examination of their role in Iraq…

    Officers were split over whether Mr. Rumsfeld, the military leaders or both deserved blame for what they said were the major errors in the war: sending in a small invasion force and failing to plan properly for the occupation.

    But the consensus was that not even after Vietnam was the Army’s internal criticism as harsh or the second-guessing so painful, and that airing the arguments on the record, as sanctioned by Leavenworth’s senior commanders, was part of a concerted effort to force change…

    Much of the debate at Leavenworth has centered on a scathing article, “A Failure in Generalship,” written last May for Armed Forces Journal by Lt. Col. Paul Yingling, an Iraq veteran and deputy commander of the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment who holds a master’s degree in political science from the University of Chicago. “If the general remains silent while the statesman commits a nation to war with insufficient means, he shares culpability for the results,” Colonel Yingling wrote…

    One question that silenced many of the officers was a simple one: Should the war have been fought?


Below the fold is the rest of today’s Four at Four: terrorist training in Pakistan, “Guns of Greed”, and a story about flying in a Zeppelin.

Halloween Suggestions

For all of you who revel in the opportunity to celebrate All Hallows Eve by donning a scary costume and frightening the living shit out of your more reactionary friends, I offer the following costume suggestion.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Fly My Pretties!

Hurry though, this costume only has two more uses before it becomes obsolete.

Pony Party: Sunday music retrospective

Two Women

Sandie Shaw: Those were the days

America the Ugly

America the Beautiful

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
–Katharine Lee Bates

It’s a great song.  But times have changed…

Al Gore Won’t Run: Anatomy of a Meme

Crossposted at  dailykos and Truth and Progress
The conventional wisdom that Gore “won’t run” spread almost immedately, starting on the night BEFORE the Nobel Prize announcement. Interestingly enough, that opening salvo came not from the usual suspects on the Right, but from the Hillary camp, via an emissary by the name of Dan Gerstein, on Thursday’s night’s broadcast of MSNBC’s Hardball). But could the facts be more inconvenient, hence more threatening, to all those now pushing the status quo? 

Stripped: Love in Vain

Just because it reminded me of something…

Here’s some good Sunday morning staring out the window while sipping hot coffee and scratching Magic (the cat) music:

I’ll bet it reminds you of something too.

Pony Party: Sunday music retrospective

Ricky Nelson

Lonesome Town

Misplaced Priorities: Cancer of the Attitude?

Updated: Originally posted at Talkleft & Edgeing February 2007

Since the story of a cheap safe cancer cure first broke on Jan 23 in NewScientistdotCom, virtually NO US mainstream media has picked up on and reported the story.

Google news searchs on “dichloroacetate” now produce only 9 hits this morning (compared to 59 hits in February). Contrast that to 15,433 news search hits this morning on “al-qaeda”, for a bit of perspective. Cancer is a killer disease affecting millions of people every year, so the ignoring of this story cannot be due to any “lack of interest”.

It sounds almost too good to be true: a cheap and simple drug that kills almost all cancers by switching off their “immortality”. The drug, dichloroacetate (DCA), has already been used for years to treat rare metabolic disorders and so is known to be relatively safe.

It also has no patent, meaning it could be manufactured for a fraction of the cost of newly developed drugs.

Evangelos Michelakis of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and his colleagues tested DCA on human cells cultured outside the body and found that it killed lung, breast and brain cancer cells, but not healthy cells.

We Didn’t Start the Fire

Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” was featured on his album Storm Front, which was released in 1989.  Since then, the fire he wrote about has spread, many new fires have been ignited, and not very many have been put out.  So I’ve written updated lyrics and am posting this video of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” for those who may not be familiar with the song. 

Sunday Morning News

It’s an Open Thread: Play Nice

Brothers and sisters of the soul unite
We are one, indivisible and strong
They may try to break us
But they dare not underestimate us
They know our memories are long


For many black women, it’s Clinton or Obama?
Loyalties tested in S.C. as voters contemplate Democratic primary
By Katharine Q. Seelye
Updated: 5:30 a.m. ET Oct. 14, 2007

LORIS, S.C. – In the beauty parlors that are among the social hubs for black women in the Carolinas, loyalties are being tested as voters here contemplate the first Democratic primary in the South.

Clara Vereen, who has been working here in rural eastern South Carolina as a hairstylist for more than 40 of her 61 years, reflects the ambivalence of many black women as she considers both Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

$4.5 million for a boat that nobody wanted

By David Heath and Hal Bernton

Seattle Times staff reporters
Tucked away on Seattle’s Portage Bay, a sleek, 85-foot speedboat sat idle for years – save for an annual jaunt to maintain its engine.

The Navy paid $4.5 million to build the boat. But months before the hull ever touched water, the Navy gave the boat to the University of Washington. The school never found a use for it, either.

Why would the Navy waste taxpayer dollars on a boat that nobody wanted?

It may not be a bridge yet it still didn’t go anywhere.

Neo-Cons Terrified of Bush-PKK

Joseph Ralston: the former Nato Supreme Commander and Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was supposed to prevent a Turkish invasion of Iraq. As I noted in my preceding diaries on Ralston, here and here, Bush appointed Ralston one year to prevent the building crisis threating to engulf the region.

Neo-cons are freaking because they know that Bush support for PKK terror is actually making it harder for the US to attack Syria and Iran…

The MSM is clueless. How clueless? Fox and the Wapo ran identical stories, neither noting that Ralston ran away from  his responsibilities months ago

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