November 27, 2007 archive

Unrealized Potential – A Young Life Snuffed Out

Earlier this morning, a young, widely-misunderstood African-American man died from a bullet wound in a Miami, Florida hospital. Outside of the Washington, DC area and the close fraternity that is the National Football League and the city of Miami — where he was a star football player for the University of Miami Hurricanes — few people, outside of his family and close circle of friends, knew him well. Certainly not many in the media.  But his coaches and teammates loved him.  

His name was Sean Taylor and for the past 3 1/2 years, he played safety for my team, the Washington Redskins.

He was only twenty four years old.

Four at Four

Some afternoon news and Open Thread.

  1. The Los Angeles Times reports Defense War Secretary Robert Gates urges more funds for State Department. “Gates compared the yearly defense appropriation — at nearly $500 billion, not counting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — with an annual State Department budget of $36 billion. He noted that even with new hires, there are 6,600 career U.S. diplomats, or ‘less than the manning for one aircraft carrier strike group.'” In his lecture at Kansas State University, Gates said:

    We must focus our energies beyond the guns and steel of the military, beyond just our brave soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen. We must also focus our energies on the other elements of national power that will be so crucial in the coming years… Having robust civilian capabilities available could make it less likely that military force will have to be used in the first place, as local problems might be dealt with before they become crises.

    Despite the importance Gates placed on U.S. diplomacy, he promised that he will be asking for even more money for the defense war department next year.

  2. The Guardian reports Australia’s Prime Minister-elect, Kevin Rudd talks climate change with Al Gore. Rudd already plans to have Australia ratify Kyoto, isolating the United States, but he also plans to take a leadership role by personally attending the UN climate summit in Bali and help shape the successor treaty to Kyoto. Rudd said that he and Gore “talked a lot about climate change and some of the important things which need to be done globally. We will resume that conversation… in Bali over a strong cup of tea – or something stronger.”

    In related news, The Guardian reports Less than 10 years to change our ways, warns UN report. “The stark warning from the UN’s Human Development report… said climate change would hit the least-developed countries the hardest… Developed countries, the UN said, should cut emissions by at least 30% by 2020 and by 80% by 2050. Developing nations should cut emissions by 20% by the year 2050. The UN said the world must spend 1.6% of global economic output each year until 2030 to stabilise carbon levels and to limit a rise in global temperature to 2C [3.6F] to avoid the catastrophic impact of climate change.”

  3. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Around S.F. Bay, oiled birds still found nearly 3 weeks after spill. “About 2,150 birds have been found dead or have died at the bird rescue center since Nov. 7, the day the Cosco Busan crashed into the Bay Bridge and spilled 58,000 gallons of heavy bunker fuel oil. Bird experts figure that for every bird found dead or alive, about five to 10 others go unreported because they sink at sea, get eaten by predators or fly elsewhere. That would put the fatality number at up to 21,500 birds.”

  4. The Oregonian reports Oregon’s Coos Bay coal beds bubbling with gas. “The project is in the early exploration stage, and nothing is certain. Recovering the gas is a scientifically complex prospect made less certain by potentially deal-killing environmental concerns… A byproduct of drilling into the coal seams is underground water that is laced with copper, salts and other minerals. Before moving ahead on a large scale, Methane Energy will have to figure out what to do with hundreds of thousands of gallons of water without damaging drinking water supplies, the surrounding forest or sensitive salmon habitat of Coos Bay’s estuary… Last week, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality approved a five-year permit allowing 100,000 gallons to be dumped each day, which would cover water from as many as two dozen wells. The approval came despite concerns from local residents and environmental groups about the water’s effects on soil, plants and fish.”

Six more stories lurk below the fold.

Racist Rhetoric: Alleging Race Baiting

There is plenty of sanctimony in the Left blogs and this one is not immune, myself included.

I was accused of “race baiting” because of this post. You progressives may not be aware of this (oftentimes, self-styled progressives are clueless about race issues), but it is a common tactic of racists and Republicans to accuse someone who believes there is bigotry and racism revealed in particular circumstances of “race baiting.”

I became angry at the person who hurled that charge and accused him of being a racist. I think that, at the least, the person is racially insesnistive. I think, at the least, that those who took umbrage at my phrase while not remarking AT ALL at the charge of race baiting, are also racially insensitive.

Does that offend you “self styled” progressives? Tough shit. I have never been shy to call them as I see them on race issues. I won’t be shy here.

Consider your own attitudes and views. Do not be so sure that because you think of yourself as a “progressive” that you do not carry racial insensitivity with you.

And for the record, next person who accuses me of race baiting will be called a racist by me again. Why? To make you aware of what the main use of that smear is – to shut up anyone who thinks racism is an issue.

And yes, it is a BIG issue among self styled progessives too. What better proof than your total oblivious disregard for the charge of race baiting being hurled.

You don’t like my callout on this I am sure. I do not much like being called a race baiter. Even by progressives.

Democrats? about as real as the tooth fairy

I’d like to be enlightened please. Can anyone tell me what the Democrats have managed to do since November 2006? I mean can you tell me if they’ve done anything significant. Important. Like restore our Constitution? Habeas corpus?  Defunded the war in Iraq? Forced Rove to answer his supoena? Anybody???

Take the jump, if you care to…

Here Too?

You know what, I left Dkos because of a principle.  I couldn’t support the Dems and their torturing AG appointment.


I didn’t leave because Markos is the devil incarnate, and I left MyLeftWing when it turned into a “Markos is Evil” site.

Now, it seems the same lunatics are here.

I’m taking a break for awhile.  I really hope budhy is able to straighten things out here, I love docudharma, but I don’t have the mental energy to wade through anti-Markos screeds whenever I even mention Dkos in passing.

Israel Salanter, Sam Bennett, and the essence of progressivism

(cross posted from dailyKos)

What do a 19th century rabbi and a 21st century congressional candidate have in common?  They both exemplify the true meaning of progressivism.

Israel Salanter was a 19th century rabbi

Sam Bennett is a woman running for Congress

This morning, I wrote a diary on

Republican representatives in Democratic districts and, while researching it, ran across

Sam Bennett who is running for congress in PA-15.  She says, on her site

The Bush Administration seems to have things exactly backwards. Where government should be robust – protecting and caring for its citizens – they have made it weak. Where government should tread lightly, they have made it overbearing.

A long time ago, I wrote a diary on dailyKos called

The 25 best things ever said by anyone. My number 1 was from Rabbi Israel Salanter:

Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people’s souls, when we all ought to be worried about our own souls, and other people’s bellies

Aren’t those two quotes perfect?

Sam Bennett’s quote is 35 words.  Do they not sum up what is wrong?

Salanter’s quote is 26 words.  Do they not generalize that concern for the ages?

Are we progressives?

My soul is my business, thank you, and I would like the government not to tell me how to live my life – whom to worship (or how, or when, or if), or whom to love (male or female).  But everyone’s belly is everyone’s business, and, in this 21st century world, the government must help.  We no longer live, most of us, in small villages where everyone knows everyone.  We live in anonymous megalopolises.  

PS  My earlier diary did well on big O., and seems to have fallen into a void, here.  This one is going nowhere on daily Kos, but may be more appropriate here.

Political Positioning: Yelling Louder for Change

There are basically two stances you can take when doing internet activism: You can present well reasoned articulate non-confrontational arguments for your position and hope they get read by someone who matters, and also hope that your well reasoned articulate non-confrontational argument suddenly turns the light bulb on over their head and changes there thinking or their position.


You can YELL!!!

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The purpose of yelling is not to make the wheels turn in some Congressmember or aides head….it is to scare the holy crap out of them and make them do something or lose votes and money. It is to keep them honest and to keep them from drifting off course.

Pony Party, Happy Birthday Bill

Happy Birthday, Bill

Today, William Sanford Nye, know affectionately as “Bill Nye the Science Guy” turns 52.  

The 139th Anniversary of the Washita Massacre of Nov. 27, 1868

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The intent to commit genocide at Washita is hidden in plain view, unless key elements are brought together. These are: that the Cheyenne were placed on land where they would starve while promises to avert starvation were broken; that George Bent observed how Civil War soldiers did not harm white women and children by a “code of honor,” while Indian women and children were slaughtered; that Sheridan declared “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead;” and that the War Department did not differentiate between peaceful and warring Indians. Hence, the orders “to kill or hang all warriors.” As the consequence, the intent was to kill all men
of a specific race.

We’ll begin with Custer prior to the Washita Massacre along with the fact that the Cheyenne were forced onto land wherein they would starve.

Docudharma Times Tuesday Nov.27

This is an Open Thread: Open Carefully

Headlines for Tuesday November 27th: Hillary The Organized : GOP Comeback Climb Is Increasingly Steep: Stepped-up Army recruiting enlists many with problems: Iraqi police: US gunfire at bus kills 4


Stepped-up Army recruiting enlists many with problems

WASHINGTON – Two weeks ago, the Pentagon announced the “good news” that the Army had met its recruiting goal for October, the first month in a five-year plan to add 65,000 new soldiers to the ranks by 2012.

But Pentagon statistics show the Army met that goal by accepting a higher percentage of enlistees with criminal records, drug or alcohol problems, or health conditions that would have ordinarily disqualified them from service.

In each fiscal year since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, statisics show, the Army has accepted a growing percentage of recruits who do not meet its own minimum fitness standards. The October statistics show that at least 1 of every 5 recruits required a waiver to join the service, leading military analysts to conclude that the Army is lowering standards more than it has in decades.

A Huge Void in the Universe

Ground Control to Major Tom . . .

Astronomers working on the analysis of data being acquired by NASA’s WMAP (Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe) satellite announced that they found a huge void in the universe. The hole found in the constellation of Eridanus is about a billion light years across, which is roughly 10,000 times as large as our galaxy or 400 times the distance to Andromeda, the closest “large” galaxy.

I’m not a NASA scientist with a fancy Wilkinson Microwave Anistropy Probe, but I have an announcement to make anyway.  I hope NASA won’t be too annoyed at me for interrupting their distant stargazing, but I think they should know there’s a huge void in our universe much closer to home:

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In fact there are two huge voids in our little corner of the universe. They’re located within blocks of each other and have been time-warping the entire planet back to the Middle Ages ever since the Big Bang of 2001.  This catastrophe has been casually referred to in the media as Bush v. Gore, which is no surprise to bloggers like us–the Big Bang of 2001 only tore the very fabric of the space-time continuum to shreds, so it wasn’t likely to be noticed or reported accurately by the corporate media.

These voids at each end of Pennsylvania Avenue have been coexisting in a dual alternate universe where facts are nonexistent, sentient thought is extinct, and the Witches Must Be Burned Act just passed 445-1 in the House and 99-1 in the Senate.  See that figure up on top of the Capitol Dome?  The Goddess of Liberty used to be up there, but they took her down.  The Slut of Incumbency is up there now, the inhabitants of her domain worship her above all else.  

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Republican Reps in Democratic Districts (with poll)

cross posted to dailyKos

Today I have the first in a bunch of analytic diaries based on congressional districts. For each congressional district, I have:


Median Income

% in poverty

% veterans

% nonHispanic White

% nonHispanic Black

% Hispanic

Cook PVI

Below the fold, I look at Republican Reps in Democratic districts, based on Cook PVI

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