November 30, 2007 archive

Four at Four

Some news and the Friday afternoon open thread.

  1. A new international ranking of the science ability of 15 year olds has been conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The study found the United States is below average and ranks a dismal 29th of the 57 countries evaluated. Finland, Hong Kong, and Canada were rated the top three countries on the science scale. (Hat tip The Great Beyond – the Nature blog.)

  2. The Guardian reports Russia pulls out of NATO arms pact. “President Vladimir Putin has withdrawn Russia from a key post-cold war international arms treaty, paving the way for the deployment of Russian forces closer to Europe. The withdrawal of Russian participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty was signed into law today. The United States, the European Union and Nato had urged Putin not to suspend the treaty, seen as a cornerstone of European security.”

  3. The Globe and Mail reports Taser firms picked up coroner’s lecture tab. “Taser International and another company closely linked to the manufacturer have paid the way for Ontario’s deputy chief coroner to lecture at their conferences on the phenomenon of ‘excited delirium,’ a medically unrecognized term that the company often cites as a reason people die after being tasered. James Cairns… publicly advocates the use of the stun gun, has become one of the top Canadian experts Taser officials turn to for help shoring up public support for their products in times of crisis.”

  4. Spiegel has an in depth examination of the impact of the U.S. dollars decline in Why America’s currency is the world’s problem. “The world depends on the dollar. It is the most important currency in global trade. Aircraft, oil, steel and most natural resources are priced in the US currency. Central banks around the world invest a substantial share of their currency reserves in dollars. The competitiveness of entire continents depends on changes in the value of the world’s reserve currency. For these reasons, the dollar’s decline has the potential to send the world economy into a crisis. Americans have been living beyond their means for years. That includes both consumers, who often buy their houses, cars and other consumer items on credit, and the government, which is adding billions to the national debt to pay for its programs, especially to fight terrorism and wage the war in Iraq.”


On Civility (Reprint)

This document represents the standing policy on civility here at DocuDharma.

Everyone should read it.

I will be happy to answer any questions.

Originally Published 9/16/07

Non-civility draws uncivil people

Wow, this is not good.  

I’ve seen people who I think were friends arguing over little stuff.  I’ve seen people running around leaving Wrong!s everywhere they go, without explaining their disagreement with the poster.  I’ve seen too much uncivil behavior and people who do great work threatening to leave Docudharma.  And a lot of the people thinking of leaving are the people we need most–the civil ones who are able to have a spirited discussion without tipping over the edge of grudge-match.

I think buhdy is wrong.  Arguing: Yea!  Fighting: Boo!

I know this is just semantics, but I think of fighting as arguing and causing bad feelings without actual content.  Yes, we have to avoid the “echo-chamber” effect of everyone having the same opinions and just patting each other on the back all day; being uncivil is not the way to avoid this.

Please Listen To Me

After going 2 years with absolutely no money owing to a car accident – I finally settled with my car insutance company.

The very first thing I did – and this was someone who could not buy a pair of underware for 2 years – was donate $500 to this site.

Why?  Because i believe in Budhy

I do not know what the hell has happened here.

Here is what I know.

I LOVE this community

Please tell me what is going on.

You call also email me at:

[email protected]

Fixing the country’s broken moral compass

I know this is a pretty strong statement, and many people’s hearts are in the right direction, at least in starting to wake up from the slumber that overtook tens of millions of people over the past few years.  However, there are still so many people who don’t even realize, let alone have even remotely prepared for, the effects from the hangover caused by the past seven years.

Ironically, this all started back in the 2000 campaign with promises to “restore honor and dignity to the White House”, and was followed up in 2004 with the so-called “moral values” dominating the debate and election.  I’d normally laugh at this farce if the foul stench of hypocrisy and lies didn’t have such a grave impact on what so many in this country find “of utmost importance” and really how the view of moral decline and decadence really was portrayed by those who were not only in power, but by those who blindly supported the most radical and extremists views and actions – and had the unmitigated gall to call themselves “morally superior”.

GENERAL STRIKE: Friday, 12-21-07

There is a GENERAL STRIKE called for Friday, 12-21-07.

The purpose of the strike is to call for restoration of the Constitution and full criminal investigations and investigation hearings on the motion to impeach the President and Vice President.

All citizens not employed in public health and welfare positions, please stay home from work. This coincides with Iraq Moratorium Day for December.

(Cross-posted with no apparent effect whatsoever at the Orange Maelstrom of Irrelevance).

I’ll Give You Racism

It’s not my habit to cry about life experience, so I don’t…but let me give you a small taste of what racism is like to experience, from the mixed-race angle.

You see, mixed-race is not good, when it comes to racism.  You have no safe harbour.  No one accepts you.

So, if your mother is white, as mine is, you’re not really black.  I’ve had more black people call me “white boy” than white people call me “nigger,” to be frank…and when I say I don’t consider myself black (uh, have you met my Mom?), the same people call me uppity or say I’m putting on airs of being white…

Iraq: It’s worse than you think

Now that all is going so well in Iraq, and the flower strewing appears imminent, the New York Times has discovered what might just be a small problem:

As Iraqi refugees begin to stream back to Baghdad, American military officials say the Iraqi government has yet to develop a plan to absorb the influx and prevent it from setting off a new round of sectarian violence.


And according to the reporters on the ground, the recent media hype has been media hype. And despite the recent reduction in violence (all the way to 2005 levels, not anywhere close to the actual levels before Bush invaded), the death toll from sectarian attacks around the country has nearly doubled, this year. At a cost of a record number of American troop deaths, for this war, for a single year. And the coverage has completely ignored the fact that militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr called a unilateral six-month cease-fire, at the end of August, which might just be a factor. But the bigger, and largely ignored, story is the refugee crisis.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates there are more than four million Iraqis who have had to leave their homes; the New York Times reported, in August, that more have fled since the escalation; the San Francisco Chronicle reported, almost a year ago, that 40% of Iraq’s middle class had fled; and the Guardian reported, last summer, that a third of the population is in need of emergency assistance. In short, as the Chronicle article pointed out, this is the Middle East’s worst refugee crisis since the Palestinians fled Israel, in 1948; and we all know how well that has turned out.

As the Times continues:

The Iraqi government lacks a mechanism to settle property disputes if former residents return to Baghdad only to find their homes occupied, the officials said. Nor has the Iraqi government come forward with a detailed plan to provide aid, shelter and other essential services to the thousands of Iraqis who might return. American commanders caution that if the return is not carefully managed, there is a risk of undermining the recent security gains.

Um, yeah. Potentially millions of people returning to homes that are now occupied by others might just be a problem. Particularly given that ethnic cleansing has left the country utterly Balkanized. As Fareed Zakaria recently explained, on ABC News:

one of the dirty little secrets about Iraq is that Iraq has increasingly been ethnically cleansed. It’s sad to say, but the American Army has presided over the largest ethnic cleansing in the world since the Balkans.

If you look at Baghdad, it is essentially a very cleansed city. It is, the Shia and Sunni communities have been separated by the river. You look increasingly around the areas that were once intermixed. They’re no longer mixed. That explains, by the way, one of the reasons why violence has been reduced … So, it seems unlikely, when people say bad things are going to happen if we leave, bad things have already happened, where were you for the last four years.

It doesn’t seem that likely that we’re going to end up seeing some kind of massive genocide. The ethnic cleansing has happened.

So, many of those returning refugees might just be returning to homes occupied by people they consider enemies.

And here’s the kicker, also from the Times article:

So What’s Up with all the GBCW Diaries????

I’m starting to feel like the abandoned step-child here!

Alright, there’s been a few days of fighting, so effin’ what?

Stay out of those diaries, there is so much other content to read, so much we need to do, to share…

As with any community, there are times when you have to feel out the boundaries, that is exactly what is happening, we are testing the waters…there were misunderstandings and it seems like most of those were resolved, as far as I can tell…

I am here because I want to learn from others, I am here because I have ideas I want to share sometimes too…but most of all, I am here to be inspired in my real life.

The ideas and thoughts expressed on this site are just that, ideas and thoughts, not written in stone, not necessarily expressed by everyone, but it’s in sharing our individual thoughts, hopes, dreams, nightmares that we become who we are as individuals and together as a community.

Buhdydharma has created this place for us to come and be inspired, which I feel he has succeeded in…look at his essays, OPOL essays, Robyn’s beautiful poetry, Armando’s eye on the issues, RiaD’s beautiful episodes…and so much more…

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

A Truce???

In Armando’s diary this morning, Stranger in a Strange Land asked if there was a possibility for a truce on some of the issues that have been dividing us about race. I see that there are arguments to be made on both sides for many of the people commenting and think we might be able to get at least a majority of people to agree. Here’s my comment:

How about we

identify some stipulations for a “truce” and see if folks want to sign on.

I’d say I see two possibilities in this thread:

1. We need both personal change and legal/structural change to solve the problem of racism. Neither one is going to be completely effective alone.

2. The Latino youth in the library needed to be held accountable for his behavior AND given the opportunity to have someone validate the racism he lives with.  

Are You Inspired? Leadership and African American Politics III


You can fool some people sometimes,

   But you can’t fool all the people all the time.

   So now we see the light (what you gonna do?),

   We gonna stand up for our rights! (yeah, yeah, yeah!)

   So you better:

   Get up, stand up! (in the morning! git it up!)

   Stand up for your rights! (stand up for our rights!)

   Get up, stand up!

   Don’t give up the fight! (don’t give it up, don’t give it up!)

   Get Up, Stand Up-Bob Marley and the Wailers

How I De-Lurked

I want to make a point, but in order to do so, I’ll have to give you some background. So I hope you’ll stick with me.

I was born into a family with several large personalities. Somehow, very early on, I decided to stay in the background and observe. Oh, and did I mention that those large personalities were pretty dysfunctional. I guess it seemed safe to stay out of the fray. And given that those large personalities were also kool-aid drinking right wing christian fundamentalists, it might have been the reason I managed to escape the cult. So all in all, I think it was a pretty good decision.

It wasn’t until I was almost 30 that I started to speak up. The story about how that happened should probably be saved for another essay, but suffice it to say, I learned to trust my own voice.


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