January 17, 2008 archive

Four at Four

News and open thread.

  1. Escalated bombing reminds me of another conflict 35 years ago. The Washington Post reports the U.S. boosts its use of airstrikes In Iraq. “The U.S. military conducted more than five times as many airstrikes in Iraq last year as it did in 2006, targeting al-Qaeda safe houses, insurgent bombmaking facilities and weapons stockpiles in an aggressive strategy aimed at supporting the U.S. troop increase by overwhelming enemies with air power… The U.S.-led coalition dropped 1,447 bombs on Iraq last year, an average of nearly four a day, compared with 229 bombs, or about four each week, in 2006… UNAMI estimates that more than 200 civilian deaths resulted from U.S. airstrikes in Iraq from the beginning of April to the end of last year”. The military predicts extensive use of bombs and missiles to continue this year.

  2. The Taser-wielding police have killed another person; this time in Minnesota. The Star Tribune reports Father wants answers in son’s death following Taser jolt. “Authorities are investigating the death of a 29-year-old Fridley man shot with a Taser by state troopers, who said he had become uncooperative after a rush-hour crash Tuesday evening. The victim was identified by his father as Mark C. Backlund. Gordon Backlund said his son was on his way to pick up his parents at the airport after they had taken a short trip to Florida.”

    In the United States, more than 290 people have died since June 2001 after being struck by police Tasers, according to the human rights group Amnesty International. It said in October that only 25 of the 290 were armed, and none had firearms.

  3. The Guardian reports Yangtze River reaches a 142-year low.

    The waters of the Yangtze have fallen to their lowest levels since 1866, disrupting drinking supplies, stranding ships and posing a threat to some of the world’s most endangered species.

    Asia’s longest river is losing volume as a result of a prolonged dry spell, the state media warned yesterday, predicting hefty economic losses and a possible plague of rats on nearby farmland.

    News of the drought – which is likely to worsen pollution in the river – comes amid dire reports about the impact of rapid economic growth on China’s environment.

    The government also revealed yesterday that the country’s most prosperous province, Guangdong, has just had its worst year of smog since the Communist party took power in 1949, while 56,000 square miles of coastline waters failed to meet environmental standards.

    China has more than demonstrated what happens when you have unbridled capitalism with no regard for your environment.

  4. According to The Telegraph, ‘Cunning’ squirrels pretend to bury their food. “Squirrels pretend to bury their nuts and acorns to protect them from would-be thieves, scientists say. Researchers who recorded how squirrels deploy the tactic more frequently when they are being watched say it shows they are more intelligent than previously thought… Grey squirrels create numerous stores, especially when food is scarce, by digging shallow pits with their paws, pushing items in with their mouths and filling the holes up with debris. They sometimes place leaves and other vegetation on top to further hide the sites. The whole process normally takes less than a minute.” Aw nuts.

One last thing: $300 to learn risk of prostate cancer.

Action: Support Domestic Partnerships in NM

Quickie action diary here, no filler:

The New Mexico state legislature is re-considering a bill to create domestic partnerships, a bill that failed by only one vote last time around.  From Equality New Mexico:

Couples who register would be entitled to most of the legal protections of marriage under state law. However, domestic partners get none of the federal protections of marriage.  Equality New Mexico does not contend that this legislation provides equality, and we will continue to fight until all New Mexicans are treated equally under the law.  However, this legislation goes a long way toward making sure all families have access to the basic protections all families deserve.

Keep in mind that New Mexico has already successfully passed a non-discrimination act covering both sexuality and gender, in 2003.  This is a state that has been pushing the progressive envelope, and activists there need our support.

What you can do:

* Check out latinleo’s diary at dailykos, which contains contact information for state legislators.  If you know anyone living in New Mexico, please pass the information on.  If you don’t know anyone in New Mexico… well, a friendly email or two couldn’t hurt, could it?

* Consider supporting groups like Equality New Mexico, who’ve been on the forefront of this fight for equality.


Peak Republican?

Why, by Hera’s Holy Hotpants, Are Republicans Still Credible?

Or are they?

Think of the words Republican and scandal together and you quickly realize that there really are just too many to remember comprehensively. From the stolen election 0f 2000 to Abramoff to Iraq to Katrina to Schiavo to Plame to Scooter to Foley, Vitter and Craig, to whatever the scandal du jour happens to be….and it is an amazing compilation, the seemingly never ending list of egregious offenses is stunningly large and is still growing. Not just Bush scandals, but the entire Republican party, at every level. And though we all know the Old Media and the Villagers are doing everything they can and have been for years to not cover it, to minimize it, deny it and cover it up….is it possible that the General Populace has finally caught on?

Have we reached Peak Republican?

While America sleeps, the endless war drags on

Families gathered at the 5th Marine Regiment Memorial Park at Camp Pendleton, Calif.,(right) to spend their last few moments with loved ones before they left for Iraq. Regimental Combat Team 5 left Camp Pendleton on January 3 for their one year deployment to the Al Anbar province of Iraq.– USMC Photo.

While my old regiment ships out again,I have to ask:

Are we headed, as many in the antiwar movement have feared, into an Iraq-free zone during this election season?  Have the Dems decided to wait until next year to try to do anything?

Noah Feldman, in last Sunday’s NY Times magazine:  

What if the United States were at war during a presidential election – and none of the candidates wanted to talk about it? Iraq has become the great disappearing issue of the early primary season, and if nothing fundamental changes on the ground there – a probable result of current policy – the war may disappear even more completely in the new year…

… elections demand that candidates differentiate themselves, yet various plausible front-runners’ positions on Iraq are not all that far apart. There are subtle differences regarding the completeness and timing of withdrawal: John Edwards, for instance, says he would remove even the troops who are training the Iraqi Army and police. But basically, the leading doves say they want to leave, but not too fast; while the hawks claim they want to stay, but not too long.

This week’s Democratic debate in Las Vegas highlighted what Feldman said.  Clinton, Obama and Edwards all offered their nuanced positions, including this clarification of an old question about whether they would have all US troops out by 2013:

(Follow below the fold- ek hornbeck)

Pony Party… rain

Ummm… guess what it’s doing here!

Thank You, G.

Dear G,

The writers’ strike goes on.  

In a TV comedy drought, your once-in-an-epoch, no-reason-for-it-but-sheer-hilarity jerk-hump of your own campaign has been pure gold.  Even asking your staffers to go without pay to continue the laughter.  We want you to know we appreciate it, G.

As your election prospects go down the drain, this post is in honor of you, from us, your adoring fans.

What’s Next?

There has been much talk about a possible collapse of the American “empire”, or in more concrete terms, a likely economic collapse with all of the horrors that might be associated with such a collapse.

Virtually all scenarios for such a thing happening are predicated upon the exhaustion of oil and fossil fuel reserves around the world – the loss of the cheap energy needed to keep the US economy humming.

Pluto talks this morning at SanchoPress  about some of the things we’ll have to deal with if replacement energy sources cannot be developed in Ten Ways to Prepare for a Post-Oil Society + My Spin.

The “Washington Consensus”, both Democratic and Republican, seems to be narrowly focussed on only finding ways to appropriate remaining existing supply sources around the world, even on stealing and killing for them – witness the invasion and occupation of Iraq and the resulting deaths of more than a million Iraqis if the 10 years sanctions war is included, which in my view it should be.

So what do we do about it?

Pony Party….meh…

I’m tired.  

which tends to make me irritable….hard to get along with…and is upsetting to those around me

New Hampshire Recount: Already worth it! w/poll

The New Hampshire Primary recount started yesterday.  Paid for by the Dennis Kucinich campaign, the recount may or may not show a change of the winner of the event.  Even so, after one day, we’ve found enough out to be able to say that the recount is worth every penny!

U.S. on Canadian Torture Watch List – Updated

Guards sit in a tower overlooking Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba. This image has been reviewed and approved by U.S. Department of Defense.

Canada puts U.S. on torture watch list: CTV

Omar Khadr’s lawyers say they can’t understand why Canada is not doing more to help their client in light of new evidence that Ottawa has put the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on a watch list for torture.

Khadr — a Canadian citizen who was just 15-years-old when he was captured in Afghanistan more than five years ago and taken to Guantanamo — has claimed that he has been tortured at the prison.

Docudharma Times Thursday January 17

This is an Open Thread: Let the sunshine in

Thursday’s Headlines:Republicans are losers as Romney win leaves the race wide open : Outrage as US accuses Britain of inexperience in Taleban conflict: Democrats go deep to court Latino vote :Dry, polluted, plagued by rats: the crisis in China’s greatest river: Battle of the blogs in Kenya: British Council chief detained as Russia steps up diplomatic dispute: Bad Reviews for Bush in the Mideast

Judge: U.S. gets Texas land for border fence

Feds succeed against city, could file 102 lawsuits against landowners

WASHINGTON – A federal judge has ordered a small border city in Texas to temporarily turn over its land to the federal government so it can begin to build a border fence.

U.S. District Judge Alia Moses Ludlum ordered the city of Eagle Pass, on the border about 100 miles southwest of San Antonio, to “surrender” 233 acres of city-owned land. The Justice Department sued the city for access to the land.

Richard Knerr, 82; co-founded Wham-O, maker of the Hula Hoop and Frisbee

Richard Knerr, co-founder of Wham-O Inc., which unleashed the granddaddy of American fads, the Hula Hoop, on the world half a century ago along with another enduring leisure icon, the Frisbee, has died. He was 82.

Knerr died Monday at Methodist Hospital in Arcadia after suffering a stroke earlier in the day at his Arcadia home, said his wife, Dorothy.

With his boyhood best friend, Arthur “Spud” Melin, Knerr started the company in 1948 in Pasadena. They named the enterprise Wham-O for the sound that their first product, a slingshot, made when it hit its target.

A treasure chest of dozens of toys followed that often bore playful names: Superball, so bouncy it seemed to defy gravity; Slip ‘N Slide and its giggle-inducing cousin the Water Wiggle; and Silly String, which was much harder to get out of hair than advertised.

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

The muses are ancient.  The inspirations for our stories were said to be born from them.  Muses of song and dance, or poetry and prose, of comedy and tragedy, of the inward and the outward.  In one version they are Calliope, Euterpe and Terpsichore, Erato and Clio, Thalia and Melpomene, Polyhymnia and Urania.

It has also been traditional to name a tenth muse.  Plato declared Sappho to be the tenth muse, the muse of women poets.  Others have been suggested throughout the centuries.  I don’t have a name for one, but I do think there should be a muse for the graphical arts.  And maybe there should be many more.

Please join us inside to celebrate our various muses…

Load more