January 20, 2008 archive

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Did oil canals worsen Katrina’s effects?

By CAIN BURDEAU, Associated Press Writer

47 minutes ago

IN THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER DELTA – Service canals dug to tap oil and natural gas dart everywhere through the black mangrove shrubs, bird rushes and golden marsh. From the air, they look like a Pac-Man maze superimposed on an estuarine landscape 10 times the size of Grand Canyon National Park.

There are 10,000 miles of these oil canals. They fed America’s thirst for energy, but helped bring its biggest delta to the brink of collapse. They also connect an overlooked set of dots in the Hurricane Katrina aftermath: The role that some say the oil industry played in the $135 billion disaster, the nation’s costliest.

The delta, formed by the accumulation of the Mississippi River’s upstream mud over thousands of years, is a shadow of what it was 100 years ago. Since the 1930s, a fifth of the 10,000-square-mile delta has turned into open water, decreasing the delta’s economic and ecologic value by as much as $15 billion a year, according to Louisiana State University studies.

Picture Impressions

I have said before I get psychic impressions from pictures.  It has to be a first impression, a sort of mirror of the soul experience.  Alberto Gonzales, Leo Strauss, John Yoo gave the the absolute creeps upon seeing their photos for the very first time.

Well I have viewed a video of this guy I will not name yet.  I get no such evil impressions from.  They have destroyed him, his life and his name.


There are so many excellent essays here at Docudharma:

davidseth’s: Remembering Dr. King’s True Legacy

NLinStPaul’s:  A Better Way

OPOL’s:  A Gentle Reminder

Jimstaro’s: Peace History – This Past Week

are a few I read this morning.  Please check out the list on the sidebar, this weekend’s been a all-header for stories.  @;-)

I am taken with the ideas, experience and hard truths that are offered here as a matter of routine.  There aren’t often essays calling for someone else to provide “leadership;” there are however many essays about “calls” that individuals have answered and are in the process of answering. Just as in the Hero’s Journey stories of myth, only right now- real people- in real time.

I am struck with how much work is being accomplished as much as I am struck by the enormous amount of work there is yet to even begin.

So, in the spirit of encouragement, I offer a poem that I wrote (and was fortunate to see published) in 2001.  It is the story of the bird of rebirth, the Phoenix, who rises from its own ashes on the fabled Ben-Ben stone only once every 500 years.  In most myths, the bird is solitary, he/she has no leader, has no followers, has no companions.  I like to think that we all are our own Phoenix, but while our journeys are often conducted alone, we now have the opportunity to share the inspiration from our own experiences of ‘rising out of the ashes’ with other Phoenixes from not only around the country, but from around the world.  I like to think that the millions of us on our own journeys see each other, flap our wings, and know that individually together, we are changing our worlds.

In honor of your own Phoenix:

On the frozen tundra, asking an end to war

There are no photos of this week’s Iraq Moratorium vigil in downtown Milwaukee.  The battery in the digital camera froze.

About 40 people turned out in the bitter cold, and marched with flags, banners, signs and drums past City Hall, then gathered on four corners of the main downtown intersection.

“I was feeling a little wimpy, like maybe it was too cold to come, but I decided that if 70,000 people could go to the Packers game Sunday, when it will be colder than this, I could come out here for an hour to try to stop the war,” one vigiler said.

The tundra was frozen in Hayward, a city of 2,200 in northwestern Wisconsin which has led the nation in percentage of the population turning out for Iraq Moratorium vigils.  Attendance was down from the high of 83 in December, but, as one of the organizers reports on the scene below:


24 determined, (and half crazy!) peace supporters braved 20 below zero windchills to stand for an hour in observance of Iraq Moratorium Day #5. We had mostly encouraging responses from motorists who seemed both delighted, and incredulous, at our presence on the street corner.

At 4:45 p.m. some folks suggested that we knock off early due to the bitterly cold winds, but a couple of hardcore skier/peace types shouted, “No! We came to stand for an hour, and for an hour we’ll stand!” We hunkered down, and at 5 p.m. sharp a great cheer went up as we headed for the warmth of vehicles that had been idling for half an hour in the parking lot. See you in February!!

That’s hard core.

Those are among the reports beginning to trickle in to the Iraq Moratorium website in the wake of Friday’s actions, numbering about 90 across the country.  Typically, many more will be posted during the coming week, many with photos and videos.

In Mountain View, California, where the weather was a bit warmer, the Raging Grannies Action League “welcomed” a new armed forces recruiting station to the neighborhood — and let the recruiters know they were invading the Grannies’ turf.  “Killing and Dying is not a career,” the Grannies said.

Iraq Moratorium #6 falls on February 15, the Third Friday of the month.  Now’s the time to start planning, and share your plans and ideas with others at IraqMoratorium.org

P.S. — Go Pack!

My Covert Media Op to Save Public Hospitals

In early December, I diaried a proposed Medicaid Rules change, which, if it goes into effect in May as scheduled, will result in draconian cuts to public and teaching hospitals.  This is a non-partisan issue: the US v. the Bush Administration.  Representatives Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Sue Myrick (R-NC)  have introduced HR 3533, the Preserve Our Public and Teaching Hospitals Act into the house to block the odious rules change.  Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Elizabeth Dole (R-NC)have attemtped to introduce a moratorium on the rule in the senate.

Unfortunately, the good guys have not been able to muster the votes to extend an existing moratorium on the rules change, which would spare our frayed public health care infrastructure a possibly mortal blow for at least another year.

A Better Way

Our local public libraries in this city are on the verge of hiring armed police officers and its not because they want them to have more reading time. These folks are scared of the young people who recently began spending more time in the libraries, primarily to get access to the internet. Our staff have been talking with folks at the libraries about alternatives to this plan, and I’m happy to tell you that the leadership is interested in hearing more.

We provided a training to some of the staff in the library across the street from us and it was well received. They report to us that after resorting to calling the cops at least once a week due to unruly behavior of kids in their library, since the training this summer, they have not called them once. They also told a wonderful story of just one of the changes they made. After the training they realized that many of the problems with young people began while they were waiting in line to get on a computer. With this information, they decided to place Sudoko puzzle books and a checkers set where kids were waiting in order to give them something to do. And, whala…problem solved.

Now maybe that’s just an interesting story in and of itself, but I think its also a metaphor about how we are making all the wrong choices in our fearful attempts to establish security in this world. Whether its a “lock ’em up” mentality to solve all social ills, a “build a wall” mentality in our immigration policy, or a “shoot ’em up” mentality in response to perceived international threats, we seem to keep playing the same old song, regardless of how ruinous the results.

A Gentle Reminder

This will probably step on a lot of toes around here but believe me, that is not my intent.  I just want to point out, to remind you as it were, that much of the passion being expended on the Presidential campaign is wasted emotion.  I want to tell you that the horse race, in which so many of you have invested so much, is really a rat race after all.  For all their happy crap none of the establishment candidates will serve our interests.


Peace History – This Past Week

Below you will find abit about the History of this Planet that makes for such a turbulent World to live in, from one of the many sites, found on the web and before that, and still, in the many history books written to supposedly help us humans remember and not repeat the failed policies and actions of the past.

These track the importance of what man does, the failures and the recognition, leading to the  actions, or lack of, of many trying to right the wrongs to bring about a better World to exist in and leave a better World for those that follow.

We Fail Miserably in the study of the past, as we repeat the wrongs, more than the rights, over and over, while creating more wrongs!

Remembering Dr. King’s True Legacy


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King recognized the importance and validity of direct action as a tactic in his Letter from the Birmingham Jail:

You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling, for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent-resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, we must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.

In honor of Dr. King and in light of the past 7 years and the horrendous list of illegal, unconstitutional acts by the Government, a list that I will not bother to recount here, I think it’s time for us to reconsider the role that direct action can now play in restoring America to its most Democratic, humane, and decent principles.

Creating of constructive, nonviolent tension even in the face of threats of extremist violence is Dr. King’s true legacy.  My hope is that in honor of his birth we will find the courage to do as he would have.

Pony Party: Sunday music retrospective

(Young) Rascals

It’s a Beautiful Morning

Docudharma Times Sunday January 20

This Thread is Open: Never to be foreclosed

Sunday’s Headlines: Overseas Investors Buy U.S. Holdings at a Record Pace: Caucus training prepares participants to spread the love: Violence fear over Islam film: China hushes up Olympic deaths: Tijuana’s new chief knows the cartel’s killers are after him: Ex-child soldier’s literary bestseller is ‘factually flawed’

McCain Beats Huckabee in S. Carolina; Clinton and Romney Win in Nevada

Florida Now Looms as Key GOP Primary

Sunday, January 20, 2008; Page A01

COLUMBIA, S.C., Jan. 19 — Sen. John McCain conquered the South Carolina Republican primary Saturday, giving his once-embattled presidential campaign another significant boost and helping to wipe away bitter memories of his defeat here eight years ago.

McCain (Ariz.) opened his victory speech in Charleston by alluding to that loss. “It took us a while, but what’s eight years among friends?” he said, a big smile crossing his face.

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, looking for a victory in the first Southern primary of the 2008 nomination battle, finished second to McCain, but not getting a victory in this conservative state is a blow to his underdog hopes of winning the GOP nomination.

Just one more year! Good riddance to George W Bush

But what kind of mess will the next president inherit, exactly 12 months from today? By Rupert Cornwell in Washington

Arabia is the land of illusion and desert mirages. And as he jetted last week from kingdom to sheikdom, to be regaled with feasts and falcons, jewels and ornamental swords, George Bush might have imagined that all was well with his presidency. But this, his longest and most ambitious trip to the Middle East, will surely be remembered – if it is remembered at all – as a gaudy, irrelevant footnote to a presidency that has long since failed.

Today is a sombre milestone, marking the start of the last of Mr Bush’s eight years in the White House. This being a leap year, exactly 366 days remain until 20 January 2009, when his successor will be sworn into office. It is a time when incumbents look to their legacies. And for this President the view could scarcely be bleaker.

Canada: Beware of Darkness

“Watch out now, take care

Beware of greedy leaders

They take you where you should not go

While weeping atlas cedars

They just want to grow, grow and grow

Beware of darkness (beware of darkness)”

Canada puts US, Israel on torture watch list, then retracts



But, given swhat Canada allowed to happen to one of its own citizens, Maher Arar, perhaps Canada itself should be on the torture watch list.

The Horrors of Extraordinary Rendition:


Inasmuch - after Rembrandt - Meher Arar


From the page: “TORONTO . January 15, 2007. Despite an Eastern Ontario snowfall that delayed the appearance of his counsel, Barbara Kulaszka , for an hour and a half. M arc Lemire walked out of Federal Court in Toronto today a happy man. By sheer persistence, he had wrung out of the Canadian Human Rights Commissions some amazing admissions. At least one investigator for the Canadian Human Rights Commission has adopted a false Internet persona and trolled the Internet engaging in conversations with prospective victims. In other words, the CHRC is spying on Canadians, not observing and investigating, but participating and instigating.”

Hate, brought to you by the Canadian government.

harper splash2spp t

Thanks to Laukev7


and for his tireless work for truth at


Load more