February 19, 2008 archive

Al Gore: The Dangers of “Sub-Prime Carbon” (UN Summit on Climate Risk)


(From The Environmentalist Managing Editor – reprinted by permission)

Al Gore, addressing a United Nations summit on green investment, warned business leaders about the consequences of investment in technologies that did not reduce the carbon footprint, given the associated costs to both society and business of climate change:

UNITED NATIONS – Al Gore advised Wall Street leaders and institutional investors Thursday to ditch businesses too reliant on carbon-intensive energy – or prepare for huge losses down the road.

“You need to really scrub your investment portfolios, because I guarantee you – as my longtime good redneck friends in Tennessee say, I guarandamntee you – that if you really take a fine-tooth comb and go through your portfolios, many of you are going to find them chock-full of subprime carbon assets,” the former vice president said.

More below the fold…

Lives Lost to Ingnorance/Confusion

Crossposted from GentillyGirl

Last week a 15-year old was murdered by a 14-year old in Oxnard, CA.. All of this was because the kid sometimes wore make-up, high heels and nail polish to school. The murderer is described as having a slight build and looking effeminate.

I wanted to write about this last week, but the tale brought up many issues from my Past… my teen years. Last night Betts and I talked for hours about that era in our lives, and finally I can start on this topic.

My teen years were a living Hell in SW Alabama. It didn’t help that my father was a Labor leader or that I had been raised to have my own viewpoint by my parents. Mom had just died, and my sibs and I had just spent the Summer in Houston with the aunts, uncles and our cousins being part of the South’s “Summer of Love”.

My hair was growing to my waist, puberty was hitting… I was one confused kid, ovaries and testicles operating, and my body looked femme (no boobs though). I was into music, literature, math, physics and history. I was a Gentle Freak who tutored kids, helped them along and worked full time as a fast-food manager. I bought my own car, paid room and board and lived an individual life. I was also scared shitless over anyone finding out about my other life.

I had been a school Quarterback: third string brought in for the first game of the season because the starter and the back-up were wiped out. I won the first three games of the season, and then quit because my body wasn’t large enough to face the defensive lines. (Dad insisted that I play sports, but he was the one that signed the paperwork to assign me as “male”.) That was never forgotten by the rednecks. I was also the Class Valedictorian.

Every month, I would carve out 3 or 4 days in which I didn’t have to show for work and no performances for our jazz-rock band. I’d pack and head to Panama City for a “Chelsea” weekend (my nom de plume back then). I’d book a hotel and just spend those days wandering around the place and just being myself. (Same as the Navy years later, but the location was Monterey)

The girl lived at least for a time every month.

Each and every day I had to live with oppression: it wasn’t about being “Gay”, but about being “Different”. The only reason I didn’t get bashed is because my mind and mouth were faster then that of the ogres that wanted to beat me to a pulp. I counted on others to speak out in support of me as friends.

And being beaten is a Hell-of-a-lot better than being executed, but it still wasn’t high on my list for life experiences.

Though my soul screams in pain for the slain 15 year old, my heart also aches for the effeminate boy who pulled the trigger. It’s obvious that Societal pressures created this action. Maybe he couldn’t deal with what is going on inside his psyche. Maybe he is Straight, but his appearance opened him up to all kinds of hassles over mis-identification. I don’t know.

Our Culture MUST GET OVER THIS CRAP! There are Gay boys, Lesbians, Trans folk and Queers. There are also Christians, Jews, Muslims, Pagans and atheists. There are men and women. Folks come in every shape, form and fashions. Same goes for skin color. We are all Human, and that’s the way it freakin’ is.

A young boy is facing many years in prison for a murder that came out of his conflicted sense of self (my interpretation), and another kid is dead. What a fucking damned waste.

When will we learn, and then just live?

What does it take to achieve a Human Culture?

My answer is to live and let live.  

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Well you can certainly rest assured that I’m in no danger of falling into this trap-

Say What You Will (Requiem for a TV News Career)

Chez Pazienza, Huffington Post

Posted February 18, 2008 | 07:22 PM (EST)

During my last couple of years as a television news producer, I watched the networks try to recover from a six year failure to bring truth to power (the political party in power being irrelevant incidentally; the job of the press is to maintain an adversarial relationship with the government at all times) and what’s worse, to pretend that they had a backbone all along.

I watched my bosses literally stand in the middle of the newsroom and ask, “What can we do to not lead with Iraq?” — the reason being that Iraq, although an important story, wasn’t always a surefire ratings draw.

I was asked to complete self-evaluations which pressed me to describe the ways in which I’d “increased shareholder value.” (For the record, if you’re a rank-and-file member of a newsroom, you should never under any circumstances even hear the word “shareholders,” let alone be reminded that you’re beholden to them.)

I watched the media in general do anything within reason to scare the hell out of the American public — to convince people that they were about to be infected by the bird flu, poisoned by the food supply, or eaten by sharks.

I marveled at our elevation of the death of Anna Nicole Smith to near-mythic status and our willingness to let the airwaves be taken hostage by every permutation of opportunistic degenerate from a crying judge to a Hollywood hanger-on with an emo haircut.

I watched qualified, passionate people worked nearly to death while mindless talking heads were coddled.

I listened to Lou Dobbs play the loud-mouthed fascist demagogue, Nancy Grace fake ratings-baiting indignation, and Glenn Beck essentially do nightly stand-up — and that’s not even taking into account the 24/7 Vaudeville act over at Fox News.

I watched The Daily Show laugh not at our mistakes but at our intentional absurdity.

I’m nobody important.

EENR, a New Beginning.

(This diary/essay originally was posted on Daily Kos on February 3, 2008.  I am cross posting it here tonight because eenr 4 progress will be posted on Daily Kos and Docudharma every Sunday night from now on.  Ellinorianne cross posted her diary last night here.  Later this week, we will cross post Sarah Lane’s diary from a week ago Sunday.  Then we’ll be caught up.  

Docudharma seems to have some of the best of the Old Daily Kos, when issues used to be discussed and the term “progressive” actually had some content.  So, if buddydharma is cool with it, we’d like to come by here also every Sunday Night.  Hope you enjoy this, the first of what we hope will be years of eenr 4 progress.  TomP.)  

The Edwards Evening News Roundup debuted on April 4, 2007 and ended the night that John Edwards suspended his campaign, January 30, 2008.

Those of us who worked so hard on EENR for all those months have decided to continue on to work on the issues that John Edwards brought to this campaign: economic justice, poverty in America, addressing global warming with more than the hot air of politicians, universal healthcare, ending the phony GWOT, which John Edwards described as a “bumpersticker” and a “sledgehammer to justify the worst abuses and biggest mistakes of his [Bush’s] administration,” an end to the war in Iraq, and so many other issues.

We plan to continue this work.  Come around after the fold for more.    

An Interview With Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist and Author Fred Kaplan


The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal as well as The Wild Wild Left, the Independent Bloggers Alliance, The Peace Tree and Worldwide Sawdust.

Most Americans are eager to turn the page on the Bush years. Yet even as we elect a new president we’re still coming to terms with an era that has both tarnished America’s reputation and diminished its influence.

Fred Kaplan chronicles the folly of the Bush years in his new book, Daydream Believers: How a Few Grand Ideas Wrecked American Power (John Wiley & Sons).

Kaplan writes that,

“Nearly all of America’s blunders in war and peace these past few years stem from a single grand misconception: that the world changed after 9/11, when in fact it didn’t.

Certainly, things about the world changed, not least Americans’ sudden awareness that they were vulnerable. But the way the world works – the nature of power, warfare, and politics among nations – remained essentially the same.”

Why the Mideast telecom cables were cut

A recent news article confirming suspicions that the five recent cuts of undersea fiber optic cables to the Mideast may have been sabotaged got me to thinking that there is an obvious explanation for the cuts. Fiber optic cables are difficult to tap without detection. Unlike copper wire, which can be tapped without breaking the communication stream, a fiber cable has to have a piece of hardware physically inserted into the light path to perform a tap. This produces a detectable outage that can be localized to the tapped segment.

But what if you cut the cable in one place and, while the cable company is readying repairs, you tap another segment of the cable? Nobody knows that you tapped the cable, and nobody knows where it has been tapped. This is the obvious explanation. Bush authorized the massive wiretapping of all the fiber optic cables that lead to Iran. Whether this is a preparation for war or just continuing intelligence activity is anybody’s guess, but it does not give me a warm feeling.

Islam Comes to Persia

At the conclusion of our last historiorant, we left off with the Sassanids in pretty dire straits.  It was 636 CE, little more than a decade after they had had their sasses handed to them by the Byzantines in a series of battles across Mesopotamia, and only four years removed from the passing of the Prophet Muhammad.  Now fierce men bearing the star and crescent had appeared on the Euphrates; to Yazdgerd III, the last Zoroastrian king of the Persians, fell the task of defending Ctesiphon and the gateway to Iran.

So join me, if you will, in the Cave of the Moonbat, for a look at the beginnings of a clash of civilizations that continues to the present day, as well as the many Iranian contributions to what would become known as Islam’s Golden Age.  Along the way, we’ll also be taking a contextual side-trip to the Founding of Islam – but only after pausing to read the sign about how, imho, we should be approaching historiographic minefields.

I Am Scared And Need Advise

This is a personal essay/story so I understand if there is a lack of interest. But I am scared, have good reasons to be and need advise as I am in panic mode when I need to be calm. Those of you who can,please help me with your thoughts.

The Principle of Campaign Finance Reform

Big Ten Democrat, whom I greatly like and respect, says Barack Obama should opt out of public financing, and that he should do it now, while it is still early. Strategically, Big Tent is absolutely right. As he says, should Obama opt out now, while his opponent is Hillary Clinton, the corporate media won’t question it. Should he win the nomination, and only opt out once his opponent is John McCain, the corporate media will eviscerate him. The free pass they give him against Hillary Clinton, whom they have always despised, and cherish the thought of defeating, if not destroying, will not transfer to a runoff against St. Maverick; and it won’t matter that the Saint is utterly and completely full of shit. But I strongly disagree with the fundamental premise of Big Tent’s argument:

Unlike most good government types, I believe that until there is full public financing of political campaigns, the Democratic Party should NEVER give away an advantage when it has one.

If John McCain accepts public financing for his general election campaign, and the Democratic nominee does not, the Democratic Party will lose the moral high ground, and much credibility, on campaign finance reform. That McCain is a liar and a hypocrite won’t matter. What will matter is that the Democratic nominee will be opting out, while the Republican nominee won’t be. Many are saying we should not cede the financial lead, now that the internet and a cratering Republican Party have handed it to us, but accepting that argument would only prove that campaign finance reform was always about the politics of being financially behind, rather than about the principle of creating a politics of people. Big Tent’s ideal of full public financing will never come to be because campaign finance reform will be, effectively, dead.

As I’ve previously pointed out, John Edwards had less than half as much campaign money as did Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama; and the rest of the candidates had much much less. Similarly, it’s no coincidence that Obama’s emergence as the clear Democratic frontrunner came as he vastly outspent Clinton, after Super Tuesday; and as they court the increasingly important Superdelegates, he has given more than three times as much money as has Clinton to those Superdelegates who are elected officials. Forget debates, speeches, policy statements, and stands on the issues, the Democratic nomination is being determined by nothing other than money.

Midnight Thought on Electoral Reform

This is the Burning the Midnight Oil Midnight Thought for tonight … which will be found in Burning the Midnight Oil for Electoral Reform … but not until later tonight (Monday).

Posted here because … well, Docudharma blogs the future. Yeah, normally further ahead in the future than three or four hours, but if I didn’t already have this part in the draft diary queue, ready to go, I’d have no idea what I was going to say.

And, yes, the two most important parts of the Midnight Oil are, first, the commentary that follows and, second, the diary roll, so what I’m giving you here is a Bronze Medal at best … but thems the hazards. I haven’t finished the diary roll yet, because I am still reading diaries, and I have no idea what direction the commentary is going to take. Third Place is the only part of the future I can see with any clarity.





Midnight Thought

Is the present mess any worse than a National Primary, dominated by 30 second sound byte ads and providing a revenue windfall to television networks, both broadcast and narrowcast, and raising the hurdle for a grass roots popular campaign even higher than they are now?

Well, heck, I don’t know. The present mess is pretty bad but … all in all, given the example that jumping up to the first Tuesday open date on the calendar does not, in fact, make you decisive, and given the example that breaking the rules agreed to by the state parties working together under the auspices of the National Democratic Committee is not the high road to massive influence …

… it seems like we – we, here, means both the body politic in general and progressive populists in particular – would really would end up better off running the the next Open Primary under the current mess than as a National Primary.

So, no, I don’t think that the present mess would be improved by a Mess Media Dominated National Primary (and I am not copyrighting that phrase … I’m releasing it into the Public Domain, so feel free to use it anywhere and everywhere without bothering with attribution … but do attribute it if you are running for President and making a speech … you don’t want to pull a Biden, after all).

But, just because a Mess Media Dominated National Primary is teh suck, doesn’t mean the present mess is the best we can do. Oh, no, there’s plenty we could do better.

And fighting for electoral improvement is, after all, an old Progressive Populist fight.

Those Fighting Can Do It, CAN YOU!

Fort Hood soliders breaking the silence in war in Iraq

A growing number of active duty soldiers or recent Iraq war veterans are speaking up about the war in Iraq.

And with the number of soldiers speaking up about their experiences in Iraq via online forums, blogs and pamphlets,

some vets feel it’s their duty to let the American public know the truth.

This occurred on the 17th, yesterday, outside of Ft Hood Texas, which has a rich history of action by Active Duty and

recent Veterans of the Vietnam Conflict, back than one of many bases, around the country, as well as the world, and In-Country


The Weapon of Young Gods #11: The Morbid Frieze

I spent the first few minutes of 1996 trying not to come. I had Nadia up against a smooth section of an otherwise roughly stuccoed wall, and the soft, wordless rhythm of her voice brushed past my left ear as I tried to postpone the inevitable. The surrounding air’s dry, cool bite was more than tempered by the warmth of her breath, combined with everything else radiating off us, and my self-control melted a little more. I tried to focus, but the night had been so long and debilitating already that I was ready to accept the careening rush into oblivion.

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UPDATE: Edited a bit per helpful suggestions…

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