March 4, 2008 archive

Four at Four

  1. The Los Angeles Times reports that a Plan to ‘flush’ Grand Canyon stirs concerns.

    The Grand Canyon is about to take a bath, and National Park Service officials who oversee the natural wonder are worried.

    Federal flood control managers, led by Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, this week plan to unleash millions of cubic feet of water from behind Glen Canyon Dam to “flush” the huge canyon bottom with a simulated springtime flood…

    The flows begin today, and a massive release is set for Wednesday in a media event with Kempthorne…

    National park officials said that 10 years of research at a cost of $80 million had shown that the flooding as planned could irreparably harm the national park’s ecology and resources.

    Grand Canyon National Park Supt. Steve Martin said he was given a day to formulate comments to a cursory environmental assessment of the project. In those comments, he wrote that statements by the Bureau of Reclamation used to justify the flows’ timing were “unsubstantiated.” Far from restoring crucial sand banks and other areas, the flows could destroy habitat, Martin said.

  2. Okay, Bush is an idiot. Here’s more proof from Bush’s press conference today with King Abdullah of Jordan. When asked about OPEC not having plans of increasing oil output, Bush responded:

    I think it’s a mistake to have your biggest customer’s economy slow down, or your biggest customers’ economies slowing down as a result of high energy prices. It’s not the only result — our economy is slowing down. I mean, obviously we’ve got a housing issue and some credit issues. But no question, the high price of gasoline has hurt economic growth here in the United States. And if I were a member of OPEC, I’d be concerned about high energy prices causing people to buy less energy over time.

    And the other thing high energy prices of course does, which is stimulate alternative fuels, which we’re doing a lot here in America. We’re spending a lot of money on biofuels and ethanols and new ways to make ethanol. My advice to OPEC — of course they haven’t listened to it — but my advice to OPEC is to understand the consequences of high energy prices, because I do, and I understand this is affecting our American citizens. It’s making it harder for people to be able to drive, and it’s making it tough for families to save.

    And so not only is it — high energy prices having an effect on — a macro effect on our economy, it’s affecting a lot of our families, which troubles me, as well. And by the way, the higher energy prices stay, the more likely it is countries will quickly diversify. And that’s part of our strategy.

    Bush is concerned that America might be motivated to find an alternative to Middle Eastern oil.

A story of the coming salmon disaster this year and Oregon’s new, replacement weather buoys are in the waters below the fold.

My vote in Ohio’s primary.

I just returned from voting in Ohio’s primary.  I cast my ballot for Dennis Kucinich, as my choice for both the presidency and the 10th Congressional District’s representative.  And thus my conscience is clean.

I know, I know.  “You just wasted your vote,” many of you shall say.  To that I give you this simple response:  Horse shit.  The only votes wasted, dear readers, are those not cast and those cast for a candidate who doesn’t represent you.  Anyone who tells you differently is either lying to you, or doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

These are not things I write lightly.  I know quite well that what I’ve just typed shall piss off a number of people.  The truth, however, was never designed to make people happy.

Primaries are precisely the time when we as voters are supposed to stand up and vote our beliefs.  Why in God’s name would anyone vote for someone who doesn’t represent him?  “Pragmatism”?  That’s a bullshit excuse, one designed to justify keeping the status quo intact.  And for far too long, far too many Democrats have succumbed to that argument.  We voted “pragmatically” in 2004, cast our ballots for a candidate who wasn’t worth the toilet bowl he shat into, and what did it get us?  Nothing, except four more years of crap raining down upon our country.  Four more years of craven capitulation — two of them under a Democratic Congress — to a boy tyrant who in a sane world would have been removed from office and convicted of treason during the first year of his reign.

Neither Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama have earned so much as a single Democratic vote.  But for the desperation of Americans to elect anyone other than a Republican, the adulation and scorn of the corporate media, and the humongous egos of the two prima donnas themselves, they are the candidates we have been saddled with in this primary season.

There is an admonition against allowing the “perfect” to be the enemy of the “good”.  But really, how many people do you know who ask for or expect perfect?  I and everyone I know is fully aware that nothing and no one is perfect.  All we want are good policy and good representatives.  Yet each and every election cycle, we’re forced to accept the mediocre and the downright bad.

It doesn’t, and shouldn’t, have to be that way.  However you intend to vote in the general election, is this or is it not the time to vote your beliefs — to cast your ballot for the presidential candidate who represents you?  Not Big Business, not the DLC, but you.  Mr. and Ms. Average American.  To hand your ballot to someone who doesn’t represent you is to surrender it to the status quo, to send a message that, no matter how much you may complain about the way things are, you’re perfectly content to leave it as is.

That isn’t democracy, ladies and gentlemen.  It’s a monarchical system, one in which the will of the public is subjected to the greed and ambition of a political minority whose interests are to keep you beaten down and in service to the economic elite.  And I don’t know about you ladies and gentlemen, but I refuse to give in to that bullshit.  Politicians are supposed to work for us, to be our voices in the halls of power.  We are not supposed to subject our interests and political beliefs to those we employ.

Maybe your state’s primary or caucus has already been held.  Maybe it’s today, or has yet to be held.  For those of you who fall into the latter categories,ask yourselves if it isn’t worth it to challenge this fucked up system by voting for the candidate who represents you, just to see what would happen.

It’s not that complicated

E.J. Dionne is one of the better columnists in the corporate media, but he asks a silly question:

So how did the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination come down to a choice between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton? We have become so accustomed to their pounding each other relentlessly that we’ve forgotten that this is a remarkable endgame.

And he then gives a long, well-considered answer about tactics and strategy and other irrelevancies.

You really want to know how it came down to this? Money. As I noted when John Edwards dropped out, this was the breakdown:

Hillary Clinton: Spent $40,472,775 On hand $50,463,013

Barack Obama: Spent $44,167,993 On hand $36,087,190

John Edwards: Spent $18,028,752 On hand $12,397,048

Here are the latest numbers:

Barack Obama: Spent $85,176,289 On hand $18,626,248

Hillary Clinton: Spent $80,353,785 On hand $37,947,874

Nothing at all remarkable, actually. Get it?

Election day blues…..

I read OPOL’s beautiful diary on JFK with tears in my eyes. JFK’s valiant words are radical-sounding in Bush-ruled America. Today is a difficult day for me because the issues of the day are writ so large, and the remedies provided are so meager. The Clinton/Obama tussle has driven me from dkos back into international and counterculture media, and back to this site as a possible refuge. I’m wondering if others are as concerned as I am about the outcome today.

At dkos I posted a diary awhile ago about some Obama advisors who concern me. I’ll share a bit of my perspective. The times are too troubled to accommodate some of the political thinking I see coming out of the Obama camp. Please share your thoughts about some of the points I raise.

Girls! Get your hot pink, Hello Kitty AK-47 today!

Hey, little miss!

Looking for a gun that doesn’t look macho and have “lethal weapon” written all over it?

Jim’s Gun Supply in Baraboo, Wisconsin has just the thing: A hot pink “Hello Kitty” AR-15, pictured above. Also available in AK-47 and other styles, it’ll be the talk of the cafeteria, and you can be the first in your school to have one.

Looking for something a little less bulky, to fit in your purse?  Try this model.

The “Hello Kitty” model seems to be missing from the shop’s website today, perhaps because of this news report:

Sanrio, the company that owns the “Hello Kitty” brand, issued a statement saying that it had nothing to do with one of the guns displayed, an automatic rifle that bears its logo. The company denounced the practice and said it is planning to take legal action against any manufacturer who uses its logo to sell products that look like guns that are being sold in stores and on the Internet.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett held a news conference Monday at Childrens Hospital, where photos of some of the guns were displayed. Said Barrett:

“Take a look at this and how it’s advertised: Hello Kitty AR-15. Evil black rifle meets cute and cuddly.” I’ve got three daughters that are nine, 11 and 13. I see nothing cute and cuddly about putting an AR-15 near any little girl,” Barrett said.

WUWM Radio reports:

Dr. Marlene Melzer is the medical director of the emergency department at Children’s Hospital. It treats more than 100 children a year who have been shot. Melzer says kids already are drawn to guns, and they don’t need to be lured by colorful ones — or those that they mistake for toys.

“We know that children developmentally are unable to view firearms as a deadly or dangerous weapon. There are many reasons for this. Toy guns are used in play by children, when I was growing up I remember doing that. Children play video games that feature guns and shooting where scoring is better for the best shot,” Melzer said.

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn voiced a different concern. He says when real guns are painted to look like toys, police officers don’t always know what they’re dealing with.

“I’ve got officers out there every day who literally have to make life and death decisions under pressure with insufficient information. When they’re faced with a toy that looks like the real thing, or the real thing that looks like a toy, they’re going to hesitate and that moment of hesitation may cost someone’s life,” Flynn said.

The gun shop owner said he was too busy to talk to the media on Tuesday, but he’s defended his practices in the past:

The owner of Jim’s gun shop, Jim Astle, said, “Pink doesn’t make it any more deadly than black.”

Astle said most of his customers are in law enforcement.”They’re buying them for their wives so they can go to the range and shoot with them,” Astle said.

But it is law enforcement officers who are expressing concern and outrage over the candy-colored weapons.

CNN reports: “If somebody points it at an officer, he could hesitate,” Bryan Soller of the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police told CNN, “in which case he could get shot or, even worse, the officer could react and take the life of a child.”

Sgt. Manny Mendoza of the San Bernadino County Sheriff’s Department in Barstow, CA warned that “now we’re at the point where anything that looks like a gun, no matter what color, is considered a firearm, and we will act accordingly to defend ourselves and the public.”

The Orlando Sentinel knows what that means:

Here’s a tragedy waiting to happen: A police officer shoots a kid with a pink Hello Kitty AK-47, thinking the kid is holding a real gun.

The mistake would be understandable. Gun manufacturers are now selling real guns painted to look like toy guns, giving rise to a Glock painted pink and the Hello Kitty assault rifle. Customers can also buy guns painted lime or lavender.

Color this a stupid idea.

Police officers have to protect themselves and the public as the first order of business, and then ask questions later. Making a wrong call on whether a gun is real can be fatal.

If gun dealers can’t police themselves, then local and state governments need to put a stop to this dangerous marketing practice.

Mayor Barrett stopped short of calling for legislation, but said he hoped gun sellers and manufacturers will respond to public pressure, if not their own moral compasses.

Good luck with that.

(The Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (WAVE), which works to prevent firearms violence, organized the Milwaukee news conference.)


There have been a number of excellent posts by McJoan and KagroX at Daily Kos, among many others, over the FISA battle.  We’ve all been on the crazy ride of elation/outrage, seeing our Democratic representatives capitulate over and over again to the corrupt and criminal crew currently occupying the White House, as well as their Republican henchmen in Congress.

Frankly, it’s about time for me to step off that merry-go-round.

We speak of reforming the Democratic party, and I’m very much in favor of that.  Get rid of the Blue Dogs, change the way we finance political campaigns, make the party more responsive to the people.  All worthy goals.

I’d like to look back for a moment, look back at America immediately after September 11, 2001.

Pony Party, “in the weeds”

My Monday was quiiiiiiite a Monday….

So unless I can get back to the computer Tuesday morning (well, later Tues morning, as it’s 1:00 am now) and put up a better pony….

Today’s morning pony is empty…. 🙁

Hopefully, you’ll never read this because I’ll be motivated after only a few hours of sleep and getting the kids off to school…delete this..and put up a better pony.  Hopefully….

There Is No Cure For Awakeness

Mishima’s Docudharma Times this morning begins with one of the most interesting and heartening quotes I’ve seen in a long, long time.

After almost five years of war, many young people in Iraq, exhausted by constant firsthand exposure to the violence of religious extremism, say they have grown disillusioned with religious leaders and skeptical of the faith that they preach.

“I hate Islam and all the clerics because they limit our freedom every day and their instruction became heavy over us,” said Sara, a high school student in Basra. “Most of the girls in my high school hate that Islamic people control the authority because they don’t deserve to be rulers.

This happened in Ireland. It happened and is still happening in America. It happened in Europe during the Renaissance, in many ways a rebirth in knowledge and a turning from God to man, or at least a rejection of the power of organizational thought control and a repudiation of authoritarianism and a turning towards the fundamental freedom – freedom of thought.

Dennis Kucinich’s Media Fight. w/poll

Via The Nation’s blog:

Ohio voters head to the polls for a primary election Tuesday, and that can mean only one thing: The Cleveland Plain Dealer is griping about Congressman Dennis Kucinich.

Docudharma Times Tuesday March 4

This is an Open Thread:

I can program a computer, choose the perfect time

If you’ve got the inclination, I have got the crime

Tuesday’s Headlines:Obama, Clinton In Key Face-Off: The Cadillac of Mars rovers: Neighbours cut ties with Colombia:  US plotted to overthrow Hamas after election victory: Israel warns it will be back as Gaza incursion is finally ended: China to raise military spending: Indian ‘spy’ is reunited with family after 35 years on death row: Europe vs the super-rich: Russia’s post-Putin era kicks off with demonstrations and a police crackdown

Violence Leaves Young Iraqis Doubting Clerics

BAGHDAD – After almost five years of war, many young people in Iraq, exhausted by constant firsthand exposure to the violence of religious extremism, say they have grown disillusioned with religious leaders and skeptical of the faith that they preach.

In two months of interviews with 40 young people in five Iraqi cities, a pattern of disenchantment emerged, in which young Iraqis, both poor and middle class, blamed clerics for the violence and the restrictions that have narrowed their lives.

“I hate Islam and all the clerics because they limit our freedom every day and their instruction became heavy over us,” said Sara, a high school student in Basra. “Most of the girls in my high school hate that Islamic people control the authority because they don’t deserve to be rulers.”

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…

The Stars Hollow Gazette

I remember a picnic, on a beach in a cove in Maine.  It was the kind of place you write kids books about, and as a matter of fact someone had and I read it as a child.

Load more