May 5, 2008 archive

Four at Four

  1. Over the weekend, The Observer reported Rainforest seeds revive lost paradise. The land around Samboja, Borneo resembled a “moonscape” when Dr. Willie Smits, an Indonesian forestry expert, first visited it six years ago. “The trees had been cut for timber, the land burnt, and in place of what should be some of the richest biodiversity on the planet were thousands of acres of grass.”

    But from this ruined landscape a fresh forest has been grown, teeming with insects, birds and animals, and cooled by the return of moist clouds and rain. It is a feat that has been hailed by scientists and offers hope for disappearing and ruined rainforests around the world. The secret was to use more than 1,300 species of local tree and a fertiliser made with cow urine…

    Smits raised money to buy 5,000 acres and six years ago set about planting seeds collected from more than 1,300 species of tree, more even than would have lived in the original forest. These were planted with a special ‘micro-biological agent’ made from sugar, excrement, food waste and sawdust – and cow urine.

    Planting finishes this year, but already Smits and his team from the Borneo Orang-utan Survival Foundation charity claim the forest is ‘mature’, with trees up to 35 metres high. Cloud cover has increased by 12 per cent, rainfall by a quarter, and temperatures have dropped 3-5C, helping people and wildlife to thrive, says Smits. Nine species of primate have also returned, including the threatened orang-utans. ‘If you walk there now, 116 bird species have found a place to live, there are more than 30 types of mammal, insects are there. The whole system is coming to life. I knew what I was trying to do, but the force of nature has totally surprised me.’

    Some more info is available at BOS’s Create Rainforest website.

Four at Four continues below the fold with stories about air pollution and bees, 66 deaths in U.S. immigration prisons, the U.S. military base in Ecuador, and fat cells.

Through the Darkest of Nights: Testament XII

Every few days over the next several months I will be posting installments of a novel about life, death, war and politics in America since 9/11.  Through the Darkest of Nights is a story of hope, reflection, determination, and redemption.  It is a testament to the progressive values we all believe in, have always defended, and always will defend no matter how long this darkness lasts.  But most of all, it is a search for identity and meaning in an empty world.

Naked and alone we came into exile.  In her dark womb, we did not know our mother’s face; from the prison of her flesh have we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth.  Which of us has known his brother?  Which of us has looked into his father’s heart?  Which of us has not remained prison-pent?  Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone?      ~Thomas Wolfe

All installments are available for reading here on Docudharma’s Series page, and also here on Docudharma’s Fiction Page, where refuge from politicians, blogging overload, and one BushCo outrage after another can always be found.

Bushco’s Politics of Fear, Eternal War, Are Crippling America

A truly enlightening  article by Fareed Zakaria in Newsweek, ‘The Post-American World.’ Chronicling the rise of the rest of the world and the demise of America… as it turned into an imperialist warmonger under Bush after 9/11.

It is a somewhat long, but easy read, so I am taking a few liberties with fair use…and cherry picking a bit to make my point. Zakaria’s emphasis is on the rise of the rest of the world, which other than the implications for Climate Crisis, lol, is very positive and eye opening. My cherry picking point is that by propagandizing the America people into a state of paralytic fear and emphasizing the absolute worst nature of America, destruction over construction…Bushco has has led our nation into grave danger. Not the danger of terrorist attack, but the very real danger of destroying ourselves by bankrupting America financially, morally, and intellectually. We are far down that slippery slope. By the time we can gain our footing and begin to climb back…the world will have passed us by. But other than as a crushing blow to our national pride… which is a HUGE part of how we got here in the first place…is that a bad thing?

Americans are glum at the moment. No, I mean really glum. In April, a new poll revealed that 81 percent of the American people believe that the country is on the “wrong track.” In the 25 years that pollsters have asked this question, last month’s response was by far the most negative. Other polls, asking similar questions, found levels of gloom that were even more alarming, often at 30- and 40-year highs.


Gas Tax Scam (Dot COM)

Clinton’s and McSame McCain’s energy dumb and dumber song-and-dance act about a ‘gas tax holiday’ is not getting any support from independent people who actually understand energy issues and/or economics.    As per GasTaxScam DOT com, the merit of this idea is about the merit of setting out on a long voyage with an empty tank.

A secret and confidential letter from energy dumb and dumber provides some details:

We are top officials of the United States Senate Government who are interested in importation of oil into our country with funds that are presently trapped in the FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION TRUST FUND dedicated to improving transportation. We wish to send this money to overseas accounts in the MIDDLE EAST but cannot due to restrictions in Congress Transportation Equity Act requiring that this money must be spent to build roads, bridges and high speed trains.

If you accept we will deliver to your a sum of 30 DOLLARS in the summer 2008 in form of a “GAS TAX HOLIDAY”.  You will then deliver this money to accounts of our friends in Middle East by taking it to your nearby gasoline station where they have information to forward the money.

Sure, this is a parody but parodies often hit the mark.  After all, does the ‘gas tax holiday’ concept have any more merit than that latest Nigerian oil scam or Dutch lottery winner e-mail that hit your inbox.  And, just as with those fraud emails, Hillary’s and McSame McCain’s energy dumb and energy dumber proposal merits filing in the spam folder.

Hopefully, the American public is developing the filters to filter such political spam into the ‘junk’ folder without wasting time and energy on them.

The Stars Hollow Gazette

Glenn Greenwald

10 am 5 Who needs Dana Perino when you have the NYT’s Michael Gordon?

Glenn Greenwald @

Monday May 5, 2008 07:23 EDT

Like clockwork, the administration’s most stalwart surge supporter/journalist — the New York Times’ Michael Gordon — has a lengthy article today bolstering the administration’s war-justifying accusations against Iran. It claims in the lead sentence that “militants from the Lebanese group Hezbollah have been training Iraqi militia fighters at a camp near Tehran,” and that “the training, the Americans say, is carried out at several camps near Tehran that are overseen by the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Command, and the instruction is carried out by militants from Hezbollah, which has long been supported by the Quds Force.”

As usual with Gordon’s articles, nothing is done here other than uncritically repeating Bush administration claims under the cover of anonymity. Virtually every paragraph in this article is nothing more a mindless recitation of uncorroborated assertions which he copies from Bush officials and then weaves into a news narrative, with the phrase “American officials say” tacked on at the end or the phrase “according to officials” unobtrusively interspersed in the middle…

The administration’s war-threatening rhetoric against Iran has plainly reached new heights in the last several weeks. Whether they really intend to follow through on those threats before Bush leaves office is unclear, though some commentators with a history of insight and prescience — such as Scott Ritter — are convinced they will. But what is clear is that the administration has no better ally in disseminating its war-provoking accusations than Michael Gordon and his NYT Editors, for whom “reporting” consists of repeating whatever Bush officials say — no matter how significant or dubious — and to do so without challenge and while baselessly granting them anonymity to do make their provocative accusations without accountability.

Morning Edition

10 pm- Africa 1, Asia 5, Europe 1, South America 1, Entertainment 1, Business 1, Science 4

2 am- Asia 1, Australia 2, Business 1, Health 1, Blogline 1

10 am- Asia 8, Blogroll 3, Business 4, Africa 2, Entertainment 3, Science 5, Health 1, News & Politics 2, Europe 1

BREAKING: Heroes save baby

Fall River –

Before Saturday night, Bruce Hebert wondered why God kept him on Earth.

By 7:30 p.m., he had his answer.

Police are describing Hebert and Pedro Davila as heroes after they rescued a 21-month-old baby girl from a watery storm drain in the area of Fourth and Morgan streets.  

Hebert said he was cooking on a grill outside his Fourth Street home when a minivan pulled up nearby.

“Then a lady was flipping out and running around,” he related.

After learning that a baby had fallen into a storm drain, Hebert said he got a lug wrench from the back of the van and someone handed him a hammer.

Davila and Hebert used the tools to flip open the storm drain cover.

“(Davila) jumped inside (the drain) and picked up the baby,” Hebert said. “He climbed out and tried to do CPR, but he was doing it wrong.”

Hebert said he politely advised Davila and then resumed CPR, which he learned many years ago as a lifeguard at a Fairhaven beach.

“The second time I blew into her lungs, she started spitting up water and stuff,” he said.

Officer David Lafleur arrived and took the baby. She was rushed to St. Anne’s Hospital, and later transferred to Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Providence.

“Unfortunately, she was in the water for one to two minutes,” Hebert said. “But the last I heard, she was crying and fussing, so that’s a blessing from Jesus.”

Both men are unemployed. Bruce Hebert has many medical problems, and Pedro was unable to obtain treatment for his foot that he injured in the course of the rescue, due to…you got it…lack of health coverage.

Next time you see somebody down on their luck, remember that there is good in just about everyone.

Yahoo – Arrogant, User-unfriendly, Willing Toady for Authoritarianism

 I hate Yahoo.

Let’s get that straight.

And, before I go any further, PLEASE don’t tell me stories of this or that “very nice and knowledgeable ‘Customer Service'” rep you once spoke to.  I find this blog phenomenon happening repeatedly:  someone writes something critical of this or that company, then someone else sweeps-in to tell a “happy-talk” story, thinking that that nullifies the original premise — which, of course, it doesn’t.  

It’s as if someone blows the whistle on a bad cop who sexually assaults motorists he pulls over, then someone else comes to the bad cop’s rescue saying, “Be that as it may, he volunteers at Habitat every 3rd weekend!” — as if that has anything to do with the original premise/problem.  So, please, defenders of Yahoo, spare us non-sequitur defenses of this jack-leg company that seems so quick to confuse being on the front-end of the search engine business model to actually being managed by competents.  In other words, just because VHS beat-out Betamax doesn’t mean VHS was better than Beta.  Similarly, Yahoo seems to confuse good market positioning, PR and a healthy does of dumb luck with actual “worth while product/service.”

Oh, and by the way:  Yahoo Shares Tumble.  Heh.

More below the fold.

Too important for just a comment. This affects YOU directly.

cross posted to Docudharma, Dailykos, Turn Maine Blue and VetVoice from Military Spouse Press,

I began writing a response to NamGuardianAngel’s article below this one,… and it became a MEGA comment.

I also realized that the information was too important to you as a military spouse to contribute as just a comment. I had to ensure it was read by the maximum number by making it a stand alone Editorial Page contribution.

Hopefully, what is discussed will never affect you personally but statistics, studies and history prove beyond any doubt that they will affect a high percentage of military spouses.

PLEASE do not wait. Take action. If not for your soldier, yourself, your family, then for the other military spouses who will be affected by this.

Pony Party, Playoff Updates

Docudharma’s picks:

who picked whom? 3card LOTF documel NightOwl fortschreitend UCC 73v
Habs/Flyers Flyers-6 Habs-6 Habs Habs-7 Habs-6 Flyers-6 Flyers-6
Pens/Rangers NY-7 NY-7 NY-6 Pens-5 Pens-6 NY-7 Pens-7
Wings/Avs Wings-6 Wings-5/6 Wings Avs-6 Wings-7 Wings-6 Wings-5
Sharks/Stars Fins-5 Fins-5 Fins Fins-7 Fins-7 Stars-6 Fins-6

and ucc edges me out by picking the correct number of games for the stars/fins series….good job, ucc!!

Conference Championship Matchups:

Eastern Conference

Pittsburgh (2) vs. Philadelphia (6) (series begins Friday)

Western Conference

Detroit (1) vs. Dallas (5)  (series begins Thursday)

Docudharma Times Monday May 5

“this dream never ends” you said

“this feeling never goes

the time will never come to slip away”

“this wave never breaks” you said

“this sun never sets again

Monday’s Headlines: Few Details on Immigrants Who Died in U.S. Custody: Fiscal Pressures Lead Some States to Free Inmates Early: Thais sued by Tesco deny that firm contacted them: Sinking without trace: Australia’s climate change victims: Curry houses test Europe’s eastern promise: Zimbabwe run-off vote may face year delay: AfDB adds $1 bln in loans for Africa food crisis: US-backed plan sees shiny future for Green Zone in Iraq: The Best of Buddies, Amid Dust and Danger: Bolivian province votes for autonomy

Aid effort for cyclone-hit Burma

Some aid is beginning to reach victims of the cyclone that hit Burma on Saturday, killing hundreds of people and leaving tens of thousands homeless.

Both Burmese officials and international agencies are working to assess the scale of the disaster, with five regions declared disaster zones.

More than 350 people were killed and thousands of buildings destroyed by the storm, state media said.

But a referendum on a new constitution will still go ahead on 10 May, it said.

“The referendum is only a few days away and the people are eagerly looking forward to voting,” the government said in a statement carried by state media.

Burma’s leaders say the referendum will pave the way for multi-party elections in 2010, but critics say the charter is aimed primarily at further entrenching military rule.


Democrats do have a nominee

By Muhammad Cohen

HONG KONG – Hundreds of thousands of Democrats will vote in the United States presidential elections in Indiana and North Carolina on Tuesday, and those results won’t matter. But the reason the final tally won’t matter is different from the reason the vote didn’t matter in Pennsylvania two weeks ago.

Senator Hillary Clinton’s win in the Pennsylvania primary didn’t change the calculus in fashion back then: Senator Barack Obama still led in pledged delegates, overall delegates, popular vote, and

states won, and thus remained the prohibitive favorite for the nomination.

Muse in the Morning

Distortion on a Gray Day


With any luck

the ragged people

discover how to sing

on the countless

gray days

which occupy time

between those occasional

days of sunshine

In a better world

one not consisting

of lies and jest

going away

is not necessary

or required

or even desired

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–February 22. 2008

Please join us inside to celebrate our various muses…

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