May 2008 archive

Random Japan

Oh, so that explains it

Odakyu Electric Railway officials said that a rush hour train which came to a sudden halt, stranding 560 passengers and affecting about 18,000 others, broke down “after the motors suddenly stopped.”

A 67-year-old Tokyo housewife who broke the leg of an elderly woman in a hit-and-run bicycle accident told police that she “was in a hurry to go to a karaoke bar.”

Oh, brother

A 35-year-old employee of food giant Ajinomoto was arrested for spraying pepper gas into the face of a 16-year-old high school girl from Saitama.



Cases of illegally parked motorcycles in 2005, according to the National Police Agency


Number of cases in 2007, thanks to the introduction of private-sector parking wardens


Number of bank transactions that failed due to a computer glitch on the first day of MUFJ’s highly touted new ATM system


Percent of Japanese people aged 14 or under as of April 1, a record low, according to the Internal Affairs Ministry


People who have signed a condolence book at Ueno Zoo for recently deceased giant panda Ling Ling

Custer Smiles from Hell about His Pipeline

“Wonderful U.S. and Canada!”

Tommywommy's Friend

Custer’s Pipeline & Genocide Denial

Genocide denial is part of the steel that drills the oil in “Custer’s Pipeline,” is part of what moves the pens making lying papers that are stealing and have stolen the promised sovereignty of American Indians, and what makes the modern day Custers feel joy when they succeed and rage when they fail.

Historic meeting ends on pessimistic note

Determining the pipeline’s effects on cultural places appeared to have been a cursory and simplistic process.

Funkalicious Friday: Hurts!

End Times-The Signs Continue

Winchendon Mass

A fourth grader gets suspended from school.  The crime?  He had two empty rifle shells given to him by a veteran from the town’s Memorial Day ceremonies.…

Live Blog w/ NE-Sen Candidate Scott Kleeb 8pm et!

We’re minutes away from a live blog over at the EENR Blog with Nebraska Senate candidate Scott Kleeb. Get your questions ready for Kleeb and get ready to talk with the next Senator from Nebraska!

Before we start our conversation with Scott Kleeb, let’s get to know the candidate from Nebraska a little better. Scott Kleeb grew up a military brat, living on miltary bases overseas for much of his childhood. When he returned to Nebraska, he worked as a ranch hand in Colorado and Nebraska. Kleeb attended Yale University and received a Masters degree in international relations, a PhD in history, and paid special attention to agricultural economics. Here’s a snippet from his website about the beginnings of his political career:

Scott got a coveted position at the United Nations Policy Planning and Analysis Unit and served as an Associate World Fellow at Yale. His formal education done, Scott returned to Nebraska, just as he dreamed he would and with the same desire to serve in whatever way he could. He decided to run for Congress, nearly winning as Democrat in one of the most Republican districts in America. Scott took a job at Morgan Ranch and teaches American history at Hastings College in Nebraska

Photo courtesy of EENR editor/blogger Benny

Friday Night at 8: Steering the Straight Course

Obligatory YouTube this Friday night — Ray Charles, “Hit the Road Jack” (replacement for “Busted” which got busted off of YouTube)

We got news coming down the pipeline about White House press secretary writing a tell-all and the very media indicted in that tell-all is covering it.  Just when you think things can’t get more surreal … well, I dunno, I think we’re all pretty much aware that surreal is the flavor of the day here in these Disunited States.

The story of the day.  Oh but there are so many stories of the day.

I am all for staying informed.

I’m one of the fortunate ones who can get their news from the blogs and especially here at Docudharma, where our news aggregators and analysts are second to none!

But it is Friday and I’m done with the work week.  I tend to use this day to reflect a bit and check my navigating skills to see that I’m still on the straight course.

“How much is the life of a farm worker worth? Is it less than the life of any other human being?”

We need to tell you about a story that will break your heart, and then we need to ask you for help so we can prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again.

Will you help in a fight for justice?  I received an email today from the United Farm Workers about a prevantable death of a young, pregnant woman.  The Daily Kos and Docudharma communities can make a difference here.  The cause is just and necessary.

I just spoke at the funeral of 17-year-old Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez. Maria was working in a grape vineyard outside Stockton during the 1st heat wave of this year. She became ill due to the heat as the farm labor contractor and grower she worked for, like many others, did not provide the protections required by law.

The death of this young pregnant girl is hard to accept because it did not need to happen.

This is not the first time farm workers have needlessly died from the heat.  Ten have died over the last four years.

Arturo S. Rodriguez

President, UFW

Can you help the United Farm Workers?  Will you fight for justice?  More after the fold.  

How hard is it…

…when you’ve realized that you’re working for an administration that has lied to the American people about… well about every fucking thing… to just quit your job,  go out and find the biggest bunch of microphones you can and then scream at the top of your lungs, “Hey, America, I got something really important to say”?

Friday Philosophy: Nebulous answers to cogent questions

The WeaveMothers were one and several.  The collective imagined a HereNow.  But the autonomous units were going to do what autonomous units do.  The distance between imagination and image on the one hand and reality on the other was immense through the eye of any disinterested observer.

As if there existed such a concept as disinterested observer…

_ # ^ &  _ # ^ &  _ # ^ &  _

It started out in the comments to one of my essays.  I have rewritten the comments just a bit for the purposes of readability.


1. is there abandonment of the gender identity you, Robyn, had before your surgery?

2. and a full embrace of the gender you had surgery to become?

3. or is there a sense of identity with both genders,

4. or this there an identity awareness of a new, blended gender?

and the reason i mentioned this belonging in your Friday essay was due to the quote pulled from Friday’s essay that prompted these questions.  you notice, i hope, that i’m finally taking you up on your offer to answer questions, Teach!  

– kj

So I respond, with full knowledge that sharing even this much diminishes the probability that venturing inside will happen…

Leave The “Uncontacted” People Alone!! (Updated)

cross posted from The Dream Antilles


The “Uncontacted” Village

CNN  has reported that an “uncontacted tribe” has been sited in the Peruvian-Brazilian Amazon.  The story isn’t really surprising:

Researchers have produced aerial photos of jungle dwellers who they say are among the few remaining peoples on Earth who have had no contact with the outside world.

Taken from a small airplane, the photos show men outside thatched communal huts, necks craned upward, pointing bows toward the air in a remote corner of the Amazonian rainforest.

The National Indian Foundation, a government agency in Brazil, published the photos Thursday on its Web site. It tracks “uncontacted tribes” — indigenous groups that are thought to have had no contact with outsiders — and seeks to protect them from encroachment.

More than 100 uncontacted tribes remain worldwide, and about half live in the remote reaches of the Amazonian rainforest in Peru or Brazil, near the recently photographed tribe, according to Survival International, a nonprofit group that advocates for the rights of indigenous people.

Look at the photo and notice the obvious harmony of the tribe with its environment.  Do they need our help?  Do they need our influence?  Do they need us to be flying over them in our airplanes?  Do they need us to be driving them from where they are?

Four at Four

  1. The Defense War Department has replaced the judge, Army Col. Peter Brownback III, in the Guantánamo Bay “show trial” for Canadian detainee Omar Khadr. The official reason? He is “ill”. The likely reason? Brownback has made rulings in favor of the defense. The Miami Herald reports Pentagon is silent on Guantánamo judge’s ouster.

    Military prosecutors had been pressing Brownback to set a trial date, but he has repeatedly directed them first to satisfy defense requests for access to potential evidence. At a hearing earlier this month, he threatened to suspend the proceedings altogether unless the detention center provided records of Khadr’s confinement.

    The Bush administration is worried Canada might “demand Khadr’s repatriation.”

  2. The LA Times notes that Grandpa McCain’s Web gap is showing. Seems the McCain campaign just can’t keep up with the young whippersnappers these days. “Six of the top 10 videos returned by a “John McCain” YouTube search Thursday pegged the 71-year-old as inconsistent, extreme, wooden or a combination of the three… Contrast that with a YouTube search of “Barack Obama.” It’s a swoon fest, with virtually all of the top entries featuring the Illinois senator at his eloquent, uplifting best.”

    “So how do McCain & Co. get into the YouTube game?” asks the LA Times. “It may be time for McCain to play his own, less-menacing Hollywood ace: Wilford Brimley… He’s got those Quaker Oats ads and that stolid, old-man cool.” I guess Grandpa Simpson is already booked?

  3. I don’t know if America’s corporate media is going to pick up on this, The Guardian reports McCain is using a picture of himself shaking the hand of a uniformed General David Petraeus in his campaign fundraising material. Both Sen. John Kerry and Wisconsin’s Gov. Jim Doyle said this was an inappropriate politicisation of the military. Just like George W. McBush.

    The pair also leapt on the Arizona senator’s remarks yesterday in Wisconsin that US troop levels had declined to pre-surge levels and that some cities in Iraq are “quiet”.

    “I assume Senator McCain just doesn’t know the facts here,” Doyle said.
    “It’s very disturbing to have John McCain continually raise questions about what he knows and what he bases his judgments on,” said Kerry, a Navy veteran of Vietnam.

    “If you don’t know the number of troops it’s very difficult” to assess if they are overextended. The comments raise “serious questions about his comprehension of this challenge”.

    McCain’s reponse? ‘The surge is a success.’ The reality? “The level of violence has been inching up since January, after a 60% drop in attacks nationwide in the second half of last year, according to U.S. military figures.”

  4. Clean coal is a myth and guess what? According to the NY Times, Mounting costs slow the push for coal plant carbon capture. The coal power industry wants “to take the carbon dioxide that spews from coal-burning power plants and pump it back into the ground… But it has become clear in recent months that the nation’s effort to develop the technique is lagging badly.”

    In fact, viable techniques to pump CO2 underground are practically nonexistant. “Considerable research is still needed to be certain the technique would be safe, effective and affordable.”

    Scientists need to figure out which kinds of rock and soil formations are best at holding carbon dioxide. They need to be sure the gas will not bubble back to the surface. They need to find optimal designs for new power plants so as to cut costs. And some complex legal questions need to be resolved, such as who would be liable if such a project polluted the groundwater or caused other damage far from the power plant.

    Test projects have failed and “in January, the government pulled out after projected costs nearly doubled, to $1.8 billion. The government feared the costs would go even higher.” Clean coal is snake oil.

What for? {Devastating News from Mia Farrow}

On the 26th of this month, Memorial Day, at 12:21 AM, Mia Farrow posted the following on her blog. The ‘What For?’ is her subject title, and one many of us have been asking for these 5plus years.

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