June 1, 2008 archive

Planet Shit Dispatch: Hillary Hustle Edition

The Hustle

Denver, CO – At the main entrance to Denver International Airport there is a towering statue of a blue fiberglass bronco with blazing eyes. Mustang is the closest thing to a horse from Hell that I have personally ever seen and the fucker is eerily disturbing on a very basic level. It pops up visibly from miles away as you drive into that massive airport that is closer to the fucking Kansas state line than the Mile High City like some primitive warning to ward off warring tribes, very primal. The story behind the damned thing apparently is more than somewhat macabre as it fell upon the sculptor one Luis Jiminez, killing him prior to being finished which to the more superstitious amongst us is in and of itself enough to send chills up the spine and make the roots of hair follicles tingle. The brutal irony of this monstrosity guarding DIA with the coming war for the future of the Democratic party at the Denver convention this August is absolutely delicious.

As American as Apple Pie

The whole keffiyeh kerfuffle over Rachael Ray’s Dunkin Donuts ad set off a dKos thread (very humorous) that included someone writing about wanting their apple pastries.

Of course we all know that apples aren’t native to the western hemisphere–if they were, Johnny Appleseed would have had to find another line of work.  But where are they from?

Biblical references are often ascribed to pomegranates rather than true apples.  But that might be wrong.  Wikipedia points out that one problem with assuming the ancients meant the apple as we know it today is:

Apples appear in many religious traditions, often as a mystical or forbidden fruit. One of the problems identifying apples in religion, mythology and folktales is that the word “apple” was used as a generic term for all (foreign) fruit, other than berries but including nuts, as late as the 17th C. CE.;[6] For instance, in Greek mythology, the Greek hero Heracles, as a part of his Twelve Labours, was required to travel to the Garden of the Hesperides and pick the golden apples off the Tree of Life growing at its center.[9][10][11]


Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Iraq cites problems with US security pact

By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer

39 minutes ago

BAGHDAD – Iraq’s chief spokesman acknowledged differences with the United States over a proposed long-term security agreement and pledged on Sunday that the government will protect Iraqi sovereignty in ongoing talks with the Americans.

Australia became the latest member of the U.S.-led coalition to pull combat soldiers from Iraq, fulfilling an election promise that helped sweep Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to power in November.

Opposition has been growing in Iraq to the proposed security pact with the U.S., which will replace the current U.N. mandate and could provide for a long-term American military role in this country.

Café Discovery: Of Queers and Fags, Hussies and Catamites

I have a fascination with words and how they came to mean what they do and take on the connotations that they have.  

Much of the quoted material here…and some that is unquoted…comes from the Online Etymological Dictionary.  I do the research so you don’t have to.

Of Queers and Fags, Hussies and Catamites

queer – 1508, strange, peculiar, eccentric, from Scottish, perhaps from Low Ger. (Brunswick dialect) queer (oblique, off-center),  related to Ger. quer  (oblique, perverse, odd), from O.H.G. twerh (oblique), from PIE base twerk (to turn, twist, wind), related to thwart. The verb “to spoil, ruin” is first recorded 1812.   The sense of “homosexual” was first recorded in 1922; the noun in this sense is 1935, from the adjective.

I admit to being queer.  But I am not spoiled or ruined.

The word homosexual dates from 1892, in C.G. Chaddock’s translation of Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis, from homo-, a combination form from the Greek homos (same) and the Latin-based sexual.

‘Homosexual’ is a barbarously hybrid word, and I claim no responsibility for it.

— H. Havelock Ellis, Studies in Psychology, 1897

Homosexual was first used as a noun in 1907 in French, in English in 1912.  Interesting comment in the etymological dictionary:  In technical use, either male or female; but in non-technical use almost always male. The slang shortened form homo first appeared in 1929. The alternative homophile was coined in reference to the homosexual regarded as a person of a particular social group, rather than a sexual abnormality, in 1960, but it didn’t catch on.  Homophobia is from 1969.

Well, I’m sure homophobia is from way before that, but the word is from 1969.


I wanted to talk about something that might be a tough topic today…revenge. From Dictionary.com you will find the following definitions:

to exact punishment or expiation for a wrong on behalf of, esp. in a resentful or vindictive spirit

an opportunity to retaliate or gain satisfaction

harm done to another person in return for harm which he has done (to oneself or to someone else)

It is my belief that the desire for revenge contributed not only to so many US citizens supporting Bush’s pitch to invade Iraq in the wake of 9/11, but it also fuels much of what is wrong with our criminal justice system today (especially our continuing use of the death penalty).

Boxer’s Radio Jab on Global Warming

Saturday, Senator Barbara Boxer gave the Democratic Radio Address.

She spoke about the urgent need for our nation to act on global warming before it’s too late.

This talk has material that merits cheering and other parts that merit groans. Join me after the fold for an examination of why Senator Boxer merits some Cheers and some (strong) Jeers.

Pony Party: Sunday music (and dance) retrospective

West Side Story I


Iraq Getting Lonelier For U.S.

There’s someone who gets it:

Rudd has said the Iraq deployment has made Australia more of a target for terrorism.

Coming in July: Bush and Maliki’s Tag-Team Swindle

Reading various news stories about an upcoming agreement on long-term military and economic commitments between the White House and the Maliki government in Iraq, details of which have not been made public, I think I am seeing the outlines a very clever trick.  I have not seen any news outlet put these story-lines together, so I will do so here.


(White House Photo of President Bush and Prime Minister Maliki signing the 2007 Declaration)

Docudharma Times Sunday June 1

Chaos Brings Happiness

Sunday’s Headlines:   Displaced by Katrina and edged out of FEMA trailer park  S Korea beef protesters detained  Chinese bloggers slip censors’ net to attack smiling party boss  DNA explodes Greek myth about women  Drink ban party sparks Tube closures and arrests Robert Fisk: So al-Qa’ida’s defeated, eh? Go tell it to the marines   Tzipi Livni: terrorist-hunter secret of woman tipped to lead Israel   No nudes is bad news for Cairo art students    Vote Mugabe or else, army chief tells his soldiers  Yachts encountering real pirates of the Caribbean

Baghdad Jews Have Become a Fearful Few


Published: June 1, 2008

BAGHDAD – “I have no future here to stay.”

Written in broken English but with perfect clarity, the message is a stark and plaintive assessment from one of the last Jews of Babylon.

The community of Jews in Baghdad is now all but vanished in a land where their heritage recedes back to Abraham of Ur, to Jonah’s prophesying to Nineveh, and to Nebuchadnezzar’s sending Jews into exile here more than 2,500 years ago.

Just over half a century ago, Iraq’s Jews numbered more than 130,000. But now, in the city that was once the community’s heart, they cannot muster even a minyan, the 10 Jewish men required to perform some of the most important rituals of their faith.


Democrats Approve Deal on Michigan and Florida


Published: June 1, 2008

WASHINGTON – To jeers and boos that showcased deep party divisions, Democratic Party officials agreed Saturday to seat delegates from the disputed Florida and Michigan primaries at the party’s convention in August but give them only half a vote each, dealing a setback to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The agreement, reached by the rules committee of the Democratic National Committee behind closed doors and voted on publicly before a raucous audience of supporters of the two candidates, would give Mrs. Clinton a net gain of 24 delegates over Senator Barack Obama. But this fell far short of her hopes of winning the full votes of both delegations and moved the nomination further out of her reach.

Come to the Iraq Energy Expo and Conference! (update)

(Cross-posted at DailyKOS

When:           October 17-19, 2008

Sponsor:       Iraqi American Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Where:          Baghdad Convention Center,

                     Baghdad International Airport

Accommodations:    Rasheed Hotel, Baghdad, Iraq

                              Caravan Hotel (BIAP area)

You’re invited, if you’re in the oil business and have any expertise to offer, that is:




It is my pleasure to invite you all to the IRAQ ENERGY EXPO AND CONFERENCE, October 17-19, 2008.

The year 2008 marks a tremendous new opportunity for investment in Iraq’s upstream and downstream oil and gas infrastructure. To help facilitate this process, the Government of Iraq is working tirelessly to pass the new hydrocarbon law. As a result of this landmark legislation, companies from around the world will be able to participate in increasing Iraq’s oil and gas capacity in the 2nd largest oil reserve in the world.

As a result of this momentous achievement, and on behalf of the Iraqi Government and the Ministry of Oil, we would like to invite all international oil companies to participate in this historic event. The location for this international exhibition will be the newly constructed Baghdad Convention Center at the Baghdad International Airport.

The Ministry of Oil and its technical staff are very interested to see the latest technologies in this ever-changing industry. In return, the Ministry is prepared to provide detailed explanations of its needs for the coming years. Your participation at the expo is essential to helping us understand your company’s capabilities. We look forward to seeing you there.

Dr. Hussein Al-Shehrestani

Minister of Oil

(emphasis mine)

Geothermal Power For Unangans

[crossposted on DKOS]

Life has never been easy for Unangans, an indigenous people of the Aleutians.

Recent archaeological investigation in the Unalaska area provides evidence that the Unangan (the People of the passes, according to linguist Moses Dirks) have inhabited the Aleutian Islands for at least nine thousand years.

The last thousand years seem to have been the worst.

The Russian Fur Traders: The Unangan culture thrived for centuries until the Russian fur traders discovered the Aleutian Islands around 1750. At this time, the Unangan population was estimated at 12,000 to 15,000. At first, they resisted the invasion, even resorting to warfare, but were eventually subjugated by the foreigners and forced to hunt sea otters and fur seals.

In the late 1700’s, the traders discovered the Pribilof Islands to the north were a rich source of hides, and forced a group of Unangans to move there to hunt for them.

The population of Unangan people was greatly reduced after Russian occupation due to disease, war and malnutrition.

World War II: In June 1942, nearly six months to the day after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese struck again on American soil. The bombing of Dutch Harbor signaled the beginning of the Aleutian Campaign and was quickly followed by the Japanese landing on Kiska and Attu Islands in the Western Aleutians, over 1,000 miles from Dutch Harbor. On Kiska, the Japanese took a small naval weather crew captive; on Attu, they took the whole village hostage, later shipping them back to Japan as prisoners of war.

In the aftermath of the Japanese invasion, U.S. authorities scrambled to get civilians out of the war zone. As a result, nearly 900 Unangan people were suddenly uprooted, evacuated from their homes with only a suitcase each, crammed onto crowded transport ships, and taken to internment camps in Southeast Alaska. They would remain in dismal, crowded conditions, suffering from disease and malnutrition, for three long years.

Courtesy of the National Archives: St. Paul residents gaze at their homes in 1942 as the U.S. Delarof pulls away from the dock, taking them to internment camps in southeast Alaska.

Somehow I bet most here knew only knew about later arrivals being incarcerated.  Native Americans don’t get a whole lot of attention except when they are doing their native dances or something.

Today the total estimated population Unangans is estimated at 2,000.

Those 2,000 Unangans, as well as others who live alongside them, still like to eat and get around.  Getting harder these days.

One answer in a place where there isn’t a whole lot of sun or even trees is geothermal.  Al Gore may never have heard of geothermal but Unangans have.  

The Unalaska Island is the site of deep drilling conducted for geothermal resources. In the 1980’s, there was an Unalaska Geothermal Feasibility Study prepared for Alaska Power Authority by Dames and Moore that comprised of an exploration program, consisting of three phases. The exploration program confirmed the existence of a highly productive geothermal reservoir at a depth of 1,949 feet, approximately 14 miles west of Unalaska/Dutch Harbor.

That’s mighty fine and all but this is way up north where it gets a mite difficult to get around in winter even yet.


Some of the native fauna might help if they weren’t wild and a bit shy:

And too smart to go some places in the wintertime.

More pictures and other information on Unalaska can be found here.

So what to do about tapping the heat of Makushin Volcano where wild horses won’t go when it’s needed most?

Why the answer is so simple Al Gore might have thought of it if he had ever heard of geothermal power.

– Drill way down in the valley where the Unangans are.

Well you got to know where to drill and that is why there are some people who want to help, even a Republican or two who need votes something awful these days.

There is no shortage whatever of green energy.

There is a great lack of intelligence.  Good thing there are Unangans who have lots of smarts.  Needed it to survive in wild, beautiful country.

Best,  Terry

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