September 13, 2008 archive

Apolitical Blues

It’s enough to bring tears to your eyes…

Darwinic pilgrims claim the image fills them with an overwhelming feeling of logic.

Evolutionists Flock To Darwin Shaped Wall Stain

DAYTON, TN-A steady stream of devoted evolutionists continued to gather in this small Tennessee town today to witness what many believe is an image of Charles Darwin-author of The Origin Of Species and founder of the modern evolutionary movement-made manifest on a concrete wall in downtown Dayton.

“I brought my baby to touch the wall, so that the power of Darwin can purify her genetic makeup of undesirable inherited traits,” said Darlene Freiberg, one among a growing crowd assembled here to see the mysterious stain, which appeared last Monday on one side of the Rhea County Courthouse. The building was also the location of the famed “Scopes Monkey Trial” and is widely considered one of Darwinism’s holiest sites. “Forgive me, O Charles, for ever doubting your Divine Evolution. After seeing this miracle of limestone pigmentation with my own eyes, my faith in empirical reasoning will never again be tested.”

Added Freiberg, “Behold the power and glory of the scientific method!”

Since witnesses first reported the unexplained marking-which appears to resemble a 19th-century male figure with a high forehead and large beard-this normally quiet town has become a hotbed of biological zealotry. Thousands of pilgrims from as far away as Berkeley’s paleoanthropology department have flocked to the site to lay wreaths of flowers, light devotional candles, read aloud from Darwin’s works, and otherwise pay homage to the mysterious blue-green stain.

What are they thinking?

The conventional wisdom about the presidential race these days is that the McCain/Palin attacks are working and that if Obama wants to have a shot at winning this thing, its time he came out with some punches of his own.

Personally, I think arguments can be made on either side of this question. But today I read something that intrigued me as a deeper look at the appeal of Palin and the possible rejection of Obama. It comes from voters that I don’t often hear from given that I live in an urban setting and get my news from the blogoshpere.

The article is in Salon, is written by Dan Hoyle, and is titled What small-town America is saying about Obama. Here’s the set-up.

For three months during this summer and early fall, I’ve been traveling across America, exploring the nation’s small towns and rural areas and meeting the people there. From Michigan to New Mexico to North Carolina, I’ve conducted dozens of interviews with white working-class voters across 18 states, gauging, among other things, their thoughts and feelings about the first black man to have a serious shot at winning the White House.


Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

Business and Science to come.

Now in comments.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Emergency meeting on Lehman rescue resumes

By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer

1 hour, 34 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – With the global financial system holding its collective breath, the U.S. government scrambled Saturday to help devise a rescue for Lehman Brothers and restore confidence in Wall Street and the American financial structure.

An official from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the talks, said deliberations have resumed with leading Wall Street executives and top U.S. financial officials.

They include Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Timothy Geithner, president of the New York Fed, and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox. They were meeting on the heels of an emergency session convened Friday night by Geithner – the Fed’s point person on financial rises.

The John McCain Experience

Much of the focus of John McCain’s campaign for president has been on his reputed experience (and just as often, the alleged lack of same for his opponent). But there has been sparse actual examination of how that argument should be measured. Is spending five and a half years in a prisoner of war camp 40 years ago preparation to run the largest governmental bureaucracy in the world? If so, then, as Jon Stewart said, “Guantanamo Bay isn’t a prison, it’s a leadership academy.” Is 36 years in Congress the yardstick for executive readiness? Or is it two years as governor of the third smallest state in the nation, preceded by the mayoralty of a frosty township of 6,000? McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin, appear to disagree on this issue:

Johnny Cash and Louis Armstrong Singing About the Police

I found this last night on youtube, and it brought tears to my eyes.  And made me feel encouraged, kind of.  Here’s two of the greatest american musicians ever singing about being unfairly arrested by the police.  It was a Jimmy Rogers song from 1930. I know this isn’t much of a diary, but I just wanted to share it… it made me feel so good…

Gordon Smith throws slime, uses rape victim as cover

Gordon Smith has watched his lead as a sitting senator evaporate in this year’s race against Jeff Merkley, his Democratic challenger. Smith is becoming increasingly unpopular and now he is trailing in recent polling. So in what can only be described as an act of desperation, Smith is running, perhaps, the slimiest television ad ever in the history of Oregon senatorial politics.

The Oregonian reports Smith asks rape victim to be in TV ad against foe.

Merkley spokesman Matt Canter called the TV ad — and another new Smith commercial on the Gillmore case — “slime and smear at its worst.”

In Smith’s despicable ad, he enlists Tiffany Edens, a well-known rape victim in Oregon, “to appear in an emotional TV ad” that falsely accuses Merkley of “failing to crack down on serious sex offenders.”

Here is the ad Gordon Smith approves:

It’s Still The Economy.

cross posted from The Dream Antilles

On Friday the nation’s recession, the big, ugly one that so many people feel directly in foreclosure of their homes, at the gas pump, in the cost of health care, in towering credit card debt, in the cost of heating their homes, in job and income insecurity, in lack of consumer confidence, in diminishing retirement funds, paid a personal, uninvited and unwanted visit to the county in the Hudson Valley of New York where I live.

The county’s fourth largest employer, Kaz Incorporated, a maker of humidifiers, announced that it was moving its production facilities from Columbia County, New York to Mexico.  The announcement that about 350 workers were losing their jobs came on the heals of a similar announcement from LB Furniture earlier this year, that it was closing and that 150 production workers would lose their jobs.  That’s 500 production jobs lost in 2008 in a small county with a population of about 62,000. That can modestly be described as an economic disaster.

Join me in Columbia County, New York.

Obama calls for US military mobilization

Original article, by Patrick Martin and subheaded National service forum at Columbia University, via World Socialist Web Site:

In remarks that clearly pointed toward the restoration of the military draft under an Obama administration, the Democratic candidate said Thursday night that his job as president would include demanding that the American people recognize an “obligation” for military service. “If we are going into war, then all of us go, not just some,” Senator Barack Obama declared.

McPocalypse Now

I belong to the generation that had school drills for the Big One.  Many of us can remember the look of terror in the eyes of our parents as we sat around the TV watching President Kennedy announce the “quarantine” of Cuba on October 7, 1962.

Will the world’s families once again feel that horrible terror?

(cross-posted on dKos)

Docudharma Times Saturday September 13

They Are Not Distortions

They Were Not Misspoken

They Are Lies

And, Those Telling Them Are Liars

Saturday’s Headlines:

McCain Barbs Stirring Outcry as Distortions

Medvedev describes Georgia attack as Russia’s 9/11

Pope backs Sarkozy’s bid for religious values

The most fragile of deals: Mugabe finally cedes power  

Jacob Zuma, ANC leader, cleared of all corruption charges

New dissent arrests in Malaysia

Thai ruling coalition begins search for new PM

Bombing Near Police Station Kills 23 in Iraq

Bolivia imposes martial law on eastern province

Devastating Ike roars ashore in Galveston


The Associated Press

Saturday, September 13, 2008; 4:15 AM    

GALVESTON, Texas — A massive Hurricane Ike ravaged southeast Texas early Saturday, battering the coast with driving rain and ferocious wind gusts as residents who decided too late they should have heeded calls to evacuate made futile calls for rescue.

Though it would be daybreak before the storm’s toll was clear, already, the damage was extensive. Thousands of homes had flooded, roads were washed out and several fires burned unabated as crews could not reach them. But the biggest fear was that thousands of people had defied orders to flee would need rescue from submerged homes and neighborhoods.

‘Total destruction’: At least 15 die in head-on Metrolink crash

Commuter train with 225 aboard slams into freight train on winding route in Chatsworth. More than 135 are injured.

 By Joel Rubin, Ann M. Simmons and Mitchell Landsberg, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

September 13, 2008    

Rescue teams worked frantically into the night Friday after a Metrolink passenger train carrying 225 people collided head-on with a Union Pacific freight train on a sharp curve in Chatsworth, killing at least 15 people and leaving more than 135 injured. It was one of the worst train crashes in Southern California history and Metrolink officials said they could not explain why warning systems failed to prevent such a catastrophic collision.

Los Angeles City Fire Capt. John Virant, his face glistening with sweat hours after the crash, described the scene as “total destruction . . . chaos.” “They are in there removing dead bodies that are lying on top of survivors,” Virant said. In the front train carriage, he said, “it was as if somebody had just taken all the seats and thrown them in there.


Groundhog Day election forces rival teams to alter strategy

Ewen MacAskill in Washington

The Guardian,

Saturday September 13 2008  

After almost two years of campaigning, the US election is arriving with a rush. Although there are 52 days left until the November 4 poll, the first of the ballot booths will open next Friday in Virginia for early voting.

Other states will follow soon after; 36 of the 50 are offering the opportunity to vote early, either in person or by post.

The expansion of early voting is posing a dilemma for the campaign teams, with decisions having to be made about whether to time ads and rallies to coincide with them or whether to delay drives until nearer November 4.

With 30% or more of the electorate predicted to vote early, the Barack Obama and John McCain campaigns are in overdrive.

Random Japan

Toad rage

Former pitcher Hideki Irabu, once famously christened a “fat toad” by New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, was arrested in Osaka after going berserk when his credit card got rejected at a bar. Irabu reportedly grabbed the barkeep by the neck, pulled his hair and started tossing ashtrays and bottles. In his defense, the erstwhile pitcher said he had pounded back 20 jugs of beer, which you have to admit is pretty impressive.

Speaking of things boozy, it was reported that the value of seishu, or refined sake, exported to South Korea from Japan has increased from ¥65 million in 2002 to ¥465 million last year.

The Japan Sumo Association gave 20-year-old Russian wrestler Wakanoho the boot after he was found to have pot-smoking paraphernalia in his room. The rikishi’s drug use came to light when someone turned in his lost wallet and the cops found a joint in it.

Two men on board a light plane were a little banged up but otherwise fine after they crash-landed on a highway in Osaka.

A group called the Japan Productivity Center for Socio-Economic Development found that Japanese youths aged 15-19 participated in an average of 15.6 leisure activities, such as “karaoke, travel and driving,” down from 21.6 activities ten years ago

Biden Vs. Palin on Indigenous Issues

Let’s play “let’s pretend” and the issue is the events that led up to Milk Creek in 1879. Who would have listened to the Indian agent Nathan C. Meeker in this current election, and who would have listened to Chief Colorow who had told Major Thomas T. Thornburgh that there would be bloodshed if they crossed into the Ute’s reservation in this current election? Let’s start off with what’s current, remembering that polar bears aren’t the only ones who have had to relocate.

…but the Arctic is the scene for a new kind of international gold rush…

Arctic a potential conflict zone, Europe warned

BRUSSELS, Belgium – European Union leaders will receive a stark warning next week of potential conflict with Russia over energy resources at the North Pole as global warning melts the ice cap and aggravates international security threats.

See video

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