October 5, 2008 archive

The Great Lakes: Trends and Impact.

The modern history of the Great Lakes region can be viewed as a progression of intensifying use of a vast natural resource.   At first it was a matter of making use of the natural resources while avoiding its dangers.

great lakes

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

54 stories so far, but no Politics, Business, or Science yet.

6 pm Politics Update- 10 stories.

8 pm Business & Science Update- 15 stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Russian troops start dismantling Georgia posts

By SOPHIKO MEGRILIDZE, Associated Press Writer

44 minutes ago

NADARBAZEVI, Georgia – Russian troops on Sunday began dismantling positions in the so-called security zones inside Georgia that they have occupied since August’s war, Georgian and EU officials said, a sign Russia will fulfill its pledged pullback.

Moscow faces a Friday deadline for pulling back its troops under the terms of a deal brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy on behalf of the European Union. Hundreds of EU observers began monitoring Russia’s compliance last week.

A pullback would likely mean at least a mild reduction of tensions between Russia and the West following their worst confrontation since the Soviet collapse. But substantial points of dispute remain.

The Bail-Out and The Two Paths Ahead for the US Economy

Here at Docudharma yesterday’s diary on The Magic of Default Swaps: You Too can be an Insurance Company, cassiodorus says:

Dollar hegemony, however, can only prevent a general contagion of dollars up to a point.  What that point is, however, is a mystery. … Thus hyperinflation and currency crash.

As I see it, there are two paths ahead.

(1) A crash program of investment in sustainable energy production and energy efficiency in transport, housing and farming, leveraging the exporters-exchange-rate the US$ will be seeing into a central position in the growth industries of the 21st century … or …

(2) We try to continue on the same unsustainable course, and have a hyperinflation.

Background, more detail and analysis beyond the fold.

Café Discovery: Tar Pit Environs

My (almost) last batch of photos were taken in Debbie’s brother’s neighborhood.  I had an hour or so on our last day in Los Angeles before we returned to the desert.  So I took a walk through the neighborhood.  And I took a camera with me.

Jim’s house is two blocks from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), which I wrote about before.  And it’s also two blocks from the La Brea Tar Pits.  Photos were not allowed inside LACMA…or I would be displaying one of a painting of The Death of Buddha.

But I did walk down to the grounds of the tar pits and got some shots.  And I took more photos on the way back.

Warning:  23 photos inside

The Revolution Flu is Here

Hey have you got this new bug going around? Revolution Flu, they are calling it.

Seems that once you get fully fed up and tired of the rich and greedy lording it over you, buying your politicians, making the laws against you, impoverishing your nation, that you start to show symptoms. Then you need to take a week off to get better.

Starts with a little indignation and moves quickly on to discontent. Blogging alleviates some of the discomfort at first, but then this remedy is found ineffective in the long term. The agents of the disease are too far removed from the petty media stream they call the Intertubes (they pay someone to read for them).

Next thing you know, you have an urge to start quoting historical documents like the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution, The rich and greedy Wall Street overlords and their puppets in Congress and the White House love this part. “How quaint! They are quoting a ***damned piece of paper!”

On Revolution and Revulsion

The more there are riots, the more repressive action will take place, and the more we face the danger of a right-wing takeover and eventually a fascist society.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

     “You can never have a revolution in order to establish a democracy. You must have a democracy in order to have a revolution.

G. K. Chesterton

Revolution is not something fixed in ideology, nor is it something fashioned to a particular decade. It is a perpetual process embedded in the human spirit.

Abbie Hoffman

     “A revolution is interesting insofar as it avoids like the plague the plague it promised to heal

Daniel Berrigan

There has been a lot of serious minded discussion lately here and no doubt in other blogs and casual conversation about whether we have gone to far and lost far too much. There are always going to be two “R” words among leftist/progressive/ crusty independent thinkers. Do we push for reform or revolution? Can we fix our broken democracy with good ideas, the right people, and the support of a wary populace or do we need to break the system and make up a new one?

I don’t know which camp I fall into. It isn’t a matter of indecisiveness or faith or belief. I can tell the revolutionary types that I don’t “do” committees and that I think it is the height of middle class elitism to presume to tell the working classes to follow my lead or trust that my education confers a special knowledge about what “we” need. I can tell the reform types that the most interesting ideas are generally diluted by the ruling classes and molded to maintain their position in the super structure of power.

Nor am I trying to present the face of caution against any turbulent changes. Often however, the very people who call for or long for revolution make the assumption that they in fact will be an integral part or even have a leadership role when the dawning of the new day pops up. But often when new rules emerge the people we assumed were natural leaders turn out to be unsuitable and those we never considered noteworthy peel off a new layer of identity and surprise us. Nor can we control things that are unleashed or predict where the wave will lead. Nor should we underestimate the depth of reactionary forces, insurgency and counter insurgencies can blur the moral lines make the gray zones more vast. Show trials make great TV but crappy justice.

I hope I am there if change melts the cages, opens minds, and births the sort of creative forces necessary to create hope but I am not assuming what my role will be or if I even deserve or merit one and neither should any among us. I only hope some of the people I admire will be recognized as those who can make a contribution.

Fearless Thought

Men fear thought more than they fear anything else on earth — more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible; thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages … But if thought is to become the possession of many, not the privilege of the few, we must have done with fear. It is fear that holds men back — fear lest their cherished beliefs should prove delusions, fear lest the institutions by which they live should prove harmful, fear lest they themselves should prove less worthy of respect than they have supposed themselves to be.

-Bertrand Russell

Perhaps our current day exploration of this can best be found in  the comedy of Stephen Colbert, especially in his performance at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner where he satirized the Presidents reliance on “gut instincts” and included the memorable line: “reality has a well-know liberal bias.”

Pony Party: Sunday music retrospective

Kate Bush:  Red Shoes

Rubberband Girl

Ignorant / Racist McCain “leadership team” OPED in VA, including on Energy

A Virginia Republican leader and member of the McCain Virginia leadership team recently wrote an ugly OPED seeking to link every shallow form of ignorant bias in the direction of hating Barack Obama and, well, black Americans.

listing for your consideration the platform of Barack Hussein Obama as best as I can figure it out after ventining all the hot air, straining out the honey and removing the smelly substance similiar to what the old bull left behind.

This OPED, which should never have been published, is filled with invective and disgust (and disgusting material). When it comes to religion, for example, the distilled platform is supposedly:

Freedom of Religion: Mandatory Black Liberation Theology courses taught in all churches — raise taxes to pay for this mandate. Put Reverand Jeremiah Wright in charge. Condemnation of homosexuality from the pulpit will become a Class 1 felony.

It is hard to figure out what is most outrageous of all this. That a newspaper would choose to publish it or that, in fact, the reality that some people will actually believe some of it.

HONORING THE FALLEN: US Military KIA, Iraq/Afghanistan – September 2008


There have been 4,491 coalition deaths — 4,177 Americans, 2 Australians, 1 Azerbaijani, 176 Britons, 13 Bulgarians, 1 Czech, 7 Danes, 2 Dutch, 2 Estonians, 1 Fijian, 5 Georgians, 1 Hungarian, 33 Italians, 1 Kazakh, 1 Korean, 3 Latvian, 22 Poles, 3 Romanians, 5 Salvadoran, 4 Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, 2 Thai and 18 Ukrainians — in the war in Iraq as of October 3, 2008, according to a CNN count. { Graphical breakdown of casualties }. The list below is the names of the soldiers, Marines, airmen, sailors and Coast Guardsmen whose deaths have been reported by their country’s governments. The list also includes seven employees of the U.S. Defense Department. At least 30,680 U.S. troops have been wounded in action, according to the Pentagon. View casualties in the war in Afghanistan.

Docudharma Times Sunday October 5

Increasingly Desperate: The McCain Campaign

Will Commit Increasingly Stupid Acts

Believing It Will Lead To Victory

Failure Awaits Them  

Sunday’s Headlines:

ICE Slow to Deport Detained

In the grip of Italy’s bloodiest mafia clan

Europe shivers as credit freeze hits Iceland

Zimbabwe on the brink of new crisis as food runs out

Pirates of the high seas

Afghan victory hopes played down

China strives to curb fall-out from tainted milk scandal

‘We’ve made a pact with the devil to be here.

Israeli army chief slams settler attacks

Dominican Republic in league with baseball, beaches

Economic Unrest Shifts Electoral Battlegrounds



Published: October 4, 2008  

The turmoil on Wall Street and the weakening economy are changing the contours of the presidential campaign map, giving new force to Senator Barack Obama’s ambitious strategy to make incursions into Republican territory, while leading Senator John McCain to scale back his efforts to capture Democratic states.

Mr. Obama has what both sides describe as serious efforts under way in at least nine states that voted for President Bush in 2004, including some that neither side thought would be on the table this close to Election Day.

Europe calls for global summit on bank crisis


Toby Helm in Paris

The Observer, Sunday October 5 2008

Gordon Brown and other European Union leaders called last night for a global economic summit to ‘rebuild the world’s financial system’ as they held emergency talks on how to prevent a repeat of the current international credit crisis.

At a hastily convened meeting in Paris, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the heads of the EU’s four biggest economies – Germany, France, the UK and Italy – were united on the need to call all leading economic nations together to create ‘a new financial world just as Bretton Woods did 60 years ago’.



No rescue in sight for what ails economy

 Even if the financial bailout works, the economy faces troubles too pervasive and entrenched to be solved any time soon, analysts say.

By Peter G. Gosselin, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

October 5, 2008

WASHINGTON — While Americans have spent the last month transfixed by the spectacle of one financial giant after another crashing to the ground, the rest of the U.S. economy has been sinking in the muck.

By now, the process is so far advanced that, even after passage of the Bush administration’s $700-billion financial rescue plan Friday, the nation’s economic options span the unappealing gamut from bad to worse.”The wheels seem to be coming off the economy right now,” said Brian P. Sack, vice president of the respected forecasting firm of Macroeconomic Advisers. “It’s hard to see how we avoid a recession, and it could prove a tough one to climb out of.”

Driving through McCain country

My oldest son and his fiancee came down for a visit, so we took them on a winery-crawl through what’s called the “Yadkin Valley Wine Region”, an area in the heart of North Carolina with a lot of up-and-coming wineries. We must have drove over 200 miles on various back roads finding our way to various wineries. On hundreds of lawns, we saw McCain/Palin lawn signs. Hundreds. Nowhere on any of these back roads did we see  a single bit of Obama signage. Not a single Obama sign or bumper sticker to be seen. I made some crack about “southern crackers”, but my son said “No, we were driving from Philly to Harrisburg the other week and we took the scenic route, and that’s all we saw up there too.”

And this  got me to wondering. We think North vs South; old vs young; white vs black; progressive vs traditional. Maybe it all boils to to something as simple as: urban vs rural. Maybe this  is a battle of rural values vs urban values, a battle of the utter and inflexible resistance to change vs an environment where change is embraced because it is the rule, rather than the exception. Maybe it’s as simple as: rural people want things to stay exactly the way they were for their parents and grandparents, while urban people  have seen so much change that they crave it compulsively.

Just a brief, caffeine-fueled Sunday morning reverie.

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