January 2, 2009 archive

The Invisible Injuries of the Invisible Ranks: A Military Spouse

Earlier today I received an e-mail from an on line friend, she is the wife of a military serviceman now serving in Iraq, she is also very active in support of her fellow spouses and the families as well as returning OIF and OEF military personal seeking needed help but finding the going sometimes extremely troubling, confusing or denied.

Many of us Veterans have found her and she us and have gotten to know her through our own advocacy of our brothers and sisters. Some are working directly with her and she with them.

She has written a very personal letter, the title I used above is the one from her letter to us, of her experiences and feelings, as a military spouse, and while posting it on a few sites it has now found it’s way to a number of other sites.

Four at Four

  1. Nine Muslim passengers were removed from a AirTran jet, including three young children, because two other paranoid passengers thought a remark was “suspicious” reports the Washington Post.

    Members of the party, all but one of them U.S.-born citizens who were headed to a religious retreat in Florida, were subsequently cleared for travel by FBI agents who characterized the incident as a misunderstanding, an airport official said. But the passengers said AirTran refused to rebook them, and they had to pay for seats on another carrier secured with help from the FBI.

    Their ‘crime’? One of the women asked another in their party about airplane safety and airport security.

  2. The Green Zone in Baghdad is now under Iraqi control reports the LA Times. The transfer of control is “a first major step in the American withdrawal from Iraq.”

    2009 also brought other changes to Iraq including: Iraqi control of its airspace, the U.S. is to conduct raids only alongside the Iraqi army, arrest warrants and detention decisions are to be made by Iraqis, 15,000 prisoners to be transfered to Iraqi control, and private security mercenaries no longer have immunity.

  3. According to the NY Times, the Manufacturing reports show depth of global downturn. “In the United States on Friday, a crucial measure of manufacturing activity fell to the lowest level in 28 years in December.” Reports were similar from Australia to Asia to Europe.

  4. Lastly, the Star Tribune reports Minnesota’s NFL team owner pushes for a new football stadium to be built as “economic stimulus”. Zygi Wilf, a wealthy New Jersey businessman, wants the public to pay for two-thirds the cost ($635 million) of a new stadium for his Minnesota Vikings.

Experimental video w/poll

I continue to be intrigued by the possibilities of the video mashup.  I know some people will never like this approach (Cassiodorus?) but I keep thinking there is power in those transparencies and layers.  I’m looking for a dream-like quality, a multi-layered dream blending disparate elements both visual and aural.  The question is can I do it artfully enough to make it interesting to others.  If I’m the only one being amused, I’d rather move on.  So the question to you is…

269 War Crimes!

If you wish to repost this essay you can download a .txt file of the html here (right click and save). Permission granted.

Political scientist Michael Haas has just published a book titled George W. Bush, War Criminal?: The Bush Administration’s Liability for 269 War Crimes.

Lefty Bloggers RULE!!!

My title might be a bit of an overstatement (ruh-roh), but its a reaction to just reading James Walcott’s The Good, The Bad, and Joe Lieberman in his annual roundup of winners and losers at Vanity Fair. This is one of the most entertaining pieces I’ve read in a long time!

In his summary of “winners,” after giving a bit of due credit to Plouffe and Axelrod for running Obama’s campaign “with a supersonic hum and a minimum of bared ego,” he jumps right to one of my favorite bloggers, Al Giodano (where I first learned of this article).

The first to grasp the portent of what was taking shape was the prophet of the Obama paradigm shift, the journalist/activist/online editor/blogger Al Giordano, who, as a student of the teachings and tactics of community organizer Saul Alinsky (whose Rules for Radicals is the guerrilla guide for domestic insurgents), divined the advantage that Obama’s small-donor base gave him against old-school juggernauts. In a prescient article for The Boston Phoenix in September 2007, …”It is Obama’s history as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago-and the application of that experience to organizing his campaign-that is making the 2008 cycle distinct from previous ones. Where [Howard] Dean failed to convert his donor-activist base into effective organization, Obama is apparently writing the book on how to do it.”

Emphasis mine because look how early he made that prediction!

Who’s up next? None other than Nate Silver from FiveThirtyEight. How cool is this description by Wolcott?????  

Open Thread


A one and a two and a thread.  

The crash of 2008 and the prospects for 2009

Original article, by Nick Beams, via World Socialist Web Site:

Whenever a historical review is made certain years attract attention because of the decisive events with which they are associated. The years 1914, 1929, 1933, 1939 and in more recent times 1956 and 1989 are some that come to mind. The year 2008 is destined to join this group.

Docudharma Times Friday January 2

Reflecting On The Bush Legacy?

Here’s Some Reflections: Incompetent: Abusive: Destroyers Of The Constitution And The Bill Of Rights

Reflect On That  

Friday’s Headlines:

Two Advisers Reflect on Eight Years With Bush

Iraq plans to close Iranian dissidents’ border camp

Gazans face ‘humanitarian crisis’ as Israeli raids intensify

Russia cuts off the gas supply to Ukraine

Vatican divorces from Italian law

Sri Lankan troops enter Tamil Tigers stronghold of Kilinochchi

Town Asks Kung Fu Monks for Tourism Blessings

Ghana presidential revote due in sole district

U.N. Tackles Rising Threat of Urban Hunger in Africa

No stamp of approval for Mexico bureaucrats

War and peace: Israel’s military and political options

Six days after launching Operation Cast Lead, Tel Aviv ponders whether to send the tanks in or seek a settlement with Hamas

Ian Black, Middle East editor

The Guardian, Friday 2 January 2009

Six days into Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in the Gaza Strip Israeli leaders are considering a range of military and political options that depend on what happens in a fast-moving situation with many variables they do not control. Developments on the ground, international diplomatic activity and Arab reactions will determine what happens next. Echoing the 2006 war against Hezbollah in Lebanon, there is Israeli confusion and disagreement over tactics, strategy and what will constitute a victory. But Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, said yesterday he did not want a long war. The main scenarios are these:

Continuing air attacks

After more than 500 bombing missions by aircraft and helicopters with a claimed 95% success rate, high-value Palestinian targets are running out. Israeli claims of “surgical strikes” will be measured against credible reports of civilian casualties.

Climate scientists: it’s time for ‘Plan B’

Poll of international experts by The Independent reveals consensus that CO2 cuts have failed – and their growing support for technological intervention

By Steve Connor, Science Editor and Chris Green

Friday, 2 January 2009

An emergency “Plan B” using the latest technology is needed to save the world from dangerous climate change, according to a poll of leading scientists carried out by The Independent. The collective international failure to curb the growing emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has meant that an alternative to merely curbing emissions may become necessary.

The plan would involve highly controversial proposals to lower global temperatures artificially through daringly ambitious schemes that either reduce sunlight levels by man-made means or take CO2 out of the air. This “geoengineering” approach – including schemes such as fertilising the oceans with iron to stimulate algal blooms – would have been dismissed as a distraction a few years ago but is now being seen by the majority of scientists we surveyed as a viable emergency backup plan that could save the planet from the worst effects of climate change, at least until deep cuts are made in CO2 emissions.



Steel Industry, in Slump, Looks to U.S. Stimulus


Published: January 1, 2009

The steel industry, having entered the recession in the best of health, is emerging as a leading indicator of what lies ahead. As steel production goes – and it is now in collapse – so will go the national economy.

That maxim once applied to Detroit’s Big Three car companies, when they dominated American manufacturing. Now they are losing ground in good times and bad, and steel has replaced autos as the industry to watch for an early sign that a severe recession is beginning to lift.

The industry itself is turning to government for orders that, until the September collapse, had come from manufacturers and builders.

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Tin Ear


Constant sound

like a million



in my head

I experience

no silence

and probably

shall not

until I die

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–March 3, 2008

Late Night Karaoke

Your Mission: Talk

INXS – Don’t Change

Eco Corruption Harms Wildlife

Government investigations found that officials responsible for protecting endangered species have violated the law, censored scientists and manipulated data to limit recovery  of species facing extinction in order to protect financial interests of industries instead.  Many oppose Bush’s rampant violations of our rule of law governing human rights and civil rights but say we should move on. But, the lack of any accountability has caused illegal conduct to be silently accepted and spread like a virus infecting most substantive issues, including the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We face a catastrophic loss of species globally, the inability to provide the beauty of sustained biodiversity for future generations as well as financial repercussions.  Taxpayers will pay for the investigations and the “unnecessary expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars to re-issue decisions” as well as the expensive costs of litigation filed to compel the government to comply with the rule of law.

Petitioning For Change: January 01 Recap


Appoint a Special Prosecutor for the Crimes of the Bush Administration

President-elect Obama recently said, “if I found out that there were high officials who knowingly, consciously broke existing laws, engaged in coverups of those crimes with knowledge forefront, then I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law.

Attorney General-designate Eric Holder recently said top Bush Administration officials “authorized the use of torture, approved of secret electronic surveillance of American citizens, secretly detained American citizens without due process of law, denied the Writ of Habeus Corpus to hundreds of accused enemy combatants, and authorized the use of procedures that both violate international law and the United States Constitution.

The Bush administration has refused to investigate its own crimes and President Bush may issue blanket pardons before he leaves. President Obama must appoint a Special Prosecutor – ideally Patrick Fitzgerald – to fully investigate these crimes and prosecute those responsible to demonstrate that we are truly a Nation of Laws and no one – including the President – is above the law.

Bob Fertik (President of Democrats.com), New York, NY Dec 06 @ 06:02AM PST

First round voting for the Ideas for Change in America Competition closed at midnight on December 31, 2008.

This idea finished in 2nd Place in the Government Reform category and has therefore qualified for the final round. Final round voting will run from January 5th – 15th, and voting totals will be reset at zero for all qualifying ideas to ensure an equal playing field.