February 18, 2009 archive

Four at Four

  1. The CS Monitor reports Obama’s order to send 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan comes before the US has set a clear strategy. “President Obama’s decision to deploy 17,000 additional US troops to Afghanistan may be a defining move that will either reverse the deteriorating situation there or mire the new administration in a war with no foreseeable end.”

    This is the beginning of an almost unending need,” says one Pentagon official.

    “It is as yet unclear exactly what the new force will do. But it will face a determined insurgency operating in a vast, mountainous country… At the same time, the Obama administration still has not settled on a comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan and does not yet know its endgame.”

    Plus the NY Times reports Obama’s war on terror may resemble Bush’s in some areas. Despite abandoning the Bush administration’s policy of torture, “Obama nominees endorsed continuing the C.I.A.’s program of transferring prisoners to other countries without legal rights, and indefinitely detaining terrorism suspects without trials even if they were arrested far from a war zone. The administration has also embraced the Bush legal team’s arguments that a lawsuit by former C.I.A. detainees should be shut down based on the ‘state secrets’ doctrine.”

  2. From The Guardian a climate twofer. First the bad news: Melt-pools are ‘accelerating Arctic ice loss’, “New research has revealed that melt-water pooling on the Arctic sea ice is causing it to melt at a faster rate than computer models had previously predicted.” Since melt-pools “are darker than ice and snow, they absorb solar radiation rather than reflect it, which accelerates the melting process.”

    And some good news: a Fifth of world carbon emissions are soaked up by extra forest growth. “Trees across the tropics are getting bigger and offering unexpected help in the fight against climate change, scientists have discovered… Simon Lewis, a climate expert at the University of Leeds, who led the study, said: ‘We are receiving a free subsidy from nature. Tropical forest trees are absorbing about 18% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere each year from burning fossil fuels, substantially buffering the rate of change.'”

Four at Four continues with whear stem rust, wind turbines in Alaska, and the Blackwater mercenaries trial.

no fair to hurt me

i wish i wuz not DED

mbye you herd about mee my name was eeCHEEna but no wun new that becus i cudnt tell them my reel name so thay all call me travus. they sayed i was a kind of pepl not like the pepul that had only har on top of there heds i has hare all over me so that meens i am a CHIMP. i not sure what means chimp cept that ws what was me. i liv with lady for yers an yers. sometimes had fun. wun time i got out and played in the middle of lost of pepul OUTSYFDE. i luved outside an specilaaly cars. I rember the time I got out like that lots of peupl came to see me it was relly fun an then they gived me treats an I wnt home. they use to take picture of me an put me on tv an on the computer.

it was ok but i never relly felt i belond with the no hair pepul. i no there was oter CHIMPS becus I saw them befor. i dont thnk nun us CHIMPS ar spos to liv in haus with no har pepl. but still sotims it was fun cuz i lik to wath tv and i like to be in bath. i wuld get really gud eat sumetimes i wuld drink drink that make me silly an sleepy. and what i like bset i was to ride OUTSIDE in the CAR.

was ony thing i wanted was ride in CAR. I did not FELL GUD. feld very bad an want to ride out in car. an lkady say no travus not ride in car now becus we r bizzy. not sure what bizy is ecept it means i cant do what iwant to do cuz something else was bester than play with travus.

i hat name travus. never liek it.

so if lady so busy then why can other lady come over and play when i live here? i was SICK not her an only waned ride in CAR and iwas other lady falt that i could notr GO in CAR.

I got MAD! i wanted other lady to go away and so i got mad and hitted her and hitted her in her face.

then my lady cut me with NIFE! Hurted travus!

then everyone scream an i mad and scred and I go OUTSIDE an RUN and I heared WEEE OOO WEE OOO and got real loud. lots of cars comed and they were fulled with the mans that wear the blu sutes. theys were the mans that com wen i was OUTSIDE with the cars before and they wre nice that time but this tim they were MAD. and can’t be mad at ME caz it ws not FAIR tell travus cant go for rid in CAR becus bizy then some lady come to play! so i saw on of blue man in CAR an I want to go HIT him an then

bad thing happn

he poin at me a thing an it made BANG i think maybe thre time.

it hurt me very bad

so i go INSIDE. I lay on my bed

and still hurt till i cundnt see or mov any thing more.



CHIMP shuldnt be with no hare pepul. i saw chimps on tv when i was live an theydon live in no house and they run in play in trees an GRASS. Always OUTSIDE. and they find friend chimp an luv and make baby chimp.

i never dod non of the things becus i had to liv in hous wit no hare pepul.

And nowe I am ded an i didnt do nothing i would done if i nevr liv in house with peupl with only head hare.

now i don think no hare pepul shud have CHIMP in there house we done belong ther.

now i am ded an i just know

no won

will call me travus

no more.  

Action Alert, Call Conyers

Lifted straight of Daily Kos in the spirit of solidarity…

Siegelman: Rove Trying to Cut Deal, Call Conyers by Ralph Lopez

Governor Don Siegelman has learned that Karl Rove is in some sort of negotiation for immunity or exec priv before he testifies on Feb. 23.  He is asking for people to flood Judiciary Chairman John Conyers with calls to make sure he “stays strong,” no deal, no immunity….  

Chairman Conyers’ Office

Office: (202) 225-5126

Fax: (202) 225-0072

Go read the rest and then make the call!

Buy Afghanistan

The battle for hearts and minds. Apparently the biggest problem after eight years of Bush policies….unsurprisingly… is a culture of corruption. So, why fight it, why not use it?

According to the CIA’s World Factbook Afghanistan has a population of 32,738,376.

Apparently Afghanistan’s per capita income was around 335 U.S. dollars a couple of years ago. Probably not, haha, counting opium profits.

Estimated cost of the Afghan war per year is loosely $70,000,000,000.

Now I SUCK a math, so I (and my calculator) could be wrong….but if we pay each person in Afghanistan $500 a year, well over the per capita income…that comes out to $16,500,000,000 per year. A relatively small percentage of the cost of war. An even smaller percentage of the money we are printing to give to the assholes bankers.

70 Billion for war, less than 20 billion to help buy peace. Now obviously the Afghan populace is not the only obstacle we face. So let’s try this…

Take that 70 billion, use half of it to build infrastructure, schools, hospitals, roads etc. and pay off every Afghani. That still leaves 35 Billion in the budget to…kill people.

Simplistic? You bet. But a great illustration of ‘Soft Power’ as opposed to the ‘Hard Power’ that doesn’t seem to have worked very well. For some reason, the Afghanis look askance at us semi-indiscriminately killing civilians, like their Moms and kids. Would they perhaps like us better if we gave all of them more money than they earn in a year?

Heck, buy them all TV’s and cable. It seems to have worked very well in completely pacifying Americans!

Soft Power works. Hard power has never ever worked in Afghanistan for long. Never. But soft power is …hard werk. You have to think and plan and you have to think and plan outside the box. You have to listen to DFH’s like social planners and cultural anthropologists….you know eggheads. You have to spend money on social programs and such, the stuff Republicans hate….especially when they can just kill people instead. Especially Brown People, who as we all know just don’t count as Real People to Republicans. Republicans like force, I am fairly sure that just as they maintain that poverty doesn’t breed crime. I am sure that they don;t think that poverty breeds terrorism either. I am betting (tongue in cheek quite a bit, because I don’t believe in imposing our culture on others) that if every male in Afghanistan who comes of fighting age gets an X-box instead of an AK-47….that would drive the Taliban’s recruiting numbers down.

Of course that is not the way things work in the real world. In the real world, the Powers That Be need to be bought off. And they are far more expensive than your average Afghan family, since their per capita income is lightly higher than $500 a year. For some reason. Since they were the ones who fucked everything up. Taking 35 Billion dollars a year away from the MIC might run into a bit of resistance.

But just as some people point out with all of our stimuli and bailouts, if we just divide all of those trillions up between each taxpayer who will end up paying for it, and give it directly to them, instead of banks and brokers …that is a LOT of money per person, money that people would spend, iow…bottom up stimulus.

For nearly 30 years we have been officially a top down economy. That doesn’t work. For eight years we have been killing people, and spending trillions to do it. That doesn’t work. Maybe we can try something different?

Maybe we can…….change?

At least change our perspective, our way of thinking.

The old way, the Bush way, the MIC way, doesn’t work. Let’s try something else. Let’s invent a new way.

Oh yeah, and before I forget to mention this part….killing people is wrong. Let’s stop doing it.

On Data, Truth, Emotion And Persuasion.

There is a fallacy that the Dog falls into far too often, and he bets there are lots of other folks that do it too. The fallacy is that if you have the facts on your side you always win in persuading people. Yeah, when you write it out like that is seems pretty silly to anyone over the age of say 15 but it is still a problem that the Dog runs into on a regular basis. What is strange is that we, as Dems, run into this problem a lot as well.  

Constitutional Change in Latin America vs. American Imperialist Propaganda

Latin America’s Document-Driven Revolutions” is an interesting article at the Washington Post – interesting because of the subject and because of how ripe it is with pro-American imperialism propaganda with no sense of irony.

From the introductory paragraph:

Once a product of armed rebellion, the revolution in Latin America today is taking place on paper in the form of new constitutions, a mostly peaceful process influenced by the work of European legal scholars who have played a behind-the-scenes role in drafting the populist documents.

The U.S. has long meddled in Latin America and has backed those violent means of change. While Europeans have opted to contribute to a more peaceful path. Of course, Europe has a violent history in Latin America too… it goes back a bit father than the Monroe Doctrine.

What was done?

Open Thread

Hillary Clinton spends his first tour

By choosing the East Asia to make his first trip abroad  

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

An Edge in the Rainbow

When I Dream

Who am I

when I dream?

What is this house

with many rooms

hidden entrances

staircases to adventures

opening into who knows

what world?

Where is this place

and time

and why am I there

or here?

Where is the doorway

into that better place

from this reality?

Who am I

when I traverse

the ideal?

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–November 28, 2008

There’s More Fun With Numbers

A Stars Hollow Gazette

I call these diaries Fun with Numbers because for me part of the attraction is working out the HTML (which delights Caribou Barbie who is easily distracted by bright and shiny things).  I really started paying attention to the economy when it became apparent the the W years were in fact nothing but a scam.

These are some pieces I wrote before I started having fun-

Happy Anniversary! covers the dates from October 1st to October 9th including the anniversary of the HIGHEST DOW EVER!, 14,164 on October 9, 2007.  It’s the first time I started having fun with numbers.

You’ll notice they’re all very red.

Over those 7 days alone (and those would be trading days) the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2,271.47 points.  Why use the DJIA?  Why not, it’s a broad and easily tracked indicator as well as one of the most popular.  Economists may quibble but I’m not an economist.

I’m a critic.

Fun With Numbers

I started my data set September 26th, the Bail Out Boost, followed immediately by September 29th, the Wall Street Snit Fit, the largest single day point loss for the Dow ever, -777.68.  Let’s take a moment to pause and reflect that it was because Congress (thank goodness for small favors) didn’t give Paulson 700 BILLION dollars for an extortion note he scribbled on the back of a napkin.

November 19th is the last time I go back all the way to the beginning because the table was starting to get a little long, but I don’t want people to forget how we must bow down before her Bartiromoness and all the Galts for they know ever so much more than us mere serfs and peons.

This one only covers 7 trading days and it has a lot a of green in it which made Caribou Barbie very happy, but it also includes November 20th when the Dow fell 444.99 points and finished at 7,552.29.

That’s the November bottom you keep hearing about on CNBC.

An extensive record of FAIL!

Madam Zelda, Madam Zelda- Do The Markets Lie?

No, the markets are perfect and flawless indicators.

But Wait!

Late Night Karaoke

There’s Nothing To Say

Except Enjoy

Fireworks In Hubble’s Eye

Crab Nebuala

This composite image was assembled from 24 individual exposures taken with the NASA Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2

July 4, 1054 Kaifeng, China. (Song Dynastic period)

In the 1st year of the period Chih-ho (1054), the 5th moon, the day chi-ch’ou (July 4th) (a “guest star”) appeared approximately several inches south-east of T’ien-kuan(z Tauri)…

From the Sung-shih annals [Breen & McCarthy (1995) p.4]

The Director of the Astronomical Bureau, the esteemed Yang Wei-te, received reports this day of the appearance of a ‘guest star’ in the constellation Taurus proximate to ? Tauri. The politically minded astronomer decides to wait on a more propitious moment to bring the news to the emperor and his court. He is keenly aware that ‘guest stars’ and comets are generally harbingers of bad fortune.  

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