March 1, 2009 archive

Snow day in Tennessee

They called for six inches with grave certitude. The thing is they call for a lot of things with grave certitude on the Memphis news stations. Much of it never happens. They talk frequently about their fancy “Doppler” radar systems for predicting the weather. Hey, I will give you a free tip: chances are good it will be hot in the summer and don’t visit in August. Unless you are from New Orleans and then it won’t seem too bad at all. Kinda balmy.

We are about 30 minutes outside of Memphis but I work there and lived there for a few years so we got to enjoy the charming after effects and none of the dire consequences.

This morning the dogs were eager to drag us out….


Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 States’ budget woes will outlast the recession

By MICHAEL HILL, Associated Press Writer

42 mins ago

Even after $135 billion in federal aid gets spent, many states will be staring down budgetary black holes unless they initiate dramatic spending cuts or tax increases, or both.

In the short-term, the massive stimulus will help balance budgets and keep key services, such as Medicaid, going. But economists agree the money will not quickly eradicate high unemployment, low consumer spending or distress in the housing market – the triple threats behind a nationwide tax-collection shortfall that is expected to drag on even after the economy begins to rebound.

Without higher taxes, bigger cuts to government services – or yet more federal funding – states face budget gaps that could reach $120 billion nationwide in their 2011 budgets, according to an analyst at the Rockefeller Institute, a think tank in Albany, N.Y. James Diffley, managing director of Global Insight’s U.S. Regional Services Group, says it’s unlikely budget gaps will close before 2013.

Now with U.S. News and Politics.

Café Discovery: Meditative Exercise

Part of the teaching experience unfortunately consists of the grading experiences.  I have a veritable shitload of it to do.  And I will spend most of the day pursuing that craft.

During the past week, as I struggled through a schedule of 8 overly spaced out classes which required my presence at school 12 hours a day for 4 days, with gaps filled with two programs I presented on transsexualism, a lecture on the Birth of Science and a faculty meeting, at the end of each day I took a little bit of time for some meditative time, working on a series of graphics.

They are shared inside.  Clicking on one of them will open a larger version.

Feel free to add anything in the way of music, words or graphics.

Mommie Dearest Wants to Play Again

There is a sort of cognitive dissonance when normal people have to deal with a sociopath.  One refuses to believe anything could be that self serving, that evil.  Mirrors exactly what is happening today.  The real war?  A war to decide who and or what is good and who or what is evil.  Hone that skill, you are going to need it and very soon.  

Restorative Justice

Last week I wrote about the failings of our current justice system as I see them. Today I’d like to offer an alternative for the phase of criminal justice that deals with how consequences are decided and implemented and then take a brief look at deterrence (or crime prevention).

Our current system is typically referred to as a “retributive justice” system. As such, crime is defined as a breaking of the rules/law. The state (or government) steps in and, through an adversarial process, determines guilt and establishes punishment.

It might surprise you to know that most all Native and even some Western European cultures (prior to about 1,000 AD) practiced what we now refer to as “restorative justice.” In restorative systems, the crime is primarily seen as something that harms people and disrupts the fabric of relationships and community. A cooperative process is used to bring the offender face-to-face with those they have harmed (victim and/or community) to determine how best the harm can be repaired (which might or might not include our current forms of punishment – like jail).

Sunday music retrospective: She Sings

Joanne Shenandoah

Mother Earth

Re-defining the divide

You may have noticed that President Obama submitted his first budget this week. David Sanger with the NYT certainly did.

There is a boldness to the strategy – the kind of boldness that worked for Mr. Obama during the presidential campaign – that is breathtaking. He is gambling that the combination of his political capital and the urgency created by the economic crisis gives him a moment that may never come around again

If Johnson’s rallying cry was an end to poverty in the world’s richest nation, Mr. Obama’s is an end to the Reagan Revolution. With the proposed tax increases on couples making more than $250,000, Mr. Obama has declared that trickle-down economics – the theory that the entire country benefits as the nation’s richest amass and spend – was a fantasy. He denounced it in moral terms, declaring in his budget that “there is something wrong when we allow the playing field to be tilted so far in the favor of so few.”

Some are even calling it the Shock Doctrine Reversed.

Stop Loss: Soldier mom plans to report for duty with kids {UpDate #4} To Be Discharged!!

N.C. woman settles on alternative to leaving family behind, refusing orders

Lisa Pagan with her husband, Travis, and her children Elizabeth, 4, and Eric, 3, at their home in Davidson, N.C., on Friday. The mom has spent more than a year fighting her recall to active duty.

Video Report Link from a local channel

Docudharma Times Sunday March 1

Rush “I’m A Racist” Limbaugh

Takes Control Of The Republican Party

Commercial Free  

Sunday’s Headlines:

Leaving Iraq: U.S. plans taking shape

Israel PM’s family link to Hamas peace bid

Hariri court set to formally open

Girls being force-fed for marriage as junta revives fattening farms

Mugabe: Last white farmer should leave

Boy, 4, murdered in hate war against Hungarian gypsies

EU holding economic crisis summit

Tycoons tumble as ailing China turns against capitalism

Karzai moves up election date, challenging opposition

With Force, Mexican Drug Cartels Get Their Way

Serbian spy’s trial lifts cloak on his CIA alliance

As Milosevic’s intelligence chief, Jovica Stanisic is accused of setting up genocidal death squads. But as a valuable source for the CIA, an agency veteran says, he also ‘did a whole lot of good.’

By Greg Miller

March 1, 2009

Reporting from Belgrade, Serbia — At night, when the lawns are empty and the lamps along the walking paths are the only source of light, Topcider Park on the outskirts of Belgrade is a perfect meeting place for spies.

It was here in 1992, as the former Yugoslavia was erupting in ethnic violence, that a wary CIA agent made his way toward the park’s gazebo and shook hands with a Serbian intelligence officer.

Jovica Stanisic had a cold gaze and a sinister reputation. He was the intelligence chief for Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, and regarded by many as the brains of a regime that gave the world a chilling new term: “ethnic cleansing.”

Israel’s death squads: A soldiers story

A former member of an Israeli assassination squad has broken his silence for the first time. He spoke to Donald Macintyre

Sunday, 1 March 2009

The Israeli military’s policy of targeted killings has been described from the inside for the first time. In an interview with The Independent on Sunday, and in his testimony to an ex-soldiers’ organisation, Breaking the Silence, a former member of an assassination squad has told of his role in a botched ambush that killed two Palestinian bystanders, as well as the two militants targeted.

The operation, which took place a little over eight years ago, at the start of the present intifada, or uprising, left the former sharpshooter with psychological scars. To this day he has not told his parents of his participation in what he called “the first face-to-face assassination of the intifada”.



Obama’s Backing Raises Hopes for Climate Pact


Published: February 28, 2009

Until recently, the idea that the world’s most powerful nations might come together to tackle global warming seemed an environmentalist’s pipe dream

The Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997, was widely viewed as badly flawed. Many countries that signed the accord lagged far behind their targets in curbing carbon dioxide emissions. The United States refused even to ratify it. And the treaty gave a pass to major emitters in the developing world like China and India.

But within weeks of taking office, President Obama has radically shifted the global equation, placing the United States at the forefront of the international climate effort and raising hopes that an effective international accord might be possible.

Late Night Karaoke

This Is Your Brain

This Is Your Brain On Music

Introducing the Native American Community Examiner

I went to the SPIRIT garage sale on this cold, windy day in Oklahoma, and donated a couple things. The garage sale was to raise funds so that SPIRIT can achieve 501c3 status; also, it was so that SPIRIT can afford extra traveling expenses for speaking purposes. Brenda Golden, who ” helped establish SPIRIT, a group that increases education and awareness about Oklahoma Indians,” gave me her permission to quote her entire new article from theNative American Community Examiner. (Also, catch her at Red Town Radio)

One last thing before you read Brenda’s article, “Oklahoma Fairness Bill and tribal sovereignty.” That is, I asked her if she wanted me to inform people that they could volunteer to help with things like paper work for SPIRIT. She said, “I could use all the help I can get.” So feel free to contact her through the site that’s linked to if you’re interested in helping. Now to the issue at hand.

Why is “The ‘fairness’ bill (is) an attempt to turn Oklahoma businesses and citizens against the Tribal Nations?” Read on.

All That’s Left To Say

I’ve been doing some deep thinking, and was going to post three essays today featuring my deep thoughts about the economic crisis, the banking crisis, and the global warming crisis, but the deeper I thought about these deep issues and the deep impact they are having, the deeper I sank into deep crisis fatigue.  So I took a deep break, and realized that except for Norm Coleman and possibly John Cornyn, no one has ever had deeper thoughts about deep issues than Jack Handey . . .

To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there’s no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other.

I hope that after I die, people will say of me: “That guy sure owed me a lot of money.”

If you’re a young Mafia gangster out on your first date, I bet it’s real embarrassing if someone tries to kill you.

If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is “God is crying.” And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is “Probably because of something you did.”

I have the deepest respect for Jack Handey, but I think it’s more likely God is crying because of all the crap Evangelical Christianists do.  They should listen to Jack Handey.  We all should, after all, he tried to warn us about Wall Street bankers.  When they die, we’ll say, “Those guys sure owe us a lot of money.”  And long after they’re dead, our great grandchildren will say, “Those guys still owe us a lot of money.”  Jack Handey’s deep thoughts encompass more issues than one might think at first glance. Take Daily Kos, for example.   It’s like ballet, except there’s no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other.  

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