June 11, 2009 archive

The Timing of it all Seems Strange to Me.

I’ve been thinking about something, and I thought maybe this site could be a place to get the thought out in the open.  On a day when the holocaust museum was attacked by a white supremacist nazi who claimed what he claimed about Jewish people, we hear of the disgraced reverend Wright, expounding his views on the Jewish people.  These two men, maybe a generation apart in age. One is a fan of Hitler, the other a proponent of black empowerment.

These are stories on the news right now.  Then there is the two state issue in the middle east.  The president took a ‘hardline’ position with Israel last week.  Netanyahu, may have to capitulate.  The mood in Israel toward the US is a little defensive and guarded.

Is this coincidence?  Does anyone else out there feel oddly about these recent events?

Four at Four

  1. Well the U.S.-China climate talks have ended and the AFP reports China says no to binding greenhouse gas emissions cuts. China position is that since they see themselves as a developing nation, they have the right to increase emissions as they develop their economy and “raise the living standard of its people”.

    For the U.S. response, US climate change envoy Todd Stern acknowledged, “we understand China’s paramount need to grow and develop for its people… our demand is that the development with the available technologies is based on low carbon growth.” The U.S. negotiators “backed down on insisting that China adopt a binding cap on emissions.”

  2. The Guardian reports Climate change may be slowing U.S. winds. “The great gusting winds of the American midwest – and possibly the hopes for the most promising clean energy source – may be dying, in part because of climate change”.

    A study, due to be published in August in the peer-reviewed Journal of Geophysical Research, suggests that average and peak winds may have been slowing across the midwest and eastern states since 1973…

    “We have noted there have been some periods in the past … where there was a pretty substantial decrease in wind speed for 12 consecutive months,” Eugene Takle, the director of the climate science initiative at Iowa State University and one of the authors of the study, said. “We suspect that it’s some large-scale influence that we don’t yet understand.”

    Areas of the midwest have seen a 10% decline in average wind speed over the past decade. Some places – such as Minnesota – have seen a jump in the number of days where there was no wind at all.

    Takle said climate modelling suggested a further 10% decline in wind levels could occur over the next four decades. “Generally we expect there will probably be a decline in wind speeds due to climate change.”

    The sharpest fall off in wind speeds recorded in the study occurred in the eastern United States including Ohio, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Illinois, Louisiana, northern Maine, western Montana and Virginia.

    The findings are “preliminary” and the study has some “ambiguous” data, caution the authors.

Four at Four continues with five more stories today: Obama administration reinstating oil and gas leases, mountaintop removal, nuclear power lobby hijacking climage change legislation, Kyrgyzstan demands the U.S. military leave, and typhoons can cause earthquakes.

Obama uses his LoudVoice on Health Care

We have speculated a lot here on Obama’s methods, intent, and being touchy feely treehugging DFH’s….his heart.

I just watched him speaking in Green Bay on health care, and he was, as much as I have ever seen him so……pissed.

He was stern looking, he was loud, and he was biting his words off.

He is, as much as he ever does….Yelling Louder.

I think it is safe to say that he knows he is in a fight. And unlike his fight against the weak ass and stupid CongRepubs on the budget or supplement that were easily and effectively dismissible….I think he knows that this time he has a truly formidable foe.

Everyone in the Blogosphere has wondered what will happen when he comes up against a real fight….and we are about to find out.

Docudharma Times Thursday June 11

In Memoriaum

Stephen T. Johns  

Thursday’s Headlines:

24 charged in crackdown on Native American artifact looting

West blamed as aid agencies threaten to desert Pakistan’s Swat valley  

China backs plan to search North Korean ships and halt arms deals

Rival seeks to lick Lindt in battle of the chocolate bunnies

Alarm in Baltic as Kremlin seizes control of Soviet past

Has President Ahmadinejad finally met his match in Mrs Mousavi?

Judge orders release of 3 U.S. contractors held in Iraq

WITNESS: Third time lucky in crime-ridden Johannesburg

Indigenous Peruvians vow more attacks over control of the Amazon

In Iran Race, Ex-Leader Works to Oust President


Published: June 10, 2009

TEHRAN – In a makeshift campaign war room in north Tehran, two dozen young women clad in head scarves and black chadors are logging election data into desktop computers 24 hours a day, while men rush around them carrying voter surveys and district maps.

This nerve center in the campaign to unseat Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s hard-line president, is not run by any of the three candidates who are challenging him in a hotly contested election on Friday.

Instead, it is part of a bitter behind-the-scenes rivalry that has helped define the campaign, pitting Mr. Ahmadinejad against the man he beat in the last election, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a two-term former president and one of Iran’s richest and most powerful men.

Swine flu ‘pandemic’ announcement imminent

The World Health Organisation prepares to hold an emergency meeting on the current state of swine flu outbreaks across the world

Associated Press

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 11 June 2009 06.30 BST

The World Health Organisation is gearing up to declare a swine flu pandemic, a move that could trigger both the large-scale production of vaccines and questions about why the step was delayed for weeks as the virus continued to spread.

WHO chief Dr Margaret Chan quizzed eight countries with large swine flu outbreaks yesterday to see if a pandemic, or global epidemic, should be declared. The agency then announced that an emergency meeting with its flu experts would be held at 10am today.

Since swine flu first emerged in Mexico and the United States in April, it has spread to 74 countries around the globe. On Wednesday, WHO reported 27,737 cases including 141 deaths. Most cases are mild and require no treatment.

The world is in phase 5 of WHO’s pandemic alert scale, meaning a global outbreak is imminent. Moving to phase 6, the highest level, means a pandemic has begun. If that declaration is made, it will push drugmakers to fast-track production of a swine flu vaccine.


At a Monument of Sorrow, A Burst of Deadly Violence

Guard Killed, Suspect Injured Amid Scene Of Fear, Chaos

By Michael E. Ruane, Paul Duggan and Clarence Williams

Washington Post Staff Writers

Thursday, June 11, 2009

At 12:40 p.m. yesterday a man stepped through the doors of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. He took two paces, lowered his rifle at a security guard and, before anyone could react, opened fire in a popular national landmark.

The guard, who did not have time to draw his gun, fell bleeding and fatally wounded to the polished floor. Other guards fired back, cutting down the assailant. Terrified patrons, many of them children, dived for safety. And what moments before had been a bright weekday in June became a tableau of violence.

As described by bystanders and authorities, the attack inside the famed Holocaust museum turned the crowded building and Washington’s nearby tourist-thronged Mall into a scene of fear and chaos, with black-clad SWAT teams, hovering helicopters and racing emergency vehicles.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

Who offends the inoffensive,

the innocent and blameless one,

upon that fool does evil fall

as fine dust flung against the wind.

–The Dhammapada, 125

Phenomena XIX: comparing

Groove Thing

Are we there yet?

We can spend our time

counting the days

living metronomes

beating out the hours

minutes or seconds

but in the end

the important question

is whether or not

tomorrow will be

a better day

than today

and perhaps

we could wonder

for whom

that may be

and for whom

it will not

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–April 2, 2008

Late Night Karaoke

Nikai Thursday

State Secrets… really?

State Secrets.  Vital to the National Security of America.  No, this isn’t about torture, but, about a trade agreement.

The Office of U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), part of President Barack Obama’s office, has denied a company’s request for information about a secretive anticounterfeiting trade agreement being negotiated, citing national security concerns.

The USTR this week denied a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from Knowledge Ecology International, an intellectual-property research and advocacy group, even though Obama, in one of his first presidential memos, directed that agencies be more forthcoming with information requested by the public.

The USTR under Obama seems to be taking the same position about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) as it did under former President George Bush, that the treaty documents are not open to the public. One of Obama’s campaign promises was to make government more open and responsive to the public.

The USTR, in a letter to Knowledge Ecology International’s director James Love, said information in ACTA, an anticounterfeiting and antipiracy pact being negotiated among the U.S. and several other nations, is “properly classified in the interest of national security.”

I highlighted the “and antipiracy” for a reason…

Overnight Caption Contest

Horrible scene at the Holocost Museum today 20090610

The news today was just horrible.  An old racist decides to go out with “cannons blazing”, and he did.  He cost the life of a decent person, and nearly his own.  I hope that this guys lives over it.

I want him tried and convicted (if the evidence is there), and then sentenced to prison for the rest of his life.  He is no hero, he is a coward.  He is not in any way honorable, he is to be kept in the deepest of contempt.

People like him give people like me a horrible name.  I own guns, more than most progressives would say were necessary.  I have never used even one of them against another person, but I certainly would if that other person were coming into my house illegally.  I wonder, as a felon, how he got a gun anyway.  He should not have had the privilege, unless the laws in Maryland are different that other states.

Last thought, he, as far as I can tell, got ONE shot off with a .22 calibre rifle and killed a man.  As a weapon of murder, a .22 is just about the worst one ever designed for a one shot kill.  It works well on rabbits and squirrels, but to kill a human with one either means a very lucky shot or a very well placed one.  I doubt that an 88 year old man could place a shot very well.

This is just a very sad situation.  Again, I hope that this guy lives to face a court of law.

Warmest regards,


It’s Soup Now!

Reading Magnifico’s #2 story about how global warming is affecting the oceans on today’s Four at Four and Inky99’s warning about GM foods (which also came in my Organic Consumer’s Association newsletter today) made me shake my head again at the sheer insantity of how we do things in the modern world. It’s not so hard to get decent food without causing a dead zone or contaminating everybody’s water with arsenic or Building Better SuperWeeds through Genetic Modification and all…

Now that my corner of southern Appalachia is officially no longer suffering serious drought (my place never did, but then again, it is a temperate rain forest by nature), I only get to do my garden chores in between downpours that have my sandals caked with mud, my gloves so slick-wet they give me blisters, and every pair of calf-length jeans I own now brown-red from the knees down. So it has been today.

Lying about Torture (I): Confabulation and False Information.

Torture apologists are talking. They are telling us that enhanced interrogation made the US safer by providing actionable intelligence. They also say it was unwise to make the US techniques public, because the terrorists can now train to them. Both of these claims are hogwash.

Anti-torture advocates counter that a prisoner pushed to the brink will confess to get the torture to stop, and that makes any information extracted under torture dubious. That is certainly a part of the story, but it overlooks a host of other reasons why we cannot expect to gain good information through torture.

This is the first diary in a series on the subtle reasons why the US enhanced interrogation program is shortsighted and cannot produce reliable intelligence.  

Pony & Pootie Party

The Pony Party is a relaxation, kick-back-&-enjoy kind of open thread.  Feel free to post whatever you like in the comments, be it a vid, a lol, or politics.  But please do not rec the party.

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