June 22, 2009 archive

Pont du Gard (A Photo Blog)

Near the town of Nimes, and built either in the last century BCE or the first century CE, the aqueduct and bridge known as the Pont du Gard may be the best remaining example of the genius that was Roman engineering.


Four at Four

  1. The LA Times reports Environmentalists are baffled by Obama’s strategy. President Obama is defending in courty harmful measures that he promised to eliminate.

    As a candidate for president, Barack Obama wooed environmentalists with a promise to “support and defend” pristine national forest land from road building and other development that had been pushed by the George W. Bush administration.

    But five months into Obama’s presidency, the new administration is actively opposing those protections on about 60 million acres of federal woodlands in a case being considered by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals…

    The strategy has puzzled some environmentalists because the administration has used the courts to backpedal from Bush policies in some areas, including spotted owl protection, energy efficiency standards and hazardous-waste burning.

    It’s not the only area where Obama is looking a lot like his predecessor. McClatchy reports In stark legal turnaround, Obama now resembles Bush. “President Barack Obama is morphing into George W. Bush, as administration attorneys repeatedly adopt the executive-authority and national-security rationales that their Republican predecessors preferred. In courtroom battles and freedom-of-information fights from Washington, D.C., to California, Obama’s legal arguments repeatedly mirror Bush’s: White House turf is to be protected, secrets must be retained and dire warnings are wielded as weapons.”

  2. The NY Times reports on the health of Cuyahoga River, 40 years after the river caught fire. “Monday is the 40th anniversary of the Cuyahoga River fire of 1969, when oil-soaked debris floating on the river’s surface was ignited, most likely by sparks from a passing train.”

    The burning river in Cleveland helped lead to “the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and to the passage of the Clean Water Act.” Now, decades later, the Cuyahoga is slowly recovering. Fish have returned to the river along with beavers, blue herons, and bald eagles. “Long sections of the Cuyahoga are clean enough that they no longer require aggressive monitoring… Problems remain, however.”

    While today, Reuters reports the Supreme Court allows a world’s largest silver mining company to dump mine waste into our lake. “The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday for Coeur d’Alene Mines Corp by upholding a government permit that will allow the company’s Alaska gold mine to deposit rock waste into a lake on federal land.” The ruling overturned the appeals court decision.

    “The appeals court sided with environmentalists and ruled the permit violated the federal clean water law. It said the toxicity of the discharge might have lasting effects on the lake, killing all the fish and nearly all aquatic life.”

    So much for the Clean Water Act.

Four at Four continues with coal, Afghanistan, and guerrilla gardeners.

Ek Hornbeck, Come Home!

     We miss you buddy!

    We know you made some people mad recently, but I forgive you. I know your heart is in a good place and there are a lot of people who just don’t get it, but we miss you and we want you to come home.

    We need more people to knock some fucking heads around out there. Too many people are happy with next to nothing, and they look at us like we are weird when we go back up to the man and ask for “More Please”


    Well, I don’t want more, I want the whole damn thing!

    So come on home, Ek. We miss you.

    I’ll leave a light on on the porch for you, buddy.

    Hopefully we’ll see you soon.

Iran: A Socialist view

Original article, by Maziar Razi and titled A few words with the Iranian workers on recent events, via Iranian Revolutionary Marxists’ Tendency:

Honourable and brave workers of Iran

And I will add, greetings and solidarity from the United States.

Listen To Your Heart, Not Your Advisers. VETO Mr. President.

Simulposted at Daily Kos

You know, there’s a lot of talk in this country about the federal deficit. But I think we should talk more about our empathy deficit – the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes; to see the world through the eyes of those who are different from us – the child who’s hungry, the steelworker who’s been laid-off, the family who lost the entire life they built together when the storm came to town. When you think like this – when you choose to broaden your ambit of concern and empathize with the plight of others, whether they are close friends or distant strangers – it becomes harder not to act; harder not to help.


How about a little more empathy for the uninsured?

How about a little more empathy for the unemployed?

How about a little more for the foreclosed?

How about a little more empathy for the victims of torture?

Are We Unaware?

A year ago, an “event” occurred while we were fighting amongst ourselves as to which was the better candidate – Hillary or Barak – a major news event went whistling over my head, or rather – a major news event was hopelessly under reported in the U.S.

I found myself searching for a credible back up to support my argument with an office wingnut that Al-Qaida had nothing at all to do with Saddam Hussein pre 9-11. This asshole is hopelessly mush-brained from years of a steady diet of Fox News, he thinks Hannity is “a good man” and that O’Reilly is “fair and balanced”.

I took it for granted, since I have been paying attention and have not subjected myself to the mind control of Fox News Propaganda, that when the media FINALLY forced the issue and made George Bush admit that Iraq, in his words, had “NOTHING”  to do with 9-11 that the issue was finally closed and everyone knew it. Until the office wingnut kept insisting that I didn’t know my history.

HA!! Guess What Folks!?? There are STILL wingnut idiots that didn’t get the memo. They still believe what they were told by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, et al that somehow someway sometime Saddam Hussein was in cahoots with Al-Qaida and had his share of responsibility for 9-11.

Weekly Torture Action Letter 14 – CIA IG Report

Happy Monday and welcome all to the Dog’s ongoing letter writing campaign. The basic idea it to write to decision and opinion makers every Monday to keep the issue of accountability for torture through respect for the rule of law alive and in front of the busy people who run our country. For those who are stopping by for the first time, it works like this, the Dog writes a letter and provides the links. You can either cut and paste the letter or use it as inspiration for your own. The big deal is to get as many people as possible sending letters (or e-mails) on a consistent basis. To the Dog this provides a low level but constant reminder this issue is out important to the people of this nation.

Originally posted at Squarestate.net

Medical Reality in Amerika, circa 2009

Most of us are keeping not-very hopeful tabs on the health care debates as our bought and paid-for non-representatives in Congress do their masters’ bidding to prevent at all costs (and those are ample) any possibility that Americans will have expanded access to reasonably priced health care. Why? The answer to that is even simpler than the answer to why we tolerate just another Wall Street inspired ponzi scheme of futures trading on human suffering in this country. There are too many of us in our ever so modern “pared-down” non-producing society. Just as our production capacity and jobs have been outsourced, our homes and other assets “liquidated” in the process of paying off Wall Street for fucking the nation, We the People must be liquidated as well.

IOW, half or more of us must die in order to reduce the profit drag on the top 5% of wealth holders in our society.

We’re all going to die one of these days, but in order to pare the flow-through population to something akin to just enough pool cleaners, maids, cooks, nannies, dishwashers, waiters and mechanics to keep the rich in servants, at least half of us must die sooner rather than later. Along with our children and any possible children we might have had at some point. This saves the rich a lot on public education, public welfare, food stamps, unemployment, worker’s comp, health care to the old and indigent, retirement income, etc., etc., etc.

The fastest way to accomplish what needs to be done is to prevent the permanent poor, the working poor, the downsized, the sick, the might get sick, the middle class that still have homes, and everyone else not in the top 5% of wealth holders from getting necessary health care. They’ve made some significant advances in the plan over the past couple of decades, to the point now where the only affordable insurance for those earning less than a quarter million dollars a year is “junk insurance.” The kind that costs hundreds more every year, doesn’t cover you if you actually need it, and comes with thousands of dollars’ worth of deductibles you’d have to pay out of pocket before some pencil-pusher decides not to cover you at all.

Action! Send your Congress Critter a “Get Well” card

Crossposted at http://www.dailykos.com/story/…

get screwed

    I was recently told that an effective way of contacting my Congress Critter is to write a hand written letter and then send it off to them. Apparently, the effort that goes into writing an actual letter is a clear signal that I mean business, much more so than a phone call that never reaches my Congressperson or an e-mail that can be easily deleted.

    Therefore, I propose that we all get some “Get Well Cards” and send them off to our Representatives in Congress. That way, they will know we really, really care.

    We know the votes are there. Are the vertebrae there is the question.

Sorry you are a pussy


Choosing the right card is important. It can be funny or angry, home made or store bought, and you should definitely personalize the message on the inside.

the turth will set you free

    The message should be as clear as daylight. We want health care reform with a real and robust public option. You want to get re-elected. We should work together in order to accomplish our goals.


    Send one to both your Senators and your Congressional Representative, as well as your local State Representatives. Let them know that the American public will not tolerate bullshit on this issue, or any other issue where the status quo and Big Business stands in the way of real reform and progress.

    Mailing addresses for your Representative in the House can be found here at writerep.house.gov

    And your Senators mailing address can be found here at www.senate.gov


US Political Idiocy About Iran

Just poking my head out for a quick survey of the Monday morning landscape.

The Edge… There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.

— Hunter S. Thompson

A couple of short ‘quote’ for discussion items from an AFP article via RawStory this morning about Iran and US Politicians ‘suggestions’:

The showdown in Tehran was the top topic on weekend television talk shows in the United States, with Republicans criticizing Obama for timidity in the face of the most serious upheaval in Iran since its 1979 Islamic revolution.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said officials responsible for US clandestine operations had given assurances this week that they had not interfered in the Iranian elections or the ensuing protests.

“I don’t think our intelligence candidly is that good,” she said in an interview with CNN.

“I think it’s a very difficult country in which to collect intelligence right now. So I think our ability to get in there and change the course of human events is very low, to be very candid with you,” Feinstein said.

Iranian leaders blamed meddling by the United States and Britain for a week of post-election unrest that has put its country’s clerical leadership to an unprecedented test.

Feinsteins thinking is that the measure of having good intelligence capability  is the ability to “get in there and change the course of human events“?

What’s wrong with this picture?

Bombing the Moon for water

See if you can follow this one!

Ocean Optics


Why limit the bandwidth to 650 thus missing the 656 H alpha line?

Why not broadband 200-1100 when it’s available?


H alpha is far more intense in comparison to the elusive OH 308.

Last Straw on the Camel’s Back


While we watch in admiration, many in Iran take to the streets to protest what they perceive as a fraudulent election and a severely authoritarian government. The irony seems lost on us.

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