June 29, 2009 archive

Four at Four

  1. Foreign Policy reports Climate change will soon be the world’s greatest health crisis. “We tend to think of climate change as an environmental issue, which, of course, it is… But climate change is also a public health issue, one whose profound effects on the lives and wellbeing of billions of people are just beginning to be understood.”

    “Health experts and advocates ought to be at the forefront of calling for action on climate change. Their help is urgently needed: plans need to be put in place immediately to manage the worst effects, requiring unprecedented levels of international cooperation.”

Four at Four continues with a contrary view on climate refugees, Obama’s list of economic errors, and the last gasp of the U.S. dollar.

Occasional Bike Blogging: Fixing Broken Cables with the Internet

Disclaimer: I don’t know what the hell I am doing, so this is not a How To. Actually, getting this done despite not knowing what the hell I am doing is kind of the point.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally got serious about trying to get my rear derailleur back into action. It had seized up during the winter, and while I got some rear gears back at that time, I was down to three speeds on the front derailleur again.

So I was trying the dry lube, working it in on all joints, working the derailleur mechanism, and cleaning off the crud it was bringing up. Except no matter how progress I seemed to make, when I went to shift it, it seized up again. And then another round.

Until the cable snapped.

Fudge, now I had to change the cable. So I hit the internet to try to see what is involved with changing the cable. One of the first hits I got told me that when a derailleur is sticking, its normally the cable rather than the derailleur mechanism.

Aha, that sounded right. Lesson One: check the intertubes for advice first, before getting started on a new job.

{keep on with the cable repair after the break}

Weekly Torture Action Letter 15 – We Will Have To Let KSM Go

Happy Monday and welcome to the Dog’s torture accountability letter writing campaign. The basic premise of this series is that every Monday the Dog will write a letter to decision makers on urging action on accountability for the State Sponsored Torture program of the Bush Administration and provide the links so you the reader can cut and paste the letter or use it as the jumping off point for your own. The important thing is to keep the heat on the people who can move this issue forward by keeping their in boxes full. This week we will be writing the President with carbon copies to the AG, Speaker of the House, Majority Leader of the Senate and Chairs of the Judiciary Committees.

Originally posted at Squarestate.net

Madoff Sentence In — 150 Years

Madoff will spend the rest of his life in jail:

Bernard Madoff has been sentenced to 150 years in prison for his multibillion-dollar fraud scheme.

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin handed down the sentenced in New York on Monday.

Attorney Ira Sorkin says the 150 years in prison recommended by prosecutors or the 50 years recommended by the federal probation department are excessive.


What is power? pt. 2: power and political hope

This is a meditation on power and political hope, on the idea that the struggle for power seems to favor those who focus their lives upon the attainment of power (rather than, say, the enjoyment of life), and of what hope to place (and in what) in a world in which this is true.

(crossposted at Big Orange)

Krugman on Republican Treason against our Planet

Paul Krugman has an excellent column this morning.  In it, he calls out the global warming deniers, a group to which many Republican congressmen and congresswomen belong, as what they truly are: traitors to the planet.  

And as I watched the deniers make their arguments, I couldn’t help thinking that I was watching a form of treason – treason against the planet.

Paul Krugman, NY Times,  Betraying the Planet

More on those who betray America and the entire planet, after the fold.  

“Unfair to Crazy Conspiracy Theories”

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

    Given this contempt for hard science, I’m almost reluctant to mention the deniers’ dishonesty on matters economic. But in addition to rejecting climate science, the opponents of the climate bill made a point of misrepresenting the results of studies of the bill’s economic impact, which all suggest that the cost will be relatively low.

    Still, is it fair to call climate denial a form of treason? Isn’t it politics as usual?

    Yes, it is – and that’s why it’s unforgivable.

    Do you remember the days when Bush administration officials claimed that terrorism posed an “existential threat” to America, a threat in whose face normal rules no longer applied? That was hyperbole – but the existential threat from climate change is all too real.


Good News from the DOJ?

From The Wall Street Journal:

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has determined that detainees tried by military commissions in the U.S. can claim at least some constitutional rights, particularly protection against the use of statements taken through coercive interrogations, officials said.

The conclusion, explained in a confidential memorandum whose contents were shared with The Wall Street Journal, could alter significantly the way the commissions operate — and has created new divisions among the agencies responsible for overseeing the commissions.

First, I have to wonder who in the Obama Administration would pick the Wall Street Journal to share confidential information with.

And although this decision would seem to be a no-brainer, it does show how far we’ve fallen that I would even call this good news.

Finally, they still won’t use the word torture … now it’s “coercive interrogations.”

More on the flip.

Docudharma Times Monday June 29

“The fact that Iran is stable,

calm and secure, they’re upset with this,”

Intelligence Minister Gholam-Hosein Mohseni Ejei

told Iran’s Press TV.

Monay’s Headlines:

41 Years Later in Chicago, Police and Demonstrators Still Clash, but With Words

Somali children being forced into war, says leader

Police deny Kenya torture claims

Berlusconi turns to G8 and Gaddafi for comfort

Exiled by Russia: Casinos and Jobs

The high price of eliminating the Taleban from Buner

India to review gay ban

Gaza war victims tell of Israeli shelling in first public hearing

Protesters demand return of ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya

U.S. ready to leave Iraqi cities despite violence

Many wonder if U.S.-trained forces will be able to keep areas secure

Associated Press

BAGHDAD – Death squads roamed the streets, slaughtering members of the rival Muslim sect. Bombs rocked Baghdad daily – until thousands of U.S. troops poured in two years ago, establishing neighborhood bases and taking control of the Iraqi capital and other cities.

By Tuesday, all but a small number of American soldiers will have left Baghdad and other urban areas, handing over security to Iraqi soldiers and police still largely untested as an independent fighting force.

State television has been showing a countdown clock with a fluttering Iraqi flag and the words “June 30: National Sovereignty Day.”

Iran frees five detained British embassy employees

Five of nine people detained after being accused of involvement in post-election unrest have been released, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman says

 Ian Black and Matthew Weaver

guardian.co.uk, Monday 29 June 2009 09.01 BST

Five of the nine British embassy employees accused of involvement in the post-election unrest in Iran have been released, officials in Tehran said today.

The development came as Iran announced that a partial recount of votes in this month’s disputed presidential election had begun.

“Out of nine people, five … have been released and the rest are being interrogated,” Hassan Qashqavi, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, was quoted as saying by the state-funded Press TV.

A spokesman for the British Foreign Office refused to confirm the figure, saying only that “several have been released and some remain in custody”.

Yesterday, the Iranian intelligence minister, Gholam Hossein Mohseini Ejehi, claimed Tehran had video proof that the Iranian employees at the embassy “were distinctly present at the scene of clashes” following the 12 June election.


How a Loophole Benefits GE in Bank Rescue

Industrial Giant Becomes Top Recipient in Debt-Guarantee Program

By Jeff Gerth and Brady Dennis

ProPublica and Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, June 29, 2009

General Electric, the world’s largest industrial company, has quietly become the biggest beneficiary of one of the government’s key rescue programs for banks.

At the same time, GE has avoided many of the restrictions facing other financial giants getting help from the government.

The company did not initially qualify for the program, under which the government sought to unfreeze credit markets by guaranteeing debt sold by banking firms. But regulators soon loosened the eligibility requirements, in part because of behind-the-scenes appeals from GE.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

The wise ones,

ever meditative and steadfastly persevering,

alone experience Nirvana,

the incomparable freedom from bondage.

–The Dhammapada, verse 23

Phenomena XXXI:  musing


What if?

What if rainbows

came in textures

and kaleidoscopes

played with sound

What if feelings

were for wearing

and thoughts weighed

each a pound

Would hope appear upward

and love feel cerise?

What would be the taste of freedom?

What would be the scent of peace?

Could I pay my rent

in moonbeams

when the future

becomes our toy?

When hate and greed

are left behind

could I measure wealth

in joy?

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–February 26, 2008

Late Night Karaoke

Tuff Enuff

Barack Obama, war criminal

Barack Obama bombed this baby.  This baby is one of the lucky ones, seeing as how it’s not dead.

Why did Obama maim this baby, when General Petraus has told us that there are ‘No more Al Queda in Afghanistan’?

I guess we just like to bomb babies for the sheer rollicking hell of it.   Gotta use all those weapons we bought for something.  You know, so we can order more, and keep the economy moving.  Keep the Corporate Welfare money going out to Raytheon and the other War Profiteers, no?

I’m becoming a huge fan of Jeremy Scahill.  The man speaks truth to power better than anyone I’ve seen in a good long time.  

Seeing some of these people online turning their profile pictures green “for Iran” makes me want to create a Facebook and Twitter application that turns profile pictures blood red, in solidarity with all of the Afghans and Iraqis and Pakistanis being killed by US wars today; wars that people in the US failed to stop and whose representatives continue to fund to the tune of $100s of billions.-Jeremy Scahill

Here is Scahill in an interview:

What people, I think, misunderstand about Barack Obama is that this is a man who is a brilliant supporter of empire–who has figured out a way to essentially trick a lot of people into believing they’re supporting radical change, when in effect what they’re doing is supporting a radical expansion of the U.S. empire.


What we see with Obama’s policies in Iraq, Afghanistan and the broader Arab and Muslim world, as well as his global economic policies, are a continuation of the most devastating and violent policies of the Bush administration–while placing a face on it that makes it easier to expand the iron fist of U.S. militarism and the hidden hand of the free market in a way that Republicans, I think, would have been unable to do at this point in history.

That, in so many words, is why Barack Obama is President.

Scahill has a blog, here:


Gotta love this one:

“The Responsible Left:” Funding Obama’s Expanding Wars $100 Billion a Vote

The cowardly Democrats who checked their spines at the door to Congress when they voted Tuesday try to defend their flip-flop on war funding. Frankly, it is embarrassing.

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