September 28, 2009 archive

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – International and Domestic Wingnuts

Crossposted from Daily Kos


This weekly diary takes a look at the past week’s important news stories from the perspective of our leading editorial cartoonists (including a few foreign ones) with analysis and commentary added in by me.

When evaluating a cartoon, ask yourself these questions:

1. Does a cartoon add to my existing knowledge base and help crystallize my thinking about the issue depicted?

2. Does the cartoonist have any obvious biases that distort reality?

3. Is the cartoonist reflecting prevailing public opinion or trying to shape it?

The answers will help determine the effectiveness of the cartoonist’s message.

:: ::

Mahmoud, Hugo, and Muammar… Meet Rush, Glenn, and Sean

Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

Four at Four

  1. The Guardian reports the president of the World Bank predicts the U.S. dollar is set to be eclipsed. World Bank president Robert Zoellick warned the the U.S. dollar will no longer be the world’s reserve currency. The dollar will be replaced by the Chinese renminbi and the euro.

    “The United States would be mistaken to take for granted the dollar’s place as the world’s predominant reserve currency. Looking forward, there will increasingly be other options to the dollar,” Zoellick said.

  2. The NY Times reports an Oil spill is seen as a warning. An oil well off Australia’s northwest coast “has been spewing thousands of gallons of crude oil into the Timor Sea since Aug. 21, when a blowout forced the evacuation of all 69 workers on the platform. Emergency crews have been working overtime to contain the spill, but officials say it could take about three more weeks to plug the leak.”

    The oil slick is now “25 miles wide and 85 miles long” and along with “more than 50 wells were drilled in the tropical waters off western Australia” could threaten the marine life of the reefs and atolls. As it is today, “conservationists worry that the spill could take a heavy toll on marine animals that feed and travel on or close to the ocean’s surface.”

  3. The CS Monitor asks How can 40,000 troops fix chronic corruption in Afghanistan? The White House is concerned “that the Afghan government has become so rotted with corruption that it cannot consolidate the gains the US military makes.” Afghanistan may be a “narco-kleptocracy” where government positions go “to the highest bidder and opium money fueling corruption on a massive scale.”

    Gen. Stanley McChrystal “made fighting corruption a top priority of his assessment… He wants to use the 40,000 additional troops to protect Afghans from all threats – including their own government.” So, how can U.S. soldiers fight Afghan government corruption?

  4. The Guardian reports U.S. inertia could scupper world climate deal in Copenhagen. American “ignorance about the risks and reality of global warming” will likely ruin any chance of an agreement to “control greenhouse gas emissions at December’s climate talks in Copenhagen” according John Schellnhuber, an advisor to the German government.

    “If the US doesn’t move then nothing will happen.”

    He added: “The US in a sense is climate illiterate. It is a deeper problem in the US, if you look at global polls about what the public knows about climate change. Even in Brazil and China, you have more people who know the problem, who think that deep cuts in emissions are needed.” …

    “The political chances seem very slim that something will happen in Copenhagen and even in the years after,” he said.

    A two-thirds majority vote in the Senate would be needed to ratify any international climate treaty.

Pentagon creates “Cyborg Beetle” (I am not making this up)

I’m not making this up but I wish I were.

If you really want to see some horrifying developments in the Pentagon’s War On All That Is Decent, just google DARPA sometime and see what they’re up to.  

One of the things they’re working on is creating cyborg insects.   (Cyborg soldiers are on their plate as well).    They seem to have succeeded with a Cyborg Beetle, able to control the bug with remote-control.  

I suppose for those on whom Fox News doesn’t work, people will soon be manipulated in other, more direct ways (that’s a joke, sort of).

The creation of a cyborg insect army has just taken a step closer to reality. A research team at the University of California Berkeley recently announced that it has successfully implanted electrodes into a beetle allowing scientists to control the insect’s movements in flight. “We demonstrated the remote control of insects in free flight via an implantable radioequipped miniature neural stimulating system,” the researchers reported in their new paper for Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience. ” The pronotum mounted system consisted of neural stimulators, muscular stimulators, a radio transceiver-equipped microcontroller and a microbattery.”

The research, supported by the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is part of a broader effort, called the HI-MEMS program, which has been looking specifically at different approaches to implanting micro-mechanical systems into insects in order to control their movements.

A number of research teams working on this ambitious project have reported specific successes. For example, researchers at the University of Michigan have demonstrated implants in a flying moth, but the Berkeley scientists appear to have demonstrated an impressive degree of control over their insect’s flight; they report being able to use an implant for neural stimulation of the beetle’s brain to start, stop, and control the insect in flight. They could even command turns by stimulating the basalar muscles.

Eventually, the mind-controlled insects could be used to “serve as couriers to locations not easily accessible to humans or terrestrial robots,” they note.

Just another lovely development in the War On terror drugs humanity.

For more nightmare-inducing DARPA projects, just click here:

Keep in mind, this is the stuff they LET us know about.

Recognition Well Deserved

2009 Federal Employee of the Year

This medal recognizes a federal employee whose professional contributions exemplify the highest attributes of public service.

Taking On Dobbs

From our good friend Bob Fertik over at

CNN can never be “The Most Trusted Name in News” as long as it’s the home of Lou Dobbs.

Dobbs is a “Birther” who refused to believe President Obama was born in Hawaii – even after his own correspondent Kitty Pilgrim debunked all the lies. (1)

And when he talks about President Obama’s agenda for change, Dobbs sounds like madman Glenn Beck. (2)

Yet CNN continues to broadcast the Lou Dobbs Tonight as a “news” program. It’s time for us to put that to an end.…

Dobbs’ words have a real impact. Here’s how Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center put it:

“How dangerous is Lou Dobbs? The rise in hate crimes against Latinos coincides almost exactly with the time Dobbs has been propagating false conspiracy theories about Latinos on the air. He’s not urging people to go hurt and kill – but that is the effect of what he does.”…

Enough is enough! To fight back, we’re joining a new campaign led by our friends at – Basta Dobbs – to demand that CNN no longer allow Dobbs to spew hate disguised as “news” (basta means “enough” in Spanish).

Please join us in saying “basta!” to Lou Dobbs, and ask your friends and family to do the same.…

Thanks for all you do!

Bob Fertik

(1) Watch Jon Stewart’s hysterical clip

(2) Listen to Dobbs discuss President Obama

Wouldya get on a bus with Palin, Rove, Kristol, McCain, Lieberman, and Graham?


Cross-posted at Dkos and MyDD


We can christen this bus the We Want Obama To Ramp It Up In Afghan Straight Talk Express.

Senators McCain, Graham and Lieberman want you to know that

We are confident that not only is it winnable, but that we have no choice. We must prevail in Afghanistan.


At last, we have the right strategy and the civilian and military leaders on the ground in Afghanistan to carry it out. This is a must-win war. And now is the time to commit the decisive military force necessary to prevail.

And, you TRUST these nice folks, right?

Quickie Fiction Updates for People Who’d Care

So my fiction rewrites have now begun in earnest (sorry, but I wanted a summer break), and there’s proving to be much less and much more of it than I thought. For those who don’t know, from Jan ’08 to Jun ’09, budhy was nice enough to let me blog a “novel” here, and a few people were nice enough to comment and make suggestions/edits/whatever. Probably only those people will be interested in this, so my non-update updates are below the fold.  

Grayson pulls “Corporate Death Penalty” card! If ACORN goes down ALL Crook Contractors go down too

Crossposted at Daily Kos

“Death Panels” ain’t got nothing on this!

    How can you be for the Death Penalty and be against the “Corporate Death Penalty”?

    ACORN was smeared to death, and that sucks. So, how do we make the best of it?

    If ACORN must go, the rest of all the Bush Era Crooked Contractors you know and loathe will just have to go too.


    On Friday (Spet 25th), Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) inserted into the “legislative history” language spelling out that including all fraudulent organizations was, in fact, the intent of the Congress.


    “The bill imposes, and is intended to impose, a corporate death penalty on contractors who fall within the scope of its prohibitions.”

Bold and Italics added by diarist

      What’s good for the goose, or, in this case, nut.

      More political judo below the fold.

More NYCCAN news – updated with video!

NYCCAN’s March for Answers yesterday was to raise public awareness to the fact that despite 80,000 validated NYC resident signatures on their petition to put a vote for a new 9/11 investigation on November’s ballot, the City is moving to quash this effort. On Friday, Referee Louis Crespo issued his “report and recommendations” and recommended that the Court rule in favor of the City, which does not want to include this request on the ballot.

The march, organized in Battery Park, first came to Ground Zero to observe a moment of silence.

A decision on the matter is expected this week. NYCCAN marched yesterday to protest this attempt to silence the concerns of tens of thousands of New Yorkers as well as those of the watching world. The march gathered in Foley Square/Federal Plaza, where the decision will be made. Ironically it is the same place I was standing eight years ago when I saw the towers fall.

Yesterday I was one of the speakers for NYCCAN at City Hall. As a former member of the US military as well as the third generation of my family to serve the US military intelligence community, I feel strongly that the official story the Bush administration has propagated is a lie and that a new investigation is necessary. I am seen here speaking with Bob McIlvaine (left) and Manny Badillo (right), both of whom lost family members on 9/11.

Video of the speeches at City Hall.

This morning WBAI’s Esther Armah interviewed myself and Bob McIlvaine about the reasons we believe a new 9/11 investigation is necessary. The interview segment runs from 37:05 to 46:19.

More pictures of the march here.

Please continue to support NYCCAN. If you haven’t signed the petition and are a resident of NYC, please do so. Survivors, first responders and those who lost family and friends can also sign a petition of support.

Docudharma Times Monday September 28

Monday’s Headlines:

An Afghan in Muncie, Ind.: Enrolling in U.S. Life 101

Racism or just plain politics? It depends on who’s listening

Iran test-fires long-range missiles

Israeli vigilantes target young Arab-Jewish couples

Philippines storm death toll rises

Rivals of the East: Battle for batik

Merkel must pull politics back from the prosaic – it’s time to take risks

Zimbabwe drops activist charges

Honduras suspends civil liberties amid calls for ‘rebellion’

Gates: Mistake to set Afghan withdrawal date

Defense secretary says a defeat in Afghanistan would be disastrous for U.S.

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Robert Gates is pushing back against liberal calls for withdrawal timelines from Afghanistan, saying it’s a mistake to set a deadline to end U.S. military action and a defeat would be disastrous for the U.S.

In a stern warning to critics of a continued troop presence in Afghanistan, Gates said the Islamic extremist Taliban and al-Qaida would perceive an early pullout as a victory over the United States as similar to the Soviet Union’s humiliating withdrawal in 1989 after a 10-year war.

2 Brothers’ Grim Tale Of Loyalty And Limbo

To Leave Guantanamo Means Abandoning Family

By Del Quentin Wilber

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, September 28, 2009

Bahtiyar Mahnut, a detainee at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, learned a few weeks ago that the Pacific island nation of Palau had invited him to settle there.

It should have been cause for celebration, especially for a man who desperately wants to be free. But, to the surprise of his attorneys, Bahtiyar has turned down the offer. He wishes to remain a prisoner, they say, so he can look after his older brother, a fellow detainee.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

A Transition through Poetry XXIV

Art Link


Friends Along the Way

I started out on this

 road all alone

   Fear and Pain

      my only companions

         I wondered if

           I would lose myself

             The road seemed dark

               and fraught with peril

                 Til I found I had

                   Friends along the way

                       As the road wound

                         through hard terrain

                           I sometimes doubted

                             my ability to go on

                               But I fought back

                                 the Fear

                                   and worked through

                                     the Pain

                                       with the help of my

                                         Friends along the way

                                             As time passed by

                                             the road ascended

                                         Obstacles less frequent

                                      but harder to pass

                                   And at times

                                 I needed the

                               places of refuge

                             respite and care

                           offered to me by

                         Friends along the way

                     I’ve come to the crest

                   of the mountain

                 I’ve climbed

               As I look down below

             I see all of the

           barriers crossed

         the challenges I met

       and the lessons I learned

     I will never forget those

   Friends along the way

What lies over

the top of the road

 There is no

   way of knowing

     But deep in my heart

       From the depths

         of my soul

           I know that I’ll have

             The company of my

               Friends from along the way

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–July, 1994

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