January 14, 2010 archive

Google Earth & Maps: Haiti Devastation

This is going to be short but might be helpful to some for a wide variety of reasons.

Google has teamed up with GeoEye to bring updated aerial views of the devastation from the Haiti Earthquake.

Google Earth Reveals the Devastation in Haiti    

Afternoon Edition

Afternoon Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 46 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Race to find survivors in ruined Haiti

by Beatriz Lecumberri, AFP

1 hr 49 mins ago

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – Rescuers raced against the clock Thursday to find survivors among thousands of corpses in quake-hit Haiti, as planeloads of international aid began arriving in the ruined nation.

With officials warning the overall death toll may top 100,000, there were fears that desperate Haitians, already living in one of the world’s poorest nations, will soon fall prey to hunger and disease.

The stench from rows of unclaimed rotting corpses began to hang over the capital Port-au-Prince, as the international aid operation led by the United Nations and the United States swung into place.

The Indispensable Man: G. Washington

This is a love story. It is about those heady days of falling madly in love with the tall, red-headed, and truly noble George Washington and how he gave me this wonderful gift: love of my country and love of the principles upon which it was built.

Those few days of reading Washington: The Indispensable Man by James Thomas Flexner are days that changed my life and imbued in me a love of country I never even considered before. I finally read the Constitution and fell in love with it and what Washington made of it…  leaving me with this urge not to interpret the document as much as save it from those lofty yet dusty and half-remembered places where ideals are kept. And to get others to read, consider it, and how Washington changed the world . . .

Breach time with me below the fold (and ladies, hold onto your hearts).

cross-posted at Daily Kos

That Christmas sales buzz

  The one thing you can count on every year for Christmas season is hype. Every single year, no matter what the economy is actually doing, you will hear reports about a tremendous surge in shoppers on Black Friday.

  Why anyone in their right mind would go to a shopping mall on Black Friday is beyond my imagination. I would rather poke sharp objects in my eyes, but that’s just me.

 The hype that follows Christmas is generally less intense, but it’s still there.

 U.S. retailers ended up having a decent Christmas, with holiday sales at the high end of modest expectations as consumers let loose some pent up demand and retailers carefully managed inventories and promotions.

  Retail sales rose 3.4% in December from the year before, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Combined with a 0.9% gain in November, retail sales rose 2.3% to $509.3 billion year-over-year for the two-month holiday period, to $446.8 billion, the Commerce Department said.

 Really? Solid Christmas sales despite high unemployment, huh? Let’s examine those claims more closely.

Bloggers Behaving Badly: Closed left is as bad as Daily Kos

I see that another Bowers-instigated flame battle is going on over at Closed Left.  I lurk the site from time to time to see just how much progressive issues are being censored in favor of the Chris Matthews-type drivel Bowers favors, and I saw this posted on the front page:

It turns out that if I delete content from a website that I–quite literally–own, then I am engaging in censorship.  I don’t remember the part of the first amendment that declares everyone is allowed to use everyone else’s printing press.

The latest mess appears to have begun when someone posted a quick hit to call Obama an ass clown.  Okay, nothing controversial about that since Obama is, in fact, an ass clown.  But the site administrator didn’t like it, so the QH was deleted.  After the fact, the justification was fabricated that the term “ass clown” is somehow homophobic, even though there is no evidence to suggest that it has ever been used in such a derogatory manner.  The comments are divided along the usual lines, with Bowers and his sniveling, lying little sycophants defending the action and others crying censorship.

This isn’t surprising at all, seeing as how Bowers routinely violates his own site’s rules only to turn around and chastise others for committing far lesser offenses.  For example, a while back the owner of Closed Left posted a snarkfest taking others to task for using the Quick Hits feature to call other people out.  Later, Bowers proceeded to use the quick hits section to call out another poster, whom he banned for voicing criticism against him.

When I posted about this glaring act of hypocrisy in both a diary and a quick hit, I was banned from posting.  The rules that apply to everyone else at Closed Left do not apply to the site owner, who is free to act like a child while treating grown adults like children.  The result?  More of the same bullshit that goes on at the Mediocre Orange Hype: scolding lefties to sit down, shut up, and drink the Democratic party Kool-Aid while pretending to be outsiders crashing the gates.  The left deserves better from its self-appointed “leaders.”

Hospitals Out of Air

Thought you folks would be interested in this video.

Off The Wall: Asylum

Second installment of my new series. My first one last week is here.

PLEASE read & rec this essay here from davidseth with this ACTION item Haiti: Humanitarian Help, Stop Deportations  AFSC link. I’m also checking in with the Miami Herald periodically for their local news and updates.

Wow this is boggy stuff. I’m in the weeds here! In light of the current disaster with the earthquake in Haiti, which I wrote about yesterday, I thought I’d try to take a look at the area of Asylum.  Others have written essays about the complex political history of Haiti, here, here and here. And here.

I wanted to explore the term Temporary Protected Status, but first I had to see about Asylum. And Refugee.  

What Is the Major Difference Between Asylum and Refugee Applicants?

The major difference between asylum and refugee applicants is that those seeking refugee status  apply from outside the United States.  Asylum-seekers must be in the United States or applying for admission at a port of entry. DoJ Fact Sheet

Credible Fear: An asylum seeker who has a credible fear of persecution or torture is referred to an Immigration Judge to hear and then judge their asylum claims.


Job with MSF Now

I will put this up here for you computer wiz’s who need work

#MSF hiring a server mgmnt admin in Toronto NOW to keep our website from crashing under the load. msfcan@msf.ca Please RT!

ACTION: Stop Deportations To Haiti

This is a straightforward and important request.

The Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker-based and widely respected Washington lobby for peace and justice, is asking for letters to President Obama and our Congresspersons urging the U.S. government to immediately act to grant Temporary Protected Status to the 30,000 Haitian immigrants presently facing deportation.  That means that attempts to deport Haitians back to their ravaged country would be halted.

The Friends Committee has made this easy.  Just click here and follow the instructions.

Let compassion guide us on this.

Updated: 1/14/10, 1:40 pm ET: There is in place an informal halt to deportations.  It was announced late yesterday by DHS.  It does not grant Temporary Protected Status. Because this issue may continue into the far future, Temporary Protected Status would be an extra measure of security which will allow Haitians to remain at large and work without fear of detention and accumulate funds to send to relatives who are in desperate need.


simulposted at The Dream Antilles and dailyKos

Bring It, Douchebag

This is the left’s equivalent of John Yoo.


On second thought left/right means nothing as the fascist New World Order takes shape.  Want to tell me how I should think now?  Fuck You.  One can only tread water in the cesspool for so long.  I came before the great American dumbed down generation so Fuck You and two middle fingers straight up.  

Are you talking to me Mr. Sunstein?  You should be.  I note the omission of the now global 911 truth movement from the list of conspiracy theories.

“They want to set dynamite on that fault line”

Democracy Now spotlighted a documentary on the growing white supremacist movement in America. I watched it a few days ago. Two days after I watched it, the earthquake in Haiti happened.

Last night I woke up at about 3am and couldn’t stop thinking about something I remembered hearing in that documentary. I just watched it again to make sure I wasn’t imagining things, and yup, there it was. 14:24 to 14:38.

“We’ve got to look at a bigger picture than just the narrow problem of racist violence. They’re a constant pressure on the racial fault line in American life. They want to set dynamite on that fault line.

Here. Watch it for yourself.

“They want to set dynamite on that fault line.”

Bloggers covering the situation have related how Haiti is one of the poorest nations in the world. It’s people – very poor, very BROWN people – have no means to protect themselves. They have no autonomous intelligence or military. Brazilian peacekeepers patrol the border between their country and the Dominican Republic. Our country turns them back.

Now, hundreds of thousands of these innocent, very poor, very BROWN people… are dead.

I’m sorry. I just keep hearing that sentence ringing in my ears, over and over again.

“They want to set dynamite on that fault line.”

Haiti: “The world is coming to an end…”

Channel 4 News via The Real News Network – January 14, 2010

Haiti earthquake: ‘100,000 may be dead’

Haiti’s President warns the scale of suffering is “unimaginable”

Haiti and her people have not only been treated to catastrophe by nature, but have also suffered unimaginably at the hands of other countries. Reminiscent of the ten year sanctions war that killed over a million people in Iraq, mostly women and children, Haiti’s people have for a long time been victims of the global trade system, which has forced Haitians to buy imported food staples, despite the existence of a once-robust agricultural economy.

In April 2008 Raj Patel of UC-Berkeley’s Center for African Studies and author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System, spoke with Paul Jay of The Real News about Haiti’s suffering. (video on the flip)

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