June 29, 2010 archive

‘More Firepower’ to Afghanistan

On firing McChrystal Obama said there would be no change in policy:

U.S. President Barack Obama says the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan will remain the same despite his decision to replace the top general leading the war effort.

Al Jezera

Today, though, his ‘shiny new’ general, Petraeus, promises the US Senate that in fact there will be to changes to policy:

WASHINGTON – Gen. David H. Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that he would take a new look at the rules governing the use of heavy firepower in the Afghan war, which have cut down on United States airstrikes and civilian casualties but have been bitterly criticized by American forces who say they have made the fight more dangerous.

Luke Sharrett/The New York Times

General Petraeus said he would look anew at the rules of engagement in Afghanistan.

Calling the protection of his troops a “moral imperative,” General Petraeus signalled in his Senate confirmation hearing to take command in Afghanistan what could be his first significant shift in policy since President Obama last week fired the top commander there, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal.

Sure, Mr Obama, why worry about more of this:

I guess McChrystal didn’t kill quite enough kids for our Senators.  

Open Poet


Utopia 23: Graduation Day

In many places, the report discusses critical thinking,  complex problem solving, collaboration, and multimedia communication  (a.k.a. 21st-century competencies). We read about goals of creating  inquisitive, creative, resourceful thinkers, informed citizens,  effective problem [solvers], groundbreaking pioneers, and visionary  leaders. But the report also clearly articulates the importance of  data-based instruction and data-based decisions. How does this report  imagine education in the context of quantitative data and qualitative  experience?

The report says data, data, data. I get it.  But the report also says schools can’t be ‘information factories.’  Where do those ends meet?

The focus of the federal and  state governments on high-stakes testing is in direct contradiction to  creating an environment where humans learn best. Furthermore, it  perpetuates the idea that all students should be the same. Students are  not the same. People are not the same. … Stop attaching funding to only  standardized test scores. Then, perhaps schools could begin moving  towards creating an environment where 21st-century skills can develop.–Bill  MacKenty eSchool News

News at Noon

From Reuters

Home prices climb on tax credit push

By Reuters

June 29, 2010

(Reuters) – Single-family home prices unexpectedly climbed in April from March, driven by a final sales push before tax credits expired, but signs of a sustained recovery have yet to emerge, Standard & Poor’s/Case Shiller home price indexes showed on Tuesday.

“Inventory data and foreclosure activity have not shown any signs of improvement,” David Blitzer, chairman of S&P’s index committee, said in a statement. “Consistent and sustained boosts to economic growth from housing may have to wait to next year.”

The S&P composite index of home prices in 20 metropolitan areas for April rose 0.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis after a downwardly revised 0.2 percent drop in March, compared with a 0.1 percent decline forecast in a Reuters survey. March prices were previously reported as unchanged.

The Big Difference… & The Real Crime

2nd Round: Brit Iraq War Inquiry Begins

Britain’s Iraq War Inquiry: Petraeus

The Chilcot Inquiry restarts today, The second round of hearings will run from 29 June to 30 July 2010. Live streamed testimony once again when they do. No one knows if they’ll be releasing all or part of the transcripts etc. as to their visit here and talking to some of the previous administrations insiders, all lower level. Apparently they’re still talking to the Americans most close to the needs of the British Inquiry into Iraq.

Petraeus gives evidence to UK’s Iraq war inquiry

29 June 2010 The head of Britain’s inquiry into the Iraq war says his panel has held a private meeting with U.S. General David Petraeus.

John Chilcot leads a five-member panel appointed by the British government to examine the case made for the war and errors in planning for post-conflict reconstruction. Continued

Docudharma Times Tuesday June 29

Tuesday’s Headlines:

Ireland struggles with high cost of austerity

Coral: Lost at sea?


Kagan may get confirmed, but Thurgood Marshall can forget it

Supreme Court sides with school over Christian group ban


Greeks to protest austerity measures in fifth nationwide strike

Chinese gangs step into gap left by mafia

Middle East

Barred from Jerusalem for crime of being Palestinian

Sympathy for the Turkish devil


Right-to-Know Law Gives India’s Poor a Lever

Mobile services suspended, curfew still in place in Kashmir


Violence scars Burundi election

Latin America

Leading politician Rodolfo Torre CantĂș murdered in Mexico

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Listening is a lamp that dispels the darkness of ignorance.

–Arya Sura, Jatakamala (aka Garland of Birth Stories

aka Once the Buddha Was a Monkey)

Phenomena IV: listening



I spent much of my life

speaking in paragraphs

to people who had difficulty


for the end of a sentence

before breaking in

to change the subject

to talk about them

their thoughts

not mine

which lay unfinished

by the side

of the conversation

with my ideas

drifting away


probably forgotten

if not evaporating

into nothingness

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–February 6. 2008

Update:Storm Alex Now a Hurricane, still Warning Heading to Texas

Update. Tues June 29, 8:20 pm PDT.  NWS, Miami, FL.  Tropical Storm  Alex is now officially a Hurricane, and the first hurricane of the season and the first June hurricane since 1995.  Alex is about 255 miles / 415 km SE of Brownsville, TX, with winds of 75 mph, moving 9 mph / 15 km/hr .  All watches remain in effect.  Hurricane Alex is expected to make landfall late Wednesday evening in the Texas/ Mexico border area.  

Status of Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Area’s “City of Ships”  of Blown Out BP Well : Oil skimming operations by surface boats have been suspended.  BP Oil is still so far collecting gas/oil from the riser pipe and the BOP,  but the attempt to hook up another gathering ship to the BOP to suck up yet more oil from below the sea’s surface has been delayed due to high winds and waves.  BP says they are still working on installing yet another floating riser pipe that they can then quickly disconnect from in the case of bad weather, but it’s not finished yet.

Status of relief well. Still close to wellbore, allegedly within 20 feet yesterday,  now drilling past it and down and taking multiple magnetic soundings to locate it before attempt is made to intersect.  Still supposedly on track for August of this year.


Well, I’ve got bad news and good news.

The National Weather Service as of 10:00 pm CDT Monday has upgraded the Hurricane Watch for Tropical Storm Alex to a Hurricane Warning.  

But it’s heading northwest to Texas.   http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/r…   Sorry, eastern Mexico, it’s going to visit you again too.

NOAA and the NWS has also put together a page  on New Orleans/Baton Rouge/Deepwater Horizon which has every sort of weather graphic you’d want to see on this.  Satellite, radar, wind, wave, trajectories,  37 different weather maps and charts to gawk at.

Bookmark this:


Late Night Karaoke


Obama’s Zillions, and the Web Celeb 25


Matt Drudge, the most un-cool man on the planet!

Just in case any of us ain’t-got-a-life internet hoodoos were still pretending that the web is cool, Forbes Magazine has published their annual highly-scientific list of internet celebrities, with headliners like Matt Drudge, and a former child star from Star Trek, Wil Wheaton!


To generate the Web Celebs ranking we first defined a “Web celebrity” as a person famous primarily for creating or appearing in Internet-based content, and who is highly recognizable to a Web-based audience. That definition excludes people who were significantly famous before they hit the Web, like television and movie star turned top Twitter user Ashton Kutcher, and leaves us with a pool of people whose fame grew out of, and is dependent on, the Internet.

From there we created a candidate list of over 200 Internet personalities. Each candidate was ranked in four areas: Web references as calculated by Google, traffic ranking of their home page as calculated by Alexa, TV/radio mentions and press clips compiled from Factiva, and number of followers on microblogging site Twitter. These four categories were totaled and weighted to produce a final score, then sorted to produce our rankings.

Also in the category of uncool shit connected to the internet is the $750,000,000 Obama conned out of naive web-geeks in 2008, and what the fuck did he do with all that money?

Obama spent twice as much as McCain, even though McCain is a Republican, and those guys are supposed to buy elections!

A little digging around in the campaign spending data on OpenSecrets.org also provides some insight about why the story of every American election is…

Which whore won?


Presidential campaign spending approximately quadrupled between 2000 and 2008, while inflation only accounted for an increase of about 25%!

In constant dollars, at the same rate as Gore/Bush in 2000, all candidates combined would have spent about $430 million in 2008, but they actually spent an additional $900 million, for an ultra-grand total of…



Does that constant-dollar explosion from $430 million to $1,324,000,000 reflect a proportional increase in political corruption?


99ers Not:Russian Spies:Dependence Day

The rumors of having up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits are not true.  There is nothing in the mailbox and the DUA website says the cut off date was June 26.  Most definitely true, so now what.  That potential of draining the savings, cashing in the 401 but most of all the stoppage of buying stuff period.  Selling the house and moving to rural America seems remote as these areas will be hard hit by energy rationing “green” initiatives spawned by ocean holes.  Cries of impending Depression with a capital D resound.  Some of the more crazy of my CT crowd are just shaking their heads not knowing what to say.  Are they really after the destruction of the United States because we are too consumer oriented or is it that greater cause of erasing human rights issues globally.  Roll everybody into the multi-nationalist corpo-fascism modeled after Red China.

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