November 21, 2010 archive


I suppose in alot of ways I am your run-of-the-mill yuppie with a slant toward environmentalism. My job is stressful and I strive to maintain balance so I am engaged in a alot of outdoors and spiritual activities when I am not latched to my BBerry and laptop.

I grew up on a small farm in the deep south and have vivid memories of waking up at the crack of dawn as a youngster to feed calves and goats. I spent many a summer hoeing and picking corn, beans, squash, and okra (which I must say I REALLY miss okra in the northeast). I have skinned fish with my Dad. I have helped dress wild turkeys, backyard chickens and even deer. I have been to slaughterhouses with my Dad when we would slaughter a cow or a hog to sustain our family into the next summer.

I was fortunate enough to attend a well-respected educational institution and earn a degree in Sociology peppered with a minor in Political Science. My degree makes for a great wide angle views, perceiving global shifts, and forecasting probable outcomes.

I share my personal history because my experience is germane in the continuing conversation. Please follow me below the fold….

What’s the Cost of NOT Extending those Jobless Benefits?

House will take up unemployment benefits extension Thursday

By Vicki Needham, The — Nov 17, 2010

The House has put a bill on Thursday’s floor schedule that would extend emergency unemployment benefits for three months, according to the schedule released Wednesday night by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

House Ways and Means Chairman Sander Levin (D-Mich.) and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, introduced the bill today that would extend federal benefits — up to 99 weeks in some states for those who have exhausted their state unemployment insurance — through Feb. 28.

The measure is on the suspension calendar and will require two-thirds vote to pass.

A 3 Months extension, on that precarious lifeline, for Millions.

Just a 2/3 Vote needed.

Good luck, folks, looks like you could be “On your Own” — given the priorities of Congress, lately.

Open James


Half A Century of Empire: A Progress Report

Burning the Midnight Oil for the Arc of the Sun

We are sabotaging our main labor resource with mindless rote learning to pass “achievement” tests to avoid being punished for not being full of kids of upper middle class households, we are allowing our equipment resource to collapse through lack of demand and we are sabotaging our natural resource through treating nonrenewable resources as an excuse to destroy renewable resources and treating renewable resources as non-renewable resources, which is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In fifty years we have gone from technological leadership on all fronts to technological leadership only in some of those areas under the umbrella of War Department Industrial Policy, and from massive trade surpluses that demanded recycling via overseas investment and imports to maintain international liquidity, to massive trade deficits to allow the Chinese to export their unemployment to us.

In forty years we have gone from energy independence to importing twice as much oil as we produce.

And thirty years, we have shifted our record on land wars in Asia from 0-1 with one draw, to at best 0-2 with two draws, and at worst 0-3 with one draw.

If this damn Empire collapses soon enough, we might have a chance to start rebuilding from the catastrophe it represents, but an equally plausible outcome is falling apart into a squabbling series of small and mid-sized nation states, many harboring revanchiste dreams of re-establishing the Empire.

No Coverage of Cancun Mexico

Docudharma Times Sunday November 21

Sunday’s Headlines:

Oscar-winning producer says fear is behind neglect of British film-making talent


Guns used to kill police officers: Where they come from and how they get in the hands of criminals

Extensive insider trading investigation drawing to close, official says


Eric Cantona’s call for bank protest sparks online campaign

The European ‘dream’ has finally collided with reality

Middle East

Iraqi parliament to get down to work

Rights group cautions Egypt on election harassment


Deep in a mine, the phone rings unanswered

‘Anyone Can Be Arrested at Any Time’


South African township struggles to cope with killing of Anni Dewani

 British mercenaries hired to take on the Somali pirates

North Koreans Unveil Vast New Plant for Nuclear Use


Published: November 20, 2010

WASHINGTON – North Korea showed a visiting American nuclear scientist earlier this month a vast new facility it secretly and rapidly built to enrich uranium, confronting the Obama administration with the prospect that the country is preparing to expand its nuclear arsenal or build a far more powerful type of atomic bomb.

Whether the calculated revelation is a negotiating ploy by North Korea or a signal that it plans to accelerate its weapons program even as it goes through a perilous leadership change, it creates a new challenge for President Obama at a moment when his program for gradual, global nuclear disarmament appears imperiled at home and abroad. The administration hurriedly began to brief allies and lawmakers on Friday and Saturday – and braced for an international debate over the repercussions.

Democrats Lost 998 Seats in State Legislatures in 2010

There were about 6,115 state legislative elections in the United States in 2010, and…

In those 6,115 state legislative elections, Republicans picked a net gain of 998 seats from Democrats.

Republicans now hold 3,735 state legislative seats to 3,119 state legislative seats held by Democrats, a stunning reversal of power from 2006 and 2008.

Republicans have more seats in state legislatures than at any time since Reconstruction.  

So the last time Republicans exercised so much control over state legislatures, the leader of their party was Abraham Lincoln.

And of course Republicans also picked up 5 governorships and 6 Senate seats and 64 seats in the House of Representatives, and meanwhile there’s really nothing worth reporting about our absurd President and the rest of the Democratic “leadership.”

Late Night Karaoke

Petraeus to replace Soviet tank graveyard with American tank graveyard


The rusting hulks of Soviet tanks massed in their graveyard outside of Kabul since the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan after a long (9-year), bitter and pointless war are slowly being sold off as scrap metal to the Chinese.

Now, American tanks are whistling past the Soviet tank graveyard.

The Chinese have already re-cycled the metal columns from the World Trade Center towers and sold it back to us as affordable consumer goods.  Now they are re-purposing the Soviet tanks.  What happens when their raw materials supply chain from the imperial scrap heaps breaks?  We can’t let that happen to our creditors.  Our Abrams M1 tanks weigh 72 tons each.  Fifteen tanks represent a thousand tons of steel once they hit the scrap heap in Helmand Province.  That’s an imposing signal of our commitment to Chinese demand for scrap metal.

Col. John King remarked, “The M1 tank is a formidable machine, it’s a formidable message. It signifies commitment, that we’re committed.”

Besides, if the Soviets could have a pointless nine-year war in Afghanistan prior to their collapse, why can’t we?  

First Premises

What does it mean to be human?

Conscience and Conviction

(Crossposted from Orange, and also posted at Writing in the Raw.  buhdy, my friend, this one is for you, because you catalyzed this at least in part.)

This has been a hell of a year.

And I don’t mean that in a good way.  It’s been the culmination of four years of stress, grief, anger and pain.

A silver lining exists, though, and that has been the journey I began in late spring, trying to reconnect with my deepest self.  Recently, an exercise in my ethics class (UUF) really shocked open the vague sense of unease that had been nagging at me for a year or two.  The exercise was the selection and ranking of my ten most important values.

The Unifying Principle

Reprint from the Greatest Hits Collection, lol.

This first appeared on Thu Jul 09, 2009

I am a very fortunate person. Either that or a tragic figure, only time will tell.

My Dad was a beatnik, artist and architect, creative and with an aesthetic view of life that has colored my view of it…even though he wasn’t around much. But when he split to go around the world on his spiritual quest just as the decade of the sixties was born, he gave me another inheritance as well, albeit unintentional. He left us in the Haight Ashbury….just as the sixties were being born. And that is where I grew up.

I had no real idea what exactly was going on there, because like any child, I thought that the environment I was growing up in was normal. I thought that the explosion of what can only be called Love Energy in the 60’s that was centered in San Francisco, in the Haight, and then “spread” from there was just how life was.

It didn’t really spread from there of course. That explosion of creativity and an entirely new way of thinking was very much a planetary phenomenon, as we can see looking back at the time.

As the blurb for a new book  called 1959 by Fred Kaplan puts it…

   It was the year of the microchip, the birth-control pill, the space race, and the computer revolution; the rise of Pop art, free jazz, “sick comics,” the New Journalism, and indie films; the emergence of Castro, Malcolm X, and personal superpower diplomacy; the beginnings of Motown, Happenings, and the Generation Gap-all bursting against the backdrop of the Cold War, the fallout-shelter craze, and the first American casualties of the war in Vietnam.

   It was a year when the shockwaves of the new ripped the seams of daily life, when humanity stepped into the cosmos and commandeered the conception of human life, when the world shrank but the knowledge needed to thrive in it expanded exponentially, when outsiders became insiders, when categories were blurred and taboos trampled, when we crossed into a “new frontier” that offered the twin prospects of infinite possibilities and instant annihilation-a frontier that we continue to explore exactly fifty years later, at an eerily similar turning point.

It was a planetary explosion that was expressed, as all such pervasive and revolutionary energies are, in each place and in each person in a unique way to that place or person. But that burst of energy that brought about a new way of thinking, a new form of what can loosely be called ‘politics,’ and a huge burst of creativity was expressed….to my subjective eye…most purely in the Haight.

By one word, by one Unifying Principle.


And Love’s inevitable partner, Peace.

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