Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Those Damned Brits!

Showing what real policing can do to thwart terrorism before it happens.


BushCo. still can't figure out how to run the Never-ending War on Terror.

Or maybe they have it figured out; they seem to be lining the pockets of their friends and contributors without any oversight. And the missing weapons make sure that the "terrorists" have all they need to keep it Never-ending.

Fuck bipartisanship.

Impeach now.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Lost Opportunity Costs

It's a basic consideration in any investment, yet this is not just any "basic investment."

Tonight Diane Sawyer will do a piece on 20/20 about how you only have to go as far as Camden, NJ to find children living in horrible conditions - like those you'd find in third-world nations. I heard a promo spot about this show just after listening to Charlie Gibson talk about the continuing adventures of the Decider in Chief in Iraq.

Most estimates for the cost of the Iraq War converge on about $5 billion per month. I'll use that as a nice round number. Diane's estimates of the number of American children living in poverty, with not enough to eat is close to 12 million.

So let's do the math.

What's the lost opportunity cost to the war on poverty of the most misguided part of the war on terror?

$5 billion divided by 12 million children is about $416 per child per month. Multiply that by 12 months and you get $4,992 per child per year.
Imagine - we do a lot of imagining when thinking about the good we could be doing - that every one of these 12 million children could get $416 worth of food and clothing and school supplies every month. Imagine the difference that could make in the lives of those children and their families.

Imagine that I never had to see the example that was shown on the ABC news tonight of a young child going to Kindergarten who knew his ABCs and his numbers, but didn't know the names of the three meals that most of us take for granted because he never got three meals a day.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bush Twins Stripping on the Senate Floor

It's just about the only thing Bush didn't do last night to take attention away from the debacle in Iraq.

What a wonderfully ironic picture it was; Bush on the dais looking mildly dazed, Darth Cheney over his right shoulder scowling like mad and trying to keep his mind-meld with his putative boss, and over Bush's left shoulder - "Madame Speaker" - Nancy Pelosi, looking dignified and clearly enjoying herself. From the occasional wry smile it was obvious the irony didn't escape her.

Yet it wasn't until two thirds of the way or more through his speech, after dangling several shiny attempts at bipartisanship before Congress, did he dare mention Iraq. He raised all of the usual scare points he's used before, 9-11, al Qaeda, nucular weapons - although this time in Iran, not Iraq - but he did so rather mechanically; as though someone told him that he must. But his heart just wasn't in it.

There was nothing new here. One more time that this failed President had to ask us to just trust him. Why, given the polling data, he would think for an instant we would is beyond me. But given his sullen performance last night, especially in regards to his New Way Forward (Staying the Course Part IV), maybe he knew we wouldn't and was just going through the motions.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Global Warming - It's All Our Fault

A new, more powerful UN report on climate change is to be released starting next week. Nay-sayers, all of them with a financial interest in the supposed "controversy", will receive another forceful blow to the head with this report.

Smoking gun? Nope, but there is this:

Andrew Weaver, a Canadian climate scientist and chapter co-author, went even further: “This isn’t a smoking gun; climate is a battalion of intergalactic smoking missiles.”
And for those who still want to claim that there are scientists who doubt anthropocentric causes for the current climate change, have a look at these numbers:

The first chapter, written by more than 600 scientists and reviewed by another 600 experts and edited by bureaucrats from 154 countries, includes “a significantly expanded discussion of observation on the climate,” said co-chair Susan Solomon, a senior scientist for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
There are no environmental scientists of any repute who doubt that human activities are the cause - or the cure - for global warming.




Not surprising that Republicans don't want to do anything about climate change, they are the same people who want to saddle their children and grandchildren with the bill for their stupid war and their even more idiotic tax policies. Why not force them into servitude in a ruined climate? They won't have time to get out and enjoy it anyway, they'll be too busy working to pay off their grandparents' debts.

Friday, January 19, 2007

A Modest Proposal

With apologies to Jonathan Swift.

What if it were possible to prevent adults from imposing any religion on children? Once reaching adulthood, they could - if they desired - declare themselves a member of the superstition of their parents or any other.

Or none at all.

Imagine if the followers of Fred Phelps were unable to expose their children to their religiously inspired hate?

Imagine if imams were unable to call for children to become martyrs in jihad?

Of course there is no more chance of this ever happening than of the Irish eating their children during the early 1700s. But imagine the difference it might make in our world.

And while you think of Swift and Lennon, I leave you with Diderot:

Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Another Step Closer to Emperor?

Another newly discovered way that the Patriot Act - never completely read by anyone who voted for it - has brought us that much closer to the "Imperial Presidency."

A little-known, year-old amendment to the USA Patriot Act is allowing the Bush Administration to replace outgoing U.S. Attorneys with controversial appointments in a process that circumvents the usual approval process in the Senate, and three Democrats are charging that an unknown number of attorneys have been asked to resign "without cause."
In their second 100 Hours Democrats need to seriously review these laws, passed in the panic of the post-9-11 period, and set about restoring our Constitutional rights.




Monday, January 15, 2007

Bush Is Spending Our Future - He's Also a Thief

Spending Our Future:

The head of the GAO [David M. Walker] also warned that if no action is taken now to control government spending, severe tax hikes could be necessary. He stated that, "balancing the budget in 2040 could require actions as large as cutting total federal spending by 60 percent or raising federal taxes to 2 times today’s level."
Only Reuters covered this committee meeting and it's just now being more widely disseminated via Raw Story.

Stealing From Our Treasury:

To add insult to injury, during the same meeting, Walker was asked about the Whitehouse quoted price tag for the "surge:"

During the course of the hearing, senators also asked Walker about the cost estimates presented by President George W. Bush for sending 21,500 more troops to Iraq this year, according to Air Force Times. Walker believed that the amount of money planned to be spent on the troop escalation was much more than needed for the number of troops involved. "I have some serious concerns about the numbers...It is unclear what much of the $5.6 billion is to be spent on," they reported him saying.



Sunday, January 14, 2007

Bush to Americans; "F*** You"

The story is here, but really the picture says it all.

The only thing missing is his middle finger.

Iraq is to continue basically forever. Afghanistan is forgotten. Iran and Syria are next. With each signing statement he might as well be pissing on the Constitution. And Bush could care less that the country has decided he and his gang of thieves don't know what the hell they are doing.

What remains?

Where is a true patriot who will step up to the challenge presented by this so-called "unitary Executive?" Who will begin the proceedings to impeach? Who will ask that he be declared insane?

Who will rid us of this dangerous imbecile?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Neverending Story

I couldn't watch "the speech" last night. The advance copies told me all I needed to know; the New Way Forward sounds just like Stay the Course. Today's news stories confirms those thoughts.

But here's what caught my eye:

At a briefing to add details about President Bush's new Iraq strategy, Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday said he would recommend increasing the Army and Marine Corps by 92,000 troops over the next five years.
The military has been unable to meet the temporary increase in manpower authorized a couple of years ago during some of the worst fighting and loss of soldiers' lives. Now that the public has turned completely away from Bush's war and the McCain Doctrine of Escalation, how does the administration expect to meet these new troop levels?


Monday, January 08, 2007

Lindsey Graham is an Idiot

And so is anyone who believes anything he says after this:

“In all honesty, we are not winning,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Sunday on “Meet the Press.” “And if you’re not winning, you’re losing. And now’s the time to come up with a strategy to win.”
No, you blithering idiot. Now is NOT the time to come up with a winning strategy. If we just absolutely had to be in this never-ending war, the time to have come up with a winning strategy was before the invasion.

Statements like this are why we're in the mess we're in.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Please Republicans, Nominate McCain

Because he's toast now:

McCain seems to be launching his 2008 campaign by taking the role of foremost advocate of sending significantly more troops for long-term deployment to Iraq.
Johnny-boy seems to think that out of all the Democrats elected in November, the only one who counts - when it comes to judging the public's attitude towards the war - is Joe Lieberman (D - In Name Only).

There are only two ways to implement the McCain plan: break the military once and for all or start a draft. Neither one is a winner.

Neither is McCain.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Bush Signs More of Our Rights Away

Democratic control over Congress could not come soon enough. That much is agreed; but every day makes it more imperative that this new Congress exercise vigorous oversight of our imperial President. Take the latest in a long line of incredibly outrageous signing statements:

President Bush has quietly claimed sweeping new powers to open Americans' mail without a judge's warrant, the Daily News has learned.

The President asserted his new authority when he signed a postal reform bill into law on Dec. 20. Bush then issued a "signing statement" that declared his right to open people's mail under emergency conditions.
First it was warrentless wiretapping, now warrantless mail reading.

Somebody please, please impeach this son of a bitch.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Unidentified Objects

Something caught my eyes in the night sky last evening. Maybe some people need stories of UFOs in the news to make them look up, but I spend a lot of my time looking at the sky, especially at night. Since I got my first telescope when I was about 12 I've been an enthusiastic observer of the skies.

Last night's combination of a crystal clear sky a nearly full moon and very little "city glow" out where we live made it almost inevitable that I would be walking with my eyes not on the road ahead of us, but towards the heavens. I was watching the stars through a stand of trees that partially overhangs the road we were walking when what appeared to be a meteor caught my attention. But it was moving - I thought - too slowly to be a meteor; as it traveled in a straight line it brightened until I thought it would explode in a fire-ball: something I had seen fairly often. Then it started to fade, but not quickly like a burnt out meteor, more like a satellite moving out of the bright sunlight.

That's when it did something completely unexpected.

Whatever it was took a rather sharp left turn. About 40 to 60 degrees to the left. "Non-ballistic motion" is the term of art. And then it faded completely from sight.

I don't "believe" in UFOs so it left me wondering just what it was that I'd seen... Satellites don't make sharp turns; orbital mechanics just don't allow such motion. At about 8:00pm, I don't think any aircraft could be at an altitude to catch that much sunlight. And meteors just don't zig (or zag) like that.

Any thoughts?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Let it Snow?

Two years ago we had nearly 200 inches of snow over the season. On New Year's Day there was about a foot of snow on the ground. Last year I never ran my snow blower. December just passed here in Upstate NY saw the least amount of snow in recorded history. The mower deck is still on my lawn tractor. This morning it was 52 degrees.

What will this year bring?

World faces hottest year ever, as El NiƱo combines with global warming.
Says the headline of this article in the Independent.

Last week BushCo. claimed it would add the Polar Bear the the threatened species list. A small step towards finally joining the real world where scientists agree that global warming is taking place and is anthropogenic? Perhaps. Is it too little too late? Most likely.


This morning, I woke up relatively early, given the late dinner celebration of New Year's Eve, and took a walk around the yard with our Yellow Lab. To the East the sun was casting low beams beneath scattered clouds. To the West dark clouds obscured the sky with a bit of rain falling among lighter grey clouds scudding along in front of a slight breeze.

Suddenly the sun broke completely free of the clouds and shone against the dark wall of clouds - and with that burst of sunlight there was a nearly complete rainbow.

I hope that rainbow, long a symbol of hope, foretells of a better year ahead for all of us.

Happy New Year to you all!