Why Now?
Saturday, March 25, 2006
  This Sounds Familiar
Local Australian officials report that rain and sightseers are hampering cyclone relief.

Forget looters, sightseers should be shot on sight. They aren't helping; they are clogging up the roads; they are using things that are needed; and nobody needs strangers showing up to gawk - that's the media's job.

Ergon Energy is the local power company and they are amazing. They have delivered generators to supermarkets to get them back up, while they go about repairing the grid. That is an obvious move, but I don't know of a single utility on the Gulf Coast that has ever suggested doing it.

 

  Around the coast in 30 days
Warren "Sharkchow" Richey won the 1,200 mile Around the coast in 30 days paddling in a kayak. The Christian Science Monitor reporter finished at 1:48pm on Thursday, March 23, with a time of 19 days, 6 hours, and 48 minutes. He finished the race by paddling for 30 hours straight.

 

  Internet Neutrality
The Christian Science Monitor wants to know: Whose Internet is it, anyway?
"Net neutrality" simply means that data - a phone call, an e-mail, a video - can travel freely over the Internet without the interference of those who own parts of the pipeline. Those transmitting it shouldn't discriminate as long as the content is legal and doesn't damage the system.

The phone companies argue that competition between carriers will prevent abuses. If customers feel unfairly treated by one provider, they can switch to another.

But no such competition exists. A handful of cable TV and phone companies control the lion's share of US broadband Internet access. Many consumers have no choice among broadband providers. The acquisition of Bell South by AT&T, now under way, shows that competition is shrinking, not expanding.
The so-called competition in my area is between Sprint and Cox Cable. No one should be surprised that both market TV, telephone & Internet packages with a total price difference wouldn't buy a pack of gum.

 

  The Friday Dump?
The Federal Elections Commission has the new Internet rules on the agenda for its meeting on Monday.

CNet is reporting that the Election commission takes light touch with Net regs. It doesn't look that onerous, but there really hasn't been an explanation for the need.

The 'Net is generally self-regulating. If you do something that a consensus feels is beyond the pale, you will receive punishment as soon as you are found out. No one has forgiven the "hired bloggers" that Thune used, and he will be punished for that. The "hive memory" is never wiped and anyone can find the relevant information with a search engine.

 

Friday, March 24, 2006
  Belarus Update
First, when John IV took the title of Caesar [Tsar] it was "of all the Russias" because there are three. Russia, Belarus, and the Ukraine are the three Russias. Belarus is not some modern construct, it is a very ancient nation that has connected then disconnected from Russia multiple times over the centuries.

The government of the modern version has more in common with The Sopranos than The West Wing, although I admit that the president's son hasn't gunned down anyone else in a bar recently.

As predicted, Lukashchenko was reelected in a process that no one believes was free or fair. There are a lot of people in rural areas who haven't quite accepted the fact that they are no longer in the Soviet Union and would have automatically voted for the current officials because that is what they had always done, and it is possible that Lukashchenko could have won if the election had been free, but he didn't want to chance it.

As occurred in the flawed election in the Ukraine, people camped out in a main square of the capital city, Minsk in this case, to protest the result and there is a major protest scheduled for tomorrow, but the security forces, still called the KGB in Belarus, swept up all of the protestors in the middle of the night.

Don't look for a fairy tale ending. This is going to be nasty.

 

  Testing For Thee, But Not For Me
R. Neal at Facing South writes about one of the many Republican hypocrisies concerning education: Florida double standard for voucher students.

Florida voters have been forced for years to get the Republicans to adequately fund public schools, to adequately staff public schools, and to offer pre-school through the initiative process.

Consider this logic: we need to make tax cuts because we have a surplus, but we can't implement the "class size initiative" because we have no money.

Left on their own, the only thing the Republicans have done is institute a testing regimen, the FCAT, which they can use to justify a voucher system. The vouchers keep getting thrown out by the Florida Supreme Court, and the Republicans keep coming up with new versions.

Since they are not allowed to directly fund the Christianist madrassas for their fundamentalist masters, they indirectly fund them with vouchers. As R. Neal points out there is no oversight at all for these schools, but they are receiving tax money

 

  The Season Of Love
The Alligator Crawl Season has begun, and all of those fools who thought it was "cute" to feed 'gators in a local waterway are going to find out which ones are male.

When in the "mood", male 'gators climb out of the water and crawl about looking for love. It's a lot of work, and they really need the extra calories.

 

  Cognitive Dissonance
It was alright for the UAE to operate our ports, but an Israeli company, Check Point, should not be allowed to buy a security software company used by the Federal government?

Actually, foreign companies should not be allowed to own any of our security infrastructure, and the best way to prevent that is to stop privatizing these functions and bring them back into Federal ownership.

The defense of the nation is one of the few things that the Constitution lists as a function of the government.

 

  How's The Democracy In The Middle East Going?
Abdul Rahman has to be executed according to the US approved Afghan constitution. He has to be executed according to the fundamentalist Islamic Afghan judiciary. He has to be executed according to the conservative Islamic electorate.

There is a very fine line between democracy and mob rule. It takes experience and peace to see it, but only a loud and persuasive voice to make it disappear.

Another slipshod, half-finished job by the Shrubbery and his cronies.

 

  A Missed Opportunity
The Washington Post just blew it. They had an opportunity to generate some more traffic to their site and receive the benefits of those increased ad revenues and they blew it.

At the end of 60 Minutes in the 1970s you didn't see Andy Rooney, you saw Shana Alexander and James J. Kilpatrick in verbal combat in the Point-Counterpoint segment. That segment became such an icon that it was parodied on Saturday Night Live's fake news Weekend Update by Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd.

The Post could have provided the same dynamics with a red state versus blue state version. Two bloggers , one from each side, going after each other on one site. They could have staged occasional grudge matches featuring guest bloggers on a single topic with a on-line poll tied in to determine the winner, like Oxford debates. That would generate traffic. That would generate income.

There are real writers with genuine ability and strong political beliefs who would have willingly accepted the offer. People with authentic credentials and portfolios to prove they know how to write to deadline. A salary and passwords would be the expense, as blogging is an obvious telecommuting job.

What they did was hire a hapless kid who tried to bluster his way through a job he wasn't qualified to do. The Post lost massive amounts of credibility for their attempt, which was already in short supply after the Howell incident.

If the Post thinks the Stalinist red state bloggers are going to appreciate the effort, they haven't been reading the blogs. The red staters are already spreading the meme that the Post did this on purpose to damage their standing as part of a liberal plot.

Welcome to the grassy knoll, Mr. Brady.

 

  Friday Cat Blogging[Kevin Drum]

Ninja

Friday Cat Blogging

Yes, I am the biggest cat in town.

[Editor: Ninja is 2 to 3 inches taller than Sox at the shoulder and 6 pounds heavier.]

Friday Ark



 

Thursday, March 23, 2006
  A Collection
Steve Bates of The Yellow Doggerel Democrat is moving his doggerel to a separate site: The Yellow Doggerelist.

There is also cat blogging, so you can get CATS and DOGgerel in one place.

 

  First Our Ports, Now Our Military Aircraft
The Christian Science Monitor wonders: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: next Dubai ports deal?

The purchase of Doncasters, a privately held British aerospace manufacturer, by the UAE-owned Dubai International Capital could set off another problem for the Shrubbery. Doncasters is one of the firms involved in the development of the US's newest weapons system, the F-35.

The problem is complex because the British are involved in the system which will be used as a replacement for the Harriers currently be phased out in both the US and Britain. The Harrier is a British aircraft that is currently in the Marine Corps inventory.

 

  Chopper Driver Wins
Tammy Duckworth won the Democratic primary for the 6th Congressional District currently held by "Henry the Hypocrite" Hyde.

It would certainly be nice if there were more people in Congress with combat experience, as they tend to be less ready to waste lives than chickenhawks.

Update: Via Michael, Karen has the possibility of replacing "Denny the Doughboy" Hastert with John Laesch, a Navy intelligence vet.

 

  The Attack on Teutons and Slavs
Apparently someone in the city government of St. Paul, Minnesota worried that an Easter bunny and basket of colored eggs would upset Non-Christians.

Real slowly: Easter is the Teutonic goddess of the Spring, the rabbit is a fertility totem, and the egg is an ancient symbol in Slavic mythology and the Spring festival. Christians may have appropriated these symbols, but they have nothing to do with the religion.

I would also note that the action was silly. Non-Christians are quite used to the absurdity of Christians invoking pre-Christian customs and symbols, and ignore them.

 

  Support The Troops?
From Pensacola Beach Blogger I learned that my state senator, Charley Clary, thinks landlords need two months rent for nothing.

A lot of the people in my area are in the military and they are subject to being deployed on minimum notice. Because there isn't enough housing on the bases, they have to rent and the housing allowance has not kept pace with the increases caused by hurricanes.

Right now, to move in you need around $300 for utility deposits plus first and last months' rent and a security deposit. To move into the duplex at the end of my street, that amounts to almost $5,000.

This is getting obscene, and the troops are already getting screwed over locally because of the tight rental market.

Charley, your Momma brought you up better than that.

 

  A New Anthem
Via Avedon the anthem for progressives from the Dixie Chicks.

They were right. They spoke their minds. They were attacked.

The chickenhawks have not apologized for being wrong, so they don't deserve forgiveness.

 

Wednesday, March 22, 2006
  Nice Background Article
Last night Gideon Rose, the editor of The Foreign Affair Journal, was on the BBC talking about an article in the magazine that outlines what was occurring in Iraq during the run-up and invasion of the country.

Saddam's Delusions: The View from the Inside
Summary: A special, double-length article from the upcoming May/June issue of Foreign Affairs, presenting key excerpts from the recently declassified book-length report of the USJFCOM Iraqi Perspectives Project.

Kevin Woods is a defense analyst in Washington, D.C. James Lacey is a military analyst for the U.S. Joint Forces Command. Williamson Murray is Class of 1957 Distinguished Visiting Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy. Along with Mark Stout and Michael Pease, they were the principal participants in the USJFCOM Iraqi Perspectives Project.
The short version is that Iraq under Saddam had a lot in common with the Soviet Union under Stalin. The leader was considered a "super-hero" who could do no wrong, and who lived in a bubble created by sycophants.

For some reason I'm reminded of someone else. I see a lot of leaves in the memory. Hmmm...

 

  Good News For The Spelling Challenged
When I upgraded to Firefox's latest version I lost my favorite plug-in, the Spellbound spelling checker for comments and forms.

Thus, I am thrilled that Rook discovered the Spellbound development version which works with the latest version.

Be advised that it is a "beta" version, so there's no guarantee of stability, but no problems so far.

 

  Basque Separatists Declare Permanent Ceasefire
Eta, the current iteration of Basque separatists, have announced a permanent ceasefire in their decades old war against the Spanish government.

If it holds this is excellent news for the people in Spain.

 

Tuesday, March 21, 2006
  Nice Taste In Bribes
The Feds are auctioning off Duke Cunningham's ill gotten gains, and it's quite a collection.

Having acquired a certain level of expertise with rugs from hanging around the Med and other places, the carpets in the picture accompanying the article look to be in the new car range, i.e. they are individually worth a new car.

Of course, I'd have to inspect them to be sure, but if you are out on the West Coast and looking for something for your spare bedroom, expect five-figure winning bids.

 

  Cyclone Larry Aftermath
In spite of torrential rains the relief efforts for northern Queensland are moving right along with military and chartered aircraft bringing in supplies as the roads are being cleared.

The cost estimates are now up to over a billion dollars, as more of the damage is accessed. Banana and sugar cane plantations as well as rain forests were flattened by the winds.

 

  The Sun Rises In The East
Microsoft announced that the roll out of its new version of Windows, Vista, has been moved back to the first quarter of 2007.

 

  Short Takes During The Wait
Some things I noticed while waiting for Blogger:

NPR is waking up in its coverage as witnessed by the remarks about the Shrubbery in Ohio. One of the people in the audience asked about the claims that were used to justify the invasion of Iraq and the NPR reporter points out how the Shrubbery avoids actually answering the question, and reframes the question in his response.

Culture Ghost has been running a parade of posters that's a hoot.

In her Spring article Collective Sigh makes a great find: Archaeoastronomy.

 

Monday, March 20, 2006
  Spring Has Sprung
One of the two times every year when every location on the planet gets exactly the same amount of sun.

In the Northern Hemisphere Belobog, the white god, has defeated Chernobog, the black god, and the sun waxes stronger.

Down here it's time to get serious about raking live oak leaves, as they shed last year's leaves when this years sprout.

 

  The Death Toll Continues To Rise
CNN reports that at least 2 more Katrina victims were found today, and possible remains from a third victim.

There are approximately 400 people from New Orleans still missing, as well as hundreds from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The remains of those washed out into the Gulf will probably never be found.

 

  How Shallow Can They Get
Apparently looking for something the Shrubbery's competent to do, the CNN QuickVote poll earlier today asked the burning question: "Has the Bush administration been effective in handling public relations on efforts in Iraq?"

Public relations!? Is that the most we can expect from the executive branch of the world's last superpower?

 

  A "Good Guy" Retires
Representative Martin Sabo of Minneapolis is retiring after 46 years in state and national politics. He noted that Congress has become more polarized and less hardworking during his years there.

I just mentioned his attempt to actually get Congress to spend some money on homeland security and hurricane preparedness.

He is from a solid Democratic district, but we need people of experience in government to show the new people how things should be done, and how they once worked.

 

Sunday, March 19, 2006
  What Do Iraqis Know
Iyad Allawi, the pick of American and British intelligence agencies to be the interim prime minister of Iraq says Iraq is in civil war.

Other than living there, speaking the language, reading the local newspapers, and having friends and relatives in the country, how could he know more than the Shrubbery's incompetent circle of cronies?

Cronies like Donald Rumsfield who wrote in the Washington Post that the US leaving Iraq was the equivalent of giving Germany back to the Nazis after World War II.
Henry Kissinger, who served with U.S. forces in Germany at the end of World War II and who served as secretary of state under Republican Presidents Nixon and Ford, said the situations are not analogous.

"In Germany, the opposition was completely crushed; there was no significant resistance movement," the German-born diplomat told CNN's "Late Edition."

Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served as national security adviser under President Carter, a Democrat, was less charitable.

"That is really absolutely crazy to anyone who knows history," he said. "There was no alternative to our presence. The Germans were totally crushed. For Secretary Rumsfeld to be talking this way suggests either he doesn't know history or he's simply demagoguing."
With respect Mr. Brzezinski have you considered the possibility that Rumsfeld is crazy, ignorant of history, and playing demagogue?

 

  Category 5 Cyclone Hits Australia
CBS reports that a Category 5 Cyclone with 180 mph winds has come ashore at Innisail, Queensland, on Australia's northeastern coast.

Having been there and seen it, my hopes go out to the people of Queensland.

Update: More from Australian Broadcasting.

03/20: Latest update from Australian Broadcasting.

 

  Third Anniversary
Iraq Campaign MedalMarch 20th marks the third anniversary of the official invasion of Iraq. Of course, we now know that Special Forces teams went in earlier and the air forces of the US and Britain had been doing some "pre-emptive bombing" prior to the missile attacks on possible locations that the Shrubbery's intelligence services swore contained Saddam Hussein.

Fafnir noted that the Iraq War would have it's feelings hurt if we didn't hold a birthday party.

The traditional gift for the third anniversary is leather, which Anne Zook noted and suggested new hoods for those in Guantanamo. Anne also has a list of the general costs in blood and treasure.

Riverbend looks back at the three years and its impact on individual Iraqis and fears for her people as the fourth year begins.

CBS, among most media, notes that Protests Mark 3 Years Of Iraq War and Blondesense Liz has a nice photo montage.

FAIR and Glenn Greenwald cover the Chickenhawk Cheerleading Crew's pronouncements of correctness and competence displayed by the Shrubbery in his noble and manly actions against Iraq.

To celebrate this anniversary the Shrubbery launched Operation Swarmer, another photo op. To call it a "Potemkin village" denigrates the style of Prince Potemkin.

For those who have short-term memory problems: Iraq did not have WMDs and, as a result, was not in violation of UN Resolution 1441. The UN weapons inspectors were forced out of Iraq by the actions of the President of the United States, not the President of Iraq. The "intelligence" was selected to support the desires of the White House, not the reality on the ground.

Every problem encountered in Iraq was anticipated, but the warnings were ignored.

 

Saturday, March 18, 2006
  Rachael Makes It
After 12 days, 11 hours, 42 minutes Rachael Scdoris of Bend, Oregon arrived at Nome, the 57th team to finish. Not bad for someone with 20/200 vision and color blindness.

Congratulations to everyone who made the attempt.

Update: More on Rachael at the Grumpy Forester.

 

  Clueless
Michael "Deathmask" Chertoff is running around telling people High tech helps airport screening switch from saving us from nail clippers to stopping bombs from getting on aircraft.

Except that yesterday we were told Report: Airport screeners fail homemade bomb tests.

The thing about successful prevarication is that it requires an excellent memory, a good personality, and intelligence.

We are spending billions and are no safer than we were before 9/11. These people have been playing with "terror level" and don't take terrorism seriously because they has been manipulating the system for political purposes.

For all of their illegal wiretapping, they didn't detect any of the Asian-Pacific bombings, the Madrid bombing, or the London bombing. If their system was effective and their concept of the "international terrorism network" was accurate, they should have picked up something.

The only people we know for a fact the "homeland security forces" are watching are opponents of the Shrubbery and/or the war in Iraq.

 

  Info For The Bloggered
Blogger Status has deigned to acknowledge that there is a problem and they are on it.

I found that in order to get my regular page to appear I had to go to Dashboard, select my latest post for Editing, and then hit Publish.

If you don't hit the Publish button, your page won't be regenerated.

It worked for me, and it might for you.

 

Friday, March 17, 2006
  They Really Care
Hundred of Alabama National Guard personnel are being shipped to the "Big Sandbox" in May and Blonde Sense reports that an amendment sponsored by Rep. Martin Sabo (D-MN) that would have provided $300 million to provide backup emergency communications equipment for the Gulf Coast was defeated by the party of "compassionate conservatives".

This hurricane season is going to be just as bad as 2005 and we are on our own.

I wonder if the Republicans understand that if the power is out we will be voting with paper ballots and counting by hand, not using Diebold equipment.

 

  Ouch!
Tonight, March 17, 2006, on Florida Public Radio's Capitol Report [audio link] strategists Geoffrey Becker and Damien Filer were discussing the Senate race and it was mentioned that in the latest poll for the state, John Ellis Bush, the most popular Republican in the state, would lose in a race against Bill Nelson.

This is a first, and does not bode well for Cruella's chances, nor for Republicans in other statewide races.

 

  Bloggered
I was down for about 18 hours. Both the Culture Ghost and the Grumpy Forester have gotten tagged as "spam blogs" recently through some totally unknown and unseen process that denied them access.

The rest of us have been subjected to being "down for maintenance" or "403 - access forbidden" on a rolling basis as servers are played with at Blogger headquarters.

Now, only some of my Blogspot blog roll will respond.

I guess I may have to actually spend some money on my hobby and move this to a real server.

I hate the thought of fixing all of the links, a real pain.

 

  Happy Saint Patrick's Day

Éireann go Brách

Irish Flag
 Shamrock

Well everyone agrees that he died on March 17 th, but the year is subject to debate. This is his feast day on the Catholic calendar. Enjoy as you are wont.

Wikipedia has more on Saint Patrick's Day, if you need more.


 

  Friday Cat Blogging
[Kevin Drum]

Oh, That Cable

Friday Cat Blogging

Now that you mention it, I do seem to remember tugging on that.

[Editor: Ringo is small and agile enough to reach the cables in the back of the sytem unit.]

Friday Ark




 

Thursday, March 16, 2006
  Bovine Excrement
From an Associate Press article on NBC about a Stephen Hadley speech:
"The president believes that we must remember the clearest lesson of Sept. 11: that the United States of America must confront threats before they fully materialize," national security adviser Stephen Hadley said.

"The president's strategy affirms that the doctrine of preemption remains sound and must remain an integral part of our national security strategy," Hadley said. "If necessary, the strategy states, under longstanding principles of self defense, we do not rule out the use of force before attacks occur, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack."
While self-defense is a longstanding principle, preemption is roundly condemned by treaties and conventions to which the United States is a signatory.

Hurricane Katrina vividly showed that this administration would rather stay on vacation than confront obvious and growing threats to the people of the United States.

The Iraq invasion was a preemptive strike based on selective intelligence that ignored the reality that Saddam Hussein was telling the truth and had destroyed his weapons of mass destruction. Thousands are dead and the United States is still trapped in a quagmire with no exit strategy. "We will stand down when the Iraqis stand up" isn't a strategy, it is a sound bite and a prayer.

 

  Stupid Headlines
Who writes these headlines: Jessica Simpson Snubs Bush.

The woman does not want to lend her celebrity to a Republican Party fundraiser as she lobbies for her favorite charity, Operation Smile, which provides free surgery for poor children.

She's not comfortable with helping a political party raise money, while she's trying to raise the visibility of the charity. Apparently the only way you get to talk to the President is by raising money for the Republican Party.

 

  Pre-1991 Thinking
The Cold War is over, would someone please tell the Shrubbery. State-sponsored terrorism went with it. Osama bin Laden was financing the Taliban as well as al Qaeda, and the illegal drug trade is the "bank" for most of the terrorists in the world.

When CBS posts a headline like, Rice: Iran 'Central Banker' For Terror, you are forced to realize that she still hasn't figured out that the world has moved on from the Cold War model.

Iran has, for an extended period, given money to Hezbollah, a Shi'ia group in Lebanon, that is miffed by the fact that Israel invaded southern Lebanon and still occupies the Syrian Golan Heights.

The US is protecting the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq [MEK], a recognized anti-Iranian terrorist group, so it becomes a color squabble between pots and kettles.

This "pot-kettle" has just expressed itself in another way when: UN creates new human rights body. John "The Walrus" Bolton told them not to do it, but only Israel, Marshall Islands and Palau joined the US in voting against the plan. When you lose a vote 170 to 4 you might want to consider the reality that you have a credibility problem.

Now is the time to consider the US response when the new panel cites the US for its human rights violation at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, etc.

That credibility gap is not going to be filled by the Iraq Study Group writing a report. No one on the planet with an IQ above room temperature is going to accept the conclusion of a panel headed by Bush family consigliere, James Baker III.

In talking about the re-statement of the National Security Strategy, which amounts to what was said before invading Iraq with Iraq changed to Iran, the Shrubbery said: "If necessary, however, under long-standing principles of self defense, we do not rule out the use of force before attacks occur -- even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack..."

If you use deadly physical force against another person and it is shown that the person you injured or killed was not actually a threat, you should expect to find yourself in prison.

The gang in Washington needs to understand that, based on the lying that took place prior to the invasion of Iraq, if the US Capitol was reduced to a smoking crater, most of the rest of the world would want further proof that the US had been attacked. Our credibility is gone. No one is willing to accept our word about anything.

Looking at the latest The Pew Research Center polling, two-thirds of the US population would be skeptical about the claim of an attack.

 

Wednesday, March 15, 2006
  Belarus Re-Elects Lukashenko

Belarus Flag

On March 19th President Alexander Lukashenko will provide voters with the opportunity to decide how wide a margin he will receive in the elections he provides to prove that he is a modern dictator.

Lukashenko believes in the freedom of the press, as well as the rack, the iron maiden, hot pokers and other things that are outlawed in the West.

When it comes to the media:
The Committee to Protect Journalists has described Belarus as one of the 10 "worst places to be a journalist". President Lukashenko appears on the Reporters Without Borders organisation's list of "predators of press freedom"; it accuses his government of carrying out a "systematic crackdown" on the private press.
To improve the experience of people voting for him, Lukashenko has rejected election monitors who intended to watch while people counted ballots and other unnecessary annoyances.

Belarus was considering using electronic voting, but that would waste all of the pre-marked ballots currently in storage.

The President is getting a little jumpy having to wait until this Sunday to learn the margin of his victory.

 

  Nelson Re-elected To Senate
According to CBS Harris to Stay in Race for Senate Seat. She will be spending $10 million that she inherited from her father to lose to Senator Bill Nelson, who only needs to at least be on life support to guarantee a win, and he still has the edge if he dies.

 

  The Ides Of March
Forever linked to the Bard's The Life and Death of Julius Caesar.

Wikipedia provides more on Ides of March, and it's Justice Ruth Bader Ginburg's bithday.

It was also a day on which Blogger decided that Why Now? needed "maintenance".

 

  Should The Army Or Air Force Control Butterflies?
DARPA is at it again with: Pentagon plans cyber-insect army. They are going to "bug" bugs hoping to use them to detect explosives.

Just remember one of their wild ideas resulted in the Internet, and it keeps the people who dream this stuff up off the street.

When you check out the article, have a look at the sidebar about the attempts to use cats and bats in World War II, as well as claims about dolphins in Vietnam.

 

  Iditarod Finishes
Jeff King arrived at Nome after 9 days, 11 hours, 11 minutes on the trail.

The weather went from too warm at the start to bitterly cold at the end.

Update: CNN covers the Iditarod. Rachael Scdoris is currently 58, Jack. [Rachel is from Bend, Oregon and is legally blind.]

 

Tuesday, March 14, 2006
  Too Stupid To Breed
In the reporting yesterday on the mad cow case in Alabama they forgot to mention that:Government To Reduce Mad Cow Testing.

That's right, they announced a new case and then tell us they are cutting back on testing, and still refuse farmers the right to test all of their beef to enable them to avoid bans by other countries.

You must remember that most farms are small businesses and the Shrubbery only worries about the health and profits of corporations.

 

  Blogging Notes
PO'd Patricia has left Blonde Sense and moved to her own place: Morning Martini.

Terry at the Nitpicker has gone on hiatus after moving down to the Gulf Coast.

The ladies at Firedog Lake have moved into new digs, although you are re-directed from their old site.

The Badtux has also established a new place. Take note of the reviews of Meals Ready to Eat [MRE] and keep them handy for your next disaster.

Update: the transition of Firedog Lake is not going smoothly, so have patience.

 

  Going Nuclear
The Shrubbery was talking about how the US needed to export nuclear fuel to India so the US could import more Indian mangos. I guess no one told that we grow mangos in the US. As a matter of fact, the current Guinness world record mango was grown in Hawaii.

I have nothing against importing stuff that we don't grow or make in the US, but I have to wonder why we import things that we do make in the US, and usually make better, just so some corporation can make extra money.

A major concern with importing things is that the costs are dependent on the price of oil, another import, for transportation. Oil will always be a problem because it is running out and if some fool starts a pointless war the price spikes.

I was really perplexed until Mark Fiore explained it all.

 

  The War Of Shi'ia Aggression
Today I was listening to the news in the background and they were talking about "sectarian violence" in Iraq.

The media just doesn't want to endure the pounding they would get from RoveCo if they call it what it is: a civil war.

To those of you outside the South, 1861-1865 is not "The Civil War". Most refer to it as "The War Between The States" and a few "The War Of Northern Aggression". Some just don't want to accept reality.

The MSM will continue with "The War Between The Sects" and wait for Went With The Sand to be published.

 

  International Pi Day

Albert Einstein

3/14 is Albert's birthday and Π Day.

PiI assume you have all shopped for the perfect gift.

To get you started: Π ≈ 3.1415926535897932384626433832795028
841971693993751058209749445923078164062862089986280348253421170679.....

 

  Echidne Strikes Home
In A Nutshell, the censure vote is a winner. The Shrubbery's approval ratings have been in the tank for months.

Holden can branch out into the fertilizer business with the herds of ponies he's been corralling from the polling.

There is nothing that the Senate can say or do that can affect low regard that the world has of the current part-time resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

If the Shrubbery were actually of any import to the "war", he wouldn't have been able to rack up over a year of vacation during his time in office. He hasn't caught Osama bin Laden; Afghanistan is not stable; Iraq is slipping into all out civil war; North Korea apparently now has nuclear weapons; our ports are not secure; New Orleans is facing a hurricane season without functioning flood walls.

The man violated the FISA and ignored the Constitution. A censure is the least he should expect and a lot less than he deserves.

 

Monday, March 13, 2006
  Religious Christians?
Digby was annoyed when Amy Sullivan made a crack about liberals in reference to Sam Brownback.

It's a good thing he hadn't read Steve Walden, who wrote: "But I would also like to point out that the history also challenges the liberal notion that religious Christians are inherently backwards, regressive and opponents of liberty."

My emphasis to point out that Mr. Walden is using his own terminology to characterize a situation that doesn't exist outside of his small world.

Feeling oppressed, probably by comments to that post, Mr. Walden then quotes from a book by Rabbi Michael Lerner as justification.

Excuse me, but Mr. Walden the people who are generally attacked by "The Left", are not considered all that "Christian" in their attitudes and rhetoric. The Robertsons, Falwells, Reeds, Dobsons, et al. are not in the mainstream of Christian theology. These people infest a fetid bog off to the side. They are condemned because they don't fall within the common understanding of the meaning of Christianity. They aren't derided for being Christians, they are derided for being "backwards, regressive and opponents of liberty."

Jimmy Carter is a religious Christian. Father Bob Drinan is a religious Christian. Fathers Daniel and Philip [MHRIP] Berrigan are religious Christians. The Civil Rights movement was organized and led by religious Christians. Religious Christians have died all over the planet standing against repressive regimes, as nominal Christians supported them.

You cannot hate, like the Religious Reich does, and truly be a Christian. I'm sick and tired of hearing that "liberals" hate Christians. People who really believe in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth are, by definition, liberals.

Going one step further, if you don't support the Constitution over the claims of a President, you are not truly an American. All Federal oaths are to support and defend the Constitution. If you can't do that you are not true to your oath and not worthy to serve. We have had 43 Presidents and only one Constitution. It should be obvious which is more important.

 

  They Are At It Again
Last time it was Iraq and al Qaeda, this time it's Iran and the insurgents.

The Shrubbery is out and about trying to sell how great things are going to be in Iraq if we just wait because they have had elections and there's going to be a government of national unity real soon now™ and the Iraqis will stand up and we will stand down™. Just wait, clap your hands, and believe.

Oh, and the nasty Iranians are providing the insurgency with new, more advanced improvised explosive devices...except the new design have been identified as the same type used by the Irish Republican Army and available to other terrorists for decades as reported by Defense Tech and The Independent months ago.

No doubt the MEK, an internationally recognized terrorist group that the US protects because it is anti-Iranian, is providing the same quality information about Iran that Chalabi's INC provided about Iraq.

In the shady world of manufactured intelligence the Rumsfeld Pentagon has to be the easiest buck on the planet. They pay for stories that Barney Fife [MHRIP] could spot.

 

  Roberts Is The Problem
Laura Rozen has a piece on Senate Intelligence Committee that covers the basic point that under Pat Roberts it is being used to cover up disasters of the Shrubbery.

Harry Reid took the Senate into closed session in an attempt to get Roberts to move ahead on the investigation of the political uses of intelligence. Roberts still hasn't produced the report that he claimed was only a couple of weeks from completion.

Roberts is again refusing to investigate the illegal wiretapping that the Shrubbery has ordered and acting to shield people from accountability. You have to wonder if he remembers that he swore to uphold the Constitution.

 

  Mad Cow Again
CBS reports: Mad Cow Disease Confirmed In Alabama.

Conveniently, this cow is supposedly 10 years old, and the feed ban is only 9 years old, and it took all that time for the disease to become manifest. The cow wasn't born on the ranch where it was discovered, so there has to be a search through transaction records to find her home herd. Oh, even though it's a beef cow, nothing entered the food chain.

Remember, we don't need to check all cows, and your government is keeping you safe. Another faith-based initiative of the Shrubbery.

 

  Wire The South Dakota Governor
Jack Cluth's better half has a plan: Time to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, eh?

For those of you interested in taking part, you can send your old wire coat hangers to:

Governor Mike Rounds
Office of the Governor
500 E. Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501

 

  Error On Error
Who hires the headline writers for CNN? Government goof could save would-be hijacker. GOOF? Spilling coffee on your pants before court is a goof; this could result in career ending penalties.

The BBC writer says: Moussaoui judge interrupts trial
Judge Leonie Brinkema is considering whether to rule out the possibility of executing Moussaoui because of "egregious" government misconduct.
...[snip]
"In all the years I've been on the bench, I've never seen such an egregious violation of the court's rule on witnesses," she told the trial in Virginia, now into its second week.
...[snip]
"This is the second significant error by the government affecting the constitutional rights of this defendant," Judge Brinkema said on Monday.

"More importantly, it affects the integrity of the criminal justice system of the United States."
In the criminal justice world this would be called "witness tampering" and you go to prison for it. This wasn't an accident, it was an intentional violation of procedure.

The incompetent cronies at the Shrubbery's Justice Department are about to blow a case in which the defendant confessed. They just can't follow the rules.

 

Sunday, March 12, 2006
  Weekend Sites
The blogs don't shut down on the weekend.

On Saturday Bob Geiger features The Saturday Cartoons.

On Sunday, Mustang Bobby at Bark Bark Woof Woof features Sunday Reading of The New York Times, while Robert at Interstate 4 Jamming has the Sunday Florida Editorial Roundup.

If you aren't on-line over the weekend, be sure to check them on Monday.

[Editor: If you can get to them as Blogger has been flaky all day.]

 

Saturday, March 11, 2006
  Freedom Of The Press?
NBC asks: Would eavesdropping bill snag reporters?

Senators Mike DeWine [R-OH], Olympia Snowe [R-ME], Lindsey Graham [R-SC] and Chuck Hagel [R-NE] are under the impression that all of the current laws against disclosing classified information aren't sufficient.

DeWine claims that this law doesn't target reporters, when it obviously does. The only problem with the old law is that it kept interfering with the ability of the White House to misuse classified information, while not stopping reporters from reporting on illegal activities, even after they are improperly classified.

Anyone associated with, or who votes for this bill is an enemy of the First Amendment. It's that simple, so select your representatives accordingly.

 

  IOKIYAR
Glenn Greenwald has a nice post on the hypocrisy of "conservative Republicans" and their attitude about the power of the government.

 

  Even The Nixon People See It
The significance of this report, Haig says U.S. repeating Vietnam mistake, is not obvious to those who didn't experience "the unpleasantness" in Southeast Asia.

"Former Nixon adviser thinks forces in Iraq hamstrung by politicians" encapsulates the excuse used by the "true believers" as to why the US was forced to withdraw. The argument was that the military was never given the forces it needed to win the war.

While I personally doubt that Southeast Asia was ever winnable, enough troops to ensure security after Saddam was run out of town was the one big hope for success in Iraq. If we had had the people to protect ourselves and the Iraqis from lawlessness, it would have kept the insurgency at a manageable level.

The looting should never have been allowed. Americans are still being killed with explosives looted from Iraqi dumps because there were no troops to protect them. The people still resent the loss of personal property to the mob in the anarchy that followed the American invasion.

Rumsfield surrounded himself with people who wanted to fight a war, but neglected to have anyone who knew how to win one.

 

  The World Is A Better Place
While some may rue that he was not found guilty at the court in the Hague the fact that the 'Butcher of the Balkans' Milosevic found dead in cell is probably the best outcome for all concerned because it prevents his being considered a martyr to the West.

Slobodan Milosevic was a lawyer, gas company executive, and party apparatchik who used nationalism and the media to murder hundreds of thousands of people in the name of a "Greater Serbia" that only existed in response to a desire by Aleksandr, Tsar of all the Russias, to glorify all things Slavic. Aleksandr paid to have bogus histories written that amplified the achievements of the Slavic people, and the fables he had created have been used as justification for "ethnic cleansing".

Jack Cluth at The People's Republic of Seabrook worked in the Balkans and saw what Milosevic did first-hand.

Milosevic's rise to power shows how even a mediocre energy executive can rise to political power when the media is behind them and people are whipped into a frenzy with fear.

 

  In Memoriam

March 11th, 2004, Madrid

Arms of Madrid

Nuestros profundos condolencias en vuestra perdida.

Todos somos Madrileños.

M-11


 

Friday, March 10, 2006
  Doesn't God Do Background Checks?
James Wolcott provides us with Terry Jones on Blair talking to God:
A high-level leak has revealed that God is 'furious' at Tony Blair's attempts to implicate him in the bombing of Iraq. Sources close to the archangel Gabriel report him as describing the Almighty as 'hopping mad ... with sanctimonious yet unscrupulous politicians claiming He would condone their bestial activities when He has no way of going public Himself...
And then Juan Cole reacts to Ibrahim Jaafari claiming that honor:
Oh, great. First God chose George W. Bush and whispered things in his ear. Then He chose Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and whispered things in his ear. Now we have yet another messianic, divinely appointed leader out to do God's will. If God really were choosing these people, couldn't He come up with better candidates? And if He is giving them advice, why isn't it better advice? I'd just like to caution all these political prophets that it is widely rumored among medieval observers, who were the real experts in things divine, that sometimes Satan manages to misrepresent himself to you as the voice of God. And sometimes the conviction that God is speaking to and through you is not so much piety as the mortal sin of pride.

 

  Hypocrisy
China hits back at US criticism.

American criticism of human rights abuses in other nations ring hollow and have no value after the documented conduct of the US in the "War on Terror". The Shrubbery has given out "get out of jail free" cards to every repressive regime on the planet.

 

  They Screw-up And Innocent People Pay
Pentagon admits errors in spying on protesters
The original NBC News report, from December, focused on a secret 400-page Defense Department document listing more than 1,500 "suspicious incidents" across the country over a 10-month period. One such incident was a small group of activists meeting in a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Fla., to plan a protest against military recruiting at local high schools.

In his Wednesday letter, Rogalski said such anomalies in the TALON database had been removed.

"They did not pertain to potential foreign terrorist activity and thus should never have been entered into the Cornerstone database. These reports have since been removed from the Cornerstone database and refresher training on intelligence oversight and database management is being given," Rogalski wrote.

Rogalski said only 43 names were improperly added to the database, and those were from protest-related reports such as the Quaker meeting in Florida.

"All reports concerning protest activities have been purged," the letter said.
The activities have been "purged" from these databases, but what about all of the other databases created using them? Is the "Do Not Fly" list purged? Are people being issued apologies and official letters of explanation that will help them clear up all of the "misunderstandings" caused by appearing on these lists?

Update: Laura Rozen reminded me that this program was run by Mitchell Wade's MZM, one of the contracts Wade received for bribing "Duke" Cunningham.

 

  Message
CNN reports: Bush: I'm worried by message sent by failed port deal.

The message is that the stupid twit who occasionally wanders into the office he is suppose to be using at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, doesn't know what his assortment of courtiers and hangers-on are doing.

Having the news that the ports he has refused to secure were going to be handed over to a company owned by the Emir of Dubai should not have just been a media report. The matter should have been vetted, at an absolute minimum, with the Republicans in Congress. This isn't something you drop on the people in your own party during an election year after you have been banging the drum of Islamic terrorism for years.

If our ports were actually secure, it wouldn't make any difference who was moving the cargo. But when the cargo handlers are the first line defense, they have to be vetted.

 

  Friday Cat Blogging[Kevin Drum]

Attempted Escape

Friday Cat Blogging

Come on, be a pal.

[Editor: CC would like me to help remove the screen so she can come out.]

Friday Ark


 

Thursday, March 09, 2006
  Definitions
NBC reports: Dubai to give up control of U.S. ports:
"DP World will transfer fully the U.S. operations ... to a United States entity," the firm's top executive, H. Edward Bilkey, said in an announcement that capped weeks of controversy.

Relieved Republicans in Congress said the firm had pledged full divestiture.
Bilkey's title is "chief operating officer", so I'm not confident that he is, in fact, the "top executive". The Emir of Dubai owns DP World and everyone else can be replaced.

He said that US operations would be transferred to a "United States entity". I'm sure he knows the words "company" and "corporation", but he said "entity".

This was an emergency measure to stop Congress from passing a law to bar DP World.

Whatever happens, it is sure to involve James Baker, the Bush family consigliere on all things Mideast, and don't be surprised if there are references to the Carlyle Group.

 

  Lying With A Straight Face
The CBS headline says: U.S. Missile Defense Test Successful.

You read the story and find out the "interceptor missile" did launch, and the new Japanese warhead seemed to work as hoped, but then you get to the "target".

The interceptor hit the "target"...well, it hit the point the "target" would have been, if it were real and not simply part of a computer program.

This test proved nothing worth talking about or funding.

 

  FEMA Still Can't Get It Right
CNN reports: No room at the inn for New Orleans dog search team.

They bring in people to perform jobs and don't make any provision for them. They sign agreements and ignore them. They don't seem to understand the shortages in New Orleans.

Food and shelter are rather basic to any enterprise, and after 6 months they still can't provide them.

 

  Crime Rates
Okay, for all those people not paying attention to reality: the crime rate is, was, and, for the foreseeable future, will be directly related to the number of males between 15 and 45 in the population. It went up with the rise of the Baby Boom, and has been in decline since the Boomers hit 46 in 1992.

Nothing else comes close to this direct relationship, and it has been known and written about in criminal justice literature for decades.

 

  Have They Lost Their Minds?
NPR reported on the Pentagon Sending Special Ops to U.S. Embassies [audio link].

This is exactly how you create international incidents. Everyone working at an embassy has to keep the professionals from the State Department apprised of what they are doing, because it affects the diplomatic relations between the US and the country involved.

People in my Air Force specialty received embassy assignments. I left the Air Force in part because I was passed over for an assignment to the Moscow embassy due to my being single. If I had received the assignment I would have had the American ambassador inserted into my chain of command.

This sort of "cowboy operation" is going to get somebody killed and there is no "plausible deniability" when the people involved are in the US military. In a lot of countries such operations would be considered a casus belli.

 

  Forget About It
I first saw the report about a New Jersey bill demanding people identify themselves on the Internet over at skippy's.

August J. Pollock explains why there's no reason to worry about the Biondi Internet bill.

 

  Cracker
A cracker is the name given to cattle herders in Florida because they originally used whips to herd cattle.

There is a specific breed of cattle horse called the Florida Cracker horse and a specific breed of cattle, Florida Cracker cattle associated with the livestock industry in Florida.

The name was later associated with any rootless person of low regard, which is more suited to such people in other states, like Georgia.

 

  What's The Penalty For The Woman?
From the criminal law of South Dakota:
§ 22-16-1. "Homicide" defined.

Homicide is the killing of one human being, including an unborn child, by another. It is either:

(1) Murder;
(2) Manslaughter;
(3) Excusable homicide;
(4) Justifiable homicide; or
(5) Vehicular homicide.

§ 22-16-3. Relationship between accused and victim bearing on degree of homicide.

Whenever the degree of homicide is made to depend upon its having been committed under circumstances evidencing a depraved mind or unusual cruelty, or in a cruel manner, the jury may take into consideration any domestic or confidential relationship which existed between the accused and the person killed.

§ 22-16-4. Murder in the first degree - Premeditated design - Felony murder - Homicide as murder in the first degree.

Homicide is murder in the first degree when perpetrated without authority of law and with a premeditated design to effect the death of the person killed or of any other human being, or when committed by a person engaged in the perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate, any arson, rape, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, or unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or explosive. Homicide is also murder in the first degree if committed by a person who perpetrated, or who attempted to perpetrate, any arson, rape, robbery, burglary, kidnapping or unlawful throwing, placing or discharging of a destructive device or explosive and who subsequently effects the death of any victim of such crime to prevent detection or prosecution of the crime.
All that was required was to define a fetus as an unborn child and eliminate the existing "authority of law" for abortion and the current criminal law of the state of South Dakota is applicable.

For those who think they won't charge a woman in these circumstance, all I can say is that you haven't been paying attention - they have been calling it murder for years. There is nothing to stop a prosecutor from charging murder, as the law is clear.

 

Wednesday, March 08, 2006
  Apologies
Today is International Women's Day and I just about forgot to mention it.

I plead reading the MSM, who of course don't seem to have noticed.

 

  Who Threatened Whom?

map of Iran


Many apologists for the Shrubbery have been having vapors because Iran Threatens 'Harm and Pain' to United States [audio link from NPR].

When American officials spoke before the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee and make threats towards Iran, they were silent.

Sunday, 03/06/2006: IAEA chief: Iran deal possible
Meanwhile, John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told an American-Israeli organization that the United States would use "all tools at our disposal" to address the threat an Iranian nuclear program might pose.

"We must not ignore Tehran's refusal to address the concerns of the international community," Bolton told the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington on Sunday.
Monday, 0307/2006: Cheney: Iran must not have nuclear weapons
"The Iranian regime needs to know that if it stays on its present course, the international community is prepared to impose meaningful consequences," Cheney said in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, an influential pro-Israel lobbying group.
If you go around threatening people, you shouldn't act surprised when they respond in kind.

One of the major reasons no one wanted Saddam removed was that he kept Iran occupied. Iran has the military capability of eliminating all oil production in the Persian Gulf and all the world can do at this point is retaliate as the price of gas hits $10+/gallon and the world economy goes down the tubes.

The Shrubbery might want to have someone explain the meaning of a Pyrrhic victory to him.

Israel has also made threats, but they might want to consider that Iran has intermediate range ballistic missiles that are quite capable of reaching them and the Iranians have SCUDs to take out the oil fields.

 

  They Are Terrorists
Suspect: Church fires were joke that 'got out of hand'
Three Birmingham college students were arrested Wednesday in connection with 10 church fires in Alabama last month, state and federal officials said.

One of the suspects said the fires began as a joke that "got out of hand," according to court papers filed Wednesday citing what a witness told investigators.

Two of those arrested were identified as Ben Moseley and Russell Debusk, both 19 and students at Birmingham-Southern College, which is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. They appeared in federal court in Birmingham late Wednesday morning.
Soaping windows is a joke. TP-ing is a joke. Firebombing buildings is not a joke. Jokes don't involve the FBI and BATF.

If burning houses that are being built because of environmental beliefs is terrorism, then burning down ten churches in rural locations is terrorism, especially when some of those churches had black congregations and the history of burning black churches in the South.

Anybody who thinks this won't cause trouble between the Baptists and the United Methodists doesn't understand the politics of the Southern churches.

Update: The President of Birmingham Southern College has has announced that the school will help to rebuild the burned churches. A very good move for all concerned.

 

Tuesday, March 07, 2006
  IT DOES NOT WORK!
Mohammad al-Qahtani, the so-called "20th hijacker" has retracted everything he has told interrogators, saying all of his statements were attempts to please his questioners and stop the torture.

This is the reason no professional uses torture: IT DOES NOT WORK!

 

  Spineless Bottom-feeders
Senate Intelligence Committee Votes Down NSA Spying Investigation

PATRIOT Act goes to the Shrubbery for his mark.

Why are we paying these 535 people?

 

  Molly Ivins
Molly doesn't think much of the South Dakota legislature.

 

  Name Magic
CBS thinks there are implications in the fact that: Cheney Mum About GOP Senate Candidate.

Hey, it's a common belief that you shouldn't say the name of demons out loud. On the other hand, with his approval ratings it is not exactly a bonus to be linked to Dead-Eye Dick.

 

  Fair And Balanced
To be accepted Hamas must renounce violence and recognize the right of Israel to exist, but Israel can receive the bulk of US foreign aid assistance while violating UN Security Council resolutions regarding occupying territory seized in an unprovoked war in 1967 [both Yitzak Rabin and Menachem Begin have publicly admitted this], while refusing to recognize the right of Palestine to exist, and while continuing to make deadly military strikes.

Holden notes This Is Not Good, in reference to the Israeli threat to Hamas members. This on the day after an Israeli mission killed two Palestinian children in a raid.

Both sides need to renounce violence and recognize each other. All aid to both should be cut off until they do.

 

  Radioactive
You just can't take him anywhere. Holden of First Draft covers it in his post, Ducked Fup.

The Iranians are already using this deal to complain about the double standard in their treatment on the nuclear issue, and you have to know this will come up in the talks with North Korea.

It's worse than people think. What the idiot has agreed to with the Indians is to supply the nuclear power plants in India with fuel, which means the total output of the Indian breeder reactors can now be used for weapons, rather than being shared between weapons production and power generation.

The only way he could have made life more difficult for Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf would have been to insist on a Pat Robertson crusade meeting in Islamabad.

 

  Unfair
Jane at Firedog Lake is being grossly unfair to the fine male population of South Dakota with her post, Unintended Consequences.

I feel certain the government of the state knew that the men of the state were willing to forego their boat and pick-up payments to cover the costs of child support for all of the extra children. Surely they understood that with "welfare reform" and DNA testing that the government is going to get child support, even if the woman doesn't have the resources to go to court. This won't be necessary because the good Christian men of South Dakota are all prepared to step up and accept their responsibilities for the next 18 years.

 

  DANGER!!!

Legislature in Session

As Robert C. reminds us, batten down your wallet: the Florida Legislature is in session for the next 60 days.

 

  Just Stop Wasting Time Reaching Out

Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs
Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs


One of the most annoying blindspots of some commentators is the belief that if you make a good faith effort to reach out to the other side, common ground can be found and a compromise can be reached. This desire for a "win-win" solution is unrealistic and shows an amazing lack of understanding about the people who support the Shrubbery.

The diagram represents a reality in groups. Any individual may be at variance with the model, and some who were have received honors and medals, but in general the model explains the behavior of a majority of people.

The bottom layer is essentially air, water, and food - basic essentials of life. For those that haven't been paying attention: Rove and the Shrubbery operate on the second level, Safety, with their warnings of explosives in every Reebok and anthrax in every envelope. Resorting to fear to shake the feeling of safety and claiming to be the only answer is a very effective plan, and people will respond.

Katrina broke the spell for many people and offered an opportunity, but not if it isn't exploited. This is why Dean was attacked when he said he didn't think we were safer after the capture of Saddam: they couldn't let people doubt.

The Religious Reich use Safety, Belonging, and Esteem. Welcome to our group; we are the "Elect"; you are going to Heaven if you follow our rules. The essential difference between these people and other religions is their aggression and lack of tolerance. They are extremely binary in thinking. Their way is the only possible way, and any deviation is heresy.

There is no compromise; there is only surrender. They ignore facts and reality. Their rules say the only purpose for sex is procreation, so there's no justification for birth control or abortion.

These people don't have a problem casting aside their basic rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, so I don't see them as a group to court. They lack the core values of Americans that are guaranteed by the first ten amendments.

 

Monday, March 06, 2006
  The Investors Gain, The Employees Lose
According to CBS: AT&T Plans Major Job Cuts
The 10,000 planned job cuts are in addition to the 26,000 cuts AT&T has already announced - 13,000 due to SBC's acquisition of AT&T Corp., which closed in November, and 13,000 due to shifting priorities in the business. The combined SBC-AT&T took the name AT&T Inc.
Three corporations are becoming one and 36,000 people are getting pink slips. If anyone thinks consumers are going to benefit they haven't been paying attention. Part of the deal when AT&T was first broken up was to eliminate regulation of the industry to promote competition. The company may be re-forming, but the regulations aren't.

Update: When the corporation was first broken up the long distance division that still called itself AT&T adopted its "DeathStar" logo. I should have probably called this post The Empire Strikes Back

 

  In Progress
If you want to keep up with race in across Alaska you can check the Anchorage Daily News or the official Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race site.

If that's too cold, The Christian Science Monitor is following Around the Florida coast in 30 days via a diary from one of the participants.

 

Sunday, March 05, 2006
  Since It's Oscar Night
This is what happens when the judge doesn't drive a stake through the corporate heart. They probably felt they had to do it before the Shrubbery gets pruned.

It's time to rent The President's Analyst as a reminder.

 

  Become One With The Farm
Via Thomas Leavitt at Seeing The Forest: you have to see it to believe - Store Wars

 

  Pure DARPA
Many will freak out after reading the Australian Broadcasting article, Pentagon looks to shark spies for ocean research, but this is exactly the type of weird, off-the-wall project that characterizes the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA].

One of its projects resulted in the Internet, so it isn't all bad, but they really do fund some strange ideas.

 

  Oscar Prediction
I predict that I will not have seen any film that wins an Oscar. Since I haven't been to the movies in years, this is guaranteed.

The emergence of the "megaplex" with multiple small theaters, obscenely priced food and drink, characterless design, and general trend to making going to a movie a "factory" rather than entertainment experience has removed it from the list of things I want to do.

 

  Who Would Have Thought?
The BBC notes: Bush U-turn on Iranian pipeline.

A natural gas pipeline from Iran to India through Pakistan that has been blocked because of the benefits to Iran, but you can't let those concerns interfere with multinational corporations. I would presume that Bush recognized some of the corporations involved in this deal and checked with the Carlyle Group for advice.

 

  Iditarod Starts
Not that US media seems to notice, but the BBC reports the start of the dog sled race in memory of the relay of diphtheria vaccine by dog sled from Anchorage to Nome in 1925 to combat an outbreak.

With Eight Below, a movie about sled dogs doing well in theaters, you would think that ABC News would cover it to slip in a Disney ad, but nothing.

This is a real test of the partnership of an individual and a pack of dogs. The dogs get more rest, more food, and more care than the mushers, if they don't, the team could lose more than a race.

 

Saturday, March 04, 2006
  Who Is Guilty?
As Atrios and others have noted, Bill O'Reilly went ballistic when a caller to his Westwood One radio program mentioned Keith Olbermann.

Mike from Orlando, Florida was told that Fox Security would take care of him, and Mike apparently received a call from a guy who identified himself as Fox Security and implied that Mike was in trouble.

As I former law enforcement type I thought I check to see what the law said.

Mike is in Florida, so he has to abide by the Florida Statutes:
Title XLVI - CRIMES

Chapter 784 - ASSAULT; BATTERY; CULPABLE NEGLIGENCE

784.048 Stalking; definitions; penalties.--

(1) As used in this section, the term:

(a) "Harass" means to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that causes substantial emotional distress in such person and serves no legitimate purpose.

(b) "Course of conduct" means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose. Constitutionally protected activity is not included within the meaning of "course of conduct." Such constitutionally protected activity includes picketing or other organized protests.

(c) "Credible threat" means a threat made with the intent to cause the person who is the target of the threat to reasonably fear for his or her safety. The threat must be against the life of, or a threat to cause bodily injury to, a person.

(d) "Cyberstalk" means to engage in a course of conduct to communicate, or to cause to be communicated, words, images, or language by or through the use of electronic mail or electronic communication, directed at a specific person, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose.

(2) Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person commits the offense of stalking, a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
Mike made one call to a program that solicited calls, so there's no way to establish this as a "pattern" or to argue it occurred "repeatedly". The case for "substantial emotional distress" is based on a the test for a "reasonable man". I don't see it.

On the other hand, Mr. O'Reilly is in New York, and his decision to have a representative of Fox Security to call someone about something that occurred on Westwood is odd and not a great idea under New York Penal Law.
Chapter 40 Of The Consolidated Laws
Part Three--Specific Offenses
Title N--Offenses Against Public Order, Public Sensibilities And The Right To Privacy

Article 240--Offenses Against Public Order

Section 240.30 Aggravated harassment in the second degree.

A person is guilty of aggravated harassment in the second degree when, with intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm another person, he or she:

1. Either (a) communicates with a person, anonymously or otherwise by telephone, or by telegraph, mail or any other form of written communication, in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm; or (b) causes a communication to be initiated by mechanical or electronic means or otherwise, with a person, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, or by telegraph, mail or any other form of written communication, in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm.

Aggravated harassment in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor.
I see a case for Mr. O'Reilly having the call made with the intent to "threaten" and "annoy" Mike. It's only a year in jail and/or a $1000 fine, but if Mike wanted to go to New York and file charges the Penal Law says he has a case. I'd probably just file a complaint to the telephone company that Westwood One uses.

 

  What Failed?
Since most people don't understand the difference and the MSM doesn't bother to explain I located a diagram of levee construction around New Orleans. If they aren't high enough water might go over the top, but they don't normally breech.

This is a picture of the structure that failed, a floodwall.

The pumping system in New Orleans could have handled the levees being overtopped, as it has in the past, but it had no chance when floodwalls broke.

The decision was made to construct canals between Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi years ago and rather than using levees a decision was made to use floodwalls, which are inherently weaker structures even when properly constructed.

The quick and dirty solution would be to block the canals while new structures are being built, and before the next hurricane strikes, but that would affect shipping interests and businesses along the canals that have come back.

As it stands now, the people who return can only hope New Orleans doesn't get hit again and store nothing of value on the first floor.

 

  Decoy
State representative David Sater of Cassville in southwestern Missouri, sponsored a resolution to make Christianity the official religion of the state to "protect" Christians from persecution.

Lab Kat, Bobby, and Michael were rightfully upset with an effort to establish a state religion in violation of the First Amendment.

I was getting ready to scream about this when Anne pointed me to The Mix.

I have stopped and thought about it. Given their history of building strawmen on the Christmas issue, I'm coming to believe this is probably a decoy designed to rile the base for the next election cycle.

As Americans United for Separation of Church and State points out, this is a resolution, not a law, and therefore has no force in law. That also means you can't overturn it in court.

Let's just chalk it up as another expression of bigotry by a group that lacks the courage to wear their Klan robes in the legislature. This has nothing to do with their religion and everything to do with their desire to get elected.

 

  No One Could Imagine
I agree with Mimus Pauly at skippy: this strip from This Modern World is absolutely dead on and prescient, since it was originally published on April 1st, 2003.

 

Friday, March 03, 2006
  Oh, Great
Via WEAR-TV: A barge that washed ashore on Perdido Key during Katrina contains a rather nasty cargo.

Escambia County Chief of Marine Resources Robert Turpin: "There's a compound called dinaseb(sic) that's a herbicide and it can be absorbed by the skin, so we are very concerned about the quantity of these materials."

Actually it's spelled "dinoseb" and according to the Extension Toxicology Network:
Regulatory Status: The use of dinoseb was cancelled in the U.S. in 1986. This action was based on the potential risk of birth defects and other adverse health effects for applicators and other persons with substantial dinoseb exposure. This pesticide is not commercially available in the U.S.

Dinoseb is a highly toxic compound. Prior to its ban, it was a Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP), and products containing dinoseb were required to be labeled with a DANGER Signal Word.
You have to assume it was manufactured at one of the chemical factories in the western Gulf and being shipped abroad to a country where it is still legal.

It has been sitting there for six months and no one knew what it was.

 

  Friday Cat Blogging[Kevin Drum]

Belly Rubs

Friday Cat Blogging

Do it again. That wasn't enough, do it again.

[Editor: It's two o'clock belly rubs in the computer room.]

Friday Ark


 

Thursday, March 02, 2006
  Blogging The Disaster
While many MSM outlets did good work in the immediate aftermath of Katrina, and many have been trying to keep it on the agenda, bloggers have done some great work.

After Katrina, Anntichrist S. Coulter of Blondesense took up a collection for relief supplies and went into the area to help people that were missed by the organizations that everyone expects to do this work.

All Things Considered has been down in the Big Easy all week and had some good reporting, but Scout Prime of First Draft has been producing New Orleans Blog with donations and local volunteer help.

Scout is producing podcasts and putting up video of the city, as well as conversations with local people.

Unlike the media, Scout is providing raw information and allowing you to be your own editor.

Some might argue that this isn't objective reporting. Well, neither was the best of the reporting from the MSM after the talking heads figured out how bad things were and no one in the government was listening. Some things are just wrong and there's no point trying to provide "balance".

 

  Got A Free Month?
I don't guess Van is into kayaking or he would have mentioned the little race that starts this Saturday in St. Petersburg: "Around The Coast In 30 Days".

Run under the auspices of Water Tribe, the goal is to circle the Florida Peninsula by human or wind power in less than 30 days and show up back in St. Petersburg.

The course is down the Gulf Coast then up the Atlantic Coast to the Suwanee River and back to the Gulf. The 40-mile portage takes the advantage away from the sailors and gives it to the kayak and canoe people.

One of the participants has a trailer that he will be using to tow his kayak behind his wheelchair during the portage.

I don't think I can clear my schedule for this one.

 

  No One Could Have Imagined
Steve Bates called his post: Caught On Tape. A lot of people have noted the video released on the pre-Katrina briefing.

In my Katrina post on August 28, 2005 I wrote:
At the moment, I'm reminded of Hurricane Camille in August of 1969. My Dad was in Biloxi, Mississippi when it hit and I drove through a month or so later. It looked like carpet bombing with destruction continuing well inland.

Katrina is now a Category Five with sustained winds at 175 miles per hour. There will be massive waves and a storm surge. New Orleans is six feet below sea level on average and needs levees and pumps to keep from flooding in normal times. If this storm comes anywhere close it will flood.
The flood wall failure made it worse, but even without that failure, when the power failed, the pumps would fail, and the city would fill with water.

As the disaster of Iraq becomes plain, everyone who supported the war says that no one could have imagined this mess.

Except that annoyed people like Professor Cole are posting Golden Oldies, from February 27, 2003, outlining what was going to happen.

Of course, we should ignore the warnings in A World Transformed by George H.W. Bush and Brent Scowcroft, explaining why they didn't invade Iraq during the first Gulf War.

That garbage put out by Condoleezza Rice about no one could imagine using airliners as guided missiles was buried under reports about Pentagon war games, Congressional Research Service reports, and several spy novelists who all used this specific action.

What we really see is the country being ruled by a group of unimaginative, incurious, lazy, shiftless, ignorant people who have been carried through life by others.

 

Wednesday, March 01, 2006
  Saint David's Day
As Mustang Bobby notes it's St. David's Day, the feast day of the patron saint of Wales.

Which is a good time to learn about Rhodi Morgan, the first minister of the devolved Welsh government.

 

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