Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blog sprinkles


The trolls among us.

What it means when we hear that Greenland is melting faster than expected..

Hugh Hefner's girlfriends through the ages.

Stats on the folding of the newspapers.. rather crumpling.

Paleontologists visit the Creation Museum:
"It's sort of a monument to scientific illiteracy, isn't it?" said Jerry Lipps, professor of geology, paleontology and evolution at University of California, Berkeley.
This makes way too much sense:
The European Union has reached an agreement with all major mobile phone manufacturers to produce a common phone charger. Apart from reducing the frustration of customers juggling incompatible chargers, proponents say the agreement will encourage recycling and reduce electronic waste.
Of course the scientist was a MAN...
Daily sex makes for healthier sperm
Our very own Iraqi death squads. Bush and Cheney should be proud.

"The only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States. Because it's going to take a grass-roots, bottom-up pressure. Because these politicians prize their office, prize the praise of the media and the Europeans. It's an absurd situation again. Only Osama can execute an attack which will force Americans to demand that their government protect them effectively, consistently, and with as much violence as necessary."—Michael Scheuer on Glenn Beck's show
Adam Serwer at Tapped:
This is the same Michael Scheuer who, a few months ago, played patriotism police arguing that anyone who didn't support the United States using torture to interrogate terrorist suspects was anti-American...now he's begging for a terrorist attack on the United States. This is a pretty awesome example of how the right conflates their political interests with the interests of the country as a whole. If there's no terrorist attack, then Americans are safe. But Scheuer can't be right if there's no terrorist attack. And Scheuer being right is actually more important than Americans staying alive.

Torture apologists have tiptoed around the edge of this argument without actually saying so for some time, Leon Panetta walked back his observation about Dick Cheney, that "it’s almost as if he’s wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point," but as Scheuer and Beck proved yesterday, this is really how some people feel.

This gets to the essential creepiness about Beck's emotional display introducing his whole 9/12 project--the man wasn't weeping because he wished the country was as "unified" as it was after 9/11, he was weeping because the country is no longer in a such a state of petrified fear that it will acquiesce to whatever extreme measures the right deems necessary. Beck wasn't crying for the country, he was crying for himself, crying because people are no longer frightened enough to agree with everything he has to say. Understand, he only wants to hurt you because he loves you.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Obama is Spock

"Why would it [a public option] drive private insurers out of business? If private insurers say that the marketplace provides the best quality health care, if they tell us that they’re offering a good deal, then why is it that the government — which they say can’t run anything — suddenly is going to drive them out of business? That’s not logical." - Barack Obama, June 23, 2009

How can we miss you if you don't leave?

Iraq is preparing for a giant party in a Baghdad park and a special holiday as US troops approach their deadline to quit cities and towns.

American troops are due to withdraw to bases by Tuesday, which has been declared National Sovereignty Day and is a public holiday in Iraq.

The party is to begin shortly in Baghdad's Zawra Park, with poets and musicians due to entertain the crowd.

All US troops are scheduled to leave the country by the end of 2011.

Combat operations across Iraq are expected to end by September 2010.
But we'll be leaving just a few advisers there:
Recent evidence suggests that although the Iraqi military has made enormous progress, it is still dependent on small teams of American advisers who can rein in overly aggressive Iraqi commanders, call in U.S. airstrikes and help coordinate basic supplies such as food, rifle-cleaning kits and even printer cartridges.

The advisers could remain on the ground in Iraq long after most U.S. combat troops have left. Col. John Nagl, who resigned last month as commander of the U.S. Army's school for military advisers, says they are "the key to our exit strategy in Iraq."
Oh well... it's a start....

How many members of Congress does it take to screw a lightbulb?

I have no idea, because they keep on electrocuting themselves...


President Obama slowly and carefully walks the American public through how the process about using more efficient lighting would actually make us save energy. Crazy I know, much more fun watching Congress make a hash of things: (my bold)
WASHINGTON – Aiming to keep the focus on climate change legislation, President Barack Obama put a plug in for administration efforts to make lamps and lighting equipment use less energy.

"I know light bulbs may not seem sexy, but this simple action holds enormous promise because 7 percent of all the energy consumed in America is used to light our homes and businesses," the president said, standing alongside Energy Secretary Steven Chu at the White House.

Obama said the new efficiency standards he was announcing for lamps would result in substantial savings between 2012 and 2042, saving consumers up to 4 billion annually, conserving enough energy to power every U.S. home for 10 months, reducing emissions equal to the amount produced by 166 cars a year, and eliminating the need for as many as 14 coal-fired power plants.

The president also said he was speeding the delivery of $346 million in economic stimulus money to help improve energy efficiency in new and existing commercial buildings.
From the White House, President Obama:
So today, we're announcing additional actions to promote energy efficiency across America; actions that will create jobs in the short run and save money and reduce dangerous emissions in the long run.

The first step we're taking sets new efficiency standards on fluorescent and incandescent lighting. Now I know light bulbs may not seem sexy, but this simple action holds enormous promise because 7 percent of all the energy consumed in America is used to light our homes and our businesses. Between 2012 and 2042, these new standards will save consumers up to $4 billion a year, conserve enough electricity to power every home in America for 10 months, reduce emissions equal to the amount produced by 166 million cars each year, and eliminate the need for as many as 14 coal-fired power plants.

And by the way, we're going to start here at the White House. Secretary Chu has already started to take a look at our light bulbs, and we're going to see what we need to replace them with energy-efficient light bulbs.

And if we want to make our economy run more efficiently, we've also got to make our homes and businesses run more efficiently. And that's why we're also speeding up a $346 million investment under the Recovery Act to expand and accelerate the development, deployment, and use of energy-efficient technologies in residential and commercial buildings, which consume almost 40 percent of the energy we use and contribute to almost 40 percent of the carbon pollution we produce.

We're talking about technologies that are available right now or will soon be available -- from lighting to windows, heating to cooling, smart sensors and controls. By adopting these technologies in our homes and businesses, we can make our buildings up to 80 percent more energy efficient -- or with additions like solar panels on the roof or geothermal power from underground, even transform them into zero-energy buildings that actually produce as much energy as they consume.

Now, progress like this might seem far-fetched. But the fact is we're not lacking for ideas and innovation. All we lack are the smart policies and the political will to help us put our ingenuity to work. And when we put aside the posturing and the politics; when we put aside attacks that are based less on evidence than on ideology; then a simple choice emerges.

We can remain the world's leading importer of oil, or we can become the world's leading exporter of clean energy. We can allow climate change to wreak unnatural havoc, or we can create jobs utilizing low-carbon technologies to prevent its worst effects. We can cede the race for the 21st century, or we can embrace the reality that our competitors already have: The nation that leads the world in creating a new clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the 21st century global economy.

The magnificence of the Republican party

Encapsulated in the top ten!


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Just wondering....

Why can't the Republicans control their ... members?

Germany and the US in agreement over Iran

And not a roast pig in sight.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama have condemned the Iranian government for cracking down on citizens who have questioned the results of the June 12 presidential election, which President Mahmud Ahmadinejad is said to have won.

The two leaders were speaking at a joint news conference on June 26.

"Today we speak with one voice," Obama said. "The rights of the Iranian people to assemble, to speak freely, to have their voices heard -- those are universal aspirations. And their bravery in the face of brutality is a testament to their enduring pursuit of justice. The violence perpetrated against them is outrageous. And despite the government’s efforts to keep the world from bearing witness to that violence, we see it, and we condemn it."

Merkel, speaking in German, seconded Obama’s statement, adding, "We will not forget this."

No Apologies

Obama said he and Merkel want Iran to uphold what he called "international principles" of permitting peaceful dissent, and he ridiculed the idea that he should apologize to Ahmadinejad for criticizing the crackdown.

On June 25, Ahmadinejad was quoted on Iranian television as urging Obama to "show [his] repentance" for promising change during his campaign for the presidency but then, in the Iranian leader’s view, taking the same approach of his predecessor, George W. Bush.

On June 26 Obama said, "I don’t take Mr. Ahmadinejad’s statements seriously about apologies, particularly given the fact that the United States has gone out of its way not to interfere with the election process in Iran. And I’m really not concerned about Mr. Ahmadinejad apologizing to me. I would suggest that Mr. Ahmadinejad think carefully about the obligations he owes to his own people."

The US leader suggested that Ahmadinejad turn his attention to the families of demonstrators who have been "beaten or shot or detained."

Merkel said her government would make an effort to identify the victims of Iran’s crackdown, and the treatment they’ve faced. She said, "Iran cannot count on the world turning a blind eye."
Nice to finally have adults in charge...

Listen to the children who have same sex parents

And realize they are loved and healthy and normal.

I'm speaking to you especially, Susan.

It took you guys long enough to figure out something

A lot of us knew from the beginning. You don't force impoverished farmers to dump a lucrative crop like opium poppies unless you offer something as good in return.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
TRIESTE, Italy – The U.S. is shifting its strategy against Afghanistan's drug trade, phasing out funding for opium eradication while boosting efforts to fight trafficking and promote alternate crops, the U.S. envoy for Afghanistan said Saturday.

The aim of the new policy: to deprive the Taliban of the tens of millions of dollars in drug revenues that are fueling its insurgency.

The U.S. envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, told the Associated Press that poppy eradication — for years a cornerstone of U.S. and U.N. drug trafficking efforts in the country — was not working and was only driving Afghan farmers into the hands of the Taliban.

"Eradication is a waste of money," Holbrooke said on the sidelines of a Group of Eight foreign ministers' meeting on Afghanistan, during which he briefed regional representatives on the new policy.

"It might destroy some acreage, but it didn't reduce the amount of money the Taliban got by one dollar. It just helped the Taliban. So we're going to phase out eradication," he said. The Afghan foreign minister also attended the G-8 meeting.

Eradication efforts were seen as inefficient because too little was being destroyed at too high a cost, U.N. drug chief Antonio Maria Costa told the AP.

The old policy was also deeply unpopular among powerless small-scale farmers, who often were targeted in the eradication efforts.

When climate change affects the weather patterns

People die. We're going to see lots of articles like these as the water wars start, the oceans' rising temperatures make fish die off or stop breeding....:
"No one will call us for work and the children will have to go hungry. We won't have anything to eat."

Devi is among roughly 600 million people in India who make a living off the land. That is about 60 percent of India's population of 1.1 billion.

Most of the country is suffering from a rain deficit. The Monsoon has been delayed in some parts of the country. Usually the season begins around the first of June.

In developed countries, irrigation is common and electricity readily available, but both are a luxury for most Indian farmers.

Rainwater is key to crop survival and the livelihoods of those who work the farms.

Devinder Sharma is a food and trade policy analyst. He says "65 percent of farmers in India rely on rainwater."
Fish will become harder and harder to find:
French fishermen hit back at stars' bid to save bluefin tuna


It has been a long few weeks for captain Jean-Louis Donnarel and the crew of the Provence-Côte d'Azur II. Long, rough and not very profitable. After sailing a total of 6,600 nautical miles - first to Cyprus, then the length of the Egyptian coast, to Malta, around the Balearics and then home - the Provence-Côte d'Azur II returned with 84 tonnes of bluefin tuna, a catch that will barely cover the costs of the voyage.

"We found fish on the last day," Donnarel said last week. "Without that, we would have been finished. Someone has to take a decision. Do they want us to fish or not? If not, they should put us out of our misery."

Donnarel and his crew are at the sharp end of an increasingly bitter row: one that links globally known restaurants, top celebrities, huge international conglomerates, sushi shops and supermarkets across half the world to the livelihoods of a few thousand fishermen.

At stake is the survival of the bluefin tuna, a single specimen of which can be sold for tens of thousands of dollars - a price that has seen stocks decline in some areas by up to 90%.

It apparently hasn't dawned on the fishermen that if there are no more fish, there WILL BE no more jobs....

A severe heatwave has claimed the lives of nearly 100 people across India, reports say.

The eastern Indian state of Orissa appears to be the worst affected with 58 people dying from heat stroke, according to local officials.

Unofficial figures in the Orissa media put the number of dead closer to 200.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Quick! Before my Saturday runs out...

A cat for Caturday!


Why does Madoff still have any money or assests?

He shouldn't be left with ANYTHING:
Bernard Madoff, the disgraced Wall Street financier, has been ordered to forfeit over $170bn, prosecuters said.

Denny Chin, the US district judge assigned to Madoff's case, entered a preliminary order of forfeiture in New York on Friday.

The order forces Madoff to forfeit all of interests to assets, including a $7m apartment in Manhattan, an $11m house in Palm Beach, Florida and a $3m home located in New York's borough of Long Island.

The government also settled claims against Ruth Madoff, the financier's wife, who must also forfeit her interests totalling $80m in property which she had claimed was hers, prosecutors said.

Madoff, 71, a former non-executive chairman of the Nasdaq stock exchange, pleaded guilty in March to charges that his secretive investment advisory operation was a multibillion-dollar scam - the largest in US history.

Madoff could spend the rest of his life in prison when he is sentenced on Monday.

President Barack Hussein Obama: Poll ratings for June 2009

Approve Disap-

% % Disapprove

ABC/Washington Post

65 31 34


CBS/New York Times

63 26 37


NBC/Wall St. Journal

56 34 22



61 30 31



62 31 31


Ipsos/McClatchy *

64 32 32


Diageo/Hotline RV

65 31 34


Marist RV

56 32 24


When rightwing blowhards think all the armed crazies are on their side

They'll say anything hoping for an 'unfortunate incident' for which they will obviously be blameless.

Michael (Weiner) Savage (did you know this guy once hung out with Timothy Leary and Allen Ginsberg?!!):

Earlier this week on his radio show, Michael Savage vowed to post pictures and other ‘pertinent information’ about the staff of watchdog group Media Matters for America. In a statement during his radio show today he appeared to back off, saying only that an unidentified person was researching publicly available information such as the group’s tax filings. Non-profit organizations must file IRS form 990 and are available for public inspection.

Apparently his call for right wing talkers and fellow travelers to rise up against this media watchdog was met with a resounding silence. His attempt to push back and silence his critics appears to be a failure. It is difficult for Savage to push back against reporting that includes recordings of his own words.
Ann Coulter: Don't shoot an abortionist if you really really don't want to....

Keith Olbermann's response to Ann Coulter:

Spocko of Spocko's Brain
hoists the rightwingers on their own petard.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Eliminate! Eliminate!

I didn't John Bolton of the Walrus Mustache of Hate was a Dalek...


But he sure sounds like one...


The Los Angeles Times prints Bolton's cry for Regime Change! Not diplomacy! Regime Change!
To date at least, the Obama administration's answer remains a resounding no. Obama wants negotiations with Tehran, not regime change. Given that the Revolutionary Guard and the hard-line mullahs -- and not the people -- are increasingly likely to be the short-term winners of the current Battle for Iran, supporters of regime change must now make longer-term plans.

We have missed a huge opportunity because of Obama's error (and that of his predecessors), but the continuing threat of Iranian nuclear weapons and support for international terrorism make the imperative of regime change no less compelling. The Iranian people will continue their opposition no matter how inconvenient it is for Obama's hoped-for negotiations. We should support them, and not just by rhetoric.
um... Mr. Bolton? With what? Support them with what? You and your Neocon buddies in the Bush administration broke the military. You now want to bomb and invade Iran too? Haven't you Neocons done enough damage, caused enough wreckage, destroyed enough lives and property to content you? Is that all you guys can think of? The world will worship in shock and awe the US because we're the biggest baddest bullies nuked up and willing to use them?

Well, invading Afghanistan AND Iraq kinda blew a hole in your plans for world domination, didn't it? Things looked really good on paper: kick Saddam out, pop Chalabi in, and then you're wedged in tight right in the middle of the biggest oil fields of them all. Then you could threaten and harass Iran and maybe even bomb them into submission, right?

But Afghanistan did what it always does when invaded, changed hats to the invaders colors and waited to see what promises were kept. Which turned out to be very little, because you guys were in such a hurry to invade Iraq. Strangely, Iraq didn't like being invaded and getting rid of Saddam started a veritable bloodbath of epic proportions.

The wreckage you have caused in these two countries will never be fixed. You have stained the ground with blood, depleted uranium, destroyed infrastructure, lies, and broken promises. No one will trust the US ever again. And we owe this all to you.

Just why are you being given print space anyway?

Tell Pelosi and Reid: Now is the time to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

Credo Action:
First John Ensign. Now Mark Sanford. Seems like a lot of politicians who've voted to ban gay marriage have broken their own marriage vows.

And that's why this is exactly the right time to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) - the awful legislation that prevents legally married same-sex couples from accessing federal rights and benefits.

John Ensign voted to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage. Mark Sanford voted for DOMA when he served in Congress. Politicians like them claim that marriage should be between one man and one woman, but that's sure not how they do things in their own marriages.

Blogger John Aravosis made the great point that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have a rare opportunity right now: If they strike while the iron is hot and introduce legislation to repeal DOMA, the right-wing "family values" opposition wouldn't have a leg to stand on. Moreover, conservatives wouldn't be able to argue against DOMA without drawing further attention to their own deep hypocrisy.

Sign the petition

"The Defense of Marriage Act has institutionalized homophobia for far too long. As more and more states legalize same-sex marriage, it's absurd that legally married couples still can't access the federal rights and benefits to which they're entitled. Politicians like John Ensign and Mark Sanford who say marriage should be between one man and one woman have no legs left to stand on - this is the right moment to introduce legislation to repeal DOMA."
President Obama claims he's in favor of repealing DOMA - he just needs for Congress to send him a bill. Speaker Pelosi and Sen. Reid should give him the opportunity to make good on his word.

Sign this petition today to tell Speaker Pelosi and Sen. Reid that we've waited too long to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act - now is the right moment to do so, and they should introduce legislation to take advantage of it.

The health care stories

With desperate calls for Health Care Reform and the public option.

Millions of American citizens can see the system is broken, why can't our elected officials?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

This should be handed out to every freshman Republican (and some Democrats)

Political Press Confession Bingo (Click to embiggen).


Via Ali of Smelly in comments.

Update 7/8: Mapaghimagsik has a cartoon...

Explains why Bush got his friends out of the country so fast

Doesn't it?
WASHINGTON — Documents gathered by lawyers for the families of Sept. 11 victims provide new evidence of extensive financial support for Al Qaeda and other extremist groups by members of the Saudi royal family, but the material may never find its way into court because of legal and diplomatic obstacles.

The case has put the Obama administration in the middle of a political and legal dispute, with the Justice Department siding with the Saudis in court last month in seeking to kill further legal action. Adding to the intrigue, classified American intelligence documents related to Saudi finances were leaked anonymously to lawyers for the families. The Justice Department had the lawyers’ copies destroyed and now wants to prevent a judge from even looking at the material.

The Saudis and their defenders in Washington have long denied links to terrorists, and they have mounted an aggressive and, so far, successful campaign to beat back the allegations in federal court based on a claim of sovereign immunity.

Allegations of Saudi links to terrorism have been the subject of years of government investigations and furious debate. Critics have said that some members of the Saudi ruling class pay off terrorist groups in part to keep them from being more active in their own country.

But the thousands of pages of previously undisclosed documents compiled by lawyers for the Sept. 11 families and their insurers represented an unusually detailed look at some of the evidence.

Internal Treasury Department documents obtained by the lawyers under the Freedom of Information Act, for instance, said that a prominent Saudi charity, the International Islamic Relief Organization, heavily supported by members of the Saudi royal family, showed “support for terrorist organizations” at least through 2006.

But we already knew this.... and they are trying to get rid of the evidence.

Why? We already know if we really had wanted to retaliate against the 9/11 hijackers, we would have invaded Saudi Arabia.

Piss not off Roger Ebert

Or verily he wilt crush thee and thine vapid bloated ego:
Bill O'Reilly has been brought low by the same process that afflicted Jerry Springer. Once respected journalists, they sold their souls for higher ratings, and follow their siren song. Springer is honest about it: "I'm going to Hell for what I do, and I know it," he's likes to say. O'Reilly insists he is dealing only with the truth. When his guests disagree with him, he shouts at them, calls them liars, talks over them, and behaves like a schoolyard bully.

I am not interested in discussing O'Reilly's politics here. That would open a hornet's nest. I am more concerned about the danger he and others like him represent to a civil and peaceful society. He sets a harmful example of acceptable public behavior. He has been an influence on the most worrying trend in the field of news: The polarization of opinion, the elevation of emotional temperature, the predictability of two of the leading cable news channels. A majority of cable news viewers now get their news slanted one way or the other by angry men. O'Reilly is not the worst offender. That would be Glenn Beck. Keith Olbermann is gaining ground. Rachel Maddow provides an admirable example for the boys of firm, passionate outrage, and is more effective for nogt shouting.

We are all uninsured now....

If those who didn't have insurance wore these:


Those who are comfortable in their denials about the need for health care reform would be stunned.

Finally! An explanation we can really accept!

'Stoned wallabies make crop circles'

To help you keep track of Republican sex scandals

Here's the sex offenders list. Another list of politicians from both sides of the aisle.

The discussion of moral values.

Here's a flow chart. (This one made me laugh).

One reason why Democrats just don't get on the list that often, we are not forcibly defined by the narrow confines of 'family values' which has nothing to do with real families and absolutely nothing to do with true humanitarian values.

It's not about the sex, it's about the utter hypocrisy.

Update: Blue Girl of They Gave Us A Republic has a point.

Update: Oh, gee. Where's the outrage? Will they compare this to the date Obama took with his wife?
Sanford's South American sojourn taxpayer-funded

But our elected officials tell us the truth all the time!

Zachary Roth of TPM explains why some mainstream media fell for the Sanford Spin:
None of these are the biggest crimes in the world, but still: It feels absurd to have to point this out, but politicians and their staffers frequently have reason to dissemble, about issues far more important than an extra-marital affair. Too often, though, the press treats public statements from elected officials' offices -- especially those purporting simply to provide information, like the Appalachian Trail line -- as self-evidently accurate. It's as if, despite everything, some in the press can't quite bring themselves to believe that politicians might try to mislead people.

Part of this is structural. There's almost no acceptable way for a mainstream reporter to explicitly tell readers that the information being put out by a powerful office-holder may be false or misleading. But the only way that this structural flaw will change is if individual reporters are willing to stick out their necks to change it.

Until then, people will read blogs for stories like these.
Exactly. I was driven in great frustration from newspapers and the TV to the internet during the Bush era just because the truth was so obviously NOT what the news was reporting. The mainstream media just hasn't discovered this fact yet, as stunning as that sounds. We want the truth. We can handle it, it's the lies we can't stand.

Should I assume she knows what she is doing?

Purposely sabotaging the Census to negate the frightening power of growing minorities, the addition of new Senators to states that have a population boom, to make people afraid of the government?

All of these?

Or is Michele Bachmann just fucking crazy?


Now I can't get this out of my mind...

A petition and a swift kick to the posterior

(Not from California but still want to kick your elected official's butt? Try this link and put in your own state, otherwise you will find this petition on the righthand column under Take Action: Tell your senators: Support Obama on health care.)

Subject: Tell Sen. Feinstein to Support the Public Health Care Option

Dear Friend,

Instead of fighting for the change we need, Sen. Feinstein is putting the brakes on reform when it matters most.

President Obama is fighting an uphill battle to convince Congress to do what 72% of the American people want: provide a public health care option similar to Medicare for any American who wants one.

Yet Sen. Feinstein has refused to declare her support for the public health care option that millions of Californians desperately need.

Even more astonishing, Sen. Feinstein went on CNN last weekend to question whether the President has the votes in the Senate to pass his health care agenda.

Right now we have a chance to take bold steps to reform health care. The question of including a public option in health care reform is one of the most important policy battles in modern American history. So why isn't Sen. Feinstein on the right side of the issue?

Sign this petition today to tell Sen. Feinstein to stop pandering corporate interests and get on board with a reform supported by the President and an overwhelming number of Californians: a public health care plan.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I don't see any weakness...

I see a lot of political muscle.

Thank god.

It's WTF Tuesday!

Headline: Madoff says 12 years is plenty. No, actually it's not. But the intention is that you die in prison, so however long that takes, sir.

Trees that don't grow will help the environment?
Scientists in the United States are developing a "synthetic tree" capable of collecting carbon around 1,000 times faster than the real thing.
They make more money taking tourists to look at whales than killing whales?
Delegates to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) annual meeting here agreed it was worth extending reform talks that began a year ago.

Pro- and anti-whaling countries emphasised that fundamental differences remain between the two blocs.

Earlier, animal welfare groups released a new report arguing that whaling countries would gain economically by switching to whale-watching.

They calculate that whale-watching generates tourism revenue of about $2.1bn (£1.3bn) per year around the world, dwarfing income from whaling, which is measured in tens of millions of dollars.
A Scottish town no one has ever lived in.

Fire ants in Canada?!

Hasn't Congress learned ANYTHING AT ALL from this last election?
Congress stuffs war-funding bill with cash for other items.
All dogs speak Japanese.

I have found the perfect t-shirt for blogging...

Monday, June 22, 2009

'Leave the world better than you found it'

Does not compute to Big Business Republicans.

Paul Krugman:
The point is that we need to be clear about who are the realists and who are the fantasists here. The realists are actually the climate activists, who understand that if you give people in a market economy the right incentives they will make big changes in their energy use and environmental impact. The fantasists are the burn-baby-burn crowd who hate the idea of using government for good, and therefore insist that doing the right thing is economically impossible.

United We Serve

United We Serve Kick-Off
Posted by Cammie Croft

Last week, when President Obama announced United We Serve -- he called on all Americans to volunteer this summer and do our part to rebuild our communities.

When he said "all," he meant it.

Today to kick off United We Serve, First Lady Michelle Obama, Cabinet Secretaries, and Senior Administration officials have fanned out across the country to participate in service projects.

The First Lady is rolling up her sleeves alongside the First Lady of California Maria Shriver and Corporation of National and Community Service acting CEO Nicky Goren to help build a public playground at Bret Harte Public Elementary School in San Francisco. Defense Secretary Gates is spending time with our veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Commerce Secretary Locke is reading to children at La Mesita Homeless Shelter in Mesa, Arizona. Just to name a few.

It's going to take all of us working together to build a new foundation for America and it will happen one community at a time. Watch this special message from the First Lady to learn how you can do your part:

How about we not feed you for a week

Until you find your brains and your heart?
Missouri lawmaker on child hunger: ‘Hunger can be a positive motivator.’

Wait a minute! That's not a shrimp!


Can't they find it by the glowing crabs? (my bold)
More than 50 years after a 7,600lb (3,500kg) nuclear bomb was dropped in US waters following a mid-air military collision, the question of whether the missing weapon still poses a threat remains.


Shortly after midnight on 5 February 1958, Howard Richardson was on a top-secret training flight for the US Strategic Air Command.

It was the height of the Cold War and the young Major Richardson's mission was to practise long-distance flights in his B-47 bomber in case he was ordered to fly from Homestead Air Force Base in Florida to any one of the targets the US had identified in Russia.


As he cruised at 38,000 feet over North Carolina and Georgia, his plane was hit by another military aircraft, gouging a huge hole in the wing and knocking an engine almost off its mountings, leaving it hanging at a perilous angle.


As he dropped to 20,000 feet, he somehow got the damaged craft under control and levelled out.

He and his co-pilot then made a fateful decision which probably saved both their lives and the lives of countless people on the ground.


He managed to direct the B-47 a mile or two off the coast of Savannah and opened the bomb doors, dropping the bomb somewhere into the shallow waters and light sand near Tybee Island.

He then managed a perfectly executed descent from which he and his crew walked away unscathed.


Immediately after the crash, a search was set up to find the unexploded nuclear weapon, buried somewhere too close for comfort to the US's second-largest seaport and one of its most beautiful cities.

Numerous other searches have followed, both official and unofficial, and each of them has also proved unsuccessful.

So the bomb remains tucked away on the sea-bed, in an area which is frequently dredged by shrimp fishermen, any one of whom could suddenly find that they have netted something a touch larger and scarier than a crustacean.

How dangerous the bomb is after all these years is a matter of hot debate.
Right. So who will we blame and bomb when this thing finally goes off?

If this was my great grandfather....

I'd be pissed.


NEW HAVEN, Connecticut - The U.S. Justice Department asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit brought by descendants of Apache leader Geronimo, whose remains were purported to be stolen long ago by members of a secret society at Yale University.

The government filed the motion June 10 to oppose a lawsuit filed in February by 20 of Geronimo's descendants, who want to rebury the warrior near his birthplace in southern New Mexico's Gila Wilderness.
Stupid Skull and Bones. Get another legal skull from somewhere and give Geronimo's head back to his descendants. How hard could it be?

The corporations so want us all to pretend this depression has just been a bad dream...

And go back to the happy days of deregulation, no oversight and wild uninhibited thoughtless spending....
It is an odd tribute to the short-term success of Obama’s recovery effort that the business lobbies now feel free to return to the old-time religion of bashing government and singing the praises of the unfettered marketplace. You might expect the corporate guys to show a little gratitude to the government that bailed them out. But that’s never been their way. They’d rather pretend that the last nine months were a bad dream.
Um... NO. Thanks. We've seen where this style of capitalism will lead us and thanks to the Obama administration's efforts, we've just barely pulled back from the edge of the abyss.

I don't trust you guys anymore.

And won't ever again.

It's not healthy to live in the US

Distributorcap has the stats to prove it.

Makes me want to stop eating US food and move....

Give us single payer or give us death! ... or cake, I said cake!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Women for peace

Can change the world.

Bill Moyers:
The JOURNAL profiles Leymah Gbowee, a woman who led her fellow countrywomen to fight for and win peace in war-torn Liberia, and Abigail Disney, who produced the documentary of their struggle and triumph in the award-winning film PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL.

How odd... feeding cows their natural food cuts methane production

And makes the cows healthier:
Coventry Valley Farm is one of 15 Vermont farms working with Stonyfield Farm Inc., whose yogurt is made with their organic milk, to reduce the cows' intestinal methane by feeding them flaxseed, alfalfa, and grasses high in Omega 3 fatty acids. The gas cows belch is the dairy industry's biggest greenhouse gas contributor, research shows, most of it emitted from the front and not the back end of the cow.


To satisfy consumers' demands for sustainable production, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy in Rosemont, Ill., is looking at everything from growing feed crops to trucking milk to reduce the industry's greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. That would be the equivalent of removing about 1.25 million cars from U.S. roads every year, said Naczi, who manages the program.

One way is by feeding cows alfalfa, flax and grasses, all high in Omega 3s, instead of corn or soy, said Nancy Hirschberg, head of Stonyfield's Greener Cow Project. The feed rebalances the cows' rumen, the first stomach of ruminants, and cuts down on gas, she said. Another way is to change the bacteria in a cow's rumen, Naczi said.

When Stonyfield first analyzed its contribution to global warming in the late 1990s, the company thought its factory in Londonderry, N.H., produced the most greenhouse gases.

"And when we got the report and our number one impact on climate change was the milk production, we were completely stunned," she said.

A study showed that the single biggest source was the cow's enteric emissions: gas.

The company funded energy audits on farms and research on small manure digesters so farmers could produce energy from methane gas.

But Hirschberg said she had no idea what to do about enteric emissions. Then she learned what Group Danone of France, majority owner of Stonyfield and best known in the U.S. for its Dannon products, was doing about its methane.

By feeding their cows alfalfa, flax and grasses, they were cutting down on the gas passed.

The milk is tested at a lab at the University of Vermont to determine its fat content, a process patented by French nutrition company Valorex SAS, through which the enteric emissions are calculated.

Since January, Coventry Valley Farm has reduced its cows' belches by 13 percent. At another farm, they've gone down 18 percent.

Maikshilo and Dellert have also noticed a difference in Hester, Rosebud, Pristine and their other cows. The coats of the black and white Holsteins and brown Jerseys are shinier and they've had fewer foot problems and no stomach ailments, they say.

So far, it hasn't cost them any more for their custom-made grain, which the cows only get in the winter. Now they're out grazing on grass in the pasture, getting as many Omega 3s. And the farm's vet bills have gone down.

It's a win-win for farmers, said Naczi.

"It's just the right thing to do," he said.



So what's the problem?

New York, NY (AHN) - A new poll found the majority of Americans support health care reform, including a controversial measure calling for the establishment of a government-run non-profit health insurance plan that would compete with private for-profit plans.

According to a press release on results of the New York Times/CBS News poll released Saturday, 72 percent of Americans support a government insurance plan - including 50 percent of Republicans.

The poll also revealed that many Americans "think the government would do a better job than the private sector providing coverage and controlling costs."

However, the poll also found that there were concerns over the cost of creating such a plan. And while many Americans were willing to pay more in taxes to create a universal health insurance plan pollsters found support declined when specific dollar amounts were mentioned.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Grover Norquist's work on Ronald Reagan's legacy

From Crooks and Liars:
One of the more down-to-earth tributes was written by Norquist, who said: “Every conservative knows that we will win radical tax reform and reduction as soon as we elect a president who will sign the bill. The flow of history is with us. Our victories can be delayed, but not denied. This is the change wrought by Ronald Reagan.” Norquist all but revealed one of his missions in the coming two years — finding a presidential candidate who would assume the Reagan mantle in a way that neither Bush 41 nor Dole ever could — but not the other. His second big push was practically a guerrilla marketing campaign to make sure that the less-engaged Middle America would get the message that Reagan belonged in the pantheon of all-time greats right next to Lincoln, Washington and FDR. Norquist had learned the lessons of Normandy and of the Brandenburg Gate, which was that powerful symbols can mean a lot more than words (especially in a little-read policy journal), that a motorist under the big Sunbelt sky of Ronald Reagan Boulevard will absorb the message of the Gipper’s greatness without ever pondering if ketchup should be a vegetable in federally funded school lunches or if “the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers” in Central America were drug-dealing thugs, the kind of stubborn things that popped up in those newspaper articles ranking the presidents.
I've never understood the 'worship' of Saint Ronnie, but now I can see who was force feeding the public the load of tripe about him.

Thou droning dread-bolted puttock!

How to insult with Shakespeare.



Ignore Frank


And read Phila of Bouphonia's Hope Blog!

Blog sprinkles


Crop circle predicts end of the world!

Cows explain the political systems of the world.

Meteorites, mysterious earthquakes and jellyfish-like lightning

Cookie Jill tells us the oceans are beginning to boil...

Spocko asks: What can we do economically about violent rhetoric on talk radio?

There will always be those waiting to prey on the elderly: How To Protect Susceptible Relatives From Scams

Just an thought: Who the hell thought up the word 'normalcy' and decided to make everybody use it? It's NORMALITY! You don't go around talking about abnormalcy, do you?


China reassesses North Korea:
Immediately after the May 25 nuclear test, Beijing's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) expressed the Chinese government's "resolute opposition", adding that Pyongyang had failed to heed the "international community's general opposition" to nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Yet, the MOFA also called on all parties to use "cool-headed and appropriate means" such as "consultation and dialogue" with the DPRK so as to resolve the question in a peaceful manner. Moreover, Beijing did not employ the highly charged word hanran, or "brazen", that it had used in October 2006 to condemn Pyongyang's first nuclear test after the start of the six-party talks. In a statement on June 2, MOFA spokesman Qin Gang further appealed to relevant countries to "remain calm and restrained, and not to take actions that will further escalate the situation".

Yet it is evident that the Hu leadership is undertaking a thorough revaluation of China's relationship with its "ally". This sea-change in Chinese opinion has apparently been brought about by Beijing's realization that Pyongyang is really serious about building a full-fledged nuclear arsenal.
What could possibly go wrong?
US navy prepares to intercept North Korean ship: The UN sanctions only allow the US to hail a North Korean ship and demand to be allowed to conduct a search, but not forcibly board it. North Korea has said a forcible search would be regarded as an act of war.

Reflecting heightened tension, the US today began moving radar systems and ground-to-air missiles to Hawaii. The Pentagon said it fears that Pyongyang could test-fire an intercontinental missile in the direction of Hawaii over the next few weeks in retaliation for the UN sanctions.

US officials designated the Kang Nam as being of "special interest" soon after it left port.

If the North Koreans refuse to allow a US crew to search the ship, the US could order it into the nearest port. Failing that, the USS John McCain could closely follow the ship until it reaches a port. The US would then be entitled to demand, under the UN sanctions agreement, that that country inspect the ship.
Media Matters' latest post on health care and the idiots who deny its need.

WASHINGTON — People on the government’s terrorist watch list tried to buy guns nearly 1,000 times in the last five years, and federal authorities cleared the purchases 9 times out of 10 because they had no legal way to stop them, according to a new government report.
One less reason to read the Washington Post?

Walking Sausage!

I love the expression

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

And know what she's thinking. I've been there....

Friday, June 19, 2009

I doubt the teacher will ever see the original note....

(watch to the end for the explanation...)

How to win at arguments

(Stolen rudely from Phila of Bouphonia's post).

There's a list of 11 excellent points you should keep at hand for the debate before you end up having to use the folding chair on your opponent. Here is number 9:
9. What people say is less important than what they imply. What they imply is what the correct political analysis leads you to decide that they imply. Don’t take their account as to what they are saying: tell them what they are saying. Be abusive if necessary. You have been provoked.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The first clue was the abandoned beach umbrella?


Several studies in recent years have claimed evidence for shorelines and other features that suggest ancient lakes on Mars. Firm evidence has remained elusive.

Now a University of Colorado at Boulder research team claims "the first definitive evidence of shorelines on Mars" in a statement released today.

The scientists see signs of "a deep, ancient lake," which would have implications for the potential for past life on Mars. Life as we know it requires water, and while Mars is dry now, if there was abundant water in the past -- as many studies have suggested -- then life would have been a possibility. There is, however, no firm evidence that life does or ever did exist on the red planet.

Researchers estimate the lake existed more than 3 billion years ago. It covered as much as 80 square miles and was up to 1,500 feet deep -- roughly the equivalent of Lake Champlain bordering the United States and Canada, said Gaetano Di Achille, who led the study out of the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The shoreline evidence, found along a broad delta, included a series of alternating ridges and troughs thought to be surviving remnants of beach deposits.

"This is the first unambiguous evidence of shorelines on the surface of Mars," Di Achille said. "The identification of the shorelines and accompanying geological evidence allows us to calculate the size and volume of the lake, which appears to have formed about 3.4 billion years ago."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Twittering the revolution

From the frying pan

Into the fryer?
Blackwater may owe the government more than $55 million—and one restaurant-quality deep fat fryer.

According to a federal audit reviewing the private security firm's work in Iraq, Blackwater failed to meet the terms of contracts worth more than $800 million. The audit, released on Monday, found that the company (which recently renamed itself Xe) regularly came up short on the staffing requirements outlined in two of its State Department task orders, issued under the multibillion dollar Worldwide Personal Protective Services (WPPS) contract. For instance, the audit notes, the firm didn’t supply enough personal security specialists for 16 of 19 months under a task order to provide guards in Baghdad and Ramadi—meaning that visiting dignitaries and other officials under the firm’s watch were potentially underprotected.
Hmmm... We could kinda use 55 million right now... Anybody know how to get it from a bunch of warmongers armed to the teeth and taking orders from who knows who with an unknown agenda?

Just how loyal is the CIA to Cheney?

On Friday, there may be a major development in the torture wars: The CIA is set to release portions of a 2004 report that reportedly found no proof that torture foiled any terror plots, which would dramatically undercut Dick Cheney’s claims that torture worked.

But a news story this morning raises the question: Is the CIA trying to keep chunks that would undermine Cheney under wraps?
Who can we trust to tell us the truth? Anybody?


Monday, June 15, 2009

An Al Jazeera reporter brave enough to talk to the Somali pirates

Will have a series up starting today:
Mohammed Adow, an Al Jazeera correspondent, gained exclusive access to Puntland's pirates throughout May.

His series of films will be broadcast on Al Jazeera between Monday, June 15 and Wednesday, June 17.

Restore the rule of law


We are finally beginning to learn the full scope of the Bush administration's torture program. Government documents show that hundreds of prisoners were tortured in the custody of the CIA and Department of Defense, some of them killed in the course of interrogations. Justice Department memos show that the torture policies were devised and developed at the highest levels of the Bush administration.

The ACLU is committed to restoring the rule of law. We will fight for the disclosure of the torture files that are still secret. We will advocate for the victims of the Bush administration's unlawful policies. We will press Congress to appoint a select committee that can investigate the roots of the torture program and recommend legislative changes to ensure that the abuses of the last eight years are not repeated. And we will advocate for the appointment of an independent prosecutor to examine issues of criminal responsibility.

We can't sweep the abuses of the last eight years under the rug. Accountability for torture is a legal, political, and moral imperative.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Even the penguins are getting pissed off

At our feeble attempts to deal with the environment....


h/t to Ali off the Eschaton threads.

Good to see his poisonous thoughts didn't infect his son

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The son of the man accused of killing a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum said Sunday that his father had long burdened his family with his white supremacist views and that he wishes his father would have died in the shooting instead.

James von Brunn, 88, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of 39-year-old Stephen T. Johns, who was black.

"I cannot express enough how deeply sorry I am it was Mr. Johns, and not my father who lost (his) life," Erik von Brunn, 32, said in a statement to ABC News. "It was unjustified and unfair that he died, and while my condolences could never begin to offer appeasement, they, along with my remorse is all I have to give."

Authorities say von Brunn shot the guard in the chest with a vintage rifle after Johns opened the door for him. Von Brunn was shot in the face by guards and is expected to survive. A hearing is set for Monday in a D.C. federal court for a magistrate judge to hear about von Brunn's health.

"His views consumed him, and in doing so, not only destroyed his life, but destroyed our family and ruined our lives as well," Erik von Brunn's statement said.

Paul Krugman singlehandedly makes everyone start buying sacks of rice and beans

And deciding where to dig the bunker....

Will Hutton: You are warning that what happened to Japan could happen to the whole world. Japan's GDP at the end of this year will be no higher than it was in 1992 - 17 lost years. You are saying that this is an ongoing risk, certainly for the North Atlantic economy - maybe the world economy.

Paul Krugman: Yes. It's not that the risk of the Japan syndrome has receded very much. The risk of a full, all-out Great Depression - utter collapse of everything - has receded a lot in the past few months. But this first year of crisis has been far worse than anything that happened in Japan during the last decade, so in some sense we already have much worse than anything the Japanese went through. The risk for long stagnation is really high.

This damned cat game is addictive

And I've wasted enough time on it! So I'll share it with you guys! I've trapped the kitty several times but it's hard. Thinking in units of three circles helps...

Cheney probably thought he wasn't being that obvious

But I'm sure he has his 'I-told-you-so' speech already written and locked in one of his man-sized safes...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - CIA director Leon Panetta says it's almost as if former vice president Dick Cheney would like to see another attack on the United States to prove he is right in criticizing President Barack Obama for abandoning the "harsh interrogation" of terrorism suspects.

"I think he smells some blood in the water on the national security issue," Panetta said in an interview published in The New Yorker magazine's June 22 issue.

"It's almost, a little bit, gallows politics. When you read behind it, it's almost as if he's wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point."

Liberals don't do hate speech like the Republicans...

But we really do like to mock our "elected" officials....


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Right wing pathology

Being certain they are being victimized even as they search for new victims.

It is part of their DNA.

Glenn Greenwald:
Just ponder how psychologically disturbed -- how deeply self-absorbed -- is the need to announce to the world, let alone to believe: We are not only better than all of you - we're better than everyone who has ever existed for all of human history!!" Imagine if you heard someone saying that about themselves; wouldn't you conclude that there was something deeply wrong with that person? And speaking of inflaming anti-American sentiment, do you think constantly announcing that to the world might do so a bit more than releasing some detainee photos? But -- as is so often true -- Liz Cheney's statement is a perfect distillation of the core right-wing view of the world: our group is better than every other -- not just that exists now but that ever existed -- and it's terribly unfair to us when our superiority is not recognized and affirmed. That's just pathological.
And an absolutely earthshaking, ball-busting, face-slapping, butt-kicking letter to the wingnuts by Sara Robinson:
Dear Conservatives:

Your fellow Americans demand an answer -- and we want it now. Just one simple question:

Are you deliberately trying to start a civil war?

Just answer the question. Yes or no. Don't insult us with elisions, evasions, dithering, qualifications, or conditional answers. We need to know what your intentions are -- and we need to know NOW. People are being shot dead in the streets of America at the rate of several per month now. You may not want responsibility for this -- but the whackadoodles pulling the triggers make no bones about who put them up to this.

You did.

The assassins themselves are ratting you out. They're telling us, straight up, that they were inspired to act by the hate radio talkers that you empowered -- one of whom is now the de facto head of the Republican party. They got it from media outlets owned by your biggest donors. They got it from bloggers who receive daily talking points faxed in from the GOP. They got it from activists representing causes that would have never become causes in the first place if the issues hadn't been politically expedient for you.

Beyond that: You've already admitted your own complicity. When the Department of Homeland Security expressed their worries about right-wing extremist violence last April, practically every conservative pundit in the country went into a righteous fit. DHS never named anyone directly, so it was astonishing how many of you on the right were so quick to step up and claim that that memo was slandering you, personally and collectively. Since you were so eager to claim that that memo was all about you, now that the violence has come to pass, we're well justified in holding you to that.
I'd copy it entirely but that's supposed to be rude... go read the rest.

A lightning bolt would have been more efficient

Gerrit Blank, 14, was on his way to school when he saw "ball of light" heading straight towards him from the sky.

A red hot, pea-sized piece of rock then hit his hand before bouncing off and causing a foot wide crater in the ground.

The teenager survived the strike, the chances of which are just 1 in a million - but with a nasty three-inch long scar on his hand.

He said: "At first I just saw a large ball of light, and then I suddenly felt a pain in my hand.

"Then a split second after that there was an enormous bang like a crash of thunder."

"The noise that came after the flash of light was so loud that my ears were ringing for hours afterwards.

"When it hit me it knocked me flying and then was still going fast enough to bury itself into the road," he explained.

Scientists are now studying the pea-sized meteorite which crashed to Earth in Essen, Germany.


Just to remind us of what we said goodbye to less than half a year ago....

Because they are rewriting history as fast as their sharpies can scribble...Bush's legacy in pictures.

Jeremy Scahill's blog Rebel Reports

Offers excellent oversight on the dangers and excesses of the shadow armies we are using in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Latest post:
As US troops and private contractors surge in Afghanistan, a new report reveals a system rife with abuse. Also, why is an executive of a major war contractor on the commission investigating contractors?

They're never gonna get out of high school

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Basement Cat gets a job


Proof our society is imploding

Woman spots man in bra rummaging through her car.

Tom Tomorrow's take

How Abortion Is Viewed In The Rightwingoverse. (Click the pic to read)


A fired up base

Makes for excellent financial profiteering. It pays to keep them hysterical, armed to the teeth, and ready to bring on the apocalypse...

Eugene Robinson:
There’s profit for the pundits, and perhaps personal advantage for some politicians, in calling President Obama a “socialist” and calling Judge Sonia Sotomayor a “racist Latina” and claiming that Democrats want to “take away your guns”—in creating and nurturing a sense of grievance among those inclined to be aggrieved. But what about those who might not understand that it’s all just political theater?

The Homeland Security memo made the assessment that “lone wolves and small terrorist cells embracing violent right-wing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.” It recalled an April 4 incident in which three Pittsburgh-area police officers were killed, and said “the alleged gunman’s reaction reportedly was influenced by his racist ideology and belief in anti-government conspiracy theories related to gun confiscations, citizen detention camps, and a Jewish-controlled ‘one world government.’ ”

It’s clear that James von Brunn was a firm believer in this whole insane scenario long before the financial meltdown or Obama’s election. Maybe it was his personal financial situation that allegedly pushed him over the edge. Maybe he reached a point of no return years ago, when he made a bizarre attempt to take members of the Federal Reserve Board hostage.

What we don’t know is whether all the blast-furnace rhetoric coming from the right is giving validation and encouragement to some confused, angry man or woman with a rifle or a truck full of fertilizer—the next “lone wolf,” preparing to howl.
Update: Toles has an excellent cartoon: