Saturday, December 16, 2006

Edwards hat in the ring

Obama's sexy. Hillary isn't. But Edwards is a candidate that may be everyone's second choice. And that may be the kind of coalition that leads to a win.

Monday, December 11, 2006

CO2 sensitivity

Yet another nail in the climate change skeptic's coffin. The high-CO2 event at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary seems to have come on quick and produced long-term effects. This might show that our planet is highly sensitive to increased carbon.

Moore's Law and Digital Storage

A leap in storage capacity has been demonstrated.
Blu-Ray Disc Association and industrial leaders in computer and other media recently commercially introduced Blu-Ray Disc technology that allows for storage of 25 gigabytes (GB) on a single layer of a disc and 50 GB on two layers. It has been referred to as the next generation of optical disc format, and it offers high-definition quality.

Belfield's technique allows for storing on multiple layers with the capacity of at least 1,000 GB and high-definition quality."

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Scariest Guy in Town

I just love it that Waxman gets to go after the Bush (hswib) administration with the rules Republicans put into place to go after Clinton. There is a God!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Blue Tiger Democrats™

This is a link worth keeping. Blue Tiger Democrats™
This group provides a model for what grass-roots Democratic organizations can do to build up the party for the future.

Putting the picture together

Mark Danner takes bits from three books to show us the vacuum in the White House.

Lab experiment

Link to this post.

Dead Horse Dept

When I saw the half-page-above-the-fold Muravchik editoral in the Sunday edition of my local rag I was sorely tempted to take the editoral staff to task for such dreck onto their unsuspecting readers. But other duties called and time passed. Fortunately I wasn't the only one with that visceral response. I offer you the words of Timothy Mesford:
"Joshua Muravchik's editorial 'Can neocons get their groove back?' (Nov. 26) was a near-perfect example of neoconservative denial of reality and responsibility. It was stunning to read him unabashedly supporting U.S. military intervention (or the threat of it) as a near-universal panacea for global problems, then criticizing Middle East political culture as the root cause of terrorism -- without a trace of irony, blaming it on their 'habit of conducting politics by means of violence.'

Even more ridiculously disengenuous was his assertion that 'few neocons have served in the Bush administration,' specifically claiming that Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld are 'traditional conservatives' rather than neocons. Of course, Cheney and Rumsfeld are both members of the Project for the New American Century (www. newamericancentury.org/), one of the premier neoconservative think tanks. PNAC produced the report 'Rebuilding America's Defenses' (www.newamericancentury.org/ RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf), laying out (in September 2000) the neocon rationale for invasion of Iraq.

Though the neocon rats now desert the sinking ship of Iraq (www.vanityfair.com/politics/ features/2006/12/neocons 200612), their habitual lies and hypocrisy continue unabated.

As long as they are given a voice, they will use it to drag America down their ruinous path.

TIMOTHY MESFORD, Richland"

Saturday, November 25, 2006

"Christian Nation"

I tuned in to a bit of Brit Hume garbage on the Fox News channel today about religion and national politics. As you might expect it was all cast in term of ACLU-bad and "christians"-good. It makes me sick. These people that believe the lie that this country was founded on religious principles are so grievously misguided. The fact of the matter is that our nation was founded on essentially anti-religious principles. The American Revolution and framers of our nation and our constitution was in large part about overthrowing the hold of religion on public life. It was religion that taught that God had established the aristocracy to rule over people like God ruled His Kingdom in heaven. The Declaration of Independence was a direct attack on organized religion. By proclaiming that "all men are created equal" it was directly challenging the religious teaching of the day that God had created the classes of organized society on a heavenly model and that men who challenged the class structure did so in violation of divine law. That's the real truth.

One could almost admire the religionists in their faithfulness if they actually conducted themselves with a modicum of integrity but they don't. On one hand they claim they are fighting for religious freedom but God help you if you are a Wiccan,...or a Muslim. They get all in a dither about the death of a fetus but are first to line up to push the button on capital punishment. And why is it these champions of "freedom" are so interested in what goes on in the bedrooms of consenting adults?

I say that those who would forcefully subvert the government to their own desire for power are the real enemies of democracy and it's past time to name them for what they really are.

This is not to say that there should be no influence of of religion in government. But the influence should be invitational not dictatorial. When the interests of true religion, the needs of the people, and government reinforce each other, great things can be done. Principles such as justice, mercy, integrity, and the worth of all persons are embodied in civil action it is always a good thing. But the best role for religious people is an example, a demonstration of the value of the virtues they talk about.

It strikes me that religious folk don't really have that much faith in the things they teach. They don't have the courage and patience to allow their principles to play themselves out in real life. They must resort to force. Instead of just trusting that Christian virtues make good sense they must legislate morality. They are so dense that they can't see the difference between carrying a baby to term out of respect for the life of the child and carrying a baby to term because it is against the law to abort it. It is in that denseness they show that power is their real goal, not morality.

We should not be giving ear to these folks who are so power hungry that they so easily subvert religious integrity to the desire for raw power.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Areva Challenge gets a new hull

The AREVA challenge team took delivery of the FRA 93 hull the other day. They had been racing with one of the oldest hulls in the fleet, a loaner from New Zealand. Maybe they can start winning a few races now.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Polygamy anyone?

As we broaden the traditional view of who can participate in a marriage, can legalized polygamy be on the horizon?

And you think divorces can be messy now!

Bloggers safe from lawsuits

They are as long as they post what someone else said. But make sure that your link is solid.
"In today's ruling, the California Supreme court said that granting such broad immunity for posting defamatory statements 'has some troubling consequences.'

Nevertheless, the court said, 'Until Congress chooses to revise the settled law in this area' people who contend they were defamed on the Internet can seek recovery only from the original source of the statement, not from those who re-post it.'"

Progress on the climate change front

Methane concentrations are leveling out.
"The researchers say there is no reason to believe that methane levels will remain stable in the future, but the fact that leveling off is occurring now indicates that society can do something about global warming. Methane has an atmospheric lifetime of about eight years. Carbon dioxide – the main greenhouse gas that is produced by burning fossil fuels for power generation and transportation – can last a century and has been accumulating steadily in the atmosphere.

“If carbon dioxide levels were the same today as they were in 2000, the global warming discussion would leave the front page. But to stabilize this greenhouse gas, we would have to cut way back on emissions,” Rowland said. “Methane is not as significant a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide, but its effects are important. The world needs to work hard to reduce emissions of all greenhouse gases.”"

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Focusing the Debate

In the context of immigration reform be sure to note that little public money is actually spent on health care to undocumented immigrants.
"'Our findings show a relatively small amount of tax money is spent on health services provided to undocumented immigrants,' said James P. Smith, the RAND chair in Labor Market and Demographic Studies and an author of the report. 'Costs will be much higher for educating the children of undocumented immigrants, so that's where debate should center, not on these relatively small health care costs.'"

Virus killing paint

Coming to a sterile hood near you.
"In their study, the researchers demonstrated the efficiency of the paint by coating a glass slide with the polymer. A drop of liquid containing a strain of the influenza virus was then placed on the slide, and the number of surviving viral particles was counted.

The coating was 100 per cent effective, according to the researchers - not a single viral particle was detected after contact with the coating.

Further tests with higher and lower concentrations of viral particles in the initial drop proved equally effective - in all cases, no viral particles survived.

According to the researchers, it took only five minutes of contact for all viral particles to be inactivated. This reflects the time it took for all the particles to reach the spikes, they said."

Big boost to US renewable energy could cost nothing

A recent study shows that we could improve our energy source profile without paying more.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

So how bad is it in Iraq?

This bad. The horror of urban combat is now fully upon us. And we are still a long way of developing an effective counter-strategy. How many will die in the meantime?

On the bright side in Idaho

At least Sali won't be screwing things up in the legislature.

Meanwhile, back at the Supreme Court

Our justices try their hand at medicine and don't make the cut.
"After 120 minutes of exquisitely detailed medical inquiry, the justices have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that they just are not doctors. They have tried valiantly to understand the medical testimony and to analyze the protocols. They struggle to weigh the risks of lethally injecting a fetus in the uterus. But that's just not why they went to law school.

By the same token, six congressional hearings and dozens of witnesses have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the United States Congress is not a body of doctors, either. Indeed, their ability to simply ignore inconvenient medical facts suggests that if they were doctors, they'd be rather rotten ones. If the justices are looking for the cleanest, easiest way out of this whole partial-birth abortion business, I would suggest that if institutional humility means anything at all, it means that when you can't understand the medicine, you stay out of the operating room. When you find yourself lacking the skills and experience to define the fine line between the intent and outcomes of similar medical procedures, or to weigh the hazards arising from each, perhaps the most prudent thing to do is to leave it to those who do."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

They still miss me

When the Tri-City Herald says:
As a whole, this was the finest crop of candidates in a long time.

Mostly absent were the usual challengers who are uncertain why they're running or what qualifies them for the job.

Instead, with a few exceptions, we met accomplished individuals with vision and energy. The decision on whom to recommend to our readers was almost always difficult.

it's me they are talking about. No, not the "quality" candidates. The uncertain challengers. It's heart-warming to see the afterglow from last year's "Don't Elect Kendall" campaign still alive in the hearts of the TCH editors.

Of course, how they can call the likes of Jerome Delvin a quality candidate just blows me away. Not to mention that their congressional endorsee is about to take the 4th CD into utter oblivion.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The End of a Lousy Problem

It's the LouseBuster. It kills lice by drying them out. Rather like exposing a Republican to truth.

Election Night

Where will you be? I'll be Drinking Liberally in the Tri-Cities. Please note the location change from our normal haunt. We'll have candidates! Whoo-hoo.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Who woulda thunk...

...that the Republican power machine would have implode the way it has? Not even in Nancy Pelosi's wildest dreams. But it should also serve as a warning to all those who follow them into power. If you lie enough, if you cheat enough, if you are arrogant enough, if you spin enough, you will eventually be found out and it won't be pretty.

I sure hope the Democrats take a lesson, or you and I will be holding our heads in our hands a few years from now just the way Republicans are today.

Check out what John Cole has to say.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Keith Olbermann.....daaayammn!!!

This man shows us all the way we should talk. It's exquisitely refreshing to see that rare bird these days, a fearless journalist.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Dead Duck Doc

Here's something to share with the Doc Hastings supporters you may know.

Through no fault of his own (at least not any we know about) the 4th CD race has ceased to be about the merits or failings of Congressman Hastings. As Republican races across the country implode for all kinds of reasons from corruption to the general dissatisfaction with failed policies and empty promises, even Republican Party officials are focusing on damage control. They know the House is lost to them and perhaps even the Senate.

The voters in the 4th Congressional District (including Doc supporters) need to be thinking about what happens to the voice of our district in the coming Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. If that voice is a long-term Republican loyalist you can be sure he will be moved to the very back of the line when it comes to priorities. Doc's influence will be zilch, nada, beyond zero. The voters have to ask themselves if that is what they want for their district? The voters have to ask how many important things that are needed by this district are going to suffer because of Doc's imminent impotence?

Ask your friends if they are willing to sacrifice the needs of this district on the altar of loyalty to the Republican power structure? Is this the kind of cause for which they are willing to make a futile gesture?

Then ask them to consider this. Richard Wright is a truly decent man who has every desire to do the right thing. When he gets to Congress he is not going to be a party clone. He has a mind of his own and his most important goal in Congress will be to be the voice for everyone in his district. Because this race has been seen by the national Democratic organization as a backwater, down-the-list race he will not be beholden to them for his seat. Instead he will be free to serve his constituents the way they deserve to be served.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Gasket alert

AP reporter asks question: Bush (hswib) blows a gasket.

This tellingly shows the depth and quality of George's thought process. The question was about Powell's statement that detainee policies are tarnishing America's claim to the moral high ground. George makes the leap to the idea that any criticism of America morality is equivalent to supporting terrorist morality. If that is all the intellectual muscle this man can muster, no wonder we are in such deep yogurt.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

An evening with the Devil

The other evening I attended one of senatorial candidate Mike McGavick's "Open Mike" sessions. It was informative and interesting. Mr. McGavick is a smart guy. He wraps his message in principles that have broad appeal: breaking the cycle of poverty, deficit reduction, effective and available healthcare, responsible foreign policy, and so forth. But the problem lies in the tactics he proposes to implement those principles.

For poverty he proposes drug tests for welfare recipients. The consequence for a failed test? Cutting off the aid. So how does increasing poverty break the cycle of poverty? That's a bad idea.

For deficit reduction he floats the standard canard that restricting spending and reducing more taxes will automatically make government more efficient. It will also make government less effective at anything it does. Especially when spending is reduced everywhere except for corporate welfare.

Since he is a product of the insurance industry it's not the least bit surprising that his healthcare tactics are all insurance industry related. If you like your medicare prescription drug program you will love Mike's healthcare plans.

In foreign policy he give the Bush (hswib) administration a "by" on getting us into Iraq in the first place. No point in questioning how we got there in the first place. The only concern is how to pull out a "win". He has no real answer for that. Just to keep doing the same things we are doing now.

So while Mike does a great deal of talking about being an independent in his party he is really not-so-much. He has been handpicked by the Republican party to have some appeal in this deeply blue state, just enough appeal to fool the unwary.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Inspiration

Let this be inspiration for Laura's visit to the Tri-Cities on Wednesday. Let's make sure that both her and her guud buddy MacGavick know that the days of them and their kind are numbered in this country.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Cracks in the Wall

Over at Orcinus guest blogger Sara Robinson has an excellent series of posts on how to make headway with the Right Wing Authoritarian types. Great stuff for us progressives who find ourselves outnumbered in an RWA-dominated locale.

Immigration and Illegal Aliens

I think most people talking about illegal immigration are talking in the wrong direction. Instead of trying to make illegal immigration harder, I think we should make legal immigration easier. Nothing is going to stop the flood. We should expand our quotas exponentially and give legal status to all these folks. Get them on the tax rolls. Provide them equal protection under the law. Get them out of the hidden economy. Let's move from a state of denial into a process of developing productive citizens.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Say it Loud, Say it Often,

Larry Beinhart makes the point that Republicans are bad on national security. That's a campaign point that every Democratic congressional challenger should be able to take to the bank.

1. 9/11 happened on their watch.

2. George Bush and the Republicans failed to get Osama bin Laden.

3. George Bush and the Republicans gave Osama bin Laden what he wanted.

4. George Bush and the Republicans squandered America's power and prestige.

5. The Bush administration empowered Hezbollah.

6. The Bush administration radicalized Hamas.

7. Bush and the Republicans tied down our forces in Iraq while Iran and North Korea invested in nuclear technology.

8. By the way, every major European nation has had successful arrests and real trials of real, dangerous terrorists. People on the level of this group that the British just took down.

9. We have trashed the bill of rights. We have trashed the Geneva conventions. We have a president and a vice president willing to go the mat to fight for the right to torture people. We have spent a fortune on illegal wiretaps. We have spent a fortune on collecting everyone's telephone data.

Good Governance

Government like all human institutions is imperfect. The best way we have found to deal with this inherent imperfection is with systems of checks and balances. Our system of three branches of government works because when any one of the branches assumes two much power, the other two can join forces and bring limits to that power. This breaks down when any of the branches foregoes its independence in deference to one of the other branches. It behooves us as citizens to use our votes and our influence to keep the branches in balance. Whenever the balance is disrupted we must act to restore it. In today’s government all three branches have become complicit. We must not waste any time in restoring the constructive balance that needs to be there.

Regulation

We need to recognize that the marketplace is not the answer to all our distribution problems. There are some basic areas of infrastructure that work better if they are under centralized regulation. These include basic services such as utilities, roads, and healthcare. We should also recognize that the line between properly regulated activities and marketplace activities is a fluid one. Communications and transportation benefit from a regulated framework but they also benefit from the experimentation and innovation that a marketplace provides. But let us not be afraid to impose regulation where it is appropriate and relax it where it is advantageous to society at large.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Cheney Weighs In

Just in case there is any doubt that Cheney has completely lost it, he takes the occasion of Lieberman's defeat as an opportunity to claim that it helps Al Qaeda. Fool. And the invasion of Iraq wasn't the best thing that ever happened to bin Laden's cause.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Deep-sea Sediments Could Safely Store Man-made Carbon Dioxide

A study shows that it may be possible to sequester CO2 indefinitely. They also say the capacity is practically infinite.

Goo Converts Deadly Heavy Metal Into Less Threatening Nano-spheres

My local PNNL identifies a bacterium that converts soluble uranium into much less soluble uranium dioxide.

Abortion Rights

Unless we are willing to prosecute abortion providers as murderers, women seeking abortions as accessories to murder, and women who unknowingly expel fertilized eggs as guilty of manslaughter, we need to acknowledge that a fetus is different under the law than a person. Practically speaking, the key distinction for a fetus is whether it is wanted by its parents. Whether a fetus is terminated or not should be left up to the parents and government should stay out of that decision.

Detainees

As a part of our response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11 we have taken leave of our good sense in the treatment of prisoners.

Members of our government at the highest levels may deserve to be prosecuted as war criminals.

By eschewing the Geneva Convention we have forsaken any moral high ground and debased ourselves to the level of any two-bit tin-pot dictator. By doing so we have given the opposition political cover for its mistreatment of their prisoners.

We need to charge people for whom we have a case and free those for whom we don’t. And we should never, never get suckered into such behavior again.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Civil Rights

It’s time to stop limiting the civil rights of people simply because they are different than the mainstream. We can better address destructive behavior by ceasing to worry about behavior and tastes that just don’t matter that much. Differences like gender, race, national or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation just don’t matter. It hurts the fabric of our society to restrict the civil rights and protection of good people for no good reason. These civil rights include the right to vote, to hold a job, to be free from harassment, to associate together, and even to form a family unit.

Moreover we need to recognize the pathology of prejudice for what it is. Those who are afflicted with it need to be taken out of power as much as possible. The quality of civil life for everyone will be commensurately improved thereby.

Religion

It’s time to get religion out of the business of public government. Our government needs to be less moral and more pragmatic. It is the nature of religion to call for faith. But faith is no way to run a public government that affects all people. No religion has the market cornered on wisdom. We must accept that government is a human institution that is fraught with the imperfections of all human institutions. Historically these imperfections have been dealt with by building in checks-and-balances. Governing from a religious perspective is built on the illusion that some wisdom is divine in origin and not subject to restriction or question. This inevitably leads to some disaster or another. If we are going to make mistakes at least let us claim them as our own mistakes and not shift blame to the gods.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

An Unapologetic Democratic Manifesto - healthcare

We need to recognize that good health and access to medical care is a common right of every member of our society, not just those with the wherewithal to pay for medical insurance. We will better progress as a society if we can remove the shadow of medical disaster from the lives of our most vulnerable citizens. Other countries have already proven that this is not only possible but having done it they have placed themselves at an economic advantage in the global marketplace.

An Unapologetic Democratic Manifesto - environment

It’s time to face up to the fact that effects of human activity are now strong enough to affect the global climate. We need to take real steps to mitigate that. We need to behave as if failure to act now deprives subsequent generations of a future, because it does. Unless we want environmental disasters to become a way of life we need to do something to lessen our effects of our footprint on this planet. If we don’t the planet will do it for use and we like that even less than what we do ourselves.

Friday, July 28, 2006

An Unapologetic Democratic Manifesto - tax policy

The very fabric of our economy is now at risk. By turning our tax structure into a wealth-generating engine for the economically elite we have sucked the oxygen out of the middle class. In fact the burden of paying for the excesses of the Republican gravy train has been disproportionately placed upon the middle class. By relieving the tax burden of those who are the most capable of carrying it we have put ourselves on the road of becoming just another banana republic. We can best assure the economic viability of all our citizens by tempering the accumulation of wealth into too few hands. We must make our income tax much more progressive than it is now.

An Unapologetic Democratic Manifesto - the war

First of all we must say that the war in Iraq is dead wrong.

Those that supported the war gave an inept administration too much credit. The evidence was there from the beginning that the intelligence was being cooked but many refused to believe that our country’s leadership could really be that unwise. That belief has proven to be dead wrong.

Afghanistan was risky enough as a mission and remains risky even now. To divert our energies there to an even riskier effort in Iraq was asinine in the highest degree.

We must confess that our reasons for invading Iraq were insufficient. We must confess that invading Iraq with the limited diplomatic consensus at the time was ill-advised. We must confess that our mission in Iraq was short-sighted and doomed to disaster. We must admit that even the execution the stated mission was ineptly conducted.

By demonstrating the limitations of military force our world is now much less secure than before.

Because of how we went into it and how we went about prosecuting it we are may very well be forced to abandon the Iraqi people once again. Not to an abysmal dictator but to all the destructive elements within their own society.

We need to get out of Iraq and turn the remaining mission over to international authorities if at all possible. If no entity steps up to take over the mess of stabilizing that country it must be abandoned to its own devices since our continued presence merely delays the inevitable at a high cost. We can only hope that, over time, Iraq can rebuild itself as a meaningful nation or nations without our direction. But whatever happens the American people are going to pay for the sheer stupidity of this administration for a generation.

An Unapologetic Democratic Manifesto

I begin here a series of posts laying out what I think should be the action points of the Democratic party. It's been bubbling just below my level of consciousness for some time and it's time to let it out. I hope that it generates some constructive comments so it can be improved over time. Have at it!

McGavick Pretends

In this case he is pretending not to support Social Security privatization
McGavick says benefits must be guaranteed for current beneficiaries and those nearing retirement. He does not support privatization or a phasing-out of Social Security. But confidence in the system is broken. He would give younger workers the option of placing their benefits in voluntary personal accounts controlled by the federal government. This would help restore confidence in the system and ensure its solvency.
Confidence in the system is only broken for those who are intent on gutting it...like McGavick.

In this piece it is interesting to comparing the waffling answers of McGavick to the straight-forward answers of Cantwell. Can anyone trust this guy?

Gecko Sticko

Watch for this at your local store. One square meter can suspend a car with no chemical residue left on the surface after you remove it.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Abortion Debate Made Simple

If the so-called Pro-Life crowd is correct that abortion is murder then they need to be prepared to hand out maximum penalties to those who perform abortions. In some states that would mean the death penalty. Furthermore, all women who seek abortions should be prosecuted as accessories to murder. I can't imagine our society coming to the point where this is actually done.

Any Pro-Lifer that has a softer position than that is just making noise hoping to get noticed. 'Twould be better to just ignore them.

YouTube - Colbert

MSM, where is your shame?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

George Bush: War Criminal

Rosa Brooks: Did Bush commit war crimes? - Los Angeles Times:
"But here's where the rubber really hits the road. Under federal criminal law, anyone who 'commits a war crime … shall be fined … or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.' And a war crime is defined as 'any conduct … which constitutes a violation of Common Article 3 of the international conventions signed at Geneva.' In other words, with the Hamdan decision, U.S. officials found to be responsible for subjecting war on terror detainees to torture, cruel treatment or other 'outrages upon personal dignity' could face prison or even the death penalty."
That's a nasty piece of work to leave for the next Democratic president, the prosecution of his-or-her predecessor as a war criminal.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Viral Effect

Condoms win. Abstinence loses.

Where's My Google PC?

The next big thing will be virtual PC's where all of the resources are remote. You will only own sufficient hardware to run a browser.

Barack Obama on religion and politics

Obama speaks to Jim Wallis' Call to Renewal folks. 'Nuff said.
Obama's goal was different and larger. The speech worked partly because the senator speaks with easy-going confidence about his faith, weaving spiritual phrases into his speech without needing to announce them to his audience as so many of his colleagues do ("This debate about tax cuts reminds me of that verse from the Book of Hebrews …"). But more important, he doesn't recount the story of his conversion in order to establish his religious bona fides; he does it in the service of a broader argument. And he doesn't defend progressives' claim to religion; he asserts the responsibilities that fall to them as religious people. Americans are looking, Obama said, for a "deeper, fuller conversation about religion in this country." He started that conversation. A few others are joining in. It's time for everyone else to catch up.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Working the Refs

Let's get this straight. The Bush (hswib) administration has been saying for years that it was monitoring international financial transactions looking for terrorists. But when the New York Times publishes an article that describes some details about how the financial monitoring is done, all the conservative clones decry it as aiding the enemy.

But, like Paul Waldman, I think there is a much bigger threat here than the typical conservative disingenuousness. They are like a team that can not win a game by skill and execution. They can only win by what most people would call cheating. In this context they are cheating by trying to destroy the independent press. If enough people can be convinced that those who are tasked with speaking truth to power can not be trusted, they will own the game ball. If the game does not go their way they threaten to take the ball and go home.

What their cluelessness fails to see that winning a rigged game has no merit. They are not champions nor even merely competent. And isn't that just what all these shenanigans prove again and again? Their incompetence is both profound and deep. They try to carry out the kabuki performance but their incompetence just gets worse as do the consequences of it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Smokescreen

No, I'm not going to talk about immigration. There is nothing new there. The people in power have shamed all of us by asking our soldiers to sacrifice their lives for nothing. Our tax structure has been warped to favor those with money and today's debts are threatening to loom over the next generation. Officials in the highest positions are guilty of wrongdoing but are able to successfully avoid prosecution. No, I'm not putting any energy into worrying about illegal immigration.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

MSM is getting it

I'm just watching a program from CNN entitled "Dead Wrong". It reports all the lies and misrepresentations this administration (hwsib) has made to get us into war in Iraq. Finally the MSM is beginning to say what more astute observers (generally the blogosphere left has been saying for years now. Our country deserves more but its better late than never.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Welfare Does Not Breed Persistent Poverty | TPMCafe

Sweden and Norway are getting it right. Not so, the States
"But new studies, as detailed in this week's Economist magazine (subscription) show that countries with MORE spending on the poor have LESS persistent poverty than in the US.

Contrary to many Americans' self-image, there is less social mobility from generation to generation in the United States than in supposedly class-bound Europe-- and the European states like Sweden and Norway with the highest welfare spending also had the most people born in poverty becoming middle class when they grew up:"

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Monday, May 29, 2006

Jonah Goldberg Still Lame

Jonah Goldberg trots out all the tired old dogs about Gore. He is wishing to return to the days of yore when the media sucked up all that drivel. It pleases me no end that Gore is now able to show us the man he is. And that scares Jonah so much that he...simply...can't...bear...it.

Tri-City Herald Suckin on the Koolaid

In a typically saccharine piece about honoring those who have died in our country's wars the editors of our daily rag display the tainted fluid coursing through their veins by invoking the all-purpose justification for such loss, Freedom. But I'm sorry, Chris. 2500 souls sacrificed in the pointless war in Iraq with no end in sight doesn't sound like freedom to me. It's simply an egregious and just-plain-stupid abuse of power. All the justifications trumpeted by this administration for the death of your sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers have proven to be counterfeit. They have been sacrificed not to freedom but to ineptitude.

Every year since this bloodletting began I have pointed out that as the loved ones for whom these fine people have offered up the ultimate sacrifice, we have a sacred obligation. That obligation is to provide them with leadership that cherishes their dedication. Because we allowed this pack of fools to be elected, we must now share the shame.

As we have opportunity to exercise our civic duty in the days to come let us remember what happens when we don't care enough to pay attention. It isn't a matter of a few dollars wasted here or there. It is literally life and death. Let us treat it as such.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Local Politics

As every election season begins to heat up our local Democratic Party looks around for viable political candidates. And typically there are never enough to fill all the available races. As a result many races are uncontested and sometimes the candidates who do run are not as strong as we would like. Unfortunately this is a pattern that tends to be self-perpetuating. Without viable candidates to put before the public the Party appears to be ineffective. There the many worthy folks out there who could be a valuable contributors to our efforts but they do not feel empowered to identify themselves as Democrats. And without them our Party is in fact much less effective than it would otherwise be.

I don’t write this to moan and whine about the situation but rather to perhaps get people worked up enough to do something about it. Too frequently we have depended on the charisma of one candidate or another to attract people into doing the sometimes grinding work of party building. This is not a recipe for long-term success. So what do we do?

It is well-recognized that the training ground for strong candidates is local government and public service. The better track record a person has as a public servant the more likely they are to have success as a candidate. So in the current crop of budding public servants, where are the Democrats? Why does it seem that this arena is so dominated by persons of the opposition? What gets them in there? I think the answer is one of motivation. Public service and especially volunteer public service can be thankless and there has to be some payoff that makes all that grief worth the while. Typically Democrats have passions and causes that get them into the ring. I submit that the opposition has more tangible motivations, power and greed. That may be stating it a little too bluntly but I think it captures what I mean. The opposition sees government as a means to perpetuate the accumulation of wealth for themselves and their peers and as a way to make sure that the people they favor are a bit more equal than those they don’t. When their day’s work is done someone in the power network is making a bit more money than they were before or some “undesirable” type of person has become less of a threat to the social order as they see it. Power and greed work and they always have.

At a local level this can go on “under the radar” because there are just not enough watchdogs to cover the territory. Even the media gets compromised because they aspire to become a part of the power network themselves rather than the champions of those who have no power. “Well, we’ve got trouble my friend, right here in River City….” The very fact of the absence of a viable Democratic opposition to the Republican-dominated local government leads me to a conclusion that the local level is a target-rich environment. As Democrats we need to get in there and find them. Attend the meetings of your City Council and other public boards and commissions. I have no doubt that what we find there will ignite the kind of passion for justice and integrity that motivates Democrats into public service.

Santorum doesn't live here anymore

oEditors in Pittsburg point out that Little Ricky claims an empty house as his Pennsylvania residence. If I were a Pennsylvanian I would m wonder if my senator represented me in the same way, vacuous.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Catholic Doctrine Kills Embryos

It seems that church-approved birth control practice, the rhythm method, actually kills embryos. Eggs fertilized by stale sperm don't implant. Talk about yer unexpected consequences...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Adversity Breeds Sheep

It seems that people who take hard knocks early in life learn not to trust their own judgment. This makes them easy marks for someone else, anybody else, to lead them into all kinds of mischief.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Real Medical Malpractice Problem

Don't let those self-serving doctors fool you. Statistically the real malpractice litigation problem is not that too many get settlements they don't deserve. It's that not enough deserving people get awards.

Friday, May 12, 2006

31 Percent

What does a 31% approval rating mean? I recently campaigned in a local election with the platform of "I'm not qualified for the job. You would be a fool to vote for me." I got 31% of the vote. Clearly 31% of the voters don't really care or are clueless. So who is a remaining supporter of Bush (hswib)? From here it looks like the clueless and uncaring.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Confident Democrats Lay Out Agenda

Confident Democrats Lay Out Agenda:
"House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said in an interview last week that a Democratic House would launch a series of investigations of the Bush administration, beginning with the White House's first-term energy task force and probably including the use of intelligence in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. Pelosi denied Republican allegations that a Democratic House would move quickly to impeach President Bush. But, she said of the planned investigations, 'You never know where it leads to.'"

It's time to dump Doc.

Lying Is Exposed By Micro-expressions We Can't Control

A psychologist is having some success in interpreting tiny facial expressions that are quite difficult to control. It's not compared directly to a polygraph but it appears to be just as good. The obvious advantage over the polygraph is that the analysis can simply be done from video images. Or even in person with specific training. In any case the subject need not be aware that he or she is being truth-tested.

I wonder what we could learn if we took another look at critical videos of this administration's (hswib) public appearances. If their lips are moving...

Friday, May 05, 2006

Cole vs. Hitchens--Smackdown

Christopher Hitchens embarrasses himself when he makes a lame attempt to take on Juan Cole.

Comedy?

With an administration like this it's sometimes hard to tell the real life from the satire. Priceless!

An Inconvenient Truth

If you are lucky enough to be near a venue this sounds like a film to see. Note to self: talk to these people and see how one can get a local showing out here in the political hinterland.

Raising Taxes on People Who Work

Let's be clear. When we reduce taxes on the favored activities of the super rich we are actually raising taxes on people who work. The body politic needs to wake up to that fact.

"Intelligent Design" takes another hit

It's been a bit of a mystery how wings could evolve and the ID folks are quick to wade into the gap in their desperation to bolster their case. But it turns out that for a ground-dwelling biped, even a partial wing is an advantageous adaptation. You didn't have to become airborne to gain benefit from a wing.

Crossing a line

Does it bother you that the Replubican House is about to grant arrest powers to the CIA and NSA?

Kennewick Man in the News

That old guy buried down by the river may revolutionalize continent's history.

Monday, April 24, 2006

For the Common Good

Tomasky puts a spotlight on what should be at the heart of Democratic politics and policy. Republicans appeal to selfishness with tax cuts and a determined effort to destroy government's ability to interfere with the accumulation of great wealth. For them the purpose of government is steer money into their pockets. Michael reminds us of what true good government should be about.
In terms of political philosophy, this idea of citizens sacrificing for and participating in the creation of a common good has a name: civic republicanism. It’s the idea, which comes to us from sources such as Rousseau’s social contract and some of James Madison’s contributions to the Federalist Papers, that for a republic to thrive, leaders must create and nourish a civic sphere in which citizens are encouraged to think broadly about what will sustain that republic and to work together to achieve common goals.

...

The common good is common sense, and the historical time is right for it, for two reasons. First, what I’m trying to describe here is post-ideological in the best sense, a sense that could have broader appeal than what we normally think of as liberal ideology, because what’s at the core of this worldview isn’t ideology. It’s something more innately human: faith. Not religious faith. Faith in America and its potential to do good; faith that we can build a civic sphere in which engagement and deliberation lead to good and rational outcomes; and faith that citizens might once again reciprocally recognize, as they did in the era of Democratic dominance, that they will gain from these outcomes. Maintaining such a faith is extraordinarily difficult in the face of the right-wing noise machine and a conservative movement that, to put it mildly, do not engage in good-faith civic debate. Conservatism can succeed on such a cynical basis; its darker view of human nature accepts discord as a fact of life and exploits it. But for liberalism, which is grounded in a more benign view of human nature, to succeed, the most persuasive answer to bad faith, as Martin Luther King showed, is more good faith. All Americans are not Bill O’Reilly fans or Wall Street Journal editorialists. While they may not call themselves liberals, many of them -- enough of them -- are intelligent people who want to be inspired by someone to help their country.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Now Iran

From the esteemed Juan Cole:
What is really going on here is a ratcheting war of rhetoric. The Iranian hard liners are down to a popularity rating in Iran of about 15%. They are using their challenge to the Bush administration over their perfectly legal civilian nuclear energy research program as a way of enhancing their nationalist credentials in Iran.

Likewise, Bush is trying to shore up his base, which is desperately unhappy with the Iraq situation, by rattling sabres at Iran. Bush's poll numbers are so low, often in the mid-30s, that he must have lost part of his base to produce this result. Iran is a great deus ex machina for Bush. Rally around the flag yet again.

If this international game of chicken goes wrong, then the whole Middle East and much of Western Europe could go up in flames. The real threat here is not unconventional war, which Iran cannot fight for the foreseeable future. It is the spread of Iraq-style instability to more countries in the region.

Bush and Ahmadinejad could be working together toward the Perfect Storm.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Polygamy? Maybe not.

Jonathan Rauch produces a carefully reasoned analysis why allowing polygamy may not be a good thing for society in general. Historically polygamy has always tended to be polygyny and that simply removes too many females from the marriage pool.

Evolution Of 'Irreducible Complexity' Explained

Science marches forward. Myth and superstition fades back.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Healthcare Economics

The path to true healthcare cost reduction is through the government.
"The Veteran's Administration, through centralized purchasing, gets their drugs for 50-80 percent less than the private insurers participating in the new Medicare Drug Benefit. Canada gets theirs for 50 percent less. Governments are simply bigger than competing insurance companies, and they can thus exert more leverage on suppliers. And, unlike private insurers, the government doesn't have to add in a profit margin atop the price. So they can leverage a larger market and have fewer extraneous costs -- that's why countries with nationalized health systems have lower per-service prices than we do, and why we spend twice as much, per person, as the highest spending universal system. Were the American consumer really such a genius, he'd demand that his country emulate the lower-spending, higher-performing systems of Western Europe and Japan. But the American consumer is not a genius and, worse yet, he has a lot of self-interested ideologues and plutocrats convincing him that the path of wisdom and intelligence is the one that proves the ideologues right and makes the plutocrats rich. And the American consumer is a weakling, because all though he knows better, he ends up listening to them."

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

EPA gelded

We can thank the Bush (hswib) administration for bringing the work of the EPA to a halt. We can no longer depend on a Federal agency to protect our citizens from environmental risks. You better hope that your state can pick up the slack. But I'd really be worried if I lived in a red state.

Saudi nukes

After Iran we may have to deal with the Saudis.

Just Stupid

When you are trying to make a contrarian point you should make sure that you tell the truth. "Just returned" doesn't mean 7 months ago. Istanbul is not Baghdad. And you can't take a photo in a place you didn't visit. Unless you are just stupid.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

DeLay

Tom, YOU just don't get it. True Christianity is a noble and compassionate inspiration. But the "Christianity" practiced by right-wing fundamentalists actually is second-rate superstition.

The Problem of Party ID

This brief post makes two points. One, no matter how you count it the number of people who identify as Republicans is dropping. Two, how people report party identification is greatly dependent on how the question is asked.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Immigration and Illegal Aliens

Recently this has bubbled to the surface and the issue de jour. Illegal immigration has become an intractable problem. It has created a powerless underclass similar to the Jim Crow days. This is not acceptable. And further oppression of this class is not acceptable in terms of creating a solution.

The key reason illegal immigrants are here is because there are jobs here. And I don't think that American employers will be happy if this labor force were to disappear. On ABC This Week, even George Will agreed with that. These folks are here and with it becoming harder to cross the border lately, many have stayed here who would have otherwise traveled back. Their children are here and their children are US citizens.

The ultimate solution, of course, is sufficient economic development in their home country such that there are good jobs there as well as here. That development has to come from the ground up as well as the top down. Our best strategy is to let American dollars flow into Mexico, for example, in the hands of Mexican immigrant workers. That money will be the real fuel of better development there. Of course this means borders that are easier to cross in both directions.

But what kind of stick can we use to exercise some control over the potential flood? I think a reasonable control is to ask our immigrant population to some privacy and their anonymity in order to be fully protected under our laws. I think it is reasonable to have an immigrant identification and tracking system complete with fingerprints-on-file and ID cards. Protected immigrants should be required to report their whereabouts and other details about their situation on a regular basis. Employers who use illegals should be severely sanctioned. The idea is to make it so easy for an illegal immigrant to become a protected immigrant that it wouldn't be worth it to an employer to hire illegals. Indeed, employers should be encouraged to bring their existing illegal employees into the legal umbrella. Workers and families currently in the country would be fully graced into legal status.

Future immigrants would have to have an employer sponsor. In order to keep employers from exploiting the immigrants with threats of dropping sponsorship, the period of sponsorship would only be a limited time, say six months. After that time the immigrant would become a free agent: tracked but free to work with anyone they chose.

Any immigrant who was unemployed for some reasonable amount of time would be subject to temporary deportation. After a given period of time they would be welcome to come back in if they had an employer sponsor. Immigrants who fell afoul of the law would find themselves prosecuted and deported for a time oommensurate with the offence. The ultimate carrot is either permanent resident status or citizenship. An immigrant with a good record would have the option to become a citizen at which time the immigrant tracking data would be sealed with noone having access except as authorized by the individual.

This will put the coyotes out of the business of exploiting innocent people. And it will reduce the incentive to pushes otherwise law-abiding people into breaking the law.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

No Ideas

No Idea:
"'While it is a Republican refrain that Democrats criticize Bush but have no positive vision, for now the governing party also has no national platform around which lawmakers are prepared to rally.'

For five years, Republicans trashed Democrats as bereft of ideas. Now that they see Democrats up by 10 points, Republicans are rushing to claim the mantle of no ideas for themselves. Caught by surprise, Democratic consultants quickly fired back: Hey, we had no ideas first."

Abortion: saving babies or punishing women?

In jest, sort of, ampersand posts a table that calls the motives of the anti-abortion movement into question.

The Gov pays a visit.


No nonsense, git-er-done, Washington Governor Christine Greqoire pays a visit to WSU-TriCities to sign a few bills. The star of the show was the bill to establish a four-year curriculum at WSU-TC. Also signed were bills that covered water rights, aquifer protection, bio-fuels, and horse-racing.

Welcome to the Tri-Cities, Gov.

Barefoot for Peace

And another.

More Rally Pics


For some reason Blogger won't let me add multiple pics to the original post. But here's some more.

Senate G.O.P.: No Discipline for Us

By blocking the imposition of pay-as-you-go rules GOP senators demonstrate that whatever fiscal responsibility rhetoric they offer is just so much hot air.

Pew: 33%

At some point the Bush approval ratings are actually going to hit rock bottom I'm sure. But where could that bottom be? Two more years can seem like a long time.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Another Anniversary


I had the good fortune to attend a World Citizens for Peace rally this afternoon. The occasion was the anniversary of the beginning of the Bush War of Agression of course. We met in protest and pondered the current course of our country. what was nice about today's turnout was the number of people I saw whom I knew from other walks of life. There was a coworker from my place of employment. There was some fellow thespians, some friends who have been known to drink liberally, some Democracy for America colleagues, and even a few of the usual Democratic Party suspects. I guess what that really says is that I've become quite the joiner these days. There was one lady there who had sworn to go barefoot until the war in Iraq was over. She never expected to be without shoes for three long years with no end in sight.

I know some other folks attended similar rallies across the state and across the nation. Grab the comment line and tell us about your experience.

I even took a couple of pics I'll post as soon as I remember how to do it.

Update: Whew-hew. Blogger has made this picture business a lot easier than it used to be.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Debriefing Liberally

A couple of choice links here. The first is to an absolutely priceless Doc Hastings billboard. The second is to the inaugural podcast of TriCities Drinking Liberally. Did I say two links? Here's one more to the Wright For Congress campaign which happened to be the subject of our podcast.

Quote of the Day

I have to second David. It's a damn fine quote.

"Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You didn't place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

Monday, March 13, 2006

Leslie Stahl piece

Leslie Stahl did a nice piece on 60 Minutes last Sunday on how the research is progressing on the root causes of homosexuality. There is a growing body of evidence that the homosexual brain is present quite early in the growing child.

[I must note here that the homosexual-brain-denial crowd finds it particularly difficult to even conceive of this kind of discussion. For them, homosexuality is about the sex act. So any discussion of sexual orientation independent of sex acts simply does not compute. Typically these are the same people who tend to exaggerate the differences between the sexes at even a quite young age. Little boys are supposed to behave like boys and little girls like girls. To me, having gender-based behavorial expectations without recognition of a human sexual nature long before awareness of the sex act does not compute. For the purposes of the following discussion I am going simply set the homosexual-brain-denial lunacy aside.]

[It should also be noted that homosexuals are no more all alike than are heteros so allowance needs to be made for the occasional non-typical individual.]

In one study people were able to predict with significant accuracy which children would grow up to be homosexual by simply observing old home movies of them. So clearly there is something different about them even when they are quite young.

There are fraternal twins cases that disprove the idea that parental style influences sexual orientation. There are identical twin cases that disprove the idea that orientation is strickly a genetic matter. It is clearly more complex and more subtle than that. For that matter we really don't understand that much how the heterosexual orientation develops.

There are some studies that indicate an "older brother" effect in males. The more older brothers a man has, the more likely that man will be homosexual. The hypothesis is that the mother's body becomes more and more intolerant of the
"alien" male protein. With each pregnancy she generates more antibodies to them until those antibodies suppress the male hormones enough to slightly influence brain development. It needn't be much to cause an alternate cascade of development. In fact typical male homosexuals have "masculine" style of preference for promiscuity. Some of the areas of the brain are unaffected by the sexual preference brain changes.

The evidence supporting the contention that homosexuality is a choice or is curable is pretty much non-existant. It really looks like it is no more curable than left-handedness.

And it is certainly no justification for any limits on full and equal rights for homosexuals in our society.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Lost from the beginning

The war against gay marriage and gay parenting was lost from the beginning. Why? Because of a key judicial principle in action. When it comes to "the best interest of the child" the need for caring parents trumps all politics and ideologies.
"But where Nardo and social conservatives are dead wrong is just here: If in fact judges around this country are increasingly inclined to recognize the validity of same-sex parenting arrangements, it's not because they are activists, or because they're mangling a long-established tradition of family law to do so. Courts that adopt broader visions of 'parent' and 'family' aren't reading radical new rights into their state constitutions. They are doing precisely what family courts are asked to do: Make a determination about what's in the 'best interest of the child.' That standard remains the polestar for judicial decision-making in both the adoption and custody contexts. And, as it turns out, most children usually have larger and more urgent concerns than what their parents do in bed."

Friday, March 10, 2006

Friday, March 03, 2006

Exporting Democracy

Michael Kinsley is back at Slate and is poking holes in the downside of exporting democracy. Especially by the Bush (hswib) method.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Lost War

Walter Cronkite tells it like is, once again. The war on drugs is lost and has just become another political ploy.

Drug Policy Alliance

Fulfilled Prophecy

Thomas Carothers from February 2003. When people accurately predict the future they may have something on the ball. Oh, if they had only listened then!

Skewed Tax Cut

Who benefits from the extended Bush (hswib) tax cut? Let Me Tell You, Sister, it ain't you and me!

Pattern Recognition

I've really begun to notice a pattern with this administration. LinkThe operating model of this administration has proven to be
1)knowledgeable staffers warn
2)administration ignores warnings because they don't match their preconceived notions
3)disaster occurs
4)administration pleads ignorance
5)evidence of the warnings is made public.

Rinse and Repeat

The folks over at LO see the pattern too.

Email Hell

Some things are just too hard to delete.
Your Honor, may recall that in earlier filings it was represented or alluded to that certain e-mails had not been preserved in the White House. That turns out not to be true. There were some e-mails that weren't archived in the normal process but the office of the vice president or the office of administration I guess it is has been able to recover those e-mails. Gave those to special counsel I think only on February 6 and those again are going to be produced to us. We don't know what's in there. We've been led to believe it's probably not anything startling in those e-mails.

What they don't say

Gonzales is choosing his words very carefully. And the upshot is that there is domestic eavesdropping going on in ways that are as yet unrevealed.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Rep. Katherine Harris. Yes, that Katherine Harris.

Tom Lyons of the Florida Herald-Tribune:
"Let's not make this fuzzy: U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris lied.

Harris repeatedly misled journalists and the public about her conversations with defense contractor Mitchell Wade. I see no other way to look at this.

Wade, one target in a long federal investigation that is still under way, has now pleaded guilty to bribing one member of Congress and making illegal campaign contributions to two others, all to seek the kind of defense contracts that made MZM Inc. so profitable.

I wrote two columns in the past about the $34,000 in illegal campaign contributions Harris accepted -- without knowing they were illegal, it seems -- from MZM, its employees and some of their spouses.

But for months, there was a mystery: What the heck had Wade, MZM's CEO, wanted from Harris in return for that money?"

Katrina Katrina

Not only are they such liars, they lie to cover their sad, sad utter incompetence.
"'In dramatic and sometimes agonizing terms, federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees, put lives at risk in New Orleans' Superdome and overwhelm rescuers, according to confidential video footage' obtained by the AP.

Bush didn't ask a single question during the final briefing before Katrina struck on Aug. 29, but he assured soon-to-be-battered state officials: 'We are fully prepared.'"

Monday, February 27, 2006

William F. Buckley Betrays Country!

I'm looking for this headline. When Howard Dean made similar remarks two months ago, he was pilloried by a number of conservative pundits as a traitor. Somehow I don't think Buckley in the National Review is going to get equal treatment even though Buckley's remarks were a notch stronger than Dean's.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Gender Practices Inhibit Men From Being Better Dads

Male-supremacists, take that! Allowing men to be more involved with their children makes them better dads.

Stealth Jet Engines?

The same type of sound-cancelling technology that makes a luxury car quiet is getting scaled up. Are truly silent black helicopters very far away?

Natural Selection Proven

Another vindication of Darwin. Natural selection has always been suspected as the driving force in speciation. Now it's been vindicated.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Gitmo Occupants

Are the prisoners in Guantanamo really the "worst of the worst" as the administration (hswib) contends? Perhaps, and perhaps not. Given what statistics can be derived from the governments own documents there is reason to question that contention. There is anecdotal evidence that many prisoners are there just because a single informant turned them in to the Pakistanis. Later that informant himself was fingered. His original victims remain nonetheless.

And yet not a single one has had a fair and transparent hearing that demonstrates there is just cause for detaining them. All we have is the administration's (hswib) word for it. And its credibility has trended downward from the beginning.

Gregoire

Elected in a squeaker, this governor is proving to genuinely effective.

Campaign Financing That Works

Kevin Drum highlights a campaign reform plan that seems to fix many of the problems with McCain-Feingold. Unfortunately it looks like both candidates in the Maine gubernatorial race are going to do it the old-fashioned way, fat-cat financing.

The Grand Experiment Begins

And it begins in South Dakota of all places. If the SD law passes and eventually gets blessed by the new and improved Supreme Court, we will get to see once again the type of tragedies
that existed prior to Roe. Those who don't know the history are doomed to repeat it. Perhaps we will return to our senses when the current generation of women begin to pay the price.

Death Sentence

When Dilation and Extraction becomes illegal in all circumstances it will be a death sentence for the thousand or so women who have the misfortune of being pregnant with a fetus with hydrocephalus. The babies will die anyway and will take their mothers with them. Who gets to be the target of the wrongful death suits? The Supreme Court? The legislators that pass such stupid laws? Or the people that advocate them?

Hens Have Teeth!

Another arrow in the evolution quiver. Chickens have the genes to produce crocodilian teeth. Hens teeth not so rare after all.

Black Smokers as Mining Claims

A potentially rich new source of munerals could be the area around hot undersea vents.

Coral Dies

Another consequence of global warming is increasing acidification of the ocean as more and more CO2 get dissolved in the seawater. This isn't good news for coral that is already stressed by rising temperatures.

Rad Waste Technology

This is of interest to the local economy. A lower temperature alternative to the vitrification plant currently under construction may not be a bad thing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Get out of Australia, 'radical' Muslims told

A friend of mine pointed me to this. Last year Australian Treasurer Peter Costello made an interesting public statement.
Treasurer Peter Costello, seen as heir apparent to Howard, hinted that some radical clerics could be asked to leave the country if they did not accept that Australia was a secular state and its laws were made by parliament.

"If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you," he said on national television.

"I'd be saying to clerics who are teaching that there are two laws governing people in Australia, one the Australian law and another the Islamic law, that that is false."

"If you can't agree with parliamentary law, independent courts,democracy, and would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to another country which practises it, perhaps, then, that's a better option," Costello said.
Do you think this is good way to go?

The Lessons of Counterinsurgency

Buried in all the disappointing news from Iraq, there are a few things being done right. Some of our forces have the smarts and the opportunity to make a genuine difference in this troubled nation. Unfortunately it is too few for too short a time.

Weird

A new experiment has now demonstrated “quantum telecloning” – transporting a whole laser beam to two separate places.link

You read right. With quantum entanglement a laser beam has been teleported instantaneously producing two copies some distance apart.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Tortured Memo

Dissension among administration lawyers:
One of the Pentagon's top civilian lawyers repeatedly challenged the Bush administration's policy on the coercive interrogation of terror suspects, arguing that such practices violated the law, verged on torture and could ultimately expose senior officials to prosecution, a newly disclosed document shows. The lawyer, Alberto J. Mora, a political appointee who retired Dec. 31 after more than four years as general counsel of the Navy, was one of many dissenters inside the Pentagon. Senior uniformed lawyers in all the military services also objected sharply to the interrogation policy, according to internal documents declassified last year.But Mr. Mora's campaign against what he viewed as an official policy of cruel treatment, detailed in a memorandum he wrote in July 2004 and recounted in an article in the Feb. 27 issue of The New Yorker magazine, made public yesterday, underscored again how contrary views were often brushed aside in administration debates on the subject.

Warming Faster than ever

These my indeed be the provebial "interesting times" of the Chinese curse. We may have compressed 10,000 years of warming into 300 years. Brace yourselves. It looks like the long-foretold apocalyptic disaster is upon us.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

No irony here

Plame gets outed by officials at the highest level just to help bolster the weak case for the Iraq war. But if you blow the whistle on potentially illegal acts by the President you had better watch out.

Blogging at DL

In case there is any doubt about what a true loser I am, here I sit on a Valentine's evening as a sole participant at a DL session. In between sips I'm getting the blog caught up.

The Cost of Plame

This is true irony.
According to current and former intelligence officials, Plame Wilson, who worked on the clandestine side of the CIA in the Directorate of Operations as a non-official cover (NOC) officer, was part of an operation tracking distribution and acquisition of weapons of mass destruction technology to and from Iran.

Speaking under strict confidentiality, intelligence officials revealed heretofore unreported elements of Plame's work. Their accounts suggest that Plame's outing was more serious than has previously been reported and carries grave implications for U.S. national security and its ability to monitor Iran's burgeoning nuclear program.
The very same operative who was outed by Dick and Scooter was working on Iranian nukes. Not just some obscure issue, mind you. The utter incompetence is genuinely appalling.

Crystal Fusion

Recently there was news of nuclear fusion with collapsing bubbles. Now we fusion via crystals.

It makes one wonder why we didn't discover this sooner. It would seem plausible to me that as they work more and more with these techniques that something practical in energy production eventually comes around. In the meantime it certainly is a handy method of producing free neutrons.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Apologies

...to faithful readers. I have a number of posts in the queue in need of some finishing work but I haven't had the time to do that. They will get posted eventually.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Bush's Social Security Sleight of Hand

If you can't get it past Congress, do it with the budget. If there was ever any doubt that this budget is a joke, this nails it.

In Case You Were Wondering

Bush-appointed judges most conservative on record:
"Bush judicial appointees are significantly more conservative than even the very conservative voting record of jurists appointed by Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bush Sr. in the realm of civil rights and liberties, said Robert Carp, professor of political science at UH. When it comes to these decisions, the Bush team is a full 5 percentage points more conservative than even the trial judges appointed by Presidents Reagan and Bush Sr."

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Another One Bites the Dust

George Deutsch Did Not Graduate From Texas A & M University:
"At this point, while I am unaware of whether Deutsch graduated from college at all, it is clear that he did not graduate from A&M, and he may have intentionally misled people to believe that he did. The idea that NASA let a 24-year-old journalism major, with no experience in science or technology, other than writing a few articles about video games, determine what scientists were able to communicate to the public was pretty bad. The fact that he was censoring scientific information on global warming and the big bang made things more interesting, especially since he was a political appointee doing this to prevent challenges to the Bush administration’s policies. But now, finding out that he did not even graduate from Texas A&M, and may not have graduated from college at all, is absolutely outrageous. George Deutsch, as I wrote before, needs to be removed from this post immediately.

The Bush administration and the Republican Party can give lip service to science all they like, but when they show such a flagrant disregard for scientific integrity by placing someone, whose only qualification is having worked on the Bush campaign, in such an important position, everything else they say is meaningless."

The Betrayal of Valerie Wilson

Larry Johnson breaks down why Judge Tatel considered it justified to jail Miller and Cooper.

In TPMCafe:
" Regardless of whether Fitzgerald can prosecute an Intelligence Identities Protection case, this much is clear--people who work for President Bush knowingly compromised an intelligence officer's identity. What is truly shameful are the prominent Republicans who are raising funds for Libby's defense fund. They are endorsing an act of treason and excusing it for political expediency. That may not be a crime, but it is wrong."

Monday, February 06, 2006

Mary Beth Gets It

Our current bungling leadership is truly unworthy of the sacrifices made by our soldiers and their families. Mary Beth Harrell is a candidate for the Texas 31st CD.

Courtesy of Kos:
"I'm running because this Congress, with the exception of folks like Jack Murtha, has proved unworthy of their sacrifice and service.

Why isn't Congress fighting as hard for our country as my sons, and so many others' sons and daughters, are fighting for our country?

I will fight for a withdrawal strategy in Iraq that is worthy of every man and woman serving in uniform.

I will fight to hold accountable those ungrateful cynics and political hacks who had that dead soldier's mom ejected from a public meeting and jailed.

I will fight to restore integrity to our government so it is worthy of her son's love for his country - because he gave everything and so did she. It is certainly the least that we can and should do."

No Oaths

If you're an oil executive or an attorney general, truthfulness before Congress is not expected. That's why an oath is unnecessary. Perjury charges are time-wasters, anyway.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Mother of All Downing Street Memos?

Did Bush propose the creation of an incident that would justify his war? Channel 4 News in England says it has a January 31, 2003 memo that says so. It records a discussion between Bush and Blair. Some excerpts:
"President Bush to Tony Blair: 'The US was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours. If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach'

Bush: 'It was also possible that a defector could be brought out who would give a public presentation about Saddam's WMD, and there was also a small possibility that Saddam would be assassinated.'

Blair: 'A second Security Council Resolution resolution would provide an insurance policy against the unexpected and international cover, including with the Arabs.'

Bush: 'The US would put its full weight behind efforts to get another resolution and would 'twist arms' and 'even threaten'. But he had to say that if ultimately we failed, military action would follow anyway.'

Blair responds that he is: 'solidly with the President and ready to do whatever it took to disarm Saddam.'

Bush told Blair he: 'thought it unlikely that there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups.'"

A Bit of Boehner History

He was part of the Gingrich scandal.
"He did have the conversation. And he did plot with Gingrich and DeLay to obstruct the will of Ethics Committee, break House rules and to violate the terms of the punishment imposed on Gingrich."

The news media is reporting or Boehner's close ties with the Gingrich leadership. What it isn't reporting that he plotted with Gingrich and DeLay to break House rules and to circumvent the edict of the Ethics Committee.

Just Rude

What do you do when your health care provider is just an idiot?

What would be the response if it had been a Jewish patient and the physicians assistant handed out anti-Semitic literature?

Rove Perp Walk Watch

A former prosecutor thinks she has a good read on Fitzgerald's actions.

Rove's days are indeed numbered.

Murray Waas connects some more dots

In the NATIONAL JOURNAL:
Vice President Cheney and his then-Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby were personally informed in June 2003 that the CIA no longer considered credible the allegations that Saddam Hussein had attempted to procure uranium from the African nation of Niger, according to government records and interviews with current and former officials. The new CIA assessment came just as Libby and other senior administration officials were embarking on an effort to discredit an administration critic who had also been saying that the allegations were untrue.

...


"The new disclosures raise questions as to why Libby and other Bush administration officials continued their efforts to discredit Wilson -- even as they were told that claims about Iraq's having procured uranium from Niger were most likely a hoax.

The answer may lie in part with the already well-known misgivings about the CIA by Cheney, Libby, and other senior Bush administration officials. At one point during that period -- the summer of 2003 -- Libby confronted a senior intelligence analyst briefing him and the vice president and accused the CIA of willfully misleading him and the administration on Niger. Libby was said to be upset that the CIA, in his view, had routinely minimized the extent to which Iraq was pursuing weapons of mass destruction and was now prematurely attempting to distance itself from the Niger allegations."

Conscientious objection in medicine

This article in a British medical journal clearly articulates one side of the discussion.

We are accustomed in this country to Catholic-sponsored hospitals that do not perform abortions nor even discretionary sterilizations. But according to the above stated position a medical service would be obligated to perform whatever procedures it was qualified to do without regard to values independent of quality, efficiency, or equitable delivery.

What do you think?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Scientific Intelligence

The preponderance of scientific "intelligence" points toward continuing global warming and indicates that human activities are the cause for current spike. So howcum this administration (hswib) isn't as eager to take action on it as it was to act on the WMD intelligence that got us into a war in Iraq? Just asking.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Presidential signing statements

Dahlia Lithwick breaks down what the president (hswib) is doing with his signing statements. Those are the documents he attaches to the legislation he signs explaining his own peculiar interpretation of it.

It's tempting to believe that with these statements he is merely asking that the courts take his legal views into account. But President Bush never asks anything of the courts; he doesn't think he has to. His signing statements are not aimed at persuading the courts, but at reinforcing his claim that both courts and Congress are irrelevant.

A Cheny eMail Scrub

It look like we have a Rose Mary Woods in the Veep's office.
"Fitzgerald's letter says that 'we have learned that not all email of the Office of Vice President and the Executive Office of President for certain time periods in 2003 was preserved through the normal archiving process on the White House computer system.'

Anyone know anything more about this?"

Sweet!

One of the guys who lost his seat with the Delaygerrymander could very well take Delay's seat.

Update:
Josh has an interview.

Good Demonstrations and Bad Demonstrations

There is a clear indication of where we are headed as a police state in the events surrounding the Cindy Sheehan arrest last night at the SOTU. There is an ordinance that prohibits demonstrations in the Capitol building. If you stand and wave a purple finger at a SOTU address you are not arrested. But if you wear a T-shirt that says "2245 Dead. How many more?", you are arrested. Clearly administration-friendly demonstrations are allowed despite the ordinance but the full weight of the law is exercised if one is the least bit critical.

It appears that the Capitol Police now acknowledge that the arrest of Cindy and the expulsion of Beverly Young were mistakes. Just between you, me, and the fence-post I think someone gave the Police instructions to be on the lookout for T-shirts with words without even bothering to check the rules.

Got SOTU anyway

We had some real MST3K fun last night at our DL session. While I was anticipating a personal boycott of the SOTU, the management of the pub was kind enough to put it on the big-screen for us. (Props to you, Eric and Dan!) We were also blessed with more new faces, including Yousef who gave Jimmy a real earful of things to think about.

For those readers who have axes to grind over issues pertinent to the Wasshington 4th Congressional District, I invite you to click over and light up the blog we have set up for that. Washington 4th Congressional District

Monday, January 30, 2006

No SOTU for me

Since I simply can not stand to hear the man talk I haven't listened to a live SOTU since the year 2000. Since Congress has become wise to the destructive or pointless nature of this administration's (hswib) domestic initiatives, the contents of the SOTU address this year promises to be DOA anyway. So I will be found at my local pub Drinking Liberally.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Another Myth Busted

Public education is worth it.
"Do private schools do a better job of educating our kids than public schools? Lots of people think so. But a new, large-scale statistical analysis of the 2003 NAEP test results suggests that when you control for things like income, race, home environment, and so forth, the performance of private schools actually turns out to be worse or about the same as that of public schools, not better."

Cold Fusion

Has been clearly demonstrated. It may be more properly called sonofusion.

The Battle For America

has begun!

This needs to be run at every Democratic central committee, DFA, Move-on, and Drinking Liberal gathering. o-ah!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Too Bad

It's too bad that the only good ideas Bush (hswib) has he has to borrow from his opposition. The bad ideas seem to be from his supporters.

Gay rights bill passes in Legislature

Washington state takes a big step in the right direction. Just another reason I'm glad to be living here instead of back in the Hill Country.

Dems Don’t Know Jack and vice versa

A new analysis of Abramoff tribal money by a nonpartisan firm shows it’s a Republican scandal. Howard Dean is correct (again), no Abramoff money went to Democrats. It is also correct that Abramoff and the tribes is also strictly a Republican scandal. His client did give to both parties. This is also true. But when those clients went to Abramoff the money to Democrats decreased in most cases. In those cases where Democratic contributions went up, they went up even more to Republicans. The Repubs are blowing smoke as is their habit.

Ethanol Can Replace Gasoline

Recent reviews of previous studies show that corn ethanol is break-even energywise. Bio-mass ethanol would be a plus. Both are about same in greenhouse terms. And both look really good in terms of energy independence and sustainability. An unheralded feature of many new cars is that millions of cars on the road today can run on it with only minor modifications.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Unwinding the Delay Redistricting

Burnt Orange Report. One hopes that the delaygerrymander will not long survive its architect. Trial begins March 1.

Bush and the War Red Herring

Larry Johnson agrees.

War is over, I want my civil rights now.

Since the 'war on terror' allows (by his argument) the President to do anything he damn well pleases, perhaps its time to declare the war over. The war with Iraq is over. The war with Afghanistan is over. Terror is not a definable enemy. Osama bin Laden on the other hand is. I have no problems with the NSA listening in to calls from him or his identified representatives. And I expect that such things would clearly pass a FISA muster.

But the fuzzy "war-on-terror" simply gives any sitting president to much unchecked power.

The Power-Madness of King George

Jacob Weisberg:
"The final problem with Gonzales' theories of unfettered executive authority is that they, as the lawyers say, prove too much. The Article II plus AUMF justification for warrant-less spying is essentially the same one the administration has advanced to excuse torture; ignore the Geneva Conventions; and indefinitely hold even U.S. citizens without a hearing, charges, or trial. Torture and detention without due process are bad enough. But why does this all-purpose rationale not also extend to press censorship or arresting political opponents, were the president to deem such measures vital to the nation's security?"
Tellme, do you think the Repubs would sit quietly while Hillary went for warrant-free wiretaps?

Global Warming: The Plants Fight Back

Recent reports that plants contribute greenhouse gases to the atmosphere are put into perspective. Climate has been relatively stable for many thousands of years. But the warming spike is only over the last few hundred years. It still looks like humans are the responsible party.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Me and my HSA

From a physician that has one. It's a good deal for her perhaps but a lousy one for the general population.
"The question we must always ask ourselves is 'Is our country better off?' and never 'Am I personally better off?' Because the policies the Republicans pursue are designed to separate and isolate us from one another, and I don't want to live in that kind of America. An HSA-based program is a step in the direction of a crushing, polarizing, atomizing individualism the sole virtue of which is its consistency with everything else the Republican Party has done to us over the last several years."

More Screwup Details

From ABC News:
"Documents released today by Congress show that two days before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the White House received detailed damage forecasts from Homeland Security officials predicting that the city's levees might be overtopped or breached.

Yet in the days after the storm struck on Aug. 29, federal officials, including President Bush, said the levee breaches could not have been foreseen.

Embattled former FEMA Director Michael Brown said, 'I think we were all taken aback by the fact that the levees did break in so many places and caused such widespread devastation.'

Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff said, 'I will tell you that really that perfect storm of combination of catastrophes exceeded the foresight of the planners and maybe anybody's foresight.'

And on Sept. 1, Bush told 'Good Morning America': ''I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees' that flooded New Orleans.

The documents provided today by the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, however, showed that the federal agencies overseen by Brown and Chertoff had compiled damage forecasts for the White House at least 48 hours before the storm's landfall that predicted levee overtopping and breaches."
So what really happened in the runup to Katrina? Some predictions said the hurricane could be really bad. But others didn't. History was on the side of not-so-bad. Once again the admin played the odds and lost. Just like the Iraq war. Seems to be a pattern.