Saturday, June 30, 2007

Blogging the WSDCC meeting (cont)

New Rules to approve. How to elect new exec board members for 6th and 8th CD. Approved. Excused the reps to caucus and do this. Short recess.

Out of juice now. Gotta quit.

Whoo-hoo. Found a plug, back in business.

Sam Hunt, a legislator. A short talk to fill some time. Kudos to House, Senate, and special kudos to Gov. Added 38000 children to healthcare. All by 2010. Added 9700 slots for students in higher education. Like adding a new CWU. Need to elect a Dem President. Jon Stewart and others will be out of job.

6th: Anita Latch
8th: Di Irons

Resolutions Cmte
Resolutions 348 and 351 combined.

Do Pass Recommendation:
Floor asked to pull 344.
346,350 passed.
SB5726 passed leg, signed by gov. Insurance Fair Conduct Act.
Ref 67 filed to stop SB5726 by the losers.
resolution vote yes to Ref 67 because text of ref is Shall SB5726 become law.
344 passed

353 referred to another cmte (Technology cmte) referral passed

352 No Pass:
Pelz wants King Cty to have all-mail balloting. (Repubs don't want it since it will increase turnout). The King County system has been a good system for 10 years. The 2004 audit proved the system worked. Pelz says it is inappropriate for the party to weigh in right now. Motion passed to refer to election cmte.

No recommendation for 347:
Reform of Food and Drug Administration.
This resolution had no recommendation and no advocate. Proposed amendment to send it back to 37 LD. amendment adopted. referred back to 37th district.

Tabled at last meeting, 337
Motion to take off table passed.
Has to do with Ken Burns series "the War", native Americans and hispanic not shown.

Good of Order,
Pick up some door hangers.
Buy tickets for the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Wenatchee Sept 29.
A 25YO is running for office in Pullman, Nathan Weddell.
Resolutions need to be submitted with contact information so questions can be answered. The resolutions cmte is looking into this.

Blogging the WSDCC meeting (cont)

Pat Notter, DNC Rep
Spoke about the Western States DNC Caucus in SF. More Latino voters are registering as Republican these days. We have to change that.
Pat has good consultant info for candidates if they talk to her.

Eastern WA Convention report.

Election Cmte report. Much discussion on 341, handicap voters, machine voting, and auditors. Decided to break it into three separate resolutions.
Resolutions take more research than they sometimes get.

Reviewed some State party publications.
Some tools to get info distributed better.

Tech Cmte,
Talked about Vote Builder. Invited as many people as possible to get familiar with it and get to using it.

Affirm Action Cmte,
3 things accomplished.
Letter to LD and cty chairs asking for a contact for Affirm Action issues.
8/19 Tacoma, work out details of an outreach plan.
will work on executing the plan.

Rules cmte,
Delegate selection plan conditionally approved by DNC.
Just some little technical things to correct.
Refined rules on who can run for executive cmte.

Blogging the WSDCC meeting

Minutes, approved.
Financial Report, approved.

Eileen Macoll, Vice Chair's Report.
Caucus on 9th, Primary on the 19th. Caucus info will be in the mailed out ballots.
A resolution passed at the last meeting dealing with disabled voters has resulted in Secretary of State getting on the case of the Whitman County Auditor for some bad actions.

Ed Cote, DNC rep:
Some good gossip. August 10 there will be an Exec Cmte meeting in Burlington, Vt, to discuss the 50 state strategy. Ed really supports the strategy but presidential nominees don't always do the same.
What to do with the Florida early primary. Is a problem.
The West is what the South should be.
The immigration policy is a mess.

Blogging the WSDCC meeting

Dwight Pelz announcements.

Friendraisers: July 23rd. Debate Watch house parties.

BluWave Cleanup: July 28th. A little work and a big photo-op and press-op.


Blogging the WSDCC meeting

Bob Parazin welcomes the state committee.

Main point is that we need more candidates at all levels, even non-partisan races. Eastern Washington can be democratic country again. Dwight recommends that Bob run for office himself. Dogcatcher would be a good start.

Roll Call now. This will take a while.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Relativity drive

Can this really work? The idea is to use differential radiation pressure in an enclosed chamber. If so, I can see land-speeders in the future.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

New York Times on the grill

It's refreshing to see that the blogosphere (in the form or Greg Sargent) is calling the New York Times to account for its shoddy reporting on John Edwards. Word up MSM! There ain't gonna be any free rides this time.

Hastings reveals true stripes

'Doc', the lapdog, Hastings reveals that he really is a racist. The same underlying ideas that motivate racism also motivate the English-only crowd. And now the lapdog reveals that he is one of them. Not only that, as a full supporter of Bush (hswib), he reveals that he is completely out of step with Americans since only 26% of them support Bush (hswib). Yet the most telling thing about his moral bankruptcy is that he seems to have no desire to exercise any leadership. He's going to wait until everyone else works out the immigration thing so he can safely line up on the winning side. Just like he waited for everyone else to do the investigations when he headed the Ethics Committee. I bet he couldn't find the word, pro-active, with a dictionary.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Appropriate Technology Department

Wouldn't it be a better world if more people were about the business of making the things the third world actually needs.

The Idea that Is America

Hear, Hear!
If we sincerely believe that our values are genuinely universal, that it is “self-evident” that all humans have the same basic endowments and all are entitled to self-government, then we must learn much more about how other nations implement our shared values. We need to learn much more about the idea that is Japan, France, South Korea, India, South Africa, Germany, Botswana, Ghana, Brazil, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Chile, Mexico, Costa Rica, Canada, Italy, Australia and a great many other liberal democracies. Genuinely engaging the citizens of these countries in a global debate will help us see ourselves as others see us—an easy way to gain both friends and humility, not necessarily in that order.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Taliban standing and fighting

Uncharacteristically, in the Uruzgan province in southern Afghanistan, the Taliban seem to be standing and fighting and most likely winning. They usually don't hang around otherwise. The targets seem to be police stations.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Meet General Taguba

Seymour Hersh profiles a man who is what a leader should be. It's truly amazing (but it shouldn't be) how a single man's integrity can convict powers at the highest level. This is a must read because it shows another facet of the incompetence of the current regime. We should all be outraged and they should be ashamed.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


In your gut you know they are doing bad things. But when you find out how really bad it is it boggles the mind.
An internal FBI audit has found that the bureau potentially violated the law or agency rules more than 1,000 times while collecting data about domestic phone calls, e-mails and financial transactions in recent years, far more than was documented in a Justice Department report in March that ignited bipartisan congressional criticism.

Historical Context

At the dawn of the 20th Century, Afghanistan a client state of the British Empire. A series of wars between British-supported factions and Czarist Russian-supported factions ended in 1919. While the Bolsheviks consolidated power in Russia, Afghanistan was left finally in the British sphere of influence. Yet the Brits were weakened by the costs of World War I. Amanullah Khan was able to exploit that weakness to get the Brits to agree to allow Afghanistan control over its own foreign affairs as well as the domestic ones. While the country remained a player between the Russian and British giants it now played the game on its own terms and was often able to make gains from the competition.

A unique feature of country was that only the outside world saw the eastern border, the Durand Line, because it was drawn on their maps. To the Afghans, it was an unnatural boundary and simply didn't exist. The line bisected the Pashtun tribal lands and the these folks kept moved around in those areas just as they had been doing for millenia. Even India and later Pakistan tacitly recognized this reality by ceding the Northwest Frontier Province a great deal of autonomy. Given that the Pashtuns were some of the fiercest fighters on the planet and were on their own extreme turf, the cost/benefit of exercising complete control simply was not there.

Amunullah Khan overplayed his hand by trying to modernize his country too fast. He was forced to abdicate after a decade in 1929. His successor was assassinated in 1933 to be followed by Zahir Shah. Under Zahir Afghanistan saw what may be its longest period of stability for 40 years but it paid a price economically. During that time the country's infrastructure was abysmally neglected, famines killed thousands, and the non-Pashtun population was persecuted. While Zahir was out of the country getting some eye surgery in 1973 his brother-in-law took over with a bloodless coup. In 5 years he was killed by a puppet communist movement. The Russians were back in a surrogate form. In another years time, 1979, the Russians dropped all pretense and occupied the country with full military force.

Now the honors of the Great Game moved from the British to the Americans as just another theater of the Cold War. The Americans, in partnership with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, aggressively funded the mujahideen resistance that eventually gave the Russians a lesson in costs and benefits. After the Russians withdrew in 1989 they set up another surrogate government with some of the stronger warlords. That lasted about 3 years until 1992 when a key warlord decided to go his own way. From 1992 to 1996 it was warlord time with factional fighting all around.

Next, the Taliban.

Monday, June 11, 2007


The first big mistake Westerners tend to make is that they see the war in terms of cowboys-and-Indians or cops-and-robbers. There's the good guys and the bad guys. You help the good guys and kill the bad guys. An American Special Forces soldier was heard to remark that the only reason he was there and his only mission was to kill as many Taliban as possible. But who are the Taliban? Ah, if he only knew.

Coming Attractions

If all goes well this blog is going to take an Afghan turn for a while. I had the opportunity to visit with a gentleman who has made a long career out of NGO projects in Afghanistan, mostly in the Helmand valley. He knows the players there and they know him. After retirement he has maintained those relationships by frequent visits in support of his business ventures. I was enthralled to hear from someone who really knows whereof he speaks. Watch this space for the explanation of how the current Afghan policies are about to go up in flames.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Heat to Sound to Electricity

Initially schemes like this seem to be technically possible but economically impractical. The article doesn't give any numbers. But then if you are dealing with waste heat anyway maybe the input costs are not that important.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Dangers of Radiation

In the following article the real danger of smoking is revealed.

If nothing else, this should worry smokers: the radiation dose from radium and polonium found naturally in tobacco can be a thousand times more than that from the caesium-137 taken up by the leaves from the Chernobyl nuclear accident.

Constantin Papastefanou from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece measured radioactivity in tobacco leaves from across the country and calculated the average radiation dose that would be received by people smoking 30 cigarettes a day. He found that the dose from natural radionuclides was 251 microsieverts a year, compared with 0.199 from Chernobyl fallout in the leaves (Radiation Protection Dosimetry, vol 123, p 68).

Though the radiation dose from smoking was only 10 per cent of the average dose anyone receives from all natural sources, Papastefanou argues that it is an increased risk. "Many scientists believe that cancer deaths among smokers are due to the radioactive content of tobacco leaves and not to nicotine and tar," he says.

So it seems to me that if the anti-nuke people really want to get some traction they should start comparing potential exposures to cigarette smoking. I think that would put it in terms everyone understands. Living next to a nuke power plant would be like what? A whiff of second-hand smoke across a restaurant once a month?

Friday, June 01, 2007

HPV Vaccine Highly Effective, According To Large-scale Studies

If the HPV vaccine prevented cancer of the nose it would have been accepted as a reasonable preventative measure. But because certain people have an agenda that includes controlling sexual behavior, the vaccine gets stymied with opposition.
Gardasil was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year for use in females 9 to 26 years of age. While controversy has been raised about giving pre-adolescent girls a vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease, Dr. Ault argues, "young women, young girls make very good immune responses to this vaccine, so that will enhance their protection. Widespread immunization with the HPV vaccine along with continued screening will help decrease the burden of cervical cancer and other HPV-related diseases," he says.