Let it snow -- on Mars: NASA
WASHINGTON (AFP) — In an unprecedented discovery, NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander has found snow falling from clouds on Mars, scientists said Tuesday.
A laser instrument collecting data on how the atmosphere and surface interact on Mars detected snow from clouds about four kilometers (2.5 miles) above the spacecraft's landing site. The date found the snow vaporized before reaching the ground.
"Nothing like this view has ever been seen on Mars," said Jim Whiteway, of York University, Toronto, lead scientist for the Canadian-supplied Meteorological Station on Phoenix. "We'll be looking for signs that the snow may even reach the ground."
Spacecraft soil experiments also have provided dramatic evidence of past interaction between minerals and liquid water, processes that occur on Earth. Phoenix touched down in the Martian arctic on May 25.
Phoenix data also suggested the presence of calcium carbonate, the main composition of chalk, and particles that could be clay. Most carbonates and clays on Earth form only with water on hand.
"We have found carbonate," said William Boynton of the University of Arizona, lead scientist for the Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer (TEGA). "This points toward episodes of interaction with water in the past."
"We are still collecting data and have lots of analysis ahead, but we are making good progress on the big questions we set out for ourselves," said Phoenix Principal Investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson.
The Phoenix lander started digging trenches into Martian soil after touching down near the planet's north pole on May 25, revealing a white substance that scientists said was ice in June.
Now scientists want to examine whether that ice ever thaws to assess whether the environment has been favorable for life, a key aim of the mission.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
There were no knockout blows in the first presidential debate of the fall, but John McCain outpointed Barack Obama often enough to encourage his followers that he can somehow overcome the odds and deny the Democrats the victory that has seemed to be in store for them.Actually, the polls say otherwise and even Republican-leaning focus groups performed better for Obama than McCain.
It was a small thing, but I counted six times that Obama said that McCain was "absolutely right" about a point he had made. No McCain sentences began with a similar acknowledgment of his opponent's wisdom, even though the two agreed on Iran, Russia and the U.S. financial crisis far more than they disagreed.And then he cut McCain with the answer. You didn't pay attention grumpy old man. You only heard what you wanted to here. "John's right..." restatement of problem, criticism of McCain's pro-Bush toadying and then a new path... You didn't hear past "John's right..."
That suggests an imbalance in the deference quotient between the younger man and the veteran senator -- an impression reinforced by Obama's frequent glances in McCain's direction and McCain's studied indifference to his rival.Uh, no. That's not how primates work. Dominant males look at their opponent to stare them down and intimidate them. You see this in little boys on the playground before we socialize much of this behaviour out of them. He who blinks or looks away, loses. Subordinate males look away, they adopt body postures that are akimbo to their opponent while those that meet the challenger face-on must be prepared to fight.
Something that I thought every boy learned on the playground.
Look at Bill O'Reilly, there's a guy who is a master at using his primate body language to reinforce his hate-based show. He rants and raves. He points fingers. He flails his arms around. He gets right in your face. He's aggressive and doesn't hide it. These are all classic displays of an Alpha Male protecting his territory and status. Like him or not, O'Reilly is an alpha male, who functions more on a primitive, tribal-primate level instead of the more cerebral dominance of the socialized and civilized human.
Contrast that to McCain's pathetic huddled body language. That signals he's a beaten old primate and, in a fit of irony, it's mostly by Bush and the Right-Wingers. They have forced him to suffer the indignities of his loss of status by repudiating most of his political career and by prostrating himself to the people who he not only despises, but brought him down. McCain knows he's a beaten old monkey and as he huddles there, he's telling the world that he's subordinate to Obama. Not that he's the Alpha Male.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Watch the Couric interview here. Couric's questions are straightforward and responsible. Palin is mediocre, again, regurgitating talking points mechanically, not thinking. Palin's just babbling. She makes George W. Bush sound like Cicero. This is one of the more coherent passages:You reap what you sow.Couric: You've said, quote, "John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business." Other than supporting stricter regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago, can you give us any more example of his leading the charge for more oversight?I remember the morning I woke up in my college dorm room and went in to take my final exam in my Formal Logic class. I knew I was unready. Massively unready. And now I was going to be put to the ultimate test. I sat down in Dr. Sarkar's class and resolved to wing it. Of course I failed the exam and failed the class, because I had no idea what I was talking about. I wasn't a bad kid, or even a stupid kid. I was just badly unprepared, and in way over my head. Seeing the Palin interview on CBS, I thought of myself in Dr. Sarkar's exam. But see, I was a college undergraduate who had the chance to take the class again, which I did, and passed (barely). I wasn't running for vice president of the United States.
Palin: I think that the example that you just cited, with his warnings two years ago about Fannie and Freddie - that, that's paramount. That's more than a heck of a lot of other senators and representatives did for us.
Couric: But he's been in Congress for 26 years. He's been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee. And he has almost always sided with less regulation, not more.
Palin: He's also known as the maverick though, taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he's been talking about - the need to reform government.
Couric: But can you give me any other concrete examples? Because I know you've said Barack Obama is a lot of talk and no action. Can you give me any other examples in his 26 years of John McCain truly taking a stand on this?
Palin: I can give you examples of things that John McCain has done, that has shown his foresight, his pragmatism, and his leadership abilities. And that is what America needs today.
Couric: I'm just going to ask you one more time - not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.
Palin: I'll try to find you some and I'll bring them to you.
UPDATE: New Palin excerpt up, in which she discusses why having Russia next to Alaska gives her relevant foreign policy experience. I am well and truly embarrassed for her. I think she's a good woman who might well be a great governor of Alaska. But good grief, just watch this train wreck: (previously linked)
(CNN) – The time between the final answer in any presidential debate and the campaign press release declaring victory can usually best be measured in milliseconds. But John McCain’s campaign – which has been downplaying his performance at Friday’s faceoff, offering praise for opponent Barack Obama’s “eloquence” and debating skill – seems to have decided it’s never too soon to start spinning the outcome.This man just needs to quit.
The Washington Post reported Friday that the campaign was running an online ad featuring the headline: "McCain Wins Debate!" and a photo of a smiling McCain and an American flag background. Another featured a quote from McCain campaign manager Rick Davis: "McCain won the debate — hands down."
The Obama campaign quickly circulated the report – which came moments before McCain’s team confirmed he would take part in the evening debate after all.
Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.NRO Link.
No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.
Palin filibusters. She repeats words, filling space with deadwood. Cut the verbiage and there’s not much content there. Here’s but one example of many from her interview with Hannity: “Well, there is a danger in allowing some obsessive partisanship to get into the issue that we’re talking about today. And that’s something that John McCain, too, his track record, proving that he can work both sides of the aisle, he can surpass the partisanship that must be surpassed to deal with an issue like this.”
She's an *****. But what do you expect from a C student that had to carpet bag her way through five substandard colleges to barely schlep through a journalism degree... Link.
Not that Mr. 894th in his class of 900 is so much brighter and better... No wonder they think the fundamentals of the economy are strong...
Max Blumenthal writes:
On September 20 and 21, I attended services at the church Sarah Palin belonged to since she was an adolescent, the Wasilla Assembly of God. Though Palin officially left the church in 2002, she is listed on its website as “a friend,” and spoke there as recently as June 8 of this year.
I went specifically to see a pastor visiting from Kiambu, Kenya named Thomas Muthee. Muthee gained fame within Pentecostal circles by claiming that he defeated a local witch, Mama Jane, in a great spiritual battle, thus liberating his town from sin and opening its people to the spirit of Jesus.
Muthee’s mounting stardom took him to Wasilla Assembly of God in May, 2005, where he prayed over Palin and called upon Jesus to propel her into the governor’s mansion — and beyond. Muthee also implored Jesus to protect Palin from “the spirit of witchcraft.” The video archive of that startling sermon was scrubbed from Wasilla Assembly of God’s website, but now it has reappeared.
Since Palin was nominated as vice president, Wasilla Assembly of God has taken a draconian line with reporters. The church now forbids members of the media from filming, taking notes, or bringing voice recorders to its services. I was able to record Muthee’s recent sermons only by deploying an array of tiny cameras and hidden microphones. Though the quality and comprehensiveness of my footage was severely compromised by the church’s closed door policy to the press, I was not going to be deterred.
By the end of the second day of Muthee’s sermons, the church had been tipped off about me, the liberal media member in its midst. An associate pastor told me he had received an email from an anonymous source warning him about me. When I tried to interview members of the congregation in the church parking lot, my questions were either met with silence or open hostility. I strongly suspect the McCain campaign has mobilized the Wasilla Assembly of God against perceived threats from the media.
But they hardly needed encouragement. On the first night of services, Muthee implored his audience to wage “spiritual warfare” against “the enemy.” As I filmed, a nervous church staffer approached from behind and told me to put my camera away. I acceded to his demand, but as Muthee urged the church to crush “the python spirit” of the unbeliever enemies by stomping on their necks, I pulled out a smaller camera and filmed from a more discreet position. Now, church members were in deep prayer, speaking in tongues and raising their hands. Muthee exclaimed, “We come against the spirit of witchcraft! We come against the python spirits!” Then, a local pastor took the mic from Muthee and added, “We stomp on the heads of the enemy!”
Behind the Christian right’s enthusiasm for Palin’s conservative credentials is a visceral sense that that she has come from them, not to them. Some right-wing evangelicals even believe she has messianic potential. As former Christian Broadcasting Network vice president Jim Bramlett wrote, “Sarah is that standard God has raised up to stop the flood. She has the anointing.”
The Christian right’s analysis is accurate to a certain degree. While Palin may not be The One, she is certainly one of them. Her social policy views, from her rejection of scientific evidence on global warming to her opposition to publicly funding emergency contraception for rape victims, are explicitly influenced by the sectarian theology she has subscribed to since she was a teenager. There is no better evidence of the depth of Palin’s radical convictions than her startling encounter with the witch-hunter, Bishop Muthee.
Next week, I will post an exclusive video documentary here that will shed further light on Palin’s relationship with Muthee and the religious right in Alaska. Stay tuned.
Makes Jeremiah Wright look like a Saint. As for the church, they're a bunch of religious freaks.
Wow. This is amazing. A rock that, as a rock, dates almost all the way back to the beginning of our planet.
A traveler walking along the eastern bank of Hudson Bay in northern Quebec can stand on the oldest bedrock known on Earth. This ancient section of the planet's crust may be as much as 4.28 billion years old, researchers report in Friday's edition of the journal Science.It's amazing what you can learn when you have a questioning nature and can apply the tools of science to the area of interest.
While the age of the Earth itself is estimated at 4.6 billion years, most of the original surface has been crushed and recycled through tectonics, the movement of giant plates across the planet's surface.
By measuring tiny variations in the chemical composition of the Nuvvuagittuq greenstone from Hudson's Bay, researchers Jonathan O'Neil of McGill University in Montreal and Richard Carlson of the Carnegie Institution of Washington were able to date various rock samples to between 3.8 billion and 4.28 billion years ago. Previously the oldest piece of bedrock was the Acasta Gneiss in the Canadas's Northwest Territories, which is 4.03 billion years old.
Some zircon grains found in Western Australia have been dated to 4.36 billion years, but those are individual materials, not intact sections of bedrock.
Good grief, what a maroon...:
Ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up the economy– Oh, it’s got to be about job creation too. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Acting Victorian Premier Rob Hull has played down threats from the Catholic Church to withdraw hospital services in response to the state's new abortion legislation.The funny thing is that the Catholic hospitals don't perform abortions. And the law doesn't require them to either perform abortions or send the patient to someone who will perform an abortion.
Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart said Catholic hospitals disagreed with the provision in the legislation saying doctors with a conscientious objection did not have to perform abortions but must refer the patient to another doctor.
The Catholic Church of Victoria has said the conscientious objector clause of the abortion reform bill could force it to close its 15 hospitals in the state, where about one third of Victoria's babies are born.
What the laws says is that if you have a problem and object, you have to refer the patient to someone who doesn't share your conscientious objection status so the patient may get a full range of options instead you inflicting your patriarchal/religious worldview on that person through raising artificial barriers to this information. In short, it forces you to refer the patient to someone who will discuss all the options available to the patient.
But, bullies they are, the Catholic Church is going to do everything they can to enforce their medieval worldview on others. Regardless of the consequences to the patients or the populace.
Ironically, the Catholic Church will do little, if anything, to help any woman burdened by unwanted pregnancy or the limited options of single parenthood. It's the moral equivalent of being a dead-beat dad. You know, that whole "I got what I wanted, too bad for you bitch" attitude you see in that group of men.
EDIT: I'd be less bothered if the Catholic Church wasn't one of the wealthiest organizations in the world, richer than many countries yet, when you look at their charitable aid, it's minor compared to revenues and worth. It's like a millionaire dropping $100 into the collection plate once a year then thinking he's "doing the right thing."
Obama and McCain Tax Proposals
According to a new analysis by the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain are both proposing tax plans that would result in cuts for most American families. Obama's plan gives the biggest cuts to those who make the least, while McCain would give the largest cuts to the very wealthy. For the approximately 147,000 families that make up the top 0.1 percent of the income scale, the difference between the two plans is stark. While McCain offers a $269,364 tax cut, Obama would raise their taxes, on average, by $701,885 - a difference of nearly $1 million
Of course the problems are significantly different. They don't let their investment banks do stupid crap like this... And, despite the cries of "socialists" from the Right Wing because these governments answer to their people and have the temerity to take care of them, they are also willing to let mismanaged businesses fold.
Europe rejects US-style toxic asset bail-out
By Nikki Tait in Brussels, Ben Hall in Paris and Bertrand Benoit in Berlin
European finance ministers and policymakers on Monday played down the likelihood of mimicking the US plan to prop up the banking sector by acquiring troubled financial assets.
While welcoming moves to stabilise the US situation, the officials said the scale and nature of the problems in Europe were significantly different.
And they're also smart enough to learn lessons from our arrogant stupidity:
She (Germany's Chancellor) said Germany would push harder at the G7 for moves to impose tougher capital requirements on banks, to improve transparency of financial markets and to bar ratings agencies from helping to develop financial products that they rate. She also said the financial crisis would top the agenda of the European Union council meeting next month.All common sense. Sense lacking in most of America's politicians, especially those on the Republican side.
And, of course, you know who's going to whine:
The proposals have not proved universally popular and in particular the last idea has provoked an outcry from the banking sector. But Charlie McCreevy, EU internal markets commissioner, has been equally trenchant. “Doing nothing is not an option,” he recently told the Financial Times.I have to laugh over this. If these European banks didn't have the regulations they did, even more of them would be failing than already have. Fortunately for them it was not so easy to exercise rapacious greed in a combination ponzi/gambling scheme as it was for their American Investment Banking counterparts. All of whom have been rendered insolvent or substantially weakened by the crises of their own making.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
BEIJING (AFP) - China said nearly 13,000 children were in hospital Sunday after drinking toxic milk powder in a dramatic escalation of Beijing's latest safety scandal.I HATE libertarians, laissez-faire free-marketers and government-killer politicians, because this is what you get when they run wild in pursuit of profit. For any country to be healthy and productive over time, you need regulated capitalism in a responsible democracy. Lose either, and you're going have gilded ages, death, dreck and poverty.
As the World Health Organization questioned Beijing's handling of the crisis, premier Wen Jiabao appeared on state television promising to head off further incidents.
But a Hong Kong toddler also became the first child affected outside the mainland and more countries moved to bar Chinese milk products.
The health ministry said 12,892 infants were in hospital with 104 babies in serious condition, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
I was surprised to hear on the news that Sam Parnia has been awarded a big grant to find out whether the human spirit leaves the body at death – whether consciousness can survive when the brain is no longer working. He, and colleagues around the world, will place an image on a platform suspended from the ceiling of hospital wards and resuscitation areas, so that the image cannot be seen from below but could be seen if – during a near-death experience – the patient's consciousness left his body.Even before reading on, I thought this had been answered many times through the 60's, 70's and 80's when silly paranormal clap-trap was routinely funded and discredited. So why are we here? Why is this news and why is this being funded? After all, as the author says:
Since then, research has shown that something like 10% of people who come close to death and survive report some kind of memory.It would over-turn everything in science. Not just biology, neuroscience, but even the core fundamentals of physics as well.
Most seem to rush down dark tunnels towards a bright light, many seem to fly out of their body to watch events as though from above, some go on into "other worlds" where they meet dead loved ones or angels or gods, and a very few reach a barrier from which they decide to return to life. Many are changed by their experiences, often becoming less fearful of death and less materialistic. All of this is well explained by what we know about how brain function changes as it approaches death, or even when in shock or severe stress. This "dying brain hypothesis" tells us a lot about what we can expect of our own deaths.
What could not be explained – if indeed it were true – is people actually seeing things that were happening at the time when they could not possibly have seen them with their physical eyes (or heard them described, or inferred them from what they already knew).
There are many claims of this kind, but in my long decades of research into out-of-body and near-death experiences I never met any convincing evidence that this is true. There is the famous case of the woman in Seattle who apparently saw a shoe on a high ledge and her social worker later found it there. This story, like so many others, relies on the testimony of just one person, in this case the social worker. The woman herself never told anyone else and is now dead, and there is no one else who reported seeing it. The testimony of one person, however sincere, is not sufficient to overturn much of science. And this is what would be entailed.
As Dick Feynman said, "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled." It applies beyond technology. Reality must always take precedence over superstitious beliefs and wishful thinking. No matter whose toes are stepped on and how sincere and earnest the beliefs are held.
Otherwise we're living in a cargo cult society with a medieval mind-set. No matter how many shiny toasters we can buy.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
A strong role for biology may explain why people change their core beliefs so rarely.Basically, conservatives are fearful people. Afraid of death. Afraid of change. Afraid of, well, pretty much everything.
In the study, the scientists recruited 46 volunteers living in Lincoln, Nebraska, all of whom had strong political beliefs. They were asked for their opinions on a wide variety of controversial issues. All the questions concerned social or international issues, rather than economic matters.
The participants were then given two laboratory tests, to establish their physiological responses to frightening or unexpected stimuli. In the first test, they viewed 33 images, three of which were distressing or threatening: a large spider on the face of a frightened person; a dazed person with a bloody face; and maggots in an open wound. The scientists measured the electrical conductance of the skin, a standard measure of distress and arousal.
In the second test, the volunteers were subjected to a loud, unexpected noise, with scientists measuring the involuntary blinking that followed. A strong startle response is indicative of heightened fear and arousal. The results, which are published in the journal Science, revealed significant differences in both responses, which corresponded with people’s political views. Those with “markedly lower physical sensitivity to sudden noises and threatening visual images” tended to support liberal positions, while those with strong responses tended to be more conservative.
So, of course, they want the "parent" state. And that is what they want. Make no mistake about it. For all the "stand on your feet," etc. crap that comes out of their mouths, as soon as things go bad they want Big Daddy Government to take care of them.
One hit wonders. But a great one-hit.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Report: Satellite images show ethnic cleansing source of reduced Iraq violenceThe militia's fought. Sadr and the other Shites pretty much won. The Sunnis retreated to walled enclaves. A cease fire ensues. Then, a day-late, a dollar-short, the "cavalry arrives" to "save the day" and unearned credit is taken.
Published: Friday September 19, 2008
A study of the Pentagon's satellite imagery concludes that ethnic cleansing -- not last year's surge of U.S. military forces -- is the main factor in the reduction of violence in Iraq.
The report's conclusion about the surge's ineffectiveness are supported by many Iraq experts and international organizations who credit a population shift with the decline of sectarian violence, especially in Baghdad, Reuters reported.
Conducted by the University of California, the study analyzed the use of nighttime light across Baghdad and how it changed before, during and after the surge. It's findings show only some neighborhoods have higher levels of output, suggesting the others had been ethnically cleansed before the surge.
"By the launch of the surge, many of the targets of conflict had either been killed or fled the country, and they turned off the lights when they left," geography professor John Agnew of the University of California Los Angeles, who led the study, said in a statement.
"Essentially, our interpretation is that violence has declined in Baghdad because of intercommunal violence that reached a climax as the surge was beginning," said Agnew, who studies ethnic conflict.
In other words, ethnic violence did the job before American soldiers got the chance.
Sectarian violence between Baghdad's neighborhoods has been documented by an independent commission that correlates with much of the report's findings.
Bush plan: $700 Billion for bad mortgagesUnregulated capitalism doesn't work. It has never "worked" in that "working" includes a healthy economy that is stable in the long-term and provides for a solid middle-class (the back-bone of any stable economy).
Published: Saturday September 20, 2008
By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration is asking Congress to let the government buy $700 billion in toxic mortgages in the largest financial bailout since the Great Depression, according to a draft of the plan obtained Saturday by The Associated Press.
The plan would give the government broad power to buy the bad debt of any U.S. financial institution for the next two years. It would raise the statutory limit on the national debt from $10.6 trillion to $11.3 trillion to make room for the massive rescue. The proposal does not specify what the government would get in return from financial companies for the federal assistance.
And if anyone thinks it's going to end here... Well, let me see about flipping you some "prime" Florida real-estate...
It is also true that despite the increasingly tough stance of US regulators, the financial crisis has probably already added at most $200bn-$300bn to net debt, taking into account the likely losses on nationalising the mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the costs of the $29bn March bail-out of investment bank Bear Stearns, the potential fallout from the various junk collateral the Federal Reserve has taken on to its balance sheet (ed -- some estimates push $65 billion) in the last few months, and finally, Wednesday’s $85bn bail-out of the insurance giant AIG.And there is a lot more junk in the economy. Morgan Stanley has problems. Some other finance houses have problems. Washington Mutual may collapse.
Were the financial crisis to end today, the costs would be painful but manageable, roughly equivalent to the cost of another year in Iraq. Unfortunately, however, the financial crisis is far from over, and it is hard to imagine how the US government is going to succeed in creating a firewall against further contagion without spending five to 10 times more than it has already, that is, an amount closer to $1,000bn to $2,000bn.This will, eventually, lead to consequences. With this huge debt, plus the debt of the war, the Federal Reserve will have to ratchet up inflation or we're going to suffer a prolonged recession/minimal growth period that could easily last a decade.
Hopefully we'll avoid hyperinflation like the banana republics. But I don't dismiss it, either.
Let us hope the US political and regulatory response continues to inspire this optimism. Otherwise, sharply rising interest rates and a rapidly declining dollar could put the US in a bind that many emerging markets are all too familiar with.Funny thing is the cause and current crises, as well as possible future consequences, were taught in basic economics. There are no new or complex concepts in the crises from which we're suffering. This was, from the beginning, a preventable, avoidable issue that has been amply illustrated in plain-old freshman economics textbooks. Simply put, unregulated capitalism manages for short-term rewards over long-term health and without checks and balances through independent boards (they're long gone, they're crony boards now) and government oversight, the captains of industry will burn everything to the ground to fill their coffers.
Kenneth Rogoff is professor of economics at Harvard University and former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund
Source: Financial Times
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Poll shows support for torture among Southern evangelicalsI'm not surprised.
WASHINGTON — A new poll finds that nearly six in 10 white Southern evangelicals believe torture is justified, but their views can shift when they consider the Christian principle of the golden rule.
The poll released Thursday, commissioned by Faith in Public Life and Mercer University, found that 57% of respondents said torture can be often or sometimes justified to gain important information from suspected terrorists. Thirty-eight percent said it was never or rarely justified.
OTOH, I read a poll last year that said 82% of atheists were against torture.
And we're supposed to be the "immoral" ones. And up is down, right is left, and war makes peace.
Peralta was shot several times in the face and body during a house-to-house search in Fallujah on Nov. 15, 2004, during some of the fiercest fighting of the war.Dobbs, OTOH, would be more than happy to champion this... If the Marine were white. If he could, somehow, twist it into his racist screed against Mexicans and other minorities. But it's not. And we'll not hear a word about it.
According to a report by a Marine combat photographer who witnessed the act, Peralta lay wounded on the floor of a house and grabbed a grenade that had been lobbed by an insurgent. He absorbed the blast with his body, dying instantly.
In 2005, Natonski, then-commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, ordered an investigation to determine the source of a bullet fragment recovered from Peralta's body.
"Following multiple and exhaustive reviews, the evidence supports the finding that Peralta was likely hit by 'friendly fire,'" the Marine Corps said Wednesday in a press release. "This finding had no bearing on the decision to award the Navy Cross medal."
Bush cited Peralta's heroism in a Memorial Day speech in 2005, saying the Marine "understood that America faces dangerous enemies, and he knew the sacrifices required to defeat them."
Peralta, who was assigned to Hawaii's 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, moved to San Diego from Tijuana as a teenager. He was 25.
That wouldn't work for his message of hate. Don't talk about exploited people who are working in dangerous conditions in substandard meat-processing plants. But enjoy your steaks at a price far cheaper than they'd be if those "dirty Mexicans" weren't taking those shit-hole jobs. Same goes for the entire agribusiness industry, so much of it is completely dependent on exploiting emigrant labor.
Talk about the occasional criminal. Ignore that the crime rate from illegal immigrants is lower than born citizens. (Let's face it, if you're here to WORK and get be deported at any second, the last thing you want to do is to draw attention to yourself.)
But that's all right Lou, you don't have to worry about it. Now that you and your mouth-breathing idiots are getting what they want, the big agribusiness corporations are moving their production to Mexico:
Western Growers, an association representing farmers in California and Arizona, conducted an informal telephone survey of its members in the spring. Twelve large agribusinesses that acknowledged having operations in Mexico reported a total of 11,000 workers here.That's 11,000 Mexicans not spending their money renting houses from Americans, not buying groceries from Americans, not buying American cars, goods or services. And, despite your rhetoric, not paying taxes (the majority actually do pay taxes, not all, but the majority) including into Social Security which, ironically, they're required to pay in to, but cannot get money back from.
All so you can have a "white" America.
The entire financial system is practically collapsing and they're lamenting the possibility of more regulation. I don't think the sports/referee metaphor is perfect, but it's probably good enough. People who prattle on about "the free market" are usually too stupid to have a clue how complicated and pervasive the "rules" had to be to to get a well-functioning modern market system: sophisticated concepts of contracts and enforcement, property rights, legal entities, proper accounting, bankruptcy, limited liability, etc... etc..., did not descend from the heavens but were, in fact, created.I've certainly harped about it. The absolute blindness of the "free marketers" when it comes to how and why the markets function. Simply put, without someone to keep them honest and above board, the sociopathic elements that tend to be cut-throat enough to rise to the top, will cut every-one's throat as they seek to enrich themselves.
Our only protection from these people are laws and the willingness to enforce them. Something we can no longer get from the Republicans and, sadly, even many of the Democrats.
I'm sure in other places, too.
It's not that we don't deserve the contempt, however. We have deservedly fallen in the eyes of the world as we nominate mouth-breathing creo-tards like Sarah Palin for VP and creationist wackaloons pack school boards so they can teach crazy fantasies about the origins of life and the universe.
The enlightenment, at least in America, is over. Learn to speak Mandarin and move to China if you want technical progress.
Monday, September 15, 2008
After being drug from the lake, a mob gathered around McCain, spit on him, kicked him and stripped him of his clothing. He was bayoneted in his left foot and his shoulder crushed by a rifle butt. He was then transported to the Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the Hanoi Hilton.Let's sum it up:
After being periodically slapped around for "three or four days" by his captors who wanted military information, McCain called for an officer on his fourth day of captivity. He told the officer, "O.K., I'll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital." -U.S. News and World Report, May 14, 1973 article written by former POW John McCain.
"Demands for military information were accompanied by threats to terminate my medical treatment if I [McCain] did not cooperate. Eventually, I gave them my ship's name and squadron number, and confirmed that my target had been the power plant." Page 193-194, Faith of My Fathers by John McCain.
When the communist learned that McCain's father was Admiral John S. McCain, Jr., the soon-to-be commander of all U.S. Forces in the Pacific, he was rushed to Gai Lam military hospital (U.S. government documents), a medical facility normally unavailable for U.S. POWs.
The communist Vietnamese figured, because POW McCain's father was of such high military rank, that he was of royalty or the governing circle. Thereafter the communist bragged that they had captured "the crown prince."
For 23 combat missions (an estimated 20 hours over enemy territory), the U.S. Navy awarded McCain a Silver Star, a Legion of Merit for Valor, a Distinguished Flying Cross, three Bronze Stars, two Commendation medals plus two Purple Hearts and a dozen service medals.
"McCain had roughly 20 hours in combat," explains Bill Bell, a veteran of Vietnam and former chief of the U.S. Office for POW/MIA Affairs -- the first official U.S. representative in Vietnam since the 1973 fall of Saigon. "Since McCain got 28 medals," Bell continues, "that equals out to about a medal-and-a-half for each hour he spent in combat. There were infantry guys -- grunts on the ground -- who had more than 7,000 hours in combat and I can tell you that there were times and situations where I'm sure a prison cell would have looked pretty good to them by comparison. The question really is how many guys got that number of medals for not being shot down."
Before his "war hero by being shot down" he was a lousy pilot (and crappy student), but the son and grandson of famous Admirals. He got moved to unearned opportunities despite being a poor pilot because of this. He crashed four planes, two definitely his fault, two not-so-much, before being assigned to a combat role in Vietnam.
Then he had 20 hours of combat flying (hardly anything by Vietnam standards) and got shot down. He got beaten up, but it's hardly anything compared to what we've done to the people in Gitmo so I just don't think much of his stories of "torture" anymore.
Yet he got a silver star. For much less than Kerry did.
Why isn't he being swift-boated? Clearly he's a lying sack of crap and didn't deserve all those medals. Medals that, unlike Kerry, there is a good reason to believe he didn't earn.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
... is the Republican offering of this "humorous" offering showing us Barak Obama as a Muslim. I'm thinking, hey, pretty good, racist, but pretty good. After all, despite Obama being bashed for his Christian, "America Hating" preacher we all "know" (thanks to our right-wing, rumor-spreading freaks, err... "patriotic citizens") he's a third-rail Muslim getting ready to have sex with all our white, christian wives...
I'm thinking though, if we're going to "make humerous money," how about this one:
I know it's not as exciting. After all, the Savings and Loan crises, of which McCain was a prime mover in an attempted cover up of Charles Keating, only cost taxpayers $125 billion in the 1980's. In inflation adjusted dollars... About $280 billion...
Hey, thinking about it, it's a bargain compared to Bush's multi-trillion-dollar war...
Saturday, September 13, 2008
McCain has been in Congress for more than a quarter-century; he’s bound to shift now and then on various controversies. But therein lies the point — McCain was consistent on most of these issues, right up until he started running for president, at which point he conveniently abandoned literally dozens of positions he used to hold. The problem isn’t just the incessant flip-flops — though that’s part of it — it’s more about the shameless pandering and hollow convictions behind the incessant flip-flops. That the media still perceives McCain as some kind of “straight talker” who refuses to sway with the political winds makes this all the more glaring.Say anything, indeed.
Here’s the list.
National Security Policy
1. McCain thought Bush’s warrantless-wiretap program circumvented the law; now he believes the opposite.
2. McCain insisted that everyone, even “terrible killers,” “the worst kind of scum of humanity,” and detainees at Guantanamo Bay, “deserve to have some adjudication of their cases,” even if that means “releasing some of them.” McCain now believes the opposite.
3. He opposed indefinite detention of terrorist suspects. When the Supreme Court reached the same conclusion, he called it “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.”
4. In February 2008, McCain reversed course on prohibiting waterboarding.
5. McCain was for closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay before he was against it.
6. When Barack Obama talked about going after terrorists in Pakistani mountains with predators, McCain criticized him for it. He’s since come to the opposite conclusion.
7. McCain was for kicking Russia out of the G8 before he was against it. Now, he’s for it again.
8. McCain supported moving “towards normalization of relations” with Cuba. Now he believes the opposite.
9. McCain believed the U.S. should engage in diplomacy with Hamas. Now he believes the opposite.
10. McCain believed the U.S. should engage in diplomacy with Syria. Now he believes the opposite.
11. McCain is both for and against a “rogue state rollback” as a focus of his foreign policy vision.
12. McCain used to champion the Law of the Sea convention, even volunteering to testify on the treaty’s behalf before a Senate committee. Now he opposes it.
13. McCain was against divestment from South Africa before he was for it.
14. McCain recently claimed that he was the “greatest critic” of Rumsfeld’s failed Iraq policy. In December 2003, McCain praised the same strategy as “a mission accomplished.” In March 2004, he said, “I’m confident we’re on the right course.” In December 2005, he said, “Overall, I think a year from now, we will have made a fair amount of progress if we stay the course.”
15. McCain has changed his mind about a long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq on multiple occasions, concluding, on multiple occasions, that a Korea-like presence is both a good and a bad idea.
16. McCain was against additional U.S. forces in Afghanistan before he was for it.
17. McCain said before the war in Iraq, “We will win this conflict. We will win it easily.” Four years later, McCain said he knew all along that the war in Iraq war was “probably going to be long and hard and tough.”
18. McCain has repeatedly said it’s a dangerous mistake to tell the “enemy” when U.S. troops would be out of Iraq. In May, McCain announced that most American troops would be home from Iraq by 2013.
19. McCain was against expanding the GI Bill before he was for it.
20. McCain staunchly opposed Obama’s Iraq withdrawal timetable, and even blasted Mitt Romney for having referenced the word during the GOP primaries. In July, after Iraqi officials endorsed Obama’s policy, McCain said a 16-month calendar sounds like “a pretty good timetable.”
21. McCain defended “privatizing” Social Security. Now he says he’s against privatization (though he actually still supports it.)
22. On Social Security, McCain said he would not, under any circumstances, raise taxes. Soon after, asked about a possible increase in the payroll tax, McCain said there’s “nothing that’s off the table.”
23. McCain wanted to change the Republican Party platform to protect abortion rights in cases of rape and incest. Now he doesn’t.
24. McCain supported storing spent nuclear fuel at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Now he believes the opposite.
25. He argued the NRA should not have a role in the Republican Party’s policy making. Now he believes the opposite.
26. In 1998, he championed raising cigarette taxes to fund programs to cut underage smoking, insisting that it would prevent illnesses and provide resources for public health programs. Now, McCain opposes a $0.61-per-pack tax increase, won’t commit to supporting a regulation bill he’s co-sponsoring, and has hired Philip Morris’ former lobbyist as his senior campaign adviser.
27. McCain is both for and against earmarks for Arizona.
28. McCain’s first mortgage plan was premised on the notion that homeowners facing foreclosure shouldn’t be “rewarded” for acting “irresponsibly.” His second mortgage plan took largely the opposite position.
29. McCain went from saying gay marriage should be allowed, to saying gay marriage shouldn’t be allowed.
30. McCain opposed a holiday to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., before he supported it.
31. McCain was anti-ethanol. Now he’s pro-ethanol.
32. McCain was both for and against state promotion of the Confederate flag.
33. In 2005, McCain endorsed intelligent design creationism, a year later he said the opposite, and a few months after that, he was both for and against creationism at the same time.
34. And on gay adoption, McCain initially said he’d rather let orphans go without families, then his campaign reversed course, and soon after, McCain reversed back.
35. In the Senate, McCain opposed a variety of measures on equal pay for women, and endorsed the Supreme Court’s Ledbetter decision. In July, however, McCain said, “I’m committed to making sure that there’s equal pay for equal work. That … is my record and you can count on it.”
36. McCain was against fully funding the No Child Left Behind Act before he was for it.
37. McCain was for affirmative action before he was against it.
38. McCain said the Colorado River compact will “obviously” need to be “renegotiated.” Six days later, McCain said, “Let me be clear that I do not advocate renegotiation of the compact.”
39. McCain was against Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy before he was for them.
40. John McCain initially argued that economics is not an area of expertise for him, saying, “I’m going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues; I still need to be educated,” and “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should.” He now falsely denies ever having made these remarks and insists that he has a “very strong” understanding of economics.
41. McCain vowed, if elected, to balance the federal budget by the end of his first term. Soon after, he decided he would no longer even try to reach that goal. And soon after that, McCain abandoned his second position and went back to his first.
42. McCain said in 2005 that he opposed the tax cuts because they were “too tilted to the wealthy.” By 2007, he denied ever having said this, and falsely argued that he opposed the cuts because of increased government spending.
43. McCain thought the estate tax was perfectly fair. Now he believes the opposite.
44. McCain pledged in February 2008 that he would not, under any circumstances, raise taxes. Specifically, McCain was asked if he is a “‘read my lips’ candidate, no new taxes, no matter what?” referring to George H.W. Bush’s 1988 pledge. “No new taxes,” McCain responded. Two weeks later, McCain said, “I’m not making a ‘read my lips’ statement, in that I will not raise taxes.”
45. McCain has changed his entire economic worldview on multiple occasions.
46. McCain believes Americans are both better and worse off economically than they were before Bush took office.
47. McCain was against massive government bailouts of “big banks” that “act irresponsibly.” He then announced his support for a massive government bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
48. McCain supported the moratorium on coastal drilling ; now he’s against it.
49. McCain recently announced his strong opposition to a windfall-tax on oil company profits. Three weeks earlier, he was perfectly comfortable with the idea.
50. McCain endorsed a cap-and-trade policy with a mandatory emissions cap. In mid-June, McCain announced he wants the caps to voluntary.
51. McCain explained his belief that a temporary suspension of the federal gas tax would provide an immediate economic stimulus. Shortly thereafter, he argued the exact opposite.
52. McCain supported the Lieberman/Warner legislation to combat global warming. Now he doesn’t.
53. McCain was for national auto emissions standards before he was against them.
54. McCain was a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, which would grant legal status to illegal immigrants’ kids who graduate from high school. In 2007, he announced his opposition to the bill. In 2008, McCain switched back.
55. On immigration policy in general, McCain announced in February 2008 that he would vote against his own bill.
56. In April, McCain promised voters that he would secure the borders “before proceeding to other reform measures.” Two months later, he abandoned his public pledge, pretended that he’d never made the promise in the first place, and vowed that a comprehensive immigration reform policy has always been, and would always be, his “top priority.”
Judicial Policy and the Rule of Law
57. McCain said he would “not impose a litmus test on any nominee.” He used to promise the opposite.
58. McCain’s position was that the telecoms should be forced to explain their role in the administration’s warrantless surveillance program as a condition for retroactive immunity. He used to believe the opposite.
59. McCain went from saying he would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade to saying the exact opposite.
60. In June, McCain rejected the idea of a trial for Osama bin Laden, and thought Obama’s reference to Nuremberg was a misread of history. A month later, McCain argued the exact opposite position.
61. In June, McCain described the Supreme Court’s decision in Boumediene v. Bush was “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.” In August, he reversed course.
Campaign, Ethics, and Lobbying Reform
62. McCain supported his own lobbying-reform legislation from 1997. Now he doesn’t.
63. In 2006, McCain sponsored legislation to require grassroots lobbying coalitions to reveal their financial donors. In 2007, after receiving “feedback” on the proposal, McCain told far-right activist groups that he opposes his own measure.
64. McCain supported a campaign-finance bill, which bore his name, on strengthening the public-financing system. In June 2007, he abandoned his own legislation.
65. In May 2008, McCain approved a ban on lobbyists working for his campaign. In July 2008, his campaign reversed course and said lobbyists could work for his campaign.
Politics and Associations
66. McCain wanted political support from radical televangelist John Hagee. Now he doesn’t. (He also believes his endorsement from Hagee was both a good and bad idea.)
67. McCain wanted political support from radical televangelist Rod Parsley. Now he doesn’t.
68. McCain says he considered and did not consider joining John Kerry’s Democratic ticket in 2004.
69. McCain is both for and against attacking Barack Obama over his former pastor at his former church.
70. McCain criticized TV preacher Jerry Falwell as “an agent of intolerance” in 2002, but then decided to cozy up to the man who said Americans “deserved” the 9/11 attacks.
71. In 2000, McCain accused Texas businessmen Sam and Charles Wyly of being corrupt, spending “dirty money” to help finance Bush’s presidential campaign. McCain not only filed a complaint against the Wylys for allegedly violating campaign finance law, he also lashed out at them publicly. In April, McCain reached out to the Wylys for support.
72. McCain was against presidential candidates campaigning at Bob Jones University before he was for it.
73. McCain decided in 2000 that he didn’t want anything to do with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, believing he “would taint the image of the ‘Straight Talk Express.’” Kissinger is now the Honorary Co-Chair for his presidential campaign in New York.
74. McCain believed powerful right-wing activist/lobbyist Grover Norquist was “corrupt, a shill for dictators, and (with just a dose of sarcasm) Jack Abramoff’s gay lover.” McCain now considers Norquist a key political ally.
75. McCain was for presidential candidates giving speeches in foreign countries before he was against it.
76. McCain has been both for and against considering a pro-choice running mate for the Republican presidential ticket.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Seeing that I was going to save a lot of money with the new unit, I call up NES to lower my monthly "budget" payment (EPP). (By which I pay the same exact amount each month and it's reconciled at year end to actual.) I wasn't asking a lot. I just wanted to go from $170 to $150 and check the progress to get get a better handle to a final payment number.
So, I launch into my spiel: I explain how we had to use temporary, inefficient room heaters because our gas manifold cracked on our old system which, naturally, jumped our electrical cost. I explained how our old unit was improperly installed and leaked like a sieve. I explained how the new unit was new and 17 SEER while the old one was so grossly inefficient it was probably down to 3 SEER from 6 SEER when it was made.
No problem says the helpful lady on the phone.
Next month, I get a bill and it's $170. Hmmmm.... I call back up. I explain this all again. This lady isn't so nice. Pretty much lets me know that she doesn't care and that NES policy is that they only INCREASE the monthly amount and won't lower the amount.
So, can I get off the equal payment plan?
Yes says the unkind lady.
Take me off says I. So she does with a bit of a 'huff' in her voice and manner I interpreted as "sucker, you'll be sorry."
In July I used one-half the total energy I did a year ago. July last year and July this year were close to identical in Degree days. My bill was $138.40, not only under the $170 for the EPP, but under one-half the $278.38 I would have paid last year (with the old junk system) had I NOT been on the EPP.
August is even better. It's actually a bit cooler. My bill is $125.90. Even if it had been as brutal as last year's August, one of the worst in a long time, my bill would have been $186.43, barely over the $170.00 a month I was paying. (Note, with the old unit, we actually didn't cool parts of the house and had the temperature up higher. We're not saving the full amount because we're actually using the whole house, not just half of it like we used to. (Got to love these old 1920 houses... Until you have to heat or cool them, that is....) Now were a LOT more comfortable and saving money.)
Obviously I think I made the right call. Both with the new unit that has dramatically reduced the heating/cooling aspect of our energy consumption, dramatically increased our comfort and by getting off the dysfunctional EPP NES wouldn't adjust.
What I don't get is why someone, such as myself, who understands what's going on and had done the math (and explained it) while otherwise demonstrating a solid understanding of the prospective changes; and, consequently, wants to slowly reduce the payments over time can't get it done. And when I ask that rhetorical question, what I really mean is: who gives a crap if I get it right? Why should NES care?
If I'm wrong and don't pay at the end, they'll just cut me off until I do. It's not like I'm going to somehow break their monopoly on electricity. There is no competition.
So, really, they should let me go to hell in my own way. It's part of adult living. If I screw up, I have to live with the consequences because I sure can't live without power. And if I'm right, then NES doesn't have to cut me a big, fat refund check at the end of the year like they did once when my power consumption changed dramatically for about a year and I was over-paying $30 a month.
Really, is it too much to ask? Just let me be an adult. That's all I'm asking. Because, really, I've done a pretty damn good job at being an adult since I was a child.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
Palin’s name is listed on 2003 incorporation papers of the “Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc.,” a 527 group that could raise unlimited funds from corporate donors. The group was designed to serve as a political boot camp for Republican women in the state. She served as one of three directors until June 2005, when her name was replaced on state filings.
Palin’s relationship with Alaska’s senior senator may be one of the more complicated aspects of her new position as Sen. John McCain’s running mate; Stevens was indicted in July 2008 on seven counts of corruption.
Palin, an anti-corruption crusader in Alaska, had called on Stevens to be open about the issues behind the investigation. But she also held a joint news conference with him in July, before he was indicted, to make clear she had not abandoned him politically.
Stevens had been helpful to Palin during her run for governor, swooping in with a last moment endorsement. And the two filmed a campaign commercial together to highlight Stevens’s endorsement of Palin during the 2006 race.
Shortly after Palin was announced as McCain’s vice presidential pick, the ad was removed from her gubernatorial campaign web site. It remains available on YouTube.
Also of note, Palin was part of the Steven's earmark crowd. The Bridge to Nowhere and other pork-barrel projects. I suspect she's as corrupt as the rest of the Alaskan Republican party.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
For two days, the chorus from Republicans on TV news and in the halls of the convention has been resounding: Back off and let the Palin family be. "That's out of bounds," said Minnesota's Republican governor, Tim Pawlenty. "There's no need to be intrusive and pry into that."And, of course, Obama says the same thing. You know, because losing in elections by appearing weak and indecisive is a Democratic Party hallmakr and he's going to stay the course...
Let's be clear, whether it's Cheney exploiting his lesbian daughter, Romney and his five boys or Palin doing this:
Sarah Palin's pregnant, unmarried 17-year-old daughter and probable future son-in-law stood in a nationally televised, politically packaged airport receiving line to meet and greet the Republican candidate for president.The Republicans are going to exploit Palin's kids to their benefit. It's what they do in order to prove they're still nominally human.
The extremely cute and bubbly Piper Palin, 7, made her debut on her mother's behalf, appearing in a video on John McCain's daughter's blog. "Vote for my mommy and John McCain," she said, giggling as Meghan McCain grinned.
Bristol Palin and her 18-year-old boyfriend, Levi Johnston, sat and held hands as they watched the Alaska governor deliver an acceptance speech that, in its opening minutes, focused heavily on her family and children. Later, the family — including Johnston — ascended the stage, basked in an extended ovation and waved.
The Democrats, at least officially, are stupid and are going to let them get away with this shameless positive exploitation that will be a major part of the campaign directed toward the evangelical right. I think it's wrong, and immoral, to buy into the Republican whine - leave these kids alone so we can exploit them as we see fit - when the one daughter is PREGNANT and yet her mother opposed sex education and refused to help pregnant teen mothers by vetoing funding for transition houses that would, ultimately, help them get off welfare and be productive parents.
The gross hypocrisy and shameless exploitation need to be campaign issues. See these people for what they are, not what they pretend to be.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Playing, And Even Watching, Sports Improves Brain FunctionNow if they could just find a way to have it impact, oh, important things... Like social justice, science, politics, enlightening the general populace about the dark-age mentality that permeates our society, or that we're living in a country that our founding fathers might just rebel against...
ScienceDaily (Sep. 3, 2008) — Being an athlete or merely a fan improves language skills when it comes to discussing their sport because parts of the brain usually involved in playing sports are instead used to understand sport language, new research at the University of Chicago shows.
The research was conducted on hockey players, fans, and people who'd never seen or played the game. It shows, for the first time, that a region of the brain usually associated with planning and controlling actions is activated when players and fans listen to conversations about their sport. The brain boost helps athletes and fans understanding of information about their sport, even though at the time when people are listening to this sport language they have no intention to act.
The rest is here.
BTW, that's Charlie Kruger, a long-time 49er defensive tackle and the last defensive lineman in the NFL to wear the "two-bar" QB face mask. He was an outstanding lineman on a lot of poor teams and never got the respect he deserved.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Abused women spared job huntWe so suck as a country.
WOMEN who have been beaten and abused by their former partners will be excused from looking for work for 12 months while they get their lives back together, under a plan to be considered by the Rudd Government.
The Labor-commissioned review of the Howard government's work-for-welfare rules also calls for single parents looking after a disabled child to be elevated to a $38-a-week higher pension payment.
The tripling of the 16-week grace period for domestic violence victims from meeting their welfare obligations is a key recommendation of a taskforce chaired by Australian Social Inclusion Board chairwoman Patricia Faulkner.
Monday, September 1, 2008
I hadn't seen this in years. It's still as funny now, as it was seven years ago:
The Gay Agenda
I know that many of you have heard Pat Robertson, Jerry Fallwell and others speak of the "Homosexual Agenda," but no one has ever seen a copy of it. Well, I have finally obtained a copy directly from the Head Homosexual. It follows below:
6:00 am Gym
8:00 am Breakfast (oatmeal and egg whites)
9:00 am Hair appointment
10:00 am Shopping
12:00 PM Brunch
2:00 PM 1) Assume complete control of the U.S. Federal, State and Local Governments as well as all other national governments, 2) Recruit all straight youngsters to our debauched lifestyle, 3) Destroy all healthy heterosexual marriages, 4) Replace all school counselors in grades K-12 with agents of Colombian and Jamaican drug cartels, 5) Establish planetary chain of homo breeding gulags where over-medicated imprisoned straight women are turned into artificially impregnated baby factories to produce prepubescent love slaves for our devotedly pederastic gay leadership, 6) bulldoze all houses of worship, and 7) Secure total control of the INTERNET and all mass media for the exclusive use of child pornographers.
2:30 PM Get forty winks of beauty rest to prevent facial wrinkles from stress of world conquest
4:00 PM Cocktails
6:00 PM Light Dinner (soup, salad, with Chardonnay)
8:00 PM Theater
11:00 PM Bed (du jour)"
Floodwalls stuffed with newspaper?And it's not just the Republicans that deserve blame. The majority of the Democrats have been nothing but spineless, Corporate-toadying enablers since the Clinton fiasco, too.
11:54 PM CDT on Thursday, April 24, 2008
Lee Zurik / WWL-TV News Anchor
“It blows my mind. That should be criminal,” Taffaro continues.
What he's talking about was witnessed by a St. Bernard Parish resident who didn't want to be identified, but did have sharp criticism of the work done by a contractor hired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“It's like putting a Band-Aid on the hole of a gas tank of an airplane,” the resident said.
Instead of an airplane, it's a floodwall, and instead of a Band-Aid, the witness says two years ago, he saw the contractor filling the expansion joint or opening between the floodwalls with newspaper.
“The whole length of the wall was stuffed with newspaper.”
And when he confronted the contractor, the contractor blamed Washington for the substandard work.
“He basically told me when Congress sent down the money, it would be repaired the proper way.”
But during a recent trip to the area, two years later, it was apparent that didn't happen. Much of the newspaper had deteriorated or been eaten by bugs, but some still remained. In fact WWL cameras even captured the date May 21, 2006, on a page of the Parade magazine from the Times-Picayune.
The rest of the horror story is here.
Great science video on Cambrian era sea fossils from the land down under. I also heartily recommend the entire site (Catalyst). For example, there's a wonderful story on aboriginal Australian eel farmers along with hundreds of other short, science-related videos.