May 31, 2007

The Thinking Blogger

I had to think long and hard about this—first, about the sense that doing so may seem [in fact, may BE self-serving (see how great I am? I got nominated for this thing!)] and—second, when I finally did decide to participate, just who I would, in my turn, nominate.
***
First, thanks are in order to TomCat of Politics Plus for the nomination.

And, after much soul [and web] searching, the five nominations—in alphabetical order:

A Little Reality is a deeply thoughtful blog I often use as a touchstone to see if I’m overreacting to the latest outrage. Sadly, the answer is usually, ‘No.’

An Average American Patriot
offers much food for thought. He doesn’t seem to be a knee-jerk liberal [a definite plus to my way of thinking as I’m not in favor of knee-jerk anything] but a person who puts much thought into his writings.

Liverpool Subculture
is a refreshing blog that helps me maintain a sense of order and remember that there ARE things outside of the mess this country finds itself in. There are other countries out there [besides the US and Iraq] with 1] their own problems and 2] people with their own perspectives about how their worlds are faring.

Pissed on Politics is one of my first stops daily. I can always be provoked by Polishifter into thinking about an issue in a way I hadn’t before. Thanks Poli.

And, last but certainly not least, White Noise Insanity brings some semblance of sanity to this ol’ blogger. She, too, posts matters I hadn’t been aware of and points of view I hadn’t considered previously. Thanks, Kay.

May 30, 2007

The Answer to Global Warming: 'Never Mind'

This from the Washington Post:
A Full Tank of Hypocrisy
By Robert J. Samuelson -- Wednesday, May 30, 2007; Page A13

It's one of those delicious moments when Washington's hypocrisy is on full and unembarrassed display. On the one hand, some of America's leading politicians condemn high gasoline prices and contend that they stem from "gouging" by oil companies. On the other, many of the same politicians warn against global warming and implore us to curb our use of fossil fuels that emit carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.

Guess what: These crowd-pleasing proclamations are contradictory. Anyone fearful of global warming should cheer higher gasoline prices, because much higher prices represent precisely the sort of powerful incentive needed to push consumers toward more fuel-efficient vehicles and to persuade the auto industry to produce them in large numbers. Bravo for higher prices!
Click here for full text.

May 28, 2007

Staying Involved

I posted this shortly after the election last November. Now, with things heating up for the next one--not to mention all the controversial votes going through Congress [backing down on the Iraqi deadlines, the pork-buffet 'crackdown' with loopholes big enough for a full-grown warthog to barrel through, the immigration shellgame and the fact that nothing is being done about torture which is, to my mind, the most immoral thing this administration has done to date] I think it's time to stick it up here again.

So, check out this site and start figuring out who you'd like to send back to DC and who you want to bench.
***
I found this site prior to the last election. Here you can vote on a number of issues and compare your views with votes by your state congress reps, senators and governors, on up the line to presidential candidates.

http://www.issues2000.org/Recent.htm

It's a great tool for keeping up on current issues, how your representatives [including your president] address your concerns, etc.
A great tool for keeping up to date with our reps and staying educated between elections.

May 25, 2007

Looking Ahead

This from the Vote Master at Electoral Vote.com:
***
Richard Baehr wrote a very interesting piece on Fred Thompson. The bottom line is: be careful what you wish for; you might get it.
A lot of GOP conservatives are moaning about the current presidential field: Giuliani has a Clinton-sized zipper problem, McCain is too much of a maverick, and Romney can't make up his mind what he's for. Enter the savior: Fred Thompson.

But do the Republicans really need a southern conservative at all? And if they do, what's wrong with Mike Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister with a proven track record as governor of Arkansas?

May 23, 2007

To Exploit the Moon

I watched a documentary on the Science channel, last night. And the reason why Bush is bent on escalating NASA’s planetary exploration program became clear.
Nuclear fission has been, so far, the only practical way to create nuclear energy for powering our civilization. Nuclear fusion on a large scale simply isn’t possible—if you are bound to the earth. But, it turns out, the sun continuously churns out helium three [he3]. The particles are blocked by the atmosphere from reaching the earth but they’ve been building up on the moon for millennia. He3 makes nuclear fusion much easier to achieve.
So, now, several countries [including the US and Russia] are waking up to the riches that can be gleaned by strip mining the moon.
Enter the idea of colonizing the moon. Whoever can get there first and lay claim to it can make $billions or trillions by exploiting the he3. They're going so far as to call the moon the Middle East of the twenty-first century. Now, that's a chilling thought.
Here we go again.
When the possibilities involving oil began to be realized, no doubt the numbers were bandied about much as people are doing now. ‘There are billions of tons of oil under the ground. All we have to do is drill for it. It’s all around us!’
How fast have we run through that oil? And, how many wars have occurred, and how many people have died, because of it? Obviously, people are willing to pay any amount—so long as their gas-guzzlers are kept running.
Now, a scientist has discovered how to squeeze water out of moon dust. It takes enormous amounts of heat—but it can be done. Water = hydrogen and OXYGEN. So, the main ingredients for terra-forming the moon are available on site. And all that he3 is just sitting there waiting for the greediest to seize it.

The race is on.
Addendum:
Last night, one scientist became the voice crying in the wilderness amid all the corporate types who were exclaiming over the riches to be made by mining the moon. He alone was urging humanity, especially those in the US, to learn to live within our means here at home before charging off to grab everything we can get from the solar system.
I agree with his view—for all the good that will do.

Then, this morning I had another chilling thought: Suppose we do rush to start shipping bulldozers to the moon? Suppose we once again rush blindly forward without thinking about the long-term consequences of our actions?
Here’s the scenario: The mining equipment throws small rocks and vast amounts of moon-dust, which has the consistency of talcum powder, off the surface. The moon, with 1/6 the gravity of the earth and no atmosphere for the foreseeable future, may not have the power to pull all the debris thus created back to the ground.
Much of it may create a permanent halo or even rings around the moon. How much of the dust may get thrown out of the moon’s orbit completely? 1] What does that do in regards to creating a debris field—thus endangering future space missions? What does it do to the satellites that are already up there? Does it endanger the people on the space station? What of future stations? What does it do to the Hubble telescope? 2] Even more importantly—if enough debris escapes from the moon it could, conceivably, alter the weight of the moon. What does that mean for the tide patterns here on earth?

Another documentary, some months ago, spoke about the fact that the tide patterns were probably instrumental in creating life on earth and, without them, life might be extinguished. It, though, was dealing with the far future when the moon will have drifted too far away to affect the planet. The proposed mining could move that date much closer.

But, of course, we’ll do what we’ve always done. We’ll deal with today’s profits and let future generations deal with the problems we create.

May 19, 2007

Why Am I Not Surprised?

The other morning, on the History Channel, I saw yet another theory about the role of Mary Magdellan in the early Christian Church.

According to this interpretation Mary, as the first person to witness the resurrection of Joshua bar Joseph, was in a unique position to see to it that the new religion got off the ground.
In those first halting days, the other disciples were terrified--and rightfully so. They'd just seen their friend die an excruciating death. They wanted to run and hide--to go back to fishing, tax gathering, farming, whatever they'd been doing before their great adventure began. But, Mary was a goad. She said to them, 'He's alive! I saw him! He said he'll be back soon! We've got to tell others----'

Well, no man--particularly no man of the first century--was going to let a mere woman be seen to have more courage than he did. And so, Christianity was born. Mary Magdellan was at least as responsible for it's beginning as any of the other disciples.

Not surprisingly, the Catholic Church takes a dim view of this interpretation of the scripture.
How could their entire belief system have hinged on the actions of a woman for God's sake?

Mary couldn't possibly have been among the chosen friends of Joshua. Poor farmers, fishermen, handy-men, yes. A tax collector--one of the most reviled professions of the first century [and, arguably, today]--yes. Joshua could associate himself with thieves, lepers, prostitutes [while keeping his distance], madmen, etc. etc. But a female disciple??? NEVER! And this woman [prostitute, according to the accepted wisdom of the Church] couldn't have been a pivotal figure! Impossible!

And so the Christian Church once more sows descrimination, hate and second-class citizenship on over half its membership as a matter of policy.
I wish they would ask themselves in their heart-of-hearts: 'What would Jesus [sic] do?' and act accordingly. Of course now, as has always been the case, it's simply too much to ask most White Males to truly see other people as human beings.

May 17, 2007

Bush & Co. Squandered Their Legacy

I lifted this pic from Down With Tyranny. In the first, the red states are those that voted for BushCo in 2004. The second figure shows [in red] those states that still back Bush by more than 50% of the people polled. Click the link for a very informative article.

One thing is certain: BushCo has singlehandedly delivered the country to the Democrats for the foreseeable future.
Thanks, BushCo. The Dems couldn't have done it without you.

Now, I just hope they know what to do with it once they've got it.
If they demonstrate the same sort of hubris when they take back the power as the Bush administration has shown [or even what the Dems, themselves, have demonstrated in the past] , our country will be in an even bigger world of trouble than it is now.
And that's saying something.

May 15, 2007

The Price of Oil

Despicable as the reality is, we joke about the fact that we are at war over oil. But, this morning I got to thinking about that.

At about $3.00 per gallon, gasoline is inexpensive for me. I don’t have a child in Iraq. I don’t have to face the prospect of a child who will never come home as the families of 3,401 and counting [in this country, not to mention the vastly higher numbers in Iraq] do. I don’t have to face my child in a hospital bed. I don’t have to face his wife or her husband or their children.

I don’t have to run the risk of someone wandering into the market where I’m buying my groceries and blowing himself up—as the Iraqi people do. I don't have to fear standing on a street corner and waiting for a bus. I don't have to take my courage in both hands to go to the polls to vote. I don't come face to face with an armed soldier each time I step outside my door.

The next time I start to gripe about the price at the pump, I’m going to stop and think about the actual price we are all paying—and how that price is more for some than others.

May 13, 2007

McCain, Trying [and Lying] Again

Once again, McCain was on Meet The Press this morning. [Wasn't he on that program just last week or the week before?]
Russert confronted him with the accounts that people were killed shortly after his walk in the market in Baghdad. He denied it, saying instead that a suicide bomber had attacked the market shortly before he took his fabled stroll [aka photo op].

He also said that he didn't want to be surrounded by the troops and have the helicopter circling overhead that many people have found to be at odds with his assertion that, 'Baghdad is safe.' The army made him do it.
***
These lies are so transparent that they can't possibly be designed to deceive.

The fact is, there is no way he would have been allowed to walk through a market that had just been bombed. The people who were responsible for his safety would never have permitted it.
Actually, truth be told, an armed detail had to have swept through with bomb-squads, detonation devices, bomb-sniffing dogs, etc. etc. ad nauseum before his little jaunt. Not to do so would have amounted to criminal negligence on the part of the armed forces.

And, if he had chosen and been allowed to walk through such a bomb-site only an enormous fool could possibly want to do so without security measures being taken. Is he such a magalomaniac that he helieves he is bullet- proof?

Today, he said that he never said, 'Baghdad is safe' [despite what those pesky videotapes show]. He's saying that he has said, Baghdad is safer than it once was.
Ummmmm----when was that, Mr. McCain? Before or after WE arrived?
And how do you square the word 'safe' in either sense if, as you now assert, you were walking through a market where a bomb had just been detonated?
But, hey--he has seen Bush can put out the bald-faced lie and consistently get away with it. Why can't he???
***
And at the end of the interview, when confronted with the idea that he is perceived as being too old to run for President, he made the absurd statement, 'I have great energy. I work 24/7.'

Oh, THAT explains it! People who do not sleep begin hallucinating.
Maybe he actually believes the preposterous things he says.
So now the question arises: Do we really want a sleep-deprived schizophrenic as our President?

May 12, 2007

May 10, 2007

Comparing Apples and Oranges

I received an interesting email tonight. It got me to thinking: it seems we may have the gas companies running scared.
The email is below:
***
All these examples do NOT imply that gasoline is cheap;
it just illustrates how outrageous some prices are....

You will be really shocked by the last one!!!!
(At least, I was...)

Compared with Gasoline......

Think a gallon of gas is expensive?

This makes one think, and also puts things in perspective.

Diet Snapple 16 oz $1.29 ... $10.32 per gallon
Lipton Ice Tea 16 oz $1.19 .........$9.52 per gallon
Gatorade 20 oz $1.59 .... $10.17 per gallon
Ocean Spray 16 oz $1.25 ........ $10.00 pe r gallon
Brake Fluid 12 oz $3.15 ........ $33.60 per gallon
Vick's Ny quil 6 oz $8.35 .. $178.13 per gallon
Pepto Bismol 4 oz $3.85 .. $123.20 per gallon
Whiteout 7 oz $1.39 ....... $25.42 per gallon
Scope 1.5 oz $0.99 ....$84.48 per gallon
And this is the REAL KICKER...
Evian water 9 oz $1.49..........$21.19 per gallon!
$21.19 for WATER and the buyers don't even know the source.
(Evian spelled backwards is Naive.)

Ever wonder why computer printers are so cheap?
So they have you hooked for the ink.
Someone calculated the cost of the ink at................
you won't believe it...................
but it is true.........................
$5,200 a gal. (five thousand two hundred dollars)

So, the next time you're at the pump,
be glad your car doesn't run on
water, Scope, or Whiteout, Pepto Bismol, Nyquil
or God forbid, Printer Ink!!!!!

And - If you don't pass this along to at least one person, your muffler will fall off!!
***
Now, for MY perspective:

If you buy the drinks listed here by the pint [ 1 serving] they cost a whole lot more than if you buy em by the 1/2 gallon or 1 gallon sizes. Betcha if you price them by the cost to buy a gallon at the supermarket instead of by the pint at the 7/11 they cost a lot less than the prices listed here.

And, do YOU drink Pepto Bismol or even Gatorade by the gallon? Either one would make you deathly ill. And, drink a gallon of NyQuil and you die.
Cars guzzle gas WAY faster than we can go through those other things, even water [in fact if we took in water at the rate cars drink gas, we'd drown in our own fluids].

Do you buy mouthwash in a 1.5 oz bottle? Neither do I. Chanel #5, maybe -- but not mouthwash. So why is it priced at such a small amount?

And I don't print stuff on my computer every day. Most home users don't. So, since I buy one cartridge at a time, I may well pay something close to the price quoted. Businesses buy in bulk and, bank on it, get their ink at far less than the price listed here. The point is, though, that a few milligrams of printer ink last FAR longer than a gallon of gasoline.

Betcha money some high-up gas exec put this list together [or farmed it out to a lower echelon flunky] to make us feel better about gas prices. Maybe they're hoping to deter some folks from doing the gas-out next Tuesday or even-- **gasp!**-- buying more fuel efficient cars.

May 8, 2007

The Successive Obliteration of Our Rights

Two pieces from Olbermann's Countdown. There are, of course, many more but these two sum up the situation pretty well.
October, 2006
national yawn as our rights evaporate
May, 2007
voter suppression

May 6, 2007

Protect Us From Tenet's Hard Work

This morning, George Tenet was on Meet the Press. He spent most of his time back-pedaling. He said, over and over, ‘We were working very, very hard [during the time after 9/11]. Then, over and over, he said, ‘We [or I] did the wrong thing [in whatever circumstance he was speaking of at the moment.]’

When asked why he allowed the president to say, in the State of the Union Address, that Saddam Hussein was attempting to get yellow cake in Africa when he knew the opposite to be true, Tenet referred back to a minor speech given in Cleveland, Ohio--when, he says, he did confront the president on that statement and it was removed from the speech. When pressed on the issue, he admitted that HE DID NOT READ THE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS before it was given. This was George Tenet working very, very hard?

Toward the end of the interview: Tim Russert asked him if he believes a nuclear bomb will be set off in this country. George Tenet said, ‘I don’t know.’ [He doesn’t know if he BELIEVES IT?] Then he said something that sent chills down my spine: ‘We’re working very, very hard to keep it from happening.’ God protect us from hard work by George Tenet.

May 1, 2007

Just in Time for Summer

Aren't these too cool for words? Unfortunately, I can't get em -- since they're made for people with little feet--women's 10 is littler'n ME, anyway.
So, thought I'd just pass em on and see if anyone else thinks they're as cool as I do. :)

Take recycling one "step" further with our Bazura Bag Sandals! Made of discarded juice drink boxes, these clever works of foot-adornment art are certainly among the most unique and industrious uses of post-consumer materials out there.

Made by a women's cooperative in the Philippines using cleaned, recycled foil juice packs. Naturally indestructible, these empty foil juice packs could have clogged landfills for thousands of years if not reused into these incredibly long-lasting sandals!

Choose U.S. women's whole sizes 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 (European women's sizes 37, 39, 40, 41, or 43). Handmade in and fair-traded from the Philippines.
$19.95

click here if interested :)