Monthly Archives: September 2005

EZSmirkzz Sept 24-30, 2005

Friday, September 30, 2005

Rom 14:

And receive the one who is weak in the faith, not to judgments of your thoughts. One indeed believes to eat all things, but being weak, another one eats vegetables. The one eating, do not despise the one not eating. And the one not eating, do not judge the one eating, for God received him. Who are you judging another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. But he will stand, for God is able to make him stand. One indeed judges a day above another day; and another one judges every day alike. Let each one be fully assured in his own mind. The one minding the day, he minds it to the Lord. And the one not minding the day, he does not mind it to the Lord. The one eating, he eats to the Lord; for he gives thanks to God. And the one not eating, he does not eat to the Lord, and gives thanks to God.

For no one of us lives to himself and no one dies to himself. For both if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Then both if we live, and if we die, we are the Lord’s. For this Christ both died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord over both the dead and the living. But why do you judge your brother? Or why also do you despise your brother? For all shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it has been written, “I have sworn by Myself, the Word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” Isa. 45:23 So then each one of us will give account concerning himself to God. Then let us no longer judge one another, but rather judge this, not to put a stumbling-block or an offense toward a brother.

I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing by itself is common; except to the one deeming anything to be common, it is common. But if your brother is grieved because of your food, you no longer walk according to love. Do not by your food destroy that one for whom Christ died. Then do not let your good be spoken evil of. For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For the one serving Christ in these things is pleasing to God, and approved by men. So then let us pursue the things of peace, and the things for building up one another.

Do not by your food undo the work of God. Truly, all things are clean, but it is bad to the man who eats through a stumbling-block. It is good not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything by which your brother stumbles, or is offended, or is weak. Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Blessed is the one not condemning himself in what he approves. But the one doubting, if he eats, he has been condemned, because it is not of faith; and whatever is not of faith is sin.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Jer 9:23-26

So says Jehovah, Do not let the wise glory in his wisdom, and do not let the mighty glory in his might. Do not let the rich glory in his riches. But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am Jehovah, doing kindness, justice and righteousness in the earth; for I delight in these, says Jehovah. Behold, the days come, says Jehovah, that I will punish all the circumcised with foreskin: Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the sons of Ammon, and Moab, and all those trimmed on the edges of their beards, who dwell in the wilderness. For all the nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel, those uncircumcised of heart.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

U.S. preparing for bird flu to arrive from eastern Asia

The focus is currently on Alaska, a junction where birds from the East Asia/Australian flyway — encompassing areas infected with H5N1 — can make a left turn and fly south along the Pacific Americas Flyway, which runs along the Pacific Coast, through California, all the way to the southern extreme of Argentina.

“Ducks, geese, gulls and terns are a natural host for these viruses,” said Dr. Walter Boyce, executive director of the Wildlife Health Center at UC Davis.

He stressed that research so far has shown no evidence of any wild bird carrying the H5N1 virus in North America. But with the seasonal migrations of millions of birds now kicking into gear, Boyce said there is a concern that wild birds “will spread H5N1 around the world.”

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Bar None

Lean into your own chords
note what pulls the song within you
Leave behind the listless words
distracting you from the melody.

Be distinct in plucking the strings
each one has its’ own moment
coiled around the next it wings
away in the flight of the dream.

Save your star dust for night skies
light each instant with a spark
of understanding that never tries
too hard to be heard and understood.

A perfect tune is always misplayed,
a complete one is perfect enough
for any moment even delayed
the song within itself is contained.

Let it go in harmony with now
its’ time may have already passed
away slowly slowinging slower, slow
as inertia waiting for a kick.

Quake in northern Peru kills four – Sep 26, 2005

Sept. 26 (Bloomberg) — The most powerful earthquake to strike Peru since 2001 left two dead and at least 500 homeless in Peru’s northern jungle and highlands, a government official said.

The magnitude 7.5 quake struck late yesterday 85.4 kilometers (53.1 miles) underground, the U.S. Geological Survey said on its Web site. The epicenter was located 715 kilometers (445 miles) northwest of the capital, Lima.

A major earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 rocked northern Peru Sunday night, killing at least four people, authorities said.

LIMA, Peru – A major 7.5 magnitude earthquake rocked Peru’s northern jungle on Sunday and police said at least one person had died.

The US Geological Survey’s website said the quake hit at 8:55pm (1.55pm NZT Monday) and the epicentre was 75km northeast of the town of Moyobamba.

Monday, September 26, 2005

It Isn’t Over By a Long Shot

The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is on Me, because Jehovah has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the meek. He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and complete opening to the bound ones; to proclaim the acceptable year of Jehovah, and the day of vengeance of our God;

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Attack of the bird flu: Experts say pandemic inevitable

`At some point, the pandemic is going to happen. We’re prepared better today than we were last week. We can only prepare so far,” said Dr. Alfred DeMaria, head of communicable disease control for the state Department of Public Health.
Two million people in Massachusetts alone could become ill in six to eight weeks if a flu pandemic hit, according to the state DPH. One million Bay Staters could need outpatient care; 16,800 could be hospitalized and nearly 5,000 could die.
Last century saw three flu pandemics – in 1918, 1957 and 1968. The flu killed half-a-million Americans in 1918.

American fury over Greenspan leak

Bitter disagreements over global economic policy broke out into the open yesterday as the French Finance Minister claimed that Alan Greenspan had admitted America had “lost control” of its budget while China warned the US to drop demands for radical economic policy changes.

In an extraordinary revelation after a meeting between Thierry Breton and Mr Greenspan, M. Breton told reporters: “‘We have lost control,’ that was his [Mr Greenspan’s] expression.

“The US has lost control of their budget at a time when racking up deficits has been authorised without any control [from Congress],” M. Breton said.

Multinational Drug Companies took liberties with African lives

The pharmaceutical industry is bracing itself for criticism when the film ‘The Constant Gardener’ opens next month. But Jeremy Laurance reports that away from the Hollywood script is a true story of how multinational drug companies took liberties with African lives with devastating consequences

America gripped by deadly dog flu

The dog flu is spreading like wildfire from greyhound tracks to kennels to grooming parlours. Even taking the dog for a walk in the park is a risky activity.

The virus has mutated from a strain of influenza that cripples horses and has killed racing greyhounds in seven states. The illness starts by mimicking the common kennel cough. Many animals develop pneumonia, with sometimes deadly complications.

One Last Time For the “Educated” Class, America is Sodom

For those of you can not only read English, but understand it, I am posting this up for you. It is not a complex Theological argument. You don’t need to read Hebrew to delve into its’ deeper meaning.

EZE 16:46 “‘And your older sister is Sa·mar´i·a herself with her dependent towns, who is dwelling on your left, and your sister younger than you, who is dwelling on your right, is Sod´om with her dependent towns. 47 And it was not in their ways that you walked, nor according to their detestable things that you did. In a very little while you even began to act more ruinously than they did in all your ways. 48 As I am alive,’ is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, ‘Sod´om your sister, she with her dependent towns, has not done according to what you did, you and your dependent towns. 49 Look! This is what proved to be the error of Sod´om your sister: Pride, sufficiency of bread and the carefreeness of keeping undisturbed were what happened to belong to her and her dependent towns, and the hand of the afflicted one and the poor one she did not strengthen. 50 And they continued to be haughty and to carry on a detestable thing before me, and I finally removed them, just as I saw [fit].

There is absolutely no mention of homosexuality in this passage above! Get a clue!

Gen 6:1 And it came about that men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them. Gen 6:2 The sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were good, and they took wives for themselves from all those whom they chose. Gen 6:3 And Jehovah said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man; in their erring he is flesh. And his days shall be a hundred and twenty years. Gen 6:4 The Neph´i·lim (giants) were in the earth in those days, and even afterwards when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore to them; they were heroes which existed from ancient time, the men of name. Gen 6:5 And Jehovah saw that the evil of man was great on the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the day long.

OK now we have Sexual relations between Angels and mankind.

Gen 18:31 And he said, Behold, I pray, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord; perhaps twenty will be found there. And He said, I will not destroy because of the twenty. Gen 18:32 And he said, I pray, let not my Lord be angry that I may speak only this time; perhaps ten will be found there. And He said, I will not destroy because of the ten. Gen 18:33 And when Jehovah had left off speaking to Abraham, He was finished. And Abraham returned to his place. Gen 19:1 And the two angels came into Sodom at evening. And Lot was sitting at the gate of Sodom. And Lot saw, and he rose up to meet them and bowed his face to the earth. Gen 19:2 And he said, Behold, now, my lords, please turn in to your servant’s house and lodge, and wash your feet; and rise early and go to your way. And they said, No, for we will lodge in the street. Gen 19:3 And he much urged them, and they turned in to him and came into his house. And he made a feast for them. And he baked unleavened cakes, and they ate. Gen 19:4 Before they had laid down, even the men of the city, the men of Sodom, circled the house; from the young to the aged, all the people from its limits. Gen 19:5 And they called to Lot and said to him, Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.

And here we have mankind trying to have sexual relations with Angels. Do you see the relationship, between Sodom’s situation and Noahs?

This isn’t rocket science. Quit reading what you wish to see into the Scriptures. Adultery is as bad gay sex, fornication is fornication. Which sin does not cause death?

Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because they behave exactly as Americans do today. Maybe you should quit worrying about other peoples behavior and look into your own.

Mat 7:1 Do not judge, that you may not be judged;
Luk 6:37 Judge not, and in no way be judged. Do not condemn, and in no way you will be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Luk 12:56 Hypocrites! You know to discern the face of the earth and of the heaven, but how is it you do not discern this time? Luk 12:57 And why do you not judge what is right even of yourselves?

Antiwar Fervor Fills the Streets

Tens of thousands of people packed downtown Washington yesterday and marched past the White House in the largest show of antiwar sentiment in the nation’s capital since the conflict in Iraq began.

The demonstration drew grandmothers in wheelchairs and babies in strollers, military veterans in fatigues and protest veterans in tie-dye. It was the first time in a decade that protest groups had a permit to march in front of the executive mansion, and, even though President Bush was not there, the setting seemed to electrify the crowd.

Protest organizers estimated that 300,000 people participated, triple their original target. D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, who walked the march route, said the protesters achieved the goal of 100,000 and probably exceeded it. Asked whether at least 150,000 showed up, the chief said, “That’s as good a guess as any.

Britain to pull troops from Iraq

British troops will start a major withdrawal from Iraq next May under detailed plans on military disengagement to be published next month, The Observer can reveal.

The document being drawn up by the British government and the US will be presented to the Iraqi parliament in October and will spark fresh controversy over how long British troops will stay in the country. Tony Blair hopes that, despite continuing and widespread violence in Iraq, the move will show that there is progress following the conflict of 2003.

Must be time for America’s mid term elections.

Blair denies Iraq pull-out date

Prime Minister Tony Blair insists he will not set any “arbitrary date” for pulling British troops out of Iraq.

Any exit strategy “depends on the job being done”, he told BBC’s Sunday AM.

Mr Blair was responding to an Observer story claiming ministers had told Japan – which has troops in Iraq – of plans to start bringing troops home in May.

Twit.

After Rita drill, time for answers

By RICK CASEY Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

I’ll make a deal. If politicians will follow two simple rules, I’ll put the blame game under a two-week moratorium.

• Rule #1: If you’re not one of the elected officials who has operational responsibilities, do NOT elbow your way into a news conference simply for the pleasure of getting face time with a television camera. We need to hear details from the governor, the county judges, the mayors.

We don’t need to hear every member of Congress or City Council congratulate each other for the wonderful work they’re doing. We don’t even need to hear from the majority leader, thank you Mr. DeLay, or a ranking Democrat, thank you Ms. Jackson Lee.

Hold some hearings instead.

• Rule #2: Even if you are the governor, county judge or mayor, waste no time talking about how well everything went. It will only make us even angrier. The most important thing that went well, for us if not for Port Arthur and Beaumont, is that Rita turned right. And you had nothing to do with that.

What you did have something to do with was the largest automotive traffic jam in world history. That’s not to blame any single official. I said I’d declare a moratorium and I meant it. I’m here to celebrate that traffic jam, not to blame someone for it.

Agreed.

Then you shall again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked

Mal 3
Behold, I am sending My messenger, and He will clear the way before Me. And the Lord whom you are seeking shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Angel of the Covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He comes, says Jehovah of Hosts. But who can endure the day of His coming? And who will stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fuller’s soap. And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and He shall purify the sons of Levi and purge them like gold and like silver, that they may be presenters of a grain offering in righteousness to Jehovah. Then the grain offering of Judah and Jerusalem shall be pleasing to Jehovah, as in the days of old, and as in former years.

And I will come near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against those swearing to a lie; and against those who extort from the hired laborer’s pay; and turning away the widow, and the fatherless, and the alien, and not fearing Me, says Jehovah of Hosts.

For I, Jehovah, change not. Because of this, you sons of Jacob are not destroyed. From the days of your fathers, you have turned aside from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you, says Jehovah of Hosts. But you say, In what shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me. But you say, In what have we robbed You? In the tithe and the offering! You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the nation, all of it.

Bring all the tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house. And test Me now with this, says Jehovah of Hosts, whether I will not open the windows of the heavens for you and pour out a blessing until there is no sufficiency of room to store it. And I will rebuke the devourer for you, and he shall not destroy the fruit of your ground against you; nor shall your vine miscarry against you in the field, says Jehovah of Hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land, says Jehovah of Hosts.

Your words have been strong against Me, says Jehovah. Yet you say, What have we spoken against you? You have said, It is vanity to serve God. And, What profit is it that we have kept His charge, and that we have walked as mourners before Jehovah of Hosts? And now we are calling the arrogant blessed. Not only are the doers of wickedness built up, they also test God, and escape.

Then those fearing Jehovah spoke together, each man to his neighbor. And Jehovah gave attention and heard. And a Book of Remembrance was written before Him for those who feared Jehovah, and for those esteeming His name. And they shall be Mine, says Jehovah of Hosts, for the day that I will make up My treasure. And I will pity them as a man has pity on his son who serves him. Then you shall again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between him who serves God and him who does not serve Him.

Rom 9:6 Not, however, that God’s Word has failed. For not all those of Israel are Israel, nor because they are Abraham’s seed are all children, but “In Isaac a Seed shall be called to you.” Gen. 21:12 That is: Not the children of flesh are children of God, but the children of the promise are counted for a seed.

Rom 10:1 Brothers, truly my heart’s pleasure and supplication to God on behalf of Israel is for it to be saved. For I testify to them that they have zeal to God, but not according to knowledge. For being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of Law for righteousness to everyone that believes.

Gal 6:1 Brothers, if a man is overtaken in some deviation, you, the spiritual ones, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering yourself, that you not also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks to be something, he deceives himself, being nothing. But let each one prove his work, and then he alone will have a boast in himself and not as to another. For each one will bear his own load. But let the one being taught in the Word share with the one teaching, in all good things. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. For whatever a man may sow, that he also will reap. For the one sowing to his flesh will reap corruption of the flesh. But the one sowing to the Spirit will reap everlasting life from the Spirit.

Eph 2 For by grace you are saved, through faith, and this not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, that not anyone should boast; for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God before prepared that we should walk in them. Because of this, remember that you, the nations, were then in the flesh (those having been called Uncircumcision by those having been called Circumcision in the flesh made by hands) that at that time you were without Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers of the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now, in Christ Jesus you who then were afar off, came to be near by the blood of Christ.

Heb 8 For if that first was faultless, place would not have been sought for a second. For finding fault, He said to them, “Behold, days are coming, says the Lord, and I will make an end on the house of Israel and on the house of Judah; a new covenant shall be, not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day of My taking hold of their hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I did not regard them, says Jehovah.

Because this is the covenant which I will covenant with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord, giving My Laws into their mind, and I will write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” “And they shall no more teach each one their neighbor, and each one his brother, saying, Know the Lord; because all shall know Me, from the least of them to their great ones. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousnesses, and I will not at all remember their sins and their lawless deeds.” LXX-Jer. 38:31-34; MT-Jer. 31:31-34 In the saying, New, He has made the first old. And the thing being made old and growing aged is near disappearing.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Rita in the rear view

What a difference a nights sleep can make. So far there hasn’t been anyone come down the street to their houses here in my part of Bug Tussle, so that’s a good sign since I don’t think there is anything here to buy, except cigarettes and of course, I want to get mine first.

I really resent the CYA that the press is colluding in with the authorities of Texas. They really did get a little too excited too early, which only proves the old saw that adrenaline is a dangerous thing to thinking. I really am not angry with the local authorities, maybe a little miffed, but they are after all human beings and human beans make mistakes. The new mandatory evacuation authority I think gave the mayors emergency management folks another level of presumed danger that they could take it too, and like all authority it was exercised without wisdom by many people. Ultimately it should wise them up to the problems that they faced in Louisiana, and New Orleans. The Governor and Mayor did the best they could do too, and so we find that experience in dealing with these situations is as important, if not more so, then education. If there is a critical necessity missing from the current responses it is experience, which is no longer the case, but one of the drawbacks of democracy is that it will be again so in the next crisis, so maybe a mechanism could be implemented whereby this experience is used in the future by emergency response functions of the various governments.

The common folk need to use their heads a little better too. There was no reason for runs on the stores for critical supplies, when two years ago the area went through another hurricane, so one would presume that the things that necessary to stock pile then were the same things necessary to stock pile this time too. Maybe when they get back and things get back to normal they will start buying these things and keeping them on hand. Food, plywood, water jugs, a full gas tank and evacuation plan that can be implemented in the last twenty four hours of the storm’s approach are kinda critical necessities if you want to live on the coast of Texas. This isn’t the first nor the last storm we will see here.

On the other hand they did get the indigent off the coast, and the people along the Interstates did an excellent job of taking care of the desperate, from Humble to Dallas, Columbus and points West. Thanks. Local law enforcement in the towns I was in was extremely helpful, as was the Sheriffs Departments. Along these lines we are IMHO, as a nation, in pretty good shape in this regard.

The local TV and radio media did an excellent job covering the storm in all its’ aspects. From time to time they were all doing the best job, so there isn’t one station that I will single out for Kudos, kudos to all. The post storm coverage, if it is half as good as the storm coverage, will enlighten the authorities and the people in general what they did wrong and what they did right, and it will be a learning experience.

Last night was one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen in Texas, with the outer bands of the storm fading from orange and peach into lavenders and reds, with some of the bluest blue sky underneath the cloud line, and metallic greens and yellows in the mid level clouds.

My heart and prayers are with those still stuck in there place of refuge, and I thank God that the storm was as weak as it was when it made shore. As a Christian that is about all you can pray for, that the storm peter out before landfall, and so I thank Jehovah, through Jesus Christ, for answering my prayers on this matter.

EZSmirkzz August 19-23, 2005

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Daily Kos: The War Pragmatists ??

I’m not anti-war. As I’ve said before, I’m a military hawk. I supported the Afghanistan War and I supported the Bosna and Kosovo interventions. I’m not one of these touchy-feely hippy types that thinks war is inherently bad. I laugh at people who think they can “visualize peace”.

Yet sometimes, many times, military force is a force for good. There are evil people in the world, doing evil things. And all the sanctions in the world, all the strongly worded denunciations, will never have the effect of a 1,000 pound bomb.

This is where I disagree with Kos, but I Think Therefore I Forgo the slanders and sweeping generalizations which many people use to define their positions with, that which they are not. Some of us, before our spiritual awakenings, were touchy feely hippy types who have lost teeth to pool cues and busted knuckles on a few heads when the lubricants of life robbed one of the good sense of hitting someone else in the neck and solar plexus until they feel down, thought then and still think, that war is inherently bad, because it is collective punishment on a civilian population for the activities of a government they usually have no influence, and or control over. Say like, the American people and theirs. I would imagine not too many civilians underneath Kos’ 1,000 pound bomb share his view either. That it hardly elevates his remarks above those of Pat Robertsons, it is a distinction without a difference, is obvious except for one fact, Pat Robertson claims to be a teacher of the good News.

However Kos is wrong for the same reason as Augustine as well. Wars of convenience are not based on principles, and are patently unethical. Augustine at least used the rubric of a Defensive war, which may be fine for non Christians, but does not comport with the teachings of Christ, and those who teach this doctrine of Augustine wash their hands in the blood of the innocent victimes of those wars. Augustine articulated his position when armies and calvaries fought other armies and calvaries, and even then innocents were killed and robbed just as surely as if a briggand had robbed and murdered them on the road to Jerusalem. To participate in a war is to deny the teachings of the Christ, and a profound denial of the Christian faith. If God is unable to protect those whom He loves, then He is unable to raise them from the dead as well. If a Christian does not have the hope of a resurrection, he is already dead. If Christ said that we as Christians would drink his cup, and be tested even unto death, then all these things are a test, and the taking up of arms is a failure of that test.

Again the failure of the individual is not theirs alone, because those who will bear a heavier judgement have taught them these things, and so as I judge these things, I judge the layity lightly. The failure of the Church however is profound and it is universal. We Christians cannot condemn Kos or anyone else that holds to the above view when the Churches of diverse countries teach and hold these same doctrines. It is inconsequential to the Church of one land to slaughter the believers in the Church of another, so we must condemn the Church, and acknowledge that it itself is as stained with blood as ancient Jerusalem was in the days of Jeremiah, and warn it that it too, faces the same judgement. This is the sword the Christ uses to divide brother from brother, sister from sister, mothers from daughters, and fathers from sons. Sometimes Christianity compels the believers to go beyond the forms of worship, and obey the laws of God rather than those of men, and this is equally applicable to the Clergy as it is to the non clergy.

To the sons I say then, you have learned what you were taught by the fathers, but to the fathers I say, behold the sins of the world which you yourself have taught were no sin. These are the traditions of man, these deviations that you teach as traditions of God, and you have mislead the entire inhabitated earth with them. You should repent, while there is yet time, because Behold the Kingdom of God will be upon you, like a thief in the night, and what will you do in that day, oh son of man?

The Fundamentalist Republic of America

You know, or maybe you don’t, but the Great Commission is just that, and as with all matters of conscience must be by choice, just as Paul wrote, “faith is not the possession of all men”. As Christians it is a difficult enough thing to do without misguided Evangelicals trying to legislate faith through government. If our faith cannot be legislated out of our hearts, then how is it that some presume that it can be legislated in to the hearts of others?

It should not be the providence of one Evangelical to inhibit the evangelizing of another, by building on someone elses foundation. If you do not understand the milk of love and the Scripture, then wouldn’t it be best to remain silent until you do? Even if you say to me you know the Scripture better than I and you may very well, I must remind you that it is also written, ” that those who think they are knowing a thing, do not yet know it as they ought to.”.

To that end I ask you to stop antagonizing the none believers, as you do not even serve your own purposes well, and those of others not at all. Like the Pharisee you are displaying a zeal for God, but without accurate knowledge, and your results will more than likely be the same. Perhaps you should drink a little wine for your stomachs.

MSNBC’s O’Donnell labeled Crawford protesters anti-war extremists

via Atrios

O’DONNELL: Coleen, let me ask you, why do you support Cindy Sheehan’s anti-war position?

ROWLEY: Well, I happened to be a person who spoke out publicly against the war a couple of weeks before it was started and warned that it would prove counterproductive to our efforts to combat terrorism. And if you have gone through this chain of mistakes that started with the pre-9-11 lapses and you have seen all of these errors that have occurred since, very serious to our country’s security. I don’t think you can do anything, except continue to speak out.

O’DONNELL: You’re a Democrat running for Congress. It was reported that Republican leaders in your state were just thrilled that you had decided to align yourself with anti-war extremists. Do you think that this could affect your race for Congress?

ROWLEY: Well, I will quickly correct the record that they are not anti-war extremists. The majority of the people I saw down in Crawford were actually veterans groups. There were military families and —

O’DONNELL: But, Coleen, they do oppose the war in Iraq, do they not?

ROWLEY: Yes, they do. But that does not make, I guess the term extremists. They’re really, I think, reflective of mainstream America in many ways.

So I guess the counter protesters are extremists too?

You know it would be nice if presenters in New York would at least get out of the house once in awhile, like reporters, and go talk to people before they talk about those people. Sheesh!

Wonkette – Lifting Material from the Blog World

via Nomoremisterniceblog

I suppose that might include pinching the comments from said blogs too. Face it, if you get paid to write then at least give a nod to those you pinch the idea from, who don’t.

Tom Watson: A Tale of Two GOPs

With the President’s approval rating at a Nixonian 36% with the Republicans pubicly debating both sides of the nation’s core issue, the “war is over but Bush doesn’t know it” theme continue to grow rapidly — almost as rapidly as the rabid responses of the increasingly crazed Bush supporters. This small group is virtually parallel to the membership of FreeRepublic, where one poster called for Hagel’s head on a pike and enjoined: “Let’s pray for President George W. Bush, the Greatest War-Time President in American History.” Not only does that do a terrible disservice to the memory of James Polk, but it places the mob mentality of the right squarely in the public eye: your with us, or the guillotine.

Running from Cindy

Who else but President AWOL would take a vacation from his vacation?

James Wolcott: The Squawk of a Chickenhawk

Two years ago, Ledeen sneered about Hagel’s “wimpery” about Iraq (a sneer I’d wager Ledeen wouldn’t dare be man enough to repeat to Hagel’s face), but it’s Hagel who’s been vindicated. The fact is that Ledeen and his neocons got the war they wanted, it was waged according to their blueprints, and it’s their fuck-up, their moral responsibility, their historical bloodstain, their arrogant, ignorant, blundering, inexcusable mess.,

Sadly, Yes.

Thanks for the Credit

This is really true, and my apologize to Atrios because I just linked to Media Matters in my Post
and he has a point. All that via stuff really does matter, not legally probably, but morally and ethically it does. Blogging doesn’t pay except for an honest nod from other bloggers, which merely signifies that we all have an idea or link once in awhile, and this one was that other persons.

Sadly, No!: The barrel just got deeper

As a side note;

Working Together To Help Move America Forward !
Move America Forward is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to preserving our American heritage of freedom and liberty.

The organization was formed in early 2004 by The Honorable Howard Kaloogian (R-California 1994-2000) and acclaimed radio and television personality, Melanie Morgan (KSFO 560 AM — San Francisco).

Kaloogian and Morgan began working together during the Recall Gray Davis movement in California. Kaloogian was Chairman of the Recall Gray Davis Committee and Morgan launched the recall movement on her morning radio show, earning her the title of “Mother of the Recall.”

Maybe I don’t read English anymore but how is Move America Forward a non-profit, non-partisan organization? Sick puppies.

via Atrios

DISD vendor’s funding frozen

Federal authorities have frozen payments to a lead computer vendor for Dallas schools pending an inquiry into dealings between the company and district officials, including jobs, campaign donations and luxury boat rides.

In a letter received by the school district last week, the agency that runs the federal E-rate technology-in-schools program also warned it could seek to recover some of the $55 million already paid to vendors for work at the Dallas Independent School District since 1998.

The letter asks for a written explanation of practices revealed by The Dallas Morning News and warns that the district’s applications – $62 million of which are currently pending – and invoices will get extra scrutiny because of the reports. And the letter says the news reports, if substantiated, raise “serious concerns” about the school district’s future participation in the E-rate program.
[…]
Houston-based Micro System Enterprises, the computer vendor in question, released a statement calling the funding freeze “an administrative action brought on by an unfair attack” by The News.

More of DISD ongoing problems can be found here.

DallasISD.Com is a privately owned website not affiliated in any way with the Dallas Independent School District. It is devoted to exploring and reporting on issues with the DISD that affect all of us from students, citizens to teachers and administrators. Our goal is to keep things balanced while, at the same time, not pulling any punches. Students, teachers, administrators, parents and other citizens are welcome to blog here. Dallas.Org editors will try to keep things fair.

State might sell part of Big Bend Ranch

The state is considering selling one-sixth of its flagship park, the 300,000-acre Big Bend Ranch State Park, the American-Statesman has learned.

Texas Parks and Wildlife commissioners are scheduled to discuss the sale of 45,000 acres in a closed session at their meeting Wednesday in Austin. The first public discussion of the matter and a vote by the commission could come Thursday.

Houston businessman John Poindexter confirmed that he has been negotiating with the Parks and Wildlife Department. Poindexter, who owns the exclusive resort Cibolo Creek Ranch adjacent to the state park, had no further comment.

In other news, Republikans are considering using eminent domain to condemn The Alamo and make way for a Piggly Wiggly.

Bush Backers Amass to Counter ‘Peace Mom’

VACAVILLE, Calif. — A caravan proclaiming support for U.S. troops began a tour through California on Monday, stopping in the hometown of Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war mother who gained national prominence during a vigil outside President Bush’s Texas ranch.

[…]

A verbal confrontation erupted when the caravan arrived in Sacramento and was met by anti-war protesters chanting “Bring them home.”

Sheehan supporter Dan Elliott, 71, confronted caravan members by waving a sign reading “Death is not support” and heckling Johns as she addressed the crowd.

“You are ruining the morale over there,” responded Greg Parkinson, a Bush supporter.

Some caravan members called the anti-war protesters communists and said they were “aiding and abetting the enemy.” Those comments enraged Sheehan supporter Dee Ann Heath, who said she has two sons serving in Iraq and another preparing to leave.

“I don’t support the war, but I support my sons,” she said. “I simply want them to come home.”

Yeah Bush is a uniter, not a divider. This mess of ages is brought to you by George W Bush and the RNC.

HoustonChronicle.com – Strayhorn radio ad slams Perry on taxes

AUSTIN – The dust had hardly settled on Gov. Rick Perry’s unsuccessful special legislative sessions to cut property taxes Monday when re-election challenger Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn launched radio commercials attacking him — for wanting to raise taxes.

[…]

Strayhorn is challenging Perry in the Republican primary.

One of the biggest problems legislators had with efforts to cut local school property taxes was every plan required them to vote to increase state taxes in a trade-out.

Many lawmakers thought that would make them vulnerable to an opponent attacking them for raising taxes.

Strayhorn’s new commercial proved that was not an unfounded fear.

“Some politicians think it is easier to tax than to lead,” Strayhorn says in the commercial.

“Now, you might expect that kind of thing from a big taxing liberal in Washington, but here in Texas? From a Republican governor?”

Strayhorn says Perry raised state fees $2.7 billion in 2003 and then this year proposed “the largest tax increase in Texas history … and not one penny for education.

“No wonder our Republican Legislature had to tell him no twice.”

Mrs. Strayhorn is Scotty McClellan’s mother.

Texas loses money on energy deal

GALVESTON (AP) – Texas has lost more money than it’s made on a billion-dollar electricity marketing program promoted as a way of raising money for Texas schools, according to a review of records by a The Galveston County Daily News.

Under the State Power Program, the Texas General Land Office trades natural gas from public land to Reliant Energy for electricity it then sells to public customers such as schools, cities and counties. The program was approved by the Legislature in 1999.

[..]

From 2002 through 2004, the first three years of electricity deregulation, the state received just one-seventh, or $128 million, of the nearly $877 million Reliant collected, even though the land office supplies natural gas used to make the electricity.

[…]

Other information from the released records shows that:

# The program cost the state at least $2.7 million more than it made.

# Reliant was given about $17.5 million in tax breaks.

# Gas deals made by the land office for Reliant appear to have lost the state up to $4.9 million.

When Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst was land commissioner in 1999, he convinced lawmakers to create the power program, saying that converting gas to electricity would generate more money for the school fund than if the state simply sold its gas.

Brought to you by: The Big Rich Republican Party of Texas

Another Texas Republican Failure to Govern

AUSTIN – Blaming the Legislature for inaction during three failed special sessions, Gov. Rick Perry on Monday ordered the state education commissioner to restrict how much Texas schools can spend outside of direct classroom expenses.

[…]

The Legislature last week wrapped up the second special session of the summer – the fifth failed attempt to restructure the way Texas pays for public education. Classroom spending restrictions were among the more contentious provisions in the most recent education overhaul bills.

So much for the Republican controlled House, Senate, and Executive in Texas. No issue is to small for ideology, no issue is to great for graft. Republican governments are really sick puppies. Hogs in Washinghands DC and Dogs in Austin.

Saboteurs blamed for oil exports halt

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Saboteurs triggered a cascade of blackouts that halted Iraq’s entire oil export capacity for most of Monday, a move that cost the country almost $60 million in lost exports and rattled already jittery world markets.

Government officials blamed the outage on insurgent attacks that toppled key power pylons in central Iraq and darkened broad swaths of the country, including its two largest cities – Baghdad and Basra.

The Pincer

Probably the best political perspective for Democrats and Leftists to take.

The target is Bush, not each other.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuela’s president

ROBERTSON: There was a popular coup that overthrew him [Chavez]. And what did the United States State Department do about it? Virtually nothing. And as a result, within about 48 hours that coup was broken; Chavez was back in power, but we had a chance to move in. He has destroyed the Venezuelan economy, and he’s going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent.

You know, I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war.

May the Soveriegn Lord Jehovah Rebuke you.

I Want Unintelligent Design Taught

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Wisconsin prison officials violated the 1st Amendment when they denied atheist prisoners the right to form a study group:

Atheism is Kaufman’s religion, and the group that he wanted to start was religious in nature even though it expressly rejects a belief in a supreme being…the defendants have not answered Kaufman’s argument that by accommodating some religious views, but not his, they are promoting the favored ones.

So if schools are going to include special codas in biology emphasizing that many believe the evidence of evolution indicates a complexity requiring a divine being, I want the opposite viewpoint taught.

As a Christian I agree, if the United States is a secular nation then the Christian Community needs to weigh the implication of their demands upon it, since the law of unintended consequence, cover the Christian Community as well.

So to the good people at the Discovery Institute, a hearty, “Job well done, you have set Christianity back a thousand years!”

If Anyone at the DLC can read, please do so

If there’s growing sentiment against the war in Iraq, many area veterans of the fight aren’t taking it personally.

Vets see the opposition as a protest against policy, not them or their service.

“I have run into people who don’t support the president’s views on Iraq or our objectives, but I haven’t run into a single person who said (he or she) doesn’t support the troops,” said Jason Crawford, a Purple Heart recipient who was shot in the face by opposition forces in December 2003 while in Iraq. “I think our society learned from Vietnam that it’s not the men and women who sacrifice their lives and signed on the dotted lines who make up the plans and objectives. I think pretty much everyone supports the troops.”

That’s even if they don’t approve of the U.S. involvement in Iraq that began in March 2003.

via Sirotablog

Malkanization Part Dos

Hey. I just noticed something.

This is Michelle Malkin, in August of 2004, explaining why she’s only occasionally going to allow comments on her blog:

Like most bloggers, I don’t have interns or assistants to help out with the blog.

This is Betsy Newmark, in August of 2005, subbing for Michelle Malkin on Malkin’s blog:

We’ve had to turn the trackbacks feature off while Michelle is away. There was some nasty porno spam in the trackbacks and some other problems. I believe that Michelle’s kind assistants are working on the problem and hope to turn it back on when she returns. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

So … there are assistants.

Oh Michelle, There you go again.

Ten Things Congress Could Demand from Bush on Iraq

I mean, we are always complaining, and rightly so, about the genocide in Darfur and the inattention to genocides in Rwanda and the Congo earlier. Can we really live with ourselves if we cast Iraqis into such a maelstrom deliberately?

Juan Cole weighs in on withdrawal. Since the subject has only been tossed around for less than a month, I don’t think the antiwar left and right need to be too concerned about the neocon critisms from either the Republican or Democratic party factions. It is the antiwar component of the population that is looking beyond, “Stay the Course”, which is a miserable failure.

While all this is well and good, the point we need to not overlook is that we are dicussing real people, Iraqi and American, who are being killed and maimed. As of yet, the articulated rationale for war that does not comport with the reality of the facts on the ground from the Neocons, leads me to believe that any exit strategy from that quadrant of the political sphere is just as likely to be delusional as the ones for the war were.

We may have to seriously consider the fact that the American national political leadership is for all intents and purposes, insane.

Neocons to Earth- “It’s Not Our Fault We Lost”

Why Are We In Iraq?- by Justin Raimondo:

“Amid the tortured syntax and self-conscious preciosity of the prose, Young avers that the failure of the ‘Iraqi project’ is due, not to the hallucinatory dogmas of its architects, but to the skeptics who never accepted on faith what experience has now proved delusional. Whose fault is the mess we created in Iraq? According to Young, it’s the Arab opponents of the invasion – not only in Iraq, but throughout the Middle East – who let their reactionary nationalism get in the way of fulsome support for the American conquistadors, although a good deal of the blame can be laid at the doorstep of Noam Chomsky, with those gloating ‘isolationists’ over at Antiwar.com and The American Conservative also claiming their fair share.”

Dancing Madly Backwards, Dancing on a Sea of Air

But concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need for it to be written. For you yourselves know accurately that the day of the Lord, as a thief in the night, so it comes For when they say, Peace and security! Then suddenly destruction will come upon them, like the travail to the one having babe in womb, and they shall not escape at all.

But you, brothers, are not in darkness, that the Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of day; we are not of night, nor of darkness. So then, we should not sleep, as the rest also do, but we should watch and be sober. For those sleeping sleep by night, and those having been drunk are drunk by night. But we being of day should be sober, “having put on the breastplate” of faith and love, and the hope of “salvation as a helmet;” because God has not appointed us to wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, He dying on our behalf, so that whether we watch or we sleep, we may live together with Him.

Therefore, encourage one another, and build up one another, as you indeed do. But, brothers, we entreat you to know those laboring among you, and taking the lead of you in the Lord, and warning you, even esteem them most exceedingly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.

And we exhort you, brothers, to warn the disobedient ones, comfort those that are fainthearted, cleave to the ones being weak, be long-suffering towards all. See that not any one returns evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue the good, both towards one another and towards all.

Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things, hold fast the good.

Keep back from every form of evil. And may the God of peace Himself fully sanctify you, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is the One calling you, who also will perform it. Brothers, pray concerning us. Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. I charge you by the Lord that this letter be read to all the holy brothers. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A Reunion of Biblical Proportions

Forward Newspaper Online

Think you are a direct descendant of King David? Then make sure you have an invitation to his family reunion.

The Eshet Chayil Foundation is planning the first Eternal House of David Family Reunion, to be held in 2007. It’s a three-day event in Jerusalem for people who believe they are descendants of King
David.

[…]

The idea for the reunion was inspired by the co-chairman and founder of the foundation, Susan Roth, who said that when she started to look into her own ancestry, she found she could trace it back to King David.

In addition, some sources assert that recent advances in genetic testing can identify descendants of the Cohanim, or priestly class, who were from the House of David. Joseph Meyersdorf, the project coordinator, teamed up with Family Tree DNA’s founder, Bennett Greenspan. Their mission is to find a common DNA signature among those who claim to have an oral tradition linking them to King David.

Still, Meyersdorf added, those not blessed with the genetic marker will not be turned away — because biology is not the only determination of David-ism.

[…]

One group that is not invited, despite tradition or even genetic lineage, is the gentiles. “Throughout the generations there has been intermarriage, but this is a Jewish event,” Meyersdorf explained. “This is for the Jewish descendants of King David. This is to promote Jewish unity and Jewish continuity.

I’ve been intrigued by this since I first spoke to a woman named Sophia in Delphi Forum’s about it. While genetic markers may identify a group or population, I wonder if it can also indentify a small family within the group.

Also of interest to Christians is the reference to the Levitical High Priest lineage being in with that of David of the tribe of Judah. I do not purport to be a scholar of Judaism, and if one really is interested in that then you should consult with a Jewish Rabbi, and that one will teach you the Oral Law, and Targums, not me.

That said, the Christian’s also have the same bloodline of Levy and Judah, in the Messaich, which occurred in the Babylonian exile, so I do not dispute the contention. It is just one of those interesting historical footnotes to the secularist world, as is the ten tribe exile by Assyrians, when the Tribes of Levi and Simon where scattered throughout the people because of their behavior in the case of Dinah, their sister. That would leave four tribes left in the territory of Judah and Benjamin in the southern Kingdom of Judah. All in all the history is far more complex than most Christians realize.

A Ray of Sunlight

Forward Newspaper Online: Gaza Evacuation Transforms Israeli Landscape

Israeli and Palestinian officials emphasized that the cooperation thus far has involved technical issues only. Palestinian officials said they have not seen any Israeli willingness to open political discussions about the long-term peace process. On the Israeli side, officials said that they will not entertain political discussions until the Palestinians crack down on terrorist groups. Still, political insiders who have contacts with both sides said that the current cooperation already has generated a change in the tenor of discourse between some Israeli and Palestinian officials.

Yossi Beilin, a left-wing Israeli politician who has criticized the disengagement plan in the past, said, “Although they are only dealing with technical issues, people trust each other more and more. They are getting used to talking with each other again.”

Amazing thing that talking. Noah look at the children now!

May the hearts of these two people be healed, together. War takes one idiot with a gun, peace requires whole nations to aquire a heart. May you have peace by learning peace, may the true God bless all those who seek it, and aid all those who pursue it.

Malkanization – Riff Raff was Makin a Slash

It would be undecent and unAmerican to ignore this, even though you probably know about it.

“The government has apologized and provided cash compensation to victims who were forced into camps. There is no denying that what happened to Japanese-American internees was abhorrent and wrong.” -Michelle Malkin

I’ll be waiting for Drudge, O’Reilly and Limbaugh to point out this inconsistency, then start going through her legal and financial records to prove some other irrelevant, allegedly “incriminating” point; after all, shouldn’t Fox “News” contributors and celebrity wingnuts be held to the same standard they apply to a private citizen whose son died in Iraq? – DCMediaGirl

**crickets**

Michelle wrote this article in a rant against awarding people medals because of race.

That’s me in the Corner, Losing my Affiliation

First the very bad news. The article notes that the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) is once again undermining the Democratic Party. This time, it has “accused war critics of ‘anti-American bias'” (wonder if that includes Vietnam War hero and Republican Senator Chuck Hagel?). This is a pristine example of self-proclaimed Democrats literally regurgitating the most offensive and dishonest right-wing spin out there. There is nothing “anti-American” about wanting to bring our troops home. (Frankly, it’s the other way around: there is something “anti-American soldier” about wanting to indefinitely leave our troops in a shooting gallery without an exit strategy, without proper body armor, and without any semblance of a plan).

via Atrios

Has anyone at the DLC ever read “The Web of Life” ?

Supernova 2005: It’s a Whole New, Connected World

For those of you all a twitter about the shape of things to come, here are couple of thoughts to kick around the mental backyard.

“Something fundamentally big is happening that will profoundly affect the life of every person and every business over the next five to 15 years — the collapsing of everything into one single, global, ubiquitous, collaborative virtual IT world.”

So said Hossein Eslambolchi, president of AT&T’s Global Networking Technology Services, at the recent Supernova conference co-sponsored by Wharton in San Francisco. The conference, now in its fourth year, explores the forces in technology that are driving computing from a centralized model to a decentralized one, from the center to the ‘edge.’ These forces, which demand new systems and business models, represent both threat and opportunity, said conference organizer Kevin Werbach, a Wharton professor of legal studies and business ethics.

Supporting such collaborative work will be an intelligent computer network in the center — “the basis for everything” — with equally ‘smart’ devices such as phones and computers at the edge. Collaboration will dominate both the technology and the workplace. “You will really work on the network, not in the office,” said Eslambolchi, “and since the network could be anywhere, it constitutes a virtual office.”

<> (for those of you who prefer the double >>

Such all-knowing services might sound a little too Big-Brotherish to some, however, who worry about privacy and civil liberties. For the consumer, the question is, “Who owns the data?” noted David Sifry, CEO of Technorati, a search engine that tracks the world of blogs. “Something as important as where and how we spend our time should be ours; it should not belong to the services we use, such as Yahoo or Google. If I want a service provider to store my information, that’s fine — as long as I’m also able to retrieve it.”

Mission Accomplished !!

Islamic Law Primary in Iraqi Constitution
Thousands demonstrate against Federalism
Kurdish Masses demand right to Secede

Why oh Why can’t we have a decent Government?

Hullabaloo -Pssst

“I can guarantee that if the shoe were on the other foot, the Republicans would find a way to make these things known. They understand the concept of divide and conquer.”

Of Kurds and Crips, The Blood is Ubiquitous

Tony Shadid and his colleague Steve Fainaru — last seen at this blog cruising the Sunni Triangle with a bunch of Saddam-loving Iraqi Army recruits — have a long story in today’s Washington Post that reviews the transformation of Iraq into the new, juiced-up Lebanon:

The picture they paint is chaotic, thuggish and utterly detached from the political bickering now under way in the Green Zone — which might just as well be happening on another planet. The militias have already adopted their own constitution, which is loosely modeled on the one developed for the streets of South Central Los Angeles by the Crips and the Bloods:

Cakewalk Defered

WASHINGTON — The Army is planning for the possibility of keeping the current number of soldiers in Iraq — well over 100,000 — for four more years, the Army’s top general said Saturday.

I Was Looking Back to See…

Somewhere out there in the American expanse, beyond the polls and beneath (or above) the Rush Limbaugh vs. Michael Moore radar, there are tens of thousands of men and women and children who do just that. There are the Soldiers’ Angels and Any Soldier, the Wounded Warrior Project, the veterans affairs groups, Girls Scouts and Cub Scouts, the devoutly patriotic and, like Bair, just plain people of goodwill who want to help out

After I Have Spoken, You May Mock

Rise with me and I shall speak; then after I have spoken, you may mock. As for me, is my complaint to man? And why should not my spirit be short? Turn toward me and be astonished, and put your hand on your mouth. And if I remember, I am dismayed; and trembling seizes on my flesh.

Why do the wicked live? They grow old, and become mighty in power. Their seed is established with them before their face, and their offspring before their eyes. Their houses are in peace, without fear; nor is God’s rod on them. His bull passes semen and does not fail; his cow calves and does not miscarry. They send their little ones out as a flock; and their children dance. They lift up voice at the timbrel and lyre, and rejoice at the sound of the flute. They spend their days in good, and in a moment go down to Sheol. And they say to God, Depart from us, for we do not desire the knowledge of Your ways.

What is the Almighty, that we should serve Him? And what do we profit if we entreat Him? Behold, their good is not in their hand! The counsel of the wicked is far from me. How often is the lamp of the wicked put out, and their calamity comes on them! He shares out pangs in His anger; they are as straw before the wind, and as chaff that the tempest steals away. God stores up his iniquity for his sons; He repays him, and he knows. His eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty.

He also says in Hosea, I will call those Not My people, My people! And those not beloved, Beloved! “And it shall be, in the place where it was said to them, You are not My people, there they will be called, “Sons of the Living God.” Blessed are the peacemakers! For they shall be called sons of God.

But Isaiah cries on behalf of Israel, “If the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant will be saved.” For He is bringing the matter to an end, and having been cut short “in righteousness,” “because the Lord” “will do a thing cut short” “on the earth.” And as Isaiah has said before, “Except the Lord of hosts left a seed to us, we would have become as Sodom, and we would have become as Gomorrah.”

What then shall we say? That the nations not following after righteousness have taken on righteousness, but a righteousness of faith; but Israel following after a Law of righteousness did not arrive at a Law of righteousness? Why? Because it was not of faith, but as of works of Law. For they stumbled at the Stone-of-stumbling, as it has been written, “Behold, I place in” “Zion a Stone-of-stumbling,” “and a Rock-of-offense,” “and everyone believing on Him will not be shamed.”

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, He according to His great mercy having regenerated us to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, having been kept in Heaven for you the ones in the power of God being guarded through faith to a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time; in which you exult; yet a little while, if need be, grieving in manifold trials, so that the proving of your faith, much more precious than perishing gold, but having been proved through fire, may be found to praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ; whom having not seen, you love; in whom not yet seeing, but believing, you exult with joy unspeakable and being glorified, obtaining the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls. About which salvation the prophets sought out and searched out, prophesying concerning the grace for you, searching for what, or what sort of time the Spirit of Christ made clear within them; testifying beforehand of the sufferings belonging to Christ, and the glories after these. To whom it was revealed that not to themselves, but to us they ministered the same things, which now were announced to you by those having preached the gospel to you in the Holy Spirit sent from Heaven; into which things angels long to look into.

Because of this, having girded up the loins of your mind, being sober, perfectly hope on the grace being brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ, as children of obedience, not fashioning yourselves to your former lusts in your ignorance, but according to the Holy One who has called you, you also become holy in all conduct; because it has been written, “Be holy,” “because I am holy.”

Having purified your souls in the obedience of the truth through the Spirit to unpretended brotherly love, love one another fervently out of a pure heart, being regenerated, not by corruptible seed, but incorruptible, through the living Word of God, and remaining forever. Because “all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of men as the flower of grass; the grass was dried, and its flower fell out, but the Word of the Lord remains forever.” And this is the Word announced as gospel to you.

Then laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil words, as newborn babes desire the pure soul-nourishing milk, that you may grow by it; if indeed you “tasted” “that the Lord is good;” to whom having drawn near, a living Stone, indeed having been rejected by men, but chosen by God, precious; you also as living stones are being built a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Because of this, it is also contained in the Scripture: “Behold,” I lay in Zion” an elect, “precious Stone,” “a Corner-foundation;” “and the one believing in Him shall not be ashamed, never!” Then to you who believe belongs the preciousness. But to disobeying ones, He is the “Stone which those building rejected; this One became the Head of the Corner,” and a Stone-of-stumbling, and a Rock-of-offense” to the ones stumbling, being disobedient to the Word, to which they were also appointed.

But you are “an elect race,” “a royal priesthood,” “a holy nation,” “a people for possession,” so that “you may openly speak of the virtues” of the One who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; you who then were “not a people, but now are the people” of God; “the one not pitied then but now pitied.” Beloved, I exhort you as pilgrims and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul; having your behavior good among the nations, in that which they speak against you as evildoers; by observing your good works, they may glorify God in a day of visitation.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Intelligent Design Yet Again.

This is one of those stories that rate right up there with the Christian Coalition donating money to an anti gambling effort run by a lobbyist for another gambling outfit.

One has to wonder if organized Christianity will ever, ever get a clue. I cannot imagine that they are so poor that they have to take money from people with such backgrounds, and so one must assume that expediency is more important to these people in advancing an agenda, other than the one Great Commission that they were commissioned to do. I wish the proponents of Intelligent Design would start showing some signs of it.

The Discovery Institute has a carefully crafted, poll-tested message, lively Web logs – and millions of dollars from foundations run by prominent conservatives like Howard and Roberta Ahmanson, Philip F. Anschutz and Richard Mellon Scaife.

Anti-evolution crusader Phillip Johnson, dedicated his 1997 book, Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds, to “Roberta and Howard, who understood ‘the wedge’ because they love the Truth.”

* Note the title of the book. This is not an attempt to put forth another theory, it is an attempt to discredit one, which is not necessarily in and of itself a bad thing, yet for Christians the need to honest and open is, especially when you are tied so directly to worldly politics, and antagonizing the very ones you should be reaching out to.

According to Group Watch, in the 1980s Howard F. Ahmanson, Jr. was a member of the highly secretive far-Right Council for National Policy, an organization that included Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, Major General John K. Singlaub and other Iran-Contra scandal notables, as well as former Klan members like Richard Shoff. Ahmanson, heir to a savings and loan fortune, is little reported on in the mainstream U.S. press. But, English papers like The Independent are a bit more forthcoming on Ahmanson’s politics.

The Christian community isn’t just who is alive,” Mrs. Ahmanson said. “Christians believe that we are in communion with the living and the dead….”

We seem to have two disjuncts here, one, the Son of God lived in poverty, and two the dead are those who do not follow Christ in announcing the Kingdom of God. Since most Christians do not understand the concept of the Kingdom of God they rarely talk about it, beyond a few mentions in Liturgy.

The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, a Roman Catholic priest and former Lutheran minister, wrote its founding statement and other neoconservatives joined an advisory board. (In addition to Father Neuhaus, the institute’s board of directors currently includes Mary Ellen Bork, wife of Judge Robert H. Bork, Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard and Fox News, and Michael Novak of the American Enterprise Institute.)…

Ms. Knippers, who spoke during two interviews in the last three months, said that during the 1980’s the institute’s initial budget of about $300,000 came entirely from a few conservative foundations, including the Scaife family foundations, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation as well as from the Ahmansons’ philanthropic arm Fieldstead & Company.

“The I.R.D. is a kind of parallel universe that upholds the conservative standpoint in the world of religion,” Mr. Schambra said. “It is no different in that sense from what the National Association of Scholars is for University Professors or the Federalist Society is for lawyers,” he said, referring to two other groups backed by the same foundations.

And answering, John said, Master, we saw someone casting out demons on Your name, and we stopped him because he does not follow with us. And Jesus said to them, Do not forbid, for whoever is not against us is for us.

The Nixon White House courted Scaife, but he was appalled by the spectacle of Watergate, and his paper advocated Nixon’s impeachment in March 1974. “My country comes first, my party comes second,” Scaife explained.

David Abshire at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and William Baroody Sr. at the American Enterprise Institute exposed Scaife to a world of intellectuals and political activism that he would not have seen without his ties to their organizations. Later Feulner cultivated Scaife assiduously, put him on the Heritage Board in 1985, then accepted a position on the board of the Sarah Scaife Foundation. Scaife has been vice chairman of Heritage’s board since 1992.

For all intents and purposes, this is another Karl Rove driven, Neocon issue. It will do nothing but divide the people for the gain of the few. It is a political straw man without doubt, so I would counsel the left to resist it at the local level through their own churches, whose denomination may or may not fit in with the Reconstructionist movement. I would suggest that the scientist at Discovery, Mr. Behe etc., stick to science and their own faith, which is being subverted for a political agenda, perhaps reviewing the teaching of Constantine the Great.

The end of the beginning.

Remember when the GOP almost cannibalized Specter? That was the most nationally visible beginning. More probably, it was the 2000 South Carolina Primary. The various GOP congresscriters speaking out against the Administration’s policy in Iraq was another sign. Bush’s Social Security “reform” slamming into a wall of opposition stronger even than the unreasoning fury against Clinton’s healthcare plan was an ominious shift in the political landscape. But with McCain’s revenge, snipping the gonads off of the organizers of Bush’s fundamentalist base, it’s no longer beginning. …

This links to real interesting summation of the insider dealings going on within Christian Coalition, and Rlaph Reed and Abramoff rippomg off the Indians in a anti-Gambling scheme.

I wish Christians in general would remember that God is more forgiving than people, and when you cheat, lie, steal, and kill it reflects on all of us, as well as yourself. I think we all need to remember that Christianity isn’t about “me”.

DOD Goes Snarky

The America-Hating… Department of Defense?

Here’s an absolute jewel (scroll to page 74 of the .pdf):

The only way to understand the motivations of an opponent is by having a real understanding of the historical and religious framework that has molded his culture. It is clear that Americans who waged the war and who have attempted to mold the aftermath have had no clear idea of the framework that has molded the personalities and attitudes of Iraqis. Finally, it might help if Americans and their leaders were to show less arrogance and more understanding of themselves and their place in history. Perhaps more than any other people, Americans display a consistent amnesia concerning their own past, as well as the history of those around them.

There’s a beautifully understated exasperation to those last two sentences that does my heart good. Too bad (a) it took the Pentagon to say it, and (b) the commander-in-chief will never read it.

Via Justin Logan.

Informed Comment

US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s apparent belief that Iran might be helping the radical Sunni fundamentalists in Iraq to kill Shiites is frankly nuts. But if there is anything more nuts, it is Iranian Supreme Jurisprudent Ali Khamenei’s counter-charge that the US military is secretly blowing things up in Iraq and blaming insurgents, so as to create a pretext to stay in Iraq.

Hey, Ali, the US Department of Defense doesn’t want to have to keep 138,000 troops in Iraq. They only probably want to keep a division there (say 20,000 men). So they aren’t blowing up all those bombs (including the ones that kill US troops) so that they have to remain overstretched and suffering in Iraq!

And, Don, radical Khomeinist Shiites don’t give bombs to radical Salafi Sunnis to use on Iraqi Shiites.

Jehosaphat, can we live in the real world here, folks? It’s like the inmates run the asylum.”

If you read the article all the way through you will notice the movement of the differing parties trying to come to some sort of compromise. It is not a process that can be rushed.

One should also note that almost all the parties to the constitutional negotiations want American forces to leave, as well as the American left and old right. I would imagine that the neocons in the two parties are the only ones still deluding themselves.

I think the antiwar movement, if it wants to have any real lasting impact will channel its’ energy into changing the letter and the spirit of the laws in the United States that do not prevent this stupidity from occurring in the first place. Peace starts at home. Amend your Constitution, abolish the War Powers act, and generally make it impossible for a President to go to war on the pretexts of preemptive and preventive wars.

In the end my friends, no matter how America was seduced into Iraq, you are quite pregnant with it, and your choices are to abort or carry to term, but you shall not regain your virtue with a paternity suit against its’ neocon father. We may have no choice but to redeem ourselves with the child. In either case, we are going to carry this load for a long time, and no time table for withdrawal is going to change that either.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Oil to Euro Correlation

Asia Times Online :: Daily Forex Report:

“If you think there is extreme speculation in crude, it might be a good reason your average trader is unloading euro. Why? Over the past month we have seen a very tight correlation between the movement of the euro and crude prices. In fact, our simple calculations show a correlation of positive 83.3%. ”

Another Penrose Drain Moment

Trade wars can lead to shooting wars By Henry C K Liu

“Suddenly, socio-economic Darwinism of survival of the fittest, celebrated in the United States since its founding, is no longer welcome by US policymakers when the US is no longer the fittest and the survival of US hegemony is at stake. To many in the US, particularly the militant neo-conservatives, international trends of socio-economic Darwinism now need to be stopped by war. “

But with wage parity, the Chinese economy will be five times the size of the US economy, a prospect not welcomed by the US geopolitical calculations. It was its superior economy that enabled the US to emerge as victor in the two world wars and to prevail in the Cold War.

Christian Nation, Ethical Nation, and the Cow Jumped Over the Moon Nation

WITH the percentage of American troops in Iraq who are National Guard or Reserve forces estimated at 40 percent, one in five National Guard members have no health care. The U.S. Government Accountability Office further estimates that this number rises to 40 percent when accounting for junior enlisted men and women. There are approximately 6,100 California National Guard members currently serving overseas in active duty.

Pegging the Bogosity meter to the max!

Texas official promises Iraq vet in-state tuition

I posted this up because everyone got there knickers in a knot,
and were leering down the lane like a luntic. Can two rite gud.

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson late Thursday announced Carl Basham, 27, of Austin, qualifies for a waiver.

“It’s been a pretty good day to help one Marine,” said Patterson, himself a retired Marine.

But Patterson says Basham changed his official residence to Austin more than a year ago.

The veteran has been registered to vote in Texas since 1998.

Basham also meets two waiver requirements, he has a valid will in Texas, plus he’s had a vehicle registered in Texas since 2001, according to Patterson.

Careful With That Ax EZ

Looking back over the posting I have done since I thought I might re-engage in political debate I have noticed a tendency to slide away from some of the things that are the core to my being, and so I have decided that I will withdraw from political commentary on partisan issues that do not ultimately affect my faith.

Over the last month or so I have spent an inordinate amount of time in trying to get back up to speed in policy issues, and politics is a very nuanced endeavor, which also requires some time to think about, and ultimately, formulate a concrete view about any given issue.

Unfortunately, American political debate is not really based on anything resembling principles, and each side is just as likely to hold to any given principle on any given issue, with equal inconsistency to that principle on the next issue, as is the other side. The only real consistency is that of opposing the other partisan’s side of any given issue. Issues are convenient dividers because they do not require anything but the convenience of opportunity to the one holding any particular opportunistic view.

Part of the problem of course is perceptions that do not comport to the reality of a situation, which is hardly confined to politics, and in fact is probably ubiquitous to Western man, and so permeates his institutions. Perhaps this explains the atheistic materialist’s hostility to Christianity in particular, because the perception of what Christianity is, or should be, and what it has produced, are quite at odds with each other.

A cursory reading of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence and the public perception of America’s role in the world by Americans, in specific and the world in general, and one will note the dramatic disjunct between the two as well, although it is doubtful that many Americans can see it themselves, and so Americans don’t understand the underlying hostility of the world to the United States. What ever the good will generated after World War Two was when America actually allowed some self determination to nations that it had large military forces in, followed a slow decline along with the adherence to those principles by America for opportunistic, capitalistic exploitation, under the rubric of the Cold war.

That Christianity suffers the same fate is not surprising as it has lead the way, and the stagnation of the Western nations reflects Christianity’s’ own stagnation, writ large. Most Christians remain, as do most of the world’s people of whatever other faiths and philosophies, generally decent people that wish to raise their children and provide a better life for them than they themselves in the West enjoyed, or endured as the case may be, in the rest of the World.

Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian heritage and philosophy are very useful for those who are on the ascent, but apparently it leaves those on the top with nothing much left to do but maintain power, and meddle in the affairs of other people, because that is what the Greco-Roman aspect of the equation is all about, achieving and maintaining power, and so they manipulate the Judeo-Christian aspect of Western thought to do so. Unfortunately, this manipulation of the reasoning process is not exclusive to the political spectrum, as that is the very woof and warp the Church hierarchy, which has historically manipulated and used, and continues to use today, and has thus taught the politicians more about compelling certain behaviors in individuals than the other way around.

Given the situation of the teachings of the Churches superimposed on, and juxtaposed to, the teaching of the Christ and one sees the same behavior of thinking on the fundamental principles of the Christ within the Christian community as one sees within the body politic of the United States. It is hardly any wonder then that the secularists despise Christians, although their own ignorance does not allow them to distinguish between individual and institutional thinking in this anymore than in a political sense either. Christianity adheres to the form of Christ’s Church while discarding the principles of it for the Greco-Roman principles of the secularists. Partisanship and schism are not the root of the problem, they are branch and bough of the root of historic personalities making decisions based on convenience and not principle.

Instead of wasting my time in the tree, I shall climb down from it and begin looking for an ax with which to chop it down, because I have concluded that it is similar to a Tallow tree that is both old and rotten in the center. It has provided a shady resting place for eating fallen apples, true, but the world has become a smaller place and we can no longer afford to risk it falling on the house we al live in.

Is Your Boss a Psychopath?

…Robert Hare is the creator of the Psychopathy Checklist. The 20-item personality evaluation has exerted enormous influence in its quarter-century history. It’s the standard tool for making clinical diagnoses of psychopaths — the 1% of the general population that isn’t burdened by conscience….

According to the Canadian Press and Toronto Sun reporters who rescued the moment from obscurity, Hare began by talking about Mafia hit men and sex offenders, whose photos were projected on a large screen behind him. But then those images were replaced by pictures of top executives from WorldCom, which had just declared bankruptcy, and Enron, which imploded only months earlier. The securities frauds would eventually lead to long prison sentences for WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers and Enron CFO Andrew Fastow.

“These are callous, cold-blooded individuals,” Hare said.

“They don’t care that you have thoughts and feelings. They have no sense of guilt or remorse.”

Now I’m not not mentioning any names…

But here is a short test.

Via /.

Mac OS X security fix breaks 64-bit code -Fixed

Update Apple’s most recent Mac OS X Security Update, released on Monday, causes 64-bit applications to malfunction, it has emerged.

However, the Mac maker today issued a fix for the problem, posting Security Update 2005-007 version 1.1 via its Software Update tool.

Ah the complexity of elegance.

Exploit for unpatched IE vuln fuels hacker fears | The Register

Microsoft is investigating an IE security bug amid fears that a hacker attack based on the vulnerability is imminent. A flaw in Microsoft DDS Library Shape Control COM object (msdds.dll) is at the centre of the security flap.

Security researchers warn that msdss.dll might be called from a webpage loaded by Internet Explorer and crash in such a way that allows hackers to inject potentially hostile code into vulnerable systems. That’s because IE attempts to load COM objects found on a web page as ActiveX controls, as is the case with msdds.dll. A programming object is not supposed to be used in this way. So hackers might be able to take control of systems by tricking users into visiting a maliciously constructed web site. US-CERT warns that exploit code to do this is already available but Microsoft said it’s not aware of any attacks.

he SANS Institute’s Internet Storm Centre has upped its alert status to yellow because of concerns that “widespread malicious use of this vulnerability is imminent”.

The links are at the Reg.

Donklephant Promoting Democracy

Donklephant has some relatively good news here.

Eide Neurolearning Blog: Brain of the Blogger

Via Kevin Drum

But you knew this already, didn’t you?

Monk who united faithful is murdered in church

Christian leaders have paid tribute to an internationally celebrated apostle of church unity, Brother Roger, 90, who was stabbed to death in front of 2,500 young people in his own church in Taizé, Burgundy.

Pope Benedict yesterday led tributes to the Lutheran Brother Roger, which were echoed by Christian leaders all over the world. The Pope spoke of a “sad and terrifying” attack on a man dedicated to peace and healing the divisions of humanity. He said he had received a “moving and friendly” letter from Brother Roger on the day of his murder.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams said: “This is an indescribable shock. Brother Roger was one of the best-loved Christian leaders of our time and hundreds of thousands will be feeling his loss very personally, and remembering him in prayer and gratitude.”

At the entrance to the Church of Reconciliation in Taizé is a sign in many languages, which reads: “Let all who enter here be reconciled, brother with brother, sister with sister, nation with nation.”

Global warming: Will you listen now, America?

“‘The question is how much damage will be done before we start taking concrete action,’ Mr McCain said at a press conference in Anchorage. ‘Go up to places like we just came from. It’s a little scary.’ Mrs Clinton added: ‘I don’t think there’s any doubt left for anybody who actually looks at the science. There are still some holdouts, but they’re fighting a losing battle. The science is overwhelming.”

Man jailed in German 9/11 case retrial. 19/08/2005. ABC News Online

A court in Germany has jailed the only man convicted over the September 11 attacks for seven years for membership of a terrorist organisation.

An earlier conviction and sentence were set aside by the Supreme Court and a retrial was ordered.

Antiwar Populism: The Floodgates Open-

Saturday, September 24
Massive March, Rally & Anti-war Fair
Gather 11:00AM at the Washington Monument

Sat., Sept. 24 – Operation Ceasefire Concert
Sun., Sept. 25 – Interfaith Service, Grassroots Training
Mon., Sept. 26 – Grassroots Lobby Day and Mass Nonviolent Direct Action and Civil Disobedience

Buy beleaguered, overworked White House aides enough drinks,” says one wag, and

“They describe a president whose public persona masks an angry, obscenity-spouting man who berates staff, unleashes tirades against those who disagree with him and ends meetings in the Oval Office with ‘get out of here!’ In fact, George W. Bush’s mood swings have become so drastic that White House e-mails often contain ‘weather reports’ to warn of the president’s demeanor. ‘Calm seas’ means Bush is calm while ‘tornado alert’ is a warning that he is pissed at the world.”

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
JUNE 16, 2005

Mr. ABERCROMBIE (for himself, Mr. JONES of North Carolina, Mr. KUCINICH,
Mr. PAUL, Mr. MEEHAN, Ms. WOOLSEY, and Ms. LEE) introduced the
following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on International
Relations, and in addition to the Committee on Armed Services,
for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case
for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the
committee concerned

JOINT RESOLUTION

Requiring the President to develop and implement a plan
for the withdrawal of United States Armed Forces from
Iraq, and for other purposes.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives 1
of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

EZSmirkzz Sept 15-23, 2005

Friday, September 23, 2005

Smoking in The Boys Room Again?

Attytood: They have learned nothing

Eschaton

Eschaton

Yeah and what do you do with cash when everything is boarded up, and everyone that works in these businesses is gone?

What a Mess!

I was going to wait awhile before I commented on the evacuation of the Texas coast until the after action analysis could be done by the FEMA and other competent authorities, but having heard Tom Delay and Sheila Jackson Lee pontificate on the wonders of the effort I just have to speak out.

The evacuation was not well planned out, unless the notion of succes is getting your citizens out of the local county before they are abandoned to the caprices of nature and man.

Millions of people were under mandatory evacuation orders unnecessarily, because of the knee jerk reaction to Katrina and New Orleans. It is one thing for the common citizens to over react to events, and quite another for the leadership to do so. There was absolutely no long term view taken to the plight of the people when they had cleared the county line. There is no gas, food, or lodging for millions of people, and presumably that is no ones problem at the top.

A lot went right, but to much went wrong. I go between livid and understanding, because the fact of the matter is WE pay these people to take the long view, to plan ahead, to consider the contingencies of moving a million people out of one urban area. You can’t just send them all to Austin.

This is a failure, not on the scale of New Orleans, which was an under reaction, while this appears to be an over reaction. You cannot stampede the people and expect to find anything else but people and dust.

I really am trying to empathize with the county leaders, but there are counties a hundred miles from any wind without food, gas or lodging, because everyone that does these jobs is sitting on the parking lots formally known as the Interstate Highway system.

WHY OH WHY CAN’T WE HAVE A BETTER GOVERNMENT?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Rita Rita Rita

Well another day another holler, and it looks like a lot of shooting like hell and hollering is starting along the coast of Texas.

It is kind of amazing when you look at the logistics of moving six or seven million people off the coast into a basically rural interior. There are already reports of hotels and motels booked solid as far west as Kerrvile, which is more than a tank of gas away from the coast. All these people will be basically rendered into hunter gathering types, Hunting for gas, food, and lodging which just doesn’t exist in the quantities that are needed.

The local weather folks are doing a pretty good job of laying out the storm surge flooding areas, although for some reason they keep the graphics locked into Houston/Victoria and surrounding counties, knowing I would think, that the viewing area is larger than that. Maybe they can adjust that. Matagorda County is the predicted landfall county, yet the graphics from Houston end at Fort Bend, and the graphics from Victoria end at Jackson County, so the strike zone is basically not coming into play. Anyway the storm surge is expected to be anywhere from ten to eighteen feet, which would put all the coast under water.

You can empathize with New Orleans and the southern parishes a lot more when you contemplate the amount of destruction and displacement that is going to occur. As I have noted the rural areas are already getting short shrifted in the deal, which is profit driven, and will get it in the aftermath as well.

It does help highlight one of the major reasons that rural people dislike the cities so much however, as the tyranny of the majority comes into stark relief in these situations. Cities just suck up so many resources that it becomes a self sustaining flow away from the rural counties. There isn’t very much impact until the flow of people leaves the city in a disaster and heads out into the rural hinterlands where there is rarely enough for the indigenous population to begin with. There is a lot more willingness to help other individuals in the country which is not overwhelmed by the numbers pouring back out into the boonies, however. City folk may have lost their souls, but the rural folks haven’t lost it completely, although the disease that is urbanization is also present in many of the people . There is a lot to be said for Jefferson’s agrarian society in times like these.

It us easier now to resent the people around you now as well. Kids and their frigging pets. Usually the dogs and cats are just a given pain in the rear, you know the saw, yeah yeah, I’ll feed them and clean up after them yada yada, which finally winds up being the parents obligations as the kids are off to do this or that. Now the storm approaches and what do you do with the animals? Ninety percent of your options are cut off, and of course killing the creatures for convenience is out of the question, so what, you live in a state park with the dogs and cats while the kids and wife head for a safe, pet free haven? Sheesh. One thing that helps is having a sense of humor, otherwise we would become Darwinian monkeys. I doubt cousin Bilaboa laughs in the best of times.

Well it’s back to the salt mine. still some things to lock down and windows to board up, for what it’s worth. If everything goes under water it’s a moot point, but hope burns eternal in the hearts of man.

PM UpDate

Well the local weather guys have really taken things up a notch. I’m impressed. The storm is huge. Apology extended to Dr. Steve Lyons and Greg Forbes for the earlier snafu.

FWIW it appears that Jim Cantori is in Seadrift, hmm. I was only kidding about the Operation Yeller Elephant stuff there. I haven’t got time for that sort of stuff right now.

Thanks to family and friends for all the offers of a place to crash. We’ll be leaving the Coast tomorrow morning after the last two windows are boarded up. Hopefully the parking lots will be cleared and the Highways will reappear. Houston is a traffic Jam, so we ain’t going that way for sure.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Rita the Pita

So far everyone seems to be taking the storm in stride, if you can call slightly deranged as in stride.

Gas lines are still forming, but depending on who you buy gas from, so that one station will have three cars waiting to get under the apron at one place, and across the street there isn’t anyone pumping gas, which is strictly customer preferences showing, as the price on all three grades is the same at both places, in our competitive capitalistic society, that is. Heh. This morning it was reversed, so maybe beer is cheaper at the other one, and it’s the invisible buzz at work.

Traffic was lighter at school pickup, but there was a lot more selfish driving and cutting in and out for advantage. It is a strange situation in any respect as the pickup zone is a two way street except during the school hours when it becomes one way, which is accessed from a four lane state highway. Today both lanes clogged up with pickups for one school effectively cutting off pickup for the school just down the road while both lanes were used by the first school parents in a display of darwinianism.

This is all really a little unusual since there has been no evacuation order issued yet, since no one really knows where the storm is going to hit. Anxiety is already at work.

Interestingly at lunch the local big three TV station weather people were a lot more emphatic in their warnings of dire consequences than the Weather Channel’s Dr. Steve Forbes, who has the benefit of not being responsible to the local population if he is wrong, even though his sister is in Corpus Christi. We really won’t know a lot about the landfall location until tomorrow. So far the Matagorda Bay is still the bullseye, which is all you can get from the weather peps, even though the bay is like sixty miles across. Not big enough that you feel save no matter where it hits, but there is a lot of latitude in saying it is going to hit the bay.

Hurricanes are weird disasters because you have time to anticipate everything that will go wrong and contemplate losing everything you can’t load up into the car. It’s almost like moving, except you pack stuff up for the stacking on high places in the house, and really narrow down what you can’t live without. Back in the old days I could have loaded up my tools, the weed, and the dog and been gone in a heart beat. Now it is load up the tools the important papers, pictures, computers, kids, dogs, cats, books, fish, etc. etc. No wonder young people are so resilient, they don’t bog themselves down with all these other things. Wheezers spend a lot of time loading cars and trucks and then boarding up the house, while the kids are in school discussing the evacuation.

It is to be noted that the monthly large trash pick up that a lot of towns have bought into is kinda useless if it occurs two weeks before the storm. So far I’ve seen two couches and a refrigerator waiting to be picked up by truck or wind, whichever comes first. I wonder how well plywood hold up to refrigerators flying at 100+ mile an hour.

So far I’ve seen two patrol cars this month, both of them this morning, so I guess they are riding around looking to see if anyone else in town watches TV and has heard of the storm. Police OODA I guess. Anyway I should have all the yard stuff tied down by tomorrow at lunch and depending on the landfall predictions start boarding up the windows.

Since the wife works in the ER at the Hospital I suppose we will have to see what they have in mind to do for the storm as well, since it is located in the cat 3 evacuation area. This always puts us in a bind, since the patients come first, and being first responders they are the last out first back in. Oh well I guess the chain saw can clear roads of trees going out just as well as coming back in. No wonder old peps quit the herb, there is too much to remember to do anyway.

Having been bombarded with a dozen questions from the kid about the evacuation plans, all is well as his head is in the refrigerator, and normalacy is just a meal away.

Perhaps finally, it is a tough time to be a Christian since you really can’t pray that the storm go trash out the neighbors town and county and still hold to any of the teachings of Christ so ones options are limited there. Other than that, one more thing going on and things would be just about right. If you happen to see an operation yellow elephant sign on the Weather Channel with Jim Santori or whoever it ain’t me, it is my evil twin skippy.

Tropical storm could boost local gas prices

This is the Headline of The Victoria Advocate, while the Houston Chronicle is carrying this; Emergency centers go on high alert as Rita approaches.

I thought since I am living in the current bullseye of expected landfall of Rita it would be worth blogging up a pre blow by blow insight into how people are reacting to the approaching storm, until we finally make a decision to split ourselves.

I am sort of anticipating the darwinian monkee response of the local population which is mostly Southern Baptist and Catholic, being somewhat pessimistic of the accurate knowledge of the truth having sunk into peoples heads, and hearts. I also expect I will see great acts of kindness from some people that one would never have expected it from as well.

One of the advantages of hanging out in small, and I mean small, towns is you get to know just about everybody, so that you know who is crazy, borderline crazy, wierd, on drugs, fooling around on their mates, etc. etc. It really is a microcosm of any city I think, you just know the people as individuals instead of the broad brush of generalities that TV and the media portray people as. In other words, a random sample of an equal number of people from the city would produce about the same percentage of social and moral behaviors as one experiences in the boondocks. I think the anonymity of city makes people a little bolder, but at the core gut level, I think they are about the same.

Anyway I will update the topic as time goes by.

Interestingly Victoria, which is about thirty miles inland is already running out of plywood and generators as the upper middle class discovers the necessity of these items which they probably will never use except to keep their computer and fridges running. Moms and pops are also sold out already, so apparently Katrina has made the water bugs nervous. I am amazed at how often people buy plywood for storms, and when the next storm blow in they buy more plywood having used the previous plywood for other things. Hopefully no one freaks out to bad.

We have a new mandatory evacuation law in Texas this year so it will be interesting to see how that all works out, since these are pretty hard headed folks that have lived on the coast for years and years. After Katrina I doubt there is a lot of faith in the government and Governor in Austin to actually do anything but screw up a bad situation and make it worse. We’ll see.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Coming of the King

Psa 45 To the Chief Musician, Concerning the Lilies. For the sons of Korah. A Poem; a Song of the Beloved.

My heart is overflowing with a good matter. I am speaking of my works to the King; my tongue is the pen of a rapid writer. You are the fairest of the sons of man; grace has poured into Your lips; on this account God has blessed You forever.

Gird Your sword on Your thigh, Mighty One; with Your glory and Your majesty. And ride prosperously in Your majesty, on the matter of truth and meekness and right, and Your right hand shall teach You fearful things.

Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies; peoples fall under You. Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; on account of this God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your fellows.

All Your garments smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of ivory palaces; by strings of a harp they make You glad. King’s daughters are among Your precious ones; the queen stands at Your right hand in gold of Ophir.

Listen, O daughter, and look, and incline your ear, and forget your people and your father’s house. And the King will desire your beauty, for He is your Lord, and you shall bow down before Him. And the daughter of Tyre will stroke Your face with a gift, the rich among the peoples.

The king’s daughter is all glorious within, her clothing braided gold. She shall be led to the King in embroidered work; her companions, the virgins, shall be brought to You after her. They shall be led with gladness and rejoicing; they shall go in to the King’s palace.

Your sons shall be in the place of your fathers; You will make them for rulers in all the earth. I will make remembered Your name in every generation and generation; on this account people shall thank You forever and ever.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Why We Can’t Have a Decent Press

Read it and weep.

By September 12, even the White House admitted that FEMA had been its own disaster area by pushing out its Arabian-horseman-turned-jackass head, Michael Brown. (Bush finally admitted on Tuesday that the buck was going to stop with him whether he liked it or not. “To the extent the federal government didn’t fully do its job right, I take responsibility,” he said.) That same day, CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, announced the hiring of DeLay’s chief of staff as a top Washington lobbyist. This news, and its timing, prompted Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy to tell the L.A. Weekly: “Time Warner aligning itself with the right-wing DeLay machine should send shudders [down] CNN and HBO. Clearly, TW wants DeLay insurance so it won’t have to face cable-ownership safeguards, à la carte rules and broadband non-discrimination policies.”

via Sic Semper Tyrannis 2005

Saturday, September 17, 2005

US Constitution, the Criminal Subversion, and Why the American Government is Illegitimate

Four Amendments & a Funeral
A month inside the house of horrors that is Congress
By MATT TAIBBI
=====================
Diebold

GEMS Central Tabulator 1.17.7, 1.18

A vulnerability exists due to an undocumented backdoor account, which could a local or remote authenticated malicious user modify votes.

No workaround or patch available at time of publishing.

We are not aware of any exploits for this vulnerability.

GEMS Central Tabulator Vote Database Vote Modification

BlackBoxVoting.org, August 31, 2004
=====================

EXCLUSIVE! * A DIEBOLD INSIDER SPEAKS!
DIEB-THROAT : ‘Diebold System One of Greatest Threats Democracy Has Ever Known’
Identifies U.S. Homeland Security ‘Cyber Alert’ Prior to ’04 Election Warning Votes Can be ‘Modified Remotely’ via ‘Undocumented Backdoor’ in Central Tabulator Software!

In exclusive stunning admissions to The BRAD BLOG some 11 months after the 2004 Presidential Election, a “Diebold Insider” is now finally speaking out for the first time about the…

In exclusive stunning admissions to The BRAD BLOG some 11 months after the 2004 Presidential Election, a “Diebold Insider” is now finally speaking out for the first time about the alarming security flaws within Diebold, Inc’s electronic voting systems, software and machinery. The source is acknowledging that the company’s “upper management” — as well as “top government officials” — were keenly aware of the “undocumented backdoor” in Diebold’s main “GEM Central Tabulator” software well prior to the 2004 election. A branch of the Federal Government even posted a security warning on the Internet.

Pointing to a little-noticed “Cyber Security Alert” issued by the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the source inside Diebold — who “for the time being” is requesting anonymity due to a continuing sensitive relationship with the company — is charging that Diebold’s technicians, including at least one of its lead programmers, knew about the security flaw and that the company instructed them to keep quiet about it.

“Diebold threatened violators with immediate dismissal,” the insider, who we’ll call DIEB-THROAT, explained recently to The BRAD BLOG via email. “In 2005, after one newly hired member of Diebold’s technical staff pointed out the security flaw, he was criticized and isolated.”

In phone interviews, DIEB-THROAT confirmed that the matters were well known within the company, but that a “culture of fear” had been developed to assure that employees, including technicians, vendors and programmers kept those issues to themselves.

via bloggingoutloud

Friday, September 16, 2005

Sabbath Nation

I have heard your wisdom sprawled like whores legs
across the ears of common sense covering every topic
with the moaning of ignorant bliss, uncaring but for its’ own
satisfaction in drinking its’ own saliva, slaking endless thirsts
abandoned in arroyos until a flash flood awakens sweeping sand
into torrents of rushing madness in a hurry to nowhere.

I have seen you as water and mud slanting across death
nonchalant without smell or feeling, despairing drama
does not find you close at hand, but from afar you have seen it all
without looking,becoming the vision, seared into the rump brand
you mark your passing without notice of the infliction reflecting
from your own eyes in the chalky streams of the mind.

Speak softly of things well unknown, the discovery comes too late,
we surmount a distant mountain, a closer view of empty valleys
where we no longer go lest it should change us into what we are
not, human beings. Do not be reminded of what you could be
what you once were you will no longer be because you were never
there anyway except in the glare of your living room TV.

Government by Star Chamber

The English speaking world has not seen such power since the 16th and 17th centuries when the Court of Star Chamber became a political weapon used against the king’s opponents and to circumvent Parliament. The Star Chamber dispensed with juries, permitted hearsay evidence, and became so reviled that “Star Chamber” became a byword for injustice. The Long Parliament abolished the Star Chamber in 1641. In obedience to the Bush regime, the US Congress resurrected it with the Patriot Act. Can anything be more Orwellian than identifying patriotism with the abolition of habeas corpus?

As Professor Claes Ryn made clear in his book, America the Virtuous, the neoconservatives are neoJacobins. There is nothing conservative about them. They are committed to the use of coercion to impose their agenda. Their attitude is merciless toward anyone in their way, whether fellow citizen or foreigner. “You are with us or against us.” For those on the receiving end, the Nazi and Jacobin mentalities come to the same thing.

Daily Nightly: A trick of the light? –

I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on for blocks on end. Kevin Tibbles was positively jubilant on the live update edition of Nightly News that we fed to the West Coast. The mini-mart, long ago cleaned out by looters, was nonetheless bathed in light, including the empty, roped-off gas pumps. The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It’s enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it… jump to certain conclusions.

Dog and Pony show again. sheesh.

via TPM which if you haven’t bookmarked by now, you should.

Katrina: The Politics of Incompetence and Decline

I. Wallerstein, 169,

via Tracerfire. Worth the time to read it. Thanks James.

Greater Federal Authority and a Broader Role for the Armed Forces

So to learn the lesson and get back on track, to run the recovery, President Bush picks Karl Rove.

That’s great.

Do we really all need the paint by numbers version of this picture.

Then there’s the president’s great line from the speech: “It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces.”

No, it’s not. Actually, every actual fact that’s surfaced in the last two weeks points to just the opposite conclusion. There was no lack of federal authority to handle the situation. There was faulty organization, poor coordination and incompetence.

Show me the instance where the federal government was prevented from doing anything that needed to be done because it lacked the requisite authority.

This is like what we were talking about a few days ago. This is how repressive governments operate — mixing inefficiency with authoritarian tendencies.

You don’t repair disorganized or incompetent government by granting it more power. You fix it by making it more organized and more competent. If conservatism can’t grasp that point, what is it good for?

I hate to use so much of Josh’s post, but I think he sees the ingredients, all to clearly, of W’s pudding. Henry Lui may be wrong.

The Proof is in The Eating of the Pudding

The Prattle of New Orleans

There’s no point in parsing every point in Shrub’s big speech last night — not when we’ve learned, through bitter experience, that there’s rarely a connection between the real world and the text on his teleprompter.
[…]
In the end, there were only three points about the speech that seemed significant to me — two of them being things Bush said, and one being something he didn’t talk about at all.

The first was Bush’s admission that race is an issue, both in the disaster and the recovery:

As all of us saw on television, there’s also some deep, persistent poverty in this region, as well. That poverty has roots in a history of racial discrimination, which cut off generations from the opportunity of America. We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action.

Would I have liked to heard more — such as an acknowledgment that most folks who failed to evacuate stayed behind because they were too poor or too scared to leave, not because they “lacked native judgement”? Yes. Do I think Bush was sincere about confronting poverty with “bold” action? No. Saying that “we” have a duty doesn’t say much. “We” could be anybody or everybody. When Bush says clearly the federal government has an obligation to fight poverty — or at least to make sure that others have the tools to fight it — then I’ll believe him. Maybe.

Epiphany for a president

On Thursday night, the president of the United States, the strongest nation in the world, spoke with the forceful leadership worthy of the awesome power of his office. For the first time in his presidency, George W Bush told the American people and the world that the American spirit of courage, community, equity and unbound optimism is alive and well, and he intends to galvanize that spirit towards a noble national purpose of reconstruction. “I as president am responsible for the problem, and for the solution,” he said.

We’ll see.

We’re on the Highway to Hell

Katrina oil spills may be among worst on record

The oil pollution in the wake of Hurricane Katrina could be among the worst recorded in North America, officials trying to coordinate the clean-up say. The US coastguard, which is responsible for the marine environment, said yesterday more than 6.5 million gallons of crude oil had been spilt in at least seven major incidents. The previous worst spill in US waters was the 11m gallons in Alaskan waters from the Exxon Valdez in 1989.

Global warming ‘past the point of no return

A record loss of sea ice in the Arctic this summer has convinced scientists that the northern hemisphere may have crossed a critical threshold beyond which the climate may never recover. Scientists fear that the Arctic has now entered an irreversible phase of warming which will accelerate the loss of the polar sea ice that has helped to keep the climate stable for thousands of years.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Madison’s and Washington’s Silence:

Madison, like George Washington, was conspicuously silent about the specific details of his religious beliefs. Both men did however profess a belief in a Divine Providence. The question then is what are we to make of the silence of Washington and Madison?

As I have noted before, there is positive evidence that Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin were all deistic-unitarians, that is they followed a “natural” religion that profoundly broke with traditional Christian doctrines like the Trinity, eternal damnation, inerrancy of scripture, miracles and prophesies written in the Bible that seemed to contradict the laws of science and nature, etc.

How historians view the Christian nation concept?? Read it, it’s worth the time.

Katrina, A Final Word

There has been, and will continue to be a lot of press on New Orleans and the aftermath of Katrina, very little of it on the corruption of the people as a whole. That is what Katrina exposed too, the corruption that is America, and the American people.

All the hoohaw about being a Christian nation, and a republic of the people, by the people and for the people has been flushed down the toilet, and what’s left of America is the facade, and all the money in DC will not wash away the rot that has eaten out the soul of the nation.

Until the people of the United States decide that they will no longer tolerate the level of corruption that was exposed, not only in that fetid city, not only in the State of Louisiana, not just the Federal government, but in all three divisions, and acknowledge that their city, State and Federal representatives are just as corrupted as the next then nothing will change, and the nation will lurch from one disaster to the next, until the people are as bankrupted as their leadership.

It isn’t political party that defines it anymore either, it is an inherent flaw in the American people, the invisible hand of greed that drives the lives of so many of us, and that is the disease eating away like leprosy on the body politic. The love of money is the root of all evil, and America has had its’ evil exposed. The cure is collapse, and the prognosis is death. Don’t weep for New Orleans, weep for yourselves.

EZSmirkzz Sept. 08-14, 2005

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Where was Cheney In August?

The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank annual symposium at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is a ritual in which central bankers from major economies all over the world, backed by their supporting cast of court jesters masquerading as monetary economists, privately rationalize their unmerited yet enormous power over the fate of the global economy by publicly confessing that while their collective knowledge is grossly inadequate for the daunting challenge of the task entrusted to them, their faith-based dogma nevertheless should remain above question….

This year, the annual august gathering in August took on special fanfare as it marked the final appearance of Alan Greenspan as chairman of the US Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Among the several interrelated options of controlling the money supply, the Federal Reserve, acting as a fourth branch of the US government based on dubious constitutional legitimacy and head of the global central-banking snake based on dollar hegemony,

This also from the same source as the previous post, but since blogger is having trouble, I put it here.

Popping Home and Credit Bubbles, and the Demise of the Pension Funds

Through mortgage-backed securitization, banks now are mere loan intermediaries that assume no long-term risk on the risky loans they make, which are sold as securitized debt of unbundled levels of risk to institutional investors with varying risk appetite commensurate with their varying need for higher returns. But who are institutional investors? They are mostly pension funds that manage the money the US working public depends on for retirement. In other words, the aggregate retirement assets of the working public are exposed to the risk of the same working public defaulting on their house mortgages. When a homeowner loses his or her home through default of its mortgage, the homeowner will also lose his or her retirement nest egg invested in the securitized mortgage pool, while the banks stay technically solvent. That is the hidden network of linked financial landmines in a housing bubble financed by mortgage-backed securitization to which no one is paying attention. The bursting of the housing bubble will act as a detonator for a massive pension crisis.

Long story short, Retirement Funds are buying speculative Real Estate Mortgages to finance you pension. When the housing bubble pops then so do the assets of those pension funds. In a word, it is a “The Deacon’s One Horse Shay”.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Pericles Strikes Again

Sic Semper Tyrannis 2005

My favorite part of the “Peloponesian War” has always been the “Melian Dialogue” in which Athens attacks and utterly destroys a small, harmless and neutral city state with which the Athenians had no real cause for anger.

it was just “policy” to do so, and the “greater good” of Athenian leadership of the Greek World was served.

Iraq’d

Pentagon Revises Nuclear Strike Plan

The Pentagon has drafted a revised doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons that envisions commanders requesting presidential approval to use them to preempt an attack by a nation or a terrorist group using weapons of mass destruction. The draft also includes the option of using nuclear arms to destroy known enemy stockpiles of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.

This policy almost assures mushroom clouds over American holes in the ground where cities once sat. Like Katrina in the gulf, this is almost too obvious a catastrophe. Look out baby here it comes.

For those who have become accustomed, I bid you adieu, but I am through warning the world of the coming disaster. I’ll see you at the wall.

Niger food aid is ‘misdirected’

Large numbers of children have died as a result of the food crisis in Niger which began early this year, an aid agency estimates. France’s Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says the death rate is several times over the international emergency level.

On average more than 40 young children have been dying a day in one area surveyed in the east of the country.

MSF accuses foreign aid organisations of misdirecting aid to those moderately malnourished rather than most in need.

Thousands have probably died of hunger in recent months.

The World Food Programme says most of the food that is needed is in place but it has not yet been distributed to at least one million people.

Are there any governments or treaty organizations anywhere that are competent beyond dropping HE on civilians in pursuit of peace? Why is it that graft can’t stop the bombs from falling when it is so obviously a large part of the current wars? Worse, are all these organizations capable of doing is killing people, and if so, why do we even have them?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Infectious Disease Research in and Around New Orleans

Summary: At the very least, there are two Level-3 biolabs in New Orleans and a cluster of three in nearby Covington. They have been working with anthrax, mousepox, HIV, plague, etc. There are surely other labs in the city.

Another fine mess you got us into Ollie!

A Time for Action

Focus on Sept.

24-26

days of protest

Crooked Timber Sigur Ros Ticket

Any DC-area CT-readers who want to go to the Sigur Ros concert at the Strathmore today? I have a spare ticket which I’m giving to the first person to ask for it in comments (I’ll be around the show at 6.45pm or so to do the handover).

Free show!! Get over there and claim the ticket!

Biological Testing; Test Results; Water issues; Hurricane Katrina Response; Environmental Protection Agency

The title link to page and this one back up the Independent Article linked below.

Maybe EPA ought to get off their FEMA asses, or has the Federal Government decided that killing the public softly is a kinder gentler nation’s choice?

Katrina’s Toxic Sludge, Insurers Seeking Dodge

Cover-up: toxic waters ‘will make New Orleans unsafe for a decade’

Toxic chemicals in the New Orleans flood waters will make the city unsafe for full human habitation for a decade, a US government official has told The Independent on Sunday. And, he added, the Bush administration is covering up the danger.

In an exclusive interview, Hugh Kaufman, an expert on toxic waste and responses to environmental disasters at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said the way the polluted water was being pumped out was increasing the danger to health.

The pollution was far worse than had been admitted, he said, because his agency was failing to take enough samples and was refusing to make public the results of those it had analysed. “Inept political hacks” running the clean-up will imperil the health of low-income migrant workers by getting them to do the work.

Insurers balk at paying out to 1 million Katrina flood victims

Millions of people forced out of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina may not be insured for the damage to their homes.

More than half of the properties in the city are understood to be insured only for hurricane damage, with insurers insisting that it was a flood that forced the evacuation of the city.

If US courts agree, this could save the insurance industry as much as $10bn (£5.4bn) and leave more than a million people destitute.

Now we will see just how smart the Congress was in their new bankrupcy bill. Someone in America is going to eat a lot of houses and small businesses. Your greed is going to come back and bite you in the ass, boys.

As for the sludge, what happens when it dries out and turns to dust? Invisible hand that! Sheesh.

Guess what boys, it ain’t over by a long shot, and there are more just like coming down the pike. Maybe you can put your fiscal onanism down for a bit, and do some arithmetic, which is like adding and subtracting, not the calculus.

The biggest disaster of Katrina is the American system of greed is no longer hidden in a mitten. It’s right out in the open for all to see, and may have been what UBL thought he was going to expose when he did his gig. Speaking of UBL, where is he?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Friendly Fire cover up– Again

WASHINGTON – The Army said Saturday it knew for more than a year after 1st Lt. Kenneth Ballard’s death in Iraq in May 2004 that he was not killed in action, as it initially reported. The family was not told the truth until Friday.

Ballard’s mother, Karen Meredith, of Mountain View, California, has become a public critic of the war. Last month she was in Crawford, Texas, at a memorial erected by Veterans for Peace as part of the protest that began Aug. 6 outside President George W. Bush’s ranch by grieving mother and peace activist Cindy Sheehan.

On Memorial Day in 2004, the day after Kenneth Ballard died, the Army informed his family that he had been killed by enemy fire while on a combat mission in the south-central Iraqi city of Najaf.

The Army disclosed on Saturday that Ballard, 26, actually died of wounds from the accidental discharge of a M240 machine gun on his tank after his platoon had returned from battling insurgents in Najaf.

More shenanigans from the SoD Rumsfeld

U.S. tube-feeding detainees on hunger strike

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The U.S. military is tube-feeding more than a dozen of the 89 terror suspects on hunger strike at the Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba, a spokesman said yesterday.

“People are desperate. They have been there three years. They were promised that the Geneva Conventions would be respected and various changes would happen and, unfortunately, the [U.S.] government reneged on that,” Stafford-Smith said.

“Sadly, it is very hard to see how a very obstinate military and a very desperate group of prisoners are ever going to come to an agreement.”

9/11 loan program gets congressional scrutiny

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, chairwoman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, announced the investigation in response to an Associated Press report that showed the federal program was so loosely managed that it gave low-interest loans to companies that didn’t need terrorism relief or even know they were getting it. The Seattle Times published the story yesterday.

Note: I posted the same story from the Victoria Advocate yesterday

“The apparent widespread abuse of loans provided through the Supplemental Terrorist Activity Relief Act [STAR] is nothing short of an outrage,” Snowe said.

Anglican Rift Widens

Africans Against Homosexuality: Nigerian Archbishops Fault Church on New Policy About Gays

By RICHARD N. OSTLING
Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) – Anglican Christianity’s split over homosexuality worsened Thursday as Africa’s two most important archbishops joined to criticize a new Church of England policy on gays and lesbians.

Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola and Ugandan Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi each assailed a July 25 announcement from England’s bishops that said gay priests who register same-sex partnerships under a new civil law will remain in good standing so long as they promise to remain celibate. The English bishops also said that lay Anglicans who register civil unions will not be denied the sacraments.

The Soteriology of Gnostic Governance

America is undergoing one of the most significant spiritual crises in our nation’s history. In the face of catastrophe our religious faith has been shaken and we wonder where we can put our trust. We cry out to our god, wondering why our people have been forsaken and why more has not been done. Even followers of Jehovah, Allah, and Jesus will how our national deity – our government – has let us down.

The claim that we make an idol of our government is provocative and disconcerting; it is also almost impossible to deny. Idolatry occurs when we take anything within God’s creation and elevate it above the boundary separating Creator from the creature, and make it a kind of God. Political philosopher David Koyzis has explored this concept in detail, examining how ideologies can become “idols”:

If ideologies deify something within God’s creation, they inevitably view this humanly made god as a source of salvation. Thus each of the ideologies is based on a specific soteriology, that is, on a worked-out theory promising deliverance to human beings from some fundamental evil that is viewed as the source of a broad range of human ills, including tyranny, oppression, anarchy, poverty and so forth.

Our view of governance has not only attained this level of ideological belief, but has become rather commonplace. For instance, one of the most consistent, though often unstated, themes in the discussion about the disaster in New Orleans is that the government could have saved everyone. Some blame the local government, which had hundreds of unused buses at their disposal. Most others place the blame on the Federal government which is believed to have almost unlimited resources at its disposal.

Either one or both of these allegations could very well be true. But undergirding every claim is the foundational assumption that someone somewhere could have done enough to ensure almost universal salvation after the disaster. Nearly everyone could have been spared if only the government had responded in the right way. Because this belief is rooted in a strong faith in the capabilities of the system, no evidence either for or against such claims is needed. Faith is truly considered to be “evidence of things not seen.”

And the walls fell down
all the way to hell
never saw them when they were standing
never saw them when they fell

Luk 23:29,30 For behold, days will come in which they will say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that did not bear, and breasts that did not suckle. “Then they will begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us! And to the hills, Cover us!”

Military Occupation in America and the Prospects for Liberty

Yet all too many left-liberals seem to think the problem is simply Republican mismanagement and not enough government spending. I have heard very few on the left denounce the imposition of martial law and the treatment of human beings in the area as livestock or worse. They complain that the federal government has been all tied up in Iraq and so it has neglected New Orleans, but they have not been as quick to note that perhaps the federal government’s efforts to bring relief and order to the flooded American coast, however well funded, will prove as problematic and counterproductive as its attempts to bring “freedom” to the Middle East. Do they really think that the U.S. government’s military occupiers are suited for disaster relief? …

The rightwing, in contrast, upholds Bush’s handling of the situation, saying he’s doing everything as well as he can, and that the only problems are the local authorities and the recalcitrant population unwilling to follow orders and evacuate. The federal government doesn’t owe the indigents anything, so say the most brazen conservative pundits, borrowing rhetorically from libertarian opposition to welfare statism, but doing so for the perverse purpose of vindicating the federal response and upholding the big-government Bush regime. Sure, it is wrong and wrongheaded for the feds to tax Americans for disaster relief. But the feds are hardly blameless for what has happened. Sure, to blame Bush alone for the catastrophe is out of line and unproductive. But to portray Bush as the victim is an obscenity.

We have come to the point in America when the real domestic issue has frighteningly become not one of whether government should grow a little or shrink a little in one area or another: although it might not yet be out in the open, the issue before us is the wholesale abolition of civil liberty and whether such totalitarianism is ever justified, even in times of crisis.

The conservatives and “liberals” who say yes, who endorse martial law as sometimes necessary and proper and massive state violence as the cure to calamity, natural or manmade, are on the wrong side of the most important domestic issue of the day.

Luttig Says Bush Can Detain Americans as Enemy Combatants

Like I said, The DEAD REPUBLIC.

a day in the life of world’s quickest charity album

Casting a fatherly eye over proceedings, Billy Bragg, a patron of War Child, said he was glad a new generation of bands were finding their political voice.

“I don’t buy this charity fatigue thing – that’s just a cynical excuse for not engaging in the world outside your own little country. It doesn’t matter how tired you get of rock stars coming up and talking about dealing with this or that problem. The people who need help, the children who need help, they don’t go away. You can blot out me and Geldof and Bono, but you can’t blot out the children.

New Orleans is Not Alone

Not one penny has been pledged to the United Nations emergency appeal to avert a famine threatening 10 million people in southern Africa, the world body has said.

The UN launched a plea for $88m (£48m) at the end of August for food and agricultural assistance to six countries in the region.

“Ten days later, we have received zero pledges for this appeal. It seems we are losing the battle for the world’s attention to get help to these vulnerable people,” said Jan Egeland, the UN’s humanitarian chief. He told the Guardian that, without timely donations, many people could die – as they have in Niger.

Just like New Orleans, I suppose, it will take a disaster before anyone moves off center to do something about an obvious problem.

One may argue that it is not the governments job, and so on and do forth. But the fact of the matter is New Orleans received a lot of attention after the poor and weak were killed, not before. So what good was all the out pouring of generousity to the dead?

If the left really wants to help the poor and weak they should do so before hand, not after, as they are so want to do for New Orleans.

If the Christian world wants to follow the commandments of Christ then they should do so before hand, not after, as well.

That really is the crux of the situation though, Americans will respond to any disaster, but fail to rise to the challenge of responding to the causes of the disaster. Penny wise and pound foolish is one way to look at it I suppose, although there seems to be room enough for the assertion of hypocricy.

That is the greater shame, that we cared not at all until the dead poor were in our faces. So while you salve your conscience with your liberality towards the victims of Katrina, remember that wrath of God remains upon you, until you have as much compassion for the living as you so publicly display for the dead. Until then, I don’t believe a friggin word you say.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Yeah, They Hate America , Yada yada yada

Oversight, Anyone?

dKos and Tapped get hammered, deservedly so, at QandO as well.

What do I have in commmon with Tom Tancredo, Jim Sensenbrenner, Paul Ryan, and Joe Barton? Well, nothing, really, but they were part of a contingent of twelve Republicans who voted against the $51.8 billion relief package for Katrina reconstruction, and I’m not—entirely—sure a ‘nay’ vote is a bad idea, although our motives almost certainly differ. Here’s Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) on his vote against: “According to the Office of Management and Budget, we are spending money at a rate of $2 billion a day, and yet we in the Congress do not have many details at all on how that money is being spent.” Um, pretty good point, actually. How is the money being spent?

Washington, D.C. – Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake, who represents the state’s Sixth District, today called on Congress to offset spending for Hurricane Katrina relief with funding from lower priority programs. “If ever there was a reason to cut spending, this is it,” said Flake. “Today Congress appropriated another $50 billion in hurricane relief, and it’s just a start. That’s an average contribution of more than $600 from every household in America. Congress has the responsibility to cut spending elsewhere if we are going to commit this amount of money.”

U.S. Congressman Steve King today issued the following statement regarding the passage of H.R. 3673, The Hurricane Katrina Supplemental for Fiscal Year 2005, today by the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill adds $50 billion to FEMA and $1.8 billion to the Department of Defense to continue recovery and rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina.“There is no question that the people in the Gulf region need help, and we’re going to do everything in our power to rescue and save lives and responsibly rebuild the devastated areas.But it does Americans no good to continue throwing money at the situation without a plan of responsible spending and rebuilding and without a way to monitor where the money is going and how it’s being used. That’s why I voted no on $52 billion with no plan to help people.

Westmoreland statement on $51,800,000,000.00 spending bill, I strongly supported the efforts of Congress in allocating the initial $10 billion in immediate relief to keep the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Army Corps of Engineers functioning to assist in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane and flooding. However, I rise in opposition to this $51.8 billion relief package. I do not oppose all funding for the emergency, but one of my major concerns with the government response to disasters in general is the tendency to throw money at problems with very little accountability on how that money is being spent.

The $51.8 billion we are about to spend is nearly three times the entire annual state budget of my home state of Georgia, the ninth-largest state in the country with a population of 8.8 million people, and will be spent in about five weeks from what we are being told. According to the Office of Management and Budget, we are spending money at a rate of $2 billion a day, and yet we in the Congress do not have many details at all on how that money is being spent.

Remember when the Right criticized Kerry for voting against an $87 billion dollar bill to fund the troops in Iraq. The Republicans ran campaign commercials accusing John Kerry of voting “against funding our soldiers.” The Left was outraged, accusing Bush of misrepresenting Kerry’s vote, and accusing him of opposing the troops, when, in fact—as FactCheck.org also noted—Kerry “actually submitted a bill to “require the Treasury Department to raise an additional $87 billion for the President’s request for supplemental funding for our troops in Iraq and for reconstruction”.

That last was from my own defense, written in March of 2004, of Kerry’s “No” vote. At the time, I joined the Left in callng the Bush administration’s attack “dishonest”. Now, the Left has decided they didn’t really mean it after all. [emph. added throughout]

Look at the post below, and you can see why I agree with Ron Paul, et. al. on this. EZ

Sept. 11 recovery loans went to many who didn’t need them

September 9, 2005
DIRK LAMMERS and FRANK BASS
Associated Press

The government’s $5 billion effort to help small businesses recover from the Sept. 11 attacks was so loosely managed that it gave low-interest loans to companies that didn’t need terrorism relief – or even know they were getting it, The Associated Press has found.

nd while some at New York’s Ground Zero couldn’t get assistance they desperately sought, companies far removed from the devastation – a South Dakota country radio station, a Virgin Islands perfume shop, a Utah dog boutique and more than 100 Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway sandwich shops – had no problem winning the government-guaranteed loans.

Dentists and chiropractors in numerous cities, as well as an Oregon winery that sold trendy pinot noir to New York City restaurants also got assistance.

“That’s scary. Nine-11 had nothing to do with this,” said James Munsey, a Virginia entrepreneur who described himself as “beyond shocked” to learn his nearly $1 million loan to buy a special events company in Richmond was drawn from the Sept. 11 program.

“It would have been inappropriate for me to take this kind of loan,” he said, noting that the company he bought suffered no ill effects from Sept. 11.

Arvind “Andy” Patel, 50, said he used his $350,000 loan in fall 2002 to remodel his Dunkin’ Donuts shop in western New York state and never knew it was drawn through the Sept. 11 program.

“Not at all,” Patel answered, when asked whether his business had been hurt by the attacks.

Government officials said they believe banks assigned some loans to the terror relief program without telling borrowers. Neither the government nor its participating banks said they could provide figures on how many businesses got loans that way.

But AP’s nationwide investigation located businesses in dozens of states who said they did not know their loans were drawn from the Sept. 11 programs, suggesting at least hundreds of millions of dollars went to unwitting recipients.

The Small Business Administration, which administered the two programs that doled out Sept. 11 recovery loans, said it first learned of the problems through AP’s review and was weighing whether an investigation was needed. But officials also acknowledged they intended to spread the post-Sept. 11 aid broadly because so many unexpected industries were hurt.

“We started seeing business (needing help) in areas you wouldn’t think of – tourism, crop dusting, trade and transportation. … So there were a lot of examples you wouldn’t think of, at first blush,” SBA Administrator Hector Barreto told AP.

In all, the government provided, approved or guaranteed nearly $4.9 billion in loans, and took credit for saving 20,000 jobs. That would put the average cost of saving a job at about a quarter million dollars each.

Of the 19,000 loans approved by the two programs, fewer than 11 percent went to companies in New York City and Washington, according to an AP computer analysis of loan records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

“I had nothing here,” said Shirla Yam, who runs a clothing store in the former shadows of the twin towers that got a $20,000 grant from a local advocacy group but no federal aid after Sept. 11. “I don’t know if I’ll be here next month.”

Under one of the programs, SBA lent money directly to companies that provided detailed statements on how they were hurt. The other program provided incentives – and guaranteed loans from default – so banks could lend money to companies they determined were hurt by the post-Sept. 11 economic downturn.

Most loans were well below market rates – as low as 4 percent, documents show.

SBA officials acknowledged the second program, the Supplementary Terrorism Activity Relief (STAR), left banks on an honor system to determine worthy loan recipients.

SBA documents obtained by AP show banks had a strong incentive to approve as many loans as possible from the terror program. The banks profited from the interest while incurring little risk because the government guaranteed 75 percent to 85 percent of each loan.

While SBA officials expressed surprise at AP’s findings, banking officials said the agency encouraged the industry to use the post-Sept. 11 programs liberally, especially when its normal guaranteed lending program was hit by steep budget cuts in 2002.

“They had personnel at our conference stand up and say if you cannot find a reason to move the loan over to the STAR program, contact us and we’ll help you find a reason to move it over,” recalled Tony Wilkinson, president of the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders.

A bank that provided an SBA-backed loan to a trucking firm in Indiana acknowledged it did not tell the recipient about the Sept. 11 connection. “We don’t have any indication there was any communication or provisions we shared with the client that these were funds from the government used to support them from Sept. 11,” said Pat Schubah, first vice president of small business banking at Indianapolis-based Union Federal.

Many loans went to local outlets of some of America’s most famous and lucrative companies. For instance, 55 Dunkin’ Donuts shops across the country, 14 Quiznos sandwich shops and 52 Subway sandwich shops got loans. Fourteen Dairy Queens – part of the ice cream franchise partly owned by Wall Street billionaire Warren Buffett – won more than $5 million in loans.

Liberals Roved Again on Brown

Hey lamers, while the WH boys were scrubbing the web of Brown’s faked credentials, whose else were they working on at the same time hmmm?

Hessians Occupy New Orleans

via TPM

How do you know that we’re finally taking the situation in New Orleans seriously? We’re sending in the private mercenaries — the very same folks we’ve called on to do the dirty work in Iraq. Reports are beginning to surface that New Orleans and environs are crawling with armed private commandos from Blackwater USA, the North Carolina-based security firm that has risen to prominence with its highly visible role in Iraq. The slide show at the top of this entry comes from their Web site.

No civilians in New Orleans will be allowed to carry pistols, shotguns or other firearms, said P. Edwin Compass III, the superintendent of police. “Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons,” he said.

But that order apparently does not apply to hundreds of security guards hired by businesses and some wealthy individuals to protect property. The guards, employees of private security companies like Blackwater, openly carry M-16’s and other assault rifles. Mr. Compass said that he was aware of the private guards, but that the police had no plans to make them give up their weapons.

So we can’t even field a decent domestic security force, without resorting to mercenaries?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Blackwater Security is here–clean, well-equipped, and armed to the teeth.

In fact the start page with otter is a good place to start.

Iraq rebuilding under threat as US runs out of money

Key rebuilding projects in Iraq are grinding to a halt because American money is running out and security has diverted funds intended for electricity, water and sanitation, according to US officials.

Plans to overhaul the country’s infrastructure have been downsized, postponed or abandoned because the $24bn (£13bn) budget approved by Congress has been dwarfed by the scale of the task.

“We have scaled back our projects in many areas,” James Jeffrey, a senior state department adviser on Iraq, told a congressional committee in Washington, in remarks quoted by the Los Angeles Times. “We do not have the money.”

Sigh.

Oil spills, ravaged industry and lost islands add to the hurricane’s toll

The extent of the environmental damage inflicted on the southern US states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama began to emerge yesterday with reports of an entire group of islands disappearing, serious oil slicks and the potential ruin of the seafood industry.

[…]
Damage to the oyster, crab and shrimp industries, one of the major employers on the coast, is thought to have been extensive.

The storm surge wrecked many boats, harbours and warehouses and destroyed breeding grounds. The Gulf is home to more than 80% of oysters grown in the United States and is the centre of the shrimp industry.

Hunger strikers pledge to die in Guantánamo

More than 200 detainees in Guantánamo Bay are in their fifth week of a hunger strike, the Guardian has been told.

Mr. President, remember the measuring line you measure out, shall be measured out to you. You should be very afraid, sir, because the wrath of God is upon you, and your nation.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Hurricane Katrina – Our Experiences

Christian nation?

No Quarter, Cutting the Catapult Lines

via Sic Semper Tyrannis 2005

Read the comments under both postings too, until Plunger anyway.

1-First providers are noble beings without fault.

2-State and local officials were a “problem.”

3-The president tried to take action early but the locals got in the way and were stubborn probably because of the injustice of their “culture.”

4-This is not the time for recriminations. We must do the people’s work. (Really sounds like Bill)

5-We should study “lessons learned” from this, and not attribute blame. (Important point for FEMA Director Brown, but since he was head of Arabian Horse Association, it has been suggested that he could be a Middle East analyst for cable news.)

6-Congress and the president will investigate this on a bi-cameral, bi-partisan basis reporting next year (when no one remembers anything and just before Mardi Gras).

7-Federal aid is fixing everything in spite of local ineptitude.

I was trained as a propaganda staff officer at one point. This is a hell of a job. Congratulations. Always tell them what they would like to believe and they will “go for it.”

Pat Lang

Israel to seal Rafah crossing on Thursday as part of Gaza pullout

Israel is to close the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt until further notice, Israel Defense Forces officials said Wednesday, after Cabinet ministers proposed new arrangements that could include movement of Palestinians in and out of Gaza under the supervision of foreign inspectors without an Israeli presence.

The officials said the crossing, the only land link between Gaza and the outside world without passing through Israel, would be shut down on Thursday.

Gaza: Just another dog and and pony show for the taxpayers in America.

UPDATE: The rest of the oil that is in the Kohen’s hand he shall put on the head of him who is to be cleansed, and the Kohen shall make atonement for him before the YHVH.

Governor Hairball Joins Pasture Robertson in Self Promotion

Gov. Rick Perry, in hurricane relief tours around the state, in news releases and on his official state Web site, has urged Texans to contribute to three groups: the Red Cross, Salvation Army and the OneStar Foundation.

Perry created OneStar as a nonprofit charitable organization in January 2004 to coordinate faith-based initiatives and promote volunteerism. Its chief executive is Susan Weddington, who left the state Republican Party chairmanship to run the organization.

“They laid Jesus Christ in his grave”

Piglets Scramble for Post-Katrina Leverage

“Yesterday, congressional Republicans tried to get a head start, announcing the formation of an investigative commission that they can control.”

House and Senate GOP leaders announced the “Hurricane Katrina Joint Review Committee,” which will include only members of Congress, with Republicans outnumbering Democrats by a yet-to-be-determined ratio.

“Congress is actively responding to the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina,” House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said in a statement released during an appearance attended only by Republicans, after an all-GOP planning session.

Informed Comment

The SoD Rumsfeld gets a little truth from the Prof. which he ought to be able to hear even through the Bush buns mufflers.

Werther: Victor Davis Hanson, Bard of the Booboisie

A fine a job of plucking a chickenhawk as yer apt to e’r read. via Tracerfire.

Two Rather Different Messages

I guess it’s OK for some people to quote Scriptures, sometimes. The rest of us need to be cool, we may offend an atheist.

EZSmirkzz Sept 01-07, 2005

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Government Intervention in Stock Market is Detailed by New Report, GATA Says

Government Intervention in Stock Market is Detailed by New Report, GATA Says: “Move Over, Adam Smith: The Visible Hand of Uncle Sam,'”

nothing like a little insider trading eh, but at least we know where all the n=missing billiond from Iraq went.

Pet Goats and Such

How Kadafi Went From Foe to Ally

Must Read from War and peace

The Talent Show: Agreed

The Long Hot Summer, the Long Cold Winter

After reading this, or any other economists blog on the Negative savings rate for Americans then you will understand why Grover Norquist and CATO are calling for even more tax cuts. It would make sense if the tax cuts the individual receives covered their rising bills, but it won’t. Even the 300$ most people got in the first round won’t do it either. So either housing prices keep rising, or the American consumer, and economy are going to sink like a rock.

Meanwhile the Congress is spending money on Katrina, The War Twins, and losing revenue on the permanent tax cuts. This all before they enact new cuts, and with the foresight of other impending disasters, such as Ophelia etcetera.

My bet is that the college kids all wind up under bridges while the Military Industial Piglets eat caviar off their corpses.

Let Them Eat Cake; The end of Empire?

Charitable Democrats??? I don’t think so. When it’s politically expedient the “liberals” are charitable. At least the Republicans are (almost) honestly heartless, greedy and self centered. The Democrats had power. Under Clinton our welfare rolls were depleted as our prisons filled. Union busting continued. Wages continued their downward spiral and jobs poured over our borders into either third world countries or countries with better educated work forces. Locally two men died in rapid succession in the Hunboldt County jail and a homeless man was beaten to death in his sleeping bag a couple of blocks from where I lived. The many professional activists that live here didn’t miss a toke. The homeless man’s glasses, some clothing, blood and the Christmas tree used to bludgeon him were left at the scene of this Thanksgiving morning murder scene. The sheriff didn’t even collect this major evidence. One of the man who died in the county jail “strangled himself” and the other died after his medicine was taken away upon entry into the jail. There was no hue and cry from the right or left. These were “lives not worth living” as the Nazis put it, anyway. The hippies from the 60s had become gentrified, had money from growing pot and really didn’t want these people around anyway. The right wingers, at least, never made more than a mocking pretense of caring about anyone but themselves, mainly with their evil mockery of Christianity.

Tally of evacuees in Houston shelters drops dramatically

Today 8,066 hurricane victims are still stranded at the three Reliant Park shelters and the downtown George R. Brown Convention Center, down from 25,400 reported just Tuesday. It’s evident at a glance that evacuees have more breathing room than they did last weekend, but it’s hard to track how many people are simply switching shelters, moving in with relatives or actually finding more permanent housing.

Deletions of New Orleans Superfund Sites

The original link from Tulane Universty in the second block quote is now 404, the cache is retrieved on Aug 16, 2005 01:33:28 GMT
Serious coverup here folks.

37483 – 37484 Federal Register / Vol. 65, No. 116 / Thursday, June 15, 2000 / Rules and Regulations

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency.
ACTION: Notice of Partial Deletion of Moton Elementary School, including Mugrauer Playground (Operable Unit 4) and Groundwater (Operable Unit 5) of the Agriculture Street Landfill Superfund Site from the National Priorities List.

SUMMARY:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 6 announces the deletion of Moton Elementary School, including Mugrauer Playground (Operable Unit 4) and Groundwater (Operable Unit 5) of the Agriculture Street Landfill Superfund Site from the National Priorities List (NPL).

The NPL, promulgated pursuant to section 105 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, as amended, constitutes Appendix B of 40 CFR Part 300 which is the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP). This partial deletion is consistent with the EPA’s Notice of Policy Change: Policy Regarding Partial Deletion of Sites Listed on the National Priorities List, 60 FR 55466 (November 1, 1995). The EPA, in consultation with the State of Louisiana, through the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ), has determined that the Operable Units pose no significant threat to public health, welfare, or the environment and, therefore, further remedial measures pursuant to CERCLA are not appropriate. Consequently, pursuant to CERCLA Section 105, and 40 CFR 300.425(e), Moton Elementary School, including Mugrauer Playground (Operable Unit 4) and Groundwater (Operable Unit 5) of the Agriculture Street Landfill Superfund Site are hereby deleted from the NPL.

Even if a site is deleted from the NPL, where hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants remain at the site above levels that allow for unlimited use and unrestricted exposure, CERCLA Section 121(c), 42 U.S.C. 9621(c) requires that a subsequent review of the site be conducted at least every five years after the initiation of the remedial action at the site to ensure that the action remains protective of public health and the environment. If new information becomes available which indicates a need for further action, EPA may initiate remedial actions. Whenever there is a significant release from a site deleted from the NPL, the site may be restored to the NPL without application of the Hazard Ranking System.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

June 15, 2000.


ATTA BOY BILL CLINTON!!!

From 1909 to the 1950’s, the city of New Orleans owned and operated the Agricultural Street Landfill as a municipal site. It was reopened briefly in 1965 to store waste and debris from the damage caused by Hurricane Betsy. In the 1970-80’s the northeastern part of the site was developed into a residential neighborhood. Private residences, public housing, a community center, and a school/playground were built on forty-seven acres of landfill. When lead, arsenic, and carcinogenic polyaromatic hydrocarbons (cPAHs) were found in elevated levels during EPA tests, the site was placed on the NPL list, granting it access to Superfund money. The site was then divided up into five Operable Units (OUs). OU-1 is an 48 acre undeveloped portion of land and OU-2 is comprised of residential properties. OU-3 and OU-4 are the Community Center
and the Moton Elementary School (Mugrauder Playground) respectively. The ground water in the area makes up OU-5.

Over 1,000 residents of the neighborhood in OU-2 have joined together to seek reparations from the city of New Orleans, the Housing Authority of of New Orleans, and the School Board. For six-years the residents have attempted to join their law suits together as a single class action law suit. On September 15, 1999, after fourteen days of testimony, Judge Nadine Ramsey certified the case as class action. The mostly African-American plaintiffs seek reparations for reduced property values, moving costs, and regular medical checkups. Total reparations in the suit range from fifty to seventy million dollars.

The Thompson-Hayward Chemical Plant

Although the Thompson-Hayward Chemical Plant is not yet an NPL site, the EPA is currently debating its entrance into the Superfund program. Situated off Pine street near Xavier University (Gert Town), the plant had been producing various poisons from WWII to the 1970’s. Workers would feel their skin tingle and burn beneath chemical suits while residents sat outside their houses. The plant is now closed, but years of dumping pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides down the drains have left all of these chemicals in the soil underneath the surrounding residences. It also served as a storage plant for dry-cleaning and other commercial chemicals during the 1980’s. Signs of toxins were also found in the fat tissue of the neighborhood’s longtime residents. Dust in local homes was found to contain DDT, a poisonous pesticide banned in 1973. The waste is so toxic that t is not cost-effective to store it in the U.S. Even before the Superfund program could react, the state ordered the top four feet of the site and over 75,000 gallons of waste water to be removed. The EPA is currently testing the concentration of toxins at various distances from the plant, so that they may determine the origin of the chemicals.
Like many other potential NPL sites, the Thompson-Hayward chemical plant has changed ownership over its many years of operation. Up until the 1970’s, this site was owned by Phillips Electronics based in the Netherlands. Local residents have filed a class-action law suit against its current owners, Harcos Chemical Co. But since Harcos has only owned the plant for less than one half of its history, it is unclear whether or not the residents have a strong enough case. This change of ownership theme, prevalent in many gross polluting industrial plants, also makes it very difficult for the EPA to find a PRP. However reparations are needed to right the wrongs that Gert Town citizens have endured for years. If the Thompson-Hayward plant were to receive federal Superfund money, perhaps some of the issues at hand could be solved comparatively easily. But without the EPA’s assistance, neighbors living near the site seem to be temporarily out of luck.

Perspectives of America

C Wright Mills explained it half a century ago: “In part at least this has resulted from one simple historical fact, pivotal for the years since 1939: the focus of elite attention has been shifted from domestic problems centered in the ’30s around [slums] to international problems, centered in the ’40s and ’50s around war (the permanent war economy and its link to resource theft and the defense industries) … These hierarchies of state and corporation and army constitute the means of power; and as such they are now of a consequence not before equaled in human history – and at their summits there are now those command posts of modern society which offer us the sociological key to an understanding of the role of the higher circles in America” (The Power Elite, 1956).

M Asadi

I hesitate to say this but it is widely said that the delayed response by the Bush administration could [be] because the vast majority of the victims were blacks and left to rot at the bottom of the pile: let them loot and kill each other or die of hunger, thirst or sickness. President G W Bush could shed as many tears now and try to repair his sincerity, but one thing is clear, that he has proved once again as unsteady as on September 11 and … it has sent waves of revulsion throughout America. The Americans should not like to see what they see in their devil’s mirrors. What really astonished and astounded me the most was the sheer vast numbers of black Americans living in a pitiful state in the streets and left to rot: it reminded me of the atrocious days of slavery born again.

Saqib Khan

Something foul with bird flu program

HO CHI MINH CITY – Vietnam’s ambitious plan to vaccinate all its poultry before seasonal high demand for chicken begins early next year has suffered a setback because of failed pilot programs.
“The poultry inoculation program against bird flu is slipping behind,” said Hoang Van Nam, a director in the veterinary department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). “The trial programs, scheduled to end within a month, have failed. We will review them before expanding the vaccination to other localities.”

Alice Miles Times Online

America slides into chaos: but is that a smug smile on the face of the Brits?

SO THERE IT IS, the underbelly of America — exposed. Hurricane Katrina has forced the middle classes in the United States to consider the dark side of the American dream: the poor, the black, the dispossessed, the “forgotten”. For Americaphobes, the events of the past ten days have proved something of a feast. The subtext, and often the main text, of much of the reportage from New Orleans has been what a nasty, divided, unjust place the US has been revealed to be. Nature has overturned its smug certainties and left it reeling.

And it strikes me that there is more than a little smugness in the reporting as well. British journalism revelling in racial division the other side of the Atlantic rarely seems to trouble itself to look at the ethnic splits this side of the pond.

America offers its Third World scholarships to British students

A THIRD-WORLD American scholarship scheme has been extended to Britain to recruit the brightest students from the poorest backgrounds to study at US universities.

The United States Achievers Programme (USAP) was devised to give Zimbabweans the opportunity to compete for university places in America.

Now sixth formers from Lewisham and East Ham, alongside students from Nigeria, Bangladesh and Mongolia, are being urged to apply for places at Harvard and Yale and study for free.

Contracting out of human rights: The Chad-Cameroon Pipeline Project

The report warns that human rights protection is already compromised in Chad and Cameroon and that these legal agreements may exacerbate the situation.

It claims there is a prevailing climate of fear and intimidation around the pipeline, some of whose critics have already been arrested and intimidated.

[…]

An ExxonMobil spokeswoman said: “The government of Chad and the World Bank put in place an unprecedented Revenue Management Plan (RMP) for the allocation of oil revenues, including monitoring by representatives of civil society.

One would think that the college kids at Exxon-Mobile would be aware of the corruption in Africa, and hence not insult the rest of the world with tripe, and platitudes, that is if one would think.

Yahoo ‘helped jail China writer’

Reporters Without Borders said Yahoo’s Hong Kong arm helped China link Shi Tao’s e-mail account and computer to a message containing the information.

The media watchdog accused Yahoo of becoming a “police informant” in order to further its business ambitions.

A Yahoo spokeswoman, Pauline Wong, said the company had no immediate comment.

More college kid morality and ethics.

Establishment Liberalism, the War Urge and the Hunched Figure of Randolph Bourne

by Stephen Bender

Ari Berman, recently writing in The Nation, flushed out today’s establishment liberal by sketching out the institutional structure that buttresses the kinder, gentler Empire worldview. He presented this network as a pyramid. Up top are Senators such as Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and John Kerry – the clique’s leading figures, so we are solemnly advised, of presidential timbre. They voted for war; they steadfastly continue to fund the war; their maundering is transparently partisan. They deal not in deep criticism, for what they performatively deplore is management inefficiency, not the essence of the enterprise. Drop the trap door: here roosts Clintonian ex-officialdom in the form of Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Richard Holbrooke, the former UN Ambassador. Further down we unearth gnomes busy scribbling for think tanks such as the Brookings Institution and the Progressive Policy Institute. Amidst the bottom feeders we recoil at “laptop bombardiers” like Thomas Friedman.

In examining the sort of cynical pragmatism inherent in the liberal embrace of war, Bourne placed much of the blame on the emerging technologically-minded intelligentsia. In “Twilight of the Idols” he recognized that they “are liberal, enlightened, aware… the product of the swing in the colleges from a training that emphasized classical studies to one that emphasized political and economic values… Their education has not given them a coherent system of large ideas, or a feeling for democratic goals. They have, in short, no clear philosophy of life except that of intelligent service, the admirable adoption of means to ends. They are vague as to what kind of society they want, or what kind of society America needs, but they are equipped with all the administrative attitudes and talents necessary to attain it… The American, in living out this philosophy, has habitually confused results with product, and been content with getting somewhere without asking too closely whether it was the desirable place to get.”

Katrina and the End of Illusions- by Justin Raimondo

We are at what Brooks calls “the bursting point,” but what is being burst is not “public confidence” in “institutions” but in the institution of government per se: and not only that, but what is taking its place is a fear and loathing of the government – the federal government, at least – as not only incompetent but downright malevolent. They lied us into war, they tried to shift the blame onto local authorities when a much-predicted and quite foreseeable disaster struck – and now they’re moving into New Orleans, forcing out residents and causing events to take a rather ominous turn:

Pentagon: No delay in getting aid to storm victims

Asked why it took days to get National Guard troops moving to the area hit by the hurricane, Rumsfeld replied, “It didn’t.”

The Defense Department began pre-positioning assets in the area before the storm hit, he said.

“Not only was there no delay, I think we anticipated in most cases — not in all cases, but in most cases, the support that was required,” Myers said.

Apparently these guys have no TV and can’t read the papers.

Smashed comet findings indicate it’s mostly dust

Mixed in the dust is a soup of potentially life-spawning organic compounds all wrapped within a ball of space fluff with less consistency than a snowbank, scientists said Tuesday.
[…]
The blast caused the comet to release an estimated 11 million pounds of water, along with so much dust that Earth-based telescopes have struggled to pinpoint the exact impact site.

One of the more interesting findings was the large number of organic molecules detected in the material blasted off the surface of the comet, including methyl cyanide, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia and acetylene. Scientists had remotely detected these compounds in other comets. But the large amounts of some of them, particularly methyl cyanide, was a surprise, scientists said. The new findings offer support for the theory that comets seeded the barren infant planet of Earth with the chemical precursors of life. “I would argue this makes it more likely,” A’Hearn said.

Yeah right. except that a comet would undergo a lot of chemical changes entering Earth’s ancient methane atmosphere. Interesting how much money we spend to find the source of Earths life in extra-terrestial bodies, while people float face down in chemical sludge in New Orleans and starve to death in Africa.

Is that a religious, or a secular priority? Obviously the decisions are being made by people with college degrees, so it ought to be easy to answer. Why is the source of life more important than the life itself?

It’s Not a ‘Blame Game’ – New York Times

No administration could credibly investigate such an immense failure on its own watch. And we have learned through bitter experience – the Abu Ghraib nightmare is just one example – that when this administration begins an internal investigation, it means a whitewash in which no one important is held accountable and no real change occurs.

We agree with the Senate minority leader, Harry Reid, Senator Hillary Clinton and others who say that such a panel should follow the successful formula of the 9/11 commission: bipartisan leadership and members chosen by the White House and both parties in Congress on the basis of real expertise. It should have subpoena power and a staff expert enough to find answers and offer remedies.

Does this guy even read what he writes? Senate minority leader, Harry Reid, Senator Hillary Clinton voted for the war that brought us Abu Ghraib. The 9-11 commission is the penultimate red, whitewash, and blue.

Before throwing the system into chaos again, an investigation should determine whether the problem lies in the structure or in execution.

What do you mean, again?

The Fallacy of Education

Scientists and environmentalists have cautioned for years that the nation’s coastline is dangerously overbuilt. But with Americans migrating in increasing numbers to coastal counties, construction only accelerated, and local officials increasingly relied on technology and luck to forestall catastrophe. As high-rise condominiums and sprawling beach homes have proliferated, warnings have been consistently ignored.

How many college degrees does it take to make a disaster? How about putting small self contained nuclear reactors in the basement, you know, generate electricity, and plenty of hot water too.

It has to be noted that those who would be leaders and are in charge of all these governments, all have a college degree, pay less than living wages to the poor, invest in rental property that they don’t maintain, then spend the week or month on vacation while the slaves of capitalism drown, all presumably with the blessings of the Church.

Apparently college degrees are most useful for rationalizations, propaganda, and putting a golden patina on the elite’s prejudice and self centered myopic view of society and culture. You may very well manipulate the majority of the poor and under educated, but you cannot fool us all. In fact judging from the economy, political corruption and religious bigotry you have succeeded in fooling only yourselfs.

Like a Hurricane

Tropical Depression #16 formed over the northwestern Bahamas east of Miami Tuesday morning and has since strengthened to become Tropical Storm Ophelia. This is now the 15th tropical storm of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. This is the earliest date on record that we have seen 15 tropical storms. Ophelia has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and is moving north-northwest at 8 mph. The storm is expected to strengthen and move slowly over the next day to two. Tropical storm warnings are posted from Sebastian Inlet to Flagler Beach along the east coast of Florida. In addition, tropical storm watches are posted from Flagler Beach northward to Fernandina Beach. All interests along the Southeast Coast should monitor the progress of Ophelia closely.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Dean takes aim, hits bullseye

Howard Dean:

“Based on today’s reports, it seems clear that President Bush’s visit today is just another callous political move crafted by Karl Rove. It’s just appalling to see how quickly President Bush and Karl Rove have mobilized a political strategy in their own defense, but simply failed to mobilize a swift response to either keep the people in the Gulf Coast region safe in the first place or aid the victims in the aftermath of the storm.

Where the Rumsfelds Retreat, The Cheneys Soon Could Follow

via Culture of Life

The house, listed at $2.9 million, backs up in spectacular fashion to an inlet of the Chesapeake Bay. “Right out by [Defense Secretary Donald H.] Rumsfeld’s,” said Charles Mangold Sr., whose Benson & Mangold agency brokers high-end estates in the area. “It’s under contract, but he hasn’t settled yet.”

Reaction to the two men’s presence is embedded into everyday conversation — even as residents take pride in taking it all in stride. They tick off celebrities who have lived in or visited the area: Margaret Thatcher, Walter Cronkite, James Michener, Yasser Arafat and Vince Vaughan — the latest during nearby filming of “Wedding Crashers.”

TYPHOON KILLING JAPANESE TODAY!

It’s a hard
It’s a hard
It’s a hard
rain gonna fall

A letter to the black conservatives

via National Debunker

Steve Gilliard wrote the following Open Letter:

I would laugh at you, if thousands of dead didn’t litter the streets of New Orleans.

Have you read what your conservative allies have written? How they regard black people?

To all you black ministers doing “outreach” with Bush: as Dr. Phil says, “how’s that working for you?”

Seen enough dead black corpses yet to get the point? George Bush is incompetent. He kills Americans with his slovenly ways. Sure, he talks big, but underneath is a tiny man, a man who cannot see beyond his nose.

Sure, he talks about being a God-fearing man, but when it comes to Jesus’s good works, he could care less. He did nothing to allivate their suffering.

How can you face your congregations now? How can you look them in the face, after your betrayal of them is in such stark relief. The man you thought would help you has done nothing but let people suffer and die. How will you explain that to your parishoners? Getting government funding is more important to me than my soul?

What you think about that RichYoung2?

Tulane V$ Charity Hospital

Interesting examination of American health care. Bell Curve that!

FEMA Drops Robertson’s Operation Blessing

Miami Vice

The only thing BillMon needs to remember is that he is driving nails into a blockhead of wood.

One FEMA consultant, in an e-mail dated Sept. 3, 2004, recommended that “top-level people from FEMA and the White House need to develop a communication strategy and an agreed-upon set of themes and communications objectives.” He stressed, “Communication consultants from the President’s re-election campaign should be brought in.” (emphasis added)

President “Heck of a Job” Bush

via War and Peace

In a nationally televised interview Thursday night, he said his agency hadn’t known until that day that thousands of storm victims were stranded at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. He gave another nationally televised interview the next morning and said, “We’ve provided food to the people at the Convention Center so that they’ve gotten at least one, if not two meals, every single day.”

Lies don’t get more bald-faced than that, Mr. President.

Yet, when you met with Mr. Brown Friday morning, you told him, “You’re doing a heck of a job.”

That’s unbelievable.

Well, it’s not unbelievable, sadly. It has become standard operating procedure with this Administration. Colossal missteps are made (no serious attention paid to what might happen if the levees were breached, no thought of moving to expeditiously evacuate the Superdome, no apprecation that basic law and order might be grossly imperiled if the city became submerged in floodwaters, no contingency planning for an insurgency in Iraq, no appreciation of the full ramifications of tossing aside the Geneva Conventions) and time and again there is a staggering lack of accountability. Well, here at B.D. we’re sick of the empty bear hugs and cutesy nicknames, the circle the wagons damage control mentality, cheap ass-covering and rampant buck-passing, the guitar-strumming and talk of Trent Lott’s porch looking all antebellum swell post reconstruction and Kennebunkport ‘let them move to Texas’ insouciance. Above all else, B.D is sick of the sheer spectacle of grim incompetence that humiliated this nation as New Orleans descended into mayhem reminiscent of wartime Haiti or Liberia–with hundreds if not thousands perhaps needlessly dying because of government ineptitude (though the human toll would be immense even if the planning and governmental reaction had been far superior). There was massive culpability, to be sure, at the local and state level as well. But, make no mistake, the federal response during the first week was grotesquely amateur. Particularly with FEMA, of course, but also at the now so risibly named Department of Homeland Security. The government failed in its most fundamental duty–ensuring the basic physical safety of its citizens. And it failed miserably. Does anyone have confidence that, tomorrow say, if Tulsa or Peoria or Dallas or Chicago where attacked by a chemical or biological weapon–that our government would be able to mount an effective response? I certainly don’t. After all, the government knew a Category 4 or 5 was about to slam into New Orleans. There won’t be any such warning issued by al-Qaeda, of course.

Looks like Bush wants to finally be a Uniter not a divider, and he is doing a pretty good job of it too.

The Bell Curve’s Pure BS

Hat tip to Atrios, for continuing to fight a bunch of racist low lifes, who like Christ said are the blind leading the blind. John Derbyshire at the National Racist Online obviously needs to buy a larger hood.

Northwestern study finds that poverty and early learning opportunities — not race — account for the gap in IQ scores between blacks and whites

Adjustments for socioeconomic conditions almost completely eliminate differences in IQ scores between black and white children, according to the study’s co-investigators. They include Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and Pamela Klebanov of Columbia’s Teachers College, and Greg Duncan of the Center for Urban Affairs and Policy Research at Northwestern University.

As in many other studies, the black children in the study had IQ scores a full 15 points lower than their white counterparts. Poverty alone,the researchers found, accounted for 52 percent of that difference, cutting it to 7 points. Controlling for the children’s home environment reduced the difference by another 28 percent, to a statistically insignificant 3 points — in essence, eliminating the gap altogether.

“Many children have transitory experiences with poverty,” said Duncan. “For black children, poverty is likely to be much more persistent,” he said. Of the black children in the study, 40 percent lived in persistent poverty, compared to 5 percent of white children.

Debate over what causes the IQ gap has been highly charged since the 1994 publication of The Bell Curve, by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, who view the difference as genetic and impossible to change.

The Bell Curve hypothesis does not depend on any direct evidence, but rather on its authors’ assertion that social and economic factors cannot explain it. Because the typical black ranks at the 15th percentile of the white IQ distribution, say Herrnstein and Murray, black socioeconomic status (SES) can only explain the ranking if, on average, it is well below than the 15th percentile of white SES ranking.

The Bell Curve authors claim no such SES inequality exists, and this is the point the Columbia-Northwestern study calls into question. Most studies of socioeconomic status do not consider such obvious factors as family income or neighborhood conditions, and those that do fail to account for the degree of persistent poverty.

The Bell Curve’s one-sided analysis

At the time of The Bell Curve’s publishing, there were seven studies in the scientific literature concerning the cause of the black/white IQ gap. Six of them point to the environment; and only one points to genetics. The authors of The Bell Curve prominently displayed only the results of the pro-genetics test in the main text. Of the others, they dismissed one in a single-paragraph side bar, dismissed another in the endnotes, and simply ignored the rest.

Psychologist Richard Nisbett has been generous enough to provide the public with the details of all seven studies: (2)

2. Condensed from Richard Nisbett’s article “Race, IQ and Scientism,” pp. 37-42 in Steven Fraser, ed., The Bell Curve Wars (New York: HarperCollins, 1995).

After World War II, many American GI’s (both white and black) fathered children by German women; these children were then raised in German society. The children fathered by black GI’s had an average IQ of 96.5, and the children fathered by white GI’s had an average IQ of 97 — a statistically insignificant difference. (3)

In another study of children raised in residential institutions, black, white and racially mixed children who were raised in the same enriched environment were given IQ tests. At four years of age, the white children had an average IQ of 103, the blacks had an average IQ of 108, and the racially mixed children had an average IQ of 106. (4)

Another study measured the IQ’s of children from black-white unions. Assuming that mothers are more important than fathers in the education and socialization of their children, the study sought to see if a child’s IQ is higher when the white partner is the mother. This turned out to be true — the IQ of a racially mixed child averages 9 points higher when it is the mother who is white. (5)

A genetic study took advantage of the fact that African-Americans genes are about 20-30 percent European, and that Africans and Europeans differ just enough in their genetic blood groups to determine the degree of “Europeanness” in an individual. If intelligence were indeed genetic and favored in Europeans, we might expect blacks with greater Europeanness to be more intelligent. However, a study of 288 young blacks found almost no relationship between Europeanness and intelligence: the correlation was a trivial and nonsignificant .05. (6)

Another genetic study examined the correlation between IQ and European blood groups (as opposed to the estimated Europeanness of individuals based on blood groups). In one sample of blacks, the correlation was a trivial .01, in the other a nonsignificant -.38, with higher IQ being associated with the more African blood groups. (7)

Another study tested the hypothesis that if IQ were both hereditary and favored in Europeans, then blacks with high IQs should have several times the level of Europeanness than the black population in general. But a study of high-IQ black children in Chicago found that this wasn’t the case; in fact, these black children were slightly less likely to have European ancestors. (8)

The study featured in The Bell Curve was the Scarr-Weinberg study, which examined the IQs of children from different races who were adopted by white parents. White adoptees turned out to have higher IQs than mixed-race adoptees, who had higher IQs than black adoptees. (9)

There are statistical difficulties with all the above studies. For example, Scarr and Weinberg themselves believe that their adoption study is not informative on the question of genes, race and IQ, because their study sample was small, the adoption agencies could have selectively placed the kids, the adoptive families were recruited on a voluntary basis, the natural parents’ IQs were not known, the black children were adopted at a substantially later age, and the social stigma of being a black child in a white family probably has effects on development. Curiously, The Bell Curve does not report the reservations that the study authors themselves have.

Many of the same objections can be raised to the other studies. The IQs of the parents were not known, and there is a possibility that the study samples were nonrepresentative of the population being studied. Possibly, whites who breed with blacks may tend to have lower IQs. (This assertion would beg support, however, since the biracial population in the U.S. first burgeoned during the days of slavery, when wealthy slave masters and plantation owners raped hundreds of thousands of black slaves.) However, as Nisbett points out, the six studies suggesting a social rather than genetic factor were taken at very different times and places, under a wide variety of circumstances. That they should all suffer from the same sort of self-selection is therefore implausibly great.

But even accepting the statistical difficulties of all seven studies, the authors of The Bell Curve were wrong to imply that the difference in black and white IQ scores is largely genetic. At the very least, they had no hard scientific evidence at the time; at the very most, the fact that the environmental results outnumbered the genetic results six-to-one makes their suggestion completely indefensible.

As for the criminal element of America’s Justice system see here , and here.

Like I said earlier, a higher education apparently is a poor tool for removing ignorance from stupid people. I wonder what the statistical curve on racists with higher degrees is as opposed to those without one. Morons.

Catapulting the Propaganda – Reality of Louis Armstrong International

By the time Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made his way through the facility on Sunday morning, with an entourage that included Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and 45 members of the press, terminals at Louis Armstrong International Airport were nearly empty and almost clean.

On Saturday morning, the same terminals were seething masses of fed-up residents, desperately sick patients, and exhausted and harried rescue workers.

In the triage area, the floors were so slippery with urine that workers had to shuffle to avoid falling. In the terminal where thousands of hot, tired and increasingly angry people waited to catch evacuation flights, trash was ankle-deep.

Photo ops and Photoshop make things look alright.

This diseased city was sunk by benign neglect

Opinion – Martin Samuel Timesonline
What the Brits see…

So the breakdown of society in New Orleans was a one-off? Think again: it could happen in many US cities.

YOU CANNOT SAY the city of New Orleans was unprepared for tragedy. Only last year, when Hurricane Ivan threatened to strike, a Louisiana official admitted the state had prepared in advance: 10,000 body bags were stored and ready to go. Benign neglect is the political term for this pragmatism, coined by Pat Moynihan, the New York Democrat senator.
[…]
There is no minimum wage and the waiters and dishwashers propping up the tourist trade are not well rewarded. Still, there is some good news. “The city has one of the highest murder rates in the country, but 99 per cent of it occurs in the projects,” announces an estate agent’s website, cheerily. So that’s all right, then.

My country tis of thee
streets lined with poverty
of thee we sing

Feds: Katrina death toll in thousands

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said Sunday the death toll from Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath is in the thousands, the first time a federal official has acknowledged what many had feared.

Leavitt said he couldn’t provide a precise number on the impact of the devastation, but when asked if it was in the thousands, he told CNN’s “Late Edition,” “I think it’s evident it’s in the thousands.”

“It’s clear to me that this has been sickeningly difficult, and profoundly tragic circumstance,” Leavitt said.

• FEMA, 1-800-621-FEMA
• DisasterHelp.gov
• Red Cross, 1-800-HELP-NOW; 1-866-438-4636 to get help
• Red Cross Family Links Registry, 1-877-LOVED-1S (1-877-568-3317)
• Nat’l. Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678)
• Salvation Army, 1-800-SAL-ARMY

French Quarter holdouts create ‘tribes’

The Good

As some went down to the river to do the wash, others remained behind to protect property. In a bar, a bartender put near-perfect stitches into the torn ear of a robbery victim.

While mold and contagion grew in the muck that engulfed most of the city, something else sprouted in this most decadent of American neighborhoods – humanity.

“Some people became animals,” Vasilioas Tryphonas said Sunday morning as he sipped a hot beer in Johnny White’s Sports Bar on Bourbon Street. “We became more civilized.”

The Bad

On Sunday, the tribe of 12 became a tribe of eight.

Four white tour buses rolled into the Quarter under Humvee escort. National Guardsmen told residents they had one hour to gather their belongings and get a ride out. Four of the tribe members decided to leave.

“Hallelujah!” Teresa Lawson shouted as she dragged her suitcase down the road. “Thank you, Jesus!”

For Mark Rowland, the leaving was bittersweet.

“I’m heart-broken to leave the city that I love,” Rowland said as he sat in the air-conditioned splendor of the bus. “It didn’t have to be this way.”

And the Ugly

But what had at first been a refuge soon became an ornate prison.

Police came through commandeering drivable vehicles and siphoning gas. Officials took over a hotel and ejected the guests.

An officer pumped his shotgun at a group trying to return to their hotel on Chartres Street.

“This is our block,” he said, pointing the gun down a side street. “Go that way.”

Touch of Grey

Must be getting early
Clocks are running late
Paint by number morning sky
Looks so phony

Dawn is breaking everywhere
Light a candle, curse the glare
Draw the curtains
I don’t care ’cause
It’s all right

I will get by / I will get by
I will get by / I will survive

I see you’ve got your list out
Say your piece and get out
Yes I get the gist of it
but it’s all right

Sorry that you feel that way
The only thing there is to say
Every silver lining’s got a
Touch of grey

I will get by / I will get by
I will get by / I will survive

It’s a lesson to me
The Ables and the Bakers and the C’s
The ABC’s we all must face
And try to keep a little grace

It’s a lesson to me
The deltas and the east and the freeze
The ABC’s we all think of
Try to give a little love.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It’s even worse than it appears
but it’s all right.

Cows giving kerosene
Kid can’t read at seventeen
The words he knows are all obscene
but it’s all right

I will get by / I will get by
I will get by / I will survive

The shoe is on the hand it fits
There’s really nothing much to it
Whistle through your teeth and spit
causeit’s all right.

Oh well a Touch Of Grey
Kind of suits you anyway.
That was all I had to say
It’s all right.

I will get by / I will get by
I will get by / I will survive
We will get by / We will get by
We will get by / We will survive

Words by Robert Hunter; music by Jerry Garcia
Copyright Ice Nine Publishing

Monday, September 05, 2005

Why Socialism? By Albert Einstein

Is it advisable for one who is not an expert on economic and social issues to express views on the subject of socialism? I believe for a number of reasons that it is.

Let us first consider the question from the point of view of scientific knowledge. It might appear that there are no essential methodological differences between astronomy and economics: scientists in both fields attempt to discover laws of general acceptability for a circumscribed group of phenomena in order to make the interconnection of these phenomena as clearly understandable as possible. But in reality such methodological differences do exist. The discovery of general laws in the field of economics is made difficult by the circumstance that observed economic phenomena are often affected by many factors which are very hard to evaluate separately. In addition, the experience which has accumulated since the beginning of the so-called civilized period of human history has — as is well known — been largely influenced and limited by causes which are by no means exclusively economic in nature. For example, most of the major states of history owed their existence to conquest. The conquering peoples established themselves, legally and economically, as the privileged class of the conquered country. They seized for themselves a monopoly of the land ownership and appointed a priesthood from among their own ranks. The priests, in control of education, made the class division of society into a permanent institution and created a system of values by which the people were thenceforth, to a large extent unconsciously, guided in their social behavior.

But historic tradition is, so to speak, of yesterday; nowhere have we really overcome what Thorstein Veblen called “the predatory phase” of human development. The observable economic facts belong to that phase and even such laws as we can derive from them are not applicable to other phases. Since the real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development, economic science in its present state can throw little light on the socialist society of the future.

Second, socialism is directed toward a social-ethical end. Science, however, cannot create ends and, even less, instill them in human beings; science, at most, can supply the means by which to attain certain ends. But the ends themselves are conceived by personalities with lofty ethical ideals and — if these ends are not stillborn, but vital and vigorous — are adopted and carried forward by those many human beings who, half-unconsciously, determine the slow evolution of society.

For these reasons, we should be on our guard not to overestimate science and scientific methods when it is a question of human problems; and we should not assume that experts are the only ones who have a right to express themselves on questions affecting the organization of society.

Innumerable voices have been asserting for some time now that human society is passing through a crisis, that its stability has been gravely shattered. It is characteristic of such a situation that individuals feel indifferent or even hostile toward the group, small or large, to which they belong. In order to illustrate my meaning, let me record here a personal experience. I recently discussed with an intelligent and well-disposed man the threat of another war, which in my opinion would seriously endanger the existence of mankind, and I remarked that only a supranational organization would offer protection from that danger. Thereupon my visitor, very calmly and coolly, said to me: “Why are you so deeply opposed to the disappearance of the human race?”

I am sure that as little as a century ago no one would have so lightly made a statement of this kind. It is the statement of a man who has striven in vain to attain an equilibrium within himself and has more or less lost hope of succeeding. It is the expression of a painful solitude and isolation from which so many people are suffering in these days. What is the cause? Is there a way out?

It is easy to raise such questions, but difficult to answer them with any degree of assurance. I must try, however, as best I can, although I am very conscious of the fact that our feelings and strivings are often contradictory and obscure and that they cannot be expressed in easy and simple formulas.

Man is, at one and the same time, a solitary being and a social being. As a solitary being, he attempts to protect his own existence and that of those who are closest to him, to satisfy his personal desires, and to develop his innate abilities. As a social being, he seeks to gain the recognition and affection of his fellow human beings, to share in their pleasures, to comfort them in their sorrows, and to improve their conditions of life. Only the existence of these varied, frequently conflicting strivings accounts for the special character of a man, and their specific combination determines the extent to which an individual can achieve an inner equilibrium and can contribute to the well-being of society. It is quite possible that the relative strength of these two drives is, in the main, fixed by inheritance. But the personality that finally emerges is largely formed by the environment in which a man happens to find himself during his development, by the structure of the society in which he grows up, by the tradition of that society, and by its appraisal of particular types of behavior. The abstract concept “society” means to the individual human being the sum total of his direct and indirect relations to his contemporaries and to all the people of earlier generations. The individual is able to think, feel, strive, and work by himself; but he depends so much upon society — in his physical, intellectual, and emotional existence — that it is impossible to think of him, or to understand him, outside the framework of society. It is “society” which provides man with food, clothing, a home, the tools of work, language, the forms of thought, and most of the content of thought; his life is made possible through the labor and the accomplishments of the many millions past and present who are all hidden behind the small word “society.”

It is evident, therefore, that the dependence of the individual upon society is a fact of nature which cannot be abolished — just as in the case of ants and bees. However, while the whole life process of ants and bees is fixed down to the smallest detail by rigid, hereditary instincts, the social pattern and interrelationships of human beings are very variable and susceptible to change. Memory, the capacity to make new combinations, the gift of oral communication have made possible developments among human beings which are not dictated by biological necessities. Such developments manifest themselves in traditions, institutions, and organizations; in literature; in scientific and engineering accomplishments; in works of art. This explains how it happens that, in a certain sense, man can influence his life through his own conduct, and that in this process conscious thinking and wanting can play a part.

Man acquires at birth, through heredity, a biological constitution which we must consider fixed and unalterable, including the natural urges which are characteristic of the human species. In addition, during his lifetime, he acquires a cultural constitution which he adopts from society through communication and through many other types of influences. It is this cultural constitution which, with the passage of time, is subject to change and which determines to a very large extent the relationship between the individual and society Modern anthropology has taught us, through comparative investigation of so-called primitive cultures, that the social behavior of human beings may differ greatly, depending upon prevailing cultural patterns and the types of organization which predominate in society. It is on this that those who are striving to improve the lot of man may ground their hopes: human beings are not condemned, because of their biological constitution, to annihilate each other or to be at the mercy of a cruel, self-inflicted fate.

If we ask ourselves how the structure of society and the cultural attitude of man should be changed in order to make human life as satisfying as possible, we should constantly be conscious of the fact that there are certain conditions which we are unable to modify. As mentioned before, the biological nature of man is, for all practical purposes, not subject to change. Furthermore, technological and demographic developments of the last few centuries have created conditions which are here to stay. In relatively densely settled populations with the goods which are indispensable to their continued existence, an extreme division of labor and a highly centralized productive apparatus are absolutely necessary. The time — which, looking back, seems so idyllic — is gone forever when individuals or relatively small groups could be completely self-sufficient. It is only a slight exaggeration to say that mankind constitutes even now a planetary community of production and consumption.

I have now reached the point where I may indicate briefly what to me constitutes the essence of the crisis of our time. It concerns the relationship of the individual to society. The individual has become more conscious than ever of his dependence upon society. But he does not experience this dependence as a positive asset, as an organic tie, as a protective force, but rather as a threat to his natural rights, or even to his economic existence. Moreover, his position in society is such that the egotistical drives of his make-up are constantly being accentuated, while his social drives, which are by nature weaker, progressively deteriorate. All human beings, whatever their position in society, are suffering from this process of deterioration. Unknowingly prisoners of their own egotism, they feel insecure, lonely, and deprived of the naive, simple, and unsophisticated enjoyment of life. Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society.

The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labor — not by force, but on the whole in faithful compliance with legally established rules. In this respect, it is important to realize that the means of production — that is to say, the entire productive capacity that is needed for producing consumer goods as well as additional capital goods — may legally be, and for the most part are, the private property of individuals.

For the sake of simplicity, in the discussion that follows I shall call “workers” all those who do not share in the ownership of the means of production — although this does not quite correspond to the customary use of the term. The owner of the means of production is in a position to purchase the labor power of the worker. By using the means of production, the worker produces new goods which become the property of the capitalist. The essential point about this process is the relation between what the worker produces and what he is paid, both measured in terms of real value. In so far as the labor contract is “free,” what the worker receives is determined not by the real value of the goods he produces, but by his minimum needs and by the capitalists’ requirements for labor power in relation to the number of workers competing for jobs. It is important to understand that even in theory the payment of the worker is not determined by the value of his product.

Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of the smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.

The situation prevailing in an economy based on the private ownership of capital is thus characterized main principles: first, means of production (capital) are privately owned and the owners dispose of them as they see fit; second, the labor contract is free. Of course, there is no such thing as a pure capitalist society in this sense. In particular, it should be noted that the workers, through long and bitter political struggles, have succeeded in securing a somewhat improved form of the “free labor contract” for certain categories of workers. But taken as a whole, the present-day economy does not differ much from “pure” capitalism.

Production is carried on for profit, not for use. There is no provision that all those able and willing to work will always be in a position to find employment; an “army of unemployed” almost always exists. The worker is constantly in fear of losing his job. Since unemployed and poorly paid workers do not provide a profitable market, the production of consumers’ goods is restricted, and great hardship is the consequence. Technological progress frequently results in more unemployment rather than in an easing of the burden of work for all. The profit motive, in conjunction with competition among capitalists, is responsible for an instability in the accumulation and utilization of capital which leads to increasingly severe depressions. Unlimited competition leads to a huge waste of labor, and to that crippling of the social consciousness of individuals which I mentioned before.

This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career.

I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow-men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to remember that a planned economy is not yet socialism. A planned economy as such may be accompanied by the complete enslavement of the individual. The achievement of socialism requires the solution of some extremely difficult socio-political problems: how is it possible, in view of the far-reaching centralization of political and economic power, to prevent bureaucracy from becoming all-powerful and overweening? How can the rights of the individual be protected and therewith a democratic counterweight to the power of bureaucracy be assured?

Links to Scientists

I added a new category of links, science blogs, which for the most part are pretty cool if you’re into science. I was going to file it under Science Blogs until I read about the fifth one make some arrogant remark about this or that group, and so apparently education is not an effective method of removing stupidity from the human race. UPDATE: It’s under Sciences, not Dweebs

Paul Craig Roberts: Resurrecting Karl Marx

Libertarians and free trade economists don’t realize it, but they are pulling Marx out of his grave.

Free traders are resurrecting class war, not because they are Marxists but because they confuse free trade with global labor arbitrage. Free traders turn cold shoulders to US job losses from offshore outsourcing, because they mistake the losses for the beneficial workings of comparative advantage. Committed to a 200 year old theory that they no longer understand, free traders are cheering on the destruction of middle class jobs and the dismantling of the ladders of upward mobility that make large income disparities politically acceptable.

The destruction of the stabilizing middle class is occurring simultaneously with an extraordinary increase in income inequalities. Not so long ago CEOs were paid 20 times more than the average employee; now some are paid hundreds of times more. The “gilded age” is returning while the value of a college degree is declining.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Embryonic Stem Cell Hype

Fertility expert Lord Winston says the potential benefits of embryonic stem cell research have probably been oversold to the public.
[…]
“Both in Britain and America, huge publicity has been given to stem cells, particularly embryonic stem cells, and the potential they offer,” he will say in his presidential address at the British Association’s Science Festival in Dublin.

“Of course, the study of stem cells is one of the most exciting areas in biology but I think it is unlikely that embryonic stem cells are likely to be useful in healthcare for a long time.”
[…]
He also highlights the instability of embryonic cells in general and “their remarkable propensity to produce abnormal numbers of chromosomes”.

These and other issues, unless resolved, he says, will result in unsuccessful therapies.

Can’t ANYBODY tell the truth about ANYTHING?

The world can’t have it both ways. If the left wants credibility then it has to tell both sides, the whole story, not the half it likes. Until you can do that, lay of my faiths and beliefs, ya bombastic hypocrites.

Co-pays, drug cuts to save Medicaid $11 bln-report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A federal commission on Thursday recommended $11 billion in Medicaid savings over 5 years from raising prescription drug co-payments, drug pricing reforms and curbs against asset transfers to qualify for benefits.
[..]
The panel’s efforts have been sharply criticized by congressional Democrats as being one-sided because only members appointed by President George W. Bush were allowed to vote.

Calculating Poverty

Digging through the basket of poverty.

“And that’s the way it is,”

This too, is America.

FYI

I have been using the Title as a link.

Looting There, Looting Here and There Too

Juan Cole looks at the different responses to all the looting in New Orleans and Iraq, but lets not forget the looting in Gaza either.

Limping Along on Two Opinions

Some 40 to 50 people discussed the issue at a church meeting before the council voted. Some church members threatened to leave the church if it let Sheehan speak there, and that would have hurt the church financially, said church member Mo Barz.

Barz, who considers himself a strong supporter of the church, said he was among those who might have left the church if Sheehan had been allowed to speak there.

“I was definitely against having her. I felt all along the church should rescind any agreement they had to have her be there.”

He said he thought it was inappropriate for the church to host a political speaker.

Said Moffatt, “If the president came, he’d sure be welcome. Politics becomes a dirty word for some people and they turn around and use it in another way.”

Barz said he doesn’t think it’s right to compare President Bush to an activist.

“We should welcome the president. After all, he was voted in as the president and we should treat him as such.”

Maybe, just maybe, the church isn’t the place for politcal speeches of any sort. This story is the Idiocy of American “Christianity”.

Combat Operations in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS — Combat operations are underway on the streets “to take this city back” in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

This place is going to look like Little Somalia,” Brig. Gen. Gary Jones, commander of the Louisiana National Guard’s Joint Task Force told Army Times Friday as hundreds of armed troops under his charge prepared to launch a massive citywide security mission from a staging area outside the Louisiana Superdome. “We’re going to go out and take this city back. This will be a combat operation to get this city under control.”

Jones said the military first needs to establish security throughout the city. Military and police officials have said there are several large areas of the city are in a full state of anarchy.

Meanwhile, the sane members of the Louisianna National Guard had this to say;

“We’re here to do whatever they need us to do,” Sgt. 1st Class Ron Dixon, of the Oklahoma National Guard’s 1345th Transportation Company. “We packed to stay as long as it takes.”

“I never thought that at a National Guardsman I would be shot at by other Americans,” said Spc. Philip Baccus of the 527th Engineer Battalion. “And I never thought I’d have to carry a rifle when on a hurricane relief mission. This is a disgrace.”

“This is making a lot of us think about not reenlisting.” Ferguson said. “You have to think about whether it is worth risking your neck for someone who will turn around and shoot at you. We didn’t come here to fight a war. We came here to help.”

Whiskey Bar: Where There’s a Will

‘Bill deconstructs NO aid, as opposed to FL in 2004. Almost like we have two seperate governments working here in the States.

Mr. Bush can add the blood of New Orleans to blood of Iraq that stains his Presidency.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Why Neoconservatives Won’t Back Down by Karen Kwiatkowski

But take a moment to remember. Congress never declared war. The military is conducting an occupation complete with prisons and torture and punitive annihilation of Iraqi cities on behalf of a … republic? Why, of course not. The war is for the unstated desires and justifications known to the heads of the American empire, and they answer to no one. However, perhaps she can find comfort in Homer’s words, “Just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t understand!”
[…]
Astute readers will be able to successfully challenge my assumptions, my logic, and my morality in proposing such a scheme. But the neocons don’t apologize, they don’t care, and they don’t operate in our reality-based world.

See you in Iran.

via Antiwar

Engineering a Levee for Bush

TWO questions that must be answered:

1) Was the levee complete and at design spec?

2) Would a design-spec levee have withstood Katrina?

1) The truth is that short of a whistleblower, we may never know the condition of that levee on 8/29. My source on its inadequate condition isn’t solid enough. But I know the following things:

a) You don’t finish levees and walk away. They need regular maintenance – even when you haven’t built them on dewatered organic soils that settle every year.

b) A District that had just taken a one-year budget cut of $71 million will have had to make some very hard choices about whether maintenance on this particular levee fell (in Corps parlance) “above the line – priority” or “below the line – optional”. Their SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) guidance might tell us, but somebody needs to get a FOIA cookin’ on this right now.

c) The question of levee adequacy breaks down at least into “was it at spec height?” [yes!] and “was it structurally sound to spec?” [oops!]. Because of the nature of the levee failure (not overtopped, but burst), watch for Corp HQ to focus on the first question (which pins the deaths on nature), and ignore the second (which might pin the deaths on budget decisions).

2) Over the coming days, the Corps’ message will be this: “Katrina was greater than the design storm for this levee.” This is at least an open question – purportedly the levees were designed to withstand a direct hit from a Category 3 hurricane. Katrina was a Category 4 at landfall, presenting her weak side to the levees at a distance of some 40-50 miles. The question appears debatable on its technical merits, and Strock’s facile answer is far too politically expedient a conclusion to take at face value from Corps HQ. I have seen them fall on their sword for Presidents before, and the need has never been greater.

via Talking Points Memo

New Orleans Levee Breach Predicted

National Geographic, October 2004 By Joel K. Bourne, Jr.

It was a broiling August afternoon in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Big Easy, the City That Care Forgot. Those who ventured outside moved as if they were swimming in tupelo honey. Those inside paid silent homage to the man who invented air-conditioning as they watched TV “storm teams” warn of a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. Nothing surprising there: Hurricanes in August are as much a part of life in this town as hangovers on Ash Wednesday.

But the next day the storm gathered steam and drew a bead on the city. As the whirling maelstrom approached the coast, more than a million people evacuated to higher ground. Some 200,000 remained, however—the car-less, the homeless, the aged and infirm, and those die-hard New Orleanians who look for any excuse to throw a party.

The storm hit Breton Sound with the fury of a nuclear warhead, pushing a deadly storm surge into Lake Pontchartrain. The water crept to the top of the massive berm that holds back the lake and then spilled over. Nearly 80 percent of New Orleans lies below sea level—more than eight feet below in places—so the water poured in. A liquid brown wall washed over the brick ranch homes of Gentilly, over the clapboard houses of the Ninth Ward, over the white-columned porches of the Garden District, until it raced through the bars and strip joints on Bourbon Street like the pale rider of the Apocalypse. As it reached 25 feet (eight meters) over parts of the city, people climbed onto roofs to escape it.

Thousands drowned in the murky brew that was soon contaminated by sewage and industrial waste. Thousands more who survived the flood later perished from dehydration and disease as they waited to be rescued. It took two months to pump the city dry, and by then the Big Easy was buried under a blanket of putrid sediment, a million people were homeless, and 50,000 were dead. It was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.

“I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.” President Bush, September 1, 2005

Opium gold unites US friends and foes

KARACHI – Drug smugglers call it the golden route: from Afghanistan into Pakistan and then into eastern Iran, it’s the trail that takes Afghanistan’s abundant opium, and its derivative, heroin, to Western markets.
[…]
A senior US Pentagon official who has been involved in US-supported low-intensity war operations and insurgencies since the Vietnam war and involved in the reorganization of the Northern Alliance [1] in Afghanistan to effectively pitch them against the Taliban, admitted to Asia Times Online that the drug economy in Afghanistan was more powerful than the official one.

Drastically Underfunded, Dangerously Unprepared”- July 01, 2003

According to the New York Times, Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, said Sunday that the additional $98 billion recommended by the council report for first responders is “grossly inflated.
[…]
“Do we trust President Bush and his team to set homeland-security policy, or do we think it should be set by the same members of Congress who voted against the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security in the first place?” asked DeLay. (Actually, it was Senate Democrats who first proposed the Department of Homeland Security and pushed and pushed for months until a reluctant White House finally caved.)

Dice de Nada, “Yada, yada yada.”

Balmer Vows to Kill Google

From the article: “At some point in the conversation, Mr. Ballmer said: ‘Just tell me it’s not Google,” Lucovosky said in his statement. Lucovosky replied that he was joining Google. ‘At that point, Mr. Ballmer picked up a chair and threw it across the room hitting a table in his office,’ Lucovosky recounted, adding that Ballmer then launched into a tirade about Google CEO Eric Schmidt. ‘I’m going to f***ing bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I’m going to f***ing kill Google.’ Schmidt previously worked for Sun Microsystems and was the CEO of Novell.”

I think he’s mad.

18,000 apartments in Texas open to evacuees

AUSTIN – An estimated 18,000 vacant apartment units statewide opened for hurricane victims Friday when the federal government waived special income requirements, Gov. Rick Perry announced Friday.

Families eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency financial aid can receive vouchers to move into the apartments.

Religious groups launch effort to get meals to shelters in area for 30 days

Credit Card Pigosity

Using our firm as a typical example reveals just how devastating the storm has been. Until today I could not locate all of my partners. Obviously we cannot perform necessary banking functions. We cannot receive mail. We cannot communicate with or visit our office. We cannot find many clients. We cannot collect fees or send bills. Consequently, there will be a significant delay in revenue collection and, as an obvious by-product, a very real threat to our ability to pay or even maintain all employees.

Yesterday I made calls to ask for some delay on behalf of our employees, but I was turned down flat. Despite the circumstances, credit card companies insisted upon payment and, on at least two separate occasions, confirmed that accounts will continue to accrue interest and that they will charge fees for late payment. In the face of this overwhelming tragedy, which has left over one million people with uncertain futures, such a position is scandalous.

Christian Nation?

Hurricane Katrina: Why is the Red Cross not in New Orleans?

# Acess to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders.

# The state Homeland Security Department had requested–and continues to request–that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.

via Talk Left via Atrios

Forget Prayer: God Ain’t Listening, A Response

The question “Why would God permit such anguish?” is nothing new, but the predictable reply of believers is as inadequate as ever. God gives us free will to choose between good and evil, they say.

It is a sad fact, most of Christianity remains impotent to these questions, and not because the answers aren’t in the Scriptures either, but because the answers are not forthcoming from the pulpits.

God allows such anguish to occur, until He sets things right, so that mankind will finally get it through his head that mankind is not the center of the universe, and cannot direct his own steps. New Orleans and other events occur to make it obvious that mankind cannot govern himself in larger societies either.

Man dominates man to the denigration of both, to his own injury. Every Economic, Political, or Religious system that mankind has ever designed has failed to provide the things that they all promise to provide, in America’s case, in concert with one another.

So the majority of Christians do not understand the resurrection, they do not understand the condition of the dead, even as they say rest in peace to the dead, they float a “soul” off to heaven or hell or if one is a poor Catholic, to purgatory.

Quit blaming God for your own ignorance people! I would bet that 90% of all the pontificators of the, “where is God now?”, crowd have never read the Bible, neither have the agnostics and atheists either, and of those who have, it is the King James Version, and more than likely the 1612 version of that.

Of the ten percent that have read it, they have read it to reaffirm what they already think they know, not to disprove what they think they know.

Don’t blame God, blame the clergy that like to lord it over the flock with their superior ignorance of the sacred secrets of the Kingdom of God. If you want to understand Greek Philosophy study theology at a seminary. If you wish to get to know God, then get a decent Bible and read it, with an open mind and heart.

But if you want to whine about God as you have been lead to believe Him to be, because of the intellectual snobbery of the educated classes, then you are piling stupidity onto ignorance. Mat 11:24-27 But I say to you, It will be more bearable for the land of Sodom in Judgment Day than for you. Answering at that time, Jesus said, I praise You, Father, Lord of Heaven and of earth, because You hid these things from the sophisticated and cunning and revealed them to babes. Yes, Father, for so it was pleasing before You. All things were yielded up to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and the one to whom the Son purposes to reveal Him.

As I said yesterday, do not look at what is lost, look at what was saved. For the dead shall rise again, but the living are with you now, and these God has spared alive, to test you, and to test them as well. He is seperating the sheep and the goats, so that the lazy might sheperd the sheep, and that the workers might reach out to the goat like ones and call them to repentence and back into the fold of the sheep.

And so I will warn the Clergy one more time. You either start learning and teaching the truth about Jehovah and the Christ, or your congregations will carry you out of you meeting places feet first, just as surely as they carried out Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, for playing false to the Holy Spirit. Heed these words oh son of man, because now you have been warned.

Friday, September 02, 2005

On The Other Hand

While we watch New Orlean’s struggle to rebuild their lives, and their city, as we watch the relief efforts and the pain and suffering, when we have drunk this tragedy to the lees,

When we consider the power of a category four storm, the energy of a tidal surge 30 feet high across Mississippi and Alabama,

When we remember the destruction of the Tsunami in Aceh, and the destruction of Bamm…

Have we considered how little loss of life there really was?

Do not think your prayers were not heard, imagine the destruction had you not done so. Praise Jehovah, and give thanks for the living. Pray for them in the coming days, that they may be comforted in their loss, that it too may be reduced in a like manner.

Seek for the good in your fellow man, seek for his welfare and care, leave the dead to mourn the dead, while you care for the living.

May the Peace of the Lord Jesus the Christ be on you, and all those you comfort, May the love of God be upon each and everyone of you, just as you show it to your fellow man.

Reports of massive looting

in Gaza

There has been massive looting of property belonging to the Gaza Coast Regional Council by public agencies, nonprofit organizations, individuals and even other local councils, ever since the Gaza settlements were evacuated, the regional council’s liquidator charged in a complaint filed with the police on Thursday.

Dozens of computers and trash cans, entire caravans and even lampposts have been looted, attorney Shahar Ben-Ami said in his complaint.

Similar looting has been reported by the Gaza Religious Council and the local councils of three evacuated settlements: Nisanit, Neveh Dekalim and Kadim, which is in the West Bank.

Neveh Dekalim, for instance, lost an entire computer classroom containing more than 30 computers, as well as air conditioners and trash cans.

The Israel Defense Forces has remained in the evacuated settlements to demolish the houses, and is supposed to be preventing looting. In practice, however, so many civilians have been allowed in to help clear belongings out of the houses prior to their demolition that looters have found it easy to slip in under the guise of volunteers assisting in this task.

One person involved in organized looting of the settlements told Haaretz Thursday: “All the equipment is already gone, it’s all been liquidated.

Silence Should Be Enough

Anyone who has known me for any time knows that I listen to, and consider others peoples opinions even if only for the debate, and by some of the links I have here on the blog, you know that some of them are either very left or very right or libertarians, because I think it is important to hear them out. I don’t have all the answers, so I listen to Muslims, Jews Buddhists, Hindus, and Chapra and Atheists and Deist.

But tonight when the President spoke live in the middle of the CDT news casts, I turned off the tube. I just don’t think I will listen to him again. Even now, he says what he thinks he needs to say, but I did not discern anything from the heart, and that was in the end, all that was left to him. He no longer speaks to me, because I can no longer bear to hear.

Schweitzer accuses refineries of price gouging in wake of Katrina

HELENA – Gov. Brian Schweitzer is criticizing Montana oil refineries, saying some have raised prices for gasoline as much as 50 cents a gallon since Hurricane Katrina, despite no evidence that their own production costs have risen.

“Even though their cost of production hasn’t gone up one penny, they’re raising the price 30, 40, even 50 cents,” he said. “I think that’s an outrage.”

Hurricane Katrina, which struck the Gulf Coast early Monday, caused major damage to oil-production facilities in the Gulf of Mexico and the South. Since then, gasoline prices across the country have been climbing steadily _ in some areas by the hour. The Montana AAA said Friday that the average price for regular unleaded gasoline in the state had risen 10 cents overnight, to $2.73 per gallon.

Schweitzer, however, said refineries in Montana get most of their crude oil from Alberta, Wyoming and Montana, and the cost of that oil has not risen since Katrina struck.

Quake swarm rattles experts

The Desert Sun
September 2, 2005
One of California’s most active seismic zones of the 1970s is rumbling again, causing concern among scientists who study and residents who live in the fault-strewn desert region.

A series of earthquakes – the strongest with a magnitude of 5.1 on Thursday evening – are shaking near the southeast shore of the Salton Sea, about 86 miles from Palm Springs.

The earthquake swarm between the San Andreas and Imperial faults is turning heads among researchers in Pasadena. But they stopped short of saying the rumbling temblors are an indication of something greater on the way.

Donna Dearmore, 64, and a 61-year resident of Niland, says people there think the swarm could be significant.

“From what we hear this is supposed to be a good one,” Dearmore said. “But we have heard that most of my life around here.”

The quake struck at 6:27 p.m., shaking buildings as far away as San Diego. It was centered about one mile east-southeast of Obsidian Butte – 26 miles north of El Centro and 100 miles east of San Diego.

“I would say it’s a very typical Imperial Valley swarm,” said Kate Hutton, a Caltech seismologist. “I would tell people, like any earthquake in California, to consider it as a reminder to get the battery and food and water and everything. But I don’t think there’s a big danger from it.”

Katrina, Iraq, and the Know-It-All Syndrome

by Justin Raimondo:
“I’ll tell you what’s wrong: we’re so busy conquering the world that we can’t be bothered to attend to the basics on the home front. Furthermore, the Washington elites care a lot more about the possibility of Iraq falling to the insurgents than they do about New Orleans falling into the Gulf of Mexico. You can see that in the budget numbers – and people like Mr. Edwards, quoted above, know it.”
[…]
Instead of protecting New Orleans from the relentless assault of the Gulf, the erosion-control equipment purchased by the U.S. government is over in “liberated” Iraq, being used to shield our troops from the deadly accolades of a grateful populace. A more dramatic – and tragic – demonstration of the principle of how war (and State action) diverts resources away from rational uses would be hard to find.

The know-it-alls in Washington, D.C., know nothing – and, worse than that, they don’t know that, either. Instead, sitting comfortably in their offices a good distance from the disaster they unleashed – either directly, in the case of Iraq, or indirectly, as in New Orleans – they remain supremely indifferent to the commoners’ fate.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

TPMCafe || Coudn’t Pay the Price of Admission

By Josh Marshall

Lots of people in that area – the poor and the old and the sick – get checks from the goverment on the 1st of the month. They spend for the month with that money, so by the end of the month they are broke.

The storm hit on the 29th.

Many people could not afford the $50 to fill their gas tanks to leave. The interviewee said they people were begging him to please loan them the money for gas. They were forced to stay, and forced to stay when they were broke.

New Orleans Died for Bush’s Sins

No, this is the time for politics, none better, because I can tell you just from being out of NY a few days that a lot of people in this country are shocked and sobered by New Orleans, but they’re also worried and pissed off. They’re making the connection between the money, manpower, and resources expended in Iraq and how raggedy-ass the rescue effort has been in the Gulf. If you don’t say it now when people’s nerves are raw and they’re paying full attention, it’ll be too late once the waters receded and the media-emoting “healing process” begins.

A Psalm of David

Psa 6 To the chief musician, for eight-stringed instruments.

O Jehovah, do not rebuke me in Your anger; nor chasten me in the heat of Your fury; have mercy on me, O Jehovah, for I am weak; heal me, O Jehovah, for my bones are troubled.My soul also is greatly troubled and You, O Jehovah, until when? O Jehovah, return, deliver my soul; save me for Your mercy’s sake. For there is no memory of You in death; who shall give thanks to You in Sheol?

I am weary in my groaning; I shall make my bed swim in all the night; I melt my couch with my tears. My eye is dim because of grief; it wastes away because of all those distressing me. Depart from me, all workers of iniquity, for Jehovah has heard the voice of my weeping. Jehovah has heard my plea; Jehovah will receive my prayer. Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back, ashamed in a moment.

A Question of Competence

Leave aside the war’s preface of lies. Forget about Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. Pretend not to care about international law and organizations. Ignore the chutzpah of the Coalition Provisional Authority, the increase in terrorism around the world, and the awesome pigishness of Halliburton. Think not about the international reputation of the United States. Don’t wonder whether a rushed constitution may be a disaster. Cover your ears when President Bush argues more American servicemen and women must die in Iraq because many of their brothers and sisters already have. Banish even Cindy Sheehan and the nearly 2,000 other Gold Star mothers from your mind.

How New Orleans Was Lost by Paul Craig Roberts

Chalk up the city of New Orleans as a cost of Bush’s Iraq war.

There were not enough helicopters to repair the breached levees and rescue people trapped by rising water. Nor are there enough Louisiana National Guardsmen available to help with rescue efforts and to patrol against looting.

The situation is the same in Mississippi.

The National Guard and helicopters are off on a fool’s mission in Iraq.

via Atrios A failure of leadership Our President in Action while people die

If Bush understood how serious this was, a brigade of the 101st would be have moved to Ft. Polk over the weekend and their helicopters would have been rescuing people as soon as the weathered cleared. Their heavy lift battalion would have been ferrying in supplies to isolated communities and the AF would have been dropping humanitarian aid packages like they did in Afghanistan over isolated rural areas. But that would be a serious understanding of the situation. Like taking over a couple of military bases recently closed and starting to build housing there and establishing order. The Astrodome will turn into the Superdome within days.