Wednesday, May 31, 2006
pennsylvania senator rick santorum doesn't live in pennsylvania
yet another of the many reasons to wash away all traces of santorum from the deep dark bowels of dc...
Monday, May 29, 2006
nine months later .... they're still finding bodies in new orleans !!!
Sunday, May 28, 2006
a superhero for siberia
with that, a super-hero is born ... faster than a penguin ... with a heart colder than dick cheney... able to swim through ice-cubes in a single stroke ... it's a fish, it's a walrus, it's ... the ice bear!I was standing at the edge of history two weeks ago, ready to plunge into the frozen waters of a lake beneath Nigards Glacier in Norway in a bid to set a new world record for the longest swim in ice water. A long white tongue of ice stretched down a narrow valley and stopped abruptly in front of the half-frozen lake. It was without a doubt one of the most beautiful places on earth.
My team had spent two days cutting a 700-meter-long channel across the lake, just wide enough to get a support boat to a small, turquoise piece of water at the foot of the glacier. I was wearing only a Speedo, a swimming cap and goggles in accordance with English Channel Swimming Association rules.
[damn those british and all their pesky rules...]
And this time, there were no polar bears, leopard seals, crocodiles or great white sharks to worry about. Nevertheless, I was afraid.
[cue dramatic music here]
Hypothermia could just as easily have destroyed my chances of success. A cardiac surgeon and English Channel swimmer once warned me that it was impossible to swim for any length of time in water that is 32 degrees Fahrenheit. "A normal person will be disabled within seconds," he said, "and dead within two or three minutes."
But my view is that nothing is impossible.
[cue patriotic music here]
On my side was the fact that whenever I see cold water, my body instinctively raises its core temperature from 98 degrees to 101 degrees. That may sound insignificant, but in thermo-regulation terms, it is critical. Before I get into icy water, my body is a furnace. It has confounded scientists and earned me the nickname ...
...the Ice Bear...
Friday, May 26, 2006
we need more ellen degenereses !
now we need to get oprah to go down, too...
good news from sudan?
butNAIROBI, 26 May (IRIN) - A joint United Nations-African Union assessment team will head to Sudan's troubled Darfur region to determine how to strengthen the current AU mission in Sudan (AMIS) and to lay the groundwork for a possible transition to a UN peacekeeping force, a UN diplomat said.
"We agreed that in the coming days the United Nations and the African Union will send a joint assessment mission to Sudan," [UN Special Envoy] Brahimi told reporters in Sudan's capital, Khartoum. "It will then proceed to Darfur to assess the additional needs of AMIS, which must be immediately strengthened, since it will have the initial responsibility of facilitating the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement.
and... despite the peace deliberations, "all parties continued to engage in totally unacceptable levels of violence and despicable attacks against civilians in breach of humanitarian law and earlier ceasefire commitments."
od yavo shalom aleinu, v'al kulam.Raiders from Sudan have killed more than 100 villagers in Chad, Human Rights Watch reported Thursday, and the group expressed concern that the violence in Darfur was spreading...
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
how oreo cookies can save america..
yum. and they're kosher, too.
Monday, May 22, 2006
louisiana politics: why did nagin win?
this is where i'm at right now... [and a heads-up that this post is a little long]
so first there was ray nagin, an african-american cable tv executive, who was elected 4 years ago after marc morial, another african-american mayor, was term-limited. marc's father, dutch morial, had previously been mayor. both morials had been accused of corruption. conservative whites especially didn't like them. but the city hadn't had a white mayor since moon landreiu.
now when moon was mayor, he was instrumental in reducing segregation, and including african-americans in city government. many whites didn't like that. and still don't. they refer to moon's tenure as the beginning of the "decline of new orleans" which sounds like code to me:
ok, back to nagin. when he 1st ran for mayor, he was supported by the white establishment. the black vote was split. his administration is considered to be scandal free, but beyond that i'm not sure. this article from the times picayune, indicates that nagin has just as many connections to corrupt politicians as anyone else in louisiana. in any case, after katrina, with nagin's blaming of bush and chocolate city speech, the white conservatives didn't like him as much. or they liked him even more, because he was there as the piñata for them all to blame. in any case the conservatives hated mitch landreiu.I submit that the anti-Mitch sentiment stems largely from residual white resentment at Moon's desegregation of city government. It speaks directly to the identity issue for white New Orleanians who, to this day, believe their New Orleans began to crumble the day "those people" took over. Some whites will vote against Mitch because of their racially-based suspicion of the "Landrieu clan". Others will vote for Nagin because they know he will tend to favor developers in the fight over who ultimately is allowed to return. In other words, a significant portion of the white vote will go to the black candidate specifically out of racial animosity towards the black population. Meanwhile Nagin will continue to enjoy an overwhelming share of the black vote. The reason: Black racial anxiety.
after the primary left them with the choice of either nagin or landreiu, nagin became preferable once again - the lesser of two evils. because he was a republican in democratic clothing, he was "one of the good ones", or because they thought it would be better for the next governors race to have nagin in office as opposed to mitch:
interesting. and this theory also may explain why republican mayoral candidate rob couhig endorsed nagin after the primary:The "Oyster-Adrastos" theory is that many Louisiana Repubs want to help re-elect Nagin so that they can use him, in Oyster's memorable phrase, as a useful idiot for the GOP to pound on in next year's statewide election. Nagin defeating Mitch would also have the side benefit of damaging Landrieu as a statewide candidate for either re-election or the governorship. The GOP thinks that the combination of Nagin and Gov. Blanco is its ticket to taking control of state government next year.
that goes for other big republican donors, too.Anyway, Couhig was told that if he was a good boy and endorsed Nagin for Mayor that a strong effort, including oodles of money, would be made to clear the Repub field so that Couhig would succeed [Republican rep. Bobby Jindall] in Congress. This makes perfect sense: Couhig ran for the seat when it came open after Bob Livingston left Congress because he couldn't keep his pants zipped up. It's also a safe Republican seat.
at the same time, nagin has seemed to make up with bush, enough at least to give him a shout out in his acceptance speech last night. is it as simple as kissing the hand that controls the federal purse strings, their bonding over being "misunderstood" by the media and other "similarities"?
or, maybe it's all just as simple as harry shearer so clearly puts it:
ouch. that hurt. he goes on:Mitch Landrieu, the challenger to once and future incumbent Ray Nagin, ran like a Democrat.
If there was ever a time to put the courtesy aside, this was it. Landrieu's approach reminded me, sitting here in D.C. for the weekend, of nothing so much as Kerry's in 2004: assuming that voters will fill in the blanks, not daring to express the anger that animated his base lest he offend those at the margins.
wow, my brain's tired. it's time for bed.If you don't give the voters a passionately lucid reason why the incumbent needs to be unseated, you can't blame them for pausing at the switch. Race will undoutedly get the blame, but Landrieu might well have looked at one of Nagin's other primary opponents, white conservative Rob Couhig, for a primer on how to frame a passionately lucid attack on the incumbent. BTW, Couhig endorsed Nagin in the runoff.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
what color is your chocolate?
see, now wouldn't you like to be a chocolate city, too?
mazel tov, ray nagin, you won, here's looking at you. but now it's time to re-build some levees. right now. let's get to it... hold your new buddy bush's feet to the fire.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
organic vs. local; the eco-kosher smackdown
just as long as you don't buy your organic produce from walmart. chas v' chalila, that you should think of such a thing. pu pu pu!So what's my advice? Think about what you're buying. If you want local food, buy local. If you want organic, buy organic. The point is to make a conscious choice, because as we insert our values into the market, businesses respond and things change. There's power in what we do collectively, so is there any reason to limit it unnecessarily?
wwktfd - what would kermit the frog drive?
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
president al gore
so what does this mean for 2008?
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
voting machine problems in pennsylvania
This article from the inquirer mostly talks about philadelphia county, which is not one of the 16 counties who began to use new diebold machines today. philadelphia uses older "push button" machines (danaher 1242), which also seem to have a lousy record from what I can tell. anyone here know if they have a verified paper trail?In Philadelphia, Deputy City Commissioner Edward Schulgen said more than 100 of the city's approximately 3,500 machines were not working when voting began.
"We've been busting our chops from the first opening of the polls," Schulgen said.
He also said the problems were likely due to human error. Either poll workers started the machines wrong in the morning or mechanics tightened screws inside the machines too tightly.
At least one machine was still functioning in most divisions, he said, but about 20 polling places were without machines for a portion of the day. Voters were given provisional ballots.
Bernard Bibbs, judge of elections in Germantown, was monitoring elections at St. Francis of Assisi when both of the polling place's machines sputtered out. He said they were down from about 7 to 11 a.m.
"Some people went home without voting," he said. "It was kind of shocking."
these types of incompetence-related problems, combined with whatever diebold-related hijinks may occur in november, make me very nervous.... very nervous indeed.
although, with new blood in harrisburg...
there may be hope for the long-stalled paper-ballot bill:State Sen. Robert Jubelirer, (R., Blair), the state's longest-serving president pro tempore, conceded defeat to Blair County Commissioner John Eichelberger, who led in a three-way primary.Earlier, Senate Majority Leader David J. Brightbill, (R., Lebanon) who helped pass the legislative pay raise that spurred an anti-incumbency movement, conceded his loss shortly before 10 p.m. He was defeated by Mike Folmer
There has been voter-verified paper ballot legislation pending in the General Assembly for months (HB 2000, SB 977) and it's blocked in committee somewhere, dooming Pennsylvanians to vote on unverifiable, unsecure machines.
Friday, May 12, 2006
via the new york times . it seems that el-al, the national airline of israel, doesn't trust the bomb scanning wherewithall of the transportation security administration. they'd rather do things themselves.
makes me want to jump in a plane right now. nice to see those tax dollars truly at at work.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
update on new orleans landfill
this is a good first step. background info is on my earlier post at dailykos.
there's also a good video story up on the nytimes website.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
al gore for president?
what do you think, gore-feingold, gore-obama, gore-clinton? we need someone in 2008 who won't be afraid to "go to the mattresses" against the bushes...
if you’ll be my bodyguard
i can be your long lost pal
i can call you betty
and betty when you call me
you can call me al
Monday, May 08, 2006
from bad to worse in darfur
let me make myself clear, that i'm not defending this horrendous, brutal, unprovoked attack on an african union translator. but if something doesn't happen, this is barely the beginning of what we're going to see.
so, what can we do?
1. contact your members of congress, urge full funding of sudanese peace-keepers in the supplemental spending bill, and to speed up the conference committee on the darfur peace and accountability act. info on these bills are on AJWS's website.
2. call the white house comment line, 202-456-6111, and urge bush to continue his efforts in promoting a un darfur mission. the u.s. doesn't plan to send its own soldiers and has asked the governments of china, india, pakistan, egypt and algeria to contribute troops to such a peacekeeping force. bush is sending condi to talk to the un tomorrow
anyone with ideas, please comment below, or at the cross-post at kos.
the story continues in my diary over at daily kos.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
bush: “i would say the best moment of all [my presidency] was when i caught a 7.5 pound perch in my lake”
Saturday, May 06, 2006
the lost art of wasting time
it's the perfect shabbat afternoon poem...
just in from the times-picayune, Bush and pals are thinking of disbanding part of americorps: the national civilian community corps (nccc):
the article says that bush (and potentially the bush-appointed americorps lackeys) are complaining about the high cost of this program:
fine, when looking at that number out of context, it may seem high, but $27,859 seems like the annual figure, including food, living expenses, tools/supplies, and the scholarship/tuition stipend. if so, it suddenly doesn't sound like very much money after all.
how much does each soldier in iraq cost us? compared to hiring contracters to do the work (a la haliburton) this is pennies to their dollar. fine, maybe there is a more cost effective way to provide relief, but c'mon, does anyone here really trust this administration to come up with that?
the bigger picture here is "what the hell is our plan? remember everyone that hurricane season begins june 1 !!". 3 1/2 weeks until another potential hurricane katrina somewhere in florida or the gulf coast. are we ready?
for the short term until we design a better overall system, we need to rely on the parts of the government that actually work, and that have a solid track record of getting stuff done. the nccc is a good program, with idealistic young adults, who have the time and inclination to want to help. they should be nurtured, not fired.
and does anyone need reminders of all the work that still needs to be done in new orleans -- who wants to head south and gut a home? i've got a tyvek suit with your name on it...
Friday, May 05, 2006
urge the media to cover darfur
nbc has started to cover it, with the today show sending ann curry, as well as a sudan plot-line on er (wasn't that a good episode last night!) the next step is to get the rest of the msm to jump onto the bandwagon.
click here on ajws's website to send a quick email to the producers at abc, cbs, cnn and fox news, urging them to follow nbc's lead and inform the american public about the ongoing dire situation.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
another take on the evacuation plan
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
the common sense award of the week
The new emergency preparedness plan, a work in progress, will not include the opening of the Superdome as a refuge of last resort.i wonder how many hours of meetings it took to come up with this plan? i guess it must have taken a lot of time to design the big fancy flow charts:
Instead, the city, state and federal government will participate in an effort to move an estimated 10,000 residents without transportation to state shelters outside the area by bus or Amtrak train. The train will be reserved for “special needs” residents with medical conditions and the elderly.
they have multiple colors and everything!