Wednesday, December 19, 2007

FCC Lost its way - Big media consolidation win

Hi, For those of us who don't want a few big companies deciding what we see, hear, and read in the news, it's a bad day.
The Bush-appointed FCC just voted to loosen media ownership rules so media titans like Rupert Murdoch can swallow up more local news outlets. They did this despite a huge public outcry--when the FCC asked for public comments, 99% opposed media consolidation!

The last thing our democracy needs is fewer independent media voices and more news outlets like FOX. Congress has the power to reverse this rule change, and I just signed this petition asking Congress to do that. This issue is very important. Can you join me at the link below?


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Lies, Damn Lies, and Bushisms

Crooks and Liars » George Bush says he got the new NIE report last week: Oh, really?

When did he see that NIE report? A couple of weeks ago? Um, no. October 17 at the latest. How many lies does it take to impeach the man?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Creation Museum tour

If you're still scratching your head about what might be in that Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky (which I mentioned earlier), you can read all about it. If that leaves you sour because it tramples on your firmly-held beliefs, many people have been making observations and testing hypotheses to answer just that question. Read up on that at, where many of your lingering questions will be answered in the FAQ.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Today's call for Impeachment #3

Put Impeachment ON The Table of the House Judiciary Committee

This week Dennis Kucinich led an heroic effort to put the impeachment of Dick Cheney ON the table by requesting a floor vote on H.Res. 333. As expected, BushDemocrat Steny Hoyer moved to table the bill. And then all hell broke loose as 165 Republicans voted with Kucinich and 85 brave Democrats to force a debate on impeachment over the objections of Nancy Pelosi. To block that debate, Hoyer moved to send H.Res. 333 back to the Judiciary Committee, and this motion passed. Watch David Swanson explain the events to Paul Jay of The Real News.

Kucinich is urging Judiciary Chairman John Conyers to start hearings immediately because Cheney is desperately manipulating the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran to justify a U.S. attack, just as he did with the pre-war NIE on Iraq. But Judiciary Democrats are deeply divided on impeachment, with Robert Wexler (FL-19) calling for immediate impeachment hearings, while fellow Palm Beacher Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20), who is close to Speaker Pelosi, told Ed Sc! hultz she adamantly opposes hearings.

So what do we do next to move impeachment forward?

1. Email all of the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee:
and call them:

2. If you live in the district of a House Judiciary Committee member, call their office and tell them you're a constituent and you want immediate hearings on H.Res. 333. Then join your Congressional District Impeachment Committee
and organize a HonkToImpeach rally
in front of your Representative's district office. Then keep up the pressure on your Representative every way you can, including letters to the editor, op-eds, calls to local talk shows, protests at local media offices, and pointed questions at every community forum attended by your Representative.

3. If your Congress Member is not on Judiciary, ask them to cosponsor H Res 333:

4. Ask pollsters to poll the public on impeachment, especially of Cheney:
and promote impeachment through media activism:

5. Watch for updates and notice of a national conference call with Rep. Dennis Kucinich at

Friday, October 26, 2007

Today's call for Impeachment (#2)

Special to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi:

I understand that you may be concerned that impeaching President and Vice President would be unprecedented and put you in the untenable role of President over a quagmire, and one who had a substantial political role in getting yourself to that position. I must remind you of your prerogative to resign, leaving the position to Senator Byrd, who may also resign to leave the position to our Secretary of State, who is of the same party as the current President, and making her President would put to rest any concerns about partisan motivations for the impeachment.

Dear readers: take action!

Wondering about the Presidential line of succession?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Today's call for impeachment

To preserve any meaningful authority on Capitol Hill, Congress must impeach the President for his multitudinous crimes against our country. These offenses are far worse than lying under oath about philandering, worse even than breaking into political opponents' offices and political espionage. Congress must impeach this President and his Vice President so that it may exercise its supervisory authority over the Executive Branch under future administrations. The liberties taken by this administration for itself from the Congress and the People are far too great.

This impeachment is imperative, not only for the citizens of the United Sates and the continued democracy we enjoy, but also for the citizens of the world, as it is likely that without impeachment, this President will rush to war with Iran completely de-stabilizing the Middle East and advancing the cause of terror around the globe through the indiscriminate use of military force.

I do not make these statements lightly, and I consider myself a political centrist. I have taken the time to understand the issues and attempt to reconcile the situation with the possible courses of action, and, as I have explained in a previous letter, impeachment is the only reasonable course of action.

We cannot wait for the next election for a change in administration. Iraq will not wait. Iran will not wait. Our freedom will not wait. The Congress must not wait, or by inaction condone these unacceptable actions.

Dear reader, take action now.

Monday, October 22, 2007

"It sucks to see your friends blown up."

So said the private security contractor who sat next to me on the plane from Atlanta to Raleigh-Durham. He was on leave for a week to see his father who was in intensive care in the hospital, and tomorrow, he'll be back on the tarmac at 0400 to fly back to Afghanistan. He also said, "I'm almost starting to get used to it." This seemed like a perfectly decent fellow, but who has been under too much pressure for too long. And I take that as a symptom of the never-ending conflict.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Read a Good Book

Ok, so we know about The Good Book - and the American Library Association has compiled lists of other good books. So good these books are that some people are afraid of them!

  1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

  2. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

  3. The Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

  4. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

  5. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

  6. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers

  7. It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
  8. (ooohhhh... Kids might learn that it's not the stork!)
  9. Scary Stories series by Alvin Schwartz

  10. Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey

  11. Forever by Judy Blume

I get that some folks don't want their tax dollars going to fund filth, but one person's filth is another person's treasure. In our society, we must respect our diversity while simultaneously guarding our individual character, but we cannot impose our own individual character upon everyone.

Google has a great page on banned books, too.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Iran War: Casus Belli Mapped

Cheney has spelled out the casus belli: Isreal will attack one of Iran's nuclear facilities. Iran will retaliate against Isreal, and the United States will "have no choice but to defend itself."[1] Iran, on the other hand, thinks it's not such a good idea: "They will regret it, as they are regretting it in Iraq." [2]

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A glimmer of hope for Iran

It's still to early to tell if Bush is as mad as Hitler, but at least some people think diplomacy might prevail.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Dear Congress: We must not invade Iran; Impeach now.

Dear Congress:

I have written you several times on various topics. This is my most important message by far. War against Iran is unconscionable and must be avoided. While some of the ideas I present here may be different from your thinking, I urge you to give them very serious consideration because the consequences of taking the wrong path are dire. I have included references with further reading on each point to assist you in your careful consideration.

The military is readying for war against Iran.[1] “All the Air Operation Planning and Asset Tasking are finished. That means that all the targets have been chosen, prioritized, and tasked to specific aircraft, bases, carriers, missile cruisers and so forth.”[2] Six nuclear missiles moved from North Dakota to Barksdale AFB, Louisiana last week.[3] “Barksdale Air Force Base is being used as a jumping off point for Middle East operations.”[4] I suspect the mistake was not the movement of missiles but in our hearing of it.

War against Iran is fraught with negative aspects that far outweigh any perceived gains.[5] Perhaps engaging in such a war would delay Iranian nuclear capabilities, and that would be a desirable goal, but at what cost? Iran has allies in Russia[6] and China[7], both nuclear powers. Europe has not been a strong supporter of our invasion of Iraq and would likely be even less supportive of our invasion of Iran, even if the attack were limited to strategic dismantling of their nuclear capabilities. In fact, considered from the point of view of an uninvolved country, the United States invading yet another sovereign country would look like the expansion of the German empire at the onset of World War II.[8] Furthermore, there are not enough troops to support additional military action, beyond today’s commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan.[9] The attacks would fuel the fire of hatred against the United States for extending its military might to the Middle East resulting in increased terrorism.[10] Nations which disapproved of the U.S. invasion of Iraq would rightly have a stronger reaction against an unauthorized attack on Iran. Invading Iran now would invite a draft to defend our homeland against attacks from terrorists and civilized nations alike.[11]

The Executive Branch has demonstrated a propensity to stretch its authority beyond that granted by Congress and the Constitution.[12] This President has used more signing statements than all previous Presidents combined. He has used them as a line-item veto that cannot be overridden.[13] He has taken the concept of unitary executive to a new level.[14] He has imprisoned innocent people at Guantánamo Bay with no opportunity to contest their detention.[15] He has ordered the torture of prisoners.[16] He has instituted programs to spy on citizens without authorization[17]. He has declared that he has the authority to open anyone’s mail.[18] Through these actions, Bush has violated laws that were enacted specifically to prevent these sorts of abuses of executive authority.

Guns and bombs cannot rid the world of the evil scourge of terrorism.[19] The exercise of military might will promote terrorism, anger targets, deliberate or accidental, and even disable some terrorists, but, “For every terrorist killed, two more are created to take his place. The terror never goes away until the political conditions that create it go away.”[20] I support a “war on terror,” but it must not be waged with bombs, guns, and missiles, but rather by allowing the rule of law to run its course, thereby demonstrating that the system actually works - to the benefit of all those who are frustrated because of their unfortunate situations.

The war on terror is not justification for expanding executive authority beyond the will of the Congress and the people.[21] The threat is real, but it is small. “As political scientist John Mueller notes, in most years allergic reactions to peanuts, deer in the road and lightning have all killed about the same number of Americans as terrorism. In 2001, their banner year, terrorists killed one twelfth as many Americans as the flu and one fifteenth the number killed by car accidents.”[22] For this we should give up our liberties? Benjamin Franklin: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”[23]

Something will happen to agitate the relationship, and that will be used as a pretense for going to war.[24] For Vietnam, it was the Gulf of Tonkin incident. For World War I, it was the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand. For the 2003 invasion of Iraq, it was Saddam Hussein’s resistance to IAEA inspections. Bush may seize on any casus belli, and when he does, we must remember the consequences of our actions and choose restraint rather than race into a quagmire much worse than what we have seen in Iraq.

Congressional authority for the use of military force against Iran should not be obtainable. As your voting constituent, I urge you to oppose any such measure. As a member of Congress, it is your responsibility to consider the measure and act appropriately. Perhaps if Iran were to sustain an attack against the United States on U.S. soil, it could be worthwhile taking the battle to their country. With any less provocation, an attack will be much more like United States imperial expansion[25] and will likely destabilize the region, if not the world, further.

Our executives may stretch their authority to engaging Iran in a conflict based on that casus belli without Congressional authority. The Executive Branch has demonstrated disregard for the will of Congress and may do so again by ordering a strike against Iran even without authorization from Congress. They may hold up some obscure authorization or Article II of the Constitution, which, when read backwards through red glasses seems to say the President has a power never before exercised, and the document, through their distorted view, authorizes the action.

The President and Vice President must be impeached immediately – before the President orders an attack against Iran.[26] The consequences of an attack on Iran are dire. The consequences of another President who exercises so much unchecked authority are dire.[27] The consequences of failure to impeach may be so severe as the end of our Constitutional democracy, be that at the hands of our adversaries or by our own hands for failure to observe our liberties slipping through our fingers.

As your constituent, I urge you to defend our country. Defend the liberties we fought to achieve. Defend the Constitution our soldiers have died to protect. Defend the freedoms we hold dear. Defend us from a President who would shred the Constitution[28] and lead us into a magnificent death spiral.


James E. Scarborough

[1] Rosen, James. “U.S. Officials Begin Crafting Iran Bombing Plan.” Fox News, September 12, 2007.,2933,296450,00.html

[2] “We Are Going To Hit Iran...Bigtime.” September 2, 2007.

[3] Jelinek, Pauline. “Nuclear Bombs Mistakenly Flown Over US.” Associated Press, September 5, 2007

[4] Johnson, Larry. “Staging Nuke for Iran?” September 5, 2007.

[5] Salama, Sammy and Karen Ruster. “A Preemptive Attack on Iran's Nuclear Facilities: Possible Consequences.” Monterey Institute of International Studies, Center for Nonproliferation Studies, September 9, 2004.

[6] Beehner, Lionel. “Russia-Iran Arms Trade.” Council on Foreign Relations, November 1, 2006.

[7] Deen, Thalif. “How to Curb China's Arms Trade.” Asia Times Online, June 14, 2006.

[8] Jayne, Edward. “31 Similarities Between Hitler and President Bush.” Dissident Voice, August 29, 2004.

[9] Associated Press. “Study: Army stretched to breaking point.” USA Today, January 24, 2006.

[10] Priest, Dana. “Attacking Iran May Trigger Terrorism: U.S. Experts Wary of Military Action Over Nuclear Program.” Washington Post, April 2, 2006.

[11] Harkin, Tom. “LETTER: Bush has no choice but to reinstate draft” Iowa State Daily, October 26, 2004.

[12] Van Bergen, Jennifer. “The Unitary Executive: Is The Doctrine Behind the Bush Presidency Consistent with a Democratic State?” FindLaw, January 9, 2006.

[13] Feinstein, Dianne. Address to the Queen’s Bench Bar Association, May 30, 2006.

[14] Mayer, Jane. “The Hidden Power: The legal mind behind the White House’s war on terror.” New Yorker, July 3, 2006.

[15] “Innocent, but in limbo at Guantánamo.” Christian Science Monitor, February 13, 2006.

[16]Guantanamo Tactics 'Tantamount to Torture' -NY Times” Reuters, November 30, 2004.

[17] Risen, James and Eric Lichtblau. “Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts.” New York Times, December 16, 2005

[18] Baram, Marcus, et al. “Bush: Government Can Open Your Mail.” ABC News, January 4, 2007.

[19] Chomsky, Noam. “Distorted Morality: America's War on Terror?” Harvard University, February 6, 2002.

[20] Rockwell, Lew, quoted in Gorka Erostarbe. “Lew Rockwell Interviewed for the Basque Daily, Euskaldunon Egunkaria Lew Rockwell, October 24, 2001.

[21] Eland, Ivan. “An Imperial Presidency Based on Constitutional Quicksand.” The Independent Institute, January 9, 2006.

[22] Friedman, Ben. “The War on Hype: Risk to U.S. of Withering Terrorist Hit is Overblown.” San Francisco Chronicle, February 19, 2006.

[23] Franklin, Benjamin. Pennsylvania Assembly: Reply to the Governor, November 11, 1755.—The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Leonard W. Labaree, vol. 6, p. 242 (1963).

[24] Atcheson, John. “Casus Belli, Anyone?: Prediction: This nation will go to war with Iran, and it will do so with the full consent of Congress.”

[25] Grichar, Jim. “The Axis of Deceit – Still Pushing for U.S. Imperial Expansion!” Lew Rockwell, May 23, 2003.

[26] Roberts, Paul Craig. “Impeach Now Or Face the End of Constitutional Democracy.” Counterpunch, July 16, 2007

[27] Holtzman, Elizabeth. “The Impeachment of George W. Bush” The Nation, January 11, 2006.

[28] Thompson, Doug. “Bush on the Constitution: ‘It’s just a goddamned piece of paper’” Capitol Hill Blue, December 5, 2005.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

"We Are Going To Hit Iran... Bigtime"

I have a friend who is an LSO on a carrier attack group that is planning and staging a strike group deployment into the Gulf of Hormuz. (LSO: Landing Signal Officer- she directs carrier aircraft while landing) She told me we are going to attack Iran. She said that all the Air Operation Planning and Asset Tasking are finished. That means that all the targets have been chosen, prioritized, and tasked to specific aircraft, bases, carriers, missile cruisers and so forth.

I asked her why she is telling me this.

Read on...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

War with Iran Imminent

It looks like war with Iran is imminent. Faux News reports that the Bush administration is just about fed up with Iran and officials are gathering bombing strategies[1]. This is supposedly because Iran with nuclear ambitions poses a threat to the United States, but I'd say the United States poses a much greater threat to Iran. [Heck, if I were running Iran, I would bend over backward to make it clear I wasn't developing nuclear bombs... ] Too bad this threat posed by Iran has been brought on by the U.S. invasion of Iraq destabilizing the region and removing a valuable counterweight to Iran's extremism[2]. Since Russia and Iran seem to cooperate on arms regularly [3], what would you say if Iran decides to buy one of the new Russian bombs [4] and with it bring the war to the States?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

War with Iran

Fox News has been beating the Iran War Drums for some time now. Yesterday, a B-52 flew from Minot, North Dakota to Barksdale, Louisiana - with six nuclear missiles on board, supposedly a "mistake." How do you make a mistake with nuclear warheads? Um... these things are under pretty tight security. I think the "mistake" was that we heard about it. But why would they go to Barksdale, Louisiana? An ex-CIA agent blogs: "Barksdale Air Force Base is being used as a jumping off point for Middle East operations." There is no need for them in Iraq. It must be to attack Iran. So our illustrious Commander in Chief will drag us into yet another war we cannot win and let the nuclear genie out of the bottle while other countries have The Bomb?

Let's follow the logic here: The war in Iraq is failing, and Congress is getting skittish about funding it. Petraeus is scheduled to make his report, and a number of the benchmarks for success of the troop surge have not been met. Things aren't looking good for the Bush/Pentagon/Haliburton administration. How to fix that? Let's see how they've handled disappointment in the past:

"Instead of reaching out to Congress and the courts for support, which would have strengthened its legal hand, the administration asserted what [former head of Justice Department Office of Legal Council Jack] Goldsmith considers an unnecessarily broad, “go-it-alone” view of executive power," reports Jeffrey Rosen in New York Times magazine. (It's an excellent article.) What would happen if they dream up a threat (ala Gulf of Tonkin) in Iran and respond in "self defense?" Instant quagmire, and years more funding for the military-industrial complex.

What would stop this from happening? Bush is a lame duck now. He doesn't need to be re-elected. There has even been talk that impeachment proceedings would carry on to the end of his term if they were undertaken. He's afraid of Iran, sees a threat, and wants to take preemptive action against it. He sees that it is easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission.

Of course, I'm not the first with the notion of an imminent attack on Iran. The Raw Story outlines preparations for a massive attack on the country.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Political links

I have so far resisted the temptation to post just a few links because I imagine I should be collecting information from various sources and putting the pieces together here. Alas, today, the articles speak quite well for themselves:

Friday, August 17, 2007

Now who flip-flops?

Ok, so when we have a President who listens to the people and adjusts his position, he gets called a "flip-flop." When we have one who takes a stand, regardless of how wrong it is, he's hailed as a great leader. Greatness requires smarts, not just resolve. Honesty helps, too.

Cheney: Deposing Saddam would make quagmire

Q: Do you think US or UN forces should have moved into Baghdad?

A: No.

Q: Why not?

A: Because if we'd gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn't have been anybody else with us. It would have been a US occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq.

Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam Hussein's government, what are you going to put in its place? That's a very volatile part of the world and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you could easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off. Part of it the Syrians would like to have in the west; part of Eastern Iraq the Iranians would like to claim - faught over [it] for eight years. In the north you've got the Kurds. The Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you've threatened the terratorial integrity of Turkey. It's a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over.

Another thing is casualties. Everyone was impressed with the fact that we were able to do our job with as few casualties as we had, but for the 146 Americans killed in action and for their families, it wasn't a cheap war. And the question for the President in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad and took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein was, "How many additional dead americans is Saddam worth?", and our judgement was not very many, and I think we got it right.

Do you feel secure?

DHS is making strides in measuring risk and spending money where it will do the most good. But what happens when the next terrorist attack comes? Will we wildly spend money on whatever sort of thing gets attacked, without regard to effectiveness? How much money are we spending on ineffective measures - like shoe inspections at airports, the prohibition on water over 3 oz., and the 13 oz. rule for stamped parcels in the mail. Richard Reid and Ted Kaczynski are in jail, and I think most of us would agree that they are fringe lunatics, anyway. Yes, there are oddballs, but the worse crime is that we give up liberties for a false sense of security. Note that anyone can wreak havoc in an airport security line. Fortunately TSA has the SPOT program which is on the lookout for nervous folk. But most of the rest of it is knee-jerk security. Not very helpful for security but very harmful for time and freedom.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Where do you live?

I used to think I lived in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. Now, I'm not so sure. The City of Washington, D.C. has taken action against ANSWER - fining them $10k for using an inappropriate adhesive on anti-war protest posters announcing the event planned for September 15, 2007. Selective enforcement?

And then there's the bit about search and seizure. Congress authorized the President to wiretap every man, woman, and child talking on the phone so long as the Attorney General "reasonably believes" that one end of the conversation is abroad. What happened to the FISA courts? What happened to the idea of having judicial oversight? Now, all of wiretapping is in the hands of the President. What if he doesn't like my political views? What if he doesn't like some reporter? What if someone can expose him for doing something he shouldn't have? Will he have blackmail material on hand? This lack of oversight cannot be a good thing.

Oh, and representation of the will of the people. Now they're going to build a MegaMall a mile from my house at an intersection ill-suited for the traffic and far from any suitable highways. The Town Council approved the zoning change in the face of scores of protesters, and after hundreds turned out for a Planning and Zoning meeting to protest. How many people need to protest something to get it to not happen?

Monday, July 2, 2007

First Paris, now Scooter. Who's next?

Paris Hilton got plenty of publicity for her cushy treatment in jail (and particularly for being let out after just a few days). Now, the one scapegoat for the entire Bush administration got off easy - instead of 36 months in prison and a $250k fine, Bush commutes his sentence so he only has to pay the fine - and what do you want to bet it won't come from his personal checking account. I would say it reminds me of Ford's pardon of Nixon, but in that case, the pardon really did just silence the worthless hullabaloo whereas this just demonstrates that the administration is acting above the law. Disgusting. When can we impeach these jokers?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

VP calls the shots

You may recall that Cheney recently asserted that the Vice President's office is not part of the executive branch, and I read with delight that Democrats are talking of cutting funding to that appendage of government to which rules apparently do not apply. The Washington Post tells how Cheney suspended habeas corpus with hardly any review and gives a detailed look into the workings of the Cheney branch of government. (Wash Post part 2)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Vicious Cycle

(The conversation started here.) Is it a "sick picture?" Not so much as a sad one. It's a shame the coffins were there. It's telling that Haliburton sold weapons to Iran and Iran arms Iraq and Haliburton supports counter-insurgence in Iraq. Maybe they're not directly connected, but it's certainly enough to make it look like a war machine.

What's really interesting about the picture is it comes from a German blog. What does that say about our international cachet? The former State Department head of media affairs opines.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Nationwide Wi-Fi?

We have a national electric grid. Most locales also have water and sewer through community resources. Lafayette, Louisiana has now prevailed in its court case against the local telephone and cable companies to provide fiber to the home as a utility. See the Bill Moyers special "The Net at Risk" for background on that and other projects. Lafayette is not stopping at fiber. They will also be running wi-fi to the town. Should we have Internet accessible to the masses nationwide, or is that solely the domain of private enterprise? Such is the question before the court of public opinion. Some of the big telcos want to license spectrum which might otherwise be used for this nationwide network. Of course, there's a petition.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bush Signs Ultimate Authority

The Progressive (via Dvorak) reports that in the event of a catastrophic emergency, Bush has ordered that he has supreme authority. The only trouble is: he determines "catastrophic emergency," defined within the document as "any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions."[1] Perhaps global warming is the catastrophic emergency he has in mind?

Creation Museum now open!

Have you ever met a Biblical scholar who was a biblical literalist? I haven't. Mostly, those folks understand that the documents were written tens of centuries ago by people who had a much different understanding of the world. They didn't have cars, airplanes, trains, or even printing presses. It was before the industrial revolution. Woodblock printing was high-tech, and the spinning wheel was 500 years in the future.[1] Yet some people maintain that the Bible is the ultimate authority on all things. (Excuse me - would the people of that day have been able to understand modern physics even if it had been presented reasonably?) Which Bible? Oh, yeah, it has changed over the ages as well, and then there are those extra books the Catholics use.[2]

Enter the Creation Museum where you can go and learn that man and dinosaurs roamed the earth together. (Oh, yeah, there's a petition against it, too.) I'm all for folks standing firm in their beliefs and free speech, but do these people ever think? Lest there be some confusion, let's also link straight to the source: Genesis 1-2. (Sorry, I don't have a link to the Hebrew.)

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

What he said

"You helped our nation celebrate its bicentennial in 17- in 1976." British papers had a fit. Bush shattered the solemnity and ceremony with a dumb joke at the Queen's expense. But what were the people expecting when they elected a clown to the White House because he uses the language of the people?

A friend of mine laments the anti-U.S. vitriol found abroad. Why don't we travel more? Perhaps there's room enough for all 300 million of us. Perhaps we just have too much to think about - like what's coming on TV this week. Perhaps we should get out and broaden our horizons a bit.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Up-sell on your cell phone

"Would you like fries with that?" "Can I interest you in the extended service plan?" How about $5/month more for text messaging, or $15/month for internet access on your spiffy new cell phone? Don't like that? How about 15¢ per text message and 3¢ per kilobyte for data transfer - which means it costs about $1 to get a frigging picture off my camera phone? That's the price of FILM! Oh, right the plan only covers the minutes I use for talking. Does it also cover the button-presses for dialing the numbers? Does it cover the time I listen, too, or is that 50¢/min? John C. Dvorak rants about the phones themselves - gadgetry, fashion, and rudeness in one bundle. Remember the olden days when you had to lease a phone from AT&T? How cool was that? It took a court case to allow someone to make an answering machine. Then the FCC ruled that as long as you don't harm the network, you can plug in anything you want. Thus the inventions of all sorts of cool telephonic devices including modems that first brought the internet into homes. Now Skype, purveyor of internet calls, has petitioned the FCC (docket# RM-11361) to apply that previous ruling to the cellular networks. You can e-mail your own comment in support of the petition. (Any volunteers to set up a web form for comment submission?) Consumers' Union has a web form for comments.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Save the planet: fuel economy gauge

Here's an idea: mandate a fuel economy gauge next to the speedometer for all cars. The display on a gasoline car would show mpg, while the display on an electric car would show mi/kJ or some such. With fuel efficiency staring people in the face while they drive, they might be more keen to shut off an idling car and drive less aggressively! [DIY]

From Environmental Defense:

Check out our list of facts on cars and global warming.
Then, take action in support of national global warming action!

232 million - Number of registered vehicles in the U.S. That's almost one per person!

600 gallons - Average amount of gasoline consumed by one U.S. car each year.

12,000 pounds - Amount of carbon dioxide emitted from one U.S. car each year.

240 - Number of trees needed to absorb the 12,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emitted from one U.S. car each year.

2.7 trillion - Number of miles U.S. cars and light trucks traveled in 2004. That's the equivalent of taking 10 million trips to the moon.

5 - Percent U.S. population is of the world population.

30 - Percent of world's automobiles in the United States.

45 - Percent that the United States contributes to the world's automotive carbon dioxide emissions.

4 - Number of car companies that support a national cap on global warming emissions. They are Ford, General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and Toyota.

0 - Number of bills passed by Congress to cut global warming pollution.

Tell Congress to do something about fuel economy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


The White House will allow key presidential aide Karl Rove and former counsel Harriet Miers to be interviewed by committees probing the firings of U.S. attorneys, but they will not testify under oath, Rep. Chris Cannon says. -- CNN Breaking News
So they say, "Trust me?" And we fall for it this time? Right.

Abusing our soldiers

Some thoughts for starters:
  • The President is abusing our great military by sending them on a fool's errand for cronies.
  • The abuse of our military must stop.
  • A noble force requires a noble mission.
What nemesis, what evil force would compel a government to war? Genocide against other races and an effort to take over all of Europe was not enough to engage this country in World War 2. It took a direct attack on American soil to engage our forces. Now, we see this country engaged in a battle over an imagined threat in which victory has proven elusive - the mission far from accomplished.

In his farewell address, Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us of the dangers of allowing these forces of evil to persuade us that war is a Good Thing:
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together. [1]

For the military-industrial complex war is a business frenzy. It is government consumerism run amok. We buy, they grow, and their stockholders are happy. People die. Life in Baghdad sucks. Life in Walter Reed Army Hospital sucks. We could spend more money to improve those things, but we're already strapped for cash paying it to those cronies.

The cronies benefiting in this ignoble mission in which our President has most successfully thrust our country are contractors: Blackwater, Haliburton, and the likes. [2] They, and the gun and plane makers, are to blame for this conflict and for the lives lost because of its undertaking.

Go capitalism! Mission accomplished!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

World War 3?

Dems abandon war authority provision, says the AP headline. When Bush ordered the attack on Iraq, I said he might have just started World War 3. I hoped, and still hope, that I was wrong, but so far, all my worst predictions for this administration have come true. Attack Iran, destabilize the region further, and then what? Exactly what is the plan here? Enrich U.S. contractors (Haliburton) for the short term while ratcheting the global threat up to heretofore unknown levels?

Another of my predictions: after the 2004 election, I predicted that Roe v. Wade would be reversed in 6 years.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

It's All Too Much

Stop the Insanity!* What's with the consumerism? Buy, buy, buy. It will make you happy. More is better. Buy one, get one free! Right. John Dvorak describes his woes with the computer industry's continually churning out new gadgets that make the ones from last month obsolete. Peter Walsh does the same for the run-of-the-mill pack rat in his book It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff. Mr. Walsh came to my attention by way of the Feb. 7, 2007 Oprah program, "Conquering Clutter." Other professional organizers were watching, too, and Carolyn offers her feedback.

In my life, there's more to clutter than the physical objects that get in the way. Sure, there are plenty of physical objects, and I found Mr. Walsh's assessment of materialism inspirational in my efforts to de-clutter, but my clutter is also temporal - I have too many things to do. So I made a list. I put it in a Google spreadsheet to share online with my wife, prioritized the items and sorted them according to priority and ballpark guess of how long they'd take. Then I added another sheet to record what we plan to do for each week in the forseeable future among several categories of activity. It gives us a process for handling the things we must do, the things we'd like to do, and the things that would be nice to do if time permits. Now we see how it works!

* My apology to Susan Powter for co-opting her dieting catch-phrase here... but the situation is no less nutty!