Friday, December 26, 2008

The Right to Food

John Amato posted a blog on the 24th that stopped me in my tracks.

Seems that some people in the world think that it is a bad thing that 6 million children die every year of hunger (and related-illness) before they turn five. So these people got together at the United Nations and passed a resolution to try to do something about this.

The good news is that it passed - 180 to 1.

The bad new? We're the one .....

By a vote of 180 in favour to 1 against (United States) and no abstentions, the Committee also approved a resolution on the right to food, by which the Assembly would “consider it intolerable” that more than 6 million children still died every year from hunger-related illness before their fifth birthday, and that the number of undernourished people had grown to about 923 million worldwide, at the same time that the planet could produce enough food to feed 12 billion people, or twice the world’s present population. (See Annex III.)

You can read the entire thing here.

I don't know how this administration can do this....
Maybe they don't understand the reason for the season.
I'm pretty sure God's plan does not include letting 6,000,000 children just die.

Just to recap:

In favour:

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monao, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


United States.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Proud to be an American?

So I'm listening to NPR the other day. They're doing a series on immigration and they profiled a 40year old 'illegal immigrant' in Mexico who had just been deported. He was waiting to cross over again.

"HOW COULD HE?" I hear the anti-immigrants cry as they start talking about the horrible 'criminal behavior' he's planning. But then there is the story. He came to the states when he was 5. His folks brought him over - yes, 'illegally' - but here's the crazy thing, he's not a criminal. He's actually a home owner in southern California where, for the last 35 years of his life, he's lived and worked. He raised a family there. What kind of family? One where two of his sons (American because they were born here) are fighting in Iraq.

But fate was against this 40 year old man. He got picked up and it was discovered he didn't have the right papers. So his American wife and children watched him get deported. Two of his children hear about it while they are in a combat zone.

I have to wonder how that makes them feel.... Do they think:
a) Thank god SOMEONE is enforcing the very rule of law I'm risking my life for... or
b) How could my country, the country I'm risking my life for, deport my dad?

And then... 60 Minutes has done a nice piece on another aspect of our broken immigration system. Deporting widows. Yep, that's the rule of law for you. These women just didn't stay married long enough to clear the paperwork before their husbands died...

Watch the story and then tell me, does this make you proud to be an American?

Watch CBS Videos Online

Monday, December 1, 2008

Who knew? Matthew Alexander knew

A while ago I blogged "Who knew?" about how waterboarding is torture. In yesterdays Washington Post an Air Force interrogator wrote about how his team got Zarqawi without torture and how al-Qaeda actually used US torture as a recruiting tool...

I'm Still Tortured by What I Saw in Iraq

By Matthew Alexander
Sunday, November 30, 2008; B01

I should have felt triumphant when I returned from Iraq in August 2006. Instead, I was worried and exhausted. My team of interrogators had successfully hunted down one of the most notorious mass murderers of our generation, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq and the mastermind of the campaign of suicide bombings that had helped plunge Iraq into civil war. But instead of celebrating our success, my mind was consumed with the unfinished business of our mission: fixing the deeply flawed, ineffective and un-American way the U.S. military conducts interrogations in Iraq. I'm still alarmed about that today.

I'm not some ivory-tower type; I served for 14 years in the U.S. Air Force, began my career as a Special Operations pilot flying helicopters, saw combat in Bosnia and Kosovo, became an Air Force counterintelligence agent, then volunteered to go to Iraq to work as a senior interrogator. What I saw in Iraq still rattles me -- both because it betrays our traditions and because it just doesn't work.

Read the rest here....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

The war for your mind - election results

Now that the election is over we'll start seeing a lot of analysis. Most of us will see maps that look like this:
This is the map we're use to. Red States and Blue States. And by all appearances it looks as if the country is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats.

There is a problem with this map however; it only colors the states and fails to actually capture the population of the United States.

If we wanted to look at a map that was weighted for population, it would look like this (it's called a cartogram):

Cartograms redraw the states based on the actual population that lives in the state. As you can see, the Washington DC is actually larger than several western states, such as Wyoming. So in the war for your mind be aware of this.

So that's the first step in understanding how we become conditioned to being divided. Still, it's misleading. I know people voted for McCain in California and I know people voted for Obama in Texas. How do we reconcile this?
We could look at a map that would break out the votes by county:
We can see that there are red parts of blue states and blue parts of red states. This map looks awash in red. How on earth did McCain lose? Obviously the election had to have been stolen.

Well, again we've run into a rural versus urban problem. More people live in cities than they do in the country.

What does the map start to look like if we adjust it for population by county?

OK, so there are large swaths of blue in the northeast, the west coast and the great lakes regions. No surprise that we have major cities in those areas.

Also, if you look at the heartland, you begin to see where major cities are located. Was Sarah Palin right when she divided up the country into 'real' America and 'fake' America? I think that was a poor choice of words, but was she onto something between rural and urban voters?

Political operatives have noticed this for a long time and pay attention to such. But still... something doesn't fee quite right does it? Driving around my town I see both McCain/Palin and Obama/Biden signs in people yards. So we don't even really vote by county block. Really we need a map that helps us see the nuance at the local level. How about this?

There. Much better. Obviously the more red the more Republican voters and the more blue the more Democrats.

In this map we can certainly see strongholds of red and blue, but we also start to see alot more shades of purple. And of course, this map has not been adjusted for population.

That would be a mess. One big beautiful swirling blob of red and blue and purple. It is alot easier to control a people when they are divided. And dividing us up isn't as simple as it appears to be.

I am not suggesting for one second that there aren't real differences between the candidates, their idology or emphasis. There are.

What I'm suggesting is that we are alot more complicated than the traditional Red and Blue state maps make us out to be.

And we haven't even begun to examine individuals who like parts of both parties platforms. For example, what about a person who sees themselves as pro-life but but is anti-gun? Or for the second amendment but supports a woman's right to choose? I'd respectfully suggest that there is a lot more complexity in the mix than any pundant would like to admit.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I think this sais it all....

This map is a comparison of how the country voted as compared to 2004....

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

President Obama


All the pundits and all the spin. All the hype and all the ads. All the smears and all the lies. It's over.

There will be a new President in America. One who has pledged to serve ALL America, not just "real" America. A President who will be honest with us. To challenge us and to invite us to work with him in recreating America to be a great beacon of light once again.

I am so proud.

President Barack Obama.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Sunday, October 19, 2008

More... Jesus help us.

From the fine (not) folks over at Federal Review we get this little gem...

A new story broke over at the Federal Review entitled:
Oppose Obama and Lose Your Job? Joe the Plumber Gets Threatened By Toledo Officials.
See, it turns out, Joe the Plumber isn't a plumber (doesn't have a license) and because of the media scrutiny the Toledo Division of Building Inspection is trying to contact Joe and let him know he can't work without a license. Hardly a threat.

This is the graphic that accompanied the story at the Federal Review.

This thinking is so sick I don't even know where to begin. If the shoe were on the other foot I wonder how the R's would handle this?

Let's say, a homeless person collecting welfare confronts McCain and asks a question in front of the Media. That person's comments are woven into the presidential debate and therefor the press wants to track it down. Turns out this person isn't eligible for welfare after all and is scamming the system. Would the Federal Review post this headline?

Oppose McCain and Lose Your Benefits? Bob the Welfare Recipient Gets Threatened By Toledo Officials.

Somehow I don't think so...

a LONG three weeks to go....

Click to see the larger image

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Isn't 3 the magic number?

Isn't 3 a magic number? While it might be… I think the magic number we’re looking for is 270.

Check out these electoral polls: (Need 270 to win) As of 10/16/08 (leans left – has Obama at 352) (leans right – has Obama at 286) (overtly republican – has Obama at 369) (Has Obama at 264) and says:

Probability of Reaching 270
Obama - Biden > 99% (has Obama at 338) (has Obama at 358) (has Obama at 352.2)

And More Racism...

Pam, over at Pam's House Blend found more examples of the overt racism....

And I don't even know how to begin to talk about this:

This beauty comes to us from the Sacramento (CA) County Republican web site. Officials there took it down after getting blasted by their own party. Yet this passes for discourse on the right.

The Sacramento Bee intervied Craig MacGlashan who takes credit for the site ( and its content. He happens to be the husband of Sacramento County Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan.

With the Bee he defended his Web site. "I'm aware of the content," he said. "Some people find it offensive, others do not. I cannot comment on how people interpret things."

Really? Waterboard Obama - you can't be sure how people might interpret that?

You might want to contact them:

Betty Axup, 2nd Vice President
(916) 483-8856

William Chan, Membership Secretary
(916) 849-7796

Monday, October 13, 2008

This is what I'm talking about....

It's gone too far...

John McCain opened the Pandora's Box of hate and bigotry, of disenfranchisement and scapegoating, and there's no way for him to reel it in. Nor do I suspect that he truly realizes the power of it either. Not when he says things like:

"After I whip his you know what in this debate, we're going to be going out 24/7," McCain said of his upcoming debate with Obama, but seeming to consider recent criticism that his words have been too inflammatory, he quickly told supporters to be respectful.

Really? Telling supporters you're planning on whipping (no loaded imagery there) your opponent seems like a smart way to let them know that they must remain respectful? Frank Rich writes an excellent op-ed on how McCain's campaign has framed their battle against "The Terrorist Barack Hussein Obama":

(I)t’s not just the old Joe McCarthyesque guilt-by-association game, however spurious, that’s going on here. Don’t for an instant believe the many mindlessly “even-handed” journalists who keep saying that the McCain campaign’s use of Ayers is the moral or political equivalent of the Obama campaign’s hammering on Charles Keating.

What makes them different, and what has pumped up the Weimar-like rage at McCain-Palin rallies, is the violent escalation in rhetoric, especially (though not exclusively) by Palin. Obama “launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist.” He is “palling around with terrorists” (note the plural noun). Obama is “not a man who sees America the way you and I see America.” Wielding a wildly out-of-context Obama quote, Palin slurs him as an enemy of American troops.

Read the rest.....

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I'm getting worried.

This is what our political discourse has come to. While Obama may not support the policies you like, he is an American. I'm stunned by this level of hatred.

More to come.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


And they laughed...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008

Hard hitting immigration video

America's Voice has put out a hard hitting video on immigration.

Check it out.


"A small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities." - Gov. Sarah Palin at the RNC

Full disclosure - I've been a community organizer for 15 years, so I take this personally. It's one thing to go after your opponents policies or their record, but to demean their work? Their professions?

I'll let Bishop Roy Dixon of the San Diego Organizing Project of the PICO National Network expressed his disappointment here:

"As a life-long Republican, the comments I heard last night about community organizing crossed the line. It is one thing to question someone's experience, another to demean the work of millions of hard working Americans who take time to get involved in their communities. When people come together in my church hall to improve our community, they're building the Kingdom of God in San Diego. We see the fruits of community organizing in safer streets, new parks, and new affordable housing. It's the spirit of democracy for people to have a say and we need more of it."

Others are speaking out as well.

Sarah - I'm guessing you don't understand community organizing. Try asking Angela Liston at Anchorage Faith. She's a community organizer, and according to you, has a lot of time on her hands for chatting. All their doing is bringing together churches and communities together to create safe neighborhoods, tackle affordable health care, push for better education, and secure opportunities for Alaskan youth (aren't these things that something a Governor should be doing?).

Come on Sarah, you should be better than that.

Reverse Swift Boat?

A former POW is speaking out against McCain. I am opposed to 'swiftboating' and feel that what the Republican's did to Kerry in '04 was despicable.

As you watch this video remember that this is one person's opinion.

What it did do for me was remind me that John wasn't the only POW and simply being a POW isn't a qualifier for higher office.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Friday, August 8, 2008

Moral Guardians exposed as Hypocrites yet again


Honestly I'm disgusted. Yet again we find a Republican at the center of a sex scandal.
Why couldn't he just cheat on his wife? Go visit a prostitute or something? But no... Missouri state Representative Scott Muschany was indicted for sexual assault on a 14 year old girl. Muschany had co-sponsored tougher sex offender laws.

And this part just creeps me out: "The document also alleges that the mother "did admit that the incident did take place, including her witnessing same."

Really? Eww....

So I'm talking with a friend who tries to tell me this happens on both sides of the aisle. Yes. But only one side claims to be the moral guardians of the society, knowing what is best for us and damning those who fail to live up to those standards.

From Vito Fosella (R-NY) who loved family values so much he had two families; to Senator Vitter (R-LA) who was a frequent client with a DC Madam (he sponsored the Federal Marriage Amendment) with Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) who was arrested for soliciting gay sex in an airport bathroom; to Mark Foley (R-FL) who was soliciting underage Congressional pages.

If you really want to have your stomach turned... Check out this list of Republican Sex Scandals.
Here is another story on it - from the
Republican Sex Scandals Dwarf Those of Democrats

Now I know Democrats get involved in scandals as well... I'm not suggesting they don't. But the volume is larger on the right and the hypocrisy is ... well... nauseating.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Are African Americans Missing the Point on Immigration?

From Eric Ward at Imagine 2050

Eric has another well thought out take on the anti-immigrant groups.

I don’t know about you, but one of the ways that a movie can become one of my all time favorites is by having a great line. The Usual Suspects is one of those movies. Most people like the film because of its incredible acting and one of the best plot twists of all time. I’m not one of those people; I love the film because of one simple line. That point in the film where Kevin Spacey who plays the role of Verbal Kent, who is read more

I'll see you at the debates bitches!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ethnic Cleansing

Recently Radovan Karadzic was arrested for war crimes stemming from the conflict in Bosnia. This is a guy who came up with the term 'ethnic cleansing'. This is a guy who oversaw the genocide against Muslims in Bosnia. Granted he described it as 'ethnic shifting'.... still - the thnking behnd it was that certain people, depending on their ethnicity, were not welcomed. In Bosnia men were rounded up and murdered. Killed in cold blood.

And the world is repulsed.

So... we had Rwanda and Bosnia and we're thinking that ethnic cleansing is wrong.

And yet....

Welcome to America in the year 2008. Congress has failed to pass any meaningful immigration laws so enforcement has fallen to states and local levels. ICE - the Immigration Custom Reform agency, is now enacting workforce enforcement - raiding different places around the country.

The solution to Congress's failure to enact any meaningful reform has become a policy of deportation by attrition. So we have stepped up raids throughout the country. The latest was in Pottsville, IA at a raid at a Kosher plant.

So why am I talking about this while talking about Radovan Karadzic?

I'd respectfully suggest that our current immigration policy is a form of non-violent ethnic cleansing. We're rounding up brown people and making sure it's so painful to live here that they will voluntarily move away.

Let's make this clear - our official policy right now is to make life such hell for people here that they self deport. We will have an official policy to make certain people... people of an paticular ethnic background... so un-welcomed in our communities that they move.

This isn't the America I believe in.
Is it yours?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Another voice of reason...

Jill over at Imagine 2050 had a nice post today on Hometown Heros in Chicago. We forget how quickly immigrants can be integrated when we value what they do...

If they play baseball for our favorite team? LET THE HEROS IN! If they work 12+ hours a day picking fruit and vegetables? DEPORT THE CRIMINALS!?! (I admit don't get it...)

Let's not forget the millions of immigrants who are working hard every day to make this country better. I wonder how we'd categorize these immigrants?

Imagine 2050 is a great blog. You ought to check them out:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Remember when we use to hope for good things and not against bad things?

Neither do I....

Call me crazy for wanting to hope for something better....
When did HOPE become a bad word?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Speaking of immigration...

Stewart knocked it out of the park with this one....
Immigration bit begins at 6:10...

Guest Blogger - On neighbors and immigration

My brother Doug had an experience worth sharing....

I was an eyewitness this week to some of the worst aspects of humanity: fear, distrust, defensiveness. It was a single incident that happened behind my neighbor’s house. Running behind the houses on my street is a walking trail that weaves through some woods and along a creek and a small lake. Several children, including my 3 sons, were playing at the edge of those woods, checking out the creek, throwing rocks in the water – typical kid stuff. I was in the backyard when I heard my neighbor, let’s call her ‘Liz’, talking to someone, in a tone of voice that clearly suggested she was annoyed or angry:

“Hey you – can I help you?…………Hello? What are you doing?......Leave………excuse me...GO!”

As she was saying this I looked up to see who she was talking to and saw a landscape worker, dirty, sweaty, his weed-whacker resting over his shoulder, standing just on the other side of her fence. He was standing there looking at the children, just watching what they were doing. I could see he was Hispanic and he turned his head to acknowledge her but then just smiled and turned his head away, not moving on like she wanted. I think this clearly upset her all the more as she got louder with each new question or command she issued, thinking he was purposefully ignoring or disregarding her.

With a glance at the scene outside her fence, she had immediately turned to fear, distrust and defensiveness. Her words, tone and body language were conveying “You aren’t welcome here, I don’t trust you, what the heck do you think you are doing just standing there looking at the children?, and you better get out now.” Without a single word of dialog, the man was assumed to be, at best, an uninvited, unwanted person in the community and at worst, a dangerous threat. Because he was an immigrant, a laborer, he was most likely a criminal with ill intent. If he had been a white man dressed like an executive in a pressed business suit, I am certain he wouldn’t have received the same response – at the very least not in the same dismissive tone.

I can’t tell you how glad I am that I am somewhat conversational in Spanish. I could clearly see that he didn’t understand her so I walked over to help out. José Antonio Rio is part of the landscape crew that cuts the grass and does all the landscape work on the common areas in the neighborhood. He was easily 50-60 years old, had a warm, gentle smile and had been working a full day already, with dirt and bits of grass plastered to the front of his jeans. He’s from El Salvador and told me about how bad it had been there during the war, when so many women and children were slaughtered. He is a grandfather and was quick to point out that the grass around the rocks in the drain water ditch was getting too high and was dangerous for the little children who would trip if they couldn’t see where to step. He had been busting his tail keeping our community looking nice and was just taking a break before finishing his work (cutting the grass around those rocks) and meeting up with the rest of the crew. What a thank you.

To end the story, the three of us ended up having great conversation. When Liz found out he had a reason for being there and stopped assuming he was a threat to her property, herself or her child, you could tell she felt horrible at the way she had been talking to him. She even went up to the house and got José a cold cup of water and offered to do the same every time he came through.

Now, to her defense, Liz is a widowed single mom, new to the neighborhood, with a 9 year old son. I am sure her life experiences and circumstances have encouraged or taught her to be protective. I’m not trying to condemn her at all. I’ve seen prejudice in different forms in my own heart at times, as much as I hate to admit it. It just showed me a glimpse of how hateful or distrustful we can be toward others – particularly whole groups of people who are ‘different’ than us, whether in culture or class.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Who knew?

No doubt it's torture, says U.S. journalist after trying waterboarding

"Then two or three levels of towel were placed on the outside of my face so I was completely oblivious to the outside world, couldn't hear or see anything and was wondering how I was going to carry on breathing … and then water began coming through the towel into my nostril and that was the situation."

A wet hand was also held over his face and breathing in caused the wet towel to cover his nose.

"It had the effect very rapidly of inducing a panic and gag reflex," Hitchens said. "It's almost impossible to avoid doing that, even though … you have some idea of what's coming and what's going on, your system overrides your brain in a sense and all you want to do is make sure you're not breathing water."

My favorite part from the graphic "Origins traced to the Spanish Inquisition". And we said we didn't know it was torture....

Wait! Let me kiss my civil liberties goodbye!

Once upon a time in a great land there were a people who valued freedom. But then something bad happened and the people grew fearful. Soon, they were giving up those freedoms in exchange for promised security.

"Have we got a deal for you!" says Lamperd Less Lethal... "Instead of giving you a ticket to get on the plane, we're going to fit you with an electronic bracelet that we can trigger at any moment if you get unruly... er, we mean appear to be taking over the plane."

See - we all get to wear shock collars and if we get out of line? ---------------------------->

Don't believe me? See for yourself.

And hey - there is the added bonus of being able to track your movements anywhere in the airport.

I guess my question is... why stop at the airports? I'm sure we have unruly people running around on trains... metros... buses... hell, on the sidewalks!

We could fit infants at birth. They'd carry all the bio-genetic information needed. The government (who else would you trust to watch out for you?) could monitor us and if someone seems to pose a threat, just tase them. The police will be along to pick up the twitching body from the sidewalk and take them to a ... what shall we call it? Behavior modification facility? Re-education camp? Somewhere where they'll be made into a safe citizen.
It's for our protection don't you see? And if you're not going to take over the plane, why would you oppose wearing a shock collar? Besides, if you don't wear a shock collar - you're probably for the terrorists. And you probably hate the troops.

For light reading check out Huxley's Brave New World, or Orwell's 1984, or Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A one way ticket please

Some 3000 years ago the Egyptians worshiped Apophis, an evil god of destruction, "a demon that was determined to plunge the world into eternal darkness."

(Picture not enough? Click it for a fun end of the world video.)

And some genius in our time decided to name an asteroid after him (her?). Like out of a Hollywood picture our heroes discover there is a giant space rock flying toward Earth that has "an outside chance of hitting the Earth in 2036, and would release more than
100,000 times the energy released in the nuclear blast over Hiroshima."

A couple of things to note....

1) None of us really have any concept of 100,000 times the energy released at Hiroshima. All we know is it was bad and this will be worse. But how much worse? Destroy all of Japan or all of Earth? Relax... The Earth will survive. The species on it however....

2) In Hollywood they find out they've only got a week to train the crew to fly into space and destroy the asteroid. In reality we've got awhile....

So now I'm going to relax... Wait? What's that you say Mr. Scientists?

"It may be a decision in 2013 whether or not to go ahead with a full-blown mitigation mission, but we need to start planning it before 2013," said Prof Fitzsimmons. In 2029, astronomers will know for sure if Apophis will pose a threat in 2036. If the worst-case scenarios turn out to be true and the Earth is not prepared, it will be too late. "If we wait until 2029, it would seem unlikely that you'd be able to do anything about 2036," said Mr Yates.

Oh great... and here I was worried about the subprime mortgage implosion and its effects on the economy.

I'm not actually sitting around waiting for the end of the world, but it does beg the question, what should we do as a species?

I think we need to get off this rock and establish some other places to live. That means a huge investment in exploration and colonization. Yes, I know it seems crazy, but why put all our eggs (and sperm and babies and ... and... ) in one planet? We know there will be asteroid strikes in the future. They've happened in the past and there is no reason to expect that we'll dodge all the bullets. Perhaps we'll get the technology up in time to divert or capture and mine potential threatening asteroids.
(EARTH FIRST! We'll mine the other planets later!)
By the way - do a search on for Apophis.. there are a dozen videos out there.

I actually got my information from a real news source.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy Birthday USA

Happy Birthday America - Muppets Style


From the Mouths of Babes...

We're in the car when my daughter begins to whine about something...

Me: Honey - I can't understand a word you are saying....

My son: It's OK Dad... I speak whine. I'll translate....

And making it all worth it....

We took the kids to see the new Pixar flick Wall-E. Very nice, very cute. This was her first movie in a theater and only his second. We went in the afternoon to get the matinee price. It is a great movie and we all loved it. Still.... $27 for tickets and another $16.50 for popcorn and a drink (large that we all split) I was feeling somewhat robbed...

As we walked out my wife was carrying my daughter who pulled in close, said "I'll always remember this", and gave my wife a big hug...

The Magic of Summer

Last night we watched as our kids ran through the field catching fireflies.... It is a magical time...

Welcome home - now turn over the laptop

An article today in the Baltimore Sun made me imagine our 'heightened alert' in the war on terror is becoming a slow slide into a police state. Don't get me wrong, we ought to protect our country from would be terrorists or criminals - but how far do we go?

Customs Agents can seize a laptop for 'random inspection'. They keep it for a couple of weeks, comb through it and return it. Sounds reasonable if you don't need it for work or don't want people reading your personal emails. Except for me, it's not reasonable.

The refrain - "if you don't have anything to hide you shouldn't worry" - worries me. Somehow in the name of freedom we've been asked to give up our freedoms....

If only we had some sort of legal protection.... Something like, oh I don't know... a Constitutional Amendment?

Amendment 4 - Search and Seizure. Ratified 12/15/1791.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A threat?

I never thought homosexual marriage was a threat.... Now I understand. Thanks GOP.

Helmet tip to Jesus' General

(War for your Mind full disclosure: Just because someone is a hypocrite does not negate their argument. So we must take their arguments as presented. Still, I find the GOP's Marriage Protection Amendment nothing more than bigotry. And the hypocrisy on top of it just makes me sick.)

Our Secret Little War...

Who doesn't love a secret little war now and then?

Apparently Our Government.

And when I say 'our government' I'm mostly talking about the current administration, though it seems the Democratic leadership isn't doing a lot to stop things.

In a nutshell, we have soldiers and spies running around inside Iran, grabbing people, killing people. We're assured they're all bad guys of course... but in making friends with the enemies of Iran, apparently we've started funding Sunni fundamentalists...
The Administration may have been willing to rely on dissident organizations in Iran even when there was reason to believe that the groups had operated against American interests in the past. The use of Baluchi elements, for example, is problematic, Robert Baer, a former C.I.A. clandestine officer who worked for nearly two decades in South Asia and the Middle East, told me. “The Baluchis are Sunni fundamentalists who hate the regime in Tehran, but you can also describe them as Al Qaeda,” Baer told me. “These are guys who cut off the heads of nonbelievers—in this case, it’s Shiite Iranians. The irony is that we’re once again working with Sunni fundamentalists, just as we did in Afghanistan in the nineteen-eighties.” Ramzi Yousef, who was convicted for his role in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is considered one of the leading planners of the September 11th attacks, are Baluchi Sunni fundamentalists.
Well, all I know is we need to trust our government. They obviously know better than we do...

Heck, what could go wrong?

Monday, June 30, 2008

War for your Mind (update)

No sooner did I post The War for your Mind when I came across this article in the Washington post....

Senator Obama - American or African? Christian or Muslim?

Looks to me like there is a War for your Mind going on....

Your only hope.... Think.

The War for your Mind

Someone somewhere is trying to control your mind.

They sit in cubicles or run agencies. They work for the government, the private sector, the church.

Buy this and people will love you. You'll only be cool if you drive this car. Support the troops... (and the way to do that of course is not to question us or our policies). You're only Christian if you believe exactly what I do... and that will include who you vote for.

See, if they can get you to think the right way, you'll buy their stuff. It doesn't matter if the stuff is deodorant or torture.

How about dividing the country? Pitting one group against another. The latest logic bomb I've seen launched pits blacks against whites. It's an incredibly subtle and seductive bomb.

I was listening to CSPAN and Rep. King (IA) was on. A caller congratulated Iowans about their restraint from not looting during the flooding... This bomb was originated on the right - Rush was launching the same thing....

It's so beautiful because it takes two natural disasters in our recent history, the flooding in the Midwest vs. Katrina, and holds them up for comparison. We remember Katrina and the images burned into our mind... Now we contrast that to the flooding in Iowa. Here's the subtle message.

Black people loot (click on the pictures to read the comments if you can't see them clearly)

White people 'find'.

This bomb is very effective. See, in New Orleans where there are a lot of black people - disasters result in looting. In Iowa where the white people live - people work
together to overcome hardship.

So how do we diffuse this bomb?

It's not too hard. We simply have to think.

Ok, we have to think critically.

Follow this.... flood and hurricanes are very different disasters so if we think critically about this, the comparison starts to fall apart.

Floods - the water rises along a river. People can flee effectively. Even the poorest person can walk a mile away from a river to avoid the rising waters. It's harder to move a house out of the way.

Hurricanes aren't so easy to dodge.

When a hurricane comes to town, it's swath is hundreds of miles long. Oh yeah, and it moves.

So even if I move a mile away from the river,
that thing is going to catch me.

In New Orleans thousands of people were too poor to evacuate. It wasn't a matter of not wanting to leave - they were not able to get away.

We forget over 1700 American's died in that disaster.

They couldn't get out of the way. Once
trapped, there was such a SNAFU that people couldn't get clean water to drink. People couldn't get food. And chaos set in after two, three, four, five days passed while no relief came.

People fleeing across the Danziger Bridge were shot by police. Literally. People fleeing New Orleans trying to cross a bridge were shot and some killed by police.

And now someone has the balls to suggest Katrina and Iowa flooding are the same thing?

There is a war for your mind.


Friday, June 27, 2008


I just got introduced to the Flobots.

They completely rock.

Check out their song Anne Braden or Stand-up

"What you win in the immediate battles is ... is little compared to the effort you put into it, but if you see that as a part of this total movement to build a new world you know what cathedral you're building when you put the stone in.... You do have a can join the other America. There is another America." - Anne Braden

What is going on here? Is it really a new world? A time when we take it back?
A time for .... *gasp*.... hope?

Check them out.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

When reality intrudes

Three days ago I was lying on a beach in North Carolina, breathing deeply and finally finding relaxation. Now I'm back in my cubicle trying to stay motivated to work.

I remember being a kid at my grandmother's house, getting ready to go to the beach.

Now I watch my kids and their cousins at their grandmother's house, getting ready to go to the beach.

I hope their memories will be good like mine.