Sunday, September 30, 2007

Impeach the bastards already!

ok, so technically they're not bastards...


[via]


Dear President Pelosi:

We do not want to Change The Debate, we want you to quit debating. We do not want to Redeploy The Troops, we want to bring them home. We do not want to Limit The Mission, we want to kill it dead. We already know who whom to hold accountable for the war. We already know who the obstructionists are.

Stop. Pointing. Fingers.

Like the man said:

Democrats Were Charged To End A War, Not Start One
by Mike Gravel


Sincerely,

[hipparchia]

Impeaching Cheney

So far, it's been hard slogging, this this trying to get rid of the vultures before they turn us into


Kucinich introduced a resolution calling for Cheney's impeachment this spring. Since then the bill has gained more than a dozen co-sponsors, but it seems to be dying a slow death in the House Judiciary Committee. It's chairman, John Conyers, has stood with Pelosi in refusing to debate the impeachment resolution or bring it to the House floor for a vote.


Apparently Kucinich plans to have another go at impeaching Cheney using privileged measures. Privileged measures are explained here, and looky here, it's something the Republicans have already laid the groundwork for, carefully researching the idea back when they impeached President Clinton.

That would be cool, if we managed to impeach a Republican using the Republicans' own background work.

Freedom has a watch?

Does Freedom really know what time it is? Does Freedom really care?



Anyhoooo...

Freedom’s Watch, a deep-pocketed conservative group led by two former senior White House officials, made an audacious debut in late August when it began a $15 million advertising campaign designed to maintain Congressional support for President Bush’s troop increase in Iraq.

Founded this summer by a dozen wealthy conservatives, the nonprofit group is set apart from most advocacy groups by the immense wealth of its core group of benefactors, its intention to far outspend its rivals and its ambition to pursue a wide-ranging agenda. Its next target: Iran policy.

Next month, Freedom’s Watch will sponsor a private forum of 20 experts on radical Islam that is expected to make the case that Iran poses a direct threat to the security of the United States, according to several benefactors of the group.

Although the group declined to identify the experts, several were invited from the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington research group with close ties to the White House.

Cheney doesn't give a rat's ass, and neither does the President.

From The New Yorker [via]
Shifting Targets
The Administration’s plan for Iran.
by Seymour M. Hersh

At a White House meeting with Cheney this summer, according to a former senior intelligence official, it was agreed that, if limited strikes on Iran were carried out, the Administration could fend off criticism by arguing that they were a defensive action to save soldiers in Iraq. If Democrats objected, the Administration could say, “Bill Clinton did the same thing; he conducted limited strikes in Afghanistan, the Sudan, and in Baghdad to protect American lives.” The former intelligence official added, “There is a desperate effort by Cheney et al. to bring military action to Iran as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the politicians are saying, ‘You can’t do it, because every Republican is going to be defeated, and we’re only one fact from going over the cliff in Iraq.’ But Cheney doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the Republican worries, and neither does the President.”

-------------------

[T]the President has yet to issue the “execute order” that would be required for a military operation inside Iran, and such an order may never be issued. But there has been a significant increase in the tempo of attack planning. In mid-August, senior officials told reporters that the Administration intended to declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization. And two former senior officials of the C.I.A. told me that, by late summer, the agency had increased the size and the authority of the Iranian Operations Group. (A spokesman for the agency said, “The C.I.A. does not, as a rule, publicly discuss the relative size of its operational components.”)

“They’re moving everybody to the Iran desk,” one recently retired C.I.A. official said. “They’re dragging in a lot of analysts and ramping up everything. It’s just like the fall of 2002”—the months before the invasion of Iraq, when the Iraqi Operations Group became the most important in the agency. He added, “The guys now running the Iranian program have limited direct experience with Iran. In the event of an attack, how will the Iranians react? They will react, and the Administration has not thought it all the way through.”

That theme was echoed by Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national-security adviser, who said that he had heard discussions of the White House’s more limited bombing plans for Iran. Brzezinski said that Iran would likely react to an American attack “by intensifying the conflict in Iraq and also in Afghanistan, their neighbors, and that could draw in Pakistan. We will be stuck in a regional war for twenty years.”

We'll be lucky if it stays regional. And just in case you missed it, Cheney doesn't give a rat's ass, and neither does the President.

I used to think AARP were the Good Guys

Now I'm not so sure. From Dennis Kucinich's website, a litle more on AARP's role in keeping the for-profit insurance industry alive and kicking. He dings the other Democrats on their role in it too [again].
According to Open Secrets, AARP is one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington. They spent over $36 million alone in 2005 lobbying Congress. In 2003 AARP was instrumental in the passage of the Medicare Part D legislation which created a windfall for the pharmaceutical companies, letting Big Pharma name the price Medicare would pay for drugs. Medicare's fiscal solvency was seriously damaged. Recently, AARP signed a sales and marketing agreement with Aetna and United Health which would bring AARP $4.4 billion over seven years. AARP also sells reverse mortgages to senior citizens, which encourages the elderly to take the equity out of their homes.

12 hours left!

From my e-mail inbox:


Dear [hipparchia],

This is it! There are twelve hours left, and we need your contribution to reach our final goal this weekend of 300,000 dollars.

Your help has already brought us to 270,000 dollars and now is the time we need you to propel us through that last 30,000 dollars.

If 300 people contribute 100 dollars, then we can meet our goal.

The FEC (Federal Election Commission) has set its official deadline for third quarter filings at midnight tonight, so we have twelve hours to record our contributions.

Please, give our campaign one last push with your $100 contribution, or any amount you can provide.

Thanks for all of your support,
Dennis Kucinich


If you want to help to help with that last $30,000 uou can donate using the link on the front page of his website or call toll free: 1-877-413-3664.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

This is your candidate

This is your candidate on health care, just in caase you wanted to see if anything has changed since you last looked.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Republicans = laughingstock



Unfortunately the Democrats aren't far behind in the laughingstock circus, what with all the sense of the Senate frou-frous our tax dollars are being wasted on, but if Tim Conway ever told a story about donkeys, it hasn't shown up on YouTube yet.

A cat, a carpet, a comedian


Impeach the Cheerleader, Save the World!



That's Dan, starting his kids off on the right foot in life, at the antiwar march at Kent State yesterday. Fortunately Neil Young won't have to write a song about any of the protesters this time, but if you're in need of some inspiration here are Ohio, The Restless Consumer, and Living With War.





Thursday, September 27, 2007

That's using your noggin!


macaca mulatta brain from brainmaps.org

birds can see magnetic fields [via]

giraffe fight club

[they look like landlubber plesiosaurs if you ask me]

breakthrough in alzheimers research?

Roger Cohen has a blog

That makes two of my favorite columnists, Paul Krugman and now Roger Cohen.

Anyways, his post isn't anything to write home about, but I do appreciate Cohen's putting it up, because the comments illuminate a number of features of the health care systems of Canada, France, Germany, Austria, Sweden, and the US. Verdict: US bad, everybody else good.

The evidence is all anecdotal, so some of y'all will pooh pooh it, but at some point the anecdotes all start piling up and pretty soon you do end up with data.

Can't tell the players without a scorecard, or the commenters without a cheatsheet:

  • Richard Weissfeld -- US, the market will set healthcare free [I didn't catalog his remarks]
  • Bob Nelson -- France [1, 4, 16] #1 Amen, bro!
  • Len Charlap -- US? [3, 12, 23, 32, 36] #32, what would happen to medicare-for-all if another neocon regime came along and tried to dismantle it? and #12, 23, tort reform is a strawman
  • Laird Smith -- Austria, France, US [7]
  • Rahul Sinha -- #10, more on tort rform
  • Carl Weinberger -- US, Germany, Sweden [11, 42] #42 IVF
  • Sebastien Dumais -- Canada [13, 48]
  • Andy Ludwig -- Germany [21, 22, 24, 26, 28, 31, 38, 45, 52] #45 response to #42 on IVF

People don't talk about this, because it's embarrassing

Some of what's been happening with regard to the improvement in al-Anbar has been behind the scenes big Saudi money and Jordanian interventions of various sorts.... If they can do that now, they can do that after the US troops are out, and in fact, US troops had almost nothing to do with the changed situation in al-Anbar.
Juan Cole, [whose walls look like mine] in a Sept 18 interview with Josh Marshall. I assume Dr Cole is referring to the recent improvements in Anbar province that Petraeus was touting.


Hmmm, speaking of Jordan and Iran....

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Free The Jena 6!

I had a couple of posts partly-composed on this, but I can't add anything of value to what's already been said, and said better, by others elsewhere. Instead in the spirit of blog carnivals I give you this small collection of links.

You might think that you know what it's like being the wrong color, especially here in the South, but chances are, you don't really. Even after reading Lower Manhattanite's very compelling first-person account "Do you understand where you are?" you still won't really know, but you should read it anyway, because it's as close as you'll get to actually being there.

Friends of Justice has been following this more than most of the rest of us have, and has several good posts, including Why the "liberal" media doesn't get Jena.

I've left a few intemperate remarks around the blogosphere, but the comment I left at Facing South's Why the progressive blogosphere silence about the Jena 6? is probably the only halfway coherent one. Cool, now it looks like the National Lawyers Guild agrees with me [and goes one better].


Off topic, but since I found the Friends of Justice blog there, you should go vote in the new poll at Grits for Breakfast [only 3 more days to vote] According to the GAO, 14.6 million Americans smoked marijuana last month. Should all these people be arrested?

Are You Outraged Yet?

from the e-mail inbox [excerpts]:

AARP will profit over
4.4 Billion Dollars while
America's Seniors Suffer!

Dear [hipparchia],

On September 21st, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) sponsored a Presidential forum in Iowa focused on health care reform.

------------

My plan would eliminate the obscene profit of 4.4 billion dollars AARP alone stands to gain over the next 7 years at the expense of the senior citizens they claim to represent.

AARP's strategic partnership with healthcare giants United Health Care and Aetna are embraced by Senators Clinton, Obama, and former Senator Edwards who are pushing plans to keep the for-profit private insurers in business and in control of your life!

This is an outrage and you should be outraged!

-------------

The health care plans of the invited candidates preserve and promote the interests of for-profit insurance and pharmaceutical companies at the expense of tens of millions of everyday Americans while the corporate media keeps America drugged with misinformation so you can't make an informed decision.

I have the prescription for a
better healthcare system for America.

Under my plan, HR 676, every American would be covered! No premiums, no deductibles, and no co-payments. No one would be denied coverage and no one will be denied services and you choose your own physicians. It's the healthcare plan America deserves and it's the only plan that reduces expenses and puts your money back in your pocket. Just think for a moment what you could you do with the money that you are now paying in deductibles or other health expenses ... save for retirement … save for education … save for a vacation. The choice really is yours! It's a healthy windfall for the people ... not the corporations.

-----------

Join me in bringing a healthy future for all of us. Together we can let the special interests and the other presidential candidates know that we will not be silenced and will not accept business as usual.

Make a contribution today! Help me be your voice and reach our fundraising goal by September 30th.

It's your America,
Dennis Kucinich

SODaPOP

Seasons of Discontent: A Presidential Occupation Project

Beginning in October and culminating in an intensive push during the final two weeks before the Iowa caucuses, Voices for Creative Nonviolence wants volunteers to “occupy” the Iowa campaign headquarters of presidential candidates who do not pledge to concrete plans for complete withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq.

SODaPOP Demands:

While the demands of the campaign are still being finalized, the initial concept is to occupy the campaign headquarters and offices of Presidential candidates who do not commit to:

  • Complete withdrawal of the U.S. military forces from Iraq and Afghanistan within 100 days of assuming the office of President of the United States.
  • Complete halt to any and all military actions—including ground, air and naval—against Iraq and Iran.
  • Full funding for the reconstruction of Iraq to repair the damage caused over these past 17 years of economic and military warfare that the U.S. and its allies waged against Iraq.
  • Full funding for the Common Good in the U.S.—to rebuild our education and health care systems; to create jobs training programs for jobs that pay a living wage; to provide universal health care for all; to rebuild our country’s inner cities and rural communities; and to initiate a campaign on the scale of a new Tennessee Valley Authority and Rural Electrification Project of the Great Depression era to create affordable, safe and sustainable alternative forms of energy and energy consumption; and for other vital social programs.
  • Full funding for the highest quality health care, education and jobs training benefits for veterans of our country’s Armed Services.

For those Presidential candidates who currently hold a seat in the House or Senate, we set forth the following additional demands:

  • Vote against any additional funding for the Iraq war other than those funds that are essential to fund the complete and immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
  • Publicly commit to oppose the use of U.S. military forces against Iran, Pakistan or any other opening front in the “war on terror.”

Meanwhile, down on the farm...

I was looking for information on the Iowa caucuses and spent a few minutes browsing the websites of Iowa's Democratic and Republican parties. At the top of each party's "Latest News" list were these two items, respectively:


It pains me to say this, but I actually used to like Republicans, way back when they were adults. Not that I ever want to be one, mind you.

I kid you not

More visiting of Republican pages:

If you google escambia county democrats, like I did, looking for their website, the very first link takes you to the Escambia County Republican Executive Committee.


In other news:

One or more of the cats uses toilet paper. Somebody keeps unrolling all the toilet paper and piling it into and around the litter box. Is mine the only household in the entire world where the toilet paper has to be locked away in a drawer?

SA 3017

The Kyl-Lieberman amendment to HR 1585, [hidden] Purpose: To [surreptitiously] Declare War on Iran excited some debate today in the Senate. Senators Jim Webb D-VA and Dick Durbin D-IL speak out eloquently against it. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid must have received his new spine in the mail today, but he's certainly being cautious about trying it out:
Due to the still outstanding concerns raised over the amendment, Reid announced this evening on the Senate floor that Lieberman-Kyl bill “will not have a vote in the near future.” Reid added that negotiations are ongoing and “maybe the night will be bring more clearness to the issue. But right now I think it’s fair to say there will be no votes tonight.”
An astute commenter on Durbin's speech [and Reid's reaction] has this to say:

Well, it looks like Reid sort of stood up for what is right. Now, bombard him with emails telling him to not even allow bills like this to come up for a vote. All he is doing is allowing the Republicans to frame the issue and we really don’t need any more of that.

Besides, what happened to their promise to pass a bill forbidding Bush from attacking Iran?

Here’s how to contact Harry Reid


PS. The revised version of SA 3017 isn't any better.

Monday, September 24, 2007

HR 1585

H.R.1585
Title: To authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2008 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes.

Everything you [n]ever want to know about this bill can be found here.

Amendment SA 3017, Purpose: To express the sense of the Senate regarding Iran, more a senseless declaration of justification for going to war with Iran than anything having to do with horse sense, may well be up for a vote tomorrow. The schedule posted at the right here is from the Senate Republican Policy Committee website, but if your blood pressure won't stand the strain of visiting Republican pages, you can always find the official Senate calendar here instead.

It may not do much good, but it looks like you have at least until 11 am tomorrow morning to call or e-mail your Senator, or all of them, and tell them to vote against this amendment.

Also mentioned in that schedule: SA 2997, the sense of the Senate on Federalism in Iraq, and SA 2064, To strike section 1023, relating to the granting of civil rights to terror suspects. I haven't really rad either of these two, just skimmed them, but Lindsey Graham sponsored that last one, so it's probably evil.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

John Conyers for President

No, John Conyers is not running for President, but I wish he would. My dream ticket [of the current crop of Democrats] would be Edwards/Gore or Gore/Edwards, but if Al Gore absolutely cannot be persuaded, I'd happily vote for Edwards/Conyers.

Meanwhile, John Conyers has already done the heavy lifting on health care reform. In the 109th Congress, he introduced HR 676, The United States National Health Insurance Act, aka Medicare For All.

Some highlights [from the fact sheet]:
  • Who is eligible? Every person living or visiting in the United States and the U.S. Territories
  • What would be covered? This program will cover all medically necessary services, including primary care, inpatient care, outpatient care, emergency care, prescription drugs, durable medical equipment, hearing services, long term care, mental health services, dentistry, eye care, chiropractic, and substance abuse treatment. Patients have their choice of physicians, providers, hospitals, clinics, and practices. No co-pays or deductibles are permissible under this act.
  • How much would it cost me? Currently, the average family of four covered under an employee health plan spends a total of $4,225 on health care annually – $2,713 on premiums and another $1,522 on medical services, drugs and supplies. Under H.R. 676, a family of four making the median family income of $56,200 per year would pay about $2,700 for all health care costs, including the current Medicare tax.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Performance art, in 5 parts

There's something entrancing about watching an artist at work, one who is truly good at what they do. As much as I like art, I often enjoy watching the process even more than I do looking at the finished piece, and I surf YouTube for these videos with the same greedy zeal that others surf the web for porn.



I can't help myself.



Am I the only one who's thinking of electron clouds?



And wave propagation?



Probably.



JT is awfully free with the naphtha and possibly he likes the smell of turpentine a bit too much. My inner safety officer cringes here and there throughout the videos, especially at the lack of hearing and respiratory protection, but hey, I'm the one who earlier copped to liking the smell of creosote, deep drafts of it [you didn't hear me say that], so who am I to criticize? Do as I say, not as I do.

If you want to play too, Nick Carter can get you started.

Still Life with Banana Peel

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Lindsey Graham, R-SC, knows more about war than you do, so just STFU.

He knows more about being a troop than you do, it says so right here in his biography:

Graham logged six-and-a-half years of service on active duty as an Air Force lawyer.

From 1984-1988, he was assigned overseas and served at Rhein Mein Air Force Base in Germany.
Um, dude... Rhein Main Air Force Base... Frankfurt... I'm thinking that's a far cry from Baghdad myself, but what do I know? I've only ever been to Montreal and Juarez and the only time I ever spend at military bases is in museums.
During the first Gulf War, Graham was called to active duty and served state-side at McEntire Air National Guard Base as Staff Judge Advocate where he prepared members for deployment to the Gulf region. His duties included briefing pilots on the law of armed conflict, preparing legal documents for deploying troops, and providing legal services for family members of the South Carolina Air National Guard.

State-side, if any of you are less familiar with this stuff than I am, means here, inside the borders of the United States. And while parts of South Carolina can possibly be compared to Fallujah, McEntire Air National Guard Station, near Columbia, South Carolina, probably doesn't even come close. Sure, it's a real zoo there, but the food is probably better than MREs.

Now that we've established his bona fides, what did Graham have to say to us, We The [clueless] People, today?

First off, Graham, as a Member of Congress and a former troop himself, knows that the last thing our troops need in the way of help is 535 Members of Congress micro-managing their rotations and deployments. Okay, so that was a bit of a mashup. Here's what he really said:
Senator Graham Press Release
Contact: Wes Hickman (202) 224-5972 or Kevin Bishop (864) 250-1417
Date: 09/19/2007

Graham Opposes Webb Amendment


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today voted against the Webb Amendment to the Senate Defense Authorization bill.

The amendment was a power-grab which sought to take the responsibility of setting troop rotation schedules away from the military and President and give it to the Congress. War opponents have touted the amendment as one means of ending the troop surge in Iraq.

The vote failed by a vote of 56-44. Sixty votes were required to move forward

“The Webb amendment intended to take care of the troops. I don’t question anyone’s intent, but if you really want to take care of the troops let them win.

“The Webb amendment was one of the more ill-advised approaches to fighting the War on Terror. It was a historic constitutional infringement on the power of the Commander in Chief allowing Congress to micromanage troop rotations and deployments. The amendment would have hurt the brave young men and women fighting the War on Terror and set a terrible precedent for fighting future conflicts.

“The last thing in the world we should do to our troops -- particularly in the name of helping them -- is to put 535 Members of Congress in charge of troop rotations as we fight the War on Terror. With an approval rating below 20 percent, Congress has not risen to the level of being visionary leaders.

“The Webb amendment was a back door attempt to stop the war in Iraq by restricting the available manpower. I’m very pleased the Senate rejected this ill-advised amendment.”
Power grab? I wish the Democrats would grab the reins of power that we handed to them back in November of last year. As in almost one year ago. Graham's right about this much: Congress needs to quit micromanaging the war. What Congress needs to do is quit pussy-footing around and de-fund the war. Right now.

On the law of armed conflict, a smoking gun:
In 2005 and 2006, Graham played a leading role in the passage of the Detainee Treatment Act and the Military Commissions Act (MCA) respectively. The laws set forth the procedures for determining enemy combatant status, a very limited federal court review of military detention, and the procedures for the trial of the most dangerous terrorists by military tribunal. Graham authored a provision which denies terrorists the right to file habeas corpus rights.
He goes on to whine about how all those enemy combatants at Guantanamo will file frivolous lawsuits if we don't take away their habeas corpus rights. They're gonna want medical care and fast internet, fer cryin out loud!
Senator Graham Press Release
Contact: Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)
Date: 09/19/2007

Senate Turns Back Specter-Leahy Amendment Giving Terror Suspects Expanded Access to Federal Courts


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today took to the floor to speak against an amendment offered by Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Pat Leahy (D-VT) giving terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba expanded access to file lawsuits in federal courts.

Less than an hour later, the U.S. Senate defeated the Specter-Leahy amendment on a 43-56 procedural vote. Sixty votes were required to move forward.

In 2005 and 2006, Graham played a leading role in the passage of the Detainee Treatment Act and the Military Commissions Act (MCA) respectively. The laws set forth the procedures for determining enemy combatant status, a very limited federal court review of military detention, and the procedures for the trial of the most dangerous terrorists by military tribunal. Graham authored a provision which denies terrorists the right to file habeas corpus rights. Enemy combatants have used habeas petitions to demand faster mail delivery, high speed internet access, and even to allege medical malpractice and demand millions in punitive and compensatory damages from our troops. These laws ensure that federal courts do not take over the military decision of determining who is and is not an enemy combatant.

“Never in the history of warfare have enemy prisoners been able to bring lawsuits about their detention,” said Graham. “Thousands of Germans and Japanese soldiers were captured and held by the military during World War II. Not one case was allowed in federal court where they were allowed to sue for their release. Our rules for the War on Terror should be no different.”

Under the Specter-Leahy amendment, enemy combatant terror suspects would have expanded rights to file habeas corpus petitions in federal court challenging their detention. It would also fundamentally weaken the rules governing military tribunals.

“The decision of determining who is an enemy combatant belongs with the military, not federal judges,” said Graham. “Judges are not trained to determine who presents a threat to our nation. That is why Congress has only provided for a limited procedural review of combatant status determination.

“Before the MCA was signed into law, enemy combatants were filing frivolous suits requesting better mail delivery, more exercise, judge-supervised interrogation, Internet access, the right to view DVDs and alleging medical malpractice," said Graham. "We also made it clear in the MCA terror suspects could not sue American troops for doing their job. The MCA protects our troops and national security while living up to our international commitments and obligations.

“It's time we put terror suspects on trial before military tribunals for their crimes against the United States," said Graham. "If we begin tinkering with provisions of the MCA, it will slow efforts to bring terrorists to justice. Some of the masterminds of the 9/11 attack on America are being held at Guantanamo Bay. I'm ready to see them stand trial and suffer the consequences of their actions against the United States. It's time for justice to be served, not delayed.

“I cannot think of a better way to undercut the War on Terror than to adopt the theory that Al Qaeda members are common criminals, not global warriors,” concluded Graham.
Okay, so somebody's got to be the adult around here:
Comment by Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
google news commentComments of Sen. Patrick Leahy on the Republican Filibuster of the Leahy-Specter Amendment to Restore Habeas Protections - 9 hours ago
"The vote today showed that a majority of the Senate supports our efforts to correct the historic mistake made in last year's Military Commissions Act, but ... click to shrinkLess
there is still more work to be done to overcome the Republican filibuster. Like the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the elimination of habeas rights was an action driven by fear, and it was a stain on America's reputation in the world.

"This bipartisan initiative has brought together Americans who call themselves conservatives, Americans who call themselves liberals, or libertarians, or evangelicals, or independents, and I am proud to be associated with them in this effort. We will continue to work for what is right and what is just.

"Senator Specter and I came to this Floor to offer this amendment back on July 10, when this bill was initially being considered, and thereafter. I thank him for his work in this effort. I also want to express my appreciation to Majority Leader Reid, Chairman Carl Levin, Senator Dodd, Senator Menendez, Senator Bingaman, and others who have participated in or facilitated this debate.

"We have brought this to the Senate Floor not because it is politically easy or popular, but because it is the right thing to do. This has been a debate that has invoked constitutional principles, legal precepts, Latin phrases, and historical precedents. This is an issue that lends itself to politically provocative distortions. Constitutional principles need our defense not so much when it is popular to do so, as when it may not be popular or easy to do.

"It is difficult to defend the higher ground by taking the lower road. The world knows what our enemies stand for. The world also knows what this country has tried to stand for and live up to - in the best of times, and the worst of times.

"It is from strength that America should defend our values and our way of life. It is from the strength of our freedoms, our Constitution, and the rule of law that we shall prevail. I thank and commend Senators who joined with us to stand up for a stronger America, for the America we believe in, by voting to invoke cloture on the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2007. We will not give up on this important effort."
Working for Change predicts that the House will take this one up in the next few weeks, so now we can start calling them.

Opinion just wants to be free!

The wall has come tumbling down and now I can read Paul Krugman's columns and his new blog [h/t] too.

I'm glad they [finally!] saw the light, though I'm a tad miffed that they used my line about who's entitled to whose opinions. Without attribution. Oh well, I'll take it as proof that the big guns read me. :-)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What is Taxpayer Access?

hint: it's something i've been bitching about for a long time

We pay taxes and some of that money goes to fund scientific and medical research, research into important questions. We've paid for it, we should have immediate and unfettered access to the published results, all taxpayers, not just the scientists.

Unfortunately for We The People, publishers make money from selling us access to published results, and they charge a small fortune. I don't know about you, but I could easily blow an entire paycheck on the articles I want to read, were I willing to part with $20-$30 for each article. I'm not.

Neither are some other folks:

Access to scientific and medical publications has lagged behind the wide reach of the Internet into U.S. homes and institutions. Subscription barriers limit U.S. taxpayer access to research that has been paid for with public funds.

Taxpayer access removes these barriers by making the peer-reviewed results of taxpayer-funded research available online, and for no extra charge to the American public.

To achieve this, the ATA supports applying the developing practices of Open Access as defined by the Budapest Open Access Initiative in February 2002.


Here's their Call to Action, fax your Senator before Sept 28th.

If you'd rather call, write, or e-mail, here's some other contact information for the Senators.

Restore Habeas vote this week in the Senate




Call. Or sign. Or both.


thanks for the heads up

Sunday, September 16, 2007

DELUDED MISGUIDED PEACE PROTESTERS!




peace bitch
fuck this war
march







live blogging and a wrap-up


Thanks, all y'all [although I''m a bit miffed that I didn't get to bake that cake with the file in it].

Friday, September 14, 2007

My new favorite blog

cleek

Not just because I too want a pony [h/t] but also for The Web's Golden Bounty, a collection of links to surf for. The bounty includes [but is not limited to]:

No-Knead Bread from Jaden's Steamy Kitchen [I've had a link to this blog in my sidebar for some time now]

Milking the Lizard brought to you by Coturnix, whose other mission in life is the Online Community Manager at PLoS-ONE (Public Library of Science). My job is to try to motivate you to comment on the papers there. [I've got a link to PLoS in my sidebar too]

Also via Coturnix, if you're alert enough, you might win a trip to the the greatest science city in the world.

Crappy Graphs! which is really just way too much fun, not crappy at all. If I ever use that site to make a real graph maybe you'll get to see it. Meanwhile, you can do what I did, which was to draw a bunch of crappy graphs and then refrain from hitting Submit.

Housekeeping


The difference between you and me is that I actually do have enough cats living here that I could tie dustcloths to them, let them run through the house, and expect the place to look clean. Heck, they even offer to help with the dishes.

The $64,000 question: how many Roombas will I have to deploy to vacuum up all the fur?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Mmmmm ... tastes like chicken

gobble it up, kiddoes. after this week it's all gonna be dry food.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sibling Pepper Spray of Enlightened Compassion

Your Unitarian Jihad Name


found it wandering around after reading about deadly pudding

Hovercraft gurneys!

That's what's wrong. It's not the insurance companies, or the lack of hospitals, nurses, doctors, and places for them to live, it's the lack of space-age gadgetry.

via

alt-FEMA

Q: What can we do about New Orleans? It's been 2 years, the place is a disaster, we've had 2 category 5 hurricanes already this summer, and the season is just now getting really hot. Besides, we've still got Mississippi to put back on the map.

A: We'll just nuke it! One B-52 with about a half-dozen or so cruise missiles, complete with nuclear warheads, ought to do the trick.

Oh, wait. Not headed for New Orleans, headed for Shreveport instead, to some Air Force base there, to decommission a couple few useless old missiles they had lying around in North Dakota. Yeah, riiiiight.

Beyond a few interesting curlicues in the Red River, Shreveport has nothing much to recommend it. You'd never miss it if they nuked that place. I'd never miss it anyway. I can see how Soybean Steve might disagree, though it's a bit fuzzy just exactly which Red River Valley the song is talking about. All of them, maybe.



From the CNN article:

Shepperd [a retired Air Force major general and military analyst for CNN] said the United States had agreed in a Cold War-era treaty not to fly nuclear weapons. "It appears that what happened was this treaty agreement was violated," he said.

[snip]

The Air Force announced that all flights of fighters and bombers in the United States will be halted on September 14 to allow for a review of procedures.

Once the mistake was discovered, the Air Force immediately began an inventory of all of its nuclear weapons, a military official said.


Today is September 5, what are they planning to do for the next 9 days?

Tally


The final results [a surge!] that I was able to capture at least, in the wee hours of 9-5-2007
Results, sometime on 9-3-2007

Results, sometime on 9-2-2007

Results, sometime on 9-1-2007

The poll, when I first spotted it [and voted]
Now there's a different poll

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Life is short. Play with your food.

eeeuuuuwww. what is it?
here, let big brother show you how it's done.
tonight's final tally: 5 kittens and a mom cat.
Six kittens is a lot. Once the thundering herd came out from under the bed and invaded the rest of the space, I started supplementing mom cat's efforts with dishes of kitten formula a couple of times a day. Most of the time, I only got two or three customers, mother's milk is always bestest y'know, and oh! the cleanup after drinking out of a saucer!

Tonight was the first solid food, dry food soaked in warm water, mashed well, and mixed with the last of the kitten formula. Most popular offering yet. Should have done this sooner.

In other news, the library has [partly] moved to the kitchen. I'd been wondering where the little stinkers were disappearing. Turns out, they can fit in the spaces under the cabinets and behind the toe kick. This would be ok, except that I can't tell for sure if they're staying under the cabinets. All I need is for them to get into the walls too, and try as I might, I couldn't see that far back under the cabinets. If I can't figure out what they're up to, they don't get to continue doing it.

What to block the spaces with? Murder mysteries to the rescue! Paperback books are just the right size to stuff under the cabinets, and just squishable enough to pack tightly in place. At least now the library floor is picked up, even if the kitchen looks a bit more ... colorful.

This is the nightly cat-baiting, in the transplanted library. Tonight I'm tossing bits of jerky around the floor for them to chase. Or tossing bits of jerky down onto their heads. The well-socialized cat should be prepared for anything, including manna from heaven, or the sky falling, whichever comes first.

Last night's pursuit didn't lend itself to picture-taking, but it sure was cute. I waited for a cat to look me in the eye before dropping a treat in front of the first cat that looked. Patches almost-cat caught onto this game faster than the others and tonight she was watching me like a hawk.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Yes!


I see that the total number of votes is now 433, up from 380, but that the percentages have stalled at 19% Yes, 74% No, and 7% other, so they may be on to my ballot box stuffing wish. Or else some of you have been voting contrarian.

No matter. The Yes votes don't [yet!] outnumber the No votes, but 19% is bigger than 17%, so in the spirit of my earlier proposition, here's a little something for your eco-friendly sex life [via Treehugger and The Ethicurean] while you watch kitten MTV.


Viking kittens get the Led out:


and mash it up:


kitty said what?


Yes, I know, I'm the last person on the planet who hasn't already seen these videos, but a blog can never have too much of kittens, parody, or Led Zeppelin.

As long as we're screwing around with government secrets


The saga, at Monster Maritime.
via

Iran isn't going to nuke us

but Tennessee just might.

Some 35 liters, or just over 9 gallons, of highly enriched uranium solution leaked from a transfer line into a protected glovebox and spilled onto the floor. The leak was discovered when a supervisor saw a yellow liquid ``running into a hallway'' from under a door, according to one document.

The commission said there were two areas, the glovebox and an old elevator shaft, where the solution potentially could have collected in such a way to cause an uncontrolled nuclear reaction.

``It is likely that at least one worker would have received an exposure high enough to cause acute health effects or death,'' the agency wrote.


It happened at Nuclear Fuel Services [that photo scares me], a company in tiny [and scenic!] Erwin, TN, that has been converting weapons-grade uranium into fuel for your neighborhood nuclear power plant [mostly a good thing], but can't tell you that it damn near nuked you because that would be giving out government secrets.

Tenn. Nuclear Fuel Problems Kept Secret
Monday August 20, 2007 9:01 PM
By DUNCAN MANSFIELD
Associated Press Writer

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A three-year veil of secrecy in the name of national security was used to keep the public in the dark about the handling of highly enriched uranium at a nuclear fuel processing plant - including a leak that could have caused a deadly, uncontrolled nuclear reaction.

The leak turned out to be one of nine violations or test failures since 2005 at privately owned Nuclear Fuel Services Inc., a longtime supplier of fuel to the U.S. Navy's nuclear fleet.

The public was never told about the problems when they happened. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission revealed them for the first time last month when it released an order demanding improvements at the company, but no fine.

Read the entire article here.

via