September 06, 2008

Palin roundup Day 8 — anti-Semitism at church?

Palin Pastor Problem — anti-Judaism, anti-gay; Schmuck Talk ups Troopergate probe stall

Palin’s Pastor Problem —
From where I sit, sounds like Gov. Palin has a pastor problem worse than Barack Obama ever did with Rev. Jeremiah Wright. I’m sure those Jewish independent voters in Florida are probably comfortable enough with Obama on Israel that Palin’s Jews for Jesus ties won’t fly well.

J4J’s mission statement:
“Make the messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people worldwide.”

In other words, to get in the collective grilles of shuffleboard players in Miami Beach who moved down from Long Island and tell them they’re going to hell if they don’t accept Jesus as Savior.

Via Andrew Sullivan, Palin’s camp claims she doesn’t believe the fire and brimstone J4J founder David Brickner delivered at her church Aug. 17, at the invitation of her pastor, Larry Kroon.

But, did Palin put money in the offering plate for Bricker? Especially since Bricker had been there before?

Also read Sully for how ADL head cheese Abraham Foxman is even more full of shit, or smegma, than usual, in saying this different from old-time Catholic efforts at Jewish conversion.

That said, this latest Palin nuttery, plus Foxman’s willingness to drink the GOP cyanide also shows just how much Jewish neocons like Joementum are getting hoist by their own petard when it comes to, ahem, for quoting Pat Buchanan, their “amen corner” support.

Palin’s latest antiscience nuttery —
If religious anti-Judaism, at the least, isn’t enough, you’ll love Palin on gays. Her church is also holding a “gay-to-straight conversion” conference. Uhh, Log Cabin Republicans, you down with that? Now that you’re officially “less than” in her eyes?

Let’s not forget Troopergate —
As much as Schmuck Talk Express™ is striving to quash its investigation. The Alaska Lege GOPers on the French committee, one would surmise, didn’t decide not to subpoena Palin herself on their own. It wouldn’t even surprise me if they’re meeting with the lawyers for the seven subpoenaed witnesses who simultaneously lawyered up.

Rangel gets the “super-prime” loan

What else can you say when Champagne Charlie Rangel, beyond his sweetheart deals on NYC apartments and slumlording for the rich (when he’s not shaking down their lobbyists as House Ways and Means chairman) also has had a 10-year interest-free mortgage on a sweet beachfront rental in the Dominican.

PLUS, he failed to report the rental income from the property on his taxes.
“It is my understanding that over the 20-year time period there is not likely to be federal tax liability by Mr. Rangel because of offsetting depreciation expenses and tax credits. Therefore, whatever amendments might be necessary do not involve the federal tax code,” said his attorney, Lanny Davis.

Wait….

This is the person responsible for overseeing the tax code as part of running Ways and Means.

If Passive Pelosi™ really believes in Congressional ethics, she’ll address this ASAP after the election by booting him from his chairmanship.

Calling out American Rivers and Environmental Defense

I've said before on these webpages that I cannot stand environmental groups who offer free made-in-China stuffed animals and other stuff at tschotschkes for new or renewing members.

1. Given the cost of oil, etc., today, it's antienvironmental to be burning marine diesel to send this stuff here from China.

2. Given the pollution level of Chinese factories, it's antienvironmental to offer stuff like this, instead of American-made freebies.

3. And, along those lines, its anti-American economy to not look for American-made goodies.

4. And, it's lazy of enviro advocacy groups to not walk their actual and would-be members, at least the ones who aren't thinking that critically, through all of this.

Well, American Rivers and Environmental Defense, you've been called out.

St. Paul police out-Nazi Denver

I’d been meaning to post something earlier in the week, when St. Paul’s finest Brown Shirts actually raided private homes.

Anyway, better late than never to express outrage over the latest police thuggery.

If a would-be President Obama wants to boost his civil liberties cred, he’d do something like promising to cut federal community police funding to cities like this.

But, he hasn’t yet, so, Cynthia McKinney, the opening is yours!

And, with that observation, I’ll still be commenting about the Two-Party Duopoly through election day. Just because I exposed GOP idiocy this last week still doesn’t mean I’ll pull the Obama lever.

Medical marijuana 2.0

It may not be just a pain reducer for cancer patients on chemo, but also a potent antibacterial agent, including against multiple-antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

THC, the same ingredient in the marijuana high, is the antibiotic.

So, cancer patients with reduced immune systems, may now have two reasons to toke up.

Say goodbye to Western cottonwoods

The combination of an ongoing global-warming induced drought, drier seasons and higher temperatures, along with ever more competition from tamarisks, probably spells the death knell for these trees.

(This is a subscription-only story, but, whether you live out West, you’re a lover of the West’s environment, or you want news of social, cultural and political trends in the West, you’re missing a lot by not subscribing.)

Tune in – to yourself, turn on…

To a little less materialism, and drop out of at least the worst of the capitalist rat race. In additional to not leveraging your mortgage or your bank account, you also might be avoiding leveraging your spirit or your sanity.
I've decided that there are other things besides money that matter to me, and that make a certain level of vulnerability worth it. I value my flexibility, my independence, my time with the kids, my ability to go off on adventures, more than deep financial pockets and the brand of slavery that those deep pockets would require.

There is no way I would want to trade places with folks who have accumulated the trappings of wealth on the back of debt. It would feel desolate to live in a house of cards and feel the walls start to collapse around me. No thanks.

I agree in spades.

That said, Alan Kesselheim does admit this all has a flip side. Read the full column.

September 05, 2008

Government takes over Fannie and Freddie

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are to go into receivership, it seems.

Per my post earlier today, “It’s the economy, stupid,” took on a whole new level of meaning. Also, in the face of history that Fannie and Freddie knew they were overextending themselves, yet continued to overextend more while paying top execs big money, combined with the Bear Stearns bailout this year, is also going to increase the “help the rich, ignore the poor” claims against the Bush Administration.

That said, Daniel H. Mudd, the chief executive of Fannie Mae, and Richard F. Syron, chief executive of Freddie Mac, reportedly will get the boot as part of the takeover. Of course, BushCo had no choice on that.

And that said, the “It’s the economy, stupid,” just had either an atomic bomb or a hot, steaming pile of crap dropped in the middle of it. Pick your metaphor.

It’s the Dems by a point

That’s the Guardian’s take on the dueling conventions.

Palin follies, Day 7 — Eagleton 2 now ‘on ice’

McCain staff keeps Palin on ice for “education and training”; ex b-I-l Wooten breaks ice; Troopergate subpoenas issued, but not to Palin

Palin on ice — if Sarah Palin is such a great Veep, then why is McCain putting her on ice up in the frozen tundra?
The campaign will “also use the plane time and time on the ground to begin the education of Sarah Palin,” Fineman said. “They want to take that pause to train.”

More here at the local level from the Alaska blogosphere.

“Hole up”? We’re past the traditional Labor Day start to the election calendar with two months left and counting until Nov. 4.

At the same time, what if wingers and the Religious Right start howling for more Palin appearances? Sounds like Schmuck Talk Express™ will be in a pickle over having a long-distance Veepship relationship with his “partner and soulmate.” (Funny way to show she’s your soulmate, too.)

Palin and the media — A slim majority of poll respondents think media coverage of Palin has been fair (For poll details, go here [PDF] — see page 5 and following.) Other tidbits from the poll show Palin and Joe Biden get the same support among independents, despite Palin theoretically having a “bounce” from the RNC. Meanwhile, Palin actually is more a dead weight on POTUS-Veep ticket support than Biden (graph, page 2). A plurality of respondents on Palin think the lacks Veep-level experience (page 3).

Troopergate — The stall tactics grow, and the Anchorage Daily News takes Palin to the editorial woodshed.

Meanwhile, the investigation speeds up. State Sen. Hollis French is subpoenaing seven witnesses, although not Palin herself, in the polite, courteous and totally deluded conceit that she will voluntarily cooperated.

On that count, with the French committee being bipartisan, GOP Rep Jay Ramras says Palin’s, ahem, “unique political circumstances” should rule that out.

What bullshit. Did Bill Clinton’s “unique political circumstances” stop the Gingrich-DeLay-Armey drive a decade ago? No.

But, at the same time, have Beltway Congressional Democrats signed off on that bullshit with Bush-Cheney, with non-sworn testimony on 9/11, etc.? Yes.

When will Dems wake up?

Consider this another reason to vote Green.

And, we’re getting some pushback hardball. French is advancing the timetable on the release date of his investigation, from Oct. 31 to early October. Just in time to have plenty of political traction.


And, ex-brother-in-law Mike Wooten talks to the media. (Video on webpage.)

Details:
1. He admits using the Taser on his stepson, while saying it was not maliciously done;
2. He denies drinking and driving on duty;
3. He says McCain’s choice of Palin is “wonderful for the state of Alaska.”

Nothing new on the Trig front to report, other than noting that the “third option” on Trig’s parentage was nothing more than a red herring.

Dallas Police seeks wheelchair bandit

Who stole an energy drink and 10 boxes of condoms.

Sometimes you just can’t make up true crime. I have had a few such weird cases from my day job.

World of science — Hungry thinking, early CO2, our black hole, more

Heavy thinking makes for additional eating. Problem — our now largely-sedentary society.

Astronomers are getting more evidence for the black hole believed to be at the center of our galaxy, with new radiotelescope imaging.

A new answer for why early earth didn’t freeze. Less carbon dioxide for greenhouse gas was needed than previously thought.

Friday Palin update and Intrade tease

Looking to tonight, I look at the latest on Troopergate, Palin’s stonewalling and the Alaska Legislature’s GOP apparent caving; for the weekend, I still plan to launch my own guesstimated version of Intrade on the presidential campaign, and selected other races, with weekly updates tentatively planned.

'Cadillac Desert' on clear display



The picture above is of high-altitude alfalfa irrigation, at about 6,500 feet, in Colorado’s Dolores River watershed. The Dolores is a tributary of the Colorado River in southwest Colorado.

It’s this type of use, or misuse, of water for high-altitude crops, and ones with only an indirect return, getting processed through a cow (or worse, fed to somebody’s pet horse), rather than direct human benefit crops such as dryland or semi-dry spring wheat or pinto beans, that Marc Reisner decried in “Cadillac Desert.”

I saw this while on vacation last month and was inspired to the following poem:

Fresh-cut green alfalfa —
Brick bales shit upon the land,
Grown in a land of little rain;
Grown in a land of short summers.

Short-season high-country rivers
Could be put to better use
Than supplemental feed for mountain cattle;
Supplemental water, rather,
To boost dryland wheat and beans.

Send it downriver? No.
Not until Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix
And Imperial Valley and Central Arizona farmers
Learn more water prudence.

Fresh-cut green alfalfa —
Brick bales shit upon the land,
Grown in a land of scarceness
For fat, lazy Americans to indulge themselves.

Maybe the wrong cows are being fed.

Kos oversells himself — the revolution can be blogged without you

Claims Jim Webb is “95 percent progressive”

Shock me, I say, shock me, that Kos, aka Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, would oversell his part in developing a modern, focused, aggressive, Internet-savvy movement liberalism.

This is the man who once famously, or fatuously, talked about all the closet liberals in the CIA.

He gets close to that level of inanity in this interview with comments like this:
With Jim Webb, obviously, we have 90 to 95 percent of what progressives want in a Democrat in the Senate, as opposed to George Allen who would have been 0 percent. So it is incremental change. And there is nobody in the Senate more populist on economic issues than Jim Webb.

Really? Jim Webb, not just on FISA, but on many other non-economic issues, is far less than 95 percent progressive.

And, as for the last-sentence claim? I think many bloggers and pundits would immediately proffer Ohio’s Sherrod Brown as trumping Webb. Others might also come to mind, but Brown came to my thought 5 seconds after reading Kos’ comment.

Does Obama-Biden still agree with Uncle Fester?

Do you want to go to war over Georgia?

That is, are they still in Cold Warrior mode over Georgia in NATO?

Uncle Fester says we’re still “fully committed” to this clusterfucked idea.

I doubt we’ll hear anything but the Two-Party Duopoly, i.e., Bipartisan Foreign Policy Establishment, party line out of the Obama-Biden campaign on this baby.

My pull quote at the top is the bottom line. Because we want to route an oil pipeline from the Trans-Caspian “Stans” around Russia’s border to the Black Sea, do you want to risk going to war?

Wouldn’t that be, ahem, War for Oil?

Isn’t that what Obama, especially, has criticized Bush about for years?

Answers, of course, are Yes and Yes.

It’s the economy, stupid

If Obama can pin6 percent unemployment, along with opposition to additional “stimulus” economic help, on the shoulders of McCain, as touting four more years of economic McSame, the election is his in a cakewalk.

Meanwhile, expect no more help from the Fed, even as it is likely economic conditions will worsen before improving, with trouble lasting into 2009.

Ancient Canadian Arctic ice sheets go bye-bye

Arctic ice sheets as old as 4,000 years old are disappearing. Researchers say Canada’s portion of the Arctic lost one-quarter of its ice this summer:
The entire Markham ice shelf broke away in early August and is now adrift in the Arctic Ocean, carving away 50 square kilometres. Two large sections of the Serson ice shelf also broke off, shrinking it by 122 square kilometres or about 60 per cent. The Ward Hunt ice shelf lost 22 square kilometres.

These ice shelves in the area of Ellesmere Island are are up to 4,500 years old, and as much as 40 metres thick. So, that’s a significant “heat sink” loss.
“These substantial calving events underscore the rapidity of changes taking place in the Arctic,” said Dr. Derek Mueller, who has been studying the shelves at Trent University, in a statement. “These changes are irreversible under the present climate and indicate that the environmental conditions that have kept these ice shelves in balance for thousands of years are no longer present… .”

“The extent of their loss this season is significant,” said Dr. Warwick Vincent, director of Laval University's Centre for Northern Studies, who collaborated on the study. "Unique ecosystems that depend on this ice are on the brink of extinction.”

Oh, and for the global warming denialists, the famed “hockey stick” is back, better and more accurate than ever.

Can Bush even take a leak without asking Cheney first?

Apparently not, or barely not, at least, according to Bob Woodward’s latest breathless tree-killer:
In the midst of the surge debate, Bush decided to replace Rumsfeld, who had served as defense secretary throughout the war and had long argued that the United States needed “to take the training wheels off the Iraqi government.” Bush chose Rumsfeld's replacement, Robert M. Gates, without consulting Vice President Cheney, Rumsfeld’s chief patron, the book reports. Bush informed Cheney of his decision on Nov. 6, 2006, the day before the midterm elections. "Well, Mr. President, I disagree," Cheney is quoted as saying, “but obviously it’s your call.”

So, why didn’t Darth Cheney launch the palace coup at that moment.

The book also details the crucial connection from Bush to David Petraeus via former Air Force Chief of Staff Jack Keane.

The biggest item is that it claims much of the decline in violence in Iraq was due to new covert ops, and NOT the “surge.”

I’m sure Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, speaking of taking a piss of one’s free will, is going to love hearing how we’re spying on him 24/7.

That said, re the book itself, this is what my take is:

I think Woodward got punked again, after showing signs in his previous book that his 30-year post-Watergate self-induced coma was finally over.

I mean, per the review, the book sounds OK, but it also sounds like it still has plenty of Woody's fawning breathlessness for BushCo, too.

And, that all said, it's a WaPost in-house review. I'd like to hear what other folks say in terms of reviews.

September 04, 2008

Thursday news-wrap – non-Palin edition

Here’s a wrapup, with blog post links, of the main non-Palin news of the last day or so. This has been a busy, busy day beyond RNC-related news items.

1. The MMR vaccine does NOT cause autism.

2. The Sierra Club drinks T. Boone Pickens’ Kool-Aid.

3. The India nuke deal may get nuked.

4. Schadenfreude alert! Porcupines are killing the trees of Telluride’s über-rich.

5. Sen. Briggs & Stratton, Missouri’s Kit Bond, finally, though about half a decade too late, got some EPA comeuppance.

McCain speaks!

Then, he rolls over and plays dead!

(After that, he did “Stupid Republican Tricks.”)

God, the enthusiasm level!

About the right level for a 72-year-old has-been reading his own political obituary. And, in a convention hall that STILL is not a sellout.

The title of the convention DVD, of course, is "Dead Man Talking."

(I was right in my advance speculation Thursday afternoon, when the “town hall” style speech was announced — which it was not. McCain was trying to paper over his speaking weaknesses. But, by speaking this long, he probably exacerbated them, if anything. At least Rudy was a more dynamic bloviator.)

More seriously, I don't know when I've last heard a mix of platitudes, bromides and, "I was a POW."

Beyond that, isn't it interesting that talk about "fighting" gets the biggest applause? Warmongering schmuck.

Palin follies Day 6 — bombshell affair allegations ramp up personal spotlight

New personal-life rumors — this time of alleged affair — dog Palin camp; viciousness of Schmidt response indicates strength of political traction

We’ll start with the more sedate stuff of the day first, then let you the reader scroll down for details on the teaser.

First, Palin may play well to GOP red meaters, but NOT to independents in Michigan
She was a Republican novelty act with a sophomoric script. It was not even a speech I would expect for a someone running for the local PTA, much less for vice president." — George Lentz, 66, Southfield independent

or, even more importantly, women independents in Nevada, who also didn’t like it. That “PUMA appeal” gets slimmer by the day, doesn’t it?

The Palin speech? Wingers are already lying to cover up for how much of a clusterfuck Palin’s delivery was last night, but her TelePrompTer did NOT break. A glitch or two is a different thing. Next thing, the conservative bloviosphere will claim she trudged miles in Alaskan snows, uphill both ways, to deliver the damn thing.

Troopergate update — Fired former Alaska Commissioner of Public Safety Walt Monegan says Palin is lying:
“I think there are some questions now that, coming to light about how transparent and how honest she wants to be,” Monegan said.

Give that man a cigar for the understatement of the week!

The old college non-try: — Palin attended five colleges in six years. (Must have been all the cheerleader camps, tryouts and scholarship offers).

How many did the Schmuck Talk Express™ Vetting Service contact?

You know the answer.

McCain campaign honcho Steve Schmidt threatens to sue National Enquirer for allegations Palin had an affair; according to the mag, Palin allegedly had an affair with a “former business associate” of her husband, Todd Palin.
“The allegations contained on the cover of the National Enquirer insinuating that Governor Palin had an extramarital affair are categorically false. It is a vicious lie... The American people will reject it.”

Hey, Steverino, the Enquirer got John Edwards’ affair right even as the MSM sat on the issue for a good year. So, sue away, and increase the PR damage by giving it credibility.

Indeed, the Enquirer itself tells Schmidt just where to get off:
Following our John Edwards exclusives, our political reporting has obviously proven to be more detail-oriented than the McCain campaign's vetting process.

Beyond that, isn’t it funny how we’re hearing more and more about Palin’s private life, and how, per my show me the birth certificate post, this does have political legs — it is actually getting under the McCain camp’s skin, big-time.

The Trig Palin paternity issue has already gotten under Schmidt’s skin; combine the two, and it’s clear the McCain camp is HUGELY worried about her personal issues.

It’s also interesting how, outside the Enquirer itself, the best info about the Palin affair allegations seems to be from the British media. The American MSM either still hasn’t learned from the Edwards affair coverage, or else is either too cowed by or still in too much suck-up mode to “maverick” McCain, the Straight Schmuck Talk Express™. And that stands true in spite of the fact that British libel law is MUCH more media-unfriendly than is the case on our side of the pond.

Meanwhile, yet another possibility for Trig’s parentage came across my e-mail transom this afternoon. Something that, if true, would blow the affair issue out of the water. But, I think this is an attempt to punk me.

But, as I’ve said more than once before, I reject the idea that it’s “National Enquirer politics” to have bloggers, the DNC, the Obama-Biden campaign, etc., push the ball on this issue.

Again, my riff on Clauswitz:
Politics is war by other means.

But, B.O. and his Post-Partisan Politics™ seem to have the DNC, “liberal” bloggers and would-be 527s all singing the “Kumbaya chorus.”

Ohh, and why does Palin hate community organizers?

Per TAPPED, here’s a gem of a quote on the matter:
“Ms. Palin needs to remember that Jesus was a community organizer and Pontius Pilate was a governor.”

But, we all know that, per the Chris Hayes link, “community organizer” is GOP code-speak for “meddling liberal activist.” (Quote aside, we really need to remember that, if Jesus existed, he was a revolutionary, or else a self-deluded sucker.)

Because we know that the GOP never meddles in people’s personal privacy …

Unless it involves sexual orientation and activity, reproductive choice (now, even birth control pills), or adult viewing choice.

Hence, per a post Monday on the GOP and ANTIPRIVACY, here’s my thoughts on what I wish a Democratic presidential candidate, or flak for him, would say:

We will agree that Bristol Palin’s pregnancy should be a matter of Palin family privacy as soon as Sarah Palin individually and the Republican Party collectively agree that one’s personal sexual choices, personal reproductive choices, and personal video viewing choices for 300 million Americans should be a matter of their privacy.

Don’t hold your breath.


In summation of everything ...

To borrow Joseph Welch’s famous 1954 quote against McCarthy:

Have you no sense of decency, Sarah Palin? Have you no sense of decency?

We know the answer to that one, too.

Finally, my summary.

A Palin affair wouldn't surprise me. Between the Trig parentage questions, Sarah’s own first pregnancy being “early,” Bristol allegedly, and while pregnant for the first/second time, already becoming too familiar with a bottle of alcohol (Google it), and more, Sarah Palin seems far removed from meriting the Religious Right’s Good Mommyhood Seal of Approval™.

Instead, sadly, the Palin family seems more like it could be a “family systems therapy” exhibit in a college Psych 101 textbook. Or an Alaska TV riff on the Addams Famil;y.

Sorry, Sen. Briggs & Stratton

Sen. Kit Bond’s long stall job on cleaner-running lawn mowers is finally up, it seems. The EPA has ordered a 35-percent cut in mower engine emissions, starting with 2011 models.
“The total estimated public health benefits range between $1.6 and $4.4 billion by 2030. These benefits outweigh estimated costs by at least eight to one, while preventing over 300 premature deaths, 1,700 hospitalizations, and 23,000 lost workdays annually.”

Why did Kit Bond hate American homeowners and lawn-care workers?

But, Bond did get us half a decade or so of additional air pollution and greenhouse gases.

Is Trig Palin the son of ...

Sorry, folks, but it’s all a HUGE false alarm from a township-level Democratic political activist who:

1. Does not have any actual knowledge to pass along;
2. Is thinking about writing a very thinly disguised novel about the pregnancy;
3. Has made claims far less substantiated than the Bristol-Trig Palin claims; and
4. Might have a barratry bee in his bonnet.

End of story.

Porky vs. the über-rich

“Porky” would be your everyday porcupine. The “über-rich” would be the owners of seasonally-occupied homes in chic Telluride, Colo. The battlefield would be all the trees said über-rich plant around their McMegaMansions that quickly get girded by porky.

Perhaps there’s not quite as much schadenfreude to be luxuriated in as there would be for the ski set, or summer variant thereof, to get their homes built down for building too close to wilderness, but this will have to do.

MMR vaccine does NOT cause autism

So, you vaccine-chasing lawyers, preying on the tortured emotions of desperate mothers (and fathers), put a cork in it and your lawsuits. An important new study showed no trace of measles RNA in all but one autistic child. The RNA would have to be present if the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine were causing autism.

And, the report has come just in time, too, as a federal special master looks at the issue.

McCain goes ‘Tricky Dick’?

Does he have a “secret plan to get bin Laden,” like Nixon’s “secret plan to end the war” in the 1968 campaign?

In the middle of the page, he won’t say what he’ll do beyond Bush, or Obama, after blasting Obama for allegedly not having a “bin Laden plan.”

Here's the “secret plan” — whoever rats on bin Laden gets a cut in Cindy's beer distributorship. And date night with Sarah. Mmmm…

Park your religion here



I saw this bumper sticker last month in a parking lot at Rocky Mountain National Park while I was on vacation. I knew I had to whip the camera out, even though it was near sundown on a drizzly day and flash would glare off of it, to get a picture.

In light of the bumper sticker, I guess being an atheist is a good thing for an apartment dweller without a garage!

Palin follies Day 6 tease

I’ll be taking more of a look at the National Enquirer affair allegations and more.

Looking back, I have a new “not-so-pregnant-looking” Palin pic at “7 months” from her attendance at the National Governors Association, at my “Show me the Trig Palin birth certificate” blog post.

Looking to Friday and the weekend, I’ll have an overall wrap on the RNC and Dems overall response level.

I’ll also launch my own guesstimated version of Intrade on the presidential campaign, with weekly updates tentatively planned.

Palin Follies Day 6 is up

India nuke test may nuke nukes deal

Try saying THAT three times fast. Anyway, the lowdown is that W’s precious attempted end run around the Non Proliferation Treaty with India allegedly has a U.S. out if New Delhi does an N-test. Only thing is, BushCo is telling the Nuclear Suppliers Group another story.

Why does this not surprise me?

Rep. Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, broke the double-standard info. That said, he wants nuclear cooperation with India.

I wouldn’t mind it, certainly, with concerns over Pakistan. But I have opposed the Bush-Singh deal from Day 1, unlike Berman and many Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.

Yes, hurricanes are ramping up

At least, the strongest of them are. Will we have to add a “6” to the Saffir-Simpson scale someday?

Airline slowdown continues — recession-related?

American is laying off 469 employees, almost all at O’Hare; Southwest’s August traffic dropped 5.2 percent on a year-over-year basis, despite adding capacity. The load factor was its lowest in five years.

Recession-related? Could very well be, especially in Southwest's case, it being a darling of business travelers and all. Vacationers would flock TO Southwest during August, if anything, since it's still not charging for checked baggage.

McCain to do town-hall style acceptance speech

Per RNC e-mail, it looks like John McCain is going to go “conversational” with his acceptance speech tonight. I’m guessing that he may take a gander at giving the appearance, at least, of Post-Partisan Politics™ as part of that. I’m assuming that’s why his campaign blocked out a full hour of media time for the speech.

Anyway, here’s the details::
The podium used for the first three nights of the convention was modified to enable John McCain to deliver his acceptance speech from the center of the Xcel Energy Center. The new podium is a reflection of the town-hall style that has been a hallmark of McCain’s campaign. In the new forum, he will be surrounded by the delegates that nominated him the night before.

The new podium was constructed by removing the front corner sections of the existing platform and extending its midsection by 30 feet. The extension will be eight feet wide. Near the conclusion of tonight’s program, Sen. McCain will address the convention from a lectern positioned near the end of this newly-constructed extension. To accommodate the modified platform, delegates from the state of Ohio will be re-seated on either side.

So, maybe Democrats and other progressives should stay tuned.

It sounds like he’s playing down his weakness of not being the best stump speaker, and trying to go with a new, conversational angle.

This will also let him play off Palin’s speech in a way Obama didn’t with Biden. She clearly is going to play bad cop/attack dog, while Schmuck Talk Express™ will set himself up as the “kinder, gentler” avuncular presidential candidate.

IMO, Dems weren’t tough enough in some ways at Denver, nor did Biden get set up enough to be the attack dog. (See Edwards, John, and 2004 vice presidential nominee, along with Lieberman, Joe, and 2009 vice presidential nominee.) Dems need to remember we’re at two months and counting now.

Could Chrome get Google sued?

For false advertising, deceptive trade practices, fraud or something similar?

Based on what it does with pop-up ad concealment (NOT blocking, concealment), I’d say it’s at least a possibility.

Chrome loads ads, including pop-ups, as opposed to Firefox’s AdBlock, but conceals them from user view.

And Google’s still going to bill advertisers for these as “viewed ads.”

If this isn’t actionable, it obviously means the death of the pop-up ad as we know it, which certainly ain’t bad.

Fight bad behavior by labeling it as ‘other’

In other words, to socially fight another person’s addiction, compulsion, or generally bad behavior, label it as something “other people” do.

In other words, if you’re a good progressive, say, “Only neocons do that,” or “Only Republicans do that.”

Snark aside, many progressives may not like that idea, nor the idea behind it, but, it’s got strong support from evolutionary psychology, in the good sense, and not Evolutionary Psychology, in the bad sense. Or, to use the language of social psychology, it’s the difference between an “ingroup” and an “outgroup.”

Our brains have evolved as discrimination machines, using that word neutrally and philosophically/scientifically.

And, the bottom line, per the story?

Social psychology experiments show it works.

September 03, 2008

Sierra Club stupidity-sellout on Boone Pickens

For Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope, I guess drinking the Kool-Aid Clorox this spring wasn’t enough.

Now, via e-mail, he’s officially signing off on T. Boone Pickens’ self-serving idea to take wind-generated electricity’s natural gas savings to use natural gas as a motor fuel.

Worse yet, in the e-mail, the alleged “action.sierraclub.org” hyperlink actually goes to a “pickensplan.com” URL as a mirror link.

So, here’s what I e-mailed back:
First, I AM a newspaper editor, and hell, no, I won't send myself a letter, or write a column about Boone Pickens' largely self-serving plan.

This is Sierra's stupidest thing since the Clorox “greenwash” debacle, which is why I'm not renewing my membership, a decision, as well as commentary on the Clorox greenwash, I have blogged.

Second, I don’t like that your alleged "action.sierraclub.org" hyperlink in your e-mail is actually a ghost link to a pickensplan.com webpage.

Third, other environmentalists and environmental bloggers better than me have pointed out the details of how Pickens' plan has a LARGE self-serving element.

Fourth, this is the man who financed the Swift Boating of John Kerry in 2004, then welshed on paying up on a challenge when people proved that the Swift Boating attack had demonstrable falsehoods in it.

Carl, back to my hyperlink.

I think your leadership gets worse all the time, and I won't renew my Sierra membership until Sierra's board of directors non-renews your contract.

Eff you, Carl Pope. AND the Sierra board of directors you rode into town on.

If you want to sound off to him, even though you didn’t get an e-mail from him, here you go.

Update:Oh, for the idiot commentors who think Carl Pope is the greatest thing since sliced bread, or, worse yet, that Boone Pickens is, here’s the High Country News lowdown on Pickens’ right wing suckupitis.

This HCN line is classic:
He's the Republican oil billionaire who recently saw the light on the need for alternative energy and has sponsored a flood of windmill-porn TV ads to make sure the rest of America gets the message.

Doesn’t get much clearer than that, now, does it?

Well, unfortunately, for King Carl Pope (nice back-pun, eh?) it’s still “clear as mud” as to Pickens’ ultimate angle on all this.

The politics of wedges, or wedgies, Palin style

The NYT has an excellent account of how Sarah Palin brought Newt Gingrich/Karl Rove “wedge politics” to her campaign for a small-town mayor’s seat, which is (or was), as in just about any city that size around the country, a nonpartisan position, and nonpartisan election.

Included is more on the book banning, the firing of librarian Mary Ellen Emmons and police chief Irl Stambaugh (neither of whom wanted to be interviewed, maybe through fear?) and other tidbits.

In the next-to-last graf of page 2, it seems wedge politics even trumped family, as Palin endorsed the opponent of her stepmother-in-law in the 2002 race to succeed her.

Palin speech - official advance release

From my work e-mail to you, per RNC e-mail, here’s an early release on Palin’s speech highlights.

Either the McCain campaign, or Sarah Palin herself, think the American political public is even bigger idiots than Mencken might wager.

On her experience as a public servant:
"I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town. I was just your average hockey mom, and signed up for the PTA because I wanted to make my kids’ public education better. When I ran for city council, I didn’t need focus groups and voter profiles because I knew those voters, and knew their families, too. Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of my hometown. And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities."

Truth: Nobody’s “looked down” on your experience, but your lack of experience. Being mayor of a town of 6,000 is NOT experience that translates to national politics.

Besides, given your attempt to ban books, your firing of the librarian who refused to ban books, your deficit budgets, and your raising taxes, is this really experience you want to highlight? Didn’t think so.
On why she is going to Washington, D.C.:
"I’m not a member of the permanent political establishment. And I’ve learned quickly, these past few days, that if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone. But here’s a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion — I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this country."

Truth: Plenty of people outside the “establishment” think you’re a novice and an idiot, too.
On energy policies that the McCain-Palin administration will implement:
"Our opponents say, again and again, that drilling will not solve all of America’s energy problems — as if we all didn’t know that already. But the fact that drilling won’t solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all. Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we’re going to lay more pipelines...build more nuclear plants...create jobs with clean coal...and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative sources. We need American energy resources, brought to you by American ingenuity, and produced by American workers."

Truth: Lay more pipelines? WTF? Is the GOP speechwriting machine THAT bad? And “produced by American workers?” What, we’re not going to have either the Chinese or illegal immigrants produce American energy?

“Clean” coal gets a pass because B.O. and the Dems are down with it, too. Nuclear, if done responsibly and without handouts, gets a pass from me.

Oh, one final thought — is this the BEST that was excerptable from her speech? Wow.

NOTE: My "show me the birth certificate post will be up later.

John McCain, sucker

Did Schmuck Talk Express™ fall for the “disunity” theme the MSM played at Warp Eight in Denver? It’s possible that was at least one factor in his Palin decision.

Google Chrome nice but not platinum

JavaScript speed, from-scratch platform, and Google interoperability all pluses, but “cloud computing” focus raises new round of Google as Big Brother questions

Google is coming after both Firefox AND Internet Explorer with its own web browser.

Contra the Microslob spokesperson touting IE8 (in beta now), given how slow IE7 loads pages, AND given that it has fewer features in many ways than FF2, let alone 3, I ain’t downloading IE 8. Beyond that, IE8 is supposed to use twice as much memory as IE7, itself a memory hog.

Meanwhile, Chrome has seriously souped up JavaScript speed.

Faster, especially much faster page loads mean it can load more complex ads, as well as webpages, which means more ad dinero, as CNET explains.

Over at The Dallas Morning News, Victor Godinez says this could be the Firefox death knell.

A full $56 million of Mozilla’s $66 million of revenue last year came from its Google partnership, which ends in 2011.

I disagree with Godinez, though, that Chrome will ONLY hit Firefox. (He claims that IE 8 won’t be hurt because many businesses require its use, and many home users aren’t aware of other browsers.

Victor, this is Google we're talking about. With Google marketing, etc. With Google's own autodownloader program. With Google's Blogger platform likely targeting bloggers to get special blog-related apps on Google.

And, on the business side, Google may push for a package of Google software to be preinstalled on computers.

Wired also disagrees with Godoniz on Chrome vs IE:
It’s an aggressive move destined to put the company even more squarely in the crosshairs of its rival Microsoft, which long ago crushed the most fabled browser of all, Netscape Navigator.

And, it runs JavaScript 10x faster than Firefox or Safari.

Oh, and based on info from Download Safari pages will render correctly in Chrome.

So, the idea of Safari for Windows, at least, should be considered dead.

Sayonara, Steve Jobs, on that baby.

And yet more info on Chrome, specifically in its Terms of Use, indicate Google is intent on becoming more and more of Big Brother all the time.

Given this, I doubt I’ll be any more likely to use Chrome than I will IE8. Indeed, it’s that concern that keeps me from using Google as my RSS reader.

The “Big Brother” worry about Google? Basically, it’s all about the fact that “cloud computing,” at least as Google is now pushing it, represents a loss of control, As John C. Dvorak simply and forcefully details.

In a nutshell, Dvorak says that for some specialized apps, a cloud-based bit of software may well be the superior solution. It’s hard to find what you want as a downloadable app, plus there’s what he calls “nagware”: the update reminders, etc.

Read the whole story for more.

That said, Chrome is NOT necessary, and a cloud-based, cloud-focused or partially cloud-based web browser offers no special convenience.

A pro skeptic on Bruce Ivins and the FBI

(To give you a break from PalinWatch, and on an important subject, to boot.)

First, we still haven’t gotten that “full release of information” from the Eff-Bee-Eye yet, have we?

Survey says: No.

Well, Bob Carroll, creator of Skeptic’s Dictionary, available in continually improving website as well as book form, is doing his best to fill the void.

Here’s his skeptical take on past FBI ineptitude most directly relevant to the Ivins case, or harassment.

First, he notes both polygraphs and criminal profilings so beloved of the Mormons on call (the Hooverites strongly recruit Utah) are pseudoscientific.

Next, let’s not forget lab screwups on DNA, bullet forensics and more.

How long did it take to find Unabomber Ted Kaczynski? Or, how quick to judgment was the FBI on Wen Ho Lee or Richard Jewell? Or Steven Hatfill, for that matter?

Hyperlinks for all of the above, as well as Carroll’s critique of the MSM for not continuing to pull on the thread and get that “full release of information,” are at the link.

Unwelcome ‘Saturday night special’ back for biz travelers

With cuts in routes and grounding of planes forthcoming, it looks like the legacy airlines are bringing back Saturday night stayovers for business class.

And, although oil prices have eased somewhat from midsummer peak, I’m betting the airlines can make this one stick. Southwest is scrubbing a few routes itself, and so will offer less of an option to the legacies.

Cancer appears to start earlier than believed; new stem cell work

It appears would-be cancer cells can “prep themselves,,” so to speak, then remain dormant before metastasizing.

Meanwhile, there’s some new research on cell conversion that may well further stem cell research.

Big Bill Richardson’s dirty green pockets?



It looks like New Mexico’s governor and former presidential candidate isn’t quite such an environmentalist. Or, at least, that is the belief of someone in the Four Corners with a few dollars to blow on a billboard.

In the picture (click to enlarge), PNM is Public Service Company of New Mexico. The San Juan Generating Station is a coal-fired electric plant in the Four Corners area of the state which has seriously dirtied the skies of the state in it’s 30-plus years of history. The Four Corners Power Plant, built way back in 1963 and operated by PNM and Arizona Public Service, with Southern California Edison part owner of later units. was part of the 1950s deal that flooded Glen Canyon with Lake Powell in exchange for not flooding Dinosaur National Monument. A third coal-fired plant, Desert Rock Energy Project, is in the middle of Environmental Protection Agency pre-building review.

Also in the picture, BHP is BHP Billiton, the coal-mining giant that feeds the PNM maw.

The billboard is at the intersection of U.S. 64 and the road to the San Juan plant, just west of Farmington, N.M.

Ironically, or not so ironically for some of us who grew up in the Four Corners and near the Big Rez/Dinetah, the Desert Rock plant is being built under the auspices of Navajo tribe, through its Dine Power Authority. So much for claims of hozho and the Beauty Walk, eh?

Sithe Global is the builder of the alleged clean somewhat-less-dirty coal-fired plant. The reason it wants to build on the rez? No state environmental oversight.

At the same time, as that is about as close as you will get to a “Third World” country in the United States, many Navajos want the money from the plant.

As for Desert Rock’s customers, or potential ones, PNM denies it will buy electricity from Desert Rock, but a lot of people are skeptical. And, Big Bill is allegedly firmly opposed to Desert Rock (he has had a good record on oil-and-gas related environmental issues), but people are skeptical about that, too.

Read Desert Rock Blog, written by Navajos from Burnham, N.M., near ground zero, for much more.

How serious is this? After the new plant, in current design, is built, the Four Corners area, the heart of the pristine Colorado Plateau, likely will be an EPA non-attainment area.

Bill, if you are in fact opposing Desert Rock, great. But, crack down on San Uuan, and do what you can on Four Corners.

The laser’s gonna get ya, the laser’s gonna get ya

At least, that’s the Northrop Grumman claim, that we will have military lasers by the end of this year.

Oh, goody; an opening for neocons to claim:
No, really, the next war WILL be different.

That said —

Dear Northrop Grumman:

Can I please borrow one of your lasers for a couple of days in St. Paul, Minn

Look out Florida – and elsewhere – for more hurricanes

Tropical Storm Hanna could graze your east coast as a Cat 1 hurricane tomorrow, followed by Tropical Depression 9 hitting hurricane status east of the Bahamas by early Thursday.

Hurricane experts agree that the hurricane pot is ripe for boiling:
“Normally in an active season, there are bunches of hurricanes and lulls. It just doesn't seem like there's been bunches of lulls. I sure hope we’re not talking (hurricanes) Christmas Eve,” said meteorology professor Hugh Willoughby at Florida International University.

Experts expect five named storms, four of them hurricanes, for September

The first Executive Branch minority

Not to lessen the accomplishment of Barack Obama, or Cynthia McKinney, but don’t forget about Herbert Hoover’s vice president, Charles Curtis. (Trivia: Curtis was also the last president or vice president with facial hair.)

Move over Firefox AND IE

Google is coming after both of you with its own web browser. Right now, it’s only available in a PC version, with Apple and Linux apps to come. Google has had an ad partnership with Firefox, to take on Microslob’s Internet browser presence indirectly, but apparently decided it was time to strike.

That said, per the story, I didn’t even know Google HAD its own IM.

At the same time, contra the Microslob spokesperson touting IE8 (in beta now), given how slow IE7 loads pages, AND given that it has fewer features in many ways than FF2, let alone 3, I ain’t downloading IE 8. Beyond that, IE8 is supposed to use twice as much memory as IE7, itself a memory hog.

Meanwhile, Chrome has seriously souped up JavaScript speed.

Faster, especially much faster page loads mean it can load more complex ads, as well as webpages, which means more ad dinero, as CNET explains.

Over at The Dallas Morning News, Victor Godinez says this could be the Firefox death knell.

A full $56 million of Mozilla’s $66 million of revenue last year came from its Google partnership, which ends in 2011.

Meanwhile, Mozilla’s CEO whistles in the dark with this comment:
As much as anything else, it’ll mean there’s another interesting browser that users can choose.

I disagree with Godinez, though, that Chrome will ONLY hit Firefox. (He claims that IE 8 won’t be hurt because many businesses require its use, and many home users aren’t aware of other browsers.

Victor, this is Google we're talking about. With Google marketing, etc. With Google's own autodownloader program. With Google's Blogger platform likely targeting bloggers to get special blog-related apps on Google.

And, on the business side, Google may push for a package of Google software to be preinstalled on computers.

Wired also disagrees with Godoniz on Chrome vs IE:
It’s an aggressive move destined to put the company even more squarely in the crosshairs of its rival Microsoft, which long ago crushed the most fabled browser of all, Netscape Navigator.

And, it runs JavaScript 10x faster than Firefox or Safari.

Beyond that, Mozilla itself has a services suite in the works that could compete with some Google apps. And, per Google’s IM, Business Week notes that a number of Google products lost steam soon after launch.

Oh, and based on info from Download Safari pages will render correctly in Chrome.

So, the idea of Safari for Windows, at least, should be considered dead.

Sayonara, Steve Jobs, on that baby.

And yet more info on Chrome, specifically in its Terms of Use, indicate Google is intent on becoming more and more of Big Brother all the time.

Given this, I doubt I’ll be any more likely to use Chrome than I will IE8. Indeed, it’s that concern that keeps me from using Google as my RSS reader.

The “Big Brother” worry about Google? Basically, it’s all about the fact that “cloud computing,” at least as Google is now pushing it, represents a loss of control, As John C. Dvorak simply and forcefully details.

In a nutshell, Dvorak says that for some specialized apps, a cloud-based bit of software may well be the superior solution. It’s hard to find what you want as a downloadable app, plus there’s what he calls “nagware”: the update reminders, etc.

Read the whole story for more.

That said, Chrome is NOT necessary, and a cloud-based, cloud-focused or partially cloud-based web browser offers no special convenience.

So, yes, Mozilla should have an eye to its financial future. But, no, it shouldn’t be sweating bullets right now.

September 02, 2008

Russia punks EU on Georgia

The European Union has backed off the idea of economic sanctions against Russia over the Georgian provocation.

The economic keystone of the EU, Germany, is still opposed.

And, although the EU and NATO are separate critters, this just underscores further the stupidity of both Obama-Biden and McCain-Palin (for now — does she even know where Georgia is??) of offering Georgia NATO membership.

Palin roundup — Day 4 follies

Wasilla PD was on chopping block; pastor problem; son/grandson issue still in the air; more on Day 4.

First, if McCain was looking for Hillary Clinton PUMA votes, via Poltico, the wacky cover and cover story of Us magazine can’t help.

She ran for mayor of Wasilla with a campaign pledge to get rid of its police department.

Palin, as mayor of Wasilla, also was a tax hiker (how’s that GOP red-meaters?) and would-be book banner who once faced as a recall drive.

She’s got a “Jeremiah Wright” history of apocalyptic pastors, including Ed Kalnins, who said:
Critics of President Bush will be banished to hell; questioned whether people who voted for Sen. John Kerry in 2004 would be accepted to heaven; and said that Jesus “operated from that position of war mode.”


In the same story, Palin herself, despite her earlier-demonstrated ignorance of the Iraq surge, claims the war is a “task that is from God.”

Sid Bluementhal says the pick was McCain as maverick of a sort — McCain’s pushback against Rove and Kid Karl’s Romney push. (This shows just how much of a politically tin ear Rove has, despite his alleged political campaign genius.)

An Anchorage TV station claims to have thoroughly refuted the rumor that Trig Palin is Sarah’s grandson, not son. It seems the station has done so, nonetheless, as I’ve already noted, she’s gun-shy on the issue.

That said, the “pregnancy timetable,” with Bristol now pregnant for the first/second time, does NOT preclude a first pregnancy at all. I’m only 11 months older than my sister, for example.

And, that all said, the rumor did supposedly originate on Kos. It’s funny to see Kossacks on HuffPost claim they’ve been “infiltrated” by Freeper-types. (For that matter, the first links to it I saw were NOT on Kos, and did not link back to Kos.)

Finally, on Trig’s date and place of birth, this certainly appears to be a true webpage of Mat-Su Regional Medical Center births, for April 18, 2008. See who’s NOT listed?

And, there are no births listed a day to either side of April 18.

Refuting some claims from Huff Post’s assertion it is her baby:

A baby shower means nothing. (Of course, it sounds like a McCain flak wrote the whole post in question, which I'm not going.) Nor does the date it was held. Tell me when it was scheduled, and then we’ll talk.

Or, post a birth certificate copy on a website for us to look at.

This is 2008. The state of Alaska either has birth certificate copies as PDFs, Governor, or somebody on your staff can PDF a paper copy in 30 seconds.

Meanwhile, Palin continues to lie about family privacy issues, especially as associated with politics:
On Monday, Sarah Palin issued a statement about Bristol's pregnancy saying that she and her husband, Todd, are “proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby.” The statement noted that Bristol and Johnston will marry, and asked that the media “respect our daughter and Levi's privacy as has always been the tradition of children of candidates.”

That’s not been true for more than a century, ever since Teddy Roosevelt, and the press commenting on Alice’s smoking at the White House. There’s no “tradition” at all. Read Alice’s Wiki bio for more on her runabout life.

The MSM is starting to ask the “Eagleton question” about Palin being pulled from the ticket. True, North Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said he’d heard no such removal talk. But, the MSM is asking the right question.

And, speaking of that, Intrade is offering about a 12 percent shot she will withdraw/be pushed out.

I don’t know if this means the whole conservative bloviosphere is swinging into line, but Byron York gives the McCain campaign Palin a halfway pass, at least, on its claims of “thorough vetting.”

Schmuck Talk’s staff is keeping the Ice Queen of the North on ice with the media. Probably to coordinate stories on the (non) vetting process, etc., amongst other things.

And, speaking of that, if you want to help Schmuck Daddy vet his “partner and soulmate,” vet Sarah Palin yourself!

We’re at day four and counting (not counting last Friday). Will she beat Tom Eagleton’s 17 days of fame?

Apologies for initially transgendering Trig Palin in my subheader; I apparently was thinking about Sarah Palin's daughter, Bristol.

Alt-med quackwatch — brain damage

Promotors of alternative “medicine” programs like to trout out the “what’s the harm” line as the ultimate fallback in touting the most extreme fad diets, supplements and therapies.

Well, sometimes something like this is the harm indeed.

Dawn Page suffered permanent brain damage, including epileptic-like seizures and memory loss, after following a “nutritionist’s” advice to go on a high-water, ultra-low-sodium diet.

(That said, Page is lucky she’s still alive. Hyponatremia kills young male hikers of the Grand Canyon and mid-level marathoners, among others, every year, due to hyponatremia induced by water intoxication. (Yes, there really is such a thing.)

And, the alt-med plank of the Green Party platform is a major reason why I keep my political independence, although I will vote for Green candidates.

Update I’m boosting the following addition from a reply I made in comments to Amy, who said a “trained nutritionist” never would have done something like this.

Ahh, but there’s the rub, Amy... unlike with state medical boards here in the U.S., or the national equivalent in the U.K., what professional body determines who is, or is not, a “trained” nutritionist?

And, I believe the answer to that is ... none. Or, if there allegedly are such bodies, they’re not governmentally-based and governmentally-sanctioned, but rather are “insider” organizations.

Update: Further follow-up thoughts, based on continued comment-box dialogue with Amy:

1. We have an issue of semantics that I believe is often supported, as obfuscating, by “nutritionists.”

I don’t consider a clinical/registered dietitian a “nutritionist,” and I don’t think such persons bill themselves as such.

So, to claim that “nutritionists” are credentialed, or regulated, from where I sit, is simply not true.

For instance, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation oversees “dietitians,” among occupations, but has no listing among regulated business occupations for “nutritionist.”

That said, here in Texas, state Rep. Bill Zedler has submitted bills for licensure/regulation of nutritionists the last two sessions, but they have both died in committee.

Beyond that, there is of course a difference between mere licensure and regulation.

“Supplements” are licensed, but have little regulation beyond having to put a “not proved by FDA” disclaimer on their outlandish claims, for example.

And, of course, in that same vein, “credentials” is different than licensing and regulation, anyway. Palmer College of Chiropractic, for example, provides “credentials.” Other than funding lobbying in statehouses, though, it has nothing to do with licensing and regulations.


So, no, I don’t believe I painted this issue with too broad a brush.

Most serious hurricane season since 2005?

Take a look at the picture at Weather Underground.

Hanna’s projected track has been revised westward. First, it will cover more of Florida, still largely soggy from TS Fay. Then, it’s going to go up the whole East Coast, something we’ve not had in a few years.

Ike will hit at least Category 2 hurricane status, and somewhat follow Gustav’s mid-life course, except going north of Hispaniola and Cuba, rather than south.

And, another depression has now been named, as Tropical Storm Josephine. Too early to say much about it.

Whose baby are you holding, Bristol Palin?



Just asking. Asking your Dazed and Confused momma, really.

Cindy-Laura Prozac and Claymation makeup questions



Which one of the two has a higher dosage?

Which one trowels it on thicker?


Free polls from Pollhost.com
Who is more medded up, and more made up?
Cindy takes more psychotropic meds but trowels on less makeup

Cindy gobbles more Prozac and trowels it on thicker

Laura pops more psychopills but uses less L'Oreal

Laura uses more of both momma's little helpers and a milf's little helpers

  



Palin in Smilin’ Jack Abramoff web

The hits just keep on coming for Schmuck Talk Express™’s Schmuckette.

The latest? Her connection to convicted influence-peddling felon Jack Abramoff.
As mayor of Wasilla, Palin oversaw the hiring of Robertson, Monagle & Eastaugh, an Anchorage-based law firm with close ties to Alaska's most senior Republicans: Rep. Don Young and Sen. Ted Stevens, who was indicted in July on charges of accepting illegal gifts. The Wasilla account was handled by the former chief of staff to Stevens, Steven W. Silver, who is a partner in the firm. …

Other tidbits from the story include how a trip to D.C. became an annual Mecca for money for “Mayor Reform” and other Wasilla officials, netting about $27 million in earmarks over several years. That’s for a town of less than 10,000 people.

And Talking Points Memo spells out the Silver-Abramoff connections.

Keep McCain away from red button

Brave New Films has a fellow Vietnam POW directly saying Schmuck Talk is unfit for the job as Tuesday night’s keynote speaker.
“The world is such a dangerous place and he has shown himself already to be bellicose,” Phillip Butler says. "John McCain is not somebody that I would like to see with his finger near the red button.”

At the same time, this is Reason No. 323 Obama was stupid to push MoveOn to fold up its 527 operations for the duration of the presidential campaign.

It sounds like the type of hard-hitting work MORE independent political organizations should be doing. And publicizing, if not doing themselves.

But, Obama told MoveOn he wants to play PPP (Post-Partisan Politics™) and it needed to be quiet.

And, Eli and staff were dumb enough to agree.

GOP — the gang that can’t even speak straight

Rudy Giuliani is out as Tuesday night’s keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention.

And, Der Gobernator won’t be speaking, either. Instead, Fred Thompson will be channeling him:
According to Fox News, Thompson will be speaking in the slot previously reserved for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA), who is no longer attending the convention. Schwarzenegger’s original speech has been “amended and edited in Fred Thompson’s voice.”

So, Fred Thompson is now Shirley MacLaine?

Death comes for the primate

So, do primates have emotions? I don’t argue that at all.

Do they process death the same way we do?

Appearances aside, even the photo evidence of The New York Times aside, probably not.

Call the gorilla mother’s actions of carrying around the body of a dead “toddler” for three-four days “reflex” more than emotional acting out.

That’s not to say there’s not “something” happening, but it’s doubtful its anything like human grief processing.

That’s not to say no “higher” animal has an abstract understanding of death.

As the story points out, elephants clearly do have something that appears to be an abstract reflecting on death of other members of their species.

Japan the new Italy of politics

With 10 prime ministers in just 15 years and now slooking for No. 11 with the surprise resignation of Yasuo Fukada. Maybe, finally, a Socialist or Socialist-coalition government will come to power in Japan and break the LDP monopoly.

September 01, 2008

Latest Palin folly – Pledge of Allegiance

Per information she provided on a 2006 Alaskan gubernatorial candidates’ questionnaire, she thinks:

The Founding Fathers wrote the Pledge of Allegiance.
11. Are you offended by the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?
SP: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance.

And, I’m sure Peter and Paul spoke in the King’s English and wrote the King James Version, too.

Beyond that, it’s interesting to note that on many of the questions, she’s the only one who bothered to even reply!

Anal-ness? High suck-up level even for a Religious Righters?

To me, it's another sign she is over her head as governor, let alone vice presidential nominee. Nobody else was so anal as to be minutely worried about all those questions, despite the number people competing in a packed race.

Oh, and somebody better alert her boyfriend John McCain. She opposes the extension of gambling.

Proof that A-Rod disappears in the ninth inning

We all know A-Rod sucks in the clutch

And now, Jeff Passan spells it out in 100-point stats, not agate.

Well, A-Rod, your sugar dad Georgie-o signed you for a 10-year renewal a year ago, before son Hank could have him ruled non compos mentis, chloroformed, or whatever.

Looks like a shotgun wedding of nine more years of hell, unless Hank will pay about half your contract to some other team in the trade.

The Palin baby, Palin grandbaby and privacy – this should be an issue

Let’s cut past this BULLSHIT line of “privacy” that Sarah Palin is spouting about her daughter’s first, or second pregnancy.

First, when did the Religious Right part of the GOP start caring about people’s privacy, whether on reproductive choice, gay/lesbian sexuality, or even what movie you or I want to rent or download, in terms of sexual content?

They have MADE this a non-privacy issue, even if B.O. and his Kumbaya post-partisan-political world (Obama PPP in future references) will give her and Bristol a kid-gloves pass, in all likelihood.

A smart Democratic presidential candidate, or whomever, would say something like this:

We will agree that Bristol Palin’s pregnancy should be a matter of Palin family privacy as soon as Sarah Palin individually and the Republican Party collectively agree that one’s personal sexual choices, personal reproductive choices, and personal video viewing choices for 300 million Americans should be a matter of their privacy.

Don’t hold your breath.


But, he (and his blogging defenders at sites like TPM who accuse me of a National Review mentality) are wrong, if for no other reason than reversing Clauswitz and saying that American politics is war by other means.

Unfortunately, quasiliberal bloggers like Steve Benen at Washington Monthly are falling for the line that this should not be an issue.

Second, the gov brought up daughter Bristol’s first/second pregnancy on her own, in response to the rumors that the Gov’s alleged fifth child is actually her grandchild via Palin. As I’ve said before, the Gov had reason to do so, to keep her Good Mommyhood Seal of Approval™ from the Religious Right intact.

The fact she brought it up on her own means she’s gun-shy on this issue.

If MoveOn hadn’t been turds in a toilet and actually agreed to B.O.’s request to shut down 527 operations, we’d already be getting punches landed.

Third, beyond the idea that chances of a Down syndrome child increase with maternal age, the Gov. has otherwise addressed exactly none of the empirical issues that led to his speculation in the first place.

And, given my skeptical left-liberal take on BOTH parties of the two-party duopoly, this is a fitting post for No. 4,000 at this blog.

Update: More fun – a Palin spokesperson didn’t even know about Bristol’s pregnancy just two days ago.

Beyond being “more fun,” it would also be more confirmation of a motive the Gov. would have if she has a grandbaby already instead of a fifth daughter. And, that motive would be that she’s got practice at this type of deception, as well as shame over her daughter’s pregnancy.

Look out Florida!

Tropical Storm Hanna could graze your east coast as a Cat 1 hurricane tomorrow, followed by Tropical Depression 9 hitting hurricane status east of the Bahamas by early Thursday.

Siberian ocean is farting methane

Climatologists have worried that thawing tundra/permafrost would release methane, or frozen methane hydrates in northern waters, and thus cause an acceleration feedback on global warming. Well, it’s now documented off Siberia.

Albright gets Georgia wrong too

What is it with the growing parade of Democrats stupid enough to want to make Georgia a NATO member?

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright combines that with illogic. She chides Condoleezza Rice for not traveling to Moscow, and from there goes on to say she would have done that to give Moscow some security assurances, while still pushing for Georgia as a NATO member.

Reason 1,007 to vote Green instead of Democrat: The duopoly’s foreign policy ideas.

Did NOLA dodge a bullet?

Gustav downgraded to Category 2 just before landfall. (But, remember, Katrina did, too. The story of a Category 3 Katrina hitting New Orleans isn’t true, especially out of the mouth of Bush’s FEMA or the Army Corps of Engineers, which had its funding for levee repairs cut by both Bush AND Clinton administrations. (Don’t forget that.)

That said, back to Gustav. The max storm surge appears it will stay below 15 feet, which means levees will not be topped by a surge taller then them. That said, some could still be breached, of course. And, Gustav has widened, along with the bit of degredation.

Did NOLA dodge a bullet?

Gustav downgraded to Category 2 just before landfall. (But, remember, Katrina did, too. The story of a Category 3 Katrina hitting New Orleans isn’t true, especially out of the mouth of Bush’s FEMA or the Army Corps of Engineers, which had its funding for levee repairs cut by both Bush AND Clinton administrations. (Don’t forget that.)

That said, back to Gustav. The max storm surge appears it will stay below 15 feet, which means levees will not be topped by a surge taller then them. That said, some could still be breached, of course.

Obama semi-props — Sciencedebate 2008 questions answered

The folks behind Sciencedebate 2008 have been trying, with zero success, to get a presidential campaign debate specifically geared toward science and technology issues.

While that hasn’t happened, or, to put it in the active voice, while Barack Obama and John McCain have both refused to commit to such a debate, Obama gets semi-props for answering SD 2008’s 14 questions.

A few highlights:

1. On global warming, Obama claims he will have a market-based carbon cap-and-trade program that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
That is the benchmark that many climatologists believe is necessary to keep global warming from being truly bad. Whether it is achievable, especially with as many voluntary approaches to different parts of the issue as Obama proposes, is another question.

2. On Question 3, re Washington investing in alt energy research, he says, First, I have proposed programs that, taken together, will increase federal investment in the clean energy research, development, and deployment to $150 billion over ten years.
That's TO, not BY. Going by what he counts as clean energy research, what are the current numbers? I have asked Otto for that info.

3. He proposed to do this in part by: “Increasing new building efficiency by 50 percent and existing building efficiency by 25 percent over the next decade, and taking other steps that will reduce the energy intensity of our economy 50 percent by 2030.”
Given that building codes are a local issue, the role of the federal government in this is minimal, and this sounds like a red herring.

4. Also on Question 3, Obama IS OK w/nuclear power, as long as a number of obvious issues are addressed, and gets a bonus point on that in my book.

5. On Question 4, education, I strongly believe we need a 200-day or longer school year, and that not having that school year is the No. 1 reason Western European and southeast Asian developed nations continue to show themselves more educated than our students, with the cumulative additional school days showing in a wider knowledge gap the older children get. It's sad that Obama says nothing about this; it's said that almost nobody in our country says anything about this.

Gustav update: NOLA will get hit bad, it appears

Location, tide, high storm surge could collude

As of late last night, it looked to me like the eye was set to make landfall somewhere between Morgan City and Houma, close enough to New Orleans to do serious damage with the trailing east-side winds.

Also, landfall will be near high tide, with a spring tide due to the moon near new.

A storm surge of more than 15 feet is possible. Say goodbye to your westside levees.

So, if it is as destructive as Katrina, should we (on the federal dime, to any degree), rebuild NOLA? I say no.

Beyond that, to riff on the other geographically-focused national disaster to which parts of America are prone, we don’t have federal earthquake insurance. It’s high time for Washington to get out of flood insurance, IMO, for both fiscal and environmental reasons.

At the least, require all rebuilding in NOLA, as part of federal flood insurance checks, to be done above sea level. If that means much of NOLA becomes a giant cow pasture, so be it.

New Orleans is effed, just effed, it seems — DON’T rebuild

Here’s the Gustav potential storm surge and here’s how vulnerable a worst-case scenario is. (Via Wired.)

And, with the latest projections being that Gustav will still be Category 4 at landfall, and will hit just west enough of the Crescent City itself to give New Orleans the full-on brunt of its more dangerous east-side winds, this is all likely to happen.

And, with us about at new moon, rather than first or last quarter, high tide will probably run pretty strong, to boot.

Soo… this is not a black/white, liberal/conservative, rich/poor or Bush FEMA/Clinton FEMA issue, at all, but…

We should NOT rebuild New Orleans.

PERIOD.

Especially if global warming and climate change presages longer-lasting hurricanes and a longer-lasting season, we should not rebuild New Orleans. Because, at the same time it faces these climate-change waters, the city itself continues to sink from groundwater pumping, and continues to lose wetland space in large part due to loss of siltation from the channelization of the Mississippi.

It’s time to move, and time to move on.

Beyond that, to riff on the other geographically-focused national disaster to which parts of America are prone, we don’t have federal earthquake insurance. It’s high time for Washington to get out of flood insurance, IMO, for both fiscal and environmental reasons.

At the least, require all rebuilding in NOLA, as part of federal flood insurance checks, to be done above sea level. If that means much of NOLA becomes a giant cow pasture, so be it.

August 31, 2008

Palin-Eagleton news analysis comparison details

In earlier blog posts here and here, I argue that John McCain’s choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential nominee is not just his “Dan Quayle” choice, but that a more apt comparison might be Tom Eagleton.

Who is Tom Eagleton, you might ask?

George McGovern’s original choice as running mate in 1972.

The story of Eagleton’s brief moment in the limelight as vice-presidential candidate is likely not well known to anybody under 45 who’s not a student of American political history, although it’s more than interesting enough in its own right. But, as can be seen even from his Wiki bio page, it’s full of parallels to Sarah Palin’s selection.

(Note: I forgot to qualify myself on my knowledge of this when I first wrote this post. As a 44-year-old former child news junkie, 1972 is the first presidential campaign I remember. That is why the Eagleton parallels came to mind without having to go to Wiki.)

Compared to the 1988 in which Dan Quayle was nominated, 1972 was a far more turbulent year. As this election year is in part about how to deal with the so-called “Global War on Terror” in the future (though how stark of a difference Obama and McCain will present is an open question, given that both want to foolishly put more troops into Afghanistan and both are going Cold Warrior on Georgia), 1972 was a year of referendum about the Vietnam War.

There’s another potential difference.

In 1988, George H.W. Bush surely could have had a more “name” vice president. Many Republicans broached the idea that Bush would choose primary opponent Bob Dole. Certainly, Bush would not have been turned down by an A-list Republican, with the possible exception of a bitter Dole. (For example, if Bush wanted somebody younger, but with star power, Jack Kemp would have easily trumped Quayle.)

That said, McGovern was rejected by a number of top-tier Democrats in 1972. Even Birch Bayh, who in 1972 was still arguably a bit less than USDA Prime, turned him down. And, after Eagleton eventually withdrew himself under pressure, the Kennedy family tried to discourage family in-law Sargent Shriver from accepting McGovern’s nomination.

There, too, we may have a parallel to 2008. No leaks have come out of insider GOP circles, yet. But, I would think that some political analysts are already wondering if McCain got a few “nyets” before tapping Palin. Some may already be trying to get some information on that, such as GOP insider columnist Bob Novak. I’d love to see if he has any scoop on this.

Yet other parallels abound.

Eagleton, like Palin, appears to have been thinly, even very thinly, vetted for the position. (Walt Monegan, the former Alaska public safety commissioner allegedly fired by Palin for personal grudge reasons, says McCain vetters never contacted him.)

The relatively thin vetting of Eagleton failed to reveal his three psychiatric hospitalizations for depression from 1960-1966. It also failed to reveal that he had undergone electroconvulsive therapy, or electroshock as it was commonly known then, twice as part of his treatment. As Ken Kesey’s novel, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” had been out a decade, public attitudes toward depression in general, and ECT in specific, were highly negative.

It remains to be seen how firmly McCain will stand behind Palin. McGovern famously said he was behind Eagleton “1,000 percent” just a few days before his campaign pressured Eagleton to withdraw his name from consideration. That, in turn, depends on how much blowback he gets both from within the GOP and from right-wing bloviators.
Within the halfway more sensical portion of the conservative bloviosphere, Kathryn Jean Lopez has already said she won’t vote for a McCain-Palin ticket. How much that spreads within the Corner at National Review, let alone beyond, remains to be seen.

But with talk of how Palin trumps Obama on “executive experience” (she trumps McCain, too!) already spreading, it appears much of the conservative blovio-sphere is going to drink the Schmuck Talk Express™ Kool-Aid, sign on the dotted line, etc.

Eagleton’s vice-presidential selection had a shelf life of 17 days. Pundits, political analysts and news writers and editors may want to start marking red “Xs” on their calendars.

Perhaps it should better be said that Palin should be McCain’s Eagleton, rather than McCain’s Quayle. Time — 17 days, or less — will tell.

DNC wrapup — yes, many WERE fooled again

While the Sarah Palin show has been Terrell Owens-“getcha popcorn”-level entertainment, as well as seriousness, let us NOT forget that last week’s DNC in Denver was NOT a “city on a hill,” either.

Let’s start with that, namely, Democrats’ exploitation last Thursday of “ordinary people” who don’t know just how much Democrats, as well as Republicans, have screwed them over in the past 15 years. (Small comeuppance is financial analysts, lawyers, MSM media and more now starting to face the Wrath of Outsourcing themselves.)

After that, we had Dick Durbin’s delicious interlude of hypocrisy, in which he tried to tell us with a straight face that B.O. would protect (what’s left of) our civil liberties. Sure.

Thursday, was capped by Obama’s acceptance speech, thin gruel to a progressive civil libertarian. No mention of Gitmo, no mention of the (possibly) illegality of Iraq, beyond its stupidity, and certainly no mention of many of Bush-Cheney’s illegalities on the home front, such as the U.S. District Attorney firings (and I’m not even talking FISA).

And, I haven’t even touched on the sudden Democratic Thursday, was capped by Obama’s acceptance speech, Cold Warrior fondness for Georgia.

Before all that, we had the Tuesday night follies of Blue Dog payola and Passive Pelosi™ bullshitting to start the DNC on the right track.

The result was that Dennis Kucinch’s “Wake Up, America” speech really should have been called Wake Up, Democrats.

Just some reminders that a Green vote is NOT a wasted vote.

Don’t ever let ANYBODY tell you your vote is “wasted” without challenging that. It’s an attempt at co-option, an attempt at playing Democrats’ version of the “politics of fear,” and a discounting of your political opinion.