Pony Party: Seattle-est Edition

I must be a west coast person deep in my soul, although I have never been to NYC. I just liked the vibe of Seattle in the same way I loved San Diego and San Franciso. Funny how I like places where the house prices are out of this world and I live in a place where housing is cheap. Of course, the west coast would be even further from my family than I already am.

Funny thing about taking pictures. Sometimes you get exactly what you were hoping for. There are the happy accident pictures, there are pictures you thought would turn out in a certain way and did not. In my mind, I am always searching to capture a particular moment, a piece of the universe I am passing through, because one day that piece of the universe might be gone, and I will have at least witnessed that it was so.

The Seattle Aquarium…

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Some lovely plant life at the greenhouse in Volunteer Park…

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One of my personal favorite snaps….

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The day is done….

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The last three pictures were taken on the beach on the Olympic Peninsula…

Well, hope to see you again Seattle..

Please don’t rec pony party, but do feel free to share any of your own pictures, and check out the offerings on DD..

The One

(Updated from one year ago…)


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketTrinity: I know why you’re here, Dharmaniac. I know what you’ve been doing… why you hardly sleep, why you live alone, and why night after night, you sit by your computer. You’re looking for him. I know because I was once looking for the same thing. And when he found me, he told me I wasn’t really looking for him. I was looking for an answer. It’s the question that drives us, Dharmaniac. It’s the question that brought you here. You know the question, just as I did.

Will He Run?

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket enter site Morpheus: We don’t know who struck first, us or them. But we do know it was them that scorched the sky.
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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketMorpheus: The Matrix is a system, Dharmaniac. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters, The Democratic Leadership. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketMorpheus: Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain. But you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life. That there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketAgent Smith: I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planetPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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go Al Gore’s phone rings, late at night…
Al: Hello?
Morpheus: Hello, Al. Do you know who this is?
Al: Morpheus?
Morpheus: Yes. I’ve been looking for you, Al. I don’t know if you’re ready to see what I want to show you, but unfortunately, you and I have run out of time. They’re coming, Al, and I don’t know what they’re going to do to the planet.
Al: Who’s coming?
Morpheus: Stand up and see for yourself.
Al: What, right now?
Morpheus: Yes, now.

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketMorpheus: I imagine that right now, you’re feeling a bit like Alice. Hmm? Tumbling down the rabbit hole?
Al: You could say that.
Morpheus: I see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically, that’s not far from the truth. Do you believe in fate, Al?
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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket enter site Morpheus: What are you waiting for? You’re faster than this. Don’t think you are, know you are. Come on.Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth.
Al: What truth?
Spoon boy: There is no spoon.
Al: There is no spoon?
Spoon boy: Then you’ll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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Trinity: What’s he doing?
Morpheus: He’s beginning to believe
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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketOracle: OK, now I’m supposed to say, “Hmm, that’s interesting, but…” then you say…
AL: …”but what?”
Oracle: But… you already know what I’m going to tell you.
acquistare viagra generico 50 mg consegna rapida a Milano AL: I’m The One!

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AL: I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid… you’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. I’m going to hang up this phone, and then I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.

Saturday Night Bike Blogging: Legal Cycle Commuting

After a fortnight hiatus, I’m back with another Saturday Night Bike Blog … as always, this is a cycling open thread as well as a place to talk about whatever issue leaps into my head as I recover from a hard week of cycle commuting.

And a hard week of cycle commuting it was … I was called each day this week, and on Thursday evening I hit a pothole and bent my rear wheel and one of the stays for the rear wheel, so I struggled getting to work on the old 3-Speed Schwinn … with the bottom gear not working until I fixed it up before heading home, and having to stop and adjust the rear tire which worked its way off true (and I had a frission of fear that it was my second bent wheel in as many trips).

So the topic today, obviously, is the legalities of cycling. In response to ???, once I have everything fixed up, maybe I’ll talk about equipment, but I don’t want to jinx nothing.

Where can you ride legally, and on roads that you can ride on legally, how do you ride legally? This is a state by state issue, but, fortunately, there are online resources to work out the situation in your state. A major compendium is made available courtesy of MassBike: The Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, with their State Bike Laws link page. However, be aware that the list of links was put together some time ago, and some State Department’s of Transportation, etc., have reorganized their sites since then, leaving a number of bad links.

http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=online-propecia-consultation Riding Safely

Riding within your rights is one thing … riding safely is another. So, first I want to stress that safe cycling requires more than source site just abiding by the traffic laws of your state. http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=acquisto-cialis-generico-pagamento-alla-consegna However, obeying the traffic laws of your state is a part of riding safely. Indeed, in Ken Kifer’s How to Ride in Traffic page, it is the first in the list of five points:

  •   1. Obey the traffic laws.
  •   2. Keep alert at all times.
  •   3. Be visible day and night.
  •   4. Take the least traveled way.
  •   5. Keep the bike in good repair.

While I have put in a thousand miles this year on cycle commuting, I am confident that Ken Kifer has lapped me several times over as a cyclist riding in traffic, so I am going to defer to him on these five points … click through and read his Riding Safely in Traffic page, and then come back here.

No, wait, I really mean it. At least half of you did not … oh, well, I guess its your skull. One last chance to click through? OK, a few more of you did … don’t say I didn’t try.

Your Bike Is A Vehicle

For most of this, I am going to stick to the Ohio Traffic Code, because those are the laws that I have to go by. However, while motor vehicle laws are close to uniform from one state to another, laws faced by cyclists can vary widely from state to state … and even, in some states, from one municipality to another within a state.

The very first thing for a cyclist to wrap their head around is that they are on a vehicle. Normally not a motor vehicle, true, but its a vehicle. Its not a skateboard, its not a pair of roller skates, its not a toy, its a vehicle:

Ohio Revised Code Section 4511

4511.01 DEFINITIONS
Vehicle: Every device used for the purpose of transportation on a highway. Exceptions are motorized wheelchairs, devices powered by overhead electric trolley wires, or which moves exclusively on stationary rails or tracks, and devices other than bicycles moved by human power.

Bicycle: Every device (other than a tricycle designed solely for use as a play vehicle by a child) propelled solely by human power and having either two tandem wheels, or one wheel in the front and two wheels in the rear, any of which measures more than 14 inches in diameter.

So untangling the double negative, that is “not excepting” bicycles. IOW, a bicycle is, in Ohio State Law, the human powered device that is a vehicle when used for the purpose of transportation on a highway.

That means that every law that applies in general to vehicles applies to a bike on the road in the State of Ohio … from the basics like stop signs, riding in the lane with traffic, observing the rules of passing, to things like reckless operation and operating under the influence of alcohol.

In Ohio, there is precisely one exception to the right to use highways:

4511.051 Prohibitions on Use of Freeways – No person shall operate a bicycle within the boundary lines of a freeway except where there exists a facility that is separate from the roadway and shoulders designed and appropriately marked for bicycle use.

… with Freeways defined as:

Freeway: A divided multilane highway with underpasses or overpasses at all crossroads.

The most critical specific law applying to cyclists is the “ride to the right law”:

4511.55 Riding Bicycles – Every person operating a bicycle on a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable obeying all traffic rules applicable to vehicles, and exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction. Persons riding bicycles on a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast in a single lane, except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for that purpose.

This is an important law, and probably the one most often misunderstood. First, it does not require curb-hugging … as far right to the ride side of the roadway as practicable never means putting the right end of your handlebar outside the roadway proper.

Even more critically, as far right as practicable means, in practice, as far right as safely practicable. If safe operation requires cycling further left than the exact right hand of the road, that is the road placement required by the law. Important scenarios to keep in mind are:

  • one, where there are potholes or other obstructions that should be avoided for safe operation;
  • two, when there are cars parallel parked to the side of the road, where safety requires cycling outside the sweep of a suddenly opened car door; and,
  • three, where merging left is required to enter a left turn lane.

Riding Cyclists Off The Road

One area where Ohio State Law is good is in terms of cities and villages passing rules forbidding the use of bikes on the road. It is not uncommon for a reasonably good set of state laws to be over-ridden by restrictive local ordnances that discriminate against cyclists.

This is one of the parts of the relevant code in Ohio that has been recently reformed, AFAIU, and it is now straightforward:

§ 4511.07. Local traffic regulations.

(A) Sections 4511.01 to 4511.78, 4511.99, and 4513.01 to 4513.37 of the Revised Code do not prevent local authorities from carrying out the following activities with respect to streets and highways under their jurisdiction and within the reasonable exercise of the police power:

(8) Regulating the operation of bicycles: provided that no such regulation shall be fundamentally inconsistent with the uniform rules of the road prescribed by this chapter and that no such regulation shall prohibit the use of bicycles on any public street or highway except as provided in section 4511.051 of the Revised Code;
(9) Requiring the registration and licensing of bicycles, including the requirement of a registration fee for residents of the local authority;

(B) No ordinance or regulation enacted under division (A)(4), (5), (6), (7), (8), or (10) of this section shall be effective until signs giving notice of the local traffic regulations are posted upon or at the entrance to the highway or part of the highway affected, as may be most appropriate.

4511.07 A(8) means that villages and cities can permit bikes on their sidewalks, but they cannot restrict bikes to their sidewalks. That is important, since operating a bike on the sidewalk substantially increases the risk of a car-cycle accident.

And while a city or village can require bicycle licensing or registration, 4511.07 B requires that restrictive registration and licensing be posted at the highways entering the city or village, so these requirements cannot be used to trap cyclists who have not read the local ordnances. Add that with the restriction of registration fees to residents, and the costs of signage and free registration for cyclists passing through reduces the temptation to try to prevent cyclists from riding through a city or village.

What About Motorists?

Above and beyond the awareness that a bicycle is actually a vehicle and actually has the right to be on the road, there is an area of the Ohio Revised Code that modifies the rules applying to passing:

§4511.31.  Hazardous zones
(A) The department of transportation may determine those portions of any state highway where overtaking and passing other traffic or driving to the left of the center or center line of the roadway would be especially hazardous and may, by appropriate signs or markings on the highway, indicate the beginning and end of such zones. …

(B) Division (A) of this section does not apply when all of the following apply:
  (1) The slower vehicle is proceeding at less than half the speed of the speed limit applicable to that location.
  (2) The faster vehicle is capable of overtaking and passing the slower vehicle without exceeding the speed limit.
  (3) There is sufficient clear sight distance to the left of the center or center line of the roadway to meet the overtaking and passing provisions of section 4511.29 of the Revised Code, considering the speed of the slower vehicle.

So, basically, if it really is safe to pass a vehicle moving less than half the speed limit, its OK, even if there are double solid lines saying its a no-passing zone.

What’s the Law Where You Live?

I don’t really have the time to work through all fifty states on even these points … not without turning this into “Monday evening, didn’t bother going in to work Bike Blogging”. So I would appreciate it if you’d check out the links to your state in the State Bike Laws link list, and if its gone obsolete we can see if we can hunt down the bike laws in your state.

For those who hit this before night falls, yeah, I know that its not Saturday Night yet, but a good thing about DD is the ability to put a diary up late Saturday Afternoon and have it still be around when Saturday Night rolls around. And I like the Saturday Night version of the name better … so there.

And now, the floor is open.

Four at Four

  1. Lisa Foderaro of The New York Times reports that after four years of war and occupations, some are Old enough now to hear how a parent died at war.

    CamerynLee was only 3 years old when her father, Lance Cpl. Eric J. Orlowski, a Marine Corps reservist, was killed in an accidental shooting during the first days of the Iraq war. Now 8, she is suddenly hungry for information about the man she remembers only in sketchy vignettes…

    In a grim marker of the longevity of the war, children who were infants or toddlers when they lost a parent in action are growing up. In the process, they are coming to grips with death in new, more mature and at times more painful ways — pondering a parent they barely knew, asking pointed questions about the circumstances of the death and experiencing a kind of delayed grief…

    Ms. Kross also showed her daughter a letter that her husband wrote from Kuwait City, which began, “What’s up ladies?” He ended it by telling CamerynLee to be a “good girl for Mommy” and urging Nicole, a former Air Force Reservist, to “take care of yourself.”

    It was the first time that Ms. Kross had shown the letter to CamerynLee, a sprite of a girl with a gentle voice and large blue eyes.

    “I think about him every day,” CamerynLee said as she studied the letter. “I remember cooking with him. He was helping me flip the sausages. I remember him carrying me. I wish he was still alive.”

    I think the impact on these children’s lives is a deep, deep scar America. Not only will these children be forever paying for Bush’s total, endless wars, but they also lost a parent who loved and cared for them. The world becomes a little lonelier when a parent dies, but to lose a father or mother to a war of choice is horrible. How many more mommies and daddies need to die? Why?

  2. According to the Washington Post, More emigrants head east, not west, for a better life. Ariana Eunjung Cha reports:

    For a growing number of the world’s emigrants, China — not the United States — is the land where opportunities are endless, individual enterprise is rewarded and tolerance is universal…

    While China doesn’t officially encourage immigration, it has made it increasingly easy — especially for businesspeople or those with entrepreneurial dreams and the cash to back them up — to get long-term visas. Usually, all it takes is getting an invitation letter from a local company or paying a broker $500 to write one for you.

    There are now more than 450,000 people in China with one- to five-year renewable residence permits, almost double the 230,000 who had such permits in 2003. An additional 700 foreigners carry the highly coveted green cards introduced under a system that went into effect in 2004.

    China’s approach seems to be strategically centered on countries where “long-term contracts for oil, gas and minerals” are possible. Part of the Chinese plans is to “portray” their country “as more open to Islam than other non-Muslim nations.” The Chinese government, over the past 20 years, have allowed mosques and other cultural institutions, including schools, to be rebuilt.

    “In America, for people with my religion there can be a lot of problems,” said Adamou Salissou, 25, from Niger. “The image they have of Muslims is that they are terrorists. Chinese don’t have a problem with religion. They think, ‘It’s your religion and it’s okay.’ “

There’s still more today below the fold, including a story about Iraqi refugees in Kurdistan fearing an attack from Turkey, another episode of “Guns of Greed”, and a http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=pfizer-viagra-50mg bonus story about Neanderthals. Plus, remember Four at Four is, as always an viagra from canada pharmacy OPEN THREAD. See you on the flip side.

  1. Reporting for The Guardian, Michael Howard writes from Anishky, in northern Iraq that Iraqis who fled homes in fear face new terror as Turkey targets PKK rebels. Refugees from across Iraq who fled to the Kurdish north and found relative peace now are are “threatened by shelling and cross-border raids” from Turkey as the country targets the PKK. The Turks are already in Kurdistan though, through a “tacit agreement of the Kurdish authorities. At one end of the Sabna valley, a garrison of Turkish soldiers occupies the Barmani airbase. To the east, in the hilltop town of Amediya, a Turkish tank watches from a small outpost. Their role is to monitor the PKK fighters, though the guerrillas are actually far away.”

    Local authorities in the Kurdistan region said they feared 30,000 people may be displaced if Turkish troops enter across the border. The UN’s high commissioner for refugees, Antonio Guterres, also warned of the danger of a refugee crisis in northern Iraq if Turkey attacks. “The northern governorate, or Kurdistan … has been the most stable area of Iraq,” he said. “It is an area also where you find Iraqis from the south and central Iraq who came seeking security. I can only express our deep concern about any development that might lead to meaningful displacements of population.”

  2. Slim pickin’s for today’s episode of “Guns of Greed”.

    • The AP reports Blackwater Wanted Iraqi Military Planes. “Blackwater USA tried to take at least two Iraqi military aircraft out of Iraq two years ago and refused to give the planes back when Iraqi officials sought to reclaim them, according to a congressional committee investigating the private security contractor. ¶ Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wants the company to provide all documents related to the attempted shipment and to explain where the aircraft are now.” USA Today adds House panel raises new allegation in letter to Blackwater CEO. “The latest letter from Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., to CEO Erik Prince asks about a heretofore unknown aspect of the Democrat’s expansive probe:”

      According to a military official who has contacted the Committee, in 2005 Blackwater attempted to transport at least two Iraqi military aircraft out of lraq. The official stated that the Iraqi Ministry of Defense attempted to reclaim the aircraft, but that Blackwater would not comply. Please provide the Committee with the following information: … All documents related to efforts by Blackwater to remove Iraqi aircraft from Iraq and the current whereabouts of such aircraft.

      R J Hillhouse speculates over at The Spy Who Billed Me, Did Blackwater Steal Iraqi Planes for the CIA? “From time to time, the CIA has special needs for aircraft, particularly for aircraft not typically associated with the US… And the CIA’s Air Branch been known to outsource to Blackwater… If they did indeed take Iraqi military aircraft on behalf of the CIA, don’t expect them to defend themselves. That’s not how things work in the black waters of CIA contracting.”

    • McClatchy – “Blackwater USA is likely to be eased out of its role of guarding U.S. diplomats in Iraq in the aftermath of a shooting last month that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead, U.S. officials said Friday. While no decisions have been finalized, Blackwater’s role in Baghdad is likely to be taken over by one of two other contractors who provide security for the State Department in Iraq, the officials said. They are Triple Canopy and DynCorp International.”

    • Bill Sizemore of The Virginian-Pilot reports that Blackwater warlord Erik Prince looking ahead after media blitz. “Why is Prince now speaking out?” Author Robert Young Pelton “speculated that the State Department, under pressure from the Iraqi government, has signaled to the company that its days in Iraq are numbered… ‘I think he’s given up on the State business,’ Pelton said. ‘I think he got told, ‘You’re outta here,’ and he said, ‘OK, I want to tell my side of the story.'” “Losing the huge State Department contract… would undoubtedly be a blow to Blackwater, but it would not be a death knell.”

    • So how’d the United States wind up with so many mercenaries and other private contractors? In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, author Naomi Klein comments on Outsourcing government.

      Put simply, if any given job can’t be outsourced, it can’t be done.

      This philosophy, so central to the Bush years, explains statistics like this one: In 2003, the U.S. government handed out 3,512 contracts to companies to perform domestic security functions, from bomb detection to data mining. In the 22-month period ending in August 2006, the Homeland Security Department had issued more than 115,000 security-related contracts.

      If government is now an ATM, perhaps the war on terror is best understood not as a war but as a sprawling new economy, one based on continued disaster and instability. In this economy, the Bush team doesn’t run the venture exactly; rather, it plays the role of deep-pocketed venture capitalist, always on the lookout for new security start-ups (overwhelmingly headed by former employees of the Pentagon and Homeland Security). Roger Novak, whose firm invests in homeland security companies, explains it like this: “Every fund is seeing how big the [government] trough is and asking, how do I get a piece of that action?”

  3. Karen Kaplan writing for the Los Angeles Times reports on new research presented in Current Biology. Did Neanderthals natter? “Neanderthals probably had the gift of gab, according to a new study examining a key language gene in the extinct species. Until now, humans were thought to have a unique version of FOXP2, the only gene shown to play a role in language. People who are missing a copy have difficulty with speaking and language comprehension.

    The version of the gene in chimpanzees, our closest living relatives, is different from that of humans in two places. But two Neanderthals who died 43,000 years ago had the same kind of FOXP2 as people alive today”. The study was lead by geneticist Johannes Krause of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

So, what would you say to a Neanderthal if you were to have a conversation with one?

Datamining 2.0 : Where are you from?

I guess fell into the role of dataminer–for a while–until people get bored with it.

Results from, “How old Are you?”

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Opps, Range = 56 years from 22 to 78 that I know of–some people didn’t want to reveal their age; oculus is either very old, or very young (or just modest…Nayh).

Suggestions for the next question:

Where are you from? (RiaD)
How many sibs? (stormchaser)
What’s yer sign? (stormchaser = Smartass)

Please feel free to give me more ideas for upcoming essays.

This week: “Where are you from.”  I will make categories by population and region.  Any suggestions on the poll, or layout, would be appreciated (I don’t think I need a category for Antarctica).

Thanks for all the responses last week.  I hope you enjoy this as well.

P.S.  I should have said, “Where is your home.”

[poll id=”

113

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Lady of War

lady of war t

Hillary Clinton is the new darling of the arms traders, and they are filling her campaign coffers.

http://www.realnews….

Stossel debunks Gore

I posted a similar diary at dailykos so if you don’t want to read this, it is OK.
Stossel diary

(I just got so frustrated with the 300 to 1150 characters thing….it took me an hour to figure it out!)

Last night, I watched John Stossel on 20/20. I hadn’t watched 20/20 in a long time, now I remember why!

John Stossel says the Global Warming is fear mongering! That there are lots of “scientists” out there who claim there is no problem. He even has four, count them, four “scientists” who say they disagree with the research on global warming. And well they should. They are being paid by Exxon and other oil companies to say so. John Christy and Roy Spenser both winners of the NASA Medal for Exceptional Achievement(is that like a Nobel?)are two of the deniers on Stossel. They appeared  as climate scientists…except they do no research…they work for the CATO Instiute in Washington. There seems to be a huge network of organizations in Washington in which all that is done is to debunk global warming and Al Gore and to filter the news and direct our opinions to what they want us to believe. So much for “talking points”! No wonder all the neocons are on the same page all the time!

Some of Christy’s more famous lines are: “It is our great fortune that Carbon Dioxide is not a Pollutant.” and “Half the snow was gone when Hemmingway wrote ‘The Snows of Kilamanjaro”. What a scientist!

Greenpeace has a really good site that exposes the web of political thought control that goes on in our country so go to Exxonsecrets.org for a really eyeopening series of links and interactive charts with Bios of all these “scientists” like Senator Inhofe who know so much about climate change.

Two other “scientists” of the our on Stossel were Tim Bell, a retired professor at the University of Winnepeg with the first Canadian PhD in Climatology and Paul Reiter, Director of the Pasteur Institute in France, specialist in Infectious disease(malaria) and insects. Neither one is really a climatologist and it is questionable as to what research they have done concerning global warming.

As “stars” of “The Great Global Warming Swindle”, the right’s response to Al Gore, they have cachet with Stossel but no real substance. No big research findings, no original papers that are peer reviewed, just commentaries and editorials…kinda like me! Does that make me an expert? Maybe Stossel will interview me? Better yet, maybe he’ll pay me!

Anyway, all of these deniers receive money from various oil companies, Exxon and Shell, and Phillip Morris. But, obviously, that doesn’t influence their agenda as Roy Spenser says: “I was accused by Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki of being paid by oil companies. That is a lie. Apparently he thinks that if the fossil fuel companies pay you have an agenda.” So that puts any notion of influence to rest!

Stossel just does not do any research. he uses innuendo and half-truth to give him a rationale for his indignation. In fact all the stories on 20/20 last night were a waste. I guess it is more magazine than news since there is no hard evidence, just opinion. In fact, 20/20 Fear Mongers.

Don’t let the obvious — and deadly — failures become triumphs.

(Hawkwisdom! @6:15 – promoted by buhdydharma )

I just frontpaged a short piece over on ePluribus Media called “About that weapons cache…” — Good News and Bad News, but it’s important enough to repeat in full here…

Great news, folks! This just in from Reuters:

19 tons of explosives found in Iraq

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – U.S. forces in Iraq discovered nearly 19 tons of explosives in a weapons cache north of Baghdad this week, one of the biggest finds of its kind, the U.S. military said on Saturday.

[…snip…] More at link in title

Isn’t that wonderful? 19 tons!

Of course, if the Bush Administration hadn’t lost 380 tons of explosives just over three years ago, we might have something more significant to crow over. (Make the jump…)

Ah, yes…wasn’t there something about that? Nearly 400 tons of unsecured weapons and explosives…?  Why, yes — there was!

Remember this?

Looting spree gutted ammo dump
Witnesses say Iraqis blitzed Al Qaqaa after U.S. troops came, left

James Glanz, Jim Dwyer, New York Times
Thursday, October 28, 2004

(10-28) 04:00 PDT Baghdad — Looters stormed the weapons site at Al Qaqaa in the days after American troops swept through the area in early April 2003 on their way to Baghdad, gutting office buildings, carrying off munitions and even dismantling heavy machinery, three Iraqi witnesses and a regional security chief said Wednesday.

The Iraqis described an orgy of theft so extensive that enterprising residents rented their trucks to looters. But some looting was clearly indiscriminate, with people grabbing anything they could find and later heaving unwanted items off the trucks.

Two witnesses were employees of Al Qaqaa — one a chemical engineer and the other a mechanic — and the third was a former employee, a chemist, who had come back to retrieve his records, determined to keep them out of U.S. hands. The mechanic, Ahmed Saleh Mezher, said employees asked the Americans to protect the site, but were told this was not the soldiers’ responsibility.

The accounts do not directly address the question of when nearly 400 tons of powerful conventional explosives vanished from the site sometime after early March, the last time international inspectors checked the seals on the bunkers where the material was stored. It is possible that Iraqi forces removed some explosives before the invasion.

Article continues at link in headlines

Now, we have just 361 tons of explosives unaccounted for, except what’s already been used in the surging number of IED attacks against our troops.

While it’s great that we’ve recovered 19 tons of the missing ordnance, let’s not delude ourselves into thinking this is evidence of the “surge” actually working, or — perhaps even worse, and even more to be expected — let’s ensure that this isn’t used to further the cause of accusing Iran, Syria, Turkey or whoever pisses off BushCo as “helping” the insurgency.  I fully expect to hear that Bush supporters spin this find as more than it is.  I’m not diminishing the significance — that’s 19 tons of explosives that can’t be used to kill our troops — but it’s 19 tons of explosives that we originally had control over and we’re missing most of what we’d had.  Over 360 tons of explosives are still missing, and it’s not the fault of our soldiers that it’s out there — it’s the fault of their leaders at the uppermost levels.

And it’s been missing for over just two years.

Finding 19 tons of it on the two-year anniversary does ~not~ give me any kind of a warm and fuzzy feeling. There’s plenty left out there for causing all sorts of mayhem, and much of that is likely to be with the blood of American troops who sought only to support their nation. They, and most Americans, were lied to and manipulated into a war of choice by a fearless, feckless and foolish leadership; we are engaged in an illegal war, run by an incompetent CiC and his top-level cronies.

And our troops are paying the price in blood which runs in the streets alongside the blood of innocent men, women and children as our national integrity is shredded further and further still.

It’s time to end the war. It’s time to remove the Myopic, Misanthropic Executive and his phalanx of enabling supporters and future co-defendants.

You go to war with the army you have, but having an army is no reason to go to war. And if you do find yourself in a war, at least get into it for the right reasons, or get the hell out before the butcher’s bill comes due in full.

Unless, of course, you plan to engage in warfare for a very long period of time, and are trying to ensure that even if the people who follow you into office want to end the war, they’ll be stuck for years before they can get out…

fuck the conventional wisdom; and hello, blessed unrest

i am so bone-achingly tired of how we insist on going back to strategies that do NOT work. we have been conditioned to worry about what we say and show deference and respect to those with power who are, imnho, among the most ethically bankrupt and meaningless of human beings and creatures on this earth.

the old “might is right” methods of keeping us in herds (communities) and regulated needs to be overturned. period.

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update: h/t to Tigana for those two wonderful words together… blessed unrest… a way to define this thing we are doing… bravo, Tigana!

like the tumbling of the greek gods, the pantheon of powerful in this world need to be neutralized and left to twiddle their thumbs amid the ruins of their failed policies and lies.

it is time to face up to some facts on the ground. we, the people of this planet, are on our own. this isn’t about I/P or east against west, or iran/russia against america.

there are only two sides. most of the 6.5-7 billion of us against the relatively few wielding power over us.

period.

and that might is right thing is dragging us all down the perilous road of destruction. destruction of our environment, of our health, sanity, the ability to reproduce, and the torture and speciocide of our fellow creatures.

why… so we can drive a car to sit in traffic for hours? so we can fill our homes with toxic plastics? so we can have the convenience to poison ourselves with fast food and backyard pesticides (for the perfect lawn?)…

we live in a world where people sell tainted products based on risk assessments. where control of resources has resulted in the death of hundreds of millions of people… all objectified and defiled, as we are as expendable as the dolphins or gorillas or any other species we slaughter at will and without so much as a thank you.

we are the ones who are fucked up. we are the ones who have to consciously makes this next step… to live leaner. to do with less. and to be rewarded, at last, with discovering how owning all this stuff has indentured us all. we are slaves to 5,000 square-foot homes, two cars, and designer jeans. our fantasy life has been overtaken by paris hilton and brad pitt.

we need to come back to a value of respecting life. all life. from the bug landing on your table (no, don’t just kill it, leave it or move it out… and show your kids this)… to the homeless person on the street. you don’t need to take them home with you, but accord them respect and an exchange of humaness… think of the coins you give them as the vehicle, an excuse, to exchange a human moment.

we won’t all have the same things. we aren’t all of the same mind. some of us will live at the beach. others in regions where it’s hard to grow food to feed your kids. how do we exchange the humaness? the idea of justice, equity, and fairness?

how do we make this idea work without meaning everybody is or gets the same?

i am working to get rid of my stuff. to be aware of my water usage. taking my organic stuff out the garbage. reusing stuff. loving my difficult, sometimes unmanageable family. but loving them and being there…. cause i finally realized what else am i here for? to masturbate through life?

i’m here to experience it. to be better. to love it. to leave better than i found it.

Pete Stark was right. He stepped up. We can retreat to the conventional wisdom and hide in soundbites. Or we can step up and start asking the tough questions and demand that power speaks truth to us. break down this might is right and fuck the conventional wisdom.

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this essay is dedicated to Peter Stark…

I’m just amazed that the Republicans are worried that we can’t pay for insuring an additional 10 million children. They sure don’t care about finding $200 billion to fight the illegal War in Iraq.

President Bush’s statements about children’s health shouldn’t be taken any more seriously than his lies about the War in Iraq. The truth is that that Bush just likes to blow things up – in Iraq, in the United States, and in Congress.

cause it’s just true… george bush just likes to blow things up.

Why

If our near extraterrestrial neighbors are aware of us at all, I’m sure we’re an embarrassment.  Must we forever be the savage planet?  Is civilization less a veneer and more an illusion?  Does it have to be this way?  Are humans really this bad – this hopeless?  Is war a permanent feature of the human condition?

Sometimes I wonder.  But then I think of Michelangelo, said to be somewhat beastly himself, and yet a font of beauty, transcendent and sublime – and I have reason to hope that we are better than our history suggests.  Even in all our crudeness there is something profound within us.

Michelangelo-Perfectibility

But sometimes it feels as though looking for the good in humankind is a fool’s errand.  It’s as if we’ve given up…stopped trying to fix what’s wrong.  Just started trying to grab whatever we can while any of it still lasts.

Not all of us of course.

kicking-bear-500

For standin’ in your heart
Is where I want to be
And long to be,
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind.

Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind.

Donovan CATCH THE WIND

jimi-hendrix_bold-as-love_MINE

I believe in my goodness
I believe in your goodness
I believe in our goodness
I believe we are http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=cialis-generico-dove-comprare-forum all…so much better than this

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With every mistake we must surely be learning…

Still my guitar gently weeps.

We’ve killed innocents and tortured heroes.  We’ve murdered babies by the thousands.

Southeast Asia.

Central America.

South America.

Eastern Europe.

The Middle East.

Too many teardrops for one heart to be crying.

And the good people of America go on about their business as if nothing real is going on in the world.

There must be some kind of way out of here.

We say we fight to protect freedom, democracy and the American way of life.  The truth is we sacrifice our young for empire.  We are Viking brutes with advanced technology.

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We slaughtered the Indians and forced them to abandon their culture.  To this day we discriminate against them and conspire to steal even more of their land.

We are unmoved by shame.  We are unimpeded by conscience.

We are blind to the beauty in our own souls.

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We are immune to the glory that lies within and without.

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Hubble’s view of Orion

Despite the false history taught in our schools, despite the sloganeering, propaganda and outright lies, when we take courage and look at ourselves honestly it’s enough to make you run screaming naked into the night.

The revelations of our government’s skullduggery come now so fast and furious that it’s impossible to keep up.

We’ve wandered the earth killing people to make rich men richer.  No wonder we are hated.

Despite all the whitewash, hogwash, and rah rah, we have precious little to be proud of.

And the shame of it is we are see all…so much better than this.

Standin-in-your-heart

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24%

Sometimes, a number is so stunning that all you can do is stare.

24%

Look at it.

Think about it.

Less than one-fourth.

The most unpopular president ever.

According to Reuters:

Bush’s job approval rating fell to 24 percent from last month’s record low for a Zogby poll of 29 percent.

Down five percent. In one month.

Down five percent, in one month, from the previous record low!

The mind reels. The mind stumbles. The mind falls down.

The national telephone survey of 991 likely voters, conducted October 10 through October 14, found barely one-quarter of Americans, or 26 percent, believe the country is headed in the right direction.

The poll found declining confidence in U.S. economic and foreign policy. About 18 percent gave positive marks to foreign policy, down from 24 percent, and 26 percent rated economic policy positively, down from 30 percent.

You know what’s worse than being a president with a record low 24% approval rating? Being an opposition party that is incapable of opposing a president with a record low 24% approval rating.

It’s embarrassing.

It’s humiliating.

Considering the real life consequences, it’s also disastrous.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spent part of yesterday running from her Democratic colleague, Rep. Pete Stark. Stark said bad things about Bush.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spent part of last week running from his colleague, Sen. Chris Dodd. Dodd tried to stop a bad Bush policy.

Pelosi and Reid did not spend much time running from Bush.

They did not resolve to stop his war.

They did not resolve to stop him from torturing people.

They did not resolve to stop him from indiscriminately spying on the American people.

They did not resolve to force him to comply with subpoenas.

They did not resolve to force him to comply with laws, national and international.

The elected leaders of the Democratic Party are afraid to stand up to a president with a 24% approval rating.

The elected leaders of the Democratic Party are afraid of being criticized for standing up to a president with a 24% approval rating.

Perhaps that’s why Reuters also reported this Zogby poll result:

A paltry 11 percent gave Congress a positive grade, tying last month’s record low.

Paltry. That’s a good word for it: paltry.

Congress always polls poorly. But this is a record. A record of paltriness.

11 percent!

They’re less popular than Bush.

They’re less than half as popular as Bush!

It’s clearly not from opposing him, because they clearly haven’t.

Maybe it’s time they tried something different.

Maybe it’s time they tried opposing him.

For real.

Because if you can’t stand up to a president with a 24% approval rating, what can you stand up to? What can you stand for?

Pony Party: Seattle-er Edition

A few things I noticed about Seattle: people actually walked to places!!! Downtown parking prices may well have encouraged that, plus they had these things called sidewalks!! Memphis city planners might want to look into this whole sidewalk phenomenon. Oddly enough, I think there might have been a connection between people walking and the fact that there seemed to be fewer people with weight issues compared to the south. I really think a smart scientist type might want to intensively study that.

I took pictures. Mr.Undercovercalico may be citing this in a future divorce action, that along with an unhealthy shoe fixation. I might dress like a post fashion refugee, but I like my shoes. Shoes from Payless never fit my narrow foot so I don’t need moral/labor ethical reason to buy European or American stomps.

Did I mention I took pictures? Oh, I see you are enthralled….

Seattle has some super nice public parks for those of you who are quite up to dragging your out of shape middle aged self on delusional hiking expeditions.

I took these at Discovery Park…

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That eagle picture isn’t of the greatest quality but I was so damn excited about seeing an eagle in a public park. My enthusiasm got a bit of a wet sponge when I mentioned this to a friendly wealthy couple on the ferry who had a condo in Seattle and a place in Bellingham and the man blithely informed us they had eagles in their backyard all the time.

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We actually did not go up into the sky needle but we did visit the Smith tower which had an intriguing Asian flair to the observation room and a nice view of the city.

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Inside the Smith building…

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And, I thought it might be prudent to indicate that Mr.Undercovercalico does exist. Jessical can vouch for that. He is a tolerant, intelligent, everyman type who spends an enormous amount of time looking at me saying silently to himself: I coulda married a nice southern girl.

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Thanks for looking and please feel free to share any pictures of your lovely part of the world. Please don’t rec pony party, hang out, chat , and then go read the some interesting offerings here.

Say, didn’t that Jimi Hendrix fella come from Seattle?

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