Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Greg Sargent covers all bases ...

... with anemic and archaic logic and concludes with something that translates to don't complain or fight because it will only hurt worse and boys will be boys (or was that the press will be the press).
But it's also possible that, given the unfortunate reality of how our political press and the freak show function, the new, even more aggrieved tone the Hillary camp is striking might only exacerbate matters for her. And paradoxically, if this happens, this will further confirm that Hillaryland's critique of the media is right -- while also serving as yet another measure of just how bleak things are looking for Hillary right now.
What's this 'things are bleak' for Hillary. She's a US Senator for god's sake and a good one as far as I can tell.

I really resent that ALL DEMOCRATS (AND ONLY DEMOCRATS) do NOT get to choose their nominee for President but whether Clinton is the nominee or not there is ABSOLUTELY nothing bleak about her or how things look for her.

Greg Sargent is certainly part of the boys-will-be-boys press.

ADDED: Cutting Women Out --The media’s bias against female presidential candidates by Erika Falk
Despite striking advances over the last century in women’s social and political rights, and in attitudes about women in politics, press coverage of women candidates is not much better today than it was in 1872. The most significant consequence of this is not that, should a woman run, the press would make it less likely for her to win. Rather, the real problem is that such press coverage may make women less likely to run.
Though the mainstream media tend to frame women who run for president as novelties, they are not. Women have led nations such as Canada, France and the United Kingdom, not to mention Turkey, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and many others. In fact, there have been so many historical and contemporary women heads of state that one has to scroll through pages to get a complete list.
This would imply that the US (along with the US press) are the backward ones. And instead of advancing in science, humanity, democracy the US has taken numerous steps backwards, not all of it the personal fault of George W. Bush. He had lots of help and continuous support and cheerleading from the press and the media. One could almost say that the corporate media set the stage for Bush long before he arrived on the scene ...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Finally, science is using its collective brain cells to come up with ideas ...

Spraying millions of metric tons of sulfate particles into the atmosphere could reverse some human-caused global warming, a new study shows. But the simulations also reveal that the technique, which mimics the short-term cooling effects of volcanic eruptions, could chill the planet if overdone.
Hopefully, the world 'leaders' can start to work together and help plan for the future of this world. But I won't hold my breath ... not when there are such as Bush (not that he's the only idiot) around.

Rick Renzi ...

Being an Arizona blogger, perhaps I should say something more about Rick Renzi. But I won't because the Border Reporter says it better: HANDSHAKES AND EXTORTION.

I previously wrote about Renzi (or at least mentioned him) as follows:

Bye, bye ...

Renzi says he's a victim ...

The Charlton - Renzi connection ...

The weird world of Republicans, Conservatives and Incompetents ...

Arizona Republic wiggles around about Renzi ...

Is Rick Renzi safe now ...

Employer arrests, but not at WALMART ... (only indirectly about Renzi)

Arizona shame ...

Yesterday's QUOTES ...

The death of American soldiers may be happening abroad, but some are fighting a very real war for the United States of America here at home: ... that some sort of attack piece is coming against me, Scott Horton, and anyone else writing about Siegelman and the Riley camp. [ ... and ...]
Scott Horton, it seems, will be the first victim. I just got word from folks in Alabama that the article on him just went out in the print version of Montgomery Independent and authored by Eddie Curran (who it is suggested has an interesting relationship with Senator Jeff Sessions). I had it read to me over the phone. It is a total hit job with a promise of part two next week.

They portend, in conjunction with previous work, a coming crisis in water supply for the western United States. ... Arizona continues digging up the desert and planting new homes. Arizonans must plan on sharing their pain (not to mention thirst)!
Those arguments against doing the right thing for college veterans are, in the case of our “wartime president,” about what I’ve come to expect of a man whose support for our troops has never extended past strutting through the latest photo op on a military base or an aircraft carrier. ... the goal in life of a Conservative is to take advantage of others.

Liberal Manifesto
Liberals believe in clean air, diplomacy, stem cells, living wages, body armor for our troops, government accountability, and that exercising the right to dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

Liberals believe in reading actual books, going to war as a last resort, separating church and hate, and doing what Jesus would actually do, instead of lobbying for upper-class tax cuts and fantasizing about the apocalypse. ...

... damn right!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Rillito River Park Photos ...

New photos taken at the Rillito River Park are located here.

And they can’t get their video cameras to work?

The Border Reporter is at it again: I’ITOI AT WORK?

Michel Marizco entwines legends, history, personal experiences and more around his facts thus making factual news (as apposed to Faux News) as interesting and as enjoyable as fiction (if it only some of the facts about how our government works, not to mention smugglers and such, were fiction!).

Yesterday's QUOTES ...

I hope I’m just a cynical baby boomer who has never really trusted any politician since 1968. But I just have a very bad feeling about the way things are going. -- So do I, so do I!

In fact, I'm going to use this opportunity to point out that it is rather fitting that some of the leading lights of the "progressive" movement now have a lot more in common with Lieberman/DLC shill Dan Gerstein ... -- I've been responding to e-mails from 'progressive' organizations for days now with the comment that they sound like Republicans (among other things). Of course, being the new 'insiders' it's unlikely they read their mail.

And even more about torture in Bush's Torture Capital ... For the Europeans as for Bush, the organizing principle was that torture, being unacceptable to polite society, needed to remain invisible. ... -- While Bush and his cronies secretly make the US a 'Torture State' even after the evidence started to emerge too many in this country have been more that willing to either look the other way or to support torture.

--- No picture for this one and no quote either. ---

The Torture State

According to new research Monkeys have a brain region that responds selectively to the voices of other monkeys ...

Last Tuesday, CNN fired Chez Pazienza, a producer for American Morning, for maintaining a blog. Yes, that's right. CNN, a leading news channel, sacked one of its journalists for exercising his First Amendment rights. ... Just remember, Corporate America doesn't recognize your civil right unless forced to. They consider you a slave (they just don't use that particular word). Instead of laws ensuring your servitude they have 'contracts' which the US courts will use as an excuse to deny you any justice at all. US courts used to understand that US citizen should not be required to sign away their rights in exchange for a paycheck. But now the country is run by Republicans and pseudo Republicans and every one of us is fair game for corporate greed-heads.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Joel Bleifuss, a Clinton hater and Obama fan club president ...

"Paul Krugman, president of the Hillary Clinton fan club, writes ..."
At In These Times, Joel Bleifuss is described as an "investigative reporter, columnist and editor."

Yet this reporter, columnist, editor equates Krugman with Clinton because between the two inadequate proposals, Krugman considers Clinton's the better and Obama's as a pre-admission of defeat (those are my words, not Krugman's).

Bleifuss goes on to write:

Progressives should reject the convoluted public/private hybrid systems championed by Krugman, Clinton and Obama, and say, “No thanks, we can do better.”

My main question about this article (or opinion piece?) is why Bleifuss chooses to bring Krugman in as a champion or proponent of Clinton's proposal and fails to regard him as another media personality (with some excellent credentials in the field) reviewing and commenting on the same public information that Bleifuss writes about?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Jokes and other important matters ...

Avoidance by joke -
David Baltimore, the outgoing president of AAAS, spoke harsh words about the performance of banana-brain Bush and his enablers in Congress. I don't know if Baltimore has been as up-front about the crimes and disasters this country and others have been subject to at the hands of this worst of worst US administrations but whether these are his first words on this subject or just the latest of many they are important and deserve respect which is more than I can say for many in the US government. What really offended me was the cutesy, joke-like title to the article in the Science Magazine that reported on Baltimore's speech:
Tell Us What You Really Think, Professor Baltimore by Eli Kintisch
Right on, Prof. Baltimore. Bad show Science Mag and Eli Kintisch!

Other Serious Matters -
Paradox at The Left Coaster writes:
It’s hard to be happy the House works when the Senate is as busted as ever.
The House worked this time, but I wouldn't say the House 'works.' I fully expect them to come back and cave because that's what they've done time after time after time after time and on and on and on ...

Early on in Pelosi and Reid's majority status tenure I would send e-mails congratulating them (and others) on their stand on some issue or other only to find they had cravenly caved in to the ridiculous, illogical and perverse threats of a criminal and out-of-control administration almost before I hit the send button.

I don't believe them anymore. Both Reid and Pelosi have to go. I do not have confidence in them. And I don't know how they can gain my confidence at this point.

Other KOFA Photos ...

Links to photos taken at the KOFA National Wildlife Refuge that were used as banners at the top of this blog:
  1. 6521-KOFA.jpg
  2. 6707-rocks-for-banner.jpg --Desert Varnish
  3. 6785-Dead-tree.jpg
  4. 6524-KOFA-banner.jpg --Underground Abode
  5. 6676-KOFA-banner.jpg --Filter'd
  6. 6692-KOFA-banner.jpg --Black and White

Yesterday's QUOTES ...

Uh oh ... Obama Supporter Jesse Jackson, Jr [says] Black Super-Delegates Who Back Hillary Could Face Primary Challenge ... I'm sure that's not what it sounds like? Like bringing race (and retaliation based on race) into the Democratic primary? But, perhaps, it's OK because Jackson is black? Just imagine a Clinton surrogate saying this to either black or non-black delegates!
Quote from blurb in Science Magazine ( about the demise of the Sunshine Project:
The news may come as a relief to microbiologists and university officials who have been subjected to Hammond's relentless probing. But even some of those scientists say Hammond has had a positive influence. Virologist C. J. Peters of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston says that although Hammond was a "pest" who often exaggerated risks to the public, his work has "made the community more careful" about biosafety. "I think the country works best with watchdogs," he says. "I am, strangely, sad to see him go."

My two cents: The reckless, the careless, the arrogant and the fraudulent may breath easier now. I suppose this is the price 'we' pay for a society based on greed (and corruption, though it really pains me to admit the pervasiveness of corruption in our country).

... the CIA is free to violate your civil rights with impunity, so long as it doesn't publicly admit to doing so. -- Well, that's the same as having NO rights. I'm so glad a US Court swept away another shred of Constitution and Law. All those rights just get in the way of the US fascistic personae elected, appointed and hired (and sworn by oath) to represent the American people and defend the US Constitution ...

Happy Valentines, if somewhat late in the day ...

The problem with Rowan Williams’s lecture lies behind the actual text. The problem is that he has contributed to the debate about national identity in a disturbing rather than reassuring way. He has signalled that he doesn’t want to hold Christianity and liberalism together. Instead, he wants to oppose secular liberalism, and to defend the rights of all faith communities to resist it. This is what has shocked so many commentators: Williams has shown that he rejects the vague liberal Protestantism of the majority of the British people: the idea that Christianity and secularism are pretty much compatible. No, he says, his role is not to prop up this dated ideology, but to fight the corner of faith communities, and to cast doubt on the very idea of liberalism.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Gun control: what's rational or practical ...

From Lean Left:
A lot of the gun control arguments will probably turn out to be just as silly. Its far, far too late to ba[n] guns in this country, even if we could. Besides, the weapon was probably purchased legally. The only gun control that would make sense would be some methodology for keeping people who are depressed/homicidal/etc from getting legal weapons and to require a psych exam on a regular basis to catch gun owners who have slipped into such a broken state. But I am not a psychiatrist, so I have no idea if that notion is practical. [emphasis added]
I think there is another component of gun control. Training. Instead of making the gun into some mythical, or is that mystical, instrument of either death or freedom why not educate (and train) students in how to handle a weapon safely. We do that with cars after all. We try to instill the rules into them from an early age. We do that with knives and other 'kitchen' utensils. We do that with drills, saws and other 'shop' tools.

When my father was a child his father (at some magically male milepost) taught him how to use a rifle, how to maintain it AND how to handle it safely. When my brother reached an age that seemed appropriate in this same male milepost, my father gave my brother a BB gun and went through a similar training process [... and no he didn't do the same for me but my brother was obviously interested and I was not. It was certainly a household where I could have expressed an interest or tagged along if I were paying any attention, which I wasn't.]

If we are not willing to start off training the young in the mechanics and safety concerns of firearms, then at least require training for anyone who wants to own a gun. In Arizona I recommend that anyone who owns a gun take the class that is required for a concealed weapons permit, whether or not they intend to carry a concealed weapon. They reduced the requirements recently, but when I took it I thought it was a worthwhile class.

I know this doesn't solve, or directly prevent, the horror of what happened at NIU. But even the outright prohibition of individual citizens owning guns doesn't solve the problem of a disturbed person seeking a way to make such a horrendous impact on others.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sahuaros at the KOFA ...

February 2008, KOFA National Wildlife Refuge - photos of some sahuaros.

Click on image for larger version of photo.

From the Wikipedia:
The Saguaro, pronounced "sah-wah-roh", (Carnegiea gigantea) is a large, tree-sized cactus species in the monotypic genus Carnegiea. It is native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and California, United States and northern Mexico.

The common name of the cactus, saguaro, is a Spanish-language adaptation of a word used by a local aboriginal American nation, the Tohono O'odham, for the plant. Local English speakers pronounce it /səˈwɑɹo/.

Saguaros are slow growing, taking up to 75 years to develop a side arm. The arms themselves are grown to increase the plants reproductive capacity (more apices equal more flowers and fruit). The growth rate of saguaros is strongly dependent on local precipitation patterns ...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Underground abodes in the KOFA

February 2008, KOFA National Wildlife Refuge - photos of some underground abodes of small critters.

The third photo shows a large tunnel (in relation to the others which are quite small or become very narrow very close to the surface).

Click on image for larger version of photo.

According to Mammals of Kofa NWR "The burrows are home to ground squirrels, pocket mice, and kangaroo rats." I wonder where the jackrabbits live?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Ocotillo, photos of ...

February 2008, KOFA National Wildlife Refuge - there seemed to be more downed Ocotillos lying around on this visit to the KOFA.

Click on image for larger version of photo.

From the Wikipedia: The ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens - also called the coachwhip, Jacob's staff, and the vine cactus) is a curious, and unique desert plant of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. For much of the year, the plant appears to be an arrangement of large spiny dead sticks, although closer examination reveals that the stems are partly green. With rainfall the plant quickly becomes lush with small (2-4 cm) ovate leaves, which may remain for weeks or even months.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Desert varnish ...

The dark color of the rocks in the following picture is caused by desert varnish. The light color that looks like someone swiped a paint brush across the rock is the actual color of the rock (or at least closer to it). The lighter color was hidden until the rock was repositioned by human, animal or weather.

KOFA National Wildlife Refuge, February 2008

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Yesterday's QUOTES ...

For some reason nobody ever starts these groups or calls for bipartisanship when the Republicans are on the verge of winning. ...

The next two quotes were taken from an excellent post by eriposte at The Left Coaster: Election 2008: A Paroxysm of Sexism, Misogyny and Hate

Hating Women who 'don't know their place' ...
But the attacks have come because I have made the case for Clinton, after first starting out as simply a contrarian against a biased press attacking her. These hate emails have come because I dare to challenge the ideology and record of her main opponent. The attacks come from so called progressives, including emails from male bloggers warning me of my tone, my perseverance, even insinuating that by appreciating Clinton's record I am racist (revealing themselves instead). These Democratic males have shown no respect whatsoever for what I'm fighting for, but instead simply warn that I will regret my position and should adjust to reality, which includes the unquestioning genuflection and worship of her opponent, because they will need my voice once he wins. ...

Hating Hillary ...
Horowitz observes that there is an “inexhaustible fertile market of Clinton hostility,” but that “the search for a unifying theory of what drives Hillary’s most fanatical opponents is a futile one.” The reason is that nothing drives it; it is that most sought-after thing, a self-replenishing, perpetual-energy machine.

The closest analogy is to anti-Semitism. But before you hit the comment button, I don’t mean that the two are alike either in their significance or in the damage they do. It’s just that they both feed on air and flourish independently of anything external to their obsessions. Anti-Semitism doesn’t need Jews and anti-Hillaryism doesn’t need Hillary, except as a figment of its collective imagination. However this campaign turns out, Hillary-hating, like rock ‘n’ roll, is here to stay.

Tidbit ...
The $2 billion produce industry in Southern Arizona provides 70 percent of the winter produce coming into the United States from Mexico. Most of it passes through the Mariposa port, in the western outskirts of Nogales.

"It was as though Currituck, N.C., became Gitmo for a day."
... the judge [District Court Judge Edgar Barnes] cleared the court following his conviction. No spectators, no family members, no journalists, no defense witnesses remained. The other six activists were tried in total secrecy -- well, secret to everyone except the prosecutors, sheriffs, government witnesses and one Blackwater official. Judge Barnes swiftly tried the remaining six activists behind closed doors and convicted them all.
Findings suggest that: all blue-eyed humans share a single common ancestor born 6000 to 10,000 years ago

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Prosecutorial sadism ...

I will probably never understand the minds that are behind these types of actions. But it's obvious that Republicans want, desire and are absolutely and sadistically enthusiastic about operating in this manner.
Another Election Season, Another Political Prosecution in Alabama via Mary at The Left Coaster

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Yesterday's QUOTES ...

Chameleons aren't hiding, they're advertising?
The study provides strong evidence that the chameleon's color change evolved mainly for communication, says behavioral ecologist Roger Hanlon of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. No one has ever shown that the chameleon's special ability provides camouflage, says Hanlon, who reviewed 100 years of scientific literature on the subject. That, combined with the results of this research, he says, should definitively debunk the popular myth--until someone else finds a new species that justifies the belief.
"It's like a wristwatch: If it runs slow, you're late for everything; if it's too fast, you're early for everything," ...
A cluster of brain cells called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) runs the clock in humans, and the body's other cells have their own "slave clocks" that are synchronized to the SCN. With timekeeping outposts throughout the body, the main clock helps regulate everything from sleepiness to concentration.
Our own worst enemy ... Also worrying is a flash point created by drying soil and dying vegetation. Fires are a natural feature here, as shown by periodic dark bands in tree rings. But fires are growing more frequent and fierce, says Boldgiv. The worst-case scenario is that drought and wildfires converge in a regional conflagration. Huge swaths of taiga forest and steppe grasslands could be lost in a single summer, he says. There is no fire brigade out here.

Just what ecosystem might emerge from that apocalyptic scenario is a central question of the Hovsgol project. After a decade of research, ecologists have bad news and worse news. The bad news is that receding taiga and overgrazed steppe tend to leave shrubby wasteland in their wake. Islands of this "semidesert" of sparse plants and few grasses are expanding. Goulden is worried that this may warn of a wholesale transition to semidesert, which would be "disastrous," he says, because it supports a fraction of the animal density that grassland supports. And it could ruin the country's best source of drinking water if topsoil eroding into Hovsgol's tributaries spurs algal growth in the lake.

As was to be expected, the media was quick to ask the superficial question immediately after the first two-candidate Democratic debate of this campaign: “Who won?”

They totally missed the obvious point: The Democratic Party won tonight.

Body language, everything was different ... so refreshing.

The worst is yet to come ...
What's breaking is not necessarily revealed in Iraq but when these psychologically scarred men and women return home, without adequate medical care or mental health treatment at their service. It's as big a landmine as the next President will have to face; being handed an Army that is withered to the core, and then if he or she attempts to pull out of Iraq to save the military, being chastised by the neocon faction about hating the country and loving to lose, etc., etc.
... and a tragedy that the GOP will use with glee to the detriment of us all.
Another Uniter? ...
The reality is that the person who is being divisive in this campaign is not Sen. Clinton - it is Sen. Obama. Rather than behave as the UniterTM that he claims to be, he can't stop dividing the Democratic party with the use of false Republican attacks against his main opponent. If he really wants to be a uniter, rather than a divider, and set an example to his followers, he can run a campaign on the issues, criticize his opponent on the merits of her positions (but not by making stuff up about her repeatedly), and not write and deliver divisive speeches using faxed talking points from the Republican National Committee. Now, that would be a simple and easy way to unite the Democratic party and the country. We'll see if Sen. Obama is up to the task.

How Republicans think, if one can call it that ...
To paraphrase:Per United States Attorney General Michael Mukasey, torturing Mukasey would be torture (to Mukasey) but not necessarily torture if Mukasey weren't Mukasey. Got that?

I want to like Obama, but ...

... he keeps doing things like this:
Obama does Harry and Louise, again
I don't understand it. No matter how Obama tries to couch it, he's just doesn't seem very progressive. He does not believe in universal health care. Based of this and what he's said about Social Security we really can't trust him to work for us, can we ...

Another uniter who's motto is give to the rich and take from the poor?

Kos wants a war? ...

... political war, ala Republican, that is.

On the substance of the debate, Obama might've squeezed out a narrow "victory". Hillary owned him on health care, but he owned her on Iraq, and Iraq was toward the tail end of the debate.

But on the politics, Hillary won.

Here's the bottom line: Hillary has the lead in most February 5th states. Despite the frothings of the anti-Hillary crowd, most Democrats like her and are comfortable with her. Therefore, Obama has to give them a reason NOT to vote for her, but for him instead.

Did he do that last night? Not that I saw. I noticed him agreeing with her a lot. And even when there were points of distinction, like drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants, he let Clinton off the hook instead of pressing the advantage. The two candidates seemed to be going out of their way to find common ground. That's great if people already like you and plan on voting for you (Hillary), not so great if you're trying to make up ground (Barack).

In fact, as many people commented, the two looked like a ticket. And it's hard for Obama to win many crossover votes if people think Obama is part of the package if they vote for Clinton.

Obama won big in South Carolina after establishing clear distinctions between himself and Clinton in their South Carolina debate. Obama may be be gaining ground nationwide, but he lost an opportunity to bolster those efforts last night.

The only time I see Obama really differentiate himself (in the manner I take Kos to mean) is when he acts like a Republican. IF he wins that way then I don't know how I will be able to vote for him. If, however, he is able to win while still being human, then I will not have to overcome the gag reflex to vote for him.

Clinton and Obama's voting records may be similar but their approaches to governing are very different. They are differentiated in many obvious ways. If Obama can't win at this stage just because he is different than Clinton, then what Kos must want is a Republican type war with scary ads about what 'the other' is going to do to you. That is the other way, after all. The Republican way.

I don't think Obama lost the debate. I think he made himself acceptable to a much bigger group of people. I would have voted for Edwards. I will vote for Clinton. But I will accept Obama as the Democratic nominee, which I half-way expect to be the case.