Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday Stuff

I thought this was an interesting report by Rachel Maddow on what (and who) is behind the latest attempt at a comeback by "Deadeye Dick," including her interview with Michael Isikoff...

...and my response to Former President Numbskull over this begins at about 4:18 in the clip below ("Misunderstood" is an awesome song also).

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Stuff

Never, not for one day, one minute, one second....never should this happen in this country (but we all know it does - more here)...

...and changing the mood a bit,"Two Dudes And A Web Cam" are back, this time laying one on the WaPo (h/t The Daily Kos)...

...and please do not watch this with a full stomach; here is the face of the enemy, in all of its brainless, well-coiffed, blow dried, manicured, well-tailored and short-skirted horror (I don't know if Megyn Kelly is an actual android or not, but if someone ever confirmed it, I wouldn't be surprised)...

...and this turned into a real crappy posting week, especially towards the end - don't know about next week, but for now, here's a tune to help us coast into the weekend.

Where The Rubber Meets The Road (10/23/09)

As reported in last Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer, here is how Philadelphia-area members of Congress were recorded on major roll-call votes last week (and I also posted here).

I only have a comment on one item this week, by the way, and more or less an observation on another.


Homeland Security budget. Voting 307-114, the House approved the conference report on a $44.1 billion Department of Homeland Security budget for fiscal 2010, up 6.5 percent from 2009. The bill (HR 2892) funds agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Transportation Security Administration, and the Coast Guard. The bill prevents Guantanamo Bay prisoners from being transferred to U.S. soil except for court proceedings, and bars the release of photos and videos showing U.S. mistreatment of prisoners overseas since 9/11.

A yes vote was to approve the conference report.

Voting yes: John Adler (D., N.J.), Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Patrick Murphy (D., Pa.), Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.), Joe Sestak (D., Pa.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).

Voting no: Michael N. Castle (R., Del.).
Castle was a co-sponsor of this Boehner mess (The “Keep Terrists Out Of America Or Else They’ll Sneak Into Our Houses And Kill Us In Our Beds While We’re Upstairs With The Wife” Act), which pretty much explains his "No" vote here (and I thought this was interesting on Castle also; and Broder-esque propaganda notwithstanding, the looming Senate race between Castle and Beau Biden is a toss-up at this point, as noted here).

Guantanamo prisoners. Voting 193-224, the House defeated a GOP bid to prevent funds in HR 2892 (above) from being used to release Guantanamo Bay prisoners into the United States for court appearances or any other purpose.

A yes vote backed the motion.

Voting yes: Adler, Castle, Dent, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Pitts, and Smith.

Voting no: Andrews, Brady, Fattah, Murphy, Schwartz, and Sestak.
John Adler continues to disappoint, and Tim Holden is a bigger DINO than Arlen Specter.


Energy, water appropriations. Voting 80-17, the Senate sent President Obama the conference report on a bill (HR 3183) to appropriate $33.5 billion for energy, water, and nuclear programs in fiscal 2010. In part, the bill provides $6.4 billion for maintaining the U.S. nuclear stockpile; $5.6 billion for environmental cleanup at nuclear sites; $5.4 billion for Army Corps of Engineers public works; $4.9 billion for research into long-term energy needs; $2.1 billion to counter the spread of nuclear arms overseas; $311 million for clean-vehicle technologies; $225 million for solar energy; and $172 million for upgrading the nation's electrical grid.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Ted Kaufman (D., Del.), Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.), Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), and Arlen Specter (D., Pa.).
This week, the House took up the Coast Guard budget and solar energy, while the Senate debated Medicare payments to doctors, fiscal 2010 appropriations and possibly an extension of jobless benefits.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursday PM Stuff

“Worst Persons” (I don’t know whose mental faculties are deteriorating faster, Flush Limbore’s or Beck’s; Tucker Carlson emerges once more to cast aspersions on a recent dinner Keith and Rachel Maddow had with President Obama, leading to an all-timer of a K.O. rant; but Lindsay Graham gets the nod here for claiming that he supports climate change legislation that also encourages increased gas and oil production and consumption)…

…and given the way K.O. closed the clip above, I dedicate this to Graham (and David Heckler also, in light of the prior post).

Thursday Mashup (10/22/09)

(And I also posted here.)

  • I cannot imagine why “The Most Trusted Name In News” would take “Deadeye Dick” Cheney seriously at this point, but they still do (from here)…

    In the hard-hitting and wide-ranging speech at Center for Security policy, Cheney targeted the new administration's decision-making process on how to proceed in Afghanistan, saying Obama has failed to give troops on the ground a clear mission or defined goals, and appeared "afraid to make a decision."
    So Dick Cheney said Obama was “afraid” to make a decision about war.

    This Wikipedia article reminds us that Cheney “applied for and received five deferments” from serving in Vietnam, claiming that he had “other priorities” than to serve his country.

    And he’s calling Obama “afraid” on matters of war.

    Well, I think this is a good response.

    Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

    I just wanted to point that out that Bushco's crazy uncle, if you will, is attacking Obama. Again.

    On CNN.

    We'll have to leave it there...wink.

  • I’ve ignored Former Senator Man-On-Dog and Philadelphia Inquirer columnist “Little Ricky” Santorum for a little while now because his twice-monthly rants, aside from being as biased as you can imagine from such a dyed-in-the-wool Repug ideologue, have proven to be typically inconsequential as the grownups now try to clean up the myriad messes created by PA’s former senator from Northern Virginia and his pals.

    However, I feel it’s important to answer a particular charge he made today (from here)…

    Who says campaigns are mere exercises in the politics of personal destruction?

    Take my last ad against Bob Casey in our 2006 Senate race. An Iraq war veteran spoke into the camera, demanding that the then-state treasurer stop investing state funds in corporations doing business with our enemies - enemies like Iran.

    Last week on this page, Sens. Casey and Republican Sam Brownback wrote in support of a federal law to encourage state treasurers to do just that with respect to Iran.

    I support Casey's legislation and President Obama's recent call for tougher Iran sanctions. Both, however, appear to be too little too late to halt Iran's weapons program.

    That was not the case in the spring of 2006, when I tried to amend that year's defense bill with legislation I first introduced in July 2004. The "Iran Freedom and Support Act" imposed tough economic sanctions and, more important, authorized money to support Iran's pro-democracy movement.

    Since this bill had 60 cosponsors, including 23 Democrats, it had a good chance of success. However, that spring the Bush administration was engaged with our European allies in negotiations to convince Iran to abandon its nuclear program - sound familiar?

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice thought the timing of my amendment would send the wrong signal. I countered that its passage would help the "negotiations" by showing that Congress was even more serious about stopping Iran's nuclear program than President George W. Bush.

    The White House pledged to remain neutral on my amendment, but Sen. Joe Biden didn't - he blocked a vote on it for a week. Then, late one evening, we learned he was prepared to vote the next morning.

    Biden began the debate by holding up a letter delivered that day from Rice opposing my amendment. Some neutrality! With Biden and then-Sen. Obama both voting no, the amendment failed, 46-to-53.

    Negotiations with Iran collapsed that summer. By October, Biden and the administration's opposition did, too, and most of the provisions were enacted into law a few weeks before the election.
    Sooo…if “most of the provisions were enacted into law” anyway (despite the one-time opposition from Our Gal Condi Rice), why is Santorum ranting?

    Oh, to score cheap political points, of course…how silly of me not to immediately realize that.

    This makes me recall a vote on another piece of legislation related to companies doing business with Iran that was introduced the year before, and that was Senate Amendment 1351 authored by Dem Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey. As Bob Geiger tells us here…

    …(the amendment) had a very clear premise for people who claim to be as terrorist-hungry as the GOP consistently does: Stop U.S. corporations from financing terrorism.

    "This will cut off a major source of revenue for terrorists. What we need to do is to starve these terrorists at the source. By using this loophole, some of our companies are feeding terrorism by doing business with Iran, which funds Hamas, Hezbollah, as well as the Islamic Jihad," said Lautenberg on the Senate floor.

    "I want to remind my colleagues that it was Iran that funded the 1983 terrorist act in Beirut that killed 241 United States Marines--241 Marines killed by Iranian terror--and yet we are currently allowing United States corporations to provide revenues to the Iranian Government. It has to stop," he continued. "It is inexcusable for American companies to engage in any business practice that provides revenues to terrorists, and we have to stop it. Here we have a clear view of what happens. We have a chance to stop it with this amendment."

    Apparently forgetting that they're either "with us or with the terrorists," all but two Republicans voted against Lautenberg's bill and it went down in flames 51-47.
    And do you want to know how Little Ricky voted? Click here to find out.

    And Santorum concludes as follows…

    Thanks to Obama's policy decisions, the Russians and Iranians are emboldened and feeling safer. How about you?
    Actually, I feel much better that you’re gone, Ricky. Even with Dem-lite Snarlin’ Arlen, it’s nice to have Senators who actually aren’t holier-than-thou moralistic national embarrassments.

  • Finally, I need to point out something truly shocking; I hope you’re all sitting down.

    I navigated to J.D. Mullane’s blog at earlier today to find out what the officially designated pundit big mouth of the Bucks County Courier Times had to say as he makes another “hit or miss” attempt at “keeping it local.”

    And he commented on the District Attorney’s race in Bucks between Republican David Heckler and Democrat Chris Asplen (here)…

    The Bucks County DA race is the marquee fight this season. Republican Judge Dave Heckler (former state rep and senator) against Dem Chris Asplen (ex-county asst. DA). But things are turning weird. Judge Heckler, who appears to be in the fight of his long political life, proposes what seems to be special status for military veterans who commit crimes in the county. At least, they will get tender handling in the courts, and cops on the street (many who are also vets) will be "trained" how to handle veterans who face special "problems."

    Judge, everyone has "problems." Vets who commit crimes should not be treated any differently than the rest of population when it comes to justice.

    Smells like he's appealing for votes from a powerful constituency.
    File this under the category of “visually impaired woodland creature discovers the location of sustenance,” if you will (ie. blind squirrel finding the nut), but J.D. is absolutely spot-on here.

    Yes, you read that correctly.

    And this made me consider the DA’s race a bit further, and as I did, I came across this story, which tells us that Anthony Cappuccio, described as a one-time “rising star in the D.A.’s office” in these parts, was "sentenced (to) three to 23 months of house arrest for giving booze to and sharing marijuana with three teenage boys, and having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old boy" (this ties back to Asplen and Heckler, and I’ll get to that in a minute).

    The story tells us that the relationship with the 17-year-old was consensual; Cappuccio was busted by a “police officer patrolling a Richland shopping center (who) found Cappuccio and his 17-year-old lover in a parked car, partially clothed.”

    Now I generally avoid posting about crime stories since I don’t work in criminal justice, and I’m sure Cappuccio’s sentence was within the guidelines. However, the story also tells us the following…

    (Sentencing Judge C. Theodore) Fritsch (Jr.) was a high-ranking deputy in the DA’s office when Cappuccio did his summer internship there in 2002 and had overseen at least one of Cappuccio’s trials.

    He put those facts on the record at the start of Cappuccio’s sentencing hearing Tuesday and asked lawyers on both sides of the case whether they were comfortable with him deciding the sentence. Neither asked for him to step aside.

    Fritsch declined to comment for this story.
    I think the prosecuting attorney blew it by not realizing that the judge felt a little compromised by asking if he and the defense attorneys were “comfortable” with him as the sentencing judge; rightly or wrongly, that’s where I come down here. If I’m prosecuting, knowing the past history of Fritsch and Cappuccio, I’m making a motion for a new sentencing judge.

    Now, here is what Asplen and Heckler had to say, as the story tells us…

    Asplen called the punishment “obscenely lenient” and called for the state Attorney General’s Office - which handled the case after Bucks County District Attorney Michelle Henry stepped aside to avoid a conflict of interest - to petition Fritsch to reconsider the sentence and send Cappuccio to prison. Former Judge David Heckler, who is now running for DA on the Republican ticket, was less eager to jump into the fray. “As a DA candidate I do not choose to make political hay one way or another out of this tragic case,” Heckler said. “I have great respect for Judge Fritsch. The fact that the defendant pleaded guilty and did not force the victims to testify is a factor that I always recognized as a sitting judge. On the other hand, this was a terrible breach of trust that deserves to be punished.”
    Uh, yeah, I’ll say Cappuccio “deserves to be punished” also. And I don’t think saying that qualifies as “mak(ing) political hay.”

    And the fact that Heckler doesn’t recognize that, but instead seeks to preserve his “great respect” for Judge Fritsch at the expense of Cappuccio’s victims, tells me volumes about whom I should support in this contest.

    And if you feel the same way I do about this, click here to lend Chris Asplen a hand.
  • Thursday AM Stuff

    Great story on the audience response to Keith's Health Care Special Comment and the first free clinic set up in Louisiana, with two more to follow (and 83 percent of those seeking care at the clinics are employed - 83 percent, people)...

    ...and DA' PHILS win again! Onto the Series (with hopefully Hamels's arm and Utley's bat both back on track - dare I hope?).

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    Wednesday Mashup (10/21/09)

  • So “Snarlin’ Arlen” Specter tells us here that the “government” needs to “take the reins in job creation,” huh?

    Well, that’s interesting, given that he opposed the Employee Free Choice Act, collective bargaining rights for federal employees, and supported tax loopholes that encouraged exporting our jobs here.

    To vote for a real Democrat instead of Specter in the PA Dem senatorial primary, click here.

  • The following appeared in this New York Times opinion column today by Sheryl Gay Stolberg about President Obama supposedly deciding to give his health care reform message a rest for now…

    The idea, aides said, is for the president to take a breather while Democrats resolve their internal conflicts, so he can come back strong with a fresh sales pitch when the legislation moves closer to floor votes.

    “I think his time is better spent on this particular issue in conversation with members and in talking to his own advisers and instructing them on how to proceed,” David Axelrod, senior adviser to the president, said in an interview Tuesday. “That’s the phase that we’re in.”

    “I don’t know how much it helps, but it certainly doesn’t hurt the process to have him quiet,” said Senator Ben Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat who has been a less than enthusiastic supporter of Mr. Obama’s health care agenda.
    A “less than enthusiastic supporter,” huh? This tells us that the Dem senatorial traitor from Nebraska isn’t a “supporter” of health care reform at all (and the only “process” Nelson is interested in when it comes to this vitally important matter is a “process” that destroys reform altogether…as much as I detest the Repugs, I have to admit that they NEVER would have tolerated a crack like that against Dubya – even now, with their congressional majorities, the Dems have volumes to learn from “The Party of No” when it comes to message discipline).

    And Stolberg also provides this rather interesting remark…

    …in New York on Tuesday night, he told volunteers for Organizing for America, his campaign arm, that Democrats, who “can be their own worst enemy,” should “keep our eye on the prize” and come together around a health care bill.

    But that is preaching to the converted, a task much different from trying to rally a confused country around a complex policy issue that could reshape one-sixth of the American economy.
    I should note that the country doesn’t appear to be “confused” about the public option, which, according to CBS, is supported by 62 percent of those polled here, a number which has held steady more or less for the last few months.

    But of course, if you read the Times on a regular basis, the only thing you learn about the public option is that it’s only supported by liberals anyway, so it’s not surprising that they declined to cite contradictory information on this from the reality-based community.

  • This Reuters story tells us the following…

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A top U.S. Senate Republican invoked the memory of the scandal-marred Nixon administration on Wednesday to urge U.S. President Barack Obama: "Don't start an enemies list."

    Senator Lamar Alexander told Reuters he sees the Obama White House adopting an attitude similar to that of the Richard Nixon White House four decades ago, that "everybody is against us and we are going to get them."

    Alexander cited as examples the Obama administration threatening to strip the insurance industry of its exemption of federal anti-trust laws, "taking names" of bondholders who opposed the auto bailout, its reported aim to "neuter the U.S. Chamber of Commerce," boycotting Fox News Network and "calling out" of others who oppose it.
    (By the way, Eric Boehlert of Media Matters had what I thought was a good take on the comparison between Obama and Nixon here.)

    Well, it’s easy to see now that Alexander gets his information basically from right-wing blogs and pseudo-news-but-mainly-propaganda sites. Perhaps there is a quote from someone in the Obama Administration about trying to “neuter” the Chamber of Commerce, but I can’t find it (and to be perfectly honest, I can’t imagine that anyone from the White House could be dumb enough to actually utter those words).

    And as far as Fix Noise is concerned, the Obama Administration isn’t proposing to “boycott” it (though I would have no problem with that if they did).

    Instead, while quite rightly describing Fox for what it is, Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod said the following here…

    White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel told rival cable channel CNN's "State of the Union" that Obama considers Fox News "not a news organization so much as it has a perspective."

    "And that's a different take," compared with other news outlets, Emanuel added.

    Obama's closest political adviser, David Axelrod, told ABC's "This Week" that Fox News "is really not news. It's pushing a point of view."

    The two Obama advisers yesterday shrugged off boasts by News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch that his cable network's ratings have soared since the White House made it a target. Murdoch also owns the New York Post.

    Axelrod said Murdoch "has a talent for making money," and insisted that Obama aides will "appear on [Fox] shows and participate" anyway, despite the alleged bias.
    I guess remarks like this from Alexander aren’t realty surprising, though, when you consider that he also whined about trying to achieve a “consensus” on Iraq in 2007 (here), even going so far as to try and reform the utterly pointless Iraq Study Group here (pointless for anything except propaganda purposes, I mean). Also, Alexander voted for a Medicare reform bill that rooted out provider fraud here, but he needed to be prompted by the return of Ted Kennedy to the Senate in July ’08 after Alexander and many of his fellow Senate Repugs initially opposed it.

    Finally (and worst of all), Alexander supported amnesty to terrorists who have killed or wounded U.S. troops in Iraq, comparing such a gesture to Nelson Mandela’s peace efforts, which co-won Mandela a Nobel Prize (here).

    Given this level of duplicity, Alexander should take a serious look in the mirror first before he tries to employ the Nixon canard anywhere else except where it belongs, and that would be concerning himself.

  • Update 1 10/22/09: Steve Benen makes some excellent points here (h/t Atrios), but I think if we’ve learned anything to date, it’s that our corporate media punditocracy doesn’t know the meaning of the word “embarrassment”...and I should add that I think NPR is as polluted as the rest of our media environment, by the way - the mere presence of Matthew Continetti proves that.

    Update 2 10/22/09: File this under "the proverbial blind squirrel finding the proverbial nut."

    Update 10/23/09: I'd like to think this will be the last word on this subject, but I know better (and David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun has been peddling some pretty crazy nonsense on this all week, which I may address later).

    Update 11/21/09: Another classy moment from Alexander here - creep.

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    Tuesday Stuff

    Oh, and as far as this asshat is concerned, part of his "old fashioned, Mississippi values" includes "hunt(ing) liberal, tree-hugging Democrats, although it does seem like a waste of good ammunition," as noted here...

    You want to do something about it? Click here...

    ...and Harper's pals at Fix Noise have a typical tactic at the ready for health care legislation, of course...

    ...thus utterly screwing over people like Peggy Robertson; her story is told in this ad (more here)...

    ...and R.T. "killed" again tonight at the McCarter in Princeton - great show (didn't do this one, though).

    More “Renewable” Stupidity On The Environment From J.D.

    (And I also posted here.)

    The subject matter expert in noxious punditry from the Bucks County Courier Times opined as follows today (from here)…

    It's a grim future for Lower Makefield, and for all of us.

    When oil production peaks in 10 years or so, the energy apocalypse will be upon us. Fossil fuels will become scarce and energy so expensive that even watching TV will become a luxury. Food supplies will be disrupted, the economy will disintegrate and the comfortable SUV-driving, centrally air-conditioned middle class lifestyles we know will evaporate quicker than Al Gore's political career.
    Ha and ha, you nitwit (However, he is “keeping it local,” sort of; I’ll give him that much…I’ll explain below).

    Mullane’s latest audition for a job with Fix Noise pertains to a meeting at the Yardley-Makefield library last weekend held by Bill Mettler, a Montgomery County community activist, and George Owen, a retired architect who promotes the transition town philosophy in Media, Delaware County (with the philosophy stating that a “transition town” should “create its own energy, produce its own food, provide its own health care and mint its own currency”).

    This of course is used as the butt of attempts at humor by Mullane (a global warming denialist if one ever existed). However, I fail to see the “yuks” here, particularly in light of the following (from here)…

    Our indebted nation is borrowing money to give to oil companies, who despite dwindling resources, continue to produce and poison their customers.

    If it is so limited, why do they continue to devote time and money to furthering its use? Royal Dutch Shell estimates that within seven years, the world’s oil supply will be depleted, leaving us with little time to waste. That time and money is desperately needed to further develop alternative energy sources that are sustainable. Meanwhile, we remain at war and in debt over oil which ruins our environment and consequently our lives.
    I wish I could just accept that at face value as a call to action, but I can’t; as noted here, Jeroen van der Veer, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, said that “Easy oil and easy gas—cheap-to-produce oil and cheap-to-produce gas, close to the markets where it is consumed—will peak one day, because it is simply depleted,” but “If you look at the total of what Mother Nature has put in the ground, we have a very long way to go” (and of course, this assumes that you can trust any of the cretins involved in the business of drilling holes in the earth and plundering it to line their own pockets above all else, while threatening our health and siphoning off untold monies in this country that could be better spent elsewhere).

    However, do not mistake that excerpt above as agreement on my part with J.D.’s snide derision here. Our energy policy has been a pathetic joke for so long, propping up governments towards whom we should not even be giving the time of day let alone a single dollar, that it’s long past time to effectively invest in alternative sources of energy.

    And continuing with the “Kentucky Kernel,” this tells us the following…

    Our right to life is jeopardized as we are unknowingly poisoned by the very thing that fuels our day. Wildlife die and water is contaminated by oil spills and irresponsible disposal of oil. Aside from the obvious consequences that we know about oil, we cannot overlook the resource that poisons us right at out backdoor.

    The Appalachians, a beautiful landscape that makes our home unique, is being destroyed while its rivers and lakes are being contaminated as a result of coal mining. It has been found that freshwater lakes and the fish we consume from them have been tainted with mercury due to the burning of coal.

    West Virginia and Kentucky have fallen victim to this conspiracy more than any state due to our widespread coal mining industry. While those who work in mines are poisoned by poor working conditions, their families are being harmed by the very product they derive from the Earth. The Center for Disease Control reports freshwater fish in the United States contain dangerous levels of mercury.
    And as noted here, from June of last year, in the matter of our water and food supply…

    A map of world food trade increasingly looks like a map of the water haves and have-nots, because in recent years the global food trade has become almost a proxy trade in water — or rather, the water needed to grow food. “Virtual water,” some economists call it. The trade has kept the hungry in dry lands fed. But now that system is breaking down, because there are too many buyers and not enough sellers.

    According to estimates by UNESCO’s hydrology institute, the world’s largest net supplier of virtual water until recently was Australia. It exported a staggering 70 cubic kilometers of water a year in the form of crops, mainly food. With the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia’s main farming zone, virtually dry for the past two years, that figure has been cut in half.

    The largest gross exporter of virtual water is the United States, but its exports have also slumped as corn is diverted to domestic biofuels, and because of continuing drought in the American West.

    The current water shortages should not mark an absolute limit to food production around the world. But it should do three things. It should encourage a rethinking of biofuels, which are themselves major water guzzlers. It should prompt an expanding trade in food exported from countries that remain in water surplus, such as Brazil. And it should trigger much greater efforts everywhere to use water more efficiently.
    Now granted, I have no current data on rainfalls in this country since the article by Fred Pearce was published. However, I think we would be as foolish as J.D. to ignore the long-term warning signs when it comes to production and consumption of food and maintaining our water supply.

    Partly because, as noted here…

    For more than a century, the federal government has spent billions of dollars, building our dams, reservoirs, aqueducts and pipelines. Ironically, in the same way that extracting/ transporting and processing water consumes large amounts of energy, the operation of power plants consume large amounts of water.

    Thermal energy is one of the largest water users in the United States. However, irrigated agriculture accounts for 80 percent of water consumed in the U.S. This high percentage is partially because of low water use-efficiency (the portion of water actually used by irrigated agriculture relative to the volume of water withdrawn). For the western United States, agricultural farms are the single largest water user, half of which is used by the largest 10 percent of the farms. High levels of irrigation subsidies, combined with archaic water laws make water use in the western U.S. highly wasteful and inefficient. But there is room for improvement in agricultural water use in almost all parts of the U.S. Water use should be such that for a given locale, appropriate incentives are put in place to ensure that water withdrawals do not exceed the recharge rate; that water conservation techniques (such as rain water harvesting) are central to land use planning; that improved irrigation efficiency and better nutrient management (to reduce non-point water pollution from farm run-offs) are rewarded; and that growing water-intensive crops in water scarce regions discouraged.
    And given all of this, I think it’s important to look at some “lessons learned” from Cuba that J.D. refers to in his column (from here, about the so-called “Special Period,” in which a group of Australians taught “permaculture” to Cubans after the collapse of the Soviet Union, on whom the country depended, as J.D. tells us)…

    In reality, when (the "Special Period") began, it was (out of) necessity. People had to start cultivating vegetables wherever they could," a tour guide told a documentary crew filming in Cuba in 2004 to record how Cuba survived on far less oil than usual.

    The crew included the staff of The Community Solution, a non-profit organization in Yellow Springs, Ohio which teaches about peak oil – the time when oil production world-wide will reach an all-time high and head into an irreversible decline. Some oil analysts believe this may happen within this decade, making Cuba a role model to follow.

    "We wanted to see if we could capture what it is in the Cuban people and the Cuban culture that allowed them to go through this very difficult time," said Pat Murphy, The Community Solution's executive director. "Cuba has a lot to show the world in how to deal with energy adversity."

    Scarce petroleum supplies have not only transformed Cuba's agriculture. The nation has also moved toward small-scale renewable energy and developed an energy-saving mass transit system, while maintaining its government-provided health care system whose preventive, locally-based approach to medicine conserves scarce resources.
    Also, as noted here, “Water scarcity as a result of climate change will create far-reaching global security concerns, Nobel laureate and Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Rajendra K. Pachauri has warned.”

    And Pachauri tells us that “we may be able to avoid the worst effects of climate change” if “global emissions of greenhouse gases…decline by 2015.”

    As J.D. would say, mark your calendars (though, if we don’t make that date partly because of opposition from Mullane and his simple-minded brethren, it won’t much matter).

    Update: I guess this guy Metcalfe is a pal of J.D.'s (here).

    Monday, October 19, 2009

    Monday Stuff

    It's so nice to watch wingnuts eat each other alive (and here's another interesting moment from "Countdown" tonight)...

    ...and I don't know how much more direct of a message Harry Reid is going to get on health care reform than this...

    ..."some measure of politics" indeed (more here from the third item)...

    Update 10/20/09: Drip, drip, drip...

    Update 10/21/09: Start working on your concession speech, Chris (here and here...and yes, Dem gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds in Virginia is at least as clueless, possibly more - I didn't think anyone could actually make me miss Terry McAuliffe, but Deeds has managed to do it.)

    Update 10/26/09: Election day can't come soon enough to put Christie out of his misery here.

    ...and every time I get disgusted with YouTube over the fact that embedding is disabled for almost every stinking new music video in existence, as well as the fact that all kinds of stuff I put up earlier is no longer available, along comes something like this - kudos to Bacmaster (and if it turns out that Richard Heene is guilty based on this, then I hope his sorry ass gets thrown in jail for some serious time).

    ...and speaking of "Up, Up And Away" - GREAT JOB, PHILS!

    The Ghost Of Bushco “Justice” Yields A Mukasey Mess

    (And I also posted here.)

    Former Bushco attorney general Michael Mukasey opined in the Murdoch Street Journal today from here, claiming in essence that the trials of the ’93 World Trade Center bombers in civilian courts yielded “9/11 and the murder of nearly 3,000 innocents.”

    And after I finished reading this twisted screed, I found myself eternally grateful that Mukasey and the rest of the craven, partisan lunatics of our prior ruling cabal are no longer in power.

    Based on my experience trying such cases, and what I saw as attorney general (civilian courts cannot try the Guantanamo detainees). That is not to say that civilian courts cannot ever handle terrorist prosecutions, but rather that their role in a war on terror—to use an unfashionably harsh phrase—should be, as the term "war" would suggest, a supporting and not a principal role.

    The challenges of a terrorism trial are overwhelming. To maintain the security of the courthouse and the jail facilities where defendants are housed, deputy U.S. marshals must be recruited from other jurisdictions; jurors must be selected anonymously and escorted to and from the courthouse under armed guard; and judges who preside over such cases often need protection as well. All such measures burden an already overloaded justice system and interfere with the handling of other cases, both criminal and civil.
    So, by that logic, Timothy McVeigh should have been tried at Guantanamo (or a non-civilian court of some kind, since his case predated Guantanamo). So should Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad (the latter apparently has an execution date coming up shortly, based on the Wikipedia article).

    And Ramzi Yousef, one of the planners of the World Trade Center bombing of 1993, was convicted in U.S. District Court for the southern district of New York and sentenced to life without parole; he currently resides at a supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. Of course, as far as Mukasey is concerned, that trial somehow led to the events of 9/11.

    But this is typical for Mukasey, who, as noted here by Shayana Kadidal of HuffPo, “urged congressional legislation to ensure that Bushco never has to explain…

    …to a federal court why they have held our clients in Guantánamo for over six years. The other two rounds (of congressional legislation) followed losses in the Supreme Court - the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, passed a year and half after…the Center for Constitutional Rights won the first Guantánamo case, Rasul v. Bush, in the Supreme Court, and the Military Commissions Act of 2006, passed a few months after the administration's defeat in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. The Supreme Court explicitly said last month in Boumediene v. Bush that the two prior attempts by Congress to intervene to prevent detainees from having access to the courts were unconstitutional, and that the lower courts should get on with the business of hearing these cases. Unfortunately, that hasn't prevented our nation's highest law enforcement official from trying again to ensure that no court has a chance to rule that one of our clients was wrongly detained during his watch.


    The (Bush) administration has learned that it can readily invoke panic by mentioning the possibility that Guantanamo detainees might be moved to high-security prisons in the United States, as John McCain had proposed as a means to shut down Guantánamo. Traditionally, detainees are brought to court to witness their habeas hearings, but it has already been suggested that the easiest way to take detainee testimony is by setting up videolinks or having the judges and lawyers head down to Guantanamo (which federal judges have done in the past). Putting all that to one side, Mukasey's "security" concerns are ridiculous. If we can't "safely" bring a detainee into the U.S. to hear his testimony, then maybe we should all move to that salt mine with Dr. Strangelove."
    Mukasey also notes the case of Michael Finton, an American who was radicalized into following militant Islam in one of our prisons (and to achieve maximum shock value, Mukasey also tells us of terrorist Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, who partially blinded a prison guard). And yes, state prisons can be breeding grounds for terrorists, but the study cited below (funded by DHS) about trying to de-radicalize terrorists tells us, in part, the following…

    This method proved itself, especially in Egypt. Over the past decade, the Egyptian authorities succeeded in convincing Muslim militant groups such as Jamaa Islamiya and the Jihadists to abandon the armed struggle. Those authorities managed to do so with the help of distinguished religious leaders from the Al-Azhar University, who held long meetings with senior leaders from those two terror organizations. After the terrorist leaders were convinced - through the help of theological arguments - they published articles, books and manifests, calling upon their followers to cease terror and violence, and concentrate on political activity and religious studies only.
    Mukasey continues…

    It was anticipated that if those detainees were to be tried at all, it would be before a military commission where the touchstone for admissibility of evidence was simply relevance and apparent reliability. Thus, the circumstances of their capture on the battlefield could be described by affidavit if necessary, without bringing to court the particular soldier or unit that effected the capture, so long as the affidavit and surrounding circumstances appeared reliable. No such procedure would be permitted in an ordinary civilian court.
    That’s right – civilian courts wouldn’t allow such bogus standards of admissibility.

    Perhaps instead of trying to concoct more “Ooga Booga!,” “Terra! Terra! Terra!” drivel, Mukasey should instead take some time to consider how the notion of “justice” from the regime he represented has ended up radicalizing those who had no grievance with this country, as well as making us ultimately less safe from future attacks, as noted here.