The leg we stand on

Where do you even start?

“Any fool with a roof over his head, a car to drive, a job that pays the bills, food in his cupboard and refrigerator, a sense of responsibility, a feeling of belonging, of having a family or a community or a tribe that depends on him and perhaps even loves him; who has a leg to stand on, shoes on his feet, a warm bed, clean underwear, hot water, a toilet that flushes, books to read, music to listen to, a chair to sit on, hands and feet and arms and legs and eyes and ears that still work, a cracked and compassionate heart, a brain that is still capable of manufacturing sense (even if only occasionally) and cooperates, however gracelessly, with his tongue and dispatches words to his fingers; any fool whose fingers can still grip a pen, who still has access to blank sheets or scraps of paper and who continues to feel compelled to say something; anybody, in other words, who has lived a good, long while on the planet and feels things ever stirring in his head and heart, any such person should spend at least half of whatever time he has left in the world saying nothing but thank you.”

Another marvelous original snippet of writing by Minnesota’s Brad Zellar.

Sifting Junk for Junk

Matt Thompson at Newsless says:

I’m beginning to question an assumption I’ve never really articulated, but always held.

I’ve long assumed that if you followed the news, the stories behind the headlines would become plain. By reading your newspaper over time, you’d develop a high-level understanding of the issues. You’d have an idea of the characters involved, the dilemmas at hand, the consensus facts, etc.

You’ll be armed with the information you need to make decisions on how to advance your society.

I’m taking the most linear approach possible to following the news: reading years of relevant stories strung end-to-end in order.

I should be the Platonic ideal of the well-informed citizen.


No matter the effort, many times following the news doesn’t work.

Reporting takes time and money. While newspapers teeter and broadcasters cut costs and consolidate, we may not have the full story in front of us. As a society, we must keep this in mind.

House Wrapping Implosion

Termite insecticide is a greenhouse gasAn insecticide used to fumigate termite-infested buildings is a strong greenhouse gas that lives in the atmosphere nearly 10 times longer than previously thought. Read more at Science blog.

Melinda Wenner at Discover’s blog says carbon dioxide may be the least of our warming worries: New studies show an even greater accumulation of other, potentially more potent greenhouse gases.

  • methane from landfills and melting perma­frost remains in the atmosphere one-tenth as long as CO2—about a decade—but traps 20 times as much heat.
  • nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) used to make microchips and flat-screen TVs, increasing 11 percent each year, lingers for 550 years, is 17,000 times better at trapping heat than CO2.

Breathing a bit longer

Month by month, clean is better.
Although it’s taken more twenty years, the New England Journal of Medicine reports that cleaner air in 51 metropolitan areas has added nearly five more months to people’s lives.

Cleaning up Pittsburgh’s air has given residents nearly 10 months of longer life.

Long-term exposure to dirty air — specifically, the tiny specks known as fine-particulate air pollution — shortens lives and contributes to cardiovascular and lung disease. CNN

Oops, there goes trucks and fireplaces!

Time’s a’ changin’

Still LOL, I’m typing this just after pulling myself up from the floor.

Overheard on NBC’s ER.

He: So what would you do?

She: Invest in a high-yield savings account at an FDIC insured bank.

He: Wow. That’s really thinking out of the box.

Yes We Can

AP - Marchers demonstrate for the Equal Rights Amendment, May 16, 1976And yes, women can too.

But women generally earn 60 percent of the pay given to a male. That is senseless. Stupid. Wrong. I’ve been angry about this my entire life. Who can justify this nonsense?

The House and Senate are molasses, er, are removing hurdles imposed under the Bush years by relaxing requirements to sue for wage discrimination.

That’s still not equity. Merely enabling redress is not equity. But the eased right to take ’em to court will be one of the first bills that President Obama will sign into law. McClatchy Newspapers

He seems to be an American

NYTimes Who’da thunk it?

Dennis C. Blair, Obama intel chiefDennis C. Blair, a sixth-generation Naval officer and retired admiral, is President Obama’s choice as director of National Intelligence.

He’s pledged that counterterrorism efforts will operate “in a manner consistent with our nation’s values, consistent with our Constitution and consistent with the rule of law.”

He added that snooping must respect the privacy and civil liberties of the American people.

He also said torture is “not moral, legal or effective” and any interrogation program would have to comply with the Geneva Conventions, the Convention against Torture and the Constitution.

Pollution in our pants

Our hope that sustainability will replace our industrial culture will require much more than green power and the newest infrastructure, because damage is much more pervasive than merely fixing lights and gas tanks.

Here’s another challenge:

pharm wastes:

pills in our waterChemicals, drugs and, yes, contraceptive pills, are entering our water supplies and rivers causing male fish to become females, reproductive cancers, as well as reducing the fertility of men.

Hormone-blocking chemicals in our water are lowering male testosterone. Science blog.

Where about 90 Indian drug factories dump wastewater in India, they were shocked. A single, powerful antibiotic was being spewed into one stream each day to treat every person in a city of 90,000. Indian factories produce drugs for much of the world, including Americans. The wastewater downstream from the Indian plants contained 150 times the highest levels detected in the USA. AP Newsvine


I’m thinking my new blog design has lost all it’s people-ness and looks corny commercial and isn’t more comfortable to read. Is this mere designer’s shame and remorse?

Naw, there’s something just wrong and I’m not tuned in enough to know what it is. The search must go on for a comfy layout….

Yes We Can Fly Now

Within a day’s glow a thousand moments tempt the mind…

     I never knew what time could do
Until I let my dreams come through
Reminding me that day or night
The stars are never out of sight.
We are the eagle.
Light above and dark below,
To see the heart of the sun,
To see what duty has won.

Republican Lament

We Blew It, by P.J. O'RourkeAt the conservative Weekly Standard, P.J. O’Rourke writes to his fellow Republicans, “We Blew It“:

“Let us bend over and kiss our ass goodbye.

“Our 28-year conservative opportunity to fix the moral and practical boundaries of government is gone–gone with the bear market and the Bear Stearns and the bear that’s headed off to do you-know-what in the woods on our philosophy.

“An entire generation has been born, grown up, and had families of its own since Ronald Reagan was elected. And where is the world we promised these children of the Conservative Age?

“Where is this land of freedom and responsibility, knowledge, opportunity, accomplishment, honor, truth, trust, and one boring hour each week spent in itchy clothes at church, synagogue, or mosque?

“It lies in ruins at our feet, as well it might, since we ourselves kicked the shining city upon a hill into dust and rubble.”

Can we always exploit?

The TyeeThe proposals for bailouts, regulations and government spending sprees all share one tragic flaw: they assume no physical or biological limits to human growth. Most economists cling to an 18th century mechanical universe that conjured an “invisible hand” of God, that would allegedly convert private greed into public utopia.

Indeed, a few got rich, but the meek inherit an earth featuring child slavery, sweatshops, a billion starving people, toxic garbage heaps, dead rivers, exhausted aquifers, disappearing forests, depleted energy stores, lopped-off mountain tops, acid seas, melting glaciers and an atmosphere heating up like a flambé.


Actions Contemptible of America

Dana Blankenhorn at NetrootsWhat to do about the damage we endure?

Dana Blankenhorn says, “Make them own it.
Let’s break that down into its component parts, because they are all important:

  • Make means force, compel, staying on the case without rest and without mercy. It means you’re the hammer, they’re the nail, from now to the end of time. We are all Simon Wiesenthal now, and the criminals of the Bush Regime are the Nazis.
  • Them means not just those in the Bush Regime who gave us these horrors, but all their enablers, including those in the media and those Democrats who let them get away with it.
  • Own means you don’t let them weasel out of their responsibility, now or ever. These people must not only be exiled, but kept out, forever. Note what the Reagan people did to Carterism (even though Jimmy Carter was a wise man decades ahead of his time). Hit them harder, longer, destroy them more thoroughly than Carter was destroyed.
  • It means everything.
    The financial scandals. The Iraq War. The torture, the renditions, the eviscerating of the Constitution. All the actions of a government contemptible of government. Not only the actions, but the attitudes, and the ideology behind them, must be destroyed, called off limits by all future historians.

Innocent persons wrongfully arrested

As if the purpose of America is a powerful state, the Republican Supreme Court is favoring the power of government.

The Roberts Court has diluted and reduced the “exclusionary rule” that had prohibited prosecution and police from using evidence obtained from illegal searches.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg opposed, saying “The most serious impact of the court’s holding will be on innocent persons wrongfully arrested based on erroneous information carelessly maintained in a computer database.”

Read her statement again.

What is a government if merely a powerful state?

Misleading and Mistaken

Voice of America, January 15:

Britain’s Foreign Secretary is calling for democracies to rethink their strategy against extremists, saying the notion of the “war on terror” is misleading and mistaken.

David Miliband said the U.S.-led “war on terror” was an attempt to build solidarity by portraying a fight against a single shared enemy.

But, by grouping various terrorist organizations together and drawing battle lines as a simple struggle between good and evil, extremists are aided in their effort to unify; groups generally with little in common.

The British foreign secretary said democracies must respond to terrorism by championing the rule of law, not subordinating it.

With just days to go

Bush and arrogant henches [new word] of the White House dared to say four years ago that they ‘lost’ 14 million e-mails and records.

But Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. ordered the president’s executive office — with just days to go — to undertake a comprehensive search of computer workstations, preserve portable hard drives and examine any e-mail archives.

Oh, there they are. We found them. At a cost of $10 million.