Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Das Boot

If you, like many people around the world, saw the Truth right, Bush left sign hanging on NY's Plaza Hotel you might be interested to know that the people which unfurled it have been charged with felony assault, reckless endangerment, and criminal trespass. If convicted they face 25 year jail sentences. If not convicted they must fight off a costly legal battle.

It seems to me that this was simply an act of citizens creatively petitioning their government for redress. But to John Ashcroft's justice department it is a crime so foul, so heinous that they should be placed in the criminal class of murderers, rapists, and bank robbers.

People should not be charged with felony at the drop of a hat, or the drop of a sign. This is just another good reason to evict the Bush administration in November. We need a president that interprets the Constitution literally and the Bible loosely instead of the other way around.

Read more here...


I have long felt that the most powerful attack against President Bush would be to highlight his abysmal record.

MoveOn has taken this approach one step farther by letting disgruntled Republicans talk about President Bush's record, and the result is some of the best ads I've seen. They are all the better, because:

1. There is no "scary" music which has become such a cliche.

2. There is no "scary" narrator, which has become such a cliche. I call it a refrigerator voice, because the moment I hear it that is where I go.

3. There is substance communicated directly. For instance, try viewing the ad called Lee Buttrill.

View or contribute to Real People Ads

Finally someone has created issue-oriented, plain-spoken, campaign ads for Kerry.

Monday, August 30, 2004

A breaking, important story

You may have heard that the FBI is investigating Israeli spy penetration at the office of Douglas Feith.

If you would like to know more about this breaking story, then read this:

Iran-Contra II?

If you would like to read an Israeli perspective on the story, then read this:

Bush or CIA leak?

Finally, here is Juan Cole's (a Middle East professor) opinion on the story:

Orgy of destruction

As you can see, this is no mere trifle of a case since it seems to involve treason at the second-tier levels of the Bush administration.

It looks increasingly likely to me that the Niger documents were birthed in this spy canal, since it involves all of the principals (i.e. Italy, Office of Special Plans, and Douglas Feith).

Keep your eye on this one. It's big.

ADDENDUM: Newsweek has more to add on this story. This is big, big, big, so watch, watch, watch:

And now, a Mole?

Democracy Corps

Democracy Corps, James Carville's outfit, crunches more poll numbers. Things continue to look bad for Bush and good for Kerry.


How will Bush respond? Will it be gays and God and guns? Will the red-eyed extremists (his base) be muzzled for home audiences? What about the protestors? Is the news done covering them?

Could be a banner week in NY.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

New York Rocks and Rolls

Karl Rove should have known better than to host the RNC convention in New York City. Apparently, though, the temptation of wrapping Bush up in the blood of 911 and the flag was too great to pass up.

New Yorkers seem all too glad to take advantage of this mistake and are turned out in the hundreds of thousands to protest the policies of the Bush administration.

The AP has been publishing pictures. Take a look at the waves of people!

Manhattan ave flooded in river of bodies

There will probably be many posted here:

Top Stories Photos

Here is a link to a site dedicated to reporting on the protests:

NYC to RNC: Go F*ck yourselves

Bon Appetite

Happy talk vs reality

The happy talk:

U.S. President George W. Bush said on Saturday his tax cuts were working to lift growth. (Source...).

The reality:

Greenspan warns Social Security in trouble

Economy More sluggish than thought

3 consecutive years of poverty growth

This man is embarrassing.

Garrison Keillor blasts Bush.

Garrison Keillor has a few harsh words for the Bush administration.

We're Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore

I love "A Prarie Home Companion" and think we are so lucky to have it. I hang my head that Garrison has had his peace of mind interrupted by the machine men. It is with pride that I pick it back up and smile for the man who brought us the Ketchup Advisory Board and the Duct tape council.

Thank you Garrison.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Iraq's 2004 death total already exceeds 2003's

In case you haven't noticed, more of our soldiers have already died in 2004 than in 2003 in Iraq. More have died in absolute terms (488 vs 482) and in relative terms (2.04 per day vs 1.68 per day).

If that's "turning the corner" we're on the road to hell.

Iraq Coalition Casualty Count


Benny Boom has teamed up with MoveOn and put together this new ad. This ad portrays something which has got to be Karl Rove's greatest nightmare.


Friday, August 27, 2004

New York Tramples Bill of Rights to Protect Grass

USA Today isn't exactly known for it's scathing critiques, but here the editors go after New York and Boston politicians for failing to honor "The right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances". They seem most upset that the first amendment would be trampled on to protect Central Park's grass.

New York Tramples Bill of Rights to Protect 'Grass

This stance is particularly offensive when 81% of New Yorkers support the protests:

81% say protect first amendment

There are a few psychos that would defend a green lawn with their lives (perhaps major-league ballpark groundskeepers), but I think they are a bit touched in the head. Many Americans have fought and died for the right to peacefully assemble, however, and the politicians of New York are trading liberty for a blade of grass. That sounds like a fools trade to me.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Where Is The Shame?

Amen brother. Amen.

Where is the shame?

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Everything looks like a nail

George Bush, asked to denounce an over-the-top ad which slanders John Kerry's military service has instead attacked "all independent political ads".

That's rich talk coming from a man who was an early adopter of 527s (during the Florida election proceedings), has appeared in fund-raising literature for 527s with his wife, and has many influential friends and contributors on prominent Republican 527s.

Both Democrats and Republicans want Bush to denounce an over-the-top ad campaign which denigrates the service of a veteran. He is instead trying to attack MoveOn. Since John Kerry's campaign is now publicly financed (since he accepted his party's nomination), to eliminate 527s would be to leave him defenseless against Karl Rove's negative message. This is Bush's real goal.

Operation low road

When MoveOn put out an ad that highlighted Bush's service John Kerry stepped forward and denounced it immediately. That's what a real leader does. He stops the buck on his own desk.

Honoring the service of vets is non-partisan

McCain is back in town and plans to personally express his displeasure at President Bush for not going far enough in condemning the attacks of Veterans for Truth (a misnomer).

Republicans and Democrats alike find this type of attack unfit conduct in decent, honorable folk.

You go John!

Until Bush does satisfy McCain, the best way for Democrats to respond is with the truth. Here it is: John Kerry 3 purple hearts, a silver cross, and a bronze star. Dick Cheney: 5 consecutive draft deferments and "other priorities". George Bush: 3 cavities. Oh, and don't forget the 3 DUI's between Dick and George. Then, of course, there's the deficit and that little fiasco in Iraq.

Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut, author of "Breakfast of Champions", "Slaughterhouse Five", and "Welcome to the Monkey House", has written many letters condemning the absurdity of George W. Bush and the occupation of Iraq.

Here is his latest, in which he draws comparisons between Bush and Hitler. The interesting thing to note is that Kurt Vonnegut was a POW in Dresden during WWII and he has seen Hitler's dark places first-hand.

My country 'tis of Librarian

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Happy Talk

President Bush's use of "happy-talk" is often demonstrably absurd. He'll say, "we're turning the corner on the economy", for instance, while our deficit is breaking records and the latest economic news on job creation is scary-bad.

Sometimes he goes so far he reminds me of Communist Russia. Remember how we used to laugh and laugh at the B.S. the Ruskies would tell their own people.

The news:

US army officials say it could take one to 10 years to crush the insurgency in Iraq: More...

The happy-talk:

President Bush portrayed the ongoing occupation of Iraq in optimistic terms Monday even as the U.S. death toll nears 1,000: Mission accomplished

I don't feel much like laughing now, though maybe the Ruskies are enjoying a good chortle.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Our Vietnam.

William Rivers Pitt reminds us that the important war news is not what George W. Bush and John Kerry did 29 years ago. The important war news is that the following young men and women have died in August:

Army Spc. Armando Hernandez, age 22; Army Spc. Anthony J. Dixon, age 20;Marine Cpl. Dean P. Pratt, age 22; Army Spc. Justin B. Onwordi, age 28; Marine Sgt. Juan Calderon Jr., age 26; Army Pfc. Harry N. Shondee, Jr., age 19; Marine Capt. Gregory A Ratzlaff, age 36; Army Sgt. Tommy L. Gray, age 34; Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph L. Nice, age 19; Marine Gunnery Sgt. Elia P. Fontecchio, age 30; Army Spc. Donald R. McCune, age 20; Marine Sgt. Moses D. Rocha, age 33; Army Pfc. Raymond J. Faulstich Jr., age 24; Marine Sgt. Yadir G. Reynoso, age 27; Marine Lance Cpl. Larry L. Wells, age 22; Army Spc. Joshua I. Bunch, age 23; Marine Cpl. Roberto Abad, age 22; Army Pfc. David L. Potter, age 22; Marine Lance Cpl. Jonathan W. Collins, age 19; Army Capt. Andrew R. Houghton, age 25; Marine Lance Cpl. Tavon L. Hubbard, age 24; Marine Staff Sgt. John R. Howard, age 26; Army Capt. Michael Yury Tarlavsky, age 30; Marine Lance Cpl. Kane M. Funke, age 20; Marine Lance Cpl. Nicholas B. Morrison, age 23; Army 1st Lt. Neil Anthony Santoriello, age 24; Marine Corps Pfc. Geoffrey Perez, age 24; Marine Corps Pfc. Fernando B. Hannon, age 19; Army Spc. Mark Anthony Zapata, age 27; Army 2nd Lt. James Michael Goins, age 23; Army Sgt. Daniel Michael Shepherd, age 23; Army Pfc. Brandon R. Sapp, age 21; Army Sgt. David M. Heath, age 30; Army Spc. Brandon T. Titus, age 20; Marine Lance Cpl. Caleb J. Powers, age 21; Army Spc. Jacob D. Martir, age 21; Marine Sgt. Harvey E. Parkerson III, age 27; Marine Lance Cpl. Dustin R. Fitzgerald, age 22; Army Pfc. Henry C. Risner, age 26; Pfc. Kevin A. Cuming, age 22; 1st Lt. Charles L. Wilkins III, age 38; Pfc. Ryan A. Martin, age 22.

Read article here

When you put it that way, it's hard not to agree. It is understandable that Bush would want to change the subject. I'm not sure why John Kerry would want to do that.

Monday, August 23, 2004

America can do better

It was George Bush's attacks on John McCain's military record that first tipped me off to W's lack of sincerity when he proposed restoring honor and dignity to the Whitehouse.

I remember the moment John McCain told George Bush he ought to be ashamed of himself and so does the campaign of John Kerry. Here is their latest ad which features the memorable scene:

Old Tricks

Nobody should get away with disparaging the service of Veterans, especially the commander in chief, and especially during time of war.

We have a president without shame or honor. I cannot wait to cast my vote against him. In fact I consider it my duty as an American.

ADDENDUM: Apparently he does have shame, see Good for you George. I shall have to adjust my opinion of him upwards and am glad of the chance to do so.

It's official. We now have Saddam-style "minders".

Was Saddam a monster for the things he did or for his poor choice of haircut?

If Saddam was a monster for the things he did, then why should we mimic his behavior in America?

FBI Launches Nationwide Surveillance Of Activists Ahead of GOP Convention

If Saddam, however, was a monster for his poor choice of haircut then I suppose there is no danger on that front. George Bush's haircut looks nothing like Saddams. Nothing.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

George Bush's America

Ted Kennedy.
The Ted Kennedy.
The Senator from Massachusettes.
Has been blocked from flying 5 times between March 1 and April 6.

Apparently his name was similar to those of terrorists and our sharp-eyed boys wouldn't let him fly, wouldn't tell him why, and left him with no recourse to get his ticket. Republicans might think this is funny. May each of your mothers be subjected to the same treatment.

Here's the full story:

Homeland SS agents are out of control

Friday, August 20, 2004

Letterman bites back

I love this story because it sounds so much like a parable.

David Letterman found this video clip of a tired child of some rich Republican investing in the Bush candidacy. He's just a kid and he didn't care a whit for Bush's long speech:

Bush Invigorates America's Youth

It is amusing and it would have ended at that if the Whitehouse hadn't done a very stupid thing. They called CNN and said that the Letterman show had edited the kid into the video. CNN then did a stupid thing and dutifully reported that without checking with Letterman. So, Letterman got pissed and told CNN to correct themselves. Then, the Whitehouse did a stupid thing and said the child wasn't standing in that spot but had been edited there. CNN, how embarrasing, dutifully reported that new story without checking with Letterman.

Not surprisingly, Letterman was doubly PO'd after the second round of lying and decided to take aim at the Bush Whitehouse on-air. Here is the result:

Letterman defends himself

The moral of this particular parable is..."Two wrongs don't make a right."

I like the way Letterman got back at CNN and Bush. All he did was state the facts.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Najaf in flames along with Democracy hopes...

Juan Cole says, "Here are the [Muslim] holy cities in order of holiness: Mecca, Medinah, Jerusalem, Najaf, Karbala. Najaf and Karbala are especially holy to Shiites."

The US is now using warplanes to bomb Sadr in Najaf and two minarets have been damaged on the Imam Ali Mosque so far.

I'm not sure what we can do to top this. Maybe we should pre-emptively bomb the oil infrastructure ourselves and pass out targets to our troops. We might as well, you know, but then people would think we were deliberately stupid.

Republican Senator Bereuter says Iraq war is not justified

We have killed 3 times more Iraqi civilians (see Body Count) liberating them than died on 911. More importantly, Iraq was never linked to those attacks. In other words, our invasion of Iraq was unjust.

Several prominent Republicans came to that conclusion and the latest to do so is Senator Doug Bereuter.

Senator Doug Bereuter regrets Iraq assault

One fact that confuses me is why nobody has bothered to accuse Bush of abusing the war powers he had. As I understand it he was empowered to punish those responsible for 911 and never established a link between Iraq and 911. So I ask the question, "How is the Iraq invasion legal either?"

Ron Reagan compares his dad and Bush

Here is an excerpt from an article written by Ron Reagan, son of former President Ronald Reagan. Bush does not stand up well in the glare of his opinions:


"...Throughout that long, stately, overtelevised week in early June, items would appear in the newspaper discussing the Republicans' eagerness to capitalize (subtly, tastefully) on the outpouring of affection for my father and turn it to Bush's advantage for the fall election. The familiar "Heir to Reagan" puffballs were reinflated and loosed over the proceedings like (subtle, tasteful) Mylar balloons. Predictably, this backfired. People were treated to a side-by-side comparison—Ronald W. Reagan versus George W. Bush—and it's no surprise who suffered for it. Misty-eyed with nostalgia, people set aside old political gripes for a few days and remembered what friend and foe always conceded to Ronald Reagan: He was damned impressive in the role of leader of the free world. A sign in the crowd, spotted during the slow roll to the Capitol rotunda, seemed to sum up the mood—a portrait of my father and the words NOW THERE WAS A PRESIDENT."


Wednesday, August 18, 2004

David Hackworth on Veteran Fratricide

David Hackworth is America's most decorated living soldier and he doesn't like the denigration of John Kerry's service and calls on Bush to do the right thing.

Here is a sample paragraph:

"But politics and style aside, Kerry did serve with distinction in Vietnam when he easily could have avoided that killing field. His service to his country shouldn’t be diminished by the same despicable, politically motivated tactics visited upon Sens. John McCain in South Carolina and Max Cleland in Georgia, also Viet vets. This kind of gutter-bashing doesn’t belong in American politics, and vets shouldn’t allow themselves to be used as ammo for cheap shots at one of their own."

Veteran fratricide

I would like to add, "Here! Here!"

When will they learn?

There is a scenario unfolding now that manages to be desperate, pathetic, and counter-productive all at the same time. Predictably a call is going out to boycott Bruce Springstein, because he is working to defeat President Bush. Predictably it will: 1. Draw more attention to Bruce and his message. 2. Draw more fans to Bruce and his message. 3. Increase his record sales.

This is a lesson the Republicans haven't learned with Michael Moore, and it is a lesson the Democrats haven't learned with Ralph Nader. Censorship always backfires in America for the simple reason that Americans don't like censorship or it's champions. Secondly it buys some very expensive media coverage for Bruce at no cost to him (i.e. your reading more about it right now).

Calls for Boss boycott

You'll see. This happens every single time in America, it is one of the things I like best about it. If I were Bruce I'd link to the article from my sight and huff with indignation at the affront.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Iraq Evicts Reporters From Najaf

Iraqi police have ordered all journalists to leave the city of Najaf in Iraq.

Why do you suppose that is?

Iraq Evicts Reporters From Najaf

This is a dangerous time for our troops. Keep them in your thoughts.

George Bush's America

It seems that FBI agents and NY city police are making unannounced visits to people's homes, conducting interviews, and monitoring Web sites and meetings in preparation for the NY city Bush protests.

So, once again Bush busys our agents with politics (remember asking Homeland Security to find a plane of Texas Democrats?) when they should be focused like a laser beam on Osama bin Forgotten.

Land of my father's pride?

Right now we're making a lousy standard-bearer for freedom and Democracy. How far off do you suppose government "minders" are?

Answer: Not far if our pal Mr. Goss has his way.

CIA to operate inside US?

Monday, August 16, 2004

Human Shields and Militants Await Tanks of Liberation

I am French Canadian and here is the type of joke I grew up surrounded by:

A pair of Frenchman were walking along a sidewalk and spotted something brown. One of them, Jacques, warned the other to be careful. Pierre thanked Jacques, then bent down to investigate. He said, "Hmmmm, it looks like dog-poop." Jacques said, after sniffing the air, "It smells like dog-poop." Pierre put a small piece in his mouth and said, "Ewww, it tastes like dog-poop too. It's a good thing we didn't step in it!"

I thought of that old joke when I read that human shields are now surrounding the mosque in Najaf where Sadr is hiding.

"It looks like a quagmire.", we said.
"It smells like a quagmire.", we said.
"Ewwww, it tastes like a quagmire.", we said.

Bush of course replied: I think I'll step in it

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Michael Moore on Porter Goss

Apparently Michael Moore collected some interesting Porter Goss video. You can learn more about it here.

This ought to be tough to spin:

I am not qualified

Friday, August 13, 2004

Toto draws the curtain aside

In order to understand the great and awesome power that was the Wizard of Oz you needed to peek behind the curtain (thanks Toto).

Likewise, if you want to understand the Bush administration you must peek behind the curtain. In this case, the curtain is labelled "Rebuilding America's defenses" and was written by the Project for a New American Century (a think-tank which included the likes of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Elliot Abrams, John Bolton, and I. Lewis Libby at the time).

Rebuilding America's Defenses

If you want to read a synopsis instead, here is an article by William Rivers Pitt:

The Writing on the Latrine Walls

Thursday, August 12, 2004

International community to monitor our elections

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is sending a team to observe the 2004 election.

This year will be the first time the group will report publicly afterward on any shortcomings it finds.

Votes that count

I hope they employ exit polling wherever e-voting is used, since I don't trust a system which produces no paper trail.

Hopefully they will also monitor elections in predominately black neighborhoods, especially those in Florida.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Porter Goss as CIA Director?

Porter Goss is the man President Bush thinks ought to be the new CIA director. However...

This article points out that he was "the longtime chair of a congressional panel that the [9/11] commission called complacent in the run-up to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks."

You gotta serve somebody...

This New York Times Op/Ed points out that President Bush is using Goss's nomination as a means to sidestep the actual recommendations of the 9/11 commission.

What's the left hand doing?

Ray McGovern wrote an article about him on July 6th in which he said:

"As the election nears, it serves the administration quite well to keep the focus on intelligence shortcomings and to make it appear that the president was misled - on weapons of mass destruction, for example. And Porter Goss is precisely the right person to cooperate in this effort."


It looks to me like President Bush is more interested in a pliable CIA than a competent one. It looks to me like the President is once again placing politics ahead of national security.

Not Scared Yet? Try Connecting These Dots

Why are all the king's horses and all the king's men out trumpeting an Al Quaeda election-period strike? I find it spooky and apparently the spooks find it scary.

Read this analysis by Ray McGovern on the topic if you dare:

Try Connecting These Dots

Carville fans

James Carville fans will be interested in Democracy Corps latest analysis called: "From small bounce to big opportunity".

Post Convention Analysis

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Sudan Launches New Round of Attacks in Darfur (washingtonpost.com)

The Janjaweed, characterized as an Arab militia in this article, is attacking people that are desperately trying to flee being attacked by helicopters.

A bloody genocide reinvigorated

How has the human race survived so long being so violent and so stupid? How have we escaped total annihilation?

Innocence debunked

Here is a point-by-point thorough debunking of George Bush's innocence on Iraqi WMD claims. If you are a fence sitter you should read every word and then remember in November:

They Knew...

GIs encircle Iraq holy sites

Iraq may be about to erupt. Once again (still?) Sadr is surrounded in Najaf and is vowing to fight. If, as seems inevitable, the US forces attack him in a mosque they will find people in Iraq care much more for the mosque than Sadr.

Of course, if they don't attack then they leave a huge problem in their wake.

That is a classic quagmire. Act and the problem escalates, but fail to act only at your peril. Too bad nobody saw it coming but the millions of people that protested worldwide.

US forces encircle Iraq holy sites

Monday, August 09, 2004

Laughing in his face

In this audio clip you can hear reporters laughing in Bush's face. How dumb is too dumb?

Boy genius

Pressure in Darfur mounts

Ben Cohen, one of the founders of Ben and Jerry's ice-cream was recently arrested in front of the Sudanese embassy. He is pulling out all the stops trying to get the US government to respond to the crisis in Darfur. He has become so desperate because the situation is so desperate. A total of 370,000 Africans are already dead, or in the late stages of dying, from starvation in the extermination camps. The death toll could reach one million within the next few months.

There is an organization called True Majority which was founded to "compound the power of all those who believe in social justice, giving children a decent start in life, protecting the environment, and America working in cooperation with the world community". They are raising money to send a camera crew and satellite link to Darfur under the assumption that people who see what is going on there will want to make it stop. If you would like to contribute to that campaign, follow this link:

Sudan/Darfur TM campaign

Here is more information about the Darfur genocide:

Darfur: A genocide we can stop

Maybe we could at least drop food into the camps and have our military escort aid workers there. We're over-extended in Iraq as it is, but maybe we can keep them alive long enough for other nations to act.

Perhaps the Arab league could be shamed into doing something. After all, this looks bad for their team.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Brother, Can You Spare A Job?

Too often we insulate ourselves against the homeless, perhaps because if we didn't harden our hearts (and wallets) it'd be hard to enjoy our own successes.

This cartoon introduces us to Melvin McBean who travels from unemployed to homeless and contrasts his plight against some of the optimistic things which have been said by the Bush administration regarding our economic performance.

Brother, Can You Spare A Job?

If you feel so inclined, here is a charity which helps to alleviate hunger.

Heifer project

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Whistling past the graveyard

Our troops are in a shooting gallery with no clear goal, and lacking the manpower to achieve one anyway, and they face an increasingly organized and hostile populace. This is not a formula for success. Historical trends, in fact, point in the opposite direction.

If you look at the recent headlines things are not good in Iraq. In fact, let's focus on the period between August 1 and August 5:

Casualties continue unabated

Chopper shot down, hospital bombed

Sadr declares war on British troops

Two marines killed near Syrian border

Fresh hostages

US contractor killed

Saudi contractors suspend truck traffic to Iraq

Car bomb kills 5

Two more marines killed

Three more marines killed

Iraqi governor quits

Here is an analysis of the war by Robert Fisk, a British reporter in Iraq:

War a fraud

Our troops will face more of the same, but in escalated fashion, until the American people stop whistling past the graveyard. Right now, I think our troops need us more than we need them in Iraq.

Ken's eyes focus

Ken Dilanian, a Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer, wrote a piece in April which said a lot of the good being done in Iraq was being underreported and that they'd missed the opportunity for a turnaround.

Ken now admits, "I couldn't have been more wrong."

See why his latest piece is entitled: The situation in Iraq right now is not as bad as the news media are portraying it to be. It's worse.

Yogi Berra once said, "You can observe a lot by looking." Take a look at this story and maybe you will also observe the quagmire we seem to be mired in.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Somebody pinch me

Doesn't it scare you that our president is so consistently ignorant? Golly! Sometimes I think his brain is controlled by the ghost of Gomer Pyle. He's had 3 1/2 years of practice at this, can't he do any better?


If you don't know who Gomer is, here's a helpful link:

Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C

McCain on Sudan

My opinion is that America would be much better off if our President's last name were McCain instead of Bush. My favorite McCain trait is candor (he tells you what he thinks unambiguously and respectfully).

He wrote an editorial in the Washington Post on June 23 which I missed until now. His warning seems all-the-more prescient given recent events in Sudan. It begins thus:

Imagine that we could rerun the events that occurred in Rwanda 10 years ago. With the certain knowledge of horrific events to come, would the world's great nations again stand idle as 800,000 human beings faced slaughter? If the recent expressions of grief and regret from world leaders are any indication, the answer is no -- this time things would be very different.

Yet, in 2004, just as in 1994, the international community is on the verge of making a tragic mistake. Mass human destruction is unfolding today in Sudan, with the potential to bring a death toll even higher than that in Rwanda.


Thursday, August 05, 2004

Bush without shame

A morally bankrupt piece of garbage. That about sums up my opinion of George W. Bush's latest attack ad against Kerry.

You might recall that when he ran against McCain he attacked his patriotism, even though McCain was a POW during Viet nam and Bush couldn't bother to show up for Champagne-core duty. He also did push polling which asked, "If you knew John McCain had fathered an illegitimate black child would you vote for him anyway?"

Not surprisingly he is pulling the same fecal material out for use against Kerry.

Not surprisingly John McCain denounced it immediately:

McCain Condemns new Bush ad

I suppose when your own record of service is embarrassing you attack the other guy to detract attention from your own record. The trick now is for Kerry to respond with a bright light on Bush's record.

I think this about sums it up:

John Kerry: 3 purple hearts, a Silver star, and a bronze star
George Bush: 3 cavities

I have never held a US president in such low regard. What people see in him escapes me.

Boss against Bush

I know that a lot of people think entertainers should shut up when it comes to politics. Those same people usually think an exception in Reagan's and Arnold's cases is not a contradiction to their ethics.

Bruce Springsteen, the Boss, is an entertainer willing to tour swing states to oppose Bush. Riding his coat tails will be bands like REM, and entertainers like Bonnie Raitt. The tour is called "Musicians for Change" and you can get Bruce's take on it from this Ted Koppel interview:

Springsteen Talks About Anti-Bush Concert Tour

Here is the tour schedule. Apparently being purple has its' advantages:

Musicians for Change tour

John Kerry, 1971

Vietnam was a mess and nobody knew it better than the soldiers who went there to defend American foreign policy under the direction of Nixon and LBJ.

I was 5 in 1971 and I have no memory of John Kerry's memorable speech before Congress in which he famously asked, "Because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

Now that I am an adult I can listen to and appreciate a young John Kerry standing up and telling the truth in a loud clear voice:

JFK Flashback

Wouldn't it be refreshing to have a President stand before the American people and tell the truth?

It's the electoral college

While polls which take the pulse of the electorate are a good indicator of the public mood, it isn't the best way to judge the outcome of an election.

Everyone remembers that Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the Whitehouse. This outcome seems unfair in a Democracy, but as long as the same rules apply to everyone, the process is fair to the candidates (if not the electorate).

The electoral college elects a president and every state sends all of it's votes to one candidate, regardless if 49.7% of the voters in a battleground state cast their ballots against the winner (so long as 49.71% cast their ballots for).

There is a red America (Republican) and a blue America (Democrat) and an undecided (purple?) America. Right now purple America pines to be blue and John Kerry is leading in 13 of the 16 battleground states.

Bounce where it counts

That's not just good news for Democrats and John Kerry fans, that's great news. Bush can win the popular vote for all I care, just as long as Kerry wins the electoral college vote.

Here's another treat for you Kerry fans:

Icing on the cake

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Crying wolf

Tom Ridge is in an impossible position. If he fails to notify we Americans with an appropriate colorful alert before a terrorist attack we will accuse him of failing to see it coming. If he covers his bottom by alerting us whenever the wind changes direction he will have the effect of insulating us to his dire warnings. If he further times every "The sky is falling" warning with a convenient political opportunity (i.e. day after Democratic convention) who will take him seriously at all?

This is the danger of crying wolf and I learned that in grade school. Could anything be worse than an American public jaded by too many warnings? Could anything be worse than an American public that cannot trust the Bush administration in matters of life and death?

Here, the BBC tells us that the recent spate of terror warnings was nothing more than old news:

US terror plot intelligence 'old'

Here, DEBKAfile's security experts provide a more detailed analysis of the terror warnings:

Skeptical about warnings

Here, the Washington Post says most of the information was gleaned pre 9/11:

Politics of fear?

The truth is, I think, that any terrorist worth his salt is good at pulling off surprises. The department of Homeland security would better serve the American people by insuring port security, chemical plant security, nuclear facility security, and the like. Also it should be heavy on resource coordination in the event of an emergency. If the shit hits the fan who needs to be on hand and how far away are they? Do we have enough resources prepositioned about the country? Do our state troopers know how to catch terrorists or what to look for?

The point in all of this that gets lost is, what good is saying, "There is a high probability you might die today, especially if you work on Wall Street, so please be extra vigilant, but please go to work." What the hell am I gonna do, frisk someone? Perhaps I could glare mistrustfully at strangers? Further, what sense does it make to say you are quite certain danger is coming to a certain location but to ask people not to avoid said danger? Isn't that the POINT of a terror warning? If not, what IS the point?

Tom Ridge your job is to instill confidence in the American people, not fear!

Let's crunch more numbers

Old Luddite asked a question that I'd rather respond to here since the answer is surprising. Old Luddite asked:

"Given that each Volvo has two 50 watt headlamps and two 30 watt tail lights, how much gas would you save if a law banning having your headlights on in broad daylight was brought in? 746watts = 1 horsepower"


Car math: Fuel consumption

Units of measure conversion: Lbs to gallons

We know:

SFC: Specific Fuel Consumption measures the amount of fuel needed to provide one horsepower for a period of one hour, typically in lbs of fuel burned.

Typical gas engines have an SFC of 0.51lbs/hp.

A Volvo uses (2 * (50 + 30)) / 746 hp to sustain the lights.

This means:

A Volvo would burn (0.51 * 160) / 746 lbs of fuel per hour to sustain the lights. This works out to 0.10938337801608579088471849865952 lbs of gas per hour.

Converted to gallons:

One US gallon of gas weighs about 6 lbs (depending upon its temperature).

So, if we divide 0.10938337801608579088471849865952 by 6 we get 0.018230563002680965147453083109833 gallons consumed per hour per Volvo.

First assumption:

I don't really know how many US cars are on the road during the daytime or how many of them have daytime running lights or what their average watts are. But, I can show that if all the cars in the US were Volvos and all on the road for one hour what they'd consume in fuel.

The numbers:

135,921,000 cars * 0.018230563002680965147453083109833 gallons of fuel per hour yields:

2,477,916.3538873994638069705093717 gallons of gasoline per hour
$4,336,353.62 gas dollars per hour (at $1.75)
5,229,773.2092095868080348121303301 gallons of crude oil 124,518.40974308540019130505072214 barrels of oil PER HOUR $5,229,773.21 oil dollars per hour (at $42 per barrel of oil)

In English

It would cost the US 5 million dollars per hour in oil and 4 million dollars per hour in gas to pay for the daytime running lights in 135.921 million Volvos.

Assumption two:

The total miles driven per year in the US is: 1,658,640,000,000

If we divide that by 85mph and 35mph we get a low and high estimate for the number of hours spent driving:

19,513,411,764.705882352941176470588 hours at 85mph
47,389,714,285.714285714285714285714 hours at 35mph

Earlier we worked out a figure of 0.018230563002680965147453083109833 gallons per hour to maintain the lights.

Multiplying yields these figures for one year:

At 85mph
355,740,482.57372654155495978550469 gallons of gas
$622,545,844.50 gas dollars (at $1.75)
750,809,058.69831732388483974830087 gallons of oil
17,876,406.159483745806781898769068 barrels of oil
$715,056,246.38 oil dollars (at $40 barrel)

At 35mph

863,941,171.96476445806204519336883 gallons of gas
$1,511,897,050.94 gas dollars (at $1.75)
1,727,882,343.9295289161240903867377 gallons of oil
41,140,055.807845926574383104446135 barrels of oil
$1,645,602,232.32 oil dollars (at $40 barrel)

So, it is reasonably safe to estimate that the US would spend between 715 million and 1.645 billion oil dollars per year if every car had daytime running lights (or between 622 million and 1.5 billion gas dollars). Since lights are necessary at night, the savings would be equivalent to computing only the daytime usage. I don't know that statistic, but I would guess about 70% of our driving is daytime driving (which still yields a figure between $500.539372 million and $1.151921562 billion dollars).

It is also important to note that these figures are for cars only and do not include motorcycles, trucks, light trucks, airplanes, or other forms of conveyance.

Pretty surprising isn't it?

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Lets crunch some numbers

This post is going to be the start of something new. Once in a while I am going to try to show that when lots of people make small changes it can have a large environmental impact.

First, let's set the table with a few facts and figures. Our government produces lots and lots and lots of data which can come in quite handy. Today I want to discuss transportation and gas/oil consumption, so I'll start you off with a link to the Bureau of transportation Statistics report: Passenger Car and Motorcycle Fuel Consumption and Travel

This report tells us that 135,921,000 cars were driven: 1,658,640,000,000 miles and consumed: 74,949,000,000 gallons of gas. The average vehicle consumed 551 gallons of fuel per year at a rate of 22.1 miles per gallon. The average vehicle drove 12202.97084335753857019886551747 miles.

The average MPG surprised me since the 1992 model car I have gets 36 mpg on the highway and about 27 in the city. Also, this category does not include trucks or light trucks. Just cars.

Moving on, let's go over to the EPA and take a look at some Emission Facts. They prepared a report called Average Annual Emissions and Fuel Consumption for Passenger Cars and Light Trucks

This report also shows that a passenger car which travels 12,500 miles per year and consumes fuel at 21.5 miles per gallon emits 16,035 pounds of CO2 in a year. CO2 was selected because it is "the transportation sector's primary contribution to climate change". An important note states that Carbon dioxide emissions are directly proportional to fuel economy - each 1% increase (or decrease) in fuel consumption results in a corresponding increase (or decrease) in carbon dioxide emissions.

Here is a report C02 consumption which shows CO2 emission statistics. In 2001 172,554,545 metric tons of CO2 were emitted by passenger cars (The math: (632.7 * 12 / 44) = 172.554545... and 172.554545... * 1,000,000 is 172554545.4545... metric tons).

I know this is a lot of numbers, but too bad, here's another important fact. One 42 US-gallon barrel of crude oil, when refined, produces 19.9 gallons of finished motor gasoline (Link). This means that one gallon of gas takes 2.1105527638190954773869346733668 gallons of oil to produce (42 / 19.9).

To rewind, our automobiles consume 74,949,000,000 gallons of gas, which takes 158,183,819,095.47738693467336683411 gallons of oil, which is 3,766,281,407.0351758793969849246216 barrels of crude oil.

Why the math torture? It allows us to tease out scenarios which ought to be accurate. For instance, let's say that we magically increased our fuel economy by 10%. For the average passenger car, this means going from 22.1 mpg to 24.31 mpg. Achieving 24.31mpg, as I have shown, is technically feasible with 1992 technology.

Now, let's crunch these new numbers:

We would save 7,494,900,000 gallons of gas per year, which translates into 15,818,381,909.547738693467336683411 gallons of crude oil and 376,628,140.70351758793969849246216 barrels of oil. If you assume 40 dollars a barrel that's a savings of 15,065,125,600 dollars.

We would also eliminate 17,255,454.5 metric tons of CO2 emissions (remember it falls in direct proportion to fuel economy).

So, what are we waiting for President Bush? How about some sensible CAFE standards?

If you want to have some fun, here are potential oil production stats from ANWAR (Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge):

7,668 million Barrels of oil in the well...

How long would the oil from ANWAR sustain us, and how much money is at stake?

Monday, August 02, 2004

My sides hurt from laughing

I have always enjoyed Will Ferrell's comedy, especially when he is portraying President Bush. He decided to help out the folks at ACT (America Coming Together) by putting together this video:

Will Ferrell - A message from White House West


Why we need environmental champion John Kerry president

The Hopi Indians of Southwestern US have a word, Koyaanisqatsi
(koy · ahn · i · skaht · see), which means "a state of life that calls for another way of living," or "life out of balance". They believe we are living out of harmony with nature, in a state of Koyaanisqatsi now. I find it hard to disagree.

Human beings are currently causing the greatest mass extinction of species since the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. If present trends continue one half of all species of life on earth will be extinct in 100 years.

Link tank on species loss

And every day you can read stories like this:

Sandeel stocks collapse, causing starving up the chain

And like this:

Snotty black water blob off Florida coast

In the past century, average global temperatures at the earth's surface climbed by about 1.08 degrees Fahrenheit, to their highest levels in a millennium. During the past 25 years the rate of temperature increase has been 3.6 degrees (if extrapolated over a century). The earth's landmasses are not cooling off as much as they used to. Less snow falls in the Northern Hemisphere, less sea ice appears in the Arctic sea in spring and summer, glaciers are retreating and shrinking (you might want to visit Glacier National park soon to see its' namesake), and many plant and animal species are moving to higher (cooler) latitudes.

The global warming nay sayers (mostly industry-funded biostitutes) are refuting rudimentary science. Here is something to think about in that regard: Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, with Venus being number two. However...

The temperature on Mercury reaches between 600 and 800 degrees Fahrenheit:

I'm gonna buy me a Mercury...

The temperature on Venus reaches between 800 and 900 degrees Fahrenheit (which is hot enough to melt lead). The atmosphere of Venus is mostly CO2 intermixed with Nitrogen.

I'm your Venus, I'm your fire...

So, Venus is further away from the sun than Mercury but it is hotter because of its CO2-rich atmosphere. Also, Mercury cools to -300F at night, while Venus' temperature remains nearly constant. Scientists refer to Venus' atmosphere as "run-away global warming."

Field biologists say they are documenting "the great decline", or the "sixth great extinction". Scientists are now setting up a gene bank of the world's endangered animals, with thousands of species expected to become extinct within a generation due to climate change and habitat destruction. Perhaps they should call their effort the "Noah project".

John Kerry believes American ingenuity can create a new energy web that is sustainable and not beholden to the Middle-East. I believe this to be an optimistic and forward-looking energy strategy. In fact, I'd be willing to accept modernized nuclear power plants to make it a reality. That is because they don't generate CO2 and can produce Hydrogen and electricity at the same time. They may also be located anywhere wind, solar, or tide power is insufficient. I believe the waste is too big of a problem to use them long-term (say more than 100 years), but that's a compromise I'd be willing to make to take any step forward towards energy independence and CO2 reduction.

George Bush believes we ought to edit mention of global warming out of EPA reports, increase CO2 emissions via coal subsidies, and fight for the remaining oil reserves. I find that an irresponsible position rooted in the past. Oil supply can no longer keep up with demand and demand is growing (particularly in China). The law of supply and demand points to steady price increases no matter who pumps the oil. We have to wean ourselves off it and the sooner we start the better.

Unlike Bush, I believe problems won't go away if you ignore or exacerbate them. Every day he stays in office brings us one step closer to runaway global warming, and once that happens you'll have to sell your lead investments short.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

To the gander from the goose

The flip-flop campaign didn't work for H. W. Bush and it won't work for W. Bush. While I welcome the fact that Jr. appears to be so unimaginative I cannot help but be rubber to his glue.

Click the link to see many examples of the pot calling the kettle black:

President Flip Flopper

Foot Quotes

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"

Charles Darwin