If you work 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, at the minimum wage, you earn $10,700 a year.
(Found in a comment on Eschaton.)
"In the post-meditative experience become a child of illusion" is a slogan from the Tibetan mind training tradition. We engage the world as we experience it all the while realizing that reality is not as it seems to be.
SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- The number of gray whales born along the Pacific Coast has rebounded from record low levels, suggesting that pregnant females are thriving despite a warming Arctic feeding environment, federal biologists said.
The number of calves that passed Point Piedras Blancas near San Luis Obispo jumped from 945 last year to 1,018 calves in 2006, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. Fewer than 300 of the 3-month-olds were spotted in 2000 and 2001.
The whales have traditionally migrated to summer feeding grounds in the northern Bering Sea, but have been forced farther north in recent years because warming air and water has reduced the population of its favored prey, the fatty amphipod.
In 1999, about 270 whales washed up dead or dying on the Pacific Coast, some severely malnourished, according to NOAA.
But the whales appear to have taken advantage of melted polar sea ice, discovering new routes to food and finding enough crustaceans in the mud to nourish pregnant females, scientists said.
The Bible contains something like 2,000 references to the poor and the believer's responsibility for the poor. Sadly, that obligation seems not to have trickled down into public policy.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Earth's climate is undergoing an abrupt change, ending a cooler period that began with a swift "cold snap" in the tropics 5,200 years ago that coincided with the start of cities, the beginning of calendars and the biblical great flood, a leading expert on glaciers has concluded.
The warming around Earth's tropical belt is a signal suggesting that the "climate system has exceeded a critical threshold," which has sent tropical-zone glaciers in full retreat and will melt them completely "in the near future," said Lonnie G. Thompson, a scientist who for 23 years has been taking core samples from the ancient ice of glaciers.
Thompson, writing with eight other researchers in an article published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said the ice samples show that the climate can and did cool quickly, and that a similarly abrupt warming change started about 50 years ago. Humans may not have the luxury of adapting to slow changes, he suggests.
"There are thresholds in the system," Thompson said in an interview in his lab at Ohio State University. When they are crossed, "there is the risk of changing the world as we know it to some form in which a lot of people on the planet will be put at risk."
Republicans don't care about our troops. Oh they talk a good talk, and love to accuse Democrats of hating the military. But as Atrios wrote once, if he really hated the military he would simply send them to war in the wrong country, in insufficient numbers, with insufficient equipment, and without a plan for victory - and oh yeah, he'd keep them there to die long after we'd already lost.
That's the sign of a real America-hater.
ROME, June 23 — An Indonesian who died after catching the A(H5N1) bird flu virus from his 10-year-old son represents the first confirmed case of human-to-human transmission of the disease, a World Health Organization investigation of an unusual family cluster has concluded, the agency said Friday.
The W.H.O. investigators also discovered that the virus had mutated slightly when the son had the disease, although not in any way that would allow the virus to pass more readily among people.
"Yes, it is slightly altered, but in a way that viruses commonly mutate," said Dick Thompson, a spokesman for the agency in Geneva. "But that didn't make it more transmissible or cause more severe disease."
The greater importance of the slightly modified virus is that it allowed researchers from the W.H.O. and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States to document that the virus almost certainly was passed from person to person.
The government of Afghanistan has sent a letter to the news stations and journalists ordering them to report only favorable news about the government. That sounds harsh, but you have to remember, they don't have Fox News over there.
-- Jay Leno
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court agreed Monday to consider whether the Bush administration must regulate carbon dioxide to combat global warming, setting up what could be one of the court's most important decisions on the environment.
The decision means the court will address whether the administration's decision to rely on voluntary measures to combat climate change are legal under federal clean air laws.
"This is the whole ball of wax. This will determine whether the Environmental Protection Agency is to regulate greenhouse gases from cars and whether EPA can regulate carbon dioxide from power plants," said David Bookbinder, an attorney for the Sierra Club.
Bookbinder said if the court upholds the administration's argument it also could jeopardize plans by California and 10 other states, including most of the Northeast, to require reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from motor vehicles.
"Fundamentally, we don't think carbon dioxide is a pollutant, and so we don't think these attempts are a good idea," said John Felmy, chief economist of the American Petroleum Institute, a trade group representing oil and gas producers.
Q: I thought evolution was just a theory. Why do you call it a fact?
A: Biological evolution is a change in the genetic characteristics of a population over time. That this happens is a fact. Biological evolution also refers to the common descent of living organisms from shared ancestors. The evidence for historical evolution -- genetic, fossil, anatomical, etc. -- is so overwhelming that it is also considered a fact. The theory of evolution describes the mechanisms that cause evolution. So evolution is both a fact and a theory. See the Evolution is a Fact
and a Theory FAQ, the Introduction to Evolutionary Biology FAQ and the Five Major Misconceptions about Evolution FAQ: Evolution is Only a theory.
When an angry heckler shouted "I don’t care any more for your talk than I do for the bite of a flea," Sojourner Truth replied, “The Lord willing, I’ll keep you scratching!” Her integrity had unstoppable power to set captives free, and her fiery fearlessness continues to rouse us to action.
The Supreme Court has ruled that with a warrant police no longer have to knock before kicking your door in. Unless of course you're Vice President of the United States, and they want to talk to you about shooting a guy in the face. Then they'll come back tomorrow.
-- Jay Leno
-- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales , denying that his two children ever download music illegally, after his address Tuesday to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on intellectual property theft.
Of course not. I remind them: I AM the law!
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.
The program, however, is a significant departure from typical practice in how the government acquires Americans' financial records. Treasury officials did not seek individual court-approved warrants or subpoenas to examine specific transactions, instead relying on broad administrative subpoenas for millions of records from the cooperative, known as Swift.
That access to large amounts of sensitive data was highly unusual, several officials said, and stirred concerns inside the administration about legal and privacy issues.
Republicans in the Senate have announced they are moving on from gay marriage -- that's over -- to a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning. They want to ban flag burning, this so we can join the only other three countries in the world that ban flag burnings -- China, Cuba, and Iran.
-- Jay Leno
I don't think anybody anticipated the level of violence that we've encountered.
Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.
The Washington Post has obtained a cable, marked "sensitive," that it says shows that just before President Bush left on a surprise trip last Monday to the Green Zone in Baghdad for an upbeat assessment of the situation there, "the U.S. Embassy in Iraq painted a starkly different portrait of increasing danger and hardship faced by its Iraqi employees."
This cable outlines, the Post reported Sunday, "the daily-worsening conditions for those who live outside the heavily guarded international zone: harassment, threats and the employees' constant fears that their neighbors will discover they work for the U.S. government."
It's actually far worse than that, as the details published below indicate, which include references to abductions, threats to women's rights, and "ethnic cleansing."
-- One embassy employee had a brother-in-law kidnapped. Another received a death threat, and then fled the country with her family.
-- Iraqi staff at the embassy, beginning in March and picking up in May, report "pervasive" harassment from Islamist and/or militia groups. Cuts in power and rising fuel prices "have diminished the quality of life." Conditions vary but even upscale neighborhoods "have visibly deteriorated" and one of them is now described as a "ghost town."
-- Two of the three female Iraqis in the public affairs office reported stepped-up harassment since mid-May...."some groups are pushing women to cover even their face, a step not taken in Iran even at its most conservative." One of the women is now wearing a full abaya after receiving direct threats.
-- The overall environment is one of "frayed social networks," with frequent actual or perceived insults. None of this is helped by lack of electricity. "One colleague told us he feels 'defeated' by circumstances, citing his example of being unable to help his two-year-old son who has asthma and cannot sleep in stifling heat," which is now reaching 115 degrees.
These people want nuclear war; they want it. Imagine that being the first thing you think. That's what they think about - annihilating part of the world. The problem is, once the nukes start flying it won't be "part". It will be the whole world that is destroyed.
According to Vanity Fair Mr Cheney's first thought on visiting Moscow's Red Square in the 1980s was: "'Well, I guess we're at ground zero' of any American nuclear strike."
In addition to being the Church's first female presiding bishop, Jefferts Schori is also believed to be the first presiding bishop with a Ph. D. in the sciences (oceanography) and a pilot's license.
“She is brilliant. She is thoughtful. She brings clarity of vision... and she speaks Spanish!" said the Rev. Gay Jennings of the Diocese of Ohio, in supporting Jefferts Schori's election in the House of Deputies. [She gave part of her acceptance speech in Spanish.]
A number of deputies pointed out how fitting it was that she was elected at the convention where the church celebrated the 30th anniversary of women's ordination. Deputy Sarah Lawton said she remembers in 1976 she was 10 years old when the General Convention endorsed the ordination of women. "I will be so glad to bring the news to my daughter who's almost 10 that the presiding bishop is a woman," said Lawton.
John Vanderstar, of the Diocese of Washington said, “I rise to add another male voice to the chorus [of those speaking in favor of confirmation]. If you listen carefully, you will hear and I hope enjoy the sound of another glass ceiling being shattered.”
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori became the first woman elected to lead a church in the global Anglican Communion when she was picked Sunday to be the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.
It was another groundbreaking and controversial move for a denomination that consecrated Anglicanism's first openly gay bishop just three years ago.
Standing before cheering delegates to Episcopal General Convention, Jefferts Schori said she was "awed and honored and deeply privileged to be elected." Outgoing Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold was at her side as she was introduced after closed-door balloting.
The choice of Jefferts Schori may worsen -- and could even splinter -- the difficult relations between the American denomination and its fellow Anglicans. Episcopalians have been sparring with many in the other 37 Anglican provinces over homosexuality, but a female leader adds a new layer of complexity to the relationship.
Only two other Anglican provinces -- New Zealand and Canada -- have female bishops, although a handful of other provinces allow women to serve in the post.
Still, there are many Anglican leaders who believe women should not even be priests. Those opposed to female clergy often cite the unbroken tradition of male priesthood in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions, and in the Anglican Communion until about 30 years ago.
Gasps could be heard throughout the vast convention hall when Jefferts Schori's name was announced. The Rev. Jennifer Adams from western Michigan, speaking from the floor, called Jefferts Schori "a woman of integrity, consistency and faith. I have no doubt her election as presiding bishop will be a gift to our church."
BIRMINGHAM, June 15 — Fresh off her election and installation as the new moderator of the 217th General Assembly (2006) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Rev. Joan Gray suggested to a group of reporters, "Maybe we could reframe our current situation as the struggle in which God meets and blesses us."
Gray and the other three candidates stressed the need for unity. Gray encouraged commissioners to find value in living with ambiguity rather than prematurely press for clarity on the issues that divide us before God leads to that clarity.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ancient roots and bones locked in long-frozen soil in Siberia are starting to thaw, and have the potential to unleash billions of tones of carbon and accelerate global warming, scientists said on Thursday.
This vast carbon reservoir, contained in permafrost soil in northeastern Siberia, contains about 75 times more carbon than the amount released into the atmosphere each year by the burning of fossil fuels, the researchers said in a statement.
As the Siberian permafrost thaws, it will release the carbon contained in old grass roots and buried animal bones into the atmosphere, in what could be an unstoppable contributor to global climate change, according to the researchers.
Earlier climate models may have failed to account for this possible component of global warming...
"You have anthropogenic (human-generated) carbon that's making things a little bit warmer, and that causes the permafrost to warm up and carbon is then released from the permafrost," [ecologist Ted Schuur] said. "It goes into the atmosphere and makes things warmer yet again, so then more permafrost thaws."
The Red Cross heat information line was busy with inquiries about how to keep cool. "We quite often have to tell people how to use a fan," said volunteer Kathy Ross-Waugh, explaining that a window needs to be open so air can circulate.
Toronto Public Health is planning to launch a program this month encouraging landlords whose buildings are not air conditioned to implement a hot-weather protection plan.
If the heat continues today, the Red Cross plans to set up cooling stations around the city.
Imagine a country with a different kind of monarch from the one we are used to. Forget the nation-binding human monarch whom Archbishop Rowan Williams praised so deftly this week. Imagine instead a monarch who, like many of Elizabeth II's ancestors, routinely reserved the right to override laws passed by the legislature, or who repeatedly asserted that the laws mean something they do not say. Imagine, in fact, King George of America.
On April 30 the Boston Globe journalist Charlie Savage wrote an article whose contents become more astonishing the more one reads them. Over the past five years, Savage reported, President George Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws that have been enacted by the United States Congress since he took office. At the heart of Bush's strategy is the claim that the president has the power to set aside any statute that conflicts with his own interpretation of the constitution.
Too late in the day for comfort, Bush's approach is coming under greater scrutiny. In February the bipartisan Constitution Project warned of "the risk of permanent and unchecked presidential power". Last week the American Bar Association announced an independent inquiry into the practice. A powerful article in the New York Review of Books by the veteran writer Elizabeth Drew has also given the subject higher saliency.
To their credit, even some Bush supporters are alarmed. If Bill Clinton had done what Bush is doing, the Republican senator Chuck Hagel has pointed out, Congress would be up in arms. If Bush were to bequeath the powers he claims to Hillary Clinton, the right would soon go berserk with indignation at the threat to American values. Which is why the most pertinent comment so far on the president's strategy has come from the anti-tax conservative Grover Norquist. He told Drew: "If you interpret the constitution's saying that the president is commander in chief to mean that the president can do anything he wants and can ignore the laws, you don't have a constitution: you have a king."
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A majority of Americans -- 53 percent -- favors setting a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq, with 47 percent saying the deadline should be in a year or less, according to a CNN poll released Friday.
Among those who favor setting a deadline of a year or less, opinions also are divergent. The survey found 13 percent of Americans want withdrawal within a few weeks; 15 percent want it in six months; and 19 percent want it in a year.
I can't name them all.
It was not too long ago that many people looked to the U.S. for leadership and not so long ago, our nation was still thought to be a democratic nation of laws, due process, and a prudent separation of powers. Now the U.S. is reviled; Bush is seen the world over as having betrayed his own people as he wages aggressive war against a nation that even he concedes had nothing whatsoever to do with 911, a nation about which he lied in order to justify his dirty, evil little war. The war on terrorism is phony.
And now, Bush proves everything that is said about him by refusing to close Guantanamo, by refusing to end practices of torture and rendition which he denies —even as he defends them.
One rightly suspects Bush's motives. Even before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, before the attack on Afghanistan, Tom DeLay sponsored legislation that exempted U.S. soldiers from war crimes prosecution at the International Tribunal at the Hague. Did anyone in Congress stop to ask why? Were we planning to commit crimes for which we sought exemption from prosecution? Wasn't it clear to any thinking person what Bush was up to? Are we not the good guys? [Amendment to H.R. 1646, The Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 2001]
Clearly --the Bush administration was, in fact, planning to commit war crimes but wanted to make them legal if done by the U.S. I cannot possibly hope to document in a short internet essay the various circumlocutions that have been indulged by the Bush administration and its chief apologist: Alberto Gonzales. All, however, are intended to make legal the very acts that are prohibited by Nuremberg — but only if those acts are done by Americans. Bush is at least consistent in this respect: neither would he press for trials for non-Americans. He would simply decree their imprisonment and torture.
Q: Tony, American deaths in Iraq have reached 2,500. Is there any response or reaction from the President on that?
MR. SNOW: It’s a number, and every time there’s one of these 500 benchmarks people want something.
Yet, unimaginable as it may seem, there are even worse things afoot to contemplate. Forces such as the emerging Christian militia, the Joshua generation, a runaway military establishment, to name a few, working fanatically to make our obedience ever more lethal. Yesterday I saw a picture of 25,000 young fundamentalist Americans marching in Philadelphia and San Francisco in support of a theocratic state. I can honestly say I was completely unnerved by it. Those little electrical nerve waves went through my entire body. I live around fundamentalist Christians, my whole family is fundamentalist Christian and I know what they are capable of and indeed are planning to do given the chance. They are being led by the same types who formed the old white militia movements in the Seventies and Eighties before Timothy McVeigh rendered their public position untenable. I couldn't shut up about it and friends. But even the most "informed" ones looked at me like I was crazy, or at the very least, weirdly obsessive. These are not stupid people. They are simply Americans. And because we are friends, we moved on to another topic. This is the sort of strange national disconnect that has so many folks like myself silently screaming inside our heads.
Global warming is a huge problem. Is it really true that all I need to do is change light bulbs in my home?
Global warming is too big a problem for any one change to solve it. But, changing old-style incandescent bulbs for more efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) is a simple, cost-effective step every American can take.
If every household in America changed three bulbs, it would be the equivalent of taking 3.5 million cars off the road.
The problem with this congress is that they have no shame. I would be ashamed to vote myself a raise when the poorest among us can't support themselves on the minimum wage.
Productivity's up. Profits are up. But people's wages are not up.
I have introduced legislation that would tie the minimum wage to congressional salaries.
No more increases for Congress until we raise the minimum wage.
~~ Hillary Clinton
Actually, Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, made about $2 million this past weekend, whereas X-men made about $150 million. That just shows we're more interested in the fake people saving the fake earth than the real people trying to save the real earth.
(CNN) -- If you are worried about a thief stealing your identity, it's not your wallet that needs guarding -- it's your state and local governments.
That's the alarm Betty "BJ" Ostergren, the self-proclaimed Virginia Watchdog, has been sounding for the past four years from her rural Virginia home.
Sitting at her computer, she shows us with just a click of the mouse she can find Social Security numbers, birthdates, bank loans and even digitized signatures that a clever thief could easily manipulate onto official-looking documents. Everything anyone would need to steal your identity is right online, put there by local and state government agencies.
It happened, Ostergren said, in an effort by state and local governments to move toward a paperless society. That means records that once required a trip to a local courthouse or government office building to get can now be accessed from anywhere in the world simply by logging on and zeroing in.
"We are very stupid in this country," Ostergren said. "Very stupid. This is just spoon-feeding criminals if there ever was such a thing."
As Tropical Storm Alberto threatened to strengthen into the ninth hurricane in 22 months to affect Florida, former President Clinton predicted Monday that Republican environmental policies will lead to more severe storms.
"It is now generally recognized that while Al Gore and I were ridiculed, we were right about global warming," Clinton said at a fundraiser for the Florida Democratic Party. "It's a serious problem. It's going to lead to more hurricanes."
Gore's documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," chronicles the former vice president's efforts to educate the public about global warming. It's in limited release around the country.
The only positive thing about Guantanamo is that no one seems particularly mystified by what Bush is doing. He's tip-toed around the law by erecting his state-of-the-art concentration camp where the compliant Supreme Court won't shut him down. That's allowed Rumsfeld to skirt the niggling issues of habeas corpus and due process and establish a neocon haven for permanent detention.
Just what the doctor ordered.
Still, no one is really taken in by the White House public relations campaign. The prison has only increased the recruiting efforts of groups like Al Qaida and fueled anti-American hatred around the world. It's done nothing to fight terrorism, as all the recent polls clearly indicate. Instead, it's just added another black stain to the already sullied reputation of the waning superpower.
By most accounts, the inmates at Guantanamo are generally low-level militants or tribesman who were scooped up by the warlords and delivered to the US for the $1,000 bounty. The al Qaida kingpins have all been bundled off to torture-friendly allies who are more skilled in the dark art.
The real purpose of Bush's premier-gulag is to familiarize the American people with the tectonic shift in American justice. By shoving Guantanamo under their noses, the public is forced to accept this new and strange reality. "Everything has changed"; principles have been abandoned, commitments discarded, liberties forsaken. America will no longer play by the rules. There are no more guarantees on personal freedom; the law is being reshaped to meet the requirements of new world order.
Guantanamo is the face of America under Bush. It has changed how we are perceived in the world and it has eroded our moral authority. We should be grateful to the 3 men who sacrificed their lives in the struggle against barbarity and cynicism. They have nudged us ever-closer to the day when Bush and company will be held accountable for their crimes. Maybe then we can tear down the gun-towers and block walls at Guantanamo and erect a monument to the countless victims of this vile and vicious regime.
You wouldn't know it from reading the newspapers, but substantial and often overwhelming majorities of Americans have repeatedly endorsed governing concepts that conventional politicians dismiss as radical or unrealistic: Universal healthcare. A job for everyone who wants to work, guaranteed by the government. Secure retirements. Stronger enforcement of environmental laws. Stronger defenses against encroaching corporate power. Union protection for workers against exploitative employers. The list goes on. These widely endorsed goals assume an activist government that nurtures people and society first, ahead of corporations and capital. Imagine a political agenda that sets out to give the people what they say they want.
So 'Zarqawi' is finally dead. It was an interesting piece of news that greeted us yesterday morning (or was it the day before? I've lost track of time…). I didn't bother with the pictures and film they showed of him because I, personally, have been saturated with images of broken, bleeding bodies.
The reactions have been different. There's a general consensus amongst family and friends that he won't be missed, whoever he is. There is also doubt- who was he really? Did he even exist? Was he truly the huge terror the Americans made him out to be? When did he actually die? People swear he was dead back in 2003… The timing is extremely suspicious: just when people were getting really fed up with the useless Iraqi government, Zarqawi is killed and Maliki is hailed the victorious leader of the occupied world! (And no- Iraqis aren't celebrating in the streets- worries over electricity, water, death squads, tests, corpses and extremists in high places prevail right now.)
I've been listening to reactions- mostly from pro-war politicians and the naïveté they reveal is astounding. Maliki (the current Iraqi PM) was almost giddy as he made the news public (he had even gone the extra mile and shaved!). Do they really believe it will end the resistance against occupation? As long as foreign troops are in Iraq, resistance or 'insurgency' will continue- why is that SO difficult to understand? How is that concept a foreign one?
How do I feel? To hell with Zarqawi (or Zayrkawi as Bush calls him). He was an American creation- he came along with them- they don't need him anymore, apparently. His influence was greatly exaggerated but he was the justification for every single family they killed through military strikes and troops. It was WMD at first, then it was Saddam, then it was Zarqawi. Who will it be now? Who will be the new excuse for killing and detaining Iraqis? Or is it that an excuse is no longer needed- they have freedom to do what they want. The slaughter in Haditha months ago proved that. "They don't need him anymore," our elderly neighbor waved the news away like he was shooing flies, "They have fifty Zarqawis in government."
Even America's richest think they're getting too many tax breaks from a government determined to keep the poor in their place. As poverty in the US grows, Paul Harris wonders what happened to the Land of Opportunity.
Bush's first-term tax cuts notoriously benefited the upper strata of American taxpayers. So much so that even Warren Buffet, the second richest man in the world who benefited to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, has said the tax cuts 'scream of injustice'. As head of a hugely successful investment firm, it is hard to paint Buffet as a lefty liberal who hates Wall Street (though, bizarrely, some conservatives do try).
Still the tax cuts go on. This week one of the main political debates in Washington has been about scrapping the 'estate tax' whereby those who inherit large amounts from their relatives will be taxed on it. This overwhelmingly affects the wealthy. The estate tax is already set so high ($4m) that only one in 200 estates pay any tax at all when they are inherited.
Yet the White House and many politicians, overwhelmingly Republican, want to get rid of it. The lobbying campaign against it has been financed mostly by 18 business dynasties, including the family that owns WalMart. At the same time the Bush administration has sanctioned millions of dollars of cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and the education budget as part of a measure aimed at reducing the spiraling deficit. This is, frankly, obscene.
The effect of all this has been to scotch that long-cherished notion of the American Dream: that honest toil is enough to reap the rewards and let even the poorest join the middle class, or maybe even strike it rich. A survey last year showed that such economic mobility (a measure of those people trying to make the Dream come true) was lower in America than Canada, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. In fact, the only country doing as bad as America was Britain (food for thought, there).
I'm for equality and same rights for everyone, I believe in an honest and accountable government, I'm for protecting the rights our forefathers gave us in the constitution, that my grandparents and great grandparents fought and died to protect. I'm for supporting our troops - which to me means giving them the best equipment (body armor, protected Humvees, etc), the best military plans they need to win, the best mental health support they need after a war, the best veterans' benefits possible - I'm for a strong middle class, I'm for shrinking the poverty gap not growing it, I'm for the separation of church and state, I think women should have the right to choose if they want to have an abortion or not, I'm against legislating Religion on people, I believe it's every individual's choice, I'm for strong marriage bonds - regardless of who the 2 people getting married are, I'm for basic social services, I believe that people born into severe poverty do not operate on the same playing field as those born into wealthy families, thus deserve more help, and I don't have a problem with that burden falling more heavily on the wealthiest 1% of Americans. I'm pro alternative energy and I believe in the science of global warming, I'm for protecting America without taking away civil liberties, I'm against torturing another human being. I believe every American has the inherent right to basic, affordable health care. I'm pro humanity. I'm a progressive.
I often have to ask myself why we, as Americans, so blindly follow our leaders down this path of violent destruction, and it has always been so. From the genocide and virtual extinction of our native population to dehumanizing black people so that they could be used as human chattel and still be oppressed, even today, to still be the only so-called "civilized nation" that executes people. Why do we allow our leaders to kill and oppress people in our names? Is it so we won't have to look at our own destructive behavior?
Are we as a nation so devoid of hope that we are ready to live our lives in "quiet desperation" watching BushCo destroy Iraq, destroy the USA and destroy the world for their own wicked ends? Do we see any difference in jumping in our huge, gas guzzling and polluting SUVs to go to a job we hate to be able to buy things we don't need in contrast with invading a country to control its oil reserves to give the people who run companies that profit from death and destruction more money so they can buy their jets and build palaces that they don't need?
Are our visions of a future that is one endless war after another in competition for resources and for a dwindling planet so bleak that we are condoning the destructive behavior of the Bush administration because we are competing with our neighbors to have the best and brightest new thingamajig that Madison Ave tells us that we need?
NASA is canceling or delaying a number of satellites designed to give scientists critical information on the earth's changing climate and environment.
The space agency has shelved a $200 million satellite mission headed by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor that was designed to measure soil moisture -- a key factor in helping scientists understand the impact of global warming and predict droughts and floods. The Deep Space Climate Observatory, intended to observe climate factors such as solar radiation, ozone, clouds, and water vapor more comprehensively than existing satellites, also has been canceled.
And in its 2007 budget, NASA proposes significant delays in a global precipitation measuring mission to help with weather predictions, as well as the launch of a satellite designed to increase the timeliness and accuracy of severe weather forecasts and improve climate models.
The changes come as NASA prioritizes its budget to pay for completion of the International Space Station and the return of astronauts to the moon by 2020 -- a goal set by President Bush that promises a more distant and arguably less practical scientific payoff. Ultimately, scientists say, the delays and cancellations could make hurricane predictions less accurate, create gaps in long-term monitoring of weather, and result in less clarity about the earth's hydrological systems, which play an integral part in climate change.
I've been noticing how much the media is playing up the "al Qaeda" angle, giving everyone the impression that killing Zarqawi is a blow to the same organization of 9-11 and Osama bin Laden.
There's absolutely NO discussion of how these two al Qaedas are basically unrelated organizations with no reported organizational ties, and that Zarqawi is pretty much just a wannabe who changed the name of his group to "al Qaeda in Iraq" in order to glom onto the original al Qaeda's notoriety.
I suppose that most of the media thinks this point is too "subtle" for most Americans to grasp? Or maybe they don't even know themselves, because so many "journalists" nowadays are nothing more than White House stenographers?
I'm also disgusted by the rejoicing that's going on in the press. We call terrorists and insurgents barbaric when they kill helpless people and show it on the web. And yet we're allowing our basest instincts and desire for revenge and aggression take over in our response to Zarqawi's death.
How do we look to other people around the world when we respond like this? We're certainly not presenting an admirable or moral face to the rest of the world. And we're also not setting a good example for our own children, either.
Last week, MediaMatters wrote:
"At this point, you'd have to be blind to miss the pattern. Every prominent progressive leader who comes along is openly derided in the media as fake, dishonest, conniving, out-of-the-mainstream, and weak. We simply can't continue to chalk this up to shortcomings on the part of Democratic candidates or their staff and consultants. It's all too clear that this will happen regardless of who the candidate or leader is; regardless of who works for him or her. The smearing of Jack Murtha should prove that to anyone who still doubts it."
The recent media treatment of Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) illustrate this point: No matter who emerges as a progressive leader, or a high-profile Democrat, they're in for the same flood of conservative misinformation in the media. Too many people chalk up outrageous media treatment of, say, Al Gore or John Kerry to the men's own flaws, pretending that if they were better candidates, they'd have gotten better press coverage. That's naïve. The Democratic Party could nominate Superman to be their next presidential candidate, and two things would happen: conservatives would smear him, and the media would join in. To illustrate this, we look back over the last dozen or so years.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The federal government should guarantee that all Americans have basic health insurance coverage, says a committee set up by Congress to find out what people want when it comes to health care.
"Assuring health care is a shared social responsibility," says the interim report of the Citizens' Health Care Working Group, a 14-member committee that went to 50 communities and heard from 23,000 people.
The committee describes its recommendations as a framework. The recommendations don't say who would pay for universal health coverage or how much it would cost. The concept of government-guaranteed coverage runs counter to the Bush administration's position that consumers should bear more responsibility for their initial medical expenses.
The group's findings will be officially presented to the president and Congress in the fall, but first comes 90 days of public comment. The president will submit to Congress his response, and then five congressional committees will hold hearings.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, said he and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, came up with the idea for establishing a group that would work outside of Washington to find out what Americans want. He said they were tired of years of gridlock on health care issues.
Would you support government-guaranteed health care for all Americans?
A new poll of hunters and fishermen finds the majority think the country is on the wrong track with its energy policy and should be a leader in combating global warming. In the poll of licensed hunters and anglers, 76 percent said global warming is occurring and 73 percent believe it is impacting or will impact hunting and fishing conditions. A full 78 percent said the solutions should involve conserving more energy, developing fuel-efficient vehicles and expanding the use of renewable sources.
The nationwide poll of 1,031 hunters and anglers was conducted by Responsive Management of Harrisonburg, Virginia for the National Wildlife Federation.
The respondents had voted for President Bush in 2004 by about a 2-to-1 margin, and half of them identified themselves as evangelical Christians.
* Rudolf Diesel, the inventor of the diesel engine, designed it to run on vegetable and seed oils like hemp. In fact, when the diesel engine was first introduced at the World's Fair in 1900, it ran on peanut oil.
* Two decades later, Henry Ford was designing his Model Ts to run on ethanol made from hemp. He envisioned the entire mass-produced Model T automobile line would run on ethanol derived from crops grown in the U.S.
* Even in the 1920s, the oil industry had massive lobbying power in Washington. Lobbyists convinced policymakers to create laws favoring petroleum based fuels while disgarding the ethanol option.
* Nearly a century later, amidst oil wars in the Middle East, Global Warming, and a nearly depleted oil supply, the U.S. government is finally shifting attention to fuels that are more along the lines of Diesel and Ford's original ideas.
* In an interview with the New York Times in 1925, Henry Ford said: "The fuel of the future is going to come from fruit like that sumac out by the road, or from apples, weeds, sawdust -- almost anything. There is fuel in every bit of vegetable matter that can be fermented. There's enough alcohol in one year's yield of an acre of potatoes to drive the machinery necessary to cultivate the fields for a hundred years."
If people are so concerned about the moral health of our nation, then they should take a look at what Congress is about to do; repeal the estate tax. Now there's a real affront to all morals and decency.
The richest Americans are about to get what amouts to a government subsidy paid for by all the rest of us, and taking bread out of the mouths of the poor. Paris Hilton is about to get a huge multi-million dollar tax break while New Orleans still lies in ruins and our veterans (especially from the reserves) return from combat forced to buy their own health care coverage, and to benefits drastically cut by all those same chicken hawk legislators who yell the loudest to support the troops.
If you want to see a real scandal, then quit peaking in bedsheets and take a look at C-Span.
A progressive is someone who understands that it is the people of our country who make it great, and unless we take care of the people first, we'll never be successful in maintaining our greatness. Taking care of people means providing healthcare for everyone. It means keeping the environment clean, safe and preserved. It means great schools and great jobs. It means improving the lives of families, rather than lining the pockets of big business, or big politicians. It means taking care of each other here, and around the world. We're all in this together.
Progressives believe that a better life is possible for everyone. They know that when we make room at the table for everyone, we are all enriched. Progressives actively pursue new, more effective solutions to the problems we face as a people. Status quo is not a given -- it is a challenge to do better.
A progressive is someone who believes in the common good -- in a fair shake for every person -- and is willing to fight for it.
I hate to say it, but that murdering terrorist Osama has really kicked America's ass right where it hurts the most: in the pocketbook. He knew Bush would overreact. And, it could end up costing us our Country...just the way he planned it.
I hate to say it, but that murdering terrorist Osama has really kicked America's ass right where it hurts the most: in the pocketbook. He knew Bush would overreact. And, it could end up costing us our Country...just the way he planned it.
I hate to say it, but that murdering terrorist Osama has really kicked America's ass right where it hurts the most: in the pocketbook. He knew Bush would overreact. And, it could end up costing us our Country...just the way he planned it.
Join Environmental Defense's Make the Switch Campaign - a national campaign to reduce global warming pollution through the use of energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).
Our goal for the Environmental Defense community - to switch ONE MILLION light bulbs over the next year.
Here's what you need to know:
* Changing a light bulb makes a difference. If every US household replaced three 60-watt incandescent bulbs with CFLs, it would be like taking 3.5 million cars off the roads!
* CFLs save you money. A 20-watt CFL, which screws into an ordinary light socket, is just as bright as a 60-watt incandescent.
* Today's CFLs are dramatically better than a few years ago. You won't miss your incandescent bulbs.
We're asking every member of the Environmental Defense community to pledge to switch at least one bulb in the coming year. If you and two friends do it, we'll easily meet our million bulb goal!
* The Census Bureau reported in their most recent release that 6.5 percent of households with an elderly person are food insecure. Over 460,000 of those households experienced food insecurity with hunger during 2004.
* 9.8 percent of the elderly live below the poverty line - nearly 3.5 million older Americans. The rate of food insecurity among elderly households with incomes at or below 130% of the poverty line is 18.2 percent.
* Elderly households are much less likely to receive food stamps than non-elderly households, even when expected benefits are roughly the same.
* Seniors require greater consideration towards their health and medical needs that can become compromised when there is not enough food to eat. A study which examined the health and nutritional status of seniors found that food insecure seniors had significantly lower intakes of vital nutrients in their diets when compared to their food secure counterparts. In addition, food insecure seniors were 2.33 times more likely to report fair/poor health status and had higher nutritional risk.
* For seniors, protecting oneself from food insecurity and hunger is more difficult than for the general population. For example, a study that focused on the experience of food insecurity among the elderly population found that food insecure seniors sometimes had enough money to purchase food but did not have the resources to access or prepare food due to lack of transportation, functional limitations, or health problems.
"I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me." Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' And the king will answer them, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me."
- Matthew 25:35-40
You know, not even the Red Cross was interested in taking $1 million in donation for charity from us. We got a nice letter saying, thanks, but no thanks. Every tour cycle we donate money to a charity and we had wanted to put our money where our mouth was. When they turned down our money it made me so sad this could run so deep. You feel like all of a sudden you're poison.
- Martie Maguire, Dixie Chicks Fiddler
What we eat affects not only our health but also our environment. Any nutritionist will tell you that most Americans are damaging their health by over-consuming meat and animal products, while under-consuming healthy and nutritious whole foods -- fresh fruits, vegetables, grains and beans.
If you are going to eat meat, consume it in moderate quantities, and limit your intake to organic products coming from healthy animals that are grass-fed and raised humanely. Keep in mind that the bird flu pandemic, looming ominously on the horizon, is a direct result of raising larger and larger numbers of poultry under unhealthy and inhumane conditions.
Every day, for example, several hundred chickens routinely are crammed into manure-saturated 8-by-8-foot cages on poultry farms across China and other Asian countries. Living in filthy conditions, reared on contaminated animal feed laced with dioxin residues, antibiotics and slaughterhouse wastes; these animals are a biological time bomb waiting to explode.
On the environmental and climate change front, the facts are equally clear. Unless the U.S. and other nations drastically reduce the amount of our climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases by at least 75 percent over the next decade, our children and grandchildren will be condemned to live in a chaotic and dangerous world, where food and energy shortages will become the norm.
To avoid climate chaos, Americans must change our lifestyles and diets. We must decrease our consumption of energy and chemical intensive meat and animal products, along with highly processed and packaged convenience foods transported over long distances.
Organic farms worldwide use 50 percent less petroleum-derived fuel and inputs than conventional farms.
The job of the President is to set the agenda and the job of the press is to follow the agenda that the leadership sets.
The latest polls say Americans now dislike Bush more than any other president including even Tricky Dick. It only took the public five and half year to see through him.
That said, I wonder how long it will take people to accept the news that Bush never won either election and the country is in such a mess that it will take 50 years to get back to how it was when Bush took office.
Some people ended up standing in line for up to 12 hours. But only those people who could miss work and go without pay for a whole day and not get fired for not showing up. And as we all know those people who could not wait in line were certainly not Republicans.
I had never seen anything like it in my life. I knew Bush stole the election by the time the polls closed in Ohio.
I knew it because in working for a major media outlet, by late afternoon I knew that all the exit polls had Kerry winning. But by the time I left work to go home, the news channels were saying "all the exit polls" are wrong. Yea right, all the exit polls were wrong.
Don't people realize how impossible that would be?
I proceeded home to watch the returns and I for sure knew that Bush stole the election the minute the news programs showed him sitting with his family pretending to be all apprehensive when his face and body language told me that he somehow knew there were no ifs about it, his second term was in the bag.
Its worth noting here, that there were no problems with the Republicans voting. No waiting in line for hours or anything else. Check it out on the internet by reviewing the news articles in Ohio at the time, all went well in their neighborhoods.
And top that off that with the outright fraud that shows that upwards of 80,000 votes for Kerry in one county were counted for Bush instead. "That alone is a swing of more than 160,000 votes," says Mr. [Robert] Kennedy [Jr.], "enough to have put John Kerry in the White House."
The story of the stolen election of 2004 has FINALLY busted into the mainstream media, thanks to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Rolling Stone Magazine.
We all owe them great thanks.
Now we'll see if there's any further media follow-up. And if the Democratic Party actually DOES SOMETHING about the fact that America is about to be hijacked again in 2006, and then for the third straight presidential race in 2008.
The massive article in this week's RS focuses on the impossible contrast between exit polls showing a clear and overwhelming Kerry victory versus bogus "official" vote counts giving George W. Bush four more catastrophic years in the White House. It also details some of the horrific intimidation, manipulation and outright theft used by Ohio's GOP Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell to deny hundreds of thousands of mostly Democratic voters their right to a ballot. And it discusses in some depth the fact that Diebold and other electronic voting machine and software producers make it possible for any inside operator to use a laptop and a few keystrokes to flip an entire election in a matter of seconds.