Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Flood Season

I hope people look at the latest news of midwest floods and for once realize that, like it or not, humans live and will continue to live in, develop, and otherwise make economic improvements to areas definied as flood zones, despite the fact that, yes, there will be floods. And it's not a question of being ignorant. There are traditional reasons to live in or around flood prone areas--in rural areas, this is as often as not where you'll find the best conditions for agriculture; traditional urban centers sprang up as ports or hubs for trade, which requires ease of transport.

One thing a lot of folks might NOT realize, though, is that there are remarkably few places in the United States NOT prone to flooding:


Further note that the unshaded areas aren't by any defition "safe," they simply didn't have events during the data collection period.

Human endeavour will ALWAYS have risk--one ingenious method we've developed to deal with risk is by pooling it among members of the community.

When people suggest abandoning major cities, or regions, what they're actually suggesting is community destruction, which in the end, only weakens us not only do we end up more isolated, but we also lose the benefit accrued from sharing risk, i.e., the agricultural bounty or ease of trade.

And besides, where will people go? It's not like there's a "safe" place.

Oh--and sadly, residents of New Orleans know all too well what this situation is like:

Pigeon Creek normally flows about 200 yards from Valerie Ferguson's house, but the water had crept to within 10 feet and was not expected to crest until Sunday.

In 2006, the Fergusons piled more than 1,000 sandbags around their home and still sustained about $1,000 in damage. This time, they don't have help from Valerie's husband, Tim, who is serving in Iraq with the Indiana National Guard.

Local National Guard troops unable to assist...because George W. Bush sent them to Iraq.

The only thing missing is the ugly specter of Karl Rove behind-the-scenes doing his best to pin blame on "local authorities."
Secret Identity

I'm reasonably sure the highlighted figure is yours truly, captured in maybe my most flattering pose--back to the camera--at yesterday's Code Pink vigil on the Capitol Steps.

I'd guess turnout was a a bit over one hundred people, because there were at least two people were on each of the 49 steps--at the time of construction, there were 48 United States (the 49th step originally had the motto "E Pluribus Unum," which is now flanked with the names Hawaii and Alaska)--the numbers of dead and wounded per state were announced...then we all held hands while a hymm, then the National Anthem, were sung. Under the circumstances, it was very much the right action to mark such an ominous event.

And while it's appropriate to offer condolences to those who've lost their loved ones, it should also be noted that a lower casuality count would not make this war any more moral or ethical.
Don't Tase Me, Cher* (*pronounced "Sha")

Stun guns have made their way into the Parish public school system:

For apparently the first time, a school resource officer last week used a stun gun in a Baton Rouge public school, law enforcement and school system officials said.

On March 13, this officer, an off-duty East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputy, applied a Taser stun gun to a 13-year-old girl at Glen Oaks Middle School to stop a fight between her and two other girls.

Now, a couple of things here--I think I've mentioned before that, despite my political leanings, I don't opt for knee-jerk condemnation of police at any and all opportunity. Cops--and deputies--have a difficult job, and people being arrested are more than capable of engaging in vicious, stupid behavior...

That said, as I told a friend, my skepticism flag is at full staff on this one. Tasing a 13 year old girl? This should get more scrutiny than it probably will. Tasering people in general should receive more scrutiny.

Do we really want to live in, or be proud of, a society that routinely tasers people--or one that feels forced to?
Thought Experiment

John McCain's imaginary alliance between Sunni Al-Qaeda and Sh'ia Iran--and the media reaction to it--offers quite the educational experience, particularly in light of the manufactured shitstorm the same media and their wingnut rock-throwers have conjured up over Reverend Jeremiah Wright. With that in mind, I wondered what an attack on McCain might look like IF all things were equal and IF the Democratic Party was as equally challenged on an ethical level as their GOP counterparts.

Not that I know for sure, but I wonder if it wouldn't go something like this...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Just a Reminder

Of what this administration actually means by "success."
Osama's on Line Two, Mr. President

Of course...the one thing missing from this horrid anniversary--a bit of gloating from the other criminal to profit so hugely from the crime.

Speaking of profit--wonder where the even halfway decent roads, bridges, schools, and so on are going? Into the desert, of course.

What a waste.
The Persistence of Tragedy

Five years into what's amounted to a train wreck and nightmare of Team Bush's choosing, and they're still too gutless to admit the obvious. Again, following up from my previous post, this is a prime example of the difference between your wingnut perspective and that of an adult.

And we've actually got a choice as to whether we continue the delusion, or own up to what's been done and begin the REAL hard work...fixing Shrub's massive mess.

In sampling some of the reactions to yesterday's speech by Barack Obama, it seems to me that the immediate issue is less left versus right and more adult versus spoiled wingnut snotnose brats. Geez, what a bunch of juvenile loons.

I'm half expecting the next wingnut bleat to be "Barack Obama make us eat bad food" or something like that.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

McCain: "Al Qaeda, Get the Hell OFF MY LAWN!"

OK, so he didn't promise that, but this sort of nonsense--and the relative silence from the media--goes a long way in explaining how we got into such a giant mess:

McCain said it was "common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that's well known. And it's unfortunate." A few moments later, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, standing just behind McCain, stepped forward and whispered in the presidential candidate's ear. McCain then said: "I'm sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda."

Not knowing the difference between Sunni and Sh'ia Islam is, to put it bluntly, a fatal mistake--the kind of mistake that gets people killed, and anyone making such a mistake has zero credibility on the issue.
A Little Grunt of Sunshine

Sort of like the habitual wife-beater who insists "it's for her own good," Big Time is SURE the Iraqis will like, or else.

That's the level of delusion wingers have taken it to.

And...maybe it's just me, but Big Time looks pretty awful, even worse than usual. It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if Satan came calling on Dick to pay the debt sooner rather than later...
Bush Bucks

Worthless paper:

The U.S. dollar's value is dropping so fast against the euro that small currency outlets in Amsterdam are turning away tourists seeking to sell their dollars for local money while on vacation in the Netherlands.

Of course, your average winger couldn't locate the Netherlands on a map...
Ideological Bedfellows

Your private sector efficiency.

Shrub played GEE-tar and shoveled birthday cake down his pie hole while New Orleans flooded and the Mississippi/Louisiana Gulf Coast was ravaged, James Cayne golfed and played bridge while his company went belly-up, screwing millions of shareholders. Jeff Skilling played adventure boy while Enron crashed and burned. Oh, and Shrub likewise play-acted, did the dress up thing, brayed "Mission Accomplished," and then yapped "Bring 'em on" at a time when a REAL mess was brewing in Mesopotamia.

Amazing...especially when you consider the sheer volume of shrill wingnuttia's expended over the mythological "strapping young buck" buying T-bones with his food stamps...or the Cadillac welfare queen, etc. etc. Meanwhile, the real thieves are running the country into the ground with hardly more than the occasional fluff piece, like the one gushing on about how Cayne "loves any movie that stars Halle Berry"...or the revelation in today's sad little story about "executives...putting their weekend homes on the market." Gosh, it just brings a tear to your eye, don't it?

And you STILL can't find good, cheap, legal help these days..

Monday, March 17, 2008

President Phone-It-In

The comparisons to Herbert Hoover are apt, but at least Hoover was a reasonably astute man who additionally had overseen two major humanitarian efforts (postwar Europe and post-flood Mississippi and Louisiana). Collins, though, hits it spot-on in her description of the Chimperor: [have] to wonder what the international financial community makes of a country whose president could show up to talk economics in the middle of a liquidity crisis and kind of flop around the stage as if he was emcee at the Iowa Republican Pig Roast.

And, I apparently thought the same thing as WIIIAI--Paulson's expression speaks volumes.
More Big Time Remarks Through the Ages

March 1968: "Phenomenal" progress is being made on the ground at My Lai.

Note--on this 40th anniversary it might not be a bad idea to remember an actual hero of that day, Hugh Thompson. Thompson refused to either play along or play dumb, but instead did the right thing...and dealt with a lot of wingnut crap as a result. Rest in Peace, Mr. Thompson.
In Related News...

Cheney says that John Kennedy is making "phenomenal" progress in Dallas.
Game Over

I've been taking a good look at links from YRHT and Atrios re: the big shitpile, the recession-that-must-never-be-called-such, the Bear Stearns bailout--damn, I oughta change my name to something that sounds Wall Street-ish, and demand some REAL money (not the chump change $300 rebate from the gubmit)--etc. etc. and so on, mixed in with the very surreal specter of Big Time (and Johnny Mac) in Baghdad, ghoulishly insisting it was all worth it (because nothing says "freedom" quite like mangled children)...anyway, it struck me that the last seven years really has been for a lot of people kind of like an extended stay at the carny...and now we're finally paying the price of too much funnel cake, fried food, Coca-cola, cotton candy, etc. Plus, all the money's been spent in pursuit of...a giant stuffed teddy bear, i.e., something of no consequence, but with the game rigged like it is, you can't even win that, and instead have to settle for some cheap ceramic trinket that you've got to cart around with you till it's time to stagger back to the car.

Seven years of empty calories, pointless games...and it only cost thousands of lives, hundreds of billions of dollars, our international reputation, and long term economic stability. Team Bush really did take us for suckers...and enough people, particularly in the media, were willing to ignore the consequences in exchange for...(I picture Tim Russert in all his glory here) mmmmm, FUNNEL CAKE, mmmmmm, cotton candy, mmmmmm, Corn Dog, mmmmmm, Coca-Cola, mmmmm, MORE FUNNEL get the picture--the ultimate instance of a guard dog called off by the cheapest of steaks.

Hope you enjoyed the rides and the games. When you wake up tomorrow the Midway is going to be...a vacant lot, maybe with some trash here and there...and the carny folks will have moved on. Suckers.