September 9, 2006

from:╩David Shenk
How To Survive Global Warming

Inconveniently, the earth is getting warmer. Polar ice caps are melting, oceans are rising, coasts are eroding, and weather patterns may be shifting. Scientists are predicting increased droughts, floods (not a contradiction), wildfires, a massive disruption of agriculture and the food chain, and more severe storms¸especially hurricanes. The sea level might rise by several feet in this century alone. The best-case scenarios look pretty awful.

---snip---

What can one do? First: Vote. Global warming may or may not be a disaster we can avert, but we certainly have no chance if we continue to steer the wheel right into it. The United States ought to have signed on to the Kyoto Protocols years ago, and we ought to be leading the way in exploring alternative, renewable sources of energy.

Second: Act. There are already several painless ways for consumers to be dramatically more energy efficient and environmentally friendly: fuel efficient cars, Energy Star appliances, fluorescent bulbs, etc. One intriguing new experiment is TerraPass, a voluntary program that enables car owners to be "carbon neutral" by paying between $30 and $80 annually to remove roughly the same amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere that their car emits. Buy a TerraPass for each of your cars, and buy an extra for your stubborn father-in-law who still thinks recycling is a bad idea. more...

September 8, 2006

Tell ABC to Tell the Truth About 9/11

On September 10 and 11, ABC Television is planning to run an inaccurate film depicting the events leading up to the 9/11 attacks. The film was written by an avowed conservative and it largely places the blame for failing to prevent the attacks on the Clinton administration while whitewashing the failures of the Bush administration.

[Think Progress]'s review of the film shows it to be full of such inaccuracies. Its distorted version of history is inconsistent with the 9/11 Commission Report, upon which it claims to be based. The events leading up to September 11, 2001 are too important and too tragic to play politics with the facts.

*****New Article*****

Out for the Count
by James K. Galbraith ╩

Felipe CalderŚn has been named president of Mexico, by a court, much as George Bush was named President of the United States, by a court.

But did he win the election? We do not know. The court's decision does not establish this, any more than the Bush v Gore case established that Bush won his first election - which, as we now know, he did not.

In both cases, the truth could have been known in time. But it was not. And that is because one side - in the legal struggle, the winning side - refused and resisted a full recount of the votes.

In both cases, we can be sure that if plaintiff and defendant had been reversed, the decisions would have been unanimous the other way. If Bush had been for it and Gore against, the US supreme court would have voted 9-0 for a full recount in Florida. If Lopez Obrador had led the count by a minute fraction, and if it were CalderŚn charging irregularities and fraud, then the Mexican electoral court would have recounted all the votes. more...

September 7, 2006

Afghanistan: High on Opium, Not Democracy ╩╩
By Robert Scheer ╩╩╩

The good news, for drug fiends, is that Afghanistan has just harvested its biggest opium crop ever, up a whopping 59% from last year and big enough to cover 130% of the entire world market. The street price for illegal heroin, 92% of which now comes from Afghanistan, should be way down from Bangkok to London, and for those shooting up in the back alleys of Chicago. The bad news, for the rest of us, is that in Bush-liberated Afghanistan, billions in drug profits are financing the Taliban.

Remember them, the guys who harbored the Al Qaeda terrorists, who gifted us with the 9/11 attacks five years ago, that President Bush promised to eliminate? Well, it turns out that while he was distracted with Iraq, the patrons of terrorism were very much in business back where the 9/11 attack was hatched, turning Afghanistan into a narco-state that provides a lucrative source of cash for the "evildoers" Bush forgot about.

The Bush administration has, for half a decade, celebrated its overthrow of the Taliban and subsequent national elections in Afghanistan, but if this is democratic nation-building then the model must be Colombia, the narco-state where the political process masks the real power held by drug lords and radical insurgents. Afghanistan is dominated not by the government in Kabul but by a patchwork of warlords, terrorist groups and drug traffickers completely addicted to the annual poppy harvest's profits. more...

September 6, 2006

AWAITING THE NEXT CONGRESS
Big Money vs. Grassroots: The Fight For the Heart of the Democratic Party
By David Sirota

Every two years since 1992, the Democratic Party has trotted out Fleetwood Mac's classic "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" as the theme song of its campaign. Now, after the party's repeated election losses, polls suggest that the Democrats' "tomorrow" could finally be dawning. November 7 is the big day. Yet even if the Democrats do well on that day, it's not clear that things will change. In fact, there are ominous signs that a Democratic Congress would cause another song to start ringing in Americans' ears: The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again," with its harrowing line: "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

To be sure, a change in congressional leadership would slow the advance of President George W. Bush's dangerous agenda. And as the Associated Press has reported, the specific Democratic lawmakers in line to take over key committees are among the administration's biggest critics, and among the most ideologically progressive in Congress.

But beyond this, there are troubling signs that the party isn't serious about reforming America's money-dominated politics. Many working-class swing voters are still suspicious of a Democratic Party that promised not to sell them out, and then supported President Clinton's alliance with big business to pass economically destabilizing "free trade" deals. But that doesn't seem to matter to the Beltway's Democratic elites. That voters would be supporting Democrats in 2006 with the specific expectation of reform hardly seems to register with many of the party's Washington insiders. more...

September 5, 2006

Securing the Common Good Underlies Labor Movement
by David Newby ╩

...let's think a bit about the basic principles of the labor movement: Solidarity - an injury to one is an injury to all. And let's remember why our government was formed: 'to promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.'Labor Day is a time to honor those who do the work and actually create the real wealth of this country: working people!

It should also be a time to reflect on what unionism is all about: Solidarity - an injury to one is an injury to all. That is the basic principle of the labor movement, the understanding that we're all in it together.

Without romanticizing the past, that understanding also used to be a fundamental value among the vast majority of Americans. It was the way we related to each other as neighbors and as co-workers. It was the basis of community.

But today that sense of community has been weakened - in fact it's under systematic attack. The core question we face as a country today is this: Are we going to recognize that we really are all in this together, and we need to support and take care of each other? Or are we going to repudiate that value and any mutual obligations and say instead it's everyone for themselves? more...

September 4, 2006

Some Labor Day news:
Poll: Labor Unions Viewed Favorably by 58%

Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Americans have at least a somewhat favorable opinion of labor unions while 33% disagree and have an unfavorable view. Those figures, from a Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adults, include 23% with a Ńvery favorableń opinion and 12% with a Ńvery unfavorableń view.

By way of comparison, 69% of Americans have a favorable opinion of a company the unions love to hate¸Walmart. Twenty-nine percent (29%) have an unfavorable opinion of the retail giant. more...

****New Article****

War Is Not a Solution for Terrorism ╩╩╩╩
By Howard Zinn ╩╩╩

╩╩╩╩There is something important to be learned from the recent experience of the United States and Israel in the Middle East: that massive military attacks, inevitably indiscriminate, are not only morally reprehensible, but useless in achieving the stated aims of those who carry them out.

╩╩╩╩The United States, in three years of war, which began with shock-and-awe bombardment and goes on with day-to-day violence and chaos, has been an utter failure in its claimed objective of bringing democracy and stability to Iraq. The Israeli invasion and bombing of Lebanon has not brought security to Israel; indeed it has increased the number of its enemies, whether in Hezbollah or Hamas or among Arabs who belong to neither of those groups. more... ╩╩╩

September 3, 2006

From Bob Harris:
National Guard providing cardboard "Flat Daddy" cutouts to families of faraway soldiers

cut out daddy


The Flat Daddy, the National Guard's idea of a replacement for the actual daddy:

I kid you not.╩ The Boston Globe had this a couple of days ago -- "Flat Daddy cutouts ease longing" reads the sub-head:

At the request of relatives, about 200 Flat Daddy and Flat Mommy photos have been enlarged and printed at the state National Guard headquarters in Augusta. The families cut out the photos, which show the Guard members from the waist up, and glue them to a $2 piece of foam board.

I dunno.╩ I guess if the families are getting some solace out of it, whatever.╩ But it just seems so damn sad that things are so bad that people are actually thrilled to have cardboard replicas of their family members.
(Click on icons to see larger images.)

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September 9, 2006


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September 8, 2006


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September 7, 2006


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September 6, 2006


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September 5, 2006


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September 4, 2006


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