18 June 2005

The Iraq Dilemma

    Should I stay or should I go now?
    If I go there will be trouble
    An' if I stay it will be double
    So come on and let me know
      The Clash
Tom Curry wrote a good article about the Democrat's political strategy and the dilemma of Iraq. In the article, DNC executive committee member Judith Hope had this to say:
“I think Democrats have largely been backed into a corner on Iraq. While most of us believe we should never have gone in there in the first place, many of us believe that now that we’re there, we have no choice but to finish the job. It would be both immoral and dangerous to bail out of that part of the world, given what we know today.”
I think she's right, by the way. We can't just abandon Iraq to the mess we made there. The question is, how do we challange the GOP on this, one of their cornerstone issues? We know it's bad, they know it's bad. We both want to find a way to make it better. I don't think Democrats can achieve much by debating the fine details of our ongoing Iraq policy. We cannot make a compelling argument there.

That's why I think it is important to seek to expose the truth about how we got into Iraq. We need to show how the Bush administration and GOP leaders in Congress misled America. Realistically, we won't be able to impeach Bush, or otherwise hold him leagally accountable. We will, however, be able to punish them in the voting booth.

There is one person I work with who voted for Bush in 2000. He supported the war in Iraq, believing that Saddam posed a real threat. By 2004, though, he realized he'd been suckered, and cast his vote for Kerry. Unfortunately there weren't enough people like him whose minds were changed in 2004. However, I think a relentless pursuit of the truth will bring more of them around. 2006 is the next big referendum on Iraq, and we need to make sure people know the truth by then.

17 June 2005

Jeb Bush seeks to punish Michael Schiavo

    vin·dic·tive (vin-'dik-tiv)
    1. Disposed to seek revenge; revengeful.
    2. Marked by or resulting from a desire to hurt; spiteful.
      The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
With Terri Schiavo finally at rest, Jeb Bush has decided it's time for a little payback, and he's set his sights on Michael Schiavo. Read all about it. Bush got a prosecutor to agree to investigate why Terri Schiavo collapsed.

Their "justification" for this? According to records, Michael Schiavo called 911 at 5:40 a.m. Two years later, at a 1992 medical malpractice trial, he said she collapsed at 5 a.m. Thirteen years later, in a 2003 television interview, he said he found her at about 4:30 a.m.

This is dispicable. This is a new low. This is worse than anything they've done so far.

This is... just plain evil.

14 June 2005

Pink Floyd to reunite on stage (a.k.a. Holy Crap!)

    Us and Them
    And after all we're only ordinary men
    Me, and you
    God only knows it's not what we would choose to do
      Pink Floyd
Wow. I never thought I'd see this. Looks like Bob Geldof gets the credit. Here's the scoop.


11 June 2005

Electric shed!

    When you're in the dark,
    And you want to see
    You need uh...
    (Electricity, electricity!)
    Flip that switch
    And what do you get?
    You get uh...
    (Electricity, electricity!)
    Every room
    Can now be lit
    With just uh...
    (Electricity, electricity!)
      Schoolhouse Rock
No, the electric shed is not a new dance. I've been wanting to run electricity to the shed in out back yard for awhile. Well, I finally did it. We're going to replace our gas mower with a rechargable electric, and it needs to stay plugged in. That was my excuse to start wiring.

Digging the trench was the biggest hassle. The UF cable needs to be buried twelve inches down. It went fairly well though. I dug in segments and burying a bit at a time. I punched a small hole in the basement wall and I was ready to start connecting. I added a brand new circuit to the panel with a GFCI breaker, so the whole line is protected. I put in an outlet and light! Now you can see in there at night time!

Okay, I'm probably more excited about this that is necessary. But sometimes you need a rewarding little home project to put you in a good mood.

09 June 2005

God in the government

    With the apathy that exists today, a well organized minority can influence the selection of candidates to an astonishing degree.
      Pat Robertson
      in his book The Millennium
I listenned to two good audio programs recently that I wanted to pass on. Both deal with the the separation of church aand state, and its erosion in our current government.

"Are We Becoming a Theocracy?"
They were running the video of this program at our new church (more on that sometime). We didn't go, but I sought out the audio version.
Joan Bokaer is the founder of Theocracy Watch, and maintains their web site. In this presentation, she walks you through the history of religious right's rise to power. It's a little dry, but it's a quick listen and covers a lot of ground. Audio of this and other presentations can be downloaded free on their website.

This American Life: Godless America
I love TAL. It's one of my favorite radio programs. This episode is particularly good. It's "an hour trying to remember why anyone liked the separation of church and state in the first place." The first act covers the history of separation of church and ctate, and what the founding fathers intended. My favorite part was the discussion with Cornell government professor Isaac Kramnick, co-author of The Godless Constitution (which is has a new edition coming out that I intend to read). He explains how government is less secular now than it ever was, despite Tom Delay's assertions to the contrary.

There is also a great monologue by Julia Sweeney excerpted from her play, "Letting Go of God." She seems to have come to many of the same conclusions I have, though her path was different.

Anyway, check them out.

Teflon Dubya

    Vote first. Ask questions later.
      Tagline for the film Bob Roberts
The latest polls show Bush's support continues to erode. Well, it's a little late for that. Honestly, what the hell is so different now than 2004?

Yesterday, Bush was finally asked about the Downing Street Memo. Reuters White House correspondent Steve Holland did the honors, making himself eligible for a $1000 prize. He was unaware of the reward, and won't try to claim it. The memo continues its slow prgression into mainstream media.

The timing of the question couldn't have been better for Bush, as he had Tony Blair do immediate damage control. Bush's own answer meandered through the usual stock phrases about Saddam, difficulties of leadership, and how much safer we all are. There was also a well-place insinuation that the release of the memo was intended to hurt Tony Blair in the British elections.

Suggesting a political motive has been one of Bush's best defenses, and I'm expecting to see more of it around the Downing Street Memo. Remember how well it worked against Richard Clarke? One of the DSM links I found referenced the CBS story as our own version of the memo. It occurs to me that the cases are very similar. The source is high ranking intelligence officials. The implication is that Bush intended to invade Iraq no matter what.

Maybe that's why I wasn't that outraged or, for that matter, surprised that the memo didn't get more media coverage. Maybe that's why I haven't said anything here about the memo, until now. The Clarke revelations got plenty of coverage and had absolutely no effect. I wonder if that's the reason for the lack of coverage. Perhaps the media just sees the DSM as more of the same.

I know, that's not a justification for ignoring such an important story. I support Conyers, Kerry, Kennedy, and everyone on the Net who refuse to let the Downing Street Memo story die. I have to confess, though, that I see little other than futility in the effort to hold Bush accountable. So many revelations have gone unanswered....

I think our next best hope is the 2006 mid-term election. Maybe, just maybe, public disillusionment with the Iraq war will cost the GOP their Congressional majority. Then, at least, there would be a branch of government that could really question the Bush administration. But that's a real longshot, given what the Bush administration was willing to do in 2004 to hold onto power. It's all so damn grim.

I firmly believe that one day people will see the harm that's been done. I believe history will hold Bush and his administration accountable. I'm not so sure anyone else will. Republicans always liked to calling Clinton Slick Willy because of what he got away with. He had nothing on Teflon Dubya.

06 June 2005

Supreme Court medical marijuana defeat

    Governor Tarkin: No star system will dare oppose the Emperor now.
    Princess Leia: The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.
      Star Wars
The Supreme Court ruled today that sick people can be prosecuted for using marijuana to ease their pain. As much as I am for the legalization of medical marijuana, I can't fault their interpretation of the law as it stands. Federal marijuana laws are the real problem, and they are what need to change.

Justice Stevens, in writing the majority opionion, seemed ambivalent in his decision. It's like he knows the law, but regrets how it must be interpreted here. Take this paragraph:
The case is made difficult by respondents’ strong arguments that they will suffer irreparable harm because, despite a congressionalfinding to the contrary, marijuana does have valid therapeutic purposes. The question before us, however, is not whether it is wise to enforce the statute in these circumstances; rather, it is whether Congress’ power to regulate interstate markets for medicinal substances encompassesthe portions of those markets that are supplied with drugs produced and consumed locally. Well-settled law controls our answer. The CSA is a valid exercise of federal power, even as applied to the troubling facts of this case. We accordingly vacate the judgment of the Court of Appeals.
He also closes with something of a call to action:
But perhaps even more important than these legal avenues is the democratic process, in which the voices of voters allied with these respondents may one day be heard in the halls of Congress.
That's how I'll be treating it, anyway.

The little rover that could

    And the Little Blue Engine smiled and seemed to say as she puffed steadily down the mountain, "I thought I could. I thought I could. I thought I could."
      The Little Engine that Could
      by Watty Piper
Cheers to the rover team at NASA, who proved that you can't keep a good rover down!

03 June 2005

Who's knocking on the door?

    The 'Net is a waste of time, and that's exactly what's right about it.
      William Gibson
The latest way I've found to waste time is look through the statitistics of who's visiting my blog. If you're going for that comment link to tell me how you've been collecting stats for years, etc., etc., and I'm so behind the curve, I know already, so save it.

Lucky for me, there aren't a ton of visitors (Unlike the wildly popular Center of NJ Life.)There are a few, though, and my favorites are the search queries. It's nice to know that I'm not the only guy on the Internet interested in GE's hybrid locomotive ("ge hybrid locomotive regenerative") and the "maryland house rest area".

But my all time favorite is "pimped out chevy cavalier", for which I am the number one item on Google. See for yourself....

Update: I'm no longer number one! How did that happen? I wonder if this blog entry has, in some way, tipped the scale?

01 June 2005

Motion in the ocean

    When we are on the ocean we have almost limitless access to energy, but a modern vessel fights the elements. The albatross gets 98 percent of its energy for flight from the wind and two percent from its wings.
      Per Brinchmann
      Naval architect for Wallenius Wilhelmsen
Shipping firm Wallenius Wilhelmsen has designed a concept cargo ship with near-zero emissions. According to this article, the ship would be powered by wind, waves, and the sun. How cool is that?

Also, here's a story about a Scottish firm deploying three wave power generation units off the coast of Portugal. These units will be able to generate 2.25 megawatts, and 30 more could follow. The up, down, and side to side bobbing of the sausage shaped units pumps fluid to hydraulicly driven generators.

Looks like wave motion isn't just for Starblazers anymore!