News


Isn’t it bad enough that the republicans wanted to start a war in Iraq when Iraq was not threatening us?  And then they mismanaged the whole war and still can’t get the electricity turned on?  And they tortured prisoners.  And they let the contractors run around killing everybody.  But that’s not all.  NOW there’s a new problem with Iraq: cholera, a painful and deadly disease.

 

IRAQ: Fear among refugees as cholera crosses border

BAGHDAD, 7 October 2007 (IRIN) – Despite the efforts of the Iraqi government and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to contain a recent cholera outbreak, the disease has already spread to half of the country and has also crossed the border into Iran, according to WHO and Iranian authorities.

Photo: Many children living in displacement camps are suffering from acute diarrhoea. This child, who lives in a camp near the Syrian border, is suspected to have cholera

Photo: Afif Sarhan/IRIN

Refugee camps on Iraq’s borders and inside Iran, Syria and Jordan have been warned of the outbreak by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

 

The Bushies talk a good game about valuing every life, but we can see from their actions that they are talking about UNBORN children and not sick, Iraqi children that already exist.  They don’t care, but we can.  Red Crescent and Red Cross are collecting money to fight cholera in Iraq and the countries that it borders.

I am getting my driver’s license soon, but I won’t have access to a car very often.  I take the bus or walk most places, and I know my way around here pretty well.  But how cool will it be to google your bus route or your train route in bigger cities!  Maybe this will help more people to use mass transit and spend less time in their cars burning up fuel and the planet.

Google Public Transit Officially Launches

via EcoGeek.org by Billy Shih on 10/7/07

We’ve reported on Google Transit in the past but now it is official. Transit works like Google Maps, but instead of driving directions, it lets you know how you can get where you’re going without a car. Type in your start and end points plus date and time and it gives you where to walk, what bus to take and when. It even is integrated into Google Maps, meaning if you search for directions using Maps, just click “Take Public Transit” and it will switch to Transit mode, showing you the next 3 upcoming bus departures. I typed in my daily busing commute and it found the same exact route.

Currently it works for various areas in 9 states and even in China and Japan. Wish I had this when I was in China! This is great for current bus riders and getting new people to take the bus. Although my hometown of Seattle already has something like this, this will only help spread the word that transit can be just as easy (and a heck of a lot cheaper) than driving.

Google Transit

Via TechCrunch

 

General Peter Pace

 

photo from ABC News

General Peter Pace is the chairman of the joint chiefs, making him the most elevated military office in the United States. He is not our priest-in-chief or our parent-in-chief, but he seems to think he is, and that his “upbringing” and his beliefs make him qualified to tell the rest of us, the entire military, and the United States Senate what is immoral. Why is that his job? It isn’t, but he doesn’t seem to know that!

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The first amendment to the United States Constitutions says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” This may be why Pace refers to his upbringing and not his religion, but it is commandments from his RELIGION that is causing him to repeatedly condemn homosexuality and adultery.

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In a March newspaper interview the general said that:

My upbringing is such that I believe that there are certain things, certain types of conduct that are immoral. I believe that military members who sleep with other military members’ wives are immoral in their conduct, and that we should not tolerate that. I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral, and that we should not condone immoral acts. So the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell allows an individual to serve the country, not — [inaudible] that allows individuals to serve their country. If we know about immoral acts, regardless of committed by who or — then we have a responsibility. And I do not believe that the Armed Forces of the United States are well served by saying through our policies that it’s okay to be immoral in any way, in any way, not just with regards to homosexuality. This is from that standpoint saying that gays should serve openly in the military to me says that we, by policy, would be condoning what I believe is immoral activity. And therefore, as an individual, I would not want that to be my policy, just like I would not want it to be our policy that, if were to find out that so-and-so was sleeping with someone’s wife, that we would just look the other way, which we do not. We prosecute that kind of immoral behavior between members of the Armed Forces.

You can listen to that here.

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Two days later, the Washington Post reported this,

The Pentagon’s top general said Tuesday he should not have voiced his personal view that homosexuality is immoral and should have just stated his support for the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in an interview that has drawn criticism from lawmakers and gay-rights groups.

The written statement by Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, did not apologize for his stance on homosexuality. In a newspaper interview Monday, Pace likened homosexual acts to adultery and said the military should not condone it by allowing gays to serve openly in the armed forces.

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But ….. the general repeated all his opinions again this week in a Senate hearing, and this time the Code Pink protesters replied by quoting (very loudly and repeatedly) their favorite bible verse, “THOU SHALT NOT KILL! THOU SHALT NOT KILL!” They are absolutely correct — if we need any religion at all mixed in with the military, THAT is the kind of morality we should be following.


Like most of my political posts,

 

this is cross-posted at Political Teen Tidbits

 

and at YouThinkLeft.

Hurricanes are damaging and Rita did a lot of damage here in Texas.  Not nearly as much as Katrina a few weeks earlier, but plenty of damage.  This is Wikipedia’s description:

Hurricane Rita was the fourth-most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded and the most intense tropical cyclone ever observed in the Gulf of Mexico. Rita caused $11.3 billion in damage on the U.S. Gulf Coast in September 2005.[1] Rita was the seventeenth named storm, tenth hurricane, fifth major hurricane, and third Category 5 hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season.

Rita made landfall on September 24 at Johnson Bayou in Louisiana, near the border with Texas, as a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. It continued on through parts of southeast Texas. The storm surge caused extensive damage along the Louisiana and extreme southeastern Texas coasts and completely destroyed some coastal communities. The storm killed seven people directly; many others died in evacuations and from indirect effects.[2]

NOAA

A satellite image shows Hurricane Rita taken at 10:15 a.m. CDT Sept. 24, 2005, as it plowed through Texas and Louisiana.

 Wikipedia talks a lot about what happened the week of Hurricane Rita and in the direct aftermath, but does not mention how little of the damage has been repaired.  For that, we have to look at a new article in the Austin American Statesman that indicates that “In the two years since Hurricane Rita struck Texas, records show that the state has spent less than 1 percent of the federal money allotted to fix or replace thousands of ruined homes.”

Two years after Rita, little money disbursed for housing repairs

In the two years since Hurricane Rita struck Texas, records show that the state has spent less than 1 percent of the federal money allotted to fix or replace thousands of ruined homes.

East Texas officials, whose counties were among those hit hardest after Rita roared ashore with 120 mph winds, say the state government has been slow to release funds. But state officials blame strict federal rules and argue that Texas received less money than Louisiana and Mississippi.

“It really appears to me that the state has had an overabundance of caution to prevent fraud and abuse,” said Walter Diggles, executive director of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments. “Every time we talk to them they say, ‘Look, we don’t want a Katrina,’ or fraud with individual distributions.”

When Rita made landfall near Sabine Pass on Sept. 24, 2005, it damaged about 80,000 properties in 22 counties of Southeast Texas. Some 15,000 homes were left in need of repairs.

….

In the meantime, residents are waiting and dealing with more damage.

Evie McBride, 72, wonders whether how long she’ll be living in a Federal Emergency Management Agency travel trailer. Her home, a doublewide on the little piece of backwoods, remains in musty shambles since Rita struck.

“I tell you what is frustrating is seeing a house that would have cost $5,000 to fix 30 days after the storm will now cost $30,000 to fix because it’s just steadily deteriorating,” said Keith Billingsley, an inspector for the Deep East Texas COG.

 This needs to be bigger news and Texas needs to be pressured into actually helping these people.

Why would anyone in congress keep the people of Washington from voting?

Washington DC vote

 

D.C. Vote Bill Dies in Senate

By Mary Beth Sheridan

Washington Post Staff Writer

Republican lawmakers yesterday blocked the Senate from taking up the D.C. vote bill, a potentially fatal setback for the District’s most promising effort in years to get a full member of Congress.

The opposition to the bill is this, but I think that the Republicans don’t want people in Washington, DC to vote because many of them are black and most of them are registered Democrats.

The Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and the White House have strongly criticized the legislation. They maintain that, because the District is not a state, the bill violates the constitutional mandate that House members be chosen by the “People of the several States.”

“I opposed this bill because it is clearly and unambiguously unconstitutional,” McConnell said in a statement. “If the residents of the District are to get a member for themselves, they have a remedy: amend the Constitution.”

The article points that out too.

In addition to voicing legal concerns, opponents were wary of the bill’s potential political repercussions. Some Republicans feared that the measure could eventually lead to the addition of two full D.C. senators, who probably would be Democrats.

If this is a real democracy, then the citizens of our country’s capital city should be able to participate also.

How stupid does Bush think that we are?

Note: spew alert for the second cartoon.  Don’t have anything in your mouth that you don’t mind having all over the screen and the keyboard.  —Freckles

The surge

The surge is working

Wouldn’t it be nice if Bush would nominate some honest lawyers who respect the constitution to head up the justice department?  All of the top spots are empty.  But he will want people he can trust to not investigate his administration, someone who agrees to illegal wiretaps and torture and  prisoner rendition around the world, and I really hope that the congress doesn’t give in.

Gonzales leaves Justice Department

Outgoing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales wipes his eye during his farewell ceremony before Justice Department employees, Friday, Sept. 14, 2007, in the Great Hall at the Justice Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)AP – Resigning Attorney General Alberto Gonzales left the scandal-scarred Justice Department on Friday, declaring himself hopeful about its mission of ferreting out crime and defending the truth. Gonzales quit after 2 1/2 years at the department amid investigations into whether he broke the law and lied to Congress. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Bush is supposedly all about accountability. Every year we have to do better on the tests and every year the tests get harder. Know what the teachers say when you don’t pass a test the first time? They say you’re making PROGRESS. I think that means you did better than you did before, and that you’re getting closer to passing.

But that’s not what it means to Bush. Watch this video from MoveOn.Org and see if you can figure out what the word PROGRESS means in his world. If you figure it out, please let us know in the comments section.

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bush's legacyIt seems that George W is concerned about his legacy, and he is talking to a biographer named Robert Draper:

In book, Bush peeks ahead to his legacy

In an interview with a book author in the Oval Office one day last December, President George W. Bush daydreamed about the next phase of his life, when his time will be his own.

The articles talks about these kinds of issues

First, Bush said, “I’ll give some speeches, just to replenish the ol’ coffers.” With joint assets that have been estimated at as high as nearly $21 million, Bush added, “I don’t know what my dad gets – it’s more than 50-75” thousand dollars a speech, and “Clinton’s making a lot of money.”

Then he said, “We’ll have a nice place in Dallas,” where he will be running what he called “a fantastic Freedom Institute” promoting democracy around the world. But he added, “I can just envision getting in the car, getting bored, going down to the ranch.”

and

The transcripts and the book show Bush as being keenly interested in what history will say about his term despite his frequent comments to the contrary; as being in a reflective mode as his time at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue dwindles; and, ultimately, as being at once sorrowful and optimistic – but virtually alone as commander in chief, and aware of it.

Here is the worst line in the whole article:

And in apparent reference to the invasion of Iraq, he continued, “This group-think of ‘we all sat around and decided’ – there’s only one person that can decide, and that’s the president.”

HE just wants to make money, but I think that his real legacy will include these:

  1. a million people dead because of wars that we started
  2. 3000 dead at Ground Zero, flight 93 and the Pentagon, with bin Ladin still on the loose and not even a suspect by the CIA
  3. an unsolved anthrax terrorism case that killed five people
  4. increased opium exports all around the world
  5. privatization of everything from highways to schools to prisons hospitals to the maintenance of Walter Reed hospital and rehab
  6. many millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans with no access to decent health care when they need it
  7. the drowning of a city and a whole section of another state
  8. hard times for poor people, and a whole lot more poor people
  9. most of his administration resigning on him, and some of them being investigated and tried and convicted for crimes
  10. having the whole world hate us
  11. almost (I hope) starting a war with Iran
  12. stealing elections
  13. having hookers in the white house pretending to be reporters
  14. the giant corporations having a super time while the planet heats up and regular people suffer
  15. high gas prices and high prices to heat houses
  16. spying on Americans without a warrant or even telling the FISA court
  17. locking up Americans for years without a trial
  18. locking up thousands of other people in torture camps with no lawyers and no rights
  19. making students only learn stuff that is tested in April and not the important things in each subject

I bet George won’t talk about those things when he has speaking tours. (He’ll get more for one talk than my whole family has in a year!) What do you think his legacy will be? Can someone please call the Hague?

Like most of my political posts, this is cross-posted at
Political Teen Tidbits and at YouThinkLeft.

solar panelsOK. Texas started. In addition to the ones mentioned here, there are also schools with some solar panels. Can the whole country do this? Can we do a better job at recycling at school? Can we turn in more work electronically and not on paper? Can they cut down on the AC sometimes? What’s happening where you live?

Schools find it easy being green

Districts strive to make campuses eco-friendly.

Listen to this article or download audio file.Click-2-Listen


AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Sunday, August 26, 2007

When it comes to building schools, district leaders and taxpayers are focused on being green: being environmentally friendly as well as fiscally responsible.

Several campuses are opening for the first time Monday in the Austin area, and dozens of other campuses and school buildings are under construction or are being renovated. Many have gone green — using recyclable materials in construction and operation and saving on water and energy — as part of a nationwide movement that touts green schools as healthier for students and cheaper to operate.

Almost four years ago, the Austin school district made the largest purchase to date of renewable energy from Austin Energy’s GreenChoice program: 45.7 million kilowatt-hours annually of solar, wind or geothermal power. It was the largest such purchase by a school district nationwide. The district is eligible for $430,000 in Austin Energy rebates for environmentally friendly projects in the 2004 $519.5 million bond program.

When Pickle Elementary School opened in Northeast Austin in 1999, it was the first Austin campus to include green building features like proper solar orientation to better take advantage of natural light, which helps it use 25 percent less energy than other campuses, along with rainwater collection to replace water that evaporates out of air conditioners and salvaged long-leaf pine floors. An analysis estimates that those features will save the district $12 million over the life of the school.

Schools represent the largest construction sector in the nation, with $53 billion being spent this year, and they are the fastest-growing market for green building, which is expected to account for 5 percent to 10 percent of the school construction market by 2010, according to the Council of Educational Facility Planners International.

About 60 schools across the country, including two in Dallas and Houston, have been certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, a nonprofit organization in Washington that sets “green” standards. An additional 370 are in the pipeline; one San Marcos school is among the nine in Texas.

I wonder who is behind THESE people.

Not everyone believes that it’s easier being green, however. Saying that building costs would skyrocket, the Fast Growth School Coalition, a group of 124 Texas school districts, helped defeat a bill during the most recent legislative session that would have required all school construction to fall in line with standards set by the Green Building Council.

Why does Fox News want us to have a war with Iran? Why do Americans let Fox News decide what is happening in our foreign policy? Why don’t they have to report real facts?

funeral.jpgMy dad left when I was five. He did not die. He was not in a war. He just left. After he left I was angry at him and sad, but I did not have a grief camp. Maybe it would have made things easier for me and for my brother.  They’re probably very helpful and I am glad they exist. My brother and I  were just angry for a while and then dealt with other issues and then FINALLY went to therapy about it more than six years later.

But now our country has grief camps for kids, because of the Iraq War.  Great idea, HORRIBLE reason for needing it.

At Camp Good Grief, all the children are mourning for a parent or other relative who died while serving in the military.

“Age doesn’t matter. The grief process is the same,” said Vanessa
Gabrielson, a camp counselor whose father was killed in Iraq in 2003. “Every time I go, it gets easier, and I learn something from them.”

Some of the campers have never discussed their parent’s death.
Others describe the grisly details of war matter-of-factly. But being with children who have endured a similar loss provides comfort, counselors said.

More than 20 children ranging from 7 to 19 years old attended the one-day camp this past week in Salado, near Fort Hood. About 40 parents and other adults attended a separate survivor seminar,
also run by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.

The nonprofit organization known as TAPS has held an annual children’s camp in Alexandria, Va., since shortly after the group was founded in 1994. It began holding camps and adult seminars nationwide last fall in cities near military bases.

The children and their parents grieve for family members who were killed by roadside bombs, snipers or crashes. Others lost relatives to accidents, illness or suicide after their loved ones returned to the U.S.

The United States should not need to have a camp where kids can
grieve because their parents died as soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We should not be in this war. We should not have started this war.

We need to get out of Iraq and as part of the money we pay them
to repair what we did for their country, maybe we should set up grief
camps there for all of the kids who lost a brother or a sister or a mom or a dad or a best friend because of this war.  I bet there are a lot of kids in Iraq who need a grief camp.

 

TV clipartThink Progress has a post up called

If It’s Sunday, It’s Karl Rove

and in it they have a list of questions that they want the talk show hosts to ask Rove. Here’s the list:

In addition to those, I think they should also ask him about these things:

  • Who Jeff Gannon was spending nights with in the White House?
  • Is George Bush drinking or doing drugs?
  • Who is the real president, Bush or Cheney?
  • Why did you decide to leave now?
  • What gave you the idea that there are no rules for you and your friends?
  • Why did you decide Congress doesn’t matter anymore?
  • Did you rig the voting machines?
  • Don’t you feel guilty destroying the country like this?

What else would you ask him?

Am I the only one that is not surprised by this headline? Or the details? People a lot older than I am seem very surprised that the government is behaving like this, but kids are used to having no privacy and no personal freedom. So, if they can take this from Americans now and patriotic older Americans (who expect the constitution to be in force) get upset, what will it take to upset my generation?

Domestic Use of Spy Satellites To Widen
Law Enforcement Getting New Access To Secret Imagery
By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 16, 2007; A01

The Bush administration has approved a plan to expand domestic access to some of the most powerful tools of 21st-century spycraft, giving law enforcement officials and others the ability to view data obtained from satellite and aircraft sensors that can see through cloud cover and even penetrate buildings and underground bunkers.

A program approved by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security will allow broader domestic use of secret overhead imagery beginning as
early as this fall, with the expectation that state and local law
enforcement officials will eventually be able to tap into technology once largely restricted to foreign surveillance.

Administration officials say the program will give domestic security and emergency preparedness agencies new capabilities in dealing with a range of threats, from illegal immigration and terrorism to hurricanes and forest fires. But the program, described yesterday by the Wall Street Journal, quickly provoked opposition from civil liberties advocates, who said the government is crossing a well-established line against the use of military assets in domestic law enforcement.

Although the federal government has long permitted the use of spy-satellite imagery for certain scientific functions — such as creating topographic maps or monitoring volcanic activity — the administration’s decision would provide domestic authorities with unprecedented access to high-resolution, real-time satellite photos.

They could also have access to much more. A statement issued yesterday by the Department of Homeland Security said that officials envision “more robust access” not only to imagery but also to “the collection, analysis and production skills and capabilities of the intelligence community.”

Do they REALLY think I am going to want to believe in their God and their bible if they jam creationism down my throat instead of real science?

But what about the teenagers who don’t know anything about real science? What happens to them when they get to college?


Trouble In Texas: School Board Chairman Seeks Religion In Science Class

 

The Texas Freedom Network (TFN) on Tuesday revealed a side of “intelligent design” proponents rarely seen by the public at large. The group released a transcript and recording of an extraordinarily candid speech given in 2005 by recently named State Board of Education Chairman Ron McLeroy.

McLeroy told a gathering at Grace Bible Church in Bryan, Texas,
of his efforts to expunge evolution from the state’s high school
biology textbooks. “Back in November 2003, we finished [the] …adoption process for the biology textbooks in Texas…. I want to tell you all the arguments made by all the intelligent-design
group, all the creationist intelligent design people, I can guarantee the other side heard exactly nothing,” he said.

He went on, condemning other Christian board members for not following his lead.

“[T]he four really conservative, orthodox Christians on the board were the only ones who were willing to stand up to the textbooks and say they don’t present the weaknesses of evolution,” he said. “Amazing.”

He admonished the audience not to bicker over the finer points of creationism because they were united under a “big tent” against evolution.

“Whether you’re a progressive creationist, recent creationist, young-Earth, old-Earth, it’s all in the tent of intelligent design,” McLeroy said. “And intelligent design here at Grace Bible Church
is actually a smaller tent than you would have in the intelligent
design movement as a whole, because we are all Biblical literalists…. So because it’s a bigger tent, just don’t waste our time arguing with each other about…all of the side issues.”

“Modern science today,” McLeroy complained, “is totally based on naturalism,” thus “it is the naturalistic base that is [our] target.”

 

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