Friday, June 06, 2008

Friday Catblogging: Tista Is Very Busy These Days

Summer. It takes a lot out of a cat.

Close-up of exhaustion (after, of course, a hard day's work):

Meanwhile the rest of us are in a state of anxiety over what will happen to Roslin and how the Cylon civil war will end.

To each her or his own.

(Posted by Miriam)


Once Again

DeLay needs to just shut the hell up with his moronic opinions:

Former House Republican Leader Tom DeLay (Texas) called Barack Obama a "Marxist" on the Mike Gallagher radio show Thursday.

Explaining that Obama clinching the Democratic nomination is a good thing for John McCain, DeLay said Obama's "weakness" is that "nobody knows him."

"And if McCain does not define him as what he is — hey, I have said publicly, and I will again, that unless he proves me wrong, he is a Marxist," DeLay said.

The radio host agreed with DeLay, who is facing money laundering charges, saying Obama is "desperately trying to cover up what seems to be the kind of old school Marxist radical liberal failed ideology."

"Absolutely," DeLay said. "No doubt about it."


Thursday, June 05, 2008

If Scientists Don't Know How To Tell Their Kids About It, We Should All Worry

So the most recent issue of Discover arrived today (it is, as I believe I have noted previously, a fantastic magazine for laypeople interested in science; it deals not just with research but with the larger implications). The issue features an alarming series of investigative reports on the state of the oceans, particularly a change in the oceans' pH balance - called "ocean acidification" - due to carbon emissions.
"It's the most profound environmental change I've seen in my entire career, and nobody saw it coming," says Thomas E. Lovejoy, a biologist... Since it is easy to chart the step-by-step progression of the problem, there is a widespread consensus that we are marching toward disaster at a pace that is impossible to ignore.
The articles are, unfortunately, not currently available online - it's the July 2008 issue, so it might not even hit newsstands until closer to, you know, July, and will probably be posted on their site somewhat later; the Discover Better Planet blog is a good resource on environmental issues, in any case.

The impact is wide-scale because it affects a lot of the microorganisms that form the basis of marine food chains. (We've probably all heard about coral reef loss, which is due to the same thing, but most of us probably haven't been too concerned about pteropod loss - but we should be.) Moreover, this is all in addition to the other damage we're doing to the ocean.
More than a billion people - mostly in the developing world - rely on fish as their main source of protein. Within the next two decades, marine biologist Robert Cowen says, the continued loss of fish from poor management and overexploitation "could translate into the starvation of 100 million or 200 million people - and that's without ocean acidification."
It's impossible to sum up this set of articles in a concise post - hell, I haven't even touched on the article about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch - but it is something we should be damned concerned about. Congress is discussing legislation to fund research into the problem (here's hoping the discussion goes quickly...), and once again, we all need to reduce our carbon footprint and use of plastics. Yes, you've heard that before, but it is worth reinforcing, and re-reinforcing.

The problem is so dire that two of the marine biologists in the article
soon realized that they would have to tone down how they talked about their research in front of their adolescent twins. "They overheard one of our conversations and started asking questions like 'What's going to happen?' ... We could see their distress and hear the agitation in their voices, and then they wanted to know, 'Is it too late?' and we're like, 'Hmm...well...'"
So, yeah - we need to be taking this seriously.

Posted by Miriam, who is not being paid in any way by Discover, although it might sometimes sound that way.


Wisconsin Dismisses Homophobe's Whining

Very good:
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ordered a conservative pastor to pay $87,000 in legal fees to a gay rights group he accused of defaming him.

Grant Storms of the Reformer Ministries in Marrero, La., claimed in the lawsuit that Action Wisconsin defamed him by saying remarks he made at a 2003 anti-gay conference in Milwaukee advocated the murder of gays.

Storms was one of several speakers at the "International Conference on Homo-Fascism," a gathering of people who railed against gays.

Action Wisconsin obtained an audio recording of the conference and publicized remarks that the group said incited violence and hatred.

In his speech, Storms said gay rights' opponents should "start taking it to the streets." He mimicked gun fire: "Boom, boom, boom, boom. There's twenty! Ca-ching," according to a transcript.

If you're going to say stupid, hateful things, you really should be prepared to be called stupid and hateful.



I'd say this has been a fairly open "secret" for some time:

A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.

The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq's position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.

But the accord also threatens to provoke a political crisis in the US. President Bush wants to push it through by the end of next month so he can declare a military victory and claim his 2003 invasion has been vindicated. But by perpetuating the US presence in Iraq, the long-term settlement would undercut pledges by the Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, to withdraw US troops if he is elected president in November.

Leave it to Bush once again to play politics with people's lives.



Hillary Clinton
is finally doing the right thing:

While Hillary Clinton plans to announce Saturday her support for Barack Obama’s candidacy, Democratic party leadership is growing increasingly frustrated with her timetable — rancor that could hurt her chances of salvaging the party’s No. 2.

Clinton raised the ire of several high-powered Democrats after she refused to concede and acknowledge Obama’s historic achievement Tuesday, when it became clear he had earned enough delegates to become the first black presidential nominee of a major party.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told FOX News that he “hopes” Clinton’s scheduled address Saturday, which would end her bid to become the first woman president, would be a “very positive statement of support.”

“It would be in her best interest,” he said, adding it would bring the party together.


Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Dems want it:
Fifty-two members of the House of Representatives have formed a bipartisan LGBT Equality Caucus to lobby for civil rights. All but two of the members are Democrats.


Well Done

California says no to a stay:
The California Supreme Court today rejected a bid to freeze last month's ruling legalizing gay marriage, paving the way for same-sex couples to begin walking down the aisle as soon as June 17.

Moving swiftly to remove legal uncertainty, the court turned away a request from gay marriage foes to stay the ruling until after the November election, when voters will consider a ballot measure that would change the state Constitution to again outlaw same-sex weddings.


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Garden Pics



Bo Diddley:
Bo Diddley, a singer and guitarist who invented his own name, his own guitars, his own beat and, with a handful of other musical pioneers, rock ’n’ roll itself, died Monday at his home in Archer, Fla. He was 79.



At long last
, could it be true?

Senator Barack Obama’s campaign began a concerted effort on Monday to rally undecided superdelegates around him so he can claim the Democratic presidential nomination after the primaries end on Tuesday night.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton invited fund-raisers and other supporters to an election-night rally in New York City where, aides said, she was prepared to deliver what they described as a farewell speech that summed up the case for her candidacy.


Wed While You Can

I hope the bigots will fail, but ya never know:

If approved by a majority of voters on Nov. 4, the amendment would overturn the recent California Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in the state. It is similar to gay marriage bans that have been adopted in 26 other states.

In response to the court's May 15 ruling, California public health officials already have amended marriage license applications to read "Party A" and "Party B" instead of bride and groom. Local officials have been told to start issuing the revised licenses to same-sex couples on June 17.

Gay men and lesbians would still be able to get married between then and the election, even with the initiative pending, unless the court agrees to stay its decision until after Nov. 4, as the amendment's sponsors have requested.


Monday, June 02, 2008

Still Losing

Jobs continue to diminish:
The U.S. lost jobs for a fifth month in May and manufacturing contracted, signaling the economy is stagnating, economists said before reports this week.

Payrolls probably dropped by 60,000 workers, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News before the Labor Department's June 6 report.


Simply Brilliant

This is a model of how governments should manage health care initiatives:
Uganda's government said on Monday it would not focus any of its HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programmes on outlawed homosexuals because the east African country is short of funds.

"Gays are one of the drivers of HIV in Uganda, but because of meagre resources we cannot direct our programmes at them at this time," the chairman of the Uganda AIDS Commission, Kihumuro Apuuli, told reporters in the capital Kampala.


Afghanistan Bloody Lately

While U.S. hostile fire fatalities in Iraq last month dropped to their lowest level since December, the news has been far grimmer coming out of Afghanistan. In terms of enemy fire, May 2008 was the second deadliest month of the war since hostilities began in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11. This also marked the end of the deadliest 12-month period for U.S. troops in combat in Afghanistan since the war began nearly seven years ago.


Sunday, June 01, 2008

Gulag at Sea


The United States is operating "floating prisons" to house those arrested in its war on terror, according to human rights lawyers, who claim there has been an attempt to conceal the numbers and whereabouts of detainees.

Details of ships where detainees have been held and sites allegedly being used in countries across the world have been compiled as the debate over detention without trial intensifies on both sides of the Atlantic. The US government was yesterday urged to list the names and whereabouts of all those detained.

Information about the operation of prison ships has emerged through a number of sources, including statements from the US military, the Council of Europe and related parliamentary bodies, and the testimonies of prisoners.

The analysis, due to be published this year by the human rights organisation Reprieve, also claims there have been more than 200 new cases of rendition since 2006, when President George Bush declared that the practice had stopped.

It is the use of ships to detain prisoners, however, that is raising fresh concern and demands for inquiries in Britain and the US.

According to research carried out by Reprieve, the US may have used as many as 17 ships as "floating prisons" since 2001. Detainees are interrogated aboard the vessels and then rendered to other, often undisclosed, locations, it is claimed.


America on the Wane

The rest of the world is waking up to America's declining power:

What happens when a superpower becomes preoccupied by a costly war and loses some of its ability to coerce friends and enemies toward the outcomes it favors? We're seeing a demonstration of that change now in the Middle East, as Arabs and even Israel reckon with the limits of American power -- and begin to cut their own deals.

The new power dynamic is clear in two developments over the past several weeks -- the Lebanon peace deal brokered by Qatar on May 21 and the Israel-Syria peace talks, with Turkish mediation, that were announced the same day. Both negotiations could help stabilize the region, albeit not on the terms the United States might prefer.