Wednesday, October 31, 2007
"he missiles were supposed to be taken to Louisiana, but the warheads were supposed to have been removed beforehand. A main reason for the error was that crews had decided not to follow a complex schedule under which the status of the missiles is tracked while they are disarmed, loaded, moved and so on, one official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.
The airmen replaced the schedule with their own 'informal' system, he said, though he didn't say why they did that nor how long they had been doing it their own way."
"Conclusion Six nuclear weapons disappeared from Minot AFB in North Dakota.
Five nuclear weapons were discovered at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana.
Which leads to my chilling conclusion:
Someone, operating under a special chain of command within the United States Air Force, just stole a nuclear weapon."
"RIDGWAY, Pa. - It's furry and walks on all fours. Beyond that, about the only thing certain about the critter photographed by a hunter's camera is that some people have gotten the notion it could be a Sasquatch, or bigfoot. Others say it's just a bear with a bad skin infection."
He contacted the Bigfoot Research Organization, which pursues reports of a legendary two-legged creature that some people believe lives in parts of the U.S. and .
Monday, October 29, 2007
"Companies like Wal-Mart lobby against inspecting containers entering our nation’s ports, even though expert after expert agrees that the likeliest way for a dirty bomb to enter the United States is through a container, because they believe their profits are more important than our safety.
What has become of America when America’s largest company lobbies against protecting America? Trade deals cost of millions of jobs. What do we get in return? Millions of dangerous Chinese toys in our children’s cribs laden with lead.
This is the price we are made to pay when trade agreements are decided based on how much they pad the profits for multinational corporations instead of what is best for America’s workers or the safety of America’s consumers. We have even gotten to the point where our children’s safety is potentially at risk because nearly half of the apple juice consumed by our children comes from apples grown in China. And Americans are kept in the dark because the corporate lobbyists have pushed back country of origin labeling laws again and again.
This is not the America I believe in."
Friday, October 26, 2007
"I read the news in a state of something like walking shock: seven soldiers wrote op-eds critical of the war — in The New York Times; three are dead, one shot in the head. A female soldier who was about to become a whistleblower, possibly about abuses involving taxpayers’ money: shot in the head. Pat Tillman, who was contemplating coming forward in a critique of the war: shot in the head. Donald Vance, a contractor himself, who blew the whistle on irregularities involving arms sales in Iraq — taken hostage FROM the U.S. Embassy BY U.S. soldiers and kept without recourse to a lawyer in a U.S. held-prison, abused and terrified for weeks — and scared to talk once he got home. Another whistleblower in Iraq, as reported in Vanity Fair: held in a trailer all night by armed contractors before being ejected from the country."
So in the spirit of following though with my assault against indifference, my new plan is Machu Picchu in 2008. I have wanted to go for a long time, but kept making other travel plans. Now that I fear that the opportunity to go may not be there indefinitely, I am going to go now rather than later.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
In the course of my life I struggle with the attempting to "decode" the pursuits of my brain to those that might be interested in those pursuits. Some pursuits are well known, the concept and realization of power in society, the coming resource wars, the struggle with the inherent inefficiencies of emotions vs the need for experiential knowledge of how those emotions make us human.
Some things that I could never have hoped to explain I have since found elegantly depicted in books, art, comics and the insights of those I have had the opportunity to meet. Those moments of recognition of a thought tangent, an amoebic concept realized provide me with relief, comfort that what swirls is only a swirl because I have yet to happen upon the external realization of that swirl. I will also sometimes feel guilty that those depictions are almost never coming from me and thus in the comic scheme of things I am only a taker, never an enlightener. That guilt is partly what motivated me to start this blog. I thought if I took snippets of the things, information, images etc that find recognition in my swirl maybe it would be my own version of communication that someone else could recognize. I think it's fair to say that I am still a long way off, but here is another attempt regardless.
Recent events, some cumulative, some actually recent and visceral have forced a real necessity to work to align my internal model of "how things work" with how I interact with the world. I would prefer that part of my life work include truly walking through the world true to my perception the world I sometimes fear is really only in my head. I have had moments of real clarity in my life where the infinite connectivity is deeply obvious and operable. This is not one of those. I feel things that deeply conflict with my opaque sense of order. Irrational rage, disappointment, impossible connectivity and, to my complete surprise, no desire whatsoever to run from the conflict.
The moon is 94% full tonight, so maybe that is why. Maybe I really am not afraid anymore of the mess. Maybe I need to balance the impending doom of resource constraint, that threatens to eviscerate the painfully thin veil of civilization I have always known, with irrational hope and exuberance that by playing, participating in the mess we can escape a unimaginably dark fate.
So that is my plan tonight. I could quite possibly wither and retreat tomorrow. Right now, though, I am listening to Bruce Springsteen and working really hard to say fuck it and jump into the morass. There was a night in high school where someone got the bright idea to jump off the train track bridge into the reservoir. I felt terror then too and said fuck it and I jumped. It felt great and I remember smiling about it for months afterward. Of course there are those moments when I felt fear and said fuck it and ended up broken and bleeding on the rocks, but as much as that is true we have to remember the jumps that were great. There will always be fear, pain, confusion, anger and worse apathy. That is true. What the bitch is that those exist whether or not you ask for them. It's the exhilaration and joy you have to fight for. So fight.
Monday, October 22, 2007
"'If we love the Scripture, we must do it,' said Smith, who gave up her dreams of a career when her husband said it was time to have children. 'We must fit into this role. It's so much more important than our own personal happiness.'
More moderate Southern Baptists disagree, and they counter with their own biblical references. When Jesus dined at the home of two sisters, he praised Mary, who spent the evening studying his teachings, above Martha, who did chores. Elsewhere in the New Testament, the apostle Paul writes that 'there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ.'"
Friday, October 19, 2007
"Last month, six W80-1 nuclear-armed AGM-129 advanced cruise missiles were flown from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana and sat on the tarmac for 10 hours undetected.
Press reports initially cited the Air Force mistake of flying nuclear weapons over the United States in violation of Air Force standing orders and international treaties, while completely missing the more important major issues, such as how six nuclear cruise missiles got loose to begin with.
Opinion columns and editorials appeared in America's newspapers, some blasting the Air Force for flying nukes over the U.S. and some defending the Air Force procedure. None of the news reports focused on the real questions of our nuclear security.
Let me be very clear here: We are not talking about paintball cartridges or pellet gun ammo. We are talking nuclear weapons.
There is a strict chain of custody for all such weapons. Nuclear weapons handling is spelled out in great detail in Air Force regulations, to the credit of that service. Every person who orders the movement of these weapons, handles them, breaks seals or moves any nuclear weapon must sign off for tracking purposes."
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Common negative perceptions include that present-day Christianity is judgmental (87%), hypocritical (85%), old-fashioned (78%), and too involved in politics (75%) - representing large proportions of young outsiders who attach these negative labels to Christians. The most common favorable perceptions were that Christianity teaches the same basic ideas as other religions (82%), has good values and principles (76%), is friendly (71%), and is a faith they respect (55%).
Even among young Christians, many of the negative images generated significant traction. Half of young churchgoers said they perceive Christianity to be judgmental, hypocritical, and too political. One-third said it was old-fashioned and out of touch with reality.
Interestingly, the study discovered a new image that has steadily grown in prominence over the last decade. Today, the most common perception is that present-day Christianity is “anti-homosexual.” Overall, 91% of young non-Christians and 80% of young churchgoers say this phrase describes Christianity. As the research probed this perception, non-Christians and Christians explained that beyond their recognition that Christians oppose homosexuality, they believe that Christians show excessive contempt and unloving attitudes towards gays and lesbians. One of the most frequent criticisms of young Christians was that they believe the church has made homosexuality a “bigger sin” than anything else. Moreover, they claim that the church has not helped them apply the biblical teaching on homosexuality to their friendships with gays and lesbians.
Friday, October 05, 2007
"BASRA, Iraq — Women in Basra have become the targets of a violent campaign by religious extremists, who leave more than 15 female bodies scattered around the city each month, police officers say.
Maj. Gen. Abdel Jalil Khalaf , the commander of Basra's police, said Thursday that self-styled enforcers of religious law threatened, beat and sometimes shot women who they believed weren't sufficiently Muslim.
'This is a new type of terror that Basra is not familiar with,' he said. 'These gangs represent only themselves, and they are far outside religious, forgiving instructions of Islam.'
Often, he said, the 'crime' is no more than wearing Western clothes or not wearing a head scarf.
Before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, Iraqi women had had rights enshrined in the country's constitution since 1959 that were among the broadest of any Arab or Islamic nation. However, while the new constitution says that women are equal under the law, critics have condemned a provision that says no law can contradict the 'established rulings' of Islam as weakening women's rights."
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
"Thousands of protesters are dead and the bodies of hundreds of executed monks have been dumped in the jungle, a former intelligence officer for Burma’s ruling junta has revealed.
The most senior official to defect so far, Hla Win, said: “Many more people have been killed in recent days than you’ve heard about. The bodies can be counted in several thousand.”
Mr Win, who spoke out as a Swedish diplomat predicted that the revolt has failed, said he fled when he was ordered to take part in a massacre of holy men. He has now reached the border with Thailand. Meanwhile, the United Nations special envoy was in Burma’s new capital today seeking meetings with the ruling military junta."
"In August, when fallout from America’s popping housing bubble began to hit the market, trust in America cracked—and with it, so too did confidence in the global economic system.
Hamid Varzi, writing for the International Herald Tribune, summarized world opinion this way: “The U.S. economy, once the envy of the world, is now viewed across the globe with suspicion” (August 17).
He continued: “The ongoing subprime mortgage crisis … presages far deeper problems in a U.S. economy that is beginning to resemble a giant smoke-and-mirrors Ponzi scheme. And this has not been lost on the rest of the world.”
Trust in America is quickly disappearing. Why? Because America single-handedly brought the international financial system virtually to its knees by foisting off fraud-ridden subprime debt on an unsuspecting world, which resulted in the ensuing credit crunch."
So American banks sliced and bundled their subprime mortgages together into packages. Using complex computer models, and by geographically and otherwise diversifying the bundled mortgages, American banks convinced world-renowned and trusted American investment-rating agencies like Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s to give the mortgage securities higher valuations than regular subprimes would typically rate.
Later it became public knowledge that these same ratings agencies, which foreign investors were relying on for impartial advice, were being paid by the very banks and lenders that were bundling and selling the subprime mortgages—a huge conflict of interest that produced some terribly misleading data for foreign investors.
It has also emerged, at least in Moody’s case, that the agency knew for years that the mortgages securities they rated as safe were more than 10 times as risky as other similarly rated bonds (Daily Reckoning, September 3).
Annie Lennox Lyrics – Dark Road Lyrics
It’s a dark road
And a dark way that leads to my house
And the word says
That you’re never gonna find me there, oh no
I’ve got an open door
It didn’t get there by itself
It didn’t get there by itself…
There’s a feelin’
But you’re not feelin’ it at all
There’s a meaning
But you’re not listening any more
I look at that open road
I’m gonna walk there by myself…
And if you catch me I might try to run away
You know I can’t be there too long
And if you let me I might try to make you stay
Seems you never realise a good thing till it’s gone…
Ohhh … uuhhh .. uhhhh
Maybe I’m still searchin’ but I don’t know what it means
All the fires of destruction are still burnin’ in my dreams
There’s no water that can wash away this longin’ to come clean…
Hey .. yeah .. yeah …
Ohh .. uhh … uhhh
I can’t find the joy within in my soul
It’s just sadness takin’ hold
I wanna come in from the cold
And make myself renewed again
It takes strength to live this way
The same old madness everyday
I wanna kick these blues away
I wanna learn to live again
Hey .. hey .. hey
Hey .. hey .. hey
It’s a dark road
And a dark way that leads to my house
And the word says
That you’re never gonna find me there oh no
I’ve got an open door
It didn’t get there by itself… ooh
It didn’t get there by itself
Dark Road Lyrics - Annie Lennox Song Words
"Current recommendations developed by the Institute of Medicine in 1990 say women should gain at least 15 pounds during pregnancy, and the guidelines place no upper limit on pregnancy weight gain. The study found that women of different weights should gain or even lose different amounts of weight.
'The fear has been that not gaining weight would have a deleterious effect on the fetus,' said Dr. Raul Artal, study author and chairman of the department of obstetrics, gynecology and women's health at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.
'Not only were there no deleterious effects, but there are benefits. Women, by not gaining weight in pregnancy, reduce their risk of hypertensive disorder, have less C-sections and have babies of normal weight.' He added, 'The guidelines are outdated and we have to change them.'"
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
"Further demonstrating the absurdity of Ministry of Truth claims that inflation is contained around 2-3%, comes this look at the extreme blowback in commodity prices in the month of September. I am almost alone in using the term crack up boom (* see footnote for the Von Mises description) , and I suppose it’s all semantics, but I truly now believe the burden is on the Orwellians to prove otherwise. Is a 8% one month increase in the CRB index a crack up boom? I’d say so.
Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) – Commodities had the biggest monthly gain in 32 years, led by wheat, crude oil and gold, as the dollar’s slump enhanced the appeal of energy, grains and precious metals as a hedge against inflation. The 19-commodity Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index was up 8.1 percent this month, the most since July 1975."