horses and saddles sold cheap and other metaphors

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Some blogs that are worth checking out a few times a week.

ACS BLog American Constitution Society for Law and Policy

The Reality-Based Community

Ezra Klein

BTC News

Democratic Veteran

Unclaimed Territory


Body and Soul

Angry Bear

The Heretik


Hullabaloo aka digby

Daily Kos

Talking Points Memo

Donkey Rising

The King of Zembla


Liberal Oasis

Left in the West


Liberalism without Cynicism

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

from Kos, Republicans Rally Around Their King
The spineless, submissive Republicans are set to make their Master happy:

After weeks of negotiations and closed door meetings, Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, said he would soon introduce the Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006 with three other moderates who have helped shaped the debate on intelligence issues: Sens. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Olympia Snowe of Maine and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

The fact that Hagel and Snowe are sponsoring the legislation with Mike "The President Can Do Whatever The Hell He Wants" DeWeine proves once again that there are no "moderate" Republicans, there are none who have the best interest of America at heart. The only interest of Senators Snowe and Hagel and the entire GOP is to cover up the President's crimes. Period. Democracy be damned.

Budgets Imperil Environmental Satellite
* NASA’s Earth Observing System was conceived in the 1980s as a 15-year program that would collect comprehensive data about the planet’s oceans, atmosphere and land surface. It was originally intended to send three generations of spacecraft into orbit at five-year intervals, but budget shortfalls limited the project to only one round of launches.
* Landsat, a series of satellites that have provided detailed images of the ground surface for more than 30 years, is in danger of experiencing a gap in service. Landsat 7, launched in April 1999, is scheduled to be replaced by a next-generation satellite in 2011. But if the existing satellite fails before that date and NASA has not developed a contingency plan, scientists, land managers and others who depend on Landsat images could be out of luck.
* The launch of a satellite designed to measure rainfall over the entire Earth, the Global Precipitation Measurement mission, has been pushed back to 2012. But the satellite it is designed to replace, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission, can’t possibly last that long. That means there will be a period of several years when scientists have no access to the accurate global precipitation measurements that help them improve hurricane forecasts and predict the severity of droughts and flooding.
* In December, scientists working on the Hydros mission received a letter canceling their program. They were developing a satellite that would measure soil moisture and differentiate between frozen and unfrozen ground, an increasingly important distinction since melting of the Arctic permafrost has accelerated over the past several decades. The satellite also would have improved drought and flood forecasting.
* Last month Scripps’ Valero was notified that the Deep Space Climate Observatory, a project he has led for more than seven years, would be canceled. The spacecraft has already been built, but NASA is reluctant to spend the $60 million to $100 million it would cost to launch and operate it.

Monday, March 06, 2006

I've been trying out wordpress the last few days and while its not perfect, I am impressed enough to move over there. I may cross post some things here once in a while because of the whole linking business. If there's a story that you think deserves attention, the more people that link to it the more buzz it creates. This blog might also be a way to increase the link score of other blogs where I find a post or blogger that deserves more attention. So I guess this blog will be my beach house and this tangledwing at wordpress will be my main residence.

One, Two, Three, What Are We Fighting For?
The wide-ranging poll also shows that 58% of those serving in country say the U.S. mission in Iraq is clear in their minds, while 42% said it is either somewhat or very unclear to them, that they have no understanding of it at all, or are unsure. While 85% said the U.S. mission is mainly “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9-11 attacks,” 77% said they also believe the main or a major reason for the war was “to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq”

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Bush: the most inept president in the last 100 years

Pesticides In The Nation's Streams And Ground Water
The U.S. Geological Survey has released a report describing the occurrence of pesticides in streams and ground water during 1992-2001. The report concludes that pesticides are typically present throughout the year in most streams in urban and agricultural areas of the Nation, but are less common in ground water. The report also concludes that pesticides are seldom at concentrations likely to affect humans. However in many streams, particularly those draining urban and agricultural areas, pesticides were found at concentrations that may affect aquatic life or fish-eating wildlife.

U.S. Is Reducing Safety Penalties for Mine Flaws
In its drive to foster a more cooperative relationship with mining companies, the Bush administration has decreased major fines for safety violations since 2001, and in nearly half the cases, it has not collected the fines, according to a data analysis by The New York Times.

Federal records also show that in the last two years the federal mine safety agency has failed to hand over any delinquent cases to the Treasury Department for further collection efforts, as is supposed to occur after 180 days.

True Blue Liberal has Paul Krugman's latest, George the Unready
Iraqi insurgents, hurricanes and low-income Medicare recipients have three things in common. Each has been at the center of a policy disaster. In each case experts warned about the impending disaster. And in each case — well, let’s look at what happened.

Knight Ridder’s Washington bureau reports that from 2003 on, intelligence agencies “repeatedly warned the White House” that “the insurgency in Iraq had deep local roots, was likely to worsen and could lead to civil war.” But senior administration officials insisted that the insurgents were a mix of dead-enders and foreign terrorists.

Intelligence analysts who refused to go along with that line were attacked for not being team players. According to U.S. News & World Report, President Bush’s reaction to a pessimistic report from the C.I.A.’s Baghdad station chief was to remark, “What is he, some kind of defeatist?”

Many people have now seen the video of the briefing Mr. Bush received before Hurricane Katrina struck. Much has been made of the revelation that Mr. Bush was dishonest when he claimed, a few days later, that nobody anticipated the breach of the levees.

But what’s really striking, given the gravity of the warnings, is the lack of urgency Mr. Bush and his administration displayed in responding to the storm.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Bush and conservatives - The sell-off of America continues

The sell-off of America continues
Even as fury over the sale of U.S. seaport management to the Dubai government still blazes in Congress, the Bush administration reveals that another Dubai company and an Israeli firm want to buy U.S. companies that produce military products for the Defense Department.

As the sell-off and outsourcing of corporate America accelerates, President Bush isn't far behind with plans for selling off assets that belong to the American people.

The administration's shortsighted advisors have proposed outsourcing two-thirds of the U.S. Forest Service's 31,625 jobs to private companies.

Presumably, bidding would be open to companies and governments throughout the world, including those with plenty of cash, but notably short on hospitality toward U.S. policies.

The winning bidder likely would be free to hire and fire 21,350 full-time Forest Service workers, including firefighters, law enforcement officers and rangers, 1,000 biologists, 500 geologists, 2,000 scientists and researchers and 3,000 foresters.

This would not be the first hit on the Forest Service by the Bush White House, which seems to harbor a special hostility to parklands and the environment.

It gets better,

Don't sell off Ocala National Forest

President Bush's proposal to sell 300,000 acres of our national forests, including almost 1,000 acres of the Ocala National Forest, to raise federal funds is unbelievable and frightening. If anything, the forest needs more protection, not less.

If Congress approves this sale and creates a precedent for the future, we may never be able to stop politicians from selling off the rest of America's national forests to the highest bidders. Selling off our resources is no way to responsibly address our growing national debt.

Now is the time to draw a line in the sand. We can't sell our heritage and that of future generations - not now, not ever. After all, the purpose of setting up national forests in the first place was to make sure the timber and recreational benefits would be in place forever.

The real estate industry doesn't need federal giveaways to prosper in Florida. There is plenty enough activity in the private sector to accommodate them. After all, the nation's population will double in 40 years, and Florida's will do the same in 15 years. The real estate transactions generated by this growth will surely enrich many realtors. Even if the Bush proposal fails, the national forests may be all the green space Americans have left once Florida is built out.

Moreover, the Ocala National Forest yields more than just recreational, conservation, water-recharge and other environmental benefits. For instance, it provides Marion County with hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in timber sales, in lieu of property taxes. The county also benefits from revenues from approximately 2 million visitor days a year to the forest.

The president says proceeds from the proposed land sale will benefit local schools. Lottery money, however, proved to be no panacea for education in Florida; neither will the auctioning off of our forests. Would this plan continue until all public lands are sold? How many years would it take for forest ecosystems to crash? They are already under stress from overuse and encroachment from development.

Bush is also at odds with the state of Florida's efforts to set aside lands for future generations. For instance, this year the state has allocated $350 million for the purchase of the Babcock Ranch - a huge tract of land near Lake Okeechobee that runs to the Gulf of Mexico. Another $300 million has been earmarked for the Florida's Forever Land Acquisition program to purchase lands for preservation and recreation.

Such programs make sense given that approximately 1,000 new people arrive to live in Florida every day. Public lands - only if they are preserved - may one day be the only open places that hunters, fishermen, campers, hikers, nature lovers, and others will have to enjoy.

How shortsighted it would be to go against the state's preservation efforts by selling off Florida's natural assets! One can't help but think that government's right hand doesn't know what its left is doing.

I wonder what the thinking is here. Bush is clearly out of step with moderate America. One of these stories is from Idaho, the other is from Ocala, not exactly eastern establishment fringe left ( not that there is such a thing in the real world). If Bush is racing against time to do as much damage to America as possible before he's out of office Unka Karl should give him a big pat on the back. Maybe he's trying to see how low he can get his approval ratings, its the only thing he seems good at..

Thursday, March 02, 2006

James Peterson, conservative and phoney evironmentalist

Evergreen Foundation , sounds pretty environmental doesn't it. How about Evergreen Magazine? If you were a moderate conservative from Main St. America or a conservative Democrat, but thinks America as a matter of policy should protect our environment and our natural heritage they sound like organizations that would appeal to those folks. Only that they're run by James Peterson and Evergreen Magazine is pro-logging industry.
Owls Learning to Love Logging

Peterson argued in a Wall Street Journal opinion article that the decline of the spotted owl in the U.S. Pacific Northwest is not due to logging in old-growth forests. Peterson, who has been given a string of awards by various logging industry groups, referred to an unspecified "privately funded" study which "infers an inverse relationship between harvesting and owls." [4] ( This, he argues, justifies "a long-term thinning program," an oblique reference to the Bush administration's Orwellian-sounding Healthy Forests Initiative, a program to log national forests. The Evergreen Foundation says it works to "restore public confidence in forestry."

The foundation's website states ( that funders include logging and logging equipment companies, including Boise Cascade, Potlatch, Westvaco, Mead, Caterpillar and Timberjack. The foundation's logging industry funding, however, wasn't mentioned in Peterson's Wall Street Journal article.

Thses are the folks that run on the issue of values. I always thought values were directly related to being honest and plain spoken so that folks know we're you're coming from.Now I realize this is a stretch for most politicians, but too many conservatives have taken doublespeak to new levels.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

a working class nightmare, a large gas tax

a too high gas tax is more then this old beater can take
I really hate to see the gas tax swaggering back into the debate among progressives. If there's any instance where the liberal urges towards environmentalism and populism collide, it's here. Since I'm supposed to be writing an article right now, I'll make this quick, but assuming a serious gas tax (we're talking $1.50+ if you want to affect behaviors) is politically feasible, is there a single legislative instance in the last decade or two or three that should make anyone believe it'll end up with a progressive structure?

I still like Ezra. The reason I started taking a serious interests in politics was because of the environment and associated issues. As nice as a gas tax sounds on the surface it will punish people that depend on their cars to get back and forth to work. Some of those people earn not much more then minimum wage, some are strapped with kid's dental bills, etc. I just can't see conservatives implimenting a gas tax that only hits the people that can afford it. I could see a bigger tax on bigger passenger cars and SUVs that get poor mileage, but even that could be tricky. Some lower income folks drive old beaters that get poor mileage because thats all they can afford, so you'd have to work out some kind of rebate program for them. I think the public would support and could handle a small gas tax, expecially if it went to alternative energy research, building some solar or wind power generators for small communities, or even getting down the huge national debt.

Ezra has more here, MORE ON THE GAS TAX

Ezra touches on it, but the larger long term issue is the way we live. Rebuild our cities, make them more livable and restricting this runaway, almost decadent sububan sprawl. Get people back to living where they work, but we'd have to have local and national leaders with vision - oh well so much for that idea.

most Americans are at least questioning Bush's UAE port deal

I glad that most Americans are at least questioning Bush's UAE port deal, even if a percentage of it is because of some distrust of Arab countries that has arisen over the last few years. Though that is not the right reason to oppose it. The ones that oppose it for the wrong reasons on the conservative side are doing so because its an extention of their political brainwashing, brainwashing which Bush has done since 9-11 and wing-nut pundits have been doing for years. As Digby points out as recently as 2003 France and Germany were the enemy and I predict that in a few months or a year down the road that the right will forget their cartoon alligance to the Danes when it kicks in that Denmark has a progressive safety net that the right has traditionally called a form of socialism. If there is an actual conservative philosophy, rather then a hodgepodge of reactionary positions and a culture of greed, it sure is pliable enough to justify a continuing series of false outrages.
I have been quite amused to see all of the rightwingers clutching their pearls about "alienating our friends" after their performance in 2003 in which some of them were actually agitating to attack France and Germany. Watching them stutter and dissemble about our great and valued ally the United Arab Emirates is just funny. Freedom falafels anyone?

But then this port deal doesn't really fit the storyline, does it? It's not about an international institution or a real ally. From what we've seen these last few years, they would never have gone to such lengths to defend it if it were. It's about an international corporation and that goes beyond borders, beyond alliances and beyond institutions. That's sacred ground to the big money boys of the Republican establishment.

I don't know if people are consciously aware of this distinction, but if they were I don't think they would be impressed by it. Basically, the Republicans are saying that we cannot trust long standing internatinal institutions, long standing international law or even long standing close allies --- but we should take it on faith that international corporations, even those owned by dodgy middle eastern monarchies, can be trusted not to harm our national security. Their all encompassing belief in the market has extended to national security.

Housing: Slowing, but Not Crashing

My Ecosystem Details