Friday, December 29, 2006

Creationists get preference now, what a croc!

This email was sent by a friend. The author was so eloquent I will just post it in its entirety:

HOW OLD IS THE GRAND CANYON? PARK SERVICE WON’T SAY — Orders to Cater to Creationists Makes National Park Agnostic on Geology

Washington, DC — Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees. Despite promising a prompt review of its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood rather than by geologic forces, more than three years later no review has ever been done and the book remains on sale at the park, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

"In order to avoid offending religious fundamentalists, our National Park Service is under orders to suspend its belief in geology," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. "It is disconcerting that the official position of a 'national park as to the geologic age of the Grand Canyon is ‘no comment.’"

Is it true what Mrs. Hoover taught me in 8th grade Earth science about the formation of canyons?

National Park Service: No Comment.


Ironically, in 2005, two years after the Grand Canyon creationist controversy erupted, NPS approved a new directive on "Interpretation and Education (Director’s Order #6) which reinforces the posture that materials on the "history of the Earth must be based on the best scientific evidence available, as found in scholarly sources that have stood the test of scientific peer review and criticism [and] Interpretive and educational programs must refrain from appearing to endorse religious beliefs explaining natural processes."

"As one park geologist said, this is equivalent of Yellowstone National Park selling a book entitled Geysers of Old Faithful: Nostrils of Satan," Ruch added, pointing to the fact that previous NPS leadership ignored strong protests from both its own scientists and leading geological societies against the agency approval of the creationist book. "We sincerely hope that the new Director of the Park Service now has the autonomy to do her job."

Oh let's hope so, let's hope the new Director is allowed to follow basic facts, or let's all agree the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the geysers of Old Faithful by farting in the cosmic bathtub.

Seriously, I am a devout Lutheran, but even I know where to draw the line between science and pure fantasy. And trust me, Noah will not take it a slight that his flood did not create the Grand Canyon, and that he did not forget to pack the Unicorns on the ark.

Stop the madness now.

For those of you who don't know about the flying spaghetti monster go here. Pastafarians rule!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Kucinich runs again, and more thoughts

From The Nation: Dennis Kucinich is running for President again, and yes, the passionately antiwar Congressman from Cleveland would love to cure what ails the United States. But first, he wants to cure what ails his own Democratic Party.

The Democratic disease, as diagnosed by Kucinich, is caution at the party's leadership level about moving to end US involvement in Iraq. "Democrats were swept into power on November 7 because of widespread voter discontent with the war in Iraq," says Kucinich. "Instead of heeding those concerns and responding with a strong and immediate change in policies and direction, the Democratic Congressional leadership seems inclined to continue funding the perpetuation of the war."

That is not the typical opening salvo for a presidential bid. But Kucinich is not a typical candidate. When he ran for the nomination in 2004, he said a lot of things that grassroots Democrats were thinking. But he didn't say them in a way that won him many delegate votes--only around 70 of the 2,162 needed to secure the nod.

I happen to like Dennis Kucinich. I like what he stands for. Like Howard Dean, who I campaigned for, Dennis speaks his mind. Sadly, both candidates were jettisoned by the "inside the beltway" Democratic leadership that is sadly out of touch with the rest of us. We don't want their same old same old crap. Period. I was amazed when I returned from Iowa after the last Presidential primaries when I found out that the media (and our DLC leaders and the unions) jettisoned Dean in favor of Kerry, and the media used the so-called Dean scream (that wasn't) to discredit him. It was the first time I was actually at an event and saw that my experience was manipulated by the press. That is when I knew that our country was in trouble. That is when I knew that we, the people, were being manipulated by the "powers that be" so they could promote their agenda.

Hopefully, in this next election cycle, we the voters will wake up and see beyond the crap fed to us by the media and vote using critical thinking skills. Of course, critical thinking skills are in short supply in this country. I hope and pray that the American people will wake up and do what is good for the country and tell the Republicans and the Democratic leadership that we have had ENOUGH! Maybe?

Martin Luther King Day March

The MLK March is Jan. 15th. For more information click on the link

It's the largest march in the nation, and there are always a lot of activities that make it just wonderful. Consider spending the morning (or longer) at the MLK march. You can get there using park and ride, which is very easy to do. Typically, we park at Crossroads and take the bus at around 8 a.m. That gives us plenty of time to hear some good old gospel music and get ready to march.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Rest in peace, Gerald Ford

Ford was President when our oldest daughter was born. The one thing you can say about Ford was he was an ethical and honorable man, mostly. Our condolences to the Ford family.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Handing out phone cards at Audie Murphy VA in San Antonio

Today, I met these wonderful women, who had signed up at Volunteer for Change, sponsored by Working Assets, to deliver 120-125 minute phone cards to veterans at Audie Murphy VA Hospital. We came from all over San Antonio and outlying counties to thank our veterans for their service, and help them out with phone cards. We delivered 135 cards.
Many veterans were astounded at the generousity of our donors, 120 minutes was like gold to them. Many a tear were shed, by veterans and volunteers alike. These men and women gave service to their country that can never be fully repaid. So, this is just a little drop in the bucket of the thanks they deserve.
What I noted (as a former VA nurse) is that the veterans are younger, and younger. They will need our help for a lifetime. We, as a nation, need to be prepared to offer them that reward for their service.
Check out Act for Change. Part of their mission statement: Founded on the belief that building a business and a better world aren't mutually exclusive, Working Assets has been helping busy people make a difference since 1985. It's a belief that's generated over $50 million in donations to nonprofits working for peace, equality, human rights, education and a cleaner environment. And the process is simple. You just sign up for our long distance, credit card or wireless services and we donate a portion of your monthly charges to the causes you help select - at no extra cost to you. So why not change to Working Assets? You can rest assured it will be a change for the better. Sign up and volunteer, it will do your heart good.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Faithful America, living wage campaign

Let Justice Roll Sign the petition. Here is some information about the petition:
Leaders from Let Justice Roll will be meeting with Congressional leaders early in January where they plan to deliver thousands of letters signed by Clergy and lay leaders all calling for a raise in the federal minimum wage. We hope you will sign the letter below and add your voice to this important statement. Our goal is to get thousands of signatures from religious leaders, clergy and lay, across the country. You can help by signing AND by forwarding this to your friends and colleagues.

Today we deliver phone cards to Veterans

Supported by Working Assets, Veterans for Peace, Codepink, Iraq Veterans Against the War and Gold Star Famlies for Peace. Approximately 135 phone cards were delivered to me last week, and today I'll be heading to San Antonio to hand them out. Volunteers will be meeting me at the VA this afternoon. More later.

family values my ass! We slave for corporate profits,

In the United States there is no legal minimum number of vacation days for workers. I guess we're all supposed to be thankful to the rich for "giving us jobs."

The rest of the world? Different. (As you read this, remember that 20 days means minimum four weeks vacation by law, not three.)

Here are a few examples:

Austria: 5 weeks, for elderly employees 6 weeks
Belgium: 20 days, premium pay
Brazil: 30 consecutive days, of which 10 can be sold back to the employer
Bulgaria: 20 business days
Croatia: 18 working days
European Union: 4 weeks, more in some countries
France: 7 weeks
Tunisia: 30 work days
Saudi Arabia: 15 days
Who else gets none? China...

So a question: Who is our economy FOR, anyway? From Huffington Post,

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Military Appeal for Redress, protesting the war

For this first time since the Vietnam era, a robust movement of organized active-duty U.S. military has surfaced to oppose a war while still in course.

Hundreds of U.S. soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen -- many of them currently serving on the front lines in Iraq-- are formally petitioning Congress to end the war in Iraq and bring the troops home.

After the so-called Appeal For Redress materialized just a handful of weeks ago, almost 1,000 active-duty personnel have signed on, including dozens of officers. The voice of hundreds of active-duty soldiers joining the anti-war movement brings enormous moral clout to the effort to get the troops home.Link

Friday, December 15, 2006

Operation Wagonwheel, immigration raids

From a new blog, authored in part by Christy Harvey,a project of a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. I find it very interesting that in these raids what they have done is indiscriminate arrests, looking for "brown" people without regard to their citizenship. Driving while black is often enough to get a black person arrested, now evidently working while brown is also enough to get you imprisoned. These are police state tactics, not good police work or investigative work. Even the name of the operation, "wagonwheel" is strange. The last time we circled wagons, we committed genocide against Native Americans. Where are we going with this?

Here's the rundown from MikeCheckradio:

Massive Immigration Raids
Crackdown! The Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration division has arrested 1,282 people, most of them undocumented workers, as part of a massive raid on meatpacking plants in six states. The raid is the largest federal immigration raid in U.S. history. [TPM Muckraker]
The DHS insists that the plants, owned by the Swift meatpacking company, are the sites of widespread immigration violations and identity theft schemes.
But the raids have shocked the small communities where these plants were, with hundreds of citizens disappearing overnight. Federal raids on the plants are not an uncommon occurance, but in Worthington, Minnesota, “Never before had so many workers — 230 — been detained or arrested. Never before had the fallout of the raid created so much fear and distrust among so many.” [Minneapolis Star Tribune]
According to Jill Cashen of the United Food and Commercian Union,"Stormtroopers came in with machine guns, rounded [the workers] into the cafeterias, separated identified citizens from non-citizens, and then they took away all green cards and put non-citizens onto buses.”
The arrested workers have been barred from seeing lawyers or members of their family. Many of them had kids who were at school or daycare, and the children were left without any way to get home. At CanyonElementary School in Utah, 100 kids had parents or family members taken by the raids (about a quarter of the students). [KSL] via [TPM Muckraker]
The raids also allegedly used crass racial profiling: One worker described the agents separating non-latinos and people with light skin, while forcing everyone with dark skin to submit to careful scrutiny. “I was in line because of the color of my skin,” one employee said. “They’re discriminating against me. I’m from the United States…” [Salt Lake City Tribune]
Officials in Washington are bewildered by the timing of the raid, saying there is neither a relevant political motive, nor any real need for the sudden and harsh crackdown.Link

Sunday, December 10, 2006

President Clinton came to San Antonio today

President Clinton spoke at Palo Alto College today, in support of Ciro Rodriguez. It was a rousing 20 minute speech, well received by the crowd. In fact, the crowd was loudly appreciative before and after the speech, stomping on the bleachers, hooting and hollering. The band that entertained before the speeches was just incredible!

Speakers included: Henry Cisneros, Charlie Gonzalez, Carlos Uresti, Boyd Ritchie, and of course, Ciro Rodriquez. The crowd included grandmas, grandpas, kids of all ages, many veterans. Veterans issues were extremely important to most in the crowd. Bonilla was booed many times when his anti veteran voting record was brought up.

All in all, a great time was had by all.

I apologize for the quality of the picture. I realized that people were getting better quality pictures with their cell phones than I got with my ancient camera, so it was frustrating that I could not improve this picture any more than this.

And here, the folkloric dancers:

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Bush Asked Whether He’s ‘Still In Denial,’ Responds ‘It’s Bad In Iraq. That Help?’

Think Progress � Bush Asked Whether He’s ‘Still In Denial,’ Responds ‘It’s Bad In Iraq. That Help?’:
"Bush Asked Whether He’s ‘Still In Denial,’ Responds ‘It’s Bad In Iraq. That Help?’

At a press conference this morning with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a reporter asked President Bush whether his use of the word “unsettling” to describe the violence in Iraq would “convince many people that you’re still in denial about how bad things are in Iraq.”

Bush responded curtly, “It’s bad in Iraq. That help?” and then chuckled."

Watch the video via the link provided. I can't believe this man is so crass, and uncaring. 11 military personnel have died this month so far in Iraq, and he chuckles???? What an ass.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Conservative Nanny State

The Conservative Nanny State: "The Government vs. the Market
A Useful Political Parable for Conservatives

Political debates in the United States are routinely framed as a battle between conservatives who favor market outcomes, whatever they may be, against liberals who prefer government intervention to ensure that families have decent standards-of-living. This description of the two poles is inaccurate; both conservatives and liberals want government intervention. The difference between them is the goal of government intervention, and the fact that conservatives are smart enough to conceal their dependence on the government."
The book is available free online for reading link

Monday, December 04, 2006

The dollar melts as Iraq burns

Comment is free: The dollar melts as Iraq burns [James Galbraith] : "So here's the big question: is the age of the dollar economy lurching toward an end? Are China, Japan, Saudi Arabia and other big holders of T-bonds about to start a rush, or even a stately promenade, toward the exits? Let's hope not, because the world is unprepared to replace the dollar with anything else. The euro is not suited for the job, and a joint dollar-euro system would need better central bankers than either America or Europe has got. An end to the dollar system would therefore be chaotic, inflationary, and very tough on world trade. The best argument for the dollar has always been: it's not in anyone's interest to bring it down.

Could it happen, though? Yes, it could. And it could be connected to that other unfolding disaster. As the 'Pax Americana' goes to hell in Iraq - producing a nervous breakdown among the pro-war elites - let's remember that security and finance are linked. Typically, the country that provides global economic security enjoys the use of its financial assets in world trade. And when the security situation changes, that privilege can be revoked. The consequences are unpleasant. Ask the British: after the sterling area folded, it took a generation for the UK to come all the way back.

That is partly why Economists for Peace and Security - a group I chair - opposed the Iraq war from the beginning. As far back as 2002, we understood - as the economically illiterate neo-imperialists did not - that a world system very favourable to America was on the line. And it was not, as they seemed to think, just a matter of military might. We knew that if the war undermined confidence in the power, good faith and common sense of the United States, that could lead toward disastrous changes on the financial front.

Four years in and with no end in sight, that risk may finally be catching up to the almighty dollar."

Something we have been talking about for a long time here at home. Wonder why our "fearless leader" can't wrap his head around this one?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Yusuf Islam - Peace Train (New Version)

The message is in the music.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Olbermann's special comment - Newts twisted free speech idea

Olbermann, always eloquent and always right on target.

Airport x-ray screening test to be started in Phoenix

link to story: "Phoenix airport to test X-ray screening

Fri Dec 1, 7:02 AM ET

Sky Harbor International Airport here will test a new federal screening system that takes X-rays of passenger's bodies to detect concealed explosives and other weapons.

The technology, called backscatter, has been around for several years but has not been widely used in the U.S. as an anti-terrorism tool because of privacy concerns.

The Transportation Security Administration said it has found a way to refine the machine's images so that the normally graphic pictures can be blurred in certain areas while still being effective in detecting bombs and other threats.

The agency is expected to provide more information about the technology later this month but said one machine will be up and running at Sky Harbor's Terminal 4 by Christmas.

The security agency's Web site indicates that the technology will be used initially as a secondary screening measure, meaning that only those passengers who first fail the standard screening process will be directed to the X-ray area.

Even then, passengers will have the option of choosing the backscatter or a traditional pat-down search.

A handful of other U.S. airports will have the X-rays machines in place by early 2007 as part of a nationwide pilot program, TSA officials said."

Why don't we just go to the airport nude? This is a really big invasion of privacy! What if you have a colostomy, or a penile implant, do you want some smarmy TSA screener to know, and worse, do you want your naked photo in a federal data base? When will Americans rise up and say ENOUGH ALREADY! How many liberties do we think we should give up?

As I see it, I'll just volunteer to strip at the TSA counter like I did at the Senate office building in DC when they told me I had to remove all my protest buttons in order to go through the x-ray machine. The guards were alarmed. Scared of a 55 year old women stripping to her bra? Oh sad too bad.

Let's all strip in protest! Particularly all of you who have said you having nothing to hide where wire tapping is concerned. Are you ready to get naked at the airport?

Let's let our legislators to go first, and see just how brave they are.