Friday, June 16, 2006

chris angel with amazing trick!

I never heard of this guy, but he is an amazing magician!

Lake Flower Dam - Saranac Lake, NY

Lake Flower is not a natural lake. It is a portion of the Saranac River backed up behind this dam. Lake Flower is named after Gov. Roswell P. Flower. How did a guy from Watertown ever get elected Gov. of NY? The Saranac Lake riverwalk starts at this site.

Red building on the left is the village waterworks. Building on the right is the village offices and police station. Yes, the dam is useful. It runs mechanical pumps to pump water up to the nearby reservoir and there is a generator that supplies electricity to the village sewage treatment plant.

Boy, Do I Feel Stupid!

Classic takedown. See YouTube video here.

Rep. Gohmert: Let me close by saying some have not had nice things to say about our colleague Mr. Murtha, and others wanting to pull out of Iraq quickly. I understand the faithful visitation that he does routinely. So i say thank god for his big heart. I say thank god for his compassion. Thank god for his visits to the wounded. Thank god for his ministering to grieving families. But thank god he was not here and prevailed after the bloodbaths at Normandy and in the Pacific or we would be here speaking Japanese or German. Thank you.

Rep. Murtha: Was the gentleman at any of those locations? Either at normandy or any of those locations?

Rep. Gohmert: You want to know which locations?

Rep. Murtha: Yeah. Normandy?

Rep. Murtha: I say were you there?

Rep. Gohmert: No, sir. I wasn't.

Rep. Murtha: Were you in Vietnam?

Rep. Gohmert: No, sir.

Rep. Murtha: Iraq?

Rep. Gohmert: No. I have been over there. I haven't been fighting.

Rep. Murtha: Boots on the ground?

Rep. Gohmert: I do admire the gentleman's compassion and all he has done for our wounded. He has done a great service that would be you, Mr. Murtha.

Good interview of Jack Murtha by Rolling Stone Magazine here.

Yes or No?

Conservative Republicans like black and white answers to questions.

Here's a question.

Do people have a right to armed resistance against an occupying army?

Next question: Does Iraq have the same right?

Stay the Course?

The above figure, from the Brookings Institute, is an update on the state of Iraq in todays NYT. What kind of war strategy is 'stay the course'?

Good news:
1) Oil production - steady
2) Attacks on oil and gas facilities - down
3) Household fuel supplies - steady
4) Electric power - steady
5) Telephone subscibers - up

Bad news:
1) Iraqi civilian deaths - UP
2) Bombings - UP
3) Kidnappings - UP
4) Optimism - DOWN
5) US troop fatalites - STEADY
6) Number of insurgents - UP
7) Attacks by insurgents - UP
8) Sectarian violence - WAY UP

It's hard to tell whether we have turned yet another corner or not.

UPDATE: Vote on house resolution 861: Declaring that the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror, the struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary

That's like voting on whether you have stopped beating your wife yet.

Final vote results here. Our congressional Reps. McHugh and Sweeney both voted yes. You guys are real patriots. Ignorant, but patriots.

Appreciate Clean Water

Water being pumped into tanker trucks from the polluted Bengo River.

Water is delivered into the slum areas where the government does not supply clean water.

Todays New York Times has a story about the current epidemic of cholera in Angola. Cholera is a diarrheal disease caused by infection with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Infections that cause diarrheal disease are the number one cause of deaths (due to infections)in the world. There are two licensed vaccines (a 3rd vaccine produced in the USA was recently discontinued) for cholera but neither of them are recommended for travelers. Antibiotic treatment for Cholera lessens the symptoms and shortens the course of the disease but the best treatment is based on rehydration. Oral rehydration works in many cases but severe cases need treatment by intravenous therapy.

There really is no reason that anyone, anywhere should become infected with cholera. It's purely a financial matter. Any graduate of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine will tell you that a clean water supply and adequate sewage treatment are first necessary to rid the world of many, many infectious pathogens. Control of insect vectors is probably next on the list. Lack of clean water throughout the world is what keeps many infectious disease people in business. Providing clean water for everyone would do far more than antibiotics and vaccines to protect people from infectious diseases.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Why Conservatives Can't Govern

Good article in the Washington Monthly called 'Why Conservatives Can't Govern'. Reading this article gives the answer.
Contemporary conservatism is first and foremost about shrinking the size and reach of the federal government.
Well we all understand that. Conservatives really don't like big government unless it's telling us what should not be done in the bedroom or who can marry who and other good stuff right out of the bible.
But like all politicians, conservatives, once in office, find themselves under constant pressure from constituents to use government to improve their lives. This puts conservatives in the awkward position of managing government agencies whose missions--indeed, whose very existence--they believe to be illegitimate.
Yeah, it seems people like Social Security and Medicare. They want the government to be able to respond to disasters.
Unable to shrink government but unwilling to improve it, conservatives attempt to split the difference, expanding government for political gain, but always in ways that validate their disregard for the very thing they are expanding. The end result is not just bigger government, but more incompetent government.
The proof is in the pudding. We have a conservative Republican President and a conservative Republican congress. How competent have they been during the last 5 years?
Conservatives cannot govern well for the same reason that vegetarians cannot prepare a world-class boeuf bourguignon: If you believe that what you are called upon to do is wrong, you are not likely to do it very well.
So how is that Iraq War on terrorist going? If you're going to fight a war, shouldn't it run in way that we can win it?

How about the prescription drug plan? Was refusing to allow the government to negotiate drug prices with big pharma a good idea?
Conservatives, from the days of Machiavelli to such twentieth-century figures as Germany's Carl Schmitt, have, by contrast, viewed politics as an extension of war, complete with no-holds-barred treatment of the enemy, iron-clad discipline in the ranks, cries of treason against those who do not support the effort with full-throated vigor, and total control over any spoils won.
Can anyone argue that this isn't exactly what is happening today? We are going to be paying for 8 years of conservative government long after I am dead.

Next November is going to be interesting.

Censure the President!!!

Lord knows George Bush deserves it, but it's not George we are talking about's Jimmy Carter! It's obvious that Carter is the reason that our current foreign policies are failing. On top of that, Carter loves the terrorists!!! Before you know it Carter will be building a house for bin Laden. We cannot act too soon on this issue, the fate of the USA depends on it!

War With Iran

Interesting, al-Qaida wants/wanted the USA to go to war with Iran. More comment unnecessary.

Early Morning Fog

Lake Flower from Riverside Park

Free Expression or Protect the Flag?

What's more important...protecting our first amendment right to free expression or protecting the 'symbol' of our country, the flag? GW Bush said we were attacked on 9/11 because "They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other". Isn't making flag burning as an expression of protest illegal exactly what 'they' want? Should we make it illegal to mock the President or use the Presidential Seal on late night comedy shows? How about burning a copy of the Constitution? Personally that would offend me much more than flag burning. Should burning a picture of Ronald Reagan be made illegal? Maybe while they are at it they should ban flying the Confederate flag.

The Bill of Rights were added to the Constitution to protect our freedoms. How come recent proposed amendments to the Constitution are all about taking away rights? This is truly a slippery slope.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

'Summer' in the Adirondacks

Ok, so summer doesn't really start here until the 4th of July and the last warm dry day we had was Memorial Day weekend I think.

Turd Blossom Does It Again

In the current White House there are only two ways to get fired. Be disloyal to GW or be indicted. Bush said he'd fire anyone involved in the Plame leak case. Is that laughable or what? Nope, Rove wasn't indicted even though he outed Valerie Plame's name and then lied about it, several times. I wonder if the press will have any questions for GW now?

Bagdad is Safe

Guys, there is nothing to worry about! Bagdad is now safe. We have turned the corner. Ummmm, what's that smell? (White House press sec. Tony Snow, left and counselor Dan Bartlett, right). Do these guys look like they are crapping their pants or what?
YEARLYKOS Con :Ep. 2: Peace Takes Courage

A political ad made by a 15 yr old with a laptop. Things are changing. The thing I like about young people is that they usually have an acute sense of right and wrong.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Economy is Great!

It is!!! The tax cuts are least for the rich.

A Cloistered Live

You think you have it hard? Look at the schedule these guys keep. See pictures of the Grande Chartreuse here. This would be a great experience for a week or two, but forever?

Postulant and Novitiate

Upon his entering the monastery, the candidate begins his postulance which lasts from three months to a year. At then end, if his vocation is confirmed, he'll take the carthusian habit and begin his novitiate for a period of two years. Following the novitiate come temporary vows for three years, which are then renewed for two years. Solemn vows takes place at the end of those two years, at which time the monk gives himself to the life in front of God and Church for ever.

Men over 45 are not accepted
Don't worry, there is an order of nuns too. There is also a Charterhouse in Vermont.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Blogs of Upstate NY

Check this out. It's lonely here in the Adirondacks.

Do We Spend Enough on the Military?

Of all the money spent on the military, in the entire world today, the USA spends 48% of it. That's 538 billion dollars out of the 1.12 trillion dollars spent worldwide. The UK, France, Japan and China spend about 56 billion dollars each, 4-5% of the worldwide total.

I'm rotten at math, but it seems that comes to about $1,793 for each man, women and child in the USA. I guess you have to ask yourself, do terrorists scare you that much? If they do, could you figure out better ways to spend the money?

I've never bought into this whole 'War on Terror' thing. It reminds me of the War on Poverty, the War on Drugs, and the War on Cancer. You can't have war on a tactic. Who are we at war with? If we win, which government surrenders to us? What exactly has to be done for the war to be over?

Is the war in Iraq over? They have a government now. Has that government surrendered to us? If so, how can there be a war? Who exactly are we fighting in Iraq right now? Whose side are we on, the Shia?...the Sunnis?....the Kurds?

How come no one asks the President or congressional representative these question?

Are You Young or Old? Try This.

This is really interesting. A ringtone that only young people can hear. Click here and if you can hear a very high pitched are young. If not, sorry I ruined your day.