Saturday, September 29, 2007

Phony Soldiers

Go to "Army of Dude" and read what a young soldier has to say about Rush's "phony soldier" comment. This is really worth a read. He shows pictures of a lot of "phony soldiers".

Our Generals Are Betraying Our Soldiers

I guess that is not the only ones that think some generals might be betraying someone. Col. David Hunt, FoxNews military analyst, makes the same claim in a post titled Top Military Officials are a Disgrace to Those They Lead.
"Our generals are betraying our soldiers … again.

Use Nukes in the Middle East

A letter to the editor in todays Plattsburgh Press Republican:
TO THE EDITOR: What should we do to ensure victory for democracy in Iraq?

As a historian and student of military science, I believe we must first give Gen. Petraeus the full amount of time he was promised to deliver an interior report. Namely, Sept. 15 and not one day sooner.

In war, timing is everything. No report can be valid before its time. Secondly, I believe he should then be given at least six months until March 15, 2008, before he be required to produce a final report.

As of April 1, 2008, (two weeks for presidential consideration and digestion of the report) and not one day sooner the commander-in-chief should make a decision of direction based on the contents of that final report.

As I see it there would be two options for the commander at that time and both are very scary.

Option Number 1 would be a removal of all gloves on both American and Pakistani forces including the use of nuclear weapons after granting al-Qaida and the Taliban and their military hardware supplies (Iran) and all safe haven supporters, to surrender their weapons and for Iran to open her entire country for full international inspection of both above ground and below ground facilities without any police or coalition inhibition within 30 days or suffer any consequence. Pakistan will choose the target. America and Pakistan will enforce this total war.

Option Number 2 would be an announcement of absolute borer (sic) security in Iraq for up to 10 years with only voluntary re-enlisted personnel to be expected to stay at only specific Iraqi invitation.


Where to begin with this gem? I bet using nukes in the Middle East would make this guy feel like a real man.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Saranac Lake SDA Ask - Was Darwin Wrong?

Oh boy, I just found this half page advertisement in the Free Trader Today. The Saranac Lake Seventh Day Adventists are going to learn whether Darwin was wrong or not. They will do this by listening to 4 days worth of a video called "Out of Thin Air" narrated by Pastor Shawn Boostra of "It is written" TV fame.

Let's remember that members of the Seventh Day Adventists are evolved from those poor souls (Millerites) that went through the Great Disappointment (the earth was not destroyed in 1844). One awesome member of the SDA, Ellen G. White, was a theologian and prophet due to being hit in the head with a rock when she was nine years old.

So these are the people that are going to tell us whether Darwin was "wrong" or not. I can pretty much guess that they will conclude that Darwin was "wrong" because they believe the earth was created in six days. They also have that great research institute, "The Geoscience Research Institute" and publish that cool journal "Origins". Reading their "frequently asked questions" is also fun. I especially like the questions about the great flood and Noah's Ark.

I missed this post on Adirondack Almanack concerning the "Millerites" and our own local Stony Creek Carl who has calculated that the world will end around 2030.

What Does American Mean?

Immigrants to America are being given a new test they will have to pass to become naturalized American citizens. The new test asks 100 questions that supposedly determines their understanding of American democracy.
Immigration officials said they sought to move away from civics trivia to emphasize basic concepts about the structure of government and American history and geography. In contrast to the old test, which some immigrants could pass without any study, the officials said the new one is intended to force even highly educated applicants to do reviewing.

“This test genuinely talks about what makes an American citizen,” said Emilio Gonzalez, the director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, speaking at a news conference in Washington.
What does it mean to be an "American" (presumably a citizen of the USA and not of Canada, Mexico, Central or South America). Too many citizens seem to think it means being deeply in love with a piece of red and white cloth. Some think it means being the big guy on the block and that might makes right. Many think it means we are the chosen people of the hebrew god of the bible and that we damn well better do what that god commands.

Personally, I think being an American is best described in 52 words written at the end of the 18th century.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Justice, Tranquility, Welfare, Liberty: these are the words that describe what America means. A country that understands and promotes equality for all, the rule of law, and checks and balances in government.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

"Anal Cyst" Limbaugh - America's Chickenhawk

Looks like anal cyst boy Rush Limbaugh has stuck his foot (mouth) in it again. I wonder how many conservatives will hold Limbaugh to the same standard that they held

More here.

Dana Perino says: "The President believes that if you are serving in the military that you have the rights that every American has which is you're free to express yourself in any way that you want to. And there are some that oppose the war, and that's okay."

But why didn't Bush call what Limbaugh said "disgusting" like he did for the ad?

Dan Rather Crazy or Crazy Like a Fox

If you don't know by now, Dan Rather has initiated a $70 million lawsuit against CBS for wrongful dismissal as news anchor of CBS news. Most pundits and many bloggers are calling Rather "pathetic" or a "loser". Maybe he is....but maybe not.

Sidney Blumenthal has an interesting article at suggesting that this lawsuit, if accepted, could "set in motion an inexorable mechanism that will grind out answers to other questions as well." Such as how media giants "work" with the White House to suppress important stories.
In making his case, Rather will certainly establish beyond reasonable doubt that George W. Bush never completed his required service in the Texas Air National Guard. Moreover, Rather's suit will seek to demonstrate that the documents used in his "60 Minutes II" piece were not inauthentic and that he and his producers acted responsibly in presenting them and the information they contained -- and that that information is true. Indeed, no credible source has refuted the essential facts of the story.
Blumenthal says that Rather is not interested in settling this case. He wants it to go to trial because then his lawyers get to take depositions. Blumenthal goes on to say:
The widely accepted account that Mapes and Rather's original piece on Bush and the Guard was unproved and discredited has been based on the notion that the documents revealed were false. But three years after the heated controversy exploded, these premises appear very uncertain in the cold light of day.
This lawsuit could prove to be very interesting. There is nothing I'd like better than for the true Bush National Guard record to be shown in the light of day.

Chair Leg Through Eye Socket

Actually, this person survived with his eye sight intact.

S-CHIP Bill to Pass in Senate

Eek, the boogy man!

The Senate has voted 69-30 to invoke cloture on the SCHIP amendment. Looks like this bill will easily pass in the Senate.

Myanmar Upsets "The Decider"

Does anyone actually believe that, prior to his speech at the UN the other day, G.W. Bush knew where Myanmar is located on a map? Furthermore, does anyone believe that Bush cares about the people in Myanmar other than using their plight as fodder for a political speech?

Myanmar has been under military rule for about 45 years and under a military dictatorship for almost 20 years. Why, all of a sudden, does Bush profess to care about Myanmar? Well, I guess it's better than having to talk about Iraq.

Even funnier is the hillarious "support" conservatives are giving Bush in his decision to fight for human rights in Myanmar. Where was the concern of Bush supporters for human rights issues in Myanmar over the last six years? Bush says the American people have "been outraged over human rights abuses" in Myanmar. Ok, prove it. Show me the news articles media reports about American outrage concerning human rights abuses in Myanmar.

Bush might come across as more sincere if he pressed our "allies" Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to show a little more democracy and concern for human rights.

But let's not hold our breaths about anyone putting boots on the ground to save the good Buddhists in Myanmar. It won't happen. Besides, evil dictators killing protesters is good talking point for G.W. Bush. As long as Buddist monks are being killed in Myanmar the "Decider" will have something to talk about besides Iraq (or Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan).

3800 American Soldiers Killed in Iraq

3800 confirmed dead. The 3800th soldier was Staff Sgt. Zachary B. Tomczak, 24, of Huron, S.D. Sgt. Tomczak was on his 4th tour of duty in Iraq.

Actually, the number is 3801 dead soldiers. The most recent soldiers death has yet to be confirmed by the DOD. His name is Cpl. Anthony K. Bento, 23.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Send Illegal Immigrants Home

Wait though, maybe we better think this thing out.....
RIVERSIDE, N.J., Sept. 25 — A little more than a year ago, the Township Committee in this faded factory town became the first municipality in New Jersey to enact legislation penalizing anyone who employed or rented to an illegal immigrant.

Within months, hundreds, if not thousands, of recent immigrants from Brazil and other Latin American countries had fled. The noise, crowding and traffic that had accompanied their arrival over the past decade abated.

The law had worked. Perhaps, some said, too well.

With the departure of so many people, the local economy suffered. Hair salons, restaurants and corner shops that catered to the immigrants saw business plummet; several closed. Once-boarded-up storefronts downtown were boarded up again.
Read more here.

Bouldering on McKenzie Pond Rd.

There are a bunch of glacial erratic boulders off McKenzie Pond Rd. that seem to excite rock climbers. Photos of people scaling these boulders can be found here. There are usually quite a few cars parked on the side of the road. Some travel hundreds of miles to climb these boulders. Good thing they don't know where the really good boulders are located.

Nuclear Threat Awareness Quiz

This quiz appears in todays Washington Post. It asks some pretty obscure questions. I answered 7 out of 11 correctly. But I dispute the answer to question #4:

4) True or False. Making a nuclear bomb takes a vast effort with hundreds of scientists like the U.S. Manhattan Project, so it's extremely unlikely a terrorist group could ever do it.

Making a uranium bomb is easy, but enriching the uranium is extremely difficult. Making a plutonium bomb is much more difficult. So a terrorist group could make a uranium bomb if they had access to enriched uranium.

You can go here to see which countries have nuclear material. You need about 50 Kg of highly enriched uranium to make a nuke.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

S-CHIP Approved By House - McHugh Votes Yes

The State Children's Health Insurance Program (HR 976) was extended today by a vote of 265-159 in the House of Representatives. Forty-five Republicans supported the measure.
SCHIP is a state-federal program that provides coverage for 6.6 million children from families that live above the poverty level but have trouble affording private health insurance. The proposed expansion, backed by most governors and many health-advocacy groups, would add 4 million children to the rolls.

The bill drew support from 45 House Republicans, many of them moderates who do not want to be depicted as indifferent to low-income children's health needs when they seek re-election next year. But 151 Republicans sided with Bush, a move that Democrats see as a political blunder.
Eight democrats also opposed the amendment.

Rep. John McHugh was one of the Republicans that crossed the aisle to support the amendment.

Cholera in Iraq

2,116 confirmed cases of Cholera have been identified in Iraq resulting in 11 deaths. Since it appears that Iraq may be heading for a Cholera epidemic let's get up to speed on Cholera.

Cholera is an acute, gastrointestinal illness caused by infection with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The aerobic bacterium is a short, curved, motile, gram negative rod with a single polar flagellum. A person becomes infected with the cholera bacterium by drinking or eating contaminated water or food. The source of the contamination is usually the feces of an infected person. Thus a safe drinking water supply and proper sewage treatment is absolutely necessary.

The illness can be mild and without symptoms. However, 1 in 20 infected persons can have severe illness characterized by massive loss of water via the intestinal tract resulting in saline depletion, shock and acidosis.

Cholera disease is due to an exotoxin secreted by the cholera bacteria. The exotoxin traverses the cell membrane and activates the adenylate cyclase enzyme which leads to increased levels of cyclic AMP. This results in the loss of sodium, potassium, chloride, and water.

Cholera is a key indicator of social development because it occurs mainly where minimum standards of hygiene exist.

There is a vaccine for cholera called Dukoral but it isn't licensed for use in the USA nor does the CDC recommend it for travelers. Cholera is treated by replacement of fluids and salts lost through diarrhea. Antibiotics may shorten the course of the disease but rehydration therapy is the treatment of choice.

Much more about cholera here.

Check out the condition of Bagdad tap water here.

Saranac Lake Ordered to Clean Up Water Supply

Saranac Lake has 18 months starting Sept. 18th to either install a water filtration system to filter McKenzie Pond water or find another source of drinking water.
In 1989, the Federal Surface Water Treatment Rule was enacted that said that water taken from surface sources, like lakes and ponds, must be filtered unless it met strict criteria. In December 1991, Saranac Lake received filtration avoidance approval, which was contingent upon continuing to meet the criteria. It failed to meet the criteria then tested in March, after which the Health Department rescinded the filtration avoidance status.
A water filtration system is estimated to cost $16 million.

G.W. Bush and Myanmar

"Americans are outraged by the situation in Burma," the president said in an address to the U.N. General Assembly. Now called Myanmar, the Asian country also is known as Burma.

Bullshit. I'd bet most "Mericans" haven't given a single thought to Myanmar and couldn't find it on the map. Even with the hint that it used to be Burma.

Listen Up Congressional Reps

I bet our representatives in Congress now have their staffs working hard on finding the name of the last soldier in their district that was killed in Iraq. A list of soldiers from New York killed in Iraq can be found here.

Scientific Literacy

The first and second place essays, in the Seed science writing contest, on what it means to be scientifically literate can be found here. I especially liked this paragraph from the first essay by Thomas W. Martin.
In the present cultural climate, altering one's beliefs in response to anything (facts included) is considered a sign of weakness. Students must be convinced that changing one's mind in light of the evidence is not weakness: Changing one's mind is the essence of intellectual growth. By forcing students into evidence-based debates with one another, this mode of interaction, like any other, can become habitual. After being consistently challenged by their peers, most students eventually see that attempts to free themselves from facts are a hollow, and fundamentally precarious, form of "freedom."
I hold some pretty firm opinions which I like to think are based on evidence, facts and reason. I also like to think that I would change my opinions given a good reasoned argument based on new evidence, facts and reason.

The second place essay by Steven Saus also makes a good point.
A literate person is not a walking dictionary, but someone who has enough knowledge about the language to be able to read. Being able to examine our models, critically evaluate them, and even discard them is far more scientifically literate than being able to regurgitate facts for a standardized test. Surely, a certain basic, fundamental knowledge is vital to avoid having to constantly return to Descartes. But as he found, even then, critical thinking is necessary to verify these fundamental "facts."

The Elizabeth Eckford Story

How far we have come....... or not.

Bob Herbert has a few comments in a Washington Post op-ed.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Hunter, Bush, Me and Columbia University

G.W. Bush guesses it's ok with him that Ahmadinejad got to speak at Columbia University. Wow, for once I agree with G.W. See, G.W. and I both think that Americans (Mericans for Bush) are confident enough to let Ahmadinejad express his views.

Leave it to Presidential candidate Duncan Hunter to disagree with me and Pres. Bush. Hunter thinks all federal funding should be taken away from Columbia University. Rep. Hunter thinks it's the governments responsibility to determine who should get to speak in the USA and who should not. Rep. Hunter hates the Constitution of the USA, especially the 1st amendment. Unless it has to do with putting up a copy of the Ten Commandments all over the USA.

Visiting the WTC "Ground Zero"

I don't really get the uproar concerning Ahmadinejad's request to visit "ground zero" in NYC. It seems to me we would want the leader of every muslim country to visit the site of the most horrendous terrorist attack in recent history. Not letting him visit simply provides another insult to Iran that will help keep him in power. Besides, Iran didn't attack us on 9/11 (just like Iraq didn't). However, Saudi Arabian nationals did attack us. Yet, Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz Alsaud was allowed to attend a memorial service at Ground Zero with Mayor Rudy Giuliani in Oct. of 2001.

Promoting Better Science Education

Rep. David Vitter (R-LA) has earmarked $100,000 to the Louisiana Family Forum "to develop a plan to promote better science education." That is one of the goals of the Family Forum, promoting better science education. And, how will they do that you ask? Easy:
The group's stated mission is to "persuasively present biblical principles in the centers of influence on issues affecting the family through research, communication and networking." Until recently, its Web site contained a "battle plan to combat evolution," which called the theory a "dangerous" concept that "has no place in the classroom." The document was removed after a reporter's inquiry.
Is it any surprise that "prostitute boy" Vitter has ties to a so-called Family Forum?

War Costs and Aricebo Observatory

We are spending about 7 million dollars per hour on the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Luckly, our children will be paying that debt down, not us. What little things are we giving up due to budget restrictions? How about the Arecibo Observatory Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico? It is likely to be shut down if they can't find 4 million dollars. That's just a bit more than what we are spending on 30 minutes of war.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

An Important Question

Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly asks an important question. When you're home alone, do you close the door when you use the bathroom? Lots of replies to this question.

Bill O'Reilly Learns That Black People Are Just Like Him!!!

O'Reilly goes out to dinner in Harlem with Al Sharpton and they had a great time. Here's O'Reilly: I couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship.

Wow, a black restaurant is just like any other restaurant! There were people eating there and acting like people. Even though they were BLACK! Tell me 'Falafel man' isn't a horses ass.

The New Army Recruit

I'm at a wedding in Syracuse so I get a chance to speak with my cousin who is stationed at Ft. Drum. He's a sergeant of an infantry platoon. He has been deployed to S. Korea once, Afghanistan twice and Iraq once. They are scheduled for another deployment to Iraq in several months.

He tells me about a phone call he received the other day. His platoon had just gotten a new man. My cousin always asks two questions about the new man. First, is he fat. "Afterall, we are an infantry platoon". The second question surprised me. He asks how old the new man is. In this case, the answer is 42! My cousin exclaims "They send a 42 year old guy to an infantry platoon"! This is pretty amazing. I knew the age limit for new recruits had gone up, but sending them to a fighting infantry platoon instead of a support position? Where is the logic in that.