Friday, September 30, 2005

Perhaps we've gone too far...

US Forced to Import Bullets
US forces have fired so many bullets in Iraq and Afghanistan - an estimated 250,000 for every insurgent killed - that American ammunition-makers cannot keep up with demand.

Andrew Buncombe, The Independent

Chavez Staying True To Pledge For US Poor

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has vowed to provide cheap oil to poor people in the US - sending officials from Citgo (the Venezuelan state-owned energy company) scrambling to fine-tune his language.

Estanislao Oziewicz, Globe and Mail

Holy Shit, This Can't be True...

Armed and Dangerous
36 bottlenose dolphins, trained in attack-and-kill missions by the US Navy, have gone missing after their compound was breached by Hurricane Katrina. The dolphins, trained to shoot "terrorists" with toxic dart guns, may now pose a threat to divers and surfers in the area.

Mark Townsend Houston, The Observer

A horribly Silent Spring

From editorial revisions and marginal notations made to government reports on global warming by Philip A. Cooney, then chief of staff for the White House's Council on Environmental Quality. Cooney's previous employer had been the American Petroleum Institute, the largest trade and lobbying group of the petroleum industry. Soon after the documents were released by the Government Accountability Project in June, Cooney left the administration to take a public-relations job with ExxonMobil.


Purging the Poor

"Reconstruction," whether in Baghdad or New Orleans, has become shorthand for a massive uninterrupted transfer of wealth from public to private hands, whether in the form of direct "cost plus" government contracts or by auctioning off new sectors of the state to corporations. Already in New Orleans, this "reconstruction" appears to be coming at the cost of diversity.

Naomi Klein, The Nation

Pombo should resign for sheer stupidity

From BushGreenWatch:

By a vote of 229 to 193, the U.S. House yesterday passed a bill that will completely cripple the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Enacted into law in 1973 by President Nixon, the ESA has been a cornerstone of America's environmental protection framework. The bill will move to the Senate next week.

Sponsored by Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA), a longtime foe of ESA, the new legislation is entitled the "Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act," or TESRA. It has triggered opposition across the entire spectrum of environmental organizations, who have united in an all-out effort to kill it in the Senate.

Finding the phrase "Recovery Act" more than ironic, Defenders of Wildlife President Rodger Schlickeisen says TESRA "Runs counter to the very intent of the Endangered Species Act," containing "provisions that would severely cripple the federal effort to recover endangered plants and animals." [1]

Environmentalists point out that the ESA through the years has saved such species as the bald eagle, Florida manatee and the key deer. If Rep. Pombo's TESRA had been in effect then, not even the bald eagle would qualify for listing.

Drawing particular alarm is a provision that would end the protection of critical habitat necessary for the survival and recovery of plants and animals. Under the current law, areas designated "essential to the conservation of species" qualify as "critical habitat" and are subject to federal protection. Pombo's bill replaces "critical habitat" with a recovery plan that merely identifies areas that are valuable to the species, but does not mandate any specific federal protection.

Critics charge that this change takes away the most effective provision of the ESA. Species that live in designated critical habitat are twice as likely to survive as those without this form of protection. [2]

TESRA would also require taxpayers to pay developers and other landowners to comply with the ESA--in essence paying people not to break the law. It does this by requiring the Department of Interior to respond within 180 days to a landowner's request to implement a development plan; then, if the project is not permitted, the federal government must pay for any value that is allegedly lost. This, says Kieran Suckling of the Center for Biological Diversity, literally "begs developers to plan
projects that allow them to extort money from the government." [3]

Moreover, while the current ESA requires that all decisions be based on the "best scientific and commercial information" available, the Pombo bill removes that authority from scientific experts and transfers it to Interior Secretary Gale Norton, whose record consistently favors commercial interests over environmental protection.

The Pombo bill also eliminates the protection for "threatened" species, i.e. species not yet considered endangered, but whose population levels have reached dangerously low levels. [4]

TESRA also makes it extremely difficult to list any species in the first place. In order for a species to be listed under TESRA, the Fish and Wildlife Service will have to duplicate and store all data on habitat decisions in every state in which the species exists. Environmental groups see this as a way to "bureaucratize a system that is already working fine." [5]

[1] "Assault on Endangered Species Act: Pombo Moving Legislation
that would Cripple Endangered Species Act," Defenders of
Wildlife, Sept. 19. 2005.
[2] "Pombo's Anti-Endangered Species Bill Leaked Again," Center
for Biological Diversity, Sept. 15, 2005.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Global Warming Said to Increase Hurricane Intensity

As the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina continues to mount, the debate over the role of global warming has grown apace. Climate scientists have not established any link between global warming and the frequency of storms, but a persuasive body of evidence indicates that warming is having a considerable impact on the intensity of hurricanes, adding greatly to their destructive force. A study just published in the journal Nature reports that the power--and hence the destructive force--of hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean has more than doubled in the past 30 years, with an unusually strong spike since 1995. "The large upswing is unprecedented and probably reflects the effect of global warming," said MIT climate scientist Kerry Emmanuel, who conducted the study.

Read the rest of this article at: BushGreenwatch

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Albert-Laszlo Barabasi's Linked

We live in a small world, where everything is connected to everything else. Indeed, networks are pervasive--from the human brain to the internet to the economy to our group of friends. These linkages aren't random. All networks have an underlying order and follow simple laws. Understanding the structure and behavior of these networks will help us do some amazing things, from designing the optimal organization of a firm to stopping a disease outbreak before it spreads catastrophically.

In Linked, Barabasi, a physicist whose work has revolutionized the study of networks, traces the development of this rapidly unfolding science and introduces us to the scientists carrying out this pioneering work. These "new cartographers" are mapping networks in a wide range of scientific disciplines, proving that social networks, corporations, and cells are more similar than they are different, and providing important new insights into the interconnected world around us. This knowledge, says Barabasi, can shed light on the robustness of the internet, the spread of fads and viruses, even the future of democracy. Linked provides an exciting preview of the next century in science, guaranteed to be transformed by these discoveries.

TV Don't Lie

Thanks to Erik W. for this great shot. Either someone at Sky News has a great sense of humor or it appears the media IS far more liberal than any of us thought...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Death of Suburbia

I was just reading an article that postulated a $4/gallon gasoline within the next 6 months increasing to $6/gallon by the end of the Bush administration. The author concluded that whether or not this comes about is up to all of us... and you can bet that none of us is going to change.

So many questions for the suburbanites. What happens to the commute? What happens to the people in the endless cul de sacs who will no longer have the means to drive to work? What happens to the SUV driving moms now that Peak Oil is here. What are you folks gonna do now that you're trapped out there on denuded former farmland that you paved over with driveways and basketball courts? Can you grow your own food? Can you teach your children to grow THEIR own food? You can't seriously expect to be able to afford to eat at $4.19, $5.29, or $6.09 a gallon. Can you? You think that a cost of living adjustment to your paycheck is right around the corner? Move now dumbasses...

I suppose you could move back to the city. Hmmm, what part of the city are you going to be able to afford? Who in their right mind is going to want to buy your house out in the middle of the woods? Good luck selling your incredibly huge home with the massive gas bill... do you realize that propane is a hydrocarbon too?

Perhaps I am too pessimistic. Perhaps I'm the cynic... Nah, good luck trying to find an apartment in the city near your work, sucker. Food prices in the city are going to be beyond your reach as well. Better stay where you are, on your quiet lonely cul de sac, bitching about your neighbors kids on your immaculate, chemically saturated lawn. So long for know, I'll be talking to you later when I'm installing solar panels on your roof so that you can run your stupid x-box.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Eye Of The Storm

There is nothing I can possibly say about this website being written and updated frequently by survivors of the hurricane. It says it all. Great images. Just check it out at

Total Number of Citizens without Health Insurance Now Exceeds the Cumulative Population of 24 States and DC

The following is the statement of Kathleen Stoll, Health Policy Director of Families USA, about the Census Bureau's newly released findings that the number of uninsured Americans rose to 45.8 million during 2004:

Once again we see a significant increase in the number of people without health coverage. Under the Bush Administration, the number of uninsured Americans has escalated from 41.2 million in 2001 to 45.8 million in 2004.

The huge number of uninsured Americans now exceeds the cumulative population of 24 states plus the District of Columbia.

The percentage of people covered by employer-sponsored health insurance decreased from 60.4 percent to 59.8 percent from 2003 to 2004. At the same time, the percentage of people covered by government health insurance programs rose from 26.6 percent to 27.2 percent, offsetting the loss of employment-based coverage.

Public programs such as Medicaid and SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program) are the healthcare safety net for millions of Americans. Had it not been for these programs, the number of uninsured would have increased even more in each of the past several years.

Now, more than ever, it is important to protect the programs that offer health care to our most vulnerable populations. Unfortunately, the President and Congress are poised to move in the wrong direction: Instead of finding solutions for the uninsured, they are proposing significant cuts to Medicaid.

Cutting Medicaid funding puts the most vulnerable children, seniors, and people with disabilities at risk of joining the ever-growing ranks of the uninsured."

Read More at Families USA

Grassroots Action Fair

Did you know that dozens of organizations are pulling together to improve your community? Are you aware of local campaigns to protect the environment, provide affordable health care, ensure safe neighborhoods and promote social justice? Come make critical connections at the Progressive Directory of Western Michigan's "Grassroots Action Fair", Tuesday September 20th, 7pm-9pm at Wealthy Theatre, 1130 Wealthy St. in Grand Rapids. You'll find music, desserts and information tables. For more information or to arrange a table for your group, contact Jeff Smith at

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Check out the Black Bear Speaks Bookstore!

What do you want to see in the Black Bear Speaks Bookstore? I've got a huge list of titles that I'm thinking about, but I want to know what YOU would like to see there and what you might want to buy. Let me know!!!

Remember, a portion of the proceeds from sales go to local environmental groups. There's a lot of need for enviro-action here, and the more support they get the better off we will all be. So buy a book today!

If you don't see a title that you want, send me an email and I will add it as soon as possible and email you back so that you know when it is available for purchase. It's really simple folks. No need to drive to Barnes & Noble, no need to go to the mall! Just let me know what book you want!

Friday, September 02, 2005

But Is There Intelligent Spaghetti Out There?

"Is the super-intelligent, super-popular god known as the Flying Spaghetti Monster any match for the prophets of intelligent design?

This month, the Kansas State Board of Education gave preliminary approval to allow teaching alternatives to evolution like intelligent design (the theory that a smart being designed the universe). And President Bush and Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee both gave the thumbs up to teaching intelligent design.

Long before that, Bobby Henderson, a 25-year-old with a physics degree from Oregon State University, had a divine vision. An intelligent god, a Flying Spaghetti Monster, he said, 'revealed himself to me in a dream.' "

Read more: But Is There Intelligent Spaghetti Out There? - New York Times

U.S. defense firms feast on Bush's War on Terror

Analysts say that a significant part of the American's national life is determined by the financial interests of the 'mighty 10.' The 'mighty 10' are not the Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force or Special Forces; they're huge arms firms that stand to make hundreds of billions of dollars from Bush's ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Read more on Aljazeera: U.S. defense firms feast on Bush's War on Terror

Weapons of Mass Instruction

When it comes to education, people are fed up. Modern education has come down to a limited set of choices, like Pepsi or Coke, or Wal-mart or Costco. And with the indoctrination of Bush's "No Child Left Behind" Act, and more recently, his highly endorsed, "Intelligent Design" theory, state schooling is fast becoming a less enticing choice for our children's education, provoking many people to seek other alternatives.

Read More on Resist!ca || Weapons of Mass Instruction