February 28, 2007

Supporting the troops

My buddy Glen McAdoo penned this piece for last Friday's Lahontan Valley News. Today he forwarded me an email he received in response:

This is one of the saddest things I've ever heard. I happen to be the mother of Marine Sgt. Ryan Groves who was quoted in this article. I lived in DC for 20 months with my wounded son. This is ONLY one small portion of the problems there. You have no idea what these young men and women go through on a daily basis. They are fighting a very ugly war and you would think that the ones who make it home would be treated with a little more respect when it comes to their care as inpatients and outpatients. It just sickens me what my son went through. There were times they threatened me with security because I spoke up and advocated for my son the way a mother should. They keep these men and women quiet with their beaurocratic threats. I spoke up for many of them because they couldn't because of their position. The Marines threatened to send me home more than once. At one point, I had to call my Congressman. It's a struggle just trying to get through the healing part of it. It just seems there's alot of unnecessary obstacles along the way.
Thank you for the article and your concern for our troops.
God Bless you.
Terri Hutson-Groves

Truthtellers

William Rivers Pitt knocks another one out of the park with this commentary.

Al Gore asks us for a favor.

Desert Beacon discusses the Bush Administrations 8 millionth assault on the middle class.

February 27, 2007

Bees: Take this job and shove it?

This article in the NYT caught my eye this morning.

Honeybees Vanish, Leaving Keepers in Peril

...Now, in a mystery worthy of Agatha Christie, bees are flying off in search of pollen and nectar and simply never returning to their colonies. And nobody knows why. Researchers say the bees are presumably dying in the fields, perhaps becoming exhausted or simply disoriented and eventually falling victim to the cold.

As researchers scramble to find answers to the syndrome they have decided to call “colony collapse disorder,” growers are becoming openly nervous about the capability of the commercial bee industry to meet the growing demand for bees to pollinate dozens of crops, from almonds to avocados to kiwis.

Along with recent stresses on the bees themselves, as well as on an industry increasingly under consolidation, some fear this disorder may force a breaking point for even large beekeepers.

[...]

Pressure has been building on the bee industry. The costs to maintain hives, also known as colonies, are rising along with the strain on bees of being bred to pollinate rather than just make honey. And beekeepers are losing out to suburban sprawl in their quest for spots where bees can forage for nectar to stay healthy and strong during the pollination season.

“There are less beekeepers, less bees, yet more crops to pollinate,” Mr. Browning said. “While this sounds sweet for the bee business, with so much added loss and expense due to disease, pests and higher equipment costs, profitability is actually falling.”

Some 15 worried beekeepers convened in Florida this month to brainstorm with researchers how to cope with the extensive bee losses. Investigators are exploring a range of theories, including viruses, a fungus and poor bee nutrition.

They are also studying a group of pesticides that were banned in some European countries to see if they are somehow affecting bees’ innate ability to find their way back home.

It could just be that the bees are stressed out. Bees are being raised to survive a shorter offseason, to be ready to pollinate once the almond bloom begins in February. That has most likely lowered their immunity to viruses. ...

Wow. This sounds like life in corporate America. Keep working, produce more, do the work of three or four. Who cares about worker safety? There's so much work you can't take a vacation or a personal day and you come in when you're sick. Eventually, something's gotta give, right?

But there's a difference between us and the bees. The bees leave. We stay. We have to. We've got families to feed and no where else to go. The bees? Well, the experts aren't quite sure if they are dying from the stress or just leaving for greener pastures.

Read the whole article. It really is a metaphor for the lives of our American middle class.

February 25, 2007

Next on my "to read" list - It Can Happen Here

I can't wait to read Joe Conason's new book. SusanG (one of my favorite bloggers at DailyKos) reviews it here. Here's a snippet:

Conason, after introducing a bare-bones synopsis of It Can’t Happen Here, breaks his own book into digestible sections, beginning with "The ‘Post-9/11 Worldview’ of Karl Rove," which explores the rise of the notion that this nation is at permanent war, that civil liberties must be surrendered for our own protection and that anyone who questions this philosophy is a traitor. The second section, "Lawlessness and Order," outlines the often under-the-radar rise of restrictions and controls more closely associated with a police state than a functioning democracy. The third section, "State Secrets and Unofficial Propaganda," examines the manipulation of the compliant media in advancing – and rarely questioning – an authoritarian national agenda. The fourth section, "The Corporate State of Grace," reviews the history of the coupling of corporate America and the religious right – and what both parties are getting out of the partnership that superficially appears to share disparate aims. The final section, "The Revenge of Nixon’s Heirs," traces the careers of those responsible for strengthening the idea of the unitary executive, from the reign of the man who asserted there were no limits on the president in wartime to the current officeholder who has adopted the same attitude – with the alarming advancement of more sophisticated and proven techniques over his predecessor.
For further reference: It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis

Sunday Blog Round Up

Desert Beacon asks:

Question: Why is it when we're talking about expanding prisons that members of the Nevada GOP can't wait to sign on -- but talk about building schools, expanding school programs, or funding schools and not a one of them can find a pen with enough ink in it to sign on as a co-sponsor?
I found a new blog worth checking out. Check out BHFRK at Club Lefty out of Eugene, OR.

Coyote Angry is always worth a click. Check out her posts on the Fox debate kerfuffle here and here.

Nevada Mojo Rising points us to this McClatchy article about the misrepresentation of the number of terrorism prosectutions. (Clue: they aren't understating the numbers of prosecutions)
The Justice Department has routinely misrepresented the number of terrorism prosecutions, possibly undermining decision-making in the war on terrorism, an independent government audit has found.

The report, released Tuesday by the Justice Department's inspector general, concluded that the department in most cases "could not provide support for the numbers reported or could not identify the terrorism link used to classify statistics as terrorism-related."
Bubba has some Redneck humor for us over at No Safe Place.

Jack Wood at Nye Gateway basically tells Eric Odom to suck it up. Jack adds his two cents on the Fox debate. It's quite interesting how us rural folks aren't as concerned about the decision to partner with Fox for the August debate as our Democratic brothers and sisters in the more highly populated areas of the state are. Maybe it's because we deal with Rs every waking hour of the day and know that we need to be able to meet them on their turf?

Myrna the Minx proffers a potential solution for the Fox dustup.

Lyon County Dems on the move

Last night the Lyon County Democrats hosted their Spaghetti Feed and Dessert Auction. T'was a great success with a full house and open wallets. Kudos to County Commissioner Don Tibbals and his wife Joy for attending. No other county officials attended, though the invitation was extended.

Jill Derby was the keynote speaker and also personally greeted everyone in the room. My goodness I love that woman!

The Lyon County Dems started a tradition last night by honoring their first ever Volunteer of the Year. The award went to Nancy Hendricks, tireless volunteer for the LCDCC. Unfortunately, Nancy is moving to Reno at the end of the month, so Lyon County's loss is Washoe County's gain.

Charlie Lawson, pinch hitting for Leslie Sexton who got felled by the flu, did a great job as our dessert auctioneer.

Special thanks to Western Nevada Supply for donating a gas grill for the raffle grand prize.

Anyhoo - I'm pooped. Many thanks, again, to all the volunteers who worked so hard to make the evening a success.

And I can't let Bill Stayton go unmentioned. Bill is a solid volunteer at the Siver Springs Senior Center and when he heard the Dems were going to have their fundraiser there he popped me an email saying that he helped with all the fundraisers there, that he was a good Democrat, and could he help out with the event. He told me he was deaf, but he could read lips or have me write things down. Uh, "helping" would not come close to the work Bill did yesterday. He knows his way around the kitchen and pretty much took things over and kept us all on track. Thanks so much Bill!!

February 24, 2007

Link to Wednesday's Forum

AFSCME provides a video link to the Presidential Forum. I'll give it a peak tomorrow, after all our festivities in Lyon County have settled down. I'm out the door in a few and won't look up until about nine o'clock tonight.

They may underestimate, but they still think it's too many

From the AP.

Americans underestimate Iraqi death toll

Americans are keenly aware of how many U.S. forces have lost their lives in Iraq, according to a new AP-Ipsos poll. But they woefully underestimate the number of Iraqi civilians who have been killed.

When the poll was conducted earlier this month, a little more than 3,100 U.S. troops had been killed. The midpoint estimate among those polled was right on target, at about 3,000.

[...]

The number of Iraqis killed, however, is much harder to pin down, and that uncertainty is perhaps reflected in Americans' tendency to lowball the Iraqi death toll by tens of thousands.

Iraqi civilian deaths are estimated at more than 54,000 and could be much higher; some unofficial estimates range into the hundreds of thousands. The U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq reports more than 34,000 deaths in 2006 alone.

Among those polled for the AP survey, however, the median estimate of Iraqi deaths was 9,890. The median is the point at which half the estimates were higher and half lower.

[...]

Whatever their understanding of the respective death tolls, three-quarters of those polled said the numbers of both Americans and Iraqis who have been killed are "unacceptable." Two-thirds said they tend to feel upset when a soldier dies, while the rest say such deaths are unfortunate but part of what war is about.

"..the rest" - That would be 1/3 right? Hmmm. George W. Bush's approval rating is hovering about 30-32%. So, this 1/3 is the 1/3 that cannot even be touched. These are the yahoos that call into talk shows or pontificate in their local watering hole that our young men and women "knew what they were getting into when they signed up." So that makes the death toll just hunky dory with these whackaloons. Hey, it's just the cost of doing business, right?
Given a range of possible words to describe their feelings about the overall situation in Iraq, people were most likely to identify with "worried," selected by 81 percent of those surveyed.

Other descriptive words selected by respondents:

_Compassionate: 74 percent.

_Angry: 62 percent.

_Tired: 61 percent.

_Hopeful: 51 percent.

_Proud: 38 percent.

_Numb: 27 percent.

[...]

Perhaps surprisingly, the poll found little difference in attitudes toward the war between those who did and did not know someone who had been killed or wounded. There was a difference, however, in their opinions on whether opponents are right to criticize the war.

About half of those who know someone who has been killed or wounded felt it is right to criticize the war, compared with two-thirds of those who don't have a personal connection.
I actually found this last statistic a bit surprising. That is fully HALF of those who knew someone wounded or killed felt it okay to criticize the war. I would have thought that number would be much lower.

February 23, 2007

Howard Dean has something to say about the Fox debate dust-up

From today's San Francisco Chronicle:

For now, the Democratic Party's leaders are ready to work with Fox even if they get burned by the network that uses the tagline "fair and balanced" for its coverage. The lead player is Dean, who was elected as party chair on a strategy to appeal to voters in all states, a strategy that was supported by many liberal bloggers.

"This is about talking to voters, not a network," Dean said Thursday. "While the Fox News Channel rarely has coverage that is fair and balanced, we believe that Fox viewers, who are potential voters, should have the opportunity to see a debate between our candidates. These forums provide an important unfiltered opportunity for potential voters to see Democrats without the bias of the network."
From the same article:
Nevada Democratic Party spokeswoman Kirsten Searer sought to tamp down concerns about Fox's influence on the broadcast. Each major decision about the debate, Searer said, "from the background on the stage to the debate moderator, will be reached by mutual agreement of the state party, Western Majority Project (a coalition of western Democratic politicians) and Fox News.

"A 50-state strategy means talking to every American. The debate in August is not an endorsement of Fox. Instead, it is an effort to reach out to Fox viewers. We will not win elections if we don't win over new people."

[...]

Jane Fleming, executive director of Young Democrats of America, appears as a guest on Fox News two or three times a week, often as the lone liberal tangling with some of Fox's conservative personalities. She doesn't support, as some have advocated, freezing out the network -- refusing to appear on-air as a liberal counterpoint.

"The thing is, if we don't appear, there are plenty of Democrats Fox will find who aren't really Democrats -- they're just people who will agree with the host all the time," Fleming said. "We need to be on there pushing back."

Vilsack is out

From my inbox:

I am very fortunate -- blessed in love, family, friends, job, and by this campaign.

I have the boldest plan to get us out of Iraq and a long-term policy for energy security to keep us out of future oil wars. Our campaign has built the strongest organization here in Iowa, with almost 3,000 supporters among Democratic caucus goers. We are organizationally positioned to win the caucuses in January 2008. We have everything to win the nomination and general election.

Everything except money.

That is why this morning after discussing with my wife Christie and our sons Jess and Doug we have decided to end our campaign for the presidency.

Thousands of you have given so generously of your time, energy and money. And together, we've built a campaign that has stood up and taken courageous stands on the issues that our country must face. In just the past few weeks, we've shaped the debate on the Iraq War and laid out an aggressive plan to achieve energy independence and security.

I firmly believe that our leadership on these issues ­ -- the defining issues of our time ­ -- will be recognized for years to come.

In recent weeks, just as our message has begun to resonate with voters and pundits alike, our fundraising has suffered. The fact is, each hour I spend with voters, press and policy experts is an hour taken away from our campaign paying bills.

More than any other race in history, this presidential campaign will require candidates to commit more time, energy and influence raising money than developing ideas. I worry that this process, involving hundreds of millions of dollars, holds our democracy hostage to insiders, influence and establishment when we are so in need of just the opposite.

But this is a fact I cannot change with this campaign.

I am leaving one campaign, but I am not saying goodbye. I will continue to fight for outsiders and underdogs who are the backbone of the Democratic Party and our country. Our work is far from over. Because here in Iowa ­where the first caucus will be held in less than 11 months ­ and all across this great country, voters are longing for bold leadership, big ideas and courage from our elected officials.

We want the war to end ­ -- today.

We want a real plan to provide universal access to healthcare ­ -- today.

And we want policies to keep us secure and environmentally sound by ending our addiction to oil, both foreign and domestic.

Again, thank you for everything you've done. It has been an inspiring few months and I know that, with your continued support, our work is not over.

With great appreciation,

Tom Vilsack

February 22, 2007

More Forum Coverage

The Nevada Appeal has done a superb job of covering just about every aspect of yesterday's Democratic Presidential Forum at the Community Center and the Watch Party at the Nevada Appeal. Go to nevadaappeal.com and take a look. There are videos, photo galleries, lots of stories and this: a bit of an overview on the process of the caucus.

Better Know A Candidate - Bankruptcy Bill

How did they vote? Project Vote Smart helps us out.

Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005
(another 1984 / Down is Up name for a bill)

  • Joe Biden - Yes - His statement here.
  • Hillary Clinton - Did not vote due to family medical emergency. Would have vote No. Her statement here.
  • Chris Dodd - No - Click here to find several speeches regarding this bill.
  • John Edwards - Not in Senate in 2005, but voted Yes on a similar bill in 2000.
  • Dennis Kucinich - No - His statement here.
  • Barack Obama - No - No public statement on this bill.

February 21, 2007

My report on today's festivities

Well, I guess so far I'm the only local blogger reporting on the Presidential Forum Watch Party over at the Nevada Appeal. Kirk Caraway was there too, so we'll wait and see what he posts. I was there in "official" capacity (read: working) and today was the culmination of a lot of work on the part of a lot of people. When we found out the tickets to the actual forum were controlled by AFSCME and that issues with regards to campaign finance dictated how they were going to disperse tickets (to their members and local dignitaries - defined as elected officials and central committee executive boards only) the Democratic Party wanted to put something together for our folks. Hence the Watch Party.

Frankly, I think we got the better deal. We got to watch the forum and also have six out of eight candidates stop by, speak, shake our hands, and get up close and personal with a lot of Democrats. This is the sort of thing I'd hoped that our early caucus status would create. It was great! My goal today was that our activists would have a good time (everything I heard today indicated that they did). And on a personal note I wanted to get all the candidates to autograph my Dean's List (as in Governor Dean) poster that I won in a raffle at last month's Douglas County dinner.

Jill Derby did a marvelous job as our emcee. Senator Reid greeted us at about 11am, Governor Richardson arrived just about then, spoke to the group and did a LOT of schmoozing before heading over to the Community Center. Shook his hand and got him to sign my poster. One down, ?? to go (even as the forum began we had only a handful of candidate commitments to appear - things were in flux due to the forum, the media, etc).

Walking back into the volunteers' break room I almost knocked over Congressman Dennis Kucinich. He was just finishing up signing my poster. Shook his hand. He spoke to the crowd and my thought that for such a small guy he has quite a presence. (and no, he did not do that "no strings" thing with us). Elizabeth, his wife, is beautiful and gracious. After schmoozing a bit with the group he headed over to the community center. (Two down)

The forum was fed to us on eight plasma teevees, and we heard from Senator Dodd and Senator Clinton.

Then Chris Dodd arrived and spoke to us. After speaking he headed into the audience and spent quite a bit of time talking to them and the press. Shook his hand and introduced myself as one of Governor Dean's 50 State Strategy people. And he signed my poster (three down). He got out just before...

...Hillary Clinton arrived. Shook her hand. She spoke to the group, and worked the rope line, signing people's Nevada Appeal special editions and other items. Just before she left, one of her staffers got her to sign my poster (four!). I've read elsewhere that the local press and some bloggers felt that she avoided them. That might have been because she was actually spending time with Democrats - visiting over at the legislature, taking a trip through Comma Coffee (one of our attendees told us she had been over there meeting people and shaking hands), meeting with Democratic women, speaking at the forum. And then she came over to visit with us before heading off to Las Vegas for a 5pm speaking engagement. (Photo: Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal)

Back to the televised forum. I was running around checking with volunteers and keeping an eye open for problems, talking to attendees, etc.

We were getting down to the end of the forum and still no Vilsack or Biden. Frantic cell phone calls to their campaigns and text messages to and fro. Jill, ever the trooper, encouraged the crowd to stick around after Mike Gravel finished speaking because we had more candidates heading our way.

Governor Vilsack appeared and spoke to the group. He was much more low key than the previous candidates, but the audience was paying close attention. These people are our serious base Democrats and they are taking their responsibilities to choose their best candidate seriously. When he was leaving Jill introduced me and Brian Hutchinson to him, and I got him to sign my poster. (five for five!)

Finally...Joe Biden arrived through the front door. Shook his hand and he asked me who I was. Very nice smile he has, and he looks you in the eye. Senator Biden spoke to the group mainly about labor and middle class issues. Really spent a lot of time with the crowd, then he signed my poster (six!) and took a group picture with our volunteers.

If you are keeping track, we got six of the eight candidates to our little soiree. I think there were several that were disappointed that John Edwards didn't stop by.

So...what do I think? I think we have a fantastic field of candidates. And more than that, we have a great group of Democrats in northern Nevada. And our volunteers? They ROCK.

February 20, 2007

They just now noticed?

The NYT ran an editorial yesterday about something that happened months ago. I heard about it at a Churchill County Democratic Central Committee meeting from Montana's Governor Brian Schweitzer before the 2006 election.

Making Martial Law Easier

A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night. So it was with a provision quietly tucked into the enormous defense budget bill at the Bush administration’s behest that makes it easier for a president to override local control of law enforcement and declare martial law.

The provision, signed into law in October, weakens two obscure but important bulwarks of liberty. One is the doctrine that bars military forces, including a federalized National Guard, from engaging in law enforcement. Called posse comitatus, it was enshrined in law after the Civil War to preserve the line between civil government and the military. The other is the Insurrection Act of 1807, which provides the major exemptions to posse comitatus. It essentially limits a president’s use of the military in law enforcement to putting down lawlessness, insurrection and rebellion, where a state is violating federal law or depriving people of constitutional rights.

The newly enacted provisions upset this careful balance. They shift the focus from making sure that federal laws are enforced to restoring public order. Beyond cases of actual insurrection, the president may now use military troops as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, terrorist attack or to any “other condition.”

Changes of this magnitude should be made only after a thorough public airing. But these new presidential powers were slipped into the law without hearings or public debate. The president made no mention of the changes when he signed the measure, and neither the White House nor Congress consulted in advance with the nation’s governors.

There is a bipartisan bill, introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, and Christopher Bond, Republican of Missouri, and backed unanimously by the nation’s governors, that would repeal the stealthy revisions. Congress should pass it. If changes of this kind are proposed in the future, they must get a full and open debate.
It's obvious that there is no such thing as too much power to George W. Bush. The question arises, why would he need to do this? Have our governors ever failed to heed the call when the President has called on our states' national guards? Exactly what is meant by "any other condition?"

Hmmm

Does this mean I get Air America Radio AND Stephanie Miller on XM? At the same price? My worry here is that if this merger goes through, that they will then start charging "extra" for premium packages...and that the programs I want will be part of those premium packages.

Huh?

XM has prided itself on being advertising-free while Sirius sells ads on its talk radio fare, including Mr. Stern’s shows.
Air America has PLENTY of commercials on XM and I bet they do on all their other talk radio programs as well.

Mergers always make me nervous. It's almost always the consumer who loses, especially when it comes to media and control of content.

February 18, 2007

Fighting them over there...

So we don't have to fight them ... in Thailand?

At least 28 bombs exploded Sunday in apparently coordinated attacks in parts of southern Thailand plagued by a Muslim insurgency, killing three people and wounding more than 50, the military said.

The bombings targeted hotels, karaoke bars, power grids and commercial sites in the country's southernmost provinces, the only parts of predominantly Buddhist Thailand with Muslim majorities. Two public schools were torched.
In other news:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas defended his unity deal with Hamas in talks with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday after U.S. and Israeli threats to shun a coalition government.
So, according to BushThink, a unity government in Iraq is good, but in Palestine it's bad.
Senior Palestinian officials said Abbas replied angrily to a U.S. official who warned him on Saturday that Washington would have no contact with unity government ministers, including Fatah members, if the Quartet's terms were not met.

``President Abbas ... shouted (at the official), saying: 'You are placing pressure on me. I have internal pressure -- the pressure is unbearable. The only alternative to this agreement is civil war','' one Palestinian official said.
Well, yeah. Isn't that the point? I do not for one minute believe that BushCo's goal in the Middle East is peace or stability.

Sunday morning blog round up

Desert Beacon (have I mentioned lately what a jewel of a blogger DB is?) comments on the state of veterans health care and "supporting" the troops.

I'm not sure what kind of nerve it takes to spout "Support the Troops" on the floor of the Senate or the back bumper of a vehicle, and then to tolerate for a New York Minute the lack of care and concern shown to returning veterans.
The Gleaner takes on Harry Reid's unapologetic stance on his war vote.

NevadaUpNorth reports on a poll over at NevadaToday showing Richardson a heavy favorite amongst those Nevadans taking part in the poll.

I am getting a bit worried about Jack over at Nye Gateway. He's usually a prolific blogger, but hasn't posted since Valentine's Day. I hope I just missed it that he's on vacation somewhere.

JWH at The Blog formerly known as "No Gibbons" asks a rhetorical question.

Sven at Nevada Caucus 2008 comments on the Rory Reid hire by the Clinton campaign and Coffee with Kucinich on Wednesday at 3pm (Comma Coffee in Carson City).

Nevada Mojo Rising calls for Jim Gibbons to resign. (what an embarrassment that man is for Nevada)

Scandalmonger does a nice round-up of the latest Gibbons brou-haha, touches on mercury emissions and blogs John Edwards.

I finally got around to reading Yukon Sully's 100 Things About Me post. Bubba has one too. I am not sure if I have the nerve (or the time) to come up with 100 Things About Me...but maybe I'll start working on it.

Update: Myrna the Minx has something to say about Obama skipping the Carson City forum and links to Taylor Marsh's post on the Obama "fly over." Says the minx:
I think its a big mistake and here’s why. Northern Nevada represents the kind of people and environment from which the idea of the Western Democrat originates, and Obama has got to appeal to those people to win the Democratic nomination. Westerners are going to remember those who came to meet them and those who didn’t. And anyone who knows us, knows we hold grudges. A two hour stop-over is all it would take for Obama to show us that he gets it–that he understands that he cannot win the nomination by catering to California and the midwest. Nevada along with the other western states is the new middle America and its a big mistake to show us this kind of disdain.

Will this really do anything?

Sometimes my RGJs languish around the house and then I do one massive "catch-up" read on the weekend, and this front page article from the 2/15/07 edition caught my eye. It discusses a bill being introduced in Carson City to require a doctor's prescription to obtain cold and allergy medications containing the ingredients used to make meth. This, they say, would shut down the small mom and pop meth labs.

Are you freaking kidding me? I gotta go to my doctor (in Reno!) to get a prescription for Alka-Seltzer Plus?

So, if this bill is made law, I, Jane Q. Law-Abiding Citizen, when I get a cold or hay fever, will be required to call my doctor, make an appointment (possibly pushing out another patient who really needs to see the doctor), drive 50 miles to my doctor, write a check for my co-pay (my insurance pays the rest), wait for god-knows-how-long in my doctor's office just so she or her PA can write me a presciption for my Sudafed. I must then take said prescription to the pharmacy, wait for god-knows-how-long (again) while the pharmacist fills my presciption, checks my insurance, etc, just so that the few homegrown meth labs get shut down. Uh huh.

If someone can tell me that this bill this is going to (a) stem the bulk of the meth coming in from super labs in Mexico (80% of the available meth, according to the article) and (b) slow the addiction rate or get people off meth at all, then I might consider it. But I don't see where that will be the case at all.

This seems like another "look-like-we're-doing-something" overreaction to a complex problem rather than doing the hard work needed to address things like:

  • The whys of Nevada's addiction problem - Why (from the article) "Nevada is at the top of three nationwide lists for people who have used meth in their lifetime, in the past year and in the past 30 days." why "Addiction levels continue to grow, up about 60 percent since 1995"
  • Drug Trafficking - Actually stopping the flow of meth from Mexico
  • Treatment - Instead of putting the bulk of the funds toward law enforcement, how's about we really provide more treatment centers? There are none in Lyon County. Did you know that?
The pharmacist quoted in the article complains about the time it takes to check people's IDs and have them sign the log book. And filling a prescription doesn't? How many of you have taken a prescription to the pharmacy and gotten it filled on the spot? Aren't you usually told that it will take about an hour or so? Then they have to check your insurance, make you sign for the medication, etc. I would think the log book would be much easier. The pharmacist also said that the addicts have figured out a way to get around this. Don't they always?

According to the article:

About 40,000 people in Nevada use meth.

The population of Nevada hovers around (xls) 2.5 million people. Let's say half of them are adults. So it seems to me that with this bill, 1.25 million adult Nevadans will be held hostage by 40,000 meth users because of their addiction. Damn! This is the family that is suffering because of one member's addiction writ large!

I agree, meth addiction is awful. It wrecks families and destroys lives. But so does alcohol. And the problem with alcoholism is much worse.

In Nevada it was estimated on a survey-weighted hierarchical Bayes estimation approach that the total number of individuals with an alcohol addiction or alcohol abuse problem over a one year period was 143,000.
And
In Nevada it was estimated on a survey-weighted hierarchical Bayes estimation approach that the total number of binge alcohol users over a one month period was 371,000.
Meth is just another in a long line of drugs that for the moment is the focus of voter fear. Let's actually do something about the conditions that lead to addiction, get treatment for those who are addicted and treat addiction like the public health issue that it is. Addiction is not a crime. And the rest of us should not be penalized for another's problem with it.

40,000 vs 1,250,000.

February 16, 2007

Kristaponis is out

Well, the message has been sent by the Lyon County Commission: If you do the job we hired you to do and do it well, if we don't like you, we'll reward you by canning your ass. By all accounts Donna Kristaponis has been a stellar Lyon County Manager.

But instead of working through the personalty conflict at the heart of this, Phyllis Hunnewill, Don Tibbals and Bob Milz voted yesterday to fire Donna Kristaponis for no cause. Larry McPherson and Leroy Goodman voted to retain her.

An interim county manager has been brought on. So, we lose a good county manager and we have to wait while the county goes through the hiring process of finding another one. Yeah, that's an effective use of time and money when we have so many other issues facing this county. And it begs the question: will we find as qualified a candidate as Kristaponis? And given the treatment that she received, why would such a candidate even apply for the position?

The Ground Truth

Last night I hosted a MoveOn showing of "The Ground Truth." I did not pre-screen the movie before our guests arrived, so we all saw it with fresh eyes at the same time. "The Ground Truth" is a movie about the experiences of our military forces (both regular and guard) before, during and after their Iraq deployment. There is no narrator outside the voices of these veterans. From recruitment, to action in theater, to their experiences after returning home, this movie is a powerful statement on the human cost of war.

To paraphrase one veteran in the movie, you don't honor the troops by slapping a yellow ribbon magnet on your car. You honor them when you listen to them. The movie is available at Netflix.

February 13, 2007

Huh?

I do not understand the problem the Lyon County Commission has with Lyon County Manager, Donna Kristaponis. From what I can tell, she's done a great job, but she doesn't run to the commissioners for approval of her every move. Why should she have to? She's paid to manage, not be micro-managed. Why would they want to get rid of someone who actually is competent at her job? Oh. Wait.

Wow.

Okay...just go here and see The Nevada Observer's list of Nevada-related Internet links. Heck, even I am listed!

The time has come to start the tally

Well, the time has come. Under the candidates names to the right, I am going to start listing which Nevada bloggers are supporting them. Keep me posted bloggers!

Fernley High School Seeks Input

From my email box:

The Lyon County School District is currently in the planning stage of constructing a vocational center for FHS students, and we need some input from local businesses as potential employers of FHS graduates.

Our current offerings of vocational programs including Welding, Woods, Cabinet Making, CADD, Construction Trades, Computer Applications, Accounting, and Marketing.

What additional programs would you like to see us offer? If you would like to voice your opinion or offer some guidance, please email me at rcross@lyon.k12.nv.us or call me at 575-3400 ext 29.

Thank you in advance for your help!

Ryan Cross, Principal
Fernley High School
Fernley, NV 89408
(775) 575-3400

Better Know a Candidate - Health Care

Joe Biden - doesn't come out for universal health care per se. The closest I see is a "uniform, efficient system to submit claims." (??) Seems to be leaving it up to the states. No plan on how to insure all Americans.

Joe Biden believes that to protect jobs, compete in a global economy and strengthen families we have to have to address out-dated health care system. The next president will have to deal with two challenges: containing the growing costs of health care and providing access to the 47 million Americans who don't have health insurance.

Joe Biden believes we need to take three steps to contain the cost of health care: modernize the system, simplify the system and reduce errors. He supports the transition to secure electronic records so that people can provide their doctors and nurses with vital medical information in real time. He believes there should be a uniform, efficient system to submit claims.

Joe Biden believes the path toward a 21st century health care system starts with the most vulnerable in our society. He would expand health insurance for children and relieve families and businesses of the burden of expensive catastrophic cases. He supports states that are pursuing innovative alternatives to make sure that everyone has access to health care and believes we should use data from these states to evaluate what works best in providing affordable access to health care for all.
Hillary Clinton - No "Issues" page on web site. (Almost forgiven since this is an "exploratory" committee web site, but she says she's "in it to win it" so she sounds an awful lot like a "declared" candidate to me - I'd like to see an Issues page, please)

Chris Dodd - Long post on Health Care. Talks about taking care of the "most vulnerable," prescription drugs, technology, but no mention of universal health care or an actual plan on how to insure all Americans.

John Edwards - Moves us closer to universal health care, but is not yet single payer. Here is a link to his health plan (pdf) Highlights:
The Edwards Plan achieves universal coverage by:
  • Requiring businesses and other employers to either cover their employees or help finance their health insurance.
  • Making insurance affordable by creating new tax credits, expanding Medicaid and SCHIP, reforming insurance laws, and taking innovative steps to contain health care costs.
  • Creating regional "Health Markets" to let every American share the bargaining power to purchase an affordable, high-quality health plan, increase choices among insurance plans, and cut costs for businesses offering insurance.
  • Once these steps have been taken, requiring all American residents to get insurance.
    Mike Gravel - Comes straight out for universal, single-payer.
    Medicine and medical technology in the United States is the finest in the world. However, it is also one of the leading causes of bankruptcies. With the rising cost of healthcare, it is time to rethink our approach. The solution to the healthcare crisis is a national, universal single-payer not-for-profit U.S. healthcare system.
    Dennis Kucinich - Comes straight out for universal, single-payer.
    We must establish streamlined national health insurance, "Enhanced Medicare for Everyone." It would be publicly financed health care, privately delivered, and will put patients and doctors back in control of the system. Coverage will be more complete than private insurance plans; encourage prevention; and include prescription drugs, dental care, mental health care, and alternative and complementary medicine.
    Barack Obama - No mention of universal health care or single-payer. Talks about AIDS, information technology, Healthy Communities, hospital report cards, genetic medicine, and lead poisoning. No plan for how to insure all Americans.

    Bill Richardson - I'd like to see more specifics, ie, what was done in NM and how that can translate to the rest of the country. Wants all Americans covered, but doesn't say how. No mention of single-payer.
    We must work to provide health insurance and access to quality, affordable health care, for all Americans and frankly we'd save a lot of money by doing it. We're spending hundreds of billions of dollars every year paying the costs of health care for the uninsured. In New Mexico, a poor state, we have faced huge health care challenges. However, we've extended health insurance to tens of thousands of New Mexicans -- kids, working families, and small businesses -- and we're working on a plan to cover every person. The bottom line is that people must have good coverage that works.
    Tom Vilsack - No "Issues" page on web site. (For a "declared" candidate, I find this unacceptable.)

    February 11, 2007

    Same song, different verse

    Like the boy who cried wolf, the Bush administration continues it's push toward war with Iran. This sounds all too familiar.

    U.S. military officials on Sunday accused the highest levels of the Iranian leadership of arming Shiite militants in Iraq with sophisticated armor-piercing roadside bombs that have killed more than 170 American forces.

    [...]

    Three senior military officials who explained the display said the "machining process" used in the construction of the deadly bombs had been traced to Iran.

    [...]

    The U.S. officials glossed over armaments having reached the other major Shiite militia organization, the Badr Brigade. It is the military wing of Iraq's most powerful Shiite political organization, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, whose leaders also have close ties to the U.S.

    Many key government figures and members of the Shiite political establishment have deep ties to Iran, having spent decades there in exile during Saddam Hussein's rule. The Badr Brigade was formed and trained by Iran's Revolutionary Guard.

    The U.S. officials said there was no evidence of Iranian-made EFPs having fallen into the hands of Sunni insurgents who operate mainly in Anbar province in the west of Iraq, Baghdad and regions surrounding the capital.

    "We know more than we can show," said one of the senior officials, when pressed for tangible evidence that the EFPs were made in Iran.
    Uh huh. We're just supposed to trust you. Sorry boys, that dog just don't hunt any more.

    On Edit: profmarcus over at And yes, I do take it personally comments on Juan Cole's answer to the gullibility of the New York Times over this story.

    thank god for juan cole and may he/she/it save us from a war with iran that seems to be just around the corner...

    NYT Falls for Bogus Iran Weapons Charges
    Completely Implausible Numbers are Thrown Around
    Repeat of Judy Miller Scandal


    This NYT article depends on unnamed USG sources who alleged that 25 percent of US military deaths and woundings in Iraq in October-December of 2006 were from explosively formed penetrator bombs fashioned in Iran and given to Shiite militias.

    This claim is one hundred percent wrong. Because 25 percent of US troops were not killed fighting Shiites in those three months. Day after day, the casualty reports specify al-Anbar Province or Diyala or Salahuddin or Babil, or Baghdad districts such as al-Dura, Ghaziliyah, Amiriyah, etc.--and the enemy fighting is clearly Sunni Arab guerrillas. And, Iran is not giving high tech weapons to Baathists and Salafi Shiite-killers.
    More at link.

    Edit #2 (4:00 pm)- Catching up on my blog reading after getting the house cleaned. Desert Beacon does an excellent slice and dice on this.

    Better Know a Candidate - Barack Obama

    With his declaration of candidacy yesterday (text), Barack Obama has a new web site up (same url: BarackObama.com). This site is a vast improvement over his exploratory committee site. Issues, bio, speeches, contact info. It's all there. Here's a snippet from his announcement speech.

    For the last six years we've been told that our mounting debts don't matter, we've been told that the anxiety Americans feel about rising health care costs and stagnant wages are an illusion, we've been told that climate change is a hoax, and that tough talk and an ill-conceived war can replace diplomacy, and strategy, and foresight. And when all else fails, when Katrina happens, or the death toll in Iraq mounts, we've been told that our crises are somebody else's fault. We're distracted from our real failures, and told to blame the other party, or gay people, or immigrants.

    And as people have looked away in disillusionment and frustration, we know what's filled the void. The cynics, and the lobbyists, and the special interests who've turned our government into a game only they can afford to play. They write the checks and you get stuck with the bills, they get the access while you get to write a letter, they think they own this government, but we're here today to take it back. The time for that politics is over. It's time to turn the page.
    He'll be on 60 Minutes tonight.

    Just politics?

    The words "politics," and "political" and "politician" have fallen into some disrepute, and that bothers me. After all, I make my living in the political field. And I'm doing it to make my country (and the world) a better place for all. Politics is really just the science and/or art of governance. Yeah, it's messy, but ignoring politics does us no good. Negative generalizations about the nature of politics gives us cover to walk away and not participate. The College Democrats of America have a some thoughts on this and have posted this article on the importance of politics and why we should pay attention.

    Why Politics Matter

    Love it or hate it, politics has great impact over who we are as Americans and what we aspire to be. The political system helps determine:

    • How much opportunity we offer each and every American to secure a piece of the American Dream.
    • How much investment we make as a society in education and health care to make the America of tomorrow better than America today.
    • How hard we work to promote fairness and equality and to ensure that our nation is one where everyone feels comfortable living, working, and raising a family.
    • How hard we work to ensure that America's workers get a fair shake and that we continue to provide a safety net for the most vulnerable members of our society.
    • How hard we work to protect the cleanliness of the air we breath, the food we eat, and the water we drink not only for ourselves, but also for our children and grandchildren.
    • How the government works to strengthen our economy, build new jobs, correct harmful skews in the market through regulation, and determine our trade policy with other nations.
    • How the government can and cannot interfere in our lives as Americans, on issues ranging from a woman's right to choose, to civil liberties, to our privacy in the digital age.
    • How we go about ensuring the safety, security, and well-being of all Americans.
    • How we project the image of ourselves as Americans to the rest of the world through our foreign policy and diplomatic efforts.

    In short, politics has a tremendous impact on the future of every American -- and it has never been more important than today.

    Something to think about.

    February 10, 2007

    Happy news for a change

    Senator Tim Johnson's recovery is coming along nicely.(hat tip to Bob Brinkley)

    February 9, 2007

    Caucus Fever - The candidates are coming!

    The Democratic Presidential Forum in Carson City on February 21st is heating up with all but Barack Obama attending. Phones are ringing off the hook in Democratic offices around the state and local AFSCME offices. Ticket distribution is controlled by AFSCME and will generally go to their membership. However, there may be tickets available for the public, so call your local Dem office and get your name on their list. If you are in rural northern Nevada pop an email to csnedeker@nvdems.com

    The candidates will be appearing elsewhere around northern Nevada while they are here. What I know so far:

    Joe Biden will be meeting voters at Comma Coffee in Carson City on Tuesday, February 20th at 9:30am and then heading to University of Nevada for a talk about Iraq at the Jot Travis Student Union at 7pm that evening. (RGJ)

    As more events are announced, I will keep you posted.

    February 6, 2007

    Better Know a Candidate - Mike Gravel

    Dullard Mush does the heavy lifting with an email interview with Mike Gravel (pronounced Gra-VEL). I heard Gravel getting interviewed on Politically Direct last night on AAR. Pretty interesting guy. His web site link can be found to the right----->

    Republicans - Pathetic puling pantywaists

    So, Republicans in the Senate blocked debate on the non-binding, slap on the wrist (not even!) Iraq resolution. Even John Warner, who proposed the damn thing, stuck his tail between his legs and voted with his party. For Republicans, party trumps everything. No words can describe my disgust at these pieces of s**t. They are not worthy of their office and they are most certainly not worthy of the trust of a single American.

    And Democrats? Clue phone! This is what you get for trying to compromise with these bastards. Follow Russ Feingold and speak truth to power. Half measures and playing nice with the Republicans is not what the voters called for in November.

    Furthermore, the American people (remember us?) want this debate. We oppose the escalation by a 2 to 1 margin. Enough with the talking. Enough with the amendments. Are you ever going to send a message to his Imperial Majesty, George W. Bush? Or are you just going to keep on engaging in one-up-man-ship and whistling past the graveyard while our military are killed and maimed? While our blood and treasure are being poured on the sands of Iraq? This isn't a game, it's deadly serious.

    Senator John Sununu, a Republican of New Hampshire who is also up for re-election next year, acknowledged that voters were likely to be unhappy with the procedural wrangling over an issue as grave as Iraq.
    Ya think?

    Republicans, so afraid of George W. Bush that they can't even talk about the war. It might embolden the terrorists! Really!! I thought we were supposed to be standing up to the terrorists, not letting them control us. And Republicans are supposed to be the party that can protect US? Hell, they can't even stand up to one man. Pathetic puling pantywaists.

    February 5, 2007

    Are veterans having to rely on the kindness of strangers?

    A letter in this morning's Washington Post...

    Where Was Uncle Sam?
    Monday, February 5, 2007; Page A14

    The Jan. 30 news story "Center for War Amputees Opens" described the opening in San Antonio of a $50 million high-tech rehab center for those injured in Iraq and in other wars. The words "privately funded center" sounded very strange to me, and I hope to many others. Is our country separated so far from the volunteer men and women who fight our wars that we cannot fund a high-tech medical center without requesting private funds -- and then making a major point of it politically?

    As our federal government sends billions of our taxpayer dollars to rebuild the infrastructure of Iraq, can't -- mustn't -- the government spend $50 million to support those who gave their arms, legs and spirits in support of our country? Something is deeply wrong with our governmental process and the elected officials who implement and oversee it.

    DARYL SOLOMONSON
    Woodbridge

    February 4, 2007

    Better Know a Candidate, Part I - DNC winter meeting

    The DNC had its winter meeting this past weekend and all candidates and maybes were on hand to give speeches. I checked their web sites to see what they had posted.

    • Joe Biden (video) (text)
    • Hillary Clinton (video) (text)
    • Chris Dodd (video) (text)
    • John Edwards (video) (text)
    • Mike Gravel (video) (text)
    • Dennis Kucinich (nothing on web site)
    • Barack Obama (nothing on web site)
    • Bill Richardson (video) (text)
    • Tom Vilsack (video) (text)
    All speeches are up at the DNC web site

    DNC rules of engagement:

    • Order of speaking done by lottery
    • Each candidate was given seven minutes to speak (methinks this was a bit optimistic on the DNC's part - 15 minutes per candidate would have been more realistic- but then again...if they were given 15 minutes would they have taken 30?)
    • One minute introduction to be given by a DNC officer chosen at random (not to be considered an endorsement of said candidate by person giving introduction)
    • 30 seconds of intro music
    • 100 signs scattered evenly throughout room

    C-SPAN coverage can be found here. (I only see 2/2/2007 session so far) Besides the speeches, the 2/2 session included the Treasurer's Report by Andy Tobias (you will find it right after the Kucinich speech which ends at 2:17). Andy makes the report with enthusiasm and really clues us in on how well the DNC is doing and how much it has increased its donor base.

    February 3, 2007

    Paul Krugman on Molly Ivins

    Paul Krugman's tribute to Molly Ivins. From behind the NYT firewall.

    Missing Molly Ivins

    Molly Ivins, the Texas columnist, died of breast cancer on Wednesday. I first met her more than three years ago, when our book tours crossed. She was, as she wrote, “a card-carrying member of The Great Liberal Backlash of 2003, one of the half-dozen or so writers now schlepping around the country promoting books that do not speak kindly of Our Leader’s record.”

    I can’t claim to have known her well. But I spent enough time with her, and paid enough attention to her work, to know that obituaries that mostly stressed her satirical gifts missed the main point. Yes, she liked to poke fun at the powerful, and was very good at it. But her satire was only the means to an end: holding the powerful accountable.

    She explained her philosophy in a stinging 1995 article in Mother Jones magazine about Rush Limbaugh. “Satire ... has historically been the weapon of powerless people aimed at the powerful,” she wrote. “When you use satire against powerless people ... it is like kicking a cripple.”

    Molly never lost sight of two eternal truths: rulers lie, and the times when people are most afraid to challenge authority are also the times when it’s most important to do just that. And the fact that she remembered these truths explains something I haven’t seen pointed out in any of the tributes: her extraordinary prescience on the central political issue of our time.

    I’ve been going through Molly’s columns from 2002 and 2003, the period when most of the wise men of the press cheered as Our Leader took us to war on false pretenses, then dismissed as “Bush haters” anyone who complained about the absence of W.M.D. or warned that the victory celebrations were premature. Here are a few selections:

    Nov. 19, 2002: “The greatest risk for us in invading Iraq is probably not war itself, so much as: What happens after we win? ... There is a batty degree of triumphalism loose in this country right now.”

    Jan. 16, 2003: “I assume we can defeat Hussein without great cost to our side (God forgive me if that is hubris). The problem is what happens after we win. The country is 20 percent Kurd, 20 percent Sunni and 60 percent Shiite. Can you say, ‘Horrible three-way civil war?’ ”

    July 14, 2003: “I opposed the war in Iraq because I thought it would lead to the peace from hell, but I’d rather not see my prediction come true and I don’t think we have much time left to avert it. That the occupation is not going well is apparent to everyone but Donald Rumsfeld. ... We don’t need people with credentials as right-wing ideologues and corporate privatizers — we need people who know how to fix water and power plants.”

    Oct. 7, 2003: “Good thing we won the war, because the peace sure looks like a quagmire. ...

    “I’ve got an even-money bet out that says more Americans will be killed in the peace than in the war, and more Iraqis will be killed by Americans in the peace than in the war. Not the first time I’ve had a bet out that I hoped I’d lose.”

    So Molly Ivins — who didn’t mingle with the great and famous, didn’t have sources high in the administration, and never claimed special expertise on national security or the Middle East — got almost everything right. Meanwhile, how did those who did have all those credentials do?

    With very few exceptions, they got everything wrong. They bought the obviously cooked case for war — or found their own reasons to endorse the invasion. They didn’t see the folly of the venture, which was almost as obvious in prospect as it is with the benefit of hindsight. And they took years to realize that everything we were being told about progress in Iraq was a lie.

    Was Molly smarter than all the experts? No, she was just braver. The administration’s exploitation of 9/11 created an environment in which it took a lot of courage to see and say the obvious.

    Molly had that courage; not enough others can say the same.

    And it’s not over. Many of those who failed the big test in 2002 and 2003 are now making excuses for the “surge.” Meanwhile, the same techniques of allegation and innuendo that were used to promote war with Iraq are being used to ratchet up tensions with Iran.

    Now, more than ever, we need people who will stand up against the follies and lies of the powerful. And Molly Ivins, who devoted her life to questioning authority, will be sorely missed.
    In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.

    Talking to my red brother

    Sigh. I called my brother tonight. A little background: he's a Baptist preacher (this is my fault - a confession for a later time) and he lives in rural Oklahoma. Firmly Republican. During our conversation tonight we got to talking about the weather. Gosh, that seemed harmless enough. I talked about our recent cold weather and he talked about ice snapping branches and being without power and then he heads into the old "Al Gore and An Inconvenient Truth" snark. I said my bit about the melting polar ice caps and the drowning polar bears, and eventually we moved on to other things. But I couldn't shake it and so penned this email to him. Will let you know what he has to say.

    Hey big brother, it was good talking to you tonight. Hope you all enjoyed the movie.

    Got a question for you based on something you said tonight because I noted some snarkiness in your voice when you mentioned his name.

    Here’s my question: Have you even SEEN “An Inconvenient Truth”? If not, I highly recommend it. Put aside that the messenger is Al Gore for a moment (if you can - I realize that you are a Bush Republican), and realize that Al Gore didn’t come up with this idea of global warming on his own, and that he has been studying the environment for over thirty years. The movie is quite good and quite the eye opener.

    Global warming doesn’t mean it gets consistently warm all over, it means if the overall average temperature of the earth continues to rise, that things like ocean currents that control our global climate change, that the polar ice caps start to melt (you do know that the “permafrost” is turning into a bog don’t you?). As a result you get weird weather, rising ocean levels, melting ice caps and ice sheets. It’s not the ice that’s already floating on the ocean that’s the problem; it’s the ice that is sitting atop land masses (like Greenland) that will be the issue. Ocean levels will rise as the water that was held in the ice sheets above sea level melt and pour into the sea. And it’s not just the melting of the ice caps, it will be the wholesale shift of temperate zones, farming will be disrupted as warmer climes creep northward.

    Just today
    this study was released. From the AP article:

    "It's later than we think," said panel co-chair Susan Solomon, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist who helped push through the document's strong language.

    Solomon, who remains optimistic about the future, said it's close to too late to alter the future for her children — but maybe it's not too late for her grandchildren.
    The report was the first of four to be released this year by the panel, which was created by the United Nations in 1988. It found:
    • Global warming is "very likely" caused by man, meaning more than 90 percent certain. That's the strongest expression of certainty to date from the panel.
    • If nothing is done to change current emissions patterns of greenhouse gases, global temperature could increase as much as 11 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.
    • But if the world does get greenhouse gas emissions under control — something scientists say they hope can be done — the best estimate is about 3 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • Sea levels are projected to rise 7 to 23 inches by the end of the century. Add another 4 to 8 inches if recent, surprising melting of polar ice sheets continues.
    Heck, even Rick Warren and other evangelicals are getting on board and have issued a statement to that effect. From the preamble of Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action:
    …Over the last several years many of us have engaged in study, reflection, and prayer related to the issue of climate change (often called "global warming"). For most of us, until recently this has not been treated as a pressing issue or major priority. Indeed, many of us have required considerable convincing before becoming persuaded that climate change is a real problem and that it ought to matter to us as Christians. But now we have seen and heard enough to offer the following moral argument related to the matter of human-induced climate change. We commend the four simple but urgent claims offered in this document to all who will listen, beginning with our brothers and sisters in the Christian community, and urge all to take the appropriate actions that follow from them.
    Seriously, if you haven’t seen the movie, I would be happy to buy the DVD for you, if you promise to watch it. I am positive that it is not what you think. It wasn’t what I thought it would be.

    With love...

    February 1, 2007

    More on Molly Ivins

    I got an email from a dear friend of mine today.

    I'm so sad to see my very favorite political commentator lose her battle with cancer, and doubly sad that her passing has been just barely mentioned in the media. I was looking forward to her curmudgeonly voice to get me through the next presidential election with her unique humor, elephant-like political memory, and good sense.I think she was one of the most fascinating women America has produced in a long time, a Texan who loved democracy enough to tell her country, in no uncertain words, that it's screwing up badly. I think this essay of hers makes a fitting eulogy. http://www.commondreams.org/views04/1105-21.htm
    This quote from the article is prescient.
    The Bush administration is going to be wired around the neck of the American people for four more years, long enough for the stench to sicken everybody. It should cure the country of electing Republicans.
    Go read the whole thing.

    Virtual March on Washington - Today

    MoveOn.org has ticked me off in the past when they have "helped" in local elections, gotten in the way of local Democratic groups, etc. But today, they are doing what they do best, mobilizing people from all over the country to make a difference in Washington. If you haven't already done so, sign up for the Virtual March on Washington. You can pick a time of day when you can call your two senators to express your opposition to the surge and exhort to vote FOR the Senate resolution. Details at MoveOn.

    On Edit: If you think this is a waste of time, read this post over at Nye Gateway. Get on the phone.