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February 01, 2003

Last Shuttle post

..today.
I...must.... eat.

Samizdata.net post . The interesting part is the last paragraph where they mention other space technology companies other than Lockheed and Boeing. I'd forgotten about XCor and Armadillo [and yes, I had heard of both.] Check it out.



DREAMS

Slightly abbreviated version of
a comment I posted at Atrios.
People who cannot dream are doomed to misery. People who have no imagination are doomed to boredom. People who would try to kill either dreams or imaginations are wasting space here on earth.

Let me rephrase what I said above about "living on different worlds."

How about directing SDI "star wars" money toward NASA? Why? Because NASA gives dreams to millions of people. I could stop there and that would be enough because there are so few things in the world left that will do that.

Sports? All about the money. (LeBron James???)
Parents? Well they are only as good as their sources and their own role-models.
President? _____________________

SDI, some might say, prevents nightmares. No, it is highly impractical. More impractical than living on the moon.

And don't forget the Space Stations - people live there now, though of course they need Earth.

What about, instead of SDI, we instead foster peace. That's a good defense too, in general.

By other worlds, I may have spoken too literally. I was talking about what we can learn from different worlds - scientifically. And no, I truly don't believe we'll ever live on another planet. I misspoke. But what we can learn from other planets/stars/objects - that is valuable.

NASA is one true agency that has stayed pure to its stated goals. Sure it is also used to lift spy satellites and who knows what else - but everyone involved can be proud. They have never had anything to be ashamed of.

On my list of priorities for what a country can do - NASA is at the top.





SHUTTLE FACTIODS
From
Space Today
Actually, some illuminating information as well. Including that after the Challenger disaster the remaining shuttles had 250 modifications. Including the fact that Columbia was "cannibalized" in 1987 for parts for Discovery and Atlantis. Columbia was completely rebuilt in 1989.



ARE THE SHUTTLES TOO OLD

We are in a throwaway society. Anyone in entertainment more than 20 years old is old news.
"The space shuttles are old - that's why they're exploding like fireworks." - a radio announcer.

Well, if a firework happened ever 17 years... .

The discussion seems to have moved quickly to the age of the shuttles. Should they be replaced before more people die. That has been 14 people now.

From all I've heard they were designed for 100 flights. That may have been only guess work. Still, after every flight, the ship looks like someone has put a lighter to it, creating a blackened soot layer. They are almost completely rebuilt each time. The parts are not the same; it is not the same ship that goes up each time.

I also offer this comparison. Many of today's commercial aircraft are more than 20 years old. On each flight they do not approach the same level of stresses. But over time I would believe the comparable stress on the materials is the same.

Remember that the materials on the space shuttle or any spacecraft are vastly different. The outside tiles and every other part are specifically designed for the job they do.
The Space Shuttle Columbia was on its 29th flight. Collectively the five space shuttles have flown 114113 times. [note: the flight number 107 was assigned and there have been sevensix flights since then].

Remember too, the Challenger blew up on take off when it was less than five years old.
The first ever Space Shuttle flight was by Columbia, April 12, 1981. The flight lasted two days.
The specific age of the shuttles are:
Columbia: built . First launch - April 12, 1981. Ended 2.1.2003
Challenger: built. First launch - April 4, 1983. Ended 1.28.1986
Atlantis: built. First launch - Oct. 3, 1985.
Discovery: built. First launch - Aug. 30, 1984. Grounded for entire 2002 year for maintenance
Endeavour: built. First launch - May 7, 1992.

NOTE: Finding the dates. NASA Web site jammed. So far, have not found information I want elsewhere. UPDATE: Found lanch dates, but not build dates.




Informational sources

Jerusalem Post a good source of different perspective information. [free reg. reqr'd] It's where I found the Biblical quote filled in below. In the AP story it was "Bush quoted Biblical scripture."

Painful coincidental NOTE: Some of the first noises were heard above Palestine, Texas.

Here is a side by side, non critical reportage of the speeches after Challenger and after Columbia.
There were reportedly new heat tiles being used on STS107.



She stood monitoring her children in the yard. Jeff and Teresa had always been outdoorsey, hating it indoors, hated shut doors.

"Mommy, mommy, can we go outside." They'd just bought a swing set so it was hard to deny them.

She, in her slippers and robe still, leaned agains the door frame, watching. They started out slowly - until she came behind and pushed them higher and faster. Now she watched them rise and fall, rise and fall, laughter escaping from their lips.

Jack came up behind her and squeezed her hips. The space shuttle's gonna land. Laura knew he was a bit of a fanatic. He had tried to follow every aspect of flight since a young teenager in 1981.

"I bet I saw it yesterday." They'd been told they'd be able to see it in orbit but it had been tough to get up to see it during the night.

"It's landing today," Jack said, looking up. He saw something out of the corner of his eye and scanned right. He saw his neighbor, eyes squinting against the low sun, hand over his brow.

"Hey Edward, is it soon?" He knew the answer. Jack was outside just on case, though he knew the television would give him a much better view.

"Jack, isn't this amazing" I never get tired of it. Yeah it's due any time. Hey Jack, you ever dream of being an astronaut?"

He looked at his children, swaying on the swings. "Yep, sure did. That's what I told my recruiting officer. You know what he said?"

Edward moved closer to the fence and now looked over. "No, what did he say?"

"Edward, he handed me my papers and stood up to shake my hand. "You and everybody else. Everyone."

A boom came from above. All eyes cast skyward they saw nothing. It was a cloudless sky, blue and clear.

"What's that?" Jeff had launched himself off the swing and now stood pointing.

"That" was the sudden appearance of a swarm of bees. Except the perspective was all wrong. And the size of the swarm was growing outward.

"Jack, they're getting bigger," Laura said. "When was the shuttle due?"

His mouth dropped open and he grabbed her fiercely, resting his head on her shoulder.



George Bush Junior NASA statement

This morning brought terrible and great sadness to our country.
...
The Columbia is lost, There are no survivors.
... READ THE NAMES
Because of their courageand dynamism, daring and idealism, we will miss them all the more
...
In age when space flight has come to seem almost routine it is easy to overlook the dangers of traveling by rocket.
...
The cause for which they died will continue... Or journey into space will go on.
...
In
the words of the phrophet Isaiah... [missed the words] "Lift your eyes and look to the heavens. Who created all these? He who brings out the starry hosts one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing."
... Because of his great power and mighty strength none of the seven are missing.

The crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth but we can pray they are all safely [missed word, home?]

NB: The rhythm of the three-minute speech did not make notes easy. I will post transcript later.

[not a shot at BUSH, but why can't presidents just get up to the microphone and speak from the heart, with out choosing backdrops, locations, consulting speechwriters etc.]



from press briefing
My notes taken from radio broadcast of NASA press statements

Sean O Keefe, NASA administrator
Indeed a tragic day for the NASA family, for family of the astronauts who flew on STS 107.

"We lost communication a little after 9 a.m. We began contigency plans to record all and save all activities.

Spoke to President Bush and shs security Tom Ridge. The president, specifically, offered full and immediate support.

We then spent the next one and a half hours working through the details of what we have received.

I assure them and tou we will start immediately to find out wehat happened, paraphrase.

There is no indication that it was an attack from anyone or anything on the ground.

We have appointed a mishap investigation board ... independent from NASA, charged with the opportunity to look at all the information immediately locked down.

the group is made up of safety emission assurance individuals. The chair of team is outside the federal purvey. ... to coordinate an understanding of what path the STS107 took.

We need to assure the material on the ground is secured so we can begind an investigation immediately.

The investigation will be in coordination with DHS [ed would have been FEMA], O Keefe said.

Today started out as a pretty happy morning and we couldn't wait to congratulate them.

These astronauts dedicated their lives to pushing scientific challenges for those of us here on earth. The loss of this day and crew is something we will never be able to get over.

We will do everything we can possibly do to get through this horrific tragedy. We hope the media will help. Please respect their privacy as we get through this.

An extraordinary group of astronauts who gave their lives. Who knew the risks but could not possible have imagined this could occur.

We will conduct the investigation responsiblity, competently.
--- Sean O' Keefe, NASA administrator

CAPT. BILL REEDY, ass. administrator for space flight.

Truly a difficult day for all of us. Many of us were standing along the runway waiting for the succesful end to their 16-day mission.

At nine o clock we heard that they had lost data from the spacecraft. The loss of data was over northeast, Texas and ... we initiated a search and rescue effort.

Sadly, from the video that's available, it does not appear there were any survivors.

We must find the problem , fix it and move on.

Today was a stark reminder that this is a very risky endevour. After 113 flights people have a tendency to look at it as sometihng that is more or less routine. Each time I flew and my colleagues flew we approached it with the responsibility that it commanded.

My promise to the crew and to the crew families is that the investigation we have just launched will find the cause, will fix it and we will move on.




It's dangerous

Never take space travel for granted.


















Two and a half hours ago NASA Mission Control lost communications and telemetry data with US Columbia on re-entry to the Johnson Space Center. Seven astronauts are expected lost. The flag next to the countdown clock at the Kennedy Space Center is at half-mast.

Columbia is the oldest ship in the shuttle fleet.

There is reported debris and even body parts found across Jasper County in Texas.

They lost contact at about 200,000, said CBS reports, out of range of any attack. NASA has taken the lead in the investigation. Six Americans and the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon, was on board. They have been in space for 16 days.

Challenger exploded 73 seconds after take off 17 years ago, Jan. 28, 1986.

[bad radio moment] RADIO announcer: These can be shining moments can't they? It's one of these moments that White house speechwriters must be recommending words to President Bush."

This was a science mission. The other astronuats are mission commander Rick Husband, pilot William McCool, Kalpana Chawla, David Brown, Mike Anderson and Laurel Clark.

Anderson was raised in Spokane, Wash.
UPDATE: Now the media will fill the next hour with speculation and experts until the press conference, announced at 10 Pacific Time. Until then. Be sad. And why do I keep on waking up to this bad news?
UPDATES
On launch day, a piece of insulating foam on the external fuel tank came off during liftoff and was believed to have struck the left wing of the shuttle.
Link:
Astronaut Biographies




WIND STORM - BLOWBACK

CNSNews (??????????????) reporting that Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf isn't quite as cautious now.

Hey, I report, you decide. I ain't saying nothing.

PS liked the comment over at DeanEsmay, "he's too long retired to get leaned on. Most likely Powell just called up and said, Hey, what are you doing to me?"
PPS. It's Cheney on the far left (hah) in this photo. I trust you've got the other two.


January 31, 2003

POETRY STILL HAS POWER
George Bush Junior probably thought he said "punditry" and wasn't afraid.

MWO said it before I.
Poetry is a danger, Iraq can be flattened
Crack down
on the Bush that is lie

From Media Whores Online:
BUSH VETOES POETRY

George W. Bush will not cower before Saddam Hussein.
But Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, and Walt Whitman? Along with W.S. Merwin, Adrienne Rich, and W.S. Merwin? That's another kettle of fish.

And we all know dead fish stinks when left alone.





TONY BLARE

Labour Party leader Tony trumpets his ideas to a nation that increasingly disagrees with his kneeling position to lick Bush's balls.

Actually, if he believes the stance is correct, more power to him - except they'll be less when he gets tossed out of office. But there's a position at The Carlyle Group that awaits him when he retires/gets kicked out.

And he will, it seems, get booted. A new
Daily Mirror (UK) poll, maybe an unstable link, shows a total of 84 percent of Britains are against the war or against the war without UN backing. 43 precent are against war with Iraqunder any circumtance. With similar numbers, will Bush, go?

Go to the story. There are all kinds of other revealing numbers. Go also to the Prime Minister's official site, which exhibits an even more pro-war position than Whitehouse.gov. Remember, Tony Blair's Labour party was Margaret Thatcher's opposition party.



EVERY SPERM IS SACRED. EV....
A sweet story CBS chooses to title
"Leaving Something Behind."
Soldiers are freezing their sperm for later reproduction in case they are chemically damaged, or, you know, permanentally damaged.

It has a serious side, but with cutesy titles like "Leaving Something Behind" and the accompanying graphic, you've got to take it --- with a pinch of salt.



YEP, IT'S ALL IN HAND

Drudge doesn't have it [i had to check, sorry] but we'll cut him some slack. It is 4 a.m., his time (He's East Coast, right?}.

But he did have a link to this
BBC heart warming story about credible evidence that Al Qaeda has been developing a radioactive dirty bomb.

BOMB IRAQ. Woooooo-hooooooooooo. Who said this: "We are defending both ourselves and the safety and survival of civilization itself." It's not a trick question. Bellicose bastard. Of course, he was speaking to the Conservative PAC, who would not have been happy with anything less.


There's all these links to stories titled "Iraq linked to Al-Qaeda" or the equivelent. But the story is really the White House saying there's something.



SITUATION UNDER CONTROL
Al Qaida blamed for bombed bridge in Afghanistan.
Hell, yes I'm going to make a big deal of this. Afghanastin has been touted as a rousing success. In wuickly, clean, Out. Objective achieved.

A little too easy. The CIA has known that the terrorist group has been reforming and still is a very cohesive threat.
i would agree it was a complete success btw. Up unitl the point when it wasn't. Until it wasn't and we lost our minds on the long, arduous trek to Iraq.

It's not yet on CNN. But this is a seperate story on
a helicopter crash which killed four American soldiers.

Fox has it here.

MSNBC has it here

UPDATE 00:41 - ABC has it. BBC had it before FOX. CNN has it now, but not on the front page, not even a link. But it should be note their report is not AP like the others.

CNN report:
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (CNN) -- At least eight people are dead after a land mine destroyed a bus in southern Afghanistan.

According to Afghan army commander Khan Mohammed Khan, the Friday incident struck 10 kilometers (6 miles) east of Kandahar in the Juhlaman district, when the bus ran over the mine on the road. Other details were not immediately available.

So far there have been no claims of responsibility, although local police are blaming Taliban or al Qaeda fighters.

Khan blamed Taliban remnants and forces loyal to Gulbedin Hekmatyar, a former prime minister during the civil war of the early 1990s.

Hekmatyar is an Islamic fundamentalist who later took refuge in Iran and now, according to Afghan and U.S. intelligence sources, has sided with Taliban and al Qaeda units to fight American troops.
-- CNN producer Lonzo Cook contributed to this story




FREAKING CONSPIRACISTS

Well, take this link for what you will. FYI, the link is to
Digital Journalist, a source that is often considered very reliable and rarely gets into the partisan speak. and I don't think they are here. But take as is.

They tell a tale of how Gulf War troops in 1991 buried alive Iraqi troops and then when a group of journalists was on a tour, tried to dent it. But one guy, who was very familiar with the stench and the sights of the Vietnam killing fields was suspicious and started asking questions.
It wasn't until late in the afternoon of Feb. 25 that the press pool was permitted to see where the attack occurred. There were groups of Iraqi prisoners. About 2,000 had surrendered. But there were no bodies, no stench of feces that hovers on a battlefield, no blood stains, no bits of human beings. "You get a little firefight in Vietnam and the bodies would be stacked up like cordwood," Daniel said. Finally, Daniel found the Division public affairs officer, an Army major.


And my point here? Not that war is ugly - duh - but that we are not so morally superior as we may think we are. That's why we need to prove a CONCRETE case against Iraq. Right now we've just got the mix being stirred by the machine.



January 30, 2003

SAFIRE'S LATEST

Safire's latest column is intellectually dishonest. It's about hawk and dove politicians covering their asses.

Of course, it mocks any possible position any politician could stand with - on both sides, but especially those against a war.

And above it all, is Safire, later being able to say, I told you that's what they'd say about ANY politician. That's a bad column, boys and girls.

It ends with this incorrect comparison of likely results of either position. Yuck:
The point is this: Both sides of the debate are furiously positioning to cover themselves in case the other side proves right. But the difference is this: Even if the hawks are wrong about Saddam's treachery, 20 million terrified Iraqis would be freed. If the doves are wrong and their delay enables the genocidal tyrant to become a world power, millions of American lives could well be lost.




NOT GOOD ENOUGH?

To all those who say, the Republican economic plan isn't so hot, but the "alternative sucks" or "there is no alternative"; please be more specific.

There has, already, been much written about the inadequacies of the Bush plan for America. But there has been little, I've seen, about the Democrat plan.

Last time around, in 2001, it was a Democrat idea that put $300 in most people's hands quickly. This time around, a similar amount is proposed, plus big chunks of money directed at the states. It is the states that are mostly hurting, granted for a variety of reasons. Most of those reasons do not, however, have to do with mismanagement. They have to do with federal cutbacks and keeping people employed to do jobs. It has to do with stability.

And by the way federal cutbacks are meant to, you know, reduce the deficit. How then did it get so damn high after a surplus? It's alright to say the states are overspending, but when the Rove administration does it, it's "sound economic planning?" Bullshit [yes that is an oversimplification, but the basic premise stands].

Back to the states. To cite two examples, governors of Florida and Washington are proposing similar govt. job cuts - about 2,800 each. And both states are strongly looking at closing the library systems. These are just two small steps and cuittign back on state Medicare support.

I like the Democrat plan because it is restrained. It is not trying to give away the treasure box. It is a true stimulus shot in the arm for the "vast unwashed masses" of which I include myself heartily.

Tell me if you've heard more about the Democrat plan - and heard more that upsets you. Because all I've heard from "those with their fingers stuck on the ditto button" is an instant reaction that it won't do the job or there is no alternative plan.

That reaction is not good enough in an informed debate.



HAPPY BIRTHDAY DICK

Enjoy it while you can.
Dick Cheney, is, 62. He's in his last two years as VP. He will then try to absolve all blame for stupidity in the Rove administration.




January 29, 2003


GOTTA WATCH THOSE TEXANS

They don't need no education..
Kids riot at an El Paso high school against four 90-minute lesson days 'stead of 7 at 50 minutes each. So would I, 10 more minutes of classes. Child slavery!!!!!!




BYTE BACK maintenance

UPDATE 14:35. I passed 100 eyes today. Thank you. I'm about 25 of those 120 visits. Pity hardly anyone wants to say, hi. I'll post comments below if it responds to the issues.

Moved
Rebecca Blood out of the Seattle blogger category (because I found out she's not, its SF for her) and because I'll still tune in.

Also, is there a painful answer to the question I have when I view my site stats. Many of them say they visited for zero seconds. Could I have turned them off that quickly?

Also these guys, SecureNet, just visited me. The first paragraph on their page put a lump in my throat - though obviously for no good reason. I'm just a (thinking) doof with a blog.
SecureNet, Inc. is a privately owned and operated security system integrator and installation contractor. SecureNet designs and installs security solutions utilizing the finest product lines in the electronic security marketplace.



SOMEBODY HAD THE STAMINA

Fablog's David E.
fisked the State of the Union, something I indicated below would achieve little. I haven't had the stamina to finish reading the fisking either but I present it for your edification
[via link from Idontfeelsogood]





JUST ON THE WORDS

Just
on the words, I'd say Gov. Locke did extremely well. All reports are, however, is that words don't count. It's how he looked, and he looked and sounded weak? Oh well, there's some thinking for you.

UPDATE 11:35. An excerpt from Gov. Locke. Most people simply WILL NOT believe the truth:
We have another urgent priority: homeland security. In this unprecedented fight against terror, the front lines are in our own neighborhoods and communities. This one hits home. In 1999, an al-Qaida operative tried to enter my state with a trunk full of explosives. Thankfully, he was caught just in time. Now, a year and a half after Sept. 11, America is still far too vulnerable. Last year Congress authorized $2.5 billion in vital new resources to protect our citizens - for equipment for firefighters and police, to protect ports, to guard against bioterrorism, to secure nuclear power plants and more. It's hard to believe, but President Bush actually refused to release the money. Republicans now say we can't afford it. The Democrats say: If we're serious about protecting our homeland, we can and we must.


UPDATE 11:36. It's sad that so many [online bloggers] will take their que from Instapundit, even though he offered no serious analysis or actually made sense.
Just what does this mean
From what I've seen, Bush did pretty well on Iraq, and got a passing grade (with perhaps an extra point or two for audacity) on the domestic side. However, if you grade on the curve with Gary Locke plugged in, he gets an A[?????????]. (Andrew Sullivan would give Bush an A outright.) What I saw of Locke in the playback looked weak, and others seem to agree. He came across like a city councilman. Not a bad city councilman, but not somebody ready for primetime at the national level, at least not yet.


Not read for primetime? Was there anything about what he said? Scratch below the surface, dude. Everyone. Keep the inspectors there. If they are doing what they are doing now there will be no progress on any weapons program in Iraq.





HISTORICAL? HYSTERICAL? HORRIFIC?

I have not looked anywhere else for commentary before writing my own. Forgive me if something is repetative to something you read elsewhere.

Let's clear one thing up first. The State of the Union has a long tradition of Santa standing up there with his bag of goodies, dolling them out. There is even a sorrier tradition of taking these toys back. In other words, not following through on the promises. That is true of all presidents, though the take back amount varies.

SO, you should not expect any money for Africa and the promise of hydrogen-fueled cars is an empty promise.
With a new national commitment, our scientists and engineers will overcome obstacles to taking these cars from laboratory to showroom - so that the first car driven by a child born today could be powered by hydrogen, and pollution-free.

That's a built in 16 or 17 years before today's child comes of age. Safely removed from even a re-election promise. Right now these cars exist and sell for $700,000**. Why does it seem like such a reversal of the Rove administration's previous policies? Because it is.

As far as money relief fo Africa - that news should have reached Sen. Bill Frist before he pushed to redice general African aid - the first flexing of his muscle as Senate Majority leader just to show that he could do it.

I'm not going to fisk the speech - that would take far too long and achieve little.

But a few more observations.
Hitlerism?
Project BioShield?

The strongest part of the speech seems to have been the latter part, the foreign policy section. I knew and was aware of Saddam's atrocities and the unpalatable idea of numerous nuclear weapons in rogue hands ready for blackmail (though evidence of Saddam haivng such a plan or nukes is zero to none). But it is true that George Bush Junior still needed to use that stage to outline them because the vast majority of the American people do not. I'm not saying I'm superior, here. I'm saying that I have taken the time to look around and read. And I remember the First Gulf War. I was living in England at the time. A country had been invaded. That was a right and just war. It was clearly not only for the protection of oil.

I'm not saying the coming war is about that, either, but there is also no good reason for it. I say that because much of what George Bush Junior outlined last night a lot of people already knew - certainly the people who have been making the decisions over the last 20 years.

The only other large picture observation I have is that he kept on announcing new ways to spend money - $1.2 billion for hydrogen-fuel research, $15B** million for African AIDS research. Then he wants to give $650 billion away in taxes. That is a clear disconnect.

And he never really talked about thew cost of war - in human or financial terms. I think many people who are for the war believe there will be a repeat of the first short and relatively painless war. Maybe. This time, though, we have reportedly, made a declaration that we would stay and help the country rebuild. Is there a cost attached to that? You betcha. Hundreds of billions of dollars if we are devoted to it.

But see, he already announced that the recession is over so we can now afford it with increased revenues:
During the last two years, we have seen what can be accomplished when we work together. To lift the standards of our public schools, we achieved historic education reform - which must now be carried out in every school, and every classroom, so that every child in America can read, and learn, and succeed in life. To protect our country, we reorganized our government and created the Department of Homeland Security - which is mobilizing against the threats of a new era. To bring our economy out of recession, we delivered the largest tax relief in a generation.

My opinion has not changed from that visual expression yesterday. Sorry to those who disagree. You would likely say I'm weak-minded or just weak and afraid of war. To that, I'd say, look at the military chiefs who are against it. Not convinced? Yesterday, General Norman Schwarzkopf came out for caution in introducing another war. You think that was deliberate timing? I do.

I was able to listen to most of it on the way into Seattle. A beautiful evening, by the way. Clear and the lights of the city glowed brightly. Horrific.

**Corrections: Hydrogen-fueled cars currently sell for $70,000. I first put in $600m for Emergency AIDS research. I got that figure confused with the amount of money for drug-abuse prevention in this country.




January 28, 2003

SMART PEOPLE AGAINST WAR

UPDATE 17:38 dumb people for the war
This was a comment left at Atrios from "a libertarian.". He's responding to a posting by KOMO news here in Seattle, which already seeks to guess the SotU.
OMFG. Gary Locke? That guy couldn't make a decision on how to find his way out of a wet paper vomit bag. And of course we need to give states and cities money, because state governments run by lameasses like Locke refuse to take responsibility for poor planning and overspending. Washington State is a poster child for overspent state governments and Locke runs the asylum. That will have some credibility. Hahaha.

Since you didn't really post anything about Bush's speach I don't need to comment. A lack of information on a subject wont hold you guys back though.


Let's talk about everyday people. You are one more than likely.. Does Bush speak for you?
How about these people? They have brains. They are - dut da da dut daaaaaa the
Nobel Laureates Against Iraq

Smart? Well, the right will try and ignore them as they've tried to minimalize and dismiss antiwar demonstrators.

FYI: Laura Bush's guest list 2002 (As if she had any say on who's sitting there).
Kristen Pappano
Joseph Pappano
Doro Koch
Seat left open
Richard Phillip Beck
Georgia Louise Beck
Marine Corps Corporal Michael Vera
Greg Hantak
Margaret Bush
Dr. Kurt Kooyer
Army Master Sergeant Juan Carlos Morales
Mildred Beemer
James Beemer
Henry Lozano
Dr. Denise Baker
Mayor Anthony Williams
Karen Hughes
David McCullough
Mrs. Cheney
Sister Maria Fest
Mrs. Bush
Air Force Reservist Maureen Allen
Tonja Myles
Lenny Compton
John Cochran
David Hobbs


And the ubiqutious Guest to be named later

I don't have time to look up these people - wish I'd found it earlier. The seat left open is for the victims of Sept. 11. Pleeeeeeeeeease. THEY DID NOT DO THIS IN THE 2002 ADDRESS. See people didn't need to be reminded of his "greatest moment" then. Now? Well, there haven't been any great moments since then.

It's make or break time. I think it'll be "break" to Hawks and to anyone who is truly honest with themselves. The Rove administration has already started the cult of low expectations. That's because George Bush Junior can't step up to the plate and deliver.

PS Just try and find last year's State of the Union at WhiteHouse.gov. It's on the site but I had to Google "text 2002 state union" instead. But there are a lot of bells and whistles but not much of substance. Yes, the correlation to "Reagan's Son" is obvious.

MY ANTICIPATED REACTION

I will revise this if necessary. But I'm going to be out tonight.


January 27, 2003

ALTRIA

= Philip Morris. Name change. Obstensibly to "let the public better understand our corporate structure." Sure do.

New
Bullet Proof Town Car. Yeah - gotta love the future, right?

My laugh does not transmute well over the Internet, but - pffffftt. Giggle. As RebeccaBlood opines: "Could they have picked a worse title."

There used to be a cartoon series in England, Captain Pugwash, with characters, Master Bates, Seaman Stains, and Roger the Cabin Boy. It was, ahem, quickly pulled. PS, damn, just looking for a link I found out his was a "myth." Still... .



WHEW

Means, I don't have to write about a
Safire column that seemed loose and fast with the facts. Although it did make me think and I do not 100-percent discount it. There just wasn't much "it."
Go to LeanLeft about that.




WOW WOW WOW OH
The UN weapons inspection report? Nothing surprising. They came out against Saddam with about the same level of veracity as I thought they would.
The response from Republicans has also been somewhat of a yawn. They knew they were going to ignore it anyway.

My take. Inspectors, in the business of Iraq day in and day out, will be enough to limit any effort for nuclear weapons.


I have honestly tried to come up with the reasons to go to war against Iraq, ignoring the timing and the current president.

Let's tackle the Hitler comparison and dispense with it quickly. Europe ignored Hitler to their great pain. He invaded their countries and many were killed. Iraq can never do that. They already knew they would receive a great beating. They still know that.

If they develop a suitcase nuke - is there any question they will use it? This question has me most worried the most. If they did, I would support massive troop deployment and regime change. I would march with flags and be in complete support.
So why wait for that to happen, you ask?
Well, I still believe Hussein will die. I think that's a given. It;'s called old age. I'd say in about three years, he loses the power to think clearly - something he is leaning toward already. In the meantime, a vast inspections program. A heavy inspections presence day in and day out for the next 10 years. Like random drug-testing.

Would regime change go a long way to making this a safer and better world? On the surface it appears so. But there's a delicate balance of relations in the Middle East.

Lastly, but of course it should be uppermost, is the American public. A public which is not in support of unilateral action. A public which isn't convinced Iraq is the greatest threat. A public which is remembering the pledge to get Osama bin Laden, dead or alive.

Polls show this. Research also shows that a significant number of people think many of the people who hijacked the 9-11 planes were Iraqi. Pols get different, more precise results, because they often ask questions, that people have forgotten to ask themselves.

The Iraqi people hate America. Face it, so do many other countries. Some are on the UN Security Council. It's called getting along in the world.




CAN I WRITE FOR THE NY TIMES PLEASE

GOVERNOR GARY LOCKE
See
previous post for more.

The NY Times has an article, which seems to repeat what I've got going here. I like to be ahead of the curve. PS I just got the NY TImes update. Well, it came at 2 a.m. but I just checked my e-mail.

This line from the article rang true: "So his biography may be more powerful than the message he plans to deliver in a bit more than 10 minutes Tuesday night."

Ten minutes? That's so unfair. Still, it's a journalistic ethos - say it stronger and shorter.

UPDATE 4:42 - I have to disagree with the last line:
Mr. Locke is not known as a dynamic speaker. When asked how he felt approaching Tuesday's speech, the biggest political moment of his life, he said, "Yikes!"

Well, dynamic as in "rousing the crowd." - no he' s not. Effective? Yes, as I indicated above. Biggest political moment in his life. I'd lay bets it was actually becoming governor.

And seriously, what point did I miss that was covered in the NY Times article? And I made it sound more interesting.



WELCOME TO AMERICA

Land of the belligerent. Colin Powell, 180 days and counting, says this:

"When we feel strongly about something, we will lead, we will
act, even if others are not prepared to join us."
-SECRETARY OF STATE COLIN L. POWELL.

here

PS: a handy dandy tip. Subscribe to NY Times now and get their e-mail updates. The links from there do not die and do not get archived into the "premium" section. Unlike those from visiting the site. Strange but true. I still have NY Times e-mail updates from 2001. Boom, they go straight to the stories as do more recent ones.




A PARTIAL EXPLANATION

A partial explanation for why I, accurately, say this is the Rove administration.
Howardowens, once asked, finding it annoying. [PS. He's got a good site that thankfully goes beyond politics because I disagree with him vehemently and he neve rmakes logica points - KIDDING, honest].

Go here for a clue. I'm letting others speak for me right now because it's late and it wasn't just a highball of Coke and whiskey I had - i'm downing a pint. The whiskey in question btw is 8-year-old Bell's extra special - Scottish. And , yes, I do feel a little guilty mixing it with, not even Coke, but Pepsi - it was left over from my sister-in-law. It was the only thing to do.





TWO CLASSIC LINES

... from
Howie Kurtz transcript, the intro: HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: The stars speak out against war in Iraq. Are the media minimizing the movement by booking Hollywood celebrities instead of anti-war organizers? Actress Janeane Garofalo says absolutely.

haaaaa haaaaaaaaa - and I Iove Janeane (oh, yes I do), don't get me wrong. But this was flat out funny.
Kurtz, he's no Bob Woodward, but like Avis, he tries harder. (This would have worked better if Media Whores Online had functioning archives. Woodward was the Media Whore of the Year, see.)



IF FOR NO OTHER REASON

Um, @@this picture is being posted, if for no other reason than to be on the giving end of an inside joke.
Truth be told, in a, shall we say "feeling happy"moment
Mr. Prophet e-mailed me seeing three keyboards, with the subject line, "squirrel nuts." (actually it was "sqrlly nuts")

What followed was a sordid tale. And look where it's taken us.
@@ image stolen from Bartcop from wherever he found it.
And no, in answer to your question., I just took the first sip of a whiskey and coke.
Estimated Prophet, EP for short, is a thinker. He gets all the usual reading we all do but he goes beynd the obvious links and asks you to spend some time at his site -- downloading large mp3s. No, really. He expects you, as I do to sit down and think, actually think about what you're being fed. Not just what you think is right, but what you, by looking into the matter, know is right. You are informed by the web of information. He is much more link generous than I am in his postings.

I am a writer and, in this medium, I like to think I can convince people along the way that I am coherent and cohesive and correct. BTW, I had to write some extra here because I didn't want the nuts swinging to the left of my Locke posting, which I shamelessly plugged to a few sites. I expect one link, maybe two if they can look past the nuts. And if you are transfixed, hypnotised by that swinging, toe tapping and head bobbing - you got some issues baby.

And if you're being fed squirrel nuts, well, uh, well, ick.



GOVERNOR GARY LOCKE

I know I like Gary Locke, having interviewed him at least three times. I also like him for the way he delivers his messages. He is extremely eloquent and a listener can tell he sincerely believes what he says - even if its the 100th time he has said it.

My personal feelings are of no account here. I'm going to try and paint him as Washington State sees him. I will present links to many of his speeches and try and develop a full picture of the man and his record.

On Tuesday, he will address the nation following George Bush Junior's state of the union address to Congress and the nation. I do not know exactly why he was chosen. I found out today one big reason is that this year he chairs the Democrat Governor's Association.

He has already indicated his comments will be less about partisan shots and more about solutions for the country. If so, he's a better man than I. I couldn't resist taking some well-directed barbs. But offering solutions is good too - and something I plan to do more with this site.

Gary Locke, bio basics
In 1996, Gary Locke became the first Chinese-American governor ever elected in the nation. He took office on Martin Luther King Jr Day, Jan. 15 1997. He had formerly been a procecutor, and the Executive of King County, the most populous county in the state, with Seattle inside it's boundary.

In 1982 he was elected for three terms (six years) to the state House of Representatives.

He was born in Seattle, Washington. On Jan. 21 he turned 53 years old.

Onto the politics. He is well-liked in the state, overall. He was re-elected in 2000 by a wide margin. His competition was John Carlson, a Republican radio talk show host then and now (who seems to be gearing up to run again in 2004.)

Early on Locke built a record on good feelings, mostly. He was good for the state.
He inherited a tough budget from his predecessor, Gov. Mike Lowry, also a Democrat. The state managed to create and drop money in a rainy day fund. We had a surplus for a biennium. (More of the history and the rise and falls, later.)

Today, that Rainy Day Fund (that was its name) is dry. The state has a $2.4 billion shortfall in a $23 billion biennium that must be erased. The state has a constitutional balanced budget requirement, as do the majority of states.

ILast year the state Leislature went into three extra sessions just to pass a budget amendment to try and shore up $1.2 billion. This was accomplished mostly through an increase in cigarette and gas taxes, as well as a one time grab from tobacco settlement money.

His and the state's predicement has been a public that does not trust the Legislature to handle money. As a result, Referendum 51, a $7.2 billion transportation budget to fund road projects throughout the stateon the back of a 9 cent gas tax increase, was handily defeated.

No money. There have been Public Initiatives passed (aka public petitions) which reduced car excise taxes, and the ability of municipal, county and state elected bodies to raise taxes.

That hasn't helped but it's not the only financial problem in this state. Other states also have large budget gaps to fill (don't call them deficits, they aren't the federal government), without these problems.

Gov. Gary Locke has been criticized in the past for both being too welcoming to business, with directed tax breaks to selected industries or companies, and also critized as being unfriendly to business in not urging a restructing of a Business and Operations Tax that is now widely thought of as unfair. The B&O tax is often cited as a reason that the Boeing Company moved its headquarters to Chicago.

The other main reason, cited, is transportation (mentioned earlier).

We're hurting, who's to blame

For two of the last three years the state House of Representatives has had an exact 50-50 split. No party has had the majority. In one of those years, the Senate was the same. This year, Republicans have a one vote majority in the Senate and the Democrats control the House.

This past reality of the state Legislature has made it even more difficult to get anything accomplished.

In unguarded moments, state Republicans can be heard to say, there is no one to blame for everything - things have happened to this state. For instance, think of the two industries in America that have tanked in recent years. Got them?

That's right, Dot.com technologies and the airline industry. The state for a short period had the highest rate of unemployment (6.9 percent) in the nation. It is still high. We're hurting.

The "fix" Gov. Locke proposes are deep cuts in programs cherished in the state. The proverbial tough choices are being made to slash, among other items:

-- Basic Health provider coverage for the poor.
-- A freeze on teacher's pays, which, with increased medical insurance costs paid out of pocket, will actually result in a pay decrease. This one could be considered a broken promise, as he personally put his efforts behind passing the Initiatives that asked for the pay increase and an another for a reduction in class size.
-- Cuts in the state's WorkFirst program job placement.training program, which he personally administers.
-- A cut overall of 2,500 jobs in state government. This cut would bring the level of government employment back down to the same number as was in place when he first became governor in 1997.

In a state of six million souls, there have been recent reports and strong indications that the state's population is actually decreasing. My theory on this is, if someone is going to be undemployed, they want to do it in a warmer and sunnier state.

The main criticism of Locke now is that there has been inaction and little progress in everything from traffic gridlock to school test scores. He lets serious matters coast for too long, which results in problems that are worse. Remember though, the deadlocked Legislature over the last three years. That doesn't serve to make the job of pushing through innovative legislation any easier.

MISCELLANEOUS
He opened the NY Stock Exchange Oct. 9, 2001.
He once chased a flying bat around the governor's mansion with a broom.


Later today, THE LINKS I PROMISED. SPEECHES. OTHERS' OPINIONS OF THE MAN
If you can't wait, many speeches can be found at the
Governor's Web site



JUST SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
This is from the,
Future of Freedom Foundation, a group that pisses me off as much as they make good points. Sometimes that happens simultaneously.
I get sent this for op-ed publishing - even though I've tried to tell them to actually send it to the newspaper I used to work for. So, I'm publishing it here, as an op-ed.


Bush to Chavez: Just Ignore Your Constitution
by Jacob G. Hornberger

President Bush's recent advice to embattled Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez reflects Bush's cavalier attitude toward constitutional restraints. In the midst of all the political turmoil in Venezuela, Bush, who apparently despises Chavez, aligned himself with his political opponents and called for early presidential elections, with the aim of ousting Chavez from power prior to the end of his six-year term in 2006.

The problem, which Bush apparently didn't think was any big deal, is that the Venezuelan constitution does not allow for the calling of such early elections.

Several months ago, the Bush administration tacitly endorsed a military coup in which Chavez was temporarily ousted from power in favor of army generals who would now be running the country. (Since U.S. files on these things are customarily not opened for at least 30 years, owing to "national security," we may not know until at least 2033 what exactly the U.S. government's role was in the attempted military takeover.) To Bush's apparent dismay, however, the people of Venezuela ousted the military men from political power and restored their democratically elected president to power.

As most everyone knows, Chavez is a died-in-the-wool Marxist socialist, much as Salvador Allende was when he was elected president of Chile in 1970. In 1973, Allende was ousted in a military coup in favor of army general Augusto Pinochet.

While the U.S. government still refuses to open its files on its involvement in the Pinochet coup (despite the lapse of nearly 30 years), many people suspect that the U.S. government, primarily through its agents in the CIA, helped to engineer the military takeover in Chile.

During the succeeding 17 years, Pinochet and his military minions instituted a "war on terrorism" that ending up killing, torturing, and terrorizing thousands of Chilean people, partly through the military tribunals that the Pinochet regime was using for its judicial system.

We might not like it that other countries elect died-in-the wool socialists to office, but why isn't that their democratic right? After all, if the American people have the right to elect such ardent advocates of the socialistic welfare state as Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, why shouldn't
the people of other countries have the democratic right to elect Marxist socialists to office?

To put it another way, what moral right does the U.S. government have to interfere with the democratic processes of other countries? Indeed, what moral right does it have to use U.S. taxpayer money to finance foreign political campaigns, which it often does? Isn't it a violation of U.S. law for foreign governments and foreign nationals to interfere with American political campaigns? Doesn't that make the U.S. government vulnerable to a charge of hypocrisy?

Moreover, isn't it somewhat embarrassing that our elected officials favor unelected military generals to run the governments of foreign countries? Isn't it also embarrassing that our own president advises foreign rulers to simply ignore the constitutional restraints that their citizenry have imposed upon them?

After all, a constitution is the supreme law of the land that the citizenry have imposed on their public officials to control the exercise of their political power. If public officials can simply ignore those restraints, isn't such omnipotent political power what dictatorship is all about? And isn't the United States supposed to stand against dictatorship, especially when it uses such political devices as a "war on terrorism" to torture, kill, jail, and terrorize innocent people, as the Pinochet regime did?

Unfortunately, as everyone knows, in knowingly and willfully deciding to ignore the provision of the U.S. Constitution that requires him to secure a congressional declaration of war before waging war, Bush is engaged in the very same constitutional misconduct that he advised Chavez to commit.

The good news is that a few days after he advised Chavez to ignore his country's constitution, Bush recanted and called for a referendum instead of new elections in Venezuela. Maybe he'll do the same here before he orders an invasion of Iraq.



January 26, 2003

OPEN SECRETS SPIN

The Dean Esmay site talks about
Politics as Usual. He quotes another site, Smarter Harper's, quoting data from the Open Secrets Web site. Open Secrets is a valuable source, except when it's read incorrectly.

The point Smarter and Dean were trying to make, is that rich people and big money support Democrats, and the middle class, small business owners and "real Americans" are the "backbone" of Republican support. It's the Democrats, which is the party of big money, they say.

As I posted in comments over at The Dean's site, you can take good data and make it bad. As he did. Smarter Harper's point was that it is a Democrat at the top of the individual donor's list and Democrat supporters hold the top seven or eight positions.

Great. That is a fact. But here's what that fact doesn't reveal and why Dean and SH draw false conclusions. First those numbers do not include money donated to PACs and lobbyists.Toddle on over to the Top Industry donors Open Secrets page and you get a different, but still highly factual, picture. That picture is that in the 2002 election cycle, Democrats received $183 million from industries (with lawyers at the top for Democrats). Republicans received $467 million. These figures do include PAC and lobbyist money.

True these are not absolute numbers. They represent donations from industries that are "D-leaning" or "R-leaning." But it still shows a wide disparity of big business in favor of Republicans, which has always been the point.

Even if the Democrats do receive large donations from rich people, they are not subservient to them - the Democrats still push to tax the rich. BECAUSE THEY CAN AFFORD IT. The rich seem to realize this overall too.
Go figure.
Also there was no mention of the painfully obvious link on the right of the Open Secrets homepage (at time of posting). The article at the end of the link is titled The House Money Built: House Republicans Reward Top Fund-Raisers with Committee Chairmanships

It begins:
January 16, 2003 | The Republican leadership's new roster of House committee chairmen has ruffled a few feathers on Capitol Hill. Majority Leader Tom DeLay (Texas) and Speaker Dennis Hastert (Ill.) abandoned the traditional method of choosing chairmen based on seniority and instead favored members who demonstrated both fundraising savvy and party loyalty.

DeLay and Hastert tapped five new members to fill vacant posts on the Armed Services, Resources, Government Reform and Agriculture Committees, as well as the newly-minted Homeland Security Committee. The five new chairmen aren't just any old members, either. They donated a total of more than $1 million to the National Republican Congressional Committee and contributed nearly $500,000 more to House and Senate candidates through their candidate committees and leadership PACs in the 2002 election cycle.


I added a permanent link on the left to Dean's site.