That's "Campana-stan" or ''Land of Campana." It reflects the Weltanschauung of Michael E. Campana, President-for-Life of the Republic of Campanastan. Welcome to Campanastan - no passports or visas required!
Texas Agriculture Law Blog Don't let the name fool you - there are lots of water issues in agriculture and Tiffany Dowell of Texas A&M University does a fabulous job with this important Internet resource. Give it a read - I do every day!
The Way of Water Oregon State University Geography PhD Student, Jennifer Veilleux, records her fieldwork, research, and thoughts about transboundary water resources development in the Nile River and Mekong River basins. Particular attention is given to Ethiopia's Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and Laos' Xayaburi Dam projects.
Thirsty in Suburbia Gayle Leonard documents things from the world of water that make us smile: particularly funny, amusing and weird items on bottled water, water towers, water marketing, recycling, the art-water nexus and working.
This Day in Water History Michael J. 'Mike' McGuire, engineer extraordinaire, NAE member, and author of 'The Chlorine Revolution', blogs about historical happenings in the fields of drinking water and wastewater keyed to calendar dates.
WaSH Resources New publications, web sites and multi-media on water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH).
Water 50/50 From Jay Famiglietti at UC-Irvine. Fifty lectures in fifty weeks: The 2012 Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lectureship. A global lecture tour delivering the message about our changing water cycle, groundwater depletion, and the future of freshwater availability.
Watering the Desert Aptly-titled blog by CJ Brooks, a lawyer-hydrologist-geologist from Tucson, AZ.
Watershed Moments: Thoughts from the Hydrosphere From Sarah Boon - rediscovering her writing and editing roots after 13 years, primarily as an environmental scientist. Her writing centres around creative non-fiction, specifically memoir and nature writing. The landscapes of western Canada are her main inspiration.
WaterWired All things fresh water: news, comment, and analysis from hydrogeologist Michael E. Campana, Professor at Oregon State University.
Watery Foundation Tom Swihart, formerly of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, tells all about water management in the Sunshine State.
Western Water Blog The 'mystery blog' about Western USA water issues. What more can I say?
Wisdom in Water, Please... Kate Wilkins-Wells , who manages the Northwest Kansas Groundwater Management District No. 4, provides her wisdom on water issues.
xAnalytical Doug Walker's xAnalytical blog:Turning Data and Information into Knowledge
Friend and colleague Ari Michelsen (an economist) sent me this item from Mike Whitney. I am posting it 'as is'. Comments are welcomed!
Why was Adolph Hitler able to lift Germany out of the Great Depression, when
policymakers in the US–particularly the Fed–have failed so miserably?
Let’s look at the facts: When Hitler came to power in 1933, the German
economy was in a shambles. Millions of people were out of work, a number of
large banks had collapsed, the market for German exports had dried up
overnight, and a US-led lending freeze (withdrawal of credits under the Young
Plan) had thrust German industry and finance into a severe slump. By 1932,
German industrial production was nearly half of what it had been a year
earlier. Unemployment soared from 1.5 million in 1929 to more than 6 million in
Enter Hitler, who had been sworn in as chancellor under President Paul von
Hindenburg in January, 1933. Hitler appointed German economist and banker,
Hjalmar Schacht, as President of the Reichsbank and Minister of Economics.
Schacht, in turn, launched a groundbreaking fiscal stimulus program that rebuilt
the nation’s worn infrastructure and put millions of people back to work. At
the same time, Schacht took steps to strengthen the currency, jettison the gold
standard, and impose capital controls, all of which served to reinforce
Germany’s economic independence. Here’s a little background from C.K.Liu’s Asia
Times article “Nazism and the German Economic Miracle”:
The Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, at a time when its economy was
in total collapse, with ruinous war-reparation obligations and zero prospects
for foreign investment or credit. Yet through an independent monetary policy of
sovereign credit and a full-employment public-works program, the Third Reich
was able to turn a bankrupt Germany, stripped of overseas colonies it could
exploit, into the strongest economy in Europe within four years, even before
armament spending began.” (“Nazism and the German Economic Miracle,” Henry C.
K. Liu, Asia Times)
Clearly, “Depression expert” Bernanke’s performance pales in comparison to
and for obvious reasons. While zero rates and bond purchases (QE)
have been good for risk assets, (Stocks are up more than 140 percent since
their March 2009 lows.) unemployment is still above 7 percent, real wages are
trending lower, GDP has shriveled to below 2 percent, 47 million people are on
food stamps, and inequality is greater than anytime since the Gilded Era. The
facts speak for themselves; Bernanke’s policies have only benefited the
investor class. The real economy is still flat on its back.
That’s not to say that Hitler was not a murderous psychopath. He was, but
there’s also reason why his policies have been applauded by leftist
intellectuals, like Counterpunch co-editor Alexander Cockburn, who spoke
admiringly of Hitler’s “progressive economic policies.” Here’s a quote from
Hitler, genocidal monster that he was, was also the first practicing
Keynesian leader. … There were vast public works, such as the autobahns. He
paid little attention to the deficit or to the protests of the bankers about
his policies. … By 1936, unemployment had sunk to 1 percent. (Alexander
Cockburn is not alone in his admiration for Hitler’s (or should we say
Schacht’s) fiscal policies. Keynes himself praised the policies although he
despised Hitler and Nazism. Writing in the foreword of the German edition his
magnum opus The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, Keynes said:
The theory of output as a whole, which is what the following book purports to
provide, is much more easily adapted to the conditions of a totalitarian state,
than is the theory of production and distribution of a given output produced
under the conditions of free competition and a large measure of laissez-faire.
This doesn’t mean that Keynes supported autocratic government. He didn’t. He
was merely acknowledging that “demand management” (which is essential for
minimizing the negative effects of the business cycle) is more easily achieved
with a strong central government, since government spending is required to take
up the slack in aggregate demand during a slump. Government has an important
role to play when demand is weak and the economy slumps. The government can
(and should) use deficit spending to increase activity, put idle resources to
work, boost output, lower unemployment, and put the economy back on a solid
growth-path. Hitler may not have grasped this, but surely Schacht did. Here’s
more from Liu’s article:
From the very outset of his rule, Hitler, whose main short-term goal was
the economic revival of Germany with the help of German nationalist bankers and
industrialists, won popular support of the nation. Hitler adopted an aggressive
full-employment campaign. Between January 1933 and July 1935 the number of
employed Germans rose by a half, from 11.7 million to 16.9 million. More than 5
million new jobs paying living wages were created. Unemployment was banished
from the German economy and the entire nation was productively engaged in
reconstruction. Inflation was brought under control by wage freeze and price
control. Besides this, taking into account the lessons learned during 1914-18,
Hitler aimed at creating an economy that would be independent from foreign
capital and supply, and be well protected from another blockade and economic
war. For Germans, all of the above was proof that Hitler was the one who had
not only brought Germany out of economic depression but would take it directly
to prosperity with new pride. German popular trust in the Fuehrer rose
dramatically.” (“Nazism and the German Economic Miracle,” Henry C. K. Liu, Asia
Hitler was no friend of labor, but he knew that full employment would widen
his base of popular support. In contrast, Bernanke and his colleagues at the
Fed could care less about popularity or jobs. What they want is to slash critical
safetynet programs that protect the old, the sick and the needy. That’s what QE
is really all about; it’s a way of redistributing wealth upwards (through
rising stock prices) while Congress and the Obama administration “starve the
beast” via budget cuts. Reactionary elites have created a bogus deficit crisis
so they can impose their neoliberal agenda of deregulation, privatization, low
taxes, and austerity on working people.
Hitler garnered support for militarization through labor intensive public works
projects that transformed the nation in an economic powerhouse. Schacht played
a crucial role in the recovery. Along with strict capital controls and other
protectionist policies, Schacht stopped the private issuance of money and
“launched a new land-backed currency”. Here’s how author Ellen Brown sums it up
in a passage from her masterpiece Web of Debt:
Hitler began his national credit program by devising a plan of public
works. Projects earmarked for funding included flood control, repair of public
buildings and private residences, and construction of new buildings, roads,
bridges, canals, and port facilities. The projected cost of the various
programs was fixed at one billion units of the national currency. One billion
non-inflationary bills of exchange, called Labor Treasury Certificates, were
then issued against this cost. Millions of people were put to work on these
projects, and the workers were paid with the Treasury Certificates. This
government-issued money wasn’t backed by gold, but it was backed by something
of real value. It was essentially a receipt for labor and materials delivered
to the government.
Hitler said, “for every mark that was issued we required the equivalent of a
mark’s worth of work done or goods produced.” The workers then spent the
Certificates on other goods and services, creating more jobs for more people…
Within two years, the unemployment problem had been solved and the country
was back on its feet. It had a solid, stable currency, no debt, and no
inflation, at a time when millions of people in the United States and other
Western countries were still out of work and living on welfare. (“Thinking
Outside the Box: How a Bankrupt Germany solved its Infrastructure Problems”,
Ellen Brown, Web of Debt, Third Millennium Press)
This is the largely unknown story of Hitler’s rise to power, an ascent that
depended on “an independent monetary policy of sovereign credit” rather than
the issuance of loans by privately-owned banks. (Public money vs private money)
Hitler took the bankers out of the equation and rebuilt Germany in just four
Why doesn’t Bernanke do the same thing? Why doesn’t Bernanke purchase
Infrastructure bonds or Education bonds instead of Mortgage Backed Securities
(MBS) which only benefit the bankers. Why doesn’t Bernanke practice what he
preached to the bigwigs at the Japan Society of Monetary Economics, in May 2003
when he outlined steps for monetizing tax cuts. Here’s what he said:
The Bank of Japan should consider increasing still further its purchases of
government debt, preferably in explicit conjunction with a program of tax cuts
or other fiscal stimulus… Consider for example a tax cut for households and
businesses that is explicitly coupled with incremental BOJ purchases of
government debt–so that the tax cut is in effect financed by money creation.
Now there’s a novel idea; printing money to help the average working stiff.
That ought to increase activity and boost growth, don’t you think? So why is
Bernanke still dumping $85 billion per month into a black-hole financial system
instead of following his own advice and using his power to put people back to
work and get the economy back on track?
The economy is in the doldrums because that’s where Bernanke and Co. want it
“There’s something in our world that makes men lose their heads- they couldn’t be fair if they treid. In our courts, when it’s a white man’s word against a black man’s word, the white always wins. They’re ugly, but these are the facts of life.” - Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (c. p. 220)
Here is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's letter to the Congressional Native American Caucus supporting the status quo vis-a-vis the renaming of the Washington Redskins. Many consider the term 'redskin' racist, analogous to calling an African-American 'nigger' or an Italian-American 'dago'.
Racist? C'mon, man!
Goodell forgot to mention that the owner of the team at the time of the name designation was George Preston Marshall, one of the NFL's most notorious racists who refused to sign an African-American player until 1962, when he was forced to.
Way to go, Roger! Your father would be so proud of your principled stance.
"We'll start signing Negroes when the Harlem Globetrotters start signing whites." - George Preston Marshall
He took the picture down shortly after posting it, and the local NBC affiliate reports that he put up a cryptic status minutes later: 'Isn't a shame
how some think all apples in a barrel are bad if they find one? Oh by the way, this is not me in this picture!'
The photo has Islamic advocacy groups outraged, particularly because there has been a string of anti-Muslim incidents in Tennessee in recent years.
Mosques have been vandalized four times, prompting a justice department investigation.
Though local groups are calling for an apology from Mr West- which he has denied- it also seems that there will be no formal rebuke from the Coffee County Mayor.
Channel 4 spoke with Mayor David Pennington who said that while he was aware of the photo, he is not in a position to take action.
'My answer to that is you know what a commissioner does in his off time, as long as its not in a full commission meeting, I have no control over what a commissioner does,' he said.
I can imagine what the caption would have been 50 years ago. Take a guess.
'I’m prejudiced against anyone who’s trying to tear down this country, Muslims, Mexicans, anybody." - Barry West
The North Korean leaders are terribly misunderstood. They are not warmongers, nor are they anti-social. The reason they keep to themselves and are so cranky and belligerent is simple: they are terribly self-conscious because they have really bad haircuts.
Yes, take a look at Kim Jong-il, the departed Dear Leader. Would you have gone out much if you had had his haircut? Would you have been a benevolent, generous leader when you knew your own people were secretly laughing uncontrollably at the mere thought of your hair? You'd also have a huge internal security apparatus and prisons everywhere. And could you present a serious proposal to world leaders when you looked like you were sporting a bad fright wig? You'd be cranky, too!
But this is not their fault; a few years ago it was discovered that North Koreans lack the gene that enables a person to give good haircuts to men. You remember one of my Vienna Reports (go back and readVienna Report 7 now) in which I described my encounter with Azerbaijan's Minister of the Interior, who had a really bad haircut. Turns out that Azerbaijan barbers were trained in North Korea!
Realizing that Mother Nature had dealt them a bad hand, the North Koreans recently asked the Japanese if they could borrow a few thousand barbers. But the Japanese are understandably reluctant to do so because the last time the North Koreans "borrowed" some Japanese, they forgot to return them for about 30 years. And when they did, they
had bad haircuts!
As for Kim Jung-un...well maybe some improvement is in the offing. He's still a young-un, and he did go to school in Switzerland.
Let's send him some Italian barbers.
"Don't I look like a midget's turd?" - Kim Jong-il to a kidnapped South Korean actress (alleged)
We all know instances of sports driving or leading society.Jackie Robinson taking the field on a cool, rainy day on 15 April 1947 comes to mind. But what about 19 March 1966?
On that day in College Park, MD, Texas Western University, formerly Texas School of Mines and now known as the University of Texas-El Paso, defeated basketball legend and bigot Adolph Rupp and his University of Kentucky Wildcats to win the NCAA major college basketball title, 72-65.
David beats Goliath - so?
Two 'southern' schools competed for the title, one with an all-white starting five (Kentucky) and the other with an all-black starting lineup. That was the first time a school - from the North or South - had started an all-black lineup in the NCAA championship game. In fact, until coach Don Haskins started five blacks in a game earlier that season no major college had ever started an all-black team. And in that championship game, Haskins played blacks exclusively.
Why was this such a big deal? From Frank Fitzpatrick'sexcellent story on ESPN Classic:
In 1966, American cultural and sporting mythology insisted at least one white starter was necessary for success. Black athletes, prevailing wisdom implied, needed the steadying hand of a white teammate. Otherwise, games would dissolve into chaos.
"There was a certain style of play whites expected from blacks," said Perry Wallace, who a year later at Vanderbilt became the first black basketball player in the Southeastern Conference. "`Nigger ball' they used to call it. Whites then thought that if you put five blacks on the court at the same time, they would somehow revert to their native impulses."
Chaos? Revert to their native impulses? WTF? More from Fitzpatrick:
Texas Western walked the ball up court, ran a rigidly patterned offense, and emphasized defense - allowing just 62 points a game.
"We were more white-oriented than any of the other teams in the Final Four (Duke and Utah were the others)," said Texas Western guard Willie Worsley. "We played the most intelligent, the most boring, the most disciplined game of them all."
How did Rupp hasndle defeat? Again, Fitzpatrick:
He always blamed the loss on a flu bug, on inept shooting, on the referees, sometimes embellishing his excuses with hints that Texas Western somehow had cheated by using ineligible players.
Haskins fumed at his counterpart's reaction. Later that year, when he and Rupp crossed paths at a sports banquet in Ohio, the younger coach nearly snapped. "I had been listening to all this damn crap out of him," said Haskins. "and it's a wonder I didn't say something to him about it. But I didn't."
You can bet Southern (and other) college basketball coaches started taking second looks at black players.
And college basketball - and society - changed for the better.
The tale has been the subject of a book and film, Glory Road.
Just a basketball game? Uh-huh. Just like 15 April 1947 Boston Braves v. Brooklyn Dodgers was just a baseball game.
"The running, gunning Texas quintet can do more things with a basketball than a monkey on a 50-foot jungle wire." - James H. Jackson, Baltimore Sun
"They can do everything with the basketball but sign it.'" - Rod Hundley, referring to the Texas Western starting lineup
Margaret Talbot has a great commentary, 'Higher Authority',in this week's (11 March2013) issue of The New Yorker. She deals with the current troubles of the Catholic Church, especially those dealing with sexual abuse of minors and related issues.
She relates the story of Cardinal Roger Mahony, recently deposed archbishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Seems that despite his woes, Mahony is in Rome and will serve as an elector of the new pope. Good for you, Roger!
What struck me was this passage in Talbot's article [italics mine]:
What is distinctive about child abuse in the Catholic Church is not its existence, or even its coverup; in recent months alone, we’ve seen evidence of similar cowardice at Penn State and the BBC. What is distinctive is that Catholic officials can find a higher purpose—protecting the sanctity of the priesthood—in shielding abusers, and a spiritually rewarding humility in enduring criticism of their conduct. Mahony has been blogging about the public disparagement he has received, and he compares it to what Christ withstood, urging the faithful to join him in exploring what it is to “take up our cross daily and to follow Jesus—in rejection, in humiliation, and in personal attack.” But, unlike the criminal prosecution of perpetrators—or real Church reform—that doesn’t do much to help victims or to prevent abuse.
Pretty neat - the Church and one of its elite using incidents of sexual abuse to achieve a 'higher purpose' and comparing it to what Jesus Christ underwent.
Next, here's her passage about women in the priesthood [again, italics are mine]:
Last fall, the Vatican dismissed an American priest who had participated in an ordination ceremony for a woman. The Church is doctrinally immune from majority rule, so perhaps it doesn’t matter that, according to a 2010 Times poll, sixty-seven per cent of American Catholics think priests should be allowed to marry and fifty-nine per cent think women should be allowed to be priests. Yet surely a Church that expels a priest for advocating women’s ordination faster than it does men who have been credibly accused of raping children is in some kind of trouble.
Couldn't agree more with her last sentence.
Can't wait to see which European Roger and his buddies elect. But be careful what you wish for. If you think a developing-world pope would be 'more liberal', recall that the most conservative - homophobic, anti-women - bishops in the Episcopalian/Anglican Church are from Africa.
“Theology being the work of males, original sin was traced to the female.” -Barbara W. Tuchman
Hard to imagine that my 'baby sister' should be turning 61 today. Yes, today would have been my younger
sister Ann Campana Judge's 61st birthday had not five Saudi Arabian murderers taken her life on 11 September 2001.
It's not hard for me to imagine what she might have looked like today: not much different than she did in this picture (she's on the left; my older sister Ellen is on the right). She was one of those
people who would never look her age. I think this photo was taken in Spring 2000.
America... just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable. - Hunter S. Thompson
"The ads they run are not generic party ads or issue ads—they are 'Bill-Clinton-is-the-best-thing-since-twist-off-caps' ads and 'Bob-Dole-is-the-cause-of-halitosis-and-genital-warts' ads... (I personally doubt the genital wart claim, but...) — Jim Hightower,If God Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates
Someone - a 'private family foundation' - has been paying for these billboards in predominanatly student, Latino, and African-American neighborhoods in the 'battleground state' cities of Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Columbus.
Must be the Obama campaign, urging its supporters to be careful. Uh-huh...
Clear Channel Communications, which owns the billboards, isn't saying. A spokesman wrote in an email to NPR that the advertiser asked to be anonymous. That goes against company policy, but he said the contract was signed by mistake and the company does not plan to take the billboards down.
"We will do all we can to ensure it does not happen again," the spokesman said.
He didn't respond to questions about why the company allowed almost identical billboards to go up anonymously in Milwaukee in 2010. They were also funded by a "private family foundation."
Right, Clear Channel!
"My impression and understanding is that they simply state what the law is in the state of Wisconsin." -Nathan Conrad, Republican Party of Wisconsin (from the story)
I just finished Timothy Snyder'sBloodlands, a book describing, in painstaking detail, the murder of over 14,000,000 people in the region between what is now central Poland to western Russia and north to the Baltic Sea and south to the Black Sea.
That region is what Snyder calls 'bloodlands'. On the accompanying map the bloodlands are the areas with the diagonal lines (from Anne Applebaum's review).
The slaughter occurred during the period 1933-1945 when Hitler and Stalin were murdering Jews, Poles, Ukrainians, Belarusians, et al. These people did not die because of war, but because deliberate decisions were made to murder them.
The book is one of the mist difficult I've ever read. But I am glad I did. Here is the Preface.
Americans call the Second World War "The Good War". But before it even began, America's wartime ally Josef Stalin had killed millions of his own citizens — and kept killing them during and after the war. Before Hitler was finally defeated, he had murdered six million Jews and nearly as many other Europeans. At war's end, both the German and the Soviet killing sites fell behind the iron curtain, leaving the history of mass killing in darkness.
Bloodlands is a new kind of European history, presenting the mass murders committed by the Nazi and Stalinist regimes as two aspects of a single history, in the time and place where they occurred: between Germany and Russia, when Hitler and Stalin both held power. Assiduously researched, deeply humane, and utterly definitive, Bloodlandswill be required reading for anyone seeking to understand the central tragedy of modern history.
Unforgettable and compelling. And did I say 'disturbing'?
But so necessary.
"No major war or act of mass killing in the twentieth century began without the aggressors or perpetrators first claiming innocence and victimhood. In the twenty-first century, we see a second wave of aggressive wars with victim claims, in which leaders not only present their peoples as victims but make explicit reference to the mass murders of the twentieth century. The human capacity for subjective victimhood is apparently limitless, and people who believe that they are victims can be motivated to perform acts of great violence." - Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands, p. 399-400.
Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King,Jr ,,who would have turned 83 yesterday. I have come to appreciate and admire him (and all the civil rights workers) by reading Taylor Branch's brillianttrilogyof the civil rights era: Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63; Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-65; and At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years 1965-68.
What thoroughly amazes me were the toughness, resiliency, and resolve of the civil rights workers, and how they honored King's insistence upon nonviolent resistance. Along with King, the names of heroes such as John Lewis, Ralph Abernathy, Hosea Williams, Rosa Parks, Coretta King, Septima Clark, James Meredith, Andrew Young, Marian Wright, Diane Nash, Fannie Lou Hamer, James Bevel, Bob Moses, et al., are forever burned in my mind. Similarly, I shall not soon forget place names like Selma and Montgomery, or people like Lester Maddox, George Wallace, Bull Connor, Orval Faubus, Strom Thurmond, and their ilk.
As I read the aforementioned books, cringing at what humans can do to each other, one thought haunted me: what would I have done had I been a Southern white person during that time (I am actually half-North Carolina Scots-Irish WASP)? I've concluded that I probably would not have been one of the segregationist ringleaders, but certainly would not have risen to the defense of the oppressed. I probably would have (very quietly) supported their cause, but not done anything to jeopardize my comfortable middle-class lifestyle (see the quote below). Certainly Northerners were no better than Southerners when it came to desegregation; recall the Boston busing "incidents" of the 1970s.
Another thing also amazes me: how much the Southern poor whites ("poor white trash") and blacks had in common. Both were horribly oppressed, but skillful politicians kept the poor whites riled about the "uppity Negroes". If the two groups had united, there would have been hell to pay.
I do have a few interesting memories about that period, as I was a student in Virginia (College of William and Mary) from 1966-1970. Just after I arrived in Virginia, Sen. Harry F. Byrd died - he was the scion of the infamous Byrd (members of theFFV) political dynasty in Virginia, and the whole state mourned his death. What I remember most about that time is the characterization of Byrd by a local columnist:
"Never was there a man who so dragged his feet through the sands of time."
"I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr., 28 August 1963
In a late entry for most absurd human rights story of 2011, the Arab League has appointed Sudanese General Mohammad Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi to head their observer mission to Syria. As David Kenner points out in an article titled "The World's Worst Human Rights Observer," Dabi is implicated in the Bashir regime's organization of atrocity-committing janjaweed militias in Darfur, making him rather an unconventional choice for a human rights observer mission.
An anonymous reader suggests that Dabi's background as an (alleged) participant in genocide mean he's overqualified to monitor mere crimes against humanity. But I'm kind of thinking the Arab League might be onto something. I mean, it's like home alarm system companies using ex-burglars as "security consultants," right? Who better to catch a war criminal?
Hmmm....What goes around, comes around? Nope - better still:
"As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities." -Voltaire
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - attributed to Edmund Burke
Hard to imagine that my 'baby sister' should be turning 60 today. Today would have been my younger sister Ann's 60th birthday had not five Saudi Arabian murderers taken her life on 11 September 2001. It's not hard for me to imagine what she might have looked like today: not much different than she did in the picture below. She was one of those people who would never look her age.
Here are some pictures I took at the Pentagon just a few days after9/11. One shows the damage done to the Pentagon by American Airlines Flight 77, and the other shows an impromptu memorial we and others set up on a knoll overlooking the Pentagon. The spot was just off Columbia Pike in Arlington, VA, and shows some of Ann's favorite things: Marlboro Lights, Diet Coke, M & M Peanuts.
Niece Becky Weaver Templeman and I thought about putting a bottle of Dewar's there but figured it would be gone as soon as we turned our backs.
Few people realize that the late Kim Jong-il was something other than just another pretty face, fashion maven, skilled diplomat, and fervent humanitarian: he was an energy conservation genius who brought North Korea to the top of the world's nations when it came to efficient use of energy.
Don't take my word for it - witness this nighttime satellite image of the Korean Peninsula. Can you guess which country is North Korea?
"DPRK [North Korea] citizens are guaranteed many provisions that are uncommon in many developed capitalist societies, which are home to real poverty. Unlike in many countries of the capitalist world, the DPRK is a state free of homelessness, unemployment, prostitution and starvation.” -Kim Jong-il
Lest you think you are someone special try using BBC's tool to discover where you fit in the panoply of human existence.
Yes, I am the 75,491,735,358th human to have ever lived, and when I was born, I was the 2,480,775,909th person alive on Earth.
Maybe that's special after all!
If you also enter your country and gender you can get more information. Here is what I got:
What's next? The global population will continue to increase during your lifetime and beyond, reaching 10 billion by 2083. However, the rate of growth is expected to slow. Little of the current growth is happening in developed countries like yours.
Longer lives: Working-age people like you will be supporting increasing numbers of older people during the next decades. By 2050, there will be just 2.2 people of working age supporting every person aged 65 or older in the developed world. In Europe, this will drop to just two.
Battle for resources: It is estimated that your group of the richest countries consumes double the resources used by the rest of the world. The UN estimates that if current population and consumption trends continue, by the 2030s we will need the equivalent of two Earths to support us.
Did you know? The average family size globally has declined by half since 1950 - from five children to the current 2.5.
The site also told me that 4,136 people had been born since I entered the site.
Bringing attention to the 7 billionth person is good. It will focus our attention on the issue of increasing population and its ramifications.
So how's this for a wish? Hard to believe Prince Phillip said this. Click on the yellow text for more quotes about population control.
Movie stars Hillary Swank (two-time Best Actress) and Jean-Claude Van Damme (is he still a star?), violinist Vanessa Mae, and British musician Seal (WTF?) are taking heat for appearing at the gala birthday party in Grozny honoring Chechnya's PresidentRamzan Kadyrov, a corrupt, brutal thug who runs Chechnya.
Swank has since apologized for her gaffe and claims she did not know of Kadyrov's reputation, although that charge is refuted (see following video) by a human rights group. She will give her fee to charity. The other stars have not yet apologized or offered to return/donate their fees.
Seal said he did it "for the Chechen people and not Kadyrov's inner circle." Nice try!
Here is the video of the news report from Al-Jazeera English:
"I deeply regret attending this event. If I had full understanding of what the event was apparently intended to be, I would never have gone." -- Hillary Swank
[Translation: "I got over a million bucks to attend this; I'd be a fuckin' moron not to take the gig. Unfortunately, I got called out and so I'm now sorry I got caught speaking at this bozo's birthday party. I'm also firing my publicist, who has the intelligence of a small soap dish."]
Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.
Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week. BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.
The books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bannings. Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections. Imagine how many more books might be challenged—and possibly banned or restricted—if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.
I will be avoiding all the 'specials' on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Not interested in all the contrived 'linkages' between 9/11 and the guy who collects trash in Toledo who found an image of the burning Pentagon in some dumpster or the football player who has the Twin Towers tattooed on his biceps. Sorry.
My desk is littered with magazines whose covers shout features like "Where Have We Been?", "What Went Wrong?", "Are We Safer?", "Why Do They Hate Us?", blah, blah, blah, I can't read any of them. I should say I can't finish any of them.
Actually, I did read one excellent article: "What 9/11 Wrought" by Joseph Lelyveld in the current issue of Smithsonian magazine. Read it.
As much as I despise those who rained death upon us, I don't like what we have become. Xenophobes. Jingoes. Torturers. What moral authority the USA had, it's been greatly diminished.
I'm driving to Seattle today for a meeting tomorrow and Tuesday. When I had planned to drive it did not dawn on me that it would be on 9/11. Flying today wouldn't bother me, but it will be nice to be on the road for about five hours. No media folks trying to get a sound bite.
But let me give a shout-out to the first responders, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice to save others. And Pat Tillman.
Ten years ago today my younger sister Ann Campana Judgewas murdered by the five men you see above.
I will always remember that these men, as well as 10 of the other 14 murderers, were Saudi Arabians. The other four were nationals of the UAE (2), Lebanon, and Egypt.
When we buy Saudi oil, some of our money goes to organizations that support these kinds of people.
We should never forget that.
A few days after 9/11/2001, a field outside the Pentagon was 'appropriated' by loved ones of the victims. We left mementos of those we lost.
Below you can see what what my niece Becky and I left in Ann's memory. The Marlboro Lights and Diet Coke should have been accompanied by a fifth (or more) of Dewar's Scotch but we exercised some good judgment - we left a Dewar's ad from a magazine. Besides, Annn would have wanted us to consume it.
I've been to the memorial thrice and it is a remarkable place. It's open 24/7.
Below are some pictures, including Ann's bench and her name carved in stone at the entrance.
In August 2009 I had a nice long visit. I sat on her bench and said "God bless!" to the other 183 murdered heroes who are memorialized, including the three middle-school students and their teachers Ann and NGS colleague Joe Ferguson were escorting to Los Angeles to join others for a field trip to the Channel Islands. It was the students' first airplane trip.
Next time I vist I'll bring some Diet Coke, a pack of Marlboro Lights, and maybe a bottle of Dewar's. Those were three of Annie's favorite things.
One thing gnaws at me: what were Ann's last moments like? Was she aware that they were going to crash? She must have - she was an experienced flyer who'd flown out of DC airports many times. She knew they were flying too fast and too low. And they were going in the wrong direction to be landing at DCA. Did she die on impact or suffer? Was she comforting the children? Probably.
Somewhat morbid, I know.
I have her effects in a box (Mary Frances had this custom-built for me) in our library - her driver's license, some business cards, etc. It's amazing how well they survived the conflagration. She was incinerated but her business cards survived.
Here is an articleabout the foundation I created to honor Ann.
Below are some of least offensive pictures of 'bad' Barbies. You can see all of them here. Thanks to Dahara.
"I can`t do Los Angeles. I`ve always been the anti-Barbie. I don`t want to be in a place where almost every woman walks around with puffy lips, little noses and breasts large enough to nourish a small country. As a kid I wanted attention, so I started praying for glasses because everyone had ace vision in my family. Then one day my eyes started going bad and never stopped." -- Vera Farmiga
"There are probably more annoying things than being hectored about African development by a wealthy Irish rock star, but I can't think of one at the moment." - Paul Theroux, referring to Paul Hewson (aka Bono), New York Times, "The Rock Star's Burden", 15 December 2005
A number of people have asked me how I felt about Osama bin Laden’s death. It’s not that I have any great insight, but as the family member of a 9/11 victim, I suppose people are curious. Did I cheer with the revelers at the Phillies game I was watching when the death was announced, or feel sorrow, relief, anguish, joy, or just what?
The best term I can use is ‘bittersweet’. ‘Bitter’ because it conjured visions of Ann’s murder and those of thousands of others - not just in the USA but elsewhere. It conjured images of intelligence failures. like the FBI folks in DC who ignored the warnings from field offices that some foreign guys were taking flying lessons but didn't care to learn how to take off and land. It reminded me of those who had called Osama bin Laden ‘irrelevant’ (I especially remember Ann Coulter saying that, in all her wisdom), forgetting that a man responsible for the murder of thousandsnever becomes ‘irrelevant’.
'Sweet' because a mass murderer was brought to justice. But I wasn't cheering in the streets, although I was ambivalent about others doing it. If that's what they needed to do, so be it.
I received a call from BBC’s World Have Your Say at 5 AM the morning after Osama bin Laden’s death. A producer named Ben James wanted to know if they could interview me on air; I told him yes, and we discussed what I might say. They never called.
Nancy Laflin, a reporter for KRQE-TV in Albuquerque called about 12 hours later. She had interviewed me on that fateful Tuesday in 2001, and her kindness and compassion were so soothing. I got that same feeling almost ten years later.
The calls from James and Laflin (especially) were cathartic; they allowed me to vent, especially to James. Easy to vent to a faceless someone on the phone 5,000 miles away - someone you will never see.
I remember reading that Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) decried the manner in which bin Laden was killed. Paul mused whether we would have taken the same approach had OBL been in a London hotel room . I thought of two responses to Paul’s inquiry:
1) Osama bin Laden was not in a London hotel room but in a safe house in the middle of a town where Pakistan’s equivalent of West Point was located.
2) Had bin Laden been in a London hotel room the UK might have beaten us to the punch. At a minimum, we would not have had to worry about the Brits alerting him to leave town.
Nice call, Ron.
Regarding the Pakistani authorities: they are either incompetent or duplicitous, or both (likely). These guys aren’t our allies; they are gaming us. Pakistan is a dysfunctional backwater, but unfortunately, one with a few hundred nuclear weapons. That is their hold over us. We're throwing money down a rathole. We should tell them to take a hike.
And that goes double for the corrupt Karzai in Afghanistan.
A final comment: I was absolutely incredulous when I heard former Bush administration official Stephen Hadley give a spirited defense of the Iraq War as the reason/rationale for bin Laden's being brought to justice.
And last but not least - thanks to the wonderful support of Mary Frances!
"The PDB (Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.) does not say the United States is going to be attacked. It says Bin Laden would like to attack the United States. I don't think you, frankly, had to have that report to know that Bin Laden would like to attack the United States." --Condoleezza Rice
"We do know of certain knowledge that he[Osama bin Laden] is either in Afghanistan, or in some other country, or dead." -- Donald H. Rumsfeld, 27 December 2007
"I've known people who worked on the Manhattan Project. And for those of us on that trip, there was the same kind of feeling of being present at the creation of something incredibly important." -- JPMorgan Chase managing directorMark Brickell, describing a 1994 trip to Boca Raton, FL, where a group of bankers devised the credit default swap.
What's sad is that our so-called leaders are much more interested in fear and loathing than upholding openness and freedom. Private Bradley Manning -- accused of leaking the State Department cables but not charged -- has been held in solitary confinement for nine months. That's not justice. That's fascism.
In Campanstan's part of the world there is a surfeit of bozo rulers. The President-for-Life is surrounded by these guys. But at least they make me look good.
Take Nazarbayev in Kazakhstan - please! Or Karimov in Uzbekistan! Both these ex-Soviet clowns became 'democrats' overnight.
Fortunately we are rid of Niyazov (aka Turkmenbashi) in Turkmenistan.
But the PFL's favorite bozo is my good buddy, Hamid Karzai, the feckless, venal autocrat who looks like the Good Humor ice cream man of my youth. But if all he did was peddle ice cream we'd all be better off!
So what brings my wrath down upon Karzai? I was watching Fareed Zakaria this morning and learned that the recent killings of 20 people in Afghanistan over the burning of a copy of the Quran by idiot preacher Terry Jones and friends in Florida (who prove that 'bozoism' is not restricted to the rest of the world) was fomented by Karzai.
The Quran burning, over two weeks old, was largely unreported by the media. Karzai picked up on it recently to inflame anti-Americanism. He succeeded, and has apparently expressed remorse, but wants Jones arrested.
Don't get me wrong - I fully support Jones' right to burn a Quran, Bible, or whatever. Under the Frist Amendment, that is his right, however stupid and disrespectful the act is. It's also Karzai's right to say Jones should be arrested (he would be in Afghanistan). But I certainly do not support the right of Muslims (likely mostly Taliban in the case at hand) to kill people in response to Quran-burning.
Zakaria made an excellent point of all this: it would be great to hear moderate Islamic leaders condemn the murderers, but it will likely be a cold day in hell before that happens.
As I said, we have a surfeit of bozos.
"Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups." -- John Kenneth Galbraith
Ira reports from Glynn County Georgia on Superior Court Judge Amanda Williams and how she runs the drug courts in Glynn, Camden and Wayne counties. We hear the story of Lindsey Dills, who forges two checks on her parents' checking account when she's 17, one for $40 and one for $60, and ends up in drug court for five and a half years, including 14 months behind bars, and then she serves another five years after that—six months of it in Arrendale State Prison, the other four and a half on probation. The average drug court program in the U.S. lasts 15 months. But one main way that Judge Williams' drug court is different from most is how punitive it is. Such long jail sentences are contrary to the philosophy of drug court, as well as the guidelines of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. For violating drug court rules, Lindsey not only does jail terms of 51 days, 90 days and 104 days, Judge Williams sends her on what she calls an "indefinite sentence," where she did not specify when Lindsey would get out.
We hear about how Brandi Byrd and many other offenders end up in drug court, and we hear how one model drug court participant, Charlie McCullough, was treated by Judge Williams. (25 minutes)
Here are some comments on Judge Williams froma local paper.Here is her re-election WWW site.View this video by Joe Iannicelli about corruption involving Judge Williams and her son Nathan, also an attorney.
Gee, and she looks so sweet!
Word to the wise: don't get busted in Glynn County!
“Justice and power must be brought together, so that whatever is just may be powerful, and whatever is powerful may be just." -- Blaise Pascal
Thanks to Mark Boslough for bringing this to my attention.
"Having been called names, one looks back at one's own angry outbursts over the years, and I recall having once referred to Republicans as "hairy backed swamp developers, fundamentalist bullies, freelance racists, hobby cops, sweatshop tycoons, line jumpers, marsupial moms and aluminum siding salesmen, misanthropic frat boys, ninja dittoheads, shrieking midgets, tax cheats, cheese merchants, cat stranglers, pill pushers, nihilists in golf pants, backed-up Baptists, the grand pooh-bahs of Percodan, mouth breathers, testosterone junkies and brownshirts in pinstripes." I look at those words now, and "cat stranglers" seems excessive to me." --Garrison Keillor
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Wonderful - Mr. Ortega has a Russian email address and a UK country code. What a confidence builder!
And it's Schlumberger, not Schlumberger Oil Company. And a company like that wants to give me money?
Feel free to take advantage of this.
"There's a sucker born every minute." -- P.T. Barnum
So why do I support the Church's right to engage in 'hurtful' (a misnomer if ever there was one) speech? Because it is their First Amendment Right, and I think the First Amendment with its protection of religion, assembly, press, petition, and speech (RAPPS) is one of the most remarkable statements humankind has ever produced.
I've had experience with the First Amendment. When my younger siuster Ann was murdered by five Saudi Arabian hatemongers on 9/11, little did I realize that I would soon be drawn into a First Amendment controversy.
Ann was on the plane that was crashed into the Pentagon. One of my faculty colleagues at the University of New Mexico, whom I did not personally know, commented to his class,"Anyone who bombs the Pentagon has my vote." As expected, there was an outcry for his firing, censure, or suspension. I actually came out in support of his right to say what he did, and wrote a letter to the Albuquerque Journal to that effect. Columnist Jim Belshaw then wrote an article about what I had done, and how difficult it must have been for me to support the professor's right to say what he did. It was.
Belshaw later told me that he received a lot of comments about me his column, many of them quite negative. It was obvious that people could not distinguish between my support for someone's right to say something and support for what he actually said. I don't have to like what you say to support your right to say it. I spoke out because I had a vested interest in the situation:
Belief in and support of free speech are always easy when the speech is something with which you agree. But when you encounter something that is so repugnant, so heinous, and so contrary to everything you hold sacred, well, that is when supporting free speech is tough to do. But to me, that's when it really counts. How hard is it to accept something that corresponds to what you think is right? That's a no-brainer. It's the opposite that's difficult.
The First Amendment was really designed for fringe groups like the Westboro folks. If their speech is not protected, what might happen next? The Founding Fathers knew exactly what they were doing when they wote those 45 amazing words:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
I supported free speech on 9/11 and would do so all over again.
And if you picket or protest against the Westboro Baptist Church, I'll support your right to do so peaceably.
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it," -- Evelyn Beatrice Hall
“Thank God for Dead Soldiers” and “Fags Doom Nations.” -- some of the signs displayed at military funerals by the Westboro Baptist Church
For the past several months Beck has taken to lambasting Frances Fox Piven, a 78-year-old Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Political Science at the City University of New York. Piven and her late husband, Richard Cloward, wrote an article for The Nation in 1966 in which they outlined a plan to help the poor of New York and other big cities to get on welfare.
To Beck, this makes her one of the most dangerous people in the world. From the NPR story:
"Let me introduce you to the people who you would say are fundamentally responsible for the unsustainability and possible collapse of our economic system. They're really two people," he said, "Cloward and Piven."
For about the last three months, week after week, Beck's been hammering away at Piven and her husband. From their 45-year-old article, he sees a vast conspiracy to overthrow the American financial system.
Theirs, he says, is a plan to "overwhelm the system and bring about the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with impossible demands and bring on economic collapse."
Beck says their approach is the main strategy employed by the far left ever since, applying it to everything from the Wall Street collapse to the health care law to climate change.
Soon after Beck made her infamous, Piven says hundreds of death threats poured into her e-mail account and conservative blogs. Things like, "'May cancer overtake you soon!'" Piven says. She ended up asking the FBI and state police for help.
"It's a lunatic story, but it's a story that nevertheless is clear," she says. "You can get your hands around it. This woman is somehow responsible for the upsetting changes in your small town where the factory closed down. I don't blame them for being upset. It is upsetting. But I blame Glenn Beck for telling them a factually untrue, crazy story about why those changes occurred."
"How fitting that Lara Logan was 'liberated' by Muslims in Liberation Square while she was gushing over the other part of the 'liberation.' Hope you’re enjoying the revolution, Lara! Alhamdilllullah [praise allah]."
"Lara Logan had to outdo Anderson [Cooper of CNN]. Where was her buddy [General Stanley] McChrystal."
Yes, yes it was wrong what happened to her.Of course, I don't support that. But it would have been funny if it happened to Anderson too."
"Jesus Christ, at the moment she is becoming a martyr and glorified we should at least remember her role as a major war monger."
"Look, she was probably groped like thousands of other women, which is still wrong, but if was worse than [sic[ I'm sorry."
And some comments from assorted blogs:
"A pretty one, with lots of untamed, uncovered wild blonde hair."
"To devout muslims, she's legit rape-bait. What was CBS thinking?"
"Welcome to Islam. It's immoral to eat pork but rape is acceptable."
"It's INEXCUSABLE for a blonde female to be there in the midst of these savages! Maybe now she knows the true face of Mooselimbs."
"She's lucky she wasn't beheaded for infidelity afterwards by the islamic savages."
For the record, spouse Mary Frances was groped when she visited me in Egypt in 1995, despite her best efforts to 'cover up.'
I'll close with this beauty from Michelle Malkin:
"I fail to see why we would expend any energy -- beyond that which is released by the detonation of a thermonuclear weapon -- to defend these people and their country. Islam is the opiate of the uneducated -- and unwilling to be educated -- masses in the Third World." -- Michelle Malkin
Circle of Blue Circle of Blue uses journalism, scientific research, and conversations from around the world to bring the story of the global freshwater crisis to life. Here you’ll find new water reports, news headlines, and hear from leading scientists.
Drink Water For Life The idea is simple. Drink water or other cheap beverages instead of expensive lattes, sodas, and bottled water for a set period of time. A day, a week, a month, Lent, Ramadan, Passover, or some other holiday period.
eFlowNet Newsletter From the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) this newsletter has lots of information about environmental flows and related issues.
Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable Since 2002, the Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable (SWRR) has brought together federal, state, corporate, non-profit and academic sectors to advance our understanding of the nation’s water resources and to develop tools for their sustainable management.