Daily Archives: August 20, 2009

Ridge Faked Terror Alert To Get Bush Re-Elected

Let me tell you what I think about this:

Ridge was never invited to sit in on National Security Council meetings; was “blindsided” by the FBI in morning Oval Office meetings because the agency withheld critical information from him; found his urgings to block Michael Brown from being named head of the emergency agency blamed for the Hurricane Katrina disaster ignored; and was pushed to raise the security alert on the eve of President Bush’s re-election, something he saw as politically motivated and worth resigning over.

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Flight 103 from Frankfurt

Apropos recent news events, a repost

Scene: Berkeley, California, April 1986. A bar. Five conference attendees, myself included, grabbing a hamburger and a beer in a fern-bar on or near Telegraph.

All eyes are on the TV’s mounted over the bar, where we watch footage of an air strike against Libya. This is the retribution by Ronald Reagan against Insane African Leader Muammar al-Kadafi. The White House was issuing statements about al-Kadafi’s involvement in bombings in Europe, the OPEC oil ministry kidnapping, linkage to the infamous Jackal, and so on. Nikki, a friend and colleague, said something, and I remember asking her to repeat it. Nikki is a low-talkier. You’ve got to lean in really close. So I leaned in and heard her say, “Libya is the only country in Africa where the people get to share in the national wealth. They love Kadafi. Others should take a lesson from him.”
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Health care: Against God’s Plan

The religious right is ramping up its campaign against health care reform, even joining with the “tea party” movement to encourage conservative Christians to swamp town hall meetings. Minnesota’s religious right leaders say that the health care reform package is against God’s plan for health care and that Christians should go to community forums and “read them the riot act.”

Jan Markell of Maple Grove-based Olive Tree Ministries called on her radio listeners to attend congressional town hall meetings in August. “Here’s what you can do, your congressmen and senators are coming home for much of August,” she said on last week’s program. “They are going to have town hall meetings all over the place. You need to go there and give them an earful. The ideal tfhing to do is to go to their town hall and read them the riot act — in Christian love — but read them the riot act on this issue of health care.”

But she implied Rep. Michele Bachmann should be spared…

Uffda. Story here an Minn Indy

Size and Scaling in Hominid Evolution

ResearchBlogging.orgStephen Jay Gould and David Pilbeam wrote a paper in 1974 that was shown ten years later to be so totally wrong in its conclusions that it has fallen into an obscurity not usually linked to either Gould or Pilbeam. However, they were actually right in ways that they could not have anticipated. And even if they were not right, this paper still has much to contribute, including the opening words of that publication in Science, which are very much worthy of consideration for many reasons:


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The real costs of not reforming health care

Mike Haubrich has an analysis that you should have a look at.

While I prefer a single-payer plan, I will also support a public option. Yes, this will drive some private insurers out of business. Considering the piss-poor way that they have been enacting the so-called “invisible hand” I don’t feel too sorry for them. The reliance on private industry has led to a huge drag on our economy. If a raise in taxes leads to a reduction in overall costs to employers and employees, and if the covered 250 million benefit financially through reduced debt and co-pay shares for health care, and if employers benefit because their employees get early treatment, and if enterpreuners benefit by being able to make it through tough stretches by not having to pay incredibly high individual plan premiums; then it makes economic sense.

There is a lot more to it than that. Read it here.

Health Care Event in Saint Paul Friday

Yesterday, I called Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar and expressed my support for the public option in Heath Care. If you are a Minnesotan, please do that too. Al’s number is 651-221-1016. If you are not a Minnesotan, call Al anyway as he is on the Health Education Labor and Pensions committee. Use his DC number for that (202-224-5641).

Amy’s number in he Twin Cities is 612-727-5223, and if you are outstate you can get the right number at this link.

While you are in the process of making calls or sending emails, you should consider contacting the members of the Senate Committee on Heatlh, Educatoi, Labor and Pensions. You can get that info here.

Call, send emails, send snail mail.

On Friday, MoveOn members are gathering in Saint Paul to show Sen. Franken that constituents are counting on him to support real health care reform. Here’s the info on that event:

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Too Many Tornadoes

.. and another repost apropos our recent tornado activity:


Marilee Thomas of Beaver City, Nebraska. And a tornado. [source]
Mid-Americans … Minnesotans, Texans, Nebraskans and denizens of Arkansas, and everyone in between, understand tornadoes, but to varying degrees. There are differences by region in how we deal with them. In Arkansas, I’ve seen foolish bravado. The tornado shelter there is known as the “fraidy hole” and having one or not in your back yard may be linked to one’s sense of machismo. People from Missouri that I have known have a deep respect for tornadoes. An example: A few years back there was a talk being given at The U when the tornado sirens went off. Looking out the windows all we could see was black punctuated by white dots (the hail hitting the window). That was not good at 3:00 in the afternoon. As the group sat there wondering what to do, my student, Lynne, stood up and said “I’m from Missouri. I’m going to the basement. You’all can stay here if you like.”

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When is Tornado Season?

Apropos the recent tornadic activity here, a repost:

This story:

10 tornadoes confirmed in Ga., including one with winds topping 160 mph

Ten tornadoes, one packing winds of more than 160 mph, touched down in parts of Georgia on Wednesday, the National Weather Service said Friday.

The storms caused an estimated $25 million in insured losses, said John W. Oxendine, the state’s insurance commissioner.

“I spent some time surveying damage and talking to residents in Jasper, Putnam and Hancock Counties” on Friday, Oxendine said in statement. “I believe claims will easily reach $25 million. Actual losses are much higher when you consider things like infrastructure damage and uninsured losses.”

Reminds us that Tornado season is coming. Maybe it is already here in parts of the country, or maybe it is a bit early this year in the south. It is important to keep tornadoes in perspective. It would appear that for the last half century, the frequency of tornadoes in the US is rising, though this could be totally or in part because of increases in reporting. Warming climate should result in more tornadoes in areas where tornadoes already occur, or at least that is a reasonable assumption unless countervailing effects can be demonstrated.

So when is tornado season exactly?

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