Friday, February 27, 2009

Trying to Keep Things In Perspective

Land mine mitigation actions in 33 countries and territories are expected to cost about $459 million in 2009 according to a report (front page of the report pictured) provided to the UN back in December. It further states that countries included in that report only have about 5% of the funding leaving a $437 million gap.

The countries involved in this report are those that have support from the UN and other organizations to provide the data. I didn't read the full report, (458 pages in pdf) but from the absence of countries involved in WWII, The Korean War and other more localized events (like those south of us) tell me that despite best efforts from well meaning organizations, no one knows about all the unexploded mines out there.

I bring this up to show that the $437 million shortfall problem is huge ("....nearly 6000 casualties last year, more than half of them children") for its affect on the people involved yet it's small in comparison to the money being discussed in the 2009 budget or what we already blew on "TARP". It's more or less equal to what we spent every seven months on "emergency spending" bills for Iraq under the debacle of the Bush years as well as less than 10% of our annual military budget.

I wonder how the priorities of the republicans, suddenly finding a concern over the dollar figures that are flying around now, would change if a portion of these mines were in the US?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Human Hemroid

This shot was originally part of a very valid post at blondsense, which I love reading by the by. Go read the post at blondsense `cause its good....real good and puts this shot in better context than I will. So now that I've given credit for ripping off the shot, I'll bring all of this to a lower level.
I spewed coffee all over the keyboard and had tears I was laughing so much at this shot. I have to believe that the dude up the elephants ass in no way had this in mind when applying for the job. Just how does one cover this in an interview:
"Can you work nights, weekends?" "Can you travel?" "If the travel involves cramming yourself up an elephants ass from time to that a problem?"
Do ya suppose they drew straws to see who's "going in" and why is the guy on the right is so smug? What sort of a suit is the ass-diver wearing? Do they make a garment specifically for elephant ass spelunking? What covers the guy's head in there and how does he see or is this a tactile job only? I only hope that yellow hose going up the ass-divers suit is for his air supply. Most importantly, I wonder how you prep an elephant for this event? A 55 gal drum of "KY" comes to mind but is it available in drums and how embarrassing would that be to order? Does the elephant like it, especially the tactile part?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Trial Starts For The Iraqi Journalist That Missed Bush With His Shoes

Muntadhar al-Zeidi goes to trial today and could get 15 years. Lets hope that the 15 year maximum is not enforced but instead the whole thing is dismissed - it was a fuckin shoe for chrissak!
On a side note, note in the photo that he had his shot partially blocked by the guy on the left, or maybe this was a shot taken of the second shoe being tossed......and is that Jonah Goldberg in the lower right (for some reason the words "Jonah Goldberg" and "lower right" strike a certain harmony)?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Just Being American Ain't Enough, You Have to Look Like One Too.

In my opinion, one of the casualties of Bush's "global war on terror" (GWOT) is the perception and prejudice against US citizens of Muslim faith. I remember watching the events of 9/11 as they happened on TV and thinking that collectively as a country, we have no understanding of the people that did this and the religion in the name under which they perpetrated it, however misguided. From my meager understanding of the Muslim faith, 9/11 was as much an abomination to them as it was to non -Muslims. To keep things in perspective here, Christians have their own set of nut cases as evidenced by the Reverend Jerry Falwell who thought it reasonable to blame gays for 9/11, and others that do worse things driven by their faith like murdering doctors or bombing clinics.
The prejudice toward the Sikh family, silently profiled to be dangerous in the minds of the Harris County (Houston TX) Sheriffs deputies that responded to the family's 911 call about their home being burglarized, is very apparent. This family was "terrorized in their own home" because they didn't look are act like the officers expected. While wearing turbans and ceremonial daggers may be unusual, there should be no reason to swear at 8 year old children or to handcuff a 60 year old woman.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Hudson Aircraft

These are photos of the fuselage of aircraft that ditched in the Hudson River being transported through New Jersey. The aircraft played no small part of the survival of those on board.
Note the lower rear portion of the fuselage is crushed and the belly skin is gone and wrinkles are visible on the upper side of the fuselage closer to the over wing exits. The aircraft ditched with the nose high and the rear fuselage making first contact with the Hudson River. This initial impact crushed the lower fuselage (damaged in "tension"), actually bending the entire fuselage as if the tail was pushed up which is where the "wrinkles" come from (damaged in compression).
Great job "Sully", and the aircraft did its job as well by absorbing and distributing the unusual applied loads from the ditching to remain relatively intact.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I'm really taken with this song. My lovely daughter turned me on to it...or rather it was on her Rhapsody page and I fell into it. I looked around on "You Tube" and other locations and viewed quite a few slide shows people put together behind the music, all of them good but when it came right down to it the original was the best. The music and the lyrics are so powerful it augments any visual accompaniment and apparently it moved others as well. I was thinking how appropriate this is for the Bush years. Then it occurred to me how well it would have fit during our Viet Nam era, the current situation in Darfur, and almost anytime during my lifetime for Israel/Palestinian problems. Now that we have a new president with some long overdue "change" promised, I'm disappointed to say that its still appropriate.

Dammit willis, give Obama a chance. Jeebus dude, he's only been in office for a few weeks! That would sell except for me "change" meant investigations into the Bush administrations wrong doings......all of them, bring in help if you have to but people need to be held to account. That and we shouldn't be bombing Pakistan whenever we feel like it! I'm impressed with Obama and I know he's not going to do everything willis wants. But these things are the big ones...the ones he swore to uphold in his oath, the ones people have died for and are still dying for."

....Don't know why I say the things I say but I say them anyway."

Ain't" No Reason By Brett Dennen

PS: I couldn't figure out how to embed this video so you have to link. Dammit, I said there'd be with it!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Texas Republicans...yep, that about says it!

"Honey, you know the difference between the Taliban and Texas Republicans? One is opposed to science, equal rights for women, religious freedom, peaceful resolution of disagreements, and democracy. The other is the Taliban."
Shamelessly ripped off from one of my new favorites, Brains and Eggs

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Obama "Screws up" ProvingThe Imperfections Of His Adminstration

I may be rehashing stuff someone already posted or posting the painfully obvious but I remember in an April 2004 news conference when asked if he could recall any mistakes he's made and Bush was stumped for an answer. Note the date is not only after the Iraq invasion, WMD, etc. (maybe an error or two there ya think?) it's also after his first 4 years in office. Fast forward to now, President Obama after just a Little over two weeks in office admits he's "screwed up" with his last two cabinet nominations.
What appears consistent to me is that both Presidents were wrong. Obama in the poor vetting of his nominations and Bush in thinking he hasn't made a mistake. If one is going to try to fix something or make a correction, it helps if a problem or mistake is identified. All this seems to support the Bush administration's opinion that everything they did over the last eight years, while unpopular, is never the less correct.
This may have had something to do with the results of the last election......I hope the republicans don't figure this out for awhile.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Flinging Some POO on Senator Cornyn

John Cornyn enthusiastically supported the Alberto " fuck you, we waterboard" Gonzales nomination to be the head lawbreaker, formerly the office of the Attorney General, and oozed the following:
"Senate confirmation was a repudiation of ‘unjustified attacks’ and a victory for national and homeland security.
"Despite the angry rhetoric and unjustified attacks by Democrat leadership, I’m delighted that Alberto Gonzales has been confirmed as our nation’s top law enforcement officer," Cornyn said. "I’m confident he’ll do an outstanding job in this new post and his example will be an inspiration, not just for the Hispanic community, but for all Americans.""
Cornyn will never miss an opportunity to fling poo at the obstructionist Democrats while licking Bush's ass regardless if any of them reluctantly supported Gonzales.
Despite "You Tube", the Congressional Record, and other Islamic media formats that record him verbatim, he erases his earlier remarks from everyone's memory on 8/10/2007 with the following to the American-Statesman editorial board:
"He's (Gonzales) a good person, but I look at his jobs he's held, and I wonder what has prepared him for being the head of the Department of Justice and 110,000 employees in a highly partisan and difficult political environment,"
A little over two weeks later Abu Al resigns and Cornyn is taken with the sadness of the occasion.
There were two short term AGs after Gonzales hung up his jumper cables, Paul Clement for 24 hours then Peter Keisler. Both out of session appointees by Bush. Clement resigned to teach at Georgetown then Keisler came in. If guilt by association means anything, Peter clerked for Judge Bork and defended Bushes policies in our never ending GWOT. Mukasey came in after a stormy approval to finish the Bush term.
Under Obama, Holder is now confirmed and approved but Cornyn, his ethics intact, has reservations:
“Part of my concern relates to his statements at the hearing with regard to torture and what his intentions are toward our intelligence personnel who were operating in good faith based on their understanding of what the law was.”
The former AG for the State of Texas doesn't care if any laws were broken, only that intelligence personnel might be prosecuted. Give me a break. Cornyn cares as much for intelligence workers as he does for child health care and veterans - ZIP! All he wants to do is protect the people of power responsible for establishing an environment that allowed the shredding our Constitution.
If he can't be arrested, why can't he be disbarred, or waterboarded, or even had some poo flung at him?