Saturday, May 03, 2008

Kitten Thread

Donno about you, but I need a dose of kittenness!

Visit The Daily Kitten for more.

Comment thread

Friday, May 02, 2008

Thursday, May 01, 2008

News Roundup

Longshore Union Strikes Against War
By Peter Cole
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Tuesday 29 April 2008
On Thursday, May Day, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union will declare an eight-hour strike to protest the war in Iraq. Since the ILWU controls every port along the U.S. Pacific Coast, including Seattle and Tacoma, this strike demonstrates the collective power of workers willing to use it.

The ILWU is demanding "an immediate end to the war and occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Middle East." Although the majority of Americans repeatedly have expressed their desire to end the war, President Bush has not obliged us, so it drags on. Because our leaders refuse to listen, ILWU members are taking the next logical step for workers: Strike.

Burma: US Oil Major Complicit in Abuses - Rights Lobby
By Marwaan Macan-Markar
Inter Press Service News
Wednesday 30 April 2008
Bangkok - An environmental group is warning U.S. energy giant Chevron to clean up its act in Burma or face legal proceedings where the multinational's links to gross human rights violations in the military-ruled country could be exposed.

There has been little relief for villagers living in the Yadana pipeline region in southern Burma since the Chevron Corporation became a partner to this natural gas venture in 2005, states the Washington D.C.-based EarthRights International (EI) in a report released here Tuesday.

"Chevron and its consortium partners continue to rely on the Burmese army for pipeline security and those forces continue to conscript thousands of villagers for forced labour, and to commit torture, rape, murder and other serious abuses in the course of their operations," revealed the 76-page report, 'The Human Cost of Energy'.

Chevron should act on "its moral and legal obligations to human rights rather than profit from human rights abuses," the report added of this project that earned the Burma's junta about 1.1 billion US dollars in 2006, over half of its total earnings from the sale of gas to neighbouring Thailand, which was 2.16 billion dollars that year.

White House Admits Fault on "Mission Accomplished" Banner
By Terence Hunt
The Associated Press
Thursday 01 May 2008
The White House said Wednesday that President Bush has paid a price for the "Mission Accomplished" banner that was flown in triumph five years ago but later became a symbol of U.S. misjudgments and mistakes in the long and costly war in Iraq.

Thursday is the fifth anniversary of Bush's dramatic landing in a Navy jet on an aircraft carrier homebound from the war. The USS Abraham Lincoln had launched thousands of airstrikes on Iraq.

"Major combat operations in Iraq have ended," Bush said at the time. "The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on Sept. 11, 2001, and still goes on." The "Mission Accomplished" banner was prominently displayed above him - a move the White House came to regret as the display was mocked and became a source of controversy.

ACLU: Pentagon Documents Highlight Interrogation Methods
By Adam Goldman
The Associated Press
Wednesday 30 April 2008
New York - The military continued to use abusive interrogation methods on detainees after a 2003 directive meant to end such practices, the American Civil Liberties Union said Wednesday after reviewing newly released documents.

The Department of Defense documents shed light on the use of psychologists in military interrogations and the failure of medical workers to report abuse of detainees, the ACLU said.

Former Guantanamo Prosecutor Says Trials Tainted
Monday 28 April 2008
Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base - The former chief prosecutor for the Guantanamo war crimes tribunals testified on Monday that the tribunals were tainted by political influence and evidence obtained through prisoner abuse.

Air Force Col. Moe Davis, who quit the war court last year, said political appointees and higher-ranking officers pushed prosecutors to file charges before trial rules were even written.

Iran Complains to UN About Clinton Comment
By Claudia Parsons
Wednesday 30 April 2008
United Nations - Iran complained to the United Nations on Wednesday about US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's comment the United States could "totally obliterate" Iran in retaliation for a nuclear strike against Israel.

Iran's deputy ambassador to the United Nations sent a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the president of the Security Council expressing Iran's condemnation of "such a provocative, unwarranted and irresponsible statement."

Four Michigan Dems Propose Compromise on Seating Delegation
By Marie Horrigan
Congressional Quarterly
Tuesday 29 April 2008
A negotiating team of top Michigan Democrats has come forward with a compromise plan to seat the state's delegation to the national convention that would give New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton a slight advantage in the delegate count over Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.

The proposal comes about four months after the Democratic National Committee stripped Michigan of all its delegates because the state party advanced the date of its primary in violation of Democratic National Committee rules.

The authors of the plan, sent to Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer on Tuesday, said it essentially "splits the difference between the 73/55 position of the Clinton campaign and the 64/64 position of the Obama campaign."

Cheney Lawyer Claims Congress Has No Authority Over Vice President
By Elana Schor
The Guardian UK
Tuesday 29 April 2008
The lawyer for US vice-president Dick Cheney claimed today that the Congress lacks any authority to examine his behaviour on the job.

The exception claimed by Cheney's counsel came in response to requests from congressional Democrats that David Addington, the vice-president's chief of staff, testify about his involvement in the approval of interrogation tactics used at Guantanamo Bay.

Ruling out voluntary cooperation by Addington, Cheney lawyer Kathryn Wheelbarger said Cheney's conduct is "not within the [congressional] committee's power of inquiry".

Comment thread

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Grammar, anyone?

While looking for something else I came across the below, which I have no recollection whatsoever of writing. Since we need a new thread, I hope you will all humor me and bear with my kvetching.

In recent years, I have noticed an increasing tendency among people of all ages, geographical regions, and socio-economic levels to speak (and write) ungrammatically. Moreover, when I have ventured to make this observation and to address some of the more common errors, I have been call judgmental and an elitist,, and asked with hostility who I thought I was, and where I got off dictating how other people should speak and write.

And this, on a listserv for writers!

It is therefore with some trepidation that I broach the subject of grammar. However, grammar is the life's blood of communication. Whether writing to our Congresscritter or to the media, phone banking, canvassing, or engaging friends, family and coworkers, good grammar and diction (word choice) are essential for effective communication.

One particularly widespread error affects me like the proverbial fingernails on a blackboard. This error substitutes the Conditional for the subjunctive, to whit:

I wish he would have run.
If she would have come…

The correct formulation is:

I wish he had run.
If she had come…

It is not necessary to understand the arcana of verb mood to use it correctly. Just remember that hypothetical statements and statements of wish or desire, such as those using "if" and "I wish," use the subjunctive. Except for the verb "to be," the forms of the past and present subjunctive are indistinguishable from those of the past and present Indicative. So, in most situations, if you simply use the past or present form, you'll have it.

The verb "can" is a bit tricky. It's simple past tense, "could," looks identical to the form used in many conditional constructions. But, don't be fooled or confused.

I wish you could come.

Is equivalent to

I wish you were able to come.

And is thus subjunctive.

As activists, we are communicators. To communicate effectively, to exploit the versatility and flexibility of the English language, we must understand and follow its rules.

Comment thread

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cocktails with a Liberal Congresswoman (and Introducing a Democratic Leader)

First of all I must confess. I am a political junkie. While others trail movie stars, I track down good liberal politicians. It all started when I attend a rally for Howard Dean 5 years ago. When he stood in front of a 20x40 foot American flag and stated he was going to take our country back—I became hooked. While some watch American idol, I watch congress debate bills about healthcare on c-span. If I could have a wish, it would be to tap the minds of respected liberal politicians.

Last Friday my wish was granted following an IL Dem. Women’s Convention. I was able to spend time gleaning the mind of liberal Congresswoman, Jan Schakowsky Relaxing in a lounge chair, she comfortably talked with fellow democratic novices for over 2 hours.

The first comment was about the expensive $7.50 drink. I bet she knows the price of gas Pres. Bush. An insider perspective was what I was after. After talking about her bumpy private plane ride down she told about her constant traveling between DC and Chicago. I asked about whether Rahm Emmanuel would come out in support of Hillary or Obama (he won't because he is friends to both). She talked about the reunion of her 2 puppies after they were separated from birth to how people are surprised to see her when grocery shopping.

She discussed the down and dirty about being interviewed on Sunday morning talk shows. She said elected females rarely get on these shows because they feel they need to understand every aspect of the topic of the day and men just jump right in. Being an Obama supporter, she frequently has been across the table from Carville, her favorite to debate. “He hates debating women, it must be all those years living with Mary Matalin”.

What I appreciated the most about the interaction was
her genuineness in wanting to share with us newbies to politics. She truly wants to see more empowered women in office. In dark times like this, People like Rep. Schakowsky restore my faith in politics.

The following day my personal highlight was getting to introduce my favorite Senator-- Sen. Durbin. He made an unscheduled speech at the event so I was recruited at the last minute. My friend in attendance told me that he smiled broadly during the entire time I was speaking. That alone was a supreme compliment.

5 years ago I could never have imagined having an experience like this.--that is the power of Howard Dean’s inspiration.

Comment thread

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Open Thread

Via GraphJam: Pop Culture for People in Cubicles

funny graphs
see more song memes

Haloscan comment thread

Barack Obama on "talking tough"

Worth a watch...

"One of the things I learned in the schoolyard was, the folks who are talking tough all the time, they're not always that tough."

Read more here.

Haloscan comment thread