Archive for February, 2007


What good is the CIA?

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

The fact that so much of what the “intelligence” community does is done in secret makes it a little hard to judge the worth of their efforts. But here are a few things to consider.

1) When they do accomplish things, it often turns out badly. Very, very badly.

2) When they don’t accomplish things, the bad results are avoided perhaps only by the grace of God (and the more cool-headed minds that stand between the U.S. intelligence community and whatever it is they are trying to accomplish). Case in point: intelligence on Iran’s nuclear programs turns out to be pretty much a bunch of junk.

Speaking of which, I liked Alexander Cockburn’s recent column on selling bridges to the New York Times. (Full column available to Nation subscribers only, but this intro is a nice taste.)

Global warming activism, cont’d

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

My idea for activism to get people thinking more about global warming has generated more comment activity than normal. Hooray! (Okay, I admit, two of the commentors are my brother- and father-in-law, and three of the comments are by me responding to them and the other guy with whom I have no relationship whatsoever.) Join the fray!

My new heroes

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

First they take an old paper shredder and convert it to hand crank, stowable under a desk. Then they make a futon with the shredded paper. Far too cool and clearly the wave of the future.

My idea for global warming activism

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

It won’t work up here in White River Junction, cuz we’re sufficiently above sea level, but here’s my thinking for activists nearer to the coasts: paint lines on buildings showing where sea level will be in 50 or 100 years. Isn’t much of lower Manhattan projected to be in permanent gurgle mode? Slap some paint at the new high-and-dry mark. Green paint cuz it’s a “green” issue? Blue paint to indicate water? Stenciled paint so it clearly indicates what it means? (As in, “this is how high the oceans will be in 50 years if we don’t stop global warming now!”) Or have that kind of text printed on “police line” yellow tape and stick it up instead of paint. (That has the advantage of reducing the chances of being considered a criminal vandal. Anyway, you get the idea.
And remember, Uncle JTE says, “don’t break any laws!” (Including the uncodified ethical laws that say, “whenever possible, you must act to reduce suffering in the face of impending disaster.”)

Spring approaches: get out there and protest!

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

Protest the Iraq war (4th anniversary is at hand). United for Peace and Justice has a calendar of events all over the place. International ANSWER is also organizing with an emphasis on a Saturday, March 17, “March on the Pentagon.”

Protest insufficient action on global warming. “Step It Up” on April 14th (Saturday).

Bill McKibben: Don’t just sit there fuming CO2 over global warming, DO something!

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

The Most Important Thing You Can Do To Stop Global Warming
By Tara Lohan, AlterNet. Posted February 1, 2007.

Environmentalist Bill McKibben explains that forcing Congress to take action on climate change is the top priority. Fortunately, he has a plan.

It has been a winter for the record books in the Northeast and Midwest. People are golfing in Michigan instead of ice fishing, sap is running in Vermont, and cherry blossoms are blooming in Washington, D.C.

People are waking up to spring in January and the stark reality of climate change.

“Hurricane Katrina blew the door open and Al Gore walked through it with his movie,” environmental writer Bill McKibben said. “Now we have to take that education and turn it into action.”

Americans finally understand that climate change is real — and it is a problem. So, now what?

“People are ready to do something — to do something more than change their light bulbs,” said McKibben, “they understand the need for quick and dramatic political action.”

McKibben is spearheading what will be the largest public demonstration against global warming our country has ever seen. “On April 14, instead of doing a march on Washington — which would burn a fair amount of carbon,” said McKibben, “we will have a nationwide rally, occurring more or less simultaneously, in all the places that people love around the country.”

The goal of the action, Step It Up 2007, is to demand that Congress enact immediate cuts in carbon emissions and pledge an 80 percent reduction by 2050.

This is not your typical protest…


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