Archive for June, 2008


Jun 30, 2008 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives, Politics

And even though every right winger approved of the Swiftboating of Kerry, they’ve realized the error of their ways right now.

And, of course, this is all because what pissed off Democrats most about the attacks on Kerry were insinuations that his service wasn’t enough by itself to qualify him for the presidency. That was what pissed them off, not the fact that the Swiftboaters fabricated and lied about Kerry’s record.

Of course, Republicans know it isn’t the same thing; here’s our friend Dana getting slippery with his language:

But when it comes to John McCain, the records are there, solid, incontrovertable, with photographs and testimony from the men who were imprisoned with him.

Because Clark said something casting doubt on McCain being imprisoned and tortured?

Oh, wait…he didn’t. Surely our friend Dana Pico wouldn’t be dishonest here, would he? Because WE WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO BELIEVE HIM AGAIN ABOUT ANYTHING.

Ah, but you know how it is. BTW, Barack Obama practically said this himself, even though he disavowed the comments.

Clark stressed that when he initially suggested that McCain’s time in Vietnam did not — by itself — qualify him to be president, he was speaking as his own agent and not on behalf of Barack Obama’s campaign. In addition, he pointed some of the spotlight on the fact that one of McCain’s surrogates in batting back the criticism was Bud Day, a member of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth organization that McCain once criticized.

McCain hired Bud Day after Bud promised he was sorry about Kerry, of course, because John McCain is very, very honest and consistent.

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Subversive Thought of the Day

Jun 30, 2008 in Anti-War, Uncategorized, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Brecht Poem in Portland
I just came across this image of a street in Portland, Oregon. Of a poem by Bertolt Brecht, a famous German playwright, who was anti-nazi, and blacklisted by McCarthy after he fled to the US, for being a communist.

The text may be hard to see on the image so I will paste it here:

General, your tank
is a powerful vehicle
it smashes down forests
& crushes a hundred men.
but it has one defect:
it needs a driver.

General, your bomber is powerful
it flies faster than a storm
& carries more than an elephant.
but it has one defect:
it needs a mechanic.

General, man is very useful.
He can fly & he can kill.
but he has one defect:
He can think.

And for JB’s pleasure the original German is:

Er bricht einen Wald nieder und zermahlt hundert Menschen,
Aber er hat einen Fehler:
Er braucht einen Fahrer.

General, dein Bombenflugzeug ist stark,
Es fliegt schneller als ein Sturm und trägt mehr als ein Elefant,
Aber er hat einen Fehler:

Er braucht einen Monteur.

General, der Mensch ist sehr brauchbar,
Er kann fliegen und er kann töten,
Aber er hat einen Fehler:
Er kann denken.

Peace and love to all, and here’s hoping the next president doesn’t continue destroying what’s left of the world.


The only relief from gas prices you’ll really see.

Jun 28, 2008 in Energy, Science

I guess I didn’t know everything about plug-in hybrids.

hen one of the world’s mightiest corporations throws everything it’s got at a project, and when it shreds its rule book in the process, the results are likely to be impressive. Still, even for General Motors, the Volt is a reach. If it meets specifications, it will charge up overnight from any standard electrical socket. It will go 40 miles on a charge. Then a small gasoline engine will ignite. The engine’s sole job will be to drive a generator, whose sole job will be to maintain the battery’s charge—not to drive the wheels, which will never see anything but electricity. In generator mode, the car will drive hundreds of miles on a tank of gas, at about 50 miles per gallon. But about three-fourths of Americans commute less than 40 miles a day, so on most days most Volt drivers would use no gas at all.

The gasoline engine only generates electricity? Niiiiice. This is a step further removed from today’s version of the horse-drawn carriage. The car is almost a pure electric car, but with back-up in case you’re short on outlets or time. $5 to $7 gas (and you better believe it can reach $10)ain’t no thang when you only need to fill up a couple times a year, if that. (more…)

Judicial activists strike down ban on gay marriage…er, I mean handguns!

Jun 26, 2008 in Uncategorized

All kidding aside, the Supreme Court is right that while the 2nd Amendment provides leeway for regulation, outright banning of handguns is crossing the line. Just as the Constitution’s protections against unjust discrimination applies to gays in Texas, they protect lawful gun owners in D.C.

The NRA is yelling, “This is just the beginning,” but they’re drunk.

Scalia said nothing in Thursday’s ruling should “cast doubt on long-standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons or the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings.”

In a concluding paragraph to the his 64-page opinion, Scalia said the justices in the majority “are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country” and believe the Constitution “leaves the District of Columbia a variety of tools for combating that problem, including some measures regulating handguns.”

Yep, it’s true, Scalia isn’t a complete idiot. This proves there is at least one amendment to the Constitution he really takes seriously. This is less of a partisan issue today than it once was. Some liberals still dream of an imaginary gun-free land, but the 2nd Amendment has made it clear that this will never happen while it is still on the books. Regulate, license, pick nits here and there, but telling people they simply can’t have handguns, period? Sorry, folks, but pass a Constitutional amendment (which I wouldn’t support) or live with it. Or die with it, as many will. Just like millions die for our freedom to drive (until Volvo makes car deaths obsolete).

Now if we could just get conservatives to read the rest of the Constitution, and get more liberals to stand up for it on issues like gay marriage, habeus corpus, and unconstitutional wiretaps!


Best story to come out of Iraq.

Jun 26, 2008 in Uncategorized

This is almost as cosmic as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie doin’ it.


The two best reporters in Iraq, Lara Logan and Michael Ware, who happen to be among the best looking reporters in Iraq, have had sex. YES!!!

Maybe Brad and Angelina can star in the movie version?


Dobson carves off a chunk of evangelicals and hands them to Obama.

Jun 25, 2008 in Barack Obama, Politics, Religion

Former Christianist nutbag Frank Schaeffer says James Dobson is a dinosaur in the evangelical movement, wearing his very own George W. Bush albatross. His attack on Obama for actually espousing ideas that resemble the teachings of Jesus may be a trigger that turns millions of evangelicals onto Obama:

But the new generation of evangelicals is sick of being labeled as backward rednecks because of their association with fossils like Dobson. There are many evangelicals like Cizik too who are not all about homophobia, nationalism, war-without-end and American exceptionalism or the Republican Party. Like Cizik they believe that the America has a responsibility to do something about global warming, poverty, AIDS, human trafficking and other issues. They see through Dobson and the other so-called pro-life leaders, who have actually done nothing to reduce abortion. In fact Dobson has increased abortions because of his “abstinence only” crusade.

As a result of his power grabs and bullying of other evangelicals, not to mention his telling people how to vote and pointing them to the failed W, Dobson & Co. have zero credibility with a growing number of otherwise conservative evangelicals who happen–this year–to be looking favorably at Senator Obama’s holistic Christian-based world view. Unlike Dobson they like Obama’s theology just fine.

All that was missing to put the frosting on the Obama cake was for Dobson to attack him. For Obama to win all he needs to do is peel off a chunk of heretofore solid evangelical Republican votes. Dobson just handed Obama those votes.

In my world view, you don’t need a very good reason to do good things. They are self-evident. If Jesus makes you do it, then good deal. If you want to hate and be insane, and then point to Jesus as your inspiration, then Jesus isn’t going to save you in any sense of the word. In recent years the crazy haters have been stealing the headlines and putting terrible people into our government. Obama stands positioned to speak out for Christians who think about Christ as something other than a tool to bludgeon other people for supposed sins, and that is self-evidently good.


UPDATE: Snap! Obama isn’t afraid to tussle over the Bible! Hot damn motherfucker. This is the kind of balls Mike, I and many others have admired in Obama, and what we’re waiting for him to regain on FISA. Obama will win every time he takes a stand. Why did he forget?

Just A Friendly Link From the Neighborhood Cynic

Jun 24, 2008 in Uncategorized

One more example of why “lesser of two evils” reasoning is a hard pill for some of us to swallow.

This has nothing to do with the O-man, incidentally – no untoward motivations are being attributed to him by myself or others. Although one would think that the rather obvious taint on the bill’s passage through Congress in light of this would give pause to anybody who’d planned on voting “aye.” But then, as I’m always being told, “that’s our system.” And a nice one, too!

DJ Karl Rove spins another classic oldie!

Jun 23, 2008 in Uncategorized

If all the Republicans have right now is to call Obama an elitist then this election should be a cakewalk. Working class hero Karl Rove rolls out this timeless classic:

“He’s the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by.”

It really takes you back, doesn’t it?


Recipe wars?

Jun 23, 2008 in Uncategorized

This really is the most pathetic news story out there right now.


Oil: $500 per barrel in 3-5 years.

Jun 23, 2008 in Energy, Peak Oil

Dr. Seymour Hirsch, senior energy advisor for Management Information Systems, Inc., was recently on CNBC discussing the dire supply problems we face. As the title of this post suggests he thinks that $500 a barrel oil is a possibility within a three to five year time frame. He also mentions oil sands/shale as realistic supply of liquid hydrocarbons which should make some of our recent commentators happy. The video can be found here.


More! Credit Where Credit’s Due

Jun 23, 2008 in Uncategorized

This is just beautiful politicking. McCain camp ends up sounding pathetic (“Hey! this is our position, too, and it was our position first!” = no one will ever believe you), Obama camp pushes to the front an issue that’s on every family’s mind as they spend half their summer vacation money on the costs of driving to & from their destination. Bonus points for not being afraid of the word “regulation,” since, pace Reaganism, regulation is actually one of the things a government is supposed to do.

I ran into Tim Burgess at a bar in Minneapolis once.

Jun 22, 2008 in Britpop, Music, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to



Lil’ Miss Samari’s pick o’ the day.

Jun 22, 2008 in Music, Uncategorized, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

[youtube 1-wEBmLht5g]
“Wake Up” -Arcade Fire w/ David Bowie

-jb + lms

ITEM! Obama is not Liberal Jesus.

Jun 21, 2008 in Uncategorized

Dear Readers:

Obama’s vote for the comprised FISA bill is beyond reprehensible.


Michael Ganzeveld and JB

One less scapegoat.

Jun 21, 2008 in Energy, Middle East, Peak Oil

Another oil price myth takes it on the chin. U.S energy secretary Samuel Bodman said yesterday that it was limited production and not the dirty deeds of market speculators that is to blame for rising energy costs.


If you get enough people wishing for oil independence…

Jun 20, 2008 in Clueless Conservatives, Energy, Peak Oil, Uncategorized, WTF?

Let’s take a trip into make-believe land where all of the world’s problems can be blamed on scheming liberal hippies and sinister Socialists.

Rovin, a frequent ranter on Common Sense Political Thought, has bought into the “WE CAN SOLVE GAS PRICES BY DRILLING HERE!!!!!!” myth so much that he’s gone ahead and created a blog to start a little movement. And it is classic winger hysteria; no facts but a lot of bluster with the usual list of grievances.

Here’s an EIA study showing that drilling ANWR would reduce the price of a barrel of oil by…..are you ready? 75 cents.

Here’s another EIA study
that shows what impact offshore drilling off the continental United States would have on a barrel of oil. Care to guess how much? If you guessed half the production rates of ANWR you would be correct!


PS> forgot to mention, those projected savings are by the year 2025 and don’t factor in the natural depletion of other sources of liquid hydrocarbons or natural gas.

See what happens when you accept every bit of flatulence that escapes from Limbaugh’s lips as fact?

Understanding Obama’s switch.

Jun 20, 2008 in Barack Obama, Politics, Straight-up madness, Stupidity

“He said he’d take public financing!” only has significance depending on the moral weight you apply to public financing…or, more accurately, the McCain-Feingold kind of campaign finance “reform” that rightwingers have been railing against for years…and which I’ve agreed with them about.

Let’s be clear here: We do not have publicly financed presidential campaigns. We have some paltry matching funds with spending caps, witch 527’s are immune to. Think “Swiftboat” to get an idea of how important that loophole is. George W. Bush was “publicly financed” according to the current laws, and never has a politician been so subservient to the wealthy.

So what did Barack Obama do? Turn down $84 million of taxpayer money and artificial government constraints and demand that people NOT fund 527’s and send the money to his campaign by way of millions of small contributors like myself ($75, with another $25 planned before November).

Dana Pico dearly wants to get some mileage out of this (do I even need to mention that the vile hack Sharon does?), David Brooks and some other Beltway morons try to laugh off Obama’s small donor campaign (because it threatens their control) but it’s a complete bust. Yes, Obama talked about doing it before, but he was raking in the dollars then also. It was stupid of him to be too emphatic about it, but it would have been even stupider to hold onto the broken politician-devised non-reform than moving forward with a cleaner, more democratic, more ethical system of campaign fundraising.

Once you realize that opting out of “public financing” is doing nothing other than eliminating the government and taxpayer money from the equation, and that this doesn’t mean Obama is going to become beholden to the wealthy and corporate interests, and that it frees him to spend his time actually campaigning instead of hustling the rich for money in exchange for favors, then the air completely deflates from the charges.

Dana and others are, as usual, betting that you’re an idiot, and will resist every single effort to get specific about what “public financing” actually means. I’ve been a diehard public financing fanatic for years, and when we get something resembling it, I’ll let you know. So far, Obama’s is the closest we’ve come in a presidential election in modern history. Yes, he changed positions, but to re-use my analogy, if I tell you I’m going to swim out to rescue you from drowning, but then I throw you a life preserver, accomplishing the same goal but in a safer and smarter way, how much are you going to begrudge me?

There is nothing here, and I welcome the bullshitters to try passing it off here. Especially the ones planning on voting for McCain who actually violated the campaign finance reform laws. Dana, Sharon and co. have absolutely zero principle at work here, and the absolute last thing in the world they care about is campaign finance reform.


Let Me Interpret This One For You

Jun 20, 2008 in Uncategorized

“We plan on seeing to it that everything comes down to Florida again.”

Because you need a good laugh.

Jun 19, 2008 in Clueless Conservatives, Straight-up madness, Stupidity, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to, WTF?

John Cole yukkin’ it up…back story here (okay, maybe read that one first), and make sure you don’t miss this


UPDATE: More goodies! I love it!!! If you find more, put them in the comment threads…I LOVE IT!!!

UPDATE II: Alright, I know I fucking blow, but I had to:


Self-extinguishing gaffes?

Jun 19, 2008 in Journamalism, Old Man McCain, Politics

What happens when a politician slips up and does something so foul and odious that the media is actually afraid to cover it?


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Ah, I’m just kidding. If Barack Obama had called Michelle that name publicly, or if it were even rumored to have happened privately, it’d be outrage 24/7. And every rightwinger on the internets would be talking about how liberals are disrespectful of their wives and conservative men come home with flowers every day, and it’s all the fault of the dirty fucking hippies and women who use the pill. And, of course, it would be certifiable “proof that Barack Obama is unfit for the presidency!” Just close your eyes, and you can hear Sean Hannity yelling and crying about it, and see a hundred talking heads ganging up on sucker liberals trying to defend it. But the only thing you’ll really hear is silence.


Goose, Meet Gander

Jun 19, 2008 in Christian Right, Religion, Straight-up madness, things so depressing that categories shun them like wou

Journey with me to the land of let’s-pretend and imagine that this horrible story concerned an Islamic family instead of a Christian one. How loud would the outcry be out there in wingnut-land? How much spittle would fly through Malkin’s teeth as she demanded that the Muslim-hugging liberal press admit, once and for all, that the problem is Islam itself, not some insane dude who never got the memo about not murdering your own children? So-called Christians in the right wing are all about hanging every bad thing done in the name of Allah on Islam itself, but they become suddenly familiar with philosophical nuance when the barbarism begins at home. One gets tired of shouting “Matthew 7:5, you hypocritical scumbags” at the top of one’s lungs, but the work must continue until the message gets through.

Where is the outrage LOL

Jun 17, 2008 in Uncategorized

Remember how stoked right-wing dudes were to call John Kerry a “flip-flopper” during the ’04 election? Boy, they got a lot of mileage out of that. People at the convention with six-foot-tall flip-flop shoes, just showin’ the world how much they can’t abide a flip-flopper. We can’t stand ’em! They are the worst kind of hypocrites.

Do not hold your breath waiting for the same people who were outraged by John Kerry’s “flip-flops” to locate that center of outrage when it comes to grandpa John. If you hold your breath that long, you will die.


Hark, the hermaphroditic future sings!

Jun 17, 2008 in Christian Right, Clueless Conservatives, teh gay

They really do think you’re a drooling idiot.


I mean, this is hilarious. But then you remember these unholy bastards call the shots in much of the country, and are gleefully represented by the GOP. The humor quotient dips a little bit after you factor that in…then I see the “Get a free Marriage Protection Kit!” and start laughing again.

Um, then depression again, because I’ve got like twenty years before they come to chop off my junk.


Top 10 reasons gay marriage is wrong.

Jun 17, 2008 in Uncategorized

Stolen from a Kos diary stolen from Facebook…?

01) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

02) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

03) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

04) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can’t marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

05) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britany Spears’ 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

06) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren’t full yet, and the world needs more children.

07) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

08) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That’s why we have only one religion in America.

09) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That’s why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven’t adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

Plus, Gay marriage killed the dinosaurs! DUH!

Someday all of America will start acting like Americans and let gay people be. And “I don’t approve of homosexuality” will sound like, “I don’t approve of left-handedness.” Once people accept the fact that it is immutable they stop talking about “behavior” and “choice,” and understand it for the fundamental civil rights issue it is.


UPDATE: Immutable.

What are we cheering here?

Jun 16, 2008 in Energy

Oh, yay, Honda rolls out a hydrogen car!

The biggest obstacles standing in the way of wider adoption of fuel cell vehicles are cost and the dearth of hydrogen fuel stations. For the Clarity’s release in California, Honda said it received 50,000 applications through its Web site but considered only buyers living near hydrogen fuel stations in Torrance, Santa Monica and Irvine.

Yeah, and that situation is unlikely to change. Keep hopin’ somebody feels like investing $10 million in a hydrogen station near you!

“It’s so smooth,” said Harris…”It’s like a future machine, but it’s not.”

I concur.


ADHD as society’s disease.

Jun 16, 2008 in Culture, Drugs, Health Care, Science

Common sense suggests, for many, that ADHD as a “disease” is a crock of shit. Rather, it’s a set of personality characteristics developed for sensible reasons in our long, long history that becomes suddenly inconvenient and exacerbated when their bearers are planted in our high-speed information-plastered minute-managed era. William Saletan, an occasional wanker, had his curiosity piqued by a Northwestern University study that revealed nomadic tribes benefited from the genes typically associated with ADHD, moreso than settled ones:

Increased impulsivity, ADHD-like traits, novelty-seeking like traits, aggression, violence and/or activity levels may help nomads obtain food resources, or exhibit a degree of behavioral unpredictability that is protective against interpersonal violence or robberies. … It might be that the attention spans conferred by the DRD4/7R+ genotype allow nomadic children to more readily learn effectively in a dynamic environment (without schools), while the same attention span interferes with classroom learning in Songa, the settled community. 7R+ boys might develop into warriors (the life-stage of an Ariaal male that lies between childhood and manhood) and men who can more effectively defend against livestock raiders, perhaps through a reputation of unpredictable behavior that inspires fear. Among 7R+ men in the settled community of Songa, such tendencies might be less well suited to practicing agriculture and selling goods at market. It might also be that higher activity levels in 7R+ nomads are translated into increased food production, while such activity levels in settled men are a less efficient use of calories in food production.

As a friend of mine was told by a psychiatrist recently, paraphrased, “You’d be fine running around with a spear or sword in your hand.”

I don’t know whether the speculated reasons for the gene’s benefits will pan out. But the benefits do seem real. And that finding suggests two things. First, we should be careful about designating diseases and disease genes. Traits that are harmful in one setting can be helpful in another. Advantages or “defects” that we think of as natural may actually be products of our cultural decisions. As Eisenberg puts it, we might “begin to view ADHD as not just a disease but something with adaptive components.”

Second, our society may be the wrong place to assess a gene’s evolutionary harm or benefit. As the authors note, “[N]on-industrialized or subsistence environments … may be more similar to the environments where much of human genetic evolution took place.”

My experience is that our society is capable of inducing ADHD-like characteristics in anybody, and that while its qualities aren’t very helpful in the classroom (in fact, let me say they are a goddamned pain in the ass) kids pick up on the fact that surviving and succeeding in the adult world nearly requires it. As we facilitate the means of communication to “save time,” free time becomes, ironically, less excusable.

Research may provide new revelations in time, but I think it be a safe presumption that kids are better served being put in environments where their predispositions are more useful instead of being subjected to constant chemical infusion.


UPDATE: A cure exists!

[youtube RkzytidhP1M]

JB, You’re Gonna Have to Forgive Me This One

Jun 16, 2008 in Uncategorized

The great thing about the Obama campaign is that it’s gonna be totally different from all those other campaigns we didn’t like as well.


Less Fun Than “Truth or Dare”

Jun 16, 2008 in Uncategorized

It’s a question we’ve had to ask far too many times about the Bush administration’s thirst to keep as many Americans as possible in harm’s way: are they lying, or just wrong? It makes a difference, to me at least; I can respectfully if passionately disagree with somebody about policy if I think they really believe they’ve got the interests of the country in mind. The few remaining enthusiastic Bush supporters are trying pretty hard to spin this, but the best they seem able to do at present is more attack-the-messenger stuff, which most everyday Republicans are as tired of as we on the left are. It’s a sad pass, at any rate, when “lying or catastrophically wrong?” are unquestionably the only two options on the table: you can accept that your President sent Americans to the slaughter because it suited his ideology, like a petty communist dictator, or you can admit that he was so blinded by that ideology that he believed information half the world was telling him to investigate more closely. But you sorta can’t say he was making decisions based on a hard look at the facts, which is the only way to make decisions about the lives of American citizens.

That’s me!

Jun 15, 2008 in Uncategorized

Iowa City water treatment plant sandbagging.


A tip of the 40.

Jun 14, 2008 in In Memorium

I’ve had no shortage of problems with Tim Russert’s Beltway-itis over the years, but it’s impossible not to admire a life fully lived. Nitpicking somebody can cause you to forget what you admire about them, and upon hearing of his death and listening to accounts of his life from his colleagues, I was awestruck with what a person can accomplish in this world. He was not perfect, but he was better than most.

As many have noted, tomorrow is Father’s Day, and Russert was less than two years older than my father. It really is hard not to well up with empathy for his family. For me such a loss is truly unimaginable. The weight of this world, oh brother…the heaviness of life.


I didn’t go looking for this. I promise.

Jun 14, 2008 in Uncategorized

Some mouth-breathers couldn’t help themselves:

Where are the riots? Where is the looting? I mean why haven’t they started to scream that they were left behind?

I see not difference in the disaster only how the people of these town have dealt with personal responsibility as well as sense of self control.

Call me what you will, but this should be a wake up call for those who felt sorry for all of the looters and the rioters in NO. Ask yourself what is the difference here?

And it carries on like that. Bush versus the f*cking hurricane. Socialists running wild at large. Etcetera, etcetera, in the midst of life we are in debt, etcetera.


Iowa City 500-Year Flood Plan

Jun 13, 2008 in Iowa 2008 Flood, Uncategorized

As a courtesy I uploaded the Iowa City 500-Year Flood Plan.

You can view it by clicking here.



Jun 13, 2008 in Iowa 2008 Flood

I saw them taking these shots when I was sandbagging this morning. It definitely looks a lot worse from the air! On the ground all you have to focus on is the steadily encroaching river flow.


I sandbagged all night and all morning at the water plant north of Dubuque Street in Iowa City. Needless to say I’m completely exhausted. Not to take away from the tragedy experienced by those up in Cedar Rapids but we’re expected to crest on Tuesday. That means five more feet of water so any type of assistance is appreciated. We were working on the pump station that is closest to the river since that’s the one that is in the most danger of being overcome. I know that right now (16:50) Coralville only has one out of four pump stations operating so it’s imperative that those left on the East side of the river remain operable.

One of the city engineers working at the water plant said that last night they had to bore holes in the Park City bridge to let some of the trapped air out from underneath because of the risk of the road way gaining sufficient buoancy to lift off of the pylons. He later said to me over a coffee and a ham and cheese sandwich that they don’t expect the bridge to make it through the next couple of days. The Park City bridge is visible in the aerial shots taken around the Mayflower Residence Hall seen in the video above.


Some good Iowa City and Coralville aerials are here.

A note to rightwingers preparing to whine about “ageism.”

Jun 13, 2008 in Uncategorized

First of all, we know how you play the game: Throw everything you can at Democrats, the lower the blow the better, then drop to the ground screaming “FOUL!” clutching your knee the second you get grazed, and count on the media referees to give you the edge.

Second of all, while you’re all preparing to turn a blind eye for the next five months while every single racial attack your trained slimeballs can generate gets thrown at Obama, age is something that is, omigod, actually relevant.

There are some simple facts of life that one cannot get around, and while many are debatable, aging and dying are not…yet. I think things may be different by the time I’m McCain’s age, but right now they ain’t. Every one of us ages, which as we get older means increasing cell death, until finally something gives out and the system collapses. Muscle, bone, neuron, nothing is immune.

So we have this actual, relevant problem with older human beings, in that they start to not be so good at what they do. They don’t run, jump, or think as ably as they did when they had more functioning cells. Make every concession you want…indeed, many a 72 year-old has more horsepower upstairs than 99% of the population younger than them. But if the brain starts to go on them, it is 99% out of their hands.

This is why we take away rights and privileges from the elderly every day. We take away their drivers licenses, homes, freedom, step-by-step as they prove less and less capable.

So when it comes to the question, “Are you capable of leading the nation for the next 4-8 years?” the fact that you’re going to be sworn in at 72 and you’re already sounding addled is 100% relevant. Let me put it this way: Imagine your 72 year-old brain surgeon temporarily confused about whether the hypothalamus or the amygdala secretes hormones. Still feel optimistic about surgery?

This is John McCain. Being 72 doesn’t disqualify him automatically because that would be ageism, but pointing to decreasing competence isn’t a bad thing, it’s reality, and a duty each of us takes seriously when it relates to our own lives.


Random funny.

Jun 12, 2008 in Barack Obama, Clueless Conservatives

Textbook 101 Rightwinger fever-drenched troll comment:

Senator Obama is the candidate to vote for if you want to change to a more racist/socialist/Marxist/communist type of government and country. That is exactly what he means by his motto:

Is that what you want voters? Think about it.

It’s always funny when they use the word, “think,” isn’t it? If there’s evidence of thinking here, it’s the “Big Lie” ploy of claiming the election of a black man to the presidency would make this a MORE racist country. It’s so mathematically opposite that it can’t possibly be honest or accidental. It’s just thrown out there in hopes that somebody else will echo it and it will snowball.

Who thinks the people are stupid sheep to be manipulated again? The very structure of rightwinger dialogue is built around altering the debate by spamming words and phrases instead of building coherent arguments.

Fortunately, I have hope that the American populace will note the same parlor tricks being used on them and coast through the next 5 months wondering why they ever took these mouth-breathing thick-skulled hairless apes seriously.


View from the sky of the Mayflower dormatory.

Jun 12, 2008 in Iowa 2008 Flood, Iowa City

Somewhere underneath all of that water is Dubuque Street.

Mayflower dorm on Dubuque Street in Iowa City.

Bad and getting worse.

Jun 12, 2008 in Iowa 2008 Flood, Iraq, Uncategorized

Updates at the bottom.

Here are some good before and after pictures of the Coralville Reservoir dam:

This is a picture of the Coralville Dam just before the water breached the spillway. The campground you see in the center is now completely under water:

Coralville Dam before the spillway breach.

Here are a couple of pictures taken yesterday after the water reached over the lip of the spillway. Since then the reservoir level has risen twelve inches. We’re supposed to crest on Tuesday.

Coralville spillway breached.

Iowa flood 2008.

My internet service might be going down for an unknown duration due to extensive flooding at the local Qwest building. Until then I’ll update as much as I can.


Update: The pics above were taken when total discharge at the dam was at approximately 21,000 cubic feet per second. The Army Corp of Engineers is now saying that total flowage both through the outlet and over the spillway will reach 40,000 cubic feet per second. With the Iowa River expected to crest early next week I think this means that evacuation is imminent for large parts of Iowa City.

John Deeth was working two blocks away from us making sure that the Johnson County Administration Building was protected.

Iowa City expects to surpass 100-year flood plain Friday night

Iowa City expects to surpass its 100-year flood plain Friday night, and Coralville Lake projects to hit a record 717.04 feet above sea level Tuesday. The Iowa River in Iowa City expects to reach 32.2* feet by Monday, more than 10 feet above flood stage.

“We’re expected to pass the 100-year flood level and flows will continue to increase,” Iowa City Mayor Regenia Bailey said. “Let me repeat that, the flows will continue to increase.”

Outflow from Coralville Lake will reach 40,000 cubic feet per second by Tuesday, within 4,000 feet of the 500-year flood plan.

*This has since been revised to 34 feet (flood stage is 22 feet).

River watch – Call for sand baggers.

Call City Hall Flood Hotline 887-6202 (24/7) for current active locations that need baggers. Bring gloves and shovel if you have them.

“Hey, Let’s Not Overdo It”

Jun 12, 2008 in Uncategorized

Been meaning to post the General’s brilliant letter to the Protect Marriage coalition for a couple of days. After all: if the reason for hunting down gay marriage is preservation of the integrity of the institution, shouldn’t divorce be the bigger game? Mind, this isn’t a Catholic/Protestant issue, as is commonly the case where divorce and and moral hypocrisy are concerned. What poses a greater long-term total threat to marriage: gay marriage, or the institution’s legal standing as an always-and-everywhere temporal and contingent thing? Certainly the latter, which makes the vows a publicly uttered half-truth at best. Not holding my breath for many Republicans to really step up to the plate on this one, though; are you?

Iowa City Flood 2008

Jun 11, 2008 in Uncategorized

Every season in Iowa is life threatening and this summer has been no exception. I spent my evening filling sandbags at PATV off of Dubuque Street south of downtown Iowa City. Most of the people I saw around town tonight were doing the same, either shoveling sand or stacking bags before the river crests this coming Tuesday. The dam spillway that you see featured in the videos is now completely underwater and can only be viewed from above. If I find some pictures I’ll post them. Total flowage as of now is 21,800 cubic feet per second, up from the 15,000 cfpm you see in the video.


More good times:


Please send beer and dry socks.
I’m going to bed. I’m beat.


All Aboard For Funtime

Jun 11, 2008 in Uncategorized

The primaries are over and the general’s on – Obama fans, time to fasten your seat belts. Welcome to the tip of the iceberg.

(Subject line courtesy of Mr. James Jewel Osterberg dba Iggy Pop back around ’77 – thanks Iggy!)


A liberal in office? Oh, no!!!

Jun 11, 2008 in Uncategorized

Hunter over at Daily Kos tackles the elephant in the room: Even though the “most liberal Senator” thing about Obama is a joke, and by several other measures his term puts him in the middle of the left…and what passes for “left” in the Senate is pretty weak shit…

So let’s just stipulate that someone might be “the most liberal” senator. My question for Rep. Boren, and for his Oklahoma constituents, is this: so what? So what if someone is a “liberal”?

What exactly are you afraid of?

What, will he start some wars? Will the economy go to hell? Will gasoline suddenly cost four bucks a gallon, so that getting from one end of town to the other starts to be something you have to plan for in your family budget? Oh, wait, no — that’s what conservatism has wrought. So what big, scary menace will “liberalism” rain down upon us all?

The horror of free public education? The apocalypse of affordable healthcare for families and the elderly? An energy policy that consists of something other than “hell, let’s just sit on our asses and see what happens”? My God, maybe we’ll have a foreign policy that doesn’t revolve around sucking thousands of dollars out of your constituents’ pockets, lighting all that money on fire, and using the pyre to make super-special Democracy Smores in the middle of the Iraqi desert?

What, are we afraid less American soldiers will die? That our trade deficit will be, if not reversed, at least addressed? Are Oklahomans all huddled in their closets, lest some of the now-legions of outsourced jobs start reappearing in their towns? What? What is it that is so absolutely alarming about the word “liberal” that you’d rather stomach having everything that’s happened to America for the past decade continue, rather than being seen as someone who might secretly have tolerance for, shudder, that word?

What is this “liberalism” that conservatives fear? How can it possibly be more feared than “conservatism” should be as exemplified by the modern depraved GOP? What is it?

I think, in the end, perhaps the conservative fear of liberalism really is all about scary people ravishing their virgins. That is the only thing that comes up consistently in so-called conservative intellectual thought; the notion that someone, somewhere is just one dashing, hopelessly suave line from getting it on with your virgin daughter. Or son. For a long time, it was black people seeking to move into your neighborhoods and seduce your offspring. Then it was illegal immigrants — yes, apparently all these people were swarming across our border because your virgin daughter was just that damn hot.

Or your son. Either one could come home with a dark-skinned boyfriend. Because of liberalism!

Bizarrely, one of Obama’s best defenses is that Michelle Obama is pure sexual chocolate (What the hell did he just say?). Yep, America is reassured that he hooked up with and relates best to a straight-up African-American beauty. Obama doesn’t need your white virgin daughters, America.

So I don’t think the “He’s liberal!” is going to end up being that scary. There’s serious stuff to be afraid about, and I think Americans are generally a lot more clued into that than they used to be.


A new kind of politics.

Jun 11, 2008 in Barack Obama, Election crap, Old Man McCain, Outstanding Democrats, Politics

I’m totally digging Balloon Juice nowadays. John lays the fuckin’ facts out on the table:

Forcefully and confidently defining yourself and what you believe in, while defining your opponent and his ideas is not “dirty politics,” it is politics. Obama did not launch into numerous attacks on John McCain the person, he didn’t raise questions as to whether McCain is in league with the terrorists, he attacked McCain on the issues, over his ideas and his policies. Again, that is not dirty politics, although it is a “new kind” of politics for a party that too often has let the opponent frame the debate with the esoteric hope that “the people are smarter than that” and “will see through the Republican attacks.” Rather than worrying about the Obama campaign, Democrats should be cheering what happened yesterday. It was the first time I remember a Democrat forcefully engaging Republican ideas, explaining why they are wrong, and providing an alternate vision.

Exactly. Exactly. EXACTLY. “A new kind of politics” doesn’t mean Barack Obama has to nod his head and agree with everything John McCain says, triangulate, or timidly demur. It means sticking to the arguments, premises, conclusion and all. It means being unafraid to point the finger, say, “You’re wrong, and here’s why.” Barack Obama pays John McCain the personal respect that he’s due, if not more. And then he goes toe to toe and argues without blinking why McCain isn’t right for the country. John McCain is happy to mutter shit about Hamas loving Obama, or blather about Obama not signing up for the Armed Forces (when there was no war!), or keep calling him inexperienced. All that gets shredded to shit when Obama repeatedly makes the case that McCain has no case. Substance and style vs. no substance and tired, worn out style.

Go watch some UFC, folks. Everybody talks their shit outside of the ring, talks about how fuckin’ badass they are, how they’re going to deconstruct the other guy and become his worst nightmare, etc. etc. But none of that matters once the ref says, “Fight!” And nobody roots for the guy who spent three rounds getting his face pounded to a bloody pulp to win the decision.

I welcome John McCain to try fighting back on the issues, point for counterpoint. I welcome people sitting down, ignoring all the flash, and keeping score. Because I’ve always seen that when liberal/progressive/libertarian types go up against somebody trying to please the rightwinger crowd and don’t back down, the opponent crumbles and runs. McCain can’t stand up in a fight because he’s stuck to Bush, and if he tries dumping Bush his corner will throw in the towel. His argument is fundamentally handicapped, and Barack Obama should use every day from here til November taking McCain on directly, diligently, and fearlessly. McCain will start to whine, the wingers will start to whine, the media will echo the rightwing talking points (“Is Obama unfairly attacking John McCain?”), and some new personal smears will be attempted before the election, but if Obama persists, the crowd will see who is winning, and the media, smelling McCain’s weakness, will go into a blood-frenzy.

This is the simple message I’ve wanted Democrats to get for a long time. When you fight, you win. When you react out of fear, back off and triangulate, you lose. If you think wingers don’t seize on the moment and go for the kill the second they smell blood, you haven’t been paying attention for fifteen years.


T. Boone Pickens wants to take your Ford Expedition away.

Jun 10, 2008 in Uncategorized

Not that you’d want to keep it.

His assertion that natural gas is the natural successor of liquid hydrocarbons is dubious considering the immense levels of investment in off-shore drilling it would take to make that dream a reality but like most of what Pickens has to say in regards our energy situation the video is worth watching.



Holy smokes, prayers and incantations…

Jun 10, 2008 in Barack Obama, Politics, Religion

The Christian Broadcasting Network is doing a double-take over Obama’s so-crazy-it-could-work plan to go straight after evangelicals:

A source close to the Obama campaign tells The Brody File the following:

“The Joshua Generation project will be the Obama campaign’s outreach to young people of faith. There’s unprecedented energy and excitement for Obama among young evangelicals and Catholics. The Joshua Generation project will tap into that excitement and provide young people of faith opportunities to stand up for their values and move the campaign forward.”

The official rollout won’t be for another two weeks or so, but The Brody File has been told the activities will include house parties, blogging, concerts and more.


Obama: “I’m here because somebody marched. I’m here because you all sacrificed for me. I stand on the shoulders of giants. I thank the Moses generation; but we’ve got to remember, now, that Joshua still had a job to do. As great as Moses was, despite all that he did, leading a people out of bondage, he didn’t cross over the river to see the Promised Land. God told him your job is done. You’ll see it. You’ll be at the mountain top and you can see what I’ve promised. What I’ve promised to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. You will see that I’ve fulfilled that promise but you won’t go there. We’re going to leave it to the Joshua generation to make sure it happens. There are still battles that need to be fought; some rivers that need to be crossed. Like Moses, the task was passed on to those who might not have been as deserving, might not have been as courageous, find themselves in front of the risks that their parents and grandparents and great grandparents had taken. That doesn’t mean that they don’t still have a burden to shoulder, that they don’t have some responsibilities. The previous generation, the Moses generation, pointed the way. They took us 90% of the way there. We still got that 10% in order to cross over to the other side. So the question, I guess, that I have today is what’s called of us in this Joshua generation? What do we do in order to fulfill that legacy; to fulfill the obligations and the debt that we owe to those who allowed us to be here today?”

Mmm’kay…yeah, nice metaphor I suppose, if you’re into the Old Testament. Of course, Barack is, and you bet the Brody File is!

Whatever you think of the “Joshua Generation Project,” you have to give the campaign their due because they are making concerted efforts to NOT ignore faith voters. In my reporting, I can tell you this is not a contrived effort.

The folks behind this believe in not only the mission of winning over faith voters to Obama but the larger mission of not ignoring faith voters when it comes to politics.

They seem to relate. I can dig it.


Contempt for the political class isn’t foolproof.

Jun 10, 2008 in Politics, Uncategorized

Scott Horton finds a useful historical lesson for today’s times in the perspective of Max Weber at the time of WWI:

Those who reject the political world as something beneath reproach, who refuse to “dirty their hands” with its business, draw Weber’s scorn. In particular, he is angry at the educators who adopt such attitudes. They have drained the playing field of its essential talent, Weber suggests. Moreover, his particular scorn attaches to the cultural conservatives who refuse to recognize that times have changed and that they now face the challenge of making the most for their country out of these changes. The cultural conservatives longed for restoration of the Wilhelmine world, rejected the institutions of the Weimar Republic that Weber helped to cast. Delegitimizing Weimar, they laid the foundations for the nightmare for Germany and Europe that succeeded it.

If the good are too good for politics, what do they expect to happen? The following passage sounds like Karl Rove’s dream of the permanent Republican majority coming true:

Through the war, Weber saw a steady worsening of the situation as a de facto military dictatorship was created over the country. In Weber’s view, the nation’s political-military establishment pursued foolish, chauvinist policies which inevitably would (and did) lead to a crushing military defeat. The nation’s proto-democratic institutions were destroyed by the war. In their place came a dictatorship which ruled by secrecy and attempted to place the blame for all its failings at the doorstep of its political rivals.

Sound familiar? Fortunately our country possessed corrective measures that swung in to put the brakes on the Bush administration. Furthermore, it is not only possible but necessary that the good come into the circle of power afterwards as a rebuke. Weber’s description of such a person:

He cannot be a simple moralist who embraces without reservation the values of the Sermon on the Mount, for this is a calling “not of this world.” He cannot be a crude Machiavellian in the common sense who scorns any sense of ethics—though Weber sees such people all about him in the competing waves of “White” and “Red” terror, he senses their values will lead to a descent into violence and chaos. The age calls for a politician who has a sense of a mission which is informed by ideals, but also has a firm grip on the art of the possible, and an unshakable resolve to do his utmost to achieve it. And most significantly, Weber believes this figure must be capable of holding these ultimately irreconcilable thoughts in mind, drawing inspiration from them, being sustained by them, without collapsing under the weight of the many inherent contradictions that the political process presents.

Horton unfortunately finds both Barack Obama and John McCain sufficiently able to meet this descriptor, using some rather weak comparisons. Both have a “moral lodestar,” supposedly. Too bad his description of John McCain is stuck in the year 2000.

Weber has something to tell us in this context as well. He appeals for a level-headed and earnest engagement. Few have a genuine calling to be politicians, he tells us. But for the greater number who stand on the sidelines and observe, and occasionally perhaps stretch a hand of participation into that arena, he gives a message of encouragement and caution. Avoid holding all those who contend as politicians in contempt, he says, but strive to hold them to account. Remember that they will shape the world in which you live and that each of you has the ability to affect somewhat whether it is more a bit of heaven or a bit of hell. That is, I think, precisely the attitude that America’s voters must take into this election contest.

By all means, voters, please do. McBush will keep us in the hell of Iraq, spiraling deficits, and Constitution-shredding judges. The choice is remarkably clear.


Hey, ‘Bama, pass the water.

Jun 09, 2008 in Barack Obama

Cuz yer makin’ me thirsty for change!!! Ok, calm down, TT, I’m just kidding. Maybe.

At lunch with five voters:
[youtube a4RKZxx1X_Y]

Another down-to-earth moment with his campaign team:
[youtube bnhmByYxEIo]

Nice feller. Calm down, TT, I’m just sayin’…


ITEM! Iowa Liberal endorses John McCain!

Jun 09, 2008 in Uncategorized

Well, not quite, but we do endorse his position on nuclear energy.


Bill Moyers man-handles Porter Barry.

Jun 09, 2008 in Clueless Conservatives, Librulz, Media

Total pwn3ge:



Hugh Hewitt’s own-goal.

Jun 09, 2008 in Barack Obama, Christian Right, Clueless Conservatives, Politics, Racism, Religion, Reverend Jeremiah Wright

Hilarious…Hugh Hewitt, the idiot Brian Pickrell wants to be when he grows up, has on his blog a series of posts featuring monthly newsletters written by Jeremiah Wright for Trinity Church that somebody dug up. The rub? The newsletters are pissing off his slobbering rightwing readers because they’re completely boring and positive!

The Hewitt posts, intentionally or not, seem to corroborate Obama’s claims (which to many seemed a bit implausible) that, on a week to week basis, Wright was not serving up loopy views or radical anti-Americanism, but was encouraging personal responsibility and the relatively typical forms of social activism that many churches and synagogues encourage. Hewitt’s readers are getting upset with the postings, because they find them boring and because they understand that the postings strongly disprove the contention that Wright was such a monomaniacal radical that no congregant of moderate political beliefs attending the church or reading the bulletin could have possibly maintained his membership.

Ahhh! Narrative interruption, narrative interruption!!! Hugh Hewitt, you should know your readers have no interest in the truth! The question is, since you have no interest in the truth, what is your rationale for having these newsletters on your blog?

Was Hewitt such a bottom-feeder that he thought merely reminding readers of the existence of Jeremiah Wright would be enough to fuel anti-Obama anger?

This is the best comment I’ve read so far:

After reading all these…

The Trinity church really doesn’t seem all that radical. Most of the content is about personal responsibility, charity, compassion, etc. Decent and virtuous Christian values. Sure, maybe some wackyness here and there, but overall, if this makes someone a “radical”, maybe more of us should become a little more radical.

Seems like the ones most threatened by this one black Christian church are other Christians…Why is that?

Hugh/Duane, if you are truly an evangelical Christians, how can you publish all this and trash what are probably mostly good congregational caring fellow Christians. You said those of us who judged Mitt Romney’s LDS faith as bigots?

Is winning that important to you? More than your faith and it’s underlying values?

Yes. Hewitt is the GOP specialty, the godless priest.


John McCain’s first wife.

Jun 09, 2008 in Old Man McCain, Politics

You know, I can’t say I don’t understand McCain leaving his first wife. It’s easy to understand: the beauty queen he married turned by car accident crippled and overweight, and turned by Mother Nature forty years old when twenty-five year old hot mama and multi-million dollar heiress Cindy McCain (who, let’s face it, is still pretty smokin’), came waltzing along…I mean, the logic is there. Anybody could understand it.

Approve of it, though? I dunno, I’m just a dirty liberal, although I’m getting married next year with the understanding that it is to be until the day I drop dead. I’m just not sure how it gets sanctioned by the Republican Party, a group of charming folks who love to pontificate endlessly about “defending marriage.”

But that hypocrisy isn’t exactly new, is it? Straights get to shit on marriage vows however they like without question, and, of course, elites are to virtually expected to ditch the “starter wife” when they gain sufficient status.