Even in absurdity, sacrament.     Even in hardship, holiness.     Even in doubt, faith.     Even in chaos, realization.    Even in paradox, blessedness

 

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"Life expands or shrinks in proportion to one's courage."    ~Anain Nin

{ Friday, 30 September, 2005 }

The Blog is going to have a massage

Bird on the Moon is taking Friday off of regular blogging duties and will return rested and ready on Monday.

jaybird found this for you @ 12:15 in Blogosphere, Tech & Internet | | permalink



{ Thursday, 29 September, 2005 }

In all fairness, a critique of transhumanism: The Age of Batshit Crazy Machines

One problem: The biosphere did not gain its complexity by destroying the universe, as their system has gained complexity by destroying the biosphere. They always claim to represent "evolution," or a "new evolutionary level." But evolution doesn't have levels. Video games have levels. Evolution is a biological process in which the totality of life grows more diverse and complex, and then apparently gets cut down by some catastrophe every 60 million years, and then rebuilds itself, maybe better than the time before, maybe not. Evolution is not about one life form pushing out another, or we wouldn't still have algae and bacteria and 350,000 known species of beetles. It's not about "survival of the fittest" unless fitness is defined as the ability to add to the harmonious diversity and abundance of the whole. (And one has to wonder: Since there's no biological basis to imagine that new life forms will replace or destroy old ones, how did they come to imagine that?)

This article has salient points, whether or not I agree with them. I'm not actually decided on transhumanism, and the greatest thing I come back to is the inequity of transhumanist technology. It ought to be as available to me as it would an Indian untouchable. Otherwise, given that the technology worked, it's another awful form of cultural elitism. Additionally, can the world support more codgers hanging 'round, greedy for more life? But there are great things we can learn from this way of looking at technology, and it does seem that the biological processes of Earth are in complete peril, so this coin most definitely has two sides.

jaybird found this for you @ 14:05 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



It's getting hot in here: Arctic Ice Cap on the Melt

The floating cap of sea ice on the Arctic Ocean shrank this summer to what is probably its smallest size in a century, continuing a trend toward less summer ice that is hard to explain without attributing it in part to human-caused global warming, various experts on the region said today.

The findings are consistent with recent computer simulations showing that a buildup of smokestack and tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases could lead to a profoundly transformed Arctic later this century in which much of the once ice-locked ocean is routinely open water in summers. It also appears that the change is becoming self sustaining, with the increased open water absorbing solar energy that would be reflected back into space by bright white ice...

"Feedbacks in the system are starting to take hold," Dr. Scambos said. "The consecutive record-low extents make it pretty certain a long-term decline is underway."

jaybird found this for you @ 08:01 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink



{ Wednesday, 28 September, 2005 }

dream vacation

...Dreams will always remain difficult to elucidate because, though they are physical phenomena, they are important to us as mental experiences and sensations. ''The dream body,'' he says, ''is sensual but unphysical. It's also primeval. Curiously, we don't dream about writing, for example, because it's a relatively recent skill we've acquired; but we frequently dream about overcoming difficulty or danger because that's a human experience that goes back thousands of years.'' LaBerge is not concerned by the prospect that psychology or evolutionary science may never elucidate the significance of dreams. Even if dreams are some sort of biological side product or accident, he argues, they are still experiences. For us, dreams are narratives, which gives them emotional power, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that they are often cryptic or puzzling.

jaybird found this for you @ 21:58 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



Don't shoot the mesenger: Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side'

It compares the social peformance of relatively secular countries, such as Britain, with the US, where the majority believes in a creator rather than the theory of evolution. Many conservative evangelicals in the US consider Darwinism to be a social evil, believing that it inspires atheism and amorality.

Many liberal Christians and believers of other faiths hold that religious belief is socially beneficial, believing that it helps to lower rates of violent crime, murder, suicide, sexual promiscuity and abortion. The benefits of religious belief to a society have been described as its “spiritual capital”. But the study claims that the devotion of many in the US may actually contribute to its ills.

My take? It really depends on the society in question and the dominant religious values at the time. That could certainly be applied to this country in a way that supports the article. It's all a part of the paradigm that spirituality is necessery for the emerging human but religion should be entered into with great care and personally... not as a society.

jaybird found this for you @ 14:34 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



giant squid pic'd!

jaybird found this for you @ 08:30 in Forteana, Phenomena & the Bizarre | | permalink



{ Tuesday, 27 September, 2005 }

The tomb of Odysseus

The discovery of what is almost certainly his tomb reveals that crafty Odysseus, known as Ulysses in many English renditions of Homer’s “Iliad” and “Odyssey,” was no mere myth, but a real person. Plus, passages in the “Odyssey” itself suggest that modern Ithaca and its main town of Vathi probably were not the city and island of which Homer wrote.

Rather, this small village of Poros on the southeast coast of Kefalonia now occupies part of a site that most likely was the much larger city which served as capital of the multi-island kingdom ruled by Odysseus and his father Laertes.

Archeologists have long and often times looked for evidence of Odysseus on modern Ithaca, but never found anything significant from the Bronze Age. This led many scholars to dismiss Homer’s version of Ionian island geography as strictly a literary creation.

jaybird found this for you @ 22:18 in History, Civilization & Anthropology | | permalink



Hopscotch or hula-hoops: Esoteric planes of existence

The idea of a vertical world-axis, a cosmic mountain or tree or pole, is in fact a common archetype, and the theosophical planes are just one particular version or interpretation of that. Another is the Tantric theme of chakras, which are asosciated with an ascending series of states of consciousness, culminating in the Absolute Reality located either at or above the Crown. From this perspective then, the Cosmos can be divided "vertically" into a number of worlds or states or gradations of being.

Unless, of course, you dig holistic cosmology.

jaybird found this for you @ 16:08 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



This is a moblog* post:

11278992630032.jpg
This is the chaos pit that is my office in case you were wondering.


*Moblogging is posting from a cellphone or other wireless device- if a picture, it's taken from the phone.

jaybird found this for you @ 13:03 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink



HUH?: The basic laws of human stupidity

Cultural trends now fashionable in the West favour an egalitarian approach to life. People like to think of human beings as the output of a perfectly engineered mass production machine. Geneticists and sociologists especially go out of their way to prove, with an impressive apparatus of scientific data and formulations that all men are naturally equal and if some are more equal than others, this is attributable to nurture and not to nature. I take an exception to this general view. It is my firm conviction, supported by years of observation and experimentation, that men are not equal, that some are stupid and others are not, and that the difference is determined by nature and not by cultural forces or factors. One is stupid in the same way one is red-haired; one belongs to the stupid set as one belongs to a blood group. A stupid man is born a stupid man by an act of Providence. Although convinced that fraction of human beings are stupid and that they are so because of genetic traits, I am not a reactionary trying to reintroduce surreptitiously class or race discrimination. I firmly believe that stupidity is an indiscriminate privilege of all human groups and is uniformly distributed according to a constant proportion. [via mefi]

jaybird found this for you @ 09:47 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



{ Monday, 26 September, 2005 }

Key 23: Emerging from Fear

Within a community of practice, individual take on differing roles based on their skills and interests. A “community of practice"* (CoP) is a collection of individuals with a set of established theories and praxis, working within this shared framework toward common goals. The membership of such a community changes over time as individuals join and leave. At any time, a group of core-participants largely determine the operant models and actions pursued by the group. Also, peripheral participants seek to establish and legitimize their own interpretations within the larger CoP. The dialogue between core and peripheral participants acts to bring the periphery closer to the center, but at the same time changes the established praxis and direction of the community.

I see my own ultracultural participation as largely on the periphery. I have yet to establish a strong personal sense of role-idenity within the larger scope of task differentiation. This in part because I have yet to grasp toward what desires and dreams I seek to actualize in my own life, nevertheless within a CoP, or the world at large. Why? What do I fear?

jaybird found this for you @ 20:29 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



The Goddess of the Israelites

The discovery that the deities of ancient Palestine were female ought to be good news for all of humanity, not just women. Even the increasingly beleaguered monotheistic religions might find reason to be pleased, for it gives them opportunity to reinvent a deity that will represent the yin and the yang, the yoni as well as the lingam, the mother as well as the father, the wife as well as the husband. [via orlin grabbe]

jaybird found this for you @ 14:22 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



Letter from Louisiana: High Water

Kalamu ya Salaam told me that he thought the suffering was far from over. Hurricane Rita has made recovery even more difficult. For the moment, people are focussed on the grace of their own survival, and are grateful for the small and large acts of compassion that have come their way. And yet, he said, “you are going to see a lot of suicides this winter. A lot of poor people depend entirely on their extended family and their friends who share their condition to be a buffer against the pain of that condition. By winter, a lot of the generosity and aid that’s been so palpable lately will begin to slow down and the reality of not going home again will hit people hard. They will be very alone.

“People forget how important all those Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs are for people. It’s a community for a lot of folks who have nothing. Some people have never left New Orleans. Some have never seen snow. So you wake up and you find yourself beyond the reach of friends, beyond the reach of members of your family, and you are working in a fast-food restaurant in Utah somewhere and there is no conceivable way for you to get back to the city you love. How are you going to feel?”

jaybird found this for you @ 08:02 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



{ Sunday, 25 September, 2005 }

mary chapin carpenter

I saw my life this morning
Lying at the bottom of a drawer
All this stuff I'm saving
God knows what this junk is for
And whatever I believed in
This is all I have to show
What the hell were all reasons
For holding on for such dear life
Here's where I let go

I'm not running
I'm not hiding
I'm not reaching
I'm just resting in the arms of the great wide open
Gonna pull my soul in
And I'm almost home

I saw you this morning
You were looking straight at me
From an ancient photograph
Stuck between letters and some keys
I was lost just for a moment
In the ache of old goodbyes
Sometimes all that we can know is
There's no such thing as no regrets
Baby it's all right

I'm not running
I'm not hiding
I'm not reaching
I'm just resting in the arms of the great wide open
Gonna pull my soul in
And I'm almost home
There's no such thing as no regrets
But baby it's alright
I'm not running
I'm not hiding
I'm not reaching
I'm just resting in the arms of the great wide open
Gonna pull my soul in
And I'm almost home

jaybird found this for you @ 22:17 in Art, Music, Theater & Film | | permalink



{ Saturday, 24 September, 2005 }

Oy.

Hello. Just a short missive from the front.

Let's rate the weekend, shall we? Amount of time spent not under pressure: the past 10 minutes. Amount of time not spent on the on-call phone dealing with major crises: about an hour. Amount of time contemplating the vagaries of the cosmos, the underbellies of serpents, sundogs and archaic glyphs: zip.

So, who is very rarely in a bitchy mood and is now stewing ever so slightly over the random chance that he is on-call on a weekend when the entire social services system of WNC collapses into a big, frothy pile of objectionable goo? That'd be me.

At the same time, who's the guy out of the deck, wind in his hair, in awe of the stars and the first cool breaths of autumn? C'est moi. I'm trying to be optimistic here... there's so much raging beauty going on right now despite the mounds of paperwork that I now have to fill out that I'm happy just knowing that. To be in it, well, that'll come.

On another note, I had my first consultation for sleep apnea. Looks like I've got it, as I have very think inoperable tissue in my throat and palette that are likely complicating things when I sleep. Oddly, I'm relieved that I'm a step closer to getting this resolved, as the eventual fix (a C-PAP machine) may help ensure that I regain focus and concentration lost due to the apnea activity. I'll have a full sleep study in November.

So, (clink), here's to tomorrow.

jaybird found this for you @ 21:41 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Friday, 23 September, 2005 }

Extracting Video from the Brain

jaybird found this for you @ 19:02 in Science, Quantum & Space | | permalink



Happy Friday: One blooming big bunny

A controversial Viennese art group, Gelatin, has erected a giant pink rabbit on the side of a mountain where they plan for it to stay until 2025.

jaybird found this for you @ 12:49 in Art, Music, Theater & Film | | permalink



Rita: This is global warming

Super-powerful hurricanes now hitting the United States are the "smoking gun" of global warming, one of Britain's leading scientists believes.

The growing violence of storms such as Katrina, which wrecked New Orleans, and Rita, now threatening Texas, is very probably caused by climate change, said Sir John Lawton, chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. Hurricanes were getting more intense, just as computer models predicted they would, because of the rising temperature of the sea, he said. "The increased intensity of these kinds of extreme storms is very likely to be due to global warming."

In a series of outspoken comments - a thinly veiled attack on the Bush administration, Sir John hit out at neoconservatives in the US who still deny the reality of climate change.

Referring to the arrival of Hurricane Rita he said: "If this makes the climate loonies in the States realise we've got a problem, some good will come out of a truly awful situation."

jaybird found this for you @ 08:40 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink



{ Thursday, 22 September, 2005 }

Yoism: an open source religion

in coming to understand The Way of Yo, it is important that folks who are uncomfortable with religion do not assume that the word "Yo" refers to what most of us have been taught to think of when we hear the word "God." The standard, local, divisive illusions structured around the word-concept "God"—which is what most people think of as religion—have (in addition to whatever good they may have brought into the world) proven to be dangerous and, at times, terribly destructive. Note that this danger is acknowledged by virtually all religious believers; they just claim that it is the religious ideas held by (or religiously motivated actions of) others that cause such problems.

If you are one of those made uncomfortable by religion and want to learn about Yoism, it appears necessary that you suspend judgment until you understand what we mean by "Yo." You will then see that there is no contradiction between enlightened, rational thought and Yoism. If then, you still find yourself feeling that Yoism would be more interesting to you without Yo, keep in mind that you are not alone; there are more than a few Yoans for whom Yo is irrelevant. For those Yoans who have a mystical sense of Yo, it is not a problem that others do not believe. The "God" we believe in would rather have you not believe in Yo, if you are happier that way, and—like those Yoans for whom Yo is irrelevant—you choose to join us and follow The Way of Yo without being a "believer." (See "How can Yo be irrelevant?") Indeed, some folks just refer to "The Way of Yo" as "The Way," or "The Heaven on Earth Movement."

In another contrast to religions that are familiar to most of us—religions that are built on truths received from special, long-dead authorities who witnessed or participated in miracles—The Way of Yo teaches us that our knowledge, our Truths, must be based on what people everywhere can directly experience for themselves, today. Despite the repeated claims that there is "overwhelming evidence" for traditional beliefs, the poor, contradictory quality of such evidence inevitably results in appeals to blind faith, i.e., belief that must be accepted without evidence. Indeed, such faith is often taken to indicate piety. So in a major contrast with the standard religions, the existence of Yo, not only can be proven, it has been proven by modern science!

The "Face of Yo," so to speak, is our experience of the Infinite Unknowable Essence that is "turned toward us," that manifests as our experience. Yo "manifests" Yoself to us as the universe and everything within the universe: the trees and bugs and animals, the rocks and rivers, the stars and galaxies. This is similar to some mystical versions of the more traditional religions. Yo, Itself, is the Divine Mystery that lies behind (is the source of, generates, manifests as) the paradoxical, mind-boggling facts of existence.

You can know that Yo exists through your feelings, thoughts, and direct experience. For many Yoans, a feeling of reverence toward (or spiritual union with) this Divine Mystery—or an immediate, awe-inspiring awareness of The Infinity that manifests as the Universe—can be a profound source of comfort, strength, and meaning.

jaybird found this for you @ 21:58 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



Typical of this Gov't: National Archives Indian Records Discarded

Federal officials are investigating how National Archives documents of interest to Indians suing the Interior Department were found discarded in a trash bin and a wastebasket. The discovery came to light on Sept. 1, when Archives staff noticed federal records in one of the trash bins behind the National Archives Building near the Capitol. They notified the Archives' inspector general, Paul Brachfeld, whose staff recovered the documents. They found at least a portion of the documents were Bureau of Indian Affairs records dating to the 1950s... in a letter last week to an Interior Department official.

Brachfeld's office began investigating, and ``what appear to be Indian records were discovered in a waste basket in the stack areas at Main Archives,'' Baron wrote. Taken together, the two dumping incidents ``may be intentional acts aimed at unlawfully removing or disposing of permanent records from the Interior Department,'' he wrote.

jaybird found this for you @ 12:52 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



ZZZZZZZZZZ

I'm going to a doctor's appointment in a few hours for an evaluation for sleep apnea, and I'm a little nervous, honestly. I've got a fair amount of evidence that apnea is happening, and to determine if it is, I've got to do an overnight sleep study, and without medical insurance, I'm looking at some big bills ahead. But I s'pose I'm willing to take that on if this will improve my quality of life and potentially extend it. I spend much of the day very tired, despite caffeine and activity, which I want to obviously stop.

So, hopefully this morning I'm making the first step toward that.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:44 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



{ Wednesday, 21 September, 2005 }

Oral Histories of Katrina Survivors

Babies were floating on a mattress, and the baby fell off the mattress. And nobody couldn’t find him., and they had a bunch of men trying help find him. I come up with the baby. It feels good, you know, to save lives, because I have seen people get killed and die, but I have not seen that many people at one time. What I went through, I never thought I feel the way I feel about life. Living, you know, is beautiful, and God sent us to a place that we never been.

I even saved a dog. That’s how intimate this thing wa. It was intense, it was scary, it was a situation you’ll never forget. I heard the dog screaming. The dog was trapped in the twines where a tree had fallen. He was standing up on his hind legs trying to keep his head above water. He was trembling. But the dog was real friendly to me. He must have known I was the onliest person going to save him. I held him in my arms and brought him to this porch.

jaybird found this for you @ 16:02 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



Frank Rich on Bush: I Care About the Black Folks

Taking responsibility, as opposed to paying lip service to doing so, is not in this administration's gene pool. It was particularly shameful that Laura Bush was sent among the storm's dispossessed to try to scapegoat the news media for her husband's ineptitude. When she complained of seeing "a lot of the same footage over and over that isn't necessarily representative of what really happened," the first lady sounded just like Donald Rumsfeld shirking responsibility for the looting of Baghdad. The defense secretary, too, griped about seeing the same picture "over and over" on television (a looter with a vase) to hide the reality that the Pentagon had no plan to secure Iraq, a catastrophic failure being paid for in Iraqi and American blood to this day.

This White House doesn't hate all pictures, of course. It loves those by Karl Rove's Imagineers, from the spectacularly lighted Statue of Liberty backdrop of Mr. Bush's first 9/11 anniversary speech to his "Top Gun" stunt to Thursday's laughably stagy stride across the lawn to his lectern in Jackson Square. (Message: I am a leader, not that vacationing slacker who first surveyed the hurricane damage from my presidential jet.)

The most odious image-mongering, however, has been Mr. Bush's repeated deployment of African-Americans as dress extras to advertise his "compassion." In 2000, the Republican convention filled the stage with break dancers and gospel singers, trying to dispel the memory of Mr. Bush's craven appearance at Bob Jones University when it forbade interracial dating. (The few blacks in the convention hall itself were positioned near celebrities so they'd show up in TV shots.) In 2004, the Bush-Cheney campaign Web site had a page titled "Compassion" devoted mainly to photos of the president with black people, Colin Powell included.

Some of these poses are re-enacted in the "Hurricane Relief" photo gallery currently on display on the White House Web site. But this time the old magic isn't working. The "compassion" photos are outweighed by the cinéma vérité of poor people screaming for their lives. The government effort to keep body recovery efforts in New Orleans as invisible as the coffins from Iraq was abandoned when challenged in court by CNN.

jaybird found this for you @ 11:52 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



Secret of Delphi Found in Ancient Text

Researchers... have unravelled a 2,700 year old mystery concerning The Oracle of Delphi – by consulting an ancient farmer’s manual. The researchers... sought to explain how people from across Greece came to consult with the Oracle – a hotline to the god Apollo- on a particular day of the year even though there was no common calendar. Now their findings... suggests celestial signs observed by farmers could also have determined the rituals associated with Apollo Delphinios.

jaybird found this for you @ 07:45 in History, Civilization & Anthropology | | permalink



{ Tuesday, 20 September, 2005 }

The man who wakes up in a ditch... then goes to work at Sotheby's

At 6am Hugh Sawyer wakes up to the persistent ring of his alarm clock. He rolls over with a grimace and flicks on Radio 4's Today programme. He gets up, has a wash and a shave, grabs some breakfast and rushes down to the bus stop to commute to London.

When he gets to work in the bids department of Sotheby's he is always spotlessly turned out in a Gieves & Hawkes suit, a stylish tie and polished shoes. The Oxford law graduate is a regular at the gym and often meets friends for drinks in the capital's bars.

In short, Sawyer leads the archetypal city life - with one exception. When his counterparts return home to their Shoreditch loft conversions or Notting Hill maisonettes, Sawyer heads to a ditch in the woods near Oxford.

jaybird found this for you @ 20:55 in Interesting People | | permalink



The Ten Stupidest Utopias

...Utopia—a word that has come to represent a hope that the future could surpass the present—persists. "As long as necessity is socially dreamed," Guy Debord says in his 1973 film The Society of the Spectacle, "dreaming will remain a social necessity." Debord meant that in conditions of inequality and injustice, people will always imagine a better place. What constitutes "better" is, however, a matter of much dispute. We dream our fears as well as hopes, reflecting all the agonies and contradictions of the waking world; in dreams, demons rise from our darkest places. This is the dangerous element in utopian aspiration, the monster behind the smiling face. Utopias can embody the highest hopes of humankind and frameworks for continuous evolution, but they can also reflect our worst fears and sickest appetites—not to mention a mania for power and control that is latent in every person. "What a strange scene you describe and what strange prisoners," says Glaucon, Socrates' disciple, in Plato's Republic, the template for the stupid utopia. "They are just like us," answers the master.

jaybird found this for you @ 16:53 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



Winterson on Calvino

Calvino's belief in the transforming powers of literature runs in harness with his hesitations over the newly extrovert role of the writer in society. His instinct was to let the work speak for itself and to seek anonymity for himself. There is a slight awkwardness therefore, in publishing and reading pieces which Calvino made no effort to publish himself, outside of their original moment in newspapers, or as prefaces, journalism and letters. [via mefi]

jaybird found this for you @ 12:45 in Authors, Books & Words | | permalink



Power-dressing man leaves trail of destruction

An Australian man built up a 40,000-volt charge of static electricity in his clothes as he walked, leaving a trail of scorched carpet and molten plastic and forcing firefighters to evacuate a building. Frank Clewer, who was wearing a woolen shirt and a synthetic nylon jacket, was oblivious to the growing electrical current that was building up as his clothes rubbed together.

When he walked into a building in the country town of Warrnambool in the southern state of Victoria Thursday, the electrical charge ignited the carpet. "It sounded almost like a firecracker," Clewer told Australian radio Friday.

jaybird found this for you @ 09:16 in Forteana, Phenomena & the Bizarre | | permalink



{ Monday, 19 September, 2005 }

Cognitive science’s search for a common morality

How far have these technologies come in teaching us new truths about our moral selves? How far could they go? And what will be the implications of a new biopsychological science of natural morality? “The truth, if it exists, is in the details,” wrote Wilson, and therefore I will concentrate on the details of three sets of very recent experiments, each of which approaches the problem using a different method: an Internet survey, a cognitive study of infants, and a study of brain imaging. Each is at the cutting edge of moral psychology, each is promising but flawed, and each should be greeted with a mix of enthusiasm and interpretative caution.

jaybird found this for you @ 20:00 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



The Multiple Self

you need to first understand that you are an animal. Most of us humans pretend our entire lives that we are something other than animals, and as a result we think our "animal nature" is something you can just ignore or somehow transcend -- preferably while ignoring it. We enter the false dichotomy of "man or beast", when the truth is actually "man and beast." We are not one - we are two. And the one of us who thinks he's running things is really just a recent software upgrade that runs atop a highly sophisticated operating system that's already had millions of years of performance tuning -- and can run just fine without you.

That's right. "You" are just a subroutine, and a recently-added one at that. You're like a user-mode driver that gets access to certain kernel data, but you only see and control what the kernel lets you. You have no direct access to the kernel's process space, but you can make calls into it, and you get notifications from it. The bulk of your nature as a human lies entirely outside your process space, outside your ability to directly perceive or control. [via bruce eisner]

jaybird found this for you @ 16:17 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



Tale of the Flying Mobulas

Breaching is a common behavior among mobulids; it is said to be exclusive to the smaller varieties. For those of us who have witnessed a mobulid's sanguine underwater undulations, it may be hard to believe, but it would not have been uncommon long ago to hear tall tales of devil rays leaping out of the water and crashing through a ship's hull. [via MeFi]

jaybird found this for you @ 12:59 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink



Lest we forget: Katrina Day 21

We do remember that NOLA is where are cameras are. My thoughts go to all those places where the cameras aren't, and to my good friend Jen Wo who is in Gulfport, Mississippi right now volunteering for the Red Cross.

  • Bogalusa, Louisiana: Far from spotlight, deep in plight
  • What hasn't been said
  • Even big media noticed it: I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on for blocks on end. Kevin Tibbles was positively jubilant on the live update edition of Nightly News that we fed to the West Coast. The mini-mart, long ago cleaned out by looters, was nonetheless bathed in light, including the empty, roped-off gas pumps. The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions.
  • FEMA, Slow to the Rescue, Now Stumbles in Aid Effort
  • The City We All Love (and pray is not lost forever).
  • Katrina through the eyes of the world press: “How America now responds to their desperate plight will tell the wider world much about what Americans really value.”
  • As New Orleans Drowned, Chertoff Was Focused On Avian Flu and Immigration
  • Karl Rove in charge of rebuilding effort?
  • Firms with White House ties get Katrina contracts
  • Of failures and unfairness
  • The few people left in New Orleans are unimpressed with President Bush's visit: The site of Bush's speech was notably antiseptic and isolated, given the mayhem all along the Gulf coast. Fallen trees had been cut down, and scores of bags of leaves and branches were piled outside the 154-year-old, cast-iron fence that surrounds the square. The government brought in a truck-mounted generator, and Hollywood-style lighting. In the afternoon, fresh liners were put in trash cans. By dusk, soldiers from the 82nd Airborne had been deployed to keep regular citizens several blocks back.
  • After Blocking the Bridge, Gretna Circles the Wagons...

  • More surely to come

    We must remember, and rebuild.

    jaybird found this for you @ 07:48 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



    { Sunday, 18 September, 2005 }

    Hello

    It's been mostly a restful sort of weekend, with just the right balance of slack and engagement. Going to see the sights at the Mountain State Fair with friends was definately the height of stimulation, in all senses. Just got in from watching one of the last sunsets of summer sigh over the mountains, and I've got a paper to write, so no grand bloggage this fine eve. You should check out my Flickr photostream though; I've been quite happy of some of my latest efforts (and y'all know I'm not a braggart).

    If you live anywhere even semi-rural, go out and check out the stars tonight, they're really putting on a stellar show, pun very much intended.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:46 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



    { Saturday, 17 September, 2005 }

    Cat and Moon

    On the deck in my bare feet
    The wood's cold from the rain and the last days of summer
    I've got the white cat curled in my arms
    As my pajamas billow
    And the moon's getting a halo
    As the fog rolls in.

    It's not a perfect life, this,
    Yet moments like this are glittering jewels enough for me.
    The cat's eyes, black and wide, reflect the moon
    And I want to know about that mind in there
    Does it wonder and wait for holy moments like mine,
    Or is it all the same?
    Is it all the same?

    We draw boundaries through telephone wires
    And implore the gods to bless our beer
    As bottles clink and minds reel,
    We look at tomorrow on the calendar
    And take our hasty notations as facts,
    And I fade with the sunset,
    Sleeping as crickets do the work
    Of harmonizing the night.
    It's life, at the very least, for all of us.

    What's perfect?
    This blanket, my hunger, that woman who was driving behind me yesterday
    In her purple hat and red blouse,
    The dishes in the sink, the owl I sometimes hear at night,
    Loneliness, my recollected sins and conquests, the very thought of you.
    Maybe the cat, with its tongue just sticking out at the stars
    Has it right; it's all territory, all a stand of weeds
    Where surely something lurks, for play or fear.

    If I stop thinking about it all,
    It doesn't go away,
    So it must be the most important thing to reckon with, this life, this immanence.
    We all see it, and think about it, albeit quietly.
    It makes us all a little crazy, to wonder so much,
    Garden variety loons reading the mythic into all this mundane criss-crossing,
    All the while pretending to know
    How to be perfectly human,
    Noble con-artists of brinkmanship, we.

    Past midnight now,
    The cat's asleep, and I dare yawn
    At the darkness.
    I fiddle with words as if there were children's blocks,
    I make castles of them and watch them fall.
    It's indulgent, yet so is the purple of the blanket,
    The white of the cat, the chorus of crickets
    And the half-a-mile-away bark of some hound at some interloper.
    Life is indulgent, even in its decay and withering,
    And even in the space of boredom before death,
    It exalts itself, tugs us by the shirt,
    And begs us to follow, even into the cool unknown of midnight.
    We chose, mostly, to follow
    And stumble at best to wherever the heck it leads.

    O Moon, thou incessant maddening symbol for poets and playwrights,
    You and the cat and my cold, wet feet are proof
    That somehow, some way, I and all this exists,
    For whatever reason.
    I gratefully accept it.
    Perhaps, I and we exist for this moment alone
    This perfect passing of time,
    With all that hurts from loving too much,
    It's all, beyond reason, manifest for just this.
    The cat twitches in its hunting dreams,
    And I stop writing
    To wordlessly sit by the window
    To witness life, as expressed through this night,
    To make a constellation out of you.

    jaybird found this for you @ 00:21 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



    { Friday, 16 September, 2005 }

    Jay one-ups the humans

    Scientists say scrub jays are not stuck in the present...

    Mental time-travel, the ability to use memories of past experiences and plan for the future, has traditionally been considered a quality unique to humans. Now scientists at the University of Cambridge have identified the same ability in a bird - the Western scrub jay... In a paper published this week in Nature magazine they describe laboratory tests which show that scrub jays who have experience of stealing food from other birds? hidden caches seem to use this knowledge when hiding their own supplies.

    "To our knowledge this is the first experimental demonstration that a non-human animal shows elements of mental time-travel..."

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:43 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink



    The Ghost Dances

    The Ghost Dance has recurred frequently in human history, but the term has its origins close to California. By the late 1800s, a decades-long assault of European values and technology, not to mention forced relocation, poverty, and disease had taken their toll on Native Americans across the west. Many tribes were at or near collapse when on New Year’s Day 1889, a Walker River Paiute mystic named Wovoka had a vision. Wovoka foresaw a new age in which the white interlopers would vanish and the natives would reclaim a rejuvenated world and be rejoined by their ancestors. Wovoka preached that this new world would arrive sooner if believers would engage in moral conduct, peaceful behavior, and practice a ritual round-dance that came to be called the Ghost Dance.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:40 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



    Happy Friday: It's a White Giraffe

    What do an African researcher and the fictional character Captain Ahab have in common? Both were searching for a legendary white beast, and whereas Ahab searched for his white whale, Wildlife Conservation Society... researcher Charles Foley sought--and finally found--his white giraffe.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:37 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink



    Louisiana Took Necessary and Timely Steps

    Conyers: "This report closes the book on the Bush Administration's attempts to evade accountability by shifting the blame to the Governor of Louisiana for the Administration's tragically sluggish response to Katrina. It confirms that the Governor did everything she could to secure relief for the people of Louisiana and the Bush Administration was caught napping at a critical time."

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:35 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



    Silly Midnight Post

    Isn't everyone looking for something to dip into the Ranch? Or is it just me?

    jaybird found this for you @ 00:49 in Posting Under the Influence | | permalink



    { Thursday, 15 September, 2005 }

    Helical Visions

    The ayahuasceros said they spoke to serpents, and Narby's own ayahuasca experience had him conversing with a huge snake. Sifting through records of shamanic experiences and creation myths from Australia to Scandinavia, Narby was amazed at how many featured twisted vines, rope ladders, creator serpents and twins, forms he found suggestive of the double helix of DNA. Finding that DNA emits weak but brightly coloured biophotons, Narby suggested these could be the basis for the luminous patterns in the ayahuasceros' visions.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:21 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



    Mysterious Temple Mount artifact evokes 'Da Vinci Code'

    Zweig decided to examine the pendant thoroughly. He supposed that it dated from the 19th century, since Christians had been barred from visiting the Temple Mount from the end of the Crusades until 1840. Based on the symbols, and particularly the work tools, he assumed the pendant was related to the Freemasons, a semi-secret fraternity that was founded in 18th-century England and established branches, or lodges, in nearly all Western countries.

    Zweig could not locate an expert on Masonic symbols in Israel, so he contacted Prof. Andrew Prescott, director of the new Centre for Research into Freemasonry at the University of Sheffield. Prescott studied the photographs of the pendant and replied to Zweig at the beginning of this week that the symbols do, indeed, appear to be connected to the Freemasons, but are not the symbols of Britain's Masonic Lodge.

    Prescott noted, however, that members of the fraternity had visited the Temple Mount area during the 19th century. The mysterious pendant might have belonged to famed archaeologist Charles Warren, who made a documented visit to the Temple Mount in 1867, he said.

    If the pendant is Masonic, then there is an indirect connection between it and "The Da Vinci Code" - Brown claims in his book that the Freemasons are the successors of the Knights Templar.

    jaybird found this for you @ 18:17 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



    Surprise: Louisiana officials did everything right

    The Congressional Research Service (CRS) issued a report Tuesday afternoon asserting that Louisiana governor Katherine Blanco took the necessary and timely steps needed to secure disaster relief from the federal government...

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:10 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



    This American Life: After the Flood

    Surprising stories from survivors in New Orleans. We give people who were in the storm more time than daily news coverage can to tell their stories and talk about what they're thinking. This leads to a number of ideas that haven't made it into the regular news coverage.

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:15 in Authors, Books & Words | | permalink



    { Wednesday, 14 September, 2005 }

    Dionne: End of the Bush Era

    The Bush Era is over. The sooner politicians in both parties realize that, the better for them -- and the country.

    Recent months, and especially the past two weeks, have brought home to a steadily growing majority of Americans the truth that President Bush's government doesn't work. His policies are failing, his approach to leadership is detached and self-indulgent, his way of politics has produced a divided, angry and dysfunctional public square. We dare not go on like this...

    The breaking of the Bush spell opens the way for leaders of both parties to declare their independence from the recent past. It gives forces outside the White House the opportunity to shape a more appropriate national agenda -- for competence and innovation in rebuilding the Katrina region and for new approaches to the problems created over the past 4 1/2 years.

    The federal budget, already a mess before Katrina, is now a laughable document. Those who call for yet more tax cuts risk sounding like robots droning automated talking points programmed inside them long ago. Katrina has forced the issue of deep poverty back onto the national agenda after a long absence. Finding a way forward in -- and eventually out of -- Iraq will require creativity from those not implicated in the administration's mistakes. And if ever the phrase "reinventing government" had relevance, it is now that we have observed the performance of a government that allows political hacks to push aside the professionals.

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:35 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



    The Fugara of Jordan

    "Fugara" are initiated when they are young, sometimes as young as 14 years old. After the initiation, nothing is hidden from them any longer; not only can they see things far, far away, but can also discover souls, stolen souls, stolen objects, hidden treasures, hidden remedies and other intelligence gathering. The Fugara makes a journey during which he is spoken to by the spirits, or they may appear to him in the form of visions or even in physical form. He knows the mystery of the breakthrough in plane. This communication among the cosmic zones is made possible through his training on the techniques, names and functions of spirits, mythology and genealogy of the clan, and secret language.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:33 in Spirituality, Religion & Mythos | | permalink



    Roberts: The princess and the frog

    Bufo... was menaced by big guys. In his case, the big guy was a San Diego developer who wanted to get his hands on the soil from Bufo's breeding ground. This would have been the end of Bufo and all his kind. The US Fish and Wildlife Service - Bufo's bodyguards if you will - stopped the developer. So the developer went to court. A three-judge panel in California ruled for Bufo and against the builder. For their authority, they relied on that commerce clause.

    Step forward Judge Roberts - that pivotal nominee for the Supreme Court. Everyone has been trawling through his record to see how he might tip the balance of the Court. A response of his to Bufo gives us the best clue so far. Writing a commentary, Roberts was critical of those three judges who rescued Bufo from extinction. Bufo, he said, ought not to have been protected by the interstate commerce clause, because "he is a hapless toad that for reasons of its own lives its entire life in California."

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:28 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



    Brain May Still Be Evolving

    Two genes involved in determining the size of the human brain have undergone substantial evolution in the last 60,000 years, researchers say, leading to the surprising suggestion that the brain is still undergoing rapid evolution. The discovery adds weight to the view that human evolution is still a work in progress, since previous instances of recent genetic change have come to light in genes that defend against disease and confer the ability to digest milk in adulthood. It had been widely assumed until recently that human evolution more or less stopped 50,000 years ago.

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:25 in Consciousness, Psychology & Philosophy | | permalink



    { Tuesday, 13 September, 2005 }

    The Thing

    At the end of a long and probably very boring formal dinner in honour of the retirement of the President of France, Charles de Gaulle, British Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, turned to Madame de Gaulle and asked politely what she was looking forward to in her retirement. Quick as a flash the elderly lady replied, "A penis." Dead silence fell on the table, everybody wondering if they had heard right.

    Macmillan had been trained all his life never to appear shocked, but even he was a bit taken aback. He mumbled, "Well, I can see your point of view, don't have much time for that sort of thing nowadays". An unapologetic Madame De Gaulle insisted, "I believe it is the case for all women, everything can be endured as long as we have a penis." The silence became deafening for many, many seconds, until De Gaulle's characteristic voice rose, "My dear," he said, "I believe et eez pronounced 'APpiness'..."

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:35 in Carnality, Naughtiness & Fun | | permalink



    Nero revealed

    Amid a slew of stories this weekend about the embattled presidency and the blundering government response to the drowning of New Orleans, some journalists who are long-time observers of the White House are suddenly sharing scathing observations about President Bush that may be new to many of their readers.

    Is Bush the commanding, decisive, jovial president you've been hearing about for years in so much of the mainstream press?

    Maybe not so much.

    Judging from... blistering analyses... it turns out that Bush is in fact fidgety, cold and snappish in private. He yells at those who dare give him bad news and is therefore not surprisingly surrounded by an echo chamber of terrified sycophants. He is slow to comprehend concepts that don't emerge from his gut. He is uncomprehending of the speeches that he is given to read. And oh yes, one of his most significant legacies -- the immense post-Sept. 11 reorganization of the federal government which created the Homeland Security Department -- has failed a big test.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:32 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



    the ancient mariner

    Researchers have built a reed boat modeled on vessels that plied the seas more than four millennia ago and will try to sail 600 miles across the Arabian Sea from Oman to India, following what they believe was a Bronze Age trade route.

    The 40-foot Magan, named after an ancient name for Oman, is made of reeds formed into bundles, lashed together with rope made from date palm fibers and covered with a woven mat coated with black bitumen or tar to make it waterproof. The vessel will be powered by a square-rigged sail made of tightly woven wool and maneuvered using two teak steering oars.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:27 in History, Civilization & Anthropology | | permalink



    Putting the psi into science

    The lights dim. The relaxing sounds of waves crashing on a beach give way to silence. Then the soft porn appears on the screen in front of me. This is not a re-enactment of the fantasies of a teenage boy. Rather, it is a demonstration of serious research into the telepathic transmission of emotions going on at what may well be Britain's oddest lab: the Koestler Parapsychology Unit... at the University of Edinburgh.

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:15 in Cosmic Randomness Grab Bag | | permalink



    { Monday, 12 September, 2005 }

    Total Information Awareness - Katrina Day 14

    Two weeks now, and the scope of the disaster and its disastrous response widens and become even more sad as time goes by. American citizens are living in 'camps' where few can enter or leave, environmental collapse threatens the Delta, and the criminal negligence of the government becomes more apparent. But, there is the goodness of humanity emerging, and like any American morning, people are slowly waking up to the gravity of this nation-shattering event. On a personal note, my dear friend and colleague Jen Wo leaves today to be a Red Cross volunteer in Alabama. You go girl. Bring them hope.

  • Destruction is manifold: major oil spills, lost islands, industrial collapse.
  • Med student's report from inside the Astrodome: "You will never know what happened in that city during the flood."
  • The GAO to investigate contracts to rebuild offered to ethically challenged corps in an ethically challenging manner.
  • A scorcher: How Bush Blew It (Newsweek): "How this could be—how the president of the United States could have even less "situational awareness," as they say in the military, than the average American about the worst natural disaster in a century—is one of the more perplexing and troubling chapters in a story that, despite moments of heroism and acts of great generosity, ranks as a national disgrace."
  • German plane carrying Katrina aid turned back
  • Some towns completely wiped off the map
  • Cover-up: toxic waters 'will make New Orleans unsafe for a decade...' "He said the water being pumped out of the city was not being tested for pollution and would damage Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi river, and endanger people using it downstream."
  • Maureen Dowd stings: "Getting truth on the ground in New Orleans was very difficult," a White House aide told The Times's Elisabeth Bumiller. Not if you had a TV.
  • Head of National Guard: Guard stretched too thin by Iraq, hampering Katrina recovery.
  • Texas Gov and Bush crony Perry seems to believe that Jehova the thunder god brought Katrina in to punish the gays. Primitive!
  • NIMBY callousness: Police in Suburbs Blocked Evacuees, blockaded key bridges out.
  • On-the-scene report from a rescuer
  • The polluted water, a looming ecological crisis
  • ...Karl Rove, the White House political chief, said the president did not go into the heart of New Orleans and meet with black victims on his first trip there, last Friday, because he knew that White House officials were "scared to death" of the reaction.
  • A Letter to All Who Voted for George W. Bush from Michael Moore: "Hurricane Katrina came in and blew off the facade that we were a nation with liberty and justice for all. The wind howled and the water rose and what was revealed was that the poor in America shall be left to suffer and die while the President of the United States fiddles and tells them to eat cake."


    We must remember, and for the sake of justice, we must rebuild.
    Godspeed Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

    Sources include Kos, Sploid, Metafilter, Huffington Post and the randomness of the internet.

    jaybird found this for you @ 10:40 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



    { Sunday, 11 September, 2005 }

    Only in Asheville

    This is a moblog* post:

    11265196940029.jpg


    *Moblogging is posting from a cellphone or other wireless device- if a picture, it's taken from the phone.

    What a town. I go to the local healthy grocery store, and there's Tibetan monks at the salad bar and a sand mandala next to the condiments island.

    I'm a bit under the weather today, so the surreality of it all was much welcomed and interrupted my sleepy daze.

    jaybird found this for you @ 13:50 in Local- Western North Carolina | | permalink



    { Saturday, 10 September, 2005 }

    AFK

    That's Away From Keyboard to you... I'll not be online today, as I'm performing a wedding a few hours away for a friend's family. It will be a splendid affair, but what that means for the the site is I'll not be able to post what has become a daily Katrina compendium until tomorrow, or maybe, just maybe, later tonight.

    That shouldn't stop those of you who hunger for the truth. There's new revelations being unearthed at a rate enough to dizzy even the sturdiest of pundits. Please, for the sake of those torn away from their families and communities by this cruel and unnecessary diaspora, keep looking to find and spread information.

    I'll resume my normal topics of blogging in a few days, but won't stop paying strong attention to this issue. Thank you all again for the wonderful emails and support, and please keep up the spirit of volunteerism and advocacy that is causing a great thrust of activism and compassion in this troubled country.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:03 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



    { Friday, 09 September, 2005 }

    Katrina Outrage Quickie


  • Sweet! Gov't finally realized that Mike Brown is an idiot.
  • Police State: Locked out of the Astrodome.
  • Report: I just got back from a FEMA detainment camp.
  • A dismal report from an EPA agent.

    jaybird found this for you @ 14:16 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



    Total Information Awareness - Katrina Day 11

    I'm not getting off the bus until we know where we're going...

  • In the Crescent City, there are other fears: "At the very least, there are two Level-3 biolabs in New Orleans and a cluster of three in nearby Covington. They have been working with anthrax, mousepox, HIV, plague, etc. There are surely other labs in the city."
  • In Bush's emergency declaration before the storm, no southern parishes were covered by the declaration, contrary to where we knew the storm would hit. Weather Channel, Dubya?
  • Evacuees: Welcome to the Rockies, now get behind the fence! "The signs on the buildings say "Community College of Aurora," though for now they're serving as an impromptu Camp Katrina. About 160 hurricane survivors are being housed in the dorms, surrounded by fences, roadblocks, security guards and enough armed police officers to invade Grenada."
  • Reporter's book predicts disaster months before: "If I, a reporter in Little Rock, with nothing more than Internet access, a car and a telephone, could predict, almost hour-by-hour, the horror that Katrina would unleash, what were [the] cronies at Homeland Security doing with all the assets at their disposal and nearly $40 billion in funding?"
  • 3.7 million gallons contribute to ecological mayhem: Oil spillages threaten Gulf of Mexico
  • Even Mike Brown's resume is fudged.
  • Mississippi Burning: hiding the devastation to score political points.
  • Series of first person reports from grad student inside Supoerdome: 1, 2, 3.
  • Even Colin Powell sees federal failure in the response.
  • Cindy Sheehan on the road to distribute relief to poor areas out of the spotlight.
  • Laura Bush does not know what the name of the storm was. Corrina?
  • LEVITY: 93 year old woman held off looters with a tight grip on the cajones.

    Transcript of Daily Show exchange on Kos about sums it up:

    Jon Stewart: The president has vowed to personally lead the investigation into the government's failed response to Katrina? Isn't that a job perhaps someone else should be doing? Samantha Bee: No, not at all, Jon. To truly find out what went wrong, it's important for an investigator to have a little distance from the situation. And it's hard to get any more distant from it than the president was last week.
    .

    Also, I'd like to thank Daisy Wififred from Animated Stardust for this encouragement:

    Thank you for the work you have been doing in getting info out to people like me so far away but whose heart is very close to the abandoned and struggling many on your side of the pond. The BBC has kept us very well informed and I suspect the public here knows rather more than many of those in the States as I suspect even as some of your news people broke lose of the 'chains' midst the horrer thay were being asked to report on the leash will almost certainly be being tugged again now and misinformation and disinformation will begin to take the upper hand if people like you do not continue to bring in to the light the reality, the truth for so many lives and for so many deaths caused not just by a president and his men but by a society that got all wrapped up in a dream that many have woken to find nightmare. For all the cracks and mismanagement here as far as health, social services, education, infrastructure etc are concerned, and they are systems run by human beings so of course there are failings, in time of real need from the poorest to the richest are remembered and as a society we have not lost the understanding that taxes feed, educate, care and house us all even when there are some that are rich enough to provide that for themselves they understand that if the whole community is not endeavoured to be given the same opportunity the rich might as well be living in cardboard boxes for it is true no man is an island.

    Sorry Jay, have gone on, am just so appalled that it might take the death of 1,000's of people for others left alive to question where their society has taken them and I fear that excuses, comfort zones etc will make memories and questioning very short and sense that a collapse of a nation is nearer than anyone would wish.

    Thank you again for your work and for your continuing challenging and thoughtful blog...

    .

    I have spent an insane amount of time gathering and sorting through all this info, at the expense at times of my sanity. But from this information, my hope is more and more humanity, and more and more global sanity.


    For their sake, we must remember, and rebuild.

    Sources include Metafilter, Kos, Sploid, Eschaton, AmericaBlog, Crooks and Liars, and Talking Point Memo..

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:46 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



    { Thursday, 08 September, 2005 }

    Total Information Awareness - Katrina Day 10

    Here's another burst...

  • MUST SEE: Famed N.O. musician Charmaine Neville details life in the aftermath. "What Charmaine describes is beyond what anyone should go through. In America her story makes it ever worse to believe such events could happen. This video will and should being you to tears..."[embedded real]
  • Here's the federal disaster plan that DHS and FEMA completely ignored [.pdf].
  • Stunning photos of the aftermath.
  • We must get them out: Astrodome unsafe, inhumane.
  • Low-Power FM station has license and ability to operate in Astrodome to help evacuees, but the gov't won't let them set up shop.
  • Standing floodwater major ecological, biological threat. It's 10x over the toxic load limit, and rising.
  • New Orleans Aquarium, which I visited a few years ago, is devastated, but a few critically important creatures have been saved. The Zoo, which I saw on the same trip, fared much better.
  • Pat Robertson is swimmin' in it: "Operation Blessing" a bane.
  • The Post-Katrina Era; Katrina's tragic consequences were not just due to incompetence, natural disaster, or Bush policies (though he is accountable). This is a failure of moral and political philosophy.
  • Ivins: A flood of bad policies.
  • Soloman: Ending the impunity of the Bush White House.
  • Speak up, Gov'nor: Race played a role in Katrina deaths.
  • Hurricane Katrina has shredded what was left of the Bush Administration's credibility. Now we watch the slow train wreck of America.
  • America Implodes: The devastation of Katrina demonstrates that we have come to the end of the tether. The American people have wasted so many resources on comfort, ego, and war that they can no longer afford basic protection against disaster.
  • The Principles of Reconstruction: "Take the opportunity to design and build the most efficient and secure and environmentally sound transportation, port, oil and gas, business and residential communities in the world."
  • The ballyhoo over martial law.
  • Former Deputy Sec'y of the Treasury: Americans are being brainwashed.


    For their sake, and for the sake of their children,
    we must remember, and rebuild.

    Sources include Kos, Americablog, ThinkProgress, Metafilter, Sploid, and Intervention.

    jaybird found this for you @ 09:19 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



    { Wednesday, 07 September, 2005 }

    Outrage A-Go-Go

    Apologists and naysayers are trying to make a dent in the zeitgeist today, but the momentum seems to lie with those of us, from the left, right, neutral and previously apathetic, are keeping up the tidal wave of cries for accountability. The logic of those glad to make excuses for the Worst Preseident Ever is fairly simple to deconstruct. Sure, many of those in State government probably made a few mistakes, but not at the collosal level that helped to drown an entire city... it comes down to levee funding, and appointing completely inexperienced people by way of patronage to fill positions vital to national security. The accountability trail stops at the Oval Office door.

    Here's a few new developments:

  • Pelosi on fire: She related that she had urged Bush at the White House on Tuesday to fire Michael Brown. "He said 'Why would I do that?'" Pelosi said. "'I said because of all that went wrong, of all that didn't go right last week.' And he said 'What didn't go right?'" "Oblivious, in denial, dangerous," she added.
  • FEMA fiddles dangerously with freedom of the press.
  • HRC grows some, seeks investigation.
  • Fake premise used to hike gas prices.
  • Tom DeLay halts Congressional hearings. 'Nuff said.
  • FEMA can't cope with biohazards.
  • Camping: FEMA camps for evacuees far from helping people to feel at home and comfortable after losing everything. Same goes in Colorado.
  • Sorting out opinion from fact.
  • Billmon: The Problem Solving Presdient.
  • New laws make life harder for evacuees.
  • Conyers calls for investigation from Congressional research agency.
  • BBC rescues the stranded where the US Government fails.


    Never surrender.





    Image from Kos, stories from Kos, Sploid, Rawstory, Billmon, AmericaBlog.

    jaybird found this for you @ 17:48 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



    Total Information Awareness - Katrina Day 9

    Regular blogging on my relatively regular schuedule will resume soon, but for now, all attention needs to go to this. We can't let the fuckers get away. So, no rest for those in their blazing desire to expose the wicked:

  • Comprehensive timelines here and here.
  • Experienced and professional personnel wanting to volunteer are given "promotional" duties for feds. Handling out flyers, or being photo-op props.
  • FEMA wankers waited hours before asking DHS "What should we do, boss?"
  • College kids make it down to help where Feds fear to tread. Their synopsis: "Disgraceful."
  • Feds had received briefings about Katrina's full potential before landfall. More context.
  • "Top FEMA deputies make Brown look qualified."
  • Disgusting politics being played with relief funds: Repub politicos poised to get relief first.
  • What the Katrina, Rehnquist, and Intelligent Design stories have in common
  • Broussard: "I'm asking Congress, please investigate this now. Take whatever idiot they have at the top of whatever agency and give me a better idiot. Give me a caring idiot. Give me a sensitive idiot. Just don't give me the same idiot."
  • Controversial: The Attempt to Declare Martial Law in Big Easy. The basis of the article is this WaPo article I posted yesterday. The thrust is whether federalizing N.O. would've enabled the feds to cover up. MeFi is on the case, and I'm mighty curious.
  • BBC: Has Katrina saved US media? "Mr Bush's famed "folksy" style has failed to impress in this crisis"
  • Outrage: Navy Pilots Who Rescued Victims Are Reprimanded
  • Foreign aid donors still waiting for clearance.
  • Further FEMA proof of incompetence.
  • FEMA bungles meta-evacuation: Flies planeload to Charleston, WV and not Charleston, SC!
  • FEMA: Please don't photograph the truth.
  • Time: It isn't easy picking George Bush's worst moment last week.
  • I'll add more as the day goes by. Stay tuned.


    We must remember, and rebuild.

    Pic by Fliss of Sunday's candlelight vigil. Link to her Flickr entry.

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:20 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



    { Tuesday, 06 September, 2005 }

    Nero, or Caligula?

    bushk.jpg

    Never forget.

    Oh, and he's investigating himself. Twit.

    From the WWL ongoing coverage:

    3:32 P.M. Ben Morris, Slidell mayor: We are still hampered by some of the most stupid, idiotic regulations by FEMA. They have turned away generators, we've heard that they've gone around seizing equipment from our contractors. If they do so, they'd better be armed because I'll be damned if I'm going to let them deprive our citizens. I'm pissed off, and tired of this horse$#@@."

    3:11 P.M. - From all corners of this country, hundreds of would-be rescuers are wending their way to the beleaguered Gulf Coast in buses, vans and trailers. But government red tape has hampered many who ache to help Katrina's victims.

    Louisiana's Jefferson Parish is desperate for relief, but parish President Aaron Broussard says officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency turned back three trailer trucks of water, ordered the Coast Guard not to provide emergency diesel fuel and cut emergency power lines.

    Why? FEMA has not explained. But the outraged Broussard said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that the agency needs to bring in all its "force immediately, without red tape, without bureaucracy, act immediately with common sense and leadership, and save lives."

    The government says it is doing the best it can in the face of a massive and complicated disaster.

    "Even as progress is being made, we know that victims are still out there and we are working tirelessly to bring them the help they need," said Michael Brown, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    Some of the delays can be explained by the need to control a volatile situation. Long lines of volunteers are being stopped on freeways on their way into New Orleans.

    "Anyone who self-responded was not being put to work. The military was worried about having more people in the city. They want to limit it to the professionals," said Kevin Southerland, a captain with Orange Fire Department in Orange County, Calif., a member of one of eight 14-member water rescue teams sent to New Orleans at FEMA's request.

    10:12: A.M. - Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard: I'm not surprised at what the feds say, they're covering their butts. They're keeping the body counts down because they don't want to horrify the nation. It's worse than Iraq, worse than 9-11. They just don't want to know how many were murdered by bureaucracy.

    10:10 A.M. - Broussard: I know what the body count is so far, but I won't horrify the nation.

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:00 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



    Total Information Awareness - Katrina Day 8

    I had a great roundup all set and Firefox went all to hell. So, I'm trying to put it all back together. Anyway, this will not rest until our sisters and brothers are in real homes and not Thunderdomes.

    Deamonte Love, 6 year old hero

  • The Council on Foreign Relations has a very sobering assessment of the long-term effects, environmentally and socially, that will last for a very long time.
  • The Northern Command wasn't activated by the W until too late. The USS Bataan, a ship with a large hospital and major search and rescue capability, was left to bob offshore with no ok to go ahead. Video here.
  • HOPE in the heroes: Six year old Deamonte Love (above) saves many toddlers.
  • Abandoned pets facing a critical situation. Consider giving to the US Humane Society as well.
  • The Congressional Record doesn't obscure the many times that New Orleans pled for help to secure the levees. Homeland security, inaction.
  • Metafilter scoops: Love Canal-type toxic site under New Orleans floodwater, serious ecologic catastrophe immanent.
  • Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard in June '05: The President... has failed us.
  • WAPO: "As president, Bush typically has been loath to admit mistakes, and this situation is no different."
  • Further evidence of egregious media manipulation to prop up a wounded regime.
  • Krugman is hopping mad: Killed by contempt.
  • These two words need to be repeated over and over: Criminal Negligence.
  • Some asshole needs to sell the ranch.
  • Why FEMA turned away help.
  • Europe sees the problem here. How come the government can't?
  • Barbara Bush, the mother of the Beast, condescends to Astrodome evacuees. Audio.
  • Olbermann nails it: "Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said it all, starting his news briefing Saturday afternoon: 'Louisiana is a city that is largely underwater...' Well there's your problem right there."
  • Katrina survival story.
  • Heartbreaking: This is what a plea for help sounds like [mp3].
  • Interesting: Timeline of response to the last time America lost a city. Note the fast response, note the year.
  • A struggle for the soul of America.


    We must remember, and rebuild.
    Sources include Metafilter, Americablog, Crooks and Liars, Talk Left, emails and perousal.

    jaybird found this for you @ 09:57 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



    { Monday, 05 September, 2005 }

    Total Information Awareness - Katrina Day 7

    Here's the latest roundup of must-reads...

  • Tribes find ways to survive in the French Quarter.
  • Living paycheck to paycheck made leaving impossible.
  • Cuba can successfully evacuate and withstand a cat. 5 hurricane without any deaths. How? Preparedness...
  • Katrina reveals that America is still far away from fully achieving from Dr. King's dream...
  • Rove and Bartlett rush in to rescue W from his collpased house of cards and mist historic fuckup.
  • Death by Bureaucrats: Red tape hals flow of major medical help. You'll need this form in triplicate.
  • Inland survivors still aren't seeing any FEMA, Red Cross, presidential photo ops.
  • Experts: Homeland Security was too preoccupied with terrorism, to the terror of many. Depose Mike Brown!
  • Asking the right questions: Katrina and criminal negligence?
  • Has Katrina's wake created a new untouchable class in Amercia?
  • Newsweek: The lost city and its disastrously slow rescue. Exposes critical ineptitude.
  • Frank Rich: Falluja floods the Superdome.
  • "They embraced and they cried on Sept. 11; they cried for the tsunami... But they just left us here to die.... We survived the hurricane, and now we're still fighting to survive a week later. It's crazy."
  • NYT: The man-made disaster.
  • By the Numbers: In Katrina’s Wake, Race and Class Still Not Being Addressed
  • Despair: New Orleans, Year Zero.

    And, most importantly...

  • Hope: Musicians keep the New Orleans spirit alive in Detroit.



    We must remember, and rebuild.

    Sources for the above include Metafilter, ThinkProgress, Americablog, through email and random perousal.

    jaybird found this for you @ 11:24 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



    { Sunday, 04 September, 2005 }

    Total Information Awareness

    Here's some key information and stories for us to begin the process of understanding this massive event.

  • 22 reasons America needs New Orleans
  • Army Times: N.O. going to look like a 'little Somalia,' residents are an 'insurgency.'
  • Bush visit halted food delivery to refugees
  • East of New Orleans, Heavy Damage, Lost Lives and Pleas for Help
  • From CNN, which recently discovered its cajones: The big disconnect on New Orleans
  • Bush and Chertoff both state that they didn't anticipate the levee breach. Governor Blanco did, and here is the Disaster Relief Request, filed last Sunday, to prove it [pdf].
  • Background articles on Iraq war & New Orleans crisis: A perfectly avoidable catastrophe
  • I call bull: Chertoff says that Katrina scenario did not exist. Even Mr. Bill knew about it.
  • Yet in 2001, FEMA ranked a cat. 3 hurricane strike on N.O. as a top three potential national disaster
  • Here's a Scientific American article from 2001 about that very same topic.
  • DHS apparently ignores its own mission statement.
  • The next crisis: refugees being treated like they aren't Americans.
  • Mississippi still not getting help due to FEMA bureaucracy, yet Bush's pal Gov. Barbour says everything just fine.
  • Bush faked levee repair for photo op
  • Bush faked food distribution for photo op
  • Feds rejected Chicago's help
  • Red Cross not allowed into N.O.
  • BBC: New Orleans crisis shames US
  • Maureen Dowd agrees
  • FEMA and DHS had privatised hurricane disaster preparations.

  • Times-Picayune: An open letter to the president
  • Video: Mr. Chertoff, are you contemplating resignation?
  • Video: Jefferson County Parish president says that "Bureaucracy has committed murder here." A very tearful, agry indictment.
  • My Pet Goat, The Sequel
  • Chopra: Tsunamis, New Orleans, and the War Against Nature
  • Anne Rice: Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?
  • Desperate plea from Landrieu, backing up photo op claim
  • Another Congressman can't get Bush on the line
  • Corps of Engineers honcho fired because he criticized Bush plan to halt levee funding.
  • Fox News outfoxed by its own reporters showing backbone
  • A not-so-modest proposal
  • Analysis: Can this actually be happening in America?
  • Sharpton on Olbermann: Where is the culture of life now?
  • Jackson Blasts Bush Over Katrina Aid
  • Rhetoric not matching reality
  • Katrina: America's shame
  • The speech a real president would give
  • Casual to the point of careless: Bush under fire for slow reaction
  • Michael Moore speaks out


    We must remember, and rebuild.

    Sources for the above include Metafilter, Dailykos, Sploid, Americablog, Crooks and Liars, emails and personal digging.

    jaybird found this for you @ 15:06 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



    Sanctuary

    A Lebanon Pine stands in silhouette against a cloudless sunset, such golden light...

    Two stars, maybe planets, reflect in the slow ripples of the lake, such distant light...

    Bats, those harbingers of the unknown, swirl wild in the purple-ing sky, such mysterious light...

    Such light.

    I had to leave the house, and be away from the endless streams of communication which were flooding, saturating my Saturday. On the short drive to the lake, the streets were emptier than they ought to be on a Saturday. There were less walkers than normal, and what faces I saw had, by degrees, vacant and heavy eyes. The fisherman, tending the thin line between this world and that, was expressionless. Facing the water in silence, he may as well have been a painting. Perhaps he was.

    Such light.

    As I made my way around the lake and into the Audubon Bird Sanctuary, a hummingbird darted to my right. We saw eye to eye, and I’d like to think that the curiosity is mutual. As I enter the Sanctuary, crossing the wooden bridge over marsh, I stopped, and looked to my left. There, swimming so smooth in the shallow water, a beaver. I’d never been so close to one before, mere feet away. With the smoothest of movement, it stripped some low-lying bark, and ate, with its tiny hands, a few weeds. It dove and surfaced without seeming to mind my gaping mouth and wide eyes. It carried on, deeper into the marsh, into the twilight.

    Such light.

    It’s so wonderfully overgrown there. Paths are lines blurred by wilderness, and you can only move forward by being brushed with the wild. It erupts in a late-summer last chance at fruitfulness. Vines bend with berries, and hardy, vibrant flowers appear so optimistic in the cooling world. The stars which overhang this, they are clear, and wild geese and gnats and the boldest of fireflies fly through the constellations, carefree, busy in the work of the living. I move through this sanctuary busy in the work of living myself. I’m broke, but alive. I’m scatterbrained, but alive. I progress through the night to this moment clumsily, but alive. And I savor the all the lights I see, but won’t covet. You can’t have the light, you can’t have the world, but you can be alive, and cast a shadow, and tremble in your own skin for the beauty, horror, and love of it all.

    Such light.

    It wasn’t long ago that I was awakened by a small earthquake. What a novelty! It wasn’t even strong enough to make a single curio do the foxtrot. Everyone talked about it the next day, with the stories of where they were, and with that glint of wonder. We all cling to this orb as it spins, it’s a wonder it doesn’t shake us more often, as we cling to its surface with foolhardy abandon. Then, a storm began to churn in the Atlantic. Since last year this area was ravaged by once-in-a-century flooding, we’re watchful of those frightful spirals in these parts. When the forecasters proclaimed the storm would not come to visit, the city sighed and went back to bed. Yet by the pale, early diffuse light of the next morning, we stopped and realized that it was ashore with a vengeance... this can’t be happening. They call this one Katrina. On the maps, it is white and full of froth, and the sun does not penetrate, save for the eye.

    Such light.

    We’ve been torn asunder by that light; the light reflected off the misplaced waters in a sunken city, the light barely returning from a hungry child’s eyes, the shadows cast by refugees in our country, walking with slumped shoulders along the interstates. The light shimmering in those dark pools has convulsed us with tears, and the world we knew is not the world of now. Rarely does a cataclysm make the newspapers. Rarely is the thin veneer of a nation so quickly shattered by mad winds, and the society is left to wonder what and who they are now. Another fisherman in his little rowboat in the sunset-rippled lake is us, this society, this planet. It takes great care to maneuver just right, and should the winds blow and the waters chop, it takes so little to upend everything. We’ve been upended, and we’re grasping for whatever we can before it all sinks. Will our friends on the shore save us? The night has come, and a moonless sky and its bold stars twinkle, and the stars seem to swing low, blue sparkles, comin’ for to carry me home...

    Such light.

    Sleep is full of yammering dreams, of hoards begging for simple help. The rest of the world, the one we keep at bay with our endless distractions, has come to us. Refugee camps, here, in America. Dysentery, typhoid, and everything I had to get immunizations for before flying to Haiti two years ago, happening here, in America. Children dying from no food or water, happening here, in America. They could’ve named the storm Humility, for that’s what we’ve got now, in spades. Yet there are those, whose fear drives them to hide behind great institutions, who will say that this has washed away sin, and driven out the snakes, and that we ought not rebuild for these places are scourged and accursed. Yet they are not in tatters, walking miles for clear water, clothes or medicine. The storm has only cleansed the illusion of their piety, and left for all to see their own sin of self-righteousness. They shall be forgiven, or at least ignored, for their blindness. And these figures are not important anymore. All that matters now are the survivors; the sick, they crying, the homeless, the dying. For the voiceless, they need voices, for the hungry, they need food. Priorities for us are simpler now. This water, I savor it, and this bright clear day after my walk by the lake. I savor these on behalf of those gone, unable to savor anything, and too wounded to notice the beauty that remains, in spite of the cruelty of human arrogance. Beauty shall thrive in spite of arrogance.

    Such light.

    Tonight, some strangers and some friends will gather in a circle, downtown. We will light candles, sing a song, share some silence. A woman is even going to release homing doves. We’ll stand in ceremony for those who can’t, who can’t traipse around lakes and be agog at beavers and hummingbirds, transfixed by the great varieties of this living, terrestrial experience. We’re a community hundreds of miles away from the affected areas, but we are one people. The sun, out right now which summons the cicadas and entices the green of the leaves to be ever more so, is one star. This planet is not a pressed together mishmash of hundreds of countries, it is one sphere in space, spinning so perfectly, with us or without us. We are so fragile, and so tenacious. I almost drowned in water this year, but a sheer miracle of opposing current allowed me to live. Today, fewer people in our part of the world can say that. Life is thin, but it’s damn good when it’s here, and we all depend upon it, that vibrant little word, which somehow is magic enough to give us something to do each and every day. Because we love it so much, we must work for it, we must give it, we must absolutely adore it in the trees, the birds, in the eyes of our beloved. Some say that all this will bring revolution. Fine. Let that revolution be to savor life, and if we do that enough, the fearsome institutions will lose relevance. Besides, the light that illuminates an oncoming storm will also illuminate its dissipation, and will make clear what must be done. For the good of the world. We can see what needs to be done now. We are all refugees, in a galactic sense, wandering through the wilds, guided by the light of our passions. Through that brilliant light, we move, onward together to sanctuary.

    Such light.

    jaybird found this for you @ 14:25 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



    { Saturday, 03 September, 2005 }

    Candlelight Vigil Tomorrow

    The idea behind this came in a whim, and I'm pouring all of my effort into this right now. I'll post a Katrina roundup later in the day. Perhaps those of you not in Asheville would be willing to light candles on Sunday as well.

    As the cataclysmic events of the past week have unfolded with increasing horror and dismay, I realized that while the flow of funds to the Red Cross have increased, there is still something missing in our national response. We recall that after 9/11, there was a tremendous national outpouring of compassion and sympathy for those who were killed or traumatized by the events... flags were at half-mast, ribbons were worn, and the nation unified (at least temporarily) to rally around New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Candlelight vigils were everywhere, and the nation was told to pray.

    This time, this hasn't quite happened... yet. The wave of compassion that overtook America after 9/11 and the Asian tsunami is beginning to form, but it needs a push. I've heard many reasons why our compassion is only on first or second gear right now, but what matters now is that we push all of that aside for now and stand in solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of new American homeless. They are our sisters and brothers, without the beds, the food, and the community that we so cherish and sometimes forget we have.

    So, we'll take some time on Sunday, September 3rd at 7pm at City/County Plaza to honor the fallen, and those struggling to survive. We'll honor New Orleans, Mobile, and Biloxi with light of appreciation for these cities and hope for their rebuilding. We'll honor the children whose lives have been upturned. We'll honor all these with a flickering flame, a few words, and silence. I would deeply appreciate you spreading the word on this... and, despite the great temptation, the goal is to stand as one. While inaction to help the victims has turned the situation political, I'd like this gathering to remain apolitical. This is about people, the ecology, and the nation as a whole. This is, first and foremost, about compassion, and doing something powerful with it.

    jaybird found this for you @ 13:28 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



    { Friday, 02 September, 2005 }

    A Can't-Do Government

    A powerful indictment from Krugman...

    Before 9/11 the Federal Emergency Management Agency listed the three most likely catastrophic disasters facing America: a terrorist attack on New York, a major earthquake in San Francisco and a hurricane strike on New Orleans. "The New Orleans hurricane scenario," The Houston Chronicle wrote in December 2001, "may be the deadliest of all." It described a potential catastrophe very much like the one now happening.

    So why were New Orleans and the nation so unprepared? After 9/11, hard questions were deferred in the name of national unity, then buried under a thick coat of whitewash. This time, we need accountability.

    First question: Why have aid and security taken so long to arrive? Katrina hit five days ago - and it was already clear by last Friday that Katrina could do immense damage along the Gulf Coast. Yet the response you'd expect from an advanced country never happened. Thousands of Americans are dead or dying, not because they refused to evacuate, but because they were too poor or too sick to get out without help - and help wasn't provided. Many have yet to receive any help at all.

    There will and should be many questions about the response of state and local governments; in particular, couldn't they have done more to help the poor and sick escape? But the evidence points, above all, to a stunning lack of both preparation and urgency in the federal government's response.

    jaybird found this for you @ 17:35 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



    Nagin: "They're spinning a line of bull..."

    MP3 of interview with Mayor Ray Nagin. [via metachat]

    This man has tremendous courage, and an incredible dedication to the people of his city. The very end of the interview is incredibly poignant. He reflects great virtue.

    Bless this man.

    jaybird found this for you @ 13:31 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



    Category 4 Hurricane Determined to Strike U.S.

    The administration specifically cut the funds to fix these specific levees, in order to specifically divert that Corps money to Iraq, despite urgent warnings and predictions of catastrophic disaster if the levees were breeched. The administration specifically cancelled the Clinton-backed flood control program to preserve and restore the wetlands between New Orleans and the gulf, instead specifically opening parts of that buffer zone for development.

    Nobody anticipated this disaster? It was identified by FEMA as one of the top three likeliest major disasters to strike America...

    jaybird found this for you @ 09:22 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



    { Thursday, 01 September, 2005 }

    Questions

    People in the media are beginning to compare Katrina's wrath to 9-11. If so, let's ask a few questions about the world then, and now, shall we?

  • Where are the ribbons?
  • Where are the flags?
  • Where are the lines around the block to give blood?
  • Where are the patriotic songs?
  • Where is the commerical-free media, pushing aside regular programming to give news and information?
  • Where is the massive local and national effort to coordinate relief services (it's only now beginning to 'trickle')?
  • Where are the selfless acts (people are fighting each other for gas)?
  • Where are the calls for national unity and resolve?
  • Where are the National Guard (far too many in Iraq)?
  • Where are the candlelight vigils?
  • Where is the corporate charity, donating food, clothes and essential survival goods to the stricken (instead, rescue efforts are halted to stop looting)?
  • Where are Bush's missing days (simple: Monday, he cleared brush, Tuesday he was campaigning for Medicare reform at a country club,
    and Wednesday, his plane flew over New Orleans... neat-o!)?
  • Where is the answer to Mayor Nagin's S.O.S.?
  • Where are the planeloads full of supplies?
  • Where are the planeloads full of supplies from foreign countries who really want to help but haven't been allowed into the country per Homeland Security?
  • Where did the funding go in 2002 and 2003 to prevent flooding and to shore up the levees ib New Orleans?
  • Where are the people asking questions?

    One answer, which will upset some... the people affected by this disaster are largely poor and non-white. Had this happened to an upper-class suberb, Macy's would be dropping pallette-fulls of prime cut fasions, hot turkey sandwiches would be rolled out by the thousands, and the President would be rowing, rowing, rowing his boat, gently down the effluvia.

    People are slowly beginning to wake up to this, but not at the level to affect real change. We need to steamroll the message across the nation; feet are being dragged because the victims are poor, black, and completely powerless. We're sticking 20,000 of them in yet another damn dome. How about some homes? We have 'em... endless acres of unbought homes in nice white designer homes because of the bursting housing bubble. The victims need those of us awake to this now more than ever to call attention to the scale of this society-busting disaster. Now. No more questions, it's time for answers...

    jaybird found this for you @ 20:19 in Journaling the Infinite | | permalink



    Hurricane raises fears of global energy crisis

    Fears of an international energy crisis mounted on Wednesday as the scale of human and economic devastation caused in the southern US by Hurricane Katrina became fully apparent... As the human tragedy unfolded, there were fears that the economic impact of the storm, which has paralysed the Gulf of Mexico oil industry, could be felt around the globe.

    But don't panic, m'kay? I've been to so many places where the people thrived without fuel. The Sun is fuel. Love is fuel. Working the Earth is fuel enough. Even if the sky falls on Chicken Little, survival is immanent; the ferment of dead dinosaurs must eventually run out, so that we can understand that real survival does not depend upon the chemicals of the dead; it depends on the innovation of the living.

    jaybird found this for you @ 16:25 in Environment, Ecology & Nature | | permalink



    The name of the beast

    As the atmosphere warms, it generates longer droughts, more-intense downpours, more-frequent heat waves, and more-severe storms. Although Katrina began as a relatively small hurricane that glanced off south Florida, it was supercharged with extraordinary intensity by the relatively blistering sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico.

    The consequences are as heartbreaking as they are terrifying. Unfortunately, very few people in America know the real name of Hurricane Katrina because the coal and oil industries have spent millions of dollars to keep the public in doubt about the issue.

    The reason is simple: To allow the climate to stabilize requires humanity to cut its use of coal and oil by 70 percent. That, of course, threatens the survival of one of the largest commercial enterprises in history.

    jaybird found this for you @ 12:18 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink



    An American Diaspora

    The only certainty here now is uncertainty.

    Across the south hundreds of thousands of Americans have been unceremoniously dumped: displaced by Katrina in rest stops and hotel lobbies; among strangers in shelters and in hospitals.

    And for most there is no going back, for weeks, and more probably, months.

    They sleep where they can.

    jaybird found this for you @ 08:09 in News, Opinion & Politique | | permalink




     
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    Ten Considerations for Being Well n this Goofy Universe

     

    0. If you find yourself wonderstruck, don’t forget to return the favor.

    1. Always be of service to the whole and the Holy. You’ll find that the Holy will reciprocate by being of service to your becoming Whole.

    2. You will be called upon to use your mind and your vision in ways I cannot possibly glimpse. Never turn down an offer to shine that light so uniquely yours to help others in their darkness, and you’ll find that when it’s your turn to be in the night that there’ll be someone along the way who happens to have a little glow to share .

    3. The rewards of being true to yourself  are infinite, even when outwardly your efforts are met with nothing.

    4. You’ll also see that  knowledge and wisdom will come from within yourself through your own struggle and curiosity... your loved ones may guide you to insight, but yours is the power to choose it.

    5. You’ll find that some of your choices could’ve been better, or at times were downright stupid. That’s okay... I have a closet full of reckless decisions, but without making them I wouldn’t have the slightest idea of what a good one might feel like if I tried it on.

    6. Your growth will be a mysterious, comic, ecstatic and sometimes scary ride, and I pray that you strive to savor each minute of it, even the most difficult or embarrassing minutes. Don’t count on second chances.

    7. In those times when everything collapses around you, and what’s left won’t go right, don’t forget your chances of being alive in this solar system, in this galaxy, are a little on the slim side. So slim in fact that it could be called a miracle to breathe this air, drink this water, and have whet ever predicament you’re having no matter how you shake, rattle and roll it. So go with the cosmic flow and always choose something over nothing, while remembering that there’s a little of each one hidden in both.

    8. Respond as best as you can with love to adversity rather than reacting with fear... Love, in any situation and  being the primordial source and essence of ALL THIS STUFF, leaves / enters us with the most possible ways out / in.

    9. Whatever you’re doing, celebrate the process of doing as much, if not more, than what you’ve got when you’re done. Magic lives in the action.

    9 ½ . All matter is energy. All energy is infinite. We are but raindrops falling to the ocean, a short time in this shape until we’re reunited with the expanse from which we came. Your delicate yet sturdy, resilient body is a temporary shelter of energy that has swam the universe eternally and will continue eternally. You are a sudden crystallization of the infinite. One must ask themself, therefore, why be bored?

    9 3/4 . Choosing to live in the moment is courageous but becomes effortless once you begin...feeling obligated to survive in the past or future is dangerous and is difficult to continue. It’s one of the few risks I’d recommend not taking, right up there with trusting icons and shrugging off coincidences.

    10. The Universe itself it not confusing, we humans just like it that way. Do frogs seem bewildered , butterflies befuddled and amoebas addled? Nope, just us, my child. So, whenever things just don’t make sense, just take a deep breath and laugh as best you can, because that’s what you get for choosing this goofy, unpredictable place called Earth to embody yourself upon.