People Get Ready

[ make levees, not war ]

Archive for May, 2005

Monkey boy learns a new word

Posted by schroeder915 on May 31, 2005

Dispelling as false any charges of prisoner abuse by Americans at Guantanamo Bay, monkey boy declared at a press conference today that all accusations can be narrowed down to people who haven’t been tortured sufficiently to learn the truth “people who hate America.”

As an aside, monkey boy gets a gold star sticker today for helping reporters learn a new word: disassemble (emphasis added):

THE PRESIDENT: Terry.

Q Thank you, sir. Mr. President, recently, Amnesty International said you have established “a new gulag” of prisons around the world, beyond the reach of the law and decency. I’d like your reaction to that, and also your assessment of how it came to this, that that is a view not just held by extremists and anti-Americans, but by groups that have allied themselves with the United States government in the past — and what the strategic impact is that in many places of the world, the United States these days, under your leadership, is no longer seen as the good guy.

THE PRESIDENT: I’m aware of the Amnesty International report, and it’s absurd. It’s an absurd allegation. The United States is a country that is — promotes freedom around the world. When there’s accusations made about certain actions by our people, they’re fully investigated in a transparent way. It’s just an absurd allegation.

In terms of the detainees, we’ve had thousands of people detained. We’ve investigated every single complaint against the detainees. It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of — and the allegations — by people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble [sic] — that means not tell the truth. And so it was an absurd report. It just is. And, you know — yes, sir.

Junior gets an “A” for effort, but an “F” for results. He used the wrong word. He meant to say “dissemble.”

Here’s “dissemble” used in a new sentence:

President Bush lied dissembled when he presented to Congress, the American people, and the rest of the world, his evidence to justify a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq.

Is anyone in Congress saying the “I” word yet?

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Army War College criticizes Bush’s war strategy

Posted by schroeder915 on May 31, 2005

The elite Army War College just issued a critical assessment of the Bush administration’s military strategy in the “War on Terror”:

In the three years since 9-11, the Administration has yet to arrive at a clear definition of the enemy or the aim in the War on Terrorism; to date, American policy has combined ambitious public statements with ambiguity on critical particulars. Heretofore, the costs of pursuing such ambitious but ill-defined goals have been high but tolerable. The ongoing insurgency in Iraq, however, is increasing the costs of grand strategic ambiguity to the point where fundamental choices can no longer be deferred. …

Terrorism, after all, is a tactic, not an enemy. Taken literally, a “war on terrorism” is closer to a “war on strategic bombing” or a “war on amphibious assault” than it is to orthodox war aims or wartime grand strategies; one normally makes war on an enemy, not a method. Nor can one simply assume that anyone who uses terrorist tactics is to be the target of American war making. “Terrorism” is a diverse tactic, used by many groups in many ways to serve many different political agendas. Many of these groups and agendas pose no immediate threat to Americans. In fact, prior to 2001, it was rare for Americans to be killed by international terrorists. …

Even in 2001, death by terrorism could be considered extremely “rare” as a source of morbidity or mortality in the population as a whole: more Americans died of peptic ulcers than were killed by terrorists in history’s worst year for terrorism against Americans. This is still too many deaths, but by how many? …

A war that encompassed literally any group using terrorist tactics would be impossibly broad, engulfing a wide range of groups posing no meaningful threat to America. Terrorism per se thus cannot be the enemy. But it is far from clear exactly who the enemy is. The administration has made some effort to delimit the problem by adding the phrase “of global reach.” This is little help, however. In a globalized world, any terrorist with an airline ticket or an internet service provider has “global reach.” …

An unbounded threat definition can also pose serious problems, however. Perhaps most important, it risks making unnecessary enemies, and unnecessarily expanding the hostile coalition. It does this by creating common cause among disparate terrorists and driving together groups with very different interests and agendas. …

Among the most important responsibilities of the grand strategist is to create allies for oneself and deny them to one’s opponent. … In a world where the interconnections among terrorist groups are ambiguous, a central aim of American strategy ought thus to be to drive wedges between these groups wherever possible to reduce, not increase, their marginal proclivity for cooperation and joint action against us. A broad but unspecific definition of the enemy that refuses to exclude any meaningful terror group could easily do just the opposite, unifying a polyglot terrorist alliance, and risking self-fulfilling prophecy by driving together groups who would otherwise have sat on the sidelines rather than making war on distant America.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Army War College criticizes Bush’s war strategy

Posted by schroeder915 on May 31, 2005

The elite Army War College just issued a critical assessment of the Bush administration’s military strategy in the “War on Terror”:

In the three years since 9-11, the Administration has yet to arrive at a clear definition of the enemy or the aim in the War on Terrorism; to date, American policy has combined ambitious public statements with ambiguity on critical particulars. Heretofore, the costs of pursuing such ambitious but ill-defined goals have been high but tolerable. The ongoing insurgency in Iraq, however, is increasing the costs of grand strategic ambiguity to the point where fundamental choices can no longer be deferred. …

Terrorism, after all, is a tactic, not an enemy. Taken literally, a “war on terrorism” is closer to a “war on strategic bombing” or a “war on amphibious assault” than it is to orthodox war aims or wartime grand strategies; one normally makes war on an enemy, not a method. Nor can one simply assume that anyone who uses terrorist tactics is to be the target of American war making. “Terrorism” is a diverse tactic, used by many groups in many ways to serve many different political agendas. Many of these groups and agendas pose no immediate threat to Americans. In fact, prior to 2001, it was rare for Americans to be killed by international terrorists. …

Even in 2001, death by terrorism could be considered extremely “rare” as a source of morbidity or mortality in the population as a whole: more Americans died of peptic ulcers than were killed by terrorists in history’s worst year for terrorism against Americans. This is still too many deaths, but by how many? …

A war that encompassed literally any group using terrorist tactics would be impossibly broad, engulfing a wide range of groups posing no meaningful threat to America. Terrorism per se thus cannot be the enemy. But it is far from clear exactly who the enemy is. The administration has made some effort to delimit the problem by adding the phrase “of global reach.” This is little help, however. In a globalized world, any terrorist with an airline ticket or an internet service provider has “global reach.” …

An unbounded threat definition can also pose serious problems, however. Perhaps most important, it risks making unnecessary enemies, and unnecessarily expanding the hostile coalition. It does this by creating common cause among disparate terrorists and driving together groups with very different interests and agendas. …

Among the most important responsibilities of the grand strategist is to create allies for oneself and deny them to one’s opponent. … In a world where the interconnections among terrorist groups are ambiguous, a central aim of American strategy ought thus to be to drive wedges between these groups wherever possible to reduce, not increase, their marginal proclivity for cooperation and joint action against us. A broad but unspecific definition of the enemy that refuses to exclude any meaningful terror group could easily do just the opposite, unifying a polyglot terrorist alliance, and risking self-fulfilling prophecy by driving together groups who would otherwise have sat on the sidelines rather than making war on distant America.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Subsidized cypress mulching

Posted by schroeder915 on May 29, 2005

While the Corps of Engineers has tried to limit cypress logging when such activities fell within their oversight, the law is not clear about the imperative of preserving cypress forests, according to a Sierra magazine article.

This fact was underscored when the Corps granted a permit to a landowner to clear 7000 acres of cypress. Concerned citizens responded by taking ownership of the campaign to save cypress, convincing towns and parishes to ban the use of cypress, and working with gardeners to offer equally effective alternatives, like pine. The next plan of attack is to get the big retail boxes to stop selling cypress mulch. Home Depot is at the top of the list. But Lowes and Wal-Mart should be approached too.

The Honey Island Group of the Sierra Club’s Delta Chapter has a number of useful tips on how individual citizens can act to save cypress from being mulched, including a powerpoint presentation.

A number of municipalities and parishes on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain have banned the use of cypress mulch on the properties they manage, including Hammond, Mandeville, Covington, Ponchatoula, Slidell (informal), St. Tammany and Livingston parishes.

For those interested in lobbying the mulch companies directly here’s the handy Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association directory of companies that deal in cypress.

As if the struggle against cypress logging weren’t hard enough, it seems that citizens have to fight even how their tax dollars are spent. In the C.B. Forgotston mailbag, I found this letter authored by Doug Brandon on the use of Louisiana tax dollars to build a cypress mulching plant in Tensas parish for Corbitt Manufacturing. It appears that the Louisiana Department of Economic Development gave a grant of $500,000 to encourage cypress destruction for mulch:

June 13, 2002

C.B

Last week was the start of a big setback for Louisiana’s wetlands and coastal zone. Don Huthchsinson personally pushed through a $500,000 grant to Corbitt Manufacturing, a cypress mulch manufacturing who is running out of raw materials in Florida. Now he wants to come to LA and profit from cutting the cypress that is just now getting back from the old clear cut days that so damaged our wetlands in the early part of the last century.

The concerns over the destruction of cypress swamps from logging operations is well documented FL. We should be doing everything in our power to guard against over harvesting our cypress trees up to the point where we might consider a ban harvesting of cypress (at least for it to be grinded up into mulch) until the results of some ongoing studies on regeneration and other issues are finished. Instead Don Hutchinson and DED is using taxpayer money to give them money to help destroy a vital resource in our wetlands. Al this while spouting off about how he is bringing high tech industries to the state. Give me a break.

The way I’m told, the grant was pushed through and funded by a slush fund that DED brass and the Governor controls. Staff members had strongly cautioned Hutchinson about adverse environmental affects and strongly urged him to stop the project. Hutchinson intimidated them into changing their analysis before the matter went for approval. All records of opposition were ordered destroyed. Senator Don Hines showed up at the review committee to lend his support. Makes you wonder if there’s a financial interest for him too.

The plant will be in Krotz Springs, so the Atchafalaya Basin can expect to be hit hard. I hope somehow, somebody can still stop this project. It’s an outrage that taxpayer money is being used for this. Shame on Don Hutchinson and Senator Hines. It’s time for both to go.

Finally, it’s not too late to kill the Vitter provision to rollback the authority of the Corps of Engineers to control cypress logging. But more needs to be done to guarantee that cypress is protected. Louisiana needs a moratorium on cypress logging.

As I’ve stated rhetorically elsewhere on this blog, can anyone imagine Louisiana without a cypress swamp? It’s time to do something to protect what remains.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Bush to attack North Korea?

Posted by schroeder915 on May 28, 2005

Reading between the lines of this NY Times story, I have to wonder, is the Bush administration planning a military strike against North Korea?

I found highly unusual the news that the State Department is suspending the search for remains of Americans killed in the Korean War, blaming North Korea for creating an “uncertain environment” by refusing to participate in six-party talks on its nuclear program, and withdrawing from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

“It is a force-protection issue,” said one military spokesman.

Here’s why I wonder about a military strike: How does North Korea’s nuclear program become a “force-protection issue?” I could understand if there were a concern about a troop mobilization to an area where Americans were present, or if there were intimidation of another kind against Americans. But nobody said any of these things was occurring – at least, not in the NY Times story.

Rather, it may be that the Bush administration is quietly moving Americans out of North Korea in anticipation of an attack.

Given the appalling results of the Iraq occupation, maybe Bush is thinking that a quick little tactical strike on some North Korean nuclear facilities will make him the beloved war president again, instead of the hated liar on the verge of impeachment.

Well, that might just be wishful thinking. Reports I’ve read recently suggest that the optimal time to take out North Korea’s nuclear facilities has long passed. While Bush was thumbing his nose at North Korea, it opened up more nuclear facilities in hidden locations. There may be considerable uncertainty about where, precisely, those facilities are located now.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Hands off public broadcasting

Posted by schroeder915 on May 27, 2005

Media Matters is elevating the issue of partisan interference in public broadcasting with a campaign titled “Hands Off Public Broadcasting,” asking supporters to:

Email your member of Congress asking him or her to support the Dingell/Obey letter calling for an investigation into the political influence being imposed on public broadcasting by CPB president Kenneth Y. Tomlinson.

Visit Media Matters now.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Ivory-billed woodpecker, cypress logging, Corps of Engineers, & Vitter provision

Posted by schroeder915 on May 27, 2005

Keyword analysis shows that the People Get Ready is getting a lot of hits on these issues.

Many hits are from the D.C. area. Could this be because NPR researchers were using People Get Ready for background on the battle between loggers and environmentalists in Louisiana? Whatever the case, I’m pleased that the issue is now getting the national exposure it merits.

The full Senate still hasn’t taken action on the Water Resources Development Act of 2005 (S.728). The last action was:

4/26/2005:
Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 93.

For readers interested in these issues who aren’t from NPR, or don’t listen to NPR, but found they’re way here anyway, I’d like to steer you to the NPR reports on this issue:

Battle Brews over Louisiana’s Cypress Trees, Morning Edition, 5/26/2005

Unlikely Ally in Fight to Save La.’s Cypress Trees, Morning Edition, 5/27/2005

NPR didn’t pick up the connection between saving wetland forests and saving the ivory-billed woodpecker, but there’s more on that in my previous posts on the Vitter provision:

Vitter to kill ivory-billed woodpecker once and for all

Update on Vitter provision that will endanger the ivory-billed woodpecker’s habitat

The timely Louisiana Governor’s Science Working Group study definitively states that wetland forests are in danger of irreversible loss if logging is allowed:

New study emphasizes wetland forest preservation

If you want to take action to save wetland forests, these organizations have taken up the issue:

The Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club

The Gulf Restoration Network

Finally, Senator Vitter is right about one thing. The law needs to be much more clear about whether logging should, or should not, be permitted in wetland forests. Even if the Vitter provision is axed from the WRDA bill, more action should be taken to protect wetland forest habitat. One solution would be a moratorium on any logging in wetland forests.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Ivory-billed woodpecker, cypress logging, Corps of Engineers, & Vitter provision

Posted by schroeder915 on May 27, 2005

Keyword analysis shows that the People Get Ready is getting a lot of hits on these issues.

Many hits are from the D.C. area. Could this be because NPR researchers were using People Get Ready for background on the battle between loggers and environmentalists in Louisiana? Whatever the case, I’m pleased that the issue is now getting the national exposure it merits.

The full Senate still hasn’t taken action on the Water Resources Development Act of 2005 (S.728). The last action was:

4/26/2005:
Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 93.

For readers interested in these issues who aren’t from NPR, or don’t listen to NPR, but found they’re way here anyway, I’d like to steer you to the NPR reports on this issue:

Battle Brews over Louisiana’s Cypress Trees, Morning Edition, 5/26/2005

Unlikely Ally in Fight to Save La.’s Cypress Trees, Morning Edition, 5/27/2005

NPR didn’t pick up the connection between saving wetland forests and saving the ivory-billed woodpecker, but there’s more on that in my previous posts on the Vitter provision:

Vitter to kill ivory-billed woodpecker once and for all

Update on Vitter provision that will endanger the ivory-billed woodpecker’s habitat

The timely Louisiana Governor’s Science Working Group study definitively states that wetland forests are in danger of irreversible loss if logging is allowed:

New study emphasizes wetland forest preservation

If you want to take action to save wetland forests, these organizations have taken up the issue:

The Delta Chapter of the Sierra Club

The Gulf Restoration Network

Finally, Senator Vitter is right about one thing. The law needs to be much more clear about whether logging should, or should not, be permitted in wetland forests. Even if the Vitter provision is axed from the WRDA bill, more action should be taken to protect wetland forest habitat. One solution would be a moratorium on any logging in wetland forests.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Why hydrogen?

Posted by schroeder915 on May 27, 2005

Er…maybe because the only way to efficiently produce hydrogen is by using fossil fuels? And that’s good for the oil companies.

Here’s Shell explaining it to monkey boy:

Why not hydrogen? Because, contrary to monkey boy’s claims, it does nothing to decrease the United States’ reliance on fossil fuels.

1) You’d lose less energy if you just burned fossil fuels, according to Culture Change:

Currently, most hydrogen is produced by the treatment of methane with steam, following the formula: CH4 (g) + H2O + e > 3H2(g) + CO(g). The CO(g) in this equation is carbon monoxide gas, which is a byproduct of the reaction.

Not entered into this formula is the energy required to produce the steam, which usually comes from the burning of fossil fuels.

For this reason, we do not escape the production of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. We simply transfer the generation of this pollution to the hydrogen production plants. This procedure of hydrogen production also results in a severe energy loss. First we have the production of the feedstock methanol from natural gas or coal at a 32 percent to 44 percent net energy loss. Then the steam treatment process to procure the hydrogen will result in a further 35 percent energy loss.

It has often been pointed out that we have an inexhaustible supply of water from which to derive hydrogen. However, this reaction, 2H2O + e = 2H2(g) + O2(g), requires a substantial energy investment per unit of water (286kJ per mole). This energy investment is required by elementary principles of chemistry and can never be reduced.

2) Because more energy could be conserved by increasing vehicle mileage requirements, according to the National Resources Defense Council:

By 2030, when fuel cells could be more prevalent, oil savings from conventional and hybrid vehicle fuel-economy improvements are still five times as great as those from fuel cell vehicles.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Ethical Marketplace

Posted by schroeder915 on May 26, 2005

WLAE TV (32) in New Orleans airs a fantastic program, Ethical Marketplace, Thursday nights at 8:00.

I just found the program tonight, but half the season is already over.

Tonight’s episode focused on fair trade businesses.

Even more exciting to me, this is the first concrete example I’ve seen in my community of the Media Venture Collective’s vision to finance public affairs programs through donations.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »