Thursday, January 18, 2007

Turnabout

From TPM Muckraker, who's helping the terrorists now?

Maliki disputed President Bush's remarks broadcast Tuesday that the execution of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein "looked like it was kind of a revenge killing" and took exception to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's Senate testimony last week that Maliki's administration was on "borrowed time."

The prime minister said statements such as Rice's "give morale boosts for the terrorists and push them toward making an extra effort and making them believe they have defeated the American administration," Maliki said. "But I can tell you that they have not defeated the Iraqi government."...


Sean Hannity tonight: President Bush and Condoleeza Rice, your today's Enemy of the State!

[Producer's note: The feature on Sean Hannity's teevee show known as "Enemy of State" for the one week of its duration, after being pointed and laughed at incessantly, will now be known as Enemy of the Week. Now back to our regular programming.]

S.O.T.D. 1/18/07

Song of the Day is Out on the Road, by Loudon Wainwright III. I couldn't find it. Here's another one, from the BBC, 1978.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Steve Clemons on Iranian Nukes

Steve Clemons, on a subscribers-only "email version of a daily blog" known as the Nelson Report:

If folks are interested in paying in the low five-figure range for his high quality daily reports, I'll link you up.


I'm very interested in paying the low-five-figure sum for any damn thing at all in the universe. Very. Really.

But on to the report, which the mysterious Nelson allows Clemons to sometimes reprint:

IRAN. . .recent news stories out of the Middle East seem to be generating a sense that Iran is closer to a successful nuclear weapons capability than had previously been thought, and that the risk to Israel is rising to the point where Israel is moving closer to a decision to "take out" the Iranian nuclear weapons facilities.

Balderdash, our informed sources continue to maintain.

Yes, it does seem to be true that Iran has accelerated its program to bring on line the 3,000 centrifuges required to generate nuclear fuel. . .but it also seems true (and not Iranian disinformation) that of the 50 centrifuges recently hooked up, all 50 blew up.


And dang the MSM for going on and on about that...

Nothing else. Just passing along some info from someone smarter and more involved than you myself.

Edge of Existence

British move to protect weird and rare mammals.

Welcome ot the Edge.

Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna is known from a single specimen collected by a Dutch botanist in 1961, and currently held in the National Museum of Natural History, Leiden. The species is believed to be restricted to a single mountain peak in the Cyclops Mountains in the Indonesian province of Papua (on the island of New Guinea). There have been few systematic attempts to survey the flora and fauna of the Cyclops Mountains and no mammal surveys in the region since the type specimen was collected. The main threats to the species are not known, although other long-beaked echidnas are threatened by hunting and human encroachment onto their habitat.


S.O.T.D. 1/17/07

Just five days ago I started the Song of the Day and already I have a short songlist for hell.

But no more.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Great News Reported For Nazanin

This horror story has been around for awhile, with little good news coming. (I posted about it here seven months ago, and the links give you all the background.) Short story: A 17-year-old Iranian named Nazanin Fatehi stabbed and killed one of three men who were trying to rape her and her younger niece. She was convicted of murder and sentenced to death by hanging.

But a judge has stopped that from happening.

Nazanin Afshin-Jam and Mina Ahadi spoke with Nazanin Fatehi's lawyers today regarding her retrial that took place on January 10th 2007.

They have received verbal confirmation from the court that she will be exonerated from the charge of murder. The incident that took place in March 2005 has been recognized as an act of self-defense, however the court has ruled that disproportionate force was used by Nazanin while trying to defend herself and her 15-year old niece. Accordingly, they have asked Nazanin to pay “dieh” (blood money) to receive a pardon from the family of the deceased. Once this amount is paid, Nazanin can be released from prison.

Shadi Sadr and Mr. Mostafaei, Nazanin Fatehi's laywers, are appealing this blood money because they believe that Nazanin is innocent for acting in self-defense and therefore she should not have to pay any money. Unfortunately, this appeal may take several months, so in the meantime arrangements may be made to have Nazanin released from prison by paying “bail” money into court.

Formal documentation should be available within days, including further details and specifics like the cost of bail and the cost of blood money.


Not perfect - but what is?

My warmest regards for the young woman far away, and a big "Bravo" to all of those who did so much to get her story out.

BIG HAPPY UPDATE:

Jan 15 : Nazanin could be freed on bail immediately!

According to Etemaad Newspaper in Iran, which also reported Nazanin's original death sentence in January 2006, three out of the five judges in Nazanin's retrial have ordered that dieh "blood money" be paid to the family of the man who was killed, although the other two had recommended Nazanin's unconditional freedom.

Nazanin's lawyers intend to appeal the payment of blood money, but since this appeal may take several months, they have also requested bail so that Nazanin may be released from prison immediately. The court has set bail at 400,000,000 rials (over US$40,000).

Because Nazanin's family is very poor and unable to make payment of the bail or blood money, immediate financial assistance is required to secure Nazanin's release from prison.


And the most important part:

Mostafaei said the court set Fatehi's bail at 400,000,000 rials or about US$45,000, and he would meet with her on Tuesday. He asked people to help collect money for Fatehi's bail to help get her released from custody.


DO WHAT YOU CAN.


Song of the Day, 1/15/07

Oh man. I found myself singing, sans melody and with nothing like the right words and based on some regurgitated memory from my preschool days John Jacob Jingleheiner Schmidt. There's a track in that link of a bunch of kids singing it, if one were so moved...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Bullfrogs Are Going to Eat You



Not that's ironic

Oh dang, it's just funny.

Via Metafilter.

Elephants Loot Tapioca Trucks

I wrote about something similar, strangely enough, a year or so ago.

The Bangkok Post:

Chachoengsao _ The chief of Khao Ang Rue Nai wants the road through the wildlife sanctuary closed at night after a herd of elephants held up and looted a string of cargo trucks. About midnight last Saturday a herd of 20 elephants blocked route No.3259 (the Ban Nong Kog-Ban Wang Nam Phon road) holding up 10 trucks, Yoo Senatham said.

They tipped some vehicles on their side, spilling the cargoes on the road so their young could eat, and gorged on sugarcane and tapioca.


Via Fark.

Eat your Bottomfeeders

BuytheCD

Or get it by the song straight to your computer at iTunes.

• Or at Music is Here

• Or at Tradebit (search "Bottomfeeders")

• Or look in your own favorite online music outlet - I just may be there

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Klootchy Spruce

Really nice post from Loaded Orygun:

This 750 year old giant is near death having been damaged four decades ago by lightning. Last year's wind storm blew off a large chunk of the tree, revealing a rotting interior.


I really need to get out that way. It's been 23 years, and was the first place I saw the Pacific.

Winter Morning, Back Room

Fan in Icy Window2
LT

Song of the Day, 1/13/07

I see, this is going to take over the LTB and it'll become nohing but a string of YouTube videos. Well, that would probably be an improvement.



I think this is a sign of a good day. And kite flying.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Song of the Day, 1/12/07

Here's a new daily feature that I'll probably forget about within minutes. And it's not the "Song of the Day" in a "really great song" sort of way - it's the song that first plays in my head when I wake up.

It has to be an unforced song, one that is already playing, or that I'm unconsciously singing along with, when I take notice of it. It usually happens in the shower, and I sometimes think it is a sign of things to come for the day. The theme song, maybe. Today's song:



Oh no.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Tulips For Lunch - Chuck Brodsky

I've got Chuck Bodsky's new CD, Tulips For Lunch.

I've only heard three songs so far, but they manage to be thick and lush and at the same time Chuck's signature stark.

Give it a listen. The Curse of the Billy Goat is gonna be another baseball classic from Chuck.

Here's Chuck with some friends at a show at the T√łnder Festival in Denmark (with his Kerrville shirt on).

Show at Visemollen (the water mill), built in 1598

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Enemy of the Brain!

Via Crooks and Liars, Sean Hannity is such a dolt. His new feature, This Week's Enemy of the State, obviously modeled after Keith Olbermann's Worst Person in the World, is, like the Right's War on College Professors, eerily reminiscent of Nazism and Fascism, and really, really dumb. Watch it:



He doesn't even give a reason for being "Enemy of the State" that resembles being a, you know, "enemy of the state." What earns him Sean's bizarro world distinction?

• He called Hannity a "whore in a recent speech"

• He's "called for the impeachment of just about everybody in the Bush administration"

• And "called them 'bastards'"

He then goes on to say that "Penn can say whatever he wants." And then invites him on his show. Pretty squishy treatment for someone who's a, you know, "enemy of the state." Hannity then goes on, apparently not even understanding the point of his own feature, to say, "But the real question is, Who does this guy speak for? Who does he represent, other than bad actors?"

What a noodle.

Sean Hannity, you're today's Enemy of the Brain!

Mano a Mano

One of the reasons I love going to Metafilter.



Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Bush Lifts Ban on OIl/Gas Drilling in Bristol Bay

My one time stomping grounds, as was Valdez before the spill (I'll try and find some pics). And it comes with its own Bushesque irony:

The news comes as a trans-Alaska pipeline was shut down after some 500 gallons of crude oil were spilled.


The report says that the move has the approval of the Aleutians East Borough, but H. Joseph Hebert of the Chicago Tribune finds other voices:

"It's outrageous. It's a sad day for Bristol Bay," Eric Siy, executive director of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, said in a telephone interview, responding to Bush's action.

"It's one of the largest and most valuable commercial fisheries in the world," said Siy. "And precisely where they intend to drill and site rigs is the critical habitat, feeding grounds of the North Pacific Right Whale, one of the most endangered on Earth."


And more from the borough:

The Aleutians East Borough's administrator, Bob Juettner, said developing the offshore oil and gas presents "a wonderful opportunity" to bring jobs to area and help the economy which has declined because of competition from foreign fisheries and the growth of farm-raised salmon.

"But keep in mind our families have centered their lives around commercial and subsistence fisheries for thousands of years," he continued. "And we can't let anything threaten our traditional way of life."

Without strict safeguards, warned Juettner "we will withdraw our support."


More info on the Bristol Bay fishery here.

Doctors Without Borders

9th Annual Top 10 Most Underreported Humanitarian Stories of 2006.

Cicarelli: YouBoobTube

Sorry, not the link you wanted.

Daniela Cicarelli, a model and ex-wife of soccer star Ronaldo, and her boyfriend, Renato Malzoni Filho, sued YouTube and demanded $116,00 [sic] in damages for each day the video, which apparently showed them having sex on a Spanish beach, remained on the Web site.

Ten Airmen Killed in Iraq (Total) - (Updated)

Three Air Force Airmen First Class were killed in Iraq in the last 24 hours.

A car bomb in Baghdad on Sunday killed the three airmen assigned to the 447th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron's Explosive Ordnance Division, the U.S. military said. A soldier died Saturday after coming under fire in the capital, and another soldier died Friday from combat wounds sustained in Iraq's volatile western Anbar province.

I haven't seen "airmen" linked to the sickeningly regular news reports of military deaths very often, so I looked at The Washington Post's Faces of the Fallen. The Air Force has lost the fewest members of the four major services in this Iraq war - 51 (that doesn't appear to include today's deaths).

Airman First Class - A1C - is the Air Force's third lowest rank, after Airman Basic and Airman, and the lowest rank listed in the Air Force's deaths in Iraq. According to the WaPo, only seven A1Cs have been killed there since the war started. They range in age from 20 to 22, with one 24, at the time of their deaths. And three were killed today.

I don't have any idea what, if anything, that signifies. A change in tactics? Desperation in deployments? I don't know. I just wanted to note it.

My heart goes out to the families and friends of three more brave young people.


UPDATE: The three were not Airmen First Class, but two Senior Airmen and one Tech Sgt., ages 23, 24, and 35.. My ignorance of Air Force terminology ("airmen" can signify any member of the Air Force) led to that assumption.

Also: I had to repost this after losing it and lost a comment - an angry one pointing out my ignorance and educating me about Explosive Ordnance Disposal airmen - from I believe it was David Dougherty, and my reply to it.

This is what a trained EOD airmen does. It is a decidedly difficult and dangerous job that requies a huge amount of know-how and courage.