Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dear President Bush...

I will be happy to allow the government to read my e-mail.

In fairness, I hope you will allow me to read yours.

(What's that? Yours have disappeared???)



Time Magazine: "Where Are the White House E-Mails?"

Washington Post: "Countless White House E-Mails Deleted"

Photo: Jim Young, Reuters

Monday, January 28, 2008

Lynn Woolsey, Progressive North Bay Congresswoman, Responds to the State of the Union Address

January 28, 2008

Washington, DC – The Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) tonight issued the following reaction to the President’s State of the Union Address:

After seven years of mismanagement, gross incompetence, and blinding arrogance, the weaning moments of President Bush’s term in office can’t come fast enough for our nation, and the world. To say that this President’s term in office has been bad would be an understatement. President Bush has been more than just bad - he has been a miserable and abject failure. Despite this, and perhaps because of this, we now face the great responsibility, and difficulty, of working together to rebuild our nation.

We are tired of the partisan politics and artificial divisions trumpeted as supposed ‘wedge issues,’ by the political pundits, and are committed to strengthening our economy, rebuilding our public schools, and working together to bring our troops home safely from Iraq. That’s why I’m looking forward to working with the next President to undo the damage that President Bush has done over the past seven years, a list that reads like a catalogue of failures and missed opportunities.

Here at home this is the man who from day one turned a record surplus into a record deficit; who vowed to overhaul our nation’s education system, but then failed to fund it; who turned his back on thousands of Americans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina; who ousted a covert CIA officer; who vetoed health care for millions of children; who drove partisanship to new levels; and who trampled on the bill of rights.

It was under his watch that our nation turned its back on our wounded veterans at Walter Reed; that oil hit $100 a barrel; that our economy suffered; and that millions of Americans stand at risk of losing their homes.

And to the rest of the world this is the man whose ‘cowboy diplomacy’ included reneging on international treaties; defending torture; constructing Guantanamo Bay; and promoting the policy of pre-emptive unilateral strikes.

And most galling of all, this is the man who sent our sons and daughters to a war of convenience; who accused those of us who stood up in opposition of supporting the enemy, even while he failed to provide our troops with body armor; and gave a whole new meaning to the term ‘mission accomplished.’

While the road to undoing the damage of the past seven years is long, I have no doubt that the American Public is ready to put aside our differences and work together to strengthen our nation. We need a strong leader in office who can not only unify the country, but has the experience to hit the ground running on day one. The next President must be just as committed as we are to confronting the problems that face us, and overcome the challenges that this President has left us.

(I think she intended "outed" a CIA agent, referring to Valerie Plame.)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

View From Space

Stimulated by my travels, in recent months I've tried to learn more about meteorology. One of the more fascinating sites I've found is this NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) site. (Click on image to watch the current loop.)

(I take great comfort in knowing that our government is administering the oceans and atmosphere.)

But connecting this amazing imagery with what I observe overhead is one of technology's rewards. Something that is immediately apparent: these great swirling systems of cloud can often be seen to originate over tropical Southeast Asia or deep within the Chinese mainland. They then arc out over the Pacific, through the Gulf of Alaska, and into the North America.

It is truly a small planet, and what goes into the atmosphere on one side impacts life on the other. Our concern for the environment cannot be just a local phenomena. Multinational corporations that move resource extraction and manufacturing "off-shore" to escape more stringent environmental controls here in the U.S. ultimately harm all of humanity.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Mercury, January 14, 2008

If we could begin to understand how rare life is, would we not be more compassionate?

From NASA's "Messenger" website:

As the MESSENGER spacecraft drew closer to Mercury for its historic first flyby, the spacecraft’s Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) on the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) acquired an image mosaic of the sunlit portion of the planet. This image is one of those mosaic frames and was acquired on January 14, 2008, 18:10 UTC, when the spacecraft was about 18,000 kilometers (11,000 miles) from the surface of Mercury, about 55 minutes before MESSENGER’s closest approach to the planet.

The image shows a variety of surface textures, including smooth plains at the center of the image, many impact craters (some with central peaks), and rough material that appears to have been ejected from the large crater to the lower right. This large 200-kilometer-wide (about 120 miles) crater was seen in less detail by Mariner 10 more than three decades ago and was named Sholem Aleichem for the Yiddish writer. In this MESSENGER image, it can be seen that the plains deposits filling the crater’s interior have been deformed by linear ridges. The shadowed area on the right of the image is the day-night boundary, known as the terminator. Altogether, MESSENGER acquired over 1200 images of Mercury, which the science team members are now examining in detail to learn about the history and evolution of the innermost planet.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington