Feed THEM, they aren't braindead yet! -- law
Malnutrition has doubled in Iraqi children
by Plutonium Page
Thu Mar 31st, 2005 at 13:07:33 CDT
While George W. Bush was frantically fighting to keep one woman's feeding tube in place, the war that he started has doubled the rate of malnutrition in Iraqi children.
Oh, what irony:
Almost twice as many Iraqi children are suffering from malnutrition since the U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein, a U.N. monitor said Monday.
Four% of Iraqis under age 5 went hungry in the months after Saddam's ouster in April 2003, and the rate nearly doubled to 7.7% last year, said Jean Ziegler, the U.N. Human Rights Commission's special expert on the right to food.
The situation is 'a result of the war led by coalition forces,' he said.
Overall, more than a quarter of Iraqi children don't get enough to eat, Ziegler told the 53-nation commission, the top U.N. human rights watchdog.
Daily Kos :: Malnutrition has doubled in Iraqi children: "
When everything seems like the movies
Yeah you BLOG bleed just to know you'r alive
Feed THEM, they aren't braindead yet! -- law
Daily Kos :: DeLay Issues Threats: "From Judd at ThinkProgress:
DeLay just released this statement:
Mrs. Schiavo's death is a moral poverty and a legal tragedy. This loss happened because our legal system did not protect the people who need protection most, and that will change. The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today. Today we grieve, we pray, and we hope to God this fate never befalls another. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Schindlers and with Terri Schiavo's friends in this time of deep sorrow.
Make no mistake about it: Tom DeLay, our Majority Leader, is now threatening judges, doctors and Terri Schiavo's husband.
DeLay is just an unbelievable dick.
BELLACIAO - Gore Vidal on war for oil, politics-free elections, and the late, great U.S. Constitution - Collective Bellaciao
BELLACIAO - Gore Vidal on war for oil, politics-free elections, and the late, great U.S. Constitution - Collective Bellaciao
Vidal’s most famous TV moment came during the 1968 Democratic Convention, when ABC paired him with William F. Buckley on live television. On the next to last night of the convention, the dialogue turned to the question of some student war protesters raising a Vietcong flag. The following exchange ensued:
Vidal: "As far as I’m concerned, the only sort of proto- or crypto-Nazi I can think of is yourself. Failing that, I’ll only say that we can’t have--"
Buckley: "Now listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in the goddamn face and you’ll stay plastered."
That was TV in the pre-Information Age for you. These days Vidal, who put his Italian villa on the market a few months ago and moved full-time to his home in Los Angeles, speaks mostly through his essay writing about the foreign and stateside adventures of the Bush administration. In the past five years he has published one major nonfiction collection, The Last Empire, and a book about the founding fathers called Inventing a Nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson. But mainly he has stayed busy producing what he calls his "political pamphlets," a series of short essay collections called Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got to Be So Hated (2002), Dreaming War: Blood for Oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta (2003), and Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia (2004). Last month at Duke University, he produced a short run of On the March to the Sea, an older play about the Civil War that he has rewritten entirely.
I spoke to Vidal, who will turn 80 this October, by phone from his home in Los Angeles on March 9.
City Pages: I’ll start with the broadest of questions: Why are we in Iraq, and what are our prospects there at this point?
Gore Vidal: Well, let us say that the old American republic is well and truly dead. The institutions that we thought were eternal proved not to be. And that goes for the three departments of government, and it also goes for the Bill of Rights. So we’re in uncharted territory. We’re governed by public relations. Very little information gets to the people, thanks to the corruption and/or ineptitude of the media. Just look at this bankruptcy thing that went through--everybody in debt to credit cards, which is apparently 90 percent of the country, is in deep trouble. So the people are uninformed about what’s being done in their name.
And that’s really why we are in Iraq. Iraq is a symptom, not a cause. It’s a symptom of the passion we have for oil, which is a declining resource in the world. Alternatives can be found, but they will not be found as long as there’s one drop of oil or natural gas to be extracted from other nations, preferably by force by the current junta in charge of our affairs. Iraq will end with our defeat.
a battle for the Supreme Court and an attack on the judiciary, using Schaivo as a metaphor for "liberal judges" gone awry. (Evidently, notwithstanding the fact that Greer is a conservative Republican.)
Here is the relevant text of the email I just received from Bobby Eberle (yes, I joined the GOP USA mailing list for both entertainment and enlightenment as to what they are plotting):
Greetings to the GOPUSA/Millions of Americans Family of Activists!
The Terri Schiavo case may be the beginning of the war for the Supreme Court and the rollback of liberal judicial tyranny!
In its special report, NewsMax reports that an out-of-control judiciary -- "legislating" gay marriage, forced starvation, and worse -- must be stopped.
Find out why Clarence Thomas or Antonin Scalia is likely to replace Justice Rehnquist. PLUS get the new, best-selling book by Mark Levin, "Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America" -- a $32 value with shipping FREE!
Read more about NewsMax's exclusive report below or go here now for the FREE offer: NewsMax.com!
Keep up the fight,
Robert R. Eberle, Ph.D.
President and CEO, GOPUSA
"War for the Supreme Court"
Breaking Exclusively from NewsMax Magazine: One of the biggest battles in American history is about to be waged. It's the battle over the future of the Supreme Court.
NewsMax Magazine's special report "War for the Court" is just out and reveals the truth about the new war for the court and the shocking implications for our future.
In this special NewsMax report "War for the Court," NewsMax details:
New facts about Chief Justice William Rehnquist's health.
Why the battle for the Supreme Court chief justice may be more important than the battle for the court itself.
The surprising number of likely Supreme Court appointments that George Bush will have in his second term.
Which justices will leave first and why?
Roe v. Wade: how a new Supreme Court could make abortion illegal.
Why a top constitutional scholar is arguing that Bush should "pack" the Supreme Court.
The role Christian evangelicals are playing in the White House and Congress to change. The political battlefield in favor of conservative appointees.
The top contenders for chief justice: Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia.
Why Justice Scalia will be the likely chief justice -- even though President Bush admires Clarence Thomas.
The personal side of Thomas and Scalia.
Key cases that could quickly change the law relating to the environment, the Patriot Act, trial attorneys and the Internet.
NewsMax details the top contenders for the Supreme Court, including Ted Olsen, the late Barbara Olsen's husband.
And Rush Limbaugh's exclusive analysis: Why he believes the war for the court has already begun.
This blockbuster edition of NewsMax Magazine tells the real story for the battle of the Supreme Court, which you need to read about now, before Rehnquist or another Supreme Court justice resigns and the war begins.
GOPUSA is proud to help spread the word on items of interest to conservatives. To stop receiving these bulletins, please click here.
Daily Kos :: Comments Low Tide
Daily Kos :: On Language
Thu Mar 31st, 2005 at 19:00:00 CDT
From today's WMD Commission report:
P. 322-23: 'We have found that the [Intelligence] Community has difficulty in attracting and retaining people with ... advanced language capabilities.'
November 14th, 2002:
Nine Army linguists, including six trained to speak Arabic, have been dismissed from the military because they are gay.
The soldiers' dismissals come at a time when the military is facing a critical shortage of translators and interpreters for the war on terrorism.
Bastards. I'm still angry about those dismissals. Not only am I continually outraged by our military's antedeluvian anti-gay policies, but I'm also furious that they weaken our national defense.
A picture is worth 1,000 words... and 1,000 cameras -- law
Wildly overplaying the Schiavo protesters, ignoring facts and giving Bush a free ride, the press was full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Eric Boehlert
March 31, 2005 | It was fitting that reporters were in danger of outnumbering pro-life supporters outside Terri Schiavo's hospice in Pinellas Park, Fla., on Thursday morning. When one man began to play the trumpet moments after Schiavo's death was announced at 9:50 a.m., a gaggle of cameramen quickly surrounded him, two or three deep.
Has there ever been a set of protesters so small, so out of proportion, so outnumbered by the press, for a story that had supposedly set off a "furious debate" nationwide? That's how Newsweek.com described the Schiavo story this week. Although it's not clear how a country can have a "furious debate" when two-thirds of its citizens agree on the issue or, in the case of some Schiavo poll questions (i.e., Were Congress and President Bush wrong to intervene?), four out of five Americans agree.
But the "furious debate" angle has been a crucial selling point in the Schiavo story in part because editors and producers could never justify the extraordinary amount of time and resources they set aside for the story if reporters made plain in covering it every day that the issue was being driven by a very small minority who were out of step with the mainstream.
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Clearly, the press went overboard in its around-the-clock coverage of the right-to-die case. But at this point, that type of exploitation is almost to be expected from news organizations, particularly television, desperate for compelling narratives that can be stretched out for days or weeks at a time. And it's not fair to suggest that the Schiavo story was a manufactured one, or that it didn't spark genuine interest. It did.
What is telling about the excessive coverage is how right-wing activists, with heavy-hitter help from Washington, were able to lead the press around, as if on a leash, for nearly two weeks as they pumped up what had been a long-simmering (seven years) family legal dispute and turned it into the most-covered story since a tsunami in Asia three months ago left approximately 300,000 people dead or missing. In the past two weeks the cable outlets and networks have mentioned "Schiavo" more than 15,000 times. By comparison, during the two weeks following the Asian humanitarian crisis, those same outlets mentioned "tsunami" approximately 9,000 times, according to TVEyes, the digital monitoring service. (As for television's long-forgotten Iraq war, it garnered just 2,900 TV mentions over the two weeks that Schiavo mania ran rampant.)
Conservatives not only launched the story but were able to frame it and, at times, narrate it almost exclusively, as reporters and pundits, afraid of being tagged as liberal or anti-religion, were overly cautious about confronting pro-life Schiavo supporters about obvious factual errors in some of their statements. (Dr. Ronald Cranford, one of the two neurologists selected by Michael Schiavo to examine Terri, did not suffer the fools quite so gladly, however. Appearing on MSNBC on Monday, Cranford undressed host Joe Scarborough, who had been spinning fiction on behalf of pro-life supporters for days: "You don't have any idea what you are talking about," Cranford said.)
As the story played out on Page 1 nationwide, the press served as a platform for pro-life protesters. They were invited to sound off against tyrannical judges and Nazi-like politicians and denigrate Michael Schiavo at will while reporters eagerly transcribed protesters' personal -- and often outrageous -- attacks, yet never dared to use the word "radical" to describe their actions.
And when it became clear that Americans were overwhelmingly opposed to the unprecedented intervention by Congress and the president, the press quietly looked the other way, once again proving that the Bush White House doesn't have to worry about bad press -- Beltway reporters still seem unwilling, or incapable, of delivering it.
Thursday afternoon, CNN began running a promo for its prime-time Schiavo special, "Life and Death: American Speaks Out." Based on the rapid-fire images in the ad -- one after another of pro-life protesters and spokesmen for various conservative groups -- a better title might have been "Life and Death: America's Conservative Minority Speaks Out."
The Schiavo coverage was reminiscent of what followed the death last year of former President Ronald Reagan, when CNN and other news outlets simply handed over their airtime to conservatives for days at a time.
Salon.com News | A tale told by an idiot
Pro-life or pro-dying with dignity, I believe we all can admire the guys at the Pinellas hospice, for their outstanding support of all points of view while keeping their patients healthy.
The Hospice: Donations
Your contributions to The Hospice of the Florida Suncoast can take many forms. Donations make possible a comprehensive range of interdisciplinary and volunteer services for those living with an advanced, chronic or terminal illness or condition, their families and caregivers, and those who have experienced the loss of a loved one.
State: Schiavo case has myriad fund sources
Conservative groups, bloggers and a foundation are among those urgently seeking money in a quest to keep Terri Schiavo alive.
This blogger works closely with the terminally ill
Most of us hope for an easy death.
Like dying peacefully in our sleep.
Prior to this however we have no symptoms of death that interferes with the quality of life we have established for ourselves.
We all hope for a death with dignity, preferably surrounded by our loved ones.
It takes us nine months, on average, to enter this life from our mother's wombs.
Birth, easily considered a natural process of life, and we are filled with joy at this blessed event.
Yet, our demise is not ranked within us as the naturally occurring event such as it is.
Death too, is a blessed event.
A celebration of the life we have lived.
And for most of us the event we FEAR most.
Denial of Death leaves us ignorant to the facts.
Not something anyone wishes to discuss or waste our precious moments here on eath thinking or fretting about.
Quality of life...........
Something worthy of our discussion.
Something we all hope to retain thoughout our life process.
If we are fortunate enough to live to a ripe old age our deaths are viewed by others as imminent.
Sadly, I know of very few who die "naturally" and in the sudden manner so many of us envision, without loss of quality of life or dignity.
Our elders die for the most part behind closed doors.
Their deaths shielded from public view.
Most die because they have entered a process, the DYING process, that is as natural as the BIRTH process.
And the process takes time, just as our arrivals took nine months of preparation.
Most of our elders die because they quit eating and drinking.
For the majority of us it is up to our loved ones to ensure that our deaths are as peaceful as possible.
Hospice care, in the US of A, has made this possible for many who have gone before us.
Hospice care has helped thousands and maybe many more face DEATH in a more positive light, with quality of life and dignity upheld for their clients.
WORDS LIGHT FIRES: DEATH
( ) Unfortunately
( ) Thankfully
( ) Angrily
( ) Resentfully
( ) Belatedly
( ) _________________________________
, I have decided to leave Daily Kos because:
( ) You people are all dinosaurs with the IQ of a learning-disabled patch of kale
( ) You people are all disagreeable, noxious trolls who live under a bridge . . . and those are your GOOD points
( ) Nobody reads my diaries
( ) Nobody recommends my diaries
( ) You allow _________________________________ who is a _________________________________ to post on this site
( ) _________________________________
You'd think you people would be able to understand
( ) Satire
( ) Sarcasm
( ) Humor
( ) English
( ) My insightful analysis into the way the world works
( ) _________________________________
I have therefore decided to
( ) Slit my wrists
( ) Create my own self-indulgent blog
( ) Move over to Little Green Footballs
( ) Move to Nepal and study a religion you've never heard of
( ) Get a life
( ) Deprive you of my inspired prose by deleting all my previous diaries"
Daily Kos :: OMIR's Handy-Dandy Fill-In-The-Blanks Goodbye Cruel World Template!
If the chimp fur fits.... - law
Yahoo! News - Belgians rapped over Bush-chimp comparison
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgian trainers helping police to understand body language have caused a row by likening George Bush's facial expressions to a chimpanzee's
The training presentation pictured the U.S. president's face in various expressions beside photographs of a chimpanzee
Yahoo! News - Terri Schiavo Dies, but Debate Lives On: "Michael Schiavo's brother, Scott Schiavo, said the ashes will be buried in an undisclosed location near Philadelphia so that her immediate family does not attend and turn the moment into a media spectacle."
List of Schiavo Donors Will Be Sold by Schindlers to Direct-Marketing Firm
March 28 - The parents of Terri Schiavo have authorized a conservative direct-mailing firm to sell a list of their financial supporters, making it likely that thousands of strangers moved by her plight will receive a steady stream of solicitations from anti-abortion and conservative groups.
"These compassionate pro-lifers donated toward Bob Schindler's legal battle to keep Terri's estranged husband from removing the feeding tube from Terri," says a description of the list on the Web site of the firm, Response Unlimited, which is asking $150 a month for 6,000 names and $500 a month for 4,000 e-mail addresses of people who responded last month to an e-mail plea from Ms. Schiavo's father. "These individuals are passionate about the way they value human life, adamantly oppose euthanasia and are pro-life in every sense of the word!"
Privacy experts said the sale of the list was legal and even predictable, if ghoulish.
"I think it's amusing," said Robert Gellman, a privacy and information policy consultant. "I think it's absolutely classic America. Everything is for sale in America, every type of personal information."
Executives of Response Unlimited declined to comment. Gary McCullough, director of the Christian Communication Network and a spokesman for Ms. Schiavo's parents, confirmed that Mr. Schindler had agreed to let Response Unlimited rent out the list as part of a deal for the firm to send an e-mail solicitation raising money on the family's behalf.
ACLU sues for gays' benefits
March 22, 2005 - The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Monday asking the courts to protect same-sex couples' health benefits in light of a state constitutional ban on gay marriage.
In the suit, filed in Ingham County Circuit Court, the ACLU asked the court to stipulate that the ban on gay marriage does not extend to health care benefits for same-sex partners. The amendment, they said, is ambiguous.
The ACLU filed the suit less than a week after state Attorney General Mike Cox issued his legal interpretation about what effect the amendment should have on health benefits. He concluded that the amendment bans government agencies from extending benefits to same-sex couples in any future contract negotiations.
In the suit, the ACLU said Michigan voters passed the Marriage Amendment in November because they wanted to protect the sanctity of marriage, not to deprive same-sex couples of benefits. The amendment, called Proposal 2 on the ballot, received 59 percent of the vote.
"The voters in Michigan, in approving the Marriage Amendment, were not motivated by any malevolent desire to strip families of health insurance or job benefits," the ACLU wrote in its suit.
The 41 plaintiffs all work for a state government agency and are members of a nonprofit called National Pride at Work Inc., an AFL-CIO constituency group that advocates for gay and lesbian work issues.
Allison Pierce, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office, said Monday that officials couldn't comment on the suit because they have not seen it yet.
But Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis issued a news release Monday defending Cox's position.
"The people of Michigan have spoken with a clear voice to defend marriage, and now liberal activists are trying to subvert Michigan's will," Anuzis wrote in his party's statement.
Although Cox's legal interpretation last week was hailed by several faith-based organizations, it worried people like Jerome Post, 40, a labor relations specialist in Kalamazoo and one of the plaintiffs listed in the suit.
Post said that he has been with his partner for 14 years and that he took his job, in part, because it offered health benefits to his partner. Two months ago, his partner became sick. Post said not knowing what may happen to his health care coverage causes him "immense stress."
"It's scary because of the uncertainty of the amendment," said Dennis Patrick, 42, of Superior Township. Patrick and his partner have five children living in their home -- all former or current foster children. "If we lose domestic-partner benefits, are we going to lose adoption rights next?"
There have not been any reported cases of any same-sex couples losing their benefits since the ban passed.
The State Attorney General's Office will defend the case when it appears in the Ingham County Court. A court date hasn't been set.
Q: "Do you feel the results of the Ohio recount efforts were satisfactory?
Badnarik: I am very pleased that David Cobb (Presidential candidate for the Green Party) and I were able to join together to challenge the Ohio election results. I do NOT feel that the Ohio Secretary of State nor many of the County election officials did their best to perform a legitimate recount. In fact, I am confident that most of those officials did (and are still doing) their best to interfere with a proper count of the votes in Ohio.
Do you believe there was no evidence of foul play?
Huh? 'Yes, we have no bananas!'
I DO believe there WAS evidence of foul play. Or - if you prefer -
I DO NOT believe there was 'no evidence' of foul play.
Common Ground Common Sense
GREENSPAN'S MONSTER -- the asset-dependent American consumer and a co-dependent global economy that can't live without excess US consumption
Greenspan's bubbles. No - his 'monster' (says Morgan Stanley)
by Jerome a Paris
Mon Mar 28th, 2005 at 06:23:56 CDT
The text below has been linked to by Atrios, but I'd like to bring it to your attention again.
The author, Stephen Roach, is the chief economist at Morgan Stanley, so he is one of the top economists in the world in terms of who is listened to, and he has extra credibility in that his bank presumably invests and lends after having taking his advice into consideration.
He is a known pessimist, but I cannot find good arguments against his. His message, like mine (See my previous diaries on this topic:Greenspan's bubbles - more graphs and Greenspan's bubbles - a graph) is simple:
We are in a runaway train, heading for the big crash, and it is mostly Greenspan's fault
Diaries :: Jerome a Paris's diary ::
The Test (Morgan Stanley Global Economic Forum)
The US Federal Reserve is behind the curve and scrambling to catch up. Inflation risks seem to be mounting at precisely the moment when America's current-account deficit is out of control. Higher real interest rates are the only answer for these twin macro problems. For an unbalanced world that has become a levered play on low real interest rates, the long-awaited test could finally be at hand.
In an era of fiscal profligacy, real interest rates are the only effective control lever of macro management.
It's all there in a few sentences:
* fiscal profligacy: unrestrained government spending at the same time as taxes are brought down
* current-account deficit out of control: the US consumer is gorging on imports
* unbalanced world: everybody is living off that US consumer spending
* low real interest rates: cheap money allow everybody to borrow and spend like crazy
* inflation is picking up again (from a combination of higher asset prices and higher commodity prices, and despite the China deflationary effect)
Roach then goes on to explain that interest rates will have to increase significantly - just to get back to a neutral policy stance, and as it is "real" interest rates (i.e. those after taking into consideration inflation) that need to increase, the interest rates need to increase significantly faster than they have.
And it's become a real footrace: The Fed tightened by 25 basis points on March 22, only to find that a day later the annualized core Consumer Price Index accelerated by 10 bp. In fact, the acceleration of the core CPI from its early 2004 low of 1.1% y-o-y to 2.4% in February 2005 has offset fully 74% of the 175 bp increase in the nominal federal funds rate that has occurred during the current nine-month tightening campaign. At the same time, America's current account deficit went from 5.1% of GDP in early 2004 to a record 6.3% by the end of the year -- a deterioration that begs for both higher US real interest rates and a further weakening of the dollar. The response on both counts has paled in comparison to what might be expected in a normal current-account adjustment. Behind the curve? You bet.
So what needs to be done? And can it be done?
So let's venture an educated guess: Say, for purposes of argument, that the neutral real federal funds rate is 2%. I didn't pluck that number out of thin air: It's approximately equal to the 1.9% long-term average of the inflation-adjusted policy rate since 1960. It makes some sense -- albeit far from perfect sense -- to define this metric as the average short-term real interest rate that, by definition, would be consistent with average outcomes for growth and inflation. But there's now a problem: Neutrality no longer cuts it for a Fed that is behind the curve with respect to the twin concerns of inflation and current-account financing. Having played it cute and waited too long, the Fed must now aim for a "restrictive" target in excess of 2%. Again, for expositional purposes, put this level at 3%. Then add in some upside to the core CPI of about 2.75% and, presto, the Fed needs to be shooting for a nominal funds target of around 5.75% -- or more than double the current reading. That amounts to another 300 bp of tightening. If the Fed stays with its measured approach of doling out the tightening in 25 bp installments, then it would finally hit that target 18 months from now in September 2006. Unfortunately, given the long and variable lags of the impacts of monetary policy, the twin genies of inflation and the current-account adjustment might be well out of the bottle by then. If that were the case, the 3% target on the real funds rate would translate into something higher than 5.75% in nominal terms. Little wonder that talk is now rampant of stepping up the pace of tightening.
So far, so good. After all, the US economy is picking up again, it has a good growth rate, and there is indeed some threat from imported inflation. A little tightening will help it go through this rough patch and maintain its amazing performance, right?
Well, except for one thing...
Lacking in support from labor income generation, America's high-consumption economy has turned to asset markets as never before to sustain both spending and saving. And yet asset markets and the wealth creation they foster have long been balanced on the head of the pin of extraordinarily low real interest rates. The Fed is the architect of this New Economy, and most other central banks -- especially those in Japan and China -- have gone along for the ride. Lacking in domestic demand, Asia's externally led economies know full well what's at stake if the asset-dependent American consumer ever caves. And so they recycle their massive build-up of foreign exchange reserves into dollar-denominated assets, thereby subsidizing US rates, propping up asset markets, and keeping the magic alive for the overextended American consumer.
The current apparent health of the US economy is not coming from "labor income generation", i.e. middle class working and getting paid for that work, but from cheap money, i.e. from debt. The wealth is an illusion, created by Greenspan, and encouraged by Asian central banks who initially thought that they could ride that tiger to their own wealth.
Asset markets around the world are now quivering at just the hint of an unwinding of this house of cards. And they quiver with the real federal funds rate barely above zero. What happens to these markets and to an asset-dependent US economy should the Fed actually complete its nasty task of taking its policy rate into the restrictive zone? It wouldn't be at all pretty, in my view. The main reason is that the Fed and its reckless monetary accommodation have fueled multiple carry trades for all too long. And those trades are now starting to unwind, as spreads widen in investment-grade corporates, high-yield bonds, and emerging-market debt
Even before interest rates have gone up, the market feels that the debt burden of a number of borrowers is unsustainable, with real life consequences on industrial actors (see bonddad's recent diaries on that topic: GM Near Junk Status after GE cancels 2 billion credit line and Ford, GM and Chrysler "Lumbering Toward Failure")
What Roach is saying is that (i) interest rates need to go up by a lot more than most people still expect, and (ii) even small interest rates will have nasty consequences. Not pretty indeed. And his conclusion is quite direct: it IS Greenspan's fault:
The equity bubble of the late 1990s and the property bubble of the early 2000s -- both outgrowths of extraordinary monetary accommodation, in my view -- changed everything. Now it is a very different animal -- the Asset Economy -- that must come to grips with monetary tightening.
Largely for that reason, I still don't think America's central bank is up to the task at hand. In the face of disruptive markets or growth disappointments, this Fed has repeatedly opted to err on the side of accommodation. I suspect that deep in its heart, the Federal Reserve knows what's at stake for the US -- and for the world -- if the asset-dependent American consumer were to throw in the towel. Unfortunately, that takes us to the ultimate trap of global rebalancing -- a realignment of the world that requires both higher US real interest rates and a weaker dollar. Should the Fed fail to deliver on the interest rate front, I believe that the US current-account correction would then be forced increasingly through the dollar. And that would redirect the onus of global rebalancing away from the American consumer onto the backs of Europe, Japan, and China. Call it a "beggar-thy-neighbor" monetary policy defense -- pushing the burden of adjustment onto someone else.
It didn't have to be this way. The big mistake, in my view, came when the Fed condoned the equity bubble in the late 1990s. It has been playing post-bubble defense ever since, fostering an unusually low real interest rate climate that has led to one bubble after another. And that has given rise to the real monster -- the asset-dependent American consumer and a co-dependent global economy that can't live without excess US consumption. The real test was always the exit strategy.
Read that again:
GREENSPAN'S MONSTER -- the asset-dependent American consumer and a co-dependent global economy that can't live without excess US consumption.
History will not be kind to him.
Daily Kos :: Greenspan's bubbles. No - his 'monster' (says Morgan Stanley)
Some truths in the Schiavo case (Keith Olbermann)
SECAUCUS— The e-mail arrived over a week ago. It asked me to stop telling the “lie” that Terry Schiavo was brain-damaged. When I replied politely that independent physicians had concluded otherwise, the e-mailer wrote back.
She called me a “Nazi.”
Hysteria is a strong term to use, but it may be the correct one in the Schiavo case. A poll released Wednesday night by CBS News poll showing that an amazing 82 percent of all respondents believe the Congress and the president should not have gotten involved in the Schiavo case— and the interior numbers were even more startling. 76 percent of all Conservatives thought what the government did over the weekend was inappropriate. 72 percent of all Republicans. And even 68 percent— of all white, evangelical Christians.
The story is missing only two things: an explanation of how just one of the estimated 30,000 cases of individuals in a persistent vegetative state was elevated— and funded— into international prominence (we’ll address that below), and an obvious and respected, neutral observer, a fact-finder— someone acting not for Terry Schiavo’s husband, or her parents, or her congressman, or the politicians— but acting for her.
Actually, it once had such an individual, aman who, in October 2003, was appointed by a Florida court to spend 30 days reviewing every aspect of the Schaivo case— legal and medical (two areas in which he is fully accredited)— and then recommend to Governor Jeb Bush, how to proceed. He is Jay Wolfson, professor at the University of South Florida, a PhD in public health, with a law degree and I spoke with him on the Wednesday Countdown.
MSNBC - Bloggermann
(My answer to a Dailykos diary -- law)
I thought I would want my 'tubes' kept "
Before this Schiavo mess. But I hadn't really evaluated all the pros & cons.
I didn't think of the emotional burden it would be on my kids, my husband and my relatives. I didn't give much thought about the financial drain it would be on them too. And I certainly didn't foresee how many quack doctors, religious nuts and con artists would prey on my family's grief and hope.
So I changed my mind. Now I want my "tubes" removed.
I love my husband, my kids and my family. I want them to be able to move on. I want them to be able to remember me without heartache and without fighting against each other. I would hate to be made into the "apple of discord" pitting people I love against each other like Terri is.
I know whatever is left of me would hate to be the guinea pig of doctors like this "Nobel Prize Nominee" who doesn't have one single patient he can show to prove his quack theories. And I would hate to have my body be the "poster girl" for religious nuts like Randall Terry.
And you know what I would hate the most ? The prospect of having any of the people I love getting so overcome with grief that they cease to think rationally, like IMHO Terri's parents are. Their pain is so big that they allowed themselves to be used by all those quacks, nuts, greedy politicians and opportunists. Some of their statements are downright creepy! I couldn't help but be reminded of Norman Bates in Psycho, who kept his mother's remains around, convinced she was still alive... I definitely WOULD NOT want this kind of grief for anyone on my family!
Like you, I don't want "making such a big deal over me when there are more important things to worry about". I believe in Jesus' promise of everlasting life for my soul. I'll be fine in heaven sipping mana, don't you guys worry about me. And for those on my family who don't believe in God, like my father, I'll be gone and won't feel a thing so don't you make a big fuss about me, OK? If you want to do something for me, you can pray, or sing, write poetry, plant a tree, tell my stories to my kids and love each other. Wherever I am I'll feel wonderful if you do so.
Daily Kos :: How would you want to go, if you were in my shoes?
Whether I turn on the TV, my computer, or go to read the paper, I keep running into the words persistent vegetative state. The words are no comfort to me, because I have MS. This is in effect a constant reminder that I'm going to die in much the same way, with my family making the decision to pull me off of a feeding tube. The idea of starving to death isn't pleasant, which is mainly why I've been loath to talk about this subject. But I decided to weigh in with my perspective, as an MS sufferer who could one day be a future vegetable.
Diaries :: ZoeW's diary ::
I think of the cost it would take to keep my body alive in a nursing home or hospital for even just a few years. I know that there is no hope for me to get better, only progressively more unstable as my immune system completes it's task of destroying my nervous system. I know my family would not be happy to see me at visits, that my days of existence without a mind will be emotionally draining to them just as much as it drains their money to care for me. I have to ask what good is there in protecting my body when my mind has been destroyed from within? As a person who has faith, I know this body is only a "loaner" anyway, and that my death does not end my life, only my life in this mortal husk.
I'm not bitter for my own life expectancy or for the most likely way in which I will die. I'm not even upset at the double whammy of being born with an incurable chronic illness combined with a socially defined mental illness. (The TSMS again) What upsets me is seeing people of faith cling to a husk when they are supposed to believe in a life beyond death. These protester's opinions are not the beliefs of all Christians either, and polls are bearing out the truth, that a majority of self professed Christians feel it is better to remove life support in cases like this. For them to believe otherwise is to openly question their God's plan.
I want to try debunking the idea that because Mrs. Schiavo is Catholic, her rights are being denied by being taken off of life support. Her death is not suicidal, so it is not a violation of her religious freedom if she is unplugged from a machine that feeds her, even if she said to do it years before. She isn't being murdered either; she is dying. She would have died years ago without intervention, and to me, the modern horror of medicine is that they can keep a body running long after the mind has given up the fight.
End of life issues will always be hard, because we want to cling to life, squeezing every last drop from it. But a body living on life support in a bed with no awareness of their surroundings is not really living anymore. If that is my future, then I would ask to be allowed to die.
In my final hours, as I die, I want my family to let go of me without guilt, and without fear. I want them to move on with their lives, not hang around a dead person's bed when they know I'm never going to miraculously get up and announce that I'm cured. I want my family to be compassionate to me, and let me go.
To all the protesters and activists surrounding the Schiavo case on both sides, I am politely requesting that everyone back away from this issue, and let the woman's body die with dignity. Leave her family alone and let them get closure in this bitter chapter of their lives. Because if it were me, I wouldn't want all of you making such a big deal over me when there are more important things to worry about.
if the nation we leave behind is Colombia' of the 1990's? - top military officer.
But I'm glad people like you care Mr "top military officer", as I had pretty much given up on seeing any decency from Bush supporters... -- law
The New York Times > Washington > Pentagon Sees Aggressive Antidrug Effort in Afghanistan: "Pentagon officials and American military officers express frustration at the results thus far.
'When we started developing this interagency plan, everybody knew the narcotics numbers would be bad,' said one senior Pentagon official. But when the Central Intelligence Agency and the United Nations released reports on Afghan poppy cultivation for 2004 - the United Nations said Afghanistan was now responsible for 87 percent of the world's illicit opium production - 'they were beyond most people's worst nightmares,' the official added.
One military officer who has served in Afghanistan gave a more pointed assessment: 'What will be history's judgment on our nation-building mission in Afghanistan if the nation we leave behind is Colombia' of the 1990's?"
AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth: "Afghanistan Becomes A Tragic Failure
by Michael in New York - 3/25/2005 10:27:00 PM
Actually, the front page article in the New York Times had this banal headline: 'Pentagon Sees Antidrug Effort In Afghanistan.' The story details how the military -- which is loathe to involve itself in fighting the drug war around the world for various reasons -- is now getting intimately involved in Afghanistan.
That bland intro obscures the real and tragic news from one of Bush's crowning 'successes.' According to the New York Times, the latest harvest of opium and poppy 'far exceed even the most alarming predictions.' The poppy harvest alone increased 64% in one year. Furthermore, the Defense Dept. has increased by 400% the money it's requesting for this campaign from the year before, from about $60 million to $257 million.
Here's the money quote:
'There is wide consensus in the government and the military and among humanitarian organizations that the drug trade now threatens all of America's goals in Afghanistan,' says the NYT.
It's been widely reported that at least one-third of the country is controlled by the Taliban (hey, didn't we destroy them?) or drug lords. Only a few major cities are safely in the hands of Karzai. The UN reports that Afghanistan is now responsible for 87% of the world's opium production. So how exactly is Afghanistan a rousing success in Bush's eyes?"
Anton Lavey, Aquino, kidnapping kids to be sex slaves, mind control..
What, no UFO ?
Common Ground Common Sense
18 Things We Learned From The Schiavo Case
Sat Mar 26th, 2005 at 15:05:41 CDT
I am committed to learning new things everyday. Thank you conservatives for teaching us these valuable lessons about the Schiavo case.
note The following is not original material.
1. Jeb Bush, George W. Bush, and Tom Delay are all world renowned neurologists.
2. 22 successive court battles that all ended in exactly the same way means there is something wrong with the courts, not the Schindler's case.
3. Mike is after money which is why he turned down 1 million dollars and 10 million dollars to sign over guardianship.
4. Congress and the State Legislature of Florida has nothing better to do than pry into the private medical affairs of others.
5. Pulling life support is bad in Florida when authorized by the legal next-of-kin, but pulling life support is good in Texas when you run out of money and the mother pleads not to pull the plug on her baby.
6. Medical diagnoses are best performed by watching highly editted videotape made by Randall Terry rather than in person by trained physicians.
7. Minimum wage making nursing assistants are more qualified to diagnose a persistant vegetative state than experienced neurologists.
8. Cerebral spinal fluid is a magical potion that can mimic the entire functions of a missing cerebral cortex.
9. 15 years in the same persistant state is not really enough time to make an accurate diagnosis.
10. A feeding tube that infuses yellow nutritional goop is not really "life support".
11. Jesus was wrong when he said that a man and woman should leave their parents and cleave only to each other.
12. Marriage is the most sacred of all unions, except when it isn't.
13. Interfering in a family's private tragedy is a great reason to cut short a vacation, but getting a memo that warns a known terrorist is determine to strike inside the US is cause to relax and finish up some R&R.
14. Pro-lifers are really compassionate people which is why they are hoping that Michael Schiavo dies a horrible painful death.
15. The Supreme Court of the United States and the State Supreme Court of Florida mean "Maybe" when they are saying "No!".
16. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is a bleeding heart liberal.
17. 7 Supreme Court Justices were appointed by republican presidents, so it's Clinton's fault.
18. A judge who makes rulings based on the law is obviously an atheist, liberal, democratic activist even though he is a conservative, republican, Southern Baptist
Daily Kos :: 18 Things We Learned From The Schiavo Case
Daily Kos :: Meet the 47 Democrats that voted for the Schiavo circus act: "# Melissa Bean
# Jerry Costello
# Jesse Jackson
# Dan Lipinski
I see this element on the Schiavo mess: Southern Col. Fathers , who have virgin daughters, and father gets to decide her destiny even after marriage..
Fathers like those below:
Focus on the Family Magazine: May I Have This Dance?: "May I Have This Dance?
By Tom Neven
The fathers and daughters paired off as they entered the elegant ballroom of the five-star Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. The dads wore suits or tuxes, the young ladies beautiful ball gowns
This was the fourth annual Father-Daughter Purity Ball, an event sponsored by Generations of Light Ministries last March.. .. The highlight of the evening was when the dads signed the Covenant of Purity and Protection, witnessed by their daughters. (See “The Pledge,” right.)
“This is not a debutante ball, but an elegant spiritual celebration that honors what God has created in fathers and daughters,” said Lisa Wilson, who with her husband, Randy, founded Generations of Light. (Randy is a Focus on the Family employee.) “We know that the covenants made that night will influence generations...
The pledge that a father signs at the ball, Lisa said, is about his responsibility to model a righteous standard for his daughter, a standard of integrity, honesty, wisdom and discretion. And the purity message of the ball does not pertain only to sexual purity. “We want to help them enter marriage as pure, whole persons,” she said. “But it’s not just physical. It’s moral and emotional purity.”
The Purity Ball movement is catching on. CareNet, a pregnancy help center in Albuquerque, N.M., sponsored its second ball in November, and the Louisiana Family Forum and Family First are sponsoring balls in Baton Rouge, La., and Lincoln, Neb., respectively. Groups in 15 other states have requested how-to packages to sponsor their own balls. One request came in from as far as Australia, and a French TV journalist has expressed interest in creating a documentary on this year’s event in Colorado Springs.
MOBILE, Ala. — The truckers came from ordinary American towns like this one. They were hauling jet fuel across one of the most dangerous roads in Iraq (news - web sites) on a day when the insurgency was exploding. The trucks had no armor. The men had no weapons. Their military escorts didn't even know the route.
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As they neared the end of their run, the 26-vehicle convoy trundled into a valley of fire. Insurgents on both sides of the road opened up. Bullets shredded cabs. Rocket-propelled grenades flipped tankers like toys. Thick black smoke blotted out the road.
Trapped, lost, their trucks afire and losing speed, the men desperately pushed on. For five miles, they maneuvered through flames, blood and fear. Some were cut down as they fled crippled vehicles. Others cried for help as they burned. One man, bleeding to death in the arms of a companion, called out his children's names.
The April 9, 2004, mission is best-known for the kidnapping and dramatic escape of its leader, Mississippi dairy farmer Thomas Hamill, whose safe return weeks later was cause for celebration.
But others weren't so lucky. Six truck drivers for Halliburton Co. were killed that day, and nine were injured. One trucker remains missing. Two U.S. soldiers escorting the convoy were killed, and one is missing. Of 43 men on the convoy, 25 were killed or injured.
It remains the deadliest incident involving American contractors in the war in Iraq.
Interviews with surviving drivers and families of the dead, and a U.S. Army report obtained by the Los Angeles Times, show that the U.S. military and Halliburton missed numerous warnings in sending the men on the ill-fated mission.
The morning of April 9, Halliburton driver Steve Fisher called home from a sprawling, dusty airbase near Balad in northern Iraq.
He told his wife, Ingrid, in Virginia Beach, Va., that he was worried. It was a religious holiday in Iraq. The Marines were invading Fallouja. The Mahdi Army, the militia of rebel cleric Muqtada Sadr, had just risen in revolt in Najaf.
"I don't want to go out," he told her. "But I have to."
"That was the last time I spoke to him," recalled Ingrid, 39, who is now struggling to raise three children on her salary as director of a day-care center.
Yahoo! News - Convoy Unprepared for Last, Fatal Run
So here we are. The price of a barrel of crude oil leapt to $52.02 on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday, having breached the $51 level only the day before, and today it briefly cracked $53 on its way to… well, who knows where? At just this moment, the Energy Department is predicting that consumers in the Northeast will be paying $1,223 for heating-oil this winter, a leap of 28% over last year.
Meanwhile in Iraq, the administration's great oil adventure is aflame. According to Youssef Ibrahim, formerly of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, despite official administration dreams of drastically raising Iraq's oil output and then using it to float our occupation, we've essentially "lost" Iraqi oil -- as has the rest of the planet. "The reason oil prices have been hovering around $50 a barrel now," he writes, "is that most of these Iraqi exports disappeared just as oil consumption began to skyrocket around the world."
The Iraqis themselves, situated on one of the globe's great oil reservoirs, are at present forced to import gasoline and other petroleum products from elsewhere over ever more dangerous supply lines. The sabotaging of the Iraqi oil infrastructure by insurgents is now widespread. According to Ibrahim, "At last count, the northern pipeline that carries oil to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan has been blown up 37 times in 12 months."
TomDispatch - Tomgram: Michael Klare on oil wars and the American military
here are many parts of her direct experience that simply don't coincide with the official U.S. version of the story. One of the things that we keep hearing is that she was fired on on the road to the airport, which is a notoriously dangerous road. In fact, it's often described as the most dangerous road in the world. So this is treated as a fairly common and understandable incident that there would be a shooting like this on that road. And I was on that road myself, and it is a really treacherous place with explosions going off all the time and a lot of checkpoints. What Giuliana told me that I had not realized before is that she wasn't on that road at all. She was on a completely different road that I actually didn't know existed. It's a secured road that you can only enter through the Green Zone and is reserved exclusively for ambassadors and top military officials. So, when Calipari, the Italian security intelligence officer, released her from captivity, they drove directly to the Green Zone, went through the elaborate checkpoint process which everyone must go through to enter the Green Zone, which involves checking in obviously with U.S. forces, and then they drove onto this secured road. And the other thing that Giuliana told me that she's quite frustrated about is the description of the vehicle that fired on her as being part of a checkpoint. She says it wasn't a checkpoint at all. It was simply a tank that was parked on the side of the road that opened fire on them. There was no process of trying to stop the car, she said, or any signals. From her perspective, they were just -- it was just opening fire by a tank. The other thing she told me that was surprising to me was that they were fired on from behind. Because I think part of what we're hearing is that the U.S. soldiers opened fire on their car, because they didn't know who they were, and they were afraid. It was self-defense, they were afraid. The fear, of course, is that their car might blow up or that they might come under attack themselves. And what Giuliana Sgrena really stressed with me was that she -- the bullet that injured her so badly and that killed Calipari, came from behind, entered the back seat of the car. And the only person who was not severely injured in the car was the driver, and she said that this is because the shots weren't coming from the front or even from the side. They were coming from behind, i.e. they were driving away. So, the idea that this was an act of self-defense, I think becomes much more questionable. And that detail may explain why there's some reticence to give up the vehicle for inspection. Because if indeed the majority of the gunfire is coming from behind, then clearly, they were firing from -- they were firing at a car that was driving away from them.
Daily Kos :: Naomi Klein: Italian journalist shot in the back
Republicans Apologize for Exploiting Schiavo Family's Suffering for Political Gain
Unconfirmed sources report that the President and Republican Congressional leaders have publicly apologized to the Schiavo family for taking advantage of their suffering to score political points. The extraordinary press conference has held at the White House and featured direct apologies as well as a tearful plea for forgiveness from the President himself. Teri Schiavo's parents could not be reached for comment...
"I'm real sorry," stated the President through tears of remorse. "we Republicans have done a bad thing. We've taken advantage of your family's suffering to score points with our pro-life conservative base. We have been so hypocritical in fighting for your daughter's life, while at the same time we try to cut the funding that pays for her care. It's sad. We are just a bunch of political grandstanders who don't really give a damn about your daughter, but are simply using you and her for our own ends.
"I'm proud to be Republican." Said Senator Joe Lieberman. "I'm proud to belong to a party that knows when it is being manipulative and hypocritical and has the inner strength to admit it. Sure we are using the whole Schiavo thing to whip up the American public into a mindless frenzy, but what is wrong with that. "
"I was weak." Cried the repentant Tom Delay. "I'm a bad man. I used the suffering of others to further my own political ambitions and keep people from thinking about how much of a criminal I am. I just couldn't help myself. It was just there, an opportunity to make some political hay, so I did. Was it unethical to exploit these people? I think I had better talk to the House ethics committee to see....
April 11th Fallujah
Trucks, oil tankers, tanks are burning on the highway east to Fallujah. A stream of boys and men goes to and from a lorry that's not burnt, stripping it bare. We turn onto the back roads through Abu Ghraib, Nuha and Ahrar singing in Arabic, past the vehicles full of people and a few possessions, heading the other way, past the improvised refreshment posts along the way where boys throw food through the windows into the bus for us and for the people still inside Fallujah.
The bus is following a car with the nephew of a local sheikh and a guide who has contacts with the Mujahedin and has cleared this with them. The reason I'm on the bus is that a journalist I knew turned up at my door at about 11 at night telling me things were desperate in Fallujah, he'd been bringing out children with their limbs blown off, the US soldiers were going around telling people to leave by dusk or be killed, but then when people fled with whatever they could carry, they were being stopped at the US military checkpoint on the edge of town and not let out, trapped, watching the sun go down.
He said aid vehicles and the media were being turned away. He said there was some medical aid that needed to go in and there was a better chance of it getting there with foreigners, westerners, to get through the American checkpoints. The rest of the way was secured with the armed groups who control the roads we'd travel on. We'd take in the medical supplies, see what else we could do to help and then use the bus to bring out people who needed to leave.
the bitter shack of resentment: Easter in Fallujah
'Why can President Bush send thousands of troops anywhere
in the world to stop someone, but can't get food and water to Terri??"
Daily Kos :: More Evidence Of Major GOP Rift
Scientific American Gets Snarky
Fri Mar 25th, 2005 at 11:07:52 CDT
The Extremist Christian community has been screaming about the teaching of evolution in schools as if it were still a controversial issue, and there has been a concerted attempt to turn accepted scientific principles into mere matters of opinion which can be debated in a "he said, she said" format.
Scientific American wrote a beautiful editorial on this topic in their April 2005 edition. It's not available for free online, but I thought you would enjoy a few snippets.
Okay, We Give Up
. . . In retrospect, this magazine's coverage of so-called evolution has been hideously one-sided. For decades, we published articles in every issue that endorsed the ideas of Charles Darwin and his cronies. True, the theory of common descent through natural selection has been called the unifying concept for all of biology and one of the greatest scientific ideas of all time, but that was no excuse to be fanatics about it.
More below. . . .
Diaries :: Libertyordeath's diary ::
Why were we so unwilling to suggest that dinosaurs lived 6,000 years ago or that a cataclysmic flood carved the Grand Canyon? Blame the scientists. They dazzled us with their fancy fossils, their radiocarbon dating and their tens of thousands of peer-reviewed journal articles. As editors, we had no business being persuaded by mountains of evidence.
Good journalism values balance above all else. We owe it to our readers to present everybody's ideas equally and not to ignore or discredit theories simply because they lack scientifically credible arguments or facts. Nor should we succumb to the easy mistake of thinking that scientists understand their fields better than, say, U.S. senators or best-selling novelists do. Indeed, if politicians or special-interest groups say things that seem untrue or misleading, our duty as journalists is to quote them without comment or contradiction. To do otherwise would be elitist and therefore wrong.
Pretty sharp comments on the roll-over-and-play-dead position that journalists have adopted. Why aren't there more honest magazines standing up and fighting back against the bullying techniques of the Christian extremists? Their basic strategy is to do to science what they have done to journalism: to turn it into a fact-free zone where every opinion, no matter how ludicrous and ill-supported, deserves equal time.
This method of discourse has not served journalism well, and it makes no sense in a science classroom or a research institution.
Hats off to Scientific American for stating the obvious truth. We need to pressure other media outlets to present these scientific debates accurately, and to show these fringe groups as they are: idealogues trying to undermine scientific reasoning in support of predetermined religious beliefs.
Daily Kos :: Scientific American Gets Snarky
Editors and relatives often ask me if there's an application that lets you scrawl notes on a Web page. Instead of e-mailing a link to a news story, you could circle what you think is important before passing it on; rather than bookmarking a page, you could slap on a sticky note. The funny thing is, that kind of Web page annotation software has been around since before Netscape. Yet hardly anyone uses it, and none of the top browser makers has embraced it.
In 2001, Microsoft bought Web page markup technology from a company called E-Quill but hasn't incorporated any of its features into Internet Explorer. The iMarkup toolbar, which debuted to rave reviews in 2000, hasn't gotten much buzz since. You can still get iMarkup—a 30-day trial is free and it costs $39.95 if you want to keep it after that. One screenshot says it all: You can highlight parts of a page, post sticky notes, draw freehand, and insert arrows, links, file attachments, and sound bites. Taking notes on the Slate home page won't change what other surfers see. But when you revisit the page, iMarkup will remember what you wrote and slap your notes atop the live site. In one simple step, you can e-mail your annotations (or a screenshot of your annotations) to a friend. Using a free iMarkup plug-in, they can then view your notes overlaid atop the live site.
After playing around with iMarkup for just five minutes, I was convinced that it's a useful tool. But after a few more days of tinkering, I realized that Web page annotation has flopped because it doesn't offer a compelling reason to change how we use computers. You could take notes in iMarkup, but it's more straightforward to jot down your thoughts in Word. You could also use it to collaborate with colleagues, but it's easier to send an e-mail or instant message. Then it hit me—there is a compelling reason to scribble on Web pages and news stories. This is the killer app for political bloggers.
Every killer app needs a killer name. Creating a new product by writing all over somebody else's article is kind of like making a mash-up. Let's call it newsmashing—that's just nerdy enough to catch on.
Why is newsmashing better than today's blogging techniques? Currently, political bloggers write a post by taking a snippet from a news story, an op-ed column, or another blog post. Then, they copy, paste, and indent the most partisan, disingenuous, and inaccurate passage onto their own blog and add a bulletproof rebuttal right below. The problem with this technique is that it makes the readers do all the work. First, they need to pop the original piece open in another window to "read the whole thing." After that, they have to flip back and forth between the original and the rebuttal to make sure the blogger isn't getting the facts wrong, leaving out a key detail, or quoting something out of context. Wouldn't it be a whole lot easier to read blogs if you could look at the critique and the original argument at the same time?
Think back to college. When you got a term paper back, it only took a few seconds to spot your transgressions—all you had to do was look for bright red ink, passages highlighted in yellow, or the dreaded "See me" sticky note. You didn't have to flip back and forth—you could read the whole thing, as it were, in one stomach-twisting glance. The one advantage of my Jurassic day job as a print magazine writer is that when my editor scrawls "HUH?" across an entire paragraph, I don't have to click any hyperlinks to get the point.
Newsmashing - The new technique that will change blogging forever. By Paul Boutin
IBM has devised a way to let computers think like vertebrates.
Charles Peck and James Kozloski of IBM's Biometaphorical Computing team say they have created a mathematical model that mimics the behavior of neocortal minicolumns, thin strands of tissue that aggregate impulses from neurons. Further research could one day lead to robots that can "see" like humans and/or make appropriate decisions when bombarded with sensory information.
A research paper on the model is expected to come out this week.
The brain consists of roughly 28 billion cells, Peck explained. The 200 million minicolumns essentially gather sensory data and organize it for higher parts of the brain. The minicolumns also communicate with each other through interconnections. Minicolumns are roughly 1/20 of a millimeter in diameter and extend through the cortex.
The mathematical model created at IBM simulates the behavior of 500,000 minicolumns connected by 400 million connections. With it, "we were able to demonstrate self-organization" and behavior similar to that seen in the real world, Peck said.
"What we are trying to do is study the brain at the highest level of abstraction without masking the underlying function," he said.
In a test outlined in the upcoming paper, the system was able to solve a pattern recognition problem that will cause errors on ordinary computers.
Ideally, the algorithm could one day help scientists more fully understand the underlying processing that takes place when people see things. In a nutshell, an image is received, decomposed into color, shape, texture and other attributes and then reassembled, prompting the animal to change its behavior. Not all parts of the process are fully understood, Peck said.
Over the past two years, researchers have increasingly looked toward nature as a model to emulate. Some companies, such as Cambrios, are trying to develop new compounds by exploiting proteins secreted by biological viruses. PalmOne founder Jeff Hawkins, meanwhile, is creating a company that will sell systems that use the same thought processes as the human brain. Intel co-founder Gordon Moore recently said that computers won't likely be able to think like humans unless they are redesigned.
Brains typically think by making predictions about future events by looking at a vast array of past experiences, Hawkins said in a speech Monday at an event unrelated to IBM. Hawkins showed off a prototype application that can recognize shapes it has "seen" in the past.
Amazon.com: Books: Prey: "Prey
by Michael Crichton 'Things never turn out the way you think they will...'"
IBM computing algorithm thinks like an animal | CNET News.com
House Leaders Agree to Vote on Relaxing Stem Cell Limits (washingtonpost.com)
The House leadership has agreed to allow a floor vote on a bill that would loosen the restrictions on human embryonic stem cell research imposed by President Bush in 2001, according to members of Congress and others privy to the arrangement.
The vote, expected to take place within the next two to three months, would be the first of its kind on the politically charged topic since Bush declared much of the research off-limits to federal funding. The cells show promise as treatments for many diseases but have stirred intense controversy because they are retrieved from human embryos, which are destroyed in the process.
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese have marched on their capital to protest Beijing's new law sanctioning the use of force if Taipei moves toward formal independence.
'China is a violent country. We want nothing to do with it,' said protester Wu Chao-hsiung, a carpenter from Taipei. 'We have to insist on the freedom to determine our own fate.'
China's annual session of parliament passed the anti-secession law on March 14. Beijing has claimed Taiwan as its own since their split at the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.
CNN.com - Massive anti-China march�in Taiwan - Mar 26, 2005
Journey through the mind of a conservative
THE ZOOMQUILT | a collaborative art project
The patterns were first discovered by Ramanujan, who was born in India in 1887 and flunked out of college after just a year because he neglected his studies in subjects outside of mathematics.
But he was so passionate about the subject he wrote to mathematicians in England outlining his theories, and one realised his innate talent. Ramanujan was brought to England in 1914 and worked there until shortly before his untimely death in 1920 following a mystery illness.
Ramanujan noticed that whole numbers can be broken into sums of smaller numbers, called partitions. The number 4, for example, contains five partitions: 4, 3+1, 2+2, 1+1+2, and 1+1+1+1.
He further realised that curious patterns - called congruences - occurred for some numbers in that the number of partitions was divisible by 5, 7, and 11. For example, the number of partitions for any number ending in 4 or 9 is divisible by 5.
"But in some sense, no one understood why you could divide the partitions of 4 or 9 into five equal groups," says George Andrews, a mathematician at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, US. That changed in the 1940s, when physicist Freeman Dyson discovered a rule, called a "rank", explaining the congruences for 5 and 7. That set off a concerted search for a rule that covered 11 as well - a solution called the "crank" that Andrews and colleague Frank Garvan of the University of Florida, US, helped deduce in the 1980s.
Then in the late 1990s, Mahlburg's advisor, Ken Ono, stumbled across an equation in one of Ramanujan's notebooks that led him to discover that any prime number - not just 5, 7, and 11 - had congruences. "He found, amazingly, that Ramanujan's congruences were just the tip of the iceberg - there were really patterns everywhere," Mahlburg told New Scientist. "That was a revolutionary and shocking result."
But again, it was not clear why prime numbers showed these patterns - until Mahlburg proved the crank can be generalised to all primes. He likens the problem to a gymnasium full of people and a "big, complicated theory" saying there is an even number of people in the gym. Rather than counting every person, Mahlburg uses a "combinatorial" approach showing that the people are dancing in pairs. "Then, it's quite easy to see there's an even number," he says.
"This is a major step forward," Andrews told New Scientist. "We would not have expected that the crank would have been the right answer to so many of these congruence theorems."
Andrews says the methods used to arrive at the result will probably be applicable to problems in areas far afield from mathematics. He and Mahlburg note partitions have been used previously in understanding the various ways particles can arrange themselves, as well as in encrypting credit card information sent over the internet.
New Scientist Breaking News - Classic maths puzzle cracked at last
God’s promises of blessing are contingent upon man’s obedience, and God’s judgment may be averted by repentance. The Ninevites hoped for and Jonah expected God’s “relenting,” based on the principle expressed above.
10 When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.
1 But it greatly displeased Jonah, and he became angry. 2 And he prayed to the LORD and said, “Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore, in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that Thou art a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity. 3 Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life.” 4 And the LORD said, “Do you have good reason to be angry?”
5 Then Jonah went out from the city and sat east of it. There he made a shelter for himself and sat under it in the shade until he could see what would happen in the city. 6 So the LORD God appointed a plant and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort. And Jonah was extremely happy about the plant. 7 But God appointed a worm when dawn came the next day, and it attacked the plant and it withered. 8 And it came about when the sun came up that God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he became faint and begged with all his soul to die, saying, “Death is better to me than life.”
9 Then God said to Jonah, “Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “I have good reason to be angry, even to death.” 10 Then the LORD said, “You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work, and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. 11 And should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?”
God took note of Nineveh’s repentance, something which involved more than mere words or token gestures. Verse 10 does not tell us that God heeded the words of the Ninevites, or even that He regarded their sackcloth and ashes, but that He took note that their deeds had changed, that they had “turned from their wicked way.” Here is genuine repentance. No mere words of regret, no trite, “I’m sorry,” but a change of conduct signaling a genuine change of heart. Nineveh had truly repented of her evil ways, and God therefore relented of the calamity which He had threatened.
It is noteworthy that we are given no explanations for the quick, sincere, and virtually universal repentance of the Ninevites. It may have been that the sailors preceded Jonah, and gave a report of the miracle which had taken place. Jonah’s appearance, in and of itself, may have proven to be an awesome sign to the Ninevites. There may also have been other incidents which served to prepare the Ninevites for their repentance,19 but they are not so much as mentioned. Indeed, the absence of such reports serves to dramatize the conversion of this Assyrian capital city.
Our Lord’s reference to the repentance of the Ninevites is particularly informative, and confirms our observations:
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign shall be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall stand up with this generation in the judgment, and shall condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here” (Matthew 12:38-41).
Nineveh’s Repentance, God’s Relenting, and Jonah’s Wrath
What else is new ? -- law
DEATH DECLINE: WHY? The new report is out and the moment of Trust Fund Doom has been moved forward from 2042 to 2041. Propaganda coup for the privateers!
Why the change? I can't say in full detail at the moment, but here's one switch in the assumptions I noted immediately as I started clicking around. Last year's death rate assumptions projected 858.4 deaths per 100,000 in 2005, 831.0 in 2010, 798.9 in 2015, 766.8 in 2020, and so on, declining forever. For Social Security, lower death rates mean tougher budgets. There was already good reason to believe that this was too sharp a decline, yet the new report just gets more pessimistic (from that actuarial viewpoint).
Now they've got 854.2 deaths per 100,000 in 2005, 828.2 in 2010, 796.7 in 2015, and 764.7 in 2020. By 2080, in the new projection, we'll be all the way down to 495.5 per 100,000 while last year's projection had us at 497.2. The text explains mysteriously that 'a revision in the method of calculating death rates for ages 65-69' is responsible for the change. Given an administration known for its commitment to accuracy in factual statements and commitment to reality-based policy solutions, my assumption would be that these are good-faith (though perhaps mistaken) changes. Given the reality of the situation, I'm skeptical.
TAPPED: March 2005 Archives
Christian Neocon: I want Terri Schiavo to die because I believe she’s earned it. - Neal Boortz
I don’t view death as the end of the journey of a human soul. I view it as a transition. The God I believe in would not waste the total life experiences of a man or woman made in his image on a total and complete death; a dead end, if you will, with nothing to follow. I cannot believe that it is God’s plan that the life experiences of a man; wisdom gained, lessons learned and love experienced, should, upon death, disappear as if they never were. I believe that there’s something to follow the life we know on this earth; and I believe that most of the people fighting to keep the body of Terri Schiavo alive feel the same way.
These feelings give rise to some questions of my own; questions for the devoutly religious people who are fighting to keep Terri Schiavo alive. Do you believe in God’s promise of everlasting life? Do you believe that the reward for a life well spent on this earth is a life with God in heaven after you die? If you do, then a few more questions if you will.
Do you believe that the human soul can make the transition to everlasting life while the human body that carried that soul through life clings to life on this earth? If you do, then you must surely believe that Terri Schiavo has earned and is already enjoying her reward in heaven. That being the case, why is it so important to you that the now-unneeded body of Terri Schiavo is kept alive?
But perhaps you believe, as I do, that the human soul is so connected to and integrated with its earthly body that any transition will not be made until that body ceases functioning -- until death occurs.. That being the case, why do you so ardently desire that the soul of Terri Schiavo spend five, ten, perhaps 30 years or more trapped in a useless and non-functioning body, unable to move on to whatever reward awaits her? Isn’t 15 years enough?
Where do your concerns truly lie, with the eternal soul of Terri Schiavo, or with her earthly body?
1 - We Must Ignore Terri's wishes
The fundies know better than Terri
it is a mistake to assume that people can make decisions in advance about whether to have themselves starved to death..(1)
2 - Forget Public Opinion
Ignoring a person's wishes is a Civil Rights issue ?!?!
.. It's clear that a solid majority is anti-tubist... Would [they] feel the same way .. in, say, 1950.. [at] the refusal of a Montgomery bus company to let Rosa Parks keep her seat?(2)
3 - Forget the Rule of Law also
Several GOPpundits say it but the 'best' quote is Coulter's:
The court's ruling was ignored. And yet, somehow, the republic survived (3)
4 - Dems are once again telling the right.. to shut up and obey the courts
You bet we are!
After the election, several Dems talked about extending some kind of olive branch to the religious right ... But instead Dems are...(2)"
Daily Kos :: Right winger's disturbing views on the reach of Schiavo's case
Is the Bush Administration Aware of Peak Oil?"
In late 1999, Dick Cheney stated:
By some estimates, there will be an average of two-percent annual
growth in global oil demand over the years ahead, along with,
conservatively, a three-percent natural decline in production from
existing reserves. That means by 2010 we will need on the order of an
additional 50 million barrels a day.
To put Cheney’s statement in perspective, remember that the oil producing nations of the world are currently pumping at full capacity but are unable to produce much more than 80 million barrels per day. Cheney’s statement was a tacit admission of the severity and imminence of Peak Oil as the possibility of the world raising its production by such a huge amount is borderline ridiculous.
A report commissioned by Cheney and released in April 2001 was no less disturbing:
The most significant difference between now and a decade ago is the
extraordinarily rapid erosion of spare capacities at critical segments of
energy chains. Today, shortfalls appear to be endemic. Among the
most extraordinary of these losses of spare capacity is in the oil arena.
Not surprisingly, George W. Bush has echoed Dick Cheney’s sentiments. In May 2001, Bush stated, “What people need to hear loud and clear is that we’re running out of energy in America.”
One of George W. Bush’s energy advisors, energy investment banker Matthew Simmons, has spoken at length about the impending crisis. Simmons is a self-described “lifelong Republican.” His investment bank, Simmons and Company International, is considered the most reputable and reliable energy investment bank in the world.
Given Simmons’ background, what he has to say about the situation is truly terrifying. For instance, in an August 2003 interview with From the Wilderness publisher Michael Ruppert, Simmons was asked if it was time for Peak Oil to become part of the public policy debate. He responded:
It is past time. As I have said, the experts and politicians have no Plan
B to fall back on. If energy peaks, particularly while 5 of the world’s 6.5
billion people have little or no use of modern energy, it will be a
tremendous jolt to our economic well-being and to our health — greater
than anyone could ever imagine.
When asked if there is a solution to the impending natural gas crisis, Simmons responded:
I don’t think there is one. The solution is to pray. Under the best of
circumstances, if all prayers are answered there will be no crisis for
maybe two years. After that it’s a certainty.
Peak Oil: Life After the Oil Crash
I think it's interesting that the Republicans want to protect you before you're born (anti-choice), they want to save you money after you're dead (abolish estate tax), and, now, they love you when you're in a persistent vegatative state for over a decade...
Why don't they seem to give a damn about you when you're actually alive and conscious?
Daily Kos :: Comments Push that republicans are anti-marriage. (Terri Shiavo)
"BREAKING! Bush Orders Troop Withdrawal!
Fri Mar 4th, 2005 at 16:00:37 CDT
According to CNN.com, the bright light of reason seems to have landed on the Chimp-in-Chief. Details after the break.
Of course, he's not talking about American troops. According to CNN.com:
'Syria, Syrian troops, Syria's intelligence services, must get out of Lebanon now,' the president said.
'The world is beginning to speak with one voice. We want that democracy in Lebanon to succeed, and we know it cannot succeed so long as she is occupied by a foreign power and that power is Syria,' Bush said.'
Cognitive dissonance, anyone?
Daily Kos :: BREAKING! Bush Orders Troop Withdrawal!
A handful of people believe oil is actually a renewable resource continually produced by an 'abiotic' process deep in the Earth. As emotionally appealing as this theory may be, it ignores most common sense and all scientific fact. While many of the people who believe in this theory consider themselves 'mavericks,' respected geologists consider them crackpots.
Moreover, the oil companies don't give this theory the slightest bit of credence even though they are more motivated than anybody to find an unlimited source of oil as each company's shareholder value is based largely on how much oil it holds in reserve. Any oil company who wants to make a ridiculous amount of money (which means all of them) could simply find this unlimited source of oil but refuse to bring it to the market. Their stock value would skyrocket as a result of the huge find while they could simultaneously maintain artificial scarcity by not bringing it to the market.
Even if the maverick/crackpot theories of 'unlimited oil' are true, they aren't doing us much good out here in the real world as production is declining in pretty much every nation outside the Middle East.
It certainly isn't doing us any good here in the United States. Our domestic oil production peaked in October 1970 at 10 million barrels per day. It has since declined a little bit each year and now stands at only 5 million barrels per day.
If oil a renewable resource, why isn't it renewing itself here in the good ole' US of A?
Peak Oil: Life After the Oil Crash
"Four years ago, the analysts at John S. Herold Inc. were the first to call bullshit on Enron. On Feb. 21, 2001, three Herold analysts issued a report that said Enron's profit margins were shriveling, the company had too few hard assets, and its stock price was way too high. Less than ten months later, Enron filed for bankruptcy.
Today, the analysts at Herold -- a research-only firm that issues valuations on several hundred publicly traded energy companies -- are making predictions even bolder than their call on Enron. They have begun estimating when each of the world's biggest energy companies will peak in its ability to produce oil and gas. Herold's work shows that the best minds in the energy industry are accepting the reality that the globe is reaching (or has already reached) the limit of its own ability to produce ever increasing amounts of oil.
Many analysts have estimated when the earth will reach its peak oil production. Others have done estimates on when individual countries will hit their peaks. Herold is the first Wall Street firm to predict when specific energy companies will hit their peaks.
Since last fall, Herold has done peak estimates on about two dozen oil companies. Herold believes that the French oil company, Total S.A., will reach its peak production in 2007. Herold expects 2008 to be critical, with Exxon Mobil Corp., ConocoPhillips Co., BP, Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and the Italian producer, Eni S.p.A., all hitting their peaks. In 2009, Herold expects ChevronTexaco Corp. to peak. In Herold's view, each of the world's seven largest publicly traded oil companies will begin seeing production declines within the next 48 months or so. ....
EnergyBulletin.net | Running on empty | Energy and Peak Oil News
Carla Iyer was the nurse who lied for Terri Schiavo's parents.
* Designates From Party Records In Color: Not Verified Record, Replaced Record, Correction Record Click View to See Document Details Click on any Data Element to Filter
Detail Party Name Cross Name Date Type Book Page Legal 1 Legal 2 Instr # Flag
* View IYER CARLA HIGHLAND HOLDINGS INC 01/24/2000 NOC 10019 326 L 2 SUGAR CRK PH 3 2000019755
* View IYER CARLA TRANSLAND FINANCIAL SERVICES INC 01/24/2000 MTG 10019 316 L 2 SUGAR CREEK PH 3 2000019754
View IYER CARLA TRANSLAND FINANCIAL SERVICES INC 09/26/2000 SAT 10388 100 L 2 SUGAR CREEK PH 3 2000275586
* View IYER CARLA TRANSLAND FINANCIAL SERVICES INC 10/17/2000 MTG 10422 980 L 2 SUGAR CREEK PH 3 2000298464
View IYER CARLA COUNTRYWIDE HOME LOANS INC 10/17/2001 LP 11139 708 L 2 SUGAR CREEK PH 3 2001334039
View IYER CARLA COUNTRYWIDE HOME LOANS INC 03/07/2002 JUD 11469 883 L 2 SUGAR CREEK PH 3 2002075675
View IYER CARLA COUNTRYWIDE HOME LOANS INC 12/30/2002 ORD 12226 1404 2002449264
View IYER CARLA COUNTRYWIDE HOME LOANS INC 08/12/2003 CP 12964 1301 L 2 SUGAR CREEK PH 3 2003330081
Good Friday Sermon: The Banality of Evil - A Cautionary Tale
Thu Mar 24th, 2005 at 10:37:06 CDT
Around this time three years ago, I read a remarkable book called Eichmann in Jerusalem, Hannah Arendt's inquiry into the nature of evil. I read it in the wake of the events of 9/11, and events since then have brought it to mind again and again since then.
The subject of the book, Adolf Eichmann, was an unexceptional civil servant, who happened to be in charge of organizing the transportation of Jews to the Nazi death camps. Israeli agents kidnapped him in Argentina in 1960, and brought him to Jerusalem to stand trial for war crimes. What comes across clearly and chillingly in this book is just how ordinary and inoffensive the defendant was. It is the story of a man who became an accomplice to mass murder, not through the force of his will, but through the force of acquiescence and denial. It is the story of what Arendt calls "the banality of evil."
Diaries :: fishhead's diary ::
Eichmann began his career resettling German Jews abroad. Smuggling Jews to Palestine, Eichmann told himself that he was helping to realize Zionist aspirations. But as the anti-Jewish policies of Hitler became more and more draconian, this self-delusion became harder to maintain. The turning point for Eichmann's conscience came at a conference in January 1942, at which the parameters of the Final Solution were, at last, fully and explicitly revealed to him and to others in the upper echelon of the civil service. "At that moment," he told the court, "I sensed a kind of Pontius Pilate feeling, for I felt free of all guilt." Being confronted with the complete support of the leadership, and of the civil service itself for Hitler's plan, well, who was he to judge? Who was he, in his words, "to have my own thoughts in the matter"?
Arendt shows us that the seeds of evil are sown in the hearts of ordinary people, like Adolf Eichmann. They sprout unnoticed, and when they are noticed, are often not weeded out, but merely given another name. The Holocaust did not begin at the killing centres in Eastern Europe - rather, it ended there. It began with laws depriving Jews of political rights. When the laws failed to solve the "problem," forced emigration was introduced. Then "concentration" of the Jewish population was tried. Only in the end, the solution became one of mass killing. The failure to stop it appears, in many respects, to have resulted from an unspoken conspiracy of obedience. A German army physician who witnessed the killing of Jews in Sevastopol wrote that those who offered their lives in resistance would face a silent, anonymous death. Such a one "would have sacrificed his life in vain" - a sacrifice, not morally meaningless perhaps, but practically useless.
BUT IT IS NOT USELESS
At Eichmann's trial, one witness discussed a man named Anton Schmidt, a German sergeant in charge of a patrol in Poland. While there, he ran into members of the Jewish underground, and he helped them, supplying forged papers and trucks, with no expectation of favours or bribes. This went on for five months, when Schmidt was arrested and executed. During the brief time it took to tell this story, a hush settled over the courtroom "as though the crowd had spontaneously decided to observe the usual two minutes of silence in honour of the man named Anton Schmidt." Amidst all this darkness, a shaft of light had burst in, and Arendt thought to herself, "how utterly different everything would be today...if only more such stories could have been told."
The example of Schmidt and others shows the deception in the thinking that positive action against evil is a practically useless sacrifice. It is true that totalitarian governments try to erase all traces of deeds, good and evil. Yet all those efforts to erase the evidence, to erase people - and, yes, to erase peoples - are doomed to failure. The story will be told. As Arendt puts it, "while under conditions of terror most people will comply...some, like Anton Schmidt, will not." Just as while the Final Solution could have happened anywhere, it did not happen everywhere, even in areas under German military control, like Denmark, which defied the Nazi edicts. It is not practically useless to make this planet fit for human habitation.
If we could erase what we know of Jesus, and travel back to Jerusalem that fateful Passover week, what would we see? We'd see a populist leader, a Galilean wonder-worker on trial for his life. We'd hear that he had an opportunity to escape, or at least bargain for a lesser sentence, but instead that he had placed himself in a position where his execution was assured. Like the army physician in Sebastopol, we may have paused to ask ourselves why this man would have thrown his life away, why he would have made a sacrifice so practically useless, even if, perhaps, morally virtuous. Yet we do know that the effect of that sacrifice was to free humanity from the burden of evil, to know the truth, and to allow that truth to set us free.
Daily Kos :: Good Friday Sermon: The Banality of Evil - A Cautionary Tale