Monday, July 24, 2006

Roast in Hell.

Well, I hope it's 120 degrees and the sun is beating down wherever Ken Lay is... because the victims of Enron are feeling the heat again. Also, does this say renewable energy independence or what?

Early Monday, some 100,000 power customers in Northern California and the Central Valley still had no electricity, along with 44,000 in Southern California. That was down from a high of 180,000 customers affected over the weekend.

More than 100 patients were evacuated from the Beverly Healthcare Center in Stockton on Sunday after temperatures reached 115 degrees and the nursing home's air conditioning gave out.

Seems that Queens, St. Louis, California, and several other parts of the state are having serious energy problems. If we invested 1% of what we've spent on the Iraq war on better, more efficient, clean energy alternatives, would we be in this mess?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Superman, the Middle East, and silence.

A good friend wanted to know why I haven't been blogging. Well actually, they just said I should start back up. It's hard. I've ran into this in other forms of writing, where you get a little writer's block, and then doubt creeps in about every word. Is this one right? Oh shit, this line is just plain wack. Like an all star third baseman questioning his throws to first, it gets into your head and writing becomes harder.

I often wonder which is harder; the initial breaking of a silence, or bouncing back from several or repeated silences. If the rules of organizing apply, the initial silence is easier to break. A person who you've never met, never built with before has little/no expectations of you, or possibly has negative associations/baggage. But once you've started the conversation, chances are prolonged breaks are going to be much harder to overcome. For me, it's almost like learning to write each time over... slowly feeling it coming back to me, but much more traumatic than "riding a bike."

But I can't hold this stuff in any longer. There's a lot going on out there in the world, good people, and I need to put it somewhere, and that's one of the reasons I started this thing. So expect more out of me in the following weeks, including a live blog of the National Havurah Committee's Summer Institute (which I'm helping plan, so it may be a little biased) both here and over on Jewschool. I imagine the liveblogging possibilities at the Institute are pretty endless, with 5 Jewschool posters, and at least two more Jewish bloggers all in the house.

While BZ and Mobius have put up some great posts on the sitution in Israel, Palestine and Lebanon, I'm shortly going to add mine to the frey. Because, really, this chaos has me more frustrated, angry, upset, and feeling downright powerless and caught in the middle than anything i've felt ina while (and I'm safely ensconced several thousand miles away from it, and I know that).

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Oh no, please, give up.

Two of my least favorite news bites of the day:

Right before July 4th, the CIA closed down Alec Station. Not any sort of homage for the aged actor that played Obi Wan Kinobi, Alec Station's mission was to track down Osama and his henchmen.

You remember Osama bin Laden, right? The guy wanted dead or alive? The guy we were going to "smoke out of his cave"? The guy who masterminded attacks on US soil, the very attacks Republicans wrap around themselves as they claim we're in a never ending war on terror?

Yeah, well, apparently, we REALLY don't care about him (over to the Judy Miller Times):

The Central Intelligence Agency has closed a unit that for a decade had the mission of hunting Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants, intelligence officials confirmed Monday.

The unit, known as Alec Station, was disbanded late last year and its analysts reassigned within the C.I.A. Counterterrorist Center, the officials said.

The decision is a milestone for the agency, which formed the unit before Osama bin Laden became a household name and bolstered its ranks after the Sept. 11 attacks, when President Bush pledged to bring Mr. bin Laden to justice "dead or alive."


Michael Scheuer, a former senior C.I.A. official who was the first head of the unit, said the move reflected a view within the agency that Mr. bin Laden was no longer the threat he once was.

Mr. Scheuer said that view was mistaken.

"This will clearly denigrate our operations against Al Qaeda," he said. "These days at the agency, bin Laden and Al Qaeda appear to be treated merely as first among equals."

Wow. How can one respond to that? Talk about not using the tools at our disposal to win. And speaking of that,

...the Democrats apparently won't use all the legal means at their disposal to win back Congress. The Washington Post reports (HT AmericaBlog):

In Illinois, as in many other states, the current congressional map is the product of a bipartisan agreement to protect incumbents of both parties, election after election. Democrats, who hold 10 of the state's 19 House seats, control the legislature and hope to reelect Gov. Rod Blagojevich this fall. They possibly could gain another House seat or two in the 2008 elections by packing Republican voters into overwhelmingly GOP-leaning districts, the tactic that DeLay used against Texas Democrats.

But recent history suggests that they will demur. The current district lines have strong support in both parties, and Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) got nowhere last year with a bid to redraw them in retaliation for what happened in Texas. "I couldn't get enough fellow Democrats to see the benefits of that," said Emanuel, who chairs his party's campaign to elect more House members.

The story is similar in New Mexico, where some Democrats think an aggressive redistricting effort could reverse the GOP's 2-to-1 advantage in the three-member House delegation. The state's Democratic Senate president called for such a move in 2003, but Gov. Bill Richardson (D) seemed cool to the idea, and it never took flight.

Are you freaking kidding me? Ruled legal by the Supreme Court, we know what the Repugnicans will do. Is there a reason you won't take the fight as seriously as they do? This is why the Repugnicans win, Democrats!

In the meanwhile, I hope Ken Lay waits for Reagan to have the hot pokers removed from his orifaces before he says hello. Maybe he should get fried in an electric chair that uses all the energy that Enron stole for the rest of time.