Thursday, January 29, 2009

Smell the bipartisanship

On behalf of real, true Republicans...
He wined them. He dined them. They still spit in his face. Obama courted House Republicans for their votes on his stimulus plan and didn't get any. Not one. It still passed, thanks to the voters who elected enough Democrats. Now the bill goes to the Senate where it is automatically assumed to be filibustered unless the Democrats can peel two skittish Republicans off or Obama guts the bill completely. I hope he learns from this.

Republicans don't care about anything but returning to power. They want Obama to fail. Their leader said as much. Karl Rove is still thumbing his nose at Congress. Republicans cannot be reasoned with. Obama will have to go around them or through them if he wants to get anything done.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New revelations of the past

The tree of life may need a fundamental reorganization according to a new paper from the American Museum of Natural History. The writers state that the "lower" orders of animal life, like jellyfish and sponges comprise their own branch on the tree and evolved a nervous system independently. Image Credit: AMNH

The Open Source Palaeontologist has a new paper on combat among ceratopsian dinosaurs, using fossil wounds to reconstruct ancient battles among horned dinosaurs. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The future is go

We have entered the Obama era. I started drinking since 8:30 this morning and now Lee J and I will hit a MoveOn party at a bar. I haven't celebrated like this for I don't know how many years. Things will suck for a while, thanks to the outgoing people, but the healing begins today.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

'Nuff said

A visual summary.
Almost over.

Who is cutting the farts of Mars?

The discovery of methane in the atmosphere of Mars has both astronomers and biologists in a tizzy. There really shouldn't be any in the atmosphere so this is a very exciting mystery. There are a few equally plausible reasons it could be there. A geological one, in that internal heat causes subsurface water to react with carbon dioxide, a chemical one from the oxidation of iron, and a biological one, being made by the waste of bacteria. Naturally it's the last one that's generating interest. Given the many depictions of martians in popular culture, it would be deliciously ironic that we would finally find them by their flatulence. Image credit: NASA

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The case for prosecution

We're in the final week of the eight-year nightmare that has been the Bush Administration. Most Americans are glad to see him finally leave, allowing us to begin the healing process. Bush, on the other hand, will amble off to a comfortable retirement, having learned few lessons from his toxic term in office. Those of us on the left, who called for his impeachment a few years ago are now asking whether Obama will investigate, much less prosecute Bush and his associates over possible war crimes.

There are two main reasons why investigating and, if necessary prosecuting members of the Bush Administration. First, we need to ask ourselves what kind of nation we are. Are we a nation of laws, a nation that works with other nations to foster justice and democracy around the world? Or are we an empire whose maintenance justifies any action?

Second, If we decide that things like torture and the elimination of basic civil liberties are acceptable for the President to use, do we draw a new line that the President can't cross or do we leave the door open for a dictatorship down the road?

We know that the USA under Bush committed war crimes. Bush admitted it. Cheney admitted it. CIA Director Michael Hayden admitted it. Books have been written about it.

Cheney in recent interviews has been not only unrepentant, his admissions are essentially daring Congress to go after him. Cheney is betting that they won't. This will establish a precedent that future Presidents who want unlimited power can hide behind.

Some congresspeople like John Conyers want to investigate. The media, who were on the bandwagon all along, naturally wish it would all go away.

Obama and the Democrats had an epic win. Republicans are arguing amongst themselves and Karl Rove's Permanent Majority is rubble. But these people are like weeds that can't be killed. They never give up. Just like Cheney and Rumsfeld learned at Nixon's knee, loyal young Bush stormtroopers, like this guy, will wait, and have their time again.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bush's legacy

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
From MSNBC, comparing when Bush took office to today:

Then: 4.2% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 2001)
Now: 6.7% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, November 2008)

Then: 10,587 (close of Friday, Jan. 19, 2001)
Now: 9,015 (close of Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009)

Then: 115.7 (Conference Board, January 2001)
Now: 38.0, which is an all-time low (Conference Board, December 2008)

Then: 6.4 million (Census numbers for 2000)
Now: 7.6 million (Census numbers for 2007 -- most recent numbers available)

Then: 39.8 million (Census numbers for 2000)
Now: 45.7 million (Census numbers for 2007 -- most recent available)

Then: +236.2 billion (2000, Congressional Budget Office)
Now: -$1.2 trillion (projected figure for 2009, Congressional Budget Office)

Not to mention two unjustifiable wars, the destruction of habeas corpus, letting New Orleans drown, ruining the environment and on and and on. Chimpy says history will judge and he's right about that. I just wish I could see how he'll be portrayed 200 years from now. Less than two weeks to go.