Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Nice to know who runs the country

Upon oil companies' requests U.S. Taps Emergency Oil Reserve as Prices Surge.
"Last night, I approved a company's request for a loan" of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said in a statement today in Washington. "The department continues to review other requests as they come in."

"Republicans accused of witch-hunt against climate change scientists"

With all these stories to fill the infotainment new stations: The War on Terror, President Bush enjoying his vacation, Hurricane Katrina, North Korean nuclear arm production, Iranian nuclear ambitions, Pat Robertson, and missing white women is it any wonder that there is no time for serious news about science and the environment?

Amazingly, British news finds the time to report in depth not only on science and the environment, but even the US politics to undermine science and the environment. Republicans accused of witch-hunt against climate change scientists is an article, which appeared in Tuesday’s The Guardian that highlights Joe Barton, the chairman of the House of Representatives committee on energy and commerce.
Mr. Barton, a Texan closely associated with the fossil-fuel lobby, has spent his 11 years as chairman opposing every piece of legislation designed to combat climate change.
Barton is following example of his fellow Republicans from Texas on how to address anyone bearing information that opposes their agenda: revenge through attack and intimidation.
Some of America's leading scientists have accused Republican politicians of intimidating climate-change experts by placing them under unprecedented scrutiny.

A far-reaching inquiry into the careers of three of the US's most senior climate specialists has been launched by Joe Barton, the chairman of the House of Representatives committee on energy and commerce. He has demanded details of all their sources of funding, methods and everything they have ever published.
Barton’s committee has demanded information from the director of the NSF, Arden Bement, and the three scientists, Michael Mann, the director of the Earth System Science Centre at Pennsylvania State University; Raymond Bradley, the director of the Climate System Research Centre at the University of Massachusetts; and Malcolm Hughes, the former director of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona involving their work. Perhaps this is prelude of an attack against the NSF, too. The extent of the demand is truly astounding.
There followed a demand for details of everything they had done since their careers began, funding received and procedures for data disclosure.
Representative Henry Waxman addressed his concerns in a letter addressed to Barton, on July 1, expressing that "some may interpret ... as a transparent effort to bully and harass" the scientists.
On June 23, 2005, your wrote to three of the world’s most respected experts on global warming to demand information about “all financial support” they ever received during their long and distinguished careers, “the source of funding” for every study they ever conducted, “all data archives” for every published study they ever wrote, and multiple other burdensome and intrusive subjects.

Your letters also raised issues about alleged “methodological flaws,” “data errors,” “problems with underlying data,” and lack of “transparency” in their highly regarded research.

Although you have failed to hold a single hearing on the subject of global warming in the eleven years that you have been chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce and its Energy and Oversight Subcommittees – and have vociferously opposed all legislative efforts in the Committee to address global warming – your June 23 letters justify you extraordinary demands of these scientists on the grounds that “the Committee must have full and accurate information when considering matters relating to climate change policy.”

These letters do not appear to be a serious attempt to understand the science of global warming. Some might interpret them as a transparent effort to bully and harass climate change experts who have reached conclusions with which you disagree.
This appears to be yet another front of the Bush administration and GOP assault on science. It has sparked a response from several US scientific institutions and a letter to Barton (.pdf) from 18 of the top scientists in environmental, geophysical, earth and planetary sciences, which addresses the issue of intimidation.
We also not that much of the information that you have requested from the scientists involved is unrealted to the stated purpose of your investigation. Requests to provide all working materials related to hundreds of publications stretching back decades can be seen as intimidation - intentional or not - and thereby risks compromising the independence of scientific opinion that is vital to the pre-eminence of American science as well as to the flow of objective science to the government.
The Guardian article notes, "The inquiry has sent shockwaves through the US scientific establishment, already under pressure from the Bush administration, which links funding to policy objectives."

I encourage anyone interested in more information to visit RealClimate and their post on Scientists respond to Barton
RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists. We aim to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary. The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics and will not get involved in any political or economic implications of the science.

Nero Fiddles While Rome Burns

Bush Strums While

President Bush plays a guitar presented to him by Country Singer Mark Wills, right, backstage following his visit to Naval Base Coronado, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005. Bush visited the base to deliver remarks on V-J Commemoration Day. (AP Photo/ABC News, Martha Raddatz)

New Orleans Drowns

This photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard shows flooded roadways as the Coast Guard conducted initial Hurricane Katrina damage assessment overflights of New Orleans, Monday Aug. 29, 2005. (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, Petty Officer 2nd Class Kyle Niemi)

(via AP and Yahoo! News Photos links here and here)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Bush Administration Response to Hurricane Katrina

President Bush is not letting a major hurricane disaster interrupt his vacation or happy talk about Iraq. With major deployment of troops and equipment from the National Guard of Louisiana and Mississippi, what is the Bush Administration response?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Movies Starring the Bush Administration

No Angels

Fair and Balanced Drinking

Fair and Balanced Drinking

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Bush tells residents in path of Hurricane Katrina: Don’t worry Iraq has a constitution

Just when you think President Bush can’t dig any deeper in his attempts to sell his fantasy vision of Iraq to the American public, he now turns an address concerning Hurricane Katrina into a campaign speech for support of the Iraq War.

Bush began by quickly summarizing the efforts taken by FEMA and his signing disaster declarations for the states of Louisiana and Mississippi. Bush then made the following plea to residents of the Gulf Coast:

Hurricane Katrina is now designated a category five hurricane. We cannot stress enough the danger this hurricane poses to Gulf Coast communities. I urge all citizens to put their own safety and the safety of their families first by moving to safe ground. Please listen carefully to instructions provided by state and local officials.
Bush then turned to his main agenda for his address…

On another matter, today Iraqi political leaders completed the process for drafting a permanent constitution. Their example is an inspiration to all who share the universal values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. The negotiators and drafters of this document braved the intimidation of terrorists and they mourn the cowardly assassination of friends and colleagues involved in the process of drafting the constitution.

In other words, all of the people in the path of Hurricane Katrina have nothing to worry about. The National Guard of Louisiana and Mississippi are doing their job in Iraq, so don’t worry if they are unable to assist you at this time because we are winning in Iraq and the Iraqis will have a constitution.

For all the communities that are affected by Hurricane Katrina, Bush has these words of comfort:

On behalf of the American people, I congratulate the people of Iraq on completing the next step in their transition from dictatorship to democracy. And I want to remind the American people, as the democracy unfolds in Iraq, not only will it help make America more secure, but it will affect the broader Middle East. Democracies don't war with their neighbors; democracies don't become safe haven for terrorists who want to destroy innocent life. We have hard work ahead of us, but we're on the -- we're making good progress toward making sure this world of ours is more peaceful for generations to come.

The White House has graciously posted Bush’s statement Statement by the President on Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq Constitution if you can stomach reading another attempt “to kind of catapult the propaganda”.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

President Bush returning dignity to the Oval Office

Capitol Hill Blue has an article today illustrating President Bush as a leader with strong principles, clear policies and a determination to return dignity to the Oval Office:

"Bush's Obscene Tirades Rattle White House Aides"

While President George W. Bush travels around the country in a last-ditch effort to sell his Iraq war, White House aides scramble frantically behind the scenes to hide the dark mood of an increasingly angry leader who unleashes obscenity-filled outbursts at anyone who dares disagree with him.
Bush, administration aides confide, frequently explodes into tirades over those who protest the war, calling them “motherfucking traitors.” He reportedly was so upset over Veterans of Foreign Wars members who wore “bullshit protectors” over their ears during his speech to their annual convention that he told aides to “tell those VFW assholes that I’ll never speak to them again is they can’t keep their members under control.”
“Who gives a flying fuck what the polls say,” he screamed at a recent strategy meeting. “I’m the President and I’ll do whatever I goddamned please. They don’t know shit.”
Aides say the President often “flips the bird” to show his displeasure and tells aides who disagree with him to “go to hell” or to “go fuck yourself.” His habit of giving people the finger goes back to his days as Texas governor, aides admit, and videos of him doing so before press conferences were widely circulated among TV stations during those days.
You have to be impressed with the return of dignity Bush has brought to the White House. Instead of blowjobs in the Oval Office he is screwing us all.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Targeting Bloggers: Who is Citadel Consulting Group LLC?

Who is Citadel Consulting Group LLC and what are they up to and why are they targeting bloggers?

I nominally maintain my own blog via Blogger. I don’t advertise and use it mainly for composing diaries I post at Daily Kos and My Left Wing and for my personal blog roll. I have a public email at blogs where I post comments and diaries, but I had not made this public in my profile at Blogger until yesterday. I received an email from Citadel Consulting Group LLC shortly thereafter.

The email came with the subject, "Dr. Strange does not write for us" and starts with:

Dear Blogger:

We would like to invite you to a free one-year subscription to the West Coast Midnight Run™, a magazine designed for the discerning individual, covering topics ranging from the latest in political commentary, social editorials, comparative critiques on the human condition in the only "superpower" nation on the planet, movie reviews, tips for singles, international cuisine, what's hot in the world of office products and consumer electronics, popular opinion surveys, eye-popping business practices, healthcare pointers, alternative viewpoints and of course exotic feats of automotive engineering.

I was more than a little surprised to suddenly receive my first unsolicited marketing email at my blog email address. This email was also sent in a manner to bypass spam filters. I became immediately suspicious reading the rest of the email when I saw the request for name, address and regular email. Now, I normally ignore and delete unsolicited spam received via email, but as this was the first I received via my blog address and was being targeted to bloggers I decided to investigate further. Unfortunately, I have been unable to turn up much information and I am posting this seeking further information, to discuss this with anyone else that has received this email and to find out if anyone besides members of Blogger have received it.

I started by visiting the website of Citadel Consulting Group, but found information there sorely lacking so I followed it with a Google search. Once again there was not much to be found. However, I found a posting by another blogger, Blast Radius, who was also “Following the tracks” regarding this email. I posted what I was thought and was able to discover:

I received one as well. I'm sure they have data mined all blogspot accounts that have a public email listed. Citadel Consulting Group LLC may be a legitimate company, but if it is legit, it is a marketing consulting firm. Citadel appears to have some connections with US government contracting at least according to cached web pages. Cached from, Citadel is listed as a vendor, part of, founded in 2003 and has 1-5 employees.

Many people blog anonymously. I'm pretty sure this is an attempt to get private data such as name, address and valid email associated with a blogger. I can only speculate that the purpose might be to sell this information to advertisers.

I don’t know if there are any issues here or any hidden agenda other than a company attempting some new marketing scheme. I hope starting a discussion about it here can fill in information about Citadel Consulting Group and help people avoid giving away personal data to a marketing consultant group.

What do you think?

The remaining content of the email follows:

Our magazine will take a critical look at the current situation in the USA. We will tackle issues in a cynical, humorous and lyrical fashion, including living standards, the social and political situation in our country, including among others, the disappearance of quality jobs, the declining standards of living for the Middle Class, the loss of security and the gradual diminishment of our privacy, elderly issues, our healthcare systems and the apparent absence of a non-discriminatory social safety net. We will compare our lot to those in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Suffice it to say you will not find a more refreshing and entertaining reading experience anywhere on the planet.

Please visit our website for more details and use the promotional code I-820051-01-YWPVL1 when signing up.

You will need to register at by sending us your name, address, regular email and a request for your complimentary one-year free subscription.

For those of you consummate writers, if you are interested in contributing a piece as the original author, we will give you full credit including a brief bio paragraph. Please contact us at for more information.

Those of you who are naturals at promoting and would be interested in helping us locate small business sponsors please contact our Marketing Department at for further details on our commissions program.

This summer just got a bit hotter. Do not dare miss out on the fun. Ask for your free subscription today!!!

Warm Regards,

The Editorial Staff at the West Coast Midnight Run


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Something I'm working on

Trying to make worthwhile "photoshopped" politcal images. Here is my first effort in progress:

A Boy and His Blog

Monday, August 22, 2005

Radical Cleric Issues Fatwa to Kill the President

This is not a made up headline. You would expect this story to be played non-stop on the cable news stations, especially Fox News. Why is this story not receiving any news media coverage?

Well, you see the Radical Cleric is Pat Robertson, the head of the American Taliban. The President he is urging to have assassinated is Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela. Of course, the news media refuses to cover the extremism of the Radical Religious Right.

Media Matters for America has posted a video from a broadcast of the Christian Broadcast Network’s The 700 club from today where the Radical Cleric Robertson proclaims:
There was a popular coup that overthrew him [Chavez]. And what did the United States State Department do about it? Virtually nothing. And as a result, within about 48 hours that coup was broken; Chavez was back in power, but we had a chance to move in. He has destroyed the Venezuelan economy, and he's going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent.

You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger and the United ... This is in our sphere of influence, so we can't let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced. And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.

I hope this will spawn discussions about the extremism of the Radical Religious Right by the news media and members of the Democratic Party.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Has Global Warming passed the "Tipping Point"?

News articles in today's British papers, The Guardian (Warming hits 'tipping point') and The Telegraph (Melting bog may lead to 'ecological landslide'), discuss the findings of research teams that have returned from Siberia. An area of the permafrost, larger than the size of Germany and France combined, is melting for the first time since its formation during the last ice age.

What effect will this have?

From The Telegraph:
A melting permafrost peat bog stretching across an area the size of France and Germany could unleash billions of tons of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere

and from The Guardian:
It would effectively double atmospheric levels of the gas, leading to a 10% to 25% increase in global warming

Methane is a greenhouse gas, which is estimated to be twenty times more harmful than carbon dioxide. The additional release of this gas makes all the current attempts to predict future temperatures greatly underestimated.
In its last major report in 2001, the intergovernmental panel on climate change predicted a rise in global temperatures of 1.4C-5.8C between 1990 and 2100, but the estimate only takes account of global warming driven by known greenhouse gas emissions.

"These positive feedbacks with landmasses weren't known about then. They had no idea how much they would add to global warming," said Dr Viner.

The thawing of the permafrost is a one of "these positive feedback with landmasses". When the permafrost melts it exposes more ground. The ground absorbs more heat from the sun than the frozen ice and snow. The additional heat absorbed increases the rate of the thawing permafrost.
It is a scenario climate scientists have feared since first identifying "tipping points" - delicate thresholds where a slight rise in the Earth's temperature can cause a dramatic change in the environment that itself triggers a far greater increase in global temperatures.

The Guardian article ends with a reference to New Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate and the failure of the G8 summit to deal with climate change:
Last month, some of the world's worst air polluters, including the US and Australia, announced a partnership to cut greenhouse gas emissions through the use of new technologies.

The deal came after Tony Blair struggled at the G8 summit to get the US president, George Bush, to commit to any concerted action on climate change and has been heavily criticised for setting no targets for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Last straw for my father: "America Supports Your Freedom Walk"

My father has been disturbed by many of the actions of the Bush administration: lack of support for veterans, Bush's terrible environmental record both as governor in Texas and as President, the tax cuts for the wealthy ("Reagan tried the same bullshit"), proposals for Social Security, faith-based initiative, and more. However, nothing has gotten the reaction like he gave this morning in response to this article, Pentagon plans to observe Sept. 11 anniversary with march, concert.
The Pentagon would hold a massive march and country music concert to mark the fourth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in an announcement tucked into an Iraq war briefing today.

"This year the Department of Defence will initiate an America Supports Your Freedom Walk," Rumsfeld said, adding that the march would remind people of "the sacrifices of this generation and of each previous generation".

The march will start at the Pentagon, where nearly 200 people died on September 11, 2001, and end at the National Mall with a show by country star Clint Black.

Word of the event startled some observers.

Well, word of this event sure startled my father!

My eighty-year-old father is a veteran of World War II. Like many American men of his generation, he volunteered to enlist in order to defend the United States against alliance of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan. His two older brothers were already in the military; one in the Navy was aboard an aircraft carrier in the South Pacific and the other in the Army in the infantry serving under Patton.

Dad wanted to become a pilot in the Air Corps. After completing basic as an air cadet and despite high aptitude, scholastic record, and test scores like many American men not of privilege his request for pilot school was declined along with everyone else in his unit. They were being sent to gunnery school destined to be ball turret or tail gunners. Fortunately, my father had been and Eagle Scout where he had learned radio, Morse code and signaling and this got him sent to radio school. He was assigned as a radioman behind the pilot of a B-17, which considering the high casualty rate of ball turret gunners probably allowed for my birth 15 years later.

My father has been an active member locally of Veterans of Foreign Wars as long as I can remember. The year I was born he was the Commander of his post. Despite his age and some medical problems, he still regularly does volunteer work for the local VA hospital and Veteran's home. The last few years he has devoted most of his time in tracking and commemorating the local gravesites of veterans of foreign wars, which is culminated each year on Memorial Day. The members of his VFW Post have been greatly disturbed by the policies of the Bush administration regarding veterans.

I have presented this background on my father to give some perspective to his reaction to the announcement by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld of the "America Supports Your Freedom Walk".
"These guys [Bush administration] are just like the Nazis. Exploiting 9/11 like this makes me believe they either wanted it or helped it to happen." --my dad, member of the Greatest Generation
Now, my dad is also Disgusted in St. Louis!