The Skunk and Tiger

"Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge."-Horace Mann

Sunday, July 30, 2006

My Weekend.

Items Purchased at The Farmer's Market.

Seven Sunflowers
A Dozen Eggs
Four Tomatoes
One Jar of Grape Jelly.

Every Saturday there local farmers bring their produce to town, and its has been a great way to start the weekend. Sam enjoys cruising around the stands and hanging out at the book store. The bookstore will be opening a deli and imported beer shop next door. I was happy to find out they will be stocking Peroni an Italian beer I have come to enjoy on occasion.
Anne and I got to hang out some friends at Omi Sushi. Here are some recommended nigiri sushi:

white tuna




It is my goal to try everything on the menu.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Dishonest Scientists take Bribes to Falsify Global Warming.

Making Money by Feeding Confusion Over Global Warming
Electric Utility Pays $100,000 to Global Warming Naysayer

July 27, 2006 — - Ever wonder why so many people still seem confused about global warming?

The answer appears to be that confusion leads to profit -- especially if you're in some parts of the energy business.

One Colorado electric cooperative has openly admitted that it has paid $100,000 to a university academic who prides himself on being a global warming skeptic.

Intermountain Rural Electric Association is heavily invested in power plants that burn coal, one of the chief sources of greenhouse gasses that scientists agree is quickly pushing earth's average temperature to dangerous levels.

Scientists and consumer advocates say the co-op is trying to confuse its clients about the virtually total scientific consensus on the causes of global warming.

ABC News has obtained a copy of a nine-page document that IREA general manager Stanley Lewandowski Jr. addressed to the more than 900 fellow members of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

The document is a wide-ranging condemnation of carbon taxes and mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions that Lewandowski writes would threaten to "erode most, if not all, the benefits of coal-fired generation."

The letter also says that in February of this year, IREA contributed $100,000 to Patrick Michaels, a professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia.

Michaels is one of about a dozen academics who for years have cast doubt on the science surrounding global warming while downplaying the scientifically accepted idea that humans are causing it.

"We have had many apocalypses through the ages that haven't shown up, and this is likely to be another one," Michaels said on CNN earlier this year.

Consumer advocates say it's not surprising a utility that relies on burning coal to produce electricity would oppose regulation calling for mandatory caps on carbon dioxide emissions -- caps that Lewandowski says would mean expensive investments in new technologies and higher rates for customers.

What is an unusual breach of trust, the advocates say, is that a relatively small company like IREA has given such a substantial sum to Michaels without telling customers.

"It's outrageous. It's an abuse of authority," said Ron Binz, a public utility consultant who was Colorado's state utility consumer advocate from 1984 to 1995.

"Intermountain is a rural electric cooperative," Binz said. "The customers are member-owners. Stan Lewandowski is basically spending other people's money."

Lewandowski is unapologetic about the contents of the document and for donating the money to Michaels, who did not immediately return calls and e-mails seeking comment.

"I think what we need to talk about is how much can be done, and at what cost," Lewandowski said to ABC News. "My intent is to get the issue out there and say, 'This is important.' I'm trying to keep the low rates for our customers. And I'll do anything in my power to try and do that."

Lewandowski says the IREA board of directors legally and unanimously approved hiring Michaels -- who he says has "significant credentials" -- though he says that IREA's 133,000 customers were not notified first.

Binz says that Lewandowski is "absolutely committed to fossil fuels going forward. He's free to do that, I guess. But I think his member-owners should seriously question whether he's acting in their best interest. He's shooting first and asking questions later."

Lewandowski is also under fire from scientists for grossly misrepresenting the scientific evidence of global warming in a six-page "fact sheet" that accompanied the letter, blaming global warming on natural cycles and "the influences of plate tectonics."

Scientists say he is simply wrong and attempting to cloud sound science now agreed on after decades of debate.

"There is clearly a well-organized and well-funded effort to undermine the science and cause confusion in the minds of the public," said Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. "And several contrarians have benefited solely to carry this disinformation campaign out."

Lewandowski said: "I'm not trying to twist the science. I didn't dream any of this stuff up. I picked this up here and there. I didn't mean to mislead anybody, and that's not my intent."

Experts and journalists, however, who have documented a 15-year campaign funded by major companies in the fossil fuel industry to cast doubt on global warming science say the intent is to create confusion.

"This coal industry disinformation campaign is a repeat of a similar campaign launched in the early 1990s by Western Fuels and other coal interests," said Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Ross Gelbspan.

"That campaign, which involved some of the same players, was perhaps less reprehensible since the science of climate change was still maturing at the time."

In the last several years, however, a growing body of research has led virtually all credible climate scientists to the same conclusion.

For example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- an international group of hundreds of climate scientists -- concluded in 2001 that "there is new and stronger evidence that most of the observed warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities."

Last month, the National Academies of Sciences said Earth was likely hotter than it had been in at least the last 2,000 years.

Gelbspan says that continued efforts to confuse the public in the face of the evidence are "particularly sinister" given that they follow "by almost 10 years the conclusion of more than 2,000 scientists from 100 countries in what is the largest and most rigorously peer-reviewed scientific collaboration in history."

For his part, Lewandowski says that he plans to tell his customers about how he's spending their money, probably in a notice mailed with September electric bills.

"We will go to our membership with this issue. I'm going to write them a letter and tell them, 'This is our side of it.' We'll tell them, 'If you think we ought to do something different, let us know.'"

Copyright © 2006 ABC News Internet Ventures

Daily Show: Iraqi Prime Minister Visit

Thank God for Jon Stewart.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Rapture Is Not An Exit Strategy

It seems we have the worst leader(s) at the most inconvenient time. We have a President who will go out of his way to protect embryos that have no future as children while supporting policies and wars that promote death and war on a global scale. On average 100 Iraqis a day are being slaughtered in sectarian violence. The United States is blocking a United Nations call for a cease fire between Hezbollah and Israel. Our solders do not have adequate ammunition or armor. Afghanistan is returning to Taliban rule. Premillenial dispensationalist fanatical Christians are drooling at the prospect of Armageddon and dragging future generations into poverty and ignorance.
What Kind of World Will Be Left for all the Snowflake Babies?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Israel Will Create More Terrorists Than It Kills

Published on Sunday, July 23, 2006 by

by Stephen Zunes

The Bush administration's contempt for the United Nations Charter, the Fourth Geneva Convention and the other fundamental principles of international law has once again been laid bare by its defense of the ongoing Israeli assault against Lebanon.

The seizure of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah militiamen, apparently taken in retaliation against Israeli attacks against civilian targets in the Gaza Strip, was clearly wrong.

Israel would have a right to engage in a targeted paramilitary action to free the hostages and, if necessary, kill their captors.

However, large-scale attacks against civilian targets unrelated to the kidnapping is an act of collective punishment, a clear violation of international law.

Israel holds thousands of Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners seized within the territory of those nations by Israeli forces. Most of these Arab prisoners have not engaged in terrorism and many are non-combatants. How is Israel's seizure and detention of these people different from Hezbollah's seizure and detention of the two Israeli soldiers? Does Israel's refusal to release its hostages give Lebanon or Palestine, if they were capable of it, the right to engage in a massive bombardment of civilian targets in Israel?

Most of the targets of the Israeli air strikes have nothing to do with Hezbollah, which does not control the Lebanese government and is only a minority party in the Lebanese parliament. Israel has bombed the Beirut International Airport, the main seaport of Juniyah and even the historic lighthouse on the Beirut esplanade, none of which is controlled by Hezbollah. Israel has also bombed bridges, power stations, civilian neighborhoods and villages miles from any Hezbollah militia. And, despite insisting that the Lebanese army take stronger action against the Hezbollah militia, the Israelis have bombed Lebanese army facilities as well.

Close to 200 Lebanese civilians have died in these attacks so far, as well as over a dozen foreigners, including a Canadian family on vacation.

The European Union, consisting of 25 democracies, condemned Hezbollah's seizure of the Israeli soldiers, but also noted that Israel's military retaliation against Lebanon is "grossly disproportionate." The United States is virtually alone in the international community in its defense of the Israeli assault.

Despite President George W. Bush's claim on Monday that the crisis started because Hezbollah decided to "fire hundreds of rockets into Israel from southern Lebanon," Hezbollah did not attack civilian areas in Israel until after Israel began attacking civilian areas in Lebanon last week.

In fact, until Israel began its recent assault on Lebanon, not a single Israeli civilian had been killed by Hezbollah since well before Israel's withdrawal of its occupation forces from southern Lebanon in 2000. Virtually all of Hezbollah's military actions since then have been against Israeli occupation forces in a disputed border region between Lebanon and an Israel-occupied portion of southwestern Syria, not against Israel.

Congressional leaders of both parties have called for tough action against Syria for allowing the transshipment of rockets to Hezbollah forces, which have killed up to a dozen Israeli civilians. However, they have refused to consider suspending the shipments of F-16 jet fighters and other weapons and delivery systems to Israel. These weapons have inflicted far more civilian casualties on the Lebanese side of the border, despite provisions of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act which prohibits U.S. arms transfers to countries that use American weaponry against non-military targets.

In short, both Republicans and Democrats recognize that while arming those who kill innocent Israeli civilians is wrong, they support arming those who kill innocent Lebanese civilians. This is racism, pure and simple.

Not only is Israel's offensive against Lebanon illegal and immoral, it does not increase Israel's security or curb the threat of Islamic radicalism. In fact, it does the opposite.

Hezbollah gained popular support in the Shiite community in recent decades largely as a result of the failure of the central government to protect the population from Israeli air and naval attacks and the mass kidnapping and imprisonment of thousands of young men.

Israel's current offensive will only strengthen Hezbollah's appeal and undermine Lebanon's pro-Western government.

This is not about Israel's legitimate right to self-defense. As with the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, it will create far more terrorists than it destroys.

Stephen Zunes, who serves as Middle East editor for Foreign Policy In Focus, is a professor of politics at the University of San Francisco and the author of Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Sam the Robot

Using Muppet Wiki . We solved a mystery. In one of Anne's old Sesame Street books we now read to Sam there is a reference to 'Sam the Robot.' While both of us grew up watching PBS we could not recall a cyborg muppet, but here he is. Apparently Sam the Robot was on the show from 1972-76. It is quite possible we missed out on him completely. Also found out that Kermit the Frog first appeared on Jim Henson's original show 'Sam and Friends.'
I guess he liked the name Sam.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

An Open Response to My Friend Jay.

Check out the latest post on The Freddy Factor. Dr. Rapelje, one of my best friends and the most discerning person I ever met in college (other than my wife), just requested that I start my own MySpace Page. I approach MySpace with apprehension. Other than the people I know personally, the majority of My Space appear to be perverts or preteens. I am also very sensitive and would be totally crushed if I was rejected from someone's profile. Also there is a side of my that is an arrogant asshole. I feel so superior with my Blog and all my blogging, compared to all those xanga and mypage losers. I mean get a life! Just kidding everyone knows I check ohtwothirteenseventysix everyday because I need to know if Jeremy listened to a CD today and what he thinking about doing for fun on a week night. Mostly just because I can not remember what bachelor life was like, and I may someday chose to assume his identity.
By the way I love that video of MC5. It would be nice to spread my rage to the pages of MySpace, but I sure would hate to neglect the old S&T.
I thought you might like to know, Jay, that Sam still loves that fishbowl you got him, It was one of his first toys and he still plays with it.
Good Luck on the Dissertation. I'm betting it will be the best dissertation in the history of forever.

Long Day

We got up at 4:50 am today to take Sam to the hospital for a scheduled outpatient surgery. It was routine surgery and everything went very well.. Sam is sore but recovering fast.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Trip To Ikea

Sam has learned how to get out of his crib, he walked into our bedroom Saturday morning very proud of himself. Today we all drove 70 miles to Canton to the new Ikea store and picked out a new bed and bedroom accessories for Sam. Ikea is one of those places where you feel you need and deserve everything they are selling and it will all look so unique in your home unlike the homes of the million other people shopping with you. Anyhow we are hooked and Sam loves his new room. Sorry if this sounds like an advertisement for Ikea.
Speaking of advertisements it has been strange watching ads during the news coverage of this Crisis in the Middle East. One second I am hearing about Hezbollah firing rockets, then Israel is blowing up Airports, then we cut to people fleeing their homes or hiding in their bomb shelters, then we are asked "Do You Know Your Sleep Comfort Number?"/ My God! I have gotten so caught up in this unending escalation of Violence, I forgot my Sleep Comfort Number!. How will I ever sleep tonight?
Since the whole world is "going to the Mattresses" as they say in The Godfather. I guess it perfect product placement.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Currently Listening: Sonic Youth: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star

This album is perfect for forgetting your own personal turmoils and that fact that the world is turning another corner towards the stone age. However you can only pretend it is 1994 for so long.
I believe Israel has the right to defend itself, I think their current actions will only de-stable Lebanon's current government and make Hezbolla even more powerful and emboldened. The fact is many use superstition and radical religion to dictate which side is right. There is no right side in any of these wars. My prediction is we will be paying $5 dollars for a gallon of gas quite soon. I want to be wrong. I want to go read a book.

Idiot Wind Blowing...

"We think it's important that, in doing that, they try to limit as much as possible the so-called collateral damage, not only on civilians but also on human lives,"-Tony Snow on Israel's retaliation on Lebanon. Talk about a Freudian Slip.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Moira Meets Bono...Lucky!

My friend form High-school and fellow U2 fan, Moira, met Bono when he came to the Economic Club in Grand Rapids. Her Brother and Husband were there too. Flippin' Sweet!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

2006 Projected Deficit.

This little factoid was found at My Left Wing. Check them out.

Today, the Office of Management Budget projected a $296 billion federal deficit for fiscal year 2006. Bush held a press conference arguing that this is a vindication of his economic policies.
Actually, it would be the fourth largest deficit of all time. Here’s the top five:

1. 2004 (George W. Bush) $413 billion
2. 2003 (George W. Bush) $378 billion
3. 2005 (George W. Bush) $318 billion
4. 2006 (George W. Bush) $296 billion (projected)
5. 1992 (George H. W. Bush) $290 billion

Monday, July 10, 2006

American Dream, American Nightmare

The greatness of the United States is unique—and not a model to be exported by narrow-minded nationalists.

By Christopher Dickey
Updated: 4:15 p.m. ET July 5, 2006

July 5, 2006 - I spent the early morning yesterday in my Paris apartment re-reading George Orwell’s long essay, “Notes on Nationalism.” It was written in 1945, but seemed the right thing for this year’s Fourth of July when so many expressions of nationalism are in the air: the relatively benign World Cup competition, the blood-soaked tension between the Palestinians and Israelis and the ferocious violence of the war in Iraq.

Orwell wrote that nationalism is partly “the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects.” He said it’s not to be confused with patriotism, which Orwell defined as “devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force upon other people.”

July 4, I would argue, is a patriotic holiday in just that sense-a true celebration of so much that makes the United States of America unique. It’s the party thrown by a nation of immigrants to mark the creation of something new on the face of the earth, a society devoted not to the past but to the future-the incredibly elegant vision of “certain inalienable rights” to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

That’s what the flags and the fireworks, the anthems, the civilians with hands on hearts, the soldiers at attention and saluting, the embassy receptions, and, yeah, not a few mind-bending beer-drinking binges, are most often about. I think most of us know in our hearts that the more we live up to our particular way of life, the more attractive it will be to others and the more they are likely to use its ideals to better their own lives. That’s worth saluting, for sure, and raising a glass, too.

But American nationalism, unlike American patriotism, is different-and dangerous.

The second part of Orwell’s definition tells you why. Nationalism is the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or an idea, “placing it beyond good and evil and recognizing no other duty than that of advancing its interests.” Patriotism is essentially about ideas and pride. Nationalism is about emotion and blood. The nationalist’s thoughts “always turn on victories, defeats, triumphs and humiliations. … Nationalism is power-hunger tempered by self-deception.”

One inevitable result, wrote Orwell, is vast and dangerous miscalculation based on the assumption that nationalism makes not only right but might-and invincibility: “Political and military commentators, like astrologers, can survive almost any mistake, because their more devoted followers do not look to them for an appraisal of the facts but for the stimulation of nationalistic loyalties.” When Orwell derides “a silly and vulgar glorification of the actual process of war,” well, one wishes Fox News and Al Jazeera would take note.

For Orwell, the evils of nationalism were not unique to nations, but shared by a panoply of “isms” common among the elites of his day: “Communism, political Catholicism, Zionism, anti-Semitism, Trotskyism and Pacifism.” Today we could drop the communists and Trotskyites, perhaps, while adding Islamism and neo-conservatism. The same tendencies would apply, especially “indifference to reality.”

It’s this aspect of nationalism that peacemakers in the Middle East find so utterly confounding. The Israelis and the Palestinians, Iraq’s Sunnis and Kurds and Shiites, Iranians and Americans have developed nationalist narratives that have almost nothing in common except a general chronology. “In nationalist thought there are facts which are both true and untrue, known and unknown,” Orwell wrote, in a spooky foreshadowing of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s nationalist musings. “A known fact may be so unbearable that it is habitually pushed aside and not allowed to enter into logical processes, or on the other hand it may enter into every calculation and yet never be admitted as a fact, even in one’s own mind.”

Is Israel’s current strategy of crippling the rudimentary infrastructure of Gaza, forcing one million people to suffer for the kidnapping of one Israeli soldier, in any way proportional? No, nor humane, nor very relevant to winning his release. But it fits into a nationalist narrative that says the only way to deal with Palestinians is to hand them one humiliating collective defeat after another. Is a Muslim fanatic’s slaughter of innocent Israelis at a night club an act of heroic martyrdom? What about the denial of the Holocaust by Iran’s president? The only way to justify such talk is with the particularly cruel know-nothingism of our times.

There are certainly patriotic Israelis and Palestinians who do realize that they have to allow for each other’s fears and each other’s pride. But patriotism is in short supply on both sides, and nationalism is rampant. Orwell would have understood.

One vital aspect of the debate about patriotism and nationalism in the modern world, however, slipped by this great British apostle of humane logic when he was writing more than 60 years ago, and that’s the critical peculiarity of the way Americans see themselves and their national identity.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Quote For the Week #5

When facism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” -Sinclair Lewis

Friday, July 07, 2006

Neglecting my Blog

I feel so guilty if I do not post on this Blog everyday. The weekend flew by, my parents saw the house for the first time, I got in touch with an old friend. We checked out the local Universalist Church, to see what it was like. I do not believe I'll be giving up my Eastern Orthodox roots, but a change of scenery is nice. Anne and I saw that new Pirate of the Caribbean move, maybe you have heard about it. It was a nice low budget film with tons of Calamari on fire. I am hungry. It is time to go to Omi Sushi again. Hope everyone had a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Suspicion and Confusion Follow Ken Lay's Death

Ken Lay, the man responsible for the Enron Scandal and confident of George W. Bush . Nicknamed "Kenny-Boy" by the president, died today of an apparent "heart attack". I find it more than a little suspicious that his death came just prior to any pre-sentencing deal with prosecutors. Regarding some initial confusion check out this article

1967 Oldsmobile Cutlass

Saw this Cutlass at the Mason 4th of July Car show. I was very happy with these two photos.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Sam the Patriot

Happy Independence Day

Also Happy Filipino-American Friendship Day. I have today off, but being in the middle of the week it just troughs me out of any normal routine. If I was not married and had a kid my normal routine would be browsing Google Maps and Wikipedia all day. Also I have no idea what to get my Filipino friends and more importantly who are my Filipino friends? Yelling-Out!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Currently Reading: JPod by Douglas Coupland

I don't believe I know anyone who would not love this book. JPod is the first Coupland book I have read since Generation X. Read the book and then vist the crazy JPod Website. I suspect ohtwothirteenseventysix has read it, but if not he should because "He'd dig it the most, Man." Dr. Rapelje would also love it.

"Please sample a large variety of our serene office environment joyful things. They want to be your friend! They want your good times, too....jPodding work style is a way to make friends and enjoy the happy life."

Pearl Jam Storytellers

For the first time in ages I watch a music performance on a music television station. I consider Pearl Jam to be the greatest band to come out of the nineties. I appreciate socially conscience music and Pear Jam never fails to deliver. During the program Eddie Vedder compared the song Betterman, a song about domestic violence, to the abusive nature of Bush, Congress, and Big Business. Vedder makes the observation that the the people most supportive of Bush are the ones most adversely affected by his policies. Just like a women who continues to stay in an abusive relationship
Anyhow the music and storytelling was more than satisfying. When they showed shots of the audience, I was thinking "who are all these old farts." I don't know what happened to all those young folks, like me, who loved Pearl Jam fifteen years ago.

Here ar my top Five PJ Albums.

1. Yield (1998)
2. Ten (1991)
3. Pearl Jam (2006)
4. Vitalogy (1994)
5. No Code (1996)

Also Wikipedia has a incorrect entry about the meaning of the song Alive. Someone should edit that.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Another Attempt at Photo Art