Memorial Day

Memorial Day

Some get confused between Memorial day and Veterans day, but there is a difference. On Veteran’s day we honor all veterans, those living and those who fell.

On Memorial, or Decoration day as it was previously known and as President Ronald Reagan preferred to call it, we honor those who have fallen. We honor them by visiting their graves, their monuments, and we decorate their graves with memorabilia and flowers. Decoration day was created by order in 1868 to honor those who fell in the civil war. Here is Ronald Reagan speaking:

Pelosi vs The CIA [with Bond Theme Song]

Pelosi vs The CIA [with Bond Theme Song]

A funny video send up up Nancy’s lies about the CIA, and her refusal to address the issue. Friday she once again ducked questions on the issue backed by a coterie of other Congresscritters, and then got out of DC as fast as she could…

Murder Through Faith

Murder Through Faith

Madeline Kara Neumann; Photo Credit AP / Daylife Madeline Kara Neumann; Photo credit AP/Daylife

A Jury has convicted Kara’s mother of second-degree reckless homicide after her daughter died from a medically treatable form of diabetes which her parents tried to treat through prayer. Story at FNN.
If you have faith and you value life, then you have to value what humans can do for each other as well.

That doesn’t stop you from praying for healing after you call 911 and it certainly doesn’t diminish your faith. Failing to seek medical help for the incapacitated is reckless and it is murder regardless of what you personally believe.

Welcome Home Roxana Saberi

Welcome Home Roxana Saberi

No words needed here, Roxana says it well enough.

More from the BBC Article.

UPDATE: Roxana Saberi wins at Cannes Film Festival:

CANNES, France (AP) – A film co-scripted by U.S.-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi won a prize in one of the Cannes Film Festival competitions on Saturday.

“No One Knows About Persian Cats” won a special jury prize in the festival’s Un Certain Regard competition.

The film is a lively look at Tehran’s underground music scene and the risk of censorship and jail faced by Iranian musicians.

Saberi shares a screenplay credit on the film, which was directed and-co-written by her romantic partner, Bahman Ghobadi.

Memorial Day Weekend Snow

Memorial Day Weekend Snow

cottonwood-snowWe have a neighbor with a bigass cottonwood tree, and every year we get cottonwood snowbanks in May. This was taken with my Canon and the telephoto lens set to 300mm, kind of a cheaty way to get a sorta macro photo without a macro lens… as always click on the thumbnail for the larger version, even the larger version is cropped and reduced to less than a quarter of the original resolution these great cameras can take.

Click and Clack Search for Cars of the Future

Click and Clack Search for Cars of the Future

I’ve been a big fan of Click and Clack for years, in this full edition of NOVA they examine the cars of the future. They look at the horsepower phenomenon, and how SUV’s are the new station wagons to start with and then travel to Iceland to look at Hydrogen cars.

Also I”m not too happy with Amory Lovins, anti-nuclear kook in this, but what he has to say about car weight vs strength is true.

Obama’s Open Government: Release Abu Ghraib Photos; No Visibility to Tarp Funds

Obama’s Open Government: Release Abu Ghraib Photos but No Visibility to Tarp Funds

obamaI would laugh, but it’s not funny. President Obama is still waffling on releasing Abu Ghraib photos five years after the fact, and closing Gitmo, but at the same time the American public has pretty much zero visibility to where Tarp money is going, where auto bailout money went, or analysis of how the coming climate legislation is expected to affect them economically.

While Al Qaeda in Iraq is trying their own “Re-surge” with a spate of suicide bombing aimed at reopening sectarian conflict our President proposed releasing five year old photos that are certain to enrage now calm militias in Baghdad.

How is it open to propose then revoke on Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, and Tarp? The American public is certainly more interested in how the government is spending Trillions in their tax dollars and managing the offshore loans against our future.

We have no clear policy directions on Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and Pakistan yet. How open is that?

We don’t know when taxes will be added, or what taxes will be added – how open is that? We don’t know whether the Bush tax-cuts will expire, how open is that? ( knowing the tax structure in advance is critical to planning most medium to large business’ in the US. Most of the bean-counters still don’t know what to plan for two to three years out and it’s crippling our ability to grow the economy back.)

This isn’t open government, it’s posture and charade.

IDA: Darwinius Masillae

IDA: Darwinius Masillae

This is an important fossil find due the the age and completeness of the fossil, and coming from 47 MYA it’s at an important branch in evolution. It’s not the missing link, it’s another missing link. Please watch the report, keep in mind that the news story is a bit overdone as is the style of all Murdoch outlets, and come to think of it most science reporting everywhere.

More on how this might not be “the” missing link that that news outlets are painting it as at Evolving Thoughts. It’s definitely important and shows some characteristics that are exciting, but more data needed before it can be known if IDA is mainline or offshoot from our path.

More from Carl Zimmer

PZ Meyers has more at Panda’s Thumb

Charles at Little Green Footballs has more as well in the ongoing debate over science and the Republican party. This is just the latest fossil that the shills at the Discovery Institute and their flacks are working to dismiss, a tedious kneejerk reaction.

The hype, the documentary, the book has the science community all abuzz with how this was released. There’s a good and bad side to it. Sensationalizing science does gain public attention to science which is sorely needed in the years ahead, on the other hand overblown reporting allows misinterpretation, and niches that Discovery Institute can claw into with “controversy” in mind. With their stable of prolific spin meisters and outright liars they’ll have the conservative public believing this is a plastic model before you know it.

Walking to the Elephant Graveyard

Republicans Need a New Strategy III

In the last essay I spoke of how we are on desolate shore, our tide receded. The picture is bleaker than the allegory might initially suggest: the tide that put us so far ashore will not come back in tonight, tomorrow, or for a long time – our ship is beached, and we are a small army on foreign shore. We are behind enemy lines, and there’s no relief or support coming anytime soon.

Basic demographics tell this better than I, here’s a gallup chart that should not only open your eyes but also make your hair turn white:

gallup-party-id-by-age

The first thing you should notice is that the Republicans are the minority in all age groups. The second is the much wider spread between younger voters where the Dems hold a clear advantage. If you average this out then the spread doesn’t seem so bad -only 7-8 points, but if you look at what’s coming longer term it should give you serious pause if you are Republican.

As this younger demographic ages we cannot hope for them to get mugged by reality and turn into Republicans by magic. It’s not likely to occur – stark reminders of the real differences between parties are pretty rare in history.

If you look at where Republicans are strong it’s in the older age groups, and with 78 being median life expectancy we are going to lose many of those voters before elections in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016.

This point spread is going to continue widening if we don’t become more appealing to younger and middle aged america -and for some reason we don’t seem to think we need a farm team anymore. Look at the rash that was given Michael Steele when he proposed reaching out to the hip hop generation.

When you bring this up to conservatives they will tell you “well young people don’t vote in great numbers.” That truism works for this coming election, but not for future ones. We are walking ourselves in lockstep to the elephant graveyard with that mentality.

So the very first thing on the agenda has to be building the farm team back up. That means outreach to youth, to minorities, to our service people returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. It means not branding anyone who doesn’t trumpet exactly in unison with the elder herd as a RINO.

This means either throwing the Paleos out or separating them from their bileous last century hate and pulling them into the present. It means being for specific things rather than being against anything that smells like progress or science.

In a century where technology and science are both accelerating at a furious pace it means being pro science and pro technology. In a century where Gen X and Y’ers grew up seeing gay relationships on TV as a matter of course it means being pro-life and pro-family without being rabidly anti-gay. If you look at the Generation X and Y farm team, social issues are just not high on their list. They are more worried about the future of the planet, energy, and population. Most of all they are worried about their fiscal futures. Republicans used to be about prosperity, free trade, liberty, minding your own business — in my several years in the party (which goes back to voting for Nixon,) I’ve seen the core drift away from that.

Our priorities now seem to be stasism the way Virginia Postrel defines it in her book  “The Future and its Enemies”. Meanwhile, is that rotting elephant hide I smell ahead on this path through the jungles and plains?

.

What positive directions could the Republicans offer?

Prosperity – not just for us, but for the world. We want to be rich, but being rich is even better if our neighbors are rich too.

Cleaner environment through high energy environmentalism – we live in one of the cleanest countries in the world and it’s that way due to our use of high energy. (see the Gore Lied, People died in the sidebar for more about high energy environmentalism)

Peace through trade

Deficit free government – balanced budgets, concrete reductions, sunsetting outdated commissions, subsidies, foreign aid, committees, and departments

Defense that works, a future war is likely coming sometime before the end of century, and we need to be ready for it, not the last.

Term Limits

New Millenium Education Reform: critical thinking skill vs indoctrination, empirical history vs. interpretation, lifetime subscriptions to updated knowledge in your field instead of a diploma that devalues like a new car off the lot as soon as you leave campus.

Open culture not multi-culture – it’s time to end the ability of small tribal splinter groups to wrench the US and the world around through contrived conflicts and perceived disparities. Your skin or your sex or your religion is neither your identity nor your destiny, not in this country.

Pro-family without the small asterisk and footnote that says “except for gays”

Pro-life working within the constraints of democracy and reality

Then there are the three great challenges of this century: Population growth vs. Global Warming vs long term survival for humanity.

The list of challenges is as great as what we could offer since every challenge comes with opportunity and we know that the Democrats will not solve these problems, that’s not their nature. They would rather have the problem around to run upon next election, the one after, etc. It’s time Republicans re-assess what the real challenges are – here’s a clue: Science is not one of them.

I’ll have more on these ideas in future essays in this series. Don’t steal the text, but feel free to borrow and enhance any of these ideas. Also note that this is a work in progress: this is the sketch, not the final painting.

Much more analysis of the poll at The Moderate Voice

Michael Steele Promises new Ideas

Amazon Code

I’m fiddling with Amazon links for kicks, ignore this post please