Recent Personal Postings|
|IraqRunupLand -- a research tool for exploring the runup to the Iraq War|
"A unique research tool derived from the magnificent summary,
Carving Up the New Iraq produced by Neal Mackay for the Sunday Herald, on 13 April 2003. The ..." [mjj, posted 3/11/06, 18:12]
|Abramoffland -- a research tool for exploring the Abramoff Scandal|
"A unique research tool to help make sense of the complicated scandal centered around Jack Abramoff, and facilitate searching on interesting connections... helps the user prepare deep searches of Google, Yahoo, ..." [mjj, posted 3/11/06, 16:5]
|Sorry, Everybody (the visual)|
"I find myself wanting to cry, wandering through the "www.sorryeverybody.com" site. Sorry, World, from the 49%, is the theme.
Hundreds, thousands of images, uploaded by people worldwide, but mostly from the ..." [mjj, posted 11/15/04, 18:51]
|Sheep, and Goats, and Wolves, and the Least of These|
"There are profound truths in the Bible, as any religious scholar--from the Unitarian to the Muslim to the Jew to the Buddhist--will tell you.
I am not a believer in the absolute literality of the Bible -- bluntly, anything that's been translated four ..." [mjj, posted 11/14/04, 16:53]
|Are We Doing The Will of God?|
"This has to be the question asked by any religiously righteous person living in a Red state. This has to be the question used as the main lens through which the Nascar moms and the hoedown boys and the Evangelist rockabilly fans view the world.
How do ..." [mjj, posted 11/10/04, 14:49]
|Direct Communication, the antidote to corporate communications|
"We have had enough of broadcast, it seems to me.
We have had enough of PAC-roots drives -- though ACT, MoveOn, and others did fabulous work before (and will need to do such work again).
We have had enough of centralized coordination. Unfortunately, ..." [mjj, posted 11/9/04, 19:2]
Recent Zeitgeist Postings:|
|Torts and Citizen Protection --
"I was talking with my son recently; he made the mistake of saying "we have a problem with lawsuits in this country" while I was driving.
When I drive, I'm in control of the vehicle, and that spills over into the conversation. "Careful what you say," I said, and then proceeded to move into rant mode, discoursing on the problem of judicial reform.
A couple of decades ago, Reagan Republicans had a mantra of "deregulation." The principle was that regulation was sand in the gears of the machine of American commerce; that regulations were onorous, that "government regulations" were synonymous with "red tape" and were always preceded by the adjective "burdensome."
"That's a matter for the private sector, not government, to handle," they said, as they noted that flight-attendant lawsuits were driving airlines to restrict smoking on flights; that consumer lawsuits were driving kid's pajama manufacturers to preclude flammable fabrics; that patient lawsuits were driving hospitals to safer practices.
They got enough people to buy into that "burdensome government regulations" theme that they could justify eviscerating them -- thereby removing a key citizen protections.
The government can be, through its regulatory and legal system, the best (if not the only) protection a citizen has from the predatory practices of the powerful. Without regulation, the "societal commons" -- air quality, water quality, soil quality, airwave use, product safety, health care, etc. -- is driven by the profit motive, rather than a motive of public good. The profit motive can lead to abuse.
Without regulation, large fees can be charged those poor folks without bank accounts, just for cashing a paycheck. Enron-scale manipulations can go unrecognized, costing citizens dramatically. Pollution can go unchecked, since no one's minding the store. Long-term quality of life can be sacrificed in the interests of short-term profit.
And now, after they've hamstrung governmental regulations (via the justification that lawsuits will prevent the most egregious faults, and that we don't want "faceless bureaucrats" making policy and regulations), they now want to eviscerate the last protection a citizen has: the ability to sue a company, a corporation, or a powerful entity in a way that hurts economically.
Without expensive penalties for misbehavior, what motivation do multi-billion-dollar corporations have to protect individuals, much less environments, or the future?
Without expensive penalties for stupidity, what motivation does, for example, McDonald's (also here) have to change its behavior, since there's plenty of economic reasons to produce coffee at 185 degrees (instead of the industry norm of 135-145)?
Without expensive remedies for stupidity, what motivation does a coal company have to do real bioremediation? Only government regulation? If that's gone, then what?
The dittohead line that "lawsuits are out of control" may be a simplistic, dangerously reflexive response, based on bad information. In reality, judges and juries generally respond with sanity, and within reasonable limits. However, if "tort reform" is pushed forward, we may lose the best defense a citizen has -- the ability to sue, if a large and powerful entity rides roughshod in the the pursuit of profit.
After that long rant, my son was clear. "Papa, this is probably the fourth time in as many years that you've made that point. I meant that *people* are too quick to look to *legal* remedies when other remedies may be available..."
Ah. That's true too. :-/
" [Activism: posted 12/31/04, 18:56]|
|On Receiving Harvard Medical School Global Environment Citizen Award -- Bill is truly a world citizen and humanitarian.
[Patriotic Dissent: posted 12/21/04, 6:0]|
|The Godly Must Be Crazy: Christian-right views are swaying politicians and threatening the environment -- scary, and fits with what I observed 8 years ago, on the 700 Club...
[Zealotry: posted 12/21/04, 5:59]|
|IBM Launches Global Computing Grid To Support Research Nov. 16, 2004 -- This is the sort of thing we should see more of--smart innovations.
"As part of a broader effort to spur collaborative research in key industries, IBM on Tuesday launched a project through which home PC users can "donate" computer power to help researchers solve problems ranging from the spread of AIDS to earthquake forecasting.
As envisioned, researchers using the World Community Grid, as IBM is calling the project, would be able to tap into PCs worldwide through software that can link millions of individual computers to form a giant, virtual supercomputer. At the other end of the network, philanthropically minded home PC users can attach their machines to the grid through a secure sign-in process at World Community Grid. IBM is launching the project in partnership with United Devices Inc.
IBM CEO Sam Palmisano unveiled the initiative at a customer event in New York City. Going forward, most business and scientific innovation will occur in collaborative environments supported by technology such as the World Community Grid, Palmisano said. Innovation, he added, "is no longer the domain of the individual inventor." " [Activism: posted 11/17/04, 9:30]|
|New CIA Chief Tells Workers to Back Administration Policies -- This is not what the CIA is supposed to do--it is supposed to provide impartial investigation.
"Porter J. Goss, the new intelligence chief, has told Central Intelligence Agency employees that their job is to "support the administration and its policies in our work," a copy of an internal memorandum shows.
"As agency employees we do not identify with, support or champion opposition to the administration or its policies," Mr. Goss said in the memorandum, which was circulated late on Monday. He said in the document that he was seeking "to clarify beyond doubt the rules of the road."
While his words could be construed as urging analysts to conform with administration policies, Mr. Goss also wrote, "We provide the intelligence as we see it -- and let the facts alone speak to the policymaker."" [Administration Outrages: posted 11/17/04, 9:22]|
|Principles of Democracy -- This is what we tell the world. Quotable quotes galore, straight from the government's own mouth. These need to be injected into mainstream discourse.
"Majority rule is a means for organizing government and deciding public issues; it is not another road to oppression. Just as no self-appointed group has the right to oppress others, so no majority, even in a democracy, should take away the basic rights and freedoms of a minority group or individual." [Activism: posted 11/16/04, 8:50]|
|So Sorry, Everybody -- Thousands of americans posting pictures apologizing. Check out the Gallery--it's moving, will break your heart, and cheer your spirit.
[Attitude: posted 11/15/04, 11:56]|
|The Road Forward -- A wise woman responds with kindness and compassion.
On election night, I felt an intensity of grief, rage and anguish that rivaled any of the worst nights of my life. Not so much that Kerry lost, but that millions of people could vote for Bush, apparently because they define... [Local File: posted 11/14/04, 17:0]|
|The Least of These: -- The key "social justice" and key "WWJD" passage in the Bible.
31 ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.
32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one... [Local File: posted 11/14/04, 12:32]|
|Measuring What's Important -- SOME governments are trying to change the way national value is assessed. Maybe it's not all about economic growth. Let's talk about these 'moral values' instead.
"A dialogue and research project aimed at developing indicators and programs for true value, sustainable development and well being for nations and organizations." [Overdeveloped World: posted 11/11/04, 18:38]|
|New Scientific Consensus: Arctic Is Warming Rapidly -- Brrr. Time to buy coastal land in West Virginia.
"At least half the summer sea ice in the Arctic is projected to melt by the end of this century, along with a significant portion of the Greenland Ice Sheet, as the region is projected to warm an additional 4-7 C (7 to 13 F) by 2100. These changes will have major global impacts, such as contributing to global sea-level rise and intensifying global warming, according to the final report of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA)." [Climate Change: posted 11/9/04, 18:45]|
|Moderate Senator Fights for Top Judiciary Post -- On second thought, I spoke a little too soon.... Specter needs moderate support...
"Arlen Specter pledged on Monday not to oppose Supreme Court nominees just because they are anti-abortion as the moderate Republican fought to keep alive his bid to head the Senate panel that oversees judicial nominations." [Zeitgeist: posted 11/8/04, 18:42]|
|Author of textbook describes Cobb County disclaimers as 'very weird' -- Well it is just a theory, after all. WARNING: ideas ahead.
"The author of a popular biology textbook says he finds it quote - "very weird" that Cobb County schools put stickers in copies of his book that warn it contains material on the theory of evolution.
Kenneth Miller, a cell biologist at Brown University, says the only place where he usually sees warning labels is on packs of cigarettes. He says the stickers in the Cobb County books come across to students as saying that EVERYTHING in his book is certain, EXCEPT evolution." [Zealotry: posted 11/8/04, 13:39]|
|E-voting problems cause loss of votes, claims report -- Aah. Hmm. Perhaps this is why the exit polls were so off?
"Electronic voting machine problems caused more than 4,500 votes to be lost in one North Carolina county during the US election, and gave US President George Bush more than 3,800 extra votes in an Ohio county, according to reports by the Associated Press.
In North Carolina's Carteret County, apparent confusion over the storage capacity of UniLect e-voting machines caused the county to lose 4,530 votes, according to a report by the Associated Press." [Voter Fraud: posted 11/8/04, 13:31]|
|Key Antarctic food source is declining, study says -- The hipbone's connected to the... thighbone.
"A key food source for Antarctic seals, whales and penguins has declined about 80 percent since the 1970s in waters near the Antarctic Peninsula, researchers report.
The overall effect of the decline in stocks of krill, a shrimp-like crustacean, isn't clear, but the finding suggests "we need to do some more work quite urgently to find out what's going to happen," said marine biologist Angus Atkinson." [Climate Change: posted 11/7/04, 20:15]|
|Understanding the 2004 Presidential Election: Beyond the Polarized Electorate, And The Republicans' Superior Voter Turnout -- Whew. Another "old Europe" Republican stands up for reality.
"To study this report is to realize that Bush won reelection through blind faith and loyalty. Bush did not acquit himself well in the debates: Kerry won adherents each time he spoke. But it seems it did not matter: Bush supporters either weren't watching, or weren't really listening, when the debates occurred. This becomes more glaring because the University of Maryland study shows the Kerry supporters were living in the real world." [Zealotry: posted 11/6/04, 19:57]|