Archive for November, 2008


I received the image above from a reader, at first I thought it was photoshopped so I dug a little deeper. To my surprise its origin was from a series of raw images from NASA’s, Mars Exploration Rover Mission. The Mars rover Opportunity took this image, I thought it was fascinating. Several images of what appears to be a wooden railroad tie can be viewed here in the first 6 images. Where did this come from? This one image could send you down a rabbit hole looking for more information. More specifically, were there trees on Mars? The next image suggest yes.


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The whole concept of a President with a functioning brain is refreshing after nearly 8 years of “Bush Ebonics“.

“It is a testament to our national character that so many Americans took time out this Thanksgiving to help feed the hungry and care for the needy. On Wednesday, I visited a food bank at Saint Columbanus Parish in Chicago. There – as in so many communities across America – folks pitched in time and resources to give a lift to their neighbors in need. It is this spirit that binds us together as one American family – the belief that we rise and fall as one people; that we want that American Dream not just for ourselves, but for each other.

That’s the spirit we must summon as we make a new beginning for our nation. Times are tough. There are difficult months ahead. But we can renew our nation the same way that we have in the many years since Lincoln’s first Thanksgiving: by coming together to overcome adversity; by reaching for – and working for – new horizons of opportunity for all Americans.

So this weekend – with one heart, and one voice, the American people can give thanks that a new and brighter day is yet to come”.

“Never Gonna Give You Up” Macy’s got Rickroll’d and now I have this song in my head for the rest of the day.

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Photo by Jeremy Lange

Photo by Jeremy Lange

Congratulations goes to the Granville Non Violent Action Team, (GNAT). They received Independent Weekly’s 2008 Citizens Award.

This year, we add five more honorees to our list of more than 150: Karen Rindge of WakeUP Wake County, which has led the charge for better planning, schools and resource conservation; Amanda Arrington of the Coalition to Unchain Dogs, which has freed dogs from their tethers by building fences around their yards; Gary Kueber, whose blog, Endangered Durham, helps galvanize citizens to protect and preserve vital properties in the city; the Granville Nonviolent Action Team (GNAT), which so far has successfully fended off a federal disease research lab by exposing the public safety, environmental and financial risks associated with it; and Reggie Edwards, who helps empower women with their health, relationship and financial issues. Below is a list of previous winners. —Lisa Sorg

Independent Weekly’s Senior editor, Lisa Sorg interviewed individual members of GNAT for the story at GNAT’s last meeting. The article GNAT: Creating real homeland security is a great read and you can go to to learn more about GNAT’s fight to stop the Department of Homeland Security’s National Bio Agro Defense Facility (NBAF).

The NBAF final environmental impact statement is due to be released the first week of December according to recent media reports with the final site selection and Record of Decision (ROD) expected before the Presidential inauguration on January 20, 2009.

GNAT has vowed that if Butner is chosen for the lab that they will do “Whatever it Takes” to prevent the lab’s placement. In a recent Press release GNAT said;

“No matter what conclusions that Homeland Security draws in its Environmental Impact Statement” says Elaine McNeill, a farmer in nearby Stem, “we’ll be fighting this thing. We’re not a sacrifice area for misguided biohazard research when the need for the massive increase in such labs hasn’t even been assessed. NO community, especially on the US mainland, should have to face the threat of this lab and its deadly research in their midst. It didn’t take Bruce Ivins to convince me that we simply can’t anticipate all the ways that these diseases could escape and destroy our region’s economy, health and way of life.”

For those of us in the community who do not support this project, GNAT’s promise to stop the facility are words of comfort. They have the community’s best interest in mind which is more that I can say for the people courting the project. So thank you GNAT, thank you for all you do.

Kittens Nod to the Beat

Warning! this video may cause tooth decay it is soooo sweet.

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Americans Rejected ‘Drill, Baby, Drill.’ Bush Should Respect Our Choice

Source: Robert Redford – The Huffington Post

Part of the change Americans just voted for in overwhelming numbers was to move away from the failed energy philosophy of “drill, baby, drill” to a more farsighted strategy, emphasized by Barack Obama, based on clean, renewable energy and efficiency. Yet on the very day that we raised our voices for change, the Bush administration dragged us in the opposite direction.

The Bureau of Land Management cynically chose November 4 to announce a last-minute plan to lease huge swaths of majestic wilderness in eastern Utah for oil and gas extraction one month before President-elect Obama takes office.

As its clock runs out, the Bush administration also is trying to open-up drilling all over the Rockies and Alaska, to green-light oil shale leasing, and to weaken the Endangered Species Act. Though sad, it’s no surprise, coming as it does from the same crowd that designed a misguided national energy policy in secret meetings with the oil, gas and coal industries.

The BLM didn’t just try to slip the audacious Utah lease maneuver past the American people on an historic election day, it actually hid the ball from its sister agency, the National Park Service, and then rejected the Service’s request for more time to review the scheme.

Among the 360,000 acres to be auctioned for industrial development is pristine land near Canyonlands National Park, adjacent to Arches National Park and Dinosaur National Monument. This Christmas gift to the dirty fuel industry includes parts of Desolation Canyon, named in 1869 by the explorer John Wesley Powell, which has been proposed for national park status. In fact, the BLM itself described Desolation Canyon nine years ago as “a place where a visitor can experience true solitude — where the forces of nature continue to shape the colorful, rugged landscape.”

Words alone cannot do justice to the beauty of these places, but they do capture the absurdity of the Bush plan. Oil and gas drilling in Desolation Canyon? Industrial development along the meandering Green River? The thought makes one wince.

The Obama transition team already has signaled its opposition to the leases, and said that once in office the Obama administration will try to reverse them. Let’s hope that’s possible. Utah’s eastern expanse is one of America’s few remaining wilderness treasures. It’s our land, it’s our legacy, but will it still be here for our children and grandchildren? We made our wishes about that known loudly and clearly on election day.

We voted to take control of our own destiny by breaking our addiction to dirty fuels. We voted to re-power America with clean energy from wind, solar and geothermal power. We voted to use of our greatest resource, American ingenuity, to build economic, energy and climate security, and to preserve our natural heritage. Yes we did. And yes we can.


Just when you thought Palin might go away a PAC called “Our Country Deserves Better” plops down the cash to bankroll a “Thank You” ad for Sarah Palin. The PAC even goes so far as to compare her to President Ronald Reagan. I’m not sure what the PAC is thanking her for but if this is a precursor to 2012 we are in store for some amusing commentary as evidenced by Palin’s recent interview and photo-op with turkey’s being slaughtered as a backdrop. Ah, good times.

“Governor Palin inspired millions of Americans by fighting for common sense conservative principles in a positive and uplifting manner,” chief strategist Sal Russo said in a statement. “I worked with President Ronald Reagan since his first days in the California Governor’s Office, and I can tell you that I see so many similarities between President Reagan and Governor Palin.”

Yes folks, she did inspire millions of Americans, she inspired us to vote for Obama. So Yes, Thank you Governor Palin. Just a suggestion to the PAC, that $50,000  sure could feed a lot of hunger American citizens but I’m sure you are not interested in that type of political action.

Starving for Change

If you need a reason to be thankful this holiday season or if you find yourself taking Life’s little gifts for granted? This story will surely change your perspective.

The swelling numbers waiting outside homeless shelters and food pantries around the country, many of them elderly or single women with children, have grown by at least 30 percent since the summer. General welfare recipients receive $140 a month in cash and another $140 in food stamps. This is all many in Trenton and other impoverished areas have to live on. 
There are now 36.2 million Americans who cope daily with hunger, up by more than 3 million since 2000, according to the Food Research and Action Center in Washington, D.C.  The number of people in the worst-off category—the hungriest—rose by 40 percent since 2000, to nearly 12 million people.

The economic mess we now find ourselves in will get worse before it gets better and it knows no bounderies. There are many reasons this year to give, but I quess that is the key, folks “to give.”  So share your blessings with someone else this holiday season and if you need any ideas on how you can  go  here, here and here. Still not sure where to give in your area go here. Happy Holidays

Last night on the Rachel Maddow Show’s”Talk me Down” segment, the topic was “is there too much cum-ba-ya or making nice” on behalf of the incoming Obama administration regarding the possible prosecution for the lawlessness of the Bush administration and the precedence of crimes committed. Rachel spoke with Slate’s Senior Editor and Jurisprudence Writer, Dahlia Lithwick concerning her thoughts on post-Bush accountability and what that means to us as a Nation. Lithwick has written extensively about Justice Department scandals, the Supreme court and pretty much all things legal. The conversation was very thought provoking and (video below) it rises many questions.

Please leave your thoughts after taking the poll.

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