Friday, August 24, 2007

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A quick link on global warming

I just read this article and thought I would post a link to it. It's pretty interesting. There are some good quotes from Al Gore on how large companies are funding a campaign against global warming. Actively seeking to tell people and "prove" to people that global warming doesn't exist. It's really a shame that we can't move beyond this and try to get something done together. Obviously, very short sighted. Anyhow here's the link and that's all I've really got to say.
People are silly.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

An appendix to my post on the 35W bridge collapse

Again I will try to be brief, as I will not provide anything you can't find in any newspaper, anywhere. But President Bush visited Minneapolis today and I had the pleasure of listening to the speech. During the speech he said something to the effect of we "live in a beautiful country," which was promptly placed as the headline on CNN (a channel that ritualistically never airs news). I thought about this statement and came to the conclusion that once again this may have not been an appropriate thing to say to a city that just experienced disaster, where people have died and many have been injured. I think Amy Klobuchar may have said it better when she said, "a bridge, in America, should never just collapse." Just a thought.

The other reason for this post is I have located a transcript of President Bush's speech which I refer to in the previous post, for further accuracy and fairness I figured I should post the speech so that you can decide for yourself. The speech follows:

“Good morning. I just finished a Cabinet meeting. One of the things we discussed was the terrible situation there in Minneapolis. We talked about the fact that the bridge collapsed, and that we in the federal government must respond and respond robustly to help the people there not only recover, but to make sure that lifeline of activity, that bridge, gets rebuilt as quickly as possible.

To that end, Secretary Peters is in Minneapolis, as well as Federal Highway Administrator Capka. I spoke to Governor Pawlenty and Mayor Rybak this morning. I told them that the Secretary would be there. I told them we would help with rescue efforts, but I also told them how much we are in prayer for those who suffered. And I thank my fellow citizens for holding up those who are suffering right now in prayer.

We also talked about -- in the Cabinet meeting talked about the status of important pieces of legislation before the Congress. We spent a fair amount of time talking about the fact that how disappointed we are that Congress hasn't sent any spending bills to my desk. By the end of this week, members are going to be leaving for their month-long August recess. And by the time they will return, there will be less than a month before the end of the fiscal year on September the 30th, and yet they haven't passed one of the 12 spending bills that they're required to pass. If Congress doesn't pass the spending bills by the end of the fiscal year, Cabinet Secretaries report that their departments may be unable to move forward with urgent priorities for our country.

This doesn't have to be this way. The Democrats won last year's election fair and square, and now they control the calendar for bringing up bills in Congress. They need to pass each of these spending bills individually, on time, and in a fiscally responsible way.
The budget I've sent to Congress fully funds America's priorities. It increases discretionary spending by 6.9 percent. My Cabinet Secretaries assure me that this is adequate to meet the needs of our nation.

Unfortunately, Democratic leaders in Congress want to spend far more. Their budget calls for nearly $22 billion more in discretionary spending next year alone. These leaders have tried to downplay that figure. Yesterday one called this increase -- and I quote -- "a very small difference" from what I proposed. Only in Washington can $22 billion be called a very small difference. And that difference will keep getting bigger. Over the next five years it will total nearly $205 billion in additional discretionary spending. That $205 billion averages out to about $112 million per day, $4.7 million per hour, $78,000 per minute.
Put another way, that's about $1,300 in higher spending every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every year for the next five years. That's a lot of money -- even for career politicians in Washington. In fact, at that pace, Democrats in Congress would have spent an extra $300,000 since I began these remarks.
There's only one way to pay for all this new federal spending without running up the deficit, and that is to raise your taxes. A massive tax hike is the last thing the American people need. The plan I put forward would keep your taxes low and balance the budget within five years, and that is the right path for our country.
I want to thank OMB Director Rob Portman for his hard work in developing this plan. This was Rob's last Cabinet meeting. Laura and I wish him and his family well. And I call on the Senate to confirm his successor, Jim Nussle, so we can work together to keep our government running, to keep our economy growing, and to keep our nation strong.
Thank you for your time”

It kind of sounds to me like he is blaming Democrats for the collapse of the 35W bridge. I'm not an architect, nor a politician, but it would seem to me that the collapse of a bridge has little to nothing to do with partisan politics... There’s not much else I want to say about this, I hope the speech speaks for itself. I wouldn’t want to say more for fear of getting off topic with rage or changing topics, saying something in the realm of, “you want to talk about being fiscally responsible with taxpayers money, and that the Democrats won’t give America what it needs to get by, how about the hundreds of billions we are pouring into the Middle East, or the arms deal you just reached where we just give weapons to Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc. etc.” (My blood pressure is rising I need to go lay down)…

I'm not the only person who seems to think that his abuse of air time for a political agenda was saddening click here for an entry on Dailykos

Thursday, August 2, 2007

What is there left to say?

So, for those of you who don't know this, I reside in Minneapolis. Probably about 2.5 miles from where the I-35W bridge collapsed yesterday. So, needless to say, I've been monitoring the news on this event constantly since 6 yesterday. I don't have any close friends who were hurt in the incident, some I haven't heard from, but I have no reason to believe anyone I know was hurt. But this is the kind of event that brings some things home at a time when constantly reading the news and keeping up to date can begin to desensitize an individual. People in the city are shaken up, the traffic is a complete disaster, and it is the only news available in the city. Even the sports page of The Star Tribune and The Pioneer Press today were about how the Twins thought it would be best to keep playing last night so they didn't further congest the roads.

But, briefly, there are two points that this event has really driven home, two points that many people in Minneapolis/St. Paul have been talking about, and two things that people across the world reading about this event should try to learn from it as well. Though these are the kind of things that seem to resonate because you feel involved, because it is only miles away instead of on your TV or computer.

Yesterday morning, before the bridge fell, in Baghdad, an ice cream parlor was bombed killing at least 20 and injuring countless more. Now I'm no expert on the geography and consumer market of Iraq, but I would guess, with confidence, that there are not a whole lot of places to take the kids, or ice cream parlors for that matter. Why can't we put the destruction happening in Iraq into perspective? This is bullshit. 20 dead at an ice cream parlor? Fucking kids were there.

Second brief point (that again may not need a lot of explanation, I'll let you fill in the gaps, and one that might answer questions from point one). I've never been a big fan of President Bush, but if you happened to catch his full speech this morning addressing the situation here you may have noticed that he is a tactless, heartless bastard. He spent about a minute and half actually mentioning Minnesota (and in the short span managed to say that he spoke with Governor Pawlenty and Mayor Rybeck and mispronounced both of their names, which leads me to believe he did not speak to anyone this morning but the devil). He then proceeded to spend the rest of his time demanding that the Democrats of congress push through his spending bill, because that was going to help Minneapolis. I know that this is how politics go, and that he certainly has an agenda, he's the president, and this is no revelation, but really... The spending bill has nothing directly to do with Minneapolis and that was completely tactless. During his speech the people of Minneapolis and St. Paul were booing. Waiting to hear from friends they couldn't get a hold of because phone circuits here have been jammed and there is lots of confusion. But since the only thing the news was covering this morning was Minneapolis he needed to get his spending bill some airtime anyhow.

None of this is a revelation, but the world needs perspective and our president needs some tact. I'm too close to all of this to really digress, or try to pull together a point, but these were things I heard discussed often today at the coffee shop where I work. Things that have been on the mind of people from the area today. If nothing else maybe the people of Minnesota will finally decide to cut Norm Coleman out of our lives after Bush's display of indecency today.