$9 Trillion you say? Yes, that’s 9E+12

Try doing that on your four banger 8 digit calculator, I dare ya! No, you need one of those special scientific or business calculators that let you go 12 or more digits. Or a computer.

That is the limit of the national budget debt.

Ah, when only a billion was a big deal. This translates into a debt for every American of $30,000. Lets see – I pay roughly $6,000 in federal taxes per year. That means in five years I’ll have paid my part of that $9 Trillion in debt. Charming.

I really have to make my S-Corp lose money that way I can take some of it back from those bastards.

Have you Had Your Tritium Today?

The latest on Truthout says that radioactive tritium is not only leaking from nuke plants, but also finding its way into water supplies and waterways, including the Hudson in NY. Granted – tritium is only release beta radiation and has a half life of something like 12.3 years.

The reactors we have are first generation technology. As such, they’re inherently more dangerous than we thought. But while Europe and Japan look into pebble bed reactors, we in the U.S. will still try to build standard nuclear reactors.

Oh, I think I’ve mentioned it here before but the U.S. could EASILY support ITER. The benefits of fusion are quite interesting. not least of which is much more energy. But we haven’t made the jump yet – we still have to generate steam to push turbines that produce electricity. But what if we could strip electrons from the mix and pump them out on the line. Wouldn’t that be interesting. And while I’m on the subject, I love the intro page for ITER. Thats exactly right, fusion works. We derive many benefits from fusion – as sunshine is the byproduct of nuclear fusion.

The Fundamentalists Want To Take Us Back To The Middle Ages

First go and read this piece on Rolling Stone about Senator Brownback of Kansas. Scary shit!

Now I’ll quote the more choice pieces of the article and register my outrage:

He tells a story about a chaplain who challenged a group of senators to reconsider their conception of democracy. “How many constituents do you have?” the chaplain asked. The senators answered: 4 million, 9 million, 12 million. “May I suggest,” the chaplain replied, “that you have only one constituent?”

Again I’d like to ask, what part of “separation of church and state” did this idiot not understand? Just because of this, I decided to start a Providence chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Brownback likes to say that he is fighting for traditional family values, but his father, Bob, was more concerned about the price of grain, and his mother, Nancy, had no qualms about having a gay friend. Back then, moral values were simple. “Your word was your word. Don’t cheat,” his mother recalls. “I can’t think of anything else.

So how did such a conservative ass come from this? It happened when he went to Washington and was inducted into the Fellowship, that ultra secret religious organization that is controlled by big business under a guise of prayer. Yet this puke cheats on a regular basis, using his political position to move forward a religious war.

Brownback was placed in a weekly prayer cell by “the shadow Billy Graham” — Doug Coe, Vereide’s successor as head of the Fellowship. The group was all male and all Republican. It was a “safe relationship,” Brownback says. Conversation tended toward the personal. Brownback and the other men revealed the most intimate details of their desires, failings, ambitions. They talked about lust, anger and infidelities, the more shameful the better — since the goal was to break one’s own will. The abolition of self; to become nothing but a vessel so that one could be used by God.

Or used by corporate interests. By the way – widespread conjecture has been published on web sites that some of our most homophobic congressmen that were members of the Fellowship were also having a grand old homosexual time at the weekly prayer meetings.

They were striving, ultimately, for what Coe calls “Jesus plus nothing” — a government led by Christ’s will alone. In the future envisioned by Coe, everything — sex and taxes, war and the price of oil — will be decided upon not according to democracy or the church or even Scripture. The Bible itself is for the masses; in the Fellowship, Christ reveals a higher set of commands to the anointed few. It’s a good old boy’s club blessed by God. Brownback even lived with other cell members in a million-dollar, red-brick former convent at 133 C Street that was subsidized and operated by the Fellowship. Monthly rent was $600 per man — enough of a deal by Hill standards that some said it bordered on an ethical violation, but no charges were ever brought.

Interesting that no charges were ever brought. But then, would we expect the Republican brethren to file such charges against their brothers?

The most bluntly theocratic effort, however, is the Constitution Restoration Act, which Brownback co-sponsored with Jim DeMint, another former C Streeter who was then a congressman from South Carolina. If passed, it will strip the Supreme Court of the ability to even hear cases in which citizens protest faith-based abuses of power. Say the mayor of your town decides to declare Jesus lord and fire anyone who refuses to do so; or the principal of your local high school decides to read a fundamentalist prayer over the PA every morning; or the president declares the United States a Christian nation. Under the Constitution Restoration Act, that’ll all be just fine.

This is the paragraph I find the most disturbing. I do not want this nation to ever become a Theocracy, but apparently Brownback and his cronies think it would be keen to have such a thing happen. I don’t. Anyone that has studied history has found that when the Church has dominion over secular government, bad things tend to happen. Things like the Crusades, or Slavery, or burning at the stake.

This is all about control and nothing more. Their version of morality imposed on everyone else, while they can violate that morality on a regular basis.

Brownback finds the issue of finances distasteful. He refuses to discuss his backers, smoothly turning the issue to matters of faith. “Pat got me elected,” he says, referring to Robertson’s network of Christian-right organizations. Sitting in his corner office in the Senate, Brownback returns to one of his favorite subjects: the scourge of homosexuality. The office has just been remodeled and the high-ceilinged room is almost barren. On Brownback’s desk, adrift at the far end of the room, there’s a Bible open to the Gospel of John.

Of course he’d find finances distasteful. For if we saw his true financing we’d probably understand his true agenda. The agenda is to hand control of our lives to churches and corporations. It is bad enough that we’re already enslaved to corporate America, he wants to be sure we’re enslaved in the religious sense too.

If you were to look at the books in my office you’d find authors like Seymour Hersch, Barbara Ehrenreich, Robert Manchester, Tavis Smiley, etc. But you won’t find a bible in the mix. You will find the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible in my bookmarks but that’s grouped under Religion along with The Council for Secular Humanism, or Jhuger – Kissing Hank’s Ass, or as I mentioned earlier, Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Bush Administration Still Careening Out of Control

The New York Times has a nice little breakdown of the dysfunction of the Bush Administration. (If you need a username/password just type cottp for both.)

This is a recurrent theme of this administration. I recall that a year or two ago there was a piece in which anonymous White House staffers lamented the fact that Bush was a volatile individual, and how difficult it was to work for this administration.

And now Congress is finally realizing that lockstep party unity can be damaging to your chances of staying in power. About time it happened even if the majority of congressmen are Republicans.

But this tells me that Repubican Party unity is toast. It’s over, done. The Democratic Party now needs to pick up the ball and run with it. I’m hoping the DNC hasn’t completely cowed Howard Dean yet – he’s just what we need to take away Republican control of congress and with any luck and preparation, the White House.

On the Heels of Custer Battles

Seems the web of Randy “Duke” Cunningham is being unravled little by little.

Witness the recent MSNBC/Newsweek article referencing plum CIA contracts given in a quid pro quo arrangement with a friend of Cunningham’s nephew.

I do wish someone like George Sorros would put his momey where his mouth is and fund a team of forensic auditors to follow the money. Because were we to follow it, there would be connections to both political parties and the whole scam would come apart at the seams. Wouldn’t that be nice.

Sure, we already know about Halliburton, and now this recent article. But imagine what could be done if we just dug in? Of course the MSM would ignore it but that’s where the web comes in. Just publish the audit report and notify everyone via email, blogs, etc. until the MSM has no choice but to look.

I feel an idea germinating here. It’d have to be a grass roots effort and money would have to be on a donation basis. But I’d love to see where this would go.

Dim Memories of the Vietnam War are Refreshed

It’s happening all over again. Iraq is pretty much a quagmire, getting worse by the day, regardless of what the talking heads on television will tell you.

But the thing that will destroy the war hawks is the net. Because you see – video can be uploaded and shared very easily.

Cindy Sheehan was recently arrested when she and a group of people tried to present a petition to the U.S. Mission to the U.N. And members of the group captured the protest and arrest on video .

I’d like to pose this open question to both U.S. Mission staff, the NYPD and more importantloy the Administration of George W. Bush.

What part of that ‘god damned piece of paper'(Dubya allegedly called the Constitution that in published remarks.) otherwise known as the United States Constitution, did you not comprehend?

I’m particularly incensed that the first amendment that allows me to post this is also being used against peaceful demonstrators. It’s all over, the blush has come off the rose. I hope we don’t see another Kent State – but maybe that is precisely what we the people need. An event perpetrated on us by our own government so heinous that we all have to stand up, including those who do the bidding of our overlords.

For those who need a refresher, the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

But now I see where the Bush Administration and the neo-con hawks everywhere get their motivation. The 1st Amendment states only that Congress shall not make law abridging the right. But a President has full rights to do so. Maybe we do need to create a new constitutional amendment that includes all three branches of government in that statement.

Construction in Providence

This is a shot that depicts three major construction projects within a half a mile radius of each other. Actually all the pictures in the set are from sites within one half mile radius.

Just in time for the real estate market to come crashing down. Hey, maybe I’ll actually be able to afford something in La Prov when that happens. Wouldn’t mind paying short money for a place on the 28th floor of say, the Westin Residences.

Here are the rest of the images. There aren’t that many but I’ll try to get more shots as progress is made on the projects.