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Wed Oct 08, 2008 at 12:22 AM PDT

Word Clouds from Debate

by shock

This diary is pretty self explanatory.  Short and sweet?

I took the transcript from CNN, split out the Obama lines and the McCain lines, and made word (tag) clouds from them using  The result is below the fold if you are interested.

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Sun Sep 28, 2008 at 05:07 PM PDT

Older than dirt: The stones cry out.

by shock

Ha!  You probably clicked here because you thought this diary was about you-know-who.  But it's not.   And now you've wasted all of 5-10 seconds of your life on something else. But what?

I'm writing about something I personally find to be very cool. Scientists recently have found what amounts to the world's oldest rock in Northern Quebec.  The rock dates to about 4.28 billion years ago.  (Kind of puts these 10 seconds into perspective, eh?)

The BBC has a story about it here.

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Thu Sep 04, 2008 at 07:19 PM PDT

Haiti in trouble: urgent.

by shock

I really don't have time to write a diary tonight.

But I can't not.

So, I'll make this short.  

After consecutive hits from Tropical Storm Fay, then Hurricanes Gustav and Hanna (and with Hurricane Ike bearing down on her), already-struggling Haiti is now in desperate trouble.  (There is a story about this up on the AP right now here  if you need background... also here)  If you know anything about Haiti, you probably don't even need to read it through, you can probably imagine...  this is nearly as bad as it gets.

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Sat Aug 30, 2008 at 07:27 PM PDT

Remember. (*This* is why.)

by shock

"Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility - that's the essence of America promise."
  -- Barack Obama, 8/28/2008

As Hurricane Gustav bears down on the Gulf Coast, most can't help but recall the still painful memories
of Katrina.  Memories and lessons.

For years (even to this day), Republicans like to talk of the "lessons of 9/11", whether so-and-so learned them or not.  This diary is about one lesson I, at least, learned from Hurricane Katrina.

Like with many others, I'm sure, Gustav is bringing back a mix of emotions from 3 years ago.  My rage at the seeming indifference, incompetence, criminal callousness and blatant racism, still lingers, as does the memory of the urgency and desperateness of the plea on nearly all of our lips:  "why doesn't somebody, anybody, do something?!!" As these emotions wash over me again, the waves have also washed something else ashore... a message I'd put in a bottle to be reopened, well, now.

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Fri Jun 06, 2008 at 08:42 PM PDT

Eat Up or Heat Up! A *political* choice.

by shock

_____ is a curiosity of modern life:  It is one of the few issues on which there is universal agreement --- it's bad.  Yet, ... it is also, paradoxically, an issue few people seem willing to do anything about.

An issue about which there is universal agreement?  Sounds like a political winner!  Hmmm... what could this mystery issue be?  And what does our candidate have to say about it?


Regarding the link between wasting food and global warming...

26%19 votes
1%1 votes
2%2 votes
42%31 votes
4%3 votes
23%17 votes

| 73 votes | Vote | Results

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By now, sadly, we're used to news like this.  But yet another huge ice shelf, in place for over 3 millennia, is on the verge of collapse.  New cracks have been discovered in the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, on the northern coast of Ellesmere Island in Canada.  At 443 square kilometers, this shelf is even larger than the 415 sq. km. one in Antarctica that collapsed last month and received a good bit of press (including here) and its "sister", the huge Ayles Ice shelf, that stunningly broke off in less than an hour about 20 months ago threatening oil rigs and shipping in the Beaufort Sea.

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In just about 2 hours, the city of Sydney Australia will turn off its lights for Earth Hour, beginning what will hopefully be a very large ripple effect around the planet of city after city doing the same.  (Personally, I'm hoping for a "tidal wave of darkness"!)  And let's hope the ripples continue long after the lights come back on.

In a comment on Meteor Blade's front-page post about this, jmorton asked if DailyKos was going to participate in Earth Hour... that is, not just we the participants of DailyKos (and you were going to particpate, right?), but the actual site itself.

We should, you know.

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Fri Feb 08, 2008 at 06:45 PM PST

"There is only fear and horror."

by shock

Shock and Awe, Freedom and Democracy?

"We thought there would be freedom and democracy and women would have their rights. But all the things we were promised have not come true. There is only fear and horror."

CNN has an article  up right now about conditions in Iraq for women that follows in a long line of stories reporting on the continued deterioration (for example, here).  This isn't "breaking news"... (unfortunately) Just another straw on the camel's back.  I wish I could write as righteous of a rant as Grand Moff Texan did last night, but, well...  I am at a loss for words about it.  Instead I'm just going to have to let the horrible truth speak.  The infuriating irony of it all is that our leaders have the gall to call this "liberation" and claim to have improved things for women!

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Tue Jan 08, 2008 at 06:58 PM PST

Turnout: we win big! (No matter what.)

by shock

According to CNN the Democratic candidates had received a total of 135,582 votes with 53% reporting, while the Republican candidates had received a total of 107,579 votes with 50% reporting.

What's interesting about those numbers is that CNN also reports that there are 850,836 registered voters in the state and they are supposed to be 26% Democratic (around 221,217 voters), 30% Republican (around 255,251 voters), and 44% Independent (around 374,368 voters). From some quick math, we can infer that the polls were right:  independents broke heavily democratic.

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Sat Nov 24, 2007 at 09:05 PM PST

Pathways to the Presidency (since 1900)

by shock

This year, we have a fairly typical mix of presidential candidate:  Governors, Senators, and Representatives.  Earlier, partly triggered by a dispute I was reading about "leadership experience", I got to wondering things like:  "How likely is it that a Senator gets elected President? How about a Governor?" etc.    

So I made a quick, simple visualization to try to help me answer my questions.  I thought it was somewhat interesting, so I decided to share it here.  If you're interested, join me below.

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Have you ever noticed that there's not much grass in the woods?  Especially in "old-growth" forests, the tall, established trees spread out their branches to shade the forest floor and soak up all of the sunlight.  

The grassroots metaphor has been a powerful one in the blogosphere.  Indeed, we are the netroots.  For me, the metaphor implies "bottom-up" organization, with hundreds upon thousands of bonds forming amongst loosely-aligned (but not identical) small groups and individuals.  We have made great progress and succeeded in having an impact all around the country.

Yet, we have yet to restore habeas corpus, we have an attorney general who supports torture, we have given giant corporations a pass on more crimes than I can count, the same is true for the administration itself -- yet impeachment remains 'off the table', we are still stuck in Iraq, etc.  The list goes on and on.  And many here feel that the Democratic party -- the party we've worked so hard to support -- has let us down (or worse, sold out).

Although I loved the "grassroots" metaphor, I think it's necessary to transcend this; it's  time for a new metaphor.

And it is time for a new strategy.

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In two parts.

The first part is straightforward and obvious to most here.  Hence, since so many people here have diaried about this, I'll just summarize the argument.

When Nancy Pelosi took impeachment off the table, she not only gave BushCo a pass on all of their previous and notorious criminality, she also gave them a  blank check from there on out on any high crimes that might come to light in the future.  Furthermore, she removed the threat of any sort of meaningful investigations that might uncover wrongdoings.  (After all, what would be the point of investigation with impeachment off the table?  And what incentives are there for cooperation?) Finally, and perhaps most frustratingly, she succeeded in effectively hamstringing her own party, and more importantly Congress, by limiting their constitutional oversight and removing the biggest "check" from the balance.  Congressional leadership, in effect, voluntarily (and unconstitutionally) ceded power from the legislative to the executive branch (as they did with their war powers earlier), thus implicitly reinforcing and confirming the offensive "unitary executive" arguments being made by BushCo all along.

The second part, however, just might ignite some "mild disagreement" here.

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