politics

Reuters: Landlocked prisoners taught deep-water diving

Reuters reports on a rehabilitation program for prisoners, a most interesting sort of job training:

A landlocked California men's prison aims to keep inmates from returning to jail by putting them in deep water -- training them for undersea construction and dam repair.

The California Institution for Men in Chino...houses a prison-based marine technology training program where inmates serving sentences of 14 months to 4 years learn skills authorities hope will help them find jobs when they return to society.

...

No more than 12 percent of the more than 1,600 inmates who have participated in the program have returned to prison -- far below the average recidivism rate of 50 percent in California prisons, officials said.

John McCain: Suicide if Dems Win

Heh, heh, heh. Seems back in October, John McCain "joked" he would commit suicide if Democrats won the Senate.

I used to have some respect for the guy, but given the way he's been toadying to the most intolerant factions of the Right lately, screw 'im. C'mon, McCain, be a man of your word. You don't have to actually take your own life, I'll settle for political suicide. Resign from the Senate, disclaim any presidental ambitions, and go home.

LA Times: "A clash of wills at 'Firecracker'"

Excellent story from the L.A. Times giving a first-hand account of combat in Iraq.

Sanchez: The rest of the squad was around the corner. It was just me and Kaminski. I turned back to make sure he was still there. I took a step, and I saw a big flash of light in front of my face, and I felt heat coming up. And I heard the boom. The next thing I know, I was laying facedown on the pavement. I didn't know what was going on, all the dust was everywhere. I just assumed I was dead.

GOP goes "trivial and seamy" in negative campaining

E. J. Dionne runs down the Republicans' desperate, slimy, seedy, ugly campaigning this season.

...this year's campaign will mark the moment when Republican leaders who govern in the name of conservatism turned definitively away from hope and waged one of the most trivial and ugly campaigns in our country's history.

...

But this year Republican campaigners and their advocates in the conservative media have crossed line after line in sheer meanness, triviality and tastelessness. Conservative optimism and its promise of morning in America have curdled into the gloom of a Halloween midnight horror show.

More voting machine madness

In another fine piece in Rolling Stone, RFK Jr. shows the state of security and reliability for computerized voting machines:

Georgia law mandates that any change made in voting machines be certified by the state. But thanks to Cox's agreement with Diebold, the company was essentially allowed to certify itself. "It was an unauthorized patch, and they were trying to keep it secret from the state," Hood told me. "We were told not to talk to county personnel about it..."

According to Hood, Diebold employees altered software in some 5,000 machines in DeKalb and Fulton counties - the state's largest Democratic strongholds. To avoid detection, Hood and others on his team entered warehouses early in the morning. "We went in at 7:30 a.m. and were out by 11," Hood says. "There was a universal key to unlock the machines, and it's easy to get access. The machines in the warehouses were unlocked. We had control of everything. The state gave us the keys to the castle, so to speak, and they stayed out of our way."...

"Vonnegut's Apocalypse", Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone talks with Kurt Vonnegut:

"I'm Jeremiah, and I'm not talking about God being mad at us," novelist Kurt Vonnegut says with a straight face, gazing out the parlor windows of his Manhattan brownstone. "I'm talking about us killing the planet as a life-support system with gasoline. What's going to happen is, very soon, we're going to run out of petroleum, and everything depends on petroleum. And there go the school buses. There go the fire engines. The food trucks will come to a halt. This is the end of the world. We've become far too dependent on hydrocarbons, and it's going to suddenly dry up. You talk about the gluttonous Roaring Twenties. That was nothing. We're crazy, going crazy, about petroleum. It's a drug like crack cocaine. Of course, the lunatic fringe of Christianity is welcoming the end of the world as the rapture. So I'm Jeremiah. It's going to have to stop. I'm sorry."

9/11 + 5

Seems wrong to let the day, fifth anniversary of 9/11, pass unnoted; but there's nothing new to say. I'll just point to what I posted this time last year.

Here's lyrics to a song a wrote about that day (which will be on my forthcoming CD, whenever I get around to finishing that):

"No Words of Wisdom"
Tom Swiss

Everybody's looking at me
They ask me to sing and play
But I've got no words of wisdom
For a day like today

I came down here with my guitar
To help you pass the time
We could have a drink and have some fun
And sing these songs of mine

'Intersex' fish found in Potomac

LiveScience reports that “intersex" fish, with both male and female characteristics, have been discovered in the Potomac River and its tributaries. This of course raises questions about how whatever contaminants are causing this, will affect the people who drink tap water.

Last month's testing at three tributaries emptying into the Potomac revealed that more than 80 percent of all male smallmouth bass found were growing eggs, according to Vicki S. Blazer, a fish pathologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Liquid explosive plane plot: real or hype?

The Register looks at the supposed terrorist plot to blow up planes with the liquid explosive TATP, triacetone triperoxide, and finds the chemistry wanting:

Now for the fun part. Take your hydrogen peroxide, acetone, and sulfuric acid, measure them very carefully, and put them into drinks bottles for convenient smuggling onto a plane. It's all right to mix the peroxide and acetone in one container, so long as it remains cool. Don't forget to bring several frozen gel-packs (preferably in a Styrofoam chiller deceptively marked "perishable foods"), a thermometer, a large beaker, a stirring rod, and a medicine dropper. You're going to need them.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - politics