Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog.

Friday, March 21, 2008

In Brief - March 22, 2008

Obama's unconditionally amazing speech, A More Perfect Union, has had over 3 million views on YouTube since it was posted on Tuesday. If you haven't seen this speech yet, you really owe it to yourself to do so. Watch it together, if you can, with your spouses, parents, and children. People call a lot of things historic, but this really is.

And in case you missed it--and in the traditional media's habit of going monotonal when things like Obama's speech happen, you can certainly be forgiven if you did--this past monday Darcy Burner unveiled the Responsible Plan to end the war in Iraq (PDF). She and several other congressional candidates who joined her in the effort to craft this plan released it at the Take Back America conference in Washington D.C.


If you oppose this war as much as I do, you can do three things here:
  1. Download and read the plan. It's really not that long and is pretty easy to read.
  2. Go to the Responsible Plan website and endorse the plan yourself. Stand up for rational Iraq policies that can actually do some good.
  3. Share the plan with everyone you know.
Around the Northwest

  • Brave New Leaf is a fun and actually informative environmental blog I heard about on NPR the other morning. And, it's run by a pacific northwesterner! The tagline is "everyman environmentalism, one project at a time." I like that.
  • "3 AM" girl Casey Knowles speaks out about the ad, Clinton, and her support of Obama.
  • The Peace March that set out for Washington D.C. from Portland has reached Boise. The Idaho state patrol doesn't sound too thrilled about it.
Around the Nation

  • Intel brainiacs extend WiFi connections to 100 kilometers. This could do a far-flung farms and households in Eastern Washington a lot of good.
  • Terrible floods hit the midwest, again. Here's just one of hundreds of stories about it. Somewhere between calling this a "100 year flood" and various folks saying (again) "no one could have predicted this", as if to imply that flooding of this magnitude was simply un-imaginable up to a week ago, I can only say Excuse Me? First, doesn't anybody remember 15 years ago when huge spring floods caused the Mississippi to over-run its banks? They called that one a flood of "historic proportions" too. Seems to me that a) these so-called "100 year" events are happening more and more lately, b) this is exactly the sort of thing predicted by climate change scientists, c) government agencies darned well ought to be able to prepare for--if not explicitly predict--them. Oh, right, except that our current crop of mis-administrators explicitly suppresses as much climate science as they can.
  • News Flash! Bush mis-states Iran's plans with respect to nuclear weapons. Hm. Where have we heard this story before? Seriously--how does anybody believe anything this guy says anymore?
Around the World

  • Sir Arthur C. Clarke, author and visionary, died March 18th at his home in Sri Lanka. Clarke will no doubt be best remembered as the author of "2001: a Space Odyssey", but should also be remembered for inventing the concept of the geostationary communications satellite and the space elevator.
  • Hat Trick! The State Department admits that it hasn't been very careful with the nation's passport records: John McCain's, Barack Obama's, and Hillary Clinton's passport files have all been improperly handled. But at least Condoleezza Rice has apologized to the candidates and promised to "get to the bottom" of it with a transparent and open investigation. Call me cynical, but anybody want to bet me that what we'll really get is a shallow show investigation lasting exactly as long as it takes for the next scandal to wipe this one off the front pages? No takers? Come on, my kids need new shoes!
  • Tibet, still a thorn in China's side. Tibetans living in China have decided to take advantage of the world's eyes being on China for the summer Olympics to call attention to Tibet's situation as an unwilling portion of mainland China by means of attempting to march back to Tibet. The Chinese authorities are having none of it, with predictable results ensuing. To be quite frank, I really don't understand stuff like this. I mean, I can understand China not expecting, decades back when it annexed Tibet, to meet such unwavering commitment to independence from a bunch of peace-loving buddhists. But what keeps them hanging on to it anymore? What's in Tibet, besides some tourist spots in the nose-bleed section, that China even wants? How does China not see the major karma points they'd score on the world stage if they let Tibet go? Why in the world is hanging on to Tibet worth all the trouble? P.S. In addition to the above link, the Guardian also has a nice round-up page on Tibet issues in general for anyone who wants more background and context.
The Lighter Side

  • One astronaut's take on how shooting stars are made.
  • CBS must have decided that they've milked the original Star Trek episodes for as much money as they can. Why else would they be putting the full episodes up for free viewing online?
  • Paul Krugman, sci-fi economist.
  • Pastafarians have installed a statue of the Spaghedeity on the lawn of a Tennessee county courthouse. A spokesperson for the Church of the Flying Spagetti Monster said, in an announcement friday which referred to the portrayl of other religious icons such as the Ten Commandments on courthouse property, "I respect and am proud that on the people‚Äôs lawn, the county courthouse, all of these diverse beliefs can come together in a positive dialogue." Evangelical conservatives, widely understood not to get irony, are expected to miss the point entirely.
This Day in History

  • 1621: Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony sign a peace treaty with the local Wampanoag tribe.
  • 1622: One third of the colonists at Jamestown, Virginia are massacred by Native Americans of the Powhatan Confederacy.
And a couple of northwest items:
  • 1941: Grand Coulee Dam in Washington state begins producing electricity.
  • 1993: Intel begins shipping the first Pentium chips: 60Mhz! Yeah, baby!

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