Ike

Jeff Masters:

Hurricane Ike is closing in on Texas, and stands poised to become one of the most damaging hurricanes of all time. Despite Ike’s rated Category 2 strength, the hurricane is much larger and more powerful than Category 5 Katrina or Category 5 Rita. The storm surge from Ike could rival Katrina’s, inundating a 200-mile stretch of coast from Galveston to Cameron, Louisiana with waters over 15 feet high. This massive storm surge is due to the exceptional size of Ike. According to the latest wind field estimate (Figure 1), the diameter of Ike’s tropical storm and hurricane force winds are 550 and 240 miles, respectively. For comparison, Katrina numbers at landfall were 440 and 210 miles, respectively. As I discussed in yesterday’s blog entry, a good measure of the storm surge potential is Integrated Kinetic Energy (IKE). Ike continues to grow larger and has intensified slightly since yesterday, and the hurricane’s Integrated Kinetic Energy has increased from 134 to 149 Terajoules. This is 30% higher than Katrina’s total energy at landfall. All this extra energy has gone into piling up a vast storm surge that will probably be higher than anything in recorded history along the Texas coast. Storm surge heights of 20-25 feet are possible from Galveston northwards to the Louisiana border. The Texas storm surge record is held by Hurricane Carla of 1961. Carla was a Category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds at landfall, and drove a 10 foot or higher storm surge to a 180-mile stretch of Texas coast. A maximum storm surge of 22 feet was recorded at Port Lavaca, Texas.

Please click to choose your preferred internet pricing plan

Net neutrality is important. You don’t want this future.

Couldn’t companies do a better job of advertising recalls?

The Consumerist:

Hey, contact lens wearers, according to a CDC survey, more than half of you have no clue that Advanced Medical Optics recalled their Complete MoisturePlus lens cleaner. The multipurpose solution fails to protect users from an amoeba that can cause acanthamoeba keratitis. Over 25% of users who contracted the infection required a corneal transplant, and if that doesn’t scare you, consider this quote from the CDC:

“This is just as serious as the fusarium outbreak,” said Lola Russell, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, referring to an outbreak of fungal eye infections last year that was linked to Bausch & Lomb’s ReNu with MoistureLoc lens cleaners.

Acanthamoeba keratitis

Looks harmless? Was it made in China?

Big Bird Fisher-Price Toy

MSNBC (hat-tip Bryan @ Why Now?):

WASHINGTON – Toy-maker Fisher-Price is recalling 83 types of toys — including the popular Big Bird, Elmo, Dora and Diego characters — because their paint contains excessive amounts of lead.

The worldwide recall being announced Thursday involves 967,000 plastic preschool toys made by a Chinese vendor and sold in the United States between May and August. It is the latest in a wave of recalls that has heightened global concern about the safety of Chinese-made products.

The recall is the first for Fisher-Price Inc. and parent company Mattel Inc. involving lead paint. It is the largest for Mattel since 1998 when Fisher-Price had to yank about 10 million Power Wheels from toy stores.

Poisoning Big Bird is not nice. Boo.

How many children have been exposed?

Related post:

Affairs of the nation

Liberty @ Corrente via Athenae @ First Draft:

I know I should not write on politics, but this hits me where I live. I was talking with a friend about his affair with a married woman whose husband is assigned away from the US. It is a sad story, and it is one I have heard mirrored many times. It is one with all the other stories that, like mad cats drawn from the same sack, scratch and claw at us. So forgive me being weak, and writing on a topic that should be forbidden to anyone who must by profession be faceless, blank and without core or surface soul. Forgive me for saying this.

Come home America, come home.

It is time to come home from distant wars against fictions and phantoms. It is time to come home to your wives who miss you, to your children who need you, to your families that feel the pain of missing souls.

It is time to come home America, home to the cities that have been flooded, the forests left untended, the fields left untilled. It is time to come home America, to the work left undone, the minds left unschooled. It is time to come America, to the home you did not leave behind, because no home ever lasts if left unrepaired.

It is time to come home America, and when you do, you will ask how you ever let that home be put into hands such as the ones that now have it. You will wonder at how they ever seemed to be giants, and on the back of which ant the cameras were mounted to make them look that way.

It is time America to come home. Home to the words which we written on parchment, printed on paper, but engraved on hearts and minds, with stylus of firearms, and ink mixed of blood and gunpowder: “when it becomes destructive to these ends… to alter or abolish it.”

Look at the man who wields the seal of 13 arrows and 13 stars, of 13 leaves and 13 olives, of 13 stripes and countless hopes and dreams. Ask yourself a single question: is he worthy of placing your sons lives in his hands? Hands that have signed so many laws unjust, unwise and unAmerican. Hands which have rubber stamped commands from other unelected. Ask yourself if his words are to be trusted, coming from the same mouth that has spat out so many of us on to the ground.

I have spent my life studying ruins, and I feel this home becoming one. I have spent my life studying kings, and know their portraits by heart. And in history’s wake I feel, I know and must believe because without this belief there is no hope in me: that all the crosses of gold and silver crowns, must in history’s turn be struck down. But I am not the one to do it, I can only call to you, who are still across the sea, or buried in your own affairs, to look up, and see. See that we are losing our America, from mountains blasted for blacker coal, to roads that crack and creak, to nursing wards for veterans that stink and reek, to schools that are dour and bleak.

Come home America, while there is yet time, let not the sands cover us, nor the waters wash us away. It is not out there that our freedom lives, but here. It is not a Vatican in Baghdad that we must build, but a shining city on hill which we must rebuild, our golden domes pealing, our silver stars tarnished, our private places violated by rude disruption, for an adventure we did not wish, nor want. Let dead caesars have their triumphs, let forgotten pharaohs have their obelisks. Let emperors have their might tombs, let them have them, one and all their arcs and boulevards.

Ask your son, your daughter, your wife, your lover. Each will tell you what I say here. “I don’t know why were are there, I just want you home.”

To our public servants I can only ask: “What do you think we changed the government for? We demanded only a few simple things. End the flow of corruption, end the war, and end the reign of error.” You have voted for another year for corruption to flow, already. You have not voted to end the war, yet. You have said that you will not act to remove those who have committed hight crimes and misdemeanors, ever. We sent you once to Washington, we can send you right back home again if you forget why we sent you there.

I don’t know what else to say, it is an old story, of Ulysses coming home, and cleaning the house of suitors that sought to suck the blood and treasure from his house and steal his wife. To servants who had forgotten their duties, and to all the animals save two that had forgotten his scent. He came home and bent his bow and slew the suitors on sight. But to bend his bow, the great hero first, had to come home.

Please, please, please. It is time to set right what has gone so horribly wrong.

“There’s a bomb in the building start clearing out”

Share and enjoy?

Some material may not be suitable for children

Extraordinary detention, extraordinary treatment, extraordinary disappearance

Hat-tip Monkeyfister.

Saturday afternoon movie

Let no man steal your thyme

If you use antibiotics on food, they will become ineffective as medicine

Intertubal convergence

NTodd, Sheldon Richman.

Interplanetary express:

Time to end “Most Favored Nation” status yet?

Children’s toys, above, poisoned with lead paint.

(Article from the Consumerist forwarded by my wife.)

Do you like milk?

Recommended viewing:

New Orleans not safer, not safe, not saved yet

Aspartame: Brought to you by Donald Rumsfeld

Stay away from artificial sweeteners.

An addictive synthetic neurotoxic stimulant ought to be regulated as a drug, not a food additive.

Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World.

Tuesday night movie

Major General Paul Eaton: George Bush does not listen to commanders

Do you clean yourself with petroleum? No, soap… Radio.

Hat-tip Tanya.

Did two or more persons conspire to start a war based upon knowing deception?

Hat-tip Len Hart.

This is quite strange and not suitable for all audiences.

Saturday night movie

Rightwing humor

Short reminder

The American constitution proclaimed democracy with the words, “We, the people.” Despite it having been drafted by some small number of men, and consecrated many injustices in the name of compromise, these opening words gave acknowledgment to the authority of the people to exercise sovereignty.

War. What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing.

Hat-tip Nicole Belle.

Save this city.

Hat-tip D.R. Scott.

Any questions?

Hat-tip Cory Doctorow.

Story of Rabbit

Hat-tip Neil Gaiman.

Recommended viewing:

More than a few loose ends

Rez Dog at Mockingbird’s Medley provides a good wrap-up of some very suspicious military deaths that require investigation. I’m copying the whole thing because I don’t want you to have to go farther than necessary to find out more information about each of these cases.

A petition worth your attention is one on behalf of PFC LaVena Johnson whose death in Iraq was ruled a suicide despite obvious signs of a beating. Read the whole story at Welcome to Pottersville. I found the story at Shakespeare’s Sister where Waveflux has been blogging the story for a while.

Here’s yet another suspicious set of circumstances that masks the reality that the chain of command would rather ignore. Here in Arizona, we have a similar military death, SPC Alyssa Petersen of Flagstaff, whose suicide came after she was displayed too much empathy with detainees and was unable to interrogate them as directed.

Arizona, of course, has the well-known case of fabricated events in the death of SPC Pat Tillman but everybody knows that. The less well-known are easily overlooked by the electronic circus that passes for news in this country. All the more reason for citizens to speak out and ask questions.

Copyright be damned, and torturers go to hell real quick

Terry Jones Here is Terry Jones. Via Why Now?

Call that humiliation?

No hoods. No electric shocks. No beatings. These Iranians clearly are a very uncivilised bunch

Terry Jones
Saturday March 31, 2007
The Guardian

I share the outrage expressed in the British press over the treatment of our naval personnel accused by Iran of illegally entering their waters. It is a disgrace. We would never dream of treating captives like this – allowing them to smoke cigarettes, for example, even though it has been proven that smoking kills. And as for compelling poor servicewoman Faye Turney to wear a black headscarf, and then allowing the picture to be posted around the world – have the Iranians no concept of civilised behaviour? For God’s sake, what’s wrong with putting a bag over her head? That’s what we do with the Muslims we capture: we put bags over their heads, so it’s hard to breathe. Then it’s perfectly acceptable to take photographs of them and circulate them to the press because the captives can’t be recognised and humiliated in the way these unfortunate British service people are.

It is also unacceptable that these British captives should be made to talk on television and say things that they may regret later. If the Iranians put duct tape over their mouths, like we do to our captives, they wouldn’t be able to talk at all. Of course they’d probably find it even harder to breathe – especially with a bag over their head – but at least they wouldn’t be humiliated.And what’s all this about allowing the captives to write letters home saying they are all right? It’s time the Iranians fell into line with the rest of the civilised world: they should allow their captives the privacy of solitary confinement. That’s one of the many privileges the US grants to its captives in Guantánamo Bay.

The true mark of a civilised country is that it doesn’t rush into charging people whom it has arbitrarily arrested in places it’s just invaded. The inmates of Guantánamo, for example, have been enjoying all the privacy they want for almost five years, and the first inmate has only just been charged. What a contrast to the disgraceful Iranian rush to parade their captives before the cameras!

What’s more, it is clear that the Iranians are not giving their British prisoners any decent physical exercise. The US military make sure that their Iraqi captives enjoy PT. This takes the form of exciting “stress positions”, which the captives are expected to hold for hours on end so as to improve their stomach and calf muscles. A common exercise is where they are made to stand on the balls of their feet and then squat so that their thighs are parallel to the ground. This creates intense pain and, finally, muscle failure. It’s all good healthy fun and has the bonus that the captives will confess to anything to get out of it.

And this brings me to my final point. It is clear from her TV appearance that servicewoman Turney has been put under pressure. The newspapers have persuaded behavioural psychologists to examine the footage and they all conclude that she is “unhappy and stressed”.

What is so appalling is the underhand way in which the Iranians have got her “unhappy and stressed”. She shows no signs of electrocution or burn marks and there are no signs of beating on her face. This is unacceptable. If captives are to be put under duress, such as by forcing them into compromising sexual positions, or having electric shocks to their genitals, they should be photographed, as they were in Abu Ghraib. The photographs should then be circulated around the civilised world so that everyone can see exactly what has been going on.

As Stephen Glover pointed out in the Daily Mail, perhaps it would not be right to bomb Iran in retaliation for the humiliation of our servicemen, but clearly the Iranian people must be made to suffer – whether by beefing up sanctions, as the Mail suggests, or simply by getting President Bush to hurry up and invade, as he intends to anyway, and bring democracy and western values to the country, as he has in Iraq.

· Terry Jones is a film director, actor and Python
www.terry-jones.net

Do you prefer plagues of locusts?

We all have one father and he does not want us to kill one another.

Look it up!

The preacher on that page reinterprets things in his own dark image, to invert plain meanings with deft commentary. Read with care. Judge every tree by the fruit thereof.

Harry Reid tells George Bush: “You listen to the American people for a change.”

Hat-tip Maha.

Don’t tell anyone you read this

Radley Balko:

Bully to the Washington Post for publishing the anonymous op-ed by the lawyer who received one of the FBI’s national security letters. Remember, this guy wasn’t even under suspicion. One of his clients was (though apparently, not anymore). Nevertheless, his life was was thrown into disarray. Jim Henley’s right–here’s the most disturbing passage of an already disturbing essay:

Living under the gag order has been stressful and surreal. Under the threat of criminal prosecution, I must hide all aspects of my involvement in the case — including the mere fact that I received an NSL — from my colleagues, my family and my friends. When I meet with my attorneys I cannot tell my girlfriend where I am going or where I have been. I hide any papers related to the case in a place where she will not look. When clients and friends ask me whether I am the one challenging the constitutionality of the NSL statute, I have no choice but to look them in the eye and lie.

Requiring people to become secret informers is not a hallmark of a free society.

Ever seen a sandstorm?

Ellroon says, “Try fighting in this.”

A real problem for somebody

You have your own voice. Use it.

Remembering the future

Where do you think you’re going?

What color do you think polar bears should be?

Pelusa
Photo credit: Associated Press

Read more from Mark H.

Hat-tip Mike.

iRaq is not an Apple product

Do not watch this video. It is evil.

Recommended listening:

Judge the tree by the fruit thereof

You do not have to eat poison, and you can be sure that if you consume enough of some things you will die.

Some things are so benign you can eat them without limitation and become healthier.

Recognize the difference.

First they hurt our children, then deny them medicine

Yesterday, Shakes wrote,

I missed it last night, but watched the whole thing in six pieces on ABC’s website: In an Instant: The IED Explosion, Bob Woodruff’s 36-Day Coma, Wounded Warriors, Are We Ready for Our Injured?, The Human Cost of War, and Woodruff’s Closing Thoughts. It’s absolutely staggering, and I highly recommend it, with the warning that it is deeply upsetting, so be prepared. But it’s a must-see. Truly.

I finally finished watching it today, and recommend you watch the whole thing from beginning to end.

Incidentally, I read that veterans overwhelmingly support medical marijuana. For the pain and suffering that it can relieve those suffering traumatic brain injuries, nothing else in the world would help more.

I’m very happy for Bob Woodruff and his family, and glad that he received the best quality medical care in the world. But people not so visible in the public eye are more likely to fall through the cracks, and those with internal brain damage are hard to treat with any technique; often the risks in trying to correct it with surgery are higher than the damage could possibly justify if we even had the diagnostic capability to know precisely what was wrong in all cases. Cannabis helps the neurons in the brain that still work.

Briefly noted

Henry Edward Hardy points to a report from Simon Tisdall in the Guardian today,

An elite team of officers advising the US commander, General David Petraeus, in Baghdad has concluded that they have six months to win the war in Iraq – or face a Vietnam-style collapse in political and public support that could force the military into a hasty retreat.

That’s only one Friedman Unit away. All snark aside, it’s not good for American soldiers to be put in this situation, which could rapidly turn into a meat grinder if their supply lines get cut, especially with the British now withdrawing from the south of Iraq. I’d give some credit to the administration if they’d withdraw under the pretense of a surge, but I don’t rate it as being very likely.

TBM experiment

Hat-tip Radley Balko.

Short warning

Public safety be damned, Lubbock would rather have revenue. Radley Balko has the story.

Smears

Adult content

Hat-tip Ellroon.

Spice for the recipe