Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Wednesday, December 14th, 2005.


Local News from Afar

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Uncategorized

Everyone in southeast Missouri goes to Johnson’s Shut-Ins in the summer. The “shut-ins” are a spot where the clear waters of the Black River have cut through ancient volcanic rock, forming a labyrinth of chutes, slides, gorges, potholes, waterfalls, and pools. The photo shows just a small portion of the shut-ins.

The Ameren power company says that the rupture that emptied its 50-acre reservoir on Proffit Mountain today released a billion gallons of water that flooded the shut-ins. The rocks themselves are, I assume, safe, but are the trees gone? I’d really like to know. And what about Elephant Rock?

Christopher Leonard of the Associated Press
reported that “in a matter of minutes the 50-acre reservoir had emptied itself out with terrifying effect, turning the surrounding area into a landscape of flattened trees and clay-covered grass. ‘We’ll never see anything like it in our lifetime again,’ paramedic Chris Hoover said.”

As tragedies go this one isn’t that big a deal, I suppose, considering that part of the Ozarks is sparsely populated (as you can see in this photo of the reservoir, pre-rupture). But this is one of the prettiest parts of the state of Missouri — or it was, before today. I’d like to know what happened. If anyone can provide details of what happened to local landmarks and towns, please add to the comments.

Update: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a photo gallery of the damage; see “related links” column to the right of this story.

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Today’s Dan Froomkin

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Bush Administration

Our Weenie in the White House:

Here’s a problem with following the president around all day long: Sometimes the story is where he’s not.

Reporting that President Bush steered clear of the White House’s own Conference on Aging yesterday — making him the first president ever to do so — fell to the regional newspapers and NPR, not the big guys.

It turns out that had Bush attended, he would have been facing a very hostile audience.

So instead, Bush held a photo-op with a hand-picked group of seniors at a swanky retirement home — and it was well covered by the usual suspects.

Be sure to read the rest of it — the Conference on Aging got hot.

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Brad DeLong Takes On John Harris

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blogging, News Media

Guess who wins?

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Poor Babies

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Religion

Our friend Miki is back, complaining that I am not properly concerned about the persecution of Christians.

I can show instance after instance in which Christians are being suppressed. It is not just in our heads. People have been thrown in jail, Churches have been locked by government officials, children have been and are being harrassed in school because of their beliefs and those of their parents.

You’re on, toots. The only oppression of Christians in this country of which I am aware has been at the hands of OTHER Christians. Here’s an example. But if you can find a SINGLE EXAMPLE of Christian Americans being oppressed by non-Christians, or of any government officials at federal, state, or local level locking churches or throwing Christians in jail because of their beliefs — not for something they did, like break a law — then please tell us. Tell us here. Provide links. That goes for anyone else breezing through this blog. Put up or shut up.

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Lies and More Lies

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Bush Administration, Iraq War, War on Terror, Weapons of Mass Destruction

This morning President Bush gave the last of his four speeches explaining the war in Iraq. So I listened and took notes, and gagged, all the time wishing he would please shut up. It was painful.

Today, he said, I want to talk about why we went into iraq, why we stayed in iraq, why we cannot leave iraq until victory is achieved. Then he proceded to spew out the same bullshit he’s been spewing for the past couple of years, cooked down into an impervious toxic soup.

September 11, September 11, and September 11, he said, taught us that we cannot depend on oceans and friendly neighbors to protect us. If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long.

We had to remove Saddam Hussein because he was a threat to our security, Bush said.

And how, pray tell, was he a threat to our security? He had had weapons of mass destruction, and he had used WMDs. (Yeah, in the distant past. )He had sponsored terrorists (but not al Qaeda), ordered planes patrolling the the no-fly zones to be shot down, he had declared the USA to be his enemy; he had refused to comply with more than a dozen UN resolutions (and this made him a threat to the United States …. how, exactly?).

He deceived international weapons inspectors
(and some of those inspectors have some pretty choice words for you, too, toots), and denied them unconditional access for them to do their job (not exactly what Hans Blix was saying on the eve of the March 2003 invasion).

Get this: The Security Council gave him one final chance, Bush said. He refused to comply. Like the Security Council made the decision to invade? I don’t think so. The US did not choose war, the choice was Saddam Hussein’s. Yeah, right.

My decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right decision,
Bush said. Breathtaking.

Then he went on for awhile about how we’re trying to build a peaceful and propserous Iraq, but those nasty rejectionists, Saddamists, and terrorists just won’t cooperate. Same stuff as in the last three speeches.

He compared the democratization of Iraq to the democratization of Japan after World War II, a comparison that fails massively on several levels — I’ve been meaning to get around to blogging about that; maybe today or tomorrow. Then he defiled the hallowed name of Harry S Truman by speaking it with his chimp mouth. I gagged some more.

He reintroduced his favorite, and most maddening, straw man — Some say our presence in iraq has made us more vulnerable to terrorism. These people must believe that if we were not in Iraq the terrorists would be leaving us alone.

Never mind that no one in politics, media, or the blogosphere — surely no one with two brain cells to rub together — actually makes that argument. But Bush carried his straw man further, reminding us of every act al Qaeda has perpetrated since the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. And of September 11, several times.

Finally (finally!) he got around to sniping at those who — irresponsibly — claim that intelligence was manipulated, or that he had misled us into war. Those people saw the same intelligence I did, Bush LIED, and they authorized the invasion of Iraq. Those people changing their minds is just pure politics.

Wow. Lots of presidents have lied to the American people — most of ’em, actually, at one time or another — but I’m not aware of any other president who has been such a bare-assed, consistent liar even after he’s been caught lying.

The audience at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC applauded a few times and seemed friendly enough, but Bush didn’t take questions this time.

I’ll keep my eye out for a transcript.

Update: Transcript here. Don’t read on a full stomach.

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