Kung fu camp is always a good time, everyone is having a good time, the workout is intense, the setting is pristine. This year was no exception. This year added a couple little twists.
The form I learned this year was Continuous Broadsword. My first sword form, I was psyched to start swashbuckling my way across the field. The broadsword is tough. Lots of wrist strength and flexibility is needed, especially to flower. Allow Dan, a younger red sash (soon to be black sash) student, demonstrate:
Practicing that was fun. Here I am attempting to do what Dan does:
OK, yeah, I'm working on it. Anyway, after a late dinner, a few of us "ne'er do wells" decide to knock back a few cold ones. After getting pushed around by people wanting to sleep, we set up in the Tai Chi Field, used for the next morning (5:30 to be precise) practice. Sitting there, having a good time, but where are the stars? They were there a minute ago, right? What's that? A raindrop? Ah, let it pass. WOOSH! The skies open upon us and drench everything. Still cognesant that we have to keep the field free of bottles for the morning, we pack up and bolt for the safety of our tents. Except mine had no sleeping bag. Luckily, the buzz I had gave me about 4 - 5 hours of sleep.
So, the next day I'm going over the form, trying to do a toe kick/sword slash combo and I end up being my own target. In bare feet. Great. A little tape and I'm up on my feet, but the rest of the day was spent gingerly balancing on one foot.
Conservation Law Foundation said the companies had never gotten the necessary federal permits to allow their Vermont sites to release storm runoff into the environment.
Jim Pratt, senior vice president for operations at Agri-Mark's Cabot Creamery subsidiary, acknowledged that his company does not have the federal permit. He said that was because the state DEC, which is supposed to administer the federal permit system, hadn't set up a program to do that yet.
"Right now we have a valid state stormwater permit, have had for years," Pratt said. "We're fully cooperating with the state as they develop this (program for implementing the federal) regulation, so we fully comply."There are multiple types of stormwater permits, so Pratt's claim is a bit of a red herring, but still. They are doing what everyone else in the state is doing. Let's listen to the DEC:
"I find it a little frustrating quite frankly -- more than a little -- that as we get close finally to bringing this program to life in Vermont ... that CLF would litigate again," [Jeff] Wennberg [commissioner of the DEC] said. "Every problem is an opportunity for a lawsuit. That's the way they operate."
Ya think? I'm all for enforcement of the rules, and lawsuits if the existing laws are insufficient. However, these should be directed at the State, not the private sector. The DEC has sat on its ass for 15 years not doing its job. They should pay the price, not the schmoes who want to be in compliance.
The CLF has been a hinderance in improving water quality in the state. Lawsuit after lawsuit means that there is no permit progam, no process for cleanup to actually occur. If they really wanted to clean up the waters, stop the "fun" they have in the courtroom and get out there in the field and do something about it!
"Iraq as a political project is finished," a senior government official was quoted as saying, adding: "The parties have moved to plan B." He said that the Shia, Sunni and Kurdish parties were now looking at ways to divide Iraq between them and to decide the future of Baghdad, where there is a mixed population. "There is serious talk of Baghdad being divided into [Shia] east and [Sunni] west," he said.
But he painted a picture of a deeply divided administration in which senior Sunni members praised anti-government insurgents as "the heroic resistance".
In the past two weeks, at a time when Lebanon has dominated the international news, the sectarian civil war in central Iraq has taken a decisive turn for the worse. There have been regular tit-for-tat massacres and the death toll for July is likely to far exceed the 3,149 civilians killed in June.This has been a horrific month for stability, let alone peace in the middle east.
So my main job these days is to propose stormwater treatment systems for existing development (mostly condo complexes). It's aggrivating work, considering I have no formal education in stormwater remediation, have no one else in the office to ask questions about it (I'm the "expert"), and have no idea on how to answer Question Number 1: How Much Will This Cost Us? Well, it looks like I have an answer to three of my projects:
Residential developments with expired permits, but with residents' associations able to address the problem. The 21 condominium and single-family developments include Cardinal Woods, the Pinnacle at Spear and Stonehedge. Total estimated cleanup cost: $1.5 million.
I hope not. That's a large chunk of change for each neighborhood, when they have 100-200 houses to spread the cost over.
I'm not passing moral judgments here. I’ve never been able to turn a blind eye to the war crimes of one side or the other – rationalizing the suicide bomb that blows a bus full of Israeli civilians to bloody bits while crying tears of outrage over the destruction of a power plant that provides clean water to tens of thousands of Palestinian mothers and infants, or vice versa. To me, the conflict has long since come to resemble a war between lunatics, and one doesn’t pass moral judgments on the behavior of the insane, not even the criminally insane.
And then go on to analysis of the prelude:
If I had to pin it down, I would say the big difference between this crisis and similar past episodes is how completely off balance the Israelis seem to be – lurching from reaction to reaction without any clear plan or strategy. The Gaza incursion was thrown together, more or less on the fly, which led to some embarrassing public squabbling within the Israeli cabinet. The attempt to decapitate Hamas’s civilian leadership by arresting the entire Palestinian cabinet smacked of improvisation, and largely failed. Hezbollah’s intervention clearly took Jerusalem by surprise, which is probably why the response has been so disproportionate: the Israelis are rather desperately trying to regain the initiative.
What’s strange about this is that the Israelis started with the initiative, at least tactically. I’m told an incursion into Gaza was actually in the works before the Palestinian attack on the frontier post – although the original plan has been for a smaller search-and-destroy operation aimed at suppressing, or at least harassing, the Hamas rocketeers. Whether the Palestinians knew this and managed to get a jump, or were just lucky with the timing of their cross-border raid, the result is that the Israelis were left scrambling to come up with a response, and it showed.
Move on to the main course:
Three days in, and it looks like Israel is losing the war.
Not militarily, of course -- The IDF could turn Lebanon into a parking lot if it wanted to, and if it's willing to take enough casualties it can probably push Hezbollah away from the Israeli border and suppress the rocket attacks (or at least most of them.)
No, Israel is losing this war the same way it "lost" the October 1973 War -- by not crushing its enemies swiftly and completely, and then rubbing their faces in their own impotence and humilation.
Just the opposite: Today it was Israel that suffered the humilation of nearly losing one of its missile frigates to a warhead-carrying Hezbollah drone -- a threat the IDF apparently didn't even know existed.
Scary thoughts from emptywheel over at The Next Hurrah. It could be passed off as baseless speculation, but considering what we've been through the past 6 years, baseless speculation can be pretty rational these days.
Basically, it's her take on the recent Israeli/Hamas (and now Israeli/Hizbullah) conflict that we're not doing our part to cool this thing off in order to advance the neoconservative agenda (those who brought you the Iraq War). The neocon agenda these days means war with Iran. Think I'm crazy? Look at what Matt Drudge, the source for early, unconfirmed (read: misleading) reports:
Israel has information that Lebanese guerrillas who captured two Israeli soldiers are trying to transfer them to Iran, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said. Spokesman Mark Regev did not disclose the source of his information.
Now, being Drudge, there is no backup for this info, and I'd bet you a bottle of Laphroaig 30-year that it's false, but that's not the point. If this story gets into the mainstream (first on Fox News, then over to the rest of the cable networks, and then off it goes), there's our justification for a war with Iran.
I was so naive to think that the way we went to war in Iraq was underhanded...
I think that speech would do well followed up with Grandpa Simpson's "onion belt" story:
"We can’t bust heads like we used to, but we have our ways. One trick is to tell 'em stories that don’t go anywhere -- like the time I caught the ferry over to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe, so, I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on 'em. 'Give me five bees for a quarter,' you’d say.
"Now where were we? Oh yeah -- the important thing was that I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn’t have white onions because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones..."
1 lb. N. American 2-row
0.5 lb Munchender
0.5 lb Wheat
6 lbs. Munton's extra-light dry malt extract (DME)
0.5 oz Cluster @ 60 min (bittering)
0.5 oz Cluster @ 30 min (flavor)
1.0 oz Cascade @ 5 min (aroma)
Mash grains for 45 min @ 170 deg. F
Use Wyeast American Ale liquid yeast (#1056)
O.G. = 1.040 (75 deg. F)