Friday, March 30, 2007

Teach Bush To Google

Here's a frightening sign of how bad things are in the Bush White House. In today's Washington Post reporter Peter Baker reports on the recent staff exits at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The director of strategic initiatives, the counsel, the political director--each is fleeing the S.S. Bush, as chief of staff Joshua Bolten says this all part of the "natural ebb and flow." The departed include Thomas Graham, Bush's top Russia adviser. In recounting all these escapes, Baker writes:

The departures take their toll, though. Bush was embarrassed to learn that a Russian general he hosted in the Oval Office this week has been accused of war crimes in Chechnya. Some officials suggested that would not have slipped onto his calendar had Graham, a veteran Moscow watcher, still been at the National Security Council.

Now this is what's scary. You don't need to be a "veteran Moscow watcher" to know that that Vladimir Shamanov--the Russian general Bush had to the White House--is a suspected war criminal. Type his name into Google and the first reference is his Wikipedia entry, which starts,

Vladimir Shamanov is a governor of the Ulyanovsk region of Russian Federation. Shamanov is a Major General in the Soviet and Russian Army, awarded with title of Hero of Russia. He has been criticized by human-rights groups for failing to control his troops in military actions during the Second Chechen War.

War Crimes Accusations

When he was a commander in the North Caucasus (Chechnya) region, he was awarded the Hero of the Russian Federation title for actions around the village of Alkhan-Yurt. However, Human Rights Watch have asked the Russian government to open an investigation into the incident, which HRW has declared a "massacre."

The "War Crimes Accusations" heading does appear in bold on that page.

Most sentient White House staffers would realize it might be problematic for Bush to meet with a general accused of overseeing a massacre. Isn't it SOP for White House staff to vet visitors and brief Bush about the foreign officials he invites to the White House? So even if Bush's top Russia guy had split, an intern could have Googled the general and prevented Bush from rubbing elbows with a fellow with bloody hands. If the White House cannot get something like this right, the Bush administration--and the country--is really in trouble. After all, anyone who wages war in the 21st Century really ought to know how to use the Internet.

Posted by David Corn at March 30, 2007 10:40 AM


Saladin said...

Here is an interesting article on fluorescent bulbs.

Lew Rockwell

Flakey Fluorescents

by Christopher M. Montalbano

Michael Tennant recently wrote about proposed legislation in California and Washington, D.C. to ban incandescent light bulbs in order to save energy. Australia passed such legislation in February, the European Union is clearly only weeks from doing the same, and it appears that Canada will not be far behind. I have read that the first to issue such a diktat was Fidel Castro, about two years ago, quickly followed by the same action from Hugo Chavez.

Mr. Tennant's article dealt only obliquely with the claim that use of fluorescent replacements for standard incandescent lamp bulbs will result in a net savings for consumers. He wrote: "One of the new light bulbs that we will be compelled to purchase under this legislation will last for 6 years and save the purchaser $22 over its lifetime (or so says the manufacturer, who would never, ever exaggerate the alleged benefits of his product)." Precious words.

But I have read at least 2 dozen articles and op-ed pieces on this subject over the last few weeks, and none of the writers ever asked anyone who has tried these new bulbs how much money he saved, or reported his own personal experience with them.

I, like Benjamin Franklin, "love economy exceedingly," so for the last quarter-century or so I have, now and then, tried to save on my electric bills by buying fluorescents. The results have been dismal. For about the last 10 years I have been keeping close track, after finally noticing that there was something funny going on. I discovered that almost exactly 1/2 of the fluorescent bulbs I bought, that were supposed to last for 5–6 years, went dead within 3–6 weeks. I just looked up "fluorescent light bulbs" on Wikipedia (much as I dislike that site), and read: "Modern CFLs [compact fluorescent lamps] typically have a life span specified between 8,000 and 15,000 hours. Typical domestic incandescent bulbs are similarly specified to have a life of 1000 hours. These lifetimes are often specified according to IEC60969, which specifies that "life to 50% of failures shall be not less than value declared by the manufacturer" (emphasis mine). Hmm... 50%. What a coincidence. The incandescent bulbs I was using, on the other hand, ALL lasted for many months. After paying twelve times the price for bulbs meant to save five times the electricity, and losing half almost immediately, the savings are hard to see. It is also infuriating to have to change dead bulbs out so often. To avoid such work was another reason I had wanted to try the new bulbs.

When I called around to my local light bulb retailers, a couple of salesmen rather reluctantly confessed to me that these fluorescent table-lamp substitute bulbs typically die quickly if often turned off and on. And Wikipedia just told me: "The lifespan of a fluorescent lamp is not related to the number of hours it is on, but the number of times it is turned on." Well, then, would somebody please explain to me why the six 48", 40W, old-fashioned tube fluorescents in my garage, on the same on-off switch as my 15 watt CFLs, have survived 6 years of the same off-and-on, while over half the 15-watters have lasted three weeks? There's something funny going on here.

Mr. Tennant also let us know about some of the folks that are backing this new legislation: "What does matter to Congress is that all the big guns in the lighting industry are behind this legislation, sending hefty contributions to politicians in exchange for politicians’ regulating their competitors out of business. The biggest promoter of the ban-the-bulb bill is Philips Electronics, which just so happens to be planning on phasing out production of incandescent bulbs by 2016. By forcing its competitors to do the same thing, Philips need not fear a loss of revenue to producers of cheaper incandescent bulbs."

That reminded me of something else that seemed a little funny to me long ago. Back in the 1970s I rented a house which had a pantry with a light switch that was hard to find in the dark. So I never turned off the single incandescent bulb that was there, and was lit, when I moved in. Two years later, the bulb went out. When I went to replace it, I was curious as to who had made such a long-lasting bulb. All I remember is the words "Made in Hungary." How the previous tenant had come by it at the height of the cold war I have no idea. I had already read by that time of the problem that Soviet and eastern European communist republics had, that workers would bring their dead light bulbs to their workplaces and screw them in, in place of the live ones they found, and then take the live ones home. It seemed to me likely that some intelligent socialist industrial functionary had come up with an idea that would at least mitigate the cost of this problem – make a long-lasting bulb. I wished at the time that there could be some incentive in my country to produce long-lasting light bulbs. Free market, maybe?

About 15 years later, when the iron curtain fell, I read a news story about the rush of western companies to invest in the newly-capitalist lands. The first mention of such action in the story was of the purchase by General Electric of a light-bulb factory in Hungary. I kid you not. Well, GE bulbs don't last any longer now than they did then. There's something funny about all this.

Well, I am still ready and eager to buy long-lasting energy-saving light bulbs. Maybe the new LED bulbs will fit the bill. But I'm not holding my breath.

March 30, 2007
I have to admit, whenever the govt. steps in to regulate something I always look for the money behind it. It is almost never in the best interests of anything other than profit for someone. I seriously doubt if these bulbs are any better than the old ones. They are more expensive and are most efficient when left on all the time. So much for energy conservation.

capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

"it might be problematic for Bush to meet with a general accused of overseeing a massacre."

Really? What would be the problem? I think I remember Bunnypants meeting with some very bad players (boiling people in oil comes to mind). The MSM and Washington press corps will not say much and nobody is going to say "NO" to the decider.

Thanks for all of your work!


capt said...

American Mugabe

If Americans could get beyond their training, beyond Rove’s marketing campaign, and beyond the psychological horrors of first degree cognitive dissonance, what they’d see is a president who – like Mugabe in Zimbabwe – came to town to fill his pockets, and just as fast as he could.

And they’d see a president who knew precisely what he was doing, and as such took every conceivable precaution to make sure his tracks were covered, and that no criminal justice institution could touch him.

But justice might just find him, after all.

I don’t think the American public is in any mood now to make him Senator for Life, with full immunity privileges, like Chile did to buy out Pinochet. And I don’t think the next president – even a Republican (yeah, right) – is going to be much inclined to throw a pardon in the direction of this radioactive sinking ship of a larcenous former president, this Enron of the Oval Office.

Watch out. With any luck, American Mugabe might just become American Milosevic


*****end of clip*****

h/t Pat!

Right on the money.


micki said...


Recycling old light bulbs, etc.

What can I do about global warming?

Your choices have a measurable impact. The decisions you make every day on electricity use and transportation, as well as the waste you generate, can affect global climate change. According to EPA estimates, about 32 percent of emissions are within the direct control of individual consumers (the rest involve the energy consumption of offices, agricultural uses, and so forth). And in the U.S., where more greenhouse gases are emitted per person than in any other country, this is an important step. By making the right choices, you can lessen your contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and often save money at the same time.

micki said...

Q & A ON CFLs -- no one is trying to hide anything!!!!

capt said...

Melamine in pet food, wheat gluten from China : FDA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. officials said on Friday that melamine, a chemical found in fertilizers in Asia and which should not be in pet food in any amounts, has been detected in the wheat gluten used by Canada-based Menu Foods.

The FDA said the wheat gluten in question came from a company in China, and was not known to be used in any human food yet.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration official Stephen Sundlof said during a press conference that melamine was found in the urine of dead cats. Though its presence is undeniable, it has not been determined to cause sickness or deaths in pets, he said.

Melamine should not be in pet food in any amounts, Sundlof added.


*****end of clip*****

"Melamine is manufactured by mixing urea with formaldehyde under heat and pressure."

I think these guys are grasping at straws. I just hope everybody that has pets have not had any trouble.


capt said...

Coalition Calls for End of Incandescent Light Bulb

The incandescent light bulb should go the way of outdated inventions like the coal-burning locomotive, says an energy coalition that advocates a widespread change to more energy efficient lights, compact fluorescent bulbs and light-emitting diodes.

The newly formed Lighting Efficiency Coalition, which includes companies such as Philips Lighting, environmental groups such as the Earth Day Network, and elected officials, is pushing for a "sweeping transformation of the U.S. marketplace towards energy efficient lighting products by the year 2016," said coalition member Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

Incandescent bulbs currently consume 42 percent of the electricity generated in the United States, but only provide 12 percent of the country’s artificial light, said Bryan Dundan, a Philips Lighting vice president. (Most of the electricity consumed by the bulb is emitted as heat.)

"This huge and expensive waste of energy should come to an end," Dundan said.

Instead of incandescent lights, coalition members advocate implementing technologies already available today, such as compact fluorescent lights, halogen lights, and light emitting diodes (LEDs), which require less electricity to produce the same amount of light as an incandescent bulb.

Using more energy-efficient bulbs will lower consumers’ energy bills, reduce air pollution that is contributing to global warming and extend the nation’s energy supplies, the coalition said.

According to Illinois Rep. Don Manzullo, the public can save $18 billion a year in energy costs if the switch to more energy efficient lighting is made.

The lighting overhaul would also eliminate the need to build more polluting coal-burning plants—the reduction in energy demand would be equivalent to the annual production of up to 80 coal-burning plants, Dundan said.

Last month, the Australian government announced a plan to gradually phase out incandescent lights.


Carey said...

From the last thread: Hajji, lovely posts. Again, WELCOME HOME SPANKY.

Yes, now comes the really hard part of observing what the illegal occupation and the demons of war have done to Grant. That is no small or easy task.

I wish your family all the strength and love you need.


I saw this juicy article that appears to flesh out some of David Corn's book, Hubris, on the Niger episode. I'd love to know what Corn thinks of it. Posted in What Really Happened, it reads and looks quite reasonable. There are hints that the Italians deliberately forged the documents to please Bush and Cheney, among other meaty tidbits.

Yellowcake Dossier Not the Work of the CIA

capt said...

Flashback: When Bush Joked About Missing WMD at Journo Dinner in 2004

The Associated Press review was equally jovial: "President Bush poked fun at his staff, his Democratic challenger and himself Wednesday night at a black-tie dinner where he hobnobbed with the news media." In fact, it is hard to find any immediate account of the affair that raised questions about the president's slide show. Many noted that the WMD jokes were met with general and loud laughter.

The reporters covering the gala were apparently as swept away with laughter as the guests. One of the few attendees to criticize the president's gag, David Corn of The Nation, tells me he heard not a single complaint from his colleagues at the after-party. Corn wondered if they would have laughed if President Reagan, following the truck bombing of our Marines barracks in Beirut, which killed 241, had said at a similar dinner: "Guess we forgot to put in a stop light."

The backlash, such as it is, that has emerged since has come not from many in the media, but from Democrats -- and some Iraq veterans. But don't expect any public second thoughts from most attendees. After all, many of them also sold the public a bill of goods on WMD. No kidding.


*****end of clip*****

I am happy we have DC - seems like one of the only real people to attend.


capt said...

Radio telescope produces first light

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., March 30 (UPI) -- Astronomers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory say the prototype of a revolutionary new radio telescope has produced its "first light."

The Long Wavelength Array, which will be built in New Mexico, produced images of a black hole and the remnant of a star that exploded in a supernova over 300 years ago.

"First light" is an astronomical term for the first image produced with a telescope. It is a key milestone for any telescope because it indicates that all of the individual components are working in unison as planned, astronomers said in a release.

The LWA will be able to make sensitive high-resolution images and scan the sky rapidly for new and transient sources of radio waves, which might represent the explosion of distant stars, emissions from distant planets or even previously unknown objects or phenomena, the release said.

"The LWA will allow us to make the sharpest images ever possible using very long wavelength radio waves," said astronomer Namir Kassim. "This newly opened window on the universe will help us understand the acceleration of relativistic particles in a variety of extreme astrophysical environments including from the most distant supermassive black holes."


*****end of clip*****

One more for us nerds! First light LWA is actually very cool.


Carey said...

Last night on Larry King, David Iglesias, one of the fired attorneys, said he learned the real reason he got canned. An indictment in New Mexico had just been handed down to the former Democratic Speaker of the House alleging corruption. This is the guy targeted in the investigations Sen. Dominici (sp) and Heather Wilson called Iglesias about.

Of course, that made me think of Capt. and all his discussions of Ms. Heather.

Manipulating Justice to win elections

As we reported in Salon beginning more than a week ago, the Bush administration's partisan grip on the Department of Justice has reached well beyond the U.S. attorneys fired en masse last year. Over the past six years, the administration maneuvered to spread voter-fraud fears and recast the Civil Rights Division -- doing so in ways "that clearly were intended to influence the outcome of elections," as Joseph Rich, the former chief of the voting section in the Civil Right Division, affirms in an Op-Ed in today's Los Angeles Times.

Rich's indictment is particularly damning in details exposing a thumb-on-the-scales evaluation process for career Justice Department lawyers -- the same bogus process that reared its ugly face with Kyle Sampson's hit list in the U.S. attorneys scandal. Rich, a 35-year veteran of the Justice Department who served until 2005, explains what happened to career public servants who disagreed with loyal Bush appointees: "Seven career managers were removed in the civil rights division," he writes. "I personally was ordered to change performance evaluations of several attorneys under my supervision. I was told to include critical comments about those whose recommendations ran counter to the political will of the administration and to improve evaluations of those who were politically favored."

Sound familiar?

"At the same time," Rich continues, "career staff were nearly cut out of the process of hiring lawyers. Control of hiring went to political appointees, so an applicant's fidelity to GOP interests replaced civil rights experience as the most important factor in hiring decisions."

As Rich notes, this was an extraordinary departure from past practice. "I worked for attorneys general with dramatically different political philosophies -- from John Mitchell to Ed Meese to Janet Reno. Regardless of the administration, the political appointees had respect for the experience and judgment of longtime civil servants," Rich says. "Under the Bush administration, however, all that changed."

Meanwhile, the damage to the public trust has been grave, says one of the fired U.S. attorneys. "Once you have given the public a reason to believe some of your decisions are improperly motivated, then they are going to question every decision you have made, or make in the future," Bud Cummins, the U.S. attorney forced out of his post in Arkansas, told me in a recent e-mail. "You only get one chance to hold on to your credibility, and my team, who hold temporary custody of DOJ, has blown it in this case," he said. "DOJ will be paying for it for some time to come."

-- Mark Follman

capt said...

Too few good men

Those not familiar with fired New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias might be interested to know:

"In 1986, he was one of three JAGs who represented Marines accused of attempted murder for a hazing incident that their lawyers argued was encouraged by commanders at Guantanamo Bay. The successful defense helped the Marines avoid serious penalties, and the case inspired the hit Broadway play ‘A Few Good Men’ and the later film. Iglesias was not consulted during the production of the play or movie."


*****end of clip*****

Mr. Iglesias seems like a good guy and one to whom the truth matters. I listened to a bit of the questioning yesterday and was surprised at the immaturity and ineptitude of Sampson.


capt said...

"America is a quarter of a billion people totally misinformed and disinformed by their government. This is tragic but our media is -- I wouldn't even say corrupt -- it's just beyond telling us anything that the government doesn't want us to know."
Gore Vidal
Constant apprehension of war has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force with an overgrown executive will not long be safe. companions to liberty. --
Thomas Jefferson
They hang the man and flog the woman
That steal the goose from off the common,
But let the greater villain loose
That steals the common from the goose.
The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common'
And geese will still a common lack
Till they go and steal it back.
English folk poem, circa 1764

Thanks ICH Newsletter!

Saladin said...

Show me the math. I'm all for saving money and conserving energy, but it looks like these figures are being pulled out of a hat. LED's and CFL's are two entirely different things. I have looked high and low for some info. on the actual energy usage required in just the manufacture of the CFL's but have found nothing except for dogma. Surely someone has some accurate figures. Hiding and withholding info. are not the same thing. The article I posted brought up some legitimate concerns and I am trying to follow up.

David B. Benson said...

Saladin --- It is even more complicated than that. Somewhere I read that the recycling cost for CFLs is estimated to be $0.20--0.50 per light.

Some of that is energy costs as well...

capt said...

Bob Geiger Saturday Cartoons!

Always a good time and worth the trip.


capt said...

John Nichols: Time is right for impeachment vote

Stoughton will vote next Tuesday on the audacious question of whether the president and vice president of the United States should be impeached.

It won't be the first community in the nation to do so. Earlier this month, more than three dozen town meetings in Vermont did so, and cities across the country have held referendums calling for Congress to hold President Bush and Vice President Cheney to account for manipulating the intelligence that led this country into an unnecessary war, for authorizing warrantless wiretaps and other forms of spying, for encouraging torture and extraordinary rendition, for seeking to punish political critics, and for other acts that would seem to fit under the heading of "high crimes and misdemeanors."

But it seems as if Stoughton may be voting at precisely the right moment.


*****end of clip*****

"precisely the right moment."

Or late - either way I wish the scared finger-in-the-wind D's would get on board.


capt said...

Suicide attacks kill at least 181 Iraqis

BAGHDAD (AP) - Radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr issued a scathing attack on the United States today, after one of the country’s bloodiest days, blaming Washington for Iraq’s troubles and calling for a mass demonstration April 9 - the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad.

As al-Sadr’s remarks were read in a mosque, Shiites in Baghdad loaded wooden coffins into vans and shoveled broken glass and other debris into wheelbarrows in the aftermath of a double suicide bombing at a marketplace. At least 181 people were killed or found dead yesterday as Sunni insurgents apparently stepped up their campaign of bombings to derail the seven-week-old security sweep in Baghdad.

"There is a race between the government and the terrorists who are trying to make people reach the level of despair," said Sami al-Askari, an aide to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. "But the government is doing its best to defeat terrorists, and it definitely will not be affected by these bombings."


capt said...

George Bush’s Land Mine:

If the Iraqi People Get Revenue Sharing, They Lose Their Oil to Exxon

George Bush has a land mine planted in the supplemental appropriation legislation working its way through Congress.

The Iraq Accountability Act passed by the House and the companion bill passed in the Senate contain deadlines for withdrawing our troops from Iraq, in open defiance of the President’s repeated objections.

He threatens a veto, but he might well be bluffing. Buried deep in the legislation and intentionally obscured is a near-guarantee of success for the Bush Administration’s true objective of the war-capturing Iraq’s oil-and George Bush will not casually forego that.

This bizarre circumstance is the end-game of the brilliant, ever-deceitful maneuvering by the Bush Administration in conducting the entire scenario of the "global war on terror."

The supplemental appropriation package requires the Iraqi government to meet a series of "benchmarks" President Bush established in his speech to the nation on January 10 (in which he made his case for the "surge"). Most of Mr. Bush’s benchmarks are designed to blame the victim, forcing the Iraqis to solve the problems George Bush himself created.

One of the President’s benchmarks, however, stands apart. This is how the President described it: "To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country’s economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis." A seemingly decent, even noble concession. That’s all Mr. Bush said about that benchmark, but his brevity was gravely misleading, and it had to be intentional.

The Iraqi Parliament has before it today, in fact, a bill called the hydrocarbon law, and it does call for revenue sharing among Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds. For President Bush, this is a must-have law, and it is the only "benchmark" that truly matters to his Administration.

Yes, revenue sharing is there-essentially in fine print, essentially trivial. The bill is long and complex, it has been years in the making, and its primary purpose is transformational in scope: a radical and wholesale reconstruction-virtual privatization-of the currently nationalized Iraqi oil industry.

If passed, the law will make available to Exxon/Mobil, Chevron/Texaco, BP/Amoco, and Royal Dutch/Shell about 4/5’s of the stupendous petroleum reserves in Iraq. That is the wretched goal of the Bush Administration, and in his speech setting the revenue-sharing "benchmark" Mr. Bush consciously avoided any hint of it.

The legislation pending now in Washington requires the President to certify to Congress by next October that the benchmarks have been met-specifically that the Iraqi hydrocarbon law has been passed. That’s the land mine: he will certify the American and British oil companies have access to Iraqi oil. This is not likely what Congress intended, but it is precisely what Mr. Bush has sought for the better part of six years.

It is why we went to war.


*****end of clip*****

"Operation Iraqi Liberation" = OIL


capt said...

This Week in Babylon

Friend of The Nation?

Speaking of magazines that should know better, The Nation posted an article on its website by Ricardo Alarcon, president of Cuba's National Assembly, which paid tribute to C. Wright Mills on the 45th anniversary of his death. Alarcon notes that the great sociologist was harassed by the FBI and "paid a high price for his passionate love of truth." It also recalls that Fidel Castro offered Mills refuge in Cuba to recover from a heart attack.
That's a little like Kim Jong Il writing an editorial on the Bush Administration’s nuclear policy. The Nation’s David Corn rightly trashed Alarcon’s story on his blog, writing:

Mills was hounded for challenging the conventional wisdom of his day. But Alarcon's concern for the plight of this one author is comical—in a dark fashion—for he heads a government that does not allow its citizens to challenge openly the conventional wisdom of the Castro regime. There is no free press in Alarcon's country, no freedom of expression. There is no "passionate love of truth" among the rulers of Cuba. Alarcon is crying for Mills, while his government does even worse to Cuban writers than the FBI did to Mills.


*****end of clip*****

And rightly so. Mr. Corn's observations were unavoidable. All countries should have a press that is free and open to worship the dear leader - even Amerika! Heil Bunnypants lord and master of the truth and freedom of the press!


micki said...

We've had an entirely different experience with CFLs than the author of the article cited above.

Because of some very hard to reach ceiling light fixtures in our family room/kitchen/eating area, a very tall fellow with a very tall ladder, replaced our ICs with CFLs going on 7 years ago. WE HAVE NOT HAD TO REPLACE A SINGLE CFL -- they are still serving us very, very well.

capt said...

New Material Removes Pollutants From Air

In addition to nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides, many volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in air contribute to smog and high ozone levels, as well as potentially damaging human health. Clean-air laws are thus rightly continuing to become stricter. Most modern air-purification systems are based on photocatalysts, adsorbents such as activated charcoal, or ozonolysis.

However, these classic systems are not particularly good at breaking down organic pollutants at room temperature. Japanese researchers have now developed a new material that very effectively removes VOCs as well as nitrogen- and sulfur oxides from air at room temperature. As they report in the journal Angewandte Chemie, their system involves a highly porous manganese oxide with gold nanoparticles grown into it.

To prove the effectiveness of their new catalyst, the research team headed by Anil K. Sinha at the Toyota Central R&D Labs carried out tests with acetaldehyde, toluene, and hexane. These three major components of organic air pollution play a role indoors as well as out. All three of these pollutants were very effectively removed from air and degraded by the catalyst—significantly better than with conventional catalyst systems.


*****end of clip*****

Good news - Great filter. One draw-back it's made of gold!


David B. Benson said...

Only nanoparticles of gold.

Not even gold dust...


capt said...

Call that humiliation?

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

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!


capt said...

Are We Politicians or Citizens?

As I write this, Congress is debating timetables for withdrawal from Iraq. In response to the Bush Administration’s "surge" of troops, and the Republicans’ refusal to limit our occupation, the Democrats are behaving with their customary timidity, proposing withdrawal, but only after a year, or eighteen months. And it seems they expect the anti-war movement to support them.

That was suggested in a recent message from MoveOn, which polled its members on the Democrat proposal, saying that progressives in Congress, "like many of us, don’t think the bill goes far enough, but see it as the first concrete step to ending the war."

Ironically, and shockingly, the same bill appropriates $124 billion in more funds to carry the war. It’s as if, before the Civil War, abolitionists agreed to postpone the emancipation of the slaves for a year, or two years, or five years, and coupled this with an appropriation of funds to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act.

When a social movement adopts the compromises of legislators, it has forgotten its role, which is to push and challenge the politicians, not to fall in meekly behind them.

We who protest the war are not politicians. We are citizens. Whatever politicians may do, let them first feel the full force of citizens who speak for what is right, not for what is winnable, in a shamefully timorous Congress.

Timetables for withdrawal are not only morally reprehensible in the case of a brutal occupation (would you give a thug who invaded your house, smashed everything in sight, and terrorized your children a timetable for withdrawal?) but logically nonsensical. If our troops are preventing civil war, helping people, controlling violence, then why withdraw at all? If they are in fact doing the opposite—provoking civil war, hurting people, perpetuating violence—they should withdraw as quickly as ships and planes can carry them home.

It is four years since the United States invaded Iraq with a ferocious bombardment, with "shock and awe." That is enough time to decide if the presence of our troops is making the lives of the Iraqis better or worse. The evidence is overwhelming. Since the invasion, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died, and, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, about two million Iraqis have left the country, and an almost equal number are internal refugees, forced out of their homes, seeking shelter elsewhere in the country.

Yes, Saddam Hussein was a brutal tyrant. But his capture and death have not made the lives of Iraqis better, as the U.S. occupation has created chaos: no clean water, rising rates of hunger, 50 percent unemployment, shortages of food, electricity, and fuel, a rise in child malnutrition and infant deaths. Has the U.S. presence diminished violence? On the contrary, by January 2007 the number of insurgent attacks has increased dramatically to 180 a day.

The response of the Bush Administration to four years of failure is to send more troops. To add more troops matches the definition of fanaticism: If you find you’re going in the wrong direction, redouble your speed. It reminds me of the physician in Europe in the early nineteenth century who decided that bloodletting would cure pneumonia. When that didn’t work, he concluded that not enough blood had been let.

The Congressional Democrats’ proposal is to give more funds to the war, and to set a timetable that will let the bloodletting go on for another year or more. It is necessary, they say, to compromise, and some anti-war people have been willing to go along. However, it is one thing to compromise when you are immediately given part of what you are demanding, if that can then be a springboard for getting more in the future. That is the situation described in the recent movie The Wind That Shakes The Barley, in which the Irish rebels against British rule are given a compromise solution—to have part of Ireland free, as the Irish Free State. In the movie, Irish brother fights against brother over whether to accept this compromise. But at least the acceptance of that compromise, however short of justice, created the Irish Free State. The withdrawal timetable proposed by the Democrats gets nothing tangible, only a promise, and leaves the fulfillment of that promise in the hands of the Bush Administration.

There have been similar dilemmas for the labor movement. Indeed, it is a common occurrence that unions, fighting for a new contract, must decide if they will accept an offer that gives them only part of what they have demanded. It’s always a difficult decision, but in almost all cases, whether the compromise can be considered a victory or a defeat, the workers have been given some thing palpable, improving their condition to some degree. If they were offered only a promise of something in the future, while continuing an unbearable situation in the present, it would not be considered a compromise, but a sellout. A union leader who said, "Take this, it’s the best we can get" (which is what the MoveOn people are saying about the Democrats’ resolution) would be hooted off the platform.

I am reminded of the situation at the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, when the black delegation from Mississippi asked to be seated, to represent the 40 percent black population of that state. They were offered a "compromise"—two nonvoting seats. "This is the best we can get," some black leaders said. The Mississippians, led by Fannie Lou Hamer and Bob Moses, turned it down, and thus held on to their fighting spirit, which later brought them what they had asked for. That mantra—"the best we can get"—is a recipe for corruption.

It is not easy, in the corrupting atmosphere of Washington, D.C., to hold on firmly to the truth, to resist the temptation of capitulation that presents itself as compromise. A few manage to do so. I think of Barbara Lee, the one person in the House of Representatives who, in the hysterical atmosphere of the days following 9/11, voted against the resolution authorizing Bush to invade Afghanistan. Today, she is one of the few who refuse to fund the Iraq War, insist on a prompt end to the war, reject the dishonesty of a false compromise.

Except for the rare few, like Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Lynn Woolsey, and John Lewis, our representatives are politicians, and will surrender their integrity, claiming to be "realistic."

We are not politicians, but citizens. We have no office to hold on to, only our consciences, which insist on telling the truth. That, history suggests, is the most realistic thing a citizen can do.

Howard Zinn is the author, most recently, of "A Power Governments Cannot Suppress."


Saladin said...

I have had very good results with the halogen lamps I bought in 1993. I have only replaced the bulbs once, and they are on a dimmer which makes them even better.
Micki, your experience with CFL's is a good thing, but still doesn't answer my question. The long run is the issue. What will happen when the inevitable occurs? How many tons of CFL's will end up in the landfills, broken and spewing mercury all over the place? That will be an environmental disaster. God forbid they make it into the incinerators.

Saladin said...

At last! Some manufacturing figures. Rough ones anyway, still can't find anything official.

Ever seen the guts of one of these things? (CFL)

There is a photo of one taken apart.

My electric shaver has less electronic components..

Here’s the skinny on the one (above) that I took apart (all values are approximate as I’m working with a cheap caliper and an even cheaper calculator):

-Plastic casing
-Integrated circuit board - copper = 5.25 cm2 (approx.) - solder (lead) = undetermined amount
-Capacitors x 5
-Resistors x 16
-Micro chip
-Diodes x 9
-Epoxy glue

-253 cm2 (surface area measurements)

Inert gas - Argon
-69 cm3 (volume based on surface area measurements above)

Conductor wire
-37 cm


Phosphorus coating
-Nuisance dusts


Here’s the skinny on a regular incandescent bulb (all values are approximate as I’m working with a cheep caliper and an even cheeper calculator):


-113 cm2 (surface area measurements)

Inert gas - Argon
-113 cm3 (volume based on surface area measurements above)

Conductor wire

Support wires

Tungsten filament
-Undetermined length


I didn’t include the screw fitting or contact plates as they’re the same in both types of bulb


The CFL’s may be more efficient to operate but they sure as hell aren’t better for the environment from a manufacturing standpoint.

* How many resources were consumed to create the electronics? That stuff doesn’t just magically appear you know. Where did it come from? Big friggin manufacturing plants is where!
* Each electronic component is coated in plastic. How much oil went into making that plastic?
* How many resources were consumed to transport the electronics to the bulb manufacturer?
* They use twice as much glass as regular bulbs.
* They use twice as much conductor wire as regular bulbs.
* To their credit, they use 1/2 as much Argon as regular bulbs.
* They contain mercury - an environmentally hazardous substance
* What about the phosphorous coating? Does that %#&!*% appear by magic? - Nope! It comes from a big manufacturing plant that uses electricity generated by burning fossil fuels!
* Disposal of these things is a bitch! How much of it currently gets recycled? Just the mercury… And that’s only if the 50% of the population that actually recycles anything actually takes them someplace where they can be recycled.

During my reading I came across the following FAQ:

Q How does the energy used in manufacturing CFLs compare with the energy saved by using the CFL?
A All CFLs are made overseas. The energy required to produce and ship a CFL is probably less than $0.25 per bulb.

After reading that I was left with 3 questions;

1. So, what, does the fact that it’s made overseas somehow negate the “energy in = energy out” equation?

2. And is the fact they’re made with child labor in some sweat shop in china supposed to make me feel better about the low cost?

3. If it was really only about $0.25/bulb, why the frig am I paying an average of $3.00/bulb on the low end and an average of $20.00/bulb for units that have a tri-lite/dimming capability?
So, all in all, are they REALLY more efficient? I doubt it. And the fact that they are produced overseas in countries without strict environmental laws completely cancels out any savings when viewed on a planet wide scope. These issues need to be addressed. Micki, you wrote of how many acres of regular bulbs we buy everyday on the DWF blog. Care to guess how many acres of materials it takes to produce the hundreds of millions of CFL's they will mandate? Where are they going to get all these materials, the moon? I think I will stick with halogens for now.

capt said...

Opium for the people: Extraordinary move to legalise poppy crops

The 'IoS' can reveal Tony Blair is considering calls to legalise poppy production in the Taliban's backyard. The plan could cut medical shortages of opiates worldwide, curb smuggling - and hit the insurgents.

The buds of millions of poppy flowers are swelling across Afghanistan. In the far southern provinces bordering Iran, the harvest will start later this month. By mid- May the fields around British military camps in Helmand will be ringing to the sound of scythes, rather than gunfire.

And this year's opium harvest will almost certainly be the largest ever. In the five years since the overthrow of the Taliban regime, land under cultivation for poppy has grown from 8,000 to 165,000 hectares.

The US wants to step up eradication programmes, crop-spraying from the air. But, desperate to win "hearts and minds" in Afghanistan and protect British troops, Tony Blair is on the brink of a U-turn that will set him on a collision course with President George Bush.

The Prime Minister has ordered a review of his counter-narcotics strategy - including the possibility of legalising some poppy production - after an extraordinary meeting with a Tory MP on Wednesday, The Independent on Sunday has learnt. Tobias Ellwood, a backbencher elected less than two years ago, has apparently succeeded where ministers and officials have failed in leading Mr Blair to consider a hugely significant switch in policy.

Supporters of the measure say it would not only curb an illegal drugs trade which supplies 80 per cent of the heroin on Britain's streets, but would hit the Taliban insurgency and help save the lives of British troops. Much of the legally produced drug could be used to alleviate a shortage of opiates for medicinal use in Britain and beyond, they say.


*****end of clip*****

Poppies must be the most savvy of the hiding flowers. Once again a government (this time the UK) can measure the area as 165,000 hectares but the same 165,000 hectares cannot be located for crop elimination/eradication?


capt said...

Brewer, Humphrey shoot Gators to final

ATLANTA — Florida missed six of its first seven shots against UCLA — all from 3-point range — and coach Billy Donovan had one message for his Gators: Keep shooting.

They did, and eventually proved that the Bruins still haven't figured out how to defend Florida from beyond the arc.

Corey Brewer and Lee Humphrey made four 3-pointers each — taking advantage of double teams down low — and the Gators dismantled UCLA 76-66 on Saturday night to advance to their second consecutive national championship game.

"I just tried to encourage those guys to continue to shoot the basketball and to take what the defense was giving us," Donovan said. "Their defense was taking away the low post and they were giving us perimeter shots."

Now, the Gators (34-5) have a shot at becoming the first team since Duke in 1992 to repeat as champs. They face Ohio State in the title game Monday night.

Florida can only hope Brewer and Humphrey are as effective as they were against UCLA (30-6).


*****end of clip*****

Um, Go Gators!


capt said...

Poor Nations to Bear Brunt as World Warms

The world's richest countries, which have contributed by far the most to the atmospheric changes linked to global warming, are already spending billions of dollars to limit their own risks from its worst consequences, like drought and rising seas.

But despite longstanding treaty commitments to help poor countries deal with warming, these industrial powers are spending just tens of millions of dollars on ways to limit climate and coastal hazards in the world's most vulnerable regions - most of them close to the equator and overwhelmingly poor.

Next Friday, a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body that since 1990 has been assessing global warming, will underline this growing climate divide, according to scientists involved in writing it - with wealthy nations far from the equator not only experiencing fewer effects but also better able to withstand them.

Two-thirds of the atmospheric buildup of carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping greenhouse gas that can persist in the air for centuries, has come in nearly equal proportions from the United States and Western European countries. Those and other wealthy nations are investing in windmill-powered plants that turn seawater to drinking water, in flood barriers and floatable homes, and in grains and soybeans genetically altered to flourish even in a drought.

In contrast, Africa accounts for less than 3 percent of the global emissions of carbon dioxide from fuel burning since 1900, yet its 840 million people face some of the biggest risks from drought and disrupted water supplies, according to new scientific assessments. As the oceans swell with water from melting ice sheets, it is the crowded river deltas in southern Asia and Egypt, along with small island nations, that are most at risk.

"Like the sinking of the Titanic, catastrophes are not democratic," said Henry I. Miller, a fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. "A much higher fraction of passengers from the cheaper decks were lost. We'll see the same phenomenon with global warming."


David B. Benson said...

Saladin --- The old-fashioned, before discount stores, rule-of-thumb for cost distribution of manufactured goods was:

Out of each dollar of retail price, $0.50 for the retailer, $0.25 for the wholesale distributor and $0.25 for the manufacturer.

Saladin said...

Mr. Benson, still, not an answer to the question. Watts, that's what I'm talking about. Pure energy consumption, not dollar cost. I think our biggest electric consumption is the water heater. We don't use lighting all that much. Since we are renting I have no choice in the matter for the moment, but I intend to change that!

The National Academies Press
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering and Medicine

Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises (2002)

Executive Summary
Recent scientific evidence shows that major and widespread climate changes have occurred with startling speed. For example, roughly half the north Atlantic warming since the last ice age was achieved in only a decade, and it was accompanied by significant climatic changes across most of the globe. Similar events, including local warmings as large as 16°C, occurred repeatedly during the slide into and climb out of the last ice age. Human civilizations arose after those extreme, global ice-age climate jumps. Severe droughts and other regional climate events during the current warm period have shown similar tendencies of abrupt onset and great persistence, often with adverse effects on societies.

Abrupt climate changes were especially common when the climate system was being forced to change most rapidly. Thus, greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events. The abrupt changes of the past are not fully explained yet, and climate models typically underestimate the size, speed, and extent of those changes. Hence, future abrupt changes cannot be predicted with confidence, and climate surprises are to be expected.

The new paradigm of an abruptly changing climatic system has been well established by research over the last decade, but this new thinking is little known and scarcely appreciated in the wider community of natural and social scientists and policy-makers.
It's happened before, it is little known, and it will keep happening. Humans and other species have been forced to migrate because of abrupt climate change. No doubt the poorest and or least prepared, ie: little choice in the migration, are the worst effected. But it is not unprecedented nor is it abnormal. Why won't anyone look at our recent history? That isn't 100 years, that is a drop in the bucket. Go back 50,000 years, be realistic. Do the best we can to adapt, we can't stop it anymore than the people 12,000 years ago could stop the ice sheets from melting and flooding the Northwest, you can't stop it, you can't slow it or speed it up. It will warm and cool just like it always has. We are fortunate not to be living during an ice age. You want to know hardship? Imagine that.

capt said...

Enlightened city knocks the world's lights out

MORE than half of Sydneysiders - as many as 2.2 million - switched off their lights to celebrate Earth Hour on Saturday night, a poll has found.

No one saw this avalanche of support coming - only 65,000 households had pledged to support the event.

"It gives you a lot of hope about humanity," said Andy Ridley, a spokesman for the organiser, WWF.

In the city centre alone energy consumption fell 10.2 per cent between 7.30pm and 8.30pm, saving 24.86 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the air.


*****end of clip*****

The first best use of a light bulb of any kind it to turn it off! That always represents the greatest energy savings possible.


micki said...

Damnation! Every time I think I have a grasp on what the beef is, the fence moves. As in moving the goals posts!

Was it cost/benefit ratio? Or was it what would it cost to bring a CFL to market, to market to buy a fat pig? Was it how much damage a CFL would do to the environment? Was it those lousy, lazy 'merikans who just refuse to recycle? Was it those goddamned guvmint authoritarians telling us that the only shining light will be what they say is a shining light? What was it? Oh, I was watt, watt, watt -- and I thought she was asking what, what, what?

I decided to do some research. I talked with a luminary from the University of Dublin, Dr. Hal O'Gen, and he believes that the controversy over CFLs is, "A brilliant achievement of a body of thought that sheds little light but ample negative energy on an important topic." Dr. O'Gen was a member of a non-partisan three-person panel called "Seeing the Light."

Dr. O'Gen said, "I've done a cost/benefit analysis of the merits of CFLs to other lighting sources and, among other findings, have determined that those who are against CFLs are generally against anything new, especially if the government has any involvement."

Another member of the research team from Regent University, Dr. Lou Men, said he preferred to remain in the dark rather than make any changes, "I know that's not a very scientific approach by some standards, but science is a funny thing and I'm one of those who goes with my gut, and my gut says, stand pat! I'm an experienced expert and my experience tells me that no matter what the Total Manufacturing Cost is for CFLs, that that cost would be eradicated at the other end of the energy cost cycle because people would be throwing their dead CFLs out the car window, putting them under the bleachers at their kids' soccer games, or throwing them off their boat when they are bottom fishing."

Dr. Men elaborated, "Our goal is to lengthen the time from inquiry to the supply of new technology, no matter what it takes. We will look for ways to lengthen the time it takes to get a new 'alleged' energy savings product to market. We are going to prove that the more we muddy the water on new technologies, especially if there is any government involvement, that we will be better able to predict that intelligent systems will be questioned ad infinitem by at least 30% of the population. And that 30% is what keeps us going."

The third member of the panel who is legally blind, Dr. Will See, of The Blind Trust, said "All I see is possibilities. I hope we can work this out together for the good of all."

capt said...

Greenhouse Gas Effect Consistent Over 420 Million Years

New calculations show that sensitivity of Earth's climate to changes in the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) has been consistent for the last 420 million years, according to an article in Nature by geologists at Yale and Wesleyan Universities.

A popular predictor of future climate sensitivity is the change in global temperature produced by each doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere. This study confirms that in the Earth's past 420 million years, each doubling of atmospheric CO2 translates to an average global temperature increase of about 3° Celsius, or 5° Fahrenheit.

According to the authors, since there has continuously been life on the planet over this time span, there must be an ongoing balance between CO2 entering and leaving the atmosphere from the rocks and waters at Earth's surface. Their simulations examined a wide span of possible relationships between atmospheric CO2 and temperature and the likelihood they could have occurred based on proxy data from geological samples.

Most estimates of climate sensitivity have been based on computer simulations of climate or records of climate change over the past few decades to thousands of years, when carbon dioxide concentrations and global temperatures were similar to or lower than today. Such estimates could underestimate the magnitude of large climate-change events.


micki said...

Go Aussies!

People power!

Saladin said...

Micki, I give up trying to get through to you. My question is the same as it has been for all this time, but I don't think you WANT to understand, this is just another subject in which you can display hostility towards me rather than engage rationally. Rant away, but don't answer the question.
Capt, that article is exactly what I have been saying. The earth and it's climate is dynamic and constantly changing, sometimes slowly and sometimes abruptly. The climate has caused no end of grief, not just to humans but to all life on earth throughout it's history. To base all these doomsday scenarios on the claim that what we are seeing now is unprecedented is not just bad science, it's downright false. Our climate is far more complicated than just the CO2 measurement, all contributing factors must be considered. If the majority of people really believe that we are on the edge of a global calamity than switching off the light for and hour or changing out light bulbs is not going to be enough. It is time to shut down the grid, stop driving and go back in technological time about 200 years. Time to live like they do in third world countries. Time to give up all those luxuries like hot showers and TV. No more hospitals, no more medicine, no more supermarkets full of fresh food, no more computers, no more anything that requires the burning of fossil fuel or use of electricity. It's do or die people, we are doomed otherwise. Isn't that what they're telling us?

The art of practical politics is to keep the public in a state of constant alarm by menacing it with hobgoblins, both real and imagined, – so making people clamorous to be led to safety.
H L Mencken

And amazingly we CAN be led to safety, all it takes is more and more of your money and liberty.

Saladin said...

Obama says Congress will fund Iraq war after expected Bush veto
If President Bush vetoes an Iraq war spending bill as promised, Congress quickly will provide the money without the withdrawal timeline the White House objects to because no lawmaker “wants to play chicken with our troops,” Sen. Barack Obama said Sunday.

“My expectation is that we will continue to try to ratchet up the pressure on the president to change course,” the Democratic presidential candidate said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I don't think that we will see a majority of the Senate vote to cut off funding at this stage.”
We won't see that because the congress has been given their marching orders, and the people of the United States can go straight to hell! Sally Forth!

Saladin said...

Glenn Beck attacks Rosie O'Donnell, calls her a "fat witch"
Posted Apr 1, 2007 01:39 PM PST

You have to hear this to believe it. Glenn Beck, who has his own CNN prime time TV series attacks Rosie O'Donnell mercilously calling her a "Fat Witch", "Whale" etc. This in response to her 9/11 views.

Here are some of his choice quotes:

"Do you know how many oil lamps we can keep burning on Rosie O'Donnell's fat"

"Think about how much perfume we could make (on her fat)"
But what about the facts? This is the main reason the MSM is going down, they are full of worthless propaganda and have no defense beyond vicious personal attacks. You go Rosie!

Saladin said...

Clean power is coming soon, scientists believe

Richard Gray
London Telegraph
Saturday, March 31, 2007

British scientists are involved in a £500 million project to achieve the "holy grail" of nuclear power research.

They hope to produce a clean and almost limitless source of energy by harnessing the same power that drives the sun in a prototype for the world's first nuclear fusion power station.

The researchers, at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, near Oxford, are part of a consortium of physicists from 11 European countries who hope to find a safe and reliable solution to the problem of dwindling fossil fuel supplies.

They will submit plans for the reactor next month to the European Commission and hope to start work on the project, called the High Powered Laser Research (HiPER) facility, within the next three years.

It is expected to provide the stepping stone between the first laboratory fusion experiments and a commercial power station. Scientists hope fusion will replace traditional fission nuclear power stations, which split atoms to produce energy.

The Government has already said it will need to build a new generation of nuclear power stations to meet Britain's electricity demands, but has met with opposition from environmentalists who object to the harmful radioactive waste produced by fission.

Fusion, by contrast, only produces very small amounts of low-grade radioactive material. It works by forcing two atoms of "heavy" hydrogen, known as deuterium and tritium, to combine into a heavier atom of helium, producing large amounts of heat in the process that can then be used to boil water and power a gas turbine.

Since hydrogen can be extracted from sea water, which contains large quantities of deuterium, the resulting energy supply will be almost limitless.

Fusion occurs naturally inside the sun, producing heat and light, but scientists have previously only been able to replicate the effect inside hydrogen bombs.

Now, however, they believe they are on the verge of achieving controlled fusion in a laboratory for the first time. An experiment at the National Ignition Facility in California is expected to demonstrate the viability of the process by the end of the decade, while the Oxford scientists continue to work on a new reactor to harness its power.

"Science is just a couple of years away from demonstrating fusion in a laboratory," said Prof Mike Dunne, director of the central laser facility at the Rutherford Appleton lab.

"The promise of fusion is huge. Fusion fuel is plentiful, it produces no carbon emissions and has no long-lived radioactive by-products or risk of meltdown. The energy we get out is about a million times more than from burning coal or oil."
We are moving away from carbon based energy. It is inevitable.

Robert S said...

Today on Democracy Now!

Iraqi American Sami Rasouli was a well-known restaurateur in Minneapolis. In 2004, in the midst of the war and occupation - three decades after leaving Iraq - he returned to his home country to help it recover from the war and U.S. occupation. Rasouli has spent much of his time in the Shiite holy city of Najaf where he was born. He also helped establish the Muslim Peacemaker Team. He recently returned for a visit back to Minneapolis where he joins us today for an extended interview.


In this segment
, Mr. Rasouli mentions Kathleen's friend, Peggy Gish, and the CPT, and their influence on his forming the Muslim Peacekeeping Team, along with his assessments of the Iraqi situation. This is followed by a report from Naomi Klein on the war profiteering going on.


So even if Bush's top Russia guy had split, an intern could have Googled the general and prevented Bush from rubbing elbows with a fellow with bloody hands. If the White House cannot get something like this right, the Bush administration--and the country--is really in trouble. David Corn

Damn right the country is in trouble. That is one of the reasons folks with decency wish to Impeach the Bastards. They have bloody hands, and it doesn't matter, when you've got bloody hands if you rub elbows with another bloody criminal. You are already tainted. And we, as citizens are tainted as well, unless and until we can end the slaughter going on in our names.


And just because...I was reading the comments to see if this was already here, and it was, but here is the ending of the tightening coils of the former Python:

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.

Robert S said...

Bush, Iran & Selective Outrage
By Robert Parry
April 2, 2007

One of the least endearing features of Washington’s political/media hierarchy is its propensity for selective outrage, like what is now coming from George W. Bush about the “inexcusable behavior” of the Iranian government in holding 15 British sailors whom Bush has labeled “hostages.”

This is the same President Bush who often mocks the very idea that international law should apply to him; he’s fond of the punch line: “International law? I better call my lawyer.” But Bush becomes a pious defender of international law when it suits his geopolitical interests.

The major U.S. news media predictably follows along, getting into an arms-crossed harrumph over foreigners trampling on the inviolate principles of international law, the same rules that should never constrain U.S. actions.

So, when British sailors were captured on March 23 after they may or may not have crossed over an ill-defined demarcation between Iraqi and Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf, the assumption in the U.S. media was that Iran must be wrong. After all, Bush has listed Iran as a charter member of the “axis of evil”; its leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a notorious hothead; and everyone knows the Brits always play by the rules.

Of course, left outside this narrow frame of reference was the gross violation of international law – the bloody invasion of Iraq in 2003 – that put the Brits there in the first place.

Back then, international law was deemed little more than a nuisance getting in the way of what President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair wanted to do, i.e. conquer Iraq, install a compliant government, "privatize" its resources, and threaten other countries in the region to get in line.

Bush regarded the United Nations Charter and its ban on aggressive war as some goofy experiment in multilateralism. Blair actually knew better. Though he recognized that the Iraq invasion would violate this fundamental tenet of international law, Blair went along anyway.

From a longer-range historical context, there were other facts that would need forgetting if one wanted to get worked up into a moral frenzy. These include British colonial domination of both Iraq and Iran, and the CIA’s role in overthrowing Iran’s elected government in 1953 and reinstalling the brutal Shah of Iran on the Peacock Throne.

The combined interventions by the United Kingdom and the United States may have cost the lives of hundreds of thousands – possibly millions – of Iraqis and Iranians over the past century, but somehow Blair and Bush have positioned themselves as the innocent victims – at least as far as the Western press corps is concerned.


Robert S said...

Distract and Disenfranchise
By Paul Krugman
The New York Times
Monday 02 April 2007

I have a theory about the Bush administration abuses of power that are now, finally, coming to light. Ultimately, I believe, they were driven by rising income inequality.

Let me explain.

In 1980, when Ronald Reagan won the White House, conservative ideas appealed to many, even most, Americans. At the time, we were truly a middle-class nation. To white voters, at least, the vast inequalities and social injustices of the past, which were what originally gave liberalism its appeal, seemed like ancient history. It was easy, in that nation, to convince many voters that Big Government was their enemy, that they were being taxed to provide social programs for other people.

Since then, however, we have once again become a deeply unequal society. Median income has risen only 17 percent since 1980, while the income of the richest 0.1 percent of the population has quadrupled. The gap between the rich and the middle class is as wide now as it was in the 1920s, when the political coalition that would eventually become the New Deal was taking shape.

And voters realize that society has changed. They may not pore over income distribution tables, but they do know that today's rich are building themselves mansions bigger than those of the robber barons. They may not read labor statistics, but they know that wages aren't going anywhere: according to the Pew Research Center, 59 percent of workers believe that it's harder to earn a decent living today than it was 20 or 30 years ago.

You know that perceptions of rising inequality have become a political issue when even President Bush admits, as he did in January, that "some of our citizens worry about the fact that our dynamic economy is leaving working people behind."

But today's Republicans can't respond in any meaningful way to rising inequality, because their activists won't let them. You could see the dilemma just this past Friday and Saturday, when almost all the G.O.P. presidential hopefuls traveled to Palm Beach to make obeisance to the Club for Growth, a supply-side pressure group dedicated to tax cuts and privatization.

The Republican Party's adherence to an outdated ideology leaves it with big problems. It can't offer domestic policies that respond to the public's real needs. So how can it win elections?

The answer, for a while, was a combination of distraction and disenfranchisement.

The terrorist attacks on 9/11 were themselves a massive, providential distraction; until then the public, realizing that Mr. Bush wasn't the moderate he played in the 2000 election, was growing increasingly unhappy with his administration. And they offered many opportunities for further distractions. Rather than debating Democrats on the issues, the G.O.P. could denounce them as soft on terror. And do you remember the terror alert, based on old and questionable information, that was declared right after the 2004 Democratic National Convention?

But distraction can only go so far. So the other tool was disenfranchisement: finding ways to keep poor people, who tend to vote for the party that might actually do something about inequality, out of the voting booth.

Remember that disenfranchisement in the form of the 2000 Florida "felon purge," which struck many legitimate voters from the rolls, put Mr. Bush in the White House in the first place. And disenfranchisement seems to be what much of the politicization of the Justice Department was about.

Several of the fired U.S. attorneys were under pressure to pursue allegations of voter fraud - a phrase that has become almost synonymous with "voting while black." Former staff members of the Justice Department's civil rights division say that they were repeatedly overruled when they objected to Republican actions, ranging from Georgia's voter ID law to Tom DeLay's Texas redistricting, that they believed would effectively disenfranchise African-American voters.

The good news is that all the G.O.P.'s abuses of power weren't enough to win the 2006 elections. And 2008 may be even harder for the Republicans, because the Democrats - who spent most of the Clinton years trying to reassure rich people and corporations that they weren't really populists - seem to be realizing that times have changed.

A week before the Republican candidates trooped to Palm Beach to declare their allegiance to tax cuts, the Democrats met to declare their commitment to universal health care. And it's hard to see what the G.O.P. can offer in response.

capt said...

New Thread!

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