Friday, August 31, 2007

Blogger virus

Be careful. Via Bryan at Why Now?, BBC News:

Google's Blogger site is being used by malicious hackers who are posting fake entries to some blogs.

The fake entries contain weblinks that lead to booby-trapped downloads that could infect a Windows PC.

Infected computers are being hijacked by the gang behind the attacks and either mined for saleable data or used for other attacks.

The Blogger attack is the latest in a series by a gang that has managed to hijack hundreds of thousands of PCs.



are you kidding me? lol

Dude dont send that stuff to my home email...

Dude your gonna get caught, lol

HAHAHAHAHAHA, man your insane!

I cant belive you did this

LMAO, your crazy man

LOL, dude what are you doing

man, who filmed this thing?

oh man your nutz

OMG, what are you thinking

If this blogger could actually have a meeting with the Democratic candidates

He'd change campaigning forever: (stole entire post)
Ok, everyone here? Good. No, Hillary, I will not take a moment to thank anyone, sit down, shut the fuck up. Edwards, stop smiling. Gravel, put the chair down. Dodd, are your eyes open? I cant tell. Fuck it, let's begin.

Look. It's becoming painfully obvious that you guys are going to lose this election, because you are still retarded. I am going to, in simple English, explain how to win every election, forever. Edwards, why are you nodding? We haven't even started. And stop smiling.

Ok, I am passing around a box of pistols, use these on anyone who gives you advice after we talk. They are overpaid analysts and have made so many wrong decisions it's amazing none of you have gone to lobby the Atlantic ocean for votes. No, Richardson, nobody lives there. That's right. No electoral votes. Good job

Now let's get down to business. This is a list of things, if done, will win an election, and all elections in the immediate future, since you seem to be unable to do anything besides form committees

1. Shut up about gun control. It costs you votes, it's in the fucking Constitution, you will not change it. Come out and support it. It puts a bit of stubble on your crybaby face, and it's not like the republican candidates can perform a counter move here, they can just agree with you, making you look in control of the topics, Hillary shut up. THAT'S RIGHT, DEBATE CONTROL AND AN ARBITRAGE MOMENT.

2. Stop using the language given to you. Contrary to what you guys think, you do not actually have to file paperwork on what you call things in politics. That's right, all this liberal agenda / media shit, the label you so happily accepted ,you can change. IT'S JUST WORDS YOU FUCKWITS. Stop letting the Republican party name shit for you, instead of pro-choice you are now "pro keeping government out of medical decisions", or how about "against invasive legislation" or "pro limited, efficient government" HOLY SHIT DID I JUST TURN ABORTION INTO A SMALL GOVERNMENT ARGUMENT? You can practically hear some one's head in Kentucky explode over this one. If you do this you will have just: grown some balls, stepped out of the party line you so religiously tow, and- EDWARDS STOP SMILING, and finally stop playing by the rules the opponent gave you. Can you imagine if African Americans just said, well I guess we are just going to have to work with this n word thing. Call yourselves progressives, forward thinking, the liberty party.

3. Use hope, not fear. Say that it is our duty as Americans to understand that these people do not hate our freedom, they hate our foreign policies. They hate us for the friends and family our bombs have killed. HOLY SHIT DID I JUST TURN TERRORISM INTO A CASE TO SHRINK MILITARY SPENDING, WHY ARE YOU ALL SO STUPID. We have been beaten over the head WITH COLOR CODED THREAT LEVELS. COLOR CODED. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME. Come right out and say that fear accomplishes nothing; QUOTE FDR He had more guts in his polio-ridden toes than you do in your entire "career safe" election rhetoric spewing assholes that seem to have landed on your faces. You can keep thinking I am out of line Obama, this is your turn to listen.

4. Say big words. You people have at least attended some very good schools. Fucking act like it. Stop using generic politician language that makes people zone out. Sound smart. Sound like you are the smartest person in the fucking room, make the down talking grass roots guy look like he is way fucking out of his league. The steady trend has been to dumb yourselves down to speak to the average American. The average American IS NOT FUCKING QUALIFIED. We want to be impressed with your foresight, confident in your ability to make sound decisions and trust your sanity. Look at W. He bobs his head and smirks when he gets through a sentence without fucking it up. He is stupid, just plain ole stupid and you guys PLAYED ON HIS TURF. WHAT THE FUCK. SOUND LIKE YOU SHOULD BE HERE. Gravel, stop yelling and put your shirt back on, I'm glad I have fired at least someone here up. DODD WAKE UP, oh sorry.

5. Say global warming without using theory in the same sentence. Look guys, scientists get pissed off when this happens. Caring about the earth is not dumb, it's not even liberal, it's a fucking fact and you are all jerking off over what to name your REALLY NASTY LETTER TO ENERGY CORPORATIONS. Put the thesaurus down, you are failures. Ok Gravel, you are paying for that hole in the ceiling. Talk about your hope for America to be the pinnacle of innovation when dealing with this global crisis. Talk about America having the opportunity to lay the foundation of a more sustainable tomorrow, an environmentally sound business model, and you want to be the one to rally other nations to your cause. USE HOPE NOT FEAR. Talk about how attacking this challenge will be hard, but thousands of jobs will be created, the brightest minds put to work, and with the hard work and ability unique to America, we will best this obstacle. FUCK ME I JUST HIT GLOBAL WARMING UNEMPLOYMENT AND EVEN HINTED AT OUTSOURCING (even though it's not bad) TAKE NOTES YOU ASSHOLES. Yes, I have to curse this much Biden. Its just you, me, and the fbomb.

6. Say "FUCK" or "FUCKING" then refuse to apologize. Especially you Obama, you could be the Samuel L. Jackson of this election. Say something like "THIS WAR IS GETTING AMERICANS FUCKING KILLED" make it look like you care. When people die and you actually can do something about it, the natural response is not to produce paperwork. Don't back down either, say you feel strongly about this issue and you feel the language was warranted. Do not confuse this for the Cheney "asshole" line, it has to be about something important. Hillary, stop crying. Drop the Fbomb like you mean it. Ideally you will mean it. FUCKING HELL NOW YOU LOOK LIKE YOU ARE A HARDASS AND PASSIONATE.

7. Don't simplify. Shit is complicated. People get that. Simplifying hugely complex issues 1. makes you look stupid, 2. makes it look like you actually think you can solve religious based turmoil with paperwork, and 3. plays into the hands of "a dumb guy can do it" style of play. Show us you are bright by delving into the nuances of a situation, demonstrate that you understand both sides of an argument. Can you imagine if Kerry had spoken softly with an intricate analysis of the impending turmoil in Iraq rather than just say BUSH BAD over and over? Edwards stop smiling.

8. Never take another staged photo. Putting on a space suit does not make you an astronaut. Don't put on a hardhat and take stupid pictures, instead, take a group of hardworking guys out for a round of beer and let them talk to you. Sit down and shut up, don't tell them what you are going to do, let them tell you what they worry about before they go to bed. THE SHUT UP PART IS REALLY IMPORTANT, HILLARY. While these guys are telling you what they think over a beer, the press will have a boner they won't know what to do with. It will be you, a beaten up pub table and honest to god people, and YOU ARE NOT THE ONE TALKING. DON'T SAY SHIT LIKE "I HAVE A PLAN" OR ANY OTHER CRAP. TAKE NOTES. ON A LAPTOP, OH FUCK NOW YOU LOOK SAVVY. DID I JUST REPLACE YOUR MEDIA GUY FOREVER WITH ONE PIECE OF ADVICE, FUCK YES I DID. WHO CARES WHAT COLOR YOUR TIE IS WHEN YOU ARE TRYING TO FIX A COUNTRY. Hell, the younger guys here should also appear unshaven. Yes unshaven. Look like you are working your asses off. People distrust polish and that's all you know how to do. STOP SMILING AND FIX SOMETHING

Taking a quick scan of the room I observe:

Obama - covered in his own vomit.
Hillary - still crying.
Richardson - in a pool of his own urine, trying to convince Edwards that the Atlantic is worth seven votes.
Dodd - asleep.
Biden and Kucinich - working on their new media angle, they are going to go for a rebellious Dukakis in your face style of campaign.
Gravel - Has ripped off the front two legs of his chair and has used his tie to construct makeshift nun chucks

It isn't pretty but these worthless sobs need to get yelled at. They have the biggest slam dunk of their careers in front of them and they can't get their fucking pants on.


Fridaiz kat blogn

Wid sumbudee elz' kat:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Hope anew

Phila of Bouphonia.

Tell us again

Just why is it we attacked Iraq?:

CLOVIS, California (CNN) -- Jeff Hubbard fought back tears as he talked about his boy -- a "great, great young man" who was killed last week in Iraq in a helicopter crash. It's the second time he's had to bury a son killed in the Iraq war.

This time, it was made even more tragic. His third son, also a soldier in Iraq, was immediately on the scene of last week's helicopter crash and watched as soldiers carried the remains of his brother, 21-year-old Army Cpl. Nathan Hubbard, from the crash site.


Nathan and his other brother entered the military shortly after Jared was killed -- to honor his sacrifice.

"Their decision to join the military was motivated by a love for their brother and a desire to serve their country," the priest told mourners Friday. "The death of Jared touched him deeply. Losing a brother and a friend made a profound impact on him, and brought to his attention the seasons of war and grief and loss."


On August 22 after returning from a scouting mission south of Kirkuk, Iraq, the Blackhawk helicopter carrying Nathan and 13 other soldiers crashed.

Jason, who served in the same Army platoon, was in a separate helicopter when his brother went down and was ordered to secure the crash site.

When he and his men reached the downed Blackhawk, Jason says he realized it was his brother's unit.

"We also had to remove as many of the men as we could out of that helicopter," Jason remembered. "And I couldn't participate in that. I knew my -- I knew Nathan was in there. I tried several times to kind of gather myself, but I just -- I couldn't."

Jason says as the men carried bodies out of the wreckage, he spotted his younger brother. "At one point they did carry Nathan by me. And that's when the reality, the complete reality, and complete understanding of the situation came to me and I began dealing with it."

Under the Department of Defense sole survivor policy, Jason says he was told he will not be allowed to return to war. His wife and young son will join him at his base in Hawaii.

Update: Photos of our wounded soldiers after they've come home.

It all comes down to this:

Getting between the need and the person, all because of greed.

Washington, DC (AHN) - A national campaign to help educate mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding was "toned down" to the point of futility in response to pressure from the formula industry, The Washington Post reported Friday.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, babies who are not exclusively breastfed for their first 6 months are more likely to develop a wide range of health problems, including ear infections, diarrhea and respiratory illnesses. They also show a 21% higher mortality rate. However, former Surgeon General Richard Carmona, who recently testified that the Bush administration let political considerations interfere with public health campaigns, says that only about one in four babies are breastfed long enough to receive the benefits.

That's why the federal Office on Women's Health developed a "Blueprint for Action on Breastfeeding" in 2000 to help educate women about breastfeeding. The campaign included hard-hitting ads, such as one featuring an asthma puffers that looked like a bottle of formula, warning, "babies who aren't breastfed are up to 250% more likely to suffer respiratory diseases."

The formula industry fought the ads, brining in powerful lobbyists, such as Clayton Yeutter, who served as agriculture secretary during the administration of George H.W. Bush.

Carmona was removed from the campaign and political appointees were brought in to drop the ads in favor of toned down messages. "Babies are born to be breastfed," one ad states simply.

In 2004 letters obtained by the Post, Yeutter and other lobbyists thanked then-HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson for his staff's action to eliminate "the most egregious distortions" aimed at "scaring expectant mothers into breast-feeding."

Meanwhile, breastfeeding rates have actually decreased.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is investigating the allegations of political meddling in public health concerns.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Putin realizes he is able to confound the Bush administration

Just by taking off his shirt.

Headline: Armed, Half- Naked Putin Excites Gays, Gun- Owners

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Oh no! Coyotes have joined the Animal Terrorist League!

Along with squirrels, raccoons, badgers and all, coyotes have joined the pack!:

PHOENIX -- Wary customers at North Valley grocery stores keep a watchful eye after several shoppers were recently threatened by three brazen coyotes.

The animals were killed after they were trying to snatch white grocery bags from customers at a Fry's supermarket at Tatum Road and Cave Creek Road.

"Coyotes are very smart animals," said Kriselle Colvin with Arizona Game & Fish.

"Once they know where food source is, they know white bags have food in them, so they'll go up and grab them," Colvin said.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Maybe hanging a bug strip from your sunglasses would work...

Because DEET is dangerous:

DEET, a common pesticide, has been linked to neurological problems in children. Studies by Mohamed Abou-Donia, who holds the dual titles of professor of pharmacology and cancer biology and professor of neurobiology at Duke University, show that prolonged exposure to DEET can impair brain function in adults.

There are numerous natural repellents available, many made with strong-smelling natural oils such as citronella or geranium. Natural repellent creams and sprays usually require more frequent application than chemical repellents.
Or wearing a potted geranium as a hat?...

Arsenic in Asian grown rice? Diacetyl in popcorn?

No wonder there's that delicious ...afterglow... after eating:

LONDON, Aug. 30 Scientists say millions of people in developing countries are being poisoned by arsenic in drinking water.

Peter Ravenscroft of Cambridge University said the arsenic could lead to higher rates of cancer, the BBC said Thursday.

He estimated about 140 million people, especially those living in South and East Asia, are ingesting arsenic through drinking water and from locally grown rice.

The metal, which is naturally present in soil, leaches into groundwater, the BBC said. Rice plants absorb arsenic from the soil as they grow.


INDIANAPOLIS, Aug. 30 A manufacturer of microwave popcorn based in Indiana has decided to remove a potentially dangerous flavoring chemical from its products.

The family-owned Weaver Popcorn Co. makes Pop Weaver popcorn, several private brands and "Trails End," a brand sold by the Boy Scouts of America.

Mike Weaver, the company's chief executive officer, told The Seattle Post-Intelligencer the decision to take diacetyl out of its popcorn came partly because of a study by the Environmental Protection Agency that was only released to the industry.

"We have to have good flavors, but at the same time we have to have ingredients that consumers feel good about and we were hearing too many concerns raised about diacetyl," he said. "With these growing concerns and with EPA's actions, we felt it was prudent to stop using diacetyl and we have."

Diacetyl occurs naturally in many foods and is used to provide the buttery flavor for microwave popcorn. The chemical has been linked to serious respiratory diseases among workers in food-processing plants.

And the usual recall of contaminated beef and some sausage.

Eat at your own peril...

Update: don't forget your spinach.

Update 9/5: First case of popcorn lung.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The ultimate bully

I'm gonna hit you where it don't show....

Torture isn't torture if it leaves no marks says the Bush administration:
On July 20, George W. Bush issued an executive order authorizing the CIA to use "enhanced" techniques (as the president likes to call them) in its terror interrogation program—including in the CIA's secret prisons, known internationally as "black sites."

CIA director Michael Hayden assures us that "now our mission and authorities [to conduct that mission] are clearly defined." Adds national intelligence director Michael McConnell: "We now have a clear legal basis" for the CIA's crucial national-security responsibilities.


But McConnell also doesn't want the tenderhearted among us to fear that the world will regard our nation as monstrous for permitting the use of these methods. When Associated Press reporter Ben Feller asked him whether the American people would be upset if the enemy used these secret interrogation methods on American citizens, McConnell answered:

"I would not want a U.S. citizen to go through the process. But it is not torture, and there would be no permanent damage to that citizen."

In other words, so long as no marks are left on a CIA prisoner, interrogators are left to their time-tested cruelties. However, Elaine Massimino, the Washington director of Human Rights First, makes a very pertinent point: "Administration lawyers may try to convince [CIA] interrogators that the secret interrogation techniques authorized by the president are lawful because they cause no 'permanent damage.' But interrogators shouldn't buy it."

She goes on to list certain long-practiced (and subsequently leaked) interrogation techniques that, despite all evidence to the contrary, the CIA and the president have continually insisted are not torture, or that could not be considered cruel and inhuman. There is every reason to believe that the new presidential executive order includes their use.

Accordingly, Massimino emphasizes: "Stress positions, prolonged isolation, sensory bombardment, mock-drowning, and other such abuses can cause serious physical and mental pain. They need not inflict permanent damage in order to violate the law and potentially result in very serious criminal sanctions." Sanctions, that is, that could be directed at administration officials all the way up the chain of command.

The United States tortures, thanks to the Neocons' bloodlust for world domination.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Update: Found where I'd picked this link up: Ripley of Zen Cabin.

Wanted: another Pearl Harbor moment

Cheney is planning to attack Iran and needs a reason.

Juan Cole:
Barnett Rubin relays a message from a well-connected friend in Washington on the Cheney Administration's plans to roll out a military confrontation with Iran in September. He writes at the Global Affairs blog:

" My friend had spoken to someone in one of the leading neo-conservative institutions. He summarized what he was told this way:

They [the source's institution] have "instructions" (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don't think they'll ever get majority support for this--they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is "plenty."

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

But the trains run on time!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Taking the idea and photo from Attaturk at Rising Hegemon.

Guys? Um... I maxxed out your credit cards...

Got in a fight with all your neighbors, burned down the school, spilled toxic waste in your vegetable garden, told your friends you didn't like them anymore....


Kin I have 50 billion more for my war in Iraq?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The difference between being gay

And being homosexual.

Mustang Bobby of Bark Bark Woof Woof explains it brilliantly:
Being gay means that you are aware of your attraction to people of your same sex but it isn't the be-all and end-all of who you are. It means you have overcome the stigma that certain parts of our society -- most notably the religious fundamentalists -- have placed on this facet of your life. It means that you're able to have a mature and loving relationship with people of whatever gender without focusing on the sexual aspects. Most well-adjusted people of whatever sexual orientation are capable of having friends without sleeping with them, and the fact that some people are obsessed with sex shouldn't define everyone else.

The tough part about being gay is that it's liberating. Rather than go along with the program that has been defined by certain religious creeds and Madison Avenue that being straight is the only way to be, gays and lesbians have to make their own way through society's maze of accepted behavior and re-define the American dream in their own way. Some find that a daunting task while others embrace the challenge and use it to lead happy, productive lives with healthy relationships with their friends, their families, and, if they're fortunate, someone to share their home and heart.

Unfortunately there are those who, for whatever reason, cannot accept that they're not a part of the mainstream. Whatever it is that causes them to hide their true self, be it religion, society, family, or political ambition, they work very hard to supress their natural instinct, often with tragic consequences. It forces them to focus on that part of their programming that cannot be repressed: their sexual desires. No matter how hard they try, they can't get beyond that, and therefore it becomes the driving force in their lives. That's incredibly sad, because there is so much more to life than who you sleep with.
Repression and Republicanism seem to go hand in hand which would explain why Senator Larry Craig may say he is not gay. He's a homosexual. And in his mind (and using his own words) that makes him a bad boy, a naughty boy, a nasty boy.

How sad.

And how Republican.

President George Walker Bush

Obviously knows and cares for the American people:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
(Via Dependable Renegade, Corrente Wire, and On The Road To 2008, photo by AP/Elaine Thompson)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Blackwater is in the market for attack aircraft

Which, knowing Blackwater, is highly interesting.... (fixed links)

Blackwater President Gary Jackson confirmed to Jane's at the Force Protection Equipment Demonstration in Stafford, Virginia, in mid-August that the company is in the process of acquiring the Super Tucano for a new training programme. Transfer of the aircraft to the US is still subject to US government approval and Blackwater would offer no further comment on the transaction or the planned training programme.

If the deal goes through, it will give the company a significant boost in a growing international market for fixed-wing tactical flight instruction, as well as a potential platform for counter-insurgency-style training.

The Super Tucano is in service with the Brazilian Air Force, which operates the aircraft as a primary aircraft trainer and in border-patrol missions under its SIVAM (Sistema de Vigilância da Amazônia) programme. Colombia finalised a contract for 25 Super Tucanos in December 2005; the aircraft has also been marketed to Singapore and the Dominican Republic. Fully equipped, the aircraft features five weapon hardpoints and a night-vision goggle (NVG)-compatible 'glass cockpit'. In military service, it is used for basic and advanced pilot training as well as for precision weapons delivery.

Let's make it a baker's dozen!

Eleven have resigned:

The following individuals have resigned from the Bush administration amid the furor following last year's firings of nine U.S. attorneys and the perceived politicization of the Justice Department.

Justice Department officials:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales - Resigned Monday, effective Sept. 17.

Kyle Sampson, Gonzales' chief of staff - Resigned in March.

Monica Goodling, Gonzales' counselor - Resigned in April.

Michael Battle, head of the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys - Resigned in March.

Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty - Resigned in May, effective late this summer.

Michael Elston, McNulty's chief of staff - Resigned June 15.

Tim Griffin, interim U.S. attorney for Arkansas - Resigned effective June 1.

Bradley Schlozman, former acting civil rights chief and U.S. attorney for Kansas City - Resigned from a Justice Department post in mid-August.

Wan Kim, chief, Civil Rights Division - Resigned Aug. 24

White House officials:

Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, White House's top political adviser - Resigned effective at the end of this week.

Sara Taylor, political director -- Resigned in May.

Do I hear twelve? Dick? Georgie?

Prezitwit fer life

At least that's what some would like to see.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Monday, August 27, 2007

Speaking of self-loathing deeply closeted gay Republicans

Remember this?:

Abu Gonzales suddenly decides to retire

Rather than find out what Georgie has planned for his legacy...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Jon Stewart talking to Bill Moyers

About Abu Gonzales. (Via JJ at Unrepentant Old Hippie):

Bye bye, Abu!

Georgie complains about how unfairly Abu was treated:

And this wonderfully photoshopped pic:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Out of the comments about the DDT post

Came the discussion on Neem oil and its ability to be an insecticide to replace DDT. I have never heard of the Neem tree or its oil.

Wikipedia's entry

Neem oil is not used for cooking purposes but, in India and Bangladesh, it is used for preparing cosmetics (soap, hair products, body hygiene creams, hand creams) and in Ayurvedic, Unani and folklore traditional medicine, in the treatment of a wide range of afflictions. The most frequently reported indications in ancient Ayurvedic writings are skin diseases, inflammations and fevers, and more recently rheumatic disorders, insect repellent and insecticide effects.

Traditional Ayurvedic uses of neem include the treatment of fever, leprosy, malaria, ophthalmia and tuberculosis. Various folk remedies for neem include use as an anthelmintic, antifeedant, antiseptic, diuretic, emmenagogue, contraceptive, febrifuge, parasiticide, pediculocide and insecticide. It has been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of tetanus, urticaria, eczema, scrofula and erysipelas. Traditional routes of administration of neem extracts included oral, vaginal and topical use. Neem oil has an extensive history of human use in India and surrounding regions for a variety of therapeutic purposes. Puri (1999) has given an account of traditional uses and therapeutic indications and pharmacological studies of this oil, in his book on neem.

Formulations made of Neem oil also find wide usage as a bio-pesticide for organic farming, as it repels a wide variety of pests including the mealy bug, beet armyworm, aphids, the cabbage worm, nematodes and the Japanese beetle. Neem Oil is not known to be harmful to mammals and birds as well as many beneficial insects such as honeybees and ladybugs. It can be used as a household pesticide for ant, bedbug, cockroach, housefly, sand fly, snail, termite and mosquitoes both as repellent and larvicide (Puri 1999). Neem oil also controls black spot, powdery mildew, anthracnose and rust (fungus).

For use as a bio-pesticide, pure Neem oil should be diluted at the rate of 1 teaspoon per quart or 4 teaspoons per gallon of water. Adding a surfactant greatly enhances its effectiveness. It can also be used as a cure for Static Lice in Cavies (Guinea Pigs).

The Neem tree (Wikipedia again):


In India, the tree is variously known as "Divine Tree", "Heal All", "Nature's Drugstore", "Village Pharmacy" and "Panacea for all diseases". Products made from neem have proven medicinal properties, being antihelmintic, antifungal, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-infertility. It is particularly prescribed for skin disease (Puri, 1999).

  • Neem twigs are used for brushing teeth in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. This practice is perhaps one of the earliest and most effective forms of dental care.

  • All parts of the tree (seeds, leaves, flowers and bark) are used for preparing many different medical preparation.

  • Neem Oil is used for preparing cosmetics (soap, shampoo, balms and creams).

  • Besides its use in traditional Indian medicine the neem tree is of great importance for its anti-desertification properties and possibly as a good carbon dioxide sink.

  • Neem oil is useful for skin care such as acne, and keeping skin elasticity.

  • Practictioners of traditional Indian medicine recommend that patients suffering from Chicken Pox sleep on neem leaves.

  • Neem Gum is used as a bulking agent and for the preparation of special purpose food (those for diabetics).

[edit] Horticultural usages

Neem is a source of environment-friendly biopesticides. Among the isolated neem constituents, limonoids (such as Azadirachtin) are effective in insect growth-regulating activity. The unique feature of neem products is that they do not directly kill the pests, but alter the life-processing behavior in such a manner that the insect can no longer feed, breed or undergo metamorphosis.[3] However, this does not mean that the plant extracts are harmful to all insects. Since, to be effective, the product has to be ingested, only the insects that feed on plant tissues succumb. Those that feed on nectar or other insects (such as spiders, butterflies, bees, and ladybugs) hardly accumulate significant concentrations of neem products.

[edit] Uses in pest and disease control

Neem is deemed very effective in the treatment of scabies although only preliminary scientific proof exists which still has to be corroborated, and is recommended for those who are sensitive to permethrin, a known insecticide which might be an irritant. Also, the scabies mite has yet to become resistant to neem, so in persistent cases neem has been shown to be very effective. There is also anecdotal evidence of its effectiveness in treating infestations of head lice in humans. It is also very good[citation needed] for treating worms (soak the branches and leaves in lukewarm water and then drink it).

[edit] Culinary use

The tender shoots and flowers of the neem tree are eaten as a vegetable in India. Neem flowers are very popular for their use in Ugadi Pachadi (soup-like pickle)recipe which is made on Ugadi day in South India.

Neem is also used in parts of mainland Southeast Asia, particularly in Cambodia (where it is known as sadao or sdao), Laos (where it is called kadao) and Vietnam (where it is called sầu đâu).recipe. Even lightly cooked, the flavour is quite bitter and thus the food is not enjoyed by all inhabitants of these nations, though it is believed to be good for one's health.

The Neem tree is hardy and drought resistant although it cannot handle cold temperatures very well. (Beware the look-alike Chinaberry tree which is completely poisonous.)

If the synthetic Neem Oil has taken 22 years to develop as Bug_Girl says, and Neem plantations are not viewed as profitable, could there be a drive to plant more trees about the southwest? The oil comes from seeds, how many trees are needed to make it worth while?

And, while we are talking about plants with beneficial properties, whig of Cannablog often reminds me that hemp was an excellent plant to use for oil, rope, cloth and much more (and no, not pot).

Sunday, August 26, 2007

How many GOP women do not use any form of birth control?

It would be interesting to find out how hypocritical these people are.

This presidential campaign we will soon be leaving the pro-life/pro-choice debate behind and start talking about the evils of contraception itself.

Pam Spaulding of Americablog
has the details:

It's been pretty clear that the anti-choice crowd has its sights on not only controlling the womb, but women's sexuality as well. That's why this should scare the bejesus out of women. According to Birth Control Watch, 86 anti-abortion groups are committed to opposing any form of contraception.

Abortion will never end as long as society approves the use of contraception. The practice of contraception means children are unwanted and provides the rationalization for abortion. It is a violation of human dignity to promote or accept the use of contraception.

OK. That extreme view is no surprise. But wait a minute -- there are occupants of the GOP clown car that are equally willing to deny contraception because of their anti-choice views - and they are on the record about it.

Do you want the policies of these men in your bedroom, in your womb, in your doctor's office, at your local pharmacy?

Cristina Page has an excellent piece in the Baltimore Sun that shows just how extreme the views of the GOP candidates are.

Birth Control Watch has more: (my bold)
Eighty six anti-abortion groups have committed to opposing all forms of contraception. Among the groups are Right to Life of Kansas, Pro-Life Ohio, the Life League of New Mexico, North Dakota Right to Life, Connecticut Right to Life, California Right to Life, and the Delaware Pro-life Coalition. However, few of these state's media outlets are covering the groups' opposition to contraception--no matter how eager the groups are to display their extreme agenda. Thus the public doesn't know that their elected officials are pandering to anti-birth control forces in order to secure these groups' support. Yet these groups and their unpopular and dangerous agenda escape notice. Because of this, we'll wake up one day to discover that almost half the candidates running for president are opposed to contraception. Maybe tomorrow?

A study out of France shows once again that the religious right is wrong in its dire warnings of the impact emergency contraception will have on women's sexual choices. Instead of the free-for-all sexapalooza we've been told to brace ourselves for, researchers have discovered the over-the-counter access to EC in France has not had much impact on the amount of sex women have or the number of partners they've have it with. STDs haven't surged to alarming rates either. The only change was a dip in unintended pregnancy rates. Alors, Christian conservatives, time to come to your senses?

A new Zogby poll revealed that 83% of Americans want scientists to continue researching for more birth control methods. Although the same poll found that Americans are satisfied with the birth control choices they have currently, clearly the vast majority of Americans want more birth control access and options. These Americans will be happy to know then that the popular "Sponge," contraceptive was reintroduced to the market this week. It offers women a highly effective over-the-counter birth control option other than the condom. The Sponge was discontinued in 1995 when the manufacturer did not wish to upgrade its factory equipment to satisfy FDA requirements. Synova Healthcare Group secured the rights to the Sponge early this year and, in the process, gave formerly not "sponge-worthy" men new hope.

But don't forget about the pill! We've long known that the birth control pill protects against ovarian cancer, but new research published in International Family Planning Perspectives shows that pills with the lowest hormonal content offer the greatest protection. In fact, depending on the oral contraceptive formulation, the odds of ovarian cancer were reduced by up to 80% among pill users compared to those not on the pill. The lower the dose of one particular progestin, the lower the risk of ovarian cancer. If all women had used some type of birth control pill the study found an estimated four in 10 malignancies might have been avoided; if all had used low-dose pills, that proportion would have been almost three-quarters. Many women believe that if there is no reason to be on the pill other than pregnancy prevention. Not true. And there's no excuse for not making this information widely known now.
Update: Cristia Page of The Huffington Post has more:
In their affair with the "Right to Life" movement, the candidates are being unfaithful to the American public that is devoted to family planning. And like any cheater, they're doing their best to avoid directly answering questions such as: Do you support couples having access to safe and effective birth control options, including emergency contraception?" Considering that even 80 percent of self-described "pro-life" voters and a majority of Republican voters strongly support contraception, these candidates should soon figure out how risky an affair it is.


More than meets the eye!

Mapaghimagsik of Drunk Duck shows us what would happen if we had a draft.


It's never too late

For Friday Hope Blogging. Phila at Bouphonia's hope.

Not to mention the pile of shredded feathers

As birds are blenderized out of the air...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Wind turbines continue to multiply the world over. But as they grow bigger and bigger, the number of dangerous accidents is climbing. How safe is wind energy?

After the industry's recent boom years, wind power providers and experts are now concerned. The facilities may not be as reliable and durable as producers claim. Indeed, with thousands of mishaps, breakdowns and accidents having been reported in recent years, the difficulties seem to be mounting. Gearboxes hiding inside the casings perched on top of the towering masts have short shelf lives, often crapping out before even five years is up. In some cases, fractures form along the rotors, or even in the foundation, after only limited operation. Short circuits or overheated propellers have been known to cause fires. All this despite manufacturers' promises that the turbines would last at least 20 years.
Actually bird deaths are being reduced as the machinery gets better. But don't get me started on hang gliders and remote control airplanes....

Musharraf tries to hang on to power

By saying no:

Islamabad, August 26: Refusing to abide by the recent Supreme Court judgement, President Pervez Musharraf has said that exiled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would not be allowed to return to Pakistan to take part in the general elections slated for later this year.

"The government will neither allow the Sharif brothers to come back nor would they be given a free hand if they chose to return. If Nawaz Sharif is not honouring his 'exile' deal, the government will put him behind bars or send him back to Saudi Arabia," The News quoted Musharraf as saying here.

Considering petitions filed by the deposed Premier and his brother Shahbaz Sharif, the apex court had ruled on Thursday that they were free to return to the Islamic nation after seven years in "forced" exile.

Musharraf yesterday held an emergency meeting of the ruling party MPs at the Presidency here amid reports that Sharif might return home possibly by next month to lead Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's campaign in the general polls in Pakistan.

A little bit of history to explain the animosity between Musharraf and Sharif:
Sharif came to power in 1990, running on a platform of conservative politics with the intentions of wiping out corruption in Pakistan. But his term was cut short in 1993 when the presiding president of Pakistan, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, dissolved the National Assembly and placed his own caretaker prime minister in Sharif's place. Although the Supreme Court eventually overruled this move by Khan, Sharif was indignant and resigned, leaving the way open for the election of the first woman prime minister of Pakistan- Benazir Bhutto, in 1993.

The nature of Pakistani politics is less than transparent and corruption is endemic- no matter who sits in the executive mansion. Within a few years, Bhutto had also fallen out of favor- corruption being the common parole at election time- and Sharif was returned to power in an overwhelming vote of support in 1997. This time, the returning prime minister left nothing to chance, and proceeded to alter the constitution in a way that left virtually no possibility of removing him in a vote of no confidence. Securely in his position, it was Sharif who pursued the ultimate achievement of Pakistani foreign policy: on May 28, 1998, he oversaw the explosion of the country's first nuclear device, which was an act of retribution for India's trial explosion two weeks earlier, and it was with this event that Sharif's height of power was achieved.

It was also the zenith of his popularity, for after this, it was all down hill for Sharif. Over the course of his term of office, he had fallen out with several army officers who were trying to reassert military prominence in the decision-making process in Pakistan's highest office. Sharif dismissed them all, and finally he replaced the incalcitrant generals with the one person who would orchestrate Sharif's downfall: General Pervez Musharraf.

Following the nuclear tests, financial deterioration set in as President Clinton was forced to introduce sanctions on Pakistan for its nuclear crime. As a result, it was widely believed that the military would intervene in politics, and Sharif decided to counter any such move by relieving Musharraf of his duties while he was out of the country. Having heard of his termination, Musharraf boarded a commercial airliner and returned to Pakistan, but Sharif ordered the airport to deny landing rights to the plane. Musharraf was able to contact key officers on the ground, and within hours they had successfully overthrown Sharif and Musharraf landed safely but with little fuel to spare.

Thus defined, we can now understand the animosity shared between the two men, but we must also add that Musharraf had seen to the conviction of Sharif for crimes against the state, but it was decided to trade the sentence of life imprisonment for political exile in Saudi Arabia. But Musharraf's power has since then waned- evident in the court's overturning of the sentence of exile- and Sharif is due to return to Pakistan to wide public jubilation. He has allied himself with conservative Muslim groups who are miffed at the country's close ties to the US, and with the support of his native state of Punjab, Sharif looks like a candidate to be reckoned with.
As other ex-leaders circle around:

Washington, August 25: Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has said that in the event of the much touted 'deal' with President Pervez Musharraf failing to materialize, she might join hands with PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif if he agrees to part ways with the Islamist Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal.

Musharraf may not last much longer, especially when the U.S. is stepping back:
Bush administration is prodding Pakistan's Pres Gen Pervez Musharraf, who is mired in political crisis, to share authority with his longtime rival and former Prime Min Benazir Bhutto; Musharraf has lost so much domestic support that administration thinks alliance may be his best chance for remaining president; many in Pakistan voice doubts about workability and political wisdom of such deal; US officials say power sharing that might install Bhutto as prime minister could help defuse confrontation in which Musharraf has already considered invoking emergency powers; say they fear that Musharraf could eventually be replaced by leader who is less reliable ally.
Just remember why the U.S. is mucking about with Pakistan... Pakistan has an active Islamic militant faction, a corrupt government, a porous border, ongoing arguments with all its neighbors especially India, and ... nukes.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

How are our friends in India doing?

Apparently some Indians dislike the clause in the newest nuclear treaty that lets the U.S. dictate how India can be run. How strange:

NEW DELHI (AP) -- The United States gave India nearly everything it wanted in a landmark nuclear energy deal, but that may not be enough for a vocal chorus of Indian critics.

A wave of opposition has left India's government reeling and raised serious doubts about the deal's future. Critics argue the agreement could undermine India's cherished nuclear weapons program and allow the U.S. to dictate Indian foreign policy.

Leading the charge are the communist allies of India's prime minister, and beneath their arguments many here see a deeper objection - they don't want New Delhi drawn closer to Washington under any circumstances.

For both countries, the stakes are enormous.

I believe Bush was counting on this treaty to show he's gotten at least one good thing done....

And then there's the pesky one bomb a day thing:
HYDERABAD, India (AP) -- India blamed Islamic militants based in Pakistan and Bangladesh for twin bombings that killed at least 42 people in the south, and a top government official acknowledged that his country was struggling to stop terror attacks.
Well, that changes everything! Time to get rid of civil rights and freedoms and start a fascist society! At least that would be Bush's recommendation....

I don't think we should be surprised

At what will be found in Bush's cranium after Rove resigns.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Why are they trying to bring back DDT?

Besides pissing on Rachel Carson's grave for being one of the first environmentalists, there has been a move to blame her for the return of malaria because of her stand against DDT. Who is behind this? What chemical company owns the rights to the poison? Why on earth (in every sense of the word) would we want to return to silent springs?

Tim Lambert of Deltoid:

Members of the "we hate Rachel Carson" club have been touting a new study on indoor residual spraying as showing that DDT remains effective against malaria even when the mosquitoes are resistant. For examples, see Angela Logomasini and Ron Bailey. The study found that DDT-resistant mosquitoes were still repelled from huts sprayed with DDT so that occupants would be protected from 73% of mosquitoes. But it also found that there was 92% protection with dieldrin, which mosquitoes were not resistant to. In other words, an insecticide that killed the mosquitoes worked better, as you might expect.

So while the study suggests that DDT might be more effective than tests on how effectively it kills mosquitoes suggests, it does not seem a good idea to continue to use it where the mosquitoes are resistant -- a switch to a more effective insecticide would seem wise. The experience in Sri Lanka where DDT resistance led to a malaria epidemic despite DDT spraying also points to the wisdom of switching.

Raw Story tracks the money and the Senator who blocked the Congress from honoring Carson's birthday:
A Republican Senator who successfully prevented the US Senate from honoring the centennial of the birth of environmentalist and Silent Spring author Rachel Carson received campaign donations from a member of the board of directors of a group that sponsors pro-DDT advocacy, RAW STORY has found.

William Dunn, President of Dunn Capital Management in Stuart, Florida, gave $4,000 to the campaign of Senator Tom Coburn in 2004, according to Federal Election Commission records. Dunn sits on the board of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a group that promotes the use of DDT to fight malaria, and has sponsored a website called "Rachel Was Wrong," which condemns the environmental scientist and activist for her famous book.


The CEI-sponsored campaign criticizes Carson in the strongest of terms.

"Today millions of people around the world suffer the painful and often deadly effects of malaria because one person sounded a false alarm. That person is Rachel Carson, author of the 1962 best selling book Silent Spring," reads a message on the front page of the website.

CEI has been accused of serving as a pro-industry advocacy group against various environmental causes. A 20th Anniversary Report on the CEI website showed that 31% of its 2003 income came from corporations.

Additionally, a CEI staff member told the Inter Press Service in 2004 that the group received funding from Monsanto, the agribusiness corporation that originally manufactured DDT, although it no longer produces the pesticide.

Monsanto also supports the work of the Congress of Racial Equality, another pro-DDT group that contributes content to the 'Rachel Was Wrong' website, according to the Pesticide Action Network of North America.

A spokeswoman from PANNA, Stephenie Hendricks, argued to RAW STORY that although Monsanto was no longer manufacturing DDT itself, it was sponsoring efforts to promote the pesticide's use in anti-malaria campaigns to "create a more broadly permissive environment for agricultural chemicals."

Monsanto did not respond to RAW STORY's inquiries on whether it had a hand in the anti-Carson activities of Senator Coburn or CEI.

Monsanto. Again.

Update: Bug Girl at Bug Girl's Blog asks why there is such a push to bring back DDT:

Why, if insects are already resistant to DDT, and you have other compounds that perform as well or better with less risk of resistance and toxic effects for both people and environment, is anyone so determined to justify keeping DDT in use??

It just doesn’t make sense. The cost/benefit analysis comes into play, but I really am not convinced that the difference is that prohibitive.

I’m going to repeat myself:

DDT is NOT a cure-all solution for malaria. It has to be used–if it is used–carefully, with planning, evaluation, and forethought. It’s easy to understand why some folks want DDT to be a panacea–Malaria is a horrible disease, and children suffer the most. But jumping in and spraying DDT can have the potential to make things worse, not better, in the long run.

Each situation has to be evaluated individually before insecticide choices are made. And insecticides are not the only piece of the malaria puzzle. A 2005 review found that simple environmental interventions–under the control of local people–could reduce malarial transmission up to 80%. I’ve already mentioned Bed nets as another strategy.

An integrated strategy will work much better than ideology.


More updatiness: Phila of Bouphonia also addressed this. And here.

Update 8/27: Continuing the conversation from the comments below, I posted on the Neem tree and its oil.

The Hurricane

Brought back to honor the fall of New Orleans. Watch the movie at Morse's The Republic of Sestakastan! Bring your friends and neighbors! You'll gasp in horror! You'll cry in shock! You'll laugh at the ending!!

Friday, August 24, 2007


Fridai'z kat blogin w/ sumbdi elz' kat!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Vietiraq ... or maybe Iraqinam?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
(hijacked from skippy at skippy the bush kangaroo who hijacked it from Firedoglake.)


It's not just for blowjobs anymore.

Wear a t-shirt

Get arrested. Sinfonian of Blast Off! posts on the latest erosion of free speech in Florida:
Did you know that in Florida, a protest T-shirt might get you thrown in jail?

Sounds preposterous ... but Fla. Stat. § 540.08 makes the unauthorized commercial use of persons' names illegal ... and it adds a bonus provision, an extra fine, if the person or persons happen to be (or, in the case of deceased people, have been) members of the armed forces[.]
The statute goes on to exclude "news medi[a] or publication as part of any bona fide news report or presentation having a current and legitimate public interest," so at least we bloggers can focus our worry where it belongs: NSA, CIA, Secret Service ....

However, I've read the statute over and over again, and I don't see any exception for public figures akin to that requiring "actual malice" in order to sustain a defamation claim. Therefore, as an example, if you wear a T-shirt that bears the image of Drunky McStagger with the caption "War Criminal," you're breaking the law. Indeed, since such displays are illegal for 40 years after the subject's death, even a T-shirt I had 20 years ago, showing Richard Nixon with the caption "Nixon in '88: He's Tanned, Rested, and Ready" would be illegal today.
Update: Connecting this post to the one about the Ranks who were just awarded money for their arrest for protest t-shirts. Hipparchia at Over The Cliff, Onto The Rocks has the picture and more.

Wonder if Bush will have a special place in Gitmo for anyone who wears these or these?

I think this explains why Bush has been so incompetent as president of a democracy

Remember when he said a dictatorship would be a lot easier?:

Blame it on his DNA. Remember his grandfather Prescott Bush? The BBC history radio Document ran this in July of this year:

Document uncovers details of a planned coup in the USA in 1933 by right-wing American businessmen. [snip]

The coup was aimed at toppling President Franklin D Roosevelt with the help of half-a-million war veterans. The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America, (owners of Heinz, Birds Eye, Goodtea, Maxwell Hse & George Bush’s Grandfather, Prescott) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression.

Mike Thomson investigates why so little is known about this biggest ever peacetime threat to American democracy.

Tripped over this information while Googling Prescott Bush. I'll blame Sorghum Crow for mentioning him in comments! How much do you bet we won't hear a peep about this in our mainstream media?

Update: Sorghum Crow has the picture.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The world hangs in the balance

Philippines is on the edge of total war:

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have launched a new military campaign against radical Muslim insurgents in its southern regions, an offensive nominally aimed at finishing off the hobbled 300-member Abu Sayyaf terror group, but one that also threatens to widen the conflict with two ceasefire groups, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Arroyo's government lost significant electoral support to the opposition at recent mid-term elections, continuing the roller-coaster nature of her scandal-plagued tenure. Former presidents Fidel Ramos and Corazon Aquino have both recently criticized Arroyo's government, with influential Catholic bishops lending support to the public denouncements against her.

Some Manila-based political analysts believe a new, high-profile military campaign could, apart from fighting terrorism, serve the purpose of deflecting national attention from the Arroyo government's political woes. The move could backfire badly, however. Arroyo has not established firm control over the AFP, witnessed by the series of foiled coup attempts against her now-six-year-old administration.

To ease tensions, she has given the military carte blanche to deal with perceived threats to national security, resulting in the so-far-successful campaign against the Abu Sayyaf, but also apparently responsible for the extraordinary number of unexplained extrajudicial killings of left-leaning social activists. The government has unconvincingly attributed the killings to the world's longest ongoing Maoist insurgency, led by the communist New People's Army (NPA) - itself designated a terrorist group by both the US and the European Union.

At the same time, a recently enacted counter-terrorism law has given the government controversial wide-ranging powers to deal with what it deems internal security threats, including armed insurgent groups. That legislation will, among other things, provide new impetus and legal protection to the army as it launches its new armed campaign against the Abu Sayyaf and perhaps other groups.

While Philippine guns will be trained heavily on restive southern territories, the NPA has already said the new legislation is grounds for launching undefined "tactical offensives" against the government. With troops on the move and rebel groups crying foul, expect more violence and perhaps a widened conflict across the Philippine archipelago in the months ahead.
And in Bangladesh:
Demonstrations have spread across the poor South Asian country in the past three days with students demanding an end to emergency rule, imposed in January when President Iajuddin Ahmed canceled scheduled elections and declared a state of emergency.

The interim government now running Bangladesh is doing so with the backing of the military, which ruled the country until throughout the 1980s.

The protests began when University of Dhaka students called for the removal of an army post from the campus. The soldiers withdrew a day later after violent protests left 150 injured, but the students’ demands escalated and the protests continued.

“It seems the situation is worsening,” University of Dhaka official Nazmul Ahsan Kalimullah told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Within hours of his comments, students were battling police in downtown Dhaka. Away from the clashes, students put up burning barricades on the largely deserted streets.

So obviously, since the world is in such a calm and reasonable state and since we have done such a good job in Afghanistan and Iraq, Bush and Cheney want to take on Iran next:

The Bush administration has leaped toward war with Iran by, in essence, declaring war with the main branch of Iran's military, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which it plans to brand as a terrorist organization.

A logical evolution of US President George W Bush's ill-defined, boundless "war on terror", the White House's move is dangerous to the core, opening the way for open confrontation with Iran. This may begin in Iraq, where the IRGC is reportedly most active and, ironically, where the US and Iran have their largest common denominators.

A New York Times editorial has dismissed this move as "amateurish" and a mere "theatric" on the part of the lame-duck president, while at the same time admitting that it represents a concession to "conflict-obsessed administration hawks who are lobbying for military strikes". The political analysts who argue that the main impact of this initiative is "political" are plain wrong. It is a giant step toward war with Iran, irrespective of how well, or poorly, it is thought of, particularly in terms of its immediate and long-term implications, let alone the timing of it.

Coinciding with President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's highly publicized trip to Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan, the news received front-page coverage in the New York Times, next to a photograph of Ahmadinejad and his Afghan host, President Hamid Karzai, as if intended to spoil Ahmadinejad's moment by denigrating the Iranian regime. Just two weeks ago, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice implicitly put Iran on a par with the Soviet Union by invoking comparisons to the Cold War, and in essence compared it to al-Qaeda.


With the window of opportunity for Bush to use the "military option" closing because of the US presidential elections next year, the administration's hawks - "it is now or never" - have received a huge boost by the move to label the IRGC as terrorists. It paves the way for potential US strikes at the IRGC's installations inside Iran, perhaps as a prelude to broader attacks on the country's nuclear facilities. At least that is how it is being interpreted in Iran, whose national-security concerns have skyrocketed as a result of the labeling.

"The US double-speak with Iran, talking security cooperation on the one hand and on the other ratcheting up the war rhetoric, does not make sense and gives the impression that the supporters of dialogue have lost in Washington," a prominent Tehran University political scientist who wished to remain anonymous told the author.

The US has "unfettered" itself for a strike on Iran by targeting the IRGC, and that translates into heightened security concerns. "The United States never branded the KGB [Russian secret service] or the Soviet army as terrorist, and that shows the limits of the Cold War comparison," the Tehran political scientist said. His only optimism: there are "two US governments" speaking with divergent voices, ie, "deterrence diplomacy and preemptive action", and "that usually, historically speaking, spells policy paralysis".

I feel so safe....

Oh, look! How cute!

They've discovered that women use the net!

They must need everything like this then:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


I mean... women. On the manly Net. Where all those swear words fly around....

They must use it only for shopping....

Do you know this dog?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

German police investigating illegal rubbish dumping have released a photo of a striking toy dog found among the garbage in a bid to trace the culprit.

German police have issued a photo of a stuffed toy dog in a bid to catch an illegal rubbish dumper.

The cheeky looking 50-centimeter white mutt with black spots is dressed in a check jacket and appears to be chomping on a cigar.

He was found dumped on the edge of a forest along with parts of a heating oil tank, car tires and household rubbish.

"The police are hoping to get clues with the help of this striking-looking dog," police in the city of Marburg said in a statement.

"We haven't had any responses yet," a police spokesman told SPIEGEL ONLINE.

The best advice for those who really need to throw stuff out illegally is not to buy deranged stuffed animals that can rat on you in the first place...

Does Bush know how peevish he looks

When he thinks he's looking all macho steely-eyed Commander Deciderer Guy?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Reminds me of this:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

or this:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Or this:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Uh oh. The Saudis are gonna be pissed, Georgie...

How're you gonna explain this to your bestest Sunni pals?:
Baghdad's new Kurdish-Shiite coalition may end efforts at national reconciliation with the Sunnis. But a government pursuing common interests is Iraq's only hope. Even stability brought about by a Shiite-dominated regime would be better than the chaos that currently reigns.
The members of the new coalition include, for the time being, the two Kurdish parties, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), as well as two Shiite groups, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council and Maliki's Daawa Party. These are exactly the four parties that have favored transforming Iraq into a federalist state since the drafting of the constitution in 2005. These "federalists" are the only forces in Iraqi politics that can be expected to make any headway when it comes to stabilizing the country. This does nothing to change the observation that they are less interested in a functioning federal system than autonomy motivated by the desire for political power.
So, how are you going to handle this exclusion of the Sunnis, Bush?

Let's see.... Point fingers of blame at al-Maliki and his Shiite government... check:

BAGHDAD, Aug. 22 -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Wednesday strongly rebuked American politicians for threatening to withdraw support from his government, suggesting while on a trip to Syria that he could "find friends elsewhere" if he was abandoned by the United States.

Facing widespread and growing American criticism that he has not pushed his government faster toward political reconciliation or engineered the passage of important legislation, Maliki defended his elected government as reflecting the will of the Iraqi people rather than the urgencies of presidential politics in the United States. He said the calls for his removal were "discourteous."

Spend millions telling people the war was a good idea.... check:
A new group formed to pressure members of Congress to continue supporting U.S. military efforts in Iraq launched a $15 million ad campaign Wednesday that mostly targets members of both parties who have voted or spoken out against continued operations in that country.

Freedom's Watch, which counts former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer among its supporters, is targeting several Republicans who are deemed vulnerable in 2008, including Reps. Heather Wilson (N.M.), Jon Porter (Nev.) and Jim Gerlach (Pa.).

The group says it is “dedicated to fighting to protect the ideals and issues that keep America strong and prosperous” and wants to refocus the Iraq debate on the threat to U.S. security.

Tell people no matter what, you are planning to keep troops there until you are out of office and can't be blamed anymore:

President George Bush sought to buy more time for his Iraq "surge" strategy yesterday by making a risky comparison for the first time with the bloodshed and chaos that followed the US pullout from Vietnam.

Making it clear he will resist congressional pressure next month for an early withdrawal, he signalled that US troops, whom he hailed as the "greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known", will be in Iraq as long as he is president. He also said the consequences of leaving "without getting the job done would be devastating", and "the enemy would follow us home".

Just an aside, but does Georgie really think terrorists don't have ... like... world maps? Does he truly think terrorists can't find their way over here without sneaking onto troop transports? And does he really think terrorists are unable to delegate, so that some terrorists can be following us over here while others still blow stuff up over there? And even if this crop of terrorists is stuck in the quagmire over there and cannot figure out where the United States is, we've cleverly made a new generational crop of terrorists who will never forget we've ruined their lives.

Not everybody is as dumb as you, George.

It's just so much easier to say Earth is 6000 years

And be done with it. The scientists can't even figure out how old Earth really is:

The world's oldest known diamonds have been found encased in a crystal in Western Australia, scientists say (see Australia map).

The minuscule gemstones are 4.25 billion years old and could provide a rare glimpse into Earth's distant geologic past.

"No one would have really predicted that diamonds were in there," said Simon Wilde, a geologist at Curtin University of Technology in Perth and a member of the team that made the find.

The discovery suggests that seas of molten lava that covered primordial Earth had cooled down faster than had previously been thought.

The find also suggests that plate tectonics, the process by which large shelves of Earth's crust move to create geologic activity, may have already been underway.

"A diamond would never form in a magma ocean," said Thorsten Geisler, a geologist at Westfalische Wilhelms-Universitaet in Munster, Germany, and another team member.

The discovery is a shocker to geologists, many of whom believed that the molten lava and volcanic activity persisted on Earth's surface for at least 500 million years after our planet formed some 4.5 billion years ago.

Diamonds Are Forever

The tiny diamonds were found trapped in zircon, a rare and exceptionally stable mineral that forms under temperatures between 1,112 and 1,652 Fahrenheit (600 and 900 degrees Celsius).

Once zircon has crystallized it may be moved around by geological processes, but its chemical makeup and structure don't change. This makes its age easy to pinpoint.

Zircon crystals represent the only record of the first 400 million to 500 million years of Earth's history, Wilde explained.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
(Photo taken from article.)
A microscope image reveals tiny diamond fragments (center) encased in a zircon crystal. Scientists say the diamonds found inside the crystal are the oldest ever found, at some 4.25 billion years old. (Image courtesy Martina Menneken/Nature)

I don't think this was covered in the PNAC manual

On how to keep the United States an unchallenged superpower:

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States stood tall - militarily invincible, economically unrivaled, diplomatically uncontestable. and the dominating force on information channels worldwide. The next century was to be the true "American century", with the rest of the world molding itself in the image of the sole superpower.

Yet with not even a decade of this century behind us, we are already witnessing the rise of a multipolar world in which new powers are challenging different aspects of US supremacy - Russia and China in the forefront, with regional powers Venezuela and Iran forming the second rank. These emergent powers are primed to erode US hegemony, not confront it, singly or jointly.

How and why has the world evolved in this way so soon? The George W Bush administration's debacle in Iraq is certainly a major factor in this transformation, a classic example of an imperialist power, brimming with hubris, overextending itself. To the relief of many - in the US and elsewhere - the Iraq fiasco has demonstrated the striking limitations of power for the globe's highest-tech, most destructive military machine. In Iraq, Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to two US presidents, concedes in a recent op-ed, the US is "being wrestled to a draw by opponents who are not even an organized state adversary".

The invasion and subsequent disastrous occupation of Iraq and the mismanaged military campaign in Afghanistan have crippled the credibility of the United States. The scandals at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, along with the widely publicized murders of Iraqi civilians in Haditha, have badly tarnished America's moral self-image. In the latest opinion poll in Turkey, a secular state and member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, only 9% of Turks have a "favorable view" of the US (down from 52% just five years ago).

Yet there are other explanations - unrelated to Washington's glaring misadventures - for the current transformation in international affairs. These include, above all, the tightening market in oil and natural gas, which has enhanced the power of hydrocarbon-rich nations as never before; the rapid economic expansion of the mega-nations China and India; the transformation of China into the globe's leading manufacturing base; and the end of the Anglo-American duopoly in international television news.


This disparate challenge to US global primacy stems as much from sharpening conflicts over natural resources, particularly oil and natural gas, as from ideological differences over democracy, US-style, or human rights, as conceived and promoted by Western policymakers. Perceptions about national (and imperial) identity and history are at stake as well.

It is noteworthy that Russian officials applauding the swift rise of post-Soviet Russia refer fondly to the pre-Bolshevik Revolution era when, according to them, czarist Russia was a great power. Equally, Chinese leaders remain proud of their country's long imperial past as unique among nations.

When viewed globally and in the great stretch of history, the notion of US exceptionalism that drove the neo-conservatives to proclaim the Project for the New American Century in the late 20th century - adopted so wholeheartedly by the Bush administration in this one - is nothing new. Other superpowers have been there before, and they too have witnessed the loss of their prime position to rising powers.

No superpower in modern times has maintained its supremacy for more than several generations. And however exceptional its leaders may have thought themselves, the United States, already clearly past its zenith, has no chance of becoming an exception to this age-old pattern of history.

Thanks, Bush. This is what you get when you scrape by with a barely passing grade in history.

This is a load of crap

Beware the pigeon terrorists! They will destroy our society as we know it!

Actually pigeon droppings are able to corrode bridge steel beams faster:
Pigeon droppings contain ammonia and acids, said chemist Neal Langerman, an officer with the health and safety division of the American Chemical Society. If the dung isn't washed away, it dries out and turns into a concentrated salt. When water gets in and combines with the salt and ammonia, it creates small electrochemical reactions that rust the steel underneath.

"Every time you get a little bit of moisture there, you wind up having a little bit of electrochemistry occurring and you wind up with corrosion," said Langerman. "Over a long term, it might in fact cause structural weaknesses."
Langerman emphasized that he wasn't saying pigeon dung factored into the collapse of the 40-year-old bridge. "Let's let the highway transportation and safety people do their job," he said.

The problem is familiar to bridge inspectors everywhere.

The Colorado Department of Transportation spent so much time cleaning pigeon manure off bridges that it is embarking on a two-year research project looking for ways to keep pigeons away from its spans.
"It can be damaging to our structures because it's slightly acidic and it has other compounds in it that can dissolve especially things like concrete," said Patricia Martinek, the agency's environmental research manager.

Pigeon guano isn't just a danger to the bridges.

In the Denver area, the Colorado DOT pays outside environmental specialists to clean bridges wearing full biohazard suits with respirators because of heightened fears about bird flu and other diseases, said Rob Haines, who supervises maintenance there.

Keeping pigeons off bridges usually requires a multi-pronged strategy that can include netting to block holes and surfaces, spikes to keep them from landing, and sometimes poisoning, shooting or trapping the birds, said John Hart, a Grand Rapids, Minn.-based wildlife biologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

So, will it soon be lawful to poison the pigeons in the park?

Or maybe to take them home to cook them?

Update 8/26: Even postal workers have a hard time with bird poop:
WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 The all-natural refuse left by a persistent flock of starlings in one Washington neighborhood has even driven off postal workers.

Postal Service spokesman Deborah Yackley said while the government organization lives under a credo of overcoming nature's obstacles, the constant barrage of fecal matter from the birds is simply too much to ignore, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

"Our carriers do have the right to determine that a location is unsafe or hazardous for them to deliver," Yackley said. "The mess extends all the way across the sidewalk and into the street, so it's impossible for them to get to the mailbox without going through it."