Tuesday, March 31, 2009

They would really like to hit and run

We want our money back!

Actually doing something about nuclear terrorism

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The United States and Russia will commit to new talks on reducing their nuclear arsenals when Barack Obama meets President Dmitry Medvedev for the first time next month, the Kremlin said on Saturday.

The two leaders will also sign a document on U.S.-Russian relations in general at a meeting in London, and seek to coordinate policies on Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan, Sergei Prikhodko, an aide to President Dmitry Medvedev, told reporters.

"We will seek to agree on the terms and timeframe for working on an agreement to replace the START treaty so that at our next meeting we can reach our first concrete agreements and conclude all of our work by year's end," Prikhodko said.


The Obama administration has pledged to "reset" ties with Russia after they reached post-Cold War lows under former President George W. Bush.

"A shared understanding is now taking shape that bilateral relations are getting a second chance that must not be missed. We are confident that London will be an important milestone along that path," Prikhodko said.

Defense issues will take center stage, he said, adding that particular attention will be paid to nuclear non-proliferation. "North Korea and Iran are special issues, particularly in the context of Obama's announced plan to meet with Tehran on political-diplomatic terms."

Prikhodko also pointed to a range of opportunities the U.S. and Russia have for cooperation in Afghanistan, including in the transportation of supplies to the country, its social and economic development, and the training of Afghan troops.

"Expanding cooperation on Afghanistan is a major theme. There is potential for joint action that has not been fully utilized," Prikhodko said.

Keeping track of events

At the G-20 summit.

The political outing of a blogger

Because the Alaskan politician Mike Doogan could not handle the criticism.

The blogger of Mudflats explains:

It said in my “About” page that I choose to remain anonymous. I didn’t tell anyone why. I might be a state employee. I might not want my children to get grief at school. I might be fleeing from an ex-partner who was abusive and would rather he not know where I am. My family might not want to talk to me anymore. I might alienate my best friend. Maybe I don’t feel like having a brick thrown through my window. My spouse might work for the Palin administration. Maybe I’d just rather people not know where I live or where I work. Or none of those things may be true. None of my readers, nor Mike Doogan had any idea what my personal circumstances might be. But that didn’t seem to matter.

What appears to matter to Rep. Doogan is that either 1) he feels that if he “outs” me, he’ll change what I have to say, or keep me from saying anything. 2) he gets to play mystery detective (like in his books) and believes people will think he’s really cool for figuring it out, or 3) he feels like getting revenge. He knows I want to remain anonymous, so he’s going to take it away. In any of those three scenarios, he didn’t think it was important to get the bigger picture.

And in any of those three scenarios we should probably find it disturbing that an elected official is using his time and mental energy in this way, against an ordinary citizen. I don’t need to remind Mudflats readers that Alaska is in a time of turmoil. We are facing unknown consequences with an erupting volcano that threatens to wipe out a tank farm on Cook Inlet holding 6 million gallons of oil. We have critical issues in the legislature, including Alaska’s acceptance or rejection of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal stimulus money for education and other critical purposes. We have a governor who has just chosen an incredibly divisive and extreme right wing idealogue as our new Attorney General. And there are only three weeks left in the legislative session. It bothers me quite a bit that instead of focusing all his energy on doing his job, one of our elected representatives would rather spend his time stalking and harrassing a political blogger.

And Rep. Doogan is not the only one who has fallen prey to this preoccupation. Our governor, too, seems to be more interested in bloggers than seems healthy. Just a thought, but perhaps if our politicians were doing their jobs better, there would be no need for political bloggers, and we could all write diaries about our dogs, or our kids, or knitting.

Go read Mudflats!

(h/t to The Sailor at SteveAudio)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

He was listening to the wrong station then.

In a Los Angeles Times op-ed, Andrew Klavan claimed he's "never heard" Rush Limbaugh "utter a single racist, hateful or stupid word," and offered a "[c]hallenge" to "liberals" to "[l]isten to the show ... and keep an open mind." However, Media Matters listens to Limbaugh everyday and has documented numerous examples of him spewing offensive commentary and basic misstatements of fact.
Media Matters then shows a list (obviously not comprehensive). Rush Limbaugh is a stupid, racist, hateful moron who rules the Republican party and has them trembling in abject fear whenever they try to stand up to him. Rush Limbaugh is setting the Republican agenda by using racist, hateful, and massively stupid statements. And all the Republicans can do is still try to change the packaging but not the substance of their message: racism, hate and stupidity.

Just how dumb does Klavan think we are?

What Digby said

About who was actually turning the thumbscrews on torture and on Spain investigating US war crimes by the Bush cabal.

The can of worms has been opened.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

But are they as scary as sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads?


Um... and notice the thing about climbing the ladder...

(CNN) -- An Indonesian fisherman has been killed by Komodo dragons after he was attacked while trespassing on a remote island in search of fruit, officials said Tuesday.


Komodo dragons, the world's heaviest lizards, can grow up to 3 meters (10 feet) in length and have a toxic bite that they use to kill prey such as buffalo, returning to feast when the animal succumbs to the poison.

Despite their ungainly appearance, the carnivorous reptiles can run as fast as a dog in short bursts, jump up on their hind legs, and kill animals with a blow of their powerful tails.

Attacks on humans are rare, but Monday's incident is the latest in a series in which the monster lizards -- which have forked tongues and fearsome claws --have killed or injured people.

Last month a park ranger survived after a Komodo dragon climbed the ladder into his hut and savaged his hand and foot. In 2007 an eight-year-old boy died after being mauled.

In June last year, a group of divers who were stranded on an island in the national park -- the dragons' only natural habitat -- had to fend off several attacks from the reptiles before they were rescued.

Park rangers also tell the cautionary tale of a Swiss tourist who vanished leaving nothing but a pair of spectacles and a camera after an encounter with the dragons several years ago.

And these lizards have a whole national park for them to play in? There isn't a Mr. John Hammond in charge anywhere, is there?

Update 5/20/09: Their bite is not only filled with horrible bacteria, but venom.

To be 100% happy


Read Phila of Bouphonia's Hope Blog.

THIS is how you deal with a disaster, Georgie.

Not that you ever cared. President Obama didn't even tell us to go shopping....

Thank you, Mr. President.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Europeans did it right in the beginning

[my bold]:

....rather than resorting to layoffs, Mr. Koppe asked half his employees to come in every other week. The government would make up roughly two-thirds of their lost wages out of a fund filled in good times through payroll deductions and company contributions.

The program — known as “Kurzarbeit,” which translates as “short work” — and others like it lie at the heart of a heated debate that has erupted on the eve of next week’s Group of 20 meeting of industrialized and developing nations and the European Union, creating a rift between the Obama administration and European governments. The United States is pressing for a coordinated package of stimulus plans by member countries to encourage economic growth, something that Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek of the Czech Republic, which holds the European Union presidency, has called “a way to hell.”

But virtually all European governments, led by budget-conscious Germany, are resisting the American pitch, saying the focus should be on stricter regulation of financial markets.

The Europeans say they have no need for further stimulus right now because their social safety nets, derided in good times by free market disciples as sclerotic impediments to growth, are automatically providing the spending programs that the United States Congress has to legislate.

Europe’s extensive job protections and unemployment benefits are “bad in the upswing, because firms don’t dare to hire people, because then they are glued to them,” said Hans-Werner Sinn, president of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research in Munich. “In the downswing, it’s good if the people are glued to the companies. They keep their jobs. They keep their income. They keep consuming.”

The German Federal Labor Office projects that it will spend some $2.85 billion this year for more than a quarter of a million people who end up on Kurzarbeit. In comparison, the agency doled out around $270 million last year, as the financial crisis first began to bite, and roughly $135 million in both 2006 and 2007.

That is a relatively small amount of money compared with the $787 billion stimulus package passed by Congress, but the Kurzarbeit program’s defenders in the German government say it is carefully calibrated to keep people on the payrolls, where shared burdens mean an efficient deployment of resources.

The big numbers at the top of stimulus bills — promises of future highways, for instance — are not the same as money going into consumers’ pockets right now, and from there into cash registers, economists here say.

“While the magnitude of stimulus has been much less in Europe’s case, the stimulus has been getting much better traction in Europe than in the U.S. so far,” said Julian Callow, chief Europe economist at Barclays Capital in London. He cited a German incentive program that gave consumers around $3,400 to trade in old cars for new ones and that had led to 22 percent more auto registrations in February compared with the previous year.

“Europe can still do significantly more and needs to do it, but the needs for the U.S. have been much more pressing,” Mr. Callow said.

Germany already has generous unemployment benefits compared with the United States. And many German companies give workers the flexibility to save overtime hours, carrying over the pay for a rainy day. In the United States, despite scattered reports of unpaid furloughs and wage cuts, companies still rely heavily on layoffs to control labor costs.
You mean they are ignoring our invitation to come into a house of cards which is on fire and falling down? I can't imagine why not.....

Blog sprinkles


City that ended hunger

Scalia: Homophobe

Slashing, cutting, blood on the floor? Do I detect a theme?

Fascinating discussion with a representative of Monsanto over at Crooks and Liars (thanks, Mahakal!)

By the way, Obama did NOT ignore mainstream news in his Q&A yesterday. The Sailor at SteveAudio sets the record straight:
And to the moron who thinks he only called on 'niche' reporters?
That's not true. He called on the AP, NBC, ABC, CBS, Univision, Stars and Stripes, CNN, Ebony & AFP. Shoot, he even called on Faux News and the Washington Times! There was only so much time and he answered original questions and followups at length.

BTW, the military, Blacks and Latinos are not a niche in this country, they are Americans who have just as much right as you to ask questions of our president as the MSM does.
Digby: Disaster Capitalist Humor. Just how worried should we be?

Californian Republicans at it again.

The difference
between liberals and conservatives.

Mail the Pope a condom?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Working on a Darwin award?

BITHLO, Fla. – Authorities said a man threw a Molotov cocktail at his neighbor's trailer, but the wind shifted and set fire to two cars, a pickup and a travel trailer in the man's own yard. The Florida Highway Patrol reported that a 51-year-old man got into a fight with his neighbor on Tuesday night and threw the makeshift gasoline bomb.

Authorities believe alcohol was involved.

The man faces multiple charges, including arson. He was being held at the Orange County Jail.

Gee, I wonder why?

Diebold's Chief Financial Officer, VP Steps Down Under SEC Investigation

CFO Kevin Krakora was largest inside trader during mass August 2007 sell-off, near historic company high, as reported exclusively by The BRAD BLOG

Diebold's bad month gets worse...

It's been a bad month for Diebold (DBD), what with the findings in CA that their voting machines drop votes and their audit logs allows deletion of records; their admission that all of their voting machines fail to record ballot deletions, and that their ATMs were hacked, likely by insiders, just to point to a few of their recent embarrassing headlines.

But things are getting still worse by the minute, it seems. This, from Cleveland's Plain Dealer today:
Diebold Inc.'s chief financial officer has stepped down in the wake of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into possible violations of federal securities laws.

Kevin Krakora, 53, who also stepped down as executive vice president, will remain in a nonfinancial reporting capacity until the matter is resolved, Diebold said Wednesday in a filing with the SEC.

Stand with Dr. Dean

Sign the petition

Give America a choice. We support healthcare reform that allows individual Americans to choose either a universally available public healthcare option like Medicare or for-profit private insurance. A public option is the only way to guarantee healthcare for all Americans and its inclusion is non- negotiable.

Any legislation without the choice of a public option is only insurance reform and not the healthcare reform America needs.

Check what you've signed up for at the bank

And avoid overdraft fees.

Tell The Feds You Want A Choice On Overdraft Fees

Legos are back!


In my house, they've never left. I can't think of a better toy than one that lets you build anything you want.

Five years after reporting its heaviest ever loss, Lego last month said its net profit for 2008 had soared 32% to DKr1.35bn, on sales up a healthy 18.7%. Part of this recession-busting feat, Nipper concedes, is down to the fact that in times of trouble, consumers - in this case, parents - turn to "the well-known, the safe, the durable. Lego may not be the cheapest toy, but parents know it has stood the test of time, it will last years, provide hours of quality play, represent good value for their hard-earned money".

But also, he insists, Lego is cool again for kids. "Kids are ruthless little bastards," he says, only half in jest. "If they don't like the product, then at the end of the day the best marketing and distribution and all the rest of it won't make any difference. All you'll be doing is controlling the damage. What counts, all that counts, is that you're at the top of kids' wishlists. Which is, now, where we are again."

Update: Via Steve Bates of The Yellow Doggerel Democrat, if you have a lot of free time, build yourself a Lego harpsichord.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nice of you to notice

Most electronic voting systems can be hacked, CIA expert says.

So where the hell have you guys been the last eight years?

April Fool's Day Worm

(CNN) -- A computer-science detective story is playing out on the Internet as security experts try to hunt down a worm called Conficker C and prevent it from damaging millions of computers on April Fool's Day.

The anti-worm researchers have banded together in a group they call the Conficker Cabal. Members are searching for the malicious software program's author and for ways to do damage control if he or she can't be stopped.

They're motivated in part by a $250,000 bounty from Microsoft and also by what seems to be a sort of Dick Tracy ethic.

"We love catching bad guys," said Alvin Estevez, CEO of Enigma Software Group, which is one of many companies trying to crack Conficker. "We're like former hackers who like to catch other hackers. To us, we get almost a feather in our cap to be able to knock out that worm. We slap each other five when we're killing those infections."

The malicious program already is thought to have infected between 5 million and 10 million computers.

Those infections haven't spawned many symptoms, but on April 1 a master computer is scheduled to gain control of these zombie machines, said Don DeBolt, director of threat research for CA, a New York-based IT and software company.

What happens on April Fool's Day is anyone's guess.

Trying on $400 dollar shoes

Just to try and understand the attitude of the banksters.

The Mindset of an AIG executive by Diane Brady

Some select quotes from the article:
“I was in no way involved in — or responsible for — the credit default swap transactions that have hamstrung A.I.G.” The list of who to vilify grows ever smaller. Even colleagues in the financial products unit are determined to distance themselves from the credit default swaps. These were highly profitable products produced by highly compensated (and, I would guess, much celebrated) people when times were good. Now, it would appear that a handful of largely anonymous—and now departed—executives are responsible for AIG’s downfall, not an institution that fostered and rewarded a culture of risk.

“The profitability of the businesses with which I was associated clearly supported my compensation.” This is the argument that has so many people feeling so angry. Just because you write enough transactions to rack up, say, $100 million in profits for your firm doesn’t mean you’re automatically entitled to millions in compensation. By that logic, producing millions in losses should send you reaching into your own pocket to repay your salary. For too long, there have been excessive rewards for short-term profits and little if any incentive to protect against the downside.

Einstein to the rescue of the banksters

Or maybe not.

Albert Einstein: “No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.”

Ok. Fire the lot of them!

Rewriting history as fast as they can scribble

No, not Democrats. Republicans caused the financial collapse.

Strangely, the Bush/Cheney era didn't happen. Nothing to see here. If they could just get Dick to shut up.

The resurrection of the neocon agenda was faster than I thought. The neocons didn't even go to ground, they just changed the name of their manifesto from the PNAC to the FPI (or the PNAD). We need better wooden stakes and fresh garlic.

And teleprompters are bad because they make the president seem too careful? Are you kidding me?....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

President Barack Obama addresses the world

We are living through a time of global economic challenges that cannot be met by half-measures or the isolated efforts of any nation. Now, the leaders of the G-20 have a responsibility to take bold, comprehensive and coordinated action that not only jump-starts recovery but launches a new era of economic engagement to prevent a crisis like this from ever happening again.

No one can deny the urgency of action. A crisis in credit and confidence has swept across borders, with consequences for every corner of the world. For the first time in a generation, the global economy is contracting and trade is shrinking. Trillions of dollars have been lost, banks have stopped lending and tens of millions around the globe will lose their jobs. The prosperity of every nation has been endangered, along with the stability of governments and the survival of people in the most vulnerable parts of the world.

We have learned that the success of the American economy is inextricably linked to the global economy. There is no line between action that restores growth within our borders and action that supports it beyond. If people in other countries cannot spend, markets dry up; already we've seen the biggest drop in American exports in nearly four decades, which has led directly to American job losses. And if we continue to let financial institutions around the world act recklessly and irresponsibly, we will remain trapped in a cycle of bubble and bust. That is why the upcoming London summit of the world's 20 leading economies is directly relevant to our recovery at home.

My message is clear: The United States is ready to lead, and we call on our partners to join us with a sense of urgency and common purpose. Much good work has been done, but much more remains. Our leadership is grounded in a simple premise: We will act boldly to lift the American economy out of crisis and reform our regulatory structure, and these actions will be strengthened by complementary action abroad. Through our example, the United States can promote a global recovery and build confidence around the world; and if the London summit helps galvanize collective action, we can forge a secure recovery, and future crises can be averted.

Our efforts must begin with swift action to stimulate growth. Already, the United States has passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- the most dramatic effort to jump-start job creation and lay a foundation for growth in a generation. Other members of the G-20 have pursued fiscal stimulus as well, and these efforts should be robust and sustained until demand is restored. As we go forward, we should embrace a collective commitment to encourage open trade and investment, while resisting the protectionism that would deepen this crisis.

Second, we must restore the credit that businesses and consumers depend on. At home, we are working aggressively to stabilize our financial system. This includes an honest assessment of the balance sheets of our major banks, and will lead directly to lending that can help Americans purchase goods, stay in their homes and grow their businesses.

This must continue to be amplified by the actions of our G-20 partners. Together, we can embrace a common framework that insists on transparency, accountability and a focus on restoring the flow of credit that is the lifeblood of a growing global economy. And the G-20, together with multilateral institutions, can provide trade finance to help lift up exports and create jobs.

Third, we have an economic, security and moral obligation to extend a hand to countries and people who face the greatest risk. If we turn our backs on them, the suffering caused by this crisis will be enlarged and our own recovery will be delayed because markets for our goods will shrink further and more U.S. jobs will be lost. The G-20 should quickly deploy resources to stabilize emerging markets, substantially boost the emergency capacity of the International Monetary Fund and help regional development banks accelerate lending. Meanwhile, America will support new and meaningful investments in food security that can help the poorest weather the difficult days that will come.

While these actions can help get us out of crisis, we cannot settle for a return to the status quo. We must put an end to the reckless speculation and spending beyond our means; to the bad credit, over-leveraged banks and absence of oversight that condemns us to bubbles that inevitably bust. Only coordinated international action can prevent the irresponsible risk-taking that caused this crisis. That is why I am committed to seizing this opportunity to advance comprehensive reforms of our regulatory and supervisory framework.

All of our financial institutions -- on Wall Street and around the globe -- need strong oversight and common- sense rules. All markets should have standards for stability and a mechanism for disclosure. A strong framework of capital requirements should protect against future crises. We must crack down on offshore tax havens and money laundering. Rigorous transparency and accountability must check abuse, and the days of out-of-control compensation must end. Instead of patchwork efforts that enable a race to the bottom, we must provide the clear incentives for good behavior that foster a race to the top.

I know that America bears its share of responsibility for the mess that we all face. But I also know that we need not choose between a chaotic and unforgiving capitalism and an oppressive government-run economy. That is a false choice that will not serve our people or any people.

This G-20 meeting provides a forum for a new kind of global economic cooperation. Now is the time to work together to restore the sustained growth that can only come from open and stable markets that harness innovation, support entrepreneurship and advance opportunity.

The nations of the world have a stake in one another. The United States is ready to join a global effort on behalf of new jobs and sustainable growth. Together, we can learn the lessons of this crisis and forge a prosperity that is enduring and secure for the 21st century.
A worldwide message from the president:
With the G20 meeting approaching on April 2nd, this morning the President published a rare "simultaneous op-ed" in thirty papers around the world, calling for a collective effort to address the economic peril found in all corners of the globe. "The United States is ready to lead, and we call upon our partners to join us with a sense of urgency and common purpose," he writes. His op-ed appeared in the following publications:

Al Watan (Gulf States), Arab Times (Gulf States), Asharq Al Awsat (Arab-wide paper in Arabic), The Australian (Australia), Bangkok Post (Thailand), Chicago Tribune (United States), Clarin (Argentina), Corriere della Sera (Italy), Die Welt (Germany), El Pais (Madrid), El Mercurio (Chile), Eleftyropiea (Greece), Estado de Sao Paulo (Brazil), Gulf News (Gulf States), The Hindustan Times/ The Hindu (India), International Herald Tribune (London), Kristeligt Dagblad (Denmark), Le Monde (Paris), Lidove Noviny (Czech), Los Angeles Times (United States), The News (Pakistan), NRC Handelsblad (Netherlands), Saudi Gazette (Saudi Arabia), South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), Straits Times (Singapore), Sunday Times (South Africa), Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden), Syndey Morning Herald (Australia), WProst (Poland), Yomiuri Shimbun (Japan)
Kinda cool, isn't it? Having a president who uses words rather than threats, diplomacy rather than bombs?

Bottled water, canned food, batteries

Emergency contacts, flashlights... It might be time to rock and roll, California!:
Scientists are watching closely to see if small faults crossing under the Salton Sea are transferring energy to the larger, more dangerous San Andreas fault after a series of small quake swarms in the area.

The quakes appeared to be tapering off by Monday afternoon, according to the monitoring system run by the U.S. Geological Survey and Caltech. But in a 48-hour period starting Saturday morning, 42 quakes shook just south of Bombay Beach on the Salton Sea. The quakes ranged in magnitude from 0.5 to 3.3, with three larger than 3.0 hitting the area Saturday afternoon.


Scientists are particularly interested in the area because an earthquake that starts in Bombay Beach and ripples northwest along the San Andreas fault could be the Big One that devastates Los Angeles, said Graham Kent, a research geophysicist at UC San Diego.

These quakes appear to be taking place at the hazy intersection of several recently mapped faults crossing beneath the Salton Sea and the the San Andreas fault.

The worry for scientists comes from a case in 1987, when a magnitude-6.2 earthquake on one of the crossing faults appeared to trigger a 6.6 quake 12 hours later on the Superstition Hills fault to the south. The San Andreas fault is north of these crossing faults and the geometry is similar, Kent said.

This swarm, he said, "is a flashing yellow light that tells you to be prepared and to spend some time trying to understand the significance."
Here's a California earthquake map that notes recent activity.

Because the Dark Ages were so much fun

Oklahoma and Texas fundamentalists are attempting to silence atheists, scientists, biologists, supporters of evolution, logical thinkers, and sane people.

Loofah wielding sex creep

Bill O'Reilly.

Monday, March 23, 2009

With all the reported hand wringing and declarations of failure

About the Obama administration, you can't retort better than David Corn:
It's not my job to do White House press secretary Robert GIbbs' job. But, jeez, in less than two months, Obama has passed one of the biggest spending packages in history (yeah, it has pork in it, as well as billions for progressive programs) and has crafted a budget loaded with various innovations (and hundreds of billions of dollars for expanding health care). He's signed a bunch of executive orders implementing fundamental change on assorted matters of significance,: Gitmo, torture, FOIA, ethics, family planning funds, stem cells research and more. He's signed into law an equal pay bill and a measure expanding the state children's health insurance program. He's brought science back into federal agency decision-making. He's begun a withdrawal in Iraq. He's ordered a review of policy in Afghanistan. He's seeking fresh starts in US relations with Russia and Iran. He's rolled out plans--detailed or not--for dealing with the banking crisis, the mortgage crisis, toxic assets, and excessive corporate compensation. In the works is an additional plan for financial reregulation. And he's done all of this while staffing up the federal government and initiating the process of appointing federal judges.
Bush had eight years to fuck up and he still found it convenient to blame Clinton. Obama has been in office exactly HOW many weeks?

Give the man some space to do his work and some time to get it rolling.


So Bush's weird inappropriate chuckles, shrugs, and smirks

Don't count, but President Obama's rueful chuckle makes him punch drunk? WTF?

You want weird laughs?


Actual punch drunkenness?:







Freudian slips?:


Cringe-inducing interactions with foreign leaders and invasion of personal space?:





Painful and obvious attempts to deny reality?:



Playing dress-up?:


The inability to ever acknowledge mistakes?:


Finally ... after eight years of the most painful and destructive presidential administration ever ... we have an intelligent and coherent president in office and Steve Kroft asks President Obama if HE is punch drunk?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

They were for it before they were against it

It is a rather curious spectacle to see congressional Republicans express outrage at the exorbitant bonuses being handed out by bailed-out companies and blame the Obama administration for failing to curb the practice with AIG. Because when the first installment of the Troubled Asset Relief Program was passed it was the Bush administration and GOPers in Congress who were insisting that caps on executive compensation not be part of the legislation.
Just making sure we keep our facts straight because there's just too many people trying to rewrite history.....

And the floodgates open

Over objections from the U.S. intelligence community, the White House is moving to declassify—and publicly release—three internal memos that will lay out, for the first time, details of the "enhanced" interrogation techniques approved by the Bush administration for use against "high value" Qaeda detainees. The memos, written by Justice Department lawyers in May 2005, provide the legal rationale for waterboarding, head slapping and other rough tactics used by the CIA. One senior Obama official, who like others interviewed for this story requested anonymity because of the issue's sensitivity, said the memos were "ugly" and could embarrass the CIA. Other officials predicted they would fuel demands for a "truth commission" on torture.

Because of an executive order signed by President Obama on Jan. 22 banning such aggressive tactics, deputies to Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. concluded there was no longer any reason to keep the interrogation memos classified. But current and former intel officials pushed back, arguing that any public release might still compromise "sources and methods." According to the administration official, ex-CIA director Michael Hayden was "furious" about the prospect of disclosure and tried to intervene directly with Obama officials. But the White House has sided with Holder. Faced with a court deadline in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit regarding the memos filed by the ACLU, Justice lawyers asked for a two-week extension "because the memoranda are being reviewed for possible release." (White House, Justice and CIA spokesmen all declined to comment.)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

At least they didn't strap on lawn chairs

Teenagers armed with only a £56 camera and latex balloon have managed to take stunning pictures of space from 20-miles above Earth.
How cool is that?!

When I'm calling ewe...

The creators of the video, for TV makers Samsung, revealed that they recruited Welsh national sheep herding champion Gerry Lewis, and a team of Welsh sheep herders to guide the flocks into position.

However they admitted computer trickery had been used.

Matt Smith, the co-founder of ad agency The Viral Factory said: "The people on camera are real farmers and they were really controlling the sheepdogs. Rather than trying to fake it all we did it for real.

"The sheep herding bit is straight up – no trickery but there is a fair amount of computer trickery and post production work.

"We thought the Mona Lisa was the big wink to people – once they saw that we thought they would realise it was not all real.

One more for the road


Friday, March 20, 2009

Oh boy....

Are we really this bitter and clinging?

In the first two months of this year, around 2.5 million Americans bought guns, a 26 percent increase over the same period in 2008. It was great news for gun makers and a sign of a dark mood in the country.

Gun sales shot up almost immediately after Barack Obama won the U.S. presidential elections on November 4 and firearm enthusiasts rushed to stores, fearing he would tighten gun controls despite campaign pledges to the contrary.

After the November spike, gun dealers say, a second motive has helped drive sales: fear of social unrest as the ailing economy pushes the newly destitute deeper into misery. Many of the newly poor come from the relentlessly rising ranks of the unemployed. In February alone, an average of 23,000 people a day lost their jobs.

Or are we just listening to fearmongers and loyal Bushies?

Tengrain does it again!


Beware the evil doers!

You can't have it both ways, you guys!

Was FDR a good conservative or a dangerous liberal?

Steve Benen of the Washington Note:
So, as far as conservatives are concerned, FDR was both an ineffective liberal who made the crisis worse in the 1930s and an effective conservative who helped address the crisis with conservative ideas. The New Deal failed because it was liberal and it succeeded because it was conservative.

Good to know.

Compare and contrast

President Obama released a special video message for all those celebrating Nowruz. Translated "New Day," Nowruz marks the arrival of spring and the beginning of the New Year for millions in Iran and other communities around the world. This year, the President wanted to send a special message to the people and government of Iran on Nowruz, acknowledging the strain in our relations over the last few decades. "But at this holiday we are reminded of the common humanity that binds us together," he says.

After committing his administration to a future of honest and respectful diplomacy, he continues on to address Iran's leaders directly: "You, too, have a choice. The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations. You have that right -- but it comes with real responsibilities, and that place cannot be reached through terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization. And the measure of that greatness is not the capacity to destroy, it is your demonstrated ability to build and create."

And then:

(from this post)

Update: Paul Reynolds of the BBC analyzes President Obama's speech.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It's WTF Thursday!

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Many detainees locked up at Guantanamo were innocent men swept up by U.S. forces unable to distinguish enemies from noncombatants, a former Bush administration official said Thursday. "There are still innocent people there," Lawrence B. Wilkerson, a Republican who was chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, told The Associated Press. "Some have been there six or seven years."

Wilkerson, who first made the assertions in an Internet posting on Tuesday, told the AP he learned from briefings and by communicating with military commanders that the U.S. soon realized many Guantanamo detainees were innocent but nevertheless held them in hopes they could provide information for a "mosaic" of intelligence.

Most of us who were reading the news and searching the blogs knew this many years ago, that children and old men were involved, that innocents were swept up in the dragnets.... and that we did fuck all to get them out. We've tortured them, made many go insane, and all for 'intelligence'?


Tell me again exactly why it was that we had to torture? Why?

As I've said before, the top administrators of the Bush cabal did it because they wanted to:


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

And you think you've got problems?

Try world traveling:
Concerns about the sand being too white, anger at too many fish being in the sea and feelings of inadequacy after seeing an aroused elephant were among the most bizarre complaints made by British holidaymakers.


Catholics in Poland are calling for a boycott of furniture retailer IKEA because its catalogue features pictures of same-sex couples.

National newspapers and news websites have covered the story and the concerns of some religious people that the Swedish company is "trampling" on Christian concepts of family.

"I would not like to cease doing shopping in IKEA but if the firm does not stop promoting homosexual relationships, I will, unfortunately, feel compelled to do so and I will notify about it all the people I know so that they do the same," one Catholic woman wrote.

For their part, IKEA has robustly defended its advertising and has refused to respond to the boycott.

"Homosexuality is one of the essential elements of living in contemporary society," said IKEA spokesperson Karolina Horoszczak.

IKEA Family Live in Poland is the most recent focus of ongoing debates about what constitutes a family. In the most recent IKEA Family Live 2009 publication, 12 archetypes of different family makeup are presented under the slogan “Family life is changing … Welcome to the new era.” One of the 12 example families presented is Ian and Steve, page 54 -57, who have no interest in having children, but enjoy their IKEA Kitchen and herb garden (and their AWESOME HOUSE!).

Apparently Poland has a very strong catholic stance on the issue of same sex partners, to the point where In 2007, in a debate in the European Parliament, Poland was denounced as hateful and repulsive for its “defence of the family” when the country refused to allow the “promotion of homosexuality in schools”.

After all the bad press, the poisonous food and the deadly toys....

Here we go again... and again and again.... Now China is producing defective and smelly drywall:
(CNN) -- Officials are looking into claims that Chinese-made drywall installed in some Florida homes is emitting smelly, corrosive gases and ruining household systems such as air conditioners, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says.

The Florida Health Department, which is investigating whether the drywall poses any health risks, said it has received more than 140 homeowner complaints. And class-action lawsuits allege defective drywall has caused problems in at least three states -- Florida, Louisiana and Alabama -- while some attorneys involved claim such drywall may have been used in tens of thousands of U.S. homes.

Homeowners' lawsuits contend the drywall has caused them to suffer health problems such as headaches and sore throats and face huge repair expenses.

The drywall is alleged to have high levels of sulfur and, according to homeowners' complaints, the sulfur-based gases smell of rotten eggs and corrode piping and wiring, causing electronics and appliances to fail.

"It's economically devastating, and it's emotionally devastating," said Florida attorney Ervin A. Gonzalez, who filed one of the lawsuits. It would cost a third of an affected home's value to fix the dwelling, Gonzalez said.

"The interior has to be gutted, the homeowners have to continue paying mortgages, and they have to pay for a [temporary] place to live," Gonzalez said.

Apparently they aren't going learn any time soon that producing deadly products kills people and pisses off the ones that live. I put back on the shelf almost everything I can that has 'Made in China' stamped on it.

What does the bat know

That he wants to leave earth?
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Florida (CNN) -- A bat that apparently had trouble flying instead tried to hitch a ride on the space shuttle Discovery, NASA officials said.

The animal was last seen clinging on the foam of the external tank of the space shuttle moments before the Discovery launched, officials said.
Owned AIG stock, did he?

I guess we'll finally pay attention when Colorado goes underwater...

U.S. media largely ignores latest warning from climate scientists: “Recent observations confirm … the worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realised” — 1000 ppm

In the last two years, our scientific understanding of business-as-usual projections for global warming has changed dramatically (see “M.I.T. doubles its projection of global warming by 2100 to 5.1°C” and “Hadley Center projects 5-7°C warming by 2100“). Yet, much of the U.S. public — especially conservatives — remain in the dark about just how dire the situation is (see “Gallup poll shows catastrophic failure of media, conservatives still easily duped by deniers“).

Why? Because the U.S. media is largely ignoring the story. Case in point: Where was the coverage of the Copenhagen Climate Science Congress, attended by 2000 scientists, which concluded with this Key Message #1:
Recent observations confirm that, given high rates of observed emissions, the worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realized. For many key parameters, the climate system is already moving beyond the patterns of natural variability within which our society and economy have developed and thrived. These parameters include global mean surface temperature, sea-level rise, ocean and ice sheet dynamics, ocean acidification, and extreme climatic events. There is a significant risk that many of the trends will accelerate, leading to an increasing risk of abrupt or irreversible climatic shifts.

The A1F1 scenario takes us to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide of 1000 ppm in 2100 — otherwise known as the end of human civilization as we have known it. Actually it’s worse than that. The 2001 IPCC report largely failed to model amplifying carbon cycle feedbacks. The 2007 IPCC report, which began to consider such feedbacks, warns that even averaging 11 GtC (billion metric tons of carbon) a year this century could take us to 1000 ppm...
[my bold] ... why isn't this being screamed from the rooftops?

Just remember to buy your inflatable boat.

crossposted at American Street

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I think I should be insulted....

To be considered a spam blog. *Sniff*:

As with many powerful tools, blogging services can be both used and abused. The ease of creating and updating webpages with Blogger has made it particularly prone to a form of behavior known as link spamming. Blogs engaged in this behavior are called spam blogs, and can be recognized by their irrelevant, repetitive, or nonsensical text, along with a large number of links, usually all pointing to a single site.

Spam blogs cause various problems, beyond simply wasting a few seconds of your time when you happen to come across one. They can clog up search engines, making it difficult to find real content on the subjects that interest you. They may scrape content from other sites on the web, using other people's writing to make it look as though they have useful information of their own. And if an automated system is creating spam posts at an extremely high rate, it can impact the speed and quality of the service for other, legitimate users.

I'm sure I don't waste people's valuable time! If they're reading this, they have nothing else better to do...

Besides. I don't live in Nigeria, but Southern California...

Let the wild rumpus begin

Rewriting history:
...In an article about the Obama administration's "effort to undo bonuses at A.I.G.," The New York Times reported, "The Treasury and Federal Reserve officials said they had known about the bonus program as far back as last fall." But at no point in the article did the Times note that the Treasury Department at the time was then-President Bush's Treasury Department. Indeed, the article did not mention Bush or his Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson at all, much less report that the Bush Treasury Department worked with the Federal Reserve in carrying out last year's bailouts and bought AIG stocks notwithstanding the existence of these bonus contracts.
The fake uproar about Gibb's joke about Dick Cheney:
Dick Cheney is one of the most divisive -- and disliked -- political officials in memory. Maybe Chip Reid and Rick Klein haven't heard, but he just presided over the virtual collapse of the American economy and is directly implicated in severe war crimes and other pervasive criminality. Yet they speak of him -- and demand that everyone else treat him -- as royalty: This is the former Vice President of the United States you're talking about; have you no decency?

Journalists love to depict themselves as hard-nosed, rambunctious, ornery adversaries of establishment orthodoxies and political power. The reality is the opposite: there simply is no class of people more reverent of the political establishment and more devoted to protecting and defending its prerogatives.
Good for you, Canada! Thank you!!:
CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - More than 100 protesters chanted "war criminal" and flung shoes in Calgary on Tuesday, angry that former U.S. President George W. Bush was in the Canadian city to give his first speech since leaving the White House.

At least two demonstrators were hauled away by police after brief skirmishes, as 1,500 business people in the oil patch city waited outside a convention center for an hour to pass through tight security and enter the C$400-a-plate ($315) luncheon.

Media were barred from the invitation-only event, during which Bush had been expected to reflect on his eight years as president.

Green tea and mushrooms

Sounds like the start of a joke.... but apparently it helps in fending off breast cancer.

And deep space is messy:
ScienceDaily (Mar. 17, 2009) — A new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope offers a rare view of an imminent collision between the cores of two merging galaxies, each powered by a black hole with millions of times the mass of the sun.

The galactic cores are in a single, tangled galaxy called NGC 6240, located 400-million light years away in the constellation Ophiuchus. Millions of years ago, each core was the dense center of its own galaxy before the two galaxies collided and ripped each other apart. Now, these cores are approaching each other at tremendous speeds and preparing for the final cataclysmic collision. They will crash into each other in a few million years, a relatively short period on a galactic timescale.
What big teeth you have, Grandma:


A marine monster described as the most fearsome animal ever to swim in the oceans boasted a bite up to 11 times as strong as that of Tyrannosaurus rex.

The fossil remains of the huge pliosaur were dug up last summer from the permafrost on Svalbard, a Norwegian island close to the North Pole.

Analysis revealed that it was a turbo-charged swimmer. Its front flippers allowed the creature, dubbed Predator X, to cruise along comfortably but when prey came into range the power of its hind flippers kicked in to provide extra acceleration.

Measurements of its jaw and the killing power of its dagger-like teeth have shown that it could bite down with a force of 33,000lb per square inch compared with T. rex’s 3,000lb per square inch. Alligators have the strongest bite today with about 2,500lb per square inch.

And I doubt we're talking about crunching on coconuts, either.

Just in case...

How to survive a nuclear blast.


Apparently getting into an old refrigerator won't save you....

Sunday, March 15, 2009

More on our own concentration camps

Private prisons run for profit and taking all comers. Locking up innocents with no access to lawyers or hearings. What country does this sound like?:

America's detention system for immigrants has mushroomed in the last decade, a costly building boom that was supposed to sweep up criminals and ensure that undocumented immigrants were quickly shown the door.

Instead, an Associated Press computer analysis of every person being held on a recent Sunday night shows that most did not have a criminal record and many were not about to leave the country _ voluntarily or via deportation.

An official Immigration and Customs Enforcement database, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, showed a U.S. detainee population of exactly 32,000 on the evening of Jan. 25.

The data show that 18,690 immigrants had no criminal conviction, not even for illegal entry or low-level crimes like trespassing. More than 400 of those with no criminal record had been incarcerated for at least a year. A dozen had been held for three years or more; one man from China had been locked up for more than five years.

Nearly 10,000 had been in custody longer than 31 days _ the average detention stay that ICE cites as evidence of its effective detention management.

Especially tough bail conditions are exacerbated by disregard or bending of the rules regarding how long immigrants can be detained.

Based on a 2001 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, ICE has about six months to deport or release immigrants after their case is decided. But immigration lawyers say that deadline is routinely missed. In the system snapshot provided to the AP, 950 people were in that category.

Bullshit from Cheney's secure undisclosed location

This is so when the next inevitable terrorist attack comes, the loyal Bushies can yell, "SEE? Obama didn't keep us safe!"


After eight years of poking a stick into the rabid fanatical terrorists groups, ignoring diplomacy, turning up their noses at respectful discourse with Islamic countries and bombing innocents in uninvolved countries, they think they can wipe their brows and declare Bush kept us safe?

Not a fucking chance.

WASHINGTON – Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday that Americans are less safe now that President Barack has overturned Bush terrorism-fighting policies and that nearly all the Republican administration's goals in Iraq have been achieved.

"There is no prospect" that Iraq will return to producing weapons of mass destruction or supporting terrorists, Cheney asserted, "as long as it's a democratically governed country, as long as they have got the security forces they do now and a relationship with the United States."

Fulfilling campaign pledges, Obama has suspended military trials for suspected terrorists and announced he will close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as well as overseas sites where the CIA has held some detainees. The president also ordered CIA interrogators to abide by the U.S. Army Field Manual's regulations for treatment of detainees and denounced waterboarding, part of the Bush program of enhanced interrogation, as torture.

Asked on CNN's "State of the Union" if he thought Obama has made Americans less safe with those actions, Cheney replied, "I do."

"I think those programs were absolutely essential to the success we enjoyed of being able to collect the intelligence that let us defeat all further attempts to launch attacks against the United States since 9/11," Cheney said.

Bullshit, Dick. Torture begets hate which begets more terrorists.

It's the hard work of diplomacy, understanding and compassion that will keep us 'safer' in the end.

Bill Moyer's interview with Karen Armstrong:
There's been a Gallup poll that asked Muslims what they liked most about the West. And what the biggest thing that they all liked was our freedom. They'd like to see more of it themselves. What do they fear most about the West? What do they dislike most about the West?

What worries them most? [Our] disrespect for [their] religion. And when they hear ill considered, uneducated remarks about their religion, this is a gift to the extremists who can use it to show that the West is making a crusade against Islam. And it's also endangering our own security.

But where are the jet packs?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Diabetic space aliens on a sugar high!

Welll... not quite.

LONDON: A sugar molecule, linked to the origin of life on Earth, has been found in a distant region of the Milky Way, some 26,000 light years away.

What's more, the sugar was detected drifting through a massive star-forming region of the galaxy, which could be host to life-friendly planets.

"It is the first time glycolaldehyde, a basic sugar, has been detected towards a star forming region where planets that could potentially harbour life may exist," said Serena Viti, an astrophysicist at University College London, in England, and author of a study on the find to be published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Cold and sparse

Glycolaldehyde can react with propenal to form ribose, an important ingredient in RNA and DNA – the basic units of life. The molecule has been detected in deep space before, but only in regions too extreme to nurture life, such as the cold and sparse galactic centre, said Viti.

The researchers located the sugar in a star-forming region, dubbed G31.41+31, using the IRAM radio-telescope in Grenoble, France.

The molecule was detected in similar concentrations to other organic chemicals commonly found in space, raising the possibility that its presence could be more widespread than previously thought.

The region the experts scrutinised is rich in young stars that may be associated with planets, thereby increasing the chance that those planets have organic matter deemed to have been part of the cocktail that may have led to the genesis of life on the early Earth.

This scenario "is plausible," said Tom Millar, an astrophysicist at Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, who was not involved with the study. "These molecules will probably be found in [many] more places."

The safety of our food and medicine

This sounds so strange. How many times in the last eight years did toxic products reach our tables and our toy chests and we were told the FDA just didn't have enough people/labs/time/money to deal with it?

Well, that will change.

Thank YOU, Mr. President!

You don't just deploy a soldier

You deploy the entire family. And they need help.

We lost more soldiers in January to suicide than to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Blog sprinkles


Don't mess with Saint Ronnie!

When you need a costume quick!

Friday's Hope blogging.

Glen Beck is sure rampages are a logical outcome of liberals being in charge.

Ten times worse
than purity balls.

Jim Cramer acted like all other main stream media employees, willingly letting themselves be used for propaganda and manipulation.

Ari on 9/11
happening on Bush's watch: How dare you?

Jupiter's shrinking red spot.

Best car commercial ever.

Parenting your spouse

Preparing for the end of the economy: plant a garden!

The joys of air travel and luggage juggling.

An awards list that makes you snort with laughter.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Racism in the back roads

TENAHA, Texas— You can drive into this dusty fleck of a town near the Texas-Louisiana border if you're African-American, but you might not be able to drive out of it—at least not with your car, your cash, your jewelry or other valuables.

That's because the police here allegedly have found a way to strip motorists, many of them black, of their property without ever charging them with a crime. Instead they offer out-of-towners a grim choice: voluntarily sign over your belongings to the town, or face felony charges of money laundering or other serious crimes.

More than 140 people reluctantly accepted that deal from June 2006 to June 2008, according to court records. Among them were a black grandmother from Akron, who surrendered $4,000 in cash after Tenaha police pulled her over, and an interracial couple from Houston, who gave up more than $6,000 after police threatened to seize their children and put them into foster care, the court documents show. Neither the grandmother nor the couple were charged with any crime.

Officials in Tenaha, situated along a heavily traveled highway connecting Houston with popular gambling destinations in Louisiana, say they are engaged in a battle against drug trafficking and call the search-and-seizure practice a legitimate use of the state's asset-forfeiture law. That law permits local police agencies to keep drug money and other property used in the commission of a crime and add the proceeds to their budgets.

"We try to enforce the law here," said George Bowers, mayor of the town of 1,046 residents, where boarded-up businesses outnumber open ones and City Hall sports a broken window. "We're not doing this to raise money. That's all I'm going to say at this point."

But civil rights lawyers call Tenaha's practice something else: highway robbery. The attorneys have filed a federal class-action lawsuit to stop what they contend is an unconstitutional perversion of the law's intent, aimed primarily at blacks who have done nothing wrong.

edited to enlarge quote.

18 percent


The wealth of American families plunged nearly 18% in 2008, erasing years of sharp gains on housing and stocks and marking the biggest loss since the Federal Reserve began keeping track after World War II.

The Fed said Thursday that U.S. households' net worth tumbled by $11 trillion -- a decline in a single year that equals the combined annual output of Germany, Japan and the U.K. The data signal the end of an epoch defined by first and second homes, rising retirement funds and ever-fatter portfolios.

Past downturns have been mere blips compared with the losses Americans faced last year, which set them back to below 2004 levels. "In the postwar period, we've never had anything other than very modest declines. That life experience led many people to think that houses were a one-way bet," says Douglas Cliggott, the chief investment officer of Dover Management LLC.

The decline in Americans' net worth, which was the first in six years, follows an extraordinary boom. Not accounting for inflation, household wealth more than doubled from 1990 to 2000, and then, after a pause, rose nearly 50% before the bust of 2008.

Just a word of advice...

Don't buy a house near the beach. Buy the one on the hill, it will be beachfront property in a few years...
California's interagency Climate Action Team on Wednesday issued the first of 40 reports on impacts and adaptation, outlining what the state's residents must do to deal with the floods, erosion and other effects expected from rising sea levels.

Hundreds of thousands of people and billions of dollars of Golden State infrastructure and property would be at risk if ocean levels rose 55 inches by the end of the century, as computer models suggest, according to the report.

The group floated several radical proposals: limit coastal development in areas at risk from sea rise; consider phased abandonment of certain areas; halt federally subsidized insurance for property likely to be inundated; and require coastal structures to be built to adapt to climate change.

"Immediate action is needed," said Linda Adams, secretary for environmental protection. "It will cost significantly less to combat climate change than it will to maintain a business-as-usual approach."
From the same article, maps showing what will go underwater...

Because the Arctic ice cap is melting:
(CNN) -- It could be the ultimate test of human endurance: Three British explorers are risking their lives in subzero temperatures to measure the melting Arctic ice cap.

The team is on a three-month, 621-mile (1,000-kilometer) hike to their final destination at the North Pole. Along the way, taking precise measurements to determine exactly how fast the ice cap is disappearing.

The unique expedition was prompted by this chilling prospect: The Arctic ice cap is melting at an unprecedented rate, which may lead to a dramatic shift in average global temperatures.

"In 2007, sea ice loss was the worst in recorded history," said oceanographer Kate Moran, professor of oceanography and ocean engineering at the University of Rhode Island.

The last time that scientists can say confidently that the Arctic was free of summertime ice was 125,000 years ago, according to the Web site of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.

All that could vanish within our lifetime, warn climate scientists, who predict that the Arctic sea ice in the summer season could be gone between 2013 and 2040.

Include Greenland and the Antarctic in that:
Scientists will warn this week that rising sea levels, triggered by global warming, pose a far greater danger to the planet than previously estimated. There is now a major risk that many coastal areas around the world will be inundated by the end of the century because Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are melting faster than previously estimated.

Low-lying areas including Bangladesh, Florida, the Maldives and the Netherlands face catastrophic flooding, while in the UK, the Thames estuary is likely to disappear by 2100. Cities like London will need new flood defenses.

“It is now clear that there are going to be massive flooding disasters around the globe,” said David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey. “Populations are shifting to the coast, which means that more and more people are going to be threatened by sea-level rises.”
And um... bulges of water roaring about the globe?
Scientists say the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet would have such profound effects it would shift the planet's rotation, sending a bulge of water into the Northern Hemisphere.

The enormous ice sheet, which many experts believe could collapse as the climate warms, is so heavy that as it melts it "will actually cause the Earth's rotation axis to shift rather dramatically," reports a team led by geophysicist Jerry Mitrovica, at the University of Toronto. The scientists say the North and South poles would move about half a kilometre if the entire ice sheet collapses and shifts more water north.

Coastal regions from Washington to Vancouver could expect sea levels to rise at least six metres, Mitrovica and his colleagues report Friday in the journal Science. Much of Florida would be drowned as would low-lying areas in Maritime Canada, the Arctic and along the Pacific coast.

There is nowhere on the coast of Canada or the U.S. that the sea level won't rise to at least six metres, Mitrovica said in an interview.

He and his colleagues stress that the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, while a big concern, is not imminent and may not occur for centuries. "But these findings do suggest that if you are planning for sea level rise, you had better plan a little higher," says co-author Peter Clark at Oregon State University.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated that a collapse of the ice sheet would raise global sea levels by about five metres - a figure that has led to the "simplistic" idea that water will rise evenly around the planet, says Mitrovica.

Learning how to swim and tread water might be helpful, but the best is to have an inflatable boat in your hall closet...

crossposted at American Street

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's okay if you're a Republican

(IOKIYAR) Because Democrats are obviously treasonous to begin with.

Stop the immigration raids


In 2008, thousands of workers were arrested in workplace raids, an eight-fold increase since 2002. Many of the workers were deported leaving behind children without parents, spouses (some of whom were U.S. citizens) without partners, and broken communities. The raids of businesses and homes occur at any time of the day or night, creating an atmosphere of terror in immigrant communities.

On February 24th the first immigration raid of the Obama Administration took place in Bellingham, Washington. Some 28 workers in an engine manufacturing plant were arrested. The raid violates President Obama’s vision of a united America full of hope, opportunity, and equal rights for all.

Indiscriminate raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) target people solely for being undocumented. They arrest contributing members of our society. They hurt workers, businesses, and communities, and aggravate current economic hardships. Raids are not having any significant impact on the number of unauthorized workers. They are not raising wages in low-wage jobs. They seldom penalize employers who abuse workers. But fear about raids is crippling immigrant communities.

The raids must stop. Comprehensive reform of U.S. immigration policy to provide for family reunification and a path to citizenship must be enacted by Congress and signed by the President.

Tell President Obama to stop the raids.

The drunk on the subway car molesting women

Is the present day icon for the Republican party. Read or listen to the entire interview with D. L. Hughley and Frank Schaeffer, the son of one of the founders of the religious right who has seen the Republican party hijacked by the rabid fringe element.

HUGHLEY: That's an amazing thing. In your letter. You wrote an open letter to President Obama. You asked him not to even count on Republican backing.


HUGHLEY: You say that they hate him.

SCHAEFFER: They do hate him.

HUGHLEY: They hate him.

SCHAEFFER: They do hate him.

HUGHLEY: That's pretty strong.

SCHAEFFER: Rush Limbaugh's telling the truth when he says he wants him to fail. These people are ideological enough that they would rather take our whole country down and be proven right than be patriotic Americans and stand up and do the thing that every American ought to do right now, which is support the president, whether you voted for him or not.


HUGHLEY: Why -- why then are men like Rush Limbaugh and a woman like Ann Coulter so tremendously popular? Why then? It makes me as an American go, this is how a large percentage of the country feels.

SCHAEFFER: No, don't think so. I think if people read my book, they're going to see that the religious right started with good intentions. And then was manipulated by very crass people who have taken it in a different direction for personal gain. Today you have about 20 million people who buy all of Ann Coulter's books, watch Rush Limbaugh. Send money into the televangelists. It's all the same people.

The fact of the matter is, there are 300 million of us. There's no 20 million of us. The truth is I failed every math class. But somebody in the audience will tell us what the percentage of 20 million of 300 million. It's not a big percentage. It's just a loud percentage. This is the drunk on the subway making trouble in the car for all of the people on the subway. There are 100 decent citizens on there, there is one ass in the front that's molesting women. That's the Republican Party now in terms of the loud car.

Before you order that fish dinner

Take a test to see how 'green' your seafood is.


Further proof

That the Pentagon does not give a shit about the troops and embraces the 'use them up and throw them out' policy: [my bold]
A newly leaked military document appears to show the Pentagon knowingly exposed US troops to toxic chemicals that cause cancer, while publicly downplaying the risks exposure might cause.

The document, written by an environmental engineering flight commander in December of 2006 and posted on Wikileaks (PDF) on Tuesday, details the risks posed to US troops in Iraq by burning garbage at a US airbase. It enumerates myriad risks posed by the practice and identifies various carcinogens released by incinerating waste in open-air pits.

Because of the difficulties in testing samples, investigators could not prove that chemicals exceeded military exposure guidelines. But a military document released last December found that chemicals routinely exceeded safe levels by twice to six times.

The leaked report was signed off by the chief for the Air Force's aeromedical services. Its subject is Balad Airbase, a large US military base about 70 kilometers north of Baghdad.
I wonder where they got this attitude?....