Free Enterprise Crashes the Oil Cleanup PartyAnd it is cool that it is Taiwan. China wants the world to think that Taiwan is a rebellious little bit of the Chinese outback -- a rogue island. Taiwan is a very vigorous independent nation and very much an ally of the United States. Whenever I buy machine tools, the best quality tools come from Taiwan, India and then China in that order (unless, for cases like my power hammer, the US importer has gone over and established quality control protocols with the manufacturer). If the EPA continues to insist on it's moronic requirements of 15 ppm of pollutants in the effluent water, they need to be defunded as soon as possible -- the EPA is administered by appointees in the grips of the greens and this is not a good thing. They have the power to act as if they could write laws and this is not Constitutional... It is not that I go out and trash the environment (hey Jen, toss another oily pelican on the fire; it's getting a bit chilly) whenever I can -- quite to the contrary. My gripe is that I have enough of an education in these things to see what is effective and what is just posturing. To see what is grounded in Science and what is grounded in political agenda. I practice good environmental stewardship and I do not see this practice coming out of anything that the EPA does.
Solving the problem of cleaning up the waters in the Gulf of Mexico may depend not on government, nor on the corporate giant BP, but on innovation and commitment to free enterprise. One promising and persistent example is Mr. Nobu Su of Taiwan, CEO of TMT Corporation.
Thursday morning he is to meet with Coast Guard officials in New Orleans to outline this weekend�s trial run of the A Whale, the huge tanker/oil skimmer which Su has brought to America. He says the ship is the long-needed �big answer to a big problem.�
Although he was dismissed when he originally shared his concept with BP and U.S. officials after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, Su forged ahead and spent millions to add intake valves on the bow of the 1,115-foot, 10-story tall ship. These allow it to gather 500,000 barrels daily of spilled oil and water�250 times the capacity of the other ships now engaged in the cleanup.
In a face-to-face meeting in Washington, DC, Su told me he still does not know how many millions he spent to sail the ship from near Shanghai to a Portugal shipyard, there to have its unique oil-skimming system installed, and then dispatch the ship to the U.S. He says he made the decision to act about May 1st and the ship arrived in the U.S. by June 25�a timetable that U.S. officials had considered impossible to achieve.
Su believes so firmly in its potential that he already has retrofitting underway in Portugal on the B Whale, a sister ship that he says could arrive in the Gulf of Mexico by mid-July. And the C Whale not too long afterward.
Despite the original rebuffs from BP and federal bureaucrats, Su charged ahead. Rather than waiting to be invited to help in the Gulf, he wrangled an invitation from Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell to make port in Norfolk for a media event. Once it was on the scene, it became impossible for the Coast Guard and other federal officials, plus BP, to overlook the Whale. And McDonnell�s avid support was a big help.
In essence, the A Whale had crashed the cleanup party, rather than waiting for an invitation.
June 2010 Archives
Waxman Malarkey 3: Impact Zone AlaskaWillis displays the numbers from the website and they do show an overall warming trend from 1974 on up through today. But Wait. There's More...
Once again, I return to that endless font of misinformation, the Waxman Markey website. In this case, I look at their claims about Alaska. This one will be short and sweet.
The Waxman Markey website page on Alaska says:I fear that these numbers must from the well-known Government Misinformation Agency.Over the past 50 years, Alaska has warmed by 4 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit, much more than anywhere in the lower 48 states. This dramatic temperature change is causing the landscape of Alaska to change faster than anywhere else in the United States, threatening infrastructure, wildlife, and Native Alaskan culture.
There are a few things we can see here. First, Fig. 1 clearly shows the dependence of Alaska temperatures on the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). The PDO is a long-term shift in Pacific sea surface temperatures. The PDO has a warm phase and a cool phase, as shown in Figure 3. It shifts from one phase to the other every thirty years or so.The recent shift in the PDO has certainly affected our corner of the world -- crops are about a month late. The corn should be knee-high by the 4th of July -- it's about 4" in most places. Couple this with the very low solar output and we are in for some interesting weather. A hurricane in June is a great rarity too although all major predictions were for a more than normal hurricane season.
The PDO shifted to the cool phase in the late 1940s. It went back to the warm phase in 1976-77. And recently, it has gone back to the cool phase. This is clearly visible in the Alaska temperatures. As much as Waxman Markey wants to blame the shift in Alaskan temperatures on �global warming�, the science says otherwise. The changes are due to the shifts in the PDO.
Oil spill visits get partisanHow small and petty are these people. And how soon can they be fired.
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) wanted to fly 10 lawmakers down to the Gulf of Mexico to see the damage caused by BP�s gigantic oil spill first hand.
House Democrats said no.
Scalise�s trip was rejected for a variety of bureaucratic and logistical reasons, but it has also opened a new vein of partisan squabbling over who should be allowed to arrange a trip to view the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Why Obamanomics Has FailedMr. Meltzer offers some more examples and suggestions and concludes with the following:
The administration's stimulus program has failed. Growth is slow and unemployment remains high. The president, his friends and advisers talk endlessly about the circumstances they inherited as a way of avoiding responsibility for the 18 months for which they are responsible.
But they want new stimulus measures�which is convincing evidence that they too recognize that the earlier measures failed. And so the U.S. was odd-man out at the G-20 meeting over the weekend, continuing to call for more government spending in the face of European resistance.
The contrast with President Reagan's antirecession and pro-growth measures in 1981 is striking. Reagan reduced marginal and corporate tax rates and slowed the growth of nondefense spending. Recovery began about a year later. After 18 months, the economy grew more than 9% and it continued to expand above trend rates.
In 1980, I had the privilege of advising Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to ignore the demands of 360 British economists who made the outrageous claim that Britain would never (yes, never) recover from her decision to reduce government spending during a severe recession. They wanted more spending. She responded with a speech promising to stay with her tight budget. She kept a sustained focus on long-term problems. Expectations about the economy's future improved, and the recovery soon began.And Mr. Meltzer's background?
That's what the U.S. needs now. Not major cuts in current spending, but a credible plan showing that authorities will not wait for a fiscal crisis but begin to act prudently and continue until deficits disappear, and the debt is below 60% of GDP. Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.) offered a plan, but the administration and Congress ignored it.
The country does not need more of the same. Successful leaders give the public reason to believe that they have a long-term program to bring a better tomorrow. Let's plan our way out of our explosive deficits and our hesitant and jobless recovery by reducing uncertainty and encouraging growth.
Mr. Meltzer is a professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and the author of "A History of the Federal Reserve" (University of Chicago Press, 2003 and 2010).The 260+ comments are well worth reading too -- trenchant and to the point...
Vandals Set Fire to U.N. Children�s Camp in GazaEmphasis mine -- since when is a PLAYGROUND considered an undesirable activity. These
A gang of gunmen slashed plastic sheds and toys and vandalized a swimming pool at a United Nations summer camp for children in the Gaza Strip before setting fire to the site Monday, United Nations officials said.
It was the second time a United Nations camp had been attacked and vandalized within the last month in Gaza, according to the organization�s Relief and Works Agency. The incident took place around dawn when no children were present.
�The overwhelming success of U.N.R.W.A.�s Summer Games has once again obviously frustrated those that are intolerant of children�s happiness,� said John Ging, director of the agency�s operations. �This is another example of the growing levels of extremism in Gaza and further evidence, if that were needed, of the urgency to change the circumstances on the ground that are generating such extremism.�
Hamas authorities, who run Gaza, condemned the incident and said an investigation had been opened.
Islamic extremist groups in Gaza have said in the past that the Relief and Works Agency, the main arm of the United Nations operating in Gaza, was a corrupting influence on local children for introducing activities they consider at odds with conservative Islamic customs.
Talk about getting in bed with your worst enemy. From Reuters:
Obama, Saudi King discuss 2-state Mideast solution
Arab leaders are disappointed that Obama has not made more progress in pressuring Israel to give ground in U.S.-mediated peace talks. Obama will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on July 6.
Obama said his lunch with King Abdullah ranged over various strategic issues, including Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as "the importance of moving forward in a significant and bold way in securing a Palestinian homeland that can live side by side with a secure and prosperous Israeli state."
Netanyahu began indirect talks with the Palestinians in May but has imposed strict conditions for accepting their demand for statehood.
Considering that the Wahabbist Saudis are actively funding terrorism, I would consider this King to be a wee bit two-faced. Stability in that region is not going to happen until they all lay off Israel. The sooner we return to being an active ally of Israel, the sooner peace will come. The history of the so-called "palestinian" peoples is a very twisted and interesting one -- today's instability is the result of a failed Soviet destabilization program from the 1950's with Yasser Arafat spending several years in Moscow being trained and then returning to "lead" his "people" (palestinians are Jordanian, Arafat was Egyptian).
US accepts international assistance for Gulf spillThere is probably an author who is now gathering the evidence -- the book will be blistering for this regime. Just the facts that have leaked out through the MSM are bad enough.
The United States is accepting help from 12 countries and international organizations in dealing with the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The State Department said in a statement Tuesday that the U.S. is working out the particulars of the help that's been accepted.
The identities of all 12 countries and international organizations were not immediately announced. One country was cited in the State Department statement -- Japan, which is providing two high-speed skimmers and fire containment boom.
More than 30 countries and international organizations have offered to help with the spill. The State Department hasn't indicated why some offers have been accepted and others have not.
Five Gun SaluteThe same story as reported by the Chicago Tribune:
Judicial liberals have been discovering the virtues of legal precedent now that conservatives are finally winning a few cases at the Supreme Court, but in yesterday's major gun rights case that all went out the window. The four liberal Justices rejected a 2008 landmark precedent as well as one of their own bedrock Constitutional principles.
That's the most surprising news in yesterday's 5-4 decision in McDonald v. Chicago, which ruled that the Second Amendment protects the same Constitutional right in the states as it does in Washington, D.C. The decision is the logical extension of 2008's District of Columbia v. Heller, which ruled for the first time that the Second Amendment was an individual right like the rest of the Bill of Rights. In McDonald, the Justices established that this right also applies to the states via the Fourteenth Amendment and cast doubt on a Chicago ordinance banning handguns.
Most Court followers had expected the decision to "incorporate" the Second Amendment to the states to be relatively easy and perhaps draw a large majority. Over nearly a century of cases, the High Court has extended to the states most of the rest of the Bill of Rights including part or all of the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments. It would be passing strange for the Second Amendment to be the lone outlier.
All the more so given that Justice Samuel Alito's plurality opinion used "substantive due process" under the Fourteenth Amendment to justify the decision. This is the logic that liberals have long used to apply the other Bill of Rights to the states, and objections to it have most often come from conservatives. Justice Antonin Scalia mentioned his own "misgivings about Substantive Due Process" as a matter of original Constitutional interpretation in his concurring opinion yesterday. But he said he "acquiesced" in this decision "'because it is both long established and narrowly limited.'"
Court took cheap shot at city's crime rate, Chicago officials contendA bit of background at FOX News:
Many supporters of Chicago's handgun ban were braced for defeat Monday, but some were surprised the U.S. Supreme Court ruling took such sharp aim at the city's crime-fighting efforts.
The high court's decision made references to the city's high murder rate and suggested that citizens who feel they aren't being protected by police should be allowed to protect themselves.
Chicago mayor says spate of gun deaths proves city needs to keep handgun ban in placeThese mouth-breathers; these booger-eating morons utterly fail to grasp two very simple facts: #1) - gun laws do not affect the criminal, they only affect the honest citizen. #2) - if a criminal was not sure that his victim was not armed, they would be a lot less inclined to try to assault them. Robert Anson Heinlein said it best: "An armed society is a polite society."
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley defended the city's handgun ban Tuesday after a spate of shootings that left 10 people dead and dozens wounded, saying the violence bolsters the city's argument that the 1982 ordinance is needed.
Daley said the city must continue to fight against handguns even if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the ban as unconstitional. The court is expected to rule later this month.
"Look at all the guns that shot people this weekend. Where did they come from? That is the issue," Daley said at a South Side high school Tuesday.
Ten people have been killed and more than 60 others wounded by gunfire since Friday, city officials said.
Lawmakers Restore Cuts, but a Veto Comes QuicklyNobody wants to see their pet project get cut but, looking at this from a much larger view, the New York State budget is unsustainable. They are looking at raising taxes at the same time that overtaxed citizens and businesses are fleeing the state for places more favorably to business growth. The mighty engine of Wall Street which used to provide such a major source of tax revenue is just a shade of its former self (thanks to big government) and more regulation and taxation is just going to drive it further into the hole. Time to man up, grow a pair, bite the bullet -- pick your clich� -- and cut the size of the State Government and lower taxes. Contrary to your flawed thinking, incoming revenue will go up -- this has happened before and can happen again.
Hoping to seize control of a budget battle dominated for weeks by Gov. David A. Paterson, lawmakers voted on Monday to restore hundreds of millions of dollars in education and health spending that the governor had sought to cut. But just hours later, Mr. Paterson exercised his line-item veto power to cancel the added school aid � and said that more such vetoes were on the way.
The appropriation legislation, devised by Democratic leaders in the Senate and Assembly, allowed lawmakers to rebuff emergency bills submitted by Mr. Paterson on Sunday that would have forced a partial government shutdown had the lawmakers failed to approve them. The alternative bills passed comfortably in the Assembly but narrowly in the State Senate. Several Democratic senators had threatened to vote against the legislation because it offered only modest property tax relief for suburban and rural homeowners and omitted a plan backed by Mr. Paterson and the Senate to allow New York�s public universities to set their own tuition without legislative approval.
Passage of the appropriation bills effectively completes the state budget, now almost three months late. But Mr. Paterson�s rapid counterattack sets up a fresh confrontation with the Legislature, which is likely to seek to override the veto, perhaps as early as Tuesday. The Legislature is also preparing to approve nearly $1 billion in taxes, fees and other revenue measures later in the week.
Speaking to reporters on Monday night, Mr. Paterson said that the Legislature had �presented us with a series of bills that have the same gimmicks, chicanery and avoidant conduct that has characterized fiscal management in this state for far too long.�
Mr. Paterson also drew unexpected support from his onetime archrival, Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo. Mr. Cuomo, who is running to succeed Mr. Paterson as governor, has for weeks avoided miring himself in Albany�s budget fight. But he waded in on Monday, criticizing the Legislature�s proposal to replace school aid cuts with tax increases.
�I think that�s exactly the wrong thing for this state at this time,� he said, adding, �Restoring the cuts with additional taxation is a mistake.�
A sad day for television and a good time to ask the leadership at BBC WTF? - I mean seriously...
From the UK Telegraph:
Top Gear: popular BBC show to 'cut back on the comedy stunts'
James May, who presents the motoring programme alongside Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond, said there would be a more serious tone to the new series, which begins on Sunday.
The decision to alter the BBC Two show follows repeated criticism of Top Gear's sillier stunts.
"The keen observer will see a subtle change this series, a slight retreat from the Last of the Summer Wine tomfoolery. It's easy to get carried away - it's like drinking, you start to believe you're funny and other people might not," May told the Radio Times.
"I don't think anybody would say a TV programme has got too big - everybody wants their programme to be the biggest in the world. But it opens you to accusations of dumbing down, all that sort of stuff. It possibly makes it more difficult."
And of course, this is all to do with ratings -- the viewing audience is just not into watching them smash things up:
Top Gear is BBC Two's most-watched programme, regularly drawing audiences of over five million. It is broadcast in more than 100 countries and is said to be one of the most illegally downloaded programmes in the world.
The Telegraph, in a second article, has compiled their top ten video excerpts of Top Gear.
Video: The Gulf of Mexico Death ThroesMany thanks to Doug Ross for the link.
I�ve avoided pictures and video of struggling wildlife, but after being on the coast all week and returning home, I am made aware just how little people outside the coast understand the complete and utter devastation that is taking place right in our own country. If they did I hope that every American would stand up and demand more from their representatives � demand that the federal government admit that the entire Gulf of Mexico is in its own death throes and demand they finally stop putting profit above our people, wildlife and environment. I know of no other way to say we are sitting idly by, as our world dies around us. And I mean �death� in the most literal sense possible.
Have we all become so complacent, so apathetic that we no longer regard nature, life� human life, with enough regard to fight for it? What more must it take to outrage this nation??
Avertible catastropheOver at Wizbang, Jay Tea reads the above article and formulates a list of five action points that seem to be driving the Obama regime -- here is his opening and point #1):
Some are attuned to the possibility of looming catastrophe and know how to head it off. Others are unprepared for risk and even unable to get their priorities straight when risk turns to reality.
The Dutch fall into the first group. Three days after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began on April 20, the Netherlands offered the U.S. government ships equipped to handle a major spill, one much larger than the BP spill that then appeared to be underway. "Our system can handle 400 cubic metres per hour," Weird Koops, the chairman of Spill Response Group Holland, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide, giving each Dutch ship more cleanup capacity than all the ships that the U.S. was then employing in the Gulf to combat the spill.
To protect against the possibility that its equipment wouldn't capture all the oil gushing from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch also offered to prepare for the U.S. a contingency plan to protect Louisiana's marshlands with sand barriers. One Dutch research institute specializing in deltas, coastal areas and rivers, in fact, developed a strategy to begin building 60-mile-long sand dikes within three weeks.
The Dutch know how to handle maritime emergencies. In the event of an oil spill, The Netherlands government, which owns its own ships and high-tech skimmers, gives an oil company 12 hours to demonstrate it has the spill in hand. If the company shows signs of unpreparedness, the government dispatches its own ships at the oil company's expense. "If there's a country that's experienced with building dikes and managing water, it's the Netherlands," says Geert Visser, the Dutch consul general in Houston.
In sharp contrast to Dutch preparedness before the fact and the Dutch instinct to dive into action once an emergency becomes apparent, witness the American reaction to the Dutch offer of help. The U.S. government responded with "Thanks but no thanks," remarked Visser, despite BP's desire to bring in the Dutch equipment and despite the no-lose nature of the Dutch offer --the Dutch government offered the use of its equipment at no charge. Even after the U.S. refused, the Dutch kept their vessels on standby, hoping the Americans would come round. By May 5, the U.S. had not come round. To the contrary, the U.S. had also turned down offers of help from 12 other governments, most of them with superior expertise and equipment --unlike the U.S., Europe has robust fleets of Oil Spill Response Vessels that sail circles around their make-shift U.S. counterparts.
I've Got A Little List...Four more excellent points at Wizbang. Finally, in some unrelated news, Ed Morrissey writes at Hot Air about the A-Whale:
It seems everyone's reading "Avertible Catastrophe," the Financial Post's amazingly analysis of the BP oil spill in the Gulf Of Mexico. As I read it, I started putting together a list of the identifiable errors and mistakes the Obama administration made. And as I made that list, I noticed that they had hit so many of the classic categories of blunders that it could almost serve as a textbook example of how NOT to do things.
1) The Perfect Is The Enemy Of The Good.
The Dutch government owns quite a few oil-skimming vessels that have tremendous capacity. They can suck up huge amounts of oil-laden water and remove most of the oil.
But the EPA won't let them work on this disaster. The Dutch ships don't meet US standards. According to those rules, water returned to the sea must be 99.9985% clean. The Dutch ships fall short of that metric, and don't have the capability to store and carry that water ashore for more thorough cleaning.
Let's say that the Dutch ships remove only 95% of the oil in the water. Isn't that still a hell of a lot better than nothing?
Day 68: Why isn�t the A-Whale in the Gulf yet?More on the A-Whale here:
The A-Whale bills itself as the largest open-water oil skimmer in the world, and it�s at least very impressive. Originally an oil and ore tanker, the ship�s owners recently refitted the ship to do exactly the kind of work that the US so desperately needs in the Gulf of Mexico, and to do it on a vastly larger scale than current operations can handle. According to the ship�s project manager, the entire American effort in 66 days has skimmed off 600,000 barrels of oil. The ship�s owners claim that A-Whale can skim 500,000 barrels a day.
So where is the A-Whale now? In the Gulf? Not yet. It�s on its way there after being tied to a dock in Norfolk, Virginia, and won�t be allowed to join the cleanup effort until the Coast Guard and the EPA figure out whether it meets their standards (h/t Deb Singer on Twitter)
U.S. isolated on spending at G-20And will Obama take home anything from the G20 meeting? Probably memories of a nice golf game and little else.
The U.S. will be isolated at the G-20 summit on the subject of stimulus spending.
In the days ahead of this weekend�s summit, President Barack Obama and his economic team have pressed Europe and Congress alike on the need for more spending to drive economic growth.
But huge gaps have emerged between the Obama administration and allies in Europe.
Germany, France and Great Britain have all launched austerity campaigns designed to reduce public debt. They�re motivated in part by the Greek debt crisis, which continues to scare countries across Europe.
�In the run-up to the summit, a clear plurality of G-20 countries has come up on the side of fiscal consolidation and not stimulus spending,� said Dan Price, a senior partner at Sidley Austin and former President George W. Bush�s �sherpa� for G-20 summits.
Japan has also introduced a strategy to reduce its budget deficit, while Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is hosting the summit in Toronto, has challenged G-20 members to cut their deficits in half.
A related condition, Bisphosphonate-associated osteonecrosis of the jaw (BON), has been described as a side-effect of amino-bisphosphonates, a class of phosphorus-based drugs that inhibit bone resorption, and are used widely for treating osteoporosis, bone disease in cancer and some other conditions. BON is primarily associated with the use of intravenous bisphosphonates in the treatment of cancer. The percentage incidence of BON from this use is approximately 1000 times higher than the incidence of BON caused by the use of oral bisphosphonates.Well, that chicken just came home to roost -- from Bloomburg/Business Week:
Merck Loses $8 Million Verdict in Trial Over FosamaxFor Merck to bring a drug to market when it has such a well known history of causing serious problems is unconscionable. I certainly would not think of suing for the Prednisone as there was no knowledge of the problems it would cause 40 years later but the one-to-one coorelation with Fosamax and jaw death is right out there for people to see...
Merck & Co. lost the second trial to reach a verdict over claims its osteoporosis drug Fosamax causes so-called jaw death. The jury set damages at $8 million.
A jury in New York ruled against Merck today in the case of Shirley Boles, 72, of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, awarding $3 million more than the $5 million her lawyers had asked for. Boles claimed she developed osteonecrosis of the jaw, or ONJ, from taking Fosamax. The first Fosamax case resulted in a Merck victory in May.
Boles �took on a giant and won,� said Timothy O�Brien, one of her lawyers.
U.S. District Judge John Keenan, who is overseeing federal Fosamax litigation, scheduled three so-called bellwether trials that may point the way to out-of-court settlements and show each side the other�s strategy. The third case is to be tried in November.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICESNow they are very specific to say: "The GTR will be a repository of information about genetic tests, not a repository of test results." but I have yet to see a government run program that did not fall victim to scope creep. Is it just me or do I see the potential for a huge security breach?
National Institutes of Health
Request for Information (RFI) on the National Institutes of Health Plan To Develop the Genetic Testing Registry
The last decade has seen tremendous advances in our knowledge of the genomic and genetic factors involved in health and disease. This increased knowledge has been accompanied by a rapid rise in the availability of genetic tests. Although more than 2,000 genetic tests are available, there is no single public resource that provides information about the validity and usefulness of these tests. The NIH believes that transparent access to such information is vital to facilitate research and to enable informed decision making by patients, caregivers, health care providers, clinical laboratory professionals, payers, and policymakers. Therefore, the NIH is initiating the development of the GTR, an online resource that will provide a centralized location for researchers, test developers, and manufacturers to submit information voluntarily about genetic tests, such as their intended use, validity, and utility. The Registry will serve as a resource for health care providers and patients interested in learning about the tests and easily locating laboratories offering particular genetic tests. By using standard identifiers for genetic tests, GTR can facilitate Health Information Technology (HIT) exchange. The GTR will be a repository of information about genetic tests, not a repository of test results.
Unit sales to be axed by mad new EU lawEmphasis mine -- no shit Sherlock. And Obama looks upon this as the shining model of what government should be...
It tried to ban pounds and ounces. It introduced rules on bendy fruit and veg.
Now, if controversial EU Food Labelling Regulations are approved, Europe will outlaw the sale of groceries using numbers - the oldest, most basic measurement of all.
Under the draft legislation, to come into force as early as next year, eggs by the dozen, a four-pack of apples, and eight rashers of bacon along with scores of other grocery goods would be banned as a description on packaging, after MEPs last week voted against an amendment to the regulations that would allow individual states to nominate products that can be sold by number.
Each country is currently allowed this exemption under existing EU food directives. But the new Food Labelling Regulations make no such provisions. And all groceries would have to be sold according to their weight instead costing the industry millions, and leading potentially to labelling chaos.
The legislation could even see special unit-based promotional packs offering 'eight chocolate bars for the price of six' banned.
The legislation was declared "bonkers" and "absolute madness" by food industry experts, and although the implications of the draft were likely to have been an oversight, according to Federation of Bakers director Gordon Polson, it may be too late to change.
"The problem is now the exemption has been omitted from the legislation, it will be very difficult to get it put back in," said Polson.
When food industry lobbyists tried to rectify the omission with an amendment, after it was discovered in the 174 pages of amendments to the initial 75-page proposal, there was not enough time to convince members of its importance before the crucial vote, he added.
"This is hindering rather than helping the consumer, taking away one of the key bits of information," said a major supplier. "If this goes through it would demonstrate how far removed the legislators are from the real world. It's bonkers."
G8: Obama interested in Huntsville�s golf courses: ClementNice to see that Obama's mind is always on his job and that he is not resting until the oil spill has been cleaned up...
When U.S. President Barack Obama stepped off his helicopter in Huntsville on Friday, the first thing he said was, �You�ve got a lot of golf courses here, don�t you?� Industry Minister Tony Clement told the National Post in an exclusive interview.
Talk about being an ungracious arrogant fool. From Canadian website Fair Questions:
My unexpected encounter with David Suzuki
Last night, my daughter graduated from Handsworth Secondary School. Not only I am very proud of her, I am also extremely grateful that she had the privilege of a Handsworth education. I wish that all Canadian children could have an education that is as good as the students get at Handsworth. If that would happen, we would have a better Canada.
On our way downtown for the ceremonies, we stopped at Stanley Park and then at the VAG to take some pictures. We had a little extra time and the girls were a bit hungry so we decided to stop for a quick crepe before heading to the Orpheum for the big event. Cafe Crepe on Granville Street is just around the corner from the entrance to the Orpheum.
As we walked in to Cafe Crepe, I happened to notice Dr. David Suzuki sitting alone, having a bite to eat. For three years, I have been writing letters (see below) and trying unsuccessfully to communicate with Dr. Suzuki so I thought that perhaps I could just briefly introduce myself and give him a friendly handshake to go along with my name. As politely and as respectfully as I know how, I approached Dr. Suzuki to take the liberty of introducing myself. Actually, we have met before but that was years ago at the opening ceremonies of the Kitasoo/Xais-Xais cultural center in Klemtu.
"Dr. Suzuki, I wonder if I might introduce myself," I said, or something like that. "I'm Vivian, Vivian Krause," I said. He kindly stood up to shake my hand, I believe, but my name didn't seem to ring a bell so I added, "I've been trying to write you letters." Still, he didn't seem to place my name so I added, "I have a web-site, 'Fair Questions,' " I mentioned, adding that I would really appreciate it if I could speak with him or meet with him.
Then, he placed me, or so it seemed. "You're the fish farmer," he said. I had barely begun to explain that yes, I used to work in fish farming - seven years ago - but before I could say much Dr. Suzuki looked me straight in the eye and started telling me to f**k off. Not just once. Then, suddenly, he seemed to catch himself, and quickly sat down.
I was so stunned, I was speechless (which doesn't happen very often).
And the fish farming aspect:
At that point, Dr. Suzuki stood up again and came towards me. He seemed very angry, maybe even furious. "Look," he said, "What do you want? " he asked me, twice, I believe. He was yelling at me by this time - or so it felt. He seemed so angry that I was afraid that he was going to hit me so I started to back up - which is not very easy to do at Cafe Crepe on Granville. I told him that what I want to know is how much American money his foundation has received, how many millions, or perhaps tens of millions. U.S. tax returns that I have seen show that U.S. foundations have paid about $US 10 Million to the David Suzuki Foundation.
"Why?" he asked me, adding, "What do you care?"
I answered Dr. Suzuki's question by saying that the reason that I care is because hundreds of people have lost their jobs because of his crusade against salmon farming. That isn't the only reason that I care but it is the reason that I happened to mention. (Another reason that I care is that with his false claims about PCBs in farmed salmon, and sea lice, it seems to me that Dr. Suzuki has sold our country up the river on the safety and sustainability of salmon farming, but I didn't get into that).
The reason that I care so much about jobs is because not all of us have a house on the water in Point Grey, another property in Toronto, another one in Australia, and another one on Quadra Island, like David Suzuki. Some of us have to struggle just to pay for one home that we don't even own - let alone a university education for our kids. When I worked in salmon farming in 2002 and 2003, a woman at the Englewood fish processing plant in Beaver Cove told me, "If I don't earn it, my son doesn't play hockey." That plant has since been closed. I just can't forget about her and her son.
The guy used to do fruit-flies for a living (Genetics) but has made himself very wealthy advocating for the green agenda. It is a pity that he has forgotten what it was like to be a common man -- one of us...
Nuclear ban reversed as Swedes build new reactorsThe Chernobyl design was a failure waiting to happen and the idiot who precipitated the meltdown was not qualified to be at the controls, let alone running any "safety tests". The Three Mile Island "disaster" was a perfect example of a system which performed perfectly. There was a vanishingly small amount of radioactivity (less than from an airplane ride) and all of the safety measures worked as they needed to. I know I keep harping on this but nuclear is the only source of energy that makes sense. There are abundant sources of fuel, there are new reactor designs that are intrinsically safe and the spent fuel storage issue is a non-issue as the fuel is only dangerous for a few hundred years instead of the tens of thousands with a water-moderated uranium reactor. But of course, Greenpeace was there "demonstrating" their utter lack of science and their willful stupidity:
Sweden's parliament has overturned a 30-year ban on building nuclear reactors.
The legislation will allow construction of up to ten from next year to replace the ageing ones that still produce 40 per cent of the country's electricity.
The vote was passed on a majority of two, with 174 voting for and 172 against.
Efforts to combat global warming have led to a revival of interest in nuclear power. Countries such as Britain, Italy and Finland are also planning to bring new reactors on line.
Opinion polls now suggest most Swedes favour keeping nuclear plants.
But the vote does not necessarily secure a future for the country's reactors.
The centre-left opposition, currently running neck and neck with the ruling centre-right in polls before a September election, will rescind the new law if they win the vote, said Tomas Eneroth, Social Democratic spokesman on energy.
In 1980, Swedes voted in a referendum to phase out existing reactors by 2010.
Fears of nuclear power were then heightened by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. In 1997, however, the Scandinavian country scrapped plans for a phase-out of atomic energy, citing the need for cost-effective power for its large manufacturing and processing industries.
Updated: IRS says it wants its share of BP payments received by oil spill victimsThis is just a naked grab of power. If I was a fisherman and made $10K (pulling some numbers out of my... hat...) and I had $2,500 mortgage payments on my boat and had to spend another $2,500 for fuel, gas, employees, insurance, etc... I (or my company) would be making $5K profit and would be paying the IRS their share of the $5K. If BP was to compensate me fully for my losses, it would be $2,500 for the boat mortgage, maybe another $1,000 for insurance and an employee to maintain the boat so figure out of pocket costs for not operating would be $3,500 plus my lost $5K profits. I can see paying tax on the $5K but I (or my company) should still be able to deduct standard operating costs. To hit people while they are down like this is unconscionable; especially since it is a branch of the government that will be administering the $20BN payoff fund from BP. How people can wish for more government involvement in their lives is beyond me...
The Internal Revenue Service says oil spill victims who receive BP payments for lost wages will have to pay up come tax time.
Under current law, BP payments for lost wages are taxable -- just like the wages would have been, the IRS said in tax guidance issued Friday. Payments for physical injuries or property loss, however, are generally tax free. Payments for emotional distress? Taxable, though medical expenses related to the emotional distress are deductible.
BP officials have agreed to create a $20 billion fund for spill victims, as well as a $100 million fund to support displaced oil rig workers.
The IRS issued the guidance today to help spill victims sort through the law's complexities. The agency has posted tax information for oil spill victims on its website and plans to hold forums in seven Gulf Coast cities on July 17 to help victims with tax troubles or questions.
"As residents of the region cope with the evolving situation, I want to assure them that the IRS will be doing everything it can to provide tax help to those who need it," IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said. "We encourage anyone who has an issue with the IRS to contact us and explain their hardship, and we will work with them to find a solution."
Twilight Star's Genealogy Traces Back to Historical DraculaLink to more information at Nerd Bastards Regardless of whether this is fact or fabrication, an interesting idea...
The legend of Dracula was inspired by the 15th Century Romanian warlord Vlad the Impaler. Researchers at Ancestry.com recently discovered that Robert Pattinson, the actor who plays the sparkly vampire Edward in the Twilight series, is related to him:Researchers at Ancestry.com discovered that Pattinson and the Transylvanian leader (real name: Vlad III Dracula) are connected through their relationship to the British royal family. Prince William and Prince Harry are Pattinson�s distant cousins; Vlad the Impaler was their distant uncle.
�Tracing Pattinson�s family back to Vlad was difficult research, but the pieces that unraveled created the perfect accompaniment to the Twilight Saga,� said Anastasia Tyler, a genealogist at Ancestry.com. �Without any myth or magic, we find royalty and vampires lurking in Pattinson�s life � making his story just as supernatural as the one he�s playing on screen.�
Pelosi asks for donations to fend off potential GOP investigationsIt's all about "our Country" and not at all about her being prosecuted. Riiiggghhhttt... She came into office promising to run the most clean and ethical congress ever. Some legacy. 900+ comments so it seems to be hitting people's buttons.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is asking supporters for contributions to help prevent the "subpoenas and investigations" that would result from a GOP majority.
In a fundraising letter for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Pelosi says if Republicans take back the House, they'll initiate "endless investigations against President Obama" and "bring back the days of Ken Starr and the politics of personal destruction."
"Remember a Republican-controlled Congress that devoted more time to subpoenas and investigations than to solving our country's problems?" Pelosi asks. "There is far too much at stake for our country now to allow it to happen again."
Meet Democrat County Supervisor Peggy West of Milwaukee -- an ardent advocate for the City of Milwaukee to boycott Arizona over SB1070:
And I bet she has never read it. Here if you want to: SB1070.
BREAKING: �Green� Energy Company Threatens Economics Professor � with Package of Dismantled Bomb PartsOf course, Thermotechnic is denying the whole thing. What makes alt-energy so attractive for so many companies is that it is not commercially viable so the government has to step in with huge subsidies. The report that Dr. Calzada wrote can be found here (53 page PDF) and it starts off listing twenty four bullet-points. Here are the first
Spain�s Dr. Gabriel Calzada � the author of a damning study concluding that Spain�s �green jobs� energy program has been a catastrophic economic failure � was mailed a dismantled bomb on Tuesday by solar energy company Thermotechnic.
Before opening it, I called [Thermotechnic] to know what was inside � they answered, it was their answer to my energy pieces.
Dr. Calzada contacted a terrorism expert to handle the package. The expert first performed a scan of the package, then opened it in front of a journalist, Dr. Calzada, and a private security expert.
The terrorism consultant said he had seen this before:
This time you receive unconnected pieces. Next time it can explode in your hands.
Dr. Calzada added:
[The terrorism expert] told me that this was a warning.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: LESSONS FROM THE SPANISH RENEWABLES BUBBLEThese are just the first ten items -- thirteen more in the report and then all of the data to back it up as well as the history of Spain's involvement with finding alternative energy sources. Despite this being Spain from 1991 to 2009, the data is still very relevant, there have been no new technologies and there will not be any new technologies. In 2004, at the height of this craziness, Spain was generating 49% of its electricity from Oil, 18% from Gas, 15% from Solid Fuels (Coal), 12% Nuke, and 6% from renewables. And this is at the peak of the campaign to adopt alternative energy sources. We need to take our eyes off that shiny bauble fluttering just above our reach and start building nukes and drill more oil.
Europe's current policy and strategy for supporting the so-called "green jobs" or renewable energy dates back to 1997, and has become one of the principal justifications for U.S. "green jobs" proposals. Yet an examination of Europe's experience reveals these policies to be terribly economically counterproductive.
This study is important for several reasons. First is that the Spanish experience is considered a leading example to be followed by many policy advocates and politicians. This study marks the very first time a critical analysis of the actual performance and impact has been made. Most important, it demonstrates that the Spanish/EU-style "green jobs" agenda now being promoted in the U.S. in fact destroys jobs, detailing this in terms of jobs destroyed per job created and the net destruction per installed MW.
The study's results demonstrate how such "green jobs" policy clearly hinders Spain's way out of the current economic crisis, even while U.S. politicians insist that rushing into such a scheme will ease their own emergence from the turmoil.
The following are key points from the study:
1. As President Obama correctly remarked, Spain provides a reference for the establishment of government aid to renewable energy. No other country has given such broad support to the construction and production of electricity through renewable sources. The arguments for Spain's and Europe's "green jobs" schemes are the same arguments now made in the U.S., principally that massive public support would produce large numbers of green jobs. The question that this paper answers is "at what price?"
2. Optimistically treating European Commission partially funded data we find that for every renewable energy job that the State manages to finance, Spain's experience cited by President Obama as a model reveals with high confidence, by two different methods, that the U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average, or about 9 jobs lost for every 4 created, to which we have to add those jobs that non-subsidized investments with the same resources would have created.
3. Therefore, while it is not possible to directly translate Spain's experience with exactitude to claim that the U.S. would lose at least 6.6 million to 11 million jobs, as a direct consequence were it to actually create 3 to 5 million "green jobs" as promised (in addition to the jobs lost due to the opportunity cost of private capital employed in renewable energy), the study clearly reveals the tendency that the U.S. should expect such an outcome.
4. At minimum, therefore, the study's evaluation of the Spanish model cited as one for the U.S. to replicate in quick pursuit of "green jobs" serves a note of caution, that the reality is far from what has typically been presented, and that such schemes also offer considerable employment consequences and implications for emerging from the economic crisis.
5. Despite its hyper-aggressive (expensive and extensive) "green jobs" policies it appears that Spain likely has created a surprisingly low number of jobs, two- thirds of which came in construction, fabrication and installation, one quarter in administrative positions, marketing and projects engineering, and just one out of ten jobs has been created at the more permanent level of actual operation and maintenance of the renewable sources of electricity.
6. This came at great financial cost as well as cost in terms of jobs destroyed elsewhere in the economy.
7. The study calculates that since 2000 Spain spent �571,138 to create each "green job", including subsidies of more than �1 million per wind industry job.
8. The study calculates that the programs creating those jobs also resulted in the destruction of nearly 110,500 jobs elsewhere in the economy, or 2.2 jobs destroyed for every "green job" created.
9. Principally, the high cost of electricity affects costs of production and employment levels in metallurgy, non-metallic mining and food processing, beverage and tobacco industries.
10. Each "green" megawatt installed destroys 5.28 jobs on average elsewhere in the economy: 8.99 by photovoltaics, 4.27 by wind energy, 5.05 by mini-hydro.
Taliban endorses General Petraeus, say new US Afghanistan war chief 'not smarter' than McChrystalPetraeus is probably brushing up on his Sun Tzu right now. You do not rise to a post like that if you are not whip smart. If he gets the support he needs, it will be an interesting summer for the terrorists...
It seems the evildoers were just biding their time to see how the Rolling Stone flap would play out. Now that President Obama has sacked his top war boss in Afghanistan, Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, and replaced him with Iraq surge hero Gen. David Petraeus, the Taliban has finally weighed in.
Their verdict? The new boss is the same as the old boss. And Petraeus is a wimp, they claimed Thursday.
"(Petraeus) is not smarter than McChrystal," Taliban spokesman Qari Muhammad Ahmed Yusuf said in a statement. "Also, his losing consciousness last week in an investigative hearing before the members of the U.S. Congress brought his physical competence and his courage into question."
The popular thing to do today is to build a model of something rather than going out and measuring it.
The fallacy of this shows up all the time in climate modeling, especially among proponents of Anthropogenic Global Warming. It seems that BP was basing their response to the Deepwater rig disaster on some out of date and inaccurate models. From the Wall Street Journal:
BP Relied on Faulty U.S. Data
BP PLC and other big oil companies based their plans for responding to a big oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on U.S. government projections that gave very low odds of oil hitting shore, even in the case of a spill much larger than the current one.
The government models, which oil companies are required to use but have not been updated since 2004, assumed that most of the oil would rapidly evaporate or get broken up by waves or weather. In the weeks since the Deepwater Horizon caught fire and sank, real life has proven these models, prepared by the Interior Department's Mineral Management Service, wrong.
Oil has hit 171 miles of shoreline in southern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and northern Florida. Further, government models don't address how oil released a mile below the surface would behave - despite years of concern among government scientists and oil companies about deep-water spills.
At the risk of making liberal's heads pop, I bet that Dick Cheney would be the absolute best choice for Cleanup Czar right now. Obama will probably just appoint another lawyer...
Greece, in an effort to turn its economy around is offering sale and long-term leases of choice property. From the UK Guardian:
Greece puts its islands up for sale to save economy
There's little that shouts "seriously rich" as much as a little island in the sun to call your own. For Sir Richard Branson it is Neckar in the Caribbean, the billionaire Barclay brothers prefer Brecqhou in the Channel Islands, while Aristotle Onassis married Jackie Kennedy on Skorpios, his Greek hideway.
Now Greece is making it easier for the rich and famous to fulfill their dreams by preparing to sell, or offering long-term leases on, some of its 6,000 sunkissed islands in a desperate attempt to repay its mountainous debts.
The Guardian has learned that an area in Mykonos, one of Greece's top tourist destinations, is one of the sites for sale. The area is one-third owned by the government, which is looking for a buyer willing to inject capital and develop a luxury tourism complex, according to a source close to the negotiations.
Sad to see -- this is a band-aid and is only delaying the eventual restructuring or crash. If Greece is to save itself, it needs to have a come-to-Jesus moment with its unions about the unsustainable pensions.
Oliver Stone Disagrees with Hugo Chavez: Obama's Not a Leftist, But �Very Much a Centrist�Just how far off the deep end of Progressivism do you have to be to consider Obama to be a centrist. Talk about a classic example of an Overton Window.
Academy Award-winning film director Oliver Stone says he disagrees with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez�s comment that President Barack Obama--considering his nationalization of General Motors--could end up to Chavez's political left. On the contrary, Stone insisted that Obama is �very much a centrist.�
At the National Press Club on Wednesday, CNSNews.com asked Stone, �When the federal government took over ownership of General Motors, Hugo Chavez said that President Obama could actually end up to the left of him. Would you agree with President Chavez�s statement, at this point?�
Stone said, �No, not at all. I think Obama�s very much a centrist at a time of great change. Yeah.�
On a live television broadcast last June, Chavez said, "Hey, Obama has just nationalized nothing more and nothing less than General Motors. Comrade Obama! Fidel, careful or we are going to end up to his right.�
I like Obama... and he�s right to have a go at us for polluting his countryEmphasis mine. And Sir Paul -- as for the clean renewable energy -- guess what?
The shocking images of oil-covered wildlife and ruined beaches across the Gulf of Mexico have horrified millions.
But passionate green campaigner Sir Paul McCartney believes the environmental disaster may have a silver lining, with the search for clean, renewable energy now being pushed forward.
The Beatles legend said: "Sadly we need disasters like this to show people. Some people don't believe in climate warming - like those who don't believe there was a Holocaust.
It Does Not Exist
Al Gore A "Crazed Sex Poodle?"They have the police report. Geezzz -- massage is massage, it is not sex. If he wanted something different, he should have been a little more explicit in his request. I love that she saved the garment with the 'bodily fluid' on it -- a little DNA testing would go a long way to deflate this overblown advocate for failed science...
In a bizarre statement to police, the Oregon woman who claims that Al Gore fondled and groped her during a massage session described the former Vice President as a giggling "crazed sex poodle" who gave a "come hither" look before pouncing on her in a Portland hotel suite. In a taped January 2009 interview with cops, the 54-year-old woman, a licensed masseuse whose name has been redacted from police records, read from a lengthy prepared statement that detailed her alleged October 2006 encounter with Gore at the Hotel Lucia.
Obama administration vows to end homelessnessA noble desire but a very foolish cause. The article states: "a government report showed that nearly 1.6 million people, including more than 170,000 families, spent time in homeless shelters last year as the recession, mounting foreclosures and record unemployment sent people scrambling for shelter" This is 0.3% of the US Population -- one for every three hundred citizens, and the mention is not long-term, it is 'spent time in'. Reasons given were foreclosures (ie: people being able to borrow well beyond their means -- Earth to Barney) and record unemployment (Earth to Obama, Keynes, et. al.) People that work with the homeless often refer to the 35 percenters -- these are the chronic abusers and mental patients so that drops the number down to 0.1% -- one for every thousand citizens. Considering that these people aren't going to respond very well to any kind of palliative care -- from the Houston Chronicle:
The Obama administration on Tuesday unveiled an ambitious plan that aspires to end homelessness among some of society's most vulnerable groups within the next decade.
"Opening Doors," a "Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness," calls for ending child and family homelessness in 10 years while wiping out chronic homelessness and homelessness among veterans in five years.
According to the 74-page plan, "Stable housing is the foundation upon which people build their lives � absent a safe, decent, affordable place to live, it is next to impossible to achieve good health, positive educational outcomes or reach one's economic potential."
The plan is a significant breakthrough because there's never been a comprehensive federal effort to end homelessness with a timeline and measureable goals, said Nan Roman , the president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
"To me that's really important, because we know that when the Bush administration made a commitment to end chronic homelessness, it really made a huge difference," she said. "It changed how resources were allocated. It caused better coordination, and the result has been that the chronic numbers have gone down. Now they're taking that same approach and they're expanding it to the other homeless populations. I think that's significant."
They talk, instead, about "the 35 percenters" -- a reference to a 2005 study, funded in part by the city, that found that 35 percent of our homeless are "severely compromised by mental illness, chronic substance abuse, or mental retardation and will require lifelong, highly structured care" such as supervised housing. (Another 55 percent will likely need occasional help, such as access to food pantries, for the rest of their lives.)Back when I was growing up, there were State and Federal funded institutions where people like this would live. There will always be a percentage of misfits in society and it is our charitable duty to see them given some measure of support as they are incapable of surviving on their own. It needs to be done in an institutional setting to keep the costs down and to maximize access to medical care and psychological treatment. They should not be given a rent-free apartment. During the 'enlightened years' of Johnson's Great Society, these institutions were considered by the cultural elites to be inhumane and, as there was no alternative for them, these poor people were turned out on the streets: You are Free to Go Home... What a sick fscking joke. This is just another huge political entitlement scam, a boondoggle that will treat people badly. As a final note, there is a housing project in Seattle for intransigent alcoholics. It is located next to a favorite restaurant of mine in Chinatown. The Liquor Locusts now hog the front counter and the last two times I have been there, they are changing the atmosphere of the place from a good cheap Cantonese dive to their own clubhouse and the poor staff do not know what to do. The place was almost empty both times I was there. If these alkies want a place to hang out, it should be away from private businesses that will be impacted. They will not be able to tell the difference and it will save a small business. Sorry for the rant but I am feeling very ticked off at the over-reach of this regieme...
Gulf oil spill: Boat captain, despondent over spill, commits suicideMy prayers to his wife and family. As for not allowing effective solutions to be implemented - from New Orleans station WDSU:
William Allen Kruse, 55, a charter boat captain recently hired by BP as a vessel of opportunity out of Gulf Shores, Ala., died Wednesday morning before 7:30 a.m. of a gunshot to the head, likely self-inflicted, authorities said.
"He had been quite despondent about the oil crisis," said Stan Vinson, coroner for Baldwin County, which includes Gulf Shores.
Kruse, who lived with his family in nearby Foley, Ala., reported to work Wednesday morning as usual at the Gulf Shores Marina on Fort Morgan Road in Gulf Shores, Vinson said. He met up with his two deckhands at his boat, The Rookie. One of the deckhands later told Vinson that Kruse seemed his usual self, sending them to fetch ice while he pulled the boat around to the gas pumps.
As the deckhands walked off to get ice, they heard what sounded like a firecracker, Vinson said. They turned around but didn't see anything out of the ordinary. So they proceeded to gather the ice and wait for Kruse at the pumps. "He never showed," Vinson said.
After waiting a while, the deckhands returned to the boat, which was moored where they had left it, Vinson said. They went aboard and found Kruse at the captain's bridge above the wheelhouse, Vinson said. He had been shot in the head. A Glock handgun was later recovered from the scene, and investigators do not suspect foul play, Vinson said.
Vinson said Kruse was in good health, did not suffer from any mental illness and was not taking psychotropic medications.
Federal Gov't Halts Sand Berm DredgingWith so many Federal agencies trying to carve off their slice of the pie, we are seeing a classical engineering problem - analysis paralysis. Rather than just doing something that competently addresses 60% of the problem and then actively fine-tuning to 90% while under way, the idiots in Washington, D.C. are waiting until they have a fix that they consider to be 100% perfect before they do anything. Well, guess what guys... There are just too many UNK-UNKs out there.
The federal government has shut down the dredging that was being done to create protective sand berms in the Gulf of Mexico.
The berms are meant to protect the Louisiana coastline from oil. But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department has concerns about where the dredging is being done. The department says one area where sand is being dredged is a sensitive section of the Chandeleur Islands, and the state failed to meet an extended deadline to install pipe that would draw sand from a less-endangered area.
Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, who was one of the most vocal advocates of the dredging plan, has sent a letter to President Barack Obama, pleading for the work to continue.
Nungesser said the government has asked crews to move the dredging site two more miles farther off the coastline.
"Once again, our government resource agencies, which are intended to protect us, are now leaving us vulnerable to the destruction of our coastline and marshes by the impending oil," Nungesser wrote to Obama. "Furthermore, with the threat of hurricanes or tropical storms, we are being put at an increased risk for devastation to our area from the intrusion of oil.
Carter, in Gaza, Urges Hamas to Meet Demandsto Chavez (Front Page Magazine - 2004):
The Carter-Chavez Connectionto the Taliban (Huffington Post - 2009):
Jimmy Carter: 'Hamid Karzai Has Stolen the Election'and on and on and on. The man may have some strong personal moral convictions but in terms of dealing with terrorists, he is a doddering senile old fool who has no call to be lending any sort of legitimacy to the power grabbing of those who oppose us. The US Supreme Court just ruled on something that is going to be a wonderful tool for hunting down those who support terrorism and will be putting a major crimp in President Carter's lifestyle. From Cassy Fiano at Hot Air:
Jimmy Carter upset that SCOTUS ruling means he can�t pal around with terrorist groups anymoreSo sad, too bad. Carter must be feeling pretty good these days though -- he is no longer America's worst president in recent history (W. Wilson is the historical worst)
Yesterday, the Supreme Court upheld a federal law barring material support for foreign terrorist organizations. And right on time, America�s favorite useful idiot has come out swinging against it. Jimmy Carter is upset because, with this federal law upheld, he won�t be able to pal around with his buddies in Hamas and Hezbollah anymore.
Cue the tiny little violin playing:Some people argue that organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah need help to overcome their murderous tendencies; that with advocacy and humanitarian support, they�ll see the error of their ways and turn to peace. These people, Jimmy Carter being one of them, are delusional. The reality is that there is no logical reasoning you can use to persuade the illogical, bloodthirsty murderers who make up these foreign terrorist organizations to become peaceful. Hamas, for example, has murdered hundreds (if not thousands) of innocent Israelis and Americans. Hezbollah wants to round up all Jews and put them in Israel so that they can be slaughtered. (Remember this blood-chilling exchange between David Horowitz and an MSA student at UCSD?)Former President Jimmy Carter has voiced concern that Monday�s Supreme Court ruling on �material support� to terrorist groups may criminalize his �work to promote peace and freedom.�
Carter, whose advocacy has entailed contact with groups designated by the U.S. government as �foreign terrorist organizations� (FTOs) � notably Hamas and Hezbollah � said he was disappointed by the court decision.
� Arguing that there can be no peace in the region without those groups� participation, Carter has reached out to Hamas and Hezbollah, rejecting criticism that doing so could be viewed as legitimizing their violent activities. Since the 1980s both groups have killed hundreds of people in suicide bombings and other terror attacks, most of them Israelis and Americans.
In May 1901, William Knox D'Arcy was granted a concession by the Shah of Iran to search for oil, which he discovered in May 1908. This was the first commercially significant find in the Middle East. On 14 April 1909, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) was incorporated as a subsidiary of Burmah Oil Company to exploit this. In 1935, it became the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC).Nice heritage. Some flags on the environmental front as well:
After World War II, AIOC and the Iranian government initially resisted nationalist pressure to revise AIOC's concession terms still further in Iran's favour. But in March 1951, the pro-western Prime Minister Ali Razmara was assassinated. The Majlis of Iran (parliament) elected a nationalist, Mohammed Mossadeq, as prime minister. In April, the Majlis nationalised the oil industry by unanimous vote. The National Iranian Oil Company was formed as a result, displacing the AIOC. The AIOC withdrew its management from Iran, and organised an effective boycott of Iranian oil. The British government - which owned the AIOC - contested the nationalisation at the International Court of Justice at The Hague, but its complaint was dismissed.
By spring of 1953, incoming U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorised the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to organise a coup against the Mossadeq government with support from the British government. On 19 August 1953, Mossadeq was forced from office by the CIA conspiracy, involving the Shah and the Iranian military, and known by its codename, Operation Ajax.
Mossadeq, prince (Shahzadeh) of Qajar Dynasty, was replaced by pro-Western general Fazlollah Zahedi, and the Shah, who returned to Iran after having left the country briefly to await the outcome of the coup. The Shah abolished the democratic Constitution and assumed autocratic powers.
After the coup, Mossadeq's National Iranian Oil Company became an international consortium, and AIOC resumed operations in Iran as a member of it. The consortium agreed to share profits on a 50�50 basis with Iran, "but not to open its books to Iranian auditors or to allow Iranians onto its board of directors." AIOC, as a part of the Anglo-American coup d'�tat deal, was not allowed to monopolise Iranian oil as before. It was limited to a 40% share in a new international consortium. For the rest, 40% went to the five major American companies and 20% went to Royal Dutch Shell and Compagnie Fran�aise des P�troles, now Total S.A..
The AIOC became the British Petroleum Company in 1954. In 1959 the company expanded beyond the Middle East to Alaska and in 1965 it was the first company to strike oil in the North Sea. In 1978 BP acquired a controlling interest in Standard Oil of Ohio or Sohio, a breakoff of the former Standard Oil that had been broken up after anti-trust litigation.
BP continued to operate in Iran until the Islamic Revolution in 1979. After 1979, during the Iran-Iraq war, the oil refineries were destroyed and Iran became a raw supplier of oil. The new regime of Ayatollah Khomeini broke all prior oil contracts and signed new contracts with British Petroleum with 90% to BP and 10% to Ayatollah Khomeini and his followers.
BP was named by Mother Jones Magazine as one of the "ten worst corporations" in both 2001 and 2005 based on its environmental and human rights records. In 1991 BP was cited as the most polluting company in the US based on EPA toxic release data. BP has been charged with burning polluted gases at its Ohio refinery (for which it was fined $1.7 million), and in July 2000 BP paid a $10 million fine to the EPA for its management of its US refineries. According to PIRG research, between January 1997 and March 1998, BP was responsible for 104 oil spills. BP patented the Dracone Barge to aid in oil spill clean-ups across the world.Much more at the site -- I have not bothered to import the links to the citations as there are so many of them. If you want the data to back up these stories, visit the site and click away to your hearts content...
Nearly $31M Supports World-Class Isotope ResearchThe TRIUMF accelerator is actually an older unit -- it had its first light back in 1968. In the USA, when a machine like this is no longer able to support cutting edge research, it is sold off for scrap. In Canada, they take the lemons and make lemonade. A lot of lemonade -- the isotopes have a commercial value:
A $30.7-million provincial investment in one of the world�s top subatomic physics labs is expected to help lead the way in alleviating future medical isotope shortages, while keeping B.C. and Canada at the forefront of particle and nuclear physics, Premier Gordon Campbell announced today.
�B.C. has a well-earned international reputation for its contributions to nuclear medicine, which saves lives by detecting and treating cancer and heart disease,� Premier Campbell said. �Our latest investment in TRIUMF will provide the tools to demonstrate one new way to produce the radio isotopes needed by doctors and patients everywhere, and to help Canada continue its leadership in emerging global industries based on nuclear physics.�
This funding announcement supports ARIEL (Advanced Rare IsotopE Laboratory), a $62.9-million project to build an underground beam tunnel that will surround a ground-breaking linear accelerator. ARIEL will allow TRIUMF to broaden its research in producing and studying isotopes for medicine and physics, including materials science.
The linear accelerator, or e-linac, will produce intense beams of particles to create isotopes of chemical elements. It uses brand new technology developed in B.C. that produces some of the most powerful beams in the world: up to the equivalent of 5,000 light bulbs concentrated in one square centimetre. In addition to medical applications, the laboratory will expand TRIUMF�s capacity for addressing a wide range of issues, including reducing fertilizer runoff, making paper mills more efficient, and developing systems to remove pollutants created by coal-fired plants around the world.
In addition to the Province�s $30.7-million contribution, ARIEL is being supported by $14.4 million through TRIUMF and its partners and $17.8 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation. The foundation�s contribution directly supports the linear accelerator portion of the project, which is led by the University of Victoria.
ARIEL is projected to increase the province�s gross domestic product by an estimated $70 million over five years, and to result in $7.5 million added provincial tax revenues over the same period.For more on the isotope shortage, read here. As for: "reducing fertilizer runoff, making paper mills more efficient, and developing systems to remove pollutants created by coal-fired plants around the world" Research in these topics are aided by small amounts of short-lived isotopes than can help trace the flow of materials through a given system. These are #1) - very low level of radiation and #2) - pretty much undetectable after a few weeks. Very short lived and very small concentrations. Their usefulness comes from having a distinct 'signature' so it can be detected without being confused by all of the natural background radiation we have on this planet.
�The project will also create 160 spinoff jobs in the private sector, universities and other research agencies � not to mention 90 person-years of employment during construction,� said Iain Black, Minister of Small Business, Technology and Economic Development.
An open letter to President Obama from Jon VoightCould not have said it better myself. The line: "The Jewish people have given the world our greatest scientists and philosophers, and the cures for many diseases" really bears remembering this plain and simple fact:
June 22, 2010
You will be the first American president that lied to the Jewish people, and the American people as well, when you said that you would defend Israel, the only Democratic state in the Middle East, against all their enemies. You have done just the opposite. You have propagandized Israel, until they look like they are everyone's enemy � and it has resonated throughout the world. You are putting Israel in harm's way, and you have promoted anti-Semitism throughout the world.
You have brought this to a people who have given the world the Ten Commandments and most laws we live by today. The Jewish people have given the world our greatest scientists and philosophers, and the cures for many diseases, and now you play a very dangerous game so you can look like a true martyr to what you see and say are the underdogs. But the underdogs you defend are murderers and criminals who want Israel eradicated.
You have brought to Arizona a civil war, once again defending the criminals and illegals, creating a meltdown for good, loyal, law-abiding citizens. Your destruction of this country may never be remedied, and we may never recover. I pray to God you stop, and I hope the people in this great country realize your agenda is not for the betterment of mankind, but for the betterment of your politics.
With heartfelt and deep concern for America and Israel,
An interesting metric is the number of Nobel Prizes won by country.Nobel prizes by their very nature do not reflect the general population at large but they are a good indicator of the level of education. 165 out of 12 Million v/s 6 out of 1.4 Billion -- quite the ratio...
Israel has nine. The Jordanians calling themselves Palestinian have one (Arafat - peace) and the only other Arab nation to have any is Egypt with four (one Chemistry, two peace and one Literature).
It gets really interesting when you look at the worldwide number of Jewish Laureates (165 out of a population of 12 Million) versus the number of Arab/Islamic Laureates (six out of a population of 1.4 Billion).
Again, a crude metric but a telling one. Why we vilify these wonderful people for protecting themselves and loving and educating their children is beyond me�
Did I tell you about my cousins Louis and Boudreaux?And with that, I am off to the DaveCave(tm) Planning a large picture session in the next few days -- got a lot of stuff to post...
They live west of N.O., and found out that there were jobs cleaning pelicans for $12/hr, so they went down and got hired, claiming a lot of experience cleaning other birds, so they got put right to work.
Got fired an hour later - after they'd skinned and gutted 25 pelicans.
It was their own fault, they went to the supervisor and asked for stuffing.
Amid crises, Obama declares war -- on ArizonaAnd all that the Arizona law does is to allow for statewide application of an existing Federal law. There is nothing in the State law that is not already on the Federal books. And now, the result of Obama's kowtowing to Calderon -- Breitbart/Associated Press:
The Obama administration has a lot of fights on its hands. Putting aside real wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, there's the battle against leaking oil in the Gulf, the struggle against 9.7 percent unemployment across the country, and clashes over the president's agenda on Capitol Hill. Despite all that, the White House has found time to issue a new declaration of war, this time against an unlikely enemy: the state of Arizona.
The Justice Department is preparing to sue Arizona over its new immigration law. The president has stiffed Gov. Jan Brewer's call for meaningful assistance in efforts to secure the border. And the White House has accused Arizona's junior senator, Republican Jon Kyl, of lying about an Oval Office discussion with the president over comprehensive immigration reform. Put them all together, and you have an ugly state of affairs that's getting uglier by the day.
Mexico asks court to reject Ariz. immigration lawSince when does a sovereign nation meddle in the internal affairs of another sovereign nation. When illegal immigrants are sending back billions of dollars of aid to their families? I certainly encourage immigration but it must be legal.
Mexico is asking a federal court in Arizona to declare the state's new immigration law unconstitutional. Lawyers for Mexico on Tuesday submitted a legal brief in support of a lawsuit challenging the law.
The law generally requires police investigating another incident or crime to ask people about their immigration status if there's a "reasonable suspicion" they're in the country illegally.
It also makes being in Arizona illegally a misdemeanor, and it prohibits seeking day-labor work along the state's streets.
Mexico says its interest in having consistent relations with the United States shouldn't be frustrated by one state.
Mexico also says it has a legitimate interest in defending its citizens' rights and that the law would lead to racial profiling.
McChrystal Goes Rogue� AgainThere are unconfirmed reports that McChrystal has tendered his resignation. Obama just traded a Queen for a Pawn. I can only hope that the next terrorist attack on our nation will be promoted by someone just as ill-prepared and stupid as that Times Square bomber because, with the way Obama is running things, he is only serving to encourage our enemies.
Shortly after President Obama assumed the Commander-in-Chief duties, he retired the existing commanding general in Afghanistan and hand-picked his successor: General Stanley McChrystal. McChrystal was always known as a brash and outspoken military man, an expert in counterinsurgency, greatly respected by the troops under his command, and as having little patience for fools.
His requirement to have to answer to Obama, then, was a trainwreck waiting to happen.
Last year, McChrystal made no secret of his desire to have as many as 80,000 additional troops to press the fight in Afghanistan. He went to the press to state that objective and to dismiss those, like VP Joe Biden, who opposed any kind of surge.
That outspokenness got him into trouble: Obama summoned him aboard Air Force One in Europe and dressed him down a bit. And while McChrystal was right on policy (never commit militarily to an operation without committing overwhelming force and having a clear plan), he was wrong to go public with his troop level requests, and his concerns and reservations.
Today we�ve got another trainwreck smash-up.
McChrystal is being recalled to the White House to meet with Obama tomorrow to explain disrespectful comments he and his aides made to Rolling Stone magazine about Obama, Biden, other top national security officials, and the war strategy. Once again, McChrystal is right on policy (Obama is a destructive, disengaged, uninterested fool whose withdrawal timetable and ridiculous hamstringing rules of engagement are costing us lives and progress), but he was wrong to go public with that criticism.
Obama will decide if he�s Harry Truman and McChrystal is Douglas MacArthur.
But there are 2 big points to consider as this story unfolds:
1. McChyrstal is a four star general, graduate of West Point, has extensive combat experience and a chest full of medals. In other words, he knows what he�s doing. This was NOT a mistake. These comments were not �off the cuff� or limited to just one or two flippant remarks. And the interview was deliberately given to far-Left, anti-war Rolling Stone. None of this was a coincidence.
That can only mean one thing: that McChrystal is playing a game of chicken with Obama. He was daring Obama to respond. Obama runs a huge risk if he fires him. If the war goes under, it�ll be Obama�s fault for firing an insubordinate and prickly but effective general. If he doesn�t fire him, he may look weak and McChrystal will likely feel freer to do what he needs to do to win on the battlefield. Either way: McChrystal has made his point.
2. Many are asking today: Does Obama still have the necessary trust and confidence in McChrystal? I think the more appropriate and important question is: Does McChrystal have ANY trust and confidence in the Commander-in-Chief?
Officially our best-ever cease and desistHeh... I would have loved to have seen the range of facial expressions on the person initially reading the 12 pages as they went from disbelief, realizing that they are not being pnkd and that the law firm is in fact real.
Recently we got the best-ever cease and desist letter. We're no stranger to the genre, so what could possibly make this one stand out from the rest?
First, it's 12 pages long and very well-researched (except on one point); it even includes screengrabs of the offending item from our site. And we know they're not messing around because they invested in the best and brightest legal minds.
But what makes this cease and desist so very, very special is that it's for a fake product we launched for April Fool's day.
It wasn't the iCade, or the Dharma Initiative Clock, or even the Tribbles 'n' Bits Breakfast Cereal.
No, it was the Canned Unicorn Meat.
The very special but also very real letter is from the National Pork Board, who claims we're infringing on the slogan "The Other White Meat," a slogan they're apparently thinking about phasing out anyways.
Senate Fails to Spare Doctors from Medicare CutsWant something run really efficiently and well -- get the government to do it.
The Senate passed legislation Friday to spare doctors a 21 percent cut in Medicare payments - but the last-ditch effort did not come in time.
Moments after the Senate acted, Medicare announced it would begin processing claims it has already received for June at the lower rate. The reason: the House cannot act on the fix until next week.
That means doctors, nurse practitioners, physical therapists and other providers who bill under Medicare's physician fee schedule will have to resubmit their claims if they want to be made whole, with added paperwork costs both for the providers and for taxpayers.
"Congress is playing Russian roulette with seniors' health care," Dr. Cecil B. Wilson, president of the American Medical Association, said in a statement. "This is no way to run a major health coverage program."
- - NOT - -
California License Plates May Go DigitalHow many pennies per advertisement and how much will each plate cost? Those are the first two questions that pop out of my brainpan... And then you have the environmental issues -- flat screens don't work well with extreme temperature ranges -- drove through Death Valley in August or go skiing at Sierra Summit and you might find your license plate a little hard to read. How about cutting state spending instead...
California drivers may soon come bumper to bumper with the latest product of the digital age: ad-blaring license plates.
State lawmakers are considering a bill allowing the state to begin researching the use of electronic license plates for vehicles.
The device would mimic a standard license plate when the vehicle is moving but would switch to digital messages when it is stopped for more than four seconds in traffic or at a red light.
In emergencies, the plates could be used to broadcast Amber Alerts or traffic information.
Obama and Senator Differ on Narrative of MeetingFACT CHECK: "only their spokesmen did the talking" Here is Kyl himself talking with his constituents and telling them what Obama told him.
President Obama and Senator Jon Kyl on Monday waged a �he said, he said� war of words, disputing what the president said about enforcing the nation�s borders in a private meeting with Mr. Kyl, an Arizona Republican. But in usual Washington fashion, only their spokesmen did the talking.
In Mr. Kyl�s telling, �Here�s what the president said: �The problem is,� he said, �if we secure the border, then you all won�t have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reforms.� �The comprehensive immigration reform in question is a broad amnesty program that would legalize the 30 Million or so already living in this country, drawing benefits and paychecks and receiving healthcare and financial assistance without the responsibility of being a citizen or paying taxes. We did this under President Regan -- Congress as part of the bill was supposed to enforce the borders. The amnesty was supposed to be a one-shot deal. Needless to say, nothing happened, nobody followed through on their promises... If this does devolve into a case of he said / he said, all that the White House has to do is to release the recordings that they are making. It would be insane for them not to be recording private meetings at the White House for just this specific reason. The fact that these have not been released to corroborate President Obama makes me side with Senator Kyl.
�In other words, they�re holding it hostage,� Mr. Kyl continued, speaking of border enforcement. �They don�t want to secure the borders unless and until it is combined with comprehensive immigration reform.�
Firms paid to shut down wind farms when the wind is blowingThere is no way to store the energy and the proposed "smart grid" is just the same old power grid with some monitoring instrumentation added. No paradigms being shifted here. You are not going to get rid of coal or gas power plants as you need to maintain baseline generating capacity and if the wind suddenly dies down, you need a source that can ramp up quickly to fill the gap. Wind is just not reliable for baseline generation. Fine for charging a battery at someone's remote cottage. Not fine for serious commercial power. A tip 'o the hat to Robert Mendick writing at Watts Up With That for the link...
Energy firms will receive thousands of pounds a day per wind farm to turn off their turbines because the National Grid cannot use the power they are producing.
Critics of wind farms have seized on the revelation as evidence of the unsuitability of turbines to meet the UK's energy needs in the future. They claim that the 'intermittent' nature of wind makes such farms unreliable providers of electricity.
Vote system that elected NY Hispanic could expandI wrote about this a few days ago: Judge sanctioned voter fraud in New York State I hope this gets overturned soon. It is obvious what the current regime is doing -- they are trying to build a dependent underclass that will vote for the entitlement programs and keep the Progressives in office. Same thing with the lack of immigration enforcement -- get them into the system and get them voting for the Free Government Cheese...
The court-ordered election that allowed residents of one New York town to flip the lever six times for one candidate - and produced a Hispanic winner - could expand to other towns where minorities complain their voices aren't being heard.
But first, interested parties will want to take a look at the exit surveys.
The unusual election was imposed on Port Chester after a federal judge determined that Hispanics were being treated unfairly.
Cost of Seizing Fannie and Freddie Surges for TaxpayersLink is to a 30 Page PDF document at the CBO. Here is the New York Times on September 11, 2003:
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac took over a foreclosed home roughly every 90 seconds during the first three months of the year. They owned 163,828 houses at the end of March, a virtual city with more houses than Seattle. The mortgage finance companies, created by Congress to help Americans buy homes, have become two of the nation's largest landlords.
Bill Bridwell, a real estate agent in the desert south of Phoenix, is among the thousands of agents hired nationwide by the companies to sell those foreclosures, recouping some of the money that borrowers failed to repay. In a good week, he sells 20 homes and Fannie sends another 20 listings his way.
"We're all working for the government now," said Mr. Bridwell on a recent sun-baked morning, steering a Hummer through subdivisions laid out like circuit boards on the desert floor.
For all the focus on the historic federal rescue of the banking industry, it is the government's decision to seize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in September 2008 that is likely to cost taxpayers the most money. So far the tab stands at $145.9 billion, and it grows with every foreclosure of a three-bedroom home with a two-car garage one hour from Phoenix. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that the final bill could reach $389 billion.
New Agency Proposed to Oversee Freddie Mac and Fannie MaeEmphasis mine -- of course, the Democratic majority in Congress would not allow such a loss of power so the plans for the agency fell through. Now, a word from the same article about the stock prices:
The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.
Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry.
The new agency would have the authority, which now rests with Congress, to set one of the two capital-reserve requirements for the companies. It would exercise authority over any new lines of business. And it would determine whether the two are adequately managing the risks of their ballooning portfolios.
The stocks of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae fell while the prices of their bonds generally rose. Shares of Freddie Mac fell $2.04, or 3.7 percent, to $53.40, while Fannie Mae was down $1.62, or 2.4 percent, to $66.74. The price of a Fannie Mae bond due in March 2013 rose to 97.337 from 96.525.Its yield fell to 4.726 percent from 4.835 percent on Tuesday.And now another story from the New York Times, June 16th, 2010:
Fannie and Freddie Falling Off the Big BoardHeh -- a nice bit of Schadenfreude Of course, we mustn't forget Barney Frank's involvement in this bit of nastiness. From the 2003 N. Y. Times article:
The mortgage financing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are at last slipping into a form of obscurity. The companies will delist from the New York Stock Exchange under order of their federal watchdog. When they start trading in the penny stock market, investor attitudes may change - but the government fiction that the two are private companies almost certainly won't.
The ostensible rationale for the Federal Housing Finance Agency's directive to move them off the big markets is that Fannie's stock lately has averaged less than the $1 minimum price required by the N.Y.S.E., while Freddie's has fallen close to that level. With no obvious argument to reset their share prices, a delisting was inevitable.
More significant, the two companies cannot continue pretending to act in the interests of public shareholders while behaving as arms of the government. Fannie and Freddie are propping up the residential housing market. They end up holding or guaranteeing almost all new mortgages, and their regulator wants them to back more home lending to people who, with the best will in the world, can scarcely afford the payments.
"These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis," said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee.All the while he was living with Herb Moses -- from the Business and Media Institute, September 24th, 2008:
Media Mum on Barney Frank's Fannie Mae Love ConnectionThe article goes into great detail with links to citations. Time to drain the swamp and start over again...
Are journalists playing favorites with some of the key political figures involved with regulatory oversight of U.S. financial markets?
MSNBC's Chris Matthews launched several vitriolic attacks on the Republican Party on his Sept. 17, 2008, show, suggesting blame for Wall Street problems should be focused in a partisan way. However, he and other media have failed to thoroughly examine the Democratic side of the blame game.
Prominent Democrats ran Fannie Mae, the same government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) that donated campaign cash to top Democrats. And one of Fannie Mae's main defenders in the House - Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., a recipient of more than $40,000 in campaign donations from Fannie since 1989 - was once romantically involved with a Fannie Mae executive.
From Yahoo/Associated Press:
Obama spill panel big on policy, not engineering
The panel appointed by President Barack Obama to investigate the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is short on technical expertise but long on talking publicly about "America's addiction to oil." One member has blogged about it regularly.
Only one of the seven commissioners, the dean of Harvard's engineering and applied sciences school, has a prominent engineering background - but it's in optics and physics. Another is an environmental scientist with expertise in coastal areas and the after-effects of oil spills. Both are praised by other scientists.
The five other commissioners are experts in policy and management.
And of course, the commission members are of a like mind when it comes to energy policy and the environment:
Environmental activist Frances Beinecke on May 27 blogged: "We can blame BP for the disaster and we should. We can blame lack of adequate government oversight for the disaster and we should. But in the end, we also must place the blame where it originated: America's addiction to oil." And on June 3, May 27, May 22, May 18, May 4, she called for bans on drilling offshore and the Arctic.
"Even as questions persist, there is one thing I know for certain: the Gulf oil spill isn't just an accident. It's the result of a failed energy policy," Beinecke wrote on May 20.
Two other commissioners also have gone public to urge bans on drilling.
Co-chairman Bob Graham, a Democrat who was Florida governor and later a senator, led efforts to prevent drilling off his state's coast. Commissioner Donald Boesch of the University of Maryland wrote in a Washington Post blog that the federal government had planned to allow oil drilling off the Virginia coast and "that probably will and should be delayed."
Some critics expressed their thoughts:
An expert not on the commission, Granger Morgan, head of the engineering and public policy department at Carnegie Mellon University and an Obama campaign contributor, said the panel should have included more technical expertise and "folks who aren't sort of already staked out" on oil issues.
Jerry Taylor of the libertarian Cato Institute described the investigation as "an exercise in political theater where the findings are preordained by the people put on the commission."
My sentiments entirely -- this is supposed to be an independent fact-finding group. That they are so open in their bias makes the findings of the commission useless from the very start.
The 1,200+ comments are worth reading.
Here is Obama's Executive Order forming the commission and here is the press release from the White House naming the commission members and giving a brief bio of each one.
The U.S.' Untapped Oil BountySo, when President Obama said in his Oval Office speech, June 15th:
Think the U.S. is running out of oil? Think again. What is running low, given soaring demand for energy worldwide, is oil in fields that have already been tapped and are in production -- in other words, the relatively easy-to-get stuff, which oil companies have proven exists and can get at with current technology. Those reserves are clearly being drained. The U.S. has around 20 billion barrels now, down from nearly 29 billion barrels a decade ago and about half the 1970 peak of 39 billion barrels. But...
The U.S. is sitting on the world's largest, untapped oil reserves -- reservoirs which energy experts know exist, but which have not yet been tapped and may not be attainable with current technology. In fact, such untapped reserves are estimated at about 2.3 trillion barrels, nearly three times more than the reserves held by Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) nations and sufficient to meet 300 years of demand -- at today's levels -- for auto, truck, aircraft, heating and industrial fuel, without importing a single barrel of oil.
For decades, we have known the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered. For decades, we�ve talked and talked about the need to end America�s century-long addiction to fossil fuels. And for decades, we have failed to act with the sense of urgency that this challenge requires. Time and again, the path forward has been blocked -- not only by oil industry lobbyists, but also by a lack of political courage and candor.I call bullshit on Obama -- the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered The EPA will not let oil companies drill in areas where the known reserves are. If something like Deepwater happened in coastal waters, BP could have sent down a couple of divers and the leak would be history in a few days. If this had happened on dry land, a couple of roughnecks could have it capped off in a day. As for: Countries like China are investing in clean energy jobs and industries Bullshit again. From the New York Times:
The consequences of our inaction are now in plain sight. Countries like China are investing in clean energy jobs and industries that should be right here in America. Each day, we send nearly $1 billion of our wealth to foreign countries for their oil. And today, as we look to the Gulf, we see an entire way of life being threatened by a menacing cloud of black crude.
Pollution From Chinese Coal Casts a Global ShadowAnd:
One of China's lesser-known exports is a dangerous brew of soot, toxic chemicals and climate-changing gases from the smokestacks of coal-burning power plants.
In early April, a dense cloud of pollutants over Northern China sailed to nearby Seoul, sweeping along dust and desert sand before wafting across the Pacific. An American satellite spotted the cloud as it crossed the West Coast.
Researchers in California, Oregon and Washington noticed specks of sulfur compounds, carbon and other byproducts of coal combustion coating the silvery surfaces of their mountaintop detectors. These microscopic particles can work their way deep into the lungs, contributing to respiratory damage, heart disease and cancer.
Filters near Lake Tahoe in the mountains of eastern California "are the darkest that we've seen" outside smoggy urban areas, said Steven S. Cliff, an atmospheric scientist at the University of California at Davis.
Unless China finds a way to clean up its coal plants and the thousands of factories that burn coal, pollution will soar both at home and abroad. The increase in global-warming gases from China's coal use will probably exceed that for all industrialized countries combined over the next 25 years, surpassing by five times the reduction in such emissions that the Kyoto Protocol seeks.
Already, China uses more coal than the United States, the European Union and Japan combined. And it has increased coal consumption 14 percent in each of the past two years in the broadest industrialization ever. Every week to 10 days, another coal-fired power plant opens somewhere in China that is big enough to serve all the households in Dallas or San Diego.From the World Nuclear Association:
Nuclear Power in ChinaSo yeah, bullshit on China's 'green energy' They generate a lot of hydro which is some color of green but there was a huge environmental outcry when they started construction of the Three Gorges Dam but now that it is a fait accompli, the 'green' energy is lauded...
- Mainland China has 11 nuclear power reactors in commercial operation, 20 under construction, and more about to start construction soon.
- Additional reactors are planned, including some of the world's most advanced, to give a sixfold increase in nuclear capacity to at least 60 GWe or possibly more by 2020, and then a further substantial increase to 200 GWe by 2030.
- China is rapidly becoming self-sufficient in reactor design and construction, as well as other aspects of the fuel cycle.
Most of mainland China's electricity is produced from fossil fuels (80% from coal, 2% from oil, 1% from gas in 2006) and hydropower (15%). Two large hydro projects are recent additions: Three Gorges of 18.2 GWe and Yellow River of 15.8 GWe. Rapid growth in demand has given rise to power shortages, and the reliance on fossil fuels has led to much air pollution. The economic loss due to pollution is put by the World Bank at almost 6% of GDP.1 In 2009 power shortages were most acute in central provinces, particularly Hubei, and in December the Central China Grid Co. posted a peak load of 94.6 GW.
Domestic electricity production in 2009 was 3643 billion kWh, 6.0% higher than the 3,450 billion kWh in 2008, which was 5.8% more than in 2007 (3,260 billion kWh) and it is expected to rise to 3,810 billion kWh in 2010. Installed capacity had grown by the end of 2009 to 874 GWe, up 10.2% on the previous year's 793 GWe, which was 11% above the previous year's 713 GWe.2 Capacity growth is expected to slow, reaching about 1600 GWe in 2020. At the end of 2007, there was reported to be 145 GWe of hydro capacity, 554 GWe fossil fuel, 9 GWe nuclear and 4 GWe wind, total 713 GWe. In 2008, the country added 20.1 GWe of hydro capacity, 65.8 GWe coal-fired capacity, and 4.7 GWe wind.
The Helpless TitanWhat he said...
The current federal government of the United States is the largest, best-funded organization in human history. Our public debt has grown to over $13 trillion. We pay hundreds of billions per year just to service this debt. The federal government has over two million civilian employees. The Postal Service, all by itself, employs more people than any American company except Wal-Mart. Our government has shed almost every vestige of Constitutional restraint over the last few decades, exercising powers that would have shocked the Founding Fathers.
And yet, this federal titan is currently face-down in the oil-soaked waters of the Gulf of Mexico, its flabby arms twitching feebly. It has become too bloated to stand up. It can only lie there and scream threats at private citizens and corporations, until vast sums of money are shoveled into its maw, to sustain it for a few more years.
It�s not necessary to ignore the misdeeds of British Petroleum to criticize the appalling performance of our massive super-State. Big Government and Big Business have become so entwined that any disaster on the scale of the Gulf oil spill, or the subprime mortgage crisis before it, will have both public and private agencies to blame. Suggesting that government cannot be criticized until every one of its private-sector �partners� has been bankrupted or nationalized is a recipe for tyranny. We should study the example of BP and understand that only one half of the government-business alliance can call press conferences at will, addressing a media prepared to extend them unlimited credit for their good intentions.
One of the reasons Big Government is so helpless in the face of an actual crisis is that it never learns anything, because it evades blame and consequence for its failures. The politicians who brought you the subprime crisis are richer and more powerful than ever before. The Gulf oil crisis may well end the same way, if the Democrats use a lame-duck session of Congress, plus resources from their new minions at BP, to shove cap-and-trade legislation down America�s throat. Like ObamaCare, such a bill can inflict serious wounds to American liberty during the two years it will take to replace a President determined to veto repeal attempts.
EPA classifies milk as oil, forcing costly rules on farmersTalk about Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy -- the tragedy is that these people are appointed, not elected so getting them out of power is difficult.
Having watched the oil gushing in the Gulf of Mexico, dairy farmer Frank Konkel has a hard time seeing how spilled milk can be labeled the same kind of environmental hazard.
But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is classifying milk as oil because it contains a percentage of animal fat, which is a non-petroleum oil.
The Hesperia farmer and others would be required to develop and implement spill prevention plans for milk storage tanks. The rules are set to take effect in November, though that date might be pushed back.
"That could get expensive quickly," Konkel said. "We have a serious problem in the Gulf. Milk is a wholesome product that does not equate to spilling oil."
German student attacks Hell's Angels with puppyWhatever meds that guy is on -- I do not want any...
A German student created a major traffic jam in Bavaria after making a rude gesture at a group of Hell's Angels motorcycle gang members, hurling a puppy at them and then escaping on a stolen bulldozer.
German police said on Monday that after making his getaway from the Hell's Angels club, the 26-year-old dumped the bulldozer, causing a 5 km (3 miles) traffic jam near the southern town of Allershausen, local police said. He then fled to his home nearby where he was apprehended by the police.
"What motivated him to throw a puppy at the Hell's Angels is currently unclear," said a spokesman for local police, adding that the student had lately been suffering from depression.
Hugo Chavez Spearheads Raids as Food Prices SkyrocketPrice fixing simply does not work. Jimmy Carter discovered that during the oil crunch. Chavez is using the revenues from the oil wells to prop up his 'Bolivarian Revolution' fever dream and when that oil runs out, Venezuela is in for a major world of hurt. I feel really sorry for her citizens -- they are innocent and are being led by an idiot. The article mentions that Venezuela imports 70% of their food. Unreal...
Mountains of rotting food found at a government warehouse, soaring prices and soldiers raiding wholesalers accused of hoarding: Food supply is the latest battle in President Hugo Chavez's socialist revolution.
Venezuelan army soldiers swept through the working class, pro-Chavez neighborhood of Catia in Caracas last week, seizing 120 tons of rice along with coffee and powdered milk that officials said was to be sold above regulated prices.
"The battle for food is a matter of national security," said a red-shirted official from the Food Ministry, resting his arm on a pallet laden with bags of coffee.
It is also the latest issue to divide the Latin American country where Chavez has nationalized a wide swathe of the economy, he says to reverse years of exploitation of the poor.
Chavez supporters are grateful for a network of cheap state-run supermarkets and they say the raids will slow massive inflation.
Critics accuse him of steering the country toward a communist dictatorship and say he is destroying the private sector.
Emanuel links fall elections to GOP support of BPIn breaking news, fire = hot and water = wet. The GOP complaints over the $20B fund are: #1) - the US Government has no authority to tell any company, let alone an English one, how to manage its money and #2) - there is no accountability for this government run fund. There is no guarantee that the $20B will be given to the people whose lives are impacted by the spill. There is no guarantee that it will not be used to pay off Obama's supporters, union groups and campaign contributors. This is another perfect example of government corruption -- like a small version of the Social Security meltdown...
President Barack Obama's chief of staff is warning about what might happen if Republicans�who have defended BP over the Gulf oil spill�were to run Congress after the fall election. Rahm Emanuel says the GOP philosophy is to paint BP as the victim. He says Obama will make clear to voters the fundamental differences in how each party would govern.
Emanuel tells ABC's "This Week" it would be "dangerous" if the GOP held power in Washington.
He says GOP lawmakers and candidates are attacking the administration for demanding that BP set up a $20 billion compensation fund.
US, Israel Warships in Suez May Be Prelude to Faceoff with IranA little saber-rattling with your morning coffee?
Egypt allowed at least one Israeli and 11 American warships to pass through the Suez Canal as an Iranian flotilla approaches Gaza. Egypt closed the canal to protect the ships with thousands of soldiers, according to the British-based Arabic language newspaper Al Quds al-Arabi.
One day prior to the report on Saturday, Voice of Israel government radio reported that the Egyptian government denied an Israeli request not to allow the Iranian flotilla to use the Suez Canal to reach Gaza, in violation of the Israeli sea embargo on the Hamas-controlled area.
International agreements require Egypt to keep the Suez open even for warships, but the armada, led by the USS Truman with 5,000 sailors and marines, was the largest in years. Egypt closed the canal to fishing and other boats as the armada moved through the strategic passageway that connects the Red and Mediterranean Seas.
Despite Egypt�s reported refusal to block the canal to Iranian boats, the clearance for the American-Israeli fleet may be a warning to Iran it may face military opposition if the Iranian Red Crescent ship continues on course to Gaza.
The warships may exercise the right to inspect the Iranian boat for the illegal transport or weapons. Newsweek reported that Egyptian authorities could stop the ship for weeks, using technicalities such as requiring that any official documents be translated from Farsi into Arabic.
The magazine�s website also reported that the Iranian navy is the weakest part of its armed forces. Tehran has already backed down from announced intentions to escort the Iranian ships with "volunteer marines� from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
Rahm Emanuel hits BP chief for attending yacht race � while Obama and Biden golfHayward had just spent most of the last two months on site monitoring the situation. To top it off, he had just been relieved of his duties concerning the spill cleanup that previous Friday. Obama didn't even mention the spill for eight days and has dithered and sent in lawyers, had the Coast Guard stop skimmer ships, failed to temporarily suspend the Jones Act so foreign owned and operated ships could come to our aid (Bush did this during the Katrina cleanup). The only technologies being used by the Federal Government are those that are deployed from union shops. The miles of absorbent boom in Maine and Louisiana -- sorry -- non-union shop...
The White House renewed its sharp criticism of BP Plc CEO Tony Hayward after he attended a yacht race off the English coast on Saturday as his company struggles to plug its huge Gulf of Mexico oil leak.
�This has just been part of a long line of PR gaffes and mistakes,� White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said in an interview taped for ABC�s �This Week� week program, referring to Hayward.
Sheila Williams, a spokeswoman for the British energy giant, said Hayward attended the boat race at the Isle of Wight, saying he was spending some time with his teenage son after devoting most of the past two months away from family.
Obama says GOP making life harder for the joblessObama was not promising jobs, he was promising entitlements paid for by the last few remaining taxpayers out there. What he needs to do is to shrink the government, cut spending and lower taxes. This is what will stimulate the economy and get us growing again as a nation. This idea of redistribution of wealth is based on Marx's big fuckup -- wealth is not a static quantity, it can be created and destroyed. Those that do not have it can get it if they are governed by an honest government, have the opportunity to get useful training (no xyzzy-studies programs in college) and there is a favorable climate for business startup and growth. Capitalism works, socialism simply does not. The idea that Republicans would be standing in the way of job growth is abject bullshit -- conservatives are the only people favoring government actions that will allow for a true regrowth of the economy. All of the Progressive policies are simply re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
President Barack Obama on Saturday pinned blame on Republicans for making life harder for the unemployed and for those who could lose their jobs without new federal intervention. He did so even as he sought to distance himself from the "dreary and familiar politics" of Washington.
Capping a week in which the administration scored a victory - a $20 billion fund to be paid by BP for the victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill - Obama reserved his radio and Internet address to focus on the work that didn't get done.
His main concern was the rejection of a bill in the Senate that would have provided more money for the long-term unemployed, aid for strapped state governments and the renewal of popular tax breaks for businesses and individuals.
Omaha schools pull Laurie David�s AGW book citing �major factual error� and DiCaprio video �without merit�.The graph has been around for 20 years or so and clearly shows CO2 concentrations lagging temperatures by a couple hundred to 1K years. It warms up, plants start to grow and decay and CO2 is released to the atmosphere. What Gore's new schmoopsie (unngghhh - need some brain bleach for that one) did was to reverse the temps and the CO2 concentrations to show the opposite. I am guessing that they sincerely thought their copy of the graph was mislabeled and they felt justified in "correcting" it without bothering to check their sources...
Omaha.com reports on the school board that made this decision here. This book has been around since 2007. Since she�s married to Seinfeld producer Larry David, so it fits right in with the rest of the Seinfeld saga. For example, did you know NASA GISS is over �Monks restaurant� from the show? No, really.
An SPPI report on David�s book in 2007 said:
On page 18 of Laurie David�s new children�s global warming book, there is a glaring scientific error. David tells children:David adds:Deep down in the Antarctic ice are atmosphere samples from the past, trapped in tiny air bubbles. These bubbles, formed when snowflakes fell on the ice, are the key to figuring out two things about climate history: what temperatures were in the past and which greenhouse gases were present in the atmosphere at that time. The more the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the higher the temperature climbed. The less carbon dioxide, the more the temperature fell. You can see this relationship for yourself by looking at the graph:What really makes their graph �amazing� is that it�s dead wrong.What makes this graph so amazing is that by connecting rising CO2 to rising temperature scientists have discovered the link between greenhouse-gas pollution and global warming.
Latest Assault on Goldman Sachs: Bed Bugs?Heh... Corporate culture comes home to roost.
As if a nearly two-year siege of negative attention hasn't been enough of a distraction for Goldman Sachs, now the controversial investment bank appears to be battling a potential bed bug problem.
Employees who work in Goldman's Jersey City, N.J., office tower have been moved from certain floors and ordered out of the building at times because exterminators have been in checking and spraying for bed bugs, said two separate sources at the firm. Neither source was comfortable being quoted by name, citing company policy.
The Great Wind Farm Disaster (ctd)Quoting the whole thing as it is an important read. The true costs of these things are never revealed. P Gosselin relates this other story on his blog:
Heard a great story the other day from Matt Ridley, author of the absolutely essential The Rational Optimist.
He bumped into an engineer who was hoping to land one of the lucrative contracts for the massive, insanely expensive offshore wind farm programme which Dave�s new �Greener Than Anyone� administration hopes will reduce Britain�s carbon footprint while simultaneously creating that the philosopher�s-stone-type marvel that some men do call Green Jobs.
�What�s the chance of them being built on time?� Ridley asked.
�Zero,� said the engineer.
�And once you�ve stuck these things in the sea-bed, how long do you think they�ll last?� Ridley asked.
�Oh, virtually no time at all.�
�So if these offshore wind farms are going to be impossible to put up and are going to fall down as soon as you do, why are you vying for this multi-billion pound government contract?� asked Ridley.
�Duh,� said the engineer.
When Mary Tudor died, she predicted, they would find Calais engraved on her heart.
My prediction when my old mucker Dave Cameron pops off, they will find �wind farms� engraved on his. Of all the damage his lousy administration will do to this country of ours, none will be so mighty, permanent or thoroughly inexcusable as his wind farm programme.
Here�s further cause for gloom from the excellent German blogger P Gosselin, whose reports on what�s happening in Germany gives us an idea of the disasters coming our way soon.Amen, brother.Originally estimated to cost �189 million, the Alpha Ventus park has been plagued by cost overruns and delays. In late summer and autumn of 2008, bad weather made installation of the first 6 turbines impossible. Then the equipment to install the monster turbines was not available. Next there were major problems with the transformer facilities.
A few weeks ago the temperature of the bearings in the turbine made by Areva Multibrid was too high and thus they had to be taken out of operation. Now the turbines have to be removed from their 500+ ft. high towers and the bearings have to be replaced. Repair works will take weeks and extend into late summer. It�s still unclear if the other four of the Multibrid turbines have a problem. The remaining 6 turbines are made by Repower and are reported to be running smoothly. There are no reports on how high the costs for the troublesome dismantling and repair works will run.
And if that weren�t bad enough, the construction works on the massive Bard Offshore 1 commercial windparks have been delayed as a 300-foot foundation column crashed onto the construction ship Wind Lift 1 three weeks ago. Now other turbines have to be thoroughly inspected. The Bard project foresees the installation of 320 five-megawatt class turbines over the coming years. The cost for the first 80 Bard turbines alone is climbing far beyond original estimates. First they were estimated to cost over �500 million. Now it�s estimated costs will exceed a billion euros. German online newspaper projects the costs will even reach �1.2 billion.
The promoters of the offshore projects cannot say they weren�t warned of the risks of installing windparks in the North Sea�s harsh conditions. The Nysted offshore windpark and Horns Rev park in Denmark are examples, and have struggled with big problems. For example in 2007 a transformer malfunction occurred at Nysted just 4 years after being commissioned, causing a months-long shutdown. At the Horns Rev windpark there were problems with the turbines only 2 years after they had gone into operation. World leading turbine manufacturer Vestas had to remove all 80 turbines, haul them onshore and perform extensive repairs. Luckily these turbines were only of the smaller 2 to 2.3-MW class, and so much easier to do repair works. Repairs and maintenance on the 5-MW monsters will be much tougher and expensive.
But as long as windpark companies continue to have the full backing of wasteful governments, costs won�t matter.
Obama�s Green Dream Will Be America�s Next NightmareAnd not to mention that from just a jobs numbers standpoint, each "green energy" job created resulted in the loss of two other jobs somewhere else. From CNS News:
EIKE has a piece today called Super Expensive Energy. It perhaps could serve as a reminder for President Obama, who thinks passing cap & trade and stopping reliance on fossil fuels will somehow plug the hole. My feeling is that Obama is using the oil disaster as a political instrument to drive through a dangerous cap & trade law.
Cap & trade means subsidising industries. Governments can do this as long as they can afford it. But that�s rarely the case. Most often they cannot. Europe is a prime example for Obama to look at.
Take a look at socialist Spain, for example. Driven by a green ideology, and all the promises it brings, Spain went ahead and subsidised wind and solar energy with unbridled abandon, thinking it could create thousands of new green jobs and usher in the next economic wonder.
Well, it has. But not the kind of wonder a sane person welcomes. Today Spain is bankrupt and unemployment is at (twenty) 20%. Spain has since been forced to drastically cut its subsidies, and the solar bubble has popped. Spain is now begging other countries for a bailout.
Even in a country that has abundant sunshine, like Spain, solar energy still cannot compete on the free market without generous subsidies. Consumers prefer reliable and inexpensive energy.
Green Stimulus Money Costs More Jobs Than It Creates, Study ShowsThe study can be downloaded here (54 page PDF). And of course, our politicians are tone deaf on the subject. From Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:
Every �green job� created with government money in Spain over the last eight years came at the cost of 2.2 regular jobs, and only one in 10 of the newly created green jobs became a permanent job, says a new study released this month. The study draws parallels with the green jobs programs of the Obama administration.
Kerry: Green-jobs pushes always work, except where they don�tDrill here, drill now. Latest figures show about 300 years worth of oil reserves in the USA. We have several hundred years worth of Uranium ore and several thousand years worth of Thorium which is a lot better to work with (the bulk of the waste is only "hot" for a few tens of years and much can be re-burnt in a different reactor design). Step up the funding to these guys too: EMC2 Fusion Development Corporation And, BTW, a big hand to Mark Suppes who just joined a small but select list:
The Obama administration and Democrats in Congress have argued for at least the last two years that massive government subsidies for �green jobs� programs will eventually make America an economic powerhouse � even if no one can define what a �green job� actually is. The cap-and-trade bill will tax energy consumption and put tens of billions of dollars into the hands of Congress, which they plan to spend on pet projects in alternative energy production in the hope that it will force the kind of scientific breakthroughs that will allow mass production. They insist that this will create an explosion of jobs and profit in the green-energy sector.
However, this has been tried already, in Spain and Germany, and it�s no coincidence that Spain now teeters on the edge of bankruptcy. The Spaniards lost 2.2 jobs for every subsidized �green job� created by government intervention, hiking welfare costs and undermining economic growth. When asked about the Spanish example, the Senate�s cap-and-trade co-author John Kerry called it an �anomaly�.
Yesterday I was officially added to the list of independent researchers that have achieved nuclear fusion, based on the result of our last fusion run. This list is maintained by Richard Hull, the first amateur fusioneer. Counting groups as a single entry, I�m the 38th person to make this list.
Germany's eurozone dilemma: should they stay or should they go?It is a long (seven pages) article and fascinating -- it covers Germany's financial history and the formation of the E.U. with France and Germany being the two founding nations. The option for Germany?
As the euro continues to dance on the brink of calamity, the people responsible for the deepening debacle have finally come up with a scheme that will save it once and for all. It's a cunning plan that draws heavily on that old joke about a European heaven and hell. You'll be familiar with it: in heaven the police are British, the cooks are French and the engineers are German; while in hell, the police are German, the cooks are British and it's all organised by the Italians.
The euro version goes like this: fiscal policy is run by the Greeks, the Spanish and the Italians; interest rates are set by a central bank in thrall to politicians in France and Italy, and it is all organised by a Portuguese socialist and a Belgian. The idea will go down a treat in places like France, Greece and Portugal. But if you're German -- an increasingly disgruntled citizen of Europe's largest and most productive economy -- you might be starting to think it represents a final signal to get the hell out of there.
I exaggerate, of course. The EU summit is destined to break up without any firm plan being agreed. The hope in European capitals is that the E750 billion bailout plan announced early last month will provide enough sticking plaster to get them through the next few months and perhaps into some kind of tolerable recovery.
But it's a forlorn hope. The euro continues to plummet on foreign exchanges. This week all eyes are on Spain, where investors are betting a Greece-style bailout is coming down the tracks. As various disaster scenarios are pondered, a consensus is forming among moneymakers and policymakers: the euro, in its current form, cannot survive.
So a Greek departure from the eurozone is almost unthinkable. But there's a better option. If Germany left the eurozone itself, it would at a stroke free itself from an increasingly intolerable fiscal burden and leave the weaker countries with some chance of managing their way out of crisis. The euro would presumably decline sharply against the deutsche mark, but that would not necessarily bankrupt the Greek government and companies, because their debts would still be payable in euros.I would love to be a fly on the wall when that idea is floated... Talk about needing some new underwear.
The Distinguished GentlemanThe upshot is that Senator Lahey called the writer (Dan Bolles) and asked him to call back. The upshot of the conversation:
Last week, I wrote an open letter to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT, duh) concerning the Local Community Radio Act, a nifty little bill currently awaiting passage in the U.S. Senate [�Low Power to the People,� May 19]. Long story short, the LCRA would ease ridiculous restrictions on bandwidths available to low-power FM radio stations across the country, which would help to break up the stranglehold corporate radio has on the dial, which would increase variety and localism on the airwaves in communities around the country. In other words, it would make it a lot easier for other areas to have cool, locally run LPFM stations like the Radiator in Burlington. Pretty sweet, right?
So, Senator, what is the big holdup?Very very cool -- there is a lot of interest out here.
�This is a far different Senate than I have ever seen,� he said. He noted that in just the last eight or nine months, there had been more than 100 filibusters, a number normally seen over a much longer span � like, 50 years. Without saying so explicitly, he also insinuated that the Senate has been a tad preoccupied with some weightier matters: health care, financial collapse, war, etc.
And why is LPFM legislation important to you, personally?
�Because I live in a rural area in Middlesex where I see more and more of our radio stations homogenized by out-of-state ownership. These low-power stations really give you a sense of what�s happening locally.�
And the thousand-dollar question: Will the LCRA pass?
�It will pass. Soon.�
�Bush Did It� Is Not a Foreign PolicyExcellent stuff -- Dr. Hanson is one of my favorite writers and analysts.
Not being George W. Bush while apologizing for America�s purported sins is not a foreign policy.
Ronald Reagan came into office with the idea of rolling back the Soviet Union. Reagan hoped that such an evil empire might collapse from its inability to match a newly confident United States.
George H. W. Bush sought to oversee a peaceful dissolution of the Soviet empire, the reunification of Germany, and a new Western-led world order that thugs such as Manuel Noriega or Saddam Hussein could not disrupt.
Bill Clinton pushed Western-inspired liberal globalization to lift the Third World out of poverty.
After 9/11, George W. Bush sought to keep America safe from another round of Islamic terrorism while promoting Middle East constitutional government as a way of weakening Islamic terrorism.
But what exactly does Barack Obama wish to accomplish abroad?
In interviews and speeches, Obama emphasizes his nontraditional background and his father�s Islamic heritage. Apparently, he hopes that by reminding the world that he is not George W. Bush, America will be better liked.
But without a strategic vision, �Bush did it� leads nowhere � given that most of the world�s problems predated and transcend Bush. Obama doesn�t seem to understand than wanting people to like America is only a means to an end, not a policy in itself � and an especially dubious means, given the character of many nations in the world today.
BP Oil Spill: Against Gov. Jindal's Wishes, Crude-Sucking Barges Stopped by Coast GuardAnd why?
Eight days ago, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal ordered barges to begin vacuuming crude oil out of his state's oil-soaked waters. Today, against the governor's wishes, those barges sat idle, even as more oil flowed toward the Louisiana shore.
"It's the most frustrating thing," the Republican governor said today in Buras, La. "Literally, yesterday morning we found out that they were halting all of these barges."
Sixteen barges sat stationary today, although they were sucking up thousands of gallons of BP's oil as recently as Tuesday. Workers in hazmat suits and gas masks pumped the oil out of the Louisiana waters and into steel tanks. It was a homegrown idea that seemed to be effective at collecting the thick gunk.
"These barges work. You've seen them work. You've seen them suck oil out of the water," said Jindal.
But the Coast Guard ordered the stoppage because of reasons that Jindal found frustrating. The Coast Guard needed to confirm that there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board, and then it had trouble contacting the people who built the barges.Alabama is suffering under the idiocy of these people:
In Alabama today, Gov. Bob Riley said that he's had problems with the Coast Guard, too.These committee members need to go for a naked swim through the oil and then have feathers liberally applied to their bodies. Fscking idiots -- they are worse than useless as with useless, there is at least a small chance of something going right. What part of "keep the oil away from the estuaries, beaches and marshes" does the EPA fail to grasp. This is a perfect example of what happens when you send lawyers and bureaucrats to do a leaders job...
Riley, R-Ala., asked the Coast Guard to find ocean boom tall enough to handle strong waves and protect his shoreline.
The Coast Guard went all the way to Bahrain to find it, but when it came time to deploy it?
"It was picked up and moved to Louisiana," Riley said today.
The governor said the problem is there's still no single person giving a "yes" or "no." While the Gulf Coast governors have developed plans with the Coast Guard's command center in the Gulf, things begin to shift when other agencies start weighing in, like the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"It's like this huge committee down there," Riley said, "and every decision that we try to implement, any one person on that committee has absolute veto power."
F.C.C. Moves to Expand Role in BroadbandJust what we need -- take a system that for 30 years has been working perfectly and micromanage it with a government agency. We need less of this not more. And, from Declan McCullagh writing at ZDNet:
The Federal Communications Commission voted 3 to 2 on Thursday to move toward giving itself the authority to regulate the transmission component of broadband Internet service, a power the commission�s majority believes is central to expanding the availability of broadband.
The vote formally begins a period of public comment on an F.C.C. proposal to overturn a previous commission ruling that classified broadband transmission as a lightly regulated information service.
The proposal would designate broadband transmission as a telecommunications service, which, as with telephone service, would make it subject to stricter regulation.
The commission has said it intends to exempt broadband service from most of the regulatory options it has under the stricter designation, keeping only those regulations that are necessary �to implement fundamental universal service, competition and market entry, and consumer protection policies.�
It would not regulate Internet content.
Opponents of the reclassification say that it would give the F.C.C. the power to regulate rates charged to consumers by broadband service providers, something that Julius Genachowski, the chairman of the commission, has said that it does not intend to do.
Internet 'kill switch' proposed for USOf course, this is in our best interest... Of course.
A new US Senate Bill would grant the President far-reaching emergency powers to seize control of, or even shut down, portions of the internet.
The legislation says that companies such as broadband providers, search engines or software firms that the US Government selects "shall immediately comply with any emergency measure or action developed" by the Department of Homeland Security. Anyone failing to comply would be fined.
That emergency authority would allow the Federal Government to "preserve those networks and assets and our country and protect our people," Joe Lieberman, the primary sponsor of the measure and the chairman of the Homeland Security committee, told reporters on Thursday. Lieberman is an independent senator from Connecticut who meets with the Democrats.
Due to there being few limits on the US President's emergency power, which can be renewed indefinitely, the densely worded 197-page Bill (PDF) is likely to encounter stiff opposition.
Defying sanctions, Iran plans more atomic reactorsThree kinds of people:
Defying week-old U.N. sanctions over its nuclear program, Iran promised to expand its atomic research Wednesday as its president vowed to punish the West and force it to "sit at the negotiating table like a polite child" before agreeing to further talks.
Tehran, which insists its nuclear work is peaceful, said it will build four new reactors for atomic medical research. The U.S. and some of its allies believe Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, and the Islamic Republic's plans to expand research could encourage calls in the West for more economic pressure against the country.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran will not make "one iota of concessions." He said he will soon announce new conditions for talks with the West, but first he wants to punish world powers for imposing sanctions.
"You showed bad temper, reneged on your promise and again resorted to devilish manners," he said of those powers. "We set conditions (for talks) so that, God willing, you'll be punished a bit and sit at the negotiating table like a polite child," he told a crowd during a visit to the central Iranian town of Shahr-e-Kord. His speech was broadcast live on state TV.
SheepThe sheep still think that they can 'negotiate' with the wolves. Silly silly little sheep -- so sweet but yet so stupid. Woof...
One more before I go out. From CNBC/Reuters:
More Than 90 Banks Miss TARP Payments
More than 90 U.S. banks and thrifts missed making a May 17 payment to the U.S. government under its main bank bailout program, signaling a rising number of lenders are struggling to meet their obligations.
The statistics, compiled by SNL Financial from U.S. Treasury data, showed 91 banks and thrifts skipped the May dividend payment under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. It was the first missed payment for 23 of the banks; for the others, it was at least their second miss.
The number of banks missing their TARP payments rose for the third straight quarter. In February, 74 banks deferred their payments; 55 deferred last November.
Major indicators point to a double-dip recession. The 400K census workers will be out of work in August, the Bush tax cuts will sunset soon and there is a big commercial real estate bubble set to burst soon. Hunker down, get rid of as much debt as possible and live frugally -- the next couple years are going to be interesting...
Residents get 6 votes each in suburban N.Y. electionThere are so many things wrong here I do not know where to start... If the Hispanics are feeling left out of the system, maybe they should get more active and vote and run for office. Same thing with the early voting. If you cannot make it to the polls, apply for an absentee ballot. I do not have the time to dig now but here is the website for FairVote and it would not surprise me to find funding from the Tides or Joyce foundations -- right up their alley...
Arthur Furano voted early � five days before Election Day. And he voted often, flipping the lever six times for his favorite candidate.
Furano cast multiple votes on the instructions of a federal judge and the U.S. Department of Justice as part of a new election system crafted to help boost Hispanic representation.
Voters in Port Chester, 25 miles northeast of New York City, are electing village trustees for the first time since the federal government alleged in 2006 that the existing election system was unfair. The election ended Tuesday.
Although the village of about 30,000 residents is nearly half Hispanic, no Latino had ever been elected to any of the six trustee seats, which until now were chosen in a conventional at-large election. Most voters were white, and white candidates always won.
Federal Judge Stephen Robinson said that violated the Voting Rights Act, and he approved a remedy suggested by village officials: a system called cumulative voting, in which residents get six votes each to apportion as they wish among the candidates. It's the first time any municipality in New York has used cumulative voting, said Amy Ngai, a director at FairVote, a nonprofit election research and reform group that has been hired to consult. The system is used to elect the School Board in Amarillo, Texas, the county commission in Chilton County, Ala., and the City Council in Peoria, Ill.
The judge also ordered Port Chester to implement in-person early voting, allowing residents to show up on any of five days to cast ballots. That, too, is a first in New York, Ngai said.
Village clerk Joan Mancuso said Monday that 604 residents voted early.
Gloria Furano gave one vote each to six candidates. Aaron Conetta gave two votes each to three candidates.
FairVote said cumulative voting allows a political minority to gain representation if it organizes and focuses its voting strength on specific candidates. Two of the 13 Port Chester trustee candidates � one Democrat and one Republican � are Hispanic. A third Hispanic is running a write-in campaign after being taken off the ballot on a technicality.
Vote coordinator Martha Lopez said that if turnout is higher than in recent years, when it hovered around 25 percent, the election would be a success � regardless of whether a Hispanic was elected.
"I think we'll make it," she said. "I'm happy to report the people seem very interested."
BP comment about 'small people' causes angerThese morons, the elite, really think that they are better then us and treat us like animals in a farm to be lovingly cared for because we do not know how to care for ourselves. They should get out of our way and let us live our lives with as minimal interference as possible...
The BP chairman's comment that the oil giant cares about "the small people" received an icy reception on Wednesday from residents along the Gulf Coast.
BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg told reporters in Washington: "I hear comments sometimes that large oil companies are greedy companies or don't care, but that is not the case with BP. We care about the small people."
Justin Taffinder of New Orleans was not amused.
"We're not small people. We're human beings. They're no greater than us. We don't bow down to them. We don't pray to them," Taffinder said.
Katrina and BP, Two Sides of the Same CoinThis is just the first third or so -- Wansley gets it. He points out the difference between the self-reliant and those who suck at the government teat. One term bandied about (I do not know where it originated) is: "Zero Liability Voter" These are people who pay no Federal Income Tax and so, the consequences of their actions have no weight. These people will continuously vote for bigger government and more entitlement programs with zero regard for the overall consequences of their actions. Right now, 40% of US households pay no income tax and this number is rising. Do we have to crash like Greece or Spain before we come to our senses?
Mississippi's Governor Haley Barbour, in the wake of hurricane Katrina, often blunted attempts of the media to goad him into criticizing the rescue efforts of President George W. Bush by stating, "Louisiana has the same president as Mississippi has." That is to say Bush's supposed inaction in the New Orleans' "come rescue me" fiasco was in sharp contrast to the boot-strap spirit of the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Now the Gulf oil spill has shed more light on the consequences of reliance on the federal government to a national disaster. In Katrina, a group of people relied on government to take them out. In the Gulf, a group of people have been trying to get in -- to apply American ingenuity to clean up the oil spill or prevent it from reaching the shore. Both groups have been held up -- by government.
In Katrina, many New Orleans people, after generations of government dependence, stayed behind, drained of initiative by their government's seeming ability to come to their aid. Those who depended on themselves rather than government did leave while those who had faith in government had no initiative to control their own destiny.
In the Gulf oil spill, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has begged for approval to put up temporary sand bars as a barrier to the oil. The EPA, worse than saying no, delayed and studied and pondered and then said no. We have seen countless stories in the news of innovation and ingenuity by Americans attempting to bring proven applications, equipment and tactics to bear on the oil. Each attempt is met with the same federal dithering, inaction and impedance.
In Katrina, energy and effort that should have been put into getting people out was instead diverted into protest, complaint and blame. Government conditioned these people to expect that government would deliver them. Regardless, the would-be rescuers were thwarted in their efforts by an ineffective Democratic governor who put politics over rescue, and an inept Democratic mayor who was just plain in over his head.
In the Gulf oil spill, there are presently dozens of individuals and small companies that have the ability to solve the oil clean up problem. After they show their process to the media, the inevitable question is asked, "Have you shown this to BP or the EPA?" Their all too familiar and depressingly consistent reply is, "yes, and they are considering it" or "yes, and they said they would get back to us". They have been "considering it" for over 50 days now.
BS on the BO�s BP SpeechWhat he said. It is also interesting to note that Minerals Management Service (the people who regulate resource extraction) were known to be corrupt -- taking bribes, etc. and one of Obama's big moves was to appoint Ken Salazar as head of the Interior Department (which oversees MMS) to clean house. This was eighteen months ago. Only now, after the disaster, has he moved on anything. From Kate Sheppard writing at Mother Jones:
Even ABC News is saying the facts won�t wash in the President�s address.
Hell, Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann think the President was full of crap with this speech. Sorry to be crude.
The $20 Million escrow fund? Unenforceable, and like TARP money, will vanish to parts unknown. Very likely, Democratic pockets unknown.
This wouldn�t even have happened, we all know, if we had just passed Cap and Trade, he suggests. Puh-leez.
The facts are in, Mr. President.
You withheld federal help because the equipment sitting idle on the Gulf shores are owned and operated by non-union companies. You declared this travesty to be as bad as September 11th, deserving of the full power of the American military, to which your response has been to send only dozen Coast Guard cutters to help with logistics and transport.
Meantime, you have enjoyed regional food, developed a fondness for bushwhackers, and took not one but two vacations at the expense of the Gulf residents. No wonder a recent liberal poll has placed George Bush v. Katrina as a better fight than Barack Obama v. BP.
Once more, you have proven yourself incapable of dealing with this. Here is a thought. By executive order, engage the military and national guard to assist with the spill. Build Jindal�s sand reefs. Tell the unions to pound sand (perhaps literally) and employ the Dutch-owned equipment that can do the job. Cap the leak. Then tally up all the costs and sock BP with the bill, payable over the next 20 years.
Was that so hard?
Or are you actually mean-spirited enough to think that if you let this get out of control, this will make Americans scream out to pass Cap and Trade? We would prefer your actions to be explained by incompetence more than malevolence, but you do realize how the evidence is stacking, no?
Salazar "Rearranging Deck Chairs on the Titanic" Says BabbitAnd of course, they announce today that the new head of MMS will be Michael Bromwich. Who he? An engineer? Someone in the oil business? A respected CEO? Someone with administrative experience? A business owner? Anyone? Anyone? Bueler? Bromwich is another fucking lawyer... From the Washington Post:
Former Department of Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt ripped on current Secretary Ken Salazar's plans to reform the beleaguered Minerals Management Service over the weekend. "I think Salazar is basically rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic," Babbitt, who served as secretary for eight years under Bill Clinton, told Platts Energy Week.
In the weeks since the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, the Minerals Management Service has been blasted for years of lax oversight that likely contributed to the disaster. Salazar announced an overhaul of policies of the department last month, shortly after splitting MMS into separate divisions to oversee revenue collection and regulation. The head of MMS was pushed out as well as attention to the agency's failures grew.
But Babbitt says splitting the department doesn't go far enough. "You can walk down the hall and the environmental regulation will be a different office in the same agency," said Babbitt. "I think we need much more basic structural reform." Environmental oversight of offshore drilling should be handled by a separate agency altogether that can serve as an independent regulator, possibly the Environmental Protection Agency.
Babbitt also served on the presidential committee that Jimmy Carter created in 1979 to review the Three Mile Island nuclear accident. Babbitt said he thinks the Gulf spill is "very comparable" in terms of serving as "a defining industrial accident," one that creates opportunity for meaningful reforms.
Michael Bromwich, a former Justice official, is tapped to head Minerals Management ServiceTo restate simply, Bromwich is there to make sure the Federal Government's collective ass is covered -- nothing less, nothing more. The appointment is not about efficiency or administration, it's about covering someone's ass.
President Obama has selected Michael Bromwich, a partner in the law firm Fried Frank's Washington D.C. and New York offices, to head the Minerals Management Service, the troubled agency that oversees offshore oil drilling, according to senior administration officials.
In announcing the selection Tuesday, the White House said Bromwich would be charged with reorganizing the agency to "ensure that there is no conflict of interest, real or perceived, in oil industry oversight."
"For a decade or more, the cozy relationship between the oil companies and the federal agency was allowed to go unchecked," Obama said in a statement. "That allowed drilling permits to be issued in exchange not for safety plans, but assurances of safety from oil companies. That cannot and will not happen anymore."
Woman died after being given smoker's lungsThe prognosis on Cystic Fibrosis is not good but still, giving her the lungs of someone who was an active smoker for 30 years? Oh yeah -- this tidbit stuck out at me too:
The Government's "transplant tsar" insisted today that organ transplants were carried out on the basis of whether they would work - after it emerged that a cystic fibrosis sufferer died after receiving the lungs of a long-term smoker.
Chris Rudge, national clinical director for transplantation, said smoking was not the "issue" in the case of cystic fibrosis sufferer Lyndsey Scott, whose family have lodged a complaint after she received a double lung transplant from a 30-year smoker.
Her family were reported to have found out that the lungs came from a long-term smoker after applying for the medical notes on the operation.They had to apply to see the surgeons notes? Jeez -- over here, it's freely available, not hidden away behind some bureaucratic firewall.
When #1) - you are a public figure and #2) - are walking on a public street in Washington, D.C. and someone comes up to you with a camera, do you slug the guy or do you just say no comment and keep walking. From Breitbart TV:
More on the story from ABC News:
Etheridge caught in on-camera confrontation
North Carolina Congressman Bob Etheridge (D-Lillington) is taking heat after a conservative blogger posted video on YouTube showing him in a confrontation with men carrying cameras on a Washington street.
The story by Breitbart.com contributor Mike Flynn says the men were students. In the video, they ask the congressman if he supports the Obama agenda.
Etheridge's reaction is to demand to know who the photographers are. He then gets physical. He grabs the camera from one man and then takes him by the wrist. In the video, the photographer's faces are blurred and their identities aren't given. They never identify themselves to the congressman other than to say they're students working on a project.
When they continue to refuse to identify themselves, Etheridge grabs one around the neck and then the shoulders refusing to let him go. The man eventually slips Etheridge's grasp and the video ends.
And of course:
ABC11 has left messages with Etheridge's office to get his side of the story about what happened. We're waiting to hear back.
Stay classy Congressman...
U.S. Identifies Vast Riches of Minerals in AfghanistanThe Lithium is a very nice touch. It's used in almost every rechargeable battery these days from hybrid vehicles to hand-held power tools to electronic devices. Our primary source is China and since they are ramping up their own consumption, it will be nice to have a second source. As a note, a lot of these minerals are freely available in the USA but the environmentalists will not let us mine them. Which is downright silly as any operation in the USA would be locked in to the mining company remediating the site after the minerals had been extracted. In other words, they go in, dig the place up, get the rocks they want, put in a groundwater barrier and top soil, replant and in 50 years, you would need to have a mining geologist to know that anything had happened at that site. A place like China and probably like Afghanistan, they will dig, extract the resources and then move on leaving a gaping hole and leaching acids into the local environment -- not a good thing for the planet at all. Now what are the environmentalists for anyway...
The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.
The previously unknown deposits � including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium � are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.
An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the �Saudi Arabia of lithium,� a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.
The vast scale of Afghanistan�s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists. The Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai were recently briefed, American officials said.
While it could take many years to develop a mining industry, the potential is so great that officials and executives in the industry believe it could attract heavy investment even before mines are profitable, providing the possibility of jobs that could distract from generations of war.
Woke up in Jackson Hole, WY and had a wonderful breakfast at the Pearl Street Bagels and then walked around for a little bit. Ran into an incredible nature photographers store and talked with his apprentice for a while. The apprentice went to school in Bellingham and his parents live in Anecortes and sell boats for a living. He gave me a few tips on where to go for some cool photos -- some nesting owls and some nice vistas. It was the wrong time of the day for the owls but I got some nice other shots. The best time for wildlife, is dawn or disk.
Started heading north just as the clouds were lowering. Not my time for a trip through the Rockies -- caught the 3:15 Old Faithful eruption. When my parents and I were vacationing, we knew a geologist named Robert Griggs (here and here). If the park rangers ever discover any trace amounts of organic dyes in the effluent of Old Faithful, it was because he dumped a few gallons of Fluorescein Dye in the mouth. I do not remember the eruption but from what I hear, it was a very very brilliant greenish yellow.
Headed North through Mammoth Hot Springs and the weather simply did not cooperate. Blowing fog and rain obscured all but bits of the vista. Bummer... And of course, around 8:30, after dinner, driving west on Route 90, I look back and it is drop-dead clear...
Exited through the north entrance of the park -- this was the original main entrance and has quite the nice collection of old stone buildings. Very imposing.
Passed through Gardiner, MT and then Livingston, MT. Gardiner looks like a lot of fun if you are in your 20's and 30's and do river rafting and fishing.
Dinner was a bit of a bummer as well as I had been planning to eat at the Naked Noodle in Bozeman but they closed at 8:00PM on Sundays...
Got back on 90 and saw a sign for the Outback Steakhouse, they were out of Prime Rib (my first choice) but I had a small sirloin and all was good. Finding the place took about 30 minutes as Bozeman has a very active city planning department and signage is one thing they really do not like to allow. This is cool for people that live there but for someone who sees an Outback sign on the freeway, exits the freeway and finds absolutely zero additional signage, this can be an exercise in frustration. Outback always has a separate sign in whatever mall they locate in so I was looking for that. Finally, after driving for about five miles, I went into another restaurant and asked.
Stopping for the night in Butte, MT. Head west tomorrow and play it by ear. I would like to stop at the Grand Coulee dam to catch the light show but it's an odd middling distance. Maybe next time...
Surf for a bit and then off to bed.
"I am a Muslim," Obama Tells Egyptian Foreign Minister Gheit. Islamic Coup on the White HouseAlways wondered about the guy -- he lived in Indonesia and went to a mozzie school. His leading father figure was a known communist and he got his political launch at the home of an American terrorist. Makes me wonder how gullible the American people really are... There are a lot more links to news items, videos and other resources at Pamela's website -- and the mainstream media? . . . crickets...
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said he had a one-on-one meeting with Obama, in which President Obama told him that he was still a Muslim, the son of a Muslim father, the stepson of Muslim stepfather, that his half brothers in Kenya are Muslims, and that he was sympathetic towards the Muslim agenda.This is according to Israel Today here. Here is the passage from the May 2010 issue of "Israel Today." It is on page 3 in an article titled "Obama, a 'Strategic Catastrophe,'" by Aviel Schneider:Finally, during the week of 14-18th of January 2010, just on the eve of my winter tour to the US, Rachel picked up a Nile TV broadcast in which Egyptian Foreign Minister Abul Gheit said on the "Round Table Show" that he had had a one on one meeting with Obama who swore to him that he was a Moslem, the son of a Moslem father and step-son of Moslem step-father, that his half-brothers in Kenya were Moslems, and that he was loyal to the Moslem agenda. He asked that the Moslem world show patience. Obama promised that once he overcame some domestic American problems (Healthcare), that he would show the Moslem world what he would do with Israel. (more here)The feeling among the Israeli public is that Obama is appeasing the Muslim world at the expense of Israel. �The American President told me in confidence that he is a Muslim,� said Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit on Nile TV.
That could explain why Obama has instructed that the term �Islamic extremism� no longer be used in official government documents and statements. Furthermore, the US is now accusing Israel of harming American interests in the Middle East. General David Petraeus, the head of US Central Command, said Israel�s intransigence on resolving the conflict with the Palestinians is endangering US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even the US Congress considers Obama�s behavior toward Netanyahu humiliating. Three-quarters of the House of Representatives, 337 of 435 members, signed a bipartisan letter to Clinton expressing �deep concern over recent tension� between the two countries, and demanding that it be smoothed over quickly and in private.
WHISTLEBLOWER BLOWS WHISTLE ON WIKILEAKS WHISTLEBLOWERThe best comment was this: "I hope the biggest, hardest SOB in Leavenworth makes this puke his girlfriend." To be so blind as to your position of responsibility and to be so ignorant that every action has a reaction. Everything you do in a situation like that leaves a fingerprint somewhere and all it takes is for someone to correlate the prints and come up with a very short list. When I worked at MSFT, I was on the Windows 2000 ship team and there was a problem with builds being leaked to the world at large. It took them about two weeks to nail the leak to the desktop in question. They could have done it a lot faster but they wanted a solid body of evidence. One of the shortcomings (thankfully) with these people is that if they do not get an immediate slap on the wrist for their actions, they will continue. The other wonderful shortcoming is that they think, in their own little sandbox, that they can see what is happening in their computing environment at large. As they say: Heh...I dunno about you, but somehow the thought of betraying my country and causing potentially grave damage to National Security was never a temptation to me.�If you had unprecedented access to classified networks 14 hours a day 7 days a week for 8+ months, what would you do?�
Federal officials have arrested an Army intelligence analyst who boasted of giving classified U.S. combat video and hundreds of thousands of classified State Department records to whistleblower site Wikileaks:U.S. Intelligence Analyst Arrested in Wikileaks Video Probe
SPC Bradley Manning, 22, of Potomac, Maryland, was stationed at Forward Operating Base Hammer, 40 miles east of Baghdad, where he was arrested nearly two weeks ago by the Army�s Criminal Investigation Division.
Manning was turned in late last month by a former computer hacker with whom he spoke online. In the course of their chats, Manning took credit for leaking a headline-making video of a helicopter attack that Wikileaks posted online in April. The video showed a deadly 2007 U.S. helicopter air strike in Baghdad that claimed the lives of several innocent civilians.
Breaking: Miles of Oil Containment Boom in Warehouse- Just Sitting- Waiting For BP or US to Collect (Video!)A LOT more at the site. The post-mortem on this will make heads roll but action needs to happen now...
UNBELIEVABLE! How�s this for HOPE AND CHANGE?
Tar blobs began washing up on Florida�s white sand beaches near Pensacola this past weekend. Crude oil has already been reported along barrier islands in Alabama and Mississippi, and has impacted about 125 miles of Louisiana coastline.
It didn�t have to be this way.
(Reuters) There are miles of floating oil containment boom in warehouse right now and the manufacturer Packgen says it can make lots more on short notice. There�s just one problem� No one will come get it.
Maine Governor Baldacci visits Packgen to see the manufacturing of Oil Containment Booms, as well as lend his support to the people of Packgen and the Gulf Coast.
Veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas quits at 89 after Israel outburstShe has always been this anti-semitic. She was also very liberal so she got a pass on her views. I have been listening to talk radio while driving and they have been playing clip after clip of her tearing into Israel and being blind to the realities of the 'palestinian issue'. Good riddance to bad garbage.
It is always dangerous for a reporter to become the story. For Helen Thomas, two months before her 90th birthday, it has meant the end of her career.
The daughter of Lebanese immigrants who could neither read nor write, Ms Thomas was covering the White House 11 years before its current spokesman was born. Yesterday she resigned in disgrace after telling a Jewish online news service that Jews should �get the hell out of Palestine� and �go home�.
In the final outburst of a career spanning seven decades and ten presidents, Ms Thomas appeared not to know, or not to care, that she was talking to a rabbi on the day of the White House�s official celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month last week.
�Any comments on Israel?� she was asked. �Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine,� she replied.
Prompted to say something more positive in the spirit of the occasion, the 89 year-old dean of the White House Press Corps said: �Remember, these people are occupied and it�s their land. It�s not Germans�. It�s not Poland�s.�
Thomas gets dropped by agencyChickens -- meet roost
Nine Speakers, the agency that represents Helen Thomas, has dropped her as a client. This comes in the wake of controversial remarks on the Middle East.
The notice, obtained by POLITICO:It is with a heavy heart that Nine Speakers, Inc. announces its resignation as the agent for Helen Thomas, Dean of the White House Press Corps.
Ms. Thomas has had an esteemed career as a journalist, and she has been a trailblazer for women, helping others in her profession, and beyond.
However, in light of recent events, Nine Speakers is no longer able to represent Ms. Thomas, nor can we condone her comments on the Middle East.
Nine Speakers will continue to enthusiastically represent all of our other current and future clients.
Journalism 'Reinvention' Smacks of Government Control, Critics SayPeople are not buying newspapers because they do not report the news -- they simply do not offer any value and have fallen out of touch with the average citizen. Why we need to implement a tax and why we need to increase the size of our government to "rescue" these dinosaurs is a drop-dead perfect teachable moment on this very issue. The mainstream media is perceived as just a government mouthpiece -- they do not ask hardball questions anymore. A person is known by the company they keep...
A list of potential policy recommendations to reinvent the field of journalism that has been compiled by the Federal Trade Commission is a "dangerous" overreach of power and a waste of taxpayer funds, critics of the project told FoxNews.com.
FTC officials began a project in May 2009 to consider the challenges the journalism industry faces in the digital age. The federal agency recently released a discussion draft titled "Potential Policy Recommendations to Support the Reinvention of Journalism," a 47-page document that outlines a major government push to rescue the country's flailing media platforms -- specifically newspapers, which have seen advertising revenues drop roughly 45 percent since 2000.
Among the numerous proposals mentioned in the document are:But some critics are voicing concerns about the draft document, saying that if the government has any influence over the Fourth Estate, it could lead to a dizzying web of conflicting interests and the eradication of independent journalism.-- the creation of a "journalism" division of AmeriCorps, the federal program that places 75,000 people with local and national nonprofit groups annually;
-- tax credits to news organizations for every journalist employed;
-- establishing citizenship news vouchers, which "would allow every American tax payer to allocate some amount of government funds to the non-profit media organization" of their choice;
-- increased funding for public radio and television;
-- providing grants to universities to conduct investigative journalism;
-- increased postal subsidies for newspapers and periodicals;
-- a 5 percent tax on consumer electronics, which would generate roughly $4 billion annually, to pay for increased public funding.
White House: Obama may use executive privilege to withhold Kagan documentsA PDF of the letter in question can be found here. If there is nothing to hide, why the mention of executive privilege as being an option...
In a letter to Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee Republican, Robert Bauer, counsel to Obama, implied the president may use executive privilege to hide some memos Elena Kagan wrote when she served in the Clinton White House.
�President Obama does not intend to assert executive privilege over any of the documents requested by the Committee,� Bauer writes.
�Of course, President Clinton also has an interest in these records, and his representative is reviewing them now,� he adds.
The Clinton library has more than 150,000 documents related to Elena Kagan. This is one of the few sources we have to know what Kagan thinks on many issues.