8/31/2004

Yahoo! News - Man Held for Coming Within Feet of Cheney

He, he, he... Cheney forced to hear a dissenting opinion!

NEW YORK - A 21-year-old Yale student, posing as a volunteer at the Republican National Convention, got within 10 feet of Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) and shouted anti-war statements before being dragged away, authorities said Tuesday.

Secret Service Agent Shannon Zeigler said Cheney 'was never in any harm or danger' during the incident Monday night in Madison Square Garden. The suspect, Thomas Frampton, was charged with assaulting federal officers and impeding the operation of the Secret Service.

Frampton was released on $50,000 bail and told to stay 100 feet from Cheney and President Bush (news - web sites). He also was ordered to give back a red convention volunteer's shirt he used to get into the arena, along with any convention passes

8/29/2004

9/11 Toy ?

Serves to show how the world "loves" US...

Firm recalls candy with 9/11 attack toy. Trinket depicts airplane flying into World Trade Center

MIAMI - Small toys showing an airplane flying into the World Trade
Center were packed inside more than 14,000 bags of candy and sent to
small groceries around the country before being recalled.

The toys came in an assortment purchased sight unseen from L&M Import in
Miami. "I hate to blame the importer. He probably did not know what he was
getting. He brings them in 40-foot containers. But whoever made it knew
exactly what they were making," Luis Pedron, Lisy's
national sales manager said.

Pedron said Lisy did not notice the small plastic figurines until two
people complained, but there is no mistaking what the toys represent: At
the bottom of each is the product number 9011.

"When we found out what happened, we recalled them immediately," said
Pedron, who said the toys do not reflect the company's view. "I was
offended by them." The company's 100 distributors sent out the candy bags. Most are sold to small Hispanic and Mexican groceries, Pedron said. He estimated about 90
percent of the bags have been collected.

Anna Rodriguez, who bought a bag of the candy for her grandson, said she
was stunned when she saw the toy. "It makes me angry," she told television station WFTV. "I was offended because I couldn't believe that someone would give something like that
to a kid."

Women are shutting the door on George Bush

From the DNC

On Thursday, new census data was released which confirmed that women are worse off under the Bush administration than we had first believed. Last year, we were angry that women earned only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. Now we're informed that the pay gap has widened and we are earning even less -- 76 cents. The unemployment rate for women is also 37 percent higher than it was when Bush took office -- that's over one million more unemployed women in this country. Let's not forget the 17 million women and their children who were left out of Bush's 2001 tax cut, or the more than two million women who have lost their health insurance.

Are we surprised? No.

George Bush has been shutting doors of opportunity on women since he first took office. He quietly closed the White House Office on Women's Issues, and then started aggressively dismantling key programs aimed at giving working women a fair chance, such as The Equal Pay Initiative.

Now for the good news: women are going to shut the door on George Bush.

On Thursday, we launched National Women for Kerry-Edwards with thousands of women gathering at rallies and town hall meetings in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. It was a continuation of our national conversation with women and another step to ensure that women make the difference in 2004. It's not enough for us to speak only within our circle of supporters, we must reach out and alert other women about what is at stake in this election: whether to continue on a path where women
have the doors of opportunity shut, or to elect new leadership that honors and respects the many roles that women have in this country. John Kerry and John Edwards will provide that leadership.


Women for Kerry-Edwards

P.S. You can read more about George Bush's failed policies here in our new report, "Just Ask a Woman."



8/28/2004

Replace Cheney? Vote Now

A Newsmax Poll

http://www.newsmax.com/cheneypoll/?af_id=150


most e-mailed



1.

Duke Welcomes Freshmen With New IPods


AP - Sat Aug 28,11:48 AM ET
Newly arrived Duke University freshmen got something considerably
snazzier than the usual Blue Devils T-shirts and ball caps: Their goodie
bags included a free iPod digital music player engraved with the
school's crest and the words "Class of 2008." Full Coverage

Sent: 360 times



2.

'Friendly' Killer Whale Damaging Boats


AP - 1 hour, 26 minutes ago
A "playful" killer whale who likes to frolic alongside fishermen has
damaged three boats in separate incidents in recent weeks. Full Coverage


Sent: 277 times



3. Learn the Basics of Mutual Funds


Reuters - Sat Aug 28, 9:11 AM ET
Some 93 million Americans own shares of mutual funds, but many of these
people have only vague ideas of how they work. Here are some common
questions and the answers to them.
Sent: 168 times



4.

Pro-Choice March Marks Day of Anti-Bush Protests


Reuters - 2 hours, 4 minutes ago
Thousands of abortion rights activists holding pink and black placards
marched over the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday, the third day of protests
before next week's Republican convention to nominate President Bush for
a second term.
Sent: 146 times



5.

Prisoners Take Boy Scout Oath Behind Bars


AP - Sat Aug 28, 6:43 AM ET
Robert Jackson stood with the two dozen other members of Boy Scout Troop
825, raised his right hand in the traditional Boy Scout sign, and took
the oath to do his best for God and country. Full Coverage

Sent: 100 times



6. Homegrown Satellite Radio Software Draws XM Fire

Reuters - Sat Aug 28, 9:12 AM ET
Catching Blondie's reunion tour broadcast at 4 a.m. wasn't an option for
XM satellite radio subscriber and single father Scott MacLean.
Sent: 78 times



7.

Ex-Lawmaker Says He Helped Bush With Guard


AP - 2 hours, 47 minutes ago
Former Texas House Speaker Ben Barnes said he is "more ashamed at myself
than I've ever been" because he helped President Bush and the sons of
other wealthy families get into the Texas National Guard so they could
avoid serving in Vietnam.
Sent: 76 times



8.

Filmmaker Moore lashes out at Bush in scathing open letter


AFP - 1 hour, 10 minutes ago
Controversial filmmaker Michael Moore has entered the fray over
Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry's Vietnam war record with a
sarcasm-soaked open letter to President George W. Bush accusing him of
"attacking a wounded vet." Full Coverage


Sent: 63 times



9.

Alleged Leak to Israel Probed for a Year


AP - 15 minutes ago
The FBI has spent more than a year covertly investigating, including
with the use of electronic surveillance, whether a Pentagon analyst
funneled highly classified material to Israel, officials said Saturday.
Prosecutors were still weighing whether to bring the most serious charge
of espionage. Full Coverage


Sent: 61 times



10.

2 Arrested in Alleged NYC Subway Bomb Plot


AP - 1 hour, 38 minutes ago
A U.S. citizen and a Pakistani national were arrested in an alleged plot
to bomb a subway station in midtown Manhattan and possibly other
locations around the city, police said Saturday. Full Coverage

Sent: 61 times



11. Dead Couple to Be Married


Reuters - Fri Aug 27,11:15 AM ET
A South African man who shot his pregnant fiance dead before killing
himself will be posthumously married to her at the weekend. Full
Coverage

Sent: 58 times



12. Got Grapefruit? It May Help You Lose Weight


Reuters - Fri Aug 27, 4:56 PM ET
Eating half of a grapefruit three times per day before meals appears to
help people shed unwanted pounds, according to new study findings
reported this week. Full Coverage


Sent: 55 times



13.

Protesters at Home of Swift Boat Backer


AP - 9 minutes ago
Nearly 40 protesters gathered Saturday at the home of the chief
financial backer of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, whose ads
criticize Democrat John Kerry's military record.
Sent: 51 times



14.

Israel Denies Spying on Ally America


Reuters - 2 hours, 21 minutes ago
Israel denied Saturday spying on its main ally, the United States,
responding to suspicions a Pentagon analyst passed secret papers to the
Jewish state about one of its most bitter enemies, Iran.
Sent: 50 times



15. Large Fish Catches Boy in Minnesota


AP - Fri Aug 27, 6:52 PM ET
An 11-year-old boy was out hunting frogs on Island Lake when he became
the prey. A large fish, probably a muskellunge or a northern pike,
attacked the boy about 5 p.m. Thursday as he and his young sister were
wading in a foot of water.
Sent: 48 times



16. Look Who Has a Real Potty Mouth...


Reuters - Sat Aug 28,12:03 PM ET
The citizens of Amsterdam may now take counsel of talking toilets that
expound on the perils of smoking or the futility of war and berate them
on hygiene and cleanliness.
Sent: 42 times



17.

Powell Cancels Athens Visit Amid Protests


AP - 6 minutes ago
Secretary of State Colin Powell canceled his trip to Greece at the last
minute partly because of concern his presence — expected to be met with
anti-war protests — might have disrupted the closing ceremony at the
Olympics, State Department officials said Saturday. Full Coverage

Sent: 39 times



18.

U.S., Shiites Fight in Baghdad; 5 Killed

AP - 9 minutes ago
Shiite militants and U.S. forces battled throughout the Baghdad slum of
Sadr City, and a mortar barrage slammed into a busy neighborhood in the
capital in a new wave of violence Saturday that killed at least five
people and wounded dozens of others. Full Coverage

Sent: 36 times



19.

Scotty Says Goodbye

E! Online - Fri Aug 27, 7:20 PM ET
Once, James Doohan worked the Star Trek fan circuit 50 weekends a
year--no convention or college campus too remote for the franchise's
indefatigable Scotty.
Sent: 34 times



20.

Bush ahead in latest Time voter poll


AFP - Sat Aug 28, 3:02 PM ET
Republican President George W. Bush leads Democrat John Kerry by two
point margin, according to a Time magazine poll out -- well within the
poll's margin for error and similar to surveys released earlier.
Sent: 33 times



It's Kerry's antiwar record they resent

A neocon admits it!

It was John Kerry, not the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, who picked this fight.

Kerry was the one who made his long-ago stint in Vietnam the centerpiece of his campaign for president. He's the one whose running mate urges voters to take Kerry's measure by spending "three minutes with the men who served with him 30 years ago." He's the one whose campaign ads dwell on his combat heroics. He's the one who has repeatedly played the Vietnam card against critics and opponents. And he's the one who challenged anyone "who wants to have a debate about our service in Vietnam to bring it on."

So the Swifties brought it on. Their scorching attack on his wartime record is so effective precisely because they, like Kerry, were there. They too went to Vietnam when so many other young men didn't. They too fought and bled for their country. If his wartime experience lends him a certain moral authority, it does no less for them.

That doesn't mean their version of the facts is closer to the truth than his. There are conflicting eyewitness recollections, and, as The Washington Post says, "both accounts contain significant flaws and factual errors." Kerry certainly wouldn't be the first soldier to have embellished his war stories; the Swift Boat vets wouldn't be the first whose passions have altered their memories. Of course, if Kerry really wants to silence the debate about his medals, he can authorize the government to release all his military records.

But that won't silence the Swifties. Because their real beef with him is not about what he did in Vietnam. It's about what he did when he came home.

How John Kerry busted the terrorists' favorite bank

The Progress Report - American Progress Action Fund:

"How John Kerry busted the terrorists' favorite bank

by David Sirota and Jonathan Baskin

Two decades ago, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) was a highly respected financial titan. In 1987, when its subsidiary helped finance a deal involving Texas oilman George W. Bush, the bank appeared to be a reputable institution, with attractive branch offices, a traveler's check business, and a solid reputation for financing international trade. It had high-powered allies in Washington and boasted relationships with respected figures around the world.

All that changed in early 1988, when John Kerry, then a young senator from Massachusetts, decided to probe the finances of Latin American drug cartels. Over the next three years, Kerry fought against intense opposition from vested interests at home and abroad, from senior members of his own party; and from the Reagan and Bush administrations, none of whom were eager to see him succeed.

By the end, Kerry had helped dismantle a massive criminal enterprise and exposed the infrastructure of BCCI and its affiliated institutions, a web that law enforcement officials today acknowledge would become a model for international terrorist financing. As Kerry's investigation revealed in the late 1980s and early 1990s, BCCI was interested in more than just enriching its clients--it had a fundamentally anti-Western mission. Among the stated goals of its Pakistani founder were to 'fight the evil influence of the West,' and finance Muslim terrorist organizations. In retrospect, Kerry's investigation had uncovered an institution at the fulcrum of America's first great post-Cold War security challenge.

More than a decade later, Kerry is his party's nominee for president, and terrorist financing is anything but a back-burner issue. The Bush campaign has settled on a new strategy for attacking Kerry: Portray him as a do-nothing senator who's weak on fighting terrorism. 'After 19 years in the Senate, he's had thousands of votes, but few signature achievements,' President Bush charged recently at a campaign rally in Pittsburgh; spin that's been echoed by Bush's surrogates, conservative pundits, and mainstream reporters alike, and by a steady barrage of campaign ads suggesting that the one thing Kerry did do in Congress was prove he knew nothing about terrorism. Ridiculing the senator for not mentioning al Qaeda in his 1997 book on terrorism, one ad asks: 'How can John Kerry win a war [on terror] if he doesn't know the enemy?'

If that line of attack has been effective, it's partly because Kerry does not have a record like the chamber's dealmakers such as Sens. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) or Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). Though Kerry has been a key backer of bills on housing reform, immigration, and the environment, there are indeed few pieces of landmark legislation that owe their passage to Kerry.

But legislation is only one facet of a senator's record. As the BCCI investigation shows, Kerry developed a very different record of accomplishment--one often as vital, if not more so, than passage of bills. Kerry's probe didn't create any popular new governmental programs, reform the tax code, or eliminate bureaucratic waste and fraud. Instead, he shrewdly used the Senate's oversight powers to address the threat of terrorism well before it was in vogue, and dismantled a key terrorist weapon. In the process, observers saw a senator with tremendous fortitude, and a willingness to put the public good ahead of his own career. Those qualities might be hard to communicate to voters via one-line sound bites, but they would surely aid Kerry as president in his attempts to battle the threat of terrorism."

Nebraska GOoPer abandons Bush on war

Another one bites the dust. And wakes up!

Daily Kos :: Nebraska GOoPer abandons Bush on war

The outgoing congressman of Nebraska's 1st CD, Republican Doug Bereuter, is apologizing to constituents for his war vote.
In a dramatic departure from the Bush administration, Republican Rep. Doug Bereuter says he now believes the U.S. military assault on Iraq was unjustified.

'I've reached the conclusion, retrospectively, now that the inadequate intelligence and faulty conclusions are being revealed, that all things being considered, it was a mistake to launch that military action,' Bereuter wrote in a letter to constituents in the final days of his congressional career.

That's especially true in view of the fact that the attack was initiated 'without a broad and engaged international coalition,' the 1st District congressman said.

'Knowing now what I know about the reliance on the tenuous or insufficiently corroborated intelligence used to conclude that Saddam maintained a substantial WMD (weapons of mass destruction) arsenal, I believe that launching the pre-emptive military action was not justified.'

As a result of the war, he said, 'our country's reputation around the world has never been lower and our alliances are weakened.'

Kos says:
Bereuter was no slouch back-bencher, either, he was a senior member of the House International Relations Committee and vice chairman of the House Intelligence Committee."

8/27/2004

More on the Iraq police harassing journalists

A journalist who was among the arrested posted this on his blog:

Back to Iraq 3.0: Bad day in Najaf

I was on the roof trying to get my BGan to connect when Najaf’s finest burst onto the roof with a Kalashnikov and order me and the other journalists down to the lobby. The cops had raided the hotel and forced all the journalists out onto the street. We were terrified. The cops yelled at us and pointed their weapons toward us. Several large trucks were waiting and knew we would be loaded onto them. Then they started shooting.

“Yella, yella” they ordered us. BANG BANG! They fired their weapons just over our heads forcing us to crouch. The foreign journalists and the Arab media were separated into separate trucks and we were all brought to the police station at gunpoint. On the way, they continued to scream at us and point their weapons in our faces. I tried to put my money in my bag, but a young police officer thrust his Kalashnikov at me and rifled through my bag.

Finally, we made it to the police station. My friend Phillip urged me to ride it out, be calm, smile a little. Then we were herded into the police chief’s office for the most bizarre press conference of my life.

The Shrine would be stormed tonight, he said, and we would be allowed to get on a bus and go visit it tomorrow to see the damage the Mahdi Army had done to it. The Sistani protesters in Kufa were really Mahdi guys and they had to be killed. Oh, and thank you for coming.

A few of us put up a fight, demanding why they couldn’t just invite us down for a presser instead of kidnapping us. Oh, no, the commander said, that must have been a mistake. I just asked them to bring you to me… There was no order to brandish weapons, push journalists around and fire into the air. One cop, a lieutenant, just smiled at us when we pointed our fingers at him and said he was the one leading the raid, yelling and pointing his side arm at us.

These are Najaf’s finest. They’re like the old regime, only less disciplined. They’re terrifying and they’re the most dangerous element in this conflict. The Americans and the Mahdi Army have pretty set positions and you know they’re not targeting journalists. But the police here have been engaging in a systematic intimidation of us for three weeks now. The governor of Najaf has reportedly threatened to jail journalists who don’t write down exactly what he says when he says it in interviews.

So we were returned to the hotel on bus. This was another warning to stop covering the Mahdi Army. To get out. My office manager in Baghdad is urging me to leave, but I really want to stay. I’m unsure what to do, and the cops’ unpredictability is unnerving.

(Sorry this is not better written; I’m still pretty exhausted and it’s late here.)

8/26/2004

Iraqui Police beats up journalists

From Washington Post, tucked up at the end of a 2 page article about Najaf...

"On Wednesday night, policemen from the chief's security detail barged into a hotel in Najaf and arrested more than 50 Iraqi and foreign journalists at gunpoint. The police officers beat some of the reporters and fired assault rifles in the lobby. After the journalists were brought to the main police station, Jazaeri denied they had been arrested and insisted they had simply been summoned for a news conference."

8/25/2004

Bush realizes 2002 March to War hurt economy

And therefore, in 2002 and early 2003, the television screens across America had banners saying, 'March to war' -- and, as business leaders, you understand that's not very conducive to investing capital. Marching to war is not a positive thought.


A president can't move the entire market but it can make it worse.

In Bush's own words he soured the 2002 / 2003 economy with his war mongering.

I guess he was still using his dad's book on economics: "War is good for business"

As even Bush finally noticed 2 years later, a country whose GDP is composed 70% of services (and around 10% high tech) needs stability to sell it's wares.
No one buys services or invests in high tech in times of crisis...

Bush's "eureka!" came 2 years later in March 2004

DUH! Are you sure you earned an MBA ?

To see how the mid 2002 war affected the economy even more than 9/11 just look at those charts:




Noteh the 2 lower points: September 11th and the October 2002 march to war. Which one is the lowest ?


See also:

Daily Kos || Oil prices and their ripple effect on the economy


Daily Kos || Kerry: Bush's blunders in the ME raised Oil prices


Daily Kos || While We'll Never Run Out Of Oil, we will run out of cheap oil

A visit to hell, Chernobyl’s aftermath

... we got a first-hand impression of what the hours immediately after the accident must been like. At the farm’s school, we were introduced to a class of nine-year-olds, most of whom were refugees.

There, in the middle of the group, sat a beautiful little girl, all blonde hair and blue eyes. She did not smile as she spoke about the night she and her family were told they had to leave, that there would be busses to take them away in an hour and that they could only bring one bag each. She and others told us of the confusion, the fear — and though they spoke without inflection, it seemed clear that the fear remained two years later.

RADIOACTIVE HOME

There was the group of old people in the village of Opacici... Initially, they were forbidden from returning, as were all those who had lived within about 20 miles of the plant. But slowly, they had sneaked back and reluctantly, the Soviet “Kombinat” that ran the forbidden zone agreed to let them stay. They were old, one official explained to us, and thus were going to die soon anyway.

There was the translator who accompanied us on our journey and who told of how the summer after the accident, the Soviet government had ordered all children to leave Kiev, a city the size of Chicago, for special summer camps. It was, he explained slowly and painfully, a very quiet summer without the sounds of children in the streets. Later that day, he gave us his advice about avoiding the effects of radiation: Go back to your hotel, he said, and drink a bottle of red wine. It would flush the radiation out of your system.the most bizarre part of the day was, of course, the time we spent inside the plant and much too close to the still too hot core. The plant’s chief engineer was an unsmiling young man sent in by the Ministry of Atomic Energy to get the plant operating as close to full power as possible. His predecessor had been jailed so he had plenty of incentive to succeed. He expressed confidence the plant was safe and said with assurances that belied all that was around him. According to him: “It could never happen again.”

“Never?” an incredulous Bob Bazell asked, “Not under any circumstances?”

“No, never,” he repeated.

It would be unfair to say it was as if nothing had happened. Something assuredly had. People had died. People had been moved. Careers had fallen. Some had even gone to jail. A state was teetering. But the Soviet engineer said the plant would go on operating because it was needed to generate electricity for Kiev, other parts of Ukraine, and Belorussia.

The state, he said, required it.


MSNBC - A visit to hell, Chernobyl’s aftermath

From their perspective, or at least the one stated, the real lesson of Chernobyl was not the incompetence of the Soviet state, but rather how the future would look if Star Wars was implemented and the United States and Soviet Union fell into nuclear war.

Yahoo! News - White House Puts the West on Fast Track for Oil, Gas Drilling

Sigh.... I suppose it's necessary. I just wish I saw the same zeal on the developing of new energy sources...

WASHINGTON — Placing a heavy emphasis on energy production in the American West, the Bush administration has moved aggressively to open up broad areas of largely unspoiled federal land to oil and gas exploration.

The administration has pressed for approval of new drilling permits across the Rocky Mountains and lifted protections on hundreds of thousands of acres with gas and oil reserves in Utah and Colorado. In the process, it has targeted a number of places prized for their scenery, abundant wildlife and clean water, natural assets increasingly valuable to the region's changing economy.

Soon after taking office in 2001, the Bush White House set up a little-known task force that acts as a complaint desk for industry, passing energy company concerns directly to federal land management employees in the field. Although the creation of White House task forces is commonplace, experts on the executive branch say it is unusual to have one primarily serving the interests of a single industry.

In addition, the Bureau of Land Management (news - web sites) has been pushed to issue drilling permits at a record pace for three of the last four years, an increase of 70% since the Clinton administration.

Internal memos and interviews show senior administration officials have directed federal employees to be responsive to industry, commended offices that approved large numbers of drilling permits and chastised those that were slow.

The effort is so intense in the oil- and gas-rich Rockies that some Bureau of Land Management employees there have taken to calling the region "the OPEC (news - web sites) states."

The administration says increased drilling is necessary to satisfy America's growing demand for power and to reduce reliance on foreign energy sources. Interior officials say they are proceeding with respect for the land and with input from communities that must cope with the effects of new production.

The acceleration of energy development, however, could transform some of the region's most treasured landscapes, places that call to mind the works of such painters as Thomas Moran and Albert Bierstadt, who immortalized the Rocky Mountain region in the late 19th century.

At stake are areas such as New Mexico's Otero Mesa, a lonely stretch of low, knobby mountains incised with Native American petroglyphs that rise out of one of the nation's last Chihuahuan Desert grasslands. And there is Wyoming's Jack Morrow Hills with its towering, multi-hued buttes, undulating sand dunes and herds of rare desert elk, mule deer and pronghorn antelope. It is also the terminus of the longest wildlife migration route in the continental United States.

The push for oil and gas, which could lead to more than 1,000 wells in the Jack Morrow Hills area, would open the way for networks of roads, pipelines, well heads, generators and waste ponds.

8/23/2004

Dole's war record and first Purple Heart

Dole's War Record

As published in The Nation (Aug12/19, 1996).

The first casualty of politics is truth.

Robert B. Ellis

Bob Dole's war record -- and Bill Clinton's lack of one -- has become a major theme in Dole's drive for the presidency. According to Katharine Seelye in The New York Times, the G.O.P. strategy is to portray Clinton as "the baby boomer in the White House, who was not born until 1946, a year after Mr. Dole had earned two Bronze Stars, and who skirted service in his own generation's war."

Dole doesn't talk much about his wartime exploits, beyond his references to the grievous wounds he suffered and his long, painful course of rehabilitation. Despite his reticence, and to some extent because of it, the widespread belief has grown up that his military service was exemplary, even heroic.

The Republican Party propaganda machine blows wind on the flame. In a recent G.O.P. fundraising letter that Dole signed (though surely did not write), the following statement appears: "And when I was asked to lead my men up a rocky hill in Italy into the roaring guns and mortar fire of the German Wehrmacht my sense of duty never wavered." The Dole for President homepage on the Internet describes his feats in thrilling terms.


The Nation - Selected Feature: Dole's first wound. It was in the first of these night patrols that Dole received the wound for which he was awarded his first Purple Heart. He ruefully confesses in his 1988 autobiography that his wound was self-inflicted: "As we approached the enemy, there was a brief exchange of gunfire. I took a grenade in hand, pulled the pin, and tossed it in the direction of the farmhouse. It wasn't a very good pitch (remember, I was used to catching passes, not throwing them). In the darkness, the grenade must have struck a tree and bounced off. It exploded nearby, sending a sliver of metal into my leg -- the sort of injury the Army patched up with Mercurochrome and a Purple Heart." The wound was so minor that he led another patrol two nights later. He does not mention that others were also injured by his misguided throw -- which Woodruff's account attributes to an enemy machine gun.

Casualty count since June 29, 2004

Period 3: June 29, 2004 (the day after the official turnover of sovereignty to Iraq) through today's date.

Total 110

Purple Hearts, Space Monkeys and The Right Stuff

Cross posted at the Daily Kos:

Now Bob Dole joined the SBVT critics of Kerry who say he received an early exit from combat for 'superficial wounds.'

This whole issue about Kerry's 'bloodless Purple Hearts' reminds me the dialog about monkeys and astronauts we see in the movie 'The Right Stuff':

MONKEYS? YOU THINK A MONKEY KNOWS HE'S SITTING ON A ROCKET THAT MIGHT EXPLODE?

THESE ASTRONAUT BOYS, THEY KNOW THAT, SEE? I'LL TELL YOU, IT TAKES A SPECIAL MAN TO VOLUNTEER FOR A SUICIDE MISSION....

Bloody or not, that is not the point of a Purple Heart

If the shrapnel was a couple of feet off, it could have blinded Kerry. Another inch and Kerry could have escaped without a scratch.

Anyone with an IQ higher than a chimp would know that a shrapnel wound is a close brush with death.

Does the GOP means that any veteran that is not 'hurt enough' unfit for command now ? And how much hurt is enough ? One leg ? Two legs ?

Does the GOP realize how ridiculous this claim sounds ?

The GOP tried to take away votes from Kerry, by reminding voters of his speaking against the war, called him Hannoi Fonda Kerry', etc.. There are a lot of Veterans still bitter about Kerry's protests and testimony.

It didn't work, Kerry still stayed high in the polls so they decided to lie.

All this smearing of Kerry's medals and awards started right after the Democratic primaries. Not one second before.

Dole says so himself:
Dole told CNN's 'Late Edition' that he warned Kerry months ago about going 'too far' and that the Democrat may have himself to blame for the current situation, in which polls show him losing support among veterans. 'One day he's saying that we were shooting civilians, cutting off their ears, cutting off their heads, throwing away his medals or his ribbons,' Dole said. 'The next day he's standing there, `I want to be president because I'm a Vietnam veteran.'

So basically what the SBVD guys are saying is that Kerry's use of pictures of Vietnam gives them the right to smear him, like they were smeared 'by Kerry' 30 years ago.

It would be like Ron Reagan accusing Bush of embezzling money or some other trumped up charge. Ron is definitely against Bush for President, and he didn't like Bush using pictures of his father w/o authorization. Yet Ron did not resort to lies just because of that.

Sorry guys, it is not simply a case of "Kerry spoke against me, so I'll return the favor"

His so called 'false testimony' is a myth. On the war atrocities, Kerry NEVER gave a name besides his own and of the people who came voluntarily to his anti war group. And we didn't need Kerry to tell US that atrocities were happening. My Lay happened, it is not a myth It wasn't Kerry who got the scandal in the press.

It is the SBVD who is raising false testimony here.

The SBVT is accusing Kerry of falsifying claims for his medals, a serious accusation. During the Clinton years a general even committed suicide after being accused of such.

Now Kerry's Purple Hearts are ridiculed, called scratches, and they say 'self inflicted'. And THAT's when this whole thing gets silly and absurd

How can a doctor know a 'scratch' is self inflicted ? Did Kerry sign up his name under the scratch ? Did the doctor do a DNA test in the battlefield 30 years ago ?

If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.

As for the Kerry's Purple hearts, my view is that: he got them the same way thousands of veterans got them. I'm not going to question ANY of those.

Swim Vets For Truth

8/22/2004

Voting Machines in Greece ?

Wathever happened to this Story ?

On 2/13/04, Atrios asks: More Arrests [for Bush]?

The White House disclosed information in documents Thursday showing that President Bush (news - web sites) had been arrested once for a college prank and was cited for two automobile accidents and two speeding tickets before he enlisted in the National Guard.

The accidents and tickets were disclosed for the first time in response to questions about a portion of Bush's military record that had been blacked out when the file was made public during the 2000 presidential campaign.

The traffic violations are significant in the context of Bush's military career. At the time Bush enlisted in the Texas National Guard, the Air Force typically would have had to issue a waiver for an applicant who had multiple arrests or driving violations.

There is no record of an enlistment waiver in Bush's military file.

Actually I found one (see below) on a PDF file with a lot of Bush's records. (A friend of a friend got it from a magazine and forgot the link for the original article)
White House press secretary Scott McClellan showed a small group of reporters a copy of Bush's application to be an officer, with nothing blacked out, after USA TODAY published a picture of the blacked-out document Thursday. ... Bush aides denied there was any effort to suppress any potentially embarrassing information...
Bush's military file contained a second document that also asked for information on any arrests. Portions of that page, his enlistment application, are also blacked out.


8/21/2004

I'm sick of this Purple Heart nitpicking.

From DailyKos

Are they going to review every veteran's awards?

Why don't they dig up my grandfather's body and piss on it. He got a Purple Heart for frostbitten feet from the march to a German prison camp after the Battle of the Bulge. Maybe they were self-inflicted - he needs to prove it.

Excuse my language, but these guys are fucking assholes.

by Unstable Isotope

8/20/2004

Our Economy has been in a "Credit Bubble"

Credit Bubble Has Helped Create the Overleveraged American Consumer

The unappreciated dilemma is that the typical American has already over-consumed beyond any reasonable standard. Not only has demand been boosted by strong wealth effects, the boom has been much the result of stretching credit use to an extreme. That means household debt is now at an all-time record high, having increased from 68% of personal disposable income to 95% over the last fifteen years. And with confidence that prosperity is here to stay, the US savings rate stands at a record low level. It is little wonder our domestic economy has been so strong; 'It's been a great party', fueled by an enormous credit binge.




Just look around. Traditionally the bulk of mortgage loans required a 20% down-payment. Now, a whole industry has mushroomed that makes its living lending almost exclusively to home buyers offering little, if any, down-payment and poor credit is not an issue. In fact, today 40% of borrowers require some type of mortgage insurance to qualify for a loan. But poor credit and lack of a down payment are not a problem for today's creative financial infrastructure that through the alchemy of modern finance, pools these mortgages together and sells them to buyers hungry for yield. Or that is how it has worked until quite recently. Now, with de-leveraging and risk aversion, the market has disappeared for risky mortgage securities."

Our Economy has been in a "Credit Bubble":

The Iraq Catch 22

...there is unrest because we wont leave, so we must fight to restore security, witch causes more unrest because we are still there, so we must fight harder to restore security, witch ...

Doesn't it sound perfect....

If your goal is to stay in the region forever, and keep on milking Defense Industry pork forever ?

8/19/2004

War strategy and the neocons ' excessive trust on gadgets

Neocons seem giddy with the thought of attacking Syria or Iran.

Another war ?!?!?! Let's finish Iraq and Afghanistan first...

Don't those guys read anything ? I would be glad to see the day that Republicans learn the wisdom of not opening a war on too many fronts, particularly when the enemy is the one currently holding the territory.

Sun Tzu, the famous war general, said that about 2,500 years ago ...

In Iraq's case, we are the invading army. In Kuwait the "enemy", Saddam, was the one invading.

1. Being the invading army puts your troops in a position of weakness, as it is much easier to hold a fort than to break it's walls. Usually the invader needs at least 4 times more soldiers than the enemy has (or weapons that are "4 times" superior)

2. Attacking on too many fronts also puts your troops in a position of weakness, as your troops and resources get spread out thinner than they have to be.

3. Add 1 + 2 and you can see it's more difficult to have the "4 times" superiority necessary to invade enemy territory, when you are spreading your troops (and resources) over too many fronts.

I wonder if Rumsfeld ever read Shin Tzu. Maybe he did, but thought US weapons superiority would be more than enough to compensate for any handicap.

Not so. Here we have a place where I see a marketing concept being really handy on war: Competitive Advantage. If your advantage can't be used against the competition in your particular "front", then the advantage is in effect nullified.

Diaries :: lawnorder's diary ::

During my marketing classses on my MBA I learned that war strategy concepts can be applied to winning "marketing wars".

1. Fighting an established brand, i.e., trying to be the new McDonalds is akin to invading enemy territory. They spend way less money keeping their market share than any "invader" spends wrestling out market share from them.

2. Finding the target audience for your product, your niche, is akin to finding the one "front" where you can compete better. It is the key to effectively applying your company's resources to win market share.

3. No Marketing "general" will be sucesfull if he ignores 2 & 3

Competitive Advantage concept applied to Iraq War
In war I would apply it to being like having nukes. It didn't help us one bit in Iraq, since we can't use them there. Or having smart bombs and a strong air force, which have very limited use during the occupation (since you don't want to vaporize civilians, you want to liberate them)

Gadgets aren't everything
That is where I see Rumsfeld's infamous fixation with "technology" going astray: After the war got into its occupation phase, most of our weapons advantage got nullified since it can't (or shouldn't) be used against the civilians we are liberaring.

Ergo we needed a lot more troops for the occupation phase, since our "other strength", the superior weapons, was for the most part collecting dust on the bases

Ergo, US must fight one war at a time, even having vastly superior weapons... Because those weapons don't help a bit after major combat is over

I wonder if Bush was awake during his MBA marketing classes.

Invading a fortified territory
Omaha beach was a classic example: Germans had years to fortify their positions. To conquer that beach, the Americans neede a force of at least 4 to 1 versus the Germans. Indeed, for each American soldier that survived that day, 3 were left at the beach.. Sun Tzu said it around 500 BC:

This tactic of attacking fortified cities is adopted only when unavoidable.

If the general cannot overcome his impatience but instead launches an assault wherein his men swarm over the walls like ants, he will kill one-third of his officers and troops, and the city will still not be taken.
This is the disaster that results from attacking [fortified cities].

...one who does not know the plans of the [local] lords cannot prepare alliances beforehand. Someone unfamiliar with the mountains and forests, gorges and defiles, the shape of marshes and wetlands cannot advance the army. One who does not employ local guides cannot gain advantages of terrain.


A marketing example of this principle is Subway has healthier sandwiches, but in general people who eat at McD couldn't care less about healthy food. They eat there for price, speed and flavor.
If Subway had a HUGE ammount of money it could try going after McD's whole market. Lots of money in this case is equivalent to having the "4 times" more troops in a battle.
Conversely, if Subway's sandwich was much better tasting, healthier and comparable in price/ speed to McD's fast food, it would make it much easier for Subway to after McD's whole market. A better sandwich in this case is equivalent to having the "4 times weapon superiority" in a battle

Putting it all to work
Because Subway:
1) is the "invading army" on a territory dominated by McD
2) doesn't want to spend HUGE ammounts of money to defeat McD (profits would be gone)
3) doesn't have an undeniable vastly superior sandwich in the eyes of their customer, who is usually not health conscious

Then Subway is left with the option of exploring the small percentage of fast food eaters who care about healthy food. That is called a market segment, or a niche market: This is the only "front" that Subway can sucesfully explore: by being the best at "healthy fast food".

8/17/2004

Living in the past - Bush Plugs Missile Defense System Plan

On 8/16/04 news: Bush Plugs Missile Defense System Plan

Bush .. spoke of his administration's proposal for an anti-missile defense system..

"I think those who oppose this ballistic missile system don't understand the threats of the 21st century," the president told applauding workers.

Bush said opponents of the system are "living in the past. We're living in the future. We're going to do what's necessary to protect this country.

Fighting the Cold War is 21st century ?!?!?!?

While We'll Never Run Out Of Oil, we will run out of cheap oil

Crossposting from DailyKos - No one reads my blog here :(

The proponents of "never ending" Oil simply can't see it doesn't make a difference if we have SOME oil. It will still be bad if is not enough to keep prices down. Even if technology solves the problem, it has to do it cheap enough, fast enough and in enough volume to accommodate the world's current consumption of 77 million barrels of oil a day

A 1999 article on DiscoverWhy We'll Never Run Out Of Oil tells us

If you pay smart people enough money they'll figure out all sorts of ways to get the oil you need.

"pay smart people enough money": Therein lies the crux of the problem. We may never run out of oil, but we will definitely run out of CHEAP OIL soon.

And that would be devastating for our way of life...(see my previous diary Oil prices and their ripple effect on the economy



The article does bring up some reason for hope:
Today a natural gas plant can be constructed for as little as $10 billion, bringing the total expense of producing a barrel of fuel from natural gas down to under $20.

"That will effectively put a ceiling on the price that anyone can charge for a barrel of oil--which is something that has never existed in history," ... "The moment anyone tries to charge above that amount, people will switch to fuels derived from natural gas."

Of course things are not that simple. Our cars, engines and gas stations are all geared for gasoline. Changing all that infrastructure will require time and money. Time may be something we're in short supply in regards to Oil reserves.

----------
High Oil prices may hit US faster than you think. In a recent article Aljazeera warns the West about The death of cheap crude
Oil prices may fall in the future only if there is a recession

As prices hit record highs... much of the comment in the media [is] directed at uncertainty surrounding Russian company Yukos, Iraqi pipeline attacks, Nigerian strikes and a forthcoming presidential referendum in Venezuela.

Yet behind the easy headlines, so called emerging economies such as China and India, added to rising American demand, are putting pressure on the price of energy. Meanwhile, major oil fields are withering, no new ones are being found and supplier countries are already pumping at their production limits.

As an example, in the same year as China's consumption rose by a crushing 26% its main oilfield, Daqing, started to decline. The Chinese state, not known for releasing accurate figures on anything, said the decline would be abour 7% a year. It may well be faster."

Yeah, I know, Al Jazeera is not exactly an unbiased news source. But they are merely restating what countless respected scientists and financial analysts like Oil financier Matthew Simmons have stated in the past.

If the Discovery article above is correct, there may be hope if we act now, to convert our cars and engines to GLP:
By most estimates, there's enough natural gas to produce about 1.6 trillion barrels of oil. Most of that gas probably will not be converted to oil. Still, the figure offers a hint at the extent of the world's natural gas reserves: more than all the petroleum ever consumed--roughly 830 billion barrels--and enough to fuel the world for some 60 years at current rates of consumption


The problem is that current rates of consumption are raising fast, as Al Jazeera points out, just China has raised it's demand by 26% in ONE YEAR.

And where are all the pumps getting that gas into containers ? Most of the gas extracting plants still have to be built or expanded.

And the cars, factories, gas stations, etc.. still have to be retrofitted

And who is going to pay for all this drilling, expanding and retrofitting?

Bottom line: Regardless of the new technology used to replace Oil, we are still a couple of years from it being able to help our current Energy woes. And it will need a huge amount of startup capital.

OPEC knows this. The Oil companies know this. What will prevent them from charging the bejeesus out of their customers, particularly knowing their customers are desperately trying to stop buying from them ?

8/16/2004

The 10 "Sacred" Email Directives

# Thou shalt not spam
# Thou shalt not believe everything on thy screen
# Thou shalt be wary of the urban myth
# Thou shalt use thy spellchecker
# Thou shalt think before thou sends
# Thou shalt not burden thy brother with superfluous attachments
# Thou shalt be prompt
# Thou shalt exercise brevity of text
# Thou shalt exercise restraint in the use of emoticons, for they are the most holy of textual expressions
# Thou shalt learn and use universally acceptable acronyms, as all others are an abomination

See more at

religion

The crowds don't agree with the polls

The crowds don't agree with the polls

The huge crowds on Kerry speeches and a few bales of hay and a campaign worker on Bush's are what we see in the pictures.

Same thing among my friends: one or two Bush zombies and lots of Kerry voters.

Where are those 47% who vote for Bush in the polls ? In Cheney's bunker ?

8/15/2004

Oil prices and their ripple effect in the economy

This article summarizes it well

Whose pocketbooks are hit by $2 gas prices

the high prices are ... squeezing businesses both big and small, from floral-delivery boutiques to airlines to bus lines to operators of aluminum smelters. And predictions are it isn't going to get better any time soon.

"Anyone who is in the business of moving goods around is having to deal with significant increases in their business costs," says Jack Kyser, president of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation. "For those who are making little or no profit, it can be just enough to end their reasons for doing business at all.

Wildcatting truckers protest diesel prices
In California and parts of Virginia soaring diesel prices have prompted truckers to stage protests ranging from honking horns and carrying signs to blocking traffic with abandoned trucks... Two weeks ago, hundreds of California's independent truckers in Oakland didn't show up for work, threatening to stop the flow of goods at the nation's fourth-busiest harbor.

Rippling effects
For many struggling small businesses rising gas prices are only part of the problem. Central Valley farmers in California, for instance, have been facing increased ... equipment costs, irrigation pumping costs, and fertilizer costs.

Grocery stores trying to maintain costs for customers who don't like bouncing prices kick back additional costs to the farmers and food distributors as much as they can.

Inflation looms
"Right now, we are taking the hit in profits ourselves because the markets will not allow us to pass the costs on to consumers," says Mr. Puentes, owner of Interfresh Inc a fresh fruit distributor. "Very soon we will be having talks about raising the costs of everything we sell."

BBC NEWS | Business | Is the world's oil running out fast?

BBC NEWS | Business | Is the world's oil running out fast?: "Is the world's oil running out fast?
By Adam Porter
at the Peak Oil conference in Berlin

How long will the oil keep flowing?

If you think oil prices are high at $40 a barrel then wait till they are four times that much.

How will you pay to run your car? How will you get the children to school? How will you heat your house? How much will transported food go up in price?

How will we pay for plastics, metals, rubber, cheap flights, Simpson's DVDs, 3G phones and everlasting economic growth?

The basic answer is, we won't.

This is the message from the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO).

The group of oil executives, geologists, investment bankers, academics and others has been warning the world of high oil prices, and the ensuing fallout, for some years now.

The end of cheap oil

It includes a diverse range of oil industry insiders.

People like Ali Bakhtiari, head of strategic planning at Iran's National Oil Company (NOIC), Dr Colin Campbell, a former executive vice president of Total-Fina, and Matthew Simmons, an energy investment banker and adviser to the controversial Bush-Cheney energy plan.

They are united by one idea, that global oil production is about to peak, which in turn will signal the permanent end of cheap oil.

And they warn that this is the foundation of the current rise in oil prices.

Who hurts when prices explode?

'Oil is far too cheap at the moment,' says Mr Simmons.

'The figure I'd use is around $182 a barrel. We need to price oil realistically to control its demand. That is because global production is peaking.'

Large new oil fields are ever more difficult to find
'If we price oil correctly,' Mr Simmons says, 'it could give us time to find bridge fuels, fuels to fill the gap between an oil economy and a renewable economy. But I don't see that happening.'

The adherents of the peak oil theory warn the decline of world oil output will force oil prices higher for good, and that the knock on effects could be catastrophic.

'In my opinion, unfortunately, there will be no linear change,' says Iran's Ali Bakhtiari. 'There will only be sudden explosive change.'

'The people who will be least affected will be the super poor, who already have no access to energy, and the super rich who do not care if oil is $100 a barrel.'

'It is everyone who is in the middle who will be hurt the most,' says Mr Bakhtiari. 'When the crisis comes there will be enormous changes.'

Oil rationing?

Dr Campbell says endless growth is not possible

Much of ASPO's predictions stem from the calculations of Dr Campbell.

His work on oil reserves has long suggested that many official oil data are either flawed estimates or at worst downright lies.

Scandals like the 23% of 'lost' reserves at Royal Dutch Shell have helped to boost interest in his work.

False reserves threaten the security of energy supply, just as do bombs under pipelines.

Dr Campbell's conclusion: oil production and consumption should be regulated by governments.

'Many reserve figures are highly questionable,' says Dr Campbell.

'Many great oil fields are increasingly old and inefficient. But I don't think oil is easy to produce with a sniper behind every palm tree.'

'The way to increase energy security is to reduce demand,' he says.

'Difficult times'

At ASPO's recent conference in Berlin, companies such as BP and Exxon and men such as Fatih Birol, chief economist of the International Energy Agency, began to talk to the proponents of the peak oil theory.

Whilst they may not agree with Dr Campbell's theories, their attendance highlighted ASPO's emerging importance in the oil debate.

In public, Mr Birol denied that supply would not be able to meet rising demand, especially from the buoyant economies in the USA, China and India.

But after his speech he seemed to change his tune.

'For the time being there is no spare capacity. But we expect demand to increase by the fourth quarter (of the year) by three million barrels a day.'

He pinned his hopes for an increase in production squarely on troubled Saudi Arabia.

'If Saudi does not increase supply by 3 million barrels a day by the end of the year we will face, how can I say this, it will be very difficult. We will have difficult times. They must invest.'

Can Saudi deliver?

But even Mr Birol admitted that Saudi production was 'about flat'.

Three million extra barrels a day would mean a huge 30% leap in output in just a few months.

When BBC News Online followed up by asking if this giant increase in production was actually possible rather than simply a desire he refused to answer. "You are from the press? This is not for you. This is not for the press."

Asking other delegates - admittedly supporters of the peak oil theory - whether such a steep increase was feasible, the answers were unambiguous: "absolutely out of the question," "completely impossible," and "3 million barrels - never, not even 300,000."

One delegate laughed so hard he had to support himself on a table.

Some recent figures tend to back up ASPO's outlook.

North Sea production is declining at an increasing rate, having peaked in 1999.

Not at the predicted flat rate of decline of 7%, but gradually accelerating from 7% to 8.5% to 11%.

And the number of major new oil fields discovered around the world fell to zero for the first time in 2003, despite an obvious increase in technological expertise.

"We need transparenc
We need transparency with the figures," says Dr Campbell.

"This avoids profiteering from shortages, the collapse of poor countries and it will stimulate alternatives."

"Consumer countries need to be able to audit fields, but at the same time 'flat earth' economists who believe in endless growth need to change their ideas."

And Dr Campbell has a dire warning: "If the real figures were to come out there would be panic on the stock markets, in the end that would suit no one."

Thermal depolymerization, waste and CO polution

Discover.Com Letters September 2004

Converts to Thermal Conversion

Brad Lemley's piece on the ongoing thermal depolymerization project in Carthage, Missouri ("Anything Into Oil," July), was a welcome update on what just might be one of the most practically profound discoveries of recent times. If it pans out, we will have not only a means of cleaning up and recycling garbage and waste but also a way to dip into the pool of the "above ground" carbon cycle for our petroleum needs, rather than disturb that carbon that is sequestered deep in the earth. One could imaging vigorous use of this process as a means to actually pull down some of the recently added carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Now this raises an interesting possibility: If the thermal depolymerization technology gets voracious enough in its consumption of hydrocarbons, will we have to tap into fossil-fuel deposits just to keep up the circulating carbon dioxide pool? The mind boggles at the possible scenarios."

J. WROBLEWSKI
Vancouver, British Columbia


Thank you for your update on “Anything Into Oil.” I was extremely excited and hopeful when I read the original article. Just thinking about how the world’s trash could be turned into something useful was amazing. I envisioned the storage area where I work, which is filled with old computers and software, being turned into oil. I showed and told everyone I could about the prospects. Yes, there were skeptics. But I believe we have the ingenuity to really realize this dream. Please keep us updated.

ANITA LORENZ
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Frail Pope Struggles Through Lourdes Mass

I just love my Pope!

LOURDES, France (Reuters) - Pope John Paul (news - web sites), a sick man among the sick, wound up a emotional visit to this miracle shrine Sunday and struggled with iron determination to finish a sermon in order to encourage others suffering around him

He is anti-war

He told fundie Catholics off when they tried to prevent Catholics from voting on any pro-choice candidate

He told Bush our Christian religion does NOT want another crusade

And look at his face during a Bush visit!



An exasperated Pontiff quietly bears his cross while President Bush tries his hand at reciting the Magnificat in Latin.

God! Can you imagine having to sit through Bush's nu-cu-lar maiming of the Gospel ?

He's getting pretty weak now. Sigh... I'll miss him a lot!



Update: DailyKos readers gave the following answers to the question "What was the Pope thinking on the picture above ?"

Peak Oil

I posted a diary about Peak Oil, w/ a poll. In just 12 hours 28
answered. Interesting...



Anything Into Oil

Discover has just published an update on one of their most popular 2003 articles

In the May 2003 issue of Discover, an article titled “Anything Into Oil” drew a phenomenal reader response. The process described—transforming turkey guts, old tires, used plastic bottles, and municipal sewage into fuel oil

[The process] struck some readers as more like alchemy than chemistry and struck others as the answer to energy shortages, not to mention the solution to some of America’s worst waste problems.

The process called TCP or Thermal Conversion Process has indeed a lot of promisse:

It is already generating Diesel Oil
the oil produced in these tests easily meets the specifications for diesel fuel.

It kills bio-hazardous germs
The high pressures and temperatures it uses would be more than sufficient to dismantle germs for Mad Cow disease, bio-weapons and any bio-hazard waste.

It is energy efficient
Unlike current biogas generators it actually produces more energy than it consumes. A lot more. Only 18% of the energy is used to feed the process.
“This is the great hope—to be the biorefinery of the future,” says Jefferson Tester, a chemical engineering professor at MIT. “Taking in biomass of all sorts and putting out a whole range of valuable products is obviously exciting.”

Pilot plant worked, now to production
But the folks at Changing World Technologies, the company behind the process of changing waste into oil, must first prove they can successfully scale up from a 7-ton-per-day pilot plant in Philadelphia to a 200-ton-per-day industrial plant in Carthage, Missouri.

The latest target date for opening the Carthage plant is now this fall [2004]. Engineers have already run the plant at capacity for as much as 12 hours at a time, and preliminary tests show the equipment works efficiently. Out of 100 Btus in a given unit of feedstock, only 15 Btus are used to power the process, with the remainder residing in oil, gas, and chemicals.

Most important, the oil produced in these tests easily meets the specifications for diesel fuel.

Big corporation backing it: Conagra
Officials of ConAgra Foods, who formed a joint venture with CWT say:“We now know that the technology is sound and the science really works,” .. “The front end of the plant is producing organic liquors and free fatty acids, and the back end does make a diesel fuel product.” He adds that [the joint venture] has spent “a fair amount of money” on pre-engineering a second plant, which will probably be located near Longmont, Colorado, and process both turkey and cattle slaughterhouse waste.

Zapping Mad Cow out of the food chain
Although no testing has been done on the effect of the thermal conversion process on prions, the rogue proteins that are thought to cause BSE, Tester [from MIT] is confident that the high pressures and temperatures it uses would be more than sufficient to dismantle those pathogens. “Large molecules like that really don’t like that kind of environment,” he says.

Reference:
Anything Into Oil
By Brad Lemley
DISCOVER Vol. 25 No. 07 | July 2004 | Technology

The process is also called thermal depolymerization process or TDP

A process that balances runaway consumption with it's corresponding waste

Discover.Com Letters

Turkey Guts Edged Out by Guinea Pig

With dismay I realized that the thermal depolymerization process ("Anything Into Oil" May 2003 was not the number one story of the top 100 science stories of 2003, nor, to my horror, was it even in the top five.

Why it should be THE Top Article of 2003
How could the most revolutionary concept of the century have been ignored� a process so empowering to the civilized world, so absolutely timely? ... a process that would create a balance between runaway consumption and the corresponding waste that threatens to bankrupt civilization, a process that would be affordable and available worldwide, turn old TVs and computers into oil and fertilizer, and stave off global warming!

Please, folks, this is surely as important as number 83, "Prehistoric Guinea Pig Weighed Nearly a Ton"

ROBERT MAGILL
Sarasota, Florida

8/14/2004

Too little, too late: U.S. Transferred Nearly 2 Tons of Uranium From Iraq

I love using Newsmax stories to whack neocon moles in th Yahoo Soars board..
UNITED NATIONS – The United States didn't have authorization from the U.N. nuclear watchdog when it secretly shipped from Iraq uranium and highly radioactive material that could be used in so-called "dirty bombs," U.N. officials said Wednesday.

The nearly 2 tons of low-enriched uranium and approximately 1,000 highly radioactive items transferred from Iraq to the Untied States last month had been placed under seal by the International Atomic Energy Agency at the sprawling Tuwaitha nuclear complex, 12 miles south of Baghdad, the officials said.

"The American authorities just informed us of their intention to remove the materials, but they never sought authorization from us," said Gustavo Zlauvinen, head of the IAEA's New York office.

U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham disclosed the secret airlift from Iraq on Tuesday as "a major achievement" in an attempt to "keep potentially dangerous nuclear material out of the hands of terrorists." The material was taken to an undisclosed U.S. Energy Department laboratory for further analysis.

The airlift ended on June 23, five days before the United States transferred sovereignty to Iraq's new interim government.

IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said in a letter to the Security Council circulated Wednesday that Washington informed the agency on June 19 that "due to security concerns" it intended to transfer some nuclear material stored at Tuwaitha to the United States.

The agency took note of the U.S. intention to remove the nuclear material "from agency verification," he said.

According to the letter, the United States informed the IAEA on June 30 that approximately 1.8 tons of uranium, enriched to a level of 2.6 percent, another 6.6 pounds of low-enriched uranium, and approximately 1,000 highly radioactive sources had been transferred on June 23.

A U.N. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was some concern about the legality of the U.S. transfer because the nuclear material belonged to Iraq and was under the control and supervision of the IAEA.

Safety and Security

Safety and Security

The U.S. Energy Department statement said "the U.S., consistent with its authorities and relevant United Nations resolutions, took possession of and removed the materials to ensure the safety and security of the Iraqi people."

Iraqi officials "were briefed about the removal and sources prior to evacuation," the statement said.

In 1992, after the first Gulf War, all highly enriched uranium - which could be used to make nuclear weapons - was shipped from Iraq to Russia, the IAEA's Zlauvinen said.

After 1992, roughly 2 tons of natural uranium, or yellow cake, some low enriched uranium and some depleted uranium was left at Tuwaitha under IAEA seal and control, he said.

So were radioactive items used for medical, agricultural and industrial purposes, which Iraq was allowed to keep under a 1991 U.N. Security Council resolution, Zlauvinen said.

IAEA inspectors left Iraq just before last year's U.S.-led war. After it ended, Washington barred U.N. weapons inspectors from returning, deploying U.S. teams instead in a so far unsuccessful search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

An exception was made in June 2003 when Washington allowed an IAEA team to go to Tuwaitha to secure uranium after reports of widespread looting when the fighting ended.

The IAEA recovered most missing material and Zlauvinen said the uranium was put in sealed containers and left for the Americans to guard.

But because U.S. authorities restricted inspections of Tuwaitha, the IAEA team was unable to determine whether hundreds of radioactive items used in research and medicine across the country were secure.

ElBaradei's letter said that an unspecified amount of nuclear material still at Tuwaitha consists mainly of natural uranium, some depleted uranium and some low enriched uranium waste, which is subject to IAEA monitoring.

Some radioisotopes are also still in the country and come under the agency's responsibilities, he said.

Tuwaitha is now under the control of Iraq's Ministry of Science and Technology.

Fighting Set to Resume in Iraq's Najaf, Talks Fail

Bummer!

NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. and Iraqi forces were poised to resume fighting rebel Shi'ite militia in the holy city of Najaf after peace talks aimed at ending an uprising that has killed hundreds collapsed Saturday

Kerry: Bush's blunders in the Middle East raised Oil Prices

On a Yahoo News story we see this

Kerry also said Bush's policies in Iraq (news - web sites) have contributed to rising oil prices.

'The world is unstable right now. The marketplace is unstable,' Kerry said. 'That hurts your jobs. That hurts your wallets.

Surging oil prices have been one factor driving down stock prices in recent days.

Kerry's campaign said increasing oil prices saps consumers' spending powers, eats into companies' profits and weakens consumer confidence. The campaign has criticized President Bush for promising to bring down the cost of gasoline by pressuring Middle Eastern oil-producing nations.

He is ABSOLUTELY CORRECT, Bush himself has said the same: A war discourage investors and hurts the economy

But instead of fessing up and apologizing Bushies say "he was blocked by democrats"
Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said the president has a plan to lower oil prices, decrease the nation's dependence on foreign oil and encourage development of renewable energy, but it's been blocked by Kerry and other Democratic senators."

Oh boo-ho! Who has majority on both houses? Why didn't Bush execute his plan when he had 90% approval rate and no democrat dared say no to him ?

This excuse doesn't stick. Whe have had 4 years of "trust me, I have a plan" already!

Democratic Senator Urges Energy Reform

From Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON - Congress must pass legislation to protect the nation's electricity grid if it wants to avoid repeats of the devastating outages that rolled across eight states last year, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said Saturday.

Funny how despite Cheney's super secret Energy Commission meetings we only see Democrats acting to get us self sufficient in Energy...
'America is not a third-world country that can't guarantee power to its citizens. We are not a country without resources, technology or ingenuity,' Cantwell said in the weekly Democratic radio address.

Cantwell introduced legislation that aims to give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (news - web sites) authority to devise a system of standards for the reliable operation of the energy grid. Her measure is part of the energy bill stalled in the Senate; she has been unable to persuade majority Republicans to agree to consider it separately.

Rep. John Dingell (news, bio, voting record), D-Mich., introduced a similar measure in the House, but he has been unable to have the bill heard on the floor of the GOP-run House."

Gee, I wonder why ? Could it be Enron and other lobbysts own the WH ?

Science and Bushies don't mix well

Last November, President Bush gave physicist Richard Garwin a medal for his "valuable scientific advice on important questions of national security." Just three months later, Garwin signed a statement condemning the Bush administration for misusing, suppressing and distorting scientific advice

So far more than 4,000 scientists, including 48 Nobel prize winners, have put their names to the [Anti-Bush] declaration.

..In the past, individual scientists and science organizations have occasionally piped up to oppose specific federal policies. But this is the first time that a broad spectrum of the scientific community has expressed opposition to a president's overall science policy.

Pot meet Kettle...
Administration officials dismiss the scientists' concerns as misguided and accuse them of playing politics — of attempting to undermine Bush administration policies by claiming they are based on bad science.

"I don't like to see science exploited for political purposes, and I think that's happening here," presidential science adviser John H. Marburger III said in a telephone interview.

BS!
.. signers of the declaration include scientists with ties to both Republican and Democratic administrations: Lewis Branscomb, a Harvard University professor, headed the federal Bureau of Standards in the Nixon administration. Russell Train was director of the Environmental Protection Agency (news - web sites) under Presidents Nixon and Ford and supported George H. W. Bush during the 1988 presidential campaign. Physicists Neal Lane and John Gibbons were both science advisers to President Clinton (news - web sites).

Examples of Bush "sanitizing" scientific information
For example, when a panel of experts, by a 28-0 vote, declared a drug safe for over-the-counter sales in December, they expected the Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites) to approve it for nonprescription use soon thereafter.

But six months later the agency disagreed, citing a lack of data about the safety of the drug for 11- to 14-year-old girls. The drug in question: a morning-after contraceptive known as Plan B.

"A treatment for any other condition, from hangnail to headache to heart disease, with a similar record of safety and efficacy would be approved quickly," the protesting panel members wrote.

Stuffing the offices with fundies
In the larger dispute, scientists charge that the Bush administration has violated its side of the bargain in two ways: By manipulating scientific information to suit political purposes and by applying a political litmus test to membership on scientific advisory committees.The conflict usually centers on scientific advice involving politically contentious subjects such as reproductive health, drug policy and the environment.

Climate scientists, for example, complain they have been frustrated in their attempts to include full and accurate information about global warming in official government reports — a charge the administration denies.

The administration also finds itself at odds with many medical researchers over use of embryonic stem cells. "I don't get the sense that science was particularly part of the [Bush Admin] decision making," said Elizabeth Blackburn, a University of California, San Francisco biologist.

Bush's science advisor confesses he is not guide by science..
Marburger, Bush's science adviser, sees it differently: "The really important questions here are ethical questions; they're not science questions."

Dems get into the fray
Democrats further politicized stem cell research when they invited Ron Reagan, son of the late president, to speak at their convention in Boston this summer. "We can choose between the future and the past, between reason and ignorance, between true compassion and mere ideology," Reagan said in his speech, urging the audience to "cast a vote for embryonic stem cell research."

More than cherrypicking
In any argument people will emphasize information that supports their position and ignore contrary evidence, said Roger Pielke, Jr., a science policy expert at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He calls the strategy "cherrypicking" and considers it a legitimate debating tactic. "That is different than actually going out and manufacturing or altering the scientific process in a way that guarantees the result will agree with your point of view," Pielke said.

Bush's critics say his administration is doing just that when it screens scientific advisers based on their political views. They argue that when it comes to science, professional qualifications should trump party affiliation.

Bush Sr. would not have done this
Dr. D.A. Henderson, a biological weapons expert, said that when President Bush's father chose him for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, it didn't matter that he was a Democrat and that his wife was president of Planned Parenthood (news - web sites) of Maryland. All that counted was his expertise. "I can't imagine that happening today," said Henderson, although he has worked in the last three administrations and now advises the Secretary of Health and Human Services (news - web sites).

Elephant in donkey's clothing...
Marburger dismisses such notions: "I can say from personal experience that the accusation of a litmus test that must be met before someone can serve on an advisory panel is preposterous," he said in an April response to the Union of Concerned Scientists statement.As proof, he offered himself. He's a Democrat.

Sure you are.. Just like Zell Miller, another one who traded his integrity to be on Bush's payroll.

8/13/2004

Bush's job-approval rating climbs back above 50%

From Yahoo! News

"No president who was at or above 50% at this point in an election year has lost."

The media is howling that, no doubt prompted by Rove's minions
a) It's one poll in many, a biased one at that

b) Electoral votes. California is still Kerry's and so are most of the big states

c) So what ? Kerry will make history

Yahoo! News - Many of nation's Shiites taking attack personally

At the Al-Sadiq Bakery, where the hearth is decorated with a blue-tile verse from the Koran, hot air blasted from the oven Thursday and the staff seethed.

A few hours earlier, they had heard that U.S. forces had begun an assault on followers of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr who have holed up at a shrine in Najaf. Bombs fell in the center of the ancient holy city, and there were reports of rising numbers of civilian casualties in Najaf and elsewhere.

U.S. military commanders said they would stop short of the Imam Ali shrine, one of Islam's holiest places. And they promised that only Iraqi security forces would enter the mosque if there is an attack on the holy site.

But the owner of this small neighborhood bakery, Haidar Abbos, was not mollified. The 39-year-old Shiite's thoughts turned back more than a decade, when Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) attacked the mosque while suppressing another Shiite rebellion, after the first Persian Gulf war.

"Saddam made mass graves in 1991," Abbos fumed. "Now the Americans are making mass graves in 2004, filled with Shiites again."

The counterman, Qasim Khudhayer, 22, bitterly agreed.

"I'm sure the Americans are enjoying this, dropping their bombs from airplanes," Khudhayer said.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Baghdad and Basra in response to the Najaf assault. Demonstrators also made their anger known in Karbala, Nasiriyah and other cities in Shiite-dominated southern Iraq (news - web sites), according to a spokesman for one of Iraq's largest political parties, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

Sadr and his al-Mahdi Army militia hunkered down in Najaf draw only a minority following in the Shiite community, mostly among poor and disaffected young men without prospects in Iraq's stalled economy.

But Sadr's criticisms of the U.S. presence reflect the resentments of the broader Shiite community.

Saad Jawal, a spokesman for Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a rival party to Sadr's movement, said the confrontation in Najaf has the feel of a fight against Shiite Islam to many people.

"The people feel anger," Jawal said. "They feel the [Shiite community] has been attacked by the American forces."

But others welcome a forceful response to the challenge that Sadr and his followers posed.

"These people are beyond the law," said Adnan Abbas Allawi, a pharmacist who is a Shiite but does not share Sadr's fundamentalist views.

"You can't deal with these killers," he said, "except by killing them."

Turning the Corner

Yahoo! News - GOP Wants N.J. Governor to Step Down Now

Hateful bigots from GOP don't know a governor can't just pack out and leave ?

N.J. - State Republicans on Friday said Gov. James E. McGreevey should step aside immediately, one day after the governor revealed he is gay, had an extramarital affair and will resign in November.

Joe Kyrillos, chairman of the New Jersey Republican State Committee, called on McGreevey to "do the right thing" and step down right away. McGreevey on Thursday said he will resign Nov. 15.

I don't know but common sense tells me that even regular employees
give at least 2 weeks notice.

What difference would it make to wait 3 months ? It's not like it is
an excessive ammount of time to leave a government house. 3 months is
the usual time governors have after elections. And it's not like he
hasn't been gay and governor before his announcement.

New Jersey voters would be better served if he has time to pass all
the ongoing projects in peace.

NJ GOPpies are putting posturing and bigotry over their voters interests.

Bush speaks at the Summer Olympics - Joke

George W. Bush begins his speech to open the Olympic games.

"Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh."

An aide rushes up and whispers "Mr. President, those are the Olympic rings. Your speech is underneath!"

Yahoo! News Photos - Olympics: Opening Ceremony

One reminder that World Peace is a dream worth pursuing


I just love Summer Olympics

Why can't we all live in harmony... Sigh...


Yahoo! News - Injections Temporarily Turn Slacker Monkeys Into Model Workers

Scott Adams will love to hear this story!

I don't know if this is good or bad news. The possibilities of unethical use are enormous. On soldiers for instance...

I remeber reading on March 2003, when there was a spat of friendly fire incidents that some doctors were questioning themselves if the stuff they gave to pilots to make them stay alert wasn't making those pilots have itchy trigger fingers... Add this stuff that the author himself says transforms anyone into little maniacs....

Laboratory monkeys that started out as careless procrastinators became super-efficient workers after injections into their brains that suppressed a gene linked to their ability to anticipate a reward.

The monkeys, which had been taught a computer game that rewarded them with drops of water and juice, lost their slacker ways and worked faster while making fewer errors.

Government researchers used a new technique to temporarily block a gene, known as D2, that normally produces receptors for the brain chemical dopamine — a component in the perception of pleasure and satisfaction.

It turns out that the work ethic of rhesus monkeys resembles that of many humans.

"If the reward is not immediate, you procrastinate," said Barry Richmond, a neurologist who led the study at the National Institute of Mental Health

Duh! They are monkeys not numbskulls
Before their genetic treatment, the monkeys in the test dawdled when the gray bar was dim. Only when it glowed did they become conscientious.

All that changed after a snippet of DNA known as an "anti-sense expression vector" was injected into a part of the brain known as the rhinal cortex. The vector suppressed the expression of the D2 gene for several weeks, hampering the ability of the rhinal cortex to detect dopamine.

The monkeys no longer understood the meaning of the gray bars. As a result, their interest never waned. They worked their levers like obsessed gamblers, never knowing when the jackpot would be delivered. They stopped only after their thirst was quenched

The danger of misuse
But don't expect any gene-suppressing injections for chatty office workers or inattentive students. "Perhaps they would look like manic people all the time," Richmond said.

The good coming from it

It will help the elderly and the mentally ill
Because it can be used to target specific genes in specific parts of the brain, the technique could become a valuable tool in brain research.

"And it's temporary, which is a huge advantage, because you can look both before and after," a researcher said

The article also tells us some interesting stuff about the reward mechanism and mental illness:
Schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease (news - web sites) are related to dopamine pathways. Other illnesses are linked to some fault in the reward circuitry of the brain. Manic people work even when the rewards are insignificant. In depression, no amount of work seems worth the reward. In obsessive compulsive disorder, the rewards never seem to register. Drug abusers risk danger for their reward.

I want a medal too!

Hey, why not ?

If Generals can come to TV to say they gave away medals to people they though never deserved it, why can't I get a Silver Star ?

Hullabaloo has the right idea:

I think the way to frame this issue is that these men are smearing the United States Military by saying that all those glowing reports and medal recommendations were lies.

Is Kerry the only one about whom they believe all these officers lied
or were there others who recieved medals and commendations who didn't deserve them? Do they think this kind of thing is this still going on today?

It may force some of these men to come out and admit what they are really saying: ... when they say he's 'unfit' they are talking about Kerry's antiwar activity, not his combat experience.

And, that's a very old argument that means absolutely nothing. Which is why they've decided to smear instead of taking Kerry on for what they really hate him for."

Bush backs his father's accuser

Vet's against Kerry founder smeared Bush's dad!!!!

From Hullabaloo

I have often said that Junior is a bad son. I can't think of anything worse than standing with the scum who smeared your own father's war record. Unless you hate your father, which it seems he does.

It's going to take a Shakespeare to do justice to this sick little story.


What Ted Sampley said about Bush Sr.

George Bush Parachutes Again to Exorcise Demons of Past Betrayal

By Ted Sampley
March/April/May 1997

Former President George Bush, who bailed out of a crippled Navy Avenger bomber 53 years ago, jumped again in March of this year. His World War II jump is historic. It made Bush the only president to ever bail out of an airplane and the only president whose crew mates were sent careening into the ocean because their pilot had abandoned the aircraft...

After 44 years of silence, Mierzejewski, who also was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, told the New York Post that Bush had abandoned his crew to death when there was another choice.

Typical Ted MO: Another vet who remembers 44 year old info in a unflatery way...

Cross posted on Kos