Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani has blown off the president of the United States. Bush sent Sistani a letter asking him to intervene to help end the gridlock in the formation of a new Iraqi government. Asked about his response, an aide said that Sistani had not opened the letter and had put it aside in his office.
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- U.S. corporate profits have increased 21.3% in the past year and now account for the largest share of national income in 40 years, the Commerce Department said Thursday.Strong productivity gains and subdued wage growth boosted before-tax profits to 11.6% of national income in the fourth quarter of 2005, the biggest share since the summer of 1966.For all of 2005, before-tax profits totaled $1.35 trillion, up from $1.16 trillion in 2004 and just $767 billion in 2001.
Meanwhile, the share of national income going to wage and salary workers has fallen to 56.9%. Except for a brief period in 1997, that's the lowest share for labor income since 1966.
A bipartisan push on Capitol Hill to strip the hue from the government's color-coded terrorist alert system is gaining momentum.
A package of legislation moving through the House eliminates the Department of Homeland Security's use of colors to change the threat level, and calls for more specific threat information to be shared with the private sector and local governments.
"The color code doesn't provide any information to people, what it does is foster a climate of anxiety without giving useful information to people," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, California Democrat, who worked with Rep. Rob Simmons, Connecticut Republican, on the legislation.
"It's not a proper way to give a nationwide response to actual threats."
The plan would allow Washington to disengage gradually in Iraq, ”without victory, but also without defeat,” said Brzezinski, who worked for US President Jimmy Carter.It's a plan that offers the opportunity to "disengage" before a full defeat. A sensible plan. A well-thought out plan that acknowledges the regions role in peace. A plan, because of it's pure genius, that will be DOA on Bush's desk.
The first step would involve “Washington suggesting to the Iraqi authorities that they publicly ask the United States to pull out of Iraq,” he said.
Next, a date would be set for US troops to be pulled out, following which the Iraqi government should invite its neighbours to a “regional conference of Muslim countries” aimed at stabilising the situation in Iraq, Brzezinski said.
Lastly, the United States should call an international conference to discuss funding for the reconstruction of Iraq.
But in the traditional media, the reaction has been utter and complete silence -- both after Waas's well-documented March 2 story, and again today. There's not one word about it in a single major outlet this morning.
And that's just not acceptable. Waas's fellow reporters at major news operations should either acknowledge and try to follow up his stories -- or debunk them. It's not okay to just leave them hanging out there. They're too important.
A Matter of Faith: The NYT fronts and the WP and LAT go inside with a study finding that prayer doesn't materially affect the rate of healing in sick people. In fact, those people who were told they were being prayed for actually got worse. Next on the agenda: examining the truth behind the contention that the family that prays together stays together.
But remember, this is not a nuculur weapon or a weapon of mass destruction. It's only, you know, a conventional bomb that's really really big.
”I don’t want to sound glib here but it is the first time in Nevada that you’ll see a mushroom cloud over Las Vegas since we stopped testing nuclear weapons,” said James Tegnelia, head of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
Tegnelia said the test was part of a U.S. effort to develop weapons capable of destroying deeply-buried bunkers housing nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.
This animated map of coalition military fatalities during the Iraq war unfolds at ten frames per second. Each frame represents one day of the war. One dot marks each casualty site. A death begins as a white flash, then grows to a larger red dot, which turns black after 30 frames (days), fading at last to permanent grey.Wow. I wonder what it would look like if it included Iraqi casualties?
Created by Tim Klimowicz
As a punching bag for left-wing activists, Lieberman somehow ranks up there with Tom DeLay and Dick Cheney. Yet according to the National Journal's 2005 Senate vote rankings, Lieberman's centrist record is on par with that of West Virginia's Robert Byrd, the octogenarian war critic lionized by the blogosphere.Who said Casey, Clinton and Feinstein were off the hook? And when Byrd voted for the bankruptcy bill, I seem to recall that he received quite a bit of netroots feedback.
Other Democrats are forgiven their ideological transgressions, but never Lieberman. In Pennsylvania, Senate challenger Bob Casey has overwhelming party support even though he is antiabortion and supported Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court. (Lieberman, in contrast, is pro-choice and voted against Alito.) It is almost forgotten that California Sen. Dianne Feinstein supported all of Bush's deficit-creating 2001 tax cuts. (Lieberman voted against them.) And Hillary Clinton, the winter-book favorite for the 2008 nomination, has not exactly been marching in antiwar demonstrations.
When I asked the Connecticut senator why he has become such a lightning rod, Lieberman said, "It is something that speaks to this moment in our politics, which is very partisan and very much are you with us 100 percent or are you not with us? And there's a lot of -- I can't think of a softer word than hatred. In the Democratic Party there are a lot of people who have the same kind of hatred -- which I find is self-defeating and almost certainly wrong -- towards Bush that a lot of Republicans had toward Clinton."The guy repeatedly demonstrates that he just doesn't get it.
Unmanned aerial vehicles have soared the skies of Afghanistan and Iraq for years, spotting enemy encampments, protecting military bases, and even launching missile attacks against suspected terrorists. Now UAVs may be landing in the United States. A House of Representatives panel on Wednesday heard testimony from police agencies that envision using UAVs for everything from border security to domestic surveillance high above American cities. Private companies also hope to use UAVs for tasks such as aerial photography and pipeline monitoring.
In a scene that could have been inspired by the movie "Minority Report," one North Carolina county is using a UAV equipped with low-light and infrared cameras to keep watch on its citizens. The aircraft has been dispatched to monitor gatherings of motorcycle riders at the Gaston County fairgrounds from just a few hundred feet in the air--close enough to identify faces--and many more uses, such as the aerial detection of marijuana fields, are planned.
By the beginning of 1981, the national debt had fallen to 32.5% of GDP. Then, Reagan took office and the national debt took off. It rose non-stop for 12 years to 66.3% at the end of Bush's term, erasing 25 years of progress in paying down the national debt.
E. was sitting at the other end of the living room, taking apart a radio he later wouldn’t be able to put back together. I called him over with the words, “Come here and read this- I’m sure I misunderstood…” He stood in front of the television and watched the words about corpses and Americans and puppets scroll by and when the news item I was watching for appeared, I jumped up and pointed. E. and I read it in silence and E. looked as confused as I was feeling.Ahhhh. Daily life in Iraq. The police and military are so inundated with militia that no one can trust anyone.
The line said:
وزارة الدفاع تدعو المواطنين الى عدم الانصياع لاوامر دوريات الجيش والشرطة
الليلية اذا لم تكن برفقة قوات التحالف العاملة في تلك المنط
“The Ministry of Defense requests that civilians do not comply with the orders of the army or police on nightly patrols unless they are accompanied by coalition forces working in that area.”
That’s how messed up the country is at this point.
We switched to another channel, the “Baghdad” channel (allied with Muhsin Abdul Hameed and his group) and they had the same news item, but instead of the general “coalition forces” they had “American coalition forces”. We checked two other channels. Iraqiya (pro-Da’awa) didn’t mention it and Forat (pro-SCIRI) also didn’t have it on their news ticker.
We discussed it today as it was repeated on another channel.
“So what does it mean?” My cousin’s wife asked as we sat gathered at lunch.
“It means if they come at night and want to raid the house, we don’t have to let them in.” I answered.
“They’re not exactly asking your permission,” E. pointed out. “They break the door down and take people away- or have you forgotten?”
“Well according to the Ministry of Defense, we can shoot at them, right? It’s trespassing-they can be considered burglars or abductors…” I replied.
The cousin shook his head, “If your family is inside the house- you’re not going to shoot at them. They come in groups, remember? They come armed and in large groups- shooting at them or resisting them would endanger people inside of the house.”
“Besides that, when they first attack, how can you be sure they DON’T have Americans with them?” E. asked.
We sat drinking tea, mulling over the possibilities. It confirmed what has been obvious to Iraqis since the beginning- the Iraqi security forces are actually militias allied to religious and political parties.
BERLIN (AFX) - Saudi Arabia is working secretly on a nuclear program, with help from Pakistani experts, the German magazine Cicero reported in its latest edition, citing Western security sources.
"Go get me Andy Card," Bush said to one of the Secret Service agents. Card, the designee as chief of staff, entered from an adjoining room . . . Bush looked impatiently at Card, hard-eyed. "You're the chief of staff. You think you're up to getting us some cheeseburgers?"Good luck to Bolton
Card nodded. No one laughed. He all but raced out of the room.
"David Bohrman, the Washington bureau chief for CNN, one of whose reporters attended a session, said they were a good idea.This is wrong on so many levels. Do reporters actually think they are going to gain some "insight" into the President? Like, he's going to act natural when he's around a bunch of press corpse's because it's all, you know, off-the-record.
" 'Most of the time, the environments that our reporters deal with the president in are very structured, very managed, and they rarely get to just kick back and have a conversation,' he said. 'I think there's a lot of value in it for both sides.'
Joe Strupp writes for Editor and Publisher: " 'It was very pleasant, he seemed very thoughtful and frank,' said Stephan Dinan, a Washington Times reporter and one of about six reporters who took part in a session Monday afternoon. 'It was on a wide range of stuff.' . . .Well Stephan, what were you expecting? Maybe Bush would start picking his nose? Or how about a tearful admission that he's been so totally wrong throughout his Presidency perhaps. Sheesh.
"The New York Times, which was invited to attend a session today, has declined to participate.Well, waddya know. The NY Times may have learnt something from their Blair/Miller debacles. Here's hoping so.
"Philip Taubman, the Washington bureau chief for The Times, said in a statement last night: 'The Times has declined this opportunity after weighing the potential benefits to our readers against the prospect of withholding information from them about the discussion with Mr. Bush. As a matter of policy and practice, we would prefer when possible to conduct on-the-record interviews with public officials.' . . .
Some Shiites, according to al-Hayat, are saying that the US is deliberately attempting to provoke a civil war in Iraq. Among their concerns was the US military's announcement that the attack on the Mustafa Husayniyah in Ur was the work of an Iraqi military unit. Which unit? Where? To whom does it report? Is it little more than a death squad? Is it commanded by the Americans? Why didn't the Prime Minister know about this attack, which spilled over on Dawa Party offices? PM Jaafari is a member of the Dawa Party.And people are wondering if the U.S. is "caught in the middle" of a civil war? Just try and figure out the intrigue of all the opposing militias.
The Badr Organization, a political party that represents the paramilitary Badr Corps, the Shiite militia of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, demanded Monday that Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador to Iraq, be expelled from that country.
This moment is therefore a particularly inauspicious one for Khalilzad to press for the sidelining of Ibrahim Jaafari as candidate for prime minister of the United Iraqi Alliance. Jaafari narrowly won an internal party vote, but was backed by Muqtada al-Sadr and opposes loose federalism and unrestrained capitalism. For all these reasons he is unacceptable to the Kurds and to the US.
In a seminal 1985 law review article, law professor Lynne Henderson examined the relationship between victims' rights and criminal justice policy. Looking carefully at the psychological data on the needs of victims, Henderson discovered a wide array of responses to tragedy -- responses that differ widely from victim to victim, and that change significantly over a victim's lifetime. More crucially, Henderson's research reveals that "common assumptions about crime victims -- that they are all 'outraged' and want revenge and tougher law enforcement -- underlie much of the current victim's rights rhetoric. But in light of the existing psychological evidence, these assumptions fail to address the experience and real needs of past victims."Go read the entire article. It's short but quite revealing.
"BUSHIT" Sticker Nets $100 FineWhat do you want to bet the officer is either a) illiterate or b) nearsighted?
Denise Grier, an Atlanta nurse, was ticketed for driving with a bumper sticker that read, "I’m tired of all the BUSHIT." Accused of brandishing "lewd" material, the officer approached her with his hand on his weapon and dispensed a $100 fine. Grier reportedly has no intention of paying the ticket, saying "I am so appalled at the officer’s attempt to squash my freedom of speech. It’s not just a Democrat/Republican issue. Y’all need to get beyond that. It’s my right to speak, and yours." Stay tuned for her court date, April 18.
After the fall of Baghdad, three years ago, the United States military began a secret investigation of the decision-making within Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. The study, carried out by the U.S. Joint Forces Command, drew on captured documents and interviews with former Baath Party officials and Iraqi military officers, and when it was completed, last year, it was delivered to President Bush. The full work remains classified, but “Cobra II,” a recently published book about the early phases of the war, by the Times reporter Michael Gordon and Lieutenant General Bernard Trainor, has disclosed parts of the study, and the Pentagon has released declassified sections, which Foreign Affairs has posted on its Web site. Reading them, it is easy to imagine why the Administration might resist publication of the full study. The extracts describe how the Iraq invasion, more than any other war in American history, was a construct of delusion. Frustratingly, however, we now understand much more about the textures of fantasy in Saddam’s palaces in early 2003 than we do about the self-delusions then prevalent in the West Wing.The study seems to verify what many have speculated. Saddam was a shell of a leader, sanctions worked, and both sides deluded themselves. No wonder parts remain "classified".
Oh, yes. Absolutely. And, I mean, our own -- you know, our own editors back in New York are asking us the same things.Aside from all the other arguments of how the GOP talking point is bull, this one highlights the catch-22 nature of the problem. Anything the U.S. touches in the region turns to absolute do-do.
They read the same comments. You know, are there positive stories? Can't you find them?
You don't think that I haven't been to the U.S. military and the State Department and the embassy and asked them over and over again, let's see the good stories, show us some of the good things that are going on? Oh, sorry, we can't take to you that school project, because if you put that on TV, they're going to be attacked about, the teachers are going to be killed, the children might be victims of attack.
Oh, sorry, we can't show this reconstruction project because then that's going to expose it to sabotage. And the last time we had journalists down here, the plant was attacked.
I mean, security dominates every single thing that happens in this country. Reconstruction funds have been diverted to cover away from reconstruction to -- they've been diverted to security.
Soldiers, their lives are occupied most of the time with security issues. Iraqi civilians' lives are taken up most of the time with security issues.
So how it is that security issues should not then dominate the media coverage coming out of here?
Back on the question of how Barbara Bush donated money for Katrina aid and 'earmarked' part of it for the purchase of educational software produced by Ignite!, the company her son, Neil Bush, to bag money from international potentates, tycoons and crooks. Taxprof's got a post on a subject I've been curious about. George and Barbara Bush -- like a lot of other folks investment for non-economic reasons -- are actually investors in Ignite!Yep. Those earmarked donations not only went to benefit their other loser son, but they are investors in his company.
By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff | March 24, 2006It is another thumb in the eye of oversight. But it's important to remember that these "signing statements" have no force of law. However, put together the signing statement with the knowledge that Bush has no respect for the law and you get a huge red flag. And indeed, I have no doubt that Bush is flaunting the law any way he pleases.
WASHINGTON -- When President Bush signed the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act this month, he included an addendum saying that he did not feel obliged to obey requirements that he inform Congress about how the FBI was using the act's expanded police powers.
The Chinese government announced plans on Wednesday to increase existing taxes and impose new ones on April 1 for everything from gas-guzzling vehicles to chopsticks in a move to rein in rising use of energy and timber and the widening gap between rich and poor.
New or higher taxes will fall on vehicles with engines larger than two liters, disposable wooden chopsticks, planks for wood floors, luxury watches, golf clubs, golf balls and certain oil products.
Teachers at his facility are forbidden to use the “e-word” (evolution) with the kids.At a time in our nation's history when we need the brightest scientific minds to solve the greatest threats to our world, American teachers are being held hostage by the American Taliban. Tragic is the only word that describes it.
But Bob’s personal issue was more specific, and the prohibition more insidious. In his words, “I am instructed NOT to use hard numbers when telling kids how old rocks are. I am supposed to say that these rocks are VERY VERY OLD ... but I am NOT to say that these rocks are thought to be about 300 million years old.”
The explanation that had been given to Bob by his supervisors was that their science facility is in a delicate position and must avoid irritating some religious fundamentalists who may have their fingers on the purse strings of various school districts. Apparently his supervisors feared that teachers or parents might be offended if Bob taught their children about the age of rocks and that it would result in another school district pulling out of their program.
Essentially the device, which is about the size of a large soup can, works as an onboard "oil refinery." It converts a wide variety of fuels into high-quality hydrogen-rich gas. Adding only a small amount of such gas to the fossil fuel powering a car is known to make possible a significant decrease in emissions of pollutants like nitrogen oxides.
"This device might dramatically reduce air pollution from autos and trucks without a major increase in costs and inconvenience," said Daniel R. Cohn, a senior research scientist at the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC). "The device has near-term applications. No major advances are needed in internal combustion engine design to incorporate it."
I want one.
Biocrude oils have their own environmental benefits. "Such oils might be produced by fast-growing trees or other crops that absorb carbon dioxide, compensating for the carbon dioxide produced by combustion," explained Dr. Cohn.
Former first lady Barbara Bush donated an undisclosed amount of money to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund with specific instructions that the money be spent with an educational software company owned by her son Neil.I'll tell you what is really amazing about this. I'm sure that Barbara "let them eat cake" Bush and others of her ilk see nothing wrong with this.
Since then, the Ignite Learning program has been given to eight area schools that took in substantial numbers of Hurricane Katrina evacuees.
“Mrs. Bush wanted to do something specifically for education and specifically for the thousands of students flooding into the Houston schools,” said Jean Becker, former President Bush’s chief of staff. “She knew that HISD was using this software program, and she’s very excited about this program, so she wanted to make it possible for them to expand the use of this program.” […]
Regarding the fact that Bush’s earmarked donation also benefited her son’s company, Becker said, “Mrs. Bush is obviously an enthusiastic supporter of her son. She is genuinely supportive of his program,” and has received many letters from educators who support it. Bush “honestly felt this would be a great way to help the (evacuee) students.”
Indonesia has warned of legal action against a huge US-owned mine in Papua province, unless it does more to protect the environment.I'm hoping "the people" around the world stand up as these people are doing and demand human rights and environmental responsibility.
ATLANTA - A bill that allows public high schools to offer classes on the Bible sped through the House Monday, passing overwhelmingly with no debate.
The proposal, originally introduced by a band of Senate Democrats, surprised many by urging that the Bible should be taught as an elective in Georgia's public schools.
Republicans quickly substituted their own version, which specifies that the Bible itself would be the course textbook. The measure easily passed the GOP-controlled Senate last month by a 50-1 vote.
With Democrats like these, who need Republicans? And will it now be okay to teach physics in churches? I mean, as long as we are mixing the two...The article concludes with this reassurance:
The proposal also requires that the courses should be taught "in an objective and nondevotional manner with no attempt made to indoctrinate students."
Antidepressants fail to cure the symptoms of major depression in half of all patients with the disease even if they receive the best possible care, according to a definitive government study released yesterday.I have a couple of points to make about this report and the way the media is covering it.
Significant numbers of patients continue to experience symptoms such as sadness, low energy and hopelessness after intensive treatment, even as about an equal number report an end to such problems -- a result that quickly lent itself to interpretations that the glass was either half empty or half full.
The $35 million taxpayer-funded study was the largest trial of its kind ever conducted. It provided what industry-sponsored trials have rarely captured: Rather than merely ask whether patients are getting better, the study asked what patients most care about -- whether depression can be made to disappear altogether.
CALLER: Thanks, I had a question for the senator. For a reformer, I'm kind of curious why he would hire a guy like Terry Nelson as a senior advisor.This sounds like Bush redux. He's either:
Here's a guy who was actually in the indictment of DeLay on his money laundering charges. When he was at the RNC, he agreed to take the corporate contributions from DeLay's PAC and then recycle them back into the Republican congressional races.
And he was also, this guy Nelson was also the supervisor of James Tobin, who was the guy convicted last year for helping jam the Democratic get-out-the-vote lines in New England a couple years ago.
So I'm curious why would you hire someone with such a shady background?
MCCAIN: None of those charges are true.
CALLER: You don't believe what was actually written in the indictment from Texas?
CARLSON [show host]: All right.
MCCAIN: I will check it out. But I've never heard of such a thing. I know that he was a grassroots organizer for President Bush year 2000 and 2004, and had a very important job in the Bush campaign as late as 2004, but the other charges I will go and look and see if any of them are true, but I've never heard of them before.
Just to let you know.As with most of these types of communications, I don't often expect a response. But today, I got this response from the DCCC:
I'm a small donor. But still, I've given literally thousands to Democrats. In the last election cycle, I gave a lots of money to the party appartus.
That's stopped, and here's why.
1) Paul Hackett and the role you played.
2) Lack of guts. The total strategry of avoiding a stand on Iraq is ridiculous. How much public support for ending the war do you need?
As the old saying goes......
"stand for something or fall for anything".
I'm sick of losing on strategy. I want to stand for something. If I lose, then the majority has spoken and I'll take my medicine. But I don't think that will happen. If people think you actually stand for something, they'll follow.
Santa Rosa CA
Thank you for taking the time to share your views with us. However, as you can appreciate, the DCCC focuses exclusively on electing Democrats to the House of Representatives. We do not comment on actions taken by U.S. Senators, such as with regards to Senate races.Huh? I have a problem with this response on several levels. First, do the Congressional Democrats really have nothing to say to Senate Democrats? Is there no coordination at all between these two groups? I guess I shouldn't be surprised, and perhaps there is but they don't want to admit it in this case. But is it really good P.R. to blame your collegues, pass the buck as it were, in answer to a party member's concerns?
If you wish to pursue your concerns about the events taking place in the United States Senate, please contact our Senate counterparts at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (www.dscc.org/about).
Again, thank you for contacting us and we hope that we will be able to count on your support as we fight to restore a House of Representatives that will be motivated by the public interest rather than greedy and narrow special interests.
DCCC Action Center Team
Yep.[Chris Bowers explains] We can’t win if we continue to operate like this. The netroots and grassroots can’t win by themselves, and the Democratic electoral establishment is hardly any better. At some point, there is going to have to be a way for us to work together, or we are just going to keep losing and losing and losing. We can’t go on like this. We can’t win without them, and they can’t win without us. There has to be a way for us to work together, but that doesn’t mean just treating the netroots like an ATM, not even mentioning the name of our candidates on official literature, or simplistic, authoritarian demands that we all "fall in line." There is an activist class war taking place in the Democratic Party–I can see it even happening in my own neighborhood. Those who currently hold sway over the movement better recognize that it is happening as well, and they better be willing to work with the people who make their position possible. We can’t simply continue to be told to go back and keep toiling in the volunteer activist salt mines. Something needs to be done to solve this mess. I’m sure there are thing that both sides can do, but the overwhelming onus to fix this situation and create some sort of détente rests on those people who currently control the Democratic Party and the progressive movement. You have to find a way to show us that you care, that you appreciate our efforts, and that you are willing to work together.[Firedoglake]
Indeed. We can be reasonable, but we’re far too sophisticated to accept token efforts or pats on the head. And we’re quickly becoming too powerful across America to ignore.
Rahm, Nancy, Chuck, Harry: your move.
The U.S. military has developed a ten-year plan for "deep storage" of munitions and equipment in at least six countries in the Middle East and Central Asia to prepare for regional war contingencies.Swell.
The plans, revealed in March 2006 contracting documents, call for the continued storage of everything from packaged meals ready to eat (MREs) to missiles in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman, as well as the establishment of two new storage hubs, one in a classified Middle Eastern country "west" of Saudi Arabia ("Site 23") and the other in a yet to be decided "central Asian state."
"These are things that all of our old oral history has never mentioned," said Enosik Nashalik, 87, the eldest of male elders in this Inuit village. "We cannot pass on our traditional knowledge, because it is no longer reliable. Before, I could look at cloud patterns or the wind, or even what stars are twinkling, and predict the weather. Now, everything is changed."
The Inuit alarms, once passed off as odd stories, are earning confirmation from science. Canada's federal weather service said this month that the country had experienced its warmest winter since measurements began in 1948. Nationwide, average temperatures this winter were 7 degrees above normal. Some of the larger temperature increases were in the arctic north.
In this month's issue of the journal Science, a team of U.S. and Canadian researchers said the Bering Sea was warming so much it was experiencing "a change from arctic to subarctic conditions." Gray whales are heading north and walruses are starving, adrift on ice floes in water too deep for feeding. Warmer-water fish such as pollock and salmon are coming in, the researchers reported.
Off the coast of Nova Scotia, ice on Northumberland Strait was so thin and unstable this winter that thousands of gray seals crawled on unaccustomed islands to give birth. Storms and high tides washed 1,500 newborn seal pups out to sea, said Jerry Conway, a marine mammal expert for the federal fisheries department in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
"We are seeing dramatic changes in the weather systems," Conway said. "To be honest, we don't really understand what are the potential impacts. If you look back in history, there have been warming periods that have gotten back to normal. But we don't know if that will happen this time."
Friedemann, a systems analyst for a large transportation company. She's been studying the history of agriculture in California and learning sustainable farming techniques.No matter which scenario you subscribe to, it's clear that life is going to get more expensive and access to food may become problematic.
"As energy gets more expensive, food will get more expensive," Friedemann says, citing a stat that's often mentioned in peak-oil circles: In our era of industrial agriculture, it takes 10 calories of fossil-fuel inputs for fertilizers, pesticides, farm equipment and transportation from natural gas, oil and coal to produce one calorie of food.
Feingold has a reputation for such quaint deviations--a naïf who voted against the war in Iraq and the Patriot Act. On principle! How naïve is that? He talks like he might run for President, yet he seems tone-deaf to the artful resonances of power politics--the cutesy games insiders play and the press cherishes. Hey, what is this Constitution thing anyway? The senator is peculiar in this era of decaying democracy. There was a time, believe it or not, when his type was a familiar presence in the Senate.
For some strange reason Leslie [Wolf] asked Helen why she thought the US invaded Iraq. Helen gestured toward Les (is our boy Les a neocon?) and said, (paraphrase)You go Helen!
"Well because of the neocons at the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). Their plan was to invade first Iraq, then Syria, then Iran."
Les interrupted with some irrelevancy about all the 9/11 dead, and Helen leaned toward him and said,
"They had nothing to do with each other...."
Then Helen said to Leslie,
"Come home, you'll be welcomed."
But the best part was as she continued,
"You and I were at the WH together and you used to ask tough questions. You asked Clinton why he didn't resign."
Les was perturbed, cut her off and said,"That was a different time" and went to commercial.
"I don't know how she picked me," he said. "I was sitting at home, and they came and arrested me. The next thing I know, I'm standing trial."Why is it that Texas seems to have so many of these?
Shades of October 2002. These are the same pundits, consultants, and spin miesters who said you've gotta vote for the Iraq war or George Bush is going to hang you out to dry and he's gonna show that you don't care about the troops and you don't care about the fight against terrorism.What can anyone possibly add?
They pull it every time. And the Democratic insiders in Washington and the consultants fall for it every time. They don't realize that the thing that bugs people about the Democratic party right now is that we don't seem to stand strongly enough for what we believe in.
How can we be afraid at this point, of standing up to a president who has clearly mismanaged this Iraq war, who clearly made one of the largest blunders in American foreign policy history? How can it be that this party wants to stand back and allow this kind of thing to happen?
And then add to that the idea that the president has clearly broken the law --- and a number of Republican senators have effectively admitted that, by saying "you know, we need this program so let's make it legal," --- so they are admitting it's illegal.
The idea that Democrats don't think it's a winning thing to say that we will stand up for the rule of law and for checking abuse of power by the executive --- I just can't believe that Democrats don't think that isn't something, not only that we can win on, but it does, in fact, make the base of our party, which is so important, feel much better about the Democrats. The Republicans care deeply about making the base of their party feels energized. What about the people of our party who believe in the Democratic Party especially because they fight for the American values of standing up for our rights and civil liberties?
USAT fronts an interesting news feature on a new trend in, ahem, law enforcement: States are now passing laws that grant immunity from prosecution to crime victims who retaliate against their attackers with deadly force. The laws, championed by the NRA, are meant to deter carjackers, muggers, and the like.That doesn't sound so crazy, does it? I mean, if you're attacked, you should be able to defend youself .... right? I mean, I want every legal defense available to me if I feel the need to protect my loved ones ... don't you?
Critics say they are a license for vigilantism, since it's hard to define what constitutes an attack. Case in point: A tow-truck operator who shot a man for driving his car away without paying a fee is invoking the defense, saying the driver could have run him down.Oh.
The LAT fronts a story about the "murky relationship" between Iran and al-Qaida. Some American intelligence officials believe that much of the terrorist organization's remaining leadership is based out of Iran, where some elements of the regime are willing to turn a blind eye, or maybe even lend a hand. The evidence, however, is decidedly sketchy, and some spooks are doubtful about a link, citing the Sunni-Shiite split. The fact is no one really has a clue. "It blows me away the lack of intelligence that's out there," one counterterrorism official tells the paper. Though that's not stopping some anonymous saber-rattlers from leaking vague assertions. Sound familiar?As with Iraq, this is highly unlikely. Iran is an Islamic, Shiite, fundamentalist state. Al Qaeda is an Islamic, Sunni, fundamentalist organization. We've seen how well those two get along in Iraq. Sure, they may be driven by a common hatred of the U.S. They still don't cooperate with each other, even in Iraq where there is a U.S. presence. Besides Al Qaeda doesn't need Iranian assistance. It has Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Sudan and any number of other Sunni friendly region with which to cooperate. This story looks suspiciously to me like another "leaked" intelligence report to our forever discerning media.
Prosecutors had called Harry Samit, an agent in the FBI's Minneapolis field office, to bolster their contention that Moussaoui deserves the death penalty because had he confessed when first arrested, "the FBI would have raised 'alarm bells' and could have stopped the Sept. 11 attacks," the WP says. On cross-examination, Samit admitted that even though Moussaoui wouldn't talk, he was sure the Moroccan was working with others to hijack a plane—there was even a suggestion that one might be flown into the World Trade Center, according to the NYT—and said that he raised the possibility to his superiors more than 70 times. Samit says his bosses didn't care and just wanted to "run out the clock" and deport Moussaoui. Samit was a key prosecution witness, but his testimony "might have backfired on the government," the LAT says, putting it a mildlyThe prosecution is really trying desperately to fit a round peg in a small hole. Moussaoui's actions clearly don't rise to the legal standards of the death penalty. We've never (yet) executed someone for not informing on fellow criminals. The case is flawed, continues to deteriorate, and makes the Justice Department look like fools while (again) exposing law enforcements actions in the pre-911 days as lackadasical.
Although James Hansen is an extremely well-known scientist, he was not allowed to talk with 60 Minutes without having a government minder sitting in the room. To my mind this shows what a threat the Bush administration believes him to be because now it is on the public record that they feel that he cannot be interviewed without someone watching what he is saying. Of course, this is because what Dr Hansen has to say is quite upsetting to the Bush corporate backers.
Dr. Hansen believes that we must slow down and reverse our carbon emissions within this decade or it will be too late to stop the worst of the consequences from global warming. In fact, he believes if we let things go on as they have been, by the end of the century humans will be living in a world that is totally different than mankind has ever known. Dr. Hansen has decided that he cannot be silent because if he doesn't say something he will not be fulfilling the NASA mission which is to understand and protect the earth.
Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints? Chances are he grew up to be a conservative.At least, he did if he was one of 95 kids from the Berkeley area that social scientists have been tracking for the last 20 years. The confident, resilient, self-reliant kids mostly grew up to be liberals.
I'm sure someone can point to an exception somewhere, but so far every single column or news story I've read on the subject has been about (a) Feingold the maverick and whether this helps his presidential chances, (b) the disarray his motion has caused in the Democratic party, (c) whether the censure motion was politically smart, or (d) Republican glee that Feingold has shifted attention away from all the things that were hurting them.Feingold's not wrong. He's just diverting attention away from Bush. But isn't the censure about Bush? Well, not if you're a liberal party leader or a liberal pundit.
"I think Senator Feingold is a proud and courageous Democrat who has rightly pointed out a series of problems, possibly including illegal wiretapping, by the Bush administration. There have been a number of revelations that I find quite disturbing for which I think the administration should answer".Period. Lather, rinse, repeat. Over and over and over again. Reporters get tired of asking the same question and have little choice but to report on the illegal taps. And the punditry? Focus with laser-like beams of the facts of the wire-taps. If that really is the story, why waste ink on other nonsense, particularly opines that have no basis in any facts?
One can call it a political ploy (although Fiengold is one of the few guys in the congress with a real reputation for integrity) but to the base it's a political ploy in service of bedrock principle. Democrats cannot pass legislation. They cannot force the president to change his Iraq policy. They don't have the power to call hearings or subpeona witnesses. Even when they have hearings, the Republican chairmen refuse to put the witnesses under oath.
Political ploys are the only way the minority can make its voice heard. I have the cable blathering on in the backround most days, much of the time tuned to C-Span. There are dozens of press conferences held each week on both sides of the aisle. It's is a very rare one that anybody sees or hears. This is no way to get your message out.
I'm a very lucky person with every allergy known to man but still happy to be enjoying a wonderful life living in the best place in the world!