Tag: ek Politics

Jan 20

Bradley Manning Petition

Oliver North’s Pre-Trial Conditions for UCMJ Violations Dramatically Different than Bradley Manning’s

By: Jane Hamsher, Firedog Lake

Thursday January 20, 2011 9:35 am

David House is the only person aside from Bradley’s lawyer who visits him regularly. He recently wrote about Bradley’s conditions here at FDL, which include severe restrictions on his ability to exercise, communicate or even sleep. Manning has not been convicted of any crime, nor is there a date for any court hearing. The New York Times recently reported that these techniques are being used to induce Manning to flip on Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

I don’t recall Oliver North being subjected to anything like that while he was awaiting trial.

Over 30,000 people have signed the petition. We’d like to get it up to 50,000 by the time David delivers them. I promise to be a faithful videographer and bring back video of David’s experience with the petitions, to the extent that it is allowed on the base.

Jan 18

A Proper Snow

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

“For the first time I can remember…”

But it’s not the first time I can remember because it’s a benefit of Stars Hollow that I could grow up as a kid with snow banks high enough to construct a proper waist high fort with plenty of reserve ammunition, a life size snow person (I dunno, isn’t three balls how we all look?), and a highly dangerous block long sled run through multiple yards and hedges.

Keep your arms inside the car and stop or bail out before you hit one.  Not that there’s much traffic, but you could have an evil look out.

When I was in upstate New York it snowed all the time and I plowed home with positrac more than once which was quite a contrast from the tropical confines of the heated pools where I worked.  One day I walked over 2 miles in sub zero temperatures because the Blue Shark (my car at the time) wouldn’t start.

My friends would cross country ski through the park across the street which I tried a couple of times but found the uphill parts fatiguing and the downhill parts terrifying so I soon gave that up (they were good losers at Flash Bowling though).

Other amusements were Pitch (also called Set Back) which we played at work whenever we had a break, and Wednesday night Season Pass to the local mountain to shiver on a lift and not sweat your way up a slope.  Quite the sight to see all those skis rusting at the side of the pool.

Then there was the year I snooted the last six pack of Knickerbocker (that vile) at the Universal Market which happened to be right next to my dorm.

The point is that while I can remember what I consider “normal” snow I haven’t seen it much recently.  It’s reminded me of the early springs when I used to crunch through patches of dirt frost on my way to the library and imagined I was on a terraformed Mars.  This is the warmest year ever.

The world our children will inherit will be deeper, steeper, warmer, and wetter (not in a good way) than ours.

Jan 18

Does Money Make You Stupid?

Crossposted in part from The Stars Hollow Gazette

I can of course only speculate (unless you want to give me some), but returning to the theme of last week’s Gold diaries, including 2 by TranslatorPopular Culture and Pique the question always is can you eat it?

Gold is easily digestible, since it is non reactive, but it has no nutritional value.  It’s eating dirt, like the Haitians.

Oil is more dirt eating, only it goes up in the air to kill us and is quickly disappearing.  A real economist would expect the value of Gold v. Oil to decline due to supply and demand, but what do I know?

The real utility of Money is not as a store of value, but as a medium of exchange.  By turning over the ability to create money to private enterprises with little regulation through leverage we’ve encouraged a series of financial inflations in the speculative value of assets that will never be realized in a free market.

Even the most Randian will admit there will be winners and losers, their problem is that compared to their exposure to loss there is literally not enough money in the world to cover their bets.

Eventually it’s this shadow economy that’s going to have to take a hair cut and a devaluation.

Why?

Because that’s where the money is.

If you are leveraging 30 : 1 (that is, betting 30 for every 1 you actually have) where is the bigger number?

Jan 15

I suspect that it’s all part of a Communist plot.

Jan 15

What could possibly go wrong?

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

BP Forms Partnership To Explore In Russia

By JULIA WERDIGIER, The New York Times

Published: January 14, 2011

The British oil giant BP agreed on Friday to a partnership with Rosneft, a Russian company, forming an alliance to explore the Russian Arctic.



The two companies would explore three license blocks on the Russian Arctic continental shelf that were awarded to Rosneft last year and span about 50,000 square miles.



“This acquisition will almost certainly complicate the politics of levying and collecting damages from BP following their Gulf of Mexico oil spill,” Mr. Markey said.

As part of the agreement, Rosneft and BP will set up an Arctic technology center in Russia “to develop technologies and engineering practices for the safe extraction of hydrocarbon resources from the Arctic shelf,” the companies said in a joint statement.

Presidential Oil Spill Commission Final Report

Jan 14

Presidential Oil Spill Commission Final Report

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Tuesday the Presidential Oil Spill Commission released it’s final report.  Some reactions from Google News.

Oil spill panel calls for tighter federal rules, new fees for drilling

By Juliet Eilperin and David S. Hilzenrath, Washington Post Staff Writers

Tuesday, January 11, 2011; 9:16 PM

The presidential oil spill commission said Tuesday that the federal government should require tougher regulation, stiffer fines and a new industry-run safety organization, recommendations that face an uncertain future in the new Congress.

Former senator Bob Graham (D-Fla.), one of the commission’s co-chairmen, said that the Deepwater Horizon accident was “both foreseeable and preventable,” and that Congress and the administration needed to enact reforms in order to prevent a repeat of the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year.

“I am sad to say that part of the answer is the fact that our government helped let it happen,” Graham said. “Our regulators were consistently outmatched.”

Oil spill panel calls for reforms, fees

By Juliet Eilperin and David S. Hilzenrath, Washington Post Staff Writers

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Environmental groups immediately protested that the recommendations do not go far enough, and industry groups argued that the government should stop standing in the way of offshore drilling and production.

While calling for tougher government regulation, the commission also called for the oil and gas industry to establish a “self-policing” organization that would set and enforce safety standards. In addition, it endorsed a system used in the North Sea that calls on drilling companies to assess the risks involved in a particular well and tailor their operations accordingly.

University of Maryland law professor Rena Steinzor, president of the Center for Progressive Reform, said such deference to the companies would be “tragedy compounded,” adding, “If there ever was an industry that didn’t deserve to write its own plans, it’s this one.”

The Next Oil Spill: Five Needed Mandates to Head it Off

Marianne Lavelle, National Geographic News

Published January 11, 2011

As the oil industry forges deeper into riskier waters and other frontiers, both companies and government overseers need to radically overhaul their approach to safety, concluded the U.S. commission appointed by President Obama to examine the causes of BP’s disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The seven-member commission agreed unanimously that the spill was not caused by the actions of one rogue player, but by a systemic failure born of years of complacency.

“In the past 20 years, exploration moved into deeper and deeper and riskier and riskier areas of the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in abundant revenues for private companies and the federal Treasury,” said former Florida Senator Bob Graham, co-chairman of the panel.

Jan 13

Slave is a job description

Jan 09

Something else to worry about

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Bumble Bees In U.S. Suffer Sharp Decline, Joining Countless Other Species Disappearing Worldwide

Travis Walter Donovan, The Huffington Post

1/4/11, 01:26 PM

Honey bees have long been known to be in decline, suffering from the enigmatic colony collapse disorder, and the latest research on U.S. bumble bees only exacerbates concerns over future food production, as bees are responsible for pollinating 90 percent of the world’s commercial plants, from fruits and vegetables to coffee and cotton.



Unfortunately, insects aren’t the only creatures suffering drastic losses to their populations. Tigers could be extinct in 12 years if efforts to protect their habitats and prevent poaching aren’t increased. A recent study across three continents showed snakes to be in rapid decline due to climate change. Overfishing and changing weather patterns have left 12 of the world’s 17 species of penguins experiencing steep losses in numbers. A recent World Wildlife Fund report found that all animals in the tropics have declined by 60 percent since 1970, with everything from gorillas to fish thinning out.

Honey laundering: The sour side of nature’s golden sweetener

JESSICA LEEDER – Global Food Reporter, Globe and Mail

Jan. 06, 2011 2:07PM EST

What consumers don’t know is that honey doesn’t usually come straight – or pure – from the hive. Giant steel drums of honey bound for grocery store shelves and the food processors that crank out your cereal are in constant flow through the global market. Most honey comes from China, where beekeepers are notorious for keeping their bees healthy with antibiotics banned in North America because they seep into honey and contaminate it; packers there learn to mask the acrid notes of poor quality product by mixing in sugar or corn-based syrups to fake good taste.

None of this is on the label. Rarely will a jar of honey say “Made in China.” Instead, Chinese honey sold in North America is more likely to be stamped as Indonesian, Malaysian or Taiwanese, due to a growing multimillion dollar laundering system designed to keep the endless supply of cheap and often contaminated Chinese honey moving into the U.S., where tariffs have been implemented to staunch the flow and protect its own struggling industry.



While many of the executives are still at large, U.S. investigators arrested four honey brokers in the U.S. who are Chinese or Taiwanese nationals with connections to ALW. All have plead guilty; three have been sentenced to a range of jail terms and deportation proceedings are continuing. The fourth is scheduled for sentencing in Seattle this week.



Mr. Adee, the beekeeper, said he’s been attending talks in Washington to convey who the targets of honey laundering probes should really be.

“It’s kind of like they’re running a car-stealing ring,” he said. “You catch the guy stealing the car and put him out of business. But the guy that’s laundering, the chop shop or the packer, he just finds another supplier,” he said, adding: “I think it’s going to keep getting worse until we catch a couple of big ones, give them a little jail time.”

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