October 19, 2007 archive
Oct 19 2007
The story, out of England, is pretty straight-forward, but the implications are stunning; or, they would be stunning, if the repeated crimes and inhumanity of the Bush Administration had not fried whatever synapses allow us to feel stunned.
The Guardian reports:
Allegations that the CIA held al-Qaida suspects for interrogation at a secret prison on sovereign British territory are to be investigated by MPs, the Guardian has learned. The all-party foreign affairs committee is to examine long-standing suspicions that the agency has operated one of its so-called “black site” prisons on Diego Garcia, the British overseas territory in the Indian Ocean that is home to a large US military base.
Oct 19 2007
BBC News reports that Carbon dioxide being emitted from ships is ‘twice that of planes’. “Global emissions of carbon dioxide from shipping are twice the level of aviation, one of the maritime industry’s key bodies has said. A report prepared by Intertanko, which represents the majority of the world’s tanker operators, says emissions have risen sharply in the past six years… Some 90,000 ships from tankers to small freighters ply the world’s oceans.”
According to The Independent, Shipping pollution ‘far more damaging than flying’. Each year, “one billion tonnes” of greenhouse gases are emitted. “Since the 1970s, the bulk of commercial vessels have run on heavy ‘bunker’ fuel, a by-product of the oil refining process for higher grade fuels. One industry insider described it as ‘the crap that comes out the other end that’s half way to being asphalt’. It has potentially lethal side effects such as the release of sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and sulphuric acid. I suspect if the environmental cost of shipping goods from overseas was part of the equation, then “cheap” Asian goods wouldn’t be quite so cheap. I wonder if it is economically viable yet to have a fleet of modern “clipper” ships?
Some positive news concerning global warming for a change. According to the Kansas City Star, a Coal power plant was denied a permit! Reporters David Klepper and Karen Dillon write, “Delivering a stunning victory to those concerned about global climate change, Kansas’ top regulator rejected a proposal to build a coal plant in western Kansas.”
“I believe it would be irresponsible to ignore emerging information about the contribution of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to climate change and the potential harm to our environment and health if we do nothing,” Rod Bremby, the state’s secretary of health and environment, said in a statement.
Steven Mufson of the Washington Post has more on the news in slightly misleading headline, ‘Power plant was rejected over carbon dioxide for first time.’ “The Kansas Department of Health and Environment yesterday became the first government agency in the United States to cite carbon dioxide emissions as the reason for rejecting an air permit for a proposed coal-fired electricity generating plant, saying that the greenhouse gas threatens public health and the environment.”
The Kansas agency’s decision comes after a Supreme Court decision in April that said greenhouse gases “should be considered pollutants under the Clean Air Act.” Two plants were to be built by Sunflower Electric Power in Holcomb to supply electricity for Kansas and eastern Colorado. “Together the plants would have produced 11 million tons of carbon dioxide annually”.
This decision is a victory Kathleen Sebelius, the Democratic governor of Kansas. “Sebelius has been promoting the expanded use of renewable energy, especially wind. In her state of the state address this year, she said: ‘The question of where we get our energy is … no longer just an economic issue, nor solely an issue of national security. Quite simply, we have a moral obligation to be good stewards of this state.'” After the ruling, according to the story in the Kansas City Star, Sebelius “hailed Bremby’s decision in a statement as ‘a decision about all of us — today and into the future.'”
Sunflower is likely to challenge the decision in court. “We are extremely upset over this arbitrary and capricious decision… This is a grievous error. To deny this on the basis of CO2 is pulling it out of thin air,” sputtered Steve Miller, Sunflower spokesman. Previously coal power plants have been stopped by the governors of Florida and California due to their negative climate change impact.
The New York Times reports on a New task for the Coast Guard in the Arctic’s warming seas. Matthew Wald and Andrew Revkin write, “The Coast Guard is planning its first operating base [in the Arctic] as a way of dealing with the cruise ships and the tankers that are already beginning to ply Arctic waters.” The new base is likely to be in Barrow, Alaska.
“I’m not sure I’m qualified to talk about the scientific issues related to global warming,” the Coast Guard commandant, Adm. Thad W. Allen, said in an interview. “All we know is we have an operating environment we’re responsible for, and it’s changing.”
“The Coast Guard has also begun discussions with the Russians about controlling anticipated ship traffic through the Bering Strait” such as freighters taking advantage of the Northwest Passage shaving more than 5,000 miles off a voyage between Asia and Scandinavia.” In another sign of less polar ice, “Royal Dutch Shell is preparing for exploratory oil drilling off Alaska’s Arctic coast beginning next year.”
Today’s Guns of Greed is below the fold.
Oct 19 2007
Stuff I didn’t know until I decided to go trashing around the intertubes today:
PARIS: For President Nicolas Sarkozy, a day does not get much darker than this.
On Thursday, the 52-year-old French leader was struck hard on two different domestic fronts: a wave of strikes that swept through France and an official announcement that his 11-year marriage had come to an end.
Oct 19 2007
reposted from DailyKos
From now on, as I update this series, you’re going to get it here first, on docudharma, and they will have to wait a day or two over at big Orange.
This is the first of what will be an occasional series attempting to predict how many seats we will gain in the Senate. A separate series will look at the House.
What I do is gather information from various sources for each race, attempt to turn that into a probability of the Democrat and Republican winning the seat. Then, I use R to simulate the combined races.
More below the fold
Oct 19 2007
There are no excuses for this anymore.
This is for all the fools who believe in this fascist government…that any of these so called self serving fund raisers who masquerade as polticians will have any positive impact.
If Hilliary Clinton is not playing possum…she will be more warlike than George Bush. An if she is playing possum she will be removed and will never make it to a second term.
C’mon you people. You have to give it up.
Oct 19 2007
I was very close to making the title a call for a new Senate Majority Leader, but I am holding off for now. I fully realize that there is a slim, if any, majority for the Democrats in the Senate, and I fully realize that it is pretty easy for the minority party to make most things get 60 votes to even get the “upperdown vote”.
And yet, when Reid was minority leader, he couldn’t (wouldn’t?) pull off the same tactics when it came to horrible bill after horrible bill was rammed through. However, this isn’t really my reason for writing this diary today. It is one thing to have your hands tied by procedural maneuvers, or even to be gun shy for political reasons – but it is another thing to actively do things that would undermine the values that this country (and presumably the Democratic Party) holds dear, especially when it is behind the scenes and in a sneaky manner.
Oct 19 2007
As promised in a comment, this essay brings to the public the first response from my senators and congresswoman to a letter (the physical kind) I sent them asking to be vociferous in their condemnation of the present state of affairs. Senator Feinstein was the first to respond.
Oct 19 2007
In an article in today’s WaPo, Bush science advisor John H. Marburger III:
The president’s top science adviser said yesterday there is no solid scientific evidence that the widely cited goal of limiting future global temperature rises to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels is necessary to avert dangerous climate change, an assertion that runs counter to that of many scientists as well as the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
John H. Marburger III, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said at a news conference that the target of preventing Earth from warming more than two degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, “is going to be a very difficult one to achieve and is not actually linked to regional events that affect people’s lives.”
OK, so far, understandable. Especially since Bush’s top science guru, quoted in a 2001 interview by Chemical and Engineering News, had this to say:
…the Administration received a lot of criticism for how it presented its position on the Kyoto protocol–which was a deeply flawed protocol and one that most people agree would have very serious negative economic consequences for the U.S….
The Bush administration firmly believes that following the Kyoto protocals would have damaged the US Economy. (Which is why our economy is so strong now….???)
Nothing to see here, no earth shaking news. Kool-aid drinkers abound within the White House sphere of influence, and anything that might possibly hurt industry is BAD, I tell you! BAD!!!
Oct 19 2007
[Cross-posted from OOIBC]
Let’s hear a big round of applause for Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT). President Dodd?
Speaker Pelosi? It is time to stop funding and put an end to George Bush’s occupation of Iraq and get all the troops there home. Now. You have exhausted all your excuses, and all of them have just been shown up to be nothing more than the hot air they are. If you will not end it before November 2008, after Chris Dodd’s clear example yesterday of real, honest legislative leadership, you deserve to be unseated and sent home in disgrace.
Dodd issued a press release yesterday stating
…that he would block the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) “from being considered by the full Senate and from receiving a vote on the Senate floor.” The statement came as the Senate Intelligence Committee met to consider the legislation — and weeks before it is likely to reach the floor.
On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of Senators and the Bush administration reached a compromise on the politically charged bill, which governs the federal government’s domestic surveillance program, including a highly controversial grant of legal immunity to telecommunications companies. Civil libertarians oppose the compromise as going too far to protect telecoms that were revealed to have participated in a warrantless wiretapping program, and because the legislation wouldn’t establish warrants for each individual wiretap.
Dodd said he would place a “hold” on the FISA bill, a device available to any senator to stop legislation from moving forward. “By granting immunity to telecommunications companies that participated in the president’s terrorist surveillance program, even though such participation may have been illegal, the FISA reform bill sets a dangerous precedent by giving the President sweeping authorization to neglect the right to privacy that Americans are entitled to under the Constitution,” Dodd explained in a statement outlining his concerns.
The rhetoric got hotter with every paragraph. “It is unconscionable that such a basic right has been violated, and that the president is the perpetrator,” Dodd said. “I will do everything in my power to stop Congress from shielding this President’s agenda of secrecy, deception, and blatant unlawfulness.”
Chris Dodd deserves to be elected President next year.
He has just blown out of the water all of the claims by Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Leadership that they are unable to defund and end the occupation of Iraq with the claims that they ‘don’t have the votes’, and set a clear, effective example of the “power of the purse” that Pelosi now has no excuse not to follow.
David Swanson explains in greater detail…