Saturday, April 30, 2005

The $6.66-a-Gallon Solution

New York Times
April 30, 2005

OSLO, April 23 - Car owners in the United States may grumble as the price of gasoline hovers around $2.25 a gallon. Here in Norway, home to perhaps the world's most expensive gasoline, drivers greeted higher pump prices of $6.66 a gallon with little more than a shrug. (Click title to continue...)

Friday, April 29, 2005

Get Your News Close to the Source

I have followed a number of Iraqi bloggers for some time now, and "Raed in the Middle" is, in my estimation, the best and the most consistent. I reprint the entire text from yesterday's blog.

"I didn't find a SINGLE news item in any of the mainstream media about what happened in Iraq two days ago.Not a single news item about it!

The Sunni Arabs Front, that includes both The National Front and The National Dialogue Council, announced their withdrawal from the Government, just few hours after Jaafari finished his "partial" announcement.

Jafari's partial announcement didn't declare 7 of the most important positions: oil minister, defense minister, electricity minister, industry minister, human rights minister, and two vice-prime-ministers. Other Sunni Iraqis, like the PM Mishaan Al-Juburi the head of The Reconciliation and Liberation party, asked the rest of the Sunni Arabs to withdraw from Jaafari's government.

The story behind the mass Sunni withdrawal from the government is that Sunni Arabs had a clear deal with Jaafari about announcing a national political agenda before announcing the government, including "very important" points like asking the occupation forces to schedule their withdrawal from Iraq.

Jaafari decided to announce the government with what seems to be a side agreement with Ghazi Al-Yawer alone.Sheikh Ghazi Mash'al Ujail Al-Yawer, a Sunni Arab with no party affiliation and the head of the Iraqiyun List, appears to be the last Sunni in the government now. Al-Yawer seems to be trying to fill the Sunni Arabs gap himself.

In his official statements Al-Yawer said that Sunni Arab leaders may pull out from the new government if they aren't given more cabinet seats, and then he called for quick completion of the formation of the new Iraqi government and to appoint two Arab Sunni ministers in the ministries of defense and human rights who remained unoccupied in the new formation. Elyawer expressed his hope that this will be made within the two coming days.

Clearly the Sunni Arab Iraqis now are not a part of Jaafari's government.I don't know whether this Sunni withdrawal would be just another nail in the coffin of the US project in Iraq, or a coup de grĂ¢ce."

$300,000,000,000 for War and ....

A small sampling of the programs being slashed by the Party of the Rich:

Vocational education
Head Start; Even Start
Teen Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Perkins student loan program
Upward Bound
Student Talent Search
Doctor training programs for children's hospitals
Spinal cord injury treatment and rehabilitation programs
Low income community housing
Low income energy assistance
Single mothers housing; Section eight voucher program
Housing assistance for AIDS
Housing assistance for native Americans
Housing assistance for disabled Americans
Job training for farm workers
Nutration programs for children of migrant farm workers
Nutrition programs for single mothers
The Community Food and Nutrition program;
Environmental Protection Agency
Land restoration funds
The Superfund
Mining Waste Cleanup
Department of the Interior natural lands management
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Department of Energy nuclear waste cleanup
Amtrak rails service (in the states that did not vote for George Bush)
Veterans health maintenance programs
Disabled veterans programs
Veterans nursing home program
Women, Infants and Children nutrition program (WIC)
Temporary Aid to Needy Families, (TANF)

Thank you President Bush, for getting our priorities straight.

In the United States, there are 34.9 million people who go hungry or are food insecure, an increase of 3.9 million people since 1999—12.9 million of these are children. What this says is: not only has our government failed, but also that you and I have failed. Unless we are like the Republicans (who have declared time and again that there is no reason whatsoever why they should be their brother's keeper) we must call it our own personal failure as humans.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Bird's Eye View

Take a look at Google Maps for the next generation in spatial location. Advances:

1. You can grab the map and move it.
2. You can switch to satellite to see the actual photographic view. In cities, you can zoom in quite close. You can find your house!

Once again, Google moves ahead of the pack.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Obstruction of Justice

Joseph Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict 16, appears to be guilty of obstruction of justice.

"Pope Benedict XVI faced claims last night he had 'obstructed justice' after it emerged he issued an order ensuring the church's investigations into child sex abuse claims be carried out in secret.
The order was made in a confidential letter, obtained by The Observer, which was sent to every Catholic bishop in May 2001.

It asserted the church's right to hold its inquiries behind closed doors and keep the evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the victims reached adulthood. The letter was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected as John Paul II's successor last week.

Lawyers acting for abuse victims claim it was designed to prevent the allegations from becoming public knowledge or being investigated by the police. They accuse Ratzinger of committing a 'clear obstruction of justice'."

"It orders that 'preliminary investigations' into any claims of abuse should be sent to Ratzinger's office, which has the option of referring them back to private tribunals in which the 'functions of judge, promoter of justice, notary and legal representative can validly be performed for these cases only by priests'.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Peak Oil Revisited

I've been honking on this issue for a few weeks now (see The Red Pill below) and I've learned one thing. No one wants to hear or read about this. Those I've spoken with seem to fall into one of two camps: 1) okay, we're all going to die, so there is nothing I can do, or 2) something will save us. I also spent a week reading those with opposing views and although I’ve calmed down a bit, I still think the predictions are right on. How long it will take to unfold, I don’t know, but unfold it will.

Here, for your enjoyment, is an article which points out that it has already started. $3.00 gasoline, here we come!

"No one questions why the U.S. is occupying the Middle-East: the Administration is there for the oil. But the true gravity of the situation is only scarcely beginning to come to light. The 'markets' have already accepted the long-term "bull market" in oil prices due to increasing demand. What they don't accept yet (or understand) is the mounting "supply" problem. When this begins to dawn on them, and it could absolutely happen as quickly as within the next few months, then seemingly overnight the world will start to come apart at the seams.

Because as soon as it is recognized that for all practical purposes the situation is already upon us, then a fast and vicious "resource grab" will be initiated. The price of oil in the markets will begin to rise dramatically. This will initiate a circular hedging / hording mentality in large end-users, governments, and multi-nationals. This will then have a myriad of devastating effects, but all average Joe Consumer is going to notice is that the price at the pump will experience a brief and dramatic blip upward, gas lines will form for a short time at the corner-stations, and then suddenly the corner gas-stations will go dry altogether...perhaps getting a few sporadic deliveries, but more likely simply for good. Gasoline will not be available to individual drivers, as precedence is given to heating oil, critical government and commercial uses, public transportation, transport of food and goods, etc. How the situation unfolds after that you can imagine just as well as I...." (click on title to read entire article)

Monday, April 11, 2005

A Second Holy War from Our Own Far Right

"Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost," Kennedy says. "As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors -- in short, over every aspect and institution of human society."

"Meet the Dominionists -- biblical literalists who believe God has called them to take over the U.S. government. As the far-right wing of the evangelical movement, Dominionists are pressing an agenda that makes Newt Gingrich's Contract With America look like the Communist Manifesto. They want to rewrite schoolbooks to reflect a Christian version of American history, pack the nation's courts with judges who follow Old Testament law, post the Ten Commandments in every courthouse and make it a felony for gay men to have sex and women to have abortions. In Florida, when the courts ordered Terri Schiavo's feeding tube removed, it was the Dominionists who organized round-the-clock protests and issued a fiery call for Gov. Jeb Bush to defy the law and take Schiavo into state custody. Their ultimate goal is to plant the seeds of a "faith-based" government that will endure far longer than Bush's presidency -- all the way until Jesus comes back." continue reading article

No Child's Behind Left

Thanks to Barb H, who knows what she is talking about:

"In response to the Federal No Child Left Behind Act, students will have to pass the test to be promoted to the next grade level. In the hopes that it will be uniformly adopted by all the states, thus illuminating Florida to a glorious front-runner position in education, it will be called: The Federal Arithmetic and Reading Test (FART).

All students who cannot pass a FART in the second grade will be retested in grades 3-5 until such a time, as they are capable of achieving a FART score of 80%.

If a student does not successfully FART by grade 5, that student shall be placed in a separate English program, the Special Means Elective for Learning Language (SMELL). If with this increased SMELL program the student cannot pass the required FART, he or she can graduate to middle school by taking a one-semester course in Comprehensive Reading and Arithmetic Preparation (CRAP).

If by age fourteen the student cannot FART, SMELL or CRAP, he or she will earn promotion in an intensive one-week seminar. This is the Preparatory Reading for Unprepared Nationally Exempted Students (PRUNES). It is the opinion of the Texas Department of Public Instruction that an intensive week of PRUNES will enable any student to FART, SMELL or CRAP."

Sunday, April 10, 2005

And the Good News Is ....

After the Empire

I just ordered this book from Amazon. Here is a quote from one of the reviewers:

"A good primer on how the "Old Europe" looks at us these days. Emmanuel Todd, a French demographer, argues that the United States' "global war on terror" (or "terror war on the globe") is not a demonstration of American military prowess as much as a result of our encroaching weakness as a superpower. Faced with the loss of the Soviet Union as an ideological enemy, the US political-and-military establishment has shifted to a series of small aerial wars against largely defenseless countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Panama) to justify its continuing dominance of the world's resources - even as we go further and further into hock with our foreign creditors and progressively mortgage away our long-term economic viability."

Click on the title above to go to Amazon.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Lest We Forget The Big Lie

If it doesn't fit, you must submit.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

RIP Karol Wojtyla

I was going to try to get through the media gush of Dead Popery without comment but in surfing other blogs I was heartened to find at least one reference to a site that was not afraid to identify the Sins of the Father.

I have to conclude that humans must have evolved with a virus in their brain cells which dooms them to belief in outrageous God forms. How else to explain the mourning of the subjugated millions upon the death of this gigantic global fraud.

Head of World’s Largest Evil Organization Dies, Goes Straight to Hell

Pope John Paul II died today. Although his front organization, the Roman Catholic Church, has been demonstrated to be responsible for the murder of millions of innocents throughout the ages, and continues today with a special high-ceremony known as BFB (Butt-Fucking the Boys), the world mourned the passing of this "infallible" fake.

“How soon they forget”, said an atheist, wishing to remain anonymous so as to avoid retribution. “Starting with the systematic rape, torture, and burning at the stake of millions of innocent pagan women in its early years, the twisting of the teachings of the radical Jesus into a money-making scheme, the continuing murder and torture during the Inquisition of the Dark Ages, the support of the Nazi-led extermination during WWII, and recently including the genocide in Rwanda, the Roman Catholic Church has been, perhaps, the most evil organization ever to exist on the face of the planet.”

As the world’s largest private land-owner, oppressor of the poor, and proponent of the spread of AIDS in Africa, the Roman Catholic Church continues to be held in high esteem by some, including the US government's blessing of tax-exempt status on its land holdings and bingo activities.

In addition to its unusual practice of ritual cannibalism, called communion, the Roman Catholic Church has also been said to have produced the world’s funniest costumes for men in skirts.

Free Market Fraud

This article requires some concentrated reading, but it is well worth the effort.

"The Bush administration is comparable to a group of corrupt trustees for the family fortune of a lazy and incompetent heir. They siphon the money out by selling off the inheritance while the heir is too stupid or drunk to notice. He still has his mansion, his fleet of big cars and his monthly check, and he doesn’t notice that the assets are shrinking. He may not for a while. This family’s fortune is big and there are a lot of assets still to sell off."

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Now This is Getting Good

"DEEP in the basement of a dusty university library in Edinburgh lies a small black box, roughly the size of two cigarette packets side by side, that churns out random numbers in an endless stream.

At first glance it is an unremarkable piece of equipment. Encased in metal, it contains at its heart a microchip no more complex than the ones found in modern pocket calculators.

But, according to a growing band of top scientists, this box has quite extraordinary powers. It is, they claim, the 'eye' of a machine that appears capable of peering into the future and predicting major world events. " continue article

Forbidden Pixels

Boy, oh boy.

Strange, but certain patterns of pixels lighting up on your computer screen can get you thrown in jail. Or perhaps it’s certain patterns of bits streaming through your RAM.

As usual, rights are taken away “to protect the children”. This poor schlump sits in the dark and beats his meat to a forbidden pixel pattern. Douglas Sovereign Smith Jr. is arrested for receiving and sending forbidden images from his home computer. Pixels devoid of inherent meaning that add up to a forbidden image and forbidden lust in Mr. Smith’s brain.

As Bill Maher pointed out on his Real Time show last night, any child abuse that may have occurred was done at the time the pictures were taken, and their were no children involved in Smith's sending or receiving the bits. I don’t think he is being charged for looking at the pixels created by the bits, just for sending and receiving. What if he had some forbidden files that he hadn’t gotten around to looking at?

What if 001011010101000011010101010010110001010101001 actually looks like a child’s wee-wee and he didn’t even know it? What if these images came from computer generated forms and not from light bouncing off of “real” children? How can you determine the age of a screen-image?

Didn’t the Supremes rule that computer generated images were okay? Now there’s a latent market that should take off like a rocket…computer generated porno involving forbidden images.

No real people were involved in the making of this video. Completely safe…for now.