Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas News from an old war:

Saturday, December 25, 2004 Posted: 1:17 AM EST (0617 GMT)

HANOI, Vietnam (Reuters) -- Four children aged between nine and 14 and a 20-year old man were killed in southern Vietnam when a war-time mortar shell they were playing with exploded, state media reported on Saturday.

The five were killed instantly on Tuesday in a field where they were tending a herd of cows in the southern province of Binh Thuan, the Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper reported.

Since the U.S.-led Vietnam War ended, nearly 40,000 Vietnamese have been killed by leftover ordnance.

A twenty-year old is just a kid too, at least by my reckoning. In 1994 Clinton pledged to enter the US into the land mine treaty ban, but when it was convened in '97, the official US position was that we would enter the treaty in 2006, after our military had time to develop an alternative to land mines. Since then the Bush administration has abandoned the promise of entering into the treaty in 2006, or any future date(big surprise.).

Thursday, December 23, 2004

from, "A Midwinter Night's Mare",

Ghawar in Saudi Arabia is the largest single oil reservoir on the planet, pumping out an estimated 5 million plus barrels a day. It took millions of years for cyano-bacteria to convert and store the solar radiation, settle to the sea floor, form thick mats, slowly transform into a rich organic syrup, and migrate into high pressure reserves. Ghawar is the crown jewel in our energy treasure chest, the king of them all. But it is dying, we are killing it, and as goes Ghawar, so goes world production...

We use oil because it is by far the cheapest and most convenient form of stored energy many times over... and production is peaking while consumption climbs. The consensus among those in the Petrology Community is that global oil production will peak within five years or so, maybe less, while world oil consumption, fueled largely by the insatiable US addiction and the burgeoning economies in Asia-India, continues to grow steadily. Production Vs consumption. Those lines will cross next year. What happens then?

via the farmer at corrente.

(It's all the Chinese's fault, of course. I mean, if they didn't lend us so much money, we couldn't build so many SUVs. And who told them to use more gas too?)

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

What is it about Cherie Blair and American politicians?

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Whatever you do,don't buy a Kia Spectra. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says it isn't very safe, and is in fact, the least safe care they've tested in the past three years. If you don't listen to me and go test drive one, at least don't eat Lorna Doone cookies while you drive, as you might crash, and that would probably be bad. Do the civilized thing and stay home and eat your Lorna Doone cookies at the kitchen table.
don't eat Lorna Doone cookies in bed. I mean they're good, but they crumble all over the place and you'll make a mess.

Friday, December 17, 2004

If you click on this story at MSNBC, you'll see the headline:

"Poll shows U.S. views on Muslim-Americans
Nearly half of those surveyed say some rights should be restricted"

then the first sentence:

"Nearly half of all Americans believe the U.S. government should restrict
the civil liberties of Muslim-Americans, according to a nationwide poll."

obviously, this is the most important nugget of information to be derived from this story, right?

but if you keep reading, to the 9th sentence in this story, you find out that

"The survey found 44 percent favored at least some restrictions on the civil liberties of Muslim Americans.
Forty-eight percent said liberties should not be restricted in any way."

Oh. I don't suppose this is what Lakoff has in mind when he talks about framing, is it? Anyway, along the way you find out that those who are self-described as either republican or religious are more likely to be in favor of restrictions on the rights of Muslim-Americans--hey, how about that. The Cornell researchers were also surprised to see a fairly high correlation between people getting their news primarily from teevee and being more likely to fear terrorist attacks and supporting limiting the rights of Muslim-Americans. Clearly they haven't watched much cable news.


'James Shanahan, an associate professor of communications who helped organize the survey, said the results indicate “the need for continued dialogue about issues of civil liberties” in a time of war.

While researchers said they were not surprised by the overall level of support for curtailing civil liberties, they were startled by the correlation with religion and exposure to television news.

“We need to explore why these two very important channels of discourse may nurture fear rather than understanding,” Shanahan said.'

may I suggest this as exhibit A?
"The end of the world: a brief history", from the Economist
(thanks to Eric Alterman)

see also:
Somewhat apropo of Bill Moyers last regular PBS broadcast this evening...

Since people like to write End Of The Yeary stuff around now,
I thought I'd take note of (some of)the lefty blogs that closed shop in 2004.
(Links to the sites that are still up.)

the hauser report. Jeff Hauser announced in January(I think it was) that he was quitting blogging to go work for the Clark campaign, but never returned, and the url is gone now too. I know he had an e-mail list, but I never signed up, and have no idea if it's still active.

media whores online. "the horse." url also gone.

free pie by kim osterwalder . now links to an ad-based pseudo-search engine, and if you go to her earlier it's still there, but it redirects you to the former. Kim if you're out there, please turn off your re-direct, and consider posting your archives at your blogspot site, at least the text and links. We miss you.

counterspin central. I hate to admit I hardly ever read hesiod. Some bloggers would have you believe they read 80 or 90 or 100 blogs a day, but I think that's nuts, I mean if they're actually doing that. My life is not terribly interesting at present, but even I have better things to do. You can't read everything. url also gone.

Billmon.I hardly ever read Billmon either, but note that his site's archives are still up. The sign says Whiskey Bar closed.

Notes on the Atrocities. First Emma became Jeff, then posted about wondering if he should start over with a differently named blog, then he stopped altogether. I'm glad his archives are still up, as I rather liked this blog. Thanks Jeff.

I liked Tristero too. He stopped posting after election day, and Kerry's concession.

And finally, Curtiss Leung's Hector Rottweiller. Curtiss was always interesting.

On the other side of the vast blogospheric divide, I note that the verbose Steven Den Beste of USS Clueless has closed up shop(yippee.), although his site is still up and he has a link for his adoring fans to download a 18 mb zip file of his blogging oeuvre(?!). I'm tempted to encourage any lefty reading this to go and eat up his bandwidth for sport, but I don't think you should because Den Beste was just a pompous gas bag, and not vile like, say, Little Green Footballs or Free Republic. And he's apparently spared us his post on why social security privatization is a good thing. Incidentally, a young self described democrat named Timi Allen has a blog at , although she doesn't write very much on politics. I wonder if she knows she's inadvertently named her blog after a high profile right-wing blog.

addendum, 12/20/2004: there was also Blake's("Praktike") AmericanFootprint.Com.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Salon's Mark Folman describes Ray Beckerman's Ohio Election Fraud blog as a clearinghouse of information on the ongoing Ohio vote investigation and the questions that people still have about it.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Bill Moyers:"One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal."

Friday, December 10, 2004

Jason Scott: the Great Failure of Wikipedia

thanks to Tom Higgins at (the) Pleasant blog, December 3rd.

(I had difficulty linking to the specific post.)
They Hate Us For Our Freedom, part 18,203...

[from U.S. generals told of detainee abuse early:Confidential December 2003 report offered warning, WaPo Nov 30th. ]

"...some detainees were arrested because targets were not at home when homes were raided. A family member was instead captured and then released when the target turned himself in -- a practice that, Herrington wrote, "has a 'hostage' feel to it."

A separate report by the Center for Army Lessons Learned, issued this past May and intended for internal use, gave the sense that some Army tactics served to "alienate common Iraqis who initially supported the coalition."

The 134-page CALL report singled out the practice of detaining female family members to force wanted Iraqi males to turn themselves in, similar to Herrington's findings.

"It is a practice in some U.S. units to detain family members of anti-coalition suspects in an effort to induce the suspects to turn themselves in, in exchange for the release of their family members," the report stated. The CALL report also was critical of the delays in notifying family members about the status of detainees held in U.S. custody, reminding family members of Hussein's tactics."

A 'hostage' feel to it?

Thanks to "Home Cooking" by Chris Floyd, in the Moscow Times

via thoughts on the eve of the apocalypse

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Arianna says:

"Putting aside for a moment the question of the party's soul and focusing entirely on hardball power playing, running to the middle has proved to be the single stupidest strategy the Democrats can continue to pursue. As cognitive psychologist George Lakoff told me: "Democrats moving to the middle is a double disaster that alienates the party's progressive base while simultaneously sending a message to swing voters that the other side is where the good ideas are." It unconsciously locks in the notion that the other side's positions are worth moving toward, while your side's positions are the ones to move away from."

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Eric Boehlert at Salon says it best:

Brokaw plays dumb to the very end

Catching part of Tom Brokaw's farewell telecast on NBC's "Nightly News" yesterday, we couldn't help shaking our heads. Not over the end of a broadcast era, but how Brokaw, the multi-millionaire news reader for General Electric, played the role of weak-kneed Establishment cog to the end. Specifically, his reporting on the U.S.-led debacle in Iraq Wednesday night was laced with such shrieking timidity it made our jaws drop. One day after the curtain came down on the deadliest month in the war -- the 30-day span of November that claimed the lives of approximately 136 American troops as well as robbed the U.S. Treasury of $6 billion -- Brokaw told NBC viewers, "As for what's going on in Iraq right now, as always, it's a mixed message." Huh?

His not-so-bad assessment came just moments after NBC detailed how the Pentagon was scrambling to call up an additional 12,000 troops in what can only be described as a desperate attempt to manufacture some semblance of security before the planned January elections for a country that has transformed itself into a terrorist hotbed. Also, Brokaw's hopeful "mixed messages" comment prefaced an NBC report on how some residents of the bombed out city of Fallujah were trickling back home where they would likely live in refugee camps, be finger-printed, have their retinas scanned by the U.S. military, and told they'd be shot by Marines if they broke curfew.

The occupation, let alone the supposed reconstruction, of Iraq has been a failure, more than 1,200 Americans are dead, tens of thousands of Iraqis have perished, the insurgence continues to multiply, portions of the country remain in tatters nearly two years after the U.S. invasion, while the nearby Middle East -- which was supposed to be transformed by Bush's war of liberation -- suffers through its darkest, deadliest time in decades. Yet Brokaw, well aware of the facts, sticks to the polite, GOP-friendly Beltway spin that tip toes around the truth and pretends that with Saddam Hussein in jail the Iraq war glass remains half-full. What a sad way to end a journalism career.

see also this Asia Times article, "from Guernica toFallujah."

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Talk about cutting it close-- Frances Newton has received her reprieve from Governor Perry.