Archive for November 15th, 2007
I just printed the first draft of Leisureguy’s Cooking Compendium for Novices: 77 pages plus TOC, 30,794 words (or so MS Word tells me). Now to let it sit a day and after that revise it. Then it will go up on Lulu.com as a downloadable PDF. It’s more work than I expected, so I will charge a modest price. More anon.
I use EverNote frequently: it grabs highlighted pieces of text (from Office documents, Web pages, and so on—or even the whole page) and keeps them organized by date and allows easy browsing. I thought it was generally free, though I finally upgraded to a the purchased version. But Version 2.2 is available for free today, says DownloadSquad. I say, “Go for it.” Windows only, I believe.
Greg Sargent reports that the “version of the FISA bill that was just reported out of the Judiciary Committee does not — repeat, does not — contain retroactive immunity for the telecom companies.” Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) had threatened to place a hold on any FISA bill that contained immunity. The Judiciary Committee’s action today renders moot the need for such a hold.
UPDATE: Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) issued the following statement:
“The FISA legislation reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee today is a distinct improvement over the legislation passed by the Intelligence Committee last month. Though it still falls short in many areas, the bill includes several significant provisions that will better protect the privacy of innocent Americans. I applaud Senator Leahy for the package of changes he put together, and I appreciate my colleagues’ support in passing two additional amendments that I offered to further enhance privacy protections. I hope that, when the full Senate considers this issue, the Majority Leader brings up the Senate Judiciary Committee bill instead of the badly flawed Intelligence Committee alternative.
“There is still much to be done to fix this bill. In addition, the issue of retroactive immunity for companies that allegedly participated in the President’s warrantless wiretapping program will be fought out on the floor. I will continue to strongly oppose retroactive immunity when the full Senate considers this legislation.
“As a member of both the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees I have been fighting for months to pass a strong FISA bill that adequately protects the privacy of Americans who are not suspected of having done anything wrong. I will oppose and filibuster any bill on the Senate floor that fails this test or contains retroactive immunity.”
Very illuminating post at Daily Kos:
The question was asked yesterday why conservatives deny global warming. To help answer the question, readers were pointed to an interesting piece over at Balloon Juice hypothesizing that the energy industry has blockaded the sunlight of truth, as it were, in a fashion similar to that done by the tobacco industry decades earlier. In that post, Tim F. correctly noted that science is really non-partisan, and that confronting and averting disaster should be in everyone’s best interests, including that of conservatives:
The only question is why the right wing felt such a compelling need to get behind it this time. Is there something inherently liberal about avoiding catastrophe?
Unfortunately for Tim, for conservatism, and for the world, the answer is, sadly: yes. In this case, yes there is something inherently damaging to conservatives about avoiding this catastrophe–which is part of why getting involved in politics is so important in this day and age.
There were many alternative explanations also presented for this apparent conservative Liebestod in the comment thread on the post here at dkos: some speculated millennarian religious reasons for failure to care about the future health of the planet, while others postulated that the international cooperation necessary to mitigate the problem was seen as a threat to American sovereignty; still others postulated simple contrarianism against anything promoted by liberals, while yet others hypothesized fear of economic troubles associated with taking action on global warming. And, of course, there were the standard appeals to simple greed and corruption in catering to energy industry interests.
Yet none of these theories seem to be adequately satisfactory in explaining why Republicans would stand in the way of action on an issue that is so critical to the future of the human race, and likely to be such a huge issue in election after election from this day forward. Not every Republican leader is a chiliastic nutcase, yet they all deny manmade global warming; it seems unlikely that the same President that tried to give our ports to Dubai and ram an “amnesty bill” down his own party’s throat would stand against global warming for reasons of national sovereignty; the last 7 years should tell any serious observer that the Republicans don’t give a hoot about long-term health of the economy; sheer contrarianism won’t cut it either–just look at the way the GOP backed down on Social Security when they realized they couldn’t win that battle.
And what about greed and corruption? Well, even oil companies are doing more greenwashing and giving greater lip-service to fighting global warming than is the Republican Party–and the Republican Party is at this point little more than a PR and lobbying arm of that and other industries. Moreover, they know they’re already losing the PR war on this issue, and there’s no hope of their winning it in the near future, either.
So why keep up the fight? Why do they do it?
They’ll say anything:
Last week, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Drug Enforcement Administration trumpeted the supposed effectiveness of the war on drugs, announcing that cocaine prices have continued to rise, and that some U.S. cities are experiencing cocaine shortages.
DPA responded swiftly to debunk these unfounded claims of progress. Critical comments from Bill Piper, DPA’s director of national affairs, appeared in news stories in the Houston Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times. The L.A. Times story also ran in the Seattle Times, the Denver Post, and several other papers.
You can read Piper’s statement below:
When gasoline prices go up politicians understand that it means oil companies are getting rich.
I don’t understand why politicians don’t understand that higher drug prices mean organized crime is making more money. And that rising drug prices lead to greater trafficking, not less. As the price of cocaine increases, it becomes more profitable to manufacture and sell cocaine, which means more people will get into the market and more cocaine will be made and sold. This is one reason why supply-side drug policies are self-defeating.
Just look at Europe. DEA administrator Karen Tandy was just in Europe a few weeks ago warning authorities that Latin American drug cartels were shipping more and more drugs to Europe because European prices were so high. As drug prices rise in America we can expect drug cartels to ship more and more drugs here too.
Instead of continuing to waste money on inefficient supply-side schemes that actually make drug trafficking more profitable, the federal government should shift funding to drug treatment. An estimated 20 percent of cocaine users account for 80 percent of the quantity consumed. Providing treatment to those who need it most could significantly reduce demand and make drug selling less profitable.
For more on realistic cocaine policies, read Piper’s piece on AlterNet, “Getting Real About the Economics of Cocaine.”
Congressional Democrats backed away yesterday from a national campaign to repeal a federal law that denies student loans to people convicted of nonviolent drug offenses.
Democrats had indicated earlier in the year that repealing the punitive drug provision would be a priority when considering legislation reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA), but the House Committee on Education and Labor decided last night to repeal the provision. The HEA Drug Provision has already stripped student loans from more than 200,000 students. More than 500 education, drug treatment and criminal justice groups have called for it to be repealed.
“By not changing this counterproductive policy, Democrats are saying that tens of thousands of students should be kicked out of college and denied an education,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance.
Democrats did a similar about-face on the issue in the Senate earlier this year.
The ND farmers who brought a lawsuit against the DEA to kick it into action so that the farmers can grow industrial hemp had their day in court yesterday. The judge said he would rule by the end of the month.
There’s really no reason why industrial hemp should be outlawed: it’s not a drug nor the source of a drug.