Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for February 19th, 2009

Terrific weapon against violence

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A wireless camcorder. That is, a camcorder (small, portable, reasonably affordable) that broadcasts via…  Bluetooth? to a recording station. Bluetooth is too short a range. The idea is that the violent offender could grab and destroy the camera—this is often what happens when cameras are used to record police violence—but that would butter no parsnips, since the actual recording is in another, undisclosed, location. I don’t think the technology’s available yet, but it’s an interesting idea. In fact, it occurs to me, that if you set up a laptop to receive the signal, the video could be streamed directly onto the net and recorded at the same time.

Written by Leisureguy

19 February 2009 at 2:52 pm

Posted in Daily life, Technology

If you live where it’s cold,

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Check out this post for a great pair of gloves.

Written by Leisureguy

19 February 2009 at 11:55 am

Posted in Daily life

Soldiers carrying too much weight

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Pretty simple:

Individual Marine combat loads — including protective gear, weapons, ammunition, water, food and communications gear — range from 97 to 135 pounds, well over the recommended 50 pounds, a 2007 Navy study found.

In Afghanistan, soldiers routinely carry loads of 130 to 150 pounds for three-day missions, said Jim Stone, acting director of the soldier requirements division at the Army Infantry Center at Fort Benning, Ga. In Iraq, where patrols are more likely to use vehicles, loads range from 60 to nearly 100 pounds, he said.

"It’s like a horse: We can load you down, and you just don’t last as long," Stone said.

Injuries — the bulk of them muscular-skeletal — are the main cause of hospitalizations and outpatient visits for active-duty Army soldiers, leading to about 880,000 visits per year, according to Army data. The injuries include sprains, stress fractures, inflammation and pain from repetitive use, and they are most common in the lower back, knees, ankles, shoulders and spine. They are one of the leading reasons that soldiers miss duty, said Col. Barbara Springer, director of rehabilitation under the Army surgeon general.

Read the full article here. It’s a very serious problem, with more and more soldiers becoming undeployable due to muscular-skeletal injuries.

Written by Leisureguy

19 February 2009 at 11:52 am

The Neo-Cube

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I want one, of course. The video below is from the Cool Tools post where I learned about it, and that post has two more videos, plus order information. Check it out.

Written by Leisureguy

19 February 2009 at 11:43 am

Posted in Daily life, Techie toys

Vilsack update

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Obama Foodorama has a very good update about the doings of the new Secretary of Agriculture (and that title should definitely be changed to "Secretary of Food"). It begins:

Obama Foodorama has been impressed–you might even say amazed–at the very bizzy bee-ness of Tom Vilsack, our new Secretary of Agriculture. Lately he’s been up to all kinds of things that are setting the food world abuzz, what with his pseudo policy changes, his adoption of faux Michael Pollan speak, his non-pronouncements on food safety, his meeting with US Rice farmers (who?!), his veiled threats that Ag policy might be based on his own eating disorder, his hacking up the pavement at USDA headquarters to plant a "People’s Garden" (garden ceremony, in pic). Heck, Bizzy V has even thrown the junkies out of the USDA, though he’s also admitted he has no idea who actually works for him, so there could be more busts in the future. All of this has been extravagantly documented on USDA’s website, where there’s now a photo gallery of Bizzy V that’s the Ag equivalent of People magazine. It’s been excellent watching Vilsack trying to become a household name (perhaps for another run for president, in 2012?), and we can hardly keep up. But we’ve been liking the show!

Today’s page in the Bizzy V Big Ag Adventure Book has an international flavor. Yesterday, Bizzy V announced that he’d have a press conference today to publicly inform US meat producers/packers that they’d better get their collective asses in gear and start voluntarily coding their products with strict Country of Origin Labeling.

COOL is USDA’s long-disputed yet absurdly simple law that requires that the name of the country where a piece of food originates be attached to that piece of food. But the wording of the law is as confusing as a speech by Blago, and there are loopholes in it that are large enough to fly Air Force One through. There’s all kinds of nonsense about excluding processed foods, and foods that are sold in markets and malls, and foods that might’ve been created by, say, fairies. The final rules for COOL were supposed to take effect on March 16, but the date was rolled forward when Rahm Emanuel put the brakes on all Bush-era policies. We’re still officially in the "public comment period" for COOL, but that didn’t matter to Bizzy V.

In what now looks like an odd, mad power grab, Bizzy V decided he’d strong-arm US processors and producers, and announce his own new interpretation of the COOL rules today in his press conference, in advance of Barack’s very first trip "abroad," to Canada. Bizzy V was going to "urge" the meat industry to "voluntarily" adopt stricter labeling standards, or face his wrath.

Screaming ensued from …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

19 February 2009 at 11:37 am

Fresh fennel and lemon slaw

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I must be in a salad mood. This recipe from the Kitchn [sic] seems quite appealing:

Fresh Fennel and Lemon Slaw
serves 6, at least

1 large bulb fennel
1/2 head green cabbage
1 head red radicchio
2 lemons (preferably Meyer lemon)
3 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

Finely chop the fronds of the fennel bulb. Thinly slice the stalks and bulb with a mandoline (or finely chop with a chef’s knife). Do the same with the cabbage and radicchio, and toss all the vegetables together. Zest the Meyer lemons and toss with the vegetables. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together, taste, and adjust. Toss with salad and refrigerate for an hour before serving.

UPDATE. Good, demned good. I omitted the sugar and in its place had 3 strips crisp bacon, chopped. I also added a good slug of pepper sauce and a handful of grated 4-cheese TJ’s blend. This is the first time I realized I could eat all of the fennel. Duh. Next time I make it, I’ll also include half a red onion, minced.

Written by Leisureguy

19 February 2009 at 11:31 am

Tahini ginger slaw

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This recipe looks good, from Everybody Likes Sandwiches:

Tahini ginger slaw

1/2 small head of red cabbage, shredded
1 jumbo sized carrot (like a really, really, really huge carrot – or several normal sized ones)
1/2 small, red onion, sliced thinly
1/2 red pepper, diced

Dressing

1 T tahini
juice of half a lemon
1 t minced fresh ginger
1 t agave syrup
1/4 c olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste

Mix together all the vegetables into a large bowl. In a mixing cup or small bowl combine all the dressing ingredients. Pour dressing over salad (not all of it!) and let sit for a few minutes or just dig in!

She includes links to other of her salads. Check ’em out:

Creamy Asian Slaw
Kitchen Sink Salad
Lemon Coleslaw
My Waldorf Salad
North Carolina Coleslaw
Peanutty Coleslaw

Written by Leisureguy

19 February 2009 at 11:19 am

Principles for an Afghanistan strategy

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Very interesting post, which begins:

PRINCIPLES FOR AN AFGHANISTAN STRATEGY

As the Obama Administration begins a 60-day review of its Afghanistan strategy, a diverse group of progressive experts in development, counter-terrorism, regional politics and US politics came together to advise NSN on a set of principles that might guide both the Administration in building a new strategy and advocates in Congress, the media and the public in judging a proposed strategy. We begin from the premise that the situation in the United States, and the history and dynamics of the region, require a sharp differentiation between objectives that we might like to achieve and a baseline of what must be achieved for our national interests and our moral obligations – to our military, our citizens and the people of Afghanistan.

Realities: The ‘Why’ and ‘Why Not?’

Afghanistan and the border areas of Pakistan are in a crisis that was years in the making. Under President Bush’s neglect, the situation in Afghanistan grew steadily worse. The Afghan government has grown dysfunctional, the Taliban once again threaten large swaths of the country, al-Qaeda is reconstituted along the border with Pakistan, our allies’ commitment is waning and the Afghan people are losing hope.

National security interests are at stake in Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s continued deterioration would allow al-Qaeda central, which intelligence agencies identify as the greatest national security threat to the United States, to operate with impunity under a resurgent Taliban. It would also risk greater instability in Pakistan, a nuclear-armed state with a struggling civilian government.

Domestic and Afghan constraints severely limit what we can achieve. Americans are justifiably reluctant to redouble efforts in Afghanistan. Afghan history as well as fatigue from the Iraq War and the economic downturn all argue against a US presence that is massive and unlimited in time or scope.

The scale of the challenge demands broad vision but modest objectives. Larger than Iraq, with a population close to 32 million, Afghanistan suffers from one of the world’s lowest development levels, scant economic opportunity, crude infrastructure, and a dependence on the opium trade – interrelated problems that go beyond the near term issue of worsening security. Humanitarian and governance goals to which Afghans and many Americans rightly aspire will be better-served by a smaller-scale effort which can enable local, regional and non-governmental efforts than a massive one which cannot be sustained.

Principles: The ‘How’ and ‘For What?’

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

19 February 2009 at 10:55 am

The US duty to prosecute war crimes

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Very good lengthy (two-part, in fact) post on the blog Invictus, which begins:

Oh, beat the drum slowly and play the fife lowly…

In the United States, questions around prosecution of war crimes revolve around the use of torture by Bush Administration officials, as well as the illegality of the U.S. attack on Iraq, which resulted in over a million deaths.

As regards torture, the Bush administration’s head judge at Guantanamo has already admitted that torture was used at that facility, and dropped the charges against one high-profile detainee, Mohammad al-Qatani, as a result.

When it comes to the attack on Iraq, there was this report in the Guardian late last year:

Addressing the British Institute of International and Comparative Law last night, [former British senior judge, retired, Lord] Bingham said: "If I am right that the invasion of Iraq by the US, the UK, and some other states was unauthorised by the security council there was, of course, a serious violation of international law and the rule of law. "For the effect of acting unilaterally was to undermine the foundation on which the post-1945 consensus had been constructed: the prohibition of force (save in self-defence, or perhaps, to avert an impending humanitarian catastrophe) unless formally authorised by the nations of the world empowered to make collective decisions in the security council …"

If you read for awhile the various blog and mainstream press opinion pieces on the issue of prosecuting American officials, you will come across a good deal of pessimism and ignorance. Some of the critics of prosecuting are well-informed, but present one-sided views of the difficulties involved in making such a prosecution. But UN officials seem to find the issue quite straightforward.

From The Jurist:

[A]ccording to a statement made by UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment Manfred Nowak in an interview Tuesday with German television program ZDF Frontal 21. Nowak said that such actions constituted a violation of the UN Convention Against Torture, to which the US is a party. Nowak noted that although evidence is available to press charges, he does not know whether US law would recognize the interrogation techniques used as forms of torture.

There are a number of instruments whereby U.S. officials are vulnerable to war crimes charges. The UN Convention Against Torture required implementing laws to be established in signatory states. Consequently, the U.S. "enacted 18 U.S.C. §§ 2340 and 2340A, which prohibit torture occurring outside the United States (torture occurring inside the United States was already generally prohibited under several federal and state statutes criminalizing acts such as assault, battery, and murder)" (see CRS report).

Besides CAN, the U.S. has a duty to prosecute Bush administration officials, both civilian and military (and intelligence), for torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners. H/T to Charles Gittings (emphasis added): …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

19 February 2009 at 10:39 am

9 Bush officials still not cooperating with investigations

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Murray Waas has a lengthy and excellent summary of the situation. It begins:

At least nine Bush administration officials refused to cooperate with various Justice Department investigations during the final days of the Bush presidency, according to public records and interviews with federal law enforcement officials and many of the officials and their attorneys. In addition, two U.S. senators, a congresswoman, and the chief of staff to one of them, also refused to cooperate with the same investigations.

In large part because of that noncooperation, Justice Department officials sought criminal prosecutors in at least two cases so far to take over their investigations so that they can compel the testimony of many of those officials to testify through the use of a federal grand jury.

With the stakes now escalating for both sides — the possibility of grand jury subpoenas for recalcitrant witnesses and the specter of senior government officials invoking their Fifth Amendment right to self-incrimination — it remains unclear whether and how many of them will continue to defy investigators.

In one instance, an attorney for former Bush White House chief political strategist Karl Rove recently told TPMmuckraker that even though Rove had refused to cooperate with an earlier Justice Department inquiry into the firings by the Bush administration of nine U.S. attorneys, he would now fully cooperate with a federal grand jury that has been empanelled to hear evidence in the case. But most of the other former senior White House officials, as well as members of Congress and their staffs, declined to say for this article whether they have or will cooperate with the various federal criminal investigations.

Previously, two Justice Department watchdog offices, the Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility conducted investigations of the firings of the U.S. attorneys and the politicization by the Bush administration of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. But those two offices do not have the power to compel the testimony of witnesses outside the department itself or to initiate criminal prosecutions. The Inspector General and OPR successfully sought the naming of a criminal prosecutor to take over their probes.

In a report that the Inspector General and OPR made public last September detailing the findings of their investigation of the prosecutor firings, they asserted that their investigation was severely "hampered… because key witnesses declined to cooperate with our investigation."

In regard to the investigation of the politicization of the Civil Rights Division, …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

19 February 2009 at 10:27 am

Editorial in The Sacramento Bee

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Excellent editorial:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, has persistently attempted to reverse “harmful, dangerous, un-American and illegal” practices of the last seven years.

She recently pressed CIA nominee Leon Panetta on secret CIA detention and torture, asking: “Will the CIA continue the practice of extraordinary rendition by which the government will transfer a detainee to either a foreign government or a black site for the purpose of long-term detention and interrogation, as opposed to for law enforcement purposes?”

Panetta responded, “No we will not, because under the executive order signed by the president, that kind of extraordinary rendition, where we send someone for the purposes of torture or for actions by another country that violate our human values – that has been forbidden by the executive order.”

So far, so good. The United States, going forward, rejects Bush administration policies and will abide by its own laws and international treaties.

But undoing Bush administration actions seems to be another matter. In an actual case, the Obama Justice Department is hewing to a sweeping Bush position regarding “state secrets,” arguing that courts should dismiss without hearing any evidence a challenge by individuals who allege they were abducted, sent abroad and tortured.

The case at hand involves a San Jose company. …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

19 February 2009 at 10:17 am

New documents on Bush-era torture, secret detention, extraordinary rendition

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Russ Kick has available some new documents, which he lists in this post:

The documents are available here (scroll down to the sections titled “DOD Document Release” and “Noteworthy Pages from DOD Doc Release” at the bottom of the page).

AlterNet has covered the release: “Explosive New Documents Reveal More Details of Bush-Era Torture, Including Prisoners Tortured to Death.”

From the Center for Constitutional Rights:

February 12, 2009, New York and Washington, DC—Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit confirm Department of Defense involvement in the CIA’s ghost detention program, revealed three prominent human rights groups today. The groups—…

Continue reading. With documents like this on the Web, I can imagine that some pretty good papers are being written in Problems of Democracy classes these days.

Written by Leisureguy

19 February 2009 at 10:06 am

Comments on Charlie Savage’s NY Times story

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Glenn Greenwald has a good comment on Savage’s story in the NY Times. It begins:

During the Bush presidency, there were few reporters, if there were any, who were better on issues of civil liberties and executive power abuses than Charlie Savage, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his work exposing the lawlessness of Bush’s signing statements while at The Boston Globe.  For that reason, it will be very difficult even for the hardest-core Obama supporters to dismiss away the following observations about Obama as nothing more than the angry harping of excessively impatient, unfairly harsh and/or alarmist Obama critics (also referred to by some Obama supporters — using the Fox News script — as “Far Leftist, Marxist, reactionary, radical demagogues“).  From Savage this morning in The New York Times:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

19 February 2009 at 10:03 am

Saving people’s homes

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What Obama wants to do, via email from CAP:

Speaking Wednesday in Mesa, AZ — a giant Phoenix suburb that is a "poster child for foreclosure" — President Obama announced a plan to "help as many as nine million American homeowners refinance their mortgages or avert foreclosure. He asserted his plan would shore up housing prices, stabilize neighborhoods and slow a downward spiral that was ‘unraveling homeownership, the middle class and the American Dream itself.’" In addition to an investment of $200 billion for "strengthening confidence in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan will "pour more than $75 billion into arresting one of the root causes of the nation’s economic spiral" by helping homeowners obtain more affordable mortgage terms. This housing plan is the final leg of what Obama has "called a ‘three-legged stool‘ aimed at fixing the nation’s crumbling economy":  restoring the health of the job, credit, and housing markets. The $789 billion economic recovery plan signed into law on Tuesday is expected to "create or save three and a half million jobs over the next two years." Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner "unveiled a restructured plan to aid the ailing financial system" last week with more accountability and "limits on bankers’ bonuses." Only a combined government effort on all three fronts "has a chance" of turning the tide for the shrinking economy.

STAGES OF FAILURE: Center for American Progress analysts Andrew Jakabovics and David Abramowitz say that the recognition that "stopping foreclosures is good for all homeowners and the economy overall"  is "long overdue." They explain that the Bush administration went through "various stages of failure" instead of taking action on the staggering rise in home foreclosures that began in 2006. "First came denial" in 2007: "Bush administration policymakers insisted that the problem was small and the economy largely immune from troubles affecting the subprime loan sector." With foreclosures rising in early 2008, Bush officials decided to "blame the victim" and wait for the magic of the market to kick in: "The Bush administration’s message was mainly that the culprits were unscrupulous borrowers who needed to be punished for their moral failures by withholding of any help." Then, as "foreclosures surged" and credit markets collapsed in 2008, "laissez-faire policies morphed into power grabs and bailouts for buddies." Throughout, "vastly more attention was paid to the woes of the banking system" than to homeowners, considered "either the bad guys, or at most irrelevant to fixing the problem." Further, Bush’s Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, ignored explicit direction from Congress to claim he didn’t have the authority to address bad home loans; "essentially none of the available hundreds of billions of dollars worth of TARP funding went to stop foreclosures." Paulson even rebuffed the chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Sheila Bair, when she requested $24.4 billion in Nov. 2008 "to create and implement an effective system of foreclosure-preventing modifications." As recently as Jan. 10, Paulson was still "reluctant to move ahead with a foreclosure plan," claiming it would not give "maximum bang for the buck."

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Written by Leisureguy

19 February 2009 at 9:59 am

The "liberal" media love the GOP

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Good article by Robert Parry, which begins:

It was only a few years ago – when the Republicans controlled both Congress and the White House – that the U.S. news media offered up one-sided coverage of the Bush administration, relying on Republicans, right-wingers and pro-war military experts to shape what Americans got to see and read.

The reason for marginalizing Democrats and other critical voices, we were told, was that the Republicans were in power and it made no sense to have on guests or to quote experts who didn’t share in the power. The premium was to have Republican insiders explaining what was going on.

So, one might have thought that when the Democrats won control of Congress and the White House, Republicans would largely disappear from the TV chat shows and the news pages. After all, the Republicans today have even fewer representatives in Washington than the Democrats did during most of the Bush years.

But if you thought that, you would be wrong. Instead, the cable networks and the print media have been falling over themselves to get the views of Republicans and to disseminate those opinions widely to the American public.

During a key early stage in the battle over Barack Obama’s stimulus bill, the Center for American Progress examined the political affiliations of guests on major cable networks and found that Republicans outnumbered Democrats by 2-to-1. Suddenly, the premium was on the views of those out of power.

In other words, Republicans get to dominate the news programs when they’re in power and they get to dominate when they’re out of power. The one constant is that the U.S. news media bends over backwards to favor the Republicans; what changes is the rationale.

This dynamic was even more acute in the run-up to invading Iraq when CNN and MSNBC competed to out-fox Fox as the most aggressively flag-waving, pro-war network. Iraq War skeptics were decidedly not welcome, whether the likes of former weapons inspector Scott Ritter or Rep. Ike Skelton, who was a ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee.

If you raised questions about invading Iraq, you were a flake – and no self-respecting producer wanted to risk his/her career by allowing such a dissident opinion on the air. Media insiders took note of what happened to talk-show host Phil Donahue at MSNBC when he booked a few anti-war voices to dissent from the views of a majority of his pro-war guests.

There wasn’t much difference in the so-called prestige newspapers, such as the Washington Post and the New York Times…

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

19 February 2009 at 9:51 am

Posted in Daily life, Democrats, GOP, Media

GOP: Party of Ignorance

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I refer not to the previous post, though that is indeed a good example of bad thinking, but to Rick Santorum:

Earlier this week, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) delivered "a lecture on Islam" at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Santorum argued that the American public knows too little about the Islamic faith, and to prove his point, he asked the students whether they knew the difference between Sunnis and Shi’as. Only three audience members raised their hands. Santorum said that "he believes Muslims’ religious views cannot be changed or altered, so Middle Easterners reject American, democratic ideals. ‘A democracy could not exist because Mohammed already made the perfect law.’" Ironically, Santorum betrayed his own ignorance of Islam by declaring that Muslims believe that the "Quran is perfect just the way it is, that’s why it is only written in Islamic." As a self-anointed scholar of Islam, it’s surprising that Santorum would assert that the Qur’an is "written in Islamic." It is, of course, originally written in Arabic. Islam is not a language, but rather a religion. Santorum concluded, "I think that if every citizen was fully informed about the war, it would create a commonality between faiths." Indeed, much work remains to be done.

Written by Leisureguy

19 February 2009 at 9:48 am

Posted in Daily life, Education, GOP

Utah: not a good place to live

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I refer, of course, not to the gorgeous scenery but to the mean-spirited people who live there. An example, via an email from CAP:

In January, according to a recent leak, state Sen. Chris Buttars (R) gave an interview with a local ABC affiliate in which he compared gays to alcoholics and Muslim terrorists, and warned that gay people are "probably the greatest threat to America." "To me, homosexuality will always be a sexual perversion," Buttars said, adding, "They say, I’m born that way. There’s some truth to that, in that some people are born with an attraction to alcohol." Buttars later called gays "the meanest buggers I ever seen." Gays are "probably the greatest threat to America going down I know of," he said. Buttars also praised former President Bush because he allegedly "saved" America "for the foreseeable future" by appointing conservatives to the Supreme Court. Yesterday a Utah state House committee defeated a bill that would have granted same-sex couples rights of inheritance and medical decision-making, following the defeat of bills that would have allowed gay adoption and protected gays from housing and employment discrimination

Written by Leisureguy

19 February 2009 at 9:37 am

Posted in Daily life, GOP, Government

Self-created threats?

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Chris Hedges has an interesting post that begins:

We have a remarkable ability to create our own monsters. A few decades of meddling in the Middle East with our Israeli doppelganger and we get Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Qaida, the Iraqi resistance movement and a resurgent Taliban. Now we trash the world economy and destroy the ecosystem and sit back to watch our handiwork. Hints of our brave new world seeped out Thursday when Washington’s new director of national intelligence, retired Adm. Dennis Blair, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. He warned that the deepening economic crisis posed perhaps our gravest threat to stability and national security. It could trigger, he said, a return to the “violent extremism” of the 1920s and 1930s.

It turns out that Wall Street, rather than Islamic jihad, has produced our most dangerous terrorists. We will see accelerated plant and retail closures, inflation, an epidemic of bankruptcies, new rounds of foreclosures, bread lines, unemployment surpassing the levels of the Great Depression and, as Blair fears, social upheaval.

The United Nations’ International Labor Organization estimates that some 50 million workers will lose their jobs worldwide this year. The collapse has already seen 3.6 million lost jobs in the United States. The International Monetary Fund’s prediction for global economic growth in 2009 is 0.5 percent–the worst since World War II. There are 2.3 million properties in the United States that received a default notice or were repossessed last year. And this number is set to rise in 2009, especially as vacant commercial real estate begins to be foreclosed. About 20,000 major global banks collapsed, were sold or were nationalized in 2008. There are an estimated 62,000 U.S. companies expected to shut down this year. Unemployment, when you add people no longer looking for jobs and part-time workers who cannot find full-time employment, is close to 14 percent.

And we have few tools left to dig our way out…

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

19 February 2009 at 9:20 am

American tyranny

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Scott Horton has an excellent article regarding this video, which begins:

Thomas Jefferson and James Madison shared one definition of the term “tyrant”—a ruler who deprived a person of his freedom without operation of law and without accountability before a court. Which perhaps explains why American historians are consistently ranking George W. Bush at the very bottom of the list of all American presidents; the man, ultimately, is guilty of tyranny.

Take Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, accused by the Bush Administration of being an Al Qaeda sleeper agent. Al-Marri says that he came to the United States as a student and had no more sinister objective than to get a college degree. The Bush Adminstration brought charges against him, but as soon as its charges were set to be tested in a courtroom, it got cold feet. Jane Mayer reveals that this decision was against the advice of the career prosecutors handling the case—that the President, apparently lacking faith in the criminal justice system or his own Justice Department, directed al-Marri be seized by the military and held at a facility near Charleston, South Carolina. He’s the sole detainee at the facility, and he’s now been held for seven years. No charges, no due process, subjected to prolonged interrogation using what John Yoo calls the “Bush Program.”

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

19 February 2009 at 9:15 am

Posted in Daily life

Excellent CFL bulb

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I just ordered one of these (and a spare) to replace a bulb that burned out above the sink. It’s a recessed light, limited to 75 watts. I put in this 40 watt CFL that sheds as much light as a 150 watt incandescent—2650 lumens, to be exact—except the light from the CFL is full-spectrum. The light is wonderful! I immediately replaced the bulb above the stove with the spare and have ordered a couple more. (You do have to be aware of the length of the bulb: it might not fit everywhere.) At $9 for 10,000 hours, it’s a bargain. You can also get this 30 watt CFL (equivalent to 120 watt incandescent, 2000 lumens) for $4.70. Shipping costs are quite reasonable, and the lights are well packed.

Written by Leisureguy

19 February 2009 at 9:02 am

Posted in Daily life, Environment

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