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:: EYE (anatomy), light-sensitive organ of vision in animals.
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:: 2.26.2004 ::  

Today's Headlines

House panel sidetracks resolution calling for spy probe
Under a thick partisan overcast, the House International Relations Committee on Wednesday sidetracked a resolution calling for a congressional probe of the circumstances surrounding the public outing of a CIA agent whose husband had debunked a Bush administration claim that Iraq obtained uranium from Africa.

By a 24-22 margin, the GOP-controlled committee voted along straight party lines to report the resolution adversely to the House.
Richard Perle quits the Defense Policy Board
Perle is a leading figure of the "neo-conservative" ideological school, and outlines his strong views on wielding U.S. military power against Islamic radicals in his new book, An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror.

He was a major advocate of the war in Iraq and has advocated a stronger U.S. hand in the entire Middle East region. More recently, he has called for the resignation of CIA Director George Tenet and Defense Intelligence Agency head Adm. Lowell Jacoby.

Senior Pentagon officials said that, despite the controversial statements and writings, Rumsfeld did not ask for Perle's resignation.

Last March, Perle stepped down as chairman of the same board. The move followed published news reports questioning whether his work with a company seeking favor with the Pentagon was a conflict of interest for such a senior adviser. Perle has consistently insisted he did nothing wrong.

And his attorney, Samuel Abeday, told ABCNEWS today Perle is quitting the board altogether so he can sue the news organizations that "falsely accused him of conflicts of interest."
9/11 panelist may quit over Bush secrecy
"I am no longer ... feeling comfortable that I'm going to be able to read and process what I need in order to participate in writing a report about how it was that 19 men defeated every single defensive system the U.S. put up to kill 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11."
White House's limits upset 9/11 panel
President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney... will meet only with the panel's top two officials and that Bush will submit to only a single hour of questioning, panel members said Wednesday.

The commission, which has 10 members and is bipartisan, said it also had been informed by the White House that Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, had rejected its request that she testify in public about the intelligence reports she received before the attacks.
Hastert to block 9/11 commission extension
House Speaker Dennis Hastert told President Bush on Wednesday he would not bring up any legislation to authorize the 60-day extension proposed by the commission and endorsed by the White House, according to Hastert spokesman John Feehery.
White House chief of staff Andy Card spoke to Hastert on Monday to reiterate Bush's support for the extension, but Hastert had made up his mind some time ago and "isn't going to budge," Feehery said.
Former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore have agreed to meet privately with all members of the commission, the statement said.
Doesn't it make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside that our administration is so obviously invested in getting at the real truth in these matters?

And just so you know the government is taking our economic issues seriously, here's a lovely letter from Michigan Rep. John Dingell to the President's chief economic advisor. Apparently, the recently released Economic Report of the President not only claims unprecedented job growth, but also suggests that many service jobs could be re-classified as "manufacturing."

Building Blue-Collar … Burgers?
But reclassifying fast food workers as manufacturing employees could have other advantages for the administration.

It would offset somewhat the ongoing loss of manufacturing jobs in national employment statistics. Since the month President Bush was inaugurated, the economy has lost about 2.7 million manufacturing jobs, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. That continues a long-term trend.

And the move would make the growth in service sector jobs, some of which pay low wages, more appealing. According to government figures, since January 2001 the economy has generated more than 600,000 new service-providing jobs.
You can read the report yourself, here. The part about how to define manufacturing can be found on page 78 of the PDF, or 73 of the report.

Thanks to Fark, Google etc. for all the links.

:: Deb 3:44 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Greenspan: We have to cut social security.
Taxpayers and Democrats: WTF?
Republicans: No idea what you're talking about. Who are you again?

From YahooNews:
He said projections show the country will go from having just over three workers supporting each retiree to 2.25 workers for every retiree by 2025.

"This dramatic demographic change is certain to place enormous demands on our nation's resources — demands we will almost surely be unable to meet unless action is taken," Greenspan said. "For a variety of reasons, that action is better taken as soon as possible."
One of his suggestions was raising the retirement age - a move many think is reasonable, given the increase in average life expectancy for Americans since SSI was first introduced.

Here's the thing: "Social Security is currently running a large surplus and is projected to continue to run annual surpluses for more than two decades into the future." That's a quote from economist Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. But wait, there's more! Mr Greenspan himself chaired the 1982 commissioned that proposed SS tax increases to produce just such a surplus to help offset the added cost of supporting retiring Baby Boomers. Here's the fun part:
The Social Security tax is highly regressive because it only applies to wage income and it is capped at approximately $85,000, so that wage income above this level is not subject to the tax. It is extremely unlikely Congress ever would have approved such a regressive tax to support the general budget. It would have been appropriate to note, in describing Mr. Greenspan's proposal, that the cumulative surplus in the trust fund is now approaching $2 trillion. This should give readers an idea of the extraordinary deception involved in proposing to cut Social Security benefits as a way of reducing the federal budget deficit. [emphasis added]
So what's Mr Greenspan on about, then?

So I've been doing more research on this, and boy is it a mess. First of all the money that is "set aside" for Social Security is not, really. It is simply displayed separately in budget documents - both revenues and outlays. I'm assuming that the surplus Mr Baker mentioned above is the difference between those two amounts, this year. And we've been spending some of the surplus each year on other things, as you can read in this transcript of testimony Greenspan gave in 1998 before the Senate Budget Committee: "What we've been doing, Mr. Chairman, in all reality, is taken a hundred billion out of the Social Security Trust Fund, transferring it over to the spending column, and spending it.... We owe Social Security 736 billion right this minute." Now I'm no longer sure whether we're in great shape, or terrible shape.

Obviously, SS spending is going to increase as time passes, what with inflation, and increases in population and in life expectancy. Plus we've got that balloon of Baby Boomers coming up on retirement in the near future: "The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that spending for Social Security, adjusted for inflation, will rise from $483 billion in 2003 to $2.5 trillion in 2075. Those estimates are based on CBO's 10-year baseline budget outlook and the "intermediate" long-range assumptions of the trustees of the Social Security system."

It's true that the SS trust fund is running a surplus at the moment - but according to the CBO it's only about $76 billion for 2003, not counting intergovernmental transfers from the General Fund (an additional $95 billion).
In summary, although trust fund accounting, which is required by law and established by convention, accurately reflects the spending authority of trust fund programs by crediting their accounts with intragovernmental transfers, it distorts the effects that those programs have on the budget overall. When budget accounting separates trust funds from all other categories of spending, it presents an unclear picture of the source of budget deficits or surpluses. Indeed, although trust fund programs may appear to be running a surplus when viewed in isolation, once one considers the intragovernmental transfers to those funds, they are already running a deficit--and they will do so to an even greater extent in the coming decades.
Kind of a bleak picture, much as Greenspan claimed in his testimony.

[added to over the course of the day]

:: Deb 12:04 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 2.25.2004 ::  

File under "what were they thinking?"
Howard Stern suspended from Clear Channel stations
Reuters, 02.25.04, 6:56 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Shock jock Howard Stern's show was yanked Wednesday from Clear Channel Communications Inc. radio stations after an incident on his show Tuesday, the first casualty of its zero tolerance policy on indecency.

"It was vulgar, offensive and insulting, not just to women and African Americans but to anyone with a sense of common decency," Clear Channel Radio Chief Executive John Hogan said in a statement.

"We will not air Howard Stern on Clear Channel stations until we are assured that his show will conform to acceptable standards of responsible broadcasting," he said.

Clear Channel has about 1,200 stations in the United States though it was not immediately clear how many aired his show.

Stern's show is syndicated by a unit of Viacom Inc.

[emphasis added]
Really, tho. How did everyone in their programming department miss the fact that Howard Stern's show has ALWAYS BEEN THIS WAY? Linked from Fark.

Clear Channel instituted this new policy after garnering a hefty FCC indecency fine last month for a 2001 broadcast by Tampa-based morning man Bubba the Love Sponge (whom they promptly fired).

:: Deb 6:18 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 2.23.2004 ::  

Monday's photo: another shot of the Gila cliff dwellings.

I like how the forms in this image tend toward the abstract...

I definitely need to get out and take more pics!!!

:: Deb 6:32 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

More good news

From the Pew Research Center:
Democratic Primary Campaign Impresses Voters
Bush Personal Image Tumbles

Released: February 19, 2004

So far, the presidential primary campaign has been very good for the Democratic Party. Public interest in the race has been relatively high. Nearly half of Americans (45%) have a positive overall impression of the Democratic field, up from 31% just a month ago. And while a slim majority of the public continues to believe that President Bush will win the general election, there also has been a sharp rise in the percentage who feel a Democratic candidate will prevail in November ­ from 21% in January to 36% in the current survey.
The most frequently used negative word to describe Bush is "liar," which did not come up in the May 2003 survey. The president's job approval also stands at an all-time low. Just 48% approve of his performance as president, the first time in his presidency his rating has fallen below 50%.
Thanks, Dave!

:: Deb 6:21 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Remember Bush's plan to give amnesty to illegal immigrants? No surpise here, the Right hates the idea.
Hundreds of GOP loyalists booed the president at a rally where U.S. Senate hopeful Howard Kaloogian and his allies denounced Bush's plan to give temporary legal status to undocumented workers.

"Enough is enough!" the crowd shouted. "Enough is enough!"
From "Rifts Show at State GOP Event", in the LA Times. "Booed the president." Wow.

The above was found on Tom Tomorrow's blog (originally on Atrios), as was this:
I still believe that Nader had (and has) an important critique of the American political system.

But 2004 is not 2000. If you will forgive me for stating the obvious, 9/11 changed the world we live in. I don't know what the Bush administration would have been like if not for the terrorist attacks, but I know what they've done as a result. 9/11 gave the administration's most radical elements the perfect excuse to pursue their wildest fantasies of empire.

And we can't afford four more years of this.

Look, I figure there are two main reasons to mount a third party insurgency campaign: as a vehicle to get a message across, and as a party-building excercise.

Well, let's take them in order.

As far as the message--after the debacle of the 2000 election, that message has been reduced to a bitter laugh line: so there's no difference between the two parties, huh? There's a lot more to what Nader has to say than that, but it doesn't matter--that's all most people hear. If the 2000 campaign was an attempt to bring a message to a wider audience, it ultimately did more harm than good. In the aftermath of the Florida debacle, there are probably fewer people willing to consider that message than there were before. Nader is now living in his own private Twilight Zone episode, and the harder he tries to make people listen, the faster he drives them away.

(Anyway, Kucinich has already been out there, as this season's standard bearer, fighting the good fight for universal health coverage and the repeal of NAFTA and so on, and...well, he hasn't exactly taken the country by storm. And I mean no disrespect to Kucinich in pointing out this unhappy reality, but there it is.)

And as for the second point, party building: he's not running as a Green party candidate. No party. No party building. End of story.
Gotta agree with Tom there. I heard about Nader's announcement this morning on NPR and my first thought was "oh shit."

:: Deb 6:01 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

The report, quoted in the paper, concluded, "disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life.... once again, warfare would define human life".

Its authors - Peter Schwartz, a US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) consultant and a former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Dough Randall of Global Business Network based in California, said climate change should be considered "immediately" as a top political and military issue.

It "should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern", they were quoted as saying.

Experts familiar with the report told the newspaper the threat to global stability "vastly eclipses that of terrorism".

Coming from the Pentagon, normally a bastion of conservative politics and focused on military and political strategy, the report is expected to bring environmental issues to the fore in the US presidential race.
From an article with the title, "Leaked US report warns climate change may bring famine, war," on ABCNews. Fark!

Quote of the Day
"The consequences for some nations of the climate change are unbelievable. It seems obvious that cutting the use of fossil fuels would be worthwhile."

- Dough Randall, one of the report's authors, as quoted in the Guardian.
According to The Observer, the report (commissioned by influential Pentagon defence adviser Andrew Marshall) predicts that "abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies."

Suddenly, that "oil crash" website doesn't seem quite so wacky, does it?

:: Deb 10:19 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 2.20.2004 ::  

Pollution a Likely Contributor to Rising Asthma Rates
Asthma rates are climbing around the world, and though scientists can't say precisely what's causing the increase, pollution is thought to be a serious contributor. The respiratory disease has become a particular problem in Asia, where terrible air quality, rapid urbanization, and poor medical treatment have contributed to a troublingly high asthma death rate. Wealthier countries are afflicted too: More than 18 percent of the population of Scotland suffers from asthma, making it the nation with the highest asthma rate in the world. In the U.S., the number of asthma sufferers grew by 75 percent between 1980 and 1994. All told, about 300 million people worldwide have asthma, and that number may rise by 50 percent over the next two decades, say researchers.
Stories in the Terra Daily, the Guardian, and the Morning Sun. Blurb and links thanks to the Daily Grist.

:: Deb 3:11 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

South Dakota State House passes sweeping abortion ban bill
On February 10, the South Dakota House of Representatives passed 54-15 a bill that would any abortion unless a woman?s life was in danger. There are no exceptions made for victims of sexual assault or women who would suffer health problems as a result of pregnancy or giving birth. The bill would punish abortion providers with a sentence of up to 5 years and a $5,000 fine.

The bill, a direct attack on Roe v. Wade, would take away a woman?s constitutional right to choose abortion and make personal decisions in consultation with her doctor and family. Planned Parenthood will continue to challenge the passage of this bill as it heads toward the State?s Senate.
From this morning's e-newsletter. You can check out Planned Parenthood's website here.

Quote of the Day
"When we're considering an innocent life, the health of the mother is not a substantial enough justification to take the innocent life."

-- A chilling statement by South Dakota Representative Matt McCaulley (R), chief sponsor of a recent bill passed by the state's House of Representatives to ban abortion.

:: Deb 11:01 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 2.19.2004 ::  

Good for a Laugh

10 worst album covers. Classic. Thanks, Jon!

:: Deb 2:41 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

As heard on the news last night: according to a new CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll, Kerry leads Bush by 55 percent to 43 percent among likely voters, while Edwards leads Bush by 54 percent to 44 percent. Woo hoo!

:: Deb 11:51 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Nuclear expert tells AP Yucca Mt. unsafe
By Scott Sonner, Associated Press Writer, 2/18/2004

RENO, Nev. -- The nation's nuclear waste dump proposed for Nevada is poorly designed and could leak highly radioactive waste, a scientist who recently resigned from a federal panel of experts on Yucca Mountain told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Paul Craig, a physicist and engineering professor at the University of California-Davis, said he quit the panel last month so he could speak more freely about the waste dump's dangers.
The 11-member technical review board outlined its concerns about the potential for corrosion in a report to the Energy Department in November about the metal for the canisters, called Alloy-22 -- "an upscale version of stainless steal," Craig said.

It was the most important report the board has produced since Congress created the panel in 1987, he said, but largely has been ignored by Congress and the [Energy Department].

"The report says in ordinary English that under the conditions proposed by the Department of Energy, the canisters will leak," Craig said. "It was signed by every single member of the board so there would be no confusion."

[emphasis added]
Full article in the Boston Globe; linked from Fark.

And in related news... the Union of Concerned Scientists contends that "President Bush's administration distorts scientific findings and seeks to manipulate experts' advice to avoid information that runs counter to its political beliefs."
Among the examples cited in the union's report:

-- a 2003 report that the administration sought changes in an Environmental Protection Agency climate study, including deletion of a 1,000-year temperature record and removal of reference to a study that attributed some of global warming to human activity.

-- a delay in an EPA report on mercury pollution from some power plants.

-- a charge that the administration pressed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to end a project called "Programs that Work," which found sex education programs that did not insist only on abstinence were still effective.
From FoxNews, c/o Fark again.

:: Deb 10:40 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 2.18.2004 ::  

The right hand cuts the left hand off

Yesterday's USAToday ran an article about Congress' heavy-handed "oversight" of federally funded Middle Eastern studies programs at universities across the US:
In response to complaints that some professors are spreading anti-American or anti-Israel ideas, Jewish groups and conservatives have called for a government-mandated panel to oversee the programs and ensure students are exposed to balanced views on the Middle East. Michigan and other involved schools now warn that such intrusion into their academic affairs could force them to sever ties to the programs.

While Congress has every right to make certain it is getting the services it pays for, its overreaction to a legitimate discussion of ideas undercuts academic independence and risks leaving the government with a critical shortage of Arabic speakers, which prompted the programs in the first place.
If oversight is dictated by the whims of pro-Israel and conservative groups, this program is not going to have the results we need.

:: Deb 2:22 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Not yet sure what to make of this

..but some of it stinks to high heaven.
The Justice Department has exaggerated its performance in the war on terrorism, interfered with a major terror prosecution and compromised a confidential informant, a federal prosecutor has alleged in an extraordinary lawsuit against Attorney General John Ashcroft.
In his lawsuit, Convertino says the Justice Department is retaliating against him because he has complained frequently and publicly about "the lack of support and cooperation, lack of effective assistance, lack of resources and intradepartmental infighting" in terrorism cases.
[Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard] Convertino says he complained repeatedly to the Justice Department in Washington that it placed "perception" over "reality" to the serious detriment of the war on terror.

He is seeking unspecified damages under the Privacy Act for harm to his reputation.

Justice Department spokesman Mark Corallo declined to comment.

Convertino came under internal Justice Department investigation last fall after telling a Senate committee of his concerns.
Convertino also accused Justice officials of intentionally divulging the name of one of his confidential terrorism informants (CI) to retaliate against him.

The leak put the informant at grave risk, forced him to flee the United States and "interfered with the ability of the United States to obtain information from the CI about current and future terrorist activities," the suit alleges.
Any of that sound familiar?

:: Deb 2:14 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Bush backs off jobs-creation predictions
The forecast of 2.6 million new jobs was contained in the annual Economic Report of the President, a 412-page volume of charts, graphs and text that predicted a bright economic future. The forecast came under special scrutiny after Treasury Secretary John Snow and Commerce Secretary Don Evans refused to repeat the optimistic prediction as they toured Washington and Oregon to promote the president's economic programs.
On the one hand, 366,000 jobs have been added since August; on the other, the report's prediction that payroll jobs would average 132.7 million per month this year requires "the creation of 460,000 jobs per month over the next 11 months, according to an analysis by two liberal think tanks, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute." From YahooNews.

:: Deb 2:02 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Quote of the Day
"There is enormous institutional pressure in Washington against change, in the Democratic Party against change. Yet, you have already started to change the party and together we have transformed this race. The fight that we began can and must continue."

-- former Presidential candidate Howard Dean
Dean bowed out of the race today after losing his 17th primary in a row.

:: Deb 1:11 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 2.17.2004 ::  

A weird and funny site

If you've seen Lost in Translation, you may remember that Bill Murray's character is an actor who gets flown to Japan to film a TV spot advertizing Japanese scotch. Well he would hardly be the first American actor to do so - Japander has catalogued the ad campaaigns of dozens of these ads. Noteworthy - Arnold Schwarzenegger, Brad Pitt's Edwin ads, Michael J Fox.

:: Deb 6:13 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

A cool thing

A 15-yr-old kid found a way to kill mosquito larvae using low-frequency sound waves. Neat, eh? From, where else, Fark.

:: Deb 6:09 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

I think it's time for some more photos.

I took this on Monhegan Island, off the coast of Maine.

Love that lichen!

:: Deb 12:31 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Thanks, Mom - Report Links Breast Cancer to Antibiotic Use

A recent Finnish study found that...
...women who took antibiotics for more than 500 days, or had more than 25 prescriptions, over an average period of 17 years had more than twice the risk of breast cancer as women who had not taken any antibiotics.

The risk was smaller for women who took antibiotics for fewer days. But even women who had between one and 25 prescriptions over an average of 17 years were about one and a half times more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than women who didn't take any antibiotics.

The increased risk involved all classes of antibiotics that they studied.
Yet another reason to be grateful that my mom strongly discouraged the use of antibiotics. In fact, I believe I have only been on them twice in my life - once, regrettably, because a clinic doctor said I might have Strep throat and that it was better to be safe than sorry. Thankfully I'm much less credulous now.

:: Deb 12:20 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

541 Americans have died since the inception of the war on Iraq.

:: Deb 12:16 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Quote of the Day
"This is not a conservative Republican administration, this is an extreme radical administration. And we need to replace them with common sense and with fundamental American values."

-- MA Senator and Presidential hopeful John Kerry.
His words echo those of economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. Today, Kerry picked up the endorsement of the Alliance for Economic Justice, a 19-union organization that switched its support from Rep. Dick Gephardt to Kerry after the Missouri congressman dropped out of the race.

:: Deb 12:12 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Cool-o! Heat-powered personal air conditioners
Instead of using electricity to run a mechanical compressor, this latest system is heat-actuated, which avoids having to carry heavy batteries. This means that wearers can carry lighter, more energy-dense fuels like gasoline, propane or diesel in a canister to burn and drive the cooling system.

The technology could also mean better ways to aircondition cars. "The heat from the exhaust can power our heat-actuated cooling system," said TeGrotenhuis. "Removing the airconditioner from the engine and using waste heat improves energy efficiency."

Space travel should benefit too, he said, especially in light of U.S. President George Bush's announcement of manned space missions to the Moon and Mars.
They are expected to be available at the end of this year.

Found on ABCNews, c/o Fark.

:: Deb 10:53 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 2.12.2004 ::  

Bush's military "records"

From the Boston Globe, May 2000:
On May 24, 1972, after he moved to Alabama, Bush made a formal request to do his equivalent training at the 9921st Air Reserve Squadron at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. Two days later, that unit's commander, Lieutenant Colonel Reese H. Bricken, agreed to have Bush join his unit temporarily.

In Houston, Bush's superiors approved. But a higher headquarters disapproved, noting that Bricken's unit did not have regular drills.

''We met just one weeknight a month. We were only a postal unit. We had no airplanes. We had no pilots. We had no nothing,'' Bricken said in an interview.

Last week, Lloyd said he is mystified why Bush's superiors at the time approved duty at such a unit.

Inexplicably, months went by with no resolution to Bush's status - and no Guard duty. Bush's evident disconnection from his Guard duties was underscored in August, when he was removed from flight status for failing to take his annual flight physical.

Finally, on Sept. 5, 1972, Bush requested permission to do duty for September, October, and November at the 187th Tactical Recon Group in Montgomery. Permission was granted, and Bush was directed to report to Turnipseed, the unit's commander.

In interviews last week, Turnipseed and his administrative officer at the time, Kenneth K. Lott, said they had no memory of Bush ever reporting.

''Had he reported in, I would have had some recall, and I do not,'' Turnipseed said. ''I had been in Texas, done my flight training there. If we had had a first lieutenant from Texas, I would have remembered.''

Lloyd, the retired Texas Air Guard official, said he does not know whether Bush performed duty in Alabama. ''If he did, his drill attendance should have been certified and sent to Ellington, and there would have been a record. We cannot find the records to show he fulfilled the requirements in Alabama,'' he said.

Indeed, Bush's discharge papers list his service and duty station for each of his first four years in the Air Guard. But there is no record of training listed after May 1972, and no mention of any service in Alabama. On that discharge form, Lloyd said, ''there should have been an entry for the period between May 1972 and May 1973.''
Linked from the Center for American Progress report on Bush's "Meet the Press" interview.

Found on today's Daily Mislead:
Retired National Guard Lt. Col. Bill Burkett said Tuesday that in 1997, then-Gov. Bush's chief of staff, Joe Allbaugh, told the National Guard chief to get the Bush file and make certain "there's not anything there that will embarrass the governor."

Mr. Burkett said that a few days later at Camp Mabry in Austin, he saw Mr. Bush's file and documents from it discarded in a trash can. He said he recognized the documents as retirement point summaries and pay forms.
The above quote is from an article in Dallas Morning News, and you can find more in today's NYTimes. Mr. Burkett's claims were naturally disputed by various Bush spokespeople; however, he not only wrote a letter to his Congressman in 1998 describing the alleged incident, he also mentioned it to a fellow Guardsman only a few days after it supposedly happened.

Also, Bush's commander in Alabama stated unequivocally that W. never showed up for duty.

Still more on this at the Washington Post.


From USA Today, c/o Fark:
Two forms in Bush's publicly released military files — his enlistment application and a background check — contain blacked-out entries in response to questions about arrests or convictions. Bush acknowledged in biographies published in 1999 that he was arrested twice before he enlisted in the Air National Guard: once for stealing a wreath and another time for rowdiness at a Yale-Princeton football game.

The nature of what was blacked out in Bush's records is important because certain legal problems, such as drug or alcohol violations, could have been a basis for denying an applicant entry into the Guard or pilot training. Admission to the Guard and to pilot school was highly competitive at that time, the height of the Vietnam War.

The National Guard cited privacy as the reason for blacking out answers. The full, unmarked records have never been released. Bartlett did not respond Wednesday to a request to release the records with nothing blacked out, which Bush could do as the subject of the records.

Burkett says that the state Guard commander, Maj. Gen. Daniel James III, discussed "cleansing" Bush's military files of embarrassing or incriminating documents in the summer of 1997.

:: Deb 11:09 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

News of the weird, indeed -
Can bags of pig fat deter suicide bombers?

Jerusalem - Israeli police have come up with plans to place bags of pig lard on buses in a bid to deter Palestinian militants from carrying out suicide attacks, the Maariv daily reported on Thursday.

Rabbinical authorities have given the idea its approval on the grounds that it could be a life-saving measure even though pigs are also considered impure by Jews.

Authorities believe that the move could discourage Palestinians from carrying out attacks as pieces of their exploded body could come into contact with the pig fat, prejudicing their chances of entering into paradise.

The paper said that the rabbinical dispensation could mean that security forces also hang bags of lard in shopping malls and schools.

Public buses have been a favourite target for Palestinian suicide bombers since the start of the intifada in September 2000.
Unconfirmed, from Independent Online. Fark Fark Fark.

:: Deb 10:21 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 2.11.2004 ::  

CLAIM vs. FACT: The President on Meet the Press

An interesting dissection of Dubya's statements, at the Center for American Progress.

Know what's wacky? Even Bill O'Reilly is now skeptical of Dubya's pre-war claims. But then he thinks the lion's share of the blame should go to the CIA.

Priceless quote from the above article: "It will be a very close race. The nation is divided." Really? Guess Georgie didn't turn out to be much of a uniter after all, eh Bill?

Farked again!

:: Deb 3:36 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

The "oil peak", or why I'm going to build a passive-solar house in the middle of nowhere and grow/raise all my own food

This is a very scary site. I believe I found the link on Fark, as usual...

:: Deb 3:28 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

I'm adding another blog to my links over there on the left: WatchBlog. In their own words:
What. WatchBlog is a multiple-editor weblog broken up into three major political affiliations, each with its own blog: the Democrats, the Republicans and the Third Party (covering everything outside the two major parties).

Why. Let's face it, politics are confusing. Sometimes it's difficult to know who to believe, who to listen to and who to support. We're here to help. Posting on a regular basis are editors representing each major party. Stay informed.
Looks pretty cool. Thanks to Toshi for the link!

:: Deb 3:06 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Quote of about a month ago that remains relevant today
"I believe this is America. Whatever happened to 'I don't agree with you, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it'?"

- Pennsylvania District Judge Shirley Rowe Trkula, who threw out the disorderly conduct charge against 65-year-old retired steel worker Bill Neel.
Neel wanted to greet the Bush motorcade with a sign proclaiming, "The Bush family must surely love the poor, they made so many of us;" he refused to go to the designated "free speech zone" located a third of a mile from where Bush was scheduled to speak that day, and was arrested. If only this was an isolated incident. You can read the full article at the Chronicle online. Thanks to Dave for the link (from so long ago - sorry it took so long to post this :)

Scary quotes from the above article:
"These individuals may be so involved with trying to shout their support or nonsupport that inadvertently they may walk out into the motorcade route and be injured. And that is really the reason why we set these places up, so we can make sure that they have the right of free speech, but, two, we want to be sure that they are able to go home at the end of the evening and not be injured in any way."
- Secret Service agent Brian Marr, on NPR
In a May terrorist advisory, the Homeland Security Department warned local law enforcement agencies to keep an eye on anyone who "expressed dislike of attitudes and decisions of the U.S. government."
"You can make an easy kind of a link that, if you have a protest group protesting a war where the cause that's being fought against is international terrorism, you might have terrorism at that protest. You can almost argue that a protest against that is a terrorist act.... I've heard terrorism described as anything that is violent or has an economic impact, and shutting down a port certainly would have some economic impact. Terrorism isn't just bombs going off and killing people."
- Mike van Winkle, the spokesman for the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center, to the Oakland Tribune
The FBI took a shotgun approach toward protesters partly because of the FBI's "belief that dissident speech and association should be prevented because they were incipient steps toward the possible ultimate commission of act which might be criminal," according to a Senate report.
[emphasis added]

:: Deb 11:55 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Program
...we like to know that it's caught or farmed in ways that support a healthy environment. Sadly, some of our favorite fish are disappearing. But other great seafoods are doing fine.
You can see which seafood to avoid on their website, as well as print out a handy wallet-sized card for easy reference in the supermarket or when you eat out.

:: Deb 10:36 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

The FDA Advisory on Mercury in Fish
* Pregnant women, women who might become pregnant, and nursing mothers should follow 3 rules:
1. DON’T EAT shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury
2. Levels of mercury in other fish can vary. You can safely eat up to 12 ounces (2 to 3 meals) of other purchased fish and shellfish a week. Mix up the types of fish and shellfish you eat and do not eat the same type of fish and shellfish more than once a week.
3. Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught by family and friends in your local rivers and streams. If no advice is available, you can safely eat up to 6 ounces (one meal per week of fish you catch from local waters, but don’t consume any other fish during that week.
* Follow the same rules when feeding fish and shellfish to your young child, but the serving sizes should be smaller.

The difference between this advisory and previous advisories:

1. The recommendation to mix up the types of fish consumed
2. The advice not to eat any other fish in the same week as locally caught fish are consumed (the advice on the amount of locally caught fish to eat is the same as in the 2001 EPA advisory)
3. The advisory for the first time addresses mercury levels in tuna in the form of a Question and Answer. The advice given for tuna is as follows:

Q: What about tuna?

A: Tuna is one of the most frequently consumed fish in the United States. Mercury levels in tuna vary. Tuna steaks and canned albacore tuna generally contain higher levels of mercury than canned light tuna. You can safely include tuna as part of your weekly fish consumption.
Found here. For more information about the risks of mercury in fish and shellfish call the FDA’s Food Information Hotline toll-free at 1-888-SAFEFOOD or visit FDA’s Food Safety website. You can also find information on EPA’s website.

:: Deb 10:31 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Blood in the water

From yesterday's press briefing:
Q Scott, a couple of questions I have -- the records that you handed out today, and other records that exist, indicate that the President did not perform any Guard duty during the months of December 1972, February or March of 1973. I'm wondering if you can tell us where he was during that period. And also, how is it that he managed to not make the medical requirements to remain on active flight duty status?

MR. McCLELLAN: John, the records that you're pointing to, these records are the payroll records; they're the point summaries. These records verify that he met the requirements necessary to fulfill his duties. These records --

Q That wasn't my question, Scott.

MR. McCLELLAN: These payroll records --

Q Scott, that wasn't my question, and you know it wasn't my question. Where was he in December of '72, February and March of '73? And why did he not fulfill the medical requirements to remain on active flight duty status?

MR. McCLELLAN: These records -- these records I'm holding here clearly document the President fulfilling his duties in the National Guard. The President was proud of his service. The President --

Q I asked a simple question; how about a simple answer?

MR. McCLELLAN: John, if you'll let me address the question, I'm coming to your answer, and I'd like --

Q Well, if you would address it -- maybe you could.

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry, John. But this is an important issue that some chose to raise in the context of an election year, and the facts are important for people to know. And if you don't want to know the facts, that's fine. But I want to share the facts with you.

Q I do want to know the facts, which is why I keep asking the question. And I'll ask it one more time. Where was he in December of '72, February and March of '73? Why didn't he fulfill the medical requirements to remain on active flight duty status in 1972?

MR. McCLELLAN: The President recalls serving both when he was in Texas and when he was in Alabama. And that is what I can tell you. And we have provided you these documents that show clearly that the President of the United States fulfilled his duties. And that is the reason that he was honorably discharged from the National Guard. The President was proud of his service.

The President spent some of that time in Texas. He was a member of the Texas Air National Guard, and he was given permission, on a temporary basis, to perform equivalent duty while he was in Alabama. And he performed that duty. And the payroll records, that I think are very important for the public to have, clearly reflect that he served.
Yep, never answered that question, did he?

A note: Scott McLellan said the phrase "fulfilled his duties" exactly 20 times during the briefing; he used the phrases "met his requirements" and "meet his requirements" 16 times total. Hoping that if you say it often enough, people will start believeing it, Scott?
Q Scott, may I re-ask Dana's question? You keep saying he served -- he fulfilled his duty, he met his requirements. You're not saying, he drilled, he showed up, he attended. Is that intentional?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, he recalls performing his duties, both in Alabama and Texas. I said that in response to Elisabeth's question.

Q Define that.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, again, I don't have a minute-by-minute breakdown of every single thing he did throughout that time period.

Q What did he do?

Q You keep saying the word, "serve." Define "serve."

MR. McCLELLAN: He met -- he served both in Alabama, and he served both in Texas.

Q Doing what? Did that period -- can you at least tell us the difference between inactive -- because it's not clear in these documents.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think that I'll leave it to those who can explain these documents to do the explaining. That's why we put the statement from Mr. Lloyd, who was in the National Guard at the time; he was someone that had the expertise to explain to you what these points mean. And that's why we provided that statement. Obviously, the Personnel Center can tell you more about what everything means on these documents. We just received these late yesterday.

But the one thing that these documents clearly show is that the President of the United States fulfilled his duties when he was in the National Guard. He met his requirements and he was honorably discharged because he fulfilled his duties.

Q Just so I can be sure that I'm interpreting this crystal-clearly -- you're not making any claim here that the President attended, showed up, drilled on these days?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm telling you that he did -- he does recall showing up and performing his duties. And you're paid for the days on which you serve. And that's what these documents reflect.

Q Scott, is it your --

MR. McCLELLAN: We're going to stay on this topic, and then we'll jump to other topics.

Q It's your position that these documents specifically show that he served in Alabama during the period 1972, when he was supposed to be there. Do they specifically show that?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think if you look at the documents, what they show are the days on which he was paid, the payroll records. And we previously said that the President recalls serving both in Alabama and in Texas.

Q I'm not interested in what he recalls. I'm interested in whether these documents specifically show that he was in Alabama and served on the days during the latter part of 1972 --

MR. McCLELLAN: And I just answered that question.

Q You have not answered that question. You --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I said -- no, I said, no, in response to your question, Keith.

Q No, so the answer is, "no"?

MR. McCLELLAN: I said these documents show the days on which he was paid. That's what they show. So they show -- they show that he was paid on these days.

Q Okay, but they do not show that he was in Alabama when he was supposed to be --

MR. McCLELLAN: These are payroll records, and they reflect the fact that he was paid on the days on which he served.

Q Do any of them show that he was paid on days that he served in the latter part of 1972 when he was in Alabama? I don't see any dates for that.

MR. McCLELLAN: It just kind of amazes me that some will now say they want more information, after the payroll records and the point summaries have all been released to show that he met his requirements and to show that he fulfilled his duties.

Q But these documents do not show that. They do not show that he was in Alabama and served at that time. I don't even see any pay dates during that period.

MR. McCLELLAN: They show payments. No, they show pay dates during that fall of 1972 period.

Q They do?

MR. McCLELLAN: There's October on there, there's November on there, and then there's January on there, as well, in '73. There's some pay dates on there.

Q Okay, so then, do they specifically show that he served in Alabama during that time?

MR. McCLELLAN: They show payments in October; they show payments in November.

Q But just because he's paid doesn't mean that he served and worked there, does it?

:: Deb 10:19 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 2.10.2004 ::  

An interesting study my husband Curt mentioned to me this morning:
"After discovering that Saddam Hussein was both actively supporting Al Qaeda and deploying WMDs, the United States, with the full support of the international community, invaded Iraq in March, 2003." This largely inaccurate statement was not torn from a premature draft of the official Bush history of the Iraq War. Rather, it was what roughly 60 percent of Americans believed—in sum or in part—in the aftermath of the war. According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland, during and immediately following the Iraq War more than half of Americans believed that Saddam was a major supporter of al-Qaeda. Roughly a third believed that Iraq had deployable or deployed WMD and that most of the world supported the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. The first and the third statements are known to be false; the second is widely accepted to be. So how did so many people get so much wrong? Part of the answer, obviously, is politics: Bush backers, according to the study, were much more likely to believe at least one of the three points than Bush bashers. But the media—and in particular one well-known "fair and balanced" news outlet—seem to have played a part in promoting false beliefs. Whereas only 23 percent of those who relied on NPR or PBS for information about public affairs believed one or more of the propositions, 55 percent of those who relied on CNN did—and 80 percent of those who relied on Fox News did. One might speculate that Bush supporters are more likely to watch (and believe) Rupert Murdoch's news outlets than either Ted Turner's or public broadcasting's. But viewers' preconceived political notions are clearly not the whole story: the Maryland researchers found that whereas 78 percent of Bush supporters who watched Fox were misinformed, only 50 percent of Bush supporters who got their news from PBS and NPR were. [emphasis added]

"Misperceptions, the Media and the Iraq War," Program on International Policy Attitudes/Knowledge Networks
The above was lifted from this month's issue of The Atlantic Monthly. Here are two of the graphs included in the report:

:: Deb 9:50 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 2.09.2004 ::  

Calpundit seems to a very complete analysis of the available evidence re: W's military record, and it's not terribly flattering. Linked from Kos.

:: Deb 5:39 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

New Study Reveals More Babies at Risk From Mercury
Roughly 630,000 of the 4 million children born annually in the U.S. are at risk of impaired motor function, learning capacity, memory, and vision due to high levels of mercury in their bloodstreams, revealed a U.S. EPA analysis released yesterday, which doubles the previously estimated number. While researchers once assumed that maternal and fetal blood contained equal levels of mercury, new studies of umbilical blood show that babies' levels are approximately 70 percent higher than their mothers'. Much mercury pollution comes from coal-fired power plants; it contaminates water sources, works its way through the food chain, and ends up in seafood. This new analysis comes as the Food and Drug Administration is reviewing seafood-consumption guidelines for pregnant women, and as controversy continues to rage about the Bush administration's plan for reducing mercury emissions, which has been widely maligned as too weak.
Lifted from the Daily Grist; original article in the LA Times.

A few quotes from there for yer edification (women of childbearing age, take note):

Mahaffey stressed that the science was evolving and that the estimates could change. But she urged expectant mothers and women who planned to become pregnant to choose fish that have lower mercury levels and higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial to developing fetuses.

Swordfish, shark, tilefish and king mackerel are all high in mercury but relatively low in Omega-3 fatty acids. Sockeye salmon and herring have low mercury levels but are high in Omega-3 fatty acids.
"This heightens the urgency for FDA to give women adequate advice on what fish are safe to eat, and it ups the burden on the administration to cut mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants," said Jane Houlihan, vice president of the Environmental Working Group, a research and advocacy organization.

"The problem is twice as serious as previously believed."

Houlihan said the FDA should particularly warn women not to eat albacore, or white meat tuna, which is high in mercury but is not on the FDA's list of fish to avoid.

Last week, the EPA announced its plan to reduce mercury emissions from power plants by 70% over 15 years.

The agency's own Children's Health Protection Advisory Committee called the proposal inadequate. [emphasis added]

:: Deb 4:20 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Nato happy to ignore explosion in Afghan opium output, says Russia
The UN estimates that Afghan opium production last year amounted to a record 3,600 tonnes - an increase of 6% on the previous year - and said that surveys of farmers suggested that a further increase was likely this year.

UN officials have voiced concern because the crop is spreading to parts of the country where it has not been grown before.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime has estimated that the output could be worth $2.3bn (£1.25bn). The country's total official exports to its neighbour Pakistan are worth about one-sixtieth of that.

Whitehall officials privately accuse the US of giving a low priority to the issue, as it needs the warlords to help combat Taliban and al-Qaida remnants and other Islamist fighters.
Read the full article at the Guardian. Linked from....FARK!.

:: Deb 12:30 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Once again..... GET FUZZY!!!

You can see the original online here for a limited time only. Please support Darby Conley and buy one of his books.

:: Deb 12:13 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

New York City has "became the latest in a long list of cities and towns that have formally opposed the expanded investigatory powers granted to law enforcement agencies under the USA Patriot Act." The Washington Post ran a story on this, but apparently CNN and the New York Times don't think this is news worth reporting. More on this at underreported.com; linked from Fark.

:: Deb 10:15 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Happy Monday!

One of the children who was recently released from Guantanamo Bay says he was treated well and enjoyed his time there:
"At first I was unhappy . . . For two or three days [after I arrived in Cuba] I was confused but later the Americans were so nice to me. They gave me good food with fruit and water for ablutions and prayer."
You can read the full article here.

:: Deb 10:05 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 2.05.2004 ::  

Industrial Protectionist Agency
Whistleblower says EPA used unreliable data for sludge decision
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - A former government scientist accused the Environmental Protection Agency of knowingly using unreliable data when it denied a petition to halt the use of sewage sludge for fertilizer.

The microbiologist, David Lewis, testified at a House subcommittee hearing Wednesday that the EPA used data about sludge quality at two Georgia dairy farms that had already been rejected by Georgia state officials as "completely unreliable, possibly even fraudulent."
The EPA in December denied a petition from 73 labor, environment and farm groups for an immediate moratorium on land-based uses for sewage sludge. Such a moratorium would affect more than 3 million tons of sludge used each year as fertilizer.

In its decision, the EPA cited data showing levels of heavy metals in sludge at the dairy farms were within allowed limits.

In fact, Lewis said, studies by Georgia state agencies found the sludge was so corrosive that it dissolved fences and emitted toxic fumes that could sicken cows. Lewis said the faulty data was produced by local officials in Augusta, Ga., several years ago and knowingly used by the EPA in December, in spite of an audit by Georgia officials that found it unreliable.

"Mr. Lewis is entitled to his opinion. We stand by our December 2003 decision," said EPA spokeswoman Cynthia Bergman, noting the agency is in the process of revising its approach to sludge. [emphasis added]
Full article in the Mercury News, linked by the Daily Grist.

:: Deb 8:42 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Per the last post, here's what I wrote to CBS:
I read today that you recently broadcast, or plan to broadcast, an ad paid for by taxpayer money that promotes the Bush Medicare prescription drug law. This fact seems at odds with executive vice president Martin Franks' statement that you "do not accept advertising on one side or the other of controversial public issues, partly because we don't think the debate ought to be controlled by people with deep pockets." Oh really? A report by Consumers Union last month said that most people covered by Medicare will wind up spending more for prescription drugs, as a result of the provisions in the new law which favor drug companies. According to the Washington Post, this ad campaign is intended "to counteract Democratic criticism that changes to the (Medicare) program will harm older Americans." It seems to me that you are willing to run advocacy ads after all, as long as they are on the "right" side, or at least were paid for by the "right" people.

:: Deb 4:42 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

CBS runs taxpayer-funded ads schilling Bush's Medicare program

I feel ill. According to the Center for American Progress,
AP reports that the White House gave the $9 million ad contract to National Media, Inc., the Bush-Cheney campaign's media firm. And if that is not shocking enough, the same company that is doing government-funded ads for HHS is also the primary media firm for the drug industry. Specifically, National Media has done the ads for the drug industry front group "Citizens for Better Medicare" – an organization that has spent tens of millions of dollars on ads attacking lawmakers who have fought to lower prescription drug prices.
Not only that, but the ads aren't even factually accurate:
CLAIM: "You can save with Medicare drug discount cards this June. And save more with new prescription drug coverage in 2006."

FACT: Savings are elusive and erode over time. Drug discount cards are not guaranteed to provide any meaningful discounts, may not cover the drugs seniors need, and may change discounts and covered drugs at any time. Medicare is prohibited from maximizing savings by negotiating lower drug prices. Under the drug benefit, some beneficiaries will not save and in fact will spend more than they do now. Seniors will still have to pay up to 100% of drug costs due to the gap in coverage ("donut hole") and ability for private plans to impose strict drug formularies, prior authorization requirements, etc. The value of the drug benefit shrinks much faster than inflation, meaning seniors will have to spend an ever-increasing share of their income on prescription drugs. [emphasis added]
The killer on this is that CBS refused to air the moveon.org and PETA ads because they supposedly have a blanket policy against running controversial "issue ads." Uh-huh. It's one thing to argue that the drug-user-supports-terrorism ads are about public health issues; these recent ads, while they do indeed relate to public health in that they talk about health care coverage, do more to advance a particular political agenda than to educate the public.

A parting shot:
"We do not accept advertising on one side or the other of controversial public issues, partly because we don't think the debate ought to be controlled by people with deep pockets," said Martin Franks, CBS executive vice president. [emphasis added]
So much for that claim, Mr. Franks. Quote found here.

Here's what Moveon has to say about it (you knew they were going to weigh in on this one):
...since CBS appears to be changing its policy, our Voter Fund has submitted our own Medicare ad which exposes the facts behind this spin campaign to run on CBS. So far, we haven't heard back. Please give CBS a call today to let them know that they need to either pull the White House ads or run ours.

You can reach CBS at:

CBS Comment Line
(212) 975-3247


Web form:

After you've called or emailed, please help us track the number of calls and emails that are pouring in by going to:

We're spreading out the calls across a number of relevant CBS numbers, so hopefully you won't get a busy signal. Also, we have no quarrel with CBS News or any CBS journalists, who have actually given fair coverage to CBS Corporate's unfair decision. Please don't call the CBS news desk.
Please call/email/fax today!

:: Deb 3:36 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

This is so cool I'm including the entire article
The paint that ate smog
February 5, 2004

European scientists have devised a paint that soaks up nitrogen oxide gases emitted by vehicle exhausts, a pollution source that can cause smog and respiratory problems.

The substance, Ecopaint, will go on sale next month and, when painted on the side of buildings, should be able to soak up nitrogen oxides (NOx) for five years until its novel coating is exhausted, New Scientist says.

The secret lies in spherical nanoparticles of titanium dioxide and calcium carbonate that are just 30 nanometres (30 billionths of a metre) across, mixed into a silicon-based polymer, polysiloxane.

The particles are so tiny that the paint is clear, and pigment can be added to make the desired colour.

The polysiloxane is relatively porous, and lets the NOx gases diffuse through it, so that they adhere to the particles of titanium dioxide.

The particles absorb ultraviolet radiation from sunlight, and the energy from this converts NOx in a chemical reaction to nitric acid, which is neutralised by the calcium carbonate, an alkaline.

That produces "harmless quantities" of carbon dioxide, water and calcium nitrate, which wash away, the article, which is published in next Saturday's issue of New Scientist says.

The product was invented by a British company, Millennium Chemicals, under a European Union-funded program to help improve air quality in cities.

An experiment conducted with a similar catalytic coating, which was painted on a stretch of road in Milan, Italy, in 2000, reduced levels of NOx at street level by 60 per cent, and residents reported they found it noticeably easier to breathe.
Originally in the Sydney Morning Herald. Farked!

UPDATE: more on Ecopaint at the New Scientist.

:: Deb 3:12 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 2.04.2004 ::  

Interestingly, Bush has reversed himself and now supports extending the 9/11 commission's deadline. He resisted granting their request for several months. I do wonder what changed his mind...

:: Deb 11:02 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Quote of the Day
"The history of our nation has demonstrated that separate is seldom, if ever, equal."
- the four justices who ruled in favor of gay marriage in Massachusetts today, as written in the advisory opinion requested by the state Senate. More at YahooNews.

:: Deb 10:55 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 2.03.2004 ::  

New links added: AccuRadio, streaming Internet radio with a diverse playlist (including the new 80s music channel); Orneryboy, an online comic featuring zombies, goths and the ever-perky Dirtygirl; Nakd, homesite for the motion+still design firm of the same name featuring very cool visuals; MIT OCW, aka MIT OpenCourseWare, as discussed in a previous post; Pres'04, 2004 US Presidential Election Vote Share Market Graphs, for up-to-the minute tracking of the likely winners and losers; and Abebooks, the best way to find and buy books at booksellers across the US and throughout the rest of the world.

:: Deb 5:46 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Kerry wins Delaware and Missouri; Edwards gets South Carolina (and no-one is surprised); more on YahooNews.

:: Deb 5:27 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Still think the Bush administration has the right idea about the economy? Read this article and this one and you may change your mind.
CBO and OMB data show, in fact, that declines in revenues account for about three-fourths of the fiscal deterioration of the past few years. While revenues will rise some as the economy recovers, they will average only about 17.1 percent of GDP over the coming decade if the recent tax cuts are extended and AMT relief is continued. (The Administration’s budget shows a somewhat higher figure, but that figure is not meaningful, since it assumes the AMT will explode into the middle class and collect tens of billions of dollars of tax revenue each year.) The 17.1 percent-of-GDP level is below the average revenue levels for every decade in the second half of the 20th century. It is a dangerously low level for a period in which the baby boomers will begin to retire and deficits will begin to rise toward economically unsustainable levels.
In other words, tax cuts are the problem, not spending. And making the tax cuts permanent will only make the problem worse. Period.

:: Deb 2:37 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 2.02.2004 ::  

Another blow to pre-war WMD claims

Some of you may have recently seen clips of David Kay, former leader of the US hunt for WMDs in Iraq, testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee that "...we were almost all wrong, and I certainly include myself here.... It turns out that we were all wrong . . . and that is most disturbing." The Daily Show showed this clip last week. More on the testimony here and here (includes video), and the full transcript of his testimony can be found (for now) on CNN. Here's a nice list of articles on the subject.

:: Deb 6:26 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Here's me snorkeling. My hubby Curt took this in Kauai. We had a great time!

:: Deb 4:47 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Happy Monday!

Here's a fun little political quiz-thing: the Presidential candidate selector. Thanks to Serena for the link... Here are my results:

1. Your ideal theoretical candidate. (100%)
2. Sharpton, Reverend Al - Democrat (91%)
3. Clark, Retired General Wesley K., AR - Democrat (89%)
4. Dean, Gov. Howard, VT - Democrat (87%)
5. Socialist Candidate (86%)
6. Kucinich, Rep. Dennis, OH - Democrat (83%)
7. Edwards, Senator John, NC - Democrat (76%)
8. Kerry, Senator John, MA - Democrat (71%)
9. LaRouche, Lyndon H. Jr. - Democrat (48%)
10. Lieberman, Senator Joe, CT - Democrat (47%)
11. Libertarian Candidate (41%)
12. Bush, President George W. - Republican (6%)
13. Phillips, Howard - Constitution (3%)

These actually kind of surprised me. I thought I agreed with Kucinich more than the other candidates. I knew I agreed with Sharpton on almost everything, tho.

What'd you get?

The other selectors are kind of cool, too. I believe the religiion selector classified me as "neo-pagan" when I took it a few years ago...

:: Deb 10:49 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

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