horses and saddles sold cheap and other metaphors

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Converting the power of waves....Ocean Power Delivery secure first order for Pelamis Wave Energy Converters

OPD announces the signing of an order with a Portuguese consortium, led by Enersis, to build the first phase of the world's first commercial wave-farm.
The initial phase will consist of three Pelamis P-750 machines located 5km off the Portuguese coast, near Póvoa de Varim.

Haven't personally tried it yet, but there's a new on-line file storage site and they provide a service that enables you to send files up to 1GB DropSend

Thanks to Atrios for this distillation of the general consensus of the Blogs of Wingnuttia...
We are very concerned by the fact that people are
exposing illegal acts by the government to the press.

Back to Baghdad on spying on Americans, Make the List Public

But because of my association with the magazine, I can only assume that my brother, mother, friends and others have been potentially monitored because of my activities. And based on my traffic logs, I know military and CIA people read this blog. Thus, anyone who has sent me email in the past two years is potentially on President Bush’s list. So pardon me if I take this a little personally.

Make the list public. Let my loved ones and friends see if they’re on it.......

Friday Condi Rice said
The president has been very clear that he would not order people to do things that are illegal. He has always said that he will do everything that he can to protect the American people from the kind of attack that we experienced on September 11, but within the law and with due regard to the civil liberties of Americans. He takes absolutely seriously his constitutional responsibility both to defend Americans and to do it within the law. I just want to reassure the American people that, whatever is written here, that the president of the United States acted lawfully in every step that he has taken to defend the American people and to defend them within his constitutional responsibility.

So Rice says that Bush wouldn't do anything illegal, but should anyone be taking Rice's word.....Bush Authorized Domestic Spying
Congressional sources familiar with limited aspects of the program would not discuss any classified details but made it clear there were serious questions about the legality of the NSA actions. The sources, who demanded anonymity, said there were conditions under which it would be possible to gather and retain information on Americans if the surveillance were part of an investigation into foreign intelligence.

At what point does America say enough. Throughout the 20th centrury certainly there have been rulers and governments that do not strip the people of their liberties and rights all in one swoop. They have done it in pieces. Along the way in every situation some have sounded the alarm and been called paranoid or unpatriotic. Then the people wake up one day and they find that freedom didn't die a sudden unexpected death, it was poisoned slowly over time.
The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.
– Albert Camus

Friday, December 16, 2005

My left-wing conspiracy invitation has been lost in the mail

I guess there was another meeting of the vast left-wing conspiracy and I wasn't invited. The NYT published a story about Bush letting the NSA spy on Americans, Bush quietly killed spying curb in U.S. and WaPo, On Hill, Anger and Calls for Hearings Greet News of Stateside Surveillance
From the NYT:
WASHINGTON Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.

and WaPo:
Congressional leaders of both parties called for hearings and issued condemnations yesterday in the wake of reports that President Bush signed a secret order in 2002 allowing the National Security Agency to spy on hundreds of U.S. citizens and other residents without court-approved warrants.

all of which may be illegal, though I'm not a lawyer My guess is these guys were clever enough to leave some wriggle room. Still Hilzoy, writing at Washinton Monthly tries to make a case.

Here is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Its Section 1809a makes it a criminal offense to "engage in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute."

There's more at the link and at Spying plan appears to subvert law, lawyers say

"FISA was the sole authority for wiretapping (on national security grounds)," said Jerry Berman, who worked on the 1978 law as a counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union. "The statute would be a futile exercise if the president retained the authority to conduct these wiretaps on his own."

The Constitution forbids the government from spying on Americans, including by listening in on their phone calls, without a court's permission. The Fourth Amendment calls for police or federal agents to show a magistrate some evidence of wrongdoing before they can obtain a warrant that lets them listen in on phone calls.

So on with the clever conspiracyby those patriots otherwise known as liberals/Democrats/progressives. The NYT story was cleverly delayed until today to accomplish two things. One was to diminish Bush's credit for the Iraq elections ( shouldn't the kudos go to the US military and the Iraqi people rather then the serial liar that got us bogged down there, oh well). Two. it got up the steam that enabled Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wisconsin and a bi-partisan coalition to stop the renewal of expiring provisions of the Patriot Act, Patriot Act renewal fails in Senate
Senators on both sides of the aisle argued that some of the act's provisions infringe on civil rights. The bipartisan group proposed a three-month extension to continue debate and amend certain provisions, but the Senate also rejected that proposal Friday.

The Senate needed 60 votes to override a filibuster and end debate, which is called "invoking cloture." Cloture would have brought the Patriot Act to a final vote, allowing the Senate to renew it by a simple majority.

But only 52 senators voted to cut off debate; 47 voted against cloture.

The move lays the groundwork for a high-stakes showdown.

Some random comments That were found in Wingnuttville:
This story was published today to sink key provisions of the PATRIOT Act and to distract from the success of yesterday’s elections. And what a shame.

another writes:

To besmirch Bush at a moment of triumph. To diminish the PR power of the Iraqi election.

This one leaves me asking if the elections were about Iraq turning some kind of political corner or about making Bush look good ?
The ONLY illegal thing related to this news IS THE LEAK ITSELF. The leakers should be tried for treason, and executed when found guilty.

This is from the same folks that think you should be able to blab the names of any classified CIA agent's identity on any street corner. I also assume that he's also tieing a noose for Scooter Libby and at least one other Whitehouse official.
Let's Send These Guys to Jail
was the title of the post over at Power Lies which asserts that the NSA itself is part of the conspiracy to get Bush. That's probably why I wasn't invited, the guys at NSA got there undies twisted at the last cast liberal conspiracy meeting when I said their coffee tasted like strained cardboard.

and a note about the idea that the release of the NYT story was tied to the release of a book via MahaBlog ,
James Risen’s book about the CIA and the Bush Administration, to be published by The Free Press in January 2006.

and this which will confuse that mentally ill woman named Michelle that appears on Faux News,
The Free Press is an imprint of Simon & Schuster, which is the publishing operation of Viacom Inc. It has no ties to the New York Times (although it does publish Wall Street Journal Books).

Well we can only do much in one day, being part of the vast lefty conspiracy is hard work and its very time consuming to line up all these ducks in one day. I'm exhausted.

Certain rightie bloggers seem to have worsened in their near-sightedness complaining that the center-left is not commenting on the Iraq elections. Like most people I'm holding my breath hoping for the best. The best being that at least most of the National Guard will be home soon and that violence in Iraq will subside at least a little.
One step at a time in Iraq
In the last of four preelection speeches defending his Iraq strategy, Bush on Wednesday asked Americans to be patient "until victory is achieved." He is right not to set a deadline for a complete U.S. withdrawal, but tens of thousands more soldiers should come home next year, replaced by Iraqis. This must not be an open-ended deployment.

It is encouraging that Sunni Muslims, who account for about 20% of the population, have been ordered to vote by their religious leaders. Sunnis boycotted the January election for an interim government; their turnout increased in the October constitutional referendum. Sunnis need to take part in the political process if they hope to share in the country's oil wealth and avoid being marginalized by the dominant Shiite Muslims. A breakup of Iraq remains a possibility, despite the disastrous effect it would have on the country and regional stability.

Bold emphasis mine. The righties shouldn't expect cheers from this center-lefty as the price that has been paid for this day is forever unacceptable. Too many dead American and Iraqis, too many tax dollars that could have gone for things far more constructive at home, or the middle-east for that matter. Too many lies and distortions, too much abuse of the office of the president. Too much exploitation of fear and nationalism. The righties have burned down the house in order to kill a rat excuse us more reasonable patriots if we don't give y'all a big pat on the back.

To Wingtopia I say reap what you sow. Meet the New Boss
A collection of leading Sunni parties called the Iraqi Consensus Front has been pushing a straightforward slogan: "Our goal is to get the invaders out and rebuild the country." If their minority status prevents the Sunnis from achieving their first goal according to their wishes, they may well return to violence to achieve their second goal. A leaflet was broadly distributed in the Azamiyah neighborhood of Baghdad last Monday. Sunni Arabs may have a chance to advance their cause politically in the upcoming elections, read the leaflet, but "the fighting will continue with the infidels and their followers."

Maybe they'll find my pocket knife, Japan hopes to predict 'Big One' with journey to center of Earth

The 57,500-ton Chikyu, which means the Earth in Japanese, is scheduled to embark in September 2007 on a voyage to collect the first samples of the Earth's mantle in human history.

The project, led by Japan and the United States with the participation of China and the European Union, seeks clues on primitive organisms that were the forerunners of life and on the tectonic plates that shake the planet's foundations.

"This is like an Apollo project under the Earth," staff scientist Kan Aoike said, referring to the landmark US lunar missions.

Panther OnThe Prowl
Though nobody's produced any proof this animal is really out there, both Mclane and Revels believe. If you see a large cat black or tan in color, resembling a panther or cougar, call your local authorities or department of natural resources. Also move kids or animals inside immediately.

So much for eyewitnesses.

The Hydrogen Gold Rush Is On
"Eighty percent or more of the ideas that come directly to us violate the laws of physics," says Patrick Serfass, a spokesman for the National Hydrogen Association.

"When you put that kind of money out there, anybody who has even the most marginal technology related to hydrogen comes out of the woodwork," says Joseph Romm, an assistant energy secretary during the Clinton administration and author of the book The Hype About Hydrogen.

Plenty of sound science relates to hydrogen, and a number of real-world technologies are either under development or already in use. Mazda recently announced it will begin selling a hydrogen version of its RX-8 sports car within three years. And a number of applications are being used in large-scale stationary projects or handheld devices, says Serfass.

Hydrogen offers a lot of promise both as a source of energy and a way to reduce greenhouse gases. I hope hydrogens' potential isn't lost because it becomes clouded with crackpot theories.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Photo in the News: Oldest Known Maya Mural Reveals Royal Tale
The painting dates to 100 B.C., proving that stories of creation and kings—and the use of elaborate art and writing to tell them—were well established more than 2,000 years ago, 700 years earlier than previously believed.

There are quite a few links to this story, but this is the one, that for now, has the clearest picture. Its the size of a mural, so it must be amazing to see in person.

Did humans colonise north Europe earlier than thought?
Tools found at a site in Pakefield, Suffolk suggest that these early humans lived along side some super sized elephants and lions. Like living in a zoo without the admission charges.

By way of Angry Bear, FED: Household Debt Service Sets Record in Q3

Economics for me is certainly the dry science, but its like spinach I know its good for so I try to keep up.
DEFINITIONS: The household debt service ratio (DSR) is an estimate of the ratio of debt payments to disposable personal income. Debt payments consist of the estimated required payments on outstanding mortgage and consumer debt.

The financial obligations ratio (FOR) adds automobile lease payments, rental payments on tenant-occupied property, homeowners' insurance, and property tax payments to the debt service ratio.

Its like this the economy is in a strange place. Government borrowing and cronyism style spending is part of it, but the other part is that the average person is almost maxed out on their debt. How long can we maintain this moderate up tick in the economy when behind the scenes we're running the engine on borrowed gas.

Bush backs Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rove
Rebuffing Democratic calls for a shake-up over Iraq war strategy and speculation about rifts within the White House, Bush said he had no intention of removing Rumsfeld as defense secretary, crediting him with doing a "heck of a job." Rumsfeld and the vice president, Cheney, have been frequently accused by critics of pushing the war on false pretenses.

In an interview with Fox News, Bush said his relationship with Cheney had "only gotten better," and he remained "very close" to Rove, who could face charges in the criminal investigation into the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity.

Loyalty is one of those virtues that only has value when the reciever is worthy.

Bush: we went to war on faulty intelligence

"It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As president I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq," he told a foreign policy forum on the eve of elections to establish Iraq’s first permanent, democratically elected government.

Even in the admission of his misduided and dangerous maliciousness he still manages to be both arrogant and ignorant.
The president of the United States has no clear constitutional authority to declare war without congressional approval. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has determined that the president, as commander-in-chief of the military, does have the authority to recognize a "state of war" initiated against the United States and may in these circumstances unilaterally send U.S. troops into battle. President Bush has also stated that his powers as commander-in-chief allow him to act independently in defense of the nation.

leaving us to conclude that Bush misled Congress ( though Cogress's arm didn't seem too hard to twist) and the American public. That Iraq was a threat to America is almost laughable. One air craft carrier has the fire power to level the entire population of Iraq. Saddam was/is nuts, but not crazy enough to committ an act of war against America and thus make himself a sitting duck for American retribution. Bush is ultimately going to be judges the Chicken-Little President and Iraq the sky that never fail.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Mitchell Wade, MZM and Pentagon Domestic Surveillance.. Its not Santa thats watching to see if you've been naughty or nice.

Elections have started and in a perverse way they may be more honest then elections held in some other middle-east countries that we'll leave unnamed. Why is that true? With Saddam gone and fundamentalists clerics not too far behind the scenes, the Iraqis are installing a fundamentalist government. Bush's Shiite Gang in Baghdad
Knight Ridder, perhaps the single best news organization covering the war in Iraq and its political fallout, carried an important exchange in which the head of the Badr Brigade, the paramilitary force backed by Iran, flatly admits that his 20,000-strong secret army – which is the arm of the ruling Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) – is funded by Iran:

How ironic or bizarre that in 2003 when Bush kicked out weapons inspectors and decided that Iraq was to be the Trojan horse for democratizing the middle-east, Iran was on the terrorists watch list, but Iraq was not. Now in fact Bush is relying on the most radical elements of the Iranian terror exporters to help stabilize Iraq. I guess this is how BushCo and supporters define victory. Don't tell the children, they're not ready for tales as twisted and strange as these from Neocon World.

Social Darwinism the discredited philosophy that is undead

unfutz features a link to The Green Knight
Ultimately, Social Darwinism is a contradiction in terms, because any attempt to impose "survival of the fittest" on people is anti-social. Similarly, an "ownership society" is impossible, because ownership is an economic relation between an individual and a thing.

Caution, possible Godwin's Law violation. As most people know, Italian and German fascism were based on social-darwinism. While that particular streak of of social-darwinism has passed it has always had a fan base in the United States, and while it no longer is in its pure 1930's/1940's form it is very much at the base of the modern conservative movement.

So you've got this great idea for the next thingamabob that will make you the next Steve Jobs, but you need the software to design it and you need to produce a prototype. Welcome to eMachineShop - where you can design, price, and order your custom parts online!. And no I don't get a penny a click. My grandfather was a kind of hobbyist/inventor in his spare time, he would have loved this.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Parallels that are rated not safe for the dogmatically correct

Parallels between Jesus and Horus, an Egyptian God
Author and theologian Tom Harpur studied the works of three authors who have written about ancient Egyptian religion: Godfrey Higgins (1771-1834), Gerald Massey (1828-1907) and Alvin Boyd Kuhn (1880-1963). Harpur incorporated some of their findings into his book "Pagan Christ." He argued that all of the essential ideas of both Judaism and Christianity came primarily from Egyptian religion. "[Author Gerald] Massey discovered nearly two hundred instances of immediate correspondence between the mythical Egyptian material and the allegedly historical Christian writings about Jesus. Horus indeed was the archetypal Pagan Christ."

Small rays of hope

Chinks in the Republican Armor
But the imperfections are increasingly visible. Some are internal: the arrogance, greed and complacency that swell with time in office, and the disparate interests of supporters that become harder to paper over. Drug companies, seniors' lobbies and chambers of commerce may all support you, but they also may have different ideas of the proper design and cost of a Medicare drug benefit. The result may make no one happy.

There are external stresses, too. Unlike in Russia, it turns out that prosecutors and judges can't be controlled, no matter who appoints them: just ask DeLay, Jack Abramoff or Scooter Libby. Unlike in Russia, neither can the press. The congressional Republicans' cringing abdication of their branch's traditional oversight role has helped diminish attention to scandal and malfeasance, but it can't erase bad news altogether.

It seems that there have been a few op-eds like this in the past year, and this one shows about the right amount of caution about being overly confident that a progessive Democratic revolution is just around the corner. A few shifts in our favor are expected, but a real progressive America is a generation off. Many Americans, too many need to have this experiment with bringing back the Gilded Age. Catering to the rich, scaling back civil and workers rights, the illusion of total self independence from the "common good" and community. Humanity as a whole has always been mule headed. The need to to suffer the indignity of the trickle down economy and to create new truths through the shear force of will has to run its course to the point that starts to really hurt before the public casts it off. Its like telling a stubborn relative to stop smoking and explaining all the consequences, showing them pictures of what smoking can do their lungs, yet they keep smoking until the day they start coughing up blood from their lungs. At which point they take a long look in the mirror and ask themselves what the hell were they thinking all those years. When America as a country starts coughing up blood we'll cast out the social-darwinists.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Via Avedon Carol and The Slideshow Sacred Terror: The Global Death Squad of George W. Bush
On September 17, 2001, George W. Bush signed an executive order authorizing the use of "lethal measures" against anyone in the world whom he or his minions designated an "enemy combatant." This order remains in force today. No judicial evidence, no hearing, no charges are required for these killings; no law, no border, no oversight restrains them.

In real life the idea of a bunch of 007's running around with a license to kill is more disturbing then reassuring, especially in light of stories like this, German citizen held in secret prison sues ex-CIA director
Al-Masri's lawsuit, filed by ACLU lawyers in Alexandria, Va., sheds light on the CIA's secret practice of "extraordinary renditions," using special teams to capture suspected terrorists and transport them to countries that practice torture or to one of the agency's reported secret prisons in Eastern Europe or Asia.

I guess he is supposed to be grateful he wasn't killed.

Hunter at Daily Kos interviews Mary Mapes

Mapes was the CBS producer at the center of the controversy over Bushies' guard records.

An Interview with Mary Mapes by Hunter
The tale of President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard is a key to who he is, to his character, to his understanding of how the world works, to his core. Much of what you need to know about the President's privileged youth, his access to special treatment, his empathy (or lack of it) for less advantaged individuals is contained in this story. The fact that the President and his supporters have covered up the less-than-heroic way he got into the Guard when others were being sent to Vietnam and how he got out more than two years early when he didn't feel like showing up anymore is further evidence that this is a guy who just doesn't get it when it comes to how other Americans lived and served and died during Vietnam.

I have always thought it was a sad and disconcerting irony that Senator John Kerry served honorably while Bush and others skirted their duty in such a way to leave then wiggle room years after the fact. Bush supported the Vietnam war, yet records or not, he choose to avoid serving there. If he would jave not served based on some deeply felt conviction that would have been morally defensible, but that is not the case. Even worse perhaps is the win by any means neccessary smears perpetrated by the far right. They had to juggle two big lies at once, one that Bush served his entire time which doesn't appear to be true; and they told the most vicious lies that they could think of to smear John Kerry. The end justifies the means. The truth, honor, and country don't matter to these far right fanatics, only fidelity to party.
The criticisms of the documents' physical characteristics -- that typewriters couldn't do that stuff in 1972 -- have turned out to be pure bunk. The bloggers' claims that the typing features showed the documents were forged were themselves a fraud. They succeeded, however, in hijacking the discussion about the story and even pulling the wool over the eyes of a lot of critics of George Bush and his Guard record. NO mainstream reporter (or blogger for that matter) has followed up on the fraudulent but very effective charges that radical right bloggers made and that other media repeated. Or on the many shortcomings of the so-called independent panel that CBS executives, in their panic, put together.

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