October 17, 2007 archive
Oct 17 2007
Oct 17 2007
This is an OPEN THREAD. Here are four stories in the news at 4 o’clock to get you started.
The New York Times reports Parliament in Turkey votes to allow Iraq incursion. “The Turkish Parliament today granted authorization for a cross-border offensive to strike Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, although diplomatic efforts continued to prevent any military action. The motion passed in the Parliament by 526 votes in favor to 19 votes against. It was drafted by the ruling Justice and Development Party, and grants the government open authority for one year to launch military incursions against rebels who carry out attacks in Turkey from northern Iraq.” Meanwhile, the Washington Post and others report that House support wanes for Armenian genocide bill. As much as the media and the Bush administration is linking the two, the Turks have had these incursion plans in the works for a long time. Good thing the Bush doctrine allows countries to invade to stop terrorism.
The Guardian reports Britain to claim more than 1m sq km of Antarctica and the move would extend UK oil, gas and mineral rights.
The United Kingdom is planning to claim sovereign rights over a vast area of the remote seabed off Antarctica, the Guardian has learned. The submission to the United Nations covers more than 1m sq km (386,000 sq miles) of seabed, and is likely to signal a quickening of the race for territory around the south pole in the world’s least explored continent.
The claim would be in defiance of the spirit of the 1959 Antarctic treaty, to which the UK is a signatory. It specifically states that no new claims shall be asserted on the continent. The treaty was drawn up to prevent territorial disputes.
So what’s motivating this grab? Well likely, Britain has been ‘frozen” out of the land grab going on at the North Pole by Russia, Canada, the U.S. and other countries. (For more info, see my essay from September, “Mapping Claims to the Spoils of Global Warming”.) In addition, the rising price of oil, which is at $88 a barrel, is intensifying pressure to secure new potential oil sources.
Unfortunately, this will be nothing but bad news for penguins and other creatures that live in Antarctica. In another story at The Guardian, science correspondent Alok Jha reports, WWF calls for protected areas for Antarctica. “Large parts of the oceans around Antarctica should be turned into marine reserves to protect the rapidly declining biodiversity on the continent,” according to the WWF. The environmental charity “will call on diplomats, environmentalists and scientists to support their plan to identify and designate a network of protected marine reserves to safeguard Antarctica and its surroundings, which occupy some 40% of the world’s surface.”
Below the fold is an article about the poverty line, which one ground says should be $74,044 for a 2-parent family of four living in Los Angeles, today’s “Guns of Greed”, and a “extra” report on the Solomon Island’s sale and export of 28 dolphins to Dubai taking place today.
Oct 17 2007
(Soon to be Orange)
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, in an interview with Arianna Huffington has promised she will not send a bill to the floor of the House to fund the Iraq War that does not contain a timeline to bring the troops home.
I was at first skeptical of Arianna calling this a promise on Pelosi’s part, but a full day has passed with no retraction from Arianna and no statement from Pelosi indicating that she was misunderstood or taken out of context. I think we have to take this somewhat seriously!
If the Speaker of the House of Representatives keeps her promise, the Iraq War is effectively over.
And Nancy certainly wouldn’t lie to Arianna!
Oct 17 2007
As the Bush/Cheney White House, its supportive neocon ideologues, and its public relations machine appear to be “catapulting the propaganda” to prepare the way for attacking Iran, perhaps for a change we should try the novel approach of thinking and asking about the possible consequences before actually launching yet another preemptive war.
No one in the corporate media, in Congress (save for a few largely drowned-out voices, such as that of Senator Jim Webb), or least of all in the Unitary Executive (except for Secretary of Defense Robert Gates) gives much evidence of raising and pondering such questions.
Let’s give it a try below the break. Just taking the trouble to ask a few questions uncovers at least five major tectonic shifts that likely would follow a U.S. assault on Iran.
There will be plenty of links for those who want to delve a little deeper. You might want to start with a full coffee cup.
This map of the region may help frame the questions.
Oct 17 2007
Welcome to a weekly roundup of news related to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and otherwise “Other” community.
- Starting with the good news… 2007 is a record year for the number of openly queer candidates running for political office in a year with no federal elections: a whopping 71, if you can believe that. This includes people like Pam Bennett, a transgender politician running for city council in Colorado. Only six states still have no openly gay or lesbian elected officials at any level… including my home state. Hoorah!
- Now for more sobering news… In the course of the last 20 years, HIV/AIDS has gone from a mysterious “gay cancer” to an international crisis to a celebrity cause to background noise. Most of what we hear in the news today involves skyrocketing rates in Africa and the debate over condoms, which is why the 2005 report by the Center for Disease Control is all the more sobering: among MSM (that’s “men who have sex with men”) in urban areas, 21% of whites and 46% of blacks have HIV. If you live near D.C. and are interested, the NIH Office of AIDS Research Advisory will be holding an open meeting on October 24th, focusing specifically on the spread of HIV in minority communities. More info here.
- And some heartwarming news… counter to the largely negative story about living out in nursing homes that I posted last week, consider this: a 93 year old British man who recently came out in The Old Vicarage Nursing home has written a novel about forbidden love, The Heart Entrapped (h/t Towleroad). Says author Mike Soper:
“When all the old ladies heard about the book, they asked if they could read it. So I had to tell them I was gay and that it was a gay-themed novel.”
Mr Soper, a former academic at Christ Church, Oxford, until 1981, said it had been nice to be honest about his sexuality after so many years.
Oct 17 2007
[Cross-posted from Edgeing]
“Zeitgeist is originally a German expression that means ‘the mind of the age’, literally translated as ‘time (Zeit) mind (Geist)’. It denotes the intellectual and cultural climate of an era.” —wikipedia
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Address to the American Newspaper Publishers, 27 April 1961
The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings.
For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence — on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific, and political operations.
Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed.
Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed — and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment — the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution — not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply “give the public what it wants” — but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate, and sometimes even anger public opinion.
This is the full Zeitgeist production.
“They must find it difficult…
Those who have taken authority as the truth,
rather than truth as the authority.”
—Gerald Massey, Egyptologist (1828-1907)
Oct 17 2007
Crossposted at Daily Kos
Sigh. Look, I’ll be brief. I come here this morning, just a peak ’cause I have other work, seriously, and oh my god, what do I find? Three Gore diaries on the rec’ list, one urging Al to run, one offering in-depth analysis the latest poll data from Gallup on Al’s chances, and one that states categorically as “breaking news” that Gore has ruled out a run completely.. Guess which one made my heart stop? Thankfully, having been on this roller-coaster for a while, I check out the comments and sure enough, Gore has said nothing of the kind , nothing new at all, and who really thinks he would break such a huge piece of news to the Europeans before his own people?
One problem that has been raised, and it’s a very valid point, is how will Gore be able to shift gears from repeatedly insisting, these many months, that “I have no intention”, “I have no plans” to run for President to suddenly declaring he’s in? What can he say without losing all credibility and becoming a laughing stock on the evening news? That is what this diary will examine.
Oct 17 2007
From some of my favorite sites around the web (my way of thumbing my nose at that Global Warming denier that showed up here yesterday…argh…):
The National Climate Data Center reported this week that the drought parching the south and the west has now spread to the mid-Atlantic states…
With all the focus on the disappearance of the honeybee, there has been little discussion about the plight of the bumblebee, one of the hardest workers in the wild world of agriculture…
2. Real Climate
Last week, a UK High Court judge rejected a call to restrict the showing of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth (AIT) in British schools. The judge, Justice Burton found that “Al Gore’s presentation of the causes and likely effects of climate change in the film was broadly accurate”…
I got an email Climate Expert Survey today from DemandDebate.com, a creation of Steve Milloy. Milloy has practiced to deceive before in the climate arena, and his junkscience.com, claiming to debunk the junk science of others, is actually a terrific source of specious deception in its own right…
More below the jump…
Oct 17 2007
…Current founders Joel Hyatt and Al Gore (you might have heard of him), were recently honored with an Emmy for creative achievement in interactive television…So Current TV has this week relaunched its Web site to add many of the features found on YouTube. The redesign includes a Multimedia Wiki where viewers can respond to pods with comments, videos and animation.
Oct 17 2007
The Morning News is an Open Thread.
From Yahoo News Top Stories
1 Iraq drawdown to begin in volatile area
By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer
45 minutes ago
|WASHINGTON – Commanders in Iraq have decided to begin the drawdown of U.S. forces in volatile Diyala province, marking a turning point in the U.S. military mission, The Associated Press has learned.
Instead of replacing the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division, which is returning to its home base at Fort Hood, Texas, in December, soldiers from another brigade in Salahuddin province next door will expand into Diyala, thereby broadening its area of responsibility, several officials said Tuesday.
In this way, the number of Army ground combat brigades in Iraq will fall from 20 to 19. This reflects President Bush’s bid to begin reducing the American military force and shifting its role away from fighting the insurgency toward more support functions like training and advising Iraqi security forces.
Oct 17 2007
Muse in the Morning
The muses are ancient. The inspirations for our stories were said to be born from them. Muses of song and dance, or poetry and prose, of comedy and tragedy, of the inward and the outward. In one version they are Calliope, Euterpe and Terpsichore, Erato and Clio, Thalia and Melpomene, Polyhymnia and Urania.
It has also been traditional to name a tenth muse. Plato declared Sappho to be the tenth muse, the muse of women poets. Others have been suggested throughout the centuries. I don’t have a name for one, but I do think there should be a muse for the graphical arts. And maybe there should be many more.
Please join us inside to celebrate our various muses…