Reuters reports that U.S. and Iraqi forces launch crackdown in restive Diyala province. “Thousands of Iraqi soldiers and police launched a major security operation in northeastern Diyala province on Tuesday in the latest move by the government to stamp its authority over militants… Iraqi forces backed by U.S. troops have also been carrying out extensive operations in the northern Nineveh province, where al Qaeda is blamed for numerous attacks.”
BBC News adds, “this latest operation was generally expected but its timing was kept secret, and army and police units were brought up from Baghdad unannounced.”
The Washington Post reports Sen. Ted Stevens has been indicted on seven criminal counts. The Alaskan Republican entered the Senate in 1968. “The indictment accuses Stevens, former chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, of concealing payments of more than $250,000 in goods and services from an oil company. The items include home improvements, autos and household items.”
The Hill reports Rep. Henry Waxman believes Blackwater ‘misled’ officials to get contracts. “The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Inspector General on Monday released a report saying that “Blackwater or its affiliates obtained … a total of 39 contracts that were set aside for small businesses even though the bidder may not have met SBA’s criteria to be considered a small business.””
According to Waxman, Bush administration officials “ignored blatant warning signs” to award Blackwater “dozens of lucrative federal contracts” for which it was ineligible.
From Boom… as the NY Times reports that the Gas rush is on, and Louisianians cash in.
A no-holds-barred, all-American gold rush for natural gas is under way in this forgotten corner of the South, and De Soto Parish, with its fat check from a large energy company this month, is only the latest and largest beneficiary. The county leaders and everyone around them, for mile after mile, over to Texas and up to Arkansas, in the down-at-the-heels city of Shreveport and in its struggling neighbors, suddenly find themselves sitting on what could prove to be the largest natural gas deposit in the continental United States.
Already, several dozen people who own parcels of land over the field are becoming instant millionaires as energy companies pay big money for the mineral rights to the gas, which like other energy sources is worth far more than it was last year.
Jalopies are being traded in for Cadillacs, plans for swimming pools are being hatched in rusty trailers, and the old courthouse here is packed to the rafters day after day with oil company “landmen” (and women), whose job it is to frantically search the record books for the owners of the mineral rights to land that has become like gold.
To Bust… as the Washington Post reports that a California oil field goes from rush to a reflection of global oil limits.
In May 1899, a pair of oil prospectors wielding picks and shovels dug into a bank of the Kern River where some gooey liquid had seeped to the surface. About 45 feet down, they hit oil…
After the discovery of oil, it took 85 years to produce the first billion barrels from the field. It took 24 more years for the next billion. And… Chevron [engineers] hope to milk out 650 million barrels or so more over the next couple of decades.
If they succeed in retrieving those final drops, it would be an achievement of modern technology. But then all the oil that can be recovered here — the inheritance of a natural confluence of events lasting millions of years — will be gone.
One of the really sad aspects of the Louisiana story is the “instant millionaires” rushing off to buy Cadillacs, big American gas guzzlers. With the rising cost of energy, these Louisianians are being bought off cheaply. Once the fossil fuels are gone, they’re gone.
July 29, 2008 archive
Jul 29 2008
Jul 29 2008
On the day before leaving for Netroots Nation, I voted for Jim Martin for U.S. Senate in the July 15 General Primary Election here in Georgia.
At the polling place I was the only voter but there were a dozen or so poll workers. After voting (on one of those damned Diebold machines) I asked if I’d get a receipt. In lieu of one I was given a cute little sticker with a graphic of a Georgia Peach with ‘I’m a Georgia Voter’ printed on it. I laughed and said that makes me feel better…there were some chuckles.
I said I wanted a receipt for my vote. This is what they gave me.
Jul 29 2008
Yesterday I wrote about one certainty…it is easier to destroy than to create. Today I have another certainty, Only a Green Revolution will save the planet.
There is no way around it, if we want to have an atmosphere and some semblance of our existing coasts, we need a revolution. People talk about an Apollo Program. That won’t be enough. We also need an NRA and a WPA.
Iraq is about oil, about energy. We are spending 3 TRILLION dollars in a war for energy. A war for energy that has ruined our economy and raised gas prices and put millions out of work. That is the Republican solution. Kill for oil AND ruin the economy to pay for it. And who ultimately profits? NOT the American people, whose tax dollars are paying for killing Iraqis and whose reward is $4 a gallon gas.
Green Revolution. Spend three trillion dollars on energy research and development, putting people to work retrofitting ALL government buildings with solar and wind. Give HUGE tax credits…up to three trillion dollars (!) for private retrofitting. Give HUGE rewards for folks who come up with new solutions and inventions and methods of greening. Put people to work building solar and wind generation facilities. Write a new Universal Building Code based on Greening. Government grants for urban farms, Etc etc etc. The list is endless, and everything on it CAN benefit everyone. Instead of killing many for the profit of a few while the middle and lower classes lose their jobs and get kicked out of their homes.
Jul 29 2008
July 29, 2008 – 3 min 10 sec – Scores killed by blasts in Baghdad and Kirkuk could be a forewarning as rival elites fight for power
Three female suicide bombers and a roadside bomb struck Shiite pilgrims taking part in a massive religious procession in Baghdad on Monday. Police said at least 32 people were killed and 102 wounded. The attacks occurred in quick succession in the early morning in the mainly Shiite Karradah district, as tens of thousands of Shiite worshippers streamed toward the pilgrimage site in Kazimiyah, northern Baghdad. Meanwhile at a Kurdish rally in the northern city of Kirkuk, A bomb blast killed at least 15 people and wounded 170 others. The attack occurred while demonstrators gathered to protest a provincial elections law being debated in Parliament. The law would limit the Kurds ability to control oil-rich Kirkuk which they consider to be part of their historical land. Last week Kurdish parties walked out of the Iraqi parliament in protest over the proposed law. Though the law was passed 127 to 13 it was later vetoed by President Jalal Talibani, who is also a Kurd. Though many reports claim violence in Iraq to be at its lowest point in three years, the political situation is still very volatile.
Jul 29 2008
The title above comes from a new Rand Corporation Report
After 7 years of conflict and occupations, with 893 coalition deaths — 556 Americans, in Afghanistan and increasing, and 4,438 coalition deaths — 4,124 Americans in Iraq and increasing, with tens of thousands of injured and maimed, physically and mentally, and millions of innocents in both countries killed, maimed, living as refugee’s, fighting each other in sectarian civil wars, living in ethnically cleansed neighborhoods and area’s in Iraq behind huge concrete blast walls, this “Think Tank?” comes out and says:
U.S. Should Rethink “War On Terrorism” Strategy to Deal with Resurgent Al Qaida
Current U.S. strategy against terrorist organization al Qaida has not been successful at limiting the group’s capabilities. Since Sept. 11, 2001, al Qaida has been involved in more terrorist attacks than ever before and over an increasingly broader range of targets.
Jul 29 2008
Or: Socialism in the US: Good only for the rich!
AFTER MONTHS of wrangling, Congress finally rushed through a housing bill–legislation, its Democratic sponsors say, that will provide some relief for people whose mortgage payments have increased while the value of their homes declined.
Jul 29 2008
Department Of Justice
Who Do You Love
The Constitution Or
Are You A Conservative
Which Law Is
The Rule Of Law?
You Know The Answers
Beijing losing battle against Olympic smog
By Clifford Coonan in Beijing
Tuesday, 29 July 2008
With 10 days to go until the Beijing Olympics opens, the smog simply refuses to lift and the Games organisers are preparing emergency measures to clear the air ahead of the big day.
The traffic on the streets of Beijing is noticeably lighter, and many of the big steelworks and coal-fired power stations have been silenced. But the capital was still enveloped yesterday in a haze that restricted visibility to a couple of hundred yards.
For years the authorities have been trying to clear the yellow-tinged smog masking the city, including a recent batch of measures as a quick-fix solution.
Report Faults Aides in Hiring at Justice Dept.
By ERIC LICHTBLAU
Published: July 29, 2008
Senior aides to former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales broke Civil Service laws by using politics to guide their hiring decisions, picking less-qualified applicants for important nonpolitical positions, slowing the hiring process at critical times and damaging the department’s credibility, an internal report concluded on Monday.
A longtime prosecutor who drew rave reviews from his supervisors was passed over for an important counterterrorism slot because his wife was active in Democratic politics, and a much-less-experienced lawyer with Republican leanings got the job, the report said.
Lawmakers Agree to Ban Toxins in Children’s Items
By Lyndsey Layton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 29, 2008; Page A01
Congressional negotiators agreed yesterday to a ban on a family of toxins found in children’s products, handing a major victory to parents and health experts who have been clamoring for the government to remove harmful chemicals from toys.
The ban, which would take effect in six months, would have significant implications for U.S. consumers, whose homes are filled with hundreds of plastic products designed for children that may be causing dangerous health effects.
Jul 29 2008
Muse in the Morning
Not by mere renunciation does one attain supreme perfection.
Phenomena IX: choosing
Jul 29 2008
Yesterday, when a stranger pulled a shotgun out of a guitar case and started firing into a crowd of 200 watching a children’s perfomance of the musical Annie at the Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, this 60 year old church usher stood up and did the right thing when everyone else was running away.
Jul 29 2008
Something I just wrote, a reflection about hippies.
suit and tie man
saying “far out”
in junior high
and smoking dope
pounced upon it
like hawk on
viewed sex and
janice in feathers
on the haight,
in east village,
in every small town
beaten and bludgeoned
and fired like ancient
flashing through america
with young legs and
Jul 29 2008
“Our generation is screwed”, she says. She is a twenty something and I am amazed at the deliberate ignorance of political affairs she does display.
I am a Knight of the Fifth Veil after all and cannot get into the de-programming session needed as my mouth will soon be full of cotton.