discarded lies: thursday, april 27, 2017 9:41 pm zst
end-times boot camp
daily archive: 02/11/2005
throbert in Channel Ж:


Sorry to keep everyone in suspense for so long -- real life sometimes grabs my attention away from the blogosphere, and in this case, by the time I got back to the Root Cellar again, the "Gay and Conservative" train of thought was somewhere between Irkutsk and Vladivostok.

While I try to remember what I was going to say, sit back and relax with the star-spangled musical stylings of Team America director Trey Parker, performing the power anthem ''America (Fuck Yeah)'' in a Flash video.

(Is Trey conservative? In some ways, yes. Is he gay? I sure hope not, because if he's straight, that makes my fantasies about him EVEN HOTTER.)



If you enjoyed Team America, or plan to enjoy it when the DVD comes out on April 5, the odds are pretty good that you're a RED-BLOODED YANKEE DOODLE DO OR DIE at heart, no matter what your passport says. But wouldn't you rather know for sure? Now you can measure How American You Are in the privacy of your own home, without a prescription!

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sine in The People's Diner:
Valentine's Menu

Executive Chef:
Sine

Promoted to Floor Sweeper:
Little Green Chef Sweeper

Seared Scallops with Smoked-Tomato Butter and Spinach Salad

Balsamic-Glazed Duck With Pearl Onion and Pear Hash

Glazed Raspberry Heart Scones

Chocolate Orange Pots de Creme


*Guaranteed to be so much work you won't be feeling the least bit romantic...so eat it here in our romantically appointed diner.

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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The Saudi Sham
I am shocked, shocked I tell you...Islamists Win Landmark Saudi Capital Elections
Islamist-backed candidates triumphed over tribal opponents and businessmen in Saudi Arabia's landmark men-only elections in the capital Riyadh, according to preliminary results released Friday.
Men-only elections are not elections, they're a sham and there's nothing "landmark" about them. When I see women running for office in Saudi Arabia, I'll celebrate. Until then, they can all kiss my toochis.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
A Perception of Cowardice
The increased frequency with which Middle Eastern terrorists target Americans and U.S. installations is due in part to the terrorists' continued perception that America acts cowardly when under attack, according to former Central Intelligence Agency director R. James Woolsey.

Woolsey, who addressed students and reporters at George Washington University Tuesday, said America's reaction to the 1979 hostage crisis in Iran and the deaths of 241 U.S. marines in 1983 are examples of why that perception endures.

With President Jimmy Carter trying to negotiate the hostages' release in 1979 and 1980, the reaction of the average American was to "tie yellow ribbons around trees," Woolsey said. A few years later, when Hezbollah terrorists blew up the U.S. marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, Americans "ran," he added.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The Janjaweed Babies
This subject is so sad, I don't even know what to say. In a previous post about the rapes in Sudan I had read to my horror that a typical militia strategy is to set up camps around a village in the weeks before the main attack, not allowing villagers to fetch water or firewood. Men who venture out are killed, so fathers have to make the terrible decision to send the girls and women to the well outside the village, knowing they face rape but not death.
GENEINA, Sudan Fatouma spends her days under the plastic tarp roof of her tent, seated on a straw mat, staring at the squirming creature in her arms.

She examines over and over again the perfectly formed fingers and toes, 10 of each, and the tiny limbs, still curled in the form they took before leaving her belly five days before, and now encircled with amulets to ward off evil.

Everything about this baby, the 16-year-old mother declared, is perfect. Almost everything.

"She is a janjaweed," Fatouma said softly, referring to the fearsome Arab militiamen who have terrorized this region.

"When people see her light skin and her soft hair, they will know she is a janjaweed."
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
British Jews, Beware
Violent anti-Semitic attacks in Britain have reached "alarming" record levels, according to a report released on Thursday, prompting calls by Jewish leaders for more to be done to protect their community.

The Community Safety Trust, which represents Britain's 290,000-strong Jewish community on security matters, said there had been 532 "anti-Semitic incidents" - defined as malicious acts toward Jews - in 2004, including a record 83 assaults.

The total, which included abuse and threats, was a rise of 42 percent from the CST's 2003 figure, and well above the previous record high of 405 in 2000.

"This increase is extremely alarming. The transfer of tensions in the Middle East to the streets of Britain has resulted in an unprecedented level of anti-Semitic incidents," said Michael Whine, director of communications for the CST.

The Trust said 100 incidents were reported in March 2004 alone. In the worst incident, a Jewish teenager had his jaw shattered in the English south coast city of Southampton.

Last month London police said they were hunting a group of black and Asian men said to be behind a string of racist attacks on orthodox Jewish men in the capital.

A few days earlier, vandals daubed swastikas and other Nazi symbols on 10 gravestones in a Jewish cemetery in Aldershot, southern England, the second time it had been targeted.

Britain's chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, said the figures were a cause for concern. "The single most important thing is for our community to enlist others to join in the protest against the attacks," he said in a statement.

"Jews must not be left to fight anti-Semitism alone."

The government described the rise as "totally unacceptable" and said action was being taken. "We have strengthened the law against racism, including raising the maximum penalty for incitement to racial hatred," leader of the House of Commons Peter Hain told parliament.

The leaders of Britain's Anglican and Catholic Christian communities said the findings were disturbing and condemned anti-Semitism.

Rob Beckley, the Association of Chief Police Officers' spokesman on faith matters, said that "...any anti-Semitic incidents are a matter of great concern to the police service ... All hate crime is insidious and destructive and we are committed to taking positive action against those perpetrating such offences."

Violent attacks on British Jews hit record high
Am I suprised? How can I be suprised when Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London, calls a Jewish newspaper reporter a "war criminal" and "concentration camp guard" and will not even apologise for his remarks?


(a thimbleful of cognac to WriterMom, just to sniff)
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Two paths for Europe's Union
WSJ.com - Imagine (suckscription required).
Imagine

By MICHAEL EMERSON February 8, 2005

When asked what he had been most concerned with in his long political career, Harold Macmillan, the British prime minister of half a century ago, replied: "Events, dear boy, events." Macmillan was certainly well-read enough to have known Tolstoy's argument in War and Peace about the flood-tides in the ocean of history. "Though the surface seemed motionless, the movement of humanity continued as uninterrupted as the flow of time," Tolstoy wrote. "Coalitions of men came together and separated again; the causes that would bring about the formation and the dissolution of empires and the displacement of peoples were in course of preparation."

* * *

Our dear leaders of Europe are still having trouble keeping up with events, especially regarding the political structure and geography of Europe. But what are events telling us these days about the flood-tides in the ocean of contemporary European history?

Principally the story is this. The EU has created a system of institutions and values that have become the dominant gravitational force in the whole of the European continent. Yet EU leaders find themselves confronted with a strategic dilemma. On the one hand they would like to keep the EU reasonably compact in number of member states; on the other, the high principle of their system is to be open to all European democracies. As a result they have created, although to their own surprise and not by strategic design, the world's most powerful magnet, whose strict conditions for membership transform the periphery in line with the model of the center.

This great conditionality machine is simple in essence, while hugely complex in implementation. If you sincerely want to join the club, here are the rules you have to respect, namely the infamous 30,000 pages of EU legislation. But the leaders of the former communist states of Central and Eastern Europe have discovered that this is the fastest and surest way of achieving the transition into the modern world of liberal democracy and the open society.
Uh-oh...the open society? I detect George Soros.

I'm vaguely sympathetic to this argument. I'm sure lots of countries would love to have 30,000 page recipes for a wealthy, free, prosperous society. It's the kind of thing that lands on your desk with a reassuring "thud". Followed by a slow "crack" and a hasty "squeal" as your desk cracks and begins to split and you quickly wheel your Herman Miller Aeron out of the way. What's wrong with the roughly 30-page US Constitution? It's a proven success! If its simplicity and genius is too difficult for modern Europeans to understand, there's a handy 85-page Constitution translated for kids written by a Congressional staffer. 85 pages is almost three times as many as 30 pages! I'm sure it would look very nice if handsomely leather-bound. You know what? I have something that can help them with their "Amazing Vanishing Christianity" problem, too-the Teenage Mutant Ninja Bible!
The EU has been trying for 20 years to persuade its neighbors to be satisfied with close association arrangements, rather than full membership. First there were the Nordic countries, who were offered full integration within the EU's single market without political membership. Sweden and Finland only took a few years before deciding that this was politically unacceptable -- to be policy takers without a voice in policy making.

Then when the Berlin Wall fell it was thought that just the four Visegrad states of Central Europe would be serious candidates, and the former Soviet Baltic states were expected not to follow suit. But that did not work either. Then it was supposed that Romania was incapable of making the grade, but that seems to have been wrong again. And so here we are now with EU 25, about to become EU 28 (with Bulgaria, Romania and soon after Croatia). As for the rest of the Balkans, our leaders again found themselves unable to stop the flood-tide of history, and have accepted that all of the region should one day accede to what then would be EU of 33. By this time Norway and Iceland would decide that it was time to join in, making EU 35.

Now the Turkey question is serious. Turkey is led by a formerly Islamist party, which a few years ago was viewed with relief as proof of Turkey's unsuitability for accession to the EU. Surprise event! The party says it has converted itself into a Muslim equivalent of Germany's Christian Democratic Party, and demonstrates that Islam is compatible with secular democracy following exactly EU norms -- at a time when Europe's existential priority is to avoid the clash of civilizations. So Turkey cannot be ignored any longer.

But the floodtide does not stop there. Ukraine suddenly produces its orange revolution, which no one thought its society was capable of. President Viktor Yushchenko seems to know what he wants and how to get it. The way into the EU is not through delivering speeches in Brussels but with concrete deeds in Kiev, so he says, and that is exactly right. He now locks his country into the great conditionality machine. Georgia and Armenia have also been making explicit their objectives to achieve full membership, even citing target dates. If they mean it, they too will have to lock into the great conditionality machine. Of course when Romania accedes Moldova will want to follow fast, especially if Ukraine is moving fast.

Maybe we can stop there, say EU 40 by the year 2025, with a population of 640 million. That leaves Russia and Switzerland as the only outsiders, although Switzerland becomes a virtual member, already now joining the Schengen area.

* * *

But could this extrapolation of the apparent flood of history really work? A recent report by the CIA's National Intelligence Council, not so far renowned for its EU expertise, informs us that the EU could collapse by 2020. Why should this speculation be taken seriously, when the main functions of the EU have been quite solidly constructed? The single market is virtually completed, and the idea of undoing it has no contact with reality.

To be sure, national economic policy in the core of old Europe needs serious reform to restore adequate growth, which is a slow process but not an impossible one. The euro currency exists, its institutional guarantees of sound money are very strong, and its gravitational power will see the zone progressively extend. The freedom of movement for people across the union is the achievement that people cherish most. The mechanisms of collective foreign and security policies to guard against criminality, terrorism and the disorders of failed states of the periphery are being built up, and public opinion is close to unanimous in wanting to solidify this more. There is the difficult issue of adapting the EU budget's redistributive function as new and poor member states are admitted, but when it comes to money, all compromises are in the end negotiable.

There is finally the most difficult constitutional issue, that of adapting the decision-making institutions to function adequately with so many seats at the table of the councils of ministers. The U.S. can function with 50 states, but could the less federal EU function with almost as many? The Constitution currently awaiting ratification will be a move along the road, but is certainly not the end of the road. Or is this constitution too much for some (the U.K.), while not enough for others? The EU demos is not mature enough to legitimize a much more federal system.

But these things change with the tides of history. How far has Europe come in the last 50 years? Why not travel as far again in the next 25 to 50 years? The EU has certainly shown an extraordinary capacity to grow incrementally and sustainably over its first 50 years, and huge advances in trust, common understanding and in construction of institutions and a common body of law have occurred.

* * *

The main variant or refinement to this EU-40 scenario concerns whether this continuously enlarging EU would tend toward a unitary or increasingly differentiated structure; or between what some have called a United States of Europe (USE) versus a New Medieval Empire (NME). The point of the USE is that the jurisdiction of the union would apply equally to all member states, and the frontier between in and out would be well defined. The point of the NME is that beyond the core power structure there would be graduated degrees of inclusion for a variety of associated states of the periphery, and the frontiers between in and out would be fuzzy.
New Medieval Empire Europe is what France wants; it means its policies will continue to inform a Europe consisting of people who would never freely vote for them, and will now be denied the opportunity to. I'm rooting for United States of Europe.
The status quo is already core and periphery up to a point, given the restricted membership of the euro and Schengen zones. Moreover the NME model is now being enhanced in the EU's present attempt to design a European Neighborhood Policy for Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean neighbors. Yet all the pressures from the new member states are for completing their accession into the euro and Schengen zones in only a matter of years. Old Europe will not be able to keep these internal doors closed for long, even if it wants to.

On the other hand there is the scheduled referendum that Tony Blair has decided to hold in the U.K. over the European Constitution. If the U.K. alone fails to ratify, as seems today to be a quite likely scenario, then the U.K. may be obliged politically to secede from the EU as a full member state, while no doubt seeking to remain integrated within the single market. This would greatly boost the NME model.
This is where I start getting conflicted. Do I want the UK to stay in Europe more and help influence it to be freer, or do I want the UK to get out of Europe more and try to salvage some of its sovereignty and tradition? The answer is both: I'm inclined to want the UK out of this monster, but if they must stay, then let them influence Europe equally as much or more than Europe influences them-let the UK become the ringleader of pro-freedom New European states as France is the ringleader of the pro-order Old Europeans.
Later will come Turkey. Here Jacques Chirac has pledged a referendum in France, which today would also fail. If both these referendums were to fail, Europe would indeed be set on a NME course, adding momentum to the idea that Ukraine and the Caucasus states also, and maybe even some of the Balkan states, would have to put up with various types of deep association rather than full EU membership. But that would contradict the very principle of democratic equality, which is the main point of converging on Europe in the first place.

The only certainty is that this dialectic -- the competition between the USE and NME models -- will run on and on, and the result will be some kind of evolving compromise between the two. While the U.S. constitution is set in stone, that of the EU is going to remain a hot, fluid, plastic mold for another 50 years.
Such hot, gushing language! I think he has something of a hard-on for the EU. And lo and behold, his job would indicate so...
Mr. Emerson is senior research fellow at the Center for European Policy Studies in Brussels.
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Toshiba's "Nuclear Battery" Slated For Alaska Town
Is this the future of energy? Alaska Village Moves from Diesel to 'Micro-Nuke'
The small town of Galena, Alaska, is tired to pay 28 cents/kwh for its electricity, three times the national average. Today, Galena "is powered by generators burning diesel that is barged in during the Yukon River's ice-free months," according to Reuters. But Toshiba, which designs a small nuclear reactor named 4S (for "Super Safe, Small, & Simple"), is offering a free reactor to the 700-person village, reports the New York Times (no reg. needed). Galena will only pay for operating costs, driving down the price of electricity to less than 10 cents/kwh. The 4S is a sodium-cooled fast spectrum reactor -- a low-pressure, self-cooling reactor. It will generate power for 30 years before refueling and should be installed before 2010 providing an approval by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Read more...

First, where is Galena? Galena is a 700-person Athabascan Indian village on the Yukon River, located 275 miles west of Fairbanks and 550 miles northwest of Anchorage. (Credit: Shaw Pittman LLC).

Here is the status of the deal as told by Reuters.
Galena officials met with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. If the commission approves the plan, the reactor would be the first new one permitted in the United States since the early 1980s, according to an Alaska Public Radio Network report on Thursday.
Energy to power electricity is important to Galena. Winter temperatures can dip below minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 51 Celsius). Daylight is scarce because of the short days during the winter.
Galena is powered by generators burning diesel that is barged in during the Yukon River's ice-free months. That is costly and carries its own environmental risks because diesel can spill.


Toshiba, which designs a new 10-megawatt nuclear reactor, offered to install one of these in the hope that other isolated towns will follow, explains the New York Times.

Toshiba offered Galena a free reactor if the town would pay the operating costs, estimated at 10 cents a kilowatt-hour, about the national average for power. In December, the City Council voted unanimously to take it.


Galena looked at other sources of energy, such as coal, which pollutes, and solar power, but the sun is not very present at this kind of latitude. So it decided to take the nuclear path.

Here are some details about the 4S reactor.
Toshiba calls its design the 4S reactor, for "super-safe, small and simple." It would be installed underground, and in case of cooling system failure, heat would be dissipated through the earth. There are no complicated control rods to move through the core to control the flow of neutrons that sustain the chain reaction; instead, the reactor uses reflector panels around the edge of the core. If the panels are removed, the density of neutrons becomes too low to sustain the chain reaction.


Is this really a Super-Safe nuclear reactor?
The design is described as inherently safe, but it does have one riskier feature: It uses liquid sodium, not water, to draw heat away from the core, so the heat can be used to make steam and then electricity.
Designers chose sodium so they could run the reactor about 200 degrees hotter than most power reactors, but still keep the coolant depressurized. (Water at that temperature would make steam at thousands of pounds of pressure a square inch.) The problem is that if sodium leaks, it burns.

Anyway, if the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approves it -- which could cost millions of dollars to Toshiba -- the 4S reactor could be installed by 2010. It will use uranium enriched to 20 percent and generate power for 30 years before needing to be disposed of and replaced.

If you're really interested by this 4S reactor to be installed in Galena, you should read "Public Information and Outreach in Galena, Alaska," a document prepared by the Washington, D.C., firm Shaw Pittman LLC (PDF format, 20 pages, 360 KB). The above images come from this document.
Follow the link to read his links. One thing I didn't get from that story is how much the 4S 10MW micro-nuke plant would have cost to buy outright, because I wondered if that would make the total cost uneconomical compared to fossil fuels. I found this interesting piece which had more detail.
The 4S reactor unit is referred to as a battery because it does not have moving parts, and once installed, its fuel will not need to be replaced as in conventional nuclear reactors.

The reactor unit is 50 feet to 60 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet in diameter. It will be built outside of Alaska, installed in the Yukon River community, encased in several tons of concrete and not be opened during its operating life, which is now estimated at 30 years.
How sweet is this? The thing basically has the dimensions of a water tower.

Licensing will be an involved process that will take several years and substantial funding by Toshiba, Yoder said. It will also include development of a federal environmental impact statement.

"It is in the public interest to pursue the siting of a Toshiba 4S nuclear battery in Galena," the resolution said. The council further directed Yoder to "establish a process and timeline leading to evaluations, industrial partners, and financial and contractual arrangements necessary to bring the economic and environmental benefits of the 4S to Galena."

Toshiba has offered to install the reactor at Galena free of cost if the licensing is approved as a commercial demonstration of the "nuclear battery" in a remote location.

Once the technology is approved for use in the United States, Toshiba believes there will be opportunities for sales worldwide, and elsewhere in rural Alaska, according to Robert Chaney, a researcher with Science Applications International Corp.

SAIC coordinated a U.S. Department of Energy study of long-term energy supply options for Galena, including the Toshiba battery. The University of Alaska and Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory worked with SAIC in the study.

The study showed the Toshiba battery can supply electricity to the community for about one-fourth of the cost of conventional diesel fuel.

Chaney said the DOE study weighed the cost benefits of nuclear against other ways of providing Galena with improved energy, including more efficient diesel generation, a small coal-fired power plant, and wind, solar and hydro-power from the nearby Yukon River.

Wind, solar and hydro-power were taken off the list as primary power sources when it was determined that site conditions in Galena did not make those options practical, Chaney told an Alaska Miners Association group in a Dec. 17 briefing on the project.

The analysis showed that, presuming the nuclear battery went into operation in 2010, by 2020 it could supply electricity to Galena for 5 to 14 cents a kilowatt hour (kWh), assuming the reactor is a gift from Toshiba and the community pays only operating costs.

In comparison, improved diesel generation could provide Galena power for 25 cents to 35 cents per kWh. Coal-fired power comes in as a serious alternative in the study, at 21 cents to 26 cents per kWh, Chaney told the mining group. A small coal-powered plant could use coal extracted from a thick coal seam about 12 miles from the community.

The nuclear option looks good even if Galena were to pay for the reactor. In that case the power costs were estimated at 15 cents to 25 cents per kWh in the study, Chaney said. Toshiba has estimated the cost of the 4S reactor at $25 million. Galena's power is now 28 cents per kWh.
Wow. Admittedly, it's only competitive with fossil fuels because the energy consumer is so difficult to reach. Still, after a few hundred of these are built efficiencies and economies of scale are bound to drive the price down. Here's the sour note:
However, the nuclear costs vary so much because of uncertainty over the number of security guards the federal NRC may require at the site, Chaney said. Toshiba told SAIC that if the NRC's current regulations are followed, 34 security guards would be needed at the Galena site.
The NRC wants to have 34 guys protecting something the size of a small town water tower, which provides energy for a village of 700. Extrapolating shows why such requirements are sheer lunacy unless the intent is to kill off this market completely: you'd have to have 14.5 million Americans employed as nuclear battery security guards to provide energy for the three hundred million of us. Luckily they plan on trying to talk some sense into the NRC:
Chaney said a terrorist attack in a small, isolated rural community like Galena is unlikely because an unknown outsider would quickly be recognized. The 4S unit would be encased under several feet of concrete, "and if people show up with jackhammers, everyone in town will be aware of it."

A more appropriate staffing for security might be 4 guards, augmented by a state trooper and Galena city police who are nearby, Chaney said. If the NRC accepts that, he operating costs will be low enough to deliver electricity for 5 cents, according to the study.

The 4S unit will supply far more electricity than Galena now uses, but if it is installed there will be ample, inexpensive power available for local residents to convert homes from heating with expensive fuel oil to more affordable electricity.

Even then, there will be substantial excess power, enough to operate greenhouses that can grow vegetables and fruit year-around for the community, Chaney said.
This development will make more of our world habitable, and more of its natural resources exploitable, increasing the world's prosperity and carrying capacity (don't forget the reduced demand for fossil fuels, either-this should help drive down the price, or at least prevent it from heading much higher).
Chaney said that if the 10 megawatt design for the 4S is approved and works as expected, Toshiba or other companies should be encouraged to work on smaller versions of it. A 2 megawatt or 4 megawatt version might be sized more appropriately for small, remote communities in Alaska.

Alaska miners are interested in the Galena project because if the NRC approves Toshiba's proposal, larger nuclear batteries could provide power to remote mines. Toshiba does have a 50 megawatt version of the 4S design, which would be useful at an operating mine in a remote location.

The cost and difficulty of supplying power are currently major obstacles to two large but remote mining projects now being studied - the Donlin Creek gold project near the Kuskokwim River and the Pebble gold-copper prospect on the Alaska Peninsula.
Once they've proven their mettle, let's pepper the nation with these nuclear batteries and start to break the back of long-term fossil-fuel dependency. I don't imagine we'll ever eliminate fossil fuel usage, because the installed platform for fossil fuel use is huge and growing daily. But I do imagine the energy markets diversifying away from fossil fuels for those energy customers that don't need it. I can see why a car needs to burn fossil fuels: biggest energy punch for a given amount of fuel, given the size limitations being worked with. But what says that towns' electricity needs to be generated with coal or oil? What's wrong with exploiting modular nuclear battery power for all our non-transportation energy needs? This is brilliant and I really hope it succeeds.
Oh yeah, what's a story about something revolutionizing the world without naysaying ecoweenies? I hate these people.
Tribal officials from around the region and environmentalists say they are suspicious of the nuclear proposal.

"Why is Toshiba doing this, giving it away for free, trying to foist this experimental technology on rural Alaska when they can't even license this in Japan?" said Pam Miller, program manager for Alaska Community Action on Toxics, an Anchorage-based environmental group.
Foist? They offered it and the town said "hell yeah we'll take it". That's far from a foisting, more like a win-win situation. Two, this is going to replace diesel burning-2 million gallons of it a year. That pollutes.
“They use about 2 million gallons of diesel a year and get four to five megawatts of power—at a cost of between 20 and 32 cents per kilowatt hour in Galena. It gets to 60 below zero in Galena, cold enough to freeze propane, so energy and heat are important. In some parts of Alaska, the cost of electricity can go up to $1 a kilowatt hour," he said. “In addition, extensive military installations in the area use a lot of the polluting diesel."
Finally, the best this parasite can come up with is "but the Japanese haven't licensed it"? So what? If our own NRC figures it's safe, why do we have to abide by the most skittish country's unreasoning fear of new nuclear technology? That's the best she can come up with, negative peer pressure? "But the other kids aren't doing it"?
I really hate obstructionists who try to block progress even when it would actually advance their purported agenda (environmentalism). What is wrong with these people? They shouldn't be cited as "environmentalists" but rather as Luddites.
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
North Korea announces it has nukes, is leaving the six way talks
North Korea announced Thursday that they are withdrawing from the 6-way talks, they already have nuclear weapons, and they will develop more. This is a huge concern due to North Korea's known record of proliferation. Condi Rice and Rumsfeld are acting blase and unconcerned, and they swiftly played it down in concert with South Korean officials. But the South Koreans and Australians are seriously freaking. This Asia Times Online analysis says Kim Jong Il is playing a long, subtle game, but this editorial in the Australian says that North Korea's manufacturing new nukes is likely to be an intolerable provocation to the United States and calls this a "crisis from hell". Is it, or is it just more frothing lunacy from the earth's most hellish and simultaneously most cartoonish regime? One thing's for sure-our hands are certainly full dealing with Iraq, Iran and Syria. China needs to step up to the plate, or an overburdened United States will be forced to make a nuclear South Korea, Japan and Taiwan a national security objective of the United States. If France, a passive-aggressively belligerent nation can have them, and Britain, our oldest ally, can have them, why can't responsible democracies like South Korea, Taiwan and Japan get them for self defense? It seems like China, the one nation with any leverage over North Korea, just isn't interested in trying very hard here. Maybe a fire needs to be lit under their asses, that if they don't stop coddling a proliferation threat to us, we'll become a proliferation threat to them. It can't all be carrots; it's time for sticks. Big ones.
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zorkmidden in Bloggies Of Our Lives:
Episode 301,434,746
Somewhere in Washington...

Girl: Mom?

monkeyweather: Yes, honey?

Girl: Do you have to work tonight, too?

monkeyweather: Yes darling, I do, I'm sorry.

Girl: But mom...why can't President Bush go to church alone tonight?

monkeyweather: Well, darling, that's what the secret service is for, to accompany the President everywhere.

Girl: But mom...Oh, oh, oh, you got a new rifle! Can I try it? Can I?

monkeyweather: Sure honey, go shoot at the neighbor's cat. But don't hit it, ok?

The phone rings.

monkeyweather: Hello?

floranista: A gracious good morning to you...Have I reached the party to whom I am speaking?

monkeyweather: Uh...sure...

floranista: Hold, please.

monkeyweather: Uh...sure...

floranista: One ringy-dingy, two ringy-dingy...

floranista: Sir, connecting you.

monkeyweather: Hello?

monkeyweather: Sir! Yes sir! No sir, not at all! The President said that about me? I'm honored sir! Certainly! Let me write it down sir, "W-r-i-t-e-r-M-o-m," ok, got it. Sure! Yes, I'll definitely eat the paper once I've memorized the name! Thank you, sir!




Cut to bloggie...

zorkie is pacing in the bloggie living room. She's skeptically thinking and humming a happy tune. The phone rings.

zorkie: Allo?

zorkie: Hi Lewis!

zorkie: Oh nothing...I was just solving the world's problems.

zorkie: Yeah, I was drinking some cognac too, so what?

zorkie: It's 5 pm somewhere, Lewis!

zorkie: No, tell me.

zorkie: No! OMG! He's cheating on Throbert?!

zorkie: Oh, that's terrible...

zorkie: Ok, call me back.



Meanwhile in the barn...

Gustav: Achtung Ali, so ve vait for nighttime and the contact will contact us.

Ali: Oh, Gustav! Is he cute?

Gustav: He's Episcopalian.

Ali: Oh, Gustav! Sigh...




Meanwhile in Crete...

Maine's Michael is sitting at a taverna by the seaside waiting for his Mossad contact to show up. He happily surveys the landscape knowing that soon it'll all be his. The innocent Cretans, not suspecting the fate that is about to befall them, smile at him innocently. The musical theme from "Zorba the Greek" permeates the atmosphere.

A tall, lithe figure appears at the table...

Maine's Michael: Nu?

Tall, lithe figure: You must be Maine's Michael. I'm Aisha...

Maine's Michael: You're a girl, you?

Aisha: Sometimes...

Maine's Michael: Oy gevald! I need this like a luch in kup! You have bristen and you have petseleh? Baitsim, do you have baitsim? Or are they bobkes?

Aisha: Why do you care, mister?

Maine's Michael: Who says I care? As long as you're not some shlemiel or some klutz I have to shlep around, have what you want! Be a shikseh for all I care! Feh! Chutzpenik! Just don't fortz too much, I have a sensitive nose.




Meanwhile in NY City...

A 12-year old girl is sitting in front of a computer screen typing furiously as she's chewing gum...The camera zooms in on her monitor.We see flickering security screens being bypassed and matrices destroyed at her fingertips...




Meanwhile in North Dakota...

Sojourner, Smit and loverofallotherhaters are entering a tall hospital building to visit their friend Fred who is mortally dying of phobia.

Sojourner: After you.

loverofallotherhaters: No, go ahead, you go first.

Smit: Oh I don't mind being last!

loverofallotherhaters: Yeah, I don't mind either. Go ahead.

Sojourner: No, I insist, you go first.

loverofallotherhaters: But I wanted to be last!

Sojourner: I want to be last!

Smit: Last!

Sojourner: No, I'm last!

loverofallotherhaters: Last!

Sojourner: Oh, poo...

Smit: Last! Heh!

loverofallotherhaters: No, I'm last!

Sojourner: Last! I'm last, last, last!

loverofallotherhaters: First!

Sojourner: Hey! Not fair!

Smit: Last!

loverofallotherhaters: Not so fast there, missy!



To be continued...
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Children of the Stoplights - Part 4
Note-this continues the Children of the Stoplights series, begun here: Discarded Lies: Children of the Stoplights - Part 1, Discarded Lies: Children of the Stoplights - Part 2, Discarded Lies: Children of the Stoplights - Part 3 and simulcast over at Winds of Change.NET, as our weekly feature.

While some of these children are exploited by being forced to work or beg, others are in even worse situations. And if no one is addressing the subject of nine-year-olds begging in the streets, who's looking out for these other children?
A study in Greece from 1995-97 identified almost 2,900 minors in prostitution. More than 200 of them were under 12 years old. Currently more than 40% of the minors in prostitution are from neighbouring or regional countries including Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Albania and Iraq.

Law enforcement agencies: the role of the police

The Ministry of Public Order created a self-monitoring unit in response to corruption in local authorities and the active participation of elements of the police in trafficking women.

In the 1990s, there were reports in the media about police officers who were on the payroll of organised crime syndicates involved in trafficking. Between 1995 and 1997, in return for large sums of money, police officers in Athens protected trafficking networks and brothels. This was such a common phenomenon that it finally led to the dismissal of high ranking representatives at the ministry of public order, including the head and deputy head, who were found guilty of participating and offering protection to traffickers.

The daily newspaper ‘Eleftherotypia’ reported that in 2000 and 2001 a committee investigated 103 reports of police involvement in trafficking. Many observers still doubt the willingness of all police officers to crack down trafficking rings.

The continuing complicity and involvement of members of the Greek police is also confirmed by the Panhellenic Confederation of Police Officers and the Ministry of Public Order.

The newly established internal unit is intended to penalise police involvement and catch the “untouchables?. There have been no recent convictions of police officers or other officials in connection with THB. As OKEA member Lazos said in the interview, “the police continued working with a smirk on their faces?.

Prevention and Fight Against Trafficking:Greece
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