Saturday, July 29, 2006

Global Warming is Real

California Heat Wave Deaths Near 100

Heat Wave State's Deadliest

Elderly, Isolated are Heat's Quiet Victims

CountyCurrent heat waveAverage per year 1989-2004Most per yearYear of Maximum deaths
Imperial83.581995, 1996, 2000
Los Angeles93.9101990, 2000
Riverside32.451990, 1994
San Bernardino91.841989, 1990, 2001, 2003
San Diego32.672001, 2004

Scientists Expect Scorching Heat in Future Summers

Illinois Braces for Heat Wave

It's Going to Be Hot

[Not all blame for a given heat wave is due to climate change, but] [h]eat waves and global warming “are very strongly” connected, said Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis branch chief at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Colorado.

[W]hat global warming has done is make the nights warmer in general and the days drier, which help turn merely uncomfortably hot days into killer heatwaves.

Measuring the true cost of heat waves

The severely hot weather that withered crops, dried up rivers, and fueled fires in the summer of 2003 took a massive human toll. The full magnitude of this quiet catastrophe still remains largely an untold story, as data revealing the continent-wide scale have only slowly become available in the years since.

All in all, more than 52,000 Europeans died from heat in the summer of 2003, making the heat wave one of the deadliest climate-related disasters in Western history.

Projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a global body of some 2,000 scientists, show more extreme weather events ahead as the planet heats up. By the end of the century, the world's average temperature is projected to increase by 2.5-10.4 degrees Fahrenheit (1.4-5.8 degrees Celsius). As the mercury climbs, more frequent and more severe heat waves are in store. Accordingly, the World Meteorological Organization estimates that the number of heat-related fatalities could double in less than 20 years.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Checking in at PS's Paramecia Department

West Nile virus found in Mississauga mosquitoes

Mosquitoes caught in a southwestern part of Mississauga, Ont. have tested positive for West Nile virus, once again raising fears about the potentially deadly infection.

A group of mosquitoes were captured on July 25 in the QEW and Clarkson Road area of the city, just west of Toronto.

And, in unrelated news:

HIV hides in gut to escape attack

These results lead some to suggest that immediate treatment after HIV infection may be warranted, and that anti-inflammatory drugs in tandem with antiretrovirals could be more effective than antiretrovirals alone.

New Reply to the News

up at The 3rd WWWave.

Friday, July 28, 2006


British Take Dim View of Blair’s Close Ties to U.S.

Mr. Blair has long maintained that standing close to Mr. Bush in times of crisis enables the British leader to exert some influence over American actions.

So, Tony, I gotta ask -- are you successfully exerting influence over Bush?

Detainee Abuse Charges = Honor. Stained.

Detainee Abuse Charges Feared

So, get this:

Back in 1996, the then-Republican Congress passes the War Crimes Act, to make prosecution of those who commit war crimes possible in US courts. The Pentagon says, "yeah, mates, this is good: let's hold ourselves to this standard," thereby setting it nice and high for anyone who might wind up with one of OUR servicemembers in their clutches. We are the best, the best-trained, and the best-equipped. WE fight with honor.

Alls well and good until Bush II gets a war in his hot little hands.

And now, instead of

* treating prisoners properly, in accordance with military guidelines,
* as in, avoiding maltreating the hell out of them,
-- and stopping their maltreatment when a "few bad apples" swing into play,

The Bush Administration would like to change the law, rather than what they're doing.[*]

These fuckers -- these fuckers -- are taking away our honor. Our honor as Americans, our honor as serving military and civilian, the honor of every man, woman and child in America. I am proud of the military service of my family members.

These bugs have besmirched everything a military uniform stands for.

It's time to kick them out. It's so far past time it hurts. Kick them out. Kick them out. KICK THEM OUT.

[*]The Human Rights Watch asks the obvious question: "The military has lived with" the Geneva Conventions provisions "for 50 years and applied them to every conflict, even against irregular forces. Why are we suddenly afraid now about the vagueness of its terms?" asked Tom Malinowski, director of the Washington office of Human Rights Watch.

Nuclear Energy and Dropping Water Levels

Heat Wave Shows Limits of Nuclear Energy

France has 58 nuclear power plants, which produce almost 80 percent of electricity generated in the country. Of these, 37 are situated near rivers, and use them as outlet for water from their cooling systems.

The drought accompanying the hot summer has reduced the volume of water in the rivers, and might force some power plants to shut down.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

"Whole New War"

A Whole New War

President Bush and national security adviser Stephen Hadley yesterday for the first time publicly acknowledged the momentous shift in the role for U.S. troops in Iraq, from fighting terrorists to trying to suppress religious violence.

This sea change was described in such understated terms that it was eclipsed by news about the crisis in Lebanon. Bush described a change in tactics; Hadley called it a repositioning.

But it's a[n] historic admission: That job one for many American troops in Iraq is no longer fighting al-Qaeda terrorists, or even insurgents. Rather, it is trying to quell an incipient -- if not already raging -- sectarian civil war, with Baghdad as ground zero.

Just Say "No" to Bolton

Bolton Confirmation Hearings Start Today

Firedoglake has a whole roundup of good links at the above location.

Could you afford to be poor?

Could You Afford To Be Poor? by Barbara Ehrenreich.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Human Rights Watch is Watching

Human Rights Watch has just released a new report on abuses by the US Army: “No Blood, No Foul”: Soldiers’ Accounts of Detainee Abuse in Iraq. [If you can't get it at the previous link, try here.]

Obsidian Wings has a great post about this. OW quotes:

Some of the [Powerpoint] slides were about the laws of war, the Geneva Convention, but it was kind of a starting-off point for them to kind of spout off, you know: why we don’t have to follow these Geneva Convention articles and so forth. Like, you know, inhumane and degrading treatment, well, this specifically relates to POWs, so we don’t have to do this. So basically, we can do inhumane and degrading treatment. [Emphasis added.]

And then they went on to the actual treatment itself, what we were doing, what we’d signed off on and those types of things: cold water and nudity, strobe lights, loud music—that’s not inhumane because they’re able to rebound from it.

So, we can do inhumane and degrade treatment, even though this isn't! So, either way, we're covered!!

Yeah, we're covered, all right. In the same mud and shit and dishonor as those we maltreat.

Obsidian ends on a hopeful note, a reminder that we -- America "we" -- contain multitudes: The horrible things in this report--yes, they are part of what America is, now. But so are the human rights workers who wrote it. So are the soldiers who came forward. So is every citizen who decides this has to end.

Let's all be citizens who decide it has to end.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Protests in London

Israel Kills More In Lebanon: Media Black Out Protests

Senator Inhofe is Blind to the Truth

Because it's so damn inconvenient for him, isn't it?

Sen. Inhofe: ‘Gore Is Full of Crap,’ ‘All Recent Science…Confirms This Thing Is A Hoax’

You sure about that, Senator? Because there's an awful lot of recent science says it ain't.

Maybe if he wasn't using fiction authors as expert witnesses, this would be more obvious.

Orcinus on Eliminationism

The Origins of "eliminationism"

The eliminationist mind-set that characterized virtually all who spoke out on the "Jewish Problem" from the end of the eighteenth century onward was another constant in Germans' thinking about Jews. For Germany to be properly ordered, regulated, and, for many, safeguarded, Jewishness had to be eliminated from German society. What "elimination" -- in the sense of successfully ridding Germany of Jewishness -- meant, and the manner in which this was to be done, was unclear and hazy to many, and found no consensus during the period of modern German antisemitism. But the necessity of the elimination of Jewishness was clear to all. It followed from the conception of the Jews as alien invaders of the German body social. If two people are conceived of as binary opposites, with the qualities of goodness inhering in one people, and those of evil in the other, then the exorcism of that evil from the shared social and temporal space, by whatever means, would be urgent, an imperative. "The German Volk," asserted one antisemite before the midpoint of the century, "needs only to topple the Jew" in order to become "united and free."
Of course, I'm struck in that passage by how easily one could replace "Jewishness" with "liberalism" and "liberals" in much of the current environment -- as well as a number of other targets for right-wing elimination, particularly illegal immigrants.'

As am I.

NASA Mission Statement

NASA's mission statement changed oh-so-quietly. NASA’s Goals Delete Mention of Home Planet

From 2002 until this year, NASA’s mission statement, prominently featured in its budget and planning documents, read: “To understand and protect our home planet; to explore the universe and search for life; to inspire the next generation of explorers ... as only NASA can.”

In early February, the statement was quietly altered, with the phrase “to understand and protect our home planet” deleted. In this year’s budget and planning documents, the agency’s mission is “to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.”


Several NASA researchers said they were upset that the change was made at NASA headquarters without consulting the agency’s 19,000 employees or informing them ahead of time.

As usual. Why do publicly what you can do secretly? That's the White House motto.