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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

    Name:
    Location: The mouth of being

    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Friday, May 30, 2008

    Ten republican attorneys general ask California to put same-sex marriage ruling on hold

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    Hopefully the Future of Bush Administration lackeys

    Gen Mirko Norac in court in June 2007A Croatian court has convicted a former general, Mirko Norac, of war crimes against Serbs.

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    NORAD had drills of jets as weapons

    In the two years before the Sept. 11 attacks, the North American Aerospace Defense Command conducted exercises simulating what the White House says was unimaginable at the time: hijacked airliners used as weapons to crash into targets and cause mass casualties.

    One of the imagined targets was the World Trade Center. In another exercise, jets performed a mock shootdown over the Atlantic Ocean of a jet supposedly laden with chemical poisons headed toward a target in the United States. In a third scenario, the target was the Pentagon — but that drill was not run after Defense officials said it was unrealistic, NORAD and Defense officials say.

    NORAD, in a written statement, confirmed that such hijacking exercises occurred. It said the scenarios outlined were regional drills, not regularly scheduled continent-wide exercises.

    "Numerous types of civilian and military aircraft were used as mock hijacked aircraft," the statement said. "These exercises tested track detection and identification; scramble and interception; hijack procedures; internal and external agency coordination and operational security and communications security procedures."

    [...]

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    McClellan: 'Glad' to testify about White House

    Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said Friday that he would be willing to comply with a possible congressional subpoena to discuss the administration's handling of prewar intelligence, telling CNN's Wolf Blitzer he'd be "glad to share my views" if asked to testify.
    [...]

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    Scott McClellan Apologizes for Bashing Richard Clarke

    Clarke, McClellan

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    Thursday, May 29, 2008

    Hey Colin! What's Your Favorite US run "detention" Camp

    The image “http://www.facade.com/celebrity/photo/Colin_Powell.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

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    A strong earthquake measuring 6.1 has hit southern Iceland, 50km (30 miles) from the capital, Reykjavik.

    Photos of seismograph at the Institute of the Earth Sciences, University of Iceland (Marin Ivan Kardjilov)

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    Milky Way's mass is drastically reduced

    The motions of nearly 2500 stars were measured in order to weigh the Milky Way (Illustration: Axel Quetz/Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics-Heidelberg/SDSS-II Collaboration)

    The Sun resides in a large galaxy called the Milky Way. As in other galaxies, most of the Milky Way's mass is in the form of dark matter, a mysterious, invisible substance that only reveals its presence by the way its gravity tugs on stars and gas.

    In order to measure the mass of the galaxy, astronomers measure the speeds of stars as they orbit around it. The faster they move, the greater the mass of the galaxy must be to keep them from escaping into intergalactic space.

    Two trillion Suns

    Previous studies of the speeds of 50 to 500 stars suggested the Milky Way's mass is about 2 trillion times the mass of the Sun. Other studies have measured the speeds of dwarf galaxies thought to be orbiting the Milky Way and arrived at about the same figure.

    But a new study that measured the velocities of nearly 2500 stars suggests that the true mass is just under 1 trillion Suns.

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    Michigan, a state full of nincompoops who can't vote their own best interests

    Republican presidential hopeful John McCain could break Democrats' long-standing hold on Michigan, a poll indicates.

    For 16 years, Michigan has supported the Democratic presidential nominee, The Detroit News reported Thursday.

    WXYZ-Action News poll shows McCain leading in the Wolverine State by four points. He leads Democrat Barack Obama 44 percent to 40 percent.

    The poll showed if Obama taps Democratic rival Hillary Clinton as his running mate he could beat McCain if the Arizona's running mate is former rival Mitt Romney.

    In a hypothetical matchup between Obama and Clinton versus McCain and Romney, the Democratic duo would win 51 percent to 44 percent, the newspaper reported.

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    Exxon Investors Reject Green Resolutions. Hold Them Criminally Responsible

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    Exxon "we are above the law"

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    Chevron Corp. blasted for environmental, rights abuses in Ecuador, Nigeria and Myanmar

    [...]
    Despite the vocal complaints, Chevron shareholders soundly rejected six resolutions that would create new company policies on human rights and environmental protection.

    In Ecuador, Chevron faces a multibillion-dollar lawsuit by 30,000 jungle settlers and Indians who allege the company failed to clean up billions of gallons of toxic wastewater produced by Texaco Petroleum Co., which Chevron acquired in 2001.

    At Wednesday's meeting, activist Luis Yanza told O'Reilly that the contamination has poisoned the land and sickened thousands of people who live in the Ecuadorean Amazon.

    "We will never rest until we have obtained justice," said Yanza, who was named a winner of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize last month.

    O'Reilly acknowledged there were serious environmental problems in Ecuador but said the company had already spent $40 million on environmental cleanup and was released from liability by the Ecuadorean government.
    [...]
    Chevron faces another lawsuit by Nigerians who claim that the company hired soldiers who shot and killed protesters at an offshore oil platform in the Niger Delta in 1998. The company claims the protesters were armed youths who were shot after they demanded money and took more than 200 workers hostage.

    The case is set to go to trial in San Francisco later this year.

    Larry Bowoto, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, told shareholders Wednesday that he was "shot by soldiers bought and paid for by Chevron" exactly 10 years ago when he was on an oil barge protesting environmental damage caused by oil operations.

    "Chevron has responded with violence when Nigerian villagers have protested," Bowoto said.

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    Just Like The Third World Police State We've Become:Marines plan urban combat training in Indiana cities

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    Anyone Who Thinks The Republican Party Has not Destroyed America is a dumbass. I include Clintons and other neoliberal dims in republikkkan category

    [...]

    We've all heard of schools closing because of heavy snowfall, but what about high gas prices?

    That's just what is happening in some of the nation's most rural and remote school districts. As the price of gas continues to climb, they're shutting their doors one day a week in order to save on heating and busing costs.

    The MACCRAY School District in western Minnesota voted earlier this month to switch to a four-day school week beginning in September. The decision to close the schools on Mondays will mean slightly longer hours on the other four days, but it will also mean a three-day weekend, every week.

    [...]

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    Monday, May 26, 2008

    light up ya lighter

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    A drop in the bucket compared to even the daily costs of Iraq Occupation

    Faced with a shortfall of more than 14,000 tons of rice, and with more pressing needs to meet, the World Food Program stopped the free breakfasts in March. The schools' remaining stocks are expected to run out in the coming days.

    That will leave students without what was often the best meal they got all day.

    "I feel hopeless," said Boeurn Srey Leak, a 15-year-old in sixth grade.

    Rich countries have pledged $469 million for food aid to address what is expected to be a $755 million deficit, due to food prices that have risen 76 percent since December. The U.S., already the largest provider of food aid, is expected to contribute almost a third of that money. If Congress approves, the U.S. will contribute $770 million more to be available after Oct. 1.

    But the money will not arrive in time to save some food programs from being cut or ended.

    "I don't think there is a single program that doesn't have some kind of concerns because they have to scale down," said Susana Rico, an official of the World Food Program which feeds almost 89 million people worldwide, including 58.8 million children. "The majority of countries will suffer some kind of cutbacks in rations or programs in the next three to five months."

    The numbers are grim. In Burundi, Kenya and Zambia, hundreds of thousands of people face cuts in food rations after June. In Iraq, 500,000 recipients will likely lose food aid. In Yemen, it's 320,000 households, including children and the sick.

    Private aid agencies based in the U.S. also said food price hikes are hurting their projects.
    [...]

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    Would You Like Fries With That Big, Fat GOP contribution? Good Riddance to Simplot

    [...]
    After pioneering the first commercial frozen French fry in the late 1940s, Simplot eventually became a major supplier of Idaho potatoes to McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's. His privately held company, where he was chairman emeritus, reported $3.3 billion in sales in 2006.
    [...]

    The Simplot company also operates a feedlot business, with operations in Idaho and Washington turning out about 400,000 head of cattle per year.

    The company owns and operates fertilizer manufacturing plants in Idaho, and a Simplot company called Grower Solutions has about 70 stores selling agricultural products in the West.

    [...]

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    Sunday, May 25, 2008

    Mac-Lax

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    Vast cracks appear in Arctic ice

    Scientists travelling with the troops found major new fractures during an assessment of the state of giant ice shelves in Canada's far north.

    The team found a network of cracks that stretched for more than 10 miles (16km) on Ward Hunt, the area's largest shelf.

    The fate of the vast ice blocks is seen as a key indicator of climate change.
    One of the expedition's scientists, Derek Mueller of Trent University, Ontario, told me: "I was astonished to see these new cracks.

    "It means the ice shelf is disintegrating, the pieces are pinned together like a jigsaw but could float away," Dr Mueller explained.

    According to another scientist on the expedition, Dr Luke Copland of the University of Ottawa, the new cracks fit into a pattern of change in the Arctic.

    "We're seeing very dramatic changes; from the retreat of the glaciers, to the melting of the sea ice.

    "We had 23% less (sea ice) last year than we've ever had, and what's happening to the ice shelves is part of that picture."

    When ice shelves break apart, they drift offshore into the ocean as "ice islands", transforming the very geography of the coastline.

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    Russia and China condemn U.S. missile shield plan.

    [...]
    Both sides believe that creating a global missile defence system, including deploying such systems in certain regions of the world, or plans for such cooperation, do not help support strategic balance and stability, and harm international efforts to control arms and the non-proliferation process," Russia and China said in a joint statement.
    [...]

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    China: Quake toll could hit 80,000

    An earthquake survivor cooks food outdoors at the Guangji Township, the day of a powerful aftershock in China on Sunday

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    Mars Lander Not the Only Thing Touching Down. Tornadoes are 'on a record pace'

    TornadoTornado trends

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    Phoenix Mars probe touches down

    Powered landing of Phoenix (Nasa)

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    Aimee Mann - Pavlov's Bell

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    More Poison and/or problematic Industrial Food

    [...]

    A meat-free burger returned Friday to the Vancouver company’s chain of 39 regional restaurants, albeit in an altered form. The Oregon Harvest Burger is made by Chez Gourmet from Marie, a company owned by Lake Oswego, Ore., resident Marie Osmunson.

    The sudden veggie patty shift occurred after Burgerville employees noticed a package of Gardenburgers opened May 16 didn’t look right. Ursula Herrick, a spokeswoman for Burgerville’s parent company Holland Inc., said the Gardenburgers posed no health risk, but manufacturer Kellogg Co. asked that any remaining products be returned.

    That left a void Osmunson gladly filled.

    “If I have to help them out for a short time, that’s awesome, and if I become more than that, that’s awesome,” she said.

    Kellogg spokeswoman Susanne Norwitz wrote in an e-mail that there were no food safety concerns with the Gardenburger, yet asked that any patties made between March 4 and May 6 be returned. Norwitz didn’t say exactly why Kellogg wants the Gardenburgers back, but said it was related to construction at a Utah factory. She said Kellogg hopes to resume production soon.

    [...]

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    Notice How These Clever Pigs Steal the Acronym for the Congress of Racial Equality

    When Illinois utility Commonwealth Edison wanted state lawmakers to back a hefty rate hike two years ago, it took a creative lobbying approach, concocting a new outfit that seemed devoted to the public interest: Consumers Organized for Reliable Electricity, or CORE. CORE ran TV ads warning of a "California-style energy crisis" if the rate increase wasn't approved—but without disclosing the commercials were funded by Commonwealth Edison. The ad campaign provoked a brief uproar when its ties to the utility, which is owned by Exelon Corp., became known. "It's corporate money trying to hoodwink the public," the state's Democratic Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn said. What got scant notice then—but may soon get more scrutiny—is that CORE was the brainchild of ASK Public Strategies, a consulting firm whose senior partner is David Axelrod, now chief strategist for Barack Obama.

    [...]

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    Bush to Raise Money For McCain, Help McCain Contimue same Policies that have been so great for America

    http://msnbcmedia2.msn.com/j/msnbc/Components/Photos/040311/040311_hmed_mccainbush_10a.hmedium.jpg

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    Say Goodnight Dick

    Dick Martin, the zany half of the comedy team whose "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" took television by storm in the 1960s, making stars of Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin and creating such national catch-phrases as "Sock it to me!" has died. He was 86.
    [...]Dick Martin on Match Game '78

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    Thursday, May 22, 2008

    Kkkarl Rove, Chief Leech of GOP Slime Machine and FAUX News Operative


    May 20, 2008 | It has now been more than three months since Karl Rove first appeared on television as a Fox News political analyst on Feb 5. In no fewer than 57 appearances, he has increasingly been welcomed into the Fox News fraternity, even joking that the "Hannity & Colmes" show should be renamed the "Colmes & Rove" show. After departing from a Bush administration in political tatters last August, he has reemerged to hold forth at length on the 2008 presidential race. And he may have plenty of seasoned political wisdom to offer Fox's audience. Rove, however, is playing a strategic role that he and the network refuse to reveal to viewers.

    Fox News hosts routinely introduce Rove as a "former senior advisor to President Bush," "the architect," a "political wizard" and a "famed political consultant." But never has he been introduced as he should be -- as an informal advisor and maxed-out donor to John McCain's presidential campaign.

    To political news junkies, a disclosure of Rove's relationship to the McCain campaign may seem unnecessary. But whether the public simply assumes that Rove supports McCain isn't the point. The "most influential pundit" in America, as Fox likes to trumpet, should have to play by the same rules as other high-profile political analysts. For example, Paul Begala and James Carville are regularly identified as supporters of Hillary Clinton when they appear on CNN. But Rove has been able to act as an independent observer while criticizing Clinton and Barack Obama, McCain's likely general election opponent.

    [...]

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    Rove, as Usual, Ignores Laws, Defies Congress

    [...]

    In a letter to the former White House adviser's attorney, Committee Chairman John Conyers and several other Democrats said Rove's written responses would not allow for give & take questioning. They asked Rove to reconsider his refusal to testify in person and under oath, asking him to respond by May 21.

    The committee has threatened to subpoena Rove about allegations that he pushed the Justice Department to prosecute Siegelman, who was convicted in 2006 on corruption charges and sentenced to more than seven years in prison.

    [...]

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    Wednesday, May 21, 2008

    Reuters seeks new inquiry into Iraq hotel deaths brought about by American War Criminals

    [...]

    Reuters News, part of global information company Thomson Reuters, said it would write to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee to push for another inquiry after a report by U.S. Internet news and current affairs broadcaster Democracy Now.

    On May 15, Democracy Now (www.democracynow.org) posted an interview with a former U.S. army sergeant in military intelligence who said that prior to the invasion she had been given a list of targets for potential attack that included the Palestine Hotel.

    The sergeant, Adrienne Kinne, said she had also been ordered to eavesdrop on the telephone conversations of journalists who were staying at the hotel.

    Kinne, who served in the military from 1994 until 2004, said she was surprised to see the hotel listed as a potential target given the number of foreign media there, she told Democracy Now in a lengthy interview posted on its website.

    A large foreign media contingent stayed at the Palestine Hotel in central Baghdad in the lead-up to the invasion and then during the war that toppled Saddam.

    Kinne said the list of targets had been circulated in an e-mail that she had received.

    [...]

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    analysis of the net worth of the 535 members of Congress

    The nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation on Tuesday posted the first analysis of the net worth of the 535 members of Congress. The numbers are in inflation-adjusted 2006 dollars from as far back as 1995 to 2006. Here's a look at lawmakers' rising and falling fortunes:

    The fastest climber: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's average net worth grew from negative $6 million to $30.7 million from 2000 to 2006, the fastest financial climb in recent years for any member of Congress who started out with no assets.

    The contender: Sen. Barack Obama's estimated net worth rose from $328,442 in 2004 to $799,006 in 2006.

    Finding middle ground: Sen. John McCain reported a $27.6 million surge in his average net worth -- the midpoint between the lowest and highest ranges of his and his wife's assets listed on his Senate financial disclosure forms -- from 1995 to 2006. He and his wife, Cindy, rose from an average net worth of $8.9 million to an average of $36.4 million, the ninth-fastest biggest upward move in Congress.

    The wealthiest: Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., left, with a net worth estimated at $409.4 million. She was followed by Rep. Daryl Issa, R-Calif., at $337.4 million and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., with a fortune estimated at $267.8 million.

    At the bottom: Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., with an estimated minus $4.7 million. The average net worth of Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., slid from $78.1 million to a negative $1.8 million. In all, 178 reported declines in their average net worth. Six reported no assets, including Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill.

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    US official: Push to ban cluster bombs would hurt US peacekeeping work

    Stephen Mull, an assistant secretary of state, briefed reporters at the State Department to explain why the United States was not attending a gathering in Ireland of representatives of more than 100 nations working on a treaty to ban the bombs blamed for killing or maiming civilians as their mini-bombs explode months or years after they are dropped.

    A critic of the US position, Marc Garlasco, senior military analyst for Human Rights Watch, said in a telephone interview from Dublin that it was outrageous for Mull to link US military humanitarian work with the United States' "failed policy on cluster munitions."

    That would hinder humanitarian work of the type the United States is involved in now in Myanmar and China, he said. American warships and planes often are used to respond to earthquakes, typhoons, cyclones and other disasters around the world.

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    Oil soars to settle above $133

    [...]

    U.S. light crude for July delivery settled at $133.17 a barrel, up $4.19, on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prior to the 10:30 a.m. ET report, oil was down 29 cents to $128.69.

    Over the last four days, oil has gained more than $9 per barrel.

    "There is a tremendous amount of fear and greed driving this market," said Stephen Schork, publisher of industry newsletter The Schork Report. "This is a runaway train. I don't think the fundamentals justify the runup."

    Earlier Wednesday, oil prices soared past $130 a barrel for the first time amid continuing supply concerns and a weakening dollar. The contract retreated just before the government data were released.

    [...]

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    I have the Perfect Solution. Nationalize the Oil Companies. Take all their profit. Toss them in Prison.

    I mean, what are they going to do? Their own personal military paid for by American taxpayers is already bogged down in Iraq trying to steal oil.

    Big Oil defends profits before irate senators


    WASHINGTON - On a day oil prices leaped to unheard-of highs, senators lined up Big Oil's biggest executives and pummeled them with complaints that they're pretending to be "hapless victims" while raking in record profits.


    It's all about economics, came the reply. Supply and demand. The company leaders tried to shift attention from motorists' anger over $4-a-gallon gasoline to a debate over new areas for drilling.

    But senators at the Judiciary Committee hearing weren't having any of that. They wanted to press the executives about public anguish over paying $60 or more to fill up a car's gas tank.

    "People we represent are hurting, the companies you represent are profiting," Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., told the executives. He said there's a "disconnect" between legitimate supply issues and the oil and gasoline prices motorists are seeing.

    The executives, sitting shoulder to shoulder in the hearing room, said they understood people were hurting, but they tried to blunt the emotion with economic analysis.

    Profits have been huge "in absolute terms," conceded J. Stephen Simon, executive vice president of Exxon Mobil Corp., but they "must be viewed in the context of the massive scale of our industry." And high earnings "in the current up cycle" are needed for investments in the long term, including when profits will be down.

    "'Current up cycle,' that's a nice term when people can't afford to go to work" because gasoline is costing so much, replied Leahy with sarcasm.

    "The fundamental laws of supply and demand are at work," said John Hofmeister, chairman of Shell Oil Co., acknowledging it is something the oil industry has been saying for some time and that the explanation may sound "repetitive and uninteresting."

    Hofmeister was joined by executives of Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., BP America Inc. and ConocoPhilips Co. Together the five companies earned $36 billion during the first three months of this year.

    As the executives sought to explain their profits and why prices are so high, the global oil markets were moving into new, uncharted highs, touching $133 a barrel for the first time. The national average price of a gallon of gasoline hit $3.80, with $4 showing up in more places. Crude prices increased even more in late electronic trading Wednesday hitting $134 for the first time.

    It was the second time this year the executives had been summoned to testify before Congress. When they came in early April oil cost about $98 a barrel.

    This time the exchanges got personal.

    Simon was asked what his total compensation was at Exxon, a company that made $40.6 billion last year. Simon replied it was $12.5 million.

    John Lowe, executive vice president of ConocoPhillips Co., said he didn't recall his total compensations. So did Peter Robertson, vice chairman of Chevron Corp. Hofmeister said his was "about $2.2 million" but was not among the top five salaries at his company's international parent. Robert Malone, chairman of BP America Inc., put his "in excess of $2 million."

    Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., noting that Exxon's profits had nearly quadrupled from $11.5 billion in 2002, said he had heard nothing from the oilmen that would explain "why profits have gone up so high when the consumer is suffering so much."

    The executives, appearing under oath, cited tight global supplies with scant spare production capacity and the fact that large areas of land and offshore waters remain off limits to drilling. And they said they're worried Congress was talking of requiring the five companies to pay more taxes.

    [...]

    That's right. These corporate scum are jacking oil sky high because they want to drill in places they should never be allowed to drill. It's called blackmail. They are a gang of international criminals. They start wars, fund disinformation campaigns and deliberately destroy economies and nature.

    They should be taxed out of existence and the recovered funds should be use to develop new energy sources and implement them around the globe. I wonder how many oil company heads went to Paris with Poppy Bush to arrange the installation of Reagan?

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    Monday, May 19, 2008

    bid to ban hybrid human animal embryos was defeated

    A human embryo

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    Saturday, May 17, 2008

    An epidemic of extinctions: Decimation of life on earth

    The world's species are declining at a rate "unprecedented since the extinction of the dinosaurs", a census of the animal kingdom has revealed. The Living Planet Index out today shows the devastating impact of humanity as biodiversity has plummeted by almost a third in the 35 years to 2005.

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    Again, a reminder - Jimmy Carter in 1977 or how the right wing destroyed America

    [...]
    We simply must balance our demand for energy with our rapidly shrinking resources. By acting now, we can control our future instead of letting the future control us.
    [...]

    Each new inventory of world oil reserves has been more disturbing than the last. World oil production can probably keep going up for another six or eight years. But some time in the 1980s it can't go up much more. Demand will overtake production. We have no choice about that.

    But we do have a choice about how we will spend the next few years. Each American uses the energy equivalent of 60 barrels of oil per person each year. Ours is the most wasteful nation on earth. We waste more energy than we import. With about the same standard of living, we use twice as much energy per person as do other countries like Germany, Japan and Sweden.

    One choice is to continue doing what we have been doing before. We can drift along for a few more years.

    Our consumption of oil would keep going up every year. Our cars would continue to be too large and inefficient. Three-quarters of them would continue to carry only one person -- the driver -- while our public transportation system continues to decline. We can delay insulating our houses, and they will continue to lose about 50 percent of their heat in waste.

    We can continue using scarce oil and natural to generate electricity, and continue wasting two-thirds of their fuel value in the process.

    If we do not act, then by 1985 we will be using 33 percent more energy than we do today.

    We can't substantially increase our domestic production, so we would need to import twice as much oil as we do now. Supplies will be uncertain. The cost will keep going up. Six years ago, we paid $3.7 billion for imported oil. Last year we spent $37 billion -- nearly ten times as much -- and this year we may spend over $45 billion.

    [...]

    Now we have a choice. But if we wait, we will live in fear of embargoes. We could endanger our freedom as a sovereign nation to act in foreign affairs. Within ten years we would not be able to import enough oil -- from any country, at any acceptable price.

    If we wait, and do not act, then our factories will not be able to keep our people on the job with reduced supplies of fuel. Too few of our utilities will have switched to coal, our most abundant energy source.

    We will not be ready to keep our transportation system running with smaller, more efficient cars and a better network of buses, trains and public transportation.

    [...]

    The first principle is that we can have an effective and comprehensive energy policy only if the government takes responsibility for it and if the people understand the seriousness of the challenge and are willing to make sacrifices.

    The second principle is that healthy economic growth must continue. Only by saving energy can we maintain our standard of living and keep our people at work. An effective conservation program will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

    The third principle is that we must protect the environment. Our energy problems have the same cause as our environmental problems -- wasteful use of resources. Conservation helps us solve both at once.

    The fourth principle is that we must reduce our vulnerability to potentially devastating embargoes. We can protect ourselves from uncertain supplies by reducing our demand for oil, making the most of our abundant resources such as coal, and developing a strategic petroleum reserve.

    The fifth principle is that we must be fair. Our solutions must ask equal sacrifices from every region, every class of people, every interest group. Industry will have to do its part to conserve, just as the consumers will. The energy producers deserve fair treatment, but we will not let the oil companies profiteer.

    The sixth principle, and the cornerstone of our policy, is to reduce the demand through conservation. Our emphasis on conservation is a clear difference between this plan and others which merely encouraged crash production efforts. Conservation is the quickest, cheapest, most practical source of energy. Conservation is the only way we can buy a barrel of oil for a few dollars. It costs about $13 to waste it.

    The seventh principle is that prices should generally reflect the true replacement costs of energy. We are only cheating ourselves if we make energy artificially cheap and use more than we can really afford.

    The eighth principle is that government policies must be predictable and certain. Both consumers and producers need policies they can count on so they can plan ahead. This is one reason I am working with the Congress to create a new Department of Energy, to replace more than 50 different agencies that now have some control over energy.

    The ninth principle is that we must conserve the fuels that are scarcest and make the most of those that are more plentiful. We can't continue to use oil and gas for 75 percent of our consumption when they make up seven percent of our domestic reserves. We need to shift to plentiful coal while taking care to protect the environment, and to apply stricter safety standards to nuclear energy.

    The tenth principle is that we must start now to develop the new, unconventional sources of energy we will rely on in the next century.

    These ten principles have guided the development of the policy I would describe to you and the Congress on Wednesday.

    Our energy plan will also include a number of specific goals, to measure our progress toward a stable energy system.

    These are the goals we set for 1985:

    --Reduce the annual growth rate in our energy demand to less than two percent.

    --Reduce gasoline consumption by ten percent below its current level.

    --Cut in half the portion of United States oil which is imported, from a potential level of 16 million barrels to six million barrels a day.

    --Establish a strategic petroleum reserve of one billion barrels, more than six months' supply.

    --Increase our coal production by about two thirds to more than 1 billion tons a year.

    --Insulate 90 percent of American homes and all new buildings.

    --Use solar energy in more than two and one-half million houses.

    We will monitor our progress toward these goals year by year. Our plan will call for stricter conservation measures if we fall behind.

    I cant tell you that these measures will be easy, nor will they be popular. But I think most of you realize that a policy which does not ask for changes or sacrifices would not be an effective policy.

    This plan is essential to protect our jobs, our environment, our standard of living, and our future.

    Whether this plan truly makes a difference will be decided not here in Washington, but in every town and every factory, in every home an don every highway and every farm.

    I believe this can be a positive challenge. There is something especially American in the kinds of changes we have to make. We have been proud, through our history of being efficient people.

    We have been proud of our leadership in the world. Now we have a chance again to give the world a positive example.

    And we have been proud of our vision of the future. We have always wanted to give our children and grandchildren a world richer in possibilities than we've had. They are the ones we must provide for now. They are the ones who will suffer most if we don't act.

    I've given you some of the principles of the plan.

    I am sure each of you will find something you don't like about the specifics of our proposal. It will demand that we make sacrifices and changes in our lives. To some degree, the sacrifices will be painful -- but so is any meaningful sacrifice. It will lead to some higher costs, and to some greater inconveniences for everyone.

    But the sacrifices will be gradual, realistic and necessary. Above all, they will be fair. No one will gain an unfair advantage through this plan. No one will be asked to bear an unfair burden. We will monitor the accuracy of data from the oil and natural gas companies, so that we will know their true production, supplies, reserves, and profits.

    The citizens who insist on driving large, unnecessarily powerful cars must expect to pay more for that luxury.

    We can be sure that all the special interest groups in the country will attack the part of this plan that affects them directly. They will say that sacrifice is fine, as long as other people do it, but that their sacrifice is unreasonable, or unfair, or harmful to the country. If they succeed, then the burden on the ordinary citizen, who is not organized into an interest group, would be crushing.

    There should be only one test for this program: whether it will help our country.

    [....]

    And then Reagan was installed through back door deals with Iranians by Poppy Bush, the traitor, and America began to decay at a furious rate in order to enrich a handful of corporate thugs

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    Oil sets record near $128; pump price at high, too

    A motorist fill a car with fuel at a gasoline station in Richmond, California. Major crude oil producer Iran said that any output hike by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as requested by the United States would not affect skyrocketing prices.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Justin Sullivan)

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    CEO Payout, however, is still Booming

    John Mack, Morgan Stanley
    After nearly $11 billion in write-downs last year and the first quarterly loss in company history, some investors demanded a showdown over Mack's pay. That confrontation didn’t materialize, and Mack survived without new limits.

    James Cayne, Bear Stearns
    Long before the recent meltdown, when Bear lost $10 billion in one day, the value of Cayne's stock had skyrocketed to about $1 billion and his compensation had reached $40 million.

    Bob Nardelli, Home Depot
    The mortgage crisis has made for tough times at Home Depot, which posted a drop in annual sales last year for the first time in three decades. Shareholders sued to stop Nardelli from leaving with a $210 million payout in 2007. Home Depot later settled.

    Stan O'Neal, Merrill Lynch
    Write-downs in the neighborhood of $30 billion over the past three quarters mean hard times ahead for ­Merrill. But O’Neal, the recently departed C.E.O., walked away from the mess in October with $162 million.

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    Massive Wall Street Layoffs

    [...]

    While the financial markets have found a bit of a footing lately, banks are pushing ahead with plans for some of the deepest job reductions in years. Since last summer, banks worldwide have announced plans to cut 65,000 employees.

    But exactly how many jobs have been or will be eliminated is unclear. In the past, banks typically made sharp reductions all at once. After the 1987 stock market crash, for example, employees were herded into conference rooms and dismissed en masse.

    This time, companies are making many small cuts over the course of weeks or even months. Some people who have lost jobs, and many more struggling to hold them, say banks are keeping employees in the dark about the size and timing of layoffs.

    Citigroup, for example, said last year that it would eliminate 17,000 jobs, or about 5 percent of its work force. Then in January, Citi said it would dismiss 4,200 more people. In April, it said an additional 8,700 would go.

    By contrast, after the financial upheaval of 1998, when many Wall Street banks pared payrolls, Citigroup eliminated 10,600 jobs, or about 6 percent of its work force at the time.

    [...]

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    Obama Is Target of GOP Jabs at Gathering of Nincompoops

    Karl RoveKkkarl Rove, shit stain.

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    Professional Nincompooop and Presidential Choice of Religious Right Mike Huckabeast

    REPUBLICAN PRIMARY
    [...]
    As Huckabee was delivering his remarks, there was a thumping sound offstage.

    "That was Barack Obama, he just tripped off a chair, he's getting ready to speak," Huckabee joked. "Somebody aimed a gun at him and he dove for the floor."

    Huckabee late Friday issued a statement apologizing for the remark, The New York Times reported.
    [...]

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    U.S. Planning Big New Prison in Afghanistan. Big Boost To War Profiteers.

    [...]

    Military officials have long been aware of serious problems with the existing detention center in Afghanistan, the Bagram Theater Internment Facility. After the prison was set up in early 2002, it became a primary site for screening prisoners captured in the fighting. Harsh interrogation methods and sleep deprivation were used widely, and two Afghan detainees died there in December 2002, after being repeatedly struck by American soldiers.

    [....]

    The Pentagon is planning to use $60 million in emergency construction funds this fiscal year to build a complex of 6 to 10 semi-permanent structures resembling Quonset huts, each the size of a football field, a Defense Department official said. The structures will have more natural light, and each will have its own recreation area. There will be a half-dozen other buildings for administration, medical care and other purposes, the official said.

    The new Bagram compound is expected to be built away from the existing center of operations on the base, on the other side of a long airfield from the headquarters building that now sits almost directly adjacent to the detention center, one military official said.

    It will have its own perimeter security wall, and its own perimeter security guards, a change that will increase the number of soldiers required to operate the detention center.

    The military plans to request $24 million in fiscal year 2009 and $7.4 million in fiscal year 2010 to pay for educational programs, job training and other parts of what American officials call a reintegration plan. After that, the Pentagon plans to pay about $7 million a year in training and operational costs.

    [...]

    But the senators, in a May 15 letter to the deputy defense secretary, Gordon England, demanded that the Pentagon explain its long-term plans for detention in Afghanistan and consult the Afghan government on the project.

    The population at Bagram began to swell after administration officials halted the flow of prisoners to Guantánamo in September 2004, a cutoff that largely remains in effect. At the same time, the population of detainees at Bagram also began to rise with the resurgence of the Taliban.

    Military personnel who know both Bagram and Guantánamo describe the Afghan site, 40 miles north of Kabul, as far more spartan. Bagram prisoners have fewer privileges, less ability to contest their detention and no access to lawyers.

    Some detainees have been held without charge for more than five years, officials said. As of April, about 10 juveniles were being held at Bagram, according to a recent American report to a United Nations committee.


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    Iraq Veterans Describe Atrocities to Lawmakers

    [...]

    "On several occasions our convoys came upon bodies that had been lying on the road, sometimes for weeks," said Marine Corps veteran Vincent Emanuele, who served in al-Qaim near the Syrian border in 2004 and 2005.

    "When encountering these bodies standard procedure was to run over the corpses, sometimes even stopping and taking pictures, which was also standard practice when encountering the dead in Iraq," he told the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which organized the hearing.

    [...]

    Nine veterans of the Iraq war told their stories before members of Congress and a packed gallery. One of the veterans had also served in Afghanistan. About 40 veterans were in the audience.

    The veterans spoke about extremely lax rules of engagement handed down by commanding officers, which they said virtually guaranteed atrocities would be committed, and which in turn created a violent backlash among Iraqi people and a continued cycle of violence.

    Former U.S. Army Capt. Luis Carlos Montalvan served directly under Gen. David Petraeus in 2005 and 2006.

    "We have beaten our drum to try to raise the issue of the dereliction of duty committed by a number of generals who have been promoted and promoted again and continue to perpetuate the lies [that] paint a rosy picture of the situation in Iraq," he said.

    Montalvan said he personally witnessed U.S. military personnel carrying out waterboarding, the mock-drowning interrogation technique that has long been considered torture by U.S. courts.

    [...]

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    Tuesday, May 13, 2008

    Venezuelan Traitor Praised in US. The Next Ahmed Chalabi ?

    Looks like the big Pentagon Propaganda machine is loaded, cocked and aimed at Hugo Chavez.

    CARACAS, Venezuela — For his outspoken opposition to President Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's best-known college student has been called a U.S. collaborator and has had his nose broken in a scuffle.

    Known best to ..... ? Who can name a single other Venezuelan college student? Anyone?

    On a wall opposite the converted garage where Yon Goicoechea lives, graffiti denounces him as a defender of the rich and powerful. Now, state television airs a cartoon of him holding a fistful of dollars and stamped "Made in USA."

    Dollars with declining value thanks to the American right wing. These weak dollars are helping to make gas at the pump too expensive for impoverished America.


    Lately the attacks have intensified because of the $500,000 award he received last month from the Cato Institute, a U.S. think tank that advocates individual liberties and free markets, for his "pivotal role in organizing and voicing opposition to the erosion of human and civil rights in his country."

    "Free Market", the right wing euphemism for unregulated, unaccountable, predatory capitalism, and also the mantra uttered by multinational totalitarian organizations who prey in the name of profit upon governments and people; aka corporations.

    In America, thanks to republicans (with an assist by dumbocrats) such corporations are increasingly unimpeded by labor law, environmental regulation and even common sense.

    Markets have nothing to do with democracy. If the United States doesn't provide example enough, look at totalitarian china, a capitalist regime rife with markets. Where's the democracy?

    Cato Institute also has a symbiotic relationship with corporate captains who have destroyed America for profit. Because Cato Institute is not just a supporter of unregulated capitalism that destroys democracy and shifts power into the hands of a relatively few extraordinarily wealthy robber barons and corporate chieftains. These organizations fund Cato and Cato does their public relations.

    Cato supports Big Oil (including
    Exxon Mobil), Big Tobacco, Secret Campaign Funding, Social Security Privatization, and a whole gob of other loony, fuck the public, right wing, frothing for billions schemes that are completely unsustainable and have already left the world such a wreck many of us are beginning to wonder if our species will last another 100 years.

    These companies that have done so much to destroy America, to lower the standard of living and erase even the semblance of democracy, also generously financially support Cato and other right wing think tanks, members of whom are trotted out on MSM TV as "experts" on topic like Venezuela.

    The 23-year-old law student and protest leader arrives in the U.S. today and will collect the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, named for the late Nobel laureate economist, in New York on Thursday.

    Friedman was one of the worst things to ever happen to America (and other places glommed onto by American multinationals). He provided right wing extremists their free market battle cry. But even the most cursory examination of his theories shows how ridiculous his ideas were. His Nobel should be rescinded.

    "In Venezuela you can't speak of democracy because all branches of government are controlled by one single branch," he said in an interview. "It's growing dangerously close to a totalitarian regime."

    Actually, that sounds like America under George Bush. In Venezuela a majority of the population supported Hugo Chavez for president. Apparently this boy is being rewarded for lying. American corporations want to take Venezuela's oil without paying a fair market price. They want to kill Chavez and replace him with a compliant dictator who will pocket millions, oppress the people, and play for the American multinationals. Just like Saddam in Iraq or Pinochet in Chile or the Shah in Iran or a hundred other examples around the globe.

    Still, his activities and occasional triumphs suggest Venezuela's opposition has room to maneuver, despite Chavez's efforts to tighten his socialist grip on the country.

    Chavez has worked within the law of his country to see to it that multinational oil companies leave some of the profit behind for the people who own the oil. And nothing upsets the rabid right war mongers like fair markets or social justice. Exxon Mobil especially would like to see Chavez dead.

    Goicoechea first drew attention last year, when he led protests against a government decision that forced an opposition TV channel off the air.

    Hmm. A typically vague statement, exactly the kind used in Psychological operations run by the pentagon, NSA and CIA against the American public as they try to head off any protests or dissent or democratic movements.A.. Link here for what really occurred.

    It runs in the family

    His big moment came when he helped organize protest marches and made passionate speeches against constitutional changes that would have included removing presidential term limits and giving Chavez emergency powers to suspend civil liberties.

    The reform was rejected in a December referendum, dealing Chavez his worst political defeat.

    Goicoechea says an early influence was his Cuban-born grandmother, who left the island in the 1940s and became an ardent foe of Fidel Castro.

    Goicoechea was just 14 when Chavez was elected in 1998, and says she warned him: "That guy's a communist."

    An honor student at the private Andres Bello Catholic University, he emerged as a charismatic speaker while rallying students to vote "no" to Chavez's "dictatorial reform" and calling for "struggle against totalitarianism."

    I need to see some proof , proof that Chavez is a totalitarian, not just this name calling supported by a handful of people who stand to profit to an obscene level by getting rid of Chavez. Since he is overwhelmingly popular in his country and has the overwhelming support of Venezuela, just how is he a dictator? Face it, Goicoechea is another Curveball or Ahmed Chalabi, a traitor and liar and willing to get a whole bunch of his country men killed in order to line his own pocket.

    Chavez dismissed last year's protests as rich kids serving his critics in Washington. The $500,000 from the Cato Institute has led to posters going up on Caracas streets calling Goicoechea "Half-a-Million Yon." Mario Silva, a pro-Chavez talk show host, says the student is "a launderer of money that's going to be used to continue conspiring against Venezuela."

    At a university event where Goicoechea was to speak last year, he was pummeled by several young men in the crowd, emerging with a fractured nose.

    I'd like to spank his ass myself.

    Goicoechea is unapologetic about accepting the prize. He says he is still studying the legal requirements for bringing the prize money into Venezuela but wants to use it to develop a foundation and train others in Latin America who share his values.

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    Psychopath Bill O'Reilly

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    Monday, May 12, 2008

    Bush Seeking War in Venezuela?

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    Sunday, May 11, 2008

    Venus of Willendorf

    http://www.worth1000.com/entries/199500/199859OtVS_w.jpg

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    Families demand answers in Iraq electrocutions Caused By Military Privatization

    Maseth's electrocution, the latest of 14 among service personnel in Iraq since 2003, set into motion a series of events to determine how and why these deaths occurred.

    In March, a congressional committee started an investigation into all Iraq electrocutions. A month later, Maseth's parents sued the defense contractor responsible for the Chinese electrical system, alleging it failed to meet U.S. safety standards. And now, families across the country say they want more detailed information about the earlier deaths of loved ones.

    "I want answers, not revenge," said Bart Cedergren of South St. Paul, Minn., who suspects his son died of electrocution Sept. 11, 2005, near Iskandariyah, Iraq.



    No one knows whether everyone serving in Iraq is aware of the potential for electrocution, despite warnings in an October 2004 report by Army safety specialist Brett Blount. He wrote that five soldiers were electrocuted in that fiscal year alone and advised military leaders to get electrical experts to inspect generators and electrical systems.

    Frank Trent of the Army Corps of Engineers said in the report that improper grounding was a "factor in nearly every electrocution and is a serious threat for soldiers and civilians there."



    n April, they sued KBR in federal court, alleging the firm inspected the facilities at the Radwaniyah complex where their son died. They claim the contractor knew that hazardous conditions existed from improper grounding of faulty electrical systems manufactured in China for sale only to countries outside the United States because they did not comply with U.S. electrical safety standards.

    The wrongful death lawsuit contends that the contractor knew of other electrocutions and failed to repair electrical problems, despite orders to do so from the Defense Contract Management Agency. It adds that KBR did nothing to warn U.S. troops.

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    Taser jolt can cause fatal heart rhythm, probe told

    [...]

    Ken Stethem, founder and chairman of Ageis Industries, told the public inquiry into Taser use that Taser International's methodology was flawed in designing, developing and deploying the conducted energy weapons (CEWs).

    Normally a company would develop medical and safety data, then test the product on animals and humans, Stethem told the inquiry.

    "In my humble opinion that's not how the current CEWs were developed and deployed. And that's why we're having problems today.

    Stethem disputed several claims made by Taser on medical evidence and safety connected to the device.

    He pointed to Taser's patent information that says the device puts out between 100 and 500 milliamps of electricity.

    Medical experts say it only takes about 100 milliamps to cause the heart to go into a fatal rhythm, Strethem told the inquiry.

    He said medical studies say low voltage electrocutions can happen without any visible evidence of injury.

    "Now the burden of proof has been shifted to the public that these aren't safe, instead of law enforcement and manufacturers that they are," Strethem told the inquiry.

    [...]

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    John McCains Conventiona Manager Lobbied for Military Dictatorshipin Myanmar

    Goodyear is chief executive of DCI Group, a lobbying firm that Newsweek reported in a story posted online was paid $348,000 in 2002 to represent Myanmar's junta.

    Cyclone Nargis left more than 60,000 people dead or missing, and the U.N. estimates that at least 1.5 million people have been severely affected. Human rights organizations and dissident groups have bitterly accused the junta of neglecting disaster victims and blocking foreign donations of relief supplies.

    According to Newsweek, Justice Department lobbying records show DCI pushed to "begin a dialogue of political reconciliation" with the regime and led a public relations campaign to improve the junta's image. Newsweek said the firm drafted news releases praising Burma's efforts to curb the drug trade and denouncing claims by the Bush administration that the regime engaged in rape and other abuses.

    "It was our only foreign representation, it was for a short tenure, and it was six years ago," Newsweek quoted Goodyear as saying. The magazine said Goodyear added that the junta's record in the current cyclone crisis is "reprehensible."

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    Analysis: Good economic news something of a mirage

    [...]

    Some seemingly good economic numbers can be something of a mirage masking weaknesses in the national economy.

    Let's take the unemployment rate, which dipped to 5 percent in April, from 5.1 percent in March. A closer look reveals that the decline in unemployment is not as good as it looks at first blush. The drop came as the number of people holding part-time jobs for economic reasons swelled to 5.2 million in April, up sharply from 4.4 million a year earlier.

    The dip in the unemployment rate also occurred as employers cut jobs for the fourth month in a row, pushing up total losses beyond the quarter-million mark — to 260,000. Wages barely grew and workers' hours were trimmed. Taken altogether, these things point to a tepid picture of employment conditions nationwide.

    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues recently used the word "softened" to describe the labor situation.

    U.S. productivity — an important ingredient to the country's long-term vitality — grew solidly in the first three months of this year. That efficiency gain, however, came at the expense of workers.

    "Productivity gains were due primarily to declines in hours worked," the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics explained. Those hours fell at a 1.8 percent pace, the biggest drop in five years. Employers also shed workers in the first quarter. Thus, companies were able to produce more with fewer workers, and that boosted productivity, the amount an employee produces for every hour of work.

    "American workers, you just got to love them," said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisers. "They just seem to produce more and more and more. That was the case in the first quarter of the year as fewer workers working fewer hours managed to produce more," he said.

    Still, healthy efficiency gains are important for the economy because they can blunt inflation; that's good for companies' profits and good for those earning paychecks.

    Let's take a closer look at the nation's trade deficit. It shrank to $58.2 billion in March as the United States' appetite for imports fell faster than foreign demand for U.S. exports.

    A drop in the United States' foreign oil bill — reflecting less oil being imported — played an important factor in the decline in imports. However, demand for foreign-made autos, furniture, toys, clothing and other goods also waned, underscoring the strains faced by U.S. consumers.

    Consumers have turned cautious, battered by housing and credit problems and high food and energy prices. Many — watching their single-biggest assets, their home, sink in value are less inclined to spend. High energy and food prices are leaving people with less cash to buy other things. And, harder-to-get credit has made financing big-ticket goods, like cars, appliances and of course, homes, more difficult.

    In the first quarter of this year, consumer spending increased at the slowest pace — a mere 1 percent growth rate — since the last recession in 2001. Consumer spending accounts for the single-biggest chunk of U.S. economic activity. Thus, how consumers behave shapes whether the country will survive the blows of the housing, credit and financial debacles or fall victim to them as many fear.

    U.S. exports, meanwhile, have been helped by the falling value of the U.S. dollar. That makes U.S.-made goods and services less expensive to foreign buyers. But that weaker dollar also makes imported goods more expensive in the United States. That contributes to the surging prices for oil, food and other commodities.

    And, while falling interest rates in the United States help ordinary people and businesses, it also contributes to the dollar's decline. Add to that the perception of economic weakness in the United States and the U.S. dollar has fallen to record lows compared with the euro.

    [...]

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    Ronald Reagan's War on Labor

    [...]
    Republican presidents never have had much regard for unions, which almost invariably have opposed their election. But until Reagan, no GOP president had dared to challenge labor's firm legal standing, gained through Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the mid-1930s.

    Reagan's Republican predecessors treated union leaders much as they treated Democratic members of Congress -- as people to be fought with at times, but also as people to be bargained with at other times. But Reagan engaged in precious little bargaining. He waged almost continuous war against organized labor.
    [...]
    Reagan's Labor Department was as one-sided as the NLRB. It became an anti-labor department, virtually ignoring, for instance, the union-busting consultants who were hired by many employers to fend off unionization. Very few consultants and very few of those who hired them were asked for the financial disclosure statements the law demands. Yet all unions were required to file the statements that the law required of them (and that could be used to advantage by their opponents). And though the department cut its overall budget by more than 10 percent, it increased the budget for such union-busting activities by almost 40 percent.

    Union-busting was only one aspect of Reagan's anti-labor policy. He attempted to lower the minimum wage for younger workers, ease the child labor and anti-sweatshop laws, tax fringe benefits, and cut back job training programs for the unemployed. He tried to replace thousands of federal employees with temporary workers who would not have civil service or union protections.

    The Reagan administration all but dismantled programs that required affirmative action and other steps against discrimination by federal contractors, and seriously undermined worker safety. It closed one-third of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's field offices, trimmed its staff by more than one-fourth and decreased the number of penalties assessed against employers by almost three-fourths.

    Rather than enforce the law, the administration sought "voluntary compliance" from employers on safety matters - and generally didn't get or expect it. The administration had so tilted the job safety laws in favor of employers that union safety experts found them virtually useless.

    The same could have been said of all other labor laws in the Reagan era. A statement issued at the time by the presidents of several major unions concluded it would have been more advantageous for those who worked for a living to ignore the laws and return "to the law of the jungle" that prevailed a half-century before.

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    Autoworkers union: American Axle proposal includes closing 3 plants

    [...]

    About 3,600 UAW members went on strike Feb. 26 at five plants in Michigan and New York in a dispute over wage and benefit cuts the company is seeking. The two sides failed to reach a new contract agreement.

    Unions members previously had said the company wanted to negotiate the closure of American Axle's Detroit and Tonawanda, New York, forge operations. Gettelfinger confirmed Saturday that those closings had been agreed upon.


    [...]
    Many of its U.S. competitors won deals from the United Auto Workers to pay newly hired workers about $14 (€9) per hour. But American Axle workers say they won't take that big of a pay cut from a company that made $37 million (€24 million) last year.

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    Burma exports rice as cyclone victims starve

    Children standing amid the debris of their village, which was destroyed by the cyclone, near the township of Kunyangon, Burma

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    Mad Cow. Is the Bush Administration Hiding an Epidemic of Mad cow?

    http://athena.bioc.uvic.ca/bioDoc/cuptonclass/copy7_of_copy12_of_copy10_of_sample/tsebrain

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    Bush administration Works To Stop Testing For Mad Cow Disease

    [...]

    The government seeks to reverse a lower court ruling that allowed Kansas-based Creekstone Farms Premium Beef to conduct more comprehensive testing to satisfy demand from overseas customers in Japan and elsewhere.

    Less than 1 percent of slaughtered cows are currently tested for the disease under Agriculture Department guidelines. The agency argues that more widespread testing does not guarantee food safety and could result in a false positive that scares consumers.

    "They want to create false assurances," Justice Department attorney Eric Flesig-Greene told a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

    [...]

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    Friday, May 09, 2008

    More About How the Rabid Right Agenda Destroyed America. And Friedman was getting Wrong even in 81

    [...]

    Mr. Reagan's supporters argue that his reduction of Government funding for solar development will put an end to the creeping ''solar socialism'' of the Carter era. Through its largesse, they say, the previous Administration attracted a great number of people who were enamored with the solar idea, but produced equipment that only the Department of Energy could afford to buy.

    [...]

    In addition to the development of what might be called direct solar energy, which depends on the sun's rays, solar is used in a wider sense to include biomass (wood and liquid fuels from vegetable matter and animal wastes), ocean thermals (the differences in temperature in ocean currents) and wind.

    The small manufacturers of low-technology solar collectors or passive solar equipment, who did not depend on Government contracts, report that decontrol of oil prices has finally made their end of the solar business viable. Passive equipment depends primarily on collecting heat from the sun in containers filled with liquids, usually water, and redistributing the heat through pipes.

    [...]

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    Great Article About How Right Wing Hero (and subject of homoerotic worship by repiglikkkan males) Reagan killed Transition to Solar Energy

    [...]
    "They're going to kill your study," the gray-suited informant warned Hayes, before slipping down the corridor.

    The study, a yearlong investigation by some of the nation's leading scientists, provided a convincing blueprint for a solar future. It showed that alternative energy could easily meet 28 percent of the nation's power needs by 2000. The only thing that solar and wind and other nonpolluting energy sources needed was a push, the study concluded -- the same research funding and tax credits provided to other energy industries, and a government committed to lead the way to reduced reliance on fossil fuels. But the messenger in the corridor signaled that the solar future would only be won with a little guerrilla warfare. Hayes phoned a colleague at his office in Golden, Colorado, and told him to make 100 copies of the study and circulate them around the country. Energy Secretary Jim Edwards killed the study, all right, but not before it had been published in the Congressional Record.

    It was a bold gesture, but not enough to alter the outcome. The quashed study proved to be the beginning of the end. The budget for the solar institute -- which President Jimmy Carter had created to spearhead solar innovation -- was slashed from $124 million in 1980 to $59 million in 1982. Scientists who had left tenured university jobs to work under Hayes were given two weeks notice and no severance pay. The squelching of the institute -- later partly re-funded and renamed the National Renewable Energy Laboratory -- marked the start of Reagan's campaign against solar power. By the end of 1985, when Congress and the administration allowed tax credits for solar homes to lapse, the dream of a solar era had faded. The solar water heater President Carter had installed on the White House roof in 1979 was dismantled and junked. Solar water heating went from a billion-dollar industry to peanuts overnight; thousands of sun-minded businesses went bankrupt. "It died. It's dead," says Peter Barnes, whose San Francisco solar- installation business had 35 employees at its peak. "First the money dried up, then the spirit dried up," says Jim Benson, another solar activist of the day.

    [...]

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    Allah says Kill! KillKillKill!

    http://www.samirkuntar.org/files/Nasrallah_at_Ashoura.jpgChop 'em up in the name of Allah! Israel made me, but they can't beat me in war!

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    Israel Has Been Stealing Lebanon's Water for Years Creating War and Opposition Groups

    There is no reason for Palestinians to claim that just because they sit on lands, they have the rights to that water," Mr. Katz-Oz [Israel's negotiator on water] said. "The mountains do not own the water that fall on them. It's the same with Canada and the United States. It's the same all over the world." -- NYT 10/93
    On the whole, when it comes to the common water resources shared with Palestinians and other Arabs, Israel ... acts like a great sponge. -- Sharif Elmusa (1993)
    Palestinian hopes for genuine self-determination hinge on a number of factors, not the least of which is Israel's ability to solve its perennial and growing water shortage. According to Dr. Hussein A. Amery, of the Department of Geography, Bishop's University, Quebec, Israel uses 17% more than the 1.9 billion cubic meters of water that is renewable from natural sources.

    "The deficit in water supply is being met by desalinating brackish salty waters, recycling waste water and over- pumping underground waters." ("Israel's designs on Lebanese water," MEI, 10 September 93 [No. 458] p. 18.)
    But these facts and figures don't address the question of equity. Arguably 50% or more of the water that Israel uses is unilaterally appropriated from water that should fairly go to its Arab neighbors. Even the New York Times used the word "theft" when quoting an "Arab" in connection with Israel's appropriation of regional water resources. ("Hurdle to Peace: Parting the Mideast's Waters" by Alan Cowell NYT, 10.10.93 p. 1)

    As a settler community, the Jewish state has historically taken for itself land and resources belonging to its Arab inhabitants and the neighboring Arab countries. A clear example of Israel's appropriation of the water belonging to Arabs is Israel's interest early on in diverting the waters of the Jordan River from the Jordan Valley to the Mediterranean and to the Negev.

    Accordingly, in 1951, contrary to the armistice agreements and over the protests of U.S. and U.N. officials, the Israelis began moving military units and bulldozers into the demilitarized zone on the Syrian border. Spurred by hostilities in the area over water, in 1953, the Eisenhower Administration prepared a unified plan for the use of the Jordan River. In September 1953, Israel, in an apparent attempt to preempt the American plan, secretly began a crash program to construct a nine-mile long pipeline in the demilitarized zone to divert Jordan River waters.

    [...]

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    Hezbollah fighters overrun West Beirut and media HQ

    [...]
    Red Cross officials said that at least 10 people were killed in the street battles that erupted yesterday after Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, called a government crackdown on his Iranian-backed Shia Muslim group a declaration of war.
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    Nasrallah delivered his defiant speech on Thursday after the Government launched a probe into a private communications network run by Hezbollah, which is seen in the West as a terrorist outfit and which critics say has become a “state within a state".

    “The decisions are tantamount to a declaration of war and the start of a war ... on behalf of the United States and Israel,” Mr Nasrallah charged. “The hand that touches the weapons of the resistance will be cut off."

    The United States delivered a blunt warning to Hezbollah to stop its “disruptive activities” while UN Security Council members said that they were “deeply concerned” over the crisis.

    [...]

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    Hezbollah phone network spat sparks Beirut street war

    [...]

    The showdown was triggered by a dispute over Hezbollah's private telephone network, with the government declaring the network illegal earlier this week.

    "The decision is tantamount to a declaration of war ... on the resistance and its weapons in the interest of America and Israel," said Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in a news conference aired live on television Thursday. "Those who try to arrest us, we will arrest them. Those who shoot at us, we will shoot at them. The hand raised against us, we will cut it off."

    [...]

    t has been known for some time that Hezbollah has installed a private non-commercial fiber-optic land-line telephone network to provide secure communications between its leaders and the cadres. The network is extensive, stretching from Hezbollah's headquarters in the southern suburbs of Beirut to south Lebanon. Since the summer 2006 war with Israel, the system has spread further into the Bekaa Valley in the east and even into mainly Christian and Druze areas of the Mount Lebanon district, according to Marwan Hamade, the minister of telecommunications and a close ally of Mr. Jumblatt.

    "It has been installed with the support of the Iranians," he says. "It is Iran telecom, a totally parallel network to the state network."

    On Tuesday, after a marathon cabinet session, the government announced that Hezbollah's private network was "illegal and unconstitutional" and referred the file to the judiciary and the United Nations. The UN Security Cabinet is scheduled to discuss Thursday the latest report on the implementation of Resolution 1559, which includes a clause calling for the dismantling of "all Lebanese and non-Lebanese armed groups," a reference to Hezbollah and militant Palestinian factions.

    But Mr. Nasrallah insisted that the network "is a regular telephone network" that allows the party's leadership to remain in touch without being monitored by Israelis. He denied accusations that the system had spread into Mount Lebanon.

    [...]

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    Wednesday, May 07, 2008

    Apple's Technical Support Is the Best, Survey Finds

    [...]
    Consumer Reports' annual reliability survey put Apple's tech support head and shoulders above the rest of the consumer PC industry. Apple solved desktop woes 81 percent of the time and laptop problems 83 percent of the time.
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    WASHINGTON: EPA official says agency might not regulate chemical in water

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    Remembering Sister Dorothy Stang

    Sister Dorothy's assassination occurred 16 years after the murder of Chico Mendes, an environmentalist whose death drew worldwide attention to the dangers faced by activists in the Amazon. "Like Chico Mendes, Sister Dorothy refused to be intimidated, and she paid the ultimate price for it," said Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Amazon coordinator who had worked with her. "She worked selflessly for many years supporting the rights of rural workers and defending the Amazon from deforestation."

    Unfortunately, the killings of Chico Mendes and Sister Dorothy are just two of many that have occurred in the Amazon region. Between 1985 and 2004, more than 500 people have been killed over land disputes in Para state. Very few of these cases have been solved and even fewer have resulted in convictions by state authorities.

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    Brazilian judge acquits estate owner suspect in murder of US nun

    http://www.ecoresources.com.au/ptv2/page8/files/page8_blog_entry90_5.jpg

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    Michiagn Supreme Court Rules In Favor of Discrimination Against Gays

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    Not So Funny Comedy of errors as Pentagon war court complex debuts

    The Pentagon took its new $12 million war court complex out for a test run Wednesday with the arraignment of an alleged al Qaeda propagandist -- and the state-of-the-art facility failed.
    [...]

    Wednesday marked the debut of the Pentagon's showcase ''Expeditionary Legal Complex'' -- designed to try six alleged 9/11 co-conspirators simultaneously.

    It is a maximum-security, eavesdropping-proof complex that arms security officers with a mute button to silence a defendant -- were he to blurt out a U.S. national security secret, such as where he was interrogated overseas by the CIA, or how.

    But Wednesday's trial run took place during more mundane proceedings -- an effort to arraign the 39-year-old Yemeni named Bahlul as an al Qaeda co-conspirator for allegedly serving as Osama bin Laden's media secretary in Afghanistan around the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    ''This was a technical difficulty; this was not a kill-switch employment issue,'' said Air Force Capt. Andre Kok, a commissions spokesman inside the soundproofed room.

    An Army sergeant serving as the court technology specialist was later brought to the observers booth to explain, ''The hard-drive keeps crashing.'' They swapped out the hard drive several times and resumed the proceedings a little over an hour later.

    [...]

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    Survey shows rise in U.S. honey bee deaths

    A survey of bee health released Tuesday revealed a grim picture, with 36.1 percent of the nation's commercially managed hives lost since last year.

    Last year's survey commissioned by the Apiary Inspectors of America found losses of about 32 percent.

    As beekeepers travel with their hives this spring to pollinate crops around the country, it's clear the insects are buckling under the weight of new diseases, pesticide drift and old enemies like the parasitic varroa mite, said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, president of the group.honey bee worker

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    Crack Smoked By Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Appears to be the One Between Dubya's Ass Cheeks

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    Tuesday, May 06, 2008

    Cesária Évora

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    Grand Solar Plan

    A massive switch from coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power plants to solar power plants could supply 69 percent of the U.S.’s electricity and 35 percent of its total energy by 2050.
    • A vast area of photovoltaic cells would have to be erected in the Southwest. Excess daytime energy would be stored as compressed air in underground caverns to be tapped during nighttime hours.
    • Large solar concentrator power plants would be built as well.
    • A new direct-current power transmission backbone would deliver solar electricity across the country.
    • But $420 billion in subsidies from 2011 to 2050 would be required to fund the infrastructure and make it cost-competitive.

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    Mangrove loss 'left Burma exposed'

    Mangroves (Image: Carolin Wahnbaeck/IUCN)

    Mangroves have been long considered as "bio-guards" for coastal settlements.

    A study published in December 2005 said healthy mangrove forests helped save Sri Lankan villagers during the Asian tsunami disaster, which claimed the lives of more than 200,000 people.

    Researchers from IUCN, formerly known as the World Conservation Union, compared the death toll from two villages in Sri Lanka that were hit by the devastating giant waves.

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    Chile volcano blasts ash 20 miles high, forcing evacuations

    [...]

    A thick column of ash climbed into the stratosphere and blew eastward for hundreds of miles (kilometers) over Patagonia to the Atlantic Ocean, closing schools and a regional airport. Chilean and Argentine citizens were advised to wear masks to avoid breathing the dangerous fallout.

    Chilean officials ordered the total evacuation of Chaiten, a small provincial capital in an area of lakes and glacier-carved fjords just six miles (10 kilometers) from the roiling cloud.

    Interior Minister Edmundo Perez said anyone still in the area should "urgently head to ships in the bay to be evacuated."

    [...]

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    US Policy, the privatization of Iraq's wealthy economy, Forcing Iraq to Import food

    Iraq has started to import vegetables for the first time in its modern history despite ample water, fertile land and a rich farming heritage stretching back to 6,000 years.
    [...]

    "One of the main problems facing farmers in my area is the fuel for water pumps. Fuel in Iraq is very hard to get, and if you manage to get it, you would pay a fortune," Akram Abu Hussain, an Iraqi journalist from al-Latifiya, said.

    Al-Shammari adds that farming overheads has been steadily increasing.

    [...]

    Shaima, who refused to disclose her last name when contacted over phone, said using imported vegeteables had not only strained the family budget but also affected their taste buds.

    "Everybody here misses our local fresh vegetables. I think it is about soil and quality of water, the vegetables we are getting from outside Iraq do not taste the same. My cooking is not like before because of that."

    Suad, 52, a retired teacher who again did not want to disclose her last name, bemoans the loss of a way of life: "Apart from their taste which is not anything like our local vegetables, imported vegetables are expensive."

    [...]


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    Pentagon Advertising Campaign for Force Protection Industries or Your Tax Dollars Fleeced by Right Wing War Mongers

    Supply Chain Partners Deliver 5,000 MRAPs to Warfighters

    Air Force airmen from the 386th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron’s aerial port flight secure mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles to the flooring of a C-17 Globemaster III cargo bay Feb. 8, 2008, at an air base in the Persian Gulf region. Photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Patrick DixonWASHINGTON, April 9, 2008 – Supply chain partners, from manufacturer to the front lines, reached a major milestone in keeping warfighters in Iraq and Afghanistan safe from the effects of many improvised explosive devices. Story


    Pentagon Officials Remain Confident in MRAPs

    Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates watches as MRAPs are loaded onto a C-17 Globemaster at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., Jan. 18, 2008.WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2008 – Defense Department officials' confidence in mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles is unshaken after a deadly roadside bomb in Iraq marked the first time a U.S. servicemember was killed while traveling in one of the armored vehicles. Story

    MRAP Facility Demonstrates Industry's Commitment

    A worker at Force Protection Industries Inc. makes a Cougar H 4 X 4 MRAP vehicle at the factory in Ladson, S.C., Jan. 18, 2008.LADSON, S.C., Jan. 22, 2008 – Modern-day "Rosie the Riveters" in South Carolina are working around the clock moving mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles through the production line. Story

    Gates Observes MRAP Progress, Praises Builders

    Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates speaks with workers at the vehicle integration facility in Charleston, S.C., Jan. 18, 2008.CHARLESTON, S.C., Jan. 18, 2008 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates visited Charleston, S.C., to see progress made in speeding up delivery of mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles and to thank the people working behind the scenes to save military lives. Story

    Dedication Runs High at MRAP Equipping Facility

    Workers at Force Protection Industries Inc., make Cougar H 4 X 4 MRAP vehicles at the factory in Ladson, S.C., Jan. 18, 2008. The company produced 300 MRAPs in 2006 and recently celebrated the roll-out of its 1,00th Cougar in November 2007.CHARLESTON, S.C., Jan. 18, 2008 – Employees of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center here work around the clock to equip mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles to help save lives and limbs of the warfighters. Story

    Charleston Operations Speed MRAPs to Troops

    Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates meets with airman loading MRAPs onto a C-17 Globemaster aircraft at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., Jan. 18, 2008.CHARLESTON, S.C., Jan. 18, 2008 – Charleston has become the epicenter of a massive Defense Department program to get more mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles to deployed troops. Story

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