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The Future is Now

June 6, 2010

The image above is one of a series of photographs by Edward Burtynsky of the ship breaking yards in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Until relatively recently old ships were broken down in the US and other western nations but these days the aging hulks are brought to Chittagong and other poorer Asian countries to be dismantled where labor is cheap and expendable and there are few if any environmental regulations or worker protections. It is a truly Hobbesian nightmare for those tasked with working in the yards as the ships are broken apart by hand by laborers working 14 hour days for $1 or $2, but it is either that or starve for most of them so they opt for nasty, brutish, and short instead of nasty, brutish, and even shorter. More on the Chittagong yards here. Here’s a description via this deviantART post of a similar ship breaking yard in Alang, India:

Sriram Prasad, 32, with dark hair brushed forward and a bushy mustache, counts himself among the lucky men of Alang. He lives in an 8-foot-square shack with three others. They sleep on a table. The walls are covered with newspapers; little triangles of colored paper hang from the ceiling. He has a wife and two sons back home. A brother and many of his neighbors work here. He gets the shack for free.

He says he has worked here 10 years. “It’s hazardous — we’re always scared of getting hurt. I get bruised all the time, but I’ve been lucky and never seriously hurt.

“But I’ve seen so many people die. I’ve seen 100 people die before my eyes. It is just a matter of destiny.”
This attitude infects seemingly everyone in Alang. Destiny brings men who otherwise could not support themselves to this fiery corner of India. Destiny wears them out and fills them with malaria. Destiny deprives them of decent sanitation. Destiny burns them and crushes them.
“The best thing is the money, which I wouldn’t get anyplace else,” says Prasad, “and the worst thing is not knowing how long you’ll be alive.”

Hadn’t heard about these ship breaking yards before hearing Paolo Bacigalupi mention them during this talk where he discusses his writing and touches on the BP disaster as well:

Bacigalupi is the author of The Windup Girl, a scifi novel set in the not-too-distant future where the earth has warmed, the seas have risen, resources are scarce, and life for those who remain is bleak. Having read his book as the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico unfolds, it strikes me that the dystopian future world he describes is not science fiction at all for many in the rest of the world, but is already here and has been for some time now. Nigerians have been living in a Big Oil-induced disaster area for years . Communities have developed all over the world that scavenge from garbage dumps for survival. Others sort through mountains of toxic computer waste dumped in their countries by western nations. When Somali pirates captured a US ship and media attention was far too briefly focused there, we learned that the impetus for at least some of the pirates was the rampant illegal fishing and dumping of nuclear and toxic waste by the West off the Horn of Africa which has rendered the locals destitute. For the most part these hellscapes have been out of sight and out of mind for those of us in the US, but with the BP disaster still spewing oil into the Gulf and making the already existing dead zone there even deader, we are finally getting a more firsthand taste of the consequences of our own overconsumption.

Took the squidlette out for a walk yesterday and she got to see an egret for the first time as it waded along the shoreline looking for a meal. It brought a smile to my face as I watched the joy and wonder of seeing this majestic, white, long necked bird for the first time spread across hers. But I also had to wonder, as the oil from the Gulf disaster makes its way to Florida and possibly up the Eastern seaboard and yet still nobody has the courage to simply say “STOP!”, whether the first time she saw a beautiful white egret might also be the last.

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62 Comments leave one →
  1. artemis54 permalink
    June 6, 2010 11:08 pm

    Hmmm:

    . . . . researchers observed a 58 percent increase in fresh fruit sales at one Upstate New York school simply by moving the fruit from a stainless steel tray and into a basket lit by an ordinary desk lamp.

    Supports the argument, always more attractive anyway, that offering a positive choice is better than trying to punish a negative one. They should talk to people who have run successful fruit & veg stands for years for further ideas. (like never, never, let the basket look empty – no one will buy what are perceived as rejects. “Pile it high and kiss it goodbye.”)

    • cometman permalink*
      June 7, 2010 10:58 am

      Maybe it’s just from having worked too many buffet lines, but does anything ever look really good served from a stainless steel tray? Wouldn’t think they’d need to do a study to figure that out but at least they’re getting kids to eat better food.

  2. cometman permalink*
    June 7, 2010 6:43 am

    Neat-O.

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 7, 2010 8:30 am

      Creepy crawler to the max! Neat, but eeeeek. With slime. :)

  3. Stemella permalink*
    June 7, 2010 8:41 am

    Egrets are so elegant. I remember feeling the same way seeing them en masse near San Padre Isld in Texass. I’m glad the squidlette and you are still able to enjoy them. I despair for the magnitude of the loss and devastation in the Gulf, the estuaries and marshes. The future is now, indeed.

    And speaking of exploitation of third world labor, Reuters has this article today, Ex-Union Carbide officials sentenced over Bhopal lest we forget the corporate chemical disaster of 1984 and how long it takes for justice to be not very well done.

  4. cometman permalink*
    June 7, 2010 8:48 am

    Israel is really pissing me off.

    Now Chuck Schumer wants to see if it was Al Qaeda that made Israel attack the relief flotilla. Um, Chuckie, seeing how close you are with the Israeli government, do you really think an investigation is needed? Why don’t you just call up Bibi and ask him. Or maybe RichardPerle. He’ll lie and say they knew it was Al Qaeda all along and you can grandstand and save the US taxpayer a lot of time and money.

    Helen Thomas gets in trouble for speaking her mind regarding Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and ever Israeli apologist hypocrite in the beltway begins calling for her head.

    Here’s why they are wrong – In Defense of Helen Thomas – On Apologizing to Apologists .

    Her apology was not enough to stop calls for her head from those who have wanted to shut Thomas up for years.

    Ari Fleischer, President George W. Bush’s press secretary, led the call in an e-mail Friday to the Huffington Post saying Thomas’ comments amount to “religious cleansing.”

    “She should lose her job over this,” Fleischer wrote. “As someone who is Jewish, and as someone who worked with her and used to like her, I find this appalling.”

    Perhaps Fleishcher should also add that he is someone who knows something about apologies . . . being the leading apologist for the Bush administration as their war led to the deaths of at least one million Iraqis.

    But Lanny Davis, former special counsel to and White House spokesman for President Bill Clinton, went even further than Fleischer. He issued a statement on Sunday saying Thomas, “has showed herself to be an anti-Semitic bigot.”

    Now, Davis should know something about apologies and apologists as well. TheHill.com reported that Davis led a lobbying effort against deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya on behalf of Honduran business leaders. This is in defense of a regime that came to power in an illegal coup and is killing journalists and activists. Hmmm . . . defending those that kill activists . . .

    Not sure who I despise more – Davis or the Clintons he shills for.

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 7, 2010 9:02 am

      And the killing goes on an on.

      Israeli navy kills four Palestinians off Gaza coast

      At this point I detest the Clintons and all associated with them equally and thoroughly.

      • cometman permalink*
        June 7, 2010 12:23 pm

        Looks like Chuckie got his wish already-

        Israel today released a list of five passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara whom it accused of having links with al-Qaida, Hamas and other militant organisations.

        A list! No word on any information of what criteria was used to come up with this list. I’m assuming Mossad played the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game to figure it out. Genius.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 7, 2010 10:56 am

      Couple of good articles on the flotilla killings. First by Robert Fisk – The truth behind the Israeli propaganda.

      …by week’s end, the protesters had become “armed peace activists”, vicious anti-Semites “professing pacifism, seething with hate, pounding away at another human being with a metal pole”. I liked the last bit. The fact that the person being beaten was apparently shooting another human being with a rifle didn’t quite get into this weird version of reality.

      And I’ve never been able to figure out why as Fisk says, the Israeli papers often give far more honest coverage of what goes on in Israel than US sources.

      The amazing thing in all this is that so many Western journalists – and I’m including the BBC’s pusillanimous coverage of the Gaza aid ships – are writing like Israeli journalists, while many Israeli journalists are writing about the killings with the courage that Western journalists should demonstrate.

      And this one, written by one of the activists who was actually on the boat that was attacked by Israel, is particularly good – On Cowardice and Violence-Reflections by a Former US Marine on the Mavi Marmara .

      When I was asked, in the event of an Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara, would I use the camera, or would I defend the ship? I enthusiastically committed to defence of the ship. Although I am also a huge supporter of non-violence, in fact I believe non-violence must always be the first option. Nonetheless I joined the defence of the Mavi Mamara understanding that violence could be used against us and that we may very well be compelled to use violence in self defence.

      I said this straight to Israeli agents, probably of Mossad or Shin Bet, and I say it again now, on the morning of the attack I was directly involved in the disarming of two Israeli Commandos. This was a forcible, non-negotiable, separation of weapons from commandos who had already murdered two brothers that I had seen that day. One brother with a bullet entering dead center in his forehead, in what appeared to be an execution.

      I knew the commandos were murdering when I removed a 9mm pistol from one of them. I had that gun in my hands and as an ex-US Marine with training in the use of guns it was completely within my power to use that gun on the commando who may have been the murderer of one of my brothers. But that is not what I, nor any other defender of the ship did. I took that weapon away, removed the bullets, proper lead bullets, separated them from the weapon and hid the gun. I did this in the hopes that we would repel the attack and submit this weapon as evidence in a criminal trial against Israeli authorities for mass murder. I also helped to physically separate one commando from his assault rifle, which another brother apparently threw into the sea.

  5. Stemella permalink*
    June 7, 2010 8:55 am

    Bunch of assorted links to stories that caught my eye:

    FCIC issues subpoena to Goldman Sachs Time to fork over the paperwork squidlipped fuckers.

    Liveblog of the latest Bilderberg Conference in Spain for the ruling elites.

    As part of the continued austerity program, Greece to Sell State Assets to Raise 3 Billion Euros Anyone know how to say “shock and awe” in Greek?

    More on the external costs of globalization, labor and natural resource exploitation and industrial pollution: China’s Cancer Villages

    Taibbi’s latest on so called Wall St reform: Wall Street’s War

    • cometman permalink*
      June 8, 2010 6:47 am

      Thanks for all those. I got a kick out of this from one of the article at the Bilderberg link – on being searched by the po-po:

      They asked me what was in the boot. I dug them out a T-shirt. The patrolman radioed the station and read out the slogan on the shirt in heavily accented English: “I went to Bilderberg 2010 and all I got was this lousy new world order.” His partner asked me why I was laughing. I couldn’t really explain.

  6. cometman permalink*
    June 7, 2010 9:07 am

    On to illegal wars and torture – another whistleblower is arrested, this time the guy who leaked the recent video of the Army helicopter attacks to wikileaks.

    Manning was turned in late last month by a former computer hacker with whom he spoke online. In the course of their chats, Manning took credit for leaking a headline-making video of a helicopter attack that Wikileaks posted online in April. The video showed a deadly 2007 U.S. helicopter air strike in Baghdad that claimed the lives of several innocent civilians.

    ~snip~

    Manning came to the attention of the FBI and Army investigators after he contacted former hacker Adrian Lamo late last month over instant messenger and e-mail. Lamo had just been the subject of a Wired.com article. Very quickly in his exchange with the ex-hacker, Manning claimed to be the Wikileaks video leaker.

    ~snip~

    Manning told Lamo that he enlisted in the Army in 2007 and held a Top Secret/SCI clearance, details confirmed by his friends and family members. He claimed to have been rummaging through classified military and government networks for more than a year and said that the networks contained “incredible things, awful things … that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC.”

    Don’t think I like this Lamo character very much. I expect he’ll be touted as the next “responsible citizen journalist” just like the idiot ACORN pimp. Sounds like wikileaks may be sitting on a whole pile of stuff though.

    This Rawstory article reports that after the arrest of Manning, wikileaks is claiming that the WAPO had the same video for over a year and held on to it:

    In the wake of the arrest, Wikileaks issued a statement alleging that the Washington Post had a copy of the video showing the attack but didn’t release it for over a year. A statement on the group’s Twitter feed said, “Statement: Washington Post had Collateral murder video for over a year but DID NOT RELEASE IT [sic] it to the public.”

    ~snip~

    The Post described the video as “long sought” when it was released earlier this year. But one of its reporters wrote a book that documented the attack, and acknowledged at the time that he had seen a copy of the secret video, and offered a frame-by-frame account.

    And torture is really hard work which is why our worst and most brutal need their down time too.

    At the U.S. naval station here, a handsome electronic sign hangs between two concrete pillars. In yellow enamel against a blue metal backdrop is a map of Cuba, the “Pearl of the Antilles,” above flashing time and temperature readings.

    “Welcome Aboard,” the sign says.

    The cost of the marquee, along with a smaller sign positioned near the airfield: $188,000. Among other odd legacies from war-on-terror spending since 2001 for the troops at Guantanamo Bay: an abandoned volleyball court for $249,000, an unused go-kart track for $296,000 and $3.5 million for 27 playgrounds that are often vacant.

    The Pentagon also spent $683,000 to renovate a cafe that sells ice cream and Starbucks coffee, and $773,000 to remodel a cinder-block building to house a KFC/Taco Bell restaurant.

  7. cometman permalink*
    June 7, 2010 9:41 am

    Sinclair Lewis warned us decades ago in his novel “It Can’t Happen Here”, Frank Zappa warned us with songs like “When the Lie’s So Big“, and Chris Hedges continues to warn about the creeping fascism which grows by the day –The Christian Fascists Are Growing Stronger.

    This following point can’t be emphasized enough, especially as an organized, rational, left has all but disappeared from this country:

    The spark that could set this conflagration ablaze could be lying in the hands of a small Islamic terrorist cell. It could be in the hands of greedy Wall Street speculators who gamble with taxpayer money in the elaborate global system of casino capitalism. The next catastrophic attack, or the next economic meltdown, could be our Reichstag fire. It could be the excuse used by these totalitarian forces, this Christian fascism, to extinguish what remains of our open society.

  8. cometman permalink*
    June 7, 2010 10:16 am

    We’ve talked about this before, but Ellen Brown has a very good and concise article about why the banks are not lending which correlates directly to why my job has been so goddamned excruciating lately – How Banks Make Money on Low-Interest Loans .

  9. artemis54 permalink
    June 7, 2010 12:04 pm

    Bao-wao: doggie favela

  10. cometman permalink*
    June 7, 2010 12:28 pm

    Hmmmmmm. Maybe Kurt Vonnegut was rightLife on Titan?

    Two new papers based on data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft scrutinize the complex chemical activity on the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan. While non-biological chemistry offers one possible explanation, some scientists believe these chemical signatures bolster the argument for a primitive, exotic form of life or precursor to life on Titan’s surface. According to one theory put forth by astrobiologists, the signatures fulfill two important conditions necessary for a hypothesized “methane-based life.”

    If it’s true, I want on the first ship to Trafalmadore.

  11. Stemella permalink*
    June 7, 2010 2:24 pm

    Another oil and gas industry fuck up, this the third natural gas explosion in a handful of days between Pennsylvania, West Virginia and now one today near Dallas, Tx. Can it be any clearer that it is time to get off the petrol tit?

    Natural gas pipeline explodes in north Texas

    Here’s a story about the explosion in PA Pa. suspends company’s drilling after Clearfield blowout

    And here’s the story on the W. Va. blowout: Natural gas well explosion burns 7 workers in West Virginia

    • artemis54 permalink
      June 7, 2010 4:17 pm

      That means we have to drill more! The ratchet is set to go only one way.

  12. artemis54 permalink
    June 8, 2010 6:29 am

    A bit off the beaten path for c-blog, but a new article at Journal of Animal Ecology is generating some buzz: Estuarine crocodiles ride surface currents to facilitate long-distance travel. I bring it up as part of my never-ending beef with the denigrators of Steve Irwin, listed as fourth author.

    • Stemella permalink*
      June 8, 2010 6:44 am

      Crickey! Those estuarine crocs are savvy travelers. :)

  13. Stemella permalink*
    June 8, 2010 6:33 am

    Another story of chemical pollution in the water … mustard gas? Being a fisherman/woman these days is fraught with peril. Being a consumer of seafood is looking more risky these days too.

    Clam boat pulls up canisters off NY, crew sickened

    • artemis54 permalink
      June 8, 2010 6:53 am

      Could be a good thing for the fish. I wonder what a few more of these stories will do to the market. A la Upton Sinclair, the public responds with its stomach, not its heart. Except maybe the niche market in prefab seviche for these oiled shrimp and mustard clams.

      • cometman permalink*
        June 8, 2010 9:52 am

        I think it was on Jon Stewart that I saw a clip recently about a European chef trying to get kids to eat better. He showed kids how chicken nuggets were made from the nasty parts of a chicken which were ground up and extruded out. The European kids thought it was gross and wouldn’t eat it. When he asked the American kids, after he had shown them the process in person and the nasty goo that resulted, they all said they’d eat it anyway. When asked why they’d eat this disgusting crap, one said because he was hungry.

        Maybe it was somewhat staged to make Americans look dumb (not hard to do) but it looked like a genuine reaction. So yeah, the public would probably eat it anyway.

  14. Stemella permalink*
    June 8, 2010 6:49 am

    Here’s the blog of one of the marine scientists from the University of Georgia, Dr. Samantha Joye, who is studying the undersea plumes and the effects of the dispersant in the Gulf.

    Gulf Oil Blog

    It gives accounts of what is going on out there from a source independent of BP and the govt.

  15. cometman permalink*
    June 8, 2010 6:52 am

    Haha! Talk about tonedeaf….

  16. Stemella permalink*
    June 8, 2010 8:07 am

    NOAA finally confirms what marine scientists have known for some time now

    Under water oil plumes confirmed

    The government says water tests have confirmed underwater oil plumes as far as 142 miles from the BP oil spill, but that concentrations are “very low.”

    NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenko said that the tests conducted at three sites by a University of South Florida research vessel confirmed oil as far as 3,300 feet below the surface 42 miles northeast of the well site and also oil below-surface oil 142 miles southeast.

    Lubchenko said the analysis “indicate there is definitely oil sub surface. It’s in very low concentrations” of 0.5 parts per million.

    BP had questioned whether oil actually was forming below water.

  17. Stemella permalink*
    June 8, 2010 8:39 am

    Another Gulf oil spill?

    Diamond Offshore Falls After Report of Gulf of Mexico Oil Leak

    Apparently leaking since April 30, the Coast Guard is only now going to look into it. Here is a video of a citizen investigator

    • artemis54 permalink
      June 8, 2010 9:14 am

      Jesus this is turning into a Three Stooges movie. If Obama wants to kick ass he can just kick in all directions, starting with kicking his own ass.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 8, 2010 10:03 am

      Going straight for the mouth of the Mississippi. And nobody noticed until now? Xrist almighty how hard is it to order these rigs shut down? Do BP and the other oil companies own the ocean now and I didn’t get the memo? They’re on the US Coast – what the fuck do we have a Coast Guard for? Order them shut down and send in the Coast Guard to enforce it forchrissakes. But instead we get whining about how Barry would fire the CEO of BP if he only could.

  18. artemis54 permalink
    June 8, 2010 10:23 am

    Depaving Portland!

    • cometman permalink*
      June 8, 2010 11:26 am

      That is coincidentally a very good link for me right now. Attended a city council meeting last night in an attempt to figure out what they hell they are doing with certain properties around my city since they have haphazardly been purchasing private property and allowing zoning changes for big buildings to be put up which sit empty for who knows what reason. One thing I and some of the council members mentioned was the huge unnecessary paved over parking lots in one part of the city. There are a few fairly small businesses with enormous parking capacity that nobody ever uses that could be turned back into green areas.

      The city planner approached me and asked me to contact him about some of the stuff I was talking about which I plan to do. I’m going to mention that project to him. Thanks.

      • artemis54 permalink
        June 8, 2010 12:17 pm

        Cool. Good links ad depave.org, maybe some help at cityrepair too.

        If you get in very deep or long term with these projects, I would strongly recommend someone on the project consider the Community Sparkplug progam at the Rensselaerville Institute. I’ve mentioned our self-help sewer system before. It would never have happened in a million years without our local sparkplug, and an extended visit to RI really helped her in a lot of ways. They even came and visited as the project wore on and hit the inevitable snags.

  19. cometman permalink*
    June 8, 2010 12:04 pm

    Lewis Lapham via TomDispatch again with a very nice essay on the role of sports in America – Field of Dreams: The CIA & Me & Other Adventures in American Sports.

    I really miss the days when you could just walk up to the gate at Fenway and get a $5 bleacher seat because every game wasn’t sold out months in advance even with the exorbitant ticket prices currently being charged. The only people sitting in the bleachers were people who actually cared about the game and would have been there whether the team was 50-0 or 0-50. The “baawx seats suck” chant is still one of my favorite memories from going to the park to watch the Red Sox.

    Those days ended in the early to mid-nineties, about the time that brand new Camden yards went up in Baltimore and Jacobs Field (now named after the corporate whore du jour) went up in Cleveland. Both teams had been struggling for years – the teams sucked and nobody went to the games. I remember listening to games at the old Cleveland stadium on the radio and you could hear a pin drop in the background there were so few fans. New stadiums with luxury corporate boxes and more luxurious food than the staple hot dog and exploding big screen scoreboards were what was needed to revitalize the teams and get people in the seats again. And for a while they did. The new stadiums were beautiful, much better than the ugly concrete boxes built during the 60s and 70s. Baltimore and Cleveland both fielded good teams in the mid-90s which made the playoffs. People started coming to the games and selling out the stadiums. Cleveland set a record for the most consecutive sold out games, filling every seat year after year in a stadium that seats about 45,000 fans. Owners spent more money on what they hoped were better players. Money was rolling in and other teams followed suit, using the threat of a beloved team packing up for greener pastures to extort taxpayers for new stadiums built at public expense.

    I remember thinking at the time “But what happens when every team has a new stadium and the novelty of seeing a new ballpark wears off?” My thought was that the playing field would be leveled once again and if a team didn’t win, nobody would go to the games, revenue would drop, and they’d be right back in the same situation they started with, except the taxpayer would be a lot poorer for the effort.

    Last night the Red Sox played the Indians in Cleveland. Cleveland again has one of the worst teams in the league. The attendance last night was 14,758 and most were not even rooting for the home team.

  20. artemis54 permalink
    June 8, 2010 12:29 pm

    “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” –John 1:46

    I just downloaded The Gospel According to the Earth. This by way of cramming/girding my loins for the dreaded family reuinion and its unfortunate Christer/teabag contingent – small, but loud. There’s nothing like slapping ’em down with the King James version, well except may hittng ’em in Κοινή.

  21. cometman permalink*
    June 8, 2010 12:39 pm

    Another bullshit study on the effects of second hand smoke – Secondhand Smoke Associated With Psychiatric Distress, Illness.

    Participants were assessed with a questionnaire about psychological distress, and admissions to psychiatric hospitals were tracked over six years of follow-up. Exposure to secondhand smoke among non-smokers was assessed using saliva levels of cotinine — the main product formed when nicotine is broken down by the body — “a reliable and valid circulating biochemical marker of nicotine exposure,” the authors write.

    A total of 14.5 percent of the participants reported psychological distress. Non-smokers with a high exposure to secondhand smoke (cotinine levels between 0.70 and 15 micrograms per liter) had higher odds of psychological distress when compared with those who had no detectable cotinine.

    Oooooh! A questionnaire! And then they discover that non-smokers exposed to smoke have some “distress”. What a revelation! I don’t breathe diesel fumes and when I walk down the street and a semi goes by blowing exhaust in my face that tends to “distress” me as well.

    Perhaps they could do a study to see if people who were smart enough to walk away when somebody lights up a cigarette in one of the few places they’re still allowed to do so consider themselves as “happy”.

    Ferchrissakes if as much time and energy were put into, I don’t know, studying the possible effects of boring a hole a few miles into the earth’s crust to get the oil out as is put in by the anti-smoking crusaders, maybe everything in the Gulf wouldn’t be dying right now.

  22. artemis54 permalink
    June 8, 2010 12:52 pm

    Hey Guvner Barbour, take a look at the dead fish on the beach at Waveland Mississippi.

    I wonder what miniscule fraction of one percent of the damage this represents.

  23. cometman permalink*
    June 8, 2010 4:34 pm

    Hahahaha!

  24. artemis54 permalink
    June 8, 2010 6:19 pm

    Re the refutation of Christopher Monckton by John Abraham that I mentioned the other day: Monckton has responded (a Pajamas exclusive) with a snotty tirade that is by turns mocking, vicious, hysterical, and just unhinged. He calls Abraham a “lecturer at a Bible college” (Abraham is a professor at the University of St Thomas, a Catholic university). He questions the scientific credentials of a man with an impressive publication record (Monckton has never written a single paper). He even attacks Abraham’s voice and personal appearance. Best of all, he repeatedly calls Abraham a liar. Rich, coming from one who has falsely claimed to be a member of the House of Lords.

    Abraham’s brief, concise, and gentlemanly reply.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 9, 2010 8:23 am

      Wow, a Goebbels reference right in the first sentence, because people who’d like to have a better world for all of us are exactly like those who exterminated millions in the name of a master race.

      Couldn’t help but notice the ever so highly regarded Pajamas Media mentions in their “rules” (at the end of an “exclusive” article [perhaps it was a Pajamas “exclusive” because nobody else would give this idiot the time of day] taking an adversary to task for looking like “an overcooked prawn” ) that ad hominem attacks are to be avoided.

      Got a chuckle from Abraham’s reply –

      You correctly pointed out that in your presentation, you stated that you were “boring” whereas I stated you were “bored”. I apologize for misquoting you.

      Zing!

      And speaking of idiot climate change deniers and shills for industry, check out the idiocy of Jeff Jacoby today – Oil fuels better lives. Evidently the risk you knowingly take when driving your car which could harm or injure a few people is exactly the same as the risk from an oil spill that destroys a whole ecosystem and affects the lives of millions of people and other living things that never saw it coming. Why the Globe continues to let this guy have a column is beyond me.

      • artemis54 permalink
        June 9, 2010 12:45 pm

        If I were his Loonship, I’d think twice about remarking on someone else’s looks.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 9, 2010 9:27 am

      Noticed that Monckton goes after George Monbiot too in his reply to Abraham. Just ran across Monbiot’s comeback taking the “Lord” apart – Madder and Madder.

      Ha!

  25. artemis54 permalink
    June 9, 2010 9:36 am

    House Science & Tech hearing just heard testimony that American Petroleum Institute spends $40,000 per year on cleanup research. Costner just testified that he has spent $26 million of his own money in fifteen years. As he pointed out, his was after taxes, and it was all he had.

    • artemis54 permalink
      June 9, 2010 9:54 am

      This should be his next movie. Kevin Costner is coming across as the smartest guy in the room.

  26. cometman permalink*
    June 9, 2010 11:34 am

    Several items from the “Truth is lost in the fog of old war/drug war/potential new war” department.

    First, from the Korean peninsula – Did a North Korean Torpedo Really Sink That South Korean Military Vessel?

    In a nutshell, the North Koreans have been accused of sinking a South Korean ship using a N. Korean torpedo found at the wreckage site as evidence. The article mentions that since the ship was sunk in a former (and current, since peace was never officially declared) war zone, there was likely quite a bit of ordinance to be found on the sea floor. The article linked to this picture of the torpedo that was used as evidence by the S. Koreans. I have no idea who’s telling the truth here and I understand that N. Korea has some issues with keeping it’s country from falling apart, but one has to be a little skeptical that a barnacle encrusted torpedo that looks like it’s been on the sea floor for quite a while was used to sink this ship. But the previously unpopular S. Korean leader has made political hay out of it and seen his popularity increase.

    The political fortunes of Lee Myung Bak have improved dramatically.

    “The investigation results will likely emerge as a key issue, pushing aside all other factors ahead of the elections,” said Lee Chul-hee of the Korea Society Opinion Institute. “The increased attention on national security could drive younger voters away from polls while uniting the older, right-wing voters – the exact effect the ruling party is hoping for.”

    Sounds like an accident to me that leaders from S. Korea and the West are using for their own political advantage by running with unfounded assumptions.

    Next, US Border agents, evidently trying to emulate US BFF Israel, have have gunned down a teenage Mexican boy for throwing rocks. More here and here.

    What’s in question is whether Mexican border agents crossed the border to remove evidence from the US side and placed it on the Mexican side to make it appear that the US agents had illegally entered Mexico for the shooting. What doesn’t seem to be in question at all is that the US agent who pulled the trigger was not taken by surprise, but saw the boy and his friends throwing rocks, warned them, and then opened fire. They are justifying it as an appropriate use of force since conceivably US Border patrol agents are such gigantic pussies that murder is the only way to escape 14 year olds throwing rocks from tens of meters away. Guess the kid must have had an arm like a rocket launcher and simply taking a few steps back was not an option.

    And finally, this one is very curious – Videos add to mystery of missing Iranian nuclear scientist.

    Iran says that Shahram Amiri, a former researcher with the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation, was abducted by American agents while on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. State television showed a video purportedly made by Mr Amiri in which he says he is being kept hostage by the Americans. The tape was allegedly made in Tuscon, Arizona, on 5 June. It is grainy in quality and shows the scientist – or someone who looks like him – wearing a large set of headphones while he speaks. “Since I was abducted and brought to the US I was heavily tortured and pressured by US intelligence,” the man says.

    No sooner had that tape surfaced, however, than a second one appeared. Posted yesterday on YouTube, it too features a man who looks very much like the one in the first tape. But on this occasion he is protesting that he is content to remain in the US as a student. But a close viewing suggests that the man is reading his statement from a pre-prepared text.

    Thing I can’t figure out is, if he were being held hostage, how was he able to make a video about it and get it to Iranian state TV. And if he isn’t why wouldn’t he just come out and say so rather than posting some video to youtube.

    Seems like this mystery ought to be pretty easy to solve. If the scientist is actually in the US voluntarily, I wouldn’t think it would be too hard for a reporter to go ask him about it. if nobody can find the guy, seems like it would be pretty clear the US is full of shit once again.

    • artemis54 permalink
      June 9, 2010 1:10 pm

      The incident in El Paso is making me sick to my stomach. Fourteen years old. This shit has got to stop. It is an emergency and needs to be addressed on that basis, congress be damned.

      Just ask yourself what would happen if this took place at a Canadian border crossing.

      And fuck the baggers, Sarah, etc. Mexico is a primary ally, friend, trading partner, neighbor. When your neighbor’s house is on fire, you put it out at whatever cost because it is in your best interest long term, short term, and in the immediate emergency. You don’t stand there and bitch that their kids are wandering onto your lawn or your car is getting wet.

      • cometman permalink*
        June 9, 2010 1:49 pm

        Amen.

        It should stop but there are no signs that it will. These days looking at a guy with a badge crosseyed seems to be a license for them to put a bullet through your head.

        And Mexico probably wouldn’t be on fire nearly as much if it weren’t for policies like NAFTA. IIRC, Mexico is one of the many countries where the US dumps cheap subsidized commodities putting the locals out of business.

        • artemis54 permalink
          June 10, 2010 7:10 am

          Yes in particular American corn is now cheaper in Mexico than Mexican corn, with the predictable and predicted result of thousands of farmers driven out of business.

  27. Stemella permalink*
    June 9, 2010 5:20 pm

    Some links

    Great new article about the oiltastrophe from Tim Dickinson at the Rolling Stone

    The Spill, the Scandal and the President

    It pretty much damns Obama and Salazar. It is long and a must read.

    Snakes in mysterious global decline Bad news. This must mean the rattus will be on the increase as one consequence.

    This story is so bizarre I had to post it for C-man, because I think it might make his brain esplode even more than mine did. The picture is hurl worthy. Enjoy!

    Clinton talks tax to Latin America, saying rich must pay their share

    • cometman permalink*
      June 10, 2010 9:23 am

      Thanks for the links. That RS article was excellent. This part on BP’s pre-disaster “plan” is particularly damning:

      Among the sensitive species BP anticipates protecting in the semitropical Gulf? “Walruses” and other cold-water mammals, including sea otters and sea lions. The mistake appears to be the result of a sloppy cut-and-paste job from BP’s drilling plans for the Arctic. Even worse: Among the “primary equipment providers” for “rapid deployment of spill response resources,” BP inexplicably provides the Web address of a Japanese home-shopping network. Such glaring errors expose the 582-page response “plan” as nothing more than a paperwork exercise. “It was clear that nobody read it,” says Ruch, who represents government scientists.

      Earlier I had rhetorically asked why Barry did get BP the hell out of the Gulf and enforce it with the Coast Guard if necessary. Didn’t know whether he could or not but it appears that this is actually what is required by the government’s own regulations:

      In fact, the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan – the federal regulations that lay out the command-and-control responsibilities for cleaning up an oil spill – makes clear that an oil company like BP cannot be left in charge of such a serious disaster. The plan plainly states that the government must “direct all federal, state or private actions” to clean up a spill “where a discharge or threat of discharge poses a substantial threat to the public health or welfare of the United States.”

      And WTF?!?!?!?!

      The president convened an emergency meeting in the Oval Office with Adm. Thad Allen, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and top White House deputies Rahm Emanuel, Carol Browner and Larry Summers.

      Biggest disaster in US history and you call in the Cane Toad for his “expert” advice?!?!?!?

      And on the Clinton piece – mission accomplished! Kaboooom!! I guess the part Shillary left out was that the best people to decide how much the rich should be taxed are of course the rich which is why she and her lackey Lanny Davis supported the right wing coup in Honduras recently.

      • Stemella permalink*
        June 10, 2010 11:04 am

        It kind of makes sense in a deeply pathological way that Cane Toad was brought in to discussions. After all is was his policy advisory to dump our toxic waste on the third world. I suppose that is what the Gulf of Mexico will have become before long. Once it is destroyed and the human population is forced to emigrate like the Okies of dustbowl yore, the Gulf can become a permanent cesspool for US pollution.

        Here’s an old c. 1999 Counterpunch article on Cane Toad and his Memo for old time’s sake

        Larry Summers’ War Against the Earth

  28. artemis54 permalink
    June 10, 2010 6:57 am

    Murkowski is spouting her usual crock of shit. She is wearing the strangest blue blouse. It is sort of semi sheer, so that the protruding points of her cheap bra stick through it. The impression is that her nipnips are hard – “girl wood” we used to call it.

    Very disturbing. But it might just be that my perception is clouded by the disturbing events that put my little town on its ear yesterday: Hellzapoppin around here and the real story is far more complicated and dark than the sanitized version in the news.

    • artemis54 permalink
      June 10, 2010 7:13 am

      By the way, she kicked off this stream of bullshit with the claim that members of the senate were being “intimidated” into not supporting her EPA killer. Somebody should have jumped up right then and called her on her shit.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 10, 2010 8:43 am

      Hmmm. Sounds like your neck of the woods might be getting some national attention soon considering the coverage Letourneau got a few years back. Hasn’t been a titillating national story involving a dead or alive white woman for a few months now. Tony Hayward is probably making some calls right now to get the cameras out of the gulf.

      • artemis54 permalink
        June 10, 2010 8:57 am

        Actually there’s an ongoing scandal about a female teacher molesting one of her students just up the valley in Moxee but I haven’t followed it too closely. Seems to be an epidemic.

        • cometman permalink*
          June 10, 2010 9:26 am

          Heh. I blame Van Halen.

          • Stemella permalink*
            June 10, 2010 11:06 am

            Or that movie with Matt Dillon, Nicole Kidman and Joaquin Phoenix To Die For

  29. artemis54 permalink
    June 10, 2010 7:28 am

    Boxer on politicians overruling science:

    “What are we going to do next, repeal the laws of gravity? . . . say the earth is flat and come down here and argue it?”

    Have to say, Babs is on fire this morining. Watching her it seems that Fiorina has no chance whatsoever unless Califronia loses its collective mind. But of course it has before.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 10, 2010 8:36 am

      Heh. At least they won’t be trying to elect Gary Coleman this year, although you never know I suppose. Ashcroft did get beat by a dead guy once upon a time, although at least the guy was alive when the campaign started.

  30. artemis54 permalink
    June 10, 2010 8:00 am

    What a parade of ignorance: ButyaareBlanche carrying on about jobs in Orkeensaaaaaw, now Inhofe repeating “Lord” Monckton’s talking points one by one. These morons couldn’t do the laundry or run a hot dog stand, and they presume to overrule scientific findings.

  31. artemis54 permalink
    June 10, 2010 9:15 am

    God, I’m outta there before by blood pressure blows. Barasso. “Western Caucus” my aching ass. Leaves out all six senators from the coast, plus what ten or twelve more senators from the states he claims on his map. Lying sacks of shit.

    The Senate seems to have no shame. It is really embarrassing itself today.

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