Saturday, April 30, 2005

Moms And U.S. Agree; Kyoto Uses Limited Science

"The facts are, that while emissions from automobiles and power plants are polluting the air we breathe in our lower atmosphere, it's the emissions from airplanes in our upper atmosphere that cause the most widespread and long-term damage to our climate.
Generally, emissions released into the atmosphere below about 1,000 meters (3,000 ft), within the mixing layer stay below that level, creating a smog effect, sometimes visible to the naked eye. Ground transportation's major harmful health effects and about 90% of their emissions are even more local than that, falling within only hundreds of feet of the roadway.

However, emissions released above this inversion layer tend to exist for long periods of time and become much more significant global warming drivers than the low altitude emissions, due to both the direct deposit of chemicals into our upper atmosphere, many of which are not naturally occurring, and also 'contrail' actions."

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Democracy Now! | Report: ExxonMobil Spends Millions Funding Global Warming Skeptics

A new investigation by Mother Jones magazine has revealed that ExxonMobil has spent at least $8 million dollars funding a network of groups to challenge the existence of global warming. We speak with the author of the report, a member of one the organizations that receives money from Exxon and a journalist covering environmental and climate change issues. [includes rush transcript]

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Guardian Unlimited | Life | The end of oil is closer than you think

"Oil production could peak next year, reports John Vidal. Just kiss your lifestyle goodbye
Thursday April 21, 2005
The Guardian

The one thing that international bankers don't want to hear is that the second Great Depression may be round the corner. But last week, a group of ultra-conservative Swiss financiers asked a retired English petroleum geologist living in Ireland to tell them about the beginning of the end of the oil age."

Monday, April 18, 2005


"By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
17 April 2005
All imports of United States corn have been stopped at British ports following the discovery that the US has been illegally exporting a banned GM maize to Europe for the past four years."
: Two delicious scandals are brewing over the illegal introduction of genetically modified crops -- rice in China and corn in Europe -- onto the open market. In China, Greenpeacers sounded the GM alarm after buying bags of an "anti-pest" variety of rice, sending them to biotech labs, and finding that some of the grains were genetically altered and thus illegal for sale in the country. Greenpeace has accused a group of "rogue scientists" of selling experimental varieties of GM rice in the province of Hubei. Meanwhile, British ports have begun refusing all imports of U.S. corn following an allegation that American farmers have been illegally exporting GM corn as animal feed to Europe for the past four years. The port-blocking move was prompted by the European Commission, which forced action on the issue after officials on both sides of the Atlantic tried to keep the scandal hush-hush.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Spiegel's Daily Take: Chirac Goes for a "Oui" on the EU Constitution - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Kofi Annan is critical of the US and UK in the oil-for-food scandal.
: "Annan fights back
The UN oil-for-food scandal looks set to get even nastier. After Kofi Annan recently had his wrists slapped for his son's involvement with the scandal, the Secretary-General is now doing his own bit of mud slinging. He is giving the US and Britain blame for billions of dollars of oil smuggling which benefited Saddam Hussein financially.

According to allegations, in the 1990s oil was sold illegally by the Iraqi regime to neighbouring states, such as Jordan and Turkey. This in spite of sanctions and the UN program which allowed only restricted oils sales for humanitarian needs. Annan accuses American and British forces of allowing the oil shipments to be made. According to reporters in the area, the oil transports were carried out in the open and must have been noticed by American and British forces who were posted in the region to keep watch. Annan says a blind eye was turned to the smuggling because Jordan and Turkey were western allies. "

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - UN Report: Ozone-Friendly Gases Contribute To Climate Change - Apr 12, 2005 Geneva

"Apr 12, 2005 Geneva
A new report finds that ozone-friendly chemicals used in air-conditioners and refrigerators are continuing to have a harmful impact on climate.
A report by the U.N. Panel of Climate Change Experts released Monday found that many of the chemicals put into products nearly a decade ago as part of a global pact on reducing the use of chlorofluorocarbons, called CFCs, can also cause environmental problems.

A spokesman for the U.N. Environment Program, Michael Williams, explains:

'We are getting rid of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and other gases which destroy the ozone layer. This is something we have been doing since the 1980s. But, the replacements that have been found for CFCs that can be used effectively in refrigerators and air conditioners and other such systems, unfortunately, also turn out to be greenhouse gases. So, the risk is that we are saving the ozone layer-and we actually are making very good progress at the moment on that issue-but, we are contributing, in a small way, but, nevertheless, in an important way to global warming,' he said."

Posted by Hello"Deadly Flu Virus Mistakenly Sent to Thousands of Labs"
-- HealthDay Staff

WEDNESDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- An influenza virus estimated to have caused the deaths of more than 1 million people in 1957 was mistakenly sent to thousands of laboratories around the world during the past few months.

Scientists, health organizations and governments are now attempting to have the killer virus destroyed before any of it is released, inadvertantly or otherwise.

The Associated Press reports that almost 5,000 labs in 18 countries, mostly in the United States received the virus, known as the H2N2 'Asian flu', in quality control test kits sent by Meridian Bioscience Inc. of Cincinnati. According to the wire service, the company manufactures influenza test kits that medical facilities use for quality control of flu vaccine.

The problem first surfaced, the AP reported, when a Canadian testing lab detected the deadly virus and notified health authorities.

A spokesman for the World Health Organization told the wire service no cases of the 1957 flu strain have been reported anywhere.

The strain's inclusion in flu vaccines was discontinued in 1968, so anyone born after then would be particularly susceptible, the official said.

The largest of groups receiving the test kits, the College of American Pathologists, told the wire service it had received 3,747 that were re-destributed to laboratories throughout the United States late last year and into February.

How did Meridian come into possession such a deadly germ? According to the AP report, Dr. Jared Schwartz, an official with the pathology college, said Meridian took a sample from the college's stockpile and selected the 1957 virus. Schwartz said the pathology college had received the strain from a 'germ library' in 2000.

As frightening as the mistake appears to be, government health officials said the risk for an outbreak is slight.

Dr. Nancy Cox, chief of "

Second-Rate Nation

Second-Rate NationA new book by Sam Sieber, a leading social researcher, author, and evaluator of federal programs (formerly of Columbia University), presents conclusions that overturn our most cherished ideas about America’s exceptional standing.

Drawing on copious international and domestic evidence, the author shows that the nation lags a significant distance behind other advanced countries in such domains as democratic representation, health care, education, crime and punishment, civil liberties, foreign affairs, press freedom, and key features of the economy, including persistent poverty. He also raises serious questions about the quality of our mainstream media and our record in protecting the environment and promoting racial and ethnic equality.

The author endeavors to answer the questions of how and why the peculiar gulf between America’s extraordinary self-esteem and the true state of affairs has evolved. He is also concerned with understanding how the nation’s idealized self-image is sustained in spite of overwhelming evidence of impairment in almost every important domain.

The author’s answer to these questions is that a full-fledged American Myth has largely replaced the traditional American Dream, and that this shift has occurred because of a series of historical shocks. These shocks, beginning with the Vietnam War and followed by other foreign misadventures and several economic downturns, have fostered an imperiled sense of impotence and lost credibility with a compensatory need for nostalgic self-celebration and global defiance. This collective need, according to Sieber, is reinforced and exploited by the nation’s power elite. If Americans remain unaware of the true conditions in their country, he warns, appropriate measures to overcome its many deficiencies and bring its dreams to fruition will never be undertaken. Thus, he regards the American Myth and its corporate, governmental, and media defenders as the country’s greatest obstacles to progress.

Apart from the author’s powerful thesis, the book is a rich compendium of up-to-date statistical data on a variety of issues, presented without either technical obfuscation or oversimplification. It should therefore be useful to policymakers, journalists, commentators, teachers, students, activists, public speakers, and ordinary citizens who desire to learn about the true state of affairs in our country today.

BBC NEWS | Americas | Labs race to destroy deadly virus

BBC NEWS | Americas | Labs race to destroy deadly virus: "Labs race to destroy deadly virus
Medical student Michelle Levender receives an experimental vaccine against avian flu
Current vaccines do not guard against the 50-year-old flu strain
Health experts have begun to destroy samples of a potentially lethal flu strain sent to laboratories around the world by a US testing organisation.

The samples are of Asian flu, which killed between one and four million people in 1957 but disappeared by 1968.

Testing kits containing the virus were sent to more than 3,700 laboratories in 18 countries from Brazil to Lebanon.

The World Health Organization said the virus could 'easily cause an influenza epidemic' if not handled properly."

Art Exhibit Featuring Bush Stamp Probed

Secret Service Probes Chicago College Art Exhibit Featuring Stamp of Bush With Gun to Head

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Chinese farmers riot over crop poisoning - World - Times Online

Do the Riot Thing
Chemical factory pollution sparks riot in eastern China

Thousands of farmers rioted in a village in eastern China over the weekend, taking a stand against encroachment of the country's fast-growing industries onto their land, and the pollution and health problems that result. Villagers had set up roadblocks to interfere with deliveries to and from the 13 chemical plants in the area that now sit on what used to be cropland. When some 3,000 police were sent to remove the roadblocks and restore production at the plants, villagers rioted, smashing buses, overturning cars, and attacking the police. Farmers and other locals say the factories -- which produce fertilizers, pesticides, and dyes -- damage their crops, foul their water, and periodically release clouds of stinging gas, causing birth defects and stillborn babies. Said one villager, "I'm afraid my children won't live to reach my age. I want my land back, I want my food back, and I want my water back."

Saturday, April 09, 2005

CBC News: Huge crowds rally in Iraq against occupation

Waving Iraqi flags and chanting slogans against the occupation, they placed three effigies representing Saddam, U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair on a pedestal, then knocked them down.": "BAGHDAD, IRAQ - Tens of thousands of followers of a radical Shia cleric marched through Baghdad Saturday, demanding the end of the U.S.-led occupation on the second anniversary of Saddam Hussein's ouster.

In the largest anti-American demonstration since the invasion began, the supporters of cleric Muqtada al-Sadr streamed into Firdos Square, where the statue of Saddam was toppled two years ago.
Tens of thousands of Iraqis wave flags of Iraq during a rally in Baghdad, Saturday.

Churches in Pacific Islands Call for Action against Climate Change

Tebua Tarawa has already been flooded by the sea. The island is now covered by water at knee-height. If the situation of global warming stays unchanged, many other islands may face the same destiny.": "The Pacific Island region consists of 22 countries and approximately 25,000 islands. They contain some of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. There are cultures on the islands that have lived in this environment for thousands of years. But due to rising sea-levels caused by global warming, the Pacific islands are slowly disappearing beneath the ocean.

CBC Saskatchewan - Farmers to receive cash to fight global warming

"SASKATOON - After eight years of negotiations, the federal government has signed a $1-million agreement that will pay farmers to keep carbon dioxide in their land by not tilling.
: The three-year pilot project covers 210 farmers across the country, with 100 of them in Saskatchewan.
Zero-till farming has been a common practice on the prairies as a means to prevent soil erosion. More recently, it's been promoted as a way to help Canada meet its international commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Thursday, April 07, 2005

ARIANNA ONLINE - April 06, 2005 - Bushes In The Hood: W Fights Gangs With Budget Cuts And Photo Ops

ARIANNA ONLINE - April 06, 2005 - Bushes In The Hood: W Fights Gangs With Budget Cuts And Photo Ops: "President Bush is not gutting the Department of Homeland Security. The problem is Bush's definition of homeland security. Apparently, it doesn't include things like the safety of our streets. Especially the streets of our inner cities, which have become war zones.

After plummeting during the 1990s, gang violence is making a bloody comeback all across America, with gang-related homicides up 50 percent since 1999. According to Justice Department estimates, there are about 21,500 gangs nationwide with over 730,000 members. And these gangs are no longer confined to Los Angeles and New York. Cities like Denver, Portland, Salt Lake City and Tulsa have all seen dramatic surges in gang-related criminal activity."

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Bates College Geologist Receives $50,190 for Climate-Change Research

Arctic research related to global climate change.
: "The NSF grant totals $1,476,442, of which Retelle's share is $50,190. That money will defray costs of analyzing six lake-floor core samples that Retelle has collected in 2003 from lakes on Devon, Cornwallis and Bathurst islands, near Greenland in Canada's Nunavut Territory. Retelle and three students (including Dan Frost, a senior from Farmington, Maine) will process the samples this summer. "

AFRICA: Climate change becoming a matter of life and death

Mount Kilimanjaro is drying up.: "JOHANNEBURG, 4 April (IRIN) - Climate change, coupled with widespread deforestation of the slopes, is melting the ice and snow that has crowned Africa's highest peak for more than 11,000 years, dramatically altering the surrounding ecosystem. Scientists warn most of the glaciers may be gone by 2020. "

Monday, April 04, 2005

Some Reflections on the Recent Papacy of JPII

"While the media responds profusely to the telegenic pope who has just passed,: and while he accomplished some good things such as taking a stand against the Iraq war and against capital punishment and against the idolatry of consumerism, I really do believe that history will not be kind to this papacy. This pope and his self-appointed German mafia headed by Cardinal Ratzinger will have to face the judgement of history (and very likely God also) over issues that include but are not limited to the following:

A pre-occupation with morality as sexual issues even when this morality is deeply flawed. I include the following examples:
--The forbidding of one billion Catholics world wide to practice birth control even while the human population explodes at the seams.
--The forbidding of the use of condoms even in a time when AIDS is killing individuals and whole populations the world over.
--The head-long pursuit of Augustine's theology of sexuality (all sex must be legitimized by having children)
--Ugly attacks in the pope's name against homosexuals and the complete ignoring of what science and professional psychological associations have learned about homosexuality (for example, that it is a natural phenomenon for 8-10% of any given human population as well as over 460 non-human species).

Other attacks include documents against yoga (yes!); against Buddhism (calling it 'atheism'); against Thich Naht Hahn (calling him the 'anti-Christ'); against feminist philosophers; against women (girls cannot serve at the altar; nor can women be priests); against theologians in general. Priests are forbidden to use the pronoun 'she' for God at the altar.

A prolonged effort to render fascism fashionable. This includes the rushing into canonization of the card-carrying fascist priest who founded the Opus Dei movement even though this man actually praised Adolf Hitler and also denounced women and has been accused of sexual abuse of six young men who are alive today.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Canada's Corruption Scandal Breaks Wide Open

Captain's Quarters: "A political scandal involving the Public Works Ministry, a government effort called the Sponsorship Program, and allegations of corruption in the ruling Liberal Party has Canada abuzz with rumors of payoffs, Mob ties, and snap elections. For the last two years, Canadian politics has been gripped by the so-called �sponsorship scandal� � tens of millions of dollars in government contracts which were funneled into advertizing firms closely connected with the Liberal government for little or no work, but with shadowy rumours that much of the money found its way back into Liberal coffers. Prime Minister Paul Martin, himself a Liberal, appointed the Gomery Commission to investigate these charges and determine whether to bring charges against government officials for corruption and malfeasance. (See the blog Small Dead Animals for some excellent background on the case.)"

Friday, April 01, 2005

Climate change endangers Nunavik hunters

Elders say weather, animal behaviour far more difficult to predict

: "Erratic weather and changing ice patterns are leaving more Nunavik hunters stranded out on the land without traditional techniques to help them.
Nunavik elders, hunters and other residents recently told researchers about more than 100 problems they've been facing due to climate change, including the potential loss of traditional knowledge that helped them navigate the land and sea in past generations. "

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