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Whose your Terrorist?
Author: velveeta jones    Date: 05/16/2010 13:51:40

Some stream of thought reflections that I've had of late; I am thinking that BP specifically, but not alone as a group, is not much different than a terrorist organization. Here's what bothers me: BP takes my money for a product that frankly, I'd rather not be using, but I have no real alternative if I want to live the way society is currently set up. So, whether I am catching the bus or driving my car or turning on my internet or taking a hot shower, I am burning fossil fuel. (As TriSec pointed out in his brilliant post yesterday, perhaps I may be part to blame as well).

There is no real true definition of terrorism, I suppose it's similar to the famous stance of pornography Justice Potter Stewart in 1964 who tried to explain "hard-core" pornography, or what is obscene, by saying, "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced . . . but I know it when I see it . . . " (I wonder if he ever went on to keep looking until he found some)? But Princeton has this for a brief definition of terrorism: the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear.
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3 comments (Latest Comment: 05/17/2010 01:55:18 by AuntAzalea)

No one ever is to blame.
Author: TriSec    Date: 05/15/2010 11:53:00

Good Morning!

I read a very interesting newspaper article last night. It was about blame, and where the responsibility lies for an industrial disaster.

The chief blame rests upon the public itself. This single accident has cost more in material damage alone than all the supposed economics in the building department. Laws are cheap of passage, costly of enforcement. They do not execute themselves. A public which, with one eye on the tax rate, provides itself with an adminstrative equipment 50 percent qualified, has no right to complain that it does not get a 100 percent product - and so far as it accepts political influence as the equivalent of scientific positions which demand such attanment in a high degree, so long it must expect breakdowns in its machinery.

The writer goes on to note;

The only assignable crime involved is manslaughter, through negligence. My conclusion from all the evidence is that this rig was wholly insufficient in point of structural strength to handle its load, insufficient to meet either legal or engineering requirements. This structure being maintained in violation of the law, the lessee has incurred the penalty which is absolute...

Was it the President of the United States?

Perhaps a Governor of a Gulf state, looking for someone to pay for the cleanup?
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6 comments (Latest Comment: 05/15/2010 16:37:08 by Mondobubba)

Regulate This!
Author: BobR    Date: 05/14/2010 12:45:55

Regulations suck! The Free Market isn't free! Get Big Government out of the way and let business get down to business! Such are the cries from Republicans, Libertarians, and Tea Partiers, who all seem to live in a utopia where large corporations never do anything wrong, and government ALWAYS does everything wrong (Goofus and Gallant, as it were). History shows, however, that left to their own devices, business will always put profits before the public good, and the two are often not compatible. It also matters WHO is in government when one makes judgments about how effective and competent it is. Allowing the foxes to guard the henhouse is a sure recipe for disaster.
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46 comments (Latest Comment: 05/15/2010 01:41:07 by trojanrabbit)

Wingin' it.
Author: Raine    Date: 05/13/2010 12:56:28

I cannot write today about the latest events at Deepwater Horizon Spill. I have no desire to write about Supreme court nominee Elena Kagan. I've said all I can say about Arizona and it's racist laws. The Teabaggers are still ruling the days' headlines. My feelings have been made known about these subjects. So what do I write about after a week of heartache?

I don't know. I guess I'll wing it today. It's working so well for BP, isn't it? How could I could do much worse?
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30 comments (Latest Comment: 05/13/2010 23:08:22 by trojanrabbit)

Where is this Bus Going?
Author: BobR    Date: 05/12/2010 10:26:42

I was initially going to write about the expected knee-jerk reactions to the Kagan SCOTUS nomination, from both the left and the right. Really, it would be like shooting fish in a barrel, as the right wing tries to feed a family of four on the breadcrumbs they're tossing, and self-appointed guardians of the left wing try to paint Kagan as a latter-day Clarence Thomas.

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum however (or in this case - the blog). In my efforts to collect links and quotes to use, I kept coming across stories that caught my eye and my interest. Ultimately, I gave up on my original concept, and decided to run with these stories...
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30 comments (Latest Comment: 05/13/2010 02:45:25 by trojanrabbit)

Ask a Vet
Author: TriSec    Date: 05/11/2010 10:15:11

Good Morning.

Today is our 2,610th day in Iraq and our 3,138th day in Afghanistan.

We'll start as we always do, with the latest casualty figures from our ongoing wars, courtesy of Antiwar.com:

Since war began (3/19/03): 4397
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 4258
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3935
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3538
Since Obama Inauguration (1/20/09): 169

Other Coalition Troops - Iraq: 318
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 1,060
Other Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 692
Contractor Employee Deaths - Iraq: 1,457
Journalists - Iraq: 338
Academics Killed - Iraq: 437

We find this morning's cost of war passing through:

$ 992, 814, 750, 000 .00

Last week, we took a look at the effect an overseas deployment has on our mother/soldiers. Like I said, they're only part of the whole picture. There's also the children of deployed soldiers that are being affected. What happens to a child when one or even both of their parents is gone for an entire year?

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46 comments (Latest Comment: 05/12/2010 00:15:28 by Random)

Mind boggling
Author: Raine    Date: 05/10/2010 12:50:41

They won't call it a failure, but it sure looks that way to me. Over the weekend we were informed that the "containment dome" BP built to help stem the massive oil leak in the gulf hit a snag.

So what was the snag? Business week reports:
BP at the weekend lowered a 40-foot-tall (12 meter) steel chamber over the oil leak about a mile below the surface, hoping to capture the 5,000 barrels of crude oil leaking each day and pump it to a ship. The effort failed when an icy mixture of gas and water near the seafloor clogged the chamber, forcing the company to remove it and study how to stop the ice forming before trying again.
The chances for this dome to succeed was a long shot. This we knew. What I don't understand how those that designed and engineered this didn't take that this could happen into account. I'm not knocking engineers, mind you. This was a herculean task to design and fabricate. Was this why it was such a long shot? If that is the case, why weren't people told this?
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38 comments (Latest Comment: 05/10/2010 23:00:36 by Will in Chicago)

Author: TriSec    Date: 05/08/2010 12:49:48

Good Morning.

The news burst like a thunderclap over the Boston area a week ago today. The transfer pipe from the Metrowest Tunnel to the City Tunnel had burst, and about 8 million gallons per hour were flowing into the Charles River instead of the city's water distribution network.

Being safe instead of sorry, the governor issued a boil-water order for all the MWRA communities East of the break, and bottled water instantly disappeared from stores in eastern Massachusetts. It looked bad, and the worst was expected.

But then a funny thing happened. The pipe was fixed in 48 hours, and water service was restored by Tuesday. Further testing revealed that there was no crisis at all, and the water was safe the entire time, even through the alternate tunnels and emergency sources. The system worked!

But the entire event threw something into clear focus....something we in the 'civilized west' take entirely for granted. A safe water supply.

Others in this blog have experienced a water crisis; the then-Atlanta wing of the blog went through the Southeast Drought of 2007 where they expected the faucets to run dry at any time. That was more severe than a broken pipe; the entire supply was threatened.

Wars have not yet been fought over water, but that day may come soon. Even in the United States, there has been vast struggles over sources of water for an ever-growing population. It's not something we think about often, but spend some time reading about Mono Lake (California), the Colorado River (Arizona) or the towns of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott (Massachusetts) to see the consequences of our increasing demand.

Even living out of bottles for just two days made me appreciate the "on demand" nature of our tap water. Brushing teeth, washing dishes, rinsing foods, and other things became carefully choreographed exercises in using the least amount of water possible.

Water itself is a finite resource; we're all familiar with the so-called 'water cycle', and everything that happens between rain and evaporation. But all the water that's on the earth is already here. No more is created, but it can be lost through pollution, waste, and other means.

Like our other vanishing resources, water too can be conserved. like point #1 of the following list says: There are a number of ways to save water, and they all start with you.

7 comments (Latest Comment: 05/09/2010 16:38:10 by livingonli)

Technology Friday
Author: BobR    Date: 05/07/2010 10:31:22

As most of you reading this know, I am a techno guy. I've always loved science; I used to build model rockets, and read Scientific American when I was in High School. I designed and coded the software for this blog. I make my living in the software industry. But science and technology are a double-edged sword when you count on them, and sometimes cause more problems than they fix.
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30 comments (Latest Comment: 05/08/2010 02:19:01 by Will in Chicago)

Author: Raine    Date: 05/06/2010 13:01:08

Yesterday, NYC Mayor Bloomberg went to capitol hill in support of closing the terror gun loophole. It seems as though one can be put on an FBI Terror watch list, and not be allowed to fly on an airplane, and yet-- purchase a gun. Here we go again -- Guns rights, National Security, Miranda rights and terror suspects all come crashing together in one big nonsensical mess.
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30 comments (Latest Comment: 05/07/2010 01:18:46 by livingonli)

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