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9701  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 14, 2011, 10:00:04 PM
I think the key problem is the unwillingness to confront Pakistan.
9702  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Supporting civilian supremacy? on: March 14, 2011, 06:51:12 PM
Our current strategy is incoherent.

Because the "community organizer in chief" is voting "present".
9703  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Japan on: March 14, 2011, 06:40:01 PM

9704  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / 42 on: March 14, 2011, 06:31:06 PM
LEOs killed in the line of duty this year.
9705  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 14, 2011, 06:12:39 PM
I think the Ipad 3 will come with a hand-crank.
9706  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Partners in peace! on: March 14, 2011, 06:11:18 PM

Hey, who deserve a state more than these charming people???
9707  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 14, 2011, 05:03:33 PM
Probably reasonable until the extent of the radiation leaks are verified.
9708  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Going bananas over radiation on: March 14, 2011, 11:55:40 AM

Going bananas over radiation
Posted on February 16, 2011 by Anthony Watts

While doing some reasearch on Thorium, I came across this interesting little fact that I wasn’t familiar with, so I thought I’d pass it along. Many people fear radiation, sometimes the fear is irrational, based on the erroneous concept that we live in a “radiation free lifestyle”. I’ll never forget one time when I showed my geiger counter to a neighbor who was shocked when it started clicking. She was horrified to learn that cosmic rays were in fact zipping right through her body right that very second. I didn’t have the heart to tell her about neutrinos.

But, along the same lines, this little factoid might drive some people “bananas” when they read it. But, it illustrates a fact of life: radiation is everywhere.

From Wikipedia:

A banana equivalent dose is a concept occasionally used by nuclear power proponents[1][2] to place in scale the dangers of radiation by comparing exposures to the radiation generated by a common banana.

Many foods are naturally radioactive, and bananas are particularly so, due to the radioactive potassium-40 they contain. The banana equivalent dose is the radiation exposure received by eating a single banana. Radiation leaks from nuclear plants are often measured in extraordinarily small units (the picocurie, a millionth of a millionth of a curie, is typical). By comparing the exposure from these events to a banana equivalent dose, a more intuitive assessment of the actual risk can sometimes be obtained.

The average radiologic profile of bananas is 3520 picocuries per kg, or roughly 520 picocuries per 150g banana.[3] The equivalent dose for 365 bananas (one per day for a year) is 3.6 millirems (36 μSv).

Bananas are radioactive enough to regularly cause false alarms on radiation sensors used to detect possible illegal smuggling of nuclear material at US ports.[4]

Another way to consider the concept is by comparing the risk from radiation-induced cancer to that from cancer from other sources. For instance, a radiation exposure of 10 mrems (10,000,000,000 picorems) increases your risk of death by about one in one million—the same risk as eating 40 tablespoons of peanut butter, or of smoking 1.4 cigarettes.[5]

After the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, the NRC detected radioactive iodine in local milk at levels of 20 picocuries/liter,[6] a dose much less than one would receive from ingesting a single banana. Thus a 12 fl oz glass of the slightly radioactive milk would have about 1/75th BED (banana equivalent dose).

Nearly all foods are slightly radioactive. All food sources combined expose a person to around 40 millirems per year on average, or more than 10% of the total dose from all natural and man-made sources.[7]

Some other foods that have above-average levels are potatoes, kidney beans, nuts, and sunflower seeds.[8] Among the most naturally radioactive food known are brazil nuts, with activity levels that can exceed 12,000 picocuries per kg.[9][10]

It has been suggested[11] that since the body homeostatically regulates the amount of potassium it contains, bananas do not cause a higher dose. However, the body takes time to remove excess potassium, time during which a dose is accumulating. In fact, the biological half-life of potassium is longer than it is for tritium,[12][13] a radioactive material sometimes leaked or intentionally vented in small quantities by nuclear plants. Also, bananas cause radiation exposure even when not ingested; for instance, standing next to a crate of bananas causes a measurable dose. Finally, the banana equivalent dose concept is about the prevalence of radiation sources in our food and environment, not about bananas specifically. Some foods (brazil nuts for example) are radioactive because of radium or other isotopes that the body does not keep under homeostatic regulation.[14]

   1. ^
   2. ^ Weston, Luke. (2007-07-25) banana dose « Physical Insights. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
   3. ^ CRC Handbook on Radiation Measurement and Protection, Vol 1 p. 620 Table A.3.7.12, CRC Press, 1978
   4. ^ Issue Brief: Radiological and Nuclear Detection Devices. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
   5. ^ Radiation and Risk. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
   6. ^ A Brief Review of the Accident at Three Mile Island
   7. ^ Radiation. Risks and Realities, US Environmental Protection Agency
   8. ^ [1][dead link]
   9. ^ Brazil Nuts. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
  10. ^ Natural Radioactivity. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
  11. ^ Bananas are radioactive—But they aren’t a good way to explain radiation exposure. Boing Boing. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
  12. ^ Rahola, T; Suomela, M (1975). “On biological half-life of potassium in man”. Annals of clinical research 7 (2): 62–5. PMID 1181976.
  13. ^ Environmental Health-Risk Assessment for Tritium Releases at the NTLF at LBNL: Chapter 2. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.
  14. ^ Brazil Nuts. Retrieved on 2010-10-19.

9709  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gaza celebrates the murders on: March 14, 2011, 11:05:51 AM,7340,L-4041106,00.html

Gaza celebrates; Fayyad condemns terror attack

Rafah residents hand out candy following murder of parents, three children in West Bank settlement of Itamar. Palestinian PM denounces act, says "we categorically oppose violence and terror, regardless of victims', perpetrators' identity"

Elior Levy
Published:    03.12.11, 14:36 / Israel News

Gaza residents from the southern city of Rafah hit the streets Saturday to celebrate the terror attack in the West Bank settlement of Itamar where five family members were murdered in their sleep, including three children.


Residents handed out candy and sweets, one resident saying the joy "is a natural response to the harm settlers inflict on the Palestinian residents in the West Bank."
9710  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The "religion of peace" has more "human right difficulties" on: March 14, 2011, 11:03:58 AM

9711  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, corruption etc. on: March 14, 2011, 10:47:08 AM
Businesses do not pay taxes, no matter how hard the politicians might try. Consumers pay the taxes on the businesses imposed by politicians.

"Sock it to the eeeeeevil oil companies! Hey, why is gas so expensive???"
9712  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 14, 2011, 07:26:29 AM

"I would think that an industry that is smart with its money would appeal to you."

Unfortunately, it's smart at getting our tax money, which is quite different than succeeding in the marketplace.

American taxpayers footed a $16.6 billion bill for energy subsidies, tax breaks, loan guarantees, and the like in 2007 alone, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). That’s more than double the Federal subsidy level from eight years earlier.

In fact, on an energy fuel basis, Congress has increased subsidies for renewable fuels considerably, from 17 percent of total subsidies and support in 1999 to 29 percent in 2007.  Conversely, natural gas and petroleum-related subsidies declined from 25 percent to 13 percent during the same period, and coal and nuclear subsidy shares remained roughly constant.

A large portion of the increase in subsidies for renewable fuels is due to ethanol and biofuels production, which represented two-thirds of the renewable subsidies in FY 2007.

For subsidies related to electricity production, EIA data shows that solar energy was subsidized at $24.34 per megawatt hour and wind at $23.37 per megawatt hour for electricity generated in 2007.  By contrast, coal received 44 cents, natural gas and petroleum received 25 cents, hydroelectric power 67 cents, and nuclear power $1.59 per megawatt hour.

Renewable lobbies complain that they don’t get their fair share of the subsidy pie, despite the data that suggests otherwise.  The industry justifies its requests for larger levels of taxpayer support by arguing that subsidies per unit of energy produced are always higher at the early stage of development, before large scale production can occur. But here’s the problem: wind power has been subsidized for more than a decade.  The production tax credit (PTC) for wind, for example, was first introduced as part of the Energy Policy Act of 1992.

The PTC for wind is currently slated to expire on December 31, 2008, if Congress does not extend it before then.  However, even with these subsidies, wind represented less than 1 percent of total net electricity generation in the United States in 2007. By contrast, nuclear and natural gas, both representing about 20 percent of net electricity generation in 2007, and coal, representing almost 50 percent, are subsidized less than wind by factors ranging from 15 for nuclear to 93 for natural gas.

The bottom line: traditional fuels continue to be more efficient and cost-effective than renewable fuels, which is why EIA forecasts show them representing 91 percent of energy consumption in 2030.
9713  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Indian Point/NYC on: March 13, 2011, 09:46:44 PM

Earthquakes May Endanger New York More Than Thought; Nuclear Power Plant Seen As Particular Risk

ScienceDaily (Aug. 21, 2008) — A study by a group of prominent seismologists suggests that a pattern of subtle but active faults makes the risk of earthquakes to the New York City area substantially greater than formerly believed. Among other things, they say that the controversial Indian Point nuclear power plants, 24 miles north of the city, sit astride the previously unidentified intersection of two active seismic zones.

The paper appears in the current issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America at
9714  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 13, 2011, 09:15:55 PM
Given the vast difference in gov't funding, it sure looks like the AWEA gets much more bang for it's lobbying buck, does it not? What's the overall size of the green industry vs. that of the oil/gas industry?
9715  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 13, 2011, 08:56:36 PM
I'm not optimistic as to the attempted nation building in A-stan, it is however a reflection of American values. We build schools and hospitals and feed the hungry, as opposed to the Soviets and their scorched earth strategy.

Can we afford to, at this point, probably not. Can we afford to pull out, in the long run, that would probably be even more costly.
9716  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 13, 2011, 08:16:05 PM
I wonder what the nuclear power plants located near the New Madrid Seismic Zone are rated for?  undecided
9717  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Some death threats more equal than others on: March 13, 2011, 07:01:51 PM

ABC, CBS, MSNBC, NBC and NPR Ignore Death Threats to Wisconsin Republicans
9718  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Japan ministers ignored safety warnings over nuclear reactors on: March 13, 2011, 06:50:30 PM
I think we can all agree that "areas of seismic activity" shouldn't have nuclear plant built there.

Japan ministers ignored safety warnings over nuclear reactors

Seismologist Ishibashi Katsuhiko claimed that an accident was likely and that plants have 'fundamental vulnerability'

    * Robin McKie, science editor
    *, Saturday 12 March 2011 18.51 GMT

Fukushima nuclear power plant Fukushima's nuclear power plant is among several criticised by scientists as 'vulnerable'. Photograph: Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA

The timing of the near nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi could not have been more appropriate. In only a few weeks the world will mark the 25th anniversary of the worst nuclear plant disaster ever to affect our planet – at Chernobyl in Ukraine. A major core meltdown released a deadly cloud of radioactive material over Europe and gave the name Chernobyl a terrible resonance.

This weekend it is clear that the name Fukushima came perilously close to achieving a similar notoriety. However, the real embarrassment for the Japanese government is not so much the nature of the accident but the fact it was warned long ago about the risks it faced in building nuclear plants in areas of intense seismic activity. Several years ago, the seismologist Ishibashi Katsuhiko stated, specifically, that such an accident was highly likely to occur. Nuclear power plants in Japan have a "fundamental vulnerability" to major earthquakes, Katsuhiko said in 2007. The government, the power industry and the academic community had seriously underestimated the potential risks posed by major quakes.

Katsuhiko, who is professor of urban safety at Kobe University, has highlighted three incidents at reactors between 2005 and 2007. Atomic plants at Onagawa, Shika and Kashiwazaki-Kariwa were all struck by earthquakes that triggered tremors stronger than those to which the reactor had been designed to survive.

In the case of the incident at the Kushiwazaki reactor in northwestern Japan, a 6.8-scale earthquake on 16 July 2007 set off a fire that blazed for two hours and allowed radioactive water to leak from the plant. However, no action was taken in the wake of any of these incidents despite Katsuhiko's warning at the time that the nation's reactors had "fatal flaws" in their design.

Japan is the world's third largest nuclear power user, with 53 reactors that provide 34.5% of its electricity, and there are plans to increase provision to 50% by 2030. Unfortunately its nuclear industry is bedevilled with controversy In 2002 the president of the country's largest power utility was forced to resign after he and other senior officials were suspected of falsifying plant safety records. Nor is the nature of its reactor planning inducing much comfort.

The trouble is, says Katsuhiko, that Japan began building up its atomic energy system 40 years ago, when seismic activity in the country was comparatively low. This affected the designs of plants which were not built to robust enough standards, the seismologist argues.
9719  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / What if Qaddafi Wins? on: March 13, 2011, 06:28:39 PM

What if Qaddafi Wins?
Michael J. Totten 03.13.2011 - 6:51 AM

If something doesn’t change soon, Muammar Qaddafi will kill his way back into power over all Libya’s territory. His forces are retaking rebel positions. The opposition is crumbling. And it looks like the United States and Europe will stand back and just let it happen.

This isn’t the first time an Arab tyrant has made a startling comeback after an uprising nearly swept him away. Saddam Hussein lost control of most of Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War, but tens of thousands of dead bodies later, he was firmly and ruthlessly back in the saddle.

There are good arguments against getting involved. Not even the most hawkish interventionist would have chosen a war against Qaddafi a month ago. There aren’t many worse human-rights abusers out there, though there are some. And there are certainly countries where the West has more national interests at stake, the most obvious being Iran. But let’s not pretend there won’t be consequences beyond the shores of Tripoli if Qaddafi butchers his way back to Benghazi.

He’ll emerge meaner and more isolated than ever and hell-bent on revenge. We can forget about going back to the status quo ante when his relations with others were more or less “normal.” Whatever reluctance he felt against acting out will be eroded, if not lost entirely, now that he knows the West has little appetite to move against him, even when he is cornered and at his most vulnerable.

If the only Arab rulers to be deposed by revolution are the nominally pro-American “moderates,” while the mass-murdering state sponsors of terrorism hang on, change indeed will be coming to the Middle East and North Africa, but it won’t be the change we were hoping for. One thing, however, will not have changed an iota: the Middle East will be governed by violence just as it always has.

If the Caligula of North Africa survives by fighting to the death and prevailing, he will surely inspire the other hard rulers to take the same strategy, especially after the humiliating and mostly nonviolent defeats of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Tunisia’s Ben Ali. The killers of the resistance bloc — Iran’s Islamic Republic, Bashar al-Assad’s Baath Party in Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in Gaza — won’t likely be overthrown by peaceful demonstrations but by massive internally  or externally driven wars.
9720  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 13, 2011, 06:26:34 PM
Well, (fingers crossed) Japan seems to have it's nuclear situation contained, if not controlled with minimum impact. Russia' design and safety were typically negligent as expected from Soviet culture. 3 Mile Island seems overhyped to me.

Three Mile Island - 25 Years Later

By Albrecht Powell, Guide

"Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant"

On March 28, 1979, America experienced its worst nuclear accident - a partial meltdown of the reactor core at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant near Middletown, Pennsylvania. During the tension-packed week that followed, sketchy reports and conflicting information led to panic, and more than one hundred thousand residents, mostly children and pregnant women, fled the area.

    * Early on the morning of March 28, several water-coolant pumps failed on the second reactor at Three Mile Island (TMI-2), causing the reactor to overheat.

    * The reactor shut itself down eight seconds later, but the core temperature continued to rise because valves controlling the emergency cooling water were stuck closed.

    * Sixteen hours later, the core was finally flooded and its temperature brought under control. By this time, half of the core had melted, and part of it had disintegrated, although it was years before scientists actually discovered that a meltdown had occurred. TMI-2 had only been in operation for 90 days when the accident occured.

    * On March 30, later known as "Black Friday," rumors circulated about an uncontrolled release of radiation from the plant and Pennsylvania's governor ordered the evacuation of children and pregnant women living within 5 miles of the plant. Later, it was learned that the release had been planned to ease pressure within the system.

    * On April 2, 1979, five days after the meltdown, the crisis at Three Mile Island was officially declared to be over.

    * Although TMI-2's containment held and only minimal radioactive material was released, the reactor was heavily contaminated. No one could enter the plant for two years.

    * The TMI-2 reactor was eventually entombed in concrete and TMI-1 was restarted in 1986.

Impact of the Three Mile Island Disaster
A combination of equipment failure, human error, and bad luck, the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island stunned the nation and permanently changed the nuclear industry in America. Even though it led to no immediate deaths or injuries to plant workers or members of the nearby community, the TMI accident had a devastating impact on the nuclear power industry - the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has not reviewed an application to build a new nuclear power plant in the United States since. It also brought about sweeping changes involving emergency response planning, reactor operator training, human factors engineering, radiation protection, and many other areas of nuclear power plant operations.

Health Effects of Three Mile Island
Various studies on health effects, including a 2002 study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh, have determined the average radiation dose to individuals near Three Mile Island at the time of the meltdown was about 1 millirem - much less than the average, annual, natural background dose for residents of the central Pennsylvania region. Twenty-five years later, there has been no significant rise in cancer deaths among residents living near the Three Mile Island site. A new analysis of health statistics in the region conducted by the Radiation and Public Health Project has, however, found that death rates for infants, children, and the elderly soared in the first two years after the Three Mile Island accident in Dauphin and surrounding counties.

Three Mile Island Today
Today, the TMI-2 reactor is permanently shut down and defueled, with the reactor coolant system drained, the radioactive water decontaminated and evaporated, radioactive waste shipped off-site to an appropropriate disposal site, reactor fuel and core debris shipped off-site to a Department of Energy facility, and the remainder of the site being monitored. The owner says it will keep the facility in long-term, monitored storage until the operating license for the TMI-1 plant expires on April 1, 2014, at which time both plants will be decommissioned.
9721  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Green Fail on: March 13, 2011, 06:03:01 PM

9722  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 13, 2011, 05:35:28 PM

Solutions for America: Meeting America’s Energy and Environmental Needs
Published on August 17, 2010


America needs an energy policy that promotes environmental sustainability and economic growth. Yet many Members of Congress and the Administration are promoting policies and promulgating regulations that centralize power in Washington—an approach that leads to the high prices, energy shortages, and foreign dependence that politicians use to justify their failed big-government policies. Americans should demand an energy policy that is rooted in the free market, builds on private property rights, and relies on the initiative and entrepreneurial spirit of the private sector. This will not only promote economic growth, but also help Americans to achieve their environmental objectives. Ultimately, it is economic prosperity, not government dictate, that provides the means to protect the environment.


    * Running Out of Oil? Three decades ago, proven world oil reserves were 645 billion barrels; five years ago, it was 1.28 trillion, and in 2009, it was 1.34 trillion. New, innovative technologies and sound policies to allow access will help to recover that oil and discover more. Unfortunately, the Administration’s policies are keeping much of this resource off-limits, which means higher prices and more dependence.
    * Energy Subsidies and Mandates. Solar and wind receive subsidies of over $23/Mwh (megawatt hour) compared with $1.59/Mwh for nuclear, $0.44/Mwh for conventional coal, and $0.25/Mwh for natural gas. This does not include the $27.2 billion allocated in the 2009 “stimulus” bill for energy efficiency and renewable energy research and investment. Congress mandated that renewable fuels be mixed into the gasoline supply and required production of 36 billion gallons of ethanol by 2022. Energy subsidies and mandates reduce competition, inflate prices, and stifle technological innovation, and Americans have to pay twice for the subsidies: first through higher taxes and second with higher energy prices.
    * Access to America’s Natural Resources. The federal government owns and controls 650 million acres of land in the United States, including large portions in the western U.S. For instance, the federal government owns approximately 85% of the land in Nevada, 69% of Alaska, 57% of Utah, and 53% of Oregon. The federal government does not adequately maintain its land, much of which could be put to much more productive use like ranching, mining, or forestry through private ownership.
    * Affordable Electricity. The science behind global warming is anything but certain, but one thing is certain: The policies to cap carbon dioxide and mandate “clean” energy production are very expensive. The cap and trade bill passed by the House of Representatives would result in 1.9 million fewer jobs in 2012, $9.4 trillion in lost economic growth from 2012–2035, and a 90% increase in the price of electricity by 2035. Proposals for a renewable electricity mandate, which would require 20% of our nation’s electricity (currently at 3%) to come from government-picked renewable sources, are not much better. They would destroy over one million jobs (on net), cut national income (GDP) by $5.2 trillion between 2012 and 2035, and increase electricity prices 36%. Neither policy would have any noticeable environmental impact, but both would result in more government control of the economy and thus more lobbyists flooding the halls of Congress to pursue their special interests.
    * Nuclear Power. The U.S. gets 20% of its electricity (and 70% of its emissions-free electricity) from 104 nuclear power plants. Further, at less than two cents per kilowatt hour, nuclear energy is among the least expensive electricity produced in the U.S. and also, with no injuries or deaths as a result of commercial nuclear energy in the U.S., among the safest. Yet due to an onerous regulatory burden and the federal government’s failed strategy to manage nuclear waste, no new plants have been permitted in over three decades.


    * Expand Onshore Oil Production into Previously Restricted Areas, including Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where an estimated 10 billion barrels of oil—16 years of current imports from Saudi Arabia— lie beneath a few thousand acres that can be accessed with minimal environmental impact.
    * Open America’s Outer Continental Shelf to Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration. Offshore drilling bans prevent exploration in about 85% of our coastal waters. A reinvigorated offshore and onshore energy program could create 113,000 to 160,000 new jobs by 2030.
    * Peel Back All Energy Subsidies. The federal government must stop picking winners and losers in the energy sector. Subsidies create complacency within the industry and reduce the incentive to innovate. In most cases, subsidies either transfer part of the cost for a market-viable investment to the public or divert direct investment away from more efficient projects. They distort the market and cost the many for the benefit of the few. Freeing energy industries from all government subsidies would allow companies to rely on innovation and efficiency, not taxpayer handouts, to remain competitive and allow competition among all energy sources, including renewables.
    * Reform the Offshore Oil and Gas Liability Regime. Congress should establish a liability and claims process that fully assigns risk of offshore oil and gas operations, allows for victims to be fully compensated, and protects companies from frivolous lawsuits. Such a regime should include a multi-tiered insurance and liability system that relies on private insurance to cover liability for normal operations and a voluntary insurance pool for liability exceeding $1 billion; an industry-funded organization governed by an independent board to reduce the likelihood of spills by setting and enforcing safety standards at individual sites, collecting safety data, sharing best practices, and working with government regulators; and a pre-positioned industry-funded preparedness and response capability, certified by an independent organization, to deal aggressively and effectively with accidents if they do happen, as well as a more robust and integrated federal oversight and national response.
    * Allow the U.S. Department of the Interior to Provide the Appropriate Lease Sales When Possible for Oil Shale. According to the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management, a moderate estimate of 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil from oil shale in the Green River Formation is three times greater than the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia. The technology to collect and refine oil shale is developing at a rapid pace, and private companies are willing to invest in it. When the private sector demonstrates that oil shale is economically feasible and can be done safely, the DOI should allow commercialization to move forward.
    * Amend the Clean Air Act to Exclude Carbon Dioxide and Other Greenhouse Gases from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Purview. The Clean Air Act was never intended to regulate carbon dioxide, yet that is precisely what the EPA is attempting to do. The result would be that schools, farms, restaurants, hospitals, apartment complexes, churches, and anything with a motor—from motor vehicles to lawn­mowers, jet skis, and leaf blowers—could be subject to cost-increasing restrictions.
    * Introduce Market Principles into Nuclear Waste Management Reform. The federal government’s inability to fulfill its legal obligations under the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act has often been cited as a significant obstacle to building additional nuclear power plants. Given nuclear power’s potential to help solve many of the nation’s energy problems, now is the time to break the impasse over managing the nation’s used nuclear fuel.
    * Reform the Arduous Permitting Process for New Nuclear Power Plants. The first step is to create a permit schedule that reduces the current four-year timeline to two years for traditional reactors. Second, establishing an alternative licensing pathway for new nuclear technologies could help build the necessary regulatory support on which their commercial success ultimately depends.
    * Maintain the Yucca Option. Under any realistic nuclear waste management scenario, there will be a need for long-term geologic storage. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is currently reviewing the Department of Energy’s application for a permit to construct the repository at Yucca Mountain. Congress should fully support this process.
9723  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 13, 2011, 05:28:01 PM

Colorado Transit: A Costly Failure

Public transit is often portrayed as a low-cost,
environmentally friendly alternative to auto driving.1
In fact, transit is much more costly than driving, and
requires huge subsidies to attract riders. Moreover,
transit systems in the vast majority of American cities
use more energy and emit more greenhouse gases than
the average car.2
For every dollar collected in fares from transit riders, the
average transit system in America requires more than
$2 from taxpayers for operating subsidies plus more
than $1 for capital improvements and maintenance.3
So it is not surprising that transit systems in Colorado
require large subsidies. What may be surprising is
that most are far less environmentally friendly than a
typical sports utility vehicle.
The Cost of Driving
Before looking at the cost of transit, it is useful for
comparison sake to calculate the cost of and subsidies
to driving. Americans drive for 85 percent of their
travel not because we are somehow addicted to
the automobile but because autos are both more
convenient and less expensive than most of the
alternatives. Unlike transit buses, trains, or airplanes,
automobiles make it possible for people to go where
they want to go when they want to go there.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis,
Americans spent $950 billion buying, operating, and
maintaining their cars and light trucks (including pick
ups, SUVs, and full-sized vans) in 2008.4 That’s a lot
of money, but those cars and light trucks also carried
us nearly 4.5 trillion passenger miles, for an average
cost of less than 22 cents per passenger mile.5


The Cost of Transit
By comparison, the national average cost of public
transit is more than 90 cents a passenger mile, more
than 70 cents of which is subsidized by non-transit
users. In Colorado, the costs are a little higher: $1.00
per passenger mile, $0.84 of which is subsidized.12
Most transit agencies do not even pretend to try to
cover their operating costs, much less their capital
costs, with passenger fares. Colorado transit agencies,
for example, spent $419 million operating transit lines
in 2008, but collected only $97 million in fares.
In addition to the annual operating costs, transit
subsidies include the capital costs of buying buses and
other facilities. Capital costs fluctuate tremendously
from year to year as transit agencies receive federal
grants to replace large segments of their bus fleets in
some years and make few capital purchases in other
The Federal Transit Administration has published cost
data for every transit agency from 1992 through 2008,
providing 17 years’ worth of capital cost data.13 After
adjusting for inflation, the average of these 17 years
provides a reasonable approximation of annual capital
costs for bus transit. In the case of Denver’s light-rail
system, actual capital costs of the existing system were
depreciated over 30 years at 7 percent, as directed by
Federal Transit Administration accounting rules.14
Annual capital costs and depreciation add another
$181 million to the cost of running Colorado transit,
meaning taxpayers lost $503 million per year on
transit systems in 7 Colorado cities. This does not
count the transit agency in Berthoud, which did not
submit sufficient information to the Federal Transit
Administration to calculate these numbers.
9724  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 13, 2011, 05:18:26 PM
1.Bin Laden: is now dead, or if alive, the trail has gone cold. Bin Laden is likely not even in Afgh, but in Pak, so we are likely wasting our resources in Afghanistan.

Agreed. However, we sure have killed a lot of jihadists on the battlefield as well as gathered lots of intel and wiped out much of AQ's middle management.

2. Destroy "training camps": These are mostly in Pak (again we are in the wrong country), and very rarely do we hear of training sites in Afghanistan, and how do you destroy these camping sites with a few tents and perhaps a few obstacle courses. These are rudimentary camps, even if destroyed can be put back very quickly. So far I dont think we have bombed a single jihadi training camp, about 50 of which are known to be in POK.

Agreed. Those that were in A-stan go wiped out early on.

I think the above goals, wrt  afghanistan have been achieved to the extent we could, or wanted to. There must be something more to our presence in Afghanistan. Why do we want to build a permanent base in that country ?

Part of it is that failed states are the swamp that breeds AQ, and thus nation building is seen as the way to drain the swamp, part of it is mission creep.We can't been seen as pulling out without Bin Laden's head on a spike, otherwise it will be taken as a major victory by the jihadists worldwide.

If our aim is to destroy the jihadis,we need to be squeezing the pakis. Since we are not doing that, there must be some other reason for the US in Afghanistan..

The US nat'l security machine tends to be very risk adverse. The only time we really got P-stan to do anything was right after 9/11. We were scared, we were pissed and no one knew how far we'd go or what we'd do. No one wants to be the one that "lost Pakistan". As you have pointed out in great detail, P-stan understands how the US works and milks us for money while playing the usual double game. I said years ago that I would bet a huge amount of money the the ISI knows exactly where Bin Laden is, and most likely extracted him from Tora Bora.

9725  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 13, 2011, 12:27:11 PM

The US sucks at playing "Great Game" games. Note that for all our blood and treasure, we got exactly zero Iraqi oil contracts. If only the US were the skilled Machiavellians we are accused of being.

Our goal in Afghanistan was to Kill Bin Laden and the core of AQ, destroy the AQ training camp infrastructure and make A-stan a place where AQ couldn't rebuild.
9726  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 13, 2011, 11:31:02 AM
LA lacks the population density.
9727  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 13, 2011, 11:21:24 AM
Until you get close to NYC levels of population density, public transit still isn't economically viable. That vast majority of cities in the US don't even get close to that.
9728  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 13, 2011, 11:19:43 AM
Well, someone has been effective at running covert ops inside Iran, I suspect our friends from a small country that speaks Hebrew. We should be training and arming a resistance within Iran and more targeted killings of mullahs and Revolutionary Guards, as well as nuclear scientists while we squeeze them economically by damaging their oil infrastructure.
9729  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 13, 2011, 10:37:02 AM
I trust Iran even less than I trust Pakistan. You don't make deals with those waging war against you. You find a way to ram a spear through their heart.
9730  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 13, 2011, 10:18:47 AM
Iran also killed lots of US troops in Iraq, both directly and indirectly, and has waged a covert war against the US since 1979.
9731  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Japan Nuclear Fallout: How Bad Could It Get? on: March 13, 2011, 10:17:25 AM

Josh Dzieza

Josh Dzieza is an editorial assistant at The Daily Beast.

As Japan scrambles to cope with a nuclear reactor damaged in the quake, Josh Dzieza talks to Ron Ballinger, a nuclear expert at MIT about how the plants work, worst-case scenarios, and more. Plus, full coverage of Japan's catastrophe.

Shortly after Japan was hit with the double disaster of a magnitude 8.9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami, a possible third reared its head: nuclear meltdown. The quake caused 11 of Japan's nuclear reactors to shut down automatically, including three at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant, 170 miles northeast of Tokyo. But the quake also cut Fukushima off from the power grid, forcing plant operators to switch to emergency diesel generators in order to continue cooling the reactor core, generators that then failed shortly after the tsunami hit. By the end of the day Friday, Prime Minister Naoto Kan had declared a “nuclear emergency,” and 200,000 people near the plant had been told to evacuate.

Then, Saturday afternoon, a building at the plant erupted in a massive explosion, apparently the result of hydrogen from the superheated fuel rods interacting with oxygen as plant operators tried to vent increasing pressure inside the reactor. Officials say the reactor wasn't damaged in the blast, and that radiation levels have actually been declining since. Nevertheless, they took the extreme step of flooding the reactor with seawater in an attempt to cool it down, and news that the cooling system for a second reactor at the same plant has begun to fail did little to calm worries of a meltdown. As Japan copes with its worst nuclear mishap at least since the leak at Tokaimura, The Daily Beast spoke with MIT Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering Ron Ballinger about worst-case scenarios, iodine tablets, and why he thinks everything is going to be fine. Plus, complete coverage of the quake.

What's the worst-case scenario?

Well, first off, we can't have a Chernobyl-like situation. The system is designed so that as long as we keep water in there to keep it cool, nothing will happen. There are three levels of protection here. One is the fuel cladding, and if that's damaged then it releases radioactive material into the pressure system, which is a steel container. Then there's a containment vessel around that. What likely happened is that you had fuel damage, damage to the first barrier, which produced hydrogen in the primary system, and then to keep the pressure down they vented the hydrogen into the building that was destroyed.

Article - Dzieza Japan Nuke Police officers wearing respirators guide people to evacuate away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant following an order for residents who live in within a 10 km (6.3 miles) radius from the plant after an explosion in Tomioka Town in Fukushima Prefec

What happens if all the water boils off?

Hypothetically, if the water all boils and evaporates, then the fuel will stay molten and eventually melt through the steel vessel. But that's already beyond a hypothetical worst-case scenario for me. The steel vessel is four inches thick, and they could always put seawater around the vessel, and that would keep it cool, so it can't melt. If you put a frying pan in water, you could put a blowtorch on the other side and it won't make any difference. Then you have the other containment vessel, with a concrete faceplate underneath that's between four and 10 feet thick. But melting through that is hypothetical beyond normal reasoning.

Radiation spiked at 1,015 microsievert per hour before the explosion. Is that dangerous?

No, that's about 100 milirem. It's high, but you get about 35 milirems on a trans-Atlantic flight. And if you live in Denver, you get about 50 milirems per year.

What is the dangerous level, and what happens when that level is reached?

The LD50—that is to say, the point when 50 percent of the people exposed will meet Jesus—is in the order of 250 rem, or maybe 400. A big number. Keep in mind, what they've been exposed to is 0.1 rem, and about 50 percent fatality is on the order of 400 rem. What would happen with that kind of exposure is that they would get sick. Radiation damage destroys the immune system. Most people who die of radiation sickness die of pneumonia or a cold, they die of some disease which they have but their immune system can't fight off.

Why is Japan distributing iodine tablets?

One of the isotopes of fission products, when fuel melts, is an iodine isotope, and it goes in your body through your thyroid. So if you take iodine tablets, the non-radioactive iodine goes to your thyroid, you bulk up your thyroid with iodine and it prevents absorption of the radioactive iodine.

What failsafes are there to prevent a meltdown?

A lot. First there's the SCRAM system, it automatically ejects the control rods into the core and shuts the plant down. That happened right after the earthquake. Then there's a number of core spray systems, which inject water to keep things cool. Then, if the system needs to depressurize, there's something called a suppression pool that it vents steam into. Then, when the system is depressurized there are other systems that inject water at low pressure. And then, worst comes to worst, there are pumps that can take water from the local cooling water supply, in this case the ocean, and just pump water in there. As long as there's water in there, it might be expensive for the utility to get it cleaned up, but everything is going to be fine.
9732  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 5 lies the economists are feeding us on: March 13, 2011, 10:06:52 AM
5 lies the economists are feeding us

Reassurances from the Fed on down about low inflation and falling unemployment are ringing hollow as stagflation looms. They aren’t fooling us, but they might be kidding themselves.
9733  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Worry on: March 13, 2011, 10:00:06 AM

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Americans worried about the pain of $100 U.S. oil should worry a lot more.

Although $100 oil is the headline in U.S. newspapers, most refineries that supply fuel to service stations are paying the equivalent of a much higher price -- and those costs are already being felt when consumers fill up their vehicles.

The cause is an unprecedented disconnect between the most visible price of oil -- crude oil futures contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) -- and the real cost of physical barrels pumped from the Gulf of Mexico, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.

This gap is caused by oil traders' growing realization that inventories at the small Oklahoma town of Cushing -- the delivery point for the NYMEX contract -- will likely be awash with crude for months to come due to booming production from Canada and shale oil producing states such as North Dakota.

Because the U.S. pipeline system was designed to import oil from the coast to the interior, not vice versa, there's no way to move the extra northern crude to the southern refiners, in places such as Houston and Port Arthur, Texas, which are paying much higher rates for crude from far abroad.

Refiners on the West, Gulf and East coasts -- who produce or import nearly 85 percent of America's fuel -- are therefore forced to pay a premium of $15 to $20 relative to the current futures price of $100 a barrel to keep their plants fed, and pump prices are reflecting that premium.

U.S. oil futures, also called West Texas Intermediate (WTI) after a kind of oil produced in Texas, are no longer the reliable yardstick for the world price and a clear signal of demand for high quality oil from the world's biggest consumer that they once were. They have instead become more of an indicator of the degree of oversupply in the heart of the North American continent.

The most visible evidence of this disparity can be seen in the price of ICE Brent crude futures, the European benchmark; it has risen 21 percent this year, while WTI futures have gained only 15 percent. Normally trading at parity to WTI, Brent surged last week to a record premium of $17.

Although that spread has contracted sharply over the past few days, trading on Wednesday at about $10, the correction has brought its own set of problems. On Monday, for example, the two contracts moved sharply in opposite directions, sowing confusion about whether oil costs had gone up or down.

The result is that WTI, the light sweet crude that Americans have long associated with "the" price of oil, has become a dangerously inaccurate indicator.

And that has major implications for consumers and companies given that at $100 a barrel many economists see limited risk to the U.S. economy but at $120 serious headwinds become evident.

"The hike to something which is between $110 and $120 a barrel is something which may affect (growth) if it lasts too long," said International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, during a visit to Panama last week.
9734  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Japan Quake's Financial Impact on: March 13, 2011, 09:29:42 AM
Japan Quake's Financial Impact: Five Things to Watch
Published: Friday, 11 Mar 2011 | 1:12 PM ET
Text Size
By: Jeff Cox Staff Writer

While commodity and currency markets took the biggest immediate hit from Friday's earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the damage will be felt throughout the world's economy and the US.
Fukishima Minpo | AFP | Getty Images
A factory building has collapsed in Sukagawa city, Fukushima prefecture, in northern Japan. A massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake shook Japan, unleashing a powerful tsunami that sent ships crashing into the shore and carried cars through the streets of coastal towns.

In addition to the massive human toll, the quake and ensuing tsunami will exact an economic toll on Japan, which is still struggling to shake the detritus of its "lost decade" brought on by economic stagnation.

The price on both fronts is impossible to calculate at this point, but it no doubt will be profound.

"It's going to be of the most expensive disasters in history before it's done," Dennis Gartman, hedge fund manager and author of The Gartman Letter investor bulletin, told CNBC. "This is not just a Japanese circumstance, this is on both sides of the Pacific and the dollars are going to add up very quickly."

Here, then, is a look at five of the main financial effects of the crisis:
9735  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 13, 2011, 09:13:27 AM

The majority of Americans don't live places where public transportation is economically viable. We need cars. I can tell you that as someone that has seen lots of MVAs, including fatals that smart cars aren't.
9736  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 12, 2011, 08:42:29 PM

Did you post the NY Times article with the left's talking points about how fracking was supposed to poison groundwater?
9737  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Japan's Earthquake on: March 12, 2011, 08:33:59 PM
To a certain degree, I have to unplug from the Japan footage, as I hate feeling so utterly helpless. I'm also frustrated by the nuclear incidents being reported, given the political agenda of the MSM, as well as the lack of detailed knowledge on both their and my behalf in analysing the severity of the problems.
9738  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 12, 2011, 08:13:56 PM

"India would help, if the US was willing to shift policy re: maintaining balance of power between Pak and India, or if the US was serious about supporting Pak's break up, either into Pashtoonistan, or free Balochistan (which BTW, was always independent of Pak, as the princely state of Kalat, and annexed to pak after the India/Pak partition). The F-16's that the US supplies to pak are a significant pain to India."

Works for me.
9739  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Nuclear Power on: March 12, 2011, 08:01:49 PM
IMHO, nuclear technology has come a long way. The power we need has to come from somewhere. "Green power" is a fantasy. What is needed is a rational cost/benefit analysis for long term energy policy.
9740  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: March 12, 2011, 07:29:09 PM
Funny how some liberal jews could knowingly vote for Buraq, yet insist that Pro-Israel Glenn Beck is an anti-semite. I'd love to see this explained.
9741  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 12, 2011, 07:24:18 PM
We need to get seriously outside the box.

The following is offered in a brainstorming way only-- there may be some serious flaws in it, but at the moment it is what occurs to me.

a) I would consider ignoring the Darcy line and cut a deal with the Pashtuns to give them a Pashtunistan in return for giving up the AQ in their territory.   This would freak the Paks and I would green light the Indians while taking out Pak's nuke program.

b) I would consider fg with the Russians and freeing the Germans from dependance on Russki gas AND provide an alternate source of money for the rest of Afg by building/threaten/offer to build a natural gas pipeline for central Asian gas through Pashtunistan and the remains of Pakistan to the Indian Ocean that gives it access to the market other than Russia.  Without this gas, Russia will not be able to export to and control Europe, especially Germany and Afgans, Pashtuns, and Paks have an alternate source to making money.

Again, these ideas may be crazy, but maybe there is some value to extract.

9742  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Obama Doctrine on: March 12, 2011, 03:47:29 PM

The Obama Doctrine
Libya is what a world without U.S. leadership looks like.

'This is the Obama conception of the U.S. role in the world—to work through multilateral organizations and bilateral relationships to make sure that the steps we are taking are amplified."

—White House National Security Council spokesman Ben Rhodes, March 10, 2011, as quoted in the Washington Post

"They bombed us with tanks, airplanes, missiles coming from every direction. . . . We need international support, at least a no-fly zone. Why is the world not supporting us?"

—Libyan rebel Mahmoud Abdel Hamid, March 10, 2011, as quoted in The Wall Street Journal

Whatever else one might say about President Obama's Libya policy, it has succeeded brilliantly in achieving its oft-stated goal of not leading the world. No one can any longer doubt the U.S. determination not to act before the Italians do, or until the Saudis approve, or without a U.N. resolution. This White House is forthright for followership.

That message also couldn't be clearer to Moammar Gadhafi and his sons, who are busy bombing and killing their way to victory against the Libyan opposition. As the U.S. defers to the world, the world can't decide what to do, and the vacuum is filled by a dictator and his hard men who have concluded that no one will stop them. "Hear it now. I have only two words for our brothers and sisters in the east: We're coming," said Gadhafi's son, Saif al-Islam, on Thursday.

Three weeks into the Libyan uprising, here are some of the live action highlights from what Mr. Obama likes to call "the international community":

• The United Nations Security Council has imposed an arms embargo, but with enough ambiguity that no one knows whether it applies only to Gadhafi or also to the opposition. Even the U.S. State Department and White House don't agree.

• The U.N. has referred events to the International Criminal Court for a war crimes investigation. Mr. Obama said yesterday this sent a message to Gadhafi that "the world is watching," as if Gadhafi didn't know. But it also sends a message that leaving Libya without bloodshed is not an option, because he and his sons will still be pursued for war crimes. Had Reagan pursued this strategy in the Philippines, Marcos might never have gone into exile.

• France has recognized the opposition National Council in Benghazi, though the U.S. is only now sending envoys to meet with the opposition for the first time. Dozens of Western reporters can get rebel leaders on the phone, an opposition delegation has visited French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris, but the U.S. is still trying to figure out who these people are. The American envoys better hurry because the rebels may soon be dead.

• The French want a no-fly zone, but the Italians and Germans object. NATO is having "a series of conversations about a wide range of options," as President Obama put it yesterday, but NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen emerged from a meeting of defense ministers in Brussels on Thursday saying that "We considered . . . initial options regarding a possible no-fly zone in case NATO were to receive a clear U.N. mandate" (our emphasis). The latter isn't likely because both China and Russia object, but no doubt NATO will keep conversing about the "range of options" next week.

• Even as opposition leaders were asking for help, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the world on Thursday that Gadhafi is likely to win in the long-term. The Administration scrambled to say this was merely a factual judgment about the balance of military power, but the message couldn't be clearer to any of Gadhafi's generals who might consider defecting: Do so at your peril because you will join the losing side.

We could go on, but you get the idea. When the U.S. fails to lead, the world reverts to its default mode as a diplomatic Tower of Babel. Everyone discusses "options" and "contingencies" but no one has the will to act, while the predators march.

This was true in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s until the U.S. shamed Europe and NATO into using force with or without a U.N. resolution. And it has been true in every case in which the world finally resisted tyrants or terrorists, from the Gulf War to Afghanistan to Iraq. When the U.S. chooses to act like everyone else, the result is Rwanda, Darfur and now Libya.

One difference in Libya is that the damage from a Gadhafi victory would not merely be humanitarian, though that would be awful enough. The only way Gadhafi can subdue Benghazi and the east now is with a door-to-door purge and systematic murder. The flow of refugees heading for Southern Europe would also not be small.

If Gadhafi survives after Mr. Obama has told him to go, the blow to U.S. prestige and world order would be enormous. Dictators will learn that the way to keep America from acting is to keep its diplomats and citizens around, while mowing down your opponents as the world debates contingencies. By the time the Babelers make a decision, it will be too late. This is a dangerous message to send at any time, but especially with a Middle East in the throes of revolution.

There is still time for Mr. Obama to salvage his Libya policy, though the costs of doing so are rising every day. Libya today is what a world without U.S. leadership looks like.
9743  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Life Without America on: March 12, 2011, 11:20:57 AM

Saturday, March 12, 2011
Life Without America
Libya is turning out to be an interesting test case about how the world can get by without we damned Americans taking the lead and mucking things up.

Our president may say we are "tightening the noose" around Khaddafi, but the facts on the ground say otherwise. So what if more and more people declare in somber and serious tones that they don't like Khaddafi? And even the boldest suggestions in the sainted international community conference rooms for action--a "UN" (read that, "tell the Americans to do it") no-fly zone--fall short on two facts: one, Russia or China will veto it in the Security Council to avoid a precedent; and two, a no-fly zone will have no appreciable impact on the course of the fighting.

So while we chat it up with others seeking a consensus, NATO won't act because of divisions within the alliance. The Arab League is unlikely to come down on the pro-rebel side as they talk amongst themselves (again, but for the grace of Allah, and all that). And the European Union won't act without the blessing of someone. And if they got it, I bet they'd still want to talk some more to avoid action. Heck they wouldn't even endorse the idea of a no-fly zone at some future time. The African Union is getting in to the talk game, too, hoping to get the rebels and loyalists to talk. The way things are going, they'll talk all right. But it will be bleeding and broken rebels in basements talking to loyalist interrogators.

So rebels who Westerners hoped three weeks ago would quickly topple Khaddafi with only our words of support to get us a spot in the victory parade rather than requiring action, are starting to get pounded by the superior firepower and organization of the loyalist side. What do the rebels want?

Not more talk and words, naturally:

    Many rebels were angry at international inaction.

    "Where is the West? How are they helping? What are they doing," shouted one angry fighter.

Poor chap. He lacks the nuance to appreciate the "tightening noose" and growing consensus in West conference rooms that Khaddafi is a bad guy. But what can you expect from such scruffy men holding rifles? That fighter probably went to a state college, or something! My God, his pronoun doesn't even match the noun he references!

Strangely, the rebels insist on wanting actual action from the West:

    Libya's insurgent leader said any delay in imposing a no-fly zone could let Gaddafi regain control. "We ask the international community to shoulder their responsibilities," Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, head of the rebels' National Libyan Council, said.

    "The Libyans are being cleansed by Gaddafi's air force. We asked for a no-fly zone to be imposed from day one, we also want a sea embargo," he said.

Like I've said repeatedly, a no-fly zone won't work. But rebels are too divided so far to ask for real help. This is all they can agree on. Get us moving into actual action and if the loyalists continue to win despite that, more rebels will be convinced that keeping the West out so the rebels will "own the revolt" will be meaningless when they find themselves sitting in a basement in Tripoli under a bare light bulb (non-twisty, of course) while a loyalist with a clipboard takes down the names of everyone they know.

Sadly, rebels in Benghazi don't understand our new foreign policy approach:

    "Help us to become a democratic country," said one banner strung between lampposts and written in English and Arabic.

What are they thinking? It doesn't even matter if the demonstrators want or understand what "democracy" means other than the downfall of Khaddafi (a good short-term goal, to be sure). The point is that democracy promotion is no longer an American goal (most old European states couldn't care less and never did believe Arabs were "ready" for it). Don't they know that we can't impose democracy? Don't they appreciate the benefits of doing it all on their own?

Well, they'd better appreciate it. Because if the rebels are counting on effective action from the West (and no, a post-conflict European report issued in 2012 about how the rebels are at fault for their defeat won't count, no matter how brightly festooned with ribbons and wax seals the 2,000-page fully foot-noted document--in English and French language versions--is), they'll hang for that confidence. Ah, nuance! It burns like acid dribbled on exposed skin, huh?

Again, I'm not saying we should openly intervene with a couple divisions. I think we have effective covert alternatives to that, although the chances they will work are diminishing as time goes on (although we may be doing them even as we speak, I suppose). But my point is that without our leadership pressing for action, we are seeing how the sainted international community reacts to a madman at war with his people without the leadership of America. The world community already knows how to talk--how do we add to that?

Libya is the first test of how a post-America world can handle the threats to world peace. How's that working out so far? Are you really ready to say that DNI Clapper is dim-witted for telling a Senate committee that Khaddafi will probably win this civil war?
9744  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / BATTLE: LOS ANGELES on: March 12, 2011, 11:05:15 AM

A couple of good reasons to see this movie.

1. Escape from the all too real horrors we are seeing in Japan. God bless them.

2. It is quite possibly the most pro-military film out of Hollywood since WWII.

9745  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Japan's Earthquake on: March 12, 2011, 10:20:31 AM
Beyond horrific. Words fail at times like this.  cry
9746  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East: War, Peace, and SNAFU on: March 11, 2011, 06:07:16 PM
I'm actually kind of glad Obama is dithering. Let the europeans wear the big boy pants for once.
9747  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: March 11, 2011, 02:20:01 PM
I want congress to question the BATFE chain of command under oath. If this is the way it's being reported, a lot of firings and/or prosecutions need to happen.
9748  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: March 11, 2011, 02:05:50 PM
In this case, Mexico has the right to be pissed.
9749  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama silent as liberals make death threats on: March 11, 2011, 07:52:53 AM

Obama silent as liberals make death threats
March 10, 2011 by Don Surber

This is not about the threats made against Republican Congressman Peter King for daring to hold a hearing on threats to America from radical Muslims.

I comment on radio talker Charles Sykes in Milwaukee posting an e-mail to: Sen. Kapanke; Sen. Darling; Sen. Cowles; Sen. Ellis; Sen. Fitzgerald; Sen. Galloway; Sen. Grothman; Sen. Harsdorf; Sen. Hopper; Sen. Kedzie; Sen. Lasee; Sen. Lazich; Sen. Leibham; Sen. Moulton; Sen. Olsen.

They are Republican state senators in Wisconsin.

Some union supporter threatened them:

Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your familes
will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks. Please explain
to them that this is because if we get rid of you and your families then it
will save the rights of 300,000 people and also be able to close the deficit
that you have created. I hope you have a good time in hell. Read below for
more information on possible scenarios in which you will die.

WE want to make this perfectly clear. Because of your actions today and in
the past couple of weeks I and the group of people that are working with me
have decided that we’ve had enough. We feel that you and the people that
support the dictator have to die. We have tried many other ways of dealing
with your corruption but you have taken things too far and we will not stand
for it any longer. So, this is how it’s going to happen: I as well as many
others know where you and your family live, it’s a matter of public records.
We have all planned to assult you by arriving at your house and putting a
nice little bullet in your head. However, we decided that we wouldn’t leave
it there. We also have decided that this may not be enough to send the
message to you since you are so “high” on Koch and have decided that you are
now going to single handedly make this a dictatorship instead of a
demorcratic process. So we have also built several bombs that we have placed
in various locations around the areas in which we know that you frequent.
This includes, your house, your car, the state capitol, and well I won’t
tell you all of them because that’s just no fun. Since we know that you are
not smart enough to figure out why this is happening to you we have decided
to make it perfectly clear to you. If you and your goonies feel that it’s
necessary to strip the rights of 300,000 people and ruin their lives, making
them unable to feed, clothe, and provide the necessities to their families
and themselves then We Will “get rid of” (in which I mean kill) you. Please
understand that this does not include the heroic Rep. Senator that risked
everything to go aganist what you and your goonies wanted him to do. We feel
that it’s worth our lives to do this, because we would be saving the lives
of 300,000 people. Please make your peace with God as soon as possible and
say goodbye to your loved ones we will not wait any longer. YOU WILL DIE!!!!

Where is the denunciation from Barack Obama?

The lefty media has praised him repeatedly for his calls for civil discourse.

The Associated Press from January 2010: “Tampa, Fla. — Trying to bury a year of polarization, President Obama has escalated his appeal for politicians and voters to settle differences without tearing each other apart. His plea: ‘Let’s start thinking of each other as Americans first’.”

PBS from January 2011: “Obama’s Call for Civil Discourse Resonates Around the Country.”

He keeps calling for it.

But as leader of the Democratic Party he does nothing about it. He has never in 6 years in the national eye ever denounced Democratic Party excesses.

He should leap on this one to quiet things in Madison and to bring civil discourse to that state’s capital city.
9750  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: March 11, 2011, 05:30:13 AM
Most don't have the ability to attack us directly. Thus they are busy attacking other muslims, christians, buddhists, hindus and others within reach. Show me a muslim populations and there is someone being oppressed/killed to the cry of "allah akbar"!
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