Saturday, April 22, 2006

Scott Ritter: A Path to Peace with Iran

Many in the anti-war movement seem to recognize that there is a need to expand the base of this movement to be much more inclusive of mainstream America. I suggest that the pace of current events dictate a much more dramatic solution -- that the anti-war movement begin to reach out to the very institutions that it condemns and make common cause for the preservation of a way of life -- the unique blend of corporate capitalism and individual rights -- that is at risk from the policies of the Bush administration. It is not likely that there will be many points of agreement on the long-term path that America should take regarding achieving the ideal balance between these two competing, and somewhat contradictory, concepts. But one thing is certain: if the Bush administration has its way regarding war with Iran, both concepts will be put at risk in the chaos which will follow.

US Emissions Rise 16% Above 1990 Levels

The report looks at four main categories of greenhouse gases pumped out by human activities in the United States. It lists all emissions in 'carbon dioxide equivalents', which reflect the amount of a gas that would cause the same amount of warming in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Methane and nitrous oxide emissions have declined, but carbon dioxide is up so much it completely swamps these gains (see 'Changes in US annual emissions between 1990 and 2004').
Total emissions topped 7 billion tonnes CO2 equivalent in 2004.
...The United States is the biggest national emitter of greenhouse gases worldwide, and these figures reinforce that position.
Many other countries have committed to reducing their emissions to below 1990 levels, although it is questionable how well they are doing (see 'European greenhouse emissions climb again').
UK emissions, for example, came to about 656 million tonnes CO2 equivalent in 2004 (less than a tenth of US emissions), which is 14% below its 1990 levels. The British government says it is on track to hit targets set by the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

Media Link Dump - YouTube

- Jean Michel Basquiat - Painting Live, Downtown N.Y. (1981)

- Jean Michel Basquiat Interviewed By Glenn O’Brien On His New York City Cable Tv Public Access Show Tv Party

- Andy Warhol: The Complete Picture - Pt1 | Pt2
Documentary by Chris Rodley. Starring John Cale, Salvador DalĂ­ (archive footage), Crispin Glover, Dennis Hopper, Mick Jagger, Udo Kier, Lou Reed, Donatella Versace, Andy Warhol, Mary Woronov.

- Andy Warhol - TV Commercial Braniff Airlines

- Andy Warhol - TV Commercial TDK

- CIAO! MANHATTAN Lost Footage
Filmmaker David Weisman recently discovered over 30 hours of pristine 35mm outtake footage from the film, believed lost for decades.

- Edie
“After Hours” by The Velvet Underground

John Lennon 31st Birthday Home Movie - 1971

- Stanley Kubrick: A Life In Pictures - Pt1 | Pt2 | Pt3
Directed by Jan Harlan

- Johnny Cash: The Last Great American
BBC4 Documentary profiling Johnny Cash (also available as torrent)

- Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138:4EB
Short movie directed by George Lucas in 1967 while he attended the University of Southern California. USC sums up the movie as “A nightmare impression of a world in which a man is trying to escape a computerized world which constantly tracks his movements.”


CIA warned White House -- no WMD programs in Iraq.

A retired senior CIA official interviewed by 60 Minutes claims that the White House ignored intelligence from Iraq's foreign minister, Naji Sabri in the run-up to the invasion. CIA Director George Tenet delivered the information to President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other high-ranking officials in September 2002, according to the CIA official. A few days later the administration said it was no longer interested. "...we said 'Well, what about the intel?' And they said 'Well, this isn't about intel anymore. This is about regime change.' " The interview airs on CBS, Sunday at 7 p.m. ET/PT. [from]

Friday, April 21, 2006

Union of Concerned Scientists: Explaing Use of Nuclear "Bunket Busters"

This animation depicts a proposed weapon with a one megaton yield. The funding for this weapon was cut in 2005 defense appropriations. However, the United States still has a B61-11 nuclear 'bunker buster' in its arsenal which has a 340 kiloton yield, which could still cause hundreds of thousands of deaths and spread radiation to other countries. Learn more. [thanks Tom P.]

Nearly 30 percent at Guantanamo jail cleared to go

Nearly 30 percent of the Guantanamo detainees have been cleared to leave the prison but remain jailed because the U.S. government has been unable to arrange for their return to their home countries, the Pentagon said on Friday.
The Pentagon refused to identify these 141 men despite having released on Wednesday its first comprehensive list of detainees held at the prison for foreign terrorism suspects at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Of these 141 detainees among the 490 still at Guantanamo, various military reviews have cleared 22 to be freed in their home countries and the remaining 119 for transfer to the control of their home governments.
"It's just an outrageous situation where people have gone through this system that has been established, such as it is, and the (U.S.) government itself has found there's no reason for them to be held any longer, and yet they continue to be held," said Curt Goering, a senior Amnesty International USA official.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Worst President in History?

Was the lousiest James Buchanan, who, confronted with Southern secession in 1860, dithered to a degree that, as his most recent biographer has said, probably amounted to disloyalty -- and who handed to his successor, Abraham Lincoln, a nation already torn asunder? Was it Lincoln's successor, Andrew Johnson, who actively sided with former Confederates and undermined Reconstruction? What about the amiably incompetent Warren G. Harding, whose administration was fabulously corrupt? Or, though he has his defenders, Herbert Hoover, who tried some reforms but remained imprisoned in his own outmoded individualist ethic and collapsed under the weight of the stock-market crash of 1929 and the Depression's onset? The younger historians always put in a word for Richard M. Nixon, the only American president forced to resign from office.
Now, though, George W. Bush is in serious contention for the title of worst ever. In early 2004, an informal survey of 415 historians conducted by the nonpartisan History News Network found that eighty-one percent considered the Bush administration a "failure." Among those who called Bush a success, many gave the president high marks only for his ability to mobilize public support and get Congress to go along with what one historian called the administration's "pursuit of disastrous policies."

Friendly Dog Needs Home

Mint writes:
This is the dog I found Wednesday, April 19th. He doesn't have a name yet. The Ann Arbor Police and local Humane Society do not have anyone looking for a lost dog of his description. He does not have an ID chip. He's about 2 years old and very nice. He likes getting a bath. I'd keep him except I have to take care of my 14 year-old dog Grace who has leg problems.

If you think you might know anyone that is interested, I will make fliers that you can take to work, church, or where ever to show to people.

Thanks for your help. Ciao and be well -- Mint

Friendly Dog Needs a Home
Doesn't tear up the house.
Guards house and car.
87 lbs.
Likes to play ball.

M-F 9-5 (734) 647-8723
All other times (734) 604-3886

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Top Court Rejects Appeal at Guantanamo

The Supreme Court declined on Monday to consider whether a federal judge can free two Chinese Muslims who remain imprisoned unlawfully at Guantanamo Bay, despite being cleared as "enemy combatants."
The justices refused to review the judge's decision that a federal court cannot provide any relief to Abu Bakker Qassim and A'del Abdu Al-Hakim, two members of the Uighur ethnic group held at Guantanamo while the United States searches for a country to take them.
Their attorneys urged the justices to decide whether a federal court has the power to craft a remedy for those who are indefinitely and unlawfully imprisoned at the U.S. military base in Cuba.
They took the unusual step of appealing directly to the high court after the ruling by U.S. District Judge James Robertson.
The two men, who were captured by Pakistani forces in Pakistan, have been detained since June 2002 at Guantanamo, where the United States holds about 490 terrorism suspects. In March last year, the U.S. military determined the two Uighurs should no longer be considered enemy combatants.

FBI Seeks First Access to Jack Anderson's Files

The Federal Bureau of Investigation wants to review the files of the late muckraking journalist Jack Anderson and confiscate any documents it believes are classified before they are opened to the public.
This amazing story was first reported yesterday by the Chronicle of Higher Education (see Update below).
There has long been an unwritten agreement the government may do what it must to deter unauthorized disclosures of classified information and to punish leakers but that, once disclosed, the government does not pursue those who receive or publish the information.
Yet the Bush Administration and some on the political right seem intent on disrupting that longstanding convention through subpoenas of reporters, prosecution of recipients of leaks (as in the AIPAC case), threats of prosecution against the press for reporting classified information, and now the FBI pursuit of the Anderson files. A series of email messages on the FBI matter from Jack Anderson's son Kevin were posted yesterday by Don Goldberg on his blog here:

CIA Expands Categories to Deny FOIA Requests

The Central Intelligence Agency conducted a review of its "operational files" last year, as it is required to do every ten years under the CIA Information Act of 1984, to see if any such files could have their "operational" designation rescinded, making them subject to Freedom of Information Act requests.
But instead of removing any files from operational status, as contemplated by the 1984 Act, the CIA added nearly two dozen new categories of files that will now be exempt from search and review under the FOIA, according to a newly disclosed report to Congress.
Remarkably, the CIA report to Congress misstated the requirements of the 1984 law. The CIA told Congress that:

"The CIA Information Act... required that not less than once every ten years, the DCI review the operational files exemptions then in force to determine whether such exemptions could be removed from any category of exempted files or portion of those files, and whether any new categories of files should be designated as exempt."
Only the first half of that sentence is true. The statute that governs these reviews -- 50 U.S.C. 432 -- refers only to the removal of the operational file exemption based on "historical value or other public interest." It says nothing about adding new designations.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Rumsfeld Alleged to be Personally Involved in Abusive Interrogation

A December 20, 2005 Army Inspector General's report, obtained by this week, contains a sworn statement by Lt. Gen. Randall M. Schmidt that implicates Secretary Rumsfeld in the abuse of detainee Mohammad al-Qahtani. Based on an investigation that he carried out in early 2005, which included two interviews with Rumsfeld, Gen. Schmidt describes the defense secretary as being �personally involved� in al-Qahtani's interrogation.
Human Rights Watch urges the United States to name a special prosecutor to investigate the culpability of Rumsfeld and others in the al-Qahtani case.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Library of Congress Selects 50 Recordings for Preservation

The Library of Congress has competed its annual selection of 50 sound recordings for the National Recording Registry. But the task of preserving the likes of Martha and the Vandellas' 1964 “Dancing in the Street” and the broadcast of the Joe Louis-Max Schmeling fight is just beginning.
As mandated by the 2000 National Recording Preservation Act, the Library is responsible for annually selecting recordings for the registry that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." Registry recordings must be at least 10 years old.
On Tuesday, library officials selected a wide variety of spoken and musical recordings that from 1903 to 1988. Among the artists whose music is now in the registry are Mahalia Jackson, Fats Domino, Jimi Hendrix and Sonic Youth.

MIT: The War on Terror and the Cold War: They’re Not the Same

The Cold War was a great power contest that had many dimensions. There was a "war of ideas," and there were military confrontations. But there were also proxy wars, vast alliances, and institutions for managing the conflict -- indeed, it was a highly formalized affair, with mechanisms, treaties, ambassadors, and so on specifically dedicated to defusing potential conflict. It was, most important, an inter-state competition. The states could and did speak with each other, negotiate with each other, trade with each other, sustain cultural and educational exchanges, and the like, for decades.
While the causes of the end of the Cold War remain a contentious topic, there is much to suggest that these dense networks, institutions, global norms, rational discourse, and civil society advocacy had enormously powerful effects in lowering tensions and opening opportunities to conclude the rivalry. The military competition was essentially a stalemate. Up to the end, American hardliners warned of Soviet nuclear superiority, for example, or their numerical advantages in the European theater. And the major proxy war -- Vietnam -- was a colossal failure for the United States.
The Cold War was ended by engagement, rather than "destroying the threat," and that is a powerful lesson. But because of the highly formal and state-centric nature of the confrontation, one has to ask if there is any relevance to the "twilight struggle" with Soviet communism.

"Photon Holes" May Behave Like Particles

In some semiconductor devices, such as light-emitting diodes, an applied voltage can dislodge electrons from some atoms, leaving behind a hole which behaves in some situations as if it were a positively charged particle in its own right.
A "current" of holes can move through the material and the holes can recombine later with electrons to produce light. In very loose analogy, James Franson (Johns Hopkins, 443-778-6226, suggests that photonic holes might be created; a photon hole, to give one example, would be a place in an otherwise intense laser-beam wavefront where a photon had been removed, for example by passing the laser beam through vapor.
Not only can there be photon holes, Franson suggests, but the holes can be entangled, meaning that their quantum properties would be correlated, even if far apart from each other. Such entangled photon-holes would be able to propagate through optical fibers just as well as entangled photons, but might be even more robust against the decoherence -- the undoing of the quantum correlations -- that plagues present efforts to establish quantum information schemes.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Scientists Say They're Being Gagged By Bush

Scientists doing climate research for the federal government say the Bush administration has made it hard for them to speak forthrightly to the public about global warming. The result, the researchers say, is a danger that Americans are not getting the full story on how the climate is changing.
Employees and contractors working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with a U.S. Geological Survey scientist working at an NOAA lab, said in interviews that over the past year administration officials have chastised them for speaking on policy questions; removed references to global warming from their reports, news releases and conference Web sites; investigated news leaks; and sometimes urged them to stop speaking to the media altogether. Their accounts indicate that the ideological battle over climate-change research, which first came to light at NASA, is being fought in other federal science agencies as well.

Charming travel short animation made from airport infographics

Airport is a short film about a guy who goes on a plane journey, checks into a hotel and comes home -- but the wonderful gimmick is that the entire film consists of animated airport infographics of little ped-people interacting with each other and with ped-style illustrations of taxis, water-fountains and planes. It's utterly charming. Link (Thanks, Iain!)
Martin sez, "budding animators may be interested in the full collection of 50 standard symbols available free of charge in .gif and .eps format at AIGA." [from]

Norquist seeks trademark on ‘K Street Project’ name in order to sue critics

Conservative activist Grover Norquist is seeking a trademark on “K Street Project,” saying Democrats and Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) have wrongfully acquired the term to describe unethical practices that have nothing to do with his organization.
Far from running away from the term, as most other Republicans have since January, when lobbyist Jack Abramoff agreed to plead guilty to corruption charges, Norquist is embracing it.
...“Some people say Kleenex when they mean tissue,” Norquist said. “We will jealously guard the real phrasing the way Kleenex and Coca-Cola do. We will sue anyone who says it wrong and make lots of money.”

Fossils Fill Human Evolution Gap

The scattering of fossil teeth and bones "represent unambiguous evidence for human evolution," says Tim White, a UC Berkeley paleoanthropologist and leader of the international Middle Awash research project.
Some of the fossils were unearthed as recently as December while the scientists were exploring sedimentary rock layers around the tiny villages of Aramis and Asa Issie, near the muddy Awash River in the rift region some 140 miles northeast of Addis Ababa.
Within those rocks, the scientists report, they found fossils from three early species of mankind's ancestors that apparently succeeded each other during less than a million years of evolution.
...The early human ancestors whose traces the team found are known as hominids. They include the genus called Australopithecus that existed throughout eastern Africa as early as 4.2 million years ago.

David Byrne's 1984 Interview with David Byrne

Blair refuses to back Iran strike

Blair has told George Bush that Britain cannot offer military support to any strike on Iran, regardless of whether the move wins the backing of the international community, government sources claimed yesterday.
Amid increasing tension over Tehran's attempts to develop a military nuclear capacity, the Prime Minister has laid bare the limits of his support for President Bush, who is believed to be considering an assault on Iran, Foreign Office sources revealed.