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Thomas Paine

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

5 June - Quick Picks

XIAN, CHINA - NOVEMBER 20:  An etiquette girl ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Luna Ring: A Giant Solar Power Plant on the Moon
Shimizu corporation in Japan made plans to provide enough clean energy to all of humanity by turning the moon into a kind of anti-Death Star, a giant solar power station that brings life instead of death.

Operation Overreaction

In Leaked Lecture, Details of China’s News Cleanups
May 15 lecture at Tianjin Foreign Studies University, has become something of a sensation in recent days, providing the Chinese a rare insight into how their news is stage-managed for mass consumption.

Titled “Understanding Journalistic Protocols for Covering Breaking News,” the speech was intended to help budding journalists understand Xinhua’s dual mission: to give Chinese leaders a fast and accurate picture of current events and to deftly manipulate that picture for the public to ensure social harmony, and by extension, the Communist Party’s hold on power.

Soldier in Iraq Loses Home Over $800 Debt
Capt. Michael Clauer's homeowners' association foreclosed on his family's $300,000 house and sold it for $3,500.

Earth Is Cooling, Sea Levels Not Rising, Scientists Say
Draft legislation released by Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) on May 12, known as the "American Power Act," will give federal bureaucrats vastly expanded powers, drastically increase energy costs to consumers, and provide huge windfall profits to favored corporations and industries — without affecting global temperatures one iota.
Morner, a world renowned physicist and geologist (and former IPCC member) who has traveled the world for decades measuring sea levels, conducted a recent study employing measurement data from 159 sites around the globe. The real-world data do not support the frightening scenarios of global doom and submerged coastal cities presented by the computer modelers.

"Models versus real observations — there's a big difference," Morner told the attendees at the Heartland conference. "With models, you only select what you want."
If the globe-hopping, champagne-and-caviar-lifestyle, multi-millionaire, former Vice President of the United States truly believes that man-made global warming is going to cause the icecaps and glaciers to melt and flood the world's coastlines, he wouldn't be investing in California coastal real estate. However, he has purchased property in two of the most expensive locales, and (according to his own alarmist claims) areas most vulnerable to sea level rises. In 2005, Al and Tipper Gore purchased an ocean-front penthouse at San Francisco's St. Regis condo/hotel tower, one of the most expensive addresses in the world, apparently unconcerned that rising sea levels might soon deluge the hotel lobby, if not their own dining room.

Afghan Corruption Czar Is "Dead Meat" if He Pursues Top Graft
The High Office of Oversight and its commissioner, Mohammad Yusin Osmani, are virtually powerless to confront the serious corruption that infects the senior levels of Karzai's government.

Osmani became head of this anti-corruption office in 2008, and last November he was grousing that his outfit lacked the resources and authority to pursue or prosecute cases. His High Office could only refer corruption cases to police and prosecutors, who might themselves be corrupt. At that time, the Afghan government was announcing new initiatives to crack down on graft, yet Osmani's office was only 30 percent staffed. "The HOO lacks the organizational, external, and personal independence required by international standards for an oversight institution."
(A recent UN report estimates that bribes make up one-quarter of the Afghan economy, and it notes that one out of four Afghans were forced to pay at least one bribe to a police office in the previous year.)
(Speaking to the Afghan Senate in early April, Osmani said that foreigners were responsible for 80 percent of the corruption in Afghanistan.)
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