Friday, January 4, 2008
WASHINGTON, Jan. 2, 2008 – Security has improved so much in Afghanistan’s Khowst province that Pakistani families are taking refuge there, officials said today.
Jamal stressed that the families moving into his province are not Afghan refugees who lived in Pakistan, but rather are Pakistani citizens. Some 2.5 million Afghans lived in camps in Pakistan during the Soviet occupation and subsequent civil war.
Jamal and Schweitzer said the counterinsurgency strategy in place in the province has made the difference in security. The coalition stopped focusing on the enemy as the center of gravity and started focusing on the people of Afghanistan, the colonel said.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 2, 2008 – Yesterday’s suicide bombing at a Baghdad funeral highlights the need to keep up the pressure on al Qaeda in Iraq, a senior U.S. military officer said today.
“Together with the Iraqi security forces and this new group of leaders, we will continue to pursue those who terrorize the Iraqi people,” Bergner said. “We know it will continue to be a tough fight and one that will test the courage and the strength of the Iraqi people, the Iraqi forces, and the coalition forces. All of us start this year with the full understanding that this is still a tough fight. It will continue to be a tough fight,”U.S. forces in Iraq will face that challenge teamed with increasing numbers of capable Iraqi soldiers and police, as well as additional concerned-citizen groups that have sworn to fight al Qaeda, Bergner said.
I should begin by saying something about Benazir Bhutto, and I will contribute the briefest of words: I remember when she gave the commencement address at Harvard, in 1989. After she was murdered, there was a lot of blaming going on: people blaming Bush, people blaming Musharraf. You know who was to blame? The murderers — and Islamofascism in general.
There is a strange, harmful reluctance in the West to blame the Islamofascists for their misdeeds — people feel the need to blame someone else (and Bush and the “neocons” are a frequent resort, for some reason). There is a general reluctance to look Islamofascism in the eye — which George W. Bush is very good at. This is one reason so many hate him.
The truth is, these people, the Islamofascists, have to be beaten: They have to be ground down, humiliated, utterly defeated. They have to be relentlessly opposed and pursued, until they bother us no more.
You can talk about this and write about this at length, and we should. But that is the long and the short of it.
Russia is preparing to equip Iran with a powerful new air defense system that would dramatically increase its ability to repel an attack, Iran's defense minister said Wednesday. The S-300 anti-aircraft missile defense system is capable of shooting down aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missile warheads at ranges of over 90 miles and at altitudes of about 90,000 feet. Russian military officials boast that its capabilities outstrip the U.S. Patriot missile system.
Millions of people with arthritis, asthma and even heart failure will be urged to treat themselves as part of a Government plan to save billions of pounds from the NHS budget. Instead of going to hospital or consulting a doctor, patients will be encouraged to carry out "self care" as the Department of Health (DoH) tries to meet Treasury targets to curb spending...
[the inevitable state of government run health'care']
The researchers compared the composite output of 22 leading global climate models with actual data. Many of these models are also incorporated in research by the UN Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC), the recent Nobel laureate. Turns out that the historic predictions of these models do not match current climate change - by far.
So how bad is it? The answer is "rather bad'. But the irony of the story is that this refers to the studies' reliability, not to the climate. The good news from the climate front is; there's possibly reason for less pessimism...
The research published in the Royal Meteorological Society’s International Journal of Climatology, arrives amid already adverse circumstances and raised new concerns about the reliability of models used to forecast global warming.
The recent passage of the mammoth energy bill could have unintended consequences for the Gulf of Mexico that have nothing to do with oil and gas platforms. Under the law, production of ethanol is set to increase five-fold to 36 billion gallons a year by 2020. (Snip) Already ethanol, by doubling corn prices since 2002, has driven corn production to its highest levels since World War II. Growing corn requires considerably more nitrogen-based fertilizer than most crops...
[it was damn dumb from the word go - now watch how long it takes to fix it...]
England is about to become the most crowded major country in Europe, official figures show. It is ready to overtake Holland, leaving only the tiny island of Malta with a higher population density. About 70 per cent of the recent population growth in England resulted from immigration and much of the rest was down to higher birth rates among immigrants
MITAKA, Japan — Japan is suffering a crisis of confidence these days about its ability to compete with its emerging Asian rivals, China and India. But even in this fad-obsessed nation, one result was never expected: a growing craze for Indian education. (Snip) many people here are lessons from India, the country the Japanese see as the world’s ascendant education superpower. Bookstores are filled with titles like “Extreme Indian Arithmetic Drills” and “The Unknown Secrets of the Indians.”
Craig Hester, CEO of Hester Capital Management, who during an interview with CNBC's Erin Burnett and James Cramer Friday spoke an inconvenient truth about media's impact on the economy that folks in the press sadly don't recognize as they disseminate pessimistic after pessimistic predictions often leading to people unnecessarily losing their jobs - or worse:
That's one thing about the economy, Jim. There's a lot of pessimism, and I think we're going to, through the media, if we're going to have a recession, it's going to be media generated as opposed from the economy. Things look very strong from what I can tell.Thanks, Craig. We couldn't have said it any better.
In Michigan, taxpayers are now trying to recall ten state legislators, and in the process testing how "real life" their democratic rights are.
The ten targeted politicians come from both parties. Prior to their fateful votes to raise taxes against their constituent wishes, taxpayer groups repeatedly warned them that a recall effort would be launched against them if they voted for the $1.6 billion dollar tax increase. And yet vote for the tax boost they did. And it passed, adding yet more depressive burden to the state's staggering recession.
State Representative Tim Allen says, "The fight is to keep them off the ballot." Notice: His goal isn't to win an election. It is to prevent the voters from ever getting the opportunity to decide. State House Democrats plan to use "blockers" against the recall petitioners. One Democrat, unnamed in media reports, says the plan is to "shadow" or "follow" those who circulate the petition and "have a debate with each potential signer in an attempt to convince them not to sign the recalls."
We've seen this before — in Michigan and elsewhere. It is a tactic of increasing popularity on the big-government left. Hire blockers to swarm around petitioners at the mall or grocery store or library, creating angry street theater to scare away normal folks wishing to sign a petition. In other words, a campaign of stalking and voter intimidation.
But this is only the half of it — opponents of the recall aren't putting all their repressive methods in one basket. They have also put into play their bread-and-butter tactic of tying the recalls up in court... [>]
This is how to repress democracy in a democracy.
Programmed for love
If you're younger than 35, you'll probably live long enough to put David Levy's prediction to the test. Levy says that by 2050 we'll be creating robots so lifelike, so imbued with human-seeming intelligence and emotions, as to be nearly indistinguishable from real people. And we'll have sex with these robots. Some of us will even marry them. And it will all be good.