Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Morning News Roundup (25 October)

BushCo's Wars
  • The last throes of “last throes.” When asked about his infamous quote about the Iraq insurgency, Vice President Cheney told NPR, “I would have expected that the political process we set in motion…would have resulted in a lower level of violence than we’re seeing today. It hasn’t happened yet. I can’t say that we’re over the hump in terms of violence, no.” [ThinkProgress' ThinkFast]

  • More than 100 U.S. service members have signed a rare appeal urging Congress to support the "prompt withdrawal" of all American troops and bases from Iraq, organizers said yesterday.

    "Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home," reads the statement of a small grass-roots group of active-duty military personnel and reservists that says it aims to give U.S. military members a voice in Iraq war policy.
    The unusual appeal -- the first of its kind in the Iraq war, organizers say -- makes use of a legal protection afforded by the Military Whistle-Blower Protection Act, which provides that members of the military, acting in their capacity as citizens, can send a protected communication to Congress without reprisal. [WaPo]

  • The US military announced the deaths of 4 GIs in Iraq on Tuesday. AP reports, "A Baghdad-based soldier died at about 2:15 a.m. (2315 GMT) from wounds received when his patrol was struck by a roadside bomb in central Baghdad, the military said. Earlier, the miltary said a sailor and two Marines were killed during combat in the insurgent stronghold of Anbar province in fighting on Monday." [Juan Cole's Informed Comment]

Climate Crisis
  • According to a new Living Planet report from the WWF, Australia is among the world's top consumers of resources. The amount of global land and water it takes to sustain each person's lifestyle is 6.6 hectares, making Australians worse than the British, Chinese, Indians, Japanese, and Russians. Australia's poor showing is due to the country's high greenhouse gas emissions, among the worst in the world. But Australia is hardly the only culprit. In fact, it's "only" the sixth worst in terms of global ecological footprint. The top ten culprits are the UAE, United States, Finland, Canada, Kuwait, Australia, Estonia, Sweden, NewZealand, and Norway. China ranks 69. [Foreign Policy's Passport]

  • Australia is to build one of the world's biggest solar power plants as part of a major new strategy by the government to combat climate change. Canberra said it would be contributing A$75m (US$57m) to the A$420m plant due to be built in the state of Victoria. [BBC]

  • The world must agree long-term cuts in greenhouse gases by the end of 2009 to give businesses time to adapt to new rules beyond the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol running to 2012, Finland's environment minister (Jan-Erik Enestam) said on Tuesday.

    Finland, which holds the European Union's rotating presidency, favors far deeper cuts in emissions than under Kyoto, forcing big changes in lifestyles mainly by squeezing use of fossil fuels widely blamed for stoking global warming.
    Enestam said that there was no prospect of the United States re-joining Kyoto's 2012 goals. "The United States needs time and it's obvious there must be an election before any new decisions will be made," he said. [CNN]

  • Global warming is exacerbating disputes over access to water and food resources, and could lead to more failed states, British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett warned in an interview published in the Financial Times on Tuesday. In particular, states in "eastern Europe, Asia and Africa are suffering great tensions", and she referred specifically to the war-torn Sudanese region of Darfur as an example. She said that water disputes between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan were also a concern. [TerraDaily]

  • In all, some 319 mayors representing more than 51.4 million Americans have pledged they will attain the goals of the 1997 Kyoto agreement in their cities, even though the United States has not ratified the protocol. "The cities can do a lot to lead by example," says Andrew Shapiro, founder of GreenOrder, a sustainability strategy and marketing firm in New York. "Cities are where the majority of influencers are, such as the press, financiers, big company headquarters."

    One organization that green-conscious cities can join is ICLEI, an international sustainable-development clearinghouse. Last year, half of the 212 member cities reported reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by a total of 23 million tons. (Cities are not obligated to report reductions.) This resulted in a savings of $550 million, due largely to increased energy efficiency. [Christian Science Monitor]

Domestic Potpourri
  • On Monday, Rush Limbaugh accused actor Michael J. Fox of faking symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in advertisements supporting stem cell research. Limbaugh said Fox was “exaggerating the effects of the disease. He’s moving all around and shaking and it’s purely an act. ... This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn’t take his medication or he’s acting.” Yesterday in Illinois, Fox responded to Limbaugh’s smear. ThinkProgress has the video.

  • According to the National Parkinson Foundation, Limbaugh has no idea what he’s talking about. The Washington Post reports:
    [I]n an interview in Ladies Home Journal’s September edition, Fox said he was taking a medication that causes jerking, fidgeting and other abnormal involuntary movements, known as dyskinesia. Fox said he was taking another medication to lessen those side affects.

    An official of the National Parkinson Foundation said movements like those exhibited by Fox are the result of taking medication to treat the disease, which would otherwise result in rigidity.

    “When you see someone with those movements, it’s not because they have not taken medication but because they probably have taken medication for some time,” the official said. “If you don’t take the medication, then you freeze.” [ThinkProgress]

Big Blue Marble
  • Iran says it has taken further steps in developing its nuclear programme. A report carried by the Iranian student news agency, Isna, says it has installed a second centrifuge cascade for uranium enrichment. [BBC]

Obama Watch
  • From Josh Holland over at The Gadflyer (Mrs. F's second favorite blog):
    On Sunday, Barack Obama announced what everyone already knew: he's "considering" a presidential run in 2008. [...] That leaves one key question on everybody's minds: would his run bring about the End Times? [...] I give you, without further comment, some expert opinion on this pressing issue -- a distinguished roundtable, if you will -- from (I'm pretty sure the plural of forum is "fora"), via Unfogged:
    Hey, I have given prophesy before and I truly beleive that Obama will be the Beast who makes everyone else worship that other funky creature. He will give His power up to this other creature( S) This other creature could be all those Seven or Eight really wealthy people who like own the World and not want everyone's heart and souls and now they are going to use Obama -his kindess and meekness his sincerity-to gain everyone's trust…. Obama will be the bridge between the average Jo Schmo who just wants the world a better place to the Anti-Christ who will take these souls away. Scripture will be fulfilled. I promise you and if they ever trace me back to this URL I am doomed. Also because BArack comes from such a multi-cultural liberal background he may turn into a Muslim or something...


[ posted with ecto ]


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