Sunday, December 10, 2006

Quick Hits on a Chilly Sunday Morning

Haven't had much time at the local Wi-Fi coffeeshop, as I've been spending time with my grandparents here in Minneapolis. But I've picked up a few things of note on my RSS reader that I thought I'd share.
  • From Josh Holland at The Gadflyer:
    Just as a child -- say, an emotionally-fragile, mentally-challenged child -- might embrace a comforting blanky for protection against monsters lurking under the bed, so conservatives cling, desperately, to the idea that the media is exaggerating the extraordinary suckiness in Iraq in order to avoid facing the smoldering, blood-stained consequences of the invasion they championed with such zeal.

    Anyway, Editor and Publisher noted that the Baker-Hamilton report has some bits that are sure to create some serious cognitive dissonance among the wing-nut set (ht: Steve Benen):
    [The report says], bluntly, that "there is significant underreporting of the violence in Iraq" by the U.S. military. "The standard for recording attacks acts as a filter to keep events out of reports and databases," the report continues.

    Looking at one day, the report found undercounting of violent attacks by more than 1000 percent.
  • There is something for everyone to love and hate in this Report. That was necessary to attract the approval stamps of the "bipartisan" members and, more importantly, to provoke the wrath from "extremists" on both sides -- always the most convincing "proof" for the simple-minded Beltway elite that they struck the sensible center ("hey, both sides hate it, so we must be doing something right").

    But the rhetoric and specific claims in the Report matter little. What matters most -- really exclusively -- is that this Report (in the eyes of the Beltway media and related types) has become the defining position of the Center. And the Report unmistakably endorses our ongoing occupation of Iraq, and emphatically rejects the notion of withdrawing any time soon.

    We just had an election where Americans repudiated this war and made clear that they want to withdraw. Yet somehow, within a matter of weeks, Washington power circles were able to shoo that election result away like the annoying mosquito that it is and supplant their own pro-war judgment as the "mainstream" view to which all serious people, by definition, pledge their allegiance.

    When 2008 comes around and we still have between 130,000-150,000 troops occupying Iraq (at the cost of $8 billion per month) -- and another 20,000 or 30,000 American soldiers are dead or maimed and a few hundred thousand or so more Iraqi civilians are dead -- we can look back at this moment when the Washington Establishment, yet again, blocked the path of withdrawal. [Glenn Greenwald]

  • The early returns are that fuel refiners and distributors are complying with the law and making the new Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel readily available at the pump. According to an EPA survey, about 85 percent of highway diesel filling stations offer ULSD, exceeding the mandate of 80 percent.

    Eliminating 97 percent of the sulfur content is an important health benefit, so hopefully drivers will start to fill up with the new fuel. The cleansing process will be slow however since the EPA doesn't require fuel for off-road vehicles to be ULSD until 2010, and for locomotives and marine equipment get a free ride until 2012. [Wired's Autotopia]

  • The first piece of research to calculate a carbon footprint for the average British citizen has detailed the precise environmental damage each of us causes.

    A study by the government-funded Carbon Trust puts the annual carbon footprint of the average Briton at 10.92 tons of CO2 - roughly half of the 19 tons of CO2 produced each year by the average American. The research also demonstrates that our leisure and recreation pursuits - activities as diverse as watching a football match or taking a trip to the seaside - account for most of our emissions, rather than a lack of insulation or a predilection for 4x4 cars. [The Independent]

  • Much to the surprise of most Canadians and the world community, Canada is reneging on its international commitments under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which could weaken an international agreement to fight climate change after Kyoto expires in 2012. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, elected early this year, and the new environment minister, Rona Ambrose, have dismissed Canada's Kyoto commitments for reducing greenhouse gases as impossible to achieve. [IPS]

  • Support for Canada's Liberal Party has surged under its new leader, Stephane Dion, to the point where it would form the next government if an election were held soon, according to a poll published on Saturday. [Reuters]

  • In what was likely her final legislative act in Congress, outgoing Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney introduced a bill Friday to impeach President Bush.

    The legislation has no chance of passing and serves as a symbolic parting shot not only at Bush but also at Democratic leaders. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has made clear that she will not entertain proposals to sanction Bush and has warned the liberal wing of her party against making political hay of impeachment. [WaPo]

  • McKinney knows that speaks for a great many House Democrats who, while they may currently be honoring their leadership's calls for caution on the issue, fully recognize that the president and vice president need to be held to account for their disregard of the rule of law and their Constitutionally-defined responsibilities.
    McKinney speaks, as well, for the 51 percent of Americans who, according to a Newsweek Poll conducted on the eve of the November 7 election, expressed support for impeachment of the president. In that poll, 47 percent of Democrats said that impeachment should be a "top priority" of their party if it took control of the House, as did an intriguing 5 percent of Republicans. [John Nichols at The Nation]

Which brings us to The Colbert Report:

And finally, "unboxing" is all the rage, and may be going a bit too far. Non-gadgety folks (like Mrs. F) will wonder, "Of what do you speak, kind sir?" As a writer of techy things and contributing blogger at the Amazon Electronics blog, I've been noticing that the gadget-o-sphere is awash with posts featuring a raft of photos or a flash video of actually taking new gadgets out of the box. It's the new pornography for gadget geeks. But Gizmodo (one of the 800 pound gorillas in the gadget-o-sphere) notes that unboxing might have just jumped the shark with a husband ceremoniously unboxing his wife's new breast pump (with a little help from one of the ultimate end users):

Don't worry Mrs. F, I'll refrain from such exuberance here at Cracks.

: : : : : : : : : :

Go to the Cracks in the Facade main page.

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At 11:26 PM, Blogger Causal said...

Impeach for Peace has created holiday impeachment cards that allow your friends and family to initiate the impeachment process. Deck the halls of congress with colorful impeachment petitions! Now that Representative McKinney has introduced Articles of Impeachment to Congress, it's time for us to show the other Members of Congress our support. So, Impeach for Peace created the Holiday Impeachment image, and researched a company that will allow you to send jumbo sized postcards along with a personalized message using your web browser. To learn more about this method of inititiating impeachment, go to:

Soon, Santa will be delivering sacks and sacks of mail to Nancy Pelosi initiating impeachment via the House of Representative's own rules. This legal document is as binding as if a State or if the House itself passed the impeachment resolution (H.R. 635). What better gift to give this holiday season than the restoration of our democracy? Truly the gift that keeps on giving. Over this past year, Bush has become an even greater threat to our Constitution. Lucky for us, the rules of the US House of Representatives allow for individual citizens like you and I to initiate the impeachment process directly! This process was successfully used to impeach in the past.

Be a part of history and have a merry impeachment this season!


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