Friday, January 05, 2007

Morning News Roundup (05 January)

Iraq's (Decidedly Uncivil) Civil War
  • Thursday's planned execution of two of Saddam Hussein’s colleagues has been postponed indefinitely following criticism over the former leader’s hanging. The 96 Iraqis who were killed or found dead today were not so lucky nor was the American soldier who was gunned down in western Baghdad. Another 78 Iraqis and five U.S. servicemembers were wounded in separate events. []

  • The number of civilians killed in the violence in Iraq rose sharply over the last three months, accounting for 5,000, or about 40 percent, of the more than 12,000 who died in 2006, the Iraqi government says.

    In the third full year since the U.S.-led invasion, only about half as many Iraqi soldiers died in 2006 as American troops, the government reported Tuesday.

    But the number of Iraqi security forces killed jumped to 1,539 nearly double the American death count of 823 for the year when the deaths of police, who conduct paramilitary operations, are added to the number of slain Iraqi soldiers.

    The civilian toll of 12,357 coupled with the security force deaths bring the overall figure reported by the ministries of Health, Defense and Interior to 13,896 162 more than the tally kept by The Associated Press. [AP via ABC]

BushCo's Wars
  • 30% That's the new job approval low that Dear Leader has achieved in the latest CBS poll.
    30% is the lowest approval rating measured for this President in CBS News polls. The President is being hurt by public dismay over the war in Iraq. President Bush’s approval rating is lower than that of President Bill Clinton’s in January 1995 when the Republicans took control of Congress, one of Clinton’s low points. Back then, 42% of Americans approved of the job Clinton was doing as President.

  • The professionals take charge. Bush is bringing in Ryan Crocker, a distinguished career foreign service officer, as the new US ambassador to Iraq. And Gen. David Petraeus will replace Gen. Casey as top ground commander in Iraq. Zalmay Khalilzad, the outgoing ambassador to Iraq, will go as ambassador to the United Nations, replacing the lying blowhard John Bolton. [Juan Cole's Informed Comment]

Climate Crisis
  • The Union of Concerned Scientists has announced that ExxonMobil Corp. paid $16 million to forty-three oganizations over a seven-year period in order to mislead the public about global warming. "ExxonMobil has manufactured uncertainty about the human causes of global warming just as tobacco companies denied their product caused lung cancer," said Alden Meyer, the Union of Concerned Scientists' Director of Strategy & Policy. "A modest but effective investment has allowed the oil giant to fuel doubt about global warming to delay government action just as Big Tobacco did for over 40 years.

    Sallie Baliunas, an astro-physicist affiliated with at least nine of the forty-three advocacy groups, raised eyebrows in 2003 when she presented a paper arguing that there had been no significant climate change in the last millennia. Thirteen scientists came forward to say that Baliunas had misrepresented their work, but ExxonMobil continued to promote the paper as factual. [news]

  • US factories producing ethanol fuel for cars may consume as much as half of the country's corn crop next year -- more than double earlier government predictions -- creating competition for grain stocks that could drive up supermarket prices for cereals, meat, eggs, and dairy products, according to a report released yesterday. "The world needs a strategy to deal with this unfolding competition between automobiles and people for the grain supply," said Lester R. Brown , president of the Earth Policy Institute. [BoGlobe and My Hugg]

  • Ram Dya, a farmer in a remote village of Bannapur, in northern India, changed his farmin methods six months ago when he bought a treadle pump. This cheap, remarkably simple device, invented in Bangladesh, enables Dyal to farm his land all year round. Constructed from bamboo, plastic and steel, it operates like a step machine in a gym and draws groundwater for irrigation from a depth of 30ft, even in the height of summer.

    These pumps are revolutionising subsistence farming in India - thanks, in part, to airline passengers from the UK. For farmers such as Ram Dyal, the benefits are simple: more produce to sell and no need to go to the city. But for Climate Care, the British firm that has helped to distribute some 500,000 treadle pumps in India, the added environmental benefit is the decline of the polluting diesel pump. [The Independent]

Domestic Potpourri
  • Yesterday, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) not only introduced himself to Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA), but also asked him out for coffee. “By reaching out to Congressman Goode I’m not trying to be accepted, I’m trying to build bridges. In this world there are too many misunderstandings. I want to put a human face on things,” explained Ellison. [ThinkProgress' ThinkFast]

  • President Bush has quietly claimed sweeping new powers to open Americans' mail without a judge's warrant, the Daily News has learned. The President asserted his new authority when he signed a postal reform bill into law on Dec. 20. Bush then issued a "signing statement" that declared his right to open people's mail under emergency conditions. That claim is contrary to existing law and contradicted the bill he had just signed, say experts who have reviewed it. [NYDailyNews]

  • Some civil liberties and national-security law experts said the statement's language is unduly vague and appears to go beyond long-recognized limits on the ability of the government to open letters and other U.S. mail without approval from a judge.

    Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies in Washington, said the government has long been able to legally open mail believed to contain a bomb or other imminent threat. But authorities are generally required to seek a warrant from a criminal or special intelligence court in other cases, Martin and other experts said.

    "The administration is playing games about warrants," Martin said. "If they are not claiming new powers, then why did they need to issue a signing statement?" [WaPo]

And one more thing... the latest Sutton Impact from The Village Voice:

Sutton Impact @ Village Voice
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Go to the Cracks in the Facade main page.



At 7:28 PM, Anonymous Andrews501 said...

It would be good to analyse the two different sides of the coin : Carbon offset retail market. Certainly, carbon offset providers do invest in environmental projects, however, recent research shows that from the money payed by customers for carbon offsetting, around 25% goes to these eco-projects, and 75% goes to the companies pocket. Just with a quick analysis from data presented in, you can see how much they have been earning these last two years since Kyoto Protocol allowed carbon credits trading. A good guidelines on what to ask carbon offsets providers before buying is also available in The comparative table shows range of products prices, sales volume by organisation, and prices per tonne of CO2 in the UK. It is surprising that prices in different websites ranges from £7.40 to £9.00 tonne/CO2. In the US the same tonne of CO2 costs £1.50. If these organisations change the percentage of money distribution, instead of helping 1 project, they could help 3 times more projects and accelerate three times faster the decrease of Global Warming effects. Additionally, these companies are not teaching what they praise as they have not published their ecological footprint. In the other hand, we also need to take our responsibility and act on our life style in order to reduce carbon emissions and not only follow the easiest path.

Are we becoming frogs in slowly increasing boiling water? Or are we waiting for a big natural disaster to make us jump out of it and act as a result?


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