NEWS OF: 8/21/2006

Global Warming: Patrick J. Michaels: State Crapologist

VIEW ALL: Global Warming

Patrick J. Michaels, another global warming science skeptic who senses no ethical dilemma despite receiving a steady supply of cash from power companies, loves to refer to himself as the “state climatologist” of Virginia.
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There are a couple of problems. First, there is no “State Climatologist” position, and second, the State of Virginia would like Patrick to cut it out. The governor’s office has sent a letter to the University of Virginia requesting that Patrick J. Michaels not use the title since Michael’s views do not reflect the state’s views.

Then there’s the $2.5 million dollars of taxpayer money paid over the past 26 years… to a person appointed by neither the government nor the University of Virginia.

Popularity: 2%

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Bush Opens the Katrina Wallet for Lebanon

President Bush is promising increased U.S. aid to Lebanon in the form of $230 million to help rebuild homes, roads and schools. He’s also promising to help train the Lebanese militaryAmerica’s latest signature move, if you will, which should guarantee a lengthy presence and cost lots of money.

The President said, “America is making a long-term commitment to helping the people of Lebanon, because we believe every person {except gays} deserves to live in a free, open society {unless al qaeda is calling you} that respects the rights of all {right wing neoconservatives and boozing evangelicals}.”

The President then excused himself to review the latest batch of warrantless wiretaps.

Popularity: 2%

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Maine Turnpike Belt-Widening (urp!)

VIEW ALL: Ethics

A restaurant tab a couple of months ago for nine Maine Turnpike Authority managers and advisers that averaged $149 per person is raising concerns over ethics and expense policies for independent state agencies. Mind you, a consultant for the turnpike agency, picked up the tab at Eve’s restaurant at the Portland Harbor Hotel. The turnpike’s executive director, Paul Violette, said he regrets the high cost but that the pie was delicious. See Boston.com

Popularity: 2%

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Democrats Bogus Bookkeeping

VIEW ALL: 2006 Election

As various Democratic hopefuls move forward, it appears that paperwork is lagging. Seems like good old fashioned bungling.

Popularity: 2%

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NEWS OF: 8/18/2006

Mutiny on the Beltway

“Those who herald this decision simply do not understand the nature of the world in which we live,” President Bush said in reaction to U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor’s ruling that his warrantless wiretaps violate a wide variety of laws.

Or maybe the President doesn’t understand that by setting aside due process we go from being a nation of laws to being a feudal state with a self-appointed dictator assuming unquestioned authority - much like the dictatorship we just unseated.

“The whole point is to detect and prevent terrorist attacks before they can be carried out,” said White House spokesman Tony Snow.

Or is it the President’s self-appointed duty to keep this nation at war to justify his own actions, and assist the election of hopes of other neoconservative Republicans.

Popularity: 9%

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Podcast: The Week That Was August 14, 2006

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Give your eyes a break with Maine Democrat’s weekly podcast, The Week That Was August 14, 2006 (mp3 format): Maine’s Mystery Beast is Dead. Sharks in Wells Beach. Terrorism at 30,000 Feet. Global Warming If, Ands and Buts. Subscribe to the RSS Feed via iTunes: podcast

Popularity: 9%

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NEWS OF: 8/17/2006

Pluton Furnishings

VIEW ALL: Space Program

After coming to near blows over Pluto’s status, the jury (in this case the International Astronomical Union) has returned with a verdict that guarantees a more inclusive solar system and a less judgmental universe: 12 planets. Or, to be more exact, eight classic planets and four “plutons.”

“Planets” would be defined as objects that have sufficient gravity to form a “nearly round” shape and that orbit a star without themselves being a star or a moon. The threshold for planetary status that the IAU-appointed committee decided on was bodies with a mass greater than 500,000,000,000,000,000,000 kilograms and a diameter over 800 kilometers (497 miles).

The new definition increases the number of planets in our Solar System by inviting a few “plutons,” or wee planets, like Ceres, a (former) asteroid orbiting between Mars and Jupiter; Charon, which for now is considered Pluto’s moon, and so-called 2003 UB313 (got to work on a better name), an object beyond Pluto.

Twelve planets outside the orbit of Pluto and Neptune will also be considered!

Popularity: 11%

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Judge Anna Diggs Taylor for Supreme Court

In a strongly worded 44-page ruling, U.S. Judge Anna Diggs Taylor wrote that President Bush’s program of warrantless electronic surveillance of suspected terrorists was “obviously in violation” of the First and Fourth Amendments, the doctrine of the separation of powers and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.

But her injunction against the surveillance was stayed temporarily so it’s business as usual.

The Department of Justice will appeal the ruling, asserting state secrets privilege - the “we’d tell you but we’d have to kill you” defense. Judge Diggs, citing the numerous public defenses of the program by officials, wrote that she found that argument “disingenuous and without merit,” which is judge-speak for bullsh*t.

“Indeed,” she added, “the court has reviewed the classified information and is of the opinion that this information is not necessary to any viable defense to the (program).

Popularity: 12%

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NEWS OF: 8/16/2006

Global Warming Wednesday: Denial is a Dried Up River Bed in Egypt

VIEW ALL: Global Warming

Forget the fact that concern over global warming has dropped 40%+ since the Clinton years thanks to a concerted effort by polluters to promote it as “theory” and not fact. And forget all the fake organizations with Earth-friendly names created by multi-billion dollar oil companies who spread misinformation daily.

The question remains, how come I never hear any of these guys add the “but…” part. Like, “global warming is a crock, but of course we should stop pouring pollution into the atmosphere.”

Are they pro-filth? Don’t trust air that they can’t slice with a spoon? Smog-loving?

Deroy Murdock wonders why the Earth-loving environmentalists don’t embrace nuclear technology, which is “cleaner” aside from the radioactive waste that hangs around for eons. Oh, and the whole Chernobyl thing.

“Nuclear power is the answer…but of course we should stop polluting the atmosphere… that’s a no-brainer.”

Donald J. Boudreaux, another Exxon-backed analyst, wrote an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune called “The case for neglecting global warming” arguing that capitalism is responsible for the wonderful advancements we have, and therefore we should ignore global warming because it might impede capitalism. Boudreaux is an economics professor, not a climatologist.

“Capitalism is the answer, but, yes, of course we should clean up the environment. What are you, nuts?”

This issue won’t be solved by filling our cars with kryptonite. Or screaming that it’s a “natural phenomenon” as we tip-toe across the searing pavement in our asbestos Tevas to get that 80 sunblock out of the car.

The Union of Concerned Scientists have an excellent Global Warming FAQ for those just beginning their research.

Popularity: 14%

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Maine’s Mystery Beast Finally Killed

VIEW ALL: Maine

mainebeast.jpgCharcoal gray, around 50 pounds with a bushy tail, a short snout, short ears and curled fangs hanging over its lips, Maine’s mystery mutant, a dog/rat sort of mix, was found near power lines along Route 4 over the weekend, struck by a motorist who’s probably still drunk following his encounter.

The carcass was photographed and inspected by several people who live in the area, but nobody could identify it. Wildlife officials and animal control officers declined to go to Turner to examine the remains. After all, the last animal control officers who went were found dead under that same power line. By Tuesday, the carcass had been picked clean by vultures and there was not much left of the dead animal except the strong smell of sulphur and the faint sound of distant violins…

The mutant critter is believed responsible for years of animal attacks in the area and other “goings on” in Turner, Maine.

Popularity: 25%

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NEWS OF: 8/14/2006

Dead Shark Attack

“Unusually” high water temperatures are believed responsible for drawing sharks to Wells Beach, Maine, where the beach remains closed following several shark sightings. A dead mako shark, about 3-to-4 feet long, washed ashore Sunday and two other sharks were spotted in the same area.

Popularity: 19%

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NEWS OF: 8/13/2006

al QeadaBusters: Are Terrorist Attacks Staged?

Twenty-three young Muslims, most in their late teens and early 20s from east London, are being questioned about an alleged plot to blow up passenger airliners flying between Britain and the United States. The result? Global chaos. “Liquids” banned at airports. Can “solids” be far behind? You could throw them and hurt someone.

I’m not sure I believe the threat. And while I don’t consider myself a “conspiracy theory” nut, a few things make me uncomfortable:

1. Mid-term elections. It’s amazing how much “thwarting” happens right before an election. It’s almost like terrorists are seasonal. Like Halloween candy, showing up two months before the actual event to whet our appetites.

2. Nothing actually happened at the airport… or any airport. These terrorists were arrested in their own hood. There was no airport event, but the rest of the day’s news was an endless ad for bulk hair gel.

3. No real information. Information came in the two classic flavors: (a.) authorities leaking information on condition of anonymity, and (b.) anchors at the 24:7 cable channels speculating and re-speculating every seven minutes because they got nothing. Panic enablers. The day that the news went to a 24:7 format was the day that research died. We stopped providing actual information and substituted endless video reruns, wild speculation, and “expert” testimony from armchair (read: unemployed) professionals who postulated motive and meaning should the “thing we’re watching prove to be an actual horrible event” and not a guy in a parking garage.

4. None of those arrested has been charged with anything, days later. Several suspected terrorists were, in the words of their neighbors, “football and fish-and-chips” men, devout but not murderous. I found myself thinking, “okay, if you live in rubble you might be persuaded to blow yourself up. But London? How would you keep your hate-filled edge amidst all that fatty food, beer and soccer?

Fox News admits freely that it’s the most biased news in the industry. Reuter’s news photos were doctored maybe with, maybe without their knowledge. The Bush Administration routinely hosts “town meetings” that are as carefully staged as a Broadway musical.

I no longer trust my government to give me accurate information, and I know they stage events. Tony Blair and George Bush share a common hobby: terrorism-busting. The media (we can drop the “news” part) come to work every morning with 24 hours of time to fill - one minute at a time - and ratings to earn.

Who do you trust?

Popularity: 18%

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Social Security: Last to Fall

Allowing very wealthy people to manage the future of Social Security is like asking the Pope to teach high school seniors the finer points of condom use.
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George Bush has never waited nor wanted for anything. Save for the live intern thrown into his cage once a month, neither has Dick Cheney.

Social Security is not about to collapse. In fact, Administrations for years have cheerfully double dipped — raiding Social Security for every budget shortfall — while loudly proclaiming that the system was “running out of money” because of all the people receiving Social Security. Not so.

First, Social Security funds should be untouchable. Need a $13,000 water fountain for the Pentagon? Try a bake sale. Second, let’s create real stewardship of the fund: a bipartisan, multi-ethnic, multi-age consortium of individuals who aren’t millionaires. Real people, not a bunch of tittering financial neocons playing Dungeons and Dragons with your grandmother’s future. Or trading your children’s college education for “democracy in Syria.”

Because the Bush dream of privatizing Social Security will result in the system running out of funds. It’s just another failed Bush business plan. The only pie into which several Republican fingers have not been crammed up to the knuckles… But despite overwhelming voter rejection? The Bush administration is determined to go ahead with the plan after the 2006 elections — that is, when it is as far as possible from the next time they would have to face the American voters.

Popularity: 17%

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Wiscasset Soldier Killed on Patrol in Afghanistan

VIEW ALL: Iraq War

Army Pfc. Andrew Small of Wiscasset was killed Friday by hostile fire during a routine platoon patrol in Afghanistan. The 19-year-old Small was with the 10th Mountain Division, based in Fort Drum, N.Y.

Popularity: 17%

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