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Home country: USA
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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 33,091

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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Yes, George W. Bush Was a Terrible President, and No, He Wasn’t Smart

By Jonathan Chait

More than three years still remained in George W. Bush’s presidency when it had already collapsed by the end of 2005. The Bush revisionism industry has thus enjoyed an unusually long period of time in which to plan out its action and predict their man’s comeback as a misunderstood, unduly maligned and — dare they say it? — successful president. The opening of the Bush museum today has opened up a flood of pent-up Bush revisionism.

It is worth noting that Bush did some good things during his presidency. Some of these received due credit at the time (his education reform, his support for treating disease in Africa). Others received vastly disproportionate credit at the time owing to what one might call the soft bigotry of low expectations (his post-9/11 speeches, which amounted to telling a unified, leadership-craving country that Al Qaeda is bad.)

It is also true that Bush’s party unfortunately decided, after his presidency, that he failed primarily by being too moderate, too compassionate, and too bipartisan, and moved even further right since, making Bush look retrospectively sane. At the time, some of us simply took for granted Bush’s choices to avoid anti-Muslim bigotry and not propose enormous cuts to government programs for the sickest and most vulnerable Americans. By the standards of the present-day GOP, these decisions make Bush look fair-minded and even statesmanlike.

But the Bush revisionist project has far more ambitious aims than to merely salvage a few specks of decency from the ruins. It aims for a wholesale restoration, both characterologically and substantively.

more (good read)


What If We Never Run Out of Oil?


As the great research ship Chikyu left Shimizu in January to mine the explosive ice beneath the Philippine Sea, chances are good that not one of the scientists aboard realized they might be closing the door on Winston Churchill’s world. Their lack of knowledge is unsurprising; beyond the ranks of petroleum-industry historians, Churchill’s outsize role in the history of energy is insufficiently appreciated.

Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911. With characteristic vigor and verve, he set about modernizing the Royal Navy, jewel of the empire. The revamped fleet, he proclaimed, should be fueled with oil, rather than coal—a decision that continues to reverberate in the present. Burning a pound of fuel oil produces about twice as much energy as burning a pound of coal. Because of this greater energy density, oil could push ships faster and farther than coal could.

Churchill’s proposal led to emphatic dispute. The United Kingdom had lots of coal but next to no oil. At the time, the United States produced almost two-thirds of the world’s petroleum; Russia produced another fifth. Both were allies of Great Britain. Nonetheless, Whitehall was uneasy about the prospect of the Navy’s falling under the thumb of foreign entities, even if friendly. The solution, Churchill told Parliament in 1913, was for Britons to become “the owners, or at any rate, the controllers at the source of at least a proportion of the supply of natural oil which we require.” Spurred by the Admiralty, the U.K. soon bought 51 percent of what is now British Petroleum, which had rights to oil “at the source”: Iran (then known as Persia). The concessions’ terms were so unpopular in Iran that they helped spark a revolution. London worked to suppress it. Then, to prevent further disruptions, Britain enmeshed itself ever more deeply in the Middle East, working to install new shahs in Iran and carve Iraq out of the collapsing Ottoman Empire.

Churchill fired the starting gun, but all of the Western powers joined the race to control Middle Eastern oil. Britain clawed past France, Germany, and the Netherlands, only to be overtaken by the United States, which secured oil concessions in Turkey, Iraq, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. The struggle created a long-lasting intercontinental snarl of need and resentment. Even as oil-consuming nations intervened in the affairs of oil-producing nations, they seethed at their powerlessness; oil producers exacted huge sums from oil consumers but chafed at having to submit to them. Decades of turmoil—oil shocks in 1973 and 1979, failed programs for “energy independence,” two wars in Iraq—have left unchanged this fundamental, Churchillian dynamic, a toxic mash of anger and dependence that often seems as basic to global relations as the rotation of the sun.



An open letter to Innocean and Hyundai (warning , upsetting)

By Holly Brockwell.

Dear Hyundai and your advertising agency, Innocean,

This is my dad.

His name is Geoff. He married my mum in the eighties and had two little girls, by all accounts the loves of his life.

This is the note he left when he committed suicide in his car:

And this is your new ad.

As an advertising creative, I would like to congratulate you on achieving the visceral reaction we all hope for. On prompting me to share it on my Twitter page and my blog. I would not like to congratulate you on making me cry for my dad.

When your ad started to play, and I saw the beautifully-shot scenes of taped-up car windows with exhaust feeding in, I began to shake. I shook so hard that I had to put down my drink before I spilt it. And then I started to cry. I remembered looking out of the window to see the police and ambulance, wondering what was happening. I remember mum sitting me down to explain that daddy had gone to sleep and would not be waking up, and no, he wouldn’t be able to take me to my friend’s birthday party next week. No, he couldn’t come back from heaven just for that day, but he would like to if he could. I remember finding out that he had died holding my sister’s soft toy rabbit in his lap.

Surprisingly, when I reached the conclusion of your video, where we see that the man has in fact not died thanks to Hyundai’s clean emissions, I did not stop crying. I did not suddenly feel that my tears were justified by your amusing message. I just felt empty. And sick. And I wanted my dad.



Thursday TOON Roundup 5- The Rest







Thursday TOON Roundup 4- Bombers and killings




Thursday TOON Roundup 2- Republicans




Thursday TOON Roundup 3- Guns


Thursday Toon Roundup 1 - Shrub

Toles- Ho hum, unlivable

By Tom Toles
What could be of less concern than some guy somewhere who loses his way of life because of ours? http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/04/21/displaced-by-drought/ In case the link doesn’t work (which has been happening a lot here lately) or because you’re not a clicker, it’s a brief item about how climate change has rendered an agricultural region in Africa unusable.

Naturally this wouldn’t be terrorism of any kind on our part, because we’re not trying to scare him or anything. We don’t have any particular bad feelings toward him. We don’t have any feelings toward him at all. It’s just not a concern of ours. You have to put his life and livelihood in the larger context of our comfort and convenience. It’s not terrorism if it’s about comfort and convenience.

No, it’s fine if his farmland dries up and blows away. Completely fine. Ask any elected representative in the United States government if it’s fine. “Yes it’s fine.” And when we see more of this in the years to come? That’s fine too. In fact, we are seeing some of it in our very own country, or we would if we could bring ourselves to look. But we can’t. There are larger factors at stake. Comfort and convenience being foremost among them!

But we do ask ourselves about terrorism, because that does concern us. How could anybody be so indifferent to the real suffering of others that they would deliberately inflict so much harm to innocent people, and to what purpose??? A real puzzler, that one!

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