Sunday, January 06, 2008

Flying Ducks

By Noah Shachtman EmailJanuary 04, 2008 |

JeteyeFive years ago, after a pair of shoulder-fired missiles over Kenya narrowly missed a packed Israeli passenger jet, the government in Jerusalem recognized the threat to commercial aviation -- and sprang into action. By early 2006, all of the state-owned El Al jetliners were outfitted with laser countermeasures against these terrorist weapons of choice.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and America's airline companies, meanwhile, began a round of finger pointing and thumb-sucking.

The countermeasures would cost tens of billions to install and keep up, the feds and the suits complained. Each looked to the other to cover the costs -- as they cited a Rand Corporation study, which warned of $40 billion maintenance bill. (Other estimates said the countermeasures would would cost airlines "$0.003 to operate per available seat mile or about 70 cents per passenger on a 2,000-mile trip" -- "about the cost of a bag of peanuts," plus a weight penalty equivalent to two passengers and bags." ) What's more, the airlines and the government asserted, the American aviation system was too big -- at 6,000 + planes, maybe 20 times larger than the Israeli one. So there was no way they could give American passengers the same level protection that Israeli ones got. After years of Congressional foot-stomping, DHS decided to devote a relatively paltry $90 million or so to try out some cheaper alternatives.


Also at Wired-Snoozing on the NUKES!!


I feel safer already, don't you? Good Sunday morning! Hope the weather is co-operating for everyone wherever you are.

Hop heads check this one out:



DEN said...

A veritable extravaganza of stories today so dig in and enjoy!

DEN said...

Auburn storm photos

DEN said...

Just when you thought George Bush had exhausted every conceivable trick to thwart the will of Congress, he invents another novelty stunt. In this case Bush re-installed his controversial head of mine safety only three days after the man's recess appointment had lapsed - forcing him to give up the office he'd clung to for more than a year. This episode perfectly encapsulates the President's passion for putting industry insiders in charge of regulatory agencies. What an absurd tale this is.

Mine Safety hack is out, and then he's right back in

Pure slimeball squeezins!

DEN said...

Dear Den,

I'm the underdog in this race, running against two $100 million candidates. They're working feverishly around the clock to try and stop us from getting out our message of change in New Hampshire. That's why I need your support to keep on fighting.

You know what it's like to be the underdog too - because the middle class is the underdog in America today. Every day, millions of Americans are forced to battle billions and billions of dollars of corporate greed. But the system is rigged against them. They need a president who will fight for them.

That's why I'm fighting for middle class families against these entrenched interests. I'm fighting against the big multi-national corporations who work around the clock to manipulate our democracy to their own selfish benefit.

It's a fight that has been my life's cause - and the cause continues. I'm going to carry this fight all the way to the convention - and we will win the nomination, and we will win the White House. And the middle class will have a voice again in this country.

That's why your support is so important.

In tonight's debate, there were two "change candidates" on the stage. But we have very different approaches. I don't believe you can sit around a table with the drug companies, the insurance companies or the oil corporations, negotiate with them - and then hope they'll just voluntarily give their power away. You can't nice them to death - it doesn't work.

They'll only give their power away when we take it away. As president, I will fight these powerful corporate interests, stand-up to them - and beat them. Help me in that fight.

It's important for you to contribute now so we can show America that I am the candidate of real and lasting change. I need your help today.


January 5, 2008

Gerald said...

Thinking for yourself is now a crime

Gerald said...

Things Most People Would Rather Not Know

Gerald said...

So Many Ideas

Gerald said...

Larry, Curly, and Moe

Gerald said...

Return of the Hollow Man

Gerald said...

A truly powerful African-American, Fredrick Douglas, famously wrote and strenuously insisted "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will.” Somebody needs to tell Mr. Opportunity that this isn’t a luncheon, this is a struggle - this is a fight for everything we all hold dear. Let’s send a fighter into the ring - John Edwards - not a capitulator, appeaser, or talking head that claims that he can make everything nice without a battle. But then again, as Mark Twain was fond of pointing out, America loves a huckster. We shall see.

Gerald said...

I Don't Want to Hope

Gerald said...

The article, "I Don't Want to Hope," brings to mind a final exam in an education class. I studied the "WHY" as to why an education is important.

On the final exam the instructor asked of us the "HOW" we would improve the education of students.

Obama needs to give us the "HOW" he would make Nazi America better.

We do not need two hucksters being nominated to run for president. We have one Hucksterbee in the Nazi Party and we do not need an Obamahuckster in the Democratic Party for president.

Gerald said...

Meet La Befana

In Matthew’s gospel three wise men, the Magi, traveled west probably out of Mesopotamia (today’s Iran and Iraq), following a star which heralded a king’s birth.

According to legend, they stopped at a little house for directions. A wizened old woman, broom in hand, opened the door. No, she did not know the One they sought. No, she did not know the way. And no, she could not join them, she had too much work. The Magi left.

Regretting her decision, the old woman went searching for them and for the Infant-King, but could find neither.

Italians remember her as La Befana. And down the centuries on Epiphany Eve, she still sets out to find the Infant-King. During her search she leaves treats in each good child’s stocking (a lump of coal in the naughty ones’).

Search for that same Infant-King, Son of God and Son of Man daily. When you find Him, hug Him tightly to your heart.

There, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the Child was. (Matthew 2:9)

Infant-King, we search for You. Help us find You.

Gerald said...

The Governor

Dear Posters:

Michigan’s Governor Jennifer Granholm has been under fire ever since she was elected governor. The governor took over for Hitler John Engler who left her with a $2 to 3 billion deficit. The Nazi Party in our state could not accept a woman for governor. She ran for re-election in 2006 against Slick Dick DeVos who is affiliated with the Blackwater Mercenary Group that wants to takeover Nazi America with Hitler Bush’s approval so he could remain in power forever in some capacity. Hitler Bush probably aspires to be the king of the United States of Evil.

What many people do not know that Governor Granholm has been working hard to bring new businesses into the state of Michigan. Under her watch the three leading research universities have collaborated to expand Michigan’s science and technology areas. These three universities are Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University. There are several technology areas in Southeastern Michigan. More technology could expand throughout the state of Michigan. Governor Granholm deserves credit for her ideas and vision for the future of our state.

The governor faces many obstacles in helping the move Michigan forward into the twenty-first century. She must take on the ruthless Nazi Party who has tried to prevent her from moving our state forward. There are two key Nazis who try to block our governor’s efforts. One Nazi was elected separate from the legislative branch and one Nazi was elected in the legislative branch. I am reluctant to mention names because I can always hope that Nazis will someday have a conversion of the heart. Yet, as we study the Nazis, a person must conclude that once a Nazi, always a Nazi.

Another obstacle is the fact that Michigan as a state is divided into two sections. The western side of the state is the red-light district and the eastern side of the state is the blue area. As most people know, blue is for beautiful and red is for blood. Nazis live for blood and human carnage. Nazis receive their daily highs from blood and human carnage.

The governor must overcome the Nazis and the vampires who are huge obstacles for our state to enter into the twenty-first century.

Governor Granholm must be given credit for her various ideas and vision for our state. She is left to clean up the mess created by the Nazi Party and their disciples, the vampires.


carey said...

So that was the story on the airplanes and anti-missle techonology. I thought it had some more juice to it. Still interesting and thank you for seeking that out, sir.

A week or so ago I tried to post a story about each of the candidates positions on the nuclear state of things. Each one of them, I believe except Biden, shoot, now I can't remember, supported going ahead with building more nuclear plants. Biden was worried about the half-life issues and storage of nuclear waste and accidents. Hope it was Biden, anyway.

Football Sunday, big playoffs. San Diego's in one of them. They might win today but they won't go all the way. Just got that in for good measure.


The storm was horrible for you. I wish David wasn't so correct. What will we do?

Carey said...

How come your getting up so early Den? The weather, probably.

I read this last night and thought of all of you. This is downright near a perfect historical essay. It's brief but it's just plain hot writing. I was super pleased and satisied while reading it. I suspect y'all will be too

The Whole World was Watching

The right way to remember the year 1968 is to give its complications their due. History is the most crooked of timbers. The egalitarianism of the civil rights movement and a spirit of cultural adventure commingled with a whole mélange of joyful and desperate reactions against white supremacy, senseless war, empty materialism and supine obedience. The result was a mutiny against all establishments, usually for good and sufficient reason, although ends were frequently violated by means.

DEN said...

Dennis K checks in with some interesting info:

Dear Supporter,

For the record:

1. New Hampshire is the first state where we are aggressively campaigning. Due to the Party lockout in Iowa, we chose to focus on New Hampshire.
2. I am the only person running for President who voted against the war, against funding the war 100% of the time, against the Patriot Act, and who stands for a universal single-payer not-for-profit healthcare system. Nevertheless I was excluded from Saturday night's ABC Presidential debate, or four tone monologue as it was.
3. In answer to your questions about why I didn't support former Senator John Edwards on the second ballot in Iowa: I have serious concerns about his connections to a Wall Street hedge fund, Fortress Investment Group. While attacking others for accepting campaign money from Washington lobbyists, he is up to his ears in money from Wall Street special interests.

He made half a million dollars in a single year for attending a few meetings for Fortress and has invested a substantial part of his own personal wealth in the hedge fund whose portfolios are responsible for sub-prime predatory lending practices, Medicare privatization, and an entire range of corporate sharp dealings that are driving the middle class into poverty.

While I indicated Senator Obama as a preferred second choice in Iowa, Progressives have fundamental disagreements with him and all of the other Presidential candidates on most of their major positions on the issues.

We must have the courage of our convictions to fully support and vote for what it is we really want. For once, we must realize our power, stop playing tactical games, and vote as a bloc - which, as you know, is what the religious right does and why they often win.

We Progressives are in the majority in this election. We will win only when we refuse to compromise and vote with integrity.

Dennis Kucinich

micki said...

IMO, DK is sounding more and more like a whiner. ABC informed the contenders of the debate requirements before the Iowa caucuses and Kucinich didn't voice any concerns.

The criteria for inclusion in the debates were actually board -- and Kucinich didn't meet one of them.

He would have had to meet at least one of three criteria:

1) place first through fourth in Iowa;

2) poll 5 percent or higher in one of the last four major New Hampshire surveys; or

3) poll 5 percent or higher in one of the last four major national surveys.

Seems to me that he has nothing to complain about, because he is NOT a viable candidate, even though many of his supporters wish it wasn't so. Ron Paul met the criteria and he was included in the ABC debate.

And his "rationale" for not urging his supporters to lend their support to Edwards is fatuous, at best. The fact is, on major issues, Edwards' positions are closer to Kucinich's than they are to Obama's. DK just dropped ten notches in my book.

just saying....

micki said...

I meant to say...than Kucinich's positions are closer to Edwards', than they are to Obama's.

micki said...

Too bad Dennis Kucinich didn't include the fact that Fortress ended the practice of letting Fortress partners defer income taxes by reinvesting profits in offshore funds. Fortress made the change when it went public. Edwards' position has been that offshore tax shelters are wrong. Edwards has repeatedly said that as president, he will end them for all funds.

By voluntarily going public, Fortress ended the practice of using offshore tax shelters for deferred compensation and committed itself to transparency and disclosure obligations that no other hedge fund has committed itself to.

Kucinich should back up his charges against Edwards with facts, instead of sour grapes.

micki said...

I'm effin' pissed off at that little pipsqueak.

In the 2004 presidential campaign, Edwards accused the bu$h administration of aiding companies in evading taxes through offshore entities.

He raked the bushies over the coals for leting corporations shield billons in offshore tax havens.

During the 2004 vice presidential debates with cheney, Edwards called for an end to offshore tax havens -- whether for corporations or wealthy investors -- ALL OF THEM, personal or corporate.

micki said...

Den -- I meant to mention...but got sidetracked...thanks for the STORM PHOTOS.

Those trees!

micki said...

George McGovern makes a case for starting impeachment proceedings -- WaPo

...however, he recognizes it probably wouldn't result in impeachment. He thinks the process would begin the healing process.

David B. Benson said...

I liked the picutre of the smiling couple with the tree in their bedroom.

DEN said...

"I'm effin' pissed off at that little pipsqueak."

I would have never guessed.

David B. Benson said...

The most frightening weather story, for its portent, of the last few days came from southern Queeensland and nothern New South Wales, Australia. I posted about it, but without the link from the Sydney paper.

300 mm (12 inches) of rain in just three hours. Summer thundery storms.

Could happen in the U.S. a bit later in the year. Are you ready for it?

micki said...

Den, now I have someone else to be pissed about. But, I won't go on and on about it, I promise.

David Corn has referred to Obama as the "new Bobby Kennedy."

micki said...

On May 24, 1981, some areas around Austin, TX, saw over 10 inches of rain in four hours.


micki said...

On Nov 15, 2001, areas west of Austin received 15 inches of rain within six hours.

It'll get worse.

DEN said...

Micki, we all know what happened to him.

DEN said...

How would assassination of a major party candidate change the election?


David B. Benson said...

worse, worser, worsest?

David B. Benson said...

Who said this today?

The likelihod is that most US troops will be out by summer 2010 no matter who wins, and if Iraqi politicians want to avoid being taken out and shot in the aftermath, they had better cut some deals locally soon.

Jeopardy contestant said...

Juan Cole?

David B. Benson said...

jeopardy contestant wins!

(Did you use a search engine?)

jeopardy contestant said...

No. I read that earlier today but couldn't recall for certain if it was Juan Cole -- hence, the ? after his name.

David B. Benson said...

Get Depressed about Politics in the US Fast!

But the clincher is at the bottom: Collapse statistics...

Alan said...

here's some more badazz rainfall in Tx

An apparent new record for extreme rainfall.

A rainfall of 43.0 inches was recorded in a 24-hour period near Alvin, Texas on July 25-26, 1979. The flooding produced by the record rainfall was one of the major disasters in the United States during 1979.
Alvin is 'bout 10 miles up the road from Pearland, where I was living then. We moved into the house we built there in Dec. '78.

Alan said...

Did y'all catch this one? That 'rudy' video at #9 is worth the trip by itself.
Wurlitzer Prize for Wingnuttery–Top 10 of 2007

Alan said...

Ehh, it's actually #2, but was listed 9th (a countdown).