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Archive for June 15th, 2008

Saudi Arabia Plans To Increase Oil Production

By- Suzie-Q @ 6:15 PM MST

Saudis Agree To Boost Oil Production

June 15, 2008 07:09 PM EST | AP

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia plans to increase its oil production by 200,000 barrels a day next month, the kingdom’s oil minister told U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon on Sunday, according to Ban’s spokesman.

The U.N. secretary-general met with Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi in the port city of Jiddah during a one-day trip to the world’s largest oil producer.

Farhan Haq, a spokesman who is traveling with Ban, said in an e-mail that the U.N. chief said al-Naimi told him Saudi Arabia would increase oil production by 200,000 barrels a day from June to July. In May, the kingdom increased its production by 300,000.

By July, production should be at 9.7 million barrels a day, Haq said.

Ban also said Saudi Arabia understands that the current price of oil, which topped $139 per barrel earlier this month, is not normal, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

“The king believes that the current oil prices are abnormally high, and he is ready to restore prices to their appropriate levels,” SPA quoted Ban as telling reporters in Jiddah. The report carried by SPA was in Arabic, and it did not say what language Ban spoke in.

Saudi Arabia is concerned that sustained high oil prices will eventually slacken the world’s appetite for oil, affecting the kingdom in the long run.

The 200,000-barrel-a-day boost is not insignificant _ it will raise Saudi Arabia’s daily production by about 2 percent. But to a market that has been sending oil prices soaring to record heights due in part to strong global demand, the move might be seen as marginal.

The oil market largely ignored Saudi Arabia’s 300,000-barrel-a-day output increase last month.

In electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange late Sunday, crude oil futures were down 54 cents at $134.32 a barrel.

The kingdom has called for a meeting of oil producing and consuming countries on June 22 in Jiddah to discuss ways of dealing with soaring energy prices.

The New York Times reported on Saturday, citing unnamed analysts and oil traders briefed by Saudi officials, that a production increase of about 500,000 barrels per day was to be announced following the meeting.

On Saturday, al-Naim’s adviser told The Associated Press that the minister would address the production increase reports the next day. But on Sunday, the adviser, Ibrahim al-Muhanna, said there was no meeting to address the reports scheduled.

Further attempts to reach al-Muhanna by phone later Sunday went unanswered.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, is concerned that sustained high oil prices will eventually slacken the world’s appetite for oil, affecting the kingdom in the long run.

Crude prices have reached record highs, surpassing $139 per barrel on June 6 after surging nearly $11 in the biggest single-day price leap ever.

The prices had receded by Friday, with the benchmark light, sweet crude for July delivery falling $1.88 to settle at $134.86 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, July Brent crude lost $1.84 to settle at $134.25 on the ICE Futures exchange.

The current president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Chakib Khelil, has said that the cartel will make no new decision on production levels until its Sept. 9 meeting in Vienna. OPEC ministers often follow the lead of the Saudis when discussing whether to increase production to take the pressure off rising prices.

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GEF @ 4:18 PM MST

House refuses to extend unemployment benefits

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON— The House on Wednesday narrowly defeated a Democratic attempt to give unemployed Americans an extra three months of jobless benefits after the White House threatened to veto the bill.

The bill would have extended the average $300-a-week unemployment benefit check by 13 weeks for all Americans. Job seekers in high unemployment states like Alaska, California, Michigan and Rhode Island would have been able to get an extra 13 weeks on top of that.

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John Conyers Is Still Failing America!

GEF @ 3:28 PM MST

Tell Conyers to Do His Job, Start the Impeachment Hearings on Bush & Cheney!

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I’m Ignoring Bu$hco, It’s dad’s day

by Geezer Power…2:55 pm

“Hairy Blobs” Discovered in Acidic Lake Could Have Evolved on Mars

At last, scientists have discovered a form of life that could have evolved on Mars. Geologists unearthed a treasure trove of fossilized remains in a salty, acidic lake in remote Australia — the creatures, probably about 250 million years old, were, according to New Scientist, “made up of a mix of inorganic crystals and ‘hairs’ stuck together in a mass” (pictured). The lake where they lived was filled with water whose extreme levels of salinity and acidity are a near-match for Martian water. Find out more, plus see more cool pictures of the blobs, below.

According to New Scientist:

Kathleen Benison, a geologist at Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, led a team that studied the sediments formed by acidic and very salty lakes in modern day Western Australia, and those deposited around 250 million years ago in North Dakota. It is very difficult to survive in such a tough environments and few signs of life have ever been found in these sorts of lakes.

Inside the halite and gypsum “evaporate” minerals, which form as the lake waters dry up, Benison and colleagues found previously unknown fossilised blobs at both the modern and ancient sites, ranging in size from 0.05 to 1.5 millimetres. They were made up of a mix of inorganic crystals and “hairs” stuck together in a mass (pictured). They named them hairy blobs.

The team argues that each hair was in fact a separate microorganism because the hair fossils are made of disordered graphite which, unlike inorganic graphite, has irregular layers that suggest it was once a live organism..

Many of the hairs are coated with crystals of gypsum, a calcium sulphate mineral. This link with gypsum suggests that the microorganisms were fuelled by chemical interactions with sulphur in the acidic water – which helped the gypsum to form.

Scientists are still divided on whether these crystal-hair creatures actually count as “life.” As they run further tests on the fossils, the mere existence of such creatures fuels hope among astrobiologists that life could indeed have evolved on Mars and we might get a chance to meet it — or at least, to find its fossilized remains.

Salutations to Dad2059’s Blog for the above, “Hairy Blobs”, article…
Evolutionary bioligist Olivia Judson has some interesting information to add to all this in her always interesting blog where she talks about the organisms that live in rocks deep in the earth.

Meet the Intraterrestrials

Olivia Judson

Some weeks ago, I wrote about microbes in the air and their possible role in helping clouds form, in causing rain and in altering the chemistry of the high atmosphere. This week, I want to go in the opposite direction and plunge down into the earth. For many bacteria live deep in the oceans and deep in the earth, far from light, far from what we normally think of as good, comfortable places to live.

For example: the bottom of the Mariana Trench. This is a seam on the sea floor in the northwestern Pacific, not far from the island of Guam; it’s where the Pacific plate is sliding under the Philippine plate. The ocean is deeper here than anywhere else in the world: the seabed is 11 kilometers (almost 7 miles) below the surface of the sea. Yet even here, where the pressure of the water would crush you or me, there are bacteria. Some of them won’t grow at all unless the atmospheric pressure is at least 50 megapascals (around 7,000 pounds per square inch), and they grow better if the pressure is greater — 70 megapascals (more than 10,000 pounds per square inch). For comparison, the pressure at sea level — the pressure we have evolved to bear — is 700 times less.

Then there are the “intraterrestrials” — the organisms that live in rocks deep in the earth, the creatures of the “deep subsurface biosphere.” Bacteria have been found in rock samples taken several hundred meters below the sea floor, even when the sea floor itself is 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) below sea level.

We don’t know how many organisms are living in this (to us) alien environment. But based on what’s been found in rock samples so far, the numbers are likely to be gigantic. One recent study found between 1 million and 1 billion bacteria per gram of rock (a gram is 1/28 of an ounce). It may be that a large proportion — perhaps as many as a third — of all bacteria on Earth live in rocks below the floor of the sea. That would be a lot of bacteria.

Until recently, it was assumed that the chemical alteration and decomposition of rocks in the ocean crust was due purely to elemental forces — the circulation of seawater, the grinding of rocks against one another. But increasingly, intraterrestrial bacteria are suspected of making a contribution, too. Shards of volcanic glass from basaltic rocks hundreds of meters beneath the seabed show grooves and etchings that appear to have been made by bacteria.

More

Hmm, life seems to be a bit more prolific than we thought. Perhaps a closer examination of the fossiles from astroids, comets, and such places

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By- Suzie-Q @ 1:05 PM MST

Kristol: McCain And Graham Plan To Introduce Legislation Undermining Supreme Court Decision On Guantanamo»

Think Progress

By Amanda at 12:15 pm

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that Guantanamo Bay detainees have the right to challenge their detention in civilian courts. Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wasted no time in publicly blasting the decision, saying they were “disappointed” in “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.”

This ruling will inevitably lead to a “flood of new litigation” challenging the Bush administration’s right to hold these detainees, only one of whom has received a verdict. Detainees will then finally get a decision as to their status.

Today on Fox News Sunday, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol revealed that “very soon” — likely as early as next week — McCain and Graham will be introducing legislation to undermine the Supreme Court decision by setting up a “national security court”:

And I think you will see Senator Graham, accompanied by Senator McCain, come to the floor of the Senate very soon, like next week, and say, We cannot let chaos obtain here. We can’t let 200 different federal district judges on their own whim call this CIA agent here, say, ‘I don’t believe this soldier here who said this guy was doing this,’ you have to release someone,’ or, ‘Let’s build up — let’s compromise sources and methods with a bunch of trials. I mean, it’s ridiculous.

Watch it:

A national security court would envision a scenario “in which sitting federal judges would preside over proceedings in which prosecutors would make the case that a person should be detained.” But as Michael Hoffman and Ken Gude note in a paper for the Center for American Progress, this scenario is problematic and underestimates the U.S. criminal justice system:

Adopting a national security court system would send the United States down another unproven path prone to repeat the same mistakes. It would not further justice or American legitimacy. Rather, it would risk creating American courts that more resemble the tribunals of dictators than those of democracies. And that would be a strategic victory for Al Qaeda, not for Americans. […]

The criminal justice system, coupled with standard military trials when necessary, has and can further law enforcement, intelligence, and prevention efforts without undermining our fundamental liberties or our long-term efforts to combat terrorism. It is time to let it fully do that crucial work.

As ThinkProgress reported on Friday, at one time, McCain and Graham advocated a solution similar to the Supreme Court ruling. In 2003, they called on then-Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to “formally treat and process the detainees as war criminals or to return them to their countries for appropriate judicial action.” Clearly, things change when you’re running for a third Bush term.

Transcript follows:

(more…)

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Afternoon Jukebox… After The Fire

By- Suzie-Q @ 1:00 PM MST

Der Kommissar- After The Fire

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Bring him on!

anthony @ 18:32 BST

Quote from article: The capture of Osama bin Laden (alive) would in fact prove to be a huge political embarrassment for BushCo. I hope it happens.

So Bush wants us Brits to help him capture Osama bin Laden.

For what crime does Bush want this man captured?

The FBI website Most Wanted Terrorist page says:

MURDER OF U.S. NATIONALS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES; CONSPIRACY TO MURDER U.S. NATIONALS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES; ATTACK ON A FEDERAL FACILITY RESULTING IN DEATH

Under the subheading, “Caution”, it says:

Usama Bin Laden is wanted in connection with the August 7, 1998, bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. These attacks killed over 200 people. In addition, Bin Laden is a suspect in other terrorist attacks throughout the world.

It then says that the Rewards For Justice Program, United States Department of State, is offering a reward of up to $25 million for information leading directly to the apprehension or conviction of Usama Bin Laden.

Well, with a reward like that, I might just go after him myself!

However, it goes on to say, as a further subheading: “Should be considered armed and dangerous.”

Mmmmm. There must be an easier way.

Wait a minute! I seem to remember some story about bin Laden being in a military hospital in Rawalpindi the day before 9/11. (In order to survive he needs to go on a dialysis machine every now and again.)

(Go to Related Stories at bottom of page for more on this.)

If Osama bin Laden is still alive, he must at some point every now and again check into a military hospital some where in the middle east. If the FBI keep checking up on every military hospital in that region they’re bound to catch up with him sooner or later.

At the bottom of the FBI website page, it says:

IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION CONCERNING THIS PERSON, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL FBI OFFICE OR THE NEAREST AMERICAN EMBASSY OR CONSULATE.

Maybe I’ll pass on a note to the American Embassy in Bloomsbury Square, London.

On a more serious note, if they catch Osama bin Laden, what will the US authorities do?

Will they chuck him into that oublie known as Guantanamo, and just forget about him along all the other alleged “terrorists” who are now rotting there?

It’s hardly likely.

Unlike the other detainees at Gitmo, whose names are known only to their families and friends back at home, Osama bin Laden is scarcely anonymous. That part of the US public which has swallowed the official narrative of the events of 9/11 (The Lonely Goatherd Theory) will demand some form of retribution, which, if done in accordance with the law, will mean officially charging him with the attack on the WTC Towers and then having a trial in which evidence that elements of the US government, at best, let, and at worst, made 9/11 happen will come to light.

The capture of Osama bin Laden (alive) would in fact prove to be a huge political embarrassment for BushCo. I hope it happens.

Related Stories:

CBS: Hospital Worker: I Saw Osama

“On that night,” said a medical worker who wanted her identity protected, “they moved out all the regular staff in the urology department and sent in a secret team to replace them.” She said it was treatment for a very special person and “the special team was obviously up to no good.”

“They military had him surrounded,” said a hospital employee who also wanted his identity masked, “and I saw the mysterious patient helped out of a car. Since that time,” he said, “I have seen many pictures of the man. He is the man we know as Osama bin Laden. I also heard two army officers talking to each other. They were saying that Osama bin Laden had to be watched carefully and looked after.”

Read more…

Based on Reports in London Times, Paris Le Figaro and Reuters: Bush Administration knew the Whereabouts of Osama

If the CBS report by Dan Rather is accurate and Osama had indeed been admitted to the Pakistani military hospital on September 10, 2001, courtesy of America’s ally, he was in all likelihood still in hospital in Rawalpindi on the 11th of September, when the attacks occurred. In all probability, his whereabouts were known to US officials on the morning of September 12, when Secretary of State Colin Powell initiated negotiations with Pakistan, with a view to arresting and extraditing bin Laden.

Read more…

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Addressing America’s “Deeper Malignancies”

Sudhan @18:22 CET

If you want to know what’s wrong with the foreign policy establishment in the United States, look no further than Condoleezza Rice’s article, “The New American Realism,” published in the July/August 2008 issue of Foreign Affairs. Not only has the Council on Foreign Relations spread its pages wide open for an infamous interventionist — a lying and deceitful enabler of the Bush administration’s illegal, immoral unprovoked invasion of Iraq — it also readmitted Ms. Rice without requiring anything resembling a mea culpa for the crimes against humanity that have lowered her, the Bush administration and the United States to the depths of moral disrepute around the world.

Why publish the words of a liar and alleged war criminal? Who takes her seriously? Was her article accepted for publication because of her high position in the thoroughly discredited and morally bankrupt Bush administration? Or was publication a “no brainer,” simply because the foreign policy elite at the Council on Foreign Relations actually shares Ms. Rice’s smug interventionist conceit?

Whatever the excuse, it doesn’t pass the smell test. Why? Because Rice’s unimaginative, evasive and euphemism-riddled whitewash of Bush’s disastrous “Time of Troubles” would barely merit a grade of “C” in any freshman course devoted to U.S. foreign policy.

Ms. Rice’s case is not a matter of affirmative action encountering the Peter Principle. Instead, it’s a matter of compensating for the Peter Principle with poorly disguised moral turpitude. For example, during the propaganda run up to the invasion of Iraq, Ms Rice lied when she said that the aluminum tubes sought by Iraq could “only” be used in nuclear weapons. We know she lied, because her assertion came after she learned of the disagreements within the intelligence community about how such tubes might be used.

Ms Rice also attempted to deceive members of the House of Representatives. She told them that, after 9/11, the U.S. had no choice, but to engage in what the September 2002 National Security Strategy euphemistically called “preemptive” wars. As we now know, the euphemism of preemption was a fig leaf for the “preventive” wars — otherwise known as wars of aggression — which the Bush administration actually intended to launch.

Unabashed by such deception, Ms. Rice was in the process of making her pitch for preemptive war when she was confronted by a Democrat, who asked her whether America should have invaded the Soviet Union in 1948 in order to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. Rice responded, “In light of 50 years of bondage of Eastern Europe, that was probably a reasonable thing to do.” Her response not only revealed her moral turpitude, but also cost her the right to be considered a serious Russia scholar. Nobody but a hack or a fraud would have said such a thing.

Thus, it’s no surprise to find her “C” paper in Foreign Affairs riddled with hypocrisy, deceitful evasions and blatant propaganda. Not only does she project America’s worst sins onto others, she also refuses to accept any responsibility for the many ills that the Bush administration has inflicted upon the U.S., Iraq and the rest of the world.

Continued . . .

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By- Suzie-Q @ 9:00 AM MST

McCain cancels event with fundraiser who compared rape to the weather.»

Think Progress

By Amanda on Jun 14th, 2008 at 12:46

ABC reports:

Sen. John McCain on Friday abruptly cancelled a Monday fundraiser that had been scheduled at the home of a Texas oilman, after ABC News contacted the campaign inquiring about a verbal blunder the Texan made during an unsuccessful 1990 campaign for governor.

Clayton Williams stirred controversy during his 1990 campaign for governor of Texas with a botched attempt at humor in which he compared rape to weather. Within earshot of a reporter, Williams said: “As long as it’s inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.”

McCain’s campaign spokesman said he wasn’t sure what the senator would be doing with the more than $300,000 brought into the campaign by Williams. (HT: The Back Forty)

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Bush Attempts To Capture Osama Bin Laden…

By- Suzie-Q @ 8:00 AM MST

Bush renews attempts to capture Osama bin Laden

Raw Story

Andrew McLemore | Saturday, 14 June 2008

In a last ditch effort to capture Osama bin Laden before leaving office, President Bush has enlisted the help of British special forces, the Times Online reported Saturday.The article cited “defense and intelligence sources in London and Washington” as having confirmed the information.

“If he [Bush] can say he has killed Saddam Hussein and captured bin Laden, he can claim to have left the world a safer place,” said a US intelligence source.

Britain’s Special Boat Service and Special Reconnaissance Regiment have been taking part in US operations to capture bin Laden in northern Pakistan, the Times Online reported.

But the little reliable information about bin Laden means locating him would be, at best, difficult, according to an NBC analysis released Friday.

“We don’t have a clue where he is or even may be,” a Western military analyst said in the article. “We have had NO credible intelligence on OBL since 2001. All the rest is rumor and rubbish either whipped up by the media or churned out in the power corridors of western capitals.”

Osama bin Laden purportedly released a statement in mid-May that called for the liberation of Palestine and coincided with the 60th anniversary of Israel, the Associated Press reported.

Although the message’s authenticity could not be verified, the voice resembled the one in past messages from the terrorist leader.

During a New Jersey town meeting Friday, Republican Senator and presidential hopeful John McCain told an audience of nearly 2,000 that he vowed to capture Osama bin Laden, the Asbury Park Press reported Saturday.

“I will get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice,” McCain promised in answer to a question from a Navy veteran from Yardley, Pa.

President Bush will arrive in Britain Sunday for the last stop of his Europe tour, which aimed to gather international support against Iran’s uranium enrichment program, Reuters reported Saturday.

“Much of my discussions on this trip have been dominated by this subject because our allies understand that a nuclear-armed Iran is incredibly destabilizing, and they understand that it would be a major blow to world peace,” Bush said on Saturday.

Related Stories

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