ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Conspiracy! - Liberal Bloggers Punked... Too Farkin'* Funny

Hot Air has a great interview Michelle Malkin did with the perp of one of the best ever April fools jokes. Kos. Wonkette totally sucked in This truly is a must see.

*Aplogies to Johnny Dangerously

Gidcumbs plants the photoshop
DKos falls for the photoshop
Corrente: punked, pwn3d, pouting
Tenn Guerilla Women punked
Hamsher punked
Wonkette: It’s a crime scene!
Coptix: Diary of a Manufactured Scandal



















Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Monterejohn

Missile Defense - Why are we bothering again?

It seems that Chimpy W. McBushitler is still pushing advancements missile defense technology. Which is weird, since all of the knowledgeable people in this world know that such an accomplishment is impossible - IMPOSSIBLE!!!! - and we should really be focusing on how to increase public assistance to everyone who isn't happy and readying ourselves for the coming North Korean overlord, who will blackmail us into submission after nuking LA.

Anyway, we are apparently having some success with a missile defense system - regardless of what the nattering naybobs of negativity are saying:

Missile-Defense System Test Succeeds
Email this Story

Apr 6, 11:42 PM (ET)

By AUDREY McAVOY

HONOLULU (AP) - The military shot down a Scud-type missile in this year's second successful test of a new technology meant to knock down ballistic missiles in their final minute of flight, the Missile Defense Agency said Friday.

A ship off Kauai fired a target missile before 9 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time Thursday. Three minutes later, soldiers with the U.S. Army's 6th Air Defense Artillery Brigade launched an interceptor missile from Kauai that destroyed the target over the Pacific, according to the agency.

The military says it already can shoot down missiles in their last stage of flight by using Patriot anti-missile batteries. But the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system would be able to protect larger areas than the Patriot system because it intercepts targets at a higher altitude, said agency spokeswoman Pam Rogers.

The new system had its first successful test last year at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. It had another successful test Jan. 27 at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai.

A September test at White Sands failed when the target missile failed after launch.

The Missile Defense Agency moved its testing for the Terminal High Altitude Defense system to Hawaii because the New Mexico range was not large enough for the military to do the testing it wanted, Rogers said.

The military also uses the Pacific Missile Range Facility to test Aegis technology that's designed to shoot down ballistic missiles midway through their flight.



Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Worst Economy Since Herbert Hoover

Just refuses to make itself known through economic data... but then again, we're not talking about data and objective facts these days, it's how people "feel" about the economy and the impending doom that we will all experience after Chimpy W. McBushitler casts us over the precipice.

Or something like that...

This story from the Washington Times regarding the jobless rate:

Jobless rate falls to five-year low
By Patrice Hill
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Published April 7, 2007

The unemployment rate fell to a five-year low of 4.4 percent as job growth picked up to 180,000 last month — a show of strength that bolstered hopes that the economy will endure the turmoil in the housing and mortgage markets without major harm.

The March increase in jobs reported by the Labor Department reflected a revival of hiring among construction companies, department stores and retailers as well as continued robust growth of health care jobs. The construction job gains erased a big loss in February resulting from cold weather and left jobs in the sector roughly unchanged since September with increases in hiring for office and government construction projects offsetting losses in housing construction.

In another sign of unexpected strength, hiring in January and February was 32,000 more than previously reported. But the overall employment gains in March masked the loss of another 16,000 manufacturing jobs — the ninth straight month of shed factory jobs — as well as a rare cut in business services jobs for accountants and temporary employees.

"The latest job numbers show an economy that is effectively absorbing the blows from the residential and mortgage sectors," said Bernard Baumohl, managing director of the Economic Outlook Group, an economic advisory firm in Princeton Junction, N.J.

Job growth averaged a "respectable" 152,000 a month in the first quarter, which is down from last year's 188,500 pace but consistent with the more subdued growth of the economy, he said.

Wages continued to grow moderately, bringing the yearly gain for average hourly workers to 4 percent. Both the wage gains and the unemployment rate are at levels attained at the end of the last expansion in 2001, signaling that the job market remains fairly tight despite a slackening of economic growth since last spring.

"The economic outlook is quite bright, and the probability of recession is still negligible" as long as consumers continue to gain jobs and income, Mr. Baumohl said.

The report suggests the Federal Reserve has achieved its goal of a "Goldilocks" economy where growth is "not too hot, not too cold" and will not ignite inflation, he said. It particularly vindicates Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke's view that solid growth in jobs and income will underpin consumers and keep the economy growing despite the troubles in housing and manufacturing.

David Wyss, chief economist with Standard & Poor's, said the strength in construction and other areas was a "major surprise" and indicates that the slowdown in hiring during January and February was more of an aberration because of cold weather than previously thought. But he cautioned that early retail hiring for Easter and other distortions in the department's seasonal adjustments may have overstated the job gains.

"The strength in construction, in particular, is highly encouraging" in light of an 18 percent drop in home building and a loss of 134,000 home construction jobs in the last year, he said. "However, the seasonal factors swing very sharply between February and March, and exact numbers need to be taken with a larger grain of salt than usual. The [March] job gain was 939,000 on a nonseasonally adjusted basis, which is nearly half the 1,984,000 gain over the last year."

Lawrence Kudlow of Kudlow & Co. called the jobs report a "blockbuster" that "puts the lie to those perma-bear pessimists who keep predicting recession from the subprime mortgage problem and the housing slowdown."

The report vindicates optimistic investors who have driven stocks to near record highs in the past year, he said.

"The rate of economic growth ebbs and flows over long expansion periods such as this one," which is in its sixth year of growth, he said. "In the absence of major policy blunders" like big tax increases, the unleashing of inflation and protectionist forces or overregulation, "the economic pie keeps expanding," he said.

Peter Morici, business professor at the University of Maryland, said the job boomlet has been better for college-educated and skilled people than for high school graduates and dropouts, though all groups have seen their unemployment rates drop in the past year.

"For high school graduates without specialized skills or training, jobs offering good pay and benefits remain tough to find," he said. "Historically, manufacturing and construction offered workers with only a high school education the best pay, benefits and opportunities for skill attainment and advancement. Troubles in these industries push ordinary workers into retailing, hospitality and other industries where pay often lags."

Of course, the Washington Times and its owner are part of the Pentaverate and we all know that economic data comes from the Bush Administration itself, so this report is just lies on top of spin.

On a related topic, I wonder if this news regarding our balance of trade with China has reached Lou Dobbs - who I've been making fun of for quite some time.
The Bush (Economic) Miracle
Courtesy of a comment at a post at the Economist's Free Exchange blog, I see a truly fascinating blog post about how much more successful GWB has been compared to his predecessor. It seems that under Bill Clinton US exports to China grew at an average annualized rate of 11.5% in his first term and 7.4% in his second one. Under GW Bush on the other hand exports to china have grown by 21.4% per annum. Ever so slightly more. In fact this leads on to a subsequent post at the same blog where the blogger gives a good and righteous smacking to the morons in congress who want to erect (more) protectionist trade barriers to stop chinese imports.
[...]

No matter... we're all on the verge of running to the nearest vacant lot and setting up a Hooverville thanks to the economic stewardship of Chimpy W. McBushitler.

Where is Bill Clinton & Bob Rubin when you need them?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Friday, April 06, 2007

No Oil for Blood

Despite Rosie's idiotic opinions to the contrary, it appears that we're not getting the initial contracts for the oil for which we supposedly spilled our blood.

And Iraq's big oil contracts go to ...
Companies from China, India and other Asian nations are seen getting the first contracts. But don't write off Big Oil just yet.
By Steve Hargreaves, CNNMoney.com staff writer
April 5 2007: 1:42 PM EDT
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Despite claims by some critics that the Bush administration invaded Iraq to take control of its oil, the first contracts with major oil firms from Iraq's new government are likely to go not to U.S. companies, but rather to companies from China, India, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

While Iraqi lawmakers struggle to pass an agreement on exactly who will award the contracts and how the revenue will be shared, experts say a draft version that passed the cabinet earlier this year will likely uphold agreements previously signed by those countries under Saddam Hussein's government.

"The Chinese could announce something within the next few months" if all goes well with the oil law, said James Placke, a senior associate at Cambridge Energy Research Associates who specializes in the Middle East.

The Asian firms are at an advantage for several reasons.

First, less constrained by Western sanctions during the Hussein regime, they've been operating in Iraq and know the country's oilfields, said Falah Aljibury, an energy analyst who has advised several Iraqi oil ministers as well as other OPEC nations.

Aljibury said the first contracts likely awarded will be to the Chinese in the south central part of Iraq, the Vietnamese in the south, the Indians along the Kuwaiti border, and the Indonesians in the western desert.

The contracts under consideration are small.

Aljibury said the Chinese agreement is to produce about 70,000 barrels of oil a day, while the Vietnamese one is for about 60,000.

It's hard to put a dollar amount on what those contracts might be worth, as security costs, drilling conditions and the exact terms to be offered by Baghdad are unknown, said Christopher Ruppel, a senior geopolitical analyst with the consulting firm John S. Herold.

But the barrel amount is tiny even by Iraq's depressed post-war production of around 2 million barrels a day.
[...]

Hmmm, if we truly were the imperialist and fascist regime that many on the Left claim that we are, we would have put our troops around the oil wells and sent Halliburton - HALLIBURTON!!!! - in to extract the oil without paying for it.

Damn you Chimpy W. McBushitler!!!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Yet Another Reason No Impact Won't Catch On

A few weeks ago, I blogged on a story in the Times about some idiot who wanted to live a "No Impact" life - in Manhattan. Of course, this is an impossible and unnecessarily cruel existence (as evidenced by the lack of toilet paper). One of the practices of the "No Impact" lifestyle was to only purchase food from within 150 miles - and to report any sins against this policy to the gurus in San Francisco.

Well, it seems that some clothing designers have been working on creating The 100-mile suit. Wired Magazine has this excellent demonstration of why humans have evolved beyond our small little enclaves that only sought to satisfy their needs from within 100 miles.

Here's the background
:

100-Mile Suit Wears Its Origins on Its Sleeve
Paul Adams Email 03.30.07 | 12:00 AM

PHILADELPHIA -- When educator and designer Kelly Cobb decided to make a man's suit only from materials produced within 100 miles of her home, she knew it would be a challenge. But Cobb's locally made suit turned into a exhausting task. The suit took a team of 20 artisans several months to produce -- 500 man-hours of work in total -- and the finished product wears its rustic origins on its sleeve.

"It was a huge undertaking, assembled on half a shoestring," Cobb said at the suit's unveiling one recent afternoon at Philadelphia's Institute of Contemporary Art.

"Every piece of the suit took three to five pairs of hands to make," Cobb added. "Every garment you wear took three to five pairs of hands to make too, but you don't know whose hands or where."

Cobb's suit (see photo gallery) is a demonstration of the massive manufacturing power of the global economy. Industrial processes and cheap foreign labor belie the tremendous resources that go into garments as simple as a T-shirt.

"It definitely makes you think for a minute before you buy that $10 skirt," said Jocelyn Meinhardt, a New York City playwright who sews many of her own clothes. "It didn't just grow on the rack at Forever 21. It's too easy to forget that people made it."

Last year, Cobb asked her students at Drexel University to trace the provenance of their clothes. When the task proved impossible, she realized how far removed we are from what we wear.

Cobb began by locating some like-minded collaborators: sewers, knitters and weavers.

Three local sheep contributed their sustainably grown fleeces, which were painstakingly spun by six traditional spinners into almost two miles of wool.

Socks and underpants were knitted by hand from the wool. A team of three weavers turned the fleece into soft, thick fabric which became slacks -- fastened with hand-carved buttons -- and a shirt.

Textile artist Susie Brandt used husks from a local black walnut tree to dye some of the white wool a ruddy brown, which she weaved into a striped necktie.

A local shoemaker volunteered her services, but tracking down locally made leather was a challenge. Shortly before the work was scheduled to begin, Cobb located an artisan who tans local deer hides into buckskin, using the ages-old technique of brain tanning.

On Sunday, the oxford-style shoes that completed the outfit still smelled of the wood smoke used to cure the hide.

Cobb estimates that 8 percent of the materials in the 100-mile suit came from outside the prescribed radius. Those alien components, including the cores of the thread and the rubber soles of the shoes, were colored yellow to stand out against the primarily gray-brown color of the suit.

"If we worked on it for a year and a half," Cobb says, "I think we could have eliminated that 8 percent."

500 man hours of work plus materials... minimum wage in the US is $5.15 per hour and let's say that the materials were a paltry 10% of the labor costs.
CategoryCost
Labor$2,575
Materials$257
Total Cost$2,832

And this still involves 8% of materials which are not from within 100 miles - and it would take the group a year and a half to either find the local sources of supply or create those materials themselves.

Now introducing, the $3,000 suit that was produced using only local sources of supply!


Additional pictures of this fabulous garment can be seen here.

Meanwhile, thanks to the division of labor and sourcing inputs (material & labor) from around the world, you can spend 1/10th of the cost on the following - offered by Mens Wearhouse for $299.


And, that's without shopping around and trying to find a good deal. I wonder which suit would be more effective and persuading someone to hire you? Unless the guy in the 100-mile suit is showing up at a commie / hippie commune for a job, don't think many would hire him.

Thanks to Cafe Hayek for pointing me to this article. I think it clearly shows how division of labor and the global economy are not things that we can turn away from, no matter how much we like the idea of sourcing our products "from our own community."

Or, as Cafe Hayek puts it, "Self-sufficiency is the road to poverty." If you disagree, feel free to comment here and provide your evidence.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Problem with San Fran Nan as Sec of State

The Jerusalem Post has this article which demonstrates the problem with allowing the House Speaker to travel to non-friendly states and letting them think they can "deliver a message:"

PMO denies peace message to Assad
Herb Keinon, THE JERUSALEM POST Apr. 5, 2007

The Prime Minister's Office issued a rare "clarification" Wednesday that, in gentle diplomatic terms, contradicted US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's statement in Damascus that she had brought a message from Israel about a willingness to engage in peace talks.

According to the statement, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert emphasized in his meeting with Pelosi on Sunday that "although Israel is interested in peace with Syria, that country continues to be part of the Axis of Evil and a force that encourages terror in the entire Middle East."

Olmert, the statement clarified, told Pelosi that Syria's sincerity about a genuine peace with Israel would be judged by its willingness to "cease its support of terror, cease its sponsoring of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad organizations, refrain from providing weapons to Hizbullah and bringing about the destabilizing of Lebanon, cease its support of terror in Iraq, and relinquish the strategic ties it is building with the extremist regime in Iran."

The statement said Olmert had not communicated to Pelosi any change in Israeli policy on Damascus.

Pelosi, who met in Damascus with Syrian President Bashar Assad over the objections of US President George W. Bush, said she brought a message to Assad from Olmert saying that Israel was ready for peace talks.

"We were very pleased with the reassurances we received from the president [Assad] that he was ready to resume the peace process. He was ready to engage in negotiations for peace with Israel," Pelosi said after meeting Assad.

She said the meeting with the Syrian leader "enabled us to communicate a message from Prime Minister Olmert that Israel was ready to engage in peace talks as well."

According to officials in the Prime Minister's Office, however, this was not what transpired during her meeting with Olmert.

The officials said Olmert had told Pelosi that he thought her trip to Damascus was a mistake, and that when she asked - nevertheless - whether he had a message for Assad, Olmert said Syria should first stop supporting terrorism and "act like a normal country," and only then would Israel be willing to hold discussions.

The first part of that message, the officials said, was lost in what was reported from Damascus on Wednesday.
[...]
The article goes on, but you get the picture. You see, as the Speaker of the House, Pelosi is not authorized (nor equipped) to conduct foreign policy. Anything that Olmert may have said to Pelosi in a meeting should have been kept private, but Pelosi - seeing a possibility for perhaps a Nobel Peace Prize which seem to be given out each decade that the Middle East conflict continues - decided she would try to kick things off. If only the sides would talk to each other, she probably thought to herself.

Of course, in addition to not being authorized to conduct foreign policy, she also is used by foreign governments to attack the US. As opposition leader in the US congress to the current President (who does have authority to conduct foreign policy), our enemies abroad can use her visit to claim that the American people are weak and fractured. Of course, this is exactly what the Dems are pursuing politically...

I thought this cartoon on Pelosi from Cox & Forkum was great:



St Louis Blogger-buddy Jim Hoft (aka Gateway Pundit) is also covering Pelosi's missteps (here as well)

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A Rosie by Any Other Name is...

.. still a @#^$%ing wacko.

Jonah weighs in on Rosie (unflattering picture inserted by me):

Queen of Nice? Try Nuts.
Rosie's View..

By Jonah Goldberg

Renowned metallurgist Rosie O’Donnell proclaimed on TV last Thursday that Sept. 11, 2001, was a more significant date than most of us realized. It was, in her words, “the first time in history that fire has ever melted steel.”

This, of course, came as news to steelworkers, blacksmiths, firefighters, manufacturers of samurai swords, and other fools who hadn’t realized that steel is forged in magic furnaces using dragon breath and pixie dust.

O’Donnell made this and other profoundly stupid comments on the daytime talk show The View, ABC’s update of the ancient practice of women chattering around the village well.

The former “queen of nice” seems to think that the show is the perfect venue to audition as grand marshal for the next tinfoil hat parade. And if you visit O’Donnell’s website, you’ll find her application’s supporting materials: all sorts of unadulterated moonbattery presented in the Esperanto of global derangement — a form of instant-message-style free verse. For example, she writes about the British sailors held prisoner in Iran:

the british did it on purpose
into iranian waters
as
US MILITARY BUILD UP ON
THE IRANIAN BORDER
we will be in iran
before summer
as planned
come on people
u have 2 c
i know u can

You may be unfamiliar with such psych-ward stylings, but I get e-mail written like this all the time. Perhaps if you believe the jackbooted thugs are at your door, it’s reasonable to think you don’t have time to spell out your words.

Anyway, in last week’s rant, O’Donnell focused on World Trade Center Building 7, which has become the grassy knoll for 9/11 conspiracy theorists. Asked if the government was responsible for its collapse, she coyly replied that she didn’t know. All she knows is that it’s “impossible for a building to fall the way it fell without explosives being involved” and that, for the “first time in history, steel was melted by fire.” Wink, wink. For the record, fire can melt steel, and buildings also collapse when heat weakens steel. But that misses the point. The point is we shouldn’t have to argue with crazy people.

Regardless, it appears that not even the heat of ridicule can weaken O’Donnell’s steely resolve to make an idiot of herself.

You know what? That’s fine. Normally we expect such outbursts from the poor souls who rage against unseen threats at bus stations and public libraries. But even the rich and famous have a right to mutter inanities, shout non sequiturs or shriek possum recipes.

But ABC isn’t obliged to give O’Donnell a nationally televised platform. Barbara Walters, the matriarch of The View and its executive producer, is supposed to be a titan of American journalism. She has all the awards any broadcast journalist could ever want. But today she knowingly gives a soapbox to a wacko.

Walters and ABC no doubt will seek comfort in any number of rationalizations, from gooey platitudes about free speech to the glories of diverse opinion to the fundamental unseriousness of Café Vienna-moment television. And yes, human train wrecks make for good ratings — which is why O’Donnell may get another $40 million before her View contract expires in June.

Granted, The View isn’t 60 Minutes, so why should we care that much if the girl talk gets a little silly? After all, Walters has spent much of her career muddying the distinction between entertainment and hard news, what with her saccharine “What kind of tree would you be?” interviews.

Yet there is a difference between taking silly topics seriously and being silly about serious stuff. When you discuss hair-care products or lavish weddings, the subject telegraphs its own triviality. Walters may risk her journalistic reputation when she jibber-jabbers about such things, but that ship sailed long ago. It’s another thing entirely when ABC’s most venerated on-air journalist gives a megaphone to someone who frets that poor Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was railroaded, who insinuates that the U.S. government had a hand in any part of 9/11 and who insists Elvis Presley is alive and living on an island with Bruce Lee (O.K., I made that last one up).

But so far, O’Donnell has gotten a pass because she isn’t a mere wacko but a left-wing wacko. If O’Donnell sounded like Pat Robertson, the network would call in the butterfly net almost immediately. But because O’Donnell’s crazy accusations are directed rightward at that evil George W. Bush, it’s considered forgivable excess.

So come on ABC, for your own credibility, send her someplace where she won’t be a harm to herself or anybody else, someplace with rubber sporks.

u have 2 c

i know u can

Great article and, hopefully, my prediction that Rosie will be "let go" from the View will be fulfilled.

Oh, and I should say congratulations to Rosie. Her blog is extremely informative. For example, check out this post:
2 whole paragraphs
Posted by ro on April 2nd at 10:55am in in the news

9/11 affected me deeply, as I know it did many Americans. The falling of the twin towers served to remind me that many of the assumptions Americans have about their lives are rooted in false feelings of security. In light of this reminder, I have begun doing exactly what this country, at its best, allows for me to do: inquire. Investigate. America is great in so many ways, one of which is the freedom to speak, and indeed think, freely. I have, of late, begun exercising the rights bestowed upon me by the democratic system I value, and the exercising of these rights has taken the form of an inquiry into what happened five years ago, an inquiry that resists the dominant explanations and that dares to entertain ideas that push me to the edge of what is bearable. I have come to no conclusions and, given the scope of the subject, will not for some time.

If the very act of asking is so destabilizing for people, than I have to wonder whether the fabric of our democracy is indeed so raveled it is beyond salvage. My own belief is that the act of asking is itself reparative, because it brings to life the values on which our constitution rests. I am, therefore, pledging my allegiance, hand over heart, trying, as always, for a rigorous truth.

First, let me congratulate her and recognize that she did, indeed, write two whole paragraphs. And she used the correct spelling of "whole" in the title!

Second, it's comforting to know that - FINALLY - we're going to get a serious accounting of what in the heck happened on 9/11!!! I mean, sure.... the government investigated it... Popular Mechanics investigated it... and several people with a chicken-wire replicas of the WTC have demonstrated that fire doesn't melt metal - EVER!!! - but, the first two are part of the Neoconservative conspiracy (trust me, we here at ARC know who's involved!), and the latter guy just scratched the service - of the chicken wire theory. Either that or he was part of the conspiracy, trying to discredit those who don't believe Chimpy W. McBushitler's propaganda by making them all look like complete idiots. (And I can't forget the fan-favorite Paper & Tape WTC experienment! U have 2 c! I know you can!)

Finally, we'll get a true, objective assessment of that fateful day. It's reassuring to know that in this great land, you can be absolutely, 100% insane and still get paid millions of dollars.

So, I'd like to make a big announcement based on Rosie's descent into insanity: www.rosie.com will now be a featured blog in Another Rovian Conspiracy's Moonbat Lefties blogroll which is prominently featured on the right sidebar above the other blogs that we like.

Congratulations again, Rosie!!! Keep it up and here's to your soon to be announced firing from the View! (Or, perhaps instead of a "firing," it'll be phrased more positively, such as allowing you to re-launch McCall's or some other piece of junk.)

*** UPDATE ***
In response to this moonbat commenter, here is the refutation of Rosie's rantings about WTC Tower 7, you moron.

Here's an excerpt:
1. Initial reports from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) misunderstood the amount of damage the 47-floor WTC7 sustained from the debris of the falling North Tower—because in early photographs, WTC7 was obscured by smoke and debris.

Towers 1 and 7 were approximately 300 ft. apart, and pictures like the ones here and here offer a clear visual of how small that distance is for structures that large. After further studies, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) told Popular Mechanics that debris from the 110-floor North Tower hit WTC7 with the force of a volcanic eruption. Nearly a quarter of the building was carved away over the bottom 10 stories on its south face, and significant damage was visible up to the 18th floor (see p. 24 of this report, and the screengrab below of an image of WTC7's damaged south face).

The unusual design of WTC7 is also crucial to the discussion, in that key columns supported extreme loads—as much as 2000 sq. ft. of floor area for each floor—as the building straddled an electrical substation. “What our preliminary analysis has shown is that if you take out just one column on one of the lower floors,” NIST lead investigator Shyam Sunder told Popular Mechanics, “it could cause a vertical progression of collapse so that the entire section comes down.” The tower wasn’t hit by a plane, but it was severely wounded by the collapse of the North Tower. Which is when the fires started.

2. The North and South Towers of the World Trade Center weren’t knocked down by planes—they both stood for more than a half-hour after the impacts. But the crashes destroyed support columns and ignited infernos that ultimately weakened—not melted—the steel structures until the towers could no longer support their own weights (NIST offers a primer here). Ms. O’Donnell fundamentally misstates the case with her use of the word “melted”: Evidence currently points to WTC7 also collapsing because fires weakened its ravaged steel structure.

Tower 7 housed the city’s emergency command center, so there were a number of fuel tanks located throughout the building—including two 6000-gal. tanks in the basement that fed some generators in the building by pressurized lines. “Our working hypothesis is that this pressurized line was supplying fuel [to the fire] for a long period of time,” according to Sunder. Steel melts at about 2,750 degrees Fahrenheit—but it loses strength at temperatures as low as 400 F. When temperatures break 1000 degrees F, steel loses nearly 50 percent of its strength. It is unknown what temperatures were reached inside WTC7, but fires in the building raged for seven hours before the collapse.

3. Demolition experts tell Popular Mechanics that wiring a building the size of WTC7 for clandestine demolition would present insurmountable logistical challenges. That issue aside, there’s a clear-cut engineering explanation for why the building fell the way it did. Trusses on the fifth and seventh floors of the building were designed to transfer loads from one set of columns to another; with the south face heavily damaged, the other columns were likely overtaxed. In engineering terms, the “progressive collapse” began on the eastern side, when weakened columns failed from the damage and fire. The entire building fell in on itself as the slumping east side dragged down the west side in a diagonal pattern. Still, damage to the Verizon Building (see p. 21 of this report), directly west of WTC7, and to Fiterman Hall (see here) directly north, show that it was hardly an orderly collapse.

I know, I know... Popular Mechanics is also part of the Pentaverate (along with "Colonel Sanders - before he went tits up. Oh, I hated the Col. with his wee beady eyes, and that smug look on his face, Oh your gonna buy my chicken....Because he puts an addictive chemical in his chicken that makes you crave for it fortnightly").

heh

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Changes to DST doesn't save energy.

Ken Fisher at Ars Technica points out what everybody with even a rudimentary understanding of mathematics or just simple logic*, knew when it was proposed, simply the shift in the DST enacted by Congress would not (and did not) accomplish what it was intended for, namely saving energy.

The US government's plan to boost energy savings by moving Daylight Saving Time forward by three weeks was apparently a waste of time and effort, as the technological foibles Americans experienced failed to give way to any measurable energy savings.

While the change caused no major infrastructure problems in the country, plenty of electronics and computer systems that were designed with the original DST switchover date (first Sunday in April) failed to update. The inconvenience was minor, and the potential savings were great. Or so we were told by the politicians behind the move.

As it turns out, the US Department of Energy (and almost everyone else except members of Congress) was correct when they predicted that there would be little energy savings. This echoed concerns voiced after a similar experiment was attempted in Australia. Critics pointed out a basic fact: the gains in the morning will be offset by the losses at night, and vice-versa, at both ends of the switch. That appears to be exactly what happened.

I would point that for American business the inconvenience was more than just minor, as every computer system had to be evaulated for a potential DST impact. As someone that works in the computer industry, it was shades of Y2K all over again.

It would have taken a lot of energy savings to cover the waste in human productivity associated with the DST switch. The fact that it generated no savings is just a travesty. But hey, at least they looked busy! Just wait until they get into the CO2-offset regulation business! They'll really look like they are doing something.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

SCOTUS Rules: Breating is Pollution

When Brian saw this yesterday, he thought it was a belated April Fools' Day joke:

U.S. Supreme Court Orders Federal Government To Take New Look At EPA Regulating Automobile Emissions
April 2, 2007 11:15 a.m. EST

Linda Young - All Headline News Staff Writer

Washington, D.C. (AHN) - The U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling to the federal government on Monday to take a new look at regulating carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles. The court said that provisions in the Clean Air Act do give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulatory power over those and other greenhouse gas emissions from cars.

Today's ruling challenges the Bush administration's overwhelming reluctance to avoid issuing regulations that could help control global warming.

The case was filed in the Supreme Court on Aug. 31 by California and 11 other states along with environmental groups. Their aim was to force the EPA to take action to reduce the release of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, that trap heat in the atmosphere.

It was the EPA's contention that the Clean Air Act did not give it the authority to regulate emissions from greenhouse gases, a position that the Supreme Court narrowly disagreed with.
Now, of course, CO2 is a natural gas which I have been known to exhale on a regular basis. It's nice to know that the EPA is going to regulate the very breath that escapes my lips.

As long as I have breath in my lungs, I am free..... errrr, perhaps not.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Lies Masquerading as News in the Washington Post

This "news" article in the Washington Post so blatantly distorts the facts that it is amazing that it got past the editors.

Of course, journalistic standards being what they are these days, it's not surprising that we find a Washington Post reporting duplicating the style and methods of a DailyKos diarist.

Here are a few items from the story which are inaccurate or demonstrably false:

How Bogus Letter Became a Case for War
Intelligence Failures Surrounded Inquiry on Iraq-Niger Uranium Claim

By Peter Eisner
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 3, 2007; A01

It was 3 a.m. in Italy on Jan. 29, 2003, when President Bush in Washington began reading his State of the Union address that included the now famous -- later retracted -- 16 words: "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

Like most Europeans, Elisabetta Burba, an investigative reporter for the Italian newsweekly Panorama, waited until the next day to read the newspaper accounts of Bush's remarks. But when she came to the 16 words, she recalled, she got a sudden sinking feeling in her stomach. She wondered: How could the American president have mentioned a uranium sale from Africa?

Memo to Ms. Burba: The President did not mention a sale. "Sought" and "Bought" have different meanings. May I suggest Webster's dictionary?
Burba felt uneasy because more than three months earlier, she had turned over to the U.S. Embassy in Rome documents about an alleged uranium sale by the central African nation of Niger. And she knew now that the documents were fraudulent and the 16 words wrong.
See above. The 16 words have actually been shown to be accurate. See the Butler Report.
Nonetheless, the uranium claim would become a crucial justification for the invasion of Iraq that began less than two months later. When occupying troops found no nuclear program, the 16 words and how they came to be in the speech became a focus for critics in Washington and foreign capitals to press the case that the White House manipulated facts to take the United States to war.
Actually, if you read the entire speeches in the run-up to the war, the presentations before the UN, and the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by Congress, you'll note that WMDs was but one part of the justification against Saddam and that Yellowcake was but one small part of the WMD claim and that the French/Italian forgeries were but one small part of the claim regarding Iraq's desire to acquire uranium. But, hey... facts are useless for a reporter, right?
[...]
The Niger uranium matter was not uppermost in the minds of the CIA analysts. Some of them had to deal with the issue in any case, largely because Cheney, his aide Libby and some aides at the National Security Council had repeatedly demanded more information and more analysis.
Two things: 1) "The Niger uranium matter was not uppermost," probably because there was other evidence that was being investigated; 2) The fact that Cheney & Libby were asking for more detailed information is presented as nefarious, when I view it as a good thing. I seem to recall many bits & ink spent asking why the Bush & Clinton administrations had not "connected the dots." Google it, as Rosie would say.
Burba arrived in Niamey, Niger's capital, on Oct. 17 and began tracking down leads on the Italian letter. Burba's investigation followed a series of similar inquiries by Wilson, the former ambassador, who investigated on behalf of the CIA eight months earlier. It became clear that Niger was not capable of secretly shipping yellowcake uranium to Iraq or anywhere else.
Let's assume this is the case. Let's assume that Saddam's regime discussed yellowcake with Niger, but determined that secretly shipping it to Iraq would be impossible (due to the size of the shipment and the other factors). (Note that this assume 500 tons as outlined in the forged doc - we won't quibble about whether a lesser amount would suffice for Saddam's purposes.) If Saddam sought out yellowcake from Niger and determined that it would be too difficult, is that not a piece of information which should be cause for concern? Isn't there a chance that Saddam, having found Niger to be unsuitable, would seek other sources of supply? Just asking...
[...]
Not long after the invasion, other news media in Italy, elsewhere in Europe and then in the United States reported that the source of the information about a Niger yellowcake uranium deal had been a batch of bogus letters and other documents passed along several months earlier to an unnamed Italian reporter, who in turn handed the information over to the United States.
Yes, but a deal was never what prompted us to go to war. It was the seeking out of uranium, which Wilson himself supported in his "report" back to the CIA , that was but one item in a list of transgressions by Saddam.

Now, the truth about the Yellowcake issue with regard to Niger. From FactCheck.org (emphasis mine):
Two intelligence investigations show Bush had plenty of reason to believe what he said in his 2003 State of the Union Address.

July 26, 2004
Modified:August 23, 2004

Summary


The famous “16 words” in President Bush’s Jan. 28, 2003 State of the Union address turn out to have a basis in fact after all, according to two recently released investigations in the US and Britain.

Bush said then, “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa .” Some of his critics called that a lie, but the new evidence shows Bush had reason to say what he did.
  • A British intelligence review released July 14 calls Bush’s 16 words “well founded.”
  • A separate report by the US Senate Intelligence Committee said July 7 that the US also had similar information from “a number of intelligence reports,” a fact that was classified at the time Bush spoke.
  • Ironically, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who later called Bush’s 16 words a “lie”, supplied information that the Central Intelligence Agency took as confirmation that Iraq may indeed have been seeking uranium from Niger.
  • Both the US and British investigations make clear that some forged Italian documents, exposed as fakes soon after Bush spoke, were not the basis for the British intelligence Bush cited, or the CIA's conclusion that Iraq was trying to get uranium.
[...]
The Butler Report

After nearly a six-month investigation, a special panel reported to the British Parliament July 14 that British intelligence had indeed concluded back in 2002 that Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy uranium. The review panel was headed by Lord Butler of Brockwell, who had been a cabinet secretary under five different Prime Ministers and who is currently master of University College, Oxford.

The Butler report said British intelligence had "credible" information -- from several sources -- that a 1999 visit by Iraqi officials to Niger was for the purpose of buying uranium:
Butler Report: It is accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in 1999. The British Government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium. Since uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of Niger’s exports, the intelligence was credible.
The Butler Report affirmed what the British government had said about the Niger uranium story back in 2003, and specifically endorsed what Bush said as well.
Butler Report: By extension, we conclude also that the statement in President Bush’s State of the Union Address of 28 January 2003 that “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa” was well-founded.

Peter Eisner - Staff Writer for Washington Post and an absolute idiot.

*** UPDATE ***
Another question that I had when reading the article was "why is this in the paper today?" What is the "breaking news" that prompted this article to appear?

Then I saw this:
This article was adapted from the book "The Italian Letter: How the Bush Administration Used a Fake Letter to Build the Case for War in Iraq," by Peter Eisner and Knut Royce, to be published today by Rodale Press.
It seems that what prompted this story was just to plug Mr. Eisner's book. How... unprofessional.

*** UPDATE 2 ***
Tom Maguire @ JustOneMinute (best source for all things Plame) joins in the fray.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Old Grey Lady Blows Our Cover

Well, it couldn't last forever, could it? I mean, at some point people would connect the dots, right?

Well, it seems that the Times has uncovered the Conspiracy:

April 1, 2007
Editorial
The Rovian Era

Turn over a scandal in Washington these days and the chances are you’ll find Karl Rove. His tracks are everywhere: whether it’s helping to purge United States attorneys, coaching bureaucrats on how to spend taxpayers’ money to promote Republican candidates, hijacking the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives for partisan politics, or helping to organize a hit on the character of one of the first people to publicly reveal the twisting of intelligence reports on Iraq.

Whatever the immediate objective, Mr. Rove seems focused on one overarching goal: creating a permanent Republican majority, even if that means politicizing every aspect of the White House and subverting the governmental functions of the executive branch. This is not the Clinton administration’s permanent campaign. The Clinton people had difficulty distinguishing between the spin cycle of a campaign and the tone of governing. That seems quaint compared with the Bush administration’s far more menacing failure to distinguish the Republican Party from the government, or the state itself.

This was, perhaps, the inevitable result of taking the chief operative of a presidential campaign, one famous for his scorched-earth style, and ensconcing him in the White House — not in a political role, but as a key player in the formation of policy. Mr. Rove never had to submit to Senate confirmation hearings. Yet, from the very start, photographs of cabinet meetings showed him in the background, keeping an enforcer’s eye on the proceedings. After his re-election in 2004, President Bush formally put Mr. Rove in charge of all domestic policy.

In that position, as David Kirkpatrick and Jim Rutenberg reported in The Times, Mr. Rove took a lead role in selecting federal judges and the hiring — and firing — of United States attorneys. Mr. Rove’s staff maneuvered to fire the prosecutor in Arkansas and replace him with a Rove protégé, and also seems to have been involved in the firing of a United States attorney in New Mexico who refused to file what he considered to be baseless charges of election fraud against Democrats.

Mr. Rove’s efforts to maintain one-party rule go deep into the government. Last week, we learned about a meeting set up by Mr. Rove’s staff with officials of the General Services Administration that was wildly inappropriate and perhaps illegal. The aim, as outlined by Mr. Rove’s deputy, Scott Jennings, seems to have been to take advantage of the billions of dollars in contracts put out by the agency every year to return Republicans to the majority in Congress in 2008. It included PowerPoint slides on vulnerable House and Senate seats.

This sort of behavior should not be all that surprising. It was not that long ago that the Bush White House embraced the priorities of the Republican governor of Mississippi and virtually ignored the far greater needs of Louisiana’s Democratic governor after Hurricane Katrina.

Mr. Rove retreated a bit from the public eye in the heat of the Lewis Libby trial, but after avoiding indictment, he seems to have regained his confidence. Take a look at YouTube to see his bizarre, humor-challenged gyrations as “MC Rove” at an annual media dinner in Washington the other night.

The investigation of the firings of the United States attorneys seems to be closing in on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who should have been fired weeks ago. But Congress should bring equal scrutiny to the more powerful Mr. Rove. If it does, especially by forcing him to testify in public, it will find that he has been at the vortex of many of the biggest issues they are now investigating.

Or perhaps this is just an April Fools joke inserted by The Architect?

I mean, some of the charges in the editorial are just laughably extracted from Democratic Underground, DailyKos, and Firedoglake. Surprised that they didn't even give a mention to Rove's involvement in 9/11...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Google TiSP (Beta) is HERE!!!

Don't know about you, but I'm having some probs locating and filling out the ordering form for this new free broadband service from Google. I'm sure it's just a glitch since this is still in Beta.

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Can't wait to get free broadband! Be sure to click on the How TiSP Works link to get a glimpse at how this new service from Google will revolutionize internet access in this country!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Steyn on the Brits & Iran

Mark Steyn weighs in on the British, European, & UN response to Iranian piracy in international waters. (Note to Rosie - trust me on this).

Taking of hostages by Iran is not Britain's finest hour
April 1, 2007

BY MARK STEYN Sun-Times Columnist

Twenty-seven years ago, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a student in Tehran and is said (by a former Iranian president, for one) to be among those in the U.S. embassy who seized and held American citizens hostage for more than a year.

Today, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is president of Iran and bears less ambiguous responsibility for Western hostages. This time round, they're British subjects: 15 sailors and Royal Marines. There are a few differences between this kidnapping and the last: Back in 1979, the Iranians seized their hostages by invading a diplomatic mission -- the sovereign territory of the United States. In 2007, they seized them in international waters. In 1979, two weeks after the embassy crisis began, 13 American hostages who happened to be black were released; the remainder were held for another 14 months. In 2007, the one woman among the hostages is being offered by the regime for early release, invitingly dangled in front of the TV cameras, though with her Royal Navy uniform replaced by Islamic dress; it remains to be seen what will become of the others. On Thursday, a new generation of "student demonstrators" called for the "British aggressors" to be executed.

On this 25th anniversary of the Falklands War, Tony Blair is looking less like Margaret Thatcher and alarmingly like Jimmy Carter, the embodiment of the soi-disant "superpower" as a smiling eunuch.

But this is a season of anniversaries. A few days ago, the European Union was celebrating its 50th birthday with the usual lame-o Euro-boosterism. I said up above that the 15 hostages are "British subjects." But, as a point of law, they are also "citizens of the European Union." Even Oxford and Hoover's Timothy Garton Ash, one of the most indefatigable of those Euro-boosters, seemed to recognize the Iranian action was a challenge to Europe's pretensions. "Fifteen Europeans were kidnapped from Iraqi territorial waters by Iranian Revolutionary Guards," he wrote. "Those 14 European men and one European woman have been held at an undisclosed location for nearly a week, interrogated, denied consular access, but shown on Iranian television, with one of them making a staged 'confession,' clearly under duress. So if Europe is as it claims to be, what's it going to do about it?''

Short answer: Nothing.

Slightly longer answer: The 15 "European" hostages aren't making that much news in "Europe." And, insofar as they have, other "Europeans" -- i.e., Belgians, Germans and whatnot -- don't look on the 15 hostages as "Europeans" but as Brits. Europe has more economic leverage on Iran than America has. The European Union is the Islamic Republic's biggest trading partner, accounting for 40 percent of Iranian exports. They are in a position to inflict serious pain on Tehran. But not for 15 British servicemen. There may be "European citizens," but there is no European polity.

OK, well, how about the United Nations? Those student demonstrators want the execution of "British aggressors." In fact, they're U.N. aggressors. HMS Cornwall is the base for multinational marine security patrols in the Gulf: a mission authorized by the United Nations. So what's the U.N. doing about this affront to its authority and (in the public humiliation of the captives) of the Geneva Conventions?

Short answer: Nothing.

Slightly longer answer: The British ambassador to the U.N. had wanted the Security Council to pass a resolution ''deploring'' Iran's conduct. But the Russians objected to all this hotheaded inflammatory lingo about ''deploring,'' and so the Security Council instead expressed its ''grave concern'' about the situation. That and $4.95 will get you a decaf latte. Ask the folks in Darfur what they've got to show for years of the U.N.'s "grave concerns" -- heavy on the graves, less so on the concern.

Yet, like the Americans, the British persist in trying to resolve real crises through pseudo-institutions. A bunch of unelected multinational technocrats can designate an entire continent as "citizens of Europe" but, as Pat Buchanan wrote the other day, "dry documents, no matter how eloquent, abstract ideas, no matter how beautiful, do not a nation make." Similarly, the West's transnational romantics can fantasize about "one-world government," but, given the constituent parts, it's likely to be a lot more like Syria writ large than Sweden. In fact, it already is.

And, at one level, the obstructionists have a point. Russia's interests in Iran are not the same as the United Kingdom's: Why should it subordinate its national policy for a few British sailors? Conversely, why should we subordinate ours to transnational process? If saving Darfur is the right thing to do, it doesn't become the wrong thing to do because the Chinese guy refuses to raise his hand. And Darfur is an internal region of a sovereign state. If the Security Council cannot even "deplore" an act of piracy on the high seas, then what is it for?

The U.N. will do nothing for men seized on a U.N.-sanctioned mission. The European Union will do nothing for its "European citizens." But if liberal transnationalism is a post-modern joke, it's not the only school of transnationalism out there. Iran's Islamic Revolution has been explicitly extraterritorial since the beginning: It has created and funded murderous proxies in Hezbollah, Hamas and both Shia and Sunni factions of the Iraq "insurgency." It has spent a fortune in the stans of Central Asia radicalizing previously somnolent Muslim populations. When Ayatollah Khomeini announced the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, it was not Iranians but British, Indian, Turkish, European, Asian and American Muslims who called for his death, firebombed bookstores, shot his publisher, fatally stabbed his translator and murdered anybody who got in their way.

So we live today in a world of one-way sovereignty: American, British and Iraqi forces in Iraq respect the Syrian and Iranian borders; the Syrians and Iranians do not respect the Iraqi border. Patrolling the Shatt al-Arab at a time of war, the Royal Navy operates under rules of engagement designed by distant fainthearts with an eye to the polite fictions of "international law": If you're in a ''warship,'' you can't wage war. If you're in a ''destroyer,'' don't destroy anything. If you're in a "frigate," you're frigging done for.

On Sept. 11, a New York skyscraper was brought down by the Egyptian leader of a German cell of an Afghan terror group led by a Saudi. Islamism is only the first of many globalized ideological viruses that will seep undetected across national frontiers in the years ahead. Meanwhile, we put our faith in meetings of foreign ministers.

"It is better to be making the news than taking it," wrote Winston Churchill in 1898. But his successors have gotten used to taking it, and the men who make the news well understand that.

What is striking is that Iran has never been a participating member of the international community (in the sense that participation means that you respect international conventions).

When will Rosie and the idiots on the Left realize this fact?


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler