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2008 June 17 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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Smoke & Mirrors & Oil

CNN reports on a return to the Reagan years: McCain wants to lift ban on offshore drilling

(CNN) — Sen. John McCain on Tuesday proposed lifting the ban on offshore drilling as part of his plan to reduce dependence on foreign oil and help combat rising gas prices.

“The stakes are high for our citizens and for our economy,” McCain, the presumed Republican nominee for president, said at a press conference Tuesday in Houston, Texas.

Hours later, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said President Bush on Wednesday will ask Congress to lift the ban on offshore drilling.

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June 17, 2008   14 Comments

A Large Step Back

Bryan Walsh of Time writes about The Gulf’s Growing ‘Dead Zone’

The American Midwest is essentially the granary of the world, supplying corn, wheat and other crops to markets from Chile to China. But all that food doesn’t grow by itself. In 2006 U.S. farmers used more than 21 million tons of nitrogen, phosphorus and other fertilizers to boost their crops, and all those chemicals have consequences far beyond the immediate area. When the spring rains come, fertilizer from Midwestern farms drains into the Mississippi river system and down to Louisiana, where the agricultural sewage pours into the Gulf of Mexico. Just as fertilizer speeds the growth of plants on land, the chemicals enhance the rapid development of algae in the water. When the algae die and decompose, the process sucks all the oxygen out of the surrounding waters, leading to a hypoxic event — better known as a “dead zone.” The water becomes as barren as the surface of the moon. What sea life that can flee the zone does so; what can’t, dies.

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June 17, 2008   2 Comments

A Small Step Forward

CNN is reporting a good result from its story about FEMA giving away needed supplies: FEMA gives hurricane supplies back to Louisiana

(CNN) — Some of the $85 million in hurricane relief supplies given away as federal surplus will be sent back to Louisiana and given to nonprofit agencies for distribution, the state’s hurricane recovery office said Tuesday.

“Today we can report that we have been notified that some of the surplus property has been located in Texas and will be coming to the state of Louisiana for distribution by Unity New Orleans,” said Paul Rainwater, the executive director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority.

A CNN investigation revealed last week that FEMA gave away the supplies as government surplus, even though agencies like Unity — which works to resettle hurricane victims — were still seeking the kind of supplies given away.

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June 17, 2008   Comments Off on A Small Step Forward

This Should Be Interesting

flag of Lithuania

The BBC reports on the latest “insult” to Russia: Lithuanian ban on Soviet symbols

Lithuania’s parliament has passed the toughest restrictions anywhere in the former Soviet Union on the public display of Soviet and Nazi symbols.

It will now be an offence in the Baltic state to display the images of Soviet and Nazi leaders.

This includes flags, emblems and badges carrying insignia, such as the hammer and sickle or swastika.

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June 17, 2008   2 Comments

Firefox 3

Today beginning at approximately 10:00AM PDT [1:00 PM on the East Coast and 1700 UTC] the newest version of the Firefox browser will be available, and Mozilla would like to break the Guinness record for most software downloads in a single day.

If you want to get involved go to the Download Day site during the 24 hour period and select your download site.

Be aware that if you use add-ins in your version of Firefox 2 it is unlikely they will work in Firefox 3.

June 17, 2008   20 Comments