Jan. 19th, 2011 05:42 pm
palsgraf_polka: (A Serious Man)
Now Aristide is saying he wants to come back from exile as well. Lovely.

At least someone filed a lawsuit against Baby Doc for crimes against humanity.


Jan. 18th, 2011 03:01 pm
palsgraf_polka: (Tits or GTFO)
Is anyone else following the news story of Baby Doc Duvalier's return to Haiti? I'm finding it fascinating.
palsgraf_polka: (Obama - What You Did There)
Abnormal radiation detected near Korean border

SEOUL, South Korea – Abnormally high radiation levels were detected near the border between the two Koreas days after North Korea claimed to have mastered a complex technology key to manufacturing a hydrogen bomb, Seoul said Monday.

The Science Ministry said its investigation ruled out a nuclear test by North Korea, but failed to determine the source of the radiation. It said there was no evidence of an earthquake, which follows an atomic explosion.

On May 12, North Korea claimed its scientists succeeded in creating a nuclear fusion reaction — a technology necessary to manufacture a hydrogen bomb. In its announcement, the North did not say how it would use the technology, only calling it a "breakthrough toward the development of new energy."

South Korean experts doubted the North actually made such a breakthrough. Scientists around the world have been experimenting with fusion for decades, but it has yet to be developed into a viable energy alternative.

On May 15, however, the atmospheric concentration of xenon — an inert gas released after a nuclear explosion or radioactive leakage from a nuclear power plant — on the South Korean side of their shared border was found to be eight times higher than normal, according to South Korea's Science Ministry.

South Korea subsequently looked for signs of an artificially induced earthquake of a magnitude typically registered during a nuclear test. Experts, however, found no signs of such a quake in North Korea, a ministry statement said.

"We determined that there was no possibility of an underground nuclear test," it said. The ministry said the gas is not harmful.

While any fusion test would have registered seismic activity, according to nuclear expert Whang Joo-ho of South Korea's Kyung Hee University, the presence of xenon could also have come from a leak.

Since the wind was blowing from north to south when the xenon was detected, a Science Ministry official said the gas could not have originated from any nuclear power plants in South Korea.

But the official — speaking on condition of anonymity, citing department policy — said the xenon could have come from Russia or China. Whang agreed, saying a nuclear test or radioactive leakage would be the only reasons that could explain the atmospheric concentration of xenon reported by the ministry.

A Vienna-based United Nations agency, however, said no signs of increased radioactivity were detected last month along the Korean border.

"We have not registered anything that would raise any suspicion," said Kirsten Haupt, a spokeswoman for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, a U.N. agency that looks for signs of nuclear testing worldwide.

Earlier Monday, South Korea's mass-circulation Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported that North Korea may have conducted a small-sized nuclear test, citing the abnormal radioactivity. The paper cited an atomic expert it did not identify.

North Korea — which is believed to have enough weaponized plutonium for at least a half-dozen nuclear weapons — conducted two underground nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, drawing international condemnation and U.N. sanctions.

The news of the detected radiation comes as tension is running high on the Korean peninsula over the deadly sinking of a South Korean warship blamed on a North Korean torpedo attack. North Korea flatly denies the allegation and has warned any punishment would trigger war, as the U.N. Security Council reviews Seoul's request for action over the sinking.

I wonder what it was?
palsgraf_polka: (Scary Sarah)
Disaster Capitalists: Haliburton to Make Money Off Oil Spill

Does a company that both builds oil rigs and cleans up oil spills have any motivation to prevent oil rig disasters?

That's the question some people in business and politics are asking themselves after Halliburton's purchase of an oil clean-up company 10 days before the Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 workers and launched the worst oil spill in US history.

Some observers see a conspiracy in the actions of the company once headed by Dick Cheney. Halliburton, which built the cement casing for the Deepwater Horizon's drill, announced its purchase of Houston-based oilfield services company Boots and Coots for $240 million on April 9, just 11 days before the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

According to a report at the Christian Science Monitor Friday, Boots and Coots is now under contract with BP to help with the oil spill. The company "focuses on oil spill prevention and blowout response," CSM reports. Halliburton's purchase is not yet a done deal -- it's still awaiting regulatory approval, though few observers think the purchase won't pass muster.

"[Mergers and acquisitions] in the industrial and oil services sectors is totally normal," writes David Anderson at The Inspired Economist, "but the timing in this case, is not. Boots & Coots sure seems like the perfect company to own if it would soon become necessary to get more involved with some oil disaster.

"Does this strike readers as a coincidence? If so, it’s a pretty lucky one for Halliburton."

But could Halliburton have known that an oil disaster was on the horizon, and planned in advance to profit from it? News reports indicate they could have.

The New York Times reported in May that BP was concerned about the rig's well casing -- which Halliburton worked on -- as early as June of 2009. The Times also reported that a Halliburton employee warned BP three weeks before the explosion that BP's use of cement for the well casing was "against [Halliburton's] best practices."

But even if the company's purchase of Boots and Coots was just a "lucky coincidence," there is still plenty about it to alarm observers. According to CSM, analysts are worried that a company like Halliburton will grow "complacent" in preventing disasters, because there is money to be made from cleaning up the mess -- and then rebuilding the oil rig.

“Working on both sides of the fence” is common in the oil industry, University of Louisiana professor Robert Gramling told CSM, but “it makes for a very complex decision-making environment that can become problematic."

At the very least, Halliburton's purchase should give the company a revenue boost. While Halliburton has been reporting plummeting revenue in recent quarters, Boots and Coots has been a business success story, with its revenue jumping from $11 million in 2000 to $209 million in 2008, before dropping slightly in 2009.
palsgraf_polka: (Chairman)


Apr. 26th, 2010 06:26 am
palsgraf_polka: (Me - Black Bra)
So I was all ready to be boobalicious today and wear a cleavage revealing blouse to work today for BoobQuake, but then there was a 6.5 earthquake in Taiwan this morning.

So, does that mean the Iranian cleric was right? I'm sure women in Australia and in that part of the world were already doing their mammarian duties.

Something to ponder.
palsgraf_polka: (Obama - What You Did There)
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I would like to see a VAT applied to every consumable. That way big corporations who have to buy tons of raw materials, equipment, etc have to pay taxes, because they sure as shit aren't paying them now.

That way, if you choose to spend more money, you choose to pay more taxes. I think it would be a better revnue generator than the stupid system we have now that is skirted by big corporations and rich people.
palsgraf_polka: (Scary Sarah)
This is what happens when people driven by fear and racism are given loaded weapons - as per [ profile] raw_story

New Clues Emerge in Post-Katrina Vigilante Shooting at Algiers Point

Three days after Hurricane Katrina turned New Orleans into a ghost town, somebody shot Donnell Herrington twice in Algiers Point, ripping a hole in his throat.

Herrington, who is African-American, says he was ambushed by a group of armed white men who attacked without warning or provocation. He barely survived the shooting, which shredded his internal jugular vein, a key vessel that transports blood from the brain to the heart. He believes the assault was racially motivated.

No one has ever been charged in the incident, but now, more than four years later, at least two figures have come forward with information implicating a neighborhood man in the attack. These two people linked Roland Bourgeois, Jr., to the shooting in interviews with ProPublica, the Times-Picayune, and PBS’ “Frontline.”

Terri Benjamin, who lived in the area, said she saw Bourgeois, 47, pledge to shoot anybody with skin “darker than a brown paper bag ” while clutching a shotgun. At one point, she said, he held up the blood-drenched baseball cap of a man who’d just been shot.

Bourgeois’ mother, Pam Pitre, said her son did fire his shotgun at an African-American man that day in Algiers Point, and acknowledged that he kept the man’s hat. Pitre, who insists her son “is not a racist,” said Bourgeois was accompanied by another man who also fired shots.

read on to be horrified )
palsgraf_polka: (Justice)
Do you think David Boies would be a good choice to replace Stevens?

My Day.

Mar. 17th, 2010 07:10 pm
palsgraf_polka: (Me - With Camera)
When I was in Ventura to go to the endo 2 weeks ago, I saw a tree that was chained in by a fence and it killed me that I didn't get a picture. Well, today I did!

But first, this bumper sticker cracked my shit up.


Unfortunately it isn't clear enough to really read it: One Big Ass Mistake America

Free the Tree! )
palsgraf_polka: (Obama - What You Did There)
This is a screencap from my Facebook obsession Treasure Madness, on the current level I am playing.

Doesn't this Aztec look suspiciously like someone?

palsgraf_polka: (Obama - What You Did There)
palsgraf_polka: (Borat)

I'm going to be stuck in a car tomorrow all day with Mom & Dad serving while the tires are replaced on my car, so I'll take his with me!
palsgraf_polka: (Scary Sarah)
Official: Plane crash pilot left anti-IRS Web note

AUSTIN, Texas – A pilot furious with the Internal Revenue Service crashed his small plane into an office building that houses federal tax employees in Austin, Texas on Thursday, setting off a raging fire that sent workers fleeing as thick plumes of black smoke poured into the air.

A U.S. law official identified the pilot as Joseph Stack and said investigators were looking at an anti-government message on the Web linked to him. The Web site outlines problems with the IRS and says violence "is the only answer."

Federal law enforcement officials have said they were investigating whether the pilot crashed on purpose in an effort to blow up IRS offices. The Web site featured a long note dated Thursday denouncing the government and the IRS in particular and cited the Austin man's problems with the agency.

All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing.

At least one person who worked in the building was unaccounted for and two people were hospitalized, said Austin Fire Department Division Chief Dawn Clopton. She did not have any information about the pilot. About 190 IRS employees work in the building, and IRS spokesman Richard C. Sanford the agency is trying to account for all employees.

Flames shot out of the building, windows exploded and workers scrambled to safety after the blast. Thick smoke billowed out of the second and third stories hours later as fire crews battled the blaze.

"It felt like a bomb blew off," said Peggy Walker, an IRS revenue officer who was sitting at her desk in the building when the plane crashed. "The ceiling caved in and windows blew in. We got up and ran."

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford initially said the plane was identified as a Cirrus SR22, but later said it might be a Piper Cherokee.

"It's so destroyed that it's hard to identify," Lunsford said.

He said FAA has confirmed that the plane that took off from an airport in Georgetown, Texas, and that the pilot didn't file a flight plan.

In a neighborhood about six miles from the crash site, a home listed as belonging to Stack was on fire earlier Thursday. Authorities in Austin would not comment on the house fire Thursday afternoon.

[I get text news alerts from KFI AM radio and on their website they actually have the note left on the guy's website. Sounds like teabagger rhetoric to me. I know he had a specific beef with the IRS, but I bet it goes deeper than that. Here's their article.]
palsgraf_polka: (Obama - What You Did There)
Thanks to a tip from [ profile] jblaque:

Please sign the petition. I also posted this to my Facebook.
palsgraf_polka: (Hillary - Dude)
I love you Bill - heal quickly.
palsgraf_polka: (Dennis is a Pimp)
I just voted for my man Dennis (and 2 others) to be sponsored by Firedog Lake! Vote for him and 2 others at:

Sarah Palin

Feb. 6th, 2010 06:14 pm
palsgraf_polka: (Noooo)
scares the shit out of me. She really does. She's like Reagan and GW Bush...vacant but pretty and folksy. A perfect puppet to run as a figurehead.

Did you see all the e-mails released yesterday that showed how much Todd was really governing Alaska? And how he was negotiating for state contracts with the oil company that employed him at the time of the negotiations?

Sarah Palin can't be allowed to run for President in 2012. I'm afraid she'll win.

"We need a commander-in-chief, not a professor of law lecturing us."

2012 is going to be really ugly. The ultra conservatives are going to encourage the anti-intellectual bias of the under-educated in the red states, and it will really work to the Democrats' detriment.

ETA: Speech just finished. Holy fuck was it good. She had the audience - HOLY SHIT Q & A oh this will be interesting. They are going to give her the most perfect hand picked questions.
palsgraf_polka: (Me - With Camera)
I took some pictures today:

Here's the view on the drive to the movie theater:


ooh it's dark! )

palsgraf_polka: (Obama - What You Did There)
He took on 140 enemies in one room and just made them all look like complete fools. Therefore, here are some fierce gifs. Thank you Obama, for making me like you again. You wiped the floor with the GOP reps today.

my awesome gifs behind this cut because Chef's computer is ancient )


palsgraf_polka: (Default)

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