Blank Page No. 12

Amy in Oregon and John in London are your hosts. They’re both debuting as moderators but I’m sure they’ll be into the swing of things from the off. If you’d like to host a Blank Page, let me know. All yours Amy and John.

Hello everyone – now that Zak has shown me the way here, I will quickly introduce myself. My name is John (most people call me JJ) and I live in London. Along with Amy I will be moderating comments on this page.

I have a quick question for anyone who might be reading this weekend’s Blank Page: Is the weekend the best part of the week? And should we extend weekends in summertime to allow families spend more time together? Let me know what you think – aspirational or impractical?

Hi all. I think this is a great thing to talk about. I have very fair skin so this is something that could help me some day: Curing skin cancer with your own immune cells

258 Responses to “Blank Page No. 12”

  1. 1 Zak
    June 20, 2008 at 19:35

    Heya Amy glad you’ve joined the mod squad! Hope you and John have a blast!

    I’ll have to test John’s knowledge to see if he truly is a cinefile.

  2. 2 Dennis
    June 20, 2008 at 19:39

    Hey John and Amy….

    Thanks for being the Weekend moderators on WORLD HAVE YOUR SAY

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  3. 3 cinefile
    June 20, 2008 at 19:47

    Hello everyone, this is John, long time listener, first time moderator. First up I think I might not be the cinefile my user name suggests.
    I read the article in Time magazine about the teenagers in Mass. who made a pact to get pregnant. I went to a single sex secondary school in Ireland, but across the road was an all girl’s school. It was not uncommon that in the final two years for girls to get pregnant (not during school hours, mind you). Thankfully attitudes in Ireland have changed a lot, and young girls are no longer shunned or hidden because they are pregnant. Young mothers to be and fathers need support above all. That said when teenagers are making pacts to get pregnant, then that is alarming.

  4. 4 Zak
    June 20, 2008 at 20:00

    Hey John just have to ask is that a rooster in your avatar? Mine is a scene from the movie Tucker with yours truly portraying a supporting role that IMBD doesn’t even know about. Tucker was the film Lucasfilm did with F.F. Coppola and Vittorio Storario, just about all the best in the biz and my opportunity came because they didn’t like the 17 year old actor who they originally cast and wanted someone younger (IMBD still thinks it was the 17 year old). It wasn’t a big box office hit which was a strategic move because he timed the release with the Star Wars trilogy on VHS, which made him more money than the entire 3 movies combined at the box office.

    Blank Page hosts can add to the header. Just click the save button when you’re done and it will republish it to the topic. It took me some time to get it right if you’re using HTML you have to click the button or else it gets the code all messed up.

  5. 6 selena
    June 20, 2008 at 20:13

    Hello Amy and John

    The weekends are great. You will have fun!

  6. 7 cinefile
    June 20, 2008 at 20:18

    Hi Zak – i think I picked the rooster as my avatar because the full pictute shows it wearing a tracksuit top. Thanks to everyone for welcoming us.

  7. 8 cinefile
    June 20, 2008 at 20:23

    TIME has an article about the subject of ‘elder porn’ in Japan. According to the World Health Organisation Japan is one of the most sexless societies in the industrialized

  8. 9 Amy
    June 20, 2008 at 20:23

    Hi everyone. I am really excited (and a tad bit terrified) to moderate this weekend with JJ (a.k.a. John). I am currently unloading groceries but will be back in a few.

  9. 10 cinefile
    June 20, 2008 at 20:24

    here’s the link to the TIME article – didn’t manage to get the HTML coded in

  10. 11 Zak
    June 20, 2008 at 20:31

    With Israel claiming an immanent attack it really makes me wonder why the UN cannot verify the difference between an energy reactor and a weapons reactor. I understand that the enriching of Uranium is the same at the outset but to make it weapons grade requires more work. So doesn’t that mean there would have to be additional facilities, and where are these facilities? You would think Iran would be able to show at all times that they’re not making weapons instead of losing their entire facility which would undoubtedly leave a lot of the country in the dark. It also brings up what the alternative electrical generation exists in that country, I image it’s petroleum based generation. Given that I wonder if Iran would accept the relief from sanctions if they put in massive solar generation perhaps with the aid of the UN. The same potential exists in Iraq, if the money the US is spending on the army went back into the infrastructure they could build more solar, there’s been talk of this by the Maliki government.

  11. 12 Amy
    June 20, 2008 at 20:36

    Following the on air topic today about teen mothers, the CNN article below about premature babies talks about a major risk factor being mothers who are younger than 16. As a mother who had a very premature baby (28 weeks, 3 days – weight 1 lb. 12 oz), this is something that also should be considered when becoming pregnant. I would be interested to hear about premature births in countries other than the US. During my time in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) about 1/3 of the mothers were young. Frequently teen mothers do not get the prenatal care needed to avoid having a preterm baby. Trust me, if you have never been in a NICU, it isn’t a place you want to go.


  12. 13 Katharina in Ghent
    June 20, 2008 at 20:47

    Hi everyone!

    Good luck to Amy and John, and welcome to the dark side… You’ll find yourselves glued to the computer for the next 48+ hours…

    Here’s an article I found about Zimbabwe: the opposition i now considering to withdraw from the election, since it’s pretty useless to compete against the corrupt and brutal regime:


    @ Sex in Japan:

    My brother-in-law is married to a Japanese and has been living there for nearly 20 years, and he told us that once a couple is married and has its kid(s), sex is over. It’s accepted that the husband will go to somebody else for his “needs” because at home he’s just provider for food and shelter, and that’s about it. I don’t want to comment on his personal life, but it seems to have it’s dark sides, too… Japan also has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, and as your article states in the and, the population there is VERY aging, they have no clue how to pay for pensions in the near future. But then again, they’re not alone with that specific problem…

  13. 14 Lubna
    June 20, 2008 at 21:09

    Hello to my most beloved Amy.. How are you and all of your loved ones doing sweetie ?! I just know that you’ll do great during this weekend Inshallah, and please know that I do love you loads ! And also Hello to Precious John in London (JJ).. I’m Lubna in Baghdad, nice to meet you here on the WHYS blogs, and I do wish you too all the luck in your moderation task during this weekend Inshallah… I’ve been meaning to ask all of you guys this very simple question : 1-doctors 2-judges 3-lawyers 4-politicians 5-policemen 6-journalists 7-teachers… Of those seven choices, which one does each of you guys trust the most ?! And which one does each of you guys trust the least ?! I’m gonna have a very harsh final year surgery exam on Tuesday Inshallah, so please wish me luck !! With my love.. Yours forever, Lubna..

  14. 15 steve
    June 20, 2008 at 21:14

    The latest air rage story:


    interesting, she faces up to 20 years for attacking a flight attendant and lighting a cigarette. What was the maximum Naomi Campbell faced?

  15. 16 Zak
    June 20, 2008 at 21:24


    200 hours community service.

    Did you see the story of Lori Drew, the virtual suitor who solicited her daughters competition into hanging herself?

    This was from Monday:

    Lori Drew goes on trial today in a case that definitely impacts youth. The case of Megan Meier who hung herself after being led into a virtual relationship and then deplored by her false suitor; Drew a neighbor who was trying to eliminate competition for her own daughter. She’s being tried based on some extenuating laws outside the state of Missouri where the crime took place; in LA CA on Federal charges.

  16. 17 Amy
    June 20, 2008 at 21:28


    You will do great on your exam on Tuesday. Just remember to take a deep breath when your start feeling the stress. I know that I do a lot of deep breathing when dealing with my girls 🙂

    As for who I trust and don’t trust, I guess I would most trust doctors and least trust politicians. I do truly believe that doctors are trying to do what is best for their patients. Most politicians have their own agenda and look out for themselves (and their financial supporters).


  17. 18 Amy
    June 20, 2008 at 21:29


    I wasn’t aware that they had moved that trial to LA. As a mother, I can’t even fathom taking part in such a thing or encouraging my daughters to take part.

  18. 19 Venessa
    June 20, 2008 at 21:32

    Steve & Zak,

    All I can say is what a difference it makes when you are rich….

  19. 20 Zak
    June 20, 2008 at 21:37

    Well I guess the R. Kelly verdict will really be the determinate there. I think fame often has more to do with it, love to love love to hate.

  20. 21 Zak
    June 20, 2008 at 21:40

    It is rather bizarre how the trial was moved based on where MySpace operates from this is from the article:

    As a result, federal prosecutors from Los Angeles, where the servers for MySpace are located, have brought charges under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act – usually used against computer hackers.

  21. 22 Amy
    June 20, 2008 at 21:46

    Well, I guess since R. Kelly was acquitted, money does make the difference.


  22. 23 Zak
    June 20, 2008 at 22:15

    Perhaps, good dig on that story Amy, I’m not saying $ doesn’t matter but there’s no doubt R. Kelly had his share of defense attorneys. But sometimes rich or poor when the stars break the law it has to be such a story – which is ridiculous because the real criminals end up just causing more violence.

    Our favorites Amy NFL players: Marshawn Lynch hit and run. Everybody’s hometown boy Pacman Jones. But this story of Javon Walker for the Raiders is really insane. He’s been inside a Limo when a fellow Denver Bronco was shot and killed, supposedly before he got the wits beat out of him and robbed the other night in Vegas he was flashing a diamond watch dancing on tables and the like. So much for the Raiders 55 million prospect- Al Davis will club him some more if he doesn’t get into training camp on time.

  23. 24 Amy
    June 20, 2008 at 22:20


    My husband is a Raiders fan (although he has lost a lot of faith over the past few years) and he just rolled his eyes when the Walker story broke.

    I thought you might enjoy this commentary as well. It does describe my devotion to the Chicago Cubs quite well:


    To the rest of you, I am a die hard Chicago Cubs fan so I can take on just about anything life sends my way.

  24. 25 Shirley
    June 20, 2008 at 22:27

    salam, Lubna
    Try not to worry about Tuesday. I will be thinking of you and praying for you.

    I trust politicians the least. Lawyers are next. After that, it is difficult to say. I don’t have as much trust for judges as I do doctors, police officers, journalists, or teachers. Perhaps they would be my third least trusted people. I’ve learned in the past year that some doctors – a few – can be swayed by the wealth or influence that a person has in the community; and it is my common experience that doctors do not trust what a female patient reports about her symptoms or those of her children. As a class, that would rank them less trustworthy than teachers. However, I feel that the profession of journalism has been bought out. Reporters are in bed with the media (“embedded” is the nice way to say it); and Fox is still allowed to call itself a news service. These factors seem to weigh on the industry and, therefore, journalists as a class more heavily than the foibles of our medical professionals, so I suppose that I would rank journalists less trustworthy than doctors. I was raised in a small town. Teachers there too often fall into proselytising an campaigning for political conservatism. Other than that, my own experience with them has been favourable and very educational, so I would place them as the most trustworthy.

    I am curious about what other people’s experiences are with the media and the educational and medical professions.

  25. 26 Nelson
    June 20, 2008 at 22:53

    a lot of talking points guys

  26. 27 Nelson
    June 20, 2008 at 22:56




  27. 28 Shirley
    June 20, 2008 at 23:00

    What would have happened if Kelly had been convicted? What would have happened to the girl?

  28. 29 Nelson
    June 20, 2008 at 23:09

    Last week, i watched a documentary an al-jazera english news channel titled “shooting the messenger”. It talked about how journalists in various conflicts zones risked their lives to tell the world the true stories in those places. If journalists would risk his/her life to bring the truth to the world, they are worth trusting i reckon.

  29. 30 Zak
    June 20, 2008 at 23:09

    Kelly was facing 20 years I believe on child pornography, again if the girl was worth her story she could no doubt sue him for the bank. But that’s my point, they only wanted to see him on trial because he’s a big, now clouded name, if he had been squeaky clean like Kobe, all the attention gets down played, settled out of the spotlight. Not that I’m a real fan of either of those guys (in fact since I’m a Warriors fan I’m glad Kobe got showed up as the one man team the Lakers are).

    But I do believe in a Judges discretion is all the factors of how a person will be affected by a certain sentence. For instance Cambell, she’s being cast by the BBC news reports as if she’s been sentenced to 20 years, but in reality she’ll have to walk the proverbial English dog for 200 hours. But to her image as a super model it may do more damage than any jail time. It surely hasn’t hurt Paris Hilton’s business, and she really needs it now that the family fortune is going to charity, what a circus.

  30. 31 Amy
    June 20, 2008 at 23:20

    I have to step out for a little bit. Time to pick up my older daughter and friends from girl scout camp. Any moderators out there, would you mind holding down the fort for a little while?


  31. 32 Shirley
    June 20, 2008 at 23:48

    The crops that are being lost in the Midwest appear to be mainly feed crops for meat animals. Is this what others are hearing, too? CBS is reporting that meat prices are expected to rise. I had previously heard or interpreted that crop destruction would result in higher vegetarian food prices. Was I wrong? Will this have any impact on things like tofu or corn flakes?

    Justin, how are you doing? How successful were any of the sandbags? I’ve heard that a university is under water. Is it in Iowa?

  32. 33 Zak
    June 21, 2008 at 00:03

    On the crops Shirely it’s not silage alone.

    Corn supply for food is expected to be affected significantly by the flooding.


  33. 34 Shirley
    June 21, 2008 at 00:13

    200 hours of community service for murder is so weak it makes me ill.

    The reason that I asked about the girl in the Kelly case is because I understand that she is east Asian and very young. I could only assume that her family would cast her out, at the very least.

  34. 35 Julie P
    June 21, 2008 at 00:21


    Read the article on the passenger and the flight attendant. Quite interesting. To your point, Naomi has more money and better lawyers, not to mention, Naomi looks tons better. If you can trust the picture that is provided in the article. (Remember what Nick Nolte looked like after he got busted for drunk driving? Not a pretty sight.) Honestly, money, power, fame, and good looks will get a person out of a lot.

    My honest reaction to the story is serving 20 years for that kind of behavior is a bit extreme, although I did not see the possible sentence in the article. You may have heard something I didn’t as I was busy this afternoon working. In any case, three drinks and she was that drunk that she couldn’t remember anything? I don’t believe it, not for a second, unless she is a dainty woman, which she doesn’t appear to be. I would love to know what the bartender at the airport has to say about the amount of alcohol she drank before the flight. Yes, I am aware that high altitudes and drinking do not mix well. I find it fascinating that it is mentioned that she is “a nice person when she’s sober.” In any case, glad I wasn’t on the flight and she may need to get in touch with Naomi, so she can use her attorney.

  35. 36 Zak
    June 21, 2008 at 00:22

    Woah, Shirley, that’s Naomi Cambell’s sentence. She spit at and kicked at officers on a flight at heathrow but she didn’t go that Zena on ’em! LOL!

    On the topic you posted over on the Western Lifestyle I’d like to bridge it over here with a question for you. Hold on.

  36. 37 Luz María Guzmán from Mexico
    June 21, 2008 at 00:22

    @Amy on teen pregnancy and premature babies:

    Thinking about this, I remembered something that relates to this topic.

    Here in Mexico, about 6 months ago the Health Ministry broadcasted a TV ad showing one young couple (barely 18 years olds) sitting in the bus next to a 30 something women with her son which had a disability. The older woman told them that she didn’t take folic acid before and during her pregnancy, and she advised the younger woman to go to the clinic and ask for folic acid (which is free) if she wanted, in a near future, get pregnant. Although I applaud the fact that the government advocates the consumption of folic acid in young women, the age of the couple made me think that they were targeting teenagers. This is understandable because in Mexico, based in a governmental study, the average age of the first sexual relationship is 15.9.

  37. 38 Zak
    June 21, 2008 at 00:24

    We must have had a topic from a while back called “What do you think of Mr. Medvedev” because I saw a comment on it earlier.

    Today I heard an interview about the independant film by Andrei Nekrasov’s called “Poisoned by Polonium: The Litvinenko File”.

    So I’m very curious since it opened back in March in NY, Manhattan if anybody has seen it. It’s so much on topic with the discussion we had today of Western Lifestyle it’s uncanny.

    My contention is that spreading Western Democracy is an illusion fraught with selfish attempts to gain here’s my comment.

  38. 39 Amy
    June 21, 2008 at 00:35

    I’m back from driving girl scouts around…..thanks Zak!

  39. 40 Zak
    June 21, 2008 at 00:45

    Cool Amy. I’d be really keen if we could explore the ills of Democracy stemming possibly from the on air topic, given that it could be the major causation behind events in Zimbabwe and also Iran, it’s been pointed out that Russia is no doubt profiting from the Iraq war in terms of the diversion of oil, as is Iran similarly. The puppet maneuvering between Iran and Iraq recently has struck me as nothing more than a play to keep the corrupt alliances in check.

    I have to admit that only after hearing the interview on upfront an alternative news show did the Russian interest play into my mind.

    But right now, I have to clean up after a day on the ranch in the hot California sun.

  40. 41 Zak
    June 21, 2008 at 02:52

    Gee what a surprise Castro is calling the EU lifting sanctions hypocrisy– executions, sport, sanctions gameplay, what’s left for me to fight?

  41. June 21, 2008 at 03:01

    @ Zak,

    There are many “ills” of prosperity. not just those that come from democracies, but in all forms of government. If everybody are kings, who will be the servants? If everybody is well fed won’t that lead them to be more fertile and healthy? If everybody is healthy, wouldn’t the population explode? If everybody in the world has an automobile, wouldn’t that catapult us down the road of global warming? If Iraq was set on the same path as post WWII Japan, wouldn’t that mean another source of competition for our labor here in and technology the United States? Do westerners really want the Middle East to be free, fair, and with out human rights violations? We complain about the Mexican, the Indians, the Chinese, and the Japanese now.

  42. 44 Zak
    June 21, 2008 at 03:14

    Yes, I realize my statement was a little harsh, you’re right Dwight. Especially about the competing labor force. Which tells me we should let Iraq decide their own path, just like Afghanistan is doing out of necessity, essentially abandoning the original puppeteers of the West.

    What worries me is hearing how intricate the Russian involvement is with the war, and it so much confirms what I’ve thought ever since 2 weeks ago on my blank page when Will brought up the corruption of OPEC. It just never registered how much both Iran and Russia are playing the Democracy card as a pawn. Iran without having the form but rather using the so called ‘evils’ of it against their little pawn Iraq and Hezbollah so they see.

    But I’m not at all implying that we shouldn’t help the nations like Nepal and Ghana who want Democracy in earnest. Only that we should be careful not to try to impose our system of governance on them exactly as you say in Japan.

  43. June 21, 2008 at 03:15

    SUBJECT: ‘Debate suggestion for WHY’S

    Yesterday’s (June 19/08) BBC News daily email carried an article on rape as war tactic that says it all. I’ve requested BBCNews to send the link to HaveYourSay, but I’m adding it below as well.

    The UN just passed a resolution on rape as a weapon of war. I’d like readers/listeners to have their say and be involved in a discussion of this issue. Particularly folks in African countries where violence against women is on the increase. Also in Columbia, Nepal, and others the article mentions and I forget.

    Questions: the UN passed the resolution, so now what? What does it mean? Does it carry a punch at all, or are these just words that sound good? How is the UN resolution to have an effect in protecting women and girls in places where war and rape are going on? How’s violence against women in war situations best dealt with? National governments must act, but how are they to be influenced to do so? What measures should be taken against offenders when/if apprehended? How best to protect women and girls in war situations?

    Personally, I see this as one more SYMPTOM in the growing body of evidence indicating civilization’s expanding decline. As the BBC article points out, the occurrence of rape as tactic or weapon of war is increasing in frequency and intensity in states already failing. With world conditions as they are and as social and economic structures decline, it is only a matter of time before this and other evils spread to and become endemic in places and countries where women and girls, indeed all people, are still considered safe. The real issue, as I see it, is to identify the underlying Cause or Disease of which most of our current ills are a symptom, from climate change to the food crisis to failed states to violence and endless warring, and address both Disease and Symptoms. Band-aids on big injuries have a way of coming loose…

    Link: Women ‘bearing the brunt of war’ **Amnesty says women and girls are being targeted in wars but the authorities do little or nothing to prevent it.

    Alma Cristina

  44. 46 Amy
    June 21, 2008 at 03:34

    Curing skin cancer with your own immune cells. I think it would be great but would it be affordable for everyone? I have great health insurance but many do not and since it is experimental, who knows if insurance would cover it anyway.


  45. 47 Amy
    June 21, 2008 at 03:35

    Here is the link for Alma Christina’s post about rape:


  46. 48 Amy
    June 21, 2008 at 03:38

    Hi all. I have completely forgotten to say hello to everyone from Oregon!! I have really enjoyed getting to know so many people from around the globe and I hopefully can share a little slice of the Pacific Northwest with all of you. I look forward to getting to know you all a little better this weekend in my moderating duties.

  47. 49 Will Rhodes
    June 21, 2008 at 03:53

    Hello, Amy and welcome to the moderating team. I hope you enjoy it with your colleague, John.

    Hello and welcome to him, too!

  48. 50 Amy
    June 21, 2008 at 03:57

    Selling your life to start anew? Sounds like a mid life crisis to me:


  49. 51 Weedpuller
    June 21, 2008 at 04:55

    EXACTLY JUST who profits from worldwide oil dependency? Can you name them?

    my comment to my own Q:

    The supply-demand issues are there to be sure, but it is a just a cover story for the thugs like the ones that ran Enron who profit from worldwide oil dependency-the OILCO’S & OPEC ANND THE POLITICIANS HOOKED ON CAMPAIGN COMTRIBUTIONS & LOBBY JOBS AFTER they have BEEN DE-ELECTED!


    If you Answer this Q you might begin to get beyond the supply-demand smokescreen that is the spin they want you to believe!!

  50. 52 Zainab
    June 21, 2008 at 05:10

    how are you all,
    How are Amy? How are your lovely daughters?
    How are you John? Happy to be with you this weekend, and i wish you a great good weekend.

    how are you dear? Insha Allah you and all the students will do so well in your exams.
    About your question:-
    1-Doctors: I trust them blindly (i don’t know why, but i feel it’s better to do what they ask me).
    2- Judjes: It depends
    3-Lawyers: It depends
    4- Politicians: Don’t ever never trust them
    5- Policemen: Actually i try to trust them but i can’t.
    6- Journalist: It depends
    7- Teachers: Sometimes i trust some of them.
    yours truly,
    Zainab from Iraq

  51. 53 Zak
    June 21, 2008 at 05:36

    The thread was “Welcome Mr. Medvedev”. Yes welcome to the most politically corrupt Democracy in Europe.

    It now all is starting to make sense, the planes, the training, the machismo. Now that Putin’s out of the hotseat he’s playing Bush for a fool. He’s taunting him with the deals that they’ve been doing in secret with Iran, profiting off OPEC inflation on US dollars. It’s no wonder sanctions against Iran don’t work, there’s back channels routed all the way through to Moscow. Who knows maybe the nuclear facility is buried deep in the Gobi.

    Something just doesn’t fit about a country trying to make electricity with a nuclear reactor and so willing to expose it to loss. Suppose Israel does bomb them with big bro US watching the back. What in the world does Iran have to gain? If it was only electricity they wanted why not just shut down the plant, let the UN clear the facility and start again, it’s a wait either way, one way they lose the facility, another way they possibly keep nuclear electric power. Going on after 3 rounds of sanctions just doesn’t portray a good image to the world.

    A very thorough Q & A article.

  52. 54 Bob in Queensland
    June 21, 2008 at 05:43

    Greetings to John and Amy! Our moderators this weekend are from two parts of the world I know and enjoy!

    Anyway, @ Amy

    Selling up and starting anew may sound like a mid-life crisis but it’s exactly what I’ve done over the past few years. I didn’t make a big show of it on the net but, due to a combination of changes at work, at home and to my health, In the last four years I’ve re-married, sold my house and all but 3 pallets of my possessions, taken early retirement and moved from the UK to sunny Australia.

    …and I can honestly say I’ve never been happier!

    The pension isn’t as big as if I’d slaved away until 65 but it’s enough to live comfortably on. I’m young enough to enjoy my spare time (and still take on occasional bits of work if they interest me). The climate and lifestyle down here in Australia suit me perfectly. I even have time to enjoy WHYS!

    Mid life crisis maybe, but if this is a crisis, I recommend it!

    On another topic, Will Rhodes mentioned how Martha Stewart was denied a visa to enter the UK. A silly decision perhaps (especially with the number of terrorist supporters allowed in daily!) but it follows an honourable tradition of the US banning lots of British and Canadians for even more spurious offences. Stewart actually did jail time for some rather serious crimes but I’ve know people denied entry to the US because they’d been fined £50 for possession of marijuana when they were teenagers.

  53. 55 Amy
    June 21, 2008 at 05:55


    Glad you are able to join us this weekend. I guess the way the guy is going about reinventing himself is what got me. Couldn’t he donate most of the things to charity? What about giving the 3 bedroom house to a needy family. Granted, I’m here in the US but I can think of some families in Louisiana, Iowa, Mississippi or Missouri that would love to have a home right now.

  54. 56 Amy
    June 21, 2008 at 06:58

    Night all. I’m off to bed. Any mods out there, can you hold down the fort until JJ is up and about?

    Thanks and see you all on the 21st.

  55. 57 Bob in Queensland
    June 21, 2008 at 07:00


    Yeah, I know exactly what you mean about the way the guy went about it. I didn’t set out to “re-invent” myself nor did I publicise it…it all just kinda happened. But it all worked out well.

    Years ago a good friend espoused “Panglossian” theory to me and I now think maybe that friend could have been right!

  56. 58 Tom
    June 21, 2008 at 07:11

    Happy Solstice everyone!!

    Being in the southern hemisphere, I’m looking forward to the days getting longer. 🙂

  57. 59 Zak
    June 21, 2008 at 07:14

    Before I x out for the night let me give a shout out for my bro Abdi. His last email told me he would be out in ‘no network’ territory so my sincerest best wishes for him until he returns home on the 26th.

    He really wants to do the next weekend blank page and for that matter I do believe we’re connected at the hip so hopefully we can do it together again, he wants to hit 500 posts and I think we can do it. He wants to make it interactive on the blank page with African musical access and the like, I may have some drums recorded online by that time.

    On that note this is just a reminder to take note of your environment especially the changes you may be seeing this year. As we witness floods, cyclones, earthquakes, I want to start tracking weather patterns and recording blog contributers unique weather.

    Here’s and example, California has been declared in a state of drought by the Governor, but for us we still have a lot of water in reserve from past years. That still may be changing more rapidly than we think though. We have been experiencing higher highs and lower lows, today for instance like yesterday we had sunbursts that we’re some of the hottest I’ve felt near the ocean for many years. It’s this idea that I’d like to further for the sake of my friends in Africa and everywhere in the world feeling the climate pinch.

  58. 60 Zak
    June 21, 2008 at 07:23

    Indeed may we call the blessings of the solstice upon our WHYS community especially those in flood ravaged territory.

    Also for any of you Birthday goers like my mom, best wishes, if you’re a triple Gemini like my mom just remember your sign is in the house of the full moon!

  59. 61 Zak
    June 21, 2008 at 08:17

    A-mate it’s all yours Bob until JJ gets thrown out of his slumber across the pond.

    Lubna, it’s the wisdom in oneself that tells you who to trust by trusting yourself first always.

  60. 62 cinefile
    June 21, 2008 at 12:11

    Hi everyone – back again – having wireless problems, but should be alright for a while. In the news Mugabe has announced that “only God” can remove him. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7466875.stm

  61. 63 Bob in Queensland
    June 21, 2008 at 12:59

    I saw that news story from Zimbabwe but, countering that, the lead story on the World Service when I woke up this morning (Aus time) was that a number of African leaders (including Angola which has always been a staunch ZANU supporter) have called for an end to the violence and intimidation by Mugabe in the run-off election.

    I’m not holding my breath but find this a hopeful sign because I firmly believe that any solution to the Zimbabwe situation has to be regional, not imposed by “the west”.

  62. June 21, 2008 at 14:39

    @ zak,

    I don’t think you were being “harsh”. you were just pointing out a harsh reality about the interconnectivity between action and reaction. When “blissful” people rush in to support a dangerous concept like war, they often don’t think about it with any more depth then a puddle. Many of the people who support the current military actions are often the ones complaining most about people not buying American, not speaking English, and the developing countries getting technology. It seems the first casualty is always logic.

    Back in school I would hear my friends complain, “The food is awful and they don’t give us enough!” I never quite got that one.

  63. 65 cinefile
    June 21, 2008 at 14:41

    @ Bob in Queensland
    I agree with you Bob that any solution to the Zimbabwe situation has to be regional, not imposed by “the west” – as has been previously discussed on WHYS – Mbeki has been largely ineffective despite being the main broker between Zanu-PF and the MDC. I have a brother living in Harare and he told me this week that a friend of his is forced to wear a T-Shirt declaring his support for Zanu or risk constant police intimidation -it’s just one minor instance.

    The Guardian has a good back story about a famous incident where a Wimbledon line judge nodded off during a match. Blame it on the Pimms.

  64. 66 Shirley
    June 21, 2008 at 14:41

    Hello, Zak
    I didn’t understand what you meant when you said, “Woah, Shirley, that’s Naomi Cambell’s sentence.” It appeared to be a response to my post about the 200 hours community service sentence for the mother who drove a teenager to suicide through internet posts, but I don’t understand the connection.

    I know that you want to talk about Medvedev and “Poisoned by Polonium: The Litvinenko File,” but I am so entirely clueless about Russian politics. I do agree that when we try to export democracy to other countries, it usually fails. However, I do not see that as an intrinsic failure of democracy itself. I think that it has more to do with unsolved latent corruption in the region to which democracy had been exported, as well as the kinds of flaws that would naturally result in a democratic system that has been imposed not for or of or by the people of the region, but for and by and of the powerful who wanted it installed to their betterment and benefit. In that case, though, can it really be called democracy? Or is it just a vehicle for free market capitalism? I don’t really trust the capitlist system as I have seen it practised. If there is some saving grace in that economic system, could someone link me up or post something informative for me?

    Regarding Iran, “If it was only electricity they wanted why not just shut down the plant, let the UN clear the facility and start again…” I think that if Iran does not have nuclear weapons, they are trying to maintain the ability to produce them at a moment’s notice. I don’nt blame them, considering the threats that keep coming at it from various points west. The threat of nuclear weapon possession may well be the only thing that keeps western vultures away from Iranian oil.

  65. 67 Dennis
    June 21, 2008 at 14:53

    Hi JJ (John) in London… and Amy….

    I don’t have much time right now, i am going out for a little while to get a few groceries…

    Hi Will, Zak and all other friends on World Have Your Say….

    (i will briefly tell you about myself in the next posting if i can get back in time)

    @ Lubna: We will pray especially me that you will do good on your exams on Tuesday….I will have my 1 exam next week week also…i will tell the date…when i find it.

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  66. 68 Shirley
    June 21, 2008 at 14:55

    Bob, you said, any solution to the Zimbabwe situation has to be regional, not imposed by “the west”. I agree to a certain extent, but I also think that there should be a lot more political pressure on Mugabe and other African leaders to bend to the will of the people. I also think that we should be able to provide any support needed to ensure that the will of the people is exactly what takes place, in spite of any accusations of racism that come our way. I don’t think that helping our brothers in humanity is racist.

  67. June 21, 2008 at 15:00

    When asking a question like, “If it was only electricity they wanted why not just shut down the plant, let the UN clear the facility and start again…”, one should simply ask themselves the same question of their own country. We have talked the last half of the week about our own energy dependence on other countries. If you were Iran would you want your energy needs to be supplied by a country that called you “Evil”? Energy independence is more important for a country to sustain its sovernty then having a large military.

  68. 70 Amy
    June 21, 2008 at 16:15

    Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone! I’m back and waiting for the coffee to kick in.

    It will be interesting to see what happens this week in Zimbabwe. I hope that the leaders of the southern African nations can put pressure on Mugabe to at least end the violence.

  69. 71 Amy
    June 21, 2008 at 16:16

    @ Dennis,

    I am sure you will do fine on your first exam. I’ll give you the same advice I gave Lubna, take deep breaths to try and stay calm.

  70. June 21, 2008 at 16:38

    Hey all,

    Long time no chat!

    @ Lubna dont worry about your exam on tuesday, it will only be a small part of your degree, and as long as you have revised (which I am sure you will have done) then you will be fine. Alternatively I am currently staying with my boyfriends family, and there will be alot of British Medic students here tomorrow if you get stuck on something. Just don’t plagarise and you will be fine


    As will you be Denis. Stay calm, drink water and don’t analyse your performance once you have done it.

    Finally the England rugby players are being allowed to fly back from NZ with their team mates after no one has made a formal complaint against the supposide rape alligations. It is the main story on BBC Radio 1.

    Some of the papers are quoted a Sophie Lewis who up until Wednesday went under the anacronim Angel.

    Do people believe this story has been blown out of proportion, and people are just manipulating the media coverage of the England Rugby tour for their own use?

  71. 73 Shirley
    June 21, 2008 at 17:12

    cinefile: a friend of his is forced to wear a T-Shirt declaring his support for Zanu or risk constant police intimidation

    So much for claims of general Zimbabwean support for Mugabe. Show your suppor or pay the price is more like it.

  72. 74 cinefile
    June 21, 2008 at 17:26

    Gordon Brown issued a strong condemnation of the tactics used by the Zimbabwean government on 19 June. Although Brown has come in for much criticism at home he has been consistent in his criticism of Mugabe and rightly so. You can see the full clip at http://youtube.com/watch?v=3scxb7A04yk&feature=dir

  73. 75 Will Rhodes
    June 21, 2008 at 17:29


    The government has vowed to change the law to allow anonymous witnesses in some court cases after a key Law Lords ruling effectively halted the practice.

    Justice Secretary Jack Straw said there was a real need for some witnesses to have their identities protected.

    Mr Straw told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the law will be changed “as quickly as possible”.

    The ruling quashed the murder conviction of a man who was convicted with the aid of anonymous evidence.

    Police have warned that serious criminals could walk free as a result.

    Is this fair justice or a move toward the innocent proving themselves innocent rather than the state proving your guild?

    I really would appreciate your input on this story.

  74. 76 Amy
    June 21, 2008 at 17:46


    Boy, that’s a tough one (anonymous witnesses). While I agree that one should be able to face their accuser, there is a lot of intimidation these days. I would hope that reasonable minds would prevail and provide anonymity when deemed absolutely necessary.

  75. 77 selena
    June 21, 2008 at 17:47


    That’s a toughie…

    Sometime witnesses are afraid to testify because they are worried about retaliation.

    Let me think about it.

  76. 78 Janet T
    June 21, 2008 at 17:57

    @Lubna- as I am the queen of all cynics- I don’t trust any of them as a group- I have to take it one at a time, on a case by case basis. Corruption is everywhere.
    I’m sure you will be a wonderful, caring doctor

  77. 79 Amy
    June 21, 2008 at 18:02


    I do agree with you that the oil companies are just loving this current gas “crisis.” Most of the refineries here in the US are not operating at full capacity therefore keeping supply down. Demand hasn’t really changed that much. People here are driving as much as always although I expect to see a little drop this summer. I know that I am looking for ways to cut down (using my husband’s car more often and carpooling when possible). We’ll have to wait and see what happens if demand drops.

  78. 80 Zak
    June 21, 2008 at 18:17

    Heyall here’s a quote on “Energy in Iran”

    Even so, its first 1,000 MW nuclear power plant at Bushehr, built with assistance from Russia, was not online by 2007.

    From what I’ve gathered, very little if any nuclear power is powering electricity.

    So given that what would cost more, waiting a few months or losing the entire facility, we all know the answer to that.

    But the greater notion which has been talked about in the region is solar. The offer that the UN put on the table is very generous in helping to provide them with electricity. All they would need is an investment in solar. Maliki has already called for this I do believe. It just casts a bit of a cloud of doubt if they have virtually no nuclear now; like Dwight proposed if you had to start anew why not start with solar in the desert.

  79. 81 Julie P
    June 21, 2008 at 18:21


    I’m curious, does the UK have a witness protection program, which would allow for people to testify against people of organizations, like the Mafia, who would have them killed for testifying against them? Or, in my case, when I turned state witness in a criminal trial, I was notified when the person was released from prison. Does that happen there?

  80. 82 Amy
    June 21, 2008 at 18:36

    How can it be that no criminal charges of assault have been filed!!


  81. 83 Zak
    June 21, 2008 at 18:38


    Naomi Campbell got 200 hours community service for assaulting officers on a plane at Heathrow airport (I was misspelling her name but…what were you talking about?). If anyone got that sentence for murder you’ll have to show us.

    On Iran: Are you implying that a reason for Iran to have nuclear power is for weapons or the threat there of? No one, is threatening Iran with a nuke, Iran is threatening to “wipe Israel off the map.” Given that blank threat, and the threatened withdrawal from the NPT, Israel has the right to defend itself from a nuclear attack with conventional weapons.

    So if you’re assertion is correct it’s a good bet that Israel will destroy that facility in a heartbeat. Personally I don’t think Iran has the immediate capability as the IAEA assessment and the article I referenced mentions. But I similarly think it’s ludicrous to put the entire facility on the line when it really comes down to a choice of keeping it for electricity or losing it for weapons.

  82. 84 Will Rhodes
    June 21, 2008 at 18:48

    Thanks for your replies, guys.

    No there isn’t a witness protection system in the UK per se. Funnily enough there is a perpetrator protection program – this has been invoke with cases like the James Bulger case – those who killed the little boy were put under the states protection – this is what I find decidedly odd about the whole thing.

    If the British government can protect those who commit murders such as the one above – why cannot they protect sensitive witnesses without going down this very dangerous road? What this will mean is, like so many other laws i.e. RIPA – this change will be used for lesser and lesser cases.

    The RIPA law was enacted so that policing bodies could be allowed to stakeout organised crime and terrorists – it has been used to spy on private citizens choosing a school for their child.

    Do take into account that this government wants to go down the route of not allowing jury trials.

    Any more input will be gladly appreciated.

  83. 85 Julie P
    June 21, 2008 at 18:56


    Give me second, I do have more to add, but after a bad night’s sleep I need a nap. I’ll add more in a few.

  84. 86 Bryan
    June 21, 2008 at 19:43

    What’s up guys? I try to post a comment (twice) on Shirley’s support for Iran, June 21, 2008 at 2:41 pm, including a link to a BBC article on Iran, and it doesn’t even make it to the “Your comment is awaiting moderation” stage.

    Am I perhaps using some key words that you don’t allow?

    Bryan – sometimes when you add links to a post it goes into the spam filter. Someone will look in there once in a while and retrieve your post.

  85. 87 Bryan
    June 21, 2008 at 19:47

    Trying again:

    I find it amazing that anyone can support Iran and regard it as some kind of potential victim in the conflict.

    Iran is a brutal theocratic dictatorship and a state exporter of terrorism worldwide. The brutal mullahs hang Iranian youths from cranes for having sex, even if they are raped, and they arm, train and finance terror groups like Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.

    Their hatred of Israel is boundless and they hate it because Israel is a Jewish state, not because of any concern for the Palestinians. Ahmedinejad hosted a Holocaust denial conference a few years back, inviting a motley crew of Holocaust deniers to spread their hatred in Teheran.

    A few years ago there was a major earthquake in Iran and I believe it was their ‘supreme leader’ who took the trouble to announce that he would accept help “from any nation on earth except Israel.”

    Incredibly, the BBC appears to have a harmonious relationship with Iran and has a Farsi service. I have listened to respectful interviews of Iranian leaders on the World Service and there was a ‘Have Your Say’ programme a while back in which two Iranians, an ambassador and an academic, were allowed to spew their hatred of Israel with no intervention from the BBC host.

    In fairness, there was one bold article critical of Ahmedinejad, on his Holocaust denial conference, and I filed it for future reference:


    It was the only one I ever saw on the BBC.

  86. 88 Amy
    June 21, 2008 at 20:51

    @ Bryan,

    You need to make sure that you make a distinction between Iranians and the current government of Iran lest you fall into the trap of assuming all Americans can be lumped together. I know that I would not like it for someone to believe that I agree with everything that the current administration has done.

    Here is an example of some of the people in Iran (students mostly) protesting against the local government. By the way, I have only seen this mentioned on the BBC:


  87. 89 Zak
    June 21, 2008 at 20:59

    This is a really interesting developing story:
    Part I comes as a result of AP legal maneuvering recently having threatened a blogger for use of AP quotes. They are now theoretically rethinking this action. and AP is also getting sued back by one company reportedly on this blog: tywkiwdbi.

    Part II: About 12 hours ago there was a piece posted on the WHYS blog topic “Justice For Jewish Refugees,” a quoted interview from David Bensoussan, President of the Communaute Sepharade Unifiee du Quebec (United Sephardi community of Quebec). You can see it in abridged form here now but not on WHYS Point of no return 02/05/08.

    Part III: Now we know Betaween did have rights to translate the interview from French and that she is the owner of the blog above. She’s therefore licensed to use one copy of the interview on his blog, and creative commons law should therefore give him rights to use the same piece verbatim on any other blogs. But the following question still stands because he’s already established his one copy on his blog, which is slightly abridged and different than what he originally posted here on WHYS.

    So the question is: Can a blogger censor, or add to, part of an interview from one blog to another and not be held liable for it since it falls outside the grounds of fair access media for direct quotes or creative commons? The AP cases tend to cast doubt that one can just quote at will at random.

    This is now edited as are all other comments on the subject to try to not present a bias: the question is now up for interpretation.

  88. 90 Julie P
    June 21, 2008 at 21:19


    Before I started writing this comment to you I read the article, so that I had somewhere to start from. I am writing from the perspective of a person who went through the American criminal justice system as a witness for the state. Here is the process I went through from filing three felony charges, to having the charges advance from the detective in charge’s desk, to a preliminary hearing, and finally to the District Attorney’s office before it would be brought into the criminal court system. Once the D.A.’s office determined the charges were admissible in court I became a witness for the state. With the type of charges I filed from beginning to end only one in one hundred ends with a conviction. A lot of has to with fear. My position on this is that there is a fear of the process itself. Little is known about the criminal process and there are many rumors and beliefs that permeate society. I heard them all as I moved through the trial process. Scholars sometimes refer to it as the second rape. Victims and witnesses fear retribution from the accused. They may also have fear of retribution from those who are close to the accused in some cases. Fear. There is a lot of fear. After reading the article I believe that Jack Straw is relying on people’s fear to advance his anonymous witness. As I went through the justice system I did not like it. I did not like having to face the accused, but the accused has a right to face the accuser. It does a lot of things among them are: it protects OUR right to a fair trial by a jury of our peers and it prevents US from having civil liberties abused by the government. Without being able to face your accusers it can open a Pandora’s Box of bringing false testimony to a fair trial. Anyone can stand accused and have false witnesses brought into the process. Jack Straw is using the politics of fear to breach civil liberties. This is an abomination of the trial by jury system and can lead to Salem witch hunt trials. I would like to know more about your position about why you think the UK is trying to move away from jury trials.

  89. 91 Bryan
    June 21, 2008 at 21:35

    Amy, June 21, 2008 at 8:51 pm,

    I take your point. But I thought it was clear enough that I was directing my ire against the Iranian authorities. I am well aware that there is a powerful anti-government movement among young Iranians desperate for change.

    Strangely enough, Frances Harrison also wrote the article I linked to in the previous comment. If you compare the two, you’ll see that her writing in the earlier article is quite scornful of Ahmedinejad. The article you link to is fairly straight reporting, though I have an idea she would dearly like to express outrage at what appears to be an outrageous situation. The lady has courage.

    However, as I’m sure I made clear in the previous comment, I am quite disturbed by the overall reporting of the BBC on Iran over the last several years. There appears to be little or no awareness from the BBC of its responsibility to portray the Iranian government as it is: a despicable, terror-sponsoring regime that poses a huge threat to world peace.

    I can’t help comparing that complacent attitude on the part of the BBC to the attack mode it went into against Israel during the Second Lebanon war two years ago.

  90. 92 Zak
    June 21, 2008 at 21:37

    Not to intervene here but much of the UK parliament has been enduring calls for reformation for some time now. Many MP members feel that the House of Lords system is inadequate in modern times, it appears that the transition process may be fairly rocky in terms of advancing a Democratic process.

  91. 93 Julie P
    June 21, 2008 at 21:40


    That’s what I am trying to find out. As much as I hated going though what I went through, even at the time, I believe a trial by jury is the best system. Actually, I went through a bench trial.

  92. 94 Bryan
    June 21, 2008 at 22:01

    Zak, the bataween story is a puzzle. Could be that he just edited the questions out so the content would flow better. But he certainly should have clarified where he originally got the interview from in order to translate it from the French and post it on his blog and then this one.

    Maybe you can contact David Bensoussan to clarify the matter:


  93. 95 Bryan
    June 21, 2008 at 22:18

    Yes, fair enough. I’ve just seen the exchange on the refugee topic. Still it would be interesting to know where the original author stand in all this.

  94. 96 victork13
    June 21, 2008 at 22:39

    @Zak: you are making an attack, with personal criticisms, based on a post that only you’ve ever seen. You are also characterising the contents of the post in a particular way, even though on the topic concerned (a response to Will’s earlier post about anonymous witnesses) the poster is certainly much better informed than you can ever hope to be. How do I know this? It’s that old, climactic movie cliche, ‘…I was that boy!’, and I was that poster. Your position, in light of the stance you’ve taken about another post I made, is becoming increasingly and inappropriately personal. It would have made more sense and shown better judgement if you’d passed the decision on my post to a moderator without an axe to grind. The sensitivities that prevent you from facing certain themes diretly, ot at all, are not a reason for objecting to and censoring others who don’t share your bashfulness.

    You are abusing your position as a moderator, again.

    In future if you don’t want to approve a post you should simply do that, and not give us a one-sided lecture about your virtues and other people’s vices (while deploring vanity) to justify your self-interested act.

  95. 97 victork13
    June 21, 2008 at 22:41

    @Will re anonymous witnesses: this is a difficult one.
    The problem of witness intimidation is a growing one. It’s incidence is greater in cases involving Afro-Caribbean (which usually means Jamaican) gunmen. Gun crime amongst a sub-set of that sector of the population is a problem in itself, with an entire unit of the Metropolitan Police devoted to it (Operation Trident). The victims of witness intimidation are more often than not black. The methods of the intimidators can be exceptionally ruthless. There is already something like the Mafia culture of silence in black communities, even with witnesse anonymity . And people can’t be blamed. To give evidence means exposing yourself to the prospect of being murdered. And if they can’t get at you (if, say, the government were to institute a witness protection programme) this type of criminal will murder your relatives without a second thought. There was a case in Brent, in north London, a few years ago where a feud between Jamaican gunmen led to one side murdering three of the elderly and completely innocent relatives of the other party. The people in queston don’t observe any kind of code at all (as a matter of commonsense you ought not to kill family members and have that escalate into tit-for-tat killings of relatives, but these are criminals who are more psychotic than organised). Reports of gun battles in London are rare, but become more common each year. I recall several cases over the past 2-3 years of exchanges of gun fire in London, during the day, in crowded streets. A few months ago a jury ruled in the case of a Polish care worker who died after being struck by a bullet during one of these exchanges. She’d been speaking on her mobile phone to her sister in Poland at the time. The sister in Poland heard the whole thing, and listened to her dying. The gunman who actually shot her was never caught, but his antagonist was. The latter received a heavy sentence despite not have fired the shot that killed her. He refused to identify the actual killer, for the reasons I’ve already mentioned.

  96. 98 victork13
    June 21, 2008 at 22:43

    @Will (cont.):

    Part of the difficulty is that if you permit anonymous witness evidence then you are inviting rival gang members (and these gunmen are usually part of an outfit of some description) to arrange for perjured testimony to send their rivals to prison. If you don’t, then no person in their right mind will ever testify in open court against people for whom murder, and arranging murder, means nothing. The police support anonymous witness testimony. But they always support anything that makes their job easier and brings us just a little closer to a police state (their ideal). The level of incompetence of some British police forces cannot be exaggerated. It was brought home to many people during the Stephen Lawrence case some years ago. This was the racist murder of a black teenager. The murderers were known. The police had been given their names by several members of the community. Anonymously. The police managed to accidentally hand the names of their informants to the legal team of the four defendants. Worse than that, the police had the four defendants under 24 hr surveillance for a time prior to their being charged. They watched passively as the defendants destroyed crucial evidence under their noses. The police support anti-libertarian meausres like anonymous witness evidence as a welcome shortcut in preference to the lost and difficult art of detetective work.

  97. 99 victork13
    June 21, 2008 at 22:48

    @Will (cont.):

    The government also supports anonymity. But its record on civil liberties is abysma, and is probably the worst of any peacetime British government in the past 150 years at least (e.g. its current attempts to make it law to hold people for 42 days without charge – and it had originally wanted 90 days but couldn’t get that through Parliament). And as with the example of abuse you gave of the parents looking for a achool for their child (a case that the government said little about and an abuse it did nothing at all to correct once it had been brought to light), there is every likelihood that these laws will be abused in all sorts of ways that no one can predict. Once the principle of anonymity is admitted for serious crimes like murder, it will most likely be extended to crimes of slightly less weight like attempted murder, and then to crimes in the category beneath that such as conspiracy to murder, and then to crimes – regardless of their weightiness – where witnesses are afraid, for whatever reason, to testify, etc.

  98. 100 victork13
    June 21, 2008 at 22:51

    @Will (cont.)

    You mentioned the government’s hostility to trial by jury. Also recall the pronouncements of several Ministers about rape cases, and the general attitude that it reveals: not enough men are being convicted and they’d like to see changes that would make it more likely that defendants (who Ministers somehow seem to know are guilty simply because they’ve been accused) will face the kind of outcomes (higher conviction rates) that are agreeable to Ministers. They have called for evidence that might place the woman in a bad light with the jury (sexual history) to be barred, and for the woman bringing an accusation of rape to enjoy anonymity but not the man accused of the crime. A Minister for Justice in Beijing or the former Soviet Union could not have expressed a clearer wish to rig the outcome of trials. Recall also that the British police force has become heavily politicised under the Labour government. Ministers don’t give instructions to police about what prosecutions to bring. That’s unnecessary: the police sometimes anticipate Ministerial wishes and act in the manner they think would most likely please their political masters.

  99. 101 victork13
    June 21, 2008 at 22:53

    @ Will (cont.)

    The police have failed (initially) to prosecute people for what were blatant crimes (the Muslims in the demonstration in London who incited to murder) out of consideration for the government’s wish to handle relations with the Muslim community ‘sensitively’. On the other side of the coin we have seen a nakedly political prosecution, in fact a Soviet style show trial, of a far right political leader who had exercised his right to free speech, but in doing so had offended a constituency that Labour Ministers want to cultivate (again, Muslims). The whole thing was a sinister farce in which a man was threatened with imprisonment for holding an opinion that was offensive to the government, and the successful prosecution of which could have led to renewed support for the government from a constituency alienated by the Iraq war.

  100. 102 victork13
    June 21, 2008 at 22:54

    @ Will (concluded)

    But my point is that between a politicised police force who have supported every attempt to obliterate traditional liiberties, and a government whose instinct is to interfere, to direct, and to dictate, and which nominally esteems civil liberties so long as they don’t cross that instinct, between these two actors it would be a calamitous development to allow anybody to be convicted on the basis of anonymous witness evidence (the convictions that have already happened are expected to be appelaed – in fact we’ve had notice of the first, a black gunman in Birmingham who killed two young girls in a drive-by shooting).
    In the absence of anonymous witnesses the police will have to concentrate on preventing the crimes they won’t be able to successfully convict for. This will mean some difficult decisions: racial profiling; stop and search of black males within an appropriate age range (about 15-35); mandatory and heavy sentences for possession of firearms; a separate offence and heavy sentences (10+ years) for refusing to identify co-criminals. This should go hand in hand with additional recruitment of police officers from minority communities and increased undercover work (including using officers seconded from the Caribbean).
    But witness anonymity – as tempting as it is – seems to me to be the negation of justice and shouldn’t be entrenched in law, which is what the government says it will do.

  101. 103 Will Rhodes
    June 21, 2008 at 23:05

    My response to that is that I have seen over a number of years the power of the police and I would add any enforcement body rise inexplicitly. The power is being taken from the citizen and given to the establishment – and at the moment I cannot see that diminishing.

    For 100s of years trial by jury has worked and it should not be over-ruled by parliament. This government in the UK has made me change my mind about both the Law Lords and the House of Lords itself. I was anti both, now I am aware that the second chamber cannot be an elected chamber – as the Lords were appointed and their remit was to reject something that was/is unjust and against the British Constitution (Yes there is one but not written).

    This government utilises fear and only fear to get the public to walk into something they don’t understand.

    I am against anonymous witnesses. There are other ways of protecting the public which this government knows but will not discuss. Looking at the UK from outside is scaring me – and I hope that the British people do something about it at the next election.

    A person, under British law, is innocent until proven guilty – this government are making that statue irrelevant. They want it to be a matter you have been accused so therefore you are guilty until you prove innocence – that cannot continue.

  102. June 21, 2008 at 23:09


    Actually United States refineries are operating at or even about realistic capacity. They are often taken off line for scheduled preventative maintenance, mechanical malfunctions, and other assorted minor slow downs or stoppages. People who claim that they are not operating at full capacity are referring to the production per day statistics. It is possible for a refinery to produce say 10,000 barrels a day. So it could be said that it’s full capacity is 3,650,000 per year. However that is like saying your car can drive at 100 mph, so a 1,000 mile trip should only take 10 hours. It doesn’t account for bathroom stops, lunch breaks, and oh yeah, 3 or 4 speeding tickets. Your realistic capacity is much less.


  103. June 21, 2008 at 23:17

    @ Bryan,

    Wow, that is great you have gathered all that information about Iran. When were you there?

  104. 106 Amy
    June 21, 2008 at 23:19


    I take your point. However, I don’t know if I trust statistics from the current government – you know, Vice President Cheney’s energy policy secrets and all 🙂 I understand that routine maintenance has to take place but it always strikes me that they seem to go offline just before the busy summer driving season…….

  105. 107 victork13
    June 21, 2008 at 23:29

    I was criticised the other day for never missing an opportunity to attack liberals and liberalism so I’ll resist the temptation to let rip and lay into another inviting – and helpless – target.

    But given the minor talent some people have to discover ‘racism’ and ‘prejudice’- perhaps the ultimate liberal taboo words – where they don’t exist, and then to launch themselves into a moral Jihad to eradicate the offence and the offender, I thought I’d include this link, which relates to aspects of the serial comments I’ve recently posted.

    It shouldn’t be necessary for me to point out that Tony Blair, for all his sleaze, money-grabbing, and dishonesty, is not generally known as a man of ‘racist’, or ‘prejudiced’ views, while the Guardian newspaper is something of a bastion of politically correct orthodoxy here in Britain and a ferocious enemy of racism and prejudice – where they do and don’t exist – things that it would never act as a mouthpiece for.


    Debate involves listening to views you don’t share, and even views you don’t like, and challenging them. For the more thoughtful it may even, on occasion, mean allowing yourself to be convinced by such views.

    Setting up your way of thinking as the standard of right opinion and condemning and censoring (or attempting to censor) whatever deviates from it can be called a lot of things. What it can’t be described as is showing any real understanding of the purpose of a blog like this. I prefer lively, challenging, robust and honest disagreement to tame, conformist, genteel and forced consensus. But that’s just me.

  106. June 21, 2008 at 23:30

    lol, I understand your paranoia Amy,

    Not everybody in the government is out to deceive the public. The people who supply statistics are often career professionals whose job is just to supply raw data. Many have been there through many changes in elected environments. Data is data; there is nothing partisan about it.

    What is highlighted and what statistics are generated from the raw data is a different story.

  107. 109 Will Rhodes
    June 21, 2008 at 23:42

    I’m like you, Victor – I like to get into a debate and follow it through. Even though I may be a little to the left (lol) I do like people to challenge my ideas and Ideals.

  108. 110 victork13
    June 21, 2008 at 23:50

    @Will: one of the traditional virtues of the old, unreformed House of Lords (i.e. pre ‘New Labour’) was that its members, hereditary, spiritual and appointed for life, were completely independent. They couldn’t be whipped into voting with the government against their conscience and judgement, as routinely happens with the House of Commons. Where the Lords and Commons have been at odds over a piece of legislation, you’ll find that the Lords, despite being unelected, have been closer to public opinion than the elected chamber. I have certainly come to appreciate the difference between election and representation as a result of these occasional clashes.

    You are probably aware that one of Tony Blair’s primary legislative aims, written into one of his election manifestos even though there was no desire by the public for it, was to ‘reform’ the House of Lords. He has certainly vandalised it. The chamber we now have contains a couple of hundred or so peers who are direct political nominees, while most of the former hereditary peers (around 750 in number) have been banished from the chamber. The Lords is much less independent than it was, but still more independent than the Commons will ever be. The Labour Party is still thinking about how it can finalise reform of the Lords so that it becomes a complete tool of both the executive and the lower house.

    Blair has been a constitutional disaster for the country. The unfortunate thing about an unwritten constitution is that as soon as you have an executive that’s not minded to respect it it becomes of no account at all. The relationship between the Civil Service and the government is, for example, part of the written constitution. Today it represents another instance of constitutional vandalism by New Labour as we now have, for the first time, a quasi-political civil service heavy with government appointed political civil servants and ‘special advisers’.

  109. 111 Amy
    June 22, 2008 at 00:10

    @ Vicktor

    “The unfortunate thing about an unwritten constitution is that as soon as you have an executive that’s not minded to respect it it becomes of no account at all.”

    Here in the States, we have a written constitution but the executive has no respect for it.

    I do like to have debates where both parties are well informed on the issue at hand. Respecting the fact that we can all learn from each other even if our opinions are different is the key to moving forward and trying to make this world a better place.

  110. 112 Amy
    June 22, 2008 at 00:11


    Thanks for making me smile!

  111. 113 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 22, 2008 at 00:14


    >> “I prefer lively, challenging, robust and honest disagreement to tame, conformist, genteel and forced consensus. But that’s just me.”

    Well said, Victor! Not JUST you–I’ll sign on too. I take it you’re not a Californian, where that sort of thing is considered rude. Anything more probing than “Right on, dude!” is thought to be unfriendly–just about the worst thing to be.

    If I’m remembering right, this is the difference between the Socratic and the Epicurean approaches, the former of course being “question everything” and the latter being, broadly expressed, “chill out.” It’s been a while since I got my education on classical Western philosophy (from a young lady in Syria, where my passport says I can’t go, lest I exchange ideas with dangerous foreigners).

  112. 114 Shirley
    June 22, 2008 at 00:23

    I don’t consider it likely that Iran would use nuclear weapons in Israel, given the potential or radioactive fallout in nearby countries that are friendly with it. I’m surprised, though, that they are still assessed at a low potential for nuclear weapons. That comes as something of a relief. Now, if we could just get rid of the rest of the nukes in the Middle East, it would be a bit safer.

    When I mentioned threats against Iran, I was referring to Hillary and her “obliterate” comment. I doubt that she would ever have followe dthrough on it, but it does escalate tense relations. And it wasn’t the brightest thing that she has said.

    Thank you for clarifying your reference to Naomi Campbell. It wasn’t your spelling. It’s just that I had no idea that her sentence was exactly the same as the sentence for the woman who so harrassed a teen online that the teen committed suicide. Murder, in my eyes.

  113. 115 Amy
    June 22, 2008 at 00:34


    I don’t think the woman from the online harassment case has been convicted so there is no sentence yet. It is just that they moved the trial to Los Angeles since that is the place where My Space is located.

  114. 116 Will Rhodes
    June 22, 2008 at 00:39

    @ Victor

    I was all for Lord reform, I wanted the hereditary peers out – I was under the impression that the Lord would be reformed to scrutinise what the Lower House did and make recommendations to change law where it can in conflict with the Constitution. That didn’t happen, you are correct that the Lower House run by Blair and his quangos became nothing more than an arena to espouse something and do completely the opposite.

    I am a Labour man – always have been and cannot see myself changing – and because of that I want this government out of office. They are not Labour and, I suspect, never really have been. I not only want them out I want a government in that will repeal 9/10th of the laws brought in by this government.

    I would like to see 90% of the civil service sacked in one foul swoop! They have done nothing and will do nothing while they are employed.

  115. 117 Julie P
    June 22, 2008 at 01:06


    About your last comment to Victor…I have a friend in London who has said the very same think you have. almost verbatim. They are way too authoritarian. He gets very hot under the collar about the amount of laws that have been passed over the ten years, and he goes ballistic over the National ID scheme.

  116. 118 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 01:21


    Click on the link for the Lori Drew story and get the story. Nothing I say can seem to dissuade you from thinking, someone who’s only just been indicted, committed murder and got 200 hours community service- so I’ll shut up and you can see for yourself.

  117. 119 Will Rhodes
    June 22, 2008 at 01:24

    @ Julie

    If there is one thing that is uniting most of the populace of the UK it is it’s opposition to ID cards. I have not spoken to one person who wants them.

  118. 120 cinefile
    June 22, 2008 at 01:29

    JJ here – just to respond to Victor et al – a major fault I have with democracy is the way in which it is run at local level which I mostly see as petty and sometimes appalling. I am all for lively debate but from my own experience local democracy is about self interest and/or preservation – as anyone who has seen the HBO series the Wire will attest to. For me these men (mostyl) sully democracy. That is why I think centralised government and a constitution are important.

  119. 121 Julie P
    June 22, 2008 at 01:30


    I haven’t either. I can’t say that I blame them either. What are these people thinking? For those who do not know what is wanted on the National ID card here it is:

    What data will ID cards store?


  120. 122 Amy
    June 22, 2008 at 02:44

    Some people are trying to institute a national ID card here in the States as well. Something about it being a better way to control and crack down on illegal immigration. All I can think about it WWII films and the Nazi’s saying “Papers, I need to see your papers.”

  121. 123 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 02:58

    Yep, Amy along with the skin implant chip and the Drivers License becoming your debit card we can pretty much march and count off in numbers up to 6 billion…eh?

  122. 124 Will Rhodes
    June 22, 2008 at 03:19

    @ Zak

    I don’t know if you have seen the show but Mythbusters did a program that incorporated a chip that is implanted into you skin ‘for medical record reading’ – it was to prove that the said chip wouldn’t be ripped out of your skin by an MRI, which it didn’t.

    It is said if everyone had one of those chips the lives saved – medically – would be an enormous number. Maybe to get good insurance cover you will have to have one – or to fly within the US you will have to have one. It is, after all, illegal in the US to fly without showing your ID now.

  123. 125 Will Rhodes
    June 22, 2008 at 03:22


    Iran has said it considers a military attack on its nuclear facilities by Israel as “impossible”.

    “Such audacity to embark on an assault against the… territorial integrity of our country is impossible,” said spokesman Gholam Hoseyn Elham.

    The statement follows reports in the US media that Israeli aerial manoeuvres over the eastern Mediterranean were a possible test-run for a strike on Iran.

    Iran insists that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes.


  124. 126 Shirley
    June 22, 2008 at 03:31

    Amy, thank you much for the clarification. I must have read info on one case alongside info on the other and got confused. Zak, don’t give up hope so quickly. Remember that I have to deal with a dino computer, so things can get very lagged in transmission.

  125. 127 Bob in Queensland
    June 22, 2008 at 04:05


    Bob, you said, any solution to the Zimbabwe situation has to be regional, not imposed by “the west”. I agree to a certain extent, but I also think that there should be a lot more political pressure on Mugabe and other African leaders to bend to the will of the people.

    Sorry to drag you back to a post you made so long ago, but it arrived during my night time!

    I’d love there to be a way for the rest of the world to put pressure on Mugabe but, for the life of me, I can’t think of an effective way to do this. The trouble is, at any hint of outside pressure, Mugabe is very quick to “play the colonialism/imperialism card” and this is very effective with his supporters. I fear it also helps to polarise regional leaders and makes it harder to them to express criticism of Mugabe–who will accuse them of being pawns of the west.

    Military action–if anyone had the political will, which I doubt–would have the same problem but more so. Many, if not most, black African leaders would feel they had to throw their support behind Mugabe against a “colonial” invasion army. They might even be right. Much as I dislike Mugabe, imagine the outcry if the EU had invaded Florida 4 years ago because of electoral irregularities there!

    Sanctions? Well, there already are some and all they do is harm the poor and give Mugabe yet another excuse to blame the west for Zimbabwe’s ills.

    No, I can’t think of any “world” solution to the Zimbabwe problem. I really do believe that any action has to be local and regional in nature–and hope that yesterday’s statement by the Angolan President MIGHT mark the beginning of such a process. Certainly, Mugabe’s bellicose remarks about “only God being able to depose him” may have been a reaction to this and show his increasing desperation.

  126. 128 Bob in Queensland
    June 22, 2008 at 04:10

    @Will Rhodes

    I wish an Israeli attack on Iran WAS impossible but, alas, I think it all too likely.

    However, if it happens I fear the attack would be a far bigger threat to world peace than the nuclear programme itself. It would polarise both the region and the whole world and could lead, at best, to a new cold war and, at worst, to World War 3.

  127. 129 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 04:10


    Don’t worry I’m still trying to suppress my mirth about you putting the image in my head of Naomi Campbell actually killing someone by whipping them to death, or however she might have done it! How bad do you want a new computer? I’ve got an old MacBook Pro that I am halfway trying to get rid of, it’s a 2.0 ghz core duo, but it’s got a lot of ram, 2GB, and I made apple put a new Logic Board in it just recently because it was a lemon to begin with (it’s worth at least a grand).


    No I didn’t see the show but I did hear about the chip implants being used to track soldiers actually a long time back in Iraq. The military is fairly keen on using these things so it may end up getting into mainstream healthcare as well. It could definitely make blood pressure, heart monitoring easier than going to the doctor for it every time.

    Iran can sure talk a lot of smack for a country that thinks it’s so remote. I don’t really think they ever thought of a nuke in the conventional warhead sense, we’ve all been stereo typed by the 24 concept (you know that they use it in college poly-sci courses now). But I do think they’re plenty capable of getting a small triggered device from Hezbollah into Israel, even on one of their longer range rockets. So I don’t think it’s something the world wants to wake up to, if Iran won’t back down they will lose it, there’s more certainty in that then in getting a nuke.

  128. 130 Bob in Queensland
    June 22, 2008 at 04:14

    Re: ID Cards

    When I left the UK, not only was there the controversy about the whole concept but, adding insult to injury, the government wanted everyone to pay for their own at a cost of something like £60 each because they were full of modern biometric gizmos. Is this still the case?

    If so, to use an Australianism to amuse Zak, such a law would have “Buckley’s Chance” of passing.

  129. 131 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 04:21

    Well the one thing that does have a good chance of making it here which I’m all for is your DL becoming your debit card. I’m one of those who just doesn’t carry cash and it seems I always have to have a debit card, a cc, a DL, and at least 3 others every time I leave home so it would surely make my life easier.

  130. 133 Amy
    June 22, 2008 at 04:25


    Completely off the topic but what time is it there (compared to GMT)? My husband and I are having a disagreement on the time difference between us. Who cares what Goggle says…..


  131. 134 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 04:26

    Hey Amy I meant to send you this link so I’ll just put it up, every mod should have this: http://www.travel.com.hk/region/timezone.htm

  132. 135 Amy
    June 22, 2008 at 04:27


    Until they come up with a way to make DL photos better, there is NO way I want to take that horrid thing out 15 times a day. I hate my picture (it doesn’t even really look like me) and for a lot of people (okay, women) we don’t want our weight out there for people to go “there is no way you are 120 lbs.!” 🙂

  133. 136 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 04:38

    Good luck on that one Amy! I do believe Bob is in the yellow of that map in Aussie but he can confirm that, by my measure we’re 16 hours apart.

  134. 137 Amy
    June 22, 2008 at 04:43

    Queensland is in the orange part of Australia. It is in the northern/central eastern part of the country. It’s a beautiful part of the country. Of course, I’ve only been to Sydney and Brisbane (and surrounding areas) so I don’t have a lot to compare it to.

  135. 138 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 04:51

    Well then I stand corrected. That map is the only one that’s even remotely accurate though, it’s from the UV Texas, it’s amazing how many you can find that don’t do it right, but then with daylight savings time you can’t be sure half the time anyway.

  136. 139 Bob in Queensland
    June 22, 2008 at 05:06

    Hi Amy!

    Just to confirm, Queensland is a constant 10 hours ahead of GMT (since this state doesn’t have Daylight Savings Time). That means that, since the UK is on Summer Time just now, we’re 9 hours ahead of UK local time (which may be where the debate is coming from).

    Edited to add: I am, indeed, in the orange part of Australia. If you find the tiny “pointy” bit sticking out of the east coast (the one that looks like a spec of dust on your screen) then go 100km inland (and 3000 feet upwards–we’re on a plateau) you’ll find me sitting on my patio waving! BTW, for Australia at least, this map isn’t 100% accurate because it ignores Daylight Savings Time variations–some Aussie states do it and some don’t.

  137. 140 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 05:06

    That reminds me of something. I was thinking today about all the traveling I’ve done, haven’t really been all that far but within the US and the Caribbean South to Venezuela and the Spice Islands. Anyway what I was thinking is how long we will have to wait to have an environmentally friendly way of travel by plane, boat, you can always sail of course. But I waited for 10 years essentially to get my vehicle together to not be polluting, what’s another 20 to tour the world if we can say we’re not polluting as much in the process. It just really becomes a way of life and it’s an interesting notion: if you could go green where would you go?

  138. 141 Bob in Queensland
    June 22, 2008 at 05:21

    Re: Environmentally friendly long-distance travel

    Well, as this is future gazing, let’s think big!

    First off, let’s assume we can develop an environmentally friendly way of generating lots of electricity. Given that, we could extract hydrogen and oxygen from water without problem.

    …and hydrogen and oxygen would be good fuels for a rocket powered, hypersonic, sub-orbital passenger craft that could probably get you from California to Queensland in 45 minutes or so. See you for dinner later?

    Of course, I’m not holding my breath for this to be a reality!

    On the other hand, although air travel does have a carbon footprint (and, because of the altitude it has more effect than land based CO2) but in terms of overall percentages, it is miniscule compared to motor vehicles, industry, electricity generation, etc. Too often people make the mistake of thinking this is an “all or nothing” problem. If we could cure the big stuff on the ground (which WILL be possible) then continued air transport (until there’s something better) will be inconsequential.

  139. 142 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 05:47

    Well 11% isn’t quite miniscule for the US pollution, although true it’s not on the scale of cars. I’m really thinking more of the industries plan to cut emissions using biofuel blends. Despite skeptics there’s really a lot more potential for the kind of blending that reduces pollution in the airline idustry.

    This from Wiki:

    The airline industry is responsible for about 11 percent of greenhouse gases emitted by the U.S. transportation sector. Boeing estimates that biofuels could reduce flight-related greenhouse-gas emissions by 60 to 80 percent. The solution would be blending algae fuels with existing jet fuel:

    Green Flight International flew the World’s first jet aircraft on 100% biofuel. The flight from Nevadas Reno – Stead airport was in a single engine L-29 piloted by Carol Sugars and Douglas Rodante.{http://www.greenflightinternational.com/index.htm}

    * Boeing and Air New Zealand are collaborating with leading Brazilian biofuels maker Tecbio and Aquaflow Bionomic of New Zealand and other jet biofuel developers around the world.
    * Virgin Atlantic successfully tested a biofuel blend made from 20% babassu nuts and coconut and 80% conventional jet fuel fed to a single engine on a 747 flight from London to Amsterdam.

  140. 143 Amy
    June 22, 2008 at 06:06

    Signing off for the night everyone – have a great morning/afternoon/evening/night! Talk with you all on Sunday!

  141. 144 Bob in Queensland
    June 22, 2008 at 06:26

    Ah…a “glass half full or half empty” debate! I like those!

    First off, airlines are responsible for 11% of TRANSPORT greenhouse gases but of course industry and electricity generation are also huge contributors. Depending whose statistics you believe (and an awful lot of statistics come from groups who are far from independent) the total contribution from air travel is somewhere around 4%.

    So, what that means is that, if all ground-based energy use was converted to “clean” sources, we could reduce emissions by 96%. A 96% reduction would be a cure, even before they work on cleaner technology for air travel.

    As I’ve said before, there’s too much “all or nothing, black and white” thinking on the issue of climate change (and most other issues for that matter). Tackle the things that you can realistically change rather than saying “we can’t fix it all now, so why do anything?”. Air travel, though a generator of greenhouse gases, is also very much responsible for creating the “small world” we live in today. Yeah, I live a 20 hour flight from anywhere so have a vested interest–but there is FAR more to be gained by putting the effort into changing ground-based power sources and uses.


  142. 145 Bryan
    June 22, 2008 at 06:43

    Dwight from Cleveland June 21, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    “@ Bryan,

    Wow, that is great you have gathered all that information about Iran. When were you there?”

    Never. It would be the last place on earth I would like to visit, in the unlikely event that they would let me in. I have gathered that information to counteract the omission of info from the BBC on the crimes of Iran and the extraordinary threat it poses to world peace. Why does the BBC act like a groupie at a rock concert when reporting on Iran?

    Would be good if you could actually debate the points I raised rather than just dismissing them with a sarcastic comment.

  143. 146 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 07:06

    Well Bob you really have to ask why none of the other airlines have gotten around to the Virgin plan of shutting down engines after taxi waiting in line. So a lot of it is will power no doubt you’re right.

    But see the thing is alternative sources for veggie oil is the biggest thing there ever could be in the world, we ran over it on the oil debate, researchers need to find the sustainable options, but there’s some there or Boeing wouldn’t be involved with it. Personally I believe from seeing people not having a care about my 55 gallon drum behind a restaurant in my small town 2 years ago to now where people are literally stealing every last drop they can find the time is right.

    Just like it takes will power it takes the demand of the people to create the will. So my ultimate point is if everyone gets together and pushes we can make this veggie oil revolution fly. Of course the oil companies won’t have jobs and neither will the researchers so that’s a hard sell. But push will come to shove, shove will come to blows and we’ll duke this one out.

  144. 147 Bob in Queensland
    June 22, 2008 at 07:35

    @ Bryan regarding Iraq

    I’ll start off by saying I don’t work for the BBC and have never done so.

    However, in your accusation that the BBC is “like a groupie at a rock concert” when reporting on Iran, I think you make the mistake of confusing unbiased reporting with support. It is not the role of BBC news to support or condemn Iran; their only job is to state, to the best of their ability, what is happening.

    A search of BBC news reveals many pages of stories about Iran, including human rights violations, hangings for sexual crimes, the hatred of Israel and so on. It also has stories about everyday life in Iran and the policies It’s called balanced reporting.

    Similarly, in a previous post you mentioned the BBC’s Farsi service like this is a bad thing. In reality, it provides one of the few sources Iranians have of uncensored news from the outside world since their local media is strongly state controlled. Far from being an instrument of support for the Iranian government, I’m sure they view the BBC Farsi service as a major thorn in their side because it reports news from and about Iran in a factual, rather than government controlled, way.

    No news organisation can be totally unbiased but the BBC comes as close as any and far closer than most. However, it is not their job to condemn or support, just to report.

  145. 148 Bob in Queensland
    June 22, 2008 at 07:41


    As a closet aviation enthusiast (I’d love to be a pilot but can’t pass the eye test) I read a professional pilots’ forum. I’m sorry to report that the Virgin “shut down the engines and be towed” initiative is more of a press release than a reality. As soon as they tried it, they found some huge practical problems and, to a large extent, have let the idea quietly die.

    Regarding bio-fuels, I have to admit to being confused about the whole idea. On the one hand, it seems a solution to the oil problem….but then we read news stories about imminent food shortages as crops are diverted from feeding people to feeding engines.

    File me under “undecided”.

  146. 149 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 08:17

    Veggie oil has to come from sustainable sources some from algae, some from recycle, but that’s only for diesel, how much down under is diesel? The US is only 10%. Ethanol can be produced from the heating of biomass which I detailed somewhat on the oil thread. Basically you can heat biomass of any plant matter, wood, to a form hydrocarbons which give of H and CO those gases can then be compressed into a liquid form something like butane, it’s distilled to form the basics of ethanol.

    As for the Virgin failure, it was primarily because none of the other donkeys would do it. If they all agreed they would find a way to engineer the engines to a shut down.

    As for being a pilot try downloading flightgear, from http://www.flightgear.org. It’s a real free flight simulator that rocks because it’s built by pilots for pilots.

  147. 150 Julie P
    June 22, 2008 at 08:36


    RE: ID cards. The alst time I checked, which was in the last year, they wanted to charge for ID cards. I’ll confirm with my friend in London on the amount. With any luck the British government will be as incompetent as the US State Dept is with handling biometric passports. In 2007 a law was passed requiring us to have biometric passports, except for those who already have them. Running concurrent to that countries where we did not need passports to gain entry, but now do, caused a rush on the US passport that was such debacle it was laughable, Eventually they did get caught up, but what blatant incompetence in the process!. Since then I saw the US State Dept. took the law off their website and as I recall you can still get a biometric passport, but voluntarily. My brother went to get a passport in the last six months and was not required to get the biometric kind. Let’s hope the UK government handles the National ID card as badly..

  148. 151 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 08:41

    Bob are you about ready to take the reigns? I noticed JJ was balling the sunshine at noon today so you may be the only one. I can handle it for a little while longer so let me know.

  149. 152 Bob in Queensland
    June 22, 2008 at 08:51

    I’m okay to mind the shop until John is back online (or Amy awakes, whichever is sooner). I’m on dinner cooking duty, but the wonders of notebooks and wifi mean this is no problem!

    Have a good night!

  150. 153 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 09:23

    Alright quick flight story then I’m out: my dad was a pilot, ultimately after contracting Alzheimers he flew the plane like a dart right out of the sky having completely lost his senses but walked away unscathed despite totaling the plane. When I was a kid I flew with him all the time and had my pilots training out of necessity. What’s been proven now with Alzheimers advanced cases in younger patients is that they’ve most likely had those same type of lapses since their 20’s or 30’s. My Dad was 39 when I was born.

    Now he was a good pilot fortunately because we landed literally in the bush, on a dirt runway about 70 M shy of the right length. You can see where I’m getting here, there were times I began to notice when we’d be up in the air and he’d nod off seemingly just like when we were in Temple, only that was a more sustained siesta. So I learned to fly that Cessna Cardinal and I learned to get that thing on the ground through the coastal crosswinds on the bush strip with a voracious weed slapping the underside of the plane we call Scotch Broom.

    One time we came in for a landing and I had learned to grab the stick but could barely reach the training brake on the passengers side, so I had hold of that wheel and pops was gone. We hit the ground and I’m pushing for the floor and screaming at him, finally he snaps out of it and after I’d saved us from certain plummet of the end of the runway which was a 15 M drop, he hits the brakes and we stop. From that day forth I knew I could fly, although not with a license yet.

  151. 154 Bryan
    June 22, 2008 at 11:03

    Amazing story that, Zak at 9:23 am

    Bob in Queensland June 22, 2008 at 7:35 am

    Yes, the “like a groupie at a rock concert” comment was over the top, and I take your point that the BBC is meant to report and not judge but I reiterate that the BBC is biased to the hilt and it wouldn’t know what ‘balance’ was if it tripped over it.

    Yes, I have read a couple of BBC reports on ‘executions’ in Iran, but do a simple experiment: Compare the BBC’s careful reporting of theocratic Iran’s brutal ‘judicial’ killers on the one hand and its condemnatory attitude to capital punishment in democratic America on the other. The BBC is obsessive in its bashing of America. Read the superior, cynical and mocking reporting of Justin Webb and Matt Frei and then tell me that these people are not biased against America. Webb even admitted it in a rare flash of honesty:


    I don’t understand Farsi, so I can’t really comment on it, but I imagine that it would have to be pretty tame reporting otherwise the mullahs would shut it down.

    CNN’s Jane Arraf played a similar game in Saddam’s Iraq to the game the BBC is currently playing in Iran: don’t rock the boat, even if it means not bringing your public the truth, because these people are dangerous. She admitted this after the invasion. CNN rewarded her for her lack of integrity and professionalism by making her Baghdad Bureau Chief:


    The BBC continually talks about ‘balance’ but in reality it is more sympathetic to the terror regimes of this world than those who defend themselves against terror. I would really like someone to prove me wrong here, but unfortunately nobody can.

    Bob, I would guess that you are firmly positioned on the left of the political spectrum and so perceive the BBC as unbiased when it is positively pickled in left wing bias.

    How many right wing political journalists are employed at the BBC? Two? Three?
    In fact, I think we’d battle to find one.

  152. 155 Bob in Queensland
    June 22, 2008 at 11:26


    A few comments:

    First off, I take reports in the Daily Mail with a hint of scepticism. All the popular print media takes a fairly deliberate political stance, ranging from left to right–and the Mail is at the extreme right end of this spectrum.

    Regarding coverage of America vs. that of Iran, the USA almost constantly tries to assert its position on the “moral high ground” in defence of democracy…and human rights. If they assume this position then I think it is well and proper that the US should be held to a higher level of accountability. All too often, the US doesn’t pass this test–you have only to look at various miscarriages of justice on death row–or at things like Guantanamo and “water boarding”. This is not to say that the USA is anywhere close to the evil of the “judicial killings” in Iran. It’s not. But the USA must do better.

    As for the Mullah’s shutting down the BBC Farsi service, they have no way of doing so. It’s broadcast from outside the country. But they can and do try to jam the broadcasts sometimes.

    Finally, as for my political views, I’m probably more “centre right” on the spectrum. I used to be just plain to the right…but I’m mellowing with old age!

    As for the views of BBC journalists, as long as both Labour and the Conservatives complain roughly equally about bias (which they do) I’d say they have it somewhere near correct!

  153. 156 Virginia Davis
    June 22, 2008 at 12:10

    @ Bob in Queensland and Zak on the air transport issue: from riding the bus all my life and my Grandfather Davis being a ships chandler in San Francisco. I know I’ll be gone but ocean transports powered by sail and backed by nuclear engines will happen. Especially around the Pacific Rim. Sometime ago the first sail powered ship sailed from Germany across the Atlantic – reported on BBC.

    And Zak my father was one of the first men to fly – he took basic training in Berkeley and loaded up on bananas to pass the weight requirement the family story goes. He stood 5′ 4″ – was nicknamed “Shorty” – joined the French Army as the US didn’t have planes yet – Lafayette Espadrille. etc. etc. My godfather is Richard Elmendorf who flew into Mt. McKinley, as did Wiley Post and Will Rogers.
    Williston Nichols (“Shorty”) Davis

    Listening to Jakob Dylan sing “Something Good This Way Comes.” Purchased from FIRE in London earlier: Chamber Music – the poems of James Joyce set to music, out in Europe this coming week, in US in July. Previewed on All Things Considered/NPR this evening.

    That, Lubna, is what cheers me. Music. I will know for you that your exam will go well. Or if I am in a time warp, did go well.

    I’m going to google my father’s name and see what comes up, as well as http://www.smallplanet.com or org. to check out Frances Moore Lappe’s activities.

    Virginia in Oregon

  154. 157 Virginia Davis
    June 22, 2008 at 12:39

    Nothing specific for my Dad. However, the right French is “Escadrille” not the shoe.
    And the Frances Moore Lappe website is smallplanet.org

    Virginia in Oregon

  155. 158 steve b - uk
    June 22, 2008 at 13:05

    I am curently listening to ‘Reporting Religion’ on the World Service. I would like to ask WHYS people what they think of the homosexuality debate within the church. In the last few days, the BBC has reported that the brains of gay men and straight women share common charesteristics. Thus, by implication, whether or not you are gay is determined within the womb.

    Is this right?

    Even if it is not, does one person have the right to discriminate against another on grounds of sexual preference?

    Is the conservative church right in trying to maintain the literal truth of the maxim that ‘sex is for procreation only’?

    What else is going on here? Fear? Courage in a pc world? Other?

    Love to hear your views.

  156. 159 selena
    June 22, 2008 at 13:36


    I believe you are on to something. Israel will attack Iran, unless someone can stop them. And pray tell who can do that?

    They will attack and the attack will polarize the world. So, there is far more to fear from Israel than Iran…

    There is not a single world leader on the horizon who seems likely to stop the global nonsense.

  157. 160 Roberto
    June 22, 2008 at 13:41

    Yes, I have read a couple of BBC reports on ‘executions’ in Iran, but do a simple experiment: Compare the BBC’s careful reporting of theocratic Iran’s brutal ‘judicial’ killers on the one hand and its condemnatory attitude to capital punishment in democratic America on the other. The BBC is obsessive in its bashing of America.

    ——- I don’t read many beeb articles, but I do listen to their shows that come on in the early AM hours here.

    Everyone who has existed can be seen as bias by someone with an agenda, but I fail to see the America bashing on their radio programs.

    Yes, this Johnston fellow seems to have had an agenda, but think about it. His primary objective was to report on Gaza, and he did that very successfully, giving the Gaza perspective. I wouldn’t have taken his job for all the dollars squirreled away in China, and he most certainly won’t be going back anytime soon. It’s not just him bothered by Gaza either.

    I’ve heard just as many Israeli pieces giving their views along withWest Bank Palestinians and I can easily distinguish what the interviews are about. It’s called reporting and asking the tough questions.

    I live in a liberal oasis in the middle of Texas and volunteer to assist in fundraising at the local public radio station, so that’s two liberal stereotypes stacked right there for those only interested in seeing the world in strictest bipolar terms. Yet in the fundraising calls I take it is astounding how many will call in during the news hour to complain about an interview with a controversial subject like David Duke or Louis Farakahn. I’m talking really irate and accusing the station of bias.

    This ridiculous bipolar view that liberals and conservatives use to bludgeon the world with is the last dying gasps of the medieval tribal concept of seeing the world as either ONE OF US or THE OTHER.

    Now, I admit that the notorius Judy Swallow was extremely biased in the whole nature of her investigative style, asking leading questions and such, but I don’t hear her anymore. I always valued her for comic relief and used to hold mock interviews mimicking her voice which is quite fun.

  158. 161 Julie P
    June 22, 2008 at 13:45

    Concerning the election in Zimbabwe. Wow! Unbelievable.


  159. 162 selena
    June 22, 2008 at 14:18


    What is the answer?

  160. 163 steve
    June 22, 2008 at 14:21

    Interesting story on the virtual strip scan machines.


    It’s kind of odd they are saying it’s going to be tyranical, hence it must be Bush’s fault, but if you look at the article, the example they show is from the oppressive nation of the Netherlands.

    If there were any real concern to be worried about it would be from Radiation. I’ve read that in just one CT scan, you get a lifetime’s worth of exposure to radiation. This would be quite similar I would presume, and then if you are a regular traveller, that’s a LOT of radiation to be exposed it.

  161. 164 Shirley
    June 22, 2008 at 14:23

    Oh, lovely, now we’re going toinvade Mars for water? [satire]

    Zak, you cracked me up with images of Naomi Campbell whipping airport officials to death.

    Less humorous are the images coming to u from the Philippines. Does anyone have numbers?

    Word also has it that temps are reaching 120F in the shade (Arizona? can’t remember), which means 140F without shade. Very scary. Where is it? What do they have for cooling centres? Does the area have any programmes for elderly poor who need help with electricity? Do they have a reverse 911 system to check in on the elderly?

    Would you believe that cleaning kitty litter can trigger allergies and build into a respiratory infection?? If I could just work up the gumption to prep some garlic potions… I wonder if Walmart sells those medical mask dingies?

  162. 165 Julie P
    June 22, 2008 at 14:24


    I assume you mean that you are asking me what is the solution to the situation Zimbabwe. I would like to see African nations remove Mugabe from power.

  163. 166 Will Rhodes
    June 22, 2008 at 15:13

    @ Bob

    The final cost to the public is estimated to be 95 pounds each for ID cards then on top of that, 65 pounds for a passport. But the pass port figure is probably low.

  164. June 22, 2008 at 15:22

    Hi Zak, Akbar here in Tehran
    Reyr June 20th 8:06 comment, there is alarm in Tehran at Israeli attacks. The military is on alert. Petrol rationing is in force. Forecasts of drought, we have to watch water consumption and 4 hour daily power cuts are in force. Scorching hot here, with temperature in the upper nineties. I have toned down my rhetoric on Iran, although much of the criticism that is leveled at the regime from home and abroad is valid.
    On the oil issue and the current Jeddah meeting of consumers and producers: Saudi Arabia has pledged to raise production to 9.7 million bpd by July. but the undeclared 30 year war in Mideast has taken its toll on the oil industry. This is true for Iran and Iraq and probably for many other regions.
    Ethnic and religious tensions are still high in bordering Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Lebanon.
    The future of the energy market is grim. Europe is at the mercy of Russian energy giants. Moscow sets the price, and who can refuse? See what happened to Ukraine: “Pay up or freeze.”
    Russians have wizened up. Like the Germans after WW II: “Let the others do the military drudgery, let us rebuild industry.” Who can argue with that!
    Five years in Iraq, eight years in Afghanistan, Washington has been left to pick up a $2 trillion military campaign tab. Where do we go from here! Ask US President George W. Bush: “Start offshore drilling,” he advised.
    Black or white, the tune may change in the States, but no substantial change.
    Beloved Israel, home of the patriarchs, the mausoleum of Daniel the prophet is in Iran, so also the shrine of Esther, to end on a love note, and keep talking.

  165. 168 Dennis
    June 22, 2008 at 15:56


    why would someone want to own a college?

    I am very sorry for not being around right now…..

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  166. 169 Amy
    June 22, 2008 at 16:11

    Good morning/afternoon evening all. I’ll be around for the next 5-6 hours or so. I hope Saturday was a good day for you all and that Sunday is even better.

  167. 170 Bob in Queensland
    June 22, 2008 at 16:36

    Hi Amy…perfect timing as I’m now off to bed! See you all tomorrow!

  168. 171 Dennis
    June 22, 2008 at 16:47

    @ Shirley,

    I think that WAL-MART sells those kind of masks regarding the GARLIC POTIONS….

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  169. 173 selena
    June 22, 2008 at 17:13


    How would they go about doing that? I mean what would be the procedure?

  170. 174 Julie P
    June 22, 2008 at 17:20


    The same way Idi Amin was deposed. What are your thoughts on this?

  171. 175 steve b - uk
    June 22, 2008 at 17:23

    Hi Dennis

    I think it is fine to let private money into a college. Henry VIII let some nobles put up the money for Oxford colleges. Yale and Harvard have some huge donations.

  172. 176 selena
    June 22, 2008 at 17:26

    Would someone explain to me how a carbon tax is supposed to work?

    I have been doing some research but have found nothing very helpful, so far.


  173. 177 selena
    June 22, 2008 at 17:29


    I don’t have any thoughts because this sort of thing is a neverending story.

    However, I have often wondered why they just can’t remove one man.

  174. June 22, 2008 at 17:44

    @ Bryan,

    Then I suppose you believed them when they told you Iraq had WMD. Might even still be harboring a hidden desire to believe it.

    Your opinion is the sum of only everything you know. It seems that you only want to know what is bad about Iran to justify some inner need. You can’t say you don’t care about it; you took time to write on this blog that they are getting too good of a wrap. This is in spite of the fact that they pose not threat to you or your family. The CIA has said they are not pursuing nuclear weapons, the IAEA said they would at least be 20 years away if they were, and their military capabilities are no where close to being able to reach the United States. Yet the fact that the BBC has anything positive about the area or the government bothers you enough to write about.

    Making decision based only on what you already know is know as closed minded thinking. This is known as “the world is flat” mentality. Look around you and the world seems flat, everybody that you like and believe their words (because we are all narcissistic to some extent, and like people who are “like minded” to us, circular logic) tells you the world is flat. Therefore the world is flat.

    It seems that Akbar Javadi is from Iran. He’s not completely happy with his government. He seemed to feel free enough to say it. I am sure he has friends and family around him that he doesn’t want to see bombed, shot, kidnapped and taken to Cuba, become casualties to the 10,000 year war, or what ever it is that one expects the US to do about the situation in Iran. Why not report some of the good stuff going on so the whole world doesn’t think that everybody in Iran are monsters.

    Bryan I am sure there are parts of Iran that if you saw them you would want to move there. It is a country that has many beautiful and breathtaking sites. The people are as varied I demeanor as Americans.

    @ Akbar,

    So what don’t you rise up against your government, kill all of the Muslims in your country, invite all the Jews from around the world to come live there, and become peaceful and prosperous like the US.? That is what most of the neo-con’s here in the US would like to see happen. Then you can consume as much oil as you want. If you don’t have enough you could always invade Iraq and set up your own state sponsored oil companies. It is the posh thing to do these days.

    Can you explain to us why you don’t just do that so we can sleep easier at night?

  175. 179 Julie P
    June 22, 2008 at 17:45


    He’s a self imposed ruler who has made the rules to his benefit, thus making it difficult to remove him from the inside. Sure it’s a never ending saga, but I happen to believe that he has destabilized the region, which will eventually have negative consequences for the region. Ultimately, I believe it will come down to African nations to take the bull by the horns and resolve the situation probably the same way they did with Idi Amin. I can be way off the mark, but everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

  176. 180 Shirley
    June 22, 2008 at 17:53

    The problem that I have with biofuels is, so far, two-fold. 1) Food plants are diverted to fuel sources while people starve around the world. The land used for growing biofuels could also have been used to grow any number of different food crops. This echoes my argument that we humans should vastly reduce our meat consumption. I once heard thath more than 6 ounces a meat a day will sap calcium from the bones. Now I have heard that not more than three ounces is healthy (without the reference to calcium). But back to biofuels.

    2) In many places, old-growth forests are razed in order to grow those crops. Old growth forests are like carbon sponges. In my mind, the removal of carbon sponges rather cancels out the cleaner fuel source. Something else must be done. Pleae let’s have the food crops return to food production.

    By the way, was it you that reponded to me on Zimbabwe? Just wanted to acknowledge a point taken. But isn’t it similar to Myanmar and the cyclone’s flood? We didn’t force in our assistance because we wanted to maintain a delicate political balance, no? Have other African leaders been adding their voices against Mugabe? Any new news on the opposition?

  177. 181 selena
    June 22, 2008 at 18:05


    By neverending story, I meant everywhere… not just Zimbabwe.

  178. 182 Julie P
    June 22, 2008 at 18:11


    The world is a dangerous place. It always has been and it promises to stay that way.

  179. 183 Shirley
    June 22, 2008 at 18:18

    Julie P’s article. Gut feeling told me to connect and click. (I d/l WHYS pages, read, and sometimes comment after re-connecting.) Glad I did. Shocking.

    Mugabe rival quits election race
    Sunday, 22 June 2008
    Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he is pulling out of Friday’s presidential run-off, handing victory to President Robert Mugabe. Mr Tsvangirai said there was no point running when elections would not be free and fair and “the outcome is determined by… Mugabe himself”. He called on the global community to step in to prevent “genocide”.

    Violence: 75 killed, 200,000 displaced
    MDC rallies banned
    MDC leaders arrested, harassed
    Food aid not given to opposition areas
    State media refused MDC adverts
    Zanu-PF supporters to be used as election officials

    The MDC says Morgan Tsvangirai won the presidential election outright during the first round in March. The government admits he won more votes than President Mugabe, but says he did not take enough to win outright.

  180. 184 Shirley
    June 22, 2008 at 18:43

    Who is/was Idi Amin? (My apologies if you have already answered; I will be scrolling up, so I should see it if so.)

    Perhaps not all Muslims. There are plenty of Iranian Muslims whom I like and respect. I’m not sure if my own position would be well-accepted, because the list would include religious individuals. Not that such has brought me to change my views before. But among my list would be former President Khatami. Maybe “all” wasn’t such a good choice of words?

  181. 185 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 18:54


    The SF Bay Area Air Quality Management District is trying to charge a tax to collect 1.1 million starting top down from the highest polluters, so oil refineries would pay the most on down through the businesses that pollute. AQMD claim to need the money to collect the emissions data, which is true. The States are now looking at a similar plan, basically they need money to collect data. It seems trivial but there’s no question in order to monitor climate change the data has to be collected. All across the country there’s little money to do this, and oil companies don’t want to be taxed, so no doubt a less aggressive model will happen in many States shelving the burden from the pollution glutens, back down to the ordinary citizens at the pump.

  182. 186 Amy
    June 22, 2008 at 18:56


    Here is a link to learn more about Idi Amin:


    In a nut shell, he was a brutal dictator of Uganda. Forest Whitacre won an Academy Award for his portrayal of him in The Last King of Scotland (2006)

  183. 187 Dennis :)
    June 22, 2008 at 19:03

    About the private college: I would like to have someone own one right now, so i can get easy access for my education.

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  184. 188 Julie P
    June 22, 2008 at 19:07


    Thanks for providing the link on Idi Amin. Sometimes I forget that I can now remember things in decades and some of those decades are not in other people’s memory banks.

  185. 189 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 19:12

    Hey Akbar

    My sincerest wishes that Israel does not attack your country no doubt. However I would so dearly like to see them accept a joint plan with Iraq that would put solar power into the region enough to be a significant source for both countries. Iran especially would have much more to gain from this than even nuclear can provide in the next decade anyway.

    There’s an argument for sovereignty of energy and all but it’s really ridiculous that they won’t accept a plan like that which would put energy in homes across the land in a very short amount of time.

    I really hope that they come to their senses in your government before it’s too late. I wouldn’t put it past Israel to use a F22 Raptor stealth bomber to fly the mission, they’ve been trying to acquire one from the US but my guess is since that became public knowledge they’ve probably already got it. I’d be curious if any confirmed reports of this have surfaced. Google only turned up ‘reports of US lifting ban to sell’ from 2 years back. No doubt it would be a difficult mission but I don’t think Israel would do anything like what the showed in their little training sortie. It would undoubtedly be a quick air raid.

  186. 190 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 19:40

    On the Zimbabwe situation; from the perspective of non-violence as a way to further your cause do you think this was the right move?

    On Friday there was a lot of talk that the MDC would do this to force and international referendum on the subject. I am really not necessarily of the belief that an election should be an international imposition but I similarly don’t believe anything would’ve changed in the country had the MDC won. Mugabe’s own wife said as much, he wouldn’t relinquish power. So now it’s a question of how motivated the people are to overthrow him, or do we wait for the UN to impose an election?

  187. 191 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 20:11

    One more question for all:

    When you speak of biofuels why must you always ignore the millions of people who are using WVO, that’s recycled oil from restaurants? Even the EU mandates are now calling for all restaurant oil to be recycled but that’s nowhere near happening yet. Every last drop of waste oil can be used and the lard can be turned into biodiesel as well. If collectively as a world, we can get all of this we may well have enough to fuel about half the vehicles in the world, which is about all that are diesel and can burn this type of fuel.

    Otherwise you have to look at the Ethanol alternatives and there are plenty out there, the problem is not with the fuel, it’s with the government US in particular and the staunch refusal to fund anything but big oil. Remember when GW was all hot about Swtichgrass? Well they know how to use it, but how much talk do you hear about this process, which with funding could be powering our cars today.

    This is from the search for oil thread:

    Then there’s the best idea of heating any plant biomass waste, wood, grass, from lignocellulose raw material into hydrocarbons that replicate gasoline in the form of Ethanol pioneered by George Huber. This heating process goes on inside a sealed chamber and before the biomass actually burns it can yield gaseous CO and H which are extracted into liquid form, distilled it becomes Ethanol. And the excess of CO2 from the process is negligible, next to nothing.

  188. 192 viola anderson
    June 22, 2008 at 20:15

    Gonna stick my two cents worth in here. I agree with Bryan that sometimes an ongoing debate on this blog is sideswiped when someone makes points that others fail to address; instead, some opt for sarcastic comments while another may ignore the points and straight out questions (meant to elicit a viewpoint or opinion) and accuse posters of viewing anyone who disagrees with another’s view as “the Other.”

    Sarcasm is excellent and can be very funny and actually illuminate an absurdity if it is not used to avoid the issue.

    While the concept of “the Other” is extremely important, it does not trump facts and logic.

    Cheers, everyone. Some great topics. More later.

    Viola from B.C.

  189. 193 steve
    June 22, 2008 at 20:29

    Photographic evidence Sarkozy in for bad times ahead

    If you notice, EVERYONE in the picture isn’t even facing the camera, and she’s looking right at it, perfect smile, like it was almost staged, yet nobody else even notices it. When you’ve got someone as narcissistic as that.. whew… She’s gone the econd he loses power!

  190. 194 Amy
    June 22, 2008 at 20:33

    Now Steve, maybe someone called out to her and that is why she is looking in the direction of the camera…….

  191. 195 steve
    June 22, 2008 at 20:36

    Something tells me that’s not very likely Amy. The camera was probably pretty far away, not within voice range, but she could still see it. If you look, nobody but her even notices, and if they shouted something, others would have looked up, right?

  192. June 22, 2008 at 20:54


    In reality there are plenty of people out there who think “all” Muslims are a dangerous threat to the world. It is humorous to think that 10% overall registered voters still think Barack Obama is a Muslim. This is considered a negative asset as a political, especially presidential, candidate.

    I found the statistics here. http://pewresearch.org/databank/dailynumber/?NumberID=509

    I could think of a long list of people of all philosophical persuasion that if they were removed from having a sphere of influence on humanity would make for a positive gain. But I would not advocate damming an entire country, race, religion, or area just because of less then 1% of the population.

  193. 197 selena
    June 22, 2008 at 20:57


    You don’t like women much, do you Steve? 🙂

  194. 198 selena
    June 22, 2008 at 20:59


    Thanks for the post. But how is a carbon tax supposed to work?

  195. 199 Amy
    June 22, 2008 at 21:04


    I hope you know I was being sarcastic 🙂 Madam Sarkozy will most likely cut and run within a few years

  196. 200 Amy
    June 22, 2008 at 21:05

    Time for me to fulfill one of my presidential duties (at least a duty of the homeowners association). I am in charge of our block party. Be back in a few hours.

    Madam President Amy 🙂

  197. 201 steve b - uk
    June 22, 2008 at 21:09

    Bit heavy, all this.

    Anyone for Wimbledon?

    (starts this week)

    Rain and strawberries?

  198. June 22, 2008 at 21:14

    I had posted this before and I think it might have gotten overlooked. Here is the summation of a study that demonstrated that people would believe gossip even if it runs contradictory t to the facts.

    “The new study, published this week online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals individuals sometimes place so much stock in gossip that they accept it as true even if their own observations and experiences suggest otherwise.”

    So even if you touch it, see it, feel it, taste it, or hear hard evidence about a subject, you are more then likely to believe information that is gleaned through social gossip.

    I would like know what people think about this study and how it impacts voting, policies, and their own opinions.

    I have a link to the actual study if anybody is really interested in the dry explanation of the purpose, theory, methodology, and materials used to create and conduct the study.

  199. 203 steve
    June 22, 2008 at 21:21

    @ selena

    I don’t like Carla Bruni.

  200. June 22, 2008 at 21:27

    @ Steve,

    That is actually a brilliant picture. The photographer probably had more then 100 shots of that walk. Then they went through them all to determine which one to submit. There are probably 75% where she wasn’t looking at the camera.

    When taking a picture of that nature, you never what to show the men looking into the camera. It makes them look like they are staring. It is a sign of aggression. At the same time you want females to look right into a camera. It is construed as very sexy, and very inviting. Very much like flirting. The fact that she is the only one looking makes her stand out which I would be certain that was the intent of the photographer. The photographer probably had many pictures where Sarkozy was the one looking or any combination of the men looking at the camera.

    Take notice of this from now on when you look at a picture and think, she is sexy, or he looks mean or evil. Where the focal point is in relation to the camera angle can change the expression of the picture.

  201. 205 Luz María Guzmán from Mexico
    June 22, 2008 at 22:13


    I don´t like her either. I think you are right. She looks like she is posing all the time.

  202. 206 Bryan
    June 22, 2008 at 22:47

    Dwight in Cleveland June 22, 2008 at 5:44 pm,

    Dwight, please spare me the pop psychology. You have no way of knowing what my motives are or who or what I am. Nobody is building up a fantasy about the evil of Iran. They are achieving that all by themselves. There no need for me to repeat my observations made yesterday at 7:47 pm. Nothing I said then is false, especially the attitude of the BBC to Iran. And if you think I’m being scathing about the Iranian rulers you should chat to Iranian dissidents and see what they have to say. By the way, I’m not American. Does Iran represent a threat to me? Damn right it does.

    viola anderson June 22, 2008 at 8:15 pm,

    Thanks for that. Remember that old saying, “Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.”

    steve June 22, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    You are probably right about Carla Bruni. I think I saw a photo of her attending the funeral of Yves Saint Laurent. Now one can understand her seeking the camera out since she’s a model, but at a FUNERAL??

    Bob in Queensland June 22, 2008 at 11:26 am

    As if to illustrate my point, the Iranians shut down a newspaper today because it was critical of Ahmedinejad. But I take your point about the Farsi service broadcast from outside the country. Still, journalists like the BBC’s Frances Harrison are inside the place, so in that respect the BBC is obliged to deliver tame, respectful reporting and not rock the boat too much.

  203. 207 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 22:52

    Carla Bruni, as in the same one who made her fortune selling shots of herself staring at the camera? There are reasons one might not like her but If that’s a reason why not throw in Elle Macpherson, Rachel Hunter, Naomi Campbel, why stop there?

    The one model who’s caused some legitimate controversy based on her living alone is Bar Refaeli. She’s the first Israeli born SI model, cover model. But some in her home country blame her for skipping duty in the military and there are rumored reports that she said, off the record of course, something to the effect of “…yes I’m glad I didn’t have to serve in the military” (because I’m making filthy sums of money taking most of my clothes off in the US).

    That puts me on the fence, I mean if she goes out and blows herself up with silicone it’s about the same as a tour in the military and then she’s definitely a traitor. On the other hand if she can make a name for her country with her natural beauty that may do more than a tour in the military. One way to settle it would be to put her in a contest with Ilanit Levy, the former Israeli soldier who was a miss universe candidate, but I have a feeling Bar wouldn’t feel very comfortable about that idea.

  204. 208 Zak
    June 22, 2008 at 23:25

    But how is a carbon tax supposed to work?

    Theoretically it will differ from the cap and trade system where companies pay fines for exceeding emissions limits but not directly for all emissions; to a more permanent fee structure per emissions basis. But it’s still in it’s infancy and there is a lot of opposition to it. The one principle that sticks with it is, the bigger the polluter, the more they’ll pay. A statewide program would have to be assessed more unilaterally and that’s what big oil is favoring. Basically once the State sets an emissions limit then it can then implement a gradual fee basis for all emissions produced from the top polluters down. CA will have the hardest time until we get the Govenator out of office implementing a statewide Carbon Tax. Pennsylvania and Minnesota have already taken measures to reduce emissions produced by the great number factories in the States. I know my own State plan is still awaiting the ballot; the Bay Area one is the only place it’s passed the vote.

  205. June 22, 2008 at 23:34

    @ Bryan,

    Let me introduce you to another group of dissidents. Iraqis Dissidents to be exact. Do a quick search of your favorite reliable source about the Iraqi National Congress (INC). Lead by Amed Chalabi. They guaranteed us that Iraq had a nuclear weapons program. The people would welcome the US troops with open arms, and that they could guarantee that the infrastructure would switch control without missing a beat. They were given millions of tax dollars to support their cause. They were later exposed and criminals and frauds that hadn’t been in touch with accurate informants in years.

    No one is building up the fantasy of the evil of Iran?
    First of all in December of 2006 there is this. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6205295.stm
    “If necessary, we will not hesitate to return to this body if Iran does not take further steps to comply,”. And Bush felt the need to send a “strong message”.

    In contradiction there is this report in November of 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6167304.stm.

    If you would like to read a national intelligence report it can be found here. A lot of reading but confirms the new reports.

    So if a leader knows that your intelligence community has found that they are not pursuing a nuclear WMD program, but that leader keeps insisting that there is one, how is that not “building up a fantasy”? http://www.dni.gov/press_releases/20071203_release.pdf

    What form of threat do you feel from Iran?

  206. June 22, 2008 at 23:48

    “Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.”
    More “conventional wisdom” that is neither conventional nor wise.

    Oddly enough this came out a few days ago. http://www.livescience.com/history/080620-hn-sarcasm.html

    And a study for a few years back. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1409197/posts

  207. 211 Julie P
    June 22, 2008 at 23:54

    It’s good to come back from replenishing the chocolate supply and taking a refreshing stroll along the river to see light banter in the forum. Keep up the good work!

  208. June 23, 2008 at 00:15

    I don’t see how McCain can claim a moral advantage over Obama for changing his decision on public financing? Doesn’t anybody remember from a few months back that McCain was trying to renege on public financing choice after his campaign started picking up steam? The FEC had to set him straight.


  209. 213 selena
    June 23, 2008 at 00:17

    @ Bryan

    Where do you live and does your country represent a threat to Iran?

  210. 214 Zak
    June 23, 2008 at 00:25

    It seems to me now Obama is on the honor system, he’s pledged not to take $ from special interests groups through the general election and this doesn’t seem to change it. I read that he made 10 million previously including from special interests as part of his Senate campaign and sealed it from use in the general election. The general fund is tied as much to those same interests so what does he really have to lose this way, given the contributions are now all private funding?

    If anybody can explain how private funding really works since it hasn’t been done for 30 odd years I’d truly appreciate it. What are the limitations? Can a candidate go back into their own reserves or sealed money?

  211. 215 Julie P
    June 23, 2008 at 00:31


    This is the easiest way to explain campaign financing. I perused the article and it’s the way I understand it.


  212. 216 selena
    June 23, 2008 at 00:32


    Re: Obama

    Obama said that he would accept public funds for his election campaign.

    It seems that if the candidates accept public funds (up to $85 million dollars) they forgo the ability to collect donations from the the general public and lobbyists.

    Obama said that he was going to take public money. Now he says he isn’t. That leave the door open for lobbyists.

    Obama says his money comes from small donations from his supporters. But he has done another flip flop!

  213. 217 Zak
    June 23, 2008 at 00:39

    I know the door is open but he hasn’t done it so far and he’s pledged against it…So we’ll have to wait and see. And thanks Julie I actually ran into that article too.

    Selena if you want the nitty gritty on the Carbon Tax get the podcast to Living on Earth, I’m listening to Fridays show and they get into how the cap and trade is going to be adjusted in CA. They’re mainly after the transportation and electric industry which is probably what you’re hearing because the electric industry has to be regulated from Canada, BC, down through CA for the sharing agreements. It hasn’t been made official yet but the State is closer than we were after the last vote in March.

  214. 218 Amy
    June 23, 2008 at 01:23

    Back from my presidential duties. Catching up on the posts. Seems like not to many people are fans of Madam Sarkozy.

  215. 219 Jonathan in cool, grey San Francisco
    June 23, 2008 at 01:53

    Greetings all, and a tip of my hat to the moderators, JJ, Amy, Zak, et alia. Mods, I’m trying to get a notion of what a moderator does, and I would love to hear any thoughts and experiences, to my private email, which I think is visible to you. Thanks! Yesterday was freakishly hot in San Francisco and my brain was absolutely useless. Today it’s brisk again and I’m looking at a thoughtful and civilized page, hooray. The one a few days ago about oil production was unutterably depressing. Are weekends and blank pages usually more well-behaved than the weekday ones? That would be one more reason why weekends are the best part of the week (as if there could be any question, JJ!) .

    Oh–How does one change one’s avatar?

  216. 220 Amy
    June 23, 2008 at 02:03

    I’d like to know the answer for changing the avitar as well. I like my green design but I’d like to know how in case I want to be creative.

  217. 221 Zak
    June 23, 2008 at 02:25

    Avatar change: access your profile once you’re logged into your wordpress account from the far left top of the screen pull down menu (mods can do this from the dashboard too).

    Now putting a photo up is fairly easy, you just have to have one on your computer and upload it. It takes awhile to appear when you make a change.

    As for changing the gravatar image which is what those things are, based on various mathematic schemes. They are generated by the user so it seems but I’m not positive how you can get another one of those. I’ll check…Nope, from what I can tell the gravatars are generated at random for each user.

  218. 222 Amy
    June 23, 2008 at 02:43

    Zak – It worked!! This is a photo from Disneyland last summer – when you are there with children, it can truly be the happiest place on Earth.

  219. 223 Jonathan in cool, grey San Francisco
    June 23, 2008 at 03:02


    Howdy! Where in Oregon are you? As a sunbather, I was very happy to read the melanoma story you provided yesterday. Of course any revolutionary treatment when it’s still experimental is near-impossible to get, to afford, or to insure. But when it comes online it should be great. Gene therapy will transform medicine completely over the next 20 years: cancer, heart disease, Alzheimers, and most disorders will be grim history like polio and smallpox are now, surgery a rare resort, and the price of health care nshould finally return to reality.

    From yesterday– You’re quite right about informed and civilized debate; to that end I’ll inform you about oil markets. You said that “demand hasn’t really changed that much.” You might have meant United States demand, but that’s not a relevant figure since the oil market is global. It’s all one pool of oil, shipped to whoever buys it. The global oil demand rose by a million barrels a day from 206 to 2007, a 1.1% rise not met by production increases, and demand keeps growing faster. Hence higher prices. No wacky conspiracy theory needed to explain it.

    Finally to Zimbabwe, where the news is utterly unsurprising and hardly qualifies as news. it’s legitimate to say, US, UN, Europe, etc. shouldn’t interfere in Zimbabwe, but we should be honest about it. Along with Rwanda, Darfour, Congo, and on and on, if the West doesn’t help, they’re doomed. “Leave it for African governments” means leave them all to die, because African governments are useless. They’ve sat and watched for years as Mugabe destroyed the country. The removal of Idi Amin is not a success story for African humanitarianism; he started, and lost, a war with Tanzania. Mugabe is right: Only God will remove him. Too bad.

  220. 224 Jonathan in cool, grey San Francisco
    June 23, 2008 at 03:15

    Hey, thanks, Zak. I think wordpress calls these default avs “identicons” and gravitars are yet another kind of avatars. I don’t have a wordpress account so I guess I’ll go get one. WP says the identicons are derived from email addresses.

  221. 225 Amy
    June 23, 2008 at 03:24


    You are correct about demand. I was just thinking US demand and refineries going offline just before our busy summer driving season. The global demand is rising and I honestly don’t see it waning anytime soon. I just think about conspiracies when it comes to our current administration 🙂

  222. 226 Zak
    June 23, 2008 at 03:33

    Geese Louise Amy you must have been sunburned if you have fair skin! I’m adding here Amy: that is weird! I’ve never seen that color except when someone falls asleep in the sun or in full blush.

    You’re right Jonathan the site where they’re hosted is http://www.gravatar.com but the actual figures are as you said. And I found if you click that link to the website it will let you change your avatar based on their choices-cool.

    Aside from being an image that’s been seen by over 10 million people my avatar reminds me to always do my critical thinking with a man’s brain and a child’s heart in my mind. I had a very unique upbringing where several of us of the 10 in my graduating class from 8th grade tested as geniuses. We literally wrote our own 8th grade curriculum and had many of our classes outside under Redwood groves, we covered more ground in that year than any year after in my school days.

  223. 227 Amy
    June 23, 2008 at 03:38


    I actually was wearing my sunscreen and hat that day 🙂 It is just the shadow from the hat and the canopy of the train my youngest and I were riding. Believe me, after my careless youth spent sun bathing, I am diligent about sun screen for me and my girls.

    In addition Zak, when you see the picture full screen, I’m not nearly as red. And it takes a LOT to make me blush.

  224. 228 Zak
    June 23, 2008 at 03:53

    The Philippine President, Gloria Arroyo, has demanded an explanation as to why the ferry was allowed to leave port on Friday despite warnings that a typhoon was about to hit.

    Good Lord yes! Shirley mentioned this earlier but this article was from 2 hours ago.

    Well I can now add Typhoon to the list of calamities we have seen to the most extremes of weather around the globe. I really hope Abdi and I can do next weekend; he’s in Kenya where there’s so little water, and around the Orient there’s more water than ever, like the mid-West US. Death toll could be at 1000 already and the images are graphic.

  225. 229 Bob in Queensland
    June 23, 2008 at 04:03

    Good morning/afternoon/evening all!


    Another comment from way back when–time zones seem to work against us having a real-time conversation!

    Thanks for the comments on biofuels–you’ve succinctly outlined the concerns that stop me supporting the idea whole-heartedly. On top of the two things you mention, the other consideration is that you’re still burning a hydrocarbon to produce energy.

    Re: Zimabawe

    The situation there is like Burma (I refuse to call it Myanmar, by the way) taken to an even more extreme level. The generals in Burma have the tacit and somewhat grudging support of a few other countries against outside interference. Mugabe, on the other hand, manages to get away with blaming outside interference for all his country’s ills and, for historic reasons, has tended to have the active support of surrounding countries. I’m sensing that he is now so far “over the top” that this might be changing but, for now, countries from outside the region still risk inflaming rather than solving the problem.

    Re: Carla Bruni

    I’ve tried. I’ve really tried. But I just can’t make myself care one way or another. I do agree that photo editors are trawling through hundreds of shots to find the ones where she is looking good and ignoring anyone else in the photo though.

    Re: Philippine Ferry

    The most recent newscast I heard seemed to say that, at the time of departure, a typhoon was on its way but that sailing conditions were supposedly well within the safety range for the ferry. Maybe a failure of communications or even weather forecasting?

  226. 230 Zak
    June 23, 2008 at 04:12

    There is a CO2 free way to manufacture hydrocarbons without using gasoline. But no one seems to realize that you’re being sucked into the paralyzing fear vortex of big oil to believe what Bush says, it’s still ‘a ways off.’ That’s just bunk, there’s just too much greed keeping people blindly accepting oil as the only way.

    If you can read this research overview and tell me the problem is with the source OK: George Huber Amherst UV

  227. 231 Amy
    June 23, 2008 at 04:21

    Yeah!! We are well over 200 posts. Thank you everyone for your contributions. I’m still around for another couple of hours but wanted to wish everyone a wonderful and safe week ahead. Both of my girls will be in a summer camp so I will get a few hours each day of blissful quiet.

  228. 232 Jonathan in cool, grey San Francisco
    June 23, 2008 at 04:58

    And a wonderful week to you too Amy! Not just 200 posts, but 200 relatively sane, civil posts. When I learn more about the process of moderation, I will know how much credit goes to you. (Big grin here.)

    The Bush administration is a nightmare and not to be trusted .Fortunately, they don’t run the oil market, no matter how attractive the consipiracy theories might seem. They’re not even coherent; at first, crazy people said that Bush invaded Iraq to take their oil so we’d have lot s of cheap oil. We didn’t take any of their oil, and there’s a shortage of oil, and its price has quadrupled. Without pausing for a breath, the same crazy people are now saying Bush engineered THAT. One shouldn’t even have to bother refuting them when they change their story 180 degrees.

  229. 233 Bob in Queensland
    June 23, 2008 at 05:08


    That paper makes a good case for the MANUFACTURE of biofuels, but as long as you’re producing hydrocarbons then burning them, carbon dioxide will be a by-product. As pointed out in the paper, there are savings in terms of the long-distance transport that currently happens with oil, but it doesn’t address the big issue of what happens inside the internal combustion engine.

    One thing I did find interesting was his mention of producing hydrogen. If that happened in sufficient quantity, you’d have a totally clean fuel, the only by-product of burning being water. Of course, you’d have to modify the engine but that would not be too difficult.

    However, on top of this, to be really valid, the production method would have to NOT involve using food-producing farmland or destroying forests.

  230. 234 Jonathan in cool, grey San Francisco
    June 23, 2008 at 05:20

    OK, Bob Q., but how do ya know that all of chemistry and physics aren’t part of the big conspiracy, all tools of Dick Cheney too? And economics, and logic…..

  231. 235 Zak
    June 23, 2008 at 05:38

    Do you realize that Ethanol is %85 cleaner than gasoline? That’s what they’re making. If we had that level of fuel burning global warming would be a snap. The truth is if we reduced globally by %10 we’d be OK on vehicle emissions. CA says it can sustain 2 million electric plugin hybrids, but how long do you think it will take to get that many built?

  232. 236 Bob in Queensland
    June 23, 2008 at 05:52

    Yup, pure ethanol is something like 85% cleaner than gasoline, but I’m curious about how much would have to be consumed.

    My reason for asking is that, down here, it’s easy to buy a fuel which is 10% ethanol/90% gasoline and this can be burned in most cars without modification. Thinking I’d “do my part” I started buying it and soon found that my mileage was reduced by something like 20%–so I was actually burning more gasoline!

    “YMMV” as they say!

    Seriously, I don’t want to come across as negative–I just want to understand the WHOLE picture before making a judgement. These are complicated issues.

  233. 237 Bob in Queensland
    June 23, 2008 at 05:53

    @ Jonathan


    Yeah, I’m sure Bush and Cheney see the laws of physics and chemistry more as sort of “guidelines” which can be ignored when there’s a good reason!

  234. 238 Zak
    June 23, 2008 at 05:58


    Do you honestly believe that at the time of the invasion of Iraq the US was dealt an even price or share of oil?

    Furthermore do you understand the objective that Bush overtly laid out of “breaking up the Nations of OPEC”.

    You should have heard my conversation with Kevin Phillips, former economics adviser for the Nixon admin now turned independent, on KALW’s Your Call. It’s not a conspiracy that OPEC was not thwarted by the US invasion. Neither is it a secret that they don’t particularly like the US, and moreover that they will do just about anything to keep the US from gaining control of oil. Do you wonder why talk of invading Iran is still on the table?

  235. 239 Zak
    June 23, 2008 at 06:08

    Bob how much diesel down under?

    Ideally it’s diesel, it’s all about viscosity. With diesel the higher the viscosity the mileage goes up, with gas it goes down. Eventually all internal combustion will have to be diesel. My truck should get about 25-35 mpg on diesel but on veggie oil I get 30-40.

    The reason to make ethanol is to make Ethelester based biodiesel which is much cleaner than the Methylester stuff they’re making now out of methanol.

  236. 240 Amy
    June 23, 2008 at 06:19

    Just saw that George Carlin has died. The world has lost a great soul.

  237. 241 Zak
    June 23, 2008 at 06:30

    Wow somewhere in heaven there’s a white guy looking for a blond black woman! Another reason, better than ever if never before, to see Car Wash.

  238. 242 Amy
    June 23, 2008 at 06:40

    Folks, it has been an experience sharing this weekend with all of you. I’m off to bed but look forward to catching up in the morning. Thanks for everything!

  239. June 23, 2008 at 06:46

    Hi Zak,Dwight in Cleveland, Amy, Shirley and Bryan

    Akbar here in Tehran

    Thku so much for focus on Iran.
    The nearest we have come to D Day was this time last year. A technical hitch offset plans.
    I like former president Seyed Mohammad Khatami. His ‘Dialogue Among Civilizations’ has a long way to go.
    Iran must accept international inspection of all its nuclear facilities and end uranium enrichment forthwith. We don’t need it, we don’t want it and it is over-priced.
    I saw extensive use of solar energy in Cyprus, but could it sustain industrial usage? It is still patchy, and low grade.

  240. 244 Jonathan in cool, grey San Francisco
    June 23, 2008 at 07:06

    Bob Q. ~~

    Yup, I saw the leaked memo: the Office of Legal Counsel said all that stuff was “quaint.” The Presidency now has literally limitless power over the universe. I’m sure we can count on their wisdom and benevolence.

  241. 245 Bob in Queensland
    June 23, 2008 at 07:06

    Down here, diesel is more expensive than standard unleaded. I live in one of the cheapest parts of Aus to buy gasoline or diesel, and the pump price here is about Aus$1.80 a litre for diesel, and about Aus$1.55 a litre for unleaded.

    If I’ve converted the measure and exchange rates properly, that’s about US$6.50 a gallon for diesel.

    It’s worth saying the the price difference between here and the US isn’t really to do with the cost of the fuel; it’s the amount of tax. As a recent arrival from the UK, the Aus prices seem low–fuel tax in the UK puts the price there REALLY high!

    I guess it’s worth saying that diesel power is not without it’s drawbacks. We’re all focussing on CO2 emissions just now, but diesel exhaust is quite high in particulates, some of them quiet dangerous.

    As an aside, before leaving the UK for Australia, the family and I did a “grand tour” saying goodbye to friends and seeing the country for the last time. Driving along the shore of Loch Ness, we followed a van (carrying a rock band) that advertised it was fuelled by converted vegetable oil. The exhaust made it smell like we were following a fish and chips shop and made us all quite hungry–in fact we had fish and chips for dinner that night!

  242. 246 Bob in Queensland
    June 23, 2008 at 07:09

    Re: George Carlin, RIP.

    I remember his very early standup (it may even have been on Ed Sullivan!) where he did a skit about being a DJ on a radio station called “Wonderful WINO” doing all the sound effects and “stings” himself. To this day I copy some of this routine!

  243. 247 Jonathan in cool, grey San Francisco
    June 23, 2008 at 07:15

    Zak, I’d love to continue this exchange but I think when the moderator says goodbye, the joint is closing, right? I don’t want to be in the place, eating obliviously, when they start vacuuming the floor and scowling. Send me a howdy by email if you like.

  244. 248 Zak
    June 23, 2008 at 07:29

    Bob diesel=alternatives. If you like I’ll send you some good source material to show you where the real alternative fuels are going down. But the problem you mentioned with the gas engine is real. You can’t use straight Ethanol because it’s too viscous. It’s only the blending of it for now that can subsist but it’s no secret that diesel is the only way for alternatives otherwise it’s electric hybrids. Eventually America will realize why Europe is well over half already and pushing for all diesel. This link has the accurate emissions tests, notice with biodiesel the NOX is actually more than diesel but because of C02 reduction it lowers the particulate matter. http://www.greasecar.com/tech.cfm

    And my greasecar kit keeps em’ coming back to my restaurant for more, oh yeah, every time I visit the local shops in the evening they all start pining for it, it’s a fish and chips town, I had fish and chips tonight!

  245. 249 Zak
    June 23, 2008 at 07:39

    good to hear from you. The kind of solar that’s being manufactured now in China is the kind you want, it’s what they’ll hopefully be investing into Africa for. There’s a new type of Nanocrystalline solar cell which captures the solar and the cells are surrounded by a gel. This allows the cells to move and they collect about 10 times more light than the old ones and because they use less Silicone they’re more environmentally friendly and they last longer. The problem with Silicone is that it wears out over time.

  246. 250 Zak
    June 23, 2008 at 07:42

    Bob it’s all you on the mod squad. Hopefully Abdi and I will be pulling another blank page party next weekend.

    Thanks Amy and John for steppin up!

  247. 251 Bob in Queensland
    June 23, 2008 at 08:31

    Mod squad huh? I’ll dig out my flares and paisley shirt. G’night Zak!

  248. 252 Julie P
    June 23, 2008 at 12:38

    Wow! George Carlin died! And only 71.

    I grew up in Milwaukee. I do not remember George Carlin getting busted for “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television”. I was only eight or nine at the time. I can remember my parents and older siblings trying to figure out what all of the words were though.

    I loved George Carlin’s “The Hippie Dippie Weatherman, Man” though and his act about the name George never ends. G-E-O-R-G-E-O-R-G-E…

  249. 253 Simon
    June 23, 2008 at 20:37

    Heard on BBC World Service 05:30am tuesady 24 June.Comments on Pesticides.My view: Every ounce (or ml ) of pesticide produced is dumped into the environment eventually.Every ml of those “cleaners” such as Teflon toilet cleaner eventually gets into the environment.Decade after decade corprations such as Monsanto argue these chemicals are required to keep productivity up for mankinds welfare.

    Each time we use these chemicals we leave an incraseingly toxified planet for our decendants.Cancer now effects one in two people in their lifetime, increasing cancer is noted anongst younger and younger women, who are more prone to cancer than men due to their physiology.

    Don not be fooled by corporations that argue this planet is an endless dumping ground for chemicals , many of which do not break down for decades or scores of decades.Teflon, ether and benzene do not break down for hundreds or thousands of years.

  250. 254 Zak
    June 23, 2008 at 21:08

    Hi Simon you can always feel free to post new material on our talking points page which is at the top after the on-air portion; it’s a brainstorm page like this one which spans the weekend.

    This is definitely a valid subject, my family has lost 2 members very young to cancer. The more we hear about Methyl Bromide which is a primary pesticide in foods like Strawberries, the more we know why people get cancer. Hops in beer also have a serious problem. What’s worse is the word ‘Natural’ on food labels, it truly doesn’t hold food to much in the way of standards.

  251. 255 Bryan
    June 23, 2008 at 22:29

    Akbar Javadi June 23, 2008 at 6:46 am

    Hi there, Akbar. Sorry, I feel another rant against Iran coming on.

    Dwight in Cleveland June 22, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    “So if a leader knows that your intelligence community has found that they are not pursuing a nuclear WMD program, but that leader keeps insisting that there is one, how is that not “building up a fantasy”?”

    I understand that report has been widely discredited. Certainly the Israelis don’t believe it, and who would be in a better position to judge the Iranian threat? Looks like the Arabist State Department has broadened its horizons to become apologists for Iranian state terror.

    I’m not sure what the Iraqi National Congress has to do with Iranian dissidents. You can draw distant parallels but that doesn’t prove anything. Besides, we don’t have to rely on the word of dissidents for knowledge of how Iran terrorises its own citizens and those of other countries. Would you be happy living in a country where the fifteen-year-old girl next door, innocent of any crime, can be arrested, brought before a kangaroo court and hanged from a crane with the ‘judge’ personally putting the noose around her neck because he didn’t like the way she behaved towards him in court?

    I note that pro-Iran people on this forum, with the possible exception of Akhbar, will not deal with the points I made on Saturday at 7:47 pm regarding Iran’s arming, training and sponsoring of Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad terrorists with the goal of killing Israeli civilians and attacking Israel and bringing the country to its knees.

    How you conclude that Iran represents no threat to anyone is beyond me. It’s not only a threat, it is actively waging covert war against Israel through proxies, and this after Israel withdrew from Lebanon, representing no threat whatsoever to Iran and friends until Hezbollah attacked two years ago – which obliged Israel to go on the counter-attack.

    And let’s not forget Iran’s very real threat to the sovereignty of Lebanon through Syria, and Iran’s heavy involvement in Iraq against coalition forces.

    I am genuinely baffled as to why people can’t see this threat. Ahmedinejad keeps on telling us that he wants to wipe Israel off the map. When are you going to start believing him? When he has the means to do it?

  252. June 24, 2008 at 03:30

    @ Bryan,

    That report has not been “widely discredited”. The current administration would like to do so. Show me one credible source that has discredited that report. That is all I have to say about that.

    The Israelis intelligence networks are far inferior to ours in the region. Try to find a Muslim that speaks Arabic and Farsi, understands the culture, and is smart enough to gather accurate data in the Israeli population.

    In which country do you want to start crucifying for human rights violations? Sudan, Zimbabwe, Congo, Tibet, or any number of a hundred countries around the world would fit the bill. While I don’t agree or pretend to understand the way they treat women and sex, it is their country, their society, and their culture. That is no threat to me or my friends or family. I got enough business of my own to worry about. It has only been 60 years ago that we stopped considering African less then human. They weren’t allowed to vote, drink from our fountains, or go to our schools. Judges looked the other way as these Americans were brutally murdered. I don’t know a person black white or indifferent that would have wanted another country to invade us and show us how to be like them. It has only been a few hundred years since we slaughtered the native Americans and stole their land to create this great nation. Every area of the world has a similar if you go back far enough.

    The INC has exactly the same credibility as many of the current Iranian dissidents. It is not a parallel, but a carbon copy of the situation.

    If there were a country that had the US outgunned and out manned that had called us “evil” and said that the nuclear option was on the table. If that country was invading Mexico, you had better believe we would be training and sending soldiers into Mexico to meet them there before they decided to cross into our borders. It is easy to claim the moral high ground when you have the financial and military one.

    Looking at the history of Israel, you will see they inserted themselves into a place they were not welcome and then claimed squatter’s rights. It is their right as an evolutionary force. 60 years ago Israel didn’t exist. Now they are one of the strongest forces in the Middle East. It would be kind of like if the Mexican immigrants in Texas and California just up and stated they were now a self governing country. Still they are no threat to me or my family. We are all still more like to die from McDonald’s cheeseburgers or tainted food from China then a Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad terrorists attack.

    Really, governments waging proxy wars? Man I bet Iran is the first one to do that. (sorry that was some “low witted sarcasm.) This includes proxy government in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and oh yeah, Lebanon.

    Again let us not forget that Ahmedinejad might keep saying he wants to remove Israel from the map. But the US called them part of “the axis of evil” and refused to “take the nuclear option off the table.” Considering our history of their use and our actuall posession of the tools to do it, I believe George Bush might be more believable then Ameddinejad. Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.

    I don’t know where you are from, but I can guarantee you that you are more then likely to die from a lightening bolt, a drunk driver, or a bad case of ganeria then you are a Jihadi attack. As far as the 15 year old girl goes. Here is a story and a life lesson. http://darwinawards.com/darwin/darwin1995-01.html
    The moral of the story, Let the chicken save itself.

  253. 257 Bryan
    June 24, 2008 at 11:19

    Dwight, I give up. No time right now but here are a few quick points:

    *You are no comparing like with like.

    *Iran is not sending “soldiers” into Iraq. It is sending explosives, other weapons and terrorists. Unlike soldiers they have no uniforms.

    *Jews have lived in the area between the Jordan and the Mediterranean since the time of ancient Israel and the area has never been “Jew-free”, no matter how much oppression they came under from a long succession of conquerors and no matter how much people would like to try to distort history. Israel is not “squatting in the area. Where do you get these ideas?

  254. June 24, 2008 at 15:20

    The Jews moved to the area in waves called “Aliah’s”. They started in the 1880’s as “waves”. I got my information from reading a lot of books. Many of them are listed in support of this article. http://www.a013.com/wiki/Aliyah. I am not a big fan of using Wikipedia, but I have read many of the materials sited as source. The question then becomes, where did you get your information. I have made a decent effort of supplying mine when questioned.

    Condoning the Jewish movement back to the land know known as Israel would be exactly like condoning the native American Indian’s return to their Ancestral lands. I don’t think you will find too many Americans willing to abandon their houses, go back to whatever land their parents came from, and be happy. If some outside force tried to force them to do it you can rest assured that the US citizenry would fight back with everything they had. The first American patriots didn’t wear uniforms either.

    Wow, you don’t mean like we gave Saddam conventional and biological weapons to use against Iran in the 80’s? Maybe you have seen this picture? http://ming.tv/flemming2.php/_d10/_v10/__show_article/_a000010-000496.htm . How many people’s fate was sealed with that handshake of a patriotic American. How about the US funding of the Taliban and other militias against the Russians? Do you think we funded and trained them to wear uniforms and abide by Geneva conventions? Now 25 years later US are fighting the people they funded. Many of them were involved in the original deal. The hypocrisy runs rabid in these assertions. We should have just let Russia turn Afghanistan communistic. There would have been no room for Osama in the area.

    This is about as close to apple to apple as history will allow. Many have said it is just “repeating itself”. I have always wondered how so many Germans took up Hitler’s cause. I am starting to see how easily the population can forget the past and be manipulated.

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