This Diplomacy Thing Is Working Out Great: Quote Of The Day

From Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and Relevant Provisions of Security Council Resolutions 1737 [2006], 1747 [2007], and 1803 [2008] in the Islamic Republic of Iran, May 26, 2008:

17. One aspect of the alleged studies refers to the conversion of uranium dioxide to UF4, also known as green salt. A second aspect concerns the development and testing of high voltage detonator firing equipment and exploding bridgewire (EBW) detonators including, inter alia, the simultaneous firing of multiple EBW detonators; an underground testing arrangement (GOV/2008/4, para. 39); and the testing of at least one full scale hemispherical, converging, explosively driven shock system that could be applicable to an implosion-type nuclear device. A third aspect of the studies concerns development work alleged to have been performed to redesign the inner cone of the Shahab-3 missile re-entry vehicle to accommodate a nuclear warhead.

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Shazam! Sunday News Roundup: May 25, 2008

 Captain Marvel

Top Story! – Turkey: “Common Ground” Found In Israel-Syria Talks

A common ground was reached in Israel and Syria talks that were held in Istanbul during the week and the indirect talks between the two countries would continue, the Turkish foreign minister said on Thursday…[click here for more]

Environmental News – EU Agrees To Outlaw “Green Crimes”

After eight years of negotiation, the European Parliament has reached an agreement with member states on legislation that will force national governments to apply criminal sanctions to those causing deliberate or negligent damage to the environment…[click here for more]

U.S. Politics News – Senate Race in Minnesota Shows Power Of Bloggers

On a laptop at a kitchen table in this cheery Twin Cities suburb, headlines ripping into Al Franken, the satirist whose campaign for the United States Senate is seen as one of the most competitive in the nation, are written up day after day for Minnesota Democrats Exposed, a political blog created by a former Republican Party researcher…[click here for more]

Asia News – Burma “Still Uses Child Soldiers”

Burma has been named as the most persistent user of child soldiers, with thousands in its armed forces – some as young as 11, a human rights group says…[click here for more

Business News – Fund Manager Is To Refinance Stalled Auction-Rate Notes

Nuveen Investments, the largest American manager of closed-end funds, said on Wednesday that it had a commitment for up to $1.75 billion in liquidity support to help refinance the troubled auction-rate preferred shares its funds once issued.  But the funds are now struggling. Most of them use leverage to enhance returns, and many of them borrowed that leverage in the auction-rate market, which is now effectively in liquidation…[click here for more]

Sports News – Big Brown Has Hoof Injury, Still Expected To Race

Big Brown’s perfect path has its first bump.  The unbeaten Triple Crown contender has a slight crack on his left front hoof, although trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. was confident the injury won’t keep his colt from running in the Belmont Stakes in less than two weeks…[click here for more]

Chrysler: The Dumbest Guys In The Room

 Tree-Hugger Civilizer

Gas just hit $4 a gallon in 2 metropolitan areas in the United States (Chicago and Long Island).  President Bush went over to Saudi Arabia to ask the terror-barons over there to please increase oil production, and they basically gave him the Heisman.  The American economy is likely in a recession and with consumer budgets extremely tight, conservation behavior is actually starting to trickle into the market.  Virtually every car commercial you see today mentions miles per gallon – fuel efficiency is key to capturing market share right now.    

So what does Chrysler do?  Chrysler, they of the dwindling market share, the SUVs nobody wants, and the $6.8 billion quarterly lossThey roll out the Dodge Challenger.

Uninspiring looks aside (what else would you expect from Dodge?), let us run a checklist.  Belts tightening across the country?  This car costs almost $40,000.  Fuel economy a priority among new car buyers?  Well sidle on up to the gas pump, Chester, and I hope you like the view, ’cause you’ll be filling up quite a bit – how about 13 mpg city and 18 highway?  That’s right – Dodge, in this market, just put a 2-door coupe on the road that gets the same gas mileage as their frigging Durango.  A full-size SUV.  What a stroke of brilliance.  Hey Dodge, how about this:  instead of going to all the time and effort to operate factories and produce cars, and then send them to car dealers and have those poor bastards try to sell these things, why don’t you just fill a bunch of shipping containers with money and ship it directly to Japan?

The argument Chrysler has made is that this is a car for enthusiasts who will buy it simply because they want to take it for weekend joyrides, and it isn’t going to be used as a primary commuter car.  That may be true, but I do not care.  Announcing a car like the Challenger in this day and age sends exactly the wrong message – it’s like showing up at a Weight Watchers meeting with a lunchpail full of Baconators.  A car like this, no matter its intended use, makes people associate your entire brand with expensive, impractical gas hogs, and when it comes time for somebody to pick up a new sedan, people will say “Dodge, the Challenger people?  F that, let’s see how the Civic looks these days.”     

I’m telling you what…I’m as much a flag-waver as you’ll find outside of the South, but I will cry no tears for the American auto industry if it dies.

Shazam! Sunday News Roundup: May 18, 2008

 Captain Marvel

Top Story! – Russia Ready To Cooperate With Britain On Litvinenko Case

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said on Sunday it was prepared to cooperate with Britain in investigating the case of poisoned defector Alexander Litvinenko after London lifted its “unfounded accusations.” …[click here for more]

Middle East News – Police Seize More Olmert Papers

Israeli police have raided the Ministry of Industry and Trade as a corruption investigation into Prime Minister Ehud Olmert continues, official radio says.  The raid follows one on Jerusalem’s city hall on Monday…[click here for more

More Middle East News – Islamists Win 24 Of 50 Seats In Kuwaiti Parliament

Islamist candidates won 24 of 50 seats in Kuwait’s parliamentary elections on Saturday, a gain of two seats over their total in the last round of elections there two years ago, according to official results released Sunday…[click here for more]

U.S. News – Crews Still Cleaning Louisiana Train’s Toxic Mess

Hazardous materials teams are still cleaning up a toxic chemical spill from a train derailment in Lafayette, Louisiana, on Saturday that forced 3,000 people from their homes…[click here for more]

Business News – Nippon Steel to Raise Contract Prices for Toyota, Mitsubishi

Nippon Steel Corp., the world’s second-biggest maker of the alloy, will raise contract steel prices to a record for Toyota Motor Corp. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., said a person close to the negotiations…[click here for more

Environment News – Study:  Hurricanes Not Linked To Climate Change

Global warming isn’t to blame for the recent jump in hurricanes in the Atlantic, concludes a study by a prominent federal scientist whose position has shifted on the subject…[click here for more]

Technology News – Libertarian Ocean Colonies?

Tired of the United States and the other 190-odd nations on Earth?  If a small team of Silicon Valley millionaires get their way, in a few years, you could have a new option for global citizenship: A permanent, quasi-sovereign nation floating in international waters…[click here for more]

Music News – Ozzfest Reduced To A One Day Concert (Dammit!)

Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, Jonathan Davis of Korn, Serj Tankian, Hellyeah, Sevendust and Shadows Fall, among others, are scheduled to appear at this year’s one-off Ozzfest, scheduled for Aug. 9 at Pizza Hut Park in Dallas…[click here for more
 

All Things In Their Place Endorses Gay Marriage

 Civilizer

So Califor-ni-yay is all atwitter about the recent gay marriage ruling, and conservative groups are about to put their full weight behind stopping Adam and Steve from destroying the sanctity presently enjoyed by only Adam and Eve (different Adam, I would think). 

And if all these conservatives are as fat as Rush Limbaugh, that’s a lot of weight!  (Hi-oh!)

Look, people: 

   

There are 6.7 billion people on this planet, and counting. Planetary resources – oil, water, greenspace, you name it – are going the other way. The human population is and has been for some time seriously stressing the balance of planet Earth, and more and more people in the same amount of space creates conflict and resource scarcity.  Therefore, marriages that are biologically incapable of producing more of us should be not only legal, but encouraged.

  ,

 

       

The Sci-Fi Nerd Future Is Now, Part One

 Civilizer

Jet packs!  I know I’ve written several times about the need for clean energy technologies, alternate fuels, the end of the infernal combustion engine, etc, but I think we can all agree the future would be a much better one if we all had jet packs.  Well, we’re closer.

Meet Yves Rossy.  A Swiss inventor who proves that when countries stick to a position of neutrality, it frees up a lot of time to invent kick-ass contraptions.  I never thought the Swiss would top their famous knife, but Mr. Rossy proved me wrong today.

The former fighter pilot strapped a jet engine with wings that he invented onto his back and flew across part of the Swiss Alps.  He hit 186 miles per hour.  He went as high as 2,600 feet. 

Jet packs!  More on personal flight vehicles later this week, in the second of my impromptu-part series (see what I did there?), “The Sci-Fi Nerd Future Is Now.”

Shazam! Sunday News Roundup: May 11, 2008

 Captain Marvel 

Top Story! – Sadrists and Iraqi Government Reach Truce Deal

The Iraqi government and leaders of the movement of the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr agreed Saturday to a truce, brokered with help from Iran, that would end more than a month of bloody fighting in the vast, crowded Sadr City section of Baghdad.  The deal would allow the sides to pull back from what was becoming a messy and unpopular showdown in the months leading up to crucial provincial elections…[click here for more

Africa News – Niger Delta Push For U.S. Mediator

Ex-US President Jimmy Carter could play a positive role in mediating between Nigeria’s government and oil militants, a Rivers State spokesman told the BBC.  Rivers is the last state where Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) militants are not in talks…[click here for more]

Europe News – Controversial Proposals For German National Security

WAS it the start of a serious debate about German security, or a blueprint for militarism and a presidential style of foreign policy at odds with German tradition? Or both? These questions arose on May 6th, when parliamentarians of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the senior partner in the “grand coalition”, issued a paper calling for the creation of a national security council; and for fewer limits on the deployment of armed forces at home and abroad…[click here for more

Business News – Dollar Bulls Gain Control As Futures Signal High-Flying Euro Close To Peak

For the first time since December 2005, futures traders are turning bullish on the dollar.

The difference in the number of wagers by hedge funds and other large speculators on a gain in the greenback versus the euro, known as net longs, was 21,315 on April 29, figures from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in Washington show. There were net-short positions in each of the previous 123 weeks…[click here for more]

Gun-Running News – Viktor Bout Indicted For Conspiracy To Kill Americans And Other Terrorism-Related Charges

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the Acting Administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced the unsealing of an indictment against international arms dealer Viktor Bout for conspiring to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to the FARC to be used to kill Americans in Colombia…[click here for more]

Environment News – Huge Reservoir In Works For Everglades

Earth-moving equipment and high explosives are laying the foundation for a mammoth construction project: a reservoir bigger than Manhattan designed to revive the ecosystem of the once-famed River of Grass.  More than a century after the first homes and farms took shape in the Everglades, decades of flood-control projects have left the region parched and near ecological collapse. Now crews are building what will be the world’s largest aboveground manmade reservoir to restore some natural water flow to the wetlands…[click here for more]

Sports News – O.J. Mayo Received Gifts, Cash

Former USC basketball player O.J. Mayo, a projected lottery pick in this year’s NBA draft, received thousands of dollars in cash, clothes and other benefits in apparent violation of NCAA rules while he was still in high school and during his one year in college, a former Mayo associate told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.”…[click here for more]