Welcome to the new version of European Tribune. It's just a new layout, so everything should work as before - please report bugs here.

LQD Obama releases 4 torture memos UPDATED

by edwin Thu Apr 16th, 2009 at 07:15:56 PM EST

UPDATE at end April 17, 9:30 my time

They can be found at the American Civil Liberties Union.

The Obama administration should release the still-secret memos. As the ACLU wrote in a January 28, 2009 letter to the OLC, the release of the memos would allow the public to better understand the legal basis for the Bush administration's national security policies; to better understand the role that the OLC played in developing, justifying, and advocating those policies; and to participate more meaningfully in the ongoing debate about national security, civil liberties, and human rights.

Read more... (6 comments, 1165 words in story)

The first 1597 names:

by edwin Wed Feb 6th, 2008 at 01:11:18 PM EST

The first 1597 names:

A quick look at the first 1,597 names on the stop Blair petition. Sprinkled throughout this short blog are some quotes from the petition.

Tony Blair as president of the EU would just confirm the increasingly wide-spread view, that such organizations are wholly corrupt and impervious to democratic influence.

Read more... (17 comments, 376 words in story)

mufa'khathat (updated Jan 16, 2008)

by edwin Tue Jan 15th, 2008 at 10:24:25 PM EST

Update

Looking at this diary it may be seen as criticising bruno-ken. That would be unfair. I can not claim to have come through the Internet without being fooled in similar ways. Part of the lesson of the Internet is that there are people out there who deliberately lie, and the Internet is an excellent medium for lying. It has at times been a hard lesson for me to learn. It would be wrong to assume that others should do better than me.

wow.  

It seems that the allegation that he began a sexual relationship with Aisha when she was 9 years old is correct.

i just googled this, and i am stunned.  i had thought he had married Aisha as a formality because she was an orphan or something.  but the consensus does seem that she was indeed nine when the marriage was consummated.

even more disturbing to me is this practice of mufa'khathat --

   

"literally translated means "placing between the thighs" which means placing the male member between the thighs of a child)"

Read more... (21 comments, 990 words in story)

Vote 2008? (A lazyquote diary)

by edwin Thu Jan 10th, 2008 at 10:40:32 PM EST

Can Democrats count? Looks like there may be some irregularities in the NH primary.

7 Point Swing for Clinton Over Obama in NH's Diebold Precincts

Analaysis Shows Candidates 'Positions Swapped' Where Ballots Counted by Hand Versus 'Counted' by Machine...

Brad Blog

I'm not sure why people think computers are a safe way to conduct an election. At least with paper ballots the larger the fraud the more people who must be in on it.

Read more... (24 comments, 883 words in story)

Dancing in the streets

by edwin Thu Jun 21st, 2007 at 06:14:21 AM EST

The stormy present responds to Private:

Before I could leave my office both towers came crashing down and Arab Muslims were literally celebrating and dancing in the streets of Paterson, New Jersey when the towers collapsed.

There is no direct evidence that this actually happened. No video, no photos, not even any first-hand accounts in New Jersey newspapers, and I do think they would have been all over it if they felt on Sept. 12 that they had jubilant terrorists living in their midsts. Because pretty much everyone with olive skin was under scrutiny at that point. Never mind that poor Sikh guy who got shot.
Private responds:

Regarding the "dancing in the streets" all I can say is that your position that there is no evidence is blatantly false. If you wish to contact the local news stations in the New York/New Jersey area that would probably have archives of tapes.
The stormy present responds:

Look, it's not my job to support your argument for you. As I said above, you have made a thus-unsubstantiated claim, which I have challenged. It's your job to support it with evidence. I'm not going to do your homework for you.

quotes start at European Tribune: A personal reaction to 9/11

While stormy present may not wish to do private's work for him or her, I think that it is worth a look.

From the diaries - afew

Read more... (96 comments, 1519 words in story)

Musings on the US medical system

by edwin Wed May 30th, 2007 at 06:49:24 PM EST

An amateurish attempt of understanding WHO results in healthy life expectancy:

http://www.who.int/whosis/whostat2006_mortality.xls (warning xls spread sheet)
Data sorted on healthy life expectancy

HALE - Healthy life is the number of healthy years one can expect to live.
Here are a few selected countries: (life male/female healthy life male/female)

Rank country life hale
1Japan79/8672/778
2San Marino79/8471/76
11Canada78/8370/74
29United States75/8067/71
32Cuba75/8067/70

Read more... (5 comments, 1202 words in story)

Out of the Stone Age: Reforming Ontario's elections:

by edwin Sat Feb 24th, 2007 at 12:14:43 AM EST

Canada has been saddled with a first past the post parliamentary system. Along with the usual problems of providing significant hurdles for minority view points to be heard, the Canadian system has an added wrinkle - differing sizes of ridings. Due to historical agreements - different provinces have guaranteed number of seats. There is also the problem of northern ridings - geographically massively with low populations. I guess that it has worked so far though no one seems to be all that happy. There are worse systems in the world but that is hardly a ringing endorsement.

Canada does not look like it will change, but some of the provincial legislatures just might.

Read more... (1 comment, 1192 words in story)

A Six Country Study: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia (KSA), and UAE

by edwin Sat Feb 10th, 2007 at 03:11:16 PM EST

I was over at Abu Aardvark and saw an article to a new Telhami/Zogby Arab public opinion survey.

Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development University of Maryland/Zogby International 2006 Annual Arab Public Opinion Survey (pdf)

A Six Country Study: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia (KSA), and UAE

If one were to summarize in a sentence, it would be France is good, the US is bad, and the UAE sometimes marches to a beat of an American drummer.

At 108 pages it may seem daunting. In fact it is page after page of graphs. Dive in.

Read more... (4 comments, 1070 words in story)

Creating a landscape of war while engaging in faint murmurs of protest

by edwin Thu Feb 1st, 2007 at 04:13:11 PM EST

There is much to do about the evils of Bush and the United States. There is far less about the actions about various Western countries.

Bush has become a smoke screen for torture, murder, and even the war crime of aggression. It's all Bush's fault that we are involved in [your choice of morally outrageous behaviour].

The answer is no. There is a slime that underlies Europe, and the rest of the western world is there, bubbling away just below the surface. Bush has become a convenient lie to cover the slime with. At least there is certain honesty in the way Britain commits its class A war crimes.

Canada should be everyone's favourate hypocrite. Unable to get popular support for war crimes from the general population, Chrétien  (Liberal), Martin (Liberal) and now Harper (Conservative) have all been engaging in secret wars. Forget the Sponsorship Scandal. People were hung at Nuremberg for the crimes these men have participated in.

Read more... (3 comments, 914 words in story)

Canadian Liberal Leadership Convention

by edwin Sat Dec 2nd, 2006 at 07:12:13 PM EST

Canadian News Short

The liberal leadership convention is now over. Stéphane Dion defeated front runner Michael Ignatieff. Dion 54.7% (2521 votes) to Ignatieff 45.3% (2084).

Read more... (7 comments, 745 words in story)

Changing World Technologies (Inc) - The new face of oil?

by edwin Sat Nov 11th, 2006 at 07:27:09 PM EST

The oil crisis and the energy crisis are repeated over and over. What if the oil/energy crisis is overblown? What if there is no energy crisis at all? What if we have the technology to convert anything carbon based into oil at a price that is not significantly higher than what we are currently paying right now?

Discovery Magazine has printed three articles on a new process of converting organic material into oil.

In the May 2003 issue of Discover, an article titled "Anything Into Oil" drew a phenomenal reader response. The process described--transforming turkey guts, old tires, used plastic bottles, and municipal sewage into fuel oil--struck some readers as more like alchemy than chemistry and struck others as the answer to energy shortages, not to mention the solution to some of America's worst waste problems. Readers have been asking for an update on how the idea is progressing because our article left the story before the first full-scale industrial plant had been opened. We've been waiting for that plant to start up before writing an update, but because it has been delayed, we asked the author of the original article to give us a midterm report. After the plant is up and running long enough to be reviewed, we'll publish a further evaluation.
--The Editors

http://www.discover.com/issues/jul-04/features/anything-into-oil/

The followup article is here

That plant is up and running. Carthage, MO, May 19, 2004 - Renewable Environmental Solutions LLC (RES) today announced that its first commercial plant is selling an equivalent of crude oil No. 4, produced from agricultural waste products. The Carthage, Missouri, plant is currently producing 100-200 barrels of oil per day utilizing by-products from an adjacent turkey processing facility. It is not running at anything close to full capacity though. Full capacity is arount 500 barrels of oil per day. At peak capacity, expected to be achieved by the end of this year, the first-out plant will produce 500 barrels of oil per day, as well as natural gas, liquid and solid fertilizer, and solid carbon. This was in 2004. The latest press release Renewable Environmental Solutions, shipped more than 250,000 gallons (6000 barrels) of renewable diesel fuel in April 2006, representing approximately 30% of the plant's capacity. The plant is expected to achieve full capacity in the near future. Problems, but not failure.

http://www.changingworldtech.com/press_room/index.asp?id=19
http://www.changingworldtech.com/press_room/index.asp?id=22

Let me back up a bit and describe the process:

The Thermal Conversion Process, or TCP, mimics the earth's natural geothermal process by using water, heat and pressure to chemically reform organic and inorganic wastes into specialty chemicals, gases, carbons and fertilizers. Even heavy metals are transformed into harmless oxides.

http://www.changingworldtech.com/what/index.asp

In particular:

The first thing a visitor sees when he steps into the loading bay is a fat pressurized pipe, which pushes the guts from the receiving hopper into a brawny grinder that chews them into pea-size bits. Dry feedstocks like tires and plastics need additional water at this stage, but offal is wet enough. A first-stage reactor breaks down the stuff with heat and pressure, after which the pressure rapidly drops, flashing off excess water and minerals. In turkeys, the minerals come mostly from bones, and these are shunted to a storage bin to be sold later as a high-calcium powdered fertilizer.

The remaining concentrated organic soup then pours into a second reaction tank--Appel says the two-stage nature of the process distinguishes it from dozens of failed single-stage waste-to-oil schemes devised over the last century--where it is heated to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and pressurized to 600 pounds per square inch. In 20 minutes, the process replicates what the deep earth does to dead plants and animals over centuries, chopping long, complex molecular chains of hydrogen and carbon into short-chain molecules. Next, the pressure and temperature drop, and the soup swirls through a centrifuge that separates any remaining water from the oil

http://www.discover.com/issues/apr-06/features/anything-oil/?page=1

Current Cost per barrel of oil $80 US.

Lets talk Europe:

"We thought we would get $24 a ton for taking the waste," says Appel. "Instead, we are paying $30 a ton." That alone raises his production costs about $22 a barrel.

Which brings us to why Appel and his technology are likely to move to Europe. As the United States has crawled toward making its food supply safer, Europe has sprinted, eager to squelch mad cow disease as well as to stanch global warming and promote renewable energy. The result is a cornucopia of incentives for thermal conversion.

In Ireland, plant operators would get an astronomical $50 per ton to haul slaughterhouse waste away, another $30 per ton in carbon dioxide emissions-reduction credits, a guaranteed price of up to $92 per barrel, and a 20-year price guarantee. "In a 500-ton-per-day plant, our production costs would be under $30 a barrel, and we could sell for about $100 a barrel," Appel says. "It's just amazing."

http://www.discover.com/issues/apr-06/features/anything-oil/?page=2

This would potentially change oil into a renewable energy resource. It has some interesting possibilities. At the same time, lets consider some of the potential problems:

  1. Canada's tar sands will become even more economically exploitable. Canada's oil reserves are 2nd to Saudi Arabia - that's a lot more carbon in the atmosphere.

  2. Political instability in the Middle East.

  3. Continued support for our consumer life style.

  4. Continued support for cars over public transport - especially in the US and Canada.

Comments >> (10 comments)

News and Views

 26 June - 2 July 2017

by Bjinse - Jun 26, 10 comments

Your take on this week's news

 19 - 25 June 2017

by Bjinse - Jun 19, 45 comments

Your take on this week's news

 Open Thread 26 June

by Bjinse - Jun 26, 2 comments

When we are threading, we are alive

 Open Thread 19-25 June

by Bjinse - Jun 19, 25 comments

You're bound to get threads if you go thinkin' about stuff

Occasional Series
Click for full list