Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for June 4th, 2007

The back of the palm: biofuel disaster in the making

Posted by Charles II on June 4, 2007

Oliver Balch and Rory Carroll in The Guardian:

“Armed groups in Colombia are driving peasants off their land to make way for plantations of palm oil, a biofuel that is being promoted as an environmentally friendly source of energy….


Thousands of families are believed to have fled a campaign of killing and intimidation, swelling Colombia’s population of 3 million displaced people…”

Ok, so we’ve spent $10 B on Columbia alone. Cocaine production is up 27% since 1999 and 8% since last year alone. And paramilitaries, created by the war on some drugs, are creating a massive refugee crisis, wiping out banana plantations and other legal crops all for… what?

So that US presidents can brag to voters that they’re doing something about the drug trade? 

As The Guardian editorialized:

“By adopting biofuels, politicians in rich countries effectively avoid taking harder, unpopular decisions, such as limiting consumption, either with tighter caps on emissions or higher taxes. They effectively push the problem of dealing with environmental damage on to the shoulders of the poor.”


Posted in abuse of power, eedjits, world news | 3 Comments »

It’s Time for Rep. Jefferson to Resign

Posted by MEC on June 4, 2007

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William Jefferson (D-LA) was indicted today on federal charges of racketeering, money-laundering and soliciting bribes.

I am not surprised by the indictment. The man was videotaped taking a bribe; and he had $90,000 stashed in his freezer, not the usual place honest people keep large sums of money.

Two factors, however, complicate this case: An FBI raid on Jefferson’s Congressional office is being challenged as unconstitutional. And any action against a Democrat by any U.S. attorney the Busheviks chose not to fire gives rise to suspicions of partisan motivation.

Still, William Jefferson is now under indictment. The Democratic Party is not the party of Tom DeLay. If Mr. Jefferson doesn’t resign from Congress today, Nancy Pelosi should demand his resignation.

Posted in abuse of power, Democrats, US attorney firings, William Jefferson | 9 Comments »

The Gilliard News

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 4, 2007

From 1996 to 1998 or thereabouts, before there was Eschaton, before there was Daily Kos, before there were any blogs, right or left, there was The Gilliard News.

When the internet web message boards (such as and and proto-weblogs (such as Drudge’s shop) were almost all conservative, The Gilliard News stood out because it was one of the few non-conservative websites out there.

For years, Gilly stood out there, all alone aside from and Joe Conason over at the New York Observer, speaking his mind and letting it all hang out — on why The New York Times did and does such a horrible job covering the city for which it was named (the Daily News and even the Post pay more attention to the city and its neighborhoods), on Democratic politics, on liberalism in general and effective political action, and of course on Why The Yankees Suck. It had maps of the city, tips on New Yorker etiquette, and was a fun and useful read.

I was steered to the site by a New York friend of mine; I struck up an online conversation with Gilly, in which he told me about a new web magazine called I checked it out, hopped into its “Table Talk” message boards (where lots of the A-list bloggers hung out in the days before blogging got off the ground), and haven’t looked back since.

Almost all traces of The Gilliard News have vanished now (clicking on the old website link brings up nothing, and not even The Wayback Machine has it archived), but in its heyday in the mid-’90s, before Gilly apparently gave it up to work for Netslaves, it was the place for non-New-Yorkers to go and learn from a New Yorker about the city that never sleeps, particularly from the perspective of a black resident of the city. Like the magazine The New Yorker, Gilly’s focus at The Gilliard News was New York City and he gloried in it.

I wish there was some more left of it than my poor memory thereof. Maybe it still exists on some of Steve’s old backup disks. But I just wanted to let the record show that before there was Yearly Kos, the various Kos Schismites, Atrios, TBogg, Digby, or any other blogger, A-List or otherwise, there was Steve Gilliard — and that as Kos points out, Gilly helped turn Daily Kos from just one guy shouting into a void into the blogosphere giant it is today.

Posted in blogs and blogging, Steve Gilliard | 2 Comments »

The New Cool War: Tensions Rise Across Europe

Posted by Charles II on June 4, 2007

“According to Andres Kasekamp, director of Tallinn’s Foreign Policy Institute, the Russian government is mounting a deliberate attempt to destabilise former Soviet republics.”

A potentially very big story is occurring in the Baltic states. The US has been playing The Great Game against Russia by expanding NATO.

Russia is a dangerously weak nation. Alcoholism, drug and alcohol abuse, and AIDS are ravaging the country. Democratic aspirations have been strangled by the rise of a corporate state and an excessively strong executive, Vladimir Putin. Russian population is expected to drop by a third or more. About the only bright spot is that the economy is in the black because of oil exports.

So the NATO expansion arouses in Russians a deep dread, based on centuries of experience from the likes of Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm II, and Adolf Hitler, of national decline and perhaps even foreign invasion.

There are two means that Russians can use to challenge US hegemony in Europe, and both have been handed to Putin by the inept Bush regime.

The first is the power of natural resources, especially oil. Europe is much more dependent than the US on oil from the Middle East for its chemical industry, not to mention transportation, agriculture, and heating. Europe has already been forced to turn to Russia to source much of its natural gas. Further pressure on Iran, as well as conflicts in Somalia, Nigeria, and Angola will force Europe to rely even more heavily on Russian oil.

But the second is the emigre community, through which Russia exerts considerable power throughout Eastern Europe. Jason Burke writes in The Observer:

For the slightly dilapidated, calm streets of Narva, Estonia’s third largest city, are now at the centre of geopolitical tensions not seen in the region since the collapse of the Soviet Union nearly two decades ago. Some analysts are calling it ‘the new Cold War’.

. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

A Real Yellow Dog Democrat

Posted by MEC on June 4, 2007

This morning I got the sad news that Shasta is dead.

You may have seen Shasta around the Internet:

Yellow Dog Democrat

This is one of those photos that is liberated from its source and races through the intertubes without attribution. It was originally posted by Calamity Jeanne of Salon’s Table Talk. Shasta belonged to friends of hers who shared Shasta’s opinion of Republicans. He had a long life for a Golden Retriever, but recently had gone into a decline.

Rest in peace, Shasta. If only more voters had had your good judgment.

Posted in obituary, yellowdog | 2 Comments »

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