Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for May 11th, 2008

The enigma generator

Posted by Charles II on May 11, 2008

This is a story that has been percolating around for a few weeks, but it’s starting to look serious. Ferry Biederman, Andrew England, and Heba Saleh in the FT:

Fierce clashes involving rockets and heavy machine guns erupted in Lebanon on Sunday between pro-government forces and opposition gunmen in mountains east of Beirut. At the same time Arab foreign ministers held an emergency meeting in an effort to find a solution to the worsening crisis.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Department of Injustice, israel, Lebanon, world news | 9 Comments »

Why Vote For Republicans?

Posted by MEC on May 11, 2008

According to a Republican-produced magazine, blacks should vote Republican instead of Democratic because of what happened years ago. Or rather, because of the Republicans’ version of what happened years ago. The Black Republican describes the Ku Klux Klan as the “terrorist arm of the Democratic Party”, claiming that every person in an old photo of a KKK rally was a Democrat and citing the Dixiecrat opposition to Civil Rights.

The article does not acknowledge that many of those Dixiecrats joined the Republican Party in protest over President Johnson’s active and successful support of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.

I wonder what the magazine has to say about what the Republican Party has done to earn the loyalty of minority voters. Protected voter rights? Um, no. The Republican Party is all about making it harder for people to vote. Protected the rights of immigrants? No. Protected low-income people from predatory lending practices? Nope. Encouraged the prosecution of discrimination cases? Nope, quite the opposite. Made health care more affordable and more available? Nope.

That’s why the Republicans resort to smear tactics based on unsupported claims about long-ago events. They can’t attract minority voters, they can only try to turn them against the Democrats.

Posted in liars, Republicans acting badly | 1 Comment »


Posted by Charles II on May 11, 2008

Eric Margolis:

…Russia has 20% of the world’s natural gas reserves, and at least 7% of proven oil reserves, some 75 billion barrels. However, Russia’s huge reserves are in remote regions and will require vast investment to further exploit.

Even so, as energy prices soar, Russia grows wealthier and more powerful by the day, a sort of Saudi Arabia with snow. Interestingly, Russia today commands far more influence over Western Europe than it did when 100 Red Army divisions threatened the continent to the point where France began re-arming the Maginot forts.

Russia’s Gazprom now accounts for nearly 40% of Germany’s and Ukraine’s gas consumption, 33% of Italy’s, 26% of France’s heating needs, 70% of Austria’s, and almost all of Eastern Europe’s gas. Moscow does not need tanks to threaten Europe.

If Vladi and Dimi turn off the gas export tap, as they recently did to late-paying Ukraine, Europeans will shiver in the winter cold.

Washington is deeply alarmed by Russia’s growing energy clout. Until recently, the U.S. controlled much of world energy through its domination of the Middle East. Now, Russia is challenging America’s oil Raj and Washington is struggling to develop new pipeline routes to circumvent Russia’s fast expanding pipeline network.

The Kremlin now must deal with Washington’s violation of secret agreements with former General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev not to advance NATO any further east in exchange for Moscow freeing Eastern Europe.

The Russians tend to overplay their hands, creating dangerous instability… um, not unlike other countries one could name. Let’s hope that Germany, France, the Scandinavian countries and the UK get their act together fast and start cranking out the biodiesel and recovered methane they need to tell the Russians to blow.

Posted in BushCo malfeasance, Oil | 4 Comments »

Mutiny: It’s not just for American troops

Posted by Charles II on May 11, 2008

Jonathan Owen and Brian Brady, London Independent:

A highly sensitive internal report into the state of the British Army has revealed that many soldiers are living in poverty. Some are so poor that they are unable to eat and are forced to rely on emergency food voucher schemes set up by the Ministry of Defence (MoD). …

Pressure from an undermanned army is “having a serious impact on retention in infantry battalions”, with nearly half of all soldiers unable to take all their annual leave as they try to cover the gaps.

The Tories will doubtless use this as an issue against Labour, just as our “conservatives” used their systematic underfunding of enlisted salaries/benefits against Clinton– and then did nothing except make the misery of the troops worse. Sure the right supports the troops… right after cutting taxes and maintaining the culture wars and paying off big business and pretending to be pious while sleeping with anything that moves, and….

Posted in priorities, rightwing moral cripples, supporting the troops | 1 Comment »

TWC: Have They Screwed Their Last Female Employee?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 11, 2008

Salon’s Broadsheet and the blog Time in Moments remind us about The Weather Channel’s history of not only tolerating sexual harrassment, but of punishing those female employees who refuse to submit to it — acts which are finally coming back to haunt them as they try to sell themselves for top dollar to a new owner:

Ms. Andrews isn’t stupid. Before her contract was up she filed a demand for arbitration according to her contract with The Weather Channel. Her complaint? The company TWC allowed Bob Stokes to sexually harass her.

She won. On January 31st, 2008, the arbitrator issued an award of an undisclosed amount to Ms. Andrews.

For some reason the Weather Channel doesn’t want this little story out in the media while a bidding war is going on. They want that 17 pages of arbitration hidden until they get a new owner.

Awww. Rick Santorum’s favorite cable channel is in trouble. Gee, you mean that TWC’s coddling a lawsuit and bad-publicity magnet among their employees might just hurt their marketability? What a shame. Not.

By the way: If you want to go look up US weather online, the NOAA’s own website,, is a much better bet — and it’s free.

Posted in abuse of power, rightwing moral cripples, sexism | 4 Comments »

%d bloggers like this: