Archive for January, 2006

Just Say Maybe

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WASHINGTON (AP) – President Bush, in a push to take charge of the
election-year agenda, is expected to say Tuesday that "America is
addicted to oil" and must break its dependence on foreign suppliers
in unstable parts of the world.

see AP (today)

The United States is just as addicted to oil as the beatest junkie on
the lower east side hustling for dime bags.

We absolutely need our oil. Even a temporary reduction of 5 or 10% would
upset our lives like nothing we have experienced since WWII – maybe more,
as we are much more addicted now than we were then. Going cold turkey would
be unthinkable. Life as we know it in the United States would cease to
exist. Millions would starve.

see Dowbrigade (six
months ago)

Has Bush been reading the Dowbrigade? Note that the Prez didn’t say
anything about kicking the habit, just giving up foreign dope for domestic
dope.

Dominatrix Walks for Efficient Body Work

1

Professional
dominatrix Barbara Asher was acquitted yesterday of involuntary manslaughter
in the death of a New Hampshire man who prosecutors said suffered a fatal
heart attack while strapped to a bondage rack in her Quincy condominium.

Prosecutors had argued that Asher, 56, did nothing to help Michael Lord,
53, of North Hampton as he died during the July 2000 session, out of fear
that calling authorities would have jeopardized her dominatrix business.
The prosecutors said she and a boyfriend chopped up Lord’s 275-pound body
and dumped the parts in a trash bin behind a Chinese restaurant in Augusta,
Maine.

Lord’s corpse was never found, which produced a rare legal situation:
Prosecutors were forced to try Asher for manslaughter without irrefutable
proof that a man had died, his body.

from the Boston
Globe

Many are the lessons to be learned from this hoary yarn. Even a 275-pound
guy named "Lord" can need a little discipline from time to time.
We need some kind of licensing board to give physicals to consenting adults
before they are allowed to participate in S & M activities. Professionals
in the sex trade should keep plenty on heavy-duty trash bags on hand at
all times. It helps to have the number of a good "Cleaner" (think
Harvey Keitel
.as Winston ‘The Wolf’ in Pulp Fiction) in your little black book. It
also helps to have the numbers of certain high ranking politicians in
your little black book (which never came to light). Finally, don’t eat
at Chinese Restaurants in Augusta, Maine, or anywhere else, for that matter.

Attack of the Giant Octopus

13

A giant
pacific octopus attacked a Seaeye Falcon ROV working off Vancouver Island
as it was locating and recovering receivers tracking pacific offshore
salmon migration.

The incident was caught on the ROV’s video by Mike Wood of SubOceanic
Sciences Canada. He had just located a data recorder and taken a grip of
the cable with the ROV’s manipulator arm, when suddenly an 80 lb octopus
launched an attack.

With tentacles ‘as thick as man’s arm’ and a bite that he believed can
exert 1000 lbs pressure, Mike Wood feared the octopus would bite the camera
cable or umbilical and trip out the Falcon ROV.

Not wanting to lose the receiver that he had just located he decided to
take on the creature and after tightening his grip of the cable with the
manipulator arm, revved the ROV’s thrusters in reverse in an attempt to
blast seabed particles at the creature. For a moment the octopus appeared
to intensify its attack with its mantle flared but eventually the swirling
fragments drove it away.

from Seaeye

see Video

Unprecedented Profits

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM.N: Quote, Profile,
Research), the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, reported
a quarterly profit of $10.7 billion on Monday, rounding out the most
profitable year in U.S. corporate history.

The results pushed up Exxon’s profit for the year to a staggering $36.13
billion — bigger than the economies of 125 of the 184 countries ranked
by the World Bank. Profit rose 42 percent from 2004, largely due to soaring
oil and gas prices.

from Reuters

WASHINGTON — President Bush said yesterday he would
use his annual address to Congress tomorrow to call for more use of alternative
energy
sources. The president also plans to put forward initiatives on issues
such as healthcare and taxes, analysts said.

”We have got to wean ourselves off hydrocarbons, oil. . . . We have
got a serious problem, and now is the time to fix it, and I’m going
to address
it again at the State of the Union," said Bush, a former Texas oilman
who has worked closely with the oil and gas industry for years.

From the Boston Globe

Unprecedented! Raking in historical, as in the history
of the planet historical, capital profits, and the far-seeing Energy
Industry is already laying the
groundwork for the "Next Big Thing". Why else would they be having their
shameless shills in the White House talk about the end of the Hydrocarbon
Age.

Expect isolated ingenious lip-service and proto-projects
on "green" technologies like cars that run on trash or corn, but this
will just be window dressing
designed to maybe make our oil reserves last a little longer and develop
stopgap technologies in preparation for an increasingly likely interruption
of our
foreign oil supplies at some point during the next 10-15 tumultuous years.

Expect a well choreographed yet appearantly event-driven
spiraling up of oil prices. Each natural disaster, blown up refinery,
political
tiff with
a producing government, local civil war and US military intervention will
lead to an inexorable increase of oil prices. This, in turn, will allow
the escalating squeeze of the world’s capital flow to those who own and
distribute the diminishing supply.  Of course, it will all be strictly
in accord with the holy law of supply and
demand.

Finally, when oil gets to about $250 a barrel and
gas hits seven or eight bucks a gallon, people will start panicking and
the government will
be ready
to throw big money at – guess who – to bring alternative energy production
on-line asap. Expect the Energy Industry to be ready to serve, with
some high-tech, centralized and billable distribution plan for something
expensive like "Atomic Energy 2.0" or space-based solar.

There will probably be a transition period when Americans still use dwindling
and increasingly expensive gasoline for their cars but heating and electrical
production shift over to non-hydrocarbon
sources. America’s love affair with cars will insure that they will be the
last vestiges of the hydrocarbon age to go.

But go they will. The age of hydrocarbons is coming to an end,
and the Lords of Oil are not going down without a fight, but rather plotting
to insure that they also direct the next phase of our energy evolution.

What and when that will be is still anybody’s guess. Does it matter that
the Oil Lords are accumulating more money than has ever been collected by
one group in human history? Does it matter what they are going to do with
that money? Does it matter what energy source replaces hydrocarbons as
they start to run out and get prohibitively expensive?

The feeling here is that if anything matters, this does.

Year of the Dog Dinner

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PARIS (AFP) – France’s Society for the Protection of Animals (SPA) appealed
to Chinese President Hu Jintao to put an end to the cruel slaughter of
dogs, which it blasted as an affront.

"The SPA does not set itself up as a judge of a country and its culture,
but is asking for animals to be killed in a dignified way," the SPA
said.

"Millions of dogs (in China) are hanged, beaten with sticks and butchered
while they are still alive," it said in a press release.

The organisation added that it had tried to get French media to accept
an advertisement as part of its campaign against dog butchering, but
the picture — of an animal being cut to pieces in a pool of blood —
was so
graphic that it had been rejected by every newspaper.

Up to 10 million dogs are slaughtered every year in China, many killed
slowly and cruelly to supposedly enhance the meat’s flavour, according
to animal rights groups.

from AFP

Red Sox Shopping Cereal Aisle

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It used to be that breakfast cereal Wheaties featured famous ballplayers
on its boxes.  Now, the Boston Red Sox are featuring breakfast cereals
on the field. They can Trot out quite a variety of crunchy treats, even after
losing Fruit Loops to the Yankees.

World’s Sexiest Man

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TORONTO (Reuters) – When it comes to romance, women prefer someone
who tickles their funny bone while men opt for those who catch their
eye, according to an international survey released on Wednesday.

The survey, conducted in 16 countries by Canadian romance publisher Harlequin
Enterprises, asked men and women on six continents about traits they liked
or disliked and how they went about trying to meet Mr. or Ms. Right.

When
it came to that first meeting, a majority of men polled said beauty was
more important than brains, while women put a sense of humor
at the top of their list.

The poll revealed differences between countries in the way people tried
to impress the opposite sex.

Australians and British men frequently admitted drinking too much, while
about half of German and Italian men said they had lied about their finances.
Spaniards were the most likely to use sex to catch someone’s eye.

After six or seven boilermakers our glass eye (we lost the original during
a mad orgy on our yacht) tends to pop out unexpectedly, so it’s nice to have
someone catch our eye before it hits the floor…..

from Reuters

Joke of the Day

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Donald Rumsfeld is giving the president his daily briefing.
He concludes by saying:

“Yesterday, three Brazilian soldiers were killed in an accident.”

“OH NO!” the President exclaims. “That’s terrible!”

His staff sit stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the president sits, head in hands.

Finally, the President looks up and asks…

“How many is a Brazillion??!”

from lisablog via Cynthia Rockwell

Sites Google Censors in China

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A
fascinating side-by-side comparison of actual current search results
from the new Google China service and the regular Google search the rest
of the world gets.

The results are displayed as graphics side by side to searches including
"Falun Gong" "human rights china" "freechina" Site search for "chinesenewsnet.com"
"communism" "tibet" "playboy" "tiananmen square" and others.

The last comparison shows that the censorship extends to images. Is
there filtering in our futures?

from outer-court.com

The Heart Keeps Pumping

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Chevron Corp.’s fourth-quarter profit climbed 20 percent to $4.14
billion, a company record that continued the most prosperous stretch
in the oil company’s 126-year history as it capitalizes on high fuel
prices that are squeezing consumers and ruffling politicians. Its profit
of $14.1 billion for the full year was also a company record.

The San Ramon, Calif.-based company’s earnings for 2005’s final quarter,
released Friday, represented the most it has made in any three-month
period since its inception in 1879.
The performance edged the $4.13 billion
earned during the second quarter of 2004 _ the early stages of a two-year
boom.

Chevron now has posted record annual profits in each of the last two
years, earning a combined $27.4 billion.

from AP

In a freakish perversion of classical capitalist theory, Big Oil companies
are now doing everthing in their power to minimize their declared
profits, fearing public backlash and governmental investigations. Despite
their
best efforts, the visible evidence of this historical windfall continues.
For more on the Energy
Cartel Masterplan
, see this
previous posting
.

Reaping the Whirlwind

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GAZA (Reuters) – Hamas and Fatah gunmen exchanged fire on Friday
in political turmoil as the long-dominant Fatah faction was threatened
with a violent backlash from within after its crushing election defeat
by the Islamic militant group.

Hamas, whose shock parliamentary election victory changed the face of Palestinian
politics and plunged Middle East peacemaking deeper in limbo, said it would
hold talks soon with President Mahmoud Abbas on a "political partnership." But
Fatah leaders have rejected a coalition with Hamas.

The United States said it will review funding to the aid-dependent Palestinians
if Hamas enters government and Israel suggested it could suspend customs
revenue transfers, adding economic uncertainty to the political upheaval.

from Reuters

 

Extremely unsettling news. Hamas,
a terrorist group by any reasonable reckoning and the estimation of all
governments in the western world, has been elected to lead a country
vital to US
interests. Neither Israel nor the US will or can negotiate with a Hamas-led
government. The US and Europe cannot send another nickel to a Hamas-led
Palestinian Authority. Hell, in this country you can get spirited away
in black Lear jet and disappear into an officially non-existent gulag
of third-world black ops torture dungeons and coercion centers for funneling
money to terrorists.

It is clearly a case of reaping what one sows,
for all of the participants in this sorry open sore on the religious
heart of the world. The US has to accept that loosing a revolutionary
ideology like democracy on
long-enslaved
populations
often results in unbalanced regimes as election winners unprepared to
govern take over in pillaged countries around the world. Most of these
new governments are not going to like the US much, and the feeling will
probably
be mutual.
In many cases these rookie governments will quickly fail on their own,
and either be overthrown by military rulers or see their countries
slip
into
gansterism
or civil war. In other cases, governments may, like the Nazis, discard
the trappings and mechanisms of democracy after winning elections and
attempt to stay in office indefinitely.

What are we to do in cases like this? It seems
here that we need to take a strictly hands-off attitude, at least as
far as direct involvement. It’s like having kids; there are certain lessons
they have to learn for themselves. There
is an old saying that in a democracy people usually get the government
they
deserve.
The
Palestinian
people
have the right of self-determination. However, they have to accept
the fact that if they elect a government that openly favor armed warfare
and suicide bombing of civilian targets, the cash spigot from the US
and Western Europe is going to quickly dry up. Maybe the Iranians or
the
Saudis can
keep them afloat, but this would cause additional problems for either
or both of these wobbly regimes.

Meanwhile, the West Bank is breaking out in sporadic
fighting between Fatah and Hamas gunmen. The Fatah guys are freaking
out, because for the past 30 years they have BEEN the Palestinian Authority,
most of that time under the MaxAuthority of Yasir Arafat, and they are
all on the pad, getting fat envelopes of cash at the end of every month,
as the "foreign aid" funneled to the Palestinians got distributed
to Fatah loyalists and filtered down to the average thugs and gunsels
on the street.

Suddenly, for the first time in their lives, the tit
is being withdrawn. The money flow is going to stop. Interestingly,
they are turning on their leaders, the rich, corrupt old lions, who have
certainly salted away enough millions to quietly retire in Monaco, Miami
or join Michael Jackson in Dubai. The younger commanders and fighters
haven’t had the chance yet to accumulate that kind of loot, and aren’t
looking forward to being left behind to face a Hamas religious anti-corruption
revenge-minded government. No wonder they are freaking out. They
are afraid for their lives, hopped up on speed and hashish, and heavily
armed.

One can only wonder if the Israelis are not also reaping
what they have sown. For years we have been convinced that
Yasir Arafat himself was the ultimate Israeli masterstroke – abetting
in the
rise
and supremacy of the ultimate king of corruption. Arafat
held his own people down for 20 years, created a culture of corruption,
dependency and dysfunctionality, and conveniently rubbed out any anti-corruption
or charismatic young challengers to his absolute power.

It played perfectly into the hands of the Israelis and
worked to the detriment of any true Palestinian aspirations for a viable
state. Without Yasir Arafat a secular state of Palestine would have
existed for the last 10 years, at least. But it was a Faustian bargain
for the Israelis; a scheme so diabolically effective that it has eaten
the bodies and souls of two
generations of Palestinians and left the too smart by twice Israelis
without a rational negotiating partner in their belated grasping for
a lasting peace.

As our dear mother always says, "You made your
bed, now you have to sleep in it." At least she trained us to make
our own bed, although we won’t be sleeping in it much if we keep thinking
about the way the Middle East is moving…..

Duh of the Week – Sex Lowers Stress

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GOT some public speaking to do? Here is a tip to keep stress at
bay: have sex beforehand. But make sure it’s penetrative sex – the magic
vanishes if you pursue other forms of sexual gratification.

Stuart Brody, a psychologist at the University of Paisley, UK, compared
the impact of different sexual activities on blood pressure when a person
later experiences acute stress. For a fortnight, 24 women and 22 men kept
diaries of how often they engaged in penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI),
masturbation or partnered sexual activity excluding intercourse. After,
the volunteers underwent a stress test involving public speaking and mental
arithmetic out loud.

Volunteers who’d had PVI but none of the other kinds of sex were least
stressed, and their blood pressure returned to normal faster than those
who’d only masturbated or had non-coital sex. Those who abstained had the
highest blood-pressure response to stress (Biological
Psychology, vol 71, p 214
).

Brody also made psychological measurements of neuroticism and anxiety in
the volunteers, as well as work stress and partnership satisfaction. Even
taking these factors into account, differences in sexual behaviour provided
the best explanation for the range of stress responses. "The effects
are not attributable simply to the short-term relief afforded by orgasm,
but rather, endure for at least a week," says Brody. He speculates
that release of the "pair-bonding" hormone oxytocin between partners
might account for the calming effect.

We find that a couple of oxytocins before a speech usually calms
us down nicely, especially when combined with sex. Of course, it has
to be PVI,
since oral sex makes us more stressed, and 45 minutes later we’re hungry
again. As to masturbation, bloggers as a rule should stay away from that
to avoid hand-hair accumulation on their keyboards…

from New
Scientist