Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Startling photo reveals actual cause of Deepwater Horizon disaster

The real cause of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

50 Surprising Fashion and Beauty Products Made From Oil That You Probably Use Everyday (Even if You're Green)


by Meaghan O'Neill
sexy-lips-red-lipstick.jpgWith all the news and talk about the Gulf oil spill during the past two weeks, we've (unsurprisingly) been talking a lot about the science behind oil and oil production, the future of energy, and the economics behind the whole shebang. We talk about this stuff a lot anyway, but when you really think about, petroleum pervades almost every single aspect of our lives. It's what we use to power our cars and make machinery go, of course, but it's also seemingly omnipresent in thousands of unsuspecting products we use every day. And for women in particular, petroleum and petroleum-derived byproducts are hiding in some pretty sneaky places.

Today, I took a walk through my house thinking just about my fashion and beauty regimen between breakfast and lunch - I consider myself pretty green, and a highly conscious consumer -- and I came up with dozens of things that are made from petroleum or petroleum byproducts. Let's be clear: petroleum in and of itself is not necessarily dangerous or evil. But if we really want to think about how we move toward a brighter green future, we better face the facts: This stuff is in nearly everything we use - even if you're using green beauty products, wearing green clothes, and eating wholesome foods, petroleum is likely lurking somewhere in or around your smart-consumer choices.

With all that in mind, I began to make a list of common fashion and beauty products most women use everyday that are either made from oil or contain petroleum byproducts. Take a look - it may surprise you. Then ask yourself, what's in my shampoo/eye shadow/underwear/etc? And could I live without it?

Petroleum is hiding in your closet in:

1. Clothing made from synthetic fibers such as acrylic,
2. nylon, and
3. polyester, or
4. coated with formaldehyde finishes (even organic cotton could fall into this category)
5. Socks
6. Buttons
7. The stretchy part of your underwear and
8. all of your bra
9. Running shoes
10. The soles of your shoes
11. Stretchy jeans and
12. shirts, etc.
13. Plastic earrings,
14. bracelets, and
15. necklaces, etc.

HOW TO GO GREEN: Fashion and Beauty

green-lingerie.jpgPetroleum is hiding in your in your bathroom in:

16. Sunscreen
17. Body lotion
18. Ibuprofen and
19. Aspirin
20. Hair conditioner
21. Shampoo
22. Hairbrush
23. Hair bands
24. Bobby pins
25. Toothbrush
26. Toothpaste
27. Soap
28. Tampons
29. Sanitary pads


Hemp Bill Introduced In Congress

by Ryan Grim

Hemp FarmA bipartisan group of agitating members of Congress introduced legislation Thursday to allow farmers to grow industrial hemp.

Currently eight states -- Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia -- allow industrial hemp production or research, but federal law, which requires nearly-impossible-to-obtain-permits to grow hemp, trumps those state laws. The new bill would allow states to craft their own policy.

Hemp, a cousin of marijuana that can't get you stoned, is considered by the Drug Enforcement Administration to be a controlled substance because it kind of looks like pot. Synthetic fabric makers have long opposed hemp, which they see as competition.

The United States is the only nation that blocks its farmers from growing hemp, though hemp products are legal to import and to sell. Somebody would have to smoke several acres worth of hemp, which has negligible psychoactive properties, for that policy to make any sense.

But wild hemp continues to grow across the country. In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan took the anti-hemp policy to its logical conclusion and ordered law enforcement to uproot wild hemp wherever it was found. It was a wild success: by 1989, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) estimated it uprooted 120 million of the plants that year, which it referred to in government reports as "ditchweed." In 2001, it eradicated half a billion such plants, though not even that total could get someone high. The war on ditchweed continues today, but the DEA has stopped its embarrassing habit of disclosing the total amount of useless plants it uproots.

The industrial hemp bill is being championed by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), a powerful committee chairman and outspoken critic of the drug war, as well as Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a libertarian-leaning former presidential candidate suspicious of federal power. Nine other members, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's close ally, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), cosponsored the bill.

"Federal law is standing in the way of farmers in these states growing what may be a very profitable crop," said Paul when introducing the bill.


McChrystal: Beheadings of Our Allies Simply to Be Expected

By David Swanson

How can we stand to live in a country where this exchange is shown live on tv and nobody comments?

REPORTER: [I]n Marja there are reports -- credible reports -- of intimidation and even beheading of local people who work with your forces. Is that your intelligence? And if so, does it worry you?

GEN. MCCHRYSTAL: Yeah. It absolutely is things that we see. But it's absolutely predictable.

I'm sorry. If it is predictable that people who work with you are going to have their heads sliced off, STOP FUCKING DOING THAT KIND OF WORK. After all, the work you are doing consists primarily of BLOWING other people's heads off.



It's not your country. You're not welcome there. People who try to help you are seen as enemies of their country. They get their fucking heads cut off. And your puppet president thanks you on their behalf.



If Afghanistan had an Arizona-style law, guess who would fit the profile? Guess who's illegal? Guess who is there in violation of the UN Charter, the will of 94% of Kandaharis and a majority of Americans, your own perverse counterinsurgency manual, and any code of human decency whatsoever?



And don't even think about asking for another $33 billion of our children's money to make it worse, which we all know you want purely because you think we're stupid enough to believe you're being tough, even though it will do no good whatsoever, your new assault is already failing before being funded, and a majority of us want the whole crime brought to a close.

You don't want to give in to terrorists? OK, then give in to those legally resisting your illegal occupation. Or give in to those nonviolently protesting it. Or give in to the wisdom of your own experts, envoy, ambassador, national security advisor, Army and GAO reports. Or give in to the staggering list of names on the Vietnam Memorial and the fact that there would be fewer if you'd just gotten the hell out sooner.

Or do this: get out and stop bombing Pakistan, which no one gave you any legal right to do, before a succesful bomber hits a US city. We all know you'll kill five million innocent human beings the moment such a bomber succeeds. We all know you don't really want to do that. So STOP FUCKING MAKING IT INEVITABLE that you will be in that situation.

Stop giving our kids illegal orders.


Bring them home.

Bring them home.

Bring them home.


Noam Chomsky denied entry into Israel and West Bank


Interior Ministry seeking IDF approval to let American professor just into West Bank; rights group: Decision characteristic of totalitarian regime.

American linguist Noam ChomskyProfessor Noam Chomsky, an American linguist and left-wing activist, was denied entry into Israel and the West Bank on Sunday.

No reason was initially given for the decision, but the Interior Ministry later said immigration officials at the Allenby Bridge border crossing from Jordan had misunderstood Chomsky's intentions thinking initially he was also due to visit Israel.

Chomsky, who is on a speaking tour in the region, was scheduled to speak at Bir Zeit University in the West Bank on Monday.

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad said officials were now trying to get clearance from the Israel Defense Forces, which controls access to the West Bank to allow Chomsky to enter that territory.

"We are trying to contact the military to clear things up and if they have no objection we see no reason why he should not be allowed in," said Hadad.
Chomsky said inspectors had stamped the words "denied entry" onto his passport when he tried to cross from Jordan over Allenby Bridge.

When he asked an Israeli inspector why he had not received permission, he was told that an explanation would be sent in writing to the American embassy. "They apparently didn't like the fact that I was due to lecture at a Palestinian university and not in Israel," Chomsky told Reuters by telephone from Amman.

Chomsky arrived at the Allenby Bridge at around 1:30 in the afternoon and was taken for questioning, before being released back to Amman at 4:30 P.M.

In a telephone interview with Channel 10, Chomsky said the interrogators had told him he had written things that the Israeli government did not like. "I suggested [the interrogator try to] find any government in the world that likes anything I say," he said.

Chomsky is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is considered among the foremost academics in the world. He identifies with the radical left and is often critical of both Israeli and American policies.

Chomsky said he last visited Israel and the West Bank in 1997 when he lectured at Ben-Gurion University and also at Bir Zeit. He said all his previous West Bank visits had been as a part of trips to Israel.

His Palestinian host, lawmaker Mustafa al-Barghouti called the decision "a fascist action, amounting to suppression of freedom of expression."


Why Google May Be Industry’s Best Friend

by Newspaper Death Watch

News executives who insist upon seeing Google as the Great Satan would do well to read James Fallows� 9,000-word analysis in this month�s Atlantic. Fallows is well-equipped to write the story of Google�s tortured romance with the news industry. He is a veteran traditional journalist with a technology bent who is as comfortable writing for PC Magazine as for Atlantic.

There's a lot to digest in this article but a few insights struck us as particularly important. One is that Google sees itself as having what one executive calls a "deeply symbiotic relationship" with news organizations. Second is that Google is devoting a lot of bright people and significant amounts of money to help news organizations reinvent themselves. The third is that Google believes advertising will become a lucrative and sustainable source of income for news organizations in the future, but only if they change their tactics.

Presentation by Google Chief Economist Hal Varian

Thief or Robin Hood?

Google is often pilloried by publishers for "stealing" content. This is despite the fact that Google lifts no more than a few characters from each story, doesn't sell ads on its Google News service and is the number one source of traffic for most newspaper websites. The real reason Google is so despised is because it has accelerated the "unbundling" of news. This is at the root of the industry's disruption. Newspapers traditionally have delivered their entire product in one package with advertising in lucrative sections like automotive and food subsidizing the stuff no one wants to pay for, like correspondents in Afghanistan. Search engines have blown apart this model by making it possible for online readers to navigate directly to the content they want. When each form of content is forced to justify its own existence, the world/national news, statehouse coverage and other staples lose out.

Fallows points out that Google and newspapers have a lot in common. Google's well-being is tied to the availability of high-quality information online. One of the reasons its executives feel such urgency about helping the newspaper industry is that they fear that the loss of this content will diminish Google's core value. Fallows also astutely points out that Google's business model is itself a bundle: the company makes the vast majority of its profits from search, which enables it to fund loss leaders like News and Books.

Genuine Concern

Google CEO Eric SchmidtFallows spent a year interviewing Google executives and he portrays their concern about the news industry's crisis as heartfelt and earnest. Certainly, no Internet company has been more visible in trying to engage with publishing executives. CEO Eric Schmidt addressed the American Society of News Editors last month and has been quoted many times despairing about the industry's troubles. Of the other online companies that have taken their share of news industry flesh, only Craigslist's Craig Newmark has shown any concern about the consequences.

Fallows' piece is basically upbeat. Google executives express unequivocal confidence in the future of display advertising, a vehicle that has been widely written off as a dying intrusion on users' reading experience. Advertising on the Internet is still in its infancy, executives assert, and advances in targeting will enable display ads to do for readers what Google's AdWords technology has done: deliver relevant contextual offerings to readers based not only on the article in front of them but also on their self-described interests and recommendations of their friends. As advertising increasingly reflects a two-way dialogue between reader and publisher, "news operations will wonder why they worried so much about print display ads, since online display will be so much more attractive," Fallows writes.

The company is applying technology to increase the yield of advertising in the same way that airlines adjust their pricing, planes and schedules to maximize revenues per mile. One innovation is an arbitrage system that enables publishers to adjust the allocation of premium priced advertising on a second-by-second basis. Another is Fast Flip, a Google experiment that seeks to mimic the print reading experience on a computer screen. Google has even adjusted its treasured search algorithm to accommodate complaints from individual publishers. There is little or no revenue in these efforts for Google; the company's motivation appears to be giving publishers more options.


Life Returns 30 Yrs. After Mount St. Helens Eruption

How U.S. Aid Puts A Happy Face On Afghan Occupation



By James A. Lucas 


The White House tells us that we are releasing funds to rebuild Afghanistan. The reality, however, is that very little of the money actually will benefit the Afghan people. We are told that our nation is being very generous, mostly as a balm to our collective conscience to convince us to give our stamp of approval for that war which so far has cost over $260 billion in U.S. taxpayers' money. This deception also helps to put a happy face on this war so that our attention is diverted from the people who are dying and wounded there.


Ann Jones, a former humanitarian worker in Afghanistan, not long ago blew the whistle on this scam.  The author of Kabul in Winter, she reported that between 2002 and 2008 the U.S. pledged $10.4 billion for development but delivered only $5 billion of that amount, 47 percent of which was paid to American experts, who often were unqualified, instead of going to unemployed Afghans who were supposed to benefit from this aid.


Even when aid reaches the people of Afghanistan, it often brings undesirable results, since contractors pay much higher salaries than do the Afghan school systems; teachers and administrators have abandoned their jobs to take positions with these private contractors who get money to start literacy programs. Afghan institutions are supposed to be strengthened, not eviscerated as has been done in this case.


Seventy percent of our aid is tied to the purchase of American products in preference to those that originate in Afghanistan, compelling Afghans to buy American agricultural products, thus putting Afghan farmers out of business or driving even more of them into the poppy trade. This forces many of them to join the 40 percent of the Afghan workforce that is already unemployed.


But these revelations should not be surprising, since reports in prior years uncovered similar major deficiencies in the delivery of U.S. aid to Afghanistan.


In a report in 2002 for the Overseas Development Institute, Ashraf Ghani, the chancellor of Kabul University, stated that about 90 percent of the $1 billion spent on 400 aid projects was wasted.


The country's 280,000 civil servants earn an average of $50 per month, while about 50,000 Afghans work for aid organizations where they may earn up to $1000 a month. With more than 2,400 aid agencies and NGOs registered in that country, the government has had difficulty trying to retain its staff.


Also, this disparity of incomes means that foreign staff (3 – 4,000 foreign civilians), can afford to pay more for housing, and this raises rents to levels that ordinary people can't afford – in some areas up to 1,000 percent.


The Afghan government estimated in 2006 that it could build a highway between Kabul and Kandahar for $35 million, however it was eventually built by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID} at a cost of more than $190 million.


In 2005 the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) reported that U.S. clinics might be only a mile away, but it was hard for sick people to get to them.  While a handful of health clinics were built the year before, they were placed where no trained doctors were located, because contractors did not consult with local officials or the Ministry of Health.  These errors could be life-threatening in a nation where the average life expectancy is 43 years, which has the 4th worst child mortality rate in the world and where the maternal mortality rate is the second worst in the world.


USAID projected that it would build 286 schools by the end of 2004, but only eight were completed. Although the Afghan government could build a school for about $40,000, an international aid agency undertook the task of building 500 schools, at a cost of $250,000 each.



Secret Prison Discovered At Bagram Air Force Base


A secret prison has recently been discovered at Bagram Air Force Base located in Afghanistan. The Red Cross has recently confirmed this information and released a statement saying a "Black Jail" is hidden within the air force base. Surprisingly, several prisoners claim to have been abused and tortured while being held captive at the jail during the Obama administration despite the fact that Obama has stated that he would end torture. In a BBC interview with Sher Agha, a citizen who spent six days inside the prison, has said that it is known to insiders as "The Black Hole". Agha and other prisoners have stated that they were subject to sleep deprivation and various other kinds of abuse.

Another witness has stated that he was forced to dance in order to gain bathroom privileges.


How the Taliban Hide from the Americans