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That said, if you must use Firefox (and I don't blame you, it's become my browser of choice, too)
...get the "IE Tab" extension. This allows you to view problem pages with the IE rendering engine. Very cool!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Asshole :: Film Strip International

AFS Trinity Unveils 250 Mile Per Gallon Vehicle Program at Girvan Meeting

"Privately-held AFS Trinity Power Corporation unveiled a flywheel-based technology at a Girvan Institute meeting today that the company expects will make it possible for the average American driver to achieve more than 250 miles per gallon fuel economy in a sedan and 200 miles per gallon in an SUV.

According to AFS Trinity CEO Edward W. Furia, what the company calls the Extreme Hybrid(TM) drive train is expected to lower driving costs, cut emissions, and reduce American dependence on foreign oil. Related hybrid bus technology is expected to be deployed by AFS Trinity in a DOT demonstration project next year. The passenger car drive train is expected to begin development this year, be demonstrated in a prototype vehicle in two years and be ready for licensing to U.S. and foreign carmakers in three.

AFS Trinity released the first public details of the Extreme Hybrid(TM) drive train at a meeting of the Girvan Institute, a non-profit corporation that promotes the commercialization of cutting edge technology developed with or for government labs and agencies. AFS Trinity is presently conducting flywheel projects under contracts with NASA, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Navy. AFS Trinity's flywheel hybrid drive train initiative has its roots in flywheel technology programs the company has conducted for numerous U.S. Government and State agencies over the last ten years, during which time more than $45 million has been invested in the company's flywheel technology, most of it from private sources."

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Opera gives away ad-free browser

No strings attached
By John Leyden

Opera Software has permanently dropped the inclusion of advertising banners in the free version of its PC browser software. The ad-free, full-featured Opera browser is now available for download here.

The browser was previously available free of charge with an ad banner. Users had the option of paying a licensing fee to remove the ad banner and receive premium support. One to three per cent of users purchased this license and that along with revenue from search engines and the sale of ads made up the three almost equal revenue streams for Opera's PC business. Opera will continue to sell premium support at the reduced price of �24 per year."

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Opera is my browser of choice. It's fast, less vulnerable to hijacking and other exploits than Internet Explorer is. You can open multiple websites in one window and if you close Opera and come back to browse later it will open right where you left off with all your sites right there on separate tabs, ready to go again.

A right click 'context menu' can open up a google search on any hilited word or phrase. A dictionary, price comparison, encyclopedia or translation search is equally easy. Integrated mail makes sending your friends links to pages you browse very easy. It keeps track of your browsing History and and allows you to get back to pages you browsed days or weeks ago quickly. It also has an integrated note taking function, just hilite some text on a page, right click and choose "copy to note".

All in all just a sweet alternative to that aging piece of crap called Internet Exploder (sic).
--pseudolus

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We're Liberals

With a Category Five about to slam into the homeland again, it bears repeating.

We believe there was every reason to go to Afghanistan after 9/11.
We believe there was no reason to spend further money and lives in Iraq.
We believed all along that we were stretching ourselves too thin starting the war in Iraq, PERIOD - no less starting it when we weren't through in Afghanistan.

Before Bush took office, we were proud of our Liberal track record.
Equal rights.
Caring for the elderly.
Caring for the less fortunate among us.
Making sure all our kids got an education.

But to pay for this crapshoot called Iraq meant to take away or cripple that track record. Billions of dollars siphoned away from America's better interests to pay for what was, at best, the number 13 at the roulette wheel.

So the money won't go to bettering our neighborhoods.
It won't go to educating our kids.
It won't go to helping the poor.
It won't go toward making the quality of life better for the ones who worked hard before we came along during their final years.
And now it won't go toward saving the populations of two American cities when powerful disasters destroy them.

snip<<
----

Hoffmania tells it like it is; why we are Liberals, why we hate this administration. Am I being 'shrill'? Well, too damn bad, pal. Enough is enough! How do you like your Preznit, now? He's spending us into the poor house and you conservative voters couldn't get up off your knees to see that your Preznit hasn't got any clothes on!
--pseudolus

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

George is Worst Natural Disaster to Hit Country


-----------
Published on Monday, September 19, 2005 by the Middletown Times Herald-Record (New York)
George is Worst Natural Disaster to Hit Country
by Beth Quinn


Well, folks, the only thing left up in the air now is whether George Bush is the worst president ever. Herbert Hoover has held the title since 1933.

It's been neck and neck for a while, but I think Bush pulled ahead with his spectacular failure in handling Katrina.

George Bush is a walking catastrophe. Far more than even Katrina, he is one of the worst disasters to ever hit America. His performance these past two weeks seemed a showcase for his utter stupidity and indifference, complete with flood, fire and floating bodies.

It was an epic performance that, more than anything else thus far, has revealed his true, craven self.

And now he wants to lay it on us. Soon we'll be seeing bumper stickers that say, "Buy gasoline or the hurricane will have won."

Somehow, all Americans are now "in this together" and we have to make up for his bumbling incompetence, beginning with picking up the tab for rebuilding the Gulf states.

To paraphrase the words of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, "Holy bullcrap!"

I've got to tell you, I get a lot of e-mails from folks who claim they're offended when I criticize this guy. But now I'm the one who's offended. Really.

I'm offended that Bush has only just now discovered that there are poor, black people in America.

I'm offended by the entire Bush family, who have established a culture of greed in this country and have been unable to disguise their contempt for the poor � an attitude evidenced in all its wild glory by George's mama when she said a week after Katrina hit:

"So many of the people in the (Houston) arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this � this (she chuckled slightly) is working very well for them."

Oh those greedy poor people who just want to take advantage of living like cattle in an arena.

I'm offended that Bush, upon his return to the White House � finally! � two days after Katrina hit, spent his first few hours back making yet another recess appointment of a federal judge, one whom the Senate had already rejected as too weird.

I'm offended that, when Bush finally realized he should at least pretend some concern for the dead and dying in the Gulf states, he carefully rolled up his sleeves for his photo op as though he were going to be fishing dead bodies out of the water his very own self.

I'm offended that, somehow, Halliburton won again when one of its subsidiaries was automatically granted a $29.8 million government contract to clean up New Orleans. Don't we have a bidding process in this country anymore? Everything has to go to Cheney's cheating company?

I'm offended by Bush's unwillingness to name a bipartisan panel to investigate just what � what! � the hell went wrong in our hurricane response.

I'm offended that those who lost everything in Katrina will be unable to declare bankruptcy because they can't possibly gather up all their drowned and burned paperwork to prove they've got nothing left.

I'm offended that Bush went on television to lay out a $200 billion rebuilding plan without saying a single word about how that might get paid for � just as the No Child Left Behind Act is unfunded; just as the Medicare prescription plan is unfunded; just as his insane war in Iraq is unfunded and raising our deficit to dizzying heights.

I'm offended that Bush has bankrupt our nation of money, goodwill and morality.

I'm offended that no one in Congress has yet called for his impeachment.

Most of all, I'm offended by those Americans who still insist that this sociopath is a swell guy, a terrific leader, a fine thinker. What is wrong with you people?!

And if this column offends you, I don't care. Anyone offended by the truth is living in a bubble world, kind of like the Superdome. And we all know what happens when the roof gets blown off a bubble world.

Reality. Yuck. How offensive.

� 2005 Times Herald Record

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The March of the Penguins and Enron, the Smartest Guys in the Room:

How Penguins and People Adapt to the Natural World
by Tom Turnipseed

At a recent conference, young Republicans were urged to see the documentary March of the Penguins, according to The New York Times. Conservative film critic Michael Medved said the film is "the motion picture this summer that most passionately affirms traditional norms like monogamy, sacrifice and child rearing."

It would be great if political conservatives admired the penguin film for a more important reason. The documentary depicts this remarkable avian species cooperating with one another and sacrificing their own lives and individual gain for the common good and survival of their own kind in the frigid and hostile environment of Antarctica.

Young and old conservative Republicans should also see another recent documentary, Enron, the Smartest Guys in the Room. Enron is about the human species and, particularly, the criminal activities of corporate chieftains. The film exemplifies the modern conservative attitude of extreme individualism with its me-over-we, money-over-people philosophy that extols taking advantage of others to make money by lying and deceiving. The social behavior of the penguins, by contrast, is more like we-over-me.

Conservatives using the mating ordeals of emperor penguins as a battle in the culture wars might be positively instructed by a species with genuinely admirable attributes of social sacrifice and cooperative collectivism. After a 70 mile journey together, the penguins mate and the females lay an egg. The male penguins then learn to balance the egg laid by their mate on their hooked feet, moving carefully about. They crowd together for warmth in howling 100 mile an hour winds and temperatures of 180 degrees below zero, tenderly protecting the egg while their mates go on a two month journey for food. Huddled together for warmth, a fold of their belly fat sheltering the egg from the elements, they must somehow keep moving, lest they freeze. They regularly alternate moving into the middle of the huddle to increase their body heat and keep from freezing to death in an unselfish effort of group survival. Some freeze to death anyway, usually on the outer edge of the mass of male penguins. Just as their babies hatch, the females arrive with food.

Enron was a self-described �energy� corporation that became the seventh largest corporation in America and was named Fortune magazine�s �most innovative corporation� for six consecutive years. The objective of Enron was not actually to provide energy. Enron�s singular purpose was making money. As the film�s narration so aptly says: it is a story about �the dark side of the American Dream�. Like the Ponzi scheme of the early 20th Century, Enron used get-rich-quick schemes for the guys at the top of their money pyramid. Similar to Ponzi�s rip-off, the money actually represented no goods or services and the fraud was bought into by the largest financial institutions in America.

Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling were Enron�s top executives. Lay and Skilling touted Enron as "the best energy company in the world", and President George W. Bush hosted Lay at the White House and referred to his political and energy industry friend as �Kenny Boy�. Meanwhile, Lay and Skilling knew the company was bankrupt, without any real worth for years. Utilizing corrupt bookkeeping practices, they concealed losses and inflated profits, with the prestigious accounting firm Arthur Anderson signing off on the scam and being forced out of business as a consequence.

Enron simply made up impressive quarterly returns to bolster its stock prices and developed an accounting ruse called mark to market. This hoax had Enron pushing a venture projected to make $10 million ten years from now and asserting the $10 million was current income. Another Enron ploy was creating phony offshore corporations and moving their losses to those companies, which were off the books.

The most appalling part of the film is the revelation that Enron created the bogus California energy crisis. There was never a power shortage in California. Enron traders got on the phone with California power plants, and told plant managers to "get a little creative" in closing down plants for "repairs." Between 30 percent and 50 percent of California's energy industry was shut down by Enron much of the time, with closures as high as 76 percent on one occasion. Enron traders drove the price of electricity higher by nine times.

In the film, Enron traders laugh about the rolling blackouts, and boast about the millions they made for Enron. 20,000 employees are fired as the company goes belly up; pensions are gone; stock is valueless. A power company lineman in Portland, who worked for the same utility all his life, says his retirement fund was worth $248,000 before Enron bought the utility. Then that retirement fund was invested in Enron stock. Now it�s worth about $1,200.

Emperor penguins would certainly be better role models for young conservatives than Ken Lay.

Tom Turnipseed is an attorney, writer and political activist in Columbia, South Carolina. www.turnipseed.net

The March of the Penguins and Enron, the Smartest Guys in the Room

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Christian Coalition fading fast

Finally, some good news to blog!
--pseudolus
------------------
Grass-roots religious group now based in S.C. has lost leadership, influence

By LEE BANDY

Staff Writer

Rocked by financial debt, lawsuits and the loss of experienced political leaders, the Christian Coalition has become a pale imitation of its once-powerful self.

Some say the group � now based in Charleston and headed by a South Carolinian � is on life support, having been eclipsed by higher-profile, better-funded groups such as Focus on the Family.

�The coalition as we knew it doesn�t exist,� says Lois Eargle, former chairwoman of the Horry County Christian Coalition.

The 16-year-old organization once was a political juggernaut. But it has been in steady decline since it lost one of its most effective national leaders, executive director Ralph Reed. Reed left in 1997 to form his own political consulting firm in Atlanta.


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WMTW.com - News - FEMA Diverts Truckloads Of Ice To Portland

Oh, this is rich. They must figure to save money on running the refrigerators becasue it is so much colder up here in Maine. Somebody shoot me! --pseudolus

FEMA Diverts Truckloads Of Ice To Portland
Drivers: 750 More Trucks On Their Way
By News 8 WMTW

snip<<

PORTLAND, Maine -- Hundreds of truckloads of ice destined for the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast are being diverted to Portland and other cities for storage.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it has more ice than it can use, so it wants to put the ice into storage for use in a future emergency. Critics, however, said that paying truck drivers $800 a day to haul the ice across the country makes no sense.

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Immigration Nominee's Credentials Questioned

This is just stupid.

"Her uncle is Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, the departing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She married Chertoff's current chief of staff, John F. Wood, on Saturday."


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Psychopaths could be best financial traders?

Mon Sep 19, 2:45 PM ET

"Wanted: psychopaths to make a killing in the markets."

Such an advert will not be appearing in the world's newspapers any time soon, but it may have a ring of truth after research revealed the best wheeler-dealers could well be "functional psychopaths."

A team of U.S. scientists has found the emotionally impaired are more willing to gamble for high stakes and that people with brain damage may make good financial decisions, the Times newspaper reported Monday.

In a study of investors' behavior 41 people with normal IQs were asked to play a simple investment game. Fifteen of the group had suffered lesions on the areas of the brain that affect emotions.

The result was those with brain damage outperformed those without.

The scientists found emotions led some of the group to avoid risks even when the potential benefits far outweighed the losses, a phenomenon known as myopic loss aversion.

One of the researchers, Antione Bechara, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Iowa, said the best stock market investors might plausibly be called "functional psychopaths."

Fellow author, Baba Shiv of Stanford Graduate School of Business said many company chiefs and top lawyers may also show they share the same trait.

"Emotions serve an adaptive role in speeding up the decision-making process," said Shiv.

"However, there are circumstances in which a naturally occurring emotional response must be inhibited, so that a deliberate and potentially wiser decision can be made."

The study, published in June in the journal Psychological Science, was conducted by a team of researchers from Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Iowa.

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Monday, September 19, 2005

no title needed

Why won't the Democratic leadership stand up to the Republicans?

The Democrats won't stand up because they are in thrall to Big Money, just like the Republicans. Until we can get the cost of campaigns down to a reasonable level or fund them with taxes, all politicians will be enslaved to the dollar.

As soon as someone is elected these days, they are working on their next campaign and not on their constituents' interests.

This country must re-tool its voting system ASAP. But the dilemma is how do we do that in the context of the current system? Politicians and voters are riding a tiger. Getting off is going to be difficult, but must be done.

The media would help if they re-grew their backbones, but with de-regulation and elimination of the Fairness Doctrine, they, too, have climbed aboard the tiger.

I fear it will take a major social upheaval to halt this ride to hell, and no one will walk away unscathed.
--pseudolus

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Intelligible Design

snip<<

For decades the right has worked day and night to delegitimize concepts without which no society can thrive, or maybe even survive--the common good, social solidarity, knowledge and expertise, public service. God, abstinence and the market were supposed to solve all our problems. Bad news--climate change, rising poverty, racial and gender disparities, educational failure, the mess in Iraq--was just flimflam from liberals who hate freedom. Is there another world power that lives in such a fantasy world? Now, in old people left to drown in their nursing home beds, in police who reportedly demanded that young women stranded on rooftops bare their breasts in return for rescue, in the contempt for public safety shown by Bush's transformation of FEMA into a pasture for hapless cronies--we can all see what those fantasies obscured. A government that doesn't believe in government was a disaster waiting to happen.

That disaster was Katrina, and it's swept us a crucial political moment. It's as if we're being given something people rarely get: a chance to take a hard look at the future we are preparing for ourselves, an America that has used up its social and economic and intellectual capital and in which it's every man for himself, and every woman, too.

Is that the future we want? Because if we let this moment slip away, that is where we are heading.

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USNews.com: Washington Whispers (9/26/05)

Oh, yes, that "liberal media" always trying to bring down the poor conservative folks. --pseudolus

"Another Win for 'Friends & Allies'
When John G. Roberts is approved as chief justice of the United States, as expected, he can thank President Bush 's 'Friends & Allies' program, which went to work on him immediately after he was nominated. The project, started by the Republican National Committee in the 2004 re-election campaign, is simple and effective: Give opinion makers, media friends, and even cocktail party hosts insider info on the topic of the day. How? Through E-mailed talking points, called D.C. Talkers, and conference calls. For Roberts, it worked this way: A daily conference call to about 80 pundits, GOP-leaning radio and TV hosts, and newsmakers was made around 9 a.m. On the other end were the main Roberts gunslingers like Steve Schmidt at the White House and Ken Mehlman and Brian Jones at the RNC. D.C. Talkers would then be distributed to an even larger list filled with positive info about Roberts and lines of attack on his critics. 'The idea,' said one of those involved, 'is to feed them information and have them invested in us.' It has even created addicts, he added. 'Now they come to us before going on TV.'"

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The invisible hands attacking America

Remember, when you hear some neocon nutjob telling you "the economy is great!" he is lieing or ignorant. "The Economy" has for a couple of decades, now, been equated only with "Wall Street" in the news. Any reference to employment levels, government debt, personal debt and so on, has been scrubbed from the news.

The Liberal Avanger has a great post by 'Mark from Ireland' on the current condition of "The Economy". It's a must read if you want to get a handle on our current and future situation. --pseudolus

This posting is long and represents a doubtless forlorn attempt to get people to think about economics. Economics is properly called "political economy" you might like to think about that too.

"Despite the uneven character of the expansion over the past year, the US economy has done well, on net, by most measures."

- Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan



Sounds wonderful doesn't it? If the US economy has done well "on net" then financing the rebuilding effort post-Katrina should be difficult but doable. There's just one problem - it isn't true.

My quote from Greenspan above highlights a real, but mostly unremarked, change in how macroeconomic policy is viewed and discussed in the USA and, to a lesser extent, throughout the industrialised world. To reduce the view of the American economy to Fortune 500 profitability and asset market performance is to engage in what I would be tempted to refer to as a "Reductio ad Absurdum" were it not for the fact that I know that some logomachistic troll would immediately spot the smokescreen potential.

Those of us who follow such things will undoubtedly already be aware that that hotbed of moonbat thinking the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has just lowered its forecast for global growth generally and thrown an unusually frankly phrased hissy fit about the dangers of continued US imbalances. In the US itself the National Association of Business Economists (NABE) has just lowered it's growth forecast by 0.2% down to 3.4%. You can, particularly if you're looking for talking points, of course find other rather more optimistic forecasts. But there's a problem with them, which is that they focus upon equity and bond market performance, corporate profits and the housing market. Such a focus ignores asset bubbles and redistribution inefficiencies and equates the symptoms of an economic disease with indications of robust economic health.


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Sunday, September 18, 2005

JREF SWIFT - Commentary, September 15, 2005




An excellent issue of JREF's SWIFT last week check it out! I have a couple of quotes below: --pseudolus
---------------
NEW HOPE

Reader Joe Sowers asks:

One is forced to wonder how many homeopath experts would enter a room full of rattlesnakes if promised a vial of homeopathic anti-venom.

----------
QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED

Reader Bill F. Acklin asks appropriate questions for this day:

President Bush has today, September 16th, designated as a �Day of Prayer.�

Why are we waiting till the 16th? Why not everyday? Are we praying ALL DAY or just for a bit in the morning? Should we fast as well? What if some don't pray, will God turn away? Does a certain amount of humans have to pray to satisfy the Hurricane God? What if we are one thoughtful prayer off of the quota? Will God give in? Didn't they Pray BEFORE the storm hit? Did God steer it more easterly into Mississippi to avert a New Orleans direct hit? Why Pray? Who does it help, the person praying, or the intended prayer recipient? Who do we pray to? Bush's God, or the Muslim God, or the Pope's God? Or the Hindu God or the Buddhist � oops � they don't have one, or doesn't it matter, just so we pray? What do the Atheists and Agnostics do that day? Okay, I'll pray if it'll help, but to whom?

What if I pray to the wrong God and the real God gets mad, and throws another hurricane, like a Frisbee, into the Gulf? Is it then MY fault? Forget it. I'm afraid to pray to a deity that would allow this to happen in the first place. He will answer my "after storm" prayers, but would not answer or comfort those at the bottom of this city in their greatest time of need? What are my chances? Is God teaching the USA a lesson by making the poor and impoverished folks who live below sea level, suffer even more?

Bush/LA Gov/ N.O. City Mayor is going to need more than a God to clean and rebuild this mess. Oh, they have it. Good old-fashioned Americans, giving all they got to help.

We're like that, you know. God or no God.

Thank God...or the founding fathers. Your choice.
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