“According to a new study, about a third of big companies in the United States and Britain hire employees to read and analyze outbound e-mail,” Reuters reports.
Last month, the Washington Post reported the Bush administration was “secretly supporting secular warlords” in Somalia “who have been waging fierce battles against Islamic groups for control of the capital, Mogadishu.” Some of these warlords reportedly “fought against the United States in 1993 during street battles that culminated in an attack that downed two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters and left 18 Army Rangers dead.”
U.S. support for these militias upset the Somali prime minister, who said, “We would prefer that the U.S. work with the transitional government and not with criminals. … This is a dangerous game. Somalia is not a stable place and we want the U.S. in Somalia. But in a more constructive way.”
He’s not the only Somalian upset with the policy. Reuters reports today:
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Mogadishu on Friday angrily condemning the United States for supporting warlords involved in clashes with Islamic militias that claimed 16 more lives overnight. ["¦]
Some 350 people have been killed in three bouts of heavy fighting since the start of the year in the fighting that had focused on the capital but has now moved beyond Mogadishu.
The policy of supporting the “enemy of the enemy” is further destabilizing Somalia, but a shift in policy is unlikely. Last week, the State Department transferred Michale Zorick, the former political affairs officer for Somalia, to a different post after he spoke out against supporting the warlords.
In the June 5 global warming cover story in the print edition of the National Review, scientist Curt Davis said author Jason Steorts completely misrepresented his study to argue that Antartica gained ice between 1992 and 2003. Steorts now maintains he omitted the fact that Davis’ study only covered the eastern interior of the continent – and did not consider the western and costal areas that other studies show are losing mass at a rapid pace — “for the sake of brevity.”
In his cover story, Steorts then references a study by Isabella Velicogna that examined the whole continent from 2002 to 2005 and found is was losing substantial amounts of ice. But Steorts provides this rebuttal:
2002 “” the year in which the study began “” was a high-water mark for Antarctic ice, so it’s not too surprising to see some decline since then. Alarmism over Velicogna’s study is on the order of going to the beach at high tide, drawing a line at the water’s edge, and fretting a few hours later that the oceans are drying up.
The original article does not provide a source for the claim that 2002 “was a high-water mark for Antarctic ice” but in an online piece today Steorts said that he was told that information from the CATO Institute’s Patrick Michaels.
ThinkProgress talked to Patrick Michaels this afternoon. Michaels said he was referring to a graph in the study by Curt Davis. ThinkProgress then called Curt Davis. Here is what he had to say:
If Michaels is using my study to claim that 2002 was a high water mark in terms of ice for all Antartica, that is completely wrong. My study result only demonstrated this for the interior of East Antarctica. You can’t use that for Antartica as a whole because the coastal areas of the ice sheet were not included in my analysis. My study clearly stated that the overall mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet depends on the sum of the contributions from the interior and coastal areas.
So it’s the same shell game again. Take a finding for the interior of the eastern part of the continent and pretend the whole continent is gaining ice, even though studies show the western and coastal areas are losing ice at a rapid pace.
Steorts now claims these serious factual errors are immaterial. In his most recent online commentary, Steorts says his article “hinges neither on the question whether Antarctica is presently gaining or losing ice.” That’s odd considering it was promoted on the cover of the National Review with the title “Snow Job: The Truth About the Great Overhyped Glacier Melt.” Seems like what’s happening to the ice is a pretty central point.
31 coal miners have died on job this year, compared with 22 deaths in all of 2005. The House is set to take up the Senate-passed mine safety bill, but conservative lawmakers are resisting inserting three amendments offered by Rep. George Miller (D-CA) that would strengthen workplace safety for miners:
– Require the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration to randomly check self-rescuer devices upon which miners’ lives depend in an emergency to ensure they are in working order;
– Provide that the air stored underground for trapped miners under the Senate legislation last for a minimum of 48 hours through a chamber or cache; and
– Provide that communication and tracking devices required under the Senate legislation be required in 15 months rather than the 3 years specified.
Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-GA) attacked Miller for “delaying” the bill, Rep. Shelly Moore Caputo (R-WV) called the amendments “totally unreasonable,” and Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) said Miller is being “irresponsible.”
These amendments target key weaknesses in mine safety. For example, only one miner in the Sago mine died in the initial blast. The other 11 died waiting for rescue. The Senate verison of the bill currently requires only enough breathable air to last miners for a vague “sustained” period of time. The West Virginia Mine Safety Technology Task Force, like Miller, recommends 48 hours worth of air.
The WV task force has concluded Miller’s amendments are feasible with existing technology and the families from the Sago disaster support them. The only thing “irresponsible” in this situation is the conservative resistance to strengthening legislation that would save miners’ lives.
Confined Space has more.
AP reports, “President Bush will promote a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on Monday, the eve of a scheduled Senate vote on the cause that is dear to his conservative backers.” The amendment “stands little chance of passing the 100-member Senate,” where it needs 2/3 support.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute – the same group that is trashing Al Gore’s global warming movie with deceptive advertisements – has risen to the defense of chewing tobacco.
A recent blog post on CEI’s website titled “Smokeless Tobacco: It’s Not Just for Rednecks and Ball Players Anymore” warns those arguing chewing tobacco is not safe “might be costing people their lives.” The post links to two websites, For Smokers Only and TobaccoHarmReduction.org that promote chewing tobacco as a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes.
Here’s what the World Health Organization has to say about chewing tobacco:
Oral tobacco has been recognized since at least the 1980s to cause addiction, several forms of cancer and various dental diseases. The adverse health effects of oral tobacco mixtures have been extensively reviewed. All concur that smokeless tobacco products contain addictive levels of nicotine, many carcinogens, heavy metals, and other toxins, though recognizing that the levels of nicotine and toxins vary widely across products.
In general, oral tobacco products are highly addictive, and typically contain several carcinogens that cause head, neck and throat cancers with high rates of premature mortality.
Dipping: they say it causes cancer, we call it life.
A federal grand jury has subpoenaed California’s San Bernardino County for records connected to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) and a lobbying firm with strong ties to Lewis.
Bush’s nomination of Henry Paulson to be Treasury Secretary has riled some conservatives, who now want to “find a senator who will place a hold on the nomination.” Paulson chaired the Nature Conservancy and supports the Kyoto Protocol. “He’s a lefty Nature Conservancy nut,” said one “outside-the-White House adviser.”
An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore’s new movie about global warming, opens today in cities in California, Connecticut, DC, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington. See if it’s playing in your town.
The Justice Department and Alaska have exercised a clause allowing them to receive more funding to clean up the Exxon Valdez oil spill. “They announced in a statement that they would seek $92 million from Exxon Mobil to clean up stubborn patches of oil, whose most toxic components, they say, have not dissipated since the spill in 1989.”
86: The percent of Americans who believe “the FBI should be allowed to search a Congress member’s office if it has a warrant,” according to a new ABC News poll. The poll found this view to be “broadly bipartisan.” Read more