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Archive for June 6th, 2010

Forbes magazine’s editorial board suggests nuclear device to stop BP spill.

“[T]his is the kind of option you really have to put on the table. … The leak has been going for seven weeks – 500,000 gallons of oil a day. Tar balls are showing up on the coast of Florida. The only sure-fire option to stop it is a relief well which is ten weeks away and that puts you in August hurricane season. So we might as well look at something with an 80-percent success rate according to the Russians.”—Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes magazine

“[T]he conventional ways to solve this have not worked. So, why not consider some unconventional ones? I will admit, I am a little bit nervous about this, but we shouldn’t have a nuke-ophobia here.”— Neil Weinberg, the executive editor of Forbes

Maybe Karlgaard and Weinberg read The Millstone Diaries. Then again … probably not.  

I am a rock … I am an island …

I.M. Kane


 

‘Forbes on Fox’ Panel Argues for Detonating Nukes to Plug Oil Spill

By Jeff Poor

How’s this for outside-the-box thinking – use nuclear explosives to stop the BP oil spill that is ravaging the Gulf Coast? 

According to some of the panelist on Fox News Channel’s “Forbes on Fox,” using nuclear materials would be a more expeditious way to solve this calamity.

“That’s right, nuke it.” “Forbes on Fox” host David Asman said on the show’s June 5 broadcast. “Some scientists do advocate this. The Soviets apparently succeeded in doing it. Here is the video they say actually shows it. And now some at ‘Forbes’ agree, nuke it.”

Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes magazine, was one of the strongest proponents of using nukes for fear that the relief well option could be thwarted by a hurricane.

“Well David, this is the kind of option you really have to put on the table. Why? The leak has been going for seven weeks – 500,000 gallons of oil a day,” Karlgaard said. “Tar balls are showing up on the coast of Florida. The only sure-fire option to stop it is a relief well which is ten weeks away and that puts you in August hurricane season. So we might as well look at something with an 80-percent success rate according to the Russians.

Another advocate of this method was Neil Weinberg, the executive editor of Forbes. He didn’t necessarily say it was a sure-fire means, but said it should be an option left on the table.

“Well obviously David, the conventional ways to solve this have not worked,” Weinberg said. “So, why not consider some unconventional ones? I will admit, I am a little bit nervous about this, but we shouldn’t have a nuke-ophobia here. I mean, we have nuclear power plants in our backyards. We have nuclear submarines. Just because something is nuclear, if it is detonated well below the sea, doesn’t mean that it is going to contaminate anything.”

Forbes magazine Editor-in-Chief Steve Forbes wasn’t quite on board with this line of thinking.

“I can see the tourist posters in the future for the Gulf,” Forbes said. “In addition to the oil, now you can have warm water and radioactive water.

He explained the Soviets could have afforded to take such a chance with nuclear explosives, but in a volatile political situation, doing so just isn’t feasible.

“So, the Soviets can get away you might say, playing nuclear Russian roulette with things like natural gas and the like,” Forbes continued. “But, this is in the ocean and never been done before. I don’t think it’s ever really been modeled before. So, politically the idea is a bomb and radioactive. Not going to happen.”

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Iran threatens to send Revolutionary Guard naval units to escort “humanitarian” aid convoys and break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

Iran‘s Revolutionary Guard naval forces are prepared to escort the peace and freedom convoys that carry humanitarian assistance for the defenceless and oppressed people of Gaza with all their strength.”—Hojjatoleslam Ali Shirazi, the Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s personal representative to the guard corps.

Two Lebanese organizations, Reporters Without Borders and the Free Palestine Movement, have also threatened to send boats to Gaza in the next few days, and the founder of Viva Palestina threatens simultaneous convoys, one over land by way of Egypt and the other a 60-ship convoy around the Mediterranean.


 

Gaza blockade: Iran offers escort to next aid convoy

By Ian Black

Iran has warned that it could send Revolutionary Guard naval units to escort humanitarian aid convoys seeking to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza – a move that would certainly be challenged by Israel.

Any such Iranian involvement, raised today by an aide to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, would constitute a serious escalation of already high tensions with Israel, which accuses Tehran of seeking to build a nuclear weapon and of backing Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls Gaza.

“Iran’s Revolutionary Guard naval forces are prepared to escort the peace and freedom convoys that carry humanitarian assistance for the defenceless and oppressed people of Gaza with all their strength,” pledged Hojjatoleslam Ali Shirazi, Khamenei’s personal representative to the guards corps.

The threat came as the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, dismissed a UN proposal for an international commission to investigate last week’s commando assault on aid ships, in which nine people died. Another aid ship, the Rachel Corrie, carrying Irish and other peace activists, was boarded peacefully by Israeli forces on Saturday, escorted to the port of Ashdod, and its passengers deported.

Netanyahu has defended Israel’s right to maintain the blockade by arguing that without it Gaza would become an “Iranian port” and Hamas missiles would strike Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Israel’s undeclared aim is to weaken or bring down the Hamas government.

Iran continued to exploit the “freedom flotilla” affair to lambast Israel. Its foreign minister, Manuchehr Mottaki, told the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in Jeddah on Sunday that Israel’s crime was “another instance of the Zionist regime’s brazen and merciless treatment of Muslims, especially the oppressed Palestinian people.”

Mottaki also called for a UN resolution condemning Israel. The security council is discussing imposing new sanctions on Iran because of its failure to meet international demands over its nuclear programme.

Iran and Israel have had no diplomatic relations since the 1979 revolution and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad regularly predicts the disappearance of the Jewish state as well as denying the Holocaust.

Shirazi said Iran should encourage international efforts to break the blockade. “We should expose our enemies to spontaneous global action and not let them achieve their heinous goals,” he was quoted as saying by the semi-official Mehr news agency.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, which have a command structure separate from the regular armed forces, are fiercely loyal to the supreme leader. Khamenei has attacked the raid as a “mistake” that “showed how barbaric the Zionists are”.

Israel’s determination to strike at links between Iran and Hamas was dramatically demonstrated in January when presumed Mossad agents in Dubai assassinated Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, who was described as the Hamas official in charge of smuggling Iranian weapons into Gaza.

Israel’s no-compromise attitude to aid convoys could be tested again after two Lebanese organisations pledged to send boats to Gaza in the next few days. Reporters Without Borders is attempting to assemble 25 European activists and 50 journalists for a boat leaving Beirut. The Free Palestine Movement is planning a similar attempt.

George Galloway, the founder of Viva Palestina, announced in London that two simultaneous convoys “one by land via Egypt and the other by sea” would set out in September to break the Gaza blockade. The sea convoy of up to 60 ships will travel around the Mediterranean gathering ships, cargo and volunteers.

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Listening to him tell one lie after another about the bankruptcy of General Motors was bad enough. … But having to listen to this scumbag lecture me about the evils of “income inequality” was truly more than I could bear.

This man was personally implicated in bribing New York state pension officials (but hasn’t been indicted yet). He made close to $500 million via his private-equity fund (Quadrangle), while his investors underperformed municipal bonds. This guy lives in a $15 million home on Martha’s Vineyard and in the same Fifth Avenue apartment building as George Soros. This is a guy who flies his own plane… whose wife is the leading fundraiser for the Democratic Party.

This guy spent his entire life in the rarified world of Ivy League colleges, investment banks, and New York City’s most elite social circles. …

How could such a person ever have been allowed to reach such levels of power and influence? How could an idea as obviously repelling as government-directed income redistribution ever be discussed at an investment conference filled with thousands of capitalists?

Rattner’s response to my loud boo was … “I hope you’re joking.” … I replied, in a much, much louder and more hostile tone: “YOU’RE THE JOKE.”—Porter Stansberry


 

This is why America is doomed

By Porter Stansberry

I don’t think I can recall ever being more disgusted in public… and certainly not at an investment conference. [Last] Wednesday, I attended the famed Ira Sohn Investment Research Conference in New York City, which benefits pediatric cancer. The conference was good and I’m glad I went… but one presentation made me want to vomit.

It was Steve Rattner – the New York financier turned OBAMA! “car czar.” Listening to him tell one lie after another about the bankruptcy of General Motors was bad enough. (And believe me… I know a little bit about GM’s balance sheet, having been the first analyst anywhere to predict the carmaker’s bankruptcy as early as 2005.) But having to listen to this scumbag lecture me about the evils of “income inequality” was truly more than I could bear.

This man was personally implicated in bribing New York state pension officials (but hasn’t been indicted yet). He made close to $500 million via his private-equity fund (Quadrangle), while his investors underperformed municipal bonds. This guy lives in a $15 million home on Martha’s Vineyard and in the same Fifth Avenue apartment building as George Soros. This is a guy who flies his own plane… whose wife is the leading fundraiser for the Democratic Party. This is Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Michael Bloomberg’s best friend. And Barry Diller’s.

This guy spent his entire life in the rarified world of Ivy League colleges, investment banks, and New York City’s most elite social circles. And yet… even with all of these advantages, he ended up accused of bribing New York State pension officials to get them to invest with his private-equity firm. (By the way… I have to hand it to OBAMA! on appointing Rattner as the “car czar.” OBAMA! knew about the corruption charges, and he appointed Rattner to restructure General Motors anyway. After all, who better to steal from bondholders than a crook?)

And now, Rattner was going to lecture us, the great unwashed, about “income inequality.” It was simply unbearable…

After spending about 20 minutes congratulating himself on the bailout of GM (which cost taxpayers roughly $80 billion and bondholders roughly $27 billion), Rattner put up a chart he seemed to believe indicated rich people in America were making far too much money. I let out a loud “Boooo….”

Really, it was more of a moan of agony. I just couldn’t take anymore. How could such a person ever have been allowed to reach such levels of power and influence? How could an idea as obviously repelling as government-directed income redistribution ever be discussed at an investment conference filled with thousands of capitalists?

Rattner’s response to my loud boo was remarkable. In his most condescending, the-government-knows-best tone he said: “I hope you’re joking.” As if to even question the role of government in redistributing the wealth of our society made me some kind of a mental invalid or moral outrage. I replied, in a much, much louder and more hostile tone: “YOU’RE THE JOKE.”

When I write about not recognizing my fellow Americans… and feeling like I live in a country called Amerika, I’m talking about the Rattnerization of our country. This guy is the very embodiment of the term “limousine liberal.” He wants to raise your taxes because his income is now all sheltered. And he thinks he knows how to use your money far better than you do. In his mind, he’s doing you a big favor when he raises your taxes.

As the whole global warming thing falls apart (hard to believe it has lasted this long), guys like Rattner need a new slogan. They need a new calling – a new, better, and simpler reason to motivate voters. Their cry will be “income inequality.”

The free market has failed, they say, because some people are getting very, very rich. And Rattner knows well the 50% or so of the people who no longer pay federal income taxes will believe income inequality is a problem (instead of the result of a wonderful technological revolution). And they will support every possible measure to correct “the problem.” This will keep people like Rattner in power for a long, long time. Look for Al Gore’s next movie to be about income inequality. You think I’m kidding. But I’m not. Rattner even has a hockey stick chart, just like Gore did, showing that income inequity is soaring… and threatening to destroy us all.

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In the 2:57 video below, Herman Cain answers a young woman’s question about the left’s attack on America’s Judeo-Christian at the Douglas County Tea Party and then takes another question from a man in the crowd who sings the fourth stanza from Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand 

Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation,

Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n – rescued land

Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserved us a nation.

 

Then conquer we must, for our cause is just,

And this be our motto–“In God is our trust.”

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The tea party video is followed below by noted science fiction writer Isaac Asimov’s 1991 piece giving some historical perspective to the four stanzas of America’s anthem. Asimov, a secular Jew, has been resoundly criticized by conservative Christians for his secular humanist philosophy and subsequent Guide to the Bible; therefore, it might come as a surprise to some that he was quite a patriot.

Asimov’s piece below on the Star Spangled Banner demonstrates his patriotism and love of history.

“I hope you will look at the national anthem with new eyes. Listen to it, the next time you have a chance, with new ears.

And don’t let them ever take it away.”—Isaac Asimov, March 1991

I.M. Kane


 

Tea Party Member Stuns Crowd! 2:57 Video


 

All Four Stanzas

By Isaac Asimov

I have a weakness—I am crazy, absolutely nuts, about our national anthem.

The words are difficult and the tune is almost impossible, but frequently when I’m taking a shower I sing it with as much power and emotion as I can. It shakes me up every time.

I was once asked to speak at a luncheon. Taking my life in my hands, I announced I was going to sing our national anthem–all four stanzas.

This was greeted with loud groans. One man closed the door to the kitchen, where the noise of dishes and cutlery was loud and distracting. “Thanks, Herb,” I said.

“That’s all right,” he said. “It was at the request of the kitchen staff.”

I explained the background of the anthem and then sang all four stanzas.

Let me tell you, those people had never heard it before–or had never really listened. I got a standing ovation. But it was not me; it was the anthem.

More recently, while conducting a seminar, I told my students the story of the anthem and sang all four stanzas. Again there was a wild ovation and prolonged applause. And again, it was the anthem and not me.

So now let me tell you how it came to be written.

In 1812, the United States went to war with Great Britain, primarily over freedom of the seas. We were in the right. For two years, we held off the British, even though we were still a rather weak country. Great Britain was in a life and death struggle with Napoleon. In fact, just as the United States declared war, Napoleon marched off to invade Russia. If he won, as everyone expected, he would control Europe, and Great Britain would be isolated. It was no time for her to be involved in an American war.

At first, our seamen proved better than the British. After we won a battle on Lake Erie in 1813, the American commander, Oliver Hazard Perry, sent the message “We have met the enemy and they are ours.” However, the weight of the British navy beat down our ships eventually. New England, hard-hit by a tightening blockade, threatened secession.

Meanwhile, Napoleon was beaten in Russia and in 1814 was forced to abdicate. Great Britain now turned its attention to the United States, launching a three-pronged attack. The northern prong was to come down Lake Champlain toward New York and seize parts of New England. The southern prong was to go up the Mississippi, take New Orleans and paralyze the west. The central prong was to head for the mid-Atlantic states and then attack Baltimore, the greatest port south of New York. If Baltimore was taken, the nation, which still hugged the Atlantic  coast, could be split in two. The fate of the United States, then, rested to a large extent on the success or failure of the central prong.

The British reached the American coast, and on August 24, 1814, took Washington, D. C. Then they moved up the Chesapeake Bay toward Baltimore. On September 12, they arrived and found 1000 men in Fort McHenry, whose guns controlled the harbor. If the British wished to take Baltimore, they would have to take the fort.

On one of the British ships was an aged physician, William Beanes, who had been arrested in Maryland and brought along as a prisoner. Francis Scott Key, a lawyer and friend of the physician, had come to the ship to negotiate his release. The British captain was willing, but the two Americans would have to wait. It was now the night of September 13, and the bombardment of Fort McHenry was about to start.

As twilight deepened, Key and Beanes saw the American flag flying over Fort McHenry. Through the night, they heard bombs bursting and saw the red glare of rockets. They knew the fort was resisting and the American flag was still flying. But toward morning the bombardment ceased, and a dread silence fell. Either Fort McHenry had surrendered and the British flag flew above it, or the bombardment had failed and the American flag still flew.

As dawn began to brighten the eastern sky, Key and Beanes stared out at the fort, trying to see which flag flew over it. He and the physician must have asked each other over and over, “Can you see the flag?”

After it was all finished, Key wrote a four stanza poem telling the events of the night. Called “The Defence of Fort M’Henry,” it was published in newspapers and swept the nation. Someone noted that the words fit an old English tune called “To Anacreon in Heaven” –a difficult melody with an uncomfortably large vocal range. For obvious reasons, Key’s work became known as “The Star Spangled Banner,” and in 1931 Congress declared it the official anthem of the United States.

Now that you know the story, here are the words. Presumably, the old doctor is speaking. This is what he asks Key

Oh! say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,

O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?

 

And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there.

Oh! say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave,

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

“Ramparts,” in case you don’t know, are the protective walls or other elevations that surround a fort. The first stanza asks a question. The second gives an answer

On the shore, dimly seen thro’ the mist of the deep,

Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,

What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep.

As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?

 

Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,

In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream

‘Tis the star-spangled banner. Oh! long may it wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

“The towering steep” is again, the ramparts. The bombardment has failed, and the British can do nothing more but sail away, their mission a failure.

In the third stanza, I feel Key allows himself to gloat over the American triumph. In the aftermath of the bombardment, Key probably was in no mood to act otherwise.

During World War II, when the British were our staunchest allies, this third stanza was not sung. However, I know it, so here it is

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore

That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion

A home and a country should leave us no more?

Their blood has washed out their foul footstep’s pollution.

 

No refuge could save the hireling and slave

From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave,

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The fourth stanza, a pious hope for the future, should be sung more slowly than the other three and with even deeper feeling.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand 

Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation,

Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n – rescued land

Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserved us a nation.

 

Then conquer we must, for our cause is just,

And this be our motto–“In God is our trust.”

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I hope you will look at the national anthem with new eyes. Listen to it, the next time you have a chance, with new ears.

And don’t let them ever take it away.—Isaac Asimov, March 1991

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