Month: October 2007

National Academy of Science Says GNEP Program Premature

The NAS is calling for a move slow approach on the Bush administration’s Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) Program, which among other things, calls for civilian nuclear power to move wholesale into a Plutonium economy, with the US reprocessing spent fuel, and reactors to burn the extracted Plutonium.

Their arguments are not about the potential safety and terrorism issues of a Plutonium economy, but rather that this program is insufficiently mature, and that funds should go toward getting new, more conventional, commercial plants online in the US, so they are not anti-nuke by inclination.

To quote the NAS press release, “The research and development component of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), a program that aims to reprocess spent nuclear fuel which could then be shared with partner countries, should not go forward at its current pace, says a new report from the National Research Council. DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy, of which GNEP is a part, should instead assign the highest priority to facilitating the startup of new commercial nuclear power plants, a program that is currently falling behind schedule due to funding gaps.”

What is going on here is that be is doing everything in its power to make sure that nuclear power plants are a fact on the ground before they leave office out of ideological fervor, not a realistic assessment of the technology.

Taiwanese President Promises Not to Develop Nuclear Weapons

Chen Shui-bian has promised not to develop nuclear weapons.

There is some interesting history and law here. The history is that they did have an active nuclear weapons program in the 1970s, but Jimmy Carter shut it down.

The law is that the NNPT applies to nations, and not governments, so a strict reading would say that Taiwan, official name Republic of China, could be considered to have the right to develop and deploy weapons, as it is, according to the UN, China.

On a more pragmatic side, if Taiwan were developing nukes, and China found out, all hell would break loose, though if Taiwan actually had deployed nukes on delivery vehicles before it became known, it would stabilize the situation by forestalling potential PRC invasions.

Generally, I subscribe to the old adage, no nukes is good nukes.

Snark of the Day

This is too good not to quote.

In commenting on the screw-ups of the Obama campaign regarding their association with a closeted gay basher, TPM suggested the following actions to “defuse the story”:

1. Convene townhall meeting of gay rights activists and emissaries from Family Research Council.

2. Launching ‘listening tour’ of Chelsea neighborhood of New York City.

3. Appoint blue ribbon commission on sodomy.

Good snark.

What the Blackwater Immunity Deal Means

ABC News has the text of the Blackwater immunity deal:

I understand this statement is being given in furtherance of an official administrative inquiry,” and that, “I further understand that neither my statements nor any information or evidence gained by reason of my statements can be used against me in a criminal proceeding, except that if I knowingly and willfully provide false statements or information, I may be criminally prosecuted for that action under 18 United States Code, Section 1001.

While the State Department claims that this still allows for prosecution, the case clearly indicates otherwise, particularly in the DC Circuit Court, where this would almost certainly be heard.

Josh Marshall called on “a highly knowledgeable source“, and their assessment was that “Use Immunity”, pretty much eliminates the possibility of presecution:

  • Prosecutors, “would then have to prove that every piece of evidence used in the prosecution was obtained completely independent of the employees’ statements.” (emphasis mine)
  • The DC circuit has an even more extreme view, where the prosecution, “would also have to show that none of their witnesses had heard what the employees said in their immunized statements.”prosecution was obtained completely independent of the employees’ statements.” (emphasis mine)

Additionally, even if there was no authorization and the immunity was granted in error, the courts, particularly the DC Circuit, generally still treat it as if it were.

I call coverup.

US Courting Indian Fascist Party To Secure Nuke Deal

The BJP is literally the only significant Fascist left on the planet. Its origins go back to the Fascist parties of the 1930s, and there is a direct line back to the man who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi.

A breakthrough in the India-US nuclear deal

India’s nuclear deal with the US might be saved. After weeks of bad news, with the Indian government failing to get its Communist-led parliamentary allies on side, the ground is at last shifting and it looks as if the Bharatiya Janata Party, India’s main opposition which has been objecting to the deal, might save the day.

It is of course too early to be sure, but I’d put money on a parliamentary debate quite soon where the Left gets isolated and there is a consensus – or maybe even a vote – in favor of going ahead. That would enable the deal to proceed via the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and meet the January deadline that the US is aiming for.

So what’s happened to lift the pall of gloom that was falling last week over the deal and over India-US relations? Basically, US diplomats in Delhi – plus former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who is visiting the city – have been calling in favors from old contacts in the BJP who they have been nurturing for years. The US has always felt more comfortable with the right-wing Hindu-nationalist BJP than with the Congress Party, which leads the current government. The BJP, which started defense and nuclear talks with the US when it was in power from 1998-2004, has traditionally been seen as more pro-business than Congress, which comes from a Socialist background and built India’s Cold War alliance with the former Soviet Union.

The US has also seen the BJP, with its base among India’s majority Hindu population, as a bulwark against Islam. So for years American diplomats have been courting young aspiring BJP politicians, as well as their leaders. Now, as I said, is the time to call in favors – and the calls are beginning to yield results.

The idea that the US has been consciously meddling in Indian politics this way is troubling. The BJP has an absolutely reprehensible policy toward religious minorities that has stoked the separatist fires in this nuclear armed nation is very counterproductive.

As to India’s “alliance with the former Soviet Union”, this really was a policy of neutrality, and a willingness of the USSR to supply weapons, because they both had a common foe, China.

As to the nuclear issue, the Indian government already knows how to make nuclear power plants, this deal, for them, is about getting an implied approval of their nuclear weapons program from the US, and Bush and His Evil Minions are merely interested in generating business for campaign contributors, in this case the moribund US nuclear power industry.

The deal is corrupt, and dangerous.

Yes, Women Everywhere Mourn This Day.

13 Years ago, on November 30, 1994, I stopped being single. I plighted my troth. I found a woman deluded enough to marry me.

Women everywhere mourned. No more could they see the possibility of these chiseled features, those come-hither eyes, that hair*….

Uhhh…never mind, and thank you God, for finding me a wonder with amazingly bad taste

*I wish that I had that much hair now.

Mukasey Update

First, it appears that Dodd may have an outsized effect on the other senators running for president. Since Dodd’s promise of a filibuster on telco immunity, which as I’ve detailed earlier, I believe to be be sincere, principled, and deeply held, his campaign, and his campaign donations have taken a major leap.

Because of this, I think that there are a number of candidates out there who have felt compelled to take stands both on the warrantless wiretapping and on Mukasey as Attorney General. Hillary is now opposing Mukasey over his obfuscation over waterboarding, so has Obama, and Biden is in opposition too.

Among the non-senators, Edwards is calling for him not to be approved, using references to the Spanish Inquisition*.

Meanwhile, Mukasey is saying that waterboarding is “repugnant”, but still, as he has clearly been instructed (more detail further down) refuses to call it unconstitutional torture.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT ) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) have both said that their votes depend on Mukasey’s answer to this question, and Republicans Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) have expressed concerns. Truth be told, Graham is more significant than Specter. He always “expresses concern”, and then he votes with Bush and His Evil Minions.

Time Magazine has an interesting account of the backstage negotiations:

Some Democrats on the committee have tried to help Mukasey get out of the box he’s in. Harold Kim, a former Specter staffer who works in the White House Counsel’s office, has been negotiating with Judiciary Committee Democrats, trying to find language they can live with. But attempts to compromise with Congress have met resistance from Cheney’s office, and when it comes to interrogation techniques, the Vice President and his chief of staff, David Addington, have notoriously pushed for presidential authority to go unchecked by the legislative branch.

So it looks like they are trying to split rhetorical hairs, but there is also the question as to why is this the Vice President’s business? The AG serves the President, not him.

*I didn’t expect a bloody Spanish Inquisition!
NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise…surprise and fear…fear and surprise…. Our two weapons are fear and surprise…and ruthless efficiency…. Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope…. Our *four*…no… *Amongst* our weapons…. Amongst our weaponry…are such elements as fear, surprise…. I’ll come in again.
Yes, this did make my day.

Looking for a Laser Printer, Suggestions Folks?

To be accurate, I’m looking for a printer that fuses toner on paper, so LED, etc would be OK, I just don’t want to get gigged on ink.

My requirements:

  • It should handle B-Sized, which I use for the real (dead tree) version of 40 Years in the Desert.
  • It should do color well (pics of family go in)
  • It should have a print mechanism amenable to home refilling. I have a Panasonic printer where I can crack open the spent toner box, and empty it, and get 5-10x the life out of it.

Nice to haves:

  • Postscript (I convert my stuff to PDFs using Ghostscript to put them on line, and at some point, I may want to offset print again).
  • 2 Sided printing (not so important, I can always flip the paper).
  • Can handle card stock (business cards, etc.)

Probably the hardest thing to figure out is how hard various models are to refill.

How the International Criminal Court Might Have Jurisdiction

I don’t normally post my emails to other lists here, but I thought this one, part of the discussion on the JOINint* list involved enough thought (well actually enough Googling) that I should post it here.

We were discussing a rather bone-headed statement by Tom Lantos, and some issues of international law came up.
On Tue, 30 Oct 2007, Ari Blumenfeld wrote:

Dear Matthew,

Thank you for correcting that. Are you absolutely certain about the

At least one, and he is charged with throwing a grenade at a soldier in Afghanistan in a pitched battle and killing him, which he denies.

This story mentions 3 children aged 13-15, and “more than two and fewer than five” children aged 16-18.

What other war crimes are there?

Systematic torture. Rendition to be tortured. The admission of torture derived evidence.

Additionally, you have “Waging Aggressive War”, which is probably not covered, but was what some people were executed for following WW II (von Ribbentrop and Tojo).

Of interest are some of the charges against Tojo (from the Wiki):

  • count 1 (waging wars of aggression, and war or wars in violation of international law)
  • count 27 (waging unprovoked war against the Republic of China)
  • count 29 (waging aggressive war against the United States)
  • count 31 (waging aggressive war against the British Commonwealth (Hong Kong))
  • count 32 (waging aggressive war against the Netherlands (Indonesia))
  • count 33 (waging aggressive war against France (Indochina))
  • count 54 (ordering, authorizing, and permitting inhumane treatment of Prisoners of War (POWs) and others)

Can we extradite the Bush administration to the Hague for their part in what appears to be war crimes?

Agencies are forbidden under US law to cooperate with the ICC. That legislation also included an authorization of the use of Military force to remove US citizens from custody.

Of interest is the geographic range of the court (also from Wiki):

  • where the person accused of committing a crime is a national of a state party (or where the person’s state has accepted the jurisdiction of the Court);
  • where the alleged crime was committed on the territory of a state party (or where the state on whose territory the crime was committed has accepted the jurisdiction of the Court); or
  • where a situation is referred to the Court by the UN Security Council.

Since Afghanistan is a signatory, it could apply to actions originating there, but the secret gulags in Poland would probably not be, because Poland is not a full signatory yet. It would, however, apply to someone seized in Afghanistan and sent to Gitmo or the other Gulags.

*Jewish Opinions, Ideas, and News, International It spun off from another group when it descended into right wing agitprop.

AT&T Created a Language to Do Mass Surveillance

Seriously, if there is a group of people with their tongues more firmly up the rectum of the state security apparatus than AT&T, I would surprised.

They have gone so far as inventing a purpose built language for mass-surveillance. I’ve said it a number of times, don’t use AT&T, they suck wet farts from dead pigeons.

According the article, this was originally developed to find sales leads, and it was developed well before 911. They want to hoover all of our data, and sell it to the highest bidder.

Here is a sort of a schematic of its function:

Here is some sample code:

#include “ipRec.hh”
#include “ihash.h”

hash_table *ofInterest;

int inSet (ipPacket_t * p)
if (hash_get (ofInterest, p->source.hash_value) == 1)
return 1;
if (hash_get (ofInterest, p->dest.hash_value) == 1)
return 1;
return 0;
void sig_main (ipAddr_s addrs < l:>,
ipPacket_s packets < p:>)
/* code to set up hash table */
ofInterest = hash_empty ();
(over addrs) {
event (ipAddr_t * addr) {
if (hash_insert (ofInterest, addr->hash_value, 1) < 0)
/* code to select packets */
(over packets
filteredby inSet)
event (ipPacket_t * p)
printPacketInfo (p);

What The Hon. Dr. St. Rev. Bradley S. Rocket, Esq, PhD, MD Said

Sadly, No! » Death, Be Thee Proud And Take Me Now

Basically, he said that Gregg Easterbrook is a wanker.

This time, because of what Easterbrook wrote about the upcoming Colts/Patriots game. Personally, I’m conflicted about the game. I’ve hated, yes hated, the Colts ever since Irsay left Baltimore in the middle of the night, but the Pats just made my beloved Redskins look like a PeeWee football team on Sunday.

That being said, Easterbrook’s latest column, in which he casts the upcoming Colts-Pats game as a battle between good and evil.

Why the hell does anyone pay Easterbrook anything to write? He may write better than I do, who doesn’t, but the man makes Dan Quayle look like Albert Einstein*.

I’ll also say that whatever my feeling about the Pats as folks who just pasted the ‘Skins, they are in a very real way an answer to much of the superstar bad behavior in sport. They are introduced as a team at superbowls, they play as a team, and big mouthed jerks on other teams, go there and become team players.

*To be fair, it’s Albert Einstein the actor, who’s nom de theater is Albert Brooks, but still.
Corey Dillon and Randy Moss come to mind.

Islamo-Fascist Awareness Week Bullsh&%

Well, Whiskey Fire has the scoop on the latest offense against common decency by the forces of Jihad, it appears that noble Judeo-Christian warrior Nonie Darwish is being target by Hamas. How do we know? Because noble Judeo-Christian Phyllis Chesler warrior tells so in her essay, The Heroic Nonie Darwish Faces Muslim “Mean Girl” Power at Wellesley.

It appears that Nonie was giving a talk at Wellesley, and some girls showed up in hijab*, rolled their eyes when they disagreed, whispered to each other, and some of them went to the bathroom in the middle of her talk.

It appears that Nonie is right, and that these “mean grllllzz” are “are Hamas-trained“. In fact, they are likely an al Queida cell, and I’m getting on the phone to homeland security. If we don’t stop them now, they may mock David Whorowitz!

David Whorowitz, Nonie Darwish, Phyllis Chesler and the rest of his ilk are a bunch of whiners and wankers.

*Islamic head scarves.

Chris Dodd Dated Princess Leia

The New York Times has some interesting insights into Chriss Dodd.

Mr. Dodd, who had a very public bachelorhood after his first marriage ended (dates with Bianca Jagger and Carrie Fisher) before settling down in 1999 with a wife, Jackie Marie Clegg

So he dated Princess Leia, but more significant is his fathers work as a prosecutor at the Nuremburg trials.

His issues with torture and warrantless wiretapping really stem from his experience with his father, who he clearly admired greatly, and a very large part of his work on civil right is about living up to what he considers his fathers heroism at Nuremburg.