Tuesday, March 18, 2008

At the End of the Day

Childhood's End Arthur C. Clarke, author of over a hundred books, including 2001: A Space Odyssey has died. He was 90 years old. He and the good Dr. Asimov were my constant companions growing up, occupying a special revered spot as far as I was concerned, because they were both working scientists and wrote textbooks, too. Clarke is credited with coming up with the concept of communications satellites - in fact, geosynchronous orbits are commonly called "Clarke's Orbits" after him.

The Dalai Llama is threatening to step down as the head of Tibet's government-in-exile if violence between Chinese soldiers and Tibetan independence protesters does not abate. Speaking at the site of the exile government in Dharamsala, India, he said: "I say to China and the Tibetans – don't commit violence. Whether we like it or not, we have to live together side by side," adding that "if things become out of control then my only option is to completely resign".

Reconciliation talks in Baghdad got underway, but without the main Sunni bloc who are boycotting the meeting, claiming that "Maliki is stonewalling them by failing to meet demands that include the release of security detainees not charged with specific crimes, disbanding Shiite militias and wider inclusion in decision-making on security issues."

A power-sharing deal in Kenya Kenyan lawmakers on Tuesday unanimously approved a power-sharing deal intended to salvaging a country once seen as one of the most stable and prosperous in Africa, but which disintegrated into ethnic bloodletting when both President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga claimed victory in the countries presidential election, and brought a bloody end to decades of peaceful coexistence between disparate ethnic groups in Kenya. Now they face the challenges of healing the nation and rebuilding a tattered economy that was once one of the most promising in Africa.

The oldest, thickest and most resilient ice around the North Pole is melting
This was confirmed Tuesday by data collected from NASA satellites. "Thickness is an indicator of long-term health of sea ice, and that's not looking good at the moment," Walt Meier of the National Snow and Ice Data Center told reporters in a phone interview.

Pakistan's new parliament was seated on Monday
The opposition parliament has vowed to restore the judiciary which has been decimated by Musharraf. An inevitable clash between Musharraf and the new parliament is brewing, and some parliamentarians are openly disdainful of the president. "Musharraf has to go. He has no future in this country, at least," said Khawaja Muhammad Asif, a newly elected legislator. "Maybe he has a future in the U.S."

Paterson preempts the press hounds
Tuesday was David Paterson's first full day on the job as governor of New York, and he called a press conference and dropped a bombshell or three. He admitted openly and freely that he and his wife had both engaged in extramarital affairs, but had worked through their marital problems and had been faithful in recent years. One of the women he admitted to having had a relationship with is a state employee and a member of the staff that Paterson "inherited" from the disgraced Spitzer. Which probably prompted the preemptive confession session.

Well knock me over with a feather, the M$M might actually do some follow up! The New York Times is giving a few column inches in tomorrow mornings paper to McCain's foreign policy fuckups in Jordan earlier today, where he repeatedly asserted a connection between (Shi'ite) Iran and (Sunni) al Qaeda. Karen Finney, a spokeswoman for the DNC issued a statement in which McCain's obvious incompetence in foreign policy was underscored and his ties to this failed war and this failed president were reinforced. “After eight years of the Bush administration’s incompetence in Iraq, McCain’s comments don’t give the American people a reason to believe that he can be trusted to offer a clear way forward. Not only is Senator McCain wrong on Iraq once again, but he showed he either doesn’t understand the challenges facing Iraq and the region or is willing to ignore the facts on the ground.”

What creeps me out most about Cheney isn't just that he lies so easily, it's that he believes himself. Talking to soldiers at a sprawling base north of Balad he reasserted the fictitious connection between Iraq and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. "This long-term struggle became urgent on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. That day we clearly saw that dangers can gather far from our own shores and find us right there at home," he told the soldiers. "So the United States made a decision: to hunt down the evil of terrorism and kill it where it grows, to hold the supporters of terror to account and to confront regimes that harbor terrorists and threaten the peace," Cheney said. "Understanding all the dangers of this new era, we have no intention of abandoning our friends or allowing this country of 170,000 square miles to become a staging area for further attacks against Americans."

No Regrets If you had any doubts that Bush is a sociopath with no conscience, he still glibly insists that invading Iraq five years ago was worth what it has cost in lives, treasure and stature.

I think this family would probably disagree with the president and his romantic notions of war.

Hat tip to skippy for the photo.