January 2004 Archives
January 29, 2004
Somebody should issue a fatwah on Exxon Mobile.
15 years after the Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef, two judgements were ruled on against Exxon. Both judgements were appealed by Exxon, and won. Today a third judgement was handed down ordering Exxon Mobile to pay $4.5 billion in punitive damages and $2.25 billion in interest. The award would go to nearly 32,000 people, including small coastal communities, small businesses and Alaska natives.
Pink shrimp and herring have not recovered from the accident. There are still pockets of oil in rocks in the sea bed that is slowly poisoning the surrounding sea life.
Yet, Exxon Mobile feels the settlement is too much.
We at the ABP don't get agitated much. But, here goes; "hey Exxon Mobile, Fuck You".
Primary Colors (think green, or the lack of it)
The argument on Howard Dean is becoming crystal clear; if he can’t manage a campaign chest of $40 million, how the hell is he going to handle the unbelievable emergency of a national deficit while in a war on terror?
And, then there’s the treatment of his staff. No checks to his staff because he was approximately $3 million in the hole. In other words, his campaign was running something called a “deficit”.
It appears that the spending was not properly monitored from Joe Trippi and his staff. However, the buck stops with Dean. And, I don’t think he would want it any other way.
The damage now is done. The campaign is as close to an asterisk as it can get. This makes way for either a Kerry sweep, or (hopefully) a battle between Kerry and Edwards. Clark, it seems, may never get on message. And, Lieberman shouldn’t even get on a plane at this point.
But, let’s be real clear about one thing; don’t count Dean out. If he manages to carry Washington (and he can), and somehow pulls off Michigan (and he can), there may be some heavy breathing again from the media… and a new “comeback kid” will emerge.
All of this changes from day-to-day because Karl Rove has, rather impressively, scheduled Bush to be shadow-campaigning against all the democrats. Essentially showing up in the same states the democrats are campaigning in to send his own message out.
This is going to be one helluva general election.
January 27, 2004
If you're a voter in America (republican, democrat or independent) you have to be thankful for Howard Dean. He's brought patriotism back to descent. His one-note headliner for his campaign was that he was fervently against just about everything President Bush has done, especially Iraq. His ability to lead the other democratic candidates in to the understanding that the war was not good has given legs to Kerry's campaign by allowing them to have the message that President Bush abused his powers as Commander in Chief.
In my research of the mostly right-wing news sites, there is a legitimate concern about the anti-Iraq message. But, oddly enough I'm seeing more fear in John Edwards from the right then Kerry (and, of course, they relish a debate with Dean). The issue now is, if John Edwards wins the southern states, but Kerry pulls off a victory for the primary, would a Kerry/Edwards ticket actually win against Bush/Cheney?
The answers may have to be read between the lines of some of the more conservative websites. There appears to be a leak in the ship of the RNC, and that's with the true fiscal conservatives. With the deficit out of control, The American Conservative Union's Chairman, David Keene, has actually expressed his concern with the Bush administration's fiscal spending. While the ACU is an ultra-conservative Bush-supporting organization, their chief concern is the budget and the deficit that has been created. Appearing on PBS's NOW with Bill Moyers, Keene said that the deficit is a huge liability because conservatives are now being turned off by the Bush/Cheney stance on fiscal responsibility. Keene even felt the RNC would lose votes because of the hammering on the democratic side about the deficit, and the Iraq war.
Which brings us back to Howard Dean. If it wasn't for his heavy attack on Bush, the democratic party would not know how strong of an issue the Iraq war is... and, they certainly wouldn't know how to deal with it.
Dennis Miller - big change
I watched the premier of the new CNBC Dennis Miller show yesterday, then I watched day 2. And, the change was fairly remarkable. Soft-peddling his questions, letting the debate linger between his guests while he sat by and watched, and backing way off of the giggling Naomi Wolf.
Because of his obvious shift in style, it makes you wonder what he really stands for. He has said he's giving President Bush a "pass" because he "likes the guy". And, I'm thinking he's kicking back and saying that he's going to be all over the map until he gets his act together enough to bump the ratings that are non-existant.
In either event, the purpose of this entry is to simply point-out how lame media is in America. What a joke this comedian-cum-talk show host is. And, I'm sure he's pleased he's being spoken of... again.
Bird Flu outbreak
As we posted in our Odds and Ends article on January 24th, the bird flu is something to be taken seriously.
The story is finally getting some legs (in America).
ABC News has a piece entitled Bird Flu Outbreak Is Deadliest on Record. The piece points out how miserable Thailand is now with it’s second death of a boy due to the outbreak.
The Seattle Time is addressing the story with a close up entitled An ounce of prevention: Why bird flu has put health officials on alert . The article examines the same fears that we shared in our 1/24/04 article.
The Boston Globe’s Madeline Drexler wrote a very good piece that states the virus is “smoldering”.
An article from Rueters UK’s Charie Villa points out how difficult it is going to be, and how long it will take, to develop a vaccine in the piece, Bird flu vaccine will take months to develop.
CNN gives the basics in a bullet point format entitled, Bird Flu Fact Sheet.
The Washington Post recognizes the pandemic potential in its article, A Horror Script For Health Officials.
The New Scientist has a similar article to most that are out there, but is a quick read and update at, NewScientist.com.
Finally, if you really want an interesting and informative read on the subject, check-out Kamelian X-Rays. In fact book mark them, you can thank me later.
January 25, 2004
The Kerry Contradiction
When John Kerry, in his 60 Minutes Interview, says that President Bush did not follow the conditions of the congressional resolution that authorized the U.S.-led invasion, wouldn't he be the first one to draw-up a new resolution admonishing the President?
This is one thing I don't get with Kerry and Edwards (and the rest of the democrats). If the president didn't follow the conditions, why are they allowing it to be something to whine about and not something to protest about?
Feedback is encouraged.
January 24, 2004
Odds and Ends - Newsworthy Stories Not Getting Much News
The Next Pandemic
In 1997 there was an outbreak of virus H5N1. The virus was not defeated by any medical interference. Instead, the virus self-defeated by not being able to agressively go from human to human.
The virus did, however, infect 18 people in Hong Kong. Of those 18, 6 died. Thus a virus with a human mortality rate of 30% exists. Virologists from America, the U.K. and Hong Kong all thought the virus was lost due to it's inability to travel. The virologists were wrong.
In 2003, the virus was found again in Hong Kong. This time it was only found in two people; father and son. The father died.
This virus is a bird flu virus. Virologists feel that this type of virus (the bird flu virus) is extremely capable of evolution. In fact, this possibility is what the medical journal The Lancet calls "massively frightening."
In December of 2003, Vietnam had the outbreak. Since then, to date, six people have now died in Vietnam.
The fear now from virologists is something that is horrifying; if a human has the normal human flu virus in his/her system, then catches the bird virus, a mutation will occur within this human creating a part human and part bird virus. Since humans have no natural defense to the bird virus, coupled with the new ability of the virus to aggresively travel from human to human, the outcome would be catastrophic, or what is commonly refered to as a pandemic.
So, the next question is how to stop the virus? Scientists and virologists believe it can not be contained through quarantine, as they did with SARS. Obviously a vaccine is in need. The World Health Organization is working on a "prototype vaccine against the bird flu as aggressively as possible". However, once the WHO has achieved a vaccine, even a prototype, it would take a minimum of six months to manufacture. All international organizations agree that this would not be enough time.
So, what's next? If the virus traveled to America (which it will if it becomes mutated) a massive amount of government funding, in essence a health care emergency triggered by the Homeland Defense Department, would most certainly have to happen. With no budget surplus readily available another emergency transition of funds would have to happen.
The effect of this on the world economic market has not been publicly discussed.
How can you avoid getting this? If an outbreak happens, humans would be required to wear bio-masks when out of the house. And, that would not ensure safety. It would simply be a "good idea".
Sources: Wired Magazine 02/04, "Beating Back the Next Pandemic".
Associated Press, Bird Flu Outbreak Worries Global Expert, 01/24/04
Taipei Times, Discovery of bird-flu virus leads to chicken slaughter
New York Times, Thais Infected With Bird Flu; Virus Spreads
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Influenza Viruses
Korea Times, Bird Flu Virus Continues to Spread
Kay Report - addendum
When President Bush cited the Kay Report in his State of the Union address, well... it was pretty much of a stretch, even by a politician's standards.
But, now that David Kay has resigned from his post after nine months with the Iraq Survey Group, he has concluded the there had never been a large-scale weapons program since 1991 at the earliest.
Remember that David Kay is an ex-hardline CIA official with close ties to the Republicans. With that said, Kay criticised President Bush for failing to give Kay adequate support.
In fact, Kay said on the record, "I don't think they existed".
This is gonna be one interesting issue come general elections.
WOW! Newsweek Poll: General Election
I was pretty shocked to see this so early on but in the latest Newsweek Poll 52% of voters do not want to see President Bush Re-Elected.
Also Kerry is at 30%, Edwards 13%, Dean and Clark at 12%.
January 23, 2004
Last night I was one of the idiots that elected to watch the Diane Sawyer interview with Howlin' Howard Dean and his wife.
Aside from learning a little about her (emphasis on 'little'), I was amazed that Diane Sawyer treated this interview exactly like she did her Michael Jackson interview from way back when ... a couple of questions, no substantive follow-through, and zero questions on issues. ZERO!
I watched that interview again this morning (I TiVo'd the thing) just to see if I was grumpy or something. Nope, still no substance. Plus, the editing was unreal. They chopped both Dean's off during conversation on a minimum of 9 occassions (at which point I quit counting).
Where's the journalism?