CHANGPOOL, India -- The farmer, a quiet man with an easy smile, has spent a lifetime eating a chili pepper with a strange name and a vicious bite. His mother stirred them into sauces. His wife puts them out for dinner raw, blood-red morsels of pain to be nibbled - carefully, very carefully - with whatever she's serving. Around here, in the hills of northeastern India, it's called the "bhut jolokia" - the "ghost chili." Anyone who has tried it, they say, could end up an apparition. Its called "bhut jolokia" because in the morning, the jolokias on your bhut. Continued on Page 49
I have some. I got the seeds, germinated them, and now I have some fairly big plants with lots of peppers. If anyone wants to try them let me know. I also have some of tha Naga Morich.ne doesn't actually put the chili in anything, you just dip it in whatever you are cooking and that is enough. I have to be careful when tending the plants and wear latex gloves.
Posted by: Deacon Blues ||
08/02/2007 8:00 Comments ||
Um, no thanks.
If negotiations fall through, and I declare war on my ass I'll get in touch with you.
Thanks for the offer, Deaconman, but I have a rule about not eating things that have to be handled with welding gloves.
Posted by: Mike N. ||
08/02/2007 10:45 Comments ||
Welding gloves don't work, Mike N. They are permeable.
Posted by: Deacon Blues ||
08/02/2007 10:57 Comments ||
Hmmm... my oldest brother may be interested in these. Not only does he love spicy food, his garden is continuously raided by deer.
Of course, the last time he tried to keep them out with hot peppers, the deer developed a taste for them. But it's possible a 1,000,000 Scoville pepper would be enough to deter them.
Posted by: Rob Crawford ||
08/02/2007 11:34 Comments ||
Years ago I read an article on hot peppers in either Scientific American (back when it did science and not politics) or Science.
Article made 3 basic points:
hot peppers are one of the most concentrated ways to ingest vitamin C and A
C in particular is lost from the body through sweating & if you map the areas in the world where hot peppers are grown and eaten, it coincides roughly with the hottest places people live.
Locals who say they have special immunity to peppers are lying/misleading. Lots of these tribes rub the oils from the peppers on their babies' gums and tongue. Eventually this kills off the taste buds & nerves, allowing the kids to ingest their daily recommended dose without complaint.
Me, I stick with blander foods than that. But then my ancestors were genetically selected for other challenges .....
Deacon, when you harvest & prepare those chilis, keep them outdoors, wear a gas mask & stand upwind from them as you cut into them. Do the rest of us Rantburgers a favor & make sure we are ALL upwind of you.
I plan to wear Tyvex. I'm going to make a Super version of Satan's Toejam. I have Orange Habaneros, Carribean Reds, Naga Morich, and Bhut Jolokia. Watch the night sky towards the mountains of East Tennessee in a couple of weeks. You might just see an orange or red glow.
Posted by: Deacon Blues ||
08/02/2007 12:46 Comments ||
If negotiations fall through, and I declare war on my ass I'll get in touch with you.
Snark O' the Day gold medal instant winner!
I've got a friend that would drool at the thought of getting his hands on some of these gut bombs. He is a true chile-head, as in: Totally addicted to chiles. Ingestion of really hot peppers artificially stimulates your bodies pain receptorseven if it doesn't feel artificial at the timewhich releases natural painkillers called endorphins. This is the mechanism behind the "runner's high" that long distance foot racers experience as their bodies fight extreme fatigue.
Endorphins are akin to a naturally produced morphine and nearly as addictive. Chile-heads become quite habituated to having large quantities of it in their bloodstream. As proof, I've watched my friend, William, spoon down my Agent Orange Habanero salsaknown to my pals as Salsa Muertelike it was so much babyfood.
Deac, if you were to send some of those sick puppies out here, I would be happy to investigate rounding up some odd pepper specimens for you. Like the manzana chile, called somanzana means "apple" in Spanishbecause it is the only chile to have black seeds. They weigh in at a mere 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville units.
Perhaps you can confirm my own observation about really hot chiles: They tend to have the most delicate flavor of all. Actually, this could just as easily be attributed to having the endothelial layer in your mouth chemically seared off, but Habanero chiles have a subtle flavor that disappears with too much processing. This is why using the Naga in order to reduce inventory is not such a wise idea. Sure, you'll get all the heat but that delicious pepper flavor will have been lost.
I grew some of my own Habaneros about 15 years ago, wonderfully hot & humid weather produced an abundant crop. I knew they were really hot so I cut into a ripe one, removed a cube of flesh 1 millimeter on a side, smelled it -- wonderful fruity odor, a little like orange blossoms, then tasted it cautiously. Indescribably delicious flavor, which lasted about 1.4 seconds before my mouth exploded in flames. I spat out the pulp immediately & rinsed out my mouth, but it was too late. My mother was in a room about 20 feet away, and she started coughing. I started coughing. Both our eyes started running. We evacuated the house, after thoroughly airing it we went back in. I threw out the remaining crop. The pain in my mouth & hands wore off after about a week. The feelings there made me thing of charred, smoking flesh, but there was no visible injury. That stuff's too dangerous for amateurs.
I spat out the pulp immediately & rinsed out my mouth, but it was too late.
Cold water, especially ice water only makes it worse.
Several years ago I flew into Austin, Texas to cater a friend's birthday party. I made nine kinds of salsa including my Agent Orange Habanero salsa. In hindsight, arranging them in order of heat was probably not enough and I should have labeled them as well. Some assclown loaded up a corn chip and, saying the Habanero was mango salsa, give it to a girl at the party. Standing in the kitchen I watched this poor young lass dash into the kitchentears streaming down her faceand make a dive for the icemaker. I held her off and got out a bottle of frozen vodka from the freezer, poured her a shot and told her to "rinse and spit". She was okay after about half an hour.
The only things that really cut the capsicum oils are very hot liquidswhich I do not recommendor alcohol which dissolves the oil. Milk is supposed to help but any chilled liquid tends to congeal the oils on whatever surface they're in contact with.
My own first run-in with Habaneros was no less painful. Knowing full well what I was dealing with, while chopping up one or two peppers I studiously avoided touching my fingers to any other part of my anatomy. It was hot in the kitchen, so I wiped the back of my hand across my forehead. After a few minutes another bead of sweat trickled down into my eyes and it was lights out!
To my great chagrin, the kitchen's owner didn't have any ice in his freezer. I had to scrape out the frost and pack that into my eye sockets. I was temporarily blinded for almost half an hour and the pain was excruciating. It too me a year or two to finally figure out that just the tiny spray of juice that landed on the back of my hand while cutting the chilessubsequently rubbed across my foreheadwas enough to mingle with my sweat and do the job.
On another occassion when I was making a dozen different salsas, I peeled all of the roasted peppers by hand and experienced what felt like a second degree sunburn on my hands for an entire week thereafter. Since then, I wear latex gloves or simply remove the peppers' stems and then puree the whole mass, straining it if I want a sauce instead of salsa cruda.
The capsacin dissolves in vegetable oils. AH9418 is right, though. Habeneros have a citrus flavor and great smell, if you don't get any in your nose. I was making BBQ sauce last winter and let the sauce boil over onto the eye. I had to do much the same thing. My throat, eyes, and nose burned and I had to air out the house. I had to leave the stove eye on for a while till it all burned off.
When I get them harvested I'll send you some Zen.
Posted by: Deacon Blues ||
08/02/2007 16:12 Comments ||
Hot stuff, Deac, so to speak. Let me know what you need from out West. I have access to all sorts of cool stuff. Maybe some berber chile powder for Ethiopian cooking? It makes a killer cubed beef and vegetable stew. I'll be more than happy to snag some manzana chiles if they're still in season. My friend William will wet himself when he hears about this.
A final note: Ive driven across this bridge every few days for thirty years. There are bridges, and there are bridges; this one had the most magnificent view of downtown available, and its a miracle I never rear-ended anyone while gawking at the skyline, the old Stone Bridge, the Mississippi. You always felt proud to be here when you crossed that bridge, pleased to live in such a beautiful place. Didnt matter if it was summer twilight or hard cold winter noon - Minneapolis always seemed to be standing at attention, posing for a formal portrait. Well have that view again but itll take a generation before its no longer tinged with regret and remembrance.
Well pass on the usual Good Morning message today. Its not a good morning.
11:18 PM A structural engineer reacts to the bridges last evaluation here. File away for future reference.
Continued on Page 49
I was in a meeting yesterday discussing "fatigue prone details" on steel bridges. Seems that some 30-40 year old designs had steel details which were shown to lead to fatigue cracking after 20-30 years. They are being retrofitted when major rehab is done to a structure, (not quite 'whenever we get around to it'), but there is no formal program to upgrade them. Yet.
Local authorities say bridge passed recent inspections with no significant problems, but radio reports federal inspectors reported major deficiencies and recommended replacement.
Most major bridge collapses I know of over the last 40 years have been due to ships or barges hitting them, with a couple from earthquakes and a couple from truck collisions/fires; I can't think of ANY that just fell down of their own accord.
Like Lileks, I 'feel' the construction must have had something to do with it: Surfacing work should not have affected structural integrity, but it did have traffic re-routed to fewer lanes, which might have made the bridge 'off-balance' - though with lighter overall load.???
It is a bit refreshing to see authorities say 'We have no reason to suspect terrorism,' rather than the typical 'Terrorism was not a factor.' I certainly would not rule it out until finishing a careful inspection - for instance, could a construction worker have set some charges on key support members? Such would explain the 'bang' witnesses heard, and could cause a collapse, but if so, there WILL be evidence of it once the wreckage is examined. Minneapolis is known to have an obnoxious (at the very least) Muslim community.
while it would seem intuitively that "unbalancing" could cause a problem, in real-life-engineering, it's a non-issue. All structures are designed for worst case, and unbalancing isn't it, except for individual member design. Fully loaded with an undamped harmonic vibration (think quake) would usually be worst case, otherwise you could never close a lane or two for fear of "unbalancing". Sounds like structurally deficient or material failure
Posted by: Frank G ||
08/02/2007 7:33 Comments ||
If deficient material or design, why would it fail then, with under half a normal peak traffic load? I guess microfractures could have accumulated over a period of peak loads, but not quite to 'failure', and then propagated and coalesced in an accellerated fashion under the sustained load of the bridge weight itself until reaching failure. Sort of like working out in the gym, pressing your ten reps, then holding the last one until you can't hold anymore.
I repeat though - can anyone recall any pure, untriggered bridge collapses? (I'm not saying they didn't happen, just that I can't remember them.)
FrankG: "undamped harmonic vibration (think quake)"
Or Tacoma Narrows crosswinds? I sometimes wonder when I am stuck in traffic at the top of the Huey Long Bridge, and a big freight train comes rumbling over, and the bridge bounces, whether the 1926 engineers accounted for all the harmonics.
Tacoma was an awesome demonstration of that, wasn't it? I think most every engineering student's seen that video. Bobby's comment about old steel details is spot on as well....
Posted by: Frank G ||
08/02/2007 7:52 Comments ||
Man, and i was pissed at my lawnmower's handle (the steel connection of the entire handle structure to the deck of the mower) shearing off yesterday. Coincidence that it happened just before this bridge collapse? Who knows, but I know I won't buy another cheap (probably chinese made) mower, that's for sure.
We were waiting for dinner at the table when every TV in the restaurant changed with volume pumped up to channel 9 just minutes after the bridge went. Shock shut down the table conversations as a great number of us were waiting on friends who normally take that bridge.
For 15-20 minutes we waited to see emergency services move in. It took time and even longer for the water rescue to get on station. Watching them negotiate the wreckage was painful to watch. Brave souls.
In true Minnesotan fashion average Joes and Janes volunteers started grabbing the injured and taking them to hospitals almost immediately. Many of whom had rushed to the accident on foot.
At the very moment the bridge went down a fully loaded train was crossing under the structure and it was just barely past rush hour. In 2005 a report listed the bridge as deficient. The U of M had been involved studying the bridge and report. That stress test involved stacking sand filled dump trucks on key placements. I have yet to hear if any of the beams were x-rayed and to make matters worst the steal is painted which greatly screws with the engineers visual inspections.
It was built in the same year (1967) as the Ohio Silver bridge. Which went down in an eerily similar fashion.
For video of the bridge actually falling go here. You can exactly see where the bridge broke off. Compare to the Silver Bridge. Both were similar in design.
With as many workers and engineers as there were working daily on the struture, Muslim terrorism is unlikely but can not be ruled out.
It also pales in comparrison with the Hinckley Fire. Following an extended drought, up to 1,000 burned alive, 400+ square miles burned to the ground. Fire speeds were at one point so great that it almost overtook one train. I only mention this because I'm fricking tired of hearing Twin Citie dweebs calling the bridge's collapse as one of the largest Minnesota disasters.
Having gone over the bridge hundreds of times gives no validity to my opinon but it appears it was just the bridge's time. The pure miracle is the low number of deaths.
A University of Minnesota Civil Engineer in a report to MN-DOT recently noted that this bridge is considered to be a non-redundant structure. That is, if any one member fails, the entire bridge can collapse. A key factor is that there are only four pylons holding up the arch. Any damage to any one pylon would be catastropic. The textbook example of a non-redundant bridge is the Silver Bridge over the Ohio River. It failed shortly before Christmas in 1967 resulting in 46 deaths. A single piece of hardware failed due to a tiny manufacturing defect. But that piece was non-redundant, and the entire bridge collapsed into the icy river. Today, bridge engineers design bridges so that any single piece of the bridge can fail without causing the entire bridge to collapse. It is tragic that the I-35W bridge was built a few years too early to benefit from that lesson.
You can get metal fatigue, coupled with some corrosion (they do use deicing salt up there, IIRC), and you can get some nasty member failures. Public infrastructure maintenance, improvement, and replacement are long term commitments that have been neglected on a large scale in this country, as funds normally allocated for this important but mundane area have been diverted to feel-good programs that are fluff but no substance.
Posted by: Alaska Paul ||
08/02/2007 10:14 Comments ||
From the human side, I was so impressed with Minnesota public safety authorities and the public in their response to this disaster. They had emergency response plans in place, they implemented them in a timely fashion. Emergency vehicles and vessels moved in quickly to save lives, put out fires, and evacuate victims. The public responded immediately and did what they could do on their own initiative. Contrast this with the New Orleans response to Katrina. It would be good to have someone on the MSM comment on this, but I will not hold my breath on it.
Posted by: Alaska Paul ||
08/02/2007 10:18 Comments ||
In that attached video a report is given that said that a 2006 inspection reported warped and cracked steel. Sounds like the bureaucracy may have dropped the ball big time.
This research project resulted in a new, accurate way to assess fatigue cracking on Bridge 9340 on I-35, which crosses the Mississippi River near downtown Minneapolis. The research involved installation on both the main trusses and the floor truss to measure the live-load stress ranges. Researchers monitored the strain gages while trucks with known axle weights crossed the bridge under normal traffic. Researchers then developed two-and three-dimensional finite-element models of the bridge, and used the models to calculate the stress ranges throughout the deck truss. The bridge's deck truss has not experienced fatigue cracking, but it has many poor fatigue details on the main truss and floor truss system. The research helped determine that the fatigue cracking of the deck truss is not likely, which means that the bridge should not have any problems with fatigue cracking in the foreseeable future. As a result, Mn/DOT does not need to prematurely replace this bridge because of fatigue cracking, avoiding the high costs associated with such a large project. The research also has implications for other bridges. The project verified that the use of strain gages at key locations combined with detailed analysis help predict the bridge's behavior. In addition, the instrumentation plan can be used in other similar bridges.
What sort of liability does that statement expose them to?
Structure ID: NBI: 9340.
Location: River Mile 853.20.
River Elevation: 725 Feet.
Daily Traffic Count: 140,000 (2002).
Bridge Type: Steel Arch Deck Truss Bridge.
Length: 1,907 Feet, 458 Foot Longest Span.
Width: 8 Traffic Lanes, 108 Feet.
Navigation Channel Width: 390 Feet.
Height Above Water: 64 Feet.
Date Built: Opened November 1967, Failed August 1, 2007.
Claim to fame: was built with a single 458 foot long steel arch to avoid putting any piers in the water to impede river navigation.
This bridge features an anti-ice system. A series of PVC pipes carries a deicer fluid to outlets that are drilled into the deck of the bridge. When the temperature for ice is right, the deicer fluid is pumped onto the bridge deck. This system has proven to be successful enough that it is being installed on other bridges in Minnesota.
The National Bridge Inventory contains a report on this bridge from 2003. It reports the following items:
* Deck Condition: Fair.
* Superstructure Condition: Poor.
* Substructure Condition: Satisfactory.
* Scour: Foundations determined to be stable.
* Bridge Railings: Meets currently acceptable standards.
* Structural Evaluation: Meets minimum tolerable limits to be left in place as-is.
* Water Adequacy Evaluation: Superior to present desirable criteria.
* Bridge Sufficiency Rating: 50%
A University of Minnesota Civil Engineer in a report to MN-DOT recently noted that this bridge is considered to be a non-redundant structure. That is, if any one member fails, the entire bridge can collapse. A key factor is that there are only four pylons holding up the arch. Any damage to any one pylon would be catastrophic.
I expected the Bush stuff, but I've found the Dems' politicians already at work. Started last night with the Gov's conference. Mentioned how he had heard from Speaker Nancy offering all help that the House of Reps could provide. Something just felt "strange" about that. He spoke no words of any other federal help.
As an aside, I heard before 7:10 CST, that Bush was speaking at 11:00 EST. Just before 8:00, I heard, Gov had scheduled a news conference, at 10:00 CST. Bumping the Pres I guess, is good.
Press conference this morning, both Fed Senators there. Coleman spoke, talked sensibly about money allocations, were coming, etc.
Lady Senator, after expressing condolences and thanks to responders, launched into how she had already spoken with Schumer, Reid, Patty Murray, and other senator that seeming have nothing to do with a bridge collapsing-- see a pattern here?
Coleman stood calmy, with somewhat a blank look at her, but almost like, "I can't believe what you are saying!"
You know it, it's the comparison to how Dems are reacting so fast compared to Bush's Repubs with that horrible response to Katrina. I turned the sound down till a more reasonable person appeared.
Yeah, it's all about the war. Think of all the good things we could have if we didn't spend any money on defense. There's no waste, graft, or corruption in Social Security or public housing, Immigration, public schools, public hospitals or the VA, or Health and Human Services. Bush & Bechtel. Cheney & Halliburton. Dianne Feinstein' husband and URS oops....
All fifty State DOT's do not have enough money to maintain the existing system the way they should, and there's not enough to build the additional capacity needed to relieve traffic congestion. It's been that way since the beginning of the Interstate System 50 years ago.
not a time to be snarky at all, and it is not intended, but what are the odds of the Alaska Bridge to Nowhere funds getting diverted to Minneapolis?
the news that so far only 4 confirmed deaths at a time when the bridge was packed is good news; although the final count will not be known until all the submerged vehicles are pulled out / examined. odds are good that there will be some folks never found. God rest their souls.
Tacoma was an awesome demonstration of that, wasn't it?
Rarely do you get a chance to see a major structure clearly undergo first, second and then third order harmonic vibration in such a vivid fashion.
a train moving underneath at the same time..
That's the one thing still sticking in my mind. Moving at a constant velocity with regularly spaced load packets (freight cars), long freight trains can set up some significant ground wave oscillations. I live near one of Silicon Valley's largest switchyards and occasionally my house undergoes some mild shaking. Perhaps it's just the dramatic image but the bridge pinning that train seems like more than coincidence.
The KKKos KKKiddies (well, some of 'em, anyway) are already there.
Unless these maggots are speculating about terrorism they'd better not show their faces in Minneapolis. This "troother" bullshit is getting out of control [looks Rosie's way].
Of far more importance is the high quality Emergency Response and citizen participation. The image of that school bus really gave me the heebie jeebies. Minnesotans should be proud of their fellow citizens. They certainly have my sympathies in this time of trial.
Finally, my hat's off to Rantburg. After seeing the snark in that Fark thread it was a deep pleasure to know that this board's members can rise above such infantile behavior.
Zen -- one reporter stated over and over, folks thought the train was moving. But it wasn't. It was stationary.
One eyewitness said as she sat in her car, people raced to that bus and were literally throwing kids off the bus, someone else caught then and ran to high ground. Wonderful folks, our Midwestern friends.
Sherry thanks for the train comment. I was just looking at the photos of the train and it, at least at the time of the collapse, wasn't moving. Not to say it wasn't earlier but the photos clearly show it stationary.
Also that track has been their for decades and tremor damage can accommodate.
Also it's interesting that you pick up on Amy Klobuchar's tasteless political pandering. R Senator Coleman is pretty much useless, has been since being Saint Paul mayor and not dealing with Chief Finny and his rapist son (met the detectives on that one).
At least Coleman didn't take the political whore route like Senator Amy Klobuchar. What the hell was that mindless twit thinking?
Sorry but I've dealt with her office.
Anyways we will keep the rest of the Burgers up to steam as pertinent on the ground info comes up.
Icerigger, thank you for all you have already shared. And thanks for backing me up on Senator Amy. I was sitting in my office, was streaming from Fox... and I just sat here, with month open, and you know the rest!
Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you there. Spent some time in your beautiful city throughout the years. Also, in my traveling days, I got a kick out of how many times I was crossing the Ole Miss.
Sadly, it sounds like the number of fatalities will be climbing sharply over the next few days. Authorities have stated there are multiple vehicles submerged in the water or under heavy debris that rescuers just can not get to without placing themselves in danger. I would not be surprised to see the death toll reach 20 over the weekend.
Will do Sherry. I was afraid I was the only one noticed Klobuchar's bad taste.
Dar looks like you are right. The divers right now are having trouble working on the cars. Diving visibility is 6 to 12 inches. Right now they are trying to lower the level of the river by another foot. To many currents set up by the fallen debris.
One civilian diver went down shortly after the accident. The poor boy came out pretty shaken. River rescue body recovery is not pretty.
Ice, please carry the very best wishes to Minneapolans from here in Silicon Valley. I'm hoping your municipality can cobble up some sort of temporary mass transit solutions that will alleviate the traffic nightmare this is bound to cause. If you know of an online condolences guest book that we can sign, please let us know.
Posted by: Old Grouch ||
08/02/2007 22:34 Comments ||
Magnitude 6.0-7.0plus quakes all over the PACRIM, from Vanuatu to Siberia and Alaska?, plus collapsing bridges in Minnesota + California. *Okay, I'll bite, besides large purple-colored stellar explosions whose the marketing-promo company that forgot the fiery asteroid graphic on the CARS PLUS commercials, D *** ng it?
"The total financial losses incurred by white farmers responding to the survey, according to their own estimates, are US$368 million. If the surveys figures are extrapolated to the entire commercial farming sector the figure is an astronomical US$8.4 billion".
Thanks, 5089. At least this report seems to hold them to account, if it sees any light of day.
The United Nations food agency on Wednesday appealed for $118-million in expanded food aid for Zimbabwe and pledged to assist about 3,3-million starving citizens of that country.
No. As Tolstoy once said, don't delay the revolution.
The World Food Programme (WFP) said in a statement that it plans to provide, over the next eight months, food aid to up to 3,3-million Zimbabweans facing severe food shortages. "Hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans are already starting to run out of food and several million more will be reliant on humanitarian assistance by the end of the year," said WFP regional director Amir Abdulla. "WFP plans to feed more than 10 times the current number of beneficiaries over the next eight months to avert the threat of widespread hunger, but to do this we need more donations and we need them immediately."
The WFP has 138 000 metric tonnes of food already in stock or in the pipeline for Zimbabwe but still needs another 207 000 tonnes of cereals and other commodities, valued at $118-million, to cover its increased relief activities from now until April.
Without additional funds, WFP's food stocks would begin to run dry in September and will be completely exhausted by December,
just as the crisis reaches its peak, it said. In addition, a group of United States-sponsored NGOs known as C-Safe plans to distribute food to another 800 000 vulnerable Zimbabweans, giving a combined total of 4,1 million people, it said.
Huge bureaucracies are financed (with the aid money), corruption and complacency are promoted, Africans are taught to be beggars and not to be independent. In addition, development aid weakens the local markets everywhere and dampens the spirit of entrepreneurship that we so desperately need. As absurd as it may sound: Development aid is one of the reasons for Africa's problems. If the West were to cancel these payments, normal Africans wouldn't even notice. Only the functionaries would be hard hit. Which is why they maintain that the world would stop turning without this development aid.
... at some point, this corn [wheat] ends up in the harbor of Mombasa. A portion of the corn often goes directly into the hands of unsrupulous politicians who then pass it on to their own tribe to boost their next election campaign. Another portion of the shipment ends up on the black market where the corn is dumped at extremely low prices. Local farmers may as well put down their hoes right away; no one can compete with the UN's World Food Program. And because the farmers go under in the face of this pressure, Kenya would have no reserves to draw on if there actually were a famine next year. It's a simple but fatal cycle.
It's time to ratchet up the pressure on African dictatorships and tyrannies in general. Propping them up with food suppliesoften diverted to feed military enforcersonly prolongs the agony. Oppressed populations must take to the barricades and begin the onerous task of cleaning their own political houses.
The West's only great sin is that it does not have the moral fiber to send in hit squads who would eliminate these blood ticks. They are the vampire elite and long ago forfeited any claim of mercy or forebearance. It is impossible to overstate the amount of needless suffering, injustice and early death this despotism has wrought.
It's beginning to look like the water shortage may do them in before this food is even delivered (see article below this one). Geez, there has got to be a special place in Hell for guys like Che, Castro, Mao, Stalin, Jong-Il and Bob.
The answer is not more grain. It's more lead. Applied to the those responsible for the mess. However, the usual suspects, in aiding and abetting the continuation of the situation, absolutely refuse to acknowledge that fact and are willing to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of lives in order to avoid doing what is necessary. They are just as guilty of the deprivations as Bob. It's the same crowd that whined and cried that the invasion of Afghanistan would lead to wide spread famine and a humanitarian disaster. They were WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. They are so wrapped up in their own personal self worship that they will not, can not acknowledge the absolute poverty of their own life philosophy. So people will continue to endure and die.
If it goes anything like the aid sent to NKor, the starving people wont see a grain of that wheat. It will all go to Bob's cronies, the military(which you have to feed for your own safety), and those who are politically aligned with Zanu-PF's party elite. The poor starving hicks wont get a damned thing. Let the WFP administer this deal and you just made it worse to the 3rd degree. They'll steal all the money before the grain is even bought.
Taps in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, are running dry even though the city's main supply dams are more than 60% full, according to figures from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa). With more than half of Harare's three million inhabitants now experiencing water shortages, residents are resorting to desperate measures to find supplies.
Carrying a large bucket to work has become a daily task for Tedious Marembo, employed as a cleaner at a block of government offices in the city. This building is never without water, because it houses three government ministries. So Marembo fills his bucket at work to provide water for his wife and two children who live in Kuwadzana, a poor suburb in the south-west of Harare. "My wife has to walk a long distance to get water at a church in my neighbourhood where a borehole was sunk, [and] she has to pay Z$50 000 for a bucket. The only way I can help her cope with household chores is to carry with me a 20-litre bucket to bring water from my workplace," he said.
At the official exchange rate, Z$50 000 is worth $200; at the black-market rate, however, it would only buy 36 US cents at the time of writing. On average, civil servants earn four million Zimbabwe dollars - a little over $22 per month, at unofficial rates.
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has said those who do not want Bangladesh to stand holding its head high are conspiring to split her party. "Those who do not want Bangladesh's progress are conspiring to break the party. BNP believes in Bangladeshi nationalism and religious values. Leaders and workers of our party have pure patriotism," she told the former and present leaders of Chandpur district unit of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal during a teleconference Tuesday night. "The genuine leaders and workers of BNP and its front organisations cannot have any relation with those who are conspiring against the party, the country and its democracy," said the former prime minister.
She said BNP is a popular party that came to power more than once and earned people's confidence by making remarkable contributions to nation building. "Having seen the huge popularity, multidimensional conspiracies are on at the moment to destroy the party. And for this a few opportunist leaders of the party have been chosen."
Khaleda said those who want to split the party are not genuine leaders of BNP. "No genuine, patriotic and nationalist leader can be in the conspiracy to break it."
The Supreme Court (SC) today stayed the delivery of the judgement till August 14 on the government appeal filed against the High Court (HC) order granting bail to detained Awami league (AL) chief Sheikh Hasina in an extortion case.
The SC stayed the judgement for disposal of the ruling upon the government to explain why the approval of the case under the emergency powers rules would not be declared illegal. It also directed to dispose the rules by August 14.
The full bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Mohammad Ruhul Amin passed the ruling.
On July 31, the government filed the appeal with the SC challenging a HC order granting ad interim bail to Hasina in Tk 2.99 crore extortion case and also directing the government not to hold trial of the case under the emergency power rules.
On July 30, the HC, following a writ petition filed on behalf of Hasina, granted bail to Hasina. It also stayed the inclusion of the extortion case under the emergency powers rules and issued rule upon the government to explain why the approval of the case under the emergency powers rules would not be declared illegal. The rule is returnable with two weeks.
Earlier on June 13, Managing Director of Eastcoast Trading Pvt Ltd Azam J Chowdhury charged Hasina and Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim with extorting Tk 2.99 crore from him for the work of Siddhirganj Power Plant in Narayanganj.
This should do wonders for the gross on his next one...
CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has praised Sean Penn for his critical stance against the war in Iraq, saying the two chatted by phone and soon plan to meet in person. Yeah...like...have your people call my people...
Chavez said Penn traveled to Venezuela this week wanting to learn more about the situation in the country and walked around some of Caracas' poor barrios on his own. Did he bring his leaky boat?
Just the red plastic cup will do ...
"Welcome to Venezuela, Mr. Penn. What drives him is consciousness, the search for new paths," Chavez said Wednesday in a televised speech. "He's one of the greatest opponents of the Iraq invasion." Yeah...man. Like...thanks.
Chavez read aloud from a recent open letter by Penn to President Bush in which the actor condemned the Iraq war and called for Bush to be impeached, saying the president along with Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are "villainously and criminally obscene people." And I was in "All the Kings Men" so I'd, like, know...
The socialist president, who shares those views, said he and Penn talked by phone "with my bad English but we understood each other more or less." But he mumbles though, that gringo...
Chavez said the two plan to meet Thursday. He called the actor "well-informed about what is happening in the United States and the world, in spite of being in Hollywood." Ha. Even Hugo thinks they're assholes...
What's more, Chavez said, "he's made great films." The Venezuelan leader said he recently watched Penn's Oscar-winning performance in the film "Mystic River." Guess he didn't see "The Interpeter or "I Am Sam"?
For his part, Penn on Wednesday toured Venezuela's new film studios on the outskirts of Caracas. Penn, whose visit was unannounced, did not speak publicly. Cuz...I'M SOOOOOOO WASTED!!!
Venezuela's Supreme Court ruled that an opposition-aligned TV channel will remain on cable for now, acting just hours before a government-set deadline that could have yanked it from the cable lineup.
The Supreme Court of Justice said in a statement Wednesday that it suspended the telecommunications commission's order for Radio Caracas Television and other cable channels to register as national producers, a category that would require them to interrupt programming to carry some of President Hugo Chavez's speeches.
With its ruling, the court - which was selected by the Chavez-dominated National Assembly - defused a political standoff and opened the way for it to consider which cable and satellite channels should be bound by rules requiring domestic stations to transmit government-mandated programming.
Moscow/Minsk - The Russian energy giant Gazprom Tuesday accused Belarus of failing to pay for energy delivered, and threatened to cut off natural gas to the former Soviet republic. If carried out, the move would almost certainly reduce natural gas deliveries to Europe, and increase European prices for the fuel, as Europe receives some 25 per cent of its natural gas from Gazprom.
A statement from the Russian natural gas monopolist warned the Belarusian government it intended to reduce deliveries to Belarus to 45 per cent of present volumes. Russia's largest corporation, Gazprom said the cut was necessary because Belarus' government had only paid for the value of gas received from Russia from January through June, by roughly the same 45 per cent amount.
The Belarusian debt to Gazprom for the six-month period is reportedly 456 million dollars, according to the company. The cut will go into effect on August 3, the Belapan news agency reported.
A similar dispute between Gazprom and Minsk at the beginning of 2007 over oil pricing reduced Russian oil deliveries to Europe for more than a week, spiking the price of the fuel across East Europe and even as far away as Italy.
'We have serious concern...and we call on both sides to resolve this dispute as soon as possible,' said Martin Selmayr, spokesman for the European Union, at a Brussels press conference.
Summer is the time to do this, not winter like russia pulled last time. Belarus controls the pipeline, russia will lose big, big, big, without it's use for a few months. I'd have my pissing match now if I were them.
Russia's troubling tendency to use energy as a political weapon needs a little negative reinforcement before they start doing it on a weekly basis like opec used to.
Request to all who post: when posting articles like this, please, please shorten them up. This is your opportunity to teach the MSM how to write. Thank you. AoS.
(CNSNews.com) - More than 30 members of Congress, or their spouses, invest in companies that do business in countries that the U.S. government says sponsor terrorists, a Cybercast News Service investigation has established.
Financial disclosure forms show that Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) -- one of the leading national security experts in Congress -- has hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in nine corporations listed by the Securities and Exchange Commission as doing or having done business with a terror-sponsoring state.
Reps. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) and Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) have smaller investments in as many such companies. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.) each have more than $1 million in companies that are doing or have done business with one or more of these countries.
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Posted by: anonymous5089 ||
08/02/2007 13:13 ||
Top|| File under: Global Jihad
President Pervez Musharrafs approval rating nosedived 20 points in four months to 34 percent by early July, a month when his political standing suffered more blows, a US survey released on Wednesday found.
It was the first time General Musharraf had scored approval ratings below 50 percent since the Washington-based International Republican Institute (IRI) began polling in 2002. With elections looming in the coming months, Musharraf has tried to shore up his position by reaching out to self-exiled former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
The poll showed 32 percent of Pakistanis believed Bhutto was the best leader to handle the problems, followed by Musharraf with 27 percent, reversing the positions in the last poll conducted in February/March. The two main leaders of Islamist parties only garnered seven percent between them. When asked who they would choose as president, 39 percent of voters picked Bhutto and 30pc said Musharraf. Fifty-one percent described inflation as the top issue, 19 percent cited unemployment and 13 percent said poverty.
A 38-year-old severely brain-injured man, who was virtually unconscious for six years, can now chew food, drink out of a cup and recite 16 words of the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance after surgeons used deep-brain electrical stimulation giving researchers hope that this form of therapy could usher a new era for treating patients in a minimally-conscious state.
Deep-brain stimulation, essentially a pacemaker for the brain, has been used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease and depression. The use of electrodes in cases of severe brain damage, reported in Thursday's issue of the science journal Nature, marks a new chapter in the treatment of brain disorders and gives hope to thousands of families.
Researchers, however, cautioned that the approach must be tested in more people, and its effects may not be shared equally by all patients in a minimally-conscious state.
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August 2, 2007 -- Wall Street's smart money is running after oil for its new riches, driving up prices to new records that could push crude past a stunning $100 a barrel in coming months. Energy analysts say many investors - burned by the junk mortgage meltdown - are suddenly bullish about crude oil. Yet they say there are no fundamental reasons for driving up prices, which hit a new intraday high here yesterday of $78.77 a barrel.
"There's no new bullish news driving this," said energy analyst Peter Beutel of Cameron Hanover.
Beutel expects crude could inch upward this season to a new threshold of $81 a barrel. "Does it make sense? No. "If we see $81, we'll see a lot more speculators coming in, and price [rises] will continue until they hit $95" or higher - "purely on momentum." He added, "We're on the doorstep of where we're headed next."
Thanks guys, just what we need.
Experts have warned that oil could reach $95 a barrel even this year unless the oil cartel OPEC backs off the saber-rattling about cutbacks it started last year when prices were falling. Some oil ministers of the cartel say OPEC will likely maintain output levels when the group meets in September.
Meanwhile, Wall Street speculators have been blamed for adding the last $10 rise in a barrel of crude and are likely to push it higher as drillers confront more difficulties and expenses in locating new oil sources. "There is one clear factor and that is funds that entered the market three weeks ago," said Mark Routt of Energy Security Analysis Inc. "It continues to flow in."
Meanwhile the new weekly government data released yesterday showed a larger than expected drawdown by refineries from crude oil stocks of about 6.5 million barrels. "I think crude still has a bit higher to go. Despite the increase in production, stocks remain comparatively low - refineries have to make up for lost time," said Antoine Halff of FIMAT Research.
I've read dozens of articles about $100 oil in the last weeks, they sound almost giddy about it when they talk.
At $100 a bbl. you will make a lot of money on oil futures, to the exclusion of almost every other sector of the American economy. Will you have money to go out to dinner or go on vacation, or shop for new shoes if you have to pay $5 a gallon for gas? I know I won't.
Based on the fact that pump prices have trended flat-to-down for the past few weeks while crude prices have gone up 12%, I'd guess the refining part of the higher cost summer blend is pretty much done already.
The "price of a barrel of oil" is deceptive, because it actually only means the price of a barrel of Light Sweet Crude on the spot market, which is a very small percentage of the total.
To start with, the vast majority of oil is Heavy Sour Crude, which means it both has lower grade fuels in it, and more sulphur. It is inexpensive, because few refineries wish to refine it. But it's still good for low-end oil needs.
The vast bulk of LSC is sold in bulk contracts with the major consumers a year or so in advance of delivery. Because the price is guaranteed, it is lower and doesn't fluctuate.
This leaves the spot market. It is for smaller consumers of oil that cannot buy in bulk, so they have to buy "retail". This is where the speculation and volatility happen, and it mostly hits the 3rd and 4th world, and *new* consumers.
By this I mean that once a consumer buys the oil they need in a long term contract, if they underestimated how much they needed, they would have to buy it on the spot market.
So it is not the price of crude that drives gasoline prices in the US. Ironically, it is the refineries. This is because refineries have to tool their operations to making just certain kinds of fuel, and well in advance.
So they have to guess what the demands and prices for fuel is going to be, because it is expensive and difficult to re-tool. Will there be extra demand on gasoline, home heating oil, or jet fuel; or will there be excess?
If they predict a cold winter, then they will make more home heating oil, and there will be less gasoline and jet fuel, so their prices will go up.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.