Recent tumult in global equity prices has been linked by many analysts back to the prospects for future Chinese growth. Commodities have been slammed particularly hard by fears of a grinding slow down in Chinese construction and industrial output. Debt is a testy issue in this sphere with US indebtedness commonly raised as a great economic issue of our times. This is something that warrants a wider roundup with good reading to be found on the web, not least in the form of analysis on the factors driving fed decisions. There is inevitably one eye on Chinese economic activity each time the fed comes to the table, and the FT discuss clues from the east that may influence the fed's thinking. Also of great interest is the recent Chinese scurry away from exposure to US debt as reported at Bloomberg.
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Market Conditions in the US and beyond
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Don't count on Pennsylvania
The Verified Voting Foundation, in their weekly newsletter, reports that over 85% of the voters in Pennsylvania won’t be able to register their votes in a verifiable form. Paperless, electronic voting has become the norm in Pennsylvania despite a state law that requires manually recounting a sample of ballots cast in elections. 32% of registered voters in the state will have the opportunity to vote only on ES&S iVotronic touch screen machines. According to the report these machines have been described as "too risky to use in elections." A report issued by the State of Ohio says of them: "Anyone with access to a machine can re-calibrate the touchscreen to affect how the machine records votes." Another 31% will use Shouptronic push button machines and 10% more have access only to Diebold/Premier TSx touch screen equipment. Relatively few--1.2 million out of the total 8.3 million registered voters--will have access to optically scanned paper ballots.
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IMNSHO: Peace? Peacenick? Peace Symbol?
Tonight, while driving home from my corporate servitude in the city, I once again drove past this symbol of Peace which has shone in hope over lower Goldstream Road for at least the past three winters. You know it, that stretch between Ivory Jacks and the three point intersection of Sheep Creek, Gold Stream and Murphy Dome – what is it with Fairbanks that one road has two or three names?Read the rest of this entry
The Dead come out for Obama
Clinton may take California, but Obama scored the Grateful Dead.
Nader considering a presidential run
Have any thoughts on that? Share them with "team Nader." Here's their email address.
Last time around Nader was backed by Koch’s rightwing think tank corporate front group, Citizens for a Sound Economy (now FreedomWorks), so don’t be surprised this time when the billionaire-financed rightwing attack machine Freedom’s Watch backs him with their supposed $250 million dollar war chest. I’m just saying. CNN’s Abbi Tatton tells that Nader is saying that if he can "raise 10 million dollars and to rustle up enough lawyers to help him get ballot access, then he is definitely going to do this," and we already know Ralph doesn’t have a problem with getting his back scratched by Republicans.
Fairbanksan chooses marmots over Survivor
Aren Gunderson, a biology graduate student at UAF, auditioned
for the latest season of Survivor and secured a spot! But he declined
the invitation because the show's time commitment would mess up his
field season studying marmots. His commitment to science is commendable.
Read the story by Ned Rozell at the Alaska Report.
Multi-tasking can kill you
Not quite, but....
"Multitasking messes with the brain in several ways. At the most basic level, the mental balancing acts that it requires — the constant switching and pivoting — energize regions of the brain that specialize in visual processing and physical coordination and simultaneously appear to shortchange some of the higher areas related to memory and learning. We concentrate on the act of concentration at the expense of whatever it is that we're supposed to be concentrating on... studies find that multitasking boosts the level of stress-related hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline and wears down our systems through biochemical friction, prematurely aging us. In the short term, the confusion, fatigue, and chaos merely hamper our ability to focus and analyze, but in the long term, they may cause it to atrophy."
Hat tip Slashdot. Read the whole article at The Atlantic.
Eradicate the mosquito?
I know it's winter, but it's never to early to think about the mass murder of mosquitoes. One of my dirty secrets is that despite knowing that at best the idea is environmentally hubristic and at worst environmentally catastrophic, I want science to eradicate the mosquito.
Therefore I was delighted to see that science is indeed working on just that...and making progress! According to Wired, a biotech company in Britain has genetically engineered a male mosquito whose offspring will die before reproducing. The idea is to reduce populations of disease carrying mosquitoes so we won't be seeing franken-mosquitoes in Alaska any time soon...but one can always hope.
Martin Luther King: "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence"
I was shocked the first time I heard this speech many years ago. This was not the King I was raised to image. Here was a man developing a very radical analysis of race, class, poverty and war in our society. Upon hearing this one of my first thoughts was "No wonder they killed him."
A couple of years ago I revisited this speech and replaced the word "communist" with "terrorist" and found that King's message still rings true today.
On 4 April 1967, King made his most public and comprehensive statement against the Vietnam War. Addressing a crowd of 3,000 people in New York City’s Riverside Church, King delivered a speech entitled "Beyond Vietnam." King pointed out that the war effort was "taking the young black men who have been crippled by our society and sending them 13,000 miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem."
Although some activists and newspapers supported King's statement, most responded with criticism. King's civil rights colleagues began to disassociate themselves with his radical stance and the NAACP issued a statement against merging the civil rights movement and peace movement. King remained undeterred, stating that he was not fusing the civil rights and peace movements, as many had suggested.
For the full text and audio of the speech click here
You're Damn Right I'm Angry. Why Isn't Everybody?
by David Michael Green
I am outraged at how the administration polarized the country in the wake of one of the greatest traumas it had ever experienced. Let us leave aside the ample evidence demonstrating that the Bush team was asleep at the wheel before 9/11 - or perhaps far, far worse - a set of facts which is noteworthy in part because progressives did not use them to attack the president and score cheap but easy political points. But the administration did precisely that. It is disgusting - and it fills me with anger - how they used a national security crisis to win partisan political contests. How they scheduled a vote on the Iraq war resolution right before the midterm elections of 2002, thus politicizing the gravest decision a country can make by forcing Democrats to choose between voting their conscience and campaign accusations of being soft on national security.
It boils my blood that these chickenhawks - almost none of whom showed up for duty in Vietnam when it was their turn - could dare to accuse Max Cleland of being weak on national security, a guy who gave three of his four limbs to that very cause on the battlefields of Southeast Asia. How could they run ads morphing his face into Saddam's or bin Laden's, when his opponent - of course - took Vietnam deferments, just like Cheney and Ashcroft and the rest? And how could they accuse him of being weak on national defense because he opposed the bureaucratic reshuffling to create the Homeland Security Department, when Bush himself had also opposed it? That is, before Rove politicized it by inserting union-busting language applying to tens of thousands of civil servants covered by the actRead the rest of this entry
Bush Is Not Incompetent
by George Lakoff, Marc Ettlinger and Sam Ferguson (c)The Rockridge Institute, 2006 (We invite the free distribution of this piece)
Progressives have fallen into a trap. Emboldened by President Bush’s plummeting approval ratings, progressives increasingly point to Bush's "failures" and label him and his administration as incompetent. For example, Nancy Pelosi said "The situation in Iraq and the reckless economic policies in the United States speak to one issue for me, and that is the competence of our leader." Self-satisfying as this criticism may be, it misses the bigger point. Bush’s disasters — Katrina, the Iraq War, the budget deficit — are not so much a testament to his incompetence or a failure of execution. Rather, they are the natural, even inevitable result of his conservative governing philosophy. It is conservatism itself, carried out according to plan, that is at fault. Bush will not be running again, but other conservatives will. His governing philosophy is theirs as well. We should be putting the onus where it belongs, on all conservative office holders and candidates who would lead us off the same cliff.Read the rest of this entry
The Press / Cuban cigar
The Press and The Allusions (allusions: obs. - a parable, metaphor)
I am sorry, but I have now become completely disillusioned with the American popular press, including National Public Radio. There is a long list of events, covered by the press, whose reporting has led to the current state of affairs wherein we now have a useless, rootless press, wandering about, trying to figure out what is real and what is not. Fairness and balance has trumped investigation and follow-up reporting of the truth. Here is a list of the same old tunes from which the press might take some instruction:Read the rest of this entry
Ghosts of Abu Ghraib - local screening
Screening of Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, a film by Rory Kennedy
THURSDAY Dec. 13, 2007, at 7.00 pm at the ALASKA PEACE CENTER (Stone Soup Community Center Bld, 507 Gaffney Rd),
Join the Alaska Peace Center and UAF Amnesty International Club for a screening and discussion of Emmy Award winning HBO documentary "GHOST OF ABU GHRAIB".
The documentary is an examination of the psychological and political context in which torture and humiliation occurred at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Through dozens of interviews, the film exposes responsibility for the abuses at the prison that goes right to the top: Prison guards at Abu Ghraib were instructed to use torture tactics approved by the Bush administration. You can find more information about the film and the GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB Campaign, at .
Warning: For mature audience only (graphic content including male nudity)
Next Thursday’s event at the Alaska Peace Center is part of Amnesty International "86 Days" campaign" to denounce torture and call for the shut down of Guantánamo and other shameful detention centers. The 86 Days campaign is separated by two infamous dates: October 17th marked the first year anniversary of the Military Commission Act (MCA) and January 11th marks the anniversary of the first detainee held at Guantánamo Bay. You can find more information about the campaign and the event at , or by contacting Claire Alix at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Alaska Peace Center at 374-2822
Visit www.tearitdown.org to participate in tearing down Guantánamo!
Poster for "Gosts of Abu Grahib" screening in Fairbanks is at:
Food Coop Planning Meeting, December 8
The Fairbanks Community Cooperative Market will be holding a planning meeting Saturday, December 8 beginning 11:00 AM at the Mary Siah Rec Center meeting room, 1025 - 14th Avenue, Fairbanks.
The Co-op invites the you to help plan events under consideration for 2008. One event being looked at is a community-wide meeting at a location such as Pioneer Park to encourage families and Fairbank's many diverse groups to become Co-op members and raise money for a co-op feasibility study.
The Co-op has a lot of work to do to become a strong and vital component of the community and needs a high level of individual involvement.
For further information contact Dave Lacy:
Initial Meeting of FOR Content Group
Members of Fairbanks Open Radio's Content (Programming) Committee met Saturday morning at Noel Wien Library to discuss priorities for adding content to this web site, improving the web site. The Committee will focus initially on providing and encouraging others to provide news items, essays, and opinion pieces, focusing on issues of special local interest inadequately covered by other media outlets. We will work toward additional audio content for podcast or download, hoping eventually to provide streaming audio Internet radio.
The Committee agreed on the importance of maintaining the distinction between factually accurate news and information on the one hand, and opinion pieces on the other; these will be maintained in distinct portions of the web site. We also agreed that written public comments should be accepted from anyone without registering in a portion of the web site; only if this leads to volume or abuse beyond what we can handle administratively, will we consider imposing restrictions.
Claire Alix, Dave Lacey, Jenn Peterson, Don Ross, David Bantz, Don Barry, Sharon Alden, AnneLine Rochet, and Fran Mauer attended the meeting and briefly toured the technology for adding items to the FOR web site, under guidance from Jenn Peterson. Other Committee members include Birch Pavelski. Abel Bult-Ito, Joan Leguard.
The Committee's next meeting will be 6:30 pm Wednesday 19 December at Gulliver's Books on College Road.
Food Co-Op for Fairbanks
An effort is afoot in Fairbanks to start a natural food cooperative. Since the closing of Whole Earth Grocery and Deli almost a decade ago, Fairbanks has been without a place to buy organic foods which has local ownership and a firm commitment to the local community. A group known as The Fairbanks Community Cooperative Market has been formed to address this issue.
Drawing inspiration from the Cooperative Grower’s Information Network and other sources the Co-op seeks to develop a membership owned business.
The mission statement of the Co-op notes that the organization "works for health and sustainability by providing natural foods and products, promoting local suppliers, and offering consumer education in an open community center environment."
For more information visit the Co-op’s web site www.fairbankscoop.org or contact Dave Lacey at: Cigars Online