It’s a turn-around jump shot

by twit

It’s everybody jump start

The Obama administration reversed years of U.S. policy Monday by calling for a treaty to cut mercury pollution, which it described as the world’s gravest chemical problem.

It’s every generation throws a hero up the pop charts

The statement represented a “180-degree turnaround” from policy under the Bush administration, said Michael Bender, co-coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group, a global coalition of 75 environmental organizations working to reduce mercury exposure.

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the “new” problem of nukes at sea

by twit

Two nuclear-armed submarines crashed into each other in early February:

As inquiries began, naval sources said it was a millions-to-one unlucky chance both subs were in the same patch of sea. Warships have sonar gear which locates submarines by sound waves.

But modern anti-sonar technology is so good it is possible neither boat “saw” the other.

although this kind of thing may happen more often than one might think:

The USS San Francisco, a nuclear submarine, crashed into an undersea mountain at its top speed of about 32 knots in 2005. One crew member was killed and 97 injured.

but not to worry!

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Alaska is a microcosm of America

by twit

Every state is “like a microcosm of America.”

That’s the point of being the United States…

And then there are these recent Alaska poll numbers reported by McClatchy on September 30, 2008:

Above 80 percent approval for parts of her term — she was at 82 percent in a key local poll twice this year — Palin’s popularity has swooned [to a 68 percent approval rating] as new information about the local abuse-of-power investigation known as troopergate has trickled out, and as national and local media pick over her track record as a governor and small-town mayor.

and just look at that microcosm:

Inside those numbers was a dramatic drop in support from Democrats and independents, although support from Republicans remained strong at 93 percent. Among Democrats, her approval rating dropped from 60 percent to 36 percent, a 24-point drop. Among independents, it fell from 82 percent to 64 percent, an 18-point drop.

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The end of the Iraq War

by twit

is now scheduled for 2011:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Monday that an agreement had been reached in negotiations on a security pact with the United States to end any foreign military presence in Iraq by the end of 2011.

“There is an agreement actually reached, reached between the two parties on a fixed date which is the end of 2011 to end any foreign presence on Iraqi soil,” Maliki said in a speech to tribal leaders in the Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone.

(update: The BBC has more on the story)

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“All I know is, there is water where it didn’t used to be”

by twit

Which is apparently why the United States is losing a very Cold War…

From the International Herald Tribune on August 18, 2008:

Admiral Thad Allen, the commandant of the Coast Guard, who toured Alaska’s Arctic shores two weeks ago with the homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff, said that whatever mix of natural and human factors is causing the ice retreats, the Arctic is clearly opening to commerce – and potential conflict and hazards – like never before.

“All I know is, there is water where it didn’t used to be, and I’m responsible for dealing with that,” Allen said. Given the 8 or 10 years it would take to build even one icebreaker, he added, “I think we’re at a crisis point on making a decision.”

Really? A crisis point in the Arctic? However could this have happened?

As early as 2001, the navy issued reports saying that it had limited ability to operate ships and planes reliably in the Arctic. But with two costly wars under way, the region has remained an icy backwater and a low priority, with navy budgets for polar analysis declining.

oh. So what does this mean?

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Once again, Arab insurgents distract a superpower from the obvious threat… The other superpower

by lestro

In the future, when alien anthropologists or hyper-intelligent insect archaeologists are trying to piece together the end of what we call ‘human civilization,’ they will undoubtedly come to one conclusion:

It was the fault of the Arabs. But not in the way that one might expect.

After 50 years of posturing and bluffing and threats of mutual assured destruction, the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union finally seemed to burn itself out in the late 80s. The Soviet Union broke apart and the Doomsday Clock finally turned back a few ticks as everyone was now almost all on the same side.

World War III, at least as we expected it, had been averted.

But the new threat of Islamofacism stepped in to fill the gap, an ideology of destruction and hate, premised on a bastardization of a religion and a total lack of respect for nation states, their leadership and their territorial boundaries.

Eventually, all eyes turned to this rising force as the new potential enemy for World War III. At first, they attacked, we ignored. They attacked again, we swatted at them like flies. They attacked again and we continued to pooh-pooh and downplay the threat to our national security. Then, on September 11, 2001, the little bastards went too far and suddenly everyone – including, finally, the Bush Administration – was paying attention.

Finally we had a new enemy. Finally we could crank our war machine back up. The World War that we had spent 50 years preparing for was finally on our doorstep.

It didn’t matter that it wasn’t the war we expected or that they didn’t play by the rules, we took it to them.

Fer us or agin us. And agin us gets bombed.

If World War III was going to play out, it was obviously going to be between the Civilized World and the Fundamentalist Islamic World.

Made sense at the time.

But history, says the cliché, is written by the victors. And that means much of the story often gets left out. And as recent events in Georgia have shown us, just because we counted out the Soviets and that version of WWIII doesn’t mean they did.

We took our eye off the Russians in favor of the Arabs and it may end up costing us. Just like it did them.

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