“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Friday Night At the EB


  1. BAGHDAD — Iraqi Security Forces foiled a late night attack by alleged Al Qaeda members on a checkpoint in the western Rashid District July 2.

    Iraqi National Police officers were attacked just after midnight by four armed men. The policemen returned fire, killing one of the insurgents and forcing two others to flee the scene.

    The fourth attacker was detained by police officers when his suicide explosive vest failed to detonate.

    The would-be suicide bomber was handed over to Multi-National Division – Baghdad troops from Company E, 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, and is being held for further questioning.

    Release Date:
    Release Number:
    BAGHDAD - Insurgents targeted Camp Echo and the surrounding area with as many as 75 mortars and rockets in the early hours of July 2. Coalition Forces responded to the threat with an F-16 air strike on identified
    points of origin of the attack.

    At around 2.00 a.m. Camp Echo and near-by residents of Diwaniyah City suffered a barrage of indiscriminate mortar fire and rocket attacks from insurgents operating in the Al Jumuri district. About 25 mortars and rockets struck within the perimeter of Camp Echo, injuring 3 Coalition Soldiers. The remaining 50 rounds impacted outside of the base in the surrounding neighborhood.
    Coalition Forces identified a number of launch points for this attack and directed two F16 aircraft to respond. The aircraft targeted and bombed the insurgent launch sites.
    The bulk of the attacks were conducted from Salim Street, where insurgents persistently use urban areas from which to attack, in order to use civilians as human shields. Coalition Forces are reviewing the incident to ensure that appropriate and proportionate force was used in responding to the intense attack

  3. BBC's Gaza reporter released
    BBC correspondent Alan Johnston is freed by his captors and handed over to Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip after almost four months in captivity.

    'Scepticism' over climate claims
    The public believes the effects of global warming on the climate are not as bad as politicians and scientists claim, a poll has suggested.

    The Ipsos Mori poll of 2,032 adults - interviewed between 14 and 20 June - found 56% believed scientists were still questioning climate change.

    There was a feeling the problem was exaggerated to make money, it found.

    The Royal Society said most climate scientists believed humans were having an "unprecedented" effect on climate.

    The survey suggested that terrorism, graffiti, crime and dog mess were all of more concern than climate change.

    Ipsos Mori's head of environmental research, Phil Downing, said the research showed there was "still a lot to do" in encouraging "low-carbon lifestyles".

    "We are alive to climate change and very few people actually reject out of hand the idea the climate is changing or that humans have had at least some part to play in this," he added.

    "However, a significant number have many doubts about exactly how serious it really is and believe it has been over-hyped."

    People had been influenced by counter-arguments, he said.

    Royal Society vice-president Sir David Read said: "People should not be misled by those that exploit the complexity of the issue, seeking to distort the science and deny the seriousness of the potential consequences of climate change.

    "The science very clearly points towards the need for us all - nations, businesses and individuals - to do as much as possible, as soon as possible, to avoid the worst consequences of a changing climate."
    Story from BBC NEWS:

  5. The Appointment of Mark Malloch Brown Will Strain U.S.-British Relations
    by Nile Gardiner, Ph.D.
    WebMemo #1534
    The appointment of Sir Mark Malloch Brown as the U.K.'s new minister for Africa, Asia, and the United Nations is the clearest sign yet of a break with the pro-U.S. stance of the Blair government. Malloch Brown, who served as chief of staff and deputy to former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, is well known for his stridently anti-American views and fierce opposition to the war in Iraq. Although Malloch Brown will not be a full member of Gordon Brown's Cabinet, he will be entitled to attend some cabinet meetings and is expected to become one of the most powerful voices in British foreign policy after David Miliband, the newly appointed Foreign Secretary (and also a critic of the Iraq war and Tony Blair's support for Israel). His selection sends a clear signal that the Brown government will adopt a more openly critical stance toward U.S. foreign policy.

    A Critic of U.S. Foreign Policy

    Malloch Brown served as Kofi Annan's chief aide during the investigations into the massive U.N. Oil-for-Food scandal and played a lead role in downplaying the U.N.'s failings,[1] bringing him into conflict with the Bush Administration and leading Senators and congressmen who were pressing hard for reform of the world body.

    Read the rest.

  6. It looks like old Allah's going to have to come up with another 7200, or so, Virgins.

  7. Well, there go the Brits, eh?


  8. Brazil Stages Raid Against Debt Slavery at Amazon Sugar Cane-Ethanol Plantation
    07-03-2007 6:13 PM
    By VIVIAN SEQUERA, Associated Press Writer

    BRASILIA, Brazil (Associated Press) -- Brazilian authorities said they raided an Amazon plantation where more than 1,000 laborers were found working 13-hour days, in horrendous conditions, cutting sugar cane for ethanol production.

    Authorities said that if preliminary findings by investigators are confirmed, the raid would be Brazil's biggest to date against debt slavery, which is common in the Amazon.

  9. Like I said, "Take all that talk about $0.65/gal Brazilian Cane Ethanol with a grain of salt. That's probably not "sustainable."

  10. Link for Rat's Story.

    Makes that American Farmer driving his "Biodiesel-Powered" John Deere Tractor look a little better, don't it?

  11. It is not Friday night yet is it?

  12. Hunt Is On For US-NATO Inside Pakistan?

    Syed Saleem Shahzad reports in the Asia Times that Pervez Musharraf and US & NATO commanders have reached an agreement giving Coalition forces the green light tohunt operatives and camps of the Taliban and al-Qaeda inside Pakistan’s borders and that “coalition forces will start hitting targets wherever they might be.”

  13. You mentioned Stainless Storage Tanks in previous thread, Rufus:
    Does that mean steel gas tanks are gonna rust out sooner, and if not, why do they need them at refineries?

  14. No, it wasn't Friday night, I woke up this morning and realised that I had put a "Friday night post." It felt like Friday tonight.

    Happy Fourth.

  15. Pure alcohol will eat your ass off, Doug, given enough time. Even if your ass is made of steel. Thus the "Stainless" steel.

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