Saturday, August 23, 2008

Meet Your New Veep! (Photos)

Great pick. Biden was my original #1 pick for President so I'm pretty happy.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bunches O' Stuff: 8.21.2008

Most U.S. Measles Cases Reported Since 1996 - Most of the reported cases of measles are due to people not being vaccinated, or more accurately, their parents decided not to have them vaccinated.

I say this with all sincerity: Thanks a lot, idiots.

U.S., Iraq reach deal to pull U.S. Troops Out by June - Apparently, the Bush administration has decided that time tables are no longer for pussies. As an aside, I think it's fun that the administration's Iraq policy is turning into Barack Obama's policy.

China Orders Punishment for Protest Bid - China has sentenced two 70+ year old women to one year of "re-education through labor" (which does sound terrifyingly cool) for APPLYING for the right to protest in one of the protest zones set up during the Olympics to pretend that the Chinese government doesn't crush dissent. (So much for that idea.) What were they going to protest? The fact that they (two septuagenarians, mind you) had been forced from their homes to make room for...the Olympics. Kudos again, IOC!!!

Ethnic Unity in China, with Han on Top - This article is about racial divisions in China and how the majority Han dominate the other races culturally. But the reason I am highlighting it is that Beijing has a park highlighting the cultures of the 56 ethnic groups in China. The former name of the park: "Racist Park". God, I love translations.

Third Ship Hijacked in a Day off Somalia - Enough with the freakin' pirates already!

Now on the Hallmark Aisle: Gay Marriage Cards - I guess the market has spoken: Gay marriage is A OK!

McCain Unsure How Many Houses He Owns - (I know I'm gonna regret saying this but it's just too easy.) Can he not remember because he's super rich or super old?

Ahh, that felt good.

Speculation Actually DOES Drive Up Oil Prices

No $#!#.

I first posted about the subject of unregulated speculation being a driving force in the price of oil almost two years ago. This speculation can be demonstrably shown to be disconnected from events in oil-producing regions despite the fact that such events are often used as justification for price increases.

So, seeing this article in the Post today was no surprise to me (emphasis mine):
A Few Speculators Dominate Vast Market for Oil Trading

The [Commodity Futures Trading Commision], which learned about the nature of Vitol's activities only after making an unusual request for data from the firm, now reports that financial firms speculating for their clients or for themselves account for about 81 percent of the oil contracts on NYMEX, a far bigger share than had previously been stated by the agency. That figure may rise in coming weeks as the CFTC checks the status of other big traders.
Here's another quote that illustrates how ridiculous the charade that oil prices are determined solely by supply and demand.
Oil roared above the $120 a barrel level on Thursday and gold prices jumped amid mounting geopolitical tensions following Russia’s decision to suspend military co-operation activities with Nato in response to a missile shield agreement between the US and Poland.
So, the invasion of Georgia was two weeks ago (and oil went down) but now the situation is making oil go up $6 in one day?


New One Ad with Matt Damon

Monday, August 04, 2008

In Case You Missed This: August 4

The AIDS Diary Project - The International AIDS Conference is underway this week in Mexico City. One of the attendees is Thembi Ngubane, a young HIV-positive girl from South Africa, and this is her audio diary of living with HIV.

Attack in China Kills 16 Border Patrol Officers - Muslim separatists in China's northwest were behind this attack. Despite the security crackdown in China in preparation for the Olympics, there may well be more of this to come over the next few weeks.

OJ Simpson Co-defendant Agrees to Plea Deal - Looks like double murderer OJ Simpson will be facing the testimony of four of the people with whom he conducted his little Vegas hotel raid. Hopefully, this trial will result in his being sent to jail for, let's say, ever. And when he dies they should leave his corpse in the cell for another 13 years to make up for the time he got to be out of prison after the aforementioned double murder.

McDonald's Tests Changes in $1 Burger as Costs Rise - The increasing cost of food is even hitting giant, evil, multi-national corporation McDonald's. What follows is one of the most "stop you in your tracks" lines I have read in a long time:
"In an interview, Don Thompson, president of McDonald's U.S. business, said the company has tested ways to make the burger less expensive to make."
That's terrifying! How? The only answer I can come up with is using circus animal meat and cotton-candy buns.

Study: Not Being An @$$hole Boss May Boost Employee Morale - Crap! So, that's what I've been doing wrong!

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