January 11, 2009

Maureen Dowd Bares Bush- and Cheney-Despising Fangs, Only Embarrasses Self

NYTdowdPic0109.jpgWhen historians look back in wonder at how a long-established publication like the New York Times could have declined from its virtual king-of-the-world status in mid-2002 to its Bush-deranged, 85%-devalued shadow of its former self, they will surely make a few stops at Maureen Dowd’s twice-weekly, lost-in-another-world columns (the Dowd picture is from the Times’s web site).

Today’s offering from Dowd (HT Hot Air Headlines) is intended to be a final figurative kick in the shins at George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, something she admits to fantasizing about having done to the Vice President this week when she had opportunities.

But the Dowd diatribe really ends up as a self-portrayal of someone who deeply imbibed the kool-aid her paper dished out over the past seven years and is beyond ever letting go, and serves as a microcosm of what the Old Gray Lady has done to itself in that same timeframe:

An Extremist Makeover?

In the past week, I’ve twice been close enough to Dick Cheney to kick him in the shins.

I didn’t. It’s probably a federal crime of some sort. But a girl can fantasize. I did, however, assume the Stay-away-from-me-you’ve-got-cooties stance that Jimmy Carter used when posing with Bill Clinton at the presidents’ powwow in the Oval.

The first time was Tuesday, when Cheney left the ceremony where he gave the oath of office to senators. The senators seemed thrilled, especially Joe Biden, who was getting sworn in for just two weeks and was excitedly showing off a family Bible the size of a Buick. But I thought it gave the ceremony a satirical edge to have the lawless Vice presiding over lawmakers swearing to support and defend the Constitution that he soiled and defiled — right in the heart of the legislative branch he worked to diminish.

The second time I crossed paths was Thursday night, at a glitzy party at Cafe Milano for Brit Hume, stepping down as a Fox anchor. It required extreme defensive maneuvers — much zigging and zagging — to avoid Cheney, Wolfie and Rummy, all three holding court and blissfully unrepentant about the chaos they’ve unleashed on the world.

….. After he leaves office, W. wants to go on more bike rides, because biking through Katrina was not enough.

….. The vamoosing Vice has no apologies about turning America into a country that tortured; indeed, he denies it ever happened. “Torture,” he told Barnes, “that word gets thrown around with great abandon.”

….. Cheney’s theory of executive “unitary” power and pre-emptive war and frightening the world was a theory of Constitutional thuggishness.

The fact is that the contentions Dowd’s column are little different from the supposedly “objective” reports that have emanated from the Times’s newsroom since early 2002:

  • Dogged insistence, forever memorialized as “fake but accurate,” that the long-debunked Rathergate story, complete with phony documents and substantive refutations (here and here, for starters) is somehow still true.
  • The belief that Bush and Cheney soiled defiled the Constitution with, among other things, the FISA law. How inconvenient it is that no less than Barack Obama voted to keep FISA in place at crunch time.
  • The military “chaos” unleashed on the world. All you need to know on this topic is that the word “Iraq” doesn’t appear in Dowd’s column. And how about this: The president-elect, faced with ugly reality, is even getting cold feet about closing Gitmo. I guess doing that would be a little too chaotic compared to our current circumstances. Next thing you know, Obama, again realizing the dangers we face, will have a very, very quiet (and more than likely unreported) change of heart about certain interrogation methods.
  • Katrina? Oh stop it, Mo. The weak Katrina response was a failure of city and state officials first and foremost. Start by asking ex-Governor Kathleen Blanco why George Bush is to blame for these underwater buses.

The Times has lost much of its audience, almost all of its credibility, and perhaps its financial viability, during its seven-year infection with Bush Derangement Syndrome. You would think that with the inauguration of Barack Obama just 10 days away, there might be a bit of, well, hope in the hearts of folks like Dowd and others at the newspaper. But it appears that even a change in administrations won’t bring an end to their all-consuming bitter-ender attacks, perhaps accompanied by the more bitter end of the newspaper itself.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Harvard Scientist: Google Searches, Twitter, Second Life Are Major Carbon Offenders

EvilGoogleLogo0109.jpg

Update, Jan. 12: Debunked, per Anatreptic, which leaves questions as to the motivation of Alex Wissner-Gross.

(begin original post)

Are we witnessing the beginning of the demonization of Google?

The Internet search and service behemoth’s reputation has largely survived co-operating with censorship in mainland China and inconsistent YouTube censorship that seems to lean towards protecting terrorists’ feelings (background here and here).

But will it survive being labeled a major source of CO2 “pollution”?

We may soon find out. As reported in the UK Times Online, a Harvard scientist claims to have estimated the so-called carbon footprint of Google searches — and it’s not small. During the course of their article, reporters Jonathan Leake and Richard Woods use language the press usually reserves for conservatives and “evil” businesspersons:

Performing two Google searches from a desktop computer can generate about the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea, according to new research.

While millions of people tap into Google without considering the environment, a typical search generates about 7g of CO2 Boiling a kettle generates about 15g. “Google operates huge data centres around the world that consume a great deal of power,” said Alex Wissner-Gross, a Harvard University physicist whose research on the environmental impact of computing is due out soon. “A Google search has a definite environmental impact.”

Google is secretive about its energy consumption and carbon footprint. It also refuses to divulge the locations of its data centres. However, with more than 200m internet searches estimated globally daily, the electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions caused by computers and the internet is provoking concern. A recent report by Gartner, the industry analysts, said the global IT industry generated as much greenhouse gas as the world’s airlines – about 2% of global CO2 emissions.

….. Though Google says it is in the forefront of green computing, its search engine generates high levels of CO2 because of the way it operates. When you type in a Google search for, say, “energy saving tips”, your request doesn’t go to just one server. It goes to several competing against each other.It may even be sent to servers thousands of miles apart. Google’s infrastructure sends you data from whichever produces the answer fastest. The system minimises delays but raises energy consumption. Google has servers in the US, Europe, Japan and China.

Wissner-Gross has submitted his research for publication by the US Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and has also set up a website www.CO2stats.com. “Google are very efficient but their primary concern is to make searches fast and that means they have a lot of extra capacity that burns energy,” he said.

Well, how dare Google serve their users by making searches faster? Don’t they realize they’re killing the planet?

Enough of this, and you might see the fastest U-turn from political climate correctness in corporate history.

Oh, and all you Twitterers and Second Lifers out there, don’t get complacent. You’re not off the hook either. In fact, the reporters would appear to be sympathetic, if given enough power, to restricting how new tools such as these are used:

(Expert on data centres at the British Computer Society Liam) Newcombe cites Second Life and Twitter, a rapidly growing website whose 3m users post millions of messages a month. Last week Stephen Fry, the TV presenter, was posting “tweets” from New Zealand, imparting such vital information as “Arrived in Queenstown. Hurrah. Full of bungy jumping and ‘activewear’ shops”, and “Honestly. NZ weather makes UK look stable and clement”.

….. Such internet phenomena are not simply fun and hot air, Newcombe warns: the boom in such services has a carbon cost.

So I guess we must restrict them. Zheesh.

One frustrated article commenter, a “John Scott” claiming to be from Atlanta, summed things up nicely:

I call for a moratorium on publishing articles like this one. The amount of CO2 generated when my head starts to steam is much higher than a Google search. Multiply that by the millions of sane people who agree with me that GW (global warming) is a crock and GW might actually come true.

(“Evil” image was obtained from Velleities.net, which says it obtained the image from a Swedish blog.)

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Positivity: Mexican bishop will continue warning against ‘sins of the voting booth’ despite threats

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:25 am

From Mexico City:

Jan 8, 2009; 07:16 pm

Bishop Florencio Olvera Ochoa of Cuernavaca in Mexico announced this week that despite the threats he has received, he will again publish his “Decalogue of electoral sins” for the 2009 election season, which will be decisive for the state of Morelos.

The bishop published a similar Decalogue in 2006, inspired in the principles of the Church’s Social Doctrine, earning him a lawsuit, which was later dismissed.  “My duty is to take care that love of country is made a priority, especially in Morelos where there will be decisive elections and in which the people must choose life, family, dignity and peace,” the bishop said.

Bishop Olvera Ochoa said his “10 commandments” of the voting booth would be “proclaimed from the pulpit,” and he reiterated that the main message would again be voting for “candidates who support life.”

“The Decalogue I issued only contains principles that stem from natural law and the Social Doctrine of the Church,” he added. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.