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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

News I'm Pondering

For views without news, see my take on faith-based sex education. Pedro of The Quietist called me an old prude and gleefully wrote a comment:
I'm sick of how people criticize me for my "risky" behavior on the freeways just because I like to celebrate the spiritual euphoria of driving by weaving in and out of traffic at 90 mph without a seatbelt. How dare they make it a moral issue! I'm going to form a driver's ed course for public schools to teach kids about the benefits of enjoying a healthy and expansive and "progressive" driving style, and help them get over archaic and outmoded notions of "risky" and "immoral" behavior on the road.
Now for the news. It sure is an awful summer for aviation. A West Carribbean Airways plane appears to have gone down in Venezuela:
A commercial airliner with 152 passengers aboard crashed in remote western Venezuela early Tuesday, an aviation official said. It wasn't immediately clear if anyone survived.

The West Caribbean Airways plane was en route from Panama to the Caribbean island of Martinique when its pilot reported engine trouble to the Caracas airport before dawn, said Francisco Paz, president of the National Aviation Institute.

Airport authorities lost radio contact with the plane roughly 10 minutes later, when the plane was in the area of Machiques in the western state of Zulia, he said.
The news regarding the Helios crash isn't getting any clearer. It seems unlikely that decompression could have been the cause if passengers were alive when it hit the ground:
Autopsies on the bodies of 20 people on board, including one flight attendant, show they were alive when the plane went down, an Athens coroner said Tuesday.
May God rest all their souls, as well as those of the 17 Spaniards whose helicopter is reported down in Afghanistan.

Wisely, the Iraqi Parliament extended its deadline to finish the new constitution for another 7 days. I hope they extend it again if they need it:
"We should not be hasty regarding the issues and the constitution should not be born crippled," President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, said after the vote. "We are keen to have an early constitution, but the constitution should be completed in all of its items in a proper manner that appeals to all components of the Iraqi people so that the whole people interact with the whole constitution."
Is China experiencing a recession or a economic slow-down? See this Epoch Times article:
According to statistics released by the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, from January to May of 2005, market demands for 900 commodities across 39 professions had declined, causing excess supply of textiles, household appliances, and shoes, etc. These figures was an increase of 19 percent from the same period last year and make evident China’s need for further macroeconomic regulations....

The report also showed that many Chinese enterprises had blindly invested in iron and steel production because of high market prices. As a result, the supply of iron and steel eventually exceeded demand and caused the price, which had continuously risen in the past three years, to fall in April. In May and June, the market price barely broke even with production costs....

In addition to sales reduction in automobiles, houses and communication technology this year, agricultural produce prices also dropped recently. This, along with increase in agriculture capital and rural consumer expenditures, brought a reduction in farmers’ income and subsequently weakened the market demand in the country.
This would explain a lot, but it's not good news at all. In other news from China, there was a market recall of pork amid an unconfirmed report that five workers at a Shenzen pork factory became ill. The rumor is that the pork was supposed to be from Henan but was really from Sichuan. Authorities made those who had eaten it register. So I guess the Sichuan disease is still active.

Finally, Mike Kelly's questions regarding the Able Danger revelations are good ones. He writes that he spoke directly to someone from military intelligence:
On the phone last week, the former Able Team member I interviewed told a depressing story of that cooperation that never took place.

His story, he says, tells us just how close U.S. officials could have come to breaking up the 9/11 plot before it unfolded. But there was one problem: The U.S. government did not want to hear what this sleuth and his 10 teammates had to say - before and even after the 9/11 plot....

One of his targets is the 9/11 commission. The commission's staff, he says, ignored him when he approached them on two occasions to spell out Able Danger's work.

Another target are Pentagon lawyers. The sleuth says he and other Able Danger team members became so concerned during the summer of 2000 that they asked their superiors in the Pentagon's special operations command for permission to approach the FBI. Their superiors approached Pentagon legal experts. Those experts turned down the request.
I think we should all be asking the same questions of our representatives. Weldon can't be dismissed as a partisan flack, because other people are hearing the same thing he did. He may be a dupe of liars, but why would these people lie? If so you would think our government would already have exposed them. That leaves us with some uncomfortable questions yet highly important questions, and no one is stepping up to the plate to answer them.

And don't forget to visit this week's Cotillion.
Howard at Oraculations has a good discussion about nuclear politics. This is a must read.
Carl at No Oil For Pacifists has words of comfort for Cindy Sheehan from Pericles.
This from Sigmund, Carl and Alfred is interesting, and he's probably right about his conclusion.
True Grit notes that politics in Ohio stink and that she's about ready to vote Independent on the local level. She also has this absolute gem regarding trends:
Two things that are going to have great impact are the Gaza Removal and the gelling of the Evangelicals in politics....

One thing that amazes me is the ripple effect, and how much that is ignored by most people. People want to deal with the concrete, but so often reality is liquid.
She's right. People have had enough of nonsense and corruption, and huge realities are emerging which must be confronted. The authentic voices will drive out the nonsensical, and in the process a great deal will change in our country and around the world. In a way it's like the possibly dire effects of a Chinese recession. As the cracks begin to show things start to become ugly.

Great post. This is like an all you can eat buffet at a steakhouse.

Need to go through it all.
The Chinese economic news has me worried.
decompression could still be a factor, alive doesn't necessarily mean coherent or alert. But it's all speculation for the next few months most likely.

anyone that claims to know anything at this point is being other than honest. I'm watching it closer than I usually do because it is so unusual. Although now that the "text message" guy has been arrested maybe less so.
The false claim of the text message is a pretty wild story in itself.

I can see how people who fly planes or fly in them for a living would be interested. Contradictory news stories are all over the place. I'm sure the accident investigation will be thorough. Me, I'm feeling like staying on the ground.

I don't see how people could still be alive if the plane had depressurized when it stayed at such a high altitude for so long. It had to be pretty rough for the pilots of the intercepting jets to watch people alive in the plane and be so helpless.
I'm looking at reports on the Chinese situation, too. So far, it is highly confusing, to me anyway.

Have you upped the ante on the amount of research and info you offer or what? Lots to follow here!

Have you read the concerns for women in Iraqs forming constitution and gov? There has to be some way to influence on the side of more real freedom for women. I think I was reading on this over @ Peaktalk.

Thanks so much for your mention, and I want you to know how much I appreciate your hard work on your blog- I don't comment very much when it is something I'm digesting ( not polite to speak with your mouth full) -but I regularly read your reporting.

I made a cartoon about me and Sig. but since I have no sense of humor it is only funny to me. I think I might post it anyway...>;)
the aircraft altitude wasn't that much higher than everest so people being alive isn't surprising. being coherent or conscious is another matter. Of all the thing's I've heard so far, the nitrogen bottle or the oxygen valve closed seem the most acceptable to me. We don't allow anything but oxygen to be in the appropriate colored bottles to avoid any such risks. At least that is what I'm told and I believe them.
Ilona - post the cartoon! Pleeeeease.

Tommy - I sure hope you are right on all counts.
There is a distinction to be made with Pedro's comments.

On a highway, you are not allowed to drive 90 because it puts everyone else in danger. People who follow the rules and obey the speed limits are still put at risk.

But on the other hand, you have NASCAR that has a track full of people traveling at over 100 miles per hour and usually has a crash or two. Obviously, NASCAR is a dangerous occupation because of the risk, but everyone out there has consented to the risk.

You have to compare risky sexual behavior to NASCAR, not driving on the highway.
a COMMODITIES BROKER for 20 years, let me tell you about China and their transparency. They constantly lied about the size and condition of their crops; they would sometimes buy huge portions for future delivery and then sell in the futures to create a profit AND drive the price down at which time they would buy. They would spread, meaning buy and sell in the futures at either different months, different contracts, and so on. They are very smart but the rules do not apply to them.
Howard, that's very interesting. And worrisome. Something very odd is going on.
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