Petri dish art by Klari Reis. More beautiful petri dish pieces here.
1. NBC’s good, bad, and ugly
Here are a couple of articles that illustrate how wildly divergent the quality of work can be from one source, NBC.
First there is Ben Popken’s Sep27.12 piece asserting that the “bacon shortage” story is a hoax. Well, he may be right, but his economic reasoning is plain, flat nutto. I quote one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read, even for the MSM:
Let’s look at some basic economics.
First, as long as prices are allowed to rise and fall freely, there can be no shortage. Shortages only occur when the government fixes prices and consumers want more supply than exists. That results in rationing. There’s zero evidence to suggest the government would do that, or that there would be any “runs on the pork bank.”
OK, so right away we can guess that Ben Popken is a high school kid punking us all. In his view if gasoline production gets cut 80% by a war with Iran and pump prices go to $30/gal and the likes of Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey have the country’s roads to themselves, that would not be a “shortage” of gas. That would just be Adam Smith jerking around with us all — except for the very wealthy, that is. Sure, according to Ben, “shortage” is impossible for filthy rich people because they will always be able to afford everything no matter how high prices go. As for those not so wealthy, like the 99%, well . . . as the headless lady said, there may be a shortage of bread but there’s never a shortage of cake. So suck on a piece of it, Ben.
By comparison, today NBC ran a beautifully written piece by Maggie Fox on a newly discovered virus called Bas-virus. The piece was a perfect mix of necessary background and what the new discovery is all about. And unlike phony bacon shortages, there is nothing easy about writing a piece about viruses for laymen.
What the new discovery is all about, by the way, is a potentially nasty, nasty viral critter that killed a couple of kids in the Congo in 2009. A very large group of researchers isolated the virus and sequenced its DNA using a new technique called “deep sequencing.” What they found was something no one had seen before. I hope no one sees it again. It is related to rabies virus but it produces symptoms and death as if it were Ebola. The original paper is here. The scary part is that it looks like this Bas-virus was passed from one of the dying kids to a nurse. The nurse survived, but a deadly virus capable of human-to-human transmission is probably what is going to wipe out the human species, if the Zionists don’t do it first with their nukes.
Just by coincidence the Guardian today published an excerpt from David Quammen’s new book on the viral threat. In that excerpt Quammen quotes virologists as saying how devastating a rabies virus would be if it could be transmitted like the flu. The Bas-virus may be that virus, heaven forfend.
I am not a great fan of Quammen and the Guardian excerpt hasn’t changed that. Quammen seems to just take what’s already been written by scientists or other writers more qualified than he is and re-work it. My guess, from reading the excerpt is that this book is not going to have anything in it that Laurie Garrett didn’t say in her 1994 masterpiece “The Coming Plague.” But it would not be fair of me to judge Quammen’s entire book just on one excerpt. Someone who has read Garrett please buy Quammen’s new book, read it, and let me know if it was a waste of money.
2. The WaPo doing a dirty on us?
The folks over at Mondoweiss are really getting annoyed with the Washington Post’s pro-Israel bs. The latest beef is that WaPo published an opinion piece by Jeffery H. Smith and John B. Bellinger III setting forth the legal argument for bombing Iran. The problem is that these two suits work for the law firm Arnold & Porter, which has taken millions of Israel’s shekels to do their legal work in the US. This obvious conflict was ignored by the WaPo. PeeeUuu.
Here’s what one regular Mondoweiss contributor, yours truly, had to say:
Can’t imagine this piece appeared as a result of editorial incompetence or ignorance. WaPo is absolutely complicit in not revealing this conflict of interest, which borders on fraud.
Folks here should durn well let the WaPo ombudsman know what they think of this.
202.334.7582 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Having said that, the opinion piece itself didn’t strike me as particularly lop-sided toward Israel. Smith/Bellinger do push the point that ‘Bama would do well to get Congress to sign off on any attack before he pulls the trigger. That may satisfy US law but it would not mean a thing as far as international law.
If you recall Phil’s Sep26 post regarding the Joint Senate Resolution — I believe 41 was the number. While that resolution explicitly states that it is not a declaration of war, and while it does not do much more than “strongly” support US policy toward Iran, it leaves little doubt that if ‘Bama asked Congress to sign off on an attack on Iran, the Senate, at least, would be all too willing to go in with both feet and flags flying — i.e. here we go again. More Americans dying for Israel.
One point S/B fail to address is the goose/gander problem. If, as they argue, it would be legal under international law for Israel or US to throw a preemptive punch at Iran on the grounds of “self-defense,” then a preemptive attack by Iran against Israel/US on the same grounds would be equally legitimate. In fact, it is Israel and the US who have made all the specific threats here, Israel going so far as to “leak” a whole attack scenario. So Iran has an a priori argument of self-defense based on years and years of threats — an argument that is much weaker for Israel/US. This is sort of like the water-boarding issue. Once someone like Bush or ‘Bama determines that water-boarding is legal (in an attempt to protect the US creeps using it), then water-boarding immediately becomes legal when it is used by al-Qaeda against captured US troops.
Another short-coming of this opinion piece is that while S/B discuss international legalities w/ respect to the UN Charter, there is nary a mention of the Geneva Convention. Surely these two well known, well placed experts, one of whom was general counsel for CIA, could not be collectively brain-ded to the point they unintentionally neglected the impact of the Geneva Convention in determining whether a preemptive attack would be “legal.” But hold on . . . could be that they are that brain-ded.
Here’s a quote from their opinion. See if you can believe that an ex-general counsel to the CIA would say this in public:
“A military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities . . .would surely be regarded by Iran as an act of war.”
“[W]ould surely” ??? WTF? Wait until Jon Stewart gets a hold of this!! Who are these guys talking down to, third graders? This sounds to me like something that would be said by either Sarah Palin, George Bush, or Ronald Reagan or by a government hack who is used to having to employ ridiculous understatement to explain simple concepts to brain-ded politicians like Sarah Palin, George Bush, and Ronald Reagan .
3. Trigger-happy cop stories are almost as endless as the Israel apartheid stories
Meet Scottsdale, AZ cop James Peters. According to Terry Greene Sterling’s The Daily Beast article, Peters had already racked up 6 fatal shootings while on duty before shooting an unarmed grandfather in the head while he was holding his grandchild. What did the Scottsdale chief do? Retired the trigger happy prick before disciplinary proceedings could get going.
But not so fast. The ACLU has filed suit against Peters and the chief and the city. As one criminologist said, Peter’s large number of shooting is “completely atypical.” Atypical that is except for that group of bottom-feeding, fuck-wit cops who think they are Dirty Harry. I would just love to know how many innocent people have died with a cop-bullet in them because of those moronic, vengence-not-justice Eastwood movies.
James Peters, Scottsdale’s own Harry Callahan.