Monday, June 9, 2008

Monday morning quick hits

Energy use by the DoD targeted in Defense Authorization Bill for 2009 The House version of the 2009 defense authorization bill, which has moved on to the house for Senate approval, has several provisions designed to force the Pentagon to be judicious about energy consumption. Some of the provisions include a Senate-confirmed appointment position to oversee Pentagon energy plans and programs. The House version of the legislation would give the Pentagon three years to recalculate the true cost of the energy requirements when planning military operations, as well as require energy assessments when designing and buying combat systems. The House version of the bill would also increase the amount of money allocated for energy conservation programs at DoD bases and installations from $70 to 80 million for the coming fiscal year.

Rural areas hit hardest by $4.00 gasoline In rural areas throughout the land, gas prices are hitting the residents of these areas in a sort of a one-two punch. The folks who live in these areas not only earn less, but they tend to rely on utility vehicles like vans and pickup trucks for both work and transportation, and to drive older, less fuel-efficient cars, in far-flung areas where one must drive to get anywhere, because there is no public transportation. As a result of these factors converging, gas is eating up a significantly higher portion of rural incomes than city dwellers are experiencing.

'Tis a proud moment indeed...ZIn a briefing issues late Friday, the State Department announced that it would no longer regularly attend meetings held by the United Nations' Human Rights Council unless specifically compelled to, citing the Council's stance on relations between Israel and Palestine. The U.S. was not an official member of the council, but was an active and involved observer after council replaced the Commission on Human Rights in March 2006. "The US decision to walk away from the Human Rights Council is counter-productive and short-sighted," said Human Rights Watch advocacy director Juliette de Rivero. "Whatever the council's problems, this decision is a victory for abusive states and a betrayal of those fighting for their rights worldwide."

Got ethics? Methinks not. Researchers at Harvard, one of whom authored the work that has led to a dramatic increase of the use of psychotropic medications in children, failed to report in excess of one million dollars that they were paid by drug companies. This failure to disclose violates both university and federal (NIH) research guidelines, which are in place to avoid conflicts of interest.

GOP Insiders see little hope for McCain in November. Nothing really to add, but the thought made me smile, so I thought I would share.

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