How Bad Is This?

New Scientist Breaking News – Failing ocean current raises fears of mini ice age,

The ocean current that gives western Europe its relatively balmy climate is stuttering, raising fears that it might fail entirely and plunge the continent into a mini ice age.
The dramatic finding comes from a study of ocean circulation in the North Atlantic, which found a 30% reduction in the warm currents that carry water north from the Gulf Stream.
The slow-down, which has long been predicted as a possible consequence of global warming, will give renewed urgency to intergovernmental talks in Montreal, Canada, this week on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

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Challenge – Prove That Voting Machines Accurately Record Votes

Suppose you could get every bug out of every program that runs every company’s electronic voting machines. Suppose you can make sure that there is no way a technician has installed new chips the day before the election. Suppose you can absolutely guarantee that no hacker can get into the system. Suppose you can show me every line of the code from the machine AND prove to me that is the same code that is in every machine on election day. Suppose you find a way to assure me that every official, employee, etc. that comes into contact with any machine is not corrupt. Suppose that the disk drive and memory in the machine could be manufactured in a way that it never, ever dropped a bit. Suppose there were a way to safely transmit the results from every machine to the county’s vote tabulator without possibility of error or compromise. And the suppose you can guarantee all of the SAME conditions for the country’s vote tabulator machines.
When all of that is done there is still a problem. You still can not prove that the voting machine correctly recorded the way I voted. You can not prove this because there is no method for proving it — no way to double check.

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Sign The Petition! — Another Today’s Voting Machines Post

Support H.R. 550–Verified Voting is Vital!
I got there by following MyDD :: Verified Voting Now linking to Big Push to Support Congressman Holt’s H.R. 550 which links to SIGN THE PETITION TODAY! which says,

There are many politically contentious issues in election reform, but making sure votes are counted accurately is not one of them. Because of its narrow scope, its realistic goals, and its strong bi-partisan support, with 159 co-sponsors both Democrat and Republican, H.R. 550 is our best hope to restore integrity and voter confidence to our electoral process – the very foundation of a representative democracy.
We urge you to pass H.R. 550 as written immediately.

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Gays In Military – From the Right

The Daou Report is linking to this fascinating post and discussion of gays in the military at a usually right-wing site, BLACKFIVE: Lively discussion on gays in the military. It started with Blackfive’s post Why can’t gays serve proudly? saying “the ban on gays serving openly in the military is wrong.”

“If I am lying by the road bleeding, I don’t care if the medic coming to save me is gay. I just hope he is one of those buff gay guys who are always in the gym so he can throw me over his shoulder and get me out of there.”
That sentiment fits not only gay troops, but any other group that experienced discrimination. The military has been the leader in leveling the playing field for women and minorities for a long time, and it is well past due that we terminate the farce of “Don’t ask, don’t tell”.

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View From Outside Looking In

I received an e-mail from a reader who tried to leave a comment to my post The Salvador Option, in which I referenced the following from a couple of years ago:

Sometimes lately – since Bush v Gore – I imagine I’m looking at current events as if I am a future historian, tracking the record of “what happened” – sort of like how we now look back at Germany in the 30’s, trying to understand how it happened.
I used to wonder, if I was in Germany in the 30’s, at what point would I have seen what was happening, and gotten out?

The comment was rejected, maybe because of yesterday’s bandwidth crisis. Here it is, from the e-mail:

My thoughts are the same. I made my own decision and left. I’m an expatriot US citizen and happier by the day for having the good fortune to have the option to leave.

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Too Much Popular

Some of you probably noticed that Seeing the Forest exceeded its bandwidth a few times this month, including today. Each time this happened I increased the bandwidth, but the site has had lots more visitors lately, I have been using more pictures, and the new graphic banner has a bandwidth cost.
I’m taking steps to help keep this from happening. Fewer entries on the front page, pay for more bandwidth, etc. Apologies.

Iraq Will Never Have An Army

The actual title of James Fallows’ article in this month’s issue of The Atlantic is Why Iraq Has No Army: An orderly exit from Iraq depends on the development of a viable Iraqi security force, but the Iraqis aren’t even close. The Bush administration doesn’t take the problem seriously—and it never has.
A very important feature of many withdrawal plans that have been put forward recently include a feature that U.S. troops will stand down as soon as they can be replaced by Iraqi forces. That day is never going to come. James Fallows explains why.

[I]f American troops disappeared tomorrow, Iraq would have essentially no independent security force. Half its policemen would be considered worthless, and the other half would depend on external help for organization, direction, support. Two thirds of the army would be in the same dependent position, and even the better-prepared one third would suffer significant limitations without foreign help.
The moment when Iraqis can lift much of the burden from American troops is not yet in sight. Understanding whether this situation might improve requires understanding what the problems have been so far.

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