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On the topic of the H1N1 hysteria over a potential pandemic, all i can think of is the relentless propagation of such by one of this website's very own front page authors.    

European criticism of the World Health Organization's handling of the H1N1 pandemic intensified Friday with the release of two reports that accused the agency of exaggerating the threat posed by the virus and failing to disclose possible influence by the pharmaceutical industry on its recommendations for how countries should respond.

The WHO's response caused widespread, unnecessary fear and prompted countries to waste millions of dollars, according to one report. At the same time, the Geneva-based arm of the United Nations relied on advice from experts with ties to drug makers in developing the guidelines it used to encourage countries to stockpile millions of doses of antiviral medication, according to the second report.

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I've heard the argument from Paulson and now Bernanke that, anything less than urgent and full action on this bailout would pose a very serious consequences for our financial markets and for our economy.  The argument being that credit markets would continue to retreat causing irreparable and long-term harm to the US and global economy.  

So here's my question to the doom and gloom prognosticators:  what would happen to the US economy if the government turned around and provided a direct stimulus injection of that magnitude?  Better bang for the buck?

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Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 04:46 PM PST

strange streaking blue light

by sedrunsic

(off-topic warning - this started as a comment in the most recent open thread but i decided to throw it in a diary for greater visibility - no pun intended, you'll understand below)

ok - this by far ranks as one of the most unexplainable experiences of strange phenomena in my lifetime (for someone who is always trying to apply strict rational interpretations) - friday afternoon i was driving from vermont to new york city down route 22.  around 4:50ish, as i was passing through the town of Millerton, NY, i observed a streaking (more like a pulse) blue light that resembled the speed and motion of a meteorite but was much brighter, distinctly blue, and much closer (under the cloud cover).  it lasted for no more than a quarter-second.  i imagine it would have been visible to a great number of other motorists/casual witnesses for a radius of at least 50 miles.  i thought about calling it in to 911 but it didn't seem appropriate.  i am utterly and completely flummoxed by this visual event.  i know this is a huge longshot but if anyone else witnessed same, chime in.  would have been this past friday a little before 5PM.  

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The Bennington Banner is one of the local dailies that is part of my routine news regimen.  I often start my day with the Times, WSJ, Reuters, and of course all the blogs (this being the first I check) for global news and then make my way down to local sometime midday.  Today a compelling interview with a local soldier returning home brought those communities together.

SUNDERLAND — For many, coming home after a year abroad can be overwhelming and even disorienting.

But for Willis S. Conklin Jr. of Sunderland, disorienting doesn't even begin to describe his return to the quiet community he calls home after serving over a year with the U.S. Army in Baghdad.

It's a worthwhile read, my commentary below.

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Not certain why this escaped under the radar but I thought it might be useful to highlight this story that came across the wires a few days ago about a very handy little tool that allows web users to sidestep restrictions on web access.  

Slated for Dec 1 release, the software, known as Psiphon, presents a formidable new weapon that has great potential to threaten the efforts of those who would suppress 'freedom of expression' on the web.  

More below the fold:

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OK, [snark] so that door was wide open and I had to walk right through it..

I've not written a diary for some time - partly because I've been feverishly busy and partly because.. well, because there is just so much good material out there already I ought not clog the artery up with any other redundant or pithy pieces.  So with that, I'll provide a very short observation on the topic of Keith Olbermann's stunning legacy currently in a state of rapid development below the fold.

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I'm hosting a campaign meet-and-greet/fundraiser for Matt Dunne, a charismatic, 35 year old, progressive candidate running for Lt. Governor here in Vermont.  If any fellow Vermont Kossacks happen to be in the area and would like to stop by this event and meet Matt in person, we would welcome your support.

My press release below:

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Wed Jul 19, 2006 at 12:38 PM PDT

Bush's amazing IN VITRO success rate

by sedrunsic

While IVF results in a successful pregnancy approximately 30.7% of the time, it would appear the GOP, in concert with Dear Leader, is having dramatically increased success converting all discarded blastocysts at raging, superproductive fetus farms which in turn are churning out high yield boys and girls who will not in fact be destined for the spare parts factory after all.
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The potentiality of an Iran invasion has been the subject of hot debate on these pages and it is likely to get hotter as we approach November.  I admittedly have been one of the more staunch optimists, holding on to the belief that sanity will prevail and pre-emptive military action averted.  (If I have to eat these words come six months, it will be the lesser of my worries).  

Recent events this past week would appear to have thrown some cold water on Bolton and Cheney's campfire, but skeptics will be quick to argue that Rice's embrace of diplomacy is but a thinly-veiled tack to impart the illusion of going through all of the necessary channels.

So it was with some relief to read Helene Cooper's Week In Review essay, It's Just Like Iraq, Only Different this morning, where she does a great job explaining why she believes the winds have changed for good.

More below the fold:

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Despite efforts by the right-wing to tamp dissent and brand those who oppose this war as traitorous and anti-american, evidential signs continue to spill forth from the conflict, revealing the breathtaking incompetence demonstrated throughout this entire war.

 This morning, on the cover of the Old Gray Lady, is a heartwearming story documenting YET ANOTHER abject failure to perform services on the part of Halliburton.  Forget overbilling, forget inflated charges on invoices, this latest revelation catches the contractor in a purposeful burn of $75.7 million in funds allocated to a oil pipeline repair in the face of evidence that the project would not succeed.  

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Former republican Representative Bob Barr (R-GA), known as a rogue among some of his fellow party members, has been one of the more vocal critics of George Bush's domestic spying program and has expressed serious concern over the renewal of the Patriot Act.  Yesterday, at the Unitarian Church in Montpelier, Vermont, he joined congressman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on a panel to discuss the crisis in civil liberties and he made some very interesting remarks.
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Did anyone happen to catch Barbara Boxer on Hardball today? She did an amirable job hammering on Bush and his warmongering ways.  But there was a slip that I found somewhat startling and perhaps more revealing than we might otherwise notice:

"Chris, we need a new president."

Ms. Boxer knows of course that the president's terms does not expire until Jan. 2009 and she also knows that this ensuing crisis with Iran is not going to be put on hold until then.  Why, pray tell, could she possibly have been talking about needing a new president?  

(Does she know something we don't know?...)

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