Some distributors of flu vaccine are offering to sell doses at prices as much as 10 times normal, prompting angry reactions from pharmacists — and lawsuits from at least two states.
Isn’t free-market health care just great? What’s next? Flu vaccine on eBay?
In a clear victory for Indian farmers, the European Patent Office has revoked the patent on Indian Nap Hal wheat variety following a legal opposition filed by Greenpeace at the EPO in February.
EPO has informed Greenpeace in a letter that the patent has been revoked in total, according to Ashesh Tayal, Scientific Advisor, Greenpeace India.
The European Patent office in Munich had granted a patent to Monsanto on May 21, 2003. The patent covered wheat exhibiting a special baking quality that Monsanto claimed to be its invention.
However, Greenpeace proved in its opposition that the wheat variety was bred by Indian farmers for improving its baking quality and it was not a genetically-engineered invention as claimed by Monsanto.
WARNING: This device is sold as a novelty desk clock ONLY. It is not to be used as a joke, prank, or hoax bomb. Period. Criminal charges will undoubtedly apply if misused. Cannot be shipped outside the Continental USA. Delivery by UPS Ground service ONLY.
Artificial clouds made by humans may become so common they change the Earth’s climate.
The long thin cloud streaks that dominate the above satellite photograph of Georgia are contrails, cirrus clouds created by airplanes.
The exhaust of an airplane engine can create a contrail by saturating the surrounding air with extra moisture. The wings of a plane can similarly create contrails by dropping the temperature and causing small ice-crystals to form.
Contrails have become more than an oddity – they may be significantly increasing the cloudiness of Earth, reflecting sunlight back into space by day, and heat radiation back to Earth even at night.
The effect on climate is a topic of much research.
Subject: FW: Terrorist Attack on US Soil is Imminent Importance: High
LAW ENFORCEMENT SENSITIVE
At the meeting of the Southern District of the Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council (ATAC) that was held yesterday in Houston, US Attorney Michael Shelby informed the group that a terrorist attack of 09/11/01 proportions was going to be carried out on US soil within the next 6 weeks.
Mr. Shelby stated that on 09/13/04, US Attorney General John Ashcroft had a conference call with all 93 US Attorneys, an event which is extremely rare. The US Attorneys were informed that without a doubt an attack was going to be perpetrated in the US within the next 6 weeks, prior to the elections. Mr. Shelby urgently requested that all law enforcement be aware of any situation that may be out of the ordinary and report the activity immediately. Mr. Shelby also requested that we get the word out to patrol officers and detectives to talk to their informants and report anything odd or remotely suspicious. Mr. Shelby ended this warning by saying that unless we get a bit of “luck” and the attack can be detected and prevented, that another attack of 9/11 scale will be carried out.
Please disseminate to all of your law enforcement contacts ASAP.
New Mexico Investigative Support Center
Direct Line: 505-541-7000
John E. Vinson, Director
With interest I read your letter on the indirect, constitutional democracy of the USA.
Whilst reading, I had to think about James Madison, the father of the Constitution and a Federalist. He pleaded for a strong executive to defend freedom in a world he perceived as dangerous.
In de Federalist Papers, Madison discribed the “Belgic Confederation” as a tragic failure (see: Federalist Paper no. 20). The Netherlands were a republic then, but based on a loose Confederation. Because of the weak governance the danger existed of usurpation by “unconstitutional” powers, like the princes of Orange, or external enemies, like the French in the 17th and the Prussians in the 18th centrury.
On the consequences of the Dutch (lack of) government he wrote:
“Imbecility in the government; discord among the provinces; foreign influence and indignities; a precarious existence in peace and peculiar calamaties from war.”
I had to think about these observations by Madison when I wrote about the Polder Model and its recent inability to reform and facilitate wealth for future generations.
In the United Kingdom – after the non-consensual years of Margaret Thatcher – the ground was leveled for a social-liberal prime-minister from the reformed Labour Party. Tony Blair wants to replace the “welfare state” with an “opportunity society” based upon new contractual arrangements between the government and the people.
The consensus must sometimes be broken to modernize a nation. Both Blair and Thatcher govern/governed with big majorities in the Parliament. Only with such support can you forge great changes.
So, not all governments that rule with great public support are fascistoid. I agree that fascism is an unwanted by-product of democracy, but it has one characteristic that you didn’t mention. It abhores democratic culture and wants to replace it with a Darwinist culture of violence and agression. It is a warlike ideology.
Both the parties of Hitler and Mussolini never got regular majorities in an election; they headed gangs of political thugs that represented at most 40% of the electorate.
Ruthless minorities are sometimes more dangerous to democracy than credulous majorities.
I don’t see fascism rise again in Europe, but tyranny is certainly possible. We already have the foundations of a future, undemocratic state in place: the providing and servicing welfare bureaucracies.
The next dictator from Europe wil not be a fascist warrior but a soft, accommodating despot. He or she will – of course – give way to an islamist fascist, but let’s not get ahead of the game…
One of the reasons I became a staunch republican is the apparent corruption of public life in Western “democracies”. I now doubt that democratic institutions alone can preserve the culture of freedom.
We need strong citizens, aware of their common goods, to make our societies safe again for mutual respect, deliberation and participation. In short: we need some sort of civic republicanism to strengthen our weakening, decadent political culture.
Our government – or more accurately – our cabinet (our government is called “the reign of HM Queen Beatrix”; our cabinet is “Balkenende II”) – is trying to strengthen the sense of responsibility, resourcefulness and citizenship among the Dutch. It knows what it’s doing; it wants to make the people stronger for the tough times ahead.
The “democratic” reaction is known – repulsion and denial. The people want to doze on – pampered by the state.
In this climate I fear the restoration of the consensus model; our disability to take the strong medicine. “Weak healers make stinking wounds” is a saying in this country. Easier said than done…
Our wealthy democracy will not go bust with the “bang” of fascism, but with the “whisper” of the social-democratic welfare state.
When an indirect or direct democracy can give us a sturdy, courageous and steadfast government – aimed at economic, social and political reform, I can life with that. But it will probably give us a “tendency to anarchy and dissolution”; a “catastrophe of their own” (Madison on our old Republic).
Twenty years ago yesterday, the IRA blew up the Grand Hotel in Brighton, killing five people and injuring 34 others. The prime target was Margaret Thatcher.
Memories in Ireland are long. And as she celebrates her 79th birthday today, Lady Thatcher will know that she is still on some terrorist’s list. After the outrage, the IRA issued a statement. It sneered: “Today we were unlucky, but remember, we only have to be lucky once; you will have to be lucky always. Give Ireland peace and there will be no war.”
Mrs Thatcher refused to call off the conference or return to Downing Street. She stayed the night in a local police college; she slept for a while; she had coffee; she rewrote her speech. It was delivered next day to a half-empty hall. Only one line of what she said really mattered: “The fact that we are gathered here now, shocked but composed and determined, is a sign not only that this attack has failed, but that all attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail.”
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I hear the president and vice president slamming John Kerry for saying that he hopes America can eventually get back to a place where “terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they’re a nuisance.” The idea that President Bush and Mr. Cheney would declare such a statement to be proof that Mr. Kerry is unfit to lead actually says more about them than Mr. Kerry. Excuse me, I don’t know about you, but I dream of going back to the days when terrorism was just a nuisance in our lives.
If I have a choice, I prefer not to live the rest of my life with the difference between a good day and bad day being whether Homeland Security tells me it is “code red” or “code orange” outside. To get inside the Washington office of the International Monetary Fund the other day, I had to show my ID, wait for an escort and fill out a one-page form about myself and my visit. I told my host: “Look, I don’t want a loan. I just want an interview.” Somewhere along the way we’ve gone over the top and lost our balance.
That’s why Mr. Kerry was actually touching something many Americans are worried about – that this war on terrorism is transforming us and our society, when it was supposed to be about uprooting the terrorists and transforming their societies.
The Bush team’s responses to Mr. Kerry’s musings are revealing because they go to the very heart of how much this administration has become addicted to 9/11. The president has exploited the terrorism issue for political ends – trying to make it into another wedge issue like abortion, guns or gay rights – to rally the Republican base and push his own political agenda. But it is precisely this exploitation of 9/11 that has gotten him and the country off-track, because it has not only created a wedge between Republicans and Democrats, it’s also created a wedge between America and the rest of the world, between America and its own historical identity, and between the president and common sense.
Met isoleren, vernieuwen en innoveren is het gemiddeld gasverbruik per gezin de afgelopen jaren teruggebracht van 2300 naar 1700 kuub per jaar.
‘Als beloning’ heeft de overheid de tarieven in minder dan tien jaar verdubbeld. En op 1 november wordt bekend dat de gasrekening van volgend jaar ook weer hoger zal worden. Een prijs van 50 cent per kuub is in zicht!.
In 1997 kocht Italië een grote partij Nederlands aardgas voor nog geen 7 (euro)cent per kuub. Het is een aanwijzing wat deze energie in werkelijkheid kost.
Maar als over twee weken, op 1 november, besloten wordt hoe hoog de prijs van het aardgas volgend jaar in Nederland zal zijn, gaat het over heel andere bedragen. Nu al betalen de vijf miljoen Nederlandse huishoudens een eindprijs van ongeveer 45 cent. Omdat de prijs van het eigen Groningse gas gekoppeld is aan die van de steeds duurdere ruwe olie, zal de prijs opnieuw sterk stijgen, misschien wel vijf cent per kuub. En met een kuub kan je op een koude winterdag je huis maar een uur warm houden. Op jaarbasis scheelt dat een doorsnee-huishouden tussen de 100 en 150 euro, exclusief belastingen.
De vergelijking tussen de prijs die Italië betaalt voor Gronings gas en wat de Nederlanders ervoor betalen, is niet helemaal eerlijk. Eigenlijk verstoken we in Nederland geen gas meer, maar belastingen.
Jaar na jaar hebben de Nederlandse regeringen heffingen op de kale gasprijs gestapeld. Je hebt het vastrecht, de ecotax en de btw, die samen de helft uitmaken van de gasprijs die u moet betalen. Je moet zelfs btw betalen over de ecotax, dus belasting over belasting.
Dat is ook de reden dat Engelsen, Duitsers en Belgen die Nederlands aardgas verstoken, daar veel minder voor betalen.
Er is overigens wel een lachende derde: dat is minister Zalm van financiën. Hij verwacht 4 miljard aan ecotax binnen te krijgen. En ook als aandeelhouder van de Gasunie mag hij zich in de handen wrijven.
Natuurlijk was men bij de invoering van de Ecotax heilig van plan deze heffing tengoede te laten komen aan het milieu, in de vorm van subsidies voor zuinige elektrische apparaten. Maar daar is vorig jaar een streep door gezet. De opbrengst gaat gewoon naar de algemene middelen.
We have to be on our toes for tonight’s debate. It’s very probable that Our Furious Leader will go into a violent fit of rage, pull a piece from his waistband, and shoot Bob Schieffer. We can’t prevent it from happening–killing is how Our Leader deals with frustration. We can, however, try to put a positive spin on it. I’ve created the following talking points to help you do just that.
- Our Leader suspected that Schieffer had a weapon of mass destruction in his pocket.
- Zell would have called Our Leader a pussy if he hadn’t defended the family honor.
- Sure, Our Leader killed a respected journalist on national TV, but Kerry forgot Poland. The liberal media is showing its bias by not reporting that too.
- Did you see that perfect military style shooting stance?
- Hey, didn’t the terrorist threat level just go to red?
- Yes, it’s true that no one found WsMD in his pockets, but he had weapons of mass destruction program related activities stuffed in his sock.
- You may have noticed that the handgun he used was a .50 cal. Desert Eagle Mark XIX. It’s the most powerful handgun in the world. You can tell a lot about a man by the caliber of his gun.
- Schieffer is a French name, isn’t it?.
- Our Leader isn’t afraid to exercise his God-given Second Amendment rights on the campaign trail.
- Klinton did it with the pipe wrench in the billiard room.
- Two words, “Kennebunkport Candidate.” Arrest Barbara. She made him do it.
- He’s going to lower your taxes!
- OK, so Schieffer didn’t actually have weapons of mass destruction program related activities stuffed in his sock. He was thinking about getting them.
(read the comments as well at that link – hilarious!)
I’ve been experimenting with Skype today. Very interesting… the audio quality is amazing… and the latency is, so far, nonexistent. I was running some video-broadcasting experiment with a friend 60 km away, and at one point our video-server in Amsterdam was burning 1.5 mbit/sec bandwidth – with each of us both broadcasting and receiving multiple streams. All the while Skype worked without a single hickup.
I guess I have an extra icon on my desktop as of today…
My, my, the excitement over podcasting.
Thinking about it, I was having trouble getting interested.
For me, radio happens either in the car or at home in the evening; I turn the reins over to someone else to play me some music they picked, for free. There are enough decent stations within my reach that I don’t feel the need to time-shift; and for information or discourse, sorry, I prefer text. Then an obvious app came into mind: Musicians could use it for total disintermediation.
If some musician of whom I’m a major fan, say Ry Cooder or Emma Kirkby, were to launch a subscription where you pay them a few bucks a month and they promise, once or twice a month, to drop something into your iTunes, well, where do I sign up?
There’d need to be some enforceable legalities; basically, a promise not to post what you get on the public Web.
Should be do-able.
Laten we vandaag eens even stilstaan bij het openbaar vervoer..