Where are the secret files on Al Qaeda? I think I left them on the train…

Secret government documents on al Qaeda and Iraq were left on a commuter train, prompting a major police investigation into the latest in a series of high-level security breaches, British officials said today.

The documents belonged to a senior intelligence official in the Cabinet office and were found by a passenger on a London commuter train Tuesday. The envelope was then passed to the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Seven pages stamped “UK Top Secret” included the latest government intelligence assessment on al Qaeda and Iraq’s security forces, the BBC said. The documents were also stamped “for UK/US/Canadian and Australian eyes only…”

The intelligence official was still working at the Cabinet office, pending a police investigation.

If the War on Terror wasn’t already a criminal farce, the Brits could lead us by the hand into six more choruses of “There are fairies in the bottom of my garden, tra-la – and they’re carrying AK-47’s”.

Sugar-based ethanol stateside – finally

The American ethanol industry, the world’s largest, is about to get a little sweeter. Louisiana Green Fuels (LGF), an international investment group, says it is on schedule to open up the first commercial sucrose-to-ethanol plant in America. LGF, which is 80 percent owned by Inverandino, a Colombian business group, tells Earth2Tech it plans to have four ethanol plants and three sugar mills in operation in Louisiana in the next 10 years pumping out 100 million gallons of sugar-based ethanol a year.

In the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, LGF has been buying up shuttered sugar mills and dormant equipment in the devastated Gulf region, and now owns three mills in Louisiana. Prices were probably pretty good for those hurricane-ravaged mills and LGF says that a sucrose-based ethanol industry could help revitalize the area…

This is a good experiment for the American ethanol industry, which has come under heavy fire for using so much corn for fuel. Sugar can give an eightfold return on the fossil energy used to make it while corn only yields 1.3 times the fossil energy used. Count sugar in as a potential major player in U.S. biofuels market.

All overdue, of course. Northern tier states with an excess of sugar beet product should have been in on this already.

Sugar cane mills can sell the bagasse for cellulosic ethanol production as that ramps up, as well.


If you’re in Europe in mid-July, you don’t need the regalia of something like Fat Tuesday for an excuse to go to a party. More music, more of a lot of things – especially in Germany where the LoveParade began.

Here are a few NSFW snaps from previous LoveParades.

Thanks, K B

Disgraced NBA referee alleges 2002 playoffs were fixed!

NBA referees manipulated Game 6 of a 2002 playoff series to favor the Lakers and bring about a seventh game against the Sacramento Kings, disgraced former referee Tim Donaghy has alleged.

Describing two former referee peers as “company men,” Donaghy claims in a letter filed by his lawyer that “it was in the NBA’s interest to add another game to the series.”

Without naming the teams involved, the letter to U.S. District Judge Carol Bagley Amon in Brooklyn describes a playoff series in 2002 that went seven games. The Lakers trailed Sacramento in the Western Conference finals, three games to two, before winning Games 6 and 7 — the only series that year that lasted seven games.

In Game 6, Sacramento’s Vlade Divac and Scot Pollard fouled out trying to guard Los Angeles’ Shaquille O’Neal, and the Lakers shot 40 free throws — 15 more than the Kings — including 27 in the final quarter.

Donaghy is trying to show how much he’s cooperating with the Feds. But, there were plenty of fans and reporters who thought the officiating in that series was suspect.

I didn’t watch the series – what do you expect from a Celtics fan? But, am I surprised to hear such allegations? That just brings our sports leagues down to the level of our government.

Why not vote the 1st Saturday in November

Now that the political parties have informally settled on their nominees, the focus turns to November 4, when the nation will go to the polls to choose a new president.

Officially, Election Day is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November (depending on the year, it could be November 2 through November 8). Since 1845, this has been the standard practice in the United States. Congress wanted a set date to elect a president and members of Congress, and because we were an agricultural society, this was the best day for farmers in rural America to get to the polls. That made a ton of sense. Then. But a lot has changed in the past 163 years, and it’s time Congress changed this unnecessary law…

So, why not the first Saturday in November? If that date were chosen, the majority of voters wouldn’t have to worry about trying to vote before going to work, hoping and praying the lines aren’t too long so they can zip in and zip out. The same thing happens in the evening. Folks have to hurry up and finish their work, interrupt meetings, and shut down whatever else they are doing and head to the polls…

It would be nice to see the presidential nominees weigh in on this and pledge to change the election date. Let’s see a debate moderator ask this question.

Way too easy. Which means all the neocon nutballs will surely oppose the idea.