Brazil’s economy leaves recession

And that ain’t all…

Brazil has come out of recession after its economy grew in the April-to-June quarter.

The largest economy in Latin America expanded by 1.9% in the second quarter from the previous three months.

Data also showed Sweden emerged from recession on Friday, a sign that economies are starting to recover from the global economic downturn. Other countries that have come out recession include the eurozone’s largest economies, Germany and France.

Most countries have enacted large stimulus packages to pull themselves out of the slump.

Brazil has poured money into large-scale public infrastructure projects, cut taxes on new cars and passed tax breaks on companies and individuals.

The return to growth means that Brazil’s recession was comparatively short, amounting to just two quarters of negative growth.

I guess they never learned to lie, cheat and steal over housing values, derivatives, etc., etc..

MI6 turns in one of their own over torture allegations

Police in London said Friday they are investigating an allegation of torture involving a British intelligence officer.

The Metropolitan Police said it was asked by the attorney general to investigate the case. The British Secret Intelligence Service — also known as MI6 — referred the case to the attorney general, the police said…

Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Friday that the British government “wholeheartedly” condemns torture.

“We will not condone it,” he wrote in a letter responding to Hague. “Neither will we ever ask others to do it on our behalf. This is not mere rhetoric but a principled stance consistent with our unequivocal commitment to human rights. We are fortunate to have the best security and intelligence services and armed forces in the world. We are all safer because of the work they do with integrity and bravery.”

Police released no other details about the new case they are investigating…

Golly. I guess we don’t have to worry about this happening in the USA.

Idle Ford plant to be converted into renewable energy park

Last Lincoln Earthcrusher SUV rolling down the line

An idle 320-acre Ford Motor Co. plant, which during its 52 years of operation assembled 6.6 million Lincoln Continentals, Ford Thunderbirds and other vehicles before halting operations two years ago, is getting reincarnated as a renewable energy equipment manufacturing park.

In a symbolic win for those hoping the U.S. can replace some of its thousands of lost automotive jobs with green ones, three greentech companies on Thursday announced a plan to retrofit a Ford assembly plant in Michigan (the state with the highest unemployment rate in the country) to manufacture equipment for wind and solar projects, and to set up a renewable energy training center. Along with Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, chief executives of Xtreme Power, Clairvoyant Energy and Oerlikon Solar revealed the plan at a ceremony at the Wixom, Mich., facility.

Part of the plan involves a thin-film solar factory that solar developer Clairvoyant Energy expects to build using Oerlikon Solar equipment. The project is the first one that Switzerland-based Oerlikon has announced in the U.S., said Chris O’Brien, head of North American market development for the company. “It’s an important milestone for Oerlikon…and a vote of confidence in the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing,” he said, adding that the company believes the U.S. will become the world’s largest photovoltaic market by 2012…

Another project at the park will be a factory for Kyle, Texas-based Xtreme Power, which makes energy storage and power management systems for large wind and solar projects. The company plans to renovate more than 1 million square feet of the site.

Xtreme and Clairvoyant, which have agreed to buy the plant from Ford, plan to use approximately half of the 4.7 million square feet of building space for their factories and are looking for other green companies to lease the rest. In addition, the plan calls for a renewable energy research and training center for tenants and colleges…

All together, the renewable energy park is expected to create more than 4,000 jobs, according to a press release from Ford. That number includes jobs at the park itself and at area suppliers, but doesn’t include thousands of additional indirect jobs also expected by the groups, according to the release. The Ford plant directly employed approximately 1,000 workers when it closed in 2007, down from more than 5,000 at the height of its productivity.

Building on the ashes of the old. Now, if we could just rid our body politic of ancient ideology, bigotry and ignorance – we might have a fighting chance to discover what it’s like to lead at something positive.

Disclaimer: Yeah, I bought Ford when it was at $4 and change.

Environmental photograph contest winners

The Environmental Photographer of the Year shares images of environmental and social issues with international audiences, enhancing our understanding of the causes, consequences and solutions to climate change.

The competition encourages images of places and people that are benefitting from a changing climate, or vulnerable ecosystems and communities that are struggling with the effects. Images may examine the relationship between economic development, environmental degradation and social inequity, celebrate innovations helping us achieve environmental improvements, examine lifestyles, cultural traditions, spiritual activities and racial prejudices or celebrate the incredible variety and beauty that exists within our natural environment. They serve to remind us what we need to protect.


CNN causes panic on 9/11 over Coast Guard weekly training

Vice Admiral John Currier

Someone this morning was scanner-snooping the DC area. They locked onto channel 81, a discrete Coast Guard channel – not encrypted except during actual emergencies – so they hear someone say, “Bang – bang – I’ve fired 10 rounds!”

If they had been listening earlier they could have heard the start of the 10-minute exercise, “This is a test – this is a drill” – because 4 river patrol boats of the U.S. Coast Guard were practicing halting an intruder in a secure zone on the river. This is a routine exercise that happens 4 times a week. And has been forever.

Probably because it’s 9/11, everyone at CNN went batshit crazy. First, they have the jump on everyone else. Second, maybe Washington, DC is being invaded by, uh, one pleasure boat.


I watched it right from the beginning and it was clear enough the Coast Guard patrol boats were parked, back in a stand easy position, within a few minutes of their exercise. CNN kept on yipping in fear for another half-hour.

It’s now a couple hours later and CNN and 72 other radio and TV media outlets are trying to weasel an apology out of the Coast Guard for the panic that CNN and their media buddies created among themselves.

Vice Admiral John Currier handled the press conference for the Coast Guard and the man has the patience of Job.

The blathering herd came up with the same few questions – 20 different ways – all premised upon demanding to know why they weren’t informed in advance of the exercise. If it was important enough, they could have checked with the regional command center in Baltimore and they would have known about these four small patrol boats dashing around in pretend circles in between 2 bridges on the Potomac.

I have no idea how this military dude maintained his calm in the face of a pack of ignorant hyenas trying to justify their existence by demanding to know “who’s responsible?” They’re the people responsible for the whole fracking incident.

Again, I have to say I’m impressed with Admiral Currier. Halfway through the absurdity of these questions [and excuses] I would have told our Fourth Estate where to stick it and work it.

China could meet its entire energy needs by wind alone

Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

A team of environmental scientists from Harvard and Tsinghua University has demonstrated the enormous potential for wind-generated electricity in China. Using extensive meteorological data and incorporating the Chinese government’s energy-bidding and financial restrictions for delivering wind power, the researchers estimate that wind alone has the potential to meet the country’s electricity demands projected for 2030.

The switch from coal and other fossil fuels to greener wind-based energy could also mitigate CO2 emissions, thereby reducing pollution…

China has become second only to the United States in its national power-generating capacity — 792.5 gigawatts per year with an expected future 10 percent annual increase — and is now the world’s largest CO2 emitter. Thus, added McElroy, “the real question for the globe is: What alternatives does China have?”

While wind-generated energy accounts for only 0.4 percent of China’s total current electricity supply, the country is rapidly becoming the world’s fastest-growing market for wind power, trailing only the United States, Germany, and Spain in terms of installed capacities of existing wind farms.

Development of renewable energy in China, especially wind, received an important boost with passage of the Renewable Energy Law in 2005; the law provides favorable tax status for alternative energy investments. The Chinese government also established a concession bidding process to guarantee a reasonable return for large wind projects…

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Musharraf’s new life in west London

Maybe Dickie can find Musharraf a place to live in appropriate style
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Former president Pervez Musharraf is living in a flat near London’s Edgware Road. The former military leader has swapped the presidential palace in Islamabad for a relatively modest flat surrounded by the shisha bars and kebab joints of London’s Arabic quarter, The Guardian said in a report on Thursday.

The area is also home to Tony Blair, who owns a large house in the nearby Connaught Square.

The former president has chosen a simple apartment in a red-brick complex to retire in. It is a contrast to the pomp of Musharraf’s nine-year rule in Pakistan, during which he was guarded by liveried soldiers and surrounded by political acolytes.

However, security remains tight at his £1 million London flat. The retired general is guarded by a small team of retired Pakistani commandos, which he pays for himself, and has a protection detail from Scotland Yard…

The report also says Musharraf travels in a bulletproof vehicle.

Lord Nazir Ahmed, a critic in the House of Lords…said ‘our old age pensioners don’t get security, so how can we pay for an old general who wants to enjoy himself in London?’…

It is claimed that Musharraf is on a visitor’s visa and it has been reported that he intends to take up permanent residence in the Middle East or in the United States, where his son Bilal lives.

The son lives in the Bay area. They can always use another right-wing hustler moving in. Get him a job on talk radio and TV as an expert on counter-terrorism.

Mexico plane hijacker is Christian army of one

Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

A man who hijacked a Mexican plane is a singing evangelical minister, marksman and martial arts whiz who friends nicknamed “Crazy” as he turned to religion to escape a life of drug addiction and petty thieving.

Bolivian-born Jose Mar Flores, 44, set off a national security alert on Wednesday when he hijacked a plane flying from Cancun to Mexico City. He wielded a Bible and fruit juice cans filled with earth and bound with silver tape and wires to look like bombs.

The AeroMexico plane landed safely and all on board escaped unhurt after a senior crew member reasoned with Flores, who read from his Bible, wept, prayed and said he needed to warn Mexican President Felipe Calderon of an impending earthquake.

“I love this nation, I love God’s people. I want us to pray because tremendous things are ahead,” Flores told reporters after his arrest. “There is only one way to avoid it — by uniting, by crying out wherever we are, whoever we are, whatever our religion, by begging God for this not to happen.”

Security Minister Genaro Garcia Luna said Flores told police he picked the attack for September 9, 2009 because the date 9-9-9 is the inverse of 6-6-6, a number associated with the devil, and that the Holy Spirit accompanied him on his mission. He has yet to be charged…

Anyone surprised that this loonybird has “followers”?