Republican Senator wants permanent bases in Afghanistan

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Friday permanent bases in Afghanistan would help keep the country out of the hands of the Taliban.

Graham, who serves on the Armed Services Committee, was interviewed on CNN by former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer. The interview was scheduled to air at 8 p.m. EST on CNN’s “Parker Spitzer…”

“Under the right circumstances, I think it would really secure the gains we made as a way to make sure this country never goes back into the hands of the Taliban,” he said.

Spitzer responded that he was “startled” by Graham’s stand. He said he thought the war was “about al-Qaida and terrorism, not about nation building in Afghanistan.”

Just another warlover scumbag supporting America’s imperial rule around the world – or so he thinks.

European nations agree on offshore North Sea electric grid

The core of the proposed North Sea grid

Ministers from 10 European countries bordering the North Sea have agreed the construction of a new offshore electricity grid.

The grid will link countries across Europe and make it much easier for member states to trade energy.

It will also simplify the exploitation of the 140 Gigawatt offshore windfarm currently being planned in the North Sea…

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the governments of the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

The new grid would be used to connect European grids to a large offshore windfarm currently in planning for the North Sea. The project is part of a concerted effort by the European Union to live up to its emissions targets and integrate the energy infrastructure.

One such cooperation is already in place. Norway and the Netherlands [.pdf] use so-called “high-voltage direct-current” links to pump energy back and forth between the two countries…

The North Sea grid is a highly ambitious project but could prove an important boost to countries whose location gives them an excess of solar or wind energy.

This project confounds so many aspects of political life in these United States, my friends and family will likely be discussing it most of the weekend. Why? Because it would be damned near impossible for us to accomplish the same thing – as useful as it would be.

Ten years would be wasted on dealing with all the nutballs, from NIMBYs to organizations with vested interests in religions which claim the spirits of the dead will be affronted by electricity passing through cables underwater.

Then you get to politicians owned by competing interests, e.g. Big Coal, the Oil Patch Boys, a significant chunk of Congress. Add in the civilian organizations that front for the coal and oil brigade like the teabaggers and bought-and-paid-for skeptics. Then, consider trying to get ten coastal states to agree on anything that might benefit all equally – instead of providing largesse to a couple which may be best connected [pun admitted] and therefore presume they always deserve the most from any endeavor…you have a convoy of greed and self-interest that could sink the biggest flotilla in World War 2.

Thanks, Tom, for the NordNed link

Woman calls emergency services to report stolen snowman

Police said she thought it demanded their involvement because she had used pound coins for the eyes and teaspoons for the arms.

The woman, from Chatham, Kent, has been ”spoken to” by officers to advise her about what constitutes a real emergency.

Kent Police issued a transcript of the ”completely irresponsible” call which they received overnight as they fielded thousands of calls from people because of the sub-zero conditions.

In the call, the woman tells the operator: ”There’s been a theft from outside my house.

”I haven’t been out to check on him for five hours but I went outside for a fag and he’s gone.”

The operator asks ”Who’s gone?” and the woman replies: ”My snowman…

The incredulous operator asks her: ”Do you mean an ornament?” The woman replies: ”No, a snowman made of snow, I made him myself.

”It ain’t a nice road but you don’t expect anybody to nick your snowman…’

Chief Inspector Simon Black, from Kent Police’s force contact and control centre, said…”We have spoken to her and advised her what is a 999 call, and this clearly was not.”


Unmanned US military spacecraft returns after 7-month trip

Air Force file photo

The U.S. Air Force’s secrecy-shrouded X-37B unmanned spaceplane returned to Earth early Friday after more than seven months in orbit on a classified mission, officials said.

The winged craft autonomously landed at at Vandenberg Air Force Base on the California coast 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles, Vandenburg spokesman Jeremy Eggers said.

“It’s very exciting,” Eggers said of the 1:16 a.m. PST landing…

He didn’t offer any reason for landing in the dark. Think they were trying to head off CNN?

Also known as the Orbital Test Vehicle, the Boeing-built spacecraft was originally a NASA project before being taken over by the military.

The Air Force has not said whether it carried anything in its cargo bay, but insists the primary purpose of the mission was to test the craft itself…

Eggers said the craft is expected to return to space next year…

Officials have made public only a general description of the mission objectives: testing of guidance, navigation, control, thermal protection and autonomous operation in orbit, re-entry and landing.

However, the ultimate purpose of the X-37B and details about the craft have longed remained a mystery, though experts said the spacecraft was intended to speed up development of combat-support systems and weapons systems.

Cripes. Weren’t there any geeks with telephoto lenses on their iPhones wandering around the California coast at that hour?

Child Nutrition Bill finally clears Congress

Congress gave final approval on Thursday to a child nutrition bill that expands the school lunch program and sets new standards to improve the quality of school meals, with more fruits and vegetables.

Michelle Obama lobbied for the bill as a way to combat obesity and hunger…Mrs. Obama said she was thrilled by passage of what she described as a groundbreaking piece of legislation.

By a vote of 264 to 157, the House on Thursday passed the bill, which was approved in the Senate by unanimous consent in August. It goes now to President Obama, who intends to sign it.

On the final roll call, 247 Democrats and 17 Republicans voted for the bill. Four Democrats and 153 Republicans voted no…

Democrats and a few Republicans praised Mrs. Obama. “She has been an incredible champion for our children, particularly in the areas of nutrition and obesity,” said Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts.

Mr. McGovern, who is co-chairman of the House Hunger Caucus, said: “Hunger and obesity are two sides of the same coin. Highly processed, empty-calorie foods are less expensive than fresh nutritious foods.”

School meal programs have a major impact on the nation’s health, and supporters of the bill said it could reduce the prevalence of obesity among children. The lunch program feeds more than 31 million children a day.

You can RTFA if you think you need to discover why Republicans and Blue-Dog dipshits opposed the bill. We don’t need the federal government blah-blah-blah, parents rule their children’s precious lives blah-blah-blah God’s will.

Meanwhile, it’s a start to kicking out the fat and sugar-ridden crap that has wormed its profitable slimy way into the arteries of every school system in America over the past three or four decades.