Sour Grapes
Of course we're Fair and Balanced!


Franco Harris for U.S. Senate?

This speculation comes from today's (in the last paragraph of the post), and yes, this is the same African-American-Italian who was a key player in the Pittsburgh Steelers' "Immaculate Reception" in the 1972 NFL play-offs!

Two cyclones feeding on each other

Today's very cool Earth Observatory Daily Image was taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA�s Terra satellite.

Cyclonic Clouds over the South Atlantic Ocean

World's largest garbage dump?

As reported on in an article in today's Times (of London): "[T]wice the size of Texas and created from six million tonnes of discarded plastic."

The toxic soup of refuse was discovered in 1997 when Charles Moore, an oceanographer, decided to travel through the centre of the North Pacific gyre (a vortex or circular ocean current). Navigators usually avoid oceanic gyres because persistent high-pressure systems � also known as the doldrums � lack the winds and currents to benefit sailors.

Mr Moore found bottle caps, plastic bags and polystyrene floating with tiny plastic chips. Worn down by sunlight and waves, discarded plastic disintegrates into smaller pieces. Suspended under the surface, these tiny fragments are invisible to ships and satellites trying to map the plastic continent, but in subsequent trawls Mr Moore discovered that the chips outnumbered plankton by six to one.

The damage caused by these tiny fragments is more insidious than strangulation, entrapment and choking by larger plastic refuse. The fragments act as sponges for heavy metals and pollutants until mistaken for food by small fish. The toxins then become more concentrated as they move up the food chain through larger fish, birds and marine mammals.

�You can buy certified organic farm produce, but no fishmonger on earth can sell you a certified organic wild-caught fish. This is our legacy,� said Mr Moore.

Great Pacific Garbage Patch - Mapped

[Via today's Daily Beast Cheat Sheet.]

Gitmo detainees to be tried by military tribunals?

Thursday, the New York Times reported that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates suggested that "[a]s many as 100 detainees at the prison at Guant�namo Bay, Cuba, could end up held without trial on American soil." The article went on to note:

The Obama administration is debating how to establish a legal basis for incarcerating detainees deemed too dangerous to be released but not appropriate to be tried because of potential problems posed by their harsh interrogations, the evidence against them or other issues.

Then yesterday, the New York Times reported that "The Obama administration is moving toward reviving the military commission system for prosecuting Guant�namo detainees, which was a target of critics during the Bush administration, including Mr. Obama himself." This article went on to say:

Continuing the military commissions in any form would probably prompt sharp criticism from human rights groups as well as some of Mr. Obama�s political allies because the troubled system became an emblem of the effort to use Guant�namo to avoid the American legal system.

Officials who work on the Guant�namo issue say administration lawyers have become concerned that they would face significant obstacles to trying some terrorism suspects in federal courts. Judges might make it difficult to prosecute detainees who were subjected to brutal treatment or for prosecutors to use hearsay evidence gathered by intelligence agencies.

Obama administration officials � and Mr. Obama himself � have said in the past that they were not ruling out prosecutions in the military commission system. But senior officials have emphasized that they prefer to prosecute terrorism suspects in existing American courts. When President Obama suspended Guant�namo cases after his inauguration on Jan. 20, many participants said the military commission system appeared dead.

But in recent days a variety of officials involved in the deliberations say that after administration lawyers examined many of the cases, the mood shifted toward using military commissions to prosecute some detainees, perhaps including those charged with coordinating the Sept. 11 attacks.

�The more they look at it,� said one official, �the more commissions don�t look as bad as they did on Jan. 20.�

I find this worrisome [via yesterday's and today's Daily Beast Cheat Sheet respectively].

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