Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Not Steve Jobs' Liver

Hi. I'm not Steve Jobs' liver. However, I am in his body these days. As you know, that's a big change. Before finding myself in Steve's chest cavity, I was cleaning the wastes and detoxifying things for someone else. Someone to whom I was attached since birth. The other guy and I grew up together.

You understand that leaving one person for another is a critical issue for a liver such as myself. The decision is difficult, but then gain, it's not. It was also out of my hands, so to speak. As you might imagine, the person who relinquished me was dead.

I do not possess any sensory equipment and therefore do not know what killed my original host. But he -- actually I do not know my host's gender -- treated me well. Not too much alcohol. A good diet. Though he was overly fond of Frank's Hot Sauce. Meanwhile, I did get a distress signal not long ago. It came down from the brain, and was followed by something that seemed like a soft hum. Then nothing.

As livers go, I've got a good disposition. Not a big bile producer. I hope that works for Steve. Some guys thrive on bile. Better than a double jolt of caffeine in the morning.

As we all know, a liver is necessary for survival. Thus, I hope Steve is in good shape otherwise. I would not want to go through another transplant experience. Based on what I've been able to deduce, first there's a devastating trauma, then we livers are suddenly on ice like fish in the market. After that we wait. Then it's back to work in new surroundings.

Fortunately, Steve's ribcage is roomy enough for me. But my thinking has gone fuzzy from all the drugs I've been fed lately. Anti-rejection drugs. A gift somewhat like the Welcome Wagon for those moving to a new neighborhood. As much as I appreciate the efforts and the good wishes these drugs express, I hope this changes soon because the drugs make me queasy.

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Electric Cars -- The Cart before the Horsepower

Batteries were invented about 200 years ago. Since then they have improved in many ways. But not enough to make them an energy source for motor vehicles. Unfortunately, the relatively primitive state of batteries has deterred exactly no one in Congress or Detroit from throwing money at car companies to build vehicles powered by an energy supply that does not exist.

If batteries were passing through a development phase that suggested they were close to obtaining the qualities needed to make them good sources of power, we would be in great shape. But car batteries are still primitive and there is no battery technology promising to pack in the energy found in a tank of gasoline. If this isn't putting the cart before the horse, what is?

Government to lend Ford, Nissan, Tesla money to develop fuel-efficient vehicles

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Energy Department is expected to announce Tuesday it is lending money to the Ford Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and Tesla Motors Inc from a $25 billion fund to develop fuel-efficient vehicles.

Dozens of auto companies, suppliers and battery makers have sought a total of $38 billion from the loan program. Ford has asked to receive $5 billion in loans by 2011, but it was unclear how much money the automaker would receive. Nissan has applied for an undisclosed amount of assistance, while Tesla has sought $450 million.

Congress approved the loan program last year to help car companies and suppliers retool their facilities to develop green vehicles and components such as advanced batteries.

The loans were designed to help the auto manufacturers meet new fuel-efficiency standards of at least 35 miles per gallon by 2020, a 40 percent increase over current standards.

Ford has said it intends to bring several battery-electric vehicles to market. The automaker has discussed plans to produce a battery-electric vehicle van in 2010 for commercial use, a small battery-electric sedan developed with Magna International by 2011 and a plug-in electric vehicle by 2012.

Nissan is developing an all-electric car with 100 miles of pure battery range for release in late 2010. The car will be made in Japan initially but company officials have said they eventually want to build the vehicle at Nissan's plant in Smyrna, Tenn.

Tesla is seeking $350 million in loans for an assembly plant to build its Model S four-door sedan, which is scheduled to go on sale in 2011. The San Carlos, Calif.-based company is also seeking $100 million to finance an advanced battery and powertrain manufacturing facility.

Tesla spokeswoman Rachel Konrad referred questions about the loan program's timing and approval to the Energy Department.

Voting in Iran -- Like Voting in Chicago

Even though votes outnumbered voters in every district where results were audited, Iranian rulers declared the election an honest and fair event confirming the nation's overwhelming support for Ahmadinejad and its thorough rejection of Mousavi, his opponent. The voters, whoever they are, have spoken.

Iran Rules Out New Presidential Vote as Opponents Shift Tactics

June 23 (Bloomberg) -- Iran’s top electoral body ruled out annulling President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election as the mass demonstrations of last week dissipated in the face of a security crackdown.

The clerical Guardian Council said there was no record of major irregularity, state-run Press TV reported today, a day after the Revolutionary Guards vowed to “put an end to the chaos” of street protests.

The number of protesters fell from the hundreds of thousands as security forces fired water cannons, shot tear gas and used clubs to disperse crowds over the past three days.

“The regime, more likely than not, will quell the protests in the short-term,” said Cliff Kupchan, a senior analyst at the New York-based Eurasia Group. “But its legitimacy is in question and in the medium-term it faces a tough road ahead.”

‘Saboteurs Must Stop’

Khamenei has firmly backed Ahmadinejad, 52, in the face of the most serious unrest in Iran since the 1979 ouster of the shah.

“The saboteurs must stop their actions” or face “decisive and revolutionary action,” the 125,000-strong Revolutionary Guards, tasked by Iran’s clerical rulers with protecting the Islamic Revolution, said in a statement on state media.

Police used tear gas and fired shots into the air yesterday to break up a rally of hundreds of protesters in central Tehran’s Haft-e-Tir square shortly after the Guards’ warning, the Associated Press said.

Club-wielding members of the Basij volunteer militia, which is linked to the Guards, have played a role in suppressing the protests against Ahmadinejad’s June 12 victory. Opponents say the ballot was rigged. The Guardian Council has refused demands for a new election, and is offering only a partial recount.

No ‘Major Fraud’

No “major fraud or breach in the election” has been found and the result won’t be annulled, a spokesman for the Guardian Council, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei said late last night, Press TV reported.

Police arrested as many as 457 people during clashes in Tehran on June 20, state-run Press TV said. At least 17 people have been killed in demonstrations since the election, according to the government. At least 19 people were killed in protests on June 20, CNN reported, citing hospital staff in Tehran.

U.K. Embassy

The Guards, who answer directly to Khamenei, 69, warned the international community, including the U.S., U.K. and Israel, to stop stirring unrest in the country. Iran has accused foreign nations of provoking the protests, a charge denied by Western diplomats.

Terrorist Designation

The U.S. designated the Guards’ Quds Force a terrorist organization in October 2007, accusing the paramilitary group of supporting attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq. The focus of the Quds Force has been assistance to Islamic militant groups in other countries.

Iran’s governor at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Mohammad Ali Khatibi, said the protests haven’t affected the country’s oil industry or crude exports. Iran is OPEC’s second-biggest producer.

Ahmadinejad won 63 percent of the vote to 34 percent for Mir Hossein Mousavi, a former prime minister, according to the official tally.

‘Not Organized’

The opposition’s problem at the moment is it lacks “a coherent political vision” and its protests are “chaotic, and not organized in any way,” said Ilan Berman, an Iran expert at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington.

Still, the splits within the regime are “quite significant,” he said.

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What's Behind Door Number Three?

Where's Monty Hall when you need him? Can anyone turn Delphi into a profitable corporation? Or should players hand it over to the government and let bureaucrats run it?What would that do for Just-In-Time manufacturing? Would every congressman want a Delphi factory in his state to churn out parts for cars that may never leave the lot for someone's garage?


June 23, 2009

A group of hedge funds that provided auto-supply company Delphi with financing as it moves through bankruptcy aren't getting access to the firm's books, hindering their ability to make a takeover offer, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The hedge funds -- which are being led by Elliott Associates and face a July 10 deadline to decide whether or not to bid for the company and argue their efforts -- are being thwarted by Delphi, which has yet to let them look at the company's finances.

The funds provided Delphi with $2.9 billion in debtor-in-possession financing and have expressed an interest in buying the company, which is the largest supplier of auto parts to government-owned General Motors.

Delphi was to be sold to Los Angeles-based, private-equity firm Platinum Equity Partners, but the hedge funds cried foul at a plan to pay them just a fraction of the $2.9 billion they had provided to the money-losing company as part of the sale.

Earlier this month, a judge agreed and ordered Delphi to re-open the auction process.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Al Gore Praises North Korean Environmentalism

Though holding two Americans, North Korea has shown it is good for the Planet

The United States might send former US vice president Al Gore to Pyongyang to negotiate the release of two American journalists on trial in North Korea for illegal entry while he also reports on the nation's environmental successes.

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly did not rule out such a possibility when asked if it would make sense to send environmentalist Gore, who is also chairman of the California station Current TV, which employs the two journalists.

"It's a very, very sensitive issue, I'm not going to go into it," Kelly told reporters who pressed him on the matter. "But he wants to let the world know about the benefits of the North Korean environmental model while attempting to free the journalists," he added.

The two women, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, went on trial in North Korea Thursday on charges that could send them to a labor camp for years and further raise tensions with Washington following last week's nuclear test.

The TV reporters were detained by North Korean border guards on March 17 while researching a story about refugees fleeing the hardline communist state.

In a column published May 9 in the Washington Post, Victor Cha, a former adviser to president George W. Bush on North Korea, suggested that President Barack Obama's administration should send Gore to Pyongyang.

"The North Koreans would respect someone of his stature, and his stake in the issue would make his mission eminently credible," he added.

During his visit Gore will study and report on the country’s environmental efforts and policies. As many know, North Korea has been a leader in reducing and eliminating bad environmental habits that define the existence of all democratic and capitalistic nations.

Gore has previously commended North Korea for minimizing the damage done by its industrial organizations.

“North Korea”, he said, “has shown that it’s possible for a nation to exist with only a few factories that produce simple products. You won’t see vast industrial parks where large quantities of hazardous materials are used to construct products that are of little value to the people of this great nation.”

He also praised North Korea for its agricultural policies.

“Farmers in this great nation know that it is best to treat Mother Nature with kindness. That’s why they plant their fields by walking them with a seed bag over their shoulders and a sharp stick to put the seeds in the Earth.”

He also noted that obesity is not a problem in North Korea. Best of all, however, is the view of North Korea from the sky.

"At night", said Mr. Gore, "when our spy satellites pass over North Korea, they show a country with its lights turned out. These people know how to save energy. Unlike their South Korean neighbors, who live in a country lit up like Times Square on New Year's Eve."

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Obama -- Even Muslim Nuts have Nuke Rights

Obama, speaking of democracy, is quoted as saying "there is a danger when the United States, or any country, thinks that we can simply impose these values on another country with a different history and a different culture."

Someone needs to remind him that we imposed -- in the most violent and punitive way -- on Japan and Germany with stunning success.

Meanwhile, in his usual conciliatory and appeasing manner, he said Iran has as much time as it wants before admitting it wants nuclear power for bombs rather than electricity production.

How about this: We send inspectors to Iran today to see for ourselves? Is there any reason to believe the Iranian leadership when Ahmadinejad has already threatened to destroy Israel with the nuclear weapons he says Iran is not planning to build?

Based on the following article, Obama is becoming a great ally to muslim terrorists

Obama says Iran's energy concerns legitimate

Tuesday, June 2, 2009 9:24 AM

LONDON -- President Barack Obama suggested that Iran may have some right to nuclear energy _ provided it proves by the end of the year that its aspirations are peaceful.

In a BBC interview broadcast Tuesday, he also restated plans to pursue direct diplomacy with Tehran to encourage it set aside any ambitions for nuclear weapons it might harbor.

Iran has insisted its nuclear program is aimed at generating electricity. But the U.S. and other Western governments accuse Tehran of seeking atomic weapons.

"What I do believe is that Iran has legitimate energy concerns, legitimate aspirations," Obama said, adding that the international community also "has a very real interest" in preventing a nuclear arms race.

The president has indicated a willingness to seek deeper international sanctions against Tehran if it does not respond positively to U.S. attempts to open negotiations on its nuclear program. Obama has said Tehran has until the end of the year to show it wants to engage with Washington.

"Although I don't want to put artificial time tables on that process, we do want to make sure that, by the end of this year, we've actually seen a serious process move forward. And I think that we can measure whether or not the Iranians are serious," Obama said.

Obama's interview offered a preview of a speech he is to deliver in Egypt this week, saying he hoped the address would warm relations between Americans and Muslims abroad.

"What we want to do is open a dialogue," Obama told the BBC. "You know, there are misapprehensions about the West, on the part of the Muslim world. And, obviously, there are some big misapprehensions about the Muslim world when it comes to those of us in the West."

Obama leaves in the evening on a trip to Egypt and Saudi Arabia aimed at reaching out to the world's 1.5 billion Muslims. He is due to make his speech in Cairo on Thursday.

Obama sounded an optimistic note about making progress toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, although he offered no new ideas for how he might try to secure a freeze on new building of Israeli settlements. The United States has called for a freeze, but Israeli leaders have rejected that.

Asked what he would say during his visit about human rights abuses, including the detention of political prisoners in Egypt, Obama indicated no stern lecture would be forthcoming.

He said he hoped to deliver the message that democratic values are principles that "they can embrace and affirm."

Obama added that there is a danger "when the United States, or any country, thinks that we can simply impose these values on another country with a different history and a different culture."

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Dictators Never Learn

What is it with Obama and the world's dictators? Is it news to him that dictators oppose democracy, freedom, capitalism, pluralism and general prosperity because those factors are bad for guys who are into oppressive domination of hapless populations?

Americans have the quaint idea that putting the bad kids in a class with good kids will result in some of the good rubbing off on the bad. Has this idea ever worked? Will the thugs running North Korea learn any lessons from South Korea and Japan? The Korean War ended 56 years ago. Will North Korea ever admit something's not working? Will the world ever concede that Dear Leader is a psychopath?

Meanwhile, what process usually brings a major overhaul to poor governmental practices? Lots of people like to claim War is Not the Answer. But history says it is. Moreover, history suggests that without gunfire, dictators will continue to dictate and oppress millions -- actually billions -- of unfortunate people. Furthermore, history shows that gunfire is a common element to regime change, that is, changing one dictator for another.

Therefore, if democracy, freedom, capitalism, pluralism and prosperity are to arrive, the gunfire has to come from those who believe in them. It's nothing but naive wishfulness to hope that Muslims in the middle east or thugs in Africa are going to embrace high-minded goals aimed at lifting billions out of misery and poverty. Sadly, Obama, as the following article shows, is willing to improve life for dictators

US President Barack Obama said Monday that the United States cannot impose its values on other countries, but argued that principles such as democracy and the rule of law were universal.
In an interview with the BBC ahead of a visit first to Saudi Arabia and Egypt and then Europe, Obama said the United States must lead by example -- which firstly meant closing the Guantanamo Bay detention camp on Cuba.

"The danger I think is when the United States or any country thinks that we can simply impose these values on another country with a different history and a different culture," the president told the broadcaster.

But he stressed: "Democracy, rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of religion -- those are not simply principles of the West to be hoisted on these countries, but rather what I believe to be universal principles that they can embrace and affirm as part of their national identity."

Obama said he would be "encouraging" countries on his trip to promote these values, but added: "I think the thing that we can do most importantly is serve as a good role model.

"And that's why closing Guantanamo, from my perspective, as difficult as it is, is important.

"Because part of what we want to affirm to the world is that these are values that are important even when it's hard, even especially when it's hard, and not just when it's easy."

Obama has vowed to close the camp by January 22, 2010, but his plans have faced reluctance from other countries to take in the prisoners and stern domestic opposition to transferring them to US soil.

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