ELENILTO: A Slap in the Face

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War-bill veto sets stage for dialogue

first_imgLacking the votes to override the president, Democrats have already signaled that they intend to approve a replacement bill stripped of the troop-withdrawal timetable. Determined to challenge Bush’s policy, they are turning their attention to setting goals for the Iraqi government to meet as it struggles to establish a more secure, democratic society. New legislation The White House and congressional Republicans have also called for so-called benchmarks, but only if they don’t mandate a troop withdrawal or some other major change in war policy. Bush will meet with congressional leaders – Democrats and Republicans alike – today to discuss new legislation. He said Democrats had made a political statement by passing anti-war legislation. “They’ve sent their message, and now it’s time to put politics behind us and support our troops with the funds,” the president said. He said the need to act was urgent because without a war-funding bill, the armed forces will have to consider cutting back on buying or repairing equipment. “Our troops and their families deserve better, and their elected leaders can do better,” Bush said. “Whatever our differences, surely we can agree that our troops are worthy of this funding and that we have a responsibility to get it to them without further delay,” the president said. Bush signed the veto with a pen given to him by Robert Derga, the father of Marine Corps Reserve Cpl. Dustin Derga, who was killed in Iraq on May 8, 2005. The elder Derga spoke with Bush two weeks ago at a meeting the president had with military families at the White House. Derga asked Bush to promise to use the pen in his veto. On Tuesday, Derga contacted the White House to remind Bush to use the pen, and so he did. Twenty-four-year-old Dustin Derga served with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines, from Columbus, Ohio. The five-year Marine reservist and fire-team leader was killed by an armor-piercing round in Anbar province. Benchmarks viewed Minutes after Bush vetoed the bill, an anti-war demonstrator stood outside the White House with a bullhorn: “How many more must die? How many more must die?” Earlier at the Capitol, Democrats held an unusual signing ceremony of the $124.2 billion bill before sending it to the White House. “The president has put our troops in the middle of a civil war,” said Reid. “Reality on the ground proves what we all know: A change of course is needed.” For his part, Bush flew to Florida to meet with military commanders and said the Democratic proposal would turn Iraq into a “cauldron of chaos.” With sleeves rolled up, Bush shook hands with troops at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, the headquarters of U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East, including Iraq. Then Bush returned to the White House to announce his veto just before network news shows. Democratic leaders refused to discuss their approach to today’s meeting with Bush. Past meetings have not led to any compromises, although members said that this time they hoped Bush would signal a willingness to negotiate. “I don’t want to get into a negotiation with myself,” Reid said when asked about conversations with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. McConnell and other Republicans have said they would agree to provisions that lay out standards for the Iraqi government to meet in creating a more stable and democratic society. “A number of Republicans think that some kind of benchmarks properly crafted would be helpful,” McConnell said. Bush and GOP allies have said they will oppose legislation that ties progress on such standards to a withdrawal of U.S. combat forces. “House Republicans will oppose any bill that includes provisions that undermine our troops and their mission, whether it’s benchmarks for failure, arbitrary readiness standards or a timetable for American surrender,” said Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – In the end, neither side was willing to give an inch – or give up the last word. In the span of about two hours Tuesday, President George W. Bush received, vetoed and publicly denounced legislation ordering troops to begin coming home from Iraq. Democrats, who had staged a dramatic signing ceremony, headed back to the television cameras to chide Bush for rejecting it. “The president may be content with keeping our troops mired in the middle of an open-ended civil war, but we’re not and neither are most Americans,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. It was a day of high political drama, falling on the fourth anniversary of Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech declaring that major combat operations had ended in Iraq. In only the second veto of his presidency, Bush rejected legislation pushed by Democratic leaders that would require the first U.S. combat troops to be withdrawn by Oct. 1 with a goal of a complete pullout six months later. “This is a prescription for chaos and confusion and we must not impose it on our troops,” Bush said in a nationally broadcast statement from the White House. He said the bill would “mandate a rigid and artificial deadline” for troop pullouts, and “it makes no sense to tell the enemy when you plan to start withdrawing.” Democrats accused Bush of ignoring Americans’ desire to stop the war, which has claimed the lives of more than 3,350 members of the military. “The president wants a blank check,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., moments after Bush’s appearance. “The Congress is not going to give it to him.” She said lawmakers would work with him to find common ground but added that there was “great distance” between them on Iraq. The legislation amounted to a rare rebuke of a wartime president and an assertion by Democrats that Congress must play a major role in Iraq and the extent of U.S. involvement. last_img read more

Cyclone leaves hundreds dead on Bangladesh coast

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! DHAKA, Bangladesh – A cyclone that slammed into Bangladesh’s coast with 140 mph winds killed at least 242 people, leveled homes and forced the evacuation of 650,000 villagers before heading inland and losing power today, officials said. Cyclone Sidr roared across the country’s southwestern coast late Thursday with driving rain and high waves. The storm left about 242 villagers dead from falling debris, said Nahid Sultana, an official at a cyclone control room in Dhaka. By early this morning, the cyclone had weakened into a tropical storm and was moving across the country to the northeast, with overcast skies and wind speed falling to 37 mph, the department said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre last_img read more

Bernanke adds clarity to Greenspan formula

first_img At one point, when pressed for an opinion on raising the minimum wage, he apologized, saying, “I am going to be an economist and give you the one hand, the other hand” response. Dressed in a conservative gray suit, Bernanke sat alone at the witness table, often scribbling notes on the questions, as he was pushed to talk about a variety of issues from the soaring budget and trade deficits to what should be done about the growing gap between the wealthy and the poor. He acknowledged that widening income inequality was a problem, but he said it had been occurring for a quarter-century, and as did Greenspan, he said the best way to deal with the problem was through education and job retraining. The only time Bernanke seemed uncomfortable was when he was asked for his reaction to speeches Greenspan has made, reportedly for large amounts of money, to an audience in Tokyo and a New York investment house. “According to government ethics rules … it is permissible for a retired (Fed) governor to speak in public about the economy so long as he or she does not divulge confidential information,” Bernanke said. “I have no indication that he has violated that rule.” The Jan. 31 Fed meeting was the last presided over by Greenspan, who stepped down that day after 18 years as Fed chairman to be succeeded the next day by Bernanke. Private economists predicted the central bank will raise its target for the federal funds rate, the interest that banks charge each other, by another quarter point to 4.75 percent at Bernanke’s first meeting on March 27-28. They said a final hike that would push the funds rate to 5 percent could occur at the following meeting on April 10. Bernanke said future rate hikes would depend on incoming economic data. But he said despite last year’s surge in energy prices and the devastation from the Gulf Coast hurricanes, recent information showing strong employment growth and retail sales in January “suggests that the economic expansion remains on track.” “With respect to the general conduct of monetary policy, Bernanke revealed himself as a clone of Alan Greenspan,” said Brian Bethune, chief U.S. economist for Global Insight, who predicted two more quarter-point rate hikes before the Fed moves to the sidelines. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant Wall Street took Bernanke’s testimony in stride with stocks ending the day up slightly. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 30.58 points to close at 11,058.97 after rising 136 points Tuesday. A respected economics professor at Princeton before entering government service as a Fed governor in 2002, Bernanke demonstrated during more than three hours of grilling from the House Financial Services Committee that he was up to the task of answering questions without upsetting financial markets. Several committee members in fact complimented Bernanke for his straightforward answers, a contrast to Greenspan, who mastered the art of using complex sentences to dodge questions he did not want to answer. “I can see you are a former teacher,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. “You are very clear in your responses.” But while Bernanke was more direct, he skillfully avoided being led into areas where he did not want to state an opinion. Democrats tried several ways to get Bernanke, who served last year as President George W. Bush’s chief economist, to criticize the president’s drive to make the tax cuts permanent at a time of high budget deficits. WASHINGTON – New Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday the economy is on track for good growth this year, sticking closely to predecessor Alan Greenspan’s script with one big difference: His comments were much easier to understand. In his debut congressional testimony as Fed chairman, Bernanke signaled that the central bank, which has raised interest rates 14 times since June 2004, stood ready to boost rates more if needed to combat inflation. Investors and private economists, who had been apprehensive that Bernanke might sound a tougher line on inflation than Greenspan, said they detected no switch in policy from the Greenspan Fed. “There were no big surprises. Bernanke kept very much to the promise he made at his confirmation hearing that he would maintain continuity with Greenspan,” said David Jones, chief economist at DMJ Advisors, a private forecasting firm in Denver. last_img read more

NI Secretary of State won’t meet Good Friday Committee due to “diary pressures”

first_imgThe Good Friday Committee has been left “disappointed” after Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire, says he cannot meet with them due to “diary pressures”.At yesterday’s meeting, the Committee discussed their correspondence with Brokenshire. Despite writing to him twice; in May and in July, he has not met the Committee to discuss Northern Irish issues.Committee Chair, Kathleen Funchion TD says that they wish to discuss prison issues and “matters of national security in the North” with the Secretary of State, but due to his absence, this has not been possible. “The Secretary of State has stated that due to diary pressures he is unable to meet.“The Committee is disappointed with this continued response and again calls on the Secretary of State to meet with us for a frank and open discussion about a range of issues the Committee addresses in its oversight role of the Good Friday Agreement.”In his role, Brokenshire holds the UK Government responsibility for ensuring the operation of the devolution settlement, national security and promoting Northern Ireland as a great to live, work and do business, as well as seeing that Northern Ireland’s interests are promoted and advanced through the Brexit negotiations, according to the Conservatives website.He was appointed to this role in July 2016 under UK Prime Minister Theresa May. The Good Friday Committee plays a pivotal role in informing debate on key areas of mutual interest regarding North/South co-operation, fostering links between the two regions and encouraging dialogue between parliamentarians and people from both sides of the border.Chaired by Kathleen Funchion TD, the Good Friday Committee is made up of six Deputies and six Senators:Deputies:Declan Breathnach (FF)Fergus O’Dowd (FG)Tony McLoughlin (FG)Maureen O’Sullivan (IND)Sean Sherlock (LAB)Brendan Smith (FF)Senators: Frances Black (IND)Frank Feighan (FG)Mark Daly (FF)Denis Landy (LAB)Gerard Craughwell (IND)Niall Ó Donnghaile (SF)NI Secretary of State won’t meet Good Friday Committee due to “diary pressures” was last modified: October 27th, 2017 by Elaine McCalligShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:good friday committeejames brokenshirelast_img read more

Fernandes would like 45,000-capacity stadium for QPR

first_imgQPR chairman Tony Fernandes insists he would have no qualms about the club building a new stadium with a capacity of up to 45,000.Speaking on the club’s London Call-In show, Fernandes said the pursuit of a new home for Rangers was “progressing” and dismissed concerns about the potential size of the ground.“I’ve always felt anything from 35,000 to 45,000,” he said.“If we’re playing good football and have a good stadium, if you get a good product, people will come. And London’s a great city.“The message to our architects was to keep what’s good [at Loftus Road] and try to make it a bit bigger.”  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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

The wild journey back to the big leagues for new A’s pitcher

first_imgMESA, Ariz. — Tyler Alexander thought he was banished from Major League BaseballDrafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2013, Alexander worked hard to move his way up the club’s minor league system. But after testing positive for Marijuana for the second time in 2015, Alexander was suspended for 50 games by MLB, and released by the Brewers shortly after. “I kind of counted it out,” Alexander said. “I didn’t think it was a possibility anymore in my career given the off-the-field stuff.”Alexander’ …last_img

African FTA one step nearer fruition

first_img13 June 2011After many years of planning and coordinating, African leaders have moved a decisive step closer to establishing the long-conceived goal of a united African economic community.The leaders, meeting in Johannesburg over the weekend have agreed to formally launch negotiations to establish a grand free trade area that would encompass 26 countries in three regional economic communities, namely the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (Comesa), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).The first phase of negotiations on allowing the free movement of goods is expected to take three years. Future negotiations will tackle trade in services and other issues.Combined market of 700-million peopleThe creation of the single free trade area (FTA) would see the coming together of a combined population of approximately 700-million people and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of US$875-billion.It would open borders between countries in approximately half of the continent, spanning the entire southern and eastern regions of Africa.In their communique at the end of their summit held in Sandton on Sunday, the leaders signed an agreement to launch talks and adopted a roadmap for the establishment of the FTA.They also adopted the FTA negotiating principles, processes and institutional framework, and directed that a programme of work and roadmap be developed on industrialisation.“The establishment of a FTA will bolster intra-regional trade by creating a wider market, increase investment flows, enhance competitiveness and develop cross-regional infrastructure,” said the communique, read by Richard Sezibera, secretary-general of the EAC.‘No country can prosper on its own’South African President Jacob Zuma, in his address to the summit, said the zone would help neighbours work together to alleviate poverty and build industrial capacity.“There is no single country that can prosper on its own,” Zuma said.The leaders also adopted a developmental approach to the integration process, saying it would be anchored on three pillars, namely: market integration; infrastructure development to enhance connectivity and reduce costs of doing business; and industrial development to address productive capacity constraints.During the one-day summit, the delegates from 26 member countries of the three blocs discussed how to enhance cooperation and coordination and improve infrastructure to facilitate trade.The summit reviewed the progress made in the implementation of the decisions of the first such summit, held in Kampala, Uganda in October 2008, regarding programmes in trade, customs and economic integration; free movement of business persons; and infrastructure development amongst the three regional economic communities.In the area of infrastructure development, the leaders noted the progress made in the implementation of the infrastructure programmes; and commended the international cooperating partners and the donor community for the support that was pledged for the North-South Corridor at a conference held in Lusaka, Zambia in 2009.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Vapor Profiles Help Predict Whether a Wall Can Dry

first_imgToday’s walls, roofs, and floors are better insulated, tighter, and made with a much greater variety of components than they used to be, making them a lot more susceptible to moisture problems when they get wet. Compared to the old days, today’s walls and ceilings are more complicated and can be very slow to dry.Poorly crafted building codes are blamed for many examples of confusion, and the confusion over vapor retarders and vapor barriers is no exception. To design and build energy efficient and durable building assemblies, following the code is not enough. We need a new approach — such as the vapor profile.What is a vapor profile?A vapor profile is an assessment of the vapor permeabilities of each component in a building assembly (a wall, ceiling, or roof). This assessment determines the assembly’s drying potential and its drying direction. The vapor profile shows whether the building assembly protects itself from getting wet and how it dries when it gets wet.“Moisture profile” might be a better term than “vapor profile,” because winning the moisture battle means keeping track of all phases or expressions of water. But vapor profile ties the term to “vapor retarder” and “vapor barrier,” terms that focus on that one layer and whether that layer restricts wetting by vapor diffusion. Vapor profile is about all layers and is as much about drying as it is about wetting.Four steps to a vapor profileExamining the vapor profile is a 4-step process:1. Determine the vapor permeability of each componentThis can be a lot more difficult than it sounds. Various building product manufacturers are not consistent in the ways they measure and report vapor permeability. Different standardized tests are used for different products. Also, the vapor permeability of many building materials is not constant — it can change as the material’s moisture content rises or falls.Make sure that you get numbers for every material or component in your assembly, and obtain the actual test used and units reported. A good start is the Building Materials Property Table from BSC.2. Identify the least vapor permeable component(s)It’s important to identify the component or components that most restricts the wetting and drying potential of the assembly. To understand the robustness or sensitivity of the assembly to moisture accumulation, it’s important to know how many low-permeance materials there are, and where they are located.I suggest following the vapor retarder class system established by Joe Lstiburek of Building Science Corporation:Class I Vapor Retarder (vapor barrier): less than or equal to 0.1 permsClass II Vapor Retarder: less than or equal to 1 perm and greater than 0.1 permsVapor III Vapor Retarder: greater than 1 perm but less than 10 permsThis classification is based on results from ASTM E-96 A (the dessicant or dry cup method). Any material greater than 10 perms is considered vapor permeable.NOTE: The next two steps are not really sequential; you consider them together because they tell you about how to keep things from getting wet and also about letting them dry when they do get wet.3. Assess the extent and direction of vapor driveYou need to consider the following:a. Outdoor conditions, including temperature and relative humidity. It’s important to know how extreme and sustained the expected temperature differences are (with respect to the building interior). For more information, see Climate Consultant 4.b. Indoor conditions — Interior moisture loads, interior setpoints and the type and extent of space conditioning (active heating, cooling, humidification and dehumidification, ventilation).The question you are trying to answer is: Do I need a vapor retarder somewhere in the assembly to restrict the movement of vapor INTO the assembly?4. Assess the moisture storage capacity and drying potential of the assemblyThe next question you are trying to answer is: Do I have at least one way for vapor to GET OUT of the assembly?An assembly with two vapor retarders or barriers on opposite sides of the assembly means that there is little to no drying potential in either direction. That can be a real problem brewing unless you design and detail for extraordinary moisture management protecting this assembly from wetting.Example 1 – an acceptable vapor profileIn this example, we have taken a representative GBA wall construction detail and assigned actual materials for each component of the assembly. [Click to enlarge] This wall can only dry to the outside. It is more risky. Step 1: Assess vapor permeabilitiesHow do you determine the vapor permeability of your building materials?In this example, all of the numbers came from the BSC table mentioned earlier.Note that two numbers are in quotes. In the case of the air space it means that vapor moves so freely in air that it is as vapor permeable as it gets.In the case of wood siding, the quotes indicate an “equivalent” vapor permeability. This means that although the lab test of a piece of wood siding (pine, in this case) may yield a vapor permeability of around 2.5 or so, all the gaps between the installed wood clapboards in a wall assembly permit enough air circulation in between clapboards that the effective permeability is MUCH higher (35).NOTE: If you can’t find the numbers you need in this table, you will have to search the Web or contact the manufacturer and tell them you need this information or you can’t use their product. That should get their attention.Step 2: Identify the least permeable componentAfter you have all the numbers, it is pretty easy to pick the one, or maybe two, most restrictive layers in the wall assembly, in terms of vapor permeability.Note that 1 inch of XPS insulation at 1 perm is NOT vapor impermeable. However, it is the most restrictive, which means that MOST drying will take place to its interior or exterior. Also note that the near vapor impermeability of the oil-based paint is managed or overridden by the air space and the functional or equivalent vapor permeabilty of the wood siding as installed (with lots of little air gaps).Step 3: Assess the vapor drive(s)We don’t know what the interior and exterior temperature/relative humidity regimes for this assembly are; we have not picked a location or interior conditions — but…Step 4: Assess storage and drying capacity…since there is such great drying potential on either side of the XPS, this assembly is well-suited to a wide range of climatic, site, and interior conditions.Example 2 – An unacceptable vapor profileIn this second example, we have another representative GBA wall construction detail and again assigned actual materials for each component of the assembly. [Click to enlarge] This wall can dry in OR out. Step 1: Assess vapor permeabilitiesAgain we have taken vapor permeability numbers from the BSC Building Materials Property Table.Step 2: Identify the least permeable componentWe have two layers that are essentially vapor barriers, stopping all moisture from getting INTO and OUT OF the wall assembly. And the problem is that the two layers encase much of the building assembly.Steps 3 and 4: Assess the vapor drive(s), storage, and drying capacityEven without assessing the vapor drives, this assembly is likely to be a problem in ANY climate or interior conditions. If (or rather when) this assembly gets wet, it has very little drying potential. It would take nearly perfect design and construction details and very little moisture drive to keep this assembly from failing.Let’s look more closely at Step 3 (keeping the assembly from getting wet) and Step 4 (letting it dry when it gets wet). If at all possible, we want to change one of the two restrictive layers to give the assembly more drying potential. But which one?If this building is located in the hot-humid south, where the prevailing vapor drive is from the outside in, it is probably better to keep the foil-faced insulation and lose the vinyl wallpaper.If this building is located in the far north, where the prevailing moisture drive comes during the winter from the inside, we might want to pick a rigid insulation product that is more vapor-permeable.Moisture analysis beyond vapor profilingThe examples look at two extremes; we didn’t really assess the vapor drive and moisture storage capacity of the various assemblies.The vapor profile method is qualitative. It is quite possible that you want a more definitive analysis, because you really don’t know how the assembly will perform in your climate, at your site, with your interior conditions.For a more exacting answer to this question, you have two options: consult with a building scientist who has enough practical experience to review your design and weigh in with an expert opinion; or turn to a more quantitative analytical tool.The tool that many building scientists use is a software program called WUFI (a German acronym based on the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, where the program was first developed). The software allows you to specify your assembly, pick your local climate and interior conditions, and then run a four-year analysis to see how the assembly handles moisture, wetting, and drying.WUFI tends to be a conservative tool (it “fails” assemblies and conditions more often than real-world experience suggests), and so is often more useful in the hands of experienced building scientists than lay folks like builders and architects.A closing noteI am not sure where the term “vapor profile” came from. I learned to use the term during my time at Building Science Corporation when I was trying to document the way in which Dr. Joseph Lstiburek assesses buildings as part of a Building America project.last_img read more

The case for the samosa as national snack

first_imgThere was a debate recently on what should be India’s national dish or item of food. Someone came up with the tasteless (pun intended) and absurd idea of khichdi. Really? This bland and colourless mishmash of rice and lentils as our national food? All it does is to remind you of your sick- bay days when you were advised by doctors and sadistic members of your family to consume it because it is “light” and “easily digested”.On the one hand you are bed-ridden with no contact with the outside world and not much to look forward to for the day, and then comes khichdi. A watery mixture of overcooked cereals, the fun-sucking stuff that still tastes bland even after copious amounts of desi ghee and heaps of mango achaar. I vote a thunderous no! for khichdi.Read it at The Hindu Related Itemslast_img read more