so much trouble in the world

It’s been a bad week for Obama, and so air bases in Kyrgyzstan may not seem like the most pressing matter. But this may be his most significant defeat:

We could very well end up using the base under some new arrangement, but this makes clear it will be an arrangement with Russia, not KZ. So this means that we have to accept Russia reclaiming its sphere of influence, if not its old borders, in Central Asia. It also threatens our supply lines to Afghanistan, which are already threatened from the other side as well:

It was not immediately clear whether supply convoys could reach Afghanistan through alternative, smaller routes in the region. Another official in the area, Fazal Mahmood, said repair work had begun on the bridge.

Up to 75 percent of the fuel and supplies destined for U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan travel through Pakistan after being unloaded at the port of Karachi. Most are driven along the Khyber Pass.

Meanwhile, the news from space…. Iran managed to launch a satellite this week, but it remains to be seen if it’s a big move or just a propaganda ploy:

“The rocket is not that sophisticated,” David Albright, the president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington think tank, told The Washington Times. “That Sputnik technology, a little metal ball that goes ‘beep beep beep,’ is not the same as a nuclear warhead or a telecommunications satellite. It’s harder to send heavier objects and more sophisticated objects into space or across a continent.”

And assorted bumps along the way:

Back on Earth, the stimulus bill may turn into more life support for Detroit. A generation’s worth of debt to prop up a failing industry:

The word on the street is that after some small victories in the House ($3B added to capital funding for transit) there will be another fight in the Senate where various amendments are being proposed to strip transit funds and move them to highways, or to simply add $50B to highways.

This could be interesting- it’s a civil disobedience action that’s actually part of a larger strategy, well-targeted and hopefully well-organized. DC is famously a black hole for media events, but this one might cut through all the crap.

As Congress continues to sputter on solutions for the climate crisis, a national coalition of more than 40 environmental, public health, labor, social justice, faith-based and other advocacy groups have announced plans to engage in civil disobedience at the Capitol Power Plant in Washington D.C. on the afternoon of March 2, 2009.

The event, known as the Capitol Climate Action (CCA), will be the largest mass mobilization on global warming in the country’s history. The event reflects the growing public demand for bold action to address the climate and energy crises. It means no more waiting, no more excuses, and no more coal.

A couple more along those lines:

I’ve been saving up some Sea Shepherd stories for you. Soon come.

headlines- pirates space arctic enviro

Hermes Spacecraft Looking to Bring Personal Space Travel to the Masses

Pirates seize two more ships off Somalia

Here’s an update, or maybe a retraction, to a story I had yesterday:
NYC mayor spins back his turbine idea for city

Nope, never saw this one coming:
1998 Missile Strikes on Bin Laden May Have Backfired
It’s a declassified DOE report, courtesy of the National Security Archive.

15 Photovoltaics Solar Power Innovations You Must See
Solazyme: Millions of Gallons of Algae Biodiesel Within 3 Years
Climate Change Negotiations

Iceland to offer oil-drilling licenses in Arctic
China’s Arctic expedition team sets up temporary research station on ice

New Guidelines Would Give F.B.I. Broader Powers

Is war in air in the Gulf?

news- pirates, space, etc

Pirates Seize Malaysian Tanker Off Somalia’s Coast
Frigate unable to aid pirate victims

Iran to send first astronaut into space within 10 years
NASA Releases Plan For Ares I Vibration Problem
How to Mine Martian Water

Big stink as Israel unleashes ‘skunk’ on Palestinians

Blowin’ In The Wind: Bloomberg’s Green Energy Plan
If Congress Lifts the Offshore Oil Drilling Moratorium, What Happens Next?
Birds ‘off the pace’ with warming

news news news – sneaky animals, more georgia, etc

News of the weird kicks it off tonight, with two entries by way of Fortean Times and another one that’s not:
Teenager finds baby bat in her bra
Pictured: The moment an unsuspecting shopper is attacked by a hungry seagull
Naked man hijacks bus

I think Jim Lobe’s got this one right:
Despite Fireworks, War Clouds Recede

But while those events, as with Wednesday’s missile launches, which sent the price of oil up two dollars, grabbed the headlines, the back pages suggest a somewhat different story – that, in advance of a period of intensified diplomacy, all sides are seeking to gain as much leverage as possible.

US Secretary of State in Georgia Hours After Deadly Georgian Firefight
Su-25 fighters detected in skies over Georgia-S Ossetia zone
US, Russia trade charges over Georgia amid war warnings

Space shuttle gets its final assignments
U.S. Finds It’s Getting Crowded Out There: Dominance in Space Slips as Other Nations Step Up Efforts

Pirates free German ship off Somalia

“The ship and its 15 crew members were released on Tuesday afternoon after pirates received a ransom of $750,000,” Ali Farah Warfa, the acting district commissioner of the Somali coastal town of Eyl, told The Associated Press by telephone.

He said the ransom came in by another ship and was paid to 18 pirates, most armed with AK-47s and heavy machine guns, in Eyl, 2300 miles north of Mogadishu.

Pain Ray vs. Snipers

the news- blackwater privateers and the middle east

Pirates Ahoy!
It’s got pirates and Blackwater in one story:

Tom Ridenour, director of maritime operations at the private security firm Blackwater, thinks protection against pirates is a growth market.  New offerings from the firm will include a ship capable of deploying small rigid-inflatable boats, helicopters and a 30-man security team.

This headline may be a little on the optimistic side:
Somali authorities to defeat piracy after UN lifts arms sale ban

Secret U.S. operation kills Iraqi, strains relations
Not just any Iraqi, mind you:

Senior Iraqi government officials said Saturday that a U.S. Special Forces counterterrorism unit conducted the raid that reportedly killed a relative of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki , touching off a high-stakes diplomatic crisis between the United States and Iraq .

Seymour Hersh should be published everywhere:
Preparing the Battlefield: The Bush Administration steps up its secret moves against Iran.

I got that last one from Abu Muqawama, which I’m still checking out but seems pretty good so far. Here’s some related stories.

And finally, UFOs:
UFOs invade NT town

Notice the recent uptick in UFO reports? Brace yourself- X-Day is almost upon us.

news stories- iranian pwnage, spies and bigfoot

Did Iranian agents dupe Pentagon officials?
Did the Bushies get pwned? (hint: yes)

Two new military commands: AFRICOM and AFCYBER
Africa: U.S. Military Set for a Long Campaign
To fight future cyberbattles, Air Force recruiting part-time geeks

Serbia expects key powers in north Kosovo
Sounds like a step towards partition

Minn. city sets reward for legendary creature
Bigfoot Bounty: Reward Offered for Mysterious Monsters

Comcast Is Hiring an Internet Snoop for the Feds
Study secretly tracks cell phone users outside US
The Comcast story is just bad all around. It’s not like the feds are going to be funding this position, so I guess that means consumers pay for the spies who watch them. The cell phone story is interesting for its method, but also for what it discovered. Guy Debord wrote (in Theory of the Derive) about the student who in an entire year goes mostly three places- home, school and her piano teacher. This study finds something similar, but on a much larger scale. On the other hand, a twenty mile radius covers a lot of ground, and in a dense urban area, it could contain an entire universe.

And a space story, of course:
Virgin Galactic Spaceline: Mega-Mothership Set for Rollout Debut