Nation

Accidental Death of an Opportunist?
Arrivederci, Clintons

The PR spectacle of a mute and demure Hillary in Florence last weekend receiving the NYU Global Law School Leadership award was meant to make up for her earlier fuckup with Mrs. Arafat. But it was swept off the front pages by her accompanying husband's cuckoo "third way" speech, laying the conservative American agenda on his French and German leftist allies in the name of "Progressive Governance."

The "Renaissance" president then ranted on about the benefits of what used to be called the New Democrats. Lionel Jospin, the French Socialist premier, faced away from Clinton as he spoke, and German chancellor Gerhard Schröder was reportedly "bemused," while self-promoting Life Is Beautiful actor Roberto Benigni leaped into Bubba's arms. Not since Bill played golf alone in the dark and rain has there been such a bizarre scene.

As for Hillary, the numbers are getting worse: 47 percent favorable, 49 percent unfavorable, with 37 percent very unfavorable. And more of the same old same old. Gail Sheehy's new book, Hillary's Choice, suggests Hillary and Bill will soon divorce, and provides tidbits about her face job and liposuction to her thighs and ass. Dick Morris's head-on attack on Larry King made her and Bill look like classless morons for ever hiring this guy to begin with. Reports over the weekend that the entire eastern air corridor has to be put on hold while Hillary rides around in a plane that's treated like Air Force One makes Y2K seem a welcome relief.

But if not Hillary, then who? Bobby Kennedy Jr., the controversial environmentalist who stirred up a storm dealing with oil companies in Latin American jungles, and more recently exposed New York's ruination of its watershed? He is a man who has name recognition and plenty of money, and can step into the shoes of cousin JFK Jr., who reportedly was waiting in the wings for Hillary to fall on her face. Kennedy says he won't run, but the Democrats in New York are already so wrecked by the Clintons, the Kennedy family may just have to step in and save the day. So much for populism.


Navy Sonar Threatens Sea Life
Whale of a Problem

The new user-friendly military is getting a black eye with a navy enemy sub detector program that maims whales and dolphins and drives the inhabitants of the underwater world nuts.

In the early 1980s the navy pinpointed a new generation of silent submarines as national security threats. To hunt down these stalking killers, the military developed low-frequency active sonar, which is the loudest sound ever produced by humans in the water. The navy was getting ready to deploy this sonar in most of the world's oceans when the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) stepped in and threatened legal action. Thereupon, the military undertook to further test the sonar and prepare an environmental-impact statement, which is in its crucial public-comment stage before the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Joel Reynolds of the NRDC said the sonar "interferes with species' ability to hear and be heard." Reynolds said the navy will have completed an environmental-impact statement by early next year, and the Commerce Department's National Marine Fisheries Service will soon determine whether to give the navy a permit to let the program go forward.

The navy's proposed sonar project will reach out in a radius of 300 miles, engulfing an area of thousands of square miles with 140 decibels of sound. Just as humans depend on sight, fish, marine mammals, and other marine species depend on sound to get around in the murky depths. Being subjected to the navy's sonar blasts has sometimes been likened to standing next to a revved-up 747 just before it takes off.

The lives of fish and whales revolve around sound, writes Linda Weilgart, an expert in sperm whale acoustic communication, in the Christian Science Monitor. Weilgart, whose specialty is studying whales in the ocean deeps, is horrified by the navy's proposal, which she claims is supported by the most short-term, minimal research. Already sonar tests have sent whales into a panic, causing 13 Cuvier's beaked whales to beach themselves and die. She is worried that the sounds will screw up the whales' ability to find mates over long distances, hear the quiet sounds of predators and prey, detect beaches to avoid stranding themselves, keep themselves clear of fishing gear, and keep track of their calves and other whales.


Chinese Army Pushes Cyberwar
Barbarians at the Gate

The Chinese army's political newspaper, the Liberation Army Daily, is calling for a major new propaganda offensive to wage war over the Internet. "It is essential to have an all-conquering offensive technology and to develop software and technology for Net offensives so as to be able to launch attacks and countermeasures on the Net, including information-paralyzing software, information-blocking software, and information-deception software," reads the article, entitled "Bringing Internet Warfare Into the Military System Is of Equal Significance With Land, Sea and Air Power" and published recently in the newspaper, the official publication of the People's Liberation Army General Political Department.

"Some of these are like bombs, they are electronic bombs which saturate the enemy's cyberspace," the article says. "Some are like paintings, they are electronic scrawls which appear and disappear on the enemy's pages in chaotic fashion. Some are like phantoms and electronic flying saucers which come and go on the Net and disrupt the enemy's systems, and it is also possible to develop masquerade technology to steal the Internet command power."

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