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Iraq’s new oil law: who benefits?

Passing this new oil law is one of the few things the Iraqi government has accomplished that I’ve heard about. There’s much talk about how this will divide up oil revenues fairly among the different provinces, including the unoiled ones.

Buried in the small print is: “The draft law also lays out method for international companies to invest in Iraq’s oil industry, reports say.” (BBC)

Could we have some details on that, please?

The small print in the Iraq Study Group report mentioned what a good idea it would be to privatize the Iraqi oil industry, and allow foreign companies to take home twice the already large industry-standard share of their profits. (Earlier post on that.) To put it less politely, having reduced Iraq to a condition of helplessness, the US demands money the way people generally do when they’re at the right end of the gun.

So what “methods” of foreign “investment” are laid out in this draft law? Is it the ISG method? If so, sharing oil revenues across provinces is not the real story. The real story is whether Exxon has run off with the pot roast while the Iraqis get to divvy up the crumbs.

Hopefully, it’s not that bad. Hopefully, the draft law allows foreigners to invest, without quotation marks, in Iraq. But it’s very odd that even the BBC and Reuters aren’t saying. It gives me a queasy feeling of being told: “Look over here! Don’t look at the man behind the curtain!”

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The Pinworms of Peace and Prosperity

They’re all small things. They seem hardly worth noticing. And because Mother Nature has nothing to do with them, we don’t even react with total disgust.

We should, though. They’re a disease of the body politic as bad as any pinworm. The genius of the Karl Roves of the world, who feel that power and money are wasted on people, is realizing that people will ignore small things. Throw someone in jail for exercising free speech, and you have a fight on your hands. But make sure that only compliant reporters get “the story,” and they’ll fall all over themselves to be your mouthpiece. It’s all those little things we can’t be bothered with while we try to stop war, pestilence, and pollution that cause war, pestilence, and pollution.

What follows isn’t a complete list. Far from it. But it’s what occurs to me off the top of my head, and it’s a start.

Accounting rules

What could be more boring than accounting rules? But they hold the key to the environmental destruction that’s getting worse by the minute.
Read more »

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Another apology to IE users

My theme seems to be reasonably ready to go … except I haven’t checked it yet in Internet Explorer. I’m sure it will blow up badly, and I will fix that. Really, I will. But I’m so taken with it in Firefox (by the way, have I nagged you to get Firefox?), I can’t stand not to use it. Also, Opera and Safari users: I’m just an amateur and don’t have an easy way to check any of what I do in those browsers. I hope the results aren’t too hideous. (Update: Yup. IE banishes the sidebar to the nether regions again, doesn’t handle png transparencies correctly, and many other smaller problems scattered about. Please bear with me!)

Well, another update. Feb. 24. Still in a mess in IE6, but legible. I’m really sorry, but I’ve run out of time to try to fix it, so that’s as good as it’ll get for IE6. In Firefox and IE7, there are still some noticeable problems, but there too, that’s it for now.

Thanks for your patience!

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Disastrous effect of closing all the mental hospitals

You get people like these running around loose: Warren Chisum and Ben Bridges, members of the Texas and Georgia state governments, respectively.

On Talking Points Memo, I see that these two were sending around a memo, using government funds no less!, that says evolution is a hoax and the Earth does not revolve around the sun. The ridiculous idea that the Earth rotates is also the product of a godless conspiracy.

Whose conspiracy? Why, Jewish scientists, of course, bent on the destruction of Christianity.

Luckily, Christianity has absorbed pigheaded lunatics for centuries and developed complete immunity, so there is no threat whatsoever from that direction.

(I guess if the likes of Chisum and Bridges are so far away from their natural habitat as to be found in state government, there is every chance actual pigs will be reading this. My apologies beforehand to any who may take offense at the comparison.)

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(Playing with WordPress themes)

I’m playing with themes again. Currently, I’m clobbering Summer Sun 1.0 by Tim Isenheim. A visit to freshlabs.de can show you what it’s supposed to look like. I didn’t like the greens and yellows, but I obviously haven’t improved things. Stay tuned, I hope. [Update: I've gone back to the previous for the time being.]

(There is no truth to the rumor that I have way too much time.)

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Molly Ivins: Now laughing in the great beyond

I miss her. I still miss her. I didn’t know her, and yet I did. You know some of a person by her work, and what a work it was. (I don’t know how long the Alternet posts of her recent essays will stay up, but at least for now, they’re there.)

And now she’s left us behind, when we need her more than ever. We have cockroaches in suits fomenting World War III, and no Molly anymore to point out that the suits don’t fit.

I realize it’s customary to write tributes in a more timely fashion, but it’s taken me a while to understand that I was never going to find the words I want, and, well, the rest of the reason is under the “About Me” in the sidebar. It’s no less heartfelt for being late. Besides, Krugman (via donkey.od) has written more eloquently than I ever could.

Molly, don’t forget us.

Technorati tags: Molly Ivins

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