Today's Blogs

Tricks or Treaties

Bloggers are up in arms over two new agreements: CAFTA, the free-trade agreement just passed by the House, and “Beyond Kyoto,” a greenhouse gas emissions pact signed by the United States, Australia, and others. They also take stock of Japan’s latest female android.

CAFTA: The House today narrowly passed the Central American Free Trade Agreement, eliminating most tariffs and import restrictions among the United States and several Central American nations.

Bloggers think CAFTA and House Majority Leader Tom Delay are sketchy. Family therapist Screwy Hoolie of the group blog Scrutiny Hooligans reports that the House voted “after the working people who will soon lose their jobs had gone to bed.” The anonymous anarchist Dirty Greek fumes, “Tom Delay’s tactics disgust me. The vote on CAFTA was held at midnight last night, apparently in hopes that those who were against it but didn’t care enough to be up that late wouldn’t be there to vote. … Obviously, they were very proud of this legislation, and that’s why they voted on it in the middle of the night under questionable pretenses.” Pamibe’s Pamela Bobick concludes, “We obviously learned nothing from NAFTA.”

Some bloggers welcome the deregulation. Eirishis, a grad student posting at group blog The Sanford Project, writes, “Kudos to the Bush administration for pushing this through. … Any member of Congress standing in the way simply lacked the stones to say to their constituents, ‘The economies of the US, Central America, and the world at large all need to evolve, and this is a step in the right direction.’ ” Former Reagan economic adviser Lawrence Kudlow of Kudlow’s Money Politics (and CNBC) rebuts critiques of the agreement: “CAFTA actually will allow American companies to grow and help keep costs and prices competitive, which will ultimately make for more jobs. … This is also a political victory: the Bush agenda of spreading economic as well as political democracy won an important victory in CAFTA. Free trade is a good thing. Artificially high prices for sugar and other goods are not.”

Read more about CAFTA here.

Beyond Kyoto: Six top emitters of greenhouse gases, including the United States and Australia, announced Wednesday night that they have signed a pact called Beyond Kyoto. The agreement focuses on technology rather than quotas for limiting emissions.

Many bloggers think the pact is a sham. Richie, a U.K. systems administrator at Richie’s Research, calls Beyond Kyoto “a weak alternative designed to muddle the issue and divert attention from the US’s and Australia’s collective lack of will to implement measures to stop global warming.” Freelance photographer Chris Valentine of Hockeyshooter’s Blog adds, “[Beyond Kyoto] is completely worthless. Just some flag waving by the US to try to convince the world ‘yes, we are concerned and we are doing something’ in the wake of the Edinburgh G8 summit.” General Stan of the group blog The Anticentenarian asserts, “Of course rapidly developing, industrializing nations need to have curbs to their output of greenhouse gases. But it is foolish and arrogant to ignore the need for those countries that are responsible for the current state of the environment to make amends to it. Right now, guys, the biggest user and abuser, banger and blamer, of the environment is America.”

Conservative Australian blogger Leigh of The House of Wheels points to the high costs New Zealand has undertaken in signing the Kyoto Protocol and concludes, “Australia and the States did the right thing by not following the Kyoto Protocol. For the cost to their economies, the temperature saving is next to nothing.” Anonymous right-leaning blogger California Yankee writes, “Good news indeed. I am so tired of the main stream media bashing the Bush administration for rejecting the Kyoto treaty. It was clear when Bill Clinton signed it that the U.S. would never ratify the treaty.”

Read more about Beyond Kyoto here.

Japanese android: Japanese scientists have developed a female android named Repliee Q1, considered the most human-looking robot to date. “We have found that people forget she is an android while interacting with her,” said Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University.

The blogosphere raises an eyebrow. Anonymous twentysomething blogger The Flounder Flop writes, “This is our first step towards either terminators, or sexbots. Either way … we’re all DOOMED!” 3rd Person’s PJC says of the “super happy funtime sexbot,” “Leave it to horny men from Japan to come up with new ideas to get some … the bot can also bat her eyelashes, appear as if she’s breathing, and even has opposable thumbs, which means the only tricks she can turn at present are handjobs. Another innovation from the same minds that brought you the lap pillow.” Student Chris Velazco of GeekFactor adds, “Surprisingly, it doesn’t have blue hair, gigantic breasts, or an insatiable sex drive … if work continues at this pace, we may see lifelike androids performing services to humanity in the near future. Of course, since it’s coming out of Japan (home of tentacle rape hentai and used panty vending machines), who knows how far these androids’ll be taking their devotion to ‘services to humanity …’ ”

Read more about Repliee Q1 here.