Monday, November 14, 2011

The Golden Age of opposition research, Russian military gets into badminton, and the expense of bringing water to the southland

                       Good Morning Humboldt County!

There’s a thin layer of fog rapidly disappearing outside as shafts of sunlight break through this morning. In other words, looks like another beautiful day. Pull up a seat and grab a cup of hot coffee and check out the trio of stories I’ve collected for your morning entertainment:

The golden age of opposition research

The sort of search tools that discovered presidential candidate Joe Biden's plagiarism in 1987 have become more sophisticated and the outlets to shop damaging information are now virtually unlimited. "This is a golden age" of opposition research, said Jeff Berkowitz, who dug dirt on Democratic candidates for the Republican National committee from 2002 to 2010.

Rick Perry was addressing a tiny audience of about 10 in New Hampshire last Friday. He told the story of a 38-year-old Occupy Wall Street protestor named Jeremy, who had complained that bankers got to work so early that he never managed to get out of bed in time to insult them face-to-face.

"I guess greed just makes you work hard," joked Perry, who said that his son had told him about the lazy protestor. What Perry didn't realize is that "Jeremy" was fictional, part of a satirical column by the Toronto Globe and Mail's Mark Schatzker mocking reactions to the Occupy movement.

Also in the small crowd at the Barley House was a "tracker" from American Bridge, a newly formed SuperPAC doing research for the Democratic Party. The tracker was videotaping Perry's every word and gesture, and even though the gaffe was a relatively minor one, the candidate was about to become a victim of the latest, state-of-the-art opposition research.

Your serve! Russian military takes up badminton

Forget nuclear missiles. Russia's military arsenal will soon be bristling with badminton rackets.

Hoping to keep soldiers and recruits in fighting form without great expense, the Defence Ministry plans to buy 10,000 badminton rackets and tens of thousands of shuttlecocks next year, the newspaper Izvestia reported on Monday. Call it military exercise.

California's precious liquid cargo

The energy, and expense, of bringing water to the Southland

The twin forces of power costs and climate-change regulations are threatening Southern California's long love affair with imported water, forcing the region to consider more mundane sources closer to home.

"It will further encourage retail water suppliers to use less imported water," said Edward Osann, a former federal water official who is a policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council. "It's that simple."

Time to walk on down the road…

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