Friday, March 30, 2012

How Much More Women Pay for Health Insurance

How do you increase a 20 point lead with women? Like this.--SS     

How Much More Women Pay for Health Insurance:
So the Obama campaign posted this yesterday. Discuss.

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

Republicans ignore history in order to repeat it.--SS     

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day:

"It's been tried in our history and it hasn't worked. It didn't work when we tried it in the decade before the Great Depression. It didn't work when we tried it in the last decade. We just tried this. What they're peddling has been tried -- it did not work!"-- President Obama, in a fiery campaign speech in Vermont, referring to Republican proposals as "you're on your own economics."

Today in Reasons to Be Killed If You're Black

If you ask a conservative white man, he'll tell you he's the real victim.--SS   

Today in Reasons to Be Killed If You're Black:

If Trayvon Martin showed us that wearing a hoodie and walking in a gated community is enough to get killed as long as you’re an African American male, then Kenneth Chamberlain will shows us that death is also a fitting punishment if you’re an elderly veteran, sitting in your home, who had the misfortune of accidentally calling for help:
Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., a 68-year-old African-American Marine veteran, was fatally shot in November by White Plains, NY, police who responded to a false alarm from his medical alert pendant. The officers broke down Chamberlain’s door, tasered him, and then shot him dead. Audio of the entire incident was recorded by the medical alert device in Chamberlain’s apartment.
His son, Kenneth Chambrlain, Jr., was on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman, and filled in some details. The story is heartbreaking:
He’s saying that he’s OK. He’s saying that he did not call for them. But they were very insistent. They were banging on the door, banging on the door, banging on the door. So you hear one of the officers say to him, “Well, you pushed your—you triggered your alarm now.” He said, “That’s because I want you to leave me alone.” And they just kept telling him, “Open the door. Open the door. Let us see that you’re all right.” At some point, the door was cracked open, because the police officers have a taser that has a camera on it, and it also has audio. So you could see where the door was cracked open. So, once you’ve gotten a visual, and you’ve seen that my father is OK, and he’s telling you that he’s OK, why would you still insist on getting into the apartment? Which is the question that I have. And they weren’t responding to a crime. He was sleeping and accidentally triggered his alarm.
Ultimately, after using expletives and racial slurs, they broke down the door. You can see on the video from the taser that they fired a taser at him. And I’m assuming that both prongs didn’t go in. He stood about maybe eight to 10 feet away from them with his hands down to his side. And at one point, you hear one of the officers say, “Cut it off.” And it was at that point they shot and killed my father.
In case you’re wondering, this is why black people think white racism is still a problem in the United States.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Message From A Republican Meteorologist On Climate Change | ThinkProgress

A Message From A Republican Meteorologist On Climate Change | ThinkProgress:

"My father, a devout Republican, who escaped a communist regime in East Germany, always taught me to never take my freedom for granted, and “actions have consequences.”  Carbon that took billions of years to form has been released in a geological blink of an eye. Human emissions have grown significantly over the past 200 years, and now exceed 27 billion tons of carbon dioxide, annually. To pretend this isn’t having any effect  on the 12-mile thin atmosphere overhead is to throw all logic and common sense out the window. It is to believe in scientific superstitions and political fairy tales, about a world where actions have no consequences – where colorless, odorless gases, the effluence of success and growth, can be waved away with a nod and a smirk. No harm, no foul. Keep drilling."

Unions welcome chance to campaign against Mitt Romney and all that he represents

Unions can't wait to run against Willard.--SS     

Unions welcome chance to campaign against Mitt Romney and all that he represents:

Mitt Romney -- CO/MN/MO losses
(Rick Wilking/Reuters)

The New York Times' Steven Greenhouse identifies a fundamental truth about Mitt Romney: though he would likely be tougher than Rick Santorum for President Obama to defeat, many of the people who would be tasked with defeating him would kind of enjoy the task. Greenhouse lines up a series of union leaders and staffers talking about their eagerness to campaign against Romney. Reasons include wanting to use him to open a discussion of locust capitalism:
“Do we welcome doing battle with him over his past as a businessman? You bet,” said Tim Waters, political director of the United Steelworkers. “We’re already talking to folks about what happened in his years at Bain — how they closed all these factories and people’s lives were destroyed by this kind of vulture capitalism.”
Romney's constant rich-guy gaffes also offer unions an opportunity to establish, even with working-class people struggling in this economy, that he emphatically does not feel their pain:
“Right off the bat we see that Romney has problems relating to workers because he’s part of the 1 percent,” Mr. Trumka said. “Every time he opens his mouth it comes out that he’s about the upper class. He doesn’t understand workers because he’s never around us.”
The thing is, as much as union leaders have a special relationship to Romney's .01 percent weaknesses, and see in his candidacy a chance to reinforce a critique of the kind of Wall Street-driven economy he represents, the view that Romney is an entertaining opponent isn't limited to unions. For instance, former Democratic National Committee staffer Matt Ortega, most recently the creator of Etch a Sketch Mitt Romney, explained the motivation for his earlier Multiple Choice Mitt site as being that "When I was at the DNC, Romney was the one guy I really wanted to run against, because he was just so much fun. I honestly believe he's a giant phoney, and there's literally no getting around how devoid of principles this guy is."

So while Democratic-affiliated political professionals would have loved a Republican nominee like Rick Santorum, with poor fundraising and campaign organization and the Google problem and the positions it represents, there's definitely some personal glee in facing off against Mitt "car elevator" Romney. For unions that have watched their members' lives torn apart by the brand of business Romney made hundreds of millions practicing, that's especially true.

The Supreme Court Parties Like It's 1936

Here's another reason why you should (and way to) correct people who say there's no difference between Republican and Democratic Presidents.--SS     

The Supreme Court Parties Like It's 1936:

I might as well confess that I've been in something like a state of shock for the past day. Tuesday was bad enough, but Wednesday's arguments in the Supreme Court were nothing short of surreal, as the conservative justices, Kennedy and Scalia in particular, spent their time chatting as if they were in the Senate cloakroom, casually hashing out a deal to figure out how best to keep their campaign promises to the tea party. There was barely even a pretense of being a court, not a legislature.

Randy Barnett is getting lots of kudos these days as the guy who created the conservative case against Obamacare, primarily by inventing the action vs. inaction distinction. And I guess he deserves his star turn. But watching yesterday's session (or, rather, reading the transcript) it's pretty obvious that none of it mattered. The conservatives looked like five men who just didn't like Obamacare and were bound and determined to find an excuse to overturn it. The actions vs. inaction distinction was good enough, so that's what they glommed onto, but anything else even reasonably plausible would have worked too.

It's not over til it's over, of course. Maybe the tone of the questioning has fooled us all, and at least a couple of the conservatives will pause before going fully rogue. But it looks grim right now, and even genial, generous E.J. Dionne is under no illusions about what it will mean if the court overturns Obamacare:
A court that gave us Bush v. Gore and Citizens United will prove conclusively that it sees no limits on its power, no need to defer to those elected to make our laws. A Supreme Court that is supposed to give us justice will instead deliver ideology.
I wasn't alive the last time the Supreme Court acted like this, and I never thought I'd live to see the day it would go there again. And maybe it won't. But they sure look like they're all ready to party like it's 1936 again.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

SCOTUS and Health Care Reform…Yikes!

Conservatives just don't understand economics, part 9,728.--SS       

SCOTUS and Health Care Reform…Yikes!:

I’ve tried to pay pretty close attention to the Supreme Court’s debate on the legality of the Affordable Care Act, but the legal issues all seem quite a muddle to me.  The economics, however, at least should be a lot more clear.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case with a few of the justices, as this must-read piece by economist Henry Aaron explains.

You can’t understand the market failure that the ACA targets if you don’t understand the negative externalities caused by that market failure.  On this point, Aaron writes:
Perhaps the most glaring instance of the failure to appreciate what an externality really is came from Justice Alito who at one point challenged the solicitor general by positing that the cost of all of the care currently used by those who are uninsured is less than would be the cost of the insurance they would be forced to carry. That being the case, Alito asked, how can one say that the uninsured are shifting costs to the insured? This query is painfully detached from an understanding of what an externality really is, how insurance works, or what the impact of insurance would be on service use.
Put aside that no one questions whether the uninsured are shifting costs to the insured, or that those costs could fairly be offset by “internalizing the externality,” i.e., mandating coverage.   According to Justice Alito’s logic, anyone can impose a cost on me, my family, and everyone else, as long as that cost is less than the price of offseting it.

That betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of a pretty simple concept that the clever justice is trying to make way too complicated.   And that should freak you out a bit as to what’s going on across town here in DC.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Individual Freedom Mandate

For the freeloaders in the health care system.--SS     

Individual Freedom Mandate:
By RJ Matson, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Related Entries

Rude Pundit: The Niggering of Trayvon Martin

It's so much more than just blaming the victim.--SS     

(title unknown):

The Niggering of Trayvon Martin:

We see this again and again. A black male who captures the imagination of the nation must be degraded by the right. He must be turned into something else, some Other. President Obama can't simply be an educated black man from a lower middle-class background with whom they disagree ideologically. No, he's got to be an enemy, a foreigner, a nigger. It's hard to denigrate someone who might be like you, conservatives. But it's easy to attack a nigger because he's just a nigger. Or a coon.

When 17 year-old Trayvon Martin was shot dead, the process of transforming him from an average middle-class high school student to a dangerous thug who was asking for it began almost immediately (putting aside the profiling that George Zimmerman did the second he started stalking Martin around their gated community in his SUV). News reports say his body was tagged "John Doe" and held in the morgue for three days. Sorry, race apologists, but if that had been a white child, especially the white child of, say, a Tea Party member, there'd have been a fucking riot. Or, more likely, it just wouldn't have happened.

Now, the niggering of Martin is in full swing as fake photos, school records, Facebook postings, and even his tweets are put under the microscope. A police report that portrays Martin as the initiator of violence has been leaked. And the news media is going along with the victim-blaming that is being spun out by authorities and the right, allowing that it's in any way relevant that Martin was suspended from school once, for instance.

The niggering of Trayvon Martin works as every niggering does. It gives conservatives cover for their belief in the innate goodness of guns and the innate badness of anyone non-white who even dresses gangsta. It gives racists, open and closeted, a reason not to care. It allows them to see him as deserving of some punishment in general: if Zimmerman hadn't killed him, this narrative goes, well, fuck, chances are Martin would have been a criminal and better to get it over with now than pay for his incarceration.

The Rude Pundit read over Martin's "No_Limit_Nigga" Twitter postings, although he felt skeevy about it (and he's sure that Tucker Carlson didn't feel any skeevier than usual). It's pretty much a journey through retweets and responses and sexual shit that all fall into the category of "stupid shit teenagers say."

Then, on page 25, is this: "Retweet if your biggest fear is losing your Mom." Martin did so. Twice.

Yeah, reality is way more complicated. Or simple, really. If you take "nigger" out of the equation, you're left with "child."

Insurance Mandate Faces Tough Questions

I can draw a "bright line" for Justice Kennedy. Anyone who doesn't buy insurance winds up in the ER, which makes us all pay more (and gives them a free ride).--SS     

Insurance Mandate Faces Tough Questions: "With the fate of President Obama's health care law hanging in the balance at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, a lawyer for the administration faced a barrage of skeptical questions from four of the court's more conservative justices," the New York Times reports.

"The legal question for the justices was whether Congress had exceeded its constitutional authority in requiring most Americans to obtain insurance or pay a penalty. The practical question was whether Mr. Obama's signature domestic achievement would survive."

Wall Street Journal: "The most worrisome remarks for the plaintiffs--the side arguing against the Obama health law--came from Justice Kennedy, who wavered over the claim that when it came to health care, a bright line could be drawn between those engaged in commerce by buying insurance and whose wholly outside the market by declining to do so."

Monday, March 26, 2012

Six days left for Congress to avoid highway Armageddon

Why do Republicans hate America? Because a Democrat is in charge.--SS     

Six days left for Congress to avoid highway Armageddon:

There’s less than a week left for Congress to agree to a highway bill of some sorts. Otherwise, come March 31, all federally funded roadwork will grind to a halt. The U.S. government will no longer collect $93 million per day in gas taxes. And construction workers will get laid off en masse. Chaos.

In theory, it shouldn’t be too hard to prevent this apocalyptic scenario from coming to pass. On Monday, the House is planning to vote on a clean, 90-day extension of the current transportation law. Simple enough, right?

Except, as Politico reports, time is running out, so the House bill is being considered under a suspension of the rules. That means it needs a two-thirds majority to pass. And that’s still far from assured. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats would prefer the House just take up their own two-year highway legislation, though the Senate has quietly conceded that it will consider a short-term extension instead to avoid mass layoffs. But that still leaves the risk that even a short-term bill could get caught in the snags, delays, and cloture motions the Senate is famous for.

Odds are, the House and Senate will figure something out before the March 31 deadline. Ever since the current transportation law expired in 2009, Congress has passed eight short-term extensions to avoid mass layoffs. A ninth wouldn’t be all that far-fetched. And the alternative is too grisly to contemplate.

Even so, the fact that Congress is relying so heavily on short-term extensions imposes real costs on the rest of the country. Those short-term bills make it impossible for states to conduct any sort of rational planning for roads, bridges, and mass transit. “If states don’t have certainty from Congress — meaning a bill that lasts two years or more — then they basically have to guess how much money they have to work with,” said John Horsley, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, in an interview earlier this month. “That means they either become conservative in the amount of projects they approve or they simply focus on shorter-term projects and wait on a lot of bigger projects” until they get a better sense of where Congress is headed.

So far, Congress has struggled to come up with long-term bills. One problem is that there’s just not enough gas-tax revenue to play with anymore. The House hasn’t been able to agree on the six-year bill it wants because it’s unclear how to pay for it without raising the gas tax. (And no one wants to raise the gas tax.) The Senate had to resort to a number of funding gimmicks just to get a two-year bill. None of this will get any easier 90 days from now, when we’re increasingly close to the election.

In the meantime, Congress’s addiction to short-term transportation bills could actually be holding back infrastructure investments around the country. And yet, for the next few months, a short-term bill looks like the most optimistic outcome by far.

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

GOP Slams Dems For Medicare Cuts Republicans Support

At long last, sirs, have you no sense of irony?--SS   

GOP Slams Dems For Medicare Cuts Republicans Support:

The latest "Mediscare" battle is rife with irony: Republicans are attacking Democrats' Medicare cost-savings even though they voted overwhelmingly to continue the policy last year and are supporting it again this year.

In a new TV ad, the House GOP's electoral arm NRCC targets Rep. Betty Sutton (D-OH) for backing President Obama health care reform law, declaring that it will "decimate Medicare" and "shred the social safety net and leave seniors vulnerable at risk." The NRCC is also launching robocalls in 13 Democratic-held districts slamming the members over the Medicare cuts in the reform law.

The Affordable Care Act reduces Medicare spending by some $500 billion over 10 years, mostly with reimbursement cuts to private insurers and health providers -- the reductions do not touch benefits. The aim was to reduce over-payments and strengthen the life of the safety-net program.

As it turns out, nearly every Republican in the House and Senate voted last year to sustain those cuts in the Paul Ryan budget. And they're set to do so again in the near future as his updated Path To Prosperity blueprint comes up for a vote. That's the context of these ads -- Republicans know Democrats are about to hit them hard for again pushing a plan that partially privatizes Medicare and ends the coverage guarantee, so they're making a pre-emptive strike.

NRCC spokesman Paul Lindsay, asked about this contradiction, did not dispute that Republicans are now supporting the same Medicare cuts they're bashing Dems for. He simply made the observation that Dems are using them to fund the Affordable Care Act, which enjoyed the two-year anniversary of its enactment Friday.

"Democrats cut $500 billion from Medicare in order to pay for ObamaCare," Lindsay told TPM. "The Path to Prosperity puts that back towards ensuring that Medicare remains sustainable instead of funding the Democrats' massive government healthcare takeover."

Republicans used this line of attack ahead of the 2010 elections and reaped the political rewards. But their own budget, for the second year in a row, illustrates that the GOP has no qualms with the Medicare policy they're excoriating Dems for enacting.

"The 'do as I say, not as I do' NRCC is at it again lying yet again," the House Dems' electoral arm DCCC said in a statement, "about Democrats' record to strengthen and improve Medicare in an attempt to distract from Republicans' record of trying to end the Medicare guarantee to give tax breaks to billionaires and Big Oil."

The irony goes even deeper: While the GOP is attacking Dems for cutting Medicare to fund the Affordable Care Act, their own Ryan blueprint converts Medicare into a market exchange for seniors that's very similar to what the Affordable Care Act does for non-seniors. But the GOP plan has a public option, which Republicans successfully fought to keep out of the ACA.

This new round of ads comes after Republicans spent part of the last year decrying Democrats for "Mediscare" attacks.

Dick Cheney Recovering After Getting a New Heart -

Dick "Deficits Don't Matter" Cheney (AKA Shooter, AKA Threat Inflator) got a new heart. Maybe now he'll apologize for Iraq.--SS     

Dick Cheney Recovering After Getting a New Heart -

"Former Vice President Dick Cheney had a heart transplant on Saturday after 20 months on a waiting list, and was recovering in a Virginia hospital, a statement from his office said."

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity, Vol. XI

Willard is a pathological liar.--SS      

Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity, Vol. XI:

Getty Images
It was heartening that Mitt Romney's habitual dishonesty generated far more attention than usual this week, but the scrutiny doesn't appear to have discouraged the Republican frontrunner, who had an incredibly mendacious week.

Indeed, Jamelle Bouie noted the other day, Romney "is running against policies that haven't happened and an Obama that doesn't exist. Exaggeration is normal in politics, but this goes beyond garden-variety embellishment."

To help drive the point home, take a look at the 11th installment of my weekly series, chronicling Mitt's mendacity. Unfortunately, it's one of the longest editions to date.

1. Romney argued this week, "There's no question that when [President Obama] ran for office, he said he wanted to see gasoline prices go up."

No, he didn't.

2. Romney told Fox News, "[President Obama] said that energy prices would skyrocket under his views and he selected three people to help him implement that program: the secretary of energy, the secretary of the interior, and the EPA administrator."

That's not even close to being true.

3. Romney also told Fox News' Bret Baier this week about President Obama, "This is a president [who] simply does not have experience in tough situations."

That's ironic coming from a coddled multi-millionaire from a powerful, wealthy family, but it's also blatantly untrue. Obama has experience leading the nation during a time of multiple ongoing crises. Love him or hate him, the economic crisis, the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, the strikes on bin Laden and al Qaeda, and the offensive in Libya count as "tough situations" -- tougher than anything Romney has ever seen in his entire life.

4. In reference to Iran, Romney told Fox News, "It's quite clear that the president wants to avoid in any way a discussion about a military option."

It's quite clear Romney's not telling the truth. Obama recently told AIPAC, in a speech Romney heard and critiqued, "I have said that when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say. That includes all elements of American power: A political effort ... a diplomatic ... an economic effort ... and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency."

5. In making the case against the Affordable Care Act, Romney said, "Now we find out from the Congressional Budget Office that [Obama administration officials] underestimated its costs -- multiple trillions of new federal spending is simply not something people can afford."

That's just not what the Congressional Budget Office said.

6. In the same appearance, Romney said his first problem with the health care reform law is the "$500 billion cut in Medicare."

Romney loves this line, but it's simply not true.

7. In his University of Chicago speech, Romney said, Obama administration "bureaucrats" are telling "farmers what their 15-year-old sons and daughters can and can't do on the family farm."

That's plainly false.

8. In the same speech, Romney said, "Under Dodd-Frank, [entrepreneurial pioneers] would have struggled to get loans from their community banks."

Romney has to know that's not true.

9. In the same speech, Romney promised, "Instead of raising taxes, I will cut them."

Well, he'd cut taxes for most folks, but for those working families struggling most, the Romney plan calls for a tax increase.

10. In his victory speech in Illinois after the primary, Romney said, "The government would have banned Thomas Edison's light bulb. Oh, that's right. They just did."

This isn't just a lie; it's a dumb lie.

11. Romney told voters in Maryland, "[O]ne of the things that just broke my heart was watching the president go around the world apologizing for America."

You've got to be kidding me.

12. Romney told a Wisconsin radio show this morning that Paul Ryan's budget plan "does not balance the budget on the backs of the poor and the elderly."

That's the exact opposite of reality.

13. In the same interview, Romney said the Ryan plan "preserves Medicare."

Actually, it ends Medicare, and replaces it with vouchers.

14. Romney argued in a separate appearance this morning, "The Catholic Church is being told that they have to provide insurance that covers morning after pills, sterilizations, and contraceptives. Despite the fact that these very features violate the conscience of the Catholic Church itself.

He's lying. That's not what the Catholic Church -- or any other house of worship -- is being told at all.

Rachel argued this week that Romney lies "all the time, really easily," adding, "He says things that are not true with unnerving frequency, arguably more than any modern candidate for major office, and there are a lot of creeps among them. Some dishonesty in national American politics is frankly routine. It's too bad, but it's true. Romney-style dishonesty is a sight to behold. It's different. He's bending the curve."

And as this morning's lies help demonstrate, the candidate doesn't even seem to care about being caught. I've never seen anything like it.

Previous editions of Chronicling Mitt's Mendacity: Vol. I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IXX.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Treasury: Build When It's Cheap


Treasury: Build When It's Cheap:

This is slightly different from multiplier-based arguments about why increasing government purchases (as opposed to transfer payments) during a time of persistently high unemployment and low interest rates is smart, but in a new report the Treasury Department (PDF) argues that it's much cheaper to do it that way:
There are other factors that make current construction especially timely and costs low, translating into lower project costs. This impact on project costs is well-illustrated by the Federal Aviation Administration’s experience awarding $1.1 billion in Recovery Act funds for airport improvements. The money was designated for 300 projects. The winning bids for those projects came in over $200 million below the engineers' estimates. A second round of projects was selected, which also received lower bids than anticipated.  As a result of these cost savings, 367 runway and airport improvement projects were funded with the money that was originally intended to support 300 projects.
The states and transit authorities that selected most of the highway ($26.6 billion) and transit ($8 billion) projects supported by the Recovery Act reported similar experiences, and similar bid savings. Overall, the Department of Transportation (DOT) estimates that more than 2,000 additional airport, highway, bridge, and transit projects were funded because of low bids or projects being completed under budget.

The way an "old school" recession worked was that the Federal Reserve decided that inflation was too high. In response, it would raise interest rates which throws people out of work in rate-sensitive sectors. Construction is the ultimate rate-sensitive sectors, so it takes the hit hardest and first. Then when the Fed wants people to have jobs again, it cuts rates which spurs activity in rate-sensitive sectors—most of all investment in buildings and other physical structures. When a normal policy rule would suggest cutting rates below zero, you find that even at 0% there's still lots of idle resources in the structure-building sector. Consequently, the public sector has the opportunity to invest in structures at cut-rate prices.

Iridium Satellite Flares


Iridium Satellite Flares: There are bright points of light in the night sky. They are not Venus, Jupiter, or the Space Station but something that can be just as bright. It is sun glint reflecting from one of the three main mission antennas (MMA), or occasionally a solar panel, of one of the nearly 100 Iridium satellites in orbit that form a worldwide satellite telephone communication system.

Seen in the night sky near dusk or dawn, the Iridium satellites remain illuminated by sunlight. They are barely visible under ordinary conditions. However, each antenna, acting as a mirror, reflects sunlight forming an intense beam that when projected onto Earth is only about 10 kilometers in diameter.

If you happen to be standing in this spot an intense flash of light will be seen for perhaps 1 to 4 seconds. This flash can be as bright as -8 magnitude, looking as bright as the Space Station and brighter than either Jupiter or Venus.

At first glance, it looks like an airplane dropped a magnesium flare. These so-called “Iridium flares” can originate from any one of the satellites in the constellation. The real feat in this sun-satellite-earth dynamics is to know when and where to be standing so that they can be observed when everything comes into alignment.

Rob Matson, an amateur astronomer from Southern California wrote a program that makes such calculations, the algorithm for which is also employed by the Iridium flare predictor on the website Heavens-Above. (Editor's note: Iridium flare predictions are listed under Satellites on the left side of the page).

Given your GPS location, Rob’s program does a remarkable job of predicting the flares down to the very second. An impressive parlor trick is to take your friends outside to observe a bright flare in the night sky at the end of your countdown.

Blows Happen To People, Not Just Political Movement

Free markets are people!--SS      

Blows Happen To People, Not Just Political Movement:

I was reading some righteous indignation from Dave Roberts yesterday who was making the point that the media tends to portray defeats of climate-related legislation as a blow "to environmentalists" rather than a blow to, say, villagers in flood-prone lowlands or drought-stricken Texas farmers. Once you start paying attention, you see this kind of thing in coverage of all sorts of issues.

The Irish economy, for example, is now shrinking:

Ireland ended last year in recession, according to figures released on Thursday, dealing a blow to the policy of economic austerity being forced on struggling eurozone countries by the European commission and the IMF.
But of course "the policy of economic austerity" is not a living breathing human being with feelings and interests and values. And the specific human beings who pushed austerity policies on Europe—central bank chief Jean-Claude Trichet and his successor, their colleagues on the ECB board, Angela Merkel and her coalition partners, etc.—have not been dealt personal blows here either. They're all fine. The blow has been dealt to unemployed Irish people who are hoping to get jobs soon. The blow has been dealt to Irish small business operators who have a decent underlying product and were hoping to expand production when customers would have a bit more cash in their pockets. The blow is dealt to Irish kids who are going to school with parental joblessness and economic distress hanging over their heads. Most likely "the policy of economic austerity" will keep on trucking, but lots of human beings' lives will be disturbed.

Bureau of Labor Statistics Reports 3.1 Million U.S. Green Jobs: Top 5 Takeaways

What ever happened to the conserve part of conservative?--SS     

Bureau of Labor Statistics Reports 3.1 Million U.S. Green Jobs: Top 5 Takeaways:
by Jorge Madrid and Adam James

Green Goods and Services (GGS) accounted for 2.4 percent of total U.S. employment in 2010, with almost a third of all jobs supporting the badly hit construction and manufacturing sector, says a new analysis released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The vast majority of these jobs were in the private sector (2.3 million) while the public sector accounted for 860,300. While the GGS sector certainly got a boost in 2010 from the stimulus, considered the “Most Important Energy Bill in American History,” a similar analysis of the clean economy by the Brookings Institution finds that this snapshot is part of a wider trend showing green jobs is on the rise.

The BLS has also taken a stab at defining green jobs:
  • Jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources. Green goods and services fall into one or more of five groups: energy from renewable sources, energy efficiency, pollution reduction and removal, natural resources conservation, and environmental compliance, training, and public awareness.
  • Jobs in which workers’ duties involve making their establishment’s production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources. These workers research, develop, or use technologies and practices to lessen the environmental impact of their establishment, or train the establishment’s workers or contractors in these technologies and practices. These technologies and practices fall into one or more of four groups: energy from renewable sources, energy efficiency, pollution reduction and removal, and natural resource confirmation.
The BLS spent over a year analyzing and accounting these figures, at times fighting through bitter criticism and resistance from political opponents and their supporters from Big Oil.  We suspect that we have not heard the last from them.

But for now, while many interesting storylines can be fleshed out from this new data, here are our top 5 takeaways:

1.    Green Jobs Are Supporting Two of the Nation’s Hardest Hit Industries:  At the peak of the recession in 2009, construction and manufacturing sectors reported unemployment rates of 19 percent and 12.1 percent respectively.  Collapse in these industries put massive numbers of hardworking Americans out of work, and bolstering them should be high priority for economic recovery.  We’ve see that green building accounted for 25 percent of all new construction ventures in 2010, including energy efficiency retrofits which create jobs at 3 times the rate of oil and gas investments.  Likewise, we know that 50 percent of parts for wind turbines are American-made, along with 90% percent of energy efficiency materials like HVAC systems, siding, and refrigerators.

2.    Green Jobs Out-Number Fossil Fuel Jobs 4 to 1:  CAP analysis of 2010 BLS figures found 575,000 jobs in the oil and gas sector, including extraction, refining, and other support activities – even with oil and gas production reaching an 8-year high under the Obama Administration.  Adding mining and related activities to the mix brings 2010 fossil fuel jobs to 783,000, nearly 4 times smaller than the total Green Goods and Services category.  According analysis by the Brookings Institution, green jobs outpaced the job growth in the greater economy by a factor of 2 to 1 during the peak of the recession (2008-2010), and pay an average of $7,000 more than other jobs across the greater economy.

3.    Green Jobs are Diverse:  While construction and manufacturing account for the majority of all private-sector jobs in the GGS category, there are also other diverse sectors that include professional scientific services, recycling and waste reduction, administration, and mass transportation activities.  In contrast, more than one-third of all 2010 jobs in the oil and gas sector were in support services, including gas station attendants.  According to projection from the American Petroleum Institute (API), nearly half of all oil jobs will be in gas stations by 2030.

4.    Green jobs are Regional Economic Drivers: In every geographic region, green jobs represented an increasing percentage of total employment growth. In the South, Alabama and Missouri saw 44,288 and 65,205 jobs added in 2010- representing 2.4% and 2.5% of total employment. On the west coast, California and Oregon added 338,445 and 54,953 jobs- representing 2.3% and 3.4% of total employment. The Midwest saw phenomenal growth, with 22,192 green jobs constituting 3.7% of their total employment — and a whopping 126,855 jobs in Ohio making up 2.6% of total growth. On the east coast New York added 248,526 green jobs, accounting for 3% of new employment. There were 26,941 green jobs added in Washington, DC, which was 3.9% of total employment. No matter what corner of this country you travel to, green jobs are putting Americans back to work.

5.    Green jobs are the Future: The truly exciting trend is that these jobs are being created across all economic sectors and a diverse set of employment categories.  These are concrete changes that we can see in our own communities. Green jobs are transforming the economy to be more efficient, less polluting, and more competitive in new technologies and global industries like clean energy. America has always been on the cutting edge of innovation and we are already seeing our investments in the clean economy paying dividends. We need the right policies and bold political will to continue this solid growth.

Click here to find out how many green jobs are in your state.

Jorge Madrid is a research associate for the energy policy team at the Center for American Progress. Adam James is a special assistant for energy policy at the Center for American Progress.

The Energy Omnivore’s Dilemma

Diversify and localize.--SS    

The Energy Omnivore’s Dilemma:

In 2011, the average American spent $732 to heat their home with natural gas.  In contrast, they spent $2,535 to heat their homes with oil.  Ouch!

This is a pretty good example of the effects of what is called a specialization strategy.  By specializing on the consumption of oil to heat their homes, these homeowners made themselves acutely vulnerable to changes in the price of oil.  So, when oil went up in 2007 due to attacks on oil production in Nigeria and increased demand in China, they paid the price for their specialization.

These oil heat customers are in no way unique.   Answer this question:   How many types of energy do you use?

It’s a good guess that the answer for most people is two.  Gasoline and electricity.  In northern climates it may be three.  There we tend to see more use of natural gas, oil, or wood for heating. Regardless, it’s pretty safe to make the claim that we are all somewhat specialized in how we consume energy.

It’s easy to understand why specialization is so popular.  It’s efficient.  It’s optimized.  However, it has a fatal drawback:  During periods of rapid change — economic to environmental — a specialized strategy to energy consumption can be extremely disadvantageous, particularly at the individual level.

For example, what if a war with Iran made heating oil too expensive to afford?  Or, what if corruption at the local power company led to weeks of blackouts?

The Energy Omnivore’s Dilemma

In a perfect world, we would be as omnivorous with energy consumption as we are with food.
If we were truly energy omnivores, we wouldn’t care much if oil prices spiked due to a war with Iran.  We’d simply switch to the less expensive and more plentiful alternative if some source of energy became too expensive or unavailable.

What’s required to be an energy omnivore?  The ability to:
  • produce a home’s electricity from a variety of fuels.
  • heat and cool a home with oil, wood, natural gas, passive solar, electricity, and geo-exchange.
  • power a vehicle with gasoline, natural gas, diesel, bio diesel, and electricity.

As you can see, this is a pretty extensive list.  It’s likely much more expensive to implement than most people can afford at the individual level.   Further, much of this omnivorous production might be best done at the community level rather than at the household/complex level.

Given the hurdles and complexities involved, let’s treat this list as a touchstone.  Something to guide our efforts over the long term.  We won’t get there overnight, but we’ll get there with some clever thinking and hard work.

Let me know what you think about it.

Your omnivorous analyst,
John Robb

PS:  Omnivorous food consumption has proven to be a very resilient energy strategy — it successfully kept homo sapiens out of Darwin’s abattoir when a more specialized/optimized strategy would have failed.  An omnivorous strategy shines during periods of stress and change, which is what we are headed into.

PPS:  Currently, centralized electricity production is relatively omnivorous.  It’s generated by  everything from nuclear power to solar to hydro to natural gas to oil to wind.  However, this production is both remote which makes it vulnerable to disruption and changes very slowly.  It also represents a very small portion of our total energy consumption (15%), a percentage that is unlikely to change given an inability to build new delivery infrastructure to meet demand growth.

GOP Congressman Advises Women to Donate to Democrats

GOP Congressman Advises Women to Donate to Democrats: Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) was the only Republican congressman at an Equal Rights Amendment rally yesterday and he advised a crowd of mostly women to give their money to Democrats, the Huffington Post reports.

Said Hanna: "I think these are very precarious times for women, it seems. So many of your rights are under assault. I'll tell you this: Contribute your money to people who speak out on your behalf, because the other side -- my side -- has a lot of it. And you need to send your own message. You need to remind people that you vote, you matter, and that they can't succeed without your help."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Senate Passes Amended Crowdfunding Bill, Emulating Kickstarter Model

This is a very good thing.--SS  

Senate Passes Amended Crowdfunding Bill, Emulating Kickstarter Model:


The U.S. Senate on Thursday afternoon voted overwhelmingly in favor (73-26) of a "crowdfunding" bill, one that would enable private startup companies to turn to social media and websites like Kickstarter to solicit early investments from the general public, a practice currently prohibited by the government.

But the bill, known as the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, was passed in an amended form that included more restrictions than a version of the same bill passed by the House on March 8.

Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Scott Brown (R-MA), who introduced the amendment along with Jeff Merkley (D-OR), celebrated their rare bipartisan success.
"Crowdfunding is an important way to harness potential investments in small businesses and start-ups in Colorado and across the country," Sen. Bennet said in a statement. "This amendment will help bring our securities regulations into the 21st century while driving innovation, promoting job growth and supporting small businesses in a way we have not seen before."

"This is a victory for Massachusetts' many startups and entrepreneurs that want to expand and create jobs," Sen. Brown said. "Crowdfunding will allow small businesses to bypass Wall Street and go straight to Main Street for financing, freeing every American to invest in a local business or the next great idea."

Brown has long championed the idea of a crowdfunding bill, introducing a bill back in November 2011 and writing a column that month in Wired pleading his case.

The restrictions in the amendement are designed to make sure that websites which will allow crowdfunding investments do thorough checks on both the startup companies and the potential investors in order to prevent fraud.

Now the new version of the JOBS Act is headed back to the Senate for another vote. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) told Politico that the House vote will occur next week and signaled that it would likely be in favor: "Today's strong Senate vote combined with bipartisan support in the House, from the President, and the business community shows even in a divided Washington we can come together to get things done for our nation's job creators."

President Obama has vowed to sign the bill once it gets to his office.

Under the amended version of the JOBS Act passed by the Senate, websites that want to act as crowdfunding investment platforms will have to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is then in turn instructed to work with state regulators to make sure that all of the crowdfunding is sound.

The amended version also puts tighter restrictions on how much money investors can gamble on the startups: 5 percent of their annual income or $2,000 in the case of those with annual incomes of $100,000 or less, whichever is greater, or 10 percent of income or $100,000 for those making $100,000 or more a year, whichever is less.

Despite the overwhelming bipartisan support in both Houses, some legislators are against the bill. In the Senate, 25 Democrats and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) voted "nay" over the shared concern that it could lead to gullible Americans getting swindled.

"At best, this bill could make it easier for con artists to defraud seniors out of their entire life savings by convincing them to invest in worthless companies," Sanders said in a statement, continuing:

"At worst, this bill has the potential to create the next Enron or Arthur Andersen scandal or an even worse financial crisis...Have we learned nothing? Deregulating Wall Street led to the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. Now the same people who caused this horrible recession are telling us that more Wall Street deregulation will create jobs. Give me a break."

Kickstarter, meanwhile, declined to comment on the effect the bill might have on its booming business. But sources close to the company pointed out that Kickstarter was founded and remains, at least for now, a platform specifically geared toward supporting artistic and creative projects, not startup companies.

"That's Specious Reasoning, Representative"

"I want to buy your rock."--Homer Simpson      

"That's Specious Reasoning, Representative":

Many of you will know this classic scene from The Simpsons, when Homer celebrates the expensive "Bear Patrol" created by city government as an overreaction to a single bear getting into the city:
Homer: Not a bear in sight.  The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm.
 Lisa: That's specious reasoning, Dad.
Homer: Thank you, dear.
 Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: Oh, how does it work?
 Lisa: It doesn't work.
Homer: Uh-huh.
 Lisa: It's just a stupid rock.
Homer: Uh-huh.
 Lisa: But I don't see any tigers around, do you?
        [Homer thinks of this, then pulls out some money]
Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.
        [Lisa refuses at first, then takes the exchange]
Another person who would like to buy Lisa's rock is Florida state representative Dennis Baxley:
"Every time you have an adverse incident, immediately the anti-gun faction will say this law is the problem," Baxley, a Republican, said, adding that violent crime in Florida has dropped since its implementation. "As public policy, it is fulfilling its purpose and working well. The perpetrators know everyone has the right to defend themselves. … I think that has been a strong deterrent."
On its face, the idea that a declining rate of violent crime proves that the Stand Your Ground law is a "strong deterrent" is specious for the same reason as Homer's arguments about the Bear Patrol. New York's violent crime rates have decreased much more dramatically without a Stand Your Ground law. So to use Baxley's own standards, a law that essentially (at least as applied) requires the state to take even the most implausible and uncorroborated claim of self-defense as the gospel truth actually has a strong anti-deterrent effect.

But, of course, it's even worse than that. As the article goes on to note, "[s]ince the law was enacted in 2005, the number of justifiable homicides in Florida has skyrocketed." Arbitrarily classifying a number of murders as not-crimes is a good way to reduce reported violent crime rates, but it doesn't actually reduce violence. The fact that George Zimmerman hasn't been arrested doesn't make Trayvon Martin any less of a victim of violence.  

The one who actually needs to apologize

Willard's serial lying is going to get him in some trouble. Someday. Maybe.-SS   

The one who actually needs to apologize:

Sam Stein noted yesterday that Mitt Romney, on the campaign trail, told voters it "just broke my heart" when he saw President Obama "go around the world apologizing for America."

Romney's lying. He knows he's lying. And yet he keeps telling this lie anyway.

This particular lie is troubling because of how old it is. In Romney's campaign kick-off speech last June, he told supporters, "President Obama sees a different America, and he's taken us in a different direction. A few months into office, he traveled around the globe to apologize for America."

This was immediately fact-checked, and it was immediately proven false, but that hasn't stopped Romney from repeating this claim nearly every day since.

If Romney had said it once and then walked it back, it would have been merely offensive. He might even be able to feign ignorance after telling the lie a single time. But if someone makes a dishonest claim, learns that's it's not true, and then chooses to repeat it countless times anyway, that person is no longer simply mistaken -- that person is lying.

And as we talked about on the show last night, it's part of an unnerving pattern of dishonesty that deserves more attention.

"Right to Work" Means the Government Redistributes from Union Supporters to Non-Supporters

Right to work for less.--SS     

"Right to Work" Means the Government Redistributes from Union Supporters to Non-Supporters:

The NYT began an article discussing a "right to work" measure in Minnesota by describing it as a "measure ... that would allow workers to avoid paying fees to unions they choose not to join." It would have been helpful to remind readers that under federal law a union is legally obligated to represent all the workers in a bargaining unit regardless of whether or not they choose to join the union.

This rule means that workers who do not join the union not only gain from whatever wage and benefit increases the union negotiates with the employer, they also are entitled to the union's representation in any disputes that are covered under the contract. For example, if the employer wants to discipline or fire a worker who is not a member of the union, the union is obligated to represent this worker in the same way as if they were a dues paying member of the union.

In this context, the Minnesota measure means that workers who support a union can effectively be required to pay for the representation of workers who do not support the union. This is not an obvious step toward promoting individual freedom.

Contrary to what the article asserts every worker in Minnesota can already "avoid paying fees to unions they choose not to join." They have the option to not work at a company where there is a union contract that requires workers to pay for their union representation.

This measure is about taking away rights, not extending them. If it were approved, workers would no longer have the right to sign a contract that required that everyone who benefited from union representation paid for this representation. This is a case of the government interfering with freedom of contract.

Flashback of the Day


Flashback of the Day:

"I'm very much in favor of people recognizing that these high gasoline prices are probably here to stay."-- Mitt Romney, quoted by the New Republic in 2006.

March Madness: ‘This May Be An Unprecedented Event Since Modern U.S. Weather Records Began In The Late 19th Century’

Hot enough for you?--SS  

March Madness: ‘This May Be An Unprecedented Event Since Modern U.S. Weather Records Began In The Late 19th Century’:

March Heat Records Hit Incredible Ratio of 35 to 1 vs. Cold Records, Must-See Weather Channel Video Explains Link to Global Warming

Dr. Jeff Masters: A spring heat wave like no other in U.S. and Canadian history peaked in intensity yesterday, during its tenth day. Since record keeping began in the late 1800s, there have never been so many temperature records broken for spring warmth in a one-week period–and the margins by which some of the records were broken yesterday were truly astonishing. Wunderground’s weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, commented to me yesterday, “it’s almost like science fiction at this point.
Among the stunning records set yesterday are:
  • Pellston, MI: record high broken by 32°F
  • Low temperatures beat the previous record high for the date at two stations
  • Multiple Canadian cites break all-time April records for warmth in March
Sadly, even this off-the-charts event is just what scientists have been warning to expect if we kept spewing billions of tons of heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the air (see Hansen et al: “Extreme Heat Waves … in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 Were ‘Caused’ by GlobalWarming”).
Yesterday, meteorologist Masters published a detailed statistical analysis that concluded, “It is highly unlikely the warmth of the current ‘Summer in March’ heat wave could have occurred unless the climate was warming.

Based on satellite data, the map depicts temperatures from March 8–15 compared to the average of the same eight day period of March from 2000-2011. Image: NASA via Masters.
Meteorologists and science writers have been struggling to come up with words to describe this super-charged heat wave: “This is not the atmosphere I grew up with” and it’s “not just breaking but obliterating records” and “OFF THE SCALE WEIRD; even for Minnesota.” Climate Central wrote:
In fact, the broad geographic scope of this heat event, along with the margins by which records are being broken, the time of year this is occurring, and the duration of the event are all indications that this may be an unprecedented event since modern U.S. weather records began in the late 19th century.
Like a baseball player on steroids, our climate system is breaking records at an unnatural pace. Weather Channel meteorologist Stu Ostro calls the current heat wave “surreal” and explained that “While natural factors are contributing to this warm spell, given the nature of it and its context with other extreme weather events and patterns in recent years there is a high probability that global warming is having an influence upon its extremity.”
There is a must-see interview of Ostro on the Weather Channel’s website, in which he explains how “data and science” — see this big PDF – switched him from being a skeptic on climate change to someone who understands that humans are changing the climate now:
Weather Channel meteorologists are stunned by “the sheer number of daily record highs either tied or broken over the past two weeks” as they explain in their post, “Perspective: More than 4,000 Record Highs Set!“:
If you pull out your calculator and add the numbers up from March 9 to March 19, the total exceeds 4,300!! This speaks to the widespread nature and longevity of this warm spell….
Through March 21, International Falls, Minn., self-promoted as the “Icebox of the Nation”, has tied or broken daily record highs 11 of the past 12 days!
… Chicago, Ill. set record highs eight days in a row through Wednesday! In this streak, seven of the days have been in the 80s, including Wednesday’s astounding 87 degree high! The National Weather Service in Chicago recently called the warm spell “historic” and something that is unlikely to be matched in our lifetime.
We have entered the age of the exclamation point.
But the notion that this won’t be matched in our lifetime is to miss the impact global warming is having on heat records, according to the scientific literature.
Yes, this March U.S. heat records have been outnumbering cold records by a stunning amount – an incredible 35-to-1 – as this chart from Steve Scolnik at Capital Climate makes clear:

Monthly ratio of daily high temperature to low temperature records set in the U.S. for every month of 2011 and the first half of March, seasonal ratio for summer and fall 2011, winter 2011-2012 to date, and annual ratio for 2011 and 2012, data from NOAA.
Scolnick notes, “For the year to date, the ratio is approaching 20 to 1, nearly 10 times the pace of the previous decade.”
I like the statistical aggregation across the country, since it gets us beyond the oft-repeated point that you can’t pin any one record temperature on global warming. If you want to know the historical ratios, see the 2009 analysis, “Record high temperatures far outpace record lows across U.S.,” which shows that the average ratio for the 2000s was 2.04-to-1, a sharp increase from previous decades. Gerald Meehl, the lead author and a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), explained, “If temperatures were not warming, the number of record daily highs and lows being set each year would be approximately even.”
The key point is that NCAR found:
The modeling results indicate that if nations continue to increase their emissions of greenhouse gases in a “business as usual” scenario, the U.S. ratio of daily record high to record low temperatures would increase to about 20-to-1 by mid-century and 50-to-1 by 2100. The mid-century ratio could be much higher if emissions rose at an even greater pace….
In fact, emissions are rising at a faster rate than expected. So business as usual means that by mid-century, the ‘normal’ ratio could be even higher than 20-to-1, which is just what we have seen this year to date. So what is an off-the-charts March now, could be a pretty common event by, say, the 2040s. A great many people alive today will see this happen again — and many will see even worse.
Here are some more remarkable records from Wednesday, via Masters:
Pellston, MI: record high broken by 32°F

Pellston, Michigan in the Northern Lower Peninsula is called “Michigan’s Icebox”, since it frequently records the coldest temperatures in the state, and in the entire nation. But the past five days, Pellston has set five consecutive records for hottest March day. Yesterday’s 85° reading broke the previous record for the date (53° in 2007) by a ridiculous 32°, and was an absurd 48°F above average.
Low temperatures beat the previous record high for the date at two stations

The low temperature at Marquette, Michigan was 52° yesterday, which was 3° warmer than the previous record high for the date! The low at Mt. Washington, NH yesterday (44°) also beat the previous record high for the date (43°.)
Multiple Canadian cites break all-time April records for warmth in March

Not only was yesterday the warmest March day in recorded history for many of Canada’s major cities, it was also warmer than any April day at many locations. St. John, New Brunswick hit 25.4°C (78°F.) Not only did this crush the record high for March (previous record: 17.5°C), it is well above any temperature ever measured in April (extreme April temperature on record: 22.8°C.) Halifax, Nova Scotia hit 25.8°C yesterday, beating their all-time March record of 25.6°, and their all-time April record of 26.3°C, set on April 30, 2004. Other major cities in Canada that set all-time warmest March records yesterday included Ottawa (27.4°C), Montreal (25.8°C), Windsor (27.8°C), Hamilton (25.6°C), London (26.4°C), and Fredericton (27.1°C)….
Summer in March warmth crushes records in Michigan

Yesterday, nearly every major airport in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula broke the record they set the previous day for their hottest March temperature, including Detroit (84°), Flint (86°F, just 2° below their all-time April record), Saginaw (87°F, just 2° below their all-time April record), Grand Rapids (87°), Muskegon (82°), Lansing (86°), Alpena (87°), Gaylord (83°, which was 26° above the average high for the date), Pellston (85°), Houghton Lake (85°), and Traverse City (87°, which was which was 45°F above the average high for the date, and was the fifth consecutive day they tied or broke their record for hottest March temperature, and just 3° below their record high temperature of 90° for April.) In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Sault Ste. Marie’s 83° (26° above the average high for the date) crushed the previous March record by 8°, and was only 2° shy of the warmest temperature ever measured in April.
Again, we’ve only warmed about a degree and a half Fahrenheit in the past century.  We are on track to warm five times times that or more this century (see M.I.T. doubles its 2095 warming projection to 10°F — with 866 ppm and Arctic warming of 20°F ).
In short, we ain’t seen nothing yet!
Related Posts:

The NRA and Florida Legislators Killed Trayvon Martin as Surely as a Gun Did

If you don't like rude, don't read it.--SS    

(title unknown):

The NRA and Florida Legislators Killed Trayvon Martin as Surely as a Gun Did:

Well, what the fuck did you expect, Florida, you limp, useless cock of the diseased body America? You make guns as easy to get as a package from Amazon (regular shipping), you pass concealed carry laws, and you pass a law that says that if people "have a reasonable belief that they are in danger of death or great bodily harm" they can kill the fuck out of someone out in public. No need to run away. No need to call the cops first. Just Spidey senses a-tingling. Did you not expect that at some point, some creepy vigilante wouldn't get the chance to live out his Batman fantasies? Of course, George Zimmerman, not being in the physical shape of Batman, was just a stupid asshole who shot a skinny, unarmed teenager because he felt threatened by black guys in hoodies walking through his 'hood.

Back on April 13, 2005, when the "Stand Your Ground" bill had just passed the Florida legislature, Bo Dietl, the former cop who appears on TV constantly to support law enforcement in his deranged goombah way (thus leading him to be a regular Daily Show and Colbert Report punchline interview subject), said on MSNBC's Scarborough Country that the new law was "idiotic" and a "ludicrous and ridiculous law. And Jeb Bush must be smoking a crack pipe...If you have a feeling, if you have a belief or that you are threatened, that you can react and react first, then you open up a whole Pandora's box here."

Anybody with a fucking brain, and even a few without, knew what was going to happen. In early 2005, when the bill was quickly debated and savagely passed, State Senator Steve Geller, a Democrat, warned, "I don't think you ought to be able to kill people that are walking toward you on the street because of this subjective belief that you're worried that they may get in a fight with you." The street, he said, is not your castle. (Note: Pat Buchanan said in 2005 on The McLaughlin Group that the law's passage was a "Great victory for Bush and for America." Is he dead yet?)

Politicians, on the right and in the middle, are to blame for Trayvon Martin's execution. All over the nation, but especially in Florida, the National Rifle Association threatens to destroy any legislator who refuses to bend over and let it shove cash into their assholes. The NRA wants an exception to the 3-day waiting period for people with concealed carry licenses, as they did in the Sunshine State? The Republicans in Tallahassee line up and open their asses for that cash to be shoveled in, along with the promise that the almighty motherfucking NRA will support them in a primary. And then, their asses full to their lower intestines with filthy money, the legislators get on their knees in front of NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer as she holds a pistol between her legs and they suck on it until the barrel has rubbed her kooz to orgasm. Then they pass every idiotarded law the gun nuts want under the umbrella of "rights." That's how the NRA works, motherfuckers, and then they tell us it's to keep us safe.

Seriously, if the ACLU were as deranged in defending the First Amendment as the NRA is in defending its distorted version of the Second, you'd be able to walk up to a crucifixion statue in the middle of St. Boyrape's Cathedral, shit on Christ's face, and claim "freedom of expression," and the laws would back you up and how dare anyone be such a pussy as to claim that shitting on Christ's face isn't free speech.

Trayvon Martin was killed by a gun. No, guns alone don't kill people. People with guns do, though. And, chances are, if George Zimmerman wasn't carrying one, he wouldn't have pursued Martin. He wouldn't have ignored the 911 operator's call for him to stand down. And Martin would still be alive.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Romney Embraces Bush Economic Policy

This just might be the funniest damn thing I ever heard.--SS     

Romney Embraces Bush Economic Policy: At a campaign event in Maryland, Mitt Romney credited President George W. Bush with keeping the country from a great depression in 2008, BuzzFeed reports.

Said Romney: "I keep hearing the president say he's responsible for keeping the country out of a Great Depression. No, no, no, that was President George W. Bush and Hank Paulson."

[And Bush got Bin Laden, and Bush balanced the budget, and Bush won the Iraq War, and Bush solved the energy crisis, and on and on they go.]