Thursday, May 31, 2012

Timothy Dolan Milwaukee History - Timothy Dolan and the System of Eternal Rewards - Esquire

The Catholic Church should be facing RICO indictments.--SS     

Timothy Dolan Milwaukee History - Timothy Dolan and the System of Eternal Rewards - Esquire:

"It seems that the Milwaukee archdiocese made a series of under-the-prie-dieu payments to criminal priests in order to get them to leave the church quietly. It also seems that Dolan presided over this program of hush money. It also seems that, yes, Timothy Dolan, with his very evolved conscience and his predilection to lecture presidents on the sanctity of that evolved conscience, lied his pectoral cross off about the whole business....

Questioned at the time about the news that one particularly notorious pedophile cleric had been given a "payoff" to leave the priesthood, Cardinal Dolan, then the archbishop, responded that such an inference was "false, preposterous and unjust."

Also, apparently, true.

Of course, Dolan was obviously following the advice in the Gospels to make sure that the Mystical Body Of Christ is on the hook for a criminal's annual checkup...."

Go read the whole thing.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bonus Quote of the Day

Absolute genius!--SS     

Bonus Quote of the Day: "I'm not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was."-- Mitt Romney, at a press conference in Florida, defending previous statements he's made about President Obama and his relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What the oil industry wants — in charts

Remember: what the oil industry wants, the oil industry usually gets.--SS       

What the oil industry wants — in charts:

In many ways, life has rarely been better for the U.S. oil and gas industries. Production is up, thanks to new fracking technology. Profits are high. There’s little chance Congress will cap carbon emissions anytime soon. What more could they ask for?

Quite a bit, it turns out. On Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute released a report full of recommendations to the Republican and Democratic committees that are crafting their party platforms this summer. Basically, this is Big Oil’s wish list. It includes everything from opening up more federal lands for drilling to avoiding strict new federal rules on gas fracking. And API has also included a whole slew of charts that help give a better sense for what’s driving the oil and gas industry.

First up is this graph showing where the current boom in oil and natural gas production is taking place. For the most part, it’s occurring on private lands — in, for instance, the oil-rich Bakken shale formation that spans North Dakota and Montana. By contrast, oil and gas production has flatlined and even dropped in areas that are supervised by the federal government:

Does this mean the Obama adminsitration is stifling production on federal lands? That’s a little murkier. One big reason for the recent drop was the temporary moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP oil spill in 2010. This is gradually being reversed: As the Energy Information Administration explains, drilling has now resumed in this region, but it’s been a slow, fitful recovery, thanks to a “slower permitting process with increased environmental review.”

Still, API also argues that permits for new drilling on Western lands has been too sluggish — something the Obama administration recently said it would try to correct.

But speedier permitting, along with lower taxes and less regulation, is only a part of API’s wish list. The biggest request from the industry is for Congress to open up the rest of America’s coasts for oil and gas exploration. The key targets here are the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Outer Continental Shelf in the Atlantic and Pacific. (The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is another target.) Here’s the map:

Bear in mind that opening up these areas isn’t as simple as it sounds — even many of Florida’s Republicans aren’t thrilled with the idea of a potential spill near the state’s beaches. Opponents of expanded offshore drilling argue that there’s not nearly enough oil in these parts anyway: A 2009 EIA analysis, for instance, found that opening these areas up would only lower gasoline prices by 3 cents per gallon by 2030. In response, API argues that there might be more oil in these areas than anyone suspects — the industry just needs a chance to look.

Finally, API contends that if we can open up all of these areas to exploration, keep building oil pipelines from Canada — the controversial Keystone XL pipeline is on their wish-list — and ramp up biofuels production, then the United States could be relatively oil independent by 2030. Here’s what that would look like:

Not everyone’s as impressed with API’s report. Three researchers from the Center for American Progress — Jorge Madrid, Kate Gordon, and Tina Ramos — have published a response to API. They argue that “dystopia” will ensue if the oil industry gets its way and we maintain our current dependence on crude for the next few decades. Here’s what dystopia looks like in chart form:

Carbon emissions keep going up, up, and up. The CAP report spends a lot of time dwelling on the consequences of unchecked global warming — e.g., by 2030 wildfires in Western states like Montana will increase by 300 percent. Though they also point out, as we have before, that the sort of oil independence promised by API is still no defense against high prices and other shocks.

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A peek into an alternate reality

Willard H Thurston Howell Mittens Carnegie JP Morgan Chase Rmoney the 3rd thinks you're stupid.--SS     

A peek into an alternate reality:

Associated Press
Romney's magic act in Iowa yesterday.

Mitt Romney delivered a curious speech in Iowa yesterday, presenting his thoughts on the budget deficit, the debt and debt reduction, which is worth reading if you missed it. We often talk about the problem of the left and right working from entirely different sets of facts, and how the discourse breaks down when there's no shared foundation of reality, and the Republican's remarks offered a timely peek into an alternate reality where facts have no meaning.

Even the topic itself is a strange choice for Romney. If the former governor is elected, he'll inherit a $1 trillion deficit and a $15 debt, which he'll respond to by approving massive new tax cuts and increasing Pentagon spending. How will he pay for this? No one has the foggiest idea.

In other words, the guy who intends to add trillions to the debt gave a speech yesterday on the dangers of adding trillions to the debt.

More importantly, though, Romney presented a vision of the last few years that bears absolutely no resemblance to reality at any level. Jon Chait had a good piece on the remarks.
Mitt Romney delivered a speech today about the budget deficit. It’s hard to wrap your arms around Romney’s argument, because it’s an amalgamation of free-floating conservative rage and anxiety, completely untethered to any facts, as agreed upon by the relevant experts.
In the real world, the following things are true: The budget deficit was projected to top $1 trillion even before President Obama took office, and that was when forecasters were still radically underestimating the depth of the 2008 crash. Obama did propose temporary deficit-increasing measures, an economic approach endorsed in its general contours, if not its particulars, by Romney’s economists. These measures contributed a relatively small proportion to the deficit, and their effect is short-lived. Obama instead focused on longer-term measures to reduce the deficit, including comprehensive health-care reform projected to reduce deficits by a trillion dollars in its second decade. Obama put forward a budget plan that would stabilize the debt as a percentage of the economy. Obama has hoped to achieve deeper long-term deficit reduction by striking bipartisan deals with Congress, and he has tried to achieve this goal by openly endorsing a bipartisan deficit plan in the Senate and privately agreeing to a more conservative plan with John Boehner, both of which were killed by Republican opposition to any higher revenue.
The story told by Romney is one in which all of these things are either untrue or could not possibly be true.
I don't think Mitt Romney is stupid. I do think Romney is operating from the assumption that voters are stupid.

In Romney's speech, the deficit is responsible for a tepid economic recovery. That doesn't make any sense -- and I suspect the former governor knows that -- but he's counting on you not knowing the difference. What's more, he's avoiding interviews with journalists who might ask him to explain why on earth such arguments should be taken seriously.

In Romney's speech, the deficit can be dramatically reduced magically, even while cutting taxes on the wealthy and increasing spending on defense. How? Apparently, we're not supposed to ask.

In Romney's speech, "spending" has created a "financial crisis" (that's gibberish). In Romney's speech, the size of government has exploded to new heights (the opposite is true). In Romney's speech, the deficit is growing (it's actually shrinking). In Romney's speech, President Obama doesn't care about fiscal responsibility (Obama offered Republicans an overly-generous $4 trillion debt-reduction package, which the GOP rejected). In Romney's speech, Bush-era policies have absolutely nothing to do with Obama-era deficits (ahem).

In Romney's speech, everything we know about the Recovery Act should be replaced with talking points that don't make sense.

Watching the Republican's remarks, I was annoyed by the breathtaking dishonesty, but I was also struck by something that seemed rather new to me: Romney's immaturity. His arguments weren't just wrong; they were silly. If the political discourse were in any way grounded in fact, this was the kind of speech that would laugh Romney off the national stage, with sensible people agreeing that the guy just isn't ready for the big kids' table. Grown-ups don't feel the need to create fantasy lands where their wishes are true.

The speech seemed like it had been written by a high-school student who's preoccupied with Rush Limbaugh's radio show and assorted right-wing Twitter feeds. I couldn't take Romney seriously yesterday because Romney no longer cares enough to take himself seriously.

We got a peek into an alternate reality yesterday, and it appears that Romney Land is a deeply foolish place.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Brian Naughton, Musician, Friend, and Stagehand, Lived for Today

Brian Naughton, Musician, Friend, and Stagehand, Lived for Today:

When I first got in IATSE Local 33 I was lucky enough to get a call with Brian Naughton, lead guitar player for The Grass Roots in 1971 and 72. He was a well-known stagehand who I wound up working with many times in my career. He was always patient and kind when I was first starting out. He showed me all kinds of things I needed to know, and he did it kindly and well. He loved to talk about music. I remember the time I visited his home, I was lucky enough to hear him play one of his great guitars, and I did my best to keep up.

I also worked with his bass playing son, James, in the ABC carpenter shop, where I started calling him "good for Naughton," even though he's actually a damn good bass player and carpenter. I just couldn't resist the nick name.

Brian and his sons James and Corey started a band called the Naughtones (their MySpace page has more music):
In 2006 the Naughtones won a L.A. music Award for Independent Classic Rock Album of the Year for their debut album entitled "From the Nut." They were also nominated for Best Male Singer/Songwriter for their song called "Around Me."
In 2008 the Naughtones realeased their Sophmore album. The album is a five song EP that is featuring the group in its new state as the best they have ever been. The album is a Self titled EP that has won the L.A. Music Award's 2008 Producers Choice Award for Rock EP of the Year and also was nominated for 2008 Rock album of the Year by the L.A. Music Awards.

Biographies Brian Naughton started playing guitar at age 12. His first group was a surf band called the Velaires in 1961. In 1965 he joined a national surf group called the Persuaders. In 1969 Brian formed his own group called Rock Candy. Rock Candy was signed to MGM by a man named Mike Curb. In 1970 he took the opportunity to join the International super group called the Grass Roots. Brian toured and did T.V. shows (American Bandstand, Sunny & Cher, and Kenny Rodgers) with the Grass Roots until 1972. After that he played for a short while with a group called Peanut Butter Conspiracy. PBC had a big hit called "It's a Happening Thing." Always in his pursuit of his own original Rock and Roll, Brian left PBC to form a group called Rockit in 1973. By 1976 RSO Records signed the band and renamed them Rockicks. The band was managed by Warren Entner who also managed Quiet Riot. Rockicks shared a rehearsal room with Quiet Riot and also did gigs with them. They played all over the country and locally at places like the Roxy, the Aquarius Theater and Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Rockicks had radio commercials and a lot going for them until a show opening for Blondie at Whiskey was given Tom Petty. This was Tom Petty's big break show and the beginning of the end for the Rockicks. By this time his son Corey was about three Brian began his first day job at the age of thirty. Although Brian began earning his money behind the scenes as a stagehand he never stopped writing, singing and playing his guitar in little bands and local jam nights. Now Brian's life is all about the Naughtones and blessing the world with his amazing skills.

Brian's son Corey reports that Brian died of a heart attack, on the golf course, and that it was quick. I can report that the world needs more people like Brain Naughton, not fewer.

Start your engines, Brian. We'll miss you.

Private-Sector Jobs Bounce Back Under Obama

The conservative recovery continues.--SS   

Private-Sector Jobs Bounce Back Under Obama:

In the first year of President Barack Obama’s term, the country lost about 4.2 million private-sector jobs. But as of last month there are now more private-sector jobs in the United States than there were in January 2009, when President Obama took office. You read that right. Since bottoming out in early 2010, the country has added back 4.2 million private-sector jobs, and is now into positive territory for President Obama’s term.
Unfortunately, the news is not nearly so good when it comes to the public sector, where there are currently 607,000 fewer people working than there were when President Obama took office.

The chart below tells the whole story. Under President Obama, the private sector experienced a relatively robust recovery, and is now back to where it started when he took office. But due in large part to spending cuts at the state and local level, the public sector continues to shed jobs, and as a result, the overall jobs picture in the United States remains weak.

Keep this chart in mind the next time you hear someone rail about “big government” and complain about the slow pace of overall job creation.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May 1 a good day to recall the media's supine role in 'Mission Accomplished'


May 1 a good day to recall the media's supine role in 'Mission Accomplished':

Mitt Romney's and Sen. John McCain's and other Republicans' efforts to paint the demise of Osama bin Laden as something any president would have done is calculated to maintain the GOP fiction that Barack Obama—and, of course, Democrats in general—are wimps on national security. On this first anniversary of the special operation that took out Osama, that anybody-would-have-done-it theme no doubt has another purpose as well: keeping people's attention off the ninth anniversary of George W. Bush's propaganda gala aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln behind a Mission Accomplished banner.

Enough has been said over the years about Commander Codpiece's imitation-gloriooooous hero role that day. But what of the role of the press? How much did it swallow on mission accomplished day? Media Matters cranked up its time machine to find out. Here, on May 1, 2003, is Chris Matthews, a fellow who still has a big-time gig supposedly telling it like it is to viewers:
Do you think this role, and I want to talk politically [...], the president deserves everything he's doing tonight in terms of his leadership. He won the war. He was an effective commander. Everybody recognizes that, I believe, except a few critics. Do you think he is defining the office of the presidency, at least for this time, as basically that of commander in chief? That [...] if you're going to run against him, you'd better be ready to take [that] away from him.
Ready for a shower? As a guest, Matthews had Ann Coulter on. What she said could, of course, have been anticipated:
COULTER: It's stunning. It's amazing. I think it's huge. I mean, he's landing on a boat at 150 miles per hour. It's tremendous. It's hard to imagine any Democrat being able to do that. And it doesn't matter if Democrats try to ridicule it. It's stunning, and it speaks for itself.
Did Matthews interrupt the way he usually does and call anything she said into question? Not a whisper of objection.

But it wasn't just Matthews polishing the president's ... uh ... whatever that day.

Wolf Blitzer at CNN praised Bush's experience as a jet fighter pilot. Non-existent experience, since to be a fighter pilot, one must have actually fought and Bush ...uh ... opted out of that opportunity. Brian Williams, then of CNBC, also called Bush a former fighter pilot who looked "full of energy in a flight suit." Fox News's Greta van Susteren sang the fighter pilot's praises as well.

On the "Face the Nation," Joe Klein said:
Well, that was probably the coolest presidential image since Bill Pullman played the jet fighter pilot in the movie Independence Day. That was the first thing that came to mind for me. And it just shows you how high a mountain these Democrats are going to have to climb.
And the print media did their part. David Sanger at The New York Times wrote:

Mr. Bush was clearly reliving his days as a pilot in the Texas Air National Guard, more than three decades ago. "I miss flying, I can tell you that," he told reporters who bumped into him as he moved around the ship.
Two stunning performances that day, nine years ago. George W. Bush pretending to be something he was not. And the media, supposedly the nation's watchdog, doing the same.