Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sophmore year in college

All kinds of music coming out. Some of it was getting hard.

Why did Mitt the Twit think this would work?

Mitt the Twit went to Poland to embrace Lech Walesa and Solidarity for their 'freedoms'. Old Lech who has turned into quite the conservative these days, had no problem with the Twit. Solidarity, on the other hand is a trade union.
Romney visited the Baltic port of Gdansk, cradle of Solidarity which toppled Poland's communist government in the late 1980s, where he met Lech Walesa, the shipyard electrician who led the union movement during the struggle seen as the start of the end of Soviet domination of eastern Europe.

"Regretfully, we were informed by our friends from the American headquarters of (trade union federation) AFL-CIO, which represents more than 12 million employees ... that Mitt Romney supported attacks on trade unions and employees' rights," Solidarity said in a statement.

"Solidarity was not involved in organizing Romney's meeting with Walesa and did not invite him to visit Poland."
Maybe if Mitt the Twit had a dictionary he could understand what Solidarity means.

Post Office tells Congress to stuff it

Because their retirement and health plans are funded far in advance of any other plan on the planet, the US Postal Service will not be making its next scheduled $5.5 Billion payment to the Treasury. This is not a real default but it will keep the USPS from runing out of money, which was the Republican plan when they passed the Fuck The USPS For Fed-Ex and UPS Law in the 2008 lame duck session.
The U.S. Postal Service affirmed it won’t make a required $5.5 billion payment due tomorrow to the U.S. Treasury for future retirees’ health care, an obligation the agency said must end for it to become financially viable.

The service has said for months it couldn’t afford the payment, which was initially due last September, nor a $5.6 billion payment required by Sept. 30 for this year. Postal legislation passed by the U.S. Senate on April 25 would slow the schedule for those obligations. The House hasn’t acted on a different postal measure aimed at changes to help the service cope with declining mail volume.

The Postal Service, which has more employees than any U.S.- based publicly traded company other than Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), lost $3.2 billion in the quarter ended March 31. It has said it expects to temporarily run out of cash in October unless Congress alters or ends the retiree health-care obligation and lets it make other changes that include ending Saturday mail delivery.
I hope Congress also allows the Post Office to charge UPS and Fed-Ex more for delivering their packages.

Mitt the Twit has been busy

From the pen of Pat Oliphant

click pic to big

This guy is a Natural for the GOP

From Raw Story:
A 23-year-old man in New Zealand suffered serious injuries on Saturday after he set off a firework between his buttocks.

“It appears a party was in full progress when a young male decided to place a firework between the cheeks of his bottom and light it,” Senior Sergeant Garry Smith told The New Zealand Herald.

“What must of seemed to be a great idea at the time has backfired, resulting in the male receiving quite severe and very painful burns to his cheeks, back and private bits,” he added.

Despite his injuries, the man was able to take himself to the Royal Darwin Hospital. He is expected to receive special treatment for his burns.

The man told NT News he wanted to “put on a good show” for his friends after drinking a few beers.

“He screamed a little bit and there were a fair few f-words,” his friend commented.
Needs no further training.

Will Greenland become the next Shitheap?

It is too early to tell but there are mining companies drooling to go after the mineral resources of that land, even though some may exist under 150 meters of ice. The Greenlanders would like that to happen under the strictest supervision and environmental control (fat chance).
But the key question is whether these activities can be carried out without damaging the pristine Arctic environment. Stendal says the government is determined to ensure miners adhere to the highest international standards, though he admits officials have little experience of regulating extraction. Jon Burgwald of Greenpeace fears not: “I’m definitely nervous about the current mining projects. The information we need on these operations has not been made public.”

Burgwald says waste water from the mines is a major issue, as if it is not disposed of properly it could have “very serious impacts”. The use of toxic chemicals in some mining processes is another problem, and the transport of the products to and from the mine sites could also raise issues. Equally problematically, some of the rare earths are likely to be found in deposits that also contain uranium, which could lead to the dispersal of uranium dust in a pristine environment.

Mikkel Myrup, of the local environmental organisation Avataq, believes the Greenland government lacks the capabilities to ensure the environmental safety of mines at present. “We do not have the institutions ready, or the competencies, and we are facing a huge invasion from many big multinational companies.”
Small country, big companies, much desired resource, it doesn't look good for Greenland.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Stones once tried to make a drug addled hippie music album.

They didn't like it, probably because they were too fucked up making it and having to go to court for all their drug busts back then, to make a good album. There were a couple of good songs on it. This is one of them.

Quote of the Day - Part Deux

The modern conservative has no boundaries and no shame. Everything from their economic theories to their social positions is based entirely on an ideological faith-based lack of reasoning.
David Atkins, post on Hullabaloo

Sparky weighs in on sane gun regulation

Because Tom Tomorrow is elsewhere occupied.

Quote of the Day

“On Monday afternoon, Romney campaign officials did not respond to a query about whether Mr. Romney believes that the blockade of Gaza or trade restrictions in the West Bank have had any dampening effect on economic activity in those areas.”
NY Times, following up on Mitt the Twit's racist remarks about the Palestininans.

The NY Times calls them Conservatives

Normal people call them radical extremists
but whatever you call them, they have no love of democracy or the United States. Their latest purge, verging on a pogrom, is to remove any Republicans from the party who disagree with them.
Frustrated by their inability to achieve some policy goals, conservatives in Republican states are turning against moderate members of their own party, trying to drive them out of state legislatures to clear the way for reshaping government across a wide swath of mid-America controlled by the GOP.

Political groups are helping finance the efforts by supporting primary election challenges targeting several dozen moderate Republicans in the Midwest and South, especially prominent lawmakers who run key state committees.

Two years after Republicans swept into power in many state capitols, the challengers say it's time to adopt more conservative policies.

"If you don't believe in that playbook, then why are you on the team?" declared Greg Smith, who is trying to oust a moderate incumbent from the Kansas state Senate.

The push is most intense in Kansas, where conservatives are attempting to replace a dozen moderate Republican senators who bucked new Gov. Sam Brownback's move to slash state income taxes.
The Bolsheviks conducted similar purges in their early years in power in Russia. The result was Stalin. Extremists are always dangerous.

Video games that kill

The NY Times takes a look at those who fly drones that watch and kill people halfway around the world. Now that we have more drones than pilots to fly their missions, it is good to see what kind of persons fly them. Up to now, most are trained pilots but that element has been downgraded in current training because it takes too long. Only officers are allowed to fire weapons at identified targets, but that may also change.
Pilots say the best days are when ground troops thank them for keeping them safe. Ted, an Air Force major and an F-16 pilot who flew Reapers from Creech, recalled how troops on an extended patrol away from their base in Afghanistan were grateful when he flew a Reaper above them for five hours so they could get some sleep one night. They told him, “We’re keeping one guy awake to talk to you, but if you can, just watch over and make sure nobody’s sneaking up on us,” he recalled.

All the operators dismiss the notion that they are playing a video game. (They also reject the word “drone” because they say it describes an aircraft that flies on its own. They call their planes remotely piloted aircraft.)

“I don’t have any video games that ask me to sit in one seat for six hours and look at the same target,” said Joshua, a sensor operator who worked at Creech for a decade and is now a trainer at Holloman. “One of the things we try to beat into our crews is that this is a real aircraft with a real human component, and whatever decisions you make, good or bad, there’s going to be actual consequences.”

In his 10 years at Creech, he said without elaborating, “I’ve seen some pretty disturbing things.”
But it's all on a screen, so it's easy to accept whatever is done, just like in the movies.

Flip-flopping like a fish in a boat

After taking credit in Massachusetts for the hard work of many people in creating health care for all, Mitt the Twit has been running hard away from it as he campaigns for repeal of President Obama's similar Affordable Health Care Act. Running away until he gets to Israel.
Mitt Romney had kind words for Israel’s health care system Monday, even though, as ThinkProgress reports, it resembles the recently passed Affordable Health Care Act, which his party has been trying to repeal.

The presumptive Republican presidential candidate said he admired Israel for spending less of its gross domestic product on health than the U.S.

“You spend eight percent of G.D.P. on health care,” he said. “You’re a pretty healthy nation. We spend 18 percent of our G.D.P. on health care, 10 percentage points more.”

The country’s health-care system includes an individual mandate clause, requiring citizens to buy one of four HMOs offered by the government since 1995, with the state covering 60 percent of a person’s medical costs. The remaining 40 percent is covered by income-related tax collections.
As Republican/Teabaggers clamor for freedom from health, Mitt the Twit praises a more comprehensive system than anything in the US. Flop flop flip flop.

Mitt the Twit is Unfit To Be POTUS.

Fat Tony Scalia on a roll.

Not only has he declared his position that rocket launchers are covered under the 2nd Amendment but he denies any right to contraception for all adults. So we can be murdered by anyone who can afford a gun or rocket launcher but we have no right to plan our families.

But the scary part is if the White House and the Senate goes GOP, the next appointment would be worse than Fat Tony could ever dream of being.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A New David Johansen sings a 'manly song'

'Cause you can't keep doing the same old schtick forever.

Friday was the 59th anniversary of the armistice in Korea

And both halfs of that benighted country had some form of commemoration of the event. As for the US, after 59 years we should just bring everyone home and tell the two little bastard countries to figure it out and call us when we had to sign something. We are not needed to keep them apart or get them together.

Congratulations to Kim Rhodes, Gold - Womens Skeet

Winning for the fifth consecutive time since 1996.

Mitt the Twit has lost MoDo

Not that he ever had her in his camp, but the NY Times caustic redhead finds much to say about Mitt the Unfit.
The alarming thing about Romney is that he has been running for president for years, but he still doesn’t know how to read a room. He doesn’t take anything in, he just puts it out. He doesn’t hear himself the way the rest of us hear him.

In the Mitt-sphere, populated by his shiny white family, the Mormon Church and a narrow, homogenous inner circle, Romney’s image of himself as wise, caring, smart and capable is relentlessly reinforced. That leaves him constantly surprised that other people don’t love what he is saying.

We may wince when the blithering toff, or want-wit, as Shakespeare would say, arrives at the Brits’ home and throws his Cherry Coke Zero can in the prize rose bushes. But what drives his gaffes is his desire to preen over accomplishments.

As a candidate, he’s expected to stoop to conquer, to play a man of the people. But he really wants voters to know that he earned $250 million, and not even in the same business where his dad made a name for himself.

So he keeps blurting out hoity-toity stuff to make sure we know he’s not hoi polloi — about his friends who are Nascar owners, his wife’s Cadillacs, how he likes to fire people and how he, too, is unemployed. And he builds a car elevator in the middle of an economic slough.
She also throw in "wazzock", whatever that may be.

So what about the runner-up?

Former VP and Senior Unindicted War Criminal Dick "Dick" Cheney has risen from the dead, again to deliver some more "wisdom" to the great unwashed masses. Dickwahd informed the world that picking Sarah Palin for VP in 2008 was a mistake. This, of course, begs the question, If the Wasilla Snowbilly was a mistake, what are we to think of the guy who came in 2nd?

Is Dickwahd saying that Mitt the Twit is More Unfit than Snowflake Snooki? You be the judge.

Reductio ad absurdum

On Fux Nooz today, Fat Tony Scalia, consiglierie of the Dread Chief Justice Roberts mob, took the NRA 2nd Amendment argument to what should be an absurd reach.
In the wake of a massacre in Colorado that left 12 dead and 58 wounded, host Chris Wallace asked Scalia if the Constitution would support assault-type AR-15 rifles and 100-round clips.

The justice explained that under his principle of originalism, some limitations on weapons were possible. Fox example, laws to restrict people from carrying a “head axe” would be constitutional because it was a misdemeanor when the Constitution was adopted in the late 1700s.

“What about these technological limitations?” Wallace wondered. “Obviously, we’re not now talking about a handgun or a musket, we’re talking about a weapon that can fire a hundred shots in a minute.”

“We’ll see,” Scalia replied. “Obviously the amendment does not apply to arms that can not be carried. It’s to ‘keep and bear’ so it doesn’t apply to cannons.”

“But I suppose there are handheld rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes that will have to — it’s will have to be decided,” he added.
The US Army in the past had a 57mm Recoiless Rifle, a small cannon, in its inventory that could be shoulder fired. I guess Fat Tony would think this would be covered as well.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

For a bright shining moment

The Beatles were the heart and soul of rock music.

If the truth will stop a lie

Then this column by David Maraniss should put an end to all the mysterious conspiracies that the haters build around Barack Obama in their efforts to delegitimize the black man. He doesn't mince words as he begins and delivers a load of truth.
There are Obama doubters and haters out there who claim with righteous anger that they are “vetting” the president, something they say the mainstream media never did. Some of them have said that my new biography — unwittingly, they argue, for I am too dumb to understand what my research has unearthed — proves that Barack Obama’s defining memoir is phony and that his entire life is a fraud. My intent is not to defend Obama or his book; he can take care of himself, and I have my own questions about “Dreams From My Father,” which I make clear in my book. But when comparing the liberties Obama took with composite characters and compressed chronology — which he acknowledged in the introduction to his memoir — to the stretches his most virulent detractors have taken in building their various conspiracies, I believe that they are the frauds and fabricators.
Unfortunately there is not yet any cure for stupid, so this will probably change few minds. And it is the stupids that enable the lie to live and grow.

Mysterious Republican donor

Is he legitimate? Or is he a flim-flam man or even a money laundry? No one knows but the FBI is looking into it and the politicians are taking his money.

Now he tells us

Actually the parting thoughts of retiring Ambassador Ryan Crocker are damn good advice for people not blinded their own agenda.
The American diplomat most associated with the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan says that American policy makers need to learn the lessons of the recent past as they weigh military options for the future, including for Syria and Iran:

¶ Remember the law of unintended consequences.

¶ Recognize the limits of the United States’ actual capabilities.

¶ Understand that getting out of a conflict once you are in can often be dangerous and as destructive for the country as the original conflict.

“You better do some cold calculating, you know, about how do you really think you are going to influence things for the better,” said Ryan C. Crocker, 63, the departing ambassador to Afghanistan and one of the pre-eminent American diplomats of the past 40 years. Even as he retires fighting an exhausting illness, Mr. Crocker cannot help keeping his mind at work on the crisis spots that have defined his career — in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Iran and Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

Mr. Crocker, a wiry, intense man who for years was a dedicated distance runner, is retiring at the end of July after a career that began as the last American troops were leaving Vietnam and is ending as the curtain closes on an era of American state-building that has mostly fallen short of the results policy makers had hoped for.

In Iraq, the dream of a peaceful and democratic ally in the Arab world is giving way to a renewal of violence and an authoritarian government that lists toward Iran. In Afghanistan, the future is uncertain and hangs on dozens of “ifs” — if the elections are fair enough, if the Afghan security forces can fight off insurgents, if the government can become self-sufficient.

In the years ahead, Mr. Crocker sees, if anything, an increasingly fraught foreign landscape in a world set afire by war and revolution, a chapter bound to frustrate the best intentions and most sophisticated strategies of the United States. Although he speaks Arabic and has spent a lifetime immersed in the Arab world and Afghanistan, Mr. Crocker is deeply skeptical that Americans on foreign soil can be anything other than strangers in a strange land.

“We’re a superpower, we don’t fight on our territory, but that means you are in somebody else’s stadium, playing by somebody else’s ground rules, and you have to understand the environment, the history, the politics of the country you wish to intervene in,” he said.
Understanding others is one of the great exceptions of these United States. We gave ourselves a waiver of that many, many years ago.

It's good to have a friend in the BLM

If you are drilling for gas and oil. If you are a supporter or traditional land use, history, environment ot just love the beauty of the Utah landscape, the BLM probably doesn't know you exist.
The Bureau of Land Management, part of the Interior Department, is the nation’s biggest landlord, controlling 248 million acres, including nearly half the land in Utah. Charged with protecting public lands while exploiting their resources — for mining, drilling, timbering, ranching — Mr. Stringer’s agency has been at the center of a fierce battle in recent years as companies have sought to lease federal property and get drilling permits.

The Bush administration encouraged the land rush, while Obama administration officials tried to stop what it called reckless drilling deals. After confronting fierce industry resistance and political realities, officials in Washington have eased back.

But in Vernal, a town that sits amid vast underground reserves of oil and gas as well as scenic treasures, critics say the bureau office under Mr. Stringer has taken a consistent stance all along: make way for drilling. “Oil and gas trumps all else,” said Dennis J. Willis, a retired agency employee.
More of what we don't need triumphs over what we can not replace.

With all the Republican/Teabagger voter suppression

You might want to check if you are still registered and if the information is correct. You can call your local election officials or you can use the app at this website. Whichever method you use, it is better to be safe than sorry.

And please share this with your friends and family. Remember, if you don't vote you are helping the Republican/Teabaggers destroy our country.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Beatles were really ahead of their time.

They wrote a campaign song for Mitt the Twit 45 years ago.

Rafalca is good for something

From the pen of Mike Luckovich

And you thought dragons were a fantasy

The New York Times
has a monstrously good article on the DreamWorks dragons and their stage debut. Great pic, too.

Do I have to tell you it was in Florida?

Where a door-to-door salesman was brutally murdered by a homeowner for stepping on his property.
Kenneth Bailey Roop, 52, has been charged with second-degree murder for killing 30-year-old Nicholas Rainey.

A co-worker who witnessed the shooting said Rainey had knocked on Roop’s door, but received no answer. While Rainey was walking down the drive-way, Roop pulled up in his pickup truck and asked why Rainey was at his house. Rainey explained that he was selling steak and seafood. The witness said Roop then pulled out a black handgun and shot Rainey. As Rainey lay on the ground, Roop fired another bullet into the back of his head.

Roop later told police that he shot Rainey in the head “for effect” and that he had three no trespassing signs on his property. Roop said he feared for his life.
Kudos to the off duty sheriff's deputy who disarmed him and held him for the police. But you know it was Florida because the shooter, who had a concealed carry permit and an arsenal of 14 weapons, was described by his neighbors as “the neighborhood crazy.”

A question of balance

Or rather out of balance. This is why we can't have anything nice.

Why God is not a Baptist

From the Raw Story:
A black couple in Crystal Springs, Missouri says that a predominantly white Baptist church refused to let them get married because of their race.

Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson told WLBT that the day before they were to be married, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs informed them the ceremony would have to be moved due to the reaction of some white church members — even though the couple had attended the church regularly.

“The church congregation had decided no black could be married at that church, and that if [the pastor] went on to marry her, then they would vote him out the church,” Charles Wilson explained.

“He had people in the sanctuary that were pitching a fit about us being a black couple,” Te’Andrea Wilson added. “I didn’t like it at all, because I wasn’t brought up to be racist. I was brought up to love and care for everybody.”
Brave stand by that pastor, huh? He should have told them to fuck off and find another church.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Only a fool would not borrow at these rates.

A fool or a Republican/Teabagger. With 10 year money approaching 0%, an unbound government could borrow more than enough to restore the economy and repay itself before the rates rise. Paul Krugman explains.
The main answer is that this is what happens when you have a “deleveraging shock,” in which everyone is trying to pay down debt at the same time. Household borrowing has plunged; businesses are sitting on cash because there’s no reason to expand capacity when the sales aren’t there; and the result is that investors are all dressed up with nowhere to go, or rather no place to put their money. So they’re buying government debt, even at very low returns, for lack of alternatives. Moreover, by making money available so cheaply, they are in effect begging governments to issue more debt.

And governments should be granting their wish, not obsessing over short-term deficits.

Obligatory caveat: yes, we have a long-run budget problem, and we should be taking steps to address that problem, mainly by reining in health care costs. But it’s simply crazy to be laying off schoolteachers and canceling infrastructure projects at a time when investors are offering zero- or negative-interest financing.

You don’t even have to make a Keynesian argument about jobs to see that. All you have to do is note that when money is cheap, that’s a good time to invest. And both education and infrastructure are investments in America’s future; we’ll eventually pay a large and completely gratuitous price for the way they’re being savaged.

That said, you should be a Keynesian, too. The experience of the past few years — above all, the spectacular failure of austerity policies in Europe — has been a dramatic demonstration of Keynes’s basic point: slashing spending in a depressed economy depresses that economy further.

So it’s time to stop paying attention to the alleged wise men who hijacked our policy discussion and made the deficit the center of conversation. They’ve been wrong about everything — and these days even the financial markets are telling us that we should be focused on jobs and growth.
Only the willfully blind can fail to believe the Republican/Teabagger shit about deficits. Their sole aim is to damage the economy deeply enough to be able to defeat President Obama with an incompetent buffoon like Mittens Romney.

Everybody wants to sing that rock and roll

But not many do it as well as this musical couple Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. Been making fine music under the radar for years.

One candidate remembers what we have in Shitholeistan

Send Darcy some help. She is running against a rich DINO in her primary.

Republican/Teabaggers to cut SSI anti fraud funding.

Because in the Republican/Teabagger cosmology it is better to lose as much as $5Billion to fraud than spend $800 Million now.
Cuts proposed by House Republicans to programs designed to weed out waste and abuse within Social Security could end up costing taxpayers more in the long run than the spending cuts themselves are designed to save, according to the program’s chief actuary.

An appropriations bill that last week cleared a GOP-led subcommittee slashes 2013 funding for disability reviews and eligibility redeterminations, which seek to ensure that seniors and other eligible beneficiaries don’t receive more funds than they are entitled to. The proposed cuts would shave this specific budget item from the $1.024 billion agreed upon in the debt limit law last year to $272 million, saving nearly $800 million.

In a Thursday letter responding to inquiring House Democrats, Social Security’s chief actuary Stephen C. Goss concludes that cuts will cost taxpayers “between $5 billion and $6 billion more over the lifetime of those who would not be reassessed due to the reduced funding.”

The projection assumes the funding cuts are only for 2013 and restored thereafter.
That's a lot for just one year. Must be a lot of Republican/Teabaggers affected by the reviews.

Quote of the Day

“We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron, responding to Mittens dumping on UK Olympics prep.

The Many Successes of Mittens the Mormon

Good thing global warming is bunk

Because if these things were to spread across the country and became year round it would be a royal pain in the ass.
On a single day this month here, a US Airways regional jet became stuck in asphalt that had softened in 100-degree temperatures, and a subway train derailed after the heat stretched the track so far that it kinked — inserting a sharp angle into a stretch that was supposed to be straight. In East Texas, heat and drought have had a startling effect on the clay-rich soils under highways, which “just shrink like crazy,” leading to “horrendous cracking,” said Tom Scullion, senior research engineer with the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University. In Northeastern and Midwestern states, he said, unusually high heat is causing highway sections to expand beyond their design limits, press against each other and “pop up,” creating jarring and even hazardous speed bumps.

Excessive warmth and dryness are threatening other parts of the grid as well. In the Chicago area, a twin-unit nuclear plant had to get special permission to keep operating this month because the pond it uses for cooling water rose to 102 degrees; its license to operate allows it to go only to 100. According to the Midwest Independent System Operator, the grid operator for the region, a different power plant had had to shut because the body of water from which it draws its cooling water had dropped so low that the intake pipe became high and dry; another had to cut back generation because cooling water was too warm.
Thank God this is just a temporary aberration and if we cut down more trees, use more oil sands and ExxonMobil products in general, we can overcome this nuisance.

Republican joy - Voter fraud found!

Republican sad - The perpetrator was a Republican candidate in Arizona who voted his dead companion for five years after her death. It's just like they say, Scatch a Republican, find voter fraud.

The Curious Argument of Those Who Support Murder

Those who support the murderers
among us are fond of telling us that if you deny them access to firearms, they will find another method of killing. Dipshit Dick Armey uses this faulty logic to plead for continued access to firearms for those who murder.
During an appearance on CNN, host Soledad O’Brien asked Armey if he agreed with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s assertion that the way to prevent future shootings like the one in Aurora was to change “the heart of the American people” instead of tighter controls on firearms.

“We’ve got a culture right now that seems to say, let’s control the guns and have all kinds of laxities and forgiveness and understandings and so forth for the people who hold the guns,” Armey said.

But O’Brien pointed out that the Aurora shooting couldn’t be blamed on a laxness on criminals because the suspect had no criminal record.

“People might say that it was the easy accessibility for someone who wanted to amass, stockpile weapons over a short period of time to plot out a mass shooting and that should be blamed,” the CNN host told Armey.

“If in fact he had not been capable of acquiring the guns, he might just as well taken a car and driven it into a school bus,” the tea party leader replied. “You can’t focus on the object by which a destruction was committed — be it a hammer, a gun, a truck, a car. Focus on the aberrance in the individuals that do this.”

“Why not do both?” O’Brien wondered.

“More people are killed in automobiles every year than they are guns,” Armey insisted. “I don’t hear anybody talking about banning automobiles.”

“But they say you have to wear a seat belt, right?” O’Brien noted.

“Whatever,” Armey quipped.

“Got to have a driver’s license,” a member of CNN’s panel pointed out from off camera.
Got a few restrictions on cars that the NRA executive thugs refuse to allow on guns. But all the arguments are specious because unrestricted access to firearms will allow people who might otherwise be stopped to commit murder. And this might reduce gun manufacturing profits.

Mittens loves the taste of foot

Which may explain his predilection for putting said pedal extremity in his mouth. As he travels in Britain to raise money, allegedly from Americans abroad, he has done it again by dissing his host country.
It was in an interview in London with NBC’s Brian Williams that Romney said that he found stories he was hearing about London’t readiness for the Olympic Games “disconcerting.”

“It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out,” he said of the games and the lapses in security that have surrounded them, “There are a few things that were disconcerting. The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials — that obviously is not something which is encouraging.”

He also questioned British people’s willingness to embrace the Games.

“Do they come together and celebrate the Olympic moment?” he asked. “That’s something which we only find out once the Games actually begin.”
Curious that Mittens who attacked President Obama for apologizing, has apologized more in his young campaign than most people do in a lifetime. Maybe he is not used to life outside the boardroom.

Ever wonder why people joined unions?

Management has for years been battling unions and spreading half truths lies and all manner of other bad press as part of its efforts to diminish and destroy unions. Apparently they feel they have succeeded well enough to restore many of their old pre-union habits.
There’s a simple workplace axiom: You put in your hours and get paid for them. Alas, this doesn’t always happen.

There’s been a record spike in wage and hour violation claims by employees thanks to sustained tough economic times, an increase in enforcement by the government, and confusion over -- or disregard of -- overtime pay provisions...

“Many workers still have a hard time taking advantage of their legal protections,” said Jeffrey Michael Hirsch, associate professor at the University of North Carolina’s law school and a contributing editor to the Workplace Prof Blog. “Low-wage employees, in particular, often don't earn enough to attract attorneys, although class actions might help in some cases, so you see a lot of cases of unremedied wage theft.”

In those cases, he said, the Labor Department sometimes gets involved, especially to "send a message to employers."

The Labor Department, which sees 125 to 150 cases annually, has stepped up its efforts and pursues litigation when it cannot settle out of court, said Sonia Melendez, a spokeswoman for the agency.

“The wage and hour division has stepped up enforcement efforts on behalf of vulnerable workers — such as low-wage workers, migrant or seasonal laborers, workers with limited English language skills and workers who are unaware of their rights or are reluctant to file a complaint when subject to labor violations,” she said.

The bulk of wage and hour lawsuits deal with misclassification of employees, alleged uncompensated ‘work’ performed off the clock and miscalculation of overtime pay, said Richard Alfred, an attorney and chairman of Seyfarth Shaw's wage and hour litigation practice.
Curious that American business feels it has fight workers toth and nail and cheat them at every possible chance while in Germany, their very successful economy still works admirably treating workers as an equal part of the business. Where did we go wrong.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree

And Rufus Wainwright is a good illustration of that, with parents like Loudon Wainwright and the late Kate McGarrigle it would have been cruel if he had no musical talent.

There are too many people in Iowa

But rather than engage in a straight forward euthanasia campaign, willing volunteers will be used at the Iowa State Fair.
The Campbell’s Concessions’ Double Bacon Corn Dog will make its debut this year.

It’s a pretty straightforward recipe: Wrap a hot dog in bacon, deep-fry it, dip it in “bacon-bit-enriched” batter and give it another hot grease bath. The technique is a little more complicated, though, and Eric Campbell, fry master extraordinaire, said these dogs are labor intensive and the method is proprietary.

“Keeping (the bacon) on the hot dog took a lot of experimenting,” he said.
This is seen as a much more humane method than mainlining lard directly. Thanks to the bacon, they will leave this mortal coil with a smile on their lips.

A small minority led by vicious thugs

Has put the kibosh on even talking about sensible gun regulation. According to the NRA Constitution, you have the right to be shot dead anywhere, at anytime, by anyone sane or not because the 2nd Amendment says so. That same 2nd Amendment denies you any right to attempt to regulate firearms for public safety. To watch our political leaders in action, you would think that at least 80% of Americans thought this way. As you can see to the left, this is not so. (click pic to big). Maybe we should do something before the next loonyshooter targets you.

So the guy knew a lot about leaks

One of Mittens recent Big Lies has been about White House leaks of classified information. One of his mouthpieces for these attacks is Eric Edelman. And guess where Edelman learned all he knows about leaking? At Dickwahds knee.
And if anyone knows about how serious leaks of classified information can be, it’s Eric Edelman! After all, as Buzzfeed points out, Edelman worked for VP Dick Cheney’s right-hand man, Scooter Libby. In fact, Edelman was identified in the Justice Department’s indictment of Libby as the genius who suggested to Libby that it would be a hilarious prank to get back at Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson by leaking information to the press about Wilson. And then Libby went straight out and whispered to the New York Times’ Judith Miller all about how Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, was totally a CIA operative, you know, and then everybody had a good laugh over how thoroughly Wilson had been punked, so we went ahead and invaded Iraq.
So now we know how good a judge of character Mittens is.

When will Mittens give up smoking?

From the pen of Tom Toles

Kim Jong Un now Kim Jong Un + Un

And that makes two as in married. For the sake of the people of Best Korea, we hope she can bring out his better side, if he has one.

The Lunatic Fringe stands up to be recognized

Michele Bachmann's neo-McCarthy
call for an anti-Muslim witch hunt has brought for a number of the Lunatic Fringe to stand up and be counted as one of he Shit House Rats.
The former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations defended Bachmann’s call for an anti-Muslim witch hunt after conspiracy talk show host Glenn Beck, Republican talk show host Rush Limbaugh and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) took Bachmann’s side, even though other top Republicans like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Reps. John Boehner (R-OH) and Mike Rogers (R-MI) have publicly come out against her comments.
And so the efforts to drag the Republican/Teabagger party further right into the Abyss of Insanity continues.

Mittens running away from Anglo-Saxon remark

As well he should.
Andrea Saul, a spokesperson for Mitt Romney’s campaign, on Wednesday indicated that it was possible that one of the GOP hopeful adviser’s may have suggested that President Barack Obama doesn’t appreciate the Anglo-Saxon heritage shared by Britain and the United States — but she insisted that the candidate did not agree with the remarks.
In political speak that means, "OMG tie an anvil to his feet and drop him in the ocean!"

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Get three for the price of one.

Beethoven's Triple Concerto for Violin, Piano & Cello.

R.I.P Sherman Hemsley

Now sir, you are really moving on up.

What is easier to buy than French cheeses?

Why automatic assault rifles, you silly goose.

click pic to big

stolen from AmericaBlog

Brits bring charges in phone hacking scandal

And it is a mixed creel of fish, from the Prime Minister's Communications chief to the detective who did the actual dirty work.
After a year of furious controversy over the widespread phone hacking by one of Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid newspapers, British prosecutors brought criminal charges on Tuesday against eight of the most prominent figures in the scandal, including Andy Coulson, who was Prime Minister David Cameron’s communications chief at 10 Downing Street until the scandal forced his resignation last year.

Also charged was Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive of Mr. Murdoch’s newspaper empire in Britain until she, too, resigned last summer. Others who were indicted include five journalists who played prominent roles at The News of the World, the tabloid where Ms. Brooks and later Mr. Coulson were the top editors at the time that the hacking is alleged to have occurred, from 2000 to 2006.

The criminal charges — and the possibility of prison terms if prosecutors win convictions — are a sharp turning point in the affair, adding the drama of high-profile trials to a saga that has already thrown the worlds of politics, policing and journalism in Britain into a prolonged fit of self-examination and shaken the foundations of the Murdoch empire.

The eighth person charged was Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator who served a prison term in 2007, together with The News of the World’s reporter specializing in coverage of Britain’s royal family, for hacking into the cellphones of younger members of the royal family and their aides. Those convictions remain the only ones so far in the hacking furor.

After Tuesday’s announcement by Alison Levitt, the senior legal adviser at the Crown Prosecution Service, headlines in Britain focused on Mr. Coulson and Ms. Brooks, both of whom have strong personal links to Mr. Cameron — Mr. Coulson through his years at Mr. Cameron’s side, in and out of government, and Ms. Brooks because of the friendship she and her husband, Charlie Brooks, had with Mr. Cameron before the scandal erupted.
We hope that the Brits haven't lost their skills for diong a scandal upright. And we pray the evidence makes its way across the pond to catch the big fish, ol' Rupe himself.

Kill the Beast with the Truth

An Obama ad with Mitt Romney's Greatest Fear, the Truth..

How to feel like a real man at the RNC convention

Raw Story has a post listing the various ways you legally carry your favorite shooting iron to the RNC convention in Tampa so you won't feel inadequate.
In five weeks, the Republican National Convention will get underway in Tampa, Florida — and, due to a state law restricting municipal firearms regulations and Gov. Rick Scott’s (R-FL) unwillingness to provide the city a waiver from that law, legal firearms will be permitted all around the convention center (though not inside of it).

Scott’s reasoning was that, “it is unclear how disarming law-abiding citizens would better protect them from the dangers and threats posed by those who would flout the law.” However, one need not flout the law to bring a gun to the areas just outside the convention. Due to the nation’s patchwork gun laws, it would be quite easy to have ill intentions and bring a perfectly legal firearm to the convention zone.
Not every one will be able to pack heat so be careful who you challenge if you don't want to be Zimmermaned. But there is one element of Florida law that may help you.
As previously noted, it is illegal under Florida law to carry firearm that is not concealed.

Mike Huckleberry calls for Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day

It will probably be made up of first time users because it is hard to appreciate the crap they serve.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Alison Krauss

Keep on singing and playing for many more.

Why Mittens can never think outside the box

Explained by the ever square Tom Tomorrow.

R.I.P. Sally Ride

And ride you did, to the stars!

One way to fail your job interview

From the pen of Ben Sargent

Business good, check; Reward management, check

Screw the workers to the max, so far management at Caterpillar has not yet succeeded with this last task. But that is not for want of trying.
When it comes to dealing with labor unions, Caterpillar has long taken a stance as tough as the bulldozers and backhoes that have burnished its global reputation. Be it two-tier wage scales or higher worker contributions for health insurance, the company has been a leader in devising new ways to cut labor costs, with other manufacturers often imitating its strategies.

Now, in what has become a test case in American labor relations, Caterpillar is trying to pioneer new territory, seeking steep concessions from its workers even when business is booming.

Despite earning a record $4.9 billion profit last year and projecting even better results for 2012, the company is insisting on a six-year wage freeze and a pension freeze for most of the 780 production workers at its factory here. Caterpillar says it needs to keep its labor costs down to ensure its future competitiveness.

The company’s stance has angered the workers, who went on strike 12 weeks ago. “Considering the offer they gave us, it’s a strike we had to have,” said Albert Williams, a 19-year Caterpillar employee, as he picketed in 99-degree heat outside the plant, which makes hydraulic parts and systems essential for much of the company’s earth-moving machinery.

Caterpillar, which has significantly raised its executives’ compensation because of its strong profits, defended its demands, saying many unionized workers were paid well above market rates. To run the factory during the strike, the company is using replacement workers, managers and a few union members who have crossed the picket line.
So the workers who made the equipment that built the brand get nothing and the suits who did nothing get all the goodies. Welcome to a preview of Romney's America.

Add another 91 to W's legacy in Iraq.

From the Raw Story:
A wave attacks in Baghdad and north of the capital killed 91 people in Iraq’s deadliest day in more than two years after Al-Qaeda warned it would mount new attacks and sought to retake territory.

Officials said at least 172 people were wounded as a result of 21 different attacks mounted in 13 cities, shattering a relative calm which held in the lead-up to the start on Saturday of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Al-Qaeda did not exist in Iraq under Saddam, they are gift from George W Bush to the Iraqi people.

Vile, Stupid Inanity of the Day

According to Sen. John "Grandpa Walnuts" McCain, because gun control doesn't work we shouldn't put a lock on the swinging door at the gun shop.
“The killer in Norway, which is a country that has very strict gun control laws, and yet he was still able to acquire the necessary means to initiate and carry out a mass slaughter.”

“I think we need to look at everything, if that even should be looked at, but to think that somehow gun control is — or increased gun control — is the answer, in my view, that would have to be proved,”
OK guys, shoot 'em if you can get 'em.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Great 401k Scam

For years we have been told the marvelous benefits of the 401k plan for retirement. One of the biggest lies is that we will be able to do what WE want with OUR OWN money. A nice conceit except for the fact that we have no idea what to do with it, little incentive or ability to save enough and ultimately precious little control over it. Or as Teresa Ghilarducci, a professor of economics at the New School for Social Research puts it.
It is now more than 30 years since the 401(k)/Individual Retirement Account model appeared on the scene. This do-it-yourself pension system has failed. It has failed because it expects individuals without investment expertise to reap the same results as professional investors and money managers. What results would you expect if you were asked to pull your own teeth or do your own electrical wiring?
And now we have to worry about too many people we should be able to trust trying their best to steal what little we will get from Social Security. The Republican/Teabaggers would be thrilled if that happened. We wouldn't need to get sick to die soon.

This was released as a B-side for a Christmas song

When Patti Page released what became a huge hit for her. It was originally recorded by Cowboy Copas.

Juan Cole asks a question

If a Jammed Assault Rifle saved Lives, wouldn’t no Assault Rifle?
Of course the answer for some of those less afflicted with intelligence is, No he would just build a truck bomb like Timmy McVeigh. This overlooks the fact that law enforcement can monitor and track large scale fertilizer sales since the Oklahoma City bombing. They are prohibited from monitoring or tracking guns and ammunition sales until the bodies are cold.

Will the Koch Bros get screwed in Nevada?

It may well happen. Their anonymous donor supported SuprPAC got involved in a state race in Nevada recently. Unlike Federal law, Nevada does not split hairs as to how you attack a candidate to influence the election.
In a complaint filed Thursday, the Nevada Democratic Party asked Secretary of State Ross Miller to investigate whether the nonprofit organization must report the contributions it received to fund mailers attacking state Senate candidate Kelvin Atkinson, a Democratic assemblyman from North Las Vegas.

Under federal law, political nonprofits such as AFP can escape disclosure requirements by not including words such as “vote for” or “defeat” in political messaging.

Under state law, it doesn’t matter whether those words are used or not.

If there can be “no other reasonable interpretation” than that the ad seeks the election or defeat of a candidate, then the producer must disclose the funding source for the ad...

In this case, AFP sent mailers into Atkinson’s district just before the June 6 primary election, with his picture and accusations that he worked for special interests and sought a $1 billion electricity rate increase.

The mailers didn’t say “vote against” Atkinson; rather, they urged voters to call his office and tell him what they thought of his record.

But Miller has aggressively enforced the concept in Nevada that such mailers are clearly designed to influence an election and that the money associated with producing them should be reported.

He’s filed suit against an out-of-state group that spent money attacking former Gov. Jim Gibbons in his 2010 primary against Brian Sandoval, and he filed a civil complaint against Citizens Outreach for failing to report contributors that funded a similar attack mailer against Assemblyman John Oceguera.

Miller also succeeded in passing legislation last year to strengthen the definition of what constitutes political advertising.
So far the Koch have managed to drag this out in courts, but that does not mean they will win, just that we may not learn who the donors are in time.

How to know right from wrong

Stolen from Juanita Jean

click pic to big

Bloody Billy Kristol finally gets one right.

From the Raw Story:
Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol on Sunday broke with fellow conservatives and backed restrictions the sales of “assault weapons” like the AR-15 that was allegedly used to kill at least 12 people and wound 58 others in Aurora, Colorado last week.

“People have a right to handguns and hunting rifles,” Kristol told Fox News host Chris Wallace. “I don’t think they have a right to semi-automatic, quasi-machine guns that can be used to shoot a hundred bullets at a time.”

“And I actually think the Democrats are being foolish as they’re being cowardly,” he added. “I think there is more support for some moderate forms of gun control if they separated clearly from a desire to take away everyone’s handguns or rifles.”

“And you could put more pressure on moderate Republicans than people think. It’s not as if Republicans from New York and Illinois and California couldn’t — that President Obama couldn’t do what President Clinton did and put pressure on them [to pass an assault weapons ban]. President Obama on this one is just unwilling to take a strong stance.”
Maybe he is just being a troll, but, damnit, he is right.

Because you never know when 100 deer will attack you

So the writers of the Constitution, in their infinite wisdom, gave us the inalienable right to 100 round magazines to protect ourselves.
Tea party-backed Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) says that the right to own high-capacity ammunitions magazines like the 100-round drum that was used to kill at least a dozen people in Colorado last week is a “basic freedom” that is protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday asked Johnson why people needed military-grade weapons like the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and large ammunition clips used by the shooter in Aurora, Colorado where at least 12 were killed and 58 were wounded.

“The left always uses the term ‘assault rifle,’ and they’re really talking about semi-automatic weapons that are used in hunting,” Johnson explained. “That’s what happens in Wisconsin. These are rifles that are used in hunting. Just the fact of the matter is this is really not an issue of guns. This is about sick people doing things you simply can’t prevent. It’s really an issue of freedom.”

“Does something that would limit magazines that can carry 100 rounds, would that infringe on the constitutional right?” Wallace wondered.

“I believe so,” Johnson insisted.
But there is no right to healthcare in the Constitution because it didn't exist back then. Nor is there any protection from the douchebags that some states insist on electing, to the detriment of the public at large.

They write books

And one of the writers is Neil Barofsky, formerly the special inspector general for TARP. And in his book, he makes it clear that all you have heard about regulatory capture is all too true.
As Mr. Barofsky writes, he had assumed that his assignment to oversee TARP meant that he should be fiercely independent from the Treasury Department, and vigilant against waste, fraud and abuse. But after canvassing other inspector generals for guidance, he writes, he learned of different priorities: maintaining and possibly increasing budgets, appearing to be active — and not making enemies.

“The common refrain went like this,” Mr. Barofsky writes. “There are three different types of I.G.’s. You can be a lap dog, a watchdog or a junkyard dog.” A lap dog is seen as too timid, he was told. But being a junkyard dog was also ill-advised.

“What you want to be is a watchdog,” he continues. “The agency should perceive you as a constructive but independent partner, helping to make things better for the agency, so everyone is better off.” He also learned, he says, that success as an inspector general meant that investigations come second. Don’t second-guess the Treasury. Instead, “focus on process.”

Thus the collision course was set between Mr. Barofsky and a crew of complacent, bank-friendly Treasury officials. He soon discovered that the department’s natural stance of marching in lock step with the banks meant that he had to question its policies and programs repeatedly to ensure that taxpayers weren’t at risk for fraud and abuse.
Gretchen Morgenson reviews his book.

What, after all, is art?

It may be meaningful to you,but does it have value if it can not be sold? Such is the question now being hammered out between the IRS and the heirs of an unusual piece of art.
The question may sound like a Zen koan, but it is one that lawyers for the heirs of the New York art dealer Ileana Sonnabend and the Internal Revenue Service are set to debate when they meet in Washington next month.

The object under discussion is “Canyon,” a masterwork of 20th-century art created by Robert Rauschenberg that Mrs. Sonnabend’s children inherited when she died in 2007.

Because the work, a sculptural combine, includes a stuffed bald eagle, a bird under federal protection, the heirs would be committing a felony if they ever tried to sell it. So their appraisers have valued the work at zero.

But the Internal Revenue Service takes a different view. It has appraised “Canyon” at $65 million and is demanding that the owners pay $29.2 million in taxes.
If you deny it a market, how can you give it a value? I hope the NYT has a follow up when this is decided.

Drug War moves to Africa

Because the DEA and others have done such a cracking job eliminating the drug cartels.
In a significant expansion of the war on drugs, the United States has begun training an elite unit of counternarcotics police in Ghana and planning similar units in Nigeria and Kenya as part of an effort to combat the Latin American cartels that are increasingly using Africa to smuggle cocaine into Europe.

The growing American involvement in Africa follows an earlier escalation of antidrug efforts in Central America, according to documents, Congressional testimony and interviews with a range of officials at the State Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Pentagon.

In both regions, American officials are responding to fears that crackdowns in more direct staging points for smuggling — like Mexico and Spain — have prompted traffickers to move into smaller and weakly governed states, further corrupting and destabilizing them...

The initiatives come amid a surge in successful interdictions in Honduras since May — but also as American officials have been forced to defend their new tactics after a commando-style team of D.E.A. agents participated in at least three lethal interdiction operations alongside a squad of Honduran police officers. In one of those operations, in May, the Honduran police killed four people near the village of Ahuas, and in two others in the past month American agents have shot and killed smuggling suspects.

To date, officials say, the D.E.A. commando team has not been deployed to work with the newly created elite police squads in Africa, where the effort to counter the drug traffickers is said to be about three years behind the one in Central America.
Just another one of our fruitless wars.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Would Mittens have talent like this in the White House?

Five Long Years (written by Eddie Boyd) .
Performed by Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck, Gary Clark, Jr., and Mick Jagger.
Booker T. Jones ( musical director/band leader), Bobby Avila (bass), Jesse Johnson (guitar), Narada Michael Walden (drums), Ernie Fields, Jr. (saxophone), Freddie Hendrix (trumpet) and Fred Wesley (trombone).

How to Create The Big Lie, Romney Style

From the pen of Mike Luckovich

The Lunatic Fringe is feeling its oats

It is not just the Queen of the Bat Shit Crazies and Loonie Louie Gohmert that are spouting arrant nonsense these days. One of the bullgoose Teabaggers has taken up the torch to illuminate their world of fantasy and madness.
The president of Tea Party Nation declared on Thursday that if Mitt Romney is to release his tax returns, President Barack Obama should release medical records to prove he’s not a drug addict who smoked crack and had gay sex with a lifelong con-man.

Judson Phillips, whose for-profit group is better known to Tennessee as the “Tea Party Nation Corporation,” explained in an essay that also went out in a mass email to his followers that the American people must know whether the president had secret financial support in college due to his status as a “foreign student” — and dredged up a long-disproved story of Obama’s alleged encounter smoking crack and having sex with a gay prostitute.
Truth, justice and the American Way have no place inthese fools minds.

In an effort to stop insider trading by Congress

Both houses of Congress actually passed a law prevent lawmakers from acting on the insider information they have for their own gain. It seemed a miracle until it came under the aegis of Kosher Mouse. He put through a small change creating a loophole you can drive a truck through.
The Senate version of the bill requires these transactions be reported within 45 days by both its members and their families. But a memo from the Office of Government Ethics, which oversees all federal executive branch employees, used the House version, telling them spouses and children were not subject to the rule.

Neither of the bill’s Senate co-sponsors, Scott Brown (R-MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), knew about the discrepancy.

“I mean, bottom line, we’re supposed to have that level of transparency and have us be treated like every other member of the United States,” Brown told CNN’s Dana Bash. “Bottom line, if we can’t do it, then — sorry, if they can’t do it — then we shouldn’t be able to do it as well.”
Because we all know that Kosher Mouse never talks business with his wife and kids.

Shell Arctic Drilling Team Woefully Inadequate

If you have not had first hand experience, there are plenty of nature shows to teach you how violent the weather in the Arctic can get. Which makes any reasonable person wonder why an experienced drilling corp like Shell would send inadequate equipment to drill up there.
Over the weekend, the company’s drilling rig, the Noble Discoverer, appears to have come dangerously close to running aground near Dutch Harbor, where Shell’s fleet has been assembled. The Noble Discoverer is one of two dozen ships Shell plans to send into some of the most challenging conditions on the planet. According to the US Coast Guard, the vessel slipped anchor and drifted within 100 yards off shore before being pulled back into deeper water by a Shell tugboat.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

The vessel‘s anchor failed to hold and the 514-foot ship began drifting, but its movement was halted when tug boats were called in to assist, Coast Guard spokeswoman Sara Francis told the Los Angeles Times.

“We don’t know exactly what happened yet. We do know that the vessel’s anchor didn’t hold, they began to drift, they let out more anchor chain to slow that drift and called for immediate tug assistance,” Francis said.

Although Shell and the Coast Guard asserted there was no evidence of grounding, onlookers — including longshoreman David Howard and Dutch Harbor captain Kristjan Laxfoss — contradicted this account, saying the vessel was not moving and appeared grounded: “There’s no question it hit the beach. That ship was not coming any closer. It was on the beach.”

Petty Officer Sarah Francis said winds of 27-35 miles per hour likely led to the ship drifting — conditions that are benign compared with the hurricane-force gales, 20-foot swells, and dynamic sea ice the Discoverer could encounter off the North Slope where the company plans to drill offshore.
If only this was the sole problem.
The incident immediately follows the Coast Guard’s refusal to certify Shell’s oil spill response barge, the Arctic Challenger, because of concerns about the fire protection system, wiring, and piping on the 37 year-old vessel. The Coast Guard also expressed doubts about the barge’s ability to withstand harsh Arctic storms. The containment barge is essential to the fleet as it is designed to deliver oil spill response equipment to the five drilling sites. Without it, Shell would not have access to the equipment necessary to contain an oil spill in the Arctic Ocean.
Is Shell trying to drill on the cheap in an area where sparing expenses will cost lives? We hope not.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Jersey pilots, They know what they are doing

But have no idea where they are going. From Tampa Bay Online:
Air Force officials are trying to figure out why an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo jet heading to MacDill Air Force Base instead landed at Peter O. Knight Airport this afternoon.

The plane, flown by a crew from the 305th Air Mobility Wing at McGuire Air Force Basee in New Jersey, was arriving from Southwest Asia carrying 23 passengers and 19 crew when it made an "unscheduled landing," according to Sgt David Carbajal, a McGuire spokesman. There appears to have been no damage to the aircraft or the airport, said Carbajal...

The main runway at Peter O. Knight is 3,580 feet long and 100 feet wide, aligned in the same direction as MacDill's runway that is 11,421 feet long and 151 feet wide.

The nose landing gear of the cargo jet stopped about six to 10 feet from the end of the runway, said Gucwa, who took cell phone video of the landing...

"I face directly over the Bay and saw that plane come in so fast and thought to myself 'Never in a million years is he going to make it,'" Donald said. "I was waiting for flames."

There seemed to be a moment when the pilot realized the mistake, Donald said, but too late.

"He was carrying so much speed, I thought, 'This is not going to happen,'" he said. "If his front tire was not in the grass at the end of the runway, he was darn close."

It took about 17 seconds from the time the cargo jet's wheels touched down to time it came to a screeching halt near the end of the runway, according to video taken by Ryan Gucwa, who was at the scene.
Follow the link for video of landing and more.

And we end another week

Elizabeth Warren Speaks Out on LIBOR Scandal

And if you are like too many Americans, you really haven't been paying attention to something the Brits did. The problem is they were not alone and all the Banks involved cheated people and organizations out of what was honestly due them.
We don’t know who else was fixing bets. Other big banks, including some of the largest in the United States, are under investigation. Barclays doesn’t appear to have acted alone, and it is clear that its fixes weren’t secret deals by rogue traders. Traders put requests to manipulate the rates in writing and even joked about delivering champagne to those who helped them.

It is also clear that many of those who didn’t have a fixer — including consumers, community banks and credit unions — lost money. Barclays padded its bottom line by taking money from everyone else. It won when it shouldn’t have won — and others lost when they shouldn’t have lost. The amount of money involved is staggering. On any given day, $800 trillion worth of credit-related transactions are linked to Libor rates.

In most markets, consumers could simply take their business elsewhere once they learned that the scales were rigged. But interest rates are different. Everyone who borrows money on a mortgage, credit card, student loan, car loan or small-business loan — basically, everyone — is affected by a crooked market on Libor. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, in 2008 more than half of all adjustable-rate mortgages were linked to Libor. Even those who didn’t borrow but saved for retirement or their children’s future got hit with interest rates that had been faked.
And in the end she gets to the heart of the matter.
But the heart of accountability lies deeper. It rests on acknowledging that we cannot trust Wall Street to regulate itself — not in New York, London or anywhere else. The club is corrupt. When Mitt Romney says he will move to repeal all of the new financial regulations, he supports a corrupt system. When members of Congress grill regulators for being too tough on Wall Street and slash the budgets of the regulators charged with overseeing Wall Street, they prop up a corrupt system.

Financial services are critical to the economy. That’s why everyone — every family and every business — has a stake in an honest system. The fantasy that reducing oversight of the biggest banks will make us safer is just that — a dangerous fantasy. The Libor fraud exposes rot at the core. Now, who will stand up to fix it?
One person who will stand up for us is Elizabeth Warren. To those Commonwealth voters who don't yet support, please pull your heads out of your asses and look to your own self interest this November.

Sometimes the apple falls far away.

From the pen of Tom Toles.

Blue water Navy wants to go green

And their reasons for doing so involve National Security as well as environmental issues. For reasons probably related to their other assualts on the integrity of the United States, the Republican/Teabaggers are ferociously opposing this effort.
The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and a strike force of 71 jet fighters, helicopters and transport planes, set off on a demonstration voyage off the Hawaiian island of Oahu this week, powered by a 50-50 mix of conventional fuels and algae or cooking oil.

An Australian Navy commander also joined the Nimitz in a biofuel-burning helicopter.

But the voyage that should have been the pinnacle of the navy’s green aspirations instead found the Pentagon and Obama administration fending off Republican attacks on the biofuels project.

In a telephone call with reporters on Thursday, the navy secretary, Ray Mabus, and Obama administration officials made their most public effort to date to head off moves in Congress to block the navy’s biofuels project.

Congress is considering a 2013 spending bill that would effectively shut down the navy’s green fleet, four years into the project.

The navy took its first steps to “greening” the fleet in 2009 and tested the first jet engines on the biofuels mix a year later. But the project became controversial late last year when the navy spent $450,000 on biofuels, paying about $15 a gallon for used chicken fat with a dash of algae, compared to $3.60 for conventional fuel.

A bill before the Senate, supported by Republicans Jim Inhofe and John McCain, would ban the navy from buying more biofuels unless the price drops to the same prices as conventional fuels. It also seeks to block the navy from spending on biofuel refineries – support that could help speed up the commercialisation of biofuels.
Curiously, John McCain opposes this because it is too expensive, now. This comes from a man who gave no thought to the cost of turning 5 of Uncle Sam's frontline fighters into junk when he flew. On the other hand, it is not surprising that the Republican/Teabaggers are working so hard to stymie National Security.

How are the Richers different, Let me count the ways

Or better yet, I will let Paul Krugman do so as he has already written his column.
“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.” So wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald — and he didn’t just mean that they have more money. What he meant instead, at least in part, was that many of the very rich expect a level of deference that the rest of us never experience and are deeply distressed when they don’t get the special treatment they consider their birthright; their wealth “makes them soft where we are hard.”

And because money talks, this softness — call it the pathos of the plutocrats — has become a major factor in America’s political life.
But this softness can lead to delusion. And that delusion made itself manifest in Mitten's reaction to calls for his tax returns.
Anyway, what’s now apparent is that the campaign was completely unprepared for the obvious questions, and it has reacted to the Obama campaign’s decision to ask those questions with a hysteria that surely must be coming from the top. Clearly, Mr. Romney believed that he could run for president while remaining safe inside the plutocratic bubble and is both shocked and angry at the discovery that the rules that apply to others also apply to people like him. Fitzgerald again, about the very rich: “They think, deep down, that they are better than we are.”

O.K., let’s take a deep breath. The truth is that many, and probably most, of the very rich don’t fit Fitzgerald’s description. There are plenty of very rich Americans who have a sense of perspective, who take pride in their achievements without believing that their success entitles them to live by different rules.

But Mitt Romney, it seems, isn’t one of those people. And that discovery may be an even bigger issue than whatever is hidden in those tax returns he won’t release.
Without seeing his tax returns, Mittens is showing us his unfitness for the office he thinks he deserves.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Another great lady of song who is too often overlooked

But Rosanne Cash comes from a good musical family so she won't be overlooked for long.

Concert included Lacey J Dalton, Emmylou Harris, Gail Davies, Kennedy Rose. Wish I had been there.

Am ancient tradition

From the pen of Pat Oliphant

Ann Romney does her best Leona Helmsley imitation

In coming to the defense of her hapless husband, Ann Romney spoke words that display her sense of entitlement from Mittens wealth as she attempted to dismiss those she considers beneath her.
“You know, you should really look at where Mitt has led his life, and where he’s been financially,” Ann Romney told ABC’s Robin Roberts. “He’s a very generous person. We give 10 percent of our income to our church every year. Do you think that is the kind of person who is trying to hide things, or do things? No. He is so good about it. Then, when he was governor of Massachusetts, didn’t take a salary for four years.”

We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life,” the candidate’s wife added.
Actually Ann, no you haven't. You seem to forget that Mittens is not trying to move into my neighborhood, he wants to be the Leader of my country. If he wants me to trust his judgement, it may be too late but he needs to show at least the skill of his father. And you need to carry your entitlement with a sense of the responsibility it entails. There are many lampposts in this country.

Mittens embraces that carbuncle Rush as supporters drop off.

Because when you refuse to show your tax returns, to the point that both friends and enemies believe you are hiding something that will sink you, there are not many people left on your side.
Most large organizations employ a spokesperson to express the group’s ideology, mission statement and to make important public announcements. The spokesperson should be personable and speak in a manner that represents the character of the specific group, and political parties are no different. For some time now, the de facto spokesman for the Republican party has been controversial figure Rush Limbaugh and considering there are very few Republicans who are apt to contradict or condemn Limbaugh’s inflammatory rhetoric or outrageous statements, it can be assumed that every word he says represents the views, policies, and agenda of the GOP. Two years ago, presumptive Republican presidential candidate Willard Romney said, “I find it hard to disagree with Rush Limbaugh,” and after Limbaugh impugned the character of law student Sandra Fluke, Romney said “it’s not the language I would have used,” but he did not disagree with Limbaugh’s message.
It is possible that Mittens has even less principles that that carbuncle Rush.

Food Bank's crying need is all year

This was printed in my local paper but it can apply to any place in this once great, now Reaganized country of ours. Send a donation to your local food bank. If you can't afford money or goods, some of your time volunteered would be appreciated.
By Rod Watson

Think of this as my annual Thanksgiving column - four months early.

Like many Americans, I tend to think of the hungry only during the season given over to giving thanks.

But for the 41,000 children who rely on the Food Bank of Western New York each month for enough to eat, summer is no picnic. Once you think about it, it's easy to understand why: They're not getting the free breakfasts and lunches they eat at school during the rest of the year.

Yet roughly 60 percent of the Food Bank's donations come during the holiday season, said Marylou Borowiak, president and CEO.

"During the summer months, there's that void to fill," she said as the agency prepares for "Walk Off Hunger" July 28 in Williamsville's Island Park, its summer fundraiser begun six years ago to try to fill that void.

The fact that we even need to talk about hungry kids in a nation as rich as this is an indictment. So is the reality that, for the most part, we're not talking about them - certainly not in this year's political campaigns.

Like Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man," the poor have become invisible Americans, except to people at the Food Bank and the 350 agencies it supplies with food in Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties. The kids can't be invisible when you look into their faces and they pull at your heartstrings.

Stephanie Lawson talks about supplying a cake on what should be every child's special day because without it "these kids wouldn't be able to acknowledge their birthday."

Lawson, the Food Bank's team leader for agency grants and youth programs, describes the BackPack program that sends food home with 600 kids in seven city schools every Friday. Without it, many wouldn't have enough to eat until they returned to school Monday.

In fact, while the Food Bank's support from the state and elsewhere has remained relatively flat, the number of households served jumped by a whopping 18 percent - to 36,207 - last year.

And while the BackPack program operates only in the city, the need extends to the suburbs and rural areas, as evidenced by its four-county distribution area.

"That really breaks down all of those stereotypes," Lawson said. "It's everywhere, and the kids are so thankful."

So are the adults, more and more of whom are employed married couples, despite stereotypes about single mothers. "At more and more of our agencies, you see the working poor," Borowiak said.

These are the people who do the same "work" that Ann Romney does raising a family - but without the Romney resources - while also holding down jobs outside the home. All of which makes the fabricated controversy over the presidential contender's wife sound really silly.

But that's what we're focusing on this year.

Or we're focusing on the beleaguered middle class.

Or we're focusing on millionaires, arguing over the job-creating tax cuts that haven't caused them to create jobs during the last four years, or during the eight years of "certainty" under George W. Bush before that.

The only ones we aren't focusing on are the poor and working poor. They're the forgotten constituency - forgotten during this time of the year and forgotten during this political season.
From the Department of Wishful Thinking, just imagine what we could do if we tithed all the political contributions?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Too often we forget

That English is not the only language Linda Ronstadt is fluent in. Here is one in Spanish that is no less beautiful because you don't know the words. Stop thinking and just listen.

Will Mittens the Candidate step in to save American jobs

From being shipped overseas by the evil financier Mittens? We can probably guess what will happen, but the idea that any capable politician got himself in this position is ludicrous.
As Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney faces a withering attack over outsourcing and layoffs by his former firm, Bain Capital, employees at a Bain-owned company are appealing to Romney to stop their jobs being shipped overseas.

Romney has played no part in Sensata Technologies Inc.'s decision to move its auto-sensor business to China. But he owns millions of dollars worth of Bain funds that hold a controlling stake in the Massachusetts-based company.

The planned closure of its plant in Freeport, Illinois, could create further headaches for Romney, who is struggling to divert attacks by President Barack Obama and his campaign that portray him as a job killer who does not understand ordinary Americans.
The workers believe that Mittens has a heart or at least enough political savvy to stop this before the elections.
“If he wanted to, all he needs to do is call up the management of Bain Capital and say, ‘Look, don’t do this,’” said Tom Gaulrapp, who has worked at the factory for 33 years.

The workers signed a petition pleading for Romney to step in and the city council also passed a motion encouraging him to do the same thing.

“Gov. Romney is not familiar with this issue and has not been involved in the management of Bain since 1999,” said Romney campaign spokesperson Amanda Henneberg.

Well now he knows! Now he can do something!
But the workers don't realize how annoyed at them Mittens really is. Why couldn't they just shut up and take what their betters gives them.

I have asked myself the same question.

Feel free to share this with everybody you know.

h/t digby

This used to be a perjorative term

From the pen of Tom Toles.

Meanwhile in Shitholeistan

The Taliban
scored 22 truck in a NATO supply convoy and killed 9 of their Afghan breathren in another attack.
Taliban insurgents stormed an Afghan army checkpoint Wednesday in southern Afghanistan, killing nine soldiers, and destroyed 22 trucks carrying supplies for NATO forces in a previously secure northern region, authorities said...

Ahmadi did not have further details about the attack, the deadliest single strike against the Afghan army in months.

In Samangan, the Afghan-owned supply trucks, including 18 fuel tankers, were parked when they were struck by a bomb apparently planted by the Taliban. One person was reported wounded in the blast.
It will be so much easier taking everything out of there.

What's in your wallet?

Probably a cheat and a liar if you have a Capitol One card. Fortunately for 2 Million card holders, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has nailed them for their deceit and Cap One will refund $140 Million to their victims customers.

And in related news, the OCC finally got off its dead ass and did some regulating.
In a related action on Wednesday, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency required the bank to reimburse customers “harmed by unfair billing practices” that unfolded over a 10-year span, from 2002 to June of last year. The O.C.C. imposed a $35 million fine against Capital One.

“Unfair and deceptive practices will not be tolerated,” Thomas J. Curry, the comptroller, said on Wednesday.

Between the restitution to customers and the fines to regulators, the bank will pay $210 million to settle the actions.
Just another day is the fun filled world of banking.

The Force is not with Mittens

And so we are told by Luke Skywalker himself.
During an interview at San Diego Comic-Con, Mark Hammil told OnTheRedCarpet.com that he used to watch the TV show “Zorro” as a kid and likened it to this year’s presidential race.

“But just the idea of a privileged person fighting for the underdog – there’s something very romantic about that,” he explained. “I guess it goes back to Robin Hood. People that are fighting for the middle class and for the Have-Nots. It’s something that we see even playing out in the presidential race.”

“And if you don’t vote for Barack Obama, you’re insane,” he continued. “Cause without him, I think the middle class will completely disappear. And you look at Romney and I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but I think he’s like The Thing: He only imitates human behavior; he’s not actually human himself.”
When you have worked with robots, you can tell the little signs that give them away.

And in other news, Mittens appears to have given up on NJ Gov. Dumpling Doublewide.

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