Apr 162013
 

Yesterday my COPD was more severe, leaving me sleepless.  I’m still down.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:24 (average 4:32).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times:

For more than two years, European leaders have pushed a cocktail of fiscal austerity and structural reforms on troubled countries like Portugal, Spain and Italy, promising that it will be the tonic to cure their economic and financial ailments. All the evidence shows that this bitter medicine is killing the patient.

Portugal’s highest court recently ruled against cuts to the wages and pensions of government employees. Protesters in Spain have picketed the homes of lawmakers to demand better treatment of homeowners behind on their mortgages. And frustrated Italians cast such a large vote for an anti-establishment movement that the country still does not have a new government more than a month after its national elections.

From the beginning, it was clear that economic austerity (cutting government spending and public benefits) and structural reforms (relaxing tough labor laws and privatizing state-owned companies, for example) could not be accomplished simultaneously during a deep recession. And that painful reality is playing out with no end in sight…

The one European group that have profited from austerity is the 1%, and that goes a long way to explaining why Republicans still demand these same policies that Europe have proven catastrophic.

From The Grist: Solar power and other distributed renewable energy technologies could lay waste to U.S. power utilities and burn the utility business model, which has remained virtually unchanged for a century, to the ground.

That is not wild-eyed hippie talk. It is the assessment of the utilities themselves.

Back in January, the Edison Electric Institute — the (typically stodgy and backward-looking) trade group of U.S. investor-owned utilities — released a report [PDF] that, as far as I can tell, went almost entirely without notice in the press. That’s a shame. It is one of the most prescient and brutally frank things I’ve ever read about the power sector. It is a rare thing to hear an industry tell the tale of its own incipient obsolescence…

Click through for much more. Such an occurrence could destroy the Koch Brothers and other billionaire polluters. No wonder Republicans want to hang onto 19th century technology.

From CNN: President Barack Obama said he ordered the "full resources" of the federal government to respond to the Boston bombings on Monday, and that he also called for increased security around the United States as necessary.

"We still do not know who did this or why," he said from the Brady Press Briefing Room, cautioning people against jumping to conclusions. "But make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this, and we will find out who did this, we’ll find out why they did this."

Any individuals or groups responsible for the "senseless" bombing, he added, will "feel the full weight of justice."

"The American people will say a prayer for Boston tonight," he said.

Notably absent from his remarks was the word "terror," though federal investigators are classifying the bombings as a terror event. It is not clear if it’s from a domestic or foreign source, a federal law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation said…

There has been a cry from the extreme right that Obama is covering up for Muslims, by not calling the bombing ‘terrorist’, but assuming it was Muslim without evidence is absurd, and unless the motivation was political, it was not terrorist. Now, if I were a pseudo-Christian hatemonger, desiring to kill a few libruls for Republican Supply-Side Jesus, I might consider an attack in the city where the original tea party took place on Patriots Day, which is also infamous to TEAbuggerers as tax day. I’m not saying that’s what happened. I am saying that there are enough possible scenarios that extremists should shut up with their accusations until we have evidence to determine what happened and why.

Cartoon:

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  4 Responses to “Open Thread–4/16/2013”

  1. 3:29 Am I the "bee's knees" today? 

    I'm still on vacation so I'm ony doing the puzzles. Spending great time with my family. Having a ball!

  2. Puzzle — 4:05 Bee's knees I'm not!

    NY Times — I wonder if the 1% will ever realise that there are fewer of them than there are of the 99%?  It seems mathematics and logic are not their strong suits!  If the 99% don't have sufficient cash to buy goods, eventually the 1% will see profits fall because sales to the 1% in their limited numbers and limited need, will fall thereby lowering profits.  Alas, they are too myopic too comprhend this!  Austerity is such a losing cause even for the 1%.  They haven't figured that out yet.

    Grist — It seems that had the utilities embraced the change, they could have transitioned themselves nicely.  But they are too myopic and certainly not creative enough to see through their own stupidity.  If these people are supposed to stand for American entrepreneurship as one hears from Republican/Teabagger politicians, they are failing badly.

    CNN — As I was driving home last evening, of course there were constant updates on the situation. But I was most displeased with a Republican/Teabagger politician that opined "an Al Qaeda like" attack. How irresponsible when nothing is known yet of the attacker(s) nor the motive. This kind of talk is bound to heighten tensions and exacerbate the situation. Let's not jump to any conclusions. Let the authorities complete the investigations.

    In the mean time, we need to keep our prayers and thoughts on the injured, the dead and all their families, and the people of Boston.

    Cartoon — So true!  So true!