Apr 182014

One of the best words that could be used to describe the Oil Industry is greedy.  I think they see that the carbon paradigm must come to an end, but they are determined to squeeze every last bit of profit from earth, no matter now much damage they do in the process.  Now they want to drill the Arctic, an area particularly hazardous for drilling, and especially sensitive to environmental damage.

0418ArcticDrillingFour years ago this week, BP’s Deepwater Horizon drill platform exploded. Eleven workers died that day. Their bodies were never found. Over the next 87 days, 210 million gallons of oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico. It fouled fishing grounds, ravaged the coastline, and shut down tourism. The world got an ugly look at some of the terrible hidden costs of fossil fuels. Spill-related health problems plague the people and the wildlife of the Gulf to this very day.

I personally hoped that we, as a nation, would quickly learn from this tragedy and move swiftly to prevent a repeat disaster in our most vulnerable coastal environments. So it boggles the mind that Shell Oil is still determined to drill in one of the most fragile and remote ecosystems on Earth: the Arctic Ocean — the last bastion of America’s polar bears, endangered bowhead whales and other rare wildlife. For Native Alaskans who live along the coast, this ocean has been the source of their food security and a way of life since time immemorial.

It’s sheer madness to drill in the Arctic — in treacherous conditions of gale-force winds, 20-foot seas, sub-zero temperatures, shifting currents — and for eight months of the year — solid pack ice. If the oil industry was utterly unprepared for a blowout in the balmy Gulf of Mexico, how in the world can we trust them in a treacherous environment like the Arctic? Nobody knows how to clean up oil there, even during the open water season. And once the ice and long Arctic night close in, there’d be zero hope of plugging a blow-out or containing a spill

Those harsh conditions also guarantee human and mechanical error. During a disastrous 2012 attempt at Arctic drilling, Shell Oil experienced fires, leaks, slipped anchors, emergency gear that was "crushed like a beer car," and a 30-mile iceberg that sent its ships fleeing.

A just-released Coast Guard report says Shell’s reckless and failed attempt to tow its Arctic Ocean drill rig in 2012 was riddled with poor planning and judgment — and involved numerous potential violations of the law… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Huffington Post>

Click through for more.


I can almost envision Sarah Palin, aka Drill Baby Dingbat, old and gray forty years from now, saying “I can still see the spills from my front porch.  Drill Baby Drill!”

Just say NO to Big Oil!

Mar 182014

I’m writing for tomorrow, and this will be the only article, because I spent the day working on volunteer training.  I may stay scarce, because I have errands to run tomorrow, and both an appointment and grocery delivery on Wednesday.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:59 (average 5:33).   To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: “Out of work? Nowhere to live? Nowhere to go? Nothing to eat?” the online ad reads. “Come to Fukushima.”

That grim posting targeting the destitute, by a company seeking laborers for the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, is one of the starkest indications yet of an increasingly troubled search for workers willing to carry out the hazardous decommissioning at the site.

The plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, known as Tepco, has been shifting its attention away, leaving the complex cleanup to an often badly managed, poorly trained, demoralized and sometimes unskilled work force that has made some dangerous missteps. At the same time, the company is pouring its resources into another plant, Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, that it hopes to restart this year as part of the government’s push to return to nuclear energy three years after the world’s second-worst nuclear disaster.

Given the level of disregard Tepco is showing for their workers, the environment, and those of us to whom the Japan Current will bring the contamination from mistakes, I’m surprised that they aren’t a US energy company. I guess Japan has Republicans too. :-(

From Alternet: Purchases of American products generally come with a sales tax, and often an excise tax, and possibly state and local add-on taxes. A consumer can avoid all this by limiting purchases to  food and prescription drugs, or by shopping  online. There’s one more way — by visiting a nearby financial exchange and buying a million dollars worth of derivatives.

There is currently no U.S. tax on the purchase of stocks, derivatives, and other financial instruments. The rest of us pay up to a 10 percent sales tax on the necessities of daily life. A tiny  financial transaction tax  of perhaps a tenth of a percent on the trading of financial securities would begin to correct this inequity, while generating billions of dollars of revenue.

There are at least  five good reasons  why our country is ready for such a  financial transaction tax (FTT) .

This is obscene, but Republican welfare for the super-rich always is. Click through for the excellent list of reasons.

From Crooks and Liars: Crimeans voted overwhelmingly Sunday to join former political master Russia as tensions soared in the east of the splintered ex-Soviet nation, the epicentre of the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.

Partial results with more than half the ballots counted showed 95.5 percent of voters were in favour of leaving Ukraine, in the most radical redrawing of Europe’s map since Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia.

I can certainly understand the desire of Crimeans to rejoin Russia, since Crimea is a Russian area, included in Ukraine when Ukraine was still part of the Soviet Union. If that’s what Crimeans want, an inter4nationally supervised referendum should be organized to facilitate that end. A referendum conducted under Russian guns is no more valid that one in a Red state, where Republicans control e-voting machines with no paper trail. Therefore, I continue in opposition to the Republican militarism of Vladimir Putin (R-RU).



Subsequent unconstitutional decisions have rendered this one all but moot.

Feb 272014

I’m writing for tomorrow, waiting for Store to Door to deliver groceries and getting as much rest as I can.  Tomorrow is a prison volunteer day.  It’s our annual Community Outreach meeting.  We’re bringing in a couple dozen college students, and groups of them will have round-robin sessions with groups of my guys.  It should be a pretty big deal.  Please don’t expect much from me for the next couple days.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:53 (average 5:25).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From PRWatch: Today, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) released a new short film "Keystone PipeLIES Exposed" and major investigative report debunking key claims of proponents of the Keystone XL Pipeline as the State Department solicits comments from the public on its controversial environmental impact assessment.

Over the past seven months, CMD has interviewed experts and activists in Port Arthur, Texas; Detroit; and Washington, DC; and examined detailed tax, safety, economic, environmental, and campaign finance studies in assessing the claims made by proponents of the pipeline, which would carry more than 3/4 million barrels of tar sands oil a day from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries.


Keystone PipeLIES Exposed – Spills from Center for Media and Democracy on Vimeo.

There can be only one answer to Keystone XL: NO!

From Daily Kos: So take a gander at the states with the most miserable people:

10. Louisiana

9. Oklahoma

8. Missouri

7. Tennessee

6. Arkansas

5. Ohio

4. Alabama

3. Mississippi

2. Kentucky

1. West Virginia

Mississippi is thrilled that it didn’t top this list. West Virginia topped it by just being absolutely despondent about their future. And really, can’t say I blame them when water in Mexico is safer than the stuff coming out of their own tap.

Here we have a list that could be entitled "Who’s Who in InsaniTEA"!

From Washington Post: The annual Conservative Political Action Conference has long courted controversy over what its attendees and speakers say. For the past few years, they’ve almost earned more coverage for who they don’t invite to speak or attend — and what that says about the future of the furthest right fringe of the Republican Party.

Yesterday, CPAC organizers announced that they had changed their mind about inviting American Atheists to set up a booth at this year’s conference, which will be held March 6-8 at National Harbor. The group’s president said he was "really disappointed, but … not at all surprised" by the reverse of their fortunes. "We were going to CPAC specifically to combat the notion that one must be Christian in order to be conservative. We wanted to bring that to the forefront."

Lawrence O’Donnell offered excellent coverage.

If you don’t believe in Republican Supply-side Jesus (the antithesis of the real Jesus) and hate gays, blacks, Muslims, Latinos, libruls, and/or women who are not pregnant or wear shoes, you aren’t a real Republican and C-PUKE doesn’t want you.



Feb 262014

I’m writing for tomorrow, and I’m having a bad air day, as my COPD is severe, so pardon me for brevity.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:48 (average 4:25).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Hey you guys! Guys! OK, I have a new idea. Kind of radical, but just hear me out: What if we don’t pay Walmart’s employees … but Walmart pays them instead?


Bernie, a national treasure, got only one straight answer. It was from the other national treasure, Robert Reich. Note that, if we raise the minimum wage to $10.10, Wal-fart could absorb the cost by raising the price about $1 per $2,000 in sales.

From The New Yorker: The state of Arizona found itself in the middle of a conundrum today as it awoke to the awkward realization that gay people have money and buy stuff.

Just days after the Arizona legislature passed a law that would enable businesses to discriminate against gays, it emerged that gays spend billions of dollars in Arizona each year—an unexpected development that seemed to take many legislators by surprise.

Carol Foyler, a Tea Party Republican who supported the anti-gay law, said that the startling bombshell that gays play a role in the state’s economy put her and her fellow lawmakers “in a tight spot.”

“Quite frankly, we were blindsided by this,” she said. “We had no idea that gays had money and bought things just like regular people do.”

LOL Andy! Arizona Republicans are running scared over the realization that their pseudo-Christian hate has earned them national attention in an election year.

From Alternet: The anti-gay atmosphere in Uganda is heating up.  On Monday, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a law that toughened the already harsh laws against gays in the African country.

That law mandates life sentences in jail for those who have gay sex.  It also prohibits the “promotion” of homosexuality.  Being gay is already outlawed in the country.

The latest anti-gay news, as the Associated Press reports, is that a Ugandan newspaper published a list of the “top” 200 gay people in the country.  The list includes gay activists, a hip-hop star and a Catholic priest.  “The media witch hunt is back,” tweeted Jacqueline Kasha, an activist.

It echoes a 2011 list published that called for the execution of the alleged gay people listed.  One Ugandan gay activist named David Kato was killed after the 2011 list was released.

In case you are not aware, this hateful legislation was conceived, aided and abetted by pseudo-Christian Republicans in the US House and Senate. Many travelled to Uganda to help make this happen. I suspect they are using Uganda as a test case in the hope of establishing similar discrimination here in the US.



Feb 202014

I trust you all remember how Little Lord Willard was etching his sketch faster than Lyin’ Ryan’s nose grows, when we were treated to the definitive moment of the 2012 campaign.  Thinking he was speaking only to his vulture capitalists cronies, he made the infamous 47% comments, making it crystal clear that he and his party truly represent only billionaires and corporate criminals.  It seems that when Banksters think they are out of the public view, they behave altogether different then they do, when they think the world is watching.  Experiencing this first hand, engendered the following conclusion.

0220Kappa…As I walked through the streets of midtown in my ill-fitting tuxedo, I thought about the implications of what I’d just seen.

The first and most obvious conclusion was that the upper ranks of finance are composed of people who have completely divorced themselves from reality. No self-aware and socially conscious Wall Street executive would have agreed to be part of a group whose tacit mission is to make light of the financial sector’s foibles. Not when those foibles had resulted in real harm to millions of people in the form of foreclosures, wrecked 401(k)s, and a devastating unemployment crisis.

The second thing I realized was that Kappa Beta Phi was, in large part, a fear-based organization. Here were executives who had strong ideas about politics, society, and the work of their colleagues, but who would never have the courage to voice those opinions in a public setting. Their cowardice had reduced them to sniping at their perceived enemies in the form of satirical songs and sketches, among only those people who had been handpicked to share their view of the world. And the idea of a reporter making those views public had caused them to throw a mass temper tantrum.

The last thought I had, and the saddest, was that many of these self-righteous Kappa Beta Phi members had surely been first-year bankers once. And in the 20, 30, or 40 years since, something fundamental about them had changed. Their pursuit of money and power had removed them from the larger world to the sad extent that, now, in the primes of their careers, the only people with whom they could be truly themselves were a handful of other prominent financiers. [emphasis added]

Perhaps, I realized, this social isolation is why despite extraordinary evidence to the contrary, one-percenters like Ross keep saying how badly persecuted they are. When you’re a member of the fraternity of money, it can be hard to see past the foie gras to the real world.

Inserted from <NY magazine> Hat-Tip: Daily Kos

Bear in mind, this is just the conclusion.  The rest of the article is packed material so intense that it make’s Little Lord Willard’s 47% rant seem infantile in comparison.  It includes several pictures and audio clips of these leaches who are sucking America dry, while having the unmitigated hubris to call themselves “job creators”.  It is far too important an article not to click through for all it has to offer.

Feb 162014

Once upon a time, the citizens of North Carolina enjoyed the benefits their state had to offer, but they believed Republican lies and allowed their state to be overthrown.  It is now the Totalitarian Racist Plutocracy of McCrorystan, led by TEAfuhrer Pat McCrory.  In typical Republican fashion, the TEAfuhrer has harmed residents with his corruption, but a federal investigation is giving him a pain in the ash, more precisely, the coal ash.


Rachel Maddow said on her show Friday night that the toxic coal ash spill in North Carolina exposes Gov. Pat McCrory (R)’s corrupt ties to Duke Energy, the company responsible for sending tens of thousands of tons of coal ash spilling into the Dan River.

On Friday, she said, the Tea Party governor did a press conference thinking that he was going to be answering questions about the winter storm that walloped the region this week. Instead, McCrory found himself on the pointed end of questions about his ties to Duke Energy, the statewide energy company that caused the spill.

Environmental groups in the state have sued Duke Energy over the spill, which has fouled miles of river ecosystems and will take years to clean up. McCrory is accused of working with Duke to quash those suits. He is also known to own a considerable amount of stock in the energy company, but refuses to disclose that amount.

Reporters wanted to know on Friday about the appearance of a conflict of interest… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Raw Story>

Here’s that video:

As usual, Rachel is spot-on!  I’m most hopeful that the investigation will bear fruit, and TEAfuhrer McCrory becomes the best kind of Republican: unemployed and convicted.  The oppressed people of McCrorystan need their state back.

Feb 162014

I’m writing for tomorrow and am feeling quite tired.  I normally sleep in two segments, one in the late afternoon and evening, and the other in the early morning, after I get the blog up, distribute links and eat.  At my new digs, the second coincides with high street noise from commercial activities below me.  I’m going to have to change my schedule.  I’m not sure how, but instead of forcing myself to get the blog up right after midnight, I’m going to make sleep the priority and get it up when I get it up.  I’m guessing that I’ll be doing more of my blogging during that high noise interval.  It will take some time for my body to discover the schedule that works here and adjust to it.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:28 (average 5:25).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: In the wake of the Citizens United case, critics of the ruling, which lifted prohibitions on direct campaign spending by corporations, raised the prospect of this allowing foreign nationals to influence US elections. Very serious people dismissed this trusting the our "robust" election laws would be up to the task of keeping foreign influence out of US elections. They were dead wrong.

In a first of its kind case, federal prosecutors say a Mexican businessman funnelled more than $500,000 into U.S. political races through Super PACs and various shell companies. The alleged financial scheme is the first known instance of a foreign national exploiting the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in order to influence U.S. elections. If proven, the campaign finance scandal could reshape the public debate over the high court’s landmark decision.

Until now, allegations surrounding Jose Susumo Azano Matsura, the owner of multiple construction companies in Mexico, have not spread beyond local news outlets in San Diego, where he’s accused of bankrolling a handful of southern California candidates. But the scandal is beginning to attract national interest as it ensnares a U.S. congressman, a Washington, D.C.-based campaign firm and the legacy of one of the most important Supreme Court decisions in a generation.

Matsura was able to evade US law by using a shell corporation in order to funnel the donations to US candidates.

At the time SCROTUS trashed the Constitution for their Republican corporate criminal masters, I said this was going to happen. Republicans seem to think that even foreign corporations are people with more rights than US citizens.

From NY Times: President Obama’s ambitious trade agenda appeared to fall further victim to election-year politics on Capitol Hill on Friday when Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., in a closed-door retreat with House Democrats, said he understood why they would not grant Mr. Obama the crucial authority he needs to conclude large trade deals with Asia and Europe.

This is one of those rare instances in which I fully oppose Obama’s policy, so I see this as good news.

From Think Progress: The dead of winter is a hard time for climate journalists. As snow falls from the sky, like it does and will continue to do every winter, climate deniers are given more fodder to make baseless claims. “It’s freezing outside and you’re whining about warming,” they say [propaganda delinked], as if a localized weather event were reflective of a long-term global climate shift.

Frustrating as it is, the inevitable increase in climate change trolling during cold season is at the very least beneficial because it forces us to remind ourselves of the long-term nature of climate change. Climate change does not manifest itself as one hot day, nor does it disprove itself with one freezing night. In fact, it is characterized by swaths of peer-reviewed data that have shown clear warming trends at every corner of the globe — not just outside our windows — over the last 125 years.

Nowhere does this fact manifest itself more than in a newly updated interactive map from the weekly science and technology magazine New Scientist. Titled “Our Warming World,” the map — published a year ago and updated last week with 2013 data — shows yellow, orange, and red splotches to illustrate just how much different areas have warmed up over the years, in some cases since 1881. The colors are relative to the average temperature between 1951 and 1980, a period New Scientist says is “the earliest period for which there was sufficiently good coverage for comparison” worldwide. It uses Surface Temperature Analysis data from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

The map makes it crystal clear. Try it out.