Apr 082014
 

The clock is ticking on climate change, and most of the world wants to do something about it.  In spite of the Republican meme denying climate change, because that party is in thrall to fossil fuel profiteers.  The reality is not hard to understand.  Either we reduce the amount of carbon we are putting into the atmosphere, or we face some ugly consequences, as the leaked UN preliminary report makes clear.

0408ClimateWorld powers are running out of time to slash their use of high-polluting fossil fuels and stay below agreed limits on global warming, a draft U.N. study to be approved this week shows.

Government officials and top climate scientists will meet in Berlin from April 7-12 to review the 29-page draft that also estimates the needed shift to low-carbon energies would cost between two and six percent of world output by 2050.

It says nations will have to impose drastic curbs on their still rising greenhouse gas emissions to keep a promise made by almost 200 countries in 2010 to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial times.

Temperatures have already risen by about 0.8 C (1.4F) since 1900 and are set to breach the 2 C ceiling on current trends in coming decades, U.N. reports show.

"The window is shutting very rapidly on the 2 degrees target," said Johan Rockstrom, head of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, and an expert on risks to the planet from heatwaves, floods, droughts and rising seas…

Inserted from <Reuters>

Click through for more including the maddening role the US plays in this disaster.  This may be the biggest reason that Keystone XL must not be allowed to be completed.  .My recommendations are to end all fossil fuel subsidies, institute a carbon tax, and subsidize green energy, green energy R & D, and conservation.

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Mar 262014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow and feeling quite tired after research and running errands, but not too much so to give a Republican a parade.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:36 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: George Carlin (R.I.P.) was famous for being hilarious but also for being in-your-face honest about the state of humanity and the planet. His version of the lyrics for "America the Beautiful" are pretty halting.

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Sadly, this is way too true.

From Daily Kos: Pretty much any traditional media outlet has been starting every discussion about the upcoming election as a done deal:  the House will remain in Rethuglican’s greedy, dangerous, corporate-owned claws and the Senate may be lost to these miscreants as well, because that’s just what happens in an election year after the opposition party has won the White House.

Bull shit.

Plain and simple.  And, yes, this is a rant.

Click through for a most excellent rant. Amen!!

From NY Times: The Obama administration is preparing to unveil a legislative proposal for a far-reaching overhaul of the National Security Agency’s once-secret bulk phone records program in a way that — if approved by Congress — would end the aspect that has most alarmed privacy advocates since its existence was leaked last year, according to senior administration officials.

Under the proposal, they said, the N.S.A. would end its systematic collection of data about Americans’ calling habits. The bulk records would stay in the hands of phone companies, which would not be required to retain the data for any longer than they normally would. And the N.S.A. could obtain specific records only with permission from a judge, using a new kind of court order.

People are far too quick to blame Obama for doing his duty by enforcing the secret law Congress passed, which is his job as chief executive. He has wanted too long, however, to do the right thing. Now I bet the very members of Congress, who have publically blamed Obama for spying on Americans, will sabotage the proposed measures to end that practice.

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A national shame and tragedy.

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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).

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Subsequent unconstitutional decisions have rendered this one all but moot.

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Mar 152014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, having fully enjoyed my day off yesterday,  My paid helper-friend, after having missed several appointments came unexpectedly and did the heavier work that, otherwise, I would have had to do today.  After just one day away, I feel out of touch with the political world, and I feel I have some catching up to do.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:19 (average 6:23).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Here’s a visual that I hope gets more people to think about these three words: Redistribute. The. Wealth.

The Distribution of Wealth in the U.S

This picture really is worth a thousand words.  Here are my three words: Amen!  Amen!!  Amen!!!

From Think Progress: On Thursday, Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced plans to invest more of the nation’s $840 billion sovereign wealth fund in renewable energy in an effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions as the country struggles to meet its 2020 climate goals.

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, built in large part on investment from the country’s oil and gas reserves, currently only invests a small fraction of money in green technology. The fund invests in listed equities, bonds and real estate, about 10 percent of which is made up of coal, oil and gas investments. The fund is also evaluating whether to exit these investments, as over the last 10 years nuclear weapons producers, companies in-breach of human rights, and tobacco companies have all been excluded.

Kudos to Norway. The US should redeploy welfare payments to oil, gas, and coal companies to investment in renewable green energy!

From Raw Story: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has thrown his support behind legislation that Republicans could use to force President Barack Obama to crack down on legal marijuana in states like Colorado and Washington.

Speaking to Fox News on Thursday, the libertarian-leaning senator said he supported the Enforce the Law Act, which has been approved by the House. The legislation would allow Congress to sue the president for failing to faithfully execute laws.

Idiot, Son of Idiot, Named after Idiot was happy to join his misanthropic father in pretending to favor legalization, but only as long as it was actually illegal. He’s just one more goose-stepping Republican hypocrite.

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This led to the US overthrow of democratic government in Iran and installation of a dictatorship under the Shah,

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Mar 122014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and I’m feeling most unhappy, because my bad leg acted up, and I could not go for my volunteer meeting in prison, because I cannot handle the stairs today.  The one plus is that I’m here to write for you.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:02 (average 7:12).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: We all know the rainforest is being destroyed. Heck, the entire planet’s in distress! But is there really anything we can do about it? Actually, yes.

 

I can’t speak for or against the credibility of "rainforest certified", so I leave that to those of you who are in the know, but I love this ad for them.

From Daily Kos: The extent to which Arizona governor Jan Brewer’s office worked with legislators to tweak the language of "religious liberty" bill SB 1062 shows, according to Arizona governor Jan Brewer’s office, nothing at all. To the rest of us it’s another reminder of just how close Arizona’s newest legislative fiasco came to becoming a state reality.

Documents obtained by Capitol Media Services show gubernatorial counsel Joe Sciarrotta and adviser Michael Hunter met with staffers from the Center for Arizona Policy as early as January about the legislation. The documents, mainly e-mail exchanges before and after meetings, show the alterations made in the legislation at the behest of the Brewer advisers. [...]

“But the intent of the meetings, the purpose of the meetings, was to thoroughly vet the language, address their concerns, and make changes in the language pursuant to their concerns,” [CAP President Cathi Herrod] said. She said her organization addressed every concern raised by Hunter and Sciarrotta with the idea that this year’s version would not meet the same fate as a similar bill Brewer vetoed last year.

There it is. The Brewerstan Death Angel, vetoed this bill only because the Republican Party could not get away with it. Her claim to object to the content was a lie, because it was content that she had helped to formulate.

From NY Times: Democrats have for too long been passive in the face of the vast amounts of corporate money, most of it secret, that are being spent to evict them from office and dismantle their policies. By far the largest voice in many of this year’s political races, for example, has been that of the Koch brothers, who have spent tens of millions of dollars peddling phony stories about the impact of health care reform, all in order to put Republicans in control of the Senate after the November elections.

Now Democrats are starting to fight back, deciding they should at least try to counter the tycoons with some low-cost speech of their own. Democrats may never have the same resources at their disposal — no party should — but they can use their political pulpits to stand up for a few basic principles, including the importance of widespread health-insurance coverage, environmental protection and safety-net programs.

Corporations are NOT people!! Money is NOT speech!! Therefore, we must use people to trump corporations and speech to trump money!!

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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.

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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.

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