May 222014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow.  It’s late in a busy day.  Because tomorrow is a prison volunteer day, I may have little or nothing for Friday and/or Saturday, as I shall get home late Thursday night and will have missed a sleep cycle.  Day 31.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:55 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube: The Colbert Report 2014-05-19 Elizabeth Warren

 

Hilarious! Did Bernie have it right or what? Warren played it great.

From Daily Kos: On Friday evening I went up to Bellingham to hear Bill McKibben speak. Bill has something fascinating to share with his audience, how Germany has reached the point where it had gotten over 74% of its electrical power from renewable sources the other day. That’s a huge milestone, and it demonstrates that renewable sources can power a large industrial nation. Germany shows us that renewables aren’t a potential source of power for some time in the future, they are a viable alternative TODAY.

I’m no fan of the German conservative government, but they do deserve kudos for this.

From Alternet: Giving out prescriptions for vibrators seems more like a doctor’s bad pick-up line than good public policy. But in Sandy Springs, Georgia, you really do need a medical reason – and a doctor’s prescription – to buy a sex toy.

Melissa Davenport, a resident of Sandy Springs, has filed suit against the city because, as her lawyer Gerry Weber  told a local TV station, the ordinance allows the government to "stick its nose in your bedroom and say you can use this but not that." Davenport has multiple sclerosis, which she says has impacted her sex life with her husband, and she credits sex toys with saving her marriage. Yet her doctors still won’t write her a prescription.

Leaving aside the bizarreness of the policy itself – people should be able to buy sex toys for the sheer fun of it – it seems ironic that a woman with a real medical condition is being denied sex toys, when you consider that the vibrator was actually  invented to cure a (fake) medical condition: hysteria.

I intend no disrespect to women here, but disrespect for the Republican War on Women.  No wonder I call Republicans the Grand Old Pussy Posse! If they spent 1/20 the time policing Banksters that they do policing vaginas, we’d be in far better shape!

GOPP

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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 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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Sep 232013
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 101, and getting my arse kicked un fantasy football, but it’s still early.  It ain’t over ‘till the fat TomCat purrrs!!  Update: Not even Garfield can save me on this one. :-(

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:13 (average 5:14).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Last Friday MSNBC Ed Schultz had a town hall in Alabama. He wanted to go to the deep South and talk directly to the people. He complained about the right-wing talking heads using a narrative of dependency as well as race bating to create a level of angst within the white community. One wonders if he expected to have two women in the audience with prescient stories that put it all in a microcosm.

 

Not all Republicans are racist, but most racists are Republican, because the party has opened its doors and put out the welcome mat for hate mongers.

From Alternet: He’s back. Steve “cantaloupe calves” King opines some more on undocumented immigrants.

Saying irresponsible, racist things about immigrants is Iowa Tea Party Rep. Steve King’s brand, and he continues to hone and promote it. At a recent anti-immigration rally in Omaha, he out and out called “illegal immigrants” a murderous mob. King recounted to the already-converted-to-hate audience a conversation he had recently with INS agent Mike Cutler at a congressional hearing. “How many Americans have died at the hands of illegal immigrants? What’s the price Americans are paying for an open door policy?” King asked Cutler.

To which, King claims Cutler helpfully replied: “‘I don’t know the answer to that, but I can tell you it will be in multiples of the victims of September 11th."

Good at math King, randomly multiplied 9/11’s death toll of about 3,000 by four and told the hate rally that 12,000 murders were likely committed by these out-of-control immigrants, who would be crashing planes into our buildings if they could, but sometimes just have to settle for raping and murdering us.

This is just one of seven vile statements made by prominent Republicans in the last week alone. Click through for the other six. I must admit surprise, however, that King was actually able to multiply 3,000 by 4.

From NRDC,org: It’s less costly to get electricity from wind turbines and solar panels than coal-fired power plants when climate change costs and other health impacts are factored in, according to a new study published in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences.

In fact—using the official U.S. government estimates of health and environmental costs from burning fossil fuels—the study shows it’s cheaper to replace a typical existing coal-fired power plant with a wind turbine than to keep the old plant running. And new electricity generation from wind could be more economically efficient than natural gas.

The study confirms what I recently posted about the effects of allowing the fossil fuel industry to externalize the costs of their harm to people and the environment. This subsidy of suffering must end!

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Sep 152013
 

Every day we pump more and more carbon into our atmosphere.  The effects are already self-evident and likely to become catastrophic.  In response to this, the EPA is changing the regulations for for new coal fired and gas fired utility plants.  I support these changes, but they do not go far enough.

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Following up on President Obama’s pledge in June to address climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency plans next week to propose the first-ever limits on greenhouse gas emissions from newly built power plants.

But even before the proposal becomes public, experts on both sides of the issue say it faces a lobbying donnybrook and an all-but-certain court challenge. For a vast and politically powerful swath of the utility industry — operators of coal-fired plants, and the coal fields that supply them — there are fears that the rules would effectively doom construction of new coal plants far into the future.

While details of the E.P.A.’s proposal remain confidential, experts predict that it will include separate standards for carbon dioxide emissions from plants fired by natural gas and by coal. Plants using comparatively clean gas would be permitted to emit perhaps 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour, a ceiling within easy reach using modern technologies.

Coal-fired plants, meanwhile, may be allowed to emit as many as 1,400 pounds per megawatt-hour. But coal is so heavily laden with carbon that meeting even that higher limit would require operators to scrub carbon dioxide from their emissions before they reach the smokestack, and then pump it into permanent storage underground…  [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

When corporations externalize costs, they are effectively making someone who is not involved in a transaction pay for part of the costs of that transaction.  In this case, those costs include the severe weather damages, increased health care costs, environmental degradation, etc. for 1,000 and 1,400 pounds per megawatt hour, respectively.  Further, the regulations do not cover emissions from existing plants.

The solution is to internalize not only all carbon costs, but all pollution costs of any kind.  That is, every polluter, from the driver of the most fuel efficient hybrid to the filthiest Koch Brother, must pay 100% of the costs for every ounce of their pollution.  Unless consumers pay what it really costs to produce and use fossil fuel products, green energy is at an unfair disadvantage, and the free market cannot function as it should.  Of course, that may drive utility costs higher than some can afford, but that human misery is also a cost of our national addiction to fossil fuel, so the fossil fuel industries must also subsidize utility service for the victims of their past abuses.

Our current fossil fuel industries operate under vulture capitalism, not free enterprise.

How about a flatulence tax on the 1%? ;-)

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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.

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Apr 092013
 

I had time to prepare articles today, before I leave for volunteer work in  prison.  I’m current, albeit brief, with replies.  I will get home late, having missed a sleep cycle, shortly before I would normally start researching, so I know I will be too pooped to publish tomorrow, except, maybe, for an Open Thread, and that will probably be late.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:18 (average 4:41).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From CNN Money: The Senate on Monday confirmed former New York federal prosecutor Mary Jo White as head of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

White was confirmed without a roll call vote, signaling lawmakers didn’t consider her confirmation particularly controversial

Since Republicans did not even threaten to filibuster, I have a sneaking feeling that Obama’s choice was a bad one, and that she will be Bankster bought, not the prosecutor she once was.

From Grist: For the price of the Iraq War, the U.S. could have gotten halfway to a renewable power system…

That may sound like a hell of a lot of money, but for spending it, we’d get half our energy needs from green renewable sources. Conversely, all we really got from the Iraq war was death, injury and debt.

From Alternet: …Monsanto knows that if food producers are forced to label the genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their food products, they’ll reformulate those products to meet consumer demand for GMO-free alternatives. That’s why companies like Monsanto, DuPont and Dow, along with Coca-Cola and Pepsi, last year spent more than $46 million to defeat Proposition 37, California’s GMO labeling initiative…

Whether or not GMO’s are hazardous is not the issue here. It’s much more basic than that. Consumers have a right to know what is in the food we buy, period!

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Shhhhhh!  Today’s Republicans don’t want to remember this!

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