Archive for March, 2012
This is happening @3:50 p.m. MDT today (March 31, 2012) in Boulder, Colorado at elevation 5, 430 ft. The average normal high for this date is 57º:
[The United States has] 760 prisoners per 100,000 people. Most European countries have one seventh that number (per capita, so it’s adjusted for population). Even those on the high end of the global spectrum – Brazil, Poland – have only a quarter the number we do.
In the past two decades, the money that states spend on prisons has risen at six times the rate of spending on higher education. In 2011, California spent $9.6 billion on prisons, versus $5.7 billion on higher education. Since 1980, California has built one college campus; it’s built 21 prisons. The state spends $8,667 per student per year. It spends about $50,000 per inmate per year.
Ass backward priorities or what?
Per the headline above, I’m there as long as that standard is applied to e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e:
Just read this tweet from Politico:
Which lead to this video put out on Wednesday by the Koch brothers:
Which is a kill-the-messinger response to this documentary which was officially released by Brave New Films in New York City last night:
My question to Politico’s Vogel:
I’ll let you know if I hear back. Is Vogel a tool for the Koch brothers, or not?
Keith Olbermann posted this about an hour ago (5:50 p.m. ET) regarding being fired by Current TV:
My full statement:
I’d like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV.
Editorially, Countdown had never been better. But for more than a year I have been imploring Al Gore and Joel Hyatt to resolve our issues internally, while I’ve been not publicizing my complaints, and keeping the show alive for the sake of its loyal viewers and even more loyal staff. Nevertheless, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt, instead of abiding by their promises and obligations and investing in a quality news program, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract.
It goes almost without saying that the claims against me implied in Current’s statement are untrue and will be proved so in the legal actions I will be filing against them presently. To understand Mr. Hyatt’s “values of respect, openness, collegiality and loyalty,” I encourage you to read of a previous occasion Mr. Hyatt found himself in court for having unjustly fired an employee. That employee’s name was Clarence B. Cain. http://nyti.ms/HueZsa
In due course, the truth of the ethics of Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt will come out. For now, it is important only to again acknowledge that joining them was a sincere and well-intentioned gesture on my part, but in retrospect a foolish one. That lack of judgment is mine and mine alone, and I apologize again for it.
I haven’t watched Olbermann since he left MSNBC because in order to watch Current I would have had to “upgrade” my Comcast subscription and I didn’t think it was worth the money. (Yo, Comcast — why do I have to “upgrade” by buying access to four bazillion channels I don’t watch if I only want one?) I watched Olbermann online a few times when his Current show first debuted but I thought it was a formulaic transplant from MSNBC.
I don’t know if that’s the fault of Current management or of Olbermann but I won’t miss Keith’s show. What upsets me is that I think I’m watching the demise of the potential for a real “liberal” network because establishment liberals Al Gore and his co-owners at Current don’t get what that really means. I’m talking the likes of Amy Goodman, Noam Chomsky, Jeremy Scahill and Peter Hart with one or two hour-long shows.
I’ve heard rumors that Keith Olbermann has a hard time getting along with people. Seems those rumors might be true. Can’t wait to hear what happened from his perspective:
To the Viewers of Current:
We created Current to give voice to those Americans who refuse to rely on corporate-controlled media and are seeking an authentic progressive outlet. We are more committed to those goals today than ever before.
Current was also founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it.
We are moving ahead by honoring Current’s values. Current has a fundamental obligation to deliver news programming with a progressive perspective that our viewers can count on being available daily — especially now, during the presidential election campaign. Current exists because our audience desires the kind of perspective, insight and commentary that is not easily found elsewhere in this time of big media consolidation.
As we move toward this summer’s political conventions and the general election in the fall, Current is making significant new additions to our broadcasts. We have just debuted six hours of new programming each weekday with Bill Press (“Full Court Press” at 6 am ET/3 am PT) and Stephanie Miller (“Talking Liberally” at 9 am ET/6 pm PT).
We’re very excited to announce that beginning tonight, former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer will host “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer,” at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT. Eliot is a veteran public servant and an astute observer of the issues of the day. He has important opinions and insights and he relishes the kind of constructive discourse that our viewers will appreciate this election year. We are confident that our viewers will be able to count on Gov. Spitzer to deliver critical information on a daily basis.
All of these additions to Current’s lineup are aimed at achieving one simple goal — the goal that has always been central to Current’s mission: To tell stories no one else will tell, to speak truth to power, and to influence the conversation of democracy on behalf of those whose voices are too seldom heard. We, and everyone at Current, want to thank our viewers for their continued steadfast support.
Al Gore & Joel Hyatt
The Senate Ethics Committee did this yesterday:
In June 2011, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics against Senator David Vitter (R-LA), after the senator attempted to block a pay raise for Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar until he issued new deepwater exploratory permits. CREW alleged Sen. Vitter had attempted to bribe Sen. Salazar in violation of criminal law and that he violated Senate rules by engaging in improper conduct.
Today, the Senate Ethics Committee released a letter to Sen. Vitter finding the senator’s conduct was inappropriate, but failing to take further action because there was “no clear Senate guidance addressing such conduct.”
CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan stated, “So now senators need guidance to know extortion and bribery violate Senate rules? If the ethics committee hasn’t issued specific advance guidance senators can’t be held accountable for outrageous conduct? How about if the ethics committee just issues this blanket guidance: criminal conduct violates the rules.”
This is the second time the Ethics Committee has effectively warned Sen. Vitter, “don’t do it again.” Back in 2007, CREW had filed a complaint against Sen. Vitter for soliciting for prostitution.
Here’s a simplified version of what Vitter did (on behalf of the oil companies):
Vitter vowed last year to block legislation to raise the Interior secretary’s salary by $19,600 until the Interior Department issued six permits for new deepwater exploratory wells in the Gulf of Mexico every month.
I love CREW. They’re a great organization and Melanie Sloan is a pistol. Good on them for filing this complaint but as for the Senate ahem, ethics committee, one can only imagine why they’re afraid to go down the disciplinary road. My imagination tells me there’s so much corruption going on there that everyone has dirt on everyone else and they’re all subject to blackmail. So, around and around they go with this faux policing of themselves.
This is the cover of the April, 2012 issue of the Texas Observer.
Creepy but true. Ugh. Makes my skin crawl.
Vote Republican ladies and we won’t just have this in Texas. Your guys want this to go national. Yippee!
Gee, I wonder if Rick Santorum calls President Obama a ni**er in private. Then again, maybe he was going to say “Nigerian” or “Nicaraguan” or a “ngwee.” Heh?
Ah yes, the liberal media (my Tweet of the Day):
Outrageous. I’m so glad I don’t watch them.
I heard a few sentences about this on the radio this morning and I just about fell on the floor:
Dangerous medical devices
Most medical implants have never been tested for safety
Tens of millions of Americans live with medical devices implanted in their bodies—artificial joints, heart defibrillators, surgical mesh. And it’s a safe bet that most of them assume that someone, somewhere, tested the devices for safety and effectiveness.
But that is rarely the case. For most implants and other high-risk devices brought to market, manufacturers do nothing more than file some paperwork and pay the Food and Drug Administration a user fee of roughly $4,000 to start selling a product that can rack up many millions of dollars in revenue. Often, the only safety “testing” that occurs is in the bodies of unsuspecting patients—including two of the three people whose stories are told in this report.
As for the smaller number of high-risk products for which advance safety studies are required, government rules allow them to be sold based on studies that are smaller and less rigorous than those required for prescription drugs.
“Standards for devices exist, they just don’t make sense,” says Diana Zuckerman, Ph.D., a vocal critic of the current system and president of the National Research Center for Women & Families, a nonprofit advocacy organization.
I find this absolutely shocking. I had no idea it was this bad. Devices implanted in people’s bodies, including those that literally keep people alive, like heart defibrillators, aren’t tested for safety?! Gosh. I wonder that came to pass (here’s lookin’ at you, lobbyists for the corporatocracy).
When you hear oil companies, Republicans and Fox so-called-News attacking Obama over oil prices and for being “unfriendly,” this is why, in 32 seconds:
The oil companies want it all!
(Now if only Obama would nix the Keystone XL pipeline.)
Remember my post about “Conservative Teen” magazine of a couple days ago?
Apparently that whole operation — the website, everything — has vanished into thin air.
AdWeek is out with details about Etch A Sketch’s new ad campaign which takes advantage of the Romney fiasco. It’s so cute:
A widely used crop pesticide first introduced in the 1990s has caused significant changes to bee colonies worldwide and removing it could be the key factor in restoring nature’s army of pollinators, according to two studies released Thursday.The scientists behind the studies called for regulators to consider banning the class of chemicals known as neonicotinoid [nicotine-based] insecticides. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency told msnbc.com that the studies would be incorporated into a review that’s currently underway.
A pesticide trade group immediately questioned the data, saying the levels of pesticide used were unrealistic, while the researchers said the levels used were typical of what bees would find on farms.
“Our study raises important issues regarding pesticide authorization procedures,” stated Mikael Henry, co-author of a study on honey bees. “So far, they mostly require manufacturers to ensure that doses encountered on the field do not kill bees, but they basically ignore the consequences of doses that do not kill them but may cause behavioral difficulties.”
“There is an urgent need to develop alternatives to the widespread use of neonicotinoid pesticides on flowering crops wherever possible,” added the authors of the second study on bumble bees.
While I was looking up “neonicotinoid,” I came across this from May, 2010:
Following France and Germany, last year the Italian Agriculture Ministry suspended the use of a class of pesticides, nicotine-based neonicotinoids, as a “precautionary measure.” The compelling results – restored bee populations – prompted the government to uphold the ban. Yesterday, copies of the film ‘Nicotine Bees’ were delivered to the US Congress explaining the pesticide’s connection to Colony Collapse Disorder.
So, while this is big news here, it’s old news across the pond and we’re no where near suspending the use of neonicotinoid pesticides yet. Yeah! We’re No. 1! We’re No. 1! USA, USA, USA!
This is, well, depressing:
I didn’t mention this yesterday, but in his interview with meabout the limiting principle, former Reagan Solicitor General Charles Fried was scaldingly critical of the willingness of the conservative bloc of Supreme Court justices to traffic in some of the most well-worn Tea Party tropes about Obamacare.
“I was appalled to see that at least a couple of them were repeating the most tendentious of the Tea Party type arguments,” Fried said. “I even heard about broccoli. The whole broccoli argument is beneath contempt. To hear it come from the bench was depressing.”
Keep in mind: Many observers, Obama officials included, spent weeks treating Scalia like a potential swing vote on the case. Lawyers defending the law wrote some of their briefs and opinions with an eye towards persuading Scalia. They consciously invoked Scalia’s own words from a 2005 opinion affirming Congress’s power to control local medical marijuana in hopes it signaled he might be open to the administration’s defense of the individual mandate.
This now looks like a terrible misjudgment. During oral arguments this week, Scalia invoked the broccoli argument to question the goverment’s case. He mocked the government’s position with a reference to the “cornhusker kickback,” even though that’s not in the law. As Fried notes, this language is straight out of the Tea Party guerrilla manual that was written during the battle to prevent Obamacare from becoming law in the first place.
All of which is to say that the law’s proponents were badly caught off guard by the depth of the conservative bloc’s apparent hostility towards the law and its willingness to embrace the hard right’s arguments against its constitutionality. They didn’t anticipate that this could shape up as an ideological death struggle over the heart and soul of the Obama presidency.
Our judicial system is in real trouble and if we can’t trust it, what can we trust?
To all of you who oppose the “individual mandate,” here’s my Tweet of the Day:
From the Associated Press:
Bank of America gave its CEO a pay package worth $7.5 million last year, six times as large as the year before. It happened while the company’s stock lost more than half its value and the bank lost its claim as the biggest in the country.
The package for CEO Brian Moynihan included a salary of $950,000, a $6.1 million stock award and about $420,000 worth of use of company aircraft and tax and financial advice.
The figures are according to an Associated Press analysis of a regulatory filing Wednesday. In 2010, Moynihan’s pay package totaled $1.2 million.
It’s a whole nother world there on Wall Street. I was a paralegal in my past life. If I’d lost the firms I worked for half their client base, I would have been kicked out the door, not handed a 600% raise.
I swear, Romney seems to think he’s always in a penthouse corner office talking to a bunch of millionaire corporate board members.
This is him today “during a 35-minute conference call with several thousand potential primary voters in Wisconsin:”
“One of most humorous I think relates to my father. You may remember my father, George Romney, was president of an automobile company called American Motors … They had a factory in Michigan, and they had a factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and another one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,” said Romney. “And as the president of the company he decided to close the factory in Michigan and move all the production to Wisconsin. Now later he decided to run for governor of Michigan and so you can imagine that having closed the factory and moved all the production to Wisconsin was a very sensitive issue to him, for his campaign.”
Romney said he recalled a parade in which the school band marching with his father’s campaign only knew the Wisconsin fight song, not the Michigan song.
“So every time they would start playing ‘On, Wisconsin, On, Wisconsin,’ my dad’s political people would jump up and down and try to get them to stop, because they didn’t want people in Michigan to be reminded that my dad had moved production to Wisconsin,” said Romney, laughing.
So funny! Yep, another failed attempt to connect with the little people. He is so arrogant and he has lived in a world apart from the rest of us for so long — as in all his life — he Just. Doesn’t. Get. It. I’m convinced, he’s incapable. It’s as if he has no capacity for empathy (one reason why I think the Seamus incident is so telling).
Yesterday morning after the Lower North Fork wildfire erupted west of Denver, I put up a post about how, despite our warm, dry, windy weather, the highly populated front range of the Rocky Mountains is woefully unprepared for wildfires.
That said, check out this absolutely terrifying video recorded by Doug and Kimberly Gulick as “they dashed away from their home minutes after 5 p.m. Monday upon learning the flames from the Lower North Fork Fire were near their home.” Bear in mind, again, it was 5:00 p.m. and still light outside.
Wow. I can only imagine the relief they felt at getting out of there. Amazing.
Bloomberg is reporting that
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. (NWSA) is taking steps to start a national U.S. sports network on cable television aimed at challenging Walt Disney Co. (DIS)’s ESPN, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
News Corp. is assembling the required rights from pay-TV carriers and sports organizations, said the people, who requested anonymity because talks are private. While a final decision hasn’t been made to move forward, the company is considering converting its Fuel action-sports network to the new channel, two of the people said.
Just think, all News Corp. has to do is hack ESPN’s phones and report everything they hear.
Never mind freedoms for the people, heh?
Watch Representative Bobby Rush (D-Ill) being silenced as he paid homage to Trayvon Martin on the floor of the House of Representatives this morning. The presiding officer, Representative Gregg Harper, a Republican from Mississippi, had Rep. Rush escorted off the floor by the Sargeant at Arms because members are prohibited from wearing hats when the House is in session.
Hey, who knew?
To Eat or Not to Eat
There are so many people in the world that are in the closet booger eaters, although society may look at this a rude and nasty. It is like a medicine. Boogers are collected dead skin, germs, dirt, and much other debris that make it into your nose.
Our body is made to fight off this nasty little debris that we call snot. The debris will die and dry up and this is what is called boogers. Eating boogers can actually help our immune system, an amazing fact.
Not only is eating them good for you but also picking them out with your finger cleans out your nose better than just blowing it. However, this can be a bad thing if you dig too much and cut yourself inside your nose. So if you do use your finger. I would suggest to at least being gentle.
The nose is a filter which collects a lot of bacteria and germs. Our immune system is able to deal with all the different pathogens we have already encountered beforehand. So eating the same dried up dead bacteria is like a boost to the immune system. It serves as a medicine when it reaches the intestines. Some studies show that people who do eat their boogers do get fewer colds even when they are surrounded by sick people.
Let’s cut education, trash our roads and bridges, watch Americans die for lack of health care and oh, btw, turn off the street lights but hey, there’s always money for “defense.” Israel’s that is:
The United States spent $204 million on the Iron Dome system in fiscal year 2011 and the Pentagon did not specify what level of funding it would propose to Congress for additional batteries.
“The Department of Defense has been in conversations with the Government of Israel about US support for the acquisition of additional Iron Dome systems and intends to request an appropriate level of funding from Congress to support such acquisitions based on Israeli requirements and production capacity,” press secretary George Little said in a statement.
You go Obama. The hope is gone. I’ve been clinging to the change thing but that’s going down the drain too.
What will it take for an American president (to have the guts) to say ENOUGH when it comes to funding the defense budgets of other countries, when we spend an absolutely outrageous amount on our own?
Seriously. When is ENOUGH a ENOUGH?
Out of respect for a human being; a man who was loved and who had a wife and children and a sibling and parents and friends, I held my tongue when Andrew Breitbart died.
What have Breitbart’s cohorts done since Trayvon Martin died? This:
1. Prominent conservative websites published fake photos of Martin.
2. The Sanford Police selectively leaked irrelevant, negative information about Martin
3. On Fox News, Geraldo said that Martin was dressed “like a wannabe gangster.”
4. Without any evidence, prominent right-wing bloggers suggested that Martin was a drug dealer.
5. Without any evidence, a right-wing columnist alleged that Martin assaulted a bus driver.
6. Zimmerman’s friend says Martin was to blame because he was disrespectful to Zimmerman.
I like to think people in the United States Senators are grownups but ah, I guess not:
So Olympia Snowe, in an extraordinary act of candor, has confessed that she’s really upset with President Obama for not calling her often enough during the past two years. She says Obama deserves a failing grade when it comes to his willingness to work with Republicans — and that things would be far better if he had tried harder.
Tried harder? Read the rest of the article. Greg Sargent sets forth all the things Obama did to coddle the likes of Olympia Snow and all the things she did to put roadblocks in his way.
What did she want Obama to do so her widdle feewings wouldn’t be hurt? Phone calls as well as flowers and candy and sleep-overs? Geezus. This is the grownup real world people.
Memo to Maine: Please elect an adult to replace
It’s break time — time to think about gardening. Woohoo!
I like most of this idea: Shipping Pallet Garden Wows Visitors at the Canada Blooms Garden Festival.
Check out the photos (link above). This is the part of the project I love:
(1) Turning pallets into a garden wall, like this:
You wouldn’t necessarily have to use this many pallets; you could use one or two. You could paint them if you wanted or let them weather. I imagine them used either as a planting platform maybe up against a fence, with potted plants stuck randomly among the slats and/or as a privacy screen, again with plants scattered about.
And (2), I love the look and feel of this “room:”
Again, this could be modified but I can see how using pallets to frame a seating area in a corner of the garden (or even smack dab in the middle) would be so cozy. Imagine vines growing all over the wood.
I’m going to have to think on this and see if I can figure out how to do something with pallets in my yard.
Really like the look and the possibilities.
This is why I’m not covering the Supreme Court health care arguments:
There’s enough speculation going on around here about who will be the Republican presidential nominee and then who will win in November. Enough already. I’m sick of speculation and faux predictions.