Archive for July 19, 2012
We have bipartisanship in D.C. Woohoo:
The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved $607 billion in defense spending for next year after two days of debate that saw lawmakers from both parties line up to condemn the ongoing war in Afghanistan as a waste of lives and money.
Yet they voted to keep the war going anyway.
What I want to know is how the “deficit hawks” justify this. Why isn’t the Tea Party throwing a fit?
The Census Bureau is out with a new “Data Visualization Gallery” that’s fun to poke around in.
In case you missed it, the United States isn’t the greatest country in the world anymore. Here’s why:
Beginning scene of the new HBO series The Newsroom explaining why America’s Not the Greatest Country Any Longer… But It Can Be.
Here’s a little tidbit I came across just now about the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs:
The Waldo Canyon fire left severely burned terrain across more than 5 square miles, with no living vegetation on the surface and no roots for as much as 4 inches below the surface, wildfire experts said Wednesday.
Soil classified as severely burned is so barren that it is often likened to a moonscape, said Dana Butler, a U.S. Forest Service hydrologist who served on a federal emergency response team that reviewed damage from the fire.
So that fire was super, super hot.
And check out this picture. 350 homes were destroyed but there could easily have been more:
Looks like Mitt and his corporate buddies had a grand ol’ time at the Utah Olympics in 2002:
When Mitt Romney transitioned from working full-time at Bain Capital to running the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, he did not fully leave the private equity firm. That’s not just because he continued to sign documents and take a salary, or because he described himself as Bain’s CEO on the Olympics’ website, but because he brought with him Bain’s personnel, ethos and, most importantly, its clients.
Romney leaned heavily on Bain to turn the 2002 Olympic committee into a success. Several officials who worked with him said his extensive business network proved critical. But the continued Bain ties came with a price, as Romney opened himself up to criticism that he used the Olympics to assist colleagues and build a foundation for a future political career.
In his book on the Olympics, “Turnaround,” Romney portrayed himself as a reluctant savior of the games. He initially thought the idea of taking over the SLOC was “preposterous.” He had no background in sports administration, had a family in Massachusetts and was enjoying a lucrative business career.
“How could I walk away from the golden goose?” he asked.
He brought the golden goose with him.
Sealy Mattress, a company in which Bain had majority ownership — earning $2 million in yearly management fees — signed on as a supplier of 5,000 mattresses for Olympic athletes.
Marriott Corp., the hotel franchise where Romney served as a board member, became a sponsor of the games as well, ponying up $4 million to be the official lodging supplier.
Perhaps one of the most oft-told examples of Romney’s belt tightening involved him canceling the organizers’ budget busting free lunches. Instead, he brought in Domino’s Pizza and made board members pay $1 a slice. Domino’s was a Bain company.
Bombardier, an aerospace and transportation company that worked on prior Olympics, became the 2002 games’ official supplier of snowmobiles and other winter recreational vehicles. A year after the games, it sold off its recreational vehicle division to a group of buyers that included Bain.
In the fall of 1999, Romney signed the Provo-based nutritional supplements company Nu Skin to be a sponsor of the games. A Nu Skin subsidiary, Pharmanex, also inked a deal to dispense dietary supplements to the athletes and carry the Olympic rings on its products. The International Olympic Committee raised red flags — Nu Skin had settled several lawsuits and a Federal Trade Commission case over false advertising and claims that the company operated a pyramid scheme…
Romney insisted Nu Skin’s pills were clean. The company’s employees and bigwigs later returned the favor, donating tens of thousands of dollars to his campaigns. Two shell corporations with ties to Nu Skin gave $1 million each to the Romney-backing super PAC Restore Our Future.
Geezus. Romney acted like a kid in a candy store, handing out candy bars to all his friends.
Imagine what he would do with our tax dollars if he were president. No wonder he wants to privatize everything.
When writing The dark side of Greenland, a recent blog post on decreasing reflectivity of the Greenland ice sheet, with images comparing the southwest of Greenland with satellite images from previous years, I of course realized that when that ice sheet becomes less reflective, it will soak up more solar energy and thus melt faster. But the practical aspect of this theory never really dawned on me, until I saw this video:
Levels in the Akuliarusiarsuup Kuua river, also knows as the Watson river, have reached such heights that they have smashed the two bridges connecting the north and south of Kangerlussuaq, a small settlement in southwestern Greenland, located at the head of the fjord of the same name. The river water stems from different meltwater outflow streams from Russell Glacier (an outflow of the Greenland ice sheet), and is a tributary of Qinnguata Kuussua, the main river in the Kangerlussuaq area.
I’ve spent decades hiking the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. I’ve seen summer runoff from snow fields and glaciers. I’m used to very soggy ground at their base, indicating thousands of tiny streamlets flowing out from underneath.
Nothing. Like. This. This is horrifying.