Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday's Friday's Hope blog

Phila of Bouphonia has hope every day of the week.

And a cat. Just because.

Photobucket

We really are in the Era of Stupid, aren't we?

Started about 2000 and is building up steam ...

24 percent of Americans believe Obama was born outside the U.S.

Josh Marshall on the Supreme Court ruling:
....Thursday's Supreme Court decision that could have a big effect on future public corruption cases and will quite likely end up letting a good number of convicted public officials out of prison
Starbucksgate: CREW Calls for Investigation of White House
The allegations suggest that the Obama administration may be flouting the same recordkeeping laws that the Bush administration did: the federal and presidential records acts (FRA and PRA). Both laws require that White House staff retain records—including emails—related to their daily work. By using private email accounts to schedule coffee shop meetings with lobbyists (an apparent attempt to prevent these sessions from appearing in White House visitor logs), Obama officials can bypass normal email archiving procedures and "avoid the creation of any record that would memorialize those meetings." Since emails scheduling meetings with lobbyists would almost certainly be the type of emails that the FRA and PRA require White House officials to preserve, the Obama team is "in violation" of the FRA and the PRA, CREW writes.
Krugman:
We are now, I fear, in the early stages of a third depression. It will probably look more like the Long Depression than the much more severe Great Depression. But the cost — to the world economy and, above all, to the millions of lives blighted by the absence of jobs — will nonetheless be immense.

And this third depression will be primarily a failure of policy. Around the world — most recently at last weekend’s deeply discouraging G-20 meeting — governments are obsessing about inflation when the real threat is deflation, preaching the need for belt-tightening when the real problem is inadequate spending.
The G20 as Naomi Klein sees it:
As thousands protested in the streets of Toronto, inside the G20 summit world leaders agreed to a controversial goal of cutting government deficits in half by 2013. We speak with journalist Naomi Klein. "What actually happened at the summit is that the global elites just stuck the bill for their drunken binge with the world’s poor, with the people that are most vulnerable," Klein says.
Endless war, a recipe for four-star arrogance


Lifestyles of the Rich and Fossil Fueled

The Onion: 8-Year-Old Accidentally Exercises Second Amendment Rights

All this doesn't matter though. We're all doomed anyway.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

God help us all

Demanding that this gulf spill push us to a new place

To accept new alternate energies, to grow beyond oil.


It's time.

Blog sprinkles

Photobucket

Keep Sarah Palin off of Discovery Channel:
"I am appalled that Discovery Communications -- home of numerous eco-conscious offerings -- has picked up "Sarah Palin's Alaska." Sarah Palin's anti-nature crusade as governor makes her extremely unsuitable to host a show in your lineup. I urge you to cancel the show before it airs."
Plan B has more options: Understanding Ella, the Latest Controversy in 'Morning After Pills' And a clever response to an anti-abortion ad.

One more reason we really don't want Chinese food products....
According to a 2008 State Oceanic Administration report, raw sewage and pollution from agricultural run-off has polluted 83 percent of China's coastal waters, leading to algae and other problems.
The Council of Dads has advice.

Seventh graders prove science isn't dead.

It's dangerous to ask for help in a forum.

The 7.2 Mexicali, Mexico, earthquake was so powerful that it shifted the Earth's crust 31 inches near Calexico, Calif., according to radar images and data released by NASA on Wednesday.

Irony. And more BP jokes.

We're number one!1! ... uh... We're number seven!!
Despite having the most costly health system in the world, the United States consistently underperforms on most dimensions of performance, relative to other countries. This report—an update to three earlier editions—includes data from seven countries and incorporates patients' and physicians' survey results on care experiences and ratings on dimensions of care. Compared with six other nations—Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom—the U.S. health care system ranks last or next-to-last on five dimensions of a high performance health system: quality, access, efficiency, equity, and healthy lives.
Strange what happens when you run out of money, isn't it?
A growing number of centrist Democrats say they’re open to trimming Pentagon spending in the face of record budget deficits and mounting public debt.

Liberal Democrats for years have called for cuts to the massive defense budget to no avail. Even after Democrats regained control of Congress in 2007, their few attempts at reining in defense spending have proven futile, partly because of opposition from centrist Democrats hawkish on defense issues.
Obama and McChrystal.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tell the FDA to Save Antibiotics

Tell the FDA: Protect Human and Animal Health by Saving Antibiotics

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering a rule that could weaken already-lenient controls on the use of antibiotics in food animal production.

The new rule affects the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD), a program allowing veterinarians to prescribe antibiotics mixed into animal feed in new ways. Currently, the VFD ensures that for those new antibiotic uses a diagnosis is made before animals are given antibiotics in their feed.

Many industrial farms routinely feed antibiotics to poultry or livestock to compensate for overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, while promoting growth. Proposed changes to the VFD could weaken oversight that prevents unnecessary drug use - increasing the rate of antibiotic resistance in humans.

Up to 70 percent of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. are fed to healthy food animals. Weakening the VFD could breed dangerous new strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can spread to humans thus making these important drugs we depend on useless.

Send your comment now. Tell the FDA to protect human and animal health by rejecting this rule and saving antibiotics.

Because they think they have their boot on our necks?

Photobucket

We should just accept what's happening in the Gulf of Mexico because we need to drive our cars?
LONDON – Oil executives sent a strong challenge to Barack Obama on Tuesday, warning at a major oil conference that the American president's ban on risky deepwater drilling would cripple world energy supplies.

As a BP executive standing in for embattled CEO Tony Hayward was heckled by protesters, other industry leaders used the gathering to rally around the British company, arguing that eliminating deepsea rigs in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill was unsustainable.

Obama slapped a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf as part of his struggle to show that his administration is responding forcefully to the disaster. The decision halted the approval of any new permits for deepwater drilling and suspended drilling at 33 existing exploratory wells in the Gulf.
Then I think it's time we changed our energy sources, don't you? (How about driving one of these? Electric cars. You can even make your own! Scooters. Bikes. Mass transit.) We have a lot of options that have been ignored while we've been in the clutches of Big Oil.

It's time we talked about a divorce.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill Tracker

People have to provide this information to the public because nobody 'in charge' wants to tell you.

Governor Barbour knows what side of his bread is buttered:
JACKSON, Miss. -- Mississippi's Republican governor, Haley Barbour, said on Sunday that the temporary moratorium on offshore drilling imposed by the Obama administration is worse than the catastrophic oil spill caused by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig.

"Governor, what's worse, the moratorium or the effects of this spill on the region?" asked "Meet the Press" host David Gregory on Sunday. Barbour responded, "Well, the moratorium... the spill's a terrible thing, but the moratorium is a terrible thing that's not only bad for the region, it's bad for America."
O'Reilly grills Rep. Michelle Bachmann?!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The only thing BP and the involved oil companies did this time

Was spill in a populated neighborhood where everyone could see it.

Why we don't trust banks....

Consumerist:
Banks Luring You Into Signing Back Up For High Overdraft Fees

Banks are mad they can't just automatically charge you a $35 overdraft anymore if you happen to try to buy a candy bar without enough cash in your account. Newly enacted legislation says they have to get you to opt-in to such overdraft programs. So, what they're doing is renaming the overdraft programs something else, making them sound awesome, and then blitzing your mailbox and inbox with up-sells. Some banks are even calling people up!
More of banks and their adventures.

Same ol', same ol'

Blackwater/ Xe:
CBS News has learned in an exclusive report that the State Department has awarded a part of what was formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide a contract worth more than $120 million for providing security services in Afghanistan. Private security firm U.S. Training Center, a business unit of the Moyock, N.C.-based Blackwater, now called Xe Services, was awarded the contract Friday, a State Department spokeswoman said Friday night.
Under the contract, U.S. Training Center will provide "protective security services" at the new U.S. consulates in Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, the spokeswoman said. The firm can begin work "immediately" and has to start within two months. The contract lasts a year but can be extended twice for three months at a time to last a maximum of 18 months.
Iraq, the nation we 'liberated', suffers more bombings:
(Reuters) - Two suicide bombers detonated cars laden with explosives outside the Trade Bank of Iraq on Sunday, killing 26 people in the latest attack to raise concerns about the nation's stability after an inconclusive election.
Social Security:
A video of retired Sen. Alan Simpson's foulmouthed rant toward activist Alex Lawson is making the Internet rounds, as well it should: The sheer audacity and rudeness of the guy makes this clip "must-see TV." It's a political bloopers reel (it can be seen at the bottom of this post).
But, while Simpson's outrageousness makes the video entertaining, here's what makes it important: Alan Simpson is one of two chairs of a bipartisan commission created by President Obama to study the Federal deficit. His comments reveal a number of very important things about his biases, his tendency to distort and mislead, and his ideological extremism. These traits are likely to taint the Commission's work - work which has great implications for the future.
Your future.


And Russian pogroms:
Otunbayeva conceded that the death toll from almost a week of savage violence, in what was once central Asia's most democratically inclined country, was at least 2,000. Previously, her administration put the figure at 191, in an apparent attempt to deflect international condemnation and accusations of state involvement in ethnic cleansing.

In the past week, survivors have given the same account – that armoured personnel carriers and Kyrgyz men in military uniforms led the pogroms on Uzbek districts. It is hard to conceive how these attacks could have been carried out without the connivance of the Kyrgyz military, the police and local administration. The government, however, is turning its ire on the western media, which it accuses of one-sided reporting.

[snip]

Kyrgyzstan is home to numerous nationalities – Kyrgyz and Uzbeks make up 15% of the 5.6 million population, but there are also Tajiks, Chechens, Turks, Tatars and even Volga Germans. But in its latest incarnation as a post-Soviet independent state, it has failed to build a multi-ethnic society. The army, police and government apparatus remain exclusively Kyrgyz – a source of resentment among potentially separatist-minded Uzbeks.

As well as local and historical animosities, Kyrgyzstan's unstable politics appears to have played a role. The government took over in April after street protests in the capital, Bishkek, ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev. The country's new leadership blames Bakiyev and his son Maxim – who was arrested in Britain last week – for financing the ethnic slaughter. He may indeed be behind it, but it could also be the work of shadowy nationalist forces determined to crush increasing demands for autonomy from the Uzbek minority.
Haven't we been here before?

Goooooaaaaalllll!!!

Photobucket

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dances with tar balls

Kevin Costner saves the day:
PORT FOURCHON, Louisiana (AFP) – Hollywood star Kevin Costner and BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles announced plans to begin using an invention that the actor says will accelerate clean-up of oily water from the gushing Gulf leak.
"I didn't come here to save the day," an emotional Costner told reporters here on Friday, adding: "I have come to participate."
Suttles said BP had purchased 32 centrifugal oil-water separator machines from Costner's company, Ocean Therapy Solutions.
"This is real technology with real science behind it," said Suttles, a mechanical engineer.
Used in conjunction with other oil spill collection operations, Costner's "V-20" technology will eventually help BP process up to 128,000 barrels of oily water daily from Gulf waters and polluted shorelines, Suttles said.
The broken wellhead is leaking oil at a rate of up to 60,000 barrels daily, according to the latest government figures.
Thank you, sir. I will never again make fun of your movies.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Brave Sir Angle ran away

I cannot answer your question



I don't recall....

You journalism guys are just figuring this out now?

Thank god for scientists and oceanographers:
NEW ORLEANS – It is an overlooked danger in the oil spill crisis: The crude gushing from the well contains vast amounts of natural gas that could pose a serious threat to the Gulf of Mexico's fragile ecosystem.
The oil emanating from the seafloor contains about 40 percent methane, compared with about 5 percent found in typical oil deposits, said John Kessler, a Texas A&M University oceanographer who is studying the impact of methane from the spill.
That means huge quantities of methane have entered the Gulf, scientists say, potentially suffocating marine life and creating "dead zones" where oxygen is so depleted that nothing lives.
"This is the most vigorous methane eruption in modern human history," Kessler said.
When anybody with a brain figured out LONG AGO that the whole gusher was filled with toxins and pollutants and poisonous byproducts. That's not even counting the dispersants poured in by plane and pump. As if they could disguise the horror by preventing anyone from photographing it or talking about it or figuring out this isn't just a minor spill. Jesus. What the hell do you guys think we have been shrieking about for a month and a fucking half?

Get this. Even if the water does not have tar balls and mats of crude floating in it, the Gulf of Mexico has been fatally poisoned. This is not a little thing. This is a massively horribly cruelly big thing. Marine life has died, will die, will not survive. People will die, will starve, will move. This is a big thing.

And we figured it out long before the journalists and the federal government and the states ever did. BP knew it the minute the rig went over.


Update: For those confused by the barrels/ gallons/ metric tonnage being thrown about.

Bryan of Why Now? has the running oil meter.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

They look so ... crispy.

Photobucket

click to embiggen.

Rep. Joe Barton earns his keep

Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly explains:
Incessant Republican criticism of the White House is one thing; a leading Republican lawmaker issuing a public apology to BP is another.

I just never thought I'd see the day when a leading Republican publicly groveled to a foreign CEO, who just happens to be leading a company responsible for a devastating oil spill disaster. It was just a stunning display. That the right-wing Texan has taken in over $1.4 million in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry over his career makes his apology that much more unseemly.
Nice the Republicans are finally making it clear whose side they are actually on.

At least we'll die happy...

CDC Officials Announce Free Ice Cream For Everyone, Delicious Tasty Ice Cream, And Also There Is An Ebola Outbreak

Obama actually gets something done

Not that anyone will notice over all the complaining:
The 20 billion fund should be viewed as a huge accomplishment for Obama. He had no actual power to compel that aside from moral suasion and the threat of having an unhappy president. Legally, BP could have just waited for the lawsuits and drawn the whole thing out for years. As a lawyer, I find it a unique and mind-boggling accomplishment.

74 Democrats sold you out to AT&T, Verizon and Comcast

They signed industry-backed letters telling the FCC to abandon efforts to protect Internet users by prohibiting big companies from blocking Internet traffic.

Not only is this letter an attack on net neutrality, but by signing the industry letter, they are attempting to drastically undercut the FCC's ability to make a fast, affordable and open Internet available to everyone in America. They are actually taking a position against the interests of rural and low-income communities.

This is unacceptable.

We need to make sure these members of Congress know that their constituents are paying attention and will hold them accountable when they undermine net neutrality protections.

Sign our petition to these representatives telling them that you're upset by their decision to side with the wealthy telecommunications corporations over their constituents.

What this comes down to is a principle known as "net neutrality." Net neutrality means that Internet users, not Internet service providers, should be in control. It ensures that Internet service providers can't speed up, slow down, or block Web content based on its source, ownership, or destination.

Of course broadband providers are insisting that we should just trust them and there's no need for consumers to be protected by net neutrality rules. But we cannot trust AT&T, Verizon and Comcast to protect a free and open Internet any more than we could trust BP to protect the oceans.

Without strong net neutrality rules, we might have to rely upon the good will of large telecoms to protect our access to the diversity of political perspectives. We might have to trust companies like Comcast, which actively and secretly interfered with users' ability to access popular video, photo and music sharing applications. We might have to trust companies like AT&T, which censored anti-Bush comments made by Pearl Jam's lead singer during a concert.

A free and open Internet is an important part of 21st Century democracy, but these 74 House Democrats signed a letter that undercut the efforts of the FCC to make sure the Internet stays free and open.

In other words, they decided to stand with wealthy corporations rather than stand up for your interests.

The simple fact of the matter is that powerful companies with a vested interest in this fight like AT&T have armies of lobbyists to push their agenda.

If these 74 House Democrats are going to get the message that it's unacceptable for them to sell out their constituents, it's only going to be because people like you speak up.

So take a minute right now to sign our petition.



The following Democratic members of the House signed the industry-backed letter:

Bobby Bright (AL-02), Mike Ross (AR-04), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01), Ed Pastor (AZ-04), Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-8), Dennis Cardoza (CA-18), Jim Costa (CA-20), Laura Richardson (CA-37), Joe Baca (CA-43), Loretta Sanchez (CA-47), Allen Boyd (FL-02), Corrine Brown (FL-03), Alcee Hastings (FL-23), Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24), Sanford D Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), John Barrow (GA-12), David Scott (GA-13), Leonard Boswell (IA-03), Wally Minnick (ID-01), Bobby Rush (IL-01), Debbie Halvorson (IL-11), Baron P Hill (IN-09), Dennis Moore (KS-03), Charlie Melancon (LA-03), Frank Kratovil, Jr. (MD-01), Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-2), Elijah Cummings (MD-07), Gary Peters (MI-9), William Lacy Clay Jr (MO-01), Russ Carnahan (MO-03), Travis Childers (MS-01), Bennie G Thompson (MS-02), Gene Taylor (MS-04), G. K. Butterfield (NC-01), Heath Shuler (NC-11), John Adler (NJ-3), Albio Sires (NJ-13), Harry Teague (NM-2), Tim Bishop (NY-01), Gregory Meeks (NY-06), Joseph Crowley (NY-07), Ed Towns (NY-10), Yvette Clarke (NY-11), Michael McMahon (NY-13), Scott Murphy (NY-20), Bill Owens (NY-23), Michael Arcuri (NY-24), Daniel Maffei (NY-25), Steve Driehaus (OH-01), Charlie Wilson (OH-06), Marcia Fudge (OH-11), Zachary T. Space (OH-18), Dan Boren (OK-02), Kurt Schrader (OR-05), Robert Brady (PA-01), Chaka Fattah (PA-02), Kathleen Dahlkemper (PA-03), Jason Altmire (PA-04), Christopher Carney (PA-10), Allyson Schwartz (PA-13), Tim Holden (PA-17), Lincoln Davis (TN-04), John Tanner (TN-08), Al Green (TX-09), Ruben Hinojosa (TX-15), Charlie Gonzalez (TX-20), Ciro Rodriguez (TX-23), Solomon Ortiz (TX-27), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Gene Green (TX-29), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Glenn Nye (VA-02), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Nick Rahall (WV-03)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rachel Maddow for president

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

How to survive the next disaster

Talking to my cyber pal Steve Bates in comments about incoming sunspot activity, I asked him how he had survived the awful two weeks without electricity after Hurricane Ike. I've always had a fascination with survival techniques stemming from my youth where my mother would explain what we would do when Russian bombs fell on Los Angeles. That and the fact Southern California has the constant threat of earthquakes and the Big One is soon to arrive...

Anyway, I've put by camping equipment in the shed so that when everything falls down, these things could be retrievable: tents, sleeping bags, camp stoves, travel sized bbq grill. For water: toilet tanks (no chemical cleaners in them), water heater (if it hasn't fallen over), 2.5 gal. water bottles. Food: stocked pantry with both dried and canned food. Had stored some in the shed, but it really really goes bad quickly out in the heat.

Special tool to turn off gas to the house tied to the meter. Awareness of where the water turn off is and the electrical meter box.

Strapped some bookcases in the house but don't have the black elastic cord that runs in front of the books to keep them from hurtling off the shelves. Don't have our aquariums strapped to the wall... another source of water, btw. (Don't know how edible the tiny fish are but really don't want to ask my husband, they're his babies.)

Each time we have our infrastructure unravel just a bit, we learn how much we count on everything to work without any effort on our part. I've overheard our town's plastic Barbie housewives huffing about some tiny detail that wasn't just exactly the way they wanted it and I wonder how they will cope when everything comes undone all at the same time.

I want to be realistic and prepared.

* Ice in the freezer or fridge is good for about two days. All our frozen and refrigerated food was bad... all of it. Forget recovering it; that $200 or $400 or however much you had in the fridge is just gone.

* Canned foods are good for a couple years, maybe three. I need to change ours out now; Stella has a tendency not to want the hassle of storing it, and arguing with her about it gets me nowhere.

* A camp stove may be a good thing to have. We don't, but it might be a good thing to have.

* Portable generators fail when you need them most. A couple weeks ago, when there was a brief threat of tropical weather, people here who have generators fired them up. The local storm tracker AM station (which doubles as the local right-wing nut-job talk station) said that 183 households reported their generators failed. We don't have them; we depend on lots of batteries. (Yeah, I know, that's not environmentally sound... so sue us!)

* Packaged foods last a good while if you don't open them. Dry cereal is pretty dull fare, though.

* Bottled water... WATER, for Dog's sake... goes bad after 2-3 years. Again, I need to replace ours. Again, it's environmentally unsound.

* Don't expect traffic lights to work. Even if the streets are cleared out enough to allow passage, it's dangerous crossing even medium-size intersections.

* Your land-line phone may not work for literally weeks after the storm, earthquake, whatever. Be sure you have a car charger for your cell phone; it may be your only contact with even your local world. Gasoline may be available, if you can get to it, and cell service was surprisingly resilient after Ike.

* Expect to sweat a lot. Just don't even think about getting A/C back quickly; ain't gonna happen.
Update: Adding to the discussion is Badtux the Backpacking Penguin who has some excellent ideas as well in comments:
You can survive a couple of weeks without much food, if you're a typical fatso-American, but you're dead within a couple of days without water. It always amuses me to see people stocking up on canned foods, but making no (zero) provisions for ensuring that they have drinkable water.

Get a couple of those backpacking water filters and one of those backpacking chlorine dioxide "Miox" generators, the kind that takes table salt and water and uses a battery to "crack" it into chlorine dioxide for killing nasties. Chlorine dioxide won't kill larger parasites (thus the water filter) but kills viruses and bacteria. Make sure you keep plenty of the lithium batteries and salt for the thing. Know where the nearest freshwater supply (no matter how nasty-looking) is. Even if it's the color of tea and smells like poop, it'll keep you alive once filtered and treated.

Think about pooping and peeing. If you're of the feminine persuasion, one of those portable potty seats makes peeing into a hole in the ground (and pooping for *everybody*) *much* easier. Don't expect the sewers to work, most of them rely on lift stations that are powered by electricity, if the pipes aren't simply sheared in half and collapsed by the earthquake.

For charging your cell phone without using gasoline, you can get a very good solar battery charger at Amazon for about $90 that'll charge up two AA NiMH batteries at a time (takes about 3-4 hours of sunshine per pair) then you can use its USB port to charge a (USB-chargable) phone from those batteries. Note that it only puts out half an amp on the port, so some big power-hungry smartphone won't work, but a regular old phone will charge just fine.

For cooking, if you have access to gasoline get a gasoline-powered camping stove. See rei.com for a large supply. If you want to cook over wood, a campfire is the least efficient way to do so... what you want is a coffee can type cookstove, Google 'coffee can stove' for how to make one. There are also more-efficient gassifying stoves like the 'Bushbuddy' that allow using much less wood. You can literally cook for two weeks with a pile of (dry) twigs with one of these things.

Uhm, make sure you have stuff for starting a fire (matches, firestarter blocks, etc.) in the first place! REI has some really cool damp-proof matches that work quite well combined with normal BBQ starter blocks.

Regarding food: One mistake most people make is that they stock food they don't normally eat. Then when they go to eat it in case of an emergency, they find out that a) it's expired, or b) it's nasty and nearly inedible, which makes a miserable experience even more miserable. Stock foods that you normally eat and rotate them rapidly. That way you'll have fairly fresh foods and you'll know what they taste like *before* you eat them.

Just some hints from a non-survivalist backpacker penguin...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I'm so sorry I ran over your family

I bought this super fast Lamborghini, but I never figured out where the brake was.
OIL INDUSTRY RESPONSE CAPABILITIES TO A MAJOR SPILL
Tillerson: "When these things happen, we are not well equipped to deal with them. We've never represented anything different than that. That's why emphasis is always on preventing these things from occurring, because when they happen we are not very well equipped to deal with them."
So we need to take the car and give the driver jail time. Right?

Meanwhile... back on the ranch...

Global warming:
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released data today (15 June 2010) confirming what NASA separately reported last week: global surface temperatures this Spring rose to record levels. NOAA data also indicate that other temperature records are toppling -- all consistent with long-term trends driven largely by rising greenhouse gas emissions.
And bees:
Distracted by a mysterious rash of dying bees, researchers may be overlooking a more insidious pollinator crisis. It has little to do with bees and everything to do with booming markets for raspberries, pears, and chocolate
Erik Prince of Blackwater fame thinks about Dubai:
Sources close to Blackwater and its secretive owner Erik Prince claim that the embattled head of the world's most infamous mercenary firm is planning to move to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Middle Eastern nation, a major hub for the US war industry, has no extradition treaty with the United States. In April, five of Prince's top deputies were hit with a fifteen-count indictment by a federal grand jury on conspiracy, weapons and obstruction of justice charges. Among those indicted were Prince's longtime number-two man, former Blackwater president Gary Jackson, former vice presidents William Matthews and Ana Bundy and Prince's former legal counsel Andrew Howell.
And the horrible health care we have in this country:
Can’t afford a doctor? No health insurance? Well, you can always go to the emergency room.

Kathy Myers found out the hard way that the ER isn’t the answer. Out of work, lacking insurance, and unable to get proper treatment for a painful shoulder injury incurred a month ago, the 41 year-old Michigan woman took drastic steps.

She lay on her bed, put a pillow over her shoulder, and shot herself with a handgun. Not in a suicide attempt, but in an attempt escape the constant pain and get medical treatment. A month of pain without no end in sight will mess with your head.

A 911 call did result in a trip to the ER, but only to take care of the gunshot wound. Her previous non life-threatening injury was left untreated. No CT scan, no MRI. She was home within a few hours. And she’s in worse shape than ever, with the added possibility of facing criminal charges for discharging a firearm within city limits.
And how far we've come..../snark: Marines Put Gay Man in Hospital. Will Anyone Prosecute?

Environmental catastrophe

The oil gusher's timeline.

Who is responsible?
While BP does make a convenient target, other companies can consider themselves fortunate not to be caught up in the crisis. Of the 126 people working on the Deepwater Horizon rig, only eight were BP employees. The oil giant may have a 65% share of the well, but its partner, Anadarko, has a 25% share. The rig was owned and operated by offshore drilling company Transocean, which leased it to BP. Dick Cheney's former company, Halliburton, played a crucial role in carrying out cement work that was supposed to cap the doomed well. The failed blowout preventer was made by an American firm, Cameron. There is a bewildering array of potential bad guys to blame, not just one single villain. But that argument is unhelpful to those looking for a simple narrative to explain such an overwhelming catastrophe.
But what are others saying?
Internal BP documents, including an e-mail message calling the well drilled by the Deepwater Horizon a “nightmare,” show a pattern of risky choices made to save time and money in the weeks before the disastrous April 20 blowout, according to a letter sent to the oil company by the leaders of a House committee on Monday.

The committee leaders cited five areas in which the company had made decisions that “increased the danger of a catastrophic well,” including choosing the design of the well, preparing for and testing the cement job and assuring that the well was properly sealed on the top.

Taken together, the documents offer the strongest case yet that BP bears much of the responsibility for the explosion that killed 11 workers and the still-unchecked leaking of millions of gallons of oil into the gulf.
Via Bryan of Why Now?, McClatchy says it's BP all the way:
From the company's uncommon well design to its fatal decision not to circulate drilling mud, which could have cleared out pockets of gas, and the lack of critical testing, which could have pinpointed problems with its cementing, the company had many points at which it could have prevented an explosion, investigators with the House Energy and Commerce Committee have found.

Instead, the company violated industry guidelines and proceeded "despite warnings from BP's own personnel and its contractors," said the chairman of the committee, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and the chairman of the investigative subcommittee that handled the probe, Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich.

Those decisions led to 11 deaths and the worst oil spill in U.S. history and will continue to have an effect on the environment and the future of offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, the two wrote in a letter to BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward that was released Monday.

"Time after time, it appears that BP made decisions that increased the risk of a blowout to save the company time or expense," they wrote. "If this is what happened, BP's carelessness and complacency have inflicted a heavy toll on the Gulf, its inhabitants and the workers on the rig."
Didn't someone say they would be extracting the oil from the sand and the booms? Or did I hear that wrong? (my bold)
About 35,000 bags — or 250 tons — of oily trash have been carted away from this beach, said Lt. Patrick Hanley of the Coast Guard, who is stationed at Port Fourchon. And as of Monday, more than 175,000 gallons of liquid waste — a combination of oil and water — had been sent to landfills, as had 11,276 cubic yards of solid waste, said Petty Officer Gail Dale, also of the Coast Guard, who works with at the command center in Houma.

Michael Condon, BP’s environmental unit leader, said that tests have shown that the material is not hazardous, and can safely be stored in landfills around the region that accept oil industry debris. The checklist and procedures involved, Mr. Condon said, are part of a process “we do very well and have done for a long time.”

But some local officials, environmental lawyers and residents who live near landfill sites are not convinced.

“There’s no way that isn’t toxic,” said Gladstone Jones III, a New Orleans lawyer who has spent much of his career trying to get compensation for plaintiffs he says have been harmed by exposure to toxic waste.

In fact, waste from oil exploration and production falls into a regulatory no man’s land, neither exactly benign nor toxic on its face. The compounds in oil most dangerous to human health — like benzene, a carcinogen — are volatile and tend to dissipate when crude oil reaches the ocean surface, or soon thereafter. But some toxicologists say it is impossible to know whether the toxic chemicals are entirely gone.
And I'm sorry.... BP is now totally compromised as a believable player in this saga. Lies, deflection, and diversion are their known techniques. Why are they so anxious to prevent allowing reporters on the scene? Why are they scrambling frantically to remove animal corpses? Are they the last ones to realize what a complete and utter DISASTER this is?

Monkeyfister has been doing excellent work on the crisis.

Update: Help Not Wanted: BP rejects expert volunteers. Of course, this makes perfect sense. Incompetents will not want to be shown as incompetent by those who actually know stuff....

Update II: Don't forget under whose administration this screw-the-environment-just-get-the-fucking-oil policy started in the first place: MMS under Bush admin. loosened regulation of drilling, downplayed risk, ignored safety warnings

Monday, June 14, 2010

When liberals swear

Pearls get clutched and knees buckle, apparently.

When Bush swore?



It was because it was true? Or righteous?

How about when Cheney told Leahy to go fuck himself?
In 2004, then-Vice President Dick Cheney had a “frank exchange of views” with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on the Senate floor over Cheney’s ties to Halliburton and President Bush’s judicial nominees. Cheney ended the argument by telling Leahy, “F*ck yourself.” Since then, Cheney has joked about the incident and claimed the Leahy “merited” it because he was “close” to kissing him. On Dennis Miller’s radio show today, Cheney suggested that his Leahy f-bomb was “the best thing” he had ever done...

And it's about time!

Stand with the President for a clean-energy future

The next generation will not be held hostage to energy sources from the last century. The American people are ready for clean energy.
Add your name as a strong supporter of comprehensive energy and climate reform:
I stand with President Obama to pave the way for a clean-energy future that:
• Combats climate change;
• Creates a new economy powered by green jobs; and
• Ends our dependence on foreign oil.

Steve Benen clarifies it all

The reason why incoherence is a deliberate strategy to deal with Obama:
I've been trying to think of a way to explain this in a way Mitch McConnell would understand. As 2009 got underway, Republicans had left two huge messes related to the economy: 1) a nearly-catastrophic recession and unemployment crisis; 2) a budget mess, including a $1.3 trillion deficit and $10 trillion debt. Both problems were simply left for the Obama administration to clean up.

The economic question of 2009 was which problem would be addressed first, but there was a catch that went largely unstated. Whichever mess policymakers chose to clean up first would necessarily make the other mess worse. It was simply unavoidable -- investing in a recovery would increase the deficit; lowering the deficit would take money out of the economy and exacerbate the recession.

Questions of sincerity notwithstanding, it was the main difference between the Democratic and Republican approaches to the economy -- Dems wanted to focus on one of the messes Republicans created (growth and jobs); the GOP wanted to focus on the other (deficit and debt).

That is, it would be the difference if lawmakers like McConnell approached governing with even the slightest bit of seriousness. Notice in his response that there's nothing even approach coherence -- he wants Obama to spend less, and more. He wants the administration to take on a larger role, and smaller. He wants the White House to care more about debt reduction, and less. He wants the president to prioritize investing in job creation, and to stop prioritizing investing in job creation.

Why anyone could take such policy gibberish seriously is a mystery to me.

They do it because it works. We are now celebrating the Era of Stupid and the stupids vote.

2012 in 2013!!11! OMG!11/

Space Storm!!! Starring Bruce Willis and Will Smith ....

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Dr Fisher, 69, said the storm, which will cause Sun to reach temperatures of more than 10,000 F (5500C), occurred only a few times over a person’s life.

Every 22 years the Sun’s magnetic energy cycle peaks while the number of sun spots – or flares – hits a maximum level every 11 years.

Dr Fisher, a Nasa scientist for 20 years, said these two events would combine in 2013 to produce huge levels of radiation.

He said large swathes of the world could face being without power for several months, although he admitted that was unlikely.

A more likely scenario was that large areas, including northern Europe and Britain which have “fragile” power grids, would be without power and access to electronic devices for hours, possibly even days.

He said preparations were similar to those in a hurricane season, where authorities knew a problem was imminent but did not know how serious it would be.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Keeping count

Of the dead in the Gulf of Mexico.

Photobucket

Um.... letting the Israelis bomb Iran

So Saudis can get rid of an irritating neighbor while getting to point fingers of blame at Israel... a win/win situation!
Saudi Arabia gives Israel clear skies to attack Iranian nuclear sites

Saudi Arabia has conducted tests to stand down its air defences to enable Israeli jets to make a bombing raid on Iran’s nuclear facilities, The Times can reveal.

In the week that the UN Security Council imposed a new round of sanctions on Tehran, defence sources in the Gulf say that Riyadh has agreed to allow Israel to use a narrow corridor of its airspace in the north of the country to shorten the distance for a bombing run on Iran.

To ensure the Israeli bombers pass unmolested, Riyadh has carried out tests to make certain its own jets are not scrambled and missile defence systems not activated. Once the Israelis are through, the kingdom’s air defences will return to full alert.

“The Saudis have given their permission for the Israelis to pass over and they will look the other way,” said a US defence source in the area. “They have already done tests to make sure their own jets aren’t scrambled and no one gets shot down. This has all been done with the agreement of the [US] State Department.”
Um.... what the hell is being planned right now? I thought we'd given up on WWIII after Dick and George's excellent adventure was over....

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Cat blogging...

But instead of a furry cat.... have a fuzzy spider!

Photobucket

Blog sprinkles

Photobucket


How badly fucked up the Gulf actually might be.... And people share their ideas on how to fix it. And BP tells you not to spill.

The secret about Obama and BP!!1!

Obviously there are giant secretive worms that live in the earth's core...

Chris Hedges: The Christian Fascists Are Growing Stronger
Tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious movement known as the Christian right, have begun to dismantle the intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment. They are creating a theocratic state based on “biblical law,” and shutting out all those they define as the enemy. This movement, veering closer and closer to traditional fascism, seeks to force a recalcitrant world to submit before an imperial America. It champions the eradication of social deviants, beginning with homosexuals, and moving on to immigrants, secular humanists, feminists, Jews, Muslims and those they dismiss as “nominal Christians”—meaning Christians who do not embrace their perverted and heretical interpretation of the Bible. Those who defy the mass movement are condemned as posing a threat to the health and hygiene of the country and the family. All will be purged.
Uh oh.. Gamers Have Bodies Of '60-Year-Old Chain Smokers' (STUDY)

A photo of slave children around the Civil War.

I should be more concerned about this because it means other species are going as well.... but ... they're SNAKES.
The snake decline reported this week across Europe and Africa could well be happening in America as well, say biologists.

“If you get your average herpetologists together, you’d probably arrive at a consensus that a lot of scientists feel that even across their own lifetimes there are negative changes in terms of population,” says Rafe Brown, chief curator of herpetology at the University of Kansas. “It’s clear that overall the trends are not good and we’re looking at pretty serious declines.”

“The bottom line,” Dr. Brown adds in a telephone interview Thursday, "is that few of these species can survive when 99 percent of their habitat has been turned into subdivisions."
Sign the petitions:

You guys need a laugh

A really deep belly laugh....

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The next step is supposed to be a free-for-all killing spree, right?

Isn't that what all hate speech leads to in the end?
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – A U.S. Border Patrol agent fatally shot a 15-year-old Mexican boy after a group trying to illegally enter Texas threw rocks at officers near downtown El Paso, U.S. authorities said Tuesday.
The shooting, which happened Monday evening beneath a railroad bridge linking the two nations, drew sharp criticism from Mexico, where President Felipe Calderon said Tuesday that his goverment "will use all resources available to protect the rights of Mexican migrants."
The government "reiterates its rejection to the disproportionate use of force on the part on U.S. authorities on the border with Mexico," the president added in a statement.
It was the second death of a Mexican at the hands of Border Patrol officers in less than two weeks, and the case threatened to swell into a full-blown international incident when U.S. and Mexican officials traded suggestions of misconduct.

Monday, June 07, 2010

We knew this all along

US medical staff experimented on terror suspects: report

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Medical personnel apparently experimented on terror detainees during CIA-led torture after the September 11 attacks, aiming to improve interrogation techniques, a human rights group said Monday.
"There is evidence that they were calibrating the harm inflicted by these techniques allegedly and also looking to extend their knowledge about the effects," said Nathaniel Raymond, from Physicians for Human Rights.
The group said it had used public records showing health professionals worked under the supervision of the Central Intelligence Agency during interrogations of "war on terror" detainees after the 2001 attacks.
The doctors and medical staff witnessed waterboarding, forced nudity, sleep deprivation, temperature extremes and prolonged isolation among other techniques.
"What we see is doctors collecting data that is used to draw conclusions related to whether or not the techniques or behaviors that they are observing violate the Department of Justice standard on what constitutes a level of harm, what makes it torture," Raymond told a press conference.
Who are these people? Did we just raise a generation oblivious to the horrors of WWII? Did we just create our very own Dr. Mengeles?

Who on earth could justify any of this?
Yeah, we waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed,” the former president told a business audience in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “I’d do it again to save lives.”
Oh yeah. Him. And what about Cheney?
To many, Cheney is the dark side of the Bush administration, and this program will only cement that judgment. ``Frontline" chronicles the brutal campaign by two consummate political in-fighters -- Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld -- to decimate the CIA, politically emasculate Secretary of State Colin Powell, and construct a near-limitless concept of executive power during war. While many of these strands are familiar, they have not been assembled as effectively before on television to present a coherent picture of what happened after 9/11.

Cheney didn't trust the CIA after it missed the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Iranian revolution, and Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, so he created through Rumsfeld's Pentagon his own intelligence network to suit his agenda. Powell and former CIA director George Tenet were no match for this pair, who have known each other for three decades. By the time that Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis ``Scooter" Libby, was indicted last fall, Powell and Tenet were long gone and the CIA was in shambles.
My theory is that these guys got off on torture. You don't need to waterboard somebody 183 times to get information. You do it because it makes you feel powerful. Non-military, cowardly, craven blunderers, they thought it made them manly and tough. What it actually did was make everything ten times worse.

And these 'doctors' who were involved in the torture?

We want their names.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

It's not just the tar balls

It's all the horrific chemicals that go with the crude that poison what might even be considered clear water.

update: changed the video. I despise the autoplay and couldn't figure how to turn it off.

Sorry about that.

Photobucket

How about some smothered bird sauteed with crude, instead?

Thursday, June 03, 2010

It isn't anything else but murder.

A U.S. citizen who lived in Turkey is among the nine people killed when Israeli commandos stormed a Turkish aid ship heading for the Gaza Strip, officials said today. The victim was identified as Furkan Dogan, 19, a Turkish-American. A forensic report said he was shot at close range, with four bullets in his head and one in his chest, according to the Anatolian news agency.

Dogan was a high school student studying social sciences in the town of Kayseri in central Turkey. He was born in Troy, N.Y., and moved to Turkey at the age of 2. He will be buried in his hometown tomorrow.

Dogan's body was returned to Turkey today along with eight others, all Turkish nationals, who were on board the Mavi Marmara.

The latest from the owl box

A family of California Barn Owls, two adults and their owlets, have over 6,000 followers for their live stream on UStream, and have generated over 12 million views.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010