Monday, December 6, 2010

Headlines - Monday December 6

What if solar got the same subsidies as fossil fuels?
Best news we've heard in months. "A critical breakthrough has been made in efforts to save the giant panda, one that could kick-start attempts to reintroduce the animals to the wild. Conservationists say they have perfected the difficult task of reproducing pandas, having reached their target of successfully raising 300 of the bears in captivity. The breakthrough, mainly by scientists at the Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Centre, China, should lead to the first panda being reintroduced into the wild within 15 years. The revelation comes after documentary makers were given unprecedented access to the research centre to film captive breeding activity over two years. Just a few thousand wild pandas survive at best, and the species is classified as being Endangered. In a bid to protect the animal, scientists have attempted to breed captive pandas since the first such cub was born in 1963."
The lies and distorted data from both BP (and the government) continues. ABC News:
A mile below the surface in the Gulf of Mexico, there is little sign of life.

"It looks like everything's dead," University of Georgia professor Samantha Joye said.

In an exclusive trip aboard the U.S. Navy's deep-ocean research submersible Alvin, ABC News was given the chance to observe the impact of this summer's massive oil spill that most will never see.

The ocean floor appears to be littered with twigs, but Joye points out that they are actually dead worms and that Alvin is sitting on top of what is considered an 80-square mile kill zone 
This is going to be seriously disappointing, if it turns out to be true. If this happens, there is no way it will be possible to support Obama or any other Democrat that goes along with this. The support is already on life support so the White House better feel confident about winning over massive numbers of independents because he's quickly losing Democrats.
Sen. Mitch McConnell's assessment comes a day after Senate Republicans voted down Democratic efforts to limit any extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for the top-earning Americans.

President Barack Obama then signaled a willingness to give in to Republican demands that the tax cuts that expire at the end of the year be extended at all levels.
At this point we should just let all the tax cuts expire. If the growing national debt is supposedly the greatest danger to our economy, then we might as well all take the pain. Letting all the cuts expire will reduce the deficit by $3 trillion (as opposed to the relatively meager $700bln if only the top 2% get their taxes raised). Isn't that what we want?

Reporting from Washington — In a rare Saturday session, Senate Democrats and Republicans remained at loggerheads over whether to extend the George W. Bush-era tax cuts to all taxpayers, ratcheting up the pressure on lawmakers to try to reach agreement before the tax cuts expire at the end of the year.

With Republicans unified in opposition, Democrats, as expected, fell short of the votes needed to overcome a filibuster and extend the tax cuts for all but the very wealthy.

If Barry had a ball or two, he'd veto any tax cut bill coming out of Congress but that won't happen. The White House has caved already, citing the need for 'compromise' and allowing extension of unemployment benefits to be linked to the cuts. Once again, those looking to 1600 for leadership are sorely disappointed.
General Petraeus says he's not sure of victory in Afghanistan by 2014. In his words: "I don't think there are any sure things in this kind of endeavor. And I wouldn't be honest with you and with the viewers if I didn't convey that." Although it gives one a warm feeling to know we have such an honest man running things in Afghanistan, General Petraeus wasn't asked if he was sure of victory by 2114. And that's what we really want to know, isn't it?
The Texas Taliban
Shorter explanation of John Cook, a member of the State Republican Executive Committee: "I'm not a bigot, I'm not a racist, but I didn't get into politics to put any goddamn Jews in a position of power in Texas."

Here is one of my guiding rules: When someone says "I'm not a bigot" or "I'm not a racist", I petty much anticipate that the following sentences will show the lie of those statements.

As is true in this instance.
Jill: It isn't even surprising anymore
In This Holiday Season, Republicans Want to Make Sure That We Don't Forget to Take Care of the Rich
This is tragic, but seriously, people: it's the ocean, where there are sharks. "A German woman has been killed in a shark attack while snorkelling off the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, officials say. The death comes after four people were injured in similar attacks at the resort earlier in the week. Egyptian authorities had re-opened the waters after saying they captured the sharks involved in the earlier attacks. Officials say they are baffled by the repeated attacks and are consulting marine biologists. There are fears about the impact of the shark attacks on the tourism trade in the world's most popular diving spot."
The devastating power of four little words
"I can't help you."

Those are four words that never pass the lips of an emergency responder, even if they're true.

But that is what John McCain told one of the 9/11 responders in person, and through him he told every last 9/11 responder that he can't help them.

Except he can. Or he could. If he wanted to. If he wasn't a petty, venal, destructive dickhead who is insane with rage at losing the election and with it his last chance to outrank his father and grandfather.


Fiscal patriots vs fiscal terrorists

"Fiscal patriotism" is paying your fair share of taxes, "fair share" being in direct proportion to how much you have benefited from this nation's public infrastructure.

"Fiscal terrorism" is demanding the government aid and abet your continued theft of public resources by transferring the dwindling wealth of the middle class to the bulging coffers of the obscenely wealthy.

If you support tax cuts for the rich, you are not a patriot; you are a terrorist.


Floyd Norris catches the malevolent oligarch Pete Peterson deploying some big rhetorical guns in the deficits wars:

Today he put out a statement on the deficit reduction commission vote. I have italicized one phrase.

The work of this commission has clearly demonstrated the need to address our nation's unsustainable long-term fiscal challenges, and it has shown that we should begin now. The time for denial, inaction and political gamesmanship is over. The time for fiscal patriotism is now.

There is a long and ignoble history in America of the misuse of the word patriotism, in which those who disagree with the speaker are not just misguided, but unpatriotic.

I hope Mr. Peterson will think better about the use of that phrase, and that others will not pick it up.

The deficit is now large in significant part because the financial system blew up and the government had to pick up the bill at the same time the recession caused by the financial crisis caused tax revenue to fall and social safety net spending to rise.

Well hell, I say let's take their rhetorical bombs and hurl them back on them. Does this sound patriotic to you?

"It's almost like they've got - they've got a bomb strapped to them and they've got their hand on the trigger," President Obama said on Thursday of the banks he's chosen to bail out. "You don't want them to blow up. But you've got to kind of talk [to] them, ease that finger off the trigger."
You'll recall that these same "patriots" also threatened to burn down the whole system if they didn't get their bonuses.

Feinberg's push for long-term accountability was met with what Feinberg calls "intense pressure" from officials at the Treasury Department and from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which had provided most of the A.I.G. bailout, to make accommodations for the firms whose perceived extravagance had created his job in the first place. First, there were those cash retention bonuses, which 8 of the 12 A.I.G. executives now under Feinberg's purview received in 2009. Feinberg pushed to have the executives return the money and replace it with salarized stock. They all refused, even those who had pledged to give the bonuses back altogether.

Among those who insisted on keeping the cash was David Herzog, A.I.G.'s chief financial officer, whose bonus was $1.5 million. He and the others told Feinberg, through A.I.G.'s vice chairman Anastasia Kelly, that if they didn't get to keep that bonus, plus get additional bonuses for work in 2009, they would leave, which would grievously imperil the company. No one at A.I.G. seemed to be embarrassed to argue that the chief financial officer of Wall Street's Titanic was irreplaceable.

These are the big swinging Galtian heroes who Peterson represents. And now he's calling for destruction of the safety net in the guise of "fiscal patriotism." Fiscal terrorism is the proper term. It would be funny if it weren't so tragic.

Demanding cuts in Social Security, insurance for the unemployed, Medicare and the rest of the social safety net is fiscal terrorism.

Demanding higher taxes for the rich, trillion-dollar investment in job-creating infrastructure and increased support for the unemployed is fiscal patriotism.

Pass it on.


American Muslims now just assume any extremist is a harmless FBI agent

'So, you guys work out? Nice pecs.'

America loves fighting terrorists so much, it likes to create as many as it can so it can keep on fighting. And that is annoying American Muslims, who cannot go about their day worshipping God without being annoyed by at least one FBI agent trying to lure them into joining jihad. One such agent, Craig Monteilh, an ex-con who did the job for "$177,000, tax-free, in 15 months," until too many Muslims reported him to the FBI, says that the FBI told him his job was to infiltrate mosques and date Muslim women because "Islam is a threat to our national security." At this point, American Muslims just have to assume that anyone talking about extremism works for the FBI, is trying to entrap them and is best left ignored. Hooray for making us less safe and trying to impede people from exercising their freedom of religion! READ MORE »

Everything's going to be "worst ever" from now on. "More than 12,000 people have now been moved from their homes in north-western Albania following days of heavy rain. Interior Minister Lulzim Basha told the BBC that the country was experiencing its worst flooding in living memory. He said the situation around the town of Shkoder was "critical", with 14,000 hectares (34,595 acres) under water. Other Balkan countries have also been badly hit, with three people killed after their home collapsed following a landside in the Bosnian city of Tuzla."
Just shoot me now: Tea party nation president calls for Palin to lead a 'conservative takeover' of the RNC as its next chair



As climate talks plod along, the world burns


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