Saturday, January 1, 2011

Headlines - Saturday January 1

Happy New Year!
Not so happy for the Iraqis .....
Defects in newborns 11 times higher than normal • 'War contaminants' from 2004 attack could be cause
COULD be the cause? Oh fer fuck's sake.
Lanny Davis really is one of the scummiest people ever.
This Modern World's 2010 The Year in Crazy. Seriously, 2010 sucked.

In case you missed this bit of news before Christmas, the very wealthy are doing just fine in the Great Recession.

The richest 1% of U.S. households had a net worth 225 times greater than that of the average American household in 2009, according to analysis conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank. That's up from the previous record of 190 times greater, which was set in 2004.

The widening gap came even as wealthy households' average net worth tumbled 27% -- to about $14 million -- between 2007 to 2009. That's the first time that they suffered a decline since the three-year period of 1992 to 1995.

Meanwhile, the average family's net worth plunged 41% -- to just $62,200 -- from 2007 to 2009, according to EPI's calculations.

"The typical person lost more because a bigger percentage of their wealth in 2007 had been the value of their home," said Heidi Shierholz, an economist with EPI.

Plunging home values doesn't just effect the middle classes' net worth, it has long term implications for income security in retirement. As for the poor, they've fallen in an even deeper hole, "their net worth falling to negative $27,000 on average, or nearly twice as much as they owed two years earlier."

For much, much more on the increasing ravages of income inequality in America, don't miss Meteor Blades's story, "Millions of Americans still subject to economic nutcracker."


QOTD - Ezra Klein

"Successful governance is about getting 60 votes for things that move the ball forward. The people who tend to control the 55th through 60th votes on any given issue are not like you and me. They are driven by a baffling combination of raging egomania and crippling terror. They want to be treated like statesmen even as their decisions are based on a paralyzing fear of contested elections, primary challenges, Fox News and party pressure. They have few opinions on what good policy looks like, what opinions they do have on the subject change frequently, and they're not willing to risk very much on them anyway. Taking a pound of flesh from these people -- or even their allies -- would mean never getting their votes. Want to see what we mean? Look at Don't Ask, Don't Tell. In the end, it got done because Murkowski, Brown and Collins let it get done. Alienating them would've been satisfying, but unwise." - Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein, saying that Obama's bipartisan approach to DADT was the right one, even if liberals found it frustrating. 


The coming war on the Constitution

A little light reading over what's going to start happening next week in the 112th Congress.

Robert Parry

Despite a few victories in the lame-duck session of Congress, Democrats and progressives should be under no illusion about the new flood of know-nothingism that is about to inundate the United States in the guise of a return to "first principles" and a deep respect for the U.S. Constitution.

Yet, while the Tea Partiers and the Right have embraced a mythical view of the Constitution as some ideal document that opposes federal power to tax, borrow and pass laws that improve "the general Welfare," they have been less interested in the document's protection of civil liberties, especially when the targets of abuse are Muslims, Hispanics, blacks and anti-war dissenters.

So, it seems the country is in for a new round of crazy while the voices for sanity stay largely mute.
Stephen Pizzo

The Tea Party GOP Gets Ready to Talibanize the US Constitution

Instead, I strongly suspect, they read and "understood" the constitution in the same way they claim to have read and understood the Bible; they began reading it knowing what they knew and what they wanted it to say, so that must be what it says.

But on a more serious note, there is something quite real going on with all this. The far-right has decided to do to the text of the US Constitution what al Qaeda has done to the text of the Koran - twist it to fit their political/social agenda then use it as a bludgeon to get their way.

Fasten yer seat belts. It's gonna be a bumpy ride.


You may never buy another real Christmas tree again after reading this. And that would be in my opinion, a good thing. 


We can't help but wonder why the hell Fox and the rest of the right wing noise machine that likes to mock every snowflake as evidence that climate change is a hoax didn't bother to mention that the tornadoes that killed peole in Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois on New Years Eve were spawned by unseasonably warm weather?
Rare wildlife good news. "Scientists have found a colony of rare Mediterranean monk seals at an undisclosed location in Greece. The species is the world's most endangered seal, and one of the most endangered marine mammals - fewer than 600 individuals remain. Researchers are keeping the location of the colony secret to avoid having the seals disturbed by human visitors. It is the only place in the region where seals lie on open beaches, rather than hide in coastal caves. Alexandros Karamanlidis, scientific co-ordinator of the Mom/Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk seal, explained that this was the seals' "original behaviour". "It is human disturbance that has caused the species to retreat to inaccessible caves," he told BBC News. "So this place is incredibly important - the seals feel so secure that they go out on to open beaches." The Mom researchers, whose society name is derived from the Latin name of the species, Monachus monachus, have been monitoring and studying monk seals for more than 20 years. This has not been an easy task when most of the animals now live in areas that are not visible from the water line. By driving the seals into secluded caves, the scientists say, human activity has also affected the number of seal pups that survive into adulthood. Dr Karamanlidis explained: "Because of human disturbance, [the seals] give birth in these coastal caves, [meaning that] more pups die during storms." The number of seal pups born annually in the newly discovered colony on this tiny island is amongst the highest recorded anywhere in the Mediterranean Sea. The team has placed cameras on the island to study the seals remotely."
This is what a hypocrite looks like
By now you have heard about the Geico Drill Sergeant/Therapist who went off on an anti-Obama rant at an event sponsored by the USO and Toys-for-Tots.

What a guy...

Ermey spent eleven years in the Marine Corps, Two of which were spent as being a Drill Instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, India Company 3rd Recruit Training Battalion 1965-67, Arrived in Vietnam in 1968 spending 14 months attached to Marine Wing Support Group 17 and 2 tours in Okinawa. He rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant and was medically retired for injuries received. On May 17, 2002 he received an honorary promotion to Gunnery Sergeant (E-7) by Commandant James L. Jones, becoming the first retiree in the history of the Marines to be promoted. Using G.I. Bill benefits, Ermey enrolled at the University of Manila in the Philippines, where he studied drama. Francis Ford Coppola was filming "Apocalypse Now (1979)" in the area and cast Ermey in a featured role. He has since gone on to star or appear in approximately sixty films.

So he spends eleven years in the Marines -- one of the most socialistic organizations not just in this country, but on this planet, and he takes full advantage of the * ahem * socialistic GI Bill -- which he was fully entitled to, and I do not begrudge, until he starts trash-talking the Commander in Chief and deriding him as...a socialist. At a USO event. For Toys for Tots. You know -- where the Marines give toys to children who haven't worked for them? (What kind of welfare-state example does that set, anyway?)

Fuck you, Gunny.

And fuck Geico, too, if they don't sever all ties with the jarhead piece of shit, pull his commercials immediately and issue an apology to the offended half - at least - of their clientelle.


A Year of Funny Fotos: 2010 In Dumb Pictures.


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