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Archive for March 11th, 2009

Predicted Rise in Sea Levels May Be Way Short

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 11th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

Predicted Rise in Sea Levels May Be Way Short

A team of researchers has found that sea levels could rise up to three times higher over the next century than U.N. estimates have indicated. The findings have dire implications for the 600 million people who live in vulnerable areas. Scientists gathered in Denmark said they expect polar and glacial melting to accelerate.

BBC:

Scientists at a climate change summit in Copenhagen said earlier UN estimates were too low and that sea levels could rise by a metre or more by 2100.

The projections did not include the potential impact of polar melting and ice breaking off, they added.

The implications for millions of people would be “severe”, they warned.

Ten per cent of the world’s population—about 600 million people—live in low-lying areas.

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White House Official’s Home Repairs Questioned

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 11th, 2009 4:41 am by HL

White House Official’s Home Repairs Questioned
NEW YORK — The new White House director of urban affairs hired an architect for his own home at the same time that a project…

Sarah Palin’s Biggest Legislative Initiatives Appear Dead On Arrival: Alaska Daily News
Gov. Sarah Palin’s biggest initiatives for this legislative session appear dead on arrival, at least for this year. Top lawmakers say they aren’t likely to…

Newsweek: Don’t Blame Liberals: How The Wealthy Waged War On Each Other
Last week, I wrote that the Republican claim that Obama is fighting a war against the rich was bogus. Over the weekend, I thought better…

Mark Jeffrey: Meet the new Boss. Same as the old Boss?
We were told the change had come. So we held up the iconic blue-and-red signs that read, “Hope.” But nowadays, it’s looking more like, “Meet the new Boss. Same as the old Boss.”

Chas Freeman Slams “Israel Lobby”
Below is Chas Freeman’s full statement following his decision not to serve as National Intelligence Council chairman. * * * * * You will by…


WSJ falsely suggested a secret ballot is currently required for employees to gain union representation

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 11th, 2009 4:40 am by HL

WSJ falsely suggested a secret ballot is currently required for employees to gain union representation

In a March 10 article reporting that the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) was “expected to be introduced” that day, The Wall Street Journal falsely suggested that a secret ballot election is currently required before workers can form a union. The article asserted that the EFCA “would allow unions to organize workers without a secret ballot, giving employees the power to organize by simply signing cards agreeing to join.” In fact, current law already allows a union that shows it has the support of a majority of workers to represent the workers if their employer voluntarily agrees to recognize the union.

As Media Matters for America documented, in its September 2007 Dana Corp. decision, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) noted the existence and legality of voluntary recognition: “We do not question the legality of voluntary recognition agreements based on a union’s showing of majority support. Voluntary recognition itself predates the National Labor Relations Act and is undisputedly lawful under it.” In the decision, the board later observed that when an employer voluntarily recognizes a union, “[t]he employer’s obligation to bargain with the union attaches immediately. For instance … the union can begin its representation of employees, its processing of their grievances, and its bargaining with the employer for a first contract.” In addition, the dissent in Dana stated that “it is beyond dispute that an employer may voluntarily recognize a union that has demonstrated majority support by means other than an election, including — as in the present cases — authorization cards signed by a majority of the unit employees.”

Media outlets have repeatedly forwarded the same false suggestion in articles about the EFCA.

From the March 10 Wall Street Journal article:

The battle over the “Employee Free Choice Act” — expected to be introduced Tuesday — is seen as a power struggle among labor unions and businesses, as well as a test of whether moderate Democrats and Republicans will push back on Democratic congressional leaders and the Obama administration.

[…]

Sen. [Blanche] Lincoln [AR] is one of several moderate Democrats expressing doubts about the Employee Free Choice Act. The bill would allow unions to organize workers without a secret ballot, giving employees the power to organize by simply signing cards agreeing to join. A second provision would give federal arbitrators power to impose contract terms on companies that fail to reach negotiated agreements with unions. Both provisions are strongly opposed by business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.


Agree with Obama or You’re an ‘Ideologue’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 11th, 2009 4:39 am by HL

Agree with Obama or You’re an ‘Ideologue’
In America, 2009, things happen that you once wouldn’t have thought would happen, such as deference toward human life smacked down as outworn ideology. By the President of the United States, no less. So it goes in the Age of Obama. “Promoting science,” said our new chief executive, in overturning a George W. Bush executive order limiting stem cell research on embryos, is “about letting scientists … do their jobs, free from manipulation or coercion … It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda — and that we would make scientific decisions based on facts, not ldeology.” The “ideology” of human life — life as good, valuable, worthy of protection from unprovoked violence — underlay the Bush policy of ruling out experimentation on new embryos to find, supposedly, new ways of combating diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and other physical disorders.

The Politics of Stem Cells
With a stroke of a pen, President Obama has reversed former President Bush’s ban on taxpayer financing of embryonic stem cell research. (In a display of indifference or cowardice, he’s announced he’s leaving it to Congress to decide whether and how to further lift restrictions on human cloning.) But “embryonic stem cell research”? Now there’s a mouthful. What does that mean?


McGraw-Hill Tells Kids: “Good Intentions Caused The Financial Crisis”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 11th, 2009 4:38 am by HL

McGraw-Hill Tells Kids: “Good Intentions Caused The Financial Crisis”
Looks like someone’s been reading a few too many of those Republican talking points on the financial crisis. You may not have been aware of this, but apparently “good intentions caused the financial crisis.” That’s the headline of a helpful…

All The Kwame Sex Texts You Can Handle!
Those steamy texts, exchanged by former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his girlfriend Christine Beatty, have been released, as prosecutors develop possible perjury cases against the two. You can pore over them here. And since there are 6000 of them…






You’re Dead Right!

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 11th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

You’re Dead Right!


Pelosi Says Second Stimulus Plan May Be Needed

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 11th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

Pelosi Says Second Stimulus Plan May Be Needed
CQ Poltiics: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi opened the door to the possibility of another stimulus plan — or bank rescue — following a Tuesday meeting with dozens of Democratic members that was attended by a panel of four prominent economists.”

One reason: House Democrats fear the recovery may take too long.


"Gay for Rachel Maddow": What a Hot, Smart, Lesbian Pundit Means for an Uneasy America

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 11th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

"Gay for Rachel Maddow": What a Hot, Smart, Lesbian Pundit Means for an Uneasy America
Cable news isn’t the most female-friendly or queer-friendly place. As a whole, it is Middle America; Maddow is more Middlesex.

Are We Breeding Ourselves to Extinction?
Cutting back on fossil fuels, shutting down our coal plants, and building seas of wind turbines, will be useless unless we nip population growth.

Dems Introduce Vital Protections for Workers; Corporate America Responds With a Big Lie
There is nothing more terrifying to corporate America than the prospect of dealing with its workforce on an even playing field.


President Obama’s Implied Future For Derivatives

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 11th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

President Obama’s Implied Future For Derivatives
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How Up from History Is Different
I’d like to share my understanding of what is different about Up from History. As I see it, Norrell responds to two major problems with historians’ treatment of Booker T. Washington. One is the fact that historians such as…





Some War! Hamas More Popular Than Ever
I was opposed to the Gaza war from the beginning. I didn’t think it would accomplish anything (other than mass suffering) and it hasn’t. Now a new poll shows that Hamas is more popular in Gaza than ever. What was…


Leaked slides show Obama EPA is fast-tracking global warming endangerment finding.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 11th, 2009 4:32 am by HL

Leaked slides show Obama EPA is fast-tracking global warming endangerment finding.
In April 2007, the Supreme Court mandated that the EPA determine whether greenhouse gases pose a threat to public health and welfare and take action in response. After more than a year of resistance, the EPA released a document of staff findings, which was then quickly attacked by White House political appointees. They also […]

climateslide1.gif In April 2007, the Supreme Court mandated that the EPA determine whether greenhouse gases pose a threat to public health and welfare and take action in response. After more than a year of resistance, the EPA released a document of staff findings, which was then quickly attacked by White House political appointees. They also resisted finalizing taking any actions. Today, Greenwire (sub. req’d) published an internal EPA presentation showing that the Obama administration is “fast-tracking” its response to the 2007 ruling, with plans to release its findings in mid-April:

To expand to public health, EPA plans to make connections between climate change and everything from temperatures to air quality and expanded ranges of vector-borne and tick-borne diseases.

The EPA document said dealing with public health and welfare had “solid legal defensibility.”

The Obama EPA’s analysis is significant; the Bush ruling ignored global warming’s effects on public health, focusing only on “welfare and the links between greenhouse gases and visibility, weather, crop damage and soil.” View the slide show here.

Moderate Democrats Look To Serve Their Special Interests And Thwart Obama?s Agenda
Last week, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) attempted to end debate on the $410 billion 2009 omnibus appropriations bill, he came “one vote short.” Tonight, he’ll try again. While several Republicans whom Reid had expected to side with him had defected, one vote against senator’s lack of support for ending debate was surprising: […]

menendez.jpgLast week, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) attempted to end debate on the $410 billion 2009 omnibus appropriations bill, he came “one vote short.” Tonight, he’ll try again. While several Republicans whom Reid had expected to side with him had defected, one vote against senator’s lack of support for ending debate was surprising: Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ).

Menendez voted signaled his intention to vote against ending debate “in protest of a little-noticed Cuba provision that would ease U.S. rules on travel and imports to the communist-led island.” While Menendez claimed that including the Cuba provision in the omnibus was controversial, a majority of even Cuban Americans in Florida now support easing the embargo on Cuba. The effect of Menendez’s vote to keep debate open on the bill has been to increase the amount of time that Republicans have had to try to water down the legislation and delay work on other critical legislation. Still, Reid is likely to pass the legislation today with the Cuba provision intact.

In casting his protest vote, Menendez joined the ranks of a growing number of moderate Democrats who are withholding critical support for legislation in an attempt to force their Democratic colleagues into making narrow and often unpopular changes to important pieces of legislation. Other members include:

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND): Opposed to “stopping direct payments to farms with annual sales of more than $500,000″ despite the fact that ending such payments are projected to save “$10 billion over 10 years” and the program — which began in 1996 — was originally “dubbed ‘transitional’ and [was] supposed to decline over seven years.”

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE): Along with Menendez, Nelson opposed the Cuba provision in the omnibus. He also opposes the Employee Free Choice Act. Additionally, Nelson opposes a provision in Obama’s 2010 budget proposal that would overhaul the federal student aid program to ensure that Pell grants increase each year to keep pace with college tuition increases. Nelson opposes the measure, in short, because it could possibly harm a private student lending firm that operates in his state.

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR): Lincoln is “[t]rying to have it both ways” on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) by refusing to say whether she’ll support the measure. As Arkansas News columnist John Brummett explained recently, Lincoln has an upcoming fundraiser which is expected to be heavily attended by the business community who appreciate her “generally pro-business voting record.” At the same time, however, Vice President Joe Biden — who supports EFCA — will headline at her fundraiser. As such and at the expense of the EFCA campaign, Lincoln appears to be remaining intentionally vague on EFCA in order to more easily fill her campaign coffers.

These Senators are enhancing the Republicans’ ability to “delay and obstruct,” with little to no positive benefits. Indeed, the fact that Reid will likely pass the omnibus package today with the Cuba provision intact should demonstrate that the Menendez delay tactic is not productive.

Update ThinkProgress originally reported that Menendez voted against a cloture motion offered by Reid last Thursday. Menendez’s office contacted us and explained that Menendez never actually voted on the cloture motion. In reality, as the Washington Post reported today, Menendez simply indicated on Thursday that he would not support a cloture motion should a vote have taken place. Today, Menendez announced his intention to support the bill. We regret the error.