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Archive for June 9th, 2009

Banks to Repay Bailout Funds

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2009 4:43 am by HL

Banks to Repay Bailout Funds

Some of the country’s major banks are prepared to pay back money they borrowed under the TARP program, but don’t get too excited. The initial repayment is expected to be a meager $50 billion, which Timothy Geithner wants to inject right back into other troubled banks.

On top of which, the repaying banks will probably continue to draw financing from the Federal Reserve.

Wall Street Journal:

The $50 billion of repayments is the latest sign of improvement in the banking sector. At the same time, many of the banks repaying their TARP funds are expected to continue using other government assistance programs, such as the Federal Reserve’s financing facilities.

[…] While some big banks will be allowed to repay, the Treasury doesn’t believe things have improved enough that the money won’t be needed elsewhere. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has said he plans to reuse returned TARP funds to assist other firms, including smaller banks, including those that have already received an initial TARP infusion.

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CIA urges judge to keep detainee papers secret

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

CIA urges judge to keep detainee papers secret
WASHINGTON — CIA Director Leon Panetta told a federal judge Monday that releasing documents about the agency’s terror interrogations would gravely damage national security. Panetta…

Republican Financial Regulation Alternative Reins In Federal Reserve
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Congressional Republicans are close to offering financial regulation reforms that would rein in the Federal Reserve and expand the bankruptcy code, according…

Charles J. Brown: Can We Make “Buying American” Cool Again?
In the department of “you’ve got to be freaking kidding me,” some on the (far) right are arguing that Americans should refuse to buy Chrysler…

Poll: Majority Of New Yorkers Say Bloomberg Doesn’t Deserve Another Term
Despite generally broad approval for the job Michael R. Bloomberg has done as mayor, a majority of New Yorkers say that he does not deserve…

Jerry Michael Blanchard Sentenced To Prison For Threatening To Shoot, Kill Obama Last Year
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina man has been sentenced to one year and one day in prison for threatening to shoot and kill Barack…


Fox’s Napolitano mischaracterized NASA report to deny humans cause global warming

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2009 4:41 am by HL

Fox’s Napolitano mischaracterized NASA report to deny humans cause global warming

On the June 5 edition of Fox News’ Glenn Beck, guest host and Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano mischaracterized a year-old NASA report on solar variability to deny that humans are causing global warming. Claiming that NASA “made a remarkable discovery,” Napolitano referred to a June 4 DailyTech article headlined, “NASA Study Acknowledges Solar Cycle, Not Man, Responsible for Past Warming,” and said: “So, basically — are you ready for this? — the sun heats the Earth.” However, as the DailyTech article itself acknowledged, in its May 7, 2008, report, NASA does not dispute that human activities are responsible for global warming. In fact, it said the opposite, noting that while “[t]he sun has powered almost everything on Earth since life began, including its climate,” greenhouse gases now have a “significant influence on Earth’s climate.”

The NASA report also stated that “Earth’s climate depends on the delicate balance between incoming solar radiation, outgoing thermal radiation and the composition of Earth’s atmosphere. Even small changes in these parameters can affect climate.” It then quoted Thomas Woods, a solar scientist at the University of Colorado-Boulder, saying that “[g]reenhouse gases block about 40 percent of outgoing thermal radiation that emanates from Earth.” The report continued: “The resulting imbalance between incoming solar radiation and outgoing thermal radiation will likely cause Earth to heat up over the next century, accelerating the melting polar ice caps, causing sea levels to rise and increasing the probability of more violent global weather patterns.”

The NASA report also quoted Robert Cahalan, a climatologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, as saying that “[f]or the last 20 to 30 years, we believe greenhouse gases have been the dominant influence on recent climate change,” and that “[t]he major change in Earth’s climate is now really dominated by human activity, which has never happened before.”

From NASA’s May 7, 2008, report:

The sun has powered almost everything on Earth since life began, including its climate. The sun also delivers an annual and seasonal impact, changing the character of each hemisphere as Earth’s orientation shifts through the year. Since the Industrial Revolution, however, new forces have begun to exert significant influence on Earth’s climate.

“For the last 20 to 30 years, we believe greenhouse gases have been the dominant influence on recent climate change,” said Robert Cahalan, climatologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

[…]

Over the past century, Earth’s average temperature has increased by approximately 0.6 degrees Celsius (1.1 degrees Fahrenheit). Solar heating accounts for about 0.15 C, or 25 percent, of this change, according to computer modeling results published by NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies researcher David Rind in 2004. Earth’s climate depends on the delicate balance between incoming solar radiation, outgoing thermal radiation and the composition of Earth’s atmosphere. Even small changes in these parameters can affect climate. Around 30 percent of the solar energy that strikes Earth is reflected back into space. Clouds, atmospheric aerosols, snow, ice, sand, ocean surface and even rooftops play a role in deflecting the incoming rays. The remaining 70 percent of solar energy is absorbed by land, ocean, and atmosphere.

“Greenhouse gases block about 40 percent of outgoing thermal radiation that emanates from Earth,” Woods said. The resulting imbalance between incoming solar radiation and outgoing thermal radiation will likely cause Earth to heat up over the next century, accelerating the melting polar ice caps, causing sea levels to rise and increasing the probability of more violent global weather patterns.

[…]

Before the Industrial Age, the sun and volcanic eruptions were the major influences on Earth’s climate change. Earth warmed and cooled in cycles. Major cool periods were ice ages, with the most recent ending about 11,000 years ago.

“Right now, we are in between major ice ages, in a period that has been called the Holocene,” said Cahalan. “Over recent decades, however, we have moved into a human-dominated climate that some have termed the Anthropocene. The major change in Earth’s climate is now really dominated by human activity, which has never happened before.”

The sun is relatively calm compared to other stars. “We don’t know what the sun is going to do a hundred years from now,” said Doug Rabin, a solar physicist at Goddard. “It could be considerably more active and therefore have more influence on Earth’s climate.”

Or, it could be calmer, creating a cooler climate on Earth similar to what happened in the late 17th century. Almost no sunspots were observed on the sun’s surface during the period from 1650 to 1715. This extended absence of solar activity may have been partly responsible for the Little Ice Age in Europe and may reflect cyclic or irregular changes in the sun’s output over hundreds of years. During this period, winters in Europe were longer and colder by about 1 C than they are today.

Since then, there seems to have been on average a slow increase in solar activity. Unless we find a way to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we put into the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning, the solar influence is not expected to dominate climate change. But the solar variations are expected to continue to modulate both warming and cooling trends at the level of 0.1 to 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.18 to 0.26 Fahrenheit) over many years.

The DailyTech article Napolitano cited reported that “[s]ome researchers believe that the solar cycle influences global climate changes. They attribute recent warming trends to cyclic variation. Skeptics, though, argue that there’s little hard evidence of a solar hand in recent climate changes.” The DailyTech article then asserted that “a new research report” from NASA “may help to lay this skepticism to rest,” reporting: “A study from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland looking at climate data over the past century has concluded that solar variation has made a significant impact on the Earth’s climate. The report concludes that evidence for climate changes based on solar radiation can be traced back as far as the Industrial Revolution.” The article linked to a ScienceDaily.com May 12, 2008, article adapted from the NASA report. The DailyTech article concluded:

While the NASA study acknowledged the sun’s influence on warming and cooling patterns, it then went badly off the tracks. Ignoring its own evidence, it returned to an argument that man had replaced the sun as the cause current warming patterns. Like many studies, this conclusion was based less on hard data and more on questionable correlations and inaccurate modeling techniques.

From the June 5 edition of Fox News’ Glenn Beck:

NAPOLITANO: Hello, America. This is tonight’s hot list. These are the stories that the mainstream media is not covering but should be, or they’re following, but they’re not doing a good job. You know how that works.

The Washington Times reports that, so far, there aren’t any states willing to house Gitmo detainees if the prison should close. President Obama intends to close the prison on January 2010. But even those who want to close Gitmo are basically saying not in my backyard.

NASA’s Goddard Space Center made a remarkable discovery. The headline from the DailyTech is — you’re not going to believe this — quote: “NASA acknowledges solar cycle, not man, responsible for global warming.”

So, basically — are you ready for this? — the sun heats the Earth. The real question is whether Al Gore’s NASA guy, Dr. James Hanson, will give up on trying to say “people heat the Earth” and “people cause global warming,” or if the man who produced the report will get fired for going against the green — I mean, against the grain.


Stevens Prosecutors Messed Up Other Alaska Corruption Cases

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2009 4:40 am by HL

Stevens Prosecutors Messed Up Other Alaska Corruption Cases
It looks like it wasn’t just the Ted Stevens case in which Justice Department prosecutors screwed up. Attorney General Eric Holder has found similar missteps in the convictions of two former Alaska state representatives, Victor Kohring and Peter Kott, and…

Ethics Committee Must Reveal Whether It’s Probing Lawmakers’ Ties To PMA
Drip, drip. We should soon know whether the House Ethics committee is probing any lawmakers’ ties to the now-defunct PMA lobbying group. The House has passed Rep. Steny Hoyer’s resolution to force the committee to disclose the issue, reports Roll…

Cunningham Crony Charged In $92 Million Mortgage Fraud
It looks like laundering bribes on behalf of Duke Cunningham may not have been the only shady activity that Thomas Kontogiannis had going on. The politically connected Greek real-estate developer — who’s already serving jail time for his role in…


Oil Crime at Our Expense

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

Oil Crime at Our Expense
Big Oil Subsidies Dodge the Ax Washington Independent, June 10, 2008 Hidden Oil Subsidies: We Need to End Them Big Oil Wants to Keep the Tax Subsidy Big Oil, Big Subsidies: Citizens For Tax Justice Says End Them Now Big oil made over $600 billion during Bush years, but invested bupkis in clean energy, Part 1 Climate Progress, May, 2009.


How a Former Prisoner Took Down a Big Shot from the Private Prison Industry (and Cheney Pal)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

How a Former Prisoner Took Down a Big Shot from the Private Prison Industry (and Cheney Pal)
Gus Puryear had his judicial nomination scuttled by a former prisoner turned criminal justice advocate.

Why Is the American Coal Foundation Setting the Curriculum at Elementary Schools?
Big Coal has worked its way into the classroom.

Let’s Get It Straight, Hank Paulsen Is a Prick Who Took Down the Economy
The Wall Street Journal lets a former Goldman Sachs employee write a power-worshipping ode to Bush's disastrous Treasury Secretary.

We’re Screwed on Everything From Health Care to the Economy If the Dems Don’t Shape Up
The Dems aid and protect their free-roaming entrepreneurial politicians and don't punish those who undermine the party's larger promises.

Republicans Misstep on Sotomayor Attacks: When did Newt and the Gang Become Experts on Race?
According to them, anyone who believes we have not achieved racial equality and work to level the playing field can be considered a racist.


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

Presented By:

Public Health Care Option
This is the objection the health insurance industry is putting forward in opposition to Obama’s plan to include a public plan option in the health care reform bill. But critics argue that with low administrative costs and no need to…

Censored by the Huffington Post and Imprisoned By The Past: Why I Made ‘Feeling the Hate in Jerusalem’
by Max Blumenthal On Wednesday, I walked around central Jerusalem with my friend, Joseph Dana, an Israel peace activist who has lived in the country for three years. We interviewed young people on camera about the speech President Barack Obama…


Limbaugh jokes: ?Would a white male judge have fractured his ankle? in the same way Sotomayor did?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

Limbaugh jokes: ?Would a white male judge have fractured his ankle? in the same way Sotomayor did?
Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor broke her right ankle today after stumbling at La Guardia airport in New York. According to a spokesperson, she was treated at George Washington University Hospital and released to attend “her full schedule of meetings on Capitol Hill this afternoon.” Conservative talker Rush Limbaugh couldn’t resist making a […]

Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor broke her right ankle today after stumbling at La Guardia airport in New York. According to a spokesperson, she was treated at George Washington University Hospital and released to attend “her full schedule of meetings on Capitol Hill this afternoon.” Conservative talker Rush Limbaugh couldn’t resist making a joke in response to the news of her injury. Noting the incident on his radio show today, Limbaugh wondered aloud whether a “white male” would have broken his ankle under similar circumstances:

LIMBAUGH: She fractured her ankle in an airport. She stumbled in the airport on her way to senate meetings. Now, the question is, would a white male judge have fractured his ankle in the same circumstances in the same airport on the way to Senate meetings?

Watch it:

Rush’s “joke” was an apparent reference to a comment Sotomayor made in a speech on diversity in 2001.

Supreme Court turns away constitutional challenge to Don?t Ask, Don?t Tell.
The Supreme Court announced today that it would not hear a constitutional challenge to the government’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, which bans gays from serving openly in the military. The case, Pietrangelo v. Gates, “stemmed from a lawsuit by 12 former service members who were discharged” under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. A “federal appeals […]

dadt_protestThe Supreme Court announced today that it would not hear a constitutional challenge to the government’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, which bans gays from serving openly in the military. The case, Pietrangelo v. Gates, “stemmed from a lawsuit by 12 former service members who were discharged” under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. A “federal appeals court in Boston threw out the suit,” but James E. Pietrangelo II, one of the 12 who filed the suit, “asked the Supreme Court to hear arguments in the case. Most of the rest of the group joined a brief asking the justices to defer reviewing the policy while the administration and lawmakers revisit it.” Reacting to the decision, Joe Sudbay at AmericaBlog writes, “It’s time for Obama to step up.” Yglesias adds, “if you’re upset about the status quo, don’t just get upset at the White House, get upset at your House member and your Senators too. Given an adequate volume of complaining, people will do the right thing here, but it’s obvious that there’s a kind of vague preference to just let this slide.”


Despite Questions About Her Appearance, Palin Welcomed at GOP Dinner

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2009 4:32 am by HL

Despite Questions About Her Appearance, Palin Welcomed at GOP Dinner
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was warmly welcomed Monday night to a major GOP fundraiser dinner, a development that was surprising only because her appearance came after a bizarre, weeks-long saga that had party leaders questioning whether she would show up.

On the Cusp of a Historic Majority, Senate Democrats Are Missing Two Â?Pillars’
The weeks ahead were supposed to mark the moment in which President Obama used a filibuster-proof, 60-vote majority to push some of the most ambitious items on his agenda through the Senate, brushing aside GOP opposition as little more than a distraction.


Supreme Court Delays Chrysler’s Swift Sale
The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday held up the sale of Chrysler’s assets to Italian automaker Fiat, at least temporarily interrupting the Obama administration’s massive and speedy restructuring of the U.S. auto industry.

Campaign Contributions Can Lead to Judicial Bias, Supreme Court Rules
The Supreme Court yesterday ruled for the first time that excessive campaign contributions to a judge create an unconstitutional threat to a fair trial, a decision that could have a nationwide impact on whether judges must recuse themselves in cases involving their political benefactors.


The Left Gets Mauled in European Elections

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 9th, 2009 4:29 am by HL

The Left Gets Mauled in European Elections

Mideast History: Obama Needs to Brush Up
Michael Barone, DC Examiner

Obama’s Health Cost Illusion

Obama Has Best Press Operation in History
Michael Wolff, Vanity Fair

Conservatives Fighting for Rights…of White Men
Gary Younge, Guardian