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Archive for October 29th, 2011

Late Late Night FDL: Fears of Zero

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 29th, 2011 4:42 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Fears of Zero
Zero MostelFears of Zero, from episode 202 of The Muppet Show.

Zero MostelFears of Zero, from episode 202 of The Muppet Show.

Grab your popcorn, put your feet up on the coffee table, and try to keep the spitballs off the screen please. This is Late Late Night FireDogLake, where off topic is the topic … so dive in. What’s on your mind?


Wall Street: You’ve Got Hate Mail

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 29th, 2011 4:41 am by HL

Wall Street: You’ve Got Hate Mail
Some 400 Occupy Wall Street protesters got into costume Friday, but the occasion wasn’t an early observance of the beloved pagan-inspired holiday that is Halloween. Rather, the messengers from among OWS ranks paid visits to big bank headquarters in Manhattan to deliver mail from thousands of Americans who claim to have been negatively impacted by the financial shenanigans that contributed to the Great Recession. AP via CBS News: One group of protesters headed down a Fifth Avenue sidewalk, chanting, “You’ve got mail! You’ve got mail!” About 50 police officers accompanied them, on foot and in vehicles. The marchers stopped at a Citigroup office on Park Avenue. A building employee accepted a few letters but declined the rest. So the marchers folded them into paper airplanes and tossed them at a Citibank sign out front. One message, from LaShuna Garcia, in the Tucson, Ariz., area, told how her parents lost their jobs through downsizing and budget cuts. “Savings are difficult to accrue when the ends don’t even come close to meeting,” Garcia’s letter said. “Please help keep the American people alive.” Jeremy Wattles, in the Geneva, N.Y., area, wrote that he was concerned about a U.S. Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing the free speech rights of corporations, which many protesters say has encouraged corporate campaign donations. Read more

Some 400 Occupy Wall Street protesters got into costume Friday, but the occasion wasn’t an early observance of the beloved pagan-inspired holiday that is Halloween. Rather, the messengers from among OWS ranks paid visits to big bank headquarters in Manhattan to deliver mail from thousands of Americans who claim to have been negatively impacted by the financial shenanigans that contributed to the Great Recession.

AP via CBS News:

One group of protesters headed down a Fifth Avenue sidewalk, chanting, “You’ve got mail! You’ve got mail!” About 50 police officers accompanied them, on foot and in vehicles.

The marchers stopped at a Citigroup office on Park Avenue. A building employee accepted a few letters but declined the rest. So the marchers folded them into paper airplanes and tossed them at a Citibank sign out front.

One message, from LaShuna Garcia, in the Tucson, Ariz., area, told how her parents lost their jobs through downsizing and budget cuts.

“Savings are difficult to accrue when the ends don’t even come close to meeting,” Garcia’s letter said. “Please help keep the American people alive.”

Jeremy Wattles, in the Geneva, N.Y., area, wrote that he was concerned about a U.S. Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing the free speech rights of corporations, which many protesters say has encouraged corporate campaign donations.

Read more

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The Great Depression Right Outside Our Doors
While Occupy Wall Street and similar movements around the country take aim at financial institutions and their political cronies for taking the country into recession, let’s not forget those at the very bottom who were victims of economic depression long before the current collapse.

By Bill Boyarsky

While Occupy Wall Street and similar movements around the country take aim at financial institutions and their political cronies for taking the country into recession, let’s not forget those at the very bottom who were victims of economic depression long before the current collapse.


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Robin Koerner: Tea Party, OWS & Blue Republicans: Is This Phase Change?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 29th, 2011 4:40 am by HL

Robin Koerner: Tea Party, OWS & Blue Republicans: Is This Phase Change?
I can think of numerous statements about which most original members of the Tea Party could agree with most of the OWSers — even if they don’t yet realize it.

Bill McKibben: #Surround the White House to Stop Keystone XL
Next Sunday we’ll be circling the White House with people — a kind of ring-around-Obama designed to remind him that he has serious support for blocking the Keystone Pipeline.

HUFFPOST HILL – K Street Building Progressive Movement
Jon Huntsman may not be very popular here in the States but his dad insists that, in China, he’s the big man on campus ……

Jack Abramoff, In New Book, Decries Endemic Corruption In Washington
WASHINGTON — Former superlobbyist and ex-con Jack Abramoff describes himself in his forthcoming book as a creature of a corrupted system. “I wasn’t the only…


Wash. Times ‘ Lambro Falsely Claims Obama “Failed Miserably” On Economy

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 29th, 2011 4:39 am by HL

Wash. Times ‘ Lambro Falsely Claims Obama “Failed Miserably” On Economy

In a Washington Times column, former Times chief political correspondent Donald Lambro claimed that President Obama “failed miserably” on the economy by thinking “he could spend his way out of the recession.” But independent economists agree that Obama’s economic recovery act significantly increased employment and GDP.

Lambro Claims Obama “Failed Miserably” To Improve Economy

Lambro: “Mr. Obama Wrongly Thought He Could Spend His Way Out Of The Recession.” In an October 27 Washington Times column, Lambro claimed that Obama tried to “spend his way out of the recession” but “failed miserably.” From The Washington Times:

The Obama administration will, no doubt, try to turn this 2.5 percent rate into “morning in America” campaign ads, but the long-term unemployed know the difference, and so do top economic analysts.

This is what passes for growth in the Age of Obama. This is about as good as it’s going to get in his presidency. The GDP rate “implies that the economy is growing only about as fast as it is capable of in the longer term,” writes Washington Post economics reporter Neil Irwin.

[…]

Mr. Obama wrongly thought he could spend his way out of the recession by doling out borrowed tax dollars on parts of the economy; i.e., public-sector jobs and infrastructure projects here and there. He failed miserably.

The formula for growth and jobs is to free the economy from oppressive taxation and regulation and unlock trillions of dollars in private risk capital that is the lifeblood of a prosperous nation. [The Washington Times, 10/27/11]

But Obama’s Recovery Act Boosted Both GDP And Employment

CBO: Economic Stimulus Increased Employment By Over 1 Million Jobs. An August 2011 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act “[l]owered the unemployment rate by between 0.5 percentage points and 1.6 percentage points” and that the recovery bill “[i]ncreased the number of people employed by between 1.0 million and 2.9 million” during the second quarter of 2011. [Congressional Budget Office, August 2011]

CBO: Economic Stimulus Raised GDP. The same CBO report estimated that the Recovery Act “raised real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by between 0.8 percent and 2.5 percent” in the second quarter of 2011. [Congressional Budget Office, August 2011]

Private Analysts Estimate Stimulus Increased GDP By 1.8 To 2.7 Percent. In its seventh quarterly report on ARRA, the president’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) estimated that the stimulus “has raised the level of GDP as of the first quarter of 2011, relative to what it otherwise would have been, by between 2.3 and 3.2 percent.” CEA also provided a chart showing that private analysts estimate that the stimulus boosted GDP between 1.8 and 2.7 percent:

CEA ARRA 1

[Council of Economic Advisers, 7/1/11]

Private Analysts Estimate Stimulus Increased Employment By 2.4 To 2.5 Million. In its report, the CEA provided the following chart showing that private forecasters estimate that as of the first quarter of 2011, the stimulus increased employment between 2.4 and 2.5 million:

ARRA 2

[Council of Economic Advisers, 7/1/11]


Amish Haircutting Mob Now Under Investigation By The FBI

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 29th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Amish Haircutting Mob Now Under Investigation By The FBI
Federal officials are investigating a wave of hair-cutting attacks by members of the Amish community in Ohio, CNN reports.


FBI Report Labels Insane Clown Posse Fans Potential Gang Threat
The FBI thinks that fans of the rap group Insane Clown Posse are a potential gang threat, Spencer Ackerman of Wired reports.

Accused Syrian Spy Says Feds Botched Interpretation, Used Google Translate
Federal authorities botched a translation of a conversation between accused Syrian spy Mohamad Anas Haitham Soueid and his wife and even used Google Translate for some interpretations, his lawyers aid in a court filing.



Mitt Romney’s Lie Detector Test

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 29th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Mitt Romney’s Lie Detector Test


Illusionary peace negotiations can only lead to a hallucinated peace

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 29th, 2011 4:35 am by HL

Illusionary peace negotiations can only lead to a hallucinated peace
The world seems to be in deep, collective amnesia. We have been here before–at a point where half-baked initiatives and distorted negotiations based on the power imbalance on the ground and non-compliant with international law were touted as “the right…

Are Male Baby Boomers Doomed To Become Lonely Seniors?
It’s not just the young in the Occupy Movement who fear for their futures. Many older people, who are marching with them, dread retirement, even if they hate their jobs. They fear social isolation, the loss of friends they…

In Romney’s World, the Sky Is Falling
The United States government is spending more for military purposes than at any time since World War II. President Obama’s current proposal to scale back the Pentagon’s spending plans by $350 to $400 billion is not a “cut.” It…


Mitt Romney IS a Member of a Cult: Likely GOP Nominee Asserts, ?We Don’t Know What’s Causing Climate Change?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 29th, 2011 4:34 am by HL

Mitt Romney IS a Member of a Cult: Likely GOP Nominee Asserts, ?We Don’t Know What’s Causing Climate Change?
The likely GOP nominee for President is Mitt Romney (going by Intrade Prediction Market).  And he is a member of a cult. No, Mormonism isn’t a cult. But Global Warming Denial is. And Romney swore allegiance to that cult this week: My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. […]

The likely GOP nominee for President is Mitt Romney (going by Intrade Prediction Market).  And he is a member of a cult.

No, Mormonism isn’t a cult. But Global Warming Denial is.

And Romney swore allegiance to that cult this week:

My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.

As TP Green reports:

“I think the EPA, acting in concert with the president, really doesn’t like oil, gas, coal, and nuclear,” Romney said in response to another question. “I really do believe that the EPA wants to get its hands on all of energy and be able to crush it to cause prices to go through the roof.” To applause, he concluded that “the EPA should not be regulating carbon dioxide.”

If it weren’t obvious before that global warming denial is a cult — and a dangerous one at that — the response of the cultists to the Berkeley study has  demonstrated it once and for all — see WashPost: “The Scientific Finding that Settles the Climate-Change Debate” and “Confirms” the Hockey Stick Graph.

Back in June, Climate Progress reported that Mitt Romney said:

I don’t speak for the scientific community, of course, but I believe the world’s getting warmer. I can’t prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that….  And so I think it’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and the global warming that you’re seeing.

Needless to say, flip flops are not unusual where Romney is concerned.  But it’s a mark of cults that those who hang around other members — such as his fellow GOP nominees and the Tea Party activists taking over the party — become more and more indoctrinated.

As HuffPost notes, “Romney’s climate denial puts him in line with most every other contender in the Republican presidential field”:

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE OR COMMENT

Herman Cain has called the very premise of climate change “a scam,” while former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) has referred to it as nothing more than a “trend,” accusing the left of “taking advantage” of it by creating “a beautifully concocted scheme because they know that the earth is gonna cool and warm.”

Back in 2009, meanwhile, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) argued on the House floor that the very concept of global warming is faulty because “carbon dioxide is a natural byproduct of nature!”

In an August stump speech, Texas Gov. Rick Perry took the skepticism about climate change one step further, telling a New Hampshire business crowd that scientists have cooked up the data on global warming for the cash.

“We’re seeing weekly, or even daily, scientists who are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what’s causing the climate to change,” Perry said at the time. “Yes, our climates change. They’ve been changing ever since the earth was formed.”

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has become increasingly skeptical of climate change, calling it “the greatest hoax I think that has been around for many, many years, if not hundreds of years,” in a 2009 interview with Fox News.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) appeared alongside former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a 2008 ad that urged the country to address climate change, but has since switched to denial.

Sadly this is not a small cult.  One GOP “contender”  has tried to leave the cult:

His national poll numbers among Republican voters can now be counted on one finger.

It is a mark of cults that they label their former members crazy.

For those more reality minded, let’s review what we know — our ever-strengthening scientific understanding  — which includes the “settled fact” that the earth is warming.

The evidence that the world’s getting hotter from multiple independent lines of observation is so strong that back in 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded, “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal” — and that word was signed off on by every member government, including the Bush administration and China and Saudi Arabia.  The U.S. National Academy of Sciences concluded its 2010 review of climate science, saying it is a “settled fact” that “the Earth system is warming.”  So we know it is warming.

As for the role of humans, the IPCC also concluded:

Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”

Last year, Time magazine reported on a comprehensive new review paper of “100 peer-reviewed post-IPCC studies” in an article titled, “Report: The Case for Global Warming Stronger Than Ever” noting:

By looking at a wide range of observations from all over the world,  the Met Office study concludes that the fingerprint of human influence on climate is stronger than ever. “We can say with a very high significance level that the effects we see in the climate cannot be attributed to any other forcings [factors that push the climate in one direction or another],” says study co-author Gabriele Hegerl of the University of Edinburgh.

Indeed, many if not most climate scientists would go as far or farther.  NASA scientist Gavin Schmidt was asked on RealClimate:  “What percentage of global warming is due to human causes vs. natural causes?”  His answer is straightforward:

Over the last 40 or so years, natural drivers would have caused cooling, and so the warming there has been is caused by a combination of human drivers and some degree of internal variability. I would judge the maximum amplitude of the internal variability to be roughly 0.1 deg C over that time period, and so given the warming of ~0.5 deg C, I’d say somewhere between 80 to 120% of the warming. Slightly larger range if you want a large range for the internal stuff.

Absent the increasing GHGs, we probably would have cooled, since

  1. We’ve had a couple of big volcanoes.
  2. We’re just coming off “the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century.”.
  3. The underlying long-term trend had been cooling (see Human-caused Arctic warming overtakes 2,000 years of natural cooling, “seminal” study finds, see figure below).

figure

The more important point is that the rapid increase in the human-driven component of the forcing are increasingly dwarfing the small, slow natural forcings, rendering them increasingly irrelevant (see “Humans boosting CO2 14,000 times faster than nature, overwhelming slow negative feedbacks“).  In the Anthropocene Epoch, humankind’s destiny is in its hands.

Consider two DotEarth posts on “Andrew A. Lacis, the  NASA climatologist  whose 2005 critique of the United Nations climate panel was  embraced by bloggers seeking to cast doubt on human-driven climate change” (Part I and Part II).

Lacis had commented on the Fourth Assessment, “There is no scientific merit to be found in the Executive Summary.”  The deniers got all hot cool and bothered, writing, “Remember, this guy is mainstream, not a sceptic.”  After pointing out the IPCC authors’ response, “Rejected. [Executive Summary] summarizes Ch 9, which is based on the peer reviewed literature,” WattsUpWithThat (aka cult central) wrote, “Simply astonishing. This is a consensus?”

Then Lacis explained exactly what he meant:

Human-induced warming of the climate system is established fact….

My earlier criticism had been that the IPCC AR4 report was equivocating in not stating clearly and forcefully enough that human-induced warming of the climate system is established fact, and not something to be labeled as “very likely” at the 90 percent probability level.

and

The bottom line is that CO2 is absolutely, positively, and without question, the single most important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. It acts very much like a control knob that determines the overall strength of the Earth’s greenhouse effect. Failure to control atmospheric CO2 is a bad way to run a business, and a surefire ticket to climatic disaster.

Doh! He thought the IPCC ‘consensus’ was some watered down, least-common denominator piece of wishy-washiness that understates our scientific understanding, which it is.

But the cultists aren’t interested in the science, of course.

Related Posts:

  • How carbon dioxide controls earth’s temperature;  NASA’s Lacis: “There is no viable alternative to counteract global warming except through direct human effort to reduce the atmospheric CO2 level.”
  • NASA:  “We conclude that global temperature continued to rise rapidly in the past decade” and “there has been no reduction in the global warming trend of 0.15-0.20°C/decade that began in the late 1970s.”


U.S. intel spending nears a high-water mark

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 29th, 2011 4:34 am by HL

U.S. intel spending nears a high-water mark

The decade-long splurge on intelligence spending in the United States appears to have hit its high-water mark.

The nation spent $54.6 billion on national spy agencies and programs in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, excluding spending on military intelligence programs, according to figures released by the nation’s intelligence director.

Read full article >>

Michelle Obama’s challenge: Stay popular while campaigning

As her husband’s reelection campaign amps up, Michelle Obama is in a perfect position to help, by cashing in on her broad popularity with the American public. But here’s the hitch: In order to remain popular, she can’t be seen as too political.

That’s the challenge the Obama campaign faces in deploying the first lady, who could well be the president’s best political asset.

Read full article >>

2012 redistricting update: Republicans and Democrats fighting to a draw in battle for new seats

Republicans and Democrats are still locked in a tight battle to create new congressional districts that they can win. But Republicans have used their control over the once-a-decade redistricting process in most key states to shore up many vulnerable incumbents.

The Post’s freshly updated Redistricting Scorecard shows that we now have a good idea about the amount of seats that could change hands in 27 of the 43 states that have to draw new maps (seven other states have just one congressional district and thus don’t have to draw new lines).

Read full article >>


GOP Wants to Deprive Poor & Middle Class

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 29th, 2011 4:31 am by HL

GOP Wants to Deprive Poor & Middle Class
Eugene Robinson, Wash Post
WASHINGTON — The hard-right conservatives who dominate the Republican Party claim to despise the redistribution of wealth, but secretly they love it — as long as the process involves depriving the poor and middle class to benefit the rich, not the other way around.That is precisely what has been happening, as a jaw-dropping new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office demonstrates. Three decades of trickle-down economic theory, see-no-evil deregulation and tax-cutting fervor have led to massive redistribution. Another word for what's been happening might be theft.The gist…

Racism Claim Won’t Silence Obama Critics
Nolan Finley, Detroit News
Being called a racist ought to bother me more than it does. But I guess it's like any other annoyance; after a while you get used to it.I hardly flinch when that or another adjective ending in “ist” is slapped in front of my name. As a conservative, it comes with the territory — detest the entitlement state, stand up for individual responsibility and merit, oppose the swelling of a wasteful and incompetent government, fight to keep the tax man from taking more from your wallet than he leaves behind, and obviously you are a racist. And a sexist, an elitist and likely a…

Perry and Cain Aren’t Closing the Sale
Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post
I’ve been making the case for some time that Herman Cain isn’t up to the task of being president and that Texas Gov. Rick Perry has a serious likability problem. The Post’s Dan Balz finds evidence that some voter agree. In observing an Ohio focus group, Dan writes:Part of this may be a huge gender gap. Women see Perry as the know-it all husband, the obnoxious neighbor or the vain boss. His uber-aggressive pose in the last debate might not have resonated so poorly with men, but women would see “jerk” in the personal attack on Mitt…

Ohio Measure Raises Dems’ 2012 Hopes
Michael Fletcher, Washington Post
A controversial law sharply curtailing collective-bargaining rights for Ohio’s public employees is sinking in the polls, raising Democratic hopes that the measure’s defeat could boost their prospects in the crucial swing state in 2012.The law’s diminishing poll numbers have coincided with a decline in the approval ratings of Republican Gov. John R. Kasich, the measure’s most visible proponent. The drop is coming as the law’s union-led opponents have waged an energetic campaign against a measure that they say represents an overreach by the…