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Archive for July 11th, 2014

Detroit TV Reporter in Hot Water on MSNBC

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 11th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Detroit TV Reporter in Hot Water on MSNBC
A Detroit activist and a TV reporter got into a shouting match on MSNBC Tuesday as they discussed how thousands of the city’s residents have been left with no water. In March, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department announced plans to stop water service for customers who were behind on their bills; since then, it has shut off water for more than 12,000 people, according to The New York Times. Addressing claims by Hank Winchester, a reporter for Detroit’s WDIV, Maureen Taylor of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization said, “”Let me say shame on Hank, shame on him for putting that lie and that mess and that disinformation out on the air. To suggest that people don’t want to pay for a water bill is scandalous,” Taylor said.

Want Sentencing Reform? Throw Republicans in Jail
A former Republican member of Congress is ready to join the fight for sentencing reform and rolling back harsh mandatory minimums for drug crimes. Former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.), 72, is now a free man after a federal judge ended his supervised release early following seven years in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons on corruption charges. “Unfortunately, some of my Democrat colleagues were right and I was wrong on some issues as far as criminal justice,” Cunningham said, specifically regretting votes for mandatory minimums for drug crimes that take discretion away from federal judges and give federal prosecutors a tremendous amount of leverage over defendants.


Martin takes 3-shot lead in Women’s British Open

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 11th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Martin takes 3-shot lead in Women’s British Open
SOUTHPORT, England (AP) — American Mo Martin had a plan to play Royal Birkdale. It has worked better than she imagined at the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

CNN’s S.E. Cupp in Talks to Co-Host ‘The View’
The CNN ‘Crossfire’ host joins fellow conservatives Abby Huntsman and Meghan McCain in negotiations to join the ABC talk show.

Lawmakers seek lower price for bill on vets’ care
WASHINGTON (AP) — Stung by sticker shock, members of Congress are scrambling to lower the cost of a bill to fix veterans’ health care amid a growing uproar over long waits for appointments and falsification of records to cover up the delays at Veterans Affairs hospitals.


Congress grills officials over controversial embassy designs

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 11th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Congress grills officials over controversial embassy designs
Lawmakers from both parties openly skeptical of project to replace run-down embassies with better-looking buildings

John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi hail bipartisan jobs bill
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., praise the bipartisan passage of a bill reforming job training programs.

W.H.: LeBron James’ return to Cleveland a “powerful statement”
White House spokesman Josh Earnest says NBA star LeBron James’ decision to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers says a lot about his commitment to his home and his family.


Right-Wing Media’s Fan Fiction On Hobby Lobby And The War On Women

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 11th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Right-Wing Media’s Fan Fiction On Hobby Lobby And The War On Women

War on Women

Right-wing media capitalized on the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling with the refrain that the so-called ‘war on women’ is nonexistent, a bizarre take on a decision that relied on conservative talking points to deal a devastating blow to women’s rights and health access.

Last month the Supreme Court ruled that “closely held” for-profit secular corporations like Hobby Lobby are exempt from the so-called contraception mandate, a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires employer-sponsored health insurance to cover comprehensive preventive health care including birth control. Right-wing media cheered the decision — made by a conservative all-male majority relying on right-wing media myths in the opinion — by mocking the notion that it limited women’s access to health care or evidenced a larger war on women.

Bill O’Reilly argued that Hobby Lobby exemplifies how the war on women narrative is being falsely sold by liberals by citing the fact that his two female guests, both Fox News figures, disapprove of “paying for other people’s birth control” and haven’t themselves experienced “gender bigotry.”

Similarly, Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum predicted Democrats will use the decision to campaign on the “so-called war on women” with the “message that something’s been taken away” from women. MacCallum deemed the notion “hard to understand” because, according to her, women still “have the freedom to get whatever kind of birth control they want to get,” either from Hobby Lobby’s health coverage or “free from Planned Parenthood.”  

Other Fox figures laughed at the idea of Hobby Lobby‘s connection to a war on women by comparing the term to the “Rocky Movie Franchise” which “just sort of keeps on going with different evolutions,” and by describing it as a fabricated Democratic campaign strategy.

The war on women, a term coined by advocacy groups, describes the barrage of attacks from “far-right national and state lawmakers, in coordination with Religious Right activists” on “not just abortion rights, but also access to birth control and preventative care, as well as contemporary views of women’s roles in the workplace, the family and the halls of power,” as People for the American Way explained.    


An Overriding Need for Reform Now

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 11th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

An Overriding Need for Reform Now
Eugene Robinson, RealClearPolitics
WASHINGTON — There’s no objective need for President Obama to visit the Texas-Mexico border and see the immigration crisis first-hand, but he shouldn’t have claimed that “I’m not interested in photo ops.” The line about photo ops was so absurd that it’s a good thing he wasn’t under oath. Every president since Abraham Lincoln has been interested in photo ops. Posing for the cameras amid artfully chosen people and props is something presidents do every day. Obama is very good at it, and there are times when he actually gives the impression that he enjoys it. Not all photo ops are created…

Looking Off-Key on Tour, Obama Changes Tune in Texas
Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics
His rhetoric was mocking all day long. But by Wednesday evening in Dallas, President Obama donned a gray suit jacket, stepped to a presidential lectern, and asked GOP lawmakers in a subdued voice for help. “This isn’t theater,” the president told a pool of reporters before flying to Austin for another in a series of Democratic fundraisers. “I’m not interested in photo ops. I’m interested in solving a problem.” A presidential visit to the border, urged by pundits of both parties as well as Republican critics including Gov. Rick Perry, would have served…


PM’s reshuffle ‘secrets’ overheard

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 11th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

PM’s reshuffle ‘secrets’ overheard
A women says she overhead details of a planned cabinet reshuffle on a train, the BBC’s Peter Henley reports.

VIDEO: Famous faces on referendum campaign
Some famous faces speak up for the side they support in the Scottish independence campaign ahead of the 18 September vote


In Gaza, Airstrikes and Economic Stress Make for an Anxious Ramadan

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 11th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

In Gaza, Airstrikes and Economic Stress Make for an Anxious Ramadan
The conflict aside, the new military-dominated government of Egypt has largely shut the tunnel system that fed the Gazan economy, making this holy month a difficult one.



Gray Matter: Measuring Ramadan
Long days of fasting may make Muslims poorer, but happier.

World Briefing: India: Arrests in a Retaliatory Rape Case
A 14-year-old girl was raped on the orders of a village council in retaliation for a sexual assault said to have been carried out by her brother, her family and the police said.




Global Solar Module Prices Just Reached A Record Low

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 11th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Global Solar Module Prices Just Reached A Record Low

Spot prices for solar modules around the world hit 63 cents per watt in 2014’s second quarter.

The post Global Solar Module Prices Just Reached A Record Low appeared first on ThinkProgress.

solar-panel-module-installation-roof-worker

CREDIT: Shutterstock

Spot prices for solar modules around the world hit 63 cents per watt in 2014′s second quarter — an all-time low.

Spot prices are the cost of any good or service at any given time and place. (In this case, the aggregate world spot price in Q2.) The numbers come via the research arm of GreenTech Media, and while spot prices can’t encompass all market trends — a majority of solar modules are bought and sold via bilateral contracts rather than immediate market transactions — they do fall in with the ongoing collapse of solar module prices over the last few decades.

The modules are a packaged collection of solar cells, and the basic unit out of which any solar photovoltaic array is constructed. GreenTech Media attributes the new low for spot prices to several factors. First, the price of the wafers and solar cells that make up the modules dropped from 2014′s first quarter, thanks especially to an unusually large fall in the price of their building materials — mainly polysilicon. There was also a slight drop in module price for the some of the traditionally more expensive markets, such as Japan’s utility-scale sector. And finally, demand for modules in major markets like China dipped a bit, while sales in the lower-priced regions like Latin America increased.

The overall result was a dip in the spot price from a 70-cents-per-watt high about this time last year:

global_module_spot_price_2014

CREDIT: GreenTech Media Research

“The fall in spot price in the first half of 2014 is not like previous years,” said GreenTech Media Solar Analyst Jade Jones. That was when a glut of supply produced more modules than the global markets were demanding. This time “high [average selling price] regions (U.S., U.K. and Japan) provided steady demand. The downward trend in prices is likely reflective of seasonally weak prices in low [average selling price] regions (China), large volumes of lower-priced, off-spec modules (i.e., modules with lower wattages than the industry standards), and lower-tier suppliers in regions such as Malaysia and Vietnam offering aggressive prices to gain market traction.”

The trend can also be seen in America specifically, where solar installations continue a brisk rise. The manufacturing costs of solar panels in the U.S. have arguably dropped 60 to 70 percent in recent years, and installation costs are dropping alongside them. In fact, the price of solar has gotten so low it’s beginning to outbid traditional fossil fuels in utility deals that are required to seek the least expensive option under federal law.

Internationally, the dropping cost of the modules is translating into lower costs fore the electricity generated by solar power. It’s already pulled even with the price of conventional electricity in Italy and Germany, and the economics of solar are now good enough that China’s gearing up for a truly massive 1,000 megawatt solar plant complex in the desert.

GreenTech media did warn that some of the trends that led to the latest spot price drop may be ephemeral. The cost of materials like polysilicon and silver are expected to rise back up later this year, which will force major manufacturers to find other ways to keep cutting costs. Firms in China, for example, got to the current low by relying on technological advancements and economies of scale along with the drop in polysilicon expenses.

“A popular strategy in recent times is the adoption of increased manufacturing automation in China due to steeply rising labor rates,” said Shyam Mehta, GreenTech Media Research’s Lead Upstream Solar Analyst. “Particularly in the areas of cell inspection, testing, stringing and tabbing, where using machines in place of human beings not only saves labor costs but can also drive improved manufacturing yields and more consistent product quality.”

The post Global Solar Module Prices Just Reached A Record Low appeared first on ThinkProgress.


No Water For Motown: Why Detroit Is Denying Its Citizens This Basic Human Right

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 11th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

No Water For Motown: Why Detroit Is Denying Its Citizens This Basic Human Right
From: Katrina vanden Heuvel

The Detroit Water and Sewage Department plans to shut off water for delinquent customers at a rate of 1,500 to 3,000 this summer. 

Sherwood Anderson Has Some Notes on Ohio to Share with LeBron James
From: Back Issues

“Have you a city that smells worse than Akron?”

Against Austerity in Detroit: ‘Water Is a Human Right’
From: John Nichols

Citizens organize to block water shutoffs as the UN Special Rapporteur says ”when there is genuine inability to pay, human rights simply forbids disconnections.”

The 12 Scariest Findings in the New Report on the Bundy Ranch Standoff
From: George Zornick

A growing antigovernment movement has drawn a dangerous lesson from the standoff. 

Did Child Labor Build Your Smart Phone?
From: Michelle Chen

A watchdog group has uncovered numerous labor violations at a Samsung supplier in southern China—including underage workers.


How About Some Solutions, Republicans?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 11th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

How About Some Solutions, Republicans?
Danny Vinik, The New Republic
The humanitarian and immigration crisis unfolding at the southern border of the United States isn’t just one of the most difficult issues that President Barack Obama has faced during his presidency. It’s one of the most difficult issues the country has faced. And yet, instead of proposing realistic solutions to the crisis (“Deport them immediately!” being unrealistic, both legally and practically), Republicans have spent the past month using it to score political points, disingenuously calling it “Obama’s Katrina” and complaining that the president didn’t visit the border while fundraising in…

Is New IRS Email a Smoking Gun?

What’s Behind Boehner’s Nutty Lawsuit
Paul Begala, CNN
House Speaker John Boehner’s threatened lawsuit against President Obama has elicited scorn from the right and blistering attacks from the left. So why is Boehner pursuing it? Perhaps because he thinks he just might win in the end.

Paul Krugman Is Dumber Than We Thought
Rich Karlgaard, Forbes
Krugman says the rich sock their money in low-yield bonds. But he fails to consider the obvious. Stocks have almost tripled since March 2009. Urban real estate is in a boom. Art is in a boom. If you believe Krugman, it must be the poor folks who are feeding these asset bubbles. Because the rich, Krugman says, are stuck in low-yield bonds.