In an unusually public dispute, about 70 environmental groups Wednesday scolded one of their larger brethren, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), for joining with a group of energy companies that support hydraulic fracturing. In a letter to EDF’s president, Fred Krupp, the groups said they were dismayed to see his group become a founding member earlier this year in the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD), along with Chevron and Shell oil companies, the Heinz Endowments, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and others. On its Web site, the group says it is an “unprecedented, collaborative effort of environmental organizations, philanthropic foundations, energy companies and other stakeholders committed to safe, environmentally responsible shale resource development.” continued
PHOENIX (Reuters) – Arizona lawman Joe Arpaio violated the constitutional rights of Latino drivers in his crackdown on illegal immigration, a federal judge found on Friday, and ordered him to stop using race as a factor in law enforcement decisions.
The ruling against the Maricopa County sheriff came in response to a class-action lawsuit brought by Hispanic drivers that tested whether police can target illegal immigrants without racially profiling U.S. citizens and legal residents of Hispanic origin.
U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow ruled that the sheriff’s policies violated the drivers’ constitutional rights and ordered Arpaio’s office to cease using race or ancestry as a grounds to stop, detain or hold occupants of vehicles – some of them in crime sweeps dubbed “saturation patrols.”
“The great weight of the evidence is that all types of saturation patrols at issue in this case incorporated race as a consideration into their operations,” Snow said in a written ruling.
He added that race had factored into which vehicles the deputies decided to stop, and into who they decided to investigate for immigration violations.
The lawsuit contended that Arpaio, who styles himself “America’s toughest sheriff,” and his officers violated the constitutional rights of both U.S. citizens and legal immigrants alike in their zeal to crack down on people they believe to be in the country illegally.
The ruling came days after a U.S. Senate panel approved a landmark comprehensive immigration legislation that would usher in the biggest changes in immigration policy in a generation if passed by Congress.
This interview was originally broadcast in 1998.
The mythology surrounding The Doors has centered largely on its lead singer, Jim Morrison, who died under mysterious circumstances in 1971. Morrison is still considered one of rock music’s tortured poets and sex gods, but instrumentally, The Doors’ distinctive sound was based on Ray Manzarek’s keyboard playing. His are the riffs made famous in such songs such as "Riders on the Storm," "Break on Through" and "People Are Strange."
If you have 20 minutes, listen to this 1998 interview with Ray Manzarek.
Take a good look. Here are two completely different looking graphs based on the same data. If you were an average American Joe, which would you say presents the Obama administration in a less positive light? Or, let’s say that you intentionally wanted to do that. Which looks worse? A downward trending graph or an upward trending graph? Well, the first graph would seem to suggest that federal spending went way up under Obama, which is sort of true. And the second graph suggests that the federal government ran out of money under Obama, which, again, is sort of true. Ah, but here’s the thing: what’s with the double arrow that extends between the words “President Obama takes office” and the graph? Do you see what’s going on there in both graphs? To the uncritical eye, it implies that the portion of the graph spanned by the double arrow applies to the term of President Obama. Sure, it’s probably just sloppy graphics, right? No, actually, it’s deliberately misleading.
I’m thinking that they must love Rick Ungar at the ultraconservative Forbes, because they control the editing. He makes an obvious, sound liberal observation, and they spend the rest of the week devising a million ways to elephant stomp it to death. Sort of how MSNBC has prostituted Michael Steele to their pseudoliberal agenda.
Here’s what the first and second graphs actually show: In the first graph, that the amount of money spent by the government compared to economic growth skyrocketed under President George W. Bush, but got better under President Obama. The second graph shows that the biggest federal surplus since 1956, left by outgoing President Bill Clinton, plummeted to its lowest point in almost sixty years under a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, a Republican-controlled U.S.Senate, and a Republican-controlled White House.
Published in Forbes on 2/27/2013
Bloomberg News is out with a new poll that reveals an amazing piece of data.
Here is the question that was asked in the survey-
“Let’s turn to the federal budget deficit. This is the amount the government spends that is more than the amount it takes in from taxes and other revenue. Is it your sense that this year the deficit is getting bigger or getting smaller, or is it staying about the same as last year?”
(a) Sixty-two percent of Americans believe the deficit is getting bigger this year,
(b) twenty-eight percent believe the deficit will remain about the same; and
(c) six percent believe the deficit will shrink
What is the right answer?
Welcome back to the dumb season. It’s debt-ceiling time again.
We’ve been at this two years now. It was back in 2011 when the Republican Party, seized by anti-government furor, first locked on the lifting of the federal debt ceiling – an utterly routine governmental mechanism that allows the Treasury to borrow to pay for spending already approved by the entire Congress, Republicans included – as a place to hold a showdown over . . . government spending. That first battle resulted in a “Mutually Assured Destruction”-type stalemate, in which both parties agreed that if they couldn’t reach a deal by New Year’s Day 2013, a series of brutal, automatic, across-the-board spending cuts would take effect. At the time, it seemed unthinkable Congress would let that happen. By the time we passed that date, the thing that seemed unthinkable was the idea that Congress would ever make a deal. The cuts took effect in March and we were headed for a full-on fiscal crash on May 19th, when fate intervened to stop this stupidest-in-history blue-red catfight in its tracks, if only temporarily.
In early May, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced that the federal government suddenly had enough cash on hand to stay afloat until “at least Labor Day.” We were saved by, of all things, a record quarterly profit from the notorious state-seized mortgage-finance company Fannie Mae, which is paying the state $59 billion, enough to keep us in the black through the summer.
But this reprieve is only for four months, and if anything, the latest stay of execution only underscores the utter randomness and imbecility of our political situation. If the one thing preventing Washington from seizing up in fatal gridlock for even a brief spell is a surprise burst of good fortune from a bailed-out financial zombie like Fannie Mae, we’re screwed. The only thing that will rescue us from having to go through this over and over again from now until the end of time is for our increasingly polarized Congress to come to some broad agreement on tax hikes and spending cuts – the kind of routine deal that now seems politically impossible.
That leaves us in a state of permanent paralysis that is at once more dangerous and even more stupid than the time the business of our entire nation ground to a halt over a blow job. Americans at least know what a blow job is, and they understood how the white stuff got on the dress.
But the national debt? Nobody understands it, and anyone who tells you he or she does is almost certainly lying. In fact the supreme irony of this endless controversy over spending and austerity is that it has pushed the Federal Reserve as well as major European and Asian central banks, especially recently, to bypass the ignorant arguing public and take dramatic interventionist action on their own, tinkering with the world money supply in ways that are highly experimental and have no parallel in modern times. By all rights, this should be stimulating a profound debate around the industrialized world about who controls the process of money creation and about the role of government/central banks in the economy, but here in the U.S., that is exactly the debate we’re mostly not having.
The debate we are having is childish, irrelevant and self-destructive, as has been proved by all the recent developments on the debt front, including:
I want to give the builder and creator of Free Blogger Alliance, Dennis P. McCann a shout out.
I landed an international boat brokerage firm as an advertiser on my website, Fisherynation.com.
Posting the new ads was a milestone moment of pride for me, because it took months to nail ‘em down.
There is a word press plugin that I use called Black Studio Tiny MCE Widget.It’s quirky, but I like it.
I loaded the ads into two separate widgets, but when I checked the main page to see the ads, the top ad was not aligned with a dip !
Being the Felix Unger type, I found this particular flaw unacceptable.
It was game on trying to fix it. I will mention I failed to fix it.
Trying to get feed back in word press forums can be frustrating, I tried just the same.
I broadcasted an SOS to Turkey.
Dennis fixed the issue in a snap. He is a word press genius, and besides fixing my alignment issue, the Free Blogger Alliance website is proof of that.
In both the 2008 and 2012 Elections, the American people voted overwhelmingly to send Barack Obama to the White House much to the chagrin of Fox News and Republicans. Since that first election, President Obama has made an effort to make life better for people across the country. And despite obstruction from the right and disappointment from the left, Obama has time and time again attempted to compromise with the GOP to no avail. Since Obama took office, a violent streak has taken over the GOP. Conservatives across the country have threatened liberals with gun violence, bloody coups, and all out war in an effort to force Democrats to do what Republicans want them to do. Members of the right-wing have fantasized about killing the President and Democrats in general. And Thursday was no different.
A Fox News host urged her viewers and listeners to physically harm anyone who voted for President Obama because she was upset that the Justice Department had investigated a Fox reporter, as reported in Raw Story.
Andrea Tantaros flipped out during her radio show and actually incited violence against Obama supporters.
“Fox said, we’re targets, clearly Media Matters and others have put us on a target list. And they said, ‘Oh, Fox is just crazy! They’re just paranoid!’ Really? Are we? This is what is happening to our press! This is Obama’s America! It’s like the Soviet Union. He said he would change the country. He said it. And a lot of people voted for him. And if you see any of those people today, do me a favor, punch them in the face.”
Tantaros later doubled down on her call for violence after a listener called in to tell her that her request isn’t such a good idea.
“To be clear, I didn’t say punch Obama in the face,” Tantaros told the caller. “You’re going to get me arrested with this type of government. If someone voted for him! If anyone that you know who voted for President Obama, smack ‘em down.”
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio plans to fly to space on Virgin Galactic’s new commercial spaceliner, along with the winning bidder in a charity auction at the Cannes film festival, according to news reports.
The chance to ride with DiCaprio sold for 1.2 million Euros ($1.5 million) at the amfAR Cinema Against AIDS charity Thursday night (May 23), according to the Hollywood Reporter. The prize was listed as a “once-in-a-lifetime trip to space with a mystery guest” in the auction booklet, and the mystery guest’s identity as DiCaprio was not announced until after the sale. The event took place at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc during the annual film festival on the French Riviera.
Regular tickets aboard Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo sell for $250,000, and already about 550 people have paid in part or in full, despite the fact that the vehicle hasn’t yet flown to space. The first manned flight to the edge of space is expected by the end of this year, though, and commercial passenger trips could begin in 2014, Virgin Galactic’s billionaire founder Sir Richard Branson has said. [Photos: Virgin Galactic's 1st SpaceShipTwo Powered Flight Test]
After months of reportedly going into hiding, the outspoken Tunisian feminist who sparked a trend of “topless jihad” has been found and arrested by Tunisian authorities earlier this week and may be charged for conducting “provocative acts.”
Amina Tyler, 19, was found in the midst of police scuffles with hardline Salafist group Ansar al-Shariah in the central Tunisian city of Kairouan on Sunday.
Tyler previously described herself as a member of the Ukrainian feminist group Femen, which uses nudity in protests.
Witnesses said she allegedly scrawled “Femen” on the wall near the main mosque and may have intended to hang a banner on the building before an angry crowd gathered and started shouting at her to leave, according to The Associated Press.
Video posted by the Tunisian online Nawaat news site shows Tyler, with dyed blonde hair, clutching a banner and being hustled away by police and put into a van as residents chased her.
A local resident shouts at the camera: “She is dishonoring us. We will protect our town, but a dirty girl like her shouldn’t come among us.”
Mohammed Ali Aroui, the spokesman for the Tunisian interior ministry, described her acts as provocative and said she was under investigation and may be charged for her behavior on Sunday. He added that he understood the angry reaction of local residents to her appearance.
The ministry had banned Ansar al-Shariah’s annual conference, citing it as a threat to security and public order, and sent 11,000 soldiers and police to prevent hardline Muslims, known as salafis, from entering Kairouan.
In March, Tyler posted pictures of her topless body with the phrase “my body is my own” scrawled on it, and she went into hiding after receiving death threats. Her family took her to stay with relatives outside the capital before she escaped and hid with friends.
By ERIK DE LA GARZA
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (CN) – ExxonMobil faces a federal class action for the March 29 rupture of a pipeline carrying tar sands oil that was “the worst oil spill in Arkansas history.” Load plaintiffs Kathryn Jane Roachell Chunn and Kimla Green sued ExxonMobil and three pipeline subsidiaries, the March 29 spill hurt property values of homeowners within 3,000 feet of the Pegasus Pipeline.
Both plaintiffs and their families live in Mayflower, pop. 2,200, about 24 miles north of Little Rock.
The pipeline was built in the 1940s and is buried 2 feet underground. It runs 850 miles through four states, taking crude oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
The class blames the spill on ExxonMobil’s decision in 2006 to reverse the direction of flow, followed by its decision in 2009 to increase capacity by 50 percent. The 30,000-barrels increased in the pipeline’s presumed capacity affected “the hydraulic and stress demands on the pipeline,” which deteriorated it, according to the complaint.
It states: “In 2006, in order to maximize profits, the defendants reversed the Pegasus Pipeline to increase the flow of crude oil southward from Canada to the Gulf Coast. The defendants desired to transport larger amounts of Canadian crude tar sands, which is more abrasive, to the Gulf Coast through the Pegasus Pipeline running through Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Texas. It is known in the industry that a change in the direction of oil flow in a pipeline can affect the hydraulic and stress demands on the pipeline and the abrasive quality of the hydrocarbon product can increase corrosion and deteriorate the quality of the pipe.
“The pipe was in a defective, unsafe condition and the defendants’ corporate profit-enhancing decision to run a higher volume and more abrasive crude hydrocarbon through the pipeline put further stress demands on the defective pipe.” (14)
The class claims that the pipeline “was and has not been properly and adequately inspected or maintained to ensure the safe transport of crude oil and/or tar sands through the entire route of the Pegasus Pipeline traversing through Arkansas.”
It claims ExxonMobil was aware of the problem but continued to use the pipe.
In an effort to combat and shed light on plagiarized copy in journalism, the Sunlight Foundation has partnered up with the U.K.-based Media Standards Trust to provide consumers with a website and downloadable browser plug-in that allows them to scan the news sites they frequent for instances of plagiarism in the articles they read.
In an online statement released Tuesday, the two organizations announced the launch of churnalism.sunlightfoundation.com and its newest addition: downloadable browser extensions that automatically search your articles for churnalism.
“Churnalism”, according to the original version of Churnalism.com by Media Standards Trust, is a term that was coined by BBC journalist Wasim Zakir.
The word denotes a recent trend that sees many reporters acting as ‘churnalists’: journalists who take press releases or other secondary sources at face value, re-write them them and present them as originally reported news articles, often without proper attributions or further efforts to confirm the information from those press releases.
Germanys foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst BND, has fundamentally changed its view of the ongoing civil war in Syria. SPIEGEL ONLINE has learned that the BND now believes the Syrian military of autocrat Bashar Assad is more stable than it has been in a long time and is capable of undertaking successful operations against rebel units at will. BND head Gerhard Schindler informed select politicians of the agencys new assessment in a secret meeting.
It is a notable about-face. As recently as last summer, Schindler reported to government officials and parliamentarians that he felt the Assad regime would collapse early in 2013. He repeated the view in interviews with the media.
At the time, the BND pointed to the Syrian military’s precarious supply situation and large numbers of desertions that included members of the officer core. German intelligence spoke of the “end phase of the regime.”
Since then, however, the situation has changed dramatically, the BND believes. Schindler used graphics and maps to demonstrate that Assad’s troops once again possess effective supply lines to ensure sufficient quantities of weapons and other materiel. Fuel supplies for tanks and military aircraft, which had proved troublesome, are once again available, Schindler reported. The new situation allows Assad’s troops to combat spontaneous rebel attacks and even retake positions that were previously lost. The BND does not believe that Assad’s military is strong enough to defeat the rebels, but it can do enough to improve its position in the current stalemate.
Best frenemies Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly met for the umpteenth time on Wednesday’s "Daily Show." The two zinged each other about Fox News, Stewart’s upcoming directing project, and O’Reilly’s prolific book production.
In the spikiest exchange, Stewart noted that Fox News has been feeling singled out by all the Justice Department’s attention. He compared it to the profiling of Muslims by law enforcement. O’Reilly said that, after "14,000 acts of terror," it was necessary to track Muslims.
"I’m just doing the math here," he said. "If they keep mounting up, maybe you do a little profiling."
Stewart countered that there were around 30,000 deaths a year from gun crime. "Do you think we should start profiling … the people with the guns?" he said. "It raises above your 14,000 incident threshold."
"What group do you want to zero in on?" O’Reilly said.
"Fox viewers?" Stewart quipped.
“We have once again entered the college commencement season, which means we’ll soon be reading about uplifting graduation speeches delivered by prominent Americans. Or at least by prominent liberal Americans.
It’s becoming increasingly apparent that conservative speakers aren’t welcome on college and university campuses.
Last month, in the span of a few days, student protests disrupted a presentation by Karl Rove at the University of Massachusetts and one by Rand Paul at Howard University. That same week, former Bush administration official Robert Zoellick withdrew as a commencement speaker at Swarthmore College, while Obama critic Ben Carson did the same at Johns Hopkins.
…Obama won the votes of the majority of college students in November because many of them were predisposed to vote for him before they attended college and because many of them began to find their political identities at the colleges themselves. There is no question that a primary objective of today’s academic institutions, which allow conservatives to be shouted down if they are invited at all, is not to educate students but rather to educate reliable Democratic votes.
America has become much more polarized over the last few decades, and observers have blamed politicians and gerrymandering. But some of the blame lies elsewhere. America’s institutions of higher education have become some of the most polarizing institutions in our society. Students who pass through them are remarkably well-prepared to join our uncivil political discourse.
Kevin Hassett is director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.”
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Amid expressions of horror, grief and resolve over the devastating tornado that smashed into suburban Oklahoma City, many lawmakers expressed relief on Tuesday that they took action in January to bulk up the FEMA disaster relief fund.
But Oklahoma’s two senators, both Republicans, found themselves in an awkward position for having voted against the $60 billion supplemental appropriation bill that was largely aimed at providing relief to victims of Superstorm Sandy, which slammed into coastal New York and New Jersey last year.
The bill left the disaster fund run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency with a healthy balance of $11.6 billion. FEMA spokesman Dan Watson said the amount is sufficient for handling immediate response and recovery efforts in Oklahoma and residual recovery costs associated with Sandy.
In January, Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe called the Sandy appropriations bill a “slush fund” because it included long-term infrastructure spending and funding for projects aimed at disasters other than the devastation along the U.S. East Coast.
The measure became embroiled in a tense budget fight over the “fiscal cliff” tax hikes in January and was delayed for several weeks for tempers to cool as FEMA’s disaster fund rapidly dwindled.
On Tuesday, a day after a 2-mile (3-km) -wide tornado wiped out whole blocks of homes, killed at least 24 people and left thousands homeless in Moore, Oklahoma, Inhofe vowed that Oklahomans in need would not abuse federal disaster aid, as he said had occurred in the aftermath of Sandy.
“That’s totally different,” Inhofe told cable TV network MSNBC. “Everybody was getting in and exploiting the tragedy that took place. That won’t happen in Oklahoma.”
Bay Jimmy, La. — LSU research assistant Brooke Hesson, brushing a net across some marsh grass, makes a somewhat surprising discovery.
"There’s a beetle in this one, a pretty beetle," Hesson said, noting that beetles are rare in this section of oiled marsh along the shores of Barataria Bay.
"We started looking at insects because they’re great indicators of what’s happening with stressors in the environment," said Dr. Linda Hooper-Bui of the LSU Disaster Ecology Lab.
Hooper-Bui studies critters at the base of the food web in areas that were heavily oiled during the BP Macondo well blowout of 2010.
Researchers expected the population to be impacted by oil in the first year and then bounce back. In some areas, that has yet to happen.
"I would say a couple weeks ago it was the worst I’ve seen out here," Hooper-Bui said.
In some of those places, researchers have found only adults, indicating the insects flew into the site virtually devoid of babies. Hooper-Biu noted, "We don’t see any other life stages."
However, their concern is often not so much what they see as what they do not hear. Areas of the marsh, normally teeming with life, have fallen silent.
"The flitting of the wings, of the dragonflies, you just don’t have that here," said Hoope-Bui.
The evidence for what is wrong points to a pair of suspects: naphthalene and methylnaphthalene, two of the tens of thousands of compounds found in crude oil.
"It’s a good explanation because naphthalene is an insecticide and it’s volatile and it’s very toxic," said Hooper-Bui, noting that the evidence is not conclusive.
What puzzles them more are the concentrations of the compounds, which are rising three years after the spill. Researchers theorize that, as oil breaks down in the marsh, the compounds get released.
With temperatures heating up, Hooper-Bui expects oil baking in the sun to crack, releasing more toxins and, perhaps, claiming more of the spill’s smaller victims.
An atheist state lawmaker tasked with delivering the opening prayer for this afternoons session of the House of Representatives asked that people not bow their heads.Democratic Representative Juan Mendez, of Tempe, instead spoke about his “secular humanist tradition” and even quoted author Carl Sagan.”Most prayers in this room begin with a request to bow your heads,” Mendez said. “I would like to ask that you not bow your heads. I would like to ask that you take a moment to look around the room at all of the men and women here, in this moment, sharing together this extraordinary experience of being alive and of dedicating ourselves to working toward improving the lives of the people in our state.”As you can imagine — especially now, with Arizonas legislature being controlled by religion-heavy Republicans — this is probably the first time that an invocation at the legislature took that direction.”This is a room in which there are many challenging debates, many moments of tension, of ideological division, of frustration,” Mendez said. “But this is also a room where, as my secular humanist tradition stresses, by the very fact of being human, we have much more in common than we have differences. We share the same spectrum of potential for care, for compassion, for fear, for joy, for love.