Happening Faster than Predicted

You are going to read those words over and over again in articles about the growing climate crisis of global warming. There are numerous feedback loops that can be expected to increase the rate of global warming and few feedback loops identified that can be expected to slow global warming.

This is why a carbon tax is needed now. Cap and trade is just an excuse for a new round of speculative bubble economic trading.

clipped from www.canada.com

Huge methane leak in Arctic Ocean: study

This is a handout photo of lichen and shrub-covered palsas surrounded by a pond resulting from melting permafrost in a bog near the village of Radisson, Canada.

WASHINGTON – Methane is leaking into the atmosphere from unstable permafrost in the Arctic Ocean faster than scientists had thought and could worsen global warming, a study said Thursday.

From 2003 to 2008, an international research team led by University of Alaska-Fairbanks scientists Natalia Shakhova and Igor Semiletov surveyed the waters of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, which covers more than 772,200 square miles (two million square kilometers) of seafloor in the Arctic Ocean.

“This discovery reveals a large but overlooked source of methane gas escaping from permafrost underwater, rather than on land,” the study said.

“More widespread emissions could have dramatic effects on global warming in the future.”

Earlier studies in Siberia had focused on methane escaping from thawing permafrost on land.

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What Happened to Cramdown in Bankruptcy?

Yes, the Obama folks are looking for new ways to stop the erosion of the economy caused by the real estate bubble, and this short sale idea has some merit, but the better solution is to bite the bullet and amend bankruptcy statutes to allow judges in bankruptcy court to change the terms of the mortgages. This would allow homeowners to remain in their homes with payments based on their real values. It would cost the banks money, so banker bonuses could suffer, but hey, they made stupid loans, based on short term profits, commissions, and the ability to bundle and sell their stupid loans as if they were solid investments, the bankers should be relieved they are not going to jail on fraud charges. What are the chances of that?

clipped from www.nytimes.com
Program Will Pay Homeowners to Sell at a Loss

In an effort to end the foreclosure crisis, the Obama administration has been trying to keep defaulting owners in their homes. Now it will take a new approach: paying some of them to leave.

This latest program, which will allow owners to sell for less than they owe and will give them a little cash to speed them on their way, is one of the administration’s most aggressive attempts to grapple with a problem that has defied solutions.

More than five million households are behind on their mortgages and risk foreclosure. The government’s $75 billion mortgage modification plan has helped only a small slice of them. Consumer advocates, economists and even some banking industry representatives say much more needs to be done.

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Interesting Article on Sea Life

I guess if you are another sea creature and the red grouper is not inclined to swallow you whole, then this fish is a really important member of the aquatic community.

Beyond being an important member of the community, this article captures some of the grouper’s culture and sensibilities. Really wonderful. I encourage you to read the whole article.

clipped from www.washingtonpost.com

Scientists learn red grouper operate as underwater architects

Red grouper are known for a few key characteristics — their hue, which can range from pink to bright orange; their tastiness, whether they’re grilled or sauted; and their predation method, in which they ambush fellow sea creatures and swallow them whole.

But their least-known attribute might be the most valuable of all: They operate as underwater architects, transforming the seascape for myriad other forms of underwater life, rather than just residing there. That surprising discovery is forcing scientists and policymakers to recalibrate their approach to preserving the ocean’s natural order — and heightening tensions with those who fish for a living or as a hobby.”Our view of fish is changing,” said Marine Conservation Biology Institute president Elliott Norse, whose group helped fund Coleman’s research. “We now see fish as living, breathing entities, not only as meat.””If you remove that fish, it puts into motion a whole chain of events,” said Don deMaria, who used to fish for red grouper near Key Largo, Fla., but no longer does. “There’s a whole lot of other critters that are affected. I’m not saying you can’t catch them. But you can’t do it to the extent we’ve been doing for the last 20 years.”

Coleman didn’t suspect initially that red grouper were capable of such engineering feats. Years ago, she was on a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessel in the Gulf of Mexico looking at images from a remotely operated camera and noticed the large holes on the sea floor.

“I was just sitting there, thinking, ‘Why are there holes?’ It came like a flash: The only thing it could be is red grouper,” she said.

Coleman and a few colleagues, including her husband, Christopher Koenig, a fellow FSU professor, and Margaret Miller, an ecologist at the NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center, tested her hypothesis. They trapped red grouper in a cage without a bottom; the fish dug out of it. The scientists placed black charcoal the size of sand grains on the sea floor to see whether the fish would move it; they scattered it everywhere.

“They started digging almost right away,” Coleman said of the fish, adding that it was almost as if the scientists had offended the grouper’s aesthetic sensibilities. “It was like, ‘I just cleaned this place.’ ”

By building complex, three-dimensional structures that expose the hard rock beneath the sand, Miller said, red grouper create an environment in which seaweed, coral and sponges can thrive. These communities then attract everything from cleaner fish to female grouper seeking a mate.

“It’s just a very cool ecological story,” Miller said. “They really have this tremendous ability in getting these diverse communities of organisms to exist in a place that otherwise wouldn’t be there.”

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Strict Construction and the Dred Scott Decision

SCOTUS says this is propertyOn March 6, 1857 the United States Supreme Court delivered the decision commonly known as Dred Scott. This catastrophically wrong-headed decision was firmly rooted in strict construction. If you have any doubts about the capacity of strict construction to subvert the fundamental values and continuing evolutionary application of these values to American life, read the coverage below and think about how the right of women to vote, own property, hold office and countless other basic rights that no one would challenge wilt under the application of strict construction combined with ideological goals.

Today, in the USA, we live in the aftermath of another Dred Scott quality decision – Citizens United – a decision that marries a corporate, profit-driven ideology with application of strict construction application of first amendment rights – the right of free speech to come to a new Dred Scott moment: today, the Supreme Court believes that corporations are persons and can spend as much money as they like to influence elections and legislation in the US.SCOTUS says this is a  person

In an obscene mirror image of Dred Scott, a decision that looked at a black man and said, that is not a human being, that is property, the Roberts Court looked at a legal fiction, a corporate charter, and said, that is a person with inalienable rights that must be protected.

If you want to do something about Citizens United, jump to www.movetoamend.org and sign up.

“I hope we shall… crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and to bid defiance to the laws of our country.” ~ Thomas Jefferson, letter to George Logan. November 12, 1816

clipped from www.nytimes.com

Decision of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott Case

The Ordinance of 1787 and the Missouri Compromise Declared Unconstitutional
Washington, Friday, March 6 – The opinion of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott Case was delivered by Chief Justice Taney. It was a full and elaborate statement of the views of the Court. They have decided the following important points:

First – Negroes, whether slaves or free, that is, men of the African race, are not citizens of the United States by the Constitution.

Second – The Ordinance of 1787 had no independent constitutional force or legal effect subsequently to the adoption of the Constitution, and could not operate of itself to confer freedom or citizenship within the Northwest Territory on negroes not citizens by the Constitution.

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How is this not considered simple bribery? Illegal kickbacks?

The US has the best government that money can buy. Read all about it:

clipped from www.washingtonpost.com

In e-mails, lobbyists perceive ties between campaign cash, earmarks

Lobbyists and corporate officials talked bluntly in e-mail exchanges about connections between making generous campaign donations and securing federal funds through members of an important House Appropriations subcommittee, according to not-yet-public documents reviewed by ethics investigators.

In summer 2007, for example, senior executives at a small McLean defense firm tried to figure out which of them would buy a ticket to a wine-tasting fundraiser for Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), a member of the Appropriations subcommittee on defense. At the time, the company sought help from Moran’s office in securing contracts through special earmarks added to the defense bill.In an e-mail exchange, one senior officer said he didn’t understand why he had to attend the fundraiser when he didn’t even drink wine.

“You don’t have to drink,” Innovative Concepts’ chief technology officer, Andrew Feldstein, shot back in an e-mail. “You just have to pay.”

“LOL,” responded the other officer.

The fundraiser was hosted by the PMA Group, a powerful lobbying firm whose unusual success in obtaining “earmarked” contracts from members of the military subcommittee was a key focus of a recent House ethics investigation.

Moran raked in $91,900 in campaign checks to his personal campaign and leadership PAC that day. He secured an $800,000 earmark for Innovative Concepts in the 2008 defense appropriations bill.

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