It’s real folks. The Globe is Warming

and the weather is more extreme and we are not taking the steps we need to take to change things.

Remember the folks who were saying it wasn’t real? Who would point to small data points and say, hey, why is this cooler? Those folks fall into two primary categories, tools of industries committed to profits that depend on continuing emission levels and fools. The fools are primarily made up of simple folks who could be manipulated by gun rights or race or abortion to oppose anything that Al Gore or folks on the political left (scientific thinkers?) had to say.

Folks are easily manipulated. One of the task of a free press is to reduce the manipulation by getting accurate information out. It’s hard competing with the flash and sizzle of Fox News. But the truth will out.

clipped from news.nationalgeographic.com

Global Warming “Undeniable,” U.S. Government Report Says

Past decade hottest on record, NOAA study says.

The retreating Iceberg Glacier in Bernardo O'Higgins National Park.

The retreating Iceberg Glacier in Chile’s Bernardo O’Higgins National Park (file).
Global warming is undeniable,” and it’s happening fast, a new U.S. government report says.

Published July 28, 2010

An in-depth analysis of ten climate indicators all point to a marked warming over the past three decades, with the most recent decade being the hottest on record, according to the latest of the U.S. National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration’s annual “State of the Climate” reports, which was released Wednesday. Reliable global climate record-keeping began in the 1880s.

And for the first time, scientists put data from climate indicators—such as ocean temperature and sea-ice cover—together in one place. Their consistency “jumps off the page at you,” report co-author Derek Arndt said.
“This is like going to the doctor and getting your respiratory test and circulatory test and your neurosystem test,” said Arndt, head of the Climate Monitoring Branch of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.”It’s testing all the parts, and they’re all in agreement that the same thing’s going on.”
Such climatic shifts are already ushering in extreme weather, which plagued much of the globe in 2009, according to the report. (See a world map of potential global warming impacts.) For instance, Australia experienced its third hottest year on record.On one February 2009 day—labeled “Black Saturday”—in Australia, 400 wildfires swept across the state of Victoria, killing 173 people and destroying 3,500 buildings. (See pictures of the Australian fires.)

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Connect the Dots

Bush pushed the ownership society, the regulators tried to operate in a deregulatory political environment, the bankers found new, and increasingly irresponsible ways to “help” join the ownership society whether it made any sense or not. Loan originators raked in commissions, the financial wizards sliced, diced and sold off the crummy securities and the tax payer is left holding the bag.

So today, we are told the economy is recovering. The bank crisis has been averted, banks are back to paying the big bonuses that is so key to a recovering economy and things are rosy, right?

Well, not so rosy for the average jane or joe who is still trying to hang onto their little piece of the american dream and has not been able to keep working at a job and wage that will support the mortgages. So the AP reports that foreclosure activity is up and the forecast is not good for the ownership society.

There is a solution that could have really helped stop this mortgage disaster depression and it was to rewrite the bankruptcy code to allow bankruptcy courts to rewrite the terms of mortgages on primary residences. It’s called “cram down” in bankruptcy circles. The court can cram down a loan balance and dictate interest rate to a fair market value. This is allowed on vacation homes, airplanes, yachts, cars, but not primary residences. Under the current statute I guess it makes sense to walk away from the house, leave the bank holding the bag, cram down your loan on the yacht and live aboard for a while. This solution doesn’t work if you failed to buy the yacht. What an oversight!

The problem with mortgage cramdown of homes is that the banks take it on the chin. At least with yacht, airplane, vacation home cramdown, decent folks of means are being helped. But with primary residence cramdown, an average jane/joe benefits while banks lose. Primary residence cramdown was considered early in the mortgage crisis, but there was too much opposition and a congress owned by the financial industry could not muster the courage to challenge their owners.

I think it’s too late for this solution to do much now, but it might be a good idea to fix for the next time this kind of thing happens. For now, we are into Stage Two, a jobless “recovery” and employment prospects remain bleak as Obama did not do the smart thing and go all out on R&D of a green energy system to address climate change and to get us out of the petro wars. It’s still the right solution. We are going to do this eventually because we have to.

See you there.

clipped from news.yahoo.com

Foreclosure activity up across most US metro areas

LOS ANGELES – Households across a majority of large U.S. cities received more foreclosure warnings in the first six months of this year than in the first half of 2009, new data shows.

Demonstrators, whose homes are under foreclosure or lost their homes to foreclosure, holds signs during a foreclosure rally in front of JP Morgan Chas

The trend is the latest sign that the nation’s foreclosure crisis is worsening as homeowners battling high unemployment, slow job growth and an uneven rebound in home prices continue to fall behind on their mortgage payments.
“The face of foreclosure is driven much more now by unemployment than in the past, and it’s moving out from the places where we’ve been focusing on in the last few years,” said Rick Sharga, a senior vice president at RealtyTrac. “The combination of a weak job market and a weak housing market is making it difficult in some of these areas.”

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But Michael Steele Watches Fox

Meta news – news about the news.  Tip of the hat to the Huffington Post.

Fox News doesn’t appeal to many black people.  Why would that be?

 

 

 

     
     
     

Fox News Audience Just 1.38% Black

Huffington Post   |  Danny Shea First Posted: 07-26-10 05:44 PM   |   Updated: 07-26-10 06:22 PM

 

Bill Oreilly Sean Hannity

Fox News may be the undisputed ratings champion in cable news, but not among black viewers.

The New York Times' Brian Stelter tweeted that, according to Nielsen Media Research, Fox News has averaged just 29,000 black viewers in primetime so far this television season (9/09-7/10). That represents just 1.38% of its 2.102 million total viewer audience.

CNN and MSNBC, meanwhile, both have far more black viewers, both in absolute terms and as a proportion of their overall audiences.

Good God

What is wrong with this picture?

I guess freedom of religion means you can be baptist, episcopalian, lutheran, even catholic, but muslim?

Sharia law, that’s what the US should be worried about?

clipped from slatest.slate.com
Tennessee Lieutenant Governor Says Religious Freedoms May Not Apply to Muslims
At a recent event, Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey questioned whether the Constitution’s guarantees of freedom of religion applies to Muslims, reports�Talking Points Memo. When he was asked about the “threat that’s invading our country from the Muslims,” Ramsey expressed support for Constitutional protections of religious expression�but questioned whether Islam could really be considered a religion. “Now, you could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, way of life, cult whatever yo want to call it,” he said. “Now certainly we do protect our religions, but at the same time this is something we are going to have to face.” The questioner was likely referring to a controversy over a new Muslim community center, and Ramsey used the opportunity to drum up fear that it would send the United States one step closer to accepting Sharia law.

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Let the Deficit Hawks Off the Leash on This One

All of the folks who are wailing about the deficit and the need to rein that puppy in need to be called to task if they also wail about the end of the Bush tax cuts for the rich. The class war of the rich against all the rest of the US population has been a disaster for all but the ruling class. It’s time for the rest of us to take a stand and stop losing the class war. The phenomenal redistribution of wealth and income to the top 10% has created an economic disaster for the US and maybe the world.

Neo-liberalism is a fancy word for class warfare. NAFTA, globalism, unregulated free market capitalism gives you the BP disaster, profitable and unsustainable market bubbles like the mortgage crash, that are engineered to shift more wealth to the ruling class. It’s working folks.

We can and should dig in to win a battle in this class war by making sure that the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire.

clipped from www.nytimes.com
Battle Looms in Washington Over Expiring Tax Cuts
Battle Looms in Washington Over Expiring Tax Cuts

WASHINGTON — An epic fight is brewing over what Congress and President Obama should do about the expiring Bush tax cuts, with such substantial economic and political consequences that it could shape the fall elections and fiscal policy for years to come.

Democratic leaders, including Mr. Obama, say they are intent on letting the tax cuts for the wealthy expire as scheduled at the end of this year. But they have pledged to continue the lower tax rates for individuals earning less than $200,000 and families earning less than $250,000 — what Democrats call the middle class.

Most Republicans want to extend the tax cuts for everyone, and some Democrats agree, saying it would be unwise to raise taxes on anyone while the economy remains weak. If no action is taken, taxes on income, dividends, capital gains and estates would all rise.

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What did George W. Bush say?

The haves and the have-mores?

Folks, there is a class war going on and it has been raging since Ronald Reagan took office and started slashing taxes, especially the taxes on the rich.

In the old days, a business owner needed to watch his profit, plow company earnings back into infrastructure – plants, that create jobs – or the business owner could end up in a tax bracket where Uncle Sam could take more than 70 cents of each dollar made. That sounds terrible, but almost no one actually paid those kind of rates, they invested in their business to avoid confiscatory tax rates and that created good jobs and a measure of economic stability for the country.

With flattened tax rates, the business owner can outsource jobs to Mexico, to India, to China and close their factories in the US. They can make a killing financially by moving production outside the US and they get to keep most of the money that they keep.

But doesn’t a rising tide raise all boats? I know that story sounds true. In fact, it is true. A rising tide raises all boats. But economies are not tides. A rising economy can create all sorts of inequities, that’s what a tax code and public policy are all about, trying to make a rising economy function like a rising tide.

Folks, we have to do something about this. We have to force legislation that taxes the rich. We have to redistribute the wealth, it has flown over the past 40 years from the middle class to a tiny ruling class. Don’t be fooled, both political parties are owned lock, stock and barrel by the ruling class. The change is not going to come from democrats or republicans, it is going to come from the working population of the country who need to understand how and why the working class, the middle class is in such a bind.

Don’t be fooled. When the politicians say we have to do something about the deficit, shout back to them, yes, tax the rich.

clipped from finance.yahoo.com

The Middle Class in America Is Radically Shrinking. Here Are the Stats to Prove it

Editor’s note: Michael
Snyder is editor of theeconomiccollapseblog.com
The 22 statistics detailed here prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the middle class is being systematically wiped out of existence in America.
The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer at a staggering rate. Once upon a time, the United States had the largest and most prosperous middle class in the history of the world, but now that is changing at a blinding pace.

So why are we witnessing such fundamental changes? Well, the globalism and “free trade” that our politicians and business leaders insisted would be so good for us have had some rather nasty side effects. It turns out that they didn’t tell us that the “global economy” would mean that middle class American workers would eventually have to directly compete for jobs with people on the other side of the world where there is no minimum wage and very few regulations. The big global corporations have greatly benefited by exploiting third world labor pools over the last several decades, but middle class American workers have increasingly found things to be very tough.

Here are the statistics to prove it:

•    83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.
•    61 percent of Americans “always or usually” live paycheck to paycheck, which was up from 49 percent in 2008 and 43 percent in 2007.
•    66 percent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.
•    36 percent of Americans say that they don’t contribute anything to retirement savings.
•    A staggering 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved up for retirement.
•    24 percent of American workers say that they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year.
•    Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008.
•    Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.
•    For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.
•    In 1950, the ratio of the average executive’s paycheck to the average worker’s paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.
•    As of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.
•    The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.
•    Average Wall Street bonuses for 2009 were up 17 percent when compared with 2008.
•    In the United States, the average federal worker now earns 60% MORE than the average worker in the private sector.
•    The top 1 percent of U.S. households own nearly twice as much of America’s corporate wealth as they did just 15 years ago.
•    In America today, the average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.
•    More than 40 percent of Americans who actually are employed are now working in service jobs, which are often very low paying.
•    or the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.
•    This is what American workers now must compete against: in China a garment worker makes approximately 86 cents an hour and in Cambodia a garment worker makes approximately 22 cents an hour.
•    Approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States are living below the poverty line in 2010 – the highest rate in 20 years.
•    Despite the financial crisis, the number of millionaires in the United States rose a whopping 16 percent to 7.8 million in 2009.
•    The top 10 percent of Americans now earn around 50 percent of our national income.

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A Teachable Moment

As the true story of Shirley Sherrod comes out there is something to be learned from this incident.

For those unfamiliar, the background is that a conservative website ran a video of Ms. Sherrod that made her sound like a racist who had abused her power at the USDA to hurt a white farmer who needed help to save his farm. Ms. Sherrod is African American.

This videotape became a flashpoint for conservatives anxious to make some point about reverse racism and the adversities that face white men today in a country that somehow elected an African American to be President.

Ms. Sherrod was pressured to resign and is now out.

The problem is that the videotape that led to her ouster was heavily edited to create a racist impression. The truth of Ms. Sherrod’s service to the white farmer in question is clear when that family came to her support.

The teachable moment, the thing we can learn from this event is that Andrew Breitbart, the force behind this edited video and the heavily edited theatrical piece that was the undoing of ACORN, just remember as white pimp and Hannah Giles as white prostitute in that bit of political theater, Andrew Breitbart is not a source that can be trusted. He is a political hitman who entertains zero concern for journalistic ethics when he finds an opportunity to further his political agenda.

Ms. Sherrod, another person of color hurt by Andrew Breitbart’s racism and political agenda, is not sure she would want her job back if it is offered. But there is a bad guy in this sad story. It is Andrew Breitbart. Nothing he says or presents should be assumed to be true or an accurate presentation of events.

Conservatives should refudiate (tip of the hat to Sarah Palin for that new word) Mr. Breitbart and apologize to Shirley Sherrod if they want to hang on to a shred of human decency.

Tom Vilsack should lose his job for the poor job he did as head of USDA in dealing with this event.  Send him packing.  There’s a teachable moment.

clipped from www.nytimes.com
N.A.A.C.P. Backtracks on Official Accused of Bias

The president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People apologized Tuesday to a black civil servant whose ouster the civil rights organization had originally cheered.

Last week, the N.A.A.C.P. garnered headlines when it accused parts of the Tea Party movement of being racist. Then, over the weekend, a video emerged of Shirley Sherrod, the head of the Department of Agriculture’s rural development office in Georgia, speaking at an N.A.A.C.P. event in Douglas, Ga., in March. In a two-and-a-half-minute clip, Ms. Sherrod seemed to explain that she discriminated against a white farmer 24 years ago.

Ms. Sherrod said she was pressed to resign after the video whipped around the Web. But she said the clip was misleading. According to Ms. Sherrod and people who have seen the full video, she went on to say in her speech that she had learned from working with the farmer that all people must overcome their prejudices.

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Resource Conflicts

The US has invaded two countries in the past ten years to gain or maintain control of petro resources. The US economy demands so much petroleum that we have not yet had to invade a country over water, but anyone who follows the flow of rivers from the US to Mexico is aware that Mexico gets water when the US does not need it.

As US drones attack Pakistanis and further destabilize this small, nuclear power, and global warming, population pressure make crucial natural resources like water a flashpoint for conflict, we should think hard about whether we really want to model belligerent military solutions to every conflict. Keep in mind that both India and Pakistan both possess nuclear weapons and longstanding grudges.

It’s not too late to embrace another way.

Keep hope alive.

clipped from www.nytimes.com
Water Dispute Increases India-Pakistan Tension


BANDIPORE, Kashmir — In this high Himalayan valley on the Indian-controlled side of Kashmir, the latest battle line between India and Pakistan has been drawn.


This time it is not the ground underfoot, which has been disputed since the bloody partition of British India in 1947, but the water hurtling from mountain glaciers to parched farmers’ fields in Pakistan’s agricultural heartland.


Indian workers here are racing to build an expensive hydroelectric dam in a remote valley near here, one of several India plans to build over the next decade to feed its rapidly growing but power-starved economy.


In Pakistan, the project raises fears that India, its archrival and the upriver nation, would have the power to manipulate the water flowing to its agriculture industry — a quarter of its economy and employer of half its population. In May it filed a case with the international arbitration court to stop it.

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Kudos to America’s Blog

Good news and bad news. Good news is that BP may have a plan to address the eco-disaster they have created, the bad news is that the BP plan may rely on Photo Shop.

clipped from www.americablog.com

AMERICAblog News

clipped from www.americablog.com

Monday, July 19, 2010

BP photoshops fake photo of crisis command center, posts on main BP site

 

Bumped
UPDATE: 11:14PM Eastern: BP has now posted the “original” photo, they claim. Except – surprise – they are refusing to post the high-resolution version of the new “original” photo. They posted the high-res version of the altered photo earlier, and in fact, that version is still live via a link below the new photo. Why not post the high-res version of the new “original” photo? Afraid someone is going to enlarge it and find out it’s fake too?

UPDATE 10:37PM Eastern: The Washington Post has the story now. Oddly, BP is now claiming that the photo is real – but it showed blank screens, and rather than show blank screens at AP’s crisis center, they instead put fake content-filled screens in the photo. Uh, a few questions.
1) Why were the screens in the crisis center blank in the middle of the crisis? Coffee break?
2) The BP spokesman claims that the photographer photoshopped the changes. Really? A professional photographer hired by BP Photoshops so poorly that a 12 year old kid could do a better job. Really? Let me show you what BP said exactly, and then the photo that supposedly this “professional” edited:

Scott Dean, a spokesman for BP, said that there was nothing sinister in the photo alteration and provided the original unaltered version. He said that a photographer working for the company had inserted the three images in spots where the video screens were blank.

Now here is the Photoshop job that the “professional” photographer did – this is just one part of the photo that he screwed up:

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Good news

at long last.
clipped from www.washingtonpost.com
Oil leak is stopped for first time since April 20 blowout


The gusher is gone. The plume is off the well. BP’s Macondo well isn’t dead yet, and it may be back in a flash, but at 3:25 p.m. Eastern time Thursday it ceased to spew oil into the Gulf of Mexico.



Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, July 16, 2010

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