Big Storm Over the Red States

Global warming anybody?   big stormSusie Madrak has the story at Crooks & Liars 

Midwest Storm Breaks U.S. Pressure Record

The pressure within the powerful storm that left a trail of destruction across the Midwest on Tuesday not only broke records in individual states and cities, but also one for the United States.

Bigfork, Minn., recorded the storm’s lowest pressure at 4:13 p.m. CDT Tuesday. The pressure bottomed out at 28.20 inches (955 millibars). That is equivalent to a typical pressure within a Category 3 hurricane.

Maybe folks in the midwest should think this through if they are casting votes for politicians who think global warming and evolution are political rumors.

Here’s some scientific overview.

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Where Do You Get Your News?

I get the WAPO and the NYT digest by email each day.

I also get the Slatest news email tickler.

I scan WAPO and the NYT to see what stories they are trying to spin.  I scan Slatest for interesting takes on select news stories.

I also get OpEdNews by email.  I scan a few blogs each morning, mainly Left Coaster, Crooks & Liars and a few others.  For climate news I go to Climate Progress, Real Climate, or Grist

But for my money, the best news source is Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now.

How about you?

Oh, happy Friday to all!

This Guy Wants an Apology


Rand Paul enthusiast Tim Profitt got into a dust-up with a Move-On activist this past week.

The Move On activist is a 23 year old woman, Lauren Valle.  Profitt says he thought she posed a threat to the candidate.  Profitt and another Rand Paul fan took Ms. Valle down, then Profitt ended up with his foot on Ms. Valle’s head.  The word stomp has been used.  Ms. Valle has been treated for a concussion, injured arm and shoulder.

Mr. Profitt told CBS WKYT that he is hoping for an apology from Ms. Valle.   He also says none of it would have happened if the police had done what they were supposed to.

Classy.   Throw chivalry to the wind and blame someone else for your actions.  The party of personal responsibility?  Lexington KY police have started assault investigation.  Maybe the Lexington police and the KY courts will explain a few things to this thug.

California Votes On Marijuana Next Week

We didn’t get the initiative on the ballot up here in the Evergreen State, but we are watching the CA initiative and gearing up for another run at that initiative in the next election cycle.

This push is really about much more than legalizing marijuana.  It’s about ratcheting down the war on drugs and reducing the violence and waste of money and humanity that attends the war on drugs.

Here’s some stuff from the news on that:

  • Anybody Tired of the War on Drugs?

  • President of Mexico Calderon says he is and calls for the United States to get it’s house in order. Calderon says we need to stop buying drugs and selling guns. The Beeb has the story.

  • Nicholas Kristof say, yep, let’s give up the war on marijuana at least. Read it in the NYT. 

I have been missing in action on the web for the past few days.   The last week of the month gets busy for me as I work on the production of Works in Progress, a monthly progressive newspaper printed and distributed in South Puget Sound.   Lots of fun working in print media.

How about some Good News!

Watch this video.  This is so encouraging.  This is the kind of thinking that we ought to be demanding.  This guy says the road/solar panel array at 15% creates all the energy we need in this country and more.

I am not crazy about roads, but if they were both roads and power generation system, they have a lot of appeal.  Ask yourself why we need to burn coal, or natural gas, or biomass if we can convert the road system to an electric energy grid?

This is the kind of technology that could/would be implemented if we had a carbon tax or if the sources of greenhouse gas were required to pay the social and environmental costs that are shifted to others in our current economic system.

This is a great way to start the day. btw – most of the pictures or graphics I post are hyperlinks to the underlying website. Click on the picture to jump to the Solar Roadways website.


Foreclosure Mess and the National Economy

I work in bankruptcy.  There was a basic fix to the mortgage crisis available with a change to the bankruptcy code.  It’s called cramdown in the bk practice.

Under existing statute in certain circumstances you can have the value of an asset and the terms of the contract set by the bankruptcy court.  Through this process a debtor pays market value and can negotiate for a reduced interest rate as well.   You can often use cramdown to change the terms of car loans, or boat loans, or airplane loans, or even second homes, but it’s not available on your primary residence.

Cramdown, fixing interest rates on variable predatory loans would have stabilized the real estate market and the Obama folks thought about it briefly and then tossed the idea in favor of giving boatloads of money to the banks and encouraging the banks to do loan modifications.  The loan modification business appears to be about as good as the loan making business practice was prior to the mortgage meltdown – which is to say, it’s not very good.

So here we are.  Two years into the mortgage meltdown and about to dive into the second recession dip with real estate property values continuing to plummet due to uncertainty and tight credit (that has the banks awash in cash for election advertisements?).

As if all that isn’t enough there is the wild incompetence of the folks dealing with mortgages, loan modifications.  Read this story from the Cleveland Plain Dealer for a hint of the incompetence that’s out there.

Happy Thursday, everyone.

Cameron and the Brits Get it Right

An austerity plan that looks for savings from reducing the military budget. I am delighted.

Well done, mates!

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LONDON – Britain will lose thousands of troops, build new aircraft carriers — without new fighter jets — and delay a multibillion pound (dollar) upgrade to its nuclear deterrent under sweeping defense cuts being announced Tuesday following the first major military review in more than a decade.
The largest cuts to public spending since World War II are aimed at virtually eliminating Britain’s deficit, which stands at over 10 percent of gross domestic product.Military cutbacks come a day before Treasury chief George Osborne’s long-anticipated announcement of a government-wide program to drastically cut department budgets and welfare bills.

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And the Race is On

The NYT is covering the Patty Murray – Dino Rossi election for WA Senator today. It’s a good race to cover, it’s going to be close. Rossi is a good campaigner, the Republikans have reason to believe that they can really turn out their voters this year in the rage over a black man in the white house (well, I suppose the public line about that has something to do with socialism, not race, but I grew up in the segregated south and I know race hatred when I see it).

I don’t have cable, or any kind of television piped into my home. I watch some stuff via internet feed, but nothing like a normal cable channel (CNN, Fox, MSN etc) so I don’t know how much money is pouring in to run attack ads on Murray. But I think that approach will backfire. The Murray look and persona will create sympathy if the Rossi and Citizens United mystery banks flood the airwaves with negative campaigning as I assume they will. It will feel like bullying to WA voters and we like electing women to state-wide office.

Also, the dems problem with turning out the vote across the nation is minimized in WA State by the extensive vote-by-mail program.

This is a year when I think about not voting (and I always vote) because I am so disgusted by the failure of the Dems over the past 4 years. Thinking strategically about this, I wonder if it would be good for the Dems to get trounced to discredit the corporate dems. I think the electorate wanted a Dem Congress in the past three election cycles and they got Republican Lite. If the dem voters respond to Obama’s plea for enthusiasm and energy and help the dems avoid a house-cleaning election, will we just see the Corp Dems celebrating that their “mainstream” approach is working?

Well, enough questions. I call this race to Murray, but it’s going to be close. Eastern WA will go heavily to Rossi. Bellingham to Vancouver will go for Murray. No mystery about the East-West divide in WA politics.  Oh yeah, I am voting.  Another WA voter disgusted with the Dems and appalled by the alternative.

Happy Monday!

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A Washington Senator Fights to Keep Her Seat

EVERETT, Wash. — Never mind Nevada. If you are among the party power brokers and political fortunetellers obsessed with America’s most elusive elected position, Senate seat No. 51, head to Washington — the real one.

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Grand Old Party of Hypocrites

Joe Miller appears to be willing to take big system help for himself and his family and is running on a theory that there is a sense of entitlement in Washington DC.He’s probably right about the entitlement politics of DC, but maybe he should have thought about his own glass house before he started down that road.

Alaska, is that Left Coast country?

Alaska Daily News has coverage and Slate has picked that up.

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Miller vows silence on questions about personal background

Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller said Monday he will not answer any more questions about his personal background for the rest of the campaign.

He has said the Alaska media is reporting what he considers irrelevant issues, such as his past government benefits.

That includes coverage of the fact he and his wife obtained state low-income hunting and fishing licenses after he took out a mortgage and started a $70,000 a year job, and that his family of eight children received state and federal low-income medical benefits in the past.

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Sea Swarm Oil Spill Cleanup System

Spotted this on Truth Dig. Good ideas at MIT. Is that a surprise? You can read about it on Truth Dg or you can jump straight to the Sea Swarm for the pitch.

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First generation prototype

Each Seaswarm robot is comprised of a head, which is covered by a layer of photovoltaic cells, and a nanowire covered conveyor belt. The photovoltaic cells generate enough electricity to keep the fleet moving for several weeks and provide the energy to propel the vehicles forward. As the head moves through the water the conveyor belt constantly rotates and sucks up pollution. The nanowire-covered belt is then compressed to remove the oil. As the clean part of the belt comes out of the head it immediately begins absorbing oil, making the collection process seamless and efficient.

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