Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Donovan - Season of the Witch

Ellen is Sofia Vergara!

Dallas County approves benefits for domestic partners

From WFAA:

Posted on October 30, 2012

DALLAS – The Dallas County Commissioners Court voted 3-2 along party lines Tuesday to approve medical benefits for domestic partnerships.  

The approval provides the money for couples who aren't married, be they gay or straight. It's an issue guaranteed to divide.

“There is simply no place for pernicious partisanship when it comes to equality," argued Rafael McDonnell of the Resource Center Dallas, speaking in favor of the proposed stipend for domestic partners. 
Others took the podium to argue against it.  

"This is utterly ridiculous and totally irresponsible position on your part,” said Dallas resident Debbie Morozzo. “This is a waste of taxpayers’ money." 

The issue is whether Dallas County should provide a stipend of up to $295 per year for county employees' domestic partners who otherwise would not qualify for medical benefits. The three Democrats on the commission favored the move while the two Republicans were opposed.

Continue reading at:

Mitt Romney: I've ALWAYS Been Against Gay Marriage

Yes, Global Warming Systemically Caused Hurricane Sandy

From Common Dreams:

by George Lakoff
Published on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 by Common Dreams

Yes, global warming systemically caused Hurricane Sandy — and the Midwest droughts and the fires in Colorado and Texas, as well as other extreme weather disasters around the world.  Let’s say it out loud, it was causation, systemic causation.

Systemic causation is familiar. Smoking is a systemic cause of lung cancer.  HIV is a systemic cause of AIDS.  Working in coal mines is a systemic cause of black lung disease. Driving while drunk is a systemic cause of auto accidents.  Sex without contraception is a systemic cause of unwanted pregnancies.

There is a difference between systemic and direct causation.  Punching someone in the nose is direct causation. Throwing a rock through a window is direct causation. Picking up a glass of water and taking a drink is direct causation. Slicing bread is direct causation. Stealing your wallet is direct causation. Any application of force to something or someone that always produces an immediate change to that thing or person is direct causation.  When causation is direct, the word cause is unproblematic.

Systemic causation, because it is less obvious, is more important to understand. A systemic cause may be one of a number of multiple causes. It may require some special conditions. It may be indirect, working through a network of more direct causes. It may be probabilistic, occurring with a significantly high probability. It may require a feedback mechanism.  In general, causation in ecosystems, biological systems, economic systems, and social systems tends not to be direct, but is no less causal.  And because it is not direct causation, it requires all the greater attention if it is to be understood and its negative effects controlled.

Above all, it requires a name: systemic causation.

Continue reading at:

Statement on Hurricane Sandy

From Vice President Al Gore:

October 30, 2012

This week, our nation has anxiously watched as Hurricane Sandy lashed the East Coast and caused widespread damage--affecting millions. Now more than ever, our neighbors need our help. Please consider donating or volunteering for your local aid organizations.

The images of Sandy’s flooding brought back memories of a similar--albeit smaller scale-- event in Nashville just two years ago. There, unprecedented rainfall caused widespread flooding, wreaking havoc and submerging sections of my hometown. For me, the Nashville flood was a milestone. For many, Hurricane Sandy may prove to be a similar event: a time when the climate crisis—which is often sequestered to the far reaches of our everyday awareness became a reality.

While the storm that drenched Nashville was not a tropical cyclone like Hurricane Sandy, both storms were strengthened by the climate crisis. Scientists tell us that by continually dumping 90 million tons of global warming pollution into the atmosphere every single day, we are altering the environment in which all storms develop. As the oceans and atmosphere continue to warm, storms are becoming more energetic and powerful. Hurricane Sandy, and the Nashville flood, were reminders of just that. Other climate-related catastrophes around the world have carried the same message to hundreds of millions.

Sandy was also affected by other symptoms of the climate crisis. As the hurricane approached the East Coast, it gathered strength from abnormally warm coastal waters. At the same time, Sandy's storm surge was worsened by a century of sea level rise. Scientists tell us that if we do not reduce our emissions, these problems will only grow worse.

Hurricane Sandy is a disturbing sign of things to come. We must heed this warning and act quickly to solve the climate crisis. Dirty energy makes dirty weather.

Working class voters: why America's poor are willing to vote Republican

From The Guardian UK:

Liberals question why poor voters who use public assistance still vote for Republicans who want to cut those very services. The real story, Gary Younge finds, is much more complicated

in Sarasota, Florida
, Monday 29 October 2012

Tracey Owings is fighting hard to keep the home that has been in his family for 34 years. In 2000 his mother refinanced. In 2006 she died. In 2009 he lost his job and had no paid work for nine months. He fell behind with the mortgage. The bank moved to foreclose on the house. Gradually the work came back. Less than before. Much less. But just enough. The house is not in negative equity and now he can make the payments. But he can't get the bank to take his money. Attempts to modify the loan and take advantage of a settlement, brokered by the White House, between mortgage companies and the justice department have come to nought. "I don't qualify," he says with exasperation detailing both his efforts to meet each bureaucratic challenge and his frustration at each bureaucratic obstacle.

He stands in the waiting room of Gulfcoast Legal Services offices in Sarasota with an armful of documents and a belly full of bile. "They have failed me," he says. "Obama came in offering hope and change but he's failed. I just want to save my mother's house."

Owings is voting for Mitt Romney. Does he think Romney will improve his lot? "I'm willing to try anything at this point," he says.

There is nothing more vexing to liberals than poor Republicans. Their very existence rankles. It turns their world on its head and their assumptions inside out. The effort to explain them is understood not just as a political paradox but a psychological disorder. They have been duped. They must have been. How else would one explain putting your cross next to the man who derided them as "victims" among the 47% "I don't worry about". To many liberals these are turkeys voting for Christmas or lemmings off for a leap; the condemned tying the noose for their own execution.

At times the contradictions are striking. In August 2009, when opponents of Obamacare were disrupting town hall meetings with claims of death panels, Kenneth Gladney and other members of St Louis tea party got into a fight with Democrats at a public meeting. He had to go to the emergency room with injuries to his knee, back, elbow, shoulder and face and ended up in a wheelchair. It turned out Gladney, who had recently been laid off, had no health insurance. He appealed for donations.

Trace a map highlighting government dependency and those most reliant on benefits live in Republican states and often Republican counties. In Floyd county in Eastern Kentucky, 40% of the income comes from the government. In 2008 Floyd, where almost 20% live below the poverty line and the median income is almost 20% lower than the country, voted for McCain – a 27 point swing against the Democrats and the first victory for Republicans in living memory.

Continue reading at:

What's Still the Matter With Kansas - and the Democrats?

From Truth Out:

By Ira Chernus
Monday, 29 October 2012

Democrats lose a key demographic, and maybe an election, because they're unwilling to support values issues that they could very plausibly endorse.

A presidential election focused on income and wealth inequality? The Republicans clearly identified as the party of the rich, and the Democrats, just as clearly, the party of the rest of us? That's pretty amazing. We haven't had a contest like this in three-quarters of a century.

But if the voters really care so much about economic issues, as the pundits keep insisting, and inequality really is such a prominent issue, then the Democrats should be breezing to victory. So why are they clearly losing the House and facing a very real possibility of losing the White House?

My answer unfolds in two connected parts: First, the economy is not the most basic issue. Second, this year as always, the foolish Democrats are acting as if it is.

Part One: It's Not About "The Economy, Stupid."

Voters are not basing their decision primarily on the unemployment rate and the performance of the economy. When you look at the polls, as The New York Times reported, "disaffection with the economy didn't translate into support for Mr. Romney." In fact, those who suffer most when jobs disappear - the poor, single women, people of color - are most likely to support Obama. Those who suffer least - the white, the married, the rich and solidly middle-class - are the only groups giving Romney a majority of their votes.

The states with the highest unemployment rates (California, Rhode Island) are solidly blue; the states with the least unemployment (North Dakota, Nebraska) are solidly red. If this were simply a referendum on Obama's economic stewardship, the polling data should be exactly the other way around.

Continue reading at:

Romney Has a Christie Problem and a FEMA Problem

From The New Yorker:

October 30, 2012

Like many others—though not the weather forecasters or the political authorities—I underestimated the scope of the storm. Now that at least thirty-eight people are dead, thousands have been driven from their homes, and millions are without power, the election campaign looks like something of a side show. But the fact remains that voting will go ahead next Tuesday, and the politicking continues, albeit in a different manner.

On the Democratic side, the devastation that Sandy has wreaked more than justifies President Obama’s decision to return to Washington on Sunday and to declare a pre-disaster state of emergency in a number of states. On Tuesday morning, he followed up these edicts by signing major disaster declarations for New York and New Jersey, which will make it easier for them to access federal assistance. First thing this morning, the White House let it be known that the President had been monitoring the storm’s progress throughout the night, and that he had spoken to a number of local officials, including Governor Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg, and Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey.

Appearing on the networks this morning, Christie, for the third day in a row, heaped praise on Obama’s handling of the storm. “The President has been outstanding in this,” he told the “Today” show. On “Morning Joe,” he said, “It’s been very good working with the President. He and his Administration have been co√∂rdinating with us. It’s been wonderful.” Speaking on CNN, Christie said that he had been mightily impressed by Obama’s accessibility throughout the crisis. “He gave me his number at the White House, told me to call him if I needed anything, and he absolutely means it.” Christie also pointed out that Obama didn’t once bring up politics in their conversations, and added, “If he’s not bringing it up, you can be sure that people in New Jersey are not worried about that, primarily if one of the guys running isn’t.”

Read more

Bush II Administration Fuckup, the Incompetent Michael Brown, Says Obama Reacted Too Fast To Hurricane Sandy

Michael Brown need to learn to shut the fuck up so people won't notice what a moron he is.  With out rich white boy affirmative action this idiot would be working in the rapid food deployment industry or as a janitor in a pig farm.

From Huffington Post


Michael Brown, the former FEMA director infamously praised by President George W. Bush for doing a "heckuva job" during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, told a local paper that President Barack Obama acted too quickly in mobilizing relief for Superstorm Sandy.

"Here's my concern," Brown told Denver's Westword on Monday, suggesting that the official response was actually making people complacent. "It's premature [when] the brunt of the storm won't happen until later this afternoon."

Obama declared states of emergency all along East Coast states in the path of Sandy on Sunday, well before the storm hit, allowing federal resources to start flowing where governors thought they would be needed. 
FEMA and local responders were able to pre-position a lot of the material being drawn upon now.
Obama also held a press conference warning people to pay careful attention to the storm.

"This is a serious and big storm," Obama said after meeting with FEMA officials and talking to governors Sunday. "And my first message is to all the people across the Eastern seaboard, Mid-Atlantic, going north, that you need to take this very seriously."

Brown suggested Obama was just trying to look good.

Continue reading at:

See also Alternet: Bush's FEMA Director, Michael Brown, Criticizes Obama for Responding to Sandy Too Quickly

Irony is dead, cremated, stuck in a capsule and shot into outer space.

Get Rid of FEMA? Right-Wingers Push Insane Privatization Scheme in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy

From Alternet:

Republicans continue to hammer away at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which coordinated disaster relief as Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast.

By Alex Kane
October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy is still making its impact felt around the United States. But that’s not stopping right-wingers and foes of government from hammering away at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
They have a tough case to make, though--even GOP favorite Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, praised FEMA’s performance. “I have to say, the administration, the president,  himself and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate have been outstanding with us so far,” Christie told ABC News.

As Hurricane Sandy was ripping its way through the U.S., Republican strategist Ron Bonjean took to CNN to knock FEMA, as Raw Story pointed out . “Most people don’t have a positive impression of FEMA,” said Bonjean. “I think Mitt Romney was right on the button.” Bonjean was referring to remarks made by Romney at a GOP primary debate that have sparked criticism.

“Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction,” said Romney in answering a question about the role of the federal government in disaster relief. He added, “if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that's even better.” In practice, this would mean that FEMA’s role would be greatly diminished, or taken out altogether if Romney succeeded in privatizing disaster relief. Vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s budget would also hit FEMA hard.

Romney’s remarks at the debate last year have become a lightning rod for critics of the Republican ticket--so much so that the Romney campaign stressed that their candidate would not abolish FEMA. Still, the Romney camp did stick to its guns on the issue of giving states more responsibility for disaster relief.

“Gov. Romney believes that states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions,” said Romney campaign spokesperson Ryan Williams, according to Politico. "As the first responders, states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities, and to direct resources and assistance to where they are needed most. This includes help from the federal government and FEMA.” A “campaign official added that Romney would not abolish FEMA,” Politico reports.

Romney’s call to diminish the role of FEMA was supported by J.D. Tuccille , a writer for the libertarian site. Tuccille called for “tak[ing] the job” of “disaster coordination” by the federal government away to “let people who know what they're doing handle the heavy lifting.”

Continue reading at:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Mister Romney's Neighborhood"


Worse Than Katrina, Worse than 9/11: Can We Please Start Dealing With Climate Change Now!

Ten years ago Global Warming was the subject of a slide show by Al Gore, the man the Supreme Court stole the Presidency from.

Tina and I saw the lecture when it became a documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth.

I had been interested in nature and the environment from the time I was a young child growing up among the mountains and lakes, hills and streams of the Adirondacks.  Along with the forts and the history was the beauty of the mountains and the pollution produced by the mines and paper mills.

Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring came out the same fall as the Cuban Missile Crisis.  

That was fifty years ago.

It was the height of the Civil rights Movement.  I had just admitted I was transsexual to my parents.
The left wing peace movement, became my cause.  Folkies and hippies, poets and bohemians became my family.

A few years later the Ecology Movement was born, I saw Yosemite and read, the books of Edward Abbey.
But over the years I've met too many cult mind fuckers, too many people who peddle homeopathy, crystals, Rekei and astrology to not be skeptical.

So I read and examined what was happening in the world.  I read James Hansen and Bill McKibben and dozens of others.

You want to know something.  Those of us who have been hippie punched and called names for the last fifty years were right.

Now we have a storm that is like something out of a dystopian disaster film destroying New York, one of my favorite cities in this country, a city of incredible creativity and yes commerce too.

It was a city I first escaped to when I was trying my wings, I eventually chose San Francisco but the lessons I learned on Bleeker and Macdougal, Washington Square and the East Village were the lessons I needed to fly.

When I lived out on the Island ten years ago I was almost afraid to go to the city by myself, but when I went it was like visiting home.  The streets and subways embraced me, the hotdog venders smiled at me the Strand book store near Union Square welcomed me.

I know New York will come back, it's a tough city and the people are strong people with big hearts but it saddens me to watch this disaster happening.

Hurricane Sandy has drowned the New York I love

From The Guardian UK:

The subway is more than mass transit – it's the city's very roots. The idea of the metro swamped by cold, salt water is unbearable
, Monday 29 October 2012

New York is the city I love best, and I'm trying to imagine it from a distance tonight. The lurid, flash-lit instagram images of floating cars in Alphabet City or water pouring out of the East River into Dumbo, the reports of bridges to the Howard Beach submerging and facades falling off apartment houses – it all stings. It's as horrible in its very different way as watching 9/11.

But it's the subways I keep coming back to, trying to see in my mind's eye what must be a dark, scary struggle to keep them from filling with water. The tide at the Battery has surged feet beyond the old record; water must be pouring into every entrance and vent – I hope some brave reporter is chronicling this fight, and will someday name its heroes.

For me, the subways are New York, or at least they're the most crucial element of that magnificent ecosystem. When I was a young Talk of the Town reporter at the New Yorker, I spent five years exploring the city, always by subway. This was in the 1980s, at the city's nadir – the graffiti-covered trains would pause for half an hour in mid-flight; the tinny speakers would reduce the explanation of the trouble to gibberish.
It was how I traveled, though – I didn't even know how to hail a cab. For a dollar, you could go anywhere. And my boast was that I'd gotten out at every station in the system for some story or another. It may not have been quite true: the Bronx is a big and forgotten place, and Queens stretches out forever – but it was my aspiration.

Complete article at:

Experts Concur Climate Change Responsible For Frankenstorm

From Addicting Info: 

October 29, 2012 

If you’re like me and reside in the Metropolitan area, you’re not really accustomed to dealing with behemoth hurricanes, especially not at the end of October. One can only conclude that climate change and the Republican party’s reluctance to accept the worldwide scientific consensus of its existence, whoring themselves to the coal and big oil and thus refusing to effectuate any of the necessary recommendations to lessening its impact, is responsible for Hurricane Sandy. “Freak” formation, “unprecedented and bizarre,” and a “frankenstorm” that could cause historic storm surges, last for multiple days, and cause over a billion dollars in damage is the foreboding and dire language being used by meteorologists. And Bryan Norcross, a chief hurricane analyst, described the storm this way on his facebook page:
“This is a beyond-strange situation. It’s unprecedented and bizarre. (Think Progress)
Since bat-shit crazy is today’s new moderately intelligent in the GOP and they think that “global warming’ is simply god’s morning breath or a Hollywood invention, they downright refuse to acknowledge our climate system is breaking innumerable records at an unnatural pace, including thermal expansion creating greater and stronger Hurricanes like Sandy and stronger snowstorms like Snowpocalyspe in New York City and NJ in the winter of 2011.

Kevin Trenberth, former head of the Climate Analysis Section at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, concludes that all superstorms “are affected by climate change.
The air is on average warmer and moister than it was prior to about 1970 and in turn has likely led to a 5–10 % effect on precipitation and storms that is greatly amplified in extremes. The warm moist air is readily advected onto land and caught up in weather systems as part of the hydrological cycle, where it contributes to more intense precipitation events that are widely observed to be occurring,” according to Trenberth. (Think Progress)
But the modern-day Republican party and their radical austerity policies (big government for the wealthy, Somalia sized government for the rest), including Mitt Romney stating he wants to make major cuts to FEMA–the very organization that helps states like his political buddy Chris Christie’s handle the destruction from major storms– and Captain Capitalist playing to the knuckle-dragging (maybe not since they don’t believe in evolution), mouth-foaming crazies in the tea party by cynically mocking President Obama’s pledge to deal with climate change and “slow the rise of the oceans” at the Republican National Convention in Tampa , apparently think that their car elevators will protect them from the inevitable damage of climate change. Worse yet, the very crucial debate on climate change and the candidates solutions to dealing with it was conspicuously absent from all three of the presidential debates, which evidently is the first time since 1988. In the mean time, the rest of us may not exactly have the luxury to stay at our chalets in Aspen until the hurricane blows over, or escape to our $12 million homes in La Jolla when the power goes out indefinitely. Rest assure that so long as the corporations are buying the best politicians money can buy, we will never have a meaningful debate or sound solutions to the destructive factors of climate change. Alas, we’ll just hear more about the need for such hilarious oxymorons as clean coal, which is like soft-core porn in that it’s still dirty but not that as many people are getting screwed. Stay safe.

Continue reading at:

Hurricane Sandy Cable News Coverage Avoids Talk Of Climate Change

From Huffington Post:

NEW YORK -– With the presidential candidates grounded and news networks intensely focused on Hurricane Sandy, some suggested Monday that climate change and global warming -- issues that were neglected during the presidential debates and that received scant coverage throughout the 2012 race -- could finally be pushed to the forefront.

Foreign Policy's David Rothkopf wrote that "Sandy will do more to draw attention to issues of climate change than all the candidates running for every office in the United States during this election cycle have done." And The New Yorker's Elizabeth Kolbert wrote that "Sandy makes the fact that climate change has been entirely ignored during this campaign seem all the more grotesque."

Although Rothkopf and Kolbert each cautioned against attributing a single weather event –- even one as unusual as the oft-dubbed "Frankenstorm" –- directly to climate change, they and others have pointed out that warmer water temperatures and such extreme weather suggest a connection. "Some evidence that warming seas lead to worse hurricanes, so let's hope Sandy reminds us of risks of climate change," tweeted New York Times columnist Nick Kristof, who later sent his 1.3 million followers a link to the site Hurricane Sandy Speaks.

But while Sandy on Monday made many consider the potential dangers of global climate change -- especially online and on Twitter -- such concerns didn't get similar attention on the cable networks that were covering the hurricane non-stop.

CNN began its rolling coverage of Hurricane Sandy at 4:30 a.m. and dispatched around 30 correspondents and anchors throughout the storm's path. While CNN staffers braved harsh winds and rain for live shots on the beach or flooded streets, the network's anchors and correspondents hadn't mentioned "climate change" or "global warming" once by 4:30 p.m., according to a search using television monitoring service TVEyes.

Continue reading at:

Christian preacher blames gays for Hurricane Sandy

You would think these fuck would die from the load of weapons grade bullshit they contain. 

These fuck are too stupid to believe in science, evolution or climate change even though they can see the latter happening right before their moronic eyes yet they feel free to spew their homophobic crap like it was some pearl of wisdom.

Time to tax the churches and so called ministers.

Time to treat religion like the superstitious pile of bullshit it is.

From Gay Star News:

Chaplain John McTernan has said God's judgment of gays caused the hurricane nearing the east coast of the United States

By Joe Morgan
29 October 2012

An anti-gay Christian preacher is already blaming Hurricane Sandy on gays.

As the east coast of the United States prepares for the storm, which has already killed 60 people in the Caribbean, author and chaplain John McTernan has decided who is at fault.

On his website Defend Proclaim The Faith, the preacher says the gathering storm must be God’s judgment on gays, and punishing the president Barack Obama for coming out in support of marriage equality.
He believes ever since George Bush Sr signed the Madrid Peace Process to divide the land of Israel in 1991, ‘America has been under God’s judgment since this event.’

McTernan said: ‘Obama is 100% behind the Muslim Brotherhood which has vowed to destroy Israel and take Jerusalem.

‘Both candidates are pro-homosexual and are behind the homosexual agenda. America is under political judgment and the church does not know it!’

His reasoning for this is that it has been 21 years since the ‘perfect storm’ of October 1991.

Continue reading at:

Sandy: ConEd Explosion

Why ‘Frankenstorm’ Is Just Right for Hurricane Sandy

From The Daily Beast:

Sandy, the hurricane that appears set to pummel the East Coast, promises a historic potential for damage and a terrifying look at what may be in store for us—ever more frequent assaults of not-so-natural origin.

by Oct 26, 2012

Watching Sandy on her careening path toward the Eastern Seaboard scares me more than it would have 15 months ago. That’s because my home state took the brunt of Irene, last year’s “sprawling,” “surly,” “record-breaking” Atlantic storm. I know now exactly how much power a warm sea can contain and how far that pain can spread.
And in the process, feeling that fear, I begin to sense what the future may be like, as more and more of the world finds itself facing ever-more-frequent assaults from the amped-up forces of the not-so-natural world.
You can’t, as the climate-change deniers love to say, blame any particular hurricane on global warming. They’re born, as they always have been, when a tropical wave launches off the African coast and heads out into the open ocean. But when that ocean is hot—and at the moment sea surface temperatures off the Northeast are five degrees higher than normal—a storm like Sandy can lurch north longer and stronger, drawing huge quantities of moisture into its clouds, and then dumping them ashore.
Last year that dumping happened across Vermont. In some places we broke absolutely every rainfall record. It turned our streams and rivers into cataracts that took out 500 miles of state highway. A dozen towns were left completely cut off from the rest of the world, relying on helicopters to drop food. I know the odds are slim that we’ll find ourselves in the bull’s-eye again. But someone will.
This time the great damage may be along the coast. Even as we’ve built up our coastal populations, sea level has begun to climb. There are already cities along the coast that flood easily at the month’s high tide. This storm may hit when the moon is full, and it may dump so much rain that the water will be coming from both directions. Or maybe across the Appalachian highlands will be where it does its biggest damage, mixing with an inland storm front to dump snow on forests still in leaf. But someplace is going to take it on the chin, maybe harder than it ever has before.
And that’s the world we live in now. James Hansen, the NASA climatologist, published a paper earlier this year showing how the seemingly small one degree we’ve already warmed the earth has made extreme weather far more likely. The insurance industry has published a series of warnings in recent years saying the same thing. The world grows steadily more unpredictable, and hence we grow less comfortable in it.

Continue reading at:

Sandy Teaches a Lesson

From Truth Dig:

By Eugene Robinson
Posted on Oct 29, 2012

Back when he was being “severely conservative,” Mitt Romney suggested that responsibility for disaster relief should be taken from the big, bad federal government and given to the states, or perhaps even privatized. Hurricane Sandy would like to know if he’d care to reconsider.

The absurd—and dangerous—policy prescription came in a GOP primary debate in June. Moderator John King said he had recently visited communities affected by severe weather, and noted that the Federal Emergency Management Agency “is about to run out of money.”

“There are some people ... who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role,” King said. “How do you deal with something like that?”

Romney replied: “Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.”

Romney went on to express the general principle that, given the crushing national debt, “we should take all of what we’re doing at the federal level and say, ‘What are the things we’re doing that we don’t have to do?’”
King gave him a chance to back off: “Including disaster relief, though?”

Romney didn’t blink. “We cannot—we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids,” he said, adding that “it is simply immoral ... to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids.”

Now, with an unprecedented and monstrous storm bashing the East Coast, this glib exercise in ideological purity is newly relevant. Was Romney really saying that the federal government should abdicate the task of responding to natural disasters such as the one now taking place? Yes, he was. Did he really mean it? Well, with Romney, that’s always another question.

Continue reading at:

Ahead of Sandy, New Yorkers say 'End Climate Silence'

From Common Dreams:

by Jamie HennPublished on Monday, October 29, 2012 by Common Dreams

A big crowd of volunteers joined in Times Square on Sunday to unfurl a giant parachute with the message “End Climate Silence” and an image of a hurricane. 

"Meteorologists have called this 'the biggest storm ever to hit the U.S. mainland,' which is a reminder of how odd our weather has been in this hottest year in American history,” said founder Bill McKibben. “But mainly it's a reminder of how much we need to take care of each other when disaster strikes--we hope everyone will pitch in with the Red Cross, and with local relief efforts. Community is our greatest source of energy, and our cleanest!"

As Hurricane Sandy barrels down on the East Coast, scientists are connecting the dots between increasingly extreme weather and global warming. Yet for most of this year’s presidential election, the words “climate change” have gone unmentioned. The issue was not raised in a presidential debate for the first time since 1988. 

Scientists warn that climate change is loading the dice for extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy. The Earth’s average global temperature has risen between 1.5 and 2 degrees Fahrenheit over the past century and the warmer temperatures mean that the atmosphere holds about 4% more moisture than it did in 1970, leading to greater rainfall. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Collapse - Obama for America TV Ad

Gay ‘Exorcisms’ Distract From The Real Harms Of Ex-Gay Ministries And Anti-LGBT BeliefsGay ‘Exorcisms’ Distract From The Real Harms Of Ex-Gay Ministries And Anti-LGBT Beliefs

From Think Progress:

By Zack Ford
on Oct 26, 2012

An exorcism can be an exciting thing to watch. No doubt, like many spiritual experiences, it is a phenomenon that taps into intense psychological manipulations to produce a result that can be traumatic both mentally and physically, making it jarring to witness. Because many conservative Christians believe that homosexuality is an abomination, some extreme believers will use exorcism to try to expel the gay “demon” from an individual. These sensationalized experiences serve as juicy bait for both viral videos as well as daytime talk-show intrigue. An abridged clip of Reverent Bob Larson exorcising a gay man — then selling his services — is making such rounds on the internet this week:

A similar, more timely, video went viral in 2009 when a Connecticut church tried to exorcise a young gay man, so traumatizing him that he writhed on the floor, seeming to seize and even vomit. Conservatives defended the church, and its leader even had to take to CNN to defend her religious practices. A few months later, the teenage victim appeared on Tyra, proclaiming that the exorcism had worked and he was now ex-gay.

There’s no doubt that exorcisms are dangerous and harmful, bordering on brainwashing as religious leaders stigmatize young gay people to their very cores. But because of how extreme — and for many viewers, so absurd as to be ridiculous — this phenomenon is, it desensitizes the public to the much more common and just-as-harmful practices of ex-gay therapy.

Often, ex-gay therapy is treated in both LGBT and mainstream media as somewhat fringe and perhaps even discountable. When a controversy erupts, like California’s recently passed law to ban ex-gay therapy for minors, the practice is acknowledged for a moment, then allowed to fade back into obscurity with the assumption that no one really believes something as silly as changing a person’s sexual orientation. But even though the number of people promoting ex-gay therapy may be low, the number of people who believe in it is much higher. The most prominent anti-gay organizations, including the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and even the National Organization for Marriage have all defended the practice and testified to its viability.

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(Ret.) Col. Lawrence Wilkerson tells the TRUTH about HIS Republican Party

Romney: Federal Disaster Relief Spending Is 'Immoral'

When Will Mitt Romney Stand Up to Extremism? The Clock Is Ticking

The Voter-Fraud Myth

From The New Yorker:

The man who has stoked fear about impostors at the polls.

October 29, 2012

Teresa Sharp is fifty-three years old and has lived in a modest single-family house on Millsdale Street, in a suburb of Cincinnati, for nearly thirty-three years. A lifelong Democrat, she has voted in every Presidential election since she turned eighteen. So she was agitated when an official summons from the Hamilton County Board of Elections arrived in the mail last month. Hamilton County, which includes Cincinnati, is one of the most populous regions of the most fiercely contested state in the 2012 election. No Republican candidate has ever won the Presidency without carrying Ohio, and recent polls show Barack Obama and Mitt Romney almost even in the state. Every vote may matter, including those cast by the seven members of the Sharp family—Teresa, her husband, four grown children, and an elderly aunt—living in the Millsdale Street house.

The letter, which cited arcane legal statutes and was printed on government letterhead, was dated September 4th. “You are hereby notified that your right to vote has been challenged by a qualified elector,” it said. “The Hamilton County Board of Elections has scheduled a hearing regarding your right to vote on Monday, September 10th, 2012, at 8:30 A.M. . . . You have the right to appear and testify, call witnesses and be represented by counsel.”

“My first thought was, Oh, no!” Sharp, who is African-American, said. “They ain’t messing with us poor black folks! Who is challenging my right to vote?”

The answer to Sharp’s question is that a new watchdog group, the Ohio Voter Integrity Project, which polices voter-registration rolls in search of “electoral irregularities,” raised questions about her eligibility after consulting a government-compiled list of local properties and mistakenly identifying her house as a vacant lot.

The Sharp household had first been identified as suspicious by computer software that had been provided to the Ohio Voter Integrity Project by a national organization called True the Vote. The software, which has been distributed to similar groups around the country, is used to flag certain households, including those with six or more registered voters. This approach inevitably pinpoints many lower-income residents, students, and extended families.

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Conservative Media Ignore GOP Voter Registration Fraud

From The Nation:

Ari Berman
on October 23, 2012

Republicans passed new voting restrictions in more than a dozen states since the 2010 election that were purportedly designed to stop voter fraud. Yet, in a deeply ironic twist, the most high-profile instances of election fraud this cycle have been committed by Republicans in states with new voting restrictions.

The RNC-funded Strategic Allied Consulting, run by checkered GOP operative Nathan Sproul, is under criminal investigation in Florida for submitting fraudulent voter registration forms to election officials. (Sproul is still running voter-canvassing operations for conservatives in thirty states.) Sproul’s associate Colin Small, who had worked for Strategic Allied Consulting and as “Grassroots Field Director at the Republican National Committee,” was charged last week with eight felony counts and five misdemeanors for trashing voter registration forms in Virginia.

Republicans claim that the voter registration fraud was committed by a few bad apples and pales in comparison to the fraud committed by ACORN in 2008. But ACORN was never funded by the DNC. And the abuses committed by Sproul and Small were far worse than those attached to ACORN. Unlike Strategic Allied Consulting, ACORN never changed the party affiliations on fraudulent voter registration forms and self-reported suspicious materials to election officials. Nor did ACORN ever destroy valid voter registration forms, as Small is accused of doing. (Not to mention that none of the fictitious characters falsely registered by ACORN workers, like Mickey Mouse, ever voted.)

Despite the right’s preoccupation with voter fraud, Sproul and Small have received scant coverage from conservative media outlets. Fox News, which ran 122 stories on ACORN from 2007–08, mentioned Strategic Allied Consulting only three times since the scandal broke in late September and hasn’t aired a single report on voter registration fraud in Virginia. Nor have National Review or The Weekly Standard, the pre-eminent conservative magazines, run an article about either case.

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The Age of Uncertainty Episode 4 The Colonial Idea

iWant: how Apple and the gadget-makers train consumers' covetousness

From The Guardian UK:

Apple leads the consumer electronics business in enslaving us to the idea that we must have the latest device. But must we?

Are Apple product launches becoming more frequent?
, Thursday 25 October 2012

The comedian Louis CK had a wonderful routine called "Everything's amazing and nobody's happy," in which he satirized our modern exasperation with pocket-sized gadgets that, a few years back, would have been considered powerful enough to send a man into space, or at least run a modestly-sized corporation.

"Uh," he mocks one clueless citizen shaking her smartphone, which is taking time to load, "It won't … uh!"

Louis CK comes back with a roaring rejoinder:
"Give it a second! It's going to space! Can you give it a second to get back from space? Is the speed of light too slow for you?"
His searing conclusion is clear:
"We live in an amazing, amazing world, and it's wasted on the crappiest generation of spoiled idiots."
Louis CK delivered his routine years ago, but it has remained exceptionally relevant – particularly in a week such as this, when Apple is announcing several new products of overlapping abilities. The iPod touch, the iPad mini – all at exorbitant prices, while Microsoft introduces its new tablet, the Surface, and Android fans spar over whether it's worth it to buy a Galaxy phone now or wait for the next Nexus to manifest.

But as more consumers obsess this season about the iPad mini and the new iPod touch, and whether the Google Nexus tablet is superior to the Amazon Kindle Fire HD, and the virtues of the iPhone 5's lightning connector versus the old iPhone 4s connector that predated it by less than a year, it's a good time to step back and wonder how we have come to this pass. These devices, as fragile as Faberge eggs, packaged like jewels – and priced accordingly – have become, in many minds, almost immediately disposable as soon as the next device with retina-display resolution makes us salivate for the next big thing.

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Just Label It: Let the People Decide

From Common Dreams

by Jim Goodman
Published on Sunday, October 28, 2012 by Common Dreams

I've farmed all my life and I have to tell you, all food is not the same. No food or farming system is perfect, but as farmers, as citizens, we should not be forced to accept a globalized, industrialized, genetically modified system of agricultural production.

I have farmed with pesticides, chemical fertilizers and livestock hormones, and was lucky enough to jump off that ship before it went completely under the waves. I experienced the shortcomings and failures of pesticides, antibiotics and the system in general. I was concerned for the health of my family, my livestock and the soil, so I got out.

I dropped out of the conventional farming system (seeing organic production as a better, safer and more productive alternative) just as the revolution of genetic modification (GM) and its “promise” to feed the world was being forced upon the world.

When I say forced, I mean just that.

People were never given a choice (not in the U.S. anyway) as to whether or not their food would contain GM ingredients, or if they had a right to know. If you eat food with processed ingredients, you are eating GM ingredients.

Despite clear indications of
health risks, our government maintains that food with GM content is substantially equivalent to non-GM, therefore labeling is not required.

When GM crops resistant to the weed killer Roundup were introduced, farmers were promised that one application of the herbicide was all they would ever need. Dream on. I watch spray rigs running across neighboring fields from April to November. Roundup is no longer doing the job; the promise of less
chemical application was a false promise.

Some farmers still grow non-GM crops but it is increasingly difficult to get non-GM seed. If GM pollen contaminates their non-GM crops, it's their fault their crops got in the way. And of course, since that crop now has GM genetics, GM kingpin Monsanto et al. can sue them for stealing patented crop varieties.

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Fukushima Operators Struggle To Contain 'Outrageous Amount' Of Radioactive Water

From Counter Currents:

By Common Dreams
27 October, 2012

Operators of Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi plant are having trouble storing a perpetual accumulation of radioactive cooling water from the plant's broken reactors, the plant's water-treatment manager, Yuichi Okamura, told the Associated Press in an interview this week.

The plant currently holds 200,000 tonnes of highly contaminated waste water, used to cool the broken reactors, but operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, continues to struggle to find ways to store the toxic substance. TEPCO has said they are running out of room to build more storage tanks and the volume of water will more than triple within three years.

"It's a time-pressing issue because the storage of contaminated water has its limits, there is only limited storage space," Okamura said.

After the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe of 2011, the plant's broken reactors have needed constant cooling and maintenance, including the dumping of massive amounts of water into the melting reactors -- the only way to avoid another complete meltdown.

Adding to the excessive amounts of cooling water is ground water, which continues to leak into the reactor facilities because of structural damage.

"There are pools of some 10,000 or 20,000 tonnes of contaminated water in each plant, and there are many of these, and to bring all these to one place would mean you would have to treat hundreds of thousands of tons of contaminated water which is mind-blowing in itself," Masashi Goto, nuclear engineer and college lecturer, stated, adding the problem is a massive public health concern.

"It's an outrageous amount, truly outrageous" Goto added.

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