Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Roundup of Odds and Ends

There is an entire segment of the population that doesn't want to deal with facts or science or anything they consider to be disagreeable, and they are called conservatives. In essence they have their own set of facts. In another era that would have gotten you institutionalized, today it gets you a job working for Fox News.
Below you can watch Rachel outline how much money BP has spent on spill response research in preparation of the kind of gusher we're witnessing in the Gulf of Mexico (hint: Nothing!).



Some info on BP's police force that are busy keeping the media at bay in Louisiana and what the ACLU is doing about it.  An interview with Mac McClelland, a Mother Jones reporter who has been providing some of the nation's best on-the-scene coverage of the BP oil spill. And an interview with a survivor from the Exxon Valdez spill who discusses the toxic effects of being a part of the clean-up crew. Oh, and the first hurricane of the season is upon the Gulf.

Here's a pair of stories from one of my favourite and clearly one of the best writers in the blogosphere, Glenn Greenwald. Beginning with a story about the intense animosity (jealousy) the recent Michael Hastings' Rolling Stone article about General McChrystal caused. What he calls the "universality of war propaganda," and its' ready acceptance by the MSM.

Debunking the myth about trickle down economics (voodoo), how it hurt 90% of Americans.

Australia's new PM is expected to deal seriously with the issue of climate change. A couple of cautionary articles from Science Daily about trying to geo-engineer our way out of the mess we're creating. It could lead to even more untenable consequences.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Worst Propagandists in the World!

Before you watch this clip courtesy of the always wonderful and incisive Rachel Maddow, you might want to get yourself a little bag you can heave your disgust into. There are few words that don't delve into the scatological to describe the people at BP as they try find the upside of ecocide.


Monday, June 28, 2010

May I Have Another?



Today's 1st story link is what the title is about. The relationship the people of the Gulf have with BP is like that of an abused spouse. The beatings are hard on the system but the only thing worse would be if the spouse left or was forced to leave. Alternet asks, when will we end our abusive relationship with big oil? Abusive can hardly be viewed as hyperbolic when we are looking at a dead zone the size of Lake Ontario being created - and I actually think that's optimistic given yesterday's report of methane concentrations 100,000 times more than normal that have been detected in parts of the Gulf.

As has been well documented BP was in no way ready for a catastrophic occurrence - although they claimed that they were, but then neither are any of the oil companies currently drilling in the Gulf. Just to complicate the current clean-up efforts, Tropical Storm Alex is strengthening and moving towards the coast - it could turn onto a category 3 hurricane. here's a Q & A from the NOAA on what is likely to happen if a hurricane hits the area of the spill.

A reminder that 21 years after the Valdez spill many species there are still struggling to survive.

In non-gusher related news, Iraq still twirling towards... heaven knows what as Monday sees 7 killed and 19 wounded. This is not unusual and is the price Iraqis pay daily for US occupation.

The leaders at the G-20 took the decision to screw the poor around the world.

Concerns raised about carbon sequestration - how effective will it be?

Marijuana in a nasal spray? I've said it before, it's a miracle drug!

Weekends Get Longer

The news about the gusher in the Gulf continues to be bad and strangely we find out something new and terrible every week that this goes on. Today I learned that, unknown to the majority of the public, this particular area that was chosen by the BP geologists has been described as unstable and even dangerous due to the possible super sized methane beds embedded deep in the earths crust. Scientists from the Texas A&M University who have been running tests in the area within a 5 mile radius of the drill site, have found levels of methane in the ocean that are through the roof. In some pockets of the ocean the concentrations of methane gas levels are up to 100,000 times the norm and even more incredibly up to 1 million times higher.

I have no idea of how to react to that except with fear. I'm all out of outrage for BP - there are no excuses for the numerous ways in which they screwed up and brought this disaster about. They should be dismantled but sadly they have politicians and media to help disseminate their propaganda and lies and thus assure their survival. Obama's getting BP to pony up in advance was good politics which is why the Republicans and the corporate media freaked out.

The oil in the Gulf, says my favourite blog on all things global warming, looms like disease for birds and turtles. Also over at Climate Progress there's a report about the so-called "Climategate," and MSM retractions of that lying meme, that noted of course, the damage has been done. That's what it's all about, creating narratives. Here's one that's undeniable except by the anti-science types who deny everything: the Arctic is experiencing record sea ice shrinkage.

Obama keeps his promise on whale conservation - the MSM tries to lie about it.

A beautiful and kinda' sad slide show of art made out of our consumptive excesses.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

How Dummies Report the Gulf Oil Crisis

From the people at theRealnews.com an incisive look at how the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has been covered by the MSM these past two months. Enjoy!  

Thursday, June 24, 2010

An Interview With Annie Leonard

A terrific interview with the "Story of Stuff" author Annie Leonard, who talks about a wide range of topics including the incredible worldwide response to her video and finding solutions for our unsustainable habits.
 


A slide-show featuring the art of over-consumption.

Barrack and Stanley

It's been all over the media all day but I thought I should post today's top story: Obama replaces McChrystal with General Petreus. In short, he found a way to dump McChrystal, for his ridiculous statements to a Rolling Stone reporter, and thus avoid being called a wimp or milquetoast. He did it without upsetting his Afghan allies, and the lack of uproar from the right on this speaks to his canniness on dealing with the crisis. No doubt after a weekend of thinking it over the right will emerge with quibbles but you can put his handling of this in the victory column for Barrack.

Rachel walks us through all the complicated issues in play including the COIN strategy and whether or not Obama should use this crisis as an excuse to re-evaluate the war and its' goals. The point that this is, and has been of late, an unsexy war which mirrors what I've been saying for weeks.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

BP Slide Show- Music By Donavon- Design by ZenShadow


JABPerwocky from Zen Shadow on Vimeo.

Slide Show provided by zenShadow.  Words to song and homepage at this link

Obama and the General

So word came today of a Rolling Stone Interview with the Commander of the NATO forces in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal, and apparently the four-star General known for being a tough guy can't handle his Bud Light Lime. He not only embarrassed himself he went and spilled all kinds of beans to a reporter dissing the president Joe Biden and anyone else he could think of in what can only be an attempt to get fired. Keith says that too easy a way out and I agree. Do not accept his resignation.
 


His COIN strategy has not been overly successful and there has been some unease amongst his own troops.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ecosystem of Businesses


If there was anything that was ever emblematic of our corporate fellating culture it was this story from the Guardian about the lawyers fighting to put an end to the moratorium on deep sea drilling in the Gulf. They had the unmitigated gall to say that the ban on drilling was "...destroying an entire "ecosystem of businesses." This in the wake of actual destroyed ecosystems, uncounted dead and dying animals and species that may disappear forever. I say this all the time on my show when I mention the Valdez spill of 21 years ago - the herring never returned.

My only conclusion can be is that they are sociopathic, lying idiots who have no children and never intend to have any. Their entire reason for being is to assist in the rape of the planet, consume all that they possibly can and die, and to hell with life on this planet. They threaten people's jobs even while the have destroyed the livelihoods of untold millions. The amazing thing is that these arguments have resonance with the right and the teaparty and today these arguments stuck and a judge with connections to big oil ruled in their favour and drilling may continue.
This push back by the right and the right-wing media and their uninformed supporters comes amid numerous stories that BP was negligent and even lied to Congress about it.

There is late breaking word on Keith's show that Ken Salazar and the Obama administration will re-impose the ban. Hooray for a modicum of sanity!


Warning Don't Smoke In The Shower!!









Monday, June 21, 2010

Overconsumption

This is a primer on our consumptive habits and how we've been coaxed into a world of planned obsolescence and overconsuption that will soon destroy all that we hold dear if we continue down this path.



This is crossposted at NMPCanada.

The Oceans and Climate Science

On this morning's radio show the focus was climate change and the current state of our oceans and their general health. Starting with a story from Science Daily about a newly published report in the latest issue of the journal Science that evaluates the total impact of  climate change, carbon dioxide, pollution and other human-related phenomena on the world's oceans. Scott C. Doney's paper represents a meticulous compilation of the work of others as well as his own research in this area, which includes ocean acidification, climate change, and the global carbon cycle. An important read if you are trying to understand all the factors in play.

Another study published in Science magazine on Friday concurs saying, the world's oceans are virtually choking on rising greenhouse gases, destroying marine ecosystems and breaking down the food chain... The changes could have dire consequences for hundreds of millions of people around the globe who rely on oceans for their livelihoods. The oceans are interconnected of course and included in that study is information about how the temperatures of polar oceans are connected to temperatures in the tropics. Essentially what the study states is that a continued rise in global temperatures could lead to a permanent state of 'El Niño' which would lead to yet more warming, and by the way, the likelihood of increased episodes of extreme weather. The consequences of these changes are too numerous to list but even MSM wankers Time Magazine, have noted some of them - cute penguin alert.

Lastly for your perusal, a diary from Dailykos with news on actions Obama has taken to stem the tide of Mountain Top Removal (MTR) permits issued in the US that is the beginning of the end to the sleazy days of the Bush/Cheney admin allowing polluting corporations to ignore the rule of law. There's also a host of assorted green related news stories.

Worst Case Scenarios

I try to avoid anything I can't verify with multiple sources here at the blog. Even when I can find them, if what I'm reading is out there (alarmist), I'll take my time to verify before posting it, knowing that the blogosphere will always be ahead of the MSM.

For the last month I've been tripping across information about the worst case scenario for the spew in the Gulf of Mexico - as if 60,000 barrels pouring in daily weren't bad enough - and been waiting to confirm it. There's no point to my freaking out, right?

So this weekend the MSM manages to stay roughly even with the blogosphere on the oil spew story and report on a document (that somehow got leaked) and reveal BP is worried that the gusher in the Gulf (BP hates it when you call it that) could leak or be leaking as many as 100,000 barrels a day - 4 million gallons or the equivalent of a spill the equivalent of the Exxon Valdez every 3 days. Problem is that's not the worst case scenario I've been reading about. The worst case involves the integrity of the hole itself collapsing and oil gushing into the Gulf at the rate of 150,000 barrels a day. Trust BP to low ball the figures one more time!

The emotional and psychological toll the Exxon Valdez spill took on the residents of the Alaska coastline has been chronicled in some detail, and the same things are expected to occur to Gulf residents but on a much larger scale.

I guess you'll be shocked to read that BP were told of a s safety fault weeks before the explosion.

This makes me smile, kinda'. While the right-wing media, including Limbaugh, double down on the idiocy of Barton's apology to BP and the use of words like "shakedown," to describe the $20 billion escrow account Obama got BP to fund,  Haley Barbour (Gov. R-Miss.) admits it was a smart idea.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Genius

 
There are so many reasons not to give up hope. This bit of genius makes for one good example:
 


Go look here to see more of what the possibilities are. We just have to drag the right into the 21st century... kicking and screaming apparently.

Parody?

Anytime someone begins a sentence with the words, "I don`t want to get Pollyannish here," you can bet he/she is going to get Pollyannish. Sorry. I mean Pollyannish isn't even a word!

Reading the story about Rush Limbaugh attacking the children of the poor - openly mocking their circumstance as if they were somehow responsible was too much for me. I do not understand how he can get away with it. I don't get why someone, anyone doesn't raise a stink about this. How is this not a scandal? Why is he still on the air reaping millions of dollars annually for doing nothing more than regurgitating hate?

He is not merely being uncharitable, nor is this parody. This is vile, putrid, low, and unthinkable. There's not a cockroach or insect anywhere on the planet that compares to him. I hesitate to compare him to a living creature - his soul is blacker and more foul than the oil that spews into the Gulf daily. His brain a fetid grey dump of dusty excrement squeezed dry of all humanity after years of Oxycontin abuse and unfettered hate that has seeped into every fibre of his being.

Anyhow I got to bed too tired to get back up after a week of radio and research and logging and blogging, but I knew I'd got it wrong. It's not what you wish for - that's okay and all, it has it's place - but in the end it's what you fight for. Rush's phone number is 1-800-282-2882 and Rush's e-mail address is elrushbo@eibnet.com and you know the address of your local fishwrap - write them and tell them you won't stand for this disgusting behaviour write his sponsors and tell them they can shove their products where the sun don't shine until they stop supporting his hate.

Below a video from the people at MediaMatters.org who do a phenomenal job of chronicling all number of outrages either perpetrated by the MSM or conveniently not reported. In this video Rush mocks one of Obama's children and manages to sneak in calling Obama, "boy."


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Somewhere Over The Rainbow



I don't want to get Pollyannish here or maudlin. It's just a pretty song by the cast from Glee against the backdrop of the catastrophe in the Gulf. Any song with those images would be moving. It's a pleasant thought on the last weekend of spring to imagine a world where public policy debates aren't some dreadful political football game all about scoring points at someone else's expense. Instead, the implementation of thoughtful and reasonable ideas based on the best empirical evidence available that benefits the greater good and is not the product of superstition and age old prejudices. That people care about their fellow man and would never make fun of a hungry child or resort to torturing one's enemies. That such behaviour would be deemed unthinkable and the perpetrators of such cowardly acts could never show their faces in public again - that's if they could first escape prosecution.

Pity. The 21st Century had such promise.

Tone Deaf Or Just Plain Stupid?

Today's Congressional hearing on the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster included an apology from Congressman Joe Barton (R-Tex) to Tony Hayward, the BP CEO who has been a walking talking PR nightmare for the oil giant. He was apologizing for what he called the US government "shakedown" of BP forcing them to open that $20 billion dollar escrow account to help compensate the victims. Really, what could be worse than being held responsible for your own actions? Anyhow it inspired the thought, are the Republicans just astoundingly tone-deaf, genuinely stupid or are they merely whores for oil money? Judge for yourself as the same Joe Barton asks the Secretary of Energy, Nobel award winning scientist Stephen Chu, "How did all that oil and gas get to Alaska and under the Arctic ocean?"



Joe Barton actually went further with his idiocy and called it a "slush fund," a comment with which even Tony Hayward disagreed.

You Want Wankers?



I'm not even sure this is merely wankery anymore. I've called Glenn Beck the most despicable man in the world and I mean it. I put him on a par with child molesters and murderers. His kind of hate is lethal. Rush Limbaugh deserves to be counted as equal to Glenn. Today Rush was suggesting poor kids who are hungry should go dumpster diving.

Of course Rush didn't like Obama's speech - not really worth mentioning in the previous post but the best part was his attack on the "fraud" of global warming. The science on global warming is clear and indisputable except to idiots, liars and corporate shills.

One of the reasons Rush and Glenn get away with the crap they do is because of a compliant press.

The Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, may be releasing a new video soon which probably explains why American officials have stepped up efforts to locate him.

Obama's Speech Universally Panned




It's hard not to like Rachel's version better.

Still, there were some good things in the speech. Not in specifics but the long term goals and the over-arching theme that it is time to get off oil dependence is a good start. Other than that though, the speech offered little reassurance to  progressives who have been waiting action on AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming). But Obama doesn't directly address climate change or global warming in his speech because no one wants to hear about it. There are allusions, but that is all. No sticking his chin out and laying it on the line. Vague assurances that BP will pay and they'll never give up on the people of the Gulf coast. Is that the voice of a politician who believes he can sell his vision to his constituents?

Has a year-and-a-half of non-stop demagoguery by the right neutered the President to the point that he only speaks in vague platitudes for fear of the next day's backlash? Or is this the first step towards a clean energy bill and future? Maybe he's not trying to reach the choir with this speech. Maybe he just wants the average person who doesn't get embroiled in the day to day madness of partisan politics to understand something very serious is going on here and it will take time and effort and a change of direction to fix it.

I'm the first guy to cut Obama slack. I know it. I read the complaints of other liberals and progressives and worry that they're forgetting what the alternative is - and it was eight long years of murderous god-awful. The sad thing is that there has been a carryover. Not just of the debts and two unfinished wars, but some of the policies as well. He has not undone rendition or put an end to torture or Gitmo or a lot of the other things he said he's do - he has even  defended the Bush administration's handling of the Mahar Arar case though it was clearly demonstrated Arar was guilty of no crimes. He was arrested and renditioned to Syria where he was tortured. No apology, no prosecutions for wrongful imprisonment, nothing! The NYT's calls it disgraceful, and they're right.

As for BP though, he seems to be making good on his promise to make them pay as today they agreed to the $20 billion dollar escrow account to meet the mounting claims that will be administered by a third party. So that's a victory, but it's not clear if it's the pressure Obama is bringing to bear, or if BP has finally come to their senses and are going to try and salvage what they can of their reputation so that next year they can still remain in business. Their credit rating was downgraded by six notches today to just above junk status.

News on the spill itself has the well gushing as much as 60,000 barrels per day into the ocean but there's hope that a second containment system may help to mitigate 90% of that by as early as next week. That's pretty much where the good news ends. There's talk over at The Oil Drum, a sounding board for petroleum geologists, that the gusher may be unstoppable and get far worse before the relief wells are dug. I've seen hints at this elsewhere, let's hope they're wrong.

As for wankery on the subject, well that continues at the regular rate. Palin lies about what Obama's said on the subject - this should come under the heading of water is wet. BP, in yet another winning move, hired mercenaries to keep people away from the despoiled beaches. And just yesterday, big oil executives were lobbying for tax breaks and subsidies. These are the most profitable corporations in the history of the world and they want welfare.

 To close on a perfect note, the Sierra Club reports that clean beaches in New Jersey make more money than off-shore drilling will. The only god is the god of irony - do not trifle with him!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fossil Fuel Addiction

Oil execs get grilled by Congress and admit they're not well equipped to handle disasters.

Cue speech from the President on need for real change. We're rooting for him. Let's hope he can be as good as his word. Remember one of the reasons he's going after BP hammer and tong is it's been 21 years and Exxon still has not paid even the piddling amount (for them) they were fined. In fact before dime one was ever paid as compensation to victims of Valdez oil spill, 8,000 of the potential recipients died.


President Obama’s Oval Office Address on BP Oil Spill & Energy from The White House on Vimeo.


Cue Republicans telling Obama not to use this fossil fuel disaster as an excuse to push for legislation that tries to end dependency on fossil fuels. They're so astoundingly anti-science on the right and in some cases just so stupid, that I wonder where their credibility comes from. Oh yeah, the corporate media enables these idiots by never making any connections between what we're witnessing, for example, extreme storms and global warming. The evidence can be right in front of them and still they deny it.

One of the Republican governors (Haley Barbour of Miss.) is always alluding to oil naturally seeping into the oceans and how that isn't the end of the world and so the spill in the Gulf shouldn't be either. Well, that's 'cause it's a different animal.

Here's 15 unsettling facts about wealth and inequality in America (spoiler: the rich have been getting way richer and the poor less than nothing).

The most despicable man in the world (Glenn Beck) lies some more.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The BP Valdez - Nothing Has Changed

This is going to be a quick hitter (for me). Here's some video of Rachel Maddow making the point, in no uncertain terms, that oil companies (still) do not know how, nor do they have the technology to stop a spill 5,000 feet below the surface of the ocean. And a reminder that 21 years after the fact Exxon still has not paid the full amount of their fine for the Valdez spill. In fact before dime one was ever paid as compensation to victims of Valdez oil spill 8,000 of the potential recipients died.




There are very good reasons for Obama to force BP to set up a $20 billion dollar escrow account for the financial victims in the Gulf states. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out, especially with the Republicans most beholden to their big oil donors.

Every Day... Links!

Every day more proof rolls in like the tide of BP's malfeasance in the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Not just their unwillingness to give accurate assessments of how much oil is spewing into the Gulf, or their desire to prevent the press from showing the true picture of the extent of the mess and take photographs that break people's hearts, but criminal negligence and stupidity which led directly to the catastrophe.

McClatchy reports today that, BP knew its Macondo well was troublesome in the days leading up to a fatal April 20 blowout, congressional investigators found, but the company "appears to have made multiple decisions for economic reasons that increased the danger of a catastrophic well failure."


From the company's uncommon well design to its fatal decision not to circulate drilling mud, which could have cleared out pockets of gas, and the lack of critical testing, which could have pinpointed problems with its cementing, the company had many points at which it could have prevented an explosion, investigators with the House Energy and Commerce Committee have found. This and more was all in the name of cutting costs and saving a few bucks.

Just six days before the well exploded a BP drilling engineer warned in an e-mail that the Deepwater Horizon oil rig was a “nightmare well” that had caused the company problems in the past.

Even the main contractor for the clean-up operations understand that their efforts have been less than adequate.
Scientists locate a 23 mile long oil plume off Florida's Gulf coast.

The Obama administration has to bear it's share of the blame - they did not act quickly enough to change the culture at the MMS and he should have been more skeptical of claims from those who claimed off-shore drilling was safe.

On the climate change front Science Daily reports, Unique Arctic habitats for flora and fauna, including sea ice, tundra, lakes, and peatlands have been disappearing over recent decades, and some characteristic Arctic species have shown a decline. The right-wing media think it's funny that a Democratic Senator makes a connection between national security and global warming. A connection even former Bush security advisers made - somehow they've forgotten that.

Over at Joe Romm's blog there's an interview with Dr. Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, who dares to make the connection between AGW and some of the extreme weather we've witnessed of late.

Remember yesterday's announcement of a trillion dollars worth of mineral riches in Afghanistan? Turns out they knew a while ago - this first report says a bit more than two years ago. It'll end up being more, wait and see.

What day's blogging would be complete without some sort of extreme language from the right - this one includes talk of impeaching Obama, a gun, a chat with men in costumes and a call to "gather your armies!"

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Weekend's Roundup



Usually I like to intro any video I post but I thought this spoke rather eloquently for itself.

The disaster in the Gulf continues apace and as the news gets worse, word is Obama is going to address the nation on Tuesday and take concrete steps to make sure BP pays for what the have wrought. I can hear the caterwauling from the right already. One such whore in the thrall of bigoil spent last week trying to undermine EPA regulations. Murkowski (R Alaska) failed but still managed to get 47 votes.

The scariest thing is now that they've finally admitted the actual amounts of oil spilling daily into the Gulf from the blown well head, word comes that there may be other problems with the damaged well that may mean oil is leaking up from the sea floor. Evidence is growing stronger and stronger that there is substantial damage beneath the sea floor. Indeed, it appears that BP officials themselves have admitted to such damage. This has enormous impacts on both the amount of oil leaking into the Gulf, and the prospects for quickly stopping the leak this summer.

Ever mindful of bad publicity BP continues to block media access to damaged wetlands and beaches. They are also keeping the press away from Wildlife Rehab Centers. They are despicable and I hope Obama throws the kitchen sink at them!

Chevron feeling left out of bad publicity extravaganza decides to cover a few birds in oil. It is time to move away from dependence and addiction to oil - a reminder of exactly how difficult that will be.

News out of Afghanistan that maybe explains why everyone wants to stay and fight in a hopeless war, a place often characterized as the graveyard of empires: U.S. Identifies Vast Riches of Minerals in Afghanistan! In the meantime US intelligence is busy focusing on Afghan graft and corruption - Karzai and his brother-in-law are probably in trouble if that's true. And in Iraq things are fabulously still twirling, ever twirling towards freedom as five Iraqis, including 2 who were standing on their rooftop witnessing the arrival of US infantrymen, have lost their lives after their house was attacked by the troops!

The Pentagon have their priorities straight amidst all this though, they are busy hunting for Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder.

Tea party loses steam as crotchety members can't get along or agree on anything except wearing onions was once all the rage.

Lastly, the right wing media hacks in a never ending effort to prove their ignorance, find something new to hate: Soccer!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Most Despicable Person In The World

We are big fans of Keith Olbermann here at NM&P, particularly his daily "Worst Person In The World!" feature. He's generally got a good point to make and oft times it's a damned funny segment. Last night he included Glenn Beck in his segment and as always he's having sport - my only qualms are that I no longer think Glenn Beck is worthy of sport or needling or anything else that isn't dead serious about getting him off the airwaves. He's not only the worst person in the world he's the most despicable.




The following words taken from Beck's radio program are not merely some sort of twisted entertainment - they are a call to his listeners for violence against a President whom Beck is calling a traitor to the US in so many words and he does it daily. Every day that there is no action, Beck seems to ramp up the demagoguery and the hate. This, as they say, is not going to end well.

BECK: Using his own words to describe his grandmother, that when you see a 'typical person' like the president of BP, he has a reaction -- um, you know -- to those people that has been bred into him. Ok. Alright. Now that actually kind of works, if you understand who his parents were. And who his grandparents were. Because they're not really the 'typical white people.' His mother - his mother wasn't. His mother was a revolutionary. His father wasn't. A revolutionary. His grandparents, they went to the communist Little Red Church just outside of Seattle. They had communist friends. So it's almost like Marxism has been bred into him.

BECK: And I think that's who she is. I don't know her at all, other than her own words. And her own words are not in sync with America. Americans are proud of their country. They may not like what's going on in their country under Bush, under Obama, under Reagan, under Clinton, it doesn't matter, we are not happy with the way that our country is run from time to time, usually most times. But we have an underlying belief in our country and love of our country. I don't think she does. Maybe she does, but her words say differently.

What We're Up Against

Hello to whomever shows up here!

We've only been doing this a short while and we're trying to establish ourselves as reliable and on top of the news. Between the three of us we haven't as yet developed the facility to take the stories on one at a time so mostly it's daily news wraps. Occasionally there's been the perfect video or article to bring to the attention of whatever reader happens by and we've run a couple of those - but mostly wraps.

We've been way ahead of the curve on our first real effort to bring a story that the MSM wasn't telling the truth about: the amount of oil gushing into the Gulf on a daily basis. Go back to our posting of May the 1st and you'll find, using the information available to us and all, we were informing people who were dropping by that a million gallons (25,000 barrels) or more were pouring into the Gulf. We took umbrage along the way as the numbers were continuously low-balled by BP and the government.

I'm not sure more accurate reporting would have changed things as they now stand but there's a chance that with numbers so large and frightening there might have been a greater sense of urgency - not from BP or government officials - but from the public at large. We still have the power to move these idiots you know. We are not under any obligation to be in their thrall, in fact quite the opposite. Governments get to set policy on our behalf as long as we are satisfied with their behaviour and corporations get to reap from the fat of the land provided they put back, employ, be good citizens and pay their damned taxes!

When they fail to do these things on our behalf we have the power and the duty to act appropriately. Not sit on our asses and take it. "Can I have another sir?" are not the words the people who fought and died to establish western civilization would think suitable for the current state of affairs. We have to act or become extinct before this century concludes.



To celebrate our 100th post, here's a National Geographic video that illustrates why it's important to keep fighting for a cleaner environment and smarter public policy.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Day's Roundup

Since everyone seems to give the overseas wars short shrift, I start there.

General McChrystal seems to be stalling for time so that coming offensive in Kandahar will be extra awesome - because war always is. An attack so brutish that the Taliban doesn't claim credit, but then they're murderous liars. Hamid Karzai has lost faith in US ability to defeat Taliban - turning to Pakistan. It's been a pretty bad month for Nato allies in Afghanistan and it's only 1/3 done.


Obama got his sanctions against Iran but no one actually believes they'll accomplish much.

On to the volcano of oil spewing into the Gulf, and the numbers are not good. The numbers have been revised upwards by the government and the uppermost estimates are frightening: 20 to 40 thousand barrels per day, and maybe even as high as 50 thousand, or 2.1 million gallons!

The right are trying to blame environmentalists for the oil spill - their fault for being right about the risks of off-shore drilling. John Boehner, minority House leader suggesting taxpayers should pay for the oil spill cleanup. BP still denying the existence of large oil plumes underneath the ocean waters. Aaaaand they couldn't be bothered to attend hearings on the oil disaster.

A couple of articles on how Dick Cheney and GWB jr. helped create a culture of corruption and deregulation that led to the BP disaster. Obama and his administration, especially Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, deserve to shoulder their fair share of the blame while we're doling it out. There really is no excuse for not doing more to change the culture and dynamics at the MMS.

The last five months have easily been the warmest on record. The Obama administration have been complacent about acting on global warming issues too.

Relentless

I have to start with something positive as the news today, as another week in the life of the gusher in the Gulf draws to a close, is relentlessly terrible.

So, some insight on how to go about changing awareness and public policy from Jacques Cousteau: Forget the politicians-- they all think short-term... But there is something I have found that works. Identify an issue with a campaign that has emotional appeal. Advocate a specific policy. Get letters, petitions and faxes. With thousands of signatures, the politicians will join the parade--No--they will try to lead the parade.

It's a short read and elegant in its' simplicity. Speaking of elegant solutions, a twitter star known as shoq along with engineer Justin Grindal have come up with an idea to capture the spewing oil that looks like it could work.

And to guarantee the day's posts start on a note that'll bring a smile, from UCBcomedy.com  here's a video called BP Spills Coffee:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Soylent Green

 
I can remember being a kid and watching the film about a future dystopia, "Soylent Green," and thinking it quaint. I don't get that same sense of kitschy fun now when I view it. Characters portrayed by Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson live in a world where complete desertification has taken over the planet, destroyed the environment, and the inhabitants live a hard-scrabble life in a world completely depleted of all its' wonders and natural resources. It's (quite famously and literally) a dog eat dog world.


Today, as I busy myself posting the news links to stories I covered on my radio show, stories that are not getting enough MSM coverage because the medias are far too busy focusing on fake scandals like Obama using the word "ass," I find myself thinking of that fictional world. (My only problem with Obama's use of that word is that he did not direct it those truly responsible for the continuing disaster in the Gulf and those who really lower the level of discourse, especially when it comes to policy and politics.) Anyhow, as I continue following the nightmarish stories that are coming out of the Gulf while those on the right continue to push for an end to the moratorium on drilling, I see nothing but people blind to the real potential of this disaster in concert with everything else that is taking place around the globe. So much so that an entertainment I once regarded as a B-movie fantasy now seems prophetic and frightening.

Listen to how short-sighted and ignorant this man sounds now in the light of what's taking place:


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Psychology of Denialists

From Debora MacKenzie at New Scientist comes an article on the psychology of denialists. It's illuminating and helps to explain how we can be in the middle of a crisis - Global Warming - and the concrete steps necessary to mitigate this imminent disaster are for the most part not being taken.

I have never been able to get my head around the deniers of anthropogenic global warming, and the science behind it. I understand why people in the fossil fuels business are fighting it tooth and nail but the followers, the believers in this tripe have always left me cold. I tend to get extremely dismissive and condescending. It makes absolutely no sense - not because the science couldn't be wrong, it could be - but because the deniers objections always rely on anecdote and science produced by people with vested interests. The conspiracy part of the equation is just goofy. That scientists from all over the world could all be in on the climate change fix is so absurd as to be beyond ludicrous.

In discussion just a couple of days ago someone sneered at me that I was one of those who believed the science produced by NASA the NOAA and the IPCC as if these were organizations were staffed by ducks, and mad ones at that. I lost my temper, not because I was sneered at or even because he was disparaging organizations whose integrity I believe in - certainly more than the word of profit driven corporations - but because an otherwise sane human being could advance a line of reasoning so obtuse.

To believe that global warming is not happening bizarre judgements are being made. Firstly, that the intuition of the denier trumps the hard work and study of tens of thousands of scientists and hundreds of thousands of man hours of research. Second, that the evidence visible before all our eyes is somehow all part of the normal vagaries of weather patterns when there is ample proof from around the globe that things are changing markedly, rapidly and dangerously. Lastly, to make these arguments at all, one has to have come to the conclusion that the constant stream of CO2 that humankind is pumping into the atmosphere from cars and factories all around the globe are of little or no consequence (9.5 billion tons so far this year, and it's only June!).

Ms. MacKenzie points out that I should consider being less judgemental of deniers: Whatever they are denying, denial movements have much in common with one another, not least the use of similar tactics. All set themselves up as courageous underdogs fighting a corrupt elite engaged in a conspiracy to suppress the truth or foist a malicious lie on ordinary people. This conspiracy is usually claimed to be promoting a sinister agenda: the nanny state, takeover of the world economy, government power over individuals, financial gain, atheism. They're just trying to be do-gooders in their own strange way.

She also says these people are neither ...malicious, or even explicitly anti-science. Indeed, the alternative explanations are usually portrayed as scientific. Nor is it willfully dishonest. It only requires people to think the way most people do: in terms of anecdote, emotion and cognitive short cuts. Denialist explanations may be couched in sciency language, but they rest on anecdotal evidence and the emotional appeal of regaining control.

And there's the rub, scientific evidence and facts will not dissuade the denier, ...against emotion and anecdote, dry statements of evidence have little power. To make matters worse, scientists usually react to denial with anger and disdain, which makes them seem even more arrogant.

She does a great job of describing the crossover of corporate interests funding groups that play into these beliefs for their own benefit and gives the very definition of what are commonly referred to in the blogosphere as 'asrto-turf' movements (fake grass-roots): Many denialist movements originate as cynical efforts by corporations to cast doubt on findings that threaten their bottom line. Big Tobacco started it in the 1970s, recruiting scientists willing to produce favourable data and bankrolling ostensibly independent think tanks and bogus grass-roots movements. One such think tank was The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC), set up in 1993 by tobacco company Philip Morris. TASSC didn't confine itself to tobacco for long. After getting funds from Exxon, it started casting doubt on climate science.

The consequences of denialist movements have cost people their lives and this one may cost many more. This is not some quaint discussion about people who believe in anecdote and those who believe in science, it's about preserving a livable environment for our descendants.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Accountability

Been trying not to make all my posts about the disaster in the Gulf of late. It's playing out long, slowly and painfully. We made pretty good calls here based on common sense and decent internet sources. The first being that there was no way the rate of flow was anything like only 5,000 barrel a day. The figure has now been set at 19,000 or so and that's still low-balling the true figure - as is pointed out in the video below by CBS legal correspondent Sharyl Attkisson on Face the Nation:



Maybe BP thinks by playing games with the figures they're going to get away with paying a smaller fine - and maybe they will. They certainly have the resources and wherewithal to try. Corporate citizens are never taken to task the way the rest of us are - or would be if any of us were responsible for the deaths of 11 people and destruction of various flora and fauna that has robbed tens of thousands of people of their livelihoods.

Speaking of corporate accountability in these instances, or lack thereof, word today that those responsible for the tragedy at Bhopal were finally convicted - 25 1/2 years later, of negligence. The seven surviving defendants were sentenced to two years in prison and fined 100,000 rupees, or $2,100.

They were the first criminal convictions from the leak at the Union Carbide chemical plant in Bhopal, a central Indian city. The leak killed 3,000 people almost instantly, and thousands more died later from the aftereffects of the toxic gas, an ingredient in pesticides the plant produced.

Maybe BP will get the same deal. Or maybe they'll get the same deal as Exxon, 'cause that's what they really want. They want the rough estimates to be off by 2/3's and to fight it in court for 20 years and then dole out pocket change and pretend they've paid their debt.

The President has been doing his part near as we can tell, but will get little credit as there is little he can do other than try and make the accountable - seems unlikely if BP finds ways to drag it through the courts for 20 years. The reality is that they will have to wait until August when the relief wells have been dug, and even that's not a sure thing, before oil stops gushing into the Gulf. Meanwhile, he's out-numbered by the whores and spinmeisters and those in the pockets of big oil.

For comic relief from all this, try reading about an under-reported spill stemming from the BP offices in the UK.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Bigtime Roundup

There's nothing like taking a couple of days off to help you fall behind!

I'm going to start with the story that actually kept me from blogging Friday and Saturday: I checked in late and the first story the blogosphere brought to my attention was this ghastly story out of Arizona courtesy of Wonkette:

From the Arizona Republic:


A group of artists has been asked to lighten the faces of children depicted in a giant public mural at a Prescott school. The project’s leader says he was ordered to lighten the skin tone after complaints about the children’s ethnicity ….


R.E. Wall, director of Prescott’s Downtown Mural Project, said he and other artists were subjected to slurs from motorists as they worked on the painting at one of the town’s most prominent intersections.


“We consistently, for two months, had people shouting racial slander from their cars,” Wall said. “We had children painting with us, and here come these yells of (epithet for Blacks) and (epithet for Hispanics).”

Happily the story doesn't end there. By weekend's end the man leading the campaign against the multi-ethnic mural, Steve Blair, had been fired from his talk radio show and they were no longer changing the color of the children's faces in the mural. Maybe the moral of the story is I really should have more faith in humanity.

While we're on the subject of raging Republican racists let's not forget this idiot, South Carolina State. Sen. Jake Knotts, who said, "We got a raghead in Washington; we don't need one in South Carolina." Classy!

Okely-dokely, don't stop me if you think you've heard this one before: BP spills 500,000 lbs of toxic chemicals at Texas plant where 15 people died in 2005. BP, always willing to prove they have their priorities straight, have purchased several phrases on search engines such as Google and Yahoo so that the first result that shows up directs information seekers to the company's official website. Aren't they awesome?

Some Republican shills say things so stupid that it's hard to know exactly what to say about them - with others, it's pretty cut and dried, "We give you money, you say nice things about us or nothing at all!"



Climate Progress has the complete story about how the Bush/Cheney administration enabled the mess in the Gulf that we are currently witnessing. It's a sad tale of tax breaks for coal, oil and gas and nuclear energy corps, and non-stop cuts for renewable energy programs.

Consequences of Climate Change: Ocean acidification.

Right-wingers complain that homophobes are always portrayed as mean and bullying on TV. Not enough happy-go-lucky hate-filled people on your box! While we're on the subject of whiny Republicans, here's House Minority leader John Boehner crying because Paul McCartney made fun of Bush's intelligence, or lack thereof, and demanding an apology. Coincidentally it was on the same day that Bush declared waterboarding (although illegal) was awesome!

One of the more ridiculous media memes out there week, "Bitch-slap us please Mr. President!"