The Critical Metals Report: Jeb, you successfully forecasted the mining mini-boom from 2009 to early 2011. Now we find ourselves in a protracted down period in the junior mining space, which is even affecting . . . → Read More: The US and EU Are Desperately Seeking Heavy Rare Earths: Jeb Handwerger
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The right vs left debate about Medicaid expansion may be played out in public as about costs to states and who should bear them, but the back drop may just as easily be about ideological views about who's deserving and who's not, which means we may be[...]
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By Marin Katusa, Casey Research
News of a “monster” natural gas find in British Columbia has one again highlighted that North Americans need to make a choice. Do we want to keep the . . . → Read More: Which Course Will North American Natural Gas Producers Choose?
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During a town hall event in Elk Grove, Illinois, the deadbeat dad, who owed over $100,000 in child support and has never served in the military himself, trashed Duckworth's service to this country in an effort to smear her campaign against him for his seat in Congress. After comparing Duckworth to John McCain, Walsh told the crowd that she isn't a "true hero."
"Understand something about John McCain," Walsh began. "His political advisers, day after day, had to take him and almost throw him against a wall and hit him against the head and say, "Senator, you have to let people know you served! You have to talk about what you did!" He didn't want to do it, wouldn't do it. Day after day they had to convince him. Finally, he talked a little bit about it, but it was very uncomfortable for him. That's what's so noble about our heroes. Now I'm running against a woman who, my God, that's all she talks about. Our true heroes, it's the last thing in the world they talk about. That's why we're so indebted and in awe of what they've done."
A previously unreleased government report makes Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, the head of the Missile Defense Agency, look like the boss from hell.
The report, by the Defense Department's Inspector General's office, found that O'Reilly's leadership style was "inconsistent" with Defense Department and Army ethics and leadership regulations, that he "yelled and screamed at subordinates in both public and private settings," and that he "demeaned and belittled employees." It also found that O'Reilly's conduct "resulted in the departure of several senior staff members, and caused his senior officials to hesitate to speak up and raise issues during meetings with him."
The report was completed in May 2012, but not released to the public. It was obtained by Josh Rogin of Foreign Policy's The Cable blog. The IG's report recommended that the Secretary of the Army consider "appropriate corrective action" in regard to O'Reilly.
O'Reilly's leadership style is described by one person as "management by blowtorch and pliers." The same person compared O'Reilly to a "wife beater," meaning that he would "beat you in private, but -- you know, where the public can't see."
One incident the report examines in detail occurred in February 2010 in Tucson, Arizona. MDA personel were in town for an executive steering committee meeting, but travel delays kept them from checking into their hotel, the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort, until 2 a.m. on the morning of the event. It was around then that several witnesses said they heard O'Reilly berating an employee for several minutes, demanding that the employee admit that they "fucked up."
"You fucked up, you tell me you fucked [up], you admit you fucked up," O'Reilly told his subordinate, while they stood near the hotel's elevators, according to one witness.
The issue? O'Reilly told investigators that he had previously informed MDA staff not to book hotels that used the word "resort" in their titles, because they created a perception of waste. He said he had been "dead tired" during the conversation, and that he only lost his temper when he felt that he wasn't getting the acknowledgement he wanted from the employee. From the report:
...O'Reilly further described the incident, which he stated took place in a private and secluded area of the resort. During the last minutes of a 10-20 minute conversation, he lost his composure, yelled, and cursed at two employees. He did not demand that the employees should use profanity and was surprised when one of them said she, "fucked up." He immediately apologized.
The MDA employee in question, meanwhile, said that O'Reilly never apologized for the incident, but that O'Reilly did later thank him or her for arranging the meeting, and gave them a "Director's coin."
Most of the witnesses interviewed for the report said that O'Reilly is personally very intelligent, "even brilliant," but eight witnesses who spoke with the IG's office made statements along the lines of: "the worst manager I've ever worked for in 26 years of federal service," "as a leader, as a director, whatever, he's the worst," and "in terms of leadership, bottom." One witness said O'Reilly treated external stakeholders well, but staff poorly, and described him as "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."
In a response to the preliminary report in March, O'Reilly disputed the the IG office's conclusions and questioned the objectivity and accuracy of witnesses. He denied ever yelling or screaming at anyone, or ever forcing a subordinate to use profane language. He called witnesses' versions of events "extrapolations of inaccurate perceptions of isolated incidents." Even after O'Reilly's response, the IG's office decided to stand by its conclusion.
O'Reilly, who became the director of MDA in 2008, began his career at the agency back in the 1990s. He is a a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and has Masters Degrees in Physics, National Security and Strategic Studies, and Business. Lieutenant General O'Reilly is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and Staff College, the U.S. Naval College of Command and Staff, and the U.S. Army War College. According to Foreign Policy, O'Reilly is scheduled to retire in November.
The MDA's mission is to "develop, test, and field an integrated, layered, ballistic missile defense system (BMDS) to defend the United States, its deployed forces, allies, and friends against all ranges of enemy ballistic missiles in all phases of flight."
37 witnesses were interviewed as part of the IG office's investigation, including 24 current and former MDA senior officials.
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Tea party-favorite Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) may not have ever volunteered for military service, but he says he can spot a "true hero" and the double amputee running for his seat isn't one.
Think Progress captured video on Sunday of Walsh telling supporters that Tammy Duckworth wasn't a hero because "all she talks about" is losing both her legs when the helicopter she was piloting was shot down in Iraq in 2004.
"Understand something about John McCain," the congressman explained. "His political advisers, day after day, had to take him and almost throw him against a wall and hit him against the head and say, 'Senator, you have to let people know you served! You have to talk about what you did!' He didn?t want to do it, wouldn?t do it."
"That?s what?s so noble about our heroes," Walsh continued. "Now I?m running against a woman who, my God, that?s all she talks about. Our true heroes, it?s the last thing in the world they talk about. That?s why we?re so indebted and in awe of what they?ve done."
Duckworth, who served as a helicopter pilot with the Illinois Army Guard?s 1st Battalion, 106th Aviation, was awarded the Purple Heart in December 2004.
"This is not so bad," she said of her injuries later that year. "I?m just glad it was me and not one of my guys out there."
Sixteen cities around the world have set a cumulative target to sell almost six million electric and plug in hybrid electric vehicles by 2020. If they reach this goal, EVs would account for about 6% of total vehicle sales and about 20 million cars on the road.
A new report called the EV City Casebook highlights how these leading cities are putting the right pieces into place to encourage the adoption of EVs:
“Cities are also leading by example. Many have already added electric vehicles to municipal fleets and incorporated hybrid buses into public transportation. They are placing charging spots at public buildings and, in some cases, offering discounted electricity rates for EV users from municipal-owned utilities. Just as important, cities are using their convening power to assemble multi-stakeholder groups that include city planners, automakers, utilities, infrastructure suppliers, academic and research institutions, and city and national officials. These groups work together to create a roadmap for EV readiness that considers all stakeholder perspectives and seeks to identify and address technical, economic and regulatory barriers to EV adoption and integration.”
The sixteen cities involved in the collaborative project are Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, BrabantStad, the Goto Islands in Nagasaki, Hamburg, Helsinki, Kanagawa, Los Angeles, New York, North East England, Portland, Research Triangle in North Carolina, Rotterdam, Shanghai, and Stockholm.
Three cities, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Los Angeles have taken the lead and are instituting innovative programs to reach their ambitious EV targets. Here’s a look at what they’re up to:
Amsterdam is a 219 square kilometer city with a population of a just over 780,000. There are almost a quarter million registered vehicles and the average commuter travels 8 kilometers everyday. Amsterdam currently has about 750 Evs in use and aims to have 10,000 on the roads 2015. To accomplish this goal, the city has number of initiatives in the works.
First, Amsterdam has reserved almost ?9 million for subsidies. They pay companies up ?5,000 for each electric car, ?10,000 per electric bus, and ?40,000 per electric truck that they integrate into their fleets. A pilot program run in 2009 yielded encouraging results, with over 200 EVs purchased.
Next, the City has a Car2Go program. Started in 2011, electric vehicles can be dropped off an picked up at any time from public parking spots for a nominal fee. This program closely resembles the Bikeshare and Zipcar programs we see in the U.S. Additionally, stating in 2013, an online database will provide live and up-to-the-minute information about the location and status of the city’s nearly 1,000 EV charging stations.
Finally, Amsterdam is slowly transitioning its taxi fleet to EVs. By the end of 2012, 40 of the cities 2,500 diesel taxis will be electrically powered, up from 10 the previous year.
Amsterdam also aims to be fossil fuel free by 2040, powering its electric cars, trucks, boats, and buildings with energy generated by wind, solar, and biomass.
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain with a population of of more than 1.6 million people. It is a dense metropolis where people rely heavily on motorbikes and scooters to get around. The city has almost a million registered vehicles, but plans to expand its electric fleet from the 400 it has today to about 3,000 by 2014. Barcelona also aims to have almost 4,500 charging stations in two years.
In order to accomplish these goals, Barcelona has installed a series of “Mobecpoint” charging stations around the city to encourage the use of electric two-wheelers. The city is second only to Rome in its use of motorbikes and the Mobecpoint stations charge them for free. Barcelona hopes to encourage electric scooters enough so that they make up half of the two wheeled vehicle fleet. Volta Motorbikes, a popular manufacturer, has introduced an electric two wheeler named the ‘Barcelona’ due to its “design, environmental respect and quality.”
The city’s LIVE program (Logistics for the Implementation of the Electric Vehicle) is an open platform that provides information to users about everything from charging stations to opportunities for new innovation and investment. It also issues EV registration cards needed for using the municipal charging stations. LIVE is regarded as “the first citizens? office in Europe to provide information regarding electric mobility.”
Through LIVE, Barcelona released an app called Chargelocator, which allows mobile users to find the nearest and cheapest available charging station.
Like Amsterdam, Barcelona is working on an EV car sharing program. This one is being worked on in collaboration with MIT and may resemble the University’s ideas for the City Car.
Los Angeles has more than 2.5 million registered vehicles for its 4.1 million residents. Commuters travel an average of 23 miles a day and nearly 80% of them do it via passenger vehicle. Currently, Los Angeles has about 2,000 EVs in use, but aims to get that number closer to 80,000 by 2015.
To help reach that goal, the State of California has added a $2,500 purchase rebate in addition to the $7,500 federal tax credit on electric vehicles. California also allows drivers traveling alone to use the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes on highways if they are driving Zero-emissions cars.
In late 2011, the city of Los Angeles started using long-range all-electric eBuses to shuttle passengers to and from the terminals at LAX airport. The buses are significantly cleaner and cheaper than conventional buses; in fact, some estimate they can be up to $500,000 cheaper than normal buses over their life time.
The city of LA also started requiring all new construction projects to contain EV readiness infrastructure.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has taken a number of steps to further the development and deployment of EVs. It has invested $60 million in smart grid technology for the city, upgraded the local power grid to cope with EV charging stations, and provided a $2,000 discount to people who install EV charging stations in their homes.
Finally, the city is involved in a number of collaborative projects with local universities and state agencies to study and prepare for the rollout of a future EV fleet. LA has entered into a partnership with Shanghai, China to “cooperate and share data from their respective EV demonstration programs.”
It will still be many years before EVs become truly “mainstream.” But forward-thinking cities are preparing for their roll out today, setting the stage for a new phase in transportation.
Max Frankel is a senior at Vassar College and an intern with the energy team at the Center for American Progress.
There’s something wrong with a message that requires spin, covering up, and censorship, and the decision by Jitters & Bliss Coffee to step into the National Organization for Marriage’s pathetic Starbucks boycott is exemplary in this regard. Yesterday, NOM gave J&B some free press, promoting the company as a Starbucks alternative that maintains a “neutral corporate position on marriage.” This is, of course, except for partnering with the most vocal and rabid anti-equality organization in the country and trying to profit off their dismal protest. “Neutrality” is code for invisibility and continued oppression of the gay community.
Jitters & Bliss has shown just what a scam NOM is trying to pull under the guise of this “neutrality” through the astounding mismanagement of its Facebook page today. Earlier today, J&B was censoring pro-equality comments, blocking posters who added such comments, and ultimately shut down its page for a period of time. The page rebooted this afternoon with the following message and comment, which have also since been deleted:
In light of Jitters & Bliss Coffee paid advertising on NOM website, our position has not changed. Like many companies we are NEUTRAL on the gay marriage issue. We respect our customers’ diverse views on it as with the many other issues facing our nation today. Yes, we are paying advertising on NOM, and would do so on gay sites too (with a NEUTRAL, inclusive position). Our nation is diverse as is our customer base. “God Bless you, and the USA!”
Please, no posts!
The post was obviously rife with lies. First of all, J&B is clearly doing more than “advertising,” seeking to profit off anti-gay stigma by giving money to NOM to get free publicity in NOM’s own materials. Secondly, the company clearly doesn’t respect diverse views if it’s deleting pro-equality comments from its page and trying to censor feedback in general. Both its Facebook page and Yelp page are continuing to receive negative comments because of its NOM alliance, turning the scheme into a PR disaster that it clearly is unprepared to manage. At the time this post was published, the Facebook page has again been pulled from public view.
Plenty of businesses have already learned that supporting their LGBT employees and customers is good for business. When NOM launched a protest of General Mills for its support of nondiscrimination protections and marriage equality, the company responded by offering water to the protesters, unfazed by their efforts. The fact that J&B has had to respond to detractors with censorship and lies demonstrates just how quickly an anti-equality position will compromise customers’ trust.
Paul Campos at Salon cites a “source within the court with direct knowledge of the drafting process” who tells him that Chief Justice Roberts’ chambers authored most of what eventually became the dissenting opinion signed by the four most conservative justices in the Affordable Care Act case. This contradicts the two unnamed sources in Jan Crawford’s piece this weekend, which claims that Justices Scalia and Kennedy were the primary authors of the dissent, but largely confirms Crawford’s main conclusion that Roberts flipped his vote midstream. Ultimately, however, the minor details of who authored what is of secondary importance. The biggest revelation of the Salon piece is that the Supreme Court now appears to have sprung a second leak.
ThinkProgress noted that the GOP leadership can’t seem to make up its mind about whether the individual mandate is a tax (as the Supreme Court says) or not (as lead Romney campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom suggested). While the leadership dithers, the base’s backlash against Romney putting down the “it’s a tax” club builds.
In National Review, Michael Walsh writes a post entitled “Spineless Jellyfish Terrorize Great Nation!”
Nothing like getting Election 2012 off-message from the start, and running up the white flag before the fight has even begun. Shades of the McCain campaign ? first, starring in the Steve Schmidt role is Mr. Etch-a-Sketch himself, the ineffable Eric Fehrnstrom.
Breitbart heir Joel Pollak threatens the campaign with an out-and-out revolt:
The Tea Party has been ready to rally to Romney’s side over the Obamacare decision, overlooking his past in order to use him as the vehicle for repealing Obamacare and toppling Obama. But if Romney won’t fight for conservative principles, the Tea Party is going to start looking elsewhere–fast. No one wants to live through the frustration of October 2008 all over again. No one wants to watch another conservative capitulate to Obama.
This ain’t Etch-A-Sketch, Mitt. Go hard or go home.
Scott Johnson nods:
What can we learn from this? I offer a multiple choice question
(a) Romney is not the ideal candidate to don the mantle of opposition to Obamacare.
(b) Romney?s political instincts are lacking on a key campaign issue.
(c) Romney?s campaign requires an overhaul.
(d) Romney isn?t much of a Power Line reader.
(e) All of the above.
And prominent right-wing blogger Patterico calls it “dumb, dumb, dumb.” So a banner week for the Romney campaign’s base turnout efforts, then.