Platinum hasn't been this cheap in 20 years…
Right now, you can buy an ounce of platinum for $1,480. With gold trading around $1,620/oz, this means you can buy one of the rarest . . . → Read More: One of the Most Important Commodity Charts We Have Ever Seen
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With IRA contributions capped at $6,000 a year, how did Mitt manage to amass an IRA worth $100 million? Hint: an Island might be involved. [...]
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They are most likely not 'armed drones', but news has surfaced that the US Air Force is training drone pilots to trail civilian auto traffic on New Mexico's highways.
In a 'lifestyles-of-video-game-war' piece by Mark Mazzetti that appears in The New York Times Magazine this Sunday, Mazzetti writes:
When I visited the base [Holloman Air Force Base, NM] earlier this year with a small group of reporters, we were taken into a command post where a large flat-screen television was broadcasting a video feed from a drone flying overhead. It took a few seconds to figure out exactly what we were looking at. A white S.U.V. traveling along a highway adjacent to the base came into the cross hairs in the center of the screen and was tracked as it headed south along the desert road. When the S.U.V. drove out of the picture, the drone began following another car.Some may shrug and say that the undisclosed high-altitude tracking of US vehicles for training purposes is harmless, but the line between civilian privacy and an increasingly Orwellian capacity of the US federal government to track its own citizens is blurred just a bit more by this practice.
"Wait, you guys practice tracking enemies by using civilian cars?" a reporter asked. One Air Force officer responded that this was only a training mission, and then the group was quickly hustled out of the room.
In 2008 and 2010, Harman helped beat back efforts by Homeland Security officials to use imagery from military satellites to help domestic terrorism investigations. Congress blocked the proposal on grounds it would violate the Posse Comitatus Act, which bars the military from taking a police role on U.S. soil.The problem with an ever powerful national government with more and more tools to control and track its citizenry is that these powers, legal and technical, are often abused and used in ways not originally intended.
I guess we now know the NRA's position on slavery.NRA Board Member Ted Nugent: "Because our legislative, judicial and executive branches of government hold the 10th Amendment in contempt, I'm beginning to wonder if it would have been best had the South won the Civil War. Our Founding Fathers' concept of limited government is dead."That's a bit like saying that it would have been best had Hitler...
Ted Nugent, the American rock singer known for his conservative politics and love of guns, also believes that the country would have been a better place had slavery won out. In a column for the Washington Times today, Nugent complains about a lack of regard for states’ rights, then says, “I’m beginning to wonder if it would have been best had the South won the Civil War.” The statement isn’t a total surprise from a man who often dons confederate flag shirts and recently made a veiled threat to kill the President. But it does underline potential political repercussions for Mitt Romney, who actively sought Nugent’s endorsement.
by Max Frankel
The toll from record high temperatures across the United States is mounting. As triple digit temperatures and an intense drought spread, conditions for wildfires continue to get worse, livestock suffers, and corn crops are under threat. Even the mighty Mississippi River is seeing its waters recede.
St. Louis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Chicago are just some of the Midwestern cities with record high temperatures this week. In St. Louis, a record high high temperature of 105 was followed up by a record high low temperature of 83. Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin also set records with their low temperatures.
The heat wave isn’t limited to the Midwest. Here in Washington DC, we’re experiencing our record ninth consecutive day over 95 degrees, with at least two more days in the 100′s on the way.
Compounding the issue are massive power outages still seen in parts of the country — a consequence of severe storms that hit last week. In Michigan, around 300,000 residents are still without electricity.
According to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, over 4,000 daily heat records have been broken in the last 30 days, including 224 all-time heat records. Tomorrow, the expected high in Washington, DC is 106, which would be the highest recorded temperature since 1930.
The heat and associated drought are wreaking havoc on the nation’s corn crop. The U.S. is the world’s largest producer of corn and 2012 was supposed to be a banner year. Farmers planted 96.4 million acres of corn, a 5 percent increase over last year. But the heat and drought have already caused much of it to shrivel and die. “We?re talking five-feet-tall corn with no ears, no shoots and no tassels,? said Randy Anderson, a farmer from Illinois. ?It wears on your nerves to even look.?
Temperatures soared in places like Jefferson County, Missouri, where the high hit 111 and parts of five corn producing states are now suffering from drought conditions. Almost all of Ohio is now officially in drought. Columbus, Ohio had only 2.01 inches of precipitation in June, a full 2 inches below normal — and experts believe that between 5 and 10 inches of rain is necessary to fully end the problems.
As the corn crop now enters a crucial pollination phase, it is even more vulnerable to the heat and lack of rain: ?This is a very narrow window for corn, and there?s little room for error,? said Brad Rippey, an agricultural meteorologist for the United States Department of Agriculture. ?Whatever happens in that window, it is what it is ? that cob is made or broken.?
?This is a moving target,? said Darrel L. Good, a professor emeritus of agricultural and consumer economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. ?But what we know is this: There?s been some permanent and substantive yield reduction already, and we?re on the cusp, depending on the weather, of taking that down quite a bit more.?
The Mississippi River is also being impacted by the extreme weather conditions. In Vicksburg, Mississippi, the river is 4.79 feet deep, more than 38 feet below its flood stage depth. Some boats, such as the American Queen — one the largest paddle boats ever built — can’t access Vicksburg’s docks.
According to Robert Latham, the director of Mississippi’s Emergency Management Agency, the drought conditions, in conjunction with the lack of northern runoff from melting snow pack due to the mild and dry winter, have contributed to the low water level.
“When you look back at this past winter, one of the things that impacts us is the snow pack and the melt that causes the fluctuation in the river levels,” he said. “We didn’t have that snow pack that we had over a year ago.”
Although this is the time of year when the Mississippi sees its lowest water levels, depths are usually closer to 20 feet.
According to NOAA, El Niño conditions may be starting this summer. Though this may bring some much needed immediate relief to much of the country, it sets the stage for even higher temperatures next year.
As drought conditions worsen, climate scientists warn about the role of man-made climate change in intensifying the problem.
Speaking about last year’s devastating drought in Texas and Oklahoma, Texas A&M, climate scientist Andrew Dessler said last August that ?there is absolutely no way you can conclude that climate change is not playing a role here.? Texas climatologist Katherine Hayhoe also recently explained that ?our natural variability is now occurring on top of, and interacting with, background conditions that have already been altered by long-term climate change.?
In addition, NASA climatologists, including James Hansen, released peer-reviewed research concluding that the Texas heat wave was ?a consequence of global warming because their likelihood was negligible prior to the recent rapid global warming.?
Max Frankel is a senior at Vassar College and an intern at The Center for American Progress.
In a new interview with Parade magazine, pop star Katy Perry discussed how thrilled she was when President Obama came out for marriage equality and how her own views on social issues have changed throughout her life:
PERRY: I was really happy; I probably went down to West Hollywood and had a shot. I came from a different mind-set growing up, and my mind has changed. My viewpoint on all these things ? equality for women, the choice to love anyone you want ? hopefully, we will look back at this moment and think like we do now concerning [other] civil rights issues. We?ll just shake our heads in disbelief, saying, “Thank God we?ve evolved.” That would be my prayer for the future.
The last three years have been the worst on record for public sector job losses, and the fact that more than 700,000 public employees have been laid off is holding back the nation’s economic recovery. In the last 12 months, local governments have lost more than 130,000 teaching jobs alone, according to monthly jobs data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics today.
In June 2011, local governments employed more than 7.9 million teachers. A year later, that number has dropped to 7.8 million, as Business Insider’s Joe Weisenthal notes. Since June 2008, when local governments employed 8.1 million teachers, they have shed more than 300,000 teaching jobs, as this Federal Reserve Economic Data chart shows:
Such cuts obviously have perilous effects for the nation’s education system and long-term economic health, but it hurts the economy in the short-term too. Teachers are disproportionately women, so the cuts affect a subset of worker that already faces significant disadvantages in the American workplace, and these losses no doubt played a role in the recession’s out-sized impact on female workers.
What is worse, though, is that congressional Republicans blocked Democratic efforts to extend aid to state and local governments that would have protected teaching and public safety jobs multiple times over the last two years. Keeping teachers and other public sector employees in the workforce would boost demand to help the economy, so much so that growing the public sector at normal rates (instead of shrinking it at a record pace) would knock a full point off the unemployment rate.
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Joe Walsh, America's Most Offensive Congressman ®, doubled and then tripled down on his comments disparaging Tammy Duckworth today in an interview on CNN. I lost count of how many times he says "Ashleigh" here, but if it were a drinking game you'd have gotten alcohol poisoning.
In a heated interview with CNN?s Ashleigh Banfield this afternoon, Rep. Joe Walsh, the controversial Republican Illinois, quadrupled down on his attack on his Democratic opponent?s military service, while also taking the opportunity to call Banfield ?kiddo,? and defend his previous attempt to humiliate an octogenarian political opponent. Walsh said he didn?t regret attacking Tammy Duckworth, his rival who lost both her legs fighting in Iraq: ?I?m not going to back down from anything I?ve said.?
His initial comments came during a town hall last week, when he said of her service, ?my God, that?s all she talks about.? When asked about the swipe by Politico, he explained, ?I have so much respect for what she did in the fact that she sacrificed her body for this country. ? Ehhh. Now let?s move on.?
The entire interview was over 12 minutes, which DemRapidResponse (DNC) put immediately on YouTube. I couldn't in good conscience subject you to the entire thing though. Suffice to say though, the clock on Joe Walsh remaining in congress is ticking.
(AP) President-elect Barack Obama walks with Gulf War Veteran Tammy Duckworth, who lost both her legs in combat. Obama joined Duckworth at the Bronze Soldiers Memorial in Chicago for Veteran's Day 2008.
And in honor of Joe Walsh's creepiness throughout this interview, we present "Ashleigh", which Think Progress noted Walsh manged to say 93 times.
Mitt Romney is back to accusing President Obama of having no plan for economic growth:
The president?s policies have not gotten America working again. And the president is going to have to stand up and take responsibility for it. I know he?s been planning on going across the country and celebrating what he calls ?forward.? Well, forward doesn?t look a lot like forward to the millions and millions of families that are struggling today in this great country. It doesn?t have to be this way. The President doesn?t have a plan, hasn?t proposed any new ideas to get the economy going?just the same old ideas of the past that have failed. [Emphasis added]
The political world has all but forgotten the American Jobs Act, but it remains on the table as Obama?s plan for juicing the economy. If passed in full, the Jobs Act would cut payroll taxes for businesses, double the size of the payroll tax cut for individuals, give aid to states to prevent public sector layoffs, and increase infrastructure spending. All together, the Jobs Act would create 1.9 million jobs over the next year.
Romney, on the other hand, doesn?t have a plan for generating demand and creating short-term economic growth. What he has is a plan designed for long-term problems; he wants to expand domestic energy production, sign new trade agreements, cut the corporate tax rate and confront China over currency manipulation. What?s more, he wants to dramatically reduce the size of government and shrink the federal workforce. As Greg Sargent pointed out last month, this agenda?particularly the plans to cut federal spending?would have a negative shock on the economy. If you assume Romney intends to implement the Ryan budget?which he has said on multiple occasions?his plan would cost the economy 1.3 million jobs, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
The only jobs plan on the table right now is the one proposed by the Obama administration. Republicans should be pressured to pass it, and Romney should be challenged on his assertion that the White House has nothing to offer.