At Salon, Sarah Laskow writes:
By 2025, just 13 years from now, humans will have modified half of all the land on Earth. We will have turned space that once supported complicated systems of plants, animals, soils, water and microbes into cities or farms. Already, we?ve taken over 43 percent of the land. What?s left is mostly criss-crossed by our roads. By 2060, 70 percent of the earth?s surface could be covered with human development.
According to the group of more than 20 scientists responsible for these observations, published this week in Nature, these shifts could also be pushing the Earth toward a tipping point ? a round of irreversible planet-wide changes. During the last great transformation of the planet, when miles upon miles of ice receded and left the planet in its current interglacial states, about 30 percent of the planet?s surface transitioned from ice-covered wasteland to landscapes more closely resembling the ones we know today. The shifts that we humans are responsible for are more dramatic and are happening faster.
At base, the scientists argue, a growing population of humans and our ravenous consumption of resources is driving these changes. There are so many of us that we?re changing and breaking up habitats, hustling to use up energy sources wherever we can find them, and changing the climate by throwing carbon into the atmosphere. It?s not clear how much of the earth?s surface we would have to change dramatically for the rest of the planet to give over to whatever new state of affairs we?ve cast headlong into. It may not happen at all. But if it does, the Nature report says, it will be ?extremely difficult or even impossible for the system to return to its previous state.?
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2004:
The Center for Constitutional Rights, the outfit representing the Gitmo detainees, will announce a RICO lawsuit against the CACI and TITAN mercenary outfits. The two companies former a joint "Team Titan" to provide "interrogation" services to the US military.
These are the Abu Grahib post-Saddam torturers.
The lawsuit will rest, at least in part (leaked details are sketchy), on the Alien Tort Claims Act, which allows non-US nationals access to U.S. courts. The Bush Administration has requested the Supreme Court rule this law, passed by the first Congress, unconstitutional. RICO statutes and the 14th Amendment promise to play a role as well. [...]
Incidentally, CCR has also posted the full "the president is king and can subvert US law in regards to torture" memo. This is the same memo that Ashcroft refused to release to angry Democratic senators.
Open Thread below....
Wall Street Journal editor and frequent Fox News guest Steve Moore claimed that concerns over a scheduled expiration of tax cuts is "the whole problem with the U.S. economy right now." In fact, economic experts say that a lack of demand for goods and services is the main factor dragging down jobs growth, and several recent surveys of small business owners show that lack of demand is their main concern.
WSJ's Steve Moore: Taxes Are "The Whole Problem With The U.S. Economy Right Now." On Fox News, Wall Street Journal editor Steve Moore said that raising "capital gains taxes, dividend taxes, I think would just hold back business expansion." He later added that "the higher the taxes are, the less incentives there is for business to expand, for workers to work. I mean, this is the whole problem with the U.S. economy right now." Moore also advised Obama that "to put some juice in this economy," he should "call off that tax increase." [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 6/8/12]
WSJ: Economists Say "The Main Reason U.S. Companies Are Reluctant To Step Up Hiring Is Scant Demand." The Wall Street Journal reported:
The main reason U.S. companies are reluctant to step up hiring is scant demand, rather than uncertainty over government policies, according to a majority of economists in a new Wall Street Journal survey.
"There is no demand," said Paul Ashworth of Capital Economics. "Businesses aren't confident enough, and the longer this goes on the harder it is to convince them that they should be."
In the survey, conducted July 8-13 and released Monday, 53 economists -- not all of whom answer every question -- were asked the main reason employers aren't hiring more readily. Of the 51 who responded to the question, 31 cited lack of demand (65%) and 14 (27%) cited uncertainty about government policy. The others said hiring overseas was more appealing.
Some executives echoed the survey's central finding. [The Wall Street Journal, 7/18/11]
Economist Bruce Bartlett: "It's The Aggregate Demand, Stupid." In a post on the New York Times' Economix blog, former Reagan and George H.W. Bush policy adviser wrote that the "only policy that will really help" stimulate growth and job creation is "an increase in aggregate demand":
Aggregate demand simply means spending -- spending by households, businesses and governments for consumption goods and services or investments in structures, machinery and equipment. At the moment, businesses don't need to invest because their biggest problem is a lack of consumer demand, as a July 21 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York documented.
The right policy can be debated, but the important thing is for policy makers to stop obsessing about debt and focus instead on raising aggregate demand. As Bill Gross of the investment firm Pimco put it recently: "While our debt crisis is real and promises to grow to Frankenstein proportions in future years, debt is not the disease -- it is a symptom. Lack of aggregate demand or, to put it simply, insufficient consumption and investment is the disease." [The New York Times, Economix, 8/16/11]
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke: "The Continued Weakness In Aggregate Demand Is Likely The Predominant Factor" In Continuing Long-Term Unemployment. From Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's prepared remarks at the 2012 National Association for Business Economics annual conference:
Is the current high level of long-term unemployment primarily the result of cyclical factors, such as insufficient aggregate demand, or of structural changes, such as a worsening mismatch between workers' skills and employers' requirements? If cyclical factors predominate, then policies that support a broader economic recovery should be effective in addressing long-term unemployment as well; if the causes are structural, then other policy tools will be needed. I will argue today that, while both cyclical and structural forces have doubtless contributed to the increase in long-term unemployment, the continued weakness in aggregate demand is likely the predominant factor.
[T]he fact that labor demand appears weak in most industries and locations is suggestive of a general shortfall of aggregate demand rather a worsening mismatch of skills and jobs. Counterexamples like the energy boom in the upper Midwest, where there may be some mismatch in the geographic location of suitably skilled workers or an overall shortage of potential workers with relevant skills, might best be interpreted as the exceptions that prove the rule; a mismatch story would suggest that strong labor demand would be appearing in more sectors or geographical areas by now. [U.S. Federal Reserve, 3/26/12]
NBER: "A Drop In Aggregate Demand ... Is Responsible" For Much Of Unemployment. A working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that "a drop in aggregate demand driven by shocks to household balance sheets is responsible for a large fraction of the decline in U.S. employment from 2007 to 2009." The paper also stated:
Our estimates suggest that the decline in aggregate demand driven by household balance sheet shocks accounts for almost 4 million of the lost jobs from 2007 to 2009, or 65% of the lost jobs in our data. [National Bureau of Economic Research, February 2012]
Small Business Survey: Lack Of Demand Top Concern For Small Business Owners. A survey of small business owners conducted by the American Sustainable Small Business Council, The Main Street Alliance, and the Small Business Majority released February 1 "shows small business owners see weak customer demand as the most important problem they face right now":
[American Sustainable Business Council, 2/1/12]
Gallup: 71 Percent Of Small Businesses List Demand As Main Reason They're Not Hiring. A Gallup survey of small businesses released on February 15 shows that 71 percent of small businesses that are not looking to hire new employees are holding back on hiring because there isn't enough demand to justify new hires. Dennis Jacobe, Gallup's chief economist, wrote:
Companies typically hold back on hiring when the economy is weak and when their operating environment is not providing sufficient revenues or cash flows. This appears to be the case right now, as the economy has been weak for more than four years.
NFIB: Weak Demand Has Been "Single Most Important Problem" For Years. The most recent National Federation of Independent Businesses survey of small businesses shows that for the past several years, sales have been the "single most important problem" to a higher percentage of small businesses than taxes:
[National Federation of Independent Businesses, NFIB Small Business Economic Trends Survey, May 2012]
Can?t improve upon this, ladies and gentlemen (but before we chortle too much over #1 in the clip, be advised that a certain Barack Hussein Obama signed into law legislation allowing guns in our parks ? sooo, why exactly is that wasteoid Ted Nugent all POed again?)......
...and speaking of guns (God, will this country ever learn?)...
...and I now give you the latest lies from Willard Mitt Romney...
Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
...and best wishes to Sheryl Crow ? hope all goes well with her health.
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On this day in 1789 James Madison introduced twelve proposed amendments to the Constitution in the US House of Representatives. By 1791, ten of them had been ratified and became known as The Bill of Rights.[...]
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Here's another tune from a musical genius. Whatcha listenin' to tonight?
Today at the second day of Netroots Nation convention in Providence, Rhode Island, there were all kinds of panels to attend and films and presentations to watch -- and they all seemed to have the same common theme: That Americans need to start[...]
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I have listened to Click and Clack the Tappit brothers (Tom and Ray Magliozzi) for years (decades really). For the most part, my cars have worked over those years but I listen for the laughs. They simply made their shows enjoyable. They laughed at each other and at the goofy situations that their callers could
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From AP:Suicides are surging among America's troops, averaging nearly one a day this year ? the fastest pace in the nation's decade of war.The 154 suicides for active-duty troops in the first 155 days of the year far outdistance the U.S. forces killed in action in Afghanistan ? about 50 percent more ? according to Pentagon statistics obtained by The Associated Press.The numbers reflect...
GOP "Young Gun" Joe Coors (CO-07).
(Photo from Coors' campaign website)Sometimes, ladies and gentlemen, the snark simply writes itself:
Just because you're a Young Gun doesn't mean you have to be young.David Graham of the Atlantic pored through the list, and found the average age of a Republican "Young Gun" to be ... wait for it ... 52 years old.
Take Joe Coors, one of the 10 candidates just added to the National Republican Congressional Committee's Young Gun list, a group of candidates the NRCC hopes to propel into office. The candidate for Colorado's 7th district has never held elected office before; he is also 70 years old and has eight grandchildren.
For those scoring at home, the average age of the actors from the Young Guns movie franchise (bonus points for those who can name all six actors) is ... 48.3 years of age. And those staples of Gen X youth were first released almost a quarter of a century ago!
Of course, this does explain a few things. For example, it explains why many in the GOP candidate class are so eager to cut Social Security for future generations, but not the present one. Quite clearly, they have a personal stake in the program at this point.
Amazing that the GOP candidate class is also not building their campaigns around putting Murder, She Wrote and JAG back on the air.