?Southern people are conservative by need. You know, if you lived in the South 40 years ago, you?d know what I?m talking about,? said Donald Crocker, who has cut hair in tiny Leakesville since 1966. He meant that Southerners had learned to live poor, relying on their churches and their neighbors and not expecting government help. Even when their forebears received government handouts ? cheese and powdered milk ? they scrimped and saved and used it all. He still tries to live that way, charging just $9 per haircut and $10 for a flattop.Well, if not relying on government help means not doing anything to help decrease infant mortality rates, not doing anything to help improve the education of our kids, doing squat to help the local economy improve - basically, not doing anything to help move people out of poverty - then yes, that would make you Republican. But it also makes you a bit of an idiot.
He felt strongly that President Obama would destroy this way of life, displaying a bumper sticker that said: ?If you voted for Obama in ?08 to prove you?re not a racist, vote for someone else in ?12 to prove you?re not an idiot!? But he suspected none of the GOP candidates knew what he was talking about.No, an idiot is someone who thinks that the biggest problems the South faces are gay marriage and abortion. I'd be curious if any of you from the South could explain a bit more about why these folks continue to vote against their own interests.
News media, civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools and others will be promoting discussion all week on open government and freedom of information. The discussion will be a part of Sunshine Week, a national initiative launched in March 2005 by the[...]
Read The Full Article:
Wingnuts say any comparison is silly, since Viagra is used to treat a "medical condition." But there's more to this story:
An Ohio State Senator is turning the tables on men seeking to regulate women?s access to reproductive health. Sen. Nina Turner (D-Cleveland) has introduced legislation regulating men?s access to erectile dysfunction drugs. The Dayton Daily News has the details:
Before getting a prescription for Viagra or other erectile dysfunction drugs, men would have to see a sex therapist, receive a cardiac stress test and get a notarized affidavit signed by a sexual partner affirming impotency, if state Sen. Nina Turner has her way.The Cleveland Democrat introduced Senate Bill 307 this week.
A critic of efforts to restrict abortion and contraception for women, Turner says she is concerned about men?s reproductive health? Turner said if state policymakers want to legislate women?s health choices through measures such as House Bill 125, known as the ?Heartbeat bill,? they should also be able to legislate men?s reproductive health.
Turner?s bill tracks FDA guidelines which recommends doctors determine whether the rootcause of men?s sexual disfunction is physical or psychological. She describes her bill as an effort to ?legislate it the same way mostly men say they want to legislate a woman?s womb.?
There have been similar efforts in other states. An Illinois bill would require men to watch a ?horrific video? on the side effects of Viagra. In Virginia, Sen. Janet Howell (D) submitted a bill requiring men to undergo a digital rectal exam before receiving a prescription for erectile disfunction drugs.
But there's actually a legitimate reason to regulate the drug, at least, if you follow wingnut logic. It seems that using Viagra not only results in extramarital affairs, but in more sexually transmitted disease:
Viagra use has been linked to a dramatic increase in sexually transmitted diseases in older men because it fuels extramarital affairs, British doctors say.
New Zealand figures on rates of sexual infections among older men were not available, but many sexual-health physicians say the British findings ring true.
[...] According to British health information, rates of sexual infections such as gonorrhea more than tripled in men aged 45 to 64 a rate more than four times that of the increase in rates among teenagers.
There were also dramatic increases in other sexual infections in the same British male group, with the number of chlamydia cases increasing by 315 per cent between 1997 and 2006.
Well! Obviously any decent, God-fearing person sees that it only makes good sense to discourage the use of this marriage-destroying drug!
As Alaska’s North Slope oil fields get tapped out, oil companies are demanding a tax cut of more than $2 billion a year. Last week, executives from BP and Conoco Phillips told the state senate that their companies would only increase investment in drilling if state taxes on their companies are gutted. They supported the language of House Bill 110, which would cut over $2 billion a year in oil company taxes as oil prices soar:
BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. and Conoco Phillips Alaska told the Senate Resources Committee there are projects the companies could do on Alaska’s North Slope to increase oil production, but those projects will have trouble attracting capital investment because of high state taxes. . . . Conoco Phillips spokeswoman Natalie Lowman said the company “has committed to spending $5 billion in the next 3 to 5 years jointly with our co-venturers if there is a tax change similar to what HB 110 proposed.”
BP and Conoco Phillips testified against SB 192, which would only cut oil company taxes by $200 million a year.
Gov. Sean Parnell (R-AK), formerly the director of government relations for ConocoPhillips, supports House Bill 110.
The housing crisis created a drop in homeownership rates across the board, but the number of Black and Latino homeowners decreased at a significantly higher level than it did for white Americans. A new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center reveals an astounding drop in homeownership rates among people of color. Specifically, the Black community saw levels of homeownership drop to pre-1990s levels:
Between 2004?2006 and 2010, however, homeownership rates dropped sharply, and more so for Hispanic and black households than for white non-Hispanics. The overall homeownership rate of 65.1 percent in April 2010 was 1.1 percentage points lower than 10 years earlier. Blacks ended the 2010s with a lower homeownership rate, 44.3 percent, than their 1990 rate of 45.2 percent and two percentage points lower than just 10 years earlier? The homeownership rate for black non-Hispanics now lags the white non-Hispanic rate by nearly 28 percentage points, compared with 26 points in 2000 and just less than 25 points in 1990?..
?While the housing crisis has hurt people of all races and ethnicities, it has been devastating for many Hispanic and black families, reducing their median wealth by one half to two-thirds and significantly increasing the number of households with negative net worth.
The correlation between skin color and homeownership is not coincidental; during the housing crisis, Black and Latino homeowners were twice as likely to be foreclosed on. Indeed, in California Black and Latino homeowners are said to make up 50% of foreclosures but only 30% of homeowners.
During the housing crisis, the Center for American Progress found, there were huge racial disparities in the makeup of high-priced lending with banks targeting people of color. One of the banks that received a government bailout, was even accused of having steered people of color toward subprime loans. Undoubtedly, these dubious and racist banking practices led to the homeownership numbers we see today.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is now taking steps to ensure the end of discriminatory lending practices. The damage, however, seems to have been done.
A Reuters analysis of public disclosure records confirms that Mitt Romney is winning the inside-the-beltway primary of Washington lobbyists. Nearly 390 registered lobbyists and lobbying political action committees (PACs) have contributed more than $1.5 million to “clear favorite” Romney’s campaign and the super PAC supporting him, “far more than what any other Republican candidate or his Super PAC has received.”
Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) have together raised a combined $94,000 from registered lobbyists, while their super PACs have not received any money from K Street.
Romney has also used lobbyists as ?bundlers” to help raise contributions, 16 of whom had collected more than $2 million for Romney’s campaign through the end of 2011, according to an New York Times analysis from last month.
Romney’s lobbyists donors mainly represent the healthcare, finance, and energy sectors. And Romney’s agenda would likely benefit the bottom line of many of these corporations, as he’s called for cutting corporate taxes, eliminating important environmental and labor regulations, and repealing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law and post-Enron Sarbanes-Oxley corporate accounting overhaul.
“The insiders approach this from a lot of different angles than a casual voter. They’ve been in town for a long time, they’ve watched this process for a long time, they can smell a winner,” said Tom Korologos of the law and lobby firm DLA Piper on Romney.
The death of the legendary Nobel prize-winning chemist F. Sherwood Rowland reminds us of the value of “alarmism” and the scientific duty to speak out in the face of impending disaster.
As UC Irvine physical sciences dean Kenneth C. Janda wrote in an e-mail to faculty Sunday:
?He saved the world from a major catastrophe: never wavering in his commitment to science, truth and humanity, and did so with integrity and grace.?
Rowland is one of the true scientific heroes of our time — both for his research and for what he did with it:
Nearly 40 years ago, Rowland and post-doctoral student Mario Molina made a shocking discovery: a single chlorine atom byproduct from aerosol hair sprays, deodorants and other popular consumer products could chew up 100,000 ozone atoms in the stratosphere. The stratospheric ozone layer, 12 to 30 miles above Earth, protects life on the planet from harsh solar radiation.
?Mario and I realized this was not just a scientific question, but a potentially grave environmental problem involving substantial depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer,? Rowland said later. ?Entire biological systems, including humans, would be at danger from ultra-violet rays.?
They decided they had to advocate for a ban on consumer products that were earning billions annually. Industry representatives fought back: At one point Aerosol Age, a trade journal, speculated that Rowland was a member of the Soviet Union?s KGB, out to destroy capitalism. Even some fellow scientists grumbled that he was going overboard with a hypothesis.
Of course, even in the face of industry attacks, we lived in a different political time and within just a few years of Rowland’s finding, many US aerosol spray-can manufacturers reformulated their product and the federal government put in place a ban for ozone-destroying gases in spray cans. Eventually, a hole in the ozone layer was discovered and the world (including the Reagan Administration) agreed to mandate sharp cuts in chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) use — a mandate that drove the “crucial technological advances” needed to address the problem.
The Nobel Committee noted in 1995, ?It was to turn out that they had even underestimated the risk.?
By 2008, Rowland was warning that given humanity’s apparent inaction on climate, “his best guess for the peak concentration of carbon dioxide” was a staggering ?1,000 parts per million.? That would be a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions and the end of modern civilization as we know it today, according to the recent scientific literature.
While many in the mainstream media pooh-pooh or ignore scientists like Rowland who have been warning of the climate crisis today — even as the right-wing media and fossil fuel industry continue their assault on the science and the scientists — it was good to see even the Washington Post today acknowledge the value of sounding the alarm:
… Molina said his former mentor never shied from defending his work or advocating a ban on CFC.
?He showed me that if we believe in the science … we should speak out when we feel it?s important for society to change,? Molina told the Associated Press.
Rowland felt it was his duty to speak out on ozone depletion and then on climate change — and his words on the subject are a clarion call for action by climate scientists, indeed, by all of us:
?Is it enough for a scientist simply to publish a paper? Isn?t it a responsibility of scientists, if you believe that you have found something that can affect the environment, isn?t it your responsibility to actually do something about it, enough so that action actually takes place?? Rowland said at a White House climate change roundtable in 1997. ?If not us, who? If not now, when??
Yesterday, Blue Collar Comedy front man Jeff Foxworthy endorsed former Wall Street investment banker Mitt Romney for president, and announced that he plans to campaign with him at several events in Alabama and Mississippi. In honor of this occasion, we’d like to suggest several Foxworthy-appropriate jokes for the campaign trail:
In 2009, Illinois’ Medicaid program covered 54 percent of births, and state officials hope to avoid cutting the maternity benefits as they consider where to cut $2.7 billion from Medicaid. Illinois goes above federal requirements to cover pregnant women who make up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level and pregnant teenagers who make up to 300 percent of federal poverty. And a new federal requirement prevents states from lowering the Medicaid income ceilings for pregnant women and other groups. Mike Claffey, spokesman for the state Healthcare and Family Services department, said that for these reasons, “eligibility for pregnant women is not on the table” for Medicaid cuts.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported on Friday:
… coal’s share of monthly power generation in the United States dropped below 40% in November and December 2011. The last time coal’s share of total generation was below 40% for a monthly total was March 1978. A combination of mild weather (leading to a drop in total generation) and the increasing price competitiveness of natural gas relative to coal contributed to the drop in coal’s share of total generation.
It’s a tad ironic that warming weather, driven in part by coal-fueled emissions, contributed to the drop in coal use.
Another reason for the steady decline in coal power is that the Sierra Club, with the support of centrists like Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York, is working to shut down all U.S. coal plants in the Beyond Coal campaign.