One of the biggest problems with our healthcare system is that it is too complex. Some complexity[...]
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Rest in peace, Clarence Clemons, 69. "The Big Man" with Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band:
At the Danger Room, Spencer Ackerman writes Power Down: Senate Zaps Navy?s Superlaser, Railgun:
General Atomics Blitzer RailgunThe Senate just drove a stake into the Navy?s high-tech heart. The directed energy and electromagnetic weapons intended to protect the surface ships of the future? Terminated.
The Free Electron Laser and the Electromagnetic Railgun are experimental weapons that the Navy hope will one day burn missiles careening toward their ships out of the sky and fire bullets at hypersonic speeds at targets thousands of miles away. Neither will be ready until at least the 2020s, the Navy estimates. But the Senate Armed Services Committee has a better delivery date in mind: never.
The committee approved its version of the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill on Friday, priced to move at $664.5 billion, some $6.4 billion less than what the Obama administration wanted. The bill ?terminates? the Free Electron Laser and the railgun, a summary released by the committee gleefully reports.
?The determination was that the Free Electron Laser has the highest technical risk in terms of being ultimately able to field on a ship, so we thought the Navy could better concentrate on other laser programs,? explains Rick DeBobes, the chief of staff for the committee. ?With the Electromagnetic Railgun, the committee felt the technical challenges to developing and fielding the weapon would be daunting, particularly [related to] the power required and the barrel of the gun having limited life.?
Both weapons are apples in the eye of the Office of Naval Research, the mad scientists of the Navy. ?We?re fast approaching the limits of our ability to hit maneuvering pieces of metal in the sky with other maneuvering pieces of metal,? its leader, Rear Adm. Nevin Carr, told me in February. The answer, he thinks, is hypersonics and directed energy weapons, hastening ?the end of the dominance of the missile,? Adm. Gary Roughead, the top officer in the Navy, told me last month. With China developing carrier-killer missiles and smaller missiles proliferating widely, both weapons would allow the Navy to blunt the missile threat and attack adversaries from vast distances.
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At Daily Kos on this date in 2010:
Demonstrating that a culture of corruption and incompetence is hard to break, the Minerals Management Service is continuing to approve offshore drilling projects in the Gulf of Mexico that don't meet the new safety standards defined by President Obama. McClatchy's Shashank Bengali has the story:The Department of Interior's Minerals Management Service has signed off on at least five new offshore drilling projects since June 2, when the agency's acting director announced tougher safety regulations for drilling in the Gulf, a McClatchy review of public records has discovered.
Three of the projects were approved with waivers exempting them from detailed studies of their environmental impact ? the same waiver the MMS granted to BP for the ill-fated well that's been fouling the Gulf with crude for two months.
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I wasn’t there this year. This is the second year in a row in which I missed the gathering.[...]
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I am using tonight's Late Night post for a point of personal privilege, because I have been so patient and so quiet for so long. Some months ago, I pointed Jane Hamsher to a post Pam Spaulding published about issues with her blog (Pam's House Blend) and[...]
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TPM is looking for a web designer/graphic artist to consult on an important new project. Applicants must have extensive site design experience and have particular facility using layout, typefaces and color to create elegant and functional designs and[...]
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TPM is hiring a second tech reporter to write for the TPMIdeaLab section of our site. This is a full-time position based in our New York City headquarters.Candidates must have at least two years relevant reporting and writing experience and be ready to[...]
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A Bahraini blogger speaking at a Netroots Nation panel on the Arab Spring questioned the justification for the crackdown given by Bahrain — at times, backed up the U.S. — that Iran was behind the unarmed protest movement. Lamees Dhaif, a journalist targeted by the government for speaking out, told the audience:
Iran turned into a phobia. For 30 years they?ve been terrifying us and terrifying the world– Iran is going to take on Gulf countries. But Iran is a loud country, they talk a lot. For 30 years, I haven?t seen them do anything. But on the ground, what did they actually do? And they are taken as an excuse to make us pay more for armies, for not having equal rights.
She added while she hadn’t seen Iran’s presence, she did see foreign soldiers open fire on unarmed demonstrators, referring to the Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) forces that moved into Bahrain to aide the crackdown:
I don?t see Iran coming to Bahrain, I see five armies firing on people, who don?t even have water guns. I don?t know if that happened in any other country.
Dhaif lamented the tepid U.S. reaction to the crackdown, which continues to simmer. Though the Obama administration began putting pressure on Bahrain for human rights abuses, it remains to be seen if reforms announced by the Gulf Shiekdom will be implemented. Another uncertainty lies in whether Bahrain and the Saudi-led GCC will abandon what analyst and Tufts University professor Vali Nasr recently called their strategy of “shift(ing) the focus from democracy to the bogeyman, Iran.”
Title: My Son Calls Another Man DaddyArtist: Hank Williams
Here's to all the Daddys out there.
On Friday, June 17, I got up early to catch a train to get to St. Louis in time to catch the rally to save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security outside Senator McCaskill's St. Louis office, and then go on to the Missouri Democratic Party's annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner at the Renaissance Grand in Downtown St. Louis.
Basically, if all the statewides are scheduled to appear somewhere, chances are pretty good that if you look for the table at the back, where the tripods are set up and the hand-held recorders are out on the table, you will find me and assorted other members of the political media -- especially my partners at Show Me Progress. We try very hard to have someone at every event.
Sometimes that is short notice and it frequently sends me scrambling for resources if I haven't had time to plan ahead, but we get there and we cover it and we archive audio so we can fight back with context and/or accuracy when Democrats are misunderstood -- or as happens far to often, deliberately misquoted.
Take Friday night for example -- Jo Mannies, who didn't sit with us lowlife bloggers at a table, but chose to hug the wall just inside the ballroom doors instead -- decried Democratic Governor Jay Nixon for lapsing into "partisanship" because he dared say the words "right wing extremists" and call out the nutjobs in the state legislature for what they are during his address Friday night...Even though he wasn't speaking at a campaign rally, he was speaking to a room full of 500-plus of the most hard-core Democrats in the state, all of whom paid $125 per plate to attend.
When that sort of money is shelled out, red meat is expected, and since the menu was chicken and shrimp, that red meat came from the speakers. And did they ever deliver!
Governor Nixon gave one of the best speeches I have heard him give, and I have been covering him since he was our Attorney General, campaigning for Governor. He is in Jefferson City with the right-wing extremists who want to return us to the era before the New Deal and the Wagner Act, to the cutthroat era of the robber barons and union busting and the systematic disenfranchisement of the "wrong" people who tend to vote the opposite way that the rich and powerful do.
Nixon appeared before a crowd of Democrats just hours after vetoing the right wing extremists' latest attempt to disenfranchise anywhere between 170-240,000 Missouri voters. hell, yeah, he was going to deliver some partisanship and get these people -- you know, the folks who open their wallets and man the phones and go door to door and basically and keep the Missouri Democratic Party functioning -- fired up!
I was also impressed with Claire McCaskill's more pugnacious tone. Of course, the fact that 200 people were outside her office in 90-degree heat with 190% humidity for over an hour "encouraging" her to stand up for the safety net didn't discourage her any from kicking it up a notch or two, either. When she said that teachers and police officers and firemen aren't the problem, and that "their pensions sure as HELL aren't the problem!" the crowd was on it's feet and she had to pause before going on and wait for them to take their seats.
It's not this guy's fault we're in this mess.
What I heard from the speakers who addressed the rank and file who, while in their finery on Friday night, in the coming months will be in jeans and sneakers canvassing neighborhoods, and manning phone banks, and working for candidates and raising money and donating money, and time, and talent -- was that they are going to work as hard as we are and they will fight for us.
Jay Nixon fought for us on Thursday when he addressed boys state and told them something I hope they take with them the rest of their lives. He pointed out to them that they were going to be okay no matter what. Their tickets are punched, it's all in front of them and it's all theirs if they don't piss it away. But, he told them, "you have to have compassion. You don't make yourself any taller by cutting off the heads of those around you."
Then he fought for us on Friday when he vetoed the odious Voter ID bill.
I hope he is just getting started and spends a little of his political capital to fight back in the rural areas where they are a natural Democratic constituency. They have potable water, electricity, gas, roads, mail delivery, phone service, internet access, hospitals and doctors and nurses to work in them, Social Security, Medicare, S-CHIP and Medicaid to access them and they can get drugs from a pharmacy that is regulated so they are sure they are getting what the doctor prescribed and not baking soda because Democrats didn't just make those things happen -- Democrats made those things possible.
The thesis of one of the first posts I wrote when we launched Show Me Progress was me arguing that the Missouri Democratic Party needs a concerted 114 County Strategy, that we need to get offices back on the square in Albany and Bethany and Princeton and Trenton and Gallatin and Grant City and all the other small counties that lost their long-term Democratic Senators and Representatives in 2000 when term limits took over because -- lets face it -- term limits caught us unawares. We were content with the "old bulls" like Harold Caskey running things for decades on end. There was comity and things got done and worked pretty well. And in those rural areas, no new talent was being recruited and groomed by the Democrats, but the republicans were doing just that on school boards and municipal boards and county legislatures. Then they sprung term limits and they had their candidates ready to go.
And the state party responded by...abdicating the rural areas to the wingers.
I hope some of that pugnacious talk I heard Friday night means that the days of that nonsense are over. Instead, I hope it gets repeated in every county seat of all 114 counties by every statewide official on the 08 ballot at least twice between now and then, and I hope they have an aggressive social media presence, because every one of my country cousins uses Facebook five times as much as I do, and I use it every day.
There are votes to be had outstate -- but only if you go and ask for them and talk to them about the issues that matter to them. And for god's sake, they deserve better than the likes of Casey freakin' Guernsey.
P.S. Special thanks to my friend Taunia Adams (@Taunia_Adams on Twitter) for her help assuring that the trip continued smoothly after a pretty shaky start. She's the kind of gal you can count on in a pinch and she has my undying gratitude. --BG
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