Hmm. I think some would have liked the President to make climate change an issue before the campaign.
President Barack Obama says the amount of money poured into fighting the scientific consensus on climate change will push the issue into the presidential campaign.
In an interview with Rolling Stone published Wednesday, Obama also says he's worried about the lack of international progress to address global warming and believes that is tied to frustration with the Keystone XL pipeline.
Romney ran to the right in the Republican primary on global warming, saying in October that the causes of climate change are unknown.This is all well and good. But I do think the President treated climate change like he treats, or treated, any controversial issue. He didn't push very hard, and then walked away and blamed failure on how strong the opposition was, without ever really trying to beat the opposition.
"My view is that we don?t know what?s causing climate change on this planet," Romney said at a fundraiser last fall. "And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us."
Okay, I know that picking on George Will might seem like cheap fun, but as an oped columnist for the Washington Post we are supposed to take him seriously.[...]
Read The Full Article:
As Kenneth pointed out this week, the Bush-era bill that put the postal service in dire straits by requiring decades of pre-funded health benefits was nothing but a blatant attempt to break their union. Now the Senate is attempting to rectify that (because closing post offices is extremely unpopular with constituents), but they've included a provision that will slash current workers comp payments by 25 percent. Imagine that. It's a pretty large chunk of pain, because about half of federal workers out on workers comp are postal workers.
Working for your government has really become a thankless job:
The Senate passed sweeping U.S. Postal Service reform legislation by a 62-37 vote Wednesday, after months of debate and procedural halts on the measure.
The legislation (S. 1789) allows the agency to offer buyout and early retirement incentives to 100,000 employees, switches to five-day delivery if officials cannot come up with other cost savings within two years, and restructures a requirement that the Postal Service prefund its retirement health benefits with more than $5 billion annually.
It would transfer more than $11 billion from the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund to the Postal Service to help process the large number of USPS employees scheduled to retire in the next few years. It also expands the alternatives USPS must consider before closing a post office.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated that a previous version of the bill would cost the government $6.3 billion in the next 10 years, a figure USPS has disputed.
New amendments passed into the bill this week scale back workers? compensation benefits, curtail USPS executive compensation to a level on par with Cabinet secretaries and addresses the backlog of USPS retirement claims at the Office of Personnel Management.
Labor unions were particularly displeased with the inclusion of the workers compensation provision. The measure, first introduced by S. 1789 co-sponsor Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, would give workers injured on the job 50 percent of their pre-disability pay upon reaching retirement age. Under current law, employees disabled on the job can get up to 75 percent of their basic salaries tax-free, plus medical-related expenses. About half the federal employees who currently receive workers? comp are postal workers.
I would love to see Susan Collins carry all those packages until she understands the strain it puts on the human body. But maybe she's really an android.
[...] An amendment introduced late Wednesday by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., however, establishes workers? compensation for government employees injured by acts of terrorism or in zones of armed conflict.
Because somehow it hurts more if a terrorist puts you out of commission? Or is it because it prevents an embarrassing public relations problem, like the one at Ground Zero?
I read somewhere that A-merry-ca is becoming more bi-racial than ever.
I suppose that this is progress. Although, unfortunately, there are still some folks in A-merry-ca (I see you Mrs. Bachmann) who are always willing to take two steps backwards.
Norman Neesmith is one of those people. I bet he doesn't believe in all this bi-racial crap.
"LYONS, Ga. ? Norman Neesmith was sleeping in his home on a rural farm road here in onion country when a noise woke him up.
He grabbed the .22-caliber pistol he kept next to his bed and went to investigate. He found two young brothers who had been secretly invited to party with an 18-year-old relative he had raised like a daughter and her younger friend. The young people were paired up in separate bedrooms. There was marijuana and sex.
Over the course of the next confusing minutes on a January morning in 2011, there would be a struggle. The young men would make a terrified run for the door. Mr. Neesmith, who is 62 and white, fired four shots. One of them hit Justin Patterson, who was 22 and black.
The bullet pierced his side, and he died in Mr. Neesmith?s yard. His younger brother, Sha?von, then 18, ran through the onion fields in the dark, frantically trying to call his mother.
On that day, Jan. 29, 2011, Mr. Neesmith was arrested. The district attorney brought seven charges against him, among them murder, false imprisonment and aggravated assault. On Thursday, Mr. Neesmith is expected to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct, which might bring a year in a special detention program that requires no time behind bars." [Source]
Hey, at least he was arrested; unlike you know who. I guess this is what passes for progress in Georgia. There was a time in our not too distant past when Mr. Neesmith would have been given a commendation for his actions.
Finally, congrats to Joel Ward and the Washington Caps for taking out the B's in seven games last night. I love the irony: Black man scores winning goal against goalie who refused to meet with the black man in the White House.
Sadly, as is often the case here in "color aroused" A-merry-ca, racism raised its ugly head. Of course it didn't help that this happened in Baaastan, and that we are talking about hockey.
"Joel Ward was on the plane back from Boston when his Washington Capitals teammate, Jeff Halpern, gave him a heads up ? there were some crude things being said about him online.
It was only when the winger ? who scored the Game 7 overtime goal for the playoff series-deciding 2-1 win over the Bruins ? got home that he saw the racist Twitter attack being leveraged against him.
?I was shocked,? said Ward, when reached by phone Thursday.
?I knew there?d be some angry fans probably but it?s just sad to see.?
Ward, a Canadian whose parents emigrated from Barbados, said the racist remarks ?caught me off guard.? [Source]
"Shocked"? Joel, there is someone named Reality on line one for you.
Read The Full Article:
Plus NY Transit Museum news and other NYC
gadabout notes, including big MAS news
From obscuraday.com (click to enlarge)
I sure hope you're not depending for information on the now-certified Last Person to Know, but I swear I never heard of Obscura Day, which happens this Saturday the 28th, until I opened my new issue of Time Out New York last night. There's a full page in the magazine, but only this for online coverage. Of course, as I write, in mid-afternoon, the only one of the five events highlighted in the print edition seems to be an added time, 3-6pm, for "The Forgotten Beaches of the Forgotten Borough," meaning Staten Island, which starts at the border of the borough's Cedar Grove and New Dorp Beaches.
Even at this late date it's worth letting the Obscura Day website direct you to offerings in your area. You just might get lucky. There's always next year. This is the third incarnation. The organizer, Atlas Obscura ("A Compendium of the World's Wonders, Curiosities and Esoterica"), explains:
Each spring, Atlas Obscura (that?s us), organizes a global event called Obscura Day.
On Obscura Day thousands of people, all over the world, go out and explore interesting and unusual places. Sometimes we organize the event, sometimes folks organize it themselves! Over the past two years nearly 10,000 people have attend over 200 different events on Obscura Day.
Brooklyn's in bloom! Ride in style to the cultural treasures of Brooklyn on board the Museum's classic Lo-V vintage trains. Emerge from underground at Eastern Parkway where you can explore the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's summer blossoms and ?Urban Garden? exhibit or pay homage to the iconic art of Keith Haring ?- whose work was inspired by the subway system -? at the Brooklyn Museum. Spend the day enjoying these and other local attractions, or stay on the train for a ride underground. It's your day, your Brooklyn.All three Nostalgia Tours are $50/$65 (children $20/$25). The hard part is deciding between partaking of events at the destination and staying on board the train for those extra rides.
In a combative speech on the Senate floor this morning, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) called a Democrats’ accusations that the GOP is waging a war on women “phony,” “outlandish,” and a distraction.”
McCain’s remarks, typical of GOP rhetoric on the issue, sweep aside the reality of the last few months.
The latest example, and the context for McCain’s remarks, was today’s vote on the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act. The bill passed 68-31, with every ?nay? vote coming from a Republican man. The five female GOP senators voted for the re-authorization.
But before that, there was, of course, the overwhelming Republican opposition to the White House’s attempt to improve women’s access to contraception, Rush Limbaugh’s misogynistic rants against Sandra Fluke, the Republican amendment to allow employers to deny women contraception for any moral reason, Herman Cain’s suggestion that women have an inferior understanding of policy, Republican governors’ support for mandating medically unnecessary ultrasounds for women seeking abortions, Mitt Romney’s silence on the Lilly Ledbetter Act, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s repeal of that state’s equal pay laws, and the general denigration within both Republican political ranks and the right-wing media-sphere of women’s ability to ably serve in the military. ThinkProgress has compiled the video report.
I used to think that jailing deadbeat dads for not paying child support was really stupid - how are they supposed to earn money to pay child support if they're in jail? Silly me - the new debtor's prisons are really smart. And they're not just for deadbeat dads anymore.
Here's the really cool thing about jailing people for being poor; while they're in jail, they can't earn any money to pay off the debts, so the debts just grow even more, necessitating more jail time, ad infinitum. And if your jails are privatized (why not?), then every jailed poor person is more money for private prison corporations. Except for the fact that money is coming from taxpayers, including the now-jailed poor people, it's a win all around!
Our nation has taken yet another giant step backwards with the criminalization of poverty.How did breast cancer survivor Lisa Lindsay end up behind bars? She didn't pay a medical bill -- one the Herrin, Ill., teaching assistant was told she didn't owe. "She got a $280 medical bill in error and was told she didn't have to pay it," The Associated Press reports. "But the bill was turned over to a collection agency, and eventually state troopers showed up at her home and took her to jail in handcuffs."
Although the U.S. abolished debtors' prisons in the 1830s, more than a third of U.S. states allow the police to haul people in who don't pay all manner of debts, from bills for health care services to credit card and auto loans. In parts of Illinois, debt collectors commonly use publicly funded courts, sheriff's deputies, and country jails to pressure people who owe even small amounts to pay up, according to the AP.
Under the law, debtors aren't arrested for nonpayment, but rather for failing to respond to court hearings, pay legal fines, or otherwise showing "contempt of court" in connection with a creditor lawsuit. That loophole has lawmakers in the Illinois House of Representatives concerned enough to pass a bill in March that would make it illegal to send residents of the state to jail if they can't pay a debt. The measure awaits action in the senate.
Illinois isn't the only state locking up residents for being too poor to pay their bills. A report from the ACLU found that Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Washington were also doing this, and at "increasingly alarming rates."
A report from the New York University's Brennan Center for Justice found that states are also adding "poverty penalties," including late fees, payment plan fees, and interest:Alabama charges a 30 percent collection fee, for instance, while Florida allows private debt collectors to add a 40 percent surcharge on the original debt. Some Florida counties also use so-called collection courts, where debtors can be jailed but have no right to a public defender.
Being denied a public defender seems to me would be a violation of the Constitution, but I'm no law expert. Any of you legal eagles want to weigh in?
Could somebody remind me?-I have so much difficulty keeping track . . . poker and Nascar are all-American, but feed caps and PBR are inauthentic, they?re just for hipsters, right? I have a feeling that poker was inauthentic a few years ago, but now that the fad has peaked, poker-playing is normal again. How about MMA? That sure sounds all-American, but given that I?ve actually heard about it, maybe it?s just another example of upper-class slumming. On the upside, I have a feeling that if we wait a few years, gay rights will go downmarket enough that it will be ok to go to a pride march without forfeiting one?s credentials as a middle-American. $45 pasta, though: I think that will remain upper-class.
Background here (via Jay Livingston).
The Congressional Progressive Caucus met with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today for a hearing on how to prevent a million foreclosures. Not much happened at the hearing. More interesting was a letter sent by members of the CPC authored[...]
Read The Full Article: