Saturday, August 14, 2010

Via Huffington: Global Weirding: Naming Climate Change Disasters After the Deniers

The most recent report from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says, "Global warming is undeniable," and it's happening fast. NOAA's study, an in-depth analysis of ten key climate indicators, all point to marked and accelerating warming. This disturbing consistency should scare policy makers -- if they were listening. As Derek Arndt, head of NOAA's Climate Monitoring Branch clearly put it, "This is like going to the doctor and getting your respiratory test and circulatory test and your neurosystem test...It's testing all the parts, and they're all in agreement that the same thing's going on."
That "thing" is accelerating climate change.

Vias Bloomberg Businessweek: There's a New Silk Road, and It Doesn't Lead to the U.S.

BusinessWeek Logo
Global Economics August 5, 2010, 11:00AM EST text size: TT

There's a New Silk Road, and It Doesn't Lead to the U.S.

Trade routes bring Brazilian buses to Egypt and Chinese trains to the Mideast

As the U.S. emerges from the recession, American investors often wonder where the growth is going to come from. Perhaps they should talk to Ruben Bisi, international operations director for Marcopolo, Brazil's biggest bus maker. It's having a banner year, with revenue up 47 percent so far. You won't see Marcopolo buses in the U.S., though. They're cruising the highways and city streets of Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Egypt, India, China, and South Africa. Brazilians often have a better relationship with these customers than big multinationals do, says Bisi. "We are from an underdeveloped country as well," he explains. Almost 40 percent of Marcopolo's sales of $1.1 billion come from outside Brazil: It sold 460 buses to South Africa for the World Cup.

Marcopolo is a traveler on what Stephen King, chief economist of HSBC (HBC), has dubbed "the new Silk Road"—a 21st-century version of the trade routes that crisscrossed Asia almost 2,000 years ago, linking merchants in China to their counterparts in India, Arabia, and the Roman Empire. The new Silk Road spans the globe, connecting companies and consumers in Latin America, the Mideast, Asia, and Africa, and generating some $2.8 trillion in trade, according to the World Trade Organization.

King says emerging markets will grow about three times faster than rich nations this year and next. "There are now massive trade connections within the emerging markets," he says. "It means in one sense the emerging world is protected from the worst ravages of the developed world." The WTO estimates intra-emerging-market trade rose, on average, by 18 percent per year from 2000 to 2008, faster than commerce grew between emerging and advanced nations.

The developed world will increasingly compete with these fast-rising countries for resources like oil and iron ore. The established multinationals will also encounter new pressure from emerging-market rivals, many of them state-supported. Yet for Western and Japanese companies that are the best in their industries, the opportunities are great. One example: Caterpillar (CAT), the world's largest maker of construction equipment, raised its full-year earnings forecast last month on higher demand in developing countries for mining, energy, and rail equipment.

While the U.S. and other developed countries hope to find their place on the Silk Road, the central player is China. Chinese exports to the emerging world accounted for about 9.5 percent of its gross domestic product in 2008, compared with 2 percent in 1985, King figures. Last month the Saudi Railways Organization awarded a contract to China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock to supply 10 locomotives. The Mecca-Medina rail contract went to Beijing-based China Railway Group (CRWOF). Shenzhen-based Huawei Technologies, China's top maker of phone equipment, is investing $500 million in its research center in Bangalore. China Mobile, the world's biggest phone carrier, may soon invest in Africa.

India and Brazil are stepping up their efforts, too. India's Tata Group was one of the largest investors in sub-Saharan Africa in the six years through 2009, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development. Many Silk Road companies are becoming aggressive acquirers. "We saw the same phenomenon with American and European companies 50 to 100 years ago as they went global," says Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors, which manages about $95 billion in Sydney. Brazilian mining company Vale (VALE) has invested in three copper projects in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In April the company agreed to pay $2.5 billion for iron ore deposits in Guinea.

Such trade used to be conducted in dollars and euros, even when the deals did not involve U.S. or European companies. Today companies in emerging markets are more willing to take reals, rupees, and, above all, yuan as the Silk Road economies prosper. "If emerging-market fundamentals continue to be superior," says Kieran Curtis, who helps oversee $2 billion at Aviva Investors in London, "there is the potential for serious currency appreciation against old-guard currencies."

With trade comes competition. About a third of the order book of Brazilian plane maker Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica (ERJ), or Embraer, comes from emerging-market customers, up from 1 percent in 2005. Yet Embraer doesn't have the field to itself. The Brazilians are bracing for a fight from Russia's Sukhoi and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, which are both developing airliners. Traffic on the Silk Road is getting pretty heavy.

The bottom line: Trading ties among developing nations are intensifying fast and may eclipse emerging-market ties with the West.
Kennedy is a reporter for Bloomberg News. Bristow is a reporter for Bloomberg News. Adam is a reporter for Bloomberg News in Singapore. 

RSA Animate - Superfreakonomics

RSA Animate - Crises of Capitalism

The Republican war on Grandma

Republican candidates across the country are all running on the same platform this year -- destroying Social Security as we know it.

Kentucky's Rand Paul called Social Security a "Ponzi scheme." Chuck Grassley, Richard Burr -- these guys led George Bush's campaign to hand over Social Security to Wall Street back in 2005 and they're ready to lead it again.

Social Security is the most successful, popular social program in the history of the United States and Republicans will stop at nothing to kill it. Cutting benefits, raising the retirement age -- these are just first steps they want to take to destroy Social Security altogether.

Five years ago, DFA was a leader in the campaign to save Social Security from George Bush. Today, we're fighting to save it from the Deficit Commission and right-wing Republicans in Congress. But we can't do it without your help. DFA is the country's largest people-powered PAC and we rely on small contributions from across the country to get the job done. Contribute $10 today to help fuel our campaign to save Social Security.

Beat back Republican attacks on Social Security -- contribute $10 now.

We're not pulling any punches in our campaign to save Social Security. We're organizing DFA members from coast to coast to make phone calls, knock on doors and talk to their friends and neighbors. We'll run ads, polling -- whatever it takes to beat back right-wing Republican attacks.

That's why we're supporting Democrats like Jack Conway, Roxanne Conlin and Elaine Marshall. The best way to keep Rand Paul and the rest of his right-wing pals from destroying Social Security is to make sure Republicans don't get elected this November.

But we're not supporting just any Democrats, either. We support Democrats with a history of fighting for the people, not the powerful. Democrats who will stand up and say Hands Off Social Security. Help us make sure we elect voices to the Senate who will stand up for everyday Americans.

Republicans want to destroy Social Security -- contribute $10 today to make sure they don't get the chance.

We beat back Republican attempts to kill Social Security in 2005. Contribute today and make sure we beat them again in 2010.

Thank you for everything you do.


Jim Dean, Chair
Democracy for America

More 2010 Perisied Vids

Time Lapse Perseids Meteor Shower 2010 ペルセウス座流星群

Friday, August 13, 2010

Via Huffington: Bob Burnett: The Jobs Crisis: What Hit Us?


Bob Burnett: It's necessary to understand what went wrong with the US economy because fundamental changes are required to deal with the jobs crisis. So far the political rhetoric has been underwhelming. Republicans blame unemployment on the policies of the Obama Administration and argue the solution is to cut taxes, particularly for the wealthy. Democrats blame unemployment on the policies of the Bush Administration and argue the solution is to increase Federal spending. Both of these approaches should be condemned as ineffective political posturing.  

Via JMG: Today In Mildly Interesting Trivia

Labels: ,

reposted from Joe

Quote of the Day

Desperdiçar cérebros é eticamente condenável e socialmente inaceitável (wasting brains is ethically wrong and socially unacceptable))
Araujo e Ristoff (2003)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The squirrels on campus are ready for the fall semester:

Quote of the Day

Hatred does not cease through hatred at any time. Hatred ceases through love. This is an unalterable law.

Via Huffington: Robert L. Borosage: American Opinion: Rebuild America, Don't Sack It


Robert L. Borosage: American attitudes about reviving the economy and dealing with deficits are far more sophisticated than the conservative rant about austerity and cutting spending. Amid the alarms about deficits, tea party fury at spending, Republican trumpeting of the "voodoo" of top-end tax cuts and balanced budgets, most Americans haven't lost their heads. They don't want working families to pay for the calamity that they did not cause. They expect those who had the party to pay for cleaning up the mess. And they are looking for a plan that will rebuild America, not simply one that will sack government. Click here to read more.

VIA JMG: Sovereign Citizens

Today the Southern Poverty Law Center issues a report on the growing "sovereign citizen" movement, a growing group of about 300,000 Americans who declare themselves completely exempt from the laws and controls of all governments, local, state and federal.
They call themselves sovereign citizens, U.S. residents who declare themselves above state and federal laws. Many don't register children's births, carry driver's licenses or recognize the court system. Some peddle schemes that use fictional legal loopholes to eliminate debt and avoid foreclosures. A few such believers are violent: Two police officers in Arkansas died in a shootout in May after stopping an Ohio sovereign citizen and his son. Hate group monitors say their numbers have increased thanks to the recession, the foreclosure crisis, the growth of the Internet and the election of Barack Obama in 2008. Adherents expect the current American system of government to end one way or another. "I'm the Patrick Henry of the 21st century. I'm here to regain our freedom," James McBride said in a jailhouse interview. "I'm going to, or die trying." At the heart of their belief system: The government creates a secret identity for each citizen at birth, a "straw man," that controls an account at the U.S. Treasury used as collateral for foreign debt. File enough documents at the right offices and the money in those accounts can be used to pay off debt or make purchases worth thousands of dollars.
From the wacko Restore America Plan's Declaration of Independence:
We the People inhabiting the North American continent, free men and women convened under God, having been granted by the Creator dominion over all the earth, to restore the blessings of liberty for ourselves and the posterity, do hereby invoke our sacred right to alter or abolish destructive government as memorialized in The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, c. 1776 by declaring herewith this solemn declaration to the people of the earth and all governments and nations derived there from.

reposted from Joe

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Via BeyonftheChron:Brown-Whitman Follows Ali-Foreman “Rumble in the Jungle” Script

Clockwise from top: George Foreman, Muhammad Ali, Meg Whitman & Jerry Brown.

On October 30, 1974, wily veteran and former champion Muhammad Ali faced heavyweight titleholder George Foreman in Zaire in what became known as the “Rumble in the Jungle.” Foreman had youth, size and power on his side, and spent early rounds pummeling Ali. But Ali accepted this early punishment as part of his now legendary “rope-a-dope” strategy, by which he waited out Foreman’s early assaults and then waited for the champ to tire and ultimately fall. By the 8th round, the younger, bigger, and more aggressive Foreman was done – and Ali regained the title. Meg Whitman has assumed the George Foreman role in the California Governor’s race, while Jerry Brown plays Ali. Whitman has thrown millions and millions of dollars at Brown early in the fight, and in true rope-a-dope fashion Brown took the hits and did not respond. Now Brown is ready to go on the offensive – and Whitman, like Foreman before her, is ripe for the taking. [more]->

Do not maximize your screen:

Via JMG: Serial Adulterer Newt Gingrich Inches Closer To Announcing 2012 Prez Bid

Karl Rove thinks Newt is a "visionary and an idea factory."

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Messiah Cat Has Arisen

(Via - Copyranter)
reposted from Joe

Via Huffington Post: Arianna Huffington: Third World America: Chronicling the Assault on America's Middle Class...and the Solutions


Arianna Huffington: From foreclosures to unemployment to household debt to bankruptcies, the American middle class is under assault -- and America is in danger of becoming a Third World nation. That's why, in conjunction with the publication of my upcoming book, Third World America, HuffPost is launching a "Third World America" section to bear witness to what is happening to the American middle class in small towns and big cities all across the country. Every day, we will also focus on the solutions that are making a difference in the lives of ordinary Americans, and offer many ways for you to get involved -- things we can all do to make sure we never find ourselves living in Third World America. Start by watching this video, taking our Pledge for the American Dream, and sharing your story. Click here to read more.

Monday, August 9, 2010

In front of the American Indian Museum in DC ( two weeks ago)


Senate Cots
The Senate must confirm the judges who will keep faith to the Constitution—its amendment, its history, and its core values like equality and justice under the law.
We’ve had enough delay and procedural foot dragging. It’s time to stop Republican obstruction of judicial nominees.
petition button
Dear Daniel,
Last week, the Senate confirmed President Obama's second nominee to the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan. But unnoticed by much of the media, Senate Republicans also blocked a large group of lower court nominees-including a significant number approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Before adjourning for recess, the Senate confirmed four judges, and agreed to move forward on one more. But it refused to act on seventeen more nominees, nine of whom were approved by voice vote or unanimous roll-call vote in the Judiciary Committee.
Led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, GOP Senators even demanded that some nominees be re-nominated by the President, then re-approved by the Judiciary Committee. Although the process can't block confirmation of nominees, it does eat up weeks of time.
Republicans are able to get away with this procedural foot dragging because they think no one will notice. But they're wrong.
Join me in raising your voice against Republican obstruction. Sign our petition to let the Senate know that we won't stand for this blatant obstruction any longer.
Throughout the Bush Administration, Republicans stacked the Courts with judges willing to twist the law to favor corporate interests over the rights of individual Americans. Now, Republican Senators don't want to confirm judges who will stand up for the law.
Tell the Senate leaders that you've had enough delay. We need judges who will keep faith with the Constitution-- its amendments, its history, and its core values like justice and equality under the law. We'll be delivering these petitions to Senate Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell when they return to session.
The GOP is putting partisanship above principle. It's time for them to learn that America won't stand for the "Party of No."
Marge Baker, Executive Vice President for Policy and Program


Via Armistead Maupin 's facebook

Armestead says, "will always remember Patricia Neal for this role in "A Face in the Crowd." (Andy Griffith plays a mid-century teabagger media star a la Palin or Beck.) Rent it tonight if you've never seen it. It's right on top of our times.

Thanks, Miss Neal. We'll miss you."

Nice Essay: How To Be Alone

Via JMG: Worst Governor Ever: Sarah Palin Confronts Woman With Banner

An unscripted scene from Sarah Palin's Alaska, her unreal reality show, probably won't make it onto the air after Palin confronted a woman wielding a "Worst Governor Ever" banner. The clip at the bottom of this post was taken with a cell phone.
Kathleen Gustafson is a teacher married to a local commercial fisherman. She felt like Sarah Palin had let the state down by becoming a dollar-chasing celebrity and ignoring the oath of office she'd sworn on a Bible. Kathleen was motivated by the fact Palin was using the very place where her family makes a living to fortify the Palin personality cult -- pretending to do the very thing they worked so hard to sustain. Initially, Kathleen just wanted to waste a little of the camera crew's time, since Palin wasted so much of her time purporting to represent Alaska's interests. She didn't imagine Palin would be so easy to draw out. Saturday morning, Billy Sullivan helped Kathleen tape the banner up on his place of business at the top of the boat ramp. Then here she came. Sarah. She couldn't just walk by. Only a few fishermen and tourists would have seen the banner, but Sarah had to stop and protest. I spoke with Kathleen. She said she wanted Palin to know how she felt, but never dreamed she'd get the chance to say to her face, "You're not a leader, you're a climber!" Early in the conversation, Sarah actually winked at Kathleen in what seemed to be a case of eyelid Tourette's Syndrome. At one point, a Palin daughter chanted, "You're just jealous".
Watch Palin's eyeroll when she learns the protester is a teacher. Reportedly Palin's crew ripped down the banner shortly after this clip ends.

reposted from Joe

Via Sacbee: Social Security nears 75th anniversary

By Anita Creamer
Evelyn Sekula's widowed grandmother struggled to survive during the Depression. Like millions of other elderly people, she had no pension and no savings. - Read More

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Quote of the day (via Jan P on facebook):

Adding wings to caterpillars does not create butterflies- it creates awkward and dysfunctional caterpillars. Butterflies are created through transformation. 
~ Stephanie Pace Marshall (via )

New Adventures of Queen Victoria by Pab Sungenis


Via SacBee: Non Sequitur

Via JMG: Lorene Yarnell Dies At 66

Famed dancer and mime Lorene Shields, one-half of the popular '70s TV duo Shields & Yarnell, has died of a brain aneurysm in her Norway home at the age of 66. Shields & Yarnell's specialty was performing as a married robot couple named "The Clinkers," a schtick they often performed on the Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour and later turned into their own CBS comedy series, which ran for two seasons. Their act seems super corny now, perhaps, but I remember lots of kids getting yelled at for acting like the Clinkers at school.

reposted from Joe
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