Friday, December 17, 2010

Via Utne:

With the arrival of Google’s eBookstore, indies now have a chance to get a foot in the door.

Read More >>

2 from truthout:

Bush Sr. Lobbied to Save Cheney From Nigeria Prosecution
Jason Leopold, Truthout: "Former President George H.W. Bush and ex-Secretary of State James Baker were part of a negotiating team that convinced Nigerian government officials to drop bribery charges against Dick Cheney and Halliburton, the oil services firm he led prior to becoming vice president, according to Nigerian news reports. Bush and Baker reportedly participated in conference call discussions with senior Nigerian government officials, including the country's attorney general, Mohammed Adoke, last weekend on behalf of Cheney in an attempt to work out a settlement. Halliburton executives also participated in the talks."
Read the Article

WikiLeaks Cables Reveal BP Narrowly Avoided Disaster in Azerbaijan
Mike Ludwig, Truthout: "Just 18 months before the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, British Petroleum (BP) evacuated 211 platform workers from a BP platform in the Caspian Sea after an undersea well blowout caused a potentially explosive gas leak, according to US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks. Wikileaks released cables detailing the 2008 BP platform blowout off the coast of Azerbaijan just hours after the US Department of Justice announced a civil lawsuit against BP for contaminating the Gulf of Mexico with millions of gallons of oil."
Read the Article

Via SacBee:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Via truthout: Paul Krugman | Troubling Terms of Unemployment

Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co.: "Jargon has its uses, in economics and many other fields. After all, it would be difficult and also time-consuming to translate everything into plain language all the time. But, that said, sometimes jargon gets in the way of communication. This is clearly the case with the term 'structural unemployment,' which has been tossed around a lot lately by some economists and politicians in the United States. Unemployment that is primarily structural describes a mismatch between the skills workers have and the skills required for the jobs available - that is, unemployment that can't be cured by increasing demand for goods and services."

Read the Article

Via Truthout: William Rivers Pitt | What Bernie Said, Part II

William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: "As Congressional Republicans and the White House wrangle over the relative merits of exploding the deficit by giving hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires who don't need the money, the real world they appear to know nothing about plods drearily on. A USA Today story from Wednesday reported: 'US Postal Service workers who handle letters addressed to Santa at the North Pole say more letters ask for basics - coats, socks and shoes - rather than Barbie dolls, video games and computers.' Puts things in perspective, don't you think? Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) certainly does. Last Friday, Mr. Sanders spent more than eight hours laying out a number of hard truths that needed to be heard."

Read the Article

Via JMG: Army Birther Convicted On All Counts

Lt. Colonel Terrence Lakin, the Army birther who said he didn't have to obey the orders of his "illegitimate" commander in chief, has been found guilty on four felony counts of military disobedience at his court-martial.
"I am extremely sorry for everything that has come of this," Lakin said during unsworn testimony in the sentencing phase of his trial. "As a military member, I was wrong." Lakin faces as much as 42 months in prison, forfeiture of pay and retirement benefits, and dismissal from the service after being convicted of four felonies. The court-martial panel found him guilty of two counts of disobeying orders to report to his commanding officer, one count of failing to report to his new unit, and, most seriously, missing the movement of an airplane that was to take him to his new post. Lakin will be sentenced tomorrow.
Lakin says he continues to believe the president is not a U.S. citizen, but that he shouldn't have allowed that opinion to affect the orders of his immediate superiors.

reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Where To Be After The Bomb Drops

The New York Times reports on the latest advice from the feds on what to do in the event of a nuclear bomb.
Suppose the unthinkable happened, and terrorists struck New York or another big city with an atom bomb. What should people there do? The government has a surprising new message: Do not flee. Get inside any stable building and don’t come out till officials say it’s safe. The advice is based on recent scientific analyses showing that a nuclear attack is much more survivable if you immediately shield yourself from the lethal radiation that follows a blast, a simple tactic seen as saving hundreds of thousands of lives. Even staying in a car, the studies show, would reduce casualties by more than 50 percent; hunkering down in a basement would be better by far.
According to the report, the safest place to be in a big city is inside the core of large building or in an underground parking garage.

reposted from Joe


Imagine from PlayingForChangeFoundation on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Via NYT: U.S. Rethinks Strategy for the Unthinkable

  Suppose the unthinkable happened, and terrorists struck New York or another big city with an atom bomb. What should people there do? The government has a surprising new message: Do not flee. Get inside any stable building and don’t come out till officials say it’s safe. 

George Alexanderson/The New York Times
Employees entered a sub-basement shelter during a Port Authority Civilian Defense Drill in 1951. 

Sal Veder/Associated Press
A mother and her children made a practice run for their $5,000 steel backyard fallout shelter in Sacramento, Calif., in 1961. 

The advice is based on recent scientific analyses showing that a nuclear attack is much more survivable if you immediately shield yourself from the lethal radiation that follows a blast, a simple tactic seen as saving hundreds of thousands of lives. Even staying in a car, the studies show, would reduce casualties by more than 50 percent; hunkering down in a basement would be better by far.

make the jump here to read the full article

Via Truthout: Robert Reich | Why America's Two Economies Continue to Drift Apart

Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog: "America's two economies are getting wider apart. The Big Money economy is booming. According to a new Commerce Department report, third-quarter profits of American businesses rose at an annual record-breaking $1.659 trillion - besting even the boom year of 2006 (in nominal dollars). Profits have soared for seven consecutive quarters now, matching or beating their fastest pace in history. Executive pay is linked to profits, so top pay is soaring as well. Higher profits are also translating into the nice gains in the stock market, which is a boon to everyone with lots of financial assets. And Wall Street is back. Bonuses on the Street are expected to rise about 5 percent this year, according to a survey by compensation consultants Johnson Associates Inc. But nothing is trickling down to the Average Worker economy."
Read the Article

JMG Quote Of The Day - Barbara Walters

"This guy, I'm sorry, he's gonna be Speaker of the House, and he's not gonna invite me to his Christmas party, but this guy has an emotional problem that every time he talks about anything that's not 'raise taxes' he cries. If this were a woman, if you saw Nancy Pelosi, who's been villified, and I'm not taking sides, if you saw her getting up and crying... I hope he's a good Speaker of the House, but he's got a problem." - Barbara Walters, on yesterday's episode of the View.
reposted from Joe

Rachel Maddow- Following the tracks of Boehners tears

Jimmy Fallon

Via JMG: Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg Named TIME Magazine's Person Of The Year

The two runners-up were WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the Tea Party. TIME says about Zuckerberg:
At 26, Zuckerberg is a year older than our first Person of the Year, Charles Lindbergh — another young man who used technology to bridge continents. He is the same age as Queen Elizabeth when she was Person of the Year, for 1952. But unlike the Queen, he did not inherit an empire; he created one. (The Queen, by the way, launched a Facebook page this year.) Person of the Year is not and never has been an honor. It is a recognition of the power of individuals to shape our world. For connecting more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them (something that has never been done before); for creating a new system of exchanging information that has become both indispensable and sometimes a little scary; and finally, for changing how we all live our lives in ways that are innovative and even optimistic, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is TIME's 2010 Person of the Year.

reposted from Joe

Quote of the Day:

‎"The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right." ~Mark Twain


Brown warns of shocking budget
  By David Siders  
     LOS ANGELES – Gov.-elect Jerry Brown told education leaders in Los Angeles on Tuesday to “fasten your seat belt” for dramatic spending cuts to schools, while not rejecting their appeals for tax-revenue relief.

   “This is really a huge challenge, unprecedented in my lifetime,” the 72-year-old former governor said at UCLA, where he appeared with financial officials for his second budget forum in a week.

   After speaking in generalities about California’s budget crisis for months, Brown must make major decisions this week about the budget bill he will propose by the Jan. 10 constitutional deadline. He has estimated the deficit at as much as $28 billion over the next 18 months. 

   Brown has declined to say whether he plans ask voters to authorize a tax package, though many observers believe he will push for a special election to maintain higher vehicle, sales and income tax rates set to expire next year. He is also expected to propose shifting responsibility for some services to local governments.

   Sen. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, said he expects the budget proposal to be “terrible, terrible – that’s what he’s telling us,” followed by a push by Brown for taxes to preserve services that would otherwise be cut.

   “My guess is he will present an austerity budget,” Lowenthal said.   “And I think then he will go to the public and say, ‘This is your choice.’ ”

   Unlike Brown’s forum last week in Sacramento, where Republican lawmakers were on hand to argue in favor of budget-cutting, the group of about 200 educators Tuesday focused largely on finding revenue to avoid more program damage.

   “There is no more meat on this bone to carve,” David Sanchez, president of the California Teachers Association, told Brown. “The only thing left is amputation.”

   Others touted specific programs they said were working to improve schools. But State Treasurer Bill Lockyer warned, “You can’t keep ducking this,” and complained about people who offer “good ideas about how to spend more money”   when the state has none.

   Brown said he wants to negotiate a budget agreement with the Legislature by March – which would allow time for an election on taxes if Brown is so inclined.

   He said voters are skeptical of government and conflicted, wanting both to avoid service reductions while not raising taxes.

   “We’re in a dilemma as a society,” Brown said.

   The budget crisis has had a “devastating impact” on education in California, with billions of dollars in budget cuts leading to teacher layoffs and increased class sizes across the state, Superintendent of Public Instruction-elect Tom Torlakson said.

   While education still accounts for more than half of general fund spending by the state, spending per   student has declined in the recession, in inflation-adjusted dollars, from more than $9,100 in 2007 to $7,342 this year, officials said.

   Brown suggested he is not likely to make mid-year budget cuts to education, focusing on the fiscal year that begins July 1 despite the current year’s imbalance.

   Brown, who promised in the campaign to reduce spending in the Governor’s Office, said he will cut its budget by 20 percent and is looking for more.

   Focus on the budget crisis has shifted to Brown even before he takes office Jan. 3. The Legislature this month rejected an attempt by outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to take action before Brown takes over the chief executive job.

   Next month’s budget proposal, Brown said, will be shocking.

   “Please sit down when you read the stories on the budget on Jan. 10,” he concluded. “If you’re in the car, fasten your seat belt.”

   Call David Siders, Bee Capitol

   Bureau, (916) 321-1215. 
  Associated Press photo

   Educators participating in Tuesday’s state budget forum at UCLA listen to Gov.-elect Jerry Brown. He called a state deficit that could reach $28 billion over the next 18 months “a huge challenge, unprecedented in my lifetime.”
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