Saturday, March 12, 2011

Michigan is screwed.

A famous view... Ouro Preto

Today's random fotos from today's field-trip to Santo Antônio do Leite

Tornado in Pupping Vlies from Strawberryfield

Three from Truthout:

Saturday 12 March 2011

John Pilger | How the So-Called Guardians of Free Speech Are Silencing the Messenger
John Pilger, Truthout: "As the United States and Britain look for an excuse to invade another oil-rich Arab country, the hypocrisy is familiar. Colonel Gaddafi is 'delusional' and 'blood-drenched' while the authors of an invasion that killed a million Iraqis, who have kidnapped and tortured in our name, are entirely sane, never blood-drenched and once again the arbiters of 'stability.' But something has changed. Reality is no longer what the powerful say it is. Of all the spectacular revolts across the world, the most exciting is the insurrection of knowledge sparked by WikiLeaks."
Read the Article

Explosion Rocks Japan Nuclear Plant After Quake
Martin Fackler and Matthew L. Wald, The New York Times News Service: "An explosion at a crippled nuclear power plant in northern Japan on Saturday blew the roof off one building and caused a radiation leak of unspecified proportions, escalating the emergency confronting Japan's government a day after an earthquake and tsunami devastated parts of the country's northeastern coast. Japanese television showed a cloud of white-gray smoke from the explosion billowing up from a stricken reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Saturday afternoon, and officials said leaks of radiation from the plant prompted them to expand the evacuation area around the facility to a 12-mile radius."
Read the Article

Wisconsin Firefighters Spark "Move Your Money" Moment
Mary Bottari, PR Watch: "On the day that the bill passed the Wisconsin Assembly effectively ending 50 years of collective bargaining in Wisconsin and eviscerating the ability of public unions to raise money through dues, a new front opened in the battle for the future of Wisconsin families. Bagpipes blaring, hundreds of firefighters walked across the street from the Wisconsin Capitol building, stood outside the Marshall and Ilsley Bank (M&I Bank) and played a few tunes -- loudly. Later, a group of firefighters and consumers stopped back in at the bank to make a few transactions. One by one they closed their accounts and withdrew their life savings, totaling approximately $190,000. After the last customer left, the bank quickly closed its doors, just in case the spontaneous 'Move Your Money' moment caught fire."
Read the Article

Friday, March 11, 2011

Via JMG: Forbes Issues 2011 Billionaires List

Forbes Magazine has issued this year's list of the world's richest people. The number of billionaires grew by 199 in 2010.
Mexico's Carlos Slim expanded his lead as the world's richest man, adding $20.5 billion to his net worth in the past year, for a total fortune of $74 billion. Microsoft founder Bill Gates, now co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is second with a total worth of $56 billion. Despite Apple's leaps in value the past year, CEO Steve Jobs is still only No. 110 on the list, worth a comparatively more modest $8.3 billion. By February, Apple had grown to be worth $100 billion more than Microsoft. Eight of the world's billionaires this year are 30 years old or younger, and half of them got rich off of popular social networking site Facebook.
Tea Party kingpins David and Charles Koch are tied at #18, with a combined net worth of $44B.

reposted from Joe

Lawrence O'Donnell - What Newt Gingrich Meant To Say! Lawrence O'Donnell - What Newt Gingrich Meant To Say!

Via JMG: Newt's Exploratory Boulder

What he's really doing, of course, is airing his filthy laundry right now so that it'll all be tired old news come primary season.

reposted from Joe

Three from Truthout:

Friday 11 March 2011
Bill Moyers and Michael Winship | In Defense of NPR
Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, Truthout: "Come on now: let's take a breath and put this National Public Radio (NPR) fracas into perspective. Just as public radio struggles against yet another assault from its longtime nemesis - the right-wing machine that would thrill if our sole sources of information were Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and ads paid for by the Koch Brothers - it walks into a trap perpetrated by one of the sleaziest operatives ever to climb out of a sewer."
Read the Article

Huge Quake and Tsunami Hit Japan
Kevin Drew and Martin Fackler, The New York Times News Service: "An earthquake of 8.9. magnitude struck off the coast of Japan on Friday, the strongest ever recorded in the country. The quake churned up a devastating tsunami that swept over cities and farmland in the northern part of the country and set off warnings as far away as the west coast of the United States and South America."
Read the Article

Paul Krugman | Military Cutbacks Won't Fix Deficit
Paul Krugman, Krugman & Co.: "I am baffled by the argument that the United States can incur big savings by ending the war in Afghanistan and, more generally, by cutting bloated defense budgets. I've mostly been hearing this from liberals, and indeed this is a variation of a debate that has continued for years. Now, I am not endorsing our current levels of defense spending. The nation's military buildup following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was outrageous. The United States was hit by a handful of men wielding box-cutters (or something similar - I am aware that's not certain), and we responded by buying a lot of heavy tanks and later invading a country that had nothing to do with the attack."
Read the Article

Arlene Bishop NOW

Via Utne: The Rich Get Meaner

The Rich Get Meaner

In the midst of Wisconsin's labor strife, it was very telling to see the income level where the sympathy for the workers dropped off.

Read More>>

Via AMERICAblog News: NPR fires CEO to appease conservatives. Is NPR really that stupid?

NPR's CEO just resigned following another Republican-created "scandal" intended to portray the entity as "liberal." NPR's excuse for letting their CEO go is priceless in its naivete:
The controversies in recent months that led to Schiller's departure have given NPR's critics opportunities to accuse it of liberal bias and to push for elimination of any federal funding for public broadcasting.
Did you catch that logic? You might recognize it from the Democratic playbook: They were mean to us because of what we did. So maybe if we cave to their demands they'll start being nice to us.

1) They weren't mean to you because of what you did. They were mean to you because they want to destroy you, and always have. They'd have been mean to you anyway.

2) Their plan for decades has been to destroy you. There is nothing you can do to make them play nice because they don't want to play nice. They want to destroy you. Caving to their demands only shows weakness, and motivates them to go after you even more harshly in the future.

It reminds me of a Senate Democrat, I can't recall which one, during the Bush years, who said the reason Dems were voting for some unconscionable Bush legislation was because if they didn't, the Republicans would accuse them of siding with Osama bin Laden. Of course, what the Democrats never understood was that the Republicans were going to accuse them of siding with Osama regardless of what the Democrats did or didn't do.

Republicans are ruthless, and Republicans lie. Until Democrats, and NPR, learn from history, they'll be destined to repeat it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Paco De Lucia- Tico Tico made by raga

tico-tico-no-fubá + efeitos de Leds -

Carmen Miranda - Tico Tico no Fuba

Tico-tico no fubá (Ney Matogrosso-Batuque)

What PI sounds like / O som do PI

Four from Truthout:

Thursday 10 March 2011

William Rivers Pitt | Then They Came for the Trade Unionists
William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: "On this day, it behooves us to remember the words of Martin Niemoller. 'First they came for the communists,' he wrote, 'and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.' I am a trade unionist, and yesterday in Wisconsin, they came for me."
Read the Article

Amy Dean | Walking the Walk: Lessons From an Oregon Victory
Amy Dean, Truthout: Across the country, under the guise of fiscal responsibility, Republican governors and state legislatures have been waging a war against the middle class and trying to undermine the rights of hard-working Americans. What these politicians didn't count on, however, was the public outcry and show of solidarity that these attacks have provoked. In this new series, 'Walking the Walk,' author, activist, social entrepreneur and labor veteran Amy Dean will take a look at the faces and strategies behind the real change that is happening across the country to fight back against this onslaught. This first article in the series examines how the state of Oregon balanced its budget - democratically.
Read the Article

Wisconsin Republicans Bypass Democrats With Union-Busting Bill
Abby Sewell, McClatchy Newspapers: "Senate Republicans in Wisconsin used a surprise legislative maneuver to advance a bill that would strip collective bargaining rights from most public sector workers - a move accomplished without the presence of 14 Democratic senators who had fled the state to stall the measure. Republicans voted 18-1 Wednesday night to pass the nonfiscal provisions of the budget-repair bill - including those that would eliminate or severely limit collective bargaining rights for most public employees."
Read the Article

Robert Reich | Governor Walker's Coup D'Etat
Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog: "Governor Scott Walker and his Wisconsin senate Republicans have laid bare the motives for their coup d'etat. By severing the financial part of the bill (which couldn't be passed without absent Democrats) from the part eliminating the collective bargaining rights of public employees (which could be), and then doing the latter, Wisconsin Republicans have made it crystal clear that their goal has had nothing whatever to do with the state budget. It's been to bust the unions."
Read the Article

What do Walmart, FOX News, and Koch Brothers have in common?

JPL bombshell: Polar ice sheet mass loss is speeding up, on pace for 1 foot sea level rise by 2050

Posted: 10 Mar 2011 08:45 AM PST
The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass at an accelerating pace, according to a new NASA-funded satellite study. The findings of the study — the longest to date of changes in polar ice sheet mass — suggest these ice sheets are overtaking ice loss from Earth’s mountain glaciers and ice caps to become the dominant contributor to global sea level rise, much sooner than model forecasts have predicted.
The study, led by the U.S. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, was just published in Geophysical Research Letters here (subs. req’d).
It’s been clear for a while that not that polar ice sheet mass loss is accelerating (see Large Antarctic glacier thinning 4 times faster than it was 10 years ago: “Nothing in the natural world is lost at an accelerating exponential rate like this glacier”).
But the new study is a bombshell because of its credibility and thoroughness — and because it provides perhaps the most credible estimate to date of the sea level rise we face in 2050 on our current emissions path, 1 foot.  People, including commenters here, are always asking me what kind of sea level rise we face by midcentury.  Now we have a reasonable figure.
The JPL news release runs through the calculation that leads to the 1 foot estimate:

The authors conclude that, if current ice sheet melting rates continue for the next four decades, their cumulative loss could raise sea level by 15 centimeters (5.9 inches) by 2050. When this is added to the predicted sea level contribution of 8 centimeters (3.1 inches) from glacial ice caps and 9 centimeters (3.5 inches) from ocean thermal expansion, total sea level rise could reach 32 centimeters (12.6 inches). While this provides one indication of the potential contribution ice sheets could make to sea level in the coming century, the authors caution that considerable uncertainties remain in estimating future ice loss acceleration.
It is always worthwhile to make clear that the projections are uncertain.  On the other hand, one would have to say that the uncertainty is greater on the high side — since the rate of human-caused warming is itself projected to accelerate, and the poles are the place where the planet is heating up the most, much faster than expected (see “Deep ocean heat is rapidly melting Antarctic ice:  Oceanographer at AGU: Western Antarctic Peninsula is seeing “the highest increase in temperatures of anywhere on Earth”).
“That ice sheets will dominate future sea level rise is not surprising — they hold a lot more ice mass than mountain glaciers,” said lead author Eric Rignot, jointly of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and the University of California, Irvine. “What is surprising is this increased contribution by the ice sheets is already happening. If present trends continue, sea level is likely to be significantly higher than levels projected by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007. Our study helps reduce uncertainties in near-term projections of sea level rise.
So if you are asked how much sea levels are likely to rise by midcentury on our current emissions path, I think a reasonable reply now is “about 1 foot — assuming the current rate of ice mass loss doesn’t accelerate further.”
What makes this study so credible is not just the groups involved — JPL, the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research in The Netherlands, and NCAR — and not just the 18-year dataset examined.  Impressively, the authors were able to compare and reconcile two completely different approaches, the mass budget method (MBM) and the gravity method:
The study compared two independent measurement techniques. The first characterized the difference between two sets of data: interferometric synthetic aperture radar data from European, Canadian and Japanese satellites and radio echo soundings, which were used to measure ice exiting the ice sheets; and regional atmospheric climate model data from Utrecht University, The Netherlands, used to quantify ice being added to the ice sheets. The other technique used eight years of data from the NASA/German Aerospace Center’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (Grace) satellites, which track minute changes in Earth’s gravity field due to changes in Earth’s mass distribution, including ice movement.
The team reconciled the differences between techniques and found them to be in agreement, both for total amount and rate of mass loss, over their data sets’ eight-year overlapping period. This validated the data sets, establishing a consistent record of ice mass changes since 1992.
The team found that for each year over the 18-year study, the Greenland ice sheet lost mass faster than it did the year before, by an average of 21.9 gigatonnes a year. In Antarctica, the year-over-year speedup in ice mass lost averaged 14.5 gigatonnes.
“These are two totally independent techniques, so it is a major achievement that the results agree so well,” said co-author Isabella Velicogna, also jointly with JPL and UC Irvine. “It demonstrates the tremendous progress that’s being made in estimating how much ice the ice sheets are gaining and losing, and in analyzing Grace’s time-variable gravity data.”
You may have heard about that 2010 study (Wu et al.) suggesting that earlier estimates of ice mass loss using the GRACE data were too high.  That study turns out to have had a number of issues, not the least of which is the short timeframe it examined:  “mass losses between 2002 and 2008 in Greenland, Alaska/Yukon and West Antarctica.”
As the JPL-led study notes:
The excellent agreement of the GRACE and MBM records over the last 8 years validates the 18‐year MBM record. The results also indicate that an observation period of 8 years is probably not sufficient for these methods to separate the long‐term trend in ice sheet acceleration from temporal variations in SMB [surface mass balance], especially in Antarctica. When we use the extended time period 1992–2009, the significance of the trend improves considerably.  The MBM record indicates an acceleration in mass loss of 21.9 ± 1 Gt/yr2 for Greenland and 14.5 ± 2 Gt/yr2 for Antarctica. The lower uncertainty reflects the reduced influence of temporal variations in SMB for the longer record. The uncertainty in acceleration is thus reduced to 5% for Greenland and 10% for Antarctica. When the mass changes from both ice sheets are combined together (Figure 2c), the data reveal an increase in ice sheet mass loss of 36.3 ± 2 Gt/yr2.
I emailed Rignot to ask him about Wu et al., since I heard he had some issues with it.  He wrote me back:
Wu et al. employed a rather complex technique to infer mass losses all over the world combining GRACE and GPS. While the approach is promising, there is not enough GPS data near the ice sheets today to constrain their solution well. Their study was somewhat premature in terms of concluding about ice sheet mass balance. Their reconstruction of postglacial rebound in Greenland is at odds with what we know about the local glaciology or with prior reconstructions of the GIA [Glacial Isostatic Adjustment].
So Wu et al. used too short of a time frame to get a good picture of what’s happening in Antarctica and appears to have a flawed reconstruction of what’s happening in Greenland.
Finally, it bears remembering that even this study’s projections for 2050 and beyond assume a basically continuous process, whereas the West Antarctic ice sheet is fundamentally unstable because most of it is grounded far below sea level.  The warmer it gets, the more unstable WAIS outlet glaciers will become. Since so much of the ice sheet is grounded underwater, rising sea levels may have the effect of lifting the sheets, allowing more-and increasingly warmer-water underneath it, leading to further bottom melting, more ice shelf disintegration, accelerated glacial flow, and further sea level rise, and so on and on, another vicious cycle. The combination of global warming and accelerating sea level rise from Greenland could be the trigger for catastrophic collapse in the WAIS (see, for instance, here).
The time to act is most definitely now, before we all but guarantee unimaginable levels of polar warming post-2050:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Via TED: Bill Gates: How state budgets are breaking US schools

3 from Truthout:

Wednesday 09 March 2011
William Rivers Pitt | Sorry, Charlie
William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: "The 'mainstream' news media is so mouth-frothingly desperate to gin up a distraction - any distraction - to avoid reporting real news that the entire industry has latched on to the downward spiral of a half-assed actor like it is the end of the world. Charlie Sheen is gutting his life for all to see, the ultimate bread and circus, and the 'news' is all too happy to follow the plunging arc of his career for the same reason they show car chases and house fires. Meanwhile, Governor Walker of Wisconsin is preparing to fire state workers out of spite, because he has thus far been thwarted in his attempt to gut collective bargaining rights in his state."
Read the Article

Noam Chomsky | The Cairo-Madison Connection
Noam Chomsky: "On Feb. 20, Kamal Abbas, Egyptian union leader and prominent figure in the Jan. 25 movement, sent a message to the 'workers of Wisconsin': 'We stand with you as you stood with us.' Egyptian workers have long fought for fundamental rights denied by the U.S.-backed Hosni Mubarak regime. Kamal is right to invoke the solidarity that has long been the driving force of the labor movement worldwide, and to compare their struggles for labor rights and democracy."
Read the Article

"The Pentagon Labyrinth": A New Guide to Reform the Pentagon Even if You Feel Overwhelmed by the Mess
Dina Rasor, Truthout: "For this week's Solutions column, I am looking at a new handbook, 'The Pentagon Labyrinth,' edited by Winslow Wheeler. This handbook is a collection of ten essays on how to understand and begin to tackle reforming the Pentagon. There are many good solutions in this 150-page book put out by the Strauss Military Reform Project, Center for Defense Information. The book can be purchased in hard copy, but is free electronically. For this column, I will be discussing and expanding the sections on buying and testing weapons, an area where much of the waste, fraud, careerism and other Pentagon mischief starts."
Read the Article

Via Hoje em Dia:

Estreante no grupo, o novo professor da Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto (UFOP), Milton Rosa, 49 anos, disse que aproveita o momento de descontração para conhecer a comunidade e fazer amizades. “Acabei de me mudar para a cidade, então estou aqui para entrar no clima, fazer amigos e me divertir”, disse.

O também professor da UFOP, o norte-americano Daniel Orey, 56 anos, disse que nada melhor que o Carnaval para reunir os amigos. “Eu participo do grupo há cinco anos e já me sinto em casa. ”, disse.

Via Lenore Palladino, Political Actio:

The GOP budget is an all-out attack on the American Dream. And to stop it, we've got to sound the alarm. So we're mobilizing hundreds of Defend the Dream events this Tuesday. We still need an event host in Sacramento—can you sign up?

Host a Defend the Dream event

Force states to fire 65,000 teachers. Kill 700,000 jobs. And send 10,000 veterans into homelessness.
That's what the Republican budget would do.1 And that's not all, by a long shot. With $100 billion in cuts, their budget would hit at the heart of programs that just about every American depends on—all the while protecting tax giveaways for millionaires.2
This is nothing less than a full-out assault on the American Dream. And with Republicans in Wisconsin and other states proposing massive budget cuts of their own, we have to fight back.
So this Tuesday, March 15, we're mobilizing to Defend the Dream in communities across America. We'll hold events in front of the very places hit hardest by the GOP budget—schools, libraries, parks, and fire stations—to send a message to Republicans, in Congress and around the country, that slashing programs for working Americans while protecting the rich and big corporations is simply unacceptable.
We don't have a gathering yet in Sacramento—can you host a Defend the Dream event on Tuesday after work? Hosting is fun and simple, and we'll give you all the tools and tips you need. Click here to organize an event:
Hosting a Defend the Dream event is so important. We know members in your area are ready to act. By hosting, you multiply your own impact by giving them a way to get involved.
It's also straightforward. You find a location—any public place that could be impacted by GOP budget cuts, such as a school, park, fire station, or community center—and we'll give you the support you need for the rest: a step-by-step guide, sample materials, and a conference call beforehand to answer any questions you might have.
These events are a crucial part of our emergency mobilization to stop the Republican budget. So many people don't yet know what's at stake, and how devastating these cuts would be to their communities. By pulling folks together next week, at schools, libraries, and other crucial community venues under attack in the Republican budget, we can spread the word and make sure Congress is hearing from constituents that this awful budget cannot pass.
We still need a host in Sacramento—can you sign up today? Just click here to get started:
Thanks for all you do.
–Lenore, Carrie, Adam Q., Kat, and the rest of the team
1. "GOP spending plan would cost 700,000 jobs, new report says," The Washington Post, February 28, 2011
"House GOP Spending Cuts Would Prevent 10,000 Low-Income Veterans From Receiving Housing Assistance," Think Progress, March 1, 2011
"Obama and the GOP's Spending Cuts: Where's the Outrage?" Mother Jones, February 18, 2011
2. Ibid.
Want to support our work? We're entirely funded by our 5 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.

PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION, Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. This email was sent to Daniel Orey on March 9, 2011. To change your email address or update your contact info, click here. To remove yourself from this list, click here.

Via Climate Progress : Drill, baby, drill fails

Posted: 09 Mar 2011 08:46 AM PST
USFieldCrudeProd2000-2010 New
US oil production last year rose to its highest level in almost a decade….
As a result, analysts believe the US was the largest contributor to the increase in global oil supplies last year over 2009, and is on track to increase domestic production by 25 per cent by the second half of the decade.
Domestic oil production is soaring, but so are global prices.  It should be obvious that yet more drilling can’t have any significant impact on oil prices — particularly since the U.S. Energy Information Administration has been making that precise point for years now (see EIA: Full offshore drilling will not lower gasoline prices at all in 2020 and only 3 cents in 2030!).
The only thing that can protect Americans from the inevitably increasing oil shocks of Peak Oil is an aggressive strategy to reduce the country’s oil intensity (oil/GDP), including a steady increase the fuel efficiency of our vehicles — policies that conservatives have fought for decades.
But that doesn’t stop those same conservatives — including former Big Oil lobbyist Haley Barbour — from trying to blame Obama for high oil prices.  ThinkProgress has a rundown of all the absurd attacks:

Political opportunists in the Republican Party have already sought to blame this inherently unstable situation on President Obama. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) — a possible 2012 presidential candidate and former oil industry lobbyist — has suggested that not only are increased prices Obama’s fault, but that he desired and created them. “His administration’s policies have been designed to drive up the cost of energy in the name of reducing pollution, in the name of making very expensive alternative fuels more economically competitive,” Barbour told the U.S Chamber of Commerce last week. “Their policy is to drive up energy prices.” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), chair of the House Tea Party Caucus and also a potential 2012 presidential candidate, said of high gas prices, “This is exactly what the ambition of the Obama administration is, because they want to move people toward green energy.” In a post on titled “Blame the Democrats for High Gas Prices,” CNN political commentator Erick Erickson argued that “Democrats have been politicizing and blocking expanded oil drilling for quite some time.” Similarly, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) blamed Democrats’ unwillingness to open up more domestic drilling sites for the spike. “We seem to have our hands behind our back,” Johnson said. “And this lack of permitting — this lack of going after resources that we have right here in America — is indicative of a failed energy policy.
That is all pure BS, the exact opposite of the truth.  As the Financial Times reported:
The revival of US production has been made possible by a rush of small and mid-sized companies into onshore regions such as the Bakken shale in North Dakota, the Permian Basin in west Texas and the Eagle Ford shale in south Texas.
North Dakota’s production has doubled since 2008, reaching 355,000 b/d in November. Extraction of oil reserves in these regions was thought to be uneconomic, but has been made commercially viable by the transfer of techniques successfully used to extract shale gas; in particular, long horizontal wells and “fracking”, pumping water under high pressure to crack the rock and enable the oil to flow.
Dave Hager, vice-president for exploration and production at Devon Energy, one of the companies pioneering the development of the new onshore fields, said new technology had transformed production economics at its mixed gas and oilfields in north Texas.
Like it or not, Obama actually campaigned on opening up oil production in the Bakken shale, so he is delivering on a campaign promise there.
Of course, more domestic production simply can’t have any significant impact on global prices, as the US Energy Information Administration has made clear many times (see here).
EIA Offshore 2009 small
The EIA’s 2009 report, “Impact of Limitations on Access to Oil and Natural Gas Resources in the Federal Outer Continental Shelf” analyzed the difference between full offshore drilling (Reference Case) and restriction to offshore drilling (OCS limited case).  In 2020, there is no impact on gasoline prices (right hand column).  In 2030, US gasoline prices would be three cents a gallon lower.  Woohoo!
I have previously written about the trivial impact of opening the OCS further to drilling — The oil companies already have access to some 30 billion barrels of offshore oil they have barely begun to develop (see “The cruel offshore-drilling hoax“).
If you are concerned about the impact of high oil prices from Middle East instability, the only viable long-term strategy is one aimed at ending our addiction to this climate-destroying fossil fuel.  Even the once-staid and conservative International Energy Agency understands that (see World’s top energy economist warns peak oil threatens recovery, urges immediate action: “We have to leave oil before oil leaves us”).  And Obama has taken aggressive action in this area, raising new car fuel efficiency standard to 35.5 mpg by 2016, the biggest step the U.S. government has ever proposed to cut oil use.
So why are Barbour and the conservatives shilling for Big Oil?  TP explains:
There is a notable theme here — aside from crass political point scoring, these attacks are calibrated to protect oil as a primary energy source at the expense of cheaper green alternatives, while pushing for even more oil drilling here in the United States. These opportunistic attacks come as the oil industry prepares to pump unprecedented sums of money into the political process. Since the midterm elections, the oil industry has “been very aggressive right out of the gate because of the huge opportunity with the election of their allies,” as Daniel J. Weiss, the director of climate strategy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, told the Houston Chronicle yesterday. Oil and gas companies spent $146.3 million on lobbying last year, and that number is poised to rise as the presidential election approaches. For example, the American Petroleum Institute will start donating money to political campaigns this year.
… the big five oil companies — BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell — made $893 billion in profits from 2001 to 2010.
It’s a ‘virtuous’ cycle.  Big Oil gets politicians elected who push for more drilling and try to block strategies that could actually reduce our oil addiction.  Oil profits keep going up — and that means more money for Big Oil to invest in those politicians.
Note:  For the EIA data in the top figure, go here.
Related Posts:

Via USAction: Pentagon vs Civilian Math Explained

Want to explain why Pentagon spending matters?

military math boot camp
Watch and share this cartoon from Mark Fiore.

Sometimes, when you want to fight a big, powerful opponent like the Pentagon budget, you gotta fight fire with funny.

You know that to really cut the budget, we’ve got to go where the money is. And that’s why we’re calling on Congress to stop spending ANY more money – not $1 more – on war and weapons.

But weapons makers and their Pentagon cronies are clouding the arguments by claiming that up is down and the increased spending on war is actually a cut in spending on defense.

So we’re cutting through the jargon and mis-information in a quick, funny way – like we always do – by teaming up with the hilarious animator Mark Fiore. Mark’s made a new cartoon about the Pentagon budget you’ve just got to see, and share.

Click here to check out the cartoon and pass it on to friends.

Republicans in the House are negotiating with President Obama to avoid a government shutdown – but the truce ends in less than seven days.1

And with less than a week to find millions in savings there's still NOBODY talking about the Pentagon budget.  In fact, they’re doing the opposite – calling an INCREASE in Pentagon spending a “cut” to defense.2

But we don’t have time to get out our slide rules and explain the math to every American voter. So Mark made a funny, fast cartoon that explains it instead.

Watch for yourself and learn how “Pentagon Math” is different than “civilian math” and what it means for over $500 billion of your tax dollars.

Share and enjoy,
Drew Hudson

1 -
2 -

Janela Erotica - Rua Direta Ouro Preto - Carnaval 2011

Last Day of Carnaval 2011 - Ouro Preto - VIVA A BANDALHEIRA!

Carnaval 2011 - Ouro Preto, MG (BANDALHEIRA)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Three from Truthout:

Truthout has been working on some exciting renovations in anticipation of the launch of our redesigned web site in April. Over the weekend, you may have noticed us testing out some new features, and we apologize that there may be some interruptions while viewing the site. We appreciate your patience and your readership - please get in touch with us at with any questions.

Monday 7 March 2011

Michael Moore: "America Is NOT Broke"
Michael Moore, "America is not broke. Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you'll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich."
Read the Article

Activists Hold Wall Street Accountable for Economic Crisis
Mike Ludwig, Truthout: "Progressive groups threw a one-two punch at the nation's richest banks on Monday. A coalition of watchdogs and activists released a new report revealing how the wealthiest bailed-out banks have caused the current economic crisis by dodging taxes, and hundreds of demonstrators rallied in Washington, DC, to demand the attorneys general of all 50 states file criminal charges against banks that are suspected of committing foreclosure fraud during the nation's housing crisis."
Read the Article

Chris Hedges | This Time We're Taking the Whole Planet With Us
Chris Hedges, Truthdig: "I have walked through the barren remains of Babylon in Iraq and the ancient Roman city of Antioch, the capital of Roman Syria, which now lies buried in silt deposits. I have visited the marble ruins of Leptis Magna, once one of the most important agricultural centers in the Roman Empire, now isolated in the desolate drifts of sand southeast of Tripoli. I have climbed at dawn up the ancient temples in Tikal, while flocks of brightly colored toucans leapt through the jungle foliage below."
Read the Article
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