Saturday, September 1, 2012

Via JMG: Paul Ryan Lied About Marathon Feat

Runner's World clocks him on it.
It turns out Paul Ryan has not run a marathon in less than three hours—or even less than four hours. A spokesman confirmed late Friday that the Republican vice presidential candidate has run one marathon. That was the 1990 Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota, where Ryan, then 20, is listed as having finished in 4 hours, 1 minute, and 25 seconds. Ryan had said in a radio interview last week that his personal best was "Under three, high twos. I had a two hour and fifty-something." In a statement issued to Runner's World by a spokesman Friday night, Ryan said of his marathon experience: "The race was more than 20 years ago, but my brother Tobin—who ran Boston last year—reminds me that he is the owner of the fastest marathon in the family and has never himself ran a sub-three. If I were to do any rounding, it would certainly be to four hours, not three. He gave me a good ribbing over this at dinner tonight."
Ryan confessed after Runner's World scoured marathon records in Ryan's home state. (Tipped by JMG reader Brad)

Reposted from Joe

Via JMG: GOP Platform: High-Capacity Clips Are OK

Think Progress notes that the official GOP party platform endorses the continued legalization of the same high-capacity bullet magazines used in Colorado's Batman mass slaying.
Gun ownership is responsible citizenship, enabling Americans to defend their homes and communities. We condemn frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers and oppose federal licensing or registration of law-abiding gun owners. We oppose legislation that is intended to restrict our Second Amendment rights by limiting the capacity of clips or magazines or otherwise restoring the ill-considered Clinton gun ban.
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reposted from Joe


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Friday, August 31, 2012

Via ThinkProgress:

This week was dominated by the Republican National Convention, and ThinkProgress was there to fact-check the claims of the GOP's featured stars. Check out the important posts you may have missed:
1. FACTS MATTER: The Ultimate Guide To Mitt Romney’s Convention Speech
2. The 6 Worst Lies In Paul Ryan’s Speech
3. RNC’s Featured Small Business Owner: My Company Needs More Government Contracts
Igor Volsky
Deputy Editor, ThinkProgress

Via JMG: New York Times Rips Romney/Ryan Lies

The New York Times has published a lie-by-lie refuting of Romney and Ryan's RNC speeches. An excerpt:
Representative Paul D. Ryan used his convention speech on Wednesday to fault President Obama for failing to act on a deficit-reduction plan that he himself had helped kill. He chided Democrats for seeking $716 billion in Medicare cuts that he too had sought. And he lamented the nation’s credit rating — which was downgraded after a debt-ceiling standoff that he and other House Republicans helped instigate.

And Mitt Romney, in his acceptance speech on Thursday night, asserted that President Obama’s policies had “not helped create jobs” and that Mr. Obama had gone on an “apology tour” for America. He also warned that the president’s Medicare cuts would “hurt today’s seniors,” claims that have already been labeled false or misleading. The two speeches — peppered with statements that were incorrect or incomplete — seemed to signal the arrival of a new kind of presidential campaign, one in which concerns about fact-checking have been largely set aside. [snip]

In his floor speech, Mr. Romney repeated his widely debunked charge that Mr. Obama had gone on an “apology tour” on America’s behalf — an accusation he feels so strongly about that he laid out his own worldview in a 2010 book he titled “No Apology.” But independent fact checkers have called the accusation a distortion, and it is hard to find evidence that Mr. Obama ever said he was sorry for the United States.
Read the entire article.

Reposted from Joe

Via JMG: Obama Sees Electoral Bump


Reposted from Joe

Via JMG: RNC Delegate Is "Highly Offended" That "Mexican" Is Working At EPCOT

Think Progress reports:
During a trip to Epcot at Disneyworld, Pennsylvania delegate Mark Harris and his wife were shocked and offended to find a Mexican employee working at the amusement park’s American pavilion, which showcases the different cultures in the United States. According to the couple’s blog, Harris complained to staff that he was “highly offended” that a “person from Mexico” was working in the American pavilion when other nations’ pavilions were staffed by people from each respective country.
Hometown GOP officials in Harris' district are falling over themselves to disavow his words.

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Via JMG: World's Richest Woman Has Advice

"There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire. If you're jealous of those with more money, don't just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself -- spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working. Become one of those people who work hard, invest and build, and at the same time create employment and opportunities for others." - Australian mining tycoon Gina Rinehart, who inherited $30 billion from her daddy. Rinehart says Australia needs to do away with the minimum wage "unless we want to end up like Greece."

Reposted from Joe

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Via JMG: Fox News: Paul Ryan Is A Lying Liar

How we you know that Paul Ryan's RNC speech was completely full of lies? Because even an op-ed posted on Fox News has denounced him for it.
To anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech. On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold. The good news is that the Romney-Ryan campaign has likely created dozens of new jobs among the legions of additional fact checkers that media outlets are rushing to hire to sift through the mountain of cow dung that flowed from Ryan’s mouth.

Said fact checkers have already condemned certain arguments that Ryan still irresponsibly repeated. Elections should be about competing based on your record in the past and your vision for the future, not competing to see who can get away with the most lies and distortions without voters noticing or bother to care. Both parties should hold themselves to that standard. Republicans should be ashamed that there was even one misrepresentation in Ryan’s speech but sadly, there were many.
"World record for lying." Remember that one.

Reposted from Joe

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Via God Bless the President of the United States / FB"

The Republicans are proposing more cuts to the SNAP (Food Stamp) Program as of April 17 2012. The irony is that the states that receive the most Federal $'s -Welfare are drumroll........Republican Red States! WTF!

"The Red States ARE the Welfare Queens of the Union. Republicans are always saying Democratic voters are the poor and are on welfare, but the truth is RATHER the OPPOSITE! This chart is from the non-partisan Tax Foundation and shows how much each State gets back from the Federal Government for each dollar paid in Federal Taxes. Blue or Democratic States are paying for the Welfare checks of the Red or Republican States." VOTE straight BLUE!!!!

JMG Headline Of The Day:

Oh this will be fun. BONUS: The yacht is named Cracker Bay.

Reposted from Joe

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The RNC has deliberately decided to make a big deal of our national debt, blaming the Democrats for every one of our nation's economic woes, going so far as to hang a million dollar debt clock over the audience's head. They also drone over and over in their speeches about how successful they have been at reigning in spending WITHOUT raising taxes. Of course, they fail to mention that the burden fo
r paying our nation's bills have effectively been transferred from those who have benefited economically in recent years, to the poor whose jobs were eliminated so the wealthy could suck down more profits.

If we take a look at where all that debt actually comes from however, it doesn't come close to the picture being painted by the Republicans. Bush era tax cuts, and expensive wars that he started account for nearly half of that debt. When we add in the economic downturn that resulted from his failed economic policies, that total grow to over 2/3 of our total debt. The things that the Republicans accuse of causing all the damage, bailouts and recovery measures, account for only 8%, and the costs of running the rest of "big government" (paying interest on the bush debt, and all those "entitlements", dontcha know) accounts for just over 20%.

The sheer audacity of their lies is unfathomable. The only way to defeat those lies is to hold them up to the harsh light of the truth. Share this graphic with your political friends, please. More importantly, share it with your political foes.

~ Kerry

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bill Nye: Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children

Via JMG: Quote Of The Day - David Brooks

"Mitt Romney was born on March 12, 1947, in Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Virginia and several other swing states. He emerged, hair first, believing in America, and especially its national parks. He was given the name Mitt, after the Roman god of mutual funds, and launched into the world with the lofty expectation that he would someday become the Arrow shirt man. Romney was a precocious and gifted child. He uttered his first words (“I like to fire people”) at age 14 months, made his first gaffe at 15 months and purchased his first nursery school at 24 months.

"The school, highly leveraged, went under, but Romney made 24 million Jujubes on the deal. Mitt grew up in a modest family. His father had an auto body shop called the American Motors Corporation, and his mother owned a small piece of land, Brazil. He had several boyhood friends, many of whom owned Nascar franchises, and excelled at school, where his fourth-grade project, “Inspiring Actuaries I Have Known,” was widely admired." - New York Times columnist David Brooks, in a hilarious alternate history for Mitt Romney. Do read the entire thing.

Reposted from Joe

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

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When you lose your compassion for those in need. When you cast aside your capacity to care. When you ignore the plight of your fellow man. Then the qualities that once allowed to rise above and the virtues that once made you human are gone... ~F. Paquette

Via Climate Progress: Why The Arctic Sea Ice Death Spiral Matters

Posted: 26 Aug 2012 09:25 AM PDT

Arctic sea ice extent takes a nosedive this year. What does it mean for us? (Source: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency)


By Neven Acropolis with Kevin McKinney
In the past week the Arctic sea ice cover reached an all-time low, several weeks before previous records, several weeks before the end of the melting season. The long-term decline of Arctic sea ice has been incredibly fast, and at this point a sudden reversal of events doesn’t seem likely. The question no longer seems to be “will we see an ice-free Arctic?” but “how soon will we see it?”. By running the Arctic Sea Ice blog for the past three years I’ve learned much about the importance of Arctic sea ice. With the help of Kevin McKinney I’ve written the piece below, which is a summary of all the potential consequences of disappearing Arctic sea ice.
Arctic sea ice became a recurrent feature on planet Earth around 47 million years ago. Since the start of the current ice age, about 2.5 million years ago, the Arctic Ocean has been completely covered with sea ice. Only during interglacials, like the one we are in now, does some of the sea ice melt during summer, when the top of the planet is oriented a bit more towards the Sun and receives large amounts of sunlight for several summer months. Even then, when winter starts, the ice-free portion of the Arctic Ocean freezes over again with a new layer of sea ice.

Since the dawn of human civilization, 5000 to 8000 years ago, this annual ebb and flow of melting and freezing Arctic sea ice has been more or less consistent. There were periods when more ice melted during summer, and periods when less melted. However, a radical shift has occurred in recent times. Ever since satellites allowed a detailed view of the Arctic and its ice, a pronounced decrease in summer sea ice cover has been observed (with this year setting a new record low). When the IPCC released its Fourth Assessment Report in 2007, it was generally thought that the Arctic could become ice-free somewhere near the end of this century. But changes in the Arctic have progressed at such speed that most experts now think 2030 might see an ice-free Arctic for the first time. Some say it could even happen this decade.

What makes this event significant, is the role Arctic sea ice plays as a reflector of solar energy. Ice is white and therefore reflects a large part of incoming sunlight back out to space. But where there is no ice, dark ocean water absorbs most of the sunlight and thus heats up. The less ice there is, the more the water heats up, melting more ice. This feedback has all kinds of consequences for the Arctic region. Disappearing ice can be good for species such as tiny algae that profit from the warmer waters and extended growing season, but no sea ice could spell catastrophe for larger animals that hunt or give birth to offspring on the ice. Rapidly changing conditions also have repercussions for human populations whose income and culture depend on sea ice. Their communities literally melt and wash away as the sea ice no longer acts as a buffer to weaken wave action.

But what happens in the Arctic, doesn’t stay in the Arctic. The rapid disappearance of sea ice cover can have consequences that are felt all over the Northern Hemisphere, due to the effects it has on atmospheric patterns. As the ice pack becomes smaller ever earlier into the melting season, more and more sunlight gets soaked up by dark ocean waters, effectively warming up the ocean. The heat and moisture that are then released to the atmosphere in fall and winter could be leading to disturbances of the jet stream, the high-altitude wind that separates warm air to its south from cold air to the north. A destabilized jet stream becomes more ‘wavy’, allowing frigid air to plunge farther south, a possible factor in the extreme winters that were experienced all around the Northern Hemisphere in recent years. Another side-effect is that as the jet stream waves become larger, they slow down or even stall at times, leading to a significant increase in so-called blocking events. These cause extreme weather simply because they lead to unusually prolonged conditions of one type or another. The recent prolonged heatwave, drought and wildfires in the USA are one example of what can happen; another is the cool, dull and extremely wet first half of summer 2012 in the UK and other parts of Eurasia.

[JR: See Arctic Death Spiral: How It Favors Extreme, Prolonged Weather Events ‘Such As Drought, Flooding, Cold Spells And Heat Waves’.]

The accumulation of heat in Arctic waters also influences other frozen parts of the Arctic, such as glaciers and ice caps on Greenland and in the Canadian Archipelago. As there is less and less sea ice to act as a buffer, more energy can go into melting glaciers from below and warming the air above them. This has a marked effect on Greenland’s marine-terminating glaciers and the Greenland Ice Sheet. Not only are glaciers flowing faster towards sea, but there is also a rapid increase in the summer surface melt Greenland experiences, leading to accelerating mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet. As the Arctic warms, an increased contribution to sea level rise is inevitable.

Another way Arctic warming could have worldwide consequences is through its influence on permafrost. Permanently frozen soils worldwide contain 1400-1700 Gigatons of carbon, about four times more than all the carbon emitted by human activity in modern times. A 2008 study found that a period of abrupt sea-ice loss could lead to rapid soil thaw, as far as 900 miles inland. Apart from widespread damage to infrastructure (roads, houses) in northern territories, resulting annual carbon emissions could eventually amount to 15-35 percent of today’s yearly emissions from human activities, making the reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere a much more difficult task.

An even more worrying potential source of greenhouse gases is the methane in the seabed of the Arctic Ocean, notably off the coast of Siberia. These so-called clathrates contain an estimated 1400 Gigatons of methane, a more potent though shorter-lived greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Methane clathrate, a form of water ice that contains a large amount of methane within its crystal structure, remains stable under a combination of high pressure and low temperature. At a depth of 50 meters or less the East Siberian Arctic Shelf contains the shallowest methane clathrate deposits, and is thus most vulnerable to rising water temperatures. Current methane concentrations in the Arctic already average about 1.90 parts per million, the highest in 400,000 years.

Apart from these unrecoverable sources of fossil fuel the Arctic is also endowed with large amounts of recoverable oil and natural gas. As the sea ice retreats, the Arctic’s fossil treasures are eyed greedily by large corporations and nations bordering the Arctic Ocean. Not only might this lead to geopolitical tensions in a world where energy is rapidly becoming more expensive, it is also highly ironic that the most likely cause of the disappearance of Arctic sea ice – the extraction and burning of fossil fuels – could lead to more extraction of said fuels. Another feedback loop.

News articles referring to the Arctic and its sea ice usually have pictures of polar bears accompanying the text. But although many animals in the Arctic will be impacted negatively by the vanishing of Arctic sea ice, much more is at stake. After thousands of years in which the sea ice played a vital role in the relatively stable conditions under which modern civilization, agriculture and a 7 billion strong world population could develop, it increasingly looks as if warming caused by the emission of greenhouse gases is bringing an end to these stable conditions. Whether there still is time to save the Arctic sea ice, is difficult to tell, but consequences will not disappear when the ice is gone. It seems these can only be mitigated by keeping fossil fuels in the ground and out of the air. Whichever way you look at it, business-as-usual is not an option.

For more information on Arctic sea ice, check out the Arctic Sea Ice blog.
– Neven Acropolis with Kevin McKinney

Images used:
Arctic sea ice extent reconstruction – Kinnard et al. 2011
Sea ice albedo feedback – NASA
Polar jet stream – NC State University
Greenland ice sheet surface melt – NASA
Permafrost distribution in the Arctic – GRID-Arendal
Atmospheric methane concentration – NOAA ESRL
Russia plants flag at North Pole – Reuters

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 “May the stars carry your sadness away,
May the flowers fill your heart with beauty,
May hope forever wipe away your tears,
And, above all, may silence make you strong.”
Chief Dan George

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