April 3, 2009 archive

Four at Four

  1. The LA Times reports Wind turbines could more than meet U.S. electricity needs. According to the U.S. Department of Interior, “wind turbines off U.S. coastlines could potentially supply more than enough electricity to meet the nation’s current demand”.

    Simply harnessing the wind in relatively shallow waters — the most accessible and technically feasible sites for offshore turbines — could produce at least 20% of the power demand for most coastal states, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said, unveiling a report by the Minerals Management Service that details the potential for oil, gas and renewable development on the outer continental shelf.

    The biggest wind potential lies off the nation’s Atlantic coast, which the Interior report estimates could produce 1,000 gigawatts of electricity — enough to meet a quarter of the national demand.

    The report also notes large potential in the Pacific, including off the California coast, but said the area presented technical challenges.

    An executive summary of the report is available.

  2. The Washington Post reports the Unemployment rate jumps to 8.5 percent in March. The umployment rate rose from 8.1 to 8.5 percent last month. Employers destroyed “663,000 jobs in March, the fourth straight month in which job losses have topped 600,000, according to Labor Department data. A total of 5.1 million jobs have been lost since the recession began in December 2007, and more than 13 million people are unemployed.”

    The U-6 Alternative measures of labor underutilization has March 2009 unemployment at a not seasonally adjusted 16.2 percent. Up from percent from 16 percent in February.

    According to the NY Times the 8.5 percent unemployment is the “highest level since 1983“.

    The severity and breadth of the job losses – which afflicted nearly every industry outside of education and health care – prompted economists to conclude that an agonizing plunge in employment prospects was still unfolding, with no clear turnaround in sight.

    It’s really just about as bad as can be imagined,” said Dean Baker, a director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington. “There’s just no way we’re anywhere near a bottom. We’ll be really lucky if we stop losing jobs by the end of the year.”

    I dunno… I can imagine worse, a lot worse. This guy isn’t even trying.

Four at Four continues with Iraqis formerly on the American payroll now fighting the U.S. (again) and Iowa Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling.

Friday Night at Eight: Pitchfork Power


From Politico

Arrayed around a long mahogany table in the White House state dining room last week, the CEOs of the most powerful financial institutions in the world offered several explanations for paying high salaries to their employees – and, by extension, to themselves.

“These are complicated companies,” one CEO said. Offered another: “We’re competing for talent on an international market.”

But President Barack Obama wasn’t in a mood to hear them out. He stopped the conversation and offered a blunt reminder of the public’s reaction to such explanations. “Be careful how you make those statements, gentlemen. The public isn’t buying that.”

“My administration,” the president added, “is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”

Now THAT is wielding the Power of the People! And/or, “the mob.”

Mao said “All political power ultimately comes from the barrel of a gun.”

The advance and advantage of democracy on that truth, is that NOW, in a democracy, political power CAN come from the tines of a pitchfork. Despite the conditioned fears that the image of the mob draws upon…..

How is wielding this NOT an advance from the political power of the State’s and The Ruling Class’s guns? The THREAT of the pitchfork is the balance to the power of the Ruling Class, byt the Ruling Class and their media have convinced us not to make that threat, and thus we have found ourselves politically powerless as they….and their “troops…”


Today I confronted a DA who is trying to prosecute protesters as terrorists

Have run roughshod over The People.

Yes there are dangers in Populist Power, but we are now seeing, now are IN….the dangers of not using that Power to BALANCE the Power of the Ruling Class.

Summation: The Ruling Class has used fear on us for decades…if you don’t toe the line you will be fired or jailed…

Instilling a little Fear of the Pitchfork in them at regular intervals is necessary. Obama used it masterfully in this instance.

Strategy: Two Prongs. Press and Petition

That is my suggestion for the next step in keeping the pressure up.

A new petition, a direct plea to Obama for action. A direct petitioning of The President by The People to investigate the former administration. The question then is content and form, what should we say, what should we ask for, how can we be the most persuasive. I’m in a low energy phase, but I’ll start working on a draft….and welcome any others!…for y’all to rip apart, lol!!!

The next prong is inspired by Chuck Todd soliciting questions for Obama’s last news conference. Tell Chuck Todd To Ask About Torture Next Time

If someone in the press starts asking Obama about torture and investigations that puts huge pressure on him and gets the subject onto the TV boxes. So I propose picking a WH pool reporter and starting an e-mail campaign…..and perhaps even a dialog! urging them to ask questions about investigating torture.

Is Todd a good choice? Maybe Todd and Helen Thomas, so Thomas can also put some pressure on the rest pf the press corpse?

This idea needs some community development as well, so pitch in!

Any other ideas? Any thoughts regarding these suggestions?

Yell louder!

WWL Radio #13 Obamarama Edition (6pm EDT)

Join my co-hosts Ed Encho and Gottlieb tonight as they pull no punches about Right-tard shift of Obama.


( Hat tip to Lasthorseman of Docudharma for the image)

The honeymoon’s illusion was sweet, but now you’ve rolled over and woken up to an impotent wonder whose rotted teeth are on the dresser in a cup marked MIC/AIPAC, whose man-tits are bigger than yours from feeding off the Wall Street fat, whose withered balls are in a sac tattooed with AIG and whose breath smells astonishingly like Geithner’s ass. You’d have been better off taking a 4-year vow with the worm in the bottom of that bottle of Mezcal you drank when you voted for “Change.”

They will be discussing the Week’s current events from that angle, assessing our snowball’s chance in hell of “CHANGE” with the SAMENESS they see.

The call in number is 646-929-1264

This link will take you to the spot to live-stream the show.

Listen to The Wild Wild Left on internet talk radio

The live chat link will be active after 5:30-ish.


Be warned: We have had ongoing technical problems with BTR, so be patient on the line, and if dropped, call back!!!!

As always, the archived copy will be available on the Wild Wild Left shortly following the show.

Petition to legalize beekeeping in New York City

As a meadmaker and a practitioner of heathenry, what is happening to the worldwide honeybee population disturbs me on multiple levels. I have attended a beekeeping class where a New York State hive inspector from the Cornell Cooperative Extension all but got down on his knees and begged the attendees to start keeping their own bees.

Few things are more frightening in this world than real fear in the voice of a scientist, and I have seen this repeatedly as the global scientific community wrestles with the impending extinction of the European honeybee.

70% of the world’s food crops are pollinated by these bees. If the honeybee becomes extinct, the impact this will have on an already threatened ecological system will be dire.

Friday Constitutional -Bonus Addition!

Crossposted on Square State

Happy Friday and Welcome to a bonus installment of Friday Constitutional! This is the Dog’s seemingly never ending series about the Constitution of the United States of America. Up to now we have focused on reading and giving a layman’s interpretation of the Constitution. This week we will take a slightly new direction we will talk about some of the influences of on the construction of the Constitution itself. Specifically we are going to look at what role the governance of the Iroquois Confederacy or the Huadenosaunee had on the structure proposed and ratified by the Constitutional Convention in 1787. For those that have not been following this series and who are interested in the previous installments, you can find them at the following links;  

Arctic Icecap Gone Within 30 Years

Crossposted from Antemedius

For years as the planet warms the arctic icecap has been melting and retreating.

Many of us have long known that arctic wildlife like polar bears, gray whales, killer whales, narwhals, seals, and arctic fish and bird populations, as well as arctic coastal human settlements, are in danger of eventual extinction as their natural habitat has been retreating, but what most of us haven’t known is the extent and speed of the retreat.

Because of recent ice loss, Arctic surface air temperatures are warmer than normal, and much warmer than scientists expected to find.

As the ice has been melting the growing spans of open water absorb more sunlight than the ice previously did, so as more open water becomes uncovered, the remaining ice will melt more quickly. This will itself accelerate the rate of warming and lead to more ice loss. In addition, global climate change is likely to drive warmer ocean currents into the Arctic region.

You get the picture. What has developed is a positive feedback loop with dramatic implications for the entire Arctic, and for the rest of the planet, and for all life on Earth. It’s been nice knowing you.

The shrinkage of the Arctic ice cap is viewed with much alarm by climate researchers and scientists, as it appears to perturb important ocean currents elsewhere, notably the Gulf Stream, which gives western Europe its balmy climate.

Now a new report by scientists Muyin Wang of the Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean and James E. Overland of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, is published in todays edition of the American Geophysical Union’s journal Geophysical Research Letters, forecasting nearly complete icecap loss by 2037:

Iowa Supreme Court Overturns Ban on Gay Marriage

The Iowa Supreme Court struck down a ban on gay marriage in the case of Varnum vs. Brien today.  In a unanimous (!) decision, the court ruled that Iowa’s existing Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional because it violated the equal protection clause:

(summary of the opinion — PDF)

In addressing the case before it, the court found one constitutional principle was at the heart of the case-the doctrine of equal protection. Equal protection under the Iowa Constitution “is essentially a direction that all persons similarly situated should be treated alike.” Since territorial times, Iowa has given meaning to this constitutional provision, striking blows to slavery and segregation, and

recognizing women’s rights. The court found the issue of same-sex marriage comes to it with the same importance as the landmark cases of the past.

Attorneys for the defendant (the county government that denied the licenses) had argued that the law defining marriage was not targeting gay couples, and therefore not a violation of equal protection.  The court specifically addressed whether the law was discriminatory against gays:

The plaintiffs contended the statute classifies and discriminates on the bases of gender and sexual orientation while the County argued the same-sex marriage ban does not discriminate on either basis. The court concluded that “[t]he benefit denied by the marriage statute-the status of civil marriage for same-sex couples-is so ‘closely correlated with being homosexual’ as to make it apparent the law is targeted at gay and lesbian people as a class.” Therefore, the court proceeded to analyze the statute’s constitutionality based on sexual-orientation discrimination.

Adware:Go Ahead Track My Cookies

It has come to my attention that Adware has been tracking my cookies for sometime now.  I let it go until it became a real annoyance and started redirecting my searches for entrances to the top secret alien UFO/military bases to a lamestream/sheeple shopping mall called “shopica”.  That had to get resolved.

Talking past each other

Last week I posted this essay at dkos in reaction to some of the communication barriers I was both seeing and experiencing there. The other day Alma suggested that I post it here. I thought about it and decided that I would. Thanks Alma!

I had a powerful learning experience during the Presidential Primaries about how we so often talk past one another. Lately I’ve been thinking alot about that lesson and seeing it in my own communication as well as in my reading on the blogs.

So I thought I’d share the experience to see if it can help some of us open up a bit to hear the views of those with whom we disagree.

Happy Birthday Robyn


Docudharma Times Friday April 3

Its Not Just North

Korean Missiles

What About Those American

Journalists Seized By

That Country?


Friday’s Headlines:

Too many cars, and they’re not on the road

Nato summit: Europe resists US pressure on Afghanistan ‘surge’

Da Vinci: the amusement park

Kenyan lions being poisoned by pesticides’

Winnie Mandela makes a comeback to South African political scene

West Bank refugee camp swaps guns for greasepaint

Iraqi government releases Sunni paramilitary leader

China hi-tech exam cheats jailed

Seized U.S. journalists become ‘hostages’ in N. Korea crisis

On the borderline of good and bad

Congress Approves Budget

$3.5 Trillion Spending Plan Paves Way for Obama Goals

By Lori Montgomery

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, April 3, 2009; Page A01

Congressional Democrats overwhelmingly embraced President Obama’s ambitious and expensive agenda for the nation yesterday, endorsing a $3.5 trillion spending plan that sets the stage for the president to pursue his most far-reaching priorities.

Voting along party lines, the House and Senate approved budget blueprints that would trim Obama’s spending proposals for the fiscal year that begins in October and curtail his plans to cut taxes. The blueprints, however, would permit work to begin on the central goals of Obama’s presidency: an expansion of health-care coverage for the uninsured, more money for college loans and a cap-and-trade system to reduce gases that contribute to global warming.


Northrop Grumman-TRW whistle-blower case settled

The defense contractor agrees to resolve claims of faulty satellite parts, and the federal government in turn settles a separate dispute, meaning no money changes hands.

By Peter Pae

April 3, 2009

In one of the nation’s largest settlements in a whistle-blower case, Northrop Grumman Corp. has agreed to pay the federal government $325 million to resolve claims that TRW, which it acquired in 2002, provided defective parts for a spy satellite program in the 1990s.

But in an unusual twist, the federal government also announced Thursday that it had settled a separate, long-running dispute with Northrop and agreed to pay the aerospace company $325 million — essentially meaning that no money will change hands.

In an e-mail, a Justice Department official said that because the two settlements with Northrop were of equal amounts, “no money is exchanged.”

Though Century City-based Northrop was the loser in the whistle-blower case, it successfully resolved a 13-year-old dispute over a missile program that was canceled in 1995 for what the government said were cost and schedule overruns.

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