Tuesday Mashup (4/23/13)

April 23, 2013

  • I’m a little late I know with this item noting that Earth Day was yesterday (here), and with that in mind, here is a Media Matters post about related stories that are basically going untold by our corporate media (yes, I know they’re from last year, but I haven’t detected that things have changed much).

    Also, on the subject of the environment, Think Progress brings us a pretty exhaustive list of the members of Congress belonging to the “climate zombie caucus” (many of whom continue to take up space on Capitol Hill), and this tells us that, according to the wingnuts, Earth Day is nothing but a communist plot anyway (never mind that that it became law under Republican President Richard Nixon). Also, this tells us about the sordid doings of “Doc” Hastings, chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources.

    Want to know why all of this matters? Well, for starters (as a Roman Catholic), I give you this.

  • Also, leave it to the Murdoch Street Journal to regurgitate any and all wingnut talking points, particularly on health care reform as noted here (and by the way, if the Democrats ever run a House committee again and link from that committee’s site to, say, an MSNBC story, I’m sure the wingnut harrumphing will be heard from the mountaintops)…

    Congressional Republicans have mapped out another way to obstruct ObamaCare, thanks to the incompetence of its architects. It’s a shame certain absolutists on the right are mounting another self-defeating rebellion in the name of the impossible.

    The insurrection comes as the Health and Human Services Department has already burned through all the dollars appropriated by the Affordable Care Act for implementation. HHS is now demanding an extra $5.9 billion to set up the law’s insurance exchanges—$2 billion more than it estimated it would take last year—but both Senate Democrats and the House denied the request last month.

    HHS responded by announcing that it would simply steal however many dollars it needs from a separate ObamaCare slush fund. Supposedly devoted to “prevention,” this cash has been funneled to everything from bike-path signs to patronage for liberal pressure groups lobbying for fast-food taxes. Now HHS is reaching into this till for at least $454 million this year, with no accountability.

    Yep, ridiculous is as ridiculous does – as noted here

    …the Affordable Care Act set aside $15 billion over 10 years to support prevention and preventive services through the Prevention and Public Health Fund—the largest commitment ever made by the U.S. government to prevent illness and injury before it occurs and keep people healthy in the first place.

    Attacks on the prevention fund began almost as soon as it was passed. Some Republicans called it a “slush fund,” tried to kill it entirely and then to reduce its funding. Early this year, the fund was slashed to maintain unemployment benefits and avoid cutting pay to doctors in the Medicare program (the so-called “doc fix”).

    Despite the hostility, in 2011, the CDC awarded nearly $300 million in Community Transformation Grants to states, cities and tribes across the country to create safe, walkable streets, promote healthy food environments, support worksite wellness, help children get after-school exercise and reduce people’s exposure to tobacco. One grant went to Oklahoma City, where Republican Mayor Mick Cornett has used the money to boost his efforts to make the city a healthier place.

    Besides, as noted here, the Affordable Care Act incorporates the prevention recommendations from at least two separate pieces of legislation, one from former U.S. House Rep Mike Castle and one from U.S. Senator Mark Kirk.

    And by the way, they’re both Republicans.

  • Continuing, this tells us the following (Update here)…

    Travelers could be in for longer waits at the airport this week, after the Federal Aviation Administration imposed furloughs on air traffic controllers despite claims by some lawmakers that the agency could have complied with the sequester in other ways.

    The FAA went ahead with the furloughs on Sunday, citing the automatic budget cuts that went into effect last month. Some delays appeared in the late evening in and around New York, and according to the FAA were spreading on Monday.

    Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said last week that the FAA “has made zero effort” to avoid the furloughs.

    “The FAA’s decision is a dangerous political stunt that could jeopardize the safety and security of air travelers,” he said in a statement.

    The FAA has estimated there could be flight delays of about 90 minutes during peak periods.

    And if there’s someone who knows all about a “dangerous political stunt,” it’s Tom Coburn.

    You see, Coburn has been obstructing on FAA funding for at least a year and a half, as noted here, to the point where former U.S. Repug Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison called him out, though not by name (Harry Reid came a little closer to that here).

    And by the way, I’m tired of listening to Coburn whine about how dysfunctional Washington is. If he doesn’t like it there so much, then why doesn’t he just get the hell out? It’s not like he doesn’t have other options, right?

  • gwb_13-george-w-bush

  • Further, just when you thought he was gone for good (here)…

    Former President George W. Bush said he feels “no need to defend himself” over the high-profile decisions that marked his two terms in office, saying he will leave those judgments to history.

    “There’s no need to defend myself,” Bush said in an interview with USA Today. “I did what I did and ultimately history will judge.”

    Bush, along with President Obama and former Presidents Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Carter, will be on hand to open the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas on Thursday.

    Here’s a news flash for Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History; half of those polled here from last November still blame him more than Number 44 for the still-perpetually-wretched economy. And this tells us that his approval rating has “skyrocketed” to 35 percent (only the previously mentioned Richard Milhous Nixon, who was faced with impeachment over Watergate that likely would have resulted in a conviction, is more unpopular, as noted here).

    In a really twisted way I’ll admit, Dubya is actually the proverbial “gift that keeps on giving.” By continuing to remind us that he still enjoys the company of mostly decent people everywhere, he is a walking, talking, breathing example of Repug executive “governance” at its very worst, and a perpetual reminder of why his party should never be allowed to wield that degree of power ever again.

    Update 4/25/13: Amen.

  • Finally, I should note that I’m really pissed off about this story, but not for the reason you may think.

    If the kid wearing the T-shirt in question (14-year-old Jared Marcum) didn’t violate any school dress code, then he should have been left alone. Yes, many NRA members continue to gin up their outrage over their crass misinterpretation of the Second Amendment (which, thanks to Hangin’ Judge JR and the Supremes, now has the force of law courtesy of the Heller decision), but this is all we need…another wingnut pity party over being supposedly persecuted and harassed by those oh-so-dastardly liberals trying to take away our freedom!

    I also know that teachers are allowed to make subjective judgments in these situations, and that should be respected too. However, now as a result of this, I’m sure we’ll also have some deep-pocketed pro-gun outfit filing a lawsuit to ensure that anyone on any grounds of any West Virginia school is allowed to carry a concealed weapon (besides, how about a calm, rational discussion with Marcum instead?).

    You want all this nonsense to end, people? Elect Democrats and bug them to pass common sense gun laws. That way, maybe teachers will be less inclined to overreact.

    And by the way, the story tells us that Logan County students wore NRA t-shirts today in solidarity with Marcum.

    thousands-march-against-gun-violence-washington-photos_2
    Heckuva job!


  • Monday Mashup Part One (6/21/10)

    June 21, 2010

    (Once again, no posting tomorrow and probably Wednesday also – TBD for the rest of the week.)

  • 1) Oh noes! Clownhall.com is telling us that gas prices are going up under our Kenyan Muslim pre-zee-dint who won’t show us his Hawaiian birth certificate (here)…

    Motorists heading out for the long July 4th weekend will find that filling up the family car is getting more costly.

    Retail prices for gasoline have climbed over the past week and are headed back toward a national average of $2.80 to $2.90 per gallon with higher prices on the West Coast, said Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service.

    This tells us that, in April 2008, the average price for a gallon of gas was $3.35 under Former President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History (it was about $1.66 a gallon when he took over). And every time Number 43 made noises about attacking Iran or threatening Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that country’s “president,” the price went up (not saying the puppet for the Mullahs didn’t deserve it then as now, though).

    The price of gas always goes up in the spring and summer (especially now with the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico) and, if we’re lucky, it comes down in the fall and close to winter. It has more to do with the driving habits of the people in this country more than anything else, though as noted above, other “actors” can affect the price also to some degree.

  • 2) Not to be outdone, though, someone named Kevin McCullough at Fix Noise tells us here that Obama should resign over the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe; according to McCullough, Obama was supposedly approached by BP for help on February 13 and the company was rebuffed (this starts off a really umbrage-filled rant by McCullough aimed at Obama – “how can you sleep at night,” did you inform the families of the victims of the rig’s destruction of your negligence when you posed with them for a photo-op, blah blah blah).Well, when you read the Bloomberg story linked to McCullough’s rant, what you find is this…

    On Feb. 13, BP told the (Minerals Management Service) it was trying to seal cracks in the well about 40 miles (64 kilometers) off the Louisiana coast, drilling documents obtained by Bloomberg show. Investigators are still trying to determine whether the fissures played a role in the disaster.

    The company attempted a “cement squeeze,” which involves pumping cement to seal the fissures, according to a well activity report. Over the following week the company made repeated attempts to plug cracks that were draining expensive drilling fluid, known as “mud,” into the surrounding rocks.

    BP used three different substances to plug the holes before succeeding, the documents show.

    “Most of the time you do a squeeze and then let it dry and you’re done,” said John Wang, an assistant professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering at Penn State in University Park, Pennsylvania. “It dries within a few hours.”

    Repeated squeeze attempts are unusual and may indicate rig workers are using the wrong kind of cement, Wang said.

    So how is it Obama’s fault if BP was using the wrong material to try and seal the fissures?

    Continuing…

    BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward and other top executives were ignorant of the difficulties the company’s engineers were grappling with in the well before the explosion, U.S. Representative Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said today during a hearing in Washington.

    “We could find no evidence that you paid any attention to the tremendous risk BP was taking,” Waxman said as Hayward waited to testify. “There is not a single e-mail or document that you paid the slightest attention to the dangers at this well.”

    BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles and exploration chief Andy Inglis “were apparently oblivious to what was happening,” said Waxman, a California Democrat. “BP’s corporate complacency is astonishing.”

    In early March, BP told the minerals agency the company was having trouble maintaining control of surging natural gas, according to e-mails released May 30 by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is investigating the spill.

    And have to admit that I dismissed at first the story about film director James Cameron offering to help with fixing the mess, until I did more reading and learned about Cameron’s extensive experience filming at the depths similar to that of the leaking pipe; you think his expertise would have come in handy here? And I had a similar reaction to the stuff involving Kevin Costner and his supposed oil/water separation device.

    The Obama Administration is guilty of trusting BP to know what they were doing in this mess, though, as I’ve said before, if they’d taken over earlier, I’d bet McCullough and his pals would have been one of the first to complain that that Number 44 is trying to “nationalize” the oil company the same way he allegedly did to the car companies and the crooks on Wall Street (and the only mention of Obama in the Bloomberg story has to do with the $20 billion fund BP set up for the victims of the oil flood).

  • 3) Finally, to complete this little “threesome” of stories pertaining to “Obama and the oil,” Roger Wicker of Mississippi gave the response to Obama’s Weekly Address on Saturday (here), stating as follows…

    “(Obama) was slow in listening to state and local leaders, slow in getting skimmers to the Gulf, slow in understanding the seriousness of this crisis, and slow in taking ownership and responsibility for the recovery. Many of his actions have actually taken us in the wrong direction.”

    Since Wicker doesn’t get into specifics about how Obama was supposedly “slow in listening to state and local leaders,” I’m not going to do his work for him by responding. However, on the subject of getting skimmers to the Gulf, this story from June 4th tells us the following…

    MISSISSIPPI — Dozens more private boats were deployed Friday to search for and skim oil, and many more were on standby as their crews awaited hazardous-materials training.

    The new boats bring to 158 the number primarily working the Mississippi coast, according to U.S. Coast Guard officials. There are another 220 in Alabama and 112 in Florida.

    And this story from last Thursday says “A decision is expected shortly on whether as many as 55 additional skimmers can be sent” to the Gulf (the Coast Guard reports that they’re reluctant to send more skimmers since it might risk leaving other waterways vulnerable to oil spills also). Also, this tells us that oil seeped past skimmers in the Pensacola inland waterway; the county deployed booms to protect 17 separate individual inlets from bayous and coves where the seagrass is especially sensitive. But (resident Dorothy) King noted mournfully that “they said a month ago our seas were too rough for the boom.”

    Oh, and for Wicker’s information, this New York Times story tells us that Mississippi governor Haley Barbour said that Obama “did more things right than wrong” on the spill.

    You could go back and forth on whether or not the Obama Administration should temporarily waive the Jones Act, which Repug Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison argues here (apparently, Dubya did that when Katrina hit – as noted here, the Act protects our martime interests, but critics argue that the Act makes the U.S. less competitive in the global shipping industry, but the counter argument is that “U.S.-citizen mariner pool needed for the Department of Defense in times of national emergency or war would simply disappear”). Perhaps waiving it for now would make it easier to put in place skimmers of other countries who have offered to help.

    But I shudder to think what would have happened by now if it had been up to Sarah Palin and John McCain to try and fix this mess (maybe they would have taken this idea seriously, for example).

  • Update 7/9/10: Gee, I wonder if Wicker will ever acknowledge that the Obama administration accepted 68 offers of help from other countries (here)? Do you even need to ask (and I never gave much of a thought to Mark Haines, but he did some good work here).


    Rousting Another Repug Ruse On The “Stim” (Updates)

    October 12, 2009

    no_090904_p06_cartoon
    Uh oh, here comes another “Dems are doomed in 2010” story, highlighting our moribund economy (I would say that it’s too early to make blanket generalizations, though that will never stop our corporate media, of course)…

    The longest and deepest downturn since the Great Depression has claimed 7.2 million jobs since it began in December 2007. Analysts figure 750,000 more jobs could disappear over the next six months.

    If you add in people who have stopped looking for work, or who are working part time when they want a full-time job, the unemployment rate is a whopping 17 percent, according to the Labor Department.

    “If you’ve got an effective unemployment rate of 17 percent and if this goes on for any length of time, a year or more, then everyone’s cushion will run out,” said Republican consultant Rich Galen. “There are going to be serious implications, culturally and politically.”

    Galen said it’s understandable that Republicans would use the state of the economy to pound Obama and Democrats who control Congress. Still, “it’s not something we should either make fun of, be amused by or play politics with,” he said.

    Oh, this is to laugh truly, my fellow prisoners (Update 10/13/09…and as far as the Repugs supposedly gaining ground, the only issue has to do with the Dems losing theirs, as noted here).

    Galen thinks the Repugs shouldn’t “play politics” with the economy, huh?

    Seriously, has this man been living under a rock for the past six months or so? I ask that because his party has done NOTHING BUT THAT since President Obama was inaugurated!

    I’m sure Repug U.S. House Rep Trent Franks of Arizona (who, as noted here, has flipped back and forth so many times on the question of Obama’s birth certificate that it’s a wonder he isn’t in traction) wasn’t “playing politics” when he told the lie about the stim funds for the rail from Disneyland to the Moonlight Bunny Ranch (here).

    And I’m sure Louisiana Governor Bobby (Don’t Call Me Piyush) Jindal wasn’t “playing politics” when he faced off with fellow Repug U.S. House Rep “Joseph” Cao from his state about light rail funding (here). And I’m also sure Jindal wasn’t “playing politics” when he made light of “stim” funding for volcano monitoring (here) shortly before Mount Redoubt erupted (here).

    And I’m sure other Repug party members weren’t “playing politics” when they stripped pandemic preparedness funds from the “stim” here (just remember that as cases of H1N1 start piling up).

    And I’m sure Repug Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison weren’t “playing politics” with the economy when they voted against stim funds before they realized that they needed NASA funding and, at the last minute, decided that it should come from the stim here.

    And I’m sure Repug U.S. House Reps John Mica and Don Young weren’t “playing politics” when, as McClatchy tells us here, they “touted projects” from the stim bill that they also opposed.

    I guess this is to be expected from a partisan like Galen, I realize, who claimed here that former Repug presidential candidate Fred (Find My Pulse ’08) Thompson wasn’t dropping out in early January ’08 (which was true), though Grampa “Law And Order “ ended up bailing three weeks later after his microscopic vote total in South Carolina, as noted here.

    And oh yeah, one of the Repugs making the most noise about the stim according to the story is a certain House Minority Leader, who, based on this, has to answer for his own antics as well.

    Update 10/13/09: I forgot about this guy also.

    Update 10/19/09: And how could I forget about this waste of space also (once again, no word on whether or not he ever found his flag lapel pin).

    Update 10/21/09: More to add to the list here…


  • Top Posts & Pages