30 August 2010

Here is the TiPSI account of Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans

27 August 2010

End the Filibuster!

Ending the Filibuster Starts Here

Republican Phony Math Skills

VP Biden was in New Hampshire yesterday to laud the project to weatherize homes with economic stimulus funds. The occasion was the completion of the 200,000th home finished.
“So we are picking up the pace. We are weatherizing 20 to 30-thousand homes each month. At that pace we will hit our goal of weatherizing 600-thousand homes. Look folks, weatherizing is a no brainer,” he said.
The stimulus set aside $5 billion for weatherization. Biden says besides conserving energy, the investment has also created 13,000 jobs.

New Hampshire GOP chairman John Sununu immediately took a crack at Biden and the stimulus using very deceptive math. He told reporters the Vice President’s math translates to $385,000 spent for every job created, which he said is unsustainable.

What he didn't say is that he pretended the money was spent only on wages, not materials, and the work was done by one person per house. He further pretends the entire $5 billion was spent on those 13,000 new jobs.
Those 13,000 jobs were created by existing contractors who hired new people to work with existing employees.

The actual cost of weatherizing 600,000 homes is an average of $8,333 per home, if all $5 billion is spent. Confusing apples with oranges is an old Republican trick--they know that most people will hear the mind-numbing figures and not check the phony math. Remember the wild calculations done by Bush and friends about Social Security back in 2000? Check this as well

20 August 2010

Taliban in Florida

Dan Webster is running against Alan Grayson. He was endorsed in the primary by the Orlando Sentinel and by Jeb Bush and he has very scary ideas about marriage and divorce. While in the Florida Legislature, Dan Webster sponsored a bill to institute "covenant marriage." Covenant marriages are now optional in Florida and do not allow for divorce except in the case of adultery. So if you find you are married to an abusive bastard and need a divorce there is only one option: you would need to deliberately commit adultery in order to get that divorce. But under Dan Webster's law, if both parties cheat on each other, then they can't get a divorce. Ever. And he tried to make that the only marriage available in Florida.
There is only one place in the world where both divorce and annulment are forbidden: The Taliban Government in Northwest Pakistan. Dan Webster is not a fringe Republican, he was in the Legislature for 28 years and served as Speaker of the House.

19 August 2010

Jindal's Berms are Killing

Officials with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Louisiana Audubon Council disagreed in comments submitted this week to the Army Corps of Engineers in response to LA's permit request for the 6 berms already under construction and twelve more more. The first 6 berms are being built under an emergency permit while a permanent permit is considered.
Fisheries & Wildlife Service official James Boggs urged the corps not to approve construction of any more pieces of the project beyond those already built.
Boggs said the berms were too small to withstand coastal erosive forces, including storm waves and surges, and was demonstrated when Hurricane Alex "almost eliminated the nascent berm" with just tropical storm winds in July.
The slow pace of construction makes it unlikely that the state's goal of completing the first six berms by the end of November will be met, or that the state could complete the remaining 56 miles of the project within nine months, as proposed.
"Any large-scale threat to the Louisiana coast from Deepwater Horizon oil will likely have dissipated long before the completion of the berm barrier project," he wrote.
The danger caused by these bogus berms was highlighted today by the annoucement today from the Gulf Restoration Network.
But I guess we should be used to Bobby's blatant lying.

Parasol's for Sale

William Hock, whose family opened Parasol's in 1952 and ran it until 2000, is selling Parasol's for $600,000, although the deal is not done yet. Jeff Carreras, who has run it since 2000, is opening Tracey's at 2604 Magazine, one block away. Hock is selling the the property and the business, so the Florida couple will get the recipes and, if they know what they are doing, the food should return to its former glory. I liked the place in the 70's and 80's, but have found it under par in the last 5 years.

17 August 2010

Mosque in New York

Pastor Martin Niemöller's (1892–1984) powerful speech about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group.  Niemöller was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1937 to 1945 because he opposed the Nazi control of churches. The formal charge was that of insufficiently support the state.

He narrowly escaped execution and survived imprisonment. After his imprisonment, he expressed his profound regret about not having helped the victims of the Nazis and ultimately himself. This is from his speech given 6 January 1946 to representatives of the Confessing Church in Frankfurt.

"They came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up."

10 August 2010

Is google naïve?

There was a lot of speculation about the motives for google's entry into China, but no one raised the one that I thought of: Did google hope to help open and democratise China? Sure the financial enticement was there, but google likes to do altruistic deeds that also yield profits.
So is that the reason google entered into an unholy alliance with stodgy Verizon? Are they hoping to leverage openness and goodness into capitalism? That remains to be seen, but I would bet on it. The problem is that a company like Verizon is unlikely to change its mindset. They make too much, and not enough, money. google is like a starry-eyed teenager who hopes to change the world--the difference being that google has more money than anyone.
Still, corporate change is slow.

Cheering News

Pause, Refresh

06 August 2010

Paul Ryan: Update

Paul Krugman agrees with me  tonight

Paul Ryan: Bankruptcy of Ideas

Last Monday, The Washington Post ran glowing reports on Paul Ryan Here. They tell us the CBO estimated that his plan would cut the deficit in half by 2020. What they don't say is that Ryan submitted his plan with only Budget cuts and did not include tax cuts. Cutting taxes AND spending would leave the deficit right where it is, $1.4 trillion in 2020.
This is rather like Little Bush campaigning on the need to reform Social Security using unadjusted 1960, 1972, 1980 and 1990 dollars as though they were equal. It is just another way of lying.
Ryan wants Medicare to issue vouchers for people under 55, which was Newt Gingrich's idea back in 1990. The problem with this is that vouchers would only subsidize a portion of private insurance and only a small percentage of the population could benefit.
He also wants to raise the age of eligibility to 69.
He wants to raise retirement age to 70 years and reduce benefits for those now 54 and younger.
Paul Ryan wants to eliminate  "entitlements" like Social Security. Yet Social Security is not an entitlement, it is a form of insurance which workers and employers pay for. He would establish investment accounts that workers would pay into to build their retirement fund. That would benefit stock brokers, but what happens when the market drops (as it did 2 years ago) and you are ready to draw on that fund?
He wants to eliminate taxes on interest, capital gains, dividends, and estates.
He does not want to reduce the defense budget, he wants to increase it. Even the Cato Institute and Ron Paul think we need to slash the Pentagon's Budget and make them accountable for it.
This is the best the Republicans can offer?

03 August 2010

The latest numbers released this week from various sources show that Louisiana's oil and gas industry is doing quite well and the overall employment in the state is improving. Even businesses along the coast supposedly headed for extinction are doing pretty well.
Two months into "The End of the World", the drilling rig count in Louisiana this past week has increased by 3 from the week before, to 187 check here. The Louisiana Oil and Gas Association was the prime mover behind the "End is Near Rally" in Lafayette. The videos are still on their website and probably will stay there until after the fall elections, because that is what this propaganda campaign is about.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission (which at the Rally, included gasoline station workers on its list of industries directly affected by the moratorium) on Friday released its latest unemployment claims numbers. And guess what? New claims for unemployment in Louisiana fell last week, two months into the moratorium.
Drilling activity up. New unemployment claims down.
If the moratorium is not killing Louisiana, why do LOGA, Governor Jindal, Scott Angelle, and others rave on about the dire consequences resulting from this attempt to prevent further destruction of Louisiana's wetlands and the Gulf of Mexico?