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Thomas Paine

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturday Afternoon BlogNews

Ecology Sunday

In response to the need to heighten awareness of environmental problems and get more of the faithful involved in bringing about ecological balance, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales has declared the third Sunday of every month as Ecology Sunday in the Archdiocese of Manila.

Water decision leaves metro Atlanta high and dry

Denying access to water stored at Lake Lanier

Water restrictions now mandatory in areas : 150,000 residents of Northwest Baltimore and Baltimore County 

Ecology Department warns of bacteria in South Fork Palouse River

SPOKANE - The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is advising residents and visitors to the South Fork Palouse River to use care when playing in the water. The water is often polluted with fecal coliform bacteria that can make people sick.

Well drilling banned in western Kittitas County

At issue is rapid growth in upper Kittitas County — the corridor of scenic Cascade foothills unfurling along I-90 from the Snoqualmie Pass toward Ellensburg — that has been lubricated by the drilling of individual wells. Those wells are exempt from the state's complex, regimented water-rights rules by a 1945 law written for rural homesteaders.

A federal economic stimulus package is working its way through Congress. It is focused on job creation through funding of “ready-to-go” water quality infrastructure projects. The federal House of Representatives and the Senate both proposed economic stimulus legislation (H.R.1 and S.336) that includes using the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, authorized under the Clean Water Act Title VI, as the funding mechanism for wastewater and environmentally sensitive/green infrastructure projects. Although the legislation is not final and the House and Senate proposed different versions, there are several similar trends. Based on current language in these bills, if passed, this legislation would: 
Provide $80-$100 million for eligible public bodies across Washington state to fund water pollution control projects. 
Provide some level of loan subsidization, including principal forgiveness or negative interest (projects meeting affordability criteria and grant support are also included in H.R. 1) 
Include specific allocations for environmentally sensitive, innovative green infrastructure projects. 
Provide priority for projects ready to proceed to construction within 120 or 180 days.

Daily Climate News and Analysis Jul 16

From comments at Care2

( Name withheld ) Friday July 17, 2009, 6:14 pm
When docs prescribe a placebo, they expect the gullible patient to believe it will work and that the symptoms will go away, especially if the symptoms have been psychologically caused or exacerbated. The problem is, Americans are struggling, going bankrupt, even dying because of our failed health care (really illness care) system. Placebos don't work when there is real illness, yet it seems that is what the house of representatives has offered in its first draft of legislation. 

A first look at the house of Representatives plans for health reform suggests that they are not offering substantive health reform. Sure, they are offering a few fixes that should have been made a long time ago, like ending "existing illness" insurance exemptions or surcharges, and recision -- where insurers take subscribers money for years, knowing there's been a flaw in the agreement, then, when the bills get big, during an illness, they throw the subscriber, who's often paid thousands into the plan, out. 

But those are easy fixes that should have been dealt with long ago. They are not the big reforms that the nation desperately needs to adequately care for all Americans and to compete in a global economy where all other major nations offer universal single payer health care to all citizens, taking the costs off of their industries, making them far more competitive than struggling US industries. 

Those easy fixes don't help the 600,000+ people, with insurance, who go bankrupt each year -- about 1400 constituents per congressional district, on average. 

Those fixes won't help the very conservatively estimated 20,000 people who die every year for lack of health care -- about 50 constituents per congressional district. That's 50 people who died because their legislator sold out to health insurer or big pharma lobbyists, or lobbyists for the orgs that benefit from the current system by selling insurance, like the chambers of commerce, AARP, some unions that only have health care benefits to offer union members... 

So now, we're starting to see what the house of representatives is going to offer we the people. And it flat out sucks. For starters, the public option doesn't go into effect until 2013. That's right. It's like one of those balloon mortgages... If you believe that it will actually happen. Frankly, if the bill, as currently written, is signed by Obama, he won't deserve to be re-elected and Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney or whatever right wing extremist replaces him will surely stop the public option from going into effect. 

Seriously, do the house dems who have proposed this insulting, despicable piece of legislation really think this will fly? It is a gesture, a symbolic gift to the lobbyists. They do that, you know. They will fly a bill that they have no intention of ever passing, just to please some lobby group that contributed to one or many campaigns. I figure they'll give this gift to the lobbyists if we let them, or, if we push back, they'll consider their first draft as an initial negotiating offer. 

Reminds me of when I was in Tangier, Morocco, where I went into a rug store and was given a price of $200 for a small rug. I replied with an offer of $2.00. We dickered back and forth and I ended up buying it for $10.00. The House has put out their first, insanely, outrageously bad offer. We have to come back with an offer that drives them to settle on something far more reasonable. 

We're talking about a legislating a solution to a cancerous affliction upon the American people and American industry-- a health care oligopoly with faux non-profits and a small, powerful group of for-profits that are sucking the lifeblood out of the economy, corrupting our politics and corrupting the long noble practice of healing. 

But wait. It gets worse. The senate hasn't weighed in yet. The senate always takes a more conservative bent than the house, so expect the senate to reconcile the house bill to something even worse, unless... Unless you and I and a hell of a lot more Americans scream our bloody heads off (bloody is a Brit, Australian or Canadian term -- you know, countries with real health care for all.) 

And we need to do it right away. You need to go to the office of your congressional rep with a few hundred people and tell him to stuff that four year wait -- any wait of more than six months -- up where the sun doesn't shine. You need to drag the people from your church, mosque or synagogue, every activist group you are connected to, and go stand with signs, shouting at your congressperson, telling him or her what nerve he/she has even suggesting there be such a wait. Because if they don't get a clear message that it's not good enough, you, my friend, will be royally screwed. And don't expect help from some of those big-mouthed voices in the middle, like HCAN, which likes this despicable bill and is paying its workers to sell this. 

Throughout history, there have been sellouts and cowards and then there have been co-opters -- people who are the next thing to total sellouts. Co-opters try to talk people into settling for too little, for marginal, inadequate reforms or change. Even Obama is talking now about providing health care for all. But the Public option plan supporters all say the same gutless thing -- settle for this lousy bone or don't expect to get anything. Of course, if all those co-opters -- those big, faux progressive organizations, like Moveon, Acorn and some of the biggest unions which sold out for the public option, had actually held tough for single payer, the Dems, in total control now of the house and senate, would have been forced to do the right thing. And have no doubt, the right thing for America is absolutely Universal single payer. It's right for individuals, right for the budget, right for American industry and the economy. 

Because let's face it. The reforms, the health care revisions and plans currently on the table are there because our elected legislators have sold out to Healthcare Insurer/Pharmaceutical complex and their enablers. These plans -- the full, though short range of the vision for these plans -- do not do the job American citizens and industry deserve. 

Now is the time that there is an opportunity to make the big leap, to literally kill the for profit and pseudo non-profit Big Blue health care industry -- to virtually dump the dinosaur in the ashcan of history, where buggy whips, horse carriages, slavery, torture (oops, not so fast on that one) child labor, sweat shops and feudalism have all gone. It is time we respond to this slap in the face the house of representatives has presented us with and demand the real thing -- universal health care for all and the end to an industry that is a huge threat to America. 

I've repeated myself a bit here, but it's time we all get out in the streets, literally, and shout from the rooftops, repeating, "We want real health care reform. We Want Universal health care for every American." And we need to repeat it loudly, with enough of our neighbors so every legislator, in both parties hears it. And we need to start doing it today. 

And why not?...It is your life and your health we are talking about here! And an untimely death or bankrupsy is not for you?...Just do it!

From Seed Sovereignty to Food Sovereignty: The MCP's Creole Seeds Project

Why the Lugar-Casey Global Food Security Act will Fail to Curb Hunger

Amazon zaps purchased copies of Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm from Kindles

 free un-stealable electronic copies.

The Nightowl Newswrap (+) 
by: Blue Girl 
Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 23:15:00 PM CDT 


Michael Huffington sues the Carlyle group, accusing the imploded investment powerhouse of bilking him out of $20 million after he was introduced to the company's David Rubenstein in 2006 by George H.W. Bush at a dinner held in Iceland in the former president's honor.  

Brazil is angry over British toxic waste Brazilian police are investigating after 64 shipping containers carrying 1400 tons of British hazardous waste, including diapers, condoms, syringes and batteries - turned up in three Brazilian ports. The British embassy in Brazil issued an immediate apology, promised "immediate steps" and reiterated that the UK opposes any kind of illegal waste trading.  

When they get this close, call it a success anyway Seven supermarkets in England and Scotland signed on to a voluntary pilot program targeted at reducing the number of plastic grocery bags used by half. They got close, however, with their actual reduction coming in at 48% and one store in Scotland achieving a 49% reduction rate. Personal anecdote: At the supermarkets where I shop, they have changed the behavior of the customers and reduced the number of plastic bags they use just by changing the question from "paper or plastic?" to "how many bags do you get credit for today?" A Brookside housewife wearing organic cotton from World's Window and carrying hemp bags can absolutely wither smokers, Hummer drivers and people who don't bring reusable bags to the store with one look. I think they gave a seminar at the St. Peter's community building or something, 'cuz they all have it down. 

Someone tell Tom Coburn that he is not a priest and his 'counsel' he gave the horndog John Ensign in the matter of the hypocri-C Street republican-whoremongers scandal isn't privileged just because he says it is. Being a deacon in his church in Oklahoma and an OB-GYN by training is a pretty thin reed to hand a claim of privilege from and refuse to answer the ethics panel. 

Ventura on Palin: "I would never vote for her because if it gets too hit in the kitchen, she's liable to quit." 

A Sanford postscript worth one final chuckle In that South Carolina's Charleston Post and Courier obtained and posted online the emails in and out of the governor's office while he was off 'hiking the Appalachian Trail' - which really is what the kids are calling it these days - the fact that the governor was missing was noticed by Homeland Security and they contacted the governor's office to inquire about his whereabouts.  

Quote of the Day "I am not going to be able to persuade my colleagues to do the right things, so I am just going to have to create pain." --Sen. Jim DeMint, talking about his plans to make the process of getting healthcare reform through congress as difficult as possible. 

Some eBooks are more equal than others This morning, all over the world, Amazon customers who had purchased books by one specific author discovered that they had disappeared from their Kindle devices, and their accounts had been credited back the purchase price - as if Waldenbooks came into our homes while we were sleeping, took some of the books off our shelves and left gift cards in their place. Bonus irony points: The author whose publisher instigated this big-brotherish plot? None other than George Orwell.  

Pensylvania introduces the "payless payday" Tens of thousands of state employees today received what will likely be their last paychecks before they are expected to start working without pay, and the checks they received were smaller than normal. The payless paydays will continue until a budget impasse between the Rendell administration and the legislature get on the same page, make some compromises and work out the budget that was due July 1.  

The Centrists are, quite simply, lying like rugs when they say we don't want to tax the rich to pay for health care. We most certainly do. 

I hate it when shit like this happens in Missouri instead of Texas, where this sort of gun-nuttery I expect Don't get me wrong - I love my guns. But this is just embarrassing. Buy a new pickup in the month of August from Max Motors in Butler, MO (South and east of KC) and get a voucher for an AK-47.  

My governor has some questions to answer Gov. Nixon and Mark Templeton, his hand-picked director of the Department of Natural Resources, have some explaining to do about the DNRs decision to not release data that showed dozens of areas in the Lake of the Ozarks that had unsafe eColi levels in late May - just as the lake season was getting started and thousands of weekend tourists headed south every weekend to spend a lot of money and a lot of time in the (potentially contaminated) water. (I plan to have a full-length post on this over the weekend at Show Me Progress. Anyone interested in learning more - or just watching me hold a Democrat accountable - can get it there.) 

States face record-low tax revenues The sluggish economy decimated state coffers in the first three months of the year, The drop in tax collections was the sharpest decline in the entire 46 years that quarterly data has been available, according to a just-released study by the Rockefeller Institute of Government. 

Deep thought You know, nearly half a century of living with the fact that a tough man is stern and commands respect and a tough woman is merely a hormonal harpy - has turned me into a vindictive bitch. 

Sestak is going to fight for the Union vote in the primary he is intent on mounting against Specter. To that end he will be a featured speaker at a huge Pennsylvania AFL-CIO 50th Annual Community Services Institute next week. 

More from the "irony isn't dead, hell it ain't even sick" files Texas Governor Rick "tea bagger secessionist" Perry - who talked openly about seceding over the tyranny of being forced to take federal stimulus dollars. And indeed, he managed to reject some funds. Now the state is in trouble financially. So the governor is going hat-in-hand to the federal government for a loan - to cover the very expenses the rejected stimulus dollars would have paid for. Of course, in the "liberal media" this will get the same level of coverage that the tea-partying Rick Perry who was rejecting funds got. Right? 

Believe it or not, I wondered about this myself! Okay, so you know that what I pass off as having a paying job involves surfing the net and blogging in grolaw's office instead of whatever corner of my apartment seems the most suitable to my demeanor that day while I answer his phone. Some of that net surfing involves legal research, and sometimes, just because I'm a curious sort, I pick up one of the legal publications that come into the office. One of the things I read about recently was the strange case of Ehrhardt v Herschend that is playing out in the Missouri courts right now. It was the first thing I thought about when I read about Palin's attorney threatening to sue anyone who dared criticize Queen Moose Poop in print - I thought "file it bitch. It's got malicious prosecution written all over it." I just wish I had said so in so many words and gone back and cited the damned case!  
Blue Girl :: The Nightowl Newswrap

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