Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Stuff

Click here to sign the petition...

…and here are the enablers of the fanatics (typically cowardly for Eric Cantor to try and blame the targets of all of the garbage getting spewed instead of attacking the spewers (word?) themselves)…

...and though it is completely unsurprising to me that our somnambulant corporate media refuses to connect the dots between the inflammatory rhetoric of Republican politicians and the vile acts that have recently occurred, I am very reluctantly featuring one of the heroes of the teabaggers and other militia types once more; it’s not so much her call for a revolution that is disturbing to me, though it is, but the petulant, pouting rage she displays at the end as she describes Obama as a “college professor,” as if that’s supposed to be some kind of an insult…

...OK, enough of all of that - in a wholly other vein, here is a tribute to Johnny Maestro of The Brooklyn Bridge and The Crests, one of the truly great voices in pop (somebody better make sure that those 50-something old fogies stop groping each other on the dance floor :-).

Friday Mashup (3/26/10)

1) I'm not going to do the Area Votes in Congress thing this week because there wasn't much going on in the week prior to this one. The only vote I wanted to highlight was on H Res 1190 by the Repugs to keep Democrats from using a "self-executing rule" to both pass the Senate health bill and change parts they dislike (the writeup is here).

As you might expect, all local area Democrats in the House voted against the measure, with all Repugs voting in favor. All Democrats, that is, except the pitiful John Adler and Tim Holden who, in their stupidity, opposed health care reform (to respond to Holden, click here – as far as I know, Adler doesn't have a primary opponent, but he should).

2) Someone named Jamie M. Fly at Irrational Spew Online tells us the following about the arms control agreement signed today by Presidents Obama and Medvedev of Russia (built upon the START treaty with an effective term of ten years, reducing nuclear missiles and launchers – more here).

And I know this will be hard to believe coming from Fly, but his opinion is negative (lather, rinse, repeat)…

Today's announcement only increases the danger that this administration will continue to neglect U.S. allies in Europe while it "resets" relations with Russia. In 2010, arms control and disarmament should not be the raison d'être of U.S.-Russia relations, let alone of American foreign policy.  In its rush to make nice with Moscow, this administration has too often overlooked the real concerns of key U.S. allies such as Georgia, which faces continued threats and provocations by Russian military forces. Even the Czech Republic, which will host the treaty's signing ceremony in early April, will find that occasion an unfortunate consolation prize after Czech leaders were humiliated last fall when President Obama abruptly changed course and canceled plans to deploy a missile-defense radar in that country, failing to notify the Czechs in advance.

Well, says Fly; he's partly right, but as usual, there's another side to this (here)…

Jiří Paroubek, the chairman of the country's Social Democrats, hailed the U.S. decision as "a great victory for the Czech people." The Communists also welcomed the decision. So did the Green Party, which has stressed from the very beginning that they would have supported a NATO-run system but not one built and run by the United States. Missile defense opponents from areas that were to host parts of the planned system didn't hide their enthusiasm for Obama's decision. Local media, however, were quick to point out that their joy wouldn't last, since the $73 million promised by the previous government in an attempt to buy their support will most likely disappear as well.

On the other side, the Civic Democratic Party expressed disappointment with the U.S. decision. Mirek Topolánek, the party's leader and current Czech prime minister, was widely quoted as saying the decision was a sign that Washington has lost interest in Central Europe and that it gave in to Russia. Jan Vidím, a Civic Democrat and chair of the parliamentary committee for defense, was even bolder, saying the decision was "a betrayal" and a sign of "cowardice" on Obama's part in the face of Russian pressure.

The story also tells us that two-thirds of those Czechs polled opposed the deal, including the villagers interviewed for this 2007 BBC story.

"Missile defense" is the moronic dream of Republican hawks who aren't honest enough to admit that it will never work, though it is bound to create untold riches for defense contractors who would be only too happy to engage in the futile pursuit of this technology aptly dubbed "Star Wars" (if any of those supporting it were to try explaining how it could have prevented the 9/11 attacks, maybe I'll listen to them).

3) And my oh my, is Bushco's Dana Perino (now with Fix Noise) in a snit (here)…

(With the student loan reform bill just passed) Competition and choice have been taken away in the student loan market. If the tables were turned, Democrats would be crying foul and demanding an ethics investigation. The American people deserve to know what happened.

You want to know what happened, Dana? Fine; read this (including the following)…

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A landmark measure to make college more affordable and create jobs that stay in the U.S. at no cost to taxpayers will be included in the historic health care legislation scheduled for an upcoming vote in Congress, U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, announced today.  The measure represents the single largest investment in federal student aid in history, and includes many of President Obama's key education initiatives.


"This legislation offers the most sweeping changes to the federal student loan program in a generation," said Miller, who unveiled the details of the package this morning.  "This is really about making a simple choice. Congress can either continue the longstanding boondoggle that rewards banks with tens of billions of dollars in subsidies at the expense of families and taxpayers – or we can invest that money directly in students and America's world economic leadership.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, this change would generate $61 billion in savings over 10 years that will be used to boost Pell Grant scholarships, make student loans more manageable for borrowers to repay, and strengthen community colleges.

Private lenders and banks would still have a role in servicing all federal student loans, which would guarantee borrowers high-quality customer services, maintain jobs in the private sector, and even protect jobs from being shipped overseas. Direct government loans, unlike loans made by banks, must be serviced by U.S. workers.

The news release on Congressman Miller's site tells us that the vast majority of student loans are "direct" from the government anyway, as opposed to "subsidized" loans by financial entities who really don't even need to be part of the equation (they ended up that way as part of a scam perpetrated by the Repugs when they ran Congress, including a certain House Minority Leader, as noted here).

And this is part of a tradition of congressional Democrats reforming the student loan process; related legislation includes the College Opportunity and Affordability Act and the Student Loan Sunshine Act (noted here in the same post in which Perino once lambasted the "do-nothing" Congress responsible for these measures).

4) Finally, if you think Baby Newton Leroy Gingrich (including his "American Solutions" outfit) is an unlikely champion of free speech, you're not alone; as noted here

On his first day in office, President Obama issued a memo calling for greater transparency and accountability regarding the government's handling of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

(However) According to a new audit from the National Security Archive at George Washington University, only 13 out of 90 government agencies could document concrete changes in their FOIA practice as a result of the memo.  The audit also found that only four agencies reported more releases and fewer denials from last year and that old requests -- some as old as 18 years -- were still pending.

The American Solutions post con-vee-niently neglects to mention the following from the linked New York Times story

The White House, however, took issue with the group's methodology and said that the administration had made clear progress in turning around an executive branch that is often averse to public disclosures.

"What we have done this year is to build the infrastructure to build a lasting change," Norm Eisen, the special counsel to the president for ethics and government reform, said Sunday.

"It's not enough for us to make initial, strong pronouncements. How do you really turn the battleship to achieve a lasting impact?" he asked. He said that throughout the executive branch, public information officers "are really trying to turn that battleship, and the initial returns are positive," with more documents being released in the last year under Freedom of Information Act, or F.O.I.A., requests. But "there's much more to do" and it will probably take another year before the changes are fully seen, he added.

As you read the American Solutions post, though, what you end up discovering is that this is all a lead-in to some alleged conspiracy (yet another "-gate"), or, as Gingrich and his pals put it, "the continuing saga of trying to find out from the (Department of the Interior) the results of the six month long public comment period for new offshore oil and gas development. After numerous delays and extensions, DOI finally sent us a partial response which included internal emails revealing a deliberate attempt to hide the results of the comment period from the American people."

By the way, reading about the "numerous delays and extensions" reveals a case study in how the right-wing noise machine influences simpatico politicians (including some Democrats who should know better) by manufacturing imagined conspiracies and cover-ups (hilarious, actually, when you consider what the last Republican to occupy An Oval Office did concerning the Freedom of Information Act, as noted here).

I'm not going to waste any more time on what Gingrich alleges here, since it was established long ago that we're not going to "drill, baby, drill" our way to energy independence, which should be the ultimate goal here.

Besides, Gingrich is, to say the least, an unlikely free speech advocate, since he advocated here for what would be tantamount to a new Sedition Act (and as noted here, he is responsible for the repulsive and cowardly statement today that Democrats are somehow responsible for recent death threats and violence "because of the way they conducted the health care debate").

I and many others will keep a careful record of such statements in the event that a "President Newt for 2012" exploratory committee is ever formed.

Note: I had trouble with the first Gingrich link - that's why it doesn't link directly to the post in question, but only to the American Solutions site.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thursday Stuff

This is sweet (and yes, the health care reform law leaves a few things to be desired, but it is still a momentous first step)...

...and there's no video here, but I just think this is a great new song by John Hiatt; I featured his fellow Little Village alum Nick Lowe last night, so I guess putting this up now makes sense.

Thursday Mashup Part Two (3/25/10)

(Part One is over here.)

1) In their seemingly inexhaustible efforts to prevent health care reform from being enacted in this country for upwards of 40 million uninsured Americans, the U.S. Senate Republicans have introduced (at last count) 32 amendments as part of the reconciliation process (here).

They are all ridiculous, but the most outrageous one may have been proposed by Tom Coburn of Oklahoma (figures), which states as follows:

"To reduce the cost of providing federally funded prescription drugs by eliminating fraudulent payments and prohibiting coverage of Viagra for child molesters and rapists and for drugs intended to induce abortion." (Amendment #3556)

In response, TPM tells us the following (here)…

The Louisiana Democrats released a snarky little statement today, calling out Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who has introduced a health care amendment to the try to prevent states from providing drugs like Viagra to convicted sex offenders.

Said the Dems of Coburn: "Surely he would agree that anyone who has admitted or been found guilty of involvement with prostitution should not be covered either."

(Among other reasons why Coburn’s amendment is stupid is because it would never stand up to the inevitable court challenge.)

Of course, the Louisiana Dems were taking a well-deserved shot at Diaper Dave Vitter, who has been found guilty of soliciting prostitutes and still, as a living, breathing testimony to Republican hypocrisy, continues to serve in the U.S. Senate.

As noted above, though, this is really just another stunt by Coburn to make abortions less safe in this country (with the highlighted text in the amendment “flying under the radar” while everybody else focuses on the “Viagra for child molesters” thing) by making it harder for women to obtain the drugs for this still-legal procedure. And to get an understanding of why it should remain this way, please click here to read the heartbreaking story of “K.B.” (I’m trying in my admittedly small way to put a human face on this issue, a task our corporate media refuses to perform possibly because they may be criticized with the evergreen right-wing lie of “liberal bias”).

Update: Looks like Coburn is taking a page out of the Jim Bunning play book here (how proud those single-digit-IQ life forms in Oklahoma must be for sending this cretin back to Washington).

2) Also, it is a further testimony to the infantile state of the Republican Party in this country that one of their “leaders,” House Rep Eric Cantor of Virginia, refuses to criticize the violent actions of those opposed to health care reform, but instead here, with his typically cowardly deceit, uses the issue as an excuse to blame Democrats for “fanning the flames,” as noted here by Dem House Rep Tom Perriello of Virginia; see, the wingnuts attacked what they thought was Perriello’s house by cutting the gas line – real nice; lucky that an inferno didn’t take place – but it turned out that it was the house of Perriello’s brother instead (Rachel Maddow discussed this last night, I know).

(Oh, but Cantor’s house was supposedly shot at also, so that makes Cantor’s criticism of the Democrats for inciting the violence OK….WHAAAA?????!!!!!).

Oh, and “Man Tan” Boehner said that those engaged in violent acts should “channel their anger into campaigns.”

Uh, no…

"I thought his statement was fairly outrageous," Perriello said. "What he was saying was, 'For those of you who are threatening people's children, we want you to channel that anger into the campaign.'

"No, we want those people to go to jail," Perriello said. "As my very conservative attorney general (in VA) said, these people need to be prosecuted, not brought into the campaign room."

Now, can anybody tell me why people who pose as reasonable adults like Cantor and Boehner can’t utter those words?

At least Mike Pence of Indiana had this to say (here)…

(The health care reform law) is no excuse for bigotry, threats or acts of vandalism and I condemn such things in the strongest possible terms. People who engage in such acts undermine our cause and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Of course, Pence would be a lot more credible on this had he not participated in “Lonesome Rhodes” Beck’s little “9/12” party here, and said the following…

As Ronald Reagan said in 1964, it's about whether 'we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.' My money is on the American people. My money is on freedom. My money is on the future.

This great national Capitol is filled with memorials to freedom's heroes. Americans whose faces are carved in bronze, whose names adorn monuments, and just across that river, lie the remains of Americans who paid freedom's price so we could gather here today. In their time, they did freedom's work as citizens and patriots. Now it's our turn.

Let us do as those great Americans we remember in this city have done before: let us stand and fight for freedom. And if we hold the banner of freedom high, I believe with all my heart that the good and great people of this country will rally to our cause, we will take this Congress back in 2010 and we will take this Country back in 2012, so help us God.

“American Revolution”? “Our turn” to “(pay) freedom’s price”? Images of memorials to “freedom’s heroes”? “Stand and fight for freedom”?

Call me a filthy, unkempt liberal blogger, but that to me sounds like an incitement to violence.

So help me God.

Update 1: And isn't this a charming correspondence?

Update 2: And so much for the "threat" on Cantor (here).

Update 3/26/10: God, is Cantor an idiot (here).

3) Finally, I don’t know about you (and I’ll admit that there’s even more of a theme to these three items than I first thought), but I’m getting tired of reading stories like this one, in which Senate Republicans basically are refusing to do their jobs and are shutting down the function of government (and as Think Progress tells us, this is actually a big deal, particularly concerning a Senate Armed Services Committee meeting in which “a couple of the commanders had traveled long distances to attend today’s hearing, from as far away as Japan,” though “Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), speaking on behalf of Republicans, objected and blocked the request” to proceed with the meeting).

(Oh, and by the way, to do something about Burr, click here.)

I’ve done a bit of digging through Senate history to look for some kind of a precedent upon which to base a response to those who refuse to do what they were elected to do, and this article tells us that, when ten southern senators joined the Confederacy at the onset of The Civil War (perhaps appropriate?)…

Daniel Clark (R-NH) on July 10, 1861, submitted a resolution asking for their expulsion from the Senate. Clark cited the failure of these senators to appear in the chamber and their active involvement in the Confederate government as evidence that they had participated in a conspiracy against the peace and union of the United States government. The resolution he introduced stated:

Whereas a conspiracy has been formed against the peace, union, and liberties of the people and Government of the United States; and in furtherance of such conspiracy a portion of the people of the States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas, have attempted to withdraw those States from the Union, and are now in arms against the Government; and whereas [the senators from those states] have failed to appear in their seats in the Senate and to aid the Government in this important crisis; and it is apparent to the Senate that said Senators are engaged in said conspiracy for the destruction of the Union and Government, or, with full knowledge of such conspiracy, have failed to advise the Government of its progress or aid in its suppression: Therefore,

Resolved, That the said Mason, Hunter, Clingman, Bragg, Chesnut, Nicholson, Sebastian, Mitchel, Hemphill, and Wigfall be, and they hereby are, each and all of them, expelled from the Senate of the United States.

Now I’ll grant you that our circumstances, though still dangerous, are less extreme than they were in 1861, and a resolution such as this would never be passed, but it would get the attention of obstructionist Republicans, if nothing else.

And if the resolution fails and they keep obstructing, then keep introducing it. Give these idiots a taste of their own medicine (and would it really be a bad thing if the resolution somehow were to actually pass after all?).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday PM Stuff

Yep, I think "Man Tan" Boehner ended up creating what will be one of the most popular vids in the history of You Tube last Sunday with his little hissy fit - only a matter of time before someone came up with what follows...

...and I know it's hard to keep track of the Repug nutballs without a scorecard, but let's not forget the latest contribution from Louie Gohmert of the House (Gohmert is from Texas, of course; "pass this," you hic - and altogether now...WAAAAHHHH!!!!!!)...

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

...and happy birthday to Nick Lowe (Elvis Costello and the Attractions covered this song in a slammin' version on "Armed Forces," but Lowe wrote it)...

..and as Melissa McEwan reminds us, Robert Culp also joined "I-Spy" co-star Bill Cosby in civil rights causes, "and when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968 the pair traveled to Memphis, Tenn., to join the striking garbage workers King had been organizing"...farewell, "Kelly Robinson."

Wednesday AM Stuff

After a brief mention of President Obama's signing of health care reform into law, Rachel Maddow tells us of the life form known as Mike Vanderboegh of Pinson, AL (it is my fervent hope that he someday is convicted and spends the remainder of his days in prison, without the benefit of the Social Security check received from the government he so despises)...

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

...and Maddow also tells us once more of Virginia's efforts to retreat to the dark ages (and I hope all those independents out there who voted for that "moderate" McDonnell are happy, as well as everyone who voted for Chris Christie in New Jersey, who is now slashing the pensions of state workers and otherwise balancing the budget on the backs of the poor, sick, elderly, and the public schools...finally, I wish we had a hell of a lot more Democrats like Ed Rendell).

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

(And by the way, kudos to Michael Morrill at Keystone Progress for this petition telling Corbett to stop wasting taxpayer dollars, as Rendell mentions, on that idiotic lawsuit.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday Stuff

(By the way, I just don't know about posting for the next couple of days - maybe yes, maybe no.)

Oh, and on the subject of vice-presidential F-blasts (here), I give you the following (didn't really hear Biden trying to attack someone over it as Deadeye Dick did here, of course - and remember, it started with Leahy quite correctly calling out Big Time over his war profiteering)...

...and oh yeah, Flush, it's definitely not cool to welch on a bed (here), and here's some travellin' music accompanied by some nice scenery that's waay too good for him.

Tuesday Mashup (3/23/10)

1) So based on this story, it looks like PA Attorney General Tom Corbett is going to join that idiotic lawsuit brought by 10 Republican attorneys general against the health care reform law (more here).

I guess Corbett didn’t bother to read this post, which in part tells us the following…

…nearly 66 percent of state residents want universal healthcare. That's up from a similar poll in July 2008, when 64.4 percent of state residents said they wanted everyone to receive the healthcare they need.

Doesn’t sound to me like fighting HCR is a winner of an issue for a PA gubernatorial candidate, does it?

Also, in a Bucks County Courier Times story of Patrick Murphy and Allyson Schwartz rallying support for the health care vote earlier this week (which appeared atop the "story" on pg. 1 of "When is 'Langhorne' really Langhorne?" – I know I always ask that question….zzzzzzz), Mikey The Liar Fitzpatrick returned to spread the following garbage…

"The bill slashes health care for our seniors, increases premiums, raises taxes for working families and fails to cut health care costs," said Fitzpatrick.

I don’t know how Fitzpatrick arrived at those statements, but I do know that this tells us that the law signed today will be helpful to senior citizens; this tells us that the law is similar to that of Massachusetts, which has lowered costs; and this tells us that the bill will save $849 billion over this decade (and by the way, Mikey, Obama has cut taxes, as noted here).

Update: Some more reality-based commentary on HCR here...

Also, Fix Noise here is positively giddy, dancing on the metaphorical grave of ACORN here (I guess they have to find a consolation prize from somewhere).

I don’t think there has been nearly enough reporting on what it is that ACORN actually does, to say nothing of the fact that a U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn said the group was innocent of wrongdoing (here) and Congress acted illegally when cutting off its funds (here – nice job, Democrats). With that in mind, this recent New York Times story tells us the following:

In Prince George’s County, Md., the Rev. Gloria Swieringa said she owed her home to Acorn. Ms. Swieringa, 72, who is blind, said her mortgage payment was $1,100 per month, more than she could afford on her fixed income of about $1,500 a month, until Acorn stepped in.

After she tried unsuccessfully to persuade her mortgage company to lower her rate or readjust her loan, Acorn workers began writing letters, making calls and contacting the news media on her behalf. Last May, the company relented and lowered her monthly payments to $771 per month.

“That’s what I know Acorn for,” Ms. Swieringa said. “And that’s why it’s just awful for it to disappear.”

And to get an even better idea of what ACORN is actually about, read this terrific post from BooMan dated last September.

3) Finally, this tells us the following…

The U.S. lost 2.4 million jobs to China between 2001 and 2008, according to a new report issued Tuesday.

Texas and California were the hardest hit but every state has experienced job losses because of increased trade from China, according to the report from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute.

The report blamed high job losses in computers, electronic equipment and parts industries, which are concentrated in those two states.

North Carolina was also hit hard according to the report. That state has seen textile, furniture and other small manufacturing industries shrink as companies faced competition from lower-priced Chinese goods.

While the report said low labor costs in China are a big reason for the trade deficit, it also blamed China’s currency manipulation.

China pegs its currency to the U.S. dollar so that it rises and falls with fluxuations in the dollar’s value. Critics say this means China’s currency is undervalued, and that it lowers the price of Chinese exports while making U.S. exports to China more expensive.

And as noted here, among its myriad other offenses, Bushco didn’t even bother to keep track of the jobs lost under its watch due to offshoring, and of course refused to curtail the tax breaks provided for companies engaged in this heinous practice.

So where does that leave us? Well, this recent New York Times story tells us the following (about the company Applied Materials, one of the first to bail and subsequently turn a handsome profit; the story tells us that the company is “the world’s biggest supplier of the equipment used to make semiconductors, solar panels and flat-panel displays”)…

When Xie Lina, a 26-year-old Applied Materials engineer (in XI’AN), was asked recently whether China would play a big role in clean energy in the future, she was surprised by the question.

“Most of the graduate students in China are chasing this area,” she said. “Of course, China will lead everything.

Heckuva job, Dubya.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday Stuff

This laughable nonsense with Tweety occurred in January, and David Waldman at The Daily Kos (who has forgotten more on HCR than Matthews will ever know) tells us why the "Hardball" host owes Congressman Alan Grayson, and everyone else, an apology here...

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

...and I guess it would've been more than a little awkward if Biden had blurted out "Barack, I AM YOUR FATHER!" (though Obama can now say to the Repugs, on this issue anyway, "who's your daddy"...ha ha)...

...and even though the returning K.O. tonight is willing to offer an olive branch of sorts to those opposing health care reform, I am of a mind to do no such thing; as Brad De Long so correctly put it here, we need to "punish the Republican Party for gridlock: destroy it utterly, so that no politician for a thousand years will think that betraying his oath to serve the country to create pointless gridlock is the road to electoral success" - basically, to pay out the Repugs in coin they know of...

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

...and in honor of the 80th birthday of lyricist Stephen Sondheim yesterday (more or less), I present what may be his signature tune from "A Little Night Music," and if the title doesn't fit the teabaggers, I don't know what does.

Remembering A Slick Spill And An Oily Character

(And I also posted here.)

Twenty years ago today, a jury in Anchorage, Alaska, found former tanker captain Joseph Hazelwood innocent of three major charges in connection with the Exxon Valdez oil spill, but convicted him of a minor charge of negligent discharge of oil (more here).

And for anyone who thinks this is a story for which the past could never be a prologue, the following recent story should be noted from here

A fuel tank ruptured late Sunday morning on a ship at Georgia Ports' Ocean Terminal, causing what was described as a "significant" oil spill on the Savannah River just west of the Talmadge Bridge, closing the river to vessel traffic and filling the air with pungent diesel fumes.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Bobby Nash said late Sunday the river would remain closed as cleanup efforts continue overnight.

"The source of the actual spill has been secured," Nash said shortly before 9 p.m. "No more fuel is coming out."

The 625-foot Liberty, owned by American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier LLC, was damaged as it was departing the port facility about 11:30 a.m, puncturing its hull and rupturing its starboard fuel tank.

The puncture had the potential to release as much as 65,000 gallons of fuel. By nightfall Sunday, an estimated 7,000 gallons of diesel had spilled.

To get an idea of the main causes of oil spills, this article tells us the following…

When it comes to mixing oil and water, oceans suffer from far more than an occasional devastating spill. Disasters make headlines, but hundreds of millions of gallons of oil quietly end up in the seas every year, mostly from non-accidental sources §.

(These are approximately) how many millions of gallons of oil each source puts into the oceans worldwide each year:

Big Spills (37)

Routine Maintenance (137)

Down The Drain (363)

Up In Smoke (92)

Offshore Drilling (15)

Natural Seeps (62)

I hesitate to publicize information like this because it inadvertently gives ammunition to the “Drill Baby, Drill” chorus (see, offshore drilling isnt as dangerous to the environment as those danged li-bu-ruuls say), though something else worth considering is that, even if we were to accelerate the exploration that was already loosed under Bushco, we will still run smack into the reality of “peak oil” (and with that in mind, I present the following for your consideration – food for thought that I’m still contemplating, to be honest). Also, this tells us of the potential impact of offshore drilling in the Florida Keys and related environmental impacts (and any discussion of oil presents a good opportunity to debunk this fiction once more also).

Also, I would truly be a negligent lefty blogger if I discussed Republicans and oil without mentioning Just Plain Folks Sarah Palin; as noted here

Palin refuse(d) to push Exxon to pay the government for the unanticipated environmental injuries from the disastrous 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Almost 20 years later, the private case is still unresolved and the governments likewise have yet to collect full payment from Exxon. Shortly before Palin took office in 2006, the governments presented Exxon with a demand to pay $92 million for this additional environmental damage, but her administration (did not press) the issue nor (take) Exxon to court to collect the money. Meanwhile, Exxon reaps record profits from Alaska.

There has actually been a scientific advancement in the study of oil spillage; this story tells us of underwater robots that have been developed to help detect the flow of spills.

And in response to the Exxon Valdez spill, Congress passed and Poppy Bush signed into law the Oil Pollution Act and established the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund in 1990 (here); the fund was increased to $2.7 billion in 2005, and as noted here

On December 8, 2004, Senators (Frank) Lautenberg and (Jon) Corzine introduced S. 3035, the Oil Spill Prevention and Liability Act of 2004, which proposed, inter alia, phasing out federal limitations on liability for single-hull tank vessels. The Committee took no action on the bill; however, several of the bill's provisions were included in the enacted version of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2006.

On March 4, 2008, Senator Lautenberg introduced S. 2700. It was referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works, which did not hold any hearings on the bill.

On May 21, 2008, the Committee on Environment and Public Works approved the bill by voice vote (note: cannot determine at the moment if it was ever signed into law).

Finally, concerning Joseph Hazelwood, the guy responsible for the Exxon Valdez ecological disaster, this tells us that, even though he beat the rap on the main charges against him but was convicted instead of the lesser offense of improper oil discharge, he still appealed his sentence of 1,000 hours of community service until 1998 (the charges were thrown out in March 1996 but were reinstated a year and a half later).

No word on how many species were rendered extinct or endangered as a result of Hazelwood’s actions, though (I haven’t been able to locate this information, though this is an admittedly depressing reminder).

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Yes Virginia, There Is A Health Care Bill (Almost)

(And no, GOP morons, it's not a "health" bill.)

Close, but the reconciliation vote still has to wrap up (the last dying gasp of the Stupak-Pitts atrocity), which is going on now (more here).

And to witness the "thoughtful, reasoned" teabagger response, check out this and this.

And the Repugs NEVER read from the same script, as we know...sure they don't.

And Man-Tan Boehner actually has the gall to complain about "backroom deals"...that's hilarious coming from the guy who once told his financial services pals "know that I have all of you in my two trusted hands" so they can continue their exorbitant markup of student loans (here).