AIG Suing Bank of America for $10B. Who Will Pay?

I can’t help but have a sense of this being a fraudulent scheme to extort still more money from depositors and from shareholders.

Between these two they were major players in the economic malady that has beset the world. Instead of our government kicking their asses and putting them in their place they continue to be permitted to make a mess of everything. LINK

Still Stupid? Or Just the Way It Is?

Maybe it’s all the money poured into Wisconsin to influence the recall. I don’t know. But the fact remains that the people of the state of Wisconsin have been poorly served by the persons placed in office in 2010. Apparently the majority is fine with how those persons have run the business of the state of Wisconsin. Why that is I’ll never understand.

I’m as biased as can be on this so my perspective is highly suspect. That said, I still don’t know how to get over this hurdle where my sense of the situation is that the people of Wisconsin have voted against their own best interests. Few people below the class of millionaires are served by the republican agenda. If the Wisconsin demographic is like the remainder of the country they don’t have that many millionaires. So why this inexplicable election result?

Without a doubt the socio-economic picture is exceedingly complex. How can you present this complexity to voters? It’s best described by facts and by numbers. But that bores the hell out of people and apparently isn’t digestable by the majority.

I don’t know if the above limitation is a failure of education or if it’s just the way people are. I saw in the last couple of days the results of a study that indicated the ability of persons to do math and generally deal with numbers and complex data relationships is something we possess by the accident of our birth as opposed to something we learn. If that’s the case then we’re fairly well screwed. I say that because as time passes persons who can deal with numbers and with complex relational ideas will have an advantage over those persons who can’t. Short of a cataclysmic event which resets everything, the world is going to grow more complex. Not less.

I suppose an opposing argument can be made for persons such as Ms. Bachmann or Rick Perry who don’t do complex at all. They do emotion. This is fine I suppose but as a basis for making decisions, emotion isn’t likely to yield a satisfactory result. I don’t necessarily categorize emotion as complex. I’m more inclined to place it in the realm of the indecipherable. Bush demonstrated this for us already. We can only truly guess at what makes another feel or act the way they do. If we all acted upon how we feel each and every moment I’m afraid we’d be so damn busy burying the dead funeral directors would be running the world.

Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall; Damn Are We Ever Fucked

I had been putting it off but I looked to see the damages the assholes did to my 401k savings.

Needless to say it wasn’t something to cheer about. This happens all the time now. One or two years at best and something happens and I’m right back where I was two or four or six years ago.

I hate to say this but I really wish they’d all drop over dead. I mean it. In all the history of the world there hasn’t been worse criminals than we have now. Killing for no sensible purpose, such as keeping yourself from being killed, and stealing everyone blind in the blink of an eye. This is what we have. Killing because of religion and having a rigged financial system that promotes stealing along with a phenomenal abuse of power.

Same Shit, Different Day

I’ve commented about this in the past but this requires still another heads up to freedom loving people everywhere. LINK

It seems that the Renton, Washington local PD has had issues in the past where they crossed over the line of protecting citizens in the manner expected and prescribed by law. A political cartoonist has lampooned the police conduct, without naming any names, and now faces possible charges and harassment from the police.

As might be expected this has caught the attention of a whole lot of people. From both sides of the issue. That this is an issue at all brings into focus how surely we have a problem with encroachment of a police state. This scares the shit out of me.

I haven’t posted the entire article. Click the link above for the entire thing.

A Renton, Washington native has been accused of felony cyberstalking for making a satirical cartoon depicting local crooked cops. (Source: KIRO 7)

The video reportedly depicts a city bureaucrat, Penny Bartley, talking about covering up wrongdoing. (Source: YouTube via KIRO 7)

The City of Renton’s police department has been the subject of repeated internal affairs investigations. (Source: KIRO 7)

The city’s police chief has defended the search warrant, which many say violates the First Amendment protection of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. (Source: KIRO 7)Police department with long history of internal affairs investigations looks to charge satirist with felony

When cartoonist “Mrfuddlesticks” decided to make a series of animated videos parodying the local police department in Renton, Washington, they had ample source material from the media and the public record — the city had suffered repeated misconduct scandals in recent history. The individual used the popular animation site http://www.xtranormal.com to create a series of videos making fun of the city’s police department. Little did they know, those videos would have them facing criminal charges [Scribd] for “cyberstalking”.

I. Satirist Accused of Felony Crime for Cartoons

In what legal experts are calling a rampant abuse of power, police have taken the first steps towards filing criminal charges against the creator, claiming their creator violated the Washington State cyberstalking statute “RCW 9.61.260.” A local judge at the Superior Court for King County — James Cayce — has signed off on a search warrant sent to Google Inc. (GOOG).

The warrant is designed to obtain the real world identity of the cartoonist, who posted the videos to YouTube. The videos were created using the same free animation suite as the famous viral “iPhone4 vs HTC Evo” video. Two of the videos can be viewed here [1][2].

Legal experts blasted the move. In an interview with a local news network, lawyer Venkat Balasubramani, a Constitutional and cyber-law expert, states, “The cyberstalking angle doesn’t pass the laugh test. It’s a serious stretch. I’d be surprised if somebody looked at it and realistically thought well these acts actually fit the statute and we and could make a violation and hold someone criminally liable. [More likely] they were trying to get at the identity of the speaker and the looked around for a statute to shoehorn their conduct into.”

But while legal experts say the felony charges are laughable, they’re no laughing matter for the accused. The statute lists the type of cyberstalking named in the case as a Class C felony — applicable for up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 USD fine. Drug dealing and major theft are other examples of local Class C felonies.

1% to 2% or 60%. HUH!!

This is beyond belief and has an awful smell to it.

The key passage: According to the new study, only 1 to 2 percent of a reactor core’s cesium 137 could escape during a total blackout. Previous NRC estimates concluded that 60 percent of the cesium inventory could escape.

We are talking about a nuclear reactor here folks. With numbers this divergent I think we have good cause to be very worried. I very strongly suspect that there is yet another big lie being told here. And I also suspect that given how big it appears I’d bet it’s somehow associated with an equally large amount of money. When we’re talking nuclear you just don’t make errors this big. Or reassess in the fashion indicated here. Don’t believe it. This is a huge crock.

(Source: blogspot.com)The NRC is adjusting previous projections of how much and how quickly cesium 137 would escape in the case of a total blackout

The nuclear crisis at Fukushima Daiichi in Japan has caused a nuclear frenzy where leaders around the world are questioning the safety of their plants. For instance, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for global nuclear review after visiting Japan, and U.S. senators demanded that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) repeat an expensive inspection of the country’s nuclear power.

But now, the NRC is close to completing a large nuclear study that may ease a few worried minds.

The NRC has been working with Sandia National Laboratories (a Department of Energy lab) on a study that revises previous projections of how quickly and how much cesium 137, which is a radioactive material made when uranium is split, could release from a plant after a nuclear core meltdown. The NRC has been working on the study for six years, and it will not be completely finished until next spring. But the nuclear watchdog group, Union of Concerned Scientists, has obtained an early copy of the report through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The new study is based on how much and how quickly cesium 137 could escape an American nuclear plant if a total blackout were to occur. A total blackout means complete loss of power from the grid, and backup diesel generators and batteries have failed as well. This leads to a nuclear meltdown. NRC scientists said that a total blackout would be rare at an American plant, but it is better to be safe than sorry. In addition, the NRC wanted to update previous projections related to cesium 137.

The NRC focused on two different types of reactors in the U.S.: the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania, which has boiling-water reactors like Fukushima Daiichi, and the Surry Power Station in Virginia, which has pressurized-water reactors. Over 100 different plants were studied. Through computer models and engineering analyses, the NRC has concluded that the meltdown of a typical American reactor would lead to “far fewer deaths” than previously thought.

According to the new study, only 1 to 2 percent of a reactor core’s cesium 137 could escape during a total blackout. Previous NRC estimates concluded that 60 percent of the cesium inventory could escape.

In addition, the new study found that one person in every 4,348 within a 10-mile radius of a nuclear meltdown would develop a “latent cancer” from radiation exposure. In previous estimates, it was one person in every 167.

The NRC said that large releases of radioactive material would not be “immediate,” meaning that people within a 10-mile radius would have plenty of time to evacuate the premises. It concluded that the chance of death from acute radiation exposure within a 10-mile radius would be near zero, but some would be exposed to high enough doses to experience fatal cancers decades later.

“Accidents progress more slowly, in some cases much more slowly, than previously assumed,” said Charles G. Tinkler, a senior adviser for research on severe accidents and an author of the study. “Releases are smaller, and in some cases much smaller, of certain key radioactive materials.”

The NRC’s revised projections report tells what temperatures, flows of water and steam pressures would occur in a nuclear meltdown, as well as when leaks would begin after the meltdown. The NRC concluded that Peach Bottom would not release enough radioactive material to cause fatal harm to any human immediately, but could increase the chances of fatal cancer later on. As far as Surry goes, the number of people living within a 10-mile radius was so small that the death toll would be a fraction of a person.

Despite the NRC’s rigorous revisions, there are always critics. One notable critic would be Edwin Lyman, a nuclear physicist with the Union of Concerned Scientists. Lyman’s stance is that the NRC is always painting “an overly rosy picture” in regards to nuclear safety in the U.S., and that the new study is no different.

According to Lyman, the new study assumes that 99.5 percent of the people in a 10-mile radius would be successfully evacuated. He also said the study assumed that average weather conditions were present during the hypothetical meltdown, but if rain was present, radioactive materials could be washed “out of the air into a small area” infecting people who live there.

Instead of a 10-mile radius, Lyman suggested that the study focus on a 50-mile radius in regards to eventual cancer deaths because the average population within 10 miles of a nuclear plant in the U.S. is 62,000, while the population within 50 miles is five million.

The NRC countered Lyman’s concerns with the fact the report was “intended to present the best estimate and not the worst case.” Also, the NRC noted that earlier projections estimated one eventual cancer death per 2,128 people in a 50-mile radius while the new study estimates one eventual cancer death per 6,250 people.

Lyman concluded that this new study reconfirms how dangerous nuclear reactors are because the NRC’s estimates are based on so many variables, such as several reactors of different designs and ages as well as locations with disparate population densities. He said a difference of a factor of three “is not important.”

Keep in mind that the study is not yet complete, and that the NRC could make changes after public comments are received in 2012. The NRC hopes to use this study to propose safety improvements for aging American nuclear plants, which could lead to cost-related benefits and increased use and placement of new cheap and clean power-producing plants.

dis·cre·tion·ary

I never thought I might take ill from a word.

Dam! Wrong again.

Mother Jones
By Andy Kroll | Tue Aug. 2, 2011 3:00 AM PDT

The debt ceiling deal hammered out by President Barack Obama and congressional leaders and passed in the House on Monday afternoon [1] makes deep, painful, and lasting cuts throughout the federal government’s budget. What’s on the chopping block? The numbers tell the tale.

The Obama-GOP plan cuts $917 billion in government spending over the next decade. Nearly $570 billion of that would come from what’s called “non-defense discretionary spending.” That’s budget-speak for the pile of money the government invests in the nation’s safety and future [2]—education and job training, air traffic control, health research, border security, physical infrastructure, environmental and consumer protection, child care, nutrition, law enforcement, and more.

The White House’s plan would slash this type of spending nearly in half, from about 3.3 percent of America’s GDP to as low as 1.7 percent, the lowest in nearly half a century, says Ethan Pollack, a senior policy analyst at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. Pollack’s calculations suggest the cuts in Obama’s plan are almost as deep as those in Rep. Paul Ryan’s slash-and-burn budget, which shrunk non-defense discretionary spending down to just 1.5 percent of GDP. The president has claimed that the debt deal will allow America to continue making “job-creating investments in things like education and research.” But on crucial public investment, Obama’s and Ryan’s plans are next-door neighbors. “There’s no way to square this plan with the president’s ‘Winning the Future’ agenda,” Pollack says. “That agenda ends.”
Environmental protection offers one useful window onto the damage this deal might inflict. The president has boasted that his deal with the GOP will usher in an era featuring “the lowest level of annual domestic spending since Dwight Eisenhower was president.” But Melinda Pierce, a lobbyist with the Sierra Club, says the plan could choke off funding needed to enforce the bedrock environmental protection laws on the books, including as the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts. “Remember, the Eisenhower era was before we passed the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act,” Pierce says. “There just won’t physically be the funds available to protect drinking water and to ensure there’s clean air to breathe.”

There is more. Likely no end in sight. LINK

No Longer Only Two

We don’t have two political parties any longer.

It’s time for congress to adjust to this reality.

We are in this crazy standoff which threatens the nation because the Tea Party faction in congress has the Republican party tied up in knots. This upsets the ideological distribution and makes congress into something it isn’t. It becomes impossible to find any way to negotiate under this circumstance.

The only true political / philosophical majority right now is that of democrats. The idea of a numerical majority in congress needs to be redefined based upon the reality of the distinct differences between the three divergent groups. Republicans and Tea Partiers will likely never buy into this but there needs to be a way to have this obvious distinction become operational reality. As it stands, the problem we are struggling with right now will remain with us forever. The Tea Party has power only because it is joined at the hip with republicans. However, that joining is false. Repubs and tea partiers aren’t of the same stripe. And never will be. The reality of what comprises a political majority in congress has likely changed forever. The Supreme Court and the Citizens United ruling is what changed it.

“I Stuck My Neck Out a Mile”

You did what? And for who?

Coming down to the wire with this crap, repubs are still living in their fantasy world. Hard to believe my eyes and ears. In the words of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, “It is absolutely clear the number one goal of republicans is to bring down this president”.

I ain’t sure but it looks to me like the next stop is default. Because whoever might blink at this point is absolutely toast.

Harry is getting ready to put the axe to the legislation just passed by the house.

Picking Away at Freedom

I noted today another chip taken out of our freedoms.

In an article today we see where a House of Representatives panel approved a broadened ISP snooping bill. LINK

What this bill does is require ISPs to retain all logs of user Internet activity for a year. This particular requirement has been in flux for some time. I remember three months was once the figure, with other numbers bandied about. This is entirely political. That it’s now a year reflects the whack jobs and control freaks in congress who are preparing the legislation. It should be noted that the record keeping requirement is being levied to support, ‘possible future police invetigations’. That is, the goon squads want to be able to retroactively see what it is we’ve been doing. Maybe this wouldn’t be near as problematic except I have a great deal of heartburn paying for all this crap. How much of our private lives is government entitled to know about just for the asking?

What is particularly crazy is the notion being proposed here. Our elected officials want to retain what we say and do on line and in some way hold us to account for those things. When you consider the absolute vacuum of accountability on their side of the ledger this is beyond the absurd.