Drill, baby...what?

U.S. Awash in Oil and Lies, Report Charges | NationofChange

With four times as many oil rigs pump­ing do­mes­tic oil today than eight years ago and de­clin­ing do­mes­tic de­mand, the United States is awash in oil. In fact, the U.S. ex­ports more oil than it im­ports, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. En­ergy In­for­ma­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion - and has done so for nearly two decades.


(Emphasis mine.)

Sometimes I wonder...

...yeah, I know, call me crazy, but still...sometimes I wonder if this whole Libya thing, and the Egypt thing, and the Yemen and Syria thing, etc., etc., aren't just about the CIA destroying the evidence.

Files Show CIA Worked Closely with Libyan Spy Agency - Global - The Atlantic Wire

The files left behind by the head of Col. Muammar Qaddafi's spy agency suggest that the Central Intelligence Agency worked closely with the Libyan government, and may have sent terrorism suspects to the north African nation, despite the country's reputation for torturing dissidents...

You were having so much fun this summer...

...well, except for droughts, tornadoes, heat waves, and Hurricane Irene, I mean...you were having so much fun I bet you forgot about these guys, right?

White House: Request for "super committee" to stop fundraising is "silly" - Political Hotsheet - CBS News

A liberal watchdog group is calling on Sen. Patty Murray to stop fundraising for the Democratic party and step down from her party leadership position while she serves on the congressional "super committee," which is charged with finding trillions in budget savings this year. The White House today, however, dismissed the notion of a conflict of interest between Murray's two roles as "silly criticism."

(Emphasis mine.)

Sorry to bring this up, but this is the committe Congress set up so it wouldn't have to do the friggin' job we're friggin' paying it to do (how cool would it be if you could appoint a committee to do your job and still keep collecting your check?) and they have only a couple of months to cut the federal budget (remember, it was loss of government jobs that caused August job growth to net out to a big fat zero, the worst performance since WWII) all to shreds. 

Oh, and BTW, they're bought.

I'm thinking, run.

Things are getting better! (Sort of.)

Super-size is for chumps

Fat food: Pound for pound, these dishes are the chompions of heft



The greener grass

Obama Speechwriter Quits for More Fulfilling Career in LA - Politics - The Atlantic Wire

Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett is quitting the White House to move to Hollywood and try his hand at TV comedies...

Fringe benefits

At Least 16,000 Guns Have Gone Missing from Factories Since 2009 - National - The Atlantic Wire

Several thousand firearms--16,485 to be exact--have left gun factories in the U.S. without a record of being legally sold over the past two and a half years....At that rate, an average of about 18 guns go missing from factories daily.


The Sideshow September 2011 Archive

Yes, yes, Bush wrecked the economy and the Republicans are trying to keep it wrecked, and everybody knows it, but the best thing Obama has going for him is that most people don't realize how much he could have done to fix it and has consistently refused to do.

Jobs: The new blackmail

And it works!

Obama Pulls Back Proposal to Tighten Clean Air Rules - NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is abandoning its plan to immediately tighten air quality rules nationwide to cut reduce emissions of smog-causing chemicals after an intense lobbying campaign by industry, which said the new rule would cost billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs, officials said Friday.

Come on. Corporations have been doing this on a local level for at least three decades. "We'll bring jobs to your town if you build us a highway; we'll bring jobs to your town if you give us a tax rebate; we'll bring jobs to your town if you donate the land for our factory. Don't raise our taxes or we'll take our jobs somewhere else." Now they've got the Feds dancing to the same tune, is all.

Change, not so much

CIA lawyer: Obama ‘endorsed’ nearly all Bush-era programs | Raw Replay

“With a notable exception of the enhanced interrogation program, the incoming Obama administration changed virtually nothing with respect to existing CIA programs and operations. Things continued. Authorities were continued that were originally granted by President Bush beginning shortly after 9/11. Those were all picked up, reviewed and endorsed by the Obama administration.”


Pretty thin gruel

Schultz: Republicans Don't Give a Damn About You | Video Cafe

MSNBC host Ed Schultz blasted House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and his "cronies" for forcing President Barack Obama to delay his speech on jobs from Sept. 7 to Sept. 8....

"Once again, this President has smoked 'em out. He has proven to the country one more time that he can't even schedule a speech to the joint session of the Congress without it being obstructed..."

Ed Shultz is a left-leaning blabberwockie for MSNBC. I don't know much more about him than that because I don't watch his show. But this does seem to be the official Democratic spin on the recent spat about Obama's speaking schedule: Obama triumphs by proving yet again what big bad old meanies those Republicans really are. Which might even be, somehow, bizarrely persuasive if Obama had even tried to hold out against their big bad old meanie meanness for, you know, an hour or two before giving in and switching his speech so it no longer conflicts with that big old meanie Republican candidates' debate – the one we've all been waiting for lo these many months – and now conflicts instead with the first regular-season NFL game of the, you know, season, and who cares about that anyway.


The bliss


The most important thing here is to realize that these vaunted centrists are just desperate to hook up with a billionaire businessman hero, and they'll pretty much go down on their knees and ... beg, if that's what it's going to take.

Sadly, they don't understand that no matter how much they complain about the old ball and chain, these businessmen are actually quite happy with their current mates -- the Republicans and the Democrats. They are getting everything they need at home.


Troubling Trend: Libyan Rebels Are Rounding Up Black Africans - Global - The Atlantic Wire

As Libyan rebels gain on Qaddafi and setup a temporary government, they've begun imposing their rule on Libya's people, including rounding up thousands of black Libyans and migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, reports the Associated Press. The rebels have accused the detainees of fighting for Qaddafi.

Right. We have all read this script before.

September: Washington gets back to work

Obama bows to Boehner, will move jobs speech - Chicago Sun-Times

WASHINGTON — In a retreat after an hours-long test of wills Wednesday, President Barack Obama...

The World Turned Upside Down

From the Atlantic Wire this morning we have the spectacle of Wikileaks suing The Guardian for, well, leaking...

Wikileaks Is Suing the Guardian Over a Security Breach - Global - The Atlantic Wire

Wikileaks is blaming the leak of over 250,000 secret US cables on a security breach caused by one-time cable publishing partner the Guardian.

...and in The New York Times Nicholas Kristof enthuses about the glory of humanitarian (and dare we say non-hostile) bombing.

From Libyans - ‘Thank You, America!’ - NYTimes.com

Libya is a reminder that sometimes it is possible to use military tools to advance humanitarian causes.

Maybe it's not too late to just go back to bed.


Why don't these guys just shut up when they're ahead?

Obama requests joint session of Congress for Sept. 7 jobs speech - 44 - The Washington Post

“It is coincidental,” Carney said. “There are a lot of factors that go into scheduling a joint session of Congress for a speech. You can never find a perfect time.”

Blah blah something something mumble mumble.

If I start looking a little green this afternoon...

...it's because I stirred up some powdered milk and put it in my tea. I found this box of powdered milk at the back of a high kitchen shelf not long ago – I figure it's been there for at least 10 years, maybe quite a bit longer. I tried to throw it away but there are at least four one-quart packages there so I couldn't. There's no expiration date anywhere I can see, on the box or on the still-sealed envelopes inside. So I figure, how sick can I get? I mixed up an envelope and it doesn't smell too bad and tastes OK, so how can putting a little bit in a cup of tea hurt, right?


So you mean getting campaign contributions for Obama is not part of this at all?

Report: Exporting Energy Security: Keystone XL Exposed | The Price of Oil

“To issue a presidential permit for the Keystone XL, the Administration must find that the pipeline serves the national interest,” said Stephen Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International. “An honest assessment shows that rather than serving U.S. interests, Keystone XL serves only the interests of tar sands producers and shippers, and a few Gulf Coast refiners aiming to export the oil.”

Oh. "Honest assessment." Right.


New leak near Deepwater Horizon site quickly becoming a massive oil slick - Tallahassee Environmental News | Examiner.com

Over the past two weeks, I have been closely following reports of renewed leaking in the Macondo oil field, the site of last year's Deepwater Horizon disaster (Map)....

Today, pilot Bonny Schumaker of On Wings of Care once again took to the air over the Gulf of Mexico, finding evidence of what appears to be a massive leak near the site of last year's drilling disaster.

According to Schumaker, the oil "stretched for miles" with one continuous sheen stretching for nearly 10 miles. This contradicts BPs official story, which is that "none of this is true."

Oh. Well then.

Because they don't have caribou?

Five Best Wednesday Columns - National - The Atlantic Wire

Rick Perry recently signed legislation in Texas that would allow those with a hunting license to shoot feral pigs from helicopters.

Well, actually, there is another reason, per this Atlantic Wire report. But that's no reason we can't get a photo op someday soon.


Robert Reich (Rick Perry's Secret Plan to Save Blue States from the Red States)

Perry, it turns out, is a closet liberal.

The Romney situation

'Harvard' Is Now Code for 'Effeminate' - Politics - The Atlantic Wire

It's tricky running a campaign knocking your opponent for being a well-educated rich person when you are also a well-educated rich person. So what can Romney do?


Building floats away in Shelburne Falls

Irene's flooding:


Other images on the same page. Shelburne Falls is about 20 minutes ride up the hill from us, on the Mohawk Trail.

And photos from Vermont here: http://photos.masslive.com/republican/2011/08/irene_vermont_3.html

But we are not surprised

Wikileaks: Obama Administration Secretly Worked To Prevent Prosecution of War Crimes By The Bush Administration « JONATHAN TURLEY

One of the little reported details from the latest batch of Wikileaks material are cables showing that the Obama Administration worked hard behind the scenes not only to prevent any investigation of torture in the United States but shutdown efforts abroad to enforce the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture. This includes threatening the Spanish that, if they did not derail a judicial investigation, it would have serious consequences in bilateral relations.

Pay attention

Top NASA climate scientist arrested at White House | The Raw Story

Dr. James Hansen, who runs NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, was arrested along with 139 other protesters taking part in a series of demonstrations against the planned $7-billion Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport 500,000 barrels of crude per day from America's neighbor to the north all the way to the Gulf coast of Texas.

We are shocked

News from The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Consumers' confidence in August dropped almost 15 points to the lowest level since April 2009...

Now China, too

China announces plans to boost secret detention powers | Reuters

(Reuters) - China wants to cement in law police powers to hold dissidents and other suspects of state security crimes in secret locations without telling their families...


Matt Stoller: Power Politics – What Eric Schneiderman Reveals About Obama « naked capitalism

Obama is not trying to do the opposite of what he’s doing, he’s not repeatedly suckered by Republicans, and he isn’t naive or stupid. Obama is simply doing what he thinks is right. So is Eric Schneiderman. So is Tom Miller. So are any number of elected officials out there....

But the basic Reaganite liberal argument defending supplication towards Obama these days is that Obama is “disappointing”. In this line of thought, powerful corporate interests and Republicans are preventing him from enacting what his real agenda would be were he unfettered by this mean machine. Eric Schneiderman, who is in a far less powerful position as New York Attorney General, shows that this is utter hogwash. Obama is who he is, and anyone who thinks otherwise is selling something.


Why the big guys always win

Time Warner profits from Guy Fawkes masks worn at ‘Anonymous’ protests | The Raw Story

Some of the profits from the Guy Fawkes masks frequently worn by members of the hacktivist collective "Anonymous" go to one of the largest media companies in the world....

The New York Times reported that Time Warner owns the rights to the Guy Fawkes mask because "V for Vendetta" was produced by Warner Brothers, one of its many subsidiary companies. Time Warner is paid a licensing fee with the sale of each mask.


Filming dystopia

Gary Lures Hollywood With a Bounty of Decay - NYTimes.com

In 2010 Gary [Indiana] was the location for 24 movies, most of them attracted by the city’s visually arresting decay.



Obama Goes All Out For Dirty Banker Deal | Rolling Stone Politics | Taibblog | Matt Taibbi on Politics and the Economy

A power play is underway in the foreclosure arena, according to the New York Times.

On the one side is Eric Schneiderman, the New York Attorney General, who is conducting his own investigation into the era of securitizations – the practice of chopping up assets like mortgages and converting them into saleable securities – that led up to the financial crisis of 2007-2008.

On the other side is the Obama administration, the banks, and all the other state attorneys general.


Like you need another reason, right?

Chocolate lowers heart, stroke risk - USATODAY.com

Chocolate has been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease before, but in this analysis of recent studies involving more than 100,000 people, researchers find that those who eat the most chocolate on a regular basis reduce their relative risk for heart disease by one-third.

Who do I have to see about this?

I just opened up a solitaire game I haven't played with for quite a long time and the game says it owes me $13,673.


And another election, and another

The Election March of the Trolls | NationofChange

Jour­nal­ists, whose role has been re­duced to pur­vey­ors of court gos­sip, whether on Fox or MSNBC, de­scend in swarms to re­port pseudo-events such as the Ames straw poll, where it costs $30 to cast a bal­lot. And then, al­most im­me­di­ately, they blithely in­form us that the Iowa poll is mean­ing­less now that Rick Perry has en­tered the race. The lib­eral trolls, as they do in every elec­tion cycle, are beat­ing their lit­tle chests about the per­fid­i­ous­ness of the De­mo­c­ra­tic Party and Barack Obama. It is a ges­ture per­formed not to ef­fect change but to bur­nish their cre­den­tials as moral­ists. They know, as do we, that they will trot obe­di­ently into the vot­ing booth in 2012 to do as they are told.

Good work, Wisconsin!

GOP pols told they're not welcome at Wausau Labor Day parade - JSOnline

Community parades often feature local politicians waving to the crowds, but this year's annual Labor Day parade in Wausau may be short a few elected officials.

That's because the head of the group that sponsors the Wausau Labor Day Parade, the Marathon County Central Labor Council, is telling Republicans lawmakers from the area that they're not welcome on Sept. 5.



Vote for us or the kitty gets it

Why I'm not voting for Obama in 2012 - Coyote Crossing

Democratic loyalists point out that if we don’t vote for their guy, the worse guy gets in. This is clearly true. But it also manifestly creates conditions by which the lesser evil will, over time, get more and more evil. We see this now in that we’re likely to be asked to vote for a man who has us involved in four concurrent wars, continues torture and rendition and denial of habeas corpus, offers up Medicare and Social Security for cuts as a compromise (another victory Bush could have only dreamed of), and would preside over the largest paving of the deserts in history — simply because his likely opponent is fucking batshit insane.

"Epic flooding" in Vermont

A Weakened Irene Sweeps Northward - NYTimes.com

Rising waters were also a problem in Vermont, where Gov. Peter Shumlin said the state has “a full-blown flooding catastrophe on our hands.”

“For all intents and purposes, for whatever reason, Vermont is getting the full force of Irene and we’re going to be devastated with flooding,” Mr. Shumlin said. He expects the devastation to spread across the entire state of Vermont.

Here, not so bad, although there is serious flooding up in the hill towns and some problems on the Connecticut River just east of us. The lights flickered once or twice around supper time but not enough to reset the kitchen clock. But now it's cool and quiet and, I'm thinking, over.



Warnings for Eastern Franklin, Massachusetts : Weather Underground

Some reports received include... 5 to 6 feet of water at Exit 24 on Route 5 in Northampton with at least 2 cars floating down the Road.

Also there's some flooding reported on the rivers in the hills to the west of us, and trees down on power lines here and there. Here, well, we have a little puddle in the driveway, much smaller than we get from a typical snowmelt, and a few leaves blown off a tree. We've had a little rustle-making breeze from time to time, but I haven't heard a window rattle all day. The center of the storm, no longer a hurricane, is more or less right where we are, so although the rain seems to be mostly pushing on ahead of it we will still have at least the potential of tropical-weight winds for quite some time. 

This was apparently a serious storm along the coast and it's been doing some substantial mischief up in the hills but here in our pleasant valley it really hasn't been much more, so far, than just a very big rain.

Rest easy, your stock market is on the job

Wall St expected to open Monday | Reuters

(Reuters) - The stock market will open for a normal, if possibly lighter, trading session on Monday despite the damage and flooding in New York and on Wall Street from Hurricane Irene.

Well, maybe not yours. But, you know.


Iran ‘discreetly aided Libyan rebels’ | The Raw Story

Iran "discreetly" provided humanitarian aid to Libyan rebels before the fall of Tripoli, Jam-e-Jam newspaper quoted Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Sunday as saying.

You mean, we were on the same side as....oh no! Of course we were on the same side in an entirely non-hostile way. So maybe that's OK.

Possibly the least informative reporting ever produced in all of history

Watch live streaming video from breakinglivenow at livestream.com
Well, at least as of 7:00 this morning (8/28), when this live webcam from midtown Manhattan showed nothing but a big moosh of raindrops. Probably, judging from the maps and satellite pictures of hurricane Irene, it won't show much else today. The center of the storm is still south of Philadelphia right now (see above), well south of New York City, and the rain it's producing extends into northwestern Massachusetts, where it has been raining steadily for at least 8 hours now and where it is still, at the aforementioned 7:00 AM, quite dark. There is very little wind as yet where I am, which is just fine with me. Wind predictions, in fact, have been significantly downgraded since last night and Irene itself is on the brink of becoming not a hurricane, any more, but merely a tropical storm. So it appears our chance of having both a hurricane and an earthquake in the same week, like much of the rest of the East Coast, has been lost, and now what we're going to see here will be a big, big, windy rainstorm but not much more.

The best part of this thing is, you don't have to shovel rain.

Later: 10:30 AM, much less rain. The skyline of the city is visible. A big improvement. But still, there isn't much to see except, well, it's a rainy day.

Here, although the center of the storm is due to track right over the house in three to four hours, we're not seeing any wind to speak of, although it's been raining now, substantially and steadily, for nearly 12 hours and shows no sign of stoping any time soon.

I wish it would stop so we could all go out and play.