Monday, September 27, 2010

Last Call

The hottest year on record through June continues to break records here in September.

Los Angeles hit 113 degrees on Monday making it their hottest temperature ever recorded since records began in 1877.  This also beat the daily record high set in 1963 by seven degrees. 

Temperatures have only been 110 degrees or higher three other times in L.A.

One hundred thirteen degrees.

The hottest temperature ever recorded in LA's history.

And this happened after the autumn equinox, just days away from the month of October.

But let's keep arguing over "you cant prove human involvement in global warming" and refuse to do anything to try to stop it.

Quote Of The Day

Roy Edroso wins again:

I think the libertarian view of how tolerant the free market makes us would be more convincing if it weren't for libertarians.

To be fair, I'd apply that to only professional Village libertarians. The ones I know in person are too reasonable to be so.

The Alan Grayson Project

Alan Grayson's full-on attack mode is beginning to score points.

A Democrat taking the fight to their Tea Party opponent instead of sliding to the right and capitulating is apparently so rare, it's national news. Meanwhile, Grayson's Republican opponent Daniel Webster doesn't want to talk about the fact he would force women to have children conceived in rape or incest by denying them abortions.

I can't imagine why he doesn't want to talk about that, can you?

Oh...and Webster is far from the only Republican running in this election who believes that.

[UPDATE] Digby notes Daniel Webster is making his wife do the talking.

Mrs Webster knows very well that it is a sin to lie so she cleverly accuses Grayson of being untruthful without refuting the irrefutable:

In her statement, Sandy Webster said: "Alan Grayson's latest attack on my husband is shameful. Mr. Grayson seems to have a problem telling the truth and no problem misleading the public. Dan has been an amazing husband and father, and the finest man I have ever known. Mr. Grayson should be ashamed of his nasty smears against my husband."

The Village is having a full blown hissy fit about the ad, although I notice that it seems to be quite a bit less offensive to women than men. I wonder why? 

 Funny how that works out.

Et Tu, Steny?

If I didn't know better, I'd say Steny Hoyer was gunning for Nancy Pelosi's job, but he actually appears to be running for House minority leader.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen may think a vote this week is still possible on extending the Bush tax cuts for the middle class, but the No. 2 Democrat in the House splashed icy cold water on the idea Sunday.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said on Fox News Sunday that he does not think a vote will happen before members adjourn for the midterm elections, even though Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday it still was possible. Hoyer blamed the Senate for opting to punt the vote to a lame-duck session, telling host Chris Wallace that it would be "a specious act" to hold a vote just for political optics before heading home.

Oh that's never happened in Congress.  Yes, let's not hold a vote that would help the Democrats right before a brutally rough midterm election, especially in the House, right Steny?

I doubt that we will, and let me tell you why. The Senate has refused to move forward on that issue. As you know, we have some 400 bills pending in the Senate, 75 percent of which have gotten 50 Republican votes or more, but they can't move through the Senate, so it would be an specious act.

So yeah, it's all Harry Reid's fault, so let's just not do anything.  I'm sure the voters will reward you for that.

When I say the Democratic message machine is broken, here's Exhibit A, folks.

Building On Sand

Meanwhile, the Israel-Palestinian peace process is over before it has even begun.  BooMan:

The 10-month freeze on West Bank settlement construction sunsetted last night, and the settlers are ready to get to work on a backlog of new homes and structures.

Construction is expected to begin on Tuesday at a number of sites including Shavei Shomron, Adam, Oranit, Sha'arei Tikva, Yakir, Revava, Kokhav Hashahar, Kedumim and Karmei Tzur. A cornerstone is to be laid for a new neighborhood in the southern West Bank settlement of Beit Hagai, with construction set to start soon. After the Sukkot holiday, the Yesha Council of settlements and local West Bank councils are expected to pressure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into approving new construction.
Netanyahu had called for restraint from the settlers, but they did not listen.

The end of the freeze was expected to be marked by a flurry of events, with busloads of Likud activists scheduled to tour different settlements in support of the settlers, and hear stories of the damage incurred by the freeze. At 3 P.M., a cornerstone for a new daycare center was to be laid in Kiryat Netafim, and at 4 P.M. thousands of settlers were expected at a rally in Revava, to be attended by MKs and municipality heads. MK Danny Danon (Likud) said that construction was likely to begin on some 2,000 housing units across the West Bank.
This is all is spite of continued warnings from the Palestinians that they would walk away from negotiations if the settlement freeze was lifted. To make matters worse, Netanyahu has adopted the new talking point that a precondition of peace talks is that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish State, meaning that they give up the right-of-return of refugees before negotiations even begin. By refusing the Palestinians' one precondition at the same time that he imposes his own, he makes it almost impossible for the talks to get going. 

And so the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank will continue.  The Palestinians will walk away from the process.  Netanyahu will throw up his hands and go "Oh well" and rocket attacks and tank assaults will continue.

Meanwhile, our Congress cares more about providing money for Israeli settlements then they do providing money for Americans who have lost their homes and jobs.

They Went There

SNL's Kristen Wing as Christine O'Donnell.

(Not exactly safe for work, either.)

Yeah, He Really Is That Evil

Steve M. flags down a couple stories on NY Republican Carl Paladino (NY-Racist Asshole) and his idea of "family values" with his wife, Cathy.

Cathy Paladino stroked the arm of the couch she was sitting on in her husband's campaign headquarters, first in small circles, then larger ones, as if to assure the couch that both she and it would get through this just fine.

She was talking about her husband's affair, a subject she was ready, if not eager, to address. Since her husband, Carl, won the Republican nomination for governor of New York last week, the only story in the race as compelling as his upset victory has been their personal back story: that her husband not only had an affair, not only fathered a child with that other woman, but also told his wife of 40 years about it all the same week that their 29-year-old son, Patrick, was killed in a car accident. He pulled her aside, Ms. Paladino said, as she was looking for family photographs to bring to the wake.

"He said he was very sorry to cause me pain, the relationship with the mother was over ... and there was a child," she said.

What a guy, that Paladino.  All the empathy of Lord Voldemort's colostomy bag.  Carl made his wife come clean on this story to the NY Post and the NY Times.  So, not only does this schmuck send out racist emails about Obama, he cheated on his wife, confirmed their affair while she was mourning the death of their son, and was then made to relive this not once but twice to two major papers.

I defer to Steve's analysis:

All this makes me squirm. I suspected Carl Paladino was a bad human being. Now I'm sure of it.

This goes way beyond "asshole" territory straight to "the man has no effing soul".   Your Republican candidate for Governor of New York, ladies and gentlemen.

Helicopter Ben's Magic Printing Press Game

Apparently the notion that Helicopter Ben will turn his Magic Printing Press back on at the November 3 Fed meeting is now common knowledge, but apparently people in the know are saying it'll only be half a trillion.

Ben Bernanke doesn't even get out of bed for half a trillion.

About 70 percent of the 67 respondents, which include economists, strategists and fund managers, believe the Fed will begin quantitative easing again.

Of those, 80 percent believe the Fed will start before the end of this year. November is seen as the most likely month for the Fed to restart asset purchases by 38 percent of those who took the survey, but December was a close second with 32 percent.

“The trigger for the resumption of quantitative easing late this year will be an increase in unemployment back into double-digits,” wrote Mark Zandi, of Moody’s Economy.Com. He thinks the Fed will act in December and ultimately purchase an additional $1 trillion in assets.

The Zero Hedge boys think that number is going to be significantly more than Zandy's $1 trillion guess. I'd go with them if I had to.  What makes me think November rather than December?  Oh, maybe because Japan's third largest consumer lender is filing for bankruptcy today, and as I flagged down last week, the Anglo Irish bank is on the verge of El Foldo.

That humming sound is the Magic Printing Press warming up.  Big time.

A Pair Of President Odubya Failures On Civil Liberties

Two stories this morning should send up massive alarms as the Obama administration continues its dismal Bushian record on civil liberties and terrorism.

First, the Obama administration wants to expand its National Security Letter system to acquire wiretaps on the internet by compelling internet service providers to comply as easily as it can obtain them by forcing phone companies to do the same.

Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.

The bill, which the Obama administration plans to submit to lawmakers next year, raises fresh questions about how to balance security needs with protecting privacy and fostering innovation. And because security services around the world face the same problem, it could set an example that is copied globally.

James X. Dempsey, vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, an Internet policy group, said the proposal had “huge implications” and challenged “fundamental elements of the Internet revolution” — including its decentralized design.

“They are really asking for the authority to redesign services that take advantage of the unique, and now pervasive, architecture of the Internet,” he said. “They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function.” 

The second item involves banks and money transfers and is nearly as pervasive in its depth:  requiring every single international money transfer, no matter how small, to be reported to the Feds.

The Obama administration wants to require U.S. banks to report all electronic money transfers into and out of the country, a dramatic expansion in efforts to counter terrorist financing and money laundering.

Officials say the information would help them spot the sort of transfers that helped finance the al-Qaeda hijackers who carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. They say the expanded financial data would allow anti-terrorist agencies to better understand normal money-flow patterns so they can spot abnormal activity.

Financial institutions are now required to report to the Treasury Department transactions in excess of $10,000 and others they deem suspicious. The new rule would require banks to disclose even the smallest transfers. 

The vast, vast majority of people who will be caught up in these two policies will be ordinary Americans with no terrorist connections whatsoever.  Considering the failure of the Obama administration to stop massive abuse of national security letters to compel phone wiretaps, nobody in the country should feel confident that they can trust the executive branch with this level of additional power.

The Obama administration essentially wants to make the entire internet available to wiretap capability, meaning encrypted internet communications would become effectively useless.  The Obama administration could simply demand anyone's internet communications, encryption free, if they so choose to, for no other reason than they say so.

In the same way, the vast majority of people who transfer money internationally are just people sending money home to their families in places like Mexico, India, Central America, South America and Europe.  Every single one of those transfers would be recorded under this new policy, and all it would do is be used to harass immigrants and working Americans.  Can you imagine what Republicans would do with this ability?

This is the one area where Obama told us he would be better than McCain, better than Bush, and better than Hillary Clinton.  Apparently that was a lie on all three accounts, and this is the one area where Obama is truly worse than Bush.


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