Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Last Call

Looks like the Breitbart right is tripling down on Weinergate.

Here's the Post hit piece:

Such statements notwithstanding, those on the left trying to paint this as a conspiracy must deal with an array of odd elements that an increasingly tech-savvy public may find suspicious:

* Not just the offending picture but most of the congressman’s pictures were removed from the site.

* Not only did the young lady’s Facebook and Twitter accounts disappear from the ’Net (she’s apparently since started a new Twitter account, and may go back on Facebook), but also her bylines on articles in her college paper.

* The congressman made it a point to tweet what time an East Coast interview would be shown in Seattle, where the young lady’s from.

* Cordova reportedly wrote in the college paper in March about Twitter’s verifiable accounts giving access to celebrities.

Coincidences all, but there’s one more that millions of Twitter users will understand best:

On Twitter, famous people tend to have tens of thousands to millions of followers — but they themselves follow only a fraction of that amount.

Rep. Weiner is a man of national prominence, a rising star in the Democratic Party, frequently on TV, a past and likely future candidate for mayor. He knows and is known by thousands of movers, shakers, members of the press and politicians on the city, state and national levels.

Yet, as of yesterday, he was following fewer than 200 others — and, with all those famous folks to choose from, one of the few he followed was Cordova, a 21-year-old college student who lives nearly 3,000 miles away in Bellingham,Wash.

Oh well Anthony Weiner is following somebody on Twitter.  It must be nefarious.  That's proof that this was all true, she's his mistress, and Weiner should resign immediately.

Look, politicians are by and large scumbags, period.  But if the new standard is "famous people are following you, it must be an affair" then really, we as a people are screwed.  And if this all sounds like much ado about nothing in order to distract the press and hit Weiner for being an outspoken critic of the right, you're on to something.

Oh and Breitbart is all over the news again, just like his last hoax.  One has to wonder what he has to do in order to be considered a joke and ignored.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Proposed:  the rise of the Winger theory that people only voted for Obama out of white guilt is in fact projection quite neatly explaining Herman Cain's poll numbers.


Tea'd Off At Sen. Rubio

The Tea Party is turning their ire on GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, saying he hasn't done enough to stop illegal immigrants from entering Florida, and they want to know why the Latino senator has not cracked down on the Latino community.

“We’ve been waiting for him to come up with something and to be a leader on this issue,” said Danita Kilcullen, founder of Tea Party Fort Lauderdale.

When President Barack Obama traveled to Texas recently to call for a renewed immigration debate, Rubio said the borders need to be secured before anything. He demanded action on an employment background check system called E-Verify.

But Rubio has not made an effort to sponsor immigration legislation or even highlight the issue — it is not listed on his website, tea party members note. And he remained on the sidelines as E-Verify was narrowly defeated this month in the Florida Legislature, where Rubio is held in almost holy regard.

Jobs, the national debt and Medicare are dominant themes on Capitol Hill now, not immigration. Still, the flicker of activity, including a U.S. Supreme Court decision Thursday upholding part of Arizona’s controversial new law, exposes the pressure and pitfalls facing Rubio.

He is being torn in opposite directions by his base: Washington’s Republican elite and Florida’s grass-roots activists who propelled him into office.

The establishment is eagerly positioning the charismatic 40-year-old son of Cuban exiles as the Hispanic face of the party. The Latino population in the United States has grown 43 times faster than the non-Hispanic white population, rising from 35.3 million in 2000 to 50.5 million in 2010.

Last week, former Republican Party of Florida chairman Al Cardenas, now head of the American Conservative Union, boasted in Politico that Rubio’s inclusion on a presidential ticket would “almost guarantee” a GOP victory.

The safe route, then, is to avoid being drawn into a serious immigration debate. “If anything, they’re saying [to Rubio] ‘Let’s not talk about this,’ ” said Patrick Davis, a national Republican consultant. “It motivates Hispanics to look at Democrats and Obama.” 

Rubio is not a stupid man, but he's in an untenable situation.  The millisecond he comes out for the GOP's crackdown on anyone who might speak a second language, his political career is over.  The problem is, if he doesn't, his political career is over (it just may take longer).

He's opting for choice number two right now, but that will only buy him so much time.  Maybe he's hoping he can duck the issue long enough to get a 2012 veep bid.  He won't make it to 2016, however.  He'll have to take a tough stand on immigration or be pegged as a RINO and thrown out of the party in the next few years.  Look at Scott Brown's precipitous fall and the all but assured primary of the Ladies From Maine as well as Dick Lugar scrambling to the right.  I foresee none of these Senators in Congress in 2016.

Marco Rubio appears to be next on the RINO list.

Right To (Take) Life

Here's a story that got relatively spiked by our "liberal" media:  A Wisconsin man confessed to planning to kill abortion providers in Planned Parenthood clinics in that state, and was only stopped when the idiot accidentally fired his gun last week in a Motel 6 and the cops were called.

The Marshfield man who told authorities he came to town with a gun, bullets and plans to kill an abortion doctor was charged Friday with attempted first-degree intentional homicide in Dane County Circuit Court.
Ralph W. Lang, 63, said that after shooting an abortion provider at a Planned Parenthood in Madison, he was next going to go to an abortion clinic in Milwaukee, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday.

A portrait of Lang emerged as an unemployed loner who grew up on a farm with 10 siblings. He has strong anti-abortion convictions and had previously protested — and in 2007 been arrested — at the same Planned Parenthood on the Far East Side that he appeared ready to attack on Thursday.

“He definitely stood out,” said Kat Wagner, a reporter for the Catholic Herald, Madison’s diocesan newspaper, who met and interviewed Lang when he would hold graphic anti-abortion signs, often standing alone outside the clinic in 2008 in events organized by Madison-based Vigil for Life. “He seemed very gentle but very convinced that abortion was wrong.”

Officials with Vigil for Life couldn’t be reached for comment. Another anti-abortion rights group, Wisconsin Right to Life, issued a statement condemning what it described as a “heinous act which is in total opposition” to the group’s mission.

The leader of a national abortion rights group said that Lang’s progression is not unusual among the small number of anti-abortion protesters who turn violent.

“This fits a pattern,” said Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation, describing “the escalation of activities from perhaps just protesting to making threats to carrying out threats.”

To recap, this guy was fully planning to kill people at abortion clinics in Madison and Milwaukee last Thursday, and was only stopped because the cops were called on him last Wednesday when he fired a bullet through his motel room door.  When the cops showed up, apparently he confessed to the plan.

But hey, not news, right?  Guess it only when he got as far as murdering an abortion doc or two does it matter.

Move Over Bob, There's A New Dillon In Town

(CNN) -- Prison-issued toilet paper is what musician William Michael Dillon used to write down most of his songs, including "Black Robes and Lawyers," which has just been released on iTunes.
"I was arrested for murder on August 26, 1981, for a crime I didn't commit," Dillon tells his audience as he starts strumming his guitar. "I was released on November 18, 2008. Thank you to the keepers of justice."
According to Dillon, justice prevailed when he was released from prison after 27 years. He is now on the Innocence Project of Florida's list of 13 prisoners exonerated by DNA evidence.
It was Dillon's life story and not his music that moved Grammy Award winning music producer Jim Tullio to invite Dillon to his Chicago studio to record the songs he wrote in prison.

Some interesting things to know include the fact that Dillon did not qualify for the $50k per year reimbursement, so he is starting over from scratch.  Second, Tullio is so impressed with Dillon that he is talking major production.  Third, the reason Dillon doesn't qualify for money to start over is because "When I was 19 years old I got caught with a Quaalude and a joint in my pocket with nine college kids coming from a bottle club at 4 o'clock in the morning," he says.  Still, after 27 years in prison, he can only be relieved by his release.  Maybe his story can bring him some artistic satisfaction and draw attention to a real problem we have in our prisons.  Once upon a time, the courts had limited tools in their possession.  That is not the case now.  Imagine, 27 years knowing you were innocent and suffering the punishment of the person who walked away free.  That's worth a little extra caution and research on behalf of the accused, and a reminder that we are innocent until proven guilty.

Hong Kong 3-D Erotic Comedy... Whaaa?

HONG KONG – A hit Hong Kong 3-D erotic comedy that has wowed viewers in Asia has secured U.S. and Canadian distribution, as the pioneering film's international rollout gains momentum.
China Lion Film Distribution said in a statement Wednesday that it bought the North American rights to "3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy" at the film market at the recently concluded Cannes Film Festival.
"Sex and Zen," a remake of a 1991 Hong Kong movie by the same name, follows a sexually frustrated Chinese scholar who loses his way in the harem of a duke he befriends. The morality tale stars Japanese porn stars Hara Saori and Suo Yukiko and Hong Kong actress Vonnie Liu.
It has been a smashing success in other countries.  I don't know if I'm horrified or amused yet, but at least it's mostly original. I admit I am curious to see how it is marketed and released, but some headlines simply demand a reposting.  Somehow the 3-D is the part that cracks me up.  Illusion-based erotica may be one door we wish had remain closed.

Home, Home I'm Deranged Part 22

The official Case-Shiller numbers are in for April and they show that we're now in a housing double-dip depression, the April index coming in at 138.16, under the April 2009 low of 139.29.

"This month's report is marked by the confirmation of a double-dip in home prices across much of the nation," David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Indices, said in a statement. "Home prices continue on their downward spiral with no relief in sight."

Eight cities fell 1 percent or more in March, while Washington was the only city where prices increased on both a monthly and yearly basis. Prices in the 20 cities fell 3.6 percent year over year, topping expectations for a decline of 3.3 percent.

"The declines sustained in the last 12 months have almost erased the gains of the previous 12 months. The housing market is treading backward, but not drowning," said Cary Leahey, economist and managing director at Decision Economics in New York.

In the first quarter, the national index fell 1.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, compared to a decline of 1.8 percent in the previous quarter. On a non-adjusted basis, they fell by 4.2 percent in the quarter. Nationally, home prices are back to their mid-2002 levels, the report said. 

What this means is that the "bottom of the housing market" that was predicted in summer 2009 is now officially and completely busted by any and all metrics, and given the sheer number of foreclosures in the system, working through to the true bottom of the housing depression may take several years, let alone the housing recovery.

But nobody in Washington seems to care much about this.

Big Bird Gets Mickey Moused In Orlando

Gov. Lex Luthor Rick Scott is back in the news, this time for vetoing all state PBS funding, all but assuring that Orlando, Florida now becomes the first major US city to lose access to a public broadcasting station.

Just as a deal came together late last week to keep PBS programming on the air in Orlando, Florida’s public broadcasters suffered a financial blow when Gov. Rick Scott vetoed the state’s nearly $4.8 million appropriation for public broadcasting.

That figure had already been reduced by 30 percent from the amount broadcasters received last year. With the cuts, each of 13 public radio stations will lose $87,287 in state funds compared with last year, and each of the 13 public television stations will lose a subsidy of $434,837. Stations receive the same subsidy, regardless of size.

“For me, it is critical; for a small station it might be catastrophic,” said Rick Schneider, president and chief executive of Miami’s WPBT-TV. He said there was “no doubt that people are going to have to look at layoffs” and that he would not be surprised if some stations were shut down. The broadcasters will work to get the funds reinstated, he said.

Orlando’s WMFE-TV had already decided to leave public broadcasting, citing financial strain in its decision to sell itself to a religious broadcaster, which would have left the city without PBS programming on July 1.

But, on Thursday, the University of Central Florida in Orlando said it reached a partnership deal with WBCC, at Brevard Community College in nearby Cocoa. U.C.F. will invest up to $1 million in the college station, which had been the market’s secondary PBS station (and already offered some U.C.F. programming on a digital subchannel) and will now become the primary station, pending PBS approval. It will be renamed WUCF.

But now with the state's PBS funding gone, the WUCF deal is in real trouble.  That will leave Orlando with no PBS station.  But remember, Rick Scott insists that Florida must cut corporate taxes to zero on top of all of the financial mess they are in.  What a great guy.  No wonder his approval ratings just five months into his term are in the basement, and for the Republican-controlled legislature are even worse, both now in the upper 20's and falling in the latest Miami Herald state poll (yes, this means we've reached the Twenty-Seven Percent Solution already.)

No wonder Democrats are feeling increasingly confident in Florida, calling Gov. Scott their "secret weapon" in the state.

A Whole Lot Of Hot Air Can Still Burn

The International Energy Agency says 2010 set a record for carbon production into our atmosphere, all but assuring that the global temperature goals set in Cancun last year will not be met.

"Energy-related carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2010 were the highest in history, according to the latest estimates," the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a statement.

After a dip in 2009 caused by the global financial crisis, emissions are estimated to have climbed to a record 30.6 gigatonnes (Gt), a five percent jump from the previous record year in 2008, when levels reached 29.3 Gt, the IEA said.

Moreover, the IEA estimated that 80 percent of projected emissions from the power sector in 2020 are already locked in, as they will come from power plants that are currently in place or under construction today.

"This significant increase in CO2 emissions and the locking in of future emissions due to infrastructure investments represent a serious setback to our hopes of limiting the global rise in temperature to no more than two degrees C," said Fatih Birol, the IEA's chief economist.

Global leaders agreed a target of limiting temperature increase to two degrees C (3.6 Fahrenheit) at UN climate change talks in Cancun, Mexico last year.

For this goal to be achieved, the long-term concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere must be limited to around 450 parts per million of CO2-equivalent, only a five percent increase compared to an estimated 430 parts per million in 2000.

The IEA has calculated that in order to achieve this level, based on emissions targets countries have agreed to reach by 2020, that global energy-related emissions in 2020 must not be greater than 32 Gt.

Considering we'll most likely break that 32 Gt rate next year, and by 2020 be heading for 35 Gt or more, that goal looks to be dashed.  The consequences of climate change include water and food scarcity, and Oxfam is already warning about the future of food security in the next 20 years.

"The food system is pretty well bust in the world," Oxfam Chief Executive Barbara Stocking told reporters, announcing the launch of the Grow campaign as 925 million people go hungry every day.

   "All the signs are that the number of people going hungry is going up," Stocking said.

   Hunger was increasing due to rising food price inflation and oil price hikes, scrambles for land and water, and creeping climate change.

   Food prices are forecast to increase by something in the range of 70 to 90 percent by 2030 before taking into account the effects of climate change, which would roughly double price rises again, Oxfam said.

   "Now we have entered an age of growing crisis, of shock piled upon shock: vertiginous food price spikes and oil price hikes, devastating weather events, financial meltdowns and global contagion," Oxfam said in a report. 

That's bad news.  A global quadrupling of food prices over the next 20 years would almost certainly lead to riots long before we ever got to 2030.  Recall how food prices have played a role in the Arab Spring uprisings and those increases were much much smaller.  This is why the Pentagon keeps warning that climate change (and its effects on food and water availability) is the number one threat to US security in the future.

And it will only get worse from here.


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