Monday, August 13, 2012

Last Call

How bad is the US Drought of 2012?  This bad.  As in "G20 crisis bad."

France, the United States and G20 president Mexico will hold a conference call at the end of August to discuss whether an emergency international meeting is required to tackle soaring grain prices caused by the worst U.S. drought in half a century.

A French agriculture ministry official said the call would decide whether to convene the first meeting of the G20's Rapid Response Forum. The body was created last year to promote early discussion among decision-makers about abnormal market conditions with the aim of avoiding unilateral action.

"If the situation requires it, a meeting of the Rapid Response Forum could be called as soon as the start of September," the official said, adding the forum could hold its discussions in person or by a conference call.

"The aim is to talk about the situation and avoid measures like export embargoes which would be damaging for everyone," he said.

Benchmark Chicago corn climbed to an all-time high on Friday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture cut its production estimate by 17 percent, intensifying fears the world is headed for a repeat of the 2008 food price crisis.

2008 was brought on by speculation.  2012 will be brought on by serious lack of supply.  The US is still the breadbasket of the world and as it is we have people going hungry in this country every day.  With the drought pushing prices for all food up this fall, it's going to be even harder to feed the country in a healthy manner.

Something else that we need to have a political discussion about, but won't or can't thanks to another monolithic lobby preventing oversight, in this case Big Agra...not to mention the whole climate change issue.

It's getting old.

Stephen Baldwin, Hero

Rarely do the words "Baldwin" and "hero" collide in the same sentence, so let's enjoy this one while there are no photographers around.

Stephen Baldwin was visiting his publicist when he heard a loud sound, which startled everyone.  He then did something sweet, kind and brave and took care of the woman, recognizing the signs of an epileptic seizure.

"All of a sudden every head turned," Baldwin told the New York Daily News. "It was this girl, fallen on the floor." 

A young woman had suddenly gone into violent convulsions which Baldwin, who grew up with an epileptic family member, immediately recognized as an epileptic seizure. As other patrons ignored the episode – "A guy right next to us was just sipping his martini and didn't look up," Taylor said – the actor rushed to her aid. 

"I held her hand and said a few prayers," said Baldwin. The seizure lasted three terrifying minutes before the young woman came to. Baldwin was on hand to comfort her. "She started going, 'Where am I? What happened?' And then I asked, 'Do you have epilepsy?' and she said, 'Yes.' Then she started crying," he said. 
There is little a regular citizen can do besides comfort and make sure the person's environment is as safe as possible.  He comforted her and gave her a light physical contact, and that's all there was without the benefit of drugs or medical equipment.

Could you imagine a person in such distress and not looking up from your martini?  Frankly, that's more what one might expect from a celebrity family member who has enjoyed privilege and fame.  Our littlest Baldwin is growing up.  *sniff*  Good for him.  And in this case, good for her.

Tennessee Judge Suspected Of Pre-Signing Warrants

ATLANTA (AP) - A prosecutor says a judicial watchdog agency is investigating a north Georgia judge for allegedly pre-signing warrants for law enforcement officials.
District Attorney Bert Poston said the Judicial Qualification Commission is investigating Chief Magistrate Bryant Cochran of Murray County over the accusations. Public defender Mike McCarthy said he was aware of the investigation.
This is what happens with safeguards supposedly in place.  Imagine what is being done under the protection of the Patriot Act.  Imagine what happens without judicial oversight or checks and balances to prevent abuse.

A judge knows the full consequences of this, as well as the reasons why his actions were so despicable.  If he is truly guilty, I hope the citizens he has deprived of due process get their day.  The sad thing is, if the police do their job right, they should be able to justify a warrant.  This can't be for any reason other than laziness or cutting corners. Neither are acceptable when people's lives and reputations are at stake.

Voter Fraud: Those Pesky Facts Keep Getting In The Way

A new nationwide analysis of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases since 2000 shows that while fraud has occurred, the rate is infinitesimal, and in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tough voter ID laws, is virtually non-existent.
In reality, there have been about ten cases of voter fraud, or about one for every fifteen million potential voters.  Yeah, that's worth changing the laws, and if you don't agree then you're not a patriot.

Even if 90 percent of those voters got the correct identification by Nov. 6, that still could leave 75,800 voters disenfranchised. 
A coalition of civil-rights groups led by the American Civil Liberties Union has sued Pennsylvania in state court, arguing the voter ID law would deprive citizens of their right to vote. The trial began July 25.
This is criminal.  There is no other explanation for it.  There are plenty of ways to improve the voting process and experience.  If these numbers are correct, the only people you have to worry about manipulating votes and cheating are the politicians themselves.  I'll try to pretend to be surprised.

Chad Johnson Uses His Head

NFL star Chad Johnson was arrested Saturday night for domestic violence ... allegedly against new wife Evelyn Lozada, one of the stars of VH1's "Basketball Wives," this according to various reports.

Johnson allegedly head-butted Lozada during an argument, says the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, reportedly while the two were in a car. The paper says when cops arrived to the scene, Lozada had lacerations on her forehead. 
That's bad enough, his explanation of the events is even worse.  He says it was an accident.  Yeah, sure, and she just walked into that door.  Seriously, if that's the best defense or explanation he can give, this should be a cut and dried case.

And She Said "No Moose! No Moose!"

You wont have Sarah Palin to kick around at the GOP National Convention anymore, dammit!

Sarah Palin will not speak at the 2012 Republican National Convention, the party's 2008 vice presidential nominee said in a statement Sunday.

"This year is a good opportunity for other voices to speak at the convention and I'm excited to hear them," Palin wrote. "As I've repeatedly said, I support Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in their efforts to replace President Obama at the ballot box, and I intend to focus on grassroots efforts to rally Independents and the GOP base to elect Senate and House members so a wise Congress is ready to work with our new President to get our country back on the right path."

In her statement, Palin did not say whether or not she would attend the convention, which is to take place in Tampa at the end of this month. 

The fact that she immediately released this flatulence when Paul Ryan was announced makes me honestly think Sarah here was expecting Mittens to call her up.   Considering her main source of funding is her grifting through speechifying at rubes, the fact that she's not speaking at the GOP convention makes me also think that she's grasped the concept that Romney and Ryan are screwed.

She's distancing herself from this mess and holding out for 2016, bless her blackened little heart.  Republicans will be back for her.  She'll make sure of that.

Deficit Of Truth

The Democrats are correctly and rightfully ripping into Paul Ryan's record as a fiscal conservative:  Ryan voted for basically every Bush deficit-busting project that came up for a tally, and his own plan is rife with trillions in debt caused by eliminating much of the taxes for America's wealthiest.

But the Obama campaign isn’t ceding any ground to Ryan on the issue. As the campaign was quick to point out on Sunday, Ryan, who has served in Congress since January 1999, voted for a slew of Republican-sponsored legislation during the Bush administration that added trillions of dollars to the national debt.

“[T]his was a guy who rubber stamped every aspect of the Bush economic policy, including not paying for two wars, a Medicare prescription plan, two big tax cuts,” Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And now he wants trillions of dollars of more budget busting tax cuts skewed to the wealthy. He really isn’t in a strong position to talk about this problem.”

The Obama campaign is hoping to use Ryan’s consistent votes for Bush-era policies as part of its narrative that Republicans want to take America back to failed ideas. “We all know how well that worked out the last time we tried it,” the president — whose re-election slogan is “forward” — likes to remind voters on the campaign trail.

Ryan’s voting record during the Bush years is something he has spoken openly about. For a profile of the Congressman earlier this month, he told the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza that “as a fiscal conservative, he was ‘miserable during the last majority’ and is determined ‘to do everything I can to make sure I don’t feel that misery again.’” Lizza described Ryan as “embarrassed by the Bush years,” which goes against his image as willing to make tough choices to cut government spending.

Ryan's record will remain a serious problem for the Romney ticket, as will his budget.  I don't know how the Romney camp expects to win with this decade-plus long disaster, but they're counting on being able to lie about it, and being able to make up the difference by disenfranchising millions of urban, elderly and young voters.

Not going to let them get away with it, and neither should you.  Spread the word:  Ryan Lyin'.


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