Good morning Conflucians!!!!
It’s a repeat of last weekend–only worse–for those in the Mid-Atlantic states and stretching west all the way to Ohio and Indiana. Coastal areas are experiencing blizzard conditions and record snowfalls in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia and all the way up to New Jersey and New York. Let us know how things are going where you are. I hope everyone is safe and warm and doesn’t lose power. Stay inside until this think winds down. I speak from experience. There’s no use fighting it, just surrender and enjoy being snowbound for a little while.
A punishing winter storm will continue to blast an area from the eastern Ohio Valley to the Mid-Atlantic coast today.
The focus for the heaviest snow today will continue to be near and along the Mid-Atlantic coast. Heavy snow will stretch from eastern Pennsylvania to southern New Jersey through the Delmarva Peninsula into the early afternoon hours.
An additional six to as much as twelve inches of snow will fall today bringing snow totals in this region up to the eighteen to twenty-four inch range with locally higher amounts possible.
Washington Post: Snowstorm’s intensity has D.C. region hunkering down
The full weight of winter brought life in much of the Washington region to a standstill Saturday as a storm predicted to be one of the most powerful on record dumped 12 to 21 inches of snow overnight.
New York Times: East Coast Is Hit by ‘Potentially Epic Snowstorm’
WASHINGTON — One of the largest winter storms the Mid-Atlantic region has seen in decades swept into Washington and Baltimore on Friday, grounding flights, closing schools and government offices, and sending residents racing to stock up on groceries and rock salt before the snow accumulated to what are expected to be record-setting depths….
Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, parent agency of the weather service, called the blizzard “a potentially epic snowstorm” that could rival the 28 inches of snow that a January 1922 storm dropped on the capital.
“The National Weather Service has been very clear that this is a storm to take very seriously,” she said. The halls of the Capitol building were quiet, and the federal government sent many workers home four hours early on Friday. Dr. Lubchenco said she was making contingency plans for all government offices in and near the capital to be closed through Tuesday.
“If it is as much and as heavy as they are forecasting, it may be a number of days before people are actually moving around again,” she said. “This is a serious storm.”
Here are some gorgeous snowstorm pics donated by our own Indigogrrl:
Just breathtaking! And here is a picture contributed by Riverdaughter:
We’d love to hear more reports from Conflucians in the hard-hit areas. I’ll be glad to post more photos too. Be careful out there!
Nobel Prize economist Joseph Stiglitz has an article in the Guardian this morning: Obama’s muddled solutions. Stiglitz argues that the message of Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts is not for Democrats to move even further right. Instead he says that voters are sending the same message they sent to Bill Clinton and that he was smart enough to act on: “It’s the economy, stupid!” and “Jobs, jobs, jobs”
The US economy is in a mess, even if growth has resumed, and bankers are once again receiving huge bonuses. More than one out of six Americans who would like a full-time job cannot get one; and 40% of the unemployed have been out of a job for more than six months.
As Europe learned long ago, hardship increases with the length of unemployment, as job skills and prospects deteriorate and savings gets wiped out. The 2.5-3.5m foreclosures expected this year will exceed those of 2009, and the year began with what is expected to be the first of many large commercial real-estate bankruptcies. Even the Congressional budget office is predicting that it will be the middle of the decade before unemployment returns to more normal levels, as America experiences its own version of “Japanese malaise”.
Just as Dakinikat predicted way back at the beginning of the financial crisis.
Stiglitz also has a new book outFreefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy. More from the Guardian piece:
…Barack Obama took a big gamble at the start of his administration. Instead of the marked change that his campaign had promised, he kept many of the same officials and maintained the same “trickle down” strategy to confront the financial crisis. Providing enough money to the banks was, his team seemed to say, the best way to help ordinary homeowners and workers.
When America reformed its welfare programs for the poor under Clinton, it put conditions on recipients: they had to look for a job or enroll in training programs. But when the banks received welfare benefits, no conditions were imposed on them. Had Obama’s attempt at muddling through worked, it would have avoided some big philosophical battles. But it didn’t work, and it has been a long time since popular antipathy to banks has been so great.
Obama wanted to bridge the divides among Americans that George W Bush had opened. But now those divides are wider. His attempts to please everyone, so evident in the last few weeks, are likely to mollify no one.
I couldn’t agree more. Meanwhile, the majority of Americans who are not Wall Street bankers, investors, and brokers, or the politicians they have bought are really struggling.
Voice of America: Slide into Homelessness Jolts Middle Class US Families
Every American neighborhood seems to have one mom to whom all the children gravitate. In a community in the small town of Lebanon, Tennesee, that person is Tammy Renault. But she never expected to be super-mom in this particular neighborhood.
The Renaults are one of more than 20 homeless families currently living in Lebanon’s Timberline Campground. Timberline’s the kind of place someone with a tent or camper might spend a night; a day or two at most. The Renaults have been here since last August.
After her husband Troy lost his construction job, the family struggled for awhile to pay all the bills, but they eventually failed and lost their home.
The Renaults and four of their five sons are now living in a donated travel-trailer; down from 170 square meters of living space to 20.
But beyond the physical hardships, Tammy Renault says her family is getting a crash course in what it means, socially, to be labeled homeless. “It’s being called names. It’s being ridiculed. It’s running into people that have seen you in your highest and are not even speaking to you anymore because they’re too afraid for where you are and don’t know what to say.”
More on the struggles of middle-class Americans in the LA Times: Middle-class Americans driven away from American dream
Middle-class Americans, the backbone of the country, have found themselves in a “middle-class crisis” during the recent recession and are facing the danger to be driven away from the American dream.
Even U.S. President Barack Obama has seen the seriousness of the problem. In his remarks to the U.S. Senate Democrats on Wednesday, Obama said the middle class Americans are “barely keeping their heads above water. They’re trying to figure out how to retire. They ‘re seeing more and more of their costs on health care dumped in their lap” and they are “more and more vulnerable, and they have been for the last decade, treading water.”
Excuse me? Shouldn’t the President be the first to see the seriousness of problems that affect vast numbers of Americans? Have we really reached the point where it is a matter of note that the President speaks about them? Yes, I’m afraid we have.
Now this is rich (pun intended):
Goldman Chief’s Bonus Seen by Some as Show of Restraint
After weeks of intense speculation, Goldman Sachs disclosed late Friday that its chief executive, Lloyd C. Blankfein, would receive an annual bonus valued at $9 million, a figure that, to the surprise of many, put him in the middle of the pay scale for the nation’s banking chiefs.
While most people can only dream of such a reward, the news was widely seen on Wall Street as a show of restraint and a nod to the uproar in Washington and elsewhere over resurgent pay and profits at banks like Goldman. Indeed, the award represents a fraction of the record $68 million bonus that Mr. Blankfein received in 2007, when Goldman made less money than it did last year. In 2008, in the midst of the financial collapse, he collected no bonus.
Cry me a river. Blankfein should donate his bonus to some struggling Americans like the Renaults.
Speaking of Tea parties, TPM reports that one of the guys who was arrested for phone-tampering in the offices of Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu last week–Joseph Basel–has been spotted at the Tea Party Convention in Nashville.
With a week until he’s due in federal court in New Orleans for a Feb. 12 hearing, Basel has been spotted at the national tea party convention in Nashville by the Washington Independent’s Dave Weigel.
Weigel reports that Basel is at the convention as a credential reporter though he says that he’s “here for myself.”
Basel was ordered by the judge in the Landrieu case to stay in his home state of Minnesota. He is allowed to travel only with the permission of his pretrial supervision officer, according to the conditions of his release on $10,000 bond.
Reached by TPMmuckraker today, Basel’s pretrial supervision officer said she could not disclose whether he got approval for the travel.
OTHER NEWS OF NOTE
This is heartbreaking: Turkish Girl, 16, Buried Alive for Talking to Boys
Turkish police have recovered the body of a 16-year-old girl they say was buried alive by relatives in an “honour” killing carried out as punishment for talking to boys.
The girl, who has been identified only by the initials MM, was found in a sitting position with her hands tied, in a two-metre hole dug under a chicken pen outside her home in Kahta, in the south-eastern province of Adiyaman.
Her father and grandfather are in jail and her mother, who was also arrested has been released.
A postmortem examination revealed large amounts of soil in her lungs and stomach, indicating that she had been alive and conscious while being buried. Her body showed no signs of bruising.
The girl tried to get help from local police but was repeatedly sent back home to deal with her horrific situation on her own.
BROWNSVILLE, Pa. — A Brownsville Area high school teacher who was suspended after someone posted pictures of her at a bachelorette party with a male stripper has been told she should return to work.
Brownsville Area School District administrators suspended the Fayette County teacher in January for 30 days after they saw a photo of her, fully clothed, in a suggestive pose with a stripper.
The school board decided to take the unidentified teacher back after warnings from the ACLU.
Jairo Miguel Sanchez Alonso will fight the bulls in his hometown of Caceres, in Spain’s southwestern Extremadura Region.
The average age for matadors in Spain is 25 to 30, and the minimum age requirement is 16. Jairo Miguel — he uses that as his showbiz name — spent some four years fighting in Latin America to escape Spain’s age limit.
The normal format for a bullfight is three matadors taking on two animals each. Aficionados say it is extremely rare for a matador as young as 16 to fight six, a challenge requiring great physical and mental stamina.
In an interview the night before the big fight, Jairo Miguel, the son of a bullfighter, said he was nervous but confident in his skills. A tall, slender boy with a baby-face and a nice smile, he bears a scar from a ghastly goring that nearly punctured his heart in Mexico in 2007.
Why hasn’t this cruel and bloody “sport” been banned? I really think it’s shocking that children would be encouraged to participate in something like this.
I’ll end with one more snowstorm pic from Indigogrrl.
HAVE A STUPENDOUS SATURDAY EVERYONE!!!!!!!
Filed under: General Tagged: | ACLU, banker bonuses, Barack Obama, Brownsville (PA) teacher, bullfighting, dakinikat, Economy, Goldman Sachs, honor killings, Indigogrrl, Joseph Basel, Joseph Stiglitz, Lloyd Blankfein, Mid-Atlantic snowstorm, middle-class breakdown, phone-tampering, Politics, Renault family, Riverdaughter, Senator Mary Landrieu, snowpocalypse, Tea Party Convention, Tennessee, Turkey, unemployment