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Sue not lest ye be discovered

Via Ars Technica, Climate lobbying group ignored its own science advisors, The Global Climate Coalition was one of the main industry groups spreading FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) about global warming. Now one of the GCC members, the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, is suing in an attempt

“to block California’s efforts to regulate automotive greenhouse gas emissions. During discovery for the suit, a memo came to light in which the GCC’s scientific advisors suggested that certain aspects of climate science simply weren’t controversial; that memo was leaked to The New York Times, which has placed it online.”

I’m alternately rolling on the floor howling with maniacal laughter at the karmic goodness of it all and wanting to beat these people into fertilizer for what they’ve done to my planet.

I had an Issue, as the nerds say, with a hard drive that decided to develop a bad block. Lots of excitement, 24 hours, and much system rejiggering later, I’m up to the test of trying to post something. Wish me luck!

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Say it isn’t so! (Updated 5X)


Creepy Old Guy


WASHINGTON – Veteran Republican Sen. Arlen Specter announced Tuesday that he is switching parties, a move would give Democrats a filibuster-proof 60 seats if Al Franken is seated in the Minnesota race.

“I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary,” the Pennsylvania senator said in a statement.

“I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans,” Specter said, adding that the “change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans.”

More proof there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the parties.

We better get UHC outta this

I will update this story as more information is available.

Continue reading

Tuesday: Influenza as Infuence-ah

I waited for my mom to call yesterday.  Any minute now, I thought.  She was in hysterics over the bird flu epidemic that never materialized a few years back.  At the time, I had to patiently talk her off the ledge:  There are many steps from chickens to people.  First, it has to be virulent in the bird population.  Then it has to be transmissible to humans, no mean feat.  It helps if you live on a poultry farm.  Do you live on a poultry farm, Mum?  No?  Well, that’s a relief.  Then, when it jumps to humans, it could simply stop there.  That’s right, it doesn’t have to go any further.  To be transmissible *between* humans, it has to mutate again.  And to be really deadly, it has to be spread really easily.  More mutations.  I mean, Bush is jumping the gun but if you’re really worried, you can track the mutations of the virus sequence  on one of the federal health sites.

That calmed her down for about 2 days before the next *ping* from the department of homeland security.  She called yesterday afternoon at about 2:30pm with some chit chat about Memorial Day plans before she hit me up on the Swine Flu Panic of 2009.

This flu is different.  First of all, it helps if you keep swine in your backyard.  Boyfriends do not count.  It looks like it can be spread to people but in the end, it’s still just flu and despite the fact that it seems to be out of season and somewhat more debilitating, the standard rules apply:  Wash your hands, stay away from people who are sick, do not touch surfaces of things a sick person might have touched, if you get sick, see your doctor for any available anti-viral meds, blah, blah, blah.  The vaccine manufacturers are probably already on it.

So, it’s a health problem.  But a worldwide catastrophe of Armageddon like proportions with the horseman of death stalking the rolling green hills of central Pennsylvania?  Probably not.

What it may be is a way for Obama to get his HHS nominee appointed as quickly as possible without the Republicans sitting on the nomination and pointing out more culture war related inconveniences.  As the NYTimes reports in its editorial today:

While health officials scramble to keep up with the fast-moving virus, it is deeply disquieting that the Obama administration has few of its top health officials in place. The Senate, delayed by Republican objections, is finally scheduled to debate the confirmation of Kathleen Sebelius on Tuesday to be secretary of health and human services. And the White House has yet to announce a nominee for director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those are two of the most important positions for dealing with an infectious disease epidemic.

Ok, this is ridiculous.  It is nearly May.  Obama was elected in November.  In six months, he hasn’t even got his cabinet in place?  He doesn’t have a head of the frickin’ CDC?    Please.  Do not tell me that this economic crisis has consumed so much of his time that he hasn’t put together a roster of people to fill the remaining slots.  He should have gotten that together back in June of last year.  What the hell is going on here?

So, this is what he’s reduced to: panicking the citizenry, just like Bush used to do, in order to get his way and leapfrog over the confirmation process.  Don’t get me wrong.  Republicans are reprehensible when they hold up nominations like this over trivialities and put us all at risk for a really serious problem.  But this is not a well run executive branch if its cabinet positions are still pending after 6 months.

Still, I’m only mildly surprised.  I never did have much faith in government by shmooze.

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Your Breakfast Read, Served by The Confluence

Morning Papers

  • The world get serious about the swine flu
    WHO Raises Global Threat Level As Reports of Swine Flu Increase

    Borders Are Tightened as Flu Cases Rise

    EU Advises Travellers to Avoid Mexico and US

    ‘Panic Can Spread More Quickly Than Swine Flu’

  • Flu continues to weigh on markets

  • The sad, sad legacy of the Bush regime. But hey, Dick Cheney has discovered the virtues of full disclosure,so let’s go for it.
    New Evidence of Torture Prison in Poland

    The current debate in the US on the “special interrogation methods” sanctioned by the Bush administration could soon reach Europe. It has long been clear that the CIA used the Szymany military airbase in Poland for extraordinary renditions. Now there is evidence of a secret prison nearby.

  • (2x) 100 Days.
    A look at key events during the first 100 days of Barack Obama’s presidency

    The Arena: The GOP’s hundred days

  • No kidding! What a surprise!
    Evening Newscasts Have Covered Obama More Than Bush & Clinton Combined
  • Good news. Views on race relations are improving.
    Obama Is Nudging Views on Race, a Survey Finds

    Barack Obama’s presidency seems to be altering the public perception of race relations in the United States. Two-thirds of Americans now say race relations are generally good, and the percentage of blacks who say so has doubled since last July, according to the latest New York Times/ CBS News poll.

    Despite that, half of blacks still say whites have a better chance of getting ahead in American society, the poll found.

    There are still some hiccups like this.
    Among college-educated, African Americans hardest hit by unemployment

    Fifteen months into a deep recession, college-educated white workers still had a relatively low unemployment rate of 3.8% in March of this year. The same could not be said for African Americans with four-year degrees. The March 2009 unemployment rate for college-educated blacks was 7.2%—almost twice as high as the white rate—and up 4.5 percentage points from March 2007, before the start of the current recession (see chart). Hispanics and Asian Americans with college degrees were in between, both with March 2009 unemployment rates of 5%.

  • I guess the stress test didn’t go too well.
    U.S. urges BofA, Citi to increase capital

    U.S. regulators have told Bank of America Corp and Citigroup Inc they may need to raise more capital following stress testing of the two banks, the Wall Street Journal reported.

    The shortfall amounts to billions of dollars at BofA, the paper said on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the bank, adding it is likely the Federal Reserve will have determined other banks might also need more capital.

  • Hooray! We are about to own a (formerly) gigantic car company.
    US to take majority GM stake

    US taxpayers would take a majority shareholding in General Motors under a sweeping debt-for-equity restructuring proposal that the carmaker revealed on Monday in a bid to avoid bankruptcy.

  • GM to become a much smaller car company
    G.M.’s Latest Plan Envisions a Much Smaller Automaker

    G.M. expects to have only 38,000 union workers and 34 factories left in the United States, compared with 395,000 workers in more than 150 plants at its peak employment in 1970.

  • Union to be majority holder of a restructured Chrysler. Way to go!
    UAW to Get 55% Stake in Chrysler for Concessions

    The United Auto Workers union would eventually own 55% of the stock in a restructured Chrysler LLC under the deal reached by the union and the auto maker, according to a summary of the agreement that was reviewed by the Wall Street Journal.

    Fiat SpA “eventually” will own 35%, and the U.S. government and Chrysler’s secured lenders together will end up owning 10% of the company once it is reorganized, that summary said.

  • The never ending story.
    US ‘saddened’ by deadly Iraq raid

    Ex-soldier bragged about Iraqi rape, deaths: lawyer

  • Ross Douthat is off to a good start as op-ed columnist in the Old Lady
    Cheney for President
  • Michael Tomasky is happy with Hillary’s performance in Lebanon
    Hillary in Lebanon
  • Finally! Some smart guys try to answer my question.
    Secrets of the Phallus: Why is the Penis Shaped Like That?
  • If you’ve ever had a good, long look at the human phallus, whether yours or someone else’s, you’ve probably scratched your head over such a peculiarly shaped device.

  • Don’t die in China. It’s really expensive.
    Chinese face rising cost of dying
  • Who said guys couldn’t throw? Take that ladies.
    Florida High School Senior to Try for Fifth Consecutive No-Hitter
  • Deep thought: If you smell like a skunk, you would be easy to identify.
    Foul-smelling man accused of money laundering

    Court records show that during his trips to a Eugene bank a man drew attention to himself because of a foul odor, possibly linked to fertilizer. A teller vomited. Customers complained.

  • Talk about giving someone a test of his own medicine.
    Police arrest woman they say used Taser on officer