• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    CeeBee on Harris
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Harris
    riverdaughter on Harris
    CeeBee on Harris
    lililam on Here’s the plan, Nancy
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Here’s the plan, Nancy
    HerstoryRepeating on Here’s the plan, Nancy
    Ga6thDem on Here’s the plan, Nancy
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Here’s the plan, Nancy
    lililam on Here’s the plan, Nancy
    riverdaughter on Here’s the plan, Nancy
    Ga6thDem on Here’s the plan, Nancy
    riverdaughter on Here’s the plan, Nancy
    William on Here’s the plan, Nancy
    Kathleen A Wynne on Everyone can read his thought…
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    August 2020
    S M T W T F S
     1
    2345678
    9101112131415
    16171819202122
    23242526272829
    3031  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Open Thread
      Feel free to use the comments to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.
  • Top Posts

The Republicans “Oh S^&*!” Moment

oh_ebd37d_221443I suspect it came on Tuesday when they realized they would have to run with The Donald they had.

They bet the whole enchilada on Hillary getting indicted. This apparent truth absolutely floors me but they seem to have talked themselves into it. How could they lose? After all, Jim Comey is one of their guys: lifelong, conservative, hard-ass Republican. Remember how he and John Ashcroft were buddies?BUT, as we have seen before, Comey has a conscience. Not much of one. It struggles under the weight of so much indoctrination from his party. Nevertheless, it surfaced at his press conference on Tuesday, buried underneath all that robotic recitation from Newt Gingrich’s “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control”, the primer that juvenile Republicans cut their teeth on.

Comey is … an apostate.

Duh-duh-duhhhhhhhh!

They just could not believe that he wasn’t going to step forward and save them from the spectacle of Hillary Clinton talking about policy and issues with Donald Trump during debates this fall. She’s not supposed to be there. Bernie is, or someone else that hasn’t been sufficiently vetted by the Democrats.

Here they were, having blown off their own primaries, confident that Comey was going to disqualify Hillary from running for president. Then they’d be home free, baby! It wouldn’t matter who their nominee was. The Democrats would be a broken party with a power vacuum at the top, babbling incoherently on CNN about climate change or something. Gowdy had to conclude the Benghazi fiasco last week, having found nothing but a series of unfortunate events. But the emails were going to finally nail Hillary FOR-EVER. Bwahahahahahhhhhhhh!

And it didn’t happen. Did they hear Comey right? Did he say no charges? No reasonable prosecutor would indict?

What about an UNreasonable prosecutor? Can we get one of those?

Turns out this is not possible.

You know, this batch of Republicans aren’t too bright. They’re not like the 90’s era Republicans who made House of Cards look like hopscotch. They haven’t got the media savvy of the Bushies who manipulated the American public into endless war and came up with such jolly and memorable slogans as “Cut and Run” and “Freedom Fries”.

OMG, this fall is going to be so ugly. They are going to get slaughtered at the polls.

 

Thursday: Assholes R Us

Did you see this list of the top majors for the 1%?

We got an interesting question from an academic adviser at a Texas university: could we tell what the top 1 percent of earners majored in?

The writer, sly dog, was probably trying to make a point, because he wrote from a biology department, and it turns out that biology majors make up nearly 7 percent of college graduates who live in households in the top 1 percent.

According to the Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey, the majors that give you the best chance of reaching the 1 percent are pre-med, economics, biochemistry, zoology and, yes, biology, in that order.

Undergraduate Degree Total % Who Are 1 Percenters Share of All 1 Percenters
Health and Medical Preparatory Programs 142,345 11.8% 0.9%
Economics 1,237,863 8.2% 5.4%
Biochemical Sciences 193,769 7.2% 0.7%
Zoology 159,935 6.9% 0.6%
Biology 1,864,666 6.7% 6.6%
International Relations 146,781 6.7% 0.5%
Political Science and Government 1,427,224 6.2% 4.7%
Physiology 98,181 6.0% 0.3%
Art History and Criticism 137,357 5.9% 0.4%
Chemistry 780,783 5.7% 2.4%
Molecular Biology 64,951 5.6% 0.2%
Area, Ethnic and Civilization Studies 184,906 5.2% 0.5%
Finance 1,071,812 4.8% 2.7%
History 1,351,368 4.7% 3.3%
Business Economics 108,146 4.6% 0.3%
Miscellaneous Psychology 61,257 4.3% 0.1%
Philosophy and Religious Studies 448,095 4.3% 1.0%
Microbiology 147,954 4.2% 0.3%
Chemical Engineering 347,959 4.1% 0.8%
Physics 346,455 4.1% 0.7%
Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration 334,016 3.9% 0.7%
Accounting 2,296,601 3.9% 4.7%
Mathematics 840,137 3.9% 1.7%
English Language and Literature 1,938,988 3.8% 3.8%
Miscellaneous Biology 52,895 3.7% 0.1%
Source: 2010 American Communty Survey, via ipums.org
{{hangs head in shame}}

See??  This is yet another reason to invest in research.  If you don’t keep us in the lab and pay us well, we’ll go to work on Wall Street.  Nice economy you’ve got there.  Be a shame if something *happened* to it.

I suspect that the large number of geeks on Wall Street represents the number of quants hired to construct and run the dynamic models.  Take D. E. Shaw, billionaire biologist, for example. While he’s running a hedge fund, he’s got a sideline creating molecular dynamics simulations programs on proteins.  I can definitely see the crossover but what the top dogs probably fail to realize is that to the geeks, the programs are just research, as in “what would happen if we tweaked this parameter?” and there goes the Euro. God, help us.

Ironically, major pharmaceutical companies are run by former ketchup company executives and salesmen.  Go figure.  What we really need is for everyone to stick to their own kind.  No more of this mixing of the majors.  It’s unnatural.

However, this study just confirms my suspicions that it is much easier for a hard sciences major to learn business and finance than a business major to learn the hard sciences. And we in the research industries are going to pay for that lack of intellectual reciprocity.

***********************************

Did you catch the article in Vanity Fair titled National Public Rodeo about the Juan Williams at NPR fiasco?  There’s a sad little tale of karmic justice in it, considering the way the candidates and Fox treated him in South Carolina.  His story sounds vaguely familiar.  Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

Flashy African-American dude with gigs at prestigious institutions gets hired by a bunch of solidly middle class, no-nonsense, Minnesota-type liberals.  They’re thrilled to be adding to the diversity of their lineup; he thinks he’s doing them a favor.  Turns out he’s an “idea rat”, not a workhorse, he’s considerably more conservative than they realize, and he has a history of lack of respectful treatment of women.  They would have known this if they had bothered to check out his background a bit more thoroughly but they’re blinded by their instinct to do good or fear of looking unfairly and tastelessly bigoted.  The staff and management try to accommodate his quirks and his moonlighting for their arch enemy.  But after half a decade, it’s just not working out.  They try talking to him but whenever they try to rein him back in, he starts accusing them of racism.  Everything is racism to him.  Racism, racism, racism.  So, they sit and wait until he royally fucks up in some spectacular way and then they fire him.  And the ones who fire him who end up losing their jobs in a firestorm of conservative vs liberal rhetoric- and accusations of racism.

It’s either a misunderstanding of worldviews or it’s a clever, common strategy to accuse your detractors of the most vile, prejudicial instincts in order to get what you want.  Too bad it bit him in the ass in South Carolina.  I almost feel sorry for the guy.  But he took the bait from Fox News and they own him now.

****************************

I’ve been following Jeff Jarvis’s Tweets from Davos, Switzerland.  He snarked this tweet late yesterday:

jeffjarvis Jeff Jarvis

Now in the more fun part of #WEF: brainstorming sessions. Surprising that execs will play.

Jeff seems astonished that there is still no sense of responsibility among the uber rich.  They either don’t realize or callously don’t care about all of the misery they’re causing.  Or, maybe it’s all part of the plan.  What strikes me as odd about the very rich is that it seems like they live in a California-esque paradise of self-esteem programs.  No one has ever told them what stupid, selfish excuses for human beings they are.  They’ve never had any “character building” experiences.  You know the kind?  Whenever you needed something really badly, like a college education, and your parents didn’t have the cash to at least keep you from starving, they always said it would build your character?  I should have a rock solid foundation of character by now.  Not so the uber rich.  Their voices are “full of money” and they have no sense of guilt for running over people who get in their way.

jeffjarvis Jeff Jarvis

BofA’s Moynihan responds that bankers will bear their scars for many years to come. So will we all. #wef

Somewhere, I hear the world’s tiniest violin…

****************************
The right’s boogieman, George Soros, says that if Mitt Romney is the nominee, there won’t be much of a difference between a Obama administration and a Romney administration.  The best shot Democrats have to retain the White House is for Santorum or Gingrich to get the nomination.  I happen to disagree with this.  Republicans, well, movement conservatives, will pull out all of the stops if Gingrich gets the nomination.  They want to win and all of the misery of the past three years will be dumped on Obama, some of it for good reason.  He squandered his opportunity to drag the country leftwards to the middle when he first took office and had a filibuster proof majority.

And why did he fail to do that?  It’s because he doesn’t believe in it.  He told you on Tuesday night that he was a moderate Republican.  He’s been saying that for four years now.  His heros are Ronald Reagan, Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.  Doesn’t anyone ever notice that he doesn’t cite any Democrats as his role models?  Well, for one thing, no one believed that crap about him being the second coming of FDR so he had to drop it.  I think that forcing him to actually say he is a Democrat supporting strong Democratic values is physically and psychologically painful for him but I encourage the doubters to try.  Try to make him say something nice about LBJ or Bill Clinton.  Watch him flinch.

Anyway, Soros says he’s worried about the Supreme Court.  I’m not too worried.  I suspect that Ruth Bader-Ginsburg will announce her retirement before the election and will be replaced.  That leaves the composition of the court stable.  It would be different if Alito or Thomas or Kennedy stepped down but for some reason the Supremes have a history of living to a ripe old age whether we like it or not.

Here’s the rest of Soros’ interview from Davos, who, by the way, is also suffering from the failure to imaginate any other contest than the one between the Republicans and the Republican disguised as a Democrat. There are simply no other alternatives, like, replacing the Republican running as a Democrat with a real Democrat. I’m beginning to think that Soros is the one playing 11 dimensional chess here.:

One Second After

So, it looks like Newt Gingrich has won South Carolina.

I hate to say I told you that the evangelicals would rehabilitate him but, well, I did.

Listen up, access bloggers: you are NEVER going to bring Newtie down by harping on what a sleazy, hypocritical asshole he is.  As a Democrat, you don’t have the moral authority to challenge a Republican, you godless secular humanist.  Remember David Vitter’s romps with prostitutes in his Pampers?  How about Larry Craig’s bathroom tap dancing routine?  Nobody forced them out of office over their indiscretions.  And just because Newt resigned doesn’t mean that he can’t be rehabilitated by the right.  He’s a Catholic now and he’s been married to his current wife for 11 years.  He’s practically born again.  Look at Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly.  O’Reilly had to pay off one of his staffers because she’d caught him on tape making graphic, sexually harrassing phone calls to her. You’d be amazed at what the Fox News viewer is willing to overlook.

Actually, the left blogosphere did Newt a favor by relentlessly pursuing his personal life.  By the time South Carolina rolled around, all of his dirty laundry had been airing for months and voters weren’t surprised or shocked by it.  He had testimonials about how he has turned his life around and how Callista’s devotion to Roman Catholicism has rubbed off on him.  As far as the evangelicals are concerned, he’s practically born again or partially birthed sufficiently to give him a pass on his past indiscretions.  We’re all sinners.  He’s asked for redemption.  He knows these people.  Newt might look ridiculous smuggling plums in a Speedo bathing suit but he’s not stupid.

But bloggers who have been concentrating on his infidelity and hypocrisy are missing the real reason why Christian conservatives are flocking to Gingrich.  If you want to know what’s the secret to his success, other than his clever use of language, check out the book One Second After.  Here is my review of the book from last December:

And on the right side of the aisle, Newt Gingrich drills into the dark recesses of the authoritarian follower’s unconscious and digs up an all too real sounding modern apocalyptic scenario.  In Among Gingrich’s Passions, a Doomsday Vision, the New York Times reveals Gingrich’s warnings about EMP, electro magnetic pulse.  The scenario goes like this: some crazy axis of evil country detonates a nuclear device in a certain stratum of the atmosphere over our country, the home of the free, land of the brave, and takes down the entire electrical grid.  Suddenly, nothing electrical will work.  Your refrigerator, TV, cell phones, trains, even some cars, all dead.  The wires of the grid irretrievably destroyed all over the country, the nation plunges into a period of darkness, chaos, starvation and danger.

There was a work of fiction written about this a few years back called One Second After.  Wouldn’t you know, Gingrich wrote the introduction for it.  {{rolling eyes}} I happen to have listened to this book because it was recommended on audible.  Not knowing that it was a work of propaganda, until after the intro, I listened to about half of it before I couldn’t take it anymore.  The book was designed for middle aged guys with a hero fantasy.  Picture Rambo crossed with the protagonist from a Tom Clancy novel, except with a patriotic, moral “family values” streak.  He’s rugged and good looking and he snags the best looking babe.  He’s wise, he’s tough, he has a gift for planning, strategy and war.  He takes care of his family first and doesn’t flinch when he has to execute people who don’t follow the law he has laid down who get in his way. He has no patience with civil liberties. It’s the kind of book only your annoyingly righteous brother could love and pack away with his stash of MRE’s and survivalist gear in the basement.

I think we can see who Newt’s target demographic is.  Newt is appealing to the apocalyptic nervous Nellies who want a strong, fatherly type who will get them through the coming tribulations with hard and fast authority.  There are no shades of gray in this world.  He’ll do what he has to do to keep his country safe from dangerous entities who want to kill us in the night.  He will be vigilant, he will be patriotic, he will not be soft.  And he won’t have any patience for basic constitutional rights or charity for others.  He will put the country on a war footing.  We’ll all be twitchy just waitin’ for someone to step out of line.  (By the way, have you read what Paul Krugman wrote about what happened to Hungary?  It’s a country that Gingrich could admire.)

I did skip ahead to the end.  You’ll be happy to know that the Army does finally come to the rescue at the end and that the lights do slowly come back on.  But the country is irreparably changed by then.  Most of the population is dead from starvation or just plain killin’.  And the hero rules his roost like a not so benevolent dictator while his neighbors and recruits worship him for saving them from what surely was the end of the world.

Christian fundamentalists are looking for a catastrophe so the end of the world will come.  If they can’t find one, they’ll invent one.  Gingrich taps into that theme and works it for all it’s worth.  If he’s not the antichrist, he’ll be the macho guy who protects them.  He’s not afraid to “tell it like it is”.  They like that about him.  I’ve heard he’s pretty skilled in debate as well.  I can only imagine how Obama will fare against him.  What’s he going to do?  Offer a series of excuses for his poor performance over the last four years?  That will look pathetic.  Is he going to try to match Gingrich’s fierce passion?  Please.  Obama wouldn’t know passion if it sat on his face.  I’d say he’s got his work cut out for him no matter who runs and Gingrich is no less of a threat to him than Mitt Romney.  Gingrich already knows how to tap into the zeigeist while Obama and his merry crew are into rainbows and false springs.

I’d advise Obama to run to his left but he’s pissed the left off so badly that no one but the most kool aide addled Obot is going to trust him.  And he better not look to the Independent liberals who left the party in 2008.  A lot of us are women who got thrown under the bus and have had it back up and run over us two or three times.  Gingrich is far, far worse than Romney but you know what?  I won’t lift a finger to help Obama win.  He’s no more dedicated to improving the lives of average Americans than Gingrich is.  So f^&( him.  I’d rather spend my time canvassing for some decent congressional candidate.

I just heard Republican Rep. Mulvaney from South Carolina’s 5th district saying that he thinks that a competitive primary is good for a party.  I happen to agree.  All of the media attention will be fixed on the Republican race.  They can shape the narratives and pound on the deficit from now until late summer.  Obama?  Obama who?

Democrats did this to themselves.  Of course, they could still turn this around but the useful idiots who brought us Obama four years ago are going to have to buy a clue.

F%&*ability

So, myiq posted this video of a surprise visit that Newters got from the local Occupy group in Iowa:

While I admire the Iowan Occupy group’s audacity in getting that close to the candidate and I like the “Put people first!” message (simple, understandable, easy to dance to), I hope they won’t mind if I say they need to work on their Mic Check coordination. Write it down so others can “continue” when you get your ass hauled away and make sure you have enough people scattered around who can reinforce the check phrases in a regular pattern. I might also recommend a Plan B, whatever that might be for the situation at hand. Practice, practice, practice. This kind of thing can be nerve wracking the first couple of times you do it. But after while, it gets to be second nature.

Anyway, myiq thinks that the Ocuppiers made Newters look good.

Really?

I don’t think anything could make Newters look good to me. Let me be honest with you guys. Women my age are about as physically attracted to men our age as men our age are attracted to us. You want 18 year olds with flat stomachs and perky boobs? We want six pack abs and perky, ah, well, you know. If we must fantacize about guys our age that we wouldn’t kick out of the kitchen, it would have to be someone like Roy Hensling, the IKEA kitchen designer. This is kinda what we want:

Ok, see this is what hot looks like. Toned, slim body, winning smile, sexy voice with a nice Swedish accent. He’s got gray hair and wrinkles but that’s ok. His bone structure is good. If we have to drug him with some Cialis, so be it. He can slam my doors and bang my pans as much as he likes.

So, how do the Republican candidates stack up in the f%&*ability test? Jon Huntsman looks like the kind of guy I’d want to poach a salmon with. Michelle Bachmann is pretty cute too, except that I’m about as straight as people get. (Note to Michelle: skip the corn dogs at the next Minnesota state fair. You’ll scare the senior ladies.) You’d have to be a specialist to want Ron Paul but at least he looks trim. The others are OK I guess.

Newt? Totally UN-f#$^able. He’s out of shape, packing too many Georgia barbeques and sweet ass teas. He’s got a double chin, jowls and his piggy little eyes. All of his facial features look like they have been scrunched into the middle of his massive bowling ball shaped head. As my mom would say, the sexist thing in his pants is his wallet. The thought of deglazing a pan with Newters kind of kills my appetite.

So, I don’t think there is any way that the Occupiers made Newters look good. That would require an act of divine intervention.

What was the point of this post? Um, I don’t think I really have a point. I just like making fun of Newt because he’s a fearmongering, authoritarian sociopath who would look absolutely stupid smuggling plums in a european style bathing suit. See? There’s an image you won’t be able to scrub out of your head for a couple of days.

Nauseating, isn’t it.

Monday: Be Good for Goodness Sake

Ok, bear with me, these things are related.  I think.

I was idly surfing the web, as I sometimes do.  You do that too, don’t you?  And I ran across a podcast on the crazy super secret handshakes and decoder rings of the Church of Latter Day Saints aka the Mormons and that lead me to a playlist of a lecture on youtube on the modern secular movement.  As it turns out, people who identify themselves as non-religious, ie secularists, atheists, freethinkers, pastafarians etc) belong to a fast growing group here in the US.  Although the official number is around 3%, the leaders of this movement think that the number of non-religious Americans is about 10%.  Revealing your atheism is still pretty risky these days so there are probably more than the surveys say.  Compare that to the population of Jews in this country, which is only around 1.5%.  I find that number incredibly low but that’s probably because I live in New Jersey.  I know a lot of Jews.  So, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think there are a lot more atheists around than we think.  In fact, I live with one who announced her atheism at 9 yrs old just before she asked if she could have another cookie.

Anyway, one of the more accesible speakers on atheism has to be Dan Barker.  Barker became a born again Christian at the age of 15 and studied to be an evangelical, fundamentalist preacher.  He preached for 19 years before his side line as a composer of Christian music took him out of his comfort zone in fundamentalism and into mainstream Christian churches.  It was all downhill from there.  Before long he was learning liberal theology and reading stuff and asking questions.  Eventually, he decided that there was no god.  In his YouTube lecture on the subject, he relates his experiences as a secretly atheist preacher in the final days of his ministry and how awkward it was.  Finally, he came clean with his friends and relatives and sent them all a letter announcing his atheism.  Some of his friends dropped him.  Others loved him anyway.  In particular, his mother, a devout Christian, started asking her own questions.  It wasn’t long before she too gave up God, with some relief.  She said, “Being an atheist is great.  I don’t have to hate anyone!”

Dan Barker’s lecture is interesting.  He has a lot to say about  fundamentalist minds and their worldview that those of you who have grown up in normal families were fortunate enough to have missed.  Both he and another leader of the secular movement, Dr. Sam Harris, confirm what I’ve been said about arguing with fundamentalists.  Don’t.  I mean, don’t bother.  Their whole reason for being is to lure you into conversations with them for the express purpose of shooting down your belief system.  They’ve got their arguments all lined up like a gatling gun.  There is no give and take in these conversations.  They are not interested in your point of view.  You may think you are debating.  You are not.  And if you are the kind of person who routinely applies reason and logic in your approach to the world, a fundamentalist is not going to impress you.  Just politely excuse yourself and go get another cocktail.  In fact, let this be a warning to fundamentalists.  Don’t get into an argument with a person who applies reason and logic in his/her approach to the world.  You’ll just be wasting your precious time. Cross them off your life list.  They’re lost causes.  Find an easier mark.

So, the Dan Barker lecture lead me to The God Debate II where Sam Harris debated William Craig on morality.  This one was good too but I found Harris’s intro speech particularly illuminating.  My tin foil antenna picked up signal about how we may have ended up with the stupid decision on Plan B.  Take a listen starting at minute mark 27.35:

For those of you who want the short summary, here it is.  Harris went to a conference and met a bioethicist who was appointed by President Obama.  The bioethicist, a woman, took Harris to task for his condemnation of the Taliban’s treatment of women.  She asked what right Americans had to condemn forcing women into burqas.  That’s what the Taliban and Afghanistan valued.  Harris countered that he didn’t think it was good for the well being of women to be stuffed into bags and to be beaten for not wearing them and that the Taliban’s treatment of women resulted in low lifespan for women as well as high illiteracy, and maternal and infant mortality.  He was surprised by her attitude so he asked how she would feel about a culture whose religion dictated that the eyes of every third child should be put out because their scriptures said, “Every third one shall walk in darkness.”  The bioethicist said it wasn’t our place to judge.  Harris was amazed at this response since earlier in that conference, he’d heard this same bioethicist give an impassioned speech on the unconstitutionality and immorality of torture in detention.

What are we to make of that and what does it have to do with Plan B?  First, it seems to me that the bioethicist has no problem accepting international and constitutional legal proscriptions regarding torture.  But when it comes to matters of religion, there seems to be a hands-off attitude because to insert oneself between another person and their god is arrogant and cultural imperialism, even if the religious act results in another form of physical torture.  It’s not the torture that is the problem, it is the context in which the torture is carried out.  As long as the torture is religious in nature, the bioethicist felt that to give offense was worse than allowing the torture to happen.

In the past couple of months, the right wing nutcases have rolled out their campaign for “religious freedom”, which, from what I can tell, means sufficiently fanatical religious people have the freedom to shove religion down your gullet whenever and wherever they want or they will have a noisy, screaming, bloody tantrum.  Their religious freedom trumps your right to be left alone.  It’s simply not enough to be able to practice their religion at home and not be persecuted for practicing their religion in a place of worship.  No, they have to be in your face, 24/7, and be able to take their religion everywhere.

And it looks like President Obama is going to let them do it and let them push the envelope as far as it will go.  Because it is OK by him for the mayors of various cities to enforce petty little laws that truncate your right to protest government in public but no one in his administration will dare to condemn you for practicing religion any damn place you please even if everyone around you finds your values abominable.  It’s simply uncouth.  One doesn’t do such things.  It’s like discussing religion and politics at Easter dinner.  Very rude.  Besides, religious people are inherently moral beings, even if what they do doesn’t seem right to the rest of us.  Who are we to judge?

So, protestors chanting “We are the 99%” and non-violently camping in a public park?  Dangerous malcontents.  Fanatically religious, viciously ugly, men and women hatefully humiliating women outside an abortion clinic?  Moral upstanding citizens.  Scared 15 yr old teenager who let nature get the best of her thinking self?  Bad little girl.  Obama administration who overruled its FDA?  Benevolent moral father figure.  What about the rest of us who aren’t religious who don’t think the administration had any right to deny our high school daughters access to Plan B?  Why do I get the feeling that the answer to that question is another question?  “Why aren’t you religious?”

Should we be asking ourselves if only religious people in this country have rights?  And do those rights include the ability to invade other people’s privacy at will?  And what does Harris’s story about Obama’s bioethicist say about how the administration will handle other issues where law and religion conflict?  According to most religions, women are subservient to their husbands and fathers.  Is this what Obama is sanctioning with his Plan B decision?  Because that’s what it sounds like to me.  So, will it be OK for men to beat their wives into submission again?  Interfere with her right to get an abortion?  Deny her birth control?  Forbid her from getting a higher education or work?  Where does Obama draw the line?  Must we always meekly defer to the religious for fear of denying their freedom for imposing some legal standards of behavior on them?

And what are we to make of the new religious freedom campaign in this environment?  I’d say the Republicans and religious crazies know just which buttons to push with President Obama.  And they will keep pushing them as long as he lets them get away with it.  It could be just a re-election strategy or it could be his own personal philosophy.  When it comes to the religious, he’s non-confrontational.  Better to just let their morality lead and get out of the way.  Is this a backdoor way of allowing for the establishment of religion?  If you can’t question the religious and you allow their morality to make your decisions, then the rest of us are involuntary participants against our own consciences.

If this is the way Obama’s administration operates, expect to see a lot more catering to the religious right in the next year.  They’ll push and he’ll cave so that he isn’t perceived as overriding their right to follow their religious moral teachings, even if it means letting every third child walk in darkness or get pregnant in high school.

*****************************

And on the right side of the aisle, Newt Gingrich drills into the dark recesses of the authoritarian follower’s unconscious and digs up an all too real sounding modern apocalyptic scenario.  In Among Gingrich’s Passions, a Doomsday Vision, the New York Times reveals Gingrich’s warnings about EMP, electro magnetic pulse.  The scenario goes like this: some crazy axis of evil country detonates a nuclear device in a certain stratum of the atmosphere over our country, the home of the free, land of the brave, and takes down the entire electrical grid.  Suddenly, nothing electrical will work.  Your refrigerator, TV, cell phones, trains, even some cars, all dead.  The wires of the grid irretrievably destroyed all over the country, the nation plunges into a period of darkness, chaos, starvation and danger.

There was a work of fiction written about this a few years back called One Second After.  Wouldn’t you know, Gingrich wrote the introduction for it.  {{rolling eyes}} I happen to have listened to this book because it was recommended on audible.  Not knowing that it was a work of propaganda, until after the intro, I listened to about half of it before I couldn’t take it anymore.  The book was designed for middle aged guys with a hero fantasy.  Picture Rambo crossed with the protagonist from a Tom Clancy novel, except with a patriotic, moral “family values” streak.  He’s rugged and good looking and he snags the best looking babe.  He’s wise, he’s tough, he has a gift for planning, strategy and war.  He takes care of his family first and doesn’t flinch when he has to execute people who don’t follow the law he has laid down who get in his way. He has no patience with civil liberties. It’s the kind of book only your annoyingly righteous brother could love and pack away with his stash of MRE’s and survivalist gear in the basement.

I think we can see who Newt’s target demographic is.  Newt is appealing to the apocalyptic nervous Nellies who want a strong, fatherly type who will get them through the coming tribulations with hard and fast authority.  There are no shades of gray in this world.  He’ll do what he has to do to keep his country safe from dangerous entities who want to kill us in the night.  He will be vigilant, he will be patriotic, he will not be soft.  And he won’t have any patience for basic constitutional rights or charity for others.  He will put the country on a war footing.  We’ll all be twitchy just waitin’ for someone to step out of line.  (By the way, have you read what Paul Krugman wrote about what happened to Hungary?  It’s a country that Gingrich could admire.)

I did skip ahead to the end.  You’ll be happy to know that the Army does finally come to the rescue at the end and that the lights do slowly come back on.  But the country is irreparably changed by then.  Most of the population is dead from starvation or just plain killin’.  And the hero rules his roost like a not so benevolent dictator while his neighbors and recruits worship him for saving them from what surely was the end of the world.

Newt is a little bit like Walt Disney.  He’s going to make his fantasies come true and it will be one scary E- ticket ride.

About those Republican candidates- Who gives a f&*#

The horse race coverage is in full stride now.  It’s been neck and neck for the last couple of months, along with a ridiculous number of debates.  First, one candidate is ahead, then another.  One opens a sizeable lead, only to fall back due to something he failed to keep hidden, or bad science.

Let’s take a look at some of these contenders, shall we?

Herman Cain- A businessman who presumably believed that the government should be run like a business.  He’s successful in his pizza biz, why not take that success to Pennsylvania Ave?  Well, for one thing, he’s not a politician and he’s made some really cringeworthy mistakes on the trail.  Not knowing China had nukes? The only thing positive about that is that he doesn’t seem to know anything about China.  Unlike Huntsman, but we’ll get to that in a sec.  And then there are the ladies.  You have to say that like Demitri Martin.  “Ladies“.  A man who thinks he can keep that a secret during a presidential campaign doesn’t have the master manipulator’s fibbing streak to match his gigantic ego.

Newt Gingrich- Everything you need to know about this guy is in his pamphlet on how to manipulate the public during a political campaign using words.  You don’t need to know anything else.

Mitt Romney- One word,”Bakelite“.

Michelle Bachmann- For all we know, she’s a stealth candidate.  She may only look like a fanatic.  She may only be faking her ignorance of how vaccines work.  She may not really mean what she says about destroying the social safety net.  She might really be a bra burning, pro-choice, feminazi who once she has attained power will usher in a new era of equality for women.  Don’t think this possibility hasn’t crossed Rush Limbaugh’s mind.

Rick Santorum- Googling his name doesn’t really tell you anything about him.  So, let me just say that he’s got a house in Penn Hills where I went to high school and he has a respectable number of children for a strict Roman Catholic, which means he has had sex at least seven times.  He probably would have gone to my grandparents’ church where I attended mass when I stayed with them.  I find this much physical proximity to Santorum unsettling.  {{shivver}}

Ok, who else we got?

Rick Perry- Is he really as stupid as he sounds?  He makes George W. Bush sound like mensa material.

Ron Paul- He named his kid “Rand”.  Fergawdssakes, people, RAND!

John Huntsman- another potential stealth candidate.  And a Mormon.  Where did all of these Mormons come from all of a sudden.  Former moderate Republican governor from Utah.  Also, a wealthy scion to a chemical company.  Who was appointed to be ambassador to China by Barack Obama.  What was he doing over there?  Trying to set up new ways to ship the STEM work overseas?  Seriously, I want to know why a guy whose family runs a chemical company was spending time in China on official US business, especially since we have seen a tidal wave of jobs flood there.  Do I trust him?  Not until I see what his mission was.  Cough it up.

Well, it’s not like I’m going to be voting Republican anyway.  It’s not that the candidates bother me so much, except for Newt who I suspect has a real talent for evil.  And not the kind of evil you may first suspect.  I mean evil on a world class scale.  Which is why fundagelical apocalyptic christians will flock to him.  They’ll overlook his infidelities and tax evasion.  The idea that he might be the catalyst that brings on Armageddon will make them breathe heavily and schedule appointments to have their nails done before The Rapture.

The problem isn’t with the candidates, it’s with Republican voters.  They’re not right.  I mean, they’re “tetched”, if you get my drift.  They cheer for misfortune and applaud for death.  They’re like the crowd at the Colliseum, shrieking in orgasmic frenzy for the blood of innocents who were stupid enough to get caught by the Romans.   And they’re motivated.  When it comes right down to it, they don’t really care all that much who their nominee is.  When they get the signal, they will vote in lockstep for whoever that person is.  That person’s job is to knock Obama out of the White House.  He might have faced this kind of opposition anyway but he made it easy for them to want to do it because he’s been so bad at his job.

The Republicans know it.  You know it.  The campaign operatives on both sides know it.  We can all see the train sliding off the tracks and can anticipate the wreck.  But the only party (as of today) that can avoid catastrophe is closing its eyes and praying.

The Pharisee and the Publican

Here’s Newt Gingrich telling us unemployed (who paid more in taxes *this* year from my severance than some Georgians will make in salary) to take a shower and get a job (at vastly reduced salaries and no benefits if we can even find one):

By the way, Calista, did you disinfect that thing first?  Just curious.

Frankly, I am not surprised that Newt Gingrich is on top of the polls in the Republican presidential primary race.  My mom once told me that people forget indiscretions.  (Except when they mess with the electoral process.  THAT tends to be unforgivable).  Here’s what I wrote about Newtie last May:

1.)First up, Newt Gingrich is running for president?  Hokay.  The former speaker is a history buff Republican with a petulant streak.  He’s also a movement conservative jerk who pursued Bill Clinton with a vengeance and succeeded in shutting down government, leaving government workers without a paycheck for several weeks.  He’s also one of those authoritarians that Bob Altemeyer and John Dean wrote about.   You know, Conservatives without Conscience? That right should be enough to disqualify him.  He’s an enemy to working familes.

But no matter.  What brilliant winning message will the Democrats and access bloggers respond with?  His fibs about his military experience and his extramarital affairs!  Yes, we have learned NOTHING from the left’s relentless mocking of Sarah Palin’s brain cells.  It wasn’t her lack of intelligence that knocked her back.  It was her careless depiction on her webpage of Democratic Congresspersons’ districts as targets.  It didn’t matter that she had nothing to do with the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords.  It’s just an untimely convergence of events that shined a spotlight on the right’s inflammatory rhetoric.

Listen up, access bloggers: you are NEVER going to bring Newtie down by harping on what a sleazy, hypocritical asshole he is.  As a Democrat, you don’t have the moral authority to challenge a Republican, you godless secular humanist.  Remember David Vitter’s romps with prostitutes in his Pampers?  How about Larry Craig’s bathroom tap dancing routine?  Nobody forced them out of office over their indiscretions.  And just because Newt resigned doesn’t mean that he can’t be rehabilitated by the right.  He’s a Catholic now and he’s been married to his current wife for 11 years.  He’s practically born again.  Look at Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly.  O’Reilly had to pay off one of his staffers because she’d caught him on tape making graphic, sexually harrassing phone calls to her. You’d be amazed at what the Fox News viewer is willing to overlook.

If I were you guys, I’d let the personal stuff go (well, except for the one where he asked his first wife for a divorce when she was in the hospital after cancer surgery.  I’m guessing that senior women who were dependent on their husbands for their livelihood won’t like that very much).  Instead, I’d bring up the sanctions he earned when he failed to report the money he made on the courses he sold.  Hey, if Charlie Rangel could get sidelined and disgraced over bad recordkeeping, isn’t it just as bad, or worse, for the speaker of the house?  Or how about the GOPAC document outlining how to manipulate public opinion by subtlely changing your language?  Yeah, Newtie is responsible for the crap we’ve been putting up with since 1990.  Nice guy.  And he hasn’t wasted a minute going back to his old language habits.  Go look at his presidential bid announcement.  Or why not interview some of the hardworking and retired Americans who waited out Gingrich’s temper tantrum in 1996?  You know, mortgage’s due, heating bills to pay, food to buy for your kids, Newt didn’t give a $#*! about anyone who had to wait for their checks.  Not one little bit.  Is that who we want as our next president?

If you want to take Newtie down, you’ve got to show the Fox News viewer how he’s betrayed *them*, not his wives.

What Republican voters are responding to with Newt is his forceful defense of their values, as wanting, narrow and uncharitable as those “value” may be.  They are protecting their own money and are fearful for their safety.  They don’t like chaos or uncertainty.  Gingrich has made a study of words and is brilliant at manipulating the public through the use of them.  You might say he wrote the book on the subject, because, er, he did.  Newt knows that when his target audience is anxious and afraid of the local occupier camping at the park, it will turn to the man who is speaking the language of order.  Newt doesn’t really have to be talking about reality.  His audience is probably not in touch with reality the way the rest of the younger working public is.  They’re frightened of an Arab spring complete with smashed windows and fires and smelly, poor people who might steal something.

Newt is a proud man.  He’s a rich man.  He is a successful man, or what Republicans define as success.  He is not a humble man.

If I were him, I’d be sure that Michelle serves and tastes the food first from now on.  You never know what the kitchen staff are thinking these days.

Thursday: Stuff that makes you go, “Huh?”

Free association web surfing results today.

1.)First up, Newt Gingrich is running for president?  Hokay.  The former speaker is a history buff Republican with a petulant streak.  He’s also a movement conservative jerk who pursued Bill Clinton with a vengeance and succeeded in shutting down government, leaving government workers without a paycheck for several weeks.  He’s also one of those authoritarians that Bob Altemeyer and John Dean wrote about.   You know, Conservatives without Conscience? That right should be enough to disqualify him.  He’s an enemy to working familes.

But no matter.  What brilliant winning message will the Democrats and access bloggers respond with?  His fibs about his military experience and his extramarital affairs!  Yes, we have learned NOTHING from the left’s relentless mocking of Sarah Palin’s brain cells.  It wasn’t her lack of intelligence that knocked her back.  It was her careless depiction on her webpage of Democratic Congresspersons’ districts as targets.  It didn’t matter that she had nothing to do with the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords.  It’s just an untimely convergence of events that shined a spotlight on the right’s inflammatory rhetoric.

Listen up, access bloggers: you are NEVER going to bring Newtie down by harping on what a sleazy, hypocritical asshole he is.  As a Democrat, you don’t have the moral authority to challenge a Republican, you godless secular humanist.  Remember David Vitter’s romps with prostitutes in his Pampers?  How about Larry Craig’s bathroom tap dancing routine?  Nobody forced them out of office over their indiscretions.  And just because Newt resigned doesn’t mean that he can’t be rehabilitated by the right.  He’s a Catholic now and he’s been married to his current wife for 11 years.  He’s practically born again.  Look at Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly.  O’Reilly had to pay off one of his staffers because she’d caught him on tape making graphic, sexually harrassing phone calls to her. You’d be amazed at what the Fox News viewer is willing to overlook.

If I were you guys, I’d let the personal stuff go (well, except for the one where he asked his first wife for a divorce when she was in the hospital after cancer surgery.  I’m guessing that senior women who were dependent on their husbands for their livelihood won’t like that very much).  Instead, I’d bring up the sanctions he earned when he failed to report the money he made on the courses he sold.  Hey, if Charlie Rangel could get sidelined and disgraced over bad recordkeeping, isn’t it just as bad, or worse, for the speaker of the house?  Or how about the GOPAC document outlining how to manipulate public opinion by subtlely changing your language?  Yeah, Newtie is responsible for the crap we’ve been putting up with since 1990.  Nice guy.  And he hasn’t wasted a minute going back to his old language habits.  Go look at his presidential bid announcement.  Or why not interview some of the hardworking and retired Americans who waited out Gingrich’s temper tantrum in 1996?  You know, mortgage’s due, heating bills to pay, food to buy for your kids, Newt didn’t give a $#*! about anyone who had to wait for their checks.  Not one little bit.  Is that who we want as our next president?

If you want to take Newtie down, you’ve got to show the Fox News viewer how he’s betrayed *them*, not his wives.

2.) Google is introducing the Chromebook to businesses.  You can check out the video announcement here. ( By the way, Google, it’s not a new thought.  I believe it was thought by Dave Weininger, the genius behind Daylight Smiles at a MUG User Group meeting in New Orleans in about 1994. I was there.)  Whoo-hoo!  I can hear the IT groups around the country gearing up for some obstructive-non-productive-passive-resistance maneuvers over that. (Yeah, I got your number)  Microsoft’s constant maintenance and crisis management enterprise level business model is what keeps them employed.  (Nice corporate data you have there.  You wouldn’t want anything to *happen* to it, right?) The Chromebook could have a negative impact on the scientific community, however.  (Have you ever tried to rotate a protein with a molecular surface remotely?  Go ahead, try it.  I’ll wait.  Cue the Final Jeorpardy theme tune. And 100 mb/month?  Really? I could chew that up in a couple minutes.) It’s already difficult to convince IT that a “one-size-fits-all” strategy doesn’t work for the in silico science community. (Resistance is useless, you will be assimilated) I hope Google is taking this into consideration because the cost savings to businesses could be enormous and we may be left out in the cold when the MBAs stampede to it without thinking, as is their wont.  (Ooo!  Shiny!)

Check out This Week in Google with Leo Laporte, Gina Trapani and Jeff Jarvis for more in depth critiques of all things Google.

3.) Paint part of Manhattan neon?  I LIKE it.  After all, it’s only paint.  Right?  RIGHT??

4.) Bronies.  Ok, I don’t get it.  There are guys out there between the ages of 13 and 30 who are fans of the  My Little Pony Friendship is Magic cartoon.  I think the target audience is actually little girls between the ages of 5-7.  It’s hard to tell if they are sincere or cynical.  Or maybe they’re getting in touch with their softer side after hours of violent video games.  I don’t know.  Charming or disturbing?  And what’s with the obsession with the Figwit-esque Derpy Hooves character?  You decide.

Friday Morning News and Views

Good Morning Conflucians! It’s been a long week for me. I’ve been trying to get caught up from missing a week of work for my dad’s funeral. Thank goodness the semester is almost over. But I must say, we had some beautiful spring weather in the Boston area this week. Today it’s cooler and overcast–a good day to stay inside and get some work done–or maybe read a good book.

So what’s in the news today? I couldn’t find much in the mainstream media about the two stories that have affected me most this week: President Obama’s order to kill a U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki and the massacre of Iraqi civilians by U.S. troops in 2007, recently seen in a video released by Wikileaks. But Democracy Now has good coverage of both stories.

Here is their video discussion of the al-Awaki story: Is the CIA Assassination Order of a US Citizen Legal?

Spencer Ackerman also writes about the story in the Washington Independent: Are Anwar al-Awlaki’s Ties to 9/11 Strong Enough for the Government to Kill Him?

And here is Glenn Greenwald’s latest post on our war criminal King President. (WARNING: it includes praise and video of Keith Olbermann).

CNN reports that al-Awlaki’s father is begging the U.S. government to allow him to talk to his son before they blow him off the face of the earth without a trial.

The elder al-Awlaki, an agricultural economist, said he was “distressed and disappointed” to learn that his son had been singled out for killing or capture.

“What they have decided is to hunt for Anwar al-Awlaki and kill him by a drone as they do every day in Pakistan. I think this kind of policy will only make the U.S. look more ugly to Muslims all over the world,” he said.

“The U.S. is a powerful country and has the means to reach anyone anywhere in the world, but is killing people — and especially American citizens — without legal justification the right way to show American justice and power? I think not.”

It turns out that Democracy Now covered the 2007 helicopter massacre of Iraqi civilians the day after it happened. I highly recommend watching the entire episode and got reactions from witnesses at the scene. Thank goodness we still have a few independent news sources like Democracy Now!

Finally we are seeing some justice for people murdered by “law enforcement officers” in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina: Judge in Danziger case sickened by ‘raw brutality of the shooting and the craven lawlessness of the cover-up’

A New Orleans police officer who fired his gun at civilians on the Danziger Bridge a week after Hurricane Katrina pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday, offering a chilling account of what transpired on the bridge that early September day in 2005.

The seven officers were charged on an array of murder and attempted-murder charges.
Michael Hunter, 33, became the first officer who actually participated in the shooting to enter a guilty plea. Two investigators have already confessed to playing roles in a wide-ranging cover-up of the police shooting, which injured four unarmed civilians and left two men dead.

Hunter, who resigned last week after he was charged in federal court, contends that fellow officers shot at people they should have seen were unarmed. The account of events Hunter signed Thursday afternoon, called a factual basis, provides the most specific details to date about officers’ actions on the bridge, which spans the Industrial Canal at Chef Menteur Highway.

Hunter, 33, said a New Orleans police sergeant fired an assault rifle at wounded civilians at close range after other officers stopped shooting and after it was clear that the police were not taking fire. He also says he saw another officer in a car fire a shotgun at a fleeing man’s back, although the man did nothing suggesting he was a threat to police. That man, 40-year-old Ronald Madison, who was severely mentally disabled, died of his wounds.

As part of his plea, Hunter also acknowledged taking part in a conspiracy with colleagues to conceal the circumstances of what he considered an unjustified shooting. At one point, in a meeting with other officers, a supervisor said “something to the effect of, we don’t want this to look like a massacre,” the court document says.

Also down in New Orleans, the Republicans are holding a “Southern Leadership Conference,” and Newt Gingrich is the man of the moment. He supposedly “made a rock star’s entrance,” and then gave “a self-assured address peppered with historical allusions.” Here are some highlights:

Democrats in Washington, he said, had put together a “perfect unrepresentative left-wing machine dedicated to a secular socialist future.”

Mr. Obama is “the most radical president in American history,” Gingrich said. “He has said, ‘I run a machine, I own Washington, and there is nothing you can do about it.'”

“What we need is a president, not an athlete,” Gingrich said during a question and answer period after his speech. He added: “Shooting three point shots may be clever, but it doesn’t put anybody to work.”

Gingrich discussed passage of the health care bill, saying the “decisive” election of Sen. Scott Brown sent a message that Democrats decided to ignore in order to “ram through” the bill against the wishes of the American people.

“The longer Obama talks the less the American people believe him,” Gingrich said, citing the decline in poll numbers for the health care bill as the president kept trying to sell it to the public.

Gingrich said that when Republicans take back the House and Senate in the midterm elections they should “refuse to fund” the administration’s proposals, drawing huge applause from the crowd.

{Yawn…}

Politico notes that there was no mention of Katrina at the “Leadership Conference.”

As for the Democrats, the latest Gallup Poll shows that

Americans’ favorable rating of the Democratic Party dropped to 41% in a late March USA Today/Gallup poll, the lowest point in the 18-year history of this measure. Favorable impressions of the Republican Party are now at 42%, thus closing the gap between the two parties’ images that has prevailed for the past four years.

Gallup last measured party images in late August/early September of last year. At that point, the Democratic Party enjoyed an 11-point favorable image advantage over the Republican Party. Now, the favorable ratings of the two parties are essentially tied.

Lots of graphs at the Gallup link.

MABlue posted this story in the comments last night: Power Struggle: Inside the Battle for the Soul of the Democratic Party If you ask me, it’s far too late. The Democratic Party already sold it’s soul to the devil–cheap.

I hate this story. It just makes me so angry!

To prevent Constance McMillen from bringing a female date to her prom, the teen was sent to a “fake prom” while the rest of her class partied at a secret location at an event organized by parents.

McMillen tells The Advocate that a parent-organized prom happened behind her back — she and her date were sent to a Friday night event at a country club in Fulton, Miss., that attracted only five other students. Her school principal and teachers served as chaperones, but clearly there wasn’t much to keep an eye on.

“They had two proms and I was only invited to one of them,” McMillen says. “The one that I went to had seven people there, and everyone went to the other one I wasn’t invited to.”
Last week McMillen asked one of the students organizing the prom for details about the event, and was directed to the country club. “It hurts my feelings,” McMillen says.

Shame on the Itawamba County School District in Jackson, Mississippi and the parents who brought up the bigoted kids who shut out a young girl because she’s gay. They make me sick to my stomach. Here is another more positive story about this situation.

The West Virginia coal mining disaster continues: Crews unable to search West Virginia coal mine on Friday

Toxic gas kept rescue crews out of a West Virginia mine on Thursday and that appears to be the case already on Friday morning.

Rescue teams had to stop searching the coal mine where four people are believed to be trapped. Search crews got to a refuge chamber where they hoped the missing miners would be, but were forced to turn back when they found signs of fire and smoke. It now looks like rescue teams will not be able to physically search the mine.

But don’t worry, because Massey Energy, the owners of the unsafe mine where 25 men are confirmed dead and four more are missing and presumed dead, will make up for lost revenues by forcing workers at their other mines produce more coal.

The accident at the UBB mine in West Virginia was one of the deadliest at a U.S. coal mine in recent years. The mine, owned by Massey’s Performance Coal subsidiary, is about 30 miles south of the state capital Charleston.

Massey Energy said in the filing that it had third-party insurance coverage that applies to litigation risk.

“We believe this coverage will apply to litigation that may stem from the UBB explosion.”

The UBB mine has had three fatalities since 1998 and has a worse-than-average injury rate over the last 10 years, according to federal records.

I don’t quite understand what this is about: Israel’s PM Cancels Nuclear Summit Trip

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called off his trip to Washington next week to attend a conference on the spread of nuclear weapons, officials in his office said Thursday night, fearing Israel would be singled out over its own nuclear facilities.

Netanyahu had said he would attend the conference to underline the dangers of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons, but suddenly called off the trip less than two days after he announced he would take part.

Army Radio reported that US sources informed Israel that a group of participating Arab countries led by Turkey and Egypt plan to use the summit to demand that Israel sign the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) and allow its alleged nuclear capabilities to be placed under international inspection.

Perhaps it is related to the following story: Obama’s New Policy : All Israeli Nuclear Workers Now Refused US Visas‏

I hope someone more knowledgeable can enlighten me about this. I’m curious.

So what are you reading this morning? Post your links in the comments, and have a fabulous Friday!!