Friday, May 10, 2013

SAR #13130

The only issues that really matter are the ones that nobody talks about.

Automatic Cash Machinations: Computer savvy crooks across 26 countries conned the computers at debit card companies to ignore the established cash withdrawal limits, then descended on the now-generous ATMs and withdrew $45 million “in a matter of hours.” Some have already been caught for taking advantage of what is described as “outmoded US card technology.”

Once More, Without Feeling: House Republicans have passed a debt prioritization bill – conservatively described as one of the worst ideas even they have ever had – that would require the US Treasury to pay bondholders first once the debt ceiling is reached. That would require the US to pay China before it pays US soldiers, to pay Wall Street before it pays for food stamps or Medicaid. It is reckless, irresponsible, stupid, and has no chance of becoming law; the epitome of today's Republican ideology. And it is a preview of what to expect when the circus (raising the debt limit) comes to town this fall.

Going, Going, Not Going: After 11 years of inconclusive foreplay, the US Military is demanding that – in return for his weekly bags of cash – Karsai let the Americans keep a “residual force” of 12,000 occupying troops nested in nine major bases scattered across the country, as they proclaim victory or something that might pass for it on a dark street on a moonless night. Karsai also wants electric power, roads, dams and even more bags of cash (which he has been guaranteed).

Your Results May Vary: Yesterday in separate courtrooms, an 83 year-old nun was convicted of trespass (or treason or terrorism, something like that) for protesting at the Oak Ridge nuclear lab. She'll spend 20 years in prison. Today, Jeff Skilling had his 24 year sentence (for his role in stealing $40 billion) reduced to 14 years in return for paying back $40 million of the stolen money. Jon Corzine, former this and that at Goldman Sachs and the federal government, still hasn't been tried for disappearing a couple of billion of his MF Global customers' money.

Honey Do List: If we are going to even pretend to try to keep global warming below 2°C this century, here are the things the IEA says we must do, and when we must do them. By 2020 we must have at least 38 major coal-fired power plants that capture and store CO2 emissions forever. So far we have none, none are being built, and we're not sure it's remotely possible anyway. Nuclear power must double by 2025 – yet today our nuclear generating capacity is declining. And, yes, there's Fukushima and all that, too. Renewable energy is getting better, but far too slowly. The internal combustion engine hasn't begun to vanish. We could be building far more energy efficient buildings, but are not. And we really need to put survival above profit, and that's pretty much a non-starter, too.

So? A Pakistani court has ruled that the ongoing US drone strikes are illegal, inhumane, a violation of Pakistani sovereignty, a violation of the UN charter of human rights, and beyond Pakistan's ability to do anything about.

Today's Word, 'Separation': Faced with the choice of starting graduation ceremonies with an unconstitutional Christian prayer or not having a graduation ceremony, the Riverside School District in Craighead County, Arkansas decided to cancel graduation. It was for the sixth grade and they hadn't studied the separation of church and state yet. In Texas, where that part of the constitution does not apply, a judge had ruled that high school cheerleaders can carry banners displaying Bible verses at school sporting events. The Judge said he was aware of no law that prevented religions banners at official school-sponsored events. Q remedial reading assignment seems in order.

Take A Break: Republicans in the House want to give employers the ability to force workers to take “comp time” rather than actually paying them for working overtime. That's not exactly the way they describe it, but that's the way it will actually work out.

Buzzy, Buzzy:About 30% of commercial honeybee colonies in the US did not survive the 2012 winter. Now the EPA, by approving the highly toxic new Dow pesticide sulfoxaflor for use, has made it likely that 30% of the remaining colonies won't make it through the summer. The EU has enacted a two-year ban on these pesticides which are known to “scramble the honeybees’ sense of navigation.”

Porn O'Graph: The trend is not your friend.

The Parting Shot:


On the trail. Really.


Anonymous said...

in response to the "take a break" link...yeah bad law...but

the Minn Public Radio story misses one of the most egregious aspects of this republican proposed law

that employees can and will get pressured to take compensatory time at the desecration and the choosing of the corporations.

think about it... your boss orders you to stay late on saturday evening...and then your schedule the following week is changed to work a graveyard shift,

if you want to avoid staying up all night, well sure you can use your comp time...but just dont ask to us to let you use your comp time next sunday when you are scheduled for a 10 hour shift

without a union and negotiated rules for implementation, the bosses own your comp time

and it gets worse

if you elect to be paid for your comp time you will have to wait up to a year to get paid for the overtime you worked early in the year as bosses can delay payment on overtime until decmber 31st... a nice interest free loan to the boss and the company

heres the text of HR 1406

and please take a special look at Sec 2, sub (3) B which reads:

‘(B) COMPENSATION DATE- Not later than January 31 of each calendar year, the employee’s employer shall provide monetary compensation for any unused compensatory time off accrued during the preceding calendar year that was not used prior to December 31 of the preceding year at the rate prescribed by paragraph (6). An employer may designate and communicate to the employer’s employees a 12-month period other than the calendar year, in which case such compensation shall be provided not later than 31 days after the end of such 12-month period."

flexibility indeed, but not for working families

rethugs are bullies

mach turtle

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

mach turtle - I remember (now, too late) reading that part of the bill about being able to delay paying for overtime until the end of the following January... It's important enough that I'll raise the item again tomorrow. Thanks.

tulsatime said...

The die off will not be pretty, if we tip the environment even before we run out of oil. Pandemic would be a sure path to panic, one of the few items missing from this mess they call a market. Glad the latest birdflu has not roared out of the gate.