Dirty Air Act (TRAIN) Passes the House?

From Huffington Post:

The U.S. House of Representatives forwarded a bill on Friday that environmental leaders warn would undermine the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to curb air pollution and protect public health. Green groups are now urging the Senate and President Barack Obama to stand strong — and avoid a repeat of recent environmental health failures, such as the shelving of proposed ozone and greenhouse gas standards.

“The Tea Party House has passed, with ease, the most radical dirty-air legislation in the history of this country,” John Walke, the clean air director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told HuffPost. “It absolutely eviscerates the legal standards for adopting emissions limits under the Clean Air Act.”

Introduced by Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.), the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act would create a special committee to oversee the EPA’s rules and regulations, and require the agency to consider economic impacts on polluters when it sets standards concerning how much air pollution is too much. For the last 41 years, since passage of the Clean Air Act, only scientific and medical considerations have been allowed in that analysis.

“This results in lying to the American people about whether the air is healthy or not,” said Walke.

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Social experimentation??? Get serious!


Is Rick Santorum suggesting that heterosexuals hide who they are also? Do they lock their children away in the attic along with their wives? Is Santorum too young to realize that DADT was also “social experiementation?” It was an incremental step created by President Bill Clinton to fulfill a campaign promise to gays regarding military service. He met with such resistance he had to offer DADT as an alternative to ending the ban on gays in the military to ward off serious Congressional sanctions/legislation.

Santorum really doesn’t get that being homosexual isn’t always about sex. He totally overlooks the state of being component. How does he propose to put that genie back in the bottle?

And as for those trash-a$$es that booed a service member who is honorably serving his country–SHAME ON THEM. They simply have no class. Regardless of how one feels, the booing was totally unacceptable. 

Newster: The unemployed might just be con-artists?


 [T]he former speaker suggested that benefits were being abused by people who were more interested in living off the government dime than in finding actual work.

“It is fundamentally wrong to give people money for 99 weeks for doing nothing,” he said.

Most studies of unemployment insurance have showed that lethargy is not a side effect of providing help to the unemployed. The money that is being distributed simply doesn’t cover the salary lost from not having a job.

The Newster sticks his foot in his mouth again.  Since when do the jobless get accused of being lazy.  On the one hand there is much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth over joblessness and unemployment.  Then there is the Newster who suggests that people are abusing being unemployed.  Help me understand this. 

Obama goes to mat for Israel despite critics

President Obama is in a very delicate international situation right now as Palestine prepares to ask the UN to recognize its statehood.  The United States will vote against this measure in the UN Security Council and in doing so, will piss off most of the Arab nations.  However, Palestinian Statehood must come about through peaceful negotiations with Israel, not a UN decree. 

Meanwhile, candidates Romney and Perry really need to back off political commentary during this critical period.  There cannot be two or three heads of state.  Both men, embolden by a recent win in NY-9,  are obviously pandering to the normally democratic Jewish vote in an attempt to lure votes away for the Republicans.  The posturing needs to stop until these negotiations are over.  Further instability in the middle east is not needed so Romney and Perry can pick up a few more votes. 

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Devil went down to Georgia and said no clemency for Troy Davis

Convicted cop killer Troy Davis is slated to be executed at 7 pm tonight after being denied clemency from a Georgia pardons board.  Denial of clemency has been described as routine.

This execution has been troublesome for many people including proponents of the death penalty.  7 out of 9 of the witnesses in the trial have recanted their statements.  At least one has said that he was young when he said what he gave them what they wanted to hear. 

CBS News reports the following:

CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen described the denial of clemency as “routine.”

 “Parole boards almost never grant clemency, so this is not a surprise,” Cohen said. “Now if Wednesday’s execution is going to be halted it’s going to have to come from the federal courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court in particular, which last week halted a Texas execution.”

 Davis has gotten support from hundreds of thousands of people, including a former FBI director, former President Jimmy Carter and Pope Benedict XVI, and a U.S. Supreme Court ruling gave him an unusual opportunity to prove his innocence last year. State and federal courts, however, repeatedly upheld his conviction for the 1989 killing of Mark MacPhail, an off-duty police officer who was working as a security guard in Savannah when he was shot dead rushing to help a homeless man who was being attacked.

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Another new prejudice–redheaded sperm donors

It’s official.  The latest prejudice is now red headed sperm donors.  No one wants red headed off-spring it appears.

According to the Washington Post (and lots of other ‘accordings’):

According to The Telegraph, by way of Gawker, the world’s largest sperm donor bank has revealed that, despite Christina Hendricksstar turn at the Emmys, it has begun turning down red-headed sperm donors.

Ole Schou, Cryos’s director, told the Danish newspaper Ekstrabladet :

“There are too many redheads in relation to demand. I do not think you chose a redhead, unless the partner — for example, the sterile male — has red hair, or because the lone woman has a preference for redheads. And that’s perhaps not so many, especially in the latter case.”

Cryos serves clients all over the world, so their findings of bias is international.

There is one place where little red heads are wanted and that is Ireland.  Should we be surprised?   Red hair and freckles are always welcome on the Emerald Isle.   Meanwhile, there is no crime in excluding certain attributes from sperm banks.   Prospective parents can always express a preference and it isn’t red heads! 

Ethical questions will always plague medical technologies.  Are there any taboos that parents should not get to select?


Bringing Back the Jobs

It all started with a tweet from an SMU student to ABC news asking for help finding Made in America products for her dorm room.  It seems that the college catalog for dorm shopping  had NO products that were made in America.  So the search began.

Diane Sawyer reported some amazing figures.  If colleges and universities had Made in America  products in the catalogs they provide the nearly 3 million new students entering college this year, a half million jobs would be created.  $46 Billion dollars are spent each year to outfit new rooms.  Over 800 colleges use this  catalog and all the schools got money back for distributing the catalogs to incoming freshmen. 

Will the colleges switch?  Probably only if students and taxpayers insist!  Why are we peddling foreign made products?

Good job ABC News for ferreting out this glaring problem.  Good for SMU for agreeing to change.  No one had asked.  Therefore, no one knew.

Foo Fighters vs Westboro Baptist

The  Foo Fighters decided to do a little pay back when Westboro Baptist haters decided to protest at their concert in Kansas City. 

Foo Fighter fans all over the internet were furious at Westboro and acted like this was the worst thing they had ever done.  Not even close.  The Foo Fighters are entertainers and can take something like this in stride.  Those who have lost loved ones and are trying to lay them to rest are a different matter. 


All powerful O’Reilly

Huffington Post:

Bill O’Reilly made a rather bold declaration during a recent interview with Newsweek.

The Fox News host was promoting his new book (a historical thriller about the Lincoln assassination), and he clearly had the presidency on his mind, because he told interviewer Peter Boyer that he was almost as powerful as the holder of that office.

“I have more power than anybody other than the president, in the sense that I can get things changed, quickly,” he said. “I don’t have to go through the legislative process; I don’t have to do any of that. I can just bring it to the people, and say, look, this has gotta be dealt with.”

Bill O’Reilly has made all sorts of outlandish proclamations.  Some of the are actually pretty true.  Is he a supreme egomaniac or is he right?  He gets a great deal of coverage and he doesn’t have to ask permission. 

So the question becomes, is O’Reilly right?   Is he more powerful than everyone except the president?

Netflix is the new loser

Several months ago Netflix users got an abrupt surprise.  They were told the rates were going up and that there would be a separate charge for streaming video vs DVD.  There was much grumbling and grousing and cancelling of plans.  In fact, the stock dropped more than 40% since the announcement was made.  Today, the formerly $300 per share stock is now $150.  Most people aren’t even tempted. 

The following email was sent today, from the CEO, Ralph Hastings:


I messed up. I owe you an explanation.

It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming and the price changes. That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology. Let me explain what we are doing.

For the past five years, my greatest fear at Netflix has been that we wouldn’t make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming. Most companies that are great at something – like AOL dialup or Borders bookstores – do not become great at new things people want (streaming for us). So we moved quickly into streaming, but I should have personally given you a full explanation of why we are splitting the services and thereby increasing prices. It wouldn’t have changed the price increase, but it would have been the right thing to do.

So here is what we are doing and why.

Many members love our DVD service, as I do, because nearly every movie ever made is published on DVD. DVD is a great option for those who want the huge and comprehensive selection of movies.Read More

Something new to kill us

If you survived the earthquake, Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, and all the flooding, there is another chance to defy the odds.  It seems that now a man-made satellite the size of a school bus will come crashing to earth.  Scientists are unsure of the exact location. 

According to the Washington Post:

It’s the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, or UARS — YOU-arz — and it’s currently tumbling in orbit and succumbing to Earth’s gravity. It will crash to the surface Friday.

Or maybe Thursday. Or Saturday.

Out-of-control crashing satellites don’t lend themselves to exact estimates even for the precision-minded folks at NASA. The uncertainty about the “when” makes the “where” all the trickier, because a small change in the timing of the reentry translates into thousands of miles of difference in the crash site.

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Obama to propose the “Buffett Rule”

From the Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is expected to seek a new base tax rate for the wealthy to ensure that millionaires pay at least at the same percentage as middle income taxpayers.

A White House official said the proposal would be included in the president’s proposal for long term deficit reduction that he will announce Monday. The official spoke anonymously because the plan has not been officially announced.

Obama is going to call it the “Buffett Rule” for Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor who has complained that rich people like him pay a smaller share of their income in federal taxes than middle-class taxpayers.

Buffett wrote in a New York Times op-ed piece last month that he and his rich friends “have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress.”

The measure would be in addition to $447 billion in new tax revenue that Obama is seeking to pay for his short-term spending and tax cutting plan to jump start the economy.

House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday he would oppose tax increasesto reduce the deficit. Boehner has urged Congress’ deficit “supercommittee” to lay the groundwork for a broad overhaul of the U.S. tax code.

The panel has almost unlimited authority to recommend changes in federal spending and taxes and is working against a deadline of Nov. 23.

Boehner said the panel has “only one option, spending cuts and entitlement reforms,” a reference to government benefit programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

It’s about time.  Most of us are tired of hearing how everything is going to come off the packs of those receiving Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in order to protect the rich.  If the rich are job producers?  Where are the jobs?  Oh, no one will create them because the economy is “skittish?”  I repeat, where are the jobs?  I suppose the ” job producers” aren’t really job producers.  They are just people who want to keep their part of the pie and let the middle class shoulder the cost. 

Any middle class person who falls for this like of bull puckey deserves to be taxed.  However, leave me out out of it.  And while we are on the subject of pet peeves, how about those entitlements?  You know–the Social Security and Medicare that you and your employer have paid in to for decades.  Entitlements my a$$!  Touch my “entitlements,” lost your job!  Is this where I say pry my SS check out of my cold dead hands?  You get the picture.   Fear the Boomers!

Warren Buffett’s op-ed click here.