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Virtually Speaking tonight

Wednesday, Sept 7 | 9 pm eastern | 6 pm pacific |Virtually Speaking
Science | hosted by MICA at StellaNova – Listen live and later on BTR


Alan Boyle talks with Rand Simberg

As MSNBC.com’s science editor, Alan runs a virtual curiosity shop of the physical sciences and space exploration, paleontology, archaeology and other ologies that strike his fancy. Alan is the author of “The Case for Pluto,” a contributor to “A Field Guide for Science Writers,” and the blogger
behind Cosmic Log, the 2008 recipient of the National Academies
Communication Award.

Rand Simberg describes himself as ‘just a recovering aerospace
engineer.’ The Competitive Enterprise Institute describes him as ‘an
expert on space technology and policy, particularly with regard to
NASA and commercial human spaceflight.’ He writes widely about the
politics and economics of space exploration. Read him in Popular
Mechanics and Transterrestrial Musings – Biting Commentary about
Infinity and Beyond! Watch him on YouTube. | Listen live and later on BTR

Tea Party zombies must die

Am I really supposed to feel bad about this? Have you ever seen how many right-wing video games there are, or how often they shoot hippies?

Now, if you want to have a conversation about shooting games in general, yes, that one would make some sense.

P.S. I killed 63 Tea Party zombies before I got teabagged.


So I’m talking to one of my friends who lives in D.C. and he’s complaining about the rain, the thunder, the lightning, blah blah blah. He’s turned off his computer but I tell him it’s not enough – he has to unplug it to protect it from power surges.

All of a sudden he yells, “What was that?” He’s shaken and says that was the worst clap of thunder he’s ever heard. I’m kind of half-listening because, you know, thunder’s loud. He kept saying he wondered if the city was under attack, the sound “felt” weird.

So we talked a little bit more and then ended the conversation.

I was flipping through channels after I got off and saw this MSNBC headline: “Crane collapse in D.C.” Turns out a huge crane collapsed at the National Cathedral — which is right near my friend’s apartment.

He was right. It was weird.

Last night

My interview with Russ Baker is here. More technical glitches than usual, but still interesting!

A call to courage

The ACLU issued a report today, entitled “A Call to Courage: Reclaiming our Liberties Ten Years After 9/11″, where they examine erosion of the rule of law and of our rights starting with the Bush administration, and continuing on with the Obama administration. But why do we hear so few critical voices today, those who were so loud during the Bush administration? The Young Turks ‘Ana Kasparian discusses.

Reality check

As I was saying to my friends the other day, we need to accept that for now, we’re living out the same storyline as the dying Soviet Union. The security apparatus, the bankers and the money people are running the show, and our focus should be on surviving underneath the radar. You’ll remember that the Soviets had a thoroughly corrupt system, and by the time things fell apart, the most successful citizens were operating mostly through a robust underground economy.

FEMA held hostage

Isn’t this great? All those suffering people can’t even get their own tax money back to help them recover, because the Republicans have already given it away in corporate tax cuts. I wonder when people will connect those dots:

The damage from Hurricane Irene is still being tallied, and wildfires are spreading across Texas. But Congress signaled Tuesday that it still cannot agree on how to get more money into the nearly depleted coffers of the beleaguered Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Lawmakers are stuck in a dispute over how much additional funding FEMA should receive and whether that additional funding should be offset with cuts elsewhere.

Democratic senators on Tuesday proposed spending $6 billion to replenish the Disaster Relief Fund, the leading program used to reimburse local governments and individuals for disaster-related cleanup and repairs.

That’s $2.35 billion more than the GOP-held House included in a competing appropriations measure that passed in June.

That disparity feeds into the broader debate over whether the government can afford to boost spending on disasters without offsetting the funds with spending cuts elsewhere.

The House’s $3.65 billion for disaster relief eclipsed a springtime request from President Obama but was paired with matching cuts to other areas of FEMA and the scaling back of a program that provides loans to automakers that build energy-efficient cars.

Republicans said the cuts were necessary to prevent disaster relief from adding to the budget deficit.


Mitt Romney on jobs:

University of California professor Robert Reich appeared Tuesday night on MSNBC’s The Last Word to discuss Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s job plan. The 59-point plan calls for tax cuts, cuts in the federal workforce and rollbacks in environmental, health and banking rules. Romney called his plan “a job machine.”

“It’s kind of an odd idea, it’s like calling corporations people,” Reich said. “It’s not clear what these things are. Mitt Romney has the kind of odd idea — and it is a bizarre idea — that at a time when corporations are scoring record profits, at a time when you’ve got them sitting $2 trillion of cash they don’t even know what to do with, that somehow if you give them more tax cuts, and deregulate so you reduce their costs even further, they will then create jobs.

“They don’t create jobs now, he assumes, because their costs are too high and they’re not making enough money. The reality of course is just the opposite. Corporations are doing extremely well.”

Promises made

Size queens

Still trying for that grand bargain!

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