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Liberalizing effect of the right wing

A Reagan-appointed federal judge has become less conservative in response to the Republican craziness:

The latest bit of right-wing goofiness to draw Posner’s ire: the speculation over the Affordable Care Act decision. Posner called the conspiracy theories that seek to explain Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion to uphold the law a “very serious mistake” on the part of conservatives. Roberts, Posner suggested, might also realize that he has no home on the right.

“I mean, what would you do if you were Roberts?” Posner said. “All the sudden you find out that the people you thought were your friends have turned against you, they despise you, they mistreat you, they leak to the press. What do you do? Do you become more conservative? Or do you say, ‘What am I doing with this crowd of lunatics?’ Right? Maybe you have to re-examine your position.”

Posner has spoken out recently against other conservatives on the court, namely Justice Antonin Scalia. After Scalia’s fiery dissent in the Arizona immigration case, in which he took aim at President Obama, Posner wondered whether Scalia was becoming a political actor: “It wouldn’t surprise me if Justice Scalia’s opinion were quoted in campaign ads.”


Claims the net is its private property.


Nice to read about someone like this winning the lottery!


The Democratic challenger, by contrast, spent $3.5 million on his campaign:

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker raised an unprecedented $37 million since taking office in 2011, most of it spent to stave off a bid to recall him after he enacted curbs on public sector unions last year, according to a filing on Thursday.

The 44-year-old, first-term governor, who has become a rising national star of the Republican party, spent more than $35 million to defeat Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in the June 5 recall election, according to Walker’s campaign finance report filed with the state elections board.

Most of Walker’s money came from out of state, and from the Kochs and their kind.

Let’s pretend it’s not happening

Media Matters has done an impressive job, doing that which the corporate media refuses to do: Putting the western wildfires squarely in the context of global warming. More importantly, they’ve documented the fact that the media is indeed mostly ignoring the subject. Gee, I wonder why?

While numerous factors determine the frequency, severity and cost of wildfires, scientific research indicates that human-induced climate change increases fire risks in parts of the Western U.S. by promoting warmer and drier conditions. Seven of nine fire experts contacted by Media Matters agreed journalists should explain the relationship between climate change and wildfires. But an analysis of recent coverage suggests mainstream media outlets are not up to the task — only 3 percent of news reports on wildfires in the West mentioned climate change.

The major television and print outlets largely ignored climate change in their coverage of wildfires in Colorado, New Mexico and other Western states. All together, only 3 percent of the reports mentioned climate change, including 1.6 percent of television segments and 6 percent of text articles.

METHODOLOGY: We searched Nexis and Factiva databases for articles and segments on (wildfire or wild fire or forest fire) between April 1, 2012, and June 30, 2012. News outlets included in this study are ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Associated Press, The Los Angeles Times, CNN.com, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal. MSNBC and Fox News were not included in this analysis because transcripts of their daytime coverage are not available in the Nexis database.

[…] Of nine fire scientists who responded to email inquiries, seven agreed that journalists should explain how manmade climate change could worsen wildfire risk in certain parts of the western U.S. The other two emphasized other major factors that determine the extent of fire damage, or highlighted the regional and subregional variations that make it difficult to draw broad conclusions.
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Can’t have that

If people started expecting things like health insurance, they might get uppity about other stuff!

Fukushima report released

Watch Are U.S. Nuclear Plants Ready for a Fukushima-Like Meltdown? on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

And just to bring this Fukushima report a little closer to home, there are 23 of G.E.’s flawed Mark I reactors right here in the good old U.S. of A. Add to that the increasing incidence of earthquakes in unexpected places (caused by the injection of fracking waste fluid into the ground), and we’ve got a “no one could have known!” just waiting to happen here.

Maybe someone should do something?

Yes, the nuclear disaster at Fukushima was sparked by the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011, but a Japanese parliamentary report said Thursday the disaster that followed was man-made, and suggested more plants were susceptible.

That last bit is probably the most disturbing angle of the 641-page report, which said Tokyo Electric Power Company didn’t take the damage to its nuclear power plant seriously enough quickly enough, and which “accused Tepco and regulators at the nuclear and industrial safety agency of failing to take adequate safety measures, despite evidence that the area was susceptible to powerful earthquakes and tsunamis,”The Guardian’s Justin McCurry reports. Tepco has argued that the tsunami was a “once-in-a-millennium” event, for which they couldn’t realistically prepare, The New York Times’ Hiroko Tabuchi writes.

The scary thing, though, is that the report found that it could have been the earthquake itself, not just the unusually large tsunami, that damaged the plant and sparked meltdowns in three reactors. “By suggesting that the plant may have sustained extensive damage from the quake — a far more frequent occurrence in Japan — the report in effect casts doubts on the safety of Japan’s entire fleet of nuclear plants,” Tabuchi wrote.

In the end, the report concluded that the disaster was “profoundly man-made” and could have been prevented.

Keiser report

Angels in America

Many Americans don’t believe in universal health care, but an awful lot of them think there are angels out there who will take care of us when disaster strikes:

A former police officer who retired from the FBI due to post-traumatic stress disorder linked to her role in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks has written a book about seeing legions of angels guarding the Pennsylvania site where a hijacked airliner crashed.

Lillie Leonardi served as a liaison between law enforcement and the families of the passengers and crew members killed in the United Airlines Flight 93 crash. She arrived on the scene about three hours after the crash.

Although Leonardi’s book, “In the Shadow of a Badge: A Spiritual Memoir,” centers on her vision of angels, she argues her life has been changed more by what she didn’t see that day.

“The biggest thing for me is that that there were no bodies,” she said.

Leonardi, 56, remembers the burning pine and jet fuel stinging her nostrils. She said she also remembers a smoldering crater littered with debris too small to associate with the jetliner or 40 passengers and crew on board.

“I’m used to crime scenes but this one blew me out of the water. It just looked like the ground had swallowed up” the plane, Leonardi said.

“That’s when I started seeing like shimmery lights … and it was kind of misty and that’s when I first saw, like, the angels there,” Leonardi said. “And I didn’t say anything to the guys because you can imagine if I would have said, `I just saw angels on the crash site,’ they’d have called the office and they’d have said, `She lost her mind and tell her to go home.'”

R.I.P. Andy

Before Andy Griffith became the famously easy-going Sheriff Andy on TV, he shocked movie critics with his over-the-top portrayal of Lonesome Rhodes, the hick troubadour who ended up aspiring to be a right-wing power broker in Elia Kazan’s classic A Face In the Crowd:

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