Feed on


The most important reason for otherwise disillusioned Democrats to vote for the Democratic presidential candidate is to get more liberal judges into the federal system. But Obama’s not giving us much there to like, as Linda Greenhouse points out:

The administration is simply not nominating judges at an acceptable rate or making a public push for those it has nominated. For the current 17 vacancies on the federal appeals courts, there are only eight nominees. For 75 district court vacancies, there are 34 nominees. It’s possible to come up with explanations for some of these missing nominees — recalcitrance on the part of home-state senators, tardiness by the American Bar Association committee that vets potential nominees — but these numbers are huge. As of this month, President Obama is 33 judicial nominations behind where President George W. Bush was at the comparable point in his presidency, and 41 nominations behind President Bill Clinton.

That judges are among a president’s most important legacies is an observation so obvious as to be platitudinous. So here’s another observation: you can’t confirm someone who hasn’t been nominated.

As Chief Justice John Roberts pointed out, “And the recess appointment power doesn’t work why?”

We’ve seen that Obama is rarely willing to fight for anything — except compromise and capitulation. Oh well!


Is it just me, or is this bizarre?

NEW YORK — Breast implant-linked lymphoma can be controlled by removing the implant and the surrounding tissue, researchers say.

The industry-funded study by the Rand Corp. is based on a review of 29 cases of a rare form of immune-system cancer in breast-implant patients and input from a panel of experts.

While the aesthetic devices have been linked to the lymphoma for more than a decade, there is still no evidence to prove the disease is caused by the implant, researchers also said in the study published online Tuesday by the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Isn’t it ironic

Don’t ya think? That undocumented immigrants paid more in taxes last year than GE?

Ironically the vilified undocumented population, among the poorest and most vulnerable in the country, does its part when it comes to taxes.

They pay sales taxes and property taxes – even if they rent, ITEP said. At least half of them pay income taxes. And, I believe, if they were ever legalized, close to 100% would do the same. “Add this all up,” ITEP said, “and it amounts to billions in revenue to state and local governments.”

ITEP estimates that households that are headed by undocumented immigrants (which may include members who are U.S. citizens or legal immigrants) paid $11.2 billion in state and local taxes last year. That included $1.2 billion in personal income taxes, $1.6 billion in property taxes and $8.4 billion in sales taxes.
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‘Uncontrollable’ fracking blowout in PA

Thanks for your de facto deregulation of the natural gas industry, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett! Via Daily Kos:

Another consequence of deregulation has apparently just boiled over in Bradford County, Pa.


Operators have lost control of a natural gas well in rural northern Pennsylvania, leading to a spill of fluids used in the drilling process.

Bradford County emergency officials say thousands of gallons of tainted water have spilled from a Chesapeake Energy Corp. well site near Canton since early Wednesday.

As of 1:50 pm., the spill was still out of control, spilling “thousands and thousands” of likely contaminated water over fields and into at least one stream, per the reports, prompting the evacuation of seven families, thus far.  Updated reports indicate the water started pouring out at 11:45 pm last night.

The “stream” is apparently the Towanda Creek, which feeds into the Susquehanna River, which in turn feeds into the Chesapeake Bay.


Reuters describes the spill as “uncontrollable” as of 3:52 pm.  The local news reports describe attempts  to control the spill as a “large scale operation” with a “widespread impact.” There appear to be no reports providing the actual amount of fluids spilled at this time.

Dead suit walking

From Newsweek,via Mary at Pacific Views:

Many of these guys may be great on the back nine but totally lack the skill set to get them through anything like this, says Judith Gerberg, a Manhattan-based executive career coach. “If you went to the college of your choice, married the woman of your choice, and bought the house of your choice, you’ve never dealt with rejection. You’ve never had to develop fortitude.” She gives her clients a chart with all the hours of the day, because corporate types are used to having other people color-code their life. If not quite the Great Depression, it is certainly the Great Humbling.

But the problem facing these white collar workers isn’t new and isn’t only a problem for the guys. Just go back and read Barbara Ehrenreich’s Bait and Switch from 2006 where she lays out what it feels like to be an unemployed white collar worker in the 21st Century USA.

[I]n Bait and Switch, she enters another hidden realm of the economy: the shadowy world of the white-collar unemployed. Armed with a plausible résumé of a professional “in transition,” she attempts to land a middle-class job — undergoing career coaching and personality testing, then trawling a series of EST-like boot camps, job fairs, networking events, and evangelical job-search ministries. She gets an image makeover, works to project a winning attitude, yet is proselytized, scammed, lectured, and — again and again — rejected.

Bait and Switch highlights the people who’ve done everything right — gotten college degrees, developed marketable skills, and built up impressive résumés — yet have become repeatedly vulnerable to financial disaster, and not simply due to the vagaries of the business cycle. Today’s ultra-lean corporations take pride in shedding their “surplus” employees — plunging them, for months or years at a stretch, into the twilight zone of white-collar unemployment, where job searching becomes a full-time job in itself. As Ehrenreich discovers, there are few social supports for these newly disposable workers — and little security even for those who have jobs.

The Newsweek piece describes the networking sessions, the boot camps and the career coaches. And it describes how the men they talk to believe that somehow it is their fault that they haven’t found a job.

Perhaps we should do more to build up our social supports instead of blaming the victims again. Or maybe even put some focus on jobs.

“Don’t work for free,” I’ve always advised my friends. “Take your lunch hour. Don’t kid yourself that your boss will be grateful if you eat at your desk, he’ll only expect it all the time. Don’t be any more loyal to your company than they are to you, because they will drop you in a hot second if it makes their bottom line look better.”

And you know, most of them didn’t believe me.

In an odd sort of way, I feel lucky. Being periodically unemployed, living so close to the edge for so long and having a political and social context for all of it has left me better prepared than most. It’s been so long since I expected life to be fair, I can’t even remember.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s been difficult, and it continues to be painful. (Today I started obsessing over how I can afford to get my car inspected in July.) It’s no picnic. But at least it’s not the shock to my system it is to so many others.

It’s much worse for the control freaks I know — people who wouldn’t dream of coloring outside life’s lines — who are totally disoriented now. I hope they get their sea legs, because only the strong are going to survive.

The Shining

This is really the only proper response to Republican demands:

The House Republican budget adds $6 trillion to the debt in the next decade yet the GOP is balking at raising the debt limit. The House Republican budget adds $6 trillion to the debt in the next decade yet the GOP is balking at raising the debt limit. The House Republican budget adds $6 trillion to the debt in the next decade yet the GOP is balking at raising the debt limit. The House Republican budget adds $6 trillion to the debt in the next decade yet the GOP is balking at raising the debt limit. The House Republican budget adds $6 trillion to the debt in the next decade yet the GOP is balking at raising the debt limit. The House Republican budget adds $6 trillion to the debt in the next decade yet the GOP is balking at raising the debt limit. The House Republican budget adds $6 trillion to the debt in the next decade yet the GOP is balking at raising the debt limit.


Into the imperial dark…

Ralph Reed

Interviewed by Donald Trump as his possible campaign manager. If that doesn’t tell you that Trump is a complete whore, I don’t know what will.

Way to go

As a union spokeswoman pointed out, these banks helped shape the group’s political agenda. Not wanting to fund their enemies makes union leaders “thugs” and “bullies.” I say, more like this, please!

Unions representing Central Florida teachers, firefighters, police and other government workers are pulling an estimated $10 million from five banks affiliated with the Florida Chamber of Commerce, blaming them for an attack on public employees.

The unions are also asking their members — an estimated 20,000 people — to withdrawal their personal money from Bank of America, PNC Bank, Regions Bank, SunTrust and Wachovia. And labor leaders across the state could follow in the coming weeks, union officials say.

Executives from the banks in question sit on the Florida Chamber’s board of directors, and the chamber has pushed legislation that would prohibit state and local governments from collecting union dues through payroll deduction.

Supporters say the “Paycheck Protection” act would allow public employees to prevent their wages from being used for political purposes, but opponents say it’s simply a labor-busting effort that would make it more difficult for unions to operate.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce has lobbied lawmakers in support of the legislation and broadcast a campaign-style ad pushing for it. The measure has already passed the Florida House and is moving forward in the Senate.

[...] “It’s a shame that unions have dragged banks into their political games,” Florida Chamber spokeswoman Edie Ousley. “This just goes to show how desperate they are to keep the union gravy train by using the state of Florida to collect union dues. Frankly, we expected these bully tactics a long time ago.”

The cat’s on the roof

Every single time we get an “official” update on Fukushima, I think of this joke.

Fuel of the Fukushima nuke plant plant’s No. 1 reactor could be melting, an official said on Wednesday at Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) , the operator of the crippled plant.

TEPCO said last week some of the spent nuclear fuel rods stored in the No. 4 reactor building of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant were damaged..

The company’s workers have put iRobot PackBots to measure radiation, oxygen and temperature inside the reactor..

In other reports, they’re having problems with the robots:

Tokyo Electric Power Company says radioactive debris and high humidity are hampering the investigation by robots at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The company began using remote-controlled robots to explore the first three
reactor buildings on Sunday and Monday.

At the Number 2 reactor building, the robot’s camera lens was instantly clouded by high humidity. TEPCO officials think that the steam is coming from the damaged section of the reactor’s suppression pool. But they have not found a way to resolve the problem as the steam could be highly toxic.

Robots entered the Number 3 reactor building through the southern entrance, but their path was blocked by debris. The firm is considering using another robot that can remove obstacles weighing up to 100 kilograms.

At the first reactor building, robots were able to advance 40 meters along the northern side wall.

The use of robots is aimed at paving the way for staff to work inside the contaminated buildings to stabilize the reactors, but the prospects of success remain unclear.

Do I hear a “meow”?

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