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Helping Joplin

Here’s some info:

Collecting monetary donations is the best way to help Joplin, according to Polk County Emergency Management Director Rick Lewis. After last night’s tornado that damaged or destroyed about 30 percent of the southwest Missouri town, several area organizations and churches are collecting money, food and supplies.

“With money, they can feed people or do whatever they need to do,” Lewis said. “If [people] don’t know where to send donations, they can send them through [Polk County Emergency Management] to PO Box 181, Bolivar MO 65613, marked Joplin.”

Selfish bastards

That solid 75%+ of voters who don’t support cuts to Social Security!

I remember how shocked the organizers of last year’s Catfood Commission town hall were were people said emphatically that they would rather cut the military than Social Security. Apparently the Little People aren’t as pliable as they used to be.


The weather:

Has human activity made a given extreme event more likely?

“In these cases,” he said, “the answer is often yes.”

Boehner’s problem


Ok, I get it. The freshman all came in high on power, believing that they had a mandate to ruthlessly slash government spending. But how hard would it have been for Boehner to point out that they’d just won their seats because they’d convinced a bunch of elderly people that Obama was trying to kill them by destroying Medicare? Oh, and by the way, if they want to stay in office they’d need those elderly people to vote for them again?

Boehner’s freshmen are a handful, no doubt about it. But it’s his job to manage that and he made a mistake with this one. He allowed them to alienate seniors, the one group they desperately need to keep if they are to be competitive. He sets the agenda and he should have chosen something far less politically damaging to feed to his slavering freshman vultures. It shouldn’t be hard. They hate everything about government. They couldn’t find something other than the government’s most popular programs right out of the gate?

The article says they are trying to figure out how to save the situation. They clearly haven’t done so. Last week they forced Newt Gingrich to grovel and squirm for days for insulting their plan and former Tea Party dreamboat Scott Brown twisted himself into a pretzel finally deciding today that he wasn’t going to support it, writing:

“The sooner Congress addresses this, the less painful it is likely to be — but more difficult adjustments will be required if we delay,” he wrote. “We should start by making improvements to the traditional Medicare plan.”
(I can just hear Newt whining, “How come he gets to say that?”)

This is a huge political problem for the GOP. It could fade if the Democrats allow them to take it off the table. (The Politico article says that Joe Biden’s bi-partisan group may do that, but it’s hard to see how they can unless Democrats are total fools. Oh wait ...) But there’s nobody to blame except for Boehner, Cantor and Paul Ryan for this mess. And I have a sneaking suspicion that they’ll pay for it with their jobs. The Democrats may be fools, but the Republicans are ruthless when their leadership fails them. Just ask Newtie. He knows all about it.

Oh look

Not only is the Philadelphia Orchestra not bankrupt, filing for bankruptcy is a plan by board members to loot the players’ pensions and break their union! (h/t Lambert)

The 99ers

The elephant in the economic recovery room…

Kensington Kenetic Sculpture Derby

I just can’t get mine to upload, so here’s a taste of it from other people’s videos:

More tornados

Tornados striking urban areas are even worse, because homes are packed more tightly together. This system caused some real damage yesterday in Minneapolis:

A huge storm system spawned at least three tornado touchdowns as it moved northeast across the Twin Cities metro area Sunday afternoon, killing one person in particularly hard-hit north Minneapolis and critically injuring two others among 29 needing medical attention.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Police Chief Tim Dolan said early Sunday night that a large section of north Minneapolis — roughy 4 square miles — was being put under a curfew to help emergency personnel move around and to combat potential looting of damaged homes and businesses.

[...] Rybak and City Council Member Barbara Johnson got an aerial view from a helicopter. The mayor described the damage as “widespread and significant.” City officials said at least 100 homes were damaged, some of them totaled.

The same system hit a hospital in Joplin, Missouri:

Damage was widespread across the south side of Joplin. John Campbell, operations director for the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, confirmed fatalities have been reported, but he did not yet have an exact number or specifics.

Phone communications in and out of the city of about 50,000 people about 160 miles south of Kansas City were largely cut off.

Jasper County Emergency Management Director Keith Stammer said the St. John’s Regional Medical Center on the city’s south side took a “direct hit.” Witnesses said windows were blown out on the top floors of the hospital.

Deja vu

For those of us who lived through the Viet Nam era, Iraq is starting to resemble a certain quagmire:

BAGHDAD —A wave of bombings hit the Iraqi capital Sunday, killing at least 21 people in a spate of violence that rocked nearly every corner of Baghdad and renewed questions about whether the country’s security forces can repel future internal threats.

In a 90-minute period starting shortly after sunrise, more than a dozen explosions ripped through the city, unnerving ordinary Iraqis as well as officials from the United States and Iraq who had been heralding the overall decline in violence here in recent months.

With the 46,000 U.S. troops still in Iraq preparing to withdraw by the end of the year, the sheer number of attacks Sunday raised further concerns about what awaits Baghdad.

Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, chief spokesman for the U.S. military in Iraq, said the violence “serves as a solemn reminder that there remains a determined and dangerous enemy.”

Neither Buchanan nor Iraqi security officials would speculate about who may have been behind Sunday’s attacks. But several Baghdad officials said they fear the city is facing dual threats in the months leading up to the scheduled Dec. 31 withdrawal of U.S. forces.

Mohammeed Alrubaye, a member of the Baghdad Provincial Council, said he fears that the violence is being fueled simultaneously by groups such as al-Qaeda and by other interests hoping to destabilize the Iraqi government to force a continued U.S. presence. “It’s kind of a two-shot situation,” he said.

Do you suppose it’ll work?

Where’s that confidence fairy?

Krugman on the effects of fiscal austerity on the European Union.

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