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Big boardwalk fire

In Seaside Park, NJ, where they’ve just rebuilt after Sandy.

Former Georgia State Senator Chip Rogers a PLAYER. It’s a real fascinating story of a well connected Georgia politician.

This is the person that in 2007 that took out a 2.3 million dollar loan to refurbish an interstate motel in Northwest Georgia. The plan did not go well…

Five years later it appears U.S. Rep. Tom Graves and state Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers will have to pay back only about half that debt, according to public records examined by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Experts say the FDIC, the federal agency that insures bank deposits, will be on the hook for most of the loss.

For Graves and Rogers, tea party favorites and champions of fiscal responsibility, the resolution of their failed business venture opens them up to charges of hypocrisy.

“They may oppose bailouts, but it looks like they are getting one themselves,” said Tony Plath, a national banking expert and finance professor at UNC-Charlotte…

Court documents show that Graves and Rogers were struggling to make payments almost immediately after they signed the loan documents with Bartow County Bank in 2007.

Soon, Bartow County Bank had joined the ranks of Georgia banks shuttered by federal regulators

Rogers was the state Senate Majority Leader that had the most informative meeting in 2012 regarding Agenda 21, a nonbinding UN agreement that commits member nations to promote sustainable development …

In the eyes of conservative activists, Agenda 21 is a nefarious plot that includes forcibly relocating non-urban-dwellers and prescribing mandatory contraception as a means of curbing population growth. The invitation to the Georgia state Senate event noted the presentation would explain: “How pleasant sounding names are fostering a Socialist plan to change the way we live, eat, learn, and communicate to ‘save the earth.'”

Comments made in this meeting included how this plan will implemented by President Obama using the Delphi Technique

They do that by a process known as the Delphi technique. The Delphi technique was developed by the Rand Corporation during the Cold War as a mind-control technique. It’s also known as “consensive process.” But basically the goal of the Delphi technique is to lead a targeted group of people to a pre-determined outcome while keeping the illusion of being open to public input.

That’s right, MIND CONTROL. After this little afternoon of insanity, in a possible unrelated circumstance, Chip Rogers withdrew his re-election bid for the leadership position.

Well, Chip Rogers leads a charmed life, I tell you. Our state just can’t let good talent go. So, Governor Nathan Deal found Chip Rogers a perfect position: an Executive Producer at Georgia Public Broadcasting. He had a really strong resume for the position…

Rogers appeared on cable television broadcasts as Will “The Winner” Rogers and other monikers to predict the outcomes of upcoming football games to help sports bettors before he became state Senate majority leader.

On one cable TV show, Rogers allegedly urged bettors to dial a pay-per-call number for his predictions, which he claimed had an 80 percent success rate.

Did you know that the new position created for Rogers pays more than what our Governor pulls down a year?

A veteran employee of Georgia Public Broadcasting in Atlanta has quit in protest over the hiring of former State Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers at GPB, at double and triple the salary of others in similar positions there…

Employees have been furloughed and laid off, as many of their jobs are being out-sourced and eliminated.

And yet Rogers began work this week at GPB headquarters, on 14th Street NW (Atlanta), as an executive producer, for $150,000 a year.

And he used to own an interest in a little radio in Cartersville, GA in Bartow County. Except now, he has regained his interest in the radio station without filing proper notification to the FCC…

The station, tiny WYXC-AM, is at the center of an ongoing drama that’s spilled over into Bartow County courts. Current operators John and Brandi Underwood filed suit last month, alleging their partner Greg Detscher had surreptitiously bought the station and kicked them out of the premises.

FCC records show WYXC-AM in Cartersville is licensed to Clarion Communications Inc., which bought the station in 2006 from Rogers, who financed $190,000 of the deal. Ownership records from 2011, the most recent on file with the FCC, name Cartersville businessman Chuck Shiflett and former Adairsville City Councilman Tommy Young as equal partners in Clarion.

It’s unclear when Young, a former Adairsville city councilman, returned his half-interest to Rogers. In December 2012, Rogers signed the new management agreement with Detscher and the Underwoods on behalf of Beechwood Services Inc., identified as the parent company of Clarion Communications. Rogers has listed Beechwood as his wife’s business in financial disclosures filed as a legislator, most recently for 2011.

An FCC spokeswoman confirmed last week that it had received no notice of any change in WYXC’s controlling interest. The station’s public file, which licensees must make available to anyone wanting to see it, contains no such notice.

Georgia Public Broadcasting, which requires that employees get written permission for outside employment, also has no written disclosure of Rogers’ ownership or affiliation with outside media outlets.

Well, I doubt much will come from GPB. It will be interesting if he can weasel his way out of this with the FCC. I mean, after all, he is the well connected Chip Rogers with BIG COJONES…

They always just appear

This “experts” who want to egg us on to war.

O’Bagy, you may recall, wrote an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal recently, IDed as simply an expert with the “non-partisan” Institute for the Study of War. Her piece was allegedly based on up-close research, contending that the rebels in Syria were far more touchy-feely and moderate than their reputation as largely jihadists who like to meet atrocity with atrocity. In his first push for war, Secretary of State John Kerry cited her piece, then so did Senator John McCain and numerous other hawks.

Suddenly a media star, O’Bagy appeared on TV shows, referred to as “Dr. O’Bagy.” Few pointed out that the Institute was a typical hawkish neocon outfit that would be fully expected to produce pieces such as the one O’Bagy penned.

Then it all fell apart.

First, it turned out that part of her work had been paid for by groups supporting the Syrian rebels.

Then the depth of her experience in Syria and general expertise were called into question by journalists who had spent a great deal of time in the region. Reuters produced a piecechallenging her views on the “moderate” rebels.

Yesterday, the Institute fired the “Dr.” for lying about having a PhD.

Art By Panhandle Slim…

Shirley Chisholm

Panhandle Slim…



The privatization tools of the state-run Philly schools commission.

The mayor announced yesterday a FOUNDATION to collect money to buy school supplies for Philly kids. But it won’t be for public schools, oh no. It will also include Catholic schools and for-profit charters. I mean, WTF?

All because he’s either too incompetent or too corrupt to get the money we’re owed from the governor.

‘So these guys were all like, ‘Whoa, we can’t believe you’re bringing criminal charges against us for a spill when we said ‘Oopsie!”

Oh dear, Attorney General Kathleen Kane is creating a “hostile business environment”! Maybe if the business environment is a little less friendly, these companies will be a little more careful about the poison they so frequently “accidentally” spill:

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s decision to prosecute a major Marcellus Shale natural-gas driller for a 2010 wastewater spill has sent shock waves through the industry. But environmentalists Wednesday hailed the prosecution of the Exxon Mobil Corp. subsidiary as a departure from the soft treatment they say the industry has received from Pennsylvania regulators. “We have been very concerned about enforcement in the Marcellus, and we welcome the attorney general’s taking an active role,” said Myron Arnowitt, Pennsylvania director of Clean Water Action.

Kane’s office announced charges Tuesday against XTO Energy Inc. for discharging more than 50,000 gallons of toxic wastewater from storage tanks at a gas-well site in Lycoming County.

XTO in July settled federal civil charges over the incident by agreeing to pay a $100,000 fine and deploy a plan to improve wastewater-management practices. The consent decree included no admissions of liability. The Fort Worth, Texas, drilling company, which Exxon acquired in 2010, said it had worked cooperatively with federal and state authorities to clean up the spilled waste, known as “produced water.” XTO excavated and removed 3,000 tons of contaminated soil from the site.

“Criminal charges are unwarranted and legally baseless because neither XTO nor any of its employees intentionally, recklessly, or negligently discharged produced water on the site,” XTO said in a statement. Kane’s office said it did not need to prove intent to prosecute the company for crimes.

XTO is charged with five counts of unlawful conduct under the Clean Streams Law and three counts of unlawful conduct under the Solid Waste Management Act.

Industry leaders said the prosecution of a company for what they called an inadvertent spill creates a hostile business environment. “The incident has been fully addressed at the state and federal levels, and this action creates an untenable business climate that will discourage investment in the commonwealth,” Kathryn Z. Klaber, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, said in a statement. The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry also protested.

The rise of the new New Left

I’m not used to the Daily Beast having articles that make me think, but here it is. Just read it, it’s too long to excerpt.

Seven possible explanations from the ACLU.

I think they missed this one:

Five years after the crash


And no one’s learned anything. I wonder if that’s because no one went to prison the last time?

Several big life insurers are going to have to set aside a total of at least $4 billion because New York regulators believe they have been manipulating new rules meant to make sure they have adequate reserves to pay out claims.

The development stems from contentions by insurance companies that states’ regulations are forcing them to hold too much money in reserve. Many of them have engaged in secretive transactions to artificially bolster their balance sheets, often through shell companies in other states or countries. Regulators, who want to be sure companies have enough real liquid assets to pay all claims, have struggled to find a solution that all 50 states can agree on, and decided to test a new framework of rules.

On Friday, New York State plans to drop out of that agreement, according to a letter from Benjamin M. Lawsky, the financial services superintendent, to his fellow state insurance regulators. In the letter, which was reviewed by The New York Times, Mr. Lawsky said the test, which started in 2012, showed that the new framework did not work and was, in fact, making the “gamesmanship and abuses” in the industry even worse.

The move appears to be another attempt by Mr. Lawsky to address the much broader potential problem of the life insurance industry’s use of the secretive transactions. He has derided them as “financial alchemy” because they seem to create surplus assets out of thin air. In June, Mr. Lawsky called on other state insurance regulators to join him in blocking any more of these transactions. But other regulators said they wanted instead to keep pursuing a test of the new regulatory framework. The test covers a narrow segment of the life insurance business, but state regulators, through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, are committed to extending the framework to all parts of the life insurance industry over the next few years.

Lopsided trade

Imagine. The coal companies cause a lot more damage than they’re worth:

There’s a new study out today that presents the first real effort to compare the environmental damage from mountaintop removal mining to the energy benefits from the coal that’s produced. Here’s what’s reported in the press release from Duke University:

To meet current U.S. coal demand through surface mining, an area of the Central Appalachians the size of Washington, D.C., would need to be mined every 81 days.

That’s about 68 square miles — or roughly an area equal to 10 city blocks mined every hour.

A one-year supply of coal would require converting about 310 square miles of the region’s mountains into surface mines, according to a new analysis by scientists at Duke University, Kent State University and the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies.

Creating 310 square miles of mountaintop mine would pollute about 2,300 kilometers of Appalachian streams and cause the loss of carbon sequestration by trees and soils equal to the greenhouse gases produced in a year by 33,600 average U.S. single-family homes, the study found.

Here’s the abstract of the study, which appears online today in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE:

While several thousand square kilometers of land area have been subject to surface mining in the Central Appalachians, no reliable estimate exists for how much coal is produced per unit landscape disturbance. We provide this estimate using regional satellite-derived mine delineations and historical county-level coal production data for the period 1985-2005, and further relate the aerial extent of mining disturbance to stream impairment and loss of ecosystem carbon sequestration potential. To meet current US coal demands, an area the size of Washington DC would need to be mined every 81 days. A one-year supply of coal would result in ~2,300 km of stream impairment and a loss of ecosystem carbon sequestration capacity comparable to the global warming potential of 33,000 US homes. For the first time, the environmental impacts of surface coal mining can be directly scaled with coal production rates.

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