Woman pulls gun on boyfriend when he denies sex

And it seems as though denying it was a good idea. Ryan Rucker, 33, was sleeping early yesterday when Michelle Smart, by her own admission, “attempted to make some sexual advances toward” him, according to a police report detailing the 2 AM incident. Rucker told cops that he pushed the 30-year-old Smart off of him, which… Continue Reading →

Extreme weather, no context from our corporate media

Yeah, like Brian Williams lying is the biggest problem with the media!

And it’s not as if they’d mention this, either:

A senior US scientist has expressed concern that the intelligence services are funding climate change research to learn if new technologies could be used as potential weapons. Alan Robock, a climate scientist at Rutgers University in New Jersey, has called on secretive government agencies to be open about their interest in radical work that explores how to alter the world’s climate.

Robock, who has contributed to reports for the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC), uses computer models to study how stratospheric aerosols could cool the planet in the way massive volcanic eruptions do. But he was worried about who would control such climate-altering technologies should they prove effective, he told the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Jose.

Last week, the National Academy of Sciences published a two-volume report on different approaches to tackling climate change. One focused on means to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the other on ways to change clouds or the Earth’s surface to make them reflect more sunlight out to space.

The report concluded that while small-scale research projects were needed, the technologies were so far from being ready that reducing carbon emissions remained the most viable approach to curbing the worst extremes of climate change. A report by the Royal Society in 2009 made similar recommendations.

The $600,000 report was part-funded by the US intelligence services, but Robock said the CIA and other agencies had not fully explained their interest in the work. “The CIA was a major funder of the National Academies report so that makes me really worried who is going to be in control,” he said. Other funders included Nasa, the US Department of Energy, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Oh look, yet another crude oil train explosion

So this is the second crude-oil train crash in 72 hours (there was one this weekend in Ontario). Yay, deregulation! Yay, petroleum-based economy!

Two West Virginia towns are being evacuated after a train carrying crude oil derailed nearby, local media report.

Emergency officials said that people from towns of Adena Village and Boomer Bottom are being evacuated. At least one tank car ended up in a local river, while another slammed into a house and burst into flames.

Several fire departments are working to contain the flames and the Department of Homeland Security as well as the Department of Environmental Protection have been notified of the accident, the Charleston Gazette reports.

What the hell

gas trucks

It’s not as if a gas tanker should be regulated and inspected or anything, because we wouldn’t want to impede the free fucking market, amirite?

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican officials said Monday that two worn-out bolts on a gas tanker truck broke, causing a leak that resulted in a hospital explosion that killed five people last month.

The results of the investigation again highlighted the unsafe conditions that many propane tankers operate under.

The failure “was caused by (metal) fatigue on the bolts due to a lack of proper maintenance,” said Mexico City chief prosecutor Rodolfo Rios.

When the two bolts on a pipe flange connected to the truck’s pump cracked, a gasket partially blew out, allowing gas to accumulate on the hospital grounds for about 25 minutes.

Love me some Jared Bernstein


Paul Krugman tends to be more of a big-picture guy. Jared Bernstein is very good at diving into the nuts and bolts of economic policy and how it affects ordinary people. They can’t get much past him!

First, as Marr points out, Ryan and his Republican colleagues just voted “to permanently extend an expensive small-business tax break without offsetting the cost, such as by requiring any improved compliance in that part of the tax code — where the rates of error and loss to the Treasury far outstrip those for the EITC. The IRS estimates that a stunning 56 percent of business income that individual returns should have reported went unreported in 2006, the latest year for which these data are available.”

 That data, which needs to be updated, shows that taxes unpaid on unreported business income amounted to $122 billion in 2006 compared with $28 billion for all improperly claimed tax credits, including the EITC.

Of course, low-income, working households should comply with the tax code, and the reduction of EITC overpayments would yield significant savings to the Treasury. For the record, most EITC payment errors are not fraudulent. They’re often mistakes relating to which parent gets to claim the qualifying child. The result is that non-custodial parents sometimes receive overpayments (it’s also true that in some of these cases custodial parents receive underpayments; these are not netted out of the IRS overpayment calculations, which are thus overstated).

This raises the second problem with Ryan’s EITC offset: He’s asking the IRS to do more to reduce overpayments (and conspicuously not asking it to go after unreported business income) while he and his colleagues have aggressively cut the tax agency’s budget, a point I’ve often stressed on this page. The IRS cuts have hit their enforcement efforts and taxpayer services hardest, leaving them with fewer resources to correct errors on returns and help low-income taxpayers sort out some of the complicated rules that apply to tax credits.

And shouldn’t individuals with business income comply as well? In fact, if your main criterion was “follow the money,” you’d put more energy into collecting elusive “pass-through income” — where individual taxpayers claim business income on their personal income taxes, often to take advantage of preferential rates, particularly on capital gains.

And there’s a much bigger double standard going on here: Tax breaks for low-income workers must be paid for lest they raise the budget deficit while tax breaks for business need not be, regardless of their deficit-raising impact. In fact, the unpaid-for tax breaks passed by the House Republican majority add $85 billion to the deficit over the next decade. And I fear this is but a prelude to the full package of “tax extenders” with a cost of $470 billion over 10 years.

Add in one other fiscal fact of life right now — that Republicans won’t countenance new revenues — and consider the implications of all of this:

– New spending must be offset, new tax cuts need not be
– New revenues are off the table
– Anti-poverty programs are spending programs
– Tax cuts, especially business tax cuts, benefit those with higher incomes.

Put all of that together and you’ve got a potent recipe for larger deficits, more income inequality, and less support for anti-poverty initiatives. If that’s what bipartisanship looks like today, count me out.

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