Bob Higgins

Bob Higgins

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on October 15, 2013

After a dozen years Kabul is safe for franchises and you can get dinner and a movie in the green zone. Wear your helmet and lock and load.

“The youngest U.S. soldiers were ten years old when we invaded Afghanistan right after 9/11 and most likely only have the vaguest idea what all has preceded their arrival in-country.”

War in Afghanistan Won (by Cherry Berry Yogurt and Ace Hardware  Peter Van Buren

via Bob Higgins.

The Generals And Their Ladies

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on November 13, 2012
Bookmark and Share

As ex CIA analyst Ray McGovern pointed out yesterday the only big fish to be hooked in the decade of intrusive monitoring of our private communications turns out to be the head of the CIA. Irony abounds, drips, and oozes.

In addition, General John Allen, a 35 year veteran of the Marines is under investigation in part to determine what’s behind the 20-30,000 emails and other “inappropriate communications” between himself and a woman variously described as a voluntary social liason and socialite from MacDill AFB in Tampa.

That’s twenty or thirty thousand separate communications in two years. Take the low number and divide by a couple of years worth of days and we have a General officer communicating with a socialite party planner nearly thirty times a day. That’s a lot of partying.

Bear in mind that the taxpayers are shelling out over $15,000 dollars a month to to keep this four star naval academy grad at his desk running a major US military command that is currently involved in at least one war and a clutch of other hot conflicts around the world.

His former boss, now retired General and former head of the CIA David Petraeus, is at the apex of whatever comic opera is involved here, along with his biographer, a former military intelligence officer and, it seems now historically noteworthy camp follower named Paula Broadwell.

Petraeus, the darling of the neocons who gave us the war in Iraq, and Broadwell have admitted to having a ten month affair while he was the nation’s top spy. As an enlisted Marine I always thought that generals led boring lives. Who knew?

Like everyone else looking at this national insecurity drama I have no idea what’s going on but I’m pretty sure it goes far beyond Private Beetle Baily planning a weekend kegger at the beach.

Both of these general officers have had long and supposedly stellar careers as senior staff and both are past commanders of CENTCOM. A few more days of the kind of revelations now popping up hourly and they both may be transferred to SITCOM.

Bob Higgins

Related stories:

How to Tell if You’re Involved in the Petraeus Scandal : The New Yorker.

What is the Middle?

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on November 9, 2012
Bookmark and Share

OK My friend you’ve given me a lot to deal with but I’ll take a swat at it.

1. I never said Bush actually had the mandate. I’m just saying that is probably why he said that. Obama certainly does not have the same situation to be able to claim a mandate since the Democrats don’t control all of congress.

We can argue all day (and the media mavens will go on for months) whether the President received a mandate. Finally it makes no difference, he was reelected to a second term, picked up a few seats in the Senate, some state legislatures and the Dems received about 12 million more congressional votes than Republicans. Call it what you like. I like mandate.


2. There is no doubt that we hand out too much of the treasury to corporations who in turn hire more people to lobby for more money. It is a ridiculous waste of the public’s money and needs to stop. Unfortunately that would require hiring a lobbyist to try and kill their own job. Not going to happen. True government reform is needed… not just in campaign funding but in the entire system. Term limits that would not allow someone to be groomed to be a career politician who is owned by special interests is a good start. Removing all SuperPACs is another step. PACs can be used but only for issues… not for candidates. You want to run an add about allowing gay marriage or abortion? Great. You don’t run an add saying that Obama is pro-choice or that Romney hates women or gays.

We have term limits, they’re called elections. Remove the polluting power of corporate money and the people will decide who stays or goes without interference. The major problem with term limits is that as these elected officials rise and fall due only to the passage of time the power inherent in the office transfers to unelected staff people and legislative aides who continue on as part of the office furniture and they absorb the power. Within a few cycles we will have a congress answerable to no one but lobbyists and their filthy lucre. Yes, I know, but much worse.

Corporations are not people, money is not speech. Eliminate the absurd ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and super PACS are neutered. I think we have eleven states on board so far to amend the constitution to sweep this dangerous concept out the door. (more…)

Skip the Bearded Lady, Go Straight to the Big Top

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on November 8, 2012
Bearded Lady

Bearded Lady

Bookmark and Share

My friend, and I mean that, I value your opinion but I think you’re wrong to toss your vote aside to the Fit of Pique party.

You wrote:

I think last night’s election was not an endorsement for Obama but a message to republicans that people are tired of the rhetoric with nothing to back it up. Fiscally conservative? Not a chance. Socially conservative? That is not what the country cares about anymore.

Where you see none I see a mandate from a solid majority of voters of half or more of the states in the union for a return to more liberal policies and a demand for tangible results. These voters gave us a majority in the electoral college that George Bush never enjoyed. People on both sides of the public divide want a strong economy, full employment, safety, security, jobs, quality education, health care, and many other necessary basic services. The argument is how to get it done.

We can well afford a return to and strengthening of the New Deal policies that led us to all of the above conditions and successfully maintained them until the private profiteers, the opportunists, the financial buccaneers and the Chicago School with their trickle down voodoo convinced the weak minded, spineless and venal in Washington to give away the public treasury. (more…)

Post Election Blues

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on November 7, 2012
Bookmark and Share

Thanks to everyone who supported President Obama and his party in yesterday’s election. You spoke out, you wrote, you contributed your time, energy and money and finally you voted.

Now that it’s over and we have a moment of calm after the raging battle it’s time to reflect on the road ahead. In the brief silence that accompanies this temporary cessation of hostilities if you listen closely you will hear the murmurs beginning.

Karl Rove was on Fox this morning explaining why he’s still a genius. Fox will continue to fill their air time with outrageous and untrue commentary billed as fair and balanced news and the Republican party will continue to vilify minorities, women  and attempt to place the main burden of taxation on the backs of working people.

Already this morning Mitch McConnell and John Boehner attempted to diminish the Democratic victory with less than conciliatory statements that portend the likelihood that obstructionism will continue as their primary tactic and many of the far right republican players like Eric Cantor are still on the field preparing for more of their special brand of malicious mischief.

We’ve won a battle but the struggle continues. We have wars and conflicts to end, a tax system to reconstruct, an economy to rebuild, a national security and military industrial complex to rein in, a constitution and rule of law to reaffirm, and a new energy policy and infrastructure to build. (more…)

Malala Wanted to go to School so They Shot Her.

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on October 11, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai

Just when I believe that I’m beyond outrage a story like this hits the news.

What kind of animal would attempt to assassinate this girl?

The Taliban has claimed credit, as if credit is a word that can be applied to such an insane and cowardly act as the murder of a child in the name of some supposed deity or a half baked system of religious law.

Taliban, al Qaeda, KKK, Holy Rollers of the Purple Sage, it doesn’t matter who. They’re all delusional authoritarian cowards, ever poised and ready to commit the unspeakable in the service of their imagined gods.

I guess every religion has its extreme nut cases. In the last several days I’ve read several stories about deranged religious zealots right here at home: (more…)

Dealing with Republicans: The More Things Change…

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on October 6, 2012

Harry Gets a Laugh at the Trib’s Expense

Seldom a day goes by that I don’t hear nostalgic lamentations from the left about “modern republicans.” It’s as if we have forgotten the near domination of American politics by Republicans from the civil war and the rise of the robber barons through the gilded age and the depression, being  interrupted only in 1932 with the election of FDR. They remain the same old GOP.

Republicans and Democrats (or reasonable facsimiles)  have been fighting the same battles over the same issues for much of our history. Republicans have always been Republicans. I’m more nostalgic for the days when Democrats didn’t try so hard to pass themselves off as Republicans. We have all too many of those critters in the party today.

As an illustration here’s Harry Truman speaking on the stump for Hubert Humphrey in 1948:

Harry S. Truman: Address in St. Paul at the Municipal Auditorium October 13, 1948 (more…)

Romney: Bring Me the Head of Big Bird

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on October 5, 2012

Bookmark and Share

Mitt Romney the fearless vulture capitalist boldly stated during the first debate that if elected he will take out Big Bird.

I guess it’s reasonable for him to want to counter the macho credentials the Obama administration acquired in the bin Laden raid but I think they’re setting the bar a bit low.

If Obama were to announce US intentions to put a man on the far side of the moon would Romney counter by sending a limo to La Jolla for foie gras?

Romney Fires Big Bird

Yo, Mitt…Downsize this! Image: Addicting Info

His target? Federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and its high value figurehead Big Bird.

CPB is hardly a major item in the budget. ($445.2 million for FY 2012)

The elimination of this half billion dollar investment in public broadcasting would reduce the $1.5 trillion federal budget deficit by less than 3 ten-thousandths of one percent, while having a profoundly negative effect on local communities. (more…)

Rise as an Army and Reelect the President

Posted in Election 2010, Politics by Bob Higgins on October 4, 2012

Bookmark and Share

On Tuesday a friend asked if I intended to watch last night’s debate and I told him probably not. I’ve watched Romney and his privileged prep school routine for years. He wears a smirking upper class disdain for his inferiors (which covers just about everyone) like body armor or more self righteously, like temple underwear and you can read on his face the pompous knowledge that the rest of us are not similarly attired.

I knew going in that nothing would happen in this debate that would change my vote to reelect the president. I told my friend that I would read the transcript the morning after. Being a political junkie I cheated. I watched but switched to the ball game, to an old movie, to a book every ten minutes or so. Whenever the dismal droning of the misinformation and posturing of the “debate” began to grate on my nerves I was able to find respite in the remote.

Reading the transcript this morning I quickly learned that my expectations were borne out by the reality of this ratings circus. A circus that was carried by every network and financed by the same corporate money that fuels these interminable election campaigns. There was nothing to learn here, nothing was said that hasn’t been repeated over and over for the last two years of sound bites, mendacious political ads, and media fueled public backbiting that we have somehow come to accept as the democratic process. (more…)

A Handy Comma Delimited List of Homeland Security Key Words For Home Use

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on February 25, 2012
Bookmark and Share

[Editor's note: “I looked through the list of keywords and a strong percentage of them are words that I've used in various posts on my site and others over the years, in articles both critical and in favor of governmental or business policy.

It would be difficult to write about politics, current events or publish a news story without the normal and casual use of most of these keywords. I can only conclude that we've arrived at a state of almost unimaginable paranoia and the country is finally, irredeemably insane.

If the US was a magazine I'd promptly cancel my subscription.”

Below the fold is a comma delimited list of the keywords from the 39-page "Analyst’s Desktop Binder.” Feel free to copy and paste them into your blog or use them as tags in your posts. You can also use them in family letters, grocery lists, birthday cards or anything you want to draw attention to.  Enjoy.  Bob Higgins] (more…)

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Like Lincoln, Jefferson, Madison – Americans Fear Corporate Control of Public Policy (Updated)

Posted in Citizens United, Financial Crime, Politics by Bob Higgins on February 13, 2012
The Truth About the Original Tea Party

"The Truth About the Original Tea Party" Thom Hartmann

[Editor's note: I wrote this piece two years ago just after the terrible SCOTUS decision in Citizens United. I'm re posting it today in order to include the excellent video by Thom Hartmann "The Truth About the Original Tea Party" Bob Higgins] Updated (originally posted 2/17/10)

The Washington Post’s Dan Eggen reports this morning on the results of a WaPo/ABC News poll which shows Americans to be “overwhelmingly” opposed to the recent SCOTUS decision to allow corporations to spend unlimited amounts of cash in election campaigns.

“Eight in 10 poll respondents say they oppose the high court’s Jan. 21 decision to allow unfettered corporate political spending, with 65 percent “strongly” opposed. Nearly as many backed congressional action to curb the ruling, with 72 percent in favor of reinstating limits. The poll reveals relatively little difference of opinion on the issue among Democrats (85 percent opposed to the ruling), Republicans (76 percent) and independents (81 percent).”

Americans have always been distrustful of corporations and their ability to exercise power and control over public affairs.

Ever since Elizabeth I created the East India Company in 1600, corporations have been a pain in the public neck. Her royal act to protect the monetary interests of wealthy members of her court, parliament and herself created a company that would, over the course of two centuries, grow in power to rival many of the worlds nation states.

A legal fiction, corporations exist solely to protect the oligarchy from the results of their risky behavior in the search for ever greater profit. Incorporate and pass the risk on to someone else, creditors, taxpayers, anyone but those involved in the scheme itself.

Businessmen of the time, as today, were and are, infinitely more comfortable operating in an environment devoid of risk to their profits, unless of course they are operating on someone else’s money, (taxpayers) in which case nearly any risk can be accepted; “it’s public money, double down and toss the dice boys.”

(more…)

Global Unemployment

Posted in Financial Crime, Politics by Bob Higgins on February 10, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Global Unemployment

Global Unemployment

Cross Posted at FilmAnnex
It will offer small consolation to the long term unemployed in the US to know that much of the rest of the world is suffering from the same problem. The International Labor Organization (ILO) reported late last month that more than 1.1 billion people were either unemployed or underemployed and living in the clutches of poverty.

While there may be some truth to the old saw that “misery loves company” and the discovery that there are a billion people in the boat may be somehow weirdly comforting, you have to wonder how long the dinghy will dally on the surface before behaving more like an anchor.

It’s also unsettling to realize just how long the unemployment lines are and how many people have applied for the job you so desperately need. With 1.1 billion people waiting the line will stretch around the globe 25 times so you’re not likely to get home for lunch.
Read more at FilmAnnex

Fracking for Treasure in Trinidad and Tobago

Posted in Environment, Politics by Bob Higgins on February 9, 2012
Trinidad and Tobago Fish Kills

Trinidad and Tobago Fish Kills

Cross posted at Film Annex

“Chevron oil rig on fire in Niger Delta,” “BP’s Deepwater Horizon sinks in Gulf of Mexico,” “Shell confirms oil leak in North Sea,” “Massive fish kill in Trinidad and Tobago.” The headlines have become as familiar as announcements of freeway pile ups and severe thunderstorms.

From Nigeria to the North Sea, from the icy chill of Alaska’s Beaufort Sea to the azure bathwater of the Southern Caribbean the scripts are eerily similar.  They tell stories of thousands of oil or gas rigs, tens, hundreds of thousand of abandoned wells and the extraction of fossil fuels from the earth. Tales of pirates hunting treasure, not cargoes of gold on sunken galleons but poisonous black sludge buried millions of years ago under thousands of feet of rock, under miles of ocean.

The stories begin in sweat and toil, hard labor and mind numbing tedium, stories of men drilling holes in the Earth. Then the special effects begin and the drama unfolds.

Read more at Film Annex

House Ethics Committee’s Report on Newt Gingrich’s Ethics Violations

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on January 27, 2012

Full Text of State of the Union Message of Barack Obama 1/24/12

Posted in History, Politics by Bob Higgins on January 25, 2012

Remarks of President Barack Obama in State of the Union Address — As Prepared for Delivery

State of the Union Address, Washington, DC

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:

Tonight I want to begin by congratulating the men and women of the 112th Congress, as well as your new Speaker, John Boehner. And as we mark this occasion, we are also mindful of the empty chair in this Chamber, and pray for the health of our colleague – and our friend – Gabby Giffords.

It’s no secret that those of us here tonight have had our differences over the last two years. The debates have been contentious; we have fought fiercely for our beliefs. And that’s a good thing. That’s what a robust democracy demands. That’s what helps set us apart as a nation.

But there’s a reason the tragedy in Tucson gave us pause. Amid all the noise and passions and rancor of our public debate, Tucson reminded us that no matter who we are or where we come from, each of us is a part of something greater – something more consequential than party or political preference.

We are part of the American family. We believe that in a country where every race and faith and point of view can be found, we are still bound together as one people; that we share common hopes and a common creed; that the dreams of a little girl in Tucson are not so different than those of our own children, and that they all deserve the chance to be fulfilled.

That, too, is what sets us apart as a nation.

Now, by itself, this simple recognition won’t usher in a new era of cooperation. What comes of this moment is up to us. What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow.

I believe we can. I believe we must. That’s what the people who sent us here expect of us. With their votes, they’ve determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties. New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans. We will move forward together, or not at all – for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics. (more…)

The Mayor of Kabul

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on January 13, 2012

The Mayor of Kabul

Cross posted at Film Annex: The Mayor of Kabul

I imagine that being mayor of a city, despite decent pay and perks, could be a thankless job. Whether you’re the mayor of East Podunk (pop 236) or a metropolis of millions of people most of the problems land on your desk. Problems of moving people around from work to home to play. Keeping the streets clean and safe. Keeping coalitions together, satisfying the divergent interests of the various neighborhoods and competing groups.

Power failures, sporting events, conventions, fires, storms, crimes both petty and spectacular, strikes, all bring an overnight bag or more of grief for the Mayor.

But what must it be like to be Mayor in a city that has grown in population from just over a million to nearly 5 million in eight years,  a city of mostly unpaved roads, a city 3500 years old, with a dozen ethnic groups and half a dozen languages, a city with one foot in the present,  one foot in the past and both planted firmly in a war.

Read the rest at: Film Annex  “The Mayor of Kabul”

Foxconn: Take This Job and Shove Me Off the Roof

Posted in Humor, Labor Health and Safety, Politics by Bob Higgins on January 11, 2012
Foxconn worker suicides

They love their jobs, it shows in their smiling faces.

Do you enjoy reading on your Kindle or wasting time on your Xbox 360? Are you browsing with your iPad or yakking on your iPhone?

When you bought them were you happy with the price?

There may be some hidden costs being paid by the people who make these products.

Foxconn, a manufacturer of circuit boards for a long list of consumer electronics companies including Apple, Microsoft and Amazon is having a bit of a problem in the human resources department. Reports are that on January 2 about three hundred workers in a Foxconn mega factory in Wuhan, China threatened to hurl themselves from the roof of a building in a mass suicide over poor pay and working conditions.

On Jan. 2, over 300 employees at a Foxconn plant in Wuhan, China threatened to throw themselves off a building in a mass suicide. Foxconn makes Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony products. These workers manufacture Xbox 360s.  Kotaku

This isn’t the first time for labor relations problems at Foxconn. Fourteen workers opted for the not so golden departure without a parachute in 2010 which should have indicated that the company had bigger problems than crowded lunchrooms.

Microsoft’s Phil Spencer said at the time, “Foxconn has been an important partner of ours and remains an important partner. I trust them as a responsible company to continue to evolve their process and work relationships. That is something we remain committed to—the safe and ethical treatment of people who build our products. That’s a core value of our company.” Kotaku

Foxconn’s factories have been described in a report by 20 Chinese universities as “labor camps” and “concentration camps:

The company was described in the report as a “concentration camp of workers in the 21st century,” and all the employees are “imprisoned” in the “company empire” in order to serve the manufacturing rule of  “just-in-time production.”

The students are “kidnapped” to work overtime for the company that takes advantage of a lack of laws and regulations to maximize its profits, according to the report. TeleCom Asia

Concern for the suicides caused Foxconn to install suicide prevention netting on buildings at some of its factories and higher wages were promised to the workers who were forced to sign agreements not to sue the company if they harmed themselves or committed suicide.

The higher wages didn’t materialize however hence the recent action and threatened mass suicide.

American workers should sit up and take notice.

When the circuit board factory that you that you work in installs suicide netting around the perimeter of the building to prevent employees from leaping to their deaths you probably have a weak union.

With the dismantling of labor unions, the attacks on the NLRB, continued deregulation of business and the rampant growth of corporate control of government there may soon be a net beneath your office or shop window.

I suppose a smart entreprene­ur would draft a business plan and get an SBA loan to start a company called “Suicide Prevention Nets R Us” and get in on the ground floor of what may become a growth industry.

Bob Higgins

Related stories and sources:
Microsoft Investigates ‘Mass Suicide Threat
300 Chinese Foxconn Workers ‘Threaten Mass Suicide’ At XBox Plant, Reports Claim

More Oil From Macondo?

Posted in Environment, Politics by Bob Higgins on September 12, 2011
Bookmark and Share
Oil Spill From BP's Deepwater Horizon Macondo Field Disaster

Oil Spill From BP's Deepwater Horizon Macondo Field Disaster

The Macondo Prospect, where British Petroleum’s ill fated offshore drill rig exploded and sank last year killing eleven men is a reservoir of oil in the Mississippi Canyon area of the northern Gulf of Mexico about 40 miles off the Louisiana coast.

The rig was actually owned by Transocean, built by South Korean giant Hyundai and under lease to BP at the time of its catastrophic demise. In the high stakes world of oil poker, details of ownership and registry are kept deliberately muddied and overly complex, the better to avoid taxes, laws and other liability and responsibilities.

The prospect which BP bid on in 2008 was estimated to contain 50 million barrels of oil which sounds like quite a lot. Sold at current prices that amount of oil would bring bring in gross revenue of 5 billion dollars and that’s just the cost of the crude. Major oil companies also own the pipelines, refineries and the gas pumps where we go to fill our tanks and pick up a six pack so in addition to the profits at the well they make great chunks of money all the way downstream to our front door and beyond.

50 million barrels of oil is about what we use in this country every 60 hours. That’s right, we use about twenty million barrels every day. The eleven dead, the despoliation of 500 miles of the Gulf’s coast, the crippling of the fishing and tourist industries, the physical destruction of people and wildlife, the damage to their lives and their future well being was all about keeping us cruising the roads and cursing at bubble packaging for a long weekend.

A year ago the NOAA, the Coast Guard, the administration and, of course, BP was telling us that the oil was 70% gone and they were working very hard to make things right. I don’t have to crawl very far out on the limb to say that they were lying then and they continue to lie today.

In the world of business, they’ve grown so accustomed to lying that the truth is no longer necessary.

The oil, BP’s crude gate crasher, appears to be back. In addition to the continual beaching of tarballs from the missing oil at the roiled bottom of the Gulf, expected with the onset of another season of warming waters, tropical storms, and hurricane activity it appears that something is leaking large in the vicinity of the Deepwater Horizon well.

According to an article in Al Jazeera “The return of the BP disaster? “on Thursday, reporting on animal rescue organization Wings of Care and in another piece this morning “Oil Still Gushing From BP Well In Gulf,” September, the most active month of hurricane season is likely to begin uncovering the ugly truth.

It is entirely possible that the coalition of irresponsible and incompetent corporations who gave us the tragic deaths of eleven men and the worst oil spill in our history are no more capable of safely capping a well than they are of safely drilling one, transporting its products, or refining them. They are after all, to be found spilling, gushing, leaking, spraying and otherwise carelessly spewing crude oil all over the Earth.

The reports come at us every month, from the Gulf, Alaska, the North Sea, small towns in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania and from the Yellowstone River. There is no place on earth that these greaseheads will not despoil and are not actively and zealously engaged in destroying. Make a note that these are only the events that get reported or otherwise discovered.

Following the reports linked above, BP is already making noises about “natural oil seeps,” the expression being a large part of the literature that comprises their canned media response.

It’s likely that 60-70 percent of the oil from last year’s spill, rather than conveniently disappearing is laying on the bottom of the Northern Gulf mixed with toxic Corexit. Just laying in wait for a direct hit by something on the scale of last month’s Irene, to spread its filthy fingers all over the southern coast.

As for the current leaks being from natural seeps, I don’t know, but I don’t buy it. There are 4000 active oil and gas platforms in the Gulf and 27,000 that have been plugged and abandoned by actors like BP.

In addition to BP’s giant screw up in the Macondo prospect, the Deepwater Horizon disaster, that’s a lot of unnatural holes.

Bob Higgins

Originally posted at Clean Technica: More Oil From Macondo?

Photo: Courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response Team[see page for license], via Wikimedia Commons

The Creek’s Rising, Texas Is Aflame And My Lawn Chairs Just Passed Memphis

Posted in Environment, Politics by Bob Higgins on September 10, 2011
Bookmark and Share
US Temperature Map Shows Heat and Drought Stricken Southwest

US Temperature Map From Weather Underground

The wildfires continue in Texas. Much of the southwest still suffers under a drought as this summer’s brutal and record breaking heatwave continues.

There are areas of Texas that have gone without measurable rainfall for a year.

It’s the driest it’s been since 1895 when they started keeping records.

Texas Governor Rick “Goodhair” Perry, this month’s centerfold for “Science Denial Magazine” says that people may just have to get used to this toasty new climate.

Perry is on the record, in the recent GOPTP candidates debate he accused climate scientists of manipulating data to keep the research grants and the money rolling in.

I don’t know, a vast worldwide conspiracy of marginally paid climate science academics seems, somehow… unlikely.

His state, or a large part of it is on fire, over fourteen hundred homes have burned and there are at least four dead but his ideological certainties remain un-threatened by readily available evidence and unchanged in spite of the hot breezes causing the copious beads of prairie sweat that stain the Stetsons of his neighbors.

Fanned by winds that are carrying off precious Texas topsoil by the ton, a scene reminiscent of the Dust Bowl of 80 years ago,the fires are raging out of control through much of central Texas amidst an atmosphere of political certainty about the righteousness of Lilliputian government, of no taxes and no money to fight fires or train even volunteer firefighters. They have to shell out of their own pocket to buy gear and gas.

As Lucia Graves and Jason Cherkis at TheHufington Post report: Back in May, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) signed a budget presented by the state legislature that cut funding for the state agency in charge of combating such blazes.

The Texas Forest Service’s funding was sliced from $117.7 million to $83 million. More devastating cuts hit the assistance grants to volunteer fire departments around the state. Those grants were slashed 55 percent from $30 million per year in 2010 and 2011 to $13.5 million per year in 2012 and 2013. Those cuts are effective now.  Rick Perry’s Budget Leaves Texans In Bind Amidst Historic Wildfires

This is an atmosphere that unfortunately, is not confined to Texas, a political cult has developed that seriously believes that people should fight their own fires. This cult apparently believes that only socialists call the fire department or the police.  A truly self reliant follower of this line of Randian “reasoning” would get a bucket and bravely put out the blaze or get his trusty six gun and capture the bad guys himself. If one needs a road to drive on to reach the fire well by golly don’t be a socialist wimp,just bring a shovel and take care of that project while you’re there.

While you have your bucket out

Wildfire update – Sept. 8, 2011

Current situation:

· Yesterday Texas Forest Service responded to 20 new fires for 1,422 acres, including new large fires in Red River, Smith, and Cherokee/Rusk counties.

· In the past seven days Texas Forest Service has responded to 176 fires for 126,844 acres.

· A more comprehensive assessment has been completed on the Bastrop County Complex by FEMA and the State Operations Center. The total number of homes destroyed on that fire is now confirmed at 1,386. Approximately 240 additional homes have been reported lost on other fires since Sunday, for a total of approximately 1,626. From: Texas Forest Service

Speaking on climate  in Sydney, Australia Ban Ki Moon declared that  “…we are running out of time” and as reports roll in of drought and famine in the Horn of Africa, extreme weather events worldwide, massive flooding in Northern Australia, Moon said, “This is a global race to save the planet.”

There is no such sense of urgency among American politicians as  Obama reigns in the EPA, takes the leash off of Shell in the Beaufort Sea and speeds the process of drilling offshore. The State Department indicates that it is likely to give approval to the 1700 mile toxic bitumen pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, a project that will span the nation under spacious skies, climb purple mountain’s majesty, slice through amber waves of grain and cross our largest aquifer of freshwater  to provide greater security for oil company profits.

On the other side of the political food fight the republicans have no time for climate change, occupied as they are with fighting the twin scourges of Social Security and Medicare while defending the barricades against teachers, bus drivers, fire fighters and other enemies of the state and insuring that no woman gets an abortion and no child is exposed to science or gets a free lunch.

In a column at the Huff Post last week environmentalist, actor and director, Robert Redford asked the question, “Is the Obama Administration Putting Corporate Profits Above Public Health?”The short answer is yes…wait, that’s also the long answer and probably the only answer.

The waters are rising, the dead ocean is in the living room,the sewage ridden river is lapping at the kitchen door and the lawn furniture just blew past Memphis but please get these scientists out of our classrooms.

Everyone is being sold out here, every plant, animal and microbe on the planet is being sacrificed to the greed of big oil, big coal, big gas and big corporate profit. No air worth breathing? No water fit to drink? Is your food poisoning your family?

The republicans say they have the answer, just get rid of the American government and let the corporations run this place like a business.

Maybe that’s the “credible threat” that Homeland Security is currently babbling about, the republicans are taking over and they’re goin to run this show like Enron, Lehman Brothers or Bank of America.

I don’t know how credible the threat is but it’s pretty scary.

Bob Higgins

Must read:
Perry Tales: Rick Is Not Who He Says He Is

Weekly Reads From Common Dreams 9/10/11

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on September 10, 2011

Sarah Palin Hovers In Mid Air Unannounced And Unnoticed In Iowa Half Marathon

Posted in Humor, Politics by Bob Higgins on September 6, 2011
Bookmark and Share

Sarah Palin Flying, Running or Hovering Unannounced And Unnoticed In Iowa Click on Image to enlarge.

Greta Van What’sHerName ran the photo at left on her blog on Sunday morning.

The Huffington Post reported:
Sarah Palin ran a half-marathon after giving a speech at a Tea Party rally in Iowa on September 4.
Palin ran unannounced in the “Jump Right in and Run” half-marathon sponsored by Storm Lake Running Club. She registered for the race under her maiden name, Sarah Heath, and listed her hometown as Des Moines.

News of Palin’s participation in the race broke after Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren posted a photo to her website of a runner she claimed was the former vice presidential candidate.

I’m no expert on Photoshop but this looks suspicious to me. Not only does she appear to be effortlessly flying along, or just suspended in mid air she’s the only one not running on the course… in the street, it’s that maverick thing again, I guess.

She does have an interesting running style though, if there were a broom involved she’d be in danger of being mistaken for Christine O’Donnell.

Greta doesn’t explain where she got the photo and there’s no credit or I’d run it here.

Bob Higgins

Sarah Palin Runs Iowa Half-Marathon Unannounced Over Labor Day Weekend.

Good Morning Irene

Posted in Bob Higgins at Clean Technica, Environment, Wind Power by Bob Higgins on September 4, 2011
Bookmark and Share

Hurricane Irene Beaufort, North Carolina Coordinates: 34°43′15″N 76°39′9″W

It’s 4AM on Saturday and I’m up early. When you cant go back to sleep in the 21st century you turn the on computer, then the news.

According to NOAA, and verified visually on Google Earth, Hurricane Irene is centered at 33.7N and 77.5W which puts it in position to munch Beaufort, North Carolina just a degree or so north and west at 4°43′15″N 76°39′9″W according to Wikipedia.

A degree of latitude is about 69 miles and NOAA tells me that the Lady is moving north at 12 knots which means landfall in a few  hours.

As you can see this is a monster of a storm stretching up the east coast from the Carolinas to New York and beyond.

Originally posted at Clean Technica: Good Morning Irene

(more…)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,509 other followers