Bob Higgins

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
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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

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

Posted in Humor, Politics by Bob Higgins on September 6, 2011
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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.

Congress Searches Universe for Grand Unified Theory

Posted in Financial Crime, Politics by Bob Higgins on August 12, 2011
Super Committee's Solution, Un-Debateably Pretty

Super Committee's Solution, Un-Debateably Pretty

Superman, Super bowl, super size, super model.

Put the word super in front of another noun and it supposedly becomes larger than life itself. A marketing gimmick used by everyone from defense contractors to hamburger hucksters, super has become a super cliché.

Now the appellation is used as a modifier to name a congressional committee that we are to believe will go where no committee has gone before, to the far edges of the deficit universe in search of the dark matter of budget reform. The committee and the discoveries and conclusions it returns to the mother ship, will be immune, we’re told, from partisan bickering, from argument, from filibuster and amendment.

The committee of twelve has been stacked with 6 republicans and Max Baucus and its conclusions must be voted up or down by the full congress without further discussion or amendment. It would be lovely to test the constitutionality of this super legal committee in the SCOTUS but more than half of the court’s super annuated members have been super politicized by super PAC super dollars.

This “super committee” is yet another misdirection play, a sleight of hand to distract the public from the fact that the deal has already been done in the boardrooms and executive suites of our self-serving corporations. The marching orders have already been written, the lobby lizards are working the aisles and congress is drooling over the checks that are about to hit their campaign accounts. (more…)

Newt Gingrich Discusses Potential Obama Impeachment

Posted in News, Politics by Bob Higgins on February 25, 2011
Newt Gingrich Talks Obama Impeachment

Newt Gingrich Talks Obama Impeachment

Newt Gingrich is moaning the impeachment word again over what he calls Obama’s unacceptable action re DOMA.

Newt didn’t read all the way through: From: HuffingtonPost

“Attorney General Eric Holder said President Barack Obama has concluded that the administra­tion cannot defend the federal law that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. He noted that the congressio­nal debate during passage of the Defense of Marriage Act “contains numerous expression­s reflecting moral disapprova­l of gays and lesbians and their intimate and family relationsh­ips – precisely the kind of stereotype­-based thinking and animus the (Constitut­ion’s) Equal Protection Clause is designed to guard against.”

“Much of the legal landscape has changed in the 15 years since Congress passed” the Defense of Marriage Act, Holder said in a statement. He noted that the Supreme Court has ruled that laws criminaliz­ing homosexual conduct are unconstitu­tional and that Congress has repealed the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.” Obama: DOMA Unconstitutional, DOJ Should Stop Defending In Court

The Pres and the AG are anticipati­ng that the law will be stricken down by the courts for reasons quoted above. There is no point in defending a law so obviously flawed and spending millions trying to uphold it when any conviction­s will be overturned in the end.

Gee Newt, try and think of it as a common sense, cost cutting, budgetary coup.

Bob Higgins

Read the Article and watch Video at HuffingtonPost

What do Snooki, Hugh Hefner and a Chimp Have in Common with the Bush Tax Cuts?

Posted in Guest Columns, Politics, Robert Greenwald, Uncategorized, Veterans News by Bob Higgins on December 1, 2010
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Bush Tax Cuts

Extending the Bush Tax Cuts: Reckless

From Robert Greenwald:

This video highlights some of the craziness around what extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans could mean in terms of spending. The average amount these tax cuts would give is $80,000, which would allow a rich American to hire the entire staff of the Jersey Shore to appear at a party, or it could pay one month of unemployment for 273 Americans. But when you look at the richest of the rich, say, CEOs of big banks on Wall Street, they would stand to gain even more, reaping between $700,000 and 1.6 million each from these tax cuts.

Extending tax cuts to the richest 2% of Americans would cost our country $700 billion in new debt. At a time when nearly 15 million Americans are out of work, and over 2 million are in danger of losing their homes, Congress’ priority needs to be the 98% of Americans who need the most support.

Tell Congress that they must NOT pass a tax cut for the wealthiest 2% of Americans.

Call Your Representatives now and tell them not to spend $700 billion on the richest among us. In this time of high unemployment and housing lost, we need to have better priorities!

Here’s the number for the House (202) 224-3121

Once you’ve made your call, visit here and share with us how it went and why you oppose tax cuts for the wealthy.

Read more at The Huffington Post


Misdirected Class Warfare? Yeah, We Need To Start At The Top

Posted in Uncategorized by Bob Higgins on October 8, 2010
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class warfare

Class Warfare ?

President Obama has once again taken his case to the people and around here we’re glad to see it.

He’s attacking the Bush tax cuts, the moneyed class who claim that they would have to close off a few bedrooms without them, thereby putting a chambermaid out of work, and the Republican prison guards who begin fibrillating at the thought of losing that chambermaid they had grown so fond of.

The country is teetering at the precipice of bankruptcy because it has been fleeced by its wealthiest and most powerful people and corporations and now that the working classes are on the ropes, out of work, behind on the rent, the ruling class wants more.

There are torches in the woods carried by folks in evening wear and I’m hearing shouts of “down with the minimum wage,” “privatize social security,” “let them work till eighty,” “the people are spoiled,” and they’re worried abut “class warfare?” (more…)

Justice Stevens Dissent in Citizens United V Federal Election Commission

Posted in Financial Crime, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on October 7, 2010

Justice Stevens, with whom Justice Ginsburg , Justice Breyer, and Justice Sotomayor join, concurring in part and dissenting in part.

The real issue in this case concerns how, not if, the appellant may finance its electioneering. Citizens United is a wealthy nonprofit corporation that runs a political action committee (PAC) with millions of dollars in assets. Under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), it could have used those assets to televise and promote Hillary: The Movie wherever and whenever it wanted to. It also could have spent unrestricted sums to broadcast Hillary at any time other than the 30 days before the last primary election. Neither Citizens United’s nor any other corporation’s speech has been “banned,” ante , at 1. All that the parties dispute is whether Citizens United had a right to use the funds in its general treasury to pay for broadcasts during the 30-day period. The notion that the First Amendment dictates an affirmative answer to that question is, in my judgment, profoundly misguided. Even more misguided is the notion that the Court must rewrite the law relating to campaign expenditures by for-profit corporations and unions to decide this case. (more…)

Tell Teabaggers and Plutocrats Alike: NO! Vote Democratic

Posted in Environment, Financial Crime, Humor, News, Politics, Religion, Uncategorized by Bob Higgins on October 7, 2010
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In an essay at Huff Post yesterday, ” Obama’s Critics Are Dead Wrong” Frank Schaeffer wrote:

“Before he’d served even one year, President Obama lost the support of the easily distracted left and engendered the white hot rage of the hate-filled right. But some of us, from all walks of life and ideological backgrounds — are sticking with our president. Why? Because he is succeeding. Obama’s critics from the left and right are going to be proved dead wrong.

We Obama supporters still trust our initial impression of him as a great, good and uniquely qualified man to lead us.

Obama’s steady supporters will be proved right. Obama’s lefty critics will be remembered as easily panicked and prematurely discouraged at best and his critics on the right will be remembered as nothing but shriveled hate mongers.”

I’m wildly ambivalent about Frank’s post. I don’t know what he intends with the use of “lefty” here, but I’m a liberal, I’m disappointed with the rate of progress of the Obama administration, I’m not panicky nor easily distracted and I agree and disagree with Schaeffer at the same time.

Did Obama and the Dems get dealt a bad hand? Yes. They were dealt what Bud Abbot told Lou Costello was a “fliddly diddly” as Bud claimed the pot. “What’s that?” Lou said. “No two cards alike,” said Bud as he raked in the chips. (more…)

Review the Minimum Wage? Hey Linda McMahon, Wrestle This!

Posted in Financial Crime, Humor, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on October 1, 2010
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McMahon Preparing for the Senate

 

Linda McMahon, the billionaire running for a US  Senate seat in Connecticut on the uninformed idiot program initiated this election cycle by the Teabagger wing of the GOP says that the minimum wage should be reviewed.

This woman, who hauls in about 50 million bucks a year from her business of parading large, steroid ridden guys in bikini underwear around a “wrestling” ring, while talking adolescent trash in theatrically loud gravelly voices thinks that $7.75 an hour may be overly generous.

She wasn’t sure what the minimum wage actually is nor could she say whether or not she had any employees who were paid the minimum.

Her level of knowledge of America’s workforce, including her own employees dovetails quite nicely with that of other Teabagger candidates in the race,  some of whom are at this moment staring intently at monkeys, watching for evolutionary change. (more…)

Republicans Shown to be Genetically Altered Bi Pedal Parrots

Posted in Guest Columns, Humor, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on September 24, 2010

Tea Party Script Written In Washington (VIDEO)
On the large scale I witness this every day on cable news. It doesn’t matter what issue or event they happen to be addressing for the cameras republicans all sound as if they checked a copy of the official script from the office of republican message control and wrote it on their hands.

On a smaller more personal scale, my brother has become a bipedal parrot who repeats republican and teabagger, talking points and Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and Glen Beck aphorisms nearly every waking moment of his tortured delusional life.

The only good news for me is I don’t have to feed him crackers.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Sally Kohn: An Ideological Intervention: Tax Cuts for the Rich

Posted in Arts and Entertainment, Guest Columns, Humor, News, Politics, Sally Kohn, Uncategorized by Bob Higgins on September 22, 2010
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[Editor’s note: Sally Kohn of Movement Vision Labs posted this excellent and hilarious video at Huff Post before lunch. It’s the best, the most concise post I’ve read dealing with ending the Bush tax cuts, and it’s in layman’s language so I totally understood it. I think you will too. I think I have permission to run it, but it’s so good I’m going to take a chance before I hear from her. Bob Higgins]

How stupid is the idea of extending tax cuts for the top 1% of Americans and further draining resources for the average, hard-working Americans?

To find an analogy, you need look no further than your own hand. Check out my latest popular education 101 video about why cutting taxes for the rich in the midst of our economic crisis is bad for you and our overall body politic.  Sally Kohn

Morning Reads Here in Flyover-ville

Posted in Humor, News, Politics, Pop Culture, Religion, Veterans News by Bob Higgins on September 14, 2010
  • Pepe Escobar, Asia Times: …as a graphic illustration of Islamophobia defeated, nothing beats what happened in Amarillo, Texas, the same day. David Grisham, the wacko director of one Repent Amarillo organization, who had planned his own Koran-burning session in support of Gainesville, Florida, pastor and instant global celebrity Terry Jones, was about to commit the act in front of around 200 people when, out of nowhere comes … ‘Dude, you have no Koran’
  • Bob Egelko, SanFrancisco Chronicle: State regulators will take their first look today at a proposal backed by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. that would require customers to pay all costs of catastrophic fires, such as last week’s gas-line explosion in San Bruno, that exceed a utility’s insurance coverage. San Bruno blast: PG&E backs bid to bill public
  • Tomgram, Engelhardt and Turse: Oh, those madcap Pentagon bureaucrats and the zany horde of generals and admirals who go with them! Give them credit: no one on Earth knows how to throw a war like they do — and they never go home. The Wacky World of American War
  • Ted Koppel,Washington Post: The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, succeeded far beyond anything Osama bin Laden could possibly have envisioned. This is not just because they resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths, nor only because they struck at the heart of American financial and military power. Those outcomes were only the bait; it would remain for the United States to spring the trap Nine years after 9/11, let’s stop playing into bin Laden’s hands
  • Matt Stopera, BuzzFeed: A wonderful collection of Teabagger drag. The 13 Hottest Fashion Trends At The 9/12 Tea Party Rally
  • David Evans, Bloomberg: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs failed to inform 6 million soldiers and their families of an agreement enabling Prudential Financial Inc. to withhold lump-sum payments of life insurance benefits for survivors of fallen service members, according to records made public through a Freedom of Information request. Veterans Agency Made Secret Deal Over Benefits

Imperial Airliner, London 1930s