Temporarily Or Permanently, I’ve Moved…

… to my old Blogger blog. But rather than bookmarking it directly, you should bookmark the following link:


That’s a forwarding address that will take you to wherever I’m blogging at the moment. Create a link in your browser and paste that URL into it directly, and I promise you you can forget about the actual site address for a long time. If I stay on Blogger, that link will take you there. If I move back to WordPress, that link will take you here. If you blogroll me, please use this forwarding address, not the one your browser shows, in your blogroll.

Don’t bother commenting on this WordPress blog, even if you manage to sneak one past the filter. New posts and new comments go on the Blogger blog until further notice.

This whole experience has been a royal PITA which I hope to spare you all in the future.

UPDATE: I logged out of WordPress to test behavior on an “ordinary” (non-owner) user, and afterward, for a good 10 minutes or more, any attempt to log in resulted in a socket disconnect. WordPress itself was not down; I checked. I don’t know what’s going on, but it’s not looking good for the “home team.” As mentioned above, there’s a link which goes to the blog I’m using at the moment; please save it and use it.

Please Use The Same Site Name As This One…

… but substitute “blogspot” for “wordpress” in the URL. I have an interesting story to tell you, but I need to do it there, not here. Hell, I might even have to ROT13 it… nah. It’s not raunchy enough for that. Oh, and you might want to bookmark the other site, just in case…

A Short Excerpt From Paul Krugman’s New Book

… via the New York Review of Books. The question “when shall I read this book” has devolved into a question “when will this book be available from the public library.” I just looked in the online catalog: with only one copy and five holds, it may be a while. Similar questions will have similar answers… until and unless we manage to End This Depression Now! so that I can buy the book outright. (The link is to Elliott Bay Book Company because I once visited them and liked their store a great deal.) The free chapter in New York Review makes it clear that the book is well worth reading. Maybe someone should send a copy to Obama… and another to Rmoney. COD, of course.

TransCanada Quietly Reapplies, Keystone XL Pipeline Planned On Original Schedule

We live in an age of zombie environmental nightmares, and the Keystone XL pipeline, slated to transport tar sands, the dirtiest of fossil fuels, from Canada to Texas, has just risen from the dead to resume its glazed-eyed walk across our landscape, defying tradition by crossing and endangering an estimated 101 bodies of water. Here are a few details from MarketWatch:

TORONTO -(MarketWatch)- TransCanada Corp. TRP -1.29% said Friday that it resubmitted an application for a U.S. permit for its controversial Keystone XL oil-pipeline expansion, rejected by the White House earlier this year after it became a political flashpoint ahead of this year’s presidential election.

The Calgary-based pipeline company said it will supplement its application, which was submitted to the U.S. Department of State, with a proposed, alternative route in Nebraska as soon as that route is selected. Nebraska became the focal point of some of the most vocal opposition to the line.

TransCanada has long maintained it planned to resubmit its application. U.S. President Barack Obama rejected the line after Republican lawmakers imposed an early deadline on the decision, part of a broader tax compromise with the president.

The reapplication doesn’t likely change the timing of an ultimate decision on the project. The White House said it would welcome a resubmission, but because of the time required to process and review a new application, a decision isn’t expected until after the November presidential elections.

Read the rest, if you have the stomach. Remember, this is from an investment web site; don’t expect much in the way of politics, either pro‑environment or pro‑fossil‑fuels. I chose it specifically for that reason.

Whatever Obama’s virtues… the primary one being that he is not Mitt Romney, and one of the two of them will be president next year… he’s always been a lover of fossil fuels. Remember how easily BP got off from the Deepwater Horizon disaster that effectively wrecked the Gulf Coast… Obama seems ready to let drilling companies go at it again. (There are a few conspiracy theories on the web that I do not believe: Obama, not a creature of malice, is simply a pro-business Republican-style president who isn’t going to let a massive Gulf-destroying oil spill get in the way of further drilling. Back in the day, his biggest sin was regulatory negligence.)

But Obama has another flaw… or virtue, depending on how you look at it: like most other politicians, he loves to look good to the public. Our task is to keep the pressure on him to do what he’s disinclined to do… reject Keystone XL’s permit application… especially after the election if Obama wins. (I consider the matter hopeless if Rmoney wins… there’s no pro-environment Richard Nixon in that man!)

What can you do? Try writing EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (email: jackson.lisap@epa.gov). Find a petition and sign it; e.g., CREDO has one going here. Lather Reince; repeat… um, I mean, lather, rinse, repeat, several times between now and elections… and again, louder, after elections, if Obama wins.

CISPA: Your Privacy At Severe Risk Of Government‑Corporate Surveillance

Following up on the earlier CISPA post, Anjali Dalal of AlterNet has a concentrated summary of CISPA and all the last-minute amendments applied last Thursday evening before the bill was passed unexpectedly by the House. Many of the amendments appear to have been inserted (and others deleted) in defiance of reservations expressed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Democracy and Technology, all of whom were at least in theory invited to “participate” in amending the bill. Here’s Dalal:

Learning their lesson from SOPA, the House decided to invite civil liberties constituencies to the table so as to avoid having to witness another implosion of a major legislative goal. As a result, a number of amendments were introduced that began to address some of the most egregious parts of the bill, and, in response, some members of the civil liberties community decided to withhold further, vocal opposition. Then, on Thursday evening, it all fell apart. As Josh Smith at the National Journal described, the CISPA that was passed by the House on Thursday didn’t reflect this negotiation: …

Ah, the grand Republican tradition, let everyone have their say and then pass whatever they damned well please. “We listened to you!” they will doubtless protest. Yes, fuck them dead, they did. An overwhelming number of the amendments ultimately incorporated were Republican, while most Democratic amendments were omitted by the Republican-dominated House Rules Committee.

The linked AlterNet article discusses quite a few amendments. All I can say on a quick reading is that the words “warrantless” and “immunity” appear often, allowing warrantless searches by corporations (!) to be reported to government agencies with immunity for the corporations involved. These GOP guys ‘n’ gals really, really don’t like the “no search without a warrant” principle, and they really, really do like subcontracting legitimately government-only activities to private corporations.

Do you get the feeling that that pompous, ritualistic reading of the Constitution at the opening of the last House session was totally lost on the members of one party, and maybe some of the other party’s members as well?

Does anybody know the status of Obama’s original threat to veto this bill if it crosses his desk? Has he caved yet?

Did The Stimulus Work?

Mark Thoma of Economist’s View (references to whom often appear in Paul Krugman’s blog) answers by quoting an LA Times article: “According to a collaboration between Fitch Ratings and Oxford economics, the answer is yes: …” Here’s the hed and first graf of the LAT article:

Government stimulus moves may have ended recession, by Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times: Without the unprecedented stimulus actions by the federal government triggered by the 2008 financial crisis, the Great Recession might still be going on, according to a study by Fitch Ratings. …

Thoma’s post reproduces a wonderful graph of GDP showing what happened vs. what might have happened without the stimulus, based on Oxford Economics and Fitch Ratings. The difference in GDP increase with and without the stimulus is striking; please go look at it.

So, American voters, in light of this apparent success of Obama’s policy approach to the Great Recession (even if inadequate and even if the banksters and other large corp’s got goodies out of it and even if unemployment is still unacceptably high), you need to ask yourself one question: faced with the same circumstance (which he may well be), how likely is it that Mitt Romney would arrange or  would have arranged any sort of stimulus at all? Right. That was my answer, too. Remember, either Obama or Romney will, with virtual certanty, be president in 2013; there is no viable third choice.

If Americans are supposed to vote their pocketbooks, and if they are smart enough to get their news from something besides Fox, Obama should take this one in a walk, thanks to the effects of the stimulus. That’s a couple of major assumptions, however. You might actually bother to go to the polls in November…

Christmas Eve?

TPM’s Nick R. Martin:

Longtime white supremacist and border vigilante JT Ready saw himself as part of a war that few others would fight. He amassed weapons. He donned a uniform. He formed his own brigade of volunteers to walk alongside him as he hunted what he described as “narco terrorists” flowing across the Arizona-Mexico border.

On Wednesday, reports out of Arizona said Ready died, not at the hands of drug runners, but with his own gun during a mad rampage inside a suburban home just east of Phoenix. Along the way, the reports said, he took the lives of four other people, including a toddler.

The Arizona Republic reported the victims were Ready’s girlfriend, her daughter, the daughter’s boyfriend and the daughter’s 18-month-old baby. Ready still somehow managed to use the event to blame immigrants even after his death. A posting on his Facebook page appeared hours after the massacre took place.

(Link to Ready’s Facebook page removed. Some things are just too grotesque to link to. If you want to see it… I don’t… the original article has the link.)

To Nutcase Rightwing Asswipe members, it’s just another day; it’s part of what guns are for.

To those of us concerned with the ease of obtaining high-capacity automatic firearms, concealed-carry permits without a serious background check, a waiting period and at least a cursory psychological stability exam by a professional shrink, we’re like kids on Christmas Eve who just learned that there’s no sanity clause.

Sorry; I couldn’t help myself.

I am honestly glad this guy is gone and that it was done by his own hand. I regret terribly, grieving for the innocent dead, that four other people including a toddler had to perish along with him. Surely there must have been some way in law of preventing this tragedy without infringing on legitimate… by which I mean sane… gun owners’ rights. Being certifiably psycho should be a legal disqualification for gun ownership. No other constitutionally protected right Americans enjoy is unregulated in law; firearm ownership should be regulated along with the rest of our rights.

(NOTE: Commenting on this post will be restricted to my regular visitors. All other comments will be deleted unread.)

Bad News For Planned Parenthood In Texas

Remember a couple of days ago when Planned Parenthood of Texas was handed a favorable ruling saying that preventing them from receiving state funds was unconstitutional? Remember how Mad Kane said those rulings are usually overturned?

Well, it’s not quite that bad, but it’s bad enough. Here’s the word, from Melaney A. Linton, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, in an email:

The good news we received on Monday afternoon was short-lived.  Judge Lee Yeakel agreed with Planned Parenthood and stopped the state’s unconstitutional rule that excluded Planned Parenthood health centers from providing care to women enrolled in the WHP.

Then the bad news was delivered at the stroke of midnight when Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jerry Smith granted the state their request for an emergency hold on the injunction.  This “emergency” hold meant that the state’s unconstitutional rule could go into effect and Planned Parenthood health centers would be excluded from the WHP. 

Just when we thought the political games couldn’t get any worse for low-income Texas women, they did.

I wish I believed in a Hell for the bastards to rot in.

Forty Years Of WOW – The War On Workers – In America

Here’s another dog-bites-man story, an economic tale of today’s America that only a Republican could love or ignore or feign surprise at. TPM’s Brian Beutler points us to a preview of the Economic Policy Institute’s forthcoming publication, “The State of Working America,” and the state is… not good. The preview, “The wedges between productivity and median compensation growth” by Lawrence Mishel, informs us that from 1948 (my birth year) to 2011, while worker productivity has gained 254.3% in a more or less straight-line increase, hourly compensation has gained only 113.1% in the same time period. The hourly compensation curve tracks the productivity curve up to the early 1970s, but then flattens out as wages have stagnated for four decades. See the linked EPI article for those graphs.

Another graph is more interesting. This one shows productivity gains from 1973 to 2011… more or less my working lifetime… about 80.4%, again in a more-or-less straight line… and median hourly compensation, by gender. Median male compensation has increased almost not at all… 0.1%. Overall median hourly compensation has increased only 10.7%… remember, this is in the face of an 80% productivity gain.

Average hourly compensation has grown by 39.2%, vastly more than median hourly compensation gains, which means most of the gains by both women and men have gone to higher-paid workers. Median female compensation has grown by only 33.2%, in other words, nowhere close to the average though well above the both-genders median. (I assume the much higher gains for women are because equal-pay laws have somewhat ameliorated the unconscionable underpayment of women in earlier decades.) Here is the graph:


I said at the beginning that this is a dog-bites-man story. If you are a working-class, working-age American, you scarcely need to be told that you are working harder and more hours while your personal economic situation is simply not improving. Of course there are exceptions, but remember the above graph deals in the median… the most typical numbers… and the average numbers. On the whole, all those productivity gains meant profit gains for your employers. Well and good; there’s nothing immoral about profit… unless it is not shared with the people who make it possible. And those are the workers in America who are just plain not getting a fair deal. We’ve doubled our productivity and gotten squat for our reward. That is wrong.

As someone once said on the ancient 1960s/1970s comedy TV show Laugh-In, “We upped our work production… up yours!” It was funnier before it became a true rendition of the attitude of the 1% toward the 99%.

Greece: People Are Eating Out Of Dumpsters

L’Enfant de la Haute Mer has the story (please use Google Translate if you don’t read Greek).

This has happened in the United States within my lifetime, notably in the era of the “sainted” Ronald Reagan. I’ve seen it myself. Every grocery store dumpster had its regulars; it was presumably their main source of food.

It should never have happened in the United States. It should never again be allowed to happen in the United States. And it should not be allowed to happen in Greece or any other Eurozone country. Allowing people to starve in a setting of great wealth (which the Eurozone is) is simply wrong.