Daily Archive: 04/22/2013

Apr 22 2013

Earth Day 2013: Bidder #70

Today is Earth Day and the fight to protect our environment continues with a focus on global climate change, stopping fracking and the KeystoneXL pipeline that will carry the dirtiest oil on earth across the US. One of the heroes of the fight against the oil industries’ zeal to drill for oil on public lands, is environmental activist Tim DeChristopher has been released from custody after serving 21 months in federal prison.

DeChristopher was arrested after an attempt to buy more than 22,000 acres of land in a 2008 oil and gas lease auction. His act of civil disobedience (done while he was still enrolled at the University of Utah) led to charges of making false statements and violating the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act. He was sentenced to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The auction was later negated and leases revoked after the Obama administration found that the land should have never even gone up for sale.

His trial lasted for over two years and his lawyers weren’t allowed to use a defense that his actions were a lesser evil than allowing for oil and gas development and environmental harm. [..]

A documentary about his trial, “Bidder 70,” will be screened around the country on Monday in celebration of Earth Day. DeChristopher will make his first public appearance at a screening and Q-and-A in Salt Lake City, which will be streamed over the Internet at 9 p.m. EDT on April 22.

Tim was interviewed today by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now

In a Democracy Now! exclusive on Earth Day, climate change activist Tim DeChristopher joins us for his first interview since being released from federal custody after serving 21 months in detention. DeChristopher was convicted of interfering with a 2008 public auction when he disrupted the Bush administration’s last-minute move to sell off oil and gas exploitation rights in Utah. He posed as a bidder and won drilling lease rights to 22,000 acres of land in an attempt to save the property from oil and gas extraction. The auction itself was later overturned and declared illegal, a fact that DeChristopher’s defense attorneys were prevented from telling the jury. His case is the subject of the documentary, “Bidder 70,” which will screen all over the country today to mark his release and Earth Day. The founder of the climate justice group Peaceful Uprising, Tim DeChristopher joins us to discuss his ordeal, his newfound freedom, and his plans to continue his activism in the climate justice movement.

Transcript can be read here.

Apr 22 2013

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Jim Hightower: This Earth Day Should We Be Weeping or Cheering?

There are plenty of horrors to make you weep this Earth Day. But tears don’t bring change.

Earth Day cometh — the 43rd year of this national focus on the state of our globe. So, how is Earth doing? Should we be weeping … or cheering?

Both.

The first step to any recovery is recognition of the obvious: Earth has a problem. In fact, beaucoup of them. For example, despite the squawking of profiteering polluters and professional deniers, our very atmosphere — without which everyone and everything is dead — is rapidly being degenerated by our own addiction to fossil fuel, literally altering Earth’s climate in disastrous ways. Yet, as we burn, energy corporations blithely fiddle.

Paul Krugman: The Jobless Trap

F.D.R. told us that the only thing we had to fear was fear itself. But when future historians look back at our monstrously failed response to economic depression, they probably won’t blame fear, per se. Instead, they’ll castigate our leaders for fearing the wrong things.

For the overriding fear driving economic policy has been debt hysteria, fear that unless we slash spending we’ll turn into Greece any day now. After all, haven’t economists proved that economic growth collapses once public debt exceeds 90 percent of G.D.P.?

Well, the famous red line on debt, it turns out, was an artifact of dubious statistics, reinforced by bad arithmetic. And America isn’t and can’t be Greece, because countries that borrow in their own currencies operate under very different rules from those that rely on someone else’s money. After years of repeated warnings that fiscal crisis is just around the corner, the U.S. government can still borrow at incredibly low interest rates.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Real Faces of the Minimum Wage

Corporate interests and their elected representatives have created a world of illusion in order to resist paying a decent wage to working Americans. They’d have us believe that minimum-wage workers are teens from ’50s TV sitcoms working down at the local malt shoppe.

It’s a retro-fantasy where corporate stinginess creates minority jobs, working parents can’t possibly be impoverished, and nobody gets hurt except kids who drive dad’s convertible and top up their allowances with a minimum-wage job slinging burgers. [..]

Here’s the truth: Most minimum-wage workers are adults, the majority of them are women, and many are parents who are trying to raise their children on poverty wages.

New York Times Editorial Board: How to Handle a Terrorism Case

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina apparently has a thermal-imaging device for detecting the motivation of the man arrested on suspicion of bombing the Boston Marathon. He and three other Republican lawmakers declared – without the benefit of evidence – that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be considered an enemy combatant, not a criminal, and should be held by the military without access to a lawyer or the fundamental rights that distinguish this country from authoritarian regimes.

Mr. Graham’s reckless statement makes a mockery of the superb civilian police work that led to the suspect’s capture, starting with a skillful analysis of video recordings of the marathon. The law enforcement system solved the case swiftly and efficiently, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local police, and as shocking as the attack was, there is no reason civilian prosecutors, defense lawyers and courts cannot continue to do their work – especially since they have proved themselves far better at it than the military.

Ralph Nader: He Is Comfortable with Bush’s Inferno

George W. Bush is riding high. A megamillionaire, from the taxpayer-subsidized Texas Rangers company, he makes $150,000 to $200,000 per speech, receives a large presidential pension and support facilities and is about to dedicate the $500 million George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on April 25.

President Obama will be at the dedication, continuing to legitimize Mr. Bush, as he did from the outset by announcing in 2009 there would be no investigations or prosecutions of the Bush officials for their crimes.

In an interview with the New York Times, Mr. Bush continued to say he has no regrets about his Presidency. “I’m comfortable with what I did,” he said, “I’m comfortable with who I am.” He added, “Much of my presidency was defined by things that you didn’t necessarily want to have happen.”

Apr 22 2013

On This Day In History April 22

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

April 22 is the 112th day of the year (113th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 253 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1978, The Blues Brothers make their world premiere on Saturday Night Live.

It was Marshall Checker, of the legendary Checker brothers, who first discovered them in the gritty blues clubs of Chicago’s South Side in 1969 and handed them their big break nine years later with an introduction to music-industry heavyweight and host of television’s Rock Concert, Don Kirshner. Actually, none of that is true, but it’s the story that Saturday Night Live’s Paul Shaffer told on April 22, 1978 as he announced the worldwide television debut of that night’s musical guest, the Blues Brothers-the not-quite-real, not-quite-fake musical creation of SNL cast members Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi.

Origins

The genesis of the Blues Brothers was a January 17, 1976, Saturday Night Live sketch. In it, “Howard Shore and his All-Bee Band” play the Slim Harpo song “I’m a King Bee”, with Belushi singing and Aykroyd playing harmonica, dressed in the bee costumes they wore for the “Killer Bees” sketch.

Following tapings of SNL, it was popular among cast members and the weekly hosts to attend Aykroyd’s Holland Tunnel Blues bar, which he had rented not long after joining the cast. Dan and John filled a jukebox with songs from many different artists such as Sam and Dave and punk band The Viletones. John bought an amplifier and they kept some musical instruments there for anyone who wanted to jam. It was here that Dan and Ron Gwynne wrote and developed the original story which Dan turned into the initial story draft of the Blues Brothers movie, better known as the “tome” because it contained so many pages.

It was also at the bar that Aykroyd introduced Belushi to the blues. An interest soon became a fascination and it was not long before the two began singing with local blues bands. Jokingly, SNL band leader Howard Shore suggested they call themselves “The Blues Brothers.” In an April 1988 interview in the Chicago Sun-Times, Aykroyd said the Blues Brothers act borrowed from Sam & Dave and others: “Well, obviously the duo thing and the dancing, but the hats came from John Lee Hooker. The suits came from the concept that when you were a jazz player in the 40’s, 50’s 60’s, to look straight, you had to wear a suit.”

The band was also modeled in part on Aykroyd’s experience with the Downchild Blues Band, one of the first professional blues bands in Canada, with whom Aykroyd continues to play on occasion. Aykroyd first encountered the band in the early 1970s, at or around the time of his attendance at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada and where his initial interest in the blues developed through attending and occasionally performing at Ottawa’s Le Hibou Coffee House.

Apr 22 2013

Sunday April 21, 2013: Up with Steve Kornacki Tweets

As you know MSNBC deicded to do disaster porn instead of #Uppers yesterday for whatever stupid reason after everything was over. Just for fun since the #Uppers stream was as pissed as I was, I am going to share some of my tweets about that in addition to today's tweets. Yesterday's tweets first.

Thank you for reading and commenting.

Apr 22 2013

Keystone XL Comments Close Today

Offer Ends Soon, Act Now: Keystone Pipeline Public Comment Period Closes On Monday

By Ryan Koronowski, Think Progress from Climate Progress

Apr 21, 2013 at 3:00 pm

The last day that the State Department will accept public comments on what should be done about the Keystone pipeline proposal is Monday, April 22nd. This will end a 45 day period that started with the placement of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in the Federal Register. That draft statement becomes final on June 21st, and then in a matter of months, the State Department will issue a National Interest Determination. At that point, it would be difficult to reverse a decision, so the time for the public to tell the Administration how burning tar sands oil will impact the climate is now.The last day that the State Department will accept public comments on what should be done about the Keystone pipeline proposal is Monday, April 22nd. This will end a 45 day period that started with the placement of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in the Federal Register. That draft statement becomes final on June 21st, and then in a matter of months, the State Department will issue a National Interest Determination. At that point, it would be difficult to reverse a decision, so the time for the public to tell the Administration how burning tar sands oil will impact the climate is now.

The Think Progess article has some links to sources and suggested subjects, there has also been a #NOKXL Blogathon at Daily Kos.  To me there are 5 primary reasons to oppose Keystone XL-

  • Mayflower, Arkansas
  • The refined oil is destined for export profit, not “energy independence”.
  • Only 35 permanent jobs will be created.
  • There is no demand for more oil.

And the number one reason to oppose Keystone XL-

  • In order to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius (mass extinction level), scientists say we can emit only 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, but the fossil fuel industry has roughly 2,795 gigatons of carbon dioxide just in their reserves, over five times too much.

I trust most of our readership has already taken action, but if not today is your last chance.