Monthly Archives: March 2011

Guest Article: The Continuing EPA Budget Battle

from Nicholas Scott:

The GOP has recently been setting out on an effort to cut down on a number of domestic programs, yet they are also aiming at many of the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations that they believe are a major obstacle in revenue and creating jobs. While the actions have included attempts to lower the power of the clean air act and come down on some of the EPA’s regulations, the campaign to have the EPA’s budget by a third may be the biggest issue of them all. With all of the moves by the GOP against the EPA in early 2011, it seems more like an assault on the foundation of the EPA, rather than just a campaign to help businesses and increase jobs. If the GOP is able to follow through and have the budget sliced by a third, this could bring forth the possibility of diminished air quality and future health risks.

Some republicans are adamant in saying that the clean air act is not at stake with all of their initiatives against the EPA.  Republican Fred Upton claims that the GOP is looking to return the clean air act to its original reason for being created, to protect people and families from smog and pollution. Upton was a main backer of the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, which is directly aimed at taking away the EPA’s ability to oversee greenhouse gas emissions.  Upton’s take on regulating emissions seems shaky. Sure he says that he wants to return the clean air act to its original purpose, but he also pushes to let businesses have free rein on emissions. In eliminating the EPA’s ability to regulate these emissions and downplaying their importance, it almost signals to businesses and factories that abusing the levels of emission for the purpose of increased revenue is alright. The price of diminished air quality and the possible ensuing health risks could be the cost of raised revenue and employment

Sometimes it’s very hard to realize the impact an organization like the EPA can have on the people. The EPA works with a number of regulations, standards, and initiatives aimed at reducing health risks. Monitoring greenhouse gas emission for example, allows the EPA to make sure that increased pollution and smog don’t turn into health risks such as asthma and other respiratory problems. The EPA also fights every year to keep public water clean, monitor the level of mercury in fish and aquatic life, as well as monitor pesticides and keeping related illnesses down. The EPA also has an initiative geared towards asbestos removal all over the country. This is aimed at helping to prevent short term risks such as dizziness and nausea, as well as long term health risks like asbestosis and mesothelioma.

Asbestos is a type of construction material that was used constantly throughout the last century in all types of products, specifically in many older buildings, workplaces and structures. With mesothelioma life expectancy being very short and workers contracting symptoms, use of this material was gradually blacklisted. While no one uses asbestos today, it’s still being removed from older structures all over the country by the EPA.

The EPA certainly works as an organization that has its hand in a number of different projects, such as promoting sustainability, monitoring levels of pollution, and subsequently looking to keep health risks down.  As the battle continues on over whether or not the EPA should be involved with certain issues, both groups are looking for improvements to the country. The EPA is looking to maintain their ability to prevent health risks, while the GOP is looking to increase revenue for businesses, as well as create jobs.

Wisconsin GOP attacks Judge Sumi(‘s lifestyle!)

clipped from www.salon.com

Excerpt from the Dane County Republican broadside:

Judge Maryann Sumi

The Republican Party of Dane County recognizes that Judge Sumi is a leftist living in Dane County. Her friends are leftists living in Dane County. Her son is a left wing activist in Dane County. She goes to cocktail parties held by leftists in Dane County. She shops at organic gourmet food shops run by leftists living in Dane County. If she were to enforce the law of Wisconsin and do what was in the best interest of the people of Wisconsin, she’d be exiled from her lifestyle. She’d lose her friends!

The leadership of the Republican Party of Dane County have all made the choice to stand against the Dane County elite. We accept that Left feels righteous vandalizing our homes and keying our cars. It’s only fair. We disagree based upon logic and principle. That is intolerable! We prioritize the Constitution and the well being of the people of Wisconsin over foie gras at cocktail parties. That’s the choice we made.

She shops at organic gourmet food shops run by leftists! Off with her head! But I’m confused — surely someone who cares so deeply about her food would eschew foie gras — made from obscenely fattened ducks — would she not? blog it

Defending a Blog from Spam…

Since I put it in 3 years ago, my spam preventing software, Akismet, has kept 9,454 people from getting their comments or pingbacks on Under the LobsterScope. It’s accuracy rate has been 98.31%, and of the 1.69% it has removed by accident, I have been able to check through them and put them all back. This is a pretty good record and I’m very happy with Akismet.

For the most part, the spammers we have intercepted were people trying to use comment areas for free advertising. Obviously, they ignore the warning I put at the top of column 2 of the blog. I am glad to promote much advertising, but not for free and not in the comments. And since it is easy to get ahold of me, I’m surprised that none of these yoyos do it.

I also cut out sex sites, comments on politics which don’t take a fair and honest look at either side ( I quickly cut comments that use expletives to describe most politicians and especially Democrats and Liberals… although I have been known to apply this protection to Conservatives as well) and comments that have nothing to do with the post it is commenting on.

All in all, it has not effected the 356,000+ readers who have visited  Under The LobsterScope over the same period… many of whom have left comments that often educated me on various issues, and for that I am grateful.

- Bill

Baseball Season Begins Today…

… and, in its honor, is my video of Casey at the Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer (1888):

Have a good season. And go Red Sox!

Even though Obama’s secret order was revealed by Reuters…

… the White House isn’t admitting it:

“No decision has been made about providing arms to the opposition or to any groups in Libya. We’re not ruling it out or ruling it in.”

- White House press secretary Jay Carney, yesterday.

EXTRA! EXTRA! Obama Signed Secret Libya Order Authorizing Support For Rebels!

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...

President Obama

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, government officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

Obama signed the order, known as a presidential “finding”, within the last two or three weeks, according to four U.S. government sources familiar with the matter.

_______

Such findings are a principal form of presidential directive used to authorize secret operations by the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA and the White House declined immediate comment.

News that Obama had given the authorization surfaced as the President and other U.S. and allied officials spoke openly about the possibility of sending arms supplies to Gaddafi’s opponents, who are fighting better-equipped government forces.

We’ll have more on this tomorrow as it becomes clearer what Obama has done and who the arms are going to (Al Qaeda, anyone?)

Diplomacy is the art of saying “nice doggie” until you can find a rock.
- Will Rogers

Eric Cantor Exhibits Legislative Insanity

The House Majority Leader thinks that the House can pass a law without the Senate also passing it word for word and without the President signing it.

Perhaps Cantor should consult any grade school student who has studied U.S. History and find out what he is suggesting is unconstitutional.

This from HuffPo (if you click their URL below there’s more):

clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com
House Republicans will introduce legislation, likely by the end of this week, that would make it so that if Congress is unable to come to an agreement over an operating budget, the GOP’s version would simply become law of the land.
The bill, titled “The Government Shutdown Prevention Act,” is designed for the purposed described in its title. In terms of partisan equity, it’s lacking.
Announced by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Wednesday, the legislation would make it so that “if the Senate fails to pass a measure before April 6, 2011 providing for the appropriations of the departments and agencies of the Government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, H.R. 1 (as passed by the House on February 19, 2011) becomes law.”
Senate Democrats have rejected passing HR1 since the onset of the government funding debate.
It’s worth noting that Cantor might not be entirely in the loop as to the progress of the budget negotiations…
blog it

Another one I missed last week – Harry Coover Dead at 94

Perhaps you have never heard of Harry Coover, but I can almost guarantee he has had an effect on your life.

In 1951, Coover, a chemist then working for Eastman Kodak, discovered the adhesive properties of certain cyanoacrylates, leading to development of a quick-drying and strong-bonding paste now known as Super Glue. At the time he was attempting to make an improved eye shield for precision gunsights, when, to determine the refractive index of ethyl cyanoacrylate, he placed the material between the two prisms of a refractometer — permanently sealing the prisms together and ruining the expensive lab instrument.

Kodak originally marketed Coover’s discovery in 1958 as “Eastman 910” (according to Coover because you could put the glue between 2 items, count 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 and it was sealed. It has also been marketed as Loctite Quickset and, of course, Krazy Glue.

During the Vietnam War, Coover developed a cyanoacrylate spray based on the same compound, which was sprayed onto soldiers’ serious wounds to quickly halt bleeding, so the injured could be transported to medical facilities instead of morgues.

Coover was admitted to the Inventor’s Hall of Fame in 2004.

BoldProgressives.org releasing new commercial supporting recalls in Wisconsin: focus on education…

This exhibits another increase in support of the anti-Scott Walker and the Republicans Movement. Take a look:

If you want to donate to this program, go to: secure.actblue.com

Justice Was Served

clipped from www.latimes.com
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was ticketed by U.S. Park Police after being found responsible for a four-car traffic accident on his way to the high court Tuesday morning.
The incident occurred just before 9 a.m. on the southbound George Washington Parkway across the Potomac River from Washington in Virginia. Scalia reportedly rear-ended another driver who had stopped in traffic, and two other vehicles followed behind. No one was injured.
Scalia was handed a $70 fine for the infraction of following too closely. The justice, in his 25th year on the nation’s highest court, can appeal the fine to a U.S. magistrate if he chooses, according to a Park Police spokesman, while acknowledging that was unlikely.

“He probably hasn’t a clue how to contest a traffic ticket,” David Schlosser, the spokesman, joked.

The incident further snarled the area’s already notorious rush-hour gridlock.

“It was a busy traffic area,” Schlosser said. “It just happens.”

blog it
Let’s be glad that the law applies to everyone. Sometimes.

Notice: Blog Thieves

There is a site called DaringSearch.com that steals my posts without giving me credit. I never mind if other blogs reproduce my articles, but when they are headed with “written by ASHAN” I get pissed off. Please do not link to or pull my articles uncredited from this source.

- Bill

Quote of the Day – heard on Hardball

“Iowa is a Roach Motel for Republicans.”

-Bill Maher

Loved it as soon as I heard it. He commented on how they crawl in crazy (the Birthers, the Bachmanns, etc.) and most don’t crawl out. :)

 

American artist George Tooker dies at 90…

Landscape with Figures

His work was associated with both the Magic Realism and Social Realism movements, but George Tooker‘s paintings were like none other. He studied at the Art Student’s League after having gotten a degree in English from Harvard and a brief stint in the Marine Corps.

He was raised in and Episcopalian family but became a Catholic, an influence that often  appeared in his paintings.

His paintings are icons in contemporary American art. He came of age in the 1930s; he studied with Paul Cadmus, and he learned how to work in egg tempera, a painterly technique developed in the Renaissance which produces a luminous quality yet requires meticulous application.

The Subway

Early in his career Tooker was often compared with other painters such as Andrew Wyeth, and Edward Hopper, as well as Cadmus.

Tooker lived for many years in Hartland, Vermont. He died on March 27th of kidney failure.

Toy Of The Year :)

clipped from www.dailymail.co.uk

Parents’ fury as ‘totally inappropriate’ breastfeeding doll for young girls goes on sale in the U.S.

The toy market is constantly innovating when it comes to baby dolls. But a new product designed to simulate breastfeeding has sparked widespread anger among parents.

Makers of The Breast Milk Baby claim that their new doll allows children to experience the ‘magic of motherhood’.

But parents have spoken out in anger over the toy, which they have slammed as ‘totally inappropriate’.

Controversial: Spanish toy makers have launched The Breast Milk Baby on the U.S. market claiming that it lets young girls experience the ‘magic of motherhood’
The doll comes with a bib for the child to wear, with pink flowers indicating the nipple area.

When held to the breast the doll makes suckling noises, and start crying if it is not burped afterwards.

Dennis Lewis, U.S. spokesman for Berjuan Toys states:

‘The whole purpose of The Breast Milk Baby is to teach children the nurturing skills they’ll need to raise their own healthy babies in the future.

‘We really don’t understand why this has created such controversy.’

And though the overwhelming response has been negative, there are some parents that believe the Breast Milk Baby is harmless and fun.

blog it

“These are the times that try men’s souls.”
- Tom Paine

Here’s Obama’s update on Libya that he gave today… in case you missed it.

“Maybe this world is another planet’s Hell.”
- Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)

Warning: if you are hoping that this will change your mind on our involvement in Libya then I’ve got a nice bridge to sell you.

I’d be interested in your e-mail or comments. – Bill

I’m going to refer you to an article you shouldn’t miss…

Someone named “karoli” has published an editorial/rant on the top 1% of Americans in general and the Koch Brothers in particular and it is certainly worth reading.

Go to http://crooksandliars.com/karoli/matthew-continetti-calling-evil-good. You’ll be referring all your friends to it as well.

- Bill

The magic number is 32… tell you why…

It was thirty-two years ago today that Three Mile Island had it’s partial meltdown and caused our atomic energy industry to freeze in its place. I remember when it happened as I watched the news on television… I was 32 years old at the time… 32 is the number again!

At the time I was living in Connecticut and was near the Connecticut Yankee plant, which had been commissioned in 1968 and then closed in 1996 (after much protest from residents of Hartford and Middlesex Counties… Me included… after the 1979 Three Mile Island incident.) It was decommissioned  in 2004 and demolition of the containment dome was completed the week of July 17, 2006 (which gives you an idea of how long it takes to remove one of these plants… I don’t know where the spent fuel rods are, but they are probably still at the Haddam Neck, CT, site.)

And now, 32 years after Three Mile Island the news is reporting that the radiation from Fukushima‘s ravaged plants is now higher than they thought it would go… and there was a report of some very minor radiation detected in rain… in Massachusetts!

I hope that 32 years from now, when I am long gone, my grandsons will be able to look at their world and find that all this nuclear power is no longer necessary and science and politicians and, dare I say it, Corporations have found a way to clean everything up. Judging by the disorganized opinions circulating now and the inferior technologies dealing with the problem, I doubt that it will happen.

I missed this one last Wednesday…

… but here it is:

RIP: Dorothy Young, the last-known surviving stage assistant of legendary illusionist Harry Houdinipassed away yesterday at the age of 103.

Young was hired by Houdini at an open casting call which she attended at 17 during a family trip to New York. She spent a year touring with the great escapologist, leaving just two months prior to Houdini’s death in October of 1926.

Young went on to marry a wealthy New York businessman with whom she formed a dance act that became known for inventing the Latin dance “rumbalero.” She also starred in several movies, and published a novel about her time with Houdini.

Interestingly enough, Young’s death occurred a day before her former employer’s 137th birthday, commemorated by Google with a special logo doodle.

Young’s death was announced by Drew University, where she was a prominent donor and patron of the arts. She died wealthy and left a large donation to Drew. Thanks to her0in.chic for the post.

Related Articles

Elly and I Hosted A Community Garden Meeting Today

Elly and her Sustainable Shepherdstown group, along with local impressario Peter Corum, are organizing a Community Garden in cooperation with Peter’s Morgan Grove Market project just down the road from out house. Today, we hosted an informational meeting for interested parties… we had 12 in attendance (there were several who were interested and called to say they couldn’t make the meeting, but they want in.) Everyone seemed pretty excited.

Yesterday, Peter arranged to have the 100 square feet set aside for the set of 10′ x 10′ garden plots roto-tilled and fertilized. This was done with volunteers and by calling in some favors.

The weather held out well to get everything done.

Here’s the group who worked the land:

Anyone interested in getting involved in Sustainable Shepherdstown’s Community Garden (at a cost of $20.00 for a 10 x 10 for the whole season) should go to http://sustainableshepherdstown.org or send an email to esmithart30@yahoo.com.

Me? I’m assigned to watering our plot.


Waiting for my Superfocus Glasses…

I’m now in the sixth week of waiting for my Superfocus glasses to be delivered… and the estimated delivery date is May 18th.

That’s right… it takes these guys 12 weeks to make a pair of these amazing, adjustable glasses.

I am so looking forward to getting rid of these bifocals and being able to focus at any distance with just a flick of a finger… however, the wait is almost unbearable.

I originally got interested in these when I saw a couple of TV ads with Penn Jillette and Joel Grey ,  then the ads started popping up all over the web… so I went to their site (www.superfocus.com) and got more information about them.

To start with, they are NOT CHEAP. Starting at around $600.00, by the time you get the extras, like scratch proof lenses (or shades) and different length and color of temples, you are easily up to $700.00 or $800.00. So I weighed the costs of getting either bifocals, or separate reading glasses and distance glasses, and the fact that these will function longer without prescription changes… and that they would just be easier to adapt to my aging eyes. Then I decided to order them. I went to my optometrist to get an eye exam and a prescription for the glasses (you have to get a little more than the usual amount of info because each pair is sized to the particular distance between your eyes only) and I called in my order.

Now I wait.

And I wait.

Has anyone else had a longer than usual waiting experience for these?

Cartoon(s) of the Week – Political Questions

Questions as we approach next year’s election season:

John Sherffius in the Boulder Daily Camera:

So what does history teach us about the need for Union organizing?

- and -

RJ Matson in the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

So what is life like in states that make Corporations negotiate with Unions?

- and -

Steve Greenberg at Gre:enberg-art.com

So who actually controls the Tea-Partyers?

- and -

Joel Pett in the Lexington Herald-Leader:

So what do those Corporations plan to sell us for energy?

- and -

Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

So what hypocrisy is brought to us by the Tea Party movement?

- and -

Pat Oliphant in the Washington Post:

So what candidates  do these guys bring out?

Geraldine Ferraro Dead at 75…

The first woman to run for the Vice Presidency, Geraldine Ferraro, has died of complications from blood cancer at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Ferraro was the first woman and first Italian-American to run on a major party national ticket. According to a statement released by her family, she died surrounded by her loved ones after battling multiple myeloma for twelve years.

A family statement was put out for the press:

Geraldine Anne Ferraro Zaccaro was widely known as a leader, a fighter for justice, and a tireless advocate for those without a voice. To us, she was a wife, mother, grandmother and aunt, a woman devoted to and deeply loved by her family. Her courage and generosity of spirit throughout her life waging battles big and small, public and personal, will never be forgotten and will be sorely missed.”

After years in a private law practice, she took a job as an assistant Queens district attorney in 1974. She headed the office’s special victims’ bureau, which prosecuted sex crimes and the abuse of children and the elderly. Starting in 1978, Ferraro began three terms of serving New York’s ninth congressional district.

R.I.P.

Scott Walker Decides to Become King of Wisconsin.

First, here is the story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Collective bargaining law published despite restraining order

In a stunning twist, Gov. Scott Walker‘s legislation limiting collective bargaining for public workers was published Friday despite a judge’s hold on the measure, prompting a dispute over whether it takes effect Saturday.

The measure was published to the Legislature’s website with a footnote that acknowledges the restraining order by a Dane County judge. But the posting says state law “requires the Legislative Reference Bureau to publish every act within 10 working days after its date of enactment.”

The measure sparked protests at the Capitol and lawsuits by opponents because it would eliminate the ability of most public workers to bargain over anything but wages.

The restraining order was issued against Democratic Secretary of State Doug La Follette. But the bill was published by the reference bureau, which was not named in the restraining order.

Laws normally take effect a day after they are published, and a top GOP lawmaker said that meant it will become law Saturday. But nonpartisan legislative officials from two agencies, including the one who published the bill, disagreed.

“I think this is a ministerial act that forwards it to the secretary of state,” said Stephen Miller, director of the Legislative Reference Bureau. “I don’t think this act makes it become effective. My understanding is that the secretary of state has to publish it in the (official state) newspaper for it to become effective.”

Walker signed the bill March 11. Under state law, it must be published within 10 working days, which was Friday.

It hasn’t been printed in the Wisconsin State Journal, the official state newspaper, as other laws are. Late Friday, State Journal publisher Bill Johnston said in an e-mail that the notice for the law had been scheduled to run but had been canceled. He did not elaborate.

La Follette urged caution Friday, saying the measure has not been published yet by his office. He said he believes the law cannot go into effect until he directs the State Journal to publish it, which he has not done.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said it didn’t matter that it hasn’t appeared in the paper.

“It’s published,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s law. That’s what I contend.”

OK, Got it? Walker and Fitzgerald have decided that state law is meaningless when it applies to what they want to do and they are moving ahead, despite the court order and the lack of official publication by La Follette in the official state newspaper.

It would seem that Walker and Fitzgerald… and the state Republican legislators that back them… do not require the law or the judicial branch or even the wishes of the citizens of their state to carry out whatever they want to. If anything laid the basis for revolution, this is it.

Walker has decided to be KING.

Conservative Canadian Govt. Brought Down Yesterday…

The Parliamentary System is so practical. Too bad w can’t do it here…at least in the states with Tea Party Governors.

This from HuffPo:

clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com
TORONTO — Canadian opposition parties brought down the Conservative government in a no confidence vote Friday, triggering an election that polls show the Conservatives will win.
The opposition parties held Prime Minister Stephen Harper‘s government in contempt of Parliament in a 156-145 vote for failing to disclose the full financial details of his tougher crime legislation, corporate tax cuts and plans to purchase stealth fighter jets
Opinion polls expect Harper’s Conservative Party to win re-election but not a majority, meaning he likely will continue to govern with a minority in Parliament, dependent on opposition votes to stay afloat.
But in the latest twist, there is a chance the left-of-center parties might join forces in a coalition if Harper wins another minority government on the expected election date of May 2.
Harper, 51, is a career politician who has spent the last five years emphasizing a more conservative Canadian identity and moving Canada incrementally to the right.
blog it

How Gov. Haley Barbour Cuts Costs…

"At his press conference today, Governor ...

Haley Barbour, Air Traveler

It’s hypocrisy time again among the Republicans. Taegan Goddard put up this piece which he took from Time Magazine this morning. 

And this guy may run for President (that will take care of his flying costs for at least four years if he wins.)

clipped from politicalwire.com

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, his wife and three aides flew in a luxury jet to Washington in February “for a weekend of politicking, including an appearance on Fox News Sunday and a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference,” Time reports.

 

He told the gathering: “Our problem is not that we tax too little. It’s that we spend too much.”

However, it appears Mississippi taxpayers “paid the tab for Barbour’s first-class travel. State documents obtained by Time show that Mississippi shelled out $7,020 to shuttle Barbour and his entourage to and from D.C. on its Cessna Citation, a cost that Barbour says is justified by state work he did in D.C. over the same weekend.”

blog it
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 319 other followers