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What Do The Polar Vortex, the Immigration Crisis and the California Wildfires All Have in Common?

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, July 14, 2014

The connection isn’t immediately clear: This week, a mass of frigid Arctic air is moving down from the North, dropping high temperatures some 20 degrees below normal across much of the Midwest with some Northern states expected to see highs only in the mid-60’s in July. Also in the news, an estimated “tens of thousands” of refugees… mostly children… from Central America have easily crossed a dry Rio Grande riverbed into the United States to create an immigration “crisis”. And from Southern California to Washington State, wildfires rage out of control for “the third year in a row”. What do they all have in common? Global Warming.

Now the connection to #1 on our list, “The Return of the Polar Vortex”, is not readily clear. What does “Global Warming” have to do with unusually Cold temperatures in July? Well, the reason for the sudden dip in temperatures is due to the literal dip in the Jet Stream out of the Arctic and down into the Great Lakes region, a “river” of rapidly moving air that circles the globe counter to the rotation of the Earth. And that sudden change-of-course in the jet stream was caused last week by Typhoon Neoguri, a massive Category 3 hurricane in the Pacific that struck Japan last week. Superman might have been “powerful enough to change the course of mighty rivers”, but it takes something as massive as a hurricane to redirect a river of air encircling the planet. And warm water fuels a hurricane like hatred fuels Rush Limbaugh. It makes them bigger and nastier.

Last Winter, the “Polar Vortex” produced one of the longest and coldest Winters in recent memory. Conservative blowhard Climate Change deniers like George Will think the entire world spans only from California to Maine with “the Middle East” orbiting “Planet USA” like a Muslim Death Star, so naturally, if it gets really cold in Atlanta in the middle of Winter, that must mean “Global Warming” is a hoax (because if Fox “news” doesn’t report the record heat wave in Australia taking place at the same time, it never happened.) That too was due to record warm temperatures forcing the “jet stream”… which normally runs relatively around the United States… to channel a river of frigid Arctic air right down into the heart of the Midwest.

Record drought along the Southern border of the U.S. is so bad there are actually places where you can walk across the Rio Grande on foot without ever getting your feet wet. I pondered last week if this might finally be a way to get Republicans to act on Climate Change? Harness their hated for immigrants (of the Latin persuasion) to make sure “God’s Moat” doesn’t dry up like the Tea Party’s support for the GOP. The average depth along the entire expanse of waterway… a mere 3.64 feet… is roughly 43% of normal.

Listening to Republicans this past week, by the way they’ve blamed “Obama!” for this current immigration crisis, they would have us all believe: “You see! THIS is why we opposed The Dream Act!” They are out there suggesting that this sudden surge in Central American refugees is exactly what they knew would happen if we tried to enact Immigration Reform. They are prescient, you see. They saw this coming a mile away. And President Obama “suddenly” talking about not deporting the children of undocumented immigrants that grew up in the U.S. and in many cases have never even been to Mexico and don’t even speak the language, is responsible for the “sudden” flood of children across the Mexican border.

A few points: 1) These are not “Mexican” children, most are from lower Central America in the vicinity of Guatemala who are fleeing an outbreak of extreme violence that started in 2011. While I have no doubt ruthless “coyotes” are spreading misinformation about our immigration polices to drum up more paying customers (roughly $8,000 a head… a fortune in these impoverished countries), consider the fact that the same misinformation has not resulted in a flood of MEXICAN children into the U.S.. Why is it that Obama’s “reckless talk” about giving “amnesty” to “illegal alien children” hasn’t resulted in a flood of kids from Mexico into the U.S.? Hmm? Maybe these kids REALLY ARE fleeing extraordinary violence in their home countries?

And so, you’ve probably already figured out #3 by now: The cause of those wildfires in the West? Beetles, of course! You thought I was going to say “drought from Global Warming”, didn’t you? True, the prolonged drought on the West Coast has turned our forests into kindling so that we now see a “100 year forest fire” EVERY year. But every bit as bad as the lack of rain has been for our forests, the “Mountain Pine Beetle” has made monumentally worse. Warmer weather has caused the ravenous buggers to multiply as fast as the wildfires they produce, killing trees and turning entire forests into tinder boxes. Fresh, healthy trees slow them up a bit as they can get all the moisture and nutrition they need from fewer trees. But as the trees grow dry and lifeless, the beetles go on an eating binge, destroying entire forests looking to get enough food to eat.

It’s time for America to get serious about Climate Change. It is REAL, it is DEVASTATING. It threatens to destroy our entire planet, and we can’t afford to wait until Glenn Beck comes out and finally admits once again, “Liberals, you were right”.
 



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Filed in Environment, Global Warming July 14th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Keystone XL Protest Signs for Download

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Friday, February 28, 2014

As promised, here are seven posters/signs that I created for the Keystone XL Protest that I plan to attend this weekend.

As I mentioned on Monday, I believe it is FAR more effective to focus on NON-CO2 related reasons for opposing the pipeline when your goal is to convince people that don’t believe in “Global Warming” and have been spoon-fed a steady stream of lies of “Job Jobs Jobs”, “cheap gas” and “Energy Independence”, to vote against something they’ve been told would be a magic bullet for the economy.

Previews are in JPG format. Each poster in both “tall” and “wide” formats for signs or posters. Click images to download in high resolution PhotoShop format:


The oil is to be EXPORTED – The oil is to be EXPORTED


HIGHER prices NOT lower –  – HIGHER prices NOT lower


The JOBS myth – The JOBS myth


No good for gasoline – No good for gasoline


Massive Tailing Ponds – Massive Tailing Ponds


An ENORMOUS waste of fresh water – An ENORMOUS waste of fresh water


Summary poster – Summary poster

If you find these posters useful, let us know. – Mugsy
 


 

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Filed in Economy, Energy Independence, Environment, Global Warming, Greed, Jobs, Middle East, myth busting, Politics February 28th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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No, the Keystone Tar Sand Oil is NOT Inevitable

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, February 24, 2014

A little birdy tells me that President Obama is now considering approving the final leg of the infamous “Keystone XL” pipeline because some big names on the Left have resigned themselves to the idea that the tar sands making it to market is “inevitable”, so we might as well be the ones to do it before a “less” environmentally conscientious nation “like China” (who is investing heavily in Green energy and focusing on pollution after Beijing started hitting blindingly toxic levels of smog prior to the 2008 Olympics.) Meanwhile, ask North Carolina and West Virginia what they think about our environmental record. Quite honestly, anyone claiming to be “a Liberal” that tells you the KXL “is inevitable so we might as well do it”, isn’t really a Liberal. Because a true Liberal finds the better way. They don’t just throw up their hands and say, “Okay Big Money, you win! I surrender!” Screw you and the Iron Horse you rode in on. That’s like saying, “Wall Street is going to find a way to screw us out of our money anyways so we might as well deregulate the whole damned thing.” No, Naysayers, the tar sands oil making it to market is NOT “inevitable.” Answer me this: That “tar sand” has been there for tens of thousands of years. Why now? Why are we suddenly considering using it “now”? Was there a sudden drop in the supply of oil that I’m not aware of? Are we running out of places to drill? Has OPEC suddenly cut back production because oil is suddenly harder to find? No. The reason… the ONLY reason they are suddenly looking at it is because it’s suddenly economically feasible thanks to the Bush Administration driving oil prices into the stratosphere. In the past, converting tar sand into “oil” was just too damned expensive. Now, with $95/barrel oil, suddenly, the process is cost effective. Wanna stop the tar sand’s from being used, GET THE PRICE OF OIL DOWN. And there’s several ways to do it.

As I reported last week, if the price of oil were to fall $30 to just $65/barrel, excavating the tar sands would no longer be cost efficient. And arguably, I don’t see the U.S. refining tar sand for China. If they want it, they are going to have to ship it someplace else to refine it. Suddenly, we’re not looking at $65/barrel, you’re looking at more like $75/barrel before it becomes too expensive for a foreign country to try an utilize it.

Ever wonder why CANADA doesn’t just simply refine it THERE in Canada? Why not simply build a refinery there rather than bisect the United States with a 1,800 mile long pipeline to the Gulf? Because they plan to EXPORT that oil once it has been refined. No port, no profit. And as long as oil is in the $75+ range, there’s profit to be made. Get that price down, and all your worries about Keystone go too.

I personally believe that protesters that focus on the catastrophic environmental damage the KXL would do are doing themselves a tremendous disservice. If your target audience is people that don’t believe in “Global Warming” and believe in all the lies they’ve been fed about what an economic boom it would be, you might as well be claiming the KXL kills “Spotted Owls” for all the good it would do. No, you’ve gotta hit them where they live. TELL THEM that it WON’T “create a million jobs” like they’ve been told. TELL THEM that it WON’T lower… but in fact RAISE… the price of gas. TELL THEM that it means an enormous 11-foot deep lake of black toxic sludge the size of Central Park (840 acres) in their backyard blighting the landscape, stinking the air, and lowering their property values. Hit them where they live. And be ready to answer question when they ask you to defend your claims. Because as long as these lies are allowed to persist, they become the truth. “Everyone” was gung-ho to invade Iraq over “Weapons of Mass Destruction” that we were literally guaranteed were there (“slam dunk”). But afterward when the weapons didn’t turn up, suddenly everyone realized they had been lied to for someone else’s personal gain and WE were stuck with the check.

I plan on taking part in a “Stop the Keystone XL pipeline” protest this Saturday, and I hope to create some nice “ready-to-print” signs that I can distribute in file format to fellow protesters. If I do, I’ll be sure to post them here on M.R.S. for free download sometime this week.
 



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Filed in Economy, Energy Independence, Environment, Global Warming, Jobs, Money, myth busting, Seems Obvious to Me February 24th, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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Apathy Latest Enemy In Fighting Keystone XL Pipeline

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, February 3, 2014

Back in April of 2011, I wrote a lengthy post detailing all the misconceptions, deceptions and outright lies being spread by supporters of the “Keystone XL” pipeline. It was popular and important enough that I gave that post its own page, linked from the Top Menu above. Quite literally, EVERY benefit being claimed about the pipeline is complete & utter nonsense: a million new jobs, lower gas prices, and energy independence with minimal impact on the environment. All of it, total bullshit (read my report for details.) In March of last year, the U.S. State Dept declared that they believed the pipeline would have a “negligible” impact on the environment (based on a report prepared for them by people working for TransCanada), which I reported on at the time. Last week, the State Dept released its follow-up report on the environmental impact of the KXL, declaring their belief that it would in fact have “minimal impact”, giving President Obama cover should he decide to approve the final/key leg of the pipeline, extending it up to the Alberta Tarsands itself. Critics of opponents like me think the only reason we oppose the KXL is because of its impact on “Global Warming”… which they deny anyway, so we’re easy to dismiss. We’re just a bunch of squishes that “over-react” when it comes to the Environment. Well, as I pointed out in my post last year, even if you don’t believe in Climate Change, there are plenty of other reasons to oppose the KXL. Few jobs (would you believe fewer than FIFTY permanent jobs?), HIGHER (not “lower”) gas prices, and other environmental hazards like incredibly frequent massive spills of thick gooey tar (292 in North Dakota alone in less than two years) that are next to impossible to clean up. They say “pipeline technology has improved” to the point where such spills are rare. Since when? How long must we go without a pipeline rupturing that we can start calling them “rare”? Because last I checked, we haven’t gone a full 7-months yet without a pipeline leaking tens of thousands of gallons of oil somewhere in the United States.

The State Department report is rubbish. It has already been revealed, once again, that “consultants” hired to write the report were lobbyist for a trade group linked to TransCanada (owners of the pipeline). And their “conclusion” that the pipeline would have a negligible impact is based on the enormously questionable belief that if the pipeline were not built, the “oil” would just be “shipped by rail”, getting out into the market anyway (meaning the “pipeline” would have little impact, not the oil). Not only does rail not move as much product (I’m not calling it “oil” because it’s not. It’s a thick mud called “bitumen”) as a pipeline would, but as The Washington Post points out, if the price of oil falls to roughly $70/barrel, shipping by rail is no longer cost efficient. And if the price of oil falls below $65/barrel, it doesn’t matter how it’s transported, it’ll be cheaper just to leave the tar-sand in the ground. So the assumption that “we might as well just transport it by pipeline since it’s going to be delivered one way or another” is questionable at best.

I don’t like the fact that opposition to the KXL seems to have waned in the Progressive Media as of late. I hear Progressives talk about the KXL almost with a sense of futility that it’s going to happen eventually no matter what. We’ve been talking about this pipeline “for years now” and nothing bad has happened “so far” so maybe the criticism was overblown? “Nothing” has happened “so far” because it hasn’t been built! It reminds me of critics of health care reform blaming “Obamacare” for things that happened before it went into effect. Progressive radio host Ed Schultz… who has been on my shit-list ever since he spent an entire show in 2009 defending dog-killer Michael Vick’s right to earn millions of dollars playing football the same day Blue-dog “Democrat” Max Baucus (D-MT) announced that he would be siding with the GOP to deny Democrats a 60-vote Super Majority if the Health Care Reform bill included a Public Option… stated on his show last Thursday that he “supports” the KXL pipeline and “thinks it should be done” (then spent Friday’s show talking about the Super Bowl). Bye-bye, Ed. I’m done with you. I suggest you find a new job as a sportscaster, since that seems to be where your interests really lie.

Here are some new photos, and a video clip, to go with my earlier reports on the Keystone XL pipeline:

Tailing pond pipe in Alberta, Canada
Tailing pond pipe
 

Tailing pond with pipes (left)
Tailing pond, Alberta
 

Tailing pond dwarfs rig
Tailing pond, Alberta
 

Oil sands, Canada
Oil sands, Canada
 

Mildred Lake, tailing pond
Mildred Lake
 

Pipes in Sudbury tailing pond
Sudbury tailing pond
 

More pipes
Tailing pond pipes
 

Tarsands oil contains 17% more carbon than conventional crude oil.
17percent more emissions
 

More Alberta tarsands
Alberta tarsands
 

More Alberta tarsands
Alberta tarsands
 

More Alberta tarsands
Alberta tarsands
 

Closeup of tailing pond:
Tailing pond

All of these tailing pipes gush toxic waste 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.
Gusher
 

Video clip showing that gushing pipe in action (11sec)


So I’m posting this brief reminder/update on the Keystone XL Pipeline before I hear any more foolishness about the “futility” in fighting a pipeline that seems to be inevitable. That’s how they win, by wearing us down. They have deep pockets to drag this out for as long as they need until they lull us into believing, “Smoking’s good for you. Never mind the “licorice smell in your water, West Virginia. Oh, and the check is in the mail.”

Starting on February 5th, the State Department will begin an “open commenting period” of just 30 days allowing people to write them in opposition/support of the Keystone XL pipeline. Be sure to make your voice heard (don’t contact them before the 5th or risk having your message ignored.)
 



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Filed in Economy, Energy Independence, Environment, Global Warming, Jobs, myth busting, Politics February 3rd, 2014 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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A Quick Thought on the Wildfires & Floods As We Pause For a Week.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, August 12, 2013

Hey folks. Sorry to say M.R.S. is going to have to take a sabbatical this week. Fortunately, there wasn’t much new to report in the news last week. If I had to write anything about this past week, it would be about the massive deadly floods that have been reigning/raining down upon Middle-America all last week at the same time, huge wildfires decimate California and the Western states. Years ago, I noticed a pattern (one that Al Gore brought up in his documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”) of how often we see Wildfires in one part of the country and simultaneous flooding in another. This is because excessive heat from Global Warming is sucking all the moisture out of one region and then dumping it in another. I had collected about a half dozen TV news clips before I lost them all in a computer crash. But the theory is dead on, proven repeatedly year after year with alarming frequency now (and by the way, when this happens in the Winter, all that moisture comes down as “record snowfall”… to the bemusement of moronic Climate-Change Denying Conservative jackasses like Jim Inhoff (R-OK) who think being buried under 15feet of snow in the Wintertime makes Gore look dumb).

Just something to think about until I return next week.
 

PS: Oh, and thanks to everyone for asking about Mom. We finally got her out of that deathtrap of a hospital and into a Rehab facility. I’m currently searching for a good malpractice attorney that’s willing to take on an entire hospital (and maybe her HMO to boot.) Don’t know what the hospital has to fear. Mom’s can’t testify against them. They saw to that! – Mugsy



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Filed in Environment, Global Warming, Rants August 12th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View

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A Market Plunge/Rally, Trayvon, DOMA, Voting Rights and Paula Deen. The Heat is On.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, July 1, 2013

So much has happened these past couple of weeks, I could have spent hours discussing each one: We saw a series of triple-digit plunges in the DOW in just a few days caused by what? GOOD news on the economy. (WTF?) The “Zimmerman Trial” finally got underway… with a Knock-Knock Joke. The Supreme Court declared Same-Sex Marriage legal in states where it is already legal, but left the door open for state-bans where it isn’t… essentially GUARANTEEING an inevitable return to the Supreme Court when a married couple from one state moves to a state where their marriage is not recognized. And while the Supreme Court was extending marriage rights to gay couples, it was taking Voting Rights away from millions of minorities, essentially declaring that racism in the South was dead the same week people excused famed Southern TV Chef Paula Deen for using “The N-Word” because… “she’s from The South and that’s just how they are.” (I wish I could say I was surprised Justice Thomas would vote against the Voting Rights Act, but he’s always been an OREO… and yes, that is meant to be as offensive as it sounds.) And to cap it all off, the nation closed out the first week of Summer with a record-breaking heatwave, with my hometown of Houston hitting a stifling 107′ at 5:00 in the freaking evening (most years the temperature here peaks around 101′ the first week of August.)

Let’s take them one at a time:

First, the Stock Market: I used to write about The DJIA (“DOW Jones Industrial Average”) frequently  during  the  Bush  Presidency. Plunges of 250 points or more became commonplace, culminating with a total collapse of Wall Street and the financial industry Bush’s final year in office. There were no extraordinary one-day gains to balance out the declines, and just about every plunge could be tied to a stupid decision made by The GOP and/or The Bush Administration (the skyrocketing price of oil as a result of invading Iraq; deregulating the financial ratings industry that led to Trillions in bad investments being labeled: “AAA”; and cutting deregulated mortgage interest rates to zero resulting in a wildly over-valued market bubble balanced on the point of a pin).

But during the Obama Administration, I’ve written very little regarding the Stock Market. Primarily, because fluctuations in the DOW of less than 200 points have very little to do with the health of the general economy, and because every series of declines over the past four years have been brief, followed soon after by upswings that more than made up for the losses.

The DOW, at its lowest point following the Bush Presidency and the Financial Collapse, barely a month after Obama took office, bottomed out at 6,443.27 on March 6, 2009. Last month, the DOW closed at a record high of just over 15,400… that’s an increase of almost 240 percent in just four years. If President Obama is a “Socialist”, he’s a piss-poor one.

So what caused last week’s momentary 800-point drop in the DJIA over 3 days a few weeks ago? Believe it or not, “good” news from the Federal Reserve that the economy is recovering so well that it may be able to halt “quantitative easing” (IE: “Stimulus”)… pumping $85 Billion dollars a month into the economy. On that news, the price of Gold and Treasury Bonds plunged because Gold & Bonds are where you put your money when the economy is bad. Fears that the Fed would stop pumping money into the economy brought about fears that they might also raise interest rates to keep the economy from growing too fast. But quickly, cooler heads prevailed as news of a healthy economy might actually be a good thing, and the DOW is already back up near the 15K mark.

Oh, and the S&P 500 saw its best six months since the heights of the Clinton Bull Rally in 1998.

Next is the “Zimmerman” trial over the murder of Travon Martin. As you already know, Zimmerman’s lawyer opened with a Knock-Knock joke, but that’s probably not the most damaging thing he did to his clients’ case last week. He is NOT using the “Stand Your Ground” law as the basis of his client’s defense, and with good reason. As Zimmerman’s lawyer himself pointed out, “Travon Martin was not unarmed that night”, pointing out that Martin “didn’t have a gun or a knife that night”; his weapon was “the concrete sidewalk”. So basically, he just admitted Trayvon was “standing his ground using the sidewalk as his only weapon”. Had he of used a gun, he might have shot & killed his stalker… who was armed with a gun himself and confronted Martin with it in the middle of the night… at which point Martin would have been arrested and thrown in jail for murdering Zimmerman. Trial not included.

The moment Zimmerman… who is not a police officer… left his mother’s basement with a gun to play “rent-a-cop” in the middle of the night the moment he saw a black kid walk past his window, he himself was responsible for anything that happened. And we know WHY he left his home to pursue Martin: Because “they always get away”, he is heard saying on the 911 tape after the operator asked him if he was following Martin and told him “We don’t need you to do that.” But a young black guy… for whom there was NO reason to suspect had done anything other than walk through the neighborhood at night… was “about to get away”. After doing what? There were no alarms going off. No one shouting, “I’ve just been robbed!” I find it hard to believe even Zimmerman could mistake a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles for handfuls of stolen property. So why exactly was Zimmerman following him? Why did he think it necessary to “call the police” and detain Martin himself until they arrived?

Think about it? Why was Zimmerman following Martin?

Zimmerman… armed with a gun and was stalking Martin in the dead of night, then confronted Martin. Probably even pulled his gun on him and ordered him to stop. At some point, they came in close enough contact to grab one another and fight. Unarmed, Martin used the only weapon within reach: the concrete… as Zimmerman’s own lawyer pointed out. Now in a struggle he himself provoked without regard for the consequences (what if Martin HAD been an armed robber? Was it wise for Zimmerman to put himself in harms way?), he pulled out his gun and killed the man he himslf provoked a confrontation with.

The fact that anyone in this insane country even thinks Zimmerman has a leg to stand on here, justifying the need for a trial, highlights just how screwed up our gun-crazy culture has become in this country.

Next, we saw the Supreme Court rule of Marriage Equality. While the High Court’s narrow 5/4 ruling is seen as a victory for the Gay Rights movement, the ruling basically threw the decision back to the states.

Now here is where it gets clear as mud: The Supreme Court basically ruled that a state law establishing Marriage Equality is just as valid as a state law BANNING Marriage Equality. So basically, the highest court in the land that rules on the National efficacy of a law, has declared that something can be both legal AND illegal at the same time depending upon where you live. Why do I get the feeling this isn’t over?

The Supreme Court also decided to strike down key parts of the 1965 “Voting Rights Act”, calling it “outdated” because “times have changed”. No word on their updated ruling on The Second Amendment.

And finally, a record heatwave was parked over most of the Southern United States last week, tying & breaking records across the U.S.. But don’t worry, Global Warming is still a hoax and we’ll be seeing snow in July any minute now.

Any minute now.

I said, “any minute now.”

Hello? Snow? Where are you? Hey, I’d settle for a cool breeze right about now.

(Oh, and an update on Mom. If you read last weeks post, things are not going well and my mother had had a bit of a setback, unconscious in the ICU, I’ve been visiting her hospital bed every day now and hoping for things to improve. As such, I haven’t been as on top of the news as much as I might otherwise have been, and posting may become a bit erratic in the common weeks. Hopefully, Mom’s recovery will be swift and full. – Mugsy)
 



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Filed in Crime, Economy, Global Warming, Guns & Violence, Healthcare, Politics, Racism, Rants, Unconstitutional July 1st, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 7 comments | Add/View

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Yes, Even Late May Snow Is Evidence of Climate Change (aka Global Warming)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, May 27, 2013

Broken HeartlandIt’s as inevitable as the sunrise and twice as predictable: a freak Late-May snowfall causes Right-Wingers to declare that it is PROOF that “Global Warming is a hoax”, and gee, don’t all us “environmental wackos” feel foolish? Of course, not once does it occur to these “authorities” in the Meteorological Sciences that “freak” weather events are EXACTLY what “Climate Change” science predicts. To top it off, the same time the upper-North-East is seeing snow in late may, Moore, Oklahoma was just leveled by an incredibly rare “EF5″ tornado for the second time in less than 15 years, and as of Sunday morning, the postman needed a whitewater raft to deliver the mail in downtown San Antonio. As a former teacher, I always feel obligated to “educate” the people that send me snotty letters informing me of just how “stupid” I must feel every time more than 20 inches of snow falls in the middle of Winter. But this latest spate of near-Summer snow in the North-East has the deniers absolutely giddy. It NEVER occurs to them to ask, “Just where did all that snow come from in the first place?” Yes, even late May snow is evidence of climate change.

I’ve noticed in my dealings with these people that a big part of the problem is the phrase “Global Warming”, used as shorthand by the Wingnut-o-sphere for “Summer in the Wintertime.” I think we’d be a lot further along in fighting “Climate Change” if it weren’t for that “easily debunked by looking out the window” misimpression. Despite what they say every year on the right, “Climate Change” isn’t a “new” term that Environmentalists are “suddenly” using because “Global Warming” keeps making them look foolish. “Global Warning” doesn’t mean “an end to Winter”. That’s some bizarre definition the Right made up because it’s so easy to debunk. When you don’t have a clue about what the heck you’re talking about to begin with, it is EASY (and takes balls of stone) to declare YOU, with your Associate degree in Journalism from the prestigious North Idaho Community College (Palin’s alma mater) are right and several thousand Climatologists (many with PH.D’s in the subject) are all wrong.

CBS’s “Face the Nation” actually took a moment yesterday (albeit in the second half hour of their program that many local stations don’t even carry) to question whether all this wild weather we’ve been seeing lately… from late May snowstorms to massive tornadoes and flooding…. might be due to Climate Change. With no representatives of BigOil on the panel, all agreed that recent freak weather events are in fact being made worse by Climate Change. With no “Meet the Republicans Press” or “ThisWeek” competing for airtime yesterday, more people probably tuned into “Face the Nation” than usual, so it’s a shame they waited until after most stations broke away following the first half, to discuss the issue, but we’ll take our victories where we can find them. Of course, they could have run the program in primetime hosted by Toby Keith and half this country would have chosen to watch “Wheel of Fortune” reruns instead.

The note I received Sunday morning was mercifully brief (and not my first from this particular person):

“[It's] May 26th and my hometown just got a foot of snow overnight! Good luck with that whole ‘Global Warming’ thing.”

Feeling compelled to beat my head against their thick skull just once more, I (knowingly in vain) just had to reply:
 

Sadly, anti-science Luddites like yourself who don’t understand the first thing about Climate Change are going to be the death of us all.

First off, the term is “Climate Change”, not “Global Warming”. GW is the shorthand description used by Deniers like yourself b/c you think it means “100′ days in Winter”. It doesn’t. It ONLY refers to a tiny increase in GLOBAL temperature of 1-6 degrees. If you don’t think 1′ is a big deal, ask an ice cube what the difference is between 32′ & 33′.

Second, you’re confusing “Climate” (a permanent condition) with “Weather” (a daily event). If it were to snow in Miami one year, you wouldn’t suddenly say “Miami has a cold *climate*”. Just because we still have cold weather doesn’t mean Climate Change isn’t real.

Third, while you saw record *snowfall*, you saw very few “record *low* temperatures”. Cold temperatures do not guarantee “snow”. There are parts of the South Pole where it hasn’t snowed in 10,000 years because it’s just too cold. You don’t need “record cold” to get snow. For every “one” record “cold” temp each year, we see TWO record highs (and that gap is growing).

Fourth, if you don’t think “freak late May snow storms” are a sign of “Climate Change”, you’re not paying attention. WHERE DO YOU THINK ALL THAT SNOW CAME FROM? Increased evaporation means more water in the air, and warm air holds more water than cold air. Once all that moisture moves over a colder region, you get snow… and LOTS of it. (The video you replied to w/o watching explains this.)

Lastly, we just saw an entire town wiped out after being hit by an EXTREMELY rare EF5 tornado for the second time since 1999 and the third outbreak of EF5’s in the last decade (Joplin). We’ve seen more EF5’s in the last 15 years than we’ve seen in the prior FIVE DECADES.

Please share this information with your fellow Climate Change Deniers and stop making a fool of yourself by telling people freak weather events disprove Climate Change.

 
You too may have noticed that the critics never use the term “Climate Change”. They always say “Global Warming” because every snowfall “disproves” it. “Aha! See! Global Warming isn’t real” because the temperature didn’t do what I falsely claimed you said would happen. The standard straw-man argument: They setup an easily disprovable condition, then when it fails, it’s proof they were right all along. See how that works?

“Democrats think all Republicans are racists, but millions of Republicans voted for Hermann Cain”, ergo you clearly have no idea what you are talking about! Never mind the fact that I never called “ALL” Republicans “racists”, or the fact you are using a generalization to disprove a generalization. They create a false narrative that they KNOW already isn’t supported by the “facts”, and then declare you a fool for believing something you never claimed to believe.

“It’s snowing in May! Global Warming is a hoax!” Oh what short memories we have. Barely year ago last January, everyone on the news was wondering, “Where is the snow?” A month into Winter, and a “heat wave” meant many cities across the country had yet to experience their first snowfall of the season:

January 2012 Winter Heat Wave (1:41)

Incredibly (well, probably not), Breitbart.com recently ran a story (no, I will not link to it) claiming the last week of April saw “32 record lows for every record high”. Naturally, curiosity got the better of me and I had to check the story out. Eight lines long with just one link to the website of a Climate Change denier who found a map on a weather website that showed an unusual number of record low temperatures that particular week.

One commenter on Breitbart.com was clear-headed enough to point out that “32:1″ isn’t exactly a sign of “normal” weather either. But regardless, claiming that a cluster of record “low” days one week somehow nullifies all the other weeks of record “highs” is a bit like declaring that a coin will “always” come up tails just because it came up tails ten times in a row.

By March, 2012, that record Winter heat wave had confirmed what we already knew:

I wonder where the Deniers were THAT week?

ADDENDUM: I forgot to mention that two weeks ago, we finally surpassed the much warned of “400ppm (parts per million)” mark concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere. 520 Environmental Scientists released this statement demanding action on our rapidly changing climate, including a laundry list of consequences if we don’t act quickly.
 



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Filed in Environment, Global Warming, myth busting May 27th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 4 comments | Add/View

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State Dept Says Modified Keystone Would Have Negligible Impact? (updated)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, March 4, 2013

IT'S A MIRACLE!Last May, after the original Keystone XL Pipeline proposal had been rejected by the Obama Administration, TransCanada submitted a new modified proposal for a shorter, more direct route for the same pipeline to pipe saturated tarsands “oil” from Alberta, Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. After a ten-month review, the U.S. State Department released a preliminary report on Friday concluding that the revised pipeline is “unlikely to have a significant impact on the environment”. Why? Well basically, because compared to the old KXL proposal, the new one seems almost sane (it isn’t). The revised pipeline would be shorter (in theory, only because it only extends to Nebraska where it will hookup with the already approved “Keystone extension” approved by the Obama Administration last year.) I wrote about the myths surrounding the original KXL project way back in April of 2011. ThinkProgress reported on the State Departments’ positive review of the revised plan last Friday and noted that for the next 45 days, the State Department would be accepting public comments (keystonecomments@state.gov) on the matter before a final decision is made. Here is a copy of my own comments. I highly encourage you to do the same:

 

Dear Sir or Madam,
  I am writing to express my deep disappointment and serious concern regarding the potential approval of a revised Keystone XL Pipeline project. Based on my own research, it is quite clear that the KXL would not only be an environmental catastrophe, but would not produce an abundance of jobs as many have claimed, and would in fact lead to higher gas prices (also in direct contradiction to stated claims) to go along with the aforementioned ecological disaster.

Even the premise of the pipeline “lowering gas prices” is absurd on its face. WHY would any company lobby so hard and spend tens of millions to push a project that would REDUCE their profits?

Reading the latest report on the revised pipeline proposal, right from the beginning I find myself gravely concerned that what is to be pumped through this pipeline being referred to as “oil” as it is not. It is in fact an oily sludge called “bitumen” that must be extracted from the sand and converted into oil. Thick bitumen sludge does not flow like oil, so it must be mixed with water… and LOTS of it (a minimum ratio of 3:1) to liquify it to the point it can be “pumped” like oil. That’s a horrendous waste of fresh water at a time when record heat means record drought.

Upon arrival at its destination, much of the water must then be extracted before the refining process may begin. The waste water… now a muddy chemical sludge, is dumped into giant “tailing ponds” of toxic waste that seep into the ground water, poison the soil for centuries, and kill off local wildlife.

The resulting “heavy-sour crude” is unsuitable for the production of gasoline (which relies on “light-sweet crude”), making it only suitable for producing “diesel” for export to Europe & South America. American refineries will have to give up roughly 15% of their existing refining capacity to convert this sludge into diesel, diverting gasoline production intended for the U.S. market to diesel production for export. Less gasoline being produced means HIGHER prices, not lower.

And there is no question “export” is the ultimate goal. Why else build a pipeline to the Gulf of Mexico? Wouldn’t it be cheaper/faster/easier to simply build a refinery in Canada (or anyplace between Alberta and the Gulf Coast?)

So TransCanada (the owners of the resulting “oil”) gets to export its oil and reap huge profits, while we get higher gas prices, toxic waste ponds and a leaky pipeline bisecting the nation and endangering ground water (and it WILL leak, as the sandy sludge “sandblasts” the thin metal pipeline transporting it.)

We also learned this past week that construction of the pipeline itself would produce no more that 42,100 temporary jobs and only between 35-50 permanent jobs. That’s a FAR cry from the “nearly 1 million jobs” falsely claimed by the pipeline’s supporters.

The solution to America’s energy problems is not to further embed our dependence on fossil fuels from one of the worst sources of oil on the planet, for an energy supply that would last only a few years (not “100+” as claimed), wreak havoc with our environment, increase gas prices and not produce anything close to a significant number of jobs to justify such a costly project. For a fraction of the cost, making our energy grid more efficient and investing in Green energy technology would produce FAR more “bang for the buck”… more jobs, better paying sustainable jobs with an actual future.

The idea that a revised pipeline proposal might be approved simply because the “new” proposal isn’t as an environmentally devastating as the first one is simply insane.

Thank you.

In the same report that says the pipeline is “unlikely” to have any affect on the GPA (“Great Plains Aquifer”) because the groundwater runs too deep and below bedrock, just three bullet points down it says this:
 

There are 2,537 wells within 1 mile of the proposed Project, including 39 public water supply wells and 20 private wells within 100 feet of the pipeline ROW. The vast majority of these wells are in Nebraska. Those wells that were in the vicinity may be affected by a petroleum release from the proposed Project.Executive Summary, pg.12.

 
Tell us again how the pipeline is “unlikely” to affect the ground water?
 

UPDATE: A week after release of the report (March 9th), an investigation revealed that this latest report claiming a negligible impact of the Keystone XL Pipeline on the environment was not prepared by neutral government officials, but instead:“Environmental Resources Management (ERM) was paid an undisclosed amount under contract to TransCanada to write the statement.” Color me shocked.

 

Just for fun, and a reminder of what once was, the intro from the 2008 Apocalyptic comedy “Zombie Strippers” joked about “Bush’s Fourth Term”:


 



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Filed in Economy, Energy Independence, Environment, Global Warming, Jobs, myth busting March 4th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Outrage for… More Outrage.

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, February 11, 2013

Thanks for the warning.There was no shortage of things to talk about this week, with the a record-setting blizzard hitting the North-East, GOP feux-outrage over the use of “drones” as part of a secret National Defense policy where the government asserted it can kill anyone overseas deemed a threat to National Security… even United States citizens. And, of course, Tuesday night will be the President’s State of the Union Address, where he is expected to lay out his priorities for his second term. But something even more traumatic… for me personally… came up last Friday that I feel I just have to talk about first. “Lefty’s Autopsy”. You might remember me mentioning two weeks ago how my beloved cat “Lefty” passed away after being diagnosed with cancer but then being told I had to wait ten days for the next available appointment for a bone marrow biposy before they could perform life-saving surgery on him. But by then, he was too weak and died on the operating room table. 2-1/2 traumatic months and $3,400 dollars later, all I have to show for my ordeal is a tiny urn on my kitchen table. I told the doctor upon his death that I wanted… nay needed… them to perform an autopsy because I HAD to know what happened to him. I finally got those results back Friday, and what I learned turned my sadness into outrage.

First, the topics I’m glossing over this week:

But back to Lefty’s autopsy. It all began last October. Not having much cash to spare and three cats to feed, I purchased “Purina Cat Chow” for the first time… knowing Lefty was unlikely to like it… because I had a $2 coupon that was about to expire. And sure enough, he didn’t, eating only small amounts. At the same time, I was growing increasingly concerned about his two sisters who are grossly overweight. Hearing them eat all night long as I tried to sleep, I started collecting their food before going to bed at night and putting it back out the next morning. After a couple of days of this, Lefty began throwing up in the middle of the night. The first night I didn’t think anything of it, the second night I became concerned, and after the third night in a row of him vomiting, I threw away the “Cat Chow” and called my vet to make an appointment, which wouldn’t be for another two days. Despite throwing away the “Cat Chow” and leaving other food out for him all night, he continued to barf for the next two days. I finally got him to the vet who diagnosed him as having “pancreatitis”, prescribed some bland wet cat food and gave him an injection of antibiotics that would last him ten days. I brought Lefty home the next morning (following a barf-free night) and hand-fed Lefty for the next ten days when he suddenly started throwing up again.

Not willing to trust the first vet again, I called a specialist that agreed to see him the next morning. Another night with poor Lefty throwing up (I was now flushing his throat out with water after vomiting to prevent acid erosion damage… something I should have been doing all along), I rushed him to the specialist the next morning. By now, he was already in very bad shape after having not eaten very much in nearly two weeks (only “Cat Milk” and the bland wet food I was now baby-feeding him). He went from a healthy 16-lbs to just 11-lbs in two weeks. By that time you could see/feel his spine along his back. They gave him IV fluids and aggressive care that included non-anabolic steroids for the next 36 hours before they released him. When I picked him up the next day, I was told Lefty did NOT have “pancreatitis” and the first vet had come to that conclusion based on a test for dogs. The specialist noticed that his spleen felt enlarged and scheduled him for a Sonogram the following Monday. I picked him up Friday evening and Lefty was once again stable with no vomiting.

On Monday, I brought him back for his Sonogram. It showed his spleen was indeed enlarged, so they performed a “needle biopsy” to check for cancer. The biopsy found the presence of “mast cells” indicating he had cancer… which seemed unimaginable as developing in barely two weeks, but I was told the cancer had probably always been there, dormant, coincidentally revealing itself only just now. The only treatment was to remove his spleen at a cost of “around $1,500″, being told it wouldn’t save his life, only alleviate his discomfort till he succumbed to the cancer in about a year. I couldn’t afford such an expensive surgery for something that wasn’t a cure, buying him just one more year of life.

I brought Lefty home, saddened by the thought that my pet… who was perfectly healthy just four weeks ago, was now predicted to be dead of cancer in just two months. I jumped online and started Googling “needle biopsies and cancer” to discover “needle biopsies” have a whopping 25% error rate, lending support to my suspicion he could not possibly have developed cancer so quickly.

The following weekend, Lefty started vomiting again. The Specialist was incredibly expensive (two visits totaled $2,300), and not trusting their diagnosis of cancer, I took him to a third vet. I expressed my concern and they reviewed his chart only to “agree” with the previous vet that cancer seemed all but certain and he needed surgery to remove his spleen… which, as I already mentioned, was a lot of money for something that wasn’t a cure. They prescribed some anti-nausea medication and a pill for gastrointestinal upset. I also continued the steroids the Specialist had prescribed even after the prescription ended because it was the only thing keeping his strength up (ironically, I take the exact same pill every day, so I gave him some of mine until the vet renewed his prescription.) Lefty did quite well and went another ten days without throwing up. By now I was crushing all his pills together in a pill grinder and filling empty medicine-capsules because forcing three pills twice a day down his throat was pure torture (for us both). Lefty had become quite adept at faking swallowing his pills only to spit them out the moment my back was turned. So forcing three pills became “twelve” as I redeposited the same pills over & over until he finally swallowed them. By now, Lefty was actually eating on his own again, which was good because trying to force specially prescribed bland wet food down his throat was a lesson in futility.

When Lefty started vomiting again about ten days later, a family friend (also a vet) told us of a veterinary surgeon that could remove his spleen for only $700. She referred us to a local veterinary oncologist (pet cancer doctor) that I (incorrectly) presumed was the same doctor that would do the surgery. She wasn’t. All she did was examine Lefty, look at his chart, agreed with the first vet’s diagnosis of cancer based upon the needle-biopsy and charged us $450.

I went home and started calling every local vet to see if I could find someone that could remove a spleen for less than $700. Instead, I was quoted everything from $3,500 to $4,800. Another family friend suggested “Texas A&M Veterinary School”, having once taken his own cat there years ago and only being charged the cost of anesthesia. So I called, but they wanted $2,300 and could not see him for at least a week, which was way too long. Suddenly, $700 didn’t sound so bad. I had to stop Lefty from vomiting, even if it only bought him one year, as least it would be a good one with no suffering. I called and scheduled Lefty for surgery in 36 hours.

A day & a half later, I brought Lefty in for surgery and the vet expressed concern over his apparent anemia, saying he would have to run some tests first. I left him there only to receive a call a few hours later saying his blood count was now so low (having fallen from a marginal 19 to just 10 in barely a week) that it suggested the cancer had spread to his bones meaning his cancerous spleen might be the only thing keeping him alive (producing red blood cells) and removing it could kill him. The only way to know was a bone-marrow biopsy. Here I was thinking I’d finally be bringing home a pet no longer in discomfort, and now he would have to wait still longer for yet another test. I once again called every local vet only to be told that “only two places left do animal bone marrow biopsies: one is in California and Texas A&M.” So I called TAMU to schedule an appointment and was told the soonest appointment I could get with a veterinary oncologist is in ten days! “Nothing sooner?”, I begged? “No, that’s the first appointment we have available.” How on Earth was I going to keep this poor animal healthy for another ten days?

I worked like a dog to keep him healthy, giving him his pills, keeping him hydrated by squirting water in his mouth because by now he had stopped drinking on his own, and making sure he had food at the ready any time he straying into the kitchen looking to eat (he still had an apatite, which was a very good sign, but he was only eating a few bites, which was bad.) I went back to squirting wet cat food in his mouth. The fact he fought me so vigorously was amazing considering how emaciated he had become. I nursed him day & night to keep him reasonably healthy till his scheduled biopsy (eventually the vomiting became more frequent, reaching twice a day towards the end.)

On Day-8, I called TAMU to confirm the appointment I had made the week before because I didn’t want to make the 90 mile journey only to be told there was a problem. The nurse on the phone asked me for the reason I was bringing him in. “Bone-marrow biopsy. The surgeon won’t remove his spleen until he has one to see if his cancer has spread.”

“When did you make the appointment?” (“Uh oh!” I thought.)

“Eight days ago”, I told her.

“Is there a reason you are waiting so long?” I explained that that was the earliest appointment I could get.

“You always could have brought him into the Emergency Room”, she replied, and my heart just sank. Here I was desperately trying to keep this poor animal alive and free of discomfort (never any sign of pain) for the past eight days and now I was being told there was never any need to wait??? I told her that I therefore would be rushing Lefty up there the next morning a day early. I was told to call once I was on my way so they could prepare for him, which I did.

My father and I made the 90 mile drive the next morning and after an hour wait, a nurse finally came out to talk to us and take Lefty in back for some tests. I never saw Lefty again. Another hour later we were told that Lefty needed surgery immediately to remove his spleen whether the cancer had spread to his bones or not, with a “20% chance” of not surviving the surgery. My $700 surgeon back home said he was booked, meaning TAMU would have to perform the surgery for $2,300. Out of options, we agreed and left Lefty there for the night where he was put on an IV due to dehydration to prep him for surgery (I gave Lefty as much water as he’d allow, but clearly it was not enough.)

The next day I received a call “before 11am” as promised to let me know how the surgery went. At 10:30, the doctor called, started using words in the past tense that I knew meant the worst had happened, and told me Lefty was in cardiac arrest, was being given CPR, and even if they revived him, he would probably be on a respirator at a cost of $10,000, asking me what they should do. Knowing Lefty’s quality of life was now over, I tearfully gave them permission to stop their resuscitation efforts and greenlighted an autopsy for an additional $50 because I HAD to know what killed him. With two more cats at home, I couldn’t risk this happening to them. I was told (not at that time) that it would take two weeks for the results.

Two weeks was last Thursday and no call. Friday I called and they agreed to email me the results. I was stunned (but not surprised) by the findings.

As you’ve probably guessed by now, I was right and Lefty didn’t have cancer. Reading the report with my jaw agape, the words “Cause of death: unknown” stood out like a dagger in my heart. Plowing through lots of medical jargon (which I’ve gotten quite good at interpreting following years of battling my own health issues years ago), buried towards the end, almost in passing, I read that an ulcer was found in his stomach. The poor animal suffered for two weeks and died of a completely curable stomach ulcer (which would explain why he responded so well to the antibiotics the first vet put him on despite the misdiagnosis of pancreatitis.) Lots of internal damage from the chronic vomiting, and the presence of precancerous “mast cells” in his spleen and liver were reported. His bone marrow was fine, and the words “cancer” or “carcinoma” appear nowhere in the two-page report, but the word “presumed” appears several times.

I never trusted the diagnosis of “cancer” based on a single test with a “25% error rate”. It just made no sense. My own determination of what happened? Lefty was allergic to something in the “Cat Chow” resulting in vomiting. By day three, it created an ulcer that kept him vomiting even after I threw the food out. Repeated vomiting damaged his spleen (just behind the stomach) resulting in it being flooded with precancerous “mast cells” (naturally present in the system) which were detected by the needle biopsy. No one ever did a “tissue biopsy” to confirm the diagnosis. They all just looked at the first test result, nodded their heads in agreement and charged me hundreds of bucks. Once they had made up their mind it was cancer, Lefty’s fate was sealed. All that misery they put my poor pet through, and all I have to show for it is a bank account that is now several thousand dollars lighter and this:
 

An urn & some saved fur in a baggie

The Moral of this story: No one cares about your health (or the health of those you love) more than you do. If something doesn’t sound right, you’re probably right.
 



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Filed in Environment, General, Global Warming, Healthcare, Politics, Rants, Seems Obvious to Me, War February 11th, 2013 by Admin Mugsy | • 7 comments | Add/View

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10 Things You WON’T Hear Mentioned at the Republican Convention This Week

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Monday, August 27, 2012

Ask Mitt Anything* (*except...)As you know, the GOP will be holding its Presidential Convention & Cross Burning Clambake all this week in Tampa Bay. Well, not ALL week, because for the second convention in a row, the first day of the RNC Convention will be canceled due to a hurricane lashing the pavilion. In 2008, religious morons “prayed for rain” to disrupt the DNC Convention in Denver. Instead, they saw temps in the low 80’s, and the clouds parting on the night of Obama’s big acceptance speech. God is clearly a Democrat. Meanwhile, the GOP brazenly chose to host their convention at the site of Bush’s SECOND greatest failure (or, if you prefer, “Greatest failure of his SECOND term”), New Orleans during the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina (August 29, 2005). In response, God sent “Hurricane Gustav”, forcing the GOP to cancel Day-1 of their convention. Clearly, the GOP didn’t get the hint, because God decided in His infinite wisdom to disrupt the 2012 Convention as well with YET ANOTHER hurricane (“Isaac”) on the seventh anniversary of Katrina, once again headed for New Orleans. The Lord Almighty announced he’s “going to keep lobbing hurricanes at GOP Presidential Conventions until [they] admit Global Warming is real.” It’s true, I swear! God told me so himself (or maybe it was just Marcus Bachmann?)

And that’s Item #1 of things you WON’T hear being discussed at the Republican National Committee Convention this week: “Global Warming”. No, if history is any teacher, rather than ponder what effect turning our planet into a giant Easy-Bake Oven has on hurricanes, Asshats-in-cowboy-hats will be chanting, “Drill Baby, drill!” (or “Build the damn pipeline!”) despite the fact that oil production is higher now under President Obama than it EVER was under President Bush. (I have also pointed out that the KXL pipeline would result in HIGHER gas prices because giving up Refinery capacity to refine KXL oil for export means less gas for us, creating an artificial shortage that pushes prices UP.) But don’t confuse a Republican with “facts”. While Oil Billionaires in Tampa will be toasting the fact that hurricane in the Gulf means shutting down dozens of Refineries and Drilling Platforms across the Gulf Coast, pushing gas prices… and by extension… profits much higher (and the economy much lower), it will never occur to a single monsoon-soaked conventioneer that maybe what we should be looking for are ways to get OFF oil as a way to reduce prices, not suck the planet dry like the last Grape Nehi on Planet Diablo.

Number #2 on the list: While Governor Romney and several Convention Speakers will vow to “Repeal ObamaCare”, you will NOT hear ANYONE explain WHAT exactly they plan to replace ObamaCare with. On yesterday’s “Fox news Sunday”, host Chris Wallace interviewing Romney, asked him about “the consequences of repealing ObamaCare”. Romney ACTUALLY said that he would replace “ObamaCare” with “things”. You think I’m kidding?

Romney: (“the things I will replace ObamaCare with will also help hold down the cost of health care”)

Number #3: “Personhood”, or more specifically: “The Personhood Amendment. Oh, you’ll hear tons of lofty talk about the GOP being “The Party of Life” from a bunch of rabid pro-war, pro-gun, pro-death penalty zealots, and how the vile Liberal Left wants every woman to rely on Planned Parenthood for their health care so they can be talked into getting an abortion (especially if they’re black), but in the toxic fog of Rep. Todd Akin, any mention of the ultimate goal of that “pro-life” agenda will be harder to hear than a mouse-fart in church. If the camera catches glimpse of a single “Ban The Pill” or “Pass the Personhood Amendment” sign, you can bet that person will be yanked faster than a 6-inch nose hair.

No one during the entire event will connect the dots between “Personhood” and how it could ban most forms of hormonal contraception. In fact, you might even hear some Speaker claim that “No one is talking about banning contraception!” What a ridiculous thought!

Which of course leads to Number #4: Todd Akin. Last Monday, people were aghast by the Right-Wing nuttery of Republican Congressman Todd Akin for saying that victims of “legitimate rape” (RW code for suggesting there are a number of women who falsely claim rape simply to obtain an abortion) “secrete a substance” that prevents them from becoming pregnant (ergo, if you got pregnant, you must have wanted it.) But lets keep in mind that this is a Party where one of it’s leading presidential candidates… Ron Paulsaid almost the exact same thing last February, and no one on the Right said “Boo”.

As ThinkProgress pointed out, Paul Ryan teamed up with Akin on a slew of “personhood”, “anti-abortion” and “anti-contraception” acts of legislation as recently as THIS YEAR, so naturally the GOP makes him their Vice-Presidential nominee. If anyone brings up Akin or Ryan’s connection to him, it will be reporters, not anyone from the dais.

Number #5 on the list of thing you’ll never hear mentioned at this convention: The rash of recent “gun violence”. From the “Batman” shooting in Colorado, the near-fatal shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the attack on an Indian Seik Temple, or even the “suicide-by-cop” incident in front of The Empire State Building just last week. The GOP might as well change its name to The NRA for all the difference it would make. I’m sorry, but for a group of peacock-strutting macho Rednecks that loves guns & war, they sure talk tough, but I’ve never met a bigger bunch of frightened p@ssies in all my life. They live in constant terror of “Muslims”, “Illegal Immigrants”, “Black people”, “Black helicopters”… heck, the government in general. I couldn’t fathom living in their world. What a dark scary place they live in. It must be horrible living in such constant fear like that. So, if the word “gun” is mentioned at all during this Convention, it will be in the context of “Fast & Furious”… the botched “gun walking” program that never actually allowed a single gun to “walk”.

(UPDATE: On the morning of opening day of the Convention, a student at Perry Hall High School in Maryland was shot & wounded by another student opening fire in the school cafeteria.)

Number #6 on the list of things you’ll never hear at this convention: Mitt Romney’s tax returns or his tax shelters. While I wouldn’t be surprised if some minor league GOP “rising star” or disgruntled “Bachmann-type” in a waaaay off-primetime speaking slot ridicules the idea that anyone needs to see more than the one-years’ worth of tax returns that Mitt has already released, the very subject of Romney’s taxes will be verboten.

Number #7: The words “filibuster” or “obstruction”. It is imperative to the governor’s election chances that everyone forget that the last election wasn’t 2008, it was 2010. On yesterdays’ “ThisWeek” on ABC, Right-Wing putz George Will pointed to how little things have improved over the past year, and how that’s evidence “President Obama’s policies have failed”. Just once, I’d like someone to ask him if he thinks the GOP controlled Congress (yes, that includes the Dem-led Senate that has been held hostage via the filibuster) deserves ANY of the blame for the lack of improvement over the past two years? I mean, they DID come in promising “Jobs, jobs, jobs”, no? Or was I just imagining that? I’d almost bet cash/money that someone will (falsely) claim, “President Obama had a filibuster proof majority” his first two years (in truth, it was a grand total of only 24 working days) to support the idea he accomplished nothing (except pass the most sweeping health care reform law in 50 years.)

Number #8 on our list is “Voter ID” and the millions that are likely to be disenfranchised in order to “safeguard our elections” from a crime that’s rarer than death by lightning strike. The GOP is very excited about the passage of “Voter ID” laws that will require millions of legal Registered voters to unnecessarily jump through all sorts of ridiculous hoops just to exercise their Constitutional Right (“The Constitution”… you remember that Right-Wingers? It’s that thing you wrap yourselves in when it suits your purposes, and you push to “Amend” when it doesn’t?) They’ll ACTUALLY tell you, “It’s about making sure that only Citizens actually vote in our elections”, yet they accept a “Drivers License” (among other things) that doesn’t actually require proof of citizenship to get. In fact, NON-citizens can get a Drivers License, and do so all the time. Tell me again how “Voter ID” has anything to do with “making sure only citizens vote”? No, it’s just about making it more difficult for minorities and The Poor… groups that typically vote Democratic… to vote. I actually had one Right-Winger say to me, “Hey, if you can’t do something as simple as get an ID from the DMV, you shouldn’t be voting anyway!” Yes, it’s SO EASY for people WITHOUT A DRIVERS LICENSE OR A CAR to get to the DMV. It’s SO EASY for someone on Minimum Wage to take time off from work and wait in line all day at the DMV to get an ID they never needed before just to do something they’ve been doing for decades without incident. That taxi cab you might have to take to get to the DMV, or that time off you must take from work, that costs money and is tantamount to an illegal Poll Tax. If by some disaster Romney should “win” this November, you can BET “Voter ID” played a BIG part in making it happen.

Number #9: “The Dream Act”. Republicans are already on the outs with Millions of Hispanic voters for their “shoot first” at anyone that comes near their “1,100 mile long electrified fence” position on Border Security. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who signed Arizona’s “Papers Please” law that gave local police the ability to stop anyone they deemed “suspicious” on any trumped-up charge they could think-up to give them legal justification to harass brown people, didn’t win them any friends in the Hispanic community. After alienating just about every sane black person in the country with their “Birther” nonsense, the GOP can’t afford to alienate any more minorities. But they’ve already labled President Obama’s “Dream Act”something that was once a GOP idea… “Amnesty”. In an interview on “Meet the Press” yesterday, Jeb Bush (who will be speaking at the convention while his brother will not) criticized his own party for being so anti-immigration, stressing the need for legal immigration. Jeb also acknowledged that President Obama “inherited a very difficult situation”, and will be using his speech to promote the need for “education” to a bunch of Home-Schoolers that want to abolish the Department of Education. So you can relax folks, there’s now ZERO chance we’ll ever see another Bush in the White House.

And last but not least…

Number #10 on the list of Things no one will hear mentioned at the RNC Convention? Osama bin Laden or Kadaffy.

(Note: Be sure to visit our new pages: “GOP Nonsense” and “Must See Videos” linked on the toolbar above.) And for more humor, observations and breaking news throughout the week, be sure to subscribe to our Twitter Feed.)
 



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Filed in Economy, Election, Energy Independence, Environment, General, Global Warming, Guns & Violence, Healthcare, Middle East, Politics, Predictions, Religion, Right-wing Facism, Right-Wing Insanity, Taxes, voting, War August 27th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 6 comments | Add/View

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100 years later, Titanic would of been okay because icebergs that far South are now extremely rare

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Saturday, April 14, 2012

This Sunday will be the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic in the North Atlantic on April 15th, 1912. The tragic story of the sinking of the world most luxurious ocean liner is so well known the the story of its demise is now “common knowledge”… how a ship that was declared “unsinkable” struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage and sank, taking with it the lives of over 1,500 passengers. I’ve always found the story of the Titanic fascinating. As a kid in 1982, I purchased a book detailing the “lost” vessel entitled “Titanic: End of a Dream”. Just three years later, they found the long lost ship more than 12,600 feet (2.4miles) beneath the ocean surface, roughly 1,000 miles east of the Massachusetts coast (2/3rds of the way into its trip from South Hampton, England). Thinking about this upcoming 100th anniversary, a thought crossed my mind: “Thanks to Global Warming, how common are icebergs in the vicinity of the crash that could of sunk the Titanic if it sailed today?” I decided to investigate.

Most people DON’T know that the year after the disaster, the U.S. & Canadian marine services joined forces to track icebergs floating in the North Atlantic to warn ships of the potential danger and prevent another deadly collision. The American agency is known as “The International Ice Patrol” (IIP), while its Canadian counterpart is called “The Canadian Ice Service”. Since 1913, The North American Ice Service (NAIS) has mapped & recorded every iceberg floating in the open waters off the North American coast. In the early days, the information was published in book form. Today, daily updates are uploaded to GPS satellites and tracked in real time.

The Titanic sank “in the icy waters of the North Atlantic” after it was unable to avoid a collision with an ice flow that ripped a hole in the bow, flooding one more compartment than the vessel was built to withstand. If you want details of the actual wreck, I suggest you rent the movie (definitely NOT the above Disney-spoof from a 1998 episode of Saturday Night Live) or any of the nearly one-hundred documentaries on the subject. That’s not why we’re here.

So I went sniffing around the IIP website to see if icebergs can still be found in that same area today where the Titanic had its fatal encounter 100 years ago (Google Earth: 49° 56′ 49″ W, 41° 43′ 32″ N)… roughly around the 41st parallel. Fortunately, the Coast Guard keeps these records online. Unfortunately, the IIP only hosts records dating back to 1998. I looked at every map available. Oddly, in 2005, mapping duties were handed over to Canada whose archives are not available online (only daily maps/reports). For the years I was able to check… 1998 thru 2004… I found only THREE appearances of icebergs that far South (details below).

Not wanting to draw any hasty conclusions, I pondered: “Is it possible icebergs often float further South and I just missed it?” Icebergs don’t stay in one place. They move (around 2mph), pushed by deep ocean currents. So I contacted the IIP and asked about icebergs appearing in the vicinity of the Titanic collision today. Happily, I received a quick response:

We do not have the daily iceberg maps earlier than 1998 on our web site, but our annual reports contain twice-per-month maps.

Archive.org has a (nearly) complete set of Ice Patrol’s annual reports, which go back to 1913 [sic: 1922].

It is a little difficult to get around the site because reports are listed by volume number rather than year, and they are not in order.

I can’t give you an exact count, but several times there have been icebergs near the Titanic site. It is not common, but it does happen. For example, look at Volume 81 (1995 season). If you go to page 26 (the 15 May 1995 map), you’ll see there were icebergs near the Titanic site on that date.

Yes, currently, our daily product shows that there are no known icebergs south of 45N. Most of this year’s icebergs seem to be close to the island of Newfoundland.

Regards,
Don Murphy
United States Coast Guard

Long story short, I thought it best to compare the number of icebergs that far south years ago compared to the number of icebergs in that region today. (Editors Note: While extensive, this research is by no mean “exhaustive”… limited greatly by the records available to me online… and should not be used as “definitive proof” in any climate study. – Mugsy)

The oldest available online record is 1922-1925 (PDF), in which all ice formations (bergs, flows and floating ice) were recorded only as coordinates in journal format, making them incredibly difficult to research.
 

This is how an iceberg sighting near the 39th parallel was reported in 1923:
1923 iceberg sighted near 39' N
(highlighting & date is mine – Click to Enlarge)

While modern reported sightings are visually mapped:

May 21, 2003. Two rare icebergs sighted near the 39th parallel:
Two rare icebergs well below the 40' N
(Click to Enlarge)

 

In that first journal (1922-1925), I was able to find four distinct instances of icebergs as far south as 40° N (100 miles South of the Titanic crash site) and seven icebergs as far south as 39° N (200 miles South of the Titanic crash site) between 1922 and 1925.

But between the years of 1988 thru 2004 (the most recent years for which we have maps), I found only eight sightings in seventeen years (only the last date is exact):

Over that same period, I found 10 reported sightings of icebergs close to the 41st parallel (the latitude along which the Titanic sunk). And while I do not have maps since 2005, the Canadian Ice Service does record “Total Accumulated Ice Coverage” every year since 1971, showing a marked decline since 1996.

Almost 100 years to the day of the Titanic’s fatal brush with an iceberg near the 41st parallel, you will not find any icebergs South of 46° N… more than 500 miles North of the crash site. I highly encourage someone with more resources than what’s available to me for free over the Internet to record/demonstrate on the dramatic decline in the number of icebergs in just the past 25 years.
 
And in a related story: Climate Change is linked to March’s record-breaking weather…



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Filed in Environment, Global Warming April 14th, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • No comments | Add/View

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The Truth About the Keystone XL Pipeline: Few jobs, higher gas prices, eco disaster (updated)

By Admin Mugsy - Last updated: Friday, March 23, 2012

Obama keeps catering to the RightFrequent readers of M.R.S. already know how I feel about the proposed “Keystone XL pipeline” and the absurd level of hyperbole from Conservatives regarding the supposed windfall of jobs it would produce along with its ability to bring down gas prices, while downplaying the environmental consequences. With the deep pockets of BigOil and oil tycoons like the Billionaire Koch Brothers flooding the airways with ads trying to convince the general public to support the pipeline (ask yourself “Why anyone would spend millions in TV ads and lobbying Congress to drive prices/profits DOWN?”), I was heartened for a long time by President Obama’s resistance to this disastrous proposed pipeline. But on March 22nd (2012), President Obama announced that he was caving in to pressure from The Right and would be “fast-tracking a portion of the Keystone pipeline extending it from Oklahoma to the Texas gulf”. (I apologize in advance if this report seems a bit rushed and not as well organized. I had hoped to do a more extensive report at a later date, but felt my hand was rushed with the presidents announcement.)

Myth #1: “1 million jobs”:

A flood of TV & radio ads are on the airwaves right now suggesting the pipeline would be a huge job creator:

American Petroleum Institute TV Ad
API ad claiming Keystone “could create 1 million new jobs”.

 

“Could” create? Interestingly enough, when you checkout the link they cite at the end of their ad… “EnergyTomorrow.org”their own website contradicts this claim:

Only 500,000 jobs in 3 years
Only 500,000 jobs in 3 years (click to enlarge)

 

Every independent study estimating the number of jobs that might be created by this pipeline say the actual number is lower. FAR lover. Not even in the “hundreds of thousands”. The company that will actually build the pipeline, TransCanada says Keystone would create “20,000 direct jobs”, consisting of 13,000 construction jobs and 7,000 jobs making stuff like pump houses and the pipe itself. TransCanada also estimates a grand total of just “120,000 indirect jobs” added to local economies along the construction route. That’s roughly 15 percent of the total figure claimed in those ads. So where do they get “1 million jobs?” That’s spread out over 20 years. And it won’t take 20 years to construct the pipeline. The number of jobs they estimated refers to “person-years” of employment— a single job that lasts two years is counted twice! You read that right. Since the jobs are temporary, after two years, when that temp job ends and they are replaced (often by the same person) they count the same job again as a “new” job, even though the net job increase is ZERO.
 

(Update 3/1/2013: Reuters reports Keystone would create no more than 42,100 temporary construction jobs and just 35-50 permanent jobs.)

 
Probably the most damning proof that the number of jobs KXL might produce has been WILDLY exaggerated can be seen in this video of Fox “news” hosts gradually inflating the number of jobs from “5,000” to “over a million”, followed by TransCanada VP Robert Jones admitting the actual number would actually be closer to “just 1,000 jobs”:


To infinity, and beyond!

 

The primary jobs created by this pipeline would come from its actual construction. This is low-skill low-pay contract employment that at most would last only two years. The Washington Post “FactChecker” gives the “million jobs” claim “two Pinocchio’s”, finding the actual number of jobs closer to “13,000 construction jobs over two years.”

Myth #2: Energy Independence:

Republicans are astoundingly good at “catapulting the propaganda”. Far better than Democrats. But part of the reason Republicans are so good at spreading misinformation that benefits them is because they have a huge pool of uninformed, undereducated, Evangelical followers that have been conditioned after decades of religious teaching to never question what you are told, to accept everything “on faith”, and trust pro-Rich, anti-Poor, pro-Big Business, pro-Death Penalty, pro-War, pro-Gun, anti-Environment extremists that they are acting in their best interests. Democrats are far more likely to question everything they are told. This makes for a far more educated voter pool that’s piss-poor at organizing.

Enough of that. Conservatives are absolutely convinced that those Canadian Oilsands contain “100 years worth of oil” that could help reduce/eliminate our dependence on “foreign” oil (someone should point out to them that Canada is also a “foreign country”). And if we don’t have to buy all that oil from the Middle East, we can tell those countries to “go to Hell” and stop “bowing down to the Saudis”.

It is actually incredibly difficult to get accurate figures on how much oil can be extracted from the Canadian Oilsands/tarsands because no one really knows exactly how much “oil” there is. “Oil” is in quotes because the black tar saturating these sands is actually a chemical sludge called “bitumen”, which, when mixed with water and chemicals releases heavy black crude oil (more on that later). The area in question… an expanse of Canada’s Boreal Forest… covers 1.4 billion acres. The number of actual “barrels of oil per acre” depends both on the saturation (how deep into the ground the tar goes) and just how “oily” the soil is, but one study puts the number at “175 billion barrels of retrievable oil”. At our current usage rate of (if Wiki can be trusted) “20 million barrels per day”… if we never use more oil than we do today… that translates to just under 24 years worth of oil. Of course, we use more and more oil every year. One estimate claims an increase of 2 percent a year. I suck at math, so I’m not even going to attempt it, but I don’t see “100 to 300 years worth of oil” coming out of those tarsands. That’s a FAR cry from “energy independence”.

So first, the amount of oil from the tarsands is not enough to make us “self-sufficient” so that we don’t need to import any Middle Eastern oil even if we don’t export a single drop to the rest of the world. But we WILL be exporting that oil. Not just “some” or “a lot”, but MOST of it is intended for export. Six major exporters have laid claim to 76 percent (pdf) of the oil that is to be pumped through the KXL pipeline. The “heavy sour” crude one extracts from tarsand is not very good for producing light low-sulfur gasoline, but is just dandy for producing diesel like they use in Europe and South America. And since “petrol” sells for WAY more in Europe than gasoline does in the U.S., the oil companies are going where the money is. Ask yourself, “Why build a 2,000 mile pipeline through six states, bisecting the entire continental U.S. and risking a major aquifer, all the way to the Gulf of Mexico? Are there no closer refineries? Wouldn’t it be cheaper/safer just to build a refinery in Canada?” Very little of this oil will ever find its way to American gas tanks. So much for “energy independence”.
 

Which bring us to Myth #3: Lower gas prices:

There is currently a major lack of refining capacity in Europe and South America. That is why the tarsand oil is to be refined here in the U.S. (ibid above PDF). Presently, American refineries produce gasoline for use here in America and export to the rest of the world. But if you shift a portion of American refineries over from refining gasoline for us to refining diesel for export, that means the supply of gasoline will go DOWN not up… driving UP the price at the pump. The KXL is expected to carry roughly 1.1 million barrels a day. That translates to about 8% of our total refining capacity. That’s the equivalent of an 8% cut in the supply of gasoline. And if you think Speculators on Wall Street will stop after the price of oil rises just 8 percent, you haven’t been paying attention these past eight years.

The Washington Post FactChecker also points out that “even if the pipeline were approved tomorrow, it wouldn’t carry it’s first barrel of oil” for another two years. So if gas prices were to fall at all (and they won’t), it won’t be from the “near $4/gallon” it is NOW but the “God-only-knows” price it will be two years from now.

ThinkProgress released a study this week (March 2012) that finds that in 36 years, they could find NO evidence that “increased drilling reduces gas prices”. If anything, looking at their graph, the exact opposite appears to be true, with gas prices typically increasing as production rises.

Keep in mind, unless you plan on SOCIALIZING the entire oil industry (like Venezuela), there’s NO WAY to insulate oil prices in the U.S. from the price set on the Open Market. So whatever the price is in the rest of the world, that’s how much that tarsands oil will go for… and gas prices accordingly. The amount of oil from the tarsands is not enough to glut the market and drive down prices, BUT EVEN IF IT WERE, since prices are set by the World Market, OPEC would simply cut production driving the price back up (something “Professor Newt” fails to take into account when promising “$2.50/gallon gas”.) So gas won’t be any cheaper either.
 

Then there’s #4 The Environmental issues:

If you wanted to design the dirtiest, least environmentally friendly way of obtaining oil, you couldn’t invent a worse source than tarsand. Unlike conventional drilling, tarsand actually involves “open-pit strip-mining” the Earth and trucking billions of tons of oily soil to a “pumping station”. And you can’t pump “sludge” though a pipeline, so you must mix it with water. “Four barrels of water for every barrel of bitumen” (pdf report). That dirty toxic water is later separated from the oil upon refining where it is dumped into “tailing ponds”… a sea of toxic waste. And since you get TWO barrels of toxic waste for every ONE barrel of oil (ibid same report), that leaves you with a PERMANENT TOXIC WASTE DUMP OF TWICE THE AMOUNT OF OIL CREATED. So Europe gets 15 years worth of diesel and Texas gets giant disgusting lakes of toxic waste staring at us from now till eternity.

Tailing pond
“Tailing pond”

 

Did you know that the “Keystone Pipeline” already exists? The proposed “Keystone XL” is a larger alternate pipeline replacing an existing 1,661 mile pipeline that currently extends as far South as Cushing, Oklahoma (the extension approved by President Obama mentioned at the top of this report will allow it to now reach the rest of the way to the Port of Houston and Port Arthur). The new… more direct route… into Nebraska that would take the pipeline thru some very environmentally sensitive areas and beneath the famed “Ogallala Aquifer”… the primary source of clean drinking water for as many as five states. The currently existing pipeline, when it was built, was predicted to leak (due to aging or unforeseen events) “once every seven years”. Instead, it LEAKED TWELVE TIMES LAST YEAR (its first year). On May 7th of last year near Millner, N.D., the pipeline spilled about 21,000 gallons of oil. So not only do you get giant lakes of toxic waste, you also get thick black oil spills as all that toxic sludge rips holes in our wonderful new pipleline.

And that thick black sludge doesn’t float on the surface where it can be mopped up with skimmer boats like we saw in the Gulf after the BP spill. No, this thick black sludge sinks to the bottom of the river or sinks back into the ground, making it next to impossible to clean up. This just keeps getting better & better.

Diesel fuel also produces more Greenhouse gasses than gasoline when it is burned, making the high-sulfur diesel refined from the tarsands oil one giant “carbon bomb” that renowned NASA climatologist James Hansen said would spell “Game Over” for the environment.
 

And there you have it. Keystone WON’T “create hundreds of thousands of jobs”, WON’T “decrease our dependence on foreign oil”, WON’T bring down gas prices, but WILL produce an environmental disaster the likes of which you can’t begin to imagine.

President Obama, you should know by now that if you are doing this to please the Right, it won’t. Instead, they’ll use it as a weapon to prove that “they were right all along” and it took them fighting you on this issue to get you to see the error of your ways and “do what the people want.” They are ALREADY saying that the only reason you’re doing this is “because your approval ratings are down”.

Remember what George Bush said about “Fool me once”.

PS: Oh, and for any Right-Wingers reading this: Several sources for this article came from a Fox “news” report entitled “Six reasons Keystone XL was a bad deal all along.”
 



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Filed in Economy, Energy Independence, Environment, Global Warming, Jobs, myth busting, Politics, Seems Obvious to Me March 23rd, 2012 by Admin Mugsy | • 1 comment | Add/View