At least there’s some good news this morning. Senator Harry Reid has found a deal to end FAA furloughs so that lots of people can return to work and those monies go to the government and not into the pockets of the airline industry.
Under a deal Reid made with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Senate will pass the House bill that includes cuts to rural flight service to airports in Nevada, West Virginia and Montana. But Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will use his authority to waive the airports from the cuts, ending a 13-day impasse that left 4,000 FAA employees and about 70,000 construction employees out of work.
Reid said the deal did not solve the issues that led to the partial shutdown of the FAA, but he said those can be dealt with another day.
“I am pleased to announce that we have been able to broker a bipartisan compromise between the House and the Senate to put 74,000 transportation and construction workers back to work,” Reid said in a statement released by his office. “This agreement does not resolve the important differences that still remain. But I believe we should keep Americans working while Congress settles its differences, and this agreement will do exactly that.”
NASA’s funding may be on the chopping block, but the agency continues to do first class science. It has announced that it has found evidence of liquid water on Mars.
Pictures taken by the powerful HiRISE camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) showed fingers of dark material running down rocky slopes facing the equator during spring and summer months. Scientists believe that this represents a significant sign that briny water is flowing on the surface of the red plant.
The dark stripes, approximately 0.5 yards wide and hundreds of yards long, appear during the warm months and then disappear again in cold months. The salty surface of Mars means that liquid water would be salty as well, making it less likely to freeze at the observed tempratures.
“These dark lineations are different from other types of features on Martian slopes,” MRO project scientist Richard Zurek said in a press advisory. “Repeated observations show they extend even farther downhill with time during the warm season.”
In my Monday Reads I mentioned the horrible famine taking place in Somalia. SOS Hillary Clinton has made an appeal to al-Shabaab to focus on feeding hungry people and letting world aid groups do their jobs.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday appealed to al-Shabaab militants in Somalia to give unfettered access to relief workers trying to aid thousands of people threatened by famine. Clinton said a high-level U.S. team will lead a fact-finding mission to neighboring Kenya to review relief efforts.
The United States lists al-Shabaab, which has ties to al-Qaida, as a terrorist organization and has actively helped Somalia’s U.N.-supported transitional government try to resist a takeover by the Islamic militants.
But in an unusual direct appeal to al-Shabaab, Clinton urged the group to drop what she said was its deliberate effort to block food deliveries in south-central Somalia and in parts of the capital, Mogadishu, under its direct or indirect control.
“It is particularly tragic that during the holy month of Ramadan, al-Shabaab are preventing assistance to the most vulnerable populations in Somalia – namely children, including infants, and girls and women who are attempting to bring themselves and those children to safety and the potential of being fed before more deaths occur,” said Clinton. “I call on al-Shabaab to allow assistance to be delivered in an absolutely unfettered way throughout the area that they currently control.”
Al-Shabaab, which dominates the southern part of Somalia, maintains there is no famine and has barred the entry of aid groups other than the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Creepy old polygamist leader–Warren Jeffs– has been convicted of child sex abuse despite his self representation in criminal court. He mostly hid under the mantle of The Book of Mormon and his right to practice his religion as he saw fit.
Warren Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, has been convicted on child sexual assault charges.
His case stems from his relationship with two young followers he took as brides in what the FLDS church calls “spiritual marriages.”
Jeffs has acted as his own attorney during the trial after firing his attorneys on July 28.
In 2008, authorities raided the YFZ ranch near Eldorado, and seized about 400 children.
Jeffs faces up to life in prison.
A forensic analyst testified that Jeffs was an almost certain DNA match to the child of a 15-year-old mother.
Jeffs also was accused of assaulting a 12-year-old girl.
At least 2000 Syrians that oppose the dictator there have been killed. The latest slaughter–which is taking place during the Islamic holiday of Ramadan–includes tanks in Hama. SOS Hillary Clinton has said the current government of Syria has lost all legitimacy.
“The sound of tank shelling and their heavy machineguns echoed in Hama all day. We fear many more martyrs. Most people in my neighborhood have fled,” said one resident in Sabounia district, a small business owner who did not want to be named.
“The shabbiha (militiamen loyal to Assad) are cleaning the streets near the university campus to stage a pro-Assad march tomorrow as if nothing is happening in Hama,” he told Reuters by satellite phone.
Electricity and communications have been cut off and as many as 130 people have been killed in a five-day military assault since Assad, from Syria’s minority Alawite sect, sent troops into the city on Sunday, residents and activists said.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington believed Assad’s forces were responsible for the deaths of more than 2,000 Syrians in their attacks on peaceful protesters during the five-month uprising.
Clinton repeated that the United States believed Assad had lost legitimacy in Syria and said Washington and its allies were working on strategies to apply more pressure beyond new sanctions announced earlier on Thursday.
Nordstrom has a waiting list for a Chanel sequined tweed coat with a $9,010 price. Neiman Marcus has sold out in almost every size of Christian Louboutin “Bianca” platform pumps, at $775 a pair. Mercedes-Benz said it sold more cars last month in the United States than it had in any July in five years.
Even with the economy in a funk and many Americans pulling back on spending, the rich are again buying designer clothing, luxury cars and about anything that catches their fancy. Luxury goods stores, which fared much worse than other retailers in the recession, are more than recovering — they are zooming. Many high-end businesses are even able to mark up, rather than discount, items to attract customers who equate quality with price.
“If a designer shoe goes up from $800 to $860, who notices?” said Arnold Aronson, managing director of retail strategies at the consulting firm Kurt Salmon, and the former chairman and chief executive of Saks.
The rich do not spend quite as they did in the free-wheeling period before the recession, but they are closer to that level.
The luxury category has posted 10 consecutive months of sales increases compared with the year earlier, even as overall consumer spending on categories like furniture and electronics has been tepid, according to the research service MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. In July, the luxury segment had an 11.6 percent increase, the biggest monthly gain in more than a year.
I’d say that trend might end given that equities markets are crashing and crashing extraordinarily big time. Yesterday was the worst day for the market since 2008. That’s what happens when the confidence fairy runs off with the high priest of voodoo economics. Poof! Don’t say I didn’t tell you to bail a few months ago!
Stocks plunged Thursday in their single worst day since the 2008 financial crisis.
The Dow tumbled 512 points — its ninth deepest point drop ever — as fear about the global economy spooked investors.
“The conventional wisdom on Wall Street was that the economy was growing — that the worst was behind us,” said Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital. “Now what people are realizing is the stimulus didn’t work, and we may be headed back to recession.”
Also, don’t tell me I didn’t tell you that the stimulus wasn’t going to be enough to jump start the economy either. I think we all saw it. Too bad they never listen to us? Hmmmm? So, I’ll continue to watch this.
The disaster at Fukushima nuclear power plant continues. Radiation levels inside the crippled was said to be at levels that went beyond measurement capabilities. Folks, this is so scary. I can’t imagine the bravery of the workers trying to deal with this. It sounds like going near the place is a death sentence.
Radiation dosages of 5 sieverts per hour were detected indoors on the second floor of the No. 1 reactor at the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Tuesday, the highest figure yet indoors, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.
The figure was detected in front of a pipe in an air-conditioning machine room, the utility said, adding the dosage may be larger than the measured amount as it exceeds the capacity of measuring equipment.
Radioactive substances are considered to be staying in the pipe after they entered there when pressure in the reactor’s containment vessel was lowered on March 12, according to Tokyo Electric known as TEPCO.
The company has made the area off-limits.
TEPCO also said radiation doses of more than 10 sieverts, or 10,000 millisieverts, per hour were detected outdoors again Tuesday at the plant.
If exposed to such a high-level dosage of radiation in a short period of time, almost all people exposed would die, radiation experts said.
On Monday, Tokyo Electric said radiation doses of as high as 10 sieverts per hour were detected outside the buildings for the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?