Monday Reads

Good Morning!

Paul Krugman has a great piece in the NYT on how Republicans are against science.  They do appear to ignore it in favor of myth, conspiracy theories and wishful thinking.  However, it does us no good to send Democrats into office that won’t fight for science and rational thought, either.  How much more nonsense do you think will come out during the 2012 political season?

Mr. Perry, the governor of Texas, recently made headlines by dismissing evolution as “just a theory,” one that has “got some gaps in it” — an observation that will come as news to the vast majority of biologists. But what really got peoples’ attention was what he said about climate change: “I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. And I think we are seeing almost weekly, or even daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change.”

That’s a remarkable statement — or maybe the right adjective is “vile.”

The second part of Mr. Perry’s statement is, as it happens, just false: the scientific consensus about man-made global warming — which includes 97 percent to 98 percent of researchers in the field, according to the National Academy of Sciences — is getting stronger, not weaker, as the evidence for climate change just keeps mounting.

In fact, if you follow climate science at all you know that the main development over the past few years has been growing concern that projections of future climate are underestimating the likely amount of warming. Warnings that we may face civilization-threatening temperature change by the end of the century, once considered outlandish, are now coming out of mainstream research groups.

But never mind that, Mr. Perry suggests; those scientists are just in it for the money, “manipulating data” to create a fake threat. In his book “Fed Up,” he dismissed climate science as a “contrived phony mess that is falling apart.”

I could point out that Mr. Perry is buying into a truly crazy conspiracy theory, which asserts that thousands of scientists all around the world are on the take, with not one willing to break the code of silence. I could also point out that multiple investigations into charges of intellectual malpractice on the part of climate scientists have ended up exonerating the accused researchers of all accusations. But never mind: Mr. Perry and those who think like him know what they want to believe, and their response to anyone who contradicts them is to start a witch hunt.

All the candidates are pushing bad economics as well.

I’ve been kind’ve “blown away” by the news coverage of the remnants of Irene today.  It seems like most of the TV coverage has been 24 hours now worth of people saying we dodged a bullet and trying to find people impacted by the storm.  You’re beginning to see headlines like this now: Get Real: Hurricane Irene Should Be Renamed “Hurricane Hype”.  Last night Geraldo looked like he’d just re-opened that silly empty vault again.

Irene has put on a remarkably similar show. Within the limits of forecasting error, Irene’s projected path makes it was impossible to rule out a major disaster. But, as a dangerous Category 3 storm within two days of land, something similar to what happened to Gloria occurred. Instead of going slightly off course, the power of her winds dropped markedly, at least as measured by hurricane hunter aircraft. Because it is prudent to not respond to every little tropical cyclone twitch (such as Gloria’s jog or Thursday’s wind drop), the Thursday evening forecast was virtually unchanged, the Internet went thermonuclear, and the Weather Channel’s advertising rates skyrocketed. From that point on, it became all Irene, all the time. With this level of noise, the political process has to respond with full mobilization. Hype begets hype.

A day later, the smart money is still riding a very Gloria-like track, but with a cyclone that will be weaker than projected. It is doubtful that Irene will even cough up eight bodies (the number killed by Gloria), though power outages east of where the center makes landfall (probably on Long Island) may be extensive.

I think the body count’s at 21 now which kind’ve makes this hype on all the hype look like hype.  Well, at least all the governors of the mid Atlantic states got some air time praising civil servants instead of demonizing them for a change.  Is it just me or does Chris Christine remind you of those big boy statues in front of those 1960s hamburger joints?  That man looks like a heart attack about to happen.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell–who cross party lines last year to hype Obama–is having second thoughts about hyping an Obama second term. Powell was on Face the Nation yesterday.

“I haven’t decided who I’m going to vote for,” Powell said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “Just as was the case in 2008, I am going to watch the campaign unfold. In the course of my life I have voted for Democrats, I have voted for Republicans, I have changed from one four-year cycle to another.

“I’ve always felt it my responsibility as a citizen to take a look at the issues, examine the candidates, and pick the person that I think is best qualified for the office of the president in that year. And not just solely on the basis of party affiliation,” he said.

Asked about the Republican field, Powell said there are some “interesting candidates,” but no one who has “emerged into the leading position.”

“So let’s see if anybody else is going to join, and we’ve got a long way to go,” he added.

Powell, the nation’s first African-American secretary of state, praised Obama’s leadership style in 2008 in endorsing him, saying shortly before the election that Obama “has a definite way of doing business that will serve us well.” He also said at the time that he didn’t think the GOP vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, was “ready” to be president.

The really, really bad thing about the political system these days is that PACs are getting bigger and more powerful.  They also seem more closely aligned with candidates.  Here’s an interesting story from the NYT.  The Supreme Court decision on corporations and first amendment rights has definitely impacted the political money machine.

But some advocates for tighter campaign regulation say existing rules on independent groups did not anticipate the emergence of Super PACs so closely tied to a single candidate, leaving so much room to maneuver that the independent groups are able to act as surrogates for the candidates.

“There’s not a big difference between these candidate-specific Super PACs and candidate campaign committees,” said Paul S. Ryan, associate legal counsel at the Campaign Legal Center. “I think it’s a joke. What they are doing is abiding by the very meager restrictions on coordinations on expenditures and solicitations. But that leaves a wide swath of activities that can be fully coordinated under present law.”

Increasingly, the new Super PACs are taking on tasks that in previous years were handled by — and paid for — the candidates themselves. But instead of using money raised in the $2,500 increments that federal law imposes on candidates, the Super PACs can accept donations of unlimited amounts. (The groups must disclose their donors, though some Super PACs, including Priorities USA and the Karl Rove-founded American Crossroads, have affiliated nonprofit arms that do not have to disclose donors.)

Just in case you haven’t read Rick Perry’s outrageous lies about Social Security, here’s some more information.  Perry calls the popular government program unconstitutional and refers to it as a Ponzi Scheme.  I want to hear him say this in Florida.

But Perry returned to the “Ponzi scheme” description on the campaign trail in Iowa last night:

“It is a Ponzi scheme for these young people. The idea that they’re working and paying into Social Security today, that the current program is going to be there for them, is a lie,” Perry said. “It is a monstrous lie on this generation, and we can’t do that to them.”

Later, in Des Moines, when a reporter asked about the suggestion that his campaign was backing off some positions in the staunch states-rights book, Perry said, “I haven’t backed off anything in my book. So read the book again and get it right.”

Kay Henderson has more on this:

Another reporter pressed the issue, asking if Perry believes Medicare is “unconstitutional” as well.

“I never said it was unconstitutional,” Perry said. “I look at Medicare just like I look at Social Security. They’re programs that aren’t working and we ought to have a national conversation about it. You know, those that have said I’ve said they’re unconstitutional — I’m going to have them read the book. That’s not what I said.”

In his book, Perry called Social Security something akin to a “bad disease” that was created “at the expense of respect for the Constitution and limited government.”

This is going to be one weird, strange, political season. I’ve never seen so many people pushing so many unpopular positions.

Women may have hit the glass ceiling in the US, but women in emerging market countries are winding up in board rooms more and more all the time.  Remember, many of these countries have already had women presidents and prime ministers.

Seven of the 14 women identified on Forbes magazine’s list of self-made billionaires are Chinese. Many firms in emerging markets do a better job of promoting women than their Western rivals, some surveys suggest. In China, 32% of senior managers are female, compared with 23% in America and 19% in Britain. In India, 11% of chief executives of large companies are female, compared with 3% of Fortune 500 bosses in America and 3% of FTSE 100 bosses in Britain. Turkey and Brazil come third and joint fourth (behind Finland and Norway) in the World Economic Forum’s ranking of countries by the proportion of CEOs who are women. In Brazil, 11% of chief executives and 30% of senior executives are women.

Young, middle-class women are overtaking their male peers when it comes to education. In the United Arab Emirates 65% of university graduates are female. In Brazil and China the figures are 60% and 47% respectively. In Russia 57% of college-age women are enrolled in tertiary education; only 43% of men are. Business schools, those hothouses of capitalism, are feminising fast. Some 33% of students at the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai and 26% at the Indian School of Business are female, a figure comparable with those of Western schools such as the Harvard Business School and INSEAD.

In “Winning the War for Talent in Emerging Markets: Why Women are the Solution”, Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Ripa Rashid point out that businesswomen face steep obstacles in emerging markets. How can they stay on the fast track if, as in the UAE, they cannot travel without a male chaperone? And how can they be taken seriously if, as in Russia, the term “businesswoman” is synonymous with prostitute? In every emerging market women bear the lioness’s share of family responsibilities. In many places, deals are sealed with booze and male bonding.

So, there’s some things to get us started on this Monday.  Hopefully, those of you on the east coast are getting back to normal after the storm.  Let us know how you’re doing!  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Wednesday Reads: Pile it on…thick!

White Star Coffee

Good Morning!

It is Wednesday…again, and with Perry’s announcement on Saturday, it seems there is a lot of crap being piled on, from just about everyone…including Perry himself.

Obama gave a warning to Perry yesterday, and so did the former “Brain” of George W Bush…Karl Rove Piles On Rick Perry: Bernanke Line ‘Not A Presidential Statement’ | TPMDC

It’s no secret that Team George W. Bush and Team Rick Perry are not exactly close. And with Perry flailing after he accused Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke of “almost treasonous” behavior, one of Team W’s biggest names is taking the opportunity to twist the knife.

“You don’t accuse the chairman of the federal reserve of being a traitor to his country. Of being guilty of treason,” Karl Rove told Fox News Tuesday. “And, suggesting that we treat him pretty ugly in texas. You know, that is not, again a presidential statement.”

I wonder which GOP candidate Mr. Potato Head…or as Colbert illustrated a few weeks ago, a big boiled ham with glasses, will support for 2012.  Cause it looks like he doesn’t like anyone.  And here I thought Perry would appeal to him, as far as the familiar way he talks…laughs…and smirks.

Another Perry item that made news recently, Rick Perry backed an already-climate-crusading Al Gore in ’88 – Bob King – POLITICO.com

Texas Gov. Rick Perry may have forgotten a thing or two about the Al Gore presidential campaign he helped lead in 1988.

In an interview with an Iowa radio station on Monday, the Republican presidential contender explained his role as the Gore campaign’s Texas chairman by saying that “this was Al Gore before he invented the Internet and got to be Mr. Global Warming.”

But in fact, global warming was already a significant theme for Gore in 1987 and 1988 — long before his activism led to several books, a Nobel Prize and a part in an Academy Award-winning film. It was also well before the right gave him the “Mr. Ozone” nickname and talk radio heaped endless mockery on the future vice president.

At the time, Perry was a democrat…but he still held “conservative” values…is that PLUB speak for being anti-woman? I don’t know.

It looks like DC just doesn’t understand the rest of America…h/t to Boston Boomer for the link…Gallup Finds The Part Of America That Believes The Economy Is Doing Well

Well, this week, the esteemed pollsters at Gallup made some headlines when, for the first time, President Barack Obama’s approval rating dipped below 40 percent. That result underpinned any number of stories that read, “Terrible Economy Presents Problems For Obama.” Well, that’s undeniably true. But a less remarked-upon bit of polling from Gallup is this bit here, in which they set out to gauge the nation’s “economic confidence.” What they found was remarkably consistent — state by state, there are more people lacking in confidence than there are people who feel the economy has turned around.

So once again, the real story is, “Terrible Economy Presents Problems For Ordinary Americans.” But if you don’t see those stories, there’s a reason why, and it has everything to do with the one outlier in Gallup’s findings. If you want a hint as to where that outlier is, consider this: every single one of this poll’s respondents said they were currently employed. In every state, Gallup spoke to people who are at least fortunate enough to have a job (“87,634 employed adults, aged 18 and older, conducted from January-June 2011”).

So with that in mind, what part of America do you imagine has the highest concentration of employed people who don’t have personal relationships with people who are unemployed?

Yes, it seems that the one and only place in America where anyone has any confidence in the economy also happens to be Washington, D.C., home to political elites, the media that covers them, the people who win the relevant contracts and the people who feather their nests lobbying for the laws that impact the other United (in their lack of economic confidence) States Of America.

The DC residents in the big White House don’t get it either…talk about being in a bubble of affluent indifference, Obama is just surrounded by a city that doesn’t have the same worries as the rest of the country.  Although, I am pretty sure there are areas in DC that have it just as bad as the rest of us, but that is probably the sections of town that Obama is ignoring…nationwide.

There is new information being release about the ‘Fast and Furious’ gun sting linked to 11 violent crimes in U.S. – latimes.com

Firearms from the ATF’s Fast and Furious weapons-trafficking investigation turned up at the scenes of at least 11 violent crimes in the U.S. as well as at a U.S. Border Patrol agent’s slaying in southern Arizona last year, the Justice Department has acknowledged to Congress.

Justice did not provide any details about those crimes. But The Times has learned that they occurred in several Arizona cities, including Phoenix, where Operation Fast and Furious was managed, as well as in El Paso, Texas, where a total of 42 Fast and Furious weapons were seized at two separate crime scenes.

The new numbers, which vastly expand the scope of the danger the program posed to U.S. citizens over a 14-month period, are contained in a letter that Justice Department officials turned over to the Senate Judiciary Committee last month.

“Fast and Furious” was supposed to identify Mexican cartels and drug smuggling routes by selling the guns “illegally” across the border as way to track the criminal movements. It did not work as planned…hmm…quelle surprise!

But a source close to the unfolding controversy, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation, said that as early as January 2010, just after the operation began, Fast and Furious weapons had turned up at crime scenes in Phoenix, Nogales, Douglas and Glendale in Arizona, and in El Paso. The largest haul was 40 Fast and Furious weapons at one crime scene in El Paso.

According to this article, there were 1,418 firearms circulated in “Fast and Furious,” but this is an estimate. Previous estimates put the number higher at 2,000 guns.

Moving on to one group that is not buying what Obama is selling…Latinos To Obama: Change On Immigration Or Else

First let me say I love what the organizer of a Latino voter organization has to say about Obama…

Some Latinos around the country rallied on Tuesday against the White House’s deportation policies, attempting to send a message to President Barack Obama that they may not support him for reelection if he continues to deport record numbers of undocumented immigrants.

“We don’t need to discourage people from voting for President Obama,” rally organizer Roberto Lovato of the Latino organization Presente.org told HuffPost. “He’s doing a smashing job of it himself.”

Oh yeah, you got that right!

Latinos came out in record numbers for Obama in 2008, helping propel him to victory over John McCain. Obama’s support from Latinos was based on his personality and politics, but also his rhetoric on immigration — consistently among the top issues for many Latino voters.

Obama promised to deliver immigration reform and create paths to citizenship for some of the estimated 11 million undocumented people living in the United States. But after two years in office, he has yet to achieve even incremental steps toward comprehensive immigration reform, and meanwhile has expanded immigration enforcement to record levels.

Obama deported 393,000 people in the 2010 fiscal year, with an overall deportation record that far exceeds his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Some Latinos now have a message for the president: If deportations continue at high rates, he should not count on their votes in 2012.

Rep. Luis Gutierres, a Democrat from Illinois says that it is not a question of voting for whoever runs against Obama, he thinks Latinos will just stay home.

Personally, I don’t think Latinos are the only group of former Obama supporters staying home.  Granted, I am pretty sure many of us here at Sky Dancing are planning on staying home too…there is no way in hell I am voting for Obama, or any of the other 2012 PLUBs that will get the GOP nomination.

A recent report in England is being labeled a “call to arms” for women in the UK. Women face 70-year wait for equal pay – Home News, UK – The Independent

It will take 70 years to achieve parity between men and women in the country’s top jobs, according to a report released today by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The survey Sex and Power 2011, dubbed a “call to arms” by women’s employment-rights campaigners, reveals that women represent only 12.5 per cent of directors of FTSE 100 companies. They also account for just 22.2 per cent of MPs, an imbalance which would take 14 general elections to redress. It also notes little change in the figures presented in the last report, released in 2008.

Figures show that women in the media are faring even worse than three years ago, representing 9.5 per cent of national newspaper editors, a fall from the 13.6 per cent recorded in 2008, and 6.7 per cent of FTSE 350 media companies’ chief executives, down from 10.5 per cent in 2008. However, 26.1 per cent of directors of major museums and art galleries are women, up from 17.4 per cent.

The report also found that 12.9 per cent of senior members of the judiciary are women and there has been a slight fall in the number of female university vice-chancellors: 14.3 per cent, down from 14.4 per cent in 2008.

I wonder if this recent report can also show the position of women in the workplace in other developed nations…still it is interesting isn’t it?

“It’s 2011 and women remain largely excluded from positions of power and influence in virtually every sphere of life – the media, the judiciary, the education sector and more,” said Anna Bird, acting chief executive of the women’s employment-rights group the Fawcett Society.

She added: “Without radical action, babies born today will be drawing their pensions before they can hope to have an equal say in the world of politics, business and education.
“This report must act as a call to arms; the Government and others can no longer turn a blind eye to this injustice, wishing and hoping it will sort itself out. We look forward to hearing all political parties respond to this report, and explain their plans to challenge the stark and persistent injustice that is the absence of women from positions of power across the country.

Ah, and over here across the pond we are just trying to keep women’s right to have control over her own body, along with the right to affordable reproductive healthcare…

The article finishes with this quote from Commissioner Kay Carberry,

“If Britain is to stage a strong recovery from its current economic situation, then we have to make sure we’re not wasting women’s skills and talents.”

Hey that goes for the US as well!

So what are you all finding interesting reading today? Be sure you post some links below!