Monday ReadsPosted: August 22, 2011 Filed under: education, Foreign Affairs, Libya, morning reads, religion, religious extremists, The Bonus Class, U.S. Economy, U.S. Politics, unemployment, voodoo economics | Tags: asteroids, Barack Obama, Christianity, Creationism, David Koch, DNA, education, gold, Karen Bass, Laura Richardson, Libyan Rebels, Martha's Vineyard, Maxine Waters, meteorites, Mitt Romney, Muammar Gaddafi, National Transitional Council, oil, oil prices, Stock Market, Tripoli, unemployment, Valerie Jarrett, Warren Buffet 18 Comments
Good Morning!! Yesterday was an exciting day for the Libyan rebels, who have taken over the capital city, Tripoli. From the NYT:
Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s grip on power dissolved with astonishing speed on Monday as rebels marched into the capital and arrested two of his sons, while residents raucously celebrated the prospective end of his four-decade-old rule.
In the city’s central Green Square, the site of many manufactured rallies in support of Colonel Qaddafi, jubilant Libyans tore down green flags and posters of Colonel Qaddafi and stomped on them. The leadership announced that the elite presidential guard protecting the Libyan leader had surrendered and that they controlled many parts of the city, but not Colonel Qaddafi’s leadership compound.
The National Transitional Council, the rebel governing body, issued a mass text message saying, “We congratulate the Libyan people for the fall of Muammar Qaddafi and call on the Libyan people to go into the street to protect the public property. Long live free Libya.”
Officials loyal to Colonel Qaddafi insisted that the fight was not over, and there were clashes between rebels and government troops early on Monday morning. But NATO and American officials said that the Qaddafi government’s control of Tripoli, which had been its final stronghold, was now in doubt.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens next. I hope it will mean the U.S. pulling out of there, but that’s probably a vain hope. After all, Libya has oil and gold.
Business Insider: AFTER QADDAFI: Oil Prices Will Tank, Stock Prices Will Soar
Watch what happens to oil prices if and when the Qaddafis lose and leave.
In short order, Libyan oil production will ramp up. As it does, oil prices in world markets will fall and oil futures markets will reflect the expected increase in production of oil from Libya. The key prices to watch are those trading in Europe, like Brent. US oil prices (WTI) are no longer the leading indicator of world prices intersecting with world supply/demand. Excess inventory at Cushing, OK is complicating the pricing structure.
We expect oil prices to fall when highly desirable, sweet Libyan crude production is fully resumed and enters the pipeline. Maybe, they are going to fall by a lot. This will come as a much-needed boost to the US economy and to others in the world.
Remember: the oil price acts like a sales tax on consumption. To clarify this relationship we convert crude oil prices to gasoline prices and then estimate what a change in gas price will mean for the American consumer. Roughly, a penny drop in the gas price per gallon gives Americans 1.4 billion more dollars a year to spend on other than gasoline. That is a huge stimulant to the economy. The ratio is different in Europe because the gas taxes are so much higher there. Nevertheless, it is still significant.
In other news, President Obama is still on vacation, and unemployment is still soaring. From the SF Chronicle: Obama keeps full vacation day after Libya briefing
In between briefings on Libya, President Barack Obama packed golf, beach time, a stop at a seafood restaurant and a visit to a wealthy friend’s seaside compound into his Martha’s Vineyard vacation Sunday….
Then Obama and his family headed to dinner at the house where White House adviser Valerie Jarrett is staying.
Earlier, Obama spent about an hour at the home of Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts after playing golf with some buddies. The golf foursome included Obama’s Chicago pal Eric Whitaker, UBS America executive Robert Wolf and a White House aide. Obama spent the morning at the beach with his wife, Michelle, and daughters Sasha and Malia.
From the LA Times: Congresswomen hear economic, unemployment woes at Inglewood event
…hundreds of people from Los Angeles-area communities…gathered Saturday to share their stories of hardship and to urge local members of Congress to push corporations to help fix the economy and devise ways to put people back to work. Three Democratic U.S. representatives attended the event: Maxine Waters and Karen Bass of Los Angeles and Laura Richardson of Long Beach….
The recession has slammed Los Angeles County, where 1 in 4 workers are jobless or underemployed, according to Good Jobs LA. This summer, L.A. businesses announced 5,700 layoffs, the jobs advocacy group said.
At the same time, corporations are hoarding almost $2 trillion in cash but failing to invest in jobs, the advocacy group said. The group also cited skyrocketing bonuses for many chief executives and big tax breaks for some of the nation’s largest companies.
Warren Buffet recently asked President Obama to raise taxes on the rich for the good of all. Another multi-billionaire, David Koch, disagrees with Buffet that rich Americans should sacrifice anything for their country.
America’s current tax system forces people making $50,000 a year to pay a higher rate than hedge fund managers making $2.4 million an hour. Warren Buffett penned an op-ed last week declaring that America’s super-rich have been “coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress.” Lamenting the numerous tax loopholes and special breaks afforded to billionaire investors, Buffett noted that in his entire career, even when capital gains rates were as high as 39.9 percent, he never saw anyone “shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain.”
Charles Koch, head of the massive petrochemical, manufacturing, and commodity speculating Koch Industries corporation, has responded to Warren’s call for shared sacrifice: “No Thanks.” In a statement to right-wing media, Koch states:
Much of what the government spends money on does more harm than good; this is particularly true over the past several years with the massive uncontrolled increase in government spending. I believe my business and non-profit investments are much more beneficial to societal well-being than sending more money to Washington.
Yeah, like supporting wingnuts like Scott Walker and Paul Ryan is good for our country. I’d like to see Koch’s fortune confiscated. Maybe we need to bring back the guillotine?
Speaking of rich A$$holes, Mitt Romney has decided that his $12 million mansion in La Jolla must be enlarged–he wants the already huge house to be four times as big.
LA JOLLA — GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney, scheduled to attend a series of fundraisers this weekend in San Diego, is also working on plans to nearly quadruple the size of his $12 million oceanfront manse in La Jolla.
Romney has filed an application with the city to bulldoze his 3,009-square-foot, single-story home at 311 Dunemere Dr. and replace it with a two-story, 11,062-square-foot structure. No date has been set to consider the proposed coastal development and site development permits, which must be approved by the city.
The former governor of Massachusetts purchased the home three years ago. According to a description from the listing agent, the Spanish-style residence at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac is sophisticated and understated in its décor, “offering complete privacy and unsurpassed elegance.”
Tentative plans call for new retaining walls and a relocated driveway, but would retain the existing lap pool and spa.
Just how many homes does this man own anyway? Slate Magazine says “just” two. He had a huge house in Massachusetts, not too far from where I live, but he sold it in 2009 for $3.5 million.
I guess after he used (screwed) our state to set up his run for President, he decided to clear out and move his con man act to California. He also sold a “$5.25 million, 9,500-square-foot ski villa in Deer Valley, Utah,” according to Slate. Time calls that “the new frugality.” He’s hanging onto a home in New Hampshire apparently. Where’s that guillotine?
In science news, from Clive Cookson at the Financial Times: Life on earth came from space
The existence of amino acids in space has already been proved by the analysis of meteorites that have struck earth, and comet samples collected in space during Nasa’s Stardust mission. It has been harder to prove that traces of nucleobases found in meteorites were not the result of contamination after they arrived – but the new study seems to do so, while showing that nucleobases reach earth from space in greater diversity and quantity than scientists had thought.
The Nasa team analysed samples of 12 carbon-rich meteorites, including nine found in Antarctica (a rich collecting ground), and detected guanine and adenine, two of the four nucleobases that make up DNA. They also found three related molecules known as nucleobase analogues, a discovery which provides confirmation that the organic compounds in meteorites come from space.
“You would not expect to see these nucleobase analogues if contamination from terrestrial life was the source, because they’re not used in biology,” says Michael Callahan, lead author of the study, which appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “However, if asteroids are cranking out prebiotic material, you would expect them to produce many variants of nucleobases, not just the biological ones, because of the wide variety of ingredients and conditions in each asteroid.”
Further confirmation came from an analysis of Antarctic ice, taken from near where the meteorites were collected, which showed no trace of the compounds.
Wait…. you mean life didn’t originate in the Garden of Eden?
In related news, a court has ruled that a teacher who made fun of creationism and Christianity cannot be sued for expressing her opinions.
A federal appeals court ruled Friday that a California teacher could not be sued for criticizing Christianity and Creationism during a college-level European history course.
“This was a really important ruling for academic freedom,” University of California constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky, who took on the case pro bono, told The Orange County Register. “There has never been a precedent set for something like this before. Teachers should be able to criticize religion just like they can criticize government, business and similar groups without the fear of being sued.”
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out a lower court’s decision, which held that teacher James Corbett violated a student’s First Amendment rights by making comments during class that were hostile to religion in general, and to Christianity in particular….
Corbett said during his class that serfs opposed social, political and economic [sic] that were in their best interest because of religion, compared Creationism to “magic,” and made twenty other comments that then-sophomore Chad Farnan alleged were disparaging to Christians.
Oh, did I mention this was a college course? Good grief!!
That’s all I have for today. What are you reading and blogging about?
Live Blog: Breaking News in LibyaPosted: August 20, 2011 Filed under: Breaking News, Foreign Affairs, Libya, Live | Tags: Libya, Libyan Rebels, NATO in Libya, Tripoli 22 Comments
You may not have heard the news from Libya, but it appears that Rebel and NATO forces have entered Tripoli and it may mean the end for Ghaddafi. Most of the sources I’ve found are coming from the foreign press and are being tweeted. CNN and Fox have yet to switch to the story although I just read a tweet from Don Lemon that he’s excited the story is breaking on his shift because he gets to cover it.
Here’s some coverage for you to check out. I’ll try to keep some of the links updates through out the evening. You can find similar news on twitter at #Libya.
Sounds of gunfire and explosions are becoming more intense in the Libyan capital Tripoli, according to a witness who spoke to the Reuters news agency.
Residents reported fighting in several neighbourhoods and said opponents of Muammar Gaddafi were in the streets.
Heavy gunfire and explosions rattled the Libyan capital Saturday after rebels seized control of a major coastal city just west of Tripoli. Rebel commanders said the firing in the capital signaled the start of an attack on Muammar Qaddafi’s main stronghold.
Gun battles and rounds of mortar shelling were heard clearly at the hotel where foreign correspondents stay in the capital. Explosions were heard in the area as NATO aircraft carried out heavy bombing runs after nightfall.
Col. Fadlallah Haroun, a rebel military commander in their stronghold of Benghazi said this marks the beginning of Operation Mermaid – a nickname for the capital city – an assault on Tripoli coordinated with NATO.
Haroun told The Associated Press that weapons were assembled and sent by tugboats to Tripoli on Friday night.
“The fighters in Tripoli are rising up in two places at the moment – some are in the Tajoura neighborhood and the other is near the Matiga (international) airport,” he told the Arabic satellite channel Al-Jazeera.
In his announcement on Libyan state TV, government spokesperson Moussa Ibrahim also said the rebels that entered Tripoli on Saturday night will be “pardoned if they surrender,” adding a message to the Libyan audience: “Qaddafi is your leader … Tripoli is surrounded by thousands to defend it,” suggesting the rebel advance on Tripoli has not shaken the regime.
Rebels are continuing to battle for the government-controlled Mitiga airbase in Tripoli in the early hours of Sunday. Fighting has left an unknown number of insurgents dead in the suburb of Qadah and elsewhere, an opposition activist in Tripoli told Reuters.
“The rebels have surrounded a military airbase called Mitiga in the Tajourah district. The rebels there are telling the brigades that they come in peace to avoid bloodshed. There are areas where electricity has been cut off,” he said.
Report to watch from AJ on the damage from the bombing.
When you have to announce it, the end is near. “@Reuters: Gaddafi remains #Libya’s leader: spokesman reut.rs/qrPdQ8”
Is Now-ism killing news? : Gadhafi likely wounded and has fled Tripoli haaretz.com/news/internati… #Italy #Libya
amazing to see that only Al Jazeera English is broadcasting what is happening in #Libya right now…Nothing on CNN, FOX, MSNBC or even BBC!
richardengelnbc Richard Engel
#libya US sources say revolt seems to have ‘certainly turned a corner’
iyad_elbaghdadi Iyad El-Baghdadi
Fresh #Libya map with overview of all action; shows clearly how Gaddafi is cornered: bit.ly/nK2fKK @acarvin
OmarAlMukhtar Omar Al Mukhtar
Our war is not with U Gaddafi fighters, but w/ a family who destroyed #Libya for 42 years. Lay down ur weapons & join ur brothers. #Unite
MabusharkhMahmoud Abu Sharkh
Mosques all over #Tripoli now chanting Allahu Akbar after they knew the revolutionaries entered the city #Libya
Hanzabonanza Hana Tuhami
Wouldn’t it be really ironic if Gaddafi fell on the day of his Al-Fateh revolution? #Libya #Feb17
RT “@PeterClifford1: #Libya Former #Gaddafi PM, Jalloud, defects to Opposition & now believed to be in Europe. tinyurl.com/PCOLibya”
There appear to be Tweets coming from within Libya which is really interesting to follow. The #Libya channel is now overwhelmed with Tweets just from the last few minutes.
Watch Al Jzazeera English here.
There’s a live report coming from Tripoli now and the reporters are saying that it’s getting close to ‘zero hour’.