Wednesday, September 02, 2015

It must have been difficult getting the President's picture from such a distance.

2 February 2015
By Phil Stewart

Five Chinese Navy ships (click here) are sailing in international waters in the Bering Sea off Alaska, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, in an apparent first for China's military that came as U.S. President Barack Obama toured the U.S. state.
Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said it was the first time the United States had seen Chinese navy ships in the Bering Sea. "We respect the freedom of all nations to operate military vessels in international waters in accordance with international law," Davis said. The appearance of the ships is an example of the expanding reach of China's navy and overlapped with a three-day visit by Obama to Alaska as part of his efforts to raise awareness about climate change....

What a very stark difference between Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina

July 28, 2015
By Karl Mathiesen

Clinton’s first climate change policy pitch (click here) – for renewables to provide 33% of the nation’s electricity by 2027 – is bold, but the US must look beyond solar for a clean energy revolution
On Sunday, Hillary Clinton took a first swing at the many-headed carbon hydra. By the end of her first term, she said, the US would have seven times more solar energy capacity than it does today. And by 2027, renewable energy would supply a third of the nation’s electricity.
Clinton’s announcement, which the campaign said would be the first of many on climate change from the presidential hopeful, extends the carbon-saving ambition in a significant sector of the economy. Burning fossil fuels for electricity accounts for 31% of US greenhouse gas emissions. One estimate found Clinton’s 33% renewable target could slice another 4% off the US’s existing pledge to cut emissions by 26-28% by 2025.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Americas chief, Ethan Zindler, said the ambition was high, but within reach. “It appears to be on the upper end but it’s entirely doable given the rapidly improving economics of renewables generally and solar particularly.”...

One of the first policies Hillary Clinton carried from her campaign to potential voters was that of our source of energy and the future that included the well being of children's future.

Tonight on "All In with Chris Hayes" a spokesperson who claimed to be a part of the Fiorina campaign did nothing but complain about how Democrats didn't build reservoirs in California and that is why there is a drought. Amazing. A young woman can't even come to terms with the fact the entire planet named Earth has a problem. The entire planet and not simply California has a problem with drought, fires and danger to human lives.

A young woman could not find the deaths over the years due to the climate crisis as an important FACT to the future of energy.

President Obama has stood at the foot of what was once the terminus of glaciers only to realize how high the grass was growing. A young woman didn't care. She only wanted to complain and carry on as if her words were some kind of political truth that is profound for all to hear to change the course of energy in the USA. 

A young woman didn't see the importance of the policies of Hillary Clinton, but, only wants to return to old ways and old thinking. 

Hillary Clinton is finding a path forward to a brave new world with technology that will create jobs and sustainable lands for the USA. 

The climate crisis is a tragedy. It has been allowed to grow and increase temperatures and drought the lands of the USA. There has been gross negligence of the lives of Americans and their deaths from danger due to the climate crisis. And yet, a young American woman can only see a political victory and completely disregards the fact that human beings are responsible for this tragedy of climate. She sees no responsibility for unwinding the danger or the damage. 

There is a candidate for President that sees the future as the challenge that it is and she is dedicated to her policies. I look forward to the world Hillary Clinton has as a vision. It is incredible to realize she is the only candidate with such a vision with policies already written.

Senator Sanders is correct about Social Security.

Senator Sanders is not a socialist. His statement about being a socialist is to prove to any detractors he is not afraid of the word politically, but, his vote for the ACA proves he is consenting to a capitalism system for healthcare. He is very concerned for the people of the USA and his call for increases of SSI is another one of those "I don't care what others say, this is necessary."

By Pat Garofalo

...The self-described democratic socialist from Vermont (click here) – who is running for the Democrats' 2016 presidential nomination, although he is an independent – wants to not just preserve Social Security, but expand it. "We should not be talking about cutting Social Security benefits. We should be talking about expanding benefits to make sure that every American can retire with dignity," Sanders said recently in a statement accompanying a bill to increase Social Security benefits by $65 per month. 

Sanders' position flies in the face of years of Washington conventional wisdom and the stance of most of the professional commentator class, which holds that Social Security is going "broke" and that benefits will inevitably have to be cut. How to do so, not whether, is the subject of debate, with the elusive "grand bargain" to "save" entitlements the holy grail of American politics....

I am worried about the current work force and the years of poverty they have experienced. Their payments into their SSI accounts are far less than their parents or grandparents. Their final benefit is going to cause significant strain on the USA treasury when even with retirement they are dependent on food stamps and other social programs that may be necessary such as help with the cost of housing.

The Summary of the 2015 Annual Reports (click here)

The tables below are from the 2015 Annual Report.

In 2008 there was a collapse of the financial markets that also effected the SSI trust fund. And, yes, there is a SSI trust fund. If I remember correctly, there was about $2 trillion lost in value in the trust funds. 

That loss also has to be made up, hence the need in changing the cap on current payment rates. And I really don't want to hear how the rich are getting hit with more taxes than anyone else. Well, the wealthy also received the benefits of the global economic collapse that was met with three episodes quantitative easing from the Fed. There is no reason to ignore the damage done to the fund and put the money back through the same mechanism that is going to extend the solvency of the funds into the future.

But, to address the issue of expanding SSI benefits, the reality of the working poor and the lack of an increase in minimum wage is simply scary for their future. 

As a country we have to ask ourselves do we believe every person who works for a living deserves a comfortable retirement? The time after 2008 has really caused problems for the people hurt the worst. They have problems now, but, the future into retirement is not that promising.

So, when Senator Sanders speaks about increasing Social Security Insurance payments to citizens I can understand and sympathize with his statements. There is a need now for those disabled and in the future for the working poor. They have lost many productive years of higher earnings due to no fault of their own. I congratulate Senator Sanders in identifying this issue and speaking to it.

The police had control of the scene. The victims were removed by ambulance.

Both his arms appear to be raised by the level of his shoulder. I look forward to the second video.

May 14, 2015
By John W. Gonzalez

The San Antonio Police Department (click here) will expand its officers’ use of body-worn cameras under a measure approved by City Council on Thursday.
As part of a midyear budget adjustment worth $1.3 million, council allocated $320,000 for 251 body cameras for bike patrol and park police officers..
Earlier this year, city officials said they hoped to acquire the cameras no later than 2016, but emphasized that the cost of data storage was a looming concern. The department has been using body cameras on a trial basis.

I think the judge is very wise in handling this important case of the death of someone unable to protect his own life.

September 2, 2015

n a victory for city State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, (click here) a judge on Wednesday denied motions to dismiss charges against six Baltimore police officers charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray and to recuse Mosby's office from the case.

The hearing will resume at 2 p.m. when prosecutors and defense attorneys are expected to argue if the trial against the officers should be split up.

The ruling by Judge Barry Williams came shortly after prosecutors and defense attorneys returned to court at 11:15 a.m., following arguments by prosecutors and defense attorneys in the first pre-trial motions hearing in the case....

... Gray, 25, suffered a severe spinal cord injury while in police custody on April 12 and died from his injuries a week later....

...Schatzow argued that prosecutors had no conflicts of interest....

...The judge also said defense claims of conflicts of interests by Mosby and other prosecutors "didn't come close" to meriting their removal from the case....

...At the conclusion of his remarks, Williams told attorneys to stop seeking media sound bites and making unsupported claims....

The judge didn't level a gag order, but, came as close as he could while giving the attorneys their own integrity to uphold the truth of the case. I am sure the unrest in the African American community weighed into the judges decision. It is best to have the community realize there is a due process for everyone.

Peru has outlawed wild animals in all circuses.

Cholita, a 25-year-old spectacled bear, spent most of her life in a Peruvian circus, living in a tiny cage and subjected to heartbreaking abuse. She was confiscated 10 years ago, and since then has lived in a Peruvian zoo because no proper home could be found for her.

Cholita has been a focus to the rescue of these animals. She was badly abused.

September 1, 2015

Thirty-three lions (click here) rescued from circuses in Peru and Colombia will be flown to South Africa in October to live out the rest of their lives in a private sanctuary.
The president of Animal Defenders International, Jan Creamer, says the group is arranging the flight on a 747 from Lima, Peru.
Creamer said on Monday that placing the lions at the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in Limpopo province was all she could hope and dream for.
Original plans had called for sending them to the United States.
The lions suffered in captivity in South America, with some declawed, one had lost an eye and many had broken or rotting teeth.
Creamer says the entire trans-Atlantic transport operation will cost $US400,000 ($A562,153)....

Animal Defenders International (click here)
 National Dog Day was August 26th. (click here) 

August 30, 2015
By Earth Touch

National Dog Day (click here) in the US is behind us, which means it's time to turn our attention back to the internet's favourite: felines! Staff at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo are happy to announce the birth of two female snow leopard cubs. The tiny furballs weigh in at just ten pounds (4.5kg) and are busy bonding with their mother in a behind the scenes enclosure. 

With an estimated 4,000-6,000 remaining in the wild, snow leopards (Panthera uncia) are listed as endangered by the IUCN, making this duo an exciting new arrival. "Their pairing was based on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP)," the zoo notes in a press release. "Each SSP manages the breeding of a species to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable."...

Snow leopards (click here) are facing a distinct threat from climate change. Their typical habitat range is between where the tree line stops and the snow line begins on the mountains. As climate change causes temperatures to ruse, snow lines are receding, which means that snow leopards must move further up the mountain slopes as well. As snow leopards get to higher elevations, the vegetation becomes more scarce, which means that the herbivores that they prey on are in limited supply as well, and the leopards are having trouble finding enough food.

Due to the high demand for their coats, snow leopards are also illegally hunted for the fur trade. The pelts are a sought-after commodity in places like Central Asia, Eastern Europe and Russia where they are turned into coats and other garments. Snow leopard bones and body parts are also used for traditional Asian medicine. As humans expand their farm and grazing areas for livestock herds they are encroaching more into the snow leopards territories resulting in increased conflict with humans when snow leopards attack livestock during times when their natural prey is scarce....

The US economy is mostly recovered from the global eonomic collapse, let's keep it that way and not provide any give away treaty.

September 1, 2015
By Gareth McGraph

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. -- Unemployment rates in July (click here) continued to fall in the Cape Fear region when compared to the same time last year, although the jobless figures showed a slight uptick in all three local counties and in the Wilmington-metro area compared to June.

Most economists prefer the year-over-year numbers as a better barometer of a region's economic health since monthly figures are unadjusted for seasonal variations, such as students looking for summer jobs or hiring spikes for the pre-Christmas shopping rush.

The figures released by the N.C. Department of Commerce on Tuesday show the region's improving jobs picture mirroring what's happening across the state and the country, where unemployment rates have by and large been falling since 2010 -- although there are pockets in the U.S. where specific economic conditions are causing job losses, such as across the nation's oil and gas drilling belt....

With Russia taking a greater role in Middle East conflicts it creates a demand for oil. There is no doubt Russia will supply their partners with oil and improve revenues with it.

2 September 2015

St.Petersburg and Novorossisk faced a challenging August, (click here) with their bunker fuel prices falling to six-month lows due to weakening crude prices, ruble/dollar exchange volatility, and increasing competition from rival ports and local suppliers.


"St. Petersburg prices are under pressure because oil is falling, ruble [to dollar] is weak and many suppliers are with a lot of product," a source said.

Small suppliers might stay away from -- or be forced out of -- the market if the low price environment continues, making it difficult to execute profitable deals, a local supplier said.

St. Petersburg was competing with Rotterdam for fixing volumes in both 380 CST high sulfur fuel oil and marine gasoil for the majority of the year. The MGO in the Russian port was on a constant discount to Rotterdam since late May and was losing volumes.

Nevertheless, in mid-August the spread between the two ports was reversed as St. Petersburg suppliers drastically lowered their prices, assisted by the weakening ruble/dollar exchange....

Former Texas police officer paid $5000 for hit man to kill girl friend, now extradicted to US.

September 2, 2015
BALI, Indonesia (AP) — A former Austin, Texas, (click here) police officer has been extradited from Indonesia to the United States to face trial in the murder of his pregnant girlfriend.
VonTrey Jamal Clark was deported Wednesday through Ngurah Rai airport in Denpasar, the provincial capital of Bali resort island.
Clark, 32, was handed over to 13 agents of the FBI and was flown to Texas on a specially chartered plane from the bureau.
Bali police spokesman Hery Wiyanto said Clark arrived in Indonesia on July 19 on an American Airlines flight through Jakarta. He was then arrested in Canggu neighborhood in Bali on July 30 based on a red notice from Interpol.
Clark is a suspect in the Feb. 4 murder of Samantha Dean in Texas.

US agricultural exports remains strong. The US still feeds the world.

Secretary Vilsack has played a vital role in bringing greater marketing of farm products to local economies. Many farms engage their own marketing strategy to local stores. It works and farmers and their local markets are doing better because of it offers healthy options Americans appreciate.

It is amazing to realize how strong the USA agricultural markets have become. The country not only markets to the world, but, produce enough products to have local markets served without shortages.  

Secreatary Vilsack with Jeanne Shaheen  and New Hampshire Agriculture Commissioner Lorraine Merrill announcing a grant that helps local farms turn commodities into value-added products.

01 September 2015

US - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (click here) has said that US agricultural exports remain strong despite disease and weather issues this year.
Mr Vilsack made a statement following the release of the US Department of Agriculture's fourth quarter Outlook for US Agricultural Trade.
"The strong pace of American agricultural exports continues. Fiscal years 2015 and 2016 exports are forecast to be the third- and fourth-highest on record, respectively.
"Bulk export volumes are expected to rise in fiscal year 2016 and reach near record levels, and horticultural and livestock product exports are also expected to be higher."
Speaking of the avian influenza outbreaks in spring that devastated the poultry industry, Mr Vilsack continued: "Today's forecast provides a snapshot of a rural America that continues to remain stable in the face of the worst animal disease outbreak in our nation's history and while the western US remains gripped by drought.
"Thanks to the resilience of our farmers and ranchers, fiscal years 2009 to 2015 represent the strongest seven years in history for US agricultural trade, with US agricultural product exports totalling more than $911 billion."...
US - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has said that US agricultural exports remain strong despite disease and weather issues this year.
Mr Vilsack made a statement following the release of the US Department of Agriculture's fourth quarter Outlook for US Agricultural Trade.
"The strong pace of American agricultural exports continues. Fiscal years 2015 and 2016 exports are forecast to be the third- and fourth-highest on record, respectively.
"Bulk export volumes are expected to rise in fiscal year 2016 and reach near record levels, and horticultural and livestock product exports are also expected to be higher."
Speaking of the avian influenza outbreaks in spring that devastated the poultry industry, Mr Vilsack continued: "Today's forecast provides a snapshot of a rural America that continues to remain stable in the face of the worst animal disease outbreak in our nation's history and while the western US remains gripped by drought.
"Thanks to the resilience of our farmers and ranchers, fiscal years 2009 to 2015 represent the strongest seven years in history for US agricultural trade, with US agricultural product exports totalling more than $911 billion."
- See more at:

Democrats will not pay any price for voting with the President or bringing a filibuster stopping a Republican movement that reflects them as a tool of Koch.

The agreement with Iran is historic. It leads the region into function and not prepared for war. Democrats can really do no wrong by joining President Obama to end the danger of brinkmanship in the Middle East.

August 31, 2015
By Sahil Kapur

Opponents of the Iran nuclear deal (click here) have all but accepted they cannot block the accord, as a growing number of congressional Democrats signal they'll supply the votes to sustain President Barack Obama's veto of a planned resolution of disapproval.
The question now is whether the resolution will even make it to Obama's desk. While passage by the Republican-controlled House is certain, Democrats in the Senate are planning to stop a resolution by using the filibuster to require a 60-vote super-majority to send it to the president. Republicans have 54 members in the Senate. Just two Senate Democrats have declared against the deal—New York's Chuck Schumer and New Jersey's Bob Menendez.
That means Republicans need four more Democratic defectors to secure the 60 votes needed to ensure passage of the disapproval resolution....

Four Veterans now dead from Legionnaires Disease in Illinois.

August 31, 2015
By Doug Wilson

QUINCY — Adams County health officials (click here) reported Monday the death toll has risen to four from a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the Illinois Veterans Home.
Shay Drummond, director of clinical and environmental services at the Adams County Health Department, said 29 “lab-confirmed cases" of Legionnaires now have been confirmed. All have been connected with the Illinois Veterans Home facility, but no details are available on whether any of those infected are staff members.
Names of those who died or have been infected have not been released.
“We will be having four CDC (Centers for Disease Control) epidemic intelligence services officers coming in. Three are medical doctors, and one is an industrial hygienist,” Drummond said.
A multi-pronged attack on Legionnaires’ disease has been underway at the Illinois Veterans Home since the first cases of the life-threatening ailment were reported last week....

A radioactive material was spilled at University of Tulsa exposing at least 21 people to exposure.

A year ago in the petroleum technology campus a radioactive spill occurred and it was only determined recently. Amazing.

September 2, 2015
By Stacey Ryburn

...Hewitt said he expects the cleanup to be completed next week. (click here)

Researchers were using the cesium in multiphase flow loops, which simulate what happens when oil is pulled out of the ground. In this instance, researchers were using the cesium for a joint industry project managed by the university’s research office.

The North Campus includes a drilling research laboratory and full-size enclosed drilling rig. It was the original site of the Humble Oil and Refining Co. and was donated to the university in 1965, TU spokeswoman Mona Chamberlin said.

Researchers use the campus for a variety of projects. The school has a number of contracts with outside companies, Tracerco being one of them, TU radiation safety officer Scott Holmstrom said.

At least 21 people who were conducting research at the facility will undergo screening for potential exposure.

Exposure to small levels of radiation is not necessarily harmful. Radiation is all around, and there’s even an occupational dose limit for cesium-137.

The amount that spilled at TU is not much higher than that, but officials want to ensure due diligence when handling the material, Holmstrom said.

“Even the smallest amount we want to clean up,” he said.

Long-term effects of radiation exposure can contribute to increased risk of cancer. The spill at TU was so small that there’s no risk of acute radiation sickness, Holmstrom said.

Also, cesium has a biological half-life of about 70 days, meaning the amount in one’s body would get cut in half about a little more than two months, Holmstrom said.

It’s possible that if any of the 21 people who potentially were exposed to the radioactive material were exposed internally, the radiation could be out of their systems by now since the exposure occurred more than a year ago, Holmstrom said.

What caused the spill is still under investigation....

I have to agree, Jeb Bush is a non-candidate.

September 1, 2015
By Dana Milbank

WASHINGTON -- What we've got here is failure to communicate. (click here)
Jeb Bush has been stumping his way across the country, explaining what he would do as president. But nobody seems to understand what the heck he's talking about.
In July, he said that "people need to work longer hours" as part of an economic recovery. Then he said his remarks had been misinterpreted.

A couple of weeks later he said "we need to figure out a way to phase out" Medicare. Then he complained that critics were taking his remarks out of context.

A week or so after that, he proclaimed that "I'm not sure we need half a billion dollars for women's health issues." Then he said he misspoke....

Even his attacks against Donald Trump is misplaced if he wants to win the nomination. Bush should be seeking to unseat the other establishment candidates. The Trump supporters won't leave his candidacy. It is the populous arm of the Republican Party. Bush should be taking aim at establishment candidates like Walker and Rubio. Jeb Bush has a very sloppy campaign. He trying to find momentum that isn't his to have. 

The petroleum industry continues to deteriorate.

September 2, 2015
By AP 
Energy company ConocoPhillips (click here) says it is cutting about 1,810 jobs, or 10 percent of its workforce, following a plunge that took oil prices to their lowest levels in years.
The biggest proportion of the job cuts will be in North America, the company said Tuesday, with plans to eliminate more than 500 jobs in Houston, where it is based. The company confirmed those details after internal communication about the reductions was leaked to media.
In a news release, ConocoPhillips said it’s making the cuts because the energy industry is in a “dramatic downturn.”
ConocoPhillips has already cut 1,000 jobs this year; it had 18,100 employees on June 30. It has an estimated 1,700 employees in Bartlesville....

An amusement park for Syria. Is there something missing in US intelligence?

DAMASCUS, Syria, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- Syria's government (click here) paid tribute to North Korea founder Kim Il Sung during a ceremony for a new park in Damascus named in his honor.
As battles raged between the Islamic State and rebels in southern Damascus, Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad and North Korean envoys attended the opening ceremony Monday for a 9,000-square-meter park that was built on top of recently bulldozed homes, Al Jazeera reported.
Mikdad praised Kim as a "historic ruler and leader, famous for his struggle to liberate and build his country."
"For this reason, he deserves to be honored in Syria," the Syrian official said....