House panel recommends 3 for further investigation (AP)

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-08-2010-05-2008

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AP – House investigators have recommended that three lawmakers be further investigated to determine whether political contributions were improperly linked to votes on the huge financial overhaul bill.

Murkowski concedes to Miller in Alaska Senate race (The Upshot)

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-08-2010-05-2008

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The Upshot – A week after the primary, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski conceded to challenger Joe Miller Tuesday night, becoming the seventh congressional incumbent and fourth Republican to lose a primary challenge this election year. Miller, who was endorsed by Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Express, narrowly defeated Murkowski in last week’s voting. Murkowski’s campaign was hopeful […]

Obama declares end of Iraq combat mission

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-08-2010-05-2008

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President Barack Obama makes it official, saying in a national address that Operation Iraqi Freedom is over and that the nation’s No. 1 priority is fixing the economy.

Compensation chief lags in processing oil claims (The Newsroom)

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-08-2010-05-2008

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Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster Victim Compensation Fund, testifies on Capitol Hill, July 27, 2010. REUTERS/Yuri GripasThe Newsroom – Just over a week ago, when Kenneth Feinberg took over the process for handling damage claims from the Gulf oil spill, he promised to cut through the delays and confusion that applicants faced under the much-maligned BP system.

Obama’s full speech: ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom is over’

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-08-2010-05-2008

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The full text of the president’s Oval Office speech on Iraq, as prepared for delivery.

Charlie Crist’s Caucus Dilemma (The Atlantic Wire)

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-08-2010-05-2008

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Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, left, speaks to members of the media after voting Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Fla.  Crist, an independent candidate for the U.S. Senate, is running unopposed in today's Florida primary. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)The Atlantic Wire – As Democratic midterm prospects worsen and Florida Governor Charlie
Crist hovers within striking distance of Republican nominee Marco
Rubio, an interesting question has arisen in the state’s Senate race:
Would Crist, who dropped out of the GOP primary months
ago to run against Rubio as an independent, caucus with Democrats if
elected? Crist, for his part, isn’t saying. “I caucus with the
people of Florida,” he told CNN’s Ed Henry last week. “This is a moot
question unless I win.” True enough, but it hasn’t stopped others from speculating
about what a Democratic Crist could mean to the composition of the
United States Senate.

Sternly worded regulation

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-08-2010-05-2008

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There’s a lot more to this story — which revolves around an energy firm named Enbridge Energy that bused in undocumented immigrants to work 14 hours per day, 7 days a week cleaning up an oil spill in unsafe conditions — but this one detail jumped out at me (emphasis added):

In an e-mail responding to the submitted photos, David Polish, spokesperson for the EPA wrote, “Thank you for bringing your concerns about worker safety to our attention. The United States Environmental Protection Agency takes the issue of worker health and safety very seriously. We have instructed Enbridge to investigate the circumstances surrounding these pictures. Once they complete their review, we will direct corrective actions if warranted.

What an amazing statement from the EPA. (a) They take this very seriously. (b) They take it so seriously, that they have told the company — against whom allegations are being made — to launch an investigation and report back. What a perfect situation for Enbridge. All they need to do is push some paper and say they’ve taken care of the situation and voila, problem solved. And that’s just what seems to have happened:

Enbridge spokesperson Terri Larson said, “We definitely identified a few things that we consider safety issues. Some were minor, some were more important.” As a result, Larson said worker safety specialists would be working to address those safety concerns promptly.

Translation: “Yeah we saw some stuff, did some things, but it’s all good now. Thank’s for asking.” What is the point of even pretending that we regulate these people if all we’re going to do is send them notes asking them to investigate themselves? It’s utterly pointless.

And as for Enbridge Energy? Not surprisingly, their attorney — you know, the one who should know that is against the law to hire undocumented workers — donated heavily to the GOP in the last election cycle, including a donation to GOP Rep. Pete Olson. Yep, the very same Pete Olson who says he wants to crack down on immigrants:

If we don’t know who is coming into our country, how will we know they don’t want to harm us? I believe in strengthening our borders with fences, increased surveillance, increased man power, detention facilities, and an increased commitment to FULLY enforce our laws–no excuses, no delays, and no second chances for those who break our laws. Amnesty is not an option.

Isn’t it great that Enbridge is putting it’s political weight behind passing laws that it clearly has no intention of following?


Earl update

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-08-2010-05-2008

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The forecast track for Hurricane Earl hasn’t changed much this afternoon. The storm is still a category 4 hurricane and may be undergoing an eyewall replacement cycle, and if so it could well be at or near maximum intensity during a possible close approach to the US tomorrow evening. It’s tough call how close that might be, when a storm is on this kind of course even tiny variations can mean the difference between it moving away from shore and closing in. And if it does begin closing, because of the geometry of the eastern seaboard and the storm’s heading, it could potentially close fast. That’s why there remains a small but very real chance that it comes close to or even hits somewhere between NC and Maine.

Not trying to scare anyone, but just as public service let’s talk about what a hypothetical category 2 hurricane is like for the average homeowner. In a solidly built home you’re probably protected from the elements. But, odds are the power goes out in which case there’s no info at all; no internet, no cell phone, oh and maybe no water. There’s nothing to do but sit there and listen to howling, screaming wind and debris slam into your house. At peak intensity you’ll be able to see walls and ceilings flex, paint flecks may come down in a brief indoor snow flurry, you may wonder if that’s a precursor to the roof peeling off. It’s stressful.

For at least nine out of ten homes the roof stays intact and no trees crash through a window or door, the storm passes, and that’s when the real misery starts. Imagine camping out, with no water, no power, no food except what you have in cans, no refrigeration, no AC, no internet access. Power may be out for a few hours or it may be out for a few weeks, it’s a roll of the dice. Sure, for the first two or three days you’ll grin and bear it like a red-blooded American pioneer, but within four or five days, if that power isn’t back on, you’re gonna reach a breaking point. And past that, every day life just starts unraveling. It’s also dangerous as hell, especially for kids. Broken glass, jagged edges, power lines down, backed up sewers, it’s a microbe Mecca.

That’s what it’s like in a typical cat 2 hurricane. Imagine a cat 3 or worse? Point being, in the unlikely event Earl takes an unexpected, more nefarious course, even if it weakens, this is something you probably don’t want to experience. What better excuse to consider taking a five day weekend, visit a friend or family member further inland! If things looks worse tomorrow morning, warning time could be short. It’s a good idea to have your car gassed up and your plans made. Odds are you won’t have to rely on those plans, odds are it will be sunny and nice all weekend and you’ll be able to laugh at silly meteorologists. But in the meantime you’ll feel better having them.


Murkowski narrows gap in Alaska Senate contest

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-08-2010-05-2008

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The hard-fought race between Sen. Lisa Murkowski and her Republican challenger narrowed as the state began counting thousands of outstanding ballots in Alaska’s GOP primary.

Expectations low for round of Mideast talks (AP)

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-08-2010-05-2008

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Mideast mediator George Mitchell, left, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2010, in Arlington, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)AP – After months of shuttle diplomacy, the Obama administration is set to plunge into a new round of Mideast peacemaking, bringing Israeli and Palestinian leaders together for face-to-face talks for the first time in nearly two years.