Global temperatures have warmed significantly since 1880, the beginning
of what scientists call the "modern record." In this animation of temperature data from 1880-2011, reds indicate temperatures higher than the average during a baseline period of 1951-1980, while blues indicate lower temperatures than the baseline average.
A sobering report on the "State of the Climate," and our planet, Earth. Last year was one of the 10 warmest years on record, researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday. While the past 150 years have seen average temperatures rise 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, 9 of the 10 hottest years on record have been since the 1990s—with 2012 ranking somewhere around 8 or 9. Arctic sea ice reached record lows during the summer, while 97 percent of all of Greenland ice melted in the winter—far more than average. Of particular importance in the NOAA report was the rise in ocean heat storage, which reached record levels in 2012. The surface temperature of the oceans was among the 11 warmest on record, and sea levels also reached a record high.
From Mark Fiore: Fireagra, for foreign policy impotence: Like most people, I want someone to pay for the unconscionable chemical weapons attack(s) on civilians in Syria. I want evil people to be discouraged from doing something as awful in the future. I want a magic bomb that will take out Syria's chemical weapons ability without messing anything else up. It's the "without messing anything else up" part that is the most difficult.
Syria has become the bloodiest uprising of the Arab Spring and has now descended into a full-blown civil war. Find out what's behind the conflict and what's at stake for the international community.
There's tons of information about Syria's ongoing conflict floating around on the Internet these days, but not much that lays out the basic facts for those who aren't experts on the Middle East. This is a great informative video from the Associated Press, that in two-minutes will give you some much needed context for what you'll be seeing and reading in the news for the next few weeks.
Despite U.S. authorities determining that none of the 166 prisoners being kept at Guantanamo Bay pose a threat to Americans, Republican Congressman Mike Pompeo of Kansas insisted the prison should be kept open Sunday.
“The president talks about releasing these detainees but history shows clearly: 25% of the folks that have been released today have returned to the battlefield to wreak havoc against American interests to continue to battle for Islamic jihad,” Pompeo said in an interview with MSNBC’s Craig Melvin. “I don’t think it makes any sense, when you’ve got at least a quarter of the folks who you’re going to release come back and present a risk to Americans, to let anybody go who poses that kind of threat to America.”
Melvin played a video clip of Pardiss Kebriaei, a Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, who discussed the humanitarian crisis at Gitmo as more than 100 of the detainees have participated in a hunger strike where guards are force-feeding prisoners through nasal cavities.
In a new video ad, called "Facts," President Obama aims to set the record straight in the face of attacks from Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan on his Medicare plan.
"Mitt Romney continues to mislead the American people about President Obama's record on Medicare--and skip the truth about his own plan to eliminate the guarantee of Medicare and provide people with a voucher to buy health care instead," Obama campaign spokesman Adam Fetcher said in a statement announcing the new ad.
"Facts," according to Fetcher, will air in New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada.
"President Obama's new ad 'Facts' gets the facts wrong," responded Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg. "The facts concerning the President's record on Medicare are clear: 1) Obama cut the program by $716 billion, 2) millions will be forced to lose their Medicare Advantage coverage and 3) the program will go bankrupt in 2024. Mitt Romney has a plan for Medicare that protects it for today's seniors and strengthens it for future generations."
Republicans have criticized Obama for diverting $716 billion from Medicare, apparently referencing a July report by the Congressional Budget Office which said a repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would result in a $716 billion increase in Medicare costs through 2022.
But the report also says that Medicare will not lose $716 billion should Obamacare stay in place, as Romney claimed in his ad. More of Romney's "sauce for the goose" crap, I suppose. Better duck, Mittens, more pesky facts headed your way!
The city of Cleveland will not renew Occupy protesters' permit allowing a permanent encampment. The group has maintained an encampment in downtown Cleveland since October of last year.
Cleveland Mayor Jackson's chief of staff, Ken Sillman, said that the decision not to renew the permit was made before the FBI's arrest of five men who planned to blow up an Ohio bridge.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio questioned the timing of the permit revocation, saying it was concerned Jackson's announcement was an attempt to connect the entire Occupy movement to the bomb plot.
"Individuals are responsible for their own actions, not the groups they affiliate with," ACLU of Ohio Legal Director James Hardiman said in a statement. "City officials should not be in the business of condemning an entire group of people based on the actions of others."
Bill Dobbs, a spokesman for Occupy in New York, also said the arrests have nothing to do with the Occupy movement that began last fall.
"This incident has nothing to do with Occupy Wall Street, which explicitly stands for non-violence," he said. "Before there's a rush to judgment, facts need to come out. Those charged are entitled to a fair trial and due process."
To the shock of most sentient beings, Facts died Wednesday, April 18, after a long battle for relevancy with the 24-hour news cycle, blogs and the Internet. Though few expected Facts to pull out of its years-long downward spiral, the official cause of death was from injuries suffered last week when Florida Republican Rep. Allen West steadfastly declared that as many as 81 of his fellow members of theU.S. House of Representatives are communists.
Facts held on for several days after that assault — brought on without a scrap of evidence or reason — before expiring peacefully at its home in a high school physics book. Facts was 2,372.
The Guardian: Occupy Wall Street: the story behind seven months of protest:
In September last year, anti-corporate activists descended on a small park in lower Manhattan and Occupy Wall Street was born. As protesters ready for a spring resurgence, film-maker Kat Keene Hogue looks back at more than six months of Occupy, a movement that spread from Zuccotti Park to over 100 cities around the world
Statistics are the smoke and fog in the war on women. Sunday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner struck out against Mitt Romney’s repeated claims that women made up more than 92 percent of jobs lost under President Obama’s watch. “It’s just a political moment,” Geithner said on CBS News’ Face the Nation, arguing that there was more job loss among men at the beginning of the recession and that Obama inherited economic decline that began under the previous White House. Romney’s campaign isn’t budging, though. “The President should stop making excuses for his failures,” spokesperson Andrea Saul said in an email to reporters. “He is entitled to his own spin but not his own facts.” Too bad Geithner didn't have any facts to back up his idiotic running off at the mouth.
Via Think Progress: Bank of America Forecloses On Homeowner With Disabled Daughter After Offering Her A Modification:
Rodriguez took out a loan to retrofit her house for her special-needs daughter. After she fell behind on her payments, the Bank of America lowered her monthly obligation, but then sold the house at a foreclosure auction last September. The new owner, a house flipper from El Segundo called West Ridge Rentals, moved to evict the family. [...]
Yet still nearly 7,000 Occupy Wall Street protesters have been arrested to day. Bankers arrested? Zero.
There were only around 40 protesters last night who chose to unfurl their sleeping bags and ground pads on the corner of Wall Street and Broad Street in "sleepful protest" last night. But unlike the vibrant, if somewhat insulated atmosphere of Zuccotti Park, Occupy Wall Street's newest encampment is positioned at the nexus of a neighborhood, and residents and passersby seemed eager to engage the demonstrators on the well-lit corner a few yards away from the New York Stock Exchange.
An impeccably dressed, if somewhat intoxicated man began speaking with protesters and eventually sat down, legs crossed, deep in dialogue. His expensive watch peeked out of the cuff of his starched shirt as he made motions with his hands. His wife had left him and he stressed that he had problems, too.
Another man wearing a blue Oxford and carrying his dinner—a frozen chicken dish from Duane Reade—began speaking to a group after he asked one protester, "Tell me again why you're here?" What followed was a conversation that lasted over an hour, ranging from cutting the cost of higher education ("We gotta stop subsidizing four-year colleges,") to the tax rate on capital gains, to solutions to house the homeless.
Also from Think Progress, if Mitt Romney could relate at all to the general population, wouldn't he support paid sick days for workers?
Forty percent of private sector workers and 80 percent of low-wage workers do not have a single, paid sick day to recover from a short-term illness or to provide care for their loved ones. This leads to impossible choices for moms in the sandwich generation who are often working while serving as the main caregiver for an aging parent or school-age children. Missing just three days of work to care for a kid with chicken pox would mean losing the entire month’s healthcare budget for the average two worker, two child family without access to paid sick days.
Paid sick days legislation would enable workers to accrue paid sick leave and provide for provisions to help employers manage. It also makes economic sense as it costs businesses more in lost worker productivity to have sick employees come in, than it would cost to offer paid time off in the first place.
President Obama has come out in favor of such legislation. Mitt Romney, who claims to understand the plight of working people, has been silent.
See how much more effective actual facts are, Mr. Geithner?
Occupy Ninjas, coming to a bank near you soon.
Occupy Detroit is celebrating their 6 month anniversary all weekend:
A general assembly will be held at noon at Eastern Market. The group also will hold an open house from 4-10 p.m. Saturday at its new home at 5900 Michigan Ave. Events will include an ox roast and musical jam session around a bonfire.
HERE’S a window into a tragedy within the American military: For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands.
As TeacherKen notes, there is so much more work that needs to be done before military suicide can be effectively prevented.
Buffet Rule Vote on Monday
On Monday, April 16, the U.S. Senate will debate and vote on the "Buffett Rule," which guarantees that millionaires will no longer pay a lower share of taxes than working people.
Join SEIU and Daily Kos by sending an email (super easy, just click the link) to your senators, telling them to vote in favor of the Buffett Rule. No matter whether your senators are Democrats or Republicans, they all need to know there is big support for making the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes.