Sunday Roast: February 10, 2013 – Reading List

Good Morning, All. And shhhhhh… them wolfies are asleep, so read in silence and tell us what you think in comments, but shhhhhh…

Economy:

WITH the financial crisis over and the recovery gaining momentum, one big piece of unfinished economic business hangs over Barack Obama’s second term: arresting the relentless rise in America’s already sky-high debt. He is turning to the task with what seems an improbable claim: that the job is closer to completion than people appreciate. (read on)

More Economy:

Do we have a solid economic recovery underway? (read more)

Austerity sucks:

The debt crisis is finally catching up with wind energy, once a fast-growing sector in Europe. After more than a decade of double-digit growth, austerity, rapidly changing energy policies and skittish investors are putting a damper on the industry. (read more)

Science:

We’ve only just wiped the sweat from our brow following the averted Mayan apocalypse, but already news is spreading of another impending doom; and this one even has actual science behind it. (read more)

Wisdom:

Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.Benjamin Franklin 

This is our Open Thread, Add your wisdom!

105 thoughts on “Sunday Roast: February 10, 2013 – Reading List

  1. Morning EV!

    I brought you something. (I love how this starts with Adrian Newey at an ‘old fashioned’ drafting table.)

    • While much of the Washington news media were fawning over Sen. Marco Rubio’s knowledge of rap music (Tupac over Biggie, he says), his remarks questioning global warming at an event Tuesday drew more serious discussion.

      It’s going to take more than knowledge of rap music for Rubio to appeal to the Milleniums and Gen X’ers.

  2. I am watching Rugby Ireland vs England. I develop a liking to the sport. No armors like in American Football, just fairly burly blokes. To be honest, I wouldn’t like to meet any of the players in an empty street after dark…

    • You are lucky EV, BBC America is only showing one game a week here….. I was looking for a pub or maybe some illegal streaming somewhere today and can’t find anything…… sounds like a not so good game though….

      …. watch for England France coming up in a couple of weeks….. that may be the one that decides the 6 Nations this year.

      • Terry, I had to go to French TV to get it. Wasn’t so good, you’re right, but I’m only a beginner so I don’t understand all that much. The French really love it. And now I know where to turn to if I want to learn more.

        • Sure…. and after Wales beat France yesterday, the championship this year (Scotland-Wales-Ireland-France-Italy-England) will come down to Wales v England on Mar 16th….. my French friend and I will probably gather for England v France on 23rd Feb.

      • I seriously need to go and find some internet tv to properly watch sports. Zattoo works quite well for me, but US broadcasts are hard to come by.

  3. This is an example of one of the trolls I have to deal with on Twitter. He follows me, but I’m pretty sure he does it just so he can make snarky comments back at me. Which is fine, as that’s why I follow people like Karl Rove and Donald Trump. He just doesn’t have arguments to make, just nay-saying. If and when he replies to my response to him, I’ll post it.

    • I just checked and after I replied to him, he stopped following me. Which is also fine with me. He’s not one of those intelligent conservatives with whom we all enjoy honest debate.

    • I’m sure our Southwest gets more sun than Germany. We could build solar panels on federal lands out there, and then improve our national electrical grid (which must be done and must be done soon) to distribute it throughout the US.. Electricity has become too vital to our way of life to leave it in the hands of private industry. It’s time to nationalize our electrical infrastructure, and stop with the bullshit that “the private sector can do it better.” I’m convinced that those that espouse that only mean it can do it more profitably, not with more quality or totality of service. (For example, my father can’t get cable TV where he lives because the one cable company serving our area has decided it’s not profitable enough to service people on his road.) And it’s not like you can just up and switch electric companies, as if that means the infrastructure though which your electricity comes in will improve. No, we have to nationalize the electrical grid and make it better. I also believe strongly in laying electrical lines underground in order to better withstand weather phenomena. Will that cost a lot? Yes. So? It needs to be done.

      • It is sort of amazing that most Americans don’t realize most of Europe is north of the US. The town I live in in Wi is 1 degree south of the city of Venice, Italy and Dallas is only 2 degrees north of Cairo.

      • When I lived in AZ, one of Phoenix Chamber of Commerce’s favorite stats was the one that pointed out that historically, Phoenix received 88% of possible sunshine. Which part of Germany is like that, I wonder? (I imagine dem Fox Fokkers would say it’s Germany’s Mediterranean Coastal area).

    • Nonewhere says that this reminds him of the old Red Skeleton joke:

      Two drunks come out of the bar at 6:30 in the morning and look up at the sky and point. The one drunk says, “Is that the sun or the moon up there?” The other drunk replies, “I don’t know. I’m not from around here.”

    • Wikipedia notes that (‘expert’) Shibani Joshi’s husband is (‘expert’) Rahul Advani, a principal at Energy Capital Partners, which invests in the gas industry.

      I don’t know what’s worse:
      a) She thought she could get away with that ridiculous claim
      b) Agreeing that it’s the size of the nation (not the number and installed area and efficiency of the panels) that also matters, NOT the size of the country
      c) Not disclosing her personal interest in the gas industry.

      A WEEK later she offered this:

      But I incorrectly stated that the chief difference between the U.S. and Germany’s success with solar installations had to do with climate differences on a “Fox and Friends” appearance on Feb. 7. In fact, the difference come down more to subsidies and political priorities and has nothing to with sunshine.

      Not on-air of course but in a Fox Nation post, and the correction (without any explanation as to her ridiculous analysis) was not the point of the post, which was in fact to laud the employment opportunities provided by fracking—which is exactly what her husband’s company invests-in.

    • That is definitely one of the stupidest things ever said on FAUX”News”. And that’s like pointing out a particularly hot day at the sun’s core. Leaving aside the obvious point that most of Germany gets far less unimpeded sunlight than much of the U.S. one also has to realize that it’s a fool’s argument because solar panels produce energy, though not at peak capacity even if there is fog or cloud cover.

      • Pete, meanwhile we move on and the US falls back into the 19th century, infrastructure-wise. This is so incredibly stupid and can only be explained by the unproportionate influence of the fossil industry, oil, gas and coal on the media and on politics.

        • The really maddening part is that new energy sources always create vast fortunes. The most likely thing is that the energy industry is simply squeezing every last cent out of the old sources before they simply invest in the new ones. Of course, in the meantime people keep dying and the planet gets sicker.

          • Pete, As long as we let money rule over reason we will always lose time. This is why government investments are so important. The money that doesn’t get invested by the private sector needs to be skimmed off via taxes and invested by government, directly or via redistribution, aka subsidies. That just how the failings of the private sector can be mended for the good of the entirety.

        • We might be falling back on technology and on energy, but by god we’re gonna git rid of abortion and contraception, and God will LOVE us for it!

          Trying to sound like a wingnut. It’s painful.

  4. From a German’s perspective. Our weather sucks. Too rainy and cold most of the year. That’s why we haunt Italy, Southern France, Spain, Portugal, Turkey and Greece in the summer and more remote areas like Asia or the Caribean in the winter. There is a reason why we don’t call them sun panels so much anymore. It s photovoltaic panels now. They work with light. Just light, like during the day.

    The development of solar energy is fascinating. From black pipes behind glass used to heat water and help heating, to photovoltaic paint, that can be used to power electric vehicles in only 40 years. And we’re nowhere near the end of possibilities. I love science.

    • The longitude of Portland is approximately the same as Lyon, France. No wonder I enjoy a great Burgundy.
      I’ll drink to that. 🙂

    • Right on all counts. There aren’t a great many veterans of the last war fought in Germany but I would guess that any of the oldsters who spent winters cowering in the snow, slush, and mud would either laugh or cry at the whole absurd idea of “Sunny Germany”. Of course, the survivors of the Berlin airlift who spent days waiting for lumps of coal to be flown in would have ideas that aren’t fit to print!

      Sigh… I fear that the average FAUX”News” worshiper is simply incapable of researching the subject for themselves and they start from the preconception that solar energy can’t ever work at all much less when there is cloud cover.

      • You’d think that , as God created the Sun and gave man earth dominion over the natural world, using one of God’s creations for man’s benefit would be to HIS greater Glory.

        Apparently not, because the reason to adopt solar energy is predicated on the idea that mankind actually has some power to affect God’s creation, via science, rather than prayer–and as prayers obviously don’t work very well ( ever!) it must be because science is evil (except when it can be used to ‘prove’ God’s munificence and/or ‘prove’ the evil of science by its own ‘logic’.

        Apparently this logic doesn’t apply to fossil fuels, derived from ancient plant and animal matter, which are God’s gift to man for rampant exploitation, but which are the result not of an intentional gift to mankind, but a huge practical joke designed to test faith.

  5. The doddering old fool:

    Report: Cheney slams Obama nominees as ‘second-rate people’

    “The performance now of Barack Obama as he staffs up the national security team for the second term is dismal,” said Cheney in an address to members of the Wyoming Republican Party, according to a report from CBS.

    “Frankly, what he has appointed are second-rate people,” Cheney added.

    • LOLGOP @LOLGOP
      John McCain and Lindsey Graham would be doing a lot more good for America if they sat in a balcony and insulted fellow Muppets.

      To me, he’ll always be Sen. Butters.

    • The funny part is that all of those who actually bothered to attend the classified briefings seem satisfied with the answers that are already public knowledge. The whole thing sounds pretty simple to me. A ambassador went somewhere that, in hindsight, he shouldn’t and his position was too remote to get help there in time when things went bad. Being a government official in a foreign land has inherent dangers and Ambassador Stevens knew and accepted that. This whole guilt by implication effort by the Reichwhiners does a tremendous disservice to his memory. And the really whiny little bitches like Lindsay are just overgrown toddlers.

      • So Bush and Cheney’s failure to prevent the massacre of 3,000 civilians in NYC after an explicit warning from the CIA was less of a failure than a confusing attack on a consulate in Libya, which killed four people?

  6. Stenography by AP, bullshit and lies from un-indicted war criminal and unapologetic face-shooting zombie cyborg, Dick Cheney.

    [Cheney] said Obama’s plans are to allow severe cuts in U.S. defense spending, which would limit the capability of the U.S. military to respond to future foreign crises well after Obama has left office.
    REALITY (http://rt.com/usa/news/us-military-budget-cuts-841/) :: The automatic cuts, known as sequestration, are the result of a 2011 impasse between Obama and congressional Republicans over raising America’s debt limit. Republicans fought to match any increases in the borrowing cap with cuts to government spending.
    The Pentagon may cut the size of its military forces for the second time in as many years if spending reductions of $470 billion over 10 years take effect, according to America’s top military chief. One third of the cuts would affect armed forces.
    470 billion over ten years is less than ten percent overall of the current $600 billion budget, and by the terms of the policy, less than 1% per year which will be negated by very ordinary inflation. Not to mention the fact that the proposed ‘reductions’ probably (I haven’t bothered researching this part) aren’t exclusive of the natural reductions resulting from withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan

    “He is today … establishing what limitations will be on future presidents,” Cheney said.
    REALITY: No he isn’t. Congress controls the purse and has yet to refuse any president the financing to wage war (Korea, Vietnam, Grenada (hah!), Somalia, Bosnia/Serbia, Afghanistan and Iraq, and Libya) , and regardless the US ‘defense’ budget includes initial deployment funding and anyway the costs of war are never funded up front, but billed over the duration of conflict and afterwards.

    “Cheney noted that the security situation in the Middle East and North Africa has worsened under Obama’s watch with Iran actively pursuing nuclear weapons and with turmoil in Egypt, Syria, Mali and elsewhere.
    REALITY: Because THIS particular president actually directly controls or fails to control at his whim, whatever happens in other sovereign states. Unlike other presidents who have no control over what happens elsewhere, except for reign who personally destroyed Communism single-handedly?

    “That part of the world is as dangerous now as it has ever been,” he said.
    REALITY: That comment is the definition of tautology which, as this is a Republican fuckwit dependent on other shit-for-brains Republicans for legitimacy, completely undermines the immediately preceding remark, thus:” the security situation in the Middle East and North Africa has worsened under Obama’s watch and “That part of the world is as dangerous now as it has ever been.”–which ACTUALLY MEANS because the situation hasn’t improved ( from some undefined perspective) it has therefore become worse.

    “The Obama administration’s response has been to pull back U.S. military presence and influence, resulting in rising mistrust of the U.S. from allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, he said.”
    REALITY: Pull back from what, where? Oh yes, Iraq and Afghanistan, our longest ever wars that the majority of the American public has wanted to end “by next year”, every fucking year since 2005!
    Not to mention that “US military presence and influence” is demonstrably only welcome in Taiwan and South Korea—everywhere else it tends to CREATE distrust after a few years of presence (and since when has Israel been a US ally other than to stay out of any conflict the US has engaged in—unlike, say, the UK and other NATO nations– and only actively worked as an ally in the morally egregious and utterly illegal Arms for Hostages scheme?).

    Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Saturday night that President Barack Obama has jeopardized U.S. national security by nominating substandard candidates for key cabinet posts and by degrading the U.S. military.

    REALITY: Republicans persistently block empirically competent cabinet post candidates proposed by Democrats and promote incompetents when they are in power. The Democrats persistently fail to support competent candidates for cabinet posts in the hopes of a mutually agreeable deal ( e.g. Elizabeth Warren) or fold from the get-go to avois a fight ( Timothy Geitner. Chuck Hagel).

  7. Where’s my friggin federal program to put solar shingles on the roof of every apartment, home and business in America? Five bigass factories, employing thousands of workers at a good wage, tens of thousands of installers being trained at our community colleges. Can they spell
    I N V E S T M E N T???

    • In my part of NJ, the most populated, diverse, politically Democratic and most- taxed, solar panels have been installed on the pine telephone poles all over the place–thousands of them–for a couple of years now. I still don’t know the specific initiative behind it, but its guaranteed that no legislative Republicans participated.

      As far as I can tell by mere observation the purpose of these panels is to provide power (or extra power) to streetlights, saving municipalities money. Whilst this would appear to be a smart and progressive initiative, it is also pathetic and smacks of graft because of the implementation.

      A single panel has been installed wherever there is a street light. The lights themselves are 20-year old technology. The panels have been installed by private businesses financed by public funds–that is just fine by me, BUT as far as I can tell, judging by the want ads for installation personnel, ,the solar panel installation businesses have been using temp employment business to provide the installation personnel, for about $10 an hour.

      Installing these panels is a pretty simple job,but it still requires some specilaized knowledge–in other words experienced electronic and electrical installation technicians are being paid for manual labor in the current job-market, instead of being paid for their skills.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the phone companies and/or power companies that own the poles charge a fee for the use of the poles.

      Furthermore, using solar panels to power, or supplement the power delivery, of streetlights is a reasonable idea, but hardly game-changing.
      Meanwhile, where these individual panels have been installed along the various length of Truck Route 1+9 for example (which is the major conduit for commuting and commercial traffic that passes through or by the most populated and industrious areas of NJ) I have yet to see chain hotel, warehouse outlet, mall or massive retail outlet–such as Target, Best Buy, Walmart, etc–of which there are many–deploy ANY solar panels on their rooftops.

      I suspect such companies just don’t want to invest in such technology for their own benefit, with their own money, because they’d rather the average taxpayer provide the money first–thus keeping their immediate expenses low and their immediate shareholder profits high.

    • BTW, RUC…

      Solar Shingles as opposed to decorative and weather-protective shingles, aren’t effective, IF treated as a direct replacement of ordinary shingles–BUT of course if say the upper portion of a south/southwest facing exterior wall used solar shingles, it would be a useful supplement to roof mounted solar panels. .

      • Right now the biggest problem with various solar systems is that they are improving so fast there is an element of built in obsolescence like a new computer. Even so, it doesn’t make much sense to build a roof without a solar plant. The initial investment is lower than when retrofitting a plant to an existing structure and would be diluted by the overall construction costs even without subsidy programs. If we could actually seize control of our society from the Reichwhiners then the cost for the builder would be near zero and any excess energy produced would be a net profit for the entity that invests in the plants whether public or private. It’s a real pity that so many powerful people are greedy and/or insane enough that they continue to block efforts to make solar power a truly valuable alternative.

    • thanks for the tip, badmoodman.

      The language ” the first time they [drones] have been used againstb a US citizen within America’s borders” , is, IMHO, suspect with regard to fact perhaps and certainly its reductive qualities (i.e drones now equal attack’ assasination rather than surveillance, in the present zeitgeist) .

      But history and experience shows that given a previously unavailable resource, it will be used to its fullest potential, especially if said resource is presented and perceived as a complete solution to a problem rather than just a tool that will help produce a resolution. That is worrisome.

      The Predator drone began as a surveillance vehicle, but early version were soon retrofitted with missile and associated targeting systems. It is controlled remotely, at a distance from the ground. The determination of a legitimate target and the decision to launch deadly munitions is still made by humans.

      Real world results have been “mixed”.

      The larger Global Hawk is presently a surveillance/ELINT vehicle that flies higher and for far longer than the Predator. At present it isn’t armed ( as far as I know) , though I wouldn’t be surprised if there are plans on the military’s shelf that could arm the global Hawk quickly, as was done with the Predator.
      Global Hawk can function autonomously, but of course it can be directed by human controllers too.

      All this drone has to do is to locate Dorner. Once found though , what then?
      The only way Dorner get’s out of the situation alive is if he surrenders and the cops don’t kill him in the process.

      If Donner is allowed due process, he will be able to explain his actions and demand specific attention to his grievances, which will certainly inspire some serious investigation (which I’m sure some journalists at least, have already begun).

      Even if Donner’s complaints are all legit, and if no-one involved in his complaints are in command or present when he is probably cornered, and even if he THEN complies with due process procedures such as hands up, throw the weapon,on the ground, spread your legs etc, I highly doubt some cop won’t shoot him for some suspicious movement and others will reflexively join-in.

      After all, Donner “allegedly” killed a couple of cops, and denied THEM their ‘due process’ by doing so, so he’s not likely to get any in return.

      • War is horrible at all times but the whole idea of conducting war without personal risk really sticks in my craw. There is an element of honor in combat but drones offer, as has been pointed put, mere execution. Chuck Yeager made a very good point many years ago when the idea of remotely controlled weapons was limited to simple missiles. He said:

        “If we are going to do horrible things like dropping bombs on people then there should be a pilot with a soul at risk dropping the bombs”.

        • It’s a noble thought, and this is why there a ‘rules of war’–a seemingly illogical but logically pragmatic concept. .
          As Robert E. Lee said “It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it.”
          Remoteness from the destruction, mutilation, death and impoverishment of war as immediate effects and as consequences of course risks an inconsiderate and cavalier regard for war.

          BUT I can’t think of one example of a soldier ( or soldiers) of conscience who have ever been able to discourage a rush to war, or were able blow the whistle on on fellow soldiers atrocities without retribution, let alone with any positive result.

          As soon as Muhammed Ali was drafted to be a soldier, his conscience (in part) got him thrown in jail. Protesting IVAW members have been attacked by Police. The crew of “Crazy Horse 18”, who murdered two journalists, two ‘good samaritans’ and nearly killed two children were thoroughly protected by the Pentagon. Manning is still in jail and isolation. Pat Tillman was murdered for his conscience. Bunnatine Smith was fired for challenging independent contractor’ fraud. General Shinsecki got canned just for pointing out that the US couldn’t even hope to secure Iraq with reasonable assurance with three times as many troops as Rumsfeld planned to ( and did) deploy.

          I’m afraid the conscientious, honorable warrior has no chance of effecting change–the rules and vested interests just don;t allow it.

          • True, but to some extent I can’t help but prefer our death before dishonor mythology. Ethics always fall victim to the realities of war, but we can’t give up on the spark of moral conscience that compels us to examine our motives and actions.

  8. I can’t post the tweet because it’s protected and I’m not authorized, but here’s some phone numbers you may wish to keep handy, just in case. I’m assuming they’re accurate.

    phone the obstructionists: Mitch McConnell 202-224-2541. Eric Cantor 202-225-2815. John Boehner 202-225-6205. Paul Ryan 202-225-3031.

    • …much saner society…

      Key phrase that will never be in the U.S. until the TeaPottiers/Repugnants are dismissed as detritus they truly are.

  9. I knew the asteroid passing by Earth this Friday is going to be close (inside the orbit of geosynchronous orbit satellites), but Bill Nye puts it in time perspective. It’s going to miss Earth by just fifteen minutes.

  10. “‘Oh dear,'” says God, ‘I hadn’t thought of that,’ and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.”– Douglas Adams

    “One can’t prove that God
    doesn’t exist, but science
    makes God unnecessary.”
    Stephen Hawking

    • Haven’t had an alert all day here. South of Birmingham it’s pretty bad. Hattiesburg, Mississippi had a pretty big tornado though.

      • Whoa. There really are crazy people ‘storm chasers’.
        (watching the video) This is a close as I ever want to get to a tornado!

        Does Huckabee think Mississippi has forsaken god or had god forsaken MS?/

        • According to son, it was a “wedge shaped tornado” and there were 58 tornado sightings in that area. I’ve no idea how many there really were, but I’ve learned no to question son on weather matters.

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