Archive for October, 2011

October 31, 2011

First Presidential Debate to be Held at Rich-Kid University in Denver

by Ben Hoffman

The first of three 2012 Presidential Debates will be held Oct. 3, 2012, at the University of Denver, the Commission on Presidential Debates said today. The event will be held at DU’s Magness Arena.

I’m going to try to get tickets. 🙂

October 31, 2011

Eric Cantor Supports High Speed Rail

by Ben Hoffman

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who led the GOP’s debt reduction efforts this summer and bashed stimulus spending, sought money for the stimulus in private letters for projects like high-speed rail.

Read more…

October 31, 2011

Iraq Mission: End of an Error

by Ben Hoffman

October 31, 2011

Police and Protesters Clash. Denver Makes National News.

by Ben Hoffman

DENVER — The simmering tension near the Colorado Capitol escalated dramatically Saturday with more than a dozen arrests, reports of skirmishes between police and protesters and authorities firing rounds of pellets filled with pepper spray at supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
View slideshow

Officers in riot gear moved into a park late in the day where protesters were attempting to establish an encampment, hauling off demonstrators just hours after a standoff at the Capitol steps degenerated into a fight that ended in a cloud of Mace and pepper spray.

[…]

Earlier in the day about 2,000 protesters rallying against what they see as economic inequality and corporate greed marched downtown toward the Capitol, setting up the most intense moments of the Denver movement, which has lasted weeks.

A group of the marchers advanced toward the building and some tried to make their way up the steps. About eight officers scuffled with a group of protesters and police confirmed that they used Mace and fired pepper balls – hollow projectiles filled with the chemical irritant – to break up the crowd. Protesters told the paper at the time that they believed police used rubber bullets.

Read more…

It’s good to see Denver getting some national attention, although it’s mainly due to a few rogue protesters and a few bad cops.

October 26, 2011

Wall Street Journal: ‘Global Warming is Real’

by Ben Hoffman

Our work covers only land temperature—not the oceans—but that’s where warming appears to be the greatest. Robert Rohde, our chief scientist, obtained more than 1.6 billion measurements from more than 39,000 temperature stations around the world. Many of the records were short in duration, and to use them Mr. Rohde and a team of esteemed scientists and statisticians developed a new analytical approach that let us incorporate fragments of records. By using data from virtually all the available stations, we avoided data-selection bias. Rather than try to correct for the discontinuities in the records, we simply sliced the records where the data cut off, thereby creating two records from one.

We discovered that about one-third of the world’s temperature stations have recorded cooling temperatures, and about two-thirds have recorded warming. The two-to-one ratio reflects global warming. The changes at the locations that showed warming were typically between 1-2ºC, much greater than the IPCC’s average of 0.64ºC.

To study urban-heating bias in temperature records, we used satellite determinations that subdivided the world into urban and rural areas. We then conducted a temperature analysis based solely on “very rural” locations, distant from urban ones. The result showed a temperature increase similar to that found by other groups. Only 0.5% of the globe is urbanized, so it makes sense that even a 2ºC rise in urban regions would contribute negligibly to the global average.

What about poor station quality? Again, our statistical methods allowed us to analyze the U.S. temperature record separately for stations with good or acceptable rankings, and those with poor rankings (the U.S. is the only place in the world that ranks its temperature stations). Remarkably, the poorly ranked stations showed no greater temperature increases than the better ones. The mostly likely explanation is that while low-quality stations may give incorrect absolute temperatures, they still accurately track temperature changes.

When we began our study, we felt that skeptics had raised legitimate issues, and we didn’t know what we’d find. Our results turned out to be close to those published by prior groups. We think that means that those groups had truly been very careful in their work, despite their inability to convince some skeptics of that. They managed to avoid bias in their data selection, homogenization and other corrections.

Global warming is real. Perhaps our results will help cool this portion of the climate debate. How much of the warming is due to humans and what will be the likely effects? We made no independent assessment of that.

Mr. Muller is a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of “Physics for Future Presidents” (W.W. Norton & Co., 2008).

Source

October 26, 2011

Veteran shot in the face by police projectile at Occupy Oakland protests

by Ben Hoffman
October 26, 2011

Steve Jobs: Fox News ‘A Destructive Force In Our Society’

by Ben Hoffman


Steve Jobs told Rupert Murdoch that Fox News was a “destructive force in our society,” according to the blockbuster biography of the late Apple CEO.

Poynter was the first to uncover Jobs’ blunt words about the network in Walter Isaacson’s new book. Isaacson writes that, after speaking at a News Corp. retreat, Jobs unloaded on Murdoch:

“You’re blowing it with Fox News,” Jobs told him over dinner. “The axis today is not liberal and conservative, the axis is constructive-destructive, and you’ve cast your lot with the destructive people. Fox has become an incredibly destructive force in our society. You can be better, and this is going to be your legacy if you’re not careful.” Jobs said he thought Murdoch did not really like how far Fox had gone. “Rupert’s a builder, not a tearer-downer,” he said. “I’ve had some meetings with James, and I think he agrees with me. I can just tell.”

Read more…

October 24, 2011

Republican Candidates Promote Fascist Agenda

by Ben Hoffman

Crazy People


Representatives Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Ron Paul of Texas say they would forbid the court from deciding cases concerning same-sex marriage. Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, and former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania want to abolish the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, calling it a “rogue” court that is “consistently radical.”

Criticism of “activist judges” and of particular Supreme Court decisions has long been a staple of political campaigns. But the new attacks, coming from most of the Republican candidates, are raising broader questions about how the legal system might be reshaped if one of them is elected to the White House next year.

“These threats go far beyond normal campaign season posturing,” said Bert Brandenburg, executive director of Justice at Stake, a research and advocacy group that seeks to protect judicial independence. “They sound populist, but the proposal is to make courts answer to politicians and interest groups.”

The Supreme Court delivered the presidency to George W. Bush, interpreted the Second Amendment to guarantee an individual right to bear arms and allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money in elections. And many Republicans are looking to the Supreme Court for vindication in the political battle with President Obama over his health care overhaul.

The Republican candidates have focused their anger at court rulings on social issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and the role of religion in public life. Those issues hold the potential to fire up the party’s base and to provide crucial support in the primaries.

In attacking the courts, the Republican candidates sometimes seem to hedge their vows to remain faithful to the Constitution. Many of their proposals aimed at curtailing the power of the courts would require the document to be amended.

Still, the suggestions from Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Santorum concerning the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which hears cases from federal district courts in nine Western states, are particularly bold. In February, Mr. Santorum told a Tea Party group in South Carolina that he would “sign a bill tomorrow to eliminate the Ninth Circuit,” adding: “That court is rogue. It’s a pox on the western part of our country.”

Read more…

Republicans love activist judges when they rule in favor of corporations, such as the Citizen’s United case. It’s only when they don’t get their way that they throw a temper tantrum and want to rig the courts in their favor.

October 23, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Protesters are Pitting Americans Against Americans!!!

by Ben Hoffman

October 21, 2011

American Exceptionalism Creeping Back

by Ben Hoffman


When was the last time you heard another country thank us for anything?

October 21, 2011

Wall Street Protesters are the Real Conservatives

by Ben Hoffman

There’s been a lot of talk that the Occupy Wall Street protesters don’t know what they want. We hear on the news that they’re protesting against capitalism and for socialism. We hear that they want a handout and don’t want to work.

That’s not why they’re protesting. They know the future is rigged against them. They know what the Wall Street firms have done to the American economy and to the global economy. The top one percent have gotten richer at the expense of everyone else. They own our government and they make the rules that benefit only them while they drain the treasury.

Too many good paying American jobs have gone overseas. Higher education is out of reach for many Americans. Health care is unaffordable and the price keeps going up, yet any effort to reign in the abuse is blocked by our corporate congress.

The protesters want to reverse the corporate coup that’s taken place in the US and rendered the citizens powerless, and they won’t stop until that happens. The protesters know about the criminal class who runs the corporations. Free market capitalism is a radical force. It sees everything as commodities: human beings, lakes, rivers, the air, animals… It exploits the natural world for profit until exhaustion and collapse.

There have been no restrictions, no real regulations on Wall Street; they’ve looted the US Treasury; they’ve played all the games that they were playing before, and we’re about to have to pay for it all over again. The financial institutions that were deemed “too big to fail” are now even bigger.

Financial institutions like Goldman Sachs don’t produce anything. They are speculators. They don’t manufacture or add anything to the value chain. All they do is gamble.

If we don’t break the back of corporations, we’re all finished. Corporations are rapidly trashing the ecosystem on which the human species depends for survival. This is literally a fight for life – it’s that grave, it’s that serious.

Those who are protesting the rise of the corporate state are in fact, on the political spectrum, the true conservatives because they’re calling for the restoration of the rule of law. The radicals have seized power and they have trashed all regulations and legal impediments to a corporate reconfiguration of American society into a form of neo-feudalism. And that’s what we’re really asking for: the restoration of the rule of law.

October 16, 2011

Occupy Denver – Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011

by Ben Hoffman


Taking pictures of the police…


It’s takes a lot of patience to be a protester…


Yawwwwwwn…


Ah, a little music, at least. We sang my “The 99 Percent” protest song. 🙂

October 13, 2011

Deficit Attention Disorder

by Ben Hoffman

October 12, 2011

Ayn Rand: “Belief in god is a sign of psychological weakness”

by Ben Hoffman

The conservative icon Ayn Rand was an atheist who spoke out against religious people because religion requires faith, which defies reason. She said, “Belief in God gives man permission to function irrationally.”

Rand came from Russia, which explains her hatred of all things socialism, but in her later years, she lived on Social Security and Medicare. Perhaps she changed her mind later in life that some social polices are beneficial to society. Either that or she was a hypocrite.

October 11, 2011

New Song: The 99 Percent (Occupy America)

by Ben Hoffman


Everybody sing along!

The 99 Percent - by Ben Hoffman

Em

Em .................. Am ... Em
Deregulation was the going trend
Em ............................ Bm .... Em
Bankers thought that it was a heaven's send
Em .......................... Am ...... Em
They inflated bubbles, had a good ol' time
Em ........................ Bm ........... Em
And granted mortgages to anyone who would sign

Chorus (call and response):

Em ................... D Em
We want jobs for (the 99%)
Em ..................... D Em
We want college for (the 99%)
Em ......................... D Em
We want health care for (the 99%)
Em .................... D Em
And an economy for (the 99%)
Em ...... G ............... C ..... D Em
We want a system that works for the 99%

The bubble burst our government got scared
Said "Here's a check for $700 billion dollars.
No strings attached, don't let it cramp your style,
Give yourself a raise if that will make you smile"

(chorus)

A little regulation to reign in the abuse
Boehner and McConnell said all hell will break loose
Said "if we do that businesses won't hire,"
And big money donors held their feet to the fire

(chorus)

Higher education has become out of reach
For many in America of modest means
You can't make a living now without a degree
'Cause all the manufacturing has gone overseas.

(chorus)

The bankers got richer thanks to Uncle Sam
And money for campaigns went to politicians
Who promised no new taxes for the opulent ranks
And no new regulations for the gambling banks.

Last chorus:

We want policies for (the 99%)
Infrastructure for (the 99%)
We want a government for (the 99%)
And news reporting for (the 99%)
We want a system that works for the 99%
We want a system that works for the 99%

Em Bm Em