The cause was brain cancer, which had been diagnosed last May.
The cause was brain cancer, which had been diagnosed last May.
From the New York Times
President Obama’s political standing is rising along with voters’ optimism that the economy is getting better, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, a shift that coincides with continued Republican disquiet over the field of candidates seeking to replace him.
Read more about it … Here
Here’s a little good news that should brighten your weekend from the New York Times.
The U.S. Economy Added 243,000 Jobs in January; Unemployment Dips to 8.3%
The United States economy gained momentum in January, adding 243,000 jobs, the second straight month of better-than-expected gains, the Labor Department reported on Friday. The unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent. The promising jobs numbers came as various economic indicators have painted an ambivalent picture of the recovery’s strength.
You can read all about today in the NY Times
For Immediate Release:
Washington, DC — More than 70 tech firms from across the web and advocacy groups from across the political spectrum asking urging their users and members to contact Congress and urge members to oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). SOPA is scheduled for a vote in the House Judiciary Committee this Thursday at 10AM.
Internet users can contact Congress by visiting AmericanCensorship.org. To give Americans a sense of what the Internet would be like if SOPA passes, any Internet user can use a tool there to “censor” parts of their emails and posts to Twitter, Facebook, blogs, or other websites. To ‘uncensor’ the post, their friends and readers must visit AmericanCensorship.org and contact their own members of Congress. Here’s a sample ‘censored’ post.
To underscore the negative impact SOPA would have on economic growth and innovation, people who are employed by web-related companies — and people who earn income blogging, selling items online, or otherwise make a living by using the Internet — are encouraged to post photos of themselves to IWorkForTheInternet.org. Just a few hours after the site’s launch last evening, more than 1,000 people had done so.
SOPA would kill tech jobs and stifle innovation, undermine cybersecurity, censor the Internet in America, and give comfort to foreign regimes that seek to censor the Internet in order to undermine political speech and dissent. If it passes, social networking sites would need to police their users’ content more aggressively, sites would be shut down with negligible due process, and people could be jailed for posting copyrighted content (like background music and karaoke videos). This New York Times op-ed serves as a good primer on the bill’s failings.
According to Demand Progress executive director David Segal, “This week is do or die: If SOPA passes through committee, House leadership can call for a full vote at any time. But if we can beat it this week, there’s a good chance it’ll be gone for good. Anybody who cherishes a free, secure Internet — and the economic development and benefit to our democracy that come with it — needs to call Congress right away.”
Participating sites include Tumblr, Reddit, Mozilla, Union Square Ventures, Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, Public Knowledge, MoveOn, Free Press, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Wikimedia, the Free Software Foundation, the Center for Democracy and Technology, and dozens of others. They include the groups that drove more than two million contacts to Congress through last month’s “American Censorship Day” effort, and many more.
>The following appeared over at the environmentally conscientious blog treehugger.com, it’s an eye-opener for anyone that believes the environment is important and think that the GOP will stand behind their cause:
Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave — or perhaps a lavish, sealed-off compound — for the last few months, you’re likely fully aware that the GOP is in full-bore Tea Partying mode. Which means ultra-anti-regulatory sentiment and pro-corporate cheer-leading rule the day. Man, that was a lot of hyphens. Anyhow, Republicans have seized their moment in the sun to pursue a bill known as the 3-D Act (Domestic Jobs, Domestic Energy and Deficit Reduction). It’s essentially what the New York Times calls “the right’s environmental wish list” — a series of 12 initiatives that include gutting the Clean Air Act, opening up pristine lands for drilling, and trampling the Endangered Species Act.
Here’s the abridged “wish list” from the NY Times, and my response to each entry:
1. Put oil and natural gas leasing on the Outer Continental shelf on a fast track, holding lease sales every nine months and making them dependent on commercial expressions of interest (rather than, say, ecosystem requirements) to determine what parcels should be leased. Ensure that a year after the bill becomes law, there will be three lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and one off the coast of Virginia.
In other words, this would put oil interests first and make ecological considerations near-obsolete. It would also mean much more drilling in the Gulf and off the East Coast.
2. Open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to an “environmentally sound program for the exploration, development and production of the oil and gas resources …”
Republicans have been after this for years, but there’s a reason they haven’t gotten it: Cleaning up oil spills in the Arctic, as we saw with the Exxon Valdez, is excruciatingly difficult — and spills therefore do immense damage to the native habitats and local economies.
3. Expedite lease sales for companies seeking to extract oil and natural gas from complex geologic formations like oil shale and tar sands in the West.
The GOP wants to bring the devastatingly destructive tar sands operation like the one in Alberta, Canada, to the United States. Remember, that operation produces what is considered the “dirtiest fuel on earth”.
4. Set a nine-month deadline for the environmental review of any federal action like such leasing.
Read: less talk, more drilling.
>The following editorial was published yesterday in the NY Times, people should read it before falling for his claim to be an advocate for the environment:
Running for governor in 2009, Chris Christie vowed to become “New Jersey’s No. 1 clean-energy advocate.” That was a hollow promise. As governor, Mr. Christie proceeded to cut all the money for the Office of Climate and Energy. He raided $158 million from the clean energy fund, meant for alternative energy investments, and spent it on general programs. He withdrew the state from an important lawsuit against electric utilities to reduce emissions.
On Thursday, he took the worst step of all: He abandoned the 10-state initiative in the Northeast that uses a cap-and-trade system to lower carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants. The program has been remarkably successful, a model of vision and fortitude. Lacking that, Mr. Christie has given in to the corporate and Tea Party interests that revile all forms of cap and trade, letting down the other nine states trying to fight climate change.
The system works by requiring utilities to either lower their emissions or buy allowances to pollute. Money from the allowances goes to states for clean-energy programs. Since it began in 2008, the system has created more than $700 million for these programs; New Jersey has spent some of its share on helping cities become more energy-efficient. Greenhouse emissions from power plants in the region went down about 12 percent from 2008 to 2010 for many reasons, including lower natural gas prices. Programs like the regional initiative are estimated to have produced more than 10 percent of that decline.
Mr. Christie has already demonstrated his disdain for the program’s goals by spending $65 million of the state’s $100 million share from the allowances to pay down New Jersey’s deficit. He claimed this week that the program was not working, a notion that was quickly refuted by five other governors. “Governor Christie is simply wrong when he claims that these efforts are a failure,” said Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland. He said they had an equivalent effect of taking 3,500 cars off the road in his state.
For now, at least, the far right has killed cap and trade nationally, but the idea is far from dead. Several Western states are gearing up for a cap-and-trade program; California has been particularly aggressive. The Northeast state compact will survive Mr. Christie’s exit. It is New Jersey that will be the poorer, with less to invest in smarter energy programs, more carbon dioxide and a leadership vacancy at its helm.
>Back on June 8th of last year, the New York Times printed a profile piece on Marilyn Schlossbach, the chef/restaurateur from Asbury Park that will be seeking the a seat in the NJ State Assembly this fall as a Democrat in the new 11th legislative district. The piece profiled Schlossbauch’s rise as a waitress in her brother’s Avon resturant, to her becoming the chef owner of several resturants along the Jersey shore. It’s a good read for those that are not familar with Schlossberg and want to get to know her a little:
MARILYN SCHLOSSBACH may run a mini-empire of restaurants on the Jersey Shore now, but her career did not begin brilliantly. Not at all.
Back in 1985, on her first weekend as floor manager of a restaurant in Avon owned by her brother, Richard Schlossbach, the chef quit.
Ms. Schlossbach, 45, had never cooked anything, she recalled recently. She had been a waitress before her promotion at the restaurant, named Oshin and since closed.
“I was in the kitchen on this huge portable phone with my brother,” she said. “I’m going, ‘What’s the tuna supposed to look like? When are you supposed to turn it over?’I knew how it was supposed to look on the plate, but I didn’t know how to get it there.
” Somehow, she got it there. Now Ms. Schlossbach is executive chef at the five restaurants she co-owns; she and her husband, Scott Szegeski, 35, plan to open two more by the end of the year.
Their restaurants have 200 employees, and last year they rang up more than $3 million in business. Within their domain are Trinity and the Pope, with a Creole and Cajun theme, which opened in Asbury Park last month; Langosta Lounge, which opened in 2008 and serves what Ms. Schlossbach calls “vacation food — a mix of Mexican, Caribbean and Asian,” including sushi; two seasonal casual Mexican spots called Pop’s Garage, one in Normandy Beach that opened in 2008 and one in Asbury Park that came a year later (a third, which will be open year round, is planned for Shrewsbury this fall); and Labrador Lounge, in Normandy Beach, which opened in 2005 and has a menu similar to Langosta’s. (Richard Schlossbach is a third co-owner of Trinity and the Pope and Langosta Lounge.) ….
For those that wish to learn more about Schlossbach, she has a facebook page that can be access. Based on what I have heard so far about Marilyn Schlossbach thus far, I think she will be a credible candidate that will have considerable resources at her disposal to help run, organize and fund her campaign. I think her Republican opponents in the district need to be worried!
>Has the time finally come to appoint a special prosecutor to look into Supreme Court rulings of two justices, Scalia and Thomas for conflicts of interest and the selling of their decisions ?
After reading the following that was post over at Rawstory.com I am beginning to think so:
On the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, which overturned nearly a century of restrictions on campaign spending, a progressive group has asked the Department of Justice to look into “conflicts of interest” two justices may have had when issuing the ruling.
In a petition to be sent to the department this week, Common Cause will argue that Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas should have recused themselves from the campaign finance decision because of their involvement with Koch Industries, a corporation run by two conservative activists who many say directly benefited from Citizens United.
“It appears both justices have participated in political strategy sessions, perhaps while the case was pending, with corporate leaders whose political aims were advanced by the decision,” the letter alleges, as quoted at Politico.
The group will urge the department to disqualify Scalia and Thomas from the ruling. If that were to happen, the Supreme Court could vacate the ruling, effectively returning the campaign finance restrictions that existed until 2010. But, as Common Cause itself admits, the odds are against it.
At the center of the group’s claims is a document from Koch Industries unearthed last fall by ThinkProgress and the New York Times. In an invitation to a Palm Springs retreat to be held this month, Charles Koch boasted that previous events were attended by Scalia and Thomas.
Read more >>> Here
I found this commentary from talk show host Laura Flanders interesting, it is posted over at the website Common Dreams.org and asks what is the worth of a teacher? According to a study published in the NY Times a ” stand out” kindergarten teacher is worth $320,000 a year.
That’s the question, as the Senate puts off a vote on $10 billion for state and local governments to prevent teacher layoffs. Senate leadership wanted the bill to be deficit neutral—a line never applied to war funding, where no spending’s too great because we’re killing for peace. Estimates are that it costs $1 million per soldier per year to keep troops in Afghanistan. But enough of that.
Last week, David Leonhardt at the New York Times cited a study that showed that teachers can make a huge difference in the lives of children as early as kindergarten. The study found that a “standout” kindergarten teacher is probably worth $320,000 a year—that’s the value that good teachers can add to the life of their students. When researchers left standardized testing out of the equation, they found many more benefits added by teachers.
Of course, this study plays into the idea that every individual teacher’s responsible for the performance of the kids they teach, regardless of socioeconomic status, home life, class-size. Listen to Diane Ravitch on this program for more on that.
But it also brought to the front page of the Times the idea that our teachers, far from being laid off because of Senate politics, should be paid better and given more support.
If we can’t find $320,000 a year for kindergarten teachers, perhaps we can at least find a way to keep them from losing their jobs entirely. Scratch that. If we can’t find a way to pay living wages for kindergarten teachers, who are we ? And just where in our picture of “national security” do we place our kids?