Bill USA's Journal
Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 04:25 PM
Number of posts: 2,902
Number of posts: 2,902
Quotes I like: "Prediction is very difficult, especially concerning the future." "There are some things so serious that you have to laugh at them.” __ Niels Bohr Given his contribution to the establishment of quantum mechanics, I guess it's not surprising he had such a quirky of sense of humor. ......................."Deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation of another's position is a basic technique of (dis)information processing" __ I said that
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The National Review Online is trying to push back on the mea culpa of a judge who now thinks strict voter ID does in fact impermissibly discriminate, maintaining its long-standing position as supporters of election changes that have been widely denounced as blatant forms of voter suppression.
In 2007, well-known and respected conservative Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld a voter ID law in Indiana that was the first in a wave of increasingly stricter restrictions on the right to vote passed by Republican-controlled legislatures. Affirmed by a splintered Supreme Court, as the sole high-profile legal decision on the sort of unnecessary and redundant voter ID laws that are now widely promoted by the GOP, Crawford v. Marion County Elections Board has been incessantly trumpeted by right-wing media as the legal underpinning for their obsession with election changes that are documented to suppress the vote.
Now that Posner has bluntly admitted he was wrong and the evidence shows that strict voter ID is "now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than fraud prevention," NRO is resorting to smearing the judge's integrity and intelligence.
Legal contributor Hans von Spakovsky, the repeatedly discredited champion of photo voter ID laws as the alleged "solution" to the virtually non-existent "problem" of in-person voter fraud, responded to the news of Posner's recent admission by claiming the judge had "been taken in" by the "Left's well-oiled propaganda machine." NRO's in-house legal expert, Ed Whelan, asserted that a switch in judgment by the judge was "weak" and praised a Washington Post columnist who attacked the judge as unethical for speaking publicly.
Posted by Bill USA | Thu Oct 24, 2013, 08:11 PM (1 replies)
NEW YORK, July 29 (Reuters) - Oil drillers in North Dakota's Bakken shale fields are allowing nearly a third of the natural gas they drill to burn off into the air, with a value of more than $100 million per month, according to a study to be released on Monday.
Remote well locations, combined with historically low natural gas prices and the extensive time needed to develop pipeline networks, have fueled the controversial practice, commonly known as flaring. While oil can be stored in tanks indefinitely after drilling, natural gas must be immediately piped to a processing facility.
Flaring has tripled in the past three years, according to the report from Ceres, a nonprofit group that tracks environmental records of public companies.
"There's a lot of shareholder value going up in flames due to flaring," said Ryan Salmon, who wrote the report for Ceres. "Investors want companies to have a more aggressive reaction to flaring and disclose clear steps to fix the problem."
R3 Sciences Begins Construction on Micro Plant Gas To Methanol Process
(emphases my own)
R3 Sciences announced today that they are building a commercial scale, skid mounted gas process system capable of producing up to 500,000 gallons per year of methanol. The R3 Sciences methanol production system is the first of its kind to employ several key advancements in micro-plant and gas-to-liquid technology. This gas-to-methanol micro plant represents the culmination of several years' work by both internal as well as external research team at R3 Sciences.
A world bank review states that "over 5.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas are wasted annually" which equals about 25% of the United States total gas consumption. This gas flaring releases over 400 million tons of greenhouse gases as carbon dioxide annually.
Methanol is considered an essential chemical intermediate for many consumer products and fuel components. It is a building block for biodiesel and fuel cells are now using methanol as a hydrogen source worldwide to generate electricity. Here in the U.S. methanol production moved offshore years ago, taking advantage of cheap natural gas feedstock in other parts of the world. Methanol can serve as a valuable energy storage resource, allowing stranded natural gas to be converted into a more easily transportable liquid. Today, very little methanol is produced in North America, with most methanol produced in other regions around the world where large volumes of natural gas are stranded. In North America and in other regions, considerable volumes of smaller gas sources are simply flared releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The R3 Sciences gas to methanol micro plant process offers an alternative to simply wasting natural gas by burning it in a flare.
Until now, the predominant method for producing methanol has involved feeding large natural gas volumes into refinery scale, Fischer-Tropsch systems to produce methanol. These systems typically operate at high pressures and high temperatures. The R3 Sciences gas-to-methanol micro-plant will operate at much lower pressures and temperatures, which lower the cost and complexity of operations.
The methanol could be added to ethanol being blended with gasoline and reduce our imports of petroleum. In addition, of course, we should be making methanol from biomass sources to replace gasoline. We could make enough methanol to replace about ALL the gasoline we burn in cars and light trucks today.
Posted by Bill USA | Thu Oct 24, 2013, 07:33 PM (1 replies)
(emphases my own)
The testing conducted by the Coordinating Research Council (CRC) neither captures nor represents the reality of the U.S. car market. More than 80% of the miles driven in the United States are on cars that are less than 10 years old, yet 7 of the 15 cars tested were past their “product useful life” of 10 years. Only one car was a late model year – a 2009 Honda Accord. It should not be surprising that a 1996 Toyota Camry, 5 years past its useful life, with a Kelley Blue Book value of $3,750, did not perform well under stringent testing conditions.
The test did not use the 15% ethanol blend (E15) that new standards call for. Instead, they used Aggressive E20. The word “aggressive” means the addition of sulfuric acid and hydrochloric acid to the fuel mix (ph of 2.8). Needless to say, standard car parts were never built to withstand acid in the fuel. Moreover, ethanol in water is a slight base; hence any resulting corrosion does not resemble corrosion due to acid exposure. (Note: Off-the shelf E10 that was NOT “aggressive” was used for the control test.)
Water in the fuel is a strong abrasive. The water content of their Aggressive E20 blend was raised to the top of the legal limit. Commercially sold ethanol has about half of that water content.
The study specifies that: “The project oversight panel specified the aromatic level of the base gasoline (prior to ethanol blending) to approximately 40% volume.” In other words, per the request of non-scientist auto and oil representatives, CRC increased the percentage of octane-enhancing aromatics in the fuel to 40% – 10% more than the normal fuel aromatics content of 30%. This change, in turn, enabled CRC to use 80-octane fuel, which has less tolerance for water, despite the fact that the minimum sold in the U.S. is 84-octane. Running the test on 80-octane fuel caused the water they added to the fuel to become an even stronger abrasive.
Posted by Bill USA | Thu Oct 24, 2013, 07:04 PM (38 replies)
pointing out to the rest of the population something the scientists know.
It has been stated that the Greenland ice-sheets' movement off the Greenland land mass is accelerating but what I have not seen mentioned is that this acceleration is very likely NOT going to remain stable. The ice sheets will at some point will reach a boundary, as the amount of melt water flowing down to the ground underneath them increases and reaches a certain point where the ice sheets movement will suddenly start to increase. They will probably reach another rate of movement that will remain accelerating in a more modest linear way - until the next boundary is reached.
The scientists all know this is not going to continue in a linear fashion, but as of right now, I guess nobody has enough data to make even a guess as to when that point of inflection will be. That's probably why nobody in the scientific community is bringing this up.
Posted by Bill USA | Thu Oct 24, 2013, 06:36 PM (1 replies)
The life of the $600 million figure appears to be the latest example of how misinformation is fermented within the right-wing media and then adopted as quasi-policy by the Republican Party. After all, Rep. Camp is holding a hearing specifically to determine why the government's $600 million health care website doesn't work, even though the site didn't cost $600 million.
The eye-popping $634 million figure was first trumpeted in a piece by Andrew Couts at Digital Trends on October 8. It pointed out that the Montreal-based company awarded the contract to build healthcare.gov, CGI Federal, had received $634 million in government contracts related to health care. (Digital Trends later amended the article and lowered the figure to "more than $500 million" that was allegedly spent "to build the digital equivalent of a rock.")
Independently, the Sunlight Foundation estimated it cost $70 million to build the much-maligned website, not $634 million. (Officially, CGI was awarded a $93 million contract for the healthcare.gov job.)
Despite those red flags, the bloated figure has been widely embraced as factual within the conservative press.
Posted by Bill USA | Thu Oct 24, 2013, 05:38 PM (3 replies)
Profitable US corporations Effectve tax rte ~13% of pretax Wrlwide income vs top stat rte of 35%-GAO
view full report
What GAO Found
Effective tax rates (ETR) differ from statutory tax rates in that they attempt to measure taxes paid as a proportion of economic income, while statutory rates indicate the amount of tax liability (before any credits) relative to taxable income, which is defined by tax law and reflects tax benefits and subsidies built into the law. Lacking access to detailed data from tax returns, most researchers have estimated ETRs based on data from financial statements. A common measure of tax liability used in past estimates has been the current tax expense--either federal only or worldwide (which comprises federal, foreign, and U.S. state and local income taxes). The most common measure of income for these estimates has been some variant of pretax net book income. GAO was able to compare book tax expenses to tax liabilities actually reported on corporate income tax returns.
For tax year 2010 (the most recent information available), profitable U.S. corporations that filed a Schedule M-3 paid U.S. federal income taxes amounting to about 13 percent of the pretax worldwide income that they reported in their financial statements (for those entities included in their tax returns). When foreign and state and local income taxes are included, the ETR for profitable filers increases to around 17 percent. The inclusion of unprofitable firms, which pay little if any tax, also raises the ETRs because the losses of unprofitable corporations greatly reduce the denominator of the measures. Even with the inclusion of unprofitable filers, which increased the average worldwide ETR to 22.7 percent, all of the ETRs were well below the top statutory tax rate of 35 percent. GAO could only estimate average ETRs with the data available and could not determine the variation in rates across corporations. The limited available data from Schedules M-3, along with prior GAO work relating to corporate taxpayers, suggest that ETRs are likely to vary considerably across corporations.
Why GAO Did This Study
Proponents of lowering the U.S. corporate income tax rate commonly point to evidence that the U.S. statutory corporate tax rate of 35 percent, as well as its average effective tax rate, which equals the amount of income tax corporations pay divided by their pretax income, are high relative to other countries. However, GAO's 2008 report on corporate tax liabilities (GAO-08-957) found that nearly 55 percent of all large U.S.-controlled corporations reported no federal tax liability in at least one year between 1998 and 2005.
Given the difficult budget choices Congress faces and its need to know corporations' share of the overall tax burden, GAO was asked to assess the extent to which corporations are paying U.S. corporate income tax. In this report, among other things, GAO (1) defines average corporate ETR and describes the common methods and data used to estimate this rate and (2) estimates average ETRs based on financial statement reporting and tax reporting. To conduct this work, GAO reviewed economic and accounting literature, analyzed income and expense data that large corporations report on the Schedules M-3 that they file with Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and interviewed IRS officials.
Posted by Bill USA | Thu Oct 24, 2013, 04:59 PM (0 replies)
October 23, 2013 - Marginal tax rates are the percentage of an additional dollar of income that is paid in taxes or given up in government benefits; those rates affect taxpayers’ choices about many things, including how much to work and save.
In 2013, 37 percent of low- and moderate-income taxpayers who have earnings face total marginal tax rates—including federal and state individual income taxes, federal payroll taxes, and the phasing out of benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—between 30 percent and 39 percent, and over 20 percent of that group face marginal rates of 40 percent or more.
CBO estimates that 56 percent of such taxpayers face marginal rates of 10 percent to 19 percent from the federal individual income tax system alone.
For more information on marginal tax rates, see Effective Marginal Tax Rates for Low- and Moderate-Income Workers (November 2012). The chart above incorporates the effects of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which had not been enacted when that report was published, and the expiration of a temporary reduction in payroll tax rates. The analysis is based on a 2006 sample of nondisabled, working-age people who filed tax returns and whose income was less than 450 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
Posted by Bill USA | Thu Oct 24, 2013, 04:45 PM (1 replies)
Washington's heated budget battles have already cost the economy at least 1 million jobs over the last few years, estimates Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics.
How? Debates about stimulus in 2009, and the federal budget and debt ceiling since then, have created so much political uncertainty for businesses, entrepreneurs, banks and consumers, they're all holding back.
"Businesses are more reluctant to invest and hire, and entrepreneurs are less likely to attempt startups," Zandi said in written testimony before the Senate Budget Committee last week. "Financial institutions are more circumspect about lending and households are more cautious about spending."
Zandi estimates the unemployment rate would be around 6.6% now if political uncertainty had not increased since 2007. Unemployment currently stands at 7.3%.
His estimate coincides with separate research conducted by San Francisco Fed economists Sylvain Leduc and Zheng Liu, who say the unemployment rate would have been around 6.5% at the end of 2012, if it weren't for an increase in political uncertainty.
The Republicans have done so much damage to the U.S. you have to wonder who has hurt us more, al Kaida or the GOP?
Posted by Bill USA | Tue Oct 22, 2013, 06:23 PM (1 replies)
Here are four possible reasons for the current mess:
• HHS wasted valuable time trying to persuade more states to operate their own exchanges. Officials apparently deluded themselves into thinking that even some of the red states could be persuaded that it would be in their best interests to have a state-run exchange than one run by the federal government. In hindsight, those officials wasted months in which time and resources could have been devoted to making sure the federal exchange would work on Oct. 1. HHS officials should have realized from the beginning that Republican governors and state legislators had no incentive for Obamacare to work. There wasn't a chance that they would operate their own exchanges if doing so might enhance the chances that Obamacare would be perceived as a success.
• The administration waited too long to issue important regulations pertaining to the law. HHS clearly didn't want to announce some of the more controversial regulations until after the 2012 midterm election. Those postponements decreased the chances that insurers and the companies hired to build and operate the federal exchange could have everything in place and working perfectly by Oct. 1.
• It made a mistake by requiring that visitors to the website first set up an account before beginning to shop for coverage. Some states operating their own exchanges didn't do this, which, again in hindsight, was a wise decision. Setting up the accounts at the front end has proven to be a system-crashing undertaking. Apparently only a lucky few have been able to get through the account set-up phase and actually begin the real process of choosing a health plan.
• There are simply too many moving parts -- and too many health plan options. Not only are there several insurers offering an array of policies in most states, there are four levels of coverage -- bronze, silver, gold and platinum -- all with varying premiums and coinsurance obligations. Members of Congress who wrote the law fell for the insurance industry's propaganda that "choice and competition" are what the American people need and want. No, it is what the insurance industry wants. When people do get past the account set-up phase, they have to spend considerable time trying to make sense of the various choices -- far more than most employers offer their workers.
Posted by Bill USA | Tue Oct 22, 2013, 06:15 PM (10 replies)
..is the public finally rousing itself from its apathetic torpor? ...Are people realizing that the shutdown, the threat of default, and the GOP's relentless internecine war on Governmnent is just the GOP's refinement of the old 'Burn Down the Reichstag building' maneuver of past enemies of democratic government?
Thursday's Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll hit the Republican Party like a bomb.
It found, as Gallup had, the Republican Party (and, separately, the Tea Party) at "all-time lows in the history of the poll." It found Republicans taking more blame for the shutdown than they had in 1995. It found more Americans believing the shutdown is a serious problem than in 1995.
Even worse for the GOP is what the pollsters called "the Boomerang Effect": Both President Obama and Obamacare are more popular than they were a month ago. Obamacare in particular gained seven points. (More poll highlights here, full results here.)
It's hard to overstate the magnitude of the GOP's strategic failure here: Obamacare's launch has been awful. More than a week after the federal insurance marketplaces opened, most people can't purchase insurance on the first try. But Republicans have chosen such a wildly unpopular strategy to oppose it that they've helped both Obamacare and its author in the polls.
Posted by Bill USA | Fri Oct 11, 2013, 05:12 PM (5 replies)