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Member since: Sun Jul 31, 2011, 05:36 PM
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O nuclear weapons on the planet....

Gen. James Cartwright chaired a recently released report by the nuclear disarmament group Global Zero on "Modernizing U.S. Nuclear Strategy, Force Structure and Posture." General Cartwright is a retired vice chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and former commander of the US Strategic Command. In the latter capacity, he was in charge of all US nuclear weapons.

The Cartwright report argues for reducing the number of US nuclear weapons, taking deployed weapons off high alert and eliminating all land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The report proposes an illustrative nuclear force of 900 total nuclear weapons, half deployed and half in reserve. The report recommends that, of the 450 deployed weapons, 360 be submarine-based and 90 carried on bombers. The deployed weapons would be de-alerted so that they would require 24 to 72 hours to be made launch-ready.

This is a proposal based upon a thorough review of current US nuclear strategy and posture. It calls for reducing the number of deployed nuclear weapons to 450 by 2022 and reinforces the belief that current US nuclear policy, which the report critiques, remains stuck in the cold war era despite the world having moved on in the 21st century.


Not With a Bang, but a Derp: It's Mitt

"I'm not familiar with precisely what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was."
- Mitt Romney, 17 May 2012

After approximately 374 years of trying, Mitt Romney secured the Republican nomination for president on Tuesday with a win in the Texas GOP primary. It was a big day for him and his party, so his campaign diligently set out to attack President Obama over the Solyndra deal as a means of pushing back against Obama campaign attacks on Romney's Bain Capital record.

Under normal circumstances, the fact that Romney finally nailed down the nomination he's been seeking since the Paleozoic Era, and his subsequent assault on Obama's record, should have led the news cycle with a mighty "Hiyo, Silver!"

But no. The last lingering echoes of the most ludicrous GOP field ever to seek the presidency roared over the gunwales of Romney's campaign battleship like a wall of green water, washing away any immediate opportunity the newly-minted nominee might have had to sail out of the storm of nonsense that was the 2012 GOP primary season.


Soaked With Oil Cash, Republicans Block Military’s Push To Use Clean Energy

The Pentagon wants to move toward a greener military, one that relies more on renewable energy and less on fossil fuels. Why? It would save lives. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey made that case last October and a recent Army study found that “ fighting force that isn’t restricted by the reach of a tanker truck or weighted down by heavy batteries is more nimble and, as a result, more lethal.”

So in theory, Congress should have no problem passing legislation to provide the funds to make this a reality. However, there are a few hurdles standing in the way: Republicans. The House GOP included a measure in the defense authorization bill this month prohibiting the Defense Department from buying alternative fuels if they cost more than “traditional fossil fuel.” And the Senate Armed Services Committee last week followed suit with an “even tougher” provision mirroring the House version but also exempts DOD from clean energy standards.

Why are the Republicans doing this? VoteVets.org chairman Jon Soltz pointed out yesterday that they get a lot of money from the oil and gas industry:


Head of Catholic Bishops Paid Pedophiles to Disappear

Timothy Dolan, cardinal of New York and head of the Catholic Conference of Bishops, had his prime-time career launched by the pedophile priest scandal. Now, despite efforts to distance himself, his role in pedophile protection may come back to bite him. Wednesday, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee admitted that, during Dolan's tenure, pedophiles were paid to simply disappear.

In June of 2002, Dolan was appointed archbishop of Milwaukee after his predecessor, Rembert G. Weakland, admitted a confidential settlement of $450,000 to a man who accused Weakland of sexually assaulting him in 1979. In contrast to Weakland, Dolan was a known theological conservative with the trust of the Vatican and, despite questionable management of sexual abuse scandals in his previous position in Saint Louis, he was tasked with cleaning up the mess.

From the start, Dolan positioned himself as a victim's advocate: "... t is impossible to exaggerate the gravity of the situation, and the suffering that victims feel, because I've spent the last four months being with them, crying with them, having them express their anger to me." His response to those tears and anger, however, foreshadowed events of this winter, when Dolan had consistently argued that the church is above the law.


Justice Department Demands Florida Stop Purging Voter Rolls

Source: TPM

The Justice Department sent a letter to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner Thursday evening demanding the state cease purging its voting rolls because the process it is using has not been cleared under the Voting Rights Act, TPM has learned.

DOJ also said that Florida’s voter roll purge violated the National Voter Registration Act, which stipulates that voter roll maintenance should have ceased 90 days before an election, which given Florida’s August 14 primary, meant May 16.

Five of Florida’s counties are subject to the Voting Rights Act, but the state never sought permission from either the Justice Department or a federal court to implement its voter roll maintenance program. Florida officials said they were trying to remove non-citizens from the voting rolls, but a flawed process led to several U.S. citizens being asked to prove their citizenship status or be kicked off the rolls.

Six members of Congress wrote Gov. Rick Scott earlier this week demanding that he stop purging the state’s voting rolls since the process improperly flagged numerous individuals who were eligible to vote.

Read more: http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/05/justice_department_demands_florida_stop_purging_voter_rolls.php

Crisis in the Euro Zone: Alexis Tsipras Is the Greek Who Makes Europe Tremble

Just weeks ago, Alexis Tsipras, 37, was an obscure opposition politician. Now, he's unnerving the powers that be in the European Union because he and his leftist party Syriza — a group whose membership ranges from hardline Communists to moderate socialists — have the potential of forming a government after the June 17 elections. A teenage member of the Communist Youth of Greece, Tsipras has executed a dramatic and canny political metamorphosis, transforming himself from the leader of a radical leftist coalition to a left-of-center standard bearer for anti-bailout and anti-austerity populism. And in so doing, he has confounded the ossified poltiical class of Greece, which acceded to the strictures imposed by the E.U. in order for Athens to receive the funds it needs to satisfy its creditors. Now, Tsipras may hold the future of the euro and the E.U. in his hands. All he needs to do is win enough seats to govern.

Tsipras spoke to TIME's Joanna Kakissis at the Syriza office on Koumoundourou Square in Athens. Following is the transcript of the interview:


Why the prosecution of John Edwards was ludicrous

I have not watched the Edwards trial and I am not intimately familiar with the details of the evidence. But like Amanda Marcotte, I'm glad he was not convicted. I hope the prosecution decides to let it go. Being a horrible person is not a criminal act. If it were, we wouldn't be able to build enough prisons.

But Amanda explains the real reason why prosecutors should close this case. In this day and age, in this era of obscene electoral profligacy, the pursuit was simply ludicrous:

With the news of Karl Rove crowing about how he intends to spend $1 billion in untraceable funds to beat Obama in 2012, it looks particularly ridiculous for the government to waste resources on a showboat prosecution. Even the conservative news magazine National Review had to denounce the prosecution as a waste. John Edwards has been disgraced, humiliated and run out of politics. Bringing the full force of the law down on him on top of it all just seems greedy.


The voter fraud scammer.....

James O’Keefe Scams Voter Fraud and Voter ID Laws Into Existence

I told myself I wasn’t going to write about James O’Keefe, mostly because his sophomoric pranks are mostly for the net effect of making his pockets fat. He has his hands out, and I’m not trying to help him get paid. I no more want to discuss voting by reference of O’Keefe than I want to write about Middle East affairs by reference of Sacha Baron Cohen in The Dictator.

But his influence on voting rights opponents and legislators alike is particularly jarring. When you hear activists and state senators say we need voter ID laws because of voter fraud, instead of citing data, or even anecdotes, lately they’ve been citing O’Keefe. When I was in Houston at the True the Vote conference I was hardly surprised when the audience erupted in applause as O’Keefe took the podium. You would’ve thought Tim Tebow entered the room. And sure enough, he presented one of his “Project Veritas” videos of himself telling unsuspecting poll workers in Minnesota that he wanted to register “Timothy Tebow” to vote before given a stack of voter registration applications.


Its Cargo Capsule Home, SpaceX Looks Ahead

After a nearly flawless nine-day routine, the Dragon stuck the landing, too.

The first commercial mission to ferry supplies into space ended successfully Thursday when a cargo capsule known as the Dragon fell to earth on target in the Pacific Ocean off Mexico, NASA officials said.

Tethered to three large parachutes, the unmanned capsule, which had carried about 1,100 pounds of food, water, clothing and equipment to the International Space Station, hit the water at the relatively gentle speed of about 10 miles an hour at 8:42 a.m. local time. It came down about 560 miles west of Baja California, witnessed by technicians from the company that built and flew it, Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX. They were to load the capsule aboard a barge and haul it back to Long Beach, Calif.

“This really couldn’t have gone better,” Elon Musk, the chief executive of SpaceX, said at a televised news conference from the company’s headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. “I’m overwhelmed with joy. It’s been 10 years, and to have it go so well is incredibly satisfying.”


Grexit? Spexit? Let's Call the Whole Thing Off

Everyone wants southern Europe's troubled economies to go their own way, except for the people who live there.

One thing we've learned as the euro crisis has unfolded is that the enthusiasm of experts in London and New York for offering advice to the struggling countries on Europe's periphery is matched only by their passion for awkward neologisms. The world was just getting used to "Grexit" (Get it? A Greek exit from the euro!) when "Spexit" began to rear its ugly head in the financial press.

Naturally, the events of recent days have brought Spain back to the forefront of the debt crisis, generating insecurity about the reliability of the official fiscal deficit numbers, the validity of central bank statistics, and new numbers showing capital flight reaching alarming levels. Only this week, Spain announced that the central bank governor, Miguel Angel Fernandez Ordońez, will be leaving early as part of a government effort to restore its credibility. Some are now anticipating that Spain's exit from the eurozone will come before Greece's departure.

I would hope that those clamoring for these countries to go their own way are at least better intentioned than they are informed, since normally they exhibit a singular lack of understanding about how political systems in southern and eastern Europe actually work.

It is now essentially conventional wisdom in the British and American press that Greece needs to return to the drachma. British journalists are even racing to hunt down the London printing works that have supposedly been given the contract to print New Drachmas, the putative local replacement for the euro. The only snag is, according to all opinion polls, the Greeks themselves are not happy with the euro but have no interest in dropping it. (Perhaps the perfect Solomonic solution here would be to have the New Drachma introduced as a non-convertible currency for use only within Fleet Street bars and the boundaries of the City of London.)

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