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Member since: Sun Jul 31, 2011, 05:36 PM
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Cmon Democrats, use the "Nuclear Option"

Why Democrats Should End Nomination Filibusters

Thursday afternoon, Republicans filibustered two of President Obama’s nominees: one to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the other to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the most important courts in the country.

Representative Mel Watt, a Democrat from North Carolina and U.S. President Barack Obama's nominee as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), waits to start a Senate Banking Committee nominations hearing in Washington, on June 27, 2013. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty)

An ordinary observer might look at this and assume there was a problem with the nominees. Were they too extreme? Not qualified? Unprepared for the tasks ahead of them? In this case, not at all. Instead, it’s just another chapter in the GOP’s long effort to gum up the works and disrupt the White House through abuse of the filibuster, an otherwise extraordinary measure that has become a routine part of governance in the age of GOP extremism.

North Carolina Representative Mel Watt—President Obama’s nominee to the FHFA—is a long-time member of Congress with twenty years on the House Financial Services Committee. It’s fair to disagree with his priorities as a lawmaker and potential regulator, but there’s no question he’s qualified for the position. To wit, this week, a large coalition of civil rights groups endorsed Watt, praising him for his “long history of standing up for working families, promoting safe and affordable housing, speaking out against predatory lending, and advocating for keeping homeowners in their homes.”

Republicans don’t have a specific complaint with Watt, and haven’t questioned his ability to do the job. Their only issue, it seems, is that Watt is the Democratic nominee of a Democratic president. Indeed, Republicans would prefer that Obama stuck with the acting FHFA director, Edward DeMarco, who entered the agency as an appointee of George W. Bush. “We’ve spent so much time at the White House prior to them naming a nominee asking them to please not appoint a politician, please appoint a technocrat,” said Tennessee Republican Bob Corker in an interview with Bloomberg. “To have a politician in that position, to me is inappropriate.”


Bt Brinjal: Monsanto will face bio-piracy case

Bangalore - When the Environment Support Group (ESG), the not for-profit trust involved in environmental and social justice initiatives, launched in 2006 its campaign against Bt Brinjal, the first-ever genetically modified food in the country, its concerns were pressing.

Not least among them was the unprecedented risk to public health posed by releasing ‘lab-cultured’ food that was “developed in transparently” and after being “poorly tested”.

Six years on, the fight has reached Round II. Last week, the battle against bio piracy and genetically modified aubergines received a fillip when the High Court of Karnataka dismissed, on October 11, petitions challenging criminal complaints against the developers of Bt Brinjal.

The verdict paves the way for the first-ever case of bio-piracy in the country, when the provisions of the Biodiversity Act dealing with bio piracy come into play. The HC decision to let the law run its course in the lower court is the culmination of claims that endemic varieties of brinjal were accessed by UAS and Ms Monsanto/ Mahyco.



What is it about the USA that we cannot control this cancerous growth called Monsanto ...????

Patent war goes nuclear: Microsoft, Apple-owned “Rockstar” sues Google

Source: ars technica

Canada-based telecom Nortel went bankrupt in 2009 and sold its biggest asset—a portfolio of more than 6,000 patents covering 4G wireless innovations and a range of technologies—at an auction in 2011.

Google bid for the patents, but it didn't get them. Instead, the patents went to a group of competitors—Microsoft, Apple, RIM, Ericsson, and Sony—operating under the name "Rockstar Bidco." The companies together bid the shocking sum of $4.5 billion.

Patent insiders knew that the Nortel portfolio was the patent equivalent of a nuclear stockpile: dangerous in the wrong hands, and a bit scary even if held by a "responsible" party.

This afternoon, that stockpile was finally used for what pretty much everyone suspected it would be used for—launching an all-out patent attack on Google and Android. The smartphone patent wars have been underway for a few years now, and the eight lawsuits filed in federal court today by Rockstar Consortium mean that the conflict just hit DEFCON 1.

Read more: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/10/patent-war-goes-nuclear-microsoft-apple-owned-rockstar-sues-google/#oo

Shhhhhh, don't tell the Republicans ....

Congratulations, America! Your deficit fell 37 percent in 2013.

The federal government's 2013 fiscal year ended Sept. 30, though most of us were so busy focusing on the government shutdown that accompanied the new fiscal year that there wasn't much time to reflect on the year that had passed.

Now the Treasury and Office of Management and Budget is out with the final budget results.
Surprise! The deficit fell quite a bit in 2013. The federal government took in $680 billion less revenue than it spent, or about 4.1 percent of gross domestic product. In 2012, those numbers were $1.087 trillion and 6.8 percent of GDP. That means the deficit fell a whopping 37 percent in one year.

This is the first sub-$1 trillion and sub-5 percent of GDP deficit since the 2008 fiscal year, which ended the very month that Lehman Brothers fell and a deep crisis set in.

What's behind it?


MIT Wristband Could Make AC Obsolete

Here’s a scary statistic: In 2007, 87 percent of households in the U.S. used air conditioning, compared to just 11 percent of households in Brazil and a mere 2 percent in India. Another one: By 2025, booming nations like those are projected to account for a billion new consumers worldwide, with a corresponding explosion in demand for air conditioning expected to arrive along with them. Keeping indoor spaces at comfortable temperatures requires a huge amount of electricity–especially in sweltering climates like India and Brazil–and in the U.S. alone it accounts for a full 16.5 percent of energy use.

All of that adds up to a big problem. At a point when humans need to take a sober look at our energy use, we’re poised to use a devastating amount of it keeping our homes and offices at the right temperatures in years to come. A team of students at MIT, however, is busy working on a prototype device that could eliminate much of that demand, and they’re doing it by asking one compelling question: Why not just heat and cool our bodies instead?

Shames runs hot. His mom runs cold. He figured there must be a way for them to coexist.

Wristify, as they call their device, is a thermoelectric bracelet that regulates the temperature of the person wearing it by subjecting their skin to alternating pulses of hot or cold, depending on what’s needed. The prototype recently won first place at this year’s MADMEC, an annual competition put on by the school’s Materials Science and Engineering program, netting the group a $10,000 prize, which they’ll use to continue its development. It’s a promising start to a clever approach that could help alleviate a serious energy crisis. But as Sam Shames, the MIT senior who helped invent the technology, explains, the team was motivated by a more prosaic problem: keeping everyone happy in a room where no one can agree where to set the thermostat.


Executions on Monday Night Football ...

Urban Cleansing by Class: The Perfect Crime

"When policy making is surrendered to public-private partnerships or privately empowered bodies without accountability to the entire community, and without recourse or provision for redress of grievance, established principles of democratic society are jeopardized and are at risk of being bastardized."


Criminalizing Immigrants = The Safe Act



The day the middle class died ...

THIRTY years ago today, when he threatened to fire nearly 13,000 air traffic controllers unless they called off an illegal strike, Ronald Reagan not only transformed his presidency, but also shaped the world of the modern workplace.

More than any other labor dispute of the past three decades, Reagan’s confrontation with the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, or Patco, undermined the bargaining power of American workers and their labor unions. It also polarized our politics in ways that prevent us from addressing the root of our economic troubles: the continuing stagnation of incomes despite rising corporate profits and worker productivity.

By firing those who refused to heed his warning, and breaking their union, Reagan took a considerable risk. Even his closest advisers worried that a major air disaster might result from the wholesale replacement of striking controllers. Air travel was significantly curtailed, and it took several years and billions of dollars (much more than Patco had demanded) to return the system to its pre-strike levels.

But the risk paid off for Reagan in the short run. He showed federal workers and Soviet leaders alike how tough he could be. Although there were 39 illegal work stoppages against the federal government between 1962 and 1981, no significant federal job actions followed Reagan’s firing of the Patco strikers. His forceful handling of the walkout, meanwhile, impressed the Soviets, strengthening his hand in the talks he later pursued with Mikhail S. Gorbachev.


When the President of the USA fires air traffic controllers ...

We the working class, blue collar, union men/women were screwed and have been ever since ....
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