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herding cats

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Member since: Mon Nov 18, 2013, 03:56 PM
Number of posts: 15,870

Journal Archives

French Comedians Dress Up as Fox News Reporters, Enter Paris ‘No-Go Zones’

As part of its continued campaign to bury Fox News for its coverage of non-existent “no-go zones,” France’s fake news program Le Petit Journal recently sent their correspondents into these dangerous areas of Paris to report on all the Islam going on in these dangerous areas.

And in the interests of fair and balanced journalism, they also sent two English-speaking “Fox News reporters” there.

As “Mike” and “John” reported, with surprisingly accurate Fox News graphics, Paris is “the most dangerous city in the world,” filled with Islamist restaurants and men with beards.

“OH MY GOD! A COUSCOUS!” a terrified reporter yells at one point. “VERY DANGEROUS COUSCOUS IN PARIS!”

Video at link.

BP Deepwater Horizon fine capped at $13.8bn

Source: The Guardian

BP has won a partial victory in the US courts after a federal judge in New Orleans capped a potential fine for polluting the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 at $13.8bn (£9bn) rather than the feared $18bn. The exact scale of the financial penalty for causing the worst offshore pollution incident in American history will not be known for some time, but BP is confident it will be lower still.

BP has set aside only $3.5bn in its accounts to pay off the fine, and any figure in excess of this could force the company into selling off more assets to pay for it. But the London-based oil company’s shares rose 4% after it said in a statement: “BP believes that considering all the statutory penalty factors together weighs in favour of a penalty at the lower end of the statutory range.”

Judge Carl Barbier ruled late on Thursday in a New Orleans federal court that the Deepwater Horizon spill was 3.2m barrels, greater than the 2.4m barrels argued by BP but less than the 4.2m claimed by the US government. The decision leaves the oil group facing a maximum possible fine of $4,300 per barrel, or $13.8bn, under the Clean Water Act. This will be decided by a separate hearing to begin next week.

Barbier said BP’s response to the disaster was not grossly negligent, but stuck to an earlier judgement that the company was grossly negligent in the period leading up to the blowout of the Macondo well.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jan/16/bp-deepwater-horizon-spill-fine-cap-14bn

Switzerland stuns markets by giving up on currency peg

Source: Seattle Times/AP

Bowing to the inevitable, Switzerland has ditched an increasingly expensive policy to limit the export-sapping rise of the Swiss franc -- a decision that propelled the currency a whopping 30 percent higher against the euro within minutes.

Thursday's decision by the Swiss National Bank, or SNB, to end its efforts to keep the euro from trading below 1.20 francs came amid mounting speculation that the European Central Bank will next week back a big stimulus program that will put more euros in circulation, which would further dilute their value.

That expectation has seen the euro face intense selling pressure in currency markets, particularly against the dollar. The euro has fallen to nine-year lows against the dollar and below its launch rate in 1999.

As the outlook for the euro has darkened, the cost for the Swiss central bank of defending the peg by buying euros or selling francs has risen. Though the timing of the Swiss decision proved a surprise, most foreign exchange experts thought the peg would have to be abandoned, just as previous such efforts had.

Read more: http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2025464767_apxswitzerlandnationalbank.html

Dates set for Republican National Convention in Cleveland; 4-day event will run July 18-21

Source: Cleveland.com

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Republicans have booked their date with Cleveland.

The party's 2016 convention will start Monday, July 18, the Republican National Committee announced Wednesday from its winter meetings in San Diego.

The four-day event will end with a presidential nominee Thursday, July 21.

"I'm pleased to announce the 2016 Republican National Convention will kick off on July 18," RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in an emailed statement. "A convention in July is a historic success for our party and future nominee.

"The convention will be held significantly earlier than previous election cycles, allowing access to crucial general election funds earlier than ever before to give our nominee a strong advantage heading into Election Day," Priebus added. "We're excited to continue working with our partners in Cleveland and we look forward to showcasing everything the city has to offer to our delegates and the world in 2016."

Read more: http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2015/01/dates_set_for_2016_republican.html#incart_river

I thought some here my be interested in the early date of the convention. The last time a Republican convention was held this early was in 1980.

Rate of sea-level rise 'steeper'

Source: BBC

Their reassessment of tide gauge data from 1900-1990 found that the world's seas went up more slowly than earlier estimates - by about 1.2mm per year.

But this makes the 3mm per year tracked by satellites since 1990 a much bigger trend change as a consequence.

It could mean some projections for future rises having to be revisited.

"Our estimates from 1993 to 2010 agree with [the prior] estimates from modern tide gauges and satellite altimetry, within the bounds of uncertainty. But that means that the acceleration into the last two decades is far worse than previously thought," said Dr Carling Hay from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

"This new acceleration is about 25% higher than previous estimates," she told BBC News.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-30816143

'Enough is enough.' Obama stands firm on telecoms ahead of State of the Union

Source: The Guardian

With a looming showdown over net neutrality bumping up against his internet-heavy State of the Union address, President Barack Obama continued his weeklong dance with telecommunications giants on Wednesday in Iowa, unveiling plans to challenge state laws that limit the expansion of high-speed broadband access.

The ambitious plan aims to make small US towns more powerful economic players by cracking laws that benefit major internet service providers. Obama praised the “visionary move” of the city of Cedar Falls to upgrade its broadband network, a move that has angered the major telecoms companies. But Obama showed no signs of backing down in pushing for an expansion of cheaper and speedier access – but also more competition.

“In too many places across America, some big companies are doing everything they can to keep out competitors,” Obama said. “Today I am saying we are going to change that. Enough is enough.”

After privacy advocates pushed back on cybersecurity measures announced by Obama ahead of Tuesday’s speech before Congress, open internet advocates are already pleased with the president’s plan to write a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, asking the agency to look at how it can undo restrictions on municipal internet service.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jan/14/obama-lift-curbs-small-town-broadband-access

Romney tells donors he is considering 2016 campaign

Source: Washington Post

Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, told Republican donors in New York on Friday that he is seriously considering a third presidential campaign in 2016, according to a source present at the meeting.

Spencer Zwick, Romney’s former national finance co-chairman who was at the New York meeting, confirmed that Romney is weighing a 2016 run.

“I believe Mitt Romney is too much of a patriot to sit on the sidelines and concede the presidency to Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren when he knows that he can fix the country,” Zwick said. “He traveled the country in 2014, met with voters, met with citizens, and I think at the end of the day he believes he could actually make a difference.”

Zwick added, “He won’t make a decision to run for president based on who else is in the race. He will make a decision based on his own desire and his own abilities. He has to decide on his own.”

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/01/09/romney-tells-donors-he-is-considering-2016-campaign/

The fight for the big money donations is heating up!

Obama Proposes Free Community College Program

Source: ABC

The White House on Thursday announced a proposal that President Barack Obama said would make community college "free for everybody who is willing to work for it." But administration officials provided no details about the program's costs or where the money would come to pay for it.

Obama planned to formally announce the plan Friday at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tennessee. He gave a preview in a videotaped message shot aboard Air Force One and posted on Facebook.

"It's not just for kids," Obama said. "We also have to make sure that everybody has the opportunity to constantly train themselves for better jobs, better wages, better benefits."

Obama provided few specifics, and White House and Education Department officials on a conference call with reporters Thursday evening said the funding details would come out later with the president's budget.

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/obama-propose-free-community-college-program-28098580

More here on the topic (my thanks to DonViejo!):

Obama Proposes Free Community College Education for Some Students

WASHINGTON — President Obama will announce Friday that the federal government will work with states to waive the first two years of community college tuition for some students.

If states go along, the program would cover full-time and half-time students who maintain a 2.5 grade point average and “make steady progress toward completing a program,” the White House said in a fact sheet released Thursday night.

The federal government would cover three-quarters of the average cost of community college for those students, the White House said.


Mr. Obama, in the video, said that if the program was carried out, “it’s something that will train our work force so that we can compete with anybody in the world.”


Watch the Eiffel Tower go dark as Paris mourns.

Posted by herding cats | Thu Jan 8, 2015, 08:55 PM (1 replies)

Christie's records of canceled meetings with Jersey City mayor are subpoenaed: report

Source: NJ.com

Documents that are related to meetings that were canceled between Gov. Chris Christie and Jersey City mayor Steve Fulop have been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors in New Jersey, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Those meetings were allegedly canceled with Jersey City’s mayor after he declined to endorse the governor, according to people familiar with the matter, the paper reported.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman issued the subpoenas to Christie's re-election campaign, broadening an investigation related to the George Washington Bridge lane closures, according to the newspaper.

A Christie spokesman declined to comment and there was no response to a request for a comment from a lawyer for the re-election campaign, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Read more: http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2015/01/christies_records_of_cancelled_meetings_with_jersey_city_mayor_are_subpoenaed.html

Christie’s Re-Election Campaign Gets Subpoena

Federal prosecutors in New Jersey have subpoenaed Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election campaign for documents relating to government meetings that were allegedly canceled with Jersey City’s mayor after he declined to endorse the governor, according to people familiar with the matter.

The subpoenas, sent by U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, are another sign that the yearlong probe into former allies of Mr. Christie has broadened beyond matters directly related to the George Washington Bridge lane closures.

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