Maddow takes a hard look at Romney’s dressage dodge

From Raw Story:    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/08/03/maddow-takes-a-hard-look-at-romneys-dressage-dodge/

By David Ferguson
Friday, August 3, 2012

Thursday night on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” host Rachel Maddow asked some probing questions about Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA)’s relationship with his wife Ann’s Olympic dressage horse, Rafalca. The Republican presidential candidate has played an interesting shell game with his knowledge of the event that the horse is competing in, and even what dressage is.

Though many have attacked the dressage angle as a sign that Romney is out of touch with the average voter, Maddow points out that Romney has taken some hefty tax breaks for the horse, even if he tries to pretend it’s Ann’s business. But, as Maddow reminds us, if Romney is taking a $77,000 tax break in 2010 for Rafalca, it is quite literally his personal business.

In an interview with NBC news, the former governor claimed ignorance of the horse that won him and Ann a $77,000 tax break in 2010, saying, “It’s a big, exciting experience for my wife. I have to tell you, this is Ann’s sport. I’m not even sure which day the sport goes on. She will get the chance to see it, I will not be watching the event. I hope her horse does well.”

In other interviews, he has sought to put as much distance between himself and a sport that many consider snooty and elitist as possible. A Fox News reporter even played up the connection between dressage and the U.S. cavalry in an effort to create some breathing room for Romney, but the candidate, once again, insisted it was his wife’s hobby and that when he rides a horse, it’s in a proper manly way, “It’s western,” he said, “and I’m on the trail.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/08/03/maddow-takes-a-hard-look-at-romneys-dressage-dodge/

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Congressional Carnivores Rage Over ‘Meatless Monday’

From Truth Dig: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/congressional_carnivores_rage_over_meatless_monday_20120803/

By David Sirota
Posted on Aug 3, 2012

To understand how utterly broken our society is, how hostile to sacrifice we are and how willfully ignorant we have become, you need only look at the historic drought hammering the heartland—and how our elected officials are responding to that cataclysm.

As you likely know from this arid summer, America is suffering through the worst drought since 1950. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, half of all counties in the nation are officially disaster areas—a situation that has devastated the country’s supply of agriculture commodities. Consequently, food prices are expected to skyrocket, and eventually, water-dependent power plants may be forced to shut down.

This is a full-on emergency, and USDA, a key agency involved in the national security issues surrounding our food and water supply, last week responded with a minor non-binding recommendation. In its inter-office newsletter to agency employees, it suggested that those who want to conserve water could simply refrain from eating meat on Mondays.

The idea is part of the worldwide “Meatless Monday” campaign, which The New York Times notes is backed by “thousands of corporate cafeterias, restaurants and schools.” In the face of a drought, it’s a pragmatic notion. Cornell University researchers estimate that “producing a pound of animal protein requires, on average, about 100 times more water than producing a pound of vegetable protein.” According to the U.S. Geological Survey, that means a typical hamburger requires a whopping 4,000 to 18,000 gallons of water to make.

Considering these numbers in juxtaposition to the drought, taking one day a week off from meat-eating seems like the absolute least we should be willing to do in a nation whose average citizen annually consumes an unfathomable 194 pounds of meat. And yet, in Washington, the USDA recommendation was a cause for outrage.

Continue reading at:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/congressional_carnivores_rage_over_meatless_monday_20120803/

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Drought dries up stretch of Platte River, slows barges on lower Mississippi

From NBC News:  http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/03/13090325-drought-dries-up-stretch-of-platte-river-slows-barges-on-lower-mississippi?lite

By Miguel Llanos, NBC News
08/03/2012

It’s not just on land where drought is taking a toll: a 100-mile stretch of the Platte River has dried up, while barges along the lower Mississippi are having to carry less cargo in order to navigate shallower water.

The Mississippi impact is one that goes far beyond the immediate area: About 60 percent of the nation’s grain, 22 percent of its oil and gas, and 20 percent of the nation’s coal goes down the river. Lighter barges mean longer waits for those products.

The Army Corps of Engineers is tasked with dredging parts of the river where barges ground, and business is booming.

“We’re dredging around the clock,” Bob Anderson, a spokesman for the Corps’ Mississippi Valley District, told NBC News.

Continue reading at:  http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/03/13090325-drought-dries-up-stretch-of-platte-river-slows-barges-on-lower-mississippi?lite

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Stop this culture of paying politicians for denying climate change

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2012/aug/02/climate-change-political-funding-us

Protecting the environment requires a sweeping reform of political funding, only then corporations will stop throwing big money at senators

Posted by
Thursday 2 August 2012

“The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity.” These words, from WB Yeats’s poem The Second Coming, came to mind as I read the testimony from Wednesday’s Senate hearings on climate change.

They’re not a precise description of what took place, as the two most eminent climate scientists who testified before the environment and public works committee, Christopher Field and James McCarthy, were not lacking in conviction. But they were, as scientists should be, careful and meticulous, laying out their evidence calmly and sequentially, saying nothing that was not supported by the data.

By contrast, the Senate committee’s ranking member (its most senior Republican), James Inhofe, spoke with the demagogic passion of a revivalist preacher. “The global warming movement has completely collapsed … the science of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was finally exposed … The time has come to put these tired, failed policies to rest and embrace the US energy boom so that we can put Americans back to work, turn this economy around, become totally energy independent from the Middle East, and ensure energy security for years to come.”

In other words, Inhofe argued, we should take no action on climate change, which he has described as “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people”.

Never mind the overwhelming evidence that has accumulated since the last Senate hearings in 2009; never mind the crazy temperatures the US has been experiencing recently, which have alerted many Americans to what climate change is likely to deliver in the decades to come; never mind the prominent sceptic Richard Muller’s assessment of the evidence, which led to his change of heart. (It told us nothing we didn’t know already, but it should at least have caused the deniers to stop and think).

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2012/aug/02/climate-change-political-funding-us

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Oakland, the Last Refuge of Radical America

From The New York Times:   http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/magazine/oakland-occupy-movement.html

By Jonathan Mahler
Published: August 1, 2012

The Anti-Capitalist Brigade started gathering early on May Day at Oakland’s Snow Park. There was free coffee, oatmeal, doughnuts, fliers with the day’s agenda and plenty of pot. A “street medic” — “I just finished a wilderness first-aid course,” he told me when I asked about his training — tended to his first case of the day, a man in his 20s whose leg had been beaten to a purple hue with a metal rod in an overnight fight in the park. Nearby, an organizer reminded protesters to take down the toll-free number for the National Lawyers Guild: “This is important. Do not put it in your cellphones, because if you get arrested, the cops will take those away. Write it on your bodies. In indelible ink.There are Sharpies on the table.”

No central action was planned. A coalition of labor unions had asked Occupy Oakland, with its proven ability to turn out large numbers of militant activists, to blockade the Golden Gate Bridge, but then withdrew the request at the last minute. Instead, thousands of Occupy protesters met at various “strike stations” and fanned out into the streets with shields and gas masks (or the homemade alternative: bandannas soaked in vinegar), transforming downtown Oakland into a roving carnival of keyed-up militants of every shape and size: graduate students, tenured professors, professional revolutionaries, members of the Black Bloc, dressed like ninjas, their faces obscured.

Joints were passed, but this was not a mellow crowd. A barefoot man known as Running Wolf grabbed an American flag from outside a popular cop bar and dragged it behind him. Packs of protesters charged into businesses, overturning tables, shattering windows and smashing A.T.M.’s. An activist spray-painted vulgarities on the window of a Bank of America branch. The Menace was loose again, as Hunter S. Thompson wrote about a different group of rabble-rousers, the Hell’s Angels. This riot had a soundtrack, too, a cacophony of chants — “Strike! Take Over!” and “Take Back Oakland! Kick Out the Yuppies!” — overlaid with beating snare drums and the rhythmic thump-thumping of the police and news helicopters hovering overhead.

Many businesses were closed, less in solidarity with May Day than out of fear of reprisal from protesters. The rumored targets weren’t just the big corporations, but smaller shops that were the quarry of the so-called antigentrification brigade. In an Occupy Oakland twist on the “Soul Brother” signs that shopkeepers used during the race riots of the 1960s, Awaken, an upscale cafe and art gallery, had plastered its windows with signs reading: “We are Oakland. We are the 99%.”

As the swarm made its way down Broadway, shouting, pounding on windows and throwing bottles at stores, two Asian immigrants hastily boarded up their small, sad-looking beauty-supply store. When I tried to talk to one of them, he shooed me away — “Too busy” — and reached for another board.

A few blocks away, I spotted Phil Tagami, a real estate developer who has taken to standing guard in the lobby of his downtown office building with a shotgun during protests. Dressed in black fatigue pants and combat boots, he was scuffling with a group of activists who were trying to force their way into another upscale cafe called Rudy’s Can’t Fail.

Continue reading at:   http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/magazine/oakland-occupy-movement.html

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