Archive for the ‘Global Warming’ Tag

Obama In Michigan to Promote Electric Car Batteries   Leave a comment

You know, not to sound negative, but we are being invaded from an unsealed border, constantly, day after day, hundreds and thousands a week, without check or concern, bringing guns, drugs, violence, hate, and terrorism into our country, draining already struggling American taxpayers and American resources that are burdened already with very little job market and insane bills being forced through congress. . . and Obama’s in Michigan promoting car batteries?

*facepalm*

There really isn’t much to say in regards to this other than just . . . um . . .

*double facepalm*

I mean, I’m happy that there are jobs coming to Michigan, Lord knows they need them, but only 300?  You took Air Force One that WE the taxpayers pay for and FLEW to Michigan to say we are going to have electric batteries made in the US and will employ 300?  MAYBE 600, but you know these numbers are rounded up.  I’m happy that there is talk of jobs again but . . . um . . . the company could have announced that themselves and Obama could be taking that trip to the border in Arizona that he really should be taking in order to see for himself what this country is facing!  

It just…doesn’t seem right….

Ug, here’s the article:

Obama to promote electric vehicles in Michigan

By JULIE PACE, Associated Press Writer Julie Pace, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 53 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Facing fresh criticism of his handling of the economy, President Barack Obama travels to Michigan on Thursday to promote investments in the electric vehicle battery industry, a sector the administration sees as a bright spot in the sagging recovery.

Obama will attend a groundbreaking ceremony for a plant that will manufacture advanced batteries for Chevrolet and Ford electric cars. The Compact Power plant in Holland, Mich., is the ninth factory to begin construction following the $2.4 billion investment in advanced batteries and electric vehicles Obama announced last August.

An Energy Department report to be released Thursday says the investments will increase U.S. production of advanced batteries from 2 percent to 40 percent of the world’s supply by 2015, creating thousands of jobs along the way.

“We’re going to build these products in America,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Wednesday. “We’re going to employ Americans. I think that’s a strong economic record.”

But recent polls suggest the public’s confidence in the president’s record on the economy is slipping. A Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted this month found that just 43 percent of Americans approved of Obama’s handling of the economy, down from 50 percent last month.

With unemployment expected to hover near 10 percent through November’s midterm elections, White House officials know they will have a tough sell with voters as they argue that the economy would be even worse had it not been for Obama’s $862 billion stimulus program.

Investing in electric vehicles has been a central tenet of Obama’s message on the economy and clean energy. He’s pledged to put 1 million plug-in hybrid electric vehicles on U.S. roads by 2015. The administration has said the $2.4 billion investment could spur the production of 50,000 batteries a year for plug-in hybrids by 2011 and 500,000 batteries a year for the advanced vehicles by late 2014.

Most of the batteries are now manufactured in Asia, and auto suppliers and manufacturers have sought ways to expand the battery industry in the United States.

Michigan is the largest recipient of the electric battery grants and is expected to receive more than $1 billion. About $150 million of that is going to the Compact Power plant. Administration officials say the construction project will create about 300 jobs, with an additional 300 workers hired once the factory is operational.

With Michigan facing 13.7 percent unemployment, the state’s governor says those jobs are welcome news.

“It’s clearly going to have an impact if we have a whole new sector added to our economy,” Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm said. “It’s not the only answer, but it certainly is a significant one.”

Advertisements

Obama’s Oil Moratorium Denied Twice but Obama is Doing it Anyway   1 comment

Wow, seriously, check this out

What the heck is Obama’s problem?  I know he’s president and all, but he needs to stop trying to destroy our economy and do some ACTUAL WORK!  OBVIOUSLY this man cares more about environmental control issues than he does about people feeding their families!  NO MEANS NO, MR PRES!  Get over yourself!  You are NOT God!

It is just one disturbing thing after another with this guy.  I wonder what it would take for this country to band together to impeach him…

First, he passes the healthcare reform act without the consent of the people who it will affect the most and no one was allowed to read it!

Second, he’s attacking Arizona for requiring Federal Law to be adhered to, going COMPLETELY against his own people and even siding with a foreign power to fight this!!!!!!!!!!  Not only that, but he’s passing his Amnesty bill…er, I mean, ‘Comprehensive Immigration Reform’ and I reeeeally doubt he’s going to care what the American people have to say about it.

THIRD, he spirited in an individual to take a high-policy making position in the government that will affect 1/3 of the healthcare provided to our people and who has been dubbed ‘Obama’s One Man Death Panel’.  No one is allowed to get his view on VERY IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF HIS VIEWPOINT AND BELIEFS and NEVERMIND THAT HE WAS BASICALLY GIVING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THE FINGER BY DOING SO!

This moratorium has been turned down TWICE and he’s going to pass it whether anybody wants it or not.

This man needs to be stopped!  Seriously people!!!!  This has GOT TO STOP!  He’s issuing rules and laws without consent of congress or the people!!!!

Typical Chicago style politics if you ask me 😦

Here is the article:

Officials: Gov’t to issue new oil moratorium

FREDERIC J. FROMMER, Associated Press Writer Frederic J. Frommer, Associated Press Writer – 31 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration will issue a new revised moratorium on offshore drilling Monday.

Two administration officials have told The Associated Press of the plans. Both requested anonymity so as not to pre-empt the official announcement.

Last week, a federal appeals court rejected the government’s effort to restore its initial offshore deepwater drilling moratorium, which halted the approval of any new permits for deepwater projects and suspended drilling on 33 exploratory wells. It was first rejected last month by U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said at the time that he would issued a new, refined moratorium.

The administration says it wants to ensure that deepwater drilling is safe

Sexual Harassment Scandals in White House Cost Taxpayers $1 MILLION a Year!   Leave a comment

You know, this doesn’t surprise me at all.  Not ONE single bit. And note the title does not really say ‘congressional staffers’–I had to add that in.  Otherwise, at first glance, no one would know what the article was talking about.  And note that the only two congressional figures that are mentioned as being accused are Democrats.  I’m sure there were more, I’m not saying that Democrats are ‘crazed s*x poodles’ or anything, but I just find it sadly amusing and unsurprising nonetheless.

I wonder if Al Gore’s predation on that Massage Therapist is included in all of this.  Probably not since the media has already stopped talking about it.  He IS the Global Warming Scandal Prophet and thus if his career were to be sullied by such scandal, the entire cult would be leaderless and without direction! 

OH my, whatever shall we do?

Okay, back to seriousness.  Here’s the article.

Abused (congressional) staffers net nearly $1M a year

Politico

Taxpayers have paid out nearly $1 million per year in settlements to congressional employees who have been harassed or otherwise treated badly by their political bosses over the past 14 years, according to records from the Office of Compliance.

The payouts stem from hundreds of complaints from employees, some of whom may have been sexually harassed or treated so poorly that third-party mediators were brought in to negotiate cash payoffs to settle the cases.

In fiscal year 2007, for example, the OOC — an agency that administers a confidential dispute resolution system — settled 38 cases, with 25 resulting in monetary awards worth $4 million. In fiscal year 2009 — the most recent year reported by the OOC — the office settled 13 cases for nearly $830,000.

These settlements may be especially relevant if aides who were allegedly abused by former Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) seek restitution. Massa resigned under allegations that he sexually harassed male staffers. Quite often, the harassment cases, after a secretive mediation process, can land staffers retroactive raises, vacation time and cash payouts for their perceived pain and suffering.

For privacy reasons, the details of all these cases — including the names of the victims and the alleged harassers — are almost never made public. Lawmakers, regardless of whether they are guilty of workplace violations, do not pay a dime for the settlements, while taxpayers foot the bill for the lawyers.

An unprecedented new report to be released Tuesday by the OOC sheds light on the larger problem of harassment in the congressional workplace — the OOC is often stymied by members of Congress and at times left largely powerless to inform employees about their workplace rights.

When the OOC recently tried to make contact with the Hill’s 30,000 employees to send them a survey gauging their knowledge of workplace rights, the office was blocked from having access to congressional e-mail addresses; only 892 surveys were returned.

Despite the efforts of a few vocal supporters of the OOC and its mission, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), most workers do not realize the avenues of recourse that the OOC offers in cases of sexual harassment and other workplace disputes, while many members and chiefs of staff are not fully aware of their obligations as employers.

“Educating employing offices about their obligations is just as important as educating employees about their rights. Employing offices who remain unaware of their legal obligations in the workplace are unknowingly opening themselves up to lawsuits, which are expensive, time-consuming, distracting and bring unwanted publicity,” said OOC Executive Director Tamara Chrisler.

In a series of deep-background interviews done by POLITICO, aides and other Hill employees have complained about everything from unequal maternity leave policies to unwelcome advances to hostile treatment from members of Congress and other superiors.

“I wish I had known about the Office of Compliance,” one former aide to a Texas House member told POLITICO. “When the whole Massa thing came out, we heard about his staff reporting him and were shocked they could report their member. I feel bad for so many staffers who think they can’t stand up for themselves.”

Another Hill aide who is considering reporting a harassment case said: “There are times I’ve wanted to go over [to the OOC], but the general feeling is … you’ll be fired or blacklisted from the Hill.”

The Massa scandal may be a case study in the lack of awareness about the OOC and the inability of Congress to effectively police workplace harassment rules.

Massa staffers, according to their lawyers, suffered through sexual innuendo and similar behavior for months, unaware that they could seek counseling and mediation through the OOC, which was created to enforce the Congressional Accountability Act in 1995.

While the Massa case inspired House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) to begin working to improve the OOC’s visibility, the majority of Hill workers still have little to no knowledge of their rights — or the existence of the OOC — largely because of years of communication challenges, according to the OOC report.

Congress has exempted itself from having to inform employees about their workplace rights by posting notices in offices — a practice required by law in the public and private sectors. Congress is also not required to keep records that would show a paper trail of lawmakers’ past misbehavior.

“Being a Hill employee is different from other places because the job is about your name. Bringing a claim is like asserting you aren’t loyal enough. Someone who is loyal wouldn’t bring problems like this up,” said Alexis Rickher, an employment discrimination lawyer with Katz, Marshall & Banks who is currently helping represent one of Massa’s accusers. “With the Massa mess, it’s clear that the younger staffers didn’t have a sense of when things cross the line.”

The OOC is expected to gain access to at least part of the House e-mail system soon and to hold a forum during new member orientation. But no such collaboration is happening on the Senate side, according to aides close to the House’s project. The Senate Rules Committee, which helps oversee the OOC, did not respond to a request for information from POLITICO.

In the meantime, the process of settling workplace complaints remains secretive and byzantine, allowing members of Congress to quietly agree to cash payouts to settle cases and to keep potentially career-ending scandals under wraps.

The OOC offers employees a four-step resolution process. It includes initial confidential counseling, followed by mediation by a neutral third-party mediator. If the employee is dissatisfied with the mediation result, he or she can seek to have the case decided by a third-party hearing officer through the OOC or file a federal civil lawsuit.

“You could imagine the repercussions for a congressman if an allegation becomes public,” said employment lawyer George Chuzi, who represented Christine Niedermeier, a former aide who accused Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) of sexually harassing her several years ago. “It’s worth it to pay them, especially if it’s not their money, just to have the thing kept confidential. It’s worth it to them just to keep inappropriate allegations out of the public airwaves

Exxon Valdez 21 Years Later–A Warning to BP and Those Helping to Clean Up   Leave a comment

Exxon Valdez 21 Years Later—a Warning to BP and Those Helping to Clean Up

Here is an article from CNN, of all places, that I find extremely important.  It also harkens back to an interview that I posted about a week ago with a woman who was working directly with the BP clean up and how BP is not allowing any of its workers or volunteers to wear respirators when they work.  BP has also suspended the First Amendment from the spill sites, not allowing any news from private journalists to leak into the American public. 

And Obama is hiring big wig corporate types into high levels of government? 

Yikes!

Here is the article in all its chilling glory:

Critics call Valdez cleanup a warning for Gulf workers

By Drew Griffin, CNN Special Investigations Unit

July 8, 2010 10:33 a.m. EDT

Editor’s note: Watch “AC360°” tonight at 10 ET as CNN’s Drew Griffin investigates whether BP is trying to hide risks to cleanup workers.

Anchorage, Alaska (CNN) — Two decades ago, Roy Dalthorp helped clean up the rocky shores of Prince William Sound after the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground, producing what was then the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

Today, with that record surpassed by the 11-week-old disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Dalthorp struggles to breathe. He coughs, and his failing eyes sometimes tear up uncontrollably.

Dalthorp told CNN that he was “slowly poisoned” during the Alaska cleanup effort — and he says some of those now working to clean up the BP spill off Louisiana and neighboring states are risking the same fate.

BP says it is working with federal health and environmental regulators to make sure cleanup workers are protected from the hazards of the Gulf spill. But observers like Rikki Ott, an environmental activist who studied the Exxon Valdez spill, said cleanup workers in the Gulf are showing “the exact identical symptoms down here that we had 21 years ago.”

Dalthorp says his troubles started when the then-out-of-work oil worker joined the Exxon Valdez cleanup effort. For six weeks, he lived and worked aboard a ship that ran boilers to heat sea water. The 120- to 140-degree water was used to blast crude off the shoreline, and it left plumes of oily-smelling steam in the surrounding air.

“I had no choices, because I was behind on my house payments, and no health insurance,” he said.

Soon he began to cough. Teams from the Environmental Protection Agency were monitoring the cleanup, but “nobody ever checked with us,” Dalthorp said.

Tanker owner Exxon paid to study the effects of the spill on nearly every creature that came into contact with the 11 million gallons that were dumped into Prince William Sound — except people.

“Clams and mussels, to fish and otters, to ducks and eagles, and even deer and bears,” said Anchorage lawyer Dennis Mestas, who represented another worker who was involved in the cleanup. “But they never studied what this oil was doing to the workers — to the human beings in Prince William Sound.”

Mestas warns history may be repeating itself thousands of miles away in the Gulf of Mexico, with evidence of workers getting sick, and their medical records being controlled by BP.

Dalthorp never filed a workers compensation claim or had a doctor determine the cause of his illness. But Mestas said the man he represented — Gary Stubblefield, who he said “still struggles for each breath” as a result of the cleanup — sued Exxon over his illness. The oil company settled for a reported $2 million, without admitting any blame, after Mestas went to an Exxon office in Houston, Texas, and viewed medical records of cleanup workers.

Exxon had asked the court to keep those records under seal to protect the workers’ privacy. But Mestas said the company was forced to let him view summaries of the health records of 11,000 cleanup workers, and found that 6,722 of them had gotten sick.

In a statement issued to CNN, Exxon — now ExxonMobil — said it could not confirm that number. The workers hired for the cleanup “tended to be transient, temporary workers, making any medical follow-up incredibly difficult,” it said. And it noted that out of roughly 50,000 workers hired for the effort, “there were no adverse judgments rendered against the company.”

“After 20 years, there is no evidence suggesting that either cleanup workers or the residents of the communities affected by the Valdez spill have had any adverse health effects as a result of the spill or its cleanup,” the company said.

The issue has drawn the attention of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has been holding hearings on the Gulf disaster. On July 1, the committee asked ExxonMobil to turn over all records related to the health of workers who took part in the Alaskan cleanup. The company says it is reviewing the request.

At the time, the government and the company called those illnesses the “Exxon crud,” a flu or cold that Exxon was not required to report to federal health officials. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health agreed, but Mestas said the agency “never looked at any medical records,” which were controlled by Exxon.

“The only epidemiology was that there were a few head colds that they could identify, and NIOSH didn’t have any of the records,” he said.

ExxonMobil told CNN that the institute had “full access to Exxon’s records” during its study.

Since the Gulf spill erupted in April, CNN has been receiving reports of fishermen hired to take part in the cleanup effort developing upper respiratory illnesses, nausea and vomiting.

Louisiana’s state health department reported 128 cleanup workers believed to have been sickened by exposure to oil by the end of June, with symptoms like dizziness, nausea and breathing issues. On a video provided to CNN by a state health official, one hospitalized fisherman says that “a lot of the other guys” had the same complaints.

In a statement to CNN issued Wednesday, citing state figures, BP said 21 people had “short hospitalizations.”

“Most workers reported having had symptoms that cleared up quickly resulting from exposures attributed to a variety of chemicals,” the company said. But it said that so far, air testing conducted by the EPA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have not found “a single reading above OSHA regulations to date.” And the company says there is no need to issue respirators to the cleanup workers based on those results.

BP says a database of injury and illness data is shared daily with state and federal health officials. It has 25 first-aid stations in the field and a clinic in Venice, Louisiana, that is run by federal officials.

But Ott, a marine biologist who studied the effects of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, says the symptoms being reported in the Gulf states are the same ones that hit workers in Alaska. And just like then, people with their backs against the wall financially are flocking to the take jobs with the cleanup.

“I’m feeling like BP is forcing them into this situation where BP holds all the cards, and BP is letting these workers get sick,” Ott said.

Obama Going to Beg in Nevada for Votes for Harry Reid and for the Democrat Party   Leave a comment

Okay, NOW is there any doubt that the Democrats are only worried about their votes in November, and scared they must be to be calling in ‘the big guns’.

Shouldn’t Obama be worried about OTHER things, like trying to fix the economy, doing something about the oil spill, or visiting the US border, sending troops there and fixing it.

Oh wait…he wasn’t doing any of those things to begin with!  My bad…

Obama as campaigner in chief in Missouri, Nevada

By ERICA WERNER, Associated Press Writer Erica Werner, Associated Press Writer – Thu Jul 8, 3:03 am ET

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is talking to voters again about jobs and the economy. But he’s also concerned with two jobs in particular: Senate seats for Democrats in Missouri and Nevada.

With Democrats facing uphill battles in the November elections, Obama is combining a couple of economy-focused events Thursday and Friday with a campaign swing on behalf of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Missouri Senate hopeful Robin Carnahan.

Reid is in trouble in his bid for a fifth term, with unemployment sky-high in Nevada and Republicans working furiously to unseat him. Carnahan, Missouri’s secretary of state, represents a chance for a much-needed Democratic pickup of the Senate seat being vacated by Republican Kit Bond.

Obama will aim to energize their supporters Thursday with a sharply partisan message he’s been honing of late.

The man who pledged during his campaign to bridge partisan divides has begun playing into them as his party claws for political advantage. Obama’s been singling out individual Republican House members for comments he says show they care more about corporations than people.

Ahead of Thursday’s trip, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said voters could expect to hear Obama repeat his attacks on Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, who had to apologize for apologizing to BP PLC, the primary owner of the blown-out well spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, and House Minority Leader John Boehner, who contends his metaphor likening the financial crisis to an “ant” is being twisted by Democrats.

“Obviously, we’re getting much, much closer to the fall elections, and the president will have, will do more things leading up to that,” Gibbs said. “He has been very involved in raising money and in making an argument.”

A sitting president’s party typically loses seats in Congress during midterm elections. On top of that, Democrats are battling an anti-incumbent fervor fanned by high unemployment.

Nonetheless, Obama’s argument will in part be an economic one, starting with a visit Thursday to an electric truck manufacturer in Kansas City, Mo., that got money from last year’s big economic stimulus bill.

Obama has been trying to get voters to buy a message he himself acknowledges is a tough sell — that things would be a lot worse if the $862 billion stimulus bill had not passed. Obama also plans remarks on the economy Friday at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

In between he’ll be raising money for Carnahan and Reid. The pairing of official presidential events with campaign appearances lets the White House bill taxpayers rather than the candidates’ campaigns for most of the president’s travel costs.

In Nevada, Reid is welcoming the president to a state Obama won with 55 percent of the vote in 2008. Unemployment in Nevada is at 14 percent, the highest of any state, and the White House inevitably gets some of the blame. But so does Reid, and he needs all the help he can get with his approval ratings sagging under constant GOP attacks.

Reid is facing tea party-backed Sharron Angle, who was welcoming Obama with a reference to the kerfuffle the president caused in February when he asserted that people saving for college shouldn’t “blow a bunch of cash on Vegas.”

Obama has issued plenty of mea culpas since then to politicians and residents hypersensitive about protecting Las Vegas’ battered tourism industry. That didn’t stop the Angle campaign from issuing a news release reading a sarcastic message into Obama’s visit: “President Obama: ‘Don’t go to Vegas unless it’s to bail out Harry Reid.'”

Obama is to appear at a reception and dinner for Reid that are expected to reap about $800,000.

In Missouri, Obama will make his first fundraising appearance for Carnahan, who was out of the state in March when the president attended a joint fundraiser for Sen. Claire McCaskill and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. That caused speculation about whether Carnahan was purposely keeping Obama at arm’s length in a state he narrowly lost in 2008.

But her campaign said she welcomes his help. Obama will be appearing at a low-dollar reception for grass-roots supporters, and at a lunch and reception where tickets will range from $1,000 to $30,000.

Carnahan’s likely Republican opponent is GOP Rep. Roy Blunt.

___

Associated Press writer David A. Lieb in Jefferson City, Mo., contributed to this report

 

Another article on the same thing with the same spin and OH MY Obama is reeeeally reaching!

Obama makes case for voting Democratic in November

By ERICA WERNER, Associated Press Writer Erica Werner, Associated Press Writer – 10 mins ago

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – President Barack Obama implored heartland voters Thursday to believe his economic policies averted impending disaster, pushing a hard-to-swallow message to people whose support Democrats need this November.

“What is absolutely clear is we’re moving in the right direction, we’re headed in the right direction,” Obama said at an electric truck factory here, before a pair of campaign appearances for Senate Democratic candidates in Missouri and Nevada.

Yes, we’re moving in the right direction…if we were a communist, socialist country

Obama jabbed Republicans who are threatening to swamp his party in the upcoming elections, though none by name. “There are some people who make the political calculation that it is better to say no to everything than lend a hand,” he said.

After his appearance at Smith Electric Vehicles, Obama was raising money in Missouri for Democratic Senate hopeful Robin Carnahan. Then it was on to Nevada to campaign for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, facing a tough road to a fifth term.

Again, aren’t there more IMPORTANT things going on, or is campaigning really all he knows how to do?

Obama’s tone was sometimes aggrieved as he suggested he wasn’t getting credit for helping the economy.

“You wouldn’t know it from listening to folks, but we cut taxes” for the middle-class, he said.

Really?  What taxes did you cut?  What about all those NEW taxes that are going to start coming at us in January for your socialist healthcare? 

>sigh<

Voters are Unhappy but Optimistic — 62% Say Country on Wrong Track   Leave a comment

Wow–I like them numbers!  Obama’s approval rating is down to 45% here, and this is from LIBERAL MEDIA sources too!  😀

Yup, that’s me–short term unhappy, but optimistic for the long-term!  I hope that this obama-nation (abomination) really wakes people up that they need to pay attention what’s going on around them!  I, for one, am! 

It’s time for real change in America.  Not fake change.  Not teleprompter change.  Not destruction of national sovereignty change.  But REAL change.  Like a conservative majority in congress and a shiny new boot to kick Obama out in 2012!  NOW THAT WILL BE A DAY TO PARTY DOWN ON and I generally don’t care to party (I’m a mom–too much going on LOL). 

So here is the article in question.  I’m excited.  It made my night.  I should call it a night so that it ends on a positive note, but I know me and I will keep on going regardless. 

Oh, and I love the title.  WHY do you think? 😀 

Voters Are Unhappy but Optimistic – – Why?

Americans this Fourth of July are short-term pessimistic but long-term optimistic. I’d say that unless things change for the better, they need to reconsider the long term.

Last week’s NBC-Wall Street Journal poll shows that 62 percent of U.S. adults think that the country is “on the wrong track,” the highest level during Barack Obama’s presidency.

The Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index rose in May to its highest level since January 2008, but the Conference Board’s confidence index dropped and so did Gallup’s June economic confidence index. In the Gallup survey, pluralities of respondents rated the economy as “poor,” and around 60 percent said it was getting “worse.”

That sentiment is validated by the best summary I’ve seen of the current recovery — a New America Foundation report describing a “relatively weak GDP rebound” and “a jobless recovery,” facing the phasing out of fiscal and monetary stimulus, Europe’s financial crisis, U.S. debt overhang and an uncertain tax and regulatory environment.

Moreover, economists Sherle Schwenninger and Samuel Sherraden wrote, “State and local governments face fiscal shortfalls that are beginning to act as a drag on GDP growth and job creation,” housing prices are not recovering and wages are stagnant.

That’s the short-term bad news — just part of it. Along with oil spills and deepening doubts about the Afghan war, President Barack Obama’s support is dipping, though there’s no great confidence in Republicans, either.

As to the long term, however, a new Pew Research Center poll for Smithsonian magazine shows that 64 percent of Americans are optimistic about life for themselves and their families over the next 40 years, and 56 percent say the economy will be stronger than it is today.

People expect cancer to be cured and most energy to be derived from sources other than coal and oil, but 53 percent are afraid the U.S. will be hit with a nuclear terrorist attack.

Despite overall economic optimism, only 34 percent say that the standard of living for average families will get better, while 36 percent say it will get worse and 27 percent say it will stay flat.

And 58 percent believe that the gap between rich and poor will continue to grow.

That, I’m afraid, is in the cards. It’s partly owing to the failure of American schools to educate minorities, who will soon be a majority of the U.S. population.

Only half of all minority children graduate from high school on time and, of those who go to college, fewer than half graduate. The U.S. ranks 10th among all countries in overall college completion.

Moreover, as the Washington Post reported, China and the European Union are catching up with the United States in the number of people engaged in scientific and engineering research and development, and the U.S. trails Japan and South Korea in the percentage of gross domestic product spent on research investment.

On top of all that, the nation is in deep, deep debt. The official gross public debt — accumulated deficits plus borrowing from federal trust funds — is nearly $1.5 trillion, 95 percent of GDP.

But the Peter G. Peterson Foundation calculates the true level of federal obligations at more than $62 trillion, counting promises made to Social Security and Medicare recipients.

And those figures do not count personal, corporate, and state and local pension fund debt — on all of which interest needs to be paid, crowding out capital that could boost investment and wages.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week that next year’s federal interest payments will be $571 billion, as large as the defense budget, and that the debt constitutes a major threat to national security.

A Gallup poll showed that the public agrees, ranking the debt as tied with terrorism as the top danger to the country.

The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll said that by a whopping 63 percent to 34 percent, the public wants Obama and Congress to worry more about keeping deficits down than boosting the economy — even if it means that the economy will take longer to recover.

As it is, only 33 percent of voters expect the economy to get better in the next year, while 23 percent expect it to get worse and 43 percent to remain flat.

Fearing a “double dip” or Japan-style stagnation, Obama and Democratic leaders want to pass stimulus legislation to help the states but can’t get it passed.

The gloom has Obama’s job approval rating down to 45 percent, the lowest of his presidency.

By 47 percent to 40 percent, the public still has a favorable view of Obama as a person — down from 68 percent just after he was inaugurated — and by 49 percent to 32 percent, voters think he has strong leadership qualities, also down from 68 percent.

Congress’ approval rating is 22 percent, almost as low as the 20 percent that preceded the Democrats’ takeover in 2006 and the 33 percent that presaged the GOP takeover of 1994.

Indeed, voters now marginally prefer that Republicans run the next Congress, by 45 percent to 43 percent.

But asked about the parties, voters give a 9-point net negative rating to the Democrats, 35 percent to 44 percent, and a 12-point net negative to the GOP, 30 percent to 42 percent.

The bottom line seems to be that an unhappy public is hoping that divided government will put the country back on the right track.

But given the inability of Republicans and Democrats to agree on almost anything, there’s more reason to be pessimistic about the long term as well as the short.

Now, I wonder where they get all these poll numbers from.  No one ever asks me MY opinion 😛

Stop the Presses! Population Growth is Still the Biggest Problem Facing Humanity?   Leave a comment

O…M…G! 

Now, I heard rumors that this type of rhetoric was being discussed at the Copenhagen, being pushed by China as an answer to our current, although thoroughly discredited, global warming woes, but the topic hasn’t come up since.  Until a friend emailed me this article!

I’m not quite sure how to approach this one.  It just seems like one of those little increases in temperature until the frog boils, using the debunked global warming issue to press it further.  Being that this man was a professor suddenly reminds me of my high school years and my Environmental Class where my teacher said the same things.  We are raising an entire generation that will believe this drivel.  Having one child, twelve children, or no children should be a personal choice, left to the person making that choice.  They should also be making that choice based on their ability to feed, care for and clothe their children, and not having babies because they have nothing better to do.  Running a society like this with a one-child policy is fallacy.  China is running into major issues with their policy and have even stepped back a little bit because now there are so many grown men and not enough women to wed them.  However, that would be an interesting forced Darwinism experiment if one really sat and thought about it.  Only the rich, handsome men would be able to reproduce with the well off pretty women–eugenics at work in a subtle kind of way.  ASIDE FROM THE FACT THAT THIS KIND OF LAW WOULD BE COMPLETELY AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS!

There is some validity to this, however sparse.  The author professor brings up the availability of natural resources and food as being a major reason to limit population growth.  However, he neglects to mention that governments all around the world, especially in Africa, fail to utilize their natural resources, and are so corrupt in most cases that they squander them and so they cannot be counted.

I get chills seeing this in the mainstream news.  Are we that devoted to the economic empire of China that we have to emulate them so we can control our people like sheep?  Even now I see and hear about from friends a general sense of ‘looking down on’ families with more than one child.  It’s sad to think that we might be heading in that direction.  Who knows what might happen next in this train of thinking–licenses to have children?  That’s something I’ve heard from people as well.  There are even groups out there dedicated to this kind of thinking!  Let is also be said, because it really wasn’t said in the article, nor does the slant of the article indicate this at all, but the worldwide human population has beens teadily decreasing since 1989

Anyway, here’s the article:

Population Growth Is Still The Biggest Problem Facing Humanity

 

This is a guest post by Gary Peters, a retired geography professor with a long time interest in population issues.

Earth’s population is approaching seven billion at the same time that resource limits and environmental degradation are becoming more apparent every day. Rich nations have long assured poor nations that they, too, would one day be rich and that their rates of population growth would decline, but it is no longer clear that this will occur for most of today’s poor nations.

Resource scarcities, especially oil, are likely to limit future economic growth; the demographic transition that has accompanied economic growth in the past may not be possible for many nations today. Nearly 220,000 people are added to the planet every day, further compounding most resource and environmental problems. The United States adds another person every eleven seconds. We can no longer wait for increasing wealth to bring down fertility in remaining high fertility nations; we need policies and incentives to stop growth now.

Much has been written about population growth since the first edition of Malthus’s famous essay was published in 1798. However, an underlying truth is usually left unsaid: Population growth on Earth must cease. It makes more sense for humans to bring growth to a halt by adjusting birth rates downward in humane ways rather than waiting for death rates to move upward as the four horsemen reappear. Those who think it inhumane to control human fertility have apparently never experienced conditions in Third World shanty towns, where people struggle just to stay alive for another day.

In 1970 Norman Borlaug won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on developing new plant strains that formed the basis for the Green Revolution that began in the 1960s. However, in his Nobel acceptance speech Borlaug perceptively commented that “There can be no permanent progress in the battle against hunger until the agencies that fight for increased food production and those that fight for population control unite in a common effort. Fighting alone, they may win temporary skirmishes, but united they can win a decisive and lasting victory to provide food and other amenities of a progressive civilization for the benefit of all mankind.” That was four decades ago. During that time the world’s population increased by more than three billion and the struggle to feed, clothe, house, and educate ever-growing numbers of people continues. “Temporary skirmishes” seem persistent, if not permanent.

Writers sometimes confuse population issues. For example, in his post, The Population Bomb: Has It Been Defused?,”, Fred Pearce wrote that “The population bomb is being defused at a quite remarkable rate.” He conflates rates of growth with actual numbers. It is true that the rate of population growth worldwide has declined since 1970. However, the base population has grown by more than three billion; thus we currently add 80 million or more people to the planet each year. That is hardly “defusing” population growth!

Writers may sometimes have short memories when they write about population growth. Fred Pearce’s post at “Consumption Dwarfs Population as Main Environmental Threat,” is one example. George Monbiot’s post on “The Population Myth,” is another. Both authors seem to have discovered that our rate of consumption is an issue, so both play down population numbers and focus on our consumption habits. Neither mentions the work of Paul Ehrlich and his I = PAT equation, where I represents our impact on the Earth, P equals population, A equals affluence (hence consumption), and T stands for technology.

Both population and consumption are parts of the problem–neither can be ignored and both are exacerbating the human impact on Earth. More distressing, however, is that many among us don’t even see that there are problems created by both growing populations and increasing affluence bearing down on a finite planet. To pretend that another 80 million people added to the planet each year is not a problem because they are all being added to the world’s poor nations makes no sense at all. Many of them will end up in rich nations by migrating, legally or illegally, and all will further compound environmental problems, from strains on oil and other fossil fuel resources to deforestation and higher emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. As Kenneth Boulding noted decades ago, “Anyone who believes that exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.”

Population, consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions will continue to grow until we either face up to the fact that there are limits on our finite Earth or we are confronted by a catastrophe large enough to turn us from our current course. If Chinese, Indians, and others in the poorer world had consumption levels that rose to current western levels it would be like Earth’s population suddenly increasing to 72 billion, according to Jared Diamond, who then wrote that, “Some optimists claim that we could support a world with nine billion people. But I haven’t met anyone crazy enough to claim that we could support 72 billion. Yet we often promise developing countries that if they will only adopt good policies–for example, institute honest government and a free-market economy–they, too, will be able to enjoy a first-world lifestyle. This promise is impossible, a cruel hoax: we are having difficulty supporting a first-world lifestyle even now for only one billion people.”

This promise is often made by people who believe that that alone will stop population growth via the demographic transition, conveniently forgetting about such exceptions as China. As Tom Athanasiou argued, in Divided Planet: The Ecology of Rich and Poor, “In a world torn between affluence and poverty, the crackpot realists tell the poor, who must live from day to day, that all will be well in the long run. Amidst deepening ecological crisis, they rush to embrace small, cosmetic adaptations.”

The widespread acceptance and political influence of modern neoclassical economics is a central part of our global problem. In one widely used economics textbook, Principles of Economics, Greg Mankiw wrote that “A large population means more workers to produce goods and services. At the same time, it means more people to consume those goods and services.” Speaking for many neoclassical economists, Tim Harford concluded, in The Logic of Life, that “The more of us there are in the world, living our logical lives, the better our chances of seeing out the next million years.” The absurdity of Harford’s statement must be recognized and challenged.

Economists do not deserve all the blame. As Thomas Berry noted, in The Great Work: Our Way into the Future, “Western civilization, dominated by a cultural arrogance, could not accept the fact that the human, as every species, is bound by limits in relation to the other members of the Earth community.” On his Archdruid blog, John Greer added his observation that “Our culture’s mythology of progress envisions the goal of civilization as a utopian state in which poverty, illness, death, and every other aspect of the human predicament has been converted into problems and solved by technology.” We don’t want to hear about limits.

Nowhere is acceptance of the twin towers of economic growth and increased consumption more apparent than in the United States, where “growing the economy” is still paramount, despite the leftovers of a financial meltdown created by banking and shadow banking systems run amok and a Gulf fouled by gushing oil. As Andrew Bacevich noted, in The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism, “For the majority of contemporary Americans, the essence of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness centers on a relentless personal quest to acquire, to consume, to indulge, and to shed whatever constraints might interfere with those endeavors.” Yet evidence that modern economics has let most people down is abundant.

More than two decades ago Edward Abbey wrote, in One Life at a Time, Please, that “[W]e can see that the religion of endless growth–like any religion based on blind faith rather than reason–is a kind of mania, a form of lunacy, indeed a disease,” adding that “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.” He expressed his concern about modern economics as follows: “Economics, no matter how econometric it pretends to be, resembles meteorology more than mathematics. A cloudy science of swirling vapors, signifying nothing.” Similarly, Nassim Taleb wrote, in The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, that “Economics is the most insular of fields; it is the one that quotes least from outside itself!” Gus Speth argued, in The Bridge at the End of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability, that “In the end, what has to be modified is the open-ended commitment to aggregate economic growth–growth that is consuming environmental and social capital, both in short supply.” Barbara Ehrenreich wrote, in This Land is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation, that “The economists’ odd fixation on growth as a measure of economic well-being puts them in a parallel universe of their own. . .the mantra of growth has deceived us for far too long.” Whether in local areas, the United States, or the world, no problem that I can think of will be more easily solved with additional millions of people.

Future oil production will come at an increasing cost, if it comes at all. As Bill McKibbin noted, in Deep Economy: The Wealth of Comunities and the Durable Future, “Cheap and abundant fossil fuel [mainly oil] has shaped the farming system we’ve come to think of as normal; it’s the main reason you can go to the store and get anything you want at any time and for not much money.” More expensive oil will eat into world food production, especially if we continue to use foodstuffs to help fill gas tanks.

Scientists need to encourage a deeper and more realistic interest in population growth on a finite planet and its effect on many of the major issues of our time. We ignore the implications of further population growth at our peril. In 1971 Wilbur Zelinsky, in an article entitled “Beyond the Exponentials; The Role of Geography in the Great Transition,” fretted that “The problem that shakes our confidence in the perpetuation and enrichment of civilized human existence or even our biological survival is that of growth: the rate, volume, and kinds of growth, and whether they can be controlled in intelligent, purposeful fashion.”

Continued population growth is unsustainable, as is continued growth in the production of oil and other fossil fuels. As Lester Brown argued, in PLAN B: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble, “If we cannot stabilize population and if we cannot stabilize climate, there is not an ecosystem on earth we can save.” As Alan Weisman wrote, in The World Without Us, “The intelligent solution [to the problem of population growth] would require the courage and the wisdom to put our knowledge to the test. It would henceforth limit every human female on Earth capable of bearing children to one.” Started now, such a policy would reduce Earth’s population down to around 1.6 billion by 2100, about the same as the world population in 1900. Had we kept Earth’s population at that level we would not be having this conversation.

Discussion Questions

1. Are there things we can do to get the population issue more into public discussion?

2. Are there other approaches to limiting population that might be more salable?

3. If Social Security is not sustainable, having fewer children will increase the likelihood that older adults will have no way of taking care of themselves. How does one deal with this issue?