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Tue May 06, 2014 at 08:10 AM PDT

History of CO2 in One Video

by radical simplicity

This video makes the change in CO2 clear in a way I haven't seen before. It certainly puts to rest any of the denialists' implications that "natural cycles" could be causing the current warming.

It's only about a minute long, and well-worth the watch. There's a slight pause at 2014, but the video continues after the pause, so keep watching:


Senator Bernie Sanders has set up a page to make it easy to submit a comment to the FCC regarding their proposed "hand the internet to the wealthy" rule.

Click the link, and go comment!

If you need some ideas, here's my submission:

Given the criticality of internet access to communications and to the general economy of the US, internet providers should be classified as common carriers.

The current proposed rule change is nothing more than an attempt to create two separate internets: a superhighway traveled by large corporate clients; and a rutted, potholed dirt road traveled by businesses and individuals too small to afford the "real" internet.

According to the Small Business Administration, firms with fewer than 500 workers account for 99.7 percent of employment in the US. Those businesses all rely on a neutral internet in order to compete in the market. Bifurcating the internet in favor of large corporate entities with deep pockets will devastate the economy.

It's time to end this threat to the nation's economy - reclassify internet providers as common carriers, like the utilities they are.

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There's a rec list diary about the VT Senate's vote to call for a Constitutional Convention to propose an amendment to end the specious claim that money is speech.

What is Vermont thinking? Do they know how many crazy people are in the current congress? Do they know the risk of a runaway convention foisting right wing crazy upon the nation?

The answer to the last two questions is: Yes. They know.

So why yesterday's vote calling for an Article V convention?

Take a peek below the great squiggle of hope to see Lawrence Lessig's testimony, which will help make it a bit clearer. We need to fix the campaign corruption problem, but there's actually a larger, scarier problem looming: the other side already has 25 proposals and Lessig anticipates 10 more next year. That would be enough to open a convention with ONLY right wing amendments proposed.

Take a gander below for the full testimony, which includes risk analysis, and the rationale behind voting for a constitutional convention.

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Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 07:46 AM PDT

Kissing the future goodbye

by radical simplicity

On Monday, our son took a placement exam to get into college a year early. He's a bright kid, and is highly motivated to become a robotics engineer. He has worked so hard for this! He did well on the test, so all that's left is the SAT in June and he'd likely be heading to Vermont Technical College in September.

A few months ago, our daughter was accepted into the UnCollege Gap Year Program. It's an amazing opportunity! She has been busy readying herself to go, and taking on odd jobs to raise some of the funds, and we've been putting money aside each month, to help fill in the gap.

In the mean time, I've been working on building a way to help people overcome the up-front cost hurdle of green energy projects. I've made good progress, but need to learn a bit more in order to finish up the work-in-progress. With that in mind, I applied for the General Assembly Web Development Immersive program.

All in all, it's been a very exciting time for our family! Both kids heading off to their new adventures, me working to get Green Planet Heroes off the ground. My husband's job was going gangbusters.

We were just, just, just finally starting to claw our way out of the massive financial pit that was formed when we were both unemployed at the same time a few years back. It was a brutal time, when we were having some significant issues managing to afford that whole "eat every day" thing. I still have nightmares about it.

Which is why I'm crying right now.

Because my husband was laid off yesterday.

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"Standalone" Sites

These sites are standalone domain names whose content is loaded into a frame, from the NRCC servers. So the sites LOOK like they're standalone, but they're really NRCC pages, appearing on a separate domain.

There are supposed to be 18, but I've only found 16, so far.  If you know who the other two candidates may be, let me know in the comments and I'll update. [UPDATE: Benamery21 found the missing two candidates.] Two sites, of the 18 have been taken down. [UPDATE 2: there's a 19th candidate! Mike Parrish, H/T to Adam B]

Here's the fake site for Ann Kirkpatrick:

The Ann Kirkpatrick fake site, as it appears to the general public.
The same page, with the NRCC's domain name blocked:
When I use a script blocker to block the nrcc web site, this is what loads on the Ann Kirkpatrick site. You can see the URL that the site is trying to load when I mouse-over the script blocker's big peach square (which tells me what portion of the page is being blocked). In this case, the entirety of the content of the site is coming from the NRCC's servers.
Here are the sites I've found so far
Thanks to Kossacks Eman and Benamery21 in this diary, and a bit of google-fu.
Ann Kirkpatrick

Ron Barber

Kyrsten Sinema

Domenic Reccia

Martha Robertson

Alex Sink

John Lewis

Amanda Renteria

John Tierney

John Barrow

Colling Peterson

Matheson (site down)

Mike Mcintyre (site down)

Nick Rahall

Sean Eldridge

Nancy Pelosi

The two missing candidates, thanks, again to Benamery21.

Annie Kuster

Carol Shea-Porter

Mike Parrish

Donation Pages
Anyone who clicks the HUGE DONATE BUTTON on one of those fake domains, will end up on a page on the NRCC's servers to collect their credit card info. The new page still looks like the candidate's page, including the candidate's logo.

It's here that things get interesting, because, under the reasonable person test, these pages could be confused with pages to donate to the actual candidate. This in turn means that taking money and personally identifiable info from those people runs into two different sets of laws: federally, the wire fraud laws, and in many states, anti-phishing laws.

1) They're presenting the site as belonging to one entity, fraudulently soliciting money in the guise of that entity, then giving it to a different entity. It's straight-forward wire fraud.

18 U.S.C. § 1343:

... having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice

2) They're collecting the personally identifiable information, including real names, user names, credit card information and web passwords, of people who use the site while masquerading as a trustworthy entity.  That's straight-forward phishing:
Phishing is the act of attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.
There is no specific anti-phishing federal law, but there are numerous state laws:

Here's California's

    It shall be unlawful for any person, by means of a Web page, electronic mail message, or otherwise through use of the Internet, to solicit, request, or take any action to induce another person to provide identifying information by representing itself to be a business without the authority or approval of the business.

[UPDATE 3: The ACPA, thanks to wader from the comments:]

Another possible violation - The Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act

   The Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA), 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d), is an American law enacted in 1999 and that established a cause of action for registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name confusingly similar to, or dilutive of, a trademark or personal name. The law was designed to thwart “cybersquatters” who register Internet domain names containing trademarks with no intention of creating a legitimate web site, but instead plan to sell the domain name to the trademark owner or a third party. Critics of the ACPA complain about the non-global scope of the Act and its potential to restrict free speech, while others dispute these complaints. Before the ACPA was enacted, trademark owners relied heavily on the Federal Trademark Dilution Act (FTDA) to sue domain name registrants. The FTDA was enacted in 1995 in part with the intent to curb domain name abuses. The legislative history of the FTDA specifically mentions that trademark dilution in domain names was a matter of Congressional concern motivating the Act. Senator Leahy stated that “it is my hope that this anti-dilution statute can help stem the use of deceptive Internet addresses taken by those who are choosing marks that are associated with the products and reputations of others.”
When you click contribute, you are taken to a page on the NRCC servers. I'm guessing, for security reasons, their ecommerce software won't run in a frame on a different domain.
Here are the contribute pages I've found:
NRCC contribute Pages

Ann Kirkpatrick

Ron Barber

Kyrsten Sinema

Domenic Reccia

Martha Robertson

Alex Sink

John Lewis

Amanda Renteria
Using the url is redirected to a generic contribution page.

John Tierney

John Barrow

Collin Peterson

(can't find an nrcc contribute page for matheson)

Mike McIntyre
(can't find an nrcc contribute page for mike mcintyre)

Nick Rahall

Sean Eldridge

Nancy Pelosi

Annie Kuster

Carol Shea-Porter

Mike Parrish


Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 01:16 PM PDT

I Am Disgusted Beyond Words

by radical simplicity

In regional news, a young, kind, conscientious high school teacher was murdered by one of her students last week. It's big news for the suburban area in which she lived, and a terrible tragedy. Alas, it seems that the biggest stories are the largest magnets for racists and right wing extremists. Here's a facebook post that just found its way into my stream:

Racism rears its ugly head in suburban Boston.

There are no words to describe my response to this execrable spewing of hate.


Just a random rant after another interminable delay.

I just loaded the home page of Daily Kos. According to a browser extension I've installed, 618 scripts loaded to display the page.

The site has been causing my browser to drag, becoming terribly slow for quite some time, but in the last couple of months, it's become intolerable. It reminds me of trying to download photos from the in-laws back in the days of dial-up. It's getting bad enough I may switch to the mobile version of the site, instead of the regular version. I won't be able to comment, but at least it'll not interfere with everything else I'm trying to do on my computer - because when the browser seizes, it can even take significant time to switch to another application.

I sure hope dk5 is much better behaved.


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Police Scanner:

Officers now being ordered to retreat due to explosive devices on scene.

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Organic food purveyor Eden Foods is suing the department of Health and Human Services because they don't want their insurance to cover birth control and other women's health care, as required by the Affordable Care Act.

When the news broke, I wrote a letter to the company, expressing my disappointment, and letting them know I would no longer buy their products.

Dear Eden,

I have been a loyal customer for decades. Unfortunately, I can no longer purchase your products in good conscience, since you have decided to treat grown women as if they are toddlers unable to make their own medical or moral decisions. Shame on you.

Sincerely, your former customer, [me]

Moments ago, a reply appeared in my inbox:
17 April 2013

Please be discerning consumers. Grotesque mischaracterizations about Eden Foods' action related to the Health & Human Services (HHS) mandate, Affordable Care Act, are most regrettable.

On March 21st, 2013 a press release announced our lawsuit against the unconstitutional government overreach in the HHS mandate. This announcement was made to the media and general public. We apologize for the unintended consternation given rise to by this action.

Eden Foods' health care provider is required by the HHS to comply with all details of the Affordable Care Act. Parts of the mandate violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act. This overreach of the federal government infringes on religious freedoms.

It is discriminatory that not all employers have to comply with the HHS mandate. Millions of people and thousands of companies are exempt. The exemptions under the Act are illogical, inconsistent, and contributing factors to our lawsuit. For instance, McDonald's Inc. and 166 unions are exempt. Small employers are exempt. Individuals who practice certain faiths are exempt, while individuals who practice other faiths are not. Federal employees are exempt, and this is hypocritical. There is no exemption for the religious freedoms of employers.

Eden employee benefits include health, dental, vision, life, and a fifty percent 401k match. The benefits have not funded "lifestyle drugs," an insurance industry drug classification that includes contraceptives, Viagra, smoking cessation, weight-loss, infertility, impotency, etc. This entire plan is managed with a goal of long-term sustainability.

We believe in a woman's right to decide, and have access to, all aspects of their health care and reproductive management. This lawsuit does not block, or intend to block, anyone's access to health care or reproductive management. This lawsuit is about protecting religious freedom and stopping the government from forcing citizens to violate their conscience. We object to the HHS mandate and its government overreach.

This is an important matter that deserves attention from us all.  

Our actions have been, and will remain, principled and transparent. Eden's focus is pure food, ethical business practice, and the nurturing of all people and the planet.

Michael Potter, President
Eden Foods, Inc.                          701 Tecumseh Road, Clinton, Michigan 49236 U.S.A
ph 517 456-7424    ·    fax 517 456-6075    ·   ·

Here's my response to this response:
Dear Mr. Potter,

Thank you for confirming my understanding of the situation.

A corporation is a chartered entity that has no religious beliefs. You are not your corporation and it is not you. As such, the corporation offering health insurance is not the same as you personally offering that insurance. The corporation's money is not your money. Your personal beliefs have no place in determining how health care benefits offered by the corporation to the corporation's employees are spent by those employees. Choosing to impose your religious beliefs on the corporation's employees is in direct violation of those employees' constitutional rights to freedom of religion and privacy.

We will avoid your products from now on.


I love how he started his letter by essentially insulting anyone who wrote to begin with. I think he's about to see a drastic loss of profits. The fundies are not his company's target demographic - most of them can't afford to shop in the places where his foods sell.

Please take advantage of the contact information at the end of Mr. Potter's letter to let Eden know your opinion of their attempt to curtail their employees' religious freedom.

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No real info yet. Two explosions have been reported, dozens injured

Twitter feed:

Photos here:

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PhotobucketHere's how the word "hunger" is defined for policy purposes in the US:

"an inadequate amount of food intake due to lack of money or resources" or "the mental or physical condition that comes from not eating enough food due to insufficient economic, family, or community resources."
And here's what hunger among seniors looked like, back in 2008, before any cuts to Social Security, and before recent fuel price hikes and food price increases.

A 2009 analysis of the data by Meals on Wheels showed:

There is a discernable upward trend in the number of seniors facing hunger risk over the sample period, rising by about 700,000 to 3 million seniors between 2001 and 2007.

Of food insecure seniors, over 38 percent have incomes below the poverty line, and although poverty status is a clear correlate of hunger risk, the problem is by no means restricted to the poor. For example, one in seven food insecure households have annual incomes above twice the poverty line.

It was even worse by 2012:
Wahlstrom is part of a group experts call “the hidden hungry.“ In 2010, 8.3 million Americans over 60 faced the threat of hunger – up 78 percent from a decade earlier, according to a 2012 report. The proportion of the seniors affected has grown to one in seven in 2010 from one in nine in 2005 — even as the hunger risk for the population as a whole declined slightly, the report found.


The growth in food insecurity tracks a larger trend in poverty: While the official poverty rate among seniors 65 and older was 9 percent in 2010, a broader poverty measure released by the Census Bureau last year puts the rate at nearly 16 percent –- or roughly one in six seniors.

The people who rely on this money, as Elizabeth Warren puts it:
"aren't stashing their Social Security checks in the Cayman Islands and buying vacation homes in Aruba – they are hanging on by their fingernails."
So, here's my question for the President:

Why, Mr. President are you standing at the edge of the cliff with those nail clippers?

If 16% of seniors are already receiving too little money to feed themselves regularly, what percentage will fall into that category when their checks fall even further behind inflation?

Make the Call!


DailyKos Blogathon -- Week of April 8th

(All times are Eastern, diaries published by the Pushing back at the Grand Bargain group)

Monday, April 8

10:00 a.m. Roger Fox

12:00 noon eXtina

2:00 p.m. joanneleon (An Yves Smith article republished with permission)

4:00 p.m. Horace Boothroyd III

6:00 p.m. slinkerwink

8:00 p.m. joedemocrat

Tuesday, April 9

10:00 a.m. bobswern (A Michael Hudson article republished with permission)

12:00 noon

2:00 p.m. joe shikspack

4:00 p.m.

6:00 p.m.

8:00 p.m. TomP

Wednesday, April 10

10:00 a.m.

12:00 noon  Words in Action

2:00 p.m.

4:00 p.m.

6:00 p.m.

8:00 p.m.

Thursday, April 11

10:00 a.m.

12:00 noon

2:00 p.m.

4:00 p.m.

6:00 p.m.

8:00 p.m. angelajean

Friday April 12

10:00 a.m. Reserved

12:00 noon Reserved

2:00 p.m. Reserved

4:00 p.m. Reserved

6:00 p.m. Reserved

8:00 p.m. Reserved


1. Call your senators and representatives and tell them "Hell No!" with a priority on contacting senators.  U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.  You can find email contact information here

2.  Contact the White House and tell them "Hell No!".  Switchboard: 202-456-1414.  Email contact page is here.

3.  Petitions.  There are a number of petitions available.  Choose from the following or preferably sign them all.

a. White House petition calling for no cuts to Social Security.

b. AFL-CIO petition calling for no cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and calling for more jobs, repealing the sequester and ending tax loopholes for the wealthiest individuals and corporations.

4. Social Media.  Share this diary and promote this blogathon on Facebook and Google+ using the buttons at the top of the diary.  Send this out on Twitter and add the hashtags #HellNo and #NoGrandBargain.

[It isn't obvious who's coordinating the blog-a-thon, so I just used the "Hell No" title and hope someone will add it to the list]

[Cross posted from Green Mountain Daily]

:: Previously ::

A few years ago, while the press was providing non-stop coverage of the devastating explosion of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, a less "exciting" pipeline spill happened in Michigan, garnering almost no coverage at all. The spill occurred in a stretch of pipeline that was first installed in 1950, which had previously run incident-free:

... At least 1 million gallons of oil blackened more than two miles of Talmadge Creek and almost 36 miles of the Kalamazoo River, and oil is still showing up 23 months later, as the cleanup continues. About 150 families have been permanently relocated and most of the tainted stretch of river between Marshall and Kalamazoo remained closed to the public until June 21.

The accident was triggered by a six-and-a-half foot tear in 6B, a 30-inch carbon steel pipeline operated by Enbridge Energy Partners...


The monitors detected benzene levels that ranged from below 50 parts per billion (ppb) to as high as 200 ppb. Some alarming spikes-€”6,250 ppb and even 10,000 ppb-showed up over patches of oil on the water and away from homes.

In that particular spill, Enbridge did not follow the protocols that were in place for spill response. When certain alarms sounded, they were supposed to stop the flow of oil in the line. Unfortunately, those alarms tend to sound fairly frequently, because a spill is not the only possible trigger - an air bubble in the pipe can also trigger the alarms. Since air bubbles are fairly common, the crews are accustomed to doing the exact opposite of what should be done in a spill: pump extra oil at higher pressure to try to push the bubble out of the line. You can guess what happens when you push extra oil at higher pressure into a pipe that has a 6 foot hole in it. If you're having trouble picturing it, there are 150 families in Michigan can tell you from personal experience; or perhaps this photo of the Kalamazoo river will help:

photo: (c) MIoilspill

That was in 2010, and they're still cleaning up the spill. 150 families lost their homes, animals are still being killed in certain areas by the thick "oil," and they are still trying to figure out how to remove the glop from the river bed. Unlike actual oil, the "oil" in a tar sands pipeline is actually "diluted bitumen" (more on that classification later), and diluted bitumen sinks. Oil floats. The equipment that exists for cleaning up oil spills is designed to deal with a substance that floats. It is useless against a substance that sinks.

:: Currently ::

But there are more recent examples. The past week has provided a tidy trio of oil spill news.

First, a train carrying tar sands "oil" derailed in Minnesota, spilling 15,000 - 30,000 gallons of the stuff (reports vary).

That spill gave encouragement to pipeline promoters, who claimed no such thing could happen with a pipeline, so KXL should be built post-haste!  

Alas, a couple of days later, a stretch of Exxon's Mayflower pipeline burst under a residential neighborhood in Arkansas, dumping 10,000 barrels (42,000 gallons) into back yards, basements, storm drains, and now the local lake, once again putting the lie to the claims that long-extant pipelines are hazard-free.

In between last week's episodes of tar sands fun, Exxon Mobil was hit with a $1.7 million fine for having failed to shut down a pipeline near the Yellowstone river during a major flood event in 2011, despite government warnings that the severe flooding put the pipeline at risk of rupture. Exxon's decision resulted in 42,000 gallons of oil being dumped into the pristine (formerly, anyway) Yellowstone river when the raging flood waters caused the pipeline to break.

There are three key elements to note about pipelines and tar sands:

1) Pipelines work great until the moment they fail.

2) Tar sands spills are much more destructive and much harder to clean up than conventional oil.

3) Oil companies don't always do what they're supposed to do. Just for fun, here's another example.

This brings us to:

:: Today ::

There's nothing like ignorance when it comes to energy policy. And there's nothing like the Caledonian Record for providing examples.

In this morning's paper, the editor, Todd Smith, had these words of wisdom, regarding S.58, a bill passed by the Senate to require Act 250 review for new pipelines or changes to existing pipelines (other than repairs):

The bill targets an oil pipeline that has run quietly, since the 1940s, through a corner of the Northeast Kingdom. Theoretically it could be used to move Canadian tar sand oil but there are no plans, by anyone, to do so.
ed. note: no plans, sort of...


To be clear, the NEK pipeline has zero negative impact on Vermont and never will.

Those are Smith's actual words - "never will." He's clearly a brilliant logician, saying, essentially:

Since nothing has gone wrong yet, nothing can ever go wrong.

Wow, that's awesome! I'm wondering if he might swing by my house and apply his "never go wrong" magic to my cars. I've had terrible luck - they'll run great for years, and then, one day, things start breaking and I find myself financing a new boat for my mechanic, until I reach the point where I'm either getting a new car, or the mechanic is upgrading to a yacht.

:: More after the jump ::

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