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Will there be a design contest for the trillion-dollar coin? Maybe the winner can participate in the secured walk to the federal reserve?

  • The White House's response to the petition asking for the creation of a Death Star is an absolute must-read. Don't believe me? Here's how it begins:
    Official White House Response to Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.

    This Isn't the Petition Response You're Looking For

    If you don't understand why that's funny...well, I have a bad feeling about that.
  • President Bill Clinton, owning up to mistakes:
    In the wake of Haiti's devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake exactly three years ago, former U.S. President Bill Clinton issued an unusual and now infamous apology. Calling his subsidies to American rice farmers in the 1990s a mistake because it undercut rice production in Haiti, Clinton said he had struck a "devil's bargain" that ultimately resulted in greater poverty and food insecurity in Haiti.

    "It may have been good for some of my farmers in Arkansas, but it has not worked," he said. "I have to live every day with the consequences of the lost capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people, because of what I did."

  • Either Fox News is stupid, or they're hoping their audience is. Actually, we know which one of those is more the case. But here they are, attempting to mislead their viewers into thinking that the trillion-dollar coin would actually contain a trillion dollars' worth of platinum. Which, of course, would defeat the purpose. Apparently, these jokers think that a hundred-collar bill contains a hundred times as much paper as a one-dollar bill.
  • Climate change news is more of the same--namely, that bad things will continue to happen with increasing frequency:
    WASHINGTON — The impacts of climate change driven by human activity are spreading through the United States faster than had been predicted, increasingly threatening infrastructure, water supplies, crops and shorelines, according to a federal advisory committee.

    The draft Third National Climate Assessment, issued every four years, delivers a bracing picture of environmental changes and natural disasters that mounting scientific evidence indicates is fostered by climate change: heavier rains in the Northeast, Midwest and Plains that have overwhelmed storm drains and led to flooding and erosion; sea level rise that has battered coastal communities; drought that has turned much of the West into a tinderbox.

    But no need to make this a priority, right?
  • Burnt Orange Report says, via The Hill, that former Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) is being considered to replace Ray LaHood as President Obama's Secretary of Transportation. I'm still getting used to someone with the designation of (R-TX) being mentioned as a potential cabinet pick.
  • Headline of the day:
    Satanists organize rally in support of Florida governor Rick Scott
  • spocko's post on FireDogLake about the NRA is excellent reading on their messaging techniques.
  • Read up on the largest structure heretofore discovered in the entire universe:
    Astronomers have discovered the largest known structure in the universe, a clump of active galactic cores that stretches 4 billion light-years from end to end.

    The structure is a large quasar group (LQG), a collection of extremely luminous galactic nuclei powered by supermassive central black holes. This particular group is so large that it challenges modern cosmological theory, researchers said.

    "While it is difficult to fathom the scale of this LQG, we can say quite definitely it is the largest structure ever seen in the entire universe," lead author Roger Clowes, of the University of Central Lancashire in England, said in a statement. "This is hugely exciting, not least because it runs counter to our current understanding of the scale of the universe."

    In other words, it's so big that it shouldn't exist, according to our current theories of the universe. And yet...there it is. Four billion light-years' worth of quasar.

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Comment Preferences

  •  when's Bill gonna apologize for the WTO? (8+ / 0-)

    And NAFTA?

  •  It is another Saturday morning (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GMFORD, blue aardvark, The Marti

    normally my Saturday morning reflections are primarily drawn from my teaching

    today's is somewhat different, because there are other things on my mind

    I do not know if it will speak to anyone

    I only know that I felt compelled to write it

    read it if you want

    If not I will understand

    you can read it here if you are so inclined

    Peace
    -

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:06:36 PM PST

  •  ROFLMAO!!! (17+ / 0-)
    1. The Administration does not support blowing up planets.

    2. Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?

    "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

    by GenXangster on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:07:03 PM PST

  •  The comments from AZ gun nuts after the story (10+ / 0-)

    don't give me a lot of hope, but here's hoping anyway:

    Mark Kelly believes the new gun-control group he has created with his wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, can attract gun owners who see the need to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in the wake of last month’s mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school. AZ Republic
    We hear that 74% of NRA members support responsible gun laws. I guess the comments are from that other 26% who think even sensible legislation (like checking the backgrounds of felons, terrorists, and the mentally ill at gun shows) is a reason to take up arms!

    stay together / learn the flowers / go light - Gary Snyder

    by Mother Mags on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:08:14 PM PST

  •  For the trillion dollar coin I vote (7+ / 0-)

    to have George W. Bush on the front and Grover Norquist on the back.

    Just sayin'.

  •  I bet if we put the Death Star (8+ / 0-)

    on the defense spending bill and asked defense companies for bids the Republicans would support it all the way.
    Funny how the govt. can't create jobs unless they are jobs building weapons..or supporting wars...

  •  The WH really let those (5+ / 0-)

    Death Star jokers have it. Teh funny is all the way down the page.

    We don't have a Death Star, but we do have floating robot assistants on the Space Station, a President who knows his way around a light saber and advanced (marshmallow) cannon, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is supporting research on building Luke's arm, floating droids, and quadruped walkers.

    "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

    by GenXangster on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:12:30 PM PST

  •  Rice Imports (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    decembersue, TKO333, Gooserock

    The reason that rice imports increased in Haiti is because the goverment reduced the tarrifs on rice in 1994 from 35% to 3%.  This was required by the IMF.  

    Source:   http://www1.american.edu/...

    "Rice import tariff reductions in Haiti has made it more difficult for local rice producers to compete with imports. An article published in 1999 after evaluating agricultural and food price policy in Haiti concluded that "reducing tariffs on both rice and corn, decreased retail and farm prices and increased consumption and imports."[10] This is also confirmed by the IMF which in a report 2001 states "Trade liberalization has contributed to a large increase in imports of rice. At the same time, domestic production has gone down substantially."[11]

    Some argue that the resulting flood of relatively cheap rice imports originating mostly from the United States has had a negative impact on Haiti. The decline in the demand for Haitian rice has been devastating to an already desperate rural population. Rice farmers are some of the most vulnerable members of the population; the alternative employment options for farmers in Haiti are extremely limited.

    Furthermore, competition between Haitian and American rice growers is not exactly fair. While US rice production is "subsidized through a variety of mechanisms"[12], the small, struggling domestic rice industry in Haiti receives no support from the government. Rice farmers do not receive export subsidies or other types of domestic support. According to Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, "You can't expect a country like Haiti to compete on world markets immediately. If you look at those countries that have succeeded in dramatically increasing their per capita incomes -- countries like Japan, South Koreas, and Taiwan -- you will find hey all did it under some kind of protection."[13]

    Several Haitian and international NGOs have claimed that the US is guilty of dumping rice in Haiti. The US now dominates the rice market in Haiti. Most American rice exports are handled "by a single US corporation -- American Rice Inc. -- which has enjoyed an almost monopolistic position in Haiti."[14] The Haitian government should investigate if US companies are selling rice at a "fair" price. Click here for a more detailed discussion of US rice dumping in Haiti.

    Advocates of trade liberalization believe that lowering rice tariffs has benefited Haitian society. A 1999 study on agricultural and food price policy in Haiti found that the lower retail price of rice which resulted from the lowering of rice tariffs meant that consumers in the urban areas are better off.[15]. Furthermore IMF officials have stated that "because of the influx of cheap American rice, food prices have remained fairly stable."[16] In the 2001 Haiti country report, the IMF expresses its doubts that raising import tariffs would reverse the decline in domestic rice production. It states that "the supply response of rice producers to higher prices is long and uncertain."[17]"

    •  Ah, the good people at the IMF. eom. (0+ / 0-)

      When banjos are outlawed, only outlaws will have banjos.

      by Bisbonian on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:30:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  this has been a long fight (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mmacdDE

      Agricultural economies all over the world have been complaining about the US subsidies of its corporate agribusinesses.

      Another problem affecting agricultural economies which is not often noted by the media is the recent trend of nations such as Japan, China, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait buying up large tracts of agricultural land in impoverished nations like Bangladesh and the former Soviet Asian Republics.  Their plan is to outsource their food production, by growing cheap food overseas and then importing it back to the "motherland"--a form of neocolonialism that is guaranteed to keep impoverished nations food-poor and dependent.

  •  Playoff game in Denver soon will be in 16° (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, suesue, PSzymeczek, citizenx

    weather.  Try catching a football in that clime....Yikes.

    Will be a closer game than usual, i suspect.  

    Denver 17-10 over Baltimore.

  •  The most important words in science are (6+ / 0-)

    not "Eureka! I found it!" but ...
    "That's odd".

    We have 4 billion light years of odd staring is the face ... or at least in the radio telescope. Or approximately 1400 solar system diameters of odd.

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:15:24 PM PST

  •  Do those Quasars still have the works in a drawer? (8+ / 0-)

    In Soviet Russia, you rob bank. In America, bank robs you.

    by badger on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:16:04 PM PST

  •  Why? (6+ / 0-)

    "I'm still getting used to someone with the designation of (R-TX) being mentioned as a potential cabinet pick."

    Especially by a supposed Democratic president.  Whatsa matter, Barak?  Can't you find any qualified people in your own party to fill your cabinet positions?

    •  I thought we won... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PSzymeczek, tb mare

      So why does the Pres. keep appointing "them" to run things? I mean, if the people would have wanted Republicans running the government, then they would have voted for them. Instead, the public voted as a majority against them in all 3 national sections (House, Senate and Pres.) It's disheartening.

  •  RIP Aaron Swartz (10+ / 0-)

    From his own site. He was only 26. His loss is a massive one for our kind.

    Aaron Swartz is the founder of Demand Progress, which launched the campaign against the Internet censorship bills (SOPA/PIPA) and now has over a million members. He is also a Contributing Editor to The Baffler and on the Council of Advisors to The Rules.

    He is a frequent television commentator and the author of numerous articles on a variety of topics, especially the corrupting influence of big money on institutions including nonprofits, the media, politics, and public opinion. From 2010-11, he researched these topics as a Fellow at the Harvard Ethics Center Lab on Institutional Corruption. He also served on the board of Change Congress, a good government nonprofit.

    RIP, Aaron Swartz

    And from Lawrence Lessig, mentor to Swartz
    Prosecutor as Bully

    “Democracy is not just the right to vote, it is the right to live in dignity.”  ― Naomi Klein

    by cosmic debris on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:19:37 PM PST

  •  LQG (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    suesue

    is too big to fail!!

    I'm not crazy, I've just been in a very bad mood for 40 years!

    by liberalagogo on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:20:49 PM PST

  •  I know I've got a great butt (4+ / 0-)

    Every time I finish talking with someone when I turn away they always say "what an ass."

    A Facebook stream joke I thought was worth passing along.

  •  Does anyone know (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ender, Gooserock

    If there is even a Trillion dollars of platinum on the planet??
    Its a rare metal...right??

  •  Why don't we talk about "cubic light years" as a (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    decembersue, Ender

    measurement of size in the universe?  Or am I missing something (other than several billion brain cells)?

    "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi // Question: "succeed" at what?

    by nailbender on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:38:06 PM PST

    •  Maybe because we don't have 3-D telescopes? (0+ / 0-)

      It's more accurate to say, "As I see it it is this wide and this long."

      If you had the actual scientific paper, there is probably an estimate of the volume in there somewhere.

      •  I thought they could infer depth by the same (0+ / 0-)

        techniques that allow them to gauge the distance of any star from earth.  IOW, they do have 3D visioning capabilities, to some extent.  

        "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi // Question: "succeed" at what?

        by nailbender on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 02:54:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  KBHutchinson for Sec. of Trans? WTH. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ender, PSzymeczek, tb mare

    After all the railing against the Obama Administration she did during the primaries and general to support Romney (thank you breathless Andrea)?  Seriously folks, I am going to take this bit o' news with a grain of salt.  She needs to stay silent in Texas. period.  

    I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

    by KayCeSF on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:38:31 PM PST

    •  She's not even remotely qualified (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tb mare

      The Hill is a credible source of news, so it might be accurate.  

      Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

      by Betty Pinson on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 01:20:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Let's hope not. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ender, tb mare

        cripes, she was just one on the not long enough list of Republicans leaving and I was silently celebrating.

        I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

        by KayCeSF on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 01:25:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know quite a few women in the private sector (0+ / 0-)

          who could handle this job very well, mostly in rail and trucking.  

          Something tells me they're not even looking for women in the private sector.

          Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

          by Betty Pinson on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 01:50:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Here's one (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KayCeSF

            Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

            by Betty Pinson on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 01:53:40 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  ::sigh:: (0+ / 0-)

              Our infrastructures all over the U.S. are crumbling in cities and towns as we all know, and in my state of NM our highways are a mess (always have been but getting worse).  At first blush from perusing the website you offered, this woman sounds conscientious and informed about all areas of transportation.  How informed is KBH?  

              Maybe some letters to our President should begin, today.  

              Thanks Betty!

              I would rather spend my life searching for truth than live a single day within the comfort of a lie. ~ John Victor Ramses

              by KayCeSF on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 02:02:13 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Maybe I'll send it in (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mmacdDE

                Though she knows nothing about this, haha.  Haven't talked to her in many years.

                I've found the same thing working in cancer advocacy as working in transportation.  There aren't that many people in elected and appointed office who are experts in very technical, specialized fields.  That used to be ok, they were able to call on outside experts to help with projects or to draft policy.

                It's not like that as much anymore. With so much outsourcing of government work, think tanks, etc., heads of government  don't care about whether they have any expertise in these fields.

                Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

                by Betty Pinson on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 02:13:34 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PSzymeczek, KayCeSF

      I went on a long car trip many years ago with a friend. The person who wasn't driving would read passages from the novel out loud.

      The novel is about a girl who moved to the Mississippi coast during the fifties. The daughters of the shrimpers were stuck up and would look down on her. The most stuck up of all was named Kay Bob Benson.

      I have always called Kay Bailey Hutchison, Kay Bob Benson, because she is just like the character in the book.

      She certainly doesn't deserve a cabinet post.

  •  On climate change: Yesterday, I heard Rush quoting (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    decembersue, PSzymeczek, mmacdDE, tb mare

    the projected temperature in San Diego to being somewhere near 28 degrees.  Right away, he launches into his "where's the global warming theorists now?"

    Of course, he was broadcasting from FL where we are either tying or breaking records for all-time high's the last couple of days.

    "With all due respect, that's a bunch of malarky". - V.P. Joe Biden

    by Taxmancometh on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:44:39 PM PST

  •  Birds of a feather flock together (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dougymi, tb mare

    This Large Quasar Group has apparently got another Large Quasar Group, hanging out near it.

    •  considering the distance involved (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Garrett, tb mare

      I wonder if we're not seeing something that only existed briefly (in age-of-the-universe terms) after the Big Bang and doesn't exist now?  Seems to me that a lot of the rules of the universe might have been bent a bit around that time, taking the magnitude of that event into consideration.

      A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

      by dougymi on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 01:11:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  While the Administration policy of not blowing up (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PSzymeczek

    planets is admirable- and practical (just think of the number of nuck drones you would need), the other two arguments are clearly surmountable.

    1) Just mint an $850,000,000,000,000,000 coin. (As Homer Simpson said when taping over the warning light non his car: "Problem solved").

    2) Surely the design flaw of a one-man fighter (not a star-ship) knocking it out is correctable---especially if the Force is not with him/her.

    Delenda est filibuster!

    by TofG on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:51:54 PM PST

  •  Now we need a petition (0+ / 0-)

    to show how they came up with the 850 quadrillion dollar figure.

    I'll always be...King of Bain...I'll always be...King of Bain

    by AZphilosopher on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:53:35 PM PST

  •  Thursday Cali amok (0+ / 0-)

    http://ccoaler.blogspot.com/...

    http://www.turnto23.com/...

    TAFT, Calif. - Officials have said that at least two people were shot at Taft High School and the shooter has been arrested.

    The shooting occurred about 9 a.m. at Taft Union High School, an oil and agricultural community about 120 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

    The shooting took place in the Science Building at the school.

  •  I urge you to take the time to read this one (0+ / 0-)

    Electing people who don't believe in government to Congress, is like installing an atheist as pastor of a church. If they don't believe in the institution or its goals, they won't care if it does a good job for its members.

    by Lefty Coaster on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 01:19:33 PM PST

  •  It IS the Petition response I was (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare

    looking for!

    We don't have a Death Star, but we do have floating robot assistants on the Space Station, a President who knows his way around a light saber and advanced (marshmallow) cannon, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is supporting research on building Luke's arm, floating droids, and quadruped walkers.

    We are living in the future! Enjoy it. Or better yet, help build it by pursuing a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field. The President has held the first-ever White House science fairs and Astronomy Night on the South Lawn because he knows these domains are critical to our country's future, and to ensuring the United States continues leading the world in doing big things.

    If you do pursue a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field, the Force will be with us! Remember, the Death Star's power to destroy a planet, or even a whole star system, is insignificant next to the power of the Force.

    Paul Shawcross is Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget

    When someone is impatient and says, "I haven't got all day," I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day? George Carlin

    by msmacgyver on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 02:24:19 PM PST

  •  Trillion dollar coin (0+ / 0-)

    And let's put Boehner's sobbing face on it. That should go up his nose nicely.

  •  So are sceintists trying to tell us this newly (0+ / 0-)

    discovered quaser group is too big to fail?

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