Tuesday, July 31, 2012

FHFA Opts to Reject Principal Reductions encouraging Enterprise short sales programs

  Tuesday July 31, 2012 11:41 am
I was wondering whether FHFA Acting Director Ed DeMarco would respond to that Wall Street Journal article today pressuring him to allow participation from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in an Administration principal reduction program. Well, he has. DeMarco rejected participation for Fannie and Freddie, opting to go ahead with principal forbearance and other loan modification programs and blocking principal reduction. Here’s the entire statement:
Today, I provided a response to numerous congressional inquiries as to whether the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) would direct Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to implement the Home Affordable Modification Program Principal Reduction Alternative (HAMP PRA). After extensive analysis of the revised HAMP PRA, including the determination by the Treasury Department to begin using Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) monies to make incentive payments to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, FHFA has concluded that the anticipated benefits do not outweigh the costs and risks. Given our multiple responsibilities to conserve the assets of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, maximize assistance to homeowners to avoid foreclosures, and minimize the expense of such assistance to taxpayers, FHFA concluded that HAMP PRA did not clearly improve foreclosure avoidance while reducing costs to taxpayers relative to the approaches in place today.
I have also previewed for Congress several housing-related initiatives to strengthen the loss mitigation and borrower assistance efforts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as well as improve the operation of the housing finance market. These initiatives include new and consistent policies for lender representations and warranties, alignment and simplification of the Enterprise short sales programs, and further enhancements for borrowers looking to refinance their mortgages.
FHFA also released their correspondence to members of Congress over this issue, and a paper explaining their rationale. But you can boil it down to this: DeMarco doesn’t like principal reductions. The analysis showed pretty clearly that Fannie and Freddie would benefit financially from the program, because of the reduction in the likelihood of defaults after principal reductions. Homeowners would benefit in terms of saving their homes. TARP money which has already been authorized would go toward its intended purpose. But DeMarco inserted himself as executor of all housing programs with that turn of phrase “and minimize the expense of such assistance to taxpayers.” He now considers himself the guardian of TARP funds, not just GSE funds, and he did not accept the argument that shifting losses from the GSEs to TARP represented a net positive for his bottom line. DeMarco says that explicitly in this letter to the Senate Banking Committee:
The results of this analysis that are most favorable to employing principal forgiveness demonstrated that implementing HAMP PRA may result in approximately 74,000 to 248,000 borrowers being eligible for principal reduction modifications (based on a range of plausible take-up rates) at a positive financial benefit to the Enterprises. However, nearly all of this benefit is simply a transfer from taxpayers to the Enterprises, which would add to the over $188 billion in taxpayer support the Enterprises have already received. Under other reasonable
assumptions, implementing HAMP PRA would actually increase taxpayer costs.
Who’s business is it of Ed DeMarco to fret about the cost of TARP? TARP has a mandate of mitigating foreclosures and helping homeowners. DeMarco seems to think that his mandate is to protect the taxpayer across the whole of government. And he’s just wrong about that.
The assumptions that went into the modeling look pretty low to me, and the alleged “costliness” of implementing the principal reduction program wildly overblown. Finally, DeMarco trotted out that moral hazard argument again, saying that homeowners will “strategically default” to get eligible for a modification. I’ve already explained that no homeowner will operate on the expectation of goodwill from a servicer by putting themselves in a vulnerable position to lose their home. It just won’t happen. The modeling done here is informed by ideology, not facts.
Hilariously, FHFA announced a separate initiative with the Treasury Department to streamline short sales, which of course are a form of principal reduction (the borrower sells the house at a price lower than what they owe on the mortgage, and the mortgage holder forgives the balance).
Tim Geithner fired off an angry letter to DeMarco today, asking him to reconsider on barring principal reductions. Geithner accused DeMarco of using “selective numbers” in the FHFA analysis.
More from Nick Timiraos. If Treasury and the Administration really don’t like what DeMarco’s done here, they probably have options for dismissal. But I wouldn’t expect that.
I will again preview the fact that principal reductions will do absolutely nothing and in fact be counter-productive if Congress doesn’t extend the law that allows them to be excluded from gross income for tax purposes. More on that to come.
UPDATE: Rep. Brad Miller responds:
“I join Secretary Geithner in urging that FHFA reconsider the decision to continue to refuse any principal reduction in Fannie’s and Freddie’s loan modification program. FHFA’s own analysis shows that targeted principal reductions would save taxpayers money as well as help many homeowners avoid foreclosure.
We are five years into the housing crisis, and FHFA remains paralyzed by the fear that somehow homeowners innocently trapped in the worst economy since the Great Depression are going to weasel out of paying every penny on their mortgage that they could. More than any private business or government agency, FHFA has the economic and legal power to break the cycle of declining home values and foreclosures that has stunted economic recovery, and has consistently failed to exercise that power with the imagination and urgency required.”

Harvest-Time Tips for Globe Onions and Garlic

A bountiful supply of homegrown Onions and Garlic means a long, happy winter filled with lots of savory home-cooked meals. If you are growing these crops in your garden this year, it’s time to think about harvesting them. To ensure the best quality and longest storage life, it is important to harvest both Onions and Garlic at the right time, and to cure and store them properly.

Harvesting, Curing and Storing Garlic
Determining when Garlic is ready to harvest is one of the most important aspects of growing Garlic. If you harvest it too soon, the cloves will not reach their optimum size. On the other hand, if you wait too long, the cloves will begin to separate and the head won’t store as well.

Garlic heads, whether fall or spring-planted, Soft- or Hard-neck, are usually ready for harvest sometime in late July or early August depending on actual weather conditions. Soft-neck Garlic does not usually produce scapes and is good for storage up to a year. Hard-neck Garlic produces delightfully artistic and delicious scapes and is best used within just a couple of months of harvest. When the lower leaves begin to yellow and wither, use a garden fork to gently lift and remove several bulbs. If they’re plump and fully formed, they’re ready. If not, bring those heads in the house and eat them. Check back on the others in a week or two.

When harvesting Garlic, take extra care not to bruise the bulbs. Gently shake or brush off most of the soil and then transfer the plants~with stems still attached~to a cool, dry area out of direct sunlight. Spread the plants out in a single layer; good air circulation during the curing process is very important. Garlic bulbs should cure for about a month. The process is complete once the stem is completely dry all the way down to the head. Cut the stems off about an inch above the top of the head and put the heads into a mesh bag or basket. Any bulbs that haven’t dried properly or show signs of decay should be used up first. Store Garlic in a dark place with relatively low humidity. Ideal storage temperature is a chilly 35 to 40 degrees F. Maintaining a consistently cool temperature will prevent sprouting.

Mild or Pungent Globe Onions
There are two main types of globe Onions: mild (short-keepers) and pungent (long-keepers). Mild Onions are typically large and juicy with thick rings and thin skins that are easy to peel. They are often referred to as sweet, Spanish or Bermuda Onions. Typically grown from seed or plants since the Onions themselves have no long-term shelf life and cannot be planted as sets, our favorite mild Onion is the Yellow Granex Sweet Onion. Mild Onions have a lower sulfur content than pungent Onions. This means they taste sweeter and don’t make your eyes water as much, but they also have a much shorter shelf life. Mild Onions are delicious eaten raw in salads or on burgers, are great in pickles, salsas and chutneys, and are also wonderful grilled, roasted or made into onion rings. (For next season's consideration, our favorite kitchen garden storage Onions grown as sets include Yellow Stuttgarter, Red Wethersfield and White Ebenezer Onions. We also carry a Red, Yellow and White Onion Set Mixture for smaller-sized gardens that crave Onion diversity.)

Pungent Onions, also known as storage Onions, are dense and hard with thin rings and smooth, tight skins. A high sulfur content makes these the best choice for cooking, as heat both sweetens and intensifies their flavor.

Harvesting, Curing and Storing Globe Onions
Harvest Yellow Granex Sweet Onions as needed, any time from midsummer on, and use them within a month or two. Harvest storage Onions a week or two after their stems have flopped over. Flopped stems signal that the plant has stopped growing and that the cherished Onions can be unearthed. If possible, harvest Onions during a stretch of dry weather. Pull them gently from the soil and handle with care to avoid bruising. Don’t remove any leaves. If the weather is dry, spread the Onions out right in the garden for a few days, but then transfer them to a warm, dry, well-ventilated place where they’ll be out of direct sunlight. A barn floor, garage floor or covered porch is good. As the Onions are curing, their leaves will gradually dry out, the neck just above the bulb will wither, and the bulb’s papery skin will be pulled tightly around the cloves. It may take up to a month for this to happen. Once the necks appear to be completely dry, use scissors or pruning shears to cut the stem about an inch above the bulb. If you can still see moisture in the stem, let the Onions cure for another week. Before storing, cull any Onion bulbs that are damaged or did not cure well. Use these up over the next couple weeks. Store the rest in mesh bags or small baskets with good ventilation. Keep them where it’s dry, dark and cool; 35 to 40 degrees F is ideal.

Time to Order Fall-Planting Garlic and ShallotsHarvest time also means it is almost planting time for next year’s crop of Garlic and Shallots. In our kitchen, Shallots are an essential ingredient for vinaigrettes, pesto, delicate sauces, omlettes, quiches, soups and so much more. The simple truth is that we can’t live without Garlic or Shallots. Plant them this fall so they’ll be ready to harvest next summer. Right now, we are well stocked with both Red French Shallots and Grey French Shallots, but since we almost always run out, we encourage you to reserve yours now. In most parts of the country, fall is also the best time to plant Garlic. We offer four different varieties for fall planting: Early Italian Purple Garlic, Inchelium Red Garlic, German Red Rocambole Garlic and Spanish Rojo Garlic. We urge you to try them all so you can taste-test their distinctive flavors and discover your own personal favorites.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Plants Found to Send Nerve-Like Messages

Published: November 17, 1992

PLANTS, unlike animals, have no nerves, so scientists have been jolted by the discovery this month that the tomato plant uses an electric signal to alert its defense system against grazing caterpillars.
A team of researchers from England and New Zealand reported in the Nov. 5 issue of Nature that when a leaf on a tomato seedling is chewed by insects it sends out electrical warning signals, alerting the rest of the plant to the danger. As undamaged leaves receive the signal, they begin producing defensive chemicals that make them difficult to digest.
"It's a very exciting result," said Dr. Keith Roberts, head of the cell biology department at the John Innes Institute in England and author of the commentary published along with the article. "It's really a conceptual breakthrough to think plants use electrical signals in the same way animals use them in nerve cells. It brings plants a little bit closer to animals."
Dr. David Wildon, a plant physiologist at the University of East Anglia, England, and one of the authors of the new study, said: "Everyone can see now that if you find a system in animals and you look for it in plants, it turns up. The more we look, the more similarities there are."
But the newly discovered signals are not entirely identical to nerve impulses in animals. Unlike animals, plants don't require the very fast nerve signals that allow an animal to escape from its predators or to catch its prey.
"They have all the time in the world," said Dr. Roberts. "And these signals are appropriately slow when compared with a nerve response. At about the same rate it would take half an hour to register that I'd stubbed my toe."
The new finding promises to shake up the field of plant cell communication, where the study of electrical signaling has long been shunned.
Dr. Barbara G. Pickard, professor of biology at Washington University and one of the few biologists studying electrical signaling in plants, said: "There's a great abyss in our understanding of these signals. But I believe this is all going to open up now. The electrical stuff is undoubtedly going to break and break big and lots of plants are going to be found to use electrical signaling."
Researchers say that most serious scientists turned away from the study of electrical signaling in plants because they found results could be difficult or impossible to reproduce. And to make matters worse, a spate of popular writing began tearing down the respectability of the field by associating electrical signaling with extrasensory perception and emotions in plants.
According to Dr. Wildon, "The field procured a sort of bad odor, and so it became a backwater."
Things got so bad that even by suggesting that an electrical message could be an important signal in plant cell communication a scientist could open himself to ridicule.
"Plant electrophysiology was squelched," said Dr. Pickard. "It was reduced to the level of spoon bending." According to Dr. Eric Davies, professor of biology at the University of Nebraska, electrical signaling in plants "became to botany what astrology is to astronomy."
Plant researchers became enamored instead with chemical messengers, or hormones. And though many of the hormones assumed to run the lives of plants continued to elude the best efforts of scientists trying to isolate them, researchers continued to ignore the possibility of electrical signaling. Some of these postulated hormones, including florigen, a chemical hypothesized to induce flowering, have been sought in vain for decades.
The tomato's defensive warning signal has proved equally elusive.
Twenty years ago Dr. Clarence Ryan, a molecular biologist at Washington State University and a leader in the study of plant defenses, showed, along with colleagues, that a tomato's defensive molecules, known as proteinase inhibitors, could be turned on by an insect chewing on a distant leaf. Researchers have since shown that when an insect eats these proteinase inhibitors, the defensive chemicals act by gumming up the insect's digestive enzymes, making it difficult or impossible for it to get the nutrition that it needs. Mysterious Warning Signal
While researchers learned a great deal about the many molecules associated with the production of a leaf's proteinase inhibitors, the nature of the initial warning signal that was traveling from leaf to leaf remained mysterious.
In this newest study, researchers showed that in every case that an electrical signal was allowed to pass out from a damaged leaf, leaves in other parts of the plant would begin producing defense molecules. When the electrical signal was blocked, no defense molecules were produced.
When the movement of hormones was blocked, however, the plant's defense mechanisms were unaffected.
Dr. Davies said the new study "is incredibly exciting work, as it opens up whole new possible explanations for many things which people have had no explanation for at all."
"People have been trying to force a hormones explanation on everything," he added, "but other people have begun finding as I have that you simply cannot use hormones to explain everything."
Curiously, carnivorous plants like venus flytraps and touch-sensitive plants have long been known to use electrical signals to quickly close or drop their leaves.
According to Dr. Davies, these dramatic behaviors should have suggested to botanists that plants were likely to be hotbeds of electrical activity.
"You either have to say electrical signal mechanisms arose out of nothing in 10 totally different kinds of plants," said Dr. Davies, "or that these are just obvious outward manifestations of a signaling system that all plants have. It's much more likely all plants have these systems and it's only rarely that they tie them to obviously massive responses like shifting their leaves." The Hydra Example
Researchers still don't know exactly which plant cells are propagating the electrical signal, also known as an action potential, or how the wounding actually turns the electrical messaging on. But they suggest that the signaling in tomatoes is probably most akin to the non-nerve signaling found in lower animals, like jellyfish and hydra.
These animals send electrical signals through non-nerve tissues, propagating the message from cell to cell using channels in their membranes known as gap junctions. Researchers suggest that plant cells may be making use of similar channels known as plasmodesmata, which connect their membranes. While structurally the two kinds of channels are quite different, plasmodesmata are now being found to function similarly to gap junctions, with electrical signaling just the latest in the list of possible shared functions.
According to Dr. David Spray, professor of neuroscience at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the importance of electrical signaling through non-nerve cells has been ignored in animals, as it has in plants. But because most animal and plant cells are connected to one another via these channels, he suggested that this sort of signaling could turn out to be very important.
Researchers interested in electrical signaling say they hope that the remarkable new finding may encourage other scientists to explore the field that has now been opened.

The Oligarch Kings ~ Power, Politics and America's Noble Families

The Directory of Oligarchs In The City Of New York

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I hope that I have gone at least some of the way to convincing that there is, at the heart of American politics, a hard core of oligarchic families who are significantly over represented in the political system.
We should note that at the start of the 107th Congress, in 2000, 77 of the 535 members were relatives of Senators, Representatives, Governors, Judges, State Legislators or Local Officials.  That is around 14.39%!  In a county so ostentatiously “democratic” as the USA claims to be, it looks to this outsider at least, as unhealthy and is curiously almost exactly the same percentage that the oligarchy in late Republican Rome represented.
But even less is spoken of the relationship between those politicians and the businessmen that fund them, and pay for their campaigns and who in turn benefit from Government contracts and funding streams.
We have seen how The United Fruit Company had connections that stretched from the White House and the great offices of Secretaries of State, to the CIA and to the military establishment and led to it controlling entire countries.  But this might just be a one-off, a rogue operation used by a government for geo-political considerations.  Nothing like this would actually happen back home would it?
Well, we might feel differently if we saw the political and financial interconnections of our favourite families.
Rockefeller we have already met here and here.  Scions of “Standard Oil” they have been inter-connected with politics and finance for generations. In the table at the close of the post we should remember William is the brother of John D Rockefeller Sen. and his son, Percy, married the sister of Marcellus Hartley Dodge, the boss of Remington Arms and Union Metallic Cartridge co.
The Bushes too, from papa Bush’s father Senator Prescott Bush and grand-pappy George Herbert Walker (yes that is where the GHW and the Dubya come from) were financiers first, and only at a short second, politicians.  A small tree might assist here.  It’s a very abridged one, and I will deal with the more up to date connections of Neil Bush later.  (That one deserves its very own post!)

The Harrimans too are a political and financial family inter twined with Bushes, Rockefellers and Walkers.  William Averell Harriman was the son of E H Harriman who made his money in railroads.  Averell was an Investment Banker and Secretary of Commerce to Truman.  He was also a Governor of New York and two time Democratic Presidential Nomination in 1952 and 1956.  He was a US Ambassador to the Soviet Union which makes sense when you see his business connections in the table below and then Ambassador to Berlin and London.  He married as his third wife Pamela Churchill the divorced daughter in law of Winston Churchill.  Averell’s brother E Roland Harriman known by that wonderfully thirties-style nick-name “Bunny” also worked in the Investment Bank – Harriman Brothers which became Brown Bros & Co and had as partners Robert A Lovett a Secretary of Defence , Senator Prescott Bush and Robert Roosa an undersecretary of the Treasury.  Very nicely connected then.

So, how do these all fit together to lock the political to the financial and operate to channel money from business to campaign and contracts from government to business in an ever more complex union of the Industrial, the Military and the Political?  The table below is gleaned from The Directory of Directors in the City of New York and gives but a glimpse, which I hope to update and expand as the blog continues.
National City Bank – Harriman – Roosevelt – Walker/Bush
Interconnecting Company Directorships
This table illustrates those who served in eight companies for at least a year in the period between 1916 to 1941.  This is the time that the famous Industrial Military Complex was being established.  These companies are principal institutions, and those names are either themselves major political players, or very close relatives of those who are.
National City Bank W. Rockefeller
P. Rockefeller

W. A. Harriman and Co.
(also W.A. Harriman Securities Corp)
P. Rockefeller
W. A. Harriman
E. R. Harriman
G. H. WalkerRemington Arms
P. RockefellerAmerican Ship and Commerce Corporation
(Shipping Hamburg – Amerika)

W. A. Harriman
G.H. WalkerUnion Banking Corporation (a German Owned NY Bank) 
G. H. Walker
P. Bush Georgian Manganese Corporation ( a Soviet Mining Concession)
P. Rockefeller
E.R. Harriman
G.H. Walker Barnsdale Corporation
( a Soviet Oil Concession)

G. H. WalkerHarriman Fifteen Corporation
(Holding Corporation)

W. A. Harriman
G. H. Walker
P. Bush
 Oil, arms, metals, Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, American money, Ambassadors, Advisors, Senators, Democrats, Republicans. Covering all the bases.  Classical oligarchy.
Copyright  David Macadam 2010

5 thoughts on “The Directory of Oligarchs In The City Of New York”

a just transition for the region’s strip mining families

    Call for end to crime and disaster by Coal Companies

    Charleston, W.Va.—More than 50 protesters affiliated with the R.A.M.P.S. Campaign have walked onto Patriot Coal’s Hobet mine and shut it down.  Ten people locked to a rock truck, boarded it and dropped banners: ”Coal Leaves, Cancer Stays.”  At least three have been arrested, with another in a tree being threatened by miners with a chain saw.  Earlier in the day, two people were arrested at Kanawha State Forest before a group of protesters headed to the state capitol.
    “The government has aided and abetted the coal industry in evading environmental and mine safety regulations. We are here today to demand that the government and coal industry end strip mining, repay their debt to Appalachia, and secure a just transition for this region,” Dustin Steele of Matewan, W.Va. said.  Steele was one of the people locked to the rock truck.
    Mounting scientific evidence shows that strip mining negatively impacts community health and miner health.   Recent studies have found a 42 percent increase in risk of birth defects around strip mines, and miners who spend at least 20 years as strip-mine drillers have a 61 percent chance of contracting silicosis, a virulent form of black lung.  “The coal companies are poisoning our water and air, and they’re treating the workers no better than the land – fighting workplace health and safety protections to get the most out of labor as they can,” said Junior Walk of Whitesville, W.Va.
    As coal production declines, protesters are concerned that the region will be left with only illness and environmental devastation as the industry pulls out of the region and companies file for bankruptcy to shed legacy costs.

  • Key messages of Mountain Mobilization

    Saturday, July 28th, 2012   
  • The government has failed to protect Appalachian communities by aiding and abetting the coal industry in evading environmental and mine safety protections. The result of this government failure is shattered health, widespread environmental destruction, and unemployment and economic depression throughout Appalachia. It is time for the government and the coal industry to end strip mining, repay their debt to Appalachia, and work to secure a healthy, prosperous future for the families and workers of this region.
  • The scars of over 100 years of coal extraction can be seen in the black lung clinics, acid mine drainage, unreclaimed surface mines, communities with high rates of cancer and birth defects, and the many pensioners who wonder about promises made by their bosses in the industry.
  • Patriot Coal, owner of the Hobet mine, the largest surface mine in West Virginia, is currently going through chapter 11 bankruptcy. The bankruptcy was filed through a shell corporation in New York, created only months ago. In bankruptcy court, union contracts and pensions could be on the chopping block.
  • Central Appalachian coal production is in the middle of a 50 percent, six-year decline, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Both UMWA pensions and reclamation of abandoned strip mines are funded by a per-ton tax on coal. This is no longer a viable option in the face of a declining coal industry.
  • For each working miner, Patriot has more than four retired miners who have put their bodies on the line with faith that they would be supported in old age. This is a promise Patriot must keep.
  • Patriot Coal, led by CEO Irl F. Engelhardt and its investors, are the latest in a long tradition of Appalachian coal bosses to leave illness and environmental devastation in their wake when profits dry up and they go bankrupt.
  • Mountaintop removal is the most dramatic example of the coal industry extracting wealth from central Appalachia, leaving denuded land and polluted streams behind them.
  • Coal companies must employ their surface mine workers in reclaiming to the highest standards all disturbed land. Government leaders should immediately allocate funds to retrain and re-employ laid off miners to reclaim Appalachia and lead America into a new, greener future.
  • For the future of the state, the coal industry must be held accountable for the environmental destruction and human cost of its actions. No longer can we allow this industry to abandon its responsibilities to the land and people of Appalachia.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Coal Miner Murder Don Blankenship Is Back In Business

Surely you remember Don Blankenship, former CEO of Massey Energy. Under his leadership at Massey, while skirting government regulations, 29 coal miners died at his Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia in March 2010. Over a three-month period prior to the deaths, Blankenship sold $21.24 million in Massey stock then retired in December 2010. Shortly afterwards Massey was sold to Alpha Natural Resources. Now Blankenship is getting back into the coal mining business.
Last month Bloomberg reported that Blankenship has filed the necessary paperwork to form a new Kentucky coal mine company; McCoy Coal Group Inc. of Belfry, Kentucky (Notice he’s not using his name). On the filings he is listed as the president of McCoy. So I guess Blankenship isn’t finished with killing working Americans
If you don’t remember Blankenship from Massey Energy, you may remember him as a hero of the tea party after he donated $1 million to the group. Then he showed up to give a speech in his “red, white and blue uniform” at a Friends of America Labor Day rally — which he sponsored.
Blankenship showed little remorse for those who died at the Upper Big Branch mine nor their families. He insisted the reaction to their deaths was a “knee-jerk political reaction”, and that the Mine Safety and Health Administration was the cause of the “accident”. He scolded President Obama for the regulations he was ignoring. How arrogant and callus can one get?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Stunning Images of Precious Earth


Countless lakes, sloughs, and ponds are scattered throughout this scene of the Yukon Delta in southwest Alaska. One of the largest river deltas in the world, and protected as part of the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, the river's sinuous waterways seem like blood vessels branching out to enclose an organ. (Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/USGS)



 Small, blocky shapes of towns, fields, and pastures surround the graceful swirls and whorls of the Mississippi River, the largest river system in North America. Countless oxbow lakes and cutoffs accompany the meandering river south of Memphis, Tennessee, on the border between Arkansas and Mississippi. (Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/USGS)



 What look like pale yellow paint streaks slashing through a mosaic of mottled colors are ridges of wind-blown sand that make up Erg Iguidi, an area of ever-shifting sand dunes extending from Algeria into Mauritania in northwestern Africa. Erg Iguidi is one of several Saharan ergs, or sand seas, where individual dunes often surpass 500 meters (nearly a third of a mile) in both width and height. (Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight)



 The scary face in this image is actually inundated patches of shallow Lake Eyre (pronounced "air") in the desert country of northern South Australia. An ephemeral feature of this flat, parched landscape, Lake Eyre is Australia's largest lake when it's full. However in the last 150 years, it has filled completely only three times. (Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/USGS)



In the style of Van Gogh's painting "Starry Night," massive congregations of greenish phytoplankton swirl in the dark water around Gotland, a Swedish island in the Baltic Sea. Population explosions, or blooms, of phytoplankton, like the one shown here, occur when deep currents bring nutrients up to sunlit surface waters, fueling the growth and reproduction of these tiny plants. (Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/USGS)



Friday, July 20, 2012

I support coal miners

I have many friends dependent on the coal industry. I also support safe working conditions and environmental controls for the miners and mines. We have had over 500 mountains topped out, driving out two complete families of my grt grandparents, one family in Harlan Co., one in Mulenbergh Co Ky, and taking their farms making them refugees from their own homes.

Everyone deserves a job where they have a reasonable expectation of coming home alive and healthy. Upper big Branch was a criminal disaster. Massey energy was a criminal enterprise, with Don Blankenship sitting in his manse on the hill looking over his fiefdom while his workers choked to death, leaving families and entire communities in despair.                                                     

The Inez Spill,  at 100 times the size of the Exxon Valdez, Buffalo Creek, more and more disasters, the lives not only lost but the families left in despair amid economic impossibilities. The complete corporate and political failure to not only provide anything in the way of jobs for the future, any job training, or any type of economic fall back position for the communities they destroy is unconscionable, unAmerican, and treasonous. Massey was even trying to put strip mines next to grade schools and hospitals. The mine owners are required to put up a "good faith" deposit for reclamation, which they typically forfeit and walk away from the decimation they make of our mountains..It's so much cheaper to abandon the ruined mountain than to reclaim it, which is a joke in itself..
Miners at McRoberts Ky
So yes, the miners are foremost in my thoughts..But back to the subject of outsourcing jobs, coal from China and South America is cheaper than American Coal, and where the energy producers are able to avoid the sulfur and particulate emission control stands, they are importing fro overseas. the 750 jobs that have recently been lost around the Whitesburg (where my family was from) and the Wise area have nothing to do with any restrictions being placed on them by any gov;t agency.. The seams are running deeper, and it cost too much money compared to the foreign coal, so instead of providing any sort of recompense or training or alternative energy development, the coal companies pack it in and leave their desolation behind, shipping our mining jobs to China and Peru..leaving overburden, toxic waste, contaminated ground water and economic devastation behind them..
So yes, I love our miners, and I hate what has been done to our families and our mountains. The greedy, corrupt politicians and corporate owners should be held accountable by everyone concerned, and we cannot be distracted by the hate trash talk that is only a diversion from the real causes of this travesty!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Illegal Immigrants taking your job?.Try General Eletric Instead

Tired of illegal Immigrants taking American Jobs!!! What a joke. Ameicans are too fat, lazy and spoiled...Not while football or American Idol is on. While banks and corporations take over this country, we worry about undocumented immigrants. People don't even know who there real enemy is. Here are some facts and satatistics:

1.Exxon Mobil's 2009 profits totaled $19 billion, yet according to its SEC filings, the company received a $156 million rebate from the IRS plus it didn't pay any federal taxes.

2.Bank of America made $4.4 billion in profits last year. This was after it received a $1 trillion BAILOUT from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department, and a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS.

3.General Electric has made $26 billion in profits in the United States over the past five years. It's also received a $4.1 billion tax refund from the IRS. GE has cut a fifth of its American jobs in the past nine years, and is boosting jobs overseas -- where tax rates are lower. And where it can continue evading U.S. taxes.

4.Chevron's IRS refund last year totaled $19 million but it's 2009 profits came to a whopping $10 billion.

5.Boeing received a $30 billion contract from the Pentagon to build 179 airborne tankers. It also received a $124 million refund from the IRS.

6.Valero Energy made $68 billion in sales and received a $157 million tax refund check from the IRS. Over the past three years, it has received a $134 million tax break thanks to the oil and gas manufacturing tax reduction.

7.Goldman Sachs paid 1.1% of its 2009 income in taxes. Yet it made a profit of $2.3 billion. And guess how much it received from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury Department? $800 billion.

8.Citigroup profits last year totaled more than $4 billion. But it paid zero dollars in federal income tax, and received a $2.5 trillion bailout from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury.

9.ConocoPhillips profits from 2007 through 2009 totaled $16 billion. But it was still awarded $461 million in tax arrears because of the oil and gas manufacturing deduction.

10.Carnival Cruise Lines is apparently getting pretty good business. Its profits over the past five years totaled more than $1.1 billion. It's federal income tax rate, however, came to just 1.1%.