21 July 2010

Americans Sour on Economy, Obamas Better Plan to Manage Our Oceans - News Headlines 21 July 2010

*** Check out latest Great Recession poll taking the pulse of Americans and how we are not faring in this chaotic, virtually jobless - for those over age 40 - economy.

Recession Humor

From Denny: There's a lot going on in the world this excessively hot July and so I cranked down the air conditioning and turned higher the oscillating fan to start this write! :)

The recession has dragged on for so long that now comedians are doing recession humor stand-up. It's reminiscent of the Great Depression humor from the comedians in that generation. Hard times come and go but the laughs manage to always be there.

Environmentalists Hail Obama on New Ocean Agency

Recession humor enjoys global boom - Audiences are increasingly turning to comedy to ease the recession blues.

This was good news out of this White House. Prez Obama has a new plan to round up all the various agencies flung here and there and focus them together to properly manage America's oceans. It's about time someone did this. I guess it took an epic oil spill and environmental disaster to motivate the federal government to get serious on this project. Kudos to the Obama team for taking this on. It won't be easy to integrate all these agencies but at least this new measure is a great start at consolidating resources, knowledge and budgets.

What will it involve? It's a plan to bring everyone to the table, from the oil drilling companies to the fishermen to shipping and local politicians. The President's plan is to bring comprehensive stewardship to our oceans, the Great Lakes and coastal areas.

The smart thing about it is that there are no new federal rules to navigate. What is new is now to organize more effectively and efficiently there is the National Ocean Council (NOC) that will be comprised of federal agencies, state and regional groups. Coordination always means better communication and faster results for problem solving. The plan involves bringing everyone together to plan the future of the oceans, the Great Lakes and the coastal areas for wind farms, oil drilling and fishing.

There are some complainers in the mix: the fishermen who think they own vast areas of the oceans as their private fishing areas for profit. Come on, guys, it's the American taxpayers who allow you to fish our oceans for your profit. Let's get that straight.

Hopefully, this great idea will not become too cumbersome to enact in a timely manner, since big government moves far too slowly in the first place. These are a lot of competing interests at the table and there are bound to be fights over perceived personal turf.

Fishermen need to remember that when the oil rigs came into the Gulf of Mexico, the rigs actually created artificial reefs that attracted fish in droves. Those new fishing grounds became lucrative areas for local fishermen close to home.

Perhaps the same will be true as America turns to alternative sources of energy like ocean wind farms. Who knows the benefits yet to come? Any way we look at it, America must move forward in our thinking. America must get serious about pulling together for every one's benefits instead of a few interests and our search for energy must be demonstrated in less destructive manners to the environment.

There is only so much environment to go around and this is all we possess without starting a war to take someone else's land. That certainly was the way of humanity's history for generations when we depleted our resources: we took the other guy's. Time for a paradigm shift in thinking. We can learn to better manage our environment. This new plan to manage our oceans is a good start to get a handle on organizing and deciding where to go from here.

How Obama wants to protect oceans: White House unveils new plan - The Obama administration wants to change the way America manages its oceans. So it has introduced a plan to bring all stakeholders – from fishermen to oil companies – to the table.

The Monitor's View: After Gulf oil spill, Obama plans better use of oceans - With the end of the BP oil spill in sight, Obama orders federal agencies to zone human uses of coastal seas (and the Great Lakes). It won't be easy but it is essential.

'Whale' super skimmer drops out of Gulf oil spill response - The converted iron ore freighter ‘A Whale’ recovered only negligible amounts of oil from the Gulf oil spill. Smaller, nimbler skimmers are more appropriate for widely dispersed spills, the Coast Guard says.

Speaking of resources, The Whale oil skimmer was a huge disappointment to the Gulf residents. Apparently, it could not manage the dispersed oil as it was not large enough to gather in the manner they expected. Yet another reason to quit with the cancer-causing dispersant from BP I never thought were wise. You see, if BP never used that dispersant, the oil would have remained thicker and floated on the surface of the ocean, making it easier for clean up crews and this boat called The Whale.

Most of that mess could have been finished up by now. Instead, the dispersed oil went down, hiding under the surface of the ocean, making the disaster look better on news video. Everything BP did was calculated for public perception. It still is doing that in the way of the constant barrage of TV ads here claiming they are doing such a great job and claiming it was all their idea.

News flash: Obama demanded they do the very things to which they claim are their ingenious ideas. BP even hired people claiming to be Louisiana residents, thinking that will tamp down the anger around here. Who are these people who think Gulf residents are this stupid anyway? A New York City ad agency? Don't even get me started on Americans who work for BP as lawyers protecting BP and ad agencies defending them for their own profit.

American citizenship changes

Can you see it now? Talk about fights in Congress spilling out into the streets over all the issues with immigration and a down economy where everyone will be pointing fingers. This bill is not going to help matters at all.

Will US revoke the right of American citizenship to foreigners born here? - A bill in the House of Representatives would change the 14th amendment to the US Constitution that grants anyone who is born on US soil the right of American citizenship. Efforts to revoke birthright citizenship could make it the new flash point in the debate over immigration.

Americans and the Economy

People are ticked off in America. We have watched our neighbors get foreclosed on when they lost their jobs. Then we watched the value of our homes get cut in half. Our homes are typically our savings or retirement accounts for most middle class Americans.

What this devastating economy is saying to Americans is, "We don't care about you." The Republicans and Big Business have devastated this economy. It makes you wonder if there will be anyone left standing with a job that can afford groceries, a house, a car with the way the Greed of Big Business and Big Banks has raped the American economy. It's no wonder Americans are furious with corporations and their government for refusing the stem the flow of jobs overseas.

Eight ways the Great Recession has changed Americans - Fifty-five percent of Americans in the labor force have experienced a job loss, a pay cut, or a reduction in hours since the onset of the Great Recession in 2007, a new survey finds.">Eight ways the Great Recession has changed Americans - Fifty-five percent of Americans in the labor force have experienced a job loss, a pay cut, or a reduction in hours since the onset of the Great Recession in 2007, a new survey finds.

Beyond unemployment insurance: Six ideas to lift the economy - While Congress fights over extending unemployment insurance, Americans remain sour on the economy. But a few proposals show promise for encouraging growth.

Is stimulus plan working? The arguments pro and con. - A white House report released Wednesday said the stimulus plan has saved or created as many as 3.6 million jobs. But polls show Americans are skeptical.

Elena Kagan nomination

One Republican Senator, Lindsay Graham, stunned everyone, when, as a member of the Judiciary Committee, decided to break political ranks and vote FOR Kagan's nomination. I guess he felt guilty at his poor performance during her hearing where he hammered her on not being Christian enough for his preference. In short, the man was obnoxious. Glad to see he had a change of heart. Another shocker is that Sen. Lugar, also a very conservative difficult Republican, decided to vote in her favor.

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan wins second GOP vote: Richard Lugar - Sen. Richard Lugar becomes the second Republican to say he will support Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. Sen. Lindsey Graham announced his support Tuesday.

Israel's New Defense System

For the past four years, Israel has been busy coming up with a counter measure to those many crude rockets sailing over the walls pf Gaza to harm and provoke Israelis. This new system is not all inclusive protection for large cities. However, it can easily handle the many crude rockets launched from Gaza. It's a blow to Iran who has supported these terror groups in these efforts to terrorize Israeli citizens.

Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system not a silver bullet - Israel finished testing its Iron Dome missile defense system today, four years after Hezbollah exposed Israel's vulnerability to rocket attacks.

The latest fussing over trying to contain North Korea

Sec. Clinton and Sec. Gates have teamed up to try and tamp down tensions with North and South Korea. Of course, the Chinese got miffed when one of our officials used "The Sea of Japan" term to describe where America was conducting cooperative military exercises with South Korea. China prefers the term "East Sea." Such is life in the diplomatic world of semantics. Sadly, it's those semantics which cause people to go to war. Kudos go to Clinton and Gates for working their magic.

Military exercises are a show of force which provide visual reminders to rogue nations of what the allies of their enemy can do. It was a smart idea on Obama's part to send out the USS Washington for these exercises. After all, it was North Korea who blew the hell out of a South Korean ship, sunk it, killing 46 people. Ruthless is as ruthless does and the international community is taking action as well as imposing sanctions on North Korea. When this guy finally dies, it will be interesting to take a film crew into that country and find out how many people are actually still alive. He has been starving them for decades.

USS George Washington, S. Korea military drills send mixed signals to North Korea

North Korea sanctions announced by Clinton part of a diplomatic dance for South Korea - The United States is getting tough on North Korea by conducting military drills using the USS George Washington with South Korea next week. North Korea sanctions announced by Hilary Clinton on her visit to South Korea's DMZ Wednesday are a display of solidarity to ease South Korean concerns about the American commitment. North Korea sanctions announced by Hilary Clinton on her visit to South Korea's DMZ Wednesday are a display of solidarity to ease South Korean concerns about the American commitment.

Afghan War Acts Like a Sticky Post-It Note on America's Ass

Afghan government officials are pressing the international donor community to release control of the funds. Are you kidding me? Afghanistan is a mish-mash of Stone Age chieftains who feud regularly and suppress women's rights. Why would America trust you with our $50 billion pledged to help rebuild your infrastructure? Frankly, I think we need to redirect those funds back to America and allow these folks to find their own way. Clearly, they are a corrupt government and have been for years. Too much money is too much temptation to do more wrong.

Afghanistan war: Are Afghan forces loyal enough to take control by 2014? - The beheadings of six Afghan police have raised questions about the true loyalties of some Afghan forces during a crash program to recruit and train more locals in the Afghanistan war.

Afghanistan: Send less money for drug war, give us more control - On the eve of the Kabul Conference – the ninth major international Afghan donor conference – Afghanistan's Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal offers suggestions for how to cut down on the waste and fraud that is limiting the impact of billions in aid.

Latest From the Iraq War

Breakthrough for new Iraq government? Allawi meets Maliki, Sadr - A flurry of meetings could signal the formation of a new Iraq government by next week's deadline. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's main challenger met with him tonight, after meeting kingmaker Muqtada al-Sadr yesterday.

Pakistan's Fears, Security of America and Pakistan and Vulnerability of Pakistani nukes

Currently, Obama is trying the softer approach of winning over the Pakistani people. The Pakistanis are still furious over Blackwater (as well they should be) and they callous way Bush and Cheney conducted themselves over there by just using Pakistan to secure America's security.

The reality is that you have to have a relationship with people. The war against these terrorists like the Haqqani network, widely viewed as funded from Pakistan's security establishment, is the prime target Obama is after. Until now Pakistan has been reticent to crack down on the Haqqani network because parts of their government are so entwined with them. Obama is hoping to sweet talk them.

Well, a few hospitals built, a terrific new water system to help out thousands on the Afghan-Pakistan border and a few other goodies should go a long way to improving relations. If the presidential gamble does not work, then Pakistan and their media cannot complain we never tried and the onus will be on them.

Another bone of contention that Pakistan has with America is our worry over their nukes and the security of them. Pakistan thinks we want them for ourselves. You have got to be kidding me. We have aging nukes in our arsenal and we wish we could be rid of them as they are costly to keep up and a danger to own.

What the whole world wants is for any nukes to be tucked away safely and not an international danger that could prove to be easily stolen by terrorists. Since parts of the Pakistani government are funding Afghan terrorists then you will have to certainly understand why America is gravely concerned about Pakistan's sincerity of commitment to nuke security.

In Pakistan, Hillary Clinton announces new aid projects, lauds mango - The mood was upbeat during Hillary Clinton's two-day visit to Pakistan, in contrast to her visit in October. Today she announced plans for two hydroelectric dams and three hospital projects.

And a few more stories in the headlines...

Veil ban: Why Syria joins Europe in barring the niqab - After issuing the veil ban on Sunday, which bars the full-face niqab veil from both public and private universities, Syria is now heading into waters that have proved difficult for Egypt. Courts there struck down similar bans.

China oil spill spreads but not as big as BP oil spill in Gulf - China officially doubled the size of the oil spill caused by an explosion last week at the port city of Dalian. The China oil spill is now 165 square miles, but still just a fraction of the size of the BP oil spill in Gulf.


Why are dead penguins washing up on Brazil's beaches? - Some 500 dead penguins turned up dead last week on the beaches of São Paulo state in Brazil. Vets think they died of hunger or exhaustion after coming in search of food.

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