Day: February 22, 2011

Is Scott Walker Cutting Off Internet Access To Thwart Protesters?

Shades of middle eastern dictators!

Think Progress

According to pro-labor protesters in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker (R) may be taking a page from former Egyptian Dictator Hosni Mubarak and cutting off internet access to key protest organizers within the state Capitol building.

If you are in the Capitol attempting to access the internet from a free wifi connection labeled “guest,” you cannot access the site defendwisconsin.org. The site has been used to provide updates on what is happening, where you can volunteer, and where supplies and goods are needed to support protesters. Administrators of the website were notified on Monday that the page is being blocked. Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate says that the site was put on a blacklist typically used to filter out pornography sites so that protestors inside the Capitol could not access this key site.

Former Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Charles Hoornstra said that, if Walker is blocking the website, it could be a violation of state and federal laws concerning free speech laws. The accusation by the Wisconsin Democratic Party accompanies an accusation by the Teaching Assistants Association that Wisconsin state authorities cut off wifi access to a room they had taken over as a headquarters inside of the Capitol.

More…

 

Indiana Democrats Flee State To Block Anti-Union Bill: Reports

~I still believe America’s destiny is to become a living testament to what free human beings can accomplish by acting in unity ~  John Kerry

Huffington Post

Democratic lawmakers are fleeing Indiana in an attempt to block anti-union legislation, the Indianapolis Star reports. A source tells the paper that the Democrats will most likely enter Illinois, where fleeing Wisconsin senators are also ensconced as part of a similar maneuver.

The Wall Street Journal reports that protesters encouraged the departing Democrats:

Republicans arrived at the statehouse Tuesday morning to find no Democrats present, as protesters applauding the walkout could be heard inside the chamber.The strategy is possible because Republicans make up 60 of 100 House seats. Without any Democrats present, Republicans lack a two-thirds majority needed for a quorum to act on the bill.

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports that the proposed Indiana legislation “prohibits employees from being required to pay union dues or representation fees as a condition of employment.”

Scroll down for the latest updates from Indiana, Wisconsin and other budget battles from throughout the United States.   

Keith Olbermann Re: Current TV: “I’m In Charge”

Cropped headshot of Keith Olbermann

Image via Wikipedia

Mediaite

Ex-MSNBC host Keith Olbermann may have lost his perch in cable news primetime, but–if quotes attributed to him are to be believed–he hasn’t lost any of his, um, confidence. The Current TV-bound Olbermann is quoted by Cindy Adams in the New York Post today describing his new gig, saying “I start beginning June. Al Gore’s Current TV, station 103 in Manhattan. My producers and staff suggest I even veer a little to the middle politically.” Sorry? Did you say middle?

You’d be leaving MSNBC and going to Current (Channel 103 in Manhattan) to “veer to the middle?” Well, let’s leave that aside for a moment. It’s the next line in Adams’ story that’s even more surprising. Olbermann’s quoted as saying “No cut in salary. In fact, I’m in charge. I’m the news director.”

Hold on. First. Is Al Gore’s company really paying Olbermann what he was making at MSNBC? North of five million dollars annually? That is, the same money to host a nightly show that will reach a mere fraction of the audience of Countdown? (Yes, Mr. Gore, I know, Current’s audience of course has the potential to rise from where it is, but, it’s still far, far, smaller than that of MSNBC)?

And what about “I’m in charge?” At the time of Olbermann’s hiring, Current’s “bosses,” Joel Hyatt, Current co-founder and executive vice president, and Mark Rosenthal, CEO, of Current Media, described Olbermann’s role as “Chief News Officer,” responsible for executive producing his own nightly show and consulting on the expansion of Current’s primetime lineup to include the possibility of other shows. He’ll also have an equity stake in Current.      More…

America’s Unhappy Electorate

The Daily Beast

President Obama hits 50 percent in the new Newsweek/Daily Beast poll, but Americans are largely dissatisfied with Congress, its leaders, and plans. (A bright spot: Trump for president!) Full results below.

A new Newsweek/Daily Beast poll shows that while the American people are gradually warming to President Obama’s job performance—he’s at 50 percent approval ratings, versus 44 percent who disapprove—the American electorate remains deeply skeptical toward the plans of both the Democrats and Republicans in Congress, and gives Congress itself a distinctly negative rating.

Gallery: America’s Unhappy Electorate Poll Results

 

Tuesday Blog Round Up

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Has a Choice: Union Buster or Real Leader?

If Rick Scott had been governor in 1956

Libya no longer on U.S.’s backburner

Oil prices surge as Libya crisis intensifies

Thousands Of Nation’s Dams Reportedly ‘Susceptible To Failure’

Beck Echoes Joel Richardson: Warns Of Antichrist, Caliphate Led By Turkey

What the fight in Wisconsin is about….

Battles May Cripple A Weakened Labor Movement

The Tea Party’s Takeover of the Republican Budget

Baby Dolphins Are Washing Up Dead Along the Gulf

The Pentagon Papers That Donald Rumsfeld Doesn’t Want You to See

TPM LiveWire

When Donald Rumsfeld released his memoir Known and Unknown, he made a big deal out of putting thousands of documents from his archives online in a sop to transparency and accuracy. But he didn’t put them all online. And we’ve found some of the papers that Rumsfeld would have preferred to toss down the memory hole.

The Rumsfeld Papers web site, which launched earlier this month as a complement to the memoir, is a collection of Rumsfeld’s memos, speeches, and other documents going back to his days as an undergraduate at Princeton in the 1950s. The idea, according to a researcher he hired for the project, “to get more information in people’s hands” because “he really thinks the free flow of information is critical to a vibrant democracy.” Rumsfeld himself compared the digital archive to a sort of legit version of Wikileaks.

Except Rumsfeld, of course, only posted the information that he wanted to flow freely. The other stuff–like his callous attempts to keep John Walker Lindh from getting speedy trial, his effort to whitewash the Pentagon’s detainee policy, and the friendly op-eds he tried to plant in newspapers–he left out. Luckily, we were able to get a hold of some of the papers from his days as defense secretary that Rumsfeld reviewed and deliberately withheld from the archive.        More…

  

Researchers: Earth will be ‘unrecognizable’ by 2050

Beyond the Thunder Dome…?

The Raw Story

A growing, more affluent population competing for ever scarcer resources could make for an “unrecognizable” world by 2050, researchers warned at a major US science conference Sunday.

The United Nations has predicted the global population will reach seven billion this year, and climb to nine billion by 2050, “with almost all of the growth occurring in poor countries, particularly Africa and South Asia,” said John Bongaarts of the non-profit Population Council.

To feed all those mouths, “we will need to produce as much food in the next 40 years as we have in the last 8,000,” said Jason Clay of the World Wildlife Fund at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

“By 2050 we will not have a planet left that is recognizable” if current trends continue, Clay said.

The swelling population will exacerbate problems, such as resource depletion, said John Casterline, director of the Initiative in Population Research at Ohio State University.

But incomes are also expected to rise over the next 40 years — tripling globally and quintupling in developing nations — and add more strain to global food supplies.

People tend to move up the food chain as their incomes rise, consuming more meat than they might have when they made less money, the experts said.

It takes around seven pounds (3.4 kilograms) of grain to produce a pound of meat, and around three to four pounds of grain to produce a pound of cheese or eggs, experts told AFP.

“More people, more money, more consumption, but the same planet,” Clay told AFP, urging scientists and governments to start making changes now to how food is produced.

Population experts, meanwhile, called for more funding for family planning programs to help control the growth in the number of humans, especially in developing nations.

“For 20 years, there’s been very little investment in family planning, but there’s a return of interest now, partly because of the environmental factors like global warming and food prices,” said Bongaarts.

“We want to minimize population growth, and the only viable way to do that is through more effective family planning,” said Casterline.