Dec 282010
 
blue_gold

@BeckyMastne via Twitter

* Sponsored by: Rebecca Mastne

Large corporations and private billionaires have begun to lay claim to our nations fresh water supply. Corporations such as Nestle have been removing water from Lake Michigan and the surrounding great lakes at an alarming rate. Nestle has been bottling our water to sell back to us and to countries like China. This has caused great distress to the surrounding wildlife and waterways.

As if this was not bad enough private billionaires such as T. Boons Pickens, who made his money in oil and the Bush Family have been buying vast quantities of land over the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the worlds greatest aquifers. With the intent to sell our nations water back to us in the very near future, when we run out of other fresh water supplies due to pollution and consumption. For more information please read:

“Blue Gold”

Award-winning featured documentary narrated by Malcolm McDowell. Global Warming is an issue of ‘how’ we live, the water crisis is an issue of ‘if’ we live

Water is a basic human right, the right to survive. “Blue Gold” reports on various powers trying to take control of the public’s water for profit and control. These powers fail to realize that people will not allow their water to be taken. People fight, because they must.

Bluegold World Water Wars

~I ask you please to sign Becky’s Petition…~JP

SIGN HERE

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Dec 282010
 

Posted by Jim Hoft

“They Sent an Anti-Terrorism Task Force to My House”

Chris Liu, the pilot who angered Big Sis last week by revealing potential loopholes in airport security, went public on Monday. The 50 year-old pilot told CNN that TSA sent an anti-terrorism task force to his home after he posted his video on YouTube.

The pilot who posted a cell phone video on YouTube revealing potential loopholes in airport security identified himself Monday and said he is “pretty shocked” by the national uproar he has caused.

Chris Liu, a 50-year-old Colfax resident and 27-year veteran pilot, said in an interview with a Sacramento television station that he never imagined his “little video” of what he felt were lax procedures at San Francisco International Airport would get much attention.

The video, posted Nov. 30, has since been pulled from YouTube, and Liu has been stripped of his role in a federal anti-terrorism program that allowed him to carry a handgun while flying. His story has been covered by media across the country – including local outlets, CNN and Fox News.

“I never even thought about being an activist,” Liu told News 10 Monday night, “but it’s kind of turning into that direction.”

A website Liu set up to chronicle his story indicates a man on a mission.

“The Patriot Pilot: An American Hero,” describes what Liu views as a contrast between security measures faced by travelers and airline employees and those faced by ground crews. He also expresses his frustration with the Transportation Security Administration’s response to his security complaint.

Gateway Pundit

McClatchy

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Dec 282010
 
fman



The day after the funeral for one Chicago firefighter, a wake will be held for the second killed when the roof of an abandoned laundry fell on them last week.

Visitation for Corey Ankum will be from 2 to 8 p.m. today at the Apostolic Church of God, 6320 S. Dorchester Ave.

Visitation will continue at 10 a.m. on Thursday, followed by his funeral at 11 a.m., also at the church. He will be buried in Lincoln Cemetery in Chicago.

Ankum had been with the Chicago Fire Department for about a year and had a wife and
three children.

On Tuesday, more than 1,000 firefighters said a final farewell to firefighter Edward Stringer at a Southwest Side chapel before he was buried in a Blue Island cemetery.

The Dec. 22 roof collapse occurred while dozens of firefighters were searching the burned, vacant laundry building to make sure no vagrants were sheltering inside.

–Staff report

Hundreds of Chicago firefighters salute the casket of Chicago firefighter Edward Stringer outside Blake Lamb funeral home in Oak Lawn as it is placed on a fire truck to be transported to funeral services at St. Rita of Cascia Chapel, 7740 S. Western Ave. in Chicago. (WGN-TV)

Chicago firefighter Edward Stringer, one of the two firefighters killed in a fire last week when the roof collapsed in an abandoned South Side commercial building, was eulogized today as someone who never wanted to be thought of as a hero but who was exactly that.

“Ed Stringer knew about heroes and knew what it took to be one,” said Father Thomas Mulcrone, the fire department’s chaplain, at funeral services this morning ” … He told (his daughter): ‘Never think of me as a hero. I’m just doing my job.’ ”

Stringer also was remembered as the type of man who shoveled his neighbors’ sidewalks and front steps when it snowed, as someone who once drove six hours while on vacation to help an Afghanistan war veteran he didn’t even know move his belongings and who did the unappreciated grunt work involved in raising money to send child fire victims to burn camp.

But, “he was all fireman,” said Mulcrone. “He was one of the first in, one of the last out, always on the front line.”

Stringer’s body was carried 6½ miles by firetruck — his firetruck, Engine No. 63 — from an Oak Lawn funeral home to his funeral service at St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel on Chicago’s Southwest Side. His casket was covered with a Chicago city flag. On the front of the fire engine was purple bunting and Springer’s fire hat and jacket.

Among the mourners were Mayor Richard M. Daley and his wife, Maggie.

Daley praised Stringer, a 12-year department veteran, as someone who “every day willingly put himself in danger … Without him and his brothers in the Chicago Fire Department, our city could not function.” He called Stringer’s death “a tragedy and a loss for the entire city.”

Chicago Fire Fighters Union Local 2 President Thomas Ryan said his colleagues would honor Stringer’s memory “by continuing to do our jobs as best as we can — no questions asked.”

He recalled one of the 20,000 condolence letters he said had been received since the deaths of Stringer and firefighter Corey Ankum, who will be waked and buried later this week. “Heaven must have a heck of a fire department,” the letter said. Said Ryan: “Truer words were never spoken.”

The roof collapse that killed Stringer and Ankum occurred while dozens of firefighters were searching the burned, vacant laundry building to make sure no vagrants were sheltering inside.

Stringer’s family members did not speak at the service, but a statement was read from his mother, Joyce, who thanked “all who have made a particular difficult time more bearable” and “all on the scene … who worked feverishly to extricate my son and all the other trapped and injured firefighters.”

After the funeral, another procession formed to take Stringer’s body to Beverly Cemetery in Blue Island for burial.

An honor guard of fire and police personnel line Western Avenue today after the funeral for Edward Stringer, a Chicago firefighter killed in the line of duty. (E. Jason Wambsgans, Chicago Tribune)

Yesterday, hundreds of firefighters lined up at an Oak Lawn funeral home to pay their respects to Stringer.

– Becky Schlikerman Chicago Breaking News

The casket for Edward Stringer, a Chicago firefighter killed in the line of duty, is lifted onto an engine by fellow firefighters this morning at Blake Lamb Funeral home in Oak Lawn. (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune)

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Dec 282010
 

~Tucker Carlson reports:


by Terence P. Jeffrey

(House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds one of the pens used by President Barack Obama to sign the health care bill, Tuesday, March 23, 2010, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(CNSNews.com) – The federal government has accumulated more new debt–$3.22 trillion ($3,220,103,625,307.29)—during the tenure of the 111th Congress than it did during the first 100 Congresses combined, according to official debt figures published by the U.S. Treasury.

That equals $10,429.64 in new debt for each and every one of the 308,745,538 people counted in the United States by the 2010 Census.

The total national debt of $13,858,529,371,601.09 (or $13.859 trillion), as recorded by the U.S. Treasury at the close of business on Dec. 22, now equals $44,886.57 for every man, woman and child in the United States.


In fact, the 111th Congress not only has set the record as the most debt-accumulating Congress in U.S. history, but also has out-stripped its nearest competitor, the 110th, by an astounding $1.262 trillion in new debt.

During the 110th Congress—which, according to the Clerk of the House, officially convened on Jan. 4, 2007 and adjourned on Jan. 4, 2009–the national debt increased $1.957 trillion. When that Congress adjourned less than two years ago, it claimed the record as the most debt-accumulating Congress in U.S. history. As it turned out, however, its record did not last long.

The $3.22 trillion in new federal debt run up during the 111th Congress exceeds by 64 percent the $1.957 trillion in new debt run up during the 110th.

Although the 111th Congress cast its last vote on Dec. 22, it will not officially adjourn until next week.

Democrats controlled both the House and Senate in the 110th and 111th Congresses.

The 108th Congress ($1.159 trillion in new debt) and 109th ($1.054 trillion in new debt) take third and fourth place among all U.S. Congresses for accumulating debt. In both these Congresses, Republicans controlled both the House and Senate.


Still, the $3.22 trillion in new debt accumulated during the record-setting 111th Congress is more than three times the $1.054 trillion in new debt accumulated by the last Republican-majority Congress (the 109th) which adjourned on Dec. 8, 2006.

Historically, according to the U.S. Treasury, the federal debt did not reach $3.22 trillion until PDF: September 1990, during the 101st Congress. Between the first Congress, which adjourned in 1791 leaving behind approximately $75 million in debt, and the convening of the 101st Congress, which occurred on Jan. 3, 1989, the national debt grew to $2.684 trillion.

During the Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) tenure as speaker, which commenced on Jan. 4, 2007, the federal government has run up $5.177 trillion in new debt. That is about equal to the total debt the federal government accumulated in the first 220 years of the nation’s existence, with the federal debt rising from $5.173 trillion on July 23, 1996 to $5.181 trillion on July 24, 1996.

In her inaugural address as speaker, Pelosi vowed that Congress would engage in no new deficit spending.

“After years of historic deficits, this 110th Congress will commit itself to a higher standard: Pay as you go, no new deficit spending,” she said in an address from the speaker’s podium. “Our new America will provide unlimited opportunity for future generations, not burden them with mountains of debt.”

See video of Pelosi making her vow here:

To see an accounting of the new debt accumulated during the tenure of each Congress since the 101st. The convening and adjourning dates are reported by the Clerk of the House and the debt levels are recorded by the U.S. Treasury:

Click here for CNS Data…

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Dec 282010
 
alternative_energy.jpg

~I don’t know about you, but my energy bill doubled this month! What’s going to happen if they push their stupid ‘green’ agenda?! ~JP

House Republican freshmen looking to make names for themselves on energy issues in the next Congress have some goals in common: Ramp up domestic energy production, roll back the Obama administration’s environmental rules and ensure that cap-and-trade stays dead.

There are 87 members of the GOP freshman class. Here are 10 to watch on energy and environmental issues in the next Congress:

* David McKinley (W.Va.) — This seventh-generation West Virginian wants to use his seat on the Energy and Commerce Committee to protect his district’s lifeblood — {the coal industry.} “Coal is West Virginia,” (and also Alabama!) he said in a recent interview. McKinley said he’ll work toward ending what he dubbed the “war on coal that has been under way now for several years from the EPA.” Oversight of the Environmental Protection Agency will be one of his top priorities, he said, calling for greenhouse gas rules to be revised and “base them on fact rather than political jargon.”

* Cory Gardner (Colo.) — Like many of his colleagues, this newcomer with strong agricultural ties hopes to advance “hearty oversight” of the EPA from his new perch on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

On the energy front, look for Gardner to support legislation advancing renewable energy as well as fossil fuel production, but he said he has no interest in pursuing “overreach like cap and trade.” Rep. Betsy Markey (D) — who Gardner ousted — {voted in favor of the climate bill last Congress} ~One down!

* Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) — The U.S. Air Force veteran backed by the tea party and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin considers himself an environmentalist. “I believe in preserving the environment, but I also believe that you have to find a middle ground,” to avoid hampering economic growth, he told POLITICO. Kinzinger, who also landed a spot on the Energy and Commerce Committee, said Congress must act aggressively to exploit domestic energy resources, including coal, offshore oil, natural gas, oil shale and renewables. Naturally, {cap-and-trade legislation is off the table.} “I can tell you cap and trade is not going to come out of there, because that is what I believe is a big manufacturing killer,” he said.

* Mike Pompeo (Kan.) — The businessman and president of an oil and gas equipment company said his experience manufacturing oil and gas equipment helped prepare him for his new gig on Energy and Commerce. Pompeo hails from a district filled with agricultural interests and assumes the seat of retiring conservative champion Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R). Among his top priorities: investigating EPA. “We’ve got livestock and ranchers, all of whom are very concerned about EPA moving forward on regulations relating to clean air and clean water,” he said.

—> We need to make Rep. Pompeo familiar with this! “Great Lakes” “Blue Gold”

—> and this…High levels of chromium found in Chicago-area tap water

* Morgan Griffith (Va.) — The attorney and Virginia state lawmaker ousted longtime Democratic Rep. Rick Boucher to represent the rural Southwestern corner of the state. On the campaign trail, Griffith repeatedly hammered {Boucher for his work on the cap-and-trade bill} that cleared the House in 2009, despite Boucher’s efforts to strike a sweeter deal for the coal industry. On his website, he says it is “reckless to pursue such an economically devastating plan in order to address a scientific theory — man-made global warming — that many scientists do not even believe is happening.” {Expect Griffith to become one of the loudest voices on the Energy and Commerce Committee attacking EPA climate regulations next year.}

* Charlie Bass (N.H.) — He’s not really a freshman, but he is returning to Congress to take back the seat he held from 1997 until 2007. Expect the Granite State Republican to be a more moderate voice on environmental issues than many of his GOP colleagues in the 112th Congress. Bass won the endorsement of Republicans for Environmental Protection prior to the November election, in part for his 2005 efforts to keep a provision to allow drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge out of a House spending bill.

* Jeff Landry (La.) — The incoming Louisiana lawmaker will take the seat of retiring Rep. Charlie Melancon (D). Louisiana’s 3rd District encompasses the southeastern part of the state hit hardest by the summer’s massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Landry is eager to use his seat on the Natural Resources Committee to end what he calls the administration’s “de facto moratorium” on oil and gas drilling in the Gulf and allow the permitting process to move more swiftly. “They have just lumped the entire offshore oil and gas industry into one category,” he said. “When it involves energy, I certainly would like to see the next Congress become a little more energy friendly and also energy realistic,” which includes expanding production of a range of energy sources, including nuclear and “clean coal.”

* Jeff Duncan (S.C.) — The incoming Natural Resources Committee freshman wants to help boost the panel’s profile when it comes to energy issues. Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) lost his bid this year to swipe energy jurisdiction away from the Energy and Commerce Committee, but Duncan said there’s plenty of room for the Resources panel to get more active on energy issues by opening up federal lands that are currently off limits to energy exploration. “Let’s further explore the Outer Continental Shelf,” he said. He’d also like to see legislation to expand nuclear power and energy production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

* Bill Flores (Texas) — This oil patch freshman and newcomer to the Natural Resources Committee has deep roots in the oil and gas industry, including a stint as president and CEO of the drilling firm Phoenix Exploration Co. His top energy goal in the next Congress: increase access to domestic energy supplies, he told POLITICO. {The regulatory regime that’s been in place for the past several years “has been hostile to domestic energy development,” he said.}

* Steve Pearce (N.M.) — The New Mexico lawmaker from an energy-producing district is returning to the House after a two-year absence, but he won’t regain his former seat on the Natural Resources panel, where he served as ranking member on the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee during his last term. Pearce wasn’t allowed a seat on the panel because he got an A-committee — Financial Services. Still, he told POLITICO he hopes to play a major role on energy issues by authoring legislation and working with Hastings on areas like increasing access to domestic oil and gas reserves.

By ROBIN BRAVENDER Politico

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Dec 282010
 


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Dec 282010
 


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Dec 282010
 


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Dec 282010
 

H/T Char

MOGADISHU, Somalia — A leader of Somalia’s Islamist insurgency threatened to attack America during a speech broadcast Monday.


“We tell the American President Barack Obama to embrace Islam before we come to his country,” said Fuad Mohamed “Shongole” Qalaf.

Al-Shabab has not yet launched an attack outside Africa but Western intelligence has long been worried because the group targeted young Somali-Americans for recruitment. About 20 have traveled to Somalia for training and at least three were used as suicide bombers inside Somalia. Al-Shabab holds most of southern and central Somalia and has the support of hundreds of foreign fighters, mostly radicalized East Africans.

It seeks to overthrow the weak U.N.-backed government, which is protected by 8,000 Ugandan and Burundian African Union peacekeepers.

The al-Shabab militia launched coordinated attacks in Uganda in July that killed 76 people. It has also announced its allegiance to Al Qaeda and is believed to be harboring a mastermind of the twin 2008 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people.

The radio message was recorded in the town of Afgoye, near the Somali capital, during a meeting of Shongole and Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, formerly the leader of insurgent group Hizbul Islam. The two insurgent groups had clashed several times previously but announced a merger last week. Aweys said his group will fight under al-Shabab’s command.

“We have united for the sake of our ideology and we are going to redouble our efforts to remove the government and the African Union from the country,” said Aweys on Monday.

In an unrelated development, the Somali information minister said the new Cabinet had approved the use of a private security contractor to train forces in the capital of Mogadishu and the program would start “soon”.

Saracen International would train forces for VIP protection, said Abdulkareem Jama. He said he did not know exactly when training would start, what the men’s duties would include or how many men would be trained but he said the program included the renovation of a hospital and government buildings.

Somali officials are frequently killed by insurgents, both in single assassinations and en masse in suicide bombings and attacks. The Somali ambassador in Kenya previously said that up to 1,000 men could be trained in the capital for an anti-piracy force and 300 for a presidential guard.
Saracen is already training 1,000 men for an anti-piracy force in the semiautonomous northern region of Puntland.

The program has been criticized by U.S. officials who say it is unclear who is funding it, what its objectives are and whether it breaks a U.N. arms embargo.

Jama said the Somali cabinet had discussed those issues and were satisfied the embargo was not being broken but he did not say who was funding the program.

“There is a need for training,” he said. “There was an effort to slow down the project (in Mogadishu) because of those concerns.”

The arid Horn of Africa nation has not had a functioning government since a socialist dictatorship collapsed in 1991. Its position on the Horn of Africa means pirates can use its long coastline to capture shipping.

Analysts fear that Al Qaeda-linked insurgents are also gaining ground across the Gulf of Aden in the unstable nation of Yemen. If Yemen fell, that would mean failed states on either side of the shipping route leading into the strategically vital Suez Canal, the route taken by a substantial portion of the world’s oil shipments.

AP/FOX

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Dec 282010
 

Federal probe: SEC, grand jury look into deals gone bad…

Detroit’s two public pensions have reported losses of more than $480 million in risky investments, from hedge funds and vacant land in Texas and Hawaii, to a Detroit office tower and a Pittsburgh casino.

The losses, all since February 2008, include more than $270 million in write-downs this fall alone.

Many of the investments involved secretive middlemen, who pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars, or were vetted by controversial investment adviser Adrian Anderson and his firm, North Point Advisors, the subjects of earlier Free Press investigations.

A federal grand jury and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating some of the deals that soured and Anderson’s role in them, the Free Press has learned.

In the meantime, the pensions are paying the legal bills of Anderson and a second adviser who scrutinized failed real estate deals. That adviser received a grand jury subpoena in March.

The grand jury also has demanded records on Southfield businessman Robert Shumake, who the Free Press reported inflated his credentials and persuaded the funds to invest in real estate around the country, including a deal involving auto-part warehouses that lost more than $22 million in value.

The combined losses are staggering for public pensions already battered by the financial crisis of 2008. The most recent annual report shows the funds had combined assets of $5.44 billion in June 2009, down from nearly $7.4 billion in June 2008.

If cash-strapped Detroit has to make up the shortfall, it could mean higher taxes or reduced services, such as fewer police on the street. But the chairs of the two pensions say the funds are not at risk of being unable to pay benefits.

Detroit pension funds have written down $480 million in investments since 2008

Auditors for Detroit’s two public pensions had tough words for trustees as they scrutinized their portfolios this fall.

The police and retirement fund had invested $10 million with a company that was now “out of business and bankrupt,” auditors wrote in one report obtained by the Free Press.

A $6-million investment in a manufacturing venture was “worthless with essentially no remaining rights or values.”

Same for $12.7 million sunk into a Texas real estate deal: worthless. And without restructuring, the report said, “abandoning the investment appears to make the most sense right now.”

According to pension records, the two pension funds — one for police and fire, the other for general city workers — wrote down real estate, private equity, hedge fund and other investments by some $270 million this fall alone. They wrote down more than $200 million in 2008 and 2009 in such alternative investments, which are typically riskier and less transparent than more traditional, publicly traded investments, such as stocks or bonds.

“Some of these investments were garbage when they came in, and they’re garbage now,” said George Orzech, a Detroit firefighter who served for 21 years as a city Police and Fire Retirement System trustee before stepping down from the board in June.

“This is the result you get when you take high risks with investments you don’t understand, and some of your advisers don’t even understand,” he said.

Read more at Detroit Free Press

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