Archive for August 27th, 2011
Why Did the Administration Waive US Law 46 Times to Help ForeignOwned Shippers at the Expense of US Maritime Workers
News outlets recently reported that the Obama Administration waived the Jones Act no less than 46 times following its decision to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in late June.
The Jones Act, a section of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, requires that only American-built, owned, and crewed vessels can operate when shipping cargo between two U.S. ports.
In order to get around the law, the Administration declared that the cutoff of oil supplies as a result of the conflict in Libya created a national emergency, allowing for waivers of the law to be issued.
The news reports stated that oil companies seeking to move tens of millions of barrels of domestic crude oil from the Strategic Reserve storage sites in the Gulf Region to refineries on the East Coast sought and received at least 46 waivers allowing them to hire foreign-owned tankers, staffed by foreign crew, to transport the oil.
American maritime workers are wondering: How could the Administration give foreign shippers and foreign crews advantage over U.S. shippers and U.S (continue reading…)
At this hour, rain bands are coming ashore at Nags Head, North Carolina. The main body of the storm is expected ashore between 2 and 6 am eastern time. This massive storm is then forecast to run north up the East Coast of the US, crossing Washington, DC, Delaware, New York and Philadelphia, then up into New England and back into the Atlantic over the Maritime Provinces of Canada. I’ve kept the television on all day with one eye on the the stock market and the other on hurricane coverage (continue reading…)
Between damage to infrastructure (buildings, boardwalks, mass transit systems, etc.), storm surge flood damage, fresh water flood damage (from heavy rain), beach erosion, and vehicular damage, it’s possible that Hurricane Irene will be another billion-dollar-plus U.S. weather disaster.
I say “another” because it would be the record-breaking 10th such weather disaster of 2011. The previous high was nine in 2008 (continue reading…)
As if the stupid movie sequels weren’t enough, we get reruns in our politics too?
Just when we had almost forgotten how God-forsaken, immoral and blind-to-the-facts that our last presidential administration was, Dick Cheney surfaces with a book to remind us how awful he and his gang of mean-spirited goof balls were.
read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com
Links:Full news story
[For those of you expecting your weekly dose of "Friday Talking Points" here, we apologize because this week's column has been pre-empted to bring you a very special message today, instead.]
A new statue of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior is about to be dedicated in Washington; as a memorial to the man, his life’s work, his commitment to non-violence, and the words he used to so eloquently define the struggle against injustice millions of Americans used to face every single day. The ceremony has been delayed, due to the threat of a hurricane hitting the D.C. area this weekend, but it was originally scheduled to mark the 48th anniversary of his most famous speech, given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
This speech will forever be known as his “I Have A Dream” speech, and portions of it are as familiar to every American as F.D.R.’s “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” J.F.K.’s “Ask not what your country can do for you,” and even Abraham Lincoln’s immortal “Government of the people, by the people, for the people” address on the hallowed battlefields of Gettysburg.
This is all as it should be. It’s a powerful speech, after all (continue reading…)
Friday morning’s GDP data reveal that growth in the second quarter was a little slower than we thought — revised down to 1% from 1.3%. With 0.4% in the first quarter, that means growth in the first half of the year amounts to about 0.7%. Recall that it takes growth at trend — about 2.5%-to just keep unemployment from rising, and you will understand my incessant clamoring for someone to do something. Like FAST!, for example.
There’s another reason for the urgency (continue reading…)
Arcade Fire’s 2010 album The Suburbs is a commercial and critical success, winning a Grammy for Album of the Year among other accolades. For those who enjoy exploring religious dimensions in poplar culture, this Montreal-based band has much to offer, with clever lyrics every bit as original as their distinctive sound.
Their songs combine an imaginative blend of social commentary with an informed and creative reading of biblical literature (which I attempt to illustrate in a short analysis of their previous album, Neon Bible). The most explicit reference to the Bible in The Suburbs is the warning not to “trust a millionaire quoting the Sermon on the Mount” (“City With No Children”) (continue reading…)
New York – It is not clear whether Russian policy has reached such a colossal extent of confusion, denial and duplicity as it is manifesting in the Arab region, or whether Russia’s leadership has a covert strategy through which it perceives things differently from the rest of the world. Even in terms of Russia’s national interests, the stances it is taking seem random and arbitrary. This in fact does not befit a major power that has privileges and commitments, as a country that holds the veto right at the Security Council and as a country that has a duty to preserve world peace and security. Russia is investing in the past on both the issues of Libya and Syria, and is risking losing the opportunity to invest in the future (continue reading…)
Chairman Bernanke’s Jackson Hole speech, delivered this morning, will be analyzed for days, if not weeks and months. Interpretations will also be conditioned by what President Obama says on September 5 and the outcome of what is now a two-day (as opposed to the original one-day) FOMC meeting on September 20 – 21 (which presumably will now be accompanied by a press conference).
Unlike 12 months ago, this year’s speech does not pull a rabbit out of the policy hat. Instead, it suggests that, in analyzing the situation and drawing policy implications, Mr. Bernanke has taken another step toward recognizing the extent of the structural headwinds facing the U.S (continue reading…)
If you live on the East Coast, you’re likely already preparing for Hurricane Irene’s predicted attack. USDA is working with FEMA, along with the entire federal family, to support our state and territorial partners as Hurricane Irene continues to threaten the east coast, having already impacted Puerto Rico.
As you stock up on non-perishable food items in case you lose power, USDA encourages you to take the following steps to keep your food supply — including items that are already in your refrigerator and freezer — safe. The best strategy for you and your family is to always have a plan in place that everyone knows and that includes these food safety precautions.
Before a Weather Emergency Occurs:
Put appliance thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer to help determine if food is safe during power outages (continue reading…)
Imam Khalid Latif is blogging his reflections during the month of Ramadan, featured daily on HuffPost Religion. For a complete record of his previous posts, click over to the Islamic Center at New York University or visit his author page, and to follow along with the rest of his reflections, sign up for an author email alert above.
I’ve had a lot of interviews over the last few days by different media outlets doing stories on being Muslim in America. One question that seemingly keeps coming up is “How do you feel about the islamophobic attitudes that have seemingly increased in the United States over the last few years?”
I feel it almost every day – it’s presence and manifestation in my own life and the lives of many around me. It’s there and it needs to be stopped (continue reading…)
By all accounts, political polarization has made America ungovernable. Speaking in Holland, Mich., President Obama declared, “There is nothing wrong with our country. There is something wrong with our politics.” He went on to say that we were experiencing the “worst kind of partisanship” and “the worst kind of gridlock.”
Already, pundits are speculating that the president is going to run for reelection much the same way Harry Truman did in 1948, by declaring that he can’t govern with a “do-nothing congress.”
Is bipartisanship truly dead? Perhaps not. If you focus on the debt crisis, the divide between Democrats and Republicans appears as unbridgeable as the Grand Canyon at its widest point (continue reading…)
Very few people believe in God nowadays, so you can imagine my thrill when I finally got reservations for his new restaurant. The grand re-opening of God’s family-friendly rotisserie diner, Holy Smokes, is His newest endeavor and latest foray into the culinary theater. As a human, and thus, one of the Chef’s previous creations, I was anxious to scope out this hip new eatery. Unfortunately, style certainly trumps substance, and my appetite, originally wet with anticipation, was left as dry as the Egyptian Desert the diner stands upon.
We’re all familiar with the origin story of Holy Smokes; by this point, the tale has grown to biblical proportions (continue reading…)
If you step back from day-to-day vitriol that characterizes the current education policy “debate” and glimpse the larger picture, two worldviews on education reform emerge. One, articulated by the likes of Linda Darling-Hammond, Marc Tucker, David Cohen and others, obsesses about curricular “coherence” and the lack thereof in our nation’s schools. The other, envisioned by Rick Hess, Tom Vander Ark, Paul Hill and many more, seeks to unleash America’s trademark dynamism inside our K-12 education system. Though these ideas appear to pull in opposite directions, they might best work in concert.
Let’s start with the Coherence Camp (continue reading…)
“Front running” is an insiders’ term for an often illegal, always immoral practice in commodity and other markets. Here’s what happens:
A broker holding a client’s order to buy at a certain price instead buys for himself just in “front” of it. The client’s order isn’t filled, and the broker has an unfair advantage over other traders because he controls the client’s order, which will buy the position back from him and protect his trade from a loss.
The client loses the opportunity to gain, where his order is never filled if the market moves away from his order point. If some participants can trade with little or no risk, over time everyone else is hurt.
Because Exchange members’ margin requirements are usually about 1 percent or less, the front-running brokers have a possibility of quick, great gain with almost no risk of loss.
Why Is This Important to Public Policy?
“Front running” is one way to view what criminal Enron executives did to California (continue reading…)
The Irish are fond of saying, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”
Perhaps author C. S. Lewis had this in mind when he penned his epistolary classic, “The Screwtape Letters,” a series of philosophical missives written by a darkly charismatic elder demon, Screwtape, advising his untested protg, Wormwood, on matters of temptation to lure “the patients,” also known as mortals, down the path to hell, into the fiery embrace of “our father, below.”
In 2007 “The Screwtape Letters” was adapted for the stage by Max McLean with the Fellowship for the Performing Arts, and the production is enjoying a national tour this year, being warmly received from Los Angeles to Atlanta.
“The embers [for Lewis' work] are burning brighter than ever.
read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com
Turning up the heat a little more in this long hot summer of our national discontent is the news that American exports are declining. This unexpected and decidedly unwelcome decline threatens the achievement of President Obama’s ambitious goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015 to create two million new jobs.
The President has the right goal. Every $1 billion in additional exports adds about six thousand new jobs, and jobs involving exports pay 15% more than average (continue reading…)
Welcome to New York City! Whether you’re a tourist in town for a few days or a fresh-faced aspiring yuppie in for the long haul, there are a few tips and tricks to learn that will make your stay more enjoyable. You may have already learned how hard it is to navigate our fair city streets with all the pretty buildings to look at and whatnot, but what do you do when you reach the curb? Fear not, green urbanite, with enough practice you’ll know exactly what to do.
We’ll start with the basics. The crossing signal is your friend in your street-spanning adventures. For the novice crosser, its glow is the law (continue reading…)
As people all along the East Coast experience Hurricane Irene’s wind and rain blasting north on one of summer’s last weekends, my thoughts are with all of those in the storm’s path.
I am thankful once again for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for its role in preparing us for storms of this magnitude.
I am also reminded that while we can’t control a hurricane, we can help strengthen our nation’s best defense against this force of nature. Coastal and marine habitats such as barrier islands, beaches, oyster reefs and sea grass beds can help buffer shorelines and protect coastal communities from wind and rising water.
But when these natural sentries are weakened by development, pollution, overfishing and other human impacts, our communities find themselves at even greater risk when disaster approaches.
As the East Coast residents prepare for the worst and hope for the best, it is hard to escape the memory of Hurricane Katrina, which wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast at this moment six years ago (continue reading…)
Last Thursday five AT&T employees and twelve of its outside attorneys, from six different firms, got on a conference call with thirty-two officials from the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice. All told there were close to 50 people participating in the meeting.
Ostensibly, the conference call was for AT&T to explain its third and latest economic model that attempts to justify its merger with T-Mobile. But AT&T’s attempt seems to be more evidence that its bid to monopolize everything has been unraveling (continue reading…)
Lately, both supporters and detractors can’t help but poke President Obama on his accomplishments and purported failures, insisting he should have attacked the job situation before health care. Now, obviously, no one wants to take a serious look at policies that were implemented that did just that, like the automotive industry. I am not going to get into the financial institutions and Wall Street, having been a victim of both, and therefore very biased. Should they have been bailed out? Should there be more regulation in place? I don’t know to the first question, to the second, I don’t know again (continue reading…)
early season ratings have proven more accurate than the Vegas odds makers and last year I pegged Stanford as the 9th best team heading into the season (they were unranked), Oklahoma State rated 19th (also unranked) and had Texas (#5 ranked in the polls) as my 34th rated team. I’ve used my early season ratings to give me an edge over Las Vegas over the years and this year I want to share some conference previews with you. I will also have free analysis of almost every College game in the free analysis section at drbobsports.com.
(projected SEC record: 7.0 – 1.0, 1st Place West)
If the new quarterback plays even close to as well as former starter Greg McElroy played in his first season as the starter in 2009 then the Crimson Tide will have their best team yet under coach Nick Saban. The 2009 team won the National Championship and last year’s team was actually just as good despite having just 2 returning starters on defense (continue reading…)