Thursday, August 19, 2010

Extent of lingering Gulf oil plume revealed

Excerpts Taken from Nature News August 19 2010

Written by Amanda Mascarelli
The swathe of oil still stretching from the Deepwater Horizon spill is 35-kilometres long, according to a new report. The study, published in Science, is the first major peer-reviewed analysis of the underwater oil plume. It also indicates that the plume has persisted for several months, with oxygen measurements showing little sign of the oil being degraded quickly by microbes in the water.
A team led by researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts found that the main plume is suspended at a depth of 1,000–1,200 metres below the surface and in some places is more than 2 kilometres wide and 200 metres thick. Other oil plumes are present in the Gulf of Mexico, but this was the first to be identified and is the most thoroughly sampled.
"Up to this point, people had identified hydrocarbons in subsurface waters, but they weren't able to say just how wide the plume was, how tall it was, or how long it was, or that it was continuous," says lead author Richard Camilli, an oceanographer at the WHOI.
Beginning at the site of the blown-out oil pipe, Camilli and his colleagues studied the plume's properties by zigzagging an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) through the plume. They suspect that the plume was longer than 35 kilometres, but their measurements were stopped short in late June by the approach of Hurricane Alex. But between 19 June and 28 June, the team took more than 3,500 real-time measurements of hydrocarbon concentrations and tracked the presence of 10 chemicals in the water column by using a mass-spectrometer that they lowered into the water by a cable. They made another 2,300 chemical measurements while sampling oxygen concentrations in the water.
The team has a "technological capability that is second to none on this planet," says John Kessler, a chemical oceanographer at Texas A&M University in College Station. "They can basically swim the AUV like a fish through this plume, measuring all the different oil and gas hydrocarbons and do a much more efficient job of mapping the area of this plume than anyone else can."

Read More Here
Yep, Its not going away and we have yet to see the worst. Shame on BP and our Government for telling us otherwise!

Drought Drives Decade-Long Decline in Plant Growth


Earth has done an ecological about-face: Global plant productivity that once flourished under warming temperatures and a lengthened growing season is now on the decline, struck by the stress of drought.

NASA-funded researchers Maosheng Zhao and Steven Running, of the University of Montana in Missoula, discovered the global shift during an analysis of NASA satellite data. Compared with a six-percent increase spanning two earlier decades, the recent ten-year decline is slight -- just one percent. The shift, however, could impact food security, biofuels, and the global carbon cycle.

A snapshot of Earth's plant productivity in 2003 shows regions of increased productivity (green) and decreased productivity (red). Tracking productivity between 2000 and 2009, researchers found a global net decrease due to regional drought. Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

"We see this as a bit of a surprise, and potentially significant on a policy level because previous interpretations suggested that global warming might actually help plant growth around the world," Running said.

"These results are extraordinarily significant because they show that the global net effect of climatic warming on the productivity of terrestrial vegetation need not be positive -- as was documented for the 1980’s and 1990’s," said Diane Wickland, of NASA Headquarters and manager of NASA's Terrestrial Ecology research program.

Conventional wisdom based on previous research held that land plant productivity was on the rise. A 2003 paper in Science led by then University of Montana scientist Ramakrishna Nemani (now at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.) showed that global terrestrial plant productivity increased as much as six percent between 1982 and 1999. That's because for nearly two decades, temperature, solar radiation and water availability -- influenced by climate change -- were favorable for growth.

Setting out to update that analysis, Zhao and Running expected to see similar results as global average temperatures have continued to climb. Instead, they found that the impact of regional drought overwhelmed the positive influence of a longer growing season, driving down global plant productivity between 2000 and 2009. The team published their findings Aug. 20 in Science.

"This is a pretty serious warning that warmer temperatures are not going to endlessly improve plant growth," Running said.

The discovery comes from an analysis of plant productivity data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite, combined with growing season climate variables including temperature, solar radiation and water. The plant and climate data are factored into an algorithm that describes constraints on plant growth at different geographical locations.

For example, growth is generally limited in high latitudes by temperature and in deserts by water. But regional limitations can very in their degree of impact on growth throughout the growing season.

Zhao and Running's analysis showed that since 2000, high-latitude  northern hemisphere ecosystems have continued to benefit from warmer temperatures and a longer growing season. But that effect was offset by warming-associated drought that limited growth in the southern hemisphere, resulting in a net global loss of land productivity.

"This past decade’s net decline in terrestrial productivity illustrates that a complex interplay between temperature, rainfall, cloudiness, and carbon dioxide, probably in combination with other factors such as nutrients and land management, will determine future patterns and trends in productivity," Wickland said.

Researchers are keen on maintaining a record of the trends into the future. For one reason, plants act as a carbon dioxide "sink," and shifting plant productivity is linked to shifting levels of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Also, stresses on plant growth could challenge food production.

"The potential that future warming would cause additional declines does not bode well for the ability of the biosphere to support multiple societal demands for agricultural production, fiber needs, and increasingly, biofuel production," Zhao said.

"Even if the declining trend of the past decade does not continue, managing forests and croplands for multiple benefits to include food production, biofuel harvest, and carbon storage may become exceedingly challenging in light of the possible impacts of such decadal-scale changes," Wickland said.

Okay Now the Color Of Black is Hands Off for the GOP?

The Huffington Post   |  Nick Wing First Posted: 08-19-10 12:32 PM

Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle once partook in a campaign against a local high school's use of black football jerseys, arguing that the dark color was ungodly and wicked, Bill Roberts of Nevada's Pahrump Valley Times recently reported.

It was Homecoming of 1992 and Nevada's Tonopah High School football was seeking to depart from their school colors, specifically in wearing black jerseys instead of the usual red and white. The uniform change was meant to be a display of solidarity; the year before, the team had suffered an embarrassing loss at the hands of a rival that had, up to that point, been winless. The Homecoming game in 1992 was their chance to make up for that plaguing defeat in front of the whole school, and they wanted to do something special to build the team's spirits.

Enter Sharron Angle and her color-crusading cohort.

While some detractors made the argument that adopting the new color was unacceptable simply as a breach of tradition, Angle -- who was in the midst of an eventually successful campaign for school board -- and others argued that wearing black jerseys was closer to sacrilege.

"I cannot quote scripture as they did to justify their point but the gist of their argument was that black as a color was thoroughly evil, invoking the supernatural and especially the devil," Roberts reports. "Whichever argument prevailed, school administrators caved in and prohibited the Muckers from wearing the black apparel."

The black uniforms were then confiscated and held under "lock and key" by the administration, which refused to compensate the team for the money they had spent acquiring the jerseys.

Though Sharron Angle sought to downplay the nearly 20-year old incident at a press conference Wednesday, claiming that she had "no recollection of the controversy or any position she may have taken," such a stance would not be entirely uncharacteristic of the deeply religious Senate candidate that Angle has shown herself to be since capturing her primary victory in June.

From the "the beginning," Angle has described her campaign as divinely inspired, and said in July that she believed God had called on her to run for the U.S. Senate. She has also repeatedly made clear her positions on abortion -- that it shouldn't be accepted even in the cases of rape or incest -- and has expressed skepticism over the true necessity for a separation of church and state. Earlier this month, Angle painted the Democratic agenda as a "violation of the First Commandment," because it supposedly created idolatry in making the "government our God" with entitlement programs. Just a day later, she filled out a questionnaire of her religious views that uncovered her dislike of gay adoption, her support for the clergy taking part in politics, and a promise not to take money from any PAC or corporation that supported gay rights.

Now heres the rub according to my Family's like of religion. Don't Priests were Black????? These are the people Republicans want in office?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mama Grizzlies Attack Ex-Governor Sarah Palin In Web Ad

EMILY's List, a national organization committed to helping elect pro-choice Democratic women, is out with a new web ad targeting midterm election candidates running with the endorsement of ex-Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
The minute-and-a-half spot comes as part of the progressive group's "Sarah Doesn't Speak for Me" initiative, which launched on Tuesday.
As a Mama Grizzly in Montana this is my Ad to Sarah Pandering Palin!

Sarah Doesn't Speak for Me

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hindenburg Omen

Taken from Bloomberg News! The reporter on this story: Alexis Xydias in London at

This week’s plunge in U.S. stocks triggered a technical indicator known as the Hindenburg Omen that may signal a more severe selloff, according to analysts who follow charts to predict market moves.

The market signal, named for a German zeppelin that caught fire and crashed more than seven decades ago, occurs when an unusually high number of companies in the New York Stock Exchange reach 52-week highs and lows. The indicator last occurred in October 2008, according to UBS AG.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index yesterday completed the biggest three-day decline since July 1, after an unexpected increase in unemployment claims added to evidence an economic recovery is weakening. The benchmark gauge for U.S. stocks has dropped 3.4 percent so far this week as Federal Reserve policy makers said growth “is likely to be more modest” than they previously forecast.

The indicator may suggest “a savage equity downturn is imminent,” said Albert Edwards, a London-based strategist at Societe Generale SA, who has told investors to favor bonds over stocks for more than a decade. “Equities are tottering on the edge as increasingly recessionary data becomes apparent. It would not take much to tip them over that edge.”

The Hindenburg signal was triggered yesterday as the proportion of stocks reaching new one-year highs and lows both exceeded 2.2 percent of the total listed on the NYSE, according to Michael Riesner, a technical analyst at UBS in Zurich.

Rising Market

The number of stocks at a 52-week high must not be more than twice the number marking lows, the technical theory also says, according to analysts. The indicator is only valid in a rising market, as defined by the NYSE Composite Index’s rolling average value in the last 10 weeks. It must also occur when the NYSE McClellan Oscillator, a measure of market momentum, is negative.

The Hindenburg Omen must be confirmed with a second occurrence within 36 days, according to Riesner. He said the signal occurred seven times in 2008 as the S&P 500 posted its biggest annual drop since the Great Depression.

“It’s an interesting name but what you really have as a technical background is a classic distribution phase in the market,” Riesner said. “It’s the classic tug of war between bulls and bears that you have there.”

In technical analysis, investors and analysts study charts of trading patterns and prices to predict changes in a security, commodity, currency or index. UBS is ranked as the top bank for equity technical analysis and charting according to a 2010 Thomson Extel survey.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Social Security Lifts almost 70 thousand Elderly American Montanans Out of Poverty

Social Security Lifts 13 Million Elderly Americans Out of Poverty

August 11, 2010
Forward by Norma Duffy:

So almost 70,000 Montanans would be in Poverty if it wasn't for Democrats Protecting social security. How shameful is it then that we have a Republican Representative Like Denny Rehburg that wants to kick our elders to the curb. Denny like every other Re-Thug out there wants to harm our grandparents by dropping social security! You be the judge and vote for him into office again in November, or look to a brighter future by voting for Dennis McDonald!

Almost 90 percent of people aged 65 and older receive some of their family income from Social Security. [1] Without Social Security benefits, 45.2 percent of elderly Americans would have incomes below the poverty line, all else being equal. With Social Security benefits, only 9.7 percent are poor. Some 13.2 million elderly Americans are lifted out of poverty by Social Security.
Social Security reduces elderly poverty dramatically in every state in the nation, as shown in Figure 1 and Table 2. Without Social Security, the poverty rate for those aged 65 and over would exceed 40 percent in 42 states. With Social Security, the elderly poverty rate in the large majority of states is less than 10 percent. Social Security lifts 1.1 million elderly people out of poverty in California and Florida, almost 900,000 in Texas, and 800,000 in New York.

Social Security Lifts More Than 1 Million Children Out of Poverty

Social Security is important for children and their families as well as for the elderly. About 6 million children under age 18 (8 percent of all U.S. children) lived in families that received income from Social Security in 2008, according to Census data. Over 3 million children received their own benefits as dependents of retired, disabled, or deceased workers. Others lived with parents or relatives who received Social Security benefits. In all, 1.1 million children are lifted out of poverty by Social Security.
Social Security records show that 3.2 million children under age 18 qualified for Social Security payments themselves in December 2009. Of these, 1.3 million were the survivor of a deceased worker. Another 1.6 million received payments because their parent had a severe disability. And 301,000 children under 18 received payments because their parent or, in some cases, grandparent was retired.

Read more Here

By Kathy Ruffing and James R. Horney

Some critics continue to assert that President George W. Bush’s policies bear little responsibility for the deficits the nation faces over the coming decade — that, instead, the new policies of President Barack Obama and the 111th Congress are to blame. Most recently, a Heritage Foundation paper downplayed the role of Bush-era policies (for more on that paper, see p. 4). Nevertheless, the fact remains: Together with the economic downturn, the Bush tax cuts and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq explain virtually the entire deficit over the next ten years (see Figure 1).

The deficit for fiscal year 2009 was $1.4 trillion and, at nearly 10 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), was the largest deficit relative to the size of the economy since the end of World War II. If current policies are continued without changes, deficits will likely approach those figures in 2010 and remain near $1 trillion a year for the next decade.

The events and policies that have pushed deficits to these high levels in the near term, however, were largely outside the new Administration’s control. If not for the tax cuts enacted during the presidency of George W. Bush that Congress did not pay for, the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that were initiated during that period, and the effects of the worst economic slump since the Great Depression (including the cost of steps necessary to combat it), we would not be facing these huge deficits in the near term.

While President Obama inherited a dismal fiscal legacy, that does not diminish his responsibility to propose policies to address our fiscal imbalance and put the weight of his office behind them. Although policymakers should not tighten fiscal policy in the near term while the economy remains fragile, they and the nation at large must come to grips with the nation’s long-term deficit problem. But we should not mistake the causes of our predicament.

Taken from

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Even a Republican Mayor Knows theConstitutional rights of all Americans

The following are New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's remarks as delivered on Governors Island.
We have come here to Governors Island to stand where the earliest settlers first set foot in New Amsterdam, and where the seeds of religious tolerance were first planted. We've come here to see the inspiring symbol of liberty that, more than 250 years later, would greet millions of immigrants in the harbor, and we come here to state as strongly as ever - this is the freest City in the world. That's what makes New York special and different and strong.
Our doors are open to everyone - everyone with a dream and a willingness to work hard and play by the rules. New York City was built by immigrants, and it is sustained by immigrants - by people from more than a hundred different countries speaking more than two hundred different languages and professing every faith. And whether your parents were born here, or you came yesterday, you are a New Yorker.
We may not always agree with every one of our neighbors. That's life and it's part of living in such a diverse and dense city. But we also recognize that part of being a New Yorker is living with your neighbors in mutual respect and tolerance. It was exactly that spirit of openness and acceptance that was attacked on 9/11.
On that day, 3,000 people were killed because some murderous fanatics didn't want us to enjoy the freedom to profess our own faiths, to speak our own minds, to follow our own dreams and to live our own lives.
Of all our precious freedoms, the most important may be the freedom to worship as we wish. And it is a freedom that, even here in a City that is rooted in Dutch tolerance, was hard-won over many years. In the mid-1650s, the small Jewish community living in Lower Manhattan petitioned Dutch Governor Peter Stuyvesant for the right to build a synagogue - and they were turned down.
In 1657, when Stuyvesant also prohibited Quakers from holding meetings, a group of non-Quakers in Queens signed the Flushing Remonstrance, a petition in defense of the right of Quakers and others to freely practice their religion. It was perhaps the first formal, political petition for religious freedom in the American colonies - and the organizer was thrown in jail and then banished from New Amsterdam.
In the 1700s, even as religious freedom took hold in America, Catholics in New York were effectively prohibited from practicing their religion - and priests could be arrested. Largely as a result, the first Catholic parish in New York City was not established until the 1780's - St. Peter's on Barclay Street, which still stands just one block north of the World Trade Center site and one block south of the proposed mosque and community center.
This morning, the City's Landmark Preservation Commission unanimously voted not to extend landmark status to the building on Park Place where the mosque and community center are planned. The decision was based solely on the fact that there was little architectural significance to the building. But with or without landmark designation, there is nothing in the law that would prevent the owners from opening a mosque within the existing building. The simple fact is this building is private property, and the owners have a right to use the building as a house of worship.
The government has no right whatsoever to deny that right - and if it were tried, the courts would almost certainly strike it down as a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question - should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here. This nation was founded on the principle that the government must never choose between religions, or favor one over another.
The World Trade Center Site will forever hold a special place in our City, in our hearts. But we would be untrue to the best part of ourselves - and who we are as New Yorkers and Americans - if we said 'no' to a mosque in Lower Manhattan.
Let us not forget that Muslims were among those murdered on 9/11 and that our Muslim neighbors grieved with us as New Yorkers and as Americans. We would betray our values - and play into our enemies' hands - if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else. In fact, to cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists - and we should not stand for that.
For that reason, I believe that this is an important test of the separation of church and state as we may see in our lifetime - as important a test - and it is critically important that we get it right.
On September 11, 2001, thousands of first responders heroically rushed to the scene and saved tens of thousands of lives. More than 400 of those first responders did not make it out alive. In rushing into those burning buildings, not one of them asked 'What God do you pray to?' 'What beliefs do you hold?'
The attack was an act of war - and our first responders defended not only our City but also our country and our Constitution. We do not honor their lives by denying the very Constitutional rights they died protecting. We honor their lives by defending those rights - and the freedoms that the terrorists attacked.
Of course, it is fair to ask the organizers of the mosque to show some special sensitivity to the situation - and in fact, their plan envisions reaching beyond their walls and building an interfaith community. By doing so, it is my hope that the mosque will help to bring our City even closer together and help repudiate the false and repugnant idea that the attacks of 9/11 were in any way consistent with Islam. Muslims are as much a part of our City and our country as the people of any faith and they are as welcome to worship in Lower Manhattan as any other group. In fact, they have been worshiping at the site for the better part of a year, as is their right.
The local community board in Lower Manhattan voted overwhelming to support the proposal and if it moves forward, I expect the community center and mosque will add to the life and vitality of the neighborhood and the entire City.
Political controversies come and go, but our values and our traditions endure - and there is no neighborhood in this City that is off limits to God's love and mercy, as the religious leaders here with us today can attest.
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Mr. Newt's New History Lesson

So there is a guy who looks into the past. Opens the attic of a long time past to find out if some one in the present is abusing it, and re-writing history for Political gain. Like Newt Gingrich does when he talks about the Cordoba House.You would know it as the "Ground Zero Mosque. Carl Pyrdum sets him straight with a great blog based on research. Apparently, something "Newt" doesn't use anymore

Last week Gingrich released a statement that went something like this:The proposed "Cordoba House" overlooking the World Trade Center site – where a group of jihadists killed over 3000 Americans and destroyed one of our most famous landmarks - is a test of the timidity, passivity and historic ignorance of American elites.  For example, most of them don’t understand that “Cordoba House” is a deliberately insulting term.  It refers to Cordoba, Spain – the capital of Muslim conquerors who symbolized their victory over the Christian Spaniards by transforming a church there into the world’s third-largest mosque complex.

The Muslims conquered Cordoba in 712.  The Christian church that was later transformed into the Great Mosque of Cordoba apparently and continued hosting Christian worship for at least a generation after that.  Work on the Mosque didn't actually begin until seventy-odd years later in 784, and the mosque only became "the world's third-largest" late in the tenth century, after a series of expansions by much later rulers, probably around 987 or so. Muslim historians writing about the Great Mosque don't point to it as a symbol of Muslim triumph over Christians; rather, they treat it primarily as a symbol of Muslim victory over other Muslims.

The mosque was indeed begun in the wake of a Muslim conquest--just not the conquest of the Christians.  Rather, it was ordered built by the Umayyad emir Abd-ar-Ramman the first, probably in part to commemorate his successful conquest of Cordoba in the 750's, fought against other Muslim chieftains loyal to the rival Abbasid Caliphate, and his successful repulsion of subsequent Abbasid attempts to dislodge him by force throughout the 760's. This is, incidentally, probably why the Great Mosque--unlike almost every other Mosque in the Muslim world--is built facing south.

Usually, Mosques are built facing Mecca, as Muslims are meant to pray towards the holy city.  But the Great Mosque is oriented as if it were actually built in Damascus, the original capital of the Umayyads and the city from which Abd-Ar-Ramman had had to flee in exile when it was conquered by the Abbasids.  Damascus is north of Mecca, while Cordoba is much further west.  By pointing his Mosque south, Abd-ar-Ramman the first was telling his Muslim rivals, "This exile to Iberia is a temporary thing; you may hold Damascus for now, but in the eyes of our god, my family still controls it."

Muslim historians of the late tenth century tell that this Abd-ar-Ramman bought the church from the Christian congregation after sharing it with them for fifty years "following the example of Abu Ubayda and Khalid, according to the judgement of Caliph Umar in partitioning Christian churches like that of Damascus and other [cities] that were taken of peaceful accord".

This is the important fact that Newt hopes those who read his polemic will be ignorant of: for a ruler to be legitimate in Muslim eyes in the tenth century, during the time when the Great Mosque was being expanded into its present-day dimensions, it was important to emphasize the peaceful succession of Islam from the other religions in the area.

Well, I know that Newt hasn't been a Catholic for very long now, but maybe his priest ought to direct him to read a little thing called "
The Catholic Encyclopedia".  Allow me to quote from the 1917 edition (which has the virtue of being in the public domain and easily searchable) and its entry on Cordoba:
In 786 the Arab caliph, Abd-er Rahman I, began the construction of the great mosque of Cordova, now the cathedral, and compelled many Christians to take part in the preparation of the site and foundations. Though they suffered many vexations, the Christians continued to enjoy freedom of worship, and this tolerant attitude of the ameers seduced not a few Christians from their original allegiance. Both Christians and Arabs co-operated at this time to make Cordova a flourishing city, the elegant refinement of which was unequaled in Europe. [...] the citizens of Cordova, Arabs, Christians, and Jews, enjoyed so high a degree of literary culture that the city was known as the New Athens. From all quarters came students eager to drink at its founts of knowledge. Among the men after-wards famous who studied at Cordova were the scholarly monk Gerbert, destined to sit on the Chair of Peter as Sylvester II (999-1003), the Jewish rabbis Moses and Maimonides, and the famous Spanish-Arabian commentator on Aristotle, Averroes.

So it's easy to see why a group of Muslims creating a community center in the heart of a majority Christian country in a city known for its large Jewish population might name it "The Cordoba House" They're not, as Gingrich hopes we would believe, discreetly laughing at us because "Cordoba" is some double-secret Islamist code for "conquest"; rather, they're hoping to associate themselves with a particular time in medieval history when the largest library in Western Europe was to be found in Cordoba, a city in which scholars of all three major Abrahamic religions were free to study side-by-side.

Excerpts from the great young Blogger "Got Medievil"

I wish the thinking would outnumber the sheep and that the rational would outnumber the fearful.

Geez, what happened last week. Is the right imploding and morphing into something really hideous. Are real Americans ever going to see the Future. or is it going to be an all out fight for sanity in this Country?

  • All my Fox viewing friends emailing me the ratings of BIll O Rielly, as if Bill; being a popular TV show had anything to do with the truth.Ratings do not mean the truth is being spread. and how does 1% of 320,000,000 Americans make it Popular. A court ruling in Florida around 2003 found Fox didn't have to provide the truth to News, because they owned their content. That's right! Fox is allowed to say whatever they want by law. Even If it is a lie!

Rachel Maddow Uses Humor To Respond To Bill O'Reilly And Make Him Look Like The Pompous Chump He Is