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marmar

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,621

Journal Archives

Biden More Competitive Than Clinton Against Leading Republicans: Poll


(Bloomberg) Here's one more reason to continue speculating about whether Vice President Joe Biden will enter the presidential race: he polls better nationally against the leading three Republican candidates than Hillary Clinton, and has a higher favorability rating, too.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday, if Biden was the democratic candidate, he would beat Donald Trump by eight points (48 - 40 percent), former Florida Governor Jeb Bush by six points (45 - 39) and Senator Marco Rubio by three points (44 - 41). Clinton only beats Trump by four points (45 - 41), Bush by two points (42 - 40) and Rubio by one point (44 - 43).

Eighty-three percent of Democrats view Biden favorably, compared to 76 percent and 54 percent who approve of Clinton and Vermont Senator Sanders, respectively. Among all registered voters, Biden has a 48 percent favorability rating, while Clinton came in at 39 percent and Sanders at 32 percent. .....................(more)

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-08-27/biden-more-competitive-than-clinton-against-leading-republicans-poll




The U.S. Is Short on Options to Confront Next Crisis


(Bloomberg) Stock market and commodity price declines are sweeping the globe, raising a question: If the U.S. economy lands in another hole, what tools does it have to dig itself out?

Perhaps not many, or at least not as many as before the 2008 meltdown.

U.S. debt stands at 74 percent of gross domestic product, compared with 35 percent in 2007, based on a Congressional Budget Office report released Tuesday. That burden is expected to grow further in coming years, limiting government options for additional fiscal stimulus in the form of spending or lower taxes.



While the U.S. could follow in the footsteps of Japan, Ireland, Italy or Greece, which have racked up even higher debt-to-GDP levels, heftier deficits would be a hard political sell. After all, Congress has been loathe to borrow, curbing spending through "sequester" limits and pushing the nation to the brink of default in 2011 amid disputes over a debt-limit extension.

In recent years, the Federal Reserve has provided the stimulus that austerity-minded fiscal policy makers didn't. The central bank has held interest rates near zero since 2008 and carried out three massive asset purchase programs to boost the economy. .......................(more)

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-26/the-u-s-is-short-on-options-to-confront-next-crisis




Charlotte's Streetcar Ridership Tops Projection




SOURCE: MCCLATCHY


Aug. 25--Charlotte's new streetcar averaged 1,507 passenger weekday trips in July, which exceeds the Charlotte Area Transit System's estimates for the line.

Before the Gold Line opened, CATS said it estimated the 1.5-mile streetcar would carry 1,100 passenger trips. The transit system's official projection to the federal government was that it would handle 900 passenger trips.

The transit system said that August ridership appears to be similar to July ridership.

"Exceeding initial ridership projections demonstrates the public's continued embracement of rail transit and their support for more transportation choices," said CATS chief executive John Muth in a statement.

When counting ridership, CATS counts a passenger trip as one person getting on a train or bus one time. A person who takes a round-trip would be counted as two passenger trips. ..................(more)

http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/12107444/charlottes-streetcar-ridership-tops-projection



There Aren’t Enough Firefighters to Stop America’s West From Burning

There Aren’t Enough Firefighters to Stop America’s West From Burning
An unprecedented 32,000 men and women are fighting blazes in what could be the most destructive fire season in history

By Kyle Dickman | August 26, 2015


(Bloomberg) “This thing’s going to burn until the snow flies,” Joe Flores, a Forest Service firefighter from Vernal, Utah, says to his partner, Todd Gregory, as they race ahead of yet another out-of-control wildfire. Flores, who’s fought fires for 21 years and is an expert on fire behavior, has never seen anything like this year, with so many superhot, superfast fires burning at once. He’s riding shotgun in Gregory’s pickup on U.S. Route 97, and they’re speeding along the Columbia River, trying to reach homes outside Chelan (population 4,000), a tourist and farm village four hours east of Seattle, before one head of the sprawling Reach Fire does. The two can only do so much to protect homes without an engine or a full crew, but they can try to make sure everybody has evacuated.

Embers lifted on 40-mile-per-hour gusts of wind clear the mile-wide Columbia and ignite parched grass on the opposite shore. There, beneath Wells Dam, the fire climbs the bank and lights another 8 square miles of dry grasslands. A second head of flame continues a run northwest toward the Cascade Mountains.

Gregory pulls up to a ranch house tucked in an orchard. There’s a well-watered lawn out front and a small wood shed next to it that’s already burning. A wave of 6-foot flames is advancing at about 7 miles per hour from Chelan and toward Pateros, a 600-person town that lost 300 homes to wildfire last year. Engine running, Flores gets out of the truck just as a tank explodes in the garage. A bolt of flame vents above the roof. The smell of sulfur wafts over them.

[font size="4"][font color="red"]“100 million people in the West can no longer expect to just pick up the phone, dial 911, and have a Hotshot come and save them.”[/font][/font]


“We got to get out of here. I’ve no idea what we’re breathing in,” Gregory says. A panicked Labrador-mix rushes out from behind the garage and leaps on Flores.




“Do you mind?” Flores asks. Gregory shoots him a look: Dude, what kind of question is that?

Flores lifts the Lab into the truck’s cab. With flames now working through the garage roof, they pull out and head back to fire camp, a sprawling tent city that’s sprung up to house firefighters on break from the fire lines. Although the house survives, the garage is toast, one of 38 structures incinerated in the Chelan area over the next 10 hours. A fruit storage warehouse will get reduced to neat squares of ash and charcoal. Fresh apples in crates melt into globs of sticky black sludge. Parked cars become metal skeletons. Some 1,600 residents, who began the morning believing they were protected by almost 1,000 firefighters, leave in a hurry. Some escape through areas that have already burned, passing smoking telephone poles and downed power lines whipping the ground. ....................(more)

http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2015-wildfires-in-the-american-west/




Professor Richard Wolff with Thom Hartmann on the real state of the global economy






Published on Aug 24, 2015

Tonight on The Big Picture, Thom takes a look at the U.S. and global markets and discusses the state of both economies.

Dr. Richard Wolff, Professor of Economics Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and author of “Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism joins Thom to talk about Monday’s historic lows in the financial markets. Richard Wolff breaks down China’s economy and if the devaluation of the yuan is the root to this market meltdown. Then Thom and Richard take a look at the U.S. economy and review wage growth, inequality, and pensions.



There Aren’t Enough Firefighters to Stop America’s West From Burning


There Aren’t Enough Firefighters to Stop America’s West From Burning
An unprecedented 32,000 men and women are fighting blazes in what could be the most destructive fire season in history

By Kyle Dickman | August 26, 2015


(Bloomberg) “This thing’s going to burn until the snow flies,” Joe Flores, a Forest Service firefighter from Vernal, Utah, says to his partner, Todd Gregory, as they race ahead of yet another out-of-control wildfire. Flores, who’s fought fires for 21 years and is an expert on fire behavior, has never seen anything like this year, with so many superhot, superfast fires burning at once. He’s riding shotgun in Gregory’s pickup on U.S. Route 97, and they’re speeding along the Columbia River, trying to reach homes outside Chelan (population 4,000), a tourist and farm village four hours east of Seattle, before one head of the sprawling Reach Fire does. The two can only do so much to protect homes without an engine or a full crew, but they can try to make sure everybody has evacuated.

Embers lifted on 40-mile-per-hour gusts of wind clear the mile-wide Columbia and ignite parched grass on the opposite shore. There, beneath Wells Dam, the fire climbs the bank and lights another 8 square miles of dry grasslands. A second head of flame continues a run northwest toward the Cascade Mountains.

Gregory pulls up to a ranch house tucked in an orchard. There’s a well-watered lawn out front and a small wood shed next to it that’s already burning. A wave of 6-foot flames is advancing at about 7 miles per hour from Chelan and toward Pateros, a 600-person town that lost 300 homes to wildfire last year. Engine running, Flores gets out of the truck just as a tank explodes in the garage. A bolt of flame vents above the roof. The smell of sulfur wafts over them.

[font size="4"][font color="red"]“100 million people in the West can no longer expect to just pick up the phone, dial 911, and have a Hotshot come and save them.”[/font][/font]


“We got to get out of here. I’ve no idea what we’re breathing in,” Gregory says. A panicked Labrador-mix rushes out from behind the garage and leaps on Flores.




“Do you mind?” Flores asks. Gregory shoots him a look: Dude, what kind of question is that?

Flores lifts the Lab into the truck’s cab. With flames now working through the garage roof, they pull out and head back to fire camp, a sprawling tent city that’s sprung up to house firefighters on break from the fire lines. Although the house survives, the garage is toast, one of 38 structures incinerated in the Chelan area over the next 10 hours. A fruit storage warehouse will get reduced to neat squares of ash and charcoal. Fresh apples in crates melt into globs of sticky black sludge. Parked cars become metal skeletons. Some 1,600 residents, who began the morning believing they were protected by almost 1,000 firefighters, leave in a hurry. Some escape through areas that have already burned, passing smoking telephone poles and downed power lines whipping the ground. ....................(more)

http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2015-wildfires-in-the-american-west/




Coal Dethroned: In Appalachia, the Coal Industry Is Collapsing, But the Mountains Aren't Coming Back


from TomDispatch:


Coal Dethroned
In Appalachia, the Coal Industry Is in Collapse, But the Mountains Aren’t Coming Back

By Laura Gottesdiener


In Appalachia, explosions have leveled the mountain tops into perfect race tracks for Ryan Hensley’s all-terrain vehicle (ATV). At least, that’s how the 14-year-old sees the barren expanses of dirt that stretch for miles atop the hills surrounding his home in the former coal town of Whitesville, West Virginia.

“They’re going to blast that one next,” he says, pointing to a peak in the distance. He’s referring to a process known as “mountain-top removal,” in which coal companies use explosives to blast away hundreds of feet of rock in order to unearth underground seams of coal.

“And then it’ll be just blank space,” he adds. “Like the Taylor Swift song.”

Skinny and shirtless, Hensley looks no more than 11 or 12. His ribs and collarbones protrude from his taut skin. Dipping tobacco is tucked into his right cheek. He has a head of cropped blond curls that jog some memory of mine, but I can’t quite figure out what it is. He’s pointing at a peak named Coal River Mountain. These days, though, it’s known to activists here as “the Last Mountain,” as it’s the only ridgeline in this area that's still largely intact.

.....(snip).....

The King Is Dead

In the first half of this year, at least six domestic coal companies filed for bankruptcy. In February, West Virginia’s Covington Coal fell, followed by Xinergy and Grass Creek Coal in April, Patriot and Birmingham Coal & Coke in May, and A&M Coal in June. In August came the biggest announcement of all: the $10-billion coal giant Alpha Natural Resources had entered the bankruptcy sweepstakes, too. .........................(more)

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176040/tomgram%3A_laura_gottesdiener%2C_the_king_is_dead%21/#more





Americans’ Economic Outlook Plunges: Rosy scenario gets tangled up in reality


Americans’ Economic Outlook Plunges
by Wolf Richter • August 25, 2015

[font color="blue"]Rosy scenario gets tangled up in reality.[/font]


The rout in Chinese stocks, the deteriorating Chinese economy, the subsequent rout in US stocks, and nagging questions about the US economy – they all got blamed for the unceremonious collapse of the confidence Americans have in our rosy scenario.

It’s sinking in. Even NPR has been talking about it. Whatever you do, “don’t sell,” was their admonition today. Those kind of shows first thing in the morning don’t fit into our rosy scenario.

That scenario looked a lot rosier in early January, when after a long hard climb the economic confidence of Americans reached the highest level in the Index since Gallup started collecting the data on a weekly basis in 2008. At the time, Gallup credited lower gas prices for the miracle.

At +5 in January, the index wasn’t exactly wallowing in exuberance, given its theoretical range of +100 to -100 (it hit -65 during the Financial Crisis). But these folks don’t live in the Wall-Street economy. They struggle with their daily challenges in the real economy. And it’s tough out there.

Yet, even at that level in January, lousy as it was, it was practically exuberant compared to what it is today. ................(more)

http://wolfstreet.com/2015/08/25/americans-economic-outlook-plunges-since-july-2014-gallup/




U.K. Surveillance ‘Worse Than Orwell,’ Says U.N. Privacy Chief



Joseph Cannataci, the newly appointed U.N. special rapporteur on digital privacy, has called the U.K.’s oversight of surveillance “a rather bad joke at its citizens’ expense,” describing the abuse of privacy rights as worse than anything George Orwell imagined in his dystopian novel “1984.”

Speaking to The Guardian, Cannataci said: “... at least Winston [a character in Orwell’s ‘1984’] was able to go out in the countryside and go under a tree and expect there wouldn’t be any screen, as it was called. Whereas today there are many parts of the English countryside where there are more cameras than George Orwell could ever have imagined. So the situation in some cases is far worse already.”

The article continues:

Appointed after concern about surveillance and privacy following the Edward Snowden revelations, Cannataci agreed that his notion of a new universal law on surveillance could embarrass those who may not sign up to it. “Some people may not want to buy into it,” he acknowledged. “But you know, if one takes the attitude that some countries will not play ball, then, for example, the chemical weapons agreement would never have come about.”

Cannataci came into his new post in July after a controversial spat involving the first-choice candidate, Katrin Nyman-Metcalf, who the Germans in particular thought might not be tough enough on the Americans.

But for Cannataci – well-known for having a mind of his own – it is not America but Britain that he singles out as having the weakest oversight in the western world: “That is precisely one of the problems we have to tackle. That if your oversight mechanism’s a joke, and a rather bad joke at its citizens’ expense, for how long can you laugh it off as a joke?”

He said proper oversight is the only way of progressing, and hopes more people will think about and vote for privacy in the UK. “And that is where the political process comes in,” he said, “because can you laugh off the economy and the National Health Service? Not in the UK election, if you want to survive.” ..............(more)

http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/uk_surveillance_worse_than_orwell_says_un_privacy_chief_20150825






Americans’ Economic Outlook Plunges: Rosy scenario gets tangled up in reality


Americans’ Economic Outlook Plunges
by Wolf Richter • August 25, 2015

[font color="blue"]Rosy scenario gets tangled up in reality.[/font]


The rout in Chinese stocks, the deteriorating Chinese economy, the subsequent rout in US stocks, and nagging questions about the US economy – they all got blamed for the unceremonious collapse of the confidence Americans have in our rosy scenario.

It’s sinking in. Even NPR has been talking about it. Whatever you do, “don’t sell,” was their admonition today. Those kind of shows first thing in the morning don’t fit into our rosy scenario.

That scenario looked a lot rosier in early January, when after a long hard climb the economic confidence of Americans reached the highest level in the Index since Gallup started collecting the data on a weekly basis in 2008. At the time, Gallup credited lower gas prices for the miracle.

At +5 in January, the index wasn’t exactly wallowing in exuberance, given its theoretical range of +100 to -100 (it hit -65 during the Financial Crisis). But these folks don’t live in the Wall-Street economy. They struggle with their daily challenges in the real economy. And it’s tough out there.

Yet, even at that level in January, lousy as it was, it was practically exuberant compared to what it is today. ................(more)

http://wolfstreet.com/2015/08/25/americans-economic-outlook-plunges-since-july-2014-gallup/





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