Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Southern 'Poverty' Law Center has Cayman Islands bank account

11/26/10, "Southern 'Poverty' Law Center's Cayman Island's Bank Account," Michael Petrelis, Petrelis Files

"The SPLC's new 2009 IRS 990 filing shows they have a bank account in the Cayman Islands. Now, stop for a good long minute and ask yourself what the hell is a supposed
  • poverty-fighting Alabama-based tax exempt organization doing with such an account. Then ponder this: how much money is in it.
Unfortunately, the IRS does not require SPLC or any tax exempt charity with an account in a foreign country to disclose additional details, such as the amount, and the SPLC's current 990 filing merely notes the existence of an account in a foreign country.
Assets for the organization are listed at $190 million, a nice chunk of change in these economic hard times.
  • When was the last time this group, with almost $190 million in assets, did a damn worthwhile thing about, um, poverty?
The latest 990 additionally shows founder and chief trial counsel Morris Dees had his salary raised to $350,000, and his CEO, Richard Cohen, is close behind at $345,000.

The tax filing also shows Dees traveled by air charter, and that his spouse, artist and businesswoman Susan Starr, accompanies her husband on the business trips....

Noted veteran leftwing writer Alexander Cockburn in May 2009 analyzed SPLC's IRS 990 for the previous year, its enormous endowment and wallet-busting salaries, and compares its agenda with more effective and smaller budgeted groups:
'How about attacking the roots of Southern poverty, and the system that sustains that poverty as expressed in the endless prisons and Death Rows across the South, disproportionately crammed with blacks and Hispanics?

You fight theatrically, the Dees way, or you fight substantively, like, for example, the Institute for Southern Studies run by Chris Kromm; or like Stephen Bright, who makes only $11,000 as president and senior counsel of the Southern Center for Human Rights. The center's director makes less than $50,000 [...] Bright's outfit is basically dedicated to two things: prison litigation and the death penalty. He fights the system, case by case. Not the phony targets mostly tilted at by Dees but the effective, bipartisan, functional system of oppression, far more deadly and determined than the SPLC's tin-pot hate groups. [...]'
And Cockburn is not the only watchdog keeping his eyes on all the millions of dollars flowing to SPLC and how the funds are used.

Former Harper's Magazine writer Ken Silverstein wrote a piece about the group in 2000, subtitled
  • "How the Southern Poverty Law Center profits from intolerance," that is still very pertinent and well-worth reading today:
What the center's other work for justice does not include is anything that might be considered controversial by donors. According to [anti-death penalty lawyer] Millard Farmer, the center largely stopped taking death-penalty cases for fear that too visible an opposition to capital punishment would scare off potential contributors.
  • In 1986, the center's entire legal staff quit in protest of Dees's refusal to address issues - such as homelessness, voter registration, and affirmative action - that they considered far more pertinent to poor minorities [...]
In the early 1960s, Morris Dees sat on the sidelines honing his direct-marketing skills and practicing law while the civil rights movement engulfed the South. "Morris and I ... shared the overriding purpose of making a pile of money," recalls Dees's business partner, a lawyer named Millard Fuller (not to be confused with Millard Farmer).
  • "We were not particular about how we did it; we just wanted to be independently rich." [...]
For Dees, the P in SPLC has nothing to do with personal poverty. That P better stands for profit or profiteering for him, and foolish donors keep sending him checks,
  • thinking they're helping poverty-stricken blacks or whites in Alabama move into better housing.
Since we're on the subject of abodes in the Yellowhammer State, let's have a gander at where Dees lives courtesy of the May 2010 Montgomery Advertiser 60-photo feature just on his mansion, the opulent furnishings and layout"...

  • from top, pool house, chat area, building for wife's studio, from Montgomery Advertiser photo display. photo of Dees from 2008.

via Instapundit

Billions in US taxpayer 'stimulus' funds given to politically correct polluters like BP, Duke, DuPont, without basic environmental oversight

11/28/10, "Big polluters freed from environmental oversight by stimulus," Center for Public Integrity

"In the name of job creation and clean energy, the Obama administration has doled out billions of dollars in stimulus money to some of the nation’s biggest polluters and granted them sweeping exemptions from the most basic form of environmental oversight, a Center for Public Integrity investigation has found. The administration has awarded more than 179,000 “categorical exclusions” to stimulus projects funded by federal agencies"...via Drudge Report

Wheelchair-bound nun frisked by TSA in Miami airport


  • Wheelchair-bound nun frisked by TSA in Miami
from Weasel Zippers:

"One of Robert Spencer’s readers snapped this pic in Miami last week. His description:

Here’s a picture I took on my phone when passing through security in Miami on Wednesday.

The nun was travelling with three others, not unlike the Flying Imams come to think of it. My wife, Laurie, not a nun, said “Look!” and I turned and snapped this shot before the TSA agent put up her hand. It was only after we furtively looked at my phone giddy with the knowledge that we’d actually captured the moment that we saw the nun’s wheelchair."


6 US troops in Afghanistan killed by Taliban man wearing police uniform-BBC

11/29/10, "Afghan 'policeman' kills 6 US troops," BBC

"A gunman in an Afghan police uniform has killed six US service members in eastern Afghanistan, officials say.
  • The man opened fire during a training mission in Pachir Wagam district, Nangarhar province, said Nato. He was also killed in the incident.

US officials later confirmed that all six were Americans, but declined to give further details.

  • The Taliban issued a statement saying it was responsible for the killings, AP news agency reported.

Spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the gunman had joined the border police in order to kill foreign soldiers.

  • "Today he found this opportunity and he killed six invaders," he said.

Nato said the incident was being investigated....

  • The individual who fired on the Isaf forces was also killed in the incident....
Taliban insurgents have previously dressed as police to carry out attacks."...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Obama mideast setback- defense of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt elections fails, Egypt says mind your own business.

"On Sept. 1, Mr. Obama personally asked Mr. Mubarak to allow the monitors"...""The United States is the one that ought to listen to Egypt, and not the other way around""...(editorial in state-run newspaper)

Muslim Brotherhood supporters protest near polling place in Egypt, AP

11/29/10, "Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood 'faces heavy poll losses,'" BBC

"The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's biggest opposition bloc in the outgoing parliament, says it has not won any seats outright in the first round of a poll it claims has been hit by fraud.
  • A few candidates will stand in a run-off, it said.

Protests took place overnight about the conduct of the poll, and there are reports of two dead in election-related violence.

  • A run-off vote is to be held on 5 December.

"Only a few will stand in a run-off, but

  • not a single Brotherhood candidate won in the first round,"

said Saad al-Katatni, the head of the Brotherhood's bloc of 88 seats in the outgoing parliament, equivalent to a fifth of the assembly.

  • Results are not yet confirmed and counting is still going on, but it appears that the losers
  • include the Brotherhood's leader in parliament, says the BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo.

There was certainly strong evidence on election day that a number of their supporters were physically prevented from voting, our correspondent says.

  • Already a spokesman for the Brotherhood has said the government has destroyed the multi-party system, freedom of speech and the fairness of elections.

He warned that as a result, Egyptian people had lost hope in achieving change

  • by peaceful means.

President Hosni Mubarak's ruling NDP party had been expected to win the vote decisively.

  • The Muslim Brotherhood is barred from taking part in Egyptian elections, so its candidates stand as independents.

The liberal New Wafd party also has no winners, with a handful of candidates going into run-offs, a spokesman said.

  • In earlier protests, followers of the Muslim Brotherhood gathered outside counting stations in Alexandria.

Several hundred others marched on a counting station in Cairo."

Reference, 11/25/10, "Mubarek snubs US call for election monitors, Obama sustains Mideast setback," Washington Times, by Eli Lake

  • Mr. Lake's article notes George Bush encouraged more open elections in Egypt in 2005. To the extent that happened, the results were that "the Islamic party won more seats in 2005 than ever before." Egypt didn't see that as a plus. (top of p. 2)
  • Both George Bush and Obama put themselves out for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Swiss voters approve deportation of illegal aliens guilty of certain crimes-BBC

11/29/10, "Swiss voters back expulsion of foreign criminals," BBC

"Swiss voters have backed a referendum proposal for the automatic expulsion of non-Swiss citizens for certain crimes.
  • Around 53% agreed that those convicted of crimes ranging from murder to benefit fraud should be deported.

Fabrice Moscheni, of the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP), which drew up the measure, said

  • "people we welcome in Switzerland should respect the rules of this country".

But opponents said it was another example of increasing xenophobia.

The SVP was behind last year's referendum that

The SVP says immigrants to Switzerland are disproportionately responsible for crime. It points to the fact that

  • more than 60% of prison inmates do not have Swiss nationality.

But opponents say the measures go too far. The children of immigrants do not automatically get Swiss citizenship, so the rule would mean sending some people who were born and brought up in Switzerland to countries they know nothing of.

  • Convicts would serve their sentence in Switzerland first and then be deported without appeal."...

The Swiss government advised against the proposal, favored dealing with alien criminals on a case by case basis, but their measure was rejected by the people.

(continuing, BBC): "A second referendum, which asked the Swiss to approve a minimum tax rate of 22% for people earning more than 250,000 francs (£160,000; 190,000 euros),

  • was rejected.

The Socialist Party said it would be more just, but the government and centre-right parties said it would harm the economy by making the country less appealing to foreign businessmen."


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Satellites show no global warming for 12 years, but CO2 increased, proving CO2 does not cause global warming

"Meanwhile, urgent environmental issues threaten millions of people today but, tragically, aren’t given the priority they deserve - because so much focus is misplaced by so many on something so theoretical and long-term as man-made climate catastrophe. We should focus instead on real, urgent, life-threatening issues like
  • preventable disease, lack of fresh water, degradation of the oceans, deforestation and species extinction, while we wait to see what real observational data

    - not just theory - tells us about the drivers of our changing climate."

11/28/10, "Satellites show there’s been no global warming for 12 years," QuadrantOnline, Doomed Planet, by Alex Stuart

On 1 November, the widely-respected Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) published its satellite-derived average temperature of the lower atmosphere for October. The smoothed running
  • average for October was level with the 1998 figure – showing that for the past 12 years, there’s been no global warming.
Yet in those same years carbon dioxide in the air rose by 6%. So what’s going on?
  • Either the warming influence of man-made CO2 has been offset by unspecified cooling –
  • or the man-made global warming theory must be questioned.

A few days earlier, an important conference - the A-Train symposium - was held in New Orleans. It refers to the ‘afternoon train’ of satellites - Aqua (launched 2002), Aura (launched 2004), CloudSat (launched 2006) and CALIPSO (also launched 2006) - that cross the equator at around 1:30 p.m. local time each afternoon, giving the formation its name. Together, these four satellites carry 15 instruments that survey an identical slice of Earth’s surface and atmosphere as they pass overhead. Leading the train, Aqua measures temperature, water vapour, and rainfall; then CloudSat and CALIPSO track clouds and aerosols;

  • flying last, Aura logs greenhouse gases in the air.

Data from these satellites should answer a key question that would settle the climate debate: how much warmer would it really get - not just in theory - if CO2 were doubled? In its 2007 Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change handled this question of ‘climate sensitivity’

  • with computer models.

IPCC assumed that a theoretical temperature rise from CO2 alone would be theoretically amplified by water vapour, in a ‘positive feedback’, by a factor of between 2.0 and 4.5. It’s logical: if it gets warmer, there’ll be more surface evaporation, more water vapour in the air - and a warmer surface.

  • But has it been proven that water vapour causes further warming?
  • In fact, it hasn’t.

Nevertheless, all sides in the debate have much to agree on:

  • that the ‘greenhouse’ keeps the Earth’s temperature about 34oC warmer than it would otherwise be;
  • that water vapour and clouds account for about 95% of greenhouse gases;
  • that CO2 is a minor greenhouse gas at 3.5% of all greenhouse gases and 0.039% of the air;
  • that since the Little Ice Age of around 1450 to 1850, it’s been getting warmer;
  • that since around 1850, CO2 in the air has been increasing and now stands at 390 parts per million;
  • that CO2 comes from many sources, natural and man-made; and
  • that CO2 from man-made sources accounts for 7 billion tonnes of the 220 billion tonnes of carbon equivalent emitted each year - or about 3%.

But the question of whether man-made CO2 causes unprecedented and dangerous global warming - the notion behind so much social and political angst about ‘carbon’ -

  • remains in serious dispute.

With observational data now becoming available from high-resolution instruments flown on specialised satellites, we could soon have a resolution to the key question of whether water vapour amplifies or attenuates temperature rises from CO2 alone. Recent peer-reviewed research in leading journals suggests the assumption that water vapour feedback adds to temperature rises from

  • more CO2 - and leads to climate catastrophe - may simply be wrong. Among recent papers, two stand out.

In August 2009, Dr Richard Lindzen of MIT and his collaborator Dr. Yong-Sang Choi inferred from satellite data that feedback isn’t positive at all. Using observations from the ERBE instrument on the ERBS satellite (launched in 1984), they analysed the relationship between tropical sea-surface temperatures and top-of-atmosphere heat radiation -

  • and concluded that feedback is far lower than the positive 2.0 to 4.5 times assumed in IPCC’s models and is in fact negative.

The Lindzen-Choi results were denounced as flawed by Dr Kevin Trenberth, the IPCC scientist who,

Responding to Trenberth’s criticism, Lindzen and Choi analysed data from the CERES instrument on the Terra satellite (launched in 1999) as well, which only reinforced their original finding. They pegged climate sensitivity at 0.7, meaning

  • higher temperatures from more CO2 wouldn’t be amplified, but would be reduced.

In August 2010, Dr Roy Spencer and Dr. William Braswell of UAH published a paper, also based on observational evidence, from CERES and the AMSR-E instrument on the newer Aqua satellite. Spencer and Braswell likewise demonstrated that

They showed that changes in the reflectivity of clouds are causes of constant adjustment in temperature, rather than effects hitherto believed to be positive feedback.

  • They concluded that a doubling of man-made CO2 would raise average temperature by a net 0.6oC - minimal in historical, seasonal and even daily terms.

If this foundational assumption - that water vapour amplifies a greenhouse-induced rise in temperature - turns out to be wrong,

  • then the notion that man-made CO2 is a source of catastrophe for mankind is also wrong.

And if the man-made CO2 scare is mistaken, as these results suggest, then natural drivers of climate are at work. Meanwhile, urgent environmental issues threaten millions of people today but,

  • tragically, aren’t given the priority they deserve -

because so much focus is misplaced by so many on something so theoretical and long-term as man-made climate catastrophe. We should focus instead on real, urgent, life-threatening issues like

  • preventable disease, lack of fresh water, degradation of the oceans, deforestation and species extinction, while we wait to see what real observational data

- not just theory - tells us about the drivers of our changing climate."

"Alex Stuart is Chairman of the Australian Environment Foundation"

via Tom Nelson

Menstruating woman subjected to aggressive fondling by TSA at American airport

11/28/10, "Surrendered Nation," American Thinker, by Pamela Geller

"The turkey being served up last Thursday by the ruling elite was the American people. Because she was wearing a panty liner that obscured the screener's view of her genitals,
When did we agree to surrender to Islam? Seriously. Whom did we appoint or elect to negotiate this surrender? Our surrender has been parceled out in loss of freedom,
  • accommodation and submission to Islamic supremacist demands, and in foreign policy that is supine before Iran and cozying up to the Taliban.
Explain to me how, after 9/11 and the tens of thousands of Islamic attacks across the world that have been committed in the name of jihad since then, as well as the myriad Muslim insurgencies in numerous countries, the accelerating destruction of Western civilization in Europe,
  • and the hundreds of jihad plots that have been thwarted in the West,
  • the American people were sacrificed without being consulted....
Meanwhile, those who speak out against all this are marginalized, vilified, and silenced. My website, Atlas Shrugs.com, has just been banned from Veterans Administration computers, along with my colleague Robert Spencer's JihadWatch.org. Both were
  • banned for giving voice to "controversial opinions."
I wonder how veterans feel about that. Fighting jihad is controversial? So what are our soldiers doing in Afghanistan and Iraq?...
  • And it all represents a massive societal surrender by the Obama administration and our political elites.
And who softens us up for this civilizational suicide? The media.
  • Who chose the media to negotiate the surrender?
NBC is naming a waiter turned thug turned impostor developer Sharif El-Gamal as "person of the year" because he is behind building a triumphal mosque at Ground Zero, the site of the largest, most heinous attack on U.S. soil in American history.

Then there is
this outrage: one of TIME magazine's "Person of the Year" candidates is the radical Ground Zero mosque imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who has said that
  • "the U.S. has more Muslim blood on its hands than al-Qaeda has the blood of innocent non-Muslims on its hands," and
that Osama Bin Laden was made in the USA. His mosque initiative, remember, is named the Cordoba Movement: Cordoba is a city that in the Islamic world is iconic of Islamic conquest over the West."...


UN employees who steal US money cannot be prosecuted, 'UN officials have immunity'-USA Today

  • Great, let's give them billions for 'global warming' to redecorate their vacation homes.

4/15/09, "UN spent US funds on shoddy projects," USA Today, Ken Dilanian

"That witness said the Afghanistan country director for the U.N. Office for Project Services (UNOPS), which served as the contractor on the project for the U.N. Development Program (UNDP), spent about

"Two United Nations agencies spent millions in U.S. money on substandard Afghanistan construction projects, including a central bank without electricity and a bridge at risk of "life threatening" collapse, according to an investigation by U.S. federal agents.

The U.N. ran a "quick impact" infrastructure program from 2003 to 2006 under a $25 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

  • The U.N. delivered shoddy work,

to figure out what happened, according to a report by USAID's inspector general obtained

  • by USA TODAY under the Freedom of Information Act.

"Due to the refusal of the United Nations to cooperate with this investigation,

  • questions remain unanswered," the report says.

USAID has scaled back its dealings with the U.N. and hired a collection agency to seek $7.6 million back, Deputy Administrator James Bever said.

  • The aid agency hasn't heeded its inspector general's request to sever all ties.
  • "There are certain cases where working with the U.N. is the only option available," Bever said in an e-mail.

The quick-impact program was designed to demonstrate results and promote confidence in the reconstruction effort, but the report suggests it did the opposite.

One U.N. employee told investigators that "about $10 million of USAID grant money

That witness said the Afghanistan country director for the U.N. Office for Project Services (UNOPS), which served as the contractor on the project for the U.N. Development Program (UNDP), spent about

  • $200,000 in U.S. money to renovate his guesthouse. Witness names were withheld by USAID.
The development program hired UNOPS to do the work and kept a 7% management fee, the report says. The finances were "out of control," an unnamed project services manager told investigators. An unnamed USAID contractor told investigators that the program was "ill conceived from the beginning.
  • This was a political idea to do quick impact projects that would look good," the report said.

Investigators found that projects reported as "complete" were actually so shoddily built that they were unusable, the report said. For example:

  • •A bridge near Kandahar cost $250,000, had to be overhauled by other contractors and still was not safe. The U.N. claimed the bridge was damaged by flood, but a colonel in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told investigators that "falls between absolute incompetence and a lie; the project was improperly constructed."
  • •An airstrip in the southern town of Qalat, originally budgeted at $300,000, cost $749,000 and
  • could not accommodate military planes.
  • •A $375,000 headquarters for Afghanistan's central bank lacked electricity or plumbing, and basement flooding destroyed stacks of local currency.

Investigators found that UNDP withdrew $6.7 million from a U.S. line of credit

  • without permission in 2007,
  • months after the project had ended.

UNDP has yet to explain what happened to that money, the report says.

"This is a disturbing report and an egregious example of the kind of fraud and waste that needs to be fixed," said Mark Kornblau, a spokesman for Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N.

  • "The U.S. is committed to making the U.N. more accountable." (oh? ed.)

Vitaly Vanshelboim, UNOPS deputy executive director, did not dispute that some of his agency's work was substandard and that money was improperly diverted. He said UNOPS had overhauled itself dramatically since then. An internal U.N. investigation found serious irregularities by one former official that have since been

  • addressed through management reforms, he said.

UNDP spokesman St├ęphane Dujarric called the report "disturbing." Both officials denied that their agencies failed to cooperate with investigators....

  • USAID's inspector general, Donald Gambatesa told the Commission on Wartime Contracting during a February public hearing that he was "concerned" that his agency was continuing to do business with the U.N.
Commissioner Dov Zakheim, a former Pentagon controller, asked Gambatesa whether the agencies have immunity
  • no matter what they do with the money?"
On Monday, Alonzo Fulgham, USAID's acting administrator, met in in New York to discuss the matter with Ad Melkert, the development program's acting administrator, USAID said in a statement." ...


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Soros in Oct. 2008: US is over, finished, switched off. Whatever it has left must be put into global warming investments, US must adjust lifestyle

10/15/08, "Soros on green as the motor of the economy," Grist, Bill Moyers transcript with Soros
"GEORGE SOROS: Well, deal with the mortgage problem. Reduce foreclosures. Recapitalize the banks. And then work on a
  • better world order where we work together to resolve problems that confront humanity like
  • global warming.
And I think that dealing with global warming will require a lot of investment.

You see, for the last 25 years the world economy, the motor of the world economy that has been driving it was consumption by the American consumer who has been spending more than he has been saving, all right? Than he's been producing.
  • So that motor is now switched off.
You need a new motor. And we have a big problem. Global warming.
(continuing, script): "And that could be the motor of the world economy in the years to come....

Instead of consuming, building an electricity grid, saving on energy, rewiring the houses, adjusting your lifestyle where
  • energy has got to cost more
until it you introduce those new things. So it will be painful. But at least we will survive and not cook.

BILL MOYERS: You're talking about this being the end of an era and needing to create a whole new paradigm for the economic model of the country, of the world, right?


India arrests bankers, widens investigation into latest corruption scandal

"Indian federal investigators have announced an inquiry into 21 companies in connection with a banking loans scandal.

Eight bankers have already been arrested this week, including senior executives of top state banks, accused of taking bribes to sign off loans.

  • The Bombay Stock Exchange fell by 1% as a result of the inquiry, analysts said.

The investigation is the latest in a series of corruption scandals to hit the country.

  • Those arrested on Wednesday include senior figures from the Bank of India, the Central Bank of India and the Punjab National Bank.

Reports suggest that some of the loans were used to invest in the stock market and not the projects they were intended for.

The scandal follows the resignation of a government minister in a row over the issue of multi-billion dollar mobile phone contracts and alleged

  • financial irregularities at the Commonwealth Games."

George Soros bought 4% of Bombay Stock Exchange, 8/20/10 report

8/20/10, Mumbai, India, "George Soros buys 4% of Bombay Stock Exchange," AP

"Billionaire George Soros' Quantum hedge fund has purchased Dubai Financial Group's 4 percent stake in the Bombay Stock Exchange, an exchange official said, in a deal that values Asia's oldest exchange at over $800 million.
  • The shares were transferred Thursday and valued at 375 rupees to 380 rupees ($8.00-$8.15) a piece, which would value the 135-year-old exchange at $800 million to $850 million, said a top BSE official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly to the media.

Soros' investment comes as India works to modernize its capital markets, opening new exchanges, streamlining trading and introducing new products, like currency futures.

  • With retail stock ownership still low and a booming economy, India's stock markets are of increasing interest to foreign investors.

Brokers own 44 percent of the BSE, with public shareholders controlling the rest.

  • including Deutsche Boerse, the Singapore Stock Exchange, Canadian financier Tom Caldwell, and U.S. private equity group Argonaut Ventures."...

In May, Temasek, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund, took a 5 percent stake in the rival National Stock Exchange of India for a reported $175 million.

The BSE had 4,990 listed companies as of July and a market capitalization of $1.4 trillion, according to its website."


Bus with biodiesel fuel stalled in middle of night in freezing weather, owner no longer uses biodiesel in cold months, luckily no one died-NY Times

11/25/08, "Solar meets polar as winter curbs clean energy," NY Times, by Kate Galbraith
  • "Old Man Winter, it turns out, is no friend of renewable energy.

This time of year, wind turbine blades ice up,

  • biodiesel congeals in tanks and
  • solar panels produce less power because there is not as much sun.

And perhaps most irritating to the people who own them, the panels become covered with snow,

  • rendering them useless even in bright winter sunshine.

So in regions where homeowners have long rolled their eyes at shoveling driveways, add another cold-weather chore: cleaning off the solar panels. “At least I can get to them with a long pole and a squeegee,” said Alan Stankevitz, a homeowner in southeast Minnesota.

As concern has grown about global warming, many utilities and homeowners have been trying to shrink their emissions of carbon dioxide — their carbon footprints — by installing solar panels, wind turbines and even generators powered by tides or rivers. But for the moment, at least,

  • the planet is still cold enough to deal nasty winter blows to some of this green machinery.

In January 2007, a bus stalled in the middle of the night on Interstate 70 in the Colorado mountains. The culprit was a 20 percent biodiesel blend that congealed in the freezing weather, according to John Jones, the transit director for the bus line, Summit Stage. (Biodiesel is a diesel substitute, typically made from vegetable oil, that is used to displace some fossil fuels.)

  • The passengers got out of that situation intact, but Summit Stage, which serves ski resorts,

now avoids biodiesel from November to March,

  • and uses only a 5 percent blend in the summertime, when it can still get cold in the mountains.

We can’t have people sitting on buses freezing to death while we get out there trying to get them restarted,” Mr. Jones said.

Winter may pose even bigger safety hazards in the vicinity of wind turbines. Some observers say the

  • machines can hurl chunks of ice as they rotate.

It’s like you throw a plate out there and that plate breaks,” said Ralph Brokaw, a cattle rancher in southeast Wyoming who has 69 wind turbines on his property. When his turbines ice up, he stays out of the way.

The wind industry admits that turbines can drop ice, like a lamppost or any tall structure. To ameliorate the hazard,

  • some turbines are painted black to absorb sunlight and melt the ice faster. But Ron Stimmel, an expert on small wind turbines at the American Wind Energy Association, denies that the whirling blades tend to hurl icy javelins.

Large turbines turn off automatically as ice builds up, and small turbines will slow and stop because the ice prevents them from spinning — “just like a plane’s wing needs to be de-iced to fly,” Mr. Stimmel said.

  • Mr. Brokaw says that his turbines do turn off when they are too icy, but the danger sometimes comes right before the turbines shut down, after a wet, warm snow causes ice buildup.

From the standpoint of generating power, winter is actually good for wind turbines, because it is generally windier than summer. In Vermont, for example, Green Mountain Power, which operates a small wind farm in the southeastern part of the state, gets more than twice the monthly production in winter as in August.

  • The opposite is true, however, for solar power. Days are shorter and the sun is lower in the sky during the winter, ensuring less power production.

Even in northern California, with mild winters and little snow, solar panels can generate about half as much as in the summer, depending on how much they are tilted, according to Rob Erlichman, chief executive of Sunlight Electric, a San Francisco solar company.

Operators of the electrical grid do not worry much about the seasonal swings,

  • because the percentage of production from renewable energy is still so low —
around 1 percent of the country’s power comes from wind, and less from solar panels.
  • In addition, Americans use slightly less electricity in the winter than in the summer because air conditioners are not running. This is especially true in sunny areas,
  • so solar panels’ peak production matches the spikes in demand.

But as renewable energy becomes a bigger part of the nation’s power mix,

  • the seasonable variability could become more of a problem.

Already, power developers are learning that they must make careful plans to avoid the worst impacts of ice and snow.

Trey Taylor, the president of Verdant Power, which has put small turbines in the tidal East River in New York City and plans more for the St. Lawrence River in Canada, said that ice chunks could slide over one another “like a deck of cards,”

  • pushing ice below and harming turbines. That may rule out parts of otherwise promising sites like the Yukon River in Alaska, he said.

Kevin Devlin, the vice president for operations of Iberdrola Renewables, a wind developer, said that winter was probably the hardest time of year to maintain turbines, because workers must go out in snow and ice. Occasionally, he said, the turbines will shut down or set off alarms if it is too cold, and workers must brave the elements to fix them.

  • For homeowners, the upkeep of their power sources can also be a bother.

Mr. Stankevitz keeps his panels tilted 40 degrees or higher, but they still become covered with snow — and experts say that if even one cell in a panel is covered, the panel will not produce power.

  • On the other hand, the panels can get extra power from sunlight reflected off nearby snow. And like other electronic gear, solar panels work better when cold.

Mr. Stankevitz said that on some rare winter days, when the Minnesota sky is clear, the weather is freezing and the sun is shining brightly, his panels can briefly churn out more electricity than they were designed to produce, more than on the balmiest days of summer."

Friday, November 26, 2010

GM stock sale reaps windfall for union, taxpayers holding tin cup with no hope in sight

Obama GM car czar (and Bloomberg pal: Rattner is a "great public servant." (4/24/09)) Steve Rattner was recently fined $6.2 million by the SEC for a pension kick-back scam. He still claims the GM deal was great, per this article which doesn't note his recent SEC penalties. The governor of New York has sued to bar Rattner for life from the securities industry in New York (11/19/10). It was said Rattner wanted to be Treasury Secretary in a Democrat White House. "General Motors Co.'s recent stock offering was staged to start paying back the government for its $50 billion bailout, but

Thanks to a generous share of GM stock obtained in the company's 2009 bankruptcy settlement, the United Auto Workers is well on its way to recouping the billions of dollars GM owed it — putting it far ahead of

  • taxpayers who have recouped only about 30 percent of their investment and further still
  • ahead of investors in the old GM
  • who have received nothing.

The boon for the union fits the pattern established when the White House pushed GM into bankruptcy and steered it through the courts in a way that consistently put the interests of the union ahead of many suppliers, dealers and investors —

  • stakeholders that ordinarily would have fared as well or better under the bankruptcy laws.

"Priority one was serving the interests of the UAW" when the White House's auto task force engineered the bankruptcy, said Glenn Reynolds, an analyst at CreditSights. The stock offering served to show once again how the White House has handsomely rewarded its political allies, he said.

The union's health care and pension trust fund earned $3.4 billion through the sale of one-third of its shares in GM last week.

  • Analysts estimate that it would break even if it sells the remaining two-thirds of its shares at an average price of $36 — close to where the stock traded shortly after the offering hit the market. GM shares closed at $33.45 on Wednesday.

For taxpayers to break even, by contrast, the stock would have to rise to at least $52 and by some estimates as high as $103 — levels that would take years to achieve.

  • In any event, after selling one-third of its shares last week, the U.S. Treasury has agreed not to sell any more of its GM stock for another six months,

while the union fund is free to keep selling its shares.

Through the offering, the Treasury recouped $13.7 billion of its $49.5 billion cash infusion in GM, with another $1.8 billion possible by the end of the year. GM is repaying another $9.5 billion in loans from the Treasury,

  • but that still leaves taxpayers a long way from breaking even.

Union claims ordinarily do not receive such special treatment in bankruptcies.

The generous share of GM stock given to the union trust fund under the White House deal puts it not only ahead of the Treasury but on a par with secured creditors such as banks, which normally receive the most favorable treatment from bankruptcy courts.

  • Perhaps the biggest losers are the investors in the old GM.
  • None of the bankrupt company's previous stockholders got any money, while the claims of thousands of investors who purchased the company's bonds are still being kicked around in a Manhattan bankruptcy court.

"It gives outraged flashbacks to the old GM bondholders," who remain mired in the bankruptcy proceedings and are unlikely to recover more than 30 percent of their investments, Mr. Reynolds said.

  • He compared the deal to the corrupt crony capitalism in Russia under President Vladimir Putin.

The White House "took a page out of the Putin political asset reallocation and reward system" when it engineered the deal, he said....

  • Steve Rattner, the White House auto czar who engineered the deal, repeated the position he took throughout the bankruptcy — that the bondholders would have ended up with nothing if the government hadn't intervened.

"I think everybody was treated fairly," he told Bloomberg News last week. "If we had not saved General Motors, those bonds would be worth exactly zero."

  • UAW President Bob King celebrated the success of the stock offering last week. "We know that for the long-term viability and success of our membership, General Motors has to be successful," he said.

He hinted that the union in the next round of collective bargaining that begins next summer may seek to recoup still more of the concessions it made in bankruptcy,

  • given GM's growing profitability.

"The best outcome is a successful GM that then shares fairly with our membership," he said.

John Paul McDuffie, a professor at the Wharton School of Business, said the full funding of the union's pension and health care trust fund through the bankruptcy process represents progress because it helped solve one of most

  • "persistent and difficult" bones of contention between GM and its union.
  • GM and the UAW had been at loggerheads for years over how to deal with GM's so-called "legacy" costs — funding the generous worker health care and retirement benefits it promised in earlier eras.

The bankruptcy settlement enabled GM to proceed with a hard-won 2007 plan it negotiated with the union to

  • spin off those huge liabilities and let them be funded in the future by the trust fund that received the stock."...
Forbes.com Weinberg, 10/14/10, "Former Obama Administration car czar Rattner’s apparent crimes:
  • perjuring himself to downplay his involvement.

As punishment for what are arguably among the most heinous sorts of financial crimes, the centi-millionaire will apparently be forced by the Securities and Exchange Commission to cough up $5 million or $6 million and steer at least partly clear of Wall Street for a couple of years. If past is any precedent,

  • Rattner won’t even be required to admit to wrongdoing."...

10/13/10, NY Observer, Abelson: "It's important to understand that he isn't just an important person,

  • he is a very specific kind of a very important New York person.

He works for important clients at important banks, writes important books, throws important parties in important homes, keeps important friends, is called on to do important things in the capital,

  • and has a wife that does important Democratic Party fundraising.

That will all change depending on how long his ban is, and how Mr. Rattner settles the remaining charges with New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo."...

via Lucianne.com

13 arrested in terror charges in Belgium, Germany and Netherlands-Xinhua report

11/24/10, "Nine charged for terrorism in Belgium," Xinhua, Brussels

"Belgian authorities said Wednesday they have charged nine people for terrorism after police raids in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.
  • Seven of them were arrested in the Belgian city of Antwerp earlier Tuesday over a terrorist plot, according to Leen Nuyts, spokeswoman for the Belgian prosecutor's office.

The other two were among fifteen people detained Tuesday afternoon during operations in Brussels against

  • suspected recruiters of militants for the Afghan war, she said.

Meanwhile, four more suspects were also arrested in Germany and the Netherlands with linkage to the Antwerp plot against an unspecified target in Belgium.

The four, including three Dutchmen of Moroccan origin and one Russian of Chechen origin,

  • are being extradited to Belgium."

via Logan's Warning

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

If one rules out ignorance, media determination to hush key climate science news can be seen as fear of retaliation from climate profiteers or the mob

"Murder on the Carbon Express: Interpol Takes on Emissions Fraud," Mother Jones, by Mark Schapiro

(11/29/09), "People don't trade carbon because they are good people," exclaims Patrick Birley, the chief executive of the ICE European Climate Exchange..."Carbon-related products are probably the most profitable part of trading for any of the investment banks right now..."...Mr Birley admits."...

  • US taxpayers even paid for "the science" per Phil Jones, ClimateGate email:

ClimateGate email, July 6, 2005, Phil Jones reveals chump US taxpayers have been supporting him for 25 years.

  • "...I hope I don't get a call from congress ! I'm hoping that no-one there realizes I have a US DoE grant and have had this (with Tom W.) for the last
  • 25 years....
  • Cheers, Phil"

Reuters puts a grabber statement first while the bigger story is the jokers who make the ever-changing claims. Phil Jones, Nobel winner and quoted as one of "three major institutes" here

Why would he change his story now leading into the Cancun climate conference? First, he would be out of a job if he stuck to the truth. Second, the billionaires behind the 'climate industry' have flooded the media with the demand that US taxpayers must pay billions ASAP and yearly in perpetuity to organized crime figures and others. The 'climate industry' says it's about money (NRDC, Bloomberg, Soros, UN). Since the UN is involved it will be a slush fund for thugs to stash dough in Swiss banks, with no accountability and no effect on climate.

11/25/10, Reuters: "This year is so far tied for the hottest year in a temperature record dating back to 1850 in a new sign of a warming trend,

  • the three major institutes which calculate global warming estimates told Reuters....

"I think it's too close to call. Based on these numbers it'll be second, but it depends on how warm November and December are," said Phil Jones, director of Britain's Climatic Research Unit (CRU), at the University of East Anglia,

  • which says 1998 was the record year so far."...

How could Reuters say this and stay in business? Phil Jones the head of this group doesn't believe this in his own words, and fears "the scientific community" also in his own words. They quote Phil Jones, then depart from him to cite the CRU opinion for which they provide no substantiation.

One. 2/14/10, "ClimateGate U-Turn as scientist at centre of row admits: there has been no global warming since 1995," UK Daily Mail, J. Petre

  • although he argued this was a blip rather than the long-term trend."...

Two. Phil Jones says climate has cooled 1998-2005, ClimateGate emails, July 5, 2005, from Nobel winner Phil Jones, head of CRU (whose data was used in UN Climate Report):

"The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998.

  • OK it has
  • but it is only 7 years of data and it isn't statistically significant."...

Also, Reuters knows full well original historic climate data were erased from CRU computers (for whatever reason) thereby making it a scientific impossibility to make claims about climate "dating back to 1850" as Reuters does here.

11/29/09, "Climate change data dumped," TimesOnline UK, by Jonathan Leake

"Scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.

The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected. The revised figures were kept, but the originals — stored on paper and magnetic tape —


11/19/09, "Climatologists baffled by global warming time-out," over 10 years, Der Spiegel, by G. Traufetter

  • "Global warming appears to have stalled. Climatologists are puzzled as to why average global temperatures have stopped rising over the last 10 years.
  • Some attribute the trend to a lack of sunspots, while others explain it through ocean currents."...

"UN board could reign in $2.7 billion carbon market," AP, by John Heilprin, 8/21/10
"Firms abusing Kyoto carbon trading scheme: watchdog," Reuters, 6/13/10
''Tainted' credits cut US carbon price", Bloomberg,Business Week, by Matthew Carr, 5/19/10
"Cleaning up or cashing in? CDM's in focus" Climate Change Corp.,by Oliver Balch, 2/8/07

11/20/10, "Keying Nigeria into $170 billion global carbon market," Daily Independent, Nigeria, Michael Simire

Reference: 11.29.09, "European climate exchange chief Patrick Burley defends the carbon trading system," UK Telegraph, Rowena Mason

And earlier this year, Greenpeace exposed phoney carbon offset projects in
  • Bolivia,
No wonder Bolivia's president cares so much about "climate:" The End of Capitalism, Evo Morales, 12/17/09, ed.

via Tom Nelson