7,000,000,000th Person Joins Earth, RPN gets older (link dump)

37 times around the Sun, now with 7,000,000,000 of my closest friends.   Thus we mark the year.

October 31, 2011

The U.N. estimates that the world’s population will pass the 7 billion mark on Monday.

Much of that growth has happened in Asia — in India and China. Those two countries have been among the world’s most populous for centuries. But a demographic shift is taking place as the countries have modernized and lowered their fertility rates. Now, the biggest growth is taking place in sub-Saharan Africa.

For all the actual problems the world faces, this is one that I think will largely moderate itself as more and more of humanity catches up to the present (in the 21st century, unless your political climate is noxious towards women, there are ample methods for taking control of one’s reproductive life).

Wage stats for 2010.  No surprise here…

Based on data in the table below, about 66.2 percent of wage earners had net compensation less than or equal to the $39,959.30 raw average wage. By definition, 50 percent of wage earners had net compensation less than or equal to the median wage, which is estimated to be $26,363.55 for 2010.

[full stats]

When the average is 50% higher than the  median it’s probably a situation where people are taking to the streets to protest and….oh.  And yes you read that right, half of wage earners earned less than $27K last year.  These are the folks every Republican candidate wants to *raise taxes* on (i.e. “expand the base”), while cutting them further for the wealthy.

Palestine goes for country-hood, U.S. promptly pulls funding (I hate this crap, the UN created Israel, but somehow it horrible to use the same mechanism to create Palestine).

PARIS (Reuters) – The United Nations’ cultural agency decided Monday to give the Palestinians full membership of the body, a vote that will boost their bid for recognition as a state at the United Nations.

UNESCO is the first U.N. agency the Palestinians have joined as a full member since President Mahmoud Abbas applied for full membership of the United Nations on September 23.

[full story]

–followed by–

The United States has announced it will stop its financial contributions to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) after the body admitted Palestine as a member on Monday.

“We were to have made a $60 million payment to UNESCO in November and we will not be making that payment,” said the US State Department’s spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland.

[full story]

This is another one of those things where the Obama administration is doing exactly what conservatives want them to do, but will get absolutely no credit whatsoever for doing it.   Indeed, this will likely be interpreted as “throwing Israel under the bus” when in reality what we are doing, once again, is “going to the mat for an unthankful ally who ignores our requests they stop violating the law“.

Just to get an idea of what crap goes on and gets called justice over there…

An Israeli court on Thursday threw out a lawsuit filed by a Palestinian family that lost two relatives after their home in the Gaza Strip was bombed during an Israel Defense Forces operation.

The Jerusalem District Court refused the family’s request for damages, ruling that the fatal 2006 bombing was a legitimate act of war.

Fatma Wahabe and her son Khaled were killed after a missile fire by an IDF assault helicopter hit their home in Khan Yunis, instead of the targeted vehicle carrying wanted Palestinian militants.

The court’s decision was based in part on an affidavit filed by the head of the Shin Bet security service’s department on Gaza, who defended the IDF operation as necessary “to prevent a clear, immediate, and present danger to public safety.”

“It was an initiated attack meant to strike a top terror operative based on solid intelligence, according to which he was about to attack Israeli citizens,” the judge said.

The plaintiffs were also ordered to pay NIS 25,000 in legal fees.

[full story]

I can’t imagine how someone occupying your city, killing your family, and charging you for the service could do anything but build strong bonds of fellowship.

Right Wing Pundit realizing GOP primacy choices are largely  a joke.

Great questions for anyone who wants to claim that Big Poverty caused the financial crisis of 2008.  One of the more disturbing aspects of the collapse of 2008 is that the people responsible have done a bang-up job of blaming everyone else for the collapse.   I’m guessing this is because they control most of the money and media, and therefore just get to propagate loads of self-affirming bullshit.   However, when you run into someone that claims it was the CRA (from ’94) that caused the crisis (in ’08), there’s a few good questions on that link to ask them.  (note: these are more technical economics questions, so it’s important to first ascertain if the person you are talking to has a basic understanding of how economics works.  If they are a Ron Paul supporter….just nod and back away).

Read this and then you’ll understand that cutting corporate tax rates won’t do a dang thing unless we cut them to negative numbers.   (and that’s  one of the “good” guys).  We need a corporate AMT, based on yearly reporting earnings, firm-wide.

Marco Rubio has been a’lyin about his origin story.  Whenever I see this guy, I always think it’s this guy.   Maybe it’s because when Rubio talks, it’s like he’s living in an imaginary Never Never Land

Canadians seems to have taking a liking to Canadians.  I can see why…who doesn’t like Canadians?

Herman Cain claims no knowledge of payments made to settle sexual harassment claims (made against him) while President and chief lobbyist for national restaurant group

First Read – NBC confirms one Cain accuser received cash settlement http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/10/31/8563824-nbc-confirms-one-cain-accuser-received-cash-settlement

I’m not sure which is more ridiculous, that he was President of an organization and had no knowledge of these payments, or that he actually thinks people will believe him when he claims that.

Update: it should be noted that Cain has re-clarified his stance, and thinks his government should control women’s reproductive rights, even in cases of forcible sexual harassment ending in pregnancy.

Small Government Republican Governor Repeatedly Uses State Troopers to Enforce Non- existent Law

The Associated Press: Tenn. protesters arrested for 2nd straight night http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ixZXr3D0q7pNg0YrTzGCFt90697Q?docId=7846fc2078fb40279f8d3646852efd22

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) —Tennessee state troopers for the second straight night arrested more than two dozen Wall Street protesters for defying a new nighttime curfew imposed by the state’s Republican governor in an effort to disband an encampment near the Capitol. And for a second time, a Nashville night judge dismissed the protesters’ arrest warrants. The Tennessean newspaper reported early Saturday morning (http://tnne.ws/vE2PXN ) that Magistrate Tom Nelson told troopers delivering the protesters to jail that he could “find no authority anywhere for anyone to authorize a curfew anywhere on Legislative Plaza.”

Read the whole story.  If you didn’t realize the default setting for Republicans is ‘douchebag’ you really havent been paying attention this century.

Paul Ryan and Class Mobility in 21st Century America

U.S. vs Europe contemporary comparison

U.S. vs Europe contemporary comparison of likelihood of social mobility

Paul Ryan is stuck in the last century

Paul Ryan is stuck in the last century, things have changed in the last 50 years

The Inflation Adjusted version of income gains over the last 30 years

The Inflation Adjusted version of income gains over the last 30 years

Original TPM link.

And there ya go.

Headline, meet content (Windows phone meet also ran)

NYT: Windows Phone Is Back, Full of http://mobile.nytimes.com/2011/10/27/technology/personaltech/windows-phone-is-back-full-of-great-tricks-state-of-the-art.xml

You should note, too, that Microsoft’s schoolyard grudge against Google manifests itself in several disappointing ways: you can’t export your videos to YouTube, and you can’t search with Google

This is not the tool of the resistance.

I Guess That Makes It Official, Game On [WARNING: REALITY]

If you are wondering what the crowd is a gathering around when the government thugs use a flashbang, it’s this man.

Two tours Iraq, check.  One tour Oakland...

If you are wondering what kind of low-life scum sucking socialistic parasite he is to be attending such a protest, first up, fuck you, second, here you go.

Oakland’s independent police review body will examine the clashes between riot officers and protesters that left an Iraq war veteran in a critical condition as Occupy protestors prepare to rally at the same spot for a third night of protests.

Police battled protesters following an Occupy Oakland march to demonstrate against the closing of two occupations in the city in the early hours of Tuesday morning. More than 100 people have been arrested in Oakland since police cleared a camp in Frank Ogawa plaza.

Scott Olsen, 24, suffered a fractured skull and brain swelling after he was allegedly hit in the head by a police projectile during the clashes on Tuesday. A spokesperson for Highland hospital in east Oakland confirmed he was critically ill after being admitted on Tuesday night.

[full story]

One thing I generally know is that when people have nothing left, or very little to risk other than their own skin in the game, they tend to push toward extreme solutions.  There is a race on now, and that race is whether or not our society can change fast enough to keep itself relevant to the vast majority of the people in our society.  It’s dang near an article of faith around here.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

To be clear, I don’t think OWS is, as of yet, a full-on revolutionary movement.  But there is a stark difference in what is going on here and what happened with the Tea Party.

It’s evident now that “Tea Party” is really just code for “Hardcore Republican”.  I call them “Fox News Republicans” and their ultimate act of defiance culminated in the 2010 elections.  This hugely revolutionary act was to elect a bunch of…wait for it…hardcore Republicans to the House, and give control of that chamber back to the folks who had it under Bush. (they failed in the Senate, because Senate districts, known as “states”, are harder to gerrymander and get nutjobs elected on straight party votes than house districts).

So any comparison between the two “movements” is shallow at best, and more likely the result of lazy “left-right” thinking than any real analysis.

There’s a book that one needs to read to understand why I’m being so melodramatic (I’m not) about the situation, and throwing out big words and bloody pictures.   It’s here.  A very quick read, in it you will find a section about this.. (from the ‘pedia).

 To be successful, these mass movements need the adherents to be willing to sacrifice themselves and others for the future goals. To do so, mass movements often glorify the past and devalue the present. Mass movements appeal to frustrated people who are dissatisfied with their current state, but are capable of a strong belief in the future. As well, mass movements appeal to people who want to escape a flawed self by creating an imaginary self and joining a collective whole. Some categories of people who may be attracted to mass movements include poor people, misfits, former soldiers, and people who feel thwarted in their endeavors.

To put it simply, you fucked with the wrong Marine.

I’m not sure if you folks are aware, but our President (the one who won a Nobel Peace Prize) is ending wars left and right.  He’s going to end the one in Afghanistan before the 2012 election, bank on it.  That’s a whole lot less soldiers being needed, a whole bunch of which are going to get shafted by a government now focused on cutting spending (on them).

That’s, as they use to say in that commercial, two great tastes that taste great together, a purpose…and an army.

OWS isn’t going away.  A good portion of the 99% are paying attention, and now there’s blood on the ground.    Our blood, on our ground.

So yea…like I said…game on.


Yes, the 1% Pays a Lower Tax Rate than you and yes, even when running for President

Why won’t Mitt Romney make his tax returns public? – CSMonitor.com http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Elections/From-the-Wires/2011/1026/Why-won-t-Mitt-Romney-make-his-tax-returns-public

Why won’t Romney do it? Speculation, from liberal group ThinkProgress and others, is that Romney pays a way lower tax rate than many Americans because of his extensive financial investments, from which income is typically taxed below that of regular income. One left-leaning analyst speculates Romney paid an effective tax rate as low as 14 percent on his $6.6 million to $40 million in income. (The range is so wide because of the imprecise nature of Romney’s very limited disclosures.)

So what other common wisdom about our ‘liberal media’ is b.s.?



To be fair and balanced one needs to realize that by including Fox in the sample of news media sources, it tilts the whole scale horribly.   But since they *are* a major portion of the media, you kinda have to include them in the analysis to be fair and balanced.

Curiously this illustrates that our media is neither liberal nor fair nor balanced, but most folks already know that.  Our major media *is* ‘corporate’ however, through and through.  Understanding that aspect of the Media help keep things in perspective (i.e. they are morally obligated as good corporate citizens to provide you with the information that best maximizes their profits).   

Republican candidates slam Obama for keeping Campaign Promise on Iraq (they want to stay longer)

CNN Political Ticker http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/10/21/romney-blasts-obamas-iraq-decision/

Just go read their statements, then compare them with the President’s.    We have perhaps the best foreign policy President in history, as measured by results, and these folks thinks he’s a colossal failure for not continuing horrid policy.   Surreal.

Oh, and if you haven’t picked up on the joke that is Michelle Bachmann (her campaign staff in NH did and quit), read her plan and just guffaw.

Cain breaks own record, contradicts himself in same paragraph

Presidential hopeful Herman Cain to allow exemptions for poor in his 9-9-9 tax plan – The Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/presidential-hopeful-cain-to-allow-exemptions-for-poor-in-his-9-9-9-tax-plan/2011/10/21/gIQA9PMc2L_story.html

“America is ready for solutions, not more rhetoric,” he said. “The American dream has been hijacked, but we can take it back.”

He then called for no abortions for anyone but noted he would not force government regulations on women.   Seriously, he did that.

Video evidence: Note where he starts, and where he ends up.  Textbook hypocrisy.

UPDATE: To be fair, Cain later backtracked straight to boiler plate talking points in an environment where he doesn’t have to explain them.

As a side note…is Al Sharpton really *that bad* at reading?   Painful to watch.  And how did he get a show?   No real worries, since I don’t pay for cable (and thus his salary, like *everyone* who has cable), but I was surprised to see that one.  Looks like he’s lost some weight too.  Good for him.

Seems like a good week to end Wars

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Friday declared an end to the Iraq war, one of the longest and most divisive conflicts in U.S. history, announcing that all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from the country by year’s end.

Obama’s statement put an end to months of wrangling over whether the U.S. would maintain a force in Iraq beyond 2011.

“After nearly nine years,” the president, “America’s war in Iraq will be over.”

via Obama announces total Iraq troop withdrawal – seattlepi.com.

Wonder if this guy will ever get a prize for doing so much to bring peace and freedom to the parts of the world that long for it.

....aaaand done.

Who are the REAL North Americans?

BBC News – Old American theory is ‘speared’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15391388

In truth, the “Clovis first” model, which holds to the idea that America’s original human population swept across a land-bridge from Siberia some 13,000 years ago, has looked untenable for some time. A succession of archaeological finds right across the United States and northern Mexico have indicated there was human activity much earlier than this -perhaps as early as 15-16,000 years ago. The mastodon rib, however, really leaves the once cherished model with nowhere to go.

Turns out we aren’t quite sure.