Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The War on WalMart—D.C. labor bosses and community organizers dislike the big jobs provider

By Adam Bitely
No one needs to tell you how big an issue unemployment is in America, and especially in Washington, D.C. As of March 2011, the District of Columbia posted an unemployment rate of 9.5 percent.

Knowing that the unemployment rate is that high might surprise you when you learn that D.C. politicians, labor unions, and community organizers are trying everything they can to block one of the largest job providers and retailers in the world from coming to Washington. These supposed “leaders” want to prevent Walmart from setting up shop, which would prevent the creation of hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs for D.C. residents.

The grocery industry is one of the few remaining industries where labor unions thrive. While most sectors are seeing a decline in unions, grocery stores have remained a powerhouse for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW). A threat to this labor-organizing stronghold is Walmart, a company that is not unionized and has taken drastic measures to prevent their shops from falling under the labor union’s heavy hand.

Because Walmart is able to price their products lower than their competitors, they are able to force their competitors to change business practices or close-up altogether, which has been a blow to the grocery store labor unions. The UFCW is not concerned about whether or not people have jobs in a city where unemployment is hovering around double digits, rather, they are concerned that they are able to corner the market on the grocery stores to keep their political power intact.
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Geithner Wants To Raise The Debt Ceiling, We Want To Limit Government

Video by Frank McCaffrey
Get permalink here.

Reject Obama Political Hack’s Judicial Nomination

By Rick Manning
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is going to the mats to promote an attorney who would be the plaintiff’s bars dream, to Federal District Court for the District of Rhode Island. Reid upped the ante by filing for cloture in the Senate forcing at least 41 Senators to block his nomination through the threat of a filibuster.

Obama nominee, John J. “Jack” McConnell, received a low rating from the American Bar Association of “substantial majority qualified, minority unqualified” indicating that there are serious questions about McConnell’s evaluation fitness to serve a lifetime appointment among those who know him best.

To date, McConnell’s 25 years of experience as a personal injury plaintiff’s lawyer is mainly distinguished by intemperate remarks, political campaign contributions to the very Senators who will vote on his nomination, and acting as the state treasurer for the Rhode Island Democratic Party.

Get full story here.

Carbon and carbon dioxide: Clearing up the confusion

By Paul Driessen
We are constantly bombarded with information — much of it inaccurate, misleading, even deliberately so.

We are frequently told we must reduce carbon emissions, support “carbon disclosure” and invest in “carbon trusts” — to prevent catastrophic global warming, global climate change or global climate “disruption.” News stories, advocacy and lobbying activities, and corporate “ethics” promotions frequently use “carbon” and “carbon dioxide” almost interchangeably; some occasionally talk about “dangerous carbon monoxide emissions.”

Torn by misplaced hydrocarbon guilt, wanting to do right ecologically, and often scientifically challenged, people are naturally confused. Because so much is at stake — for our energy supplies and prices, jobs, economies, living standards, budget deficits and environment — clearing up that confusion is a high priority.
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President Bush Speaks About Bin Laden’s Death

Well GW, it was your idea, so what do you have to say about the death of Osama Bin Laden after a successful mission orchestrated by President Obama.

The Former Presidents Bush and Clinton were both briefed by President Obama of the news before his press conference to the nation, and Bush shortly released the following statement of his own.

“This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.”
Clinton, who had originally started the Bin Laden search back in the early 90′s had this to say,
“This is a profoundly important moment not just for the families of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and in al-Qaida’s other attacks but for people all over the world who want to build a common future of peace, freedom, and cooperation for our children. I congratulate the President, the National Security team and the members of our armed forces on bringing Osama bin Laden to justice after more than a decade of murderous al-Qaida attacks.”

During his address to the nation, Obama said, “Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity. Justice has been served.”

by Charley Been

Martin Luther King fake quote/faked Osama death

martin luther king Martin Luther King said some memorable things in his too-short lifetime, but apparently, a fake quote speeding around the Internet in the aftermath of the Osama bin Laden killing isn't one of them.

Here's the quote attributed to King (shown here in Baltimore in 1964): "I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

But The Atlantic's Megan McArdle noted that the opening words came from a recent Facebook post. Time points out that the latter half of the quote is a passage from King's book "Strength to Love."
I'm not surprised that there's confusion surrounding the quote. Folks seem skeptical about everything these days. Is Osama still alive (maybe kept in a basement in the Pentagon)? Is Obama's birth certificate a fake? Did we really send a man to the moon? When did we get so overwhelmed by conspiracy theories?

As for me, I take solace in words attributed to the great philospher Groucho Marx: "The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made.”

Posted by Dave Rosenthal

“Every billion more people makes life more difficult for everybody"

10 billion people by the end of the century...and most of them will likely live in cities. Actually to be precise, they will live in what Geoff Manaugh in his incredible book "The BLDGBLOG Book" identifies as "Slums and other rogue micro-sovereignties". (GW)

U.N. Forecasts 10.1 Billion People by Century’s End

By Justin Gillis and Celia W. Dugger
New York Times
May 3, 2011

The population of the world, long expected to stabilize just above 9 billion in the middle of the century, will instead keep growing and may hit 10.1 billion by the year 2100, the United Nations projected in a report released Tuesday.
Growth in Africa remains so high that the population there could more than triple in this century, rising from today’s one billion to 3.6 billion, the report said — a sobering forecast for a continent already struggling to provide food and water for its people.

The new report comes just ahead of a demographic milestone, with the world population expected to pass 7 billion in late October, only a dozen years after it surpassed 6 billion. Demographers called the new projections a reminder that a problem that helped define global politics in the 20th century, the population explosion, is far from solved in the 21st.

“Every billion more people makes life more difficult for everybody — it’s as simple as that,” said John Bongaarts, a demographer at the Population Council, a research group in New York. “Is it the end of the world? No. Can we feed 10 billion people? Probably. But we obviously would be better off with a smaller population.”

The projections were made by the United Nations population division, which has a track record of fairly accurate forecasts. In the new report, the division raised its forecast for the year 2050, estimating that the world would most likely have 9.3 billion people then, an increase of 156 million over the previous estimate for that year, published in 2008.

Among the factors behind the upward revisions is that fertility is not declining as rapidly as expected in some poor countries, and has shown a slight increase in many wealthier countries, including the United States, Britain and Denmark.

The director of the United Nations population division, Hania Zlotnik, said the world’s fastest-growing countries, and the wealthy Western nations that help finance their development, face a choice about whether to renew their emphasis on programs that encourage family planning.

Though they were a major focus of development policy in the 1970s and 1980s, such programs have stagnated in many countries, caught up in ideological battles over abortion, sex education and the role of women in society. Conservatives have attacked such programs as government meddling in private decisions, and in some countries, Catholic groups fought widespread availability of birth control. And some feminists called for less focus on population control and more on empowering women.

Over the past decade, foreign aid to pay for contraceptives — $238 million in 2009 — has barely budged, according to United Nations estimates. The United States has long been the biggest donor, but the budget compromise in Congress last month cut international family planning programs by 5 percent.

“The need has grown, but the availability of family planning services has not,” said Rachel Nugent, an economist at the Center for Global Development in Washington, a research group.

Dr. Zlotnik said in an interview that the revised numbers were based on new forecasting methods and the latest demographic trends. But she cautioned that any forecast looking 90 years into the future comes with many caveats.

That is particularly so for some fast-growing countries whose populations are projected to skyrocket over the next century. For instance, Yemen, a country whose population has quintupled since 1950, to 25 million, would see its numbers quadruple again, to 100 million, by century’s end, if the projections prove accurate. Yemen already depends on food imports and faces critical water shortages.

In Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, the report projects that population will rise from today’s 162 million to 730 million by 2100. Malawi, a country of 15 million today, could grow to 129 million, the report projected.

The implicit, and possibly questionable, assumption behind these numbers is that food and water will be available for the billions yet unborn, and that potential catastrophes including climate change, wars or epidemics will not serve as a brake on population growth. “It is quite possible for several of these countries that are smallish and have fewer resources, these numbers are just not sustainable,” Dr. Zlotnik said.
Well-designed programs can bring down growth rates even in the poorest countries. Provided with information and voluntary access to birth-control methods, women have chosen to have fewer children in societies as diverse as Bangladesh, Iran, Mexico, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

One message from the new report is that the AIDS epidemic, devastating as it has been, has not been the demographic disaster that was once predicted. Prevalence estimates and projections for the human immunodeficiency virus made for Africa in the 1990s turned out to be too high, and in many populations, treatment with new drug regimens has cut the death rate from the disease.

But the survival of millions of people with AIDS who would have died without treatment, and falling rates of infant and child mortality — both heartening trends — also mean that fertility rates for women need to fall faster to curb population growth, demographers said.

Other factors have slowed change in Africa, experts said, including women’s lack of power in their relationships with men, traditions like early marriage and polygamy, and a dearth of political leadership. While about three-quarters of married American women use a modern contraceptive, the comparable proportions are a quarter of women in East Africa, one in 10 in West Africa, and a mere 7 percent in Central Africa, according to United Nations statistics.

“West and Central Africa are the two big regions of the world where the fertility transition is happening, but at a snail’s pace,” said John F. May, a World Bank demographer.

Some studies suggest that providing easy, affordable access to contraceptives is not always sufficient. A trial by Harvard researchers in Lusaka, Zambia, found that only when women had greater autonomy to decide whether to use contraceptives did they have significantly fewer children. Other studies have found that general education for girls plays a critical role, in that literate young women are more likely to understand that family size is a choice.

The new report suggests that China, which has for decades enforced restrictive population policies, could soon enter the ranks of countries with declining populations, peaking at 1.4 billion in the next couple of decades, then falling to 941 million by 2100.

The United States is growing faster than many rich countries, largely because of high immigration and higher fertility among Hispanic immigrants. The new report projects that the United States population will rise from today’s 311 million to 478 million by 2100.

Neil MacFarquhar contributed reporting.

Was The Killing Of Osama Bin Laden Legal?

International intrigue.

The use of deadly force against Bin Laden is unlikely to be challenged in an American court. But the White House’s account of the operation suggests it is mindful of legal issues. The al-Qaeda leader is said to have “resisted during the raid” – although it is not clear how he did so, as he is also said to have been unarmed.

Assassinations are banned under both US and international law. Extrajudicial killings are only allowed in an armed conflict.

According to British law professor Philippe Sands QC, of University College London, much will turn on what Pakistan knew and authorised, what the US objectives were, and what happened when they confronted Bin Laden.

Until the facts are established, it is unclear whether the raid and its consequences were legal or not, Mr Sands adds.

The US can certainly argue that it was entitled to take action to protect its citizens against a deadly enemy.

“Even if the use of deadly force was unlawful, international law recognises that there are exceptional circumstances where necessity precludes wrongfulness, and this will be said to be one of those case,” Mr Sands told the BBC.

by dekerivers