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My intention here is in making intelligence, understanding and informed opinion cool again. I'm not giving in and bowing down to ignorance and fear.  I routinely post recent and relevant  stories from the some of the best journalism available.  At our Classifieds Ads are FREE and easily searchable, so finding what you're looking for is a just a few clicks away. Something like a poor man's hybrid-mutation of Craig's List/Huffington Post/Local Bulletin Board.

Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.

The leaders of this movement are the everyday people participating in the occupation. We use a tool called the "General Assembly" to facilitate open, participatory and horizontal organizing between members of the public. We welcome people from all colors, genders and beliefs to participate in our daily assemblies. Visit the NYC General Assembly website to learn how you can become involved, read updates/minutes, or find out how you can adopt NYCGA processes to organize your own community.

visit wearethe99percent    Click here to help

The Big Story

FBI to investigate Trayvon Martin shooting

 Federal authorities announced Monday night that they are opening a full-scale criminal investigation into the slaying of an unarmed black Florida teenager whose death provoked an outcry from African American leaders and sparked calls for gun-control reforms in Florida.

A Justice Department spokeswoman said in a statement that its Civil Rights Division, in conjunction with the FBI, planned to conduct an investigation into the death last month of Trayvon Martin and to work with local groups in the Orlando area to soothe rising tensions over the matter.

 read more



Local News

Peyton Manning now a Bronco

Broncos owner Pat Bowlen introduced Peyton Manning to reporters today at the team's headquarters at a news conference, which was aired live locally and nationally on ESPN2.

The news conference was schedule for 1 p.m. and started about 20 minutes late.

Bowlen said "this is sort of a historic meeting today. We're glad to have two Hall of Fame quarterbacks.

"Our goal has always been to win Super Bowls. Peyton gives us another chance to win a world championship.



Latest Green News

NASCAR: Safe driving is Green driving

NASCAR, best known for pushing the speed envelope, has launched a new traffic safety campaign with a sustainable twist. Rather than focusing narrowly on strategies to help drivers to look out for their own lives, the campaign deploys a broad message of taking responsibility for the safety of others. According to a press release launch, the campaign's mission goes far beyond road safety to encourage "personal responsibility for our planet and its people, especially teens."



Political Moves

McConnell flip-flops on Highway bill

Just before the vote, McConnell took to the senate floor and praised the lead sponsors, Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK) for their bipartisan effort. “They have worked together in a collegial way to bring us to this point on the highway bill,” he raved.

Moments later, McConnell joined 21 other Republicans — and no Democrats — in voting against the bill. The House is expected to take up a similar version in April, rather than the far inferior House Republican version.

read more


Recent Op/Eds

Subsidies for Fossil Fuels prevent investment in Renewables

After an enormously successful campaign to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline from being built, and numerous allies are gearing up for a major new fight to end four billion dollars in subsidies the fossil fuel industry receives each year.

There’s no way to move to renewable energy sources like wind and solar without ending the subsidies to an industry that’s already earning record-breaking profits: Exxon-Mobil is currently the most profitable corporation in the history of capitalism.



Alien Update on KDUR

Are Cattle Mutilations the work of Extraterrestrials?

A hallmark of these incidents is the surgical nature of the mutilation, and unexplained phenomena such as the complete draining of the animal's blood, loss of internal organs with no obvious point of entry, and surgically precise removal of the reproductive organs and anal coring. Another reported event is that the animal is found dumped in an area where there are no marks or tracks leading to or from the carcass, even when it is found in soft ground or mud. The surgical-type wounds tend to be cauterized by an intense heat and made by very sharp/precise instruments, with no bleeding evident.


click here for video or listen to KDUR Sunday 3-18-2012 at 4:20 pm



Advertizers continue to flee Limbaugh show after weak apology

Advertisers are rushing to the exits of Rush Limbaugh's radio show after customers inundated the Internet with outrage over the conservative commentator's widely criticized "slut" comments about Sandra Fluke.

Online media giant AOL, tax attorney group Tax Resolution Services, weight loss program Sensa and vitamin supplier Vitacost announced Monday that they were pulling their commercials from Limbaugh's program, bringing the total number of companies withdrawing their ads to eleven.

Two radio stations -- KPUA AM 670 in Hilo, Hawaii and WBEC 1420 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts -- announced they will no longer broadcast the show because of Limbaugh's comments.

"It has never been our goal to allow our station to be used for personal attacks and intolerance," Chris Leonard, President and General Manager of New West Broadcasting, KPUA's parent company, said Monday in a statement. "The most recent incident has crossed a line of decency and a standard that we expect of programming on KPUA whether it is locally produced or a syndicated program like the Rush Limbaugh show."

WBEC Vice President Peter Barry said his decision to cut Limbaugh has been met with overwhelming support from the station's listeners.

"We have been inundated with calls and emails of support," Barry told ABC News. "There have been probably 50 calls of support for every one call disagreeing with the decision."

On his show last week Limbaugh dubbed Georgetown University law school student Sandra Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute" for testifying before a congressional committee that birth control should be covered under employee health insurance plans.

Limbaugh has been widely criticized by many Democrats and women's rights groups, but the Republican response has been measurably more muted. The GOP presidential candidates have stopped short of all-out condemning Limbaugh's statements. And the pro-Newt Gingrich Super Pac Winning Our Future is running a national radio ad during Limbaugh show.

click here for full story


Southern Utes first to run clean air program

The Southern Ute Indian Tribe became the nation’s first Native American tribe to run its own Clean Air Act program.

After years of work to create a set of air-quality regulations for large sources of air emissions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced approval of the tribe’s rules.

Jim Martin, a Denver-based regional administrator for the EPA, called the approval “a significant step forward” for the tribe and the environment.

“EPA’s approval reflects the tribe’s exceptional effort to build the expertise and capacity to manage air quality on the reservation,” Martin said in a news release.

The nearly decade-long effort to obtain the EPA’s permission to implement the program on the tribe’s more than 1,000 square miles of reservation land near Ignacio involved “extensive community and outreach” with the oil and gas industry, the state and communities in the region, officials said. Before approval, the EPA was responsible for permitting projects within the bounds of the checker-board reservation with large sources of air emissions.

Tribal Chairman Jimmy Newton Jr. said in a news release the approval was envisioned by past tribal leaders, and the tribe is looking forward to administering the rules in a way that “ensures protection of the reservation airshed and contributes positively to regional air quality.”

BP settlement sells out the victims

Some deal.  BP gets the gold mine and its victims get the shaft.  And a few lawyers will get vacation homes - though they won't be so stupid as to build them on the Gulf Coast.

On Friday night, the judge-picked lawyers for 120,000 victims of the Deepwater Horizon blow-out cut a back-room deal with oil company BP PLC which will save the lawyers the hard work of a trial and save the oil giant billions of dollars.  It will also save the company the threat of exposing the true and very ugly story of the Gulf of Mexico oil platform blow-out.

I have been to the Gulf and seen the damage -- and the oil that BP says is gone.  Miles of it.  As an economist who calculated damages for plaintiffs in the Exxon Valdez oil spill case, I can tell you right now that there is no way, no how, that the $7.8 billion BP says it will spend on this settlement will cover that damage, the lost incomes, homes, businesses and boats, let alone the lost lives -- from cancers, fetal deformities, miscarriages, and lung and skin diseases.

Two years ago, President Barack Obama forced BP to set aside at least $20 billion for the oil spill's victims.  This week's settlement will add exactly ZERO to that fund.  Indeed, BP is crowing that, adding in the sums already paid out, the company will still have spent less than the amount committed to the Obama fund.

Obama urges Israel to give diplomacy a chance with Iran

President Obama urged Israel and it most ardent American supporters Sunday to refrain from bellicose rhetoric toward Iran and to allow time for stiff economic sanctions to work against the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions.

As threats of an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear program increase, Obama argued that a military operation now would only strengthen Iran’s fragile diplomatic position and fail to end its uranium enrichment program permanently.

Acknowledging that Iran’s clerical leadership may not respond to economic pressure, Obama assured the large audience of concerned Israeli supporters that he is willing to use “all elements of American power” to prevent the Islamic Republic from developing a nuclear weapon. But, he said, diplomacy must first be allowed to run its course.

“For the sake of Israel’s security, America’s security, and the peace and security of the world, now is not the time for bluster,” Obama told the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, a powerful lobbying group.

“Now is the time to let our increased pressure sink in, and to sustain the broad international coalition that we have built.”

Obama’s public argument for patience stands as a likely preview of the message he will deliver privately on Monday when he meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.

His AIPAC speech begins a critical week for his diplomacy to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions and assure Israel, America’s closest ally in the Middle East, that he can be trusted to act in its security interests.

Israel has concluded that Iran’s leadership has decided to pursue a nuclear weapon, and international inspectors have uncovered evidence to suggest a military intent for a program that Iran claims is only meant for civilian power purposes.

The Obama administration is not convinced that Iran’s leaders have decided to develop a weapon, although U.S. diplomats have worked with its European allies to implement oil and banking sanctions against Iran until it gives up its uranium enrichment program.

Those sanctions will take full effect this summer, and administration officials have said that their intent, in part, is to foment public unrest inside Iran that may force the country’s leadership to rethink the value of its nuclear program.

Obama is managing the Iranian nuclear issue during an election year when his Republican rivals have called his leadership abroad weak and his support for Israel suspect. He is also facing the political threat posed by rising gasoline prices, which analysts say could skyrocket if war breaks out between Israel and Iran in the oil-rich Persian Gulf region.

The Pew Research Center found in a poll last month that a narrow majority of Americans believe the United States should remain neutral in a war between Iran and Israel. Nearly 40 percent said the United States should back Israel, the poll found, in results that broke sharply along partisan lines. By a 2 to 1 margin, Republicans said the United States should take Israel’s side in the war.

click here for full story

Mesa Verde adds $41M to local economy

In yet another promising economic sign, Mesa Verde National Park visitation reached a 12-year high in 2011, according to new numbers from the National Park Service. Last year, 572,329 people visited the park, the most to pass through the park’s gates since 1999 and a 2.5 percent increase over 2010’s numbers.

Park visitation plummeted to around 400,000 in 2002, the lowest number since 1966, because of the Mesa Verde Fire, and slowly rose until dipping again at the onset of the recession in 2007. Numbers have been on a slow incline since.
The increase has equated to more than just a busy park staff.  A report issued by the NPS this week shows that in 2010, the 559,712 visitors to Mesa Verde spent $41.3 million in surrounding communities, supporting more than 575 jobs.
“The people and the business owners in communities near national parks have always known their economic value,” park superintendent Cliff Spencer said in a press release Tuesday.
Most of the spending and jobs were related to lodging and food (52 percent) followed by retail (29 percent); entertainment/amusement (10 percent); gas and local transportation (7 percent); and groceries (2 percent).
The annual independent visitor spending analysis was conducted by Daniel Stynes, of Michigan State University. Visitor spending and local impacts were estimated using 2010 park visits, spending averages from park visitor surveys, and local area economic multipliers.
In 2010, 281 million visitors passed through the country’s 394 national parks, spending an estimated $31 billion and supporting more than 258,000 jobs, according to the report. This was an increase of $689 million and 11,500 jobs over 2009.

After Rush Limbaugh's "slut" rant, advertizers start to pull commercials

One of Rush Limbaugh's advertisers announced Friday that it was pulling all of its commercials from his radio show in the wake of Limbaugh's incendiary comments about a female law student and contraception.

After being bombarded on Twitter, mattress store Sleep Train said that it would no longer advertise during Limbaugh's top-rated show following days of outrage over Limbaugh's statements about Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown student who was denied a chance to speak at a Congressional hearing about birth control.

"We are pulling our ads with Rush Limbaugh and appreciate the community's feedback," the company wrote in a tweet.

Limbaugh called Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute," saying that she was having "so much sex" that she wanted the government to pay for her contraception. Then, he went further, saying, " if we're going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch."

The comments elicited fierce condemnation from politicians and pundits, and a campaign began on Twitter to ask Sleep Train to pull its commercials from Limbaugh's show.

Sleep Train, one of the biggest mattress retailers in the country, has been targeted before for advertising on Limbaugh's show. This time, though, the campaign worked.

click here for full story

Local man convicted of bizarre string of violence

A jury on Tuesday convicted a La Plata County man of multiple felonies in an unusual case that involved years of domestic violence, animal cruelty and branding women with a hot iron.

Prosecutors said Louie Lucero, 51, faces a minimum of 22 years in prison with mandatory sentencing guidelines. He was convicted of 14 counts, including felony assault, false imprisonment, motor-vehicle theft, violation of a protection order and cruelty to animals.

Lucero, wearing khakis and a sports coat, looked down as each guilty verdict was read by 6th Judicial District Judge David Dickinson.

He shook hands with two public defenders – Faith Winstead and Katie Telfer – before being led out of the courtroom in handcuffs. He showed no emotion. He has been in custody at the La Plata County jail for more than a year.

Prosecutors said Lucero faces a maximum sentence of about 72 years in prison. Criminal offenders typically serve about 75 percent of their prison terms in the state Department of Corrections before being eligible for early release on good behavior.

Sentencing is set for 1:30 p.m. April 27 in District Court.

Deputy District Attorney Rachel Bromberg accused Lucero of a pattern of domestic violence dating to at least 2000 and involving three women.

Defense lawyers attacked the creditability of the women, faulted the criminal investigation and said prosecutors failed to meet their burden of proof.

“This is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt – not even close,” Winstead said.

Included in testimony:

Lucero broke the arms of two different women with whom he was intimately involved. “He twisted it like a dish towel, breaking the arm,” Bromberg said of one of the victims. The other woman suffered a broken arm after she tried to block Lucero from hitting her over the head with a television remote control.

Right-Wing racism, Past, Present and Future

Does Barack Obama look like a “skinny ghetto crackhead” to you? Did Whitney Houston’s death inspire the thought that Representative Maxine Waters needs to “step away from the crack pipe?” If so, then Fox is the cable network for you. (The quotes belong to Media Research Center president Brent Bozell and Fox News host Eric Bolling, respectively.) But if you prefer your news by radio, then perhaps you’d best stick with Rush Limbaugh, who explains that President Obama “talks honky” around white folk, while his wife feels entitled to abuse public funds as payback for centuries of white oppression of black people. And finally, if you like your racism live and in person, then no doubt you would have been right at home at the recent CPAC convention, where Ann Coulter told the assembled crowd, “Voters with forty years of politically correct education are ecstatic to have the first black president. They just love the idea of it, even if we did get Flavor Flav instead of Thomas Sowell.”

Comparing the president of the United States and the most senior female black member of the House of Representatives to rap artists/reality-TV clowns and drug addicts is apparently unremarkable for conservative media personalities, but presidential candidates need to be more subtle. When Newt Gingrich, for instance, calls President Obama America’s “food stamp president” and promises to “talk about why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps,” he is engaging in similar signaling, though one with built-in deniability. For Gingrich this has the added benefit that when he pretends this is not the case in the face of media questioning, he gets to attack yet another enemy of the Tea Party types whose confused causes he professes to represent.

It has become a depressing ritual of American politics that when one is confronted with evidence of one’s racism, the proper response is to insist that while old-fashioned Bull Connor–style racism has disappeared, liberals and journalists—and rarely is any distinction made here—remain obsessed with this now-imaginary phenomenon as a means of persecuting conservatives for telling it like it is. For instance, Coulter insists that “liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race.” Bozell complains of the alleged (Clarence Thomas–style) “high-tech lynching” of Herman Cain by those who accurately reported what the former candidate actually said and did. And, um, ditto Limbaugh, who responded to the same reporting and commentary of Cain’s actions by knowingly explaining that it “tells us who the real racists are.”

The upside of this (barely) coded racist discourse for Fox, Limbaugh, Coulter, Gingrich, etc., is apparent on several levels simultaneously. First and most obvious is its appeal to the unreconstructed and unashamedly racist among us. It’s impossible to know how large this number is since even most racists know not to admit their true beliefs to a pollster, much less a reporter. But if, say, the first 5,000 or so comments on on Whitney Houston’s death are any indication, their ranks remain considerable.

More Americans now believe in Climate Change

The latest version of the National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change, conducted in December 2011, shows that Americans' belief in climate change is again climbing.

Now 62% of people surveyed agreed that there is "solid evidence that the average temperature on Earth has been getting warmer over the past four decades." That's a 7% increase from the spring of 2011 and 10 percentage points higher than in the spring on 2010—though still below fall 2008 when nearly three-quarters of Americans thought the planet was warming.

Looking at demographic factors such as gender, race, and education, though the exact percentages vary somewhat they are roughly in line with a two-thirds belief that the planet is warming, one quarter that it's not, and the rest note sure. However, when looked at on political party lines, more significant differences emerge.

For Democrats 78% say there is solid evidence of warming and just 15% say there isn't. Independents break down as 55% saying yes there's warming, 30% no there isn't, and 15% unsure. Going further the other way, 47% of Republicans say there is warming, 42% say there isn't, and 7% are unsure—which is doubly interesting in that when it comes to Republican politicians, at least at the national level climate change denial has become a de facto party line, however out of step that is with Republican voters.

As for why people believe that the planet is warming, personal observation is the leading factor, increasing over the past few years. Roughly half of people said that warmer temperatures or weather changes they've experienced was it.

Interestingly, despite all the past hype about the influence of An Inconvenient Truth over people's acceptance or non-acceptance of climate change, back in 2008 just 2% of people responded that the film was the primary influence (only declining species was lower). Ever since then it has dropped below 1% in influence, with observed warmer temperatures and weather changes climbing, as well as human activity all climbing.

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