Monday, December 31, 2012

Rachel Maddow's Surge in Ratings

Rachel Maddow's Surge Is Fox News' Worst Ratings Nightmare

After prophesying a landslide win for Mitt Romney, Fox News has seen its ratings decline a lot more than usual since the election — and Sean Hannity's viewers in particular keep disappearing, while Rachel Maddow's continue to tune in over at rival MSNBC.
The last batch of Nielsen data available before year's end shows Hannity's viewership getting chopped in half after November 6, according to the New York Daily News's Don Kaplan. Politico's Dylan Byers argues this decline simply brings Hannity back to pre-election norms. Or perhaps these vanishing viewers are just disgruntled voters who can't stomach the news cycle anymore. Kaplan, however, attributes this decline to Hannity's implied predictions: 
... viewers who basked in his preelection anti-Obama rhetoric tuned him out when they were stunned to wake up on Nov. 7 and discover that the President had won a second term — a scenario that Hannity had all but promised could never happen.
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz — who both, of course, did not predict a Romney victory — have retained most of their viewership in the weeks following election night, and CNN's Anderson Cooper has lost almost none. With ratings holding strong after Obama's reelection and Maddow appearing on The Colbert Report, it appears like MSNBC is making good on president Phil Griffin's plan to bolster the channel's brand awareness
But these trends may began long before Hannity and other Fox News commentators led viewers to believe Romney was a shoe-in. Media blog News Corpse notes that throughout 2012, Fox News experienced by far the slowest year-over-year growth amongst the three major cable news channels. And even though MSNBC has captured many more eyeballs within the lucrative 25-54 demographic, Fox News still retains primetime dominance in the world of 24-hour TV news. What's left for CNN next year, well, that's up to new boss Jeff Zucker to decide

end quote from:

I tend to watch CNN news the most because it is non-partisan whereas Fox is ultra-conservative and MSNBC with Rachel Maddow is ultra Liberal. So, I tend to want more rational news and less partisan news. I grew up around very partisan people and what I found is that life can get kind of scary when people are too partisan one way or the other. Reason and logic leave when people get too partisan and people get hurt and sometimes die because of being too partisan one way or the other. However, if I'm Listening to Sirius XM Satellite radio cable in my truck while driving or traveling whenever a commercial comes on CNN Channel 115 I turn to MSNBC which I think is 117 or BBC news 118?  if I'm in the mood for news. Otherwise I listen to 96 which is a clean comedy network and other stuff depending upon my mood and whether or not I'm traveling a long distance or not in my 4WD truck. If one or more of my kids are with me it is usually some kind of music or dub step or rock and roll or popular that they want to listen to. And then I have to remember to take my hearing AIDS out so I don't damage my hearing. If my wife and I are traveling together we might listen to a book on CD or one of the book channels on Sirius Satellite reading book excerpts.

By the way if you are new to wearing hearing aids don't open your window in the car or listen to loud music with them in because even though you can't tell you are injuring your ears, you usually are.

Note: The original reason that I posted this article is that it is further evidence that the Republican Party may be committing suicide as far as the general Electorate is concerned. If they can't take care of their people and solve problems by negotiation what good are they? Remember this isn't a statement of truth I'm making here, it is only a question and Republicans of all shapes and stripes will answer this one themselves in the coming months.

Good Chance of Fiscal Cliff Bill passed by 3rd


Democrats win key tax fights in emerging fiscal cliff deal

    Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell are shown here. | AP Photo
    The deal was primarily negotiated between Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell. | AP Photo
    The emerging fiscal cliff deal is enough to leave Republicans with a major New Year’s hangover.
    The package being negotiated by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden amounts to a defeat for the GOP on multiple fronts.

    Text Size

    • -
    • +
    • reset
    Click here to find out more!
    It not only raises tax rates, but also extends stimulus-era tax policy, prolongs emergency unemployment benefits, maintains targeted tax breaks derided by the party as corporate handouts and revives limits on deductions for the wealthy that have been dormant for almost a decade — all policies that the GOP has fought. It’s expected to raise $600 billion over 10 years.
    Democrats are making concessions of their own, especially on the threshold at which tax rate hikes should kick in. After a campaign that centered on raising taxes for those making more than $250,000, the deal would instead raise the bar to $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for married couples. Democrats also failed in their bid to subject more inheritances to a steeper estate tax and increase the debt ceiling as part of a fiscal cliff package.
    (Also on POLITICO: Breakthrough on fiscal cliff)
    Still, conservative commentators were quick to pan the deal and urged GOP lawmakers to fight it.
    “Republicans should kill the compromise plan for the fiscal cliff,” Erick Erickson wrote on his Web site Monday.
    There are plenty of uncertainties remaining as the clock ticks down to Jan. 1. Lawmakers in the Senate could block a swift vote on the deal. The House could amend it or reject it in whole.
    McConnell is working to avoid such a rebellion. He spoke on the Senate floor Monday afternoon and said that the deal solves the most urgent aspect of the fiscal cliff — tax policy — while leaving room to work on spending cuts.
    “Let’s pass the tax relief portion now,” he said. “Let’s take what has been agreed to and get moving.”
    (PHOTOS: 12 Republicans resigned to higher taxes)
    In an afternoon appearance at the White House, President Barack Obama touted the deal for raising tax rates on top earners. But perhaps the most symbolic win for Democrats is the continuation of key stimulus-era tax provisions.
    Click here to find out more!

    Jerry Brown Seeks Big Agenda While Restraining Democrats

    Jerry Brown Seeks Big Agenda While Restraining Democrats

    Share 0 Comments
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown checked off most of the items from his 2012 to-do list. He persuaded a majority of voters to pass his tax initiative in November, pushed changes to the public pension system through the Legislature and put California on stronger financial footing.
    Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
    Now the Democratic governor can turn his attention to the second half of a term that began two years ago and pursue the kind of legacy-building achievements governors seek. At the top of his agenda are a massive water infrastructure project for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the heart of the state's water-delivery system, and seeing that the nation's first high-speed rail system gets on track. "It's going to be a very exciting year, but it has to be a year that we keep one foot on the brake and the other foot modestly on the accelerator," Brown said in an interview with The Associated Press.
    With Democrats also winning two-thirds majorities in both houses of the Legislature, the governor has said one of his responsibilities will be to keep his own party in check so it doesn't lose the trust of the voters.
    Brown is likely to present a robust agenda when he releases his budget proposal and gives his State of the State address in January. In addition to high-speed rail and a tunnel to convey Sacramento River water around the delta, Brown has signaled that he will seek to overhaul California's school-funding system, streamline state regulations and further strengthen California's environmental regulations.
    Even Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, said in a column that Brown could be "the new voice of reason" in Sacramento, with Republicans marginalized and Democratic lawmakers free to enact anything they like — and even override gubernatorial vetoes.
    Brown acknowledged a "momentum and thrust" among liberals to try to restore programs that have experienced deep spending cuts during the recession, but he has been reiterating his admonitions that the state must keep spending in check.
    "The problem is that the money that we've raised has already been spent, and the goal here was to bring our budget into balance, stop the bleeding in our schools and stabilize the yo-yo budgeting of the last 15 years, and so that's where we are," Brown said of his ballot initiative.
    He added, "It's clear to me that we have to stay the course, and this will be a much better year than we've had for a long time."
    Proposition 30, passed with 54 percent of the vote Nov. 6, is expected to generate an additional $6 billion a year by increasing the state sales tax a quarter cent and raising income taxes on those making $250,000 a year or more. Both tax increases are temporary.
    The state's independent legislative analyst said California faces a much smaller budget deficit — about $1.9 billion — through the end of the next fiscal year and could even have surpluses after that. That compares with the $15.7 billion deficit lawmakers faced earlier this year.
    Brown has a unique opportunity that few leaders get, Democratic political adviser Chris Lehane said. With all statewide offices held by Democrats and a supermajority in the Legislature, he said Californians will look to Brown to lay out a vision for restoring the state to greatness.
    "I think people are going to want a sense of, big picture, where are we going as a state?" Lehane said. "I think they want to have a sense that there is a plan out there that can address what have been historically intractable issues. ... Now we have a chance to go in the right direction. How are we going to do that?"
    Brown laid out a fairly extensive list of priorities the day after the November election. He said he would give his full attention to the state's longstanding water concerns, focus on the $68 billion high-speed rail project, revamp the state's education financing system and work to "calibrate our regulations" to ensure they are reasonable but still protect the environment, health and workers.
    Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg also said Democrats will seek to rewrite an $11 billion water bond that is set to go before voters in 2014, rearranging its priorities and lowering the borrowing by at least $1 billion. Republicans had insisted on including the possibility of building new dams when the bipartisan package was approved by lawmakers in 2009, while Democrats generally favored alternatives such as cleaning up contaminated groundwater and increasing conservation efforts.
    Brown, 74, also faces medical treatments for early stage prostate cancer, his second cancer scare since re-taking the office he first held from 1975 to 1983. He is undergoing radiation treatments that are expected to end the week of Jan. 7. In April 2011, he underwent surgery to remove a cancerous growth on the right side of his nose.
    Looking ahead to a year of promise, Brown views his role as charting the middle ground.
    "I see my job as someone who has to examine closely the various excesses that are presented and find a wise balance," he said.

    Shape of Fiscal Deal Emerging

    Shape of Fiscal Deal Emerging, but Spending Still at Issue
    New York Times ‎- 43 minutes ago
    WASHINGTON — Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, on Monday reached agreement on ...

    Shape of Fiscal Deal Emerging, but Spending Still at Issue

    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Google+
    • Save
    • E-mail
    • Share
    • Print
    • Reprints
    WASHINGTON — Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, on Monday reached agreement on a tentative deal to stave off large tax increases starting on Tuesday, but remained stuck on whether and how to stop $110 billion in across-the-board spending cuts in 2013, an official familiar with the negotiations said.
    Drew Angerer/Getty Images
    Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader, on Capitol Hill on Monday. More Photos »

    The Fiscal Deadline in Washington

    The New York Times is following the talks between President Obama and Congressional leaders on the so-called fiscal cliff.
    T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times
    “It looks awful,” Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Democrat, said after tense negotiations on Sunday. More Photos »
    Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
    Senator Mitch McConnell, left, the Republican leader, with aides on Sunday. He called the vice president seeking help. More Photos »
    J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press
    Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, may seek a vote on a stopgap measure on tax cuts backed by President Obama. More Photos »

    Readers’ Comments

    Under the emerging deal, income taxes would rise to 39.6 percent from 35 percent on income over $400,000 for single people and $450,000 for couples. Above those income levels, dividends and capital gains tax rates would also rise, to 20 percent from 15 percent.
    Speaking at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, adjacent to the White House, President Obama took note of the progress.
    “Today it appears that an agreement to prevent this New Year’s tax hike is within sight, but it is not done,” he said. “There are still issues left to resolve, but we are hopeful that Congress can get it done. But it is not done.”
    The official familiar with the deal stressed that taxes would rise in some sense on the top 2 percent of earners, as Mr. Obama had wanted. That is because the deal would reinstate provisions to tax law, ended by the Bush tax cuts of 2001, that phase out personal exemptions and deductions for the affluent. Those phaseouts, under the agreement, would begin at $250,000 for single people and $300,000 for couples.
    The estate tax would also rise, but considerably less than Democrats had wanted. The value of estates over $5 million would be taxed at 40 percent, up from the current 35 percent. Democrats had wanted a 45 percent rate on inheritances larger than $3.5 million.
    Under the deal, the new rates on income, investment and inheritances would be permanent.
    Mr. Obama and the Democrats would be granted a five-year extension of tax cuts they won in the 2009 stimulus law for middle-class and working-poor taxpayers. Those include a child credit that goes out as a check to workers who do not earn enough money to pay income taxes, an expanded earned income credit and a refundable credit for tuition.
    Democrats also secured a full year’s extension of unemployment insurance without strings attached, a $30 billion cost.
    All combined, the official said, the new package would raise about $600 billion over 10 years, compared to the revenue generated if current tax levels were simply extended. That, he said, is 85 percent of the revenue Democrats had wanted to raise under Mr. Obama’s initial proposal, which would have raised around $700 billion.
    In addition, the deal would stave off sharp cuts for one year to health care providers who treat Medicare patients. That cost, about $30 billion, would be paid for with cuts to other health care programs.
    The official said all those provisions are sealed, but a big issue remains open: what to do about automatic spending cuts. Democrats, including the White House, are demanding a one-year “pause” to give negotiators time to strike a broader deficit reduction deal. Republicans have offered a three-month hiatus but no more.
    “It would be crazy to not come together on this,” the official said.
    Mr. Obama used his speech to warn Republicans that he would continue to press for more tax increases even beyond whatever may be included in a deal now. “If Republicans think I will finish the job of deficit reduction through spending cuts alone,” he said, then “they’ve got another think coming. That’s not how it’s going to work.”
    Republicans responded to the president’s speech angrily, accusing him of “moving the goal posts” just when a deal was in reach. They said that they knew that the two sides still had to agree on how to suspend automatic across-the-board spending cuts, but that they generally agreed that such a suspension would be offset, at least partially, by spending cuts elsewhere. Instead, the president said any deal to turn off the so-called sequester had to be financed by tax increases and spending cuts in concert.
    “He can’t hold the middle class hostage when an agreement is ready simply because he wants to get the sequester done now,” a senior Republican leadership aide said after the speech. “That can be handled over the next month or so.”
    Democrats are more likely to protest the deal than Republicans. Liberals are already complaining that almost all of the Bush tax cuts would be made permanent, but that Democratic tax cuts secured in the stimulus law get only a five-year lease on life. Richard L. Trumka, the head of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., is demanding a separate vote to kill any cut to the estate tax, which goes to the richest of the rich.
    Senator Tom Harkin, a liberal Democrat from Iowa, earlier Monday warned that the negotiations were producing what “looks like a very bad deal the way this is shaping up.”
    Some conservatives in the House will almost immediately criticize the deal, saying it lacks sufficient spending cuts. House leaders were waiting to get full details of any agreement and were particularly interested in details on the sequester.
    Robert Pear, John M. Broder and Jennifer Steinhauer contributed reporting.
    end quote from:
    Shape of Fiscal Deal Emerging, but Spending Still at Issue


    Sunday, December 30, 2012

    Individual Finances: 2013

    Finance: Take control of finances, your life in 2013

    Florida Today - ‎1 hour ago‎
    For people of all ages, you can't control financial markets but you can control the types and quantity of risks you bear, whether your portfolio is reasonable given your capacity and tolerance for risk, whether you have established specific goals and ...

    Finance: Take control of finances, your life in 2013

    10:08 PM, Dec 30, 2012   |  
    Work on the things you can control and try not to worry about those you cannot.
    Work on the things you can control and try not to worry about those you cannot. / Getty Images
    • Filed Under
    QUESTION: What is your top financial tip for 2013?
    ANSWER: Focus on what you can control.
    For working people, you can’t control your employment entirely but you can control whether you keep your skills sharp, get along well with co-workers, add value to your work environment, and thus make your employment more secure. You can’t control increases in gas prices, food or other things but you can control whether you live within your means, whether you save regularly and whether you manage debt.
    For people of all ages, you can’t control financial markets but you can control the types and quantity of risks you bear, whether your portfolio is reasonable given your capacity and tolerance for risk, whether you have established specific goals and time frames, whether you control costs, whether you manage taxation on the portfolio, whether you employ sound strategies, whether you conduct adequate due diligence, whether you have reasonable expectations for the behavior of your portfolio, and whether you exercise the discipline and patience needed.
    If you only learn one skill in 2013, however, I would wish that to be the ability to manage the intake of news. This is a controllable item often overlooked. Today’s 24/7 media produce far more noise than news. Be selective of what you pay attention to and be aware of how things affect your mood. If watching a show gets your blood boiling and sours your mood, stays on your mind or makes you miss a positive event — don’t watch that show. Try reading more local content. Every day, FLORIDA TODAY publishes real news by real journalists and a variety of stories about our neighbors doing wonderful positive things.
    If you just can’t seem to unplug, work on being more discriminating about taking in commentary. Listening to the opinions of others can help you formulate your own viewpoint but these days the quantity of noise is so high, the commentary is often extreme to stand out. The noise gets noisier.
    Short-term predictions about the economy, politics and the markets are almost always speculative noise. You can stay informed if you look in the right places. In the 23 years I have been advising people, the skill with the highest correlation to investment success has been the ability to control the intake of news.
    Dan Moisand, CFP has been featured as one of the America’s top independent financial advisors in 10 different financial planning related publications. He writes regular columns for Financial Advisor and the Journal of Financial Planning, has spoken to planner and consumer audiences on five continents, and practices in Melbourne.  
    end quote from:

    Hillary Clinton in Hospital with Blood Clot from Concussion

    Blood clot puts Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in hospital

    Detroit Free Press - ‎1 hour ago‎
    WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was admitted to a New York hospital Sunday after the discovery of a blood clot stemming from the concussion she sustained earlier this month.
    Bed rest may be cause of Clinton's blood clot
    Clinton is hospitalized after docs discover clot
    Hillary Clinton hospitalized after doctors discover blood clot
    Hillary Clinton in Hospital After Blood Clot Found
    Portal:Current events/2012 December 30

    Blood clot puts Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in hospital

    Doctors to monitor medication for 48 hours

    December 31, 2012  |  
    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, 65, fell and suffered a concussion while at home alone in mid-December.
    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, 65, fell and suffered a concussion while at home alone in mid-December.
    Ads by Pulse 360 
    Pacific Grove: Frenzy Over New Diet Pill
    Causes 10% Reduction in Bodyweight - But Should It Be Banned?
    Keep reading...
    The ABCs of Diabetes Control
    Having diabetes demands you pay attention to heart risks.
    Pacific Grove Mom Makes Botox Doctors Angry
    Mom Reveals Clever $5 Wrinkle Therapy That Makes Botox Doctors Furious
    WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was admitted to a New York hospital Sunday after the discovery of a blood clot stemming from the concussion she sustained earlier this month.
    Clinton's doctors discovered the clot Sunday while performing a follow-up exam, said her spokesman, Philippe Reines. He would not elaborate on the location of the clot, but said Clinton is being treated with anticoagulants and would remain at New York-Presbyterian Hospital for at least the next 48 hours so that doctors can monitor the medication.
    "Her doctors will continue to assess her condition, including other issues associated with her concussion," Reines said in a statement. "They will determine if any further action is required."
    Clinton, 65, fell and suffered a concussion while at home alone in mid-December as she recovered from a stomach virus that left her severely dehydrated. The concussion was diagnosed Dec. 13, and she was forced to cancel a trip to north Africa and the Middle East that had been planned for the next week.
    The seriousness of a blood clot depends on where it is, said Dr. Gholam Motamedi, a neurologist at Georgetown University Medical Center who was not involved in Clinton's care.
    Clots in the legs are a common risk after someone has been bedridden, as Clinton may have been for a time after her concussion. Those are "no big deal" and are treated with six months of blood thinners to allow them to dissolve on their own and to prevent further clots from forming, he said.
    A clot in a lung or the brain is more serious. Lung clots, called pulmonary embolisms, can be deadly, and a clot in the brain can cause a stroke, Motamedi said.
    Keeping Clinton in the hospital for a couple of days could allow doctors to perform more tests to determine why the clot formed, and to rule out a heart problem or other condition that may have led to it, he said.
    Clinton was forced to cancel Dec. 20 testimony before Congress about a scathing report into the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The report found that serious failures of leadership and management in two State Department bureaus were to blame for insufficient security at the facility. Clinton took responsibility for the incident before the report was released, but she was not blamed.
    Last Thursday, before the discovery of the blood clot, Reines said Clinton was expected to return to work this week.
    The former first lady and senator, who had always planned to step down as America's top diplomat in January, is known for her grueling travel schedule. She is the most traveled secretary of state in history, having visited 112 countries while in the job.

    end quote from:

    Blood clot puts Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in hospital


    Stand By Me: The Movie 1986

    Stand by Me (1986) - IMDb
     Rating: 8.1/10 - 151204 votes
    After the death of a friend, a writer recounts a boyhood journey to find the body of a missing boy.
    Directed by Rob Reiner. Starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix.

    I was watching a new DVD of "The Bourne Legacy". The new one with Alaska and a flying Drone in it when the dogs started barking. I thought it must be a raccoon or skunk or even a cat in the back yard but it turned out to be my son visiting unannounced. My wife and I decided to finish the Bourne movie later and my son was picking out a movie from our collection to watch. He found "Stand By Me" which was made in 1986 and had Wil Wheaton from Star Trek and River Phoenix: So, we watched this movie that reminds me a lot of my own life summers from 1953 until 1960  at Shasta Springs near Dunsmuir and walking along the train tracks and swimming in the upper Sacramento River and places like Moss Spray Falls down the tracks towards Dunsmuir from Shasta Springs and the trails down through the waterfalls to the tracks. The way they talked and acted was just the way it was for me in many ways from about 1956 to 1960 or 61. And Yes, Junior high changed everything and made everything much more difficult. 1953 when I was 5 until 1961 when I was 13 was a much more innocent time than now. But, the way kids thought and acted and talked and the non-chalant way kids were carrying weapons then and even smoking cigarettes and being beat up and harassed and sometimes injured by older boys was exactly the way it really was for me too in those days. It was another time with transistor radios when boys in some ways were expected to be men from about 5. And many boys like that died in the Viet Nam War including some I knew too back then in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Though in some ways it makes me long for the innocence of those times, still the psychological damage done through having to survive all the abuse along with all the really great camaraderie makes me glad to be an older and wiser and safer adult now too. If you had to survive all that kind of stuff for more than about 10 years or so no one would survive it at all.
     Wil Wheaton ... Gordie Lachance
    River Phoenix ... Chris Chambers
    Corey Feldman ... Teddy Duchamp
    Jerry O'Connell ... Vern Tessio
    Kiefer Sutherland

    Freedom of Expression

    Courtni Webb, San Francisco High School Senior, Suspended For ...
    2 days ago – A 17-year old high school student in San Francisco has been suspended ... for five days for writing an a pair of essays that administrators deemed "terroristic threats. ... It allows a school to suspend or expel a student for making either a verbal or ..... After all there have been ZERO black, female mass killers.

    Courtni Webb, San Francisco High School Senior, Suspended For Writing Poem About Sandy Hook Shooting

    By Aaron Sankin Posted:   |  Updated: 12/28/2012 2:31 pm EST
    A 17-year old high school student in San Francisco has been suspended for a poem she wrote about the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
    "I understand the killings in Connecticut. I know why he pulled the trigger," wrote Courtni Webb in a poem that was not turned in for an assignment, but was found by a teacher and then given to the school's principal. "Why are we oppressed by a dysfunctional community of haters and blamers?"
    Webb, a senior at the Life Learning Academy on Treasure Island, told ABC San Francisco that the poem was just her way of expressing herself. "The meaning of the poem is just talking about society and how I understand why things like that incident happened. So it's not like I'm agreeing with it, but that's how the school made it seem," she said. "For example, the only person I can think of would be like Stephen King. He writes weird stuff all the time. That doesn't mean he's going to do it or act it out."
    The Life Learning Academy is a 60-pupil vocational school for students that haven't been successful at other educational institutions. Since it is a charter school, Life Learning Academy, which was named the "2010 Charter School of the Year" by the California Charter School Association, its discipline is handled outside of the San Francisco Unified School District. Officials at Life Learning Academy were not immediately available for comment.
    In 1998, an eighth grader in Half Moon Bay was suspended for five days for writing an a pair of essays that administrators deemed "terroristic threats." The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
    The suspension was based on a state law that took effect Jan. 1. It allows a school to suspend or expel a student for making either a verbal or written threat against a school official that could result in death or serious injury, even if the student does not have the intent to carry out the threat. The law, part of the Education Code, allows similar punishment if the student threatens to cause $1,000 or more in property damage.
    A report by the UCLA Civil Rights Project found that over 400,000 students were suspended from California's K-12 public schools last year.

    end quote from:

    Courtni Webb, San Francisco High School Senior, Suspended For ...

    I understand why the school suspended her for writing this. But I think it is unfortunate because someone went through her papers to find this writing. It wasn't like it was something she turned into a teacher. So, I think a person should have their privacy rights protected and the ACLU agrees with this by the way. 

    I think this all is a slippery slope for everyone. Everyone is trying to do the right thing here but, if we repress people's free expression we only increase the risks of homicide but also exponentially increase our risks of students suiciding as well.

    I know myself that some of the worst things I ever had to endure in life only a few things helped me through those things. One was a good relationship with God and my family and friends, and being able to play musical instruments and to sing and riding my bicycle, running and hiking out in nature and surfing, and lastly to be able to always have the right and the ability to always write down whatever I thought and felt about everything. Of course, a lot of this is personal and should never be made public, which is why what happened to Courtni was wrong. Because if this was something she wrote privately, no one had any business at all in going through her things and reading it in the first place.



    A Price for Carbon in California

    Strategic Thinking

    a 2nd Cold War?

    After writing the above article I was thinking about this more and realized if the above article is correct in its basic assumption, that the present economic strategy of both the U.S., and Europe and the whole Western World would be exactly what it is to create a long term better outcome strategically.

    So, if I were to imagine "A Polite War" for resources that lasted 100 or 200 years at a time, it would look exactly like what is presently happening between the largest nations on earth at this time. It would not be violent between large nations, it would just be sort of secretive like it presently is, and would avoid any and all conflict that might escalate into a nuclear confrontation between the larger powers.

    One perfect example of this is Syria. Syria is caught between a rock and a hard place and this is not good for Syria or the world at large. But the fact that what is happening in Syria is being allowed to happen at all by the nations of the world indicates to me that the "Polite War" between the largest nations is presently taking place and likely will continue like this for decades or even for centuries.

    Most of you might not consider what is happening in Europe or the Fiscal Cliff or the Debt Ceiling as part of a larger war for the survival long term of the Western World and its cultures and economic and political systems and ways of democratic  life with human rights?

    Later: My thought is on one level we are at a disadvantage because we tend to think in the western world in 1 year and 4 year political increments. But this won't work in a decades long or centuries long kind of business competition for resources of all kinds. So, planning for 10 years to 25 years out for our long term survival would be a good start.

    Can Electric Car Batteries Be Recycled?

    Can Electric Car Batteries Be Recycled? by Kristen Hall-Geisler 1 © Dudoladov DCL More on electric cars Special Feature: Electric Cars Electric Cars Charging the Future (View & Vote) Quiz: Know Your Electric Car Trivia? How Green are Automotive Lithium-Ion Batteries? This post, part of a series we're running all about electric cars, was written by Kristen Hall-Geisler from Happily, the answer is yes -- the batteries that power electric cars (and hybrids, for that matter) can be recycled. For decades, the few electric vehicles that were on the road were powered by lead-acid batteries. The latest models, with their lighter weight and longer range, use lithium-ion batteries, just like laptops and cell phones. In either case, the batteries that power electric cars can be recycled. In the case of the older-technology lead-acid batteries, 96 percent of the materials in the battery -- including the nasty lead -- is recovered. To compare, only 38 percent of the material in glass bottles is recovered in the recycling process. They can also be recharged and reused before being recycled. Hybrid cars currently on the road, like the Toyota Prius, use nickel metal hydride batteries, which can be dismantled and recycled in much the same way. When the battery packs in a lithium-ion-powered vehicle are deemed too worn out for driving, they still have up to 80 percent of their charge left. So before they ever get to a recycling center, these batteries are used to prop up the grid, especially alongside energy sources that may not be quite as steady, like wind or solar power. The batteries can store power to help the flow of electricity stay on an even keel rather than ebb and flow with the weather. Since lithium-ion battery-powered cars are just now coming to the mass market, the recycling centers that can reclaim their components are still in their infancy, too. Toxco, a big lead-acid battery recycler, is set to open the first lithium-ion battery recycling plant in the U.S. Companies like Tesla Motors, which has had lithium-powered electric sports cars on the road for a couple of years now, already sends its spent batteries to Toxco's current facilities for recycling. When lithium-ion batteries reach a recycling plant, there are two ways to pulverize them. If they are completely without a charge, they're simply shredded so that the metal components, like copper and steel, can be easily sorted out. If the batteries could still possibly have a charge, though, they're frozen in liquid nitrogen and smashed to frozen bits (cool!). The liquid nitrogen is so cold, the batteries can't react, so the smashing is safe. And probably fun. Then the metals are separated out for reuse.

    end quote from: 

    HowStuffWorks "Can Electric Car Batteries Be Recycled?"