A few of the goodies for the start of the week.
In his State of the Union address tomorrow, President Obama will declare his intention to use executive authority to bypass Congress. The Wall Street Journal reports that a host of such policies are being considered on the economy, job training, infrastructure repair, climate change, and education.
Republicans are outraged. Yesterday Rand Paul declared that Obama’s promise of executive action smacks of a “threat,” adding that he should instead be “building consensus.” Senator Roy Blunt similarly argues that “we don’t need more class warfare” and that the President “has a lot of explaining to do.”
Presidents have the power in some cases to bypass Congress and take action by executive order to accomplish their administration’s goals. Is this approach something you…
For the first time since June, a Snowden revelation could have serious life and death consequences.
Not widely reported in the United States, a November article by The Guardian‘s Ewen MacAskill revealed that in 2009 Australia’s NSA counterpart, the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD), eavesdropped on the cellphone of Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, as well as his wife Ani.
The timing of the article couldn’t have been worse. Australia and Indonesia have been struggling to curtail what’s known as “people smuggling,” a refugee crisis in which people from the Middle East and South Asia have been using Indonesia as a launching-off point for harrowing journeys across the Banda and Timor Seas to seek asylum in Australia.
Despite spending years attacking the character of President Obama and the Democrats, a new Pew Research Center survey found that the American people trust Democrats more than Republicans 41%-31%.
The Pew Research Center’s annual survey of policy and prioritiesfound that Democrats led Republicans on a wide range of character issues. Democrats had a 25 point lead (52%-27%) on being more willing to work with the other party. Democrats held a 20 point (52%-32%) advantage on the question of who is concerned with the needs of people like me. By a margin of 54%-35%, Republicans were found to be the more extreme party in their positions. Respondents also thought the Republican Party was more influenced by lobbyists than the Democratic Party (47%-30%), but the most telling question was who do people trust to govern ethically and honestly.
Let’s talk for a minute about Nome, Alaska. This burg of 3,700 sits near the western edge of the Seward Peninsula where it borders the Bering Sea, summer destination for the Earth’s recovering population of Grey whales due to very cold surface waters which circulate freely with deep currents, bringing up nutrients that feed a thriving surface community of algae and plankton that nourish the whales.
Sea ice started melting a while ago in the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean. This warms up the area like crazy because ice reflects solar energy whereas open water absorbs it. This drew the jet stream north as everyone knew it would, winters get a lot nicer in the far north (unless you have a foundation in permafrost, which everyone does) and the higher atmo pressure pushed the arctic weather south to us while denying the Southwest any precipitation at all. That kind of sucks for SoCal, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and anyone in the lower 48 who prefers not to freeze to death and it will put huge pressure on Colorado and other upriver states to sacrifice their water consumption so Arizona farmers and Flagstaff golf courses can stay in business.