Here's something important today from RJ.
Truthdig: The Polite Conference Rooms Where Liberties Are Saved and Lost - Chris Hedges - I spent four hours in a third-floor conference room at 86 Chambers St. in Manhattan on Friday as I underwent a government deposition. Benjamin H. Torrance, an assistant U.S. attorney, carried out the questioning as part of the government’s effort to decide whether it will challenge my standing as a plaintiff in the lawsuit I have brought with others against President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta over the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), also known as the Homeland Battlefield Bill. The NDAA implodes our most cherished constitutional protections. It permits the military to function on U.S. soil as a civilian law enforcement agency. It authorizes the executive branch to order the military to selectively suspend due process and habeas corpus for citizens. The law can be used to detain people deemed threats to national security, including dissidents whose rights were once protected under the First Amendment, and hold them until what is termed “the end of the hostilities.” Even the name itself—the Homeland Battlefield Bill—suggests the totalitarian concept that endless war has to be waged within “the homeland” against internal enemies as well as foreign enemies.
Much thanks to RJ at the Global Glass Onion and the Ozarker at Conflicted Doomer , and to Doug at 3Es News and David at ETF Daily, for their help today! These good friends help make this blog what it is so do, go by and help support their efforts and hard work.
And again to any new folks coming through, or you old LATOC members, if you're looking for your long lost friends, you will most likely find them at one of the great forums linked at the bottom of the blog post.
Peak Oil and Energy News
FuelFix: New Pipelines to Rival Keystone
FT: US petrol prices close in on $4 a gallon - Petrol prices in the US are fast approaching $4 a gallon and wholesalers fear the possible closure of loss-making oil refineries could lead to supply shortages and even higher prices before the summer driving season. Gasoline futures have gained 26.8 per cent since the beginning of the year, outpacing gains in the Brent crude benchmark by more than 10 percentage points. Prices have returned to levels reached a year ago, when the civil war in Libya prompted western governments to release emergency stocks. The physical market is focused on the storage terminals around New York harbour, the delivery point for benchmark futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Though stocks appear adequate for now, traders are braced for the shutdown of half the US Atlantic coast’s refining capacity. In recent weeks the premium required to get gasoline in May instead of June has more than doubled to more than 4 cents a gallon, suggesting that traders are trying to secure supplies. On Monday, Nymex May RBOB gasoline rose 0.8 per cent to $3.4080 a gallon. “The message is, beware, there is a serious potential problem out there. It’s not one that is predictable, but there are a lot of signs of danger right now,”
CNBC: US to Propose First Climate Limits on Power Plants
GlobeAndMail: Oil discovered in Kenya for first time
Forbes: Solar Panels Should be Cheaper than TVs
Reuters: U.S. bill ending oil company tax cuts clears Senate hurdle
Bill would end tax breaks for biggest oil firms
* Republicans oppose bill, but want debate on issue
* White House said it supports the measure
Creditwritedowns: Video: Gas Prices Explained - I missed this one from Omid Malekan a few weeks. You can tell based on a reference to winter gasoline prices being the highest ever in the video. It’s still a good primer on gas/petrol prices for those of you who are interested.
Forbes: We Don't Consume Resources, We Create Them - One of the points that economists have a really hard time getting over, probably because it is so counter-intuitive, is that we human beings don’t really consume resources, we create them. This has implications for huge swathes of the environmental movement and also for certain parts of the Peak Oil theory.
EnergyBulletin: Digging in the couch cushions for loose change: Or, why don't we just create more resources? - Let's scrap the misleading language of "creating more resources." When was the last time you made a fish or some oil?
JTA: After Toulouse attack, French Jews are reconsidering Sarkozy
Dispatch: BP is latest energy giant to invest in Ohio's Utica shale - BP said this morning it is taking steps to lease 84,000 acres in northeastern Ohio for oil and natural gas production, the latest big energy company to invest in the Utica shale. The land is located in Trumbull County, near the Pennsylvania border, which is on the northern edge of the area that energy companies have said may hold the greatest promise for energy resources.
Star-Tribune: Thinking the unthinkable: Gov't considers effects of nuclear terror attack in Washington - Thinking about the unthinkable, a U.S. government study analyzed the likely effects from terrorists setting off a 10-kiloton nuclear device a few blocks north of the White House. It predicted terrible devastation for roughly one-half mile in every direction, with buildings reduced to rubble the way that World War II bombing raids destroyed parts of Berlin. But outside that blast zone, the study concluded, even such a nuclear explosion would be pretty survivable.
Reuters: Footage filmed by French gunman sent to Al Jazeera: police
NYT: Support for Afghan War Falls in U.S., Poll Finds - A New York Times/CBS News poll found that 69 percent of Americans surveyed think that the United States should not be at war in Afghanistan.
USAToday: Syria accepts UN envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan
LegitGov: More than 70 pct of war casualties civilian in 2011 - report
Hosted: Al-Jazeera not to air video of French attacks
Time: US, China, S Korea Say Lock Down Nukes
NYT: Syria Reportedly Accepts Peace Plan as Clashes Erupt Near Lebanon
CNN: Syria: Who would take over after al-Assad?
Atlantic: Think Like a Dragon: The Global Lessons of China's Nuclear Program - Understanding Chinese nukes is about more than strategy -- it's about culture, history, and, yes, Sun Tzu.
JPost: 'US understands Iran can't proceed like N. Korea'
Reuters: Iran nuclear talks likely next month: diplomatsTulsaWorld: Officials: U.S., Pakistan at impasse on drones
Hosted: Source: Killer didn't send French attacks video
BlacklistedNews: Sarkozy bans imams from entering France in fundamentalist crackdown after Toulouse shootings
LegitGov: Billions in cash smuggled out of Afghanistan every year
RedTape: EXCLUSIVE: Hackers turn credit report websites against consumers
Domestic Financial News
CNNMoney: BMW recalls 367,000 cars in the U.S.
FiscalTimes: March Consumer Confidence Dips
FiscalTimes: $7 Million a Day for Lost Phones - Over the past four years, Chelsey Lutz, 25, a blogger in NYC, has lost her iPhone seven times. "I usually leave it in cabs," she says. Somehow, the phone always finds its way back.
Lady Luck has been on Lutz's side. For many others who are less fortunate, lost phones not only mean a loss of money and banking or personal credential items, which will need replacing, but a risk that private photos and financial and banking details may be pried (or hacked) into. And there are plenty of those falling into the less lucky group.
Zerohedge: Bernanke Just Admitted the Fed Failed... Not That More QE Is Coming
TaxPolicyCenter: The Federal Government Spends Lots More than You Think
NakedCapitalism: Not-So-Dumb Consumers Shun OCC’s Bogus Foreclosure Reviews - Consumers seem to have wised up to the fact that the Administration is not on their side, particularly as far as housing is concerned.
FiscalTimes: 17 Minerals That Could Kill U.S. Economic Growth
Zerohedge: Bill Gross: "The Game As We All Have Known It Appears To Be Over"
LAT: Healthcare, Day 2: Supreme Court argument turns to insurance mandate
RitHoltz: BB Gun - As gold holders with fairly comprehensive views of global monetary policies and central banking we were asked to comment about the first of four installations of Ben Bernanke’s lecture series at George Washington University, entitled “The Federal Reserve and the Financial Crisis”. Despite thinking the lecture was woefully incomplete, diversionary and oftentimes quite disingenuous, our initial reaction was to let it go. We think our anticipated macroeconomic outcome will be ignored and denied by public policy makers up until the time they are forced to adopt it and take ownership of it. The math and political expediency behind future inflation and hyperinflation are too compelling to ignore IBTimes: Tax Breaks Reduce U.S. Government Revenue By $1.1 Trillion Annually: Report
TheGlobeAndMail: Bernanke wary on claims of U.S. skills mismatch
CNNMoney: Secrets to paying for college
Guess Who Wants to Kill Corporate Tax Reform CNNMoney: Ex-Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack to join KKR
WSJ: Steelmakers Finds Sweet Spot in the Shale - The rising fortunes of a massive U.S. Steel Corp. plant here has much to do with what sits below: massive deposits of cheap natural gas. Shiny coils roll off the line destined for energy companies drilling in the Marcellus Shale natural-gas formations that rest below much of southwestern Pennsylvania.
FT: The White House should stop coddling Buffett
NYT: Private Jets, Buffett and Taxes - Get this: Uncle Sam is suing Warren Buffett’s company over taxes. Yes, taxes. The United States government, in a little-followed case in Ohio, filed a lawsuit this month against a unit of Mr. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, seeking $366 million in taxes and penalties.
WashingtonPost: Jobs Act: White House, Democrats at odds over pro-business bill set to pass
White House allies are in an uproar over pro-business legislation embraced by President Obama, exposing a new rift in his relations with Democratic lawmakers and supporters amid his efforts since the fall to mend those ties. The bill is designed to make it easier for growing companies to raise money and reduce the cost of complying with securities laws. But critics warn it would allow firms to avoid disclosing crucial financial information and elude government oversight, opening the door to fraud and investor abuse.
Slate: Chicago Fed President Charles Evans has an ingenious plan to save the American economy. Listen to it, Ben Bernanke - Can talking differently boost the economy? It sounds like a silly idea, but as long as the talkers have the right jobs, there’s considerable theoretical reason to believe they can make a huge difference. New research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago shows that talk does matter and that the Fed could significantly improve the economy by choosing its words better.
Zerohedge: No Country For Thin Men: 75% Of Americans To Be Obese By 2020
MSNBC: Supreme Court expresses skepticism over constitutionality of health care mandate
Two years after a hard-fought victory, President Barack Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment -- the health care reform law -- seemed at risk of being struck down as the Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday.TaxPolicyBlog: Supreme Court Justices Express Skepticism of Claim that Health Care Mandate is a Tax - Today will be the second of three days of oral argument in the U.S. Supreme Court over the constitutionality of the health care law (PPACA or "Obamacare")
“I think it’s very doubtful that court is going to find the health care law constitutional,” NBC’s Pete Williams reported after watching the two hours of oral argument before the high court. “I don’t see five votes to find the law constitutional.”
Reuters: Supreme Court divided over Obama healthcare law
ETFDaily: 10 Reasons Why The Reign Of The U.S. Dollar As The World Reserve Currency Is About To End
BlacklistedNews: It’s Official – The Fed Is Now Buying European Government Bonds
WSJ: Fed Has Done Enough to Protect U.S. From Europe, Official Says - The Federal Reserve has likely done enough for now to protect the U.S. economy from Europe’s ongoing financial crisis, a top U.S. central bank official told a congressional panel Tuesday. Businessinsider: LIVE VIDEO: Bernanke Discusses The Fed's Response To The Financial Crisis
Bloomberg: MF Global’s Counsel Resisted Giving Assurances on Transfers - MF Global Holdings Ltd. General Counsel Laurie Ferber twice resisted providing assurances to JPMorgan Chase that the broker was complying with rules to segregate customers’ collateral, saying language in a draft provided by the bank was too broad.
TaxPolicyCenter: Tax Policy in the Wrong Direction: Eliminating or Reducing State Income Tax - Oklahoma, Nebraska, and my home state of Kansas are debating proposals to sharply reduce or eliminate their personal income tax. That raises important questions about how they’ll make up the revenue. And it’s bad news for low-income families, who may end up paying higher taxes and losing critical safety net programs.
Global Financial News
BBC: Strauss-Kahn in sex ring charges - The former head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, faces charges in France over alleged involvement in a prostitution ring.
Zerohedge: Germany: The Final Frontier... Whose True Debt/GDP Is Now 140%
BBC: Planning change 'to boost homes' - New planning guidelines for England aimed at simplifying the system are being unveiled, amid fears they will amount to a "building free-for-all".
AFR: Murdoch cops blast over pay TV pirates Australian Financial Review. The headline is terrible, but the allegations are serious.
Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, still struggling with the crisis over telephone hacking by its journalists at News International, is facing fresh allegations that it promoted pay TV piracy to cripple a rival broadcaster in Britain.
IrishCentral: Granny refuses to pay household levy and likens Irish conditions to World War II times - An 81-year-old Irish grandmother is leading the fight against the government imposed household levy – after describing conditions in Ireland as akin to the Second World War.
Mai Fitzgerald, a Tipperary woman with nine grandchildren and now resident in Limerick, has vowed to go to jail rather than pay the $130 levy. ETFDaily: Will China’s Latest PMI Numbers Cause Faster Easing?
BBC: Riots reveal 'forgotten families' - A lack of support and opportunity for young people contributed to the outbreak of rioting in England last year, an independent report concludes.
Zerohedge: A Lesson For Europe: Why Iceland Won't Join The Euro
ETFDaily: Attention Silver Bugs: Get Back Into The Pool – NOW!
Mineweb: Lumina steps-up drilling after step-out holes hit more copper, gold, moly in Argentina
M 4.9, near the east coast of Honshu, JapanReuters: Magnitude 6.3 earthquake hits northeast Japan, no damage
Space Weather News for March 27, 2012
Spaceweather: This morning before sunrise, sky watchers along the eastern seaboard of the United States witnessed an amazing sky show created by the rapid-fire launch of five rockets from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility. It was an experiment named "ATREX" to study turbulent winds in the transition zone between Earth's atmosphere and space. Eye-witness accounts and photos of the display are featured on today's edition of http://SpaceWeather.com.
TheWildlifeNews: The kind of “wildlife” that does need to be trapped and eliminated
Grist: Climate scientists: It’s basically too late to stop warming
ExtinctionProtocol: Massive CME expelled on farside of the Sun - March 27, 2012 – ANOTHER CME FROM SUNSPOT AR1429: Transiting the farside of the sun, never-say-die sunspot AR1429 erupted during the late hours of March 26th, producing its 11th major CME.
CBSNews: Colorado wildfire kills 1, chars homes
Hosted: Wind drives fast wildfire west of Denver
CSMonitor: Colorado wildfire: 900 homes evacuated, and one fatality
Weather.com: Perspective: More than 6,000 Record Highs Set! - weather.com: We've seen an amazing, historic run of record warmth in March 2012. It's been the talk of towns from Minnesota and Michigan to Tennessee and Georgia for a couple of weeks now. First, consider the sheer number of daily record highs either tied or broken over the past two weeks. FuelFix: North Sea Leak Woes Widen
MNN: Dry your clothes on the clothesline - By Rodale News Line drying is back!
CNN: Coral damage linked to Deepwater Horizon spillThinkProgress: March 27 News: BP Oil Spill Caused 'Graveyard of Corals'
MNN: What if everyone in America flushed their toilets at once? - Would simultaneous flushing rupture all the pipelines, cripple the water supply, flood the streets with sewage, and destroy civilization as we know it?
Gas continued to leak from a North Sea well owned by French energy company Total on Monday night, more than a day after a "well control" problem saw the Elgin platform evacuated.
ScienceDaily: West Antarctic ice shelves tearing apart at the seams - A new study examining nearly 40 years of satellite imagery has revealed that the floating ice shelves of a critical portion of West Antarctica are steadily losing their grip on adjacent bay walls, potentially amplifying an already accelerating loss of ice to the sea.
America in Decline
RawStory: Oklahoma legislators kill provision to drug test politicians
The Oklahoma Senate has dropped legislation that would require politicians throughout the state to be drug tested along with people receiving temporary public assistance.
The bill, passed by the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services on Monday, would still require applicants for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to undergo a mandatory drug test.
The Department of Human Services estimates 22,000 people in Oklahoma receive TANF benefits, which helps poor families with children pay for living expenses, including rent, heat, utilities and personal care items.
ArtTechnica: Gun-shy TSA gets critic booted from Congressional panel - Bruce Schneier, the security expert who coined the term "security theater" to describe the Transportation Security Agency's airport screening procedures, was uninvited from speaking on a Monday Congressional panel at the insistence of the TSA.
RawStory: Facing foreclosure, Georgia ‘chicken man’ blows up own home - A Roswell, Georgia man who fought with the city over his right to keep chickens on his suburban property blew himself up at his house today, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
The home of the man, Andrew Wordes, was in foreclosure. Investigators believe he poured gasoline all over the house and set it on fire rather than get evicted.
A body was found in the house after the fire.
Krugman: Attack of the Prison People - Predictably, the letter from Corrections Corporation of America has arrived, demanding a correction on yesterday’s column. Strangely, though, it demands that I correct statements I didn’t make, just things CCA claims I implied. I don’t think that passes the test; maybe they’ll find an actual error on second pass, but I was pretty careful precisely because I knew they’d be looking for something, anything. According to the letter, by the way, CCA does not and has not ever lobbied for or attempted to promote any legislation anywhere that affects sentencing and detention — under longstanding corporate policy. Pure as the driven snow, they are. A word about this sort of thing: anyone who steps on the toes of either corporate interests or major conservative institutions (which are often more or less the same thing) has to expect to run into a buzzsaw. The purpose of that buzzsaw is not so much to get specific corrections as to intimidate — to deter the journalist and his or her colleagues from going there again. And it works. I’ve seen it over and over. I won’t pretend that I don’t get rattled myself. But I decided a long time ago that it’s precisely the areas that make you nervous that most need addressing.
Alternet: A Single Hedge-Fund Hustler Makes More Than 85,000 Teachers: Why Are Our Priorities So Messed Up? - This obscene distribution of income is what we get for failing to rein in Wall Street.
RawStory: Pat Robertson blames homosexuality on ‘demonic possession’ - Televangelist Pat Robertson says that demons are most likely to blame for the men who “sin” by having “cheap sex with other men.”
Monday’s broadcast of The 700 Club featured the story of Shawn, a married man who began to have affairs with men after his wife had a baby.
“It took a long time for their marriage to heal,” CBN reporter Gorman Woodfin explained. “Shawn says it was a step-by-step process that began with his repentance and deliverance from his homosexual lifestyle.”
CharlesHughSmith: Welcome to the United States of Orwell, Part 2: Law-Abiding Taxpayers Are Treated as Criminals While the Real Criminals Go Free
Security expert Bruce Schneier was been banned at the last minute from testifying in front of congress on the efficacy – or otherwise – of the US Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) much-maligned perv scanners.
WashingtonPost: Memos detail bid by gay marriage foes to pit blacks, Hispanics against gay-rights groups - The leading national organization opposing same-sex marriage has sought to split the Democratic Party base by pitting African-Americans and Hispanics against gay-rights groups, according to confidential strategy memos made public by court officials in Maine.
Food and Water
Chron: 'Pink slime' maker suspends some plant operations
ETFDaily: Water Investing: Profiting From A Commodity We Can’t Live Without
CityFarmer: Hantz Farms: Two Weeks From Buying 200 Vacant Acres in Detroit
CivilEats: Record-breaking One Million Americans Tell FDA: We Have a Right to Know What’s in Our Food
Science and Technology
SingularityHub: Neutrino Beam Carries Message Through 240 Meters Of Solid Rock
IBTimes: Strange Doings: Yahoo Sues, Facebook Arms: Why?
ScientificAmerican: Controversy Surrounds Russia's Claim that Cosmic Rays Caused Mars Mission Failure
ULC.edu: Censorship and deletion practices in Chinese social media
NYT: Justices Send Back Gene Case
CosmicLog: Mars life: Been there, done that?
Thirty-six years after an experiment conducted by NASA's Mars Viking lander sparked controversial claims about the presence of life on the Red Planet, NASA's next Mars mission could conceivably hint that those claims were correct after all.
TechReview: Algorithm Spells the End for Professional Musical Instrument Tuners
MSNBC: Most of world interconnected through email, social media
Eighty five percent of people around the globe who are connected online send and receive emails
Medical and Health
DoctorTipster: Brown University Researchers Have Created First Anti-Cancer Breast Implant
SingularityHub: Telepresence Robot To Join Doctors On Rounds Next Month
IBTimes: Getting Emergency Contraceptive Pills Not Easy for US Teens; Pharmacists Say ‘You Can't Get It At All’
WSJ: Health-Care Rivals Battle for Patients
ScienceDaily: Most extensive full face transplant to date
TheChart: Could eating chocolate make you thinner? - It's every woman's dream: could chocolate, the substance that cures everything from PMS to heartbreak, also make you skinnier?
MSNBC: Too many babies still at risk of SIDs
Vitals: Could weight loss surgery help end diabetes?
RedditScience: Scientists may have found an achilles heel for many forms of cancer
Doomsteading, Gardening, Urban Farming
WaldenEffect: Quick garden frost protection
BackdoorSurvival: 15 Ways to Limit Radiation After Nuclear Armageddon
ModernSurvivalBlog: First Aid: How To Stop Bleeding
PreppingToSurvive: First Aid Refreshers, part 8: Constipation - Okay, right off the bat, we’ll just say that this is no one’s favorite topic.
CBSNews: New details deepen Trayvon Martin controversy
BostonHerald: Fight claims, pot put Florida teen's side on defense
Salon: “October Baby”: The abortion war hits theaters
An outrageous premise fuels a viral-marketed pro-life drama aimed at Christian viewers.
Reuters: Wisconsin shooting puts "castle" law under scrutiny
McClatchy: Family of Robert Bales seeks donations for defense fund
BeforeItsNews: Geraldo 'Apologizes' for Suggesting Trayvon's Hoodie Killed Him
ABCNews: Unruly JetBlue Pilot Locked Out of Cockpit, Flight Diverted
Hosted: Passenger: Apparent JetBlue captain yells 'bomb'
LAT: Potty mouth Rick Santorum shows GOP race is in a rut
McClatchy: Lashing at health care, Santorum says only 'creator' can grant rights
Telegraph: Dmitry Medvedev says Mitt Romney comment 'smacks of Hollywood'
FirstRead: Gingrich criticizes Obama, charges attendees $50 per photo
TinfoilPalace: Military Funded Brain Science Sparks Controversy
TinfoilPalace: Trump's Sons Under Investigation for African Hunting TripWest coast of Canada and TheOilAge: US prepare plans for tsunami debris
TheOilAge: Dallas Fed misses BIG
A Brand New Scandal for News Corporation!
The Hunger Games = The Teenybopper Apocalypse
SilentCountry: Startup Company Converts Plastic To Oil
Silentcountry: Obama's plea to Medvedev accidently picked up microphone
DestinyCalls: Occult Text Motherlode
DestinyCalls: Sacred texts .com