Saturday, August 30, 2008
Above is the early read on projected damage from Hurricane Gustav...subject to change...
Go look at this map,it will make you spew coffee.
- Louisiana ranks fourth among the States in crude oil production, behind Texas, Alaska, and California (excluding Federal offshore areas, which produce more than any single State).
- The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) is the only port in the United States capable of accommodating deepdraft tankers.
- Two of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve’s four storage facilities are located in Louisiana.
- The Henry Hub is the largest centralized point for natural gas spot and futures trading in the United States, providing access to major markets throughout the country.
- The liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal at Lake Charles is the largest of five existing LNG import sites in the United States.
- The Excelerate Energy Gulf Gateway Deepwater Port/Energy Bridge, which came online in 2006, is the only offshore LNG terminal in the United States and is the first new LNG import facility constructed in more than 20 years
HURRICANE GUSTAV ADVISORY NUMBER 23
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL072008
1100 AM EDT SAT AUG 30 2008
...GUSTAV EVEN A LITTLE STRONGER AS IT CLOSES IN ON WESTERN CUBA...
AT 1100 AM EDT...1500 UTC...THE GOVERNMENT OF THE CAYMAN ISLANDS HAS
DISCONTINUED THE HURRICANE WARNING FOR THE CAYMAN ISLANDS.
AT 1100 AM EDT...A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR THE LOWER
FLORIDA KEYS WEST OF THE SEVEN MILE BRIDGE TO DRY TORTUGAS. A
TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE CUBAN PROVINCES OF
PINAR DEL RIO...LA HABANA...CIUDAD DE LA HABANA...ISLA DE
JUVENTUD...MATANZAS...AND CIENFUEGOS. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE
AND PROPERTY IN THE HURRICANE WARNING AREA SHOULD BE RUSHED TO
A HURRICANE WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE CENTRAL CUBAN PROVINCE
OF VILLA CLARA.
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE CENTRAL CUBAN
PROVINCES OF VILLA CLARA...SANCTI SPIRITUS...CIEGO DE AVILA...AND
INTERESTS IN THE GULF OF MEXICO AND THE NORTHERN GULF COAST SHOULD
CLOSELY MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF GUSTAV. A HURRICANE WATCH COULD BE
ISSUED FOR PORTIONS OF THE NORTHERN GULF COAST LATER TODAY.
FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...PLEASE MONITOR
PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.
AT 1100 AM EDT...1500Z...THE CENTER OF HURRICANE GUSTAV WAS LOCATED
NEAR LATITUDE 21.2 NORTH...LONGITUDE 82.1 WEST OR ABOUT 55 MILES...
85 KM...EAST-SOUTHEAST OF THE ISLE OF YOUTH AND ABOUT 185 MILES...
295 KM...EAST OF THE WESTERN TIP OF CUBA.
GUSTAV IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTHWEST NEAR 14 MPH...22 KM/HR...AND
THIS GENERAL MOTION IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE DURING THE NEXT COUPLE
OF DAYS. ON THIS TRACK...THE CENTER OF GUSTAV WILL PASS OVER
WESTERN PORTIONS OF CUBA TODAY AND TONIGHT...EMERGE OVER THE
SOUTHERN GULF OF MEXICO EARLY ON SUNDAY...AND REACH THE NORTHERN
GULF BY MONDAY MORNING.
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 125 MPH...205 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. GUSTAV IS A CATEGORY THREE HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON
SCALE. FLUCTUATIONS IN STRENGTH ARE POSSIBLE DURING THE NEXT 24
HOURS AS GUSTAV PASSES NEAR AND OVER WESTERN CUBA. ADDITIONAL
STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST AFTER GUSTAV REACHES THE GULF OF MEXICO.
HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 60 MILES...95 KM...FROM
THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 160
THE MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE BASED ON RECENT REPORTS FROM AIR FORCE
AND NOAA RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT IS 954 MB...28.17 INCHES.
COASTAL STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 2 TO 5 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS
IS POSSIBLE IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS...WITH 14 TO 19 FEET POSSIBLE NEAR
WHERE THE CENTER OF GUSTAV CROSSES WESTERN CUBA...INCLUDING THE ISLE
OF YOUTH. STORM SURGE OF 1 TO 3 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS IS
POSSIBLE IN THE DRY TORTUGAS AS GUSTAV PASSES TO ITS WEST.
GUSTAV IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 6 TO
12 INCHES ACROSS THE CAYMAN ISLANDS...AND CENTRAL AND WESTERN
CUBA...WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF UP TO 25 INCHES POSSIBLE.
THESE RAINS WILL LIKELY PRODUCE LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND
MUD SLIDES. RAINFALL OF 1 TO 3 INCHES IS POSSIBLE OVER FLORIDA KEYS
AND EXTREME SOUTH FLORIDA BY SUNDAY MORNING.
REPEATING THE 1100 AM EDT POSITION...21.2 N...82.1 W. MOVEMENT
TOWARD...NORTHWEST NEAR 14 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...125 MPH.
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...954 MB.
AN INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE
CENTER AT 200 PM EDT FOLLOWED BY THE NEXT COMPLETE ADVISORY AT 500
Friday, August 29, 2008
Comcast to limit customers' broadband usage
By Yinka AdegokeThu Aug 28, 10:20 PM ET
Comcast Corp, the largest U.S. cable operator, said on Thursday it will cap customers' Internet usage starting October 1, in a bid to ensure the best service for the vast majority of its subscribers.
Comcast said it was setting a monthly data usage threshold of 250 gigabytes per account for all residential high-speed Internet customers, or the equivalent of 50 million e-mails or 124 standard-definition movies.
"If a customer exceeds more than 250 GB and is one of the heaviest data users who consume the most data on our high-speed Internet service, he or she may receive a call from Comcast's Customer Security Assurance (CSA) group to notify them of excessive use," according to the company's updated Frequently Asked Questions on Excessive Use.
Customers who top 250 GB in a month twice in a six-month timeframe could have service terminated for a year.
Comcast said up to 99 percent of its 14 million Internet subscribers would not be affected by the new threshold, which it said would help ensure the quality of Internet delivery is not degraded by a minority of heavy users.
U.S. Internet subscribers are typically not aware of any limit on their Internet usage once they sign up to pay a flat monthly fee to their service provider.
As Web usage has rocketed, driven by the popularity of watching online video, photo-sharing and music downloading services, cable and phone companies have been considering various techniques to limit or manage heavy usage.
But Comcast has come under fire from a variety of sources for its network management techniques.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission investigated complaints by consumer groups that it was blocking peer-to-peer applications like BitTorrent, and earlier this month ordered Comcast to modify its network management.
Comcast has said that by the end of the year it will change its network management practices to ensure all Web traffic is treated essentially the same, but has also been exploring other ways to prevent degradation of its Internet service delivery.
One consumer group said while Comcast's new 250 GB limit was "relatively high," it could eventually ensnare customers as technology progresses.
"If Comcast has oversold their network to the point of creating congestion problems, then well-disclosed caps for Internet use are a better short-term solution than Comcast's current practice of illegally blocking Internet traffic," said S Derek Turner of Free Press, a Washington, D.C.-based consumer advocacy group that filed a complaint about Comcast's network management practices earlier this year.
The Philadelphia-based company is not alone in trying to come up with ways to limit heavy Internet usage.
Time Warner Cable Inc, the second-largest U.S. cable operator, said in January it would run a trial of billing Internet subscribers based on usage rather than a flat fee.
Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas said Comcast was also considering so-called consumption-based billing, but no decisions had been made.
(Editing by Braden Reddall)
Tropical Storm Gustav is looking pretty intense again this AM, and will likely regain hurricane strength today... & despite the fact that it is still to far out to make any real accurate assumptions as to where he will make landfall states are rapidly ramping up from Miss to LA to Texas...this from "Wild on Weather" site regarding Gov Perry's actions:
Pre disaster declaration was approved by President Bush on Thursday for 61 TX counties.
State of TX is planning for the strike of a category 4 hurricane on the TX coast and has fully activated the state Hurricane Response Plan. Fuel plan was activated Thursday morning and there has been significant demand increase in the SE/upper TX coast area. Suppliers have all fuel terminals at full distubituion capacity and a flooding the entire retail system with as much fuel as possible. There have been a few supply issues in Harris County…but these have been corrected. Today and Saturday the fuel plan will continue to surge to local retail along the coast and begin to push supplies to the evacuation routes and contra-flow corridors.
DPS and TXDOT will begin preparation for mass evacuations of SE TX north of Port Lavaca. TXDOT will begin preparing evacuation routes…removing debris and cleaning the US 290 hurrevac traffic lane (outbound shoulder). Contra-flow exchange points on I-10, US 290, I-45, US 37, and US 59 NE will be prepared today and early Saturday. All construction on evacuation routes will be suspended today. State shelter hubs in Waco, Tyler, El Paso, Dallas, and San Antonio have been fully activated.
Alamo Regional Command was been fully activated to coordinate special needs and possible public evacuations. Air evacuation of special needs (critical care facilities, hospitals, nursing homes) in the Beaumont/Port Arthur area may begin on Saturday…to locations in El Paso and Dallas. H-120 timeline will likely be adjusted this morning due to forecast track changes overnight and slowing of the potential impact.
Preparations: Residents should fuel vehicles and maintain 75-100% fuel through the weekend. Make sure all hurricane supplies are on hand. Residents in the coastal surge/evacuation zones should review their plans and be fully prepared to leave if ordered to do so. Due to the upcoming holiday weekend many people will be away from their computers.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Barack Obama's convention address
By The Associated Press1 hour, 8 minutes ago
Prepared remarks of Sen. Barack Obama for his address to the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night in Denver, as released by the campaign:
To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin, and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation: With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.
Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest_ a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours — Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.
To the love of my life, our next first lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia, I love you so much, and I'm so proud of all of you.
Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.
It is that promise that has always set this country apart, that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.
That's why I stand here tonight. Because for 232 years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women, students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors, found the courage to keep it alive.
We meet at one of those defining moments, a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.
Tonight, more Americans are out of work, and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes, and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit card bills you can't afford to pay, and tuition that's beyond your reach.
These challenges are not all of government's making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.
America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.
This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.
This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he's worked on for twenty years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.
We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.
Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land: enough! This moment, this election is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On Nov. 4, we must stand up and say: "Eight is enough."
Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that, we owe him our gratitude and respect. And next week, we'll also hear about those occasions when he's broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.
But the record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of the time? I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a ten percent chance on change.
The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives, on health care and education and the economy, Senator McCain has been anything but independent. He said that our economy has made "great progress" under this president. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief advisers, the man who wrote his economic plan, was talking about the anxiety Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a "mental recession," and that we've become, and I quote, "a nation of whiners."
A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They work hard and give back and keep going without complaint. These are the Americans that I know.
Now, I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn't know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under $5 million a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than 100 million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people's benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?
It's not because John McCain doesn't care. It's because John McCain doesn't get it.
For over two decades, he's subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy — give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is, you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, even if you don't have boots. You're on your own.
Well, it's time for them to own their failure. It's time for us to change America.
You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.
We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was president, when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000, like it has under George Bush.
We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job an economy that honors the dignity of work.
The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great, a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.
Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton's Army and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.
In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree; who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.
When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.
And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. She's the one who taught me about hard work. She's the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she's watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.
I don't know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped me. And it is on their behalf that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as president of the United States.
What is that promise?
It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.
It's a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.
Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves, protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.
Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity, not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work.
That's the promise of America, the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper.
That's the promise we need to keep. That's the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am president.
Change means a tax code that doesn't reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.
Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.
I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the startups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.
I will cut taxes — cut taxes for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.
And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president: In ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.
Washington's been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. In that time, he's said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.
Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stopgap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.
As president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I'll help our auto companies retool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I'll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy; wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced.
America, now is not the time for small plans.
Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don't have that chance. I'll invest in early childhood education. I'll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I'll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American — if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.
Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don't, you'll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.
Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.
Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.
And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day's work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.
Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I've laid out how I'll pay for every dime, by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don't help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less because we cannot meet 21st century challenges with a 20th century bureaucracy.
And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America's promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our "intellectual and moral strength." Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can't replace parents; that government can't turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.
Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility — that's the essence of America's promise.
And just as we keep our keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America's promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next commander in chief, that's a debate I'm ready to have.
For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face. When John McCain said we could just "muddle through" in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell, but he won't even go to the cave where he lives.
And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we're wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.
That's not the judgment we need. That won't keep America safe. We need a president who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.
You don't defeat a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries by occupying Iraq. You don't protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can't truly stand up for Georgia when you've strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice, but it is not the change we need.
We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans — Democrats and Republicans have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.
As commander in chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.
I will end this war in Iraq responsibly and finish the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.
These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.
But what I will not do is suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism.
The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America, they have served the United States of America.
So I've got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.
America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight years can't just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose our sense of higher purpose. And that's what we have to restore.
We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This, too, is part of America's promise, the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.
I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that's to be expected. Because if you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.
You make a big election about small things.
And you know what it's worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn't work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it's best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.
I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree, and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Washington.
But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the naysayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's been about you.
For eighteen long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it, because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.
America, this is one of those moments.
I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I've seen it. Because I've lived it. I've seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. I've seen it in Washington, when we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands.
And I've seen it in this campaign. In the young people who voted for the first time, and in those who got involved again after a very long time. In the Republicans who never thought they'd pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I've seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.
This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that's not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.
Instead, it is that American spirit that American promise that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.
That promise is our greatest inheritance. It's a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours, a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.
And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln's Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.
The men and women who gathered there could've heard many things. They could've heard words of anger and discord. They could've been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.
But what the people heard instead, people of every creed and color, from every walk of life, is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.
"We cannot walk alone," the preacher cried. "And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back."
America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise, that American promise, and in the words of Scripture, hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.
the last aircraft fix at about 1130 UTC showed the circulation
center had been moving very little earlier this morning. My sense
from visible imagery since then is that Gustav has started moving
slowly westward...perhaps 265/4. It is not clear if the center
will pass directly over Jamaica or will hug the south or north
coast...but with a weak mid-level ridge over Florida...all models
forecast Gustav to continue generally westward for the next day or
so. A weakness in the ridge over the eastern Gulf of Mexico should
allow Gustav to gradually turn to the right during the following
few days. The models also forecast a mid-latitude ridge to
propagate eastward across the eastern U.S. During the 3-5 day time
frame...but sufficiently progressive such that it would not block
Gustav's northward progress. The models are in generally good
agreement on a track across the northwestern Caribbean...near or
over the western tip of Cuba...and across the central Gulf of
Mexico. Some of the models hint that the high to the north late in
the forecast period could force Gustav to turn a little back to the
west over the northern Gulf...but these models are currently in the
minority. The new official track forecast does show a slowing of
the forward motion as Gustav approaches the northern Gulf
Coast...and is nudged just a little to the east to be in line with
the consensus. Reliable models remain on either side of the
forecast track...so one should not focus on the exact official
track.The advisory intensity is kept at 60 kt based on the earlier
aircraft data...and another Air Force plane will arrive on the
scene this afternoon. Visible imagery suggests the cyclone
continues to reorganize...but the interaction with Jamaica during
the next day or so might limit intensification...although only a
slight increase in strength could make Gustav a hurricane at any
time today. After passing Jamaica...Gustav will encounter the very
warm waters of the northwestern Caribbean with anticyclonic flow
aloft...favoring intensification. Any interaction with the narrow
landmass of western Cuba should not have much influence on the
strength of Gustav over the Gulf of Mexico...where waters will be
warm but wind shear could slowly increase. The new official
intensity forecast calls for a little faster strengthening over the
northwestern Caribbean...but is similar to the previous advisory...
and the intensity consensus thereafter.
TROPICAL DEPRESSION EIGHT ADVISORY NUMBER 1
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL082008
500 AM AST THU AUG 28 2008
...TROPICAL DEPRESSION FORMS IN THE TROPICAL ATLANTIC...EXPECTED TO
PASS WELL NORTH OF THE LEEWARD ISLANDS...
AT 500 AM AST...0900Z...THE CENTER OF NEWLY FORMED TROPICAL
DEPRESSION EIGHT WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 19.8 NORTH...LONGITUDE
57.9 WEST OR ABOUT 355 MILES...575 KM...EAST-NORTHEAST OF THE
NORTHERN LEEWARD ISLANDS.
THE DEPRESSION IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 5 MPH...8
KM/HR...AND A TURN TO THE NORTHWEST IS EXPECTED LATER TODAY. ON
THIS TRACK THE DEPRESSION WILL BE PASSING WELL NORTH OF THE LEEWARD
ISLANDS DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 35 MPH...55 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. THE DEPRESSION HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BECOME A TROPICAL STORM
LATER TODAY OR FRIDAY.
ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 1004 MB...29.65 INCHES.
REPEATING THE 500 AM AST POSITION...19.8 N...57.9 W. MOVEMENT
TOWARD...WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 5 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...35
MPH. MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1004 MB.
THE NEXT ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER AT
1100 AM AST.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Hillary Clinton's speech at the Dems convention
Tue Aug 26, 11:44 PM ET
Remarks of New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, for her address to the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night in Denver:
I am honored to be here tonight. A proud mother. A proud Democrat. A proud American. And a proud supporter of Barack Obama.
My friends, it is time to take back the country we love.
Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines.
This is a fight for the future. And it's a fight we must win.
I haven't spent the past 35 years in the trenches advocating for children, campaigning for universal health care, helping parents balance work and family, and fighting for women's rights at home and around the world ... to see another Republican in the White House squander the promise of our country and the hopes of our people.
And you haven't worked so hard over the last 18 months, or endured the last eight years, to suffer through more failed leadership.
No way. No how. No McCain.
Barack Obama is my candidate. And he must be our president.
Tonight we need to remember what a presidential election is really about. When the polls have closed, and the ads are finally off the air, it comes down to you — the American people, your lives, and your children's futures.
For me, it's been a privilege to meet you in your homes, your workplaces, and your communities. Your stories reminded me everyday that America's greatness is bound up in the lives of the American people — your hard work, your devotion to duty, your love for your children, and your determination to keep going, often in the face of enormous obstacles.
You taught me so much, you made me laugh, and ... you even made me cry. You allowed me to become part of your lives. And you became part of mine.
I will always remember the single mom who had adopted two kids with autism, didn't have health insurance and discovered she had cancer. But she greeted me with her bald head painted with my name on it and asked me to fight for health care.
I will always remember the young man in a Marine Corps T-shirt who waited months for medical care and said to me: "Take care of my buddies; a lot of them are still over there ... and then will you please help take care of me?"
I will always remember the boy who told me his mom worked for the minimum wage and that her employer had cut her hours. He said he just didn't know what his family was going to do.
I will always be grateful to everyone from all fifty states, Puerto Rico and the territories, who joined our campaign on behalf of all those people left out and left behind by the Bush Administration.
To my supporters, my champions — my sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits — from the bottom of my heart: Thank you.
You never gave in. You never gave up. And together we made history.
Along the way, America lost two great Democratic champions who would have been here with us tonight. One of our finest young leaders, Arkansas Democratic Party Chair, Bill Gwatney, who believed with all his heart that America and the South could be and should be Democratic from top to bottom.
And Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a dear friend to many of us, a loving mother and courageous leader who never gave up her quest to make America fairer and smarter, stronger and better. Steadfast in her beliefs, a fighter of uncommon grace, she was an inspiration to me and to us all.
Our heart goes out to Stephanie's son, Mervyn, Jr., and Bill's wife, Rebecca, who traveled to Denver to join us at our convention.
Bill and Stephanie knew that after eight years of George Bush, people are hurting at home, and our standing has eroded around the world. We have a lot of work ahead.
Jobs lost, houses gone, falling wages, rising prices. The Supreme Court in a right-wing headlock and our government in partisan gridlock. The biggest deficit in our nation's history. Money borrowed from the Chinese to buy oil from the Saudis.
Putin and Georgia, Iraq and Iran.
I ran for president to renew the promise of America. To rebuild the middle class and sustain the American Dream, to provide the opportunity to work hard and have that work rewarded, to save for college, a home and retirement, to afford the gas and groceries and still have a little left over each month.
To promote a clean energy economy that will create millions of green collar jobs.
To create a health care system that is universal, high quality, and affordable so that parents no longer have to choose between care for themselves or their children or be stuck in dead end jobs simply to keep their insurance.
To create a world class education system and make college affordable again.
To fight for an America defined by deep and meaningful equality — from civil rights to labor rights, from women's rights to gay rights, from ending discrimination to promoting unionization to providing help for the most important job there is: caring for our families. To help every child live up to his or her God-given potential.
To make America once again a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws.
To bring fiscal sanity back to Washington and make our government an instrument of the public good, not of private plunder.
To restore America's standing in the world, to end the war in Iraq, bring our troops home and honor their service by caring for our veterans.
And to join with our allies to confront our shared challenges, from poverty and genocide to terrorism and global warming.
Most of all, I ran to stand up for all those who have been invisible to their government for eight long years.
Those are the reasons I ran for president. Those are the reasons I support Barack Obama. And those are the reasons you should too.
I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?
We need leaders once again who can tap into that special blend of American confidence and optimism that has enabled generations before us to meet our toughest challenges. Leaders who can help us show ourselves and the world that with our ingenuity, creativity, and innovative spirit, there are no limits to what is possible in America.
This won't be easy. Progress never is. But it will be impossible if we don't fight to put a Democrat in the White House.
We need to elect Barack Obama because we need a President who understands that America can't compete in a global economy by padding the pockets of energy speculators, while ignoring the workers whose jobs have been shipped overseas. We need a president who understands that we can't solve the problems of global warming by giving windfall profits to the oil companies while ignoring opportunities to invest in new technologies that will build a green economy.
We need a President who understands that the genius of America has always depended on the strength and vitality of the middle class.
Barack Obama began his career fighting for workers displaced by the global economy. He built his campaign on a fundamental belief that change in this country must start from the ground up, not the top down. He knows government must be about "We the people" not "We the favored few."
And when Barack Obama is in the White House, he'll revitalize our economy, defend the working people of America, and meet the global challenges of our time. Democrats know how to do this. As I recall, President Clinton and the Democrats did it before. And President Obama and the Democrats will do it again.
He'll transform our energy agenda by creating millions of green jobs and building a new, clean energy future. He'll make sure that middle class families get the tax relief they deserve. And I can't wait to watch Barack Obama sign a health care plan into law that covers every single American.
Barack Obama will end the war in Iraq responsibly and bring our troops home _a first step to repairing our alliances around the world.
And he will have with him a terrific partner in Michelle Obama. Anyone who saw Michelle's speech last night knows she will be a great first lady for America.
Americans are also fortunate that Joe Biden will be at Barack Obama's side. He is a strong leader and a good man. He understands both the economic stresses here at home and the strategic challenges abroad. He is pragmatic, tough, and wise. And, of course, Joe will be supported by his wonderful wife, Jill.
They will be a great team for our country.
Now, John McCain is my colleague and my friend.
He has served our country with honor and courage.
But we don't need four more years ... of the last eight years.
More economic stagnation ... and less affordable health care.
More high gas prices ... and less alternative energy.
More jobs getting shipped overseas ... and fewer jobs created here.
More skyrocketing debt ... home foreclosures ... and mounting bills that are crushing our middle class families.
More war ... less diplomacy.
More of a government where the privileged come first ... and everyone else comes last.
John McCain says the economy is fundamentally sound. John McCain doesn't think that 47 million people without health insurance is a crisis. John McCain wants to privatize Social Security. And in 2008, he still thinks it's OK when women don't earn equal pay for equal work.
With an agenda like that, it makes sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities. Because these days they're awfully hard to tell apart.
America is still around after 232 years because we have risen to the challenge of every new time, changing to be faithful to our values of equal opportunity for all and the common good.
And I know what that can mean for every man, woman, and child in America. I'm a United States senator because in 1848 a group of courageous women and a few brave men gathered in Seneca Falls, New York, many traveling for days and nights, to participate in the first convention on women's rights in our history.
And so dawned a struggle for the right to vote that would last 72 years, handed down by mother to daughter to granddaughter — and a few sons and grandsons along the way.
These women and men looked into their daughters' eyes, imagined a fairer and freer world, and found the strength to fight. To rally and picket. To endure ridicule and harassment. To brave violence and jail.
And after so many decades — 88 years ago on this very day — the 19th amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote would be forever enshrined in our Constitution.
My mother was born before women could vote. But in this election my daughter got to vote for her mother for president.
This is the story of America. Of women and men who defy the odds and never give up.
How do we give this country back to them?
By following the example of a brave New Yorker, a woman who risked her life to shepherd slaves along the Underground Railroad.
And on that path to freedom, Harriet Tubman had one piece of advice.
If you hear the dogs, keep going.
If you see the torches in the woods, keep going.
If they're shouting after you, keep going.
Don't ever stop. Keep going.
If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.
Even in the darkest of moments, ordinary Americans have found the faith to keep going.
I've seen it in you. I've seen it in our teachers and firefighters, nurses and police officers, small business owners and union workers, the men and women of our military — you always keep going.
We are Americans. We're not big on quitting.
But remember, before we can keep going, we have to get going by electing Barack Obama president.
We don't have a moment to lose or a vote to spare.
Nothing less than the fate of our nation and the future of our children hang in the balance.
I want you to think about your children and grandchildren come election day. And think about the choices your parents and grandparents made that had such a big impact on your life and on the life of our nation.
We've got to ensure that the choice we make in this election honors the sacrifices of all who came before us, and will fill the lives of our children with possibility and hope.
That is our duty, to build that bright future, and to teach our children that in America there is no chasm too deep, no barrier too great — and no ceiling too high — for all who work hard, never back down, always keep going, have faith in God, in our country, and in each other.
Thank you so much. God bless America and Godspeed to you all.
Dangerous hurricane forecasted into the north-central Gulf of Mexico late this weekend.
Gustav has finally emerged off the SW coast of Haiti…and has turned toward the WNW per recon fixes. In fact the forward motion has slowed greatly and is less than 5mph as Gustav has yet to become caught in the faster steering of the ridge over FL. The high mountains of SW Haiti have disrupted the small inner core and the system has weakened to a 60mph TS with surface pressure of 996mb and winds of 40-45kts at the surface per the aircraft.
Per mid and upper level steering…showing a strong high pressure ridge over FL which Gustav should get caught within the southern part of this high within the next several hours and begin a westward motion. CMISS data shows this high centered over S FL ridging SW into the NW Caribbean. While the available model guidance does not suggest a WSW or SW motion…based on the position of this high such a motion is possible. The GFS continues to be trash…a far eastern outlier with a track along the N Cuban coast…which is highly unlikely. The GFS along with the NOGAPS make up the eastern side of the guidance envelop with the GFDL and HWRF nearly on top of each other down the middle and the EURO and CMC off to the western side of the clustering. It should be noted that the GFDL continues wide swings between model runs while both the CMC and GFS have been more stable…but are far outliers to either side.
For the short term a track toward the W or even WSW seems most likely as Gustav rounds the south side of the ridge over S FL. By late Friday into Saturday Gustav will begin to reach the SW side of this ridge and begin to turn toward the WNW and NW. At this time a new high pressure ridge will be building across the SE US and this high will be the controlling factor in determining Gustav’s final landfall location. Do not think the GFS weakness it is showing over the SE US will be a factor and this is why the GFS continues its strong right runs…and of a much weaker system.
Through 72 hours the forecast is fairly straight forward with a track toward the NW Caribbean Sea….thereafter the uncertainty increases to the point that the entire error cone would be at risk. At this point, extrapolation of the centerline NHC track is highly discouraged given the spread in the respected global guidance and the noted errors of TC forecasting at days 4 and 5. Equal and similar preparations should be made within the entire error cone from TX to the FL panhandle.
While Gustav has weakened due to land interactions…the system is now back over the warm waters with favorable upper level winds aloft. While the tiny inner core was disrupted, it should slowly rebuild itself as the cyclone tracks off toward the west. Conditions in the western Caribbean Sea are nearly perfect for rapid intensification, deep warm water within the start of the Gulf loop current, favorable light winds aloft, and a decent outflow channel on the SW side of the FL high to help expel and vent the system. The 06Z runs of the GFDL and HWRF are both at the extreme end of the intensity guidance showing a category 5 hurricane moving through the Gulf with very deep pressures of 892mb and 904mb, while SHIPS only shows 81kts at 96 and 120 hours. The NHC forecast maintains a major hurricane event into the central Gulf of Mexico with 120mph sustained winds nearly splitting the intensity guidance. Once the inner core of Gustav reforms there appears to be little to prevent intensification and Gustav could easily be stronger than NHC is forecasting in the Gulf and this is noted in their discussions.
Residents along the US Gulf coast should be reviewing their hurricane plans and be prepared to activate those plans this weekend.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
...Gustav a little stronger...nearing the South Coast of Haiti...
a Hurricane Warning remains in effect from Barahona in the Dominican
Republic westward to Le Mole St Nicholas Haiti. Preparations to
protect life and property should be nearing completion.
A Hurricane Watch remains in effect for Haiti from Le Mole St
Nicholas to the northern Haiti/Dominican Republic border.
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for the Cuban provinces of Las
Tunas...Granma...Holguin...Santiago de Cuba...and Guantanamo. A
Hurricane Watch is also in effect for Jamaica. A Hurricane Watch
means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch
area...generally within 36 hours.
Interests in central and western Cuba and the Cayman Islands should
closely monitor the progress of Gustav.
For storm information specific to your area...including possible
inland watches and warnings...please monitor products issued
by your local weather office.
At 800 am EDT...1200z...the center of Hurricane Gustav was located
near latitude 17.5 north...longitude 72.0 west or about 75 miles...
125 km...south-southeast of Port au Prince Haiti and about 265 miles
...425 km...southeast of Guantanamo Cuba.
Gustav is moving toward the northwest near 9 mph...15 km/hr...and
this motion is expected to continue today with a turn toward the
west-northwest and a decrease in forward speed forecast on
Wednesday. On this track this hurricane should move over
southwestern Haiti later today and near or just south of
eastern Cuba on Wednesday.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 90 mph...150
km/hr...with higher gusts. Gustav is a category one hurricane on
the Saffir-Simpson scale. The hurricane could become a category
two hurricane before landfall in Haiti later today.
Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 25 miles...35 km...from
the center...and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 70
The latest minimum central pressure reported by an Air Force
Reserve reconnaissance aircraft is 981 mb...28.97 inches.
Gustav is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 4 to 7
inches over southern Hispaniola and Jamaica...with isolated maximum
amounts of up to 15 inches possible. These rains may produce
life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.
Coastal storm surge flooding of 2 to 4 feet above normal tide levels
can be expected near and to the east of where the center makes
Monday, August 25, 2008
Tropical Storm Gustav with winds 60 mph just south of Cuba could hit one of the Gulf states as
cat 4 or 5 hurricane this weekend or next week!
Gustav intensified rapidly from 30 mph winds to a strong tropical storm in just a few short hours.
An Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft measured a surface pressure of 996 mb at the center.
Top winds at the aircraft's flight level of 2200 feet were hurricane force, 74 mph.
more in the morning...this could get interesting fast since its nearly a hurricane now!
Edward Kennedy: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Caroline.
My fellow Democrats, my fellow Americans, it is so wonderful to be here.
And nothing -- nothing is going to keep me away from this special gathering tonight.
I have come here tonight to stand with you to change America, to restore its future, to rise to our best ideals, and to elect Barack Obama president of the United States.
As I look ahead, I am strengthened by family and friendship. So many of you have been with me in the happiest days and the hardest days. Together we have known success and seen setbacks, victory and defeat.
But we have never lost our belief that we are all called to a better country and a newer world. And I pledge to you -- I pledge to you that I will be there next January on the floor of the United States Senate when we begin the great test.
Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.
For me this is a season of hope -- new hope for a justice and fair prosperity for the many, and not just for the few -- new hope.
And this is the cause of my life -- new hope that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American -- north, south, east, west, young, old -- will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege.
We can meet these challenges with Barack Obama. Yes, we can, and finally, yes, we will.
Barack Obama will close the book on the old politics of race and gender and group against group and straight against gay.
And Barack Obama will be a commander-in-chief who understands that young Americans in uniform must never be committed to a mistake, but always for a mission worthy of their bravery.
We are told that Barack Obama believes too much in an America of high principle and bold endeavor, but when John Kennedy called of going to the moon, he didn't say it's too far to get there. We shouldn't even try.
Our people answered his call and rose to the challenge, and today an American flag still marks the surface of the moon.
Yes, we are all Americans. This is what we do. We reach the moon. We scale the heights. I know it. I've seen it. I've lived it. And we can do it again.
There is a new wave of change all around us, and if we set our compass true, we will reach our destination -- not merely victory for our Party, but renewal for our nation.
And this November the torch will be passed again to a new generation of Americans, so with Barack Obama and for you and for me, our country will be committed to his cause. The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on.
Life is a challenge – meet it.
Life is a gift – accept it.
Life is an adventure – dare it.
Life is a sorrow – overcome it.
Life is a tragedy – face it.
Life is a duty – perform it.
Life is a game – play it.
Life is a mystery – unfold it.
Life is a song – sing it.
Life is an opportunity – take it.
Life is a journey – complete it.
Life is a promise – fulfill it.
Life is a love – embrace it.
Life is a beauty – praise it.
Life is a spirit – release it.
Life is a struggle – fight it.
Life is a puzzle – solve it.
Life is a goal – achieve it.
What an interesting time to be alive! If you are a news junkie like I am then this has been a great time...there was Sturgis Bike Rally, the the Russian invasion of Georgia, the Olympics, 2day "Burning Man" will begin in earnest, and the rapidly approaching Dem Nat Convention, which could be really interesting...but just as much as I am a news junkie I am also a camera junkie, a photo junkie, and a photoshop junkie ~ and often times I neglect these other areas of major interest for me...in favor of news...
So...I was looking over the blog the other day and decided that there is far to much "Doom and Gloom" there for some folks to be comfortable, so I think I will change up the format a little...I mean realistically if people cannot see that things are changing then they're either blind or in denial...and you can argue all you want to about the geopolitical implications of this or that, and whether Fannie/Freddie is going tits up soon or not, or the solvency of banks, or the Georgian awakening of the ugly bear, but you CANNOT argue with a grocery store tape...its just one of those things that affect your day to day lives! So I have concluded that to point out every issue that has the potential for affecting our existence I will in the future just hit the high points. Realistically I am getting depressed reading my own blog! LOL And that a bad place to be! Maybe I should pay attention to some of the positive things that are going on...I'm not sure I can do that for long...because by nature I am skeptical and pessimistic about many things...but we will give it a shot and see how it works out...
Lets try it and see...
Visible satellite images show a significant increase in organization
of the low pressure system that we have been monitoring in the
Caribbean. Well-defined curved band features have developed...
particularly over the northern and western portions of the system.
Analysis of directional ambiguities from a Quikscat overpass
indicated a surface circulation center. Therefore we are
initiating advisories on Tropical Depression Seven. An ssm/is
image from several hours ago depicted an eye-like feature at the 91
ghz frequency...but it was not evident on the 37 ghz channel.
Since the latter channel is more sensitive to the lower-levels...
this eye-like feature was primarily aloft. Interestingly
however...the geostationary images also show a relatively clear
area near the center that resembles an eye. Our initial intensity
estimate is conservatively set at 30 kt based on an earlier report
from NOAA data buoy 42059. Observations from an upcoming Air Force
hurricane hunter mission should give updated information on the
strength of the system. Upper-level outflow is well-defined over
all but the southeast quadrant. Atmospheric and oceanic conditions
appear favorable for intensification and the official forecast is
close to the latest SHIPS guidance. Curiously...the GFS has failed
to predict development of the cyclone thus far.Initial motion is about 305/13 although recent images suggest that
the motion may be a bit to the left of this value. There is an
unusually large spread to our track model guidance that seems to be
the result of two primary scenarios for the future motion of the
system. One would be a generally northward track into a weakness
in the subtropical ridge over the western Atlantic...and this is
depicted by the NOGAPS and ECMWF solutions. A second scenario is
for the tropical cyclone to Bend more westward in response to a
mid-level anticyclone over Florida...and that is depicted by the
BAM tracks...the HWRF...and the GFDL. Our first official track
forecast somewhat splits the difference but leans toward the latter
scenario. However it should be noted that the confidence in this
track forecast is not high...particularly at days 4 and 5.This forecast track requires the issuance of tropical storm warnings
and watches for portions of Hispaniola at this time.Forecast positions and Max winds
initial 25/1500z 15.5n 70.1w 30 kt
12hr VT 26/0000z 16.5n 71.1w 40 kt
24hr VT 26/1200z 17.6n 72.2w 50 kt
36hr VT 27/0000z 18.8n 73.3w 50 kt
48hr VT 27/1200z 19.7n 74.2w 55 kt
72hr VT 28/1200z 21.0n 75.5w 55 kt
96hr VT 29/1200z 22.0n 77.0w 60 kt
120hr VT 30/1200z 22.5n 78.0w 60 kt
Sunday, August 24, 2008
by: James Quinn posted on: August 24, 2008
“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on….or by imbeciles who really mean it.” – Mark Twain
The United States of America is about as far from united as we’ve been since the Civil War. The two major parties agree on virtually no major issues. The only time they agree is when it involves tax rebates and pork projects for their constituents. They have no problem spending our grandchildren’s money to get re-elected in November. No politician is willing to tell the American people the blunt truth that we have an epic financial crisis that must be addressed in the next 10 years. When I watch the Republicans and Democrats respond to these issues by spinning them to make the other side seem evil, it infuriates me. We are wasting precious time. If you take a poll of Americans and ask them if they want make sacrifices for future generations, I can guarantee you that 85% would say no. Our society is dominated by present self interest to the detriment of the best interests of our future generations. We need leaders who are willing to speak the truth and convince the country to change course before it is too late.
Our fiscal crisis is complex, multi-faceted and dangerous to our long-term future. The major issues that we need to confront include the current fiscal situation, the colossal amount of unfunded liabilities that our politicians have obligated us to pay, our dependence on foreign oil, our education system, and a dearth of leadership and political courage. These issues are intertwined and cannot be addressed individually. To successfully solve these issues we need to ignore political affiliations and choose the best solutions. It seems strange to me that the best ideas for dealing with our crisis come mostly from billionaires. The people that we should believe in my opinion are: David Walker, Pete Peterson, Warren Buffett, Ross Perot, T. Boone Pickens, Matt Simmons, Bill Gates, and Ron Paul.
These men have put aside partisan politics and name calling to work together to save our country. They have an extremely difficult task. There are different challenges they must overcome. The largest hurdle is getting the attention of the majority of Americans who are apathetic towards the entire political process. These are the 71 million voting age citizens who decided not to vote in the last presidential election. If they don’t care enough to vote in the presidential election, they certainly won’t care about future unfunded liabilities. I think the only thing that will get the attention of this group is a major recession that negatively impacts their quality of life. There are millions of Americans living lives of silent desperation. They are living on the edge and the debt contraction that is underway is pushing many over that edge. The anger that is building will hopefully eliminate the apathy.
“The punishment of wise men who refuse to take part in the affairs of government is to live under the government of unwise men.” - Plato
The next obstacle is what I call the Great Deniers. They deny that there are any problems in America. They ignore the hard facts and spout rhetoric like: “We are the greatest country in the history of the world; There is nothing that's going to occur to our economy except a continuance of the great economic success our great nation has always enjoyed; The sun is not setting on our great nation, it is rising!; It is morning in America.” It is difficult to have a logical discussion with these shills. They are disciples of the Ben Stein School of ignoring facts and figures. They are cheerleaders for America, when what we need are wide eyed realists. Many of these people have secure well paying comfortable positions in our society and fear a change in the status quo.
Using a baseball analogy is the best way I can describe our current situation. When I hear the denial gang speak, I see America as a baseball team on par with the NY Yankees dynasty. They have been the dominant team in baseball for decades, with 26 World Series championships in 39 World Series appearances. Their payroll is bigger than any other team. They start to read their press clippings, rely on their reputation and allow their minor league system to deteriorate. Their star players are getting long in the tooth, no longer in their prime. Changing managers (Presidents) hasn’t worked. They are still good, but the competition is younger, talented, and has greater desire to succeed. The upstart Devil Rays (Emerging Market Countries) and the reviled Red Sox (China) have moved past them. It is late August and they are 10 games out of 1st place. It is time to trade the aging veterans for young minor leaguers and begin the rebuilding process. This is where America stands today. We are at a crossroads. We can continue on our current course and be in the middle of the pack in the future, or we can completely retool to compete in this 21st Century world.
By far, the greatest challenge that our selfless patriots must overcome is the entrenched ruling elite that run this country. The ruling elite includes the crooked politicians in Washington, the lifetime bureaucrats who run the various governmental agencies, the paid lobbyists who write the laws for Congress, obscenely overpaid short-term profit driven corporate CEOs, media conglomerates, and the privileged Wall Street aristocracy. These privileged few are surrounded by leeches and parasites (media consultants, pollsters, spin artists, and PR agencies) that attack anyone who threatens their position of power. The only way to overturn their comfortable world is an uprising among the masses. An educated population would not allow them to herd us like the sheep they think we are.
Congress consists of 100 Senators and 435 Representatives. Based on the data below there are 32 lobbyists for every member in Congress. They spend $5.3 million per member of Congress every year. Lobbyists will spend $3 billion this year to persuade our noble politician leaders. PACs and 527 Plans will spend hundreds of millions of dollars pushing their agendas. Who is looking out for my senior citizen parents? Certainly not their Congressman or Senator. They are earning a pitiful 2% on their IRA money market fund because JP Morgan, General Electric and Fannie Mae have lobbyists to fight for their rights. When our government has to use your tax dollars in the next few months to take over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, it should warm your heart knowing that these two quasi-governmental entities have spent $175 million in the last 10 years lobbying Congress. Not much has really changed in the last hundred years. Will Rogers pegged politicians back in the 1920’s.
“Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate; now what's going to happen to us with both a Senate and a House?” (source)
“There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you." (source)
Friday, August 22, 2008
FANNIE AND FREDDIE PREFERRED STOCK RATINGS CUT BY MOODY'S; AFFIRMS Aaa SENIOR DEBT RATING
Preferred stock ratings and BFSRs remain on review for potential downgrade
FANNIE AND FREDDIE PREFERRED STOCK RATINGS CUT BY MOODY'S TO BAA3 FROM A1;
- BFSR cut to D+ from B-
Freddie, Fannie Failure Could Be World "Catastrophe"
By Kevin Hamlin
Aug. 22 (Bloomberg) -- A failure of U.S. mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could be a catastrophe for the global financial system, said Yu Yongding, a former adviser to China's central bank.
``If the U.S. government allows Fannie and Freddie to fail and international investors are not compensated adequately, the consequences will be catastrophic,'' Yu said in e-mailed answers to questions yesterday. ``If it is not the end of the world, it is the end of the current international financial system.''`
Freddie and Fannie shares touched 20-year lows yesterday on speculation that a government bailout will leave the stocks worthless. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson won approval from the U.S. Congress last month to pump unlimited amounts of capital into the companies in an emergency.
China's $376 billion of long-term U.S. agency debt is mostly in Fannie and Freddie assets, according to James McCormack, head of Asian sovereign ratings at Fitch Ratings Ltd. in Hong Kong. The Chinese government probably holds the bulk of that amount, according to McCormack.
Industrial & Commercial Bank of China yesterday reported a $2.7 billion holding. Bank of China Ltd. may have $20 billion, according to CLSA Ltd., the Hong Kong-based investment banking arm of France's Credit Agricole SA. CLSA puts the exposure of the six biggest Chinese banks at $30 billion.
``The seriousness of such failures could be beyond the stretch of people's imagination,'' said Yu, a professor at the Institute of World Economics & Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. He didn't explain why he held that view.
China's government hasn't commented on Fannie and Freddie.
Yu is ``influential'' among government officials and investors and has discussed economic issues with Premier Wen Jiabao this year, said Shen Minggao, a former Citigroup Inc. economist in Beijing, now an economist at business magazine Caijing.
Investor confidence in Fannie and Freddie has dwindled on speculation that government intervention is inevitable. Washington-based Fannie has fallen 88 percent this year, while Freddie of McLean, Virginia, has slumped 91 percent.
Paulson got the power to make purchases of the two companies' debt or equity in legislation enacted July 30 that was aimed at shoring up confidence in the businesses. He has said the Treasury doesn't expect to use that authority.
The two companies combined account for more than half of the $12 trillion U.S. mortgage market.
To contact the reporter on this story: Kevin Hamlin in Beijing on firstname.lastname@example.org;
Last Updated: August 22, 2008 06:09 EDT