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TheNutcracker's Journal
TheNutcracker's Journal
May 8, 2014

Tampa Bay Times - For some common sense in high places, let us pray

Ruth: For some common sense in high places, let us pray

Let us pray. Heavenly Father, please grant the strength to complete this column within the designated length. We implore you to protect us against the scourge of typos. Thank you once again for creating the blessings of spell check. We beseech you to help invoke the appropriate mix of metaphors, similes and snarkiness. And we look to your wisdom to avoid undue amounts of commas and dashes, which we confess we do so have a soft spot for employing. Amen.
Our first reading comes from the gospel of the U.S. Supreme Court, which has ruled by a 5-4 vote in favor of the town officials of Greece, N.Y., to begin public meetings with a prayer delivered by the chaplain of the month. The issue before the justices revolved around the objection on the part of some of the residents of Greece that the opening prayer always was distinctly Christian, often flirting with sectarian proselytizing to the exclusion of other faiths such as Islam or Judaism.

In his opinion essentially giving the green light to Greece to conduct a virtual 700 Club moment before the start of a public meeting, Justice Anthony Kennedy argued such supplications are largely "ceremonial" in nature to underscore the solemnity of the government proceeding.

Solemnity? In government? Kennedy needs to attend a Hillsborough County School Board meeting, which is about as solemn as a Three Stooges pie fight.
Even dissenting Justice Elena Kagan does not oppose the tradition of an opening prayer before public meetings. But she did raise a valid point that the Greece decision creates a slippery slope where local governments could now have legal cover to exclude other non-Christian faiths from being invited to offer a brief homily.
The city mandarins of Greece insisted they had tried and tried to invite clerics of other faiths to deliver the opening prayer, but it seems rabbis and imams are rarer finds in the area than unicorns.

You can lead politicians to the pulpit, but you can't make them drink the holy water.

They pray like there's no tomorrow in Tallahassee before legislative sessions. And yet before the echoes of the benediction have subsided, the Legislature thinks nothing of denying 1 million needy residents Medicaid coverage or making it easier to shoot one another, or turning the Lord's creation of Florida's springs into toxic dumps. How godly is that?

Our elected officials may pray to God, but they kneel in obeisance to the Capitol's money-changing lobbyists.They are praying machines in Washington as they shut down the government, oppose an increase in the minimum wage, vote more than 50 times to prevent Americans from getting health insurance, plot to scuttle Common Core education standards, oppose equal pay for women and take vacations while millions of Americans wait to have their unemployment benefits restored.

So much for Matthew 25:40: "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
Who has the time, or the inclination, for all these naive prayers when tribute must be rendered unto a Koch brother to be named later?
County commissions pray for guidance, too, just before rubber stamping the latest real estate development. Who knew heaven was a strip mall?

Let us pray. Blessed are those who survive the hypocrisy of faux sanctimonious politicians. Amen, brother.

Ruth: For some common sense in high places, let us pray 05/07/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 6:30pm]
© 2014 Tampa Bay Times

May 3, 2014

Oil drilling company ordered to shut down second Florida well pending tests

Source: Tampa Bay Times

The Texas oil company that incurred a $25,000 fine for violating its permit to drill a well in Florida panther habitat has a growing problem on its hands.

State Department of Environmental Protection officials announced Friday they have ordered the Dan A. Hughes Co. to cease operations at a second South Florida well until experts can analyze whether the violation at the first well spread pollution in the aquifer.

However, the announcement followed a call Thursday by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to open an investigation into what happened.
Hughes spokesman David Blackmon issued a terse statement that said the shutdown was something the company had agreed to after negotiations with DEP.

Hughes' drilling operations have sparked controversy among Collier County residents, who went so far as to stage a protest march on Gov. Rick Scott's Naples home. The controversy began when a Hughes contractor contacted Golden Gate Estates residents about their plans for an evacuation should something go wrong with the well being drilled less than 1,000 feet from their homes. That was the first they'd heard of it.

The company was injecting acid deep underground to fracture the limestone, then injecting a mix of sand and chemical gel under pressure, to prop open the new fractures and let the oil flow out. That's called using a "proppant."

Although the process is similar to fracking, Blackmon called it an "acid stimulation treatment," which he said is common in Florida. However, Miller of the DEP said no one has ever used a proppant in Florida before. The DEP order requires Hughes to install monitoring wells to check on whether any pollution is spreading through the aquifer, although Blackmon said the chemicals were injected thousands of feet below the drinking water supply.
Until the well results are analyzed by independent experts, Hughes has to shut down all other "new operations," DEP said Friday. Hughes has six other locations, but the only one fitting the DEP's description is a well near Immokalee, Miller said.

more at link....

Read more: http://www.tampabay.com/news/environment/water/oil-drilling-company-ordered-to-shut-down-second-florida-well-pending-tests/2178106

The Gov, Slick Rick came from TX and I'll bet he knew all about this, before Nelson stopped it!
April 23, 2014

Supreme Court to decide on Aereo, an obscure start-up that could reshape the TV industry

An obscure Internet start-up is roiling the television industry with an old-school technology: the antenna.
The start-up, Aereo, uses thousands of tiny antennas to capture broadcast television programs, then converts the shows into online video streams for subscribers in 11 cities.

What Aereo does not do is pay licensing fees to the broadcast networks that produce the programs. And that has put Aereo at the center of a debate over the reach of copyright laws, the accessibility of public airwaves and the future of television.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear arguments in a civil case filed against the two-year-old private firm by ABC, CBS, NBC and other major broadcasters alleging that Aereo is no different from cable and satellite firms that are required to pay hefty fees to rebroadcast their shows.

“Quite simply, Aereo takes copyrighted material, profits from it and does so without compensating copyright holders,” said Gordon Smith, the president of the National Association of Broadcasters.

Aereo argues that it is entitled to draw freely from programs transmitted on public airwaves. If successful, the argument has the potential to blow apart the expensive channel bundles that have been forced on American cable consumers and to radically reduce the cost of watching television.

more at link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/aereo-case-goes-to-supreme-court/2014/04/21/50bbd1e8-c59d-11e3-9f37-7ce307c56815_story.html

March 28, 2014

The DCCC needs to recruit Nicole Stott for FLA-13 - Astronaut from Clearwater

She actually lives there. She is in all of the schools talking up math and science. She attends the air fests for the kids all the time. She had an interest in the seat for several years. She did the math before and after the redistricting of 2010, and determined a democrat cannot win, not against Bill Young. Now he has passed away, and the game is on.

Attention DCCC. We don't want Alex Sink.

Just look at this candidate the party continues to ignore. They need to call her A.S.A.P.


PERSONAL DATA: Born in Albany, New York. Her hometown is Clearwater, Florida. Nicole is married with one child. She enjoys flying, snow skiing, SCUBA diving, woodworking, painting, and gardening.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Clearwater High School, Clearwater, Florida, 1980.
Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, 1987. Master of Science in Engineering Management, University of Central Florida, 1992.

SPECIAL HONORS: NASA Space Flight Medals; NASA Distinguished Service Medals; NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal; NASA Certificates of Commendation; NASA Performance Awards; NASA On-the-Spot Awards; 2012 Florida Aviation Hall of Fame Inductee; 2011 Russian Medal of Merit for Space; 2011 University of Central Florida Professional Achievement Award; 2009 Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Alumni Eagle of Excellence Award; NASA Aircraft Operations Newt Myers Team Spirit Award; KSC Public Affairs Certificate of Appreciation for Service.

EXPERIENCE: Nicole began her career in 1987 as a structural design engineer with Pratt and Whitney Government Engines in West Palm Beach, Florida. She spent a year with the Advanced Engines Group performing structural analyses of advanced jet engine component designs.

Nicole is an instrument rated private pilot. She is a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association and the 99’s Florida Suncoast Chapter. She is also a founding member of both the Manna Energy Foundation and Fragile Oasis.

NASA EXPERIENCE: In 1988, Nicole joined NASA at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Florida, as an Operations Engineer in the Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF). During her time at KSC, she held a variety of positions within NASA Shuttle Processing, including Vehicle Operations Engineer; NASA Convoy Commander; Shuttle Flow Director for Endeavour; and Orbiter Project Engineer for Columbia. During her last two years at KSC, she was a member of the Space Station Hardware Integration Office and relocated to Huntington Beach, California, where she served as the NASA Project Lead for the ISS truss elements under construction at the Boeing Space Station facility. In 1998, she joined the Johnson Space Center (JSC) team in Houston, Texas, as a member of the NASA Aircraft Operations Division, where she served as a Flight Simulation Engineer (FSE) on the Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA).

Selected as a mission specialist by NASA in July 2000, Nicole reported for astronaut candidate training in August 2000. Following the completion of training, she was assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office International Space Station Operations branch, where she performed crew evaluations of station payloads. She also worked as a support astronaut for the Expedition 10 crew and as a Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM). In April 2006 she was a crewmember on the ninth NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO 9) mission, where she lived and worked with a six-person crew on the longest duration NEEMO mission to date – 18 days on the Aquarius undersea research habitat. The NEEMO 9 mission served as an analog for future lunar operations – the crew tested advanced space suit design concepts, robotic devices for surface-based exploration, construction and communication techniques, and advanced tele-medicine hardware and techniques. In preparation for a long-duration space flight, Nicole completed a Russian language immersion class in Moscow, Russia, and underwent International Space Station systems training at each of the international partner training sites in Russia, Japan, Germany, and Canada.

SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: Nicole completed her first long-duration space flight as a Flight Engineer on International Space Station Expeditions 20 and 21 (August 28 through November 29, 2009). She launched to the International Space Station on Space Shuttle Discovery with the crew of STS-128 on August 28, 2009. She performed one spacewalk along with her STS-128 crewmate John “Danny” Olivas, with a total duration of 6 hours and 39 minutes. During her tour of duty on the station, she participated in the first track and capture of the Japanese cargo vehicle HTV, conducted a wide variety of science and research activities, and performed maintenance of the space station systems. After logging 91 days in space, she returned on the Space Shuttle Atlantis with the crew of STS-129 on November 29, 2009. Stott was the last expedition crewmember to return to Earth on a space shuttle.
Her resume goes on and on and on.....voters of Dist. 13 know her. She is our hero! Send her to congress.

March 28, 2014

NJ Center for Environment-Chris Christie Illegally Cancelled NJ Regional Greenhouse Gas Iniatiative

Chris Christie Illegally Cancelled NJ Regional Greenhouse Gas Iniatiative
A New Jersey court ruled Tuesday that the Christie administration broke the law when it excused power plants from complying with regulations limiting dangerous climate-changing pollution. The three-judge panel ruled that Christie’s administration broke state law in 2011 when it withdrew New Jersey from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court ruled in favor of Environment New Jersey and the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a lawsuit the organizations brought against the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in 2012.

The Christie administration did not go through any formal rulemaking procedures before pulling out of the carbon-cutting program. Instead, administration officials stated on a government website that the state wouldn’t participate in the program — and then argued in court that the online statement was sufficient public outreach under state law.

The RGGI is a carbon-trading program that caps greenhouse gas emissions from power plants in nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The RGGI has sold about $1 billion worth of carbon pollution permits since 2009, reinvesting much of that money in clean energy and energy efficiency initiatives, resulting in estimated lifelong energy savings of about $2 billion — all the while cutting carbon pollution.

The ruling doesn’t automatically push New Jersey back into the RGGI, and it remains to be seen whether the state rejoins of the program. The court gave the administration 60 days to initiate a public process around any changes to the climate change pollution rules. The year before, when the Christie Administration posted a notice on a website that power plants no longer had to comply with pollution limits, it effectively ended New Jersey’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (or RGGI), a nine-state program that has been reducing climate-changing pollution from East Coast power plants for the last five years. The Christie Administration sidestepped the public process required by law. Neither Governor Christie nor the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection can simply repeal state laws by fiat.

more at link below:


March 25, 2014

Sheldon Adelson plans VIP dinner for Jeb Bush at GOP gathering in Vegas


Sheldon Adelson plans VIP dinner for Jeb Bush at GOP gathering in Vegas

By Philip Rucker
March 22 at 3:48 pm
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush will get top billing when he and other potential 2016 presidential candidates join billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson for an exclusive Republican gathering next week in Las Vegas.

Bush, who is quietly exploring a run for the White House, will be the featured speaker at an exclusive VIP dinner on Thursday hosted by Adelson and his wife, Miriam, at his company’s private airplane hangar at Las Vegas Macarran International Airport, according to a draft itinerary obtained by The Washington Post. The Adelsons’ dinner for Bush will kick off the Republican Jewish Coalition’s four-day spring leadership meeting, during which politicians and major GOP donors will mingle at golf and poker tournaments, as well as in political strategy sessions.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former U.N. ambassador John Bolton will address the group during its meeting on Saturday morning, while Ohio Gov. John Kasich is to speak at a luncheon that day. The gathering is being held at the Venetian Resort and Hotel, a glamorous property built by Las Vegas Sands Corp., the casino and hospitality company that Adelson runs.

For potential presidential candidates, getting to know Adelson is critical. During the 2012 presidential campaign, Adelson established himself as perhaps the most influential Republican fundraiser by spending tens of millions of dollars to fund super PACs. He first supported former House speaker Newt Gingrich, but later backed the eventual nominee, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, and even traveled to Israel with Romney ahead of the Republican National Convention.

more at link above...

March 25, 2014

Jimmy Carter Sends Snail Mail to Avoid NSA Snooping


Jimmy Carter Sends Snail Mail to Avoid NSA Snooping. Is He Just Paranoid?

If you think you have privacy problems, try corresponding with foreign leaders while the NSA is on your back. Because of privacy concerns, former President Jimmy Carter has returned to snail mail to avoid surveillance. Carter told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday that he thinks the NSA may be monitoring his email.

“I have felt that my own communications were probably monitored,” he said. “And when I want to communicate with a foreign leader privately, I type or write the letter myself, put it in the post office and mail it. ... I believe if I sent an email, it will be monitored.”

Carter said in the interview that he thought the government has “abused our own intelligence agencies.”

No stranger to new tech, he was the first president to write a book—his memoir—on a Lanier word processor in the early 1980s.

more at link above...
March 21, 2014

North Port officers arrested on sexual battery and then one commits suicide

North Port Sun

UPDATE — Statement from Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office:

On March 2nd the North Port Police Department asked the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office to investigate an incident that occurred at a party and possibly involved an on duty and an off duty officer.

Detectives have investigated those allegations and today reached a point of having probable cause to arrest the individuals involved, and a judge agreed, signing 2 arrest warrants, each with one count of sexual battery and one count of kidnapping. Both suspects had been cooperative throughout this investigation as have their attorneys. There was an agreement that we would make notification when we were going to arrest these individuals.

Today detectives notified Ms. Melanie Turner that they had a warrant for her arrest. She complied and was taken into custody without incident. We notified Mr. Ricky Urbina of the same and he asked that detectives meet at a prearranged location, not his home. Detectives agreed and while en route they were notified of a shooting at Mr. Urbina’s home.

We have been notified that Mr. Urbina is deceased.

The North Port Police Department is conducting the death investigation.

Our involvement is concluded at this time.


Ricky Urbina, one of two North Port Police Officers suspected of being involved in a sexual assault at a party earlier this month, took his own life, his attorney said Thursday. The two officers had previously been referred to as “John Doe” and “Jane Doe” in police reports Sarasota Criminal Defense Attorney Eric Reisinger of the Reisinger Law Firm said he heard the news just before 5 p.m. Thursday. Reisinger had been speaking with Urbina during the day. “He was obviously upset that he was about to be arrested for a crime he feels he didn’t commit,” Reisinger said of Urbina’s demeanor over the phone. “We maintain the allegations were false, and we were looking forward to clearing his name and that of the other officer.” Reisinger said he was already working on arrangements for Urbina’s bail. “I was actually speaking to the State Attorney’s Office when I got the call,” he said just before 6:30 Thursday.

more at link above

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