Daily Archives: October 24, 2011

Prepare For The Coldest Winter in 20 Years

therepublic.com | Oct 22, 2011

Good news for skiers, bad news for commuters, especially cyclists and drivers. This year  Meteorologists are quite certain we could be in for the coldest winter in 20 years in western Canada thanks to La Nina.

A La Nina is  preceded by a buildup of cooler-than-normal subsurface waters in the tropical Pacific. Eastward-moving atmospheric and oceanic waves help bring the cold water to the surface through a complex series of events still being studied. Both La Niña and El Niño tend to peak during the Northern Hemisphere winter. So they have studied the data and determined we are in for back to back sub-zero months, frequents storms, and heavy snowfalls.

If we have several days in a row of minus 30 degrees in the interior it could actually kill the destructive pine beetle.  Hopefully the chafer bugs in our lawns might move out as well.

So having a look at the dramatic map below you might want to look a few things to prepare your home, bike or car prior.

If you are driving a car, all season tires are not snow tires. You need whats called the all-weather tire for better ice and snow traction. They have a different rubber compound that grips ice and snow better than all season. Unfortunately this compound usually also wears out faster than all-season. Here on the usual mild west coast no matter how good your tires are, it seems all the other out of control panic stricken drivers are more of a concern than the ice and snow . Once the snow hits the line ups into the tire centers are huge and the sales on tires seem very limited.

Condoleezza Rice regrets watching Spamalot while Hurricane Katrina struck


Condoleezza Rice went to New York on holiday Photo: GETTY

Condoleezza Rice, the former US Secretary of State, has spoken of her regret at watching a Broadway musical and shopping for shoes in Manhattan while Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.

Telegraph | Oct 23, 2011

By Jon Swaine, New York

In a new memoir, Miss Rice describes “kicking herself” for taking a holiday in August 2005 as the disaster struck, killing more than 1,800 people and throwing George W. Bush’s presidency into crisis.

As the most senior black member of Mr Bush’s administration, she was forced to rush to the Deep South to fight claims that the White House’s disastrously slow response was racially motivated.

Miss Rice, now 56, admits that before leaving for New York, she “didn’t think much about the dire warnings” and did little except check that her department’s offices in the Gulf of Mexico were secure.

After checking into the Palace Hotel, she saw news reports that Katrina had struck, and had a brief phone conversation with Michael Chertoff, the Homeland Security Secretary.

“He said he’d call if he needed me,” she writes. “I hung up, got dressed, and went to see Spamalot,” the musical based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail. “The next morning, I went shopping at the Ferragamo shoe store,” she adds in extracts of the book, titled No Higher Honor, which have been published by Newsweek magazine.

The following day, Miss Rice’s activities were splashed through the pages of New York tabloids, which claimed she was berated by a fellow shopper for buying “thousands of dollars worth” of designer shoes while people died. The reports were highlighted on the front page of an influential US news website.

“My senior adviser, Jim Wilkinson, walked into my suite,” she writes. “‘Boss, I should have seen this coming,’ he said. He showed me the day’s Drudge Report headline on the Web: ‘Eyewitness: Sec of State Condi Rice laughs it up at Spamalot while Gulf Coast lays in tatters’.

“I sat there kicking myself for having been so tone-deaf,” she adds. “I was the highest-ranking black in the administration and a key adviser to the President. What had I been thinking?”

Miss Rice flew south to visit victims. She admits that Mr Bush’s team made “many missteps, both in perception and in reality” – and that she told him: “Clearly we have a race problem” – but robustly rejects claims that his response was influenced by prejudice.

“It was so unfair, cynical, and irresponsible,” she writes. Many commentators point to Katrina as the turning point in Mr Bush’s presidency and say that his approval ratings never recovered.

In an interview with the magazine on Monday Miss Rice also claims that Mr Bush’s decision to invade Iraq under his “freedom agenda” facilitated the revolutions of this year’s Arab Spring.

“There is both a moral case and a practical one for the proposition that no man, woman or child should live in tyranny,” she said. “Those who excoriate the approach as idealistic or unrealistic missed the point. In the long run, it is authoritarianism that is unstable and unrealistic”.

In her memoir Miss Rice also details the long-renowned feuds she had with Dick Cheney, the Vice President, and Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary, over Iraq and the handling of terror suspects. She describes being undermined by them both and by Mr Bush, and discloses that at one stage she threatened to resign.

New euro ’empire’ plot by Brussels


Britain must decide on the nature of its relationship with the European Union Photo: Corbis

European Union chiefs are drawing up plans for a single “Treasury” to oversee tax and spending across the 17 eurozone nations.

Telegraph | Oct 22, 2011

By Patrick Hennessy, and Bruno Waterfield

The proposal, put forward by Herman Van Rompuy, the European Council president, would be the clearest sign yet of a new “United States of Europe” — with Britain left on the sidelines.

The plan comes as European governments desperately trying to save the euro from collapse last night faced a new bombshell, with sources at the International Monetary Fund saying it would not pay for a second Greek bail-out.

It was also disclosed last night that British businesses are turning their back on Brussels regulations to give temporary workers full employment rights, with supermarket chain Tesco leading the charge.

Meanwhile, David Cameron is attempting to face down a rebellion tomorrow by Tory MPs in a vote over staging a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU.

Ministers expect 60 or 70 MPs to defy the party’s high command and back the call for a referendum, while some rebels claim the final toll could be up to 100 — about a third of the parliamentary party.

Downing Street has upped the stakes dramatically. Last night, No 10 sources insisted they would impose a three-line whip — effectively ordering all Tory MPs to fall in line.

Mr Cameron, who yesterday took personal charge of the effort to persuade MPs to back the Government, has come under intense pressure from Cabinet colleagues to try to defuse the revolt by offering concessions or a way out to rebels. Sources say a handful of parliamentary private secretaries — the lowest rung on the government ladder — might resign.

The single Treasury plan emerged in Brussels yesterday as Europe’s finance ministers tried to find a way out of the crisis engulfing the eurozone. A full-scale rescue plan could cost about £1.75 trillion.

British sources said Mr Van Rompuy, who is regarded as being close to the German government, suggested plans for a “finance ministry” to be based either in Frankfurt or Paris. The EU already has its own “foreign ministry”, headed by Baroness Ashton, the former British Labour minister, and based in Brussels.

A senior Coalition source told The Sunday Telegraph: “I am well aware of arguments in Brussels and elsewhere in favour of a single Treasury. You’d get any number of different versions of ‘Europe’ all running at very different speeds.”

A series of meetings are due to be held over the next few days on the eurozone crisis that will involve the leaders of EU member states.

They were overshadowed last night as senior sources at the International Monetary Fund indicated privately that it is not willing to further bail out Greece, whose economy has an outstanding debt of about £232 billion.

The IMF, with the EU and the European Central Bank, is assessing Greece’s debt crisis, and a joint report yesterday suggested lenders might have to agree losses of up to 60 per cent in a Greek default.

Any suggestion that the IMF would not be part of a new bail-out of Greece could spark panic in the markets and worsen the eurozone crisis.

Eurosceptic Tories, meanwhile, are arguing in favour of “repatriating” powers from the EU to Britain, including the Agency Workers Directive, imposed last year at an annual cost of £1.8 billion, which is putting at risk 28,000 temporary job contracts for those aged between 16 and 24. Tesco has asked one of its suppliers to take advantage of a loophole in the law which allows workers to “opt out”.

As Mr Cameron led the drive this weekend to neuter the Tory rebellion, Nigel Farage, the leader of Ukip, indicated his party might not field candidates at the next election against MPs who vote for a referendum.

However, there is no danger of Mr Cameron losing the non-binding vote. He can count on the “payroll vote” of more than 100 ministers, most if not all Lib Dams and nearly the entire bloc of 258 Labour MPs.

On Saturday Tory rebels were among speakers at a “People’s Pledge” pro-referendum rally in Westminster. They included David Davis, the former shadow home secretary, who called the EU a “nascent superstate”.

NYPD cops make money by fabricating drug charges against innocent people


Stephen Anderson, seen in 2009, says he first filed phony paperwork on March 15, 2005 – his ‘training day’ as an undercover narcotics detective on the streets of Sunset Park, Brooklyn.   (Willie Anderson/Daily News)

DAILY NEWS | Oct 14, 2011

BY JOHN MARZULLI, ROCCO PARASCANDOLA AND LARRY MCSHANE

A corrupt ex-undercover cop says NYPD supervisors paid detectives extra overtime for hard-drug busts, creating a covert reward system for cocaine and heroin arrests.

Undercovers taking down smack or crack suspects routinely got two or three hours of overtime as payback, ex-cop Stephen Anderson testified in a Brooklyn courtroom.

“So giving you overtime for a crack cocaine arrest is a reward for the nature of the crime … would that be a fair statement?” asked Justice Gustin Reichbach.

“Yes, that’s fair to say,” Anderson testified last week at the corruption trial of Brooklyn South narcotics Detective Jason Arbeeny.

The defendant is accused of conspiring with others in “flaking” suspects – cop talk for planting cocaine on innocent victims.

Although Anderson didn’t say so directly, the system provided rogue cops with a financial incentive to fabricate cocaine and heroin busts.

The OT had nothing to do with the amount of casework, he said.

Anderson said he first filed phony paperwork on March 15, 2005 – his “training day” as an undercover narcotics detective on the streets of Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

Paired with another allegedly corrupt cop, Anderson filled out paperwork taking credit for a drug buy made by his partner.

He also provided multiple accounts of lying to grand juries, falsifying police reports and fabricating the circumstances of drug busts in Brooklyn and Queens.

Anderson said he never questioned the culture of corruption because he feared ruining his career.

“I didn’t want to get, as I said, blacklisted from other undercovers, where I wouldn’t be able to go out with my teams, or other undercovers wouldn’t want to work with me,” he said.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne declined to comment.

The one-time Brooklyn South detective’s testimony offered an insider’s look at a spate of false drug busts that produced the arrests of eight cops and a huge NYPD shakeup.

Anderson said undercover cops also routinely swiped police funds used for drug buys. A typical scam involved taking $100, spending just $50 and pocketing the rest, he said.

Under cross-examination, Anderson provided a glimpse into his casual approach to law enforcement.

Defense lawyer Michael Elbaz asked Anderson about the oath he took to uphold the law when he was sworn in to the NYPD.

“Well, it’s something I was supposed to live up to and keep in mind,” the ex-cop acknowledged. “That’s what I was supposed to kind of follow.”

Rockefeller Standard Oil heiress pushing for Obama re-election


Alida Rockefeller Messinger, photographed Wednesday evening, October 12, 2011, upstairs at The Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis, Minn. Messinger has emerged as a quiet but enormously powerful force in Minnesota politics. The youngest daughter of John D. Rockefeller III, she bankrolled the successful Legacy amendment, has given millions to DFL causes and candidates and was a driving force behind the election of her ex-husband, Gov. Mark Dayton.

She is vowing to do all she can to help the DFL regain control of the Legislature and get President Obama re-elected.

Messinger is a descendent of the Standard Oil fortune. She is the youngest daughter of philanthropist John D. Rockefeller III. Her brother is Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia.

Star Tribune | Octr 23, 2011

by BAIRD HELGESON

Alida Messinger is speaking out, and drawing fire, about state’s direction.

For more than 30 years, one of the most influential charitable and political donors in Minnesota has been a woman passionate about issues but guarded about her privacy.

Alida Messinger, an heir to the fabled Rockefeller fortune, has quietly given at least $10 million to candidates and causes over the past decade. Some recent gifts have been extraordinary: $500,000 to a group that last year backed her former husband, Mark Dayton, for governor. And before that, $1 million to help bankroll the ballot campaign for the Legacy amendment, which raised the state sales tax to create 25 years of new funding for conservation and cultural projects.

Now, Messinger is preparing for a new showdown that will be expensive, contentious and, for the first time, public.

Related

Alida Messinger, Gov. Dayton’s ex-wife and Rockefeller heir, to play more public political role

She is vowing to do all she can to help the DFL regain control of the Legislature and get President Obama re-elected. Her millions could also become a force in the fight over the constitutional amendment on the ballot next year to define marriage as a union of man and woman — not gay couples. Messinger, 62, contends GOP politicians are harming Minnesota. “We are not a quality-of-life state anymore,” she said. “Citizens need to get involved and say we don’t like what you are doing to our state.”

Republican leaders scoff at such rhetoric, saying all Messinger really wants is a clear path to political power.

“She is going to try to decimate Republican legislators so Governor Dayton can have free reign over the state to raise taxes and grow the size of state government,” said Michael Brodkorb, GOP activist and former deputy state party chairman.

Messinger is a New Yorker by birth — she is the youngest daughter of philanthropist John D. Rockefeller III — and a Minnesotan by marriage. Her political giving is guided largely by DFL strategy guru Jeff Blodgett, the founding director of Wellstone Action. Blodgett recently left Wellstone Action to lead another of Messinger’s favorite causes, WIN Minnesota. That organization, which helped elect Dayton, is now focused on returning DFLers to power in the Legislature.

In addition to Blodgett, Messinger is close to Ken Martin, the new chairman of the DFL. She also considers one of her dearest friends to be Tina Smith, Dayton’s chief of staff.

Mike Erlandson, former DFL Party chairman, said Messinger tends to be very quiet and private, but has become “a significant force” in the politics of Minnesota. “She has chosen, by virtue of her ability to support things, to have a very loud voice,” he said.

An alliance questioned

During last year’s race for governor, state GOP Chairman Tony Sutton complained Dayton was relying on Messinger to raise money for an advocacy group heavily involved in the campaign and intimated that they were coordinating their message — something that would have been illegal and that Dayton denied. Sutton called it an “unsavory alliance.”

“Dayton likes to rail against the rich,” he said, “but it’s precisely his rich family members who are funding this unprecedented onslaught of negative personal attacks.”

Messinger acknowledges her involvement in the 2010 governor’s race was strong. But she insists that she did not work specifically for Dayton over his DFL rivals.

“Nothing could be farther from the truth,” she said, noting that she donated to the DFL in June 2010, when the party was still backing its endorsee, former House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher.

“Honestly, most people didn’t think Mark could win,” Messinger said. “I just wanted the one who could win.”

Dayton and Messinger have been divorced since 1986. They remain close, both as parents and through an arm’s-length political alliance. They do not, they say, collaborate on policy.

“I think he trusts me and respects me, but I am not part of his inner circle,” Messinger said. She is now married to Bill Messinger, president of Aureus, an addiction recovery organization.

Dayton said in a statement that “Alida is the most extraordinary contributor to social causes I have ever known. … She has given and done so much, in countless, untold ways, to benefit our state.”

Republican leaders say Messinger is rushing to Dayton’s aid again with her immense wealth.

“Alida Messinger has used her money to bankroll some of the largest buckets of mud that have been thrown in the last election,” Brodkorb said. “She’s now trying to use her money to get rid of her ex-husband’s enemies in the Legislature. She clearly believes Republican legislators are an obstacle to her ex-husband, who is pursuing a liberal agenda they both truly want.”

Others have learned not to underestimate Messinger.

Phil Krinkie, president of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota, which fiercely opposed the Legacy amendment that Messinger championed, recalls being “shocked” to see her $1 million donation to that cause at a time when he was pleading for $1,000 contributions.

“I had never seen that before in a local issue,” Krinkie said. “I was certainly taken aback by that. We all know money helps drive the message. She obviously has a lot of money and can transfer that into a significant amount of influence.”

Angry and ready to spend

Messinger is a descendent of the Standard Oil fortune. Her brother is Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia.

“My father raised us all to consider our money a trust to us. It was passed on to us; we didn’t earn it,” Messinger said. “I felt a tremendous responsibility.”

Her first big philanthropic endeavor came in the late 1960s, when she was a college student in California and wanted to block logging companies from clear-cutting redwood forests. More than 40 years later, the anger she felt toward environmental degradation still burns.

“I have the same feeling of indignation at companies and corporations that scoop up natural resources and then dump pollutants,” she said.

When she met and married Dayton, she slid into the role of a stay-at-home south Minneapolis mom who, for the next three decades, would also pump millions of dollars into local and national causes, including community development agencies, women’s rights and environmental causes.

A political turning point came for Messinger in 2004, with the re-election of President George W. Bush. “I just felt that administration was the opposite of everything I believed in,” she said. “It was the first time I felt I had to do more than just write a check. I couldn’t sit still after that.”

Now, she says, she is angry that many lakes in her chosen state are too polluted for people to eat the fish from them. She is frustrated Minnesota schools no longer lead the nation. All the reasons she loved the state so much when she moved here, she said, are under attack.

“I feel like what we are up against in this country is so serious that it really doesn’t matter how I feel” about remaining private, Messinger said.

She said she is proud of the work Dayton is doing as governor, but that “it’s a miserable, difficult job to have right now” with Republicans controlling the Legislature.

That’s why she’s vowing to do all she can to help the DFL win back the Legislature next year. Her husband, Bill, meanwhile, has his own keen interest: Defeat of the constitutional amendment on marriage.

Messinger said she knew when she started getting involved in politics it would end the privacy she so carefully guarded for decades. But she said it infuriates her that a generation of good philanthropic work can be undone in a moment by a bad governor or Legislature. That, she said, is what’s driving her now. Friends and confidantes said they expect her upcoming political activity to mirror her philanthropic work — she comes in big, and then leaves people and organizations she trusts to do the work they promised.

Blodgett, whose political organization benefited from Messinger’s donations in past years, said she does not get intimately involved in the details of a campaign.

“She’s not a kingmaker,” he said. “She takes her resources and focuses them on what she really believes.”

For her part, Messinger says she has no idea how much she has given to causes over the years — or how much she will end up contributing in the months ahead.

“And even if I knew,” she added, “I wouldn’t tell you.”