Currently viewing the tag: "January"

Unexpected.


In other words, don’t expect the construction business to rebound soon.  In a release two hours ago, the Census Bureau announced that new residential sales dropped 12.6% over a mild bump upward in December, down to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 284,000 units.  That number barely avoids the low-water mark reached in October 2010 of [...]

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Hot Air » Top Picks

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PRESS RELEASE / Kansas City, KS — A heavyweight tilt between Abe Wagner and Aaron Rosa is the latest matchup to be confirmed for Titan Fighting Championship 17 , scheduled to take place on Friday, March 25 and to be televised live on HDNet. “Both Abe and Aaron like to stand in the pocket and [...]
Five Ounces of Pain

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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee outraised their GOP counterparts in the first month of the year, but they still carry $ 18.6 million in debt from last cycle and used little of the $ 4.4 million they brought in during January to pay down that debt.

According to monthly reports filed Sunday with the Federal Election Commission, the National Republican Congressional Committee raised just over $ 3 million during January. The NRCC still has $ 10.5 million of their own debt, same as they carried at the end of December, after paying down $ 1.5 million since the November elections.

However, the two committees are now on near parity with the amount of cash on hand. The DCCC transferred most of their new funds directly to their bank account, giving them nearly $ 3.4 million cash on hand, up significantly from the just $ 805,000 they had on hand at the end of December. The NRCC ended January with nearly $ 3.2 million cash on hand, up slightly from the $ 2.54 million in the bank at the end of year.

DCCC Chair Steve Israel had touted his committee’s record monthly haul this week, pointing to it as an enthusiastic sign for the now-minority party, although he admitted that their debt now is “marginally higher” than in the past.

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All this week, thousands of protesters have stormed the Wisconsin capitol in opposition to Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) plan to cut public employee pay and weaken or eliminate state workers’ collective bargaining rights. Many of them chanted “recall Walker,” as these protesters in Madison did Tuesday:

Yet Walker, who cannot be recalled from office until next January, is not the only official who could be the subject of a recall election. Under Wisconsin election law, any elected official may be recalled from office:

(a) The qualified electors of the state, of any county, city, village, or town, of any congressional, legislative, judicial, town sanitary, or school district, or of any prosecutorial unit may petition for the recall of any incumbent elective official by filing a petition with the same official or agency with whom nomination papers or declarations of candidacy for the office are filed demanding the recall of the officeholder.

(b) Except as provided in par. (c), a petition for recall of an officer shall be signed by electors equal to at least 25% of the vote cast for the office of governor at the last election within the same district or territory as that of the officeholder being recalled. . . .

(s) No petition for recall of an officer may be offered for filing prior to the expiration of one year after commencement of the term of office for which the officer is elected.

Because the recall statute allows elected officials to serve for a full year before they are subject to recall, Walker himself is immune until January of 2012. Eight of Walker’s Republican allies in the state senate have served at least one year of their current term, however, and thus are eligible for a recall petition right now. If just three of these Republicans were to be replaced with Democrats, the state senate would flip to a Democratic-majority body.

The eight Republicans who can be recalled right now are:

When next January rolls around, a little over 500,000 petition signatures will be necessary to trigger a recall election for Gov. Walker.

ThinkProgress

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ABC News’ Kirit Radia reports: Given Thursday’s early morning crackdown on sleeping protestors in Bahrain, it’s worth looking back to what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently said about its key ally before the demonstrations started, and how Bahrain’s Foreign…



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Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel announced Wednesday his organization raised $ 4.4 million in January, calling the fundraising uptick an enthusiastic sign as his party works to gain back the majority in 2012.

In his first pen and pad briefing with reporters of the year, Israel was optimistic about Democrats’ chances to win the 25 seats they need to flip control, outlining an aggressive fundraising and recruiting strategy for the coming year even as redistricting looms large.

“Being in the minority sucks, but being in the minority party and being able to do something about it is priceless,” said Israel. “I want to thank the Republicans for making my job easier than it should be. Every day they give us a lot to work with.”

But, Israel cautioned that pointing to GOP missteps alone wouldn’t change voters’ minds. “We will win it by putting the pedal to the metal.”

At the heart of that drive is their fundraising effort, although it’s still shadowed by the nearly $ 20 million in debt still hanging over their heads. But, Israel said he was encouraged by their haul last month - just $ 300,000 short of their highest ever January monthly total, set last year - and said in December, the DCCC raised $ 1 million online, which came from an average of $ 32 per donation.

“Our base is energized, they are charged up, they are involved, they are writing checks,” said Israel.

Of the money they still owe from loans taken out last cycle, Israel said he wouldn’t “sugarcoat” the fact they’re still in the red, but said the DCCC has always carried debt, although theirs now is “marginally higher than in past.” However, because of the fundraising uptick, the committee will be able to accelerate its plan to pay down the debt.

Israel said that if the committee hadn’t taken out the extra cash last fall, as many as 15 to 20 more Democratic seats could have been lost.

“Twenty-five seats is in range, but without those seats, 40 to 45 seats, that’s out of range in my view,” said Israel. “The decision for us to borrow money to keep it in range was a good investment. In fact it was one of the best investments we could make.”

“Steve Israel and his giant-sized ego will have a hard time winning anything until they admit why their party was rebuked by voters in the first place. Judging by their continued support for massive government spending, it’s obvious that House Democrats have a long way to go before accomplishing their goal of returning Nancy Pelosi to the Speaker’s chair,” said National Republican Congressional Committee communications director Paul Lindsay.

This post was updated at 3:10 p.m.

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Washington (CNN) -”I have the best job in Washington.”

That’s how Rep. Steve Israel, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, opened up his first briefing with reporters since he took over late last year as the head of party committee.

“I wake up every single morning trying to figure out how to win 25 seats. Being in the minority sucks, but being in the minority and being able to do something about it is priceless,” added Israel.

The six-term congressman from New York’s Long Island announced that the DCCC brought in just over $ 4.4 million last month, the second highest January fundraising total ever for the committee.

“We are shattering records,” said Israel, adding that “our base is energized,” and that “they are writing checks.”

DCCC officials admit that around $ 1 million of the donations are contributions from Democratic House members.

But Israel acknowledged that the DCCC is still around $ 20 million in debt.

The National Republican Campaign Committee is not releasing its fundraising figures at this time.

Thanks to a net gain of 63 House seats in November’s midterm elections, the GOP won back control of the chamber. The Democrats need to win 25 seats in the 2012 elections to take back the House.

“Drive to 25" is the DCCC’s slogan for their campaign to regain the majority. Israel said the terrain is highly competitive and pointed to 14 House seats now held by the GOP that Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry won in the 2004 presidential election and President Barack Obama won in 2008.

Israel says that actions by House Republicans since they regained the leadership are helping him.

“I want to thank the Republicans for making my job easier. Every day they give us something to work with,” said Israel.

Israel indicated that he’ll have some candidate recruitment announcements to make by the end of March, but adds that his recruitment timetable is fluid due to fluidity of redistricting.

- Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN


CNN Political Ticker

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TOPICS: Afghanistan, Iraq

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CNN Political Ticker

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Written by Oiwan Lam

China Digital Times has translated the latest instruction issued by various authorities to media outlets. The censor machine claims that it would shut down websites which are lax in monitoring news concerning Egypt.

Global Voices in English

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TOPICS: Republicans’ and Democrats’ choice for presidential nomination; general election, Iowa and New Hampshire

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CNN Political Ticker

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Wonk the Vote explains why. This data point caught my eye: About 11% less people watched the SOTU than last year.

People are tuning out. And why wouldn’t they?

Here, as everywhere, it’s not the Rs that are the problem. They do what they do. And it’s not even the Ds who are the problem; they are, after all, implementing the same policies as the Rs — rebranding a Heritage Foundation plan as the Affrontable Care Act, or whatever the name was, is only the most egregious example — except with more obfuscation and handwringing.

Recent quick hits

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Written by Amira Al Hussaini

On Facebook, a wall of shame is being compiled, under the title January 25 Blacklist (Ar), with the names of politicians, media personalities and celebrities who have spoken out against the protesters calling for an end of the Mubarak regime.

Global Voices in English

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According to the most recent Gallup poll, US unemployment is up to 9.8% while underemployment rose to 18.9% in January 2011. It is just another indicator that our job situation is far from getting better in the US under President Obama.

Unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, increased to 9.8% at the end of January — up from 9.6% at the end of December, but down from 10.9% a year ago.

Underemployment — the combination of part-time workers wanting full-time work and Gallup’s U.S. unemployment rate — was 18.9% in January, essentially the same as the 19.0% of December. Underemployment now stands one percentage point below the 19.9% of a year ago.

As stated by Blue Crab Boulevard, what happened to the JOBS … JOBS … JOBS that Obama promised.

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Scared Monkeys

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monthly graph

Monthly January ice extent for 1979 to 2011 shows a decline of 3.3% per decade.  [Click to enlarge]

I know, the records broken this winter are supposed to be for cold weather.  But the National Snow and Ice Data Center reports:

January 2011 had the lowest ice extent for the month since the beginning of satellite records.

Why?  Because while it’s been coolish in parts of the United States, it’s been very mild in the Arctic, especially northern Canada:

Hudson Bay did not completely freeze up until mid-January, about a month later than normal according to Canadian Ice Service analyses. The Labrador Sea region is still largely free of ice, except in protected bays along the coast. Normally at this time of year, ice extends several hundred kilometers from the coast all the way to northern Nova Scotia.

I have previously noted that Canada was seeing staggering mildness as the planet’s high-pressure record is “obliterated”:

Temperature anomalies in North America, 12.10-1.11

Surface temperature anomalies for the period 17 December 2010 to 15 January 2011 show impressive warmth across the Canadian Arctic….

The largest anomalies here exceed 21°C (37.8°F) above average, which are very large values to be sustained for an entire month.

In Coral Harbour, at the northwest corner of Hudson Bay

  • After New Year’s Day, the town went 11 days without getting down to its average daily high.
  • On the 6th of the month, the low temperature was –3.7°C (25.3°F). That’s a remarkable 30°C (54°F) above average.

Now imagine how warm it is going to be in the Arctic when during these kinds of heat waves are compounded by several decades of global warming:

NSIDC asks the question:

While the Arctic has been warm, cold and stormy weather has affected much of the Northeast U.S. and Europe. Last winter also paired an anomalously warm Arctic with cold and snowy weather for the eastern U.S. and northern Europe. Is there a connection?

Their answer:

Warm conditions in the Arctic and cold conditions in northern Europe and the U.S. are linked to the strong negative mode of the Arctic oscillation. Cold air is denser than warmer air, so it sits closer to the surface. Around the North Pole, this dense cold air causes a circular wind pattern called the polar vortex , which helps keep cold air trapped near the poles. When sea ice has not formed during autumn and winter, heat from the ocean escapes and warms the atmosphere. This may weaken the polar vortex and allow air to spill out of the Arctic and into mid-latitude regions in some years, bringing potentially cold winter weather to lower latitudes.

Some scientists have speculated that more frequent episodes of a negative Arctic Oscillation, and the stormy winters that result, are linked to the loss of sea ice in the Arctic. Dr. James Overland of NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) recently noted a link between low sea ice and a weak polar vortex in 2005, 2008, and the past two winters, all years with very low September sea ice extent. Earlier work by Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University and colleagues also suggested a relationship between autumn sea ice levels and mid-latitude winter conditions. Judah Cohen, at Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc., and his colleagues propose another idea—a potential relationship between early snowfall in northern Siberia, a negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation, and more extreme winters elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere. More research on these ideas may shed light on the connections and have the potential to improve seasonal weather forecasting.

The more important three-dimensional metric of ice volume also continues it’s long-term decline (see Navy’s oceanographer tells Congress, “the volume of ice as of last September has never been lower…in the last several thousand years”):

Ice Age 9-10

Researchers often look at ice age as a way to estimate ice thickness. Older ice tends to be thicker than younger, one- or two-year-old ice.

Wikipedia has a nice plot of the long-term Arctic sea ice trend (via PIOMAS):

File:Plot arctic sea ice volume.svg

The Arctic sea ice death spiral lives.

Climate Progress

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Roof collapses at barns and small businesses around Connecticut have raised memories of the biggest collapse of all - when the gigantic roof of the Hartford Civic Center came crashing down on January 18, 1978.

Not only is the re-built roof much stronger than the original, but workers were taking no chances as they cleared the snow off the coliseum roof Tuesday at the newly named XL Center in downtown Hartford.

“I can see them right now from my office window,” Matthew J. Hennessy, the former chief of staff to Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez, said Tuesday. “They’ve been up there all day. They’re definitely shoveling - no snowblower.”

Through a major stroke of luck, no one was injured in the 1978 collapse at 4:19 a.m. But it happened only six hours after a college basketball game that attracted about 5,000 spectators. In addition, the roof came down about 15 hours before a high school game was scheduled to begin.

The collapse caused Hartford Whalers fans to head north along Interstate 91 to Springfield until the roof was replaced.

Capitol Watch

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