John Podesta still wants to reveal the truth about UFOs – whatever that means

John Podesta, former senior advisor to Barack Obama, former Chief of Staff to Bill Clinton, and future chair of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign is offering some reflections on his most recent stint in the White House.

Number one on the list — aliens.

Podesta was out of the big-time politics game briefly early in the Bush years, and lent his considerable prestige to a coalition pushing the oddball cause of greater disclosure of federal information about UFOs.

Soon afterwards, he founded the Center for American Progress which quickly emerged as a key pillar of center-left infrastructure in Washington. I worked for a while at CAP, and can testify that while there were a lot of in-house jokes about Podesta and UFOs (including an alien-themed holiday party one December) there was approximately zero institutional effort expended on the cause.

But in a personal capacity, Podesta continued to lend a hand. He participated in a couple of UFO-themed TV shows and wrote the forward to a book about UFOs that was published in 2010.

Then he went back to the White House where, once again, there was no progress on the UFO disclosure front. It’s genuinely too bad. As a former Chief of Staff, Podesta presumably has had access to highly classified information and knows what he’s talking about when he says the public deserves to know what’s in these files. I hope — though I don’t actually expect — that he’ll use his influence in the emerging Clinton campaign to push this in a more serious way.

I wouldn’t expect that either. There are more relevant questions to consider for a presidential election.

There have been a few straight-arrow pilots, military and otherwise, in my life’s experience who share Podesta’s views about UFOs. I have no reason to doubt them. But, current science is all I have to go on – and the Fermi Paradox among others convinces me these folks bumped into something other than extra-terrestrial intelligence.

No reforms? U.S. retirees to face dwindling funds — in 21 years!

Yeah, I know. “Jolting news” that would cause Congressional hacks to jump into action in 20½ years!

These creeps want to shut down Social Security – after all, they don’t need it

Aging baby boomers got some jolting news on Monday when the U.S. government said the Social Security retirement program is on track to go bankrupt three years earlier than expected if reforms are not made.

Unless Washington politicians, who have been at war with each other over government spending priorities and federal budget deficits, can decide how to put Social Security on a sound footing, retirees’ pension checks would start running out in 2033, according to an annual report…

“Never since the 1983 reforms have we come as close to the point of trust-fund depletion as we are right now,” trustee Charles Blahous told reporters. “Our window for dealing with it without substantially disruptive consequences is closing very rapidly,” he said…


Blahous and fellow trustee Robert Reischauer said lawmakers should be aware that it will become increasingly difficult to “avoid adverse effects” on retirees or those close to retirement if legislative changes are delayed much longer…

Members of Congress also have mulled raising the retirement age or cutting some benefits to the wealthy. But no action is expected before the November elections.

You can RTFA for all the gory details. All the pissing and moaning about coming up with solutions are hogwash. Want to see me solve the question for another hundred years or so? With one sentence?


That’s it. All that is needed is to remove the cap which stops collecting the tax once you’ve earned $104,000. That carries through well into the next century. The NY TIMES surveyed readership on that solution and got a 76% “Yes” vote. So, what’s the problem with Congress getting off their rusty dusties and following through?

Ending farm insurance subsidy could save billion$ for taxpayers

The federal government could save about $1 billion a year by reducing the subsidies it pays to large farmers to cover much of the cost of their crop insurance, according to a report by Congressional auditors…

The report raised the prospect of the government’s capping the amount that farmers receive at $40,000 a year, much as the government caps payments in other farm programs. Any move to limit the subsidy, however, is likely to be opposed by rural lawmakers, who say the program provides a safety net for agriculture…

Agribusiness needs subsidies like the Pentagon needs six more aircraft carriers. American farmers were the largest investors in the MF Global hedge fund which recently collapsed. Should we insure that for them too?

Under the federal crop insurance program, farmers can buy insurance policies that cover poor yields, declines in prices or both. The insurance is obtained through private companies, but the federal government pays about 62 percent of the premiums, plus administrative expenses.

…A Congressional Budget Office study cited in the report estimates that the premium subsidy will cost $39 billion from 2012 to 2016, about $7.8 billion a year.

Unlike other farm programs that have income or payment limits, crop insurance payments have no such restrictions, so farmers can get millions in subsidies regardless of their income. The G.A.O. said a cap last year would have affected about 4 percent of farmers in the program, who accounted for about a third of the premium subsidies and were mostly associated with large farms…

Agriculture interests say they oppose any changes to the crop insurance program. “We think it works just fine,” said Steve Wellman, president of the American Soybean Association…Blah, blah, blah, blah.

Most programs like this were initiated back in the 1930’s to help small farmers crushed by the Depression and the Dust Bowl blues. Since then, expanding agribusiness simply bought the politicians of their choice and kept the subsidies rolling.

Poisonally, I think we should take the insurance payments away from the farm industry – and apply the funds to Health Care for the citizens of America, irrespective to whether we’re rural or urban residents.

Put the ‘app’ in happy hour!

The product combines a bottle opener-equipped iPhone case with a free app that keeps count of how many bottles or cans you’ve opened, while announcing to the world that you’re opening yet another.

The ABS hard shell case has a rubberized outer coating, and a stainless steel bottle opener on the back. If you’re worried that an over-exuberant beer might foam all over your $200 phone, well … yeah, it might. Caution should definitely be exercised. That said, the company claims that one of its openers has opened over 3,000 bottles since 2009, and that the phone inside of it still works fine.

The accompanying app uses the phone’s accelerometer to detect when the opener has been used, then displays your choice of any image from your phone’s album (such as a taxi), while playing a chosen song from your iTunes library (such as anything featuring Keith Richards) or a sound effect already programmed into the app – choices include such classics as “Burp,” “Funky Monkey,” and “Annoying Mother-in-Law.” You can also record your own sound effects, should none of those meet your high standards.

Be a Headcase is available in Black or Pink – if you wondered. No doubt it will be available for Android phones and anything else that’s close to the same dimensions.

Cap removed from BP’s ruptured well

Crews removed the cap from BP’s ruptured Gulf of Mexico oil well late Thursday afternoon, an important step toward permanently sealing the well.

The operation was the first step in removing the blowout preventer — which failed spectacularly in April, triggering a deadly explosion and oil spill — said BP spokeswoman Jessie Baker.

Officials planned to replace the blowout preventer with a new one, a major step toward a final fix…

The cap removal was “an important step in the process to remove and preserve the damaged BOP (blowout preventer),” said retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government’s point man on the oil disaster. He said that work on on removing the damaged blowout preventer was expected to commence Thursday night…

The operation had been delayed last week, as engineers tried to fish out pieces of drill pipe stuck inside the blowout preventer.

Removal of the device needs to be done carefully, officials have said, because the blowout preventer may hold valuable forensic evidence as to why it failed April 20, triggering the explosion that killed 11 rig workers and caused the massive oil disaster…

The well has been capped since July 15, stopping the flow of oil.

Please, please, be careful. Then, we can have a thorough forensic engineering investigation.