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Government Of, By, and For THE PEOPLE

Thanks to the Supreme Court and economy and caused millions of us to lose our jobs and homes, are spending obscene amounts to drown out our voices in elections and take over our government.

But together, “We the People” can set things right.

Watch the Video, Stand with Robert Reich and join the movement for a constitutional amendment today.

 

The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United overturned decades of law and granted corporations the same rights as people when it comes to political spending, which is ridiculous.

It’s time to stop the unlimited flow of corrupting money into our elections. To do that, we need a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United and declare that only people are people.

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Pensions Aren’t the Problem for State Budgets

This is a crosspost by AFSCME President Lee Saunders from Huffington Post.

Rupert Murdoch’s 1 percent, is at it again, continuing its push to gut the retirement security of millions of middle class workers across the country while enriching the Wall Street moneymen who just three years ago took our economy over the cliff.

Virtually everyone agrees that our nation faces a retirement security crisis, but the Journal last week published a shameful op-ed calling for the elimination of pensions for nurses, firefighters, corrections officers and others who still have them. Having punched private-sector workers retirement in the gut, these folks won’t be happy until the whole concept of a secure retirement for working Americans is a thing of the past.

The typical AFSCME member — men and women who plow our streets, care for the sick, protect our children, clean our buildings and keep our communities safe — receives a pension of approximately $19,000 a year after a career of public service. The employees have earned and paid for these pensions. Employee contribution rates commonly amount to 3 percent to 10 percent of their paychecks. These contributions, combined with investment earnings, usually account for 75 percent or more of all pension benefit funding.

The economy’s collapse in 2008-2009 took its toll on everyone’s retirement savings. But our nation’s public pension systems, which were fully funded before the crash, continue their robust recovery earning their highest returns in decades in fiscal year 2011. Pensions continue to provide irreplaceable retirement security to millions of Americans who provide public services. Yet, the corporate-backed
opponents of pensions are creating a myth that the free followers on instagram system is falling apart and that state and local governments are going bankrupt because of the $19,000 pensions sanitation workers are earning.

That is simply not true. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the size of the projected state and local government pension funding shortfalls is manageable. In most states, the total shortfall for the pension funds is less than 0.2 percent of projected gross state product during the next 30 years. Even in states with the largest shortfalls, the gap is less than 0.5 percent of projected state product during that period. And, because pension payments are made over generations of workers,
funding can remain stable over long periods, and funding challenges managed over decade long periods, despite short-term economic setbacks. These are facts that the opponents of public pensions simply ignore, as they seek to punish workers for Wall Street’s psychopathic behavior.

Read the full post here.

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What is Collective Bargaining?

Collective Bargaining What is Collective Bargaining?For years, not many people discussed collective bargaining. However, that changed when Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Republican politicians in a dozen other states chose to eliminate the right to bargain collectively from public employees. Instantly, working folks in all kind of job in addition to students, community supporters, faith leaders as well as others united to protect this basic fundamental right.

And why is it so important? Because the right to come together for a voice on the job is not only a fundamental right, it is essential for working people to have the strength to further improve their living standards, provide for their families and build an American middle-class. Collective bargaining enables working folks that are union members to barter with their employers to determine their terms of employment, to include pay, benefits, hours, leave, job safety and health policies, ways to balance work and family and much more. The main point here is it provides working people a voice at the table.

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Natural Gas: A Viable Marine Fuel in the United States

Edward J. Eastlack of USMMA wrote an excellent thesis for the Masters of Science in Marine Engineering program responding to the lack of LNG fuel usage in the United States. Mr. Eastlack examines and analyzes the role LNG could play in the US maritime sector within this important, and time sensitive composition. Read the abstract below, or click here to view the entire document.

Reduced emission standards for the marine industry have caused liquefied natural gas or LNG to emerge as a viable marine fuel for ship propulsion systems. European countries like Norway already have over 20 natural gas powered vessels in service and more on order; however, the United States doesn’t have many LNG powered vessels yet, but it has recently made a commitment to build some LNG powered Offshore Supply Vessels in Orange,Texas for operation in the Gulf of Mexico. There has been an obvious paradigm shift towards using LNG fuel and LNG powered engines in the industrial sector and now it has moved to the marine sector. The driving forces are low emissions standards and economic factors. Since the EPA marine emissions regulations are the most stringent in the world, LNG has emerged as a viable marine fuel. Recent discoveries that U.S. natural gas reserves are as much as 50% greater than earlier estimates were thought, have spurred energy experts and policy makers to reduce dependence on foreign oil by lowering ‘greenhouse gas” emissions. The result is the U.S. Marine Industry has begun to move in the direction of LNG and LNG operated vessels. Advancements in marine power plant technology with nearly every marine prime mover now with dual fuel capability without loss of performance combined with the realization that the U.S. has a vast supply of readily available, cost effective, clean burning LNG make for a compelling case for the transition of LNG as a viable marine fuel in the USA. Other issues such as needed missing bunkering infrastructure in the U.S still need to be solved; however, a recent agreement between Wärtsilä and Shell to support LNG powered engines may be the beginning that leads to solving such issues. There have also been some developments on the regulatory side with the recent formation of the International Standards Organization TC67 Committee, Work Group 10 (of approximately 30 people) has started the work of standardizing LNG bunkering procedures and equipment for the worldwide oil and gas industries. The committee is developing a document called, Guidelines for Systems and Installations for Supply of LNG as Fuel to Ships. This guideline will provide guidance on how to:

  • Meet safety requirements specified by authorities (National and Port).
  • Reference to Guidelines for Risk Assessment.
  • Establish operational and control procedures to ensure safe, practical and aligned operations in different ports.
  • Identify requirements to components (Storage tanks, piping, hoses, loading arms, connectors etc) to ensure equipment compliance

Source

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3D Printing and the New Industrial Revolution

While browsing through TED.com today i came across this talk – A primer on 3D printing by Lisa Harouni.

Lisa talks about 3D printing and explains how the new technology (or should i say, the re imaginings and realization of technology that has been around for the past three decades), works and the possibilities that come with it.

After watching the video i started thinking about the further possibilities of 3D printing, how it could potentially change our future, how it will revolutionize industry and the role that the internet will play in a new industrial revolution. Enjoy the video

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CWA: President Obama’s Leadership in Making Recess Appointments Ends Senate Gridlock

Washington, D.C. – The Communications Workers of America applauds President Obama’s intent to appoint three members to the National Labor Relations Board today. President Obama has shown leadership that is necessary to break the gridlock imposed by a do nothing Republican Congress and obstructionist Republican Senators.

The Senate has been virtually paralyzed by the abuse of Senate rules that enables an individual Senator to block Senate action. All measures before the Senate now require a supermajority of 60 votes just to get to the floor for debate and discussion. As a result, progress on the programs and policies that working families need has come to a halt.

President Obama’s leadership today means that the NLRB will continue to function and that workers will be able to turn to the Labor Board to resolve serious issues of workplace justice.  Unfortunately, too many members of the U.S. Senate have sought to obstruct the people’s business by pledging to block appointments to the NLRB and other important agencies, like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. CWA also commends President Obama for today’s appointment of Richard Cordray to head this agency.

“Without these recess appointments to the NLRB, working men and women, for the first time since 1935, would have no place to turn for workplace justice. It’s shameful that in the increasingly global economy, U.S. workers’ rights lag dramatically behind the rest of the world and too many Republican Senators are determined to block U.S. workers from exercising even limited rights. We applaud President Obama’s leadership that gives American workers at least some chance of justice on the job,” said CWA President Larry Cohen.

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Enterprise and Genesis Energy to Build Crude Oil Gathering Pipeline in the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico

Gulf of Mexico Drill Rig Enterprise and Genesis Energy to Build Crude Oil Gathering Pipeline in the Deepwater Gulf of MexicoEnterprise Products Partners L.P. and Genesis Energy, L.P. announced that they have executed crude oil transportation agreements with a consortium of six Gulf of Mexico producers which will provide the necessary support for construction of a new crude oil gathering pipeline serving the Lucius development area in southern Keathley Canyon.

The producer group is comprised of Anadarko U.S. Offshore Corporation, Apache Deepwater Development LLC, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Eni Petroleum US LLC, Petrobras America Inc., and Plains Offshore Operations Inc. The pipeline will be constructed and owned by Southeast Keathley Canyon Pipeline Company LLC (“SEKCO”), a 50/50 joint venture between Enterprise and Genesis. Enterprise will serve as construction manager and operator of the new pipeline, earning fees for both services.

The 149-mile, 18-inch diameter SEKCO Oil Pipeline is being designed with a capacity of 115,000 barrels per day (“BPD”) and would connect the Lucius-truss spar floating production platform to an existing junction platform at South Marsh Island 205 that is part of the Enterprise-operated Poseidon pipeline system. The SEKCO Oil Pipeline is expected to begin service by mid-2014. Located in approximately 7,100 feet of water, the third-party owned Lucius-truss spar floating production platform has the capability to produce in excess of 80,000 BPD of crude oil and 450 million cubic feet per day of natural gas. The Lucius production area is estimated to have more than 300 million barrels of oil equivalent, with relatively shallow and highly productive reservoirs, primarily comprised of crude oil.

“We are very pleased to work with our partner and customers to develop this project, which will allow for the continued safe and reliable delivery of vital domestic crude oil supplies to Gulf Coast refineries,” said Michael A. Creel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise’s general partner. “Additionally, we expect the SEKCO Oil Pipeline to provide capacity for additional projects in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico that will feed Enterprise’s downstream crude oil pipeline value chain.”

Grant E. Sims, Chief Executive Officer of Genesis, said, “We are excited about the opportunity to proceed with Enterprise and the Lucius producers to provide infrastructure out of the Keathley Canyon Area that interconnects with existing shallow-water pipelines for delivery of crude oil produced from world-class domestic reservoirs to multiple refining markets in the Gulf Coast.”

Source: MarketWatch