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Towering

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:19 AM

The new One World Trade Center sounds (and looks) quite impressive. I haven't followed it all that closely in recent times, so I was surprised they had made as much progress on it as they have. Too bad it isn't going to be the tallest structure in North America.

Outlet Mall Wars

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:22 AM

It seems two outlet mall developers are vying to build an outlet mall in Chesterfield Valley. This is just down right bizarre:

It was surely a highly contentious decision for Saks to decide to go with Simon's project, she added. After all, Saks has a big presence in many of Taubman's malls.

“I'm sure they were sweating bullets on that one,” she said. “It is often more political than trying to end the war in the Middle East.”

Hmm.

UAW und VW

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:27 AM

Interesting tidbit from Autoblog:

Automotive News reports the UAW has not told Volkswagen of its efforts to unionize the Chattanooga plant. An announcement may come about the program in early April. The plant currently employs more than 2,700 workers.

Perhaps an announcement is too late, if the union is already passing out cards in a bid to get enough signatures to organize. Given VW's willingness to allow the workers to organize, why the quasi-secrecy?

The Cardinals' Biggest Furry Fan

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:08 AM

Jere Longman writes in the New York Times on the Rally Squirrel:

June Cantor, a spokeswoman for the Philadelphia Streets Department, said she could not comment on whether any laws prohibited the transportation of rodents across state lines for purposes of supporting a playoff baseball team. She did have a suggestion, though, for keeping Rally Squirrel out of Citizens Bank Park.

“Maybe they could have lots of acorns and peanuts outside the stadium to lure him out,” Cantor said.

A Glimpse Inside Fukushima Daiichi

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 11:59 PM

National Geographic has posted a really eerie set of photos showing the “Fukushima 50” doing their unenviable work trying to save Japan from a complete meltdown. Amazing.

Christians and Creation Care

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:41 AM

Reading for class, I ran across a blog post from Dr. Vinoth Ramachandra arguing for more concern about “global warming” amongst Christians. He writes,

Interestingly, many atheists seem to care more about global warming than many so-called “Biblical Christians”. I suggest that the latter need to re-read their Bibles and the former need to re-think their worldview. If Nature is all that is, and human beings are as significant as slime moulds where nature is concerned, why care about what happens to future human beings? If Homo Sapiens ends up destroying itself, the earth will simply throw up new life forms that will survive at higher temperatures. In other words, the question I am posing is whether either “deep ecology” or the militant atheism that insists on telling us that humans are nothing more than accidental products of an evolutionary process – can these worldviews coherently sustain our fundamental moral intuitions in the face of global warming and climate change?

He seems to presume that those who disagree with the IPCC don't care about the environment and climate change. He is arguing against a straw man. Many of us who disagree with the IPCC-related materials do care very much about the environment, we just tend to think scientific data and Biblical commands led us to other conclusions than pushing for the adoption of policies such as the Kyoto Protocol that would likely hurt millions of people around the globe.

(I'm not saying there aren't a lot of Christians, especially those with a “the World is Not My Home” dispensational framework, who think it is perfectly fine to pollute the earth with mindless abandon. But, the range of disagreement is far more nuanced than that.)

Amoco is Dead, Long Live Amoco

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:34 AM

Reuters reports:

Some BP gas station owners in the United States want to drop the BP name and return to the Amoco brand to recover business hit by public anger over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster.

I predicted this some time ago, but failed to post it online. Too bad. I do expect BP will pull a Worldcom and rebrand with their less tarnished, previously subsumed and retired brand sometime in the next year or two. I wouldn't expect it in the next couple of months, though. Doing it too soon would risk dragging the Amoco name into the mud, or in this case, oil.

Newsweek's Ghost

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:02 AM

Gruber writes (tongue-in-cheek):

So I say, “Who’d he write that for? I didn’t see anything on the Fake Steve blog about it.”

She says, “Newsweek, of course.”

“I thought they went out of business a few months ago.”

“No, they’re still around. I swear.”

Pretty much sums up the current state of the magazine. Sad.

WashPo on Lack of Black Panther Story Coverage

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 3:41 AM

The intimidation of voters in Philadelphia during the 2008 presidential election by the “New Black Panther Party” drew some attention at the time, but has become a firestorm since the Obama Administration decided to essentially drop all meaningful charges just as they were about to win the case. The Washington Post ombudsman has an interesting piece on WashPo's lack of coverage related to the case.

National Editor Kevin Merida, who termed the controversy “significant,” said he wished The Post had written about it sooner. The delay was a result of limited staffing and a heavy volume of other news on the Justice Department beat, he said.

Better late than never. There's plenty left to explore.

True. Better get exploring.

Turning to Chapter 11 of BP's Story

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:04 AM

Matt Simmons on the future of BP:

They have about a month before they declare Chapter 11. They're going to run out of cash from lawsuits, cleanup and other expenses. One really smart thing that Obama did was about three weeks ago he forced BP CEO Tony Hayward to put in writing that BP would pay for every dollar of the cleanup. But there isn't enough money in the world to clean up the Gulf of Mexico. Once BP realizes the extent of this my guess is that they'll panic and go into Chapter 11.

I suspect he is right. I am not sure how BP can weather this short of entering bankruptcy protection. Of course, how its liabilities will ever be meted out in an equitable fashion is hard to say. Perhaps an organization ought to be formed to represent all the individuals as a class and seek to obtain a large ownership stake in BP's assets.

Given how the Obama administration (unfairly in my estimation) forced GM and Chrysler into specially packaged bankruptcies and handed off a large chunk of each to the union pension funds instead of the rightful preferred stock holders, I am puzzled that they haven't already jumped in here where such a handoff appears more conscionable. When a company severely damages the economies of numerous states, I'm not sure it should still be setting its own course.

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