Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Israel v. US Airline Security

Israel’s Flight of Aviation Security Fantasy : NO QUARTER: "...El Al, Israel’s national carrier, reported spending $107,828,000 on security in 2009 for the 1.9 million passengers it carried. That works out to about $56.75 per passenger. The United States, by contrast, spent $5.33 billion on aviation security in fiscal 2010, and the air travel system handled 769.6 million passengers in 2009 (a low year), according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. That amounts to $6.93 per passenger..."

SkyNet Brings Iran Nukes Down

There's awesome, and there's awesome.  Read this post and be impressed.

FoxNews.com - Mystery Surrounds Cyber Missile That Crippled Iran's Nuclear Weapons Ambitions:

"In the 20th century, this would have been a job for James Bond.

The mission: Infiltrate the highly advanced, securely guarded enemy headquarters where scientists in the clutches of an evil master are secretly building a weapon that can destroy the world. Then render that weapon harmless and escape undetected.

But in the 21st century, Bond doesn't get the call. Instead, the job is handled by a suave and very sophisticated secret computer worm, a jumble of code called Stuxnet, which in the last year has not only crippled Iran's nuclear program but has caused a major rethinking of computer security around the globe..."

O's Bad Moves

Why Does Barack Obama Want to Cut the Salaries of Federal Employees? - Newsweek:

"President Obama is often blamed for not reaching out to Republicans. In truth, as Monday morning's announcement that Obama wants to cut the pay of all federal employees illustrates, he has the opposite problem. Obama frequently proposes essentially Republican policies, which makes it impossible for him to use those ideas to buy Republican votes for bipartisan legislation.

When legislation to limit greenhouse gas emissions was being negotiated in the Senate Obama undermined the bargaining process by simply unilaterally opening up new areas for offshore oil drilling. Increased drilling was supposed to be one of the things Democrats gave to Republicans in a comprehensive energy reform bill as an inducement to vote for it. Republicans hardly applauded Obama for the move, and the average swing voter seems not to have given the Democrats any credit for it in the recent election. In fact, the BP oil spill turned the drilling decision into a potential liability for Democrats..."

China Irked Over War Games

China Protests U.S.-South Korea Exercises - WSJ.com: "Beijing on Friday lodged its first official protest of a joint U.S.-South Korean military exercise planned for Sunday, even as the aircraft carrier USS George Washington steamed toward the region..."

Latest On Military Gay Policy

Source: Most service members surveyed don't care about DADT repeal - CNN.com:

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fixing The Federal Black Hole

A budget proposal I like--Simply Left BehindThe Non-Rapturist's Guide To The Galaxy: Budget Holes And A Shovel:

Kudos For South Korea

EDITORIAL - Too steep a price | The Philippine Star Opinion:

"...The wounds of conflict in Yeonpyeong are still too fresh to discuss a revival of negotiations. Some observers have pointed out that North Korea tends to do its worst when a new leader is set to assume power. In this case, Kim is reportedly preparing to turn over power to one of his sons, and a show of North Korean military might could give the succession an aura of strength.

South Korea’s defense minister resigned following the attack, and President Lee Myung-bak has vowed to make the North “pay the price” – but for future attacks. This could be seen as an indication that the South will be provoked into a full-scale war only with utmost reluctance. This is as it should be; Seoul deserves commendation for this difficult balancing act. The price of war is too steep and everyone stands to lose..."

TSA: Follow The Money

And find the fear.

The Real Threat to America - NYTimes.com:

"... I don’t doubt the patriotism of the Americans involved in keeping the country safe, nor do I discount the threat, but I am sure of this: The unfettered growth of the Department of Homeland Security and the T.S.A. represent a greater long-term threat to the prosperity, character and wellbeing of the United States than a few madmen in the valleys of Waziristan or the voids of Yemen.

America is a nation of openness, boldness and risk-taking. Close this nation, cow it, constrict it and you unravel its magic.

There are now about 400 full-body scanners, set to grow to 1,000 next year. One of the people pushing them most energetically is Michael Chertoff, the former Secretary of Homeland Security.

He’s the co-founder and managing principal of the Chertoff Group, which provides security advice. One of its clients is California-based Rapiscan Systems, part of the OSI Systems corporation, that makes many of the “whole body” scanners being installed...."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

As California Goes?

California's ailing Republicans: A dying breed?:

"Republicans are relishing the coming of a new day on Capitol Hill. But across the country in California, the party of Nixon and Reagan is drifting toward obscurity.

The latest sign of imperiled health: In a year Republicans notched big victories in Congress, governor's offices and statehouses around the nation, California Democrats made a clean sweep of eight statewide contests on Nov. 2. Democrats padded their majority in the Legislature, where the party controls both chambers and no congressional seats changed parties..."

START:Politics As Usual

Senators show that politics, not policy, is holding up START treaty - CNN.com:

"The Republican senator who opposes ratification this year of a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia made clear Sunday that politics, not policy, is the main issue.

Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl told NBC's 'Meet the Press' program that the Senate won't have enough time in December's 'lame-duck' session to properly consider the so-called START Treaty with Russia..."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bomb Screener Israeli Style

Got this in an email from a bud--

"The Israelis are developing an airport security device that eliminates the privacy concerns that come with full-body scanners at the airports.

It’s a booth you can step into that will not X-ray you, but will detonate any explosive device you may have on you. They see this as a win-win for everyone, with none of this crap about racial profiling. It also would eliminate the costs of a long and expensive trial. Justice would be swift. Case closed!

You're in the airport terminal and you hear a muffled explosion. Shortly thereafter an announcement comes over the PA system:

'Attention standby passengers — we now have a seat available on flight number XXXX. Shalom!' "...

If only...

You Are In Charge Of You

Paying for Retirement Is Now Your Own Problem - Newsweek:

"You’ve heard of the Social Security crisis. And you’ve probably heard that the pensions promised to state employees are terribly underfunded. And maybe you’ve even heard that most Americans don’t have enough money in their 401(k)s.

Too often, these are three separate conversations. They shouldn’t be. We don’t just have a Social Security problem or a 401(k) problem. We have a retirement-security problem. And when we look at one or another piece in isolation—as most of the deficit-reduction proposals do—we run the risk of making it much worse. To be more specific, we run the risk of continuing the great risk shift of the last decades of the 20th century, in which uncertainty that was once borne by employers and the government has increasingly been shunted onto individuals..."

South Protests North

Angry protests over Korea shelling - Asia-Pacific - Al Jazeera English:

"South Korean protesters demanding a harder line against neighbouring North Korea have on Saturday scuffled with police outside the defence ministry in the capital, Seoul..."

I wonder if they still want the US to go home.

Security Success

Oregon Teen Arrested in Plot to Bomb Holiday Event - NYTimes.com: "A Somali-born teenager attempting to detonate what he believed was a car bomb in a packed downtown Portland Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Friday night was arrested by authorities, who had spent nearly six months tracking him and setting up a sting operation, officials in Oregon said..."

Friday, November 26, 2010

HuffPo O'Truman Delusions

Ari Emanuel: Forget the Carter Comparisons, Obama Is Following in the Footsteps of Harry Truman -- and That's a Very Good Thing:

Sharks In Congressional Waters

There Will Be Blood - NYTimes.com:

"...Some explanation: There’s a legal limit to federal debt, which must be raised periodically if the government keeps running deficits; the limit will be reached again this spring. And since nobody, not even the hawkiest of deficit hawks, thinks the budget can be balanced immediately, the debt limit must be raised to avoid a government shutdown. But Republicans will probably try to blackmail the president into policy concessions by, in effect, holding the government hostage; they’ve done it before.

Now, you might think that the prospect of this kind of standoff, which might deny many Americans essential services, wreak havoc in financial markets and undermine America’s role in the world, would worry all men of good will. But no, Mr. Simpson “can’t wait.” And he’s what passes, these days, for a reasonable Republican..."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Return Of The Multiverse

Have we found the universe that existed before the Big Bang?: "...Sir Roger Penrose, one of the most renowned physicists of the last fifty years, takes issue with this view. He points out that the universe was apparently born in a very low state of entropy, meaning a very high degree of order initially existed, and this is what made the complex matter we see all around us (and are composed of) possible in the first place. His objection is that the Big Bang model can't explain why such a low entropy state existed, and he believes he has a solution - that the universe is just one of many in a cyclical chain, with each Big Bang starting up a new universe in place of the one before..."

No TSA For Pols

From the "Here's Another Reason I Hate The Government" Department--TSA: Some Gov't Officials to Skip Airport Security - TSA - Fox Nation:

"...Cabinet secretaries, top congressional leaders and an exclusive group of senior U.S. officials are exempt from toughened new airport screening procedures when they fly commercially with government-approved federal security details.

Aviation security officials would not name those who can skip the controversial screening, but other officials said those VIPs range from top officials like Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and FBI Director Robert Mueller to congressional leaders like incoming House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who avoided security before a recent flight from Washington's Reagan National Airport..."

Dr. Frankenstein Avoids The Monster

President Obama to Barbara Walters: 'I Don't Think About Sarah Palin' - ABC News: "In an exclusive interview with Barbara Walters from the White House, President Barack Obama says he's not giving much thought to the 2012 election, but is focusing instead on being 'the best possible president.' And, he said, he certainly isn't focused on a potential challenge from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin..."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cannon Dots The TSA Conspiracy

Follow the "Who's Makin' Money" dots and you will find fruition here. "The TSA, the CIA and the hidden truth about the Christmas bomber" --Cannonfire:

Turkey Time Socialists

The Right spins Thanksgiving --Thanksgiving and the Tea Party - NYTimes.com:

Monday, November 22, 2010

No TSA In The War

Mr. President, Who Is Terrorizing Whom? : NO QUARTER:

"...A US Army Staff Sergeant, now serving in Afghanistan, points out that he is not allowed to do these invasive, Enhanced Pat-Downs on women and children while conducting searches of local nationals over in Afghanistan, even when involved with security tasks within his Infantry company. Something that would probably save lives.

Why?

To avoid offending the Afghan people. To avoid presenting the US government as oppressors. To avoid feeding the Taliban’s hatred. And yet, according to you Mr President these enhanced pat-downs are not only acceptable but necessary for the American traveling public..."

Biggest Eye In Sky

U.S. military says they've launched largest spy satellite – This Just In - CNN.com Blogs:

"The U.S. military launched what is billed as its largest-ever spy satellite on Sunday.

A Delta IV Heavy rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 5:58 p.m. on Sunday, carrying what an Air Force press release called a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

While the Air Force did not give further detail on the mission, Bruce Carlson, director of the NRO, said in a September 13 speech that his agency would be putting “the largest satellite in the world” aboard a Delta rocket for a launch from Cape Canaveral this fall..."

A Crack In The TSA Wall

Administration to Seek Balance in Airport Screening - NYTimes.com: "Caught between complaints that airport screening has become too intrusive and threats of new terror attacks on aviation, the chief of the Transportation Security Administration said on Monday that the agency would consider changes to its new security measures if it found that the measures went too far..."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Remembering The Obots

Anglachel's Journal: Krugman Agrees: "...What infuriates me about this situation is that the people who were the most rabid Obama supporters, racing around intimidating anyone who opposed The Precious, spreading lies about HRC, gaming caucuses and rigging votes, justified their actions be claiming that HRC was just a front for right-wing interests and would run an administration identical to the one Obama is running now, whereas he would be the reincarnation of the pantheon of Democratic greats all rolled into one. These are often the same people who failed to vote for Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004, again claiming that there was 'no difference' between them and Bush, that they weren't liberal enough, etc. Gore in particular was singled out for this kind of treatment..."

Will Gay Disputes Wreck The TP?

The Coming Tea Party Civil War | Mother Jones: "In the months leading up to the midterm congressional elections, the tea party movement managed to tamp down on its internal divisions in pursuit of a shared goal of defeating Democrats. But with the elections over, the movement's fault lines are starting to show, and tensions between the tea party's social conservative and libertarian wings are poised to explode into an all-out civil war..."

Little Bush Love For Palin

Barbara Bush hopes Sarah Palin stays in Alaska - The Oval: Tracking the Obama presidency:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Catholic Condoms Okayed

The Pope drops Catholic ban on condoms in historic shift - Telegraph:

"After decades of fierce opposition to the use of all contraception, the pontiff will end the Church's absolute ban on the use of condoms.

He will say that it is acceptable to use a prophylactic when the sole intention is to 'reduce the risk of infection' from Aids..."

Dollars For Farmers

VOA | US Senate Approves Billions for Black Farmers, Native Americans | USA | English: "The U.S. Senate has unanimously approved a combined $4.55 billion in settlements to black farmers and Native Americans, ending years of litigation on charges of racial bias and mismanagement..."

Friday, November 19, 2010

New Physics Principle?

Scientists Convert Information Into 'Demonic' Energy - FoxNews.com:

When Good Men Don't Lie

16 of the Dumbest Things Americans Believe -- And the Right-Wing Lies Behind Them | Media and Culture | AlterNet: "...Revisiting Wilson's foolish tirade underscores the state of our upside-down political world. Wilson shouted “you lie” in the face of truth, but President Obama is hesitant to speak up when he’s being slandered with bald, glaring untruths. The dark irony will continue as the Republicans take over the House this winter and the rumors and insinuations from extremist right-wing pundits keep circulating. It feels like no one with a loud enough megaphone has the courage to call a spade a spade, or more accurately a lie a lie..."

Paul Hammers TSA

'Don't touch my junk' passenger sparks revolt against airport searches | World news | guardian.co.uk:

"...On Thursday, Congressman Ron Paul introduced legislation to counter what he called the 'calamity' of airport security. It proposes barring the government from doing what ordinary citizens would not be allowed to do to strangers – photographing them naked or touching their private parts.

'If we can't take nude photos of people why do we allow the government to do it? We would go to jail,' he said. 'Something has to be done. Everybody's fed up. The people are fed up. The pilots are fed up. I'm fed up. What we're putting up with at the airport is so symbolic of us just not standing up and saying enough is enough. I know the American people are starting to wake up but our government, those in charge, Congress, are doing nothing...'"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

TSA Abuse Video

This is a rather long and absolutely infuriating video, via NO QUARTER:

TSA Goes Way Too Far

Airport staff 'exposed woman's breasts, laughed' | The Australian:
"A WOMAN is suing over an incident where airport staff allegedly pulled down her top and joked about her breasts in public view.

The 23-year-old traveller, from Amarillo, US, is suing the US Government for the emotional distressed she says the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents caused..."

Lost Liberal Angst

What the Midterms Meant: Thunder from the Left - TIME: "For 34-year-old Adam Green, the midterm elections were not a repudiation of liberalism but a rejection of Barack Obama's accommodating style. 'The only way to get the Republicans to the table,' he says, 'is to punch them in the face real hard on one issue...'"

Amen.

Benefit Failure For Jobless

UPDATE 1-Jobless benefits extension fails in US House | Reuters:
"An effort to continue assistance for millions of jobless people who will see their benefits run out in coming weeks failed in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday.

By a vote of 258 to 154, the proposal to extend jobless benefits for three months fell short of the two-thirds margin needed to pass the House under special rules that limit debate..."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Meeting Spin Wars

GOP Decision to Cancel White House Meeting Brings Talk of Gamesmanship - FoxNews.com: "Whether it was a political delay tactic or a scheduling mishap, Republicans are finding themselves in a PR battle to explain their canceling on President Obama's announced meeting Thursday with congressional leaders..."

Shuler Loses Pelosi Challenge

House Democrats Re-Elect Pelosi as Their Leader - NYTimes.com: "...Officials said that Ms. Pelosi defeated Representative Heath Shuler of North Carolina in an internal party vote, 150 to 43. Mr. Shuler acknowledged before the vote that he had no chance of winning, but he wanted to give disgruntled Democrats a chance to register their opposition to Ms. Pelosi’s leadership anyway..."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

GOP Says No To Earmarks?

In sudden reversal, GOP leader McConnell will back ban on earmarks: "In an abrupt reversal, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday endorsed a moratorium on earmarks that GOP conservatives are seeking to send a signal that the Republican Party is serious about curbing federal spending..."

Yeah, well, we'll see how long that lasts.

Murky Disses Palin

Murkowski Says Palin Lacks "Intellectual Curiosity" - NYTimes.com:

'...Dispatched in the Republican primary by Joe Miller, a protégé of Ms. Palin, Ms. Murkowski is on the verge of an historic upset, having emerged as the new vote leader after running a write-in campaign to keep her seat.

And she’s taking aim at her nemesis.

I just do not think that she has those leadership qualities, that intellectual curiosity that allows for building good and great policies,” Ms. Murkowski told Katie Couric during an interview on CBS. “You know, she was my governor for two years, for just about two years there, and I don’t think that she enjoyed governing...”'

Neither trait slowed George Bush down, much to our detriment.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Koppel On KO

Ted Koppel: Olbermann, O'Reilly and the death of real news: "To witness Keith Olbermann - the most opinionated among MSNBC's left-leaning, Fox-baiting, money-generating hosts - suspended even briefly last week for making financial contributions to Democratic political candidates seemed like a whimsical, arcane holdover from a long-gone era of television journalism, when the networks considered the collection and dissemination of substantive and unbiased news to be a public trust..."

Beck Jumps Shark?

Glenn Beck Slammed for 'Horrific' Remarks About George Soros and Holocaust: "Jewish leaders have condemned Glenn Beck for comments he made on Fox News accusing billionaire philanthropist George Soros -- a Jew -- of being complicit with the Holocaust as a child in Nazi-occupied Hungary..."

The Wreck

35 years ago this week « The Confluence:

Bad Times For Charlie

Ethics hearing: Rep. Charles Rangel walks out of hearing - latimes.com: "The long-awaited congressional ethics hearing for New York Rep. Charles Rangel proceeded without him Monday morning after the Harlem Democrat walked out of the proceeding, saying he did not have legal representation..."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Paying For Health Care

The rain falls on the just and unjust alike « The Confluence:

"...We pay twice as much for health care as the other industrialized nations. At some point we’re gonna have to consider not just WHAT we’re willing to pay for but also HOW MUCH we’re willing pay for EVERYTHING, including routine care.

We can’t control M&M costs without addressing the entire health care market. And the best way to do that is a little thing called “single-payer.” While medical professionals deserve to be well compensated, “for-profit” health care makes as much sense as “for-profit” police and fire departments..."

O'Pontification

My bold in the following snippet. American Narcissus | The Weekly Standard: '"...There are lots of times when you get the sense that Obama views the powers of the presidency as little more than a shadow of his own person. When he journeyed to Copenhagen in October 2009 to pitch Chicago’s bid for the Olympics, his speech to the IOC was about—you guessed it: “Nearly one year ago, on a clear November night,” he told the committee, “people from every corner of the world gathered in the city of Chicago or in front of their televisions to watch the results of .  .  . ” and away he went. A short while later he was back in Copenhagen for the climate change summit. When things looked darkest, he personally commandeered the meeting to broker a “deal.” Which turned out to be worthless. In January 2010, Obama met with nervous Democratic congressmen to assure them that he wasn’t driving the party off a cliff. Confronted with worries that 2010 could be a worse off-year election than 1994, Obama explained to the professional politicians, “Well, the big difference here and in ’94 was you’ve got me...”'

God help us, we do.

The Daily Uh-Oh: Nazi Edition

Nazis Were Given ‘Safe Haven’ in U.S., Report Says - NYTimes.com: "A secret history of the United States government’s Nazi-hunting operation concludes that American intelligence officials created a “safe haven” in the United States for Nazis and their collaborators after World War II, and it details decades of clashes, often hidden, with other nations over war criminals here and abroad..."

Shuler v. Pelosi

On Politics: Heath Shuler concedes he can't beat Pelosi - Game On!: Covering the Latest Sports News: "Former NFL quarterback Heath Shuler can read a scoreboard and knows when the game is lost. But that doesn't mean he'll stop playing..."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

About That 1%

Robert Reich (Obama's First Stand):

"...On the other hand, giving the top 1 percent a two-year extension would cost the Treasury $130 billion over two years, thereby blowing a giant hole in efforts to get the deficit under control.

Alternatively, $130 billion would be enough to rehire every teacher, firefighter, and police officer laid off over the last two years and save the jobs of all of them now on the chopping block. Not only are these people critical to our security and the future of our children but, unlike the top 1 percent, they could be expected to spend all of their earnings and thereby stimulate the economy..."

Leakers Pursued

Robert Gates orders leak probe - Gordon Lubold - POLITICO.com:

"Defense Secretary Robert Gates is opening an investigation to determine who in the Defense Department leaked information to The Washington Post that showed a majority of the military would not object if the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy were lifted.

Gates is angry that two unnamed officials cited in the Post article have “selectively revealed aspects of the draft findings” of the Pentagon’s Working Group, according to a statement released late Friday afternoon by Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell..."

Women's Rights Key To Wins

Was abortion a wave-stopper for Democrats in 2010? - Alexander Burns - POLITICO.com:

"While almost nothing went right for Democratic candidates this fall, one issue turned out to be a winner in some of the closest Senate races in the nation: abortion.

By branding Republican challengers as outside the cultural mainstream on the issue, Democrats managed to hold on to at least a slice of the political center by courting and winning over moderate women in a handful of key states..."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Flaming TLC

“Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” on TLC, review : The New Yorker: "...TLC’s approach to programming is, in a nominal way, educational; if you don’t know any little people, or kids whose legs are fused, or families with nineteen children, you don’t really know what their lives are like. The shows are extremely invasive, though; TLC’s programming is all about babies, weddings, and families in extremis, and yet there’s something inhumane at the center of it all. It panders to our curiosity, allowing us to gawk at its subjects for as long as they are willing to be gawked at—which may be longer than is good for them. When it comes to Palin specifically, there is the fundamental problem that some of us don’t want to see or hear any more of her than we have to. And there are those whose objections have a physiological basis as well as an ideological one: the pitch and timbre of her voice, the rhythms of her speech, her syntax, and the way she coats acid and incoherence with cheery musical inflections join together in a sickening synergy that distresses the listener, triggering a fight-or-flight reaction. When Palin talks, my whole being wails, like Nancy Kerrigan after Tonya Harding’s ex-husband kneecapped her: “Why? Why? Why?”..."

The Learning Channel don't do much teachin' no more. It's mostly gawking.

O Grows A (Temporary?) Set

Obama: Extend tax cuts for middle class, not the wealthy - The Oval: Tracking the Obama presidency:

"President Obama said today his top priority is to extend the George W. Bush tax cuts for middle class Americans, and he will talk with Republicans next week about what to do with the tax rates for wealthier Americans.

'I continue to believe that extending permanently the upper-income tax cuts would be a mistake and that we can't afford it,' Obama told reporters at the G-20 summit in Seoul, South Korea. 'And my hope is, is that somewhere in between there we can find some sort of solution...'"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Great Rant

Be sure and read the comment thread and behold the filleting of a "righteous" ranter. I love a good rant « The Confluence:

Fox And Palin

Murdoch Speaks: Fox Civil War Deepens | Media Matters for America: "...What is clear as this story develops is: MSNBC execs are wringing their hands over and trying to kill their marquee host, Keith Olbermann for some piddling personal donations -- after having just a few weeks ago announced a new openly progressive branding campaign -- 'Lean Forward' -- for the increasingly competitive cable network, that success brought to them in the first place by Olbermann's talents as a broadcaster (MSNBC is 'beating the shit' out of CNN too). Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch is swiftly maneuvering, promoting his top stars, issuing new commands to his troops with a partisan political end game in mind: 'With any kind of a Republican candidate ... Obama will find it impossible to win' re-election. For now, it looks like Murdoch's preferred candidate is Sarah Barracuda. What will Karl Rove and Company do about that? Stay tuned."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why Would The GOP Want Anyone Other Than O?

Deficit Advisers Back Sweeping Cuts - WSJ.com:

"...Among the controversial proposals, the plan in its current form would end or cap a wide range of breaks relied on by the middle class, including the deduction for home-mortgage interest. It would tax capital gains and dividends at the higher rates now levied on wage income. To compensate, one version of the plan would dramatically lower and simplify individual rates, to 9%, 15% and 24%.

For businesses, the plan would significantly lower the corporate tax rate—from a current top rate of 35% to as low as 26%—but also eliminate a number of deductions. It would make permanent the research and development tax credit. Overall, the plan would cut the federal deficit by $3.8 trillion by 2020..."

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Bush Torture Truth

British deny George Bush's claims that torture helped foil terror plots | World news | The Guardian:

"British officials said today there was no evidence to support claims by George Bush, the former US president, that information extracted by 'waterboarding' saved British lives by foiling attacks on Heathrow airport and Canary Wharf. In his memoirs, Bush said the practice – condemned by Downing Street as torture – was used in CIA interrogations of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on the US..."

Monday, November 08, 2010

The Legend In His Own Mind Tour Continues

Back in the public eye, Bush as assured as ever - latimes.com:

"...The book's excerpts and the interviews offer new insight into Bush's presidency, but show a familiar certainty and self-assuredness about the decisions he made.

On the decision to launch a war with Iraq, Bush expressed no hesitation when asked if he would make the same choice again, knowing all that he knows today..."

Bad Omens

The Fed - Doing It Again - NYTimes.com:

"...It’s true that things aren’t as bad as they were during the worst of the Depression. But that’s not saying much. And as in the 1930s, every proposal to do something to improve the situation is met with a firestorm of opposition and criticism. As a result, by the time the actual policy emerges, it’s watered down to such an extent that it’s almost guaranteed to fail.

We’ve already seen this happen with fiscal policy: fearing opposition in Congress, the Obama administration offered an inadequate plan, only to see the plan weakened further in the Senate. In the end, the small rise in federal spending was effectively offset by cuts at the state and local level, so that there was no real stimulus to the economy.

Now the same thing is happening to monetary policy..."

O Faulted By Germans

The World from Berlin: 'Obama Comes Across as Cold, Arrogant and Elitist' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International: "It was a failure of historic proportions. With US President Barack Obama's Democrats having lost control of the House, there seems little hope for progress during his two remaining years, say German commentators. Obama himself, they say, bears much of the blame..."

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Repeal Without Repeal

Republicans Look at Budget Maneuvers to Prevent Spending on New Health Law - FoxNews.com:

"The Republican in line to lead the House Budget Committee acknowledged Sunday that the GOP is unlikely to get a repeal of a Democratic-backed health care law because President Obama can veto it, but said House Republicans will move forward on a vote anyway.

Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said Republicans have some opportunities to slow the advance of the Democratic plan by defunding actual rollouts, but acknowledged the president would have to sign that legislation..."

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Other O Suspended For Politicking

Rachel Maddow on suspended Keith Olbermann: MSNBC should reinstate him:
"...Olbermann was suspended without pay Friday for making donations to three Democratic candidates in this week's mid-term elections..."

Hmmm.

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Onion Speaks

American Public Gets Exactly What It Deserves For 112th Straight Election | The Onion - America's Finest News Source: "Dismayed by the fact that over the past 24 months they have not experienced the immediate short-term personal gain they had hoped for, Americans went to the polls Tuesday and, for the 112th consecutive time, elected the candidates they deserve. 'It's my duty,' Reading, PA resident Bethany Albertson said as she cast her ballot and joined the staggering majority of citizens who, like every single previous generation of voters, will reap exactly what they have sown. 'I haven't seen much difference in my paycheck, and we need a voice for change in our government.' Exit polls indicated most voters will be content with what they've got coming to them as long as they see sharp reductions in taxes, health care costs, home foreclosures, economic regulation, unemployment, and the national debt by the time the 112th Congress is halfway through its first legislative session."

O'Blame!

Jeff Tollefson's pix...

Palin Fires Back

GOP Leaders: Sarah Palin Must be Stopped - Political Hotsheet - CBS News:

"...She also lit into those quoted, telling Greta Van Susteren they "want to lead the nation and run the world" and yet "they're not brave enough to put their name in an article." She called them "the GOP the establishment -- the self-proclaimed elite" and added that "if they would man up and if they would, you know, make these claims against me, then I can debate them."

UPDATE: Palin has now sarcastically referred to Politico and other detractors "puppy-kicking, chain-smoking porn producers" in an email to the Daily Caller..."

The Great Liberal Sigh

David A. Love: Americans, Your Country Isn't So Great:

"...The United States is at the bottom of the barrel. We don't live well. Since the 1970s, the bottom 90 percent has experienced income stagnation, while the top 1 percent has seen its wealth skyrocket. In America, two-thirds of income gains in recent years went to the top 1 percent. The gap between rich and poor hasn't been so great since 1928, right before the first Great Depression, with the top 20 percent controlling 84 percent of the wealth. In Sweden, the top 20 percent owns 36 percent. Canada and Western Europe all have greater social mobility than the so-called 'land of opportunity,' and with far more generous benefits, over a month of vacation, real universal health care -- you get the picture. If the citizens of all of these advanced nations are living better than Americans, then what is so special about America?

And yet, this recent election is a testament to this country's proclivity -- with help from the bottom 90 percent -- to keep things the way they are, if not worsen them. Some people vote with the oligarchy against their own interests because they simply lack the proper information. There's lots of blame to go around..."

Bush & Lauer

Kanye says he understands George Bush's 'disgust' - CNN.com:

..."Bush: 'Yes. My record was strong, I felt, when it came to race relations and giving people a chance. And it was a disgusting moment.'

Lauer: 'I wonder if some people are going to read that, now that you've written it, and they might give you some heat for that. And the reason is this '

Bush [interrupting]: 'Don't care.'

Lauer: 'Well, here's the reason. You're not saying that the worst moment in your presidency was watching the misery in Louisiana. You're saying it was when someone insulted you because of that.'

Bush: 'No, and I also make it clear that the misery in Louisiana affected me deeply as well. There's a lot of tough moments in the book. And it was a disgusting moment, pure and simple...'"

This exchange speaks volumes about Skippy.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Dump O

Thursday: What we’re up against because the “Creative Class” just *had* to have its way « The Confluence:

"...I don’t care how the party gets Obama not to run in 2012. They can persuade him to give it up voluntarily like LBJ did, or they can start secretly funding Hillary for a primary win. But something has to be done to get him out of the White House and put a strong contender in his place.

The creative class will take us all down unless we strike back and tell them in no uncertain terms that we are not putting up with their $#@% anymore. Tuesday was the first blow. And we will continue to pound on them until they get the message. No candidate that has their support will ever have mine unless he/she embraces the working class. I don’t see that happening. So, the party is at a stalemate. The vast majority of us are held hostage by a tiny group of snobs who think very well of themselves and not of you.

So be it. The Democrats will be the Washington Generals to the Republican Globe Trotters until a new team comes along..."

"Saving" Social Security

How Reid Machine Held Off Upstart Conservative - WSJ.com:

"...The Reid campaign waited until the day after the primary to pounce, releasing a press release that told voters Ms. Angle had a 'radical' notion to do away with Social Security.

Ms. Angle had in fact spoken frequently of 'phasing out' social security. During the general election campaign she sought to moderate that position, explaining that she wanted to 'save' the popular program by amending it, but Mr. Reid continued efforts to remind voters even as late as Tuesday afternoon of her earlier position.

While Ms. Angle seemed to have all the momentum in an election year that favored tea party fervor and the Republican party, her missteps became too numerous to overcome. Eventually, Ms. Angle's campaign couldn't risk putting her in front of television cameras for fear that she might say something damaging..."

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

A TP Negative

The Tea Party Giveth ... - NYTimes.com: "...But in the Senate, the Tea Parties’ critics can claim some vindication — and more of it than I expected. The conservative grassroots can take credit, in one sense or another, for the victories of Rand Paul, Ron Johnson (who got his start as a speaker at Tea Party rallies) and Marco Rubio. But the inevitable defeat of Christine O’Donnell was accompanied by Harry Reid’s unexpectedly easy win over Sharron Angle, and — according to the Denver Post, at least — Michael Bennet’s hair’s-breadth victory over Ken Buck in Colorado. All of those should have been winnable seats for Republicans, and with different candidates they might have been. But in each case, the Tea Parties got the nominees they wanted, and in each case they went down to defeat. Meanwhile, more establishment-ish Republicans were cleaning up: Dan Coats won in Indiana, Rob Portman won in Ohio, Mark Kirk won in Illinois, and Lisa Murkowski’s write-in campaign in Alaska seems poised to keep her in the Senate..."

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The New Constitution

The Tea Party Constitution Versus the Thomas Jefferson Constitution | The Nation:

"...If O'Donnell, Johnson and their Tea'd-Off compatriots were even minimally serious about adhering to the founding document, they would all be thoughtful critics of the undeclared wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, ardent foes of the Patriot Act and steady opponents of free trade deals that remove the authority of Congress to represent and serve the interests of American workers, farmers and communities. But then they would be Russ Feingold, and it goes against the Tea Party narrative—at least as it has been framed by the movement's corporate paymasters and messaging consultants—to regard a progressive Democrat as the most ardent defender of the American experiment.

So it should be understood that O'Donnell, Miller, Angle, Buck, Johnson and the rest of the Tea Partisans who might be senators are not talking about the Constitution as it was written or as the founders intended it. Rather, they are talking about the Constitution as they would like to see it rewritten and reinterpreted—with the help of the most activist Supreme Court in American history. While their intents are radical, their prospects must be seen in light of the fact that Chief Justice John Roberts and his conservative majority have already reinterpreted the First Amendment's free speech protection in a manner that extends the natural rights that the founders reserved for human beings to multinational corporations..."

Monday, November 01, 2010

About The Rally

Peter Clothier: The Rally: "...The news reports on television, as I wrote above, had little relationship to the experience I've described. The same with this morning's papers. The media have portrayed this as a light-hearted entertainment event with a handful of stars and two well-known comedians. But as I see it, the rally was only in small part about what was happening on the stage. The vast majority of us had no idea what was happening there, anyway. No. The rally was about showing up. It was about the people who showed up in vast numbers to be counted. And to judge from media reports thus far, we were discounted. It was also about the mood and spirit of these vast numbers of people, whose signs--and whose behavior in highly adverse circumstances--reflected the civility that has been missing in this year's political discourse. It was about an aspect of the American character that is too often ignored--and which the media seems determined to continue to ignore: a mutual tolerance and compassion, a great space in which we all agree on that is right, and just, and needed for our common humanity..."

Booze Worse Than Junk

Alcohol Is More Lethal Than Heroin, Study Finds : NPR:

"Alcohol is more dangerous than illegal drugs like heroin and crack cocaine, according to a new study.

British experts evaluated substances including alcohol, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and marijuana, ranking them based on how destructive they are to the individual who takes them and to society as a whole..."

The Unloved GOP

Barbour: We Know Voters Don't Love Republicans - The Early Show - CBS News:

"The chairman of the Republican Governors Association said that while he expects big wins for his party on Election Day, he understands it is not because voters love the GOP more than the Democrats.

Appearing on CBS' 'The Early Show' this morning, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said that tomorrow's voting represents a referendum on the policies of President Obama..."