Monday, January 31, 2011
"Ayn Rand was not only a schlock novelist, she was also the progenitor of a sweeping “moral philosophy” that justifies the privilege of the wealthy and demonizes not only the slothful, undeserving poor but the lackluster middle-classes as well.
Her books provided wide-ranging parables of 'parasites,' 'looters' and 'moochers' using the levers of government to steal the fruits of her heroes' labor. In the real world, however, Rand herself received Social Security payments and Medicare benefits under the name of Ann O'Connor (her husband was Frank O'Connor)..."
"The World Trade Organization Monday ruled formally that U.S. federal and local governments gave billions of dollars in illegal subsidies to airplane maker Boeing Co.
The finding is similar to that of an interim report released in September and marks the beginning of a complex end-game that will help determine the future of the $1.7 trillion passenger aircraft market..."
Sunday, January 30, 2011
"In an article titled, 'Five Reasons the Planet May Not Be Its Hottest Ever,' FoxNews.com sought to debunk the fact that Earth has warmed over the past 30 years, as well as the notion that human activity has contributed to the warming. But Fox largely ignored climate science and botched basic facts in the article, portions of which 'are utter nonsense' and 'do not make sense' according to climatologists consulted by Media Matters, including one of the skeptics cited by Fox..."
So what else is new?
"Top executives at Goldman Sachs collected a bumper increase in pay and bonuses last year in defiance of public opinion, and despite a 38% slump in the bank's profits.
Michael Sherwood, one of the heads of Goldman's British and European operations is being awarded free shares worth $14.4m (£9m). That represents a 60% increase on the value of the stock award he received in 2009. Goldman does not reveal whether Sherwood is also a recipient of a cash bonus..."
"...This time we were spared a “You lie!” But once Obama segued into a rambling laundry list and the “prom night” bipartisan photo ops lost their comic novelty, the night’s storyline inevitably shifted to the reliable diva antics of Michele Bachmann, the founder of the House’s Tea Party Caucus. For all the Republican male establishment’s harrumphing, it couldn’t derail her plan to hijack the party’s designated State of the Union response with one of her own. More Katherine Harris than Sarah Palin, Bachmann is far more riveting television bait than Paul Ryan, the bland congressman officially assigned the Bobby Jindal memorial slot after the New Jersey governor Chris Christie was savvy enough to take a pass.
The G.O.P. grandees’ consternation was palpable. Earlier in the day Bachmann had dispatched an e-mail announcing that her speech would be carried live by Fox News. But when the time came, Fox relegated the live feed to its Web site, forcing viewers to scurry to CNN, of all places, and delaying its own television recap until after prime time in the East. Rupert Murdoch’s other major organ, The Wall Street Journal, toed the same line, burying Bachmann’s speech in a half-sentence in its print edition the next morning. By then, John Boehner, seconding the disdain of Eric Cantor, was telling reporters that he hadn’t watched Bachmann because of “other obligations...”
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Let's hope there is another option.
Friday, January 28, 2011
"A Spanish-language newspaper in Georgia has drawn bipartisan criticism for publishing a doctored photograph depicting the state's new governor as a Nazi..."
This is not the same thing as issuing death threats against your political opponents.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
"Glenn Beck has been railing against 78-year-old CUNY professor Frances Fox Piven for weeks now, claiming she co-authored a devious plan to overthrow the government in the 1960s. Now, some of his fans are issuing death threats against her.
According to the New York Times, Piven has been receiving death threats after being villainized on Beck's show. "Somebody tell Frances I have 5000 rounds ready and I'll give My life to take Our freedom back," wrote one user on Beck's news site, The Blaze..."
We'll see how many Tea Partyers are, in fact, patriots, and how many are just Tea Baggers, surfing along a wave of incoherent fear to line their own corrupt pockets. I predict most will not buck Obama or the Righteous Right but will endorse not only extensions but enhancements of the patently unconstitutional Patriot Act.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
With Michele Bachman as a tailwind, there's only one way to go.
Michele Bachmann's Tea Party overdrive mocked for Obama response | World news | The Guardian:
"...Even more ridicule was heaped on Bachmann for comments at the end of her statement, where she sought to conclude on a rousing patriotic note. As the backdrop changed to the famous photograph of the American flag being raised over the Pacific island of Iwo Jima she talked about the 'miracle' of America's creation, referring to the battle of Iwo Jima at the close of the second world war as 'a battle against all odds'.
David Frum, a former speechwriter for George Bush, was one of many to highlight the historical inaccuracy of that statement. He tweeted: 'Did Bachmann really say that Iwo Jima was a battle against the odds? For the Japanese I guess …'
Note: She's not from nor does she represent any part of the South.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
Sunday, January 23, 2011
"...Back home, supporters of the conservative tea party movement clamouring for the debt-ridden federal government to slash spending say nothing should be off limits. Tea party-backed lawmakers echo that argument, and they are not exempting the military's multibillion-dollar budget in a time of war.
That demand is creating hard choices for the newest members of Congress, especially Republicans who owe their elections and solid House majority to the influential grass-roots movement. Cutting defence and cancelling weapons could mean deep spending reductions and high marks from tea partiers as the U.S. wrestles with a $1.3 trillion deficit. Yet it also could jeopardize thousands of jobs when unemployment is running high..."
"...And one fact is usually ignored: Back then, Tombstone had far stricter gun control than it does today. In fact, the American West's most infamous gun battle erupted when the marshal tried to enforce a local ordinance that barred carrying firearms in public. A judge had fined one of the victims $25 earlier that day for packing a pistol.
'You could wear your gun into town, but you had to check it at the sheriff's office or the Grand Hotel, and you couldn't pick it up again until you were leaving town,' said Bob Boze Bell, executive editor of True West Magazine, which celebrates the Old West. 'It was an effort to control the violence...'"
Saturday, January 22, 2011
"Standing recently in new haven’s small train station, I was approached by a stranger who thanked me for my service. His gratitude was clearly genuine—and I deeply appreciated it.
During my years in uniform (particularly after 9/11), and even in the months since my retirement, I was routinely thanked for serving. For service members today, that experience is common—a thoughtful gesture that has done much to maintain the morale of a force that performs so bravely for our nation..."
I favor a universal draft-- come 18, everyone--everyone--goes. On a related note-- I've never been thanked for my service by anyone other than family, nor do I know any Vietnam era vets who have been.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Now if they would only get their facts right….SS does not contribute a dime to the debt and, under law, is not part of the budget and can take no money from it. But still they persist in their lies:
“…..Medicare and Social Security, the programs that directly touch the most people and also are the biggest drivers of the government’s projected long-term debt...”'
"Sen. Al Franken has had it with the FCC, who has just created “essentially two Internets” with weak net neutrality rules and who this week signed off on the mega-merger of Comcast and NBC Universal.
A common thread unites the two decisions in Franken’s view: both highlight the “growing threat of corporate control” over information.
Franken’s remarks came Tuesday during a speech to a Netroots Nation gathering in Minnesota. The former comedian and NBC employee (during his Saturday Night Live days) has made media consolidation and network neutrality two of his signature issues, and he hammered on both of them during his talk..."
Thursday, January 20, 2011
"OK, you've got Palin fatigue. Not to worry. So does much of the country: The latest CNN poll shows that 56 percent of Americans view her unfavorably.
More damaging, though, is this: Sarah Palin's unfavorable rating among women has gone up 10 points. And 59 percent of those all-important independent voters don't like her -- and that's up a stunning 14 points in just a few months.
You might argue it's because of the debate surrounding the Tucson shootings -- specifically, Palin's tone-deaf response to the unfair charges that she was somehow responsible for a deranged shooter's state of mind. And that could well be part of it. But there's more: She's completely overstayed her welcome..."
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
"Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has only been in office three days, but he's already facing criticism for remarks he made the day of his inauguration..."
It's just beginning, folks.
"So much for limited government …
With her state facing an estimated $1 billion budget shortfall, S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley handed out huge salary increases to top gubernatorial staffers on her first full day in office. She also doled out big salaries to newly-created positions within the governor’s office.
Paying attention, Tea Partiers?..."
'...In a little-noticed floor speech last night (flagged today by ABC News), Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee invoked Nazis, the Holocaust, Germany’s infamous Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, and – yes – blood libel in describing how Republicans have characterized the health care law as a “government takeover.”
“They say it's a government takeover of health care, a big lie just like Goebbels,' Cohen said. 'You say it enough, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, and eventually, people believe it. Like blood libel. That's the same kind of thing, blood libel. That's the same kind of thing...”'
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
"...And that's not the worst. In England in 2006, BBC News reported the story of a bricklayer who spotted a toddler at the side of the road. As he later testified at a hearing, he didn't stop to help for fear he'd be accused of trying to abduct her. You know: A man driving around with a little girl in his car? She ended up at a pond and drowned.
We think we're protecting our kids by treating all men as potential predators. But that's not a society that's safe. Just sick."
Monday, January 17, 2011
"...The key to understanding the G.O.P. analysis of health reform is that the party’s leaders are not, in fact, opposed to reform because they believe it will increase the deficit. Nor are they opposed because they seriously believe that it will be “job-killing” (which it won’t be). They’re against reform because it would cover the uninsured — and that’s something they just don’t want to do.
And it’s not about the money. As I tried to explain in my last column, the modern G.O.P. has been taken over by an ideology in which the suffering of the unfortunate isn’t a proper concern of government, and alleviating that suffering at taxpayer expense is immoral, never mind how little it costs..."
Poor former Governor Palin, she just can’t stop being the center of attention. Why would anyone think that she was contributing to a toxic environment?
Now we have a guy who got shot during Gifford’s event and later made the comment “You’re dead.” while pointing with his cell phone at the town hall arrested for making a threat. I don’t really know the context in his mind for his statement, but I don’t know that it is much different from placing cross-hairs over “targets” in political races. I agree with RD’s statement that “the map was connected with her website as part of a campaign to “target” supporters of the health care reform bill is unbecoming and irresponsible for any politician on either side of the aisle. ” I also found this snippet in today’s Washington Post chilling.
“After Jesse Kelly won the Republican primary in the 8th District, the tea party-backed candidate held a gun-shooting fundraiser. An ad promoting the event said: “Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly.”
I hope that as the access to better and more powerful assault weapons continues, that voters will start to hold the republicans accountable. But at this point, I am wondering if people are getting too afraid to confront the gun issue and address the republican party bullying techniques. I know I am."
"A Swiss whistle-blower Monday handed over what he said were secret Swiss banking records to WikiLeaks, the website dedicated to revealing secrets.
Swiss banker Rudolf Elmer handed two discs to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at a news conference in London.
WikiLeaks could release the secret Swiss banking records in 'a matter of weeks' if it can process them quickly enough, Assange said..."
Sunday, January 16, 2011
"...The week of that interview began with the House passing the health care bill on Sunday. Within hours, on Monday morning, vandals smashed the front door of Giffords’s office in Tucson. The Palin “target” map (and the accompanying Twitter dictum to “RELOAD”) went up on Tuesday, just one day after that vandalism — timing that was at best tone-deaf and at worst nastily provocative. Not just Giffords, but at least three other of the 20 members of Congress on the Palin map were also hit with vandalism or death threats.
In her MSNBC interview that Wednesday, Giffords said that Palin had put the “crosshairs of a gun sight over our district,” adding that “when people do that, they’ve got to realize there’s consequences to that action.” Chuck Todd then asked Giffords if “in fairness, campaign rhetoric and war rhetoric have been interchangeable for years.” She responded that colleagues who had been in the House “20, 30 years” had never seen vitriol this bad. But Todd moved on, and so did the Beltway. What’s the big deal about a little broken glass? Few wanted to see what Giffords saw — that the vandalism and death threats were the latest consequences of a tide of ugly insurrectionism that had been rising since the final weeks of the 2008 campaign and that had threatened to turn violent from the start.
Giffords’s first brush with that reality had occurred some seven months before her office was vandalized — in the red-hot health care fever of August 2009. She had held another “Congress on Your Corner” meeting, at a Safeway in the town of Douglas. There the crowd’s rage and the dropping of a gun by one attendee prompted aides worried about her safety to summon the police. The Tucson Tea Party co-founder, Trent Humphries, told The Arizona Daily Star afterward that this was a lie, that “nobody was threatening Gabby.” After Loughner’s massacre, Humphries was still faulting her — this time for holding “an event in full view of the public with no security whatsoever...”"
"...Miller said when he was a member of McCain's campaign staff last year has been criticized by the more conservative party members who supported Republican opponent J.D. Hayworth. The first and only African-American to hold the party's precinct chairmanship, Miller said he has been called 'McCain's boy,' and during the campaign saw a critic form his hand in the shape of a gun and point it at him.
'I wasn't going to resign but decided to quit after what happened Saturday,' Miller said. 'I love the Republican Party but I don't want to take a bullet for anyone.'
Note: no liberals were involved in the making of this resignation.
"The Department of Homeland Security on Friday canceled a project to build a technology-based “virtual fence” across the Southwest border, saying that the effort — on which $1 billion has already been spent — was ineffective and too costly..."
A billion here, a billion there... We can just fire some bureaucrats to make-up the difference. You knoq, nurses, cops, teachers, and etc.
Friday, January 14, 2011
"...Ending tenure is also being championed prominently by former Washington, D.C., Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee. Ms. Rhee’s new Students First education-reform group called for that this week when it released its detailed policy agenda.
Contrary to what the word conjures up, tenure doesn’t mean a lifetime job guarantee for teachers. Laws establishing hearings or other protections against arbitrary firing sprang up state by state in response to problems such as discrimination against women or politically motivated firings.
“Tenure is really about due-process protections,” says Patrick McGuinn, a political science professor at Drew University in New Jersey who has studied tenure policies, “but over time it’s become so lengthy, complicated, and costly to go through those due-process protections ... that virtually no teachers are fired on the basis of performance...”
Of course, stripping the teachers of any rights will balance the budget, stop terrorism, close the borders, and end abortion.
"JP Morgan's investment bankers are to receive an average payout of $369,651 (£233,000) after the bank set aside almost $10bn to cover basic pay and bonuses.
The figures were released after JPMorgan Chase kicked off the US banking reporting season by reporting a 47% jump in profits for the last quarter of 2010..."
"...This deep divide in American political morality — for that’s what it amounts to — is a relatively recent development. Commentators who pine for the days of civility and bipartisanship are, whether they realize it or not, pining for the days when the Republican Party accepted the legitimacy of the welfare state, and was even willing to contemplate expanding it. As many analysts have noted, the Obama health reform — whose passage was met with vandalism and death threats against members of Congress — was modeled on Republican plans from the 1990s.
But that was then. Today’s G.O.P. sees much of what the modern federal government does as illegitimate; today’s Democratic Party does not. When people talk about partisan differences, they often seem to be implying that these differences are petty, matters that could be resolved with a bit of good will. But what we’re talking about here is a fundamental disagreement about the proper role of government..."
Thursday, January 13, 2011
"The release of documents detailing how Pima Community College responded to incidents involving suspected Arizona shooter Jared Lee Loughner largely show the school acting diligently while underscoring the limits of its capabilities and responsibilities, experts said Thursday.
'They did identify this student and get him off campus,' said LeRoy Rooker, a former official with the U.S. Department of Education who helped rewrite federal privacy regulations after the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings. 'It's not their job to get him mental health care...'"
"A little-known sheriff has stepped into the national spotlight with a back-to-basics lesson for America:
Treat people with respect; engage in civil discourse; be nice.
Those aren't the sexiest talking points. But in the wake of Saturday's mass shooting in Tucson in which six people were killed and a congresswoman was critically wounded, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik says a little moral fortitude is what America needs..."
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
"...I will stick up for Sarah’s right to be treated with respect and not demonized. The left has been relentless in using her as a whipping girl for the past two years and the behavior of Jeralyn and Digby and just about every other lefty blogger has made us at The Confluence very angry with the behavior of what should be our side. We have always condemned the demonization and dehumanization of Sarah Palin because it undermines our moral authority and it is wrong.
But I am very disappointed that her message wasn’t more like Bill Clinton’s, who condemned, unambiguously, the demonization of those you disagree with. To Sarah, it’s all just very spirited. Yes, let’s just continue this level of spirit!
How about we let all of the political spectrum have equal access to spirited debate? The fairness doctrine would ensure free speech for everyone. Who could possibly be against that?
Sarah? Do you have something to say in support of the fairness doctrine? Sarah? Sarah?
She’s not a demon. But I disapprove of he company she keeps. She doesn’t meet my WWHD standard. In fact, this speech may have done more harm than good by giving the wingers an excuse to pick up where they left off..."
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
A Right to Bear Glocks? - NYTimes.com:
"...Today, the amazing thing about the reaction to the Giffords shooting is that virtually all the discussion about how to prevent a recurrence has been focusing on improving the tone of our political discourse. That would certainly be great. But you do not hear much about the fact that Jared Loughner came to Giffords’s sweet gathering with a semiautomatic weapon that he was able to buy legally because the law restricting their sale expired in 2004 and Congress did not have the guts to face up to the National Rifle Association and extend it..."
I'm against gun control, in general, but we need to reclassify weapons and really put some stringent background checks on high volume automatic weapons. A 32 round Glock shouldn't be in the same category as a six shot revolver like the Taurus Judge.
Monday, January 10, 2011
"...Put me in the latter category. I’ve had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach ever since the final stages of the 2008campaign. I remembered the upsurge in political hatred after Bill Clinton’s election in 1992 — an upsurge that culminated in the Oklahoma City bombing. And you could see, just by watching the crowds at McCain-Palin rallies, that it was ready to happen again. The Department of Homeland Security reached the same conclusion: in April 2009 an internal report warned that right-wing extremism was on the rise, with a growing potential for violence.
Conservatives denounced that report. But there has, in fact, been a rising tide of threats and vandalism aimed at elected officials, including both Judge John Roll, who was killed Saturday, and Representative Gabrielle Giffords. One of these days, someone was bound to take it to the next level. And now someone has..."
Sunday, January 09, 2011
"...No connection has been made between this graphic and the Arizona shooting, but it has put the Palin team somewhat on the defensive. Rebecca Mansour, a spokesperson for SarahPac, told conservative commentator Tammy Bruce, 'We never imagined, it never occurred to us that anybody would consider it violent.' Insisting she was speaking for herself, and not on behalf of Palin, Mansour added, 'We never ever, ever intended it to be gun sights.'
However, following the initial controversy over the 'crosshairs' last year, Palin issued her now oft repeated rallying cry, 'Don't retreat. RELOAD...'"
Nice tap dancing, Tammy, but the GOP has been pouring gasoline on the ground since the first Jesse Helms campaign way back when. Now the Tea Party has started adding jet fuel to the mix, so don't act all surprised 'n shocky when a spark ignites the whole mess and both the innocent and the guilty get burned.
In Giffords’ case, she’d already been the target of someone with a gun at one of her rallies last year and her office was vandalized. No one is blaming anybody but Beck and Palin’s provocative messaging has got to stop. If the shooter wasn’t responding to their messages, sooner or later, someone else will. Violent mentally disturbed people with guns do not need encouragement..."
Saturday, January 08, 2011
Friday, January 07, 2011
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, and freshman Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) missed the mass swearing-in ceremony on the House floor Wednesday but proceeded to cast a series of votes. Fitzpatrick read a portion of the Constitution on the floor Thursday. Sessions, appointed to the Rules Committee, participated in some committee activities, and that panel, at the suggestion of House parliamentarians, was forced temporarily to suspend consideration of a rule for the repeal of last year’s health care overhaul while the matter was sorted out..."
Rather like conferring degrees on students at a commencement exercise then checking if they were actually eligible to be graduated. Colleges do it all the time.
Thursday, January 06, 2011
"...Not discussed on schools’ tours or in their glossy pamphlets, counseling out is nonetheless a matter of practice at many private schools. Unlike the public school system, private schools are not obligated, and often not set up, to handle children having trouble keeping up.
“There are some kids that we’re not going to renew,” said Pamela J. Clarke, the head of the Trevor Day School in Manhattan, “either because they can’t do the work and we’re not serving them, or generally, that might be combined with behavior issues we can’t win...”
It is much easier to "win" if you can toss all the losers.
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
"New investor lawsuits are emerging amid the wreckage of an investment boom in life-insurance policies that spectacularly collapsed.
The suits involve the secondary market in life policies, which boomed from 2004 to 2008 as thousands of old people sought to make fast cash by taking out multimillion-dollar policies on their own lives to sell to investors. Tens of billions of dollars worth of insurance changed hands. Under the deals, the investors pay the premiums until the insured person dies, at which point they collect the death benefit..."
Why am I not surprised?
Monday, January 03, 2011
We Have a Winner! The Best TV Show of 2010 Is... - E! Online:
Fans cast hundreds of thousands of votes to decide the winner of our year-end bracket tournament, and the ever-loyal fans of the CW's Supernatural came out on top—the Winchester brothers' second impressive victory in recent weeks, as fans also secured Jensen and Jared a coveted (and the show's first-ever) TV Guide cover.
Also impressive? The serious rally that went down among Castle fans, who came thisclose (0.8 percent) to beating out Supernatural. The final results:
"Imagine if a group of leading American liberals met on foreign soil with -- and expressed vocal support for -- supporters of a terrorist group that had (a) a long history of hateful anti-American rhetoric, (b) an active role in both the takeover of a U.S. embassy and Saddam Hussein's brutal 1991 repression of Iraqi Shiites, (c) extensive financial and military support from Saddam, (d) multiple acts of violence aimed at civilians, and (e) years of being designated a 'Terrorist organization' by the U.S. under Presidents of both parties, a designation which is ongoing? The ensuing uproar and orgies of denunciation would be deafening.
But on December 23, a group of leading conservatives -- including Rudy Giuliani and former Bush officials Michael Mukasey, Tom Ridge, and Fran Townsend -- did exactly that. In Paris, of all places, they appeared at a forum organized by supporters of the Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK) -- a group declared by the U.S. since 1997 to be 'terrorist organization' -- and expressed wholesale support for that group. Worse -- on foreign soil -- they vehemently criticized their own country's opposition to these Terrorists and specifically 'demanded that Obama instead take the  group off the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations and incorporate it into efforts to overturn the mullah-led government in Tehran.' In other words, they are calling on the U.S. to embrace this Saddam-supported, U.S.-hating Terrorist group and recruit them to help overthrow the government of Iran. To a foreign audience, Mukasey denounced his own country's opposition to these Terrorists as 'nothing less than an embarrassment...'"
It is Greenwald but he does a very valid, important point.
Sunday, January 02, 2011
In case you missed this the first time… « The Confluence:
"...Let me just add that if Barack Obama had won fair and square, I would have been happy to vote for him. But from the very beginning of the primary season, he showed contempt for the voting process and with abiding by the rules of the convention. His whips were heavy handed, red-faced macho balls of fury, threatening, intimidating and brutish. By the end of the convention after all I’d seen and heard, Barack Obama was the last man on earth I would have voted for president. My vote for McCain was in protest of the unforgivable manner that the DNC treated its voters and delegates and the way it allowed its party apparatus to be highjacked by Obama’s thugs..."
"Wildlife officials are trying to determine what caused more than 1,000 blackbirds to die and fall from the sky over an Arkansas town.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said Saturday that it began receiving reports about the dead birds about 11:30 p.m. the previous night. The birds fell over a 1-mile area of Beebe, and an aerial survey indicated that no other dead birds were found outside of that area..."
Saturday, January 01, 2011
Good for them.