Saturday, April 30, 2011
"...Speaking at a dinner hosted by Americans for Prosperity, the former Massachusetts governor said, 'Reagan came up with this great thing about the ‘misery index’ and he hung that around Jimmy Carter’s neck and that had a lot to do with Jimmy Carter losing.' He added, 'Well, we’re going to have to hang the ‘Obama Misery Index’ around his neck.'
Romney went on to say, 'I'll tell you, the fact that you've got people in this country really squeezed, with gasoline getting so expensive, with commodities getting so expensive, families are having a hard time making ends meet. So, we're going to have to talk about that, and housing foreclosures and bankruptcies and higher taxation. We're going to hang him, so to speak, metaphorically...'"
Friday, April 29, 2011
Thursday, April 28, 2011
"...Hey, can we have Bernie Sanders for President? He was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last night. You can watch the extended interview PART 1 and PART2. He sounds like a real Democrat even though he is an independent.
Bernie is right about Social Security, outrageous tax cuts for the rich, a real national health care policy that doesn’t force us to beg middle man insurance companies for high priced policies and ending unnecessary wars..."
"...Perhaps it's too much to hope that the smug, 'I take the president at his word' sound bite offered by Republican leadership in recent months will now be replaced by a simple 'the president was born in the United States and anyone who still thinks otherwise should consider seeking psychiatric help.'
The birther conspiracy theory should now be placed on the ash heap of presidential derangement syndromes that date back to at least the John Birch Society's founder declaring President Dwight David Eisenhower a 'dedicated, conscious agent of the communist conspiracy' -or, a Soviet spy. The sad difference is that back then William F. Buckley had the decency to denounce that fringe fear-mongering because he realized that it could discredit the entire conservative movement. Today, because the fringe is blurring with the base, conservative leaders seem afraid to confront the unhinged extremists in their midst..."
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
"Congressional Democrats say they will aggressively push to allow taxes to rise for the wealthiest Americans — a move they say is not only widely popular, but sets up a stark contrast with Republicans who want to keep the tax rates the same but make broad changes to entitlement programs.
With the Bush-era tax rates now set to expire at the end of next year, some question remains about whether Democrats on Capitol Hill will coalesce behind a plan for higher taxes for annual incomes above $250,000 for families or income north of $1 million..."
"...For you doubters in the left blogosphere who had Obama’s number but were too chickenshit to say anything, let me reassure you that there is and was a perfectly good reason for rejecting Obama. He messed around with the primary vote in 2008. No, don’t you roll your eyes at me. The primary vote of 2008 was the canary in the coal mine for everything that followed and should have been your leading indicator of all that would follow.
When it comes right down to it, your citizenship, your most valuable possession as a resident of this country, depends on your ability to exercise your right to vote. Self-determination, the kind of government you want, what kind of characteristics you choose in a leader to fit the demands of a fragile economy or time of war, that all hinges on whether you, along with your fellow citizens have the power to elect your representatives. The Egyptians learned that the hard way over the past 30 years. So have many countries around the world. When you lose your right to vote, when the vote is rigged in one person’s favor, when all other candidates need not apply, when political factions are suppressed, you end up with a country where brutality rules, where people are poor unless they are well connected and where the young grow up without hope..."
How CEOs Can Manage Information Technology - WSJ.com:
"...Question No. 4
Is electronic data empowering your people or controlling them?
For most companies, the great advantage of the digital revolution is the data they can now collect. They know the minute-by-minute electricity usage and the names and buying patterns of shoppers who buy diapers; they know how much more soup gets sold if they drop the price by 10 cents, or what arguments work best when a life-insurance agent cold-calls a prospective customer.
All that data can lead companies down two very different paths. First, it can help push decision making down to front-line employees. Alternatively, it can be used to centralize decision making and monitor employee performance..."
I suspect it has led to increased centralization in most organizations since power-madness seems to be a criteria for management advancement.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
"More than 130 Madison teachers — many of them worried that Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining law could lead to changes in post-retirement benefits — are retiring in June, a big increase over recent years.
As of the April 15 deadline, 138 Madison teachers have decided to retire, Superintendent Dan Nerad said. That's a 62 percent increase over the average number of retirements over the previous five years.
- Sent using Google Toolbar"
Friday, April 22, 2011
"...Hence the advisory board, whose creation was mandated by last year’s health reform. The board, composed of health-care experts, would be given a target rate of growth in Medicare spending. To keep spending at or below this target, the board would submit “fast-track” recommendations for cost control that would go into effect automatically unless overruled by Congress.
Before you start yelling about “rationing” and “death panels,” bear in mind that we’re not talking about limits on what health care you’re allowed to buy with your own (or your insurance company’s) money. We’re talking only about what will be paid for with taxpayers’ money. And the last time I looked at it, the Declaration of Independence didn’t declare that we had the right to life, liberty, and the all-expenses-paid pursuit of happiness.
And the point is that choices must be made; one way or another, government spending on health care must be limited..."
Thursday, April 21, 2011
"...Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.
Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington..."
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
"The Michigan State Police have started using handheld machines called "extraction devices" to download personal information from motorists they pull over, even if they're not suspected of any crime. Naturally, the ACLU has a problem with this.
The devices, sold by a company called Cellebrite, can download text messages, photos, video, and even GPS data from most brands of cell phones. The handheld machines have various interfaces to work with different models and can even bypass security passwords and access some information.
The problem as the ACLU sees it, is that accessing a citizen's private phone information when there's no probable cause creates a violation of the Constitution's 4th Amendment, which protects us against unreasonable searches and seizures..."
"...In particular, math teachers often fail to make sufficient allowances for the limitations of working memory and the fact that we all need extensive practice to gain mastery in just about anything. Children who struggle in math usually have difficulty remembering math facts, handling word problems and doing multi-step arithmetic (pdf). Despite the widespread support for “problem-based” or “discovery-based” learning, studies indicate that current teaching approaches underestimate the amount of explicit guidance, “scaffolding” and practice children need to consolidate new concepts. Asking children to make their own discoveries before they solidify the basics is like asking them to compose songs on guitar before they can form a C chord.
Mighton, who is also an award-winning playwright and author of a fascinating book called “The Myth of Ability,” developed Jump over more than a decade while working as a math tutor in Toronto, where he gained a reputation as a kind of math miracle worker. Many students were sent to him because they had severe learning disabilities (a number have gone on to do university-level math). Mighton found that to be effective he often had to break things down into minute steps and assess each student’s understanding at each micro-level before moving on..."
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
"Given all the pressing needs of the state, it's good to know that our state lawmakers have time this session for an especially down-on-their-luck group. Not nursing home residents, not schoolkids, not state employees or the disabled. Nope, it's yacht owners.
Yes, today a House committee discussed giving a tax break to wealthy yacht-buyers. Under House Bill 2187, by Rep. John Davis, a Houston Republican, the tax on sales of boats over $250,000 would be capped at $15,625. For a $20 million yacht, this would work out to a tax reduction of 99 percent. Those buying smaller, cheaper boats would continue to pay the current 6.25 percent sales tax..."
Folks, this is exactly what is wrong with all flat-tax (consumption) schemes-- the rich never pay what they should for their trinkets but we sure as Hell fork it out for a new car --and we don't have all those cushy tax deductions to hide behind.
Monday, April 18, 2011
"...When the proposal was released, it was praised as a “wonk-approved” plan that had been run by the experts. But the “experts” in question, it turned out, were at the Heritage Foundation, and few people outside the hard right found their conclusions credible. In the words of the consulting firm Macroeconomic Advisers — which makes its living telling businesses what they need to know, not telling politicians what they want to hear — the Heritage analysis was “both flawed and contrived.” Basically, Heritage went all in on the much-refuted claim that cutting taxes on the wealthy produces miraculous economic results, including a surge in revenue that actually reduces the deficit.
By the way, Heritage is always like this. Whenever there’s something the G.O.P. doesn’t like — say, environmental protection — Heritage can be counted on to produce a report, based on no economic model anyone else recognizes, claiming that this policy would cause huge job losses. Correspondingly, whenever there’s something Republicans want, like tax cuts for the wealthy or for corporations, Heritage can be counted on to claim that this policy would yield immense economic benefits..."
Sunday, April 17, 2011
"...The blowhards won't mention that Americans' overall tax burden is at its lowest level, compared to personal income, since 1950, according to a USA Today analysis last year of federal data.
Of course, we've got a whole lot of things to pay for that we didn't have in 1950 -- Medicare, Medicaid, a huge Pentagon budget and two wars, a much more elaborate transportation and airport system, and environmental protection -- just to cite a few big-ticket items..."
I paid over 30% this year but then I have no deductions and no debt, but I still shouldn't be paying more than GE.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
"...To see this, start by considering the response of New York City to secession. On January 7, 1861, after the secession of South Carolina but before any other state joined in rebellion, Mayor Fernando Wood delivered his annual message to the New York City Council. Would the mayor of the largest and wealthiest northern city denounce the southern cause? Rally his fellow citizens around the Union and its president-elect, Abraham Lincoln? Perhaps lament the necessity of a bloody moral struggle to abolish slavery?
Wood did none of these things. Instead, he announced that New York offered 'friendly relations and a common sympathy' with the 'aggrieved brethren of the slave states.' He then offered the bold proposal that New York City secede, as well, forming an independent city-state. This move, he argued, 'would have the whole and united support of the southern states' and would allow the city to avoid breaking off its existing relationships with the slave states.
Of course, New York did not secede from the Union. But why did this northern mayor, along with many of his fellow citizens, so dramatically embrace the southern cause?"
Friday, April 15, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
"...But Rand was always impossible to pin down politically. She loathed Dwight Eisenhower, whom she believed lacked conviction. And in 1975 she wrote, 'I urge you, as emphatically as I can, not to support the candidacy of Ronald Reagan,' primarily on the grounds that he didn't support pure laissez-faire capitalism. But she endorsed Richard Nixon in 1968 because he supported abolition of the military draft. Rand was especially proud of her protégé Alan Greenspan for serving with Milton Friedman on Nixon's Gates Commission, the findings of which led to today's all-volunteer army.
Rand was not a conservative or a liberal: She was an individualist. 'Atlas Shrugged' is, at its heart, a plea for the most fundamental American ideal—the inalienable rights of the individual. On tax day, with our tax dollars going to big government and subsidies for big business, let's remember it's the celebration of individualism that has kept 'Atlas Shrugged' among the best-selling novels of all time. "
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
"It was a remark seemingly made for late-night TV comics: Sen. Jon Kyl's claim that abortion is 'well over 90% of what Planned Parenthood does.'
When the actual figure turned out to be 3%, his office released a statement clarifying that Kyl's figure was 'not intended to be a factual statement...'"
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
"...So how do we weed out ignorant voters without harking back to the days of poll taxes and Jim Crow? I would start by making the U.S. Naturalization Test -- given to immigrants who want to become citizens -- part of the voter registration process.
If knowing the number of years a senator is elected to serve is required of anyone who wants to become a U.S. citizen, is it too much to expect that information to be common knowledge for those of us who already are? This has nothing to do with who a person is or how they may vote but everything to do with a person voting as an informed citizen, not a sound bite regurgitator. Having a grasp of current events would be ideal, but if we could at least raise the required investment to engage in the political system, perhaps the tone of the rhetoric surrounding it can be elevated as well.
We wouldn't issue a driver's license to someone unable to pass the written test, knowing the potential damage that person could do behind the wheel. Why do we look at voting differently?..."
Monday, April 11, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
"This isn’t government we’re watching; this is junior high.
It’s unclear where the adults are, but they don’t seem to be in Washington. Beyond the malice of the threat to shut down the federal government, averted only at the last minute on Friday night, it’s painful how vapid the discourse is and how incompetent and cowardly our leaders have proved to be. A quick guide: ..."
Saturday, April 09, 2011
"With Planned Parenthood being either the major obstacle to a budget deal or one of the major obstacles to a budget deal, it’s worth taking a minute explaining what they do — and what they don’t do.
As you can see in the chart atop this post, abortion services account for about 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s activities. That’s less than cancer screening and prevention (16 percent), STD testing for both men and women (35 percent), and contraception (also 35 percent). About 80 percent of Planned Parenthood’s users are over age 20, and 75 percent have incomes below 150 percent of the poverty line. Planned Parenthood itself estimates it prevents more than 620,000 unintended pregnancies each year, and 220,000 abortions. It’s also worth noting that federal law already forbids Planned Parenthood from using the funds it receives from the government for abortions..."
Friday, April 08, 2011
Thursday, April 07, 2011
"On 10 April 2006, a DC-9 jet landed in the port city of Ciudad del Carmen, on the Gulf of Mexico, as the sun was setting. Mexican soldiers, waiting to intercept it, found 128 cases packed with 5.7 tons of cocaine, valued at $100m. But something else – more important and far-reaching – was discovered in the paper trail behind the purchase of the plane by the Sinaloa narco-trafficking cartel.
During a 22-month investigation by agents from the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and others, it emerged that the cocaine smugglers had bought the plane with money they had laundered through one of the biggest banks in the United States: Wachovia, now part of the giant Wells Fargo..."
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Monday, April 04, 2011
"Just in his mid-20s, Brian Deschane has no college degree, very little management experience and two drunken-driving convictions.
Yet he has landed an $81,500-per-year job in Gov. Scott Walker's administration overseeing environmental and regulatory matters and dozens of employees at the Department of Commerce. Even though Walker says the state is broke and public employees are overpaid, Deschane already has earned a promotion and a 26% pay raise in just two months with the state.
How did Deschane score his plum assignment with the Walker team?..."
Sunday, April 03, 2011
Saturday, April 02, 2011
"First the Republican Party in Polk County, Wisconsin, pulled the tape of Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) fretting about making ends meet on his $174,000 a year salary from its own website. Now they want it gone from the whole Internet.
For a couple hours, the local county GOP was successful. But we've put an excerpt of the video back up..."
"Yes, tax the Super Rich. Tax them now. Before the other 99% rise up, trigger a new American Revolution, a meltdown and the Great Depression 2..."
But will it be the American Revolution or the French Revolution?
The home mortgage issue would have been Hillary Clinton's shining achievement if she could have made it past the corruption of the democratic higher ups, Barack Obama, and Wall Street..."
Friday, April 01, 2011
"Bruce Bartlett takes a look at the Balanced Budget Amendment all 47 Republicans signed their names to and pronounces it “quite possibly the stupidest constitutional amendment I think I have ever seen. It looks like it was drafted by a couple of interns on the back of a napkin.”
I think “stupid” is the wrong word. “Dangerous” is more like it. And maybe “radical.” This isn’t just a Balanced Budget Amendment. It also includes a provision saying that tax increases would require a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress — so, it includes a provision making it harder to balance the budget — and another saying that total spending couldn’t exceed 18 percent of GDP. No allowances are made for recessions, though allowances are made for wars. Not a single year of the Bush administration would qualify as constitutional under this amendment. Nor would a single year of the Reagan administration. The Clinton administration would’ve had exactly two years in which it wasn’t in violation..."