Tuesday, April 30, 2013

West Blast To Be Investigated

Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion To Be Probed By Senate:
Nearly two weeks after a massive explosion at a West, Texas, fertilizer plant took at least 15 lives and destroyed entire neighborhoods, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are starting to call for investigations into the government's workplace and chemical safety regulations to determine how they might have prevented the disaster.

On Tuesday, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, announced that the committee would be probing the blast specifically and chemical safety laws more generally, though no date has been set for a hearing...

Changing The Constitution

12 Uncommon Suggestions for Amending the Constitution - Conor Friedersdorf - The Atlantic: Atlantic readers offer ideas including a tricameral legislature, a ban on incarcerating nonviolent criminals, and declassifying all information after 20 years...

First Lady Pushing Vet Hiring

Michelle Obama to businesses: Hire more veterans:
First lady Michelle Obama is praising businesses for hiring more military veterans -- and also asking them to do more.

"Today, we are proud to announce that America's businesses have hired or trained 290,000 veterans and military spouses (over the past two years), almost triple the original goal," Mrs. Obama writes in an op-ed appearing on Fortune.com...

Colbert-Busch Holds Her Own

Mark Sanford needed a big debate win but came up short:
At best, Sanford fought to a draw against Elizabeth Colbert Busch in the only debate of the campaign. That spells trouble for the Republican, who is running out of chances to turn the tide with just a week left until Election Day.

“I don’t think it was a game changer,” South Carolina Republican strategist Richard Quinn said of Monday’s debate, adding, “You have to give him the edge on points. But she made no huge mistakes, so she probably met or exceeded low expectations...”

Monday, April 29, 2013

Background Checks Nay Hurts Polling

Senators take polling hit after voting against background checks bill - The Hill's Blog Briefing Room:
Senators from Alaska, Arizona, Nevada, and Ohio are facing a backlash for voting against gun control legislation, according to new polling.

Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) have all seen their approval ratings fall since voting against a proposal to expand background checks earlier this month, according to the liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP)...

Bush v. Gore Rejudging

Sandra Day O'Connor Doubts Decision To Take Bush V. Gore:
Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor expressed doubt Friday about the decision to take the 2000 Bush v. Gore case that resulted in the election of President George W. Bush.

"It took the case and decided it at a time when it was still a big election issue," O'Connor told the Chicago Tribune editorial board in an interview. "Maybe the court should have said, 'We're not going to take it, goodbye...'"

Rich Educationally Richer

No Rich Child Left Behind - NYTimes.com:
...What is news is that in the United States over the last few decades these differences in educational success between high- and lower-income students have grown substantially.

One way to see this is to look at the scores of rich and poor students on standardized math and reading tests over the last 50 years. When I did this using information from a dozen large national studies conducted between 1960 and 2010, I found that the rich-poor gap in test scores is about 40 percent larger now than it was 30 years ago...

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Strange Gun Fact

The Rude Pundit:
...You want a fact? Here ya go: "Data from the Government Accountability Office show that between 2004 and 2010, people on terrorism watch lists tried to buy guns and explosives more than 1,400 times. They succeeded in more than 90 percent of those cases, or 1,321 times." Are you cool with this, average gun owner?..

Republican Gangs

Reagan’s Confidant Says Republican Party Is A Coalition Of Gangs That Stands For Nothing (VIDEO):
...No. I don’t because I think the Republican Party is not really a party. It doesn’t stand for anything except reelecting itself. It’s a coalition of gangs….

The Neo Cons which I have no use for are only oriented to an aggressive imperialistic foreign policy, a big defense establishment, and suppression of our civil liberties. That’s a bad. I am against that.

The Tax Cons want to just cut taxes anytime any day regardless of the fiscal situation. That has gone to absurd lengths. I oppose that.

The Social Cons, social policy people, the right to life issue, gay marriage and all that, that’s irrelevant to governing a democracy in a free society...

Evil Sequester Vote

The Shameful Sequester Vote: Bad for Democrats, Worse for Democracy - Derek Thompson - The Atlantic:
...But, far more importantly, the vote was bad for democracy. A Congress reacts to flight delays but not to low-income families losing housing vouchers and unemployment check cash is a body of elites representing elites. Matt Yglesias passes along a relevant graph from Larry Bartels' 2005 paper on "Economic Inequality and Political Representation" that found both Democrats and Republicans are particularly good at representing their middle-class and high-income constituents, but not so responsive to what poor people want or think...

Comment Of The Day: Clinton v. Bush Edition

The Silver Fox’s Pink Slip - NYTimes.com: Connie Boyd

NYT Pick

Comparing the Bushes and the Clintons is ridiculous. Hillary came from a middle-class background. Bill came from nothing. Neither benefitted from the kind of dynastic wealth and connections that both George Bushes inherited as their birthright. The Clintons worked hard for what they've achieved; W had everything handed to him on a silver platter. His lazy, privileged, spoiled-brat narcissism and sense of entitlement had a lot to do with the fact that he was one of the worst presidents in U.S. history. In that respect especially, the contrast between him and Bill Clinton is stark.

In reply to Diana Moses
April 28, 2013 at 10:03 a.m.

Debunking Skippy

How to debunk George W. Bush’s attempts at revisionism - Salon.com:
...So, is this week making you feel a bit nostalgic for the Bush era? Don’t. It’s been almost half a decade since the 43rd president left office, and he’s looking as bad as ever. Of course, that won’t stop a small circle of admirers (many of whom used to be on his payroll) from trying, so here’s your guide to taking on the five biggest specious pro-Bush talking points put forward this week:..

Saturday, April 27, 2013

RIP, George

From a YouTube comment: doncreech 3 months ago
Perhaps the finest, most beautiful sad song ever written. Its brevity is almost alarming, as if you expect another verse, only to realize that all that needs to be said has indeed been vocalized, as the track earnestly subsides upon its own death knell. Enchanting, artistic, and undeniably classic.

Drug Corruption Continues

Did Novartis Violate Its Corporate Integrity Agreement? - Forbes:
Twice this past week, the US Department of Justice filed lawsuits alleging Novartis paid kickbacks to boost prescriptions and caused federal healthcare programs to pay for medicines based on false claims. One complaint seeks damages and civil penalties for corrupting the dispensing process with multi-million-dollar ‘incentive programs’ that targeted doctors. The other involves kickbacks in the form of rebates and discounts to at least 20 pharmacies in exchange for switching transplant patients from rival medicines to its Myfortic immunosuppressant treatment (back story)...

Friday, April 26, 2013

Flushing Tax Dollars

Here Is Rick Santorum Spreading Leadership To High Schoolers In Totally Non-Political Way:
So remember that dumb thing about Rick Santorum speaking/not speaking to some high school students about “leadership?” Well, he did speak Wednesday at Grosse Pointe South High School and got paid $18,000 for it. That means Santorum made in two hours 38% of the median annual salary of South teachers. And that’s a lesson, kids. The marketplace is full of irrational actors who will complain about the cost of educating their children into productive adults while throwing gobs of money at stupid crap. Like a Rick Santorum speech on leadership...

Bush As Cruise Ship

Maddow: Let’s not forget ‘Poop Cruise’ presidency of George W. Bush | The Raw Story:
On Thursday night’s edition of “The Rachel Maddow Show,” host Rachel Maddow took the occasion of the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library to share her thoughts on the whitewashing of our 43rd president’s legacy. She compared his eight years in office to the Carnival “Poop Cruise,” the cruise ship that went dead in the water in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year, stranding passengers for days with no toilets, no fresh water and a rapidly rotting food supply...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

West Explosion Still A Mystery

Investigators: Rail car, ammonia tank did not explode at West plant - WacoTrib.com: Fire:
Investigators still don’t know the cause of the fertilizer plant explosion in West, but they have ruled out two widely discussed culprits: tanks of anhydrous ammonia and a rail car carrying dry

Comment Of The Day: Bush Lie-Bury Edition

George Bush Library Opening - The George Bush Manure Locker Is Now Open - Esquire

Roy Webb · Top Commenter
The only decent thing Bush has done in his whole misbegotten life is keep his stupid yap shut since 2008. The right-wingers on the Salt Lake Tribune message boards were having a little circle jerk about how much they missed Dubya, especially compared to "Oblame-o, Obummer, Obummunist," and how all of us LIB'ruhls should stop blaming Dubya because it had been five years, after all. To which I replied:

"What if your brother-in-law moved into your house, trashed the place, spent all of your money and ran up huge debts, wrecked your car, had the cops called to your house multiple times so the neighbors hated you, molested your wife, drove off all of your friends and killed your dog. Would everything be back to normal when he moved out? That's what you and the rest of the smug right-whiners on this thread think should have happened. Bush did more damage to this country and its institutions than can be repaired in one term or even two, especially when the flying monkeys like you and the rest of the whingers all the way up to the Congress have been flinging your poop and screaming since President Obama was nominated. And I'll bet when Bush was killing and torturing and looting and raping, you were all right there cheering him on, 'Mur'ka, f**k yeah! Am I right? Of course I'm right."

Congress Sleazing Again

Congress, Fearing 'Brain Drain,' Seeks to Opt Out of Participating in Obamacare's Exchanges - Forbes:

As Obamacare was winding its way through the Senate in 2009, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) slipped in an amendment requiring that members of Congress, and their staff, enroll in Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges. The idea was simple: that if Congress was going to impose Obamacare upon the country, it should have to experience what it is imposing firsthand. But now, word comes that Congress is quietly seeking to rescind that provision of the law, because members fear that staffers who face higher insurance costs will leave the Hill. The news has sparked outrage from the right and left. Here’s the back story, and why this debate is crucial to the future of market-based health reform...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lest We Forget: Skippy 9/11 Edition

Report Warned Of Suicide Hijackings - CBS News:
Two years before the Sept. 11 attacks, an analysis prepared for U.S. intelligence warned that Osama bin Laden's terrorists could hijack an airliner and fly it into government buildings like the Pentagon.

"Suicide bomber(s) belonging to al Qaeda's Martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives (C-4 and semtex) into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or the White House," the September 1999 report said...

For Bush cartoons look here.

Concern For Unemployed?

Only one legislator showed for the hearing on unemployment.

The Most Shameful Picture | The Confluence
...This is how much American politicians care about the millions of people thrown out of work by the reckless gambling of our financial class.  This is how much consideration hundreds of thousands of unemployed scientists get from their government...

Martian Pecker

Mars Rover Curiosity 'draws' penis on surface of Red Planet | Space, Military and Medicine | Herald Sun:
IT'S the most expensive robot in the world, but it seems the Mars Rover has the mind of an eight-year-old schoolboy...

Rmoney Intern In Blackmail Scheme

Former Romney campaign intern busted in nude-pics blackmail scheme - NY Daily News:
Adam Savader, who also interned for Newt Gingrich and Paul Ryan, is charged with illegally obtaining nude photos of 15 women and threatening to make them public unless they sent more. He is currently being held pending his bail hearing...

GI Pay Woes

Outcry erupts over 1% pay raise proposed for military:
Military families and their advocates are battling an Obama administration proposal to limit troops' pay raises to 1% in 2014, the lowest increase in half a century...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Rich Getting Richer--Again

A Rise in Wealth for the Wealthy; Declines for the Lower 93% | Pew Social & Demographic Trends:
During the first two years of the nation’s economic recovery, the mean net worth of households in the upper 7% of the wealth distribution rose by an estimated 28%, while the mean net worth of households in the lower 93% dropped by 4%, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of newly released Census Bureau data...

Comment Of The Day: Bush Jobs Edition

You Just Move Over, Fred Barnes! - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money:
 Boots Day says:
April 23, 2013 at 11:27 am

For the 96 months of Bush’s presidency, counting February 2001 through January 2009, the economy suffered a net loss of jobs in 39 of those months. We had net job losses every single month from March 2001 through May 2002, and again from February 2008 through the end of the Bush administration in January 2009 (along with several other periods of job losses as well).

There is simply no way even the wingiest of wingnuts can spin that into “7 1/2 years of job growth.” Does the Washington Post have an ombudsman? An editor? Any grownups at all working there?

Diminished Tax Reform Possibilities

Baucus' exit drains hope for tax reform - latimes.com:
... In his announcement, Baucus pledged to keep plugging away at tax reform. "I’m not turning out to pasture because there is important work left to do, and I intend to spend the year and a half getting it done," he declared. "Our country and our state face enormous challenges –- rising debt, a dysfunctional tax code, threats to our outdoor heritage, and the need for more good-paying jobs.... At a national level, I will continue to work on simplifying and improving the tax code, tackling the nation’s debt, pushing important job-creating trade agreements through the Senate, and implementing and expanding affordable health care for more Americans."] (sic)...

Crazy In NC: Stabbing Dems Edition

North Carolina News - WLOS ABC News 13:
Two North Carolina Democratic political strategists who have worked for high-profile candidates were seriously wounded after being stabbed in their Raleigh home, and a suspect has been charged...

Arrest All Adolphs

... is where one of the arguments in this WSJ post end up; that, plus a comment thread largely focused on names, makes this one Muslim-scared tangle of words.

Michael Mukasey: Make No Mistake, It Was Jihad - WSJ.com:
If your concern about the threat posed by the Tsarnaev brothers is limited to assuring that they will never be in a position to repeat their grisly acts, rest easy.

The elder, Tamerlan—apparently named for the 14th-century Muslim conqueror famous for building pyramids of his victims' skulls to commemorate his triumphs over infidels—is dead...

Sanford Losing To Dem

The Impolitic: Congresswoman Colbert from South Carolina:
Yes I know I keep breaking my ignore the damnable polls rule, but the latest results showing Elizabeth Colbert Busch leading Mark Sanford by 9 points evokes visions of a liberal Democratic Congresscreature from South Carolina in my head. There's something I find deliciously weird and amusing about that...

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Ass Speakth

Courageous Senators Stand Up to American People : The New Yorker:
...Senator McConnell agreed that yesterday’s vote “sent a powerful message,” adding, “If the American people think that just because they voted us into office and pay our salaries, benefits, and pensions, we are somehow obliged to listen to them, they are sorely mistaken.”

Crazier Hole Gets Deeper

Affidavit says Bachmann approved hidden payments to Iowa senator | StarTribune.com:
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s former chief of staff, GOP operative Andy Parrish, stated in a signed affidavit Monday that the Minnesota Republican approved payments made to a top aide who was barred by Iowa Senate ethics rules from accepting money for his work on her presidential campaign...

Rural v. Urban

I could find no mention in this post of the most obvious difference between the two camps: rural v. urban living. Novels can be written about the differences between the two, but ponder this one factor-- the distance in both time and space between you and your neighbors-- and consider the effect it will have on all your attitudes.

Fred Hiatt: The red-state/blue-state divide is worsening - The Washington Post:
 In the week since modest gun control died in the Senate, those of us who don’t think guns make the country safer have been inclined to blame a few cowardly senators whose votes could have shifted the outcome...

About That Corporate Murder

Texas Explosion Seen as Sign of Weak U.S. Oversight - Bloomberg:
...The Texas plant that was the scene of a deadly explosion this week was last inspected by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in 1985. The risk plan it filed with regulators listed no flammable chemicals. And it was cleared to hold many times the ammonium nitrate that was used in the Oklahoma City bombing...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

GOPer Murder Threats

GOP newsletter author: ‘We most likely won’t try to kill’ pro-Obamacare Republicans | The Raw Story:
...The author of a county Republican Party newsletter in Arkansas says that he and other conservatives in the state “most likely won’t try to kill” Republican lawmakers who voted to expand Medicaid under President Barack Obama’s health care reform law.

In the April edition of the Republican Party of Benton County Newsletter, Chris Nogy argued that “this betrayal deserves a quick implementation of my 2nd amendment rights to remove a threat.”

“I don’t feel the same way about the Democrats as bullet backstops as I do about the Republicans who joined them,” Nogy wrote. “We need to let those who will come in the future to represent us [know] that we are serious. The 2nd amendment means nothing unless those in power believe you would have no problem simply walking up and shooting them if they got too far out of line and stopped responding as representatives...”

Confluence Of Amendments

Argument over NRA T-shirt gets eighth-grader jailed. Dress code run amok? - CSMonitor.com:
...A student at a West Virginia middle school was suspended and arrested after a confrontation with a teacher over an NRA T-shirt with a picture of a rifle on it. Public schools have some leeway in setting dress codes, the Supreme Court has found...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

GOPers Support Pot Legalization

A GOP Bill To End the War on Pot | Mother Jones:
... Like pothead soccer dads in the sitcom Weeds, however, some of the biggest backers of legalization are turning up where you'd least expect them. Take, for example, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who last week introduced a bill designed to prevent the feds from arresting pot growers and tokers in states where the drug is legal. "This approach is consistent with responsible, constitutional, and conservative governance," the 13-term Congressman from California's ultraconservative Orange County told me...

Let There Be Trials

If you haven't read Pierce, follow this link and read all of his work. Great writer and he lives in Waterown so you really can't get a more local perspective on the Boston Bombing.

Night in Watertown Cemetery - Guns Along The River: A Late Night In Watertown - Esquire
...The one thing we should all remember about this is that it was always a police action. There was no need for Patriot Acts, or for warrantless wiretapping, or for "enhanced interrogation techniques," or for anything else out that bag of horrors the previous administration filled so fatly after the attacks of 9/11. The waterboard was left in the closet. This was cops being cops, albeit with some fairly impressive modern-day technology. (I didn't know police helicopters had thermal-imaging capabilities. I will now respect more those signs in New Hampshire that say, "Speed Monitored by Aircraft.") There has been grinding forensic work ever since the bombs went off. There was all that basic shoe-leather detective work yesterday, house after house, block after block. And that's not even to get into the horrific events of Thursday night, which nonetheless did not require a military response. Just cops being cops.

And now there should be a trial...

Poor O

Boston, Gun Control, and the End of Obama’s Honeymoon: What’s Next : The New Yorker:
...Of course, Obama’s predicament isn’t his own fault. Because of the outrageous filibuster, to get almost anything done in the Senate he has to win over four Republicans and keep all the Democrats in line. In the House, the Republicans have a majority of thirty-one votes. Given this arithmetic, anybody who expected great things from Obama’s second term was being delusional. Absent a surprise Democratic sweep in the 2016 midterms, it was always going to be a four-year slog. That’s the way Presidential second terms usually turn out, as Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush all discovered...

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Daily Flashback: I Told You So Edition

Hillary Was Right: Obama’s Inexperience Sank Gun Deal - The Daily Beast:
...Hillary wasn’t my candidate, but after the president’s multiple failures to pass gun legislation capped by his Rose Garden performance, all of Hillary World can be forgiven for exhaling a loud, cathartic “I told you so.”
The post-Newtown push for additional gun-control measures managed to expose fully Obama’s flaws that candidate Hillary Clinton had warned about. It wasn’t just that he was hindered, not aided, by his quirky background, which was so removed from the small-town life she and her husband touted. It was his lack of legislative and leadership experience...

GOP Hypocrisy: Part Infinity

Ted Cruz, Bill Flores Asked For Federal Aid After Texas Explosion, But Voted Against Sandy Relief:
 "A pair of Republican lawmakers who voted against federal aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy are now looking for federal aid in the wake of the deadly explosion in West, Texas..."
Everyone surprised by this go stand in the corner.

BSA May Allow Gays

Boy Scouts proposing to lift gay ban for youth | Boston Herald: "Under pressure over its long-standing ban on gays, the Boy Scouts of America is proposing to lift the ban for youth members but continue to exclude gays as adult leaders"...

Coultergeist Tweets About Boston Suspect

The Morning Plum: Foes of immigration reform pounce on Boston bombing:

There’s still a lot we don’t know, but it’s being widely reported that the two suspects in the Boston bombing — one of whom has been killed by police — are brothers of Chechen origin. According to law enforcement sources, the brothers entered the U.S. in 2002 or 2003, and at least one of them has been a legal permanent resident since 2007.

Some on the right are already pouncing on the news to cast doubt on the desirability of immigration reform. This morning, Ann Coulter Tweeted:

It’s too bad Suspect # 1 won’t be able to be legalized by Marco Rubio, now...

Atlas Galting

James Moore: Atlas Has Shrugged: West, Texas:
 ...Why the obvious, even more attendant risks were ignored in West, is a more unsettling question. The state issues the permits for nursing homes and it appears there was one virtually across the street from West Fertilizer, in spite of the known dangers of the manufacture of ammonium nitrate. Not far away, a building permit was granted for a small, two story apartment complex. Is this good judgment by state and federal, and even local agencies? It's not like ammonium nitrate fertilizer hasn't been known to detonate in the past. The 1947 explosion in Texas City of a ship carrying the compound killed 500 people and remains the largest industrial disaster in American history. West happened 66 years and one day after Texas City...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Daily Flashback: Ollie Edition

Fox News Punditry After Boston Marathon - Punditry For Dummies - Esquire:
...Let us begin with Oliver North, the only commenter on national television with actual experience facilitating the sale of advanced weaponry to terrorist states. North's careful study of federal institutional dining should have ended in 1992 or so, but loopholes is loopholes, and presidents with Alzheimer's are presidents with Alzheimer's, so that's the way that goes. He's genuinely concerned that the investigation of the Boston bombings suffered today because the president came to town. This is a guy, remember, who facilitated one sale of advanced weaponry to a terrorist state not long after terrorists with ties to that state blew up a couple hundred of his fellow Marines. Semper Fi, clown...

Crazy In NC: Shut-up Edition

Move is afoot to make government less open | CharlotteObserver.com:
Sen. Tommy Tucker of Waxhaw said a mouthful with just 13 words on Tuesday.

“I am the senator. You are the citizen. You need to be quiet.”

It was no coincidence that Tucker’s silencing of an N.C. newspaper publisher – heard by at least three people who were there – came just after he railroaded a bill through his committee that would let government operate in more secrecy...

Payment At The Polls For Gun Vote?

Joe Scarborough: Senators Who Rejected Gun Background Checks Will 'Pay At The Polls' (VIDEO):

...Scarborough went on at length for nearly five minutes, blasting the senators who he said yielded to the NRA. He promised that they would "pay" a price for their vote, saying:

"I'm sick and tired of people on Capitol Hill that I've known for a long time that I've respected, I'm sick and tired of them insulting my intelligence, acting like I am stupid enough and you're stupid enough and 90% of americans are stupid enough to believe that this bill would lead to a national registry! I hear it all the time! Hey, the bill itself puts people in jail for up to 15 years. If they keep these names and start a national registry. It's offensive. It's stupid. And, Mika, you know what? In the long run, all of those people that voted for a more dangerous America are going to pay at the polls. Mark my words. This is going to come up and it's going to hit them in the face..."

Spook Central

NSA data center front and center in debate over liberty, security and privacy | Fox News:
...The NSA says the Utah Data Center is a facility for the intelligence community that will have a major focus on cyber security. The agency will neither confirm nor deny specifics. Some published reports suggest it could hold 5 zettabytes of data. (Just one zettabyte is the equivalent of about 62 billion stacked iPhones 5's-- that stretches past the moon...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sanford Loses Party Support

Republican group parts with Sanford after trespassing report - chicagotribune.com: The National Republican Congressional Committee on Wednesday ended its role in Mark Sanford's campaign to regain his old seat in Congress, after revelations that the former South Carolina governor had been accused by his ex-wife of trespassing at her home...

Liars Win Again

Obama angrily denounces gun-rights groups as willful liars - Washington Times:
President Obama angrily blamed the defeat Wednesday of his centerpiece gun-control proposal on lies spread by the National Rifle Association, calling it “a pretty shameful day for Washington.”

“The gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill,” Mr. Obama said in the White House rose garden about 90 minutes after the vote. “It came down to politics...”

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Daily Uh-Oh: Econ Errors Edition

Economists' case for austerity attacked - CNN.com:
The intellectual case for fiscal austerity came under attack on Tuesday as two of the world's best-known economists were accused of sloppy statistics.

Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart of Harvard University found that economic growth falls to a mean average of minus 0.1 per cent when public debt is greater than 90 per cent of output.

But researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, said that when they repeated the analysis with the same data they got a figure of plus 2.2 per cent...

The Other Terrorism

Shakesville: Terrorism:
... I am extremely unhappy with the number of times I have seen members of the media, and various people on Twitter, call this "the first act of terrorism on American soil since 9/11."

Sure it is. If you ignore every single incident of anti-choice terrorism—including the 2009 murder of Dr. George Tiller, and a number of clinic bombings and acts of vandalism, including one as recently as last week.

This flagrant, shameless campaign of intimidation, harassment, and threats and acts of violence against healthcare providers who offer services to women and other people with uteri, and the spaces in which they offer them, in defense of an inherently violent ideology, is a comprehensive terrorist movement which, from just 1977 to 2011, has included multiple assassinations, multiple attempted assassinations, and over 200 arsons and bombings...

Keeping Terror Perspective

Some Useful Terrorism Facts and Figures - The Daily Beast: This is from Peter Bergen of the New America Foundation, a top expert, writing at CNN.com:

Of the 380 extremists indicted for acts of political violence or for conspiring to carry out such attacks in the U.S. since 9/11, 81 were able to obtain explosives or the components necessary to build a bomb, according to a count by the New America Foundation...

Noxious Tweets

If you want to see some disgusting examples of knee-jerk reactions to the Boston bombings, go here:
Public Shaming. Be warned-- they are very racist and intensely stupid.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Daily Flashback: Mean Mama Edition

A Tax System Stacked Against the 99 Percent - NYTimes.com:
LEONA HELMSLEY, the hotel chain executive who was convicted of federal tax evasion in 1989, was notorious for, among other things, reportedly having said that “only the little people pay taxes.”

As a statement of principle, the quotation may well have earned Mrs. Helmsley, who died in 2007, the title Queen of Mean. But as a prediction about the fairness of American tax policy, Mrs. Helmsley’s remark might actually have been prescient...

Swift Boat Funder Dead

GOP super donor Bob Perry of Texas dies at 80 - Houston Chronicle:

...Perry was a fixture of GOP fundraising in Texas — and nationally — dating back to former President George W. Bush's Texas gubernatorial races in the mid-1990s. His largesse included giving $4.4 million in 2004 to the Swift Boat Veterans campaign that sought to discredit then-Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry...
No tears here.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Con Fact Facing

George Will: ‘Conservatism begins with facing facts’ | The Raw Story:
Conservative columnist George Will on Sunday told Republicans that they should get behind immigration reform because “conservatism begins with facing facts...”
Yeah, good luck with that.

Teachers, Again

Teachers - Will We Ever Learn? - NYTimes.com:
...In America, both major teachers’ unions and the organization representing state education officials have, in the past year, called for raising the bar for entering teachers; one of the unions, the American Federation of Teachers, advocates a “bar exam.” Ideally the exam should not be a one-time paper-and-pencil test, like legal bar exams, but a phased set of milestones to be attained over the first few years of teaching. Akin to medical boards, they would require prospective teachers to demonstrate subject and pedagogical knowledge — as well as actual teaching skill...

Stewart In China

How ‘The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’ Blew Up in China : The New Yorker:

Jon Stewart has decided, as he put it this week, that he might be working the wrong continent. In a segment called “Big Ratings in Giant China,” Stewart expounded on his recent discovery that he is racking up millions of hits, and thousands of favorable comments, from Chinese viewers, who see the show in scattered subtitled clips posted on Chinese sites...

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Vermont Close To Decriminalization

Vt. House backs marijuana decriminalization
The Vermont House gave preliminary approval Friday to a bill that would change the offense of possessing up to an ounce of marijuana from a misdemeanor crime to a civil offense similar to a speeding violation...

Friday, April 12, 2013

Obama The Awful

Obama Meeting With Wall Street Executives - Meeting With All The Wrong People - Esquire
...The same week in which he announced his intention to renege partially on eight decades of Democratic social policy, and to do so in the face of ongoing economic neurasthenia brought on by a whopping huge economic collapse, he goes out of his way to meet with the men whose recklessness and marginal criminality brought on the whopping huge economic collapse in the first place, so they will help him sell measures that will hurt the people who already are suffering from the effects of the whopping big recession these guys caused...

Censoring Thatcher Satire

Thatcher song joins list of tunes BBC censored - Houston Chronicle
A 70-year-old song is giving the BBC a headache.

The radio and television broadcaster has agonized over whether to play "Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead," a tune from "The Wizard of Oz" that is being driven up the charts by opponents of Margaret Thatcher as a mocking memorial to the late British prime minister...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Comment Of The Day: SS Cat Food Edition

Rachel Maddow Shreds David Axlerod - Very Depressing Television - Esquire
Charley James · Top Commenter
When I watched David Axelrod last night, the only thing that kept me from suffering an uncontrollable bout of dry heaves was Rachel Maddow stopping him cold every time he tried wandering into some third dimension.

For one thing, Social Security is not in trouble now or in the immediate future. And as everyone from Paul Krugman to Dean Baker to everyone else who knows what they're talking about has said repeatedly, all that the program needs to be solvent forever (as opposed to being solvent until sometime late in the 2020s) is to raise the cap on earnings. What's magical about $113,000; why not include all income from all sources in the Social Security premium.

OWS Evolving

Simply Left BehindThe Non-Rapturist's Guide To The Galaxy: Freedom Is Free. Fascism Has A Price
...And after the Sandy Hook slaughter, OWS branched off into Occupy the NRA to bring facts to the people who needed to learn the truth about gun control and gun ownership in America. You can find them on Facebook, if you want to read more.

This really has turned into a people’s movement, despite what growing pains it endures. It does my heart good to know this.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ding! Dong!

'Wizard of Oz' song hits UK charts after Margar...
The death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has sent a 74-year-old song, "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead," flying into the UK charts, figures showed on Wednesday.

The song from the 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz" was top of Amazon's most downloaded chart on Wednesday after a social media campaign to promote the upbeat track as a way for detractors to "celebrate" the death of Britain's most divisive postwar leader...

Drone Restrictions

Florida Senate drones: Senate passes bill restricting police use of drones - South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
Florida may become the pioneer state for restricting the way law enforcement uses unmanned drone aircraft.

The Florida Senate Wednesday unanimously passed SB 92, that restricts how police could use of the quiet unmanned aircraft drones for searches. The bill requires that law enforcement agencies must first obtain a warrant from a judge – unless a person's life or property is believed to be in "imminent danger" or the Department of Homeland Security has declared a terrorist threat. A drone could also be used to stop a suspect from escaping, to prevent evidence from being destroyed or to search for a missing person...

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Where The End Of US Began

The Reagan Revolution is over - Salon.com
The reason the Onion’s spoof about Ronald Reagan being raised from the grave to lead today’s Republican Party still remains one of the funniest political satires in recent memory is because it rings so true. With the GOP in such disarray, you get the sense that the only thing that unifies the conservative movement is a visceral hatred of America’s first African-American president and a cultlike worship of the Gipper. You also get the sense that if Republican leaders could have, they would have done exactly what that Onion spoof suggested — reanimate the corpse of Ronald Reagan and run him for president in 2012 — and for good reason. According to a stunning new national poll released today by the National Geographic Channel, Reagan would have demolished Obama in a head-to-head match-up...

The Great American Lie

Robert Creamer: The Biggest Republican Lie -- 'America Is Broke'
The big lie in American politics today is that "America is broke" or "in this time of austerity we have to tighten our belts." America is not broke. We are not in a time of "scarcity" and when we buy into this fallacy, we contribute to political decisions that actually will do damage to our standard of living and that of our children...

...Remember that just over 12 years ago, under Bill Clinton, America had budget surpluses as far as the eye could see and the most prosperous economy in human history. Then George Bush and the Republicans cut taxes for the wealthy, conducted two wars on a credit card and intentionally tried to increase budget deficits so they could justify shrinking the size of the public sector and allowing big corporations and the wealthy to have a larger and larger share of the pie...

Biden Fuming At Gun Lickers

Biden: GOP filibuster threat 'embarrassing' - POLITICO.com
Vice President Joe Biden's frustration bordered on anger Tuesday as he scolded Republican senators for their "embarrassing" threats to block votes on gun legislation as the push that began after the Newtown shooting approached its make-or-break moment.

“The climax of this tragedy could be we're not even going to get a vote,” he warned. “Imagine how this makes us look.” The threats, he said, at another point in his remarks, are "an embarrassing thing to say..."

The Other Thatcher

The woman who wrecked Great Britain - Salon.com
Really, it’s hard to argue with former London mayor Ken Livingstone, who remembered Thatcher on Sky News yesterday:

She created today’s housing crisis. She created the banking crisis. And she created the benefits crisis. It was her government that started putting people on incapacity benefit rather than register them as unemployed because the Britain she inherited was broadly full employment. She decided when she wrote off our manufacturing industry that she could live with two or three million unemployed, and the benefits bill, the legacy of that, we are struggling with today. In actual fact, every real problem we face today is the legacy of the fact that she was fundamentally wrong...

Mitch Bugged

McConnell campaign alleges it was bugged, seeks FBI investigation - First Read
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign has asked federal authorities to help it identify the source of a recording of private strategy sessions earlier this year.

McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton said Tuesday that the campaign is working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney's office in Louisville to uncover who recorded a Feb. 2 meeting in Kentucky – attended by McConnell himself -- which was published earlier today by the liberal magazine Mother Jones...

Monday, April 08, 2013

Reid Talks Tough--Again

Reid Threatens Filibuster Reform With Nuclear Option | TPMDC
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) threatened in his most explicit terms yet to use the so-called nuclear option to weaken the filibuster if Republicans keep blocking judicial and other nominees from coming to a vote...

The Race To The Bottom

Jamison Doran: An Open Letter to the North Carolina Legislature
...North Carolina is quickly becoming a national laughingstock, on par with some of the more, shall we say "backwards" states in our union. Friends in D.C. often greet me with, "What the hell is going on down in your home state?" I'm getting awfully tired of trying to defend the state as a whole by writing those in the legislature in Raleigh off as ideologues. It is getting harder and harder to do so.

In this "race to the bottom" my only hope is your utter disregard for what is good and right in the state helps bring people together to voice their outrage over what you're doing. So when the time comes we're mobilized to take our state back and out of the hands of the likes of all of you.

I know I'll be ready to take back the state I love dearly.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Calling A Spade A Spade

NRA's LaPierre "reminds me of the clowns at the circus," Malloy says - CBS News
Gov. Dan Malloy, D-Conn., whose state was wracked by tragedy in December when a gunman killed 20 small children and six faculty members at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., slammed the National Rifle Association Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," saying NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre "reminds me of the clowns at the circus - they get the most attention."

"This guy is so out of whack, it's unbelievable," Malloy said, saying the NRA simply will not compromise "on anything to do with guns."

Instead, Malloy said, the NRA is protecting "the ability of the gun industry to sell as many guns to as many people as possible - even if they're deranged, mentally ill, a criminal background, they don't care. They want to sell guns..."

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Light In The Tunnel?

The Beginning of the End of Too-Big-to-Fail | Common Dreams
A funny thing, wonderful in its own small way, happened last week.

Amidst an endless series of votes on amendments to a federal budget bill, the United States Senate voted 99-0 in favor of an amendment to end subsidies to too-big-to-fail financial institutions.,,


Chained CPI and the Mistakes Obama’s Budget Keeps Making - Robert Schlesinger (usnews.com)
...But, he goes on to add, the notion that the double-pox caucus, or BipartisanThinkers as he calls them, will stop just blaming both sides is "an extremely forlorn hope":

More likely, the BipartisanThinkers will eventually redefine Obama's compromise position as Big Government liberalism and the center as the halfway point between that and Paul Ryan's plan to kill and eat the poor.

Why is that? Because Obama's new budget proposals aren't actually new. He has offered these things in public and in negotiations previously. Republicans have typically had one of two reactions. The first is ignorance – recall Ezra Klein's recounting a briefing with a senior Republican member of Congress who said that Obama's being open to chained CPI would be a gamechanger, not realizing that the offer was already on the White House website, "literally in bold print" as Klein noted...

This path is well-worn. We will never support SS cuts, Obama, no matter how you try to package them.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Kids Go Hungry

No noon meal for kids in debt at middle school - CNN.com
Sorry, kid. No money, no lunch.

Students at an Attleboro, Massachusetts, middle school went hungry this week, if they had a negative balance on their pre-paid lunch cards...

More NC Craziness

The NC GOP jumps the shark | NC Policy Watch
...The same week the resolution dominated the headlines, Senate Education Committee Chair Jerry Tillman convinced a committee not to require criminal background checks for charter school teachers. The obsession with charters and vouchers to undermine public education is so strong that even children’s safety is apparently not a concern.

A House committee voted to repeal renewable energy standards that more than 80 percent of people in the state support.

Bills were filed to use the state tax code to penalize parents if their children in college have the gall to register and vote in the town where they attend school. The Senate voted to repeal the Racial Justice Act, sending a message that racial bias in the death penalty is not their concern.

Lawmakers approved Governor Pat McCrory’s appointment of a man to the State Board of Education who not only favors voucher schemes but doesn’t seem to think that gay and lesbian students deserve protection from bullying.

McCrory himself held a press conference to announce he was turning over the state Medicaid program that takes care of the most vulnerable people in the state to the profiteers on Wall Street...

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Zen Karma: The Sound Of One Shoe Dropping

This is Where the World’s Richest People Hide Their Money - The Daily Beast
...The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a group of news outlets including The Washington Post, Le Monde, Radio Free Europe, and the BBC, unearthed a trove of 2.5 million files related to offshore accounts of individuals and countries from the United States to Azerbaijan. ICIJ says these documents represent the “biggest stockpile of inside information about the offshore system ever obtained by a media organization...”

Global Cooling?

Twenty-year hiatus in rising temperatures has climate scientists puzzled | The Australian
...Whitehouse argues that whatever has happened to make temperatures remain constant requires an explanation because the pause in temperature rise has occurred despite a sharp increase in global carbon emissions...

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

HRC Is Back

Hillary Clinton returns to public stage as 2016 watch begins - latimes.com
Hillary Rodham Clinton returned to the public stage Tuesday night for the opening scene in what many expect to be a carefully plotted performance concluding with another presidential try...

Oh, and do the world and the DemocratIC Party a favor, don't call her "Hillary" unless you know her personally. She deserves the same courtesy as any male, hence my monicker for her: HRC.

NC Losing Its Mind

North Carolina Attempts To Declare ‘Official State Religion’
What would happen if a state like North Carolina declared an “official state religion?” It would be pretty messy for a lot of reasons, but one of the big “benefits” to doing so would be exemption from the Constitution and court rulings (otherwise known as “America” and “the law”).

But that’s exactly what Republican state legislators in North Carolina are proposing. A bill in the legislature would allow an official state religion to be declared, which could be considered a sort-of backdoor secession strategy. That doesn’t seem to be entirely the motivation of the two Rowan County lawmakers who filed the bill Monday. Instead, they say that “is sovereign” and that the courts can’t block them “from making laws respecting an establishment of religion...”

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Conflicting Conflicts Of Interest

Authors Of NRA's School Safety Report Sell Security Gear And Training | Blog | Media Matters for America
Several members of a National Rifle Association-assembled taskforce to prevent gun violence in schools, which proposed increasing the number of armed individuals in schools, are employed by a firm that provides training and gear, including ammunition, to security personnel...

More self-serving crap from the American Right, otherwise know as CONservatives.

New Body Armor Coming

Nanofoam Works As Body Armor : Discovery News
The Army’s research and development arm has funded a three-year research program at University of California, San Diego investigating nanofoam for protection -- the first foam armor endeavor ever, the college said...

Monday, April 01, 2013

Corruption In The Classroom

Atlanta School Reform Scam - Yet Another Education Reform Scam - Esquire
...The primary corrupting agent in the actual education process is the standardized test. It is the collateralized debt obligation of the education "reform" scam. Using standardized testing to measure anything, let alone using it as a basis for whether or not people can keep their jobs or not, is an open invitation to chicanery of all kinds, but especially that which involved massaging the numbers. Standardized testing is a Procrustean bed fitted with a Magic Fingers device. Once you've introduced the corrupting agent, then the corrupting agent forces on you a system of punishment and rewards that eventually guarantees that you and your whole system will look like jackasses...

Standardized tests and the people who push them are evil.

More Gloom And Doom

Sundown in America - NYTimes.com
...So the Main Street economy is failing while Washington is piling a soaring debt burden on our descendants, unable to rein in either the warfare state or the welfare state or raise the taxes needed to pay the nation’s bills. By default, the Fed has resorted to a radical, uncharted spree of money printing. But the flood of liquidity, instead of spurring banks to lend and corporations to spend, has stayed trapped in the canyons of Wall Street, where it is inflating yet another unsustainable bubble.

When it bursts, there will be no new round of bailouts like the ones the banks got in 2008. Instead, America will descend into an era of zero-sum austerity and virulent political conflict, extinguishing even today’s feeble remnants of economic growth...

The Daily Flashback: The Christian Founding

Martyrdom of Mary Dyer
...In 1658, religious intolerance in Boston reached a a new height, when a law was passed banishing Quakers under "pain of death." When Mary Dyer learned that two of her friends were jailed in Boston, she went to visit them in 1659, and was herself thrown in jail. In September of that year Mary Dyer and her two friends were released, but they were promised that they would be executed if they returned. Less than a month later, Mary Dyer, in the company of other Friends, was back in Boston resolved to "look the bloody laws in the face"...