Leon Haywood (born February 11, 1942, Houston, Texas) is an American funk and soul singer, best known for his song “I Wanta Do Something Freaky To You”. The song was sampled on two of Dr. Dre‘s singles, “Nuthin’ But a “G” Thang” and “The Wash,” although his name was improperly cited on The Chronic album as “L. Hayward.” The song was also sampled on the song “Shuda Beena B-Dog” on Bangin’ on Wax & “G’s & Loc’s” on Bangin’ on Wax 2… The Saga Continues, Redman track “Rockafella“, on Redman’s Dare Iz a Darkside album, and on the track “Mobster’s Anthem”, from Twista’s Adrenaline Rush. Mariah Carey also sampled that song for her 2002 album Charmbracelet for the song “You Had Your Chance“, putting Mr. Haywood as one collaborator. Basement Jaxx also used the bass line from “Don’t Push It, Don’t Force It” in 1999 for the song “Red Alert” for the “Remedy” album.
Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 06:00 PM PDT
Minnesota government shutdown: Compromise still anathema to Republicans+*
That didn’t take long:
Gov. Mark Dayton, House Speaker Kurt Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch met for about an hour Tuesday afternoon. It was their first time in a room together after budget talks fell apart late Thursday.
Gov. Mark Dayton (D) has compromised repeatedly, dropping his initial $37 billion budget proposal to $35.8 billion, then dropping his call for a tax increase on the top 2% of earners to just the top 0.3%, those making more than $1 million per year. Republican leaders of the legislature countered by demanding that he make concessions on abortion and stem cells.
In a radio interview Tuesday morning, Dayton appeared ready to compromise further but not yet to collapse completely—and that appears to be the only thing Republicans will accept. Illustrating the Republican take on the matter, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty is bragging about how he shut down the state’s government back in 2005. In this atmosphere, it’s extremely hard to imagine that a independent bipartisan commission being put together by Walter Mondale and Arne Carlson will have much impact.
Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 01:06 PM PDT
HELL YES! Joe Biden tells Union Members who vote GOP they are screwing themselves+*
Reason #5412 why I love Joe Biden.
Here is the Vice President addressing a convention held by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
“And don’t any of you, by the way, any of you guys vote Republican,” the garrulous Vice President started to say, after which he caught himself. “I’m not supposed to say, this isn’t political, I’m not supposed to say this.”
The crowd cheered him on.
“Guys!” Biden continued. “Let me put it this way! Don’t come to me if you do! You’re on your own, Jack!”
At another point, the Vice President told the crowd, “Your logo is a horse’s head. Theirs should be the horse’s other end.”
“Look at Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, Florida, Pennsylvania. Did you ever think in 2011 you would be fighting for the right to work for less again?” asked the vice president. “What in God’s name did any organized labor union do to the collapse of this economy?”
RIDE OR DIE JOE!
“I’ve known some really good politicians in my time, people who really knew how to hammer out coalitions and get things done. It wasn’t always pretty, of course, but they managed some semblance of actual governance and moved the ball down the field. The Tea Party gang has an entirely different problem: A base made up of voters who don’t accept that compromise, by definition, is inherent in a political process.”
“That sort of binary thinking is killing this country.”
“Now, you have a group of freshman Congress members who won election by promising that things were black and white, and they’re going to be punished for illustrating that, as extreme as they were, they have to compromise on at least some things. It would be funny if I wasn’t dreading an even more extreme crop the next time:
It is miles to go before the 2012 Congressional races begin in earnest, but already some of the 87 freshmen who helped the Republicans win back the House last year are bracing for a challenge from within the party. At least half a dozen potential primary challengers to freshmen are considering a run, and there is heated chatter about more.”
“Now, to some of the impatient and ideological voters who sent them to Washington to change things, the new House members may be seen as the establishment, and they face the disconcerting prospect of immediately defending themselves in the political marketplace.”
Tweety said it tonight — they would go against their country in order to hurt this President.
Yes; I heard him say it. We knew it all along, and so did he and the rest of the pundits.
Politico is full of right-wing clowns.
Politico is infested with right wing nuts and at times their commentary is rank bs but often times I have to sift through their bullshit and get to the facts!
July 05, 2011 3:20 PM
GOP concludes consumer safety is overrated
By Steve Benen
In 2007, following a series of scandalous incidents, federal officials created on online consumer-product-safety database, allowing Americans to access free information about the safety records of household products. It passed the House unanimously, sailed through the Senate, and was signed into law by George W. Bush.
And why wouldn’t it? Why would even the most unhinged Republican reject giving Americans free access to such materials? Or as Rachel Maddow asked a few months ago, “Dear Lord, who is going to object to consumer product safety information being put online?”
David Lazarus has an interesting answer to that question.
What is it about consumer protection that Republican lawmakers don’t like? Is it that they want to see their constituents fleeced and flimflammed by businesses? Is it that they don’t care?
Or is it something as craven as carrying water for corporate interests simply because that’s where the money is?
Whatever the reason, the Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee has approved a spending bill that not only slashes the budget of the Consumer Product Safety Commission but also cuts off all funding for a recently launched database of product-safety complaints.
The online database is one of the most important consumer tools to emerge from Washington in years. It enables people to report potentially faulty or harmful products, as well as to research goods before making a purchase.
Republican Rep. Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri took the lead on this, and has struggled to explain why. There’s no great mystery here: “She raised more than $2 million in contributions in the 2009-10 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In February, Emerson received an Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence from the National Assn. of Manufacturers for her ‘consistent support of manufacturers and their employees across the United States.’”
The other crusader on this is Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), who just happens to be the congressman from Koch Industries.
The point of the database couldn’t be any more of a no-brainer. The Consumer Safety Product Commission has valuable information, but faces challenges in reaching the public. For very little money, the government has created an online resource that will help families make more informed choices, and create a new incentive for manufacturers to put safe products on the market. As Michael Lipsky explained recently, “One would think it hard to find a politician who opposes reducing preventable dangers to children.”
Meet the Republican Party of 2011.
WHOA…It may be time to dump Verizon wireless!
“Verizon Wireless on Tuesday became the latest U.S. mobile data carrier to announce that it would implement usage-based pricing for Internet access, claiming the new fees would mean light users no longer “subsidize” those who rely on the company’s current unlimited data plans.”
“Though the company currently offers a $30-per-month “unlimited” data plan for smartphone owners, a spokesperson said that would not be available for new customers after July 7.”
“‘In its place, the company will offer data packages ranging from $10 for 75 megabytes, up to $80 for 10 gigabytes, with overage fees at $10 for every additional gigabyte downloaded. ‘Customers with the $30-a-month unlimited data plans who upgrade their phones after July 7 will be allowed to keep their plan, Verizon said.'”
“AT&T, Verizon’s largest competitor, offers a similar pricing structure for mobile data, but its caps also extend to home-based DSL connections. T-Mobile as well has switched to tiered pricing for mobile data, but it simply slows Internet connections after a certain amount of data is consumed, as opposed to charging fees.”
“Sprint, the third largest carrier in the U.S., remains the last mobile provider to still offer unlimited Internet access at a flat monthly rate.”
“If you think President Obama is a failure, or you’re “disappointed” in him, the problem pretty much has to be you. So far, this president has done most of what he said he would do, and he’s only halfway through his first term. Not only is he NOT a “failure,” he’s pretty much the opposite. Hell; he even took out Osama bin Laden, something Bush couldn’t do in eight years. Of course, Bush also said several times that he really didn’t care bout bin Laden, anyway…”
“Is he perfect? No, he’s human. Does he deserve some criticism? Sure. But criticism about certain specific problems is one thing; taking on an overall “Obama sucks” meme not only has the potential to put another Bush into power, but it’s also a lie to say, or even imply, he’s a lousy president.”
“Barack-obama Here is a PARTIAL list of Obama’s accomplishments so far. Unlike many lists, I actually include a link to details. I also update this list regularly, so check back often.”
“Anytime someone, right OR left, tells you Obama sucks, or is a “disappointment,” show them this list and tell them to kiss a part of your body not usually considered pleasant to kiss. The first section alone should make them sit down and shut up.”
Despite the characterizations of some, Obama’s success rate in winning congressional votes on issues was an unprecedented 96.7% for his first year in office. Though he is often cited as superior to Obama, President Lyndon Johnson’s success rate in 1965 was only 93%. http://n.pr/i3d7cY
Within days after taking office, he signed an Executive Order ordering an audit of government contracts, and combating waste and abuse. http://1.usa.gov/dUvbu5
Created the post of Chief Performance Officer, whose job it is to make operations more efficient to save the federal government money. http://n.pr/hcgBn1
On his first full day, he froze White House salaries. http://on.msnbc.com/ewJUIx
He appointed the first Federal Chief Information Officer to oversee federal IT spending. http://www.cio.gov
He committed to phasing out unnecessary and outdated weapons systems, and also signed the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act to stop waste, fraud and abuse in the defense procurement and contracting system. http://bit.ly/hOw1t1 http://bit.ly/fz8GAd
Through an executive order, he created the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. http://bit.ly/hwKhKa
Improving the Economy, Preventing Depression
He pushed through and signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, otherwise known as “the stimulus package,” despite the fact that not one Republican voted for that bill. In addition, he launched recovery.gov, so that taxpayers could track spending from the Act. http://1.usa.gov/ibiFSs http://1.usa.gov/e3BJMk
In his first year, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created and sustained 2.1 million jobs and stimulated the economy 3.5%. http://reut.rs/i46CEE
He completed the massive TARP financial and banking rescue plan, and recovered virtually all of its costs. http://1.usa.gov/eA5jVS http://bit.ly/eCNrD6
He created the Making Home Affordable home refinancing plan. http://1.usa.gov/goy6zl
He oversaw the creation of more jobs in 2010 alone than Bush did in eight years. http://bit.ly/hrrnjY
He oversaw investment in updated and improved manufacturing processes. http://bit.ly/fJEyDI
He also doubled funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership which is designed to improve manufacturing efficiency. http://bit.ly/eYD4nf
He signed the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act giving the federal government more tools to investigate and prosecute fraud in every corner of the financial system. It also created a bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to investigate the financial fraud that led to the economic meltdown. http://abcn.ws/g18Fe7
He signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act, which was designed to to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive credit card practices. http://1.usa.gov/gIaNcS
He increased infrastructure spending after years of neglect. http://bit.ly/f77aOw
He signed the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, expanding on the Making Home Affordable Program to help millions of Americans avoid preventable foreclosures. The bill also provided $2.2 billion to help combat homelessness, and to stabilize the housing market. http://bit.ly/eEpLFn
Through the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009, he and Congressional Democrats provided tax credits to first-time home buyers, which helped the U.S. housing market recovery. http://bit.ly/dZgXXw http://bit.ly/gORYfL
He initiated a $15 billion plan designed to encourage increased lending to small businesses.
He created business.gov, which allows for online collaboration between small businesses and experts re managing a business. (The program has since merged with SBA.gov.) http://www.business.gov
He played a lead role in getting the G-20 Summit to commit to a $1.1 trillion deal to combat the global financial crisis. http://nyti.ms/gHlgp5
He took steps to improve minority access to capital. http://bit.ly/f9xVE7
He created a $60 billion bank to fund infrastructure improvements such as roads and bridges. http://bit.ly/e1SSaQ
He implemented an auto industry rescue plan, and saved as many as 1 million jobs. http://bit.ly/ibhpxr Many are of the opinion that he saved the entire auto industry, and even the economy of the entire Midwest. http://bit.ly/gj7mt5
Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he saved at least 300,000 education jobs, such as teachers, principals, librarians, and counselors that would have otherwise been lost. http://1.usa.gov/ez30Dc
Provided funding to states and the Department of Homeland Security to save thousands of police and firefighter jobs from being cut during the recession. http://bit.ly/g0IKWR
He used recovered TARP money to fund programs at local housing finance agencies in California, Florida, Nevada, Arizona and Michigan. http://on.msnbc.com/i1i8eV
Crafted an Executive order stablishing the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability to assist in financial education for all Americans. http://bit.ly/eyqsNE
Wall Street Reforms and Consumer Protection
Ordered 65 executives who took bailout money to cut their own pay until they paid back all bailout money. http://huff.to/eAi9Qq
He pushed through and got passed Dodd-Frank, one of the largest and most comprehensive Wall Street reforms since the Great Depression. http://bit.ly/hWCPg0 http://bit.ly/geHpcD
He made it so that banks could no longer use YOUR money to invest in high-risk financial instruments that work against their own customers’ interests. http://bit.ly/fnTayj
He supported the concept of allowing stockholders to vote on executive compensation. http://bit.ly/fnTayj
He wholly endorsed and supported the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of 2009 that would close offshore tax avoidance loopholes. http://bit.ly/esOdfB http://bit.ly/eG4DPM
He made a deal with Swiss banks that permits the US government to gain access to the records of criminals and tax evaders. http://bit.ly/htfDgw
He established a Consumer Protection Financial Bureau designed to protect consumers from financial sector excesses. http://bit.ly/fnTayj
Civil Rights and Anti-Discrimination
He advocated for and signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which made it a federal crime to assault anyone based on his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. http://bit.ly/gsMSJ7
He pushed through and signed a repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy that forced soldiers to lie to fight for their country, and put our troops at risk by disqualifying many qualified soldiers from helping. http://bit.ly/fdahuH
He appointed Kareem Dale as the first ever Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy. http://1.usa.gov/fi5IY0
He extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. http://1.usa.gov/g2RLCj
He’s appointed more openly gay officials than anyone in history. http://bit.ly/g1lA7D
He signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, restoring basic protections against pay discrimination for women and other workers. This was after the GOP blocked the bill in 2007. Only 5 Republican Senators voted for the bill. http://bit.ly/fT3Cxg
Wrote and signed an Executive Order establishing a White House Council on Women and Girls to ensure that all Cabinet and Cabinet-level agencies evaluate the effect of their policies and programs on women and families. http://bit.ly/e1puTk
He expanded funding for the Violence Against Women Act. http://1.usa.gov/dSbI0x
He provided a $20 billion increase for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps). http://nyti.ms/gfLqyM
He signed an Executive Order that established the White House Office of Urban Affairs. http://wapo.st/eWECA8
Improved Foreign Relations and American Status Abroad
He visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any previous president during his first six months in office. http://bit.ly/hZycda
As he promised, he gave a speech at a major Islamic forum in Cairo early in his administration. http://nyti.ms/dKvY4g
He did much to restore America’s reputation around the world as a global leader that does the “right thing” in world affairs, at least according to the rest of the world. http://bit.ly/h743y7 http://bit.ly/ho4TCr
He re-established and reinforced our partnership with NATO and other allies on strategic international issues. http://1.usa.gov/e7QuDj
He established a new U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. http://1.usa.gov/eX28DP
He established new, more reasonable policies in our relations with Cuba, such as allowing Cuban-Americans to visit their families and send money to support them. http://n.pr/hY3Kwa http://nyti.ms/emQBde
He ordered the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay. It was Republicans (and a smattering of Democrats) who prevented him from following through. http://bit.ly/eW6CVF
Ordered a review of our detention and interrogation policy, and prohibited the use of torture, or what Bush called “enhanced interrogation.” He ordered interrogators to limit their actions to the Army Field manual. http://bit.ly/g6MTuC
He ordered all secret detention facilities in Eastern Europe and elsewhere to be closed. http://bbc.in/h6N9ax
He released the Bush torture memos. http://bit.ly/hWJ5z0
On his second day in office, he signed a detailed Executive Order that banned torture, reversed all Bush torture policies, and put the United States in compliance with the Geneva Convention. http://1.usa.gov/dL6Zve http://nyti.ms/hzWWys
Better Approach to “Defense”
Created a comprehensive new strategy for dealing with the international nuclear threat. http://1.usa.gov/gDX1nE
He authorized a $1.4 billion reduction in Star Wars program in 2010. http://1.usa.gov/gLFZl2
He restarted nuclear nonproliferation talks and built up the nuclear inspection infrastructure/protocols to where they had been before Bush. http://lat.ms/gkcl3i
He signed and pushed to ratification a new SALT Treaty. http://bit.ly/f3JVtw
He created and executed a plan to end our involvement in Iraq in a responsible manner, and followed through. http://nyti.ms/fHTfrJ
Through the Defense Authorization Act, he reversed the Bush Administration and committed to no permanent military bases in Iraq. http://bit.ly/hk73OJ
He developed the first comprehensive strategy with regard to Afghanistan and Pakistan designed to facilitate the defeat of al Qaeda and the withdrawal of most troops, as well as the rebuilding of Afghanistan. http://wapo.st/ee4Xcs
He returned our focus to Afghanistan, stabilized the country, and began the process of withdrawing our troops from the country. http://bit.ly/lNXUna
Treating Soldiers and Veterans with Respect
He made sure that families of fallen soldiers could be on hand when the body arrives at Dover AFB, by providing funding for it. He also ended the media blackout on coverage of the return of fallen soldiers. http://nyti.ms/glqN66 http://bbc.in/gWSSkA
He funded Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with an extra $1.4 billion to improve veterans’ services. http://1.usa.gov/huhqfo
He provided the troops with better body armor. http://bit.ly/hzSv2h
Created the Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record program for military personnel, in order to improve the quality of their medical care. http://1.usa.gov/f4yaxW
He put an end to the Bush-era stop-loss policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan beyond their enlistment date. (personal note: my son will be in harm’s way for six fewer months with Obama as president, so you know I love this one.) http://nyti.ms/e2YQ7Q
He supported and signed the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act, which made more money available to enable better medical care for veterans. http://1.usa.gov/fN4ur1
He ushered through the largest spending increase in 30 years for the Department of Veterans Affairs for improved medical facilities, and to assist states in acquiring or constructing state nursing homes and extended care facilities. http://1.usa.gov/gY8O3x
He created the Green Vet Initiative, which provided special funding to the Labor Department to provide veterans with training in green jobs. http://bit.ly/epwUQY
He oversaw a $4.6 billion expansion of the Veterans Administration budget to pay for more mental health professionals. http://bit.ly/gjzTxX
He has repeatedly increased funding for student financial aid, and at the same time cut the banks completely out of the process. http://bit.ly/gYWd30 http://bit.ly/e9c7Dr http://bit.ly/eEzTNq
Completely reformed the student loan program, to make it possible for students to refinance at a lower rate. http://nyti.ms/dMvHOt
Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , he invested heavily in elementary, secondary and post-secondary education. http://1.usa.gov/gGRIAr This includes a major expansion of broadband availability in K-12 schools nationwide http://bit.ly/fNDcj3 , as well as an expansion in school construction. http://bit.ly/fYwNrV
He passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which provided an extra $12.2 billion in funds. http://1.usa.gov/dQvtUe
Greater Transparency and Better Government
He signed an order banning gifts from lobbyists to anyone in the Executive Branch. http://bit.ly/fsBACN
He signed an order banning anyone from working in an agency they had lobbied in previous years. He also put strict limits on lobbyists’ access to the White House. http://nyti.ms/gOrznV
He held the first-ever first online town hall from the White House, and took questions from the public. http://bit.ly/gVNSgX
The Obama White House became the first to stream every White House event, live. http://1.usa.gov/kAgOP5
He established a central portal for Americans to find service opportunities. http://www.serve.gov
He provided the first voluntary disclosure of the White House Visitors Log in history. http://1.usa.gov/hQ7ttV
He crafted an Executive Order on Presidential Records, which restored the 30-day time frame for former presidents to review records, and eliminated the right for the vice president or family members of former presidents to do the reviews. This will provide the public with greater access to historic White House documents, and severely curtails the ability to use executive privilege to shield them.
He improved aspects of the Freedom of Information Act, and issued new guidelines to make FOIA more open and transparent in the processing of FOIA requests. http://1.usa.gov/gjrnp2
National Safety and Security
He’s restored federal agencies such as FEMA to the point that they have been able to manage a huge number of natural disasters successfully. http://bit.ly/h8Xj7z
Authorized Navy SEALS to successfully secure the release of a US captain held by Somali pirates and increased patrols off the Somali coast. http://nyti.ms/efBO7B
Has repeatedly beefed up border security http://bit.ly/mMYB4i
Killed Osama bin Laden. http://bit.ly/jChpgw
Science, Technology and Health Care
He created a Presidential Memorandum to restore scientific integrity in government decision-making.
Opened up the process for fast-tracking patent approval for green energy projects. http://bit.ly/j0KV2U
He eliminated the Bush-era restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. He also provided increased federal support for biomedical and stem cell research. http://bit.ly/h36SSO http://ti.me/edezge
Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he committed more federal funding, about $18 billion, to support non-defense science and research labs. http://nyti.ms/fTs9t7
He signed the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act, the first comprehensive attempt to improve the lives of Americans living with paralysis. http://bit.ly/fOi2rb
He expanded the Nurse-Family Partnership program, which provides home visits by trained registered nurses to low-income expectant mothers and their families, to cover more first-time mothers. http://bit.ly/jRRRJc
Conducted a cyberspace policy review. http://1.usa.gov/gmbdvC
Provided financial support for private sector space programs. http://bit.ly/fn8ucr
He oversaw enhanced earth mapping, to provide valuable data for agricultural, educational, scientific, and government use. http://bit.ly/dNTRyP
He ushered thorough a bill that authorized the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products. http://on.msnbc.com/fiKViB As a result, the FDA has Ordered Tobacco Companies to Disclose Cigarette Ingredients and banned sale of cigarettes falsely labeled as “light.”
Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he provided $500 million for Health Professions Training Programs. http://bit.ly/ecQSgA
He also increased funding for community-based prevention programs. http://bit.ly/frMPG3
He oversaw a 50% decrease in cost of prescription drugs for seniors. http://bit.ly/e5b1iq http://1.usa.gov/fVNkt9
He eliminated the Bush-era practice of forbidding Medicare from negotiating with drug companies on price. http://bit.ly/fOkG5b
Two weeks after taking office, he signed the Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act, which increased the number of children covered by health insurance by 4 million. http://bit.ly/fDEzGv
He held a quick press conference, and urged Congress to investigate Anthem Blue Cross for raising premiums 39% without explanation. Rep. Waxman responded by launching a probe, and Anthem Blue Cross put the increase on hold for two months. http://yhoo.it/e8Tj9C
Ushered through and signed the Affordable Health Care Act, which expanded health insurance coverage to 30 million more people, and ended many common insurance company practices that are often detrimental to those with coverage. He also established http://www.healthcare.gov/
Through the Affordable Health Care Act, he allowed children to be covered under their parents’ policy until they turned 26. http://nyti.ms/fNB26V
Through the Affordable Health Care Act, he provided tax breaks to allow 3.5 million small business to provide health insurance to their employees, and 29 million people will receive tax breaks to help them afford health insurance. http://nyti.ms/fNB26V
Through the Affordable Health Care Act, he expanded Medicaid to those making up to 133% of the federal poverty level. http://nyti.ms/ekMWpo
Through the Affordable Health Care Act, health insurance companies now have to disclose how much of your premium actually goes to pay for patient care. http://nyti.ms/fNB26V
Strengthening the Middle Class and Families
He worked to provide affordable, high-quality child care to working families. http://bit.ly/fNfidS
He cracked down on companies that were previously denying sick pay, vacation and health insurance, and Social Security and Medicare tax payments through abuse of the employee classification of independent contractor. http://nyti.ms/fOGLcj
Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , he cut taxes for 95% of America’s working families. http://bit.ly/eSEI4F
Under Obama, tax rates for average working families are the lowest they’ve been since 1950. http://bit.ly/f74pD8
He extended and fully funded the patch for the Alternative Minimum Tax for 10 years. http://bit.ly/eFeSdP
He extended discounted COBRA health coverage for the unemployed from 9 months to 15 months, and he’s extended unemployment benefits several times. http://aol.it/evtVxD http://nyti.ms/emrqKJ http://bit.ly/hOtIpg http://bit.ly/fTT7kz
Environment and Energy
He fast-tracked regulations to allow states to enact federal fuel efficiency standards that were above federal standards. http://nyti.ms/e8e94x
He fast-tracked increased fuel economy standards for vehicles beginning with the 2011 model year. It was the first time such standards had been increased in a decade. http://politi.co/hiaPKM
He oversaw the establishment of an Energy Partnership for the Americas, which creates more markets for American-made biofuels and green energy technologies. http://bit.ly/lZp73y
His EPA reversed a Bush-era decision to allow the largest mountaintop removal project in US history. http://bit.ly/lP3yEL
He ordered the Department of Energy to implement more aggressive efficiency standards for common household appliances. http://1.usa.gov/g3MTbu
He ordered energy plants to prepare to produce at least 15% of all energy through renewable resources like wind and solar, by 2021. http://reut.rs/fV155p (As you can see, Republicans are trying hard to kill it.)
He oversaw the creation of an initiative that converts old factories and manufacturing centers into new clean technology centers. http://bit.ly/mjnq2R
Bypassed Republican opposition in Congress and ordered EPA to begin regulating and measuring carbon emissions. http://bit.ly/froaP5
His EPA ruled that CO2 is a pollutant. http://bit.ly/iQTSNN
He doubled federal spending on clean energy research. http://bit.ly/iN0sCE
He pushed through a tax credit to help people buy plug-in hybrid cars. http://bit.ly/j8UP5Y
He created a program to develop renewable energy projects on the waters of our Outer Continental Shelf that will produce electricity from wind, wave, and ocean currents. http://1.usa.gov/fgfRWq
He reengaged in the climate change and greenhouse gas emissions agreements talks, and even proposed one himself. He also addressed the U.N. Climate Change Conference, officially reversing the Bush era stance that climate change was a “hoax.” http://bit.ly/dX6Vj3 http://bit.ly/fE2PxK http://nyti.ms/hfeqvv
He fully supported the initial phase of the creation of a legally-binding treaty to reduce mercury emissions worldwide. http://bit.ly/eJ6QOO
He required states to provide incentives to utilities to reduce their energy consumption. http://bit.ly/lBhk7P
Following Bush’s eight year reign, he reengaged in a number of treaties and agreements designed to protect the Antarctic. http://bit.ly/fzQUFO
Created tax write-offs for purchases of hybrid automobiles, and later he and Democrats morphed that program into one that includes electric cars. http://bit.ly/glCukV
Mandated that federal government fleet purchases be for fuel-efficient American vehicles, and encouraged that federal agencies support experimental, fuel-efficient vehicles. http://bit.ly/h5KZqy http://1.usa.gov/fLWq5c http://1.usa.gov/hmUSbk
He strengthened the Endangered Species Act. http://bit.ly/hscjsH
His EPA improved boiler safety standards to improve air quality, and save 6500 lives per year. http://bit.ly/jYH7nt
Through the EPA, he took steps to severely limit the use of antibiotics in livestock feed, to increase their efficacy in humans. http://bit.ly/fBuWd2
He increased funding for National Parks and Forests by 10% http://bit.ly/fbJPjY
He has expanded trade agreements to include stricter labor and environmental agreements such as NAFTA. http://bit.ly/etznpY
He oversaw funding of the design of a new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History, which is scheduled to open on the National Mall in 2015. He protected the funding during the recent budget negotiations. http://on.fb.me/fD0EVO http://bit.ly/ff5Luv
Oversaw and passed increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. http://bit.ly/dFb8qF
He nominated Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Sotomayor is the first Hispanic Justice in the court’s history, and the women represent only the third and fourth women to serve on the court, out of a total of 112 justices. http://huff.to/eOChg6 http://bit.ly/i02wgP
He appointed the most diverse Cabinet in history, including more women than any other incoming president. http://bit.ly/dX6vNB
He eliminated federal funding for abstinence-only education, and he rescinded the global gag rule. http://bit.ly/eCFAI1 http://bit.ly/f92drF
He loosened the rules and allowed the 14 states that legalized medical marijuana to regulate themselves without federal interference. http://huff.to/eQfa7j
His FDA banned the use of antibiotics in livestock production. http://bit.ly/jUjLzo
Ushered through and signed national service legislation, increasing funding for national service groups, including triple the size of the Americorps program. http://bit.ly/idgQH5
Thank you, Milt Shook, for that much needed dose of reality…and truth!
Thanks for posting this, creolechild. Our commnunity who know and believe in all the POTUS is/has been doing can pass this on to the doubting Dons and Debbies.
U.S. health plans cut premiums for consumers with preexisting conditions
“Uninsured sick people got some good news recently, or some of them did, anyway. Starting
July 1, the Obama administration reduced the premiums by up to 40 percent in special high-risk insurance plans that the federal government is running in 17 states and the District.”
“These preexisting condition insurance plans, or PCIPs, were created under the 2010 health-care overhaul to provide guaranteed coverage to people who have medical conditions that often make them uninsurable in the individual insurance market.”
“On the low end, Mississippi will reduce premiums by 2 percent. Several states will cut monthly rates in the 15 to 25 percent range, including the District , which will reduce premiums by 18 percent. Six states, including Virginia, will reduce their premiums by 40 percent.”
“The change means that a 55-year-old District resident who would have owed $551 per month under the old rates for the standard plan will now owe $450. In Virginia, the same person’s premium would now be $297 monthly, compared with $498 before.”
This is going to turn out to be an environmental nightmare!…
“Last year was quite a year for oil and gas disasters. In addition to the BP blowout, there was a leak on BP’s TransAlaska pipeline, a million-gallon oil spill in Michigan, and a gas explosion that destroyed 37 homes and killed eight people in California. So it would seem like a lousy time for a Canadian company to propose building a pipeline, the Keystone XL, right through the middle of the continent—especially one that may be unnecessary and that even some oil companies think is overpriced.”
[Below, click on the interactive map’s hot spots to read more about the proposed pipeline route.]
“Starting in Hardisty, Alberta, TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline would pump 900,000 barrels of crude a day to refineries in Texas. Extracted from Canada’s tar sands, the crude is some of the dirtiest in the world, with a carbon footprint 20 percent higher (PDF) than conventional oil’s.”
“Because the pipeline crosses the border, it needs State Department approval. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said she’s “inclined to” okay the project in early 2011. Environmental groups are pleading with her to wait. Last July, the EPA flagged the Keystone XL proposal (PDF) for further review, citing concerns over air pollution, public safety, and spills. The Keystone XL would cross more than 70 rivers and streams (PDF), including the Missouri, Platte, and Arkansas.”
“TransCanada has told Nebraska landowners (PDF) it will claim eminent domain if they don’t let its pipeline pass through their land. ‘Some of the neighbors, they just said, ‘There’s no way to fight an oil company—we just have to sign off,’ says Merrick County farmer Randy Thompson.”
“The Ogallala Aquifer, which provides nearly one-third of the groundwater used to irrigate US crops, lies directly in the Keystone XL’s path. The pipeline would run four feet below the surface, which could pose a hazard in areas with shallow water tables. “Anytime it leaked, it would go directly into the water supply,” says Thompson.
The federal government has 88 inspectors overseeing 2.3 million miles of gas and oil pipelines. Between 2000 and 2009, there were 2,800 pipeline accidents, causing 160 deaths and more than $3.2 billion in damages. Maximum fine? $1 million.
“TransCanada says the new 1,661-mile pipeline is crucial for America’s energy independence: “Oil will flow from America’s good friend and neighbor—Canada—to help replace the five million barrels of oil the US imports daily from the Mideast and Venezuela.”
A Small Sampling of Bills House Dems Passed, GOP Senate Blocked Last Session
“In addition to the constant trashing of Obama’s actual record with lies and distortions, I’m also sick to death of claims that Democrats “had no spines” and couldn’t pass anything. Republicans held Congress from 1994-2006 and rigged the filibuster rules. If you’ll remember, they pretended to try to kill the filibuster, and in the process, ended up simplifying the rules, making it easier for a single senator to hold up a bill anonymously, and require 60 votes for cloture, to to release that hold.”
“Put simply, the SOLUTION to the problem in 2010 would have been to keep the House, and reduce the number of Republicans in the Senate. Instead, we had the Right Wing crying “Democrats can’t get anything done!” and the Left Wing crying, “Democrats can’t get anything done!” THAT is why Democrats lost so badly last year; instead of ofering up an alternate viewpoint, we basically echoed theirs. That’s what drove turnout down, and gave the GOP one of the biggest wins in their history.”
“Read these and tell me Democrats weren’t trying really hard to make things better. Again; these are bills that were PASSED by the Democratic House, and BLOCKED by 40-41 solid votes in the Senate. Compare these to the complete SHIT the current Republican-led House is producing, and then tell us again how there’s no difference between the two parties.”
“We really have to stop self-destructing. Democrats ARE much better than Republicans, the previous Democratic House, led by Nancy Pelosi, DID try like hell to make this country better. Again[,] this is a partial list.”
NOTE: THE LIST WAS TOO LONG TO POST. CLICK ON THE LINK TO READ THIS INFORMATION.
“Ever since this man came into office the Villagers have been screaming that he’s lost the Jewish vote. Guess they have no freaking idea what they’re talking about, as usual.”
“Jewish Americans gave President Barack Obama a 60% job approval rating in June, down from 68% in May, but statistically unchanged from 64% in April. Thirty-two percent of U.S. Jews now disapprove of the job Obama is doing, similar to their 30% average thus far in 2011.”
“Gallup’s monthly trend in Jewish approval of Obama continues to roughly follow the path of all Americans’ approval of the president, more generally, as it has since Obama took office in January 2009. The 14-percentage-point difference in the two groups’ approval ratings in June — 60% among U.S. Jews vs. 46% among all U.S. adults — is identical to the average gap seen over the past two and a half years. However, the monthly graph is somewhat variable due to the lower monthly sample saize of Jewish respondents (around 350).”
“Wow, Santorum is so stupid he just keeps on doubling down. Not fit for public speaking, let alone elected office. Via TP.”
… Yes, and I’m sure all the Jewish WH staffers and aquaintances are in his corner as well.
Yup…that is until it comes to the subject of Israel… Time will tell though so let me stop making unfounded assumptions.
“The United will lose its status as the world’s largest manufacturing economy by the end of 2011. Data released on Monday by IHS Global Insight, a US-based economics consultancy, in the Financial Times, tells us that America’s 110-year run as the world’s biggest manufacturing nation by output is nearly over. Who will emerge as number one, you guessed; China.”
“How far will China leave the United States behind in Manufacturing?
According to IHS, the US created 19.9 percent of world manufacturing output last year, compared with 18.6 percent in China. That means that output of manufactured goods by the US totaled $1,717 billion, ahead of China at $1,608 billion. However, the IHS says that this year China’s factory output in 2011 will reach $1,870 billion, putting it a fraction ahead of the projected US output.”
“We all know that globalism is bringing historic economic shifts, but this is coming years ahead of forecasts. In fact, the IHS predicted America would lose its number one position in 2009.”
“China already leads in technological competitiveness
In May, 2008 China surpassed the United States in a key measure of high tech competitiveness. The Georgia Institute of Technology’s bi-annual “High-Tech Indicators” found that China improved its “technological standing” by 9 points over the period of 2005 to 2007, with the United States and Japan suffering declines of 6.8 and 7.1 respectively. In Georgia Tech’s scale of one to 100, China’s technological standing now rests at 82.8, compared to the U.S. at 76.1. The United States peaked at 95.4 in 1999. China increased from 22.5 in 1996 to 82.8 in 2007….”
“China also leads in energy consumption- China has overtaken the United States as the world’s largest energy consumer, the International Energy Agency. China immediately questioned the report, claiming its calculations were ‘unreliable.'”
There are no words for this…
“This year, the Georgia legislature considered a bill that would require women to prove their miscarriages “occurred naturally” and weren’t secret abortions. In a similar vein, the Guardian reports that states including Mississippi and Alabama are charging dozens of women with murder or other serious crimes who have miscarried or had stillbirths:
“Across the US more and more prosecutions are being brought that seek to turn pregnant women into criminals.[…]
“In Alabama at least 40 cases have been brought under the state’s “chemical endangerment” law. Introduced in 2006, the statute was designed to protect children whose parents were cooking methamphetamine in the home and thus putting their children at risk from inhaling the fumes. Amanda Kimbrough is one of the women who have been ensnared as a result of the law being applied in a wholly different way.[…]”
“‘The baby was delivered by caesarean section prematurely in April 2008 and died 19 minutes after birth. Six months later Kimbrough was arrested at home and charged with “chemical endangerment” of her unborn child on the grounds that she had taken drugs during the pregnancy – a claim she has denied. ‘That shocked me, it really did,’ Kimbrough said. ‘I had lost a child, that was enough.'”
Good afternoon, 3Chics!
“….This year alone, Republicans have voted 7 times against ending billions in tax breaks to Big Oil and providing relief to America’s taxpayers and consumers:
May 5, 2011: Republicans voted against saying that if oil is taken from land owned by the American taxpayer, then it should benefit American families for the leases in the drilling bill.
May 5, 2011: Republicans rejected an effort to consider legislation that prohibits the Big Five oil companies from receiving tax breaks for domestic manufacturing in the 2004 international tax law.
April 15, 2011: House Republicans passed the GOP Budget which retains $40 billion in Big Oil tax loopholes and ends Medicare as we know it. The GOP Budget slashes investments in clean energy for an energy independent future by 70 percent – calling for drastic cuts in energy research and development, and the elimination of subsidies and tax benefits to spur wind, solar power and other alternative energy technologies, which they term “expensive handouts to uncompetitive sources of energy.”
March 9, 2011: Republicans unanimously voted against bringing up the Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act that makes it illegal to sell gasoline at excessive prices and prevents Big Oil from taking advantage of consumers and engaging in price gouging.
March 1, 2011: House Republicans unanimously voted against rolling back taxpayer subsidies for Big Oil. Republicans voted against an amendment to prohibit large oil companies from receiving certain tax breaks, like the domestic manufacturing deduction in the 2004 international tax law.
February 19, 2011: The Republican ‘So Be It’ Spending Bill slashed investments in the Commodities Futures Trading Commission – the agency charged with policing the country’s futures markets — by one-third at a time when speculation on energy futures, including oil, is at an all-time high. The world’s largest commodity trader, Goldman Sachs, recently told its clients that it believed speculators like itself had artificially driven the price of oil at least $20 higher than supply and demand dictate. That bill also cut funding for clean renewable energy including investments in wind and solar energy and advanced vehicle technologies and cutting-edge research for breakthrough technologies to fuel tomorrow.
February 18, 2011: 95% of House Republicans voted against closing Big Oil loopholes that cost taxpayers billions and making oil companies pay their fair share for drilling on public lands. To reduce the deficit, this amendment would have fixed a flaw in 1998 and 1999 leases in the Gulf of Mexico that allows oil companies to drill without paying any royalties that could cost American taxpayers up to $53 billion over the next 25 years.”
“While House Democrats passed multiple bills last Congress to lower gas prices, increase domestic production, and launch a cleaner, smarter, more cost-effective energy future that creates green jobs and reduces global warming, House Republicans voted against these bills and Senate Republicans blocked them from becoming law. See the Republican record of supporting of the Bush Administration’s ‘drill only’ energy policies that led to record profits for Big Oil, even greater dependence on foreign oil, and record energy costs in the 111th Congress…. ”
“‘Former GOP Sen. Alan Simpson blasted his intransigent GOP colleagues on the Hill today for failing to reach a deal on the deficit. The blunt-talking co-chairman of President Obama’s bipartisan fiscal reform commission slammed Republicans for kowtowing to Americans for Tax Reform head Grover Norquist (“Republicans can’t be in thrall to him”) and pushed Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to stand fast on the August 2 deadline. Surveying the lay of the current fiscal land, Simpson said,’We’re at 15 percent revenue, and historically it’s been closer to 20 percent.’ He added, ‘We’ve never had a war without a tax, and now we’ve got two. … Absolute bullshit.'”
Just when you think it can’t possibly get any worse–it does!
“The current field of 2012 GOP presidential candidates is pretty boring. You’ve got several grouchy old men, a pizza magnate, and a walking anal sex joke. So why not a white supremacist? Sure, the GOP has noted xenophobes like Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, but they lack the panache of an openly racist candidate. But that could soon change, as 1990s throwback David Duke prepares to embark on a tour of 26 states to feel out his chances of putting the “white” back in the White House.”
“Besides Duke, several other “racial realists” — among them Neo-Confederates, Neo-Nazis, Klansmen, and other assorted “white nationalists” — have their eyes on government offices across the country. Don Black, who runs the Stormfront white power message board, told The Daily Beast that he likes the Tea Party, but bemoans the fact that they’re little b*tches when it comes to being tagged as racists:
“‘Black says the Tea Party’s influence spurred hopes among his ideological soulmates-but that the initial excitement has given way to a realpolitik sense that the Stormfront crowd will have to go it alone. ‘Many of our people are involved in the Tea Party,’ says Black. ‘But much of their leadership is skittish when it comes to talking about racial realities. The Tea Party is a healthy movement but many are too conditioned to run like scared rabbits when called racists.'”
“Black added that white supremacist candidates are also realistic about their chances of being elected to office: ‘It’s impossible to get into the Senate or Congress but state legislatures or smaller offices can work.’ Another angry white man, the Neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement’s Brian Culpepper from Tennessee, told The Daily Beast, ‘We have people working with the most recent incoming class of freshmen in the House […] And they don’t even know it.’ Nice. And maybe their strategy of flying under the radar will work or, in some parts of the country, they don’t even need to. Either way, a David Duke 2012 campaign will be, uh, interesting to watch?”
“The hotel maid who accused former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault sued the New York Post and four of its reporters for libel on Tuesday for reporting that she was a prostitute.”
“‘The 32-year-old Guinean immigrant accused the Post of publishing defamatory articles between July 2-4’in an apparent desperate attempt to bolster its rapidly plunging sales.'”
“The suit filed in Manhattan state court seeks damages to be determined at trial for articles it said the Post knew were false or should have known were false before they were published.”
“A spokesman for the Post was not immediately available for comment.”
“On Friday prosecutors called into question the woman’s credibility for a series of lies about her background including a false story about being gang-raped on her application for U.S. asylum.”
“‘The Post reported on Saturday that the Sofitel housekeeper ‘was doing double duty as a prostitute, collecting cash on the side from male guests.’ An article the following day reported that the housekeeper ‘continued to work as a prostitute in a Brooklyn hotel where she was stashed by prosecutors.'”
“All of these statements are false, have subjected the plaintiff to humiliation, scorn and ridicule throughout the world by falsely portraying her as a prostitute or as a woman who trades her body for money and they constitute defamation and libel per se,” the suit said.
Good information; I hope the GOP voters are in total agreement with them, because if they aren’t…..
Well, all I can say is that the upcoming election is going to be very interesting, to say the least. And if voters don’t come out in force the Tea Party and other extremists may very well get their wish to “take their country back”–to the 1950s. (shudder)
Louder, Creolechild! Folks better recognize and get out to the polls and VOTE!
July 05, 2011 2:45 PM
Taking campaign deception to the Inception level
By Steve Benen
Mitt Romney lied when he said President Obama made the economy worse. Then he lied again, claiming he never made the claim. He then executed a rare flip-flop-flip, going back to his original position.
And how, pray tell, does the Republican frontrunner explain this mess?
The Romney camp says Romney only denied saying Obama made things worse in the context of what he understood to be a question about the stock market, which (inconveniently for his larger argument) is up around than 50% since Obama took office. But that spin is hogwash, as a full transcript of the exchange shows
Oh, for crying out loud. After making the bogus claim repeatedly for weeks, Romney was asked, “You continue to say that the economy is worse, but unemployment is lower than it was in 2009, the stock market was tumbling and it’s now above 12,000, and it is growing slowly, we just had a two percent [GDP] gain this last quarter. So how can you continue to say that things are worse when they really aren’t worse?” He replied, “I didn’t say that things are worse. What I said was that the economy hasn’t turned around.”
To claim that Romney was only responding to a question about the stock market is obviously not true. But just as important, if he was only referring to Wall Street, then why does Romney think the economy “hasn’t turned around,” since the Dow has nearly doubled over the last two years?
What we have here, ladies and gentleman, is a true rarity. Behold, Mitt Romney has taken campaign deception to the Inception level — only instead of a dream within a dream with in another dream, we have Romney lying, then lying about the lie, then lying about having lied about the other lie.
A three-tiered lie. It’s rather impressive, in its own mendacious way.
That said, Romney appears, at least for now, to be sticking to his first and third line, with no use for the second.
“He didn’t cause the recession as we know,” Mr. Romney said at a town-hall-style meeting [in New Hampshire]. “He didn’t make it better, he made things worse.”
Romney, doing an excellent imitation of a dumb person, went on to blame a cap-and-trade policy that doesn’t exist for an economic slowdown, as well as provisions of a health care law that (a) haven’t been implemented; and (b) actually help employers.
My straightforward of two-question exercise remains.
1. When Obama took office, the economy was shrinking. Now it’s growing. In what way is that “worse”?
2. When Obama took office, the economy was hemorrhaging jobs. Now it’s gaining jobs. In what way is that “worse”?
As best as I can tell, there are basically only three explanations. Romney is either intentionally trying to deceive the public and hoping no one will notice; he doesn’t know what “worse” means; or he considers a healthier economy worse than a deep recession.
Which is it, Mitt?
Cory Maye To Be Released From Prison
After 10 years of incarceration, and seven years after a jury sentenced him to die, 30-year-old Cory Maye will soon be going home. Mississippi Circuit Court Judge Prentiss Harrell signed a plea agreement Friday morning in which Maye pled guilty to manslaughter for the 2001 death of Prentiss, Mississippi, police officer Ron Jones, Jr.
Per the agreement, Harrell then sentenced Maye to 10 years in prison, time he has now already served. Maye will be taken to Rankin County, Mississippi, for processing and some procedural work. He is expected to be released within days.
Maye’s story, a haunting tale about race, the rural south, the excesses of the drug war, the inequities of the criminal justice system and a father’s instincts to protect his daughter, caught fire across the Internet and the then-emerging blogging world when I first posted the details on my own blog in late 2005.
Shortly after midnight on December 26, 2001, Maye, then 21, was drifting off to sleep in his Prentiss duplex as the television blared in the background. Hours earlier, he had put his 18-month-old-daughter to sleep. He was soon awoken by the sounds of armed men attempting to break into his home. In the confusion, he fired three bullets from the handgun he kept in his nightstand.
As he’d later testify in court, Maye realized within seconds that he’d just shot a cop. A team of police officers from the area had received a tip from an informant — later revealed to be a racist drug addict — that there was a drug dealer living in the small yellow duplex on Mary Street. It now seems clear that the police were after Jamie Smith, who lived on the other side of the duplex, not Maye or his live-in girlfriend Chenteal Longino. Neither Maye nor Longino had a criminal record. Their names weren’t on the search warrants.
Maye would later testify that as soon as he realized the armed men in his home were police, he surrendered and put up his hands. There were three bullets still left in his gun. But Maye had just shot a cop. And not just any cop. He shot Officer Ron Jones, Jr., the son of Prentiss Police Chief Ron Jones, Sr. Maye is black; Jones was white. And this was Jefferson Davis County, a part of Mississippi still divided by tense relations between races. Maye was arrested and charged with capital murder, the intentional killing of a police officer.
After a long series of delays, Maye was finally tried in 2004 in Marion County, Mississippi. Maye’s family shied away from retaining Bob Evans, the Prentiss public defender, a decision they’d later come to regret. Instead, they pooled their money and hired Ronda Cooper, an attorney in Jackson who made a number of critical mistakes during Maye’s trial. There were other problems with Maye’s trial as well, including testimony from Mississippi medical examiner Steven Hayne, who performed the autopsy on Jones. I’d later report on a number of questions about Hayne’s workload and credibility as an expert witness. He eventually resigned from the National Association of Medical Examiners and was barred from doing any more autopsies for Mississippi prosecutors.
The dreaded 3 am phone call
by Tim F.
When David Brooks and Richard Cohen pull nervously at their collars, it signals that the wealthy people’s party (not exclusively limited to the GOP) has realized that the emergency shutdown button on their tea party rabble monster might not work any more. Boehner is still their man, and grampa Mitch, but with Cantor and DeMint breathing down their necks they may not have enough caucus support to deliver (or at least deliver and keep their gavels).
The hail mary move will come when some very powerful people persuade Nancy Pelosi to make Congressional Democrats vote for a debt limit increase along with just enough Republicans to pass the bill. The existential crisis would go back to sleep for a couple more months and Republicans can go nuts with ads about Democrats voting for more debt. She took a pass when they tried that play with TARP, so she probably will not bite this time either.
Still. TARP went down while the proto-tea party still slumbered in back-bench oblivion. Today teahadists have primaried the bejeezus out of “moderate” Republicans, Bachmanzilla is awfully close to Tokyo and people in tall shiny towers are not a hundred percent confident that they know how to stop her. So who knows.
No Mistake: Why Michele Bachmann Is Trying to Rewrite History
The media have had a good time lately with Michele Bachmann’s double-down gaffe about how the Founding Fathers, including an eight-year-old John Quincy Adams, “worked tirelessly” to end slavery, despite writing it into the Constitution and owning slaves themselves.
Most reporters and pundits seem to assume this is another Palin-class face plant, along the lines of celebrating Paul Revere for warning the British and protecting gun rights. Bachmann is certainly capable of such bloopers, as in her announcement that the American Revolution started in New Hampshire.
But with the Founding Fathers and slavery story, there is a big difference. While Sarah Palin’s eye-darting improvs fairly scream “I didn’t do my homework,” in all likelihood Bachmann did do her homework on this one. It’s just that she’s reading from a different text than most of us.
Bachmann, like many on the right, is a follower of the self-taught historian David Barton, a leader in a rapidly spreading movement of Christian historical revisionism. Other fans include Mike Huckabee, Glenn Beck, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.
Barton is, among other things, an evangelical minister, author, former Texas Republican Party vice-chair and the founder of WallBuilders, which describes itself as “an organization dedicated to presenting America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built — a foundation which, in recent years, has been seriously attacked and undermined.”
Among Barton’s claims, as recounted in reports by People for the American Way and elsewhere:
•The Founders were evangelicals who intended America to be a Christian nation
•Republicans, not Democrats, have been in the forefront of civil rights progress
•And yes, the Founders worked tirelessly to end slavery.
The Republicans-as-civil-rights-champions argument, by the way, will be familiar to anyone who remembers North Carolina Congresswoman Virginia Foxx’s eye-popping 2009 assertion that Republicans, not Democrats, passed civil rights legislation in the 60’s.
Barton enjoys little respect from trained historians. He has been found to have faked quite a few of the quotations he has used to show that the founders wanted the Christian church and the state joined, not separated.
His claims about the Founders and slavery are based on uncontroversial evidence that some of the Founders disliked or had mixed feelings about the institution. But he uses that evidence to characterize slavery as a malign inheritance from the British (who ended it well before the US did) that the Founders fought to end, and to claim that liberals have deliberately smeared both the Founders and the Constitution by focusing on the negative side of the slavery legacy.
Barton believes such liberal bias distorts the history taught in our schools. An advisor to the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, he was able to play a role in the recent, controversial editing of school history texts in Texas, tilting them towards Christian revisionist, and pro-Republican, views.
The rewriting of history is a natural, and even unavoidable, consequence of the absolutism on both religion and the Constitution that characterizes Tea Party Republicanism, of which Bachmann is now the figurehead. Such absolutism requires believing that the founding text of your creed is complete and perfect, and that its authors were infallible. When reality and belief collide, reality has to give way.
So if the Founders owned slaves, and the Constitution said that was fine, there are only a few choices:
1.Slavery actually wasn’t all that bad, or
2.The Founders must have been trying to end slavery, and/or
3.There were more Founding Fathers than you think: we need to include that child prodigy John Quincy Adams.
Of course, there is a hate-crazed fringe that would be fine with some version of option 1. Bachmann is not above dog-whistling to people in or near this fringe, with comments about President Obama being “anti-American.” And neither is David Barton, who has been a guest speaker for the racist and anti-Semitic Christian Identity movement.
But (we can be grateful) option 1 is still off the table. So that leaves options 2 and 3.
But while it’s uncontroversial that some of the Founders did not like slavery, it’s also uncontroversial, or should be, that:
•Slavery was explicitly protected by the Constitution
•It took eight decades, a Civil War and — very uncomfortably for Constitutional originalists like Bachmann — a Constitutional amendment to end it
•And full legal equality for African Americans was not established until the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, under — more awkwardness — Democratic President Lyndon Johnson.
Uncontroversial, that is, unless you believe that reality is whatever you need it to be.
This is where Michele Bachmann, and a growing portion of the Republican Party, is coming from: if history doesn’t support your beliefs, change history. The same goes for any other body of evidence, whether about climate change, evolution, or the economy.
Court Blocks Kansas Abortion Rules — But State Planning New Set
A federal court blocked the state of Kansas from enacting new temporary regulations for abortion clinics that could have shut down two of the three clinics in the state — but state officials say they are devising an identical set of permanent regulations.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia granted a temporary injunction against the law, which requires all of the abortion clinics to be licensed annually under a new set of regulations by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Robert Moser, secretary of health and environment for the state, said the department will follow the law, but “Judge Murguia’s ruling is narrowly tailored and does not prevent KDHE from moving forward to establish permanent licensing regulations.”
According to the Topeka Capital-Journal:
The agency described the first set as temporary, which allowed it to avoid taking public comments and get the rules in place within weeks, though they could remain in effect afterward for only four months. The next set of rules would be considered permanent and require public comment.The Center for Women’s Health filed suit after failing to obtain a license, arguing that the new regulations “impose burdensome and costly requirements that are not medically necessary,” and were implemented in a way that “made it impossible for existing medical practices to obtain a license by the effective date.” Aid for Women in Kansas City, which also did not get licensed, was allowed to intervene in the case. Planned Parenthood of Kansas, the only other abortion clinic in the state, was licensed Thursday.
Officials say the proposed permanent rules are identical to the temporary ones, the Capital-Journal reports, and a public hearing will take place on September 7 to hear suggestions for changes.
The Aid for Women clinic says it will challenge the permanent rules if they are similarly strict.
Mark Halperin’s History Of Misguided Rhetoric!
Being the political junkie that I am, I have had the opportunity to see Mark Halperin offer his opinion and “political analysis” countless times. He certainly isn’t always wrong, in my opinion, but a lot of the time when I hear his take on things, I end up scratching my head and thinking, whaaa? Many times I’ll even do the *face palm* or the *head desk*. As far as his bias to the right, it has been obvious to me for years. After what happened on Thursday with Mr. Halperin, I decided to do a little research and was reminded of some previous “gaffes”, shall we say. There is a clear pattern with Halperin.
When President Obama was filling a Supreme Court vacancy, Mark Halperin actually went with this title for a story, which can’t be found now
There is just so much wrong with that. First, of all the angles to take on the story of picking our next Supreme Court justice, his is the perceived “reverse discrimination” (a racists dream phrase) against poor white men. Because over the years, you know, white men have had such a hard time getting on the Supreme Court. I’m sure he thinks it is just innocent “pointing out the obvious”, but you know damn well that the audience for that statement was all the good ole boys who pit themselves against minorities as if everything is zero-sum. It is a not-so-subtle dog whistle to all the racists and classists in our country. It is a blatant appeal to the Fox News viewers, which have large numbers. There is more on the reason for that later on in this post.
Here is an example of Mark Halperin’s analyst skills and his unique perspective on things, to put it way too politely. This is Mark Halperin’s reaction to President Obama’s 2010 State of the Union address.
What is funny is that if you look at polls of people who watched the speech, it becomes apparent that Mark Halperin sees things differently than ordinary folks. From CBS New’s Political Hotsheet…
Of the randomly selected 522 speech viewers questioned by CBS, 83 percent said they approved of the proposals the President made. Just 17 percent disapproved…
Six in 10 of those asked said they thought Mr. Obama conveyed a clear plan for creating jobs, and seven in 10 said his plans for the economy will help ordinary Americans. Another seven in 10 said President Obama has the same priorities for the country as they have.
The same individuals were interviewed both before and after Wednesday’s State of the Union, and after the speech, 70 percent said Mr. Obama shares their priorities for the country, up from 57 percent before the speech.
Did you notice how he called him “this troubled president” as if that is the conventional wisdom of the day. It certainly was the wisdom that Halperin and other skewed journalists were trying to push, thank goodness Media Matters for America is around to sort out the truth for us.
Here is another list of the accomplishment of President Obama through November of 2009, not even a year into his presidency. Does that look like “a troubled president” to you?
I saw this next one live, back when I used to torture myself by watching Morning Joe. It was after the President invited Republican leaders, including Paul Ryan, to a speech where the President laid out his budget and took on the draconian, now much abandoned Paul Ryan plan. After listening to Paul Ryan and other Republicans touting his plan, using everything in their arsenal to twist and spin the plan as bold, the President laid waste to it. Apparently Mark Halperin took it personally and proceeded to defend those poor Republicans who were called out on their assault on the poor and seniors. First, let’s take a look at what the President said that upset Halperin and Scarborough, from The Media Research Center…
BARACK OBAMA: This vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America . . . Ronald Reagan’s own budget director said there’s nothing serious or courageous about this plan . . . There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. And I don’t think there’s anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill . . . That’s not a vision of the America I know.
Here is what Halperin and Scarborough said on Morning Joe in response to that passage from the President’s speech…
MARK HALPERIN: I think if a Republican president called the Democratic proposals on something like this un-American, I think the press would be up in arms.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: They would savage him.
HALPERIN: They would be up in arms. I think that kind of rhetoric: for the president to say, that what Paul Ryan is doing is not consistent with his vision of America, I think that’s rhetoric that only added insult, injury to the insult of inviting him to sit in the front row.
SCARBOROUGH: Republicans have said a lot of really, really tough things about Barack Obama. Really tough things. So, it’s not even the words, it’s not the rhetoric. I think the president does believe that the Ryan plan is not the America that he grew up in or the America he wants. I’m just saying, for negotiating reasons, why invite him to sit in the front row and say that his budget is not serious and is un-American when Paul Ryan’s been fighting his entire life for this?
HALPERIN: I totally agree. It seems like a weird decision to make.
Now, maybe these two boneheads were sleeping during the 8 years of President (with us or against us) Bush, but I doubt it. They both clearly spend most of their time defending the Republican brand and trying to convince people of liberal media bias and false equivalencies. In this post, warning, it’s a Huffington Post article, he blames President Obama for Republican opposition to the stimulus. Amazing.
A grand old cult
By Richard Cohen, Published: July 4
Someone ought to study the Republican Party. I am not referring to yet another political scientist but to a mental health professional, preferably a specialist in the power of fixations, obsessions and the like. The GOP needs an intervention. It has become a cult.
To become a Republican, one has to take a pledge. It is not enough to support the party or mouth banalities about Ronald Reagan; one has to promise not to give the government another nickel. This is called the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” issued by Americans for Tax Reform, an organization headed by the chirpy Grover Norquist. He once labeled the argument that an estate tax would affect only the very rich “the morality of the Holocaust.” Anyone can see how singling out the filthy rich and the immensely powerful and asking them to ante up is pretty much the same as Auschwitz and that sort of thing.
Norquist’s pledge refers not only to tax increases but also to closing any loopholes, no matter how egregious, that would bring the government more money “unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.” Almost all the GOP’s presidential candidates have taken this oath, swearing before God and Grover Norquist to cease thinking on their own, never to exercise independent judgment and, if necessary, to destroy the credit of the United States, raise the cost of borrowing and put the government deeper into the hole.
Yet another pledge concerns abortion. It is called the “Pro-Life Leadership Pledge,” and it was conceived by the Susan B. Anthony List, an antiabortion group. Once again, most — but not all — of the GOP presidential candidates have signed it. In general, it demands a complete antiabortion position, not just personal opposition but opposition to judges, health officials and others who might, totally inexplicably, permit abortion. The pledge is silent about the usual exceptions — rape, incest, etc. — but Marjorie Dannenfelser, head of the Susan B. Anthony List, tells me the intent is to prohibit all abortions — even, say, the early termination of a 12-year-old’s pregnancy caused by incest. This, in other words, is the Pro-Hypocrisy Pledge.
Excuse me if I skip over other pledges and move to other matters. The hallmark of a cult is to replace reason with feverish belief. This the GOP has done when it comes to the government’s ability to stimulate the economy. History proves this works — it’s how the Great Depression ended — but Republicans will not acknowledge it.
Now put her ass behind bars; and get a life MEDIA!
Casey Anthony has been found not guilty of first-degree murder of her daughter, Caylee. She was found guilty on four counts of providing false information to law enforcement.
The verdict, reached by the seven-woman, five-man jury, caps a trial that stretched to more than six weeks and featured allegations of sexual abuse, questions regarding Casey Anthony’s competence and various theories on what happened to the 2-year-old.
Casey Anthony, 25, was charged with seven counts — first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child and four counts of providing false information to a law-enforcement officer in Caylee’s 2008 disappearance and death.
Prosecutors alleged Casey Anthony used chloroform to render her daughter unconscious and then duct-taped her mouth and nose to suffocate her. They alleged that she put the child’s body in the trunk of her car for a few days before disposing of it. Caylee’s skeleta l remains were discovered December 2008.
Casey Anthony’s defense attorneys maintained that Caylee was not murdered at all. They said the child drowned in the Anthony’s above-ground pool on July 16, and that Casey Anthony and her father, George Anthony, panicked upon finding her there and covered up the death. George Anthony denied that in his testimony.
The Prosecution FAILED to CONVINCE the Jurors! The Prosecutor should have presented a better case than laughing and smirking in the courtroom.
But she’s WHITTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTE!!! a “LaKesha Watkins” would never have gotten a not guilty verdict for mudering her child.
No Ma’am! But blame the Prosecution! They FAILED BIGTIME!
… and why do you suppose the prosceution failed big time?
It’s very hard to prove a 1st degree murder case without cause of death, a time of death, physical evidence or a motive for the killing. The evidence that Casey did it just wasn’t there! I am furious at the damn Prosecutor smirking at Jose Baez while he was giving the closing arguments like the Prosecution had the case wrapped up.
Yale University Places its Huge Cultural Collections Online: Thousands of Items Relating to African Americans Are Included
Yale University is making its vast art and cultural holdings available to the public over the Internet. Digital images of more than 259,000 items are now available online. In the future, millions of digital versions of items from the university’s museums, libraries, and archives will be accessible. The Peabody Museum of Natural History alone has more than 12 million items in its collection.
The online collections are fully searchable with a collective catalog. A search for “African American” turns up more than 2,700 items. A search for “black Americans” produced nearly 15,000 results.
July 05, 2011 12:35 PM
Romney flubs foreign policy again
By Steve Benen
When it comes to policy, I think Mitt Romney’s biggest problem is his atrocious record on jobs. But a close second are his bizarre struggles with foreign policy.
Take this one from earlier today.
Mitt Romney talked this morning at a Town Hall in Wolfesboro, N.H. about the U.S. military action in Libya…. It’s not clear what the questioner asked, but Romney clearly refers to congressional approval of the U.S. action in Libya, which did not happen.
Now, the fact that Romney is confused about congressional approval of the mission in Libya isn’t, by itself, a big deal. The former governor probably just got confused. Maybe he heard something about the recent House votes and flubbed the details.
The larger problem, though, is that these foreign policy errors keep happening.
Romney recently described current conditions as “peacetime,” despite the wars. Last year, Romney tried to trash the New START nuclear treaty in an op-ed, prompting Fred Kaplan to respond, “In 35 years of following debates over nuclear arms control, I have never seen anything quite as shabby, misleading and — let’s not mince words — thoroughly ignorant as Mitt Romney’s attack on the New START treaty.”
Indeed, this has long been a key weakness for the Republican presidential hopeful. Remember the time Romney told ABC News he would “set a deadline for bringing the troops home” from Iraq — but only if it’s a secret deadline? How about the time Romney, more than four years into the war in Iraq, said it’s “entirely possible” that Saddam Hussein hid weapons of mass destruction in Syria prior to the 2003 invasion? Or the time Romney pretended “Hezbollah and Hamas and al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood” were all the same thing? How about my personal favorite: the time Romney made the bizarre assertion that IAEA weapons inspectors were not allowed entry into Saddam Hussein’s Iraq?
In all likelihood, the economy will dominate the 2012 election, and Romney can largely get away with foreign policy and national security ignorance, since voters’ attention will be elsewhere. But for those who care about the issue, it’s discouraging that Romney has been running for president pretty much non-stop for more than four years, and he still can’t keep these details straight.
July 05, 2011 1:20 PM
Paul Ryan’s peek behind the curtain
By Steve Benen
We haven’t heard too much lately from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Since becoming one of the nation’s least popular politicians, he seems to be keeping a slightly lower profile.
He hasn’t disappeared entirely, however. This morning, the right-wing Wisconsinite chatted with Laura Ingraham about David Brooks’ provocative new NYT column.
To briefly recap, Brooks argued that today’s Republican Party “has separated itself from normal governance” and may no longer be “fit to govern.” To prove the point, the conservative columnist pointed to the GOP’s opposition to a debt-reduction deal that includes massive spending cuts and scrapping unnecessary (and unpopular) tax subsidies.
Ryan pushed back, arguing that Republicans can’t follow Brooks’ advice.
“What happens if you do what he’s saying, is then you can’t lower tax rates. So it does affect marginal tax rates. In order to lower marginal tax rates, you have to take away those loopholes so you can lower those tax rates. If you want to do what we call being revenue neutral … If you take a deal like that, you’re necessarily requiring tax rates to be higher for everybody. You need lower tax rates by going after tax loopholes. If you take away the tax loopholes without lowering tax rates, then you deny Congress the ability to lower everybody’s tax rates and you keep people’s tax rates high.”
Let’s take a moment to translate this. Ryan realizes that if policymakers ended these tax subsidies, it would help lower the deficit, and make it less necessary to make other cuts that would hurt working families.
But debt-reduction isn’t Ryan’s principal goal; cutting tax rates is. When the Republican House Budget Committee chairman argues that we’re facing some sort of debt crisis, it’s really just a shell game — Ryan wants tax cuts. Period. Full stop.
Sure, policymakers could scrap needless tax expenditures, but Ryan prefers to use those savings to pay for more tax cuts, not to pay for debt reduction.
And why is that? Because the lowest American tax burden in more than a half-century is, in Paul Ryan’s mind, too “high.”
Let this be the latest in a series of reminders: Republicans don’t really care about reducing the deficit or the debt. Their goal is to reduce government for ideological reasons, and they use the fiscal shortfall that they created as a thin pretense to pursue this agenda.
July 05, 2011 2:05 PM
The biggest stimulus of all time
By Steve Benen
We talked earlier about Richard Cohen’s latest column, but reader F.B. flagged two paragraphs from the print piece that warrant another look.
History proves [government stimulus] works — it’s how the Great Depression ended — but Republicans will not acknowledge it.
The Depression in fact deepened in 1937 when Franklin D. Roosevelt tried to balance the budget and was ended entirely by World War II, which, besides being a noble cause, was also a huge stimulus program. Here, though, is Sen. Richard Shelby mouthing GOP dogma: Stimulus programs “did not bring us out of the Depression,” he recently told ABC’s Christiane Amanpour, but “the war did.” In other words, a really huge stimulus program hugely worked. Might not a more modest one succeed modestly? Shelby ought to follow his own logic.
Did Shelby really say that? Actually, yes.
I went back and looked at the transcript, and Robert Reich was trying to explain to the far-right Alabama senator why the focus should be on jobs. “Senator, what’s wrong, if I may ask, what’s wrong with a new WPA program or a Civilian Conservation Corps for the 6 million unemployed who’ve been unemployed for more than six months?” Reich asked. “Why not put them to work?”
Shelby replied, “WPA did not bring us out of the depression. The war did. We look back at the stimulus, nearly a trillion dollars gone down the drain.”
Shelby, I should mention, is the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, where he uses his post to kill important nominations to the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors because he thinks he understands economic policy so well.
It didn’t come up in the ABC interview, but I’d love to ask Shelby and other conservatives who believe this why, exactly, World War II ended the Depression once and for all. I mean that literally — if the war gave the economy a massive boost, and everyone agrees that it did, how did this happen?
Shelby may find this confusing, but the war helped the economy because the government was spending like crazy. Indeed, during the war, policymakers spent an enormous amount of money, imposed extremely high tax rates, and took on massive debts — and the economy soared.
By Republican reasoning, this should have been impossible. But reality is pretty stubborn.
As for Shelby’s assertion that the 2009 stimulus was “nearly a trillion dollars gone down the drain,” it wasn’t nearly a trillion dollars, and it didn’t go down the drain — the Recovery Act took an economy that was shrinking and made it grow. There are as many as 3.6 million Americans with jobs today who wouldn’t have otherwise had them were it not for Democratic stimulus effort.
July 05, 2011
Taking the plunge
David Brooks foreshadows my anxiety over a debt-ceiling deal as either presently conceived or speculated. He notes that Republicans so far have extorted Democrats into agreeing not only to the hitherto disagreeable, but to the virtually unthinkable: namely, they have cornered Dems into agreeing “not to raise tax rates,” and in negotiations have limited any talk of revenue increases to the mere elimination of loopholes.
Naturally, that’s not enough for the GOP. Because when we contemplate the Republican Party these days, we may contemplate many things, but its “normality” cannot be one of them; nor its “logic,” nor intellectualism, nor “moral decency,” nor anything even remotely resembling coherent economic theory. Anyway, all of that is what Brooks fears and suspects, and the rest of us know.
Brooks’ advice to the GOP: For the love of Pete, you morons, take the deal, you’ve already won. “[T]rillions of dollars in spending cuts in exchange for a few hundred million dollars of revenue increases” = “No-brainer.”
Unquestionably that’s the “deal of the century,” as Brooks calls it, for Republicans. They would not only impose their medieval vision on contemporary society, but philosophically they might lock it in for years to come. The debt ceiling crisis would blow over, and we’d be left with the fiscal wreckage.
On the other hand, writes Brooks, quite correctly, I think:
If the debt ceiling talks fail, independents voters will see that Democrats were willing to compromise but Republicans were not. If responsible Republicans don’t take control, independents will conclude that Republican fanaticism caused this default. They will conclude that Republicans are not fit to govern.
Which leaves one wondering about the wisdom of avoiding a debt crisis
July 05, 2011 11:30 AM
Playing chicken with history
By Steve Benen
When it comes to increasing revenue as part of a debt-reduction deal, Democrats aren’t really pushing higher tax rates on anyone. Instead, Dems are focusing almost exclusively on scrapping unnecessary (and unpopular) tax subsidies.
Like what? Dems are eyeing a handful of specific measures, including provisions in tax law that allow corporate-jet owners to write off depreciation costs, a tax write-off for the horse-racing industry, a measure that allows people who spend two weeks a year on their yacht to treat like a home for mortgage interest-deduction purposes, and tax subsidies for the very profitable oil industry.
You’ll notice, of course, that all of these measures have something in common: we’re talking about tax giveaways that benefit some very wealthy Americans. It puts Republicans into the familiar role of being a Reverse Robin Hood — they’re desperate to cut spending that favors working families, and equally eager to protect tax breaks that go exclusively to the richest of the rich. The GOP wants to lower the deficit, they say, but not if it means asking their wealthy benefactors to sacrifice even a little. Indeed, asking the rich to pay even a little more would be a disaster, Republicans assure us.
With this class-based politics in mind, the Washington Monthly’s editor-in-chief, Paul Glastris, reminds us that ‘the willingness of the rich to defend their wealth from taxation to the point of national ruin is nothing new in world history.”
The Han dynasty in China fell in the third century AD after aristocratic families with government connections became increasingly able to shield their ever-larger land holdings from taxation, which helped precipitate the bloody Yellow Turban peasant revolt. Nearly a millennium and a half later, the great Ming dynasty went into protracted decline in part for similar reasons: unable or unwilling to raise taxes on the landed gentry, the government couldn’t pay its soldiers and was overrun by Manchu invaders.
In the fifteenth century, the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus persuaded his reluctant nobles to accept higher taxes, with which he built a professional military that beat back the invading Ottomans. But after his death the resentful barons placed a weak foreign prince on the throne and got their taxes cut 70 to 80 percent. When their undisciplined army lost to Suleiman the Magnificent, Hungary lost its independence.
Similarly, the cash-strapped sixteenth-century Spanish monarchy sold municipal and state offices off to wealthy elites rather than raise their taxes — giving them the right to collect public revenues. The elites, in turn, raised taxes on commerce, immiserating peasants and artisans and putting Spain on a path of long-term economic decline. This same practice of exempting the wealthy from taxation and selling them government offices while transferring the tax burden onto the poor reached its apogee in ancien regime France and ended with the guillotine.
By contrast, in England during the same period, the nobility and gentry didn’t conspire with the crown to exempt themselves from taxation. Instead, thanks to a number of factors — greater social solidarity, a keener sense of foreign threats, reforms that made the government itself less corrupt, and the principle of taxation only with the consent of Parliament — the wealthy of England willingly accepted higher taxes on themselves. As a result, government spending in England rose from 11 percent of GDP in the late seventeenth century to 30 percent during some years in the eighteenth century. That’s higher than U.S. federal spending today. These higher taxes on the wealthy in England, Fukuyama notes, “did not, needless to say, stifle the capitalist revolution.”
Higher taxes on the rich won’t stifle America’s economy either. Nor, I think, would most wealthy Americans object to paying more if they truly understood that the fate of the country is on the line. Unfortunately, the GOP may now be too ideologically rigid to see the real interests of its own wealthy constituents. History shows that the rich sometimes make suicidal decisions. The challenge of American democracy right now is to somehow keep ours from doing so.
Media Trying Too Late to Save the Day
Tue Jul 5th, 2011 at 12:42:39 PM EST
If McConnell and Boehner won’t stand up to their crazy caucuses and begin to carve out some room to capitulate on the debt limit, I guess it’s up to the media to apply the pressure. They appear to have spent the July 4th holiday recharging and organizing for the task. It’s too early to identify a trend, but there is plenty of evidence that something is afoot. The columns are notable for their tone of disingenuous surprise. Over at The Nation, Jamelle Bowie expresses a common liberal frustration.
For at least four years, Republicans governed with few obstacles to their agenda, securing tax cuts, wars, unfunded new entitlements, and continued deregulation. The results were trillions of dollars in wasted spending, trillions more in lost revenue, deep dysfunction on nearly every level of government, and an economic crisis of nearly world-historical proportions. Despite this, media elites continue to treat the Republican Party – and the architects of its disastrous party – as credible voices on public policy, as if 2001 to 2008 never happened.
Worse, the media doesn’t act like the 2009-2010 Tea Party response to the Obama administration wasn’t a doubling-down on bad ideas that caused untold economic and human misery during the Bush years. If anything, the Tea Party is an ideology that jettisons everything good about the Bush administration and asks for much more of the bad. Bush’s policies were bad for blacks, and he continually worked to disenfranchise the black vote, but he also appointed the first two black Secretaries of State, the first black national security advisor, and the first black Secretary of Education. Bush’s policies were bad for Latinos, but he at least tried to pass comprehensive immigration reform with the help of Teddy Kennedy and John McCain. Bush’s War on Terror often imposed on the rights of Muslims here at home, but he consistently tried to tamp-down anti-Muslim feeling on the right. All of that is gone in the post-Bush Republican Party (note how Michael Steele lost his job at the RNC after presiding over the party’s biggest wins in memory).
On taxes, regulation, and economic policy, the Tea Party doesn’t want to merely return to the disastrous status quo of the pre-recession Bush era; they want even lower revenues and even less oversight, setting us up for bigger deficits, less economic security, and an easier environment to let greed run unfettered to the detriment of sound investment.
People humored conservatives for too long. It’s a little late to declare them beyond the pale of all decent and sane human conduct. Now we have a know-nothing party that is overrun by religious nuts, bigots, homophobes, xenophobes, greedheads, and straight-up kooks.
Both The Hill and the New York Times have articles today about how even the ludicrously insane House Republican caucus isn’t insane enough for their base. Many members are facing the real prospect of a primary challenge if they vote for any conceivable compromise on the debt limit.
This is both why I believe Boehner has to cave and why I fear he won’t. He has to cave because he can only raise the debt limit by crafting a bill that most Democrats want to support. He can’t cave because there is too much pressure on his members to do all kinds of things they simply don’t have the power to do.
It’s probably the case that Boehner has to choose between being responsible for the country defaulting on its debts and losing his job as Speaker. That’s not a painless choice, but it’s an obvious one.
What will he choose?
The media is trying to help him to make the right decision. They may convince Boehner of what he must do, but I doubt they’re capable, at this late stage in the game, of creating the space he needs to convince his crazy caucus and save his job.
Casy Anthony verdict in…
Not Guilty of First Degree Murder…Guilty of providing false information to law enforcement officer
all you gotta be is White
Ryan On ‘MediScare’ Attacks: ‘Here’s The Deal On Our Medicare Plan: ObamaCare Ends Medicare As We Know It’
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) just broke a land speed record for his pivot from decrying Democratic “Mediscare” attacks on the GOP budget to attacking Democrats for wanting to end “Medicare as we know it.”
In an interview with WISN, a local ABC News Affiliate in Wisconsin, Ryan responded to the fact that his budget, endorsed by almost every member of the Republican party, is extremely unpopular.
“Whenever you lead and propose a solution to a complex problem, you’re putting yourself out there to be distorted, to be demagogued to be lied about,” Ryan said. “What’s happening is the other party’s chosen to try to scare senior citizens to try and get votes. Here’s the deal on our Medicare plan: ObamaCare ends Medicare as we know it.”
Ryan cites the fact that the health care law cuts $500 billion from Medicare over 10 years (largely overpayments to private insurers participating in Medicare Advantage) and creates a new panel — the IPAB — to establish money-saving payment practices for the program, to argue that it “ends Medicare.”
Ryan’s plan actually sustains those $500 billion in cuts, while repealing just about all other parts of the health care law. Far beyond that, though, his plan would close the door on traditional Medicare in 10 years, and phase it out by putting new retirees in a private, subsidized health insurance market. As usual, though, privatizing a major entitlement polls really poorly, and Republicans are facing huge voter backlash in their districts after voting to endorse Ryan’s plan.
“Those polls don’t describe it very well. When the plan is described accurately, it actually polls very well,” Ryan claims. The fact is, very few polls, even ones at pains to describe his plan in a value-neutral way, find much support for it. But even if Ryan had the best of that argument, he’s starting to sound an awful lot like Democrats in 2010, who argued persistently that their unpopular health care law polled well when explained well, and contained individual measures that were overwhelmingly popular. This was basically correct, and the result was a historic creaming in the November midterms.
This ad of Paull Ryan ad ran during the weekend on the cable networks. Everywhere I turned there it was:
Ostracizing Black Leaders Who Criticize Obama .
The Bible is filled with characters who started out on shaky ground – Paul, David and Solomon, among them – before being transformed into epic figures. But it seems that Black leaders who dare to criticize President Obama don’t get second chances. Instead, they are the object of widespread ridicule and condemnation.
I spent some time last week with two such leaders – Cornel West and Jesse Jackson – at the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) national convention in Chicago. Although their standing among African-Americans has slipped, their analysis of where Blacks have been and need to go is as incisive as ever.
Neither Jackson nor West should be viewed in isolation. The Black community does not want to hear anything bad about Barack Obama, even if it’s true. If a White president had been as dismissive of African-Americans’ interests as Obama has been, Blacks would have been ready to march on the White House. As Michael Eric Dyson says, “This president runs from race like a Black man runs from a cop.”
Even so, Blacks treat him like royalty.
My friend Roland Martin is quick to insist that guests on his television program refer to the man who occupies the White House as President Obama. I refuse to play this game. Obama – yes, I said it – is a president, not head of some monarchy. I have called Carter, Reagan, Clinton and Bush by their last names. I am not going to say President Obama every time I refer to him. Sometimes he is President Obama, sometimes he is Obama. I refuse to treat him like King Obama.
The problem with West and Jackson is their critiques, however valid, were wrapped in language that was offensive to many African-Americans. To call Obama the Black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs – a term most people hadn’t heard since their last high school civics class – is over the edge in this instance. Don’t get me wrong: there are some Black Anglo-Saxons who deserve to be called mascots and worse – and I’ve called them that. But Obama is not in that category.
When I gave Cornel West a chance to soften his description of the president during a discussion I moderated at the NNPA convention between him and Al Sharpton, he declined. He could have said, “I stand by everything I said about the president but not how I said it.” That would have gone a long way toward refocusing the discussion on real issues, not the Al Sharpton-Cornel West sideshow.
In Jesse Jackson’s case, he has been largely excommunicated from the race for a comment that reeked of envy. After an interview on Fox News in 2008, he told a fellow guest that he wanted to cut Obama’s private parts off. He also used the N-word in a conversation that he did not know was being picked up by the microphones.
Jackson later apologized, saying his comments were “hurtful and wrong.” By then, however, the damage had been done. At the time, Obama was making a credible bid to become president of the United States. And Blacks did not want to hear anything disparaging about the man who went on to win the nation’s highest elected office. Many, if not most, Blacks haven’t forgiven Jackson for his crude remarks.
Notwithstanding Jackson’s expressed desire to dismember Obama or West’s deeply personal attack on the president, each made valid critiques of President Obama. Jackson was correct to point out that sometimes Obama speaks down to African-Americans. That is particularly true when he lectures Blacks on moral responsibility but does not make similar speeches to White audiences. Cornel West is correct in stating that the administration does not pay enough attention to the needs of the poor and African-Americans.
Despite overwhelming evidence of disproportionate Black suffering during this recession, Obama refuses to target the specific needs of African-Americans. His response is: “It’s a mistake to start thinking in terms of particular ethnic segments of the United States rather than to think that we are all in this together and we are all going to get out of this together.”
Yet, it was not a mistake to address the specific needs of Wall Street. He can speak to the specific agenda of gays and Lesbians without it being considered a mistake. It was not a mistake in Obama’s mind to speak to the specific needs of the automobile industry. It was not a mistake to speak to the special interests of banks. But when it comes to the needs of African-Americans, we are supposed to wait for progress to trickle down to and upon us.
Yes, he is president of all of America. But all of America includes Black America.
The sad reality is that most civil rights leaders have given Obama a pass. If the unemployment rates and economic gap had widened under a White president, Al Sharpton would have been in the streets chanting, “No Justice, No Peace.” Instead, the ultimate outsider has become the ultimate insider, defending the administration with the vigor of a cabinet member.
As a group, today’s collection of civil rights leaders are ineffectual and out of touch. For example, with all of the problems facing us, the NAACP chose to spend part of its limited national, state and local resources to make sure Black motorcycle riders were not discriminated against on the Memorial Day weekend in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
We have far more serious issues facing Black America. And we need the voices and analysis of all of our national leaders, even after they have put their foot in their mouth.
In the interest of being well-balanced, here’s a different take on the subject.
“We’ve all noticed that there are pundits and bloggers on the left who attack Obama non-stop, even when he does things that the left has wanted for decades. Why can’t Obama get a fair shake from so many left bloggers who should be helping to make more progress happen?”
“Chris Hedges did everyone a favor by admitting his true agenda at truthdig. We now understand why he, and those of similar ilk, are just as fair and balanced about Obama as Fox News. The reason they spread so much cynicism is to convince people that elections are a waste of time and that the Democratic Party must be destroyed.”
“If elections were that effective, as the anti-war activist Phil Berrigan used to say, they would be illegal. We must follow the path Nader forged, attempting to sway enough people with conscience to sever themselves permanently and unequivocally from the mainstream and especially the Democratic Party.”
“This is different than working on progress toward progressive issues. Progress is happening on many issues, and often without the help of ankle-biting pundits who have done nothing but attack.”
“In the mind of Hedges, Progress = destroying the Democratic Party.
Therefore, spreading cynicism against Obama and Democrats = Progress.”
“But, what if a Democratic President does something very positive that liberals like? Well, that would disprove Hedges’ core belief system so Obama’s progressive accomplishments must always be ignored or downplayed as inadequate. And that’s what we’ve seen from a sizable chunk of left pundits. They spread disingenuous cynicism about Obama because admitting his accomplishments would invalidate their belief that destroying the Democratic Party is a necessary precursor to making progress.”
“One consequence of this is that the left blogosphere doesn’t get an accurate picture of what Obama and Congress are doing. And if the left blogosphere isn’t writing about something progressive Obama does, then I can guarantee the corporate-owned press won’t either.”
“Since most people can see that the Green Party has nothing to show after 20 years of effort, the campaign to spread cynicism about Democrats hasn’t brought more people to any third party or direct action movement. Oddly, convincing people that everything they’ve done for Democrats amounts to nothing doesn’t convince them to do even more. It simply encourages hopelessness and inaction. The effort to convince the left that voting is a waste of time really paid off in 2010.”
“We have to admit that a significant portion of left pundits/bloggers have an ideological, dogmatic approach that is effectively sabotaging the efforts of many others on the left. I’m happy to support the kind of direct action effort that Hedges’ writes about, but I disagree with his belief that the only way to build support for direct action is to tear down and insult the tangible progress that many others on the left are already making every day. It’s dishonest and counterproductive.”
I’m reposting this article for those who may have missed it a few months back. Draw your own conclusions but think really hard about who is going to benefit from what’s being planned, and who isn’t…
Firebags and afros: the *genius* plan to primary Barack Obama
“Up to now, one of the things the anti-Obama progressive movement has lacked is diversity, giving them the appearance of an all-white jihad against the first black president. (Hamsher’s history, punctuated by her now infamous “blackface” post attacking Joe Lieberman, doesn’t help.)…”
“For the “FDLers,” the perception of theirs being an “all white” attack on the first black president presents a particular problem, since Democratic candidates, including Obama, are typically propelled into office on the strength of the unanimous support of black voters, and the two-thirds backing of Hispanics.”
“Last week, the anti-Obama progressive saw an opening to change that dynamic, when the ongoing verbal war that two African-Americans: pundit Tavis Smiley and his mentor, Princeton professor Cornel West, have been waging against Barack Obama since 2007 boiled over.”
“And Ironically, West’s broadsides have made him the perfect — er — mascot, for the “progressive” anti-Obamaites, one of whom, an FDL diarist who goes by the handle “Metamars” — even saw an opportunity to put West on the front lines, to “educate” … the “Afro-Americans” to understand that Obama is “not their friend.” [NOTE: There is a bus tour that will soon be underway scheduled to swing through black communities throughout the country. No white communities are on the itinerary…just black.]
“West’s vitriol included a call last November for someone to step forward and primary Obama from within the Democratic party. The call roughly coincided with an “election” held by a group of activists whose goal was to do just that: field a potential “progressive” primary candidate against Obama.”
“Differences in approach soon surfaced, however. One member strongly espoused a highly theoretical approach wherein the new party advocated a complete overthrow of the current system of representation. Others felt the focus should be on electoral activism which emphasized the Progressive values distinguishing the new party from the Democrats.”
“So this group, whose preliminary goal was to help bring about the defeat of Democrats in the 2010 midterms, has now turned its efforts squarely on the president….The organization is hoping to recruit and support a presidential candidate who will adhere to liberal policy priorities, running first as a Democratic primary candidate against Barack Obama, and then as a third party or independent candidate for President in the 2012 general election.”
“Their original four-person steering committee consisted of anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, 2002 “Green Rainbow Party” candidate for governor (you can’t make this stuff up) Dr. Jill Stein, committed Libertarian Richard Winger (whose only run for elected office was in California in 1996 as a Libertarian,) and our old friend Dr. Cornel West.”
“In fact, if one were cynical, one might even think West’s November cry for a primary challenge was timed in coordination with the push just one month later, by a group he “steers” to do just that. And when the story, and the idea, failed to catch on, West turned up the heat on Obama again this spring, coincidentally giving fresh exposure to NPA’s primary idea… but of course, that would be cynical…”
“So we’ve got Kucinich campaign veterans, Hamsherites and Libertarians. And their genius plan is to convince some Democrat, presumably, to commit political suicide by primarying the country’s first black president, and then use that bid to launch an even more politically suicidal third party campaign, whose only conceivable result, even if it had any chance of succeeding, would be to help elect whatever Republican were to get that party’s nomination.”
Luis Gutierrez Urges Obama To Halt Deportation Of DREAMers (VIDEO)
WASHINGTON — Rep. Luis Gutierrez called last week for President Barack Obama to stop deporting undocumented young people, urging him to say, “I’m not going to deport another DREAM kid.”
Gutierrez (D-Ill.), a popular Latino congressman from the president’s home state, is pushing for him to halt the deportation of young men and women who would be eligible for the DREAM Act. The bill, which failed in the Senate last December, would allow some undocumented young people who entered the United States as children to gain legal status by attending college or joining the military.
“Don’t wait for the Senate, don’t wait for the House. Don’t wait for the Republicans and the Democrats to get together to bring justice and fairness,” Gutierrez said at a Chicago immigration rally on June 30. “Sign an executive order today to stop the deportation of all young people that would benefit from the DREAM Act, Mr. President.”
Gutierrez has repeatedly criticized Obama for continuing deportation proceedings for DREAM Act-eligible young people despite saying publicly they are not the focus of his administration’s immigration enforcement efforts. They are frequently placed in removal proceedings and taken to the brink of deportation, then allowed to stay if they can generate a public outcry.
“They stop the deportation when you do a little petition. When Change.org does a petition and gets a few hundred signatures, they stop the deportation,” Gutierrez told reporters at the Netroots Nation conference in June. “Don’t tell me you ain’t got the power.”
As the fight over the DREAM Act has continued, Obama has attempted to gain the support of Latinos, who by and large support the type of comprehensive immigration reform that he has so far been unable to deliver.
Gutierrez told reporters after the Chicago event that young people who have mobilized in support of the DREAM Act should not be jerked around.
“They’re young, they’re impatient, they’re smart, they’re energetic, and they’re not going to allow anyone to bullshit them,” he said. “They’re grounded, and you know what? They’re courageous too. They’ve shown that.”
I’m growing sick of Rep. Luis Gutierrez and his threats! The Law Is The Law!
Latinos could organize on this issue with others who are willing to stand with them and then take this fight to the Republicans. People tend to forget that the President doesn’t write the laws of the land–Congress does. Why aren’t they being bombarded by protests, emails, petitions, and phone calls? They’re the ones creating all this misery but I guess it’s easier to just blame the President for everything that’s happening.
And,yes, he does have the authority to issue an Executive Order to stop deportations but his role as President requires that he uphold the laws of this country. Furthermore, if he were to issue an Executive Order to stop all deportations when the next president is in office all he has to do is simply reverse it and we’re right back where we started from! WE have the power to put pressure on Congress to reform the current immigration laws. Is that being done?
“‘Now that a high-profile journalist has admitted to being an illegal immigrant, can he expect a visit from the authorities? Based on recent immigration policy directives, the likely answer is ‘no.’ As he explains in a New York Times Magazine article and an ABC News interview, journalist Jose Antonio Vargas broke numerous laws to conceal his citizenship status for more than a decade. A spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement declined to directly address whether the agency might take action against Vargas.”
“‘But the agency’s recent issuance of certain directives might provide the clearer answer — which is that Vargas probably is safe. In memorandums issued by ICE Director John Morton, the agency clarified that its priorities are to focus on illegal immigrants who present ‘a clear risk to national security.”‘
“In one of the memos, released June 17, Morton said ICE is focused on felons and repeat offenders, gang members, and those with numerous immigration violations such as illegally re-entering the U.S. and committing fraud.”
“The memo also directs ICE officials to avoid proceedings against a wide array of individuals, including U.S. military veterans, minors and seniors, pregnant women, those who grew up in the U.S. and “long-time lawful permanent residents.”
“In general, Morton has granted ICE officials, down to agents on the street, the leeway to make their own judgments about whether to prosecute unlawful residents. This move, by itself, could signal a significant shift in U.S. policy, according to some immigration attorneys.”
“Vargas’ decision comes at a time in which many undocumented immigrants are taking greater precautions to avoid discovery, in response to state crackdowns and similar attempts by Republicans in Congress. In the absence of federal immigration reform, several states have taken action to tighten enforcement of existing immigration laws.”
“….key Republicans in the House have pledged to thwart any legislation that would provide a path to citizenship and enact measures that increase enforcement.”
“Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is leading the effort, along with Rep. Steve King (R-IA), chairman of the House subcommittee on immigration. King has introduced a bill that would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act. The 14th Amendment grants citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” and King’s bill seeks to define the meaning of the latter phrase to exclude children born in the U.S. to parents who are illegal immigrants.”
“”On Wednesday, Senate Democrats pushed back with a proposal crafted to draw support from Republicans by including stronger enforcement provisions. The bill, drafted by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), would increase border security and employer sanctions, as well as require the undocumented to register with the government as part of a process toward gaining legal status.”
you know how I feel about Louis – fuck him
Redistricting adds to Republican leaders’ debt-vote pressures
By Molly K. Hooper – 07/05/11 05:00 AM ET
Redistricting is expected to make a House vote on raising the debt ceiling even more difficult for GOP leaders.
Several incumbents find themselves drawn into 2012 battles with sitting colleagues, with the debt-ceiling vote seen as a defining issue, particularly for some House Republicans.
The pressures add to the problems of GOP leaders, who already know they will face challenges in rallying their members around a deal, if one can be worked out with the White House.
Republicans battling one another to continue their careers in Congress will see a chance to stand out on the debt-ceiling vote.
“It will affect it, because it’s more of a Republican-primary issue than a general-election issue,” Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said of the vote.
Walden, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) deputy chairman, pointed to races in Illinois and California as setting up particular challenges for the GOP.
In Illinois, Reps. Joe Walsh and Randy Hultgren might square off, while a preliminary map in California would pit Rep. Buck McKeon against Rep. Elton Gallegly and Rep. John Campbell against Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.
Members looking to portray themselves as tough on spending aren’t likely to want to cast votes in favor of raising the debt ceiling no matter what deal on spending cuts is worked out by the White House and GOP leaders in conjunction.
It’s unclear which members will be redistricted into fights given uncertainties about the new maps.
Illinois Republicans are challenging the map signed by Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, while California Republicans are awaiting the approval of a final redistricting map in August by a citizens commission.
GOP uses budget, other tools to sap financial law
Congressional Republicans are greeting the one-year anniversary of President Barack Obama’s financial overhaul law by trying to weaken it, nibble by nibble.
Wary of attempting to dismantle the entire statute and being portrayed as Wall Street’s allies — banks are among the nation’s most unpopular institutions — GOP lawmakers are attacking corners of it. They can’t prevail because they don’t control the White House or Senate, but they may be able to force some compromises on agency budgets, pressure regulators and influence some of Obama’s nominations.
Days ago, one Republican-run House committee approved bills diluting parts of the law requiring reports on corporate salaries and exempting some investment advisers from registering with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Another House panel voted to slice $200 million from Obama’s $1.4 billion budget request for the SEC, which has a major enforcement role.
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are continuing a procedural blockade that has helped prevent Obama from putting Elizabeth Warren or anyone else in charge of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which opens its doors in two weeks.
The law hurts “the formation of capital, the cost of capital and access to capital, and you can’t have capitalism without capital,” said Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, a leader of the House Financial Services Committee. “So Republicans in the House will be examining each and every one of the 2,000-plus pages” of the law, which he called “a job creator’s nightmare.”
Confident that Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate can prevent the House from doing major damage, Democrats view the Republican drive as a political exercise — for now.
“It’s mostly setting a marker for the election. And it helps with their campaign contributions,” said Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who chaired the Financial Services Committe
Kentucky Tea Party Sells ‘Yup, I’m A Racist’ Fourth of July T-Shirts
OH YEEHAW THA FORF OF JULY, time for the awful racist slobs of Lexington, Kentucky to put on their best “warding off the coloreds and the Muslins” finery in honor of Jesus, Hitler and Thomas Jefferson. Do you like seeing the hate-bomb that is puking all over the American flag, on this man’s t-shirt? Does it capture your patriotic spirit? He will sell you another, to wear to the parade! This is how serious the birth control situation is in Kentucky, because broken condoms result in tragedies like this man, selling apparel to people who want to honor America’s founding dressed like hobo Klansmen. Were there even other tragic people interested in buying from him, or was his booth FOR SOME UNIMAGINABLE REASON labeled “Tea Party Fox News” on the front? SEE THE ANSWER after the jump:
Yes, the brown “INFIDEL” t-shirts read, “Everything I Need to Know About Islam I Learned on 9/11,” which is why they are calling themselves “infidels,” for irony.
State workers get pink slip under Gov. Rick Scott’s budget
About 1,300 workers have lost their jobs under the new state budget approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott.
By STEVE BOUSQUET, STEPHANIE WANG, JAMAL THALJI AND KATIE SANDERS
Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau
TALLAHASSEE — Millions of Floridians head back to work Tuesday after a restful three-day Fourth of July weekend.
But Toni Gugliotta won’t be among them.
She’ll be applying for $275 a week in unemployment benefits instead.
The Pinellas County woman is among 1,300 state employees put out of work by the new budget approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott on May 26.
Scott kept his promise to reduce the size of the state government bureaucracy. But he did so at the expense of real people with mortgages, healthcare bills, college tuition payments and credit card payments.
Many of them earned less than $30,000 a year after years of state employment.
To them, the Scott mantra “Let’s get to work” rings hollow. They now join the hordes of Floridians looking for work in a state with an unemployment rate that, while declining, remains in double digits at 10.6 percent.
The state agencies that took the biggest hits are the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Children and Families, which together account for most of the layoffs.
DOWN THE DRAIN
“It’s like 12 years going down the drain,” Gugliotta said.
Gugliotta, 50, of Dunedin, earned nearly $29,000 a year as one of 18 full-time community service officers under the Florida Highway Patrol. CSOs, as they were known, directed traffic and handled fender-bender accidents, freeing up Florida Highway Patrol troopers for more serious calls.
The program was a perennial target of budget cuts but always managed to survive — until this year. After 14 years, it’s gone.
“I was proud to wear the uniform,” Gugliotta said.
“I did not walk out of my house with a stain or a crease.”
For the first time in 15 years, she’ll be without a paycheck this week. She’s single and has no other income and plans to file for unemployment benefits, but worries knowing the $275 a week won’t cover her $560 monthly health insurance premiums and other bills.
“I have a mortgage. I have bills. I have to pay for my knee surgery,” Gugliotta said.
She also worries about motorists who she says will now have to wait longer for help.
“Wait until hurricane season. Wait until schools open,” she said.
“The snowbirds are going to come down soon. Here, when they need us the most, they’re eliminating the program.”
Firing the CSOs saves $900,000. That’s a pittance, Gugliotta argues, compared to the waste that went into the $48 million courthouse in Tallahassee known as the Taj Mahal.
“Why can’t they sell two pictures from the Taj Mahal wall and fund us for another year?” Gugliotta asked.
Columbus Wilson bought a house in Tallahassee four years ago. Now he worries he won’t be able to make the mortgage payments.
After 19 years, Wilson finds himself unemployed, fired from his job as a data clerk at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
His job, Fiscal Assistant II, paid $24,670 a year — after 19 years.
A 58-year-old disabled Army veteran, Wilson wonders why that wasn’t considered.
“What upsets me is, I’m a veteran,” Wilson said. “I thought I was supposed to have a veterans’ preference.”
He has gone on a couple of job interviews, but so far, nothing.
“Unemployment,” Wilson said. “I was hoping I would get a job so I won’t have to do that. I don’t want to go on unemployment. It’s not going to be enough.”
Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/07/04/2299351/state-workers-get-pink-slip-under.html#ixzz1RFRqzDbB
they thought Maxine was just gonna ROLL OVER.
as the saying goes…
they shoulda asked somebody.
somebody who wasn’t WHITE…they woulda set them straight
Ethics Committee Can’t Sweep Turmoil Over Waters Case Under The Rug
Ethics experts say the House still has a lot of explaining to do when it comes to its handling of the corruption case against Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) last fall, which resulted in partisan backbiting, deep mistrust between Republicans and Democrats on the panel and the suspension of the lead attorney and an assistant a week before the matter was set to go to public trial.
The ethics panel has been at a virtual standstill for eight months since its internal dissension exploded onto the headlines of political publications and the Washington Post in early December. On Friday the panel announced it was extending separate investigations into Reps. Greg Meeks (D-NY), Jean Schmidt (R-OH), and two aides, but a source said the committee was forced to continue those probes because it had yet to begin looking into the matters in earnest.
The infighting was so ugly last fall that Rep. Jo Bonner (R-AL), the then-ranking Republican on the panel who now serves as chairman, called in the Capitol Police to bar the door to the committee and prevent staff from retrieving any papers or documents over the Thanksgiving Day House recess.
The panel’s then-staff director resigned amid the turmoil and unprecedented leaks from the panel, including transcripts of disagreements between Bonner and the top Democrat at the time, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), that turned up in Slate.com.
At the time, newspapers and political websites editorialized about the need for an investigation of the committee’s handling of the Waters case and why the two attorneys on her case were put on administrative leave – what would have amounted to a watchdog-watching-the-watchdog scenario.
By that time, however, Republicans had won control of the House majority and Bonner had ascended to the top position on the committee, which is the only one in the House that is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats.
In the ensuing months, lawmakers and the outside watchdogs community awaited an explanation of the decisions to place the two attorneys on indefinite leave. Instead, Republicans quietly found one of the lawyers a landing spot at the GOP majority of the House Natural Resources Committee, and deflected reporters’ questions by saying that it had yet to find a replacements for the top staffer on the committee so no one was around to answer them.
Last month, the committee hired Dan Schwager, who had served as an attorney on the Senate Ethics panel, to fill the top staff director and chief counsel post. And last week, the committee announced it had hired six new lawyers and promoted others from within to fill some of the numerous vacancies created by a mass exodus of aides that fled the panel in the wake of the chaotic fall.
But Bonner has yet to explain exactly what all the furor was about late last year and come clean on the dispute over the two attorneys’ handling of the Waters case. If he doesn’t do so soon, watchdogs argue, Waters would have valid reason to claim that the ethics committee botched her case and it’s time to let it go.
“I think the committee should explain all the administrative problems behind the Waters case,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “The questions swirling around the committee undermine its fact finding in the case.”
Given all that happened, Sloan said, it’s difficult to have confidence in the committee’s handling of the case.
“The murkiness allows those, including Rep. Waters, who question the committee’s decision to issue a statement of alleged violation, to suggest she is being railroaded,” she said.
Sloan, as well as a chorus of other watchdogs, believe the only way to turn the page on the turmoil is to appoint a special prosecutor to handle the Waters’ case.
OH oh! Betta ask somebody, is right.
Go Maxine! Go!
They thought Maxine was gonna stick out both her wrist and say cuff me. Naw son! You try and take me down, you’re going too, mofos!
White Supremacist Stampede
A startling number of white-power candidates are seeking public office. Eve Conant reports on their under-the-radar strategy and David Duke’s White House flirtation.
Add to the growing list of candidates considering a bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012 America’s most famous white-power advocate: David Duke.
A former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, member of the Louisiana House of Representatives and Republican executive-committee chairman in his district until 2000, Duke has a significant following online. His videos go viral. This month, he’s launching a tour of 25 states to explore how much support he can garner for a potential presidential bid. He hasn’t considered running for serious office since the early ’90s, when he won nearly 40 percent of the vote in his bid for Louisiana governor. But like many “white civil rights advocates,” as he describes himself to The Daily Beast, 2012 is already shaping up to be a pivotal year.
Former (and current) Neo Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members, neo-Confederates, and other representatives of the many wings of the “white nationalist” movement are starting to file paperwork and print campaign literature for offices large and small, pointing to rising unemployment, four years with an African-American president, and rampant illegal immigration as part of a growing mound of evidence that white people need to take a stand.
Most aren’t winning—not yet. But they’re drawing levels of support that surprise and alarm groups that keep tabs on the white-power movement (members prefer the terms “racial realist” or “white nationalist”). In May, the National Socialist Movement’s Jeff Hall hit national headlines in a bizarre tragedy: his murder, allegedly at the hands of his 10-year-old son. But before his death, he had campaigned for a low-level water board position in Riverside, California. The swastika-wearing plumber who patrolled the U.S. border paramilitary-style walked away with almost 30 percent of his community’s vote. “That’s a sizable amount of the vote for a person running openly as a Neo Nazi,” says Marilyn Mayo, co-director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism. While Hall’s political future—and life—has been cut short, Mayo points out that we should expect more white supremacist hopefuls next year.
Mayo and others date the current spike to 2008, and the election of the country’s first African-American president (an historic marker accompanied by a surge in the percentage of U.S. children born to minorities in 2008—48 percent, compared to 37 percent in 1990). “The immediate reaction after Obama was elected was of rage. They feel if a black man can get elected to office, why can’t someone who represents white interests?” Just a few weeks after Obama’s election, Duke gathered followers in Memphis to expressly strategize what to do next. The solution? If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
Please, there are currently white supremacist in elected office, has been since the beginning of time.
Wanker of the Day: David Brooks
Tue Jul 5th, 2011 at 10:04:12 AM EST
David Brooks is slowly coming to an uncomfortable conclusion that is at odds with his core mission as a well-paid pseudo-intellectual hack for the corporate right. That conclusion is that the Republican Party has been taken over by fanatics who cannot be reasoned with or trusted with power in our government. That’s progress, I guess, until he conveniently forgets next week what he’s learned and the obvious implications. But maybe with enough two-steps foreward/one-step back moves, Brooks will eventually come to realize that he’s on the wrong side of a deathmatch for the soul of our country. When that happens, he’ll probably see his career reduced to dust.
For now, however, he’s only begun to climb the fence. Straddling will come later, if it comes at all. In today’s column, he establishes a predicate (also progress for Brooks). The predicate is that the Republicans are good negotiators and they’ve succeeded in getting a sweet offer from the Obama administration, but they’re too goddamned insane to take it.
Then he gives us this:
Over the past week, Democrats have stopped making concessions. They are coming to the conclusion that if the Republicans are fanatics then they better be fanatics, too.
The struggles of the next few weeks are about what sort of party the G.O.P. is — a normal conservative party or an odd protest movement that has separated itself from normal governance, the normal rules of evidence and the ancient habits of our nation.
Did he set the predicate for calling the Democrats ‘fanatics’? No. We are asked to make an unsupported logical leap. If, as Brooks established, the Republicans are not negotiating and not interested in evidence, expert advice, or compromise, then the Democrats have no reason to make further concessions to them. That’s a rational decision, not a resort to fanaticism. And Brooks knows this because the next and concluding paragraph affirms it.
If the debt ceiling talks fail, independents voters will see that Democrats were willing to compromise but Republicans were not. If responsible Republicans don’t take control, independents will conclude that Republican fanaticism caused this default. They will conclude that Republicans are not fit to govern.
And they will be right.
This is why David Brooks is a hack and frequently honored for his prolific wanking. The point of using poor logic is to deceive. He uses poor logic because he’s afraid of the career implications of coming out against the modern-day GOP with all the vigor and clarity that is required by his conscience. He knows the Democrats are not fanatics. He calls them fanatics anyway.
New breed of ‘super PACs,’ other independent groups could define 2012 campaign
By Dan Eggen, Published: July 4
One commercial accuses the president of worsening the deficit and says, “It’s time to take away Obama’s blank check.” Another attacks Republican tax and Medicare policies, saying, “We can’t rebuild America if they tear down the middle class.”
So begins the shadow campaign of 2012, in which a new breed of “super PACs” and other independent groups are poised to spend more money than ever to sway federal elections.
The first major ads look as if they came from a regular campaign. But they were produced and aired by groups independent of Obama and his GOP rivals.
The rise of these independent groups, which can raise unlimited amounts of money from corporations, unions and other wealthy donors and spend it to help their favored candidates, could end up defining the 2012 campaign.
But some of the groups could also pose a threat to established campaigns, which may find it difficult to stop them from wandering off message or committing strategic blunders. One rogue super PAC in Southern California has upended a Republican congressional campaign by producing a cru de video depicting the female Democratic candidate as a stripper giving tax money to gang members.
Dozens of super PACs and nonprofit groups have sprung up over the past year in response to court decisions that have tossed out many of the old rules governing federal elections, including a century-old ban on political spending by corporations.
As a result, new independent groups played a crucial role in the 2010 midterm elections and are expected to be even more dominant in 2012. The Federal Election Commission bolstered their clout further last week by allowing political candidates to help raise money for super PACs, though they remain barred from coordinating campaign strategies.
The Campaign Finance Institute, which tracks money in politics, calculated in a recent study that independent groups spent nearly $300 million in the 2010 elections, more than double the amount spent in 2008. Michael Malbin, the group’s executive director, said the loosened climate is reminiscent of the Watergate era, which led to a series of wide-ranging overhauls.
“If you want to know what the 2012 campaign is going to look like, you have to look back 40 years — to 1972,” Malbin said. “These groups are functioning almost the way party groups used to function.”
The first major ad buy came a week ago by Crossroads GPS, a nonprofit advocacy group founded with the support of GOP operative Karl Rove. The group began a $5 million campaign of television and radio ads in 10 states tied to the ongoing debate about the federal debt ceiling.
“Fourteen million out of work,” a narrator says. “America drowning in debt. It’s time to take away Obama’s blank check.”
Crossroads GPS President Steven Law said that although the ad “might have some resonance into next year,” it is aimed primarily at influencing the debt-limit debate. “We’re definitely working to shape how the president is perceived, because how he is perceived will have a huge impact on how this issue is resolved,” he said.
Emergency Homeowners Loan Program To Disperse $1B To Help Save Homes
It’s about damn time. “Implementation delays”? Doesn’t sound like it was enough of a priority. Think of all the pain that could have been avoided:
Sandra Allwine has been pleading with her bank for more than two years to modify the mortgage on her Arlington County home. Despite exhausting all her savings and having her daughter move in to help with her $3,000 mortgage payment, Allwine, 65 and unable to find work, is struggling to save her home from foreclosure.
In June, a potential lifeline opened up. The newly launched $1 billion Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program, or EHLP, is targeting homeowners who are among the most difficult to help: those who fell behind on their payments because of job loss or unexpected medical bills. For many of them, it might be the last chance to save their homes.
“We were normal middle-class Americans who had saved and lived very carefully and frugally . . . and still wound up getting kicked in the teeth,” Allwine said. She applied as soon as she heard about the program.
If she is approved, the government will subsidize Allwine’s mortgage payments for a maximum of $50,000 over two years. After that, the interest-free loan will be forgiven over five years if she stays in her home and stays current on her payments.
EHLP is the latest government program targeting the nearly 1.8 million homeowners like Allwine facing foreclosure. It is going to have to move fast: The program was supposed to start last year, but implementation delays mean that the Department of Housing and Urban Development must spend all its $1 billion by the end of the federal government’s fiscal year, Sept. 30.
That gives homeowners in 27 states, including Virginia, until July 22 to complete their applications. If demand outstrips available funds, HUD will run a lottery to pick successful applicants. Five additional states, including Maryland, are subject to slightly different rules, which gave them more time to spend the funds, because they started taking EHLP applications earlier under similar state-run programs.
July 04, 2011 8:40 AM
McCain: Americans ‘don’t want compromise’
By Steve Benen
It’s safe to say Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) doesn’t have his finger on the pulse of public opinion.
The American people do not want Republicans to compromise on their opposition to any form of tax increase as part of a deficit reduction deal being negotiated with Democrats, veteran Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said Sunday.
“The principle of not raising taxes is something that we campaigned on last November and the results of the election was the American people don’t want their taxes raised and they wanted us to cut spending,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “They don’t want compromise.”
In every meaningful way, McCain’s assumptions are exactly backwards.
What the conservative senator seems to be arguing here is the notion of a mandate: Republicans campaigned against taxes, Republicans won, ergo Republicans can’t allow a compromise that imposes any tax increases on anyone ever. It’s an “elections have consequences” kind of approach.
And that’s not a bad pitch, if McCain were in any way correct about the details, but he’s not. For one thing, Americans elected a Democratic Senate. (McCain may have forgotten, but his caucus is still in the minority.) If voters left us with a Republican House and a Democratic Senate, how exactly does McCain perceive this as an anti-compromise electorate?
For another, the evidence is overwhelming that the American mainstream absolutely supports additional revenue as part of a larger debt-reduction deal.
I’m also fascinated by the notion that McCain suddenly believes mandates matter. Barack Obama sought the presidency promising to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year. If memory serves, he did pretty well when voters had their say. By McCain’s reasoning, doesn’t that mean the president should have his way, too?
But it’s the “they don’t want compromise” line that really stands out. From McCain’s bizarre perspective, Americans simply want Democrats to accept the Republicans’ unpopular agenda — all of it — and see no need for compromise between the parties.
It’s a reminder about the extent to which the parties are approaching this process very differently. Democrats believe it’s a negotiation, and both sides will make concessions to reach an equitable agreement. Republicans believe it’s a transaction, and Democrats must simply give the GOP what it demands.
McShame is a LYING, LAME, LOSER. The American people didn’t want you and Palin anywhere near the WHITE HOUSE too.
Posted at 08:39 AM ET, 07/05/2011 The Morning Plum
By Greg Sargent
* Mitt Romney backflips on his flip flop, again claims Obama made recession “worse”:
Here’s Mitt Romney on the trail in New Hampshire yesterday, repeating yet again the claim that Obama made the recession “worse” after backtracking on it last week (video from the New Hampshire Democratic Party):
It’s getting a bit difficult to track Romney’s contortions on the issue. He had previously repeated the assertion a number of times — even though it had been repeatedly debunked by independent fact checkers. Then, late last week, he retracted it under questioning from NBC, insisting he “didn’t say that things are worse.” Now he’s back to saying it again.
Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul insists Romney didn’t backtrack and was only referring to the stock market when he said he “didn’t say that things are worse.” But NBC’s transcript of last week’s exchange shows he was responding to a question about the overall economy.
Bottom line: Whether or not Romney meant to retract the assertion, it’s clear that he has decided to maintain it as central to his campaign message, even though it has been judged to be a non-subjective statement that is demonstrably false. The reason Romney needs to keep making this claim is obvious: The 2012 campaign will likely turn on whether voters accept Obama’s argument that things are turning around, however slowly, and Romney wants to persuade them of the opposite: That Obama’s spending and health care policies exacerbated the problem because they’re ideologically wrongheaded and fundamentally a failure. This will be central argument of the 2012 contest — a clash between governing philosophies — and without the claim that Obama made the recession worse, it’s hard to see how that indictment holds up.
* Romney flip-flops within one sentence: A brutal piece by the Los Angeles Times’s Maeve Reston, who points out that Romney is claiming Obama made the recession worse while simultaneously arguing that the recovery is anemic, which would appear to be a contradiction within one sentence.
* Dems continue to hit Romney over the flip-flop-flip: The DNC is out with a new video on Romney’s retraction of his flip-flop, a sign of how heavily invested Dems are in reprising the narrative about Romney’s malleability and opportunism that helped doom Mitt in 2008 .
* Jon Huntsman won’t say Obama made economy “worse”: Not even Huntsman is willing to agree with Romney’s claim
Carver Federal and the high price of salvation
By Aaron Elstein on June 30, 2011 12:20 PM | Share| Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
Carver Federal Bank has been saved. But the price of salvation was high: In effect, it agreed to become a ward of the U.S. government.
Here’s how it works: Two years ago, the bank received about $19 million in TARP money that it hasn’t repaid. As part of the $55 million capital-raise announced by Carver on Wednesday, the feds agreed to convert the preferred stock it got from the bailout into 34.8 million common shares.
There’s more. In exchange for providing Carver $55 million in rescue financing, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and other leading Wall Street firms are to get preferred shares that convert to common stock. Assuming that all the preferred shares are converted, Carver will issue 135.7 million additional common shares, and Uncle Sam would end up owning about 25% of the Harlem-based institution.
There’s ample precedent for the government taking a large stake in a struggling bank. Uncle Sam came to own 34% of Citigroup during the depths of the financial crisis, although it has since exited that position at a profit.
Prior to Carver’s rescue package, it had only 2.5 million common shares outstanding. Existing shareholders–and there weren’t many left as the bank’s stock sank to pennies–will get all but wiped out by the rescue. Presumably those taking a hit will include Chief Executive Deborah Wright, who held 6.4% of Carver’s stock as of this past February.
Carver officials weren’t immediately available for comment.
Wall Street bails out Carver Federal with fat check
The Harlem bank raises $55 million from an investment group that includes titans Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Morgan Stanley; feds had ordered the cash infusion to save the institution.
Carver Federal Savings, the nation’s largest bank founded and run by African-Americans, has staved off possible collapse by raising $55 million in fresh capital.
The investors include Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley, which have agreed to invest $15 million each, while Citigroup Inc. and Prudential Financial have agreed to put in $10 million, according to an announcement from Carver’s parent, Carver Bancorp. American Express and three other firms are investing smaller amounts. Chief Executive Deborah Wright, who has led the bank since 1999, will remain at her post.
“I haven’t had a day this good in some time,” said a relieved Ms. Wright, who added she was “terribly grateful” for the financial community’s vote of confidence in her bank. “We have a lot of hard work ahead.”
The Harlem-based bank was ordered by federal regulators earlier this year to raise additional cash as it staggered under a hefty load of delinquent real estate loans. Under Ms. Wright’s leadership, the bank had moved from its traditional business of lending to one- to- four-family homes and into larger commercial real estate projects. That strategy backfired when the real estate market hit the skids and mortgages for low-income borrowers dried up.
Earlier this year, 12.3% of the bank’s loan portfolio was more than 90 days delinquent. The industry average is 4.9%, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data. In addition, although $74 million of its loans were well overdue, Carver had just $21 million in reserves to cover loan losses.
In February, the U.S. Office of Thrift Supervision ordered Carver to raise additional capital by the end of April or face being seized and sold to another institution—or simply dissolved. The amount Carver raised exceeds the amount demanded by regulators, Ms. Wright said.
Last month, the bank named a new chief financial officer—its fourth in the past three years—and said it hired an recruiter to find a new president and chief operating officer who would oversee lending, retail, marketing and human resources. Ms. Wright said the new executive would allow her to devote the bulk of her time to drumming up new business, adding that Carver will soon step up its marketing.
The Harlem business community galvanized to help rescue Carver, a fixture of the city since 1948. Lloyd Williams, CEO of the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, said a private breakfast was held in late April at Sylvia’s Restaurant in which Ms. Wright and senior Carver officials met with former state Comptroller Carl McCall, former city Comptroller Bill Thompson, U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel and other Harlem business and political leaders to discuss ways to turn around Carver.
“It is exciting, and the community is now stepping up to the plate,” Mr. Williams said shortly after that meeting, “because they have been asked to do so in a meaningful manner.”
Base of black political power shifts from Harlem
Three young Brooklyn pols eager to climb leadership ladder.
Rep. Charlie Rangel has been neutered. David Paterson’s tumultuous, short-lived governorship is history. And for the first time in 20 years, no blacks hold citywide or statewide elected office.
After a long and steady rise, black political power in New York is in retreat, and its traditional center of Harlem has been weakened.
“It’s been a tough time,” said Kevin Wardally, a Harlem-based Democratic operative. “But I do believe there are strong black leaders who will fill that void.”
Those leaders, however, are unlikely to hail from the longtime bedrock of New York’s—and the nation’s—black political establishment. Harlem’s challenges are deeper than Mr. Rangel’s ethics scandal and Mr. Paterson’s gubernatorial flameout. Upper Manhattan has a shrinking number of black voters, and its onetime farm team of elected officials is nearing retirement age.
As the Democratic dynasty that produced the city’s first black mayor—as well as the state’s first black comptroller and governor, and the dean of New York’s congressional delegation—crumbles, attention has turned to a cadre of upstarts in central Brooklyn.
Political observers and elected officials point to Assemblymen Hakeem Jeffries and Karim Camara and state Sen. Eric Adams as future stars. All took office within the past six years and appear to be as ambitious as they are adept.
“I know all of them, and I’m just delighted we’re getting this new wave of leaders,” said Carl McCall, a former state comptroller. “It’s interesting that all three are from Brooklyn.”
Mr. Jeffries, 40, is believed to hold the most promise. A former corporate attorney, he has been floated as a mayoral candidate in 2013 and has even been labeled “Brooklyn’s Barack Obama.”
However, the Prospect Heights assemblyman is more likely to run for the congressional seat held by 27-year incumbent Rep. Edolphus Towns. In May, Mr. Jeffries opened a fundraising account for federal office.
“There is no doubt that Hakeem has a bright future,” said Kathryn Wylde, president of the business-backed Partnership for New York City.
Mr. Camara and Mr. Adams are also champing at the bit. In June, Mr. Camara, a 40-year-old Baptist minister, beat veteran state Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson to become head of the powerful New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus.
Mr. Adams, 50, a former police captain, has fostered strong ties to state Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson and has his sights set on becoming Brooklyn’s next borough president.
Unlike their Harlem counterparts, all were early supporters of Sen. Barack Obama, not Hillary Clinton, during the 2008 presidential election.
The Big Three, as some in the borough have begun calling them, collectively represent a swath of central Brooklyn that stretches from Fort Greene to Flatbush. Despite white gentrification, the area remains predominately black.
“With all due respect to my friends in Harlem,” said strategist Robert Liff, a former spokesman for Mr. Rangel, “it’s a pretty powerful base from which to operate.” =
But the Brooklyn trio admire Harlem’s political pioneers, notably Mr. Rangel, former mayor David Dinkins, former New York Secretary of State (and father to a governor) Basil Paterson, and the late Percy Sutton, who was a Manhattan borough president.
“The Gang of Four has played a significant role in their lives,” said Lupé Todd, a political operative who is close to the Big Three.
Yet Harlem’s overall influence in black politics is waning. Harlem proper has not been a majority-black neighborhood for more than a decade. Only 26% of Mr. Rangel’s constituents are black. And Mr. Rangel has been a nonfactor in Washington since last fall, when he lost his chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee and was censured by his colleagues.
Meanwhile, his seemingly endless tenure has created a logjam of aspiring politicians. “In Harlem, they’ve been waiting for that tap on the shoulder,” observed a Democratic operative from Brooklyn. “Here, I guess we’re a little more uncouth.”
White House press pool losing scoops to Twitter
Some reporters in the rotating pool of journalists who chronicle the president’s movements are sending tweets and TwitPics before the pool reports go to all of their colleagues, and that’s creating problems. “The conventions dictate that the pool comes first — not the news organization or the individual,” writes Amie Parnes.
The issue, which has surfaced in recent months as more reporters embrace Twitter, has sparked a debate within the White House press corps about how much of such online activities should be allowed. …The White House Correspondents’ Association has created a task force to examine the matter, along with other pool-related issues involving changes in the industry.
July 05, 2011
In reading E.J. Dionne’s holiday testament to the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution I found the bittersweet, the almost pathetic, and the undeniably desperate. For, you see, Dionne was only attempting to educate the grotesquely ineducable: the Tea Partiers.
Whether they intend it or not, their name suggests they believe that the current elected government in Washington is as illegitimate as was a distant, unelected monarchy. It implies something fundamentally wrong with taxes themselves or, at the least, that current levels of taxation (the lowest in decades) are dangerously oppressive. And it hints that methods outside the normal political channels are justified in confronting such oppression.
We need to recognize the deep flaws in this vision of our present and our past.
In his next 490 words, Dionne proceeded to recognize just that: the assorted misconceptions and wild misinterpretations that Tea Partiers hold in their torpid heads about our founding documents. So therein came the bittersweet and nearly pathetic, in that Dionne, an honest, sensitive scholar of moderate sensibilities, was acting Reason’s Chamberlain to the Tea Party’s unappeasability.
To the latter, the actual historical record is but a concept to be played with, or shredded at will; to the former, intellectual integrity remains an honorable notion.
As for Dionne’s desperation? His fear of the “if” becomes more justified every day:
[I]f we pretend we are living in Boston in 1773, we will draw all the wrong conclusions and make some remarkably foolish choices.
So Dionne hustles the erudite and reasonable; but given that the House and effectively the Senate are mutant re-creations of the Tea Party’s determined ignorance and “remarkable foolishness,” one reads Dionne’s hustling as a kind of knowing desperation.
July 05, 2011
Although the Washington Post’s Robert Samuelson misses the mark a bit, I am delighted to see yet another among the commentariat advance in general my long-standing argument that liberalism is the new conservatism, and in that sense conservatism — by conservatives — is no more.
The struggle nominally pits liberals against conservatives, but this is misleading. The real debate involves reactionaries vs. radicals. Many liberals are reactionaries and many conservatives are radicals.
To “reactionaryism” Samuelson assigns a curiously circumscribed, twofold definition: from Webster’s, “a return to an earlier system or order”; and from Michael Barone, a “[pining for] the golden years of the 1940s, ’50s and early ’60s [when] . . . Americans had far more confidence in big government.” Yet, as my Webster’s says, “reactionaryism” is especially “ultraconservative,” the antithesis of the “golden years.”
On the other hand Samuelson is exquisitely accurate in writing about erstwhile conservatives as contemporary radicals, since they do indeed “[seek] drastic political, economic or social reform.” What, however, is the true meaning of “conservatism”? Explains Samuelson: A “respect [for] existing institutions and traditions that anchor the social order.”
Well, well. Today, such a respect would embrace the socially anchoring institutions of, say, Social Security and Medicare, both of which evolved from mere Rooseveltian-Johnsonian innovations into universally embraced traditions of American community. Liberalism itself may have devolved into little more than a holding action against the genuinely reactionary radicals, but it is holding most tightly onto the very “anchors” by which Samuelson defines conservatism.
Voters angry about Minnesota shutdown give Republican lawmaker an earful at July Fourth parade
EAGAN, Minn. — As Republican Sen. Ted Daley hustled up Yankee Doodle Road in the lineup for Eagan’s Fourth of July parade, some of his constituents wondered loudly why he wasn’t at the state Capitol 10 miles to the north trying to end the state government shutdown that was in its fourth day.
“Go get your job done!” shouted Bill Egan, a 52-year-old salesman who said he’s disgusted by the standoff between Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and the Republicans who control the Legislature.
The two have been at odds over the state budget since they were sworn in early this year. Republicans want to limit state spending to $34 billion, the amount the state is expected to bring in over the next two years, while Dayton wants to raise income taxes on the state’s top earners to provide $1.8 billion more to keep up with growing demand for state services and prevent cuts to social programs and public colleges.
With neither side willing to budge, talks broke down Thursday night hours before the government shutdown. They have yet to resume as Dayton urged lawmakers to spend the holiday weekend in their districts, listening to the people they represent.
Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/at-minn-parade-r…
Obama calls the GOP’s bluff
By Eugene Robinson, Published: July 4
Here’s how to negotiate, GOP-style: Begin by making outrageous demands. Bully your opponents into giving you almost all of what you want. Rather than accept the deal, add a host of radical new demands. Observe casually that you wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to the hostage you’ve taken — the nation’s well-being. To the extent possible, look and sound like Jack Nicholson in “The Shining.”
This strategy has worked so well for Republicans that it’s no surprise they’re using it again, this time in the unnecessary fight over what should be a routine increase in the debt ceiling. This time, however, something different is happening: President Obama seems to be channeling Robert De Niro in “Taxi Driver.” At a news conference last Wednesday, Obama’s response to the GOP was, essentially, “You talkin’ to me?”
Obama’s in-your-face attitude seems to have thrown Republicans off their stride. They thought all they had to do was convince everyone they were crazy enough to force an unthinkable default on the nation’s financial obligations. Now they have to wonder if Obama is crazy enough to let them.
He probably isn’t. But the White House has kept up the pressure, asserting that the real deadline for action by Congress to avoid a default isn’t Aug. 2, as the Treasury Department said, but July 22; it takes time to write the needed legislation, officials explained. Tick, tick, tick . . .
“Malia and Sasha generally finish their homework a day ahead of time,” Obama said, gratuitously — but effectively — comparing his daughters’ industry with congressional sloth. “It is impressive. They don’t wait until the night before. They’re not pulling all-nighters. They’re 13 and 10. Congress can do the same thing. If you know you’ve got to do something, just do it.”
Happy MUN-dane, Everyone! :-)
Inspiration for today….
It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.
Good Morning, Everyone at 3CHICS!
Top of the morning, ladies.
Thank you! Oh, I need it so much. I am tired this morning. Too much partying! :)