Tuesday Open Thread

Barack Hussein Obama II (Listeni/bəˈrɑːk hˈsn ˈbɑːmə/; born August 4, 1961) is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the president of the Harvard Law Review. He was a community organizer in Chicago before earning his law degree. He worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. He served three terms representing the 13th district in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004.

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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150 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread

  1. creolechild says:

    Federal officials have charged two men with acting in a long-term conspiracy to act as agents of the Pakistani government without disclosing their relationship with the foreign government. One of those charged has given multiple donations to politicians on both sides of the aisle, most of it to Rep. Dan Burton (R). The Department of Justice says U.S. citizens Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, 62, and Zaheer Ahmad, 63, ran the Kashmiri American Council (KAC), which held itself out to be a “Kashmiri organization run by Kashmiris and financed by Americans,” according to DOJ.

    But the KAC is one of three “Kashmir Centers” that the feds said were “actually run by elements of the Pakistani government, including Pakistan’s military intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI),” said DOJ. The other two centers are in England and Belgium, according to the feds.

    Fai gave over $10,000 to Burton between between 1990 and 2010 and gave $250 to Obama on Nov. 2, 2008, according to federal records. He also gave $250 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, $250 to the DNC Services Corp and $6,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Law enforcement sources told NBC’s Pete Williams that “there’s no reason to believe that members of Congress or other organizations that received his contributions were aware of his government connections.”

    “Mr. Fai is accused of a decades-long scheme with one purpose – to hide Pakistan’s involvement behind his efforts to influence the U.S. government’s position on Kashmir,” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil MacBride said in a statement. “His handlers in Pakistan allegedly funneled millions through the Kashmir Center to contribute to U.S. elected officials, fund high-profile conferences, and pay for other efforts that promoted the Kashmiri cause to decision makers in Washington,” MacBride said.


  2. creolechild says:

    San Francisco – The latest figures show that some 44 million workers in private employment – more than 40 percent of the private-sector workforce – do not have paid sick days that they could use to recover from illnesses, including contagious illnesses such as the flu, or worse.

    It should be of particular concern that those occupations which are currently least likely to provide paid sick days include occupations most likely to have regular contact with the public – most importantly and most disturbingly, food service and food preparation.

    That raises serious health problems – especially in these tight economic times, when workers need to stay on the job as much as they can, no matter how ill they are, to earn as much money as they can. Which, of course, endangers the health of those who come in contact with them, as well as delaying their recovery from their illness. Public health experts note that the fewer the number of workers who are able to stay at home when sick, the more likely it is that diseases will spread. In addition to the increased suffering of the public and other workers which that causes, it also causes significant economic losses.

    Laws have been proposed in several states and in Congress that would require employers to grant paid sick leaves to their employees, but it seems unlikely that the measures, however much they are needed, will pass any time soon – if at all.



  3. creolechild says:

    The island of Puerto Rico, a U.S. commonwealth, has long been known for its beauty and its distinct culture, which are unique to the island. The name of the island itself means “rich port” in Spanish, indicating that for years Puerto Rico has served as an economic asset for Spain and the U.S. and, more recently, as a tourist paradise in the Caribbean. The commonwealth of Puerto Rico historically has been subjected to abuse by foreign powers intent on exploiting its rich resources, including a small stretch of land off the island’s east coast called Vieques. The U.S. Navy made extensive use of Vieques for weapons testing up until 2003, when it abandoned the island without cleaning up the traces of years of gunnery practice and test bombings, which were capriciously left behind. The consequences of these bombings continue to surface as cancer rates and incidents of ecological damage begin to mount. U.S. Congressman Steve Rothman has said that, “The injustice toward the people of Vieques, Puerto Rico must end. The time for the U.S. government to right this wrong is long overdue.”1 This is a sentiment shared by thousands of Puerto Ricans who today seek to rectify the past wrongs.



  4. creolechild says:

    According to the Republican Party, America is broke. We can’t afford so-called entitlement programs like Medicaid and Medicare and Social Security. We can’t afford support for programs such as Head Start, or workers’ collective bargaining rights. We can’t afford healthcare reform or support for then National Institute of Health which funds cancer and Parkinson’s research, or the National Weather Service which protects us from a volatile environment. But we can somehow afford endless war.

    The cost of war must be reckoned not only in lives destroyed but in monies spent. A supposedly broke federal government which can afford not even a few million here and there for the benefit of its citizens can apparently afford to fight not only the wars the last Republican administration committed us to but new wars against enemies like Iran. It’s time Americans put some serious thought into what these wars are costing us before considering a vote for further wars.

    The Cost of War counters are from the National Priorities Project, dedicated to bringing transparency to the federal budget:

    Cost of U.S. Wars Since 2001
    See the cost to your community at http://www.costofwar.com

    Cost of War in Iraq
    See the cost to your community at http://www.costofwar.com

    Cost of War in Afghanistan
    See the cost to your community at http://www.costofwar.com

    U.S. Department of Defense, Base Structure Report, 2008 [See chart.]
    And it’s not only wars, but military bases. According to the National Priorities Project these are the relevant facts:

    * The main sources of information on these military installations (e.g. C. Johnson, the NATO Watch Committee, and the International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases) reveal that the U.S. operates and/or controls between 700 and 800 military bases Worldwide.

    * In this regard, Hugh d’Andrade and Bob Wing’s “U.S. Military Troops and Bases around the World, The Cost of ‘Permanent War’”, confirms the presence of U.S. military personnel in 156 countries.

    * The U.S. Military has bases in 63 countries. Brand new military bases have been built since September 11, 2001 in seven countries.

    * In total, there are 255,065 U.S. military personnel deployed Worldwide [in 2007].

    * These facilities include a total of 845,441 different buildings and equipments. The underlying land surface is of the order of 30 million acres. According to Gelman, who examined 2005 official Pentagon data, the U.S. is thought to own a total of 737 bases in foreign lands. Adding to the bases inside U.S. territory, the total land area occupied by U.S. military bases domestically within the U.S. and internationally is of the order of 2,202,735 hectares, which makes the Pentagon one of the largest landowners worldwide.

    Sobering, isn’t it? It’s no wonder, as National Priorities Project relates, that according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, “The USA’s military spending accounted for 45 percent of the world total in 2007.” Wake up, America. It’s not that we don’t have the money to do the things we’ve always done; we’re just putting it in the wrong place, and the so-called fiscally responsible Republicans would just love to continue to poor billions into endless war, lining their pockets while average Americans are flushed down the toilet bowl of history.


  5. rikyrah says:

    .Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 10:55 AM PDT.

    Breaking Poll: Obama Sinking Republicans in Debt Debate+*

    Folks, America is getting an up-front and personal view into the minds of these heartless tea-party republicans. For years, it has always been my contention that the GOP doesn’t care about improving the lives of average Americans. This polls says America agrees with me.

    I firmly believe they have used “Fox News of the World” and other assorted entities to protect the interests of corporate giants for decades. They have used wedge issues like abortion, minority rights and the Nation’s debt to beat democrats over the head and I’m personally sick of it.

    Finally, finally, they have boxed themselves in and America is not very pleased. Check out this breaking WAPO poll that clearly shows our side is winning for a change:

    “The president also has a double-digit lead when it comes to caring more about people’s own family financial interests and edges out the GOP on helping small businesses, which has been a flash point in the high-profile, big-stakes contest over debt and deficits.
    …Asked who cares more about the financial concerns of middle-class Americans, Obama has a big advantage, 53 percent to 35 percent, over the Republicans in Congress. He’s up 47 percent to 37 percent when poll respondents were asked about themselves and their families. On protecting the interests of small businesses, 48 percent of Americans say Obama cares more; 39 percent say so of the GOP.”

    So now, the House GOP “must” vote to raise the debt ceiling and everyone including their own party will hate them for this. All of this makes me very happy.


  6. Late Evening Extra Thread is up!

  7. creolechild says:

    Uhn uhn uhn….. this was the JAM!

  8. rikyrah says:

    Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 03:37 AM PDT.

    Elizabeth Warren UNLOADS:”Time to take the fight straight to the GOP”+*

    We heard a variety of things about Obama and Warren and the CFPAWe will not let Republicans ‘rip arms and legs off’ of consumer agency

    First of all, there’s this, I am highlighting first, as it is blunt and unequivocal:

    “We would not have a consumer agency if it were not for President Obama,” she said.
    For now, that’s the deal: Obama HAS done this and it is good, particularly as evidenced by the absolute HOWLING it has generated.
    More below the Victorian paragraphs separator.

    She comes right out and BLAMES republicans.

    An Out of the Park Home Run in my book!

    “I want to be real clear. The reason I can not run this agency is because of [Republicans],” Warren continued. “They have made it perfectly clear that they are not going to let this agency go forward if I am there. Fine, I can step away from this. What I care about is this agency.”
    Warren described Cordray as a “good man.”

    “I think it’s time to take the fight straight to the Republicans,” she added. “We need a director in place, that is the law, and we are not, not, not going to let the minority come in and dictate the terms of this agency – rip its arms and legs off before it is able to help a single family.”

    Ripping it limb form limb AND destroying her has clearly been the order of the day for the GOP, something I think most thinking creatures predicted the moment we got the legislation to create this MUCH-NEEDED agency. We KNEW it would be opposed because, of course, the RICH cannot make their obsecne profits without screwing us blind at every last possible juncture.
    They are telling us just exactly this by their actions. We see how much the repoublicans hate American families in everything they do, from Wisconsin to New Jersy to Florida to Minnesota and to this particular fledgling agency.

    Republicans want to kill jobs and they want to kill this agency specifically designed to PROTECT Americans from the predation of Capitalism.

    And because the republican outpouring of hate for this agency is so much – we all saw how rude and foul they were towards Ms. Warren – now they are focused on destroying Obama’s newly nominated head, Richard Cordray:

    President Barack Obama has decided to nominate Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) instead of Elizabeth Warren, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) doesn’t care. He says Republicans still plan to block the nomination.
    “I would remind [President Obama] that Senate Republicans still aren’t in interested approving anyone to the position until the president agrees to make this massive government bureaucracy more accountable and transparent to the American people,” McConnell announced on the Senate floor Monday.


  9. creolechild says:

    Time for some music! And I have the perfect song that’s appropriate for the occasion–given what’s going on around us…

  10. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney’s state PACs raise unlimited funds then funnel them back to the nat’l campaign Tags: Alabama, Mitt Romney, New Hampshire, PAC money, Soft Money

    This week, the Alabama and New Hampshire Democratic parties filed a complaint (pdf) against the Romney campaign, claiming that he is using lax rules in various states to raise money and then funnel them back to his national campaign.


  11. rikyrah says:

    Elizabeth Warren and Barack Obama: Fighting Pragmatists

    For all the whining on the Naderite Left about how the non-appointment of Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau represents Yet Another CopoutTM by President Obama (never mind that the actual nominee, Richard Cordray was hand-picked by Warren herself and scares the banks as much as she does), Professor Warren herself has put a cork in that notion. Appearing on The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC last night, she delivered an impassioned defense of the President and of the agency.

    Here is Warren’s clear answer to those accusing the President of backing away from a fight because of Wall Street pressure.

    Professor Warren: I really think we all have to remember this: We would not have a consumer agency if not for President Obama. Two years ago, right about now, he looked out, and he said, “The consumer agency, that’s what I want to put in financial regulatory reform.” Over the next year while everybody fought back and forth over the regulatory reform bill, there were a lot of offers on the table to get something else if you kill the consumer agency, or if you’d weaken it. He consistently said no. And a year ago right now, this week, he signed into law a bill that made this consumer agency exist and as strong and independent way.
    What? President Obama knows how to fight? He rejected offers to kill the agency and insisted on it instead? He refused to compromise on this principle of protecting consumers, against all odds and all the lobbying dollars Wall Street was pouring in (and is still pouring in) to weaken or kill the agency? Oh no no no, don’t say that! It makes the entire Professional Left crybaby argument fall apart like a house of cards!

    Prof. Warren also had some fightin’ words for the Republicans who are trying to knee-cap this agency before it is able to even start operations:

    Professor Warren: Now, since then, what’s happened is there are folks on capitol hill, Republicans in the senate and the house, they voted against the bill to begin with — against the agency to begin with, they’ve introduced bills to try to cut our funding, introduced bills to try to make us less independent, introduced bills so we have a gummed up structure so we can’t get anything done and bills to flat out repeal us. I want to be clear, the reason I cannot run this agency is because of those people. They’ve made it perfectly clear they will not let the agency go forward if I’m there, fine. I can step away from this. What I care about is this agency. The President has now made his nomination. He’s a good man, Richard Cordray is, and I think it’s time to take the fight straight to the Republicans. We need a director in place, that’s the law, and we are not, not, not going to let the minority come in and dictate the terms of this agency, rip its arms and legs off before it’s able to help a single family.
    Indeed, in her White House blog post yesterday, Prof. Warren pointed out that the President is not giving an inch in the fight to keep the agency independent and out of the hands of the political appropriations process. He has issued a veto threat against any weakening of the powers of the agency. If political realities prevented Elizabeth Warren from being nominated to head the agency that is her brainchild, they have not prevented her from standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the President to protect the implementation of the most progressive consumer protection idea in generations. To Warren, that is what matters most.

    Professor Warren is a person of amazing abilities, grit, tenacity, and focus. She has always known that this was not about her – and she worked alongside the President for the cause. Funny, like a lot of us on the sane side of the Left blogosphere, Elizabeth Warren seems to understand legislative and political realities, knows full well that it is the Republicans that are the reason that she cannot run the agency, and knows that the real fight is about the agency, its functions and its future.

    Hang on a minute. Elizabeth Warren just spoke pretty clearly about political realities and gave that legitimacy on what has happened with the nomination. Uh oh. Does this mean that she is a pragmatic progressive? OMG! Nooooo! Stop the presses!

    And I suspect she also knows what the President knows: if she were nominated, Republicans would be able to make her the lightening rod and the issue, rather than the merits of the agency. By sacrificing her own nomination, Warren and Obama have taken that away from the Republicans, and they have already succeeded in focusing the conversation on the agency rather than the nominee. While the media has focused on how dropping Warren as a nominee did not in any way end the fight – and of course it did not – they missed the ground in that fight shifting to focus on what the President, Professor Warren, and progressives want it to focus on: the agency. They missed that shifting of the ground even as they reported on it. Watch how the Republicans are doing that job for us:


  12. rikyrah says:

    July 19, 2011
    The GOP’s undiscovered country
    Let’s review. Here’s where they stand, those straight-talkin’, straight-shootin’ congressional Republicans.

    Having created a massive national debt by springing for domestic goodies and foreign carnage on what was to become Tim Geithner’s credit card, they now feign a chronic case of victimitis and have politically disinherited themselves from any fiscal responsibility, as well as having fiscally disinherited themselves from any political responsibility. It’s a twofer. And a beautiful day in their neighborhood.

    Mitch McConnell’s suggestion: In order to happily lift a debt ceiling that his party has angrily insisted should not be lifted, they will of course vote against any such lifting — on three separate occasions — which will of course guarantee the lifts; all of which means they will angrily denounce the lifted ceilings which they happily voted against, which is to say, for.

    Nonetheless these men and women of the modern Republican Party are fiercely proud and ruthlessly honest; they will brook no effete game-playing and suffer no disingenuous horsefeathers of the usual Washington sort; they spawn, as acknowledged, from the straight-shootin’ John Wayne breed; their women have biscuits ready before the sergeant-at-arms cock crows and the men are real men and their sheep are nervous.

    In what some of the quiveringly unplucky will characteristically see as manly overreach, some Republicans are also demanding — yes, demanding — that, brace yourself, a congressional commission be formed, which at some vague point would peep some vague advice about unquestionably needed spending cuts. And if some Senate Republicans still object that all this ruggedness is not rugged enough, well, the latest parliamentary advance in straightforward legerdemain says they could attach the whole deceitful ball of goo to a congressional resolution that uncompromisingly frowns on deficit spending, the likes of which they just approved; that is, disapproved, in their procedural approval.

    Meanwhile, House Republicans, starring in this year’s second release of ‘True Grist,’ have decided to out-demagogue themselves by championing a transcendentally awesome cut, cap and balance bill, which, it scarcely need mentioning, will cut nothing, cap nothing, and balance nothing. Or, think Val Kilmer in ‘Tombstone,’ flipping with dazzle that little tin cup in place of a real pistol.

    So there you have it: Where they stand, those straight-talkin’, straight-shootin’ congressional Republicans — hurling themselves into the Shakespearean black depths of pseudoconservatives’ undiscovered country, from which no traveller returns.


  13. rikyrah says:

    Hoyer: Dems United Against Entitlement Benefit Cuts In Debt Fight

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has been clear for weeks that entitlement benefit cuts — reducing the guarantees promised to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid beneficiaries — are off the table in high-stakes negotiations to raise the national debt limit and avoid a catastrophic default.

    But several Democrats have been on the record for years saying they’d consider or accept certain benefit cuts as part of a broad, balanced package to address long-term deficits. And that’s raised the question of whether Pelosi would be able to hold the line if President Obama throws his weight behind cutting entitlement benefits as part of a “grand bargain” to reduce deficits by up to $4 trillion this decade.

    Pelosi’s lieutenant, Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), is one of the Dems who in the past has called for benefit cuts to be on the table — alongside tax revenues, and savings — as part of a bipartisan plan to bring the budget into balance. Today, though, he said he’s with Pelosi 100 percent in the current fight, even if Republicans agree to a “grand bargain” that includes new tax revenue.

    “We have made it very clear that we have no intention of supporting cuts in beneficiaries’ benefits,” Hoyer said at his Tuesday press briefing, in response to a question from TPM.

    This is, at the very least, a smart negotiating position for House Democrats. But it sets them apart from President Obama, who’s prepared to impose further means testing on Medicare beneficiaries, and perhaps to raise the retirement age by a couple years over time to garner significant House Republican support for a big budget deal that includes higher tax revenues. So if Hoyer and Pelosi hold the line here, then a “grand bargain” may be impossible — the votes wouldn’t be there.

    That would widen the rift between Obama and the House, but make progressive advocates and seniors very happy.

    Alternatively, this could move Republicans closer to the Democratic position on Medicare and Medicaid — to look for savings from health care providers and manufacturers first, not directly from beneficiaries — at which point Dems might soften their demands.

    In any case, Hoyer’s firm line on this suggests Dems aren’t as divided in this debt fight as you might assume they’d be.


  14. creolechild says:

    While answering questions before Parliament Tuesday, a man appeared to try to throw a pie in the face of News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch’s wife, Wendi, was seen throwing a punch at the man.

    Update: John Amato: This behavior is wrong headed and it’s too bad because News Corp–NOTW’s actions are very serious and have hurt many people. Cable news will probably give this the usual tabloid treatment.

    Empty Wheel: The highlights thus far are:

    MP Watson kept refusing to let James Murdoch answer questions for his father. At one point, Watson said, “Your father is responsible for corporate governance and it’s revealing how little he knows.” The only question Watson asked James–which he didn’t really answer–was “I’d like you to tell me whether you told your father” about one of the settlements.

    In a key exchange, Watson asked Rupert, “Mr. Murdoch, at what point did you find out criminality was endemic at NotW?” Rupert answered, “Endemic is a very wide word.” In other exchanges, Rupert was stumped. On at least two occasions, he took more than 10 seconds to answer a question.

    Another MP made a big deal about Rupert going through the back door of the Prime Minister’s residence. Rupert explained, “I was asked. I just did what I was told.” At one point, James tried to interrupt to explain the special politics of Murdoch going through the back door. Then finally, Rupert said (this is not quite a direct quote), I went through Mr. Brown’s back door many times.

    Then he asked the big question: Mr. Murdoch: Do you accept that ultimately you are responsible for this whole fiasco?

    Rupert: No.

    The happiest person of all so far seems to be Piers Morgan.


  15. rikyrah says:

    More gibberish from Paul Ryan
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    Paul Ryan has now offered a new rationale for why Republicans see the need to drag us to the edge of debt ceiling disaster, and its absurdity is really revealing. It demonstrates once again that there’s just no need for the Republicans to fight this out in a way that’s as risky as possible for the American economy.

    Ryan, in a message clearly directed towards fellow Republicans, told National Review that the GOP should battle to the death over the debt limit — presumably raising it in the end — because this is the GOP’s only chance to force Democrats to give them whatever they want. That’s because Dems are refusing to do a budget of their own, a process which would give the GOP a way to win concessions.

    “There is no budget process, since the Senate is not going to do a budget,” Ryan said.

    This is just gibberish, particularly coming from the Republican Budget Chairman. It’s true that the Senate hasn’t passed a budget. But so what? Budget or no, Congress still has to pass spending bills for the next fiscal year, and House Republicans can certainly attach whatever they want, including Medicare or Medicaid spending cuts, to those bills. And they can negotiate over them, just as they are doing today. The only difference is that there would be no risk of default; the consequences of a possible government shutdown over appropriations are still severe, but not nearly as unpredictable as the threat of reaching the debt limit. Indeed, part of the problem with using the debt limit as hostage is that it’s possible that the government’s credit rating will be damaged (with all the costs that go along with that) just from the markets believing there is a danger of default; by contrast, a threatened shutdown (that is, over appropriations expiring) that never materializes has no consequences at all, as the almost-shutdown just this spring demonstrated.

    In fact, there will be a budget process this year. Remember, the budget resolution — that’s the thing that Senate Dems haven’t done yet, and may not do — isn’t a law. It doesn’t actually do anything, except to give instructions from Congress to Congress. Passing a budget doesn’t have any relation to whether Congress passes spending bills, which it must do in the end. Republicans will have their chance to use these to their advantage.

    Despite Ryan’s gibberish, the plain fact is that Republicans are holding the nation’s credit rating hostage by choice.


  16. rikyrah says:

    …….Leading the Anti-Bachmann Army
    By David A. Graham | The Daily Beast – 8 hrs ago

    As Michele Bachmann surges, a dedicated band of haters is dishing scoops and drawing eyeballs to an influential blog. David A. Graham on the Minnesota Republican woman dedicated to bringing her down.

    Michele Bachmann’s star is on the rise. Her poll numbers are climbing. The donations are rolling in. And the press is scrambling for any scraps about her character, her past, what makes her tick. Digging deep into the Minnesota Republican’s record, reporters have found some tantalizing material: her alleged ties to the hate-mongering pastor Bradlee Dean, her work to get a pardon for Ponzi schemer Frank Vennes Jr., and her husband’s apparent reference to gays as “barbarians.”

    They’re juicy stories and they’ve gotten plenty of attention nationwide. But they aren’t news–a small cluster of bloggers in Minnesota broke all those stories years ago.

    These are interesting times for Eva Young, Ken Avidor, and a handful of other contributors who write the Dump Bachmann blog, a small online outpost that punches way above its weight class. For seven years, Young and her compadres have devoted long hours to cataloguing Bachmann’s every move, first as an obscure state senator and then in the U.S House. Now, the object of their attention is suddenly the front-runner in Iowa, and a leading contender for the 2012 GOP nomination. Rather than celebrating their prescience, the bloggers sound downright dismayed.

    “I don’t want to blog about her,” says Ken Avidor, who has become the site’s most prolific poster. “I’ve quit three times. She’s not worth of even being considered a possible candidate. But unfortunately, she’s become a more serious joke.”

    Dump Bachmann isn’t the first local political blog to suddenly draw the attention of a national media hungry for leads. Just ask the folks at Mudflats, an Alaskan site that hit the big time when its target, Sarah Palin, did the same. But the Minnesota blog stands out for its early influence—and the political pedigree of its founder, Eva Young, who, like Bachmann, is a Republican woman who has achieved a level of notoriety in the ranks of the state party.

    Young, a Minneapolis resident who works in information technology as her day job, began the blog seven years ago, after stints as president of the Minnesota Log Cabin Republicans, the gay GOP group, and on the national board of the Log Cabin Republicans. She cut a quirky figure—an avid cat fancier who spoke her mind, commented up a storm on political sites, and didn’t hesitate to buck party orthodoxy. State GOP leaders don’t know quite what to make of her. “I probably haven’t talked to her in 10 years, but she was always kind of out there even then,” says Tony Sutton, the chair of the Minnesota Republican Party. “She was a liberal Republican–or a liberal, I’m not sure she was really a Republican.”

    Young began fixating on Bachmann as the rising star’s views on gay rights came into view in the early 2000s. The pol’s staunch opposition to gay marriage and comments suggesting homosexuality was akin to “bondage” and “part of Satan” cried out for more scrutiny, in Young’s view. “The mainstream media would cover the things that she wanted them to cover, which is she would say things in one way when she was speaking to the mainstream media and then say something completely different when she was talking to her base or going on Christian radio,” Young says. So she began collecting “Bachmannalia”. In the spring of 2004, Dump Bachmann was born.

    It has, at times, been a lonely road. Allies turned to enemies along the way, decrying what they describe as “obsessive” tendencies in Young and her crew. Mitch Berg, who writes the conservative Shot in the Dark blog and lives in St. Paul, says he used to be a friendly acquaintance. But he’s now an adversary, especially since Berg and Young got into a virtual tiff after Young allegedly posted his personal email to a blog while blasting comments he’d made about the perceived aggressiveness of lesbians.

    Berg dismisses Dump Bachmann’s work as sensationalist. “I get the impression that they think their ends justify their means,” he says. “She’s probably the least deranged of the bunch—and I don’t mean to throw the ‘crazy’ term around lightly. But they’ve taken leave of the facts and substituted supposition for evidence.” Berg claims that no one really pays attention to them at home in Minnesota—the blog’s 3,000 visitors are dwarfed by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, which draws 1,000 times that much a day. But even he acknowledges the group’s influence, theorizing that their anti-Bachmann onslaught may have actually helped her in her tight 2006 race for the House.

    Young’s compatriots are more traditional bombthrowers. Avidor, an artist, is a liberal New York native and mass-transit enthusiast who was a Green Party member for a time. Karl Bremer, a third contributor who also writes his own Ripple In Stillwater blog—which also doggedly pursues Bachmann-related stories—is a former professional journalist with a graying goatee and a stint at a craft brewery on his resume.

    It’s time-consuming work; Young, who says she’s cut back recently despite Bachmann’s rise, often spent two hours a day on the subject over the years. But it’s paying off. Along with a handful of other outlets—including the Minnesota Independent and G.R. Anderson, a former writer for the Twin Cities alternative weekly City Pages now best known for being ripped off by Rolling Stone—Young and her fellow travelers have laid much of the groundwork for big national outlets, helping to establish a picture of Bachmann’s political past. Bremer also snagged an award from the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in June.


  17. rikyrah says:

    Coburn Says His Debt Reduction Plan Only Cuts ‘Fat,’ But It Privatizes Student Loans For 15 Million Students
    By Zaid Jilani on Jul 19, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Yesterday, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) unveiled his own deficit reduction plan, titled “Back In Black,” which would supposedly reduce the deficit by $9 trillion over the next decade. While introducing his plan at a press conference, Coburn said the plan only cuts “fat, not muscle and bone”:

    COBURN: The scope of what I’m suggesting is bold, necessary, and reasonable. We’re cutting fat, not muscle or bone. We can easily take several inches from our wasteline. This plan offers to reduce the size of the government 20 percent. It’s nine trillion out of 45, 46 trillion over the next ten years.

    Watch it:

    While some elements of Coburn’s plan have merit and should be applauded — the trillion dollars in defense cuts he calls for mirror progressive proposals — there are some elements of the plan that would certainly cut more than just “fat” from the federal budget.

    For example, Coburn calls for privatizing the Direct and Perkins loans programs offered by the federal government and “eliminating” all “remaining federal postsecondary programs” except for discretionary Pell Grants and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants:

    End the Direct and Perkins loan programs so student loans are made by exclusively by private lending institutions without federal debt issuance or federal subsidy. This proposal calls for a transition period to ensure student loan funding is not abruptly disrupted. With projections that the Direct Loan program will issue nearly $1.4 trillion in public debt over the next decade to fund student loans, this change would achieve significant savings for the taxpayer. […] Eliminate all remaining federal postsecondary programs except for the discretionary Pell Grant program and the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants which provide grant funding to children who had a parent died in Iraq or Afghanistan, and who do not receive the traditional Pell grant.

    According to data from the Department of Education, 15.2 million students benefited from Federal Direct and Perkins Loans alone in 2010. It’s unclear how Coburn expects the privatization of these lending services to work, but if history is any judge, these privatized loans will be more expensive for both students and taxpayers. And this doesn’t even account for the millions of other students who benefit from the other postsecondary programs that Coburn wants to eliminate. One has to wonder if these students consider their education “fat” to be cut from the federal budget.


  18. creolechild says:


    I figured Karl Rove and his friends at Crossroads weren’t going to wait much longer before cutting Michele Bachmann’s candidacy off at the knees, and here it is: A report in the Daily Caller (Tucker Carlson’s private high-school newsletter) leaking the story about how people are “concerned” about her migraines and alleged heavy use of medications. They say they’re talking about it now because if she gets the nomination, the story will come out too late to stop Obama:

    The Minnesota Republican frequently suffers from stress-induced medical episodes that she has characterized as severe headaches. These episodes, say witnesses, occur once a week on average and can “incapacitate” her for days at time. On at least three occasions, Bachmann has landed in the hospital as a result.

    […] “She has terrible migraine headaches. And they put her out of commission for a day or more at a time. They come out of nowhere, and they’re unpredictable,” says an adviser to Bachmann who was involved in her 2010 congressional campaign. “They level her. They put her down. It’s actually sad. It’s very painful.”

    Bachmann’s medical condition wouldn’t merit public attention, but for the fact she is running for president. Some close to Bachmann fear she won’t be equal to the stress of the campaign, much less the presidency itself.

    “When she gets ‘em, frankly, she can’t function at all. It’s not like a little thing with a couple Advils. It’s bad,” the adviser says. “The migraines are so bad and so intense, she carries and takes all sorts of pills. Prevention pills. Pills during the migraine. Pills after the migraine, to keep them under control. She has to take these pills wherever she goes.”



  19. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:01 AM ET, 07/19/2011
    Michele Bachmann’s bogus attack on the black farmer settlement
    By Adam Serwer
    Michele Bachmann, second to none in her culture war bonafides, is now training her fire on a government settlement for black farmers who were discriminated against.

    Touring Iowa with Rep. Steve King, Bachmann voiced opposition to the settlement, which became an obsession in the conservative blogosphere months ago:

    The issue came up after Bachmann and Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa toured flooded areas along the Missouri River. During a news conference, they fielded a question about whether farmers affected by the flooding also should be worried by proposed U.S. Department of Agriculture cuts.

    The two responded by criticizing a 1999 settlement in what is known as the Pigford case, after the original plaintiff, North Carolina farmer Timothy Pigford. Late last year, President Barack Obama signed legislation authorizing a new, nearly $1.2 billion settlement for people who were denied payments in the earlier one because they missed deadlines for filing.

    Bachmann’s response is almost a liberal parody of how conservatives try to divide and conquer on the issue of government spending. Asked about potential cuts to hundreds of billions in agriculture subsidies, her response is, “you know who doesn’t deserve government money? Black people!” The comedy doesn’t stop there, though. Bachmann’s own family farm has received $260,000 in farm subsidies over the years.

    The short story behind the Pigford settlement is that the USDA spent years handing out loans and assistance to white farmers hand over fist while ignoring black farmers who asked for help, and has agreed to help black farmers who asked for but did not receive assistance during that time. Bachmann, echoing conservative bloggers, insisted that there is “proof positive” of fraud in the Pigford settlement. Not so. Claims filing for the second Pigford settlement hasn’t even begun yet, and 31 percent of the claims in the first settlement were denied. Not only that, but the second settlement was passed with an assortment of new anti-fraud provisions. The USDA Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office will both be conducting audits of the claims as they’re being processed, and their findings will be forwarded to the Department of Justice. So if there is fraud, we’ll find out about it.

    For months, conservatives alleged that the Pigford settlement represented Obama “reparations” for black people. Of course, the settlement was supported by the decidedly non-black Republican Senator from Iowa, Chuck Grassley, so this doesn’t even pass the laugh test. But it’s telling that when asked about the more than a hundred billion dollars the federal government dishes out in agriculture subsidies a year, Bachmann started complaining about a $1.2 billion settlement for black farmers discriminated against by the federal government. As usual, culture warriors like Bachmann get furious about how government money is being spent only when it’s going to the “wrong” people.


  20. creolechild says:

    In Washington, the environment is under attack. The cost-cutting deal that the House passed yesterday stripped the Environmental Protection Agency of $1.6 billion, which made up 16% of the agency’s budget. Funds for clean energy were cut. Republicans put in a provision that would keep the Department of the Interior from putting aside public lands for conservation and one thatkilled the nascent climate center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    These choices represent a deeper antipathy toward nature and environmental health than the run-of-the-mill climate denialism that’s become au courant among congressional Republicans. They show that plenty of leaders in Congress do not care about basic protections that ensure clean air and clean water or that keep even small stretches of the planet safe from mining, drilling and other human interventions.

    One idea driving these decisions is that, economically, the country can’t afford to protect the environment right now. But as Monica Potts argues at The American Prospect, in a review of two new books that cover the economy and the environment, green policies are good for business. In reviewing Climate Capitalism by L. Hunter Lovins and Boyd Cohen, Potts notes that “$2.8 billion a year is wasted because employees don’t turn off their computers when they leave work; comprehensive clean-energy and climate legislation could create 1.9 million jobs; improving indoor air quality could save businesses $200 billion annually in energy costs.”

    Almost 2 million jobs! The country could use that boost right now. But those jobs depend, of course, on government action. As Potts points out, businesses won’t necessarily adopt these solutions on their own. The other book she reviews, Seth Fletcher’s Bottled Lightning, explains why electric cars weren’t developed sooner.



  21. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    July 19, 2011 1:25 PM

    Will the House come around or not?

    By Steve Benen
    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters this morning that the right-wing “Cut, Cap, and Balance” plan is, in fact, “balanced,” just as President Obama requested. And how is it balanced? It’s simple: Republicans would gut public investments, slash Social Security and Medicare, and impose structural reforms that would make it impossible for the United States to compete for at least a generation. In exchange, GOP officials would raise the debt ceiling.

    See? Boehner said. It’s “a balanced plan.”

    The Speaker’s confusion notwithstanding, the more pressing point is what his chamber is capable of. Boehner boasted that “Cut, Cap, and Balance” appears to have majority support in the House, so that’s what the chamber will waste valuable time on today. But what comes next? “I do think,” the Speaker added, “it’s responsible for us to look at what Plan B would look like.”

    At this point in the process, the number of scenarios is pretty limited. The House could (a) simply refuse to do their duty and cause a disaster on purpose; (b) learn to live with a compromise that raises revenues; or (c) grudgingly accept the McConnell/Reid plan.

    The first scenario is one to avoid. The second appears to be impossible. But what about the third? When push comes to shove, can the House live with McConnell/Reid? Greg Sargent has a smart post on this.

    Late yesterday GOP Rep. Joe Walsh, who is backed by the Tea Party, began circulating a letter among GOP colleagues that urges GOP leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor to publicly oppose the McConnell plan and even to oppose it coming to the floor for a vote.

    A Senate Republican aide tells me that GOP aides will be closely watching the number of signatures it amasses in order to gauge whether the McConnell proposal can get through the House.

    Walsh wants more than 100 signatures; Senate Republicans hope it gets no more than 50. If Walsh gets his wish, the likelihood of the entire process collapsing increases a great deal.

    For what it’s worth, the number of House Republicans making a lot of noise about killing the McConnell/Reid compromise is actually pretty small. At this point, the right is focused on the theatrics surrounding “Cut, Cap, and Balance,” and hasn’t categorically ruled out the Senate plan, which of course, has not yet even been presented in any detail.

    But that’s what makes Walsh’s effort all the more important. If he struggles to garner signatures, the Senate’s Plan B will become the way out of this mess. If Walsh rallies the right-wing troops, the Obama administration may have to reconsider that “constitutional option” the president isn’t inclined to pursue.


  22. rikyrah says:

    Olympia Snowe Primary Challenger Says Obama Not A Christian
    A Republican primary challenger to Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) went on a rant against Barack Obama this week in which he claimed the president was not a Christian.

    Businessman Scott D’amboise told FrumForum in an interview on Tuesday that he did not believe Obama’s professed faith was genuine.

    “The President, he says he is Christian but yet he’s exercises a lot of Muslim faith too,” D’amboise said. “Me personally, I’m a Christian conservative. I don’t hold any malice to anybody, whether they are Muslim, or Jewish, or Catholic, or anything else. I just believe that he needs to come forward with his views a little bit clearer.”

    Asked specifically whether Obama might be a Muslim, a common (and false) belief in some right-wing circles, D’amboise told FrumForum “I don’t know if he is or isn’t, but I don’t believe he’s a Christian.”

    In an interview with TPM, Andrew Ian Dodge, a Tea Party activist who is also running against Snowe as a Republican, condemned D’amboise’s comments as a “distraction.”

    “I think its a way of vilifying him,” Dodge said. “Obama is a social democrat, but he is neither a Muslim nor a non-citizen.”

    He added that comments like D’amboise’s help Democrats by portraying the right as “bunch of loons.”


  23. rikyrah says:

    July 19, 2011 12:40 PM

    Reconstituted Gang of Six causes a stir

    By Steve Benen

    Remember the Gang of Six? Well, apparently they’re back, and they’re generating quite a bit of attention this morning with their nearly-finalized debt-reduction plan.

    Democratic and Republican senators are rallying behind a $3.7 trillion deficit reduction plan unveiled Tuesday morning by the five remaining members of the Gang of Six.

    Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who pulled out of the Gang of Six in May, has rejoined the group and praised the plan as something that could win the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate.

    I have not yet seen any of the details, but the plan would reportedly produce $3.7 trillion in savings over the next decade, including $1 trillion in new revenue by scrapping a series of tax breaks and tax expenditures.

    Wouldn’t the new revenue necessarily mean knee-jerk GOP opposition in the House? The Gang’s members think they know a way around this.

    Coburn … noted the Congressional Budget Office would score the plan as a $1.5 trillion tax cut because it would eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax. It would generate a significant amount of revenue out of tax reform and reduction of tax rates, which authors believe would spur economic growth.

    Without additional information, I haven’t the foggiest idea what could make $1 trillion in revenue look like a $1.5 trillion tax cut. It’s also unclear the extent to which the Gang tackles entitlements. I assume the details will be forthcoming soon enough, and I’ll flesh this out after I get a closer look.

    In the meantime, all kinds of senators seem awfully excited about this. The Gang held a briefing this morning, presenting the plan to about 50 senators, and won some positive reviews. Just relying on media accounts, Texas’ Kay Bailey Hutchison (R), Nebraska’s Mike Johanns (R), Colorado’s Michel Bennet (D), Ohio’s Rob Portman (R), and Delaware’s Chris Coons (D) all came away impressed, and said so on the record.

    So, now what? That’s unclear, too. It’s hard to imagine how this plan — the details of which are still being ironed out — could possibly be factored into the debt-ceiling talks. Regardless of merit (or lack thereof), there’s just not enough time.

    And then there’s the House, which continues to believe even a penny of additional revenue is an assault on all that is good and holy. Republicans in the lower chamber are likely to care less about how the CBO would score the plan, and care more about giving Democrats the revenue they’re seeking in the compromise.

    It’s nice, I suppose, to see a bipartisan group of senators getting along and working together in a reasonably productive way, but (a) the plan is still likely to be pretty bad; (b) it’s a month too late to resolve the current crisis; and (c) House passage appears to be a fantasy.

    Other than that, the Gang of Six is in great shape.


  24. rikyrah says:

    Romney Begins His Long Decline
    by BooMan
    Tue Jul 19th, 2011 at 01:22:35 PM EST

    One of the simplest things to predict about the Republican nomination process was that Mitt Romney would eventually be faceplanted on his decision to create a health insurance mandate while he was the governor of Massachusetts. That process has begun now in earnest, with Michele Bachmann now outpacing him in national polls. More tellingly, Public Policy Polling finds that only 17% of Republican primary voters would be willing to vote for a candidate with Romney’s record on health care. No doubt, Romney still has some residual strengths, including name recognition, experience as a candidate, organization, money, and establishment support. His greatest strength is the weakness of his competitors. No one has emerged as an alternative for the Republican establishment, and Rick Perry will not fit that bill. This will allow Romney to make a compelling ‘electability’ argument, and, as things stand, he will probably remain a contender through at least the New Hampshire primary.

    What goes unstated too often is that Romney is a pretty horrible retail politician. People focus on his legendary flip-flopping, and he really is the most egregious flip-flopper in recorded history. But he’s not good on the stump. He’s uninspiring. His grasp of the issues is overrated. He’s a good, but not great, debater. And he’s simply exudes elitism in a manner far in excess of John Kerry. He would not be a strong general election candidate, although he might not need to be if the economy sours over the next fifteen months.

    Bachmann’s rise has been pretty meteoric, but her fall to earth will probably be meteoric as well. By any definition, she holds beliefs that most people think are insane. She has her own Jeremiah Wright problem, having just quit her church because it officially views the Pope as the antichrist. As recently as 2006, she predicted the imminent end of the world. She will not stand up to closer scrutiny. What this tells us is that the GOP has no clear path to settling on a nominee. The two at the top of the polls are pretty close to non-starters.

    I really do think that a brokered convention is not out of the question. The party has been rent in two by the budget standoff, and we could see this manifest itself as the candidate who wins in Iowa is rejected in New Hampshire and the candidate who wins in New Hampshire is rejected in South Carolina, and so on, until it emerges that no one can win the majority of the delegates.


  25. The drama day continues…

    Think Progress:

    MT @CrowleyTIME: Drama in SC as ABC’s Brian Ross pursues Bachmann to her car to ask Q and is grabbed roughly by 2 security guards

  26. Ametia says:

    President Obama says that deficit reduction proposal presented by bipartisan group of senators offers “potential for bipartisan consensus” for getting an agreement on raising the country’s debt ceiling and reducing the country’s long-term debt.

    Obama was reacting to a plan by what had been known as the “Gang of Six” that the president said included spending cuts and “modifications” to Medicare and Social Security and increase revenue through tax reform. The U.S. will hit its debt ceiling on August 2 and Obama characterized negotiations as in “the 11th hour.” The president said, “We don’t have any more time for symbolic gestures or posturing.”

  27. creolechild says:

    The New York City-based group Class Size Matters has just launched a petition calling on New York officials to reject a no-bid contract that would give the company Wireless Generation, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, access to the personal data of schoolchildren. The deal was awarded shortly after the former head of New York City schools, Joel Klein, joined News Corp.’s board. Klein attended the British parliamentary hearing with Murdoch on the phone-hacking scandal today in London. We speak to Leonie Haimson, a New York public school parent and executive director of Class Size Matters.



  28. creolechild says:

    On March 14 we published a list of thirty pieces of Republican legislation “that Republicans are using to destroy America.” That list was updated on March 17 with several new items and now we present a completely updated list including those additions from March 17 along with additional pieces of legislation. Furthermore, the list has been rearranged and several new categories introduced, including The War on National Public Radio and The War on Net Neutrality.

    It has become impossible, due to the sheer volume of nihilistic Republican and Tea Party legislation, to keep this list down to 30 items, and has therefore received a new name, one that matches our level of bewilderment at how one of our major political parties could so hate America: “Look What the Republicans Have Done to My Country, Ma.”

    Keep in mind this list, long as it is, is not exhaustive and that it represents a list of Republican legislation that has been proposed, whether signed into law or not. Reader feedback is appreciated; if you have legislation to add that we have missed here, please let us know and it will be on the next list a month or so down the road.

    The War on Women’s Reproductive Rights
    The War on Special Supplemental Nutritional Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
    The War on National Public Radio (NPR)
    The War on Desegregation
    The War on High-Speed Rail
    The War on Marriage Equality and the Anti-Gay Agenda
    The War on Net Neutrality
    The War on Obama: Birthers and Anti-Obama Legislation
    The War on Unions and Collective Bargaining/War on Middle Class


    Read more: http://www.politicususa.com/en/republicans-done-country

    • Ametia says:

      They forgot to include MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, et, al.

      • creolechild says:

        The Mainstream Media Is Failing America on the Debt Ceiling Crisis


        Journalism is the practice of investigation and reporting of events, issues and trends to a broad audience. Though there are many variations of journalism, the ideal is to accurately inform the citizenry. We have witnessed a profound decline in journalistic standards over the past three years.

        But in referring to this decline, I am not referring to propaganda outlets and managed news like NewsCorp holdings, Fox News and right-wing radio. Managed news– like Rupert Mudoch’s Fox News– jeopardizes free and open societies by substituting fiction for facts, carefully filtered reports for truth, and cheerleading propaganda for real journalism.

        No. The failure to accurately inform the public we are referring to here stems from those who profess to actually practice journalism – the mainstream media.

        24 hour news creates ferocious competition among media organizations for audience share. This, coupled with the profit demand of their elite corporate ownership, has led to the decline. Why and how? The American press has moved toward sensationalism, entertainment, and opinion and away from traditional values of verification, proportion, relevance, depth, and quality of interpretation. The practice of investigation and reporting of events has been replaced by a “journalism of assertion” which ignores whether a claim is valid and encourages putting a claim – any claim, regardless if it has any validity — into the arena of public discussion for sensationalist ratings — and for profit — as quickly as possible.



      • Ametia says:

        THANK YOU, LADY!

      • opulent says:


        The MSM has been MurdochED!!

    • opulent says:

      Wonderful!! I love this!!

  29. @Chuck Todd: Pres. Obama calls “gang of 6” senate proposal “broadly consistent” with what he wants re: deficit reduction.

  30. @utaustinliberal: Indiana donates more to Pres Obama than to GOP Looks like Indiana is back in play to turn blue! http://t.co/gUtL91e

  31. creolechild says:

    Legal assistance for the poor will take a huge hit under a proposal just released by the House Appropriations Committee, which aims to slash the budget of the Legal Services Corporation back to 1999 levels. Officials at LSC, which has been around for four decades and supports 136 independent legal-aid outposts all over America, knew big cuts were coming—the program was by no means exempt from DC’s budget-slashing hysteria. But supporters were betting on losing $70 million, the figure proposed last year during budget negotiations.

    The new proposal would take away $104 million—26 percent of the program’s resources—at a time when demand is soaring. Legal-aid offices from Texas to Maine report that the need for their services already has been outstripping funding for years.

    “Demand is just going to keep going up. People are still losing their jobs. People are still struggling to put food on the table. Foreclosures are still happening,” says Cynthia Martinez, spokeswoman for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, the state’s largest legal-services agency. “Last year, we had to turn away half of the people that came to us because we just don’t have the resources. And it’s not like when we say no, the legal problems just go away.”



  32. WATCH LIVE: President Obama To Make Statement At White House Press Briefing At 1:30 PM http://tpm.ly/pY4Ekn

  33. creolechild says:

    With the news that Sarah Palin’s PAC was only able to raise $1.562 million and has only had 24,000 donors in 6 months, we may be watching the end of Sarah Palin’s Paris Hiltonesque fame.
    No matter how you look at it SarahPAC’s six month fundraising totals are bad. Palin took in less than 1.6 million dollars. She only had 24,000 contributors who made 36,000 donations. According the National Journal,

    Despite spending most ($1.592 million) of that figure in the same fundraising period – $65,000 on other candidates and a $18,700 donation to the Young America’s Foundation – the PAC has $1.402 million cash on hand.

    The supposed Alaskan fiscal conservative spent almost as much money as she took in over the last half year. As you can see above, Sarah did not spend that cash on helping the Republican cause. Nope, Sarah spent the money promoting Sarah.



  34. creolechild says:

    SEATTLE (Reuters) – The City Council voted on Monday to establish a municipal licensing and regulation system for medical marijuana distribution in Seattle under a new Washington state law that takes effect later this week. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has indicated he will sign the ordinance, which is at odds with a series of new restrictions and bans on medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities imposed by other municipalities around the state.
    Seattle is Washington’s largest city.

    The 8-0 vote in favor of the measure comes nearly three months after Governor Christine Gregoire signed into law a new measure allowing cities to regulate and license production, processing and distribution of medical marijuana on a limited basis.

    That statute, which takes effect on Friday, requires storefront dispensaries and other medical pot suppliers to reorganize themselves as small, cooperative ventures serving up to 10 patients. These “collective gardens” are confined to growing 45 plants total but no more than 15 per person. The state law was passed in response to a recent proliferation of storefront dispensaries that were neither explicitly banned nor permitted under a 1988 voter-approved initiative legalizing pot for medicinal purposes. Gregoire vetoed provisions that would have established licensing for growing and distributing medical marijuana at the state level.


    Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2011/07/seattle_approves_medical_marijuana_regulations.php

  35. creolechild says:

    ALEC stands for the American Legislative Executive Council, but what it really stands for is corporate conservatives corrupting democracy. As I wrote awhile back, ALEC creates turnkey legislation which is then disseminated to elected officials who are also members via their very secretive organization after it has been approved by corporate members. Only, we really never knew who those corporate members were or who the lawmakers were, either.

    But now, thanks to someone inside who leaked documents recently, there is much more information, and more to be gleaned. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is. Here are some examples of work (and damage) ALEC has done.

    Single Payer Stillbirth – Wendell Potter reports for The Nation:

    Reviewing ALEC’s healthcare-related bills and resolutions from the past few years makes it clear that insurers realized early on that the best way to block the profit-threatening provisions of any federal reform would be to attack them at the state level through ALEC. With Democrats in control of both houses of Congress and the White House in 2009, insurers assumed some kind of healthcare reform was inevitable, so they adopted a strategy to shape rather than stop reform.

    Earlier in that piece Potter steps through the reasons that single payer wasn’t going to be put on the table, but this paragraph right here tells you all you need to know about it: They were one step ahead and had been before any proposals went out on the table. That’s also, by the way, how the public option was killed.

    There’s more, too. They approved legislation for tort reform, block grant funding for Medicaid, and selling insurance across state lines. You recognize these policies as the current conservative platform, I’m sure. However, what’s new about this is that the platform was dictated, agreed to, drafted and disseminated by a small group of corporations, right-wing supporting think tanks and their conservative legislative partners and we can finally prove it.

    Who are these people?

    * Corporations – Here is a list of corporate members of ALEC. They’re the same names you see on the top of the Dow and NASDAQ lists, with some exceptions, like Koch Industries. Notable members include Altria (formerly RJR Tobacco), Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) – the private prison operator, DuPont, Exxon-Mobil, McDonalds, Intuit, and Coca-Cola. But they are just a few. I doubt there are many names on the list that aren’t recognizable.

    * Corporate Trade Groups – Groups like the American Bail Association, American Bankers Association, PhrMA, National Association of Charter School Organizers, and more.

    * Non-profit organizations – Those oh-so-nonpartisan groups (yes, that’s sarcasm) like The Mackinac Center for Freedom and Democracy (ha!), Goldwater Institute, and Reason Foundation are or have been members. You know, the organizations that write legislation and hand it off to people like Scott Walker to ram through Wisconsin, or who shut down the government like they have in Minnesota (for nearly 2 weeks now).


    And now we come to the footsoldiers who actually carry this stuff back to their states like ants swarming a spot of honey on the countertop. John Nichols reports:

    “Never has the time been so right,” Louisiana State Representative Noble Ellington told conservative legislators gathered in Washington to plan the radical remaking of policies in the states. It was one month after the 2010 midterm elections. Republicans had grabbed 680 legislative seats and secured a power trifecta—control of both legislative chambers and the governorship—in twenty-one states. Ellington was speaking for hundreds of attendees at a “States and Nation Policy Summit,” featuring GOP stars like Texas Governor Rick Perry, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Convened by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)—“the nation’s largest, non-partisan, individual public-private membership association of state legislators,” as the spin-savvy group describes itself—the meeting did not intend to draw up an agenda for the upcoming legislative session. That had already been done by ALEC’s elite task forces of lawmakers and corporate representatives. The new legislators were there to grab their weapons: carefully crafted model bills seeking to impose a one-size-fits-all agenda on the states.

    Which is, of course, what I wrote about back in February when I put together a list of what those newly-elected conservative governors were doing in their states.

    This is why, by the way, idiots like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann can actually run for office and get serious support. They’re just the marionettes behind the real policymakers, just like Governor Bighair in Texas and Governor Gollum in Florida.

    The good news

    ALECExposed.org has all of the leaked documents posted online. If you have time, grab some and start looking at them. Drop a comment here or by email with anything you might find that’s interesting. If you don’t have time for that, just go ahead and share that site with everyone you know. If you have media contacts, get their attention and encourage them to explore and report. Whatever you do, make noise. The only way we are going to resist and marginalize groups like this is to expose them to the sunlight. Consider putting pressure on those corporate members. Corporate PR reps really hate being associated with efforts like this, at least, in public.We have an opportunity. It’s time to use it.




    PS. Worthy crowdsource projects: 1) Matching up legislators who sponsored this model legislation to identify them as associated with ALEC; 2) Matching up those legislators’ appearances on FOX News

    Update: Via AlterNet:

  36. creolechild says:

    The Iranian navy plans on deploying warships to the Atlantic Ocean as part of a programme to ply international waters, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayari said in statements published Tuesday.
    But the commander of the navy, quoted by Kayhan newspaper, said he was waiting for “final approval” before launching the operation. “In case of final approval (of the project) a fleet of the navy will be sent to the Atlantic (Ocean),” Sayari was quoted as saying without giving details about the fleet or where in the Atlantic Ocean it would be deployed.

    “The presence (of ships and submarines) in the Mediterranean Sea, the Suez Canal and the Indian Ocean and international waters is still on the agenda of the navy,” Sayari said. According to Sayari navy ships assigned to long-distance missions will be equipped with Noor cruise missiles.

    “Ships going on missions are equipped with surface-to-surface Noor missiles,” which have a range of 200 kilometres (125 miles) he said.

    In February Iran moved two warships into the Mediterranean Sea, crossing the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, triggering anger in Israel which branded the move “political provocation” and put its navy on alert. The two ships docked in Syria on February 24, marking Iran’s first such mission since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

    Analysts said the Islamic republic was trying to project its clout in the region at a time when anti-government protests sweeping the Arab world from Casablanca to Cairo are shifting the regional balance of power.



  37. creolechild says:

    This is NOT good news for Murdoch…

    WASHINGTON — Standard & Poor’s on Monday placed News Corp.’s credit rating on a negative watch citing increased business and reputation risks from investigations into the widening phone hacking scandal in Britain. “Since our last research update on July 13, the UK legal process has expanded and pressure from US lawmakers has increased for an FBI probe” into the practices of News Corp.’s media holdings in both countries, S&P said.

    “We see the risk that, if evidence arises sufficient to bring a criminal charge against the company or any current or former employee of the company, then prosecuting authorities in the US could proceed with those charges,” S&P analyst Michael Altberg said in a statement.

    The ratings agency placed News Corp.’s BBB+ rating on a negative watch following the arrest late last week of Rebekah Brooks, head of the group’s British newspaper arm, and the resignation of Les Hinton, head of Wall Street Journal owner Dow Jones & Co., another essential News Corp unit. Both have long been trusted lieutenants of News Corp.’s powerful owner Rupert Murdoch.

    S&P cited the “weakening of the company’s executive bench strength,” “the loss of reputation that alienates current and potential clients” and the company being forced to abandon strategic business opportunities, like the planned full takeover of British broadcaster BSkyB, which was dropped after the scandal broke.


  38. creolechild says:

    I don’t normally have time to engage in Facebook flashmobs, but when I heard the news that we were all invited to speak out on Eric Cantor’s wall, well, shucks! Seein’ as he’s holding the country up and shoving it to the brink of disaster with his Tea Party branding games, I thought I might take my ladylike self on over to his wall and say a few words. Naturally, using the invite I had received, I invited my friends to participate as well:


    So I went along and posted a comment telling Eric it was his job to deal with the debt ceiling and he needed to get to work. Up for a second, long enough to get replies, but as soon as I hit refresh? Gone! What? Surely a mistake. My comment could have come from anyone, left or right. What the heck?

    I had imagined they’d be busy deleting the swearing and the general facts that Eric is allergic to, but never did I think they would be real time monitoring the page and deleting everyone. But sure as heck that’s what they’re doing, because each comment and response to my comment would be up for not even a few seconds and whammo — the live monitoring hammer would come down. And we wonder why the Republicans have no idea what Americans really want?

    Here’s a hint, boys, when determining what Americans want, it helps if you allow the citizens to speak. Finally in frustration, I wrote:

    “Testing for censorship. Do you allow the American people to exercise their free speech on your FB wall, Rep Cantor?”



    • opulent says:

      They probably have filters at the site that determine what all you link to and like on FB and they screeen comments based on your FB activity.

  39. TyrenM says:

    Good Morning All,
    I enjoyed the “swagger” presentation. Just (maybe) missing a couple of things: Since you were playing Prince “If I Were Your Girlfriend,” a shot of his Target Center appearance. And of course the wipe down, getting that dirt off his shoulders. Just a thought. Have a nice day.

  40. creolechild says:

    A new mine in south India could contain the largest reserves of uranium in the world, a government official said in remarks reported on Tuesday, signalling a major boost for the energy-hungry nation. The Tumalapalli mine in Andhra Pradesh state could provide up to 150,000 tonnes of uranium, Srikumar Banerjee, secretary of the Department of Atomic Energy, told reporters after a four-year survey of the site was completed.

    “It’s confirmed that the mine has 49,000 tonnes of ore, and there are indications that the total quantity could be three times that amount,” Banerjee was quoted as saying in The Times of India.
    If that be the case, it will become the largest uranium mine in the world,” he said.
    Previous estimates suggested that only about 15,000 tonnes of uranium would be produced at the mine, which is due to start operating by the end of the year.

    S.K. Malhotra, spokesman for the Department of Atomic Energy, told AFP that experts at the Tumalapalli mine were “quite hopeful” that the eventual volume from the mine would reach 150,000 tonnes. But he warned that “it is not high-grade uranium, it is low-grade uranium. We have not found any high-grade uranium in India to match that found in Australia.”

    Major exporter Australia has so far rebuffed Indian requests for supplies of the heavy metal, which is refined into nuclear fuel, because the country has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.



  41. rikyrah says:

    Poll: Romney Trails Bachmann Nationally For GOP Primaries
    A new national survey from Public Policy Polling (D) has a shocking message for the Republican primary race: Michele Bachmann leads Mitt Romney in a two-way race, and also edges ahead in the multi-candidate race without Sarah Palin in it.

    In an initial field, including Sarah Palin: Romney 20%, Bachmann 16%, Palin 12%, Perry 11%, Cain 10%, Paul 9%, Gingrich 6%, Pawlenty 5%, Huntsman 2%.

    Then in a second question, without Palin in the race: Bachmann 21%, Romney 20%, Perry 12%, Cain 11%, Paul 9%, Gingrich 7%, Pawlenty 5%, and Huntsman 3%.

    Finally, a two-way race with Bachmann and Romney: Bachmann 44%, Romney 41%.

    In the previous poll from a month ago Bachmann was much further back in the low teens, and Herman Cain was the second-place candidate against Romney. There was no direct two-way question.

    The survey of 730 likely GOP primary voters was conducted from July 15-17, and has a ±3.6% margin of error.

    This later question, listed after the horse-races, shows just how much trouble Romney could continue to encounter with the GOP base: “Would you be willing or unwilling to vote for a Presidential candidate who supported a law at the state level mandating that people have health insurance?”

    The answer: 17% willing, 66% unwilling, and 17% undecided.

    Romney, of course, passed the health care mandate in Massachusetts — and whether he likes it or not, it became the template for the federal health reform passed by President Obama, which conservatives refer to (erroneously) as socialism. Since then, he has tried to massage the issue, by arguing that health care reform is largely a state matter, and a conservative would respect states’ rights on the mandate while allowing other states to come up with their own solutions.

    This poll, however, shows just how big a mountain to climb this could be. On the other hand, this would seem to suggest that with Romney at 41% in a two-way race, he is at least picking up a few voters who say they are not willing to vote for a candidate who supported a state level mandate. Then again, maybe those voters haven’t seen any political attacks on Romney yet.

    And for her part, Bachmann has taken the 180-degree opposite view to Romney on the mandate — she’s declared that it is unconstitutional at the state level, too.


  42. rikyrah says:

    Still Not Getting It
    by John Cole

    The Politico:

    There’s a narrative gaining traction in Washington as a debt crisis looms: House Republican hard-liners might soften their stance once they’ve gotten a vote on their Cut, Cap and Balance proposal.

    But if that’s the case, the conservatives aren’t in on the plan.

    While such a vote would usually be viewed as a chance to win some political cover for those who later agree to a more moderate deal, the idea of seeking cover out of a symbolic vote is foreign — if not outright offensive — to the new breed of House Republicans.

    I know this is coming as a surprise to many in the beltway, but as we have noted before, the current GOP is filled with fanatics and imbeciles. They don’t have another plan after Cut, Cap, and Balance because they simply don’t think default will be a problem. They honestly are dumb enough to think that defaulting means cutting future spending. They simply do not understand that lifting the debt limit merely allows us to pay for what we have already spent. Those that aren’t that dumb are merely cheering it on because they think a Democrat will get the blame and because they think destroying our credit will cut down on “oppressive big government.” They simply do not understand how this will rock the entire nation. They are ignorant of how much of our financial system is tied to the treasury. They are indifferent about how this will impact every single person in the United States.

    Again, we are dealing with fanatics. This is not news. These are people who think all sorts of crazy things- there is no climate change, a stem cell is a baby, the earth is only 6,000 years old, etc.- yet folks like David Brooks and Ross Douthat and the rest of the fluffers have been running rhetorical cover for them for years. Speaking of David Brooks, here is what he is up to today:

    This week, Republicans will probably pass a balanced budget Constitutional amendment that has zero chance of becoming law. Then they may end up clinging to a no más Senate compromise. This proposal would pocket cuts that have already been agreed on, and it would eliminate leverage for future cuts and make them less likely.

    It could be that this has been a glorious moment in Republican history. It could be that having persuaded independents that they are a prudent party, Republicans will sweep the next election. Controlling the White House and Congress, perhaps they will have the guts to cut Medicare unilaterally, reform the welfare state and herald in an era of conservative greatness.

    But it’s much more likely that Republicans will come to regret this missed opportunity. So let us pause to identify the people who decided not to seize the chance to usher in the largest cut in the size of government in American history. They fall into a few categories:

    Brooks understands how well and truly screwed we are and is making sure he doles out the blame ahead of time. He should stop pointing fingers and look in the mirror, because he’s one of the ones who helped strapped the explosive vests onto these fiscal suicide bombers.


  43. rikyrah says:

    Republicans Pushing Budget Balance Won’t Deliver Details on How

    Congressional Republicans are clear in their demand for a constitutional amendment forcing the government to balance its budget. What they’re not offering is clarity on how to get there.

    It’s politically popular to line up behind such an amendment; laying out specific cuts is less appealing.

    Almost all Republicans and some Democrats will vote to alter the Constitution when the issue comes up as early as this week. Almost none, including a leading co-sponsor of the Senate measure, Orrin Hatch, and Bill Flores of Texas, a co-sponsor of the House measure, say how they’d slash Medicare, eliminate federal programs or shrink education, law enforcement or national defense. Republicans agree that tax increases shouldn’t be part of the equation.

    “It’s a misleading political cheap shot,” Bill Hoagland, a budget adviser to Republican congressional leaders from 1982 to 2007, said of the proposed amendment. “We all agree we should have a balanced budget, but that’s the process of budgeting and governing. They are paid to come to town and make decisions.”

    A balanced-budget amendment would require cuts even deeper than those in the budget proposed by Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, which was approved by the Republican-controlled House in April. Ryan’s plan doesn’t balance the budget until 2040 and would leave a $338 billion deficit in 10 years.

    Medicare Vouchers
    His plan would overhaul the Medicare health-insurance program for the elderly by offering vouchers to help the elderly buy coverage from private insurers.

    Polls show public opposition to privatizing Medicare. By 57 percent to 34 percent, respondents to a Bloomberg National Poll conducted June 17-20 say they would be worse off under the Republican plan to redefine the federal program.


  44. rikyrah says:

    TRENDING: RNC maps out White House foul
    By: CNN’s Rebecca Stewart

    Washington (CNN)-It’s never too early to play hardball presidential politics. Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus penned a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking for an investigation of an “apparent crime” committed by President Barack Obama Monday.

    According to Priebus, the crime was committed by the president, in the Map Room, with a video.

    Priebus accused the president of recording a fundraising appeal in the Map Room of the White House. He said it is “not part of the White House residence, but rather ‘occupied in the discharge of official duties,'” and called for the Department of Justice to investigate.

    The Map Room is located on the ground floor of the White House.

    “According to multiple individuals with knowledge of the White House’s rooms and layout, the video appears to have been recorded in the Map Room…the White House Counsel has indicated that the video was filmed somewhere in the residential portion of the White House,” Priebus said.

    It is illegal to solicit contributions for a political purpose from any area of the White House “occupied in the discharge of official duties,” or, used for purposes of official White House business.

    But the Map Room is considered to be part of the White House residence, and has been for decades. The residence is not subject to restrictions placed on rooms used for official business.

    White House spokesman Eric Schultz told CNN, “As we’ve said in the past, this was wholly appropriate and routinely done in past administrations.”

    “Many lawyers and experts have all said publicly that what this administration is doing is completely above board,” Schultz fired back.

    Despite the RNC’s claims, both Republican and Democratic administrations have considered the Map Room as part of the White House residence.


  45. rikyrah says:

    say it with me, boys and girls



    Allen West attacks Obama up and down, calls his fans a ‘threat to the gene pool’

    In a wide-ranging new “weekly update” posted today at Red County, Rep. Allen West, R-Fort Lauderdale, describes the current Washington debate over federal spending in stark terms, calling it “the ultimate ideological clash in America.” The kicker? “When I see anyone with an Obama 2012 bumper sticker, I recognize them as a threat to the gene pool.” #

    The post is worth reading in full, but here’s West on Obama: #

    And all we hear from the President is talk about “shared sacrifice,” “tax the rich,” and “increase revenues by tax hikes.” It was just December 2010 that President Obama and the Democrats extended the Bush era tax rates for two years…now less than a year later they are FLIP-FLOPPING! #

    The problem is, there is no confidence and certainty in the fiscal vision emanating from Washington D.C. and hence revenues and receipts are down. We are not setting the conditions or creating an environment for economic and job growth. For all of you, that is what has to change, and that is where I am committed to seeing change and not the empty rhetorical doublespeak of 2008. #

    I suppose the President forgot that 47% of wage earning households in America do not pay federal income taxes. #

    In the area of foreign policy, the United States has officially recognized the Libyan rebels as the “legitimate” government of Libya. Now, I am just a simple fella from down South, but I recall a previous Democrat President recognizing a bunch of undefined ideological zealots called the Taliban…and we all see how that ended up! #

    The voices of the American people who want sound fiscal, taxation, and regulatory policy need to be heard this week. I am issuing a “call to action” – let the White House, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid hear how you feel. Are there REALLY 80% of Americans who want higher taxes? #

    I must confess, when I see anyone with an Obama 2012 bumper sticker, I recognize them as a threat to the gene pool. #


  46. rikyrah says:

    Boehner: Overwhelmingly Conservative Debt Limit Plan Is Only One That Can Pass The House — For Now

    The House GOP will lay down its marker late Tuesday with a dead-on-arrival plan called Cut, Cap, and Balance. It has dim prospects in the Senate and President Obama has threatened to veto it. So what’s next?

    Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) claims that this plan — radical though it is — is the only plan that can pass the House of Representatives. At least for now.

    “There are lots of ideas out there from Democrats and Republicans, but guess what?” Boehner told reporters at a Tuesday press conference in the Capitol. “None of them have a majority. This one has a majority.”

    But, Boehner acknowledged, party leaders remain in communication with each other and Democrats to make sure a backup plan is in place after conservatives get to lay down their markers and feel they were heard.

    “I’m not going to give up hope on Cut, Cap, and Balance,” Boehner demurred. “But I do think it’s responsible for us to look at what Plan B would look like, and the leadership had a long conversation yesterday about Plan B.”

    So we’re still in hurry-up and wait mode as Republicans give their right flank some time and cover to make some noise. And their leaders have their backs on this, defending the plan as a fair trade off: Republicans get everything they want, and the country avoids default.

    “The President said he wanted a balanced plan,” Boehner said. “That’s what this is — a balanced plan. He gets his increase in the debt ceiling. We get real cuts in spending and real reform that will make sure this doesn’t happen again.”


  47. rikyrah says:

    Making Us Pay for Their Folly
    by BooMan
    Tue Jul 19th, 2011 at 11:07:48 AM EST

    The Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 have reduced the revenues taken in by the treasury by slightly more than the cost of the ten-year war on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq. In other words, if we hadn’t cut taxes early in the last decade, we could have paid for those wars completely. On the other hand, if we hadn’t committed either blunder, we’d have nearly three trillion dollars to pay down the debt or make investments in our country. What’s going on now is an aggressive effort to make middle class people pay for the wars, with interest included. If rich people had paid their taxes over the past decade, we wouldn’t be in this position. What we’re doing today is filling the hole created by Bush’s tax cuts. So, for example, we’re going to cut spending on education and transportation and research to make up for the fact that Steve Forbes didn’t pay tens of millions of dollars in taxes over the last ten years. But, as the White House points out, the Republicans Cut, Cap, and Balance Plan is even worse. The plan would pay for Donald Trump’s decade of tax evasion by doing the following:

    The bill would abruptly cut more than $100 billion in spending in the first year alone, a step that Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf stated would “affect our projections for GDP growth over the next two years.”
    The House Budget Resolution plan would cut clean energy investments by 70 percent, infrastructure investments by a third, and education and training by 25 percent – cutting 320,000 children from Head Start and reducing aid for families trying to put their kids through college by hundreds, or even thousands of dollars.

    It would cut Medicaid by one-third over the decade, and by nearly 50% by 2030. This could, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, result in 36 million people losing Medicaid coverage, including people with disabilities and seniors in nursing homes. And that comes on top of the 17 million who would lose coverage due to repealing subsidies in the Affordable Care Act.

    And it would cut programs for the most vulnerable – for example, by food stamp benefits for a family of four by $1,760 per year or cut 8 million households from the program.

    Finally, the House Budget Resolution proposed to convert Medicare to a voucher program, increasing costs for Medicare beneficiaries by $6,400 a year beginning in 2021 – with those higher costs increasing over time.

    The bill won’t pass in the Senate. But it’s a clear statement about Republican values.


  48. Ametia says:

    **hollering*** Sheer GENIUS

    “Well, I believe you may get your headline, Mr. Murdoch.”


  49. creolechild says:

    Oregon Official Denies Woman’s Abortion Request, Compares It To Wanting A Boob Job

    An Oregon District Attorney denied the abortion request of an apparently suicidal woman who was in custody after she attempted to set herself and a hotel room on fire. DA Brad Berry argued that the woman, 23-year-old Bridget Burkholder, was not mentally fit and shouldn’t be allowed to get an abortion — just as she shouldn’t be allowed to get a boob job. District Attorney Brad Berry said the case raises very difficult issues.

    First and foremost, he said, is the issue of Burkholder’s mental competence to make an informed decision with such long-term consequences. He said that allowing a mentally incompetent person to undergo any elective medical procedure raises potential red flags legally.
    He raised the question, “If we wouldn’t allow her to have her breasts reduced in this state,” or have a benign tumor removed, how could she be allowed to choose an abortion? He said a guardian might have to be appointed to make that decision for her.

    Berry’s argument doesn’t hold water — if he believes she wasn’t mentally competent enough to have an abortion, why would she be any more capable of being a mother? Giving birth is, after all, another decision with “long-term consequences.” It’s disturbing that state officials were comfortable forcing a woman they believed to be unstable to carry a pregnancy to term.

    The News Register notes that if she hadn’t been poor, “Burkholder would have been free to pursue the procedure on her own,” but “she lacked the means to meet her bail.” The judge and sheriff in the case also made it nearly impossible for Burkholder to terminate her pregnancy, refusing to authorize it and passing the responsibility back and forth to one another.



  50. creolechild says:

    In the first six months of 2011, states enacted 162 new provisions related to reproductive health and rights. Fully 49% of these new laws seek to restrict access to abortion services, a sharp increase from 2010, when 26% of new laws restricted abortion. The 80 abortion restrictions enacted this year are more than double the previous record of 34 abortion restrictions enacted in 2005—and more than triple the 23 enacted in 2010. All of these new provisions were enacted in just 19 states.

    A Mix of Old and New Strategies to Curb Access to Abortion Care

    Counseling and waiting periods. Five states (IN, KS, ND, SD and TX) adopted laws related to abortion counseling and waiting periods in 2011, but a measure adopted by South Dakota at the end of March went significantly farther than those approved in other states. The law expands the pre-abortion waiting period to 72 hours, requires the woman to visit a crisis pregnancy center in the interim and mandates that abortion counseling be provided in-person by the physician who will perform the procedure. The counseling must include information on all known risk factors related to abortion, even when the information is not supported by mainstream medical opinion and is methodologically unsound. The law is currently not in effect, pending the outcome of a legal challenge.


    Read comprehensive report: http://www.guttmacher.org/media/inthenews/2011/07/13/index.html

  51. creolechild says:

    Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget would find savings in the Medicare program by shifting a greater share of its costs to beneficiaries, who would receive a fixed “premium support” credit to go out and purchase health care in an exchange of private health care plans. According to the Congressional Budget Office, under the Ryan plan, “a typical beneficiary would spend more for health care…[because] private plans would cost more than traditional Medicare.” ”This would more than double out-of-pocket health-care spending by a typical senior to $12,500 per year.”

    Ryan’s isn’t the only proposal to lower the growth in Medicare spending that’s asking seniors to pay more, and that’s precisely what has health care advocates so concerned. They point out that nearly “half of Medicare recipients have incomes at or below 200 percent of poverty — $21,780 for an individual, $29,420 for a couple” and that many simply can’t afford to spend more on health insurance:

    Only 5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries have incomes of $80,000 or above, a figure that includes any income from a spouse. As for the 47 percent who are at or close to poverty, on average they are already spending nearly a fourth of their budgets on health care, according to an analysis of Medicare survey data by the Kaiser Family Foundation. “There’s this impression that there’s a great deal of wealth among the Medicare population, this image of wealthy seniors playing golf and enjoying their retirement years,” said Tricia Neuman, director of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Medicare Policy Project. “But while some are lucky to do so, many are living on a fixed income, struggling to make ends meet…with really limited capacity to absorb rising costs.”



  52. creolechild says:

    The stupidity that’s exhibited by some politicians is simply mind-boggling!

    Despite numerous warnings from three major credit agencies, economists, businesses, members of their own party, and general common sense, the Republican “Hell No” caucus remains ever vigilant in ignoring the economic disaster that will follow a failure to raise the debt ceiling by Aug. 2. While some Republicans have offered simply ludicrous reasons to paint the deadline as arbitrary, an increasing number are pushing the notion that there’s no danger at all in defaulting on our debt.

    Today on ABC’s Top Line, Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) went one step further and threw away the word “default” altogether. While he views Aug. 2 as an “important date,” he refuses to “take the premise that we’re going to default on our obligations.” Believing “default” isn’t even the right word to use to describe the economic consequences, Rokita slammed those who would avoid default as “piggish” and “un-American” for worrying about “my own little program or my own little economy.” Rokita then declared defiantly that he’s willing to vote down a debt ceiling raise even if it means “the economy might get worse”:



  53. DNC Chair Calls Cut, Cap and Balance Ryan Plan on Steroids

  54. creolechild says:

    FLASHBACK: Rick Perry Once Supported The Largest Tax Hike In Texas History

    Since moving into the governor’s mansion, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) has governed his state with extreme right-wing priorities. His latest budget shortchanges school children with $2 billion in education-spending accounting tricks, while creating a special tax loophole for yacht owners. His refusal to raise taxes has resulted in a ballooning of the Texas state debt, which rose to over $34 billion in 2009.

    On Friday, the Texas Tribune published a fascinating look back into Perry’s years as a Democratic state legislator. Before switching to the GOP to run for Agriculture Commissioner in 1990, Perry was a conservative Democrat in a state still dominated by the Democratic Party. Journalist Jay Root notes that at the time, Perry was a true fiscal conservative and supported the largest tax hike in Texas history in order to balance the budget:

    But Mr. Perry cast some votes and took a few stands that seem to be at odds with his fiscal conservatism today. The most vivid example is his support of the $5.7 billion tax hike in 1987, signed by Gov. Bill Clements, a Republican, opposed by most Republican members. The bill passed the House by a 78-70 vote.

    Even without adjusting for inflation, the legislation triggered the largest tax increase ever passed in modern Texas, said Dale Craymer, president of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association. Today, taking inflation into account, it would be worth more than $11 billion. The hike Perry supported under Gov. Clements raised the sales tax, taxed insurance premiums, and made permanent a five cents a gallon increase in the gas tax. In 2006, Perry also backed a substantial tax hike when he tripled the amount the Texas government collects for franchise taxes on business.



  55. creolechild says:

    Yesterday, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) unveiled his own deficit reduction plan, titled “Back In Black,” which would supposedly reduce the deficit by $9 trillion over the next decade. While introducing his plan at a press conference, Coburn said the plan only cuts “fat, not muscle and bone”:


    While some elements of Coburn’s plan have merit and should be applauded — the trillion dollars in defense cuts he calls for mirror progressive proposals — there are some elements of the plan that would certainly cut more than just “fat” from the federal budget. For example, Coburn calls for privatizing the Direct and Perkins loans programs offered by the federal government and “eliminating” all “remaining federal postsecondary programs” except for discretionary Pell Grants and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants:

    End the Direct and Perkins loan programs so student loans are made by exclusively by private lending institutions without federal debt issuance or federal subsidy. This proposal calls for a transition period to ensure student loan funding is not abruptly disrupted. With projections that the Direct Loan program will issue nearly $1.4 trillion in public debt over the next decade to fund student loans, this change would achieve significant savings for the taxpayer. […] Eliminate all remaining federal postsecondary programs except for the discretionary Pell Grant program and the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants which provide grant funding to children who had a parent died in Iraq or Afghanistan, and who do not receive the traditional Pell grant.

    According to data from the Department of Education, 15.2 million students benefited from Federal Direct and Perkins Loans alone in 2010. It’s unclear how Coburn expects the privatization of these lending services to work, but if history is any judge, these privatized loans will be more expensive for both students and taxpayers. And this doesn’t even account for the millions of other students who benefit from the other postsecondary programs that Coburn wants to eliminate. One has to wonder if these students consider their education “fat” to be cut from the federal budget.



  56. creolechild says:

    There’s an old adage that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it. That seems to be the unofficial motto of the United States Chamber of Commerce, which has spent the last forty years repeating (and repeating and repeating) the mantra that government regulations on businesses “kill jobs” and economic growth. But their predictions have been repeatedly wrong. The laws they warned would bring economic ruin have become the basic health, safety, and environmental safeguards we now take for granted.

    The Chamber’s latest goal is to prevent implementation of regulations to limit greenhouse gases and toxic air pollutants (as mandated by the Supreme Court). Republican proposals to eliminate the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gasses failed in the Senate. Now they are focused on the Obama administration to thwart the EPA’s rule making process. The EPA recently proposed several regulations to address greenhouse gases, toxic emissions, and other pollutants from power plants..

    The Chamber is hoping that in these hard economic times, Americans’ concern about jobs will scare them into believing that rules to limit global warming will stifle job growth. But their rhetoric is the same when the economy is humming. Whether unemployment is high or low, the Chamber and its business allies have opposed every significant step towards a more sustainable, healthier future. They opposed the Kyoto treaty, the Clean Air Act, auto emission standards, Renewable Portfolio Standards, the Clean Water Act, removing lead from gasoline and more. They justify their opposition by claiming that these rules will kill jobs. And they are wrong every time.



  57. creolechild says:

    BEIJING — A huge oil spill off the Chinese coast has now contaminated an area around six times the size of Singapore, state media reported Friday, as the government said it may seek compensation for the leak. The spill from the oil field, which the United States’ ConocoPhillips operates with China’s state-run oil giant CNOOC, has polluted a total area of almost 4,250 square kilometres (1,650 square miles), government figures showed.

    The figures, which were announced on the State Oceanic Administration website earlier this week but only reported on Friday, were almost five times the size of the 840-square-kilometre area previously reported. The administration says that area remains worst affected by the spill, but that another 3,400 square kilometres have also been contaminated to a lesser degree by the oil.

    The spill was kept secret by the authorities for several weeks before being made public this month, sparking suspicions of an official cover-up, and the disaster has triggered a furious public response in China. State media said the government was considering seeking compensation from ConocoPhillips over the spill.



  58. creolechild says:

    The US takes pride in its separation of church and state, but the current political scene is “strangely” religious. Lately, there would seem to be a whole lot more people who have a direct channel to the Big Guy Upstairs than one could have humanly thought possible.

    It is oft said that “God works in mysterious ways.” But when Michele Bachmann hears voices telling her to run for president, am I the only who thinks the most likely explanation is a batch of bad clams or one too many nights role playing “The Book of Eli” with her equally demented husband Marcus? Perhaps, these are the very same voices that have shared with her the important role “founding father John Quincy Adams” played in ending slavery as he battled the oncoming scourge of puberty? I don’t know, just a stab in the dark.


    Additionally, it equally pervades the rest of right-wing political culture in the US, as twisted scripture both provides ready justification for those who hate everything about the this country post-1930, and renders more difficult the job of the media to effectively criticize any crackpot theory – lest they lose their “objectivity” for a moment and offend some True Believers.

    Read more: http://www.truth-out.org/gods-sake-stop-talking/1310570443

  59. creolechild says:

    As you read this article, keep in mind that these subsidies are taxpayer-funded…meaning that we’re paying for them. With me now?

    “Remember the last time you were smack in the middle of downtown Chicago or walking down a bustling street of Manhattan? Did you notice the sweeping farm vistas, the rich fields of corn and wheat?” That’s the (trick) question that opens an Environmental Working Group story about how U.S. farm subsidies continue to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars to people who don’t live anywhere near a farm and whose daily lives have nothing to do with farming.

    $394 million, to be exact, went last year to residents of about 350 cities with at least 100,000 people each, according to the latest EWG Farm Subsidy Database, just for owning or investing in a farming operation.

    Sara Sciammacco explains: You can be a city slicker in Miami Beach or Beverly Hills and collect farm subsidy payments. All you have to do is have an ownership interest in some Iowa farmland. While 60 percent of American farmers must get along without a dime in federal subsidies, the so-called farm “safety net” benefits a narrow band of the wealthiest agri-businesses and absentee land owners and the lobbyists who ensure that the subsidies keep flowing.

    EWG wrote in a press release for the database: From 1995-2010, just 10 percent of subsidized farms – the largest and wealthiest operations -collected 76 percent of all commodity payments, with an average total payment over 16 years of $447,873 per recipient – hardly a safety net for small farmers. Despite the “reforms” that supporters of the subsidy system claimed were incorporated into the 2008 farm bill, the top 10 percent of recipients still harvested 63 percent of commodity subsidies in 2010.



  60. Ametia says:


    Rupert Murdoch said he is not ultimately responsible for “this fiasco,” referring to the ever-widening phone-hacking scandal clouding the operations of News Corp. He blamed “the people I trusted and the people they trusted.”
    Murdoch and his son James have been answering questions from a committee of British Parliament for almost an hour. Most of the questions have focused on their knowledge of the scandal. In answering the lawmakers, the elder Murdoch has taken long pauses, asked for questions to be repeated and admitted he didn’t recognize the names of some people who had worked for him for decades.
    Once the Murdochs conclude their appearance, former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks will answer questions.

    Really, Ruppert?

    • creolechild says:

      Metia~ thanks for the update. I didn’t, or don’t, expect him to be honest about what went down. It’ll be interesting to see if his employees will start to turn on him once they realize that he has no intention of accepting responsibility and is shifting the blame on them.

      To Be Continued…

    • Go somewhere, Rupert! ….And take your lies with you!

  61. creolechild says:

    I’m assuming that this deal is still in play because I haven’t read otherwise. If the situation changes, that information will be posted…

    Australian billionaire Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has been at the center of an explosive scandal as it has been revealed that a few of his publications hacked into the personal data of policemen, politicians, murder victims, and others. News Corp’s journalists may even have hacked into the phones of American victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

    Yet while these shocking allegations continue to come out, the state of New York is preparing to finalize a $27 million no-bid contract to Wireless Generation, an education firm specializing in testing that is owned by News Corp itself. As the acquisition was announced, Murdoch said he sees a “$500 billion sector in the US alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed by big breakthroughs.”

    The story of how News Corp landed the no-bid contract begins in November 2010. That month, Murdoch’s mega-corporation purchased Wireless Generation, which is based in Brooklyn. That also conspicuously happened around the same time as New York City schools chief Joel Klein announced that he’d be leaving to join News Corporation.

    Seven months passed, and it was announced that the state of New York would be granting a $27 million no-bid contract to Wireless Generation to “develop software to track student test scores, among other things.” The man in charge of News Corp’s education division at the time? None other than Joel Klein.



  62. creolechild says:

    What’s wrong with this picture?…

    Over the weekend, residents of Southwest Ranches — a town in western Broward County — protested the proposed construction of a privately run immigration detention center. Southwest Ranches has partnered with the private prison firm Corrections Corporation of America — which manages approximately 75,000 inmates in more than 60 facilities in 19 states and the District of Columbia. It currently manages five facilities in Florida.


    Immigration and Customs Enforcement (aka ICE) announced in June that it had “tentatively” chosen a site in Southwest Ranches as the location for its proposed immigration detention center. In May, The Florida Independent reported that Corrections Corporation had already won approval from Southwest Ranches officials for the proposed facility, with beds for up to 1,500 detainees, but the company and the city sought permission to expand it to 2,200 beds, if necessary, to help meet ICE’s requirements. ICE’s practice of housing detainees in private facilities has come under fire from civil rights groups and immigrant advocates, but documents from the city and the company describe efforts to offer more humane conditions for detainees who pose no security threat.

    A Detention Watch Network report released in May indicates that ICE maintains a daily population of more than 32,000 immigrant detainees. According to the report, in the last five years the number of immigrants detained and the costs of detaining them has doubled, costing taxpayers $1.7 billion at an average of $122 a day per bed, and nearly 2.5 million individuals have passed through immigration detention facilities since 2003.



  63. creolechild says:

    This is an amazing slideshow of photos taken in the Congo. Have a look when you get a chance…
    (I’ve included the caption for the first slide.)

    The Congo’s Midas Curse
    Meet the men and women who bring you the bling. —Marcus Bleasdale/VII

    A child digs for gold in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri District, where major mines are now government-run. Army officers, like the rebel officers who preceded them, profit from the operations—sometimes by directly controlling the mines and forcing soldiers or villagers to work in them. In Congo’s northeast, an estimated 70,000 to 100,000 people, including some 10,000 children, mine gold using nothing more than hand tools—and often literally by hand. But their scrappy livelihood may be coming to an end soon. Several foreign concerns, including a subsidiary of AngloGold Ashanti, the world’s third-largest gold-mining firm, recently cut deals with the Congolese government to take over the region’s lucrative mining operations.



  64. creolechild says:

    US envoys held a rare meeting with representatives of Moamer Kadhafi’s regime over the weekend and urged the Libyan strongman to cede power, a US official said Monday. The one-off meeting on Saturday came a day after the United States and other Western and regional powers recognized the rebel Transitional National Council as Libya’s legitimate authority.

    US officials “met with regime representatives to deliver a clear and firm message that the only way to move forward is for Kadhafi to step down,” the US official said in Washington on condition of anonymity. “This was not a negotiation. It was the delivery of a message,” the official said.
    “We have no plans to meet again, because the message has been delivered,” she said.

    Another US official, who was traveling with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in India, said that the meeting included Jeffrey Feltman, the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, and Gene Cretz, who is the US ambassador to Libya but has left the country. The official would not say who was on Kadhafi’s side or where the meeting took place, other than that it was outside of Libya. But Mussa Ibrahim, a spokesman for Kadhafi’s regime in Tripoli, told CNN that the talks took place in Tunisia and characterized the session as the start of a diplomatic process.
    “It was a first step in dialogue,” he told the network.



  65. creolechild says:

    WASHINGTON — The US Senate late Monday overwhelmingly confirmed the first openly gay male federal judge in US history.

    Senators voted 80-13 to confirm Paul Oetken to the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy praised Oetken as “a superbly qualified nominee,” and hailed President Barack Obama for the ground-breaking nomination.

    The vote came a month after New York became the latest — and largest — US state to legalize same-sex marriage, after Iowa, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont.

    A March poll found that 53 percent of Americans are in favor of allowing gay marriage. Other US states, like California, offer same-sex civil unions, but not marriage rights. That means the parties have some but not all legal rights married couples have.

    Earlier this month, a federal court ruled that the US military had to immediately stop enforcing a ban on gays serving openly in uniform, even as the government prepared to scrap the policy.


  66. creolechild says:

    Hey, Jordan! Where y’at? THANK YOU for your tireless efforts on behalf of New Orleans and keeping the public informed about the latest developments surrounding post-Katrina events!

    In New Orleans’ federal courthouse, five police officers are currently facing charges of killing unarmed black civilians who were escaping floods from the failed levees that buckled during Hurricane Katrina. The police are also charged with conspiring to cover up their crimes.

    The charges stem from an incident on New Orleans’ Danziger Bridgeon September 4, 2005, just days after Hurricane Katrina. Police officers, who claim they received a distress call on their radios, piled into a Budget rental truck and sped to the scene. When they arrived, the policemen came out shooting. The trial, brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, and which started on June 27, has gripped the city, while media coverage has focused attention on a deeply troubled department that is struggling to gain the trust of New Orleans residents.

    James Brisette, a 17-year-old described by friends as nerdy and studious, and Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old mentally disabled man, were killed. Four others were seriously wounded:

    * Susan Bartholomew, 38, who was shot in the leg and had her right arm shot off of her body;
    * Jose Holmes, 19, who was shot in his stomach, left arm, left hand and jaw;
    * Leonard Bartholomew III, who was shot in the back, his heel and head;
    * Lesha Bartholomew, 17, who was shot in the abdomen, buttocks and back

    Ronald Madison’s brother, Lance, was also arrested by officers under false charges that were later dropped.

    Witnesses for the government include survivors of the harrowing ordeal on the bridge, as well as several officers who have plead guilty to lesser offenses in exchange for their testimony. Shocking scenes of violence have been described from the witness stand: One officer is accused of kicking and stomping Madison to death after he had already been shot seven times.
    Meanwhile, a wide range of cover-up schemes have been exposed during the trial that implicates law authorities all the way up to New Orleans Police Department leadership.


    Read more: http://www.truth-out.org/trial-brings-attention-corruption-new-orleans-police-department/1310924312

  67. creolechild says:

    With an entire planet being slaughtered before our eyes, it’s terrifying to watch the very culture responsible for this – the culture of industrial civilization, fueled by a finite source of fossil fuels, primarily a dwindling supply of oil – thrust forward wantonly to fuel its insatiable appetite for “growth.” Deluded by myths of progress and suffering from the psychosis of technomania complicated by addiction to depleting oil reserves, industrial society leaves a crescendo of atrocities in its wake.

    A very partial list would include the Bhopal chemical disaster, numerous oil spills, the illegal depleted uranium-spewing occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan, mountaintop removal, the nuclear meltdown of Fukushima, the permanent removal of 95 percent of the large fish from the oceans (not to mention full-on systemic collapse of those oceans), indigenous communities replacement by oil wells, the mining of coltan for cell phones and Playstations along the Democratic Republic of the Congo/Rwanda border – resulting in tribal warfare and the near-extinction of the Eastern Lowland gorilla.

    As though 200 species going extinct each day were not enough, climate change, a direct result of burning fossil fuels, has proved not only to be as unpredictable as it is real, but as destructive as it is unpredictable. The erratic and lethal characteristics of a changing planet and its shifting atmosphere are becoming the norm of the 21st century, their impact accelerating at an alarming pace, bringing this planet closer, sooner than later, to a point of uninhabitable ghastliness. And yet, collective apathy, ignorance and self-imposed denial in the face of all this sadistic exploitation and violence marches this culture closer to self-annihilation.



  68. creolechild says:

    House Republicans are planning to hold a vote tomorrow on the radical “cut, cap, and balance” plan, which stipulates that the federal debt ceiling only be raised if a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution is sent to the states for ratification. As we’ve noted time and again, such an amendment is a phony solution to the nation’s budget challenges, and would force the government into actively making economic downturns worse.

    But the current version of the amendment that the GOP is pushing is even worse than all that. In addition to preventing the government from taking steps to ameliorate an economic downturn, the plan would also cap federal spending at 18 percent of GDP. To get a sense for how radical this is, the House Republican budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) — which eviscerated Medicare and Medicaid — still has spending above that level in 2040.

    As the Center for American Progress’ Michael Ettlinger and Michael Linden noted today, actually getting spending down to that level would require 25 percent cuts in every government program, including the Pentagon and Social Security (or, of course, deeper cuts for every program that gets left untouched):


    Cutting spending so deeply would reduce the federal budget to the level at which it was in 1966, when the country’s needs and demographics were very different. No President in the last 50 years, including conservative icon Ronald Reagan, has even proposed a budget with spending so low. But the GOP is willing to have the country default on its obligations unless Congress adopts this radical path.


  69. creolechild says:

    On Thursday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will officially open for business, finally giving American consumers a standalone ally in the byzantine financial services industry. But since the bureau’s creation by the Dodd-Frank Act last summer, the CFPB has actually been working to help consumers for nearly a year.

    A report released by the CFPB (PDF) on Monday outlines the bureau’s progress under Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor who conceived of the bureau and was charged with getting it up and running. Warren wasn’t nominated to serve as the bureau’s permanent director—on Sunday President Obama tapped former Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray, who runs the CFPB’s enforcement division, for the position—but the bureau has her fingerprints all over it.

    Under Warren, the CFPB has grown to 500 staffers from all corners of the financial world—banks, the Fed, academia, and so on. The CFPB has also opened its doors to supporters, critics, and constituents alike, meeting with community bankers from 50 states as well as a host of advocates, trade groups, and the top brass in the banking industry. The bureau has also cut agreements with other federal agencies to streamline the regulation process and better marshal its clout to help consumers. Here’s a snapshot of the bureau’s accomplishments so far:

    Know Before You Owe Project: The CFPB has begun implementing a process for combining the complex and duplicative Truth in Lending Act and Good Faith Estimate mortgage disclosure forms into a single, useable form. By sharing early drafts of the new form with the public and integrating comments and insights into subsequent versions, we will begin the formal rule-writing process with the most effective form possible.

    CARD Act Conference: In February, the CFPB hosted a conference on the one-year anniversary of the implementation of key provisions of the CARD Act. The conference was held to develop data about the impact of the new law and to initiate a candid conversation with industry participants about credit card markets.

    21st-Century Technology: As the country’s first 21st-century consumer protection agency, the CFPB is reaching out to the public using 21st-century tools. This effort began with the unveiling of the Bureau’s website, ConsumerFinance.gov, the “Open for Suggestions” campaign, a Facebook page, a Twitter stream, Flickr and YouTube channels, and the launch of an easy-to-use jobs page for prospective employees.

    Nonbank Supervision: Before the CFPB can supervise certain types of nonbank providers of consumer financial products or services, it is required by law to define who is a “larger participant” in certain markets. The agency has engaged the public early in the process, prior to initiating formal rule-writing, to build a strong foundation that takes into account a broad spectrum of viewpoints.

    The CFPB’s launch on Thursday won’t be without problems—the Senate has yet to confirm a director to run the bureau. By not picking Warren, the president signaled that he didn’t want to pick a fight with the GOP on this issue. But Senate Republicans have said they will block Cordray anyway—at least until the bureau’s leadership is weakened from a single director to an SEC-style commission. That means the bureau will open without a leader and will likely be without one for the near future.


    • creolechild says:

      The bullsh*t never ends…

      President Barack Obama has decided to nominate Richard Cordray instead of Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) doesn’t care. He says Republicans still plan to block the nomination.

      “I would remind [President Obama] that Senate Republicans still aren’t interested in approving anyone to the position until the president agrees to make this massive government bureaucracy more accountable and transparent to the American people,” McConnell announced on the Senate floor Monday.

      He continued: “Back on May 5 of this year, 44 Republican Senators signed a letter to the president stating — quote — ‘We will not support the consideration of any nominee, regardless of party affiliation, to be the CFPB director until the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is reformed.'”

      “We have no doubt that without proper oversight, the CFPB will only multiply the kind of countless, burdensome regulations that are holding our economy back right now and that it will have countless unintended consequences for individuals and small businesses that constrict credit, stifle growth, and destroy jobs. That’s why everyone from florists to community bankers opposed its creation in the first place. That’s why we’ll insist on serious reforms to bring accountability and transparency to the agency before we consider any nominee to run it.”


  70. rikyrah says:

    Mit Romney’s Big Donors May Be Finite Resource
    The results are all in and Mitt Romney’s prodigious fundraising has erased any doubts that, for all his weaknesses, the former Massachusetts governor is the only true frontrunner in the GOP primaries.

    The Romney campaign’s $18 million quarter easily overshadows rivals like Tim Pawlenty ($4.2 million) and Michele Bachmann ($4.2 million, about half from her Congressional campaign). But there is a cloud to the silver lining: Romney’s cash advantage is overwhelmingly powered by big-money donors.

    Only 6% of Romney’s haul came from donations under $200, according to a New York Times analysis, while a whopping 70% of the money came from donors who contributed the max $2,500, meaning they can no longer legally donate any more until the general election. It’s a far cry from Bachmann, who raised 67% of her total from donations under $200 and 6% from max contributors.

    Obviously it’s far better to have big donors on your side than backing someone else, but as Hillary Clinton discovered in the primaries the last time around, they’re no substitute for a grassroots operation that can donate smaller amounts over and over and over. In that contest, Clinton and Obama fought to a stalemate on fundraising through 2007. But as the campaign dragged on for months and months, Obama ran up a huge cash advantage thanks to a wave of small donations while Clinton fell into debt, in part because many of her core supporters had already hit their limit.

    Jonathan Mantz, Clinton’s finance director in 2008 and current Managing Director at BGR Government Affairs, told TPM that Romney may have to expand his donor base or else risk a tough challenge from one of the more populist contenders, like Bachmann or Ron Paul, who have a loyal base of small donors.

    “If they catch fire, they can really deliver a movement,” Mantz said.

    He added that while Romney’s early numbers were important in establishing his credibility, there’s no substitute for a broader donor base in the long run that can lend momentum at the right time. While Clinton was eventually overwhelmed by Obama, Mantz noted was her own grassroots operation that let her remain competitive even as the contest dragged on. After she hit a fundraising wall and had to contribute $5 million of her own wealth to the campaign in February, her supporters rallied to help keep her in the race against the surging Obama. He noted a similar phenomenon among Obama’s supporters after he lost New Hampshire, who reacted to the setback by powering him to a record-breaking $55 million take that month. Over 90% of the donations were under $100.

    While Romney’s early numbers were crucial in establishing credibility, “he needs to invest in his grassroots communications…If you can’t, eventually everyone stumbles.”

    Romney’s fundraising is not without considerable upside, however. For one thing, an unexpectedly large number of top donors are still undecided, giving him more room to grow his pool of wealthy backers. It’s not just the big bundlers either: small donors have yet to unite behind any one candidates and it’s possible they’ll bandwagon behind Romney if he solidifies his frontrunner status further.

    “If he continues to do well in polling and in early contests, I expect more money would come in,” campaign expert and UC-Irvine professor Richard Hasen told TPM.

    There still is a backup plan if the cash flow proves weaker than expected as well. Unlike candidates like Bachmann, Romney has an extremely wealthy supporter that he can turn to if needed: himself. He spent $35 million of his own money on his 2008 campaign, but has been loathe to use his own funds so far. If he hits a wall against one of his less wealthy opponents, like Pawlenty or Bachmann, he could be moved to reconsider his stance.

    Finally, Romney supporters have an avenue by which they can lend unlimited support to their favored candidate if they decide to take more drastic action. Restore Our Future, an independent Super PAC loyal to Romney, has already collected $12 million and could collect spillover resources from donors who decide the max $2,500 for the primary just isn’t enough. No other candidate has a similar organization backing their campaign.


  71. rikyrah says:

    , 2011 9:25 AM

    The confirmation of Paul Oetken

    By Steve Benen
    Given the extent to which Senate Republicans have broken the chamber’s confirmation process, it seems like a minor miracle when a federal judicial nominee is able to actually garner Senate approval. With that in mind, when the Senate confirmed J. Paul Oetken to a district court in New York last night, it seemed notable for being the first confirmation of a judicial nominee in a month.

    But there’s more to this story. Oetken is a qualified nominee who earned his place on the bench, but he’s also the first openly-gay man ever to serve as a federal judge.

    That this breakthrough occurred with very little notice is itself an encouraging sign. Conservatives didn’t flip out; the religious right didn’t organize rallies to derail the nomination; Republican senators didn’t raise a fuss; gay-rights groups didn’t feel the need to laud President Obama and Senate Democrats for the breakthrough; and the media largely overlooked the development. This was considered fairly routine, which is as it should be in a healthy, mature society.

    Dana Milbank’s column today got this just right.

    The remarkable thing about what happened on the Senate floor Monday night was that it was utterly unremarkable.

    The matter under consideration — the nomination of the first openly gay man to serve on the federal bench — would at one time have been a flashpoint in the culture wars. But Paul Oetken was confirmed without a word of objection on the Senate floor and with hardly a mention in the commentariat.

    Even some of the chamber’s most ardent social conservatives — Tom Coburn, John Cornyn, Jeff Sessions, Jon Kyl — cast votes for Oetken. When the lopsided vote tally of 80-13 was read out, there was no cheer or reaction of any kind. Senators continued their conversations as if nothing unusual had happened.

    For the record, none of the 13 GOP senators who voted against Oetken’s nomination — Blunt, Boozman, Cochran, Crapo, DeMint, Hatch, Hutchison, Lee, McConnell, Moran, Risch, Roberts, and Wicker — mentioned his sexual orientation. Indeed, they didn’t say anything at all. Some may have voted against him because they don’t like gays, but it’s possible they would have voted against his conformation anyway, since President Obama is the one who nominated him.

    But when the gavel came down, there were 80 senators who gave Oetken a lifetime appointment to the federal bench. At this point, I’ll take good news where I can find it.


  72. rikyrah says:

    this makes me so sad, I can’t even tell you.


    Final chapter: Borders to close remaining stores
    Liquidation could begin this week and be done by Sept. 30

    Borders, unable to find a buyer willing to get it out of bankruptcy, plans to close its remaining 399 stores and go out of business by the end of September.

    “Following the best efforts of all parties, we are saddened by this development,” Borders Group President Mike Edwards said in a written statement late Monday. “We were all working hard towards a different outcome, but the headwinds we have been facing for quite some time, including the rapidly changing book industry, eReader revolution, and turbulent economy, have brought us to where we are now.”

    The nation’s second-largest bookseller, which employs about 10,700 employees, said it will begin liquidating stores as early as Friday. The only two bidders for the company were two liquidation firms, Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers Group.

    Borders said it would ask the court Thursday to approve the bid by the companies to purchase Borders’ assets and administer the liquidation process.

    The move came after a bid fell through from private-equity firm Najafi Cos. that could have kept the chain operating. Creditors and landlords said liquidation was a better deal.

    Borders Group, which helped pioneer the big-box bookseller concept, once operated more than 1,200 stores, including some under the Waldenbooks name. It was already down to about 600 locations when it filed for bankruptcy protection in February and announced the closure of another 228 stores.

    Simba Information senior trade analyst Michael Norris, speaking before the official announcment, said the end of Borders would be a “sad day in book publishing’s history and will do severe and lasting damage to the industry’s ecosystem.”

    “There are so many people who buy a small number of books in a given year that the absence of a nearby store that they like can really curb how much they buy,” he said. “They won’t go to another store or online like flicking a switch.”

    The disappearance of Borders likely will hurt e-book sales as well, since some e-book readers visit bookstores to see what books they might like to read before buying the electronic version, Norris added.


  73. rikyrah says:

    July 19, 2011 8:00 AM

    With 14 days to go

    By Steve Benen

    It’s best to avoid categorical assessments about the debt-ceiling process — conditions can change quickly — but with exactly two weeks before the nation can no longer pay its bills, we know a couple of things.

    First, we know the House will waste a day on the “Cut, Cap, and Balance Act,” which would take a chainsaw to public investments and entitlement programs. Whether it passes the chamber or not doesn’t much matter — the plan can’t overcome White House and Senate opposition — since the day’s exercise is about making right-wing Republican lawmakers feel better about themselves. Complicating matters slightly, the “Cut, Cap, and Balance Act” is so extreme, House passage isn’t even assured (and vulnerable GOP incumbents have to know Dems will exploit this radicalism in 2012 attack ads).

    Second, we also know that in the Senate, “Plan B” is now “Plan A.”

    Publicly, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) have made votes on the Cut, Cap and Balance Act and a balanced-budget amendment their priority this week.

    But GOP aides say the leaders are already looking past those votes to a potential deal with Democrats to raise the debt limit before an Aug. 2 deadline and spare Republican lawmakers from a political backlash.

    “McConnell is going to let cut, cap and balance have its vote and then immediately move to plan B,” said a GOP aide in reference to the fallback debt plan McConnell is negotiating with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

    Another Republican aide said McConnell’s contingency plan “has become plan A.”

    The 10-person, bipartisan talks were focused on reaching some kind of larger agreement, with President Obama presenting lawmakers with a choice of several debt-reduction plans. As of this morning, it appears all of those competing options are dead — each involved Republicans accepting at least some new revenue, which they refuse to do — leaving senators to iron out the details on the McConnell/Reid compromise.

    As for what’s in that agreement, specific provisions are still coming together, but it appears to cut $1.5 trillion over 10 years, which would include defense spending, but leave entitlements alone. This deal would also create a 12-member, bipartisan committee, made up entirely of members of Congress, to work on a larger debt-reduction plan for the rest of the year, and with the understanding that if the panel comes up with a proposal, it would be fast-tracked in both chambers.

    The McConnell/Reid plan would also, of course, set up the byzantine process that empowers the White House to raise the debt ceiling on its own.

    Because Plan B would not include any new revenue, it remains to be seen what enticements could be added to make the proposal more appealing to House Democrats, whose support will be necessary for final passage. Rumored possibilities continue to include an extension of unemployment benefits and/or a payroll tax cut.

    While that process continues, it’s still important for the political world to keep an eye on the calendar. If the “Cut, Cap, and Balance Act” passes the House, it will be considered and defeated in the Senate. If all goes according to plan, the details of McConnell/Reid will be presented later this week, starting the clock. This will initiate a series of Republican filibusters, which once exhausted, will clear the way for a Senate floor vote by July 29 — a week from Friday — leaving the radicalized House just four days to debate and pass the emergency measure before the Aug. 2 deadline.

    In the meantime, Wall Street, which has long assumed that this entire charade was pointless posturing, is beginning to wonder if Republicans really are crazy. The longer this takes, and the right-wing members saber-rattle, the greater the likelihood of the markets panicking.


  74. rikyrah says:

    July 19, 2011 8:35 AM

    The public wants and expects new revenue

    By Steve Benen

    The new CBS News poll includes two interesting results, one more encouraging than the other.

    The first is the top-line question of whether the public wants to see the debt ceiling increased or not. Unfortunately, public confusion is proving to be a tough nut to crack, and opponents of an increase still outnumber supporters. That said, it’s worth noting that the percentage of Americans who want to see the limit raised has nearly doubled over the last month, from 24% to 46%.

    But since most Americans don’t even know what the debt ceiling is, this is arguably the more important result.

    Most Americans think any agreement on the budget and debt ceiling should include a combination of spending cuts and tax increases, according to a new poll from CBS News.

    The survey, conducted from July 15-17, suggests that Americans side with President Obama on what a deal to raise the debt ceiling should include: the president has repeatedly called for tax increases for wealthy Americans, as well the elimination of tax loopholes that benefit corporate interests, to go along with spending cuts as part of a “balanced approach” to lower the government’s deficit.

    According to the poll, 66 percent of Americans believe that the deal to raise the debt ceiling should include both spending cuts and tax increases. Only 28 percent said they thought the deal should contain spending cuts exclusively, and a mere three percent wanted it to include tax increases only.

    Last week, President Obama told reporters the public is already “sold” on the need for a balanced approach to debt reduction, causing House Speaker John Boehner and the right to push back, insisting that Americans agree with their spending-cuts-only approach.

    It was a bizarre line for Republicans to complain about, since their position isn’t popular at all.

    Referencing a collection of polls Greg Sargent pulled together last week, we now have five recent national polls asking the public for their preference: do they want a debt-reduction plan that only relies on cuts or do they want a combination of cuts and increased revenue (the only-revenue approach tends to poll under 5%). The results are entirely one-sided as my new chart helps show:

    The blue columns show public support for a balanced debt-reduction plan including cuts and revenue; the red columns show support for reducing the debt exclusively through spending cuts. Republican lawmakers genuinely seem to believe that their approach, the red columns, is the popular way to go. In fact, they’re so invested in this, they just might crash the economy on purpose unless the GOP gets exactly what it wants.

    Whether Republicans realize it or not, they’re losing this debate, pushing the nation to the brink with a policy Americans don’t like.


  75. rikyrah says:

    if anyone is watching the Murdoch grilling by Parliament, drop us some hints as to what’s happening.

    • Anita wrote: Olbermann will be covering the Murdoch testimony today live at 9:30 Eastern

      My friend Marion reported: OH SHIT…somebody just lunged for Rupert and the police got that person out quickly. There’s a 10 minute break. WOW!

      • @Breaking News: Wendi Deng, Rupert’s wife, immediately rose to protect husband. Press allowed back into room following incident; hearing resumes – NBC

      • Incident stops Murdoch hearings

      • @Breaking News: According to committee member, Murdoch assailant had what appeared to be a plate with shaving foam on it, in the form of a custard pie – BBC

      • Marion: The type of questions being asked says the panel realizes the grave damage the lies and hacking have done to the victims and society.

        @Anita: I believe the panel has a LOT of information just by the questions asked. This is MURDOCHGATE is gonna bring some folks down in the US too.

        @Benjamin: These are great questions and they are stumbling through…

  76. rikyrah says:

    Michele Bachmann Criticizes Black Farmer Settlement

    Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann pointed to one program in particular Monday when talking about wasteful government spending: a multibillion dollar settlement paid to black farmers, who claim the federal government discriminated against them for decades in awarding loans and other aid.

    The issue came up after Bachmann and Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa toured flooded areas along the Missouri River. During a news conference, they fielded a question about whether farmers affected by the flooding also should be worried by proposed U.S. Department of Agriculture cuts.

    The two responded by criticizing a 1999 settlement in what is known as the Pigford case, after the original plaintiff, North Carolina farmer Timothy Pigford. Late last year, President Barack Obama signed legislation authorizing a new, nearly $1.2 billion settlement for people who were denied payments in the earlier one because they missed deadlines for filing.

    King has likened the Pigford settlement to “modern-day reparations” for African-Americans. He said Monday a large percentage of the settlement “was just paid out in fraudulent claims” and criticized the Obama administration’s plan to resolve separate lawsuits filed by Hispanic and female farmers.

    “That’s another at least $1.3 billion,” King said “I’d like to apply that money to the people that are under water right now.”

    Bachmann seconded King’s criticism, saying, “When money is diverted to inefficient projects, like the Pigford project, where there seems to be proof-positive of fraud, we can’t afford $2 billion in potentially fraudulent claims when that money can be used to benefit the people along the Mississippi River and the Missouri River.”

    John Boyd, president of the National Black Farmers Association, which represented black farmers in the Pigford settlement, called the criticism unfair.

    “Why continue to take from those people who haven’t taken part in federal programs equally and give to another group of farmers who have taken part in federal programs?” Boyd asked. “I think taking resources from a group of people who have been historically denied any relief at the Department of Agriculture is a bad idea. For the flood victims that deserve redress … they should provide those people with relief, too.”

    Boyd said he and others worked to put anti-fraud provisions in the legislation signed last year. They require each claim of discrimination to be judged individually to determine its merit – a process that Boyd said has not yet even begun.


  77. rikyrah says:

    House Freshman to Obama: “Not It!”
    by ABL

    Are these people fucking kidding me with this?

    We are being governed by incompetent and inflamed assholes:

    A group of House GOP freshmen will appear at the White House tomorrow morning with a letter demanding the president present a written plan detailing his ideas for deficit reduction.

    “Because you have not presented any written detailed proposal to raise the debt ceiling, our constituents are left in the dark as to what specific cuts you propose as well as what taxes you are planning to raise,” the letter, which was signed by 64 House Republicans, says.

    I’m with Cole. We really are just screwed as a nation. You can bet your sweet ass that tomorrow the media will back these idiots who, as Lawrence O’Donnell pointed out last week, had never even heard the term “debt ceiling” before a couple months ago, and tell Americans that it’s Obama’s fault that these nutless dickwigglers can’t wrap their tiny brains around the global clusterfuck that will ensue if they don’t raise the fucking debt ceiling.

    Fuck these people.


  78. rikyrah says:

    Tea Party Animal Kingdom
    by BooMan
    Mon Jul 18th, 2011 at 11:30:08 PM EST

    It would be nice if I could treat the new species of Republican like a scientist would treat a newly discovered species. Rather than fighting some variation on the badger or the weasel or the tasmanian devil, I’d just like to study its curious and frenzied behaviors. Instead of claws, this creature wields a low-powered forcefield of stupidity and ignorance. To keep predators at bay, rather than arch its back or emit hissing sounds, it radiates hatred and lashes out with poorly-planned strikes. The randomness of its attacks confuses its adversaries, who are often attacked where they expect it least, in the areas of their greatest strength. This seeming lack of logic can sometimes stun and briefly bewilder anything it encounters. This creature’s strongest asset is its ability to put anything in its path immediately on the defensive. Faced with this beast that acts always with incredible aggression and transparent malice, while never acting in a rational manner, there is no choice but go into a defensive crouch and prepare for all potential lines of attack no matter how stupid or counterintuitive. This animal cannot be soothed or reasoned with. It will not accept food or other offers of peace and reconciliation. Its simple and constant call is the utter destruction of its enemies, and it considers everything its enemy.
    Despite its unpredictable behaviors, predictability is actually its greatest weakness. It can be counted on to attack in all circumstances, to never retreat, and can therefore easily be lured into ambushes.

    Yeah, it would be much cooler if these people weren’t actually attacking you and me and our country, and everything we value and cherish. They could be good entertainment


  79. rikyrah says:

    July 18, 2011
    ‘This is what I’ve been called to do’
    Gov. Rick Perry tells the Des Moines Register: “I’m getting more and more comfortable every day that this is what I’ve been called to do.”

    Yet in the quadrennial aftermath of God’s apparent inability to spare Mike Huckabee from his post-Iowa doom, one would think the appeal of divine grandiosity would have finally played itself out among the GOP’s social conservatives. In the modern era they Truly Believed that Barry Goldwater would stage a miraculous upset against Lyndon Johnson, since, with God providing his inspiration, Barry had identified and exposed much if not all of America’s moral corruption. Later, God blessed the equally improbable Pat Robertson, yet the latter went down with the same decisive thud as Huckabee. Presently we have Michele Bachmann claiming God’s Personal support, which, if He really is whispering same to Rick Perry, makes the Supreme Being something of a mischievous double-crosser.

    Myself, if an S.B. there be, I doubt that He loses any celestial sleep over Iowa caucuses or a New Hampshire primary or party registration numbers in Pennsylvania. Such are merely the obscure bipedal activities taking place on a speck of dust on the outer edge of a remote galaxy in which God seems to have grown rather disinterested. He once parted our seas and inflicted plagues and practiced all manner of wrathful correction to human backsliding, but no more. From Him, now, it’s nothing but Mum’s the Word. My guess is that we have simply gone to the Devil.


  80. Good Morning 3 Chics, Friends & Visitors!


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