Wednesday Open Thread

The Undisputed Truth was a 1970s Motown recording act, assembled by record producer Norman Whitfield as a means for being able to experiment with his psychedelic soul production techniques. Joe Harris served as main lead singer, with Billie Rae Calvin and Brenda Joyce, formerly of The Delicates, on additional leads and background vocals.

The group’s music and unusual costuming (large Afros and white makeup) typified the then-popular trend of “psychedelic soul” which producer Norman Whitfield had inaugurated. A number of their singles became minor hits, and many of them were also songs for Whitfield’s main act, The Temptations, among them “You Make Your Own Heaven and Hell Right Here on Earth” and “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone.” Their single Top 40 hit in the United States was the ominous “Smiling Faces Sometimes,” originally recorded by The Temptations, which hit #3 on the US pop charts in 1971.

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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157 Responses to Wednesday Open Thread

  1. Le Chele says:

    My first time hearing The Undisputed Truth. Check out my Throwback of the week:

    I love me some funk!

    • Hi Le Chele!

      I love funk too. The Undisputed Truth is a 70’s group! Smiling faces was the jam back in the day. They don’t make music like it anymore.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Everyone remember what Lawrence O’ said last week:

    “Nothing is agreed to, until EVERYTHING is agreed to.”

    The 7ish-Gang™ Bill still has to be taken from the SENATE – by being attached to something they have that originated in the HOUSE – sent back to the HOUSE, and the HouseOfCrazy® has to vote on it.

    Now, think about that in the TIME FRAME WE HAVE to raise the debt ceiling….. ok – stop laughing….. seriously, now.

    My thoughts? There is no time. Obama will get a clean bill – like he wanted in the first place. :D (Because the Debt Ceiling should NEVER EVER be attached to the budget – you should look at your bank account FIRST before you decide you can afford two wars and a tax cut for the überwealthy – if the Bush/GOP had done that {and weren’t such anti-tax loons}, we wouldn’t be talking about this, but I digress…)

    The Teaps will fight that because they’re morons, who can’t understand basic math.

    SOME GOP ADULT SOMEWHERE – will sit them down and explain that a private family can’t sell US Treasury Bonds to borrow more capital to pay it’s bills, but the Government can. However, a private family (if they have property) can take a second mortgage out on their house to pay their bills, put food on the table, and invest in an enterprise that will generate cash – so they can in future, pay back the 2nd, and MAKE MONEY. Hopefully, this adult can also explain that the US Gov (Fed/State/Local) is the largest employer on the planet with more employees world-wide than any private company. That the GOV can create jobs faster and more cost-effectively (when PROPERLY FUNDED) than any private entity because they don’t have $12million annual+bonus CEOs to feed, stocks to sell, or profit to worry about.

    This adult will then give a basic math class consisting of the following math equation:

    Taxes = Programs = JOBS for people to run said programs = people with a paycheck = people with money to SPEND = larger demand for goods & services = companies hiring to fulfill demand for goods & services = more people with JOBS = more money being spent = economic stimulation = more people paying taxes = more money into system = more programs can be created/infrastructure getting repaired, teachers, police, fire, etc = more people getting a PAYCHECK = more demand for goods and services x infinity.

    Yes, we need to bring back manufacturing, and a billion other things, but until that happens there is STUFF WE CAN DO HERE.

    Of course, we’re talking about the ClownCarCrazies® so I’m sure they’ll willfully still believe in the Magical Money/Jobs Tree that is the every rich man’s back yard. But hey, a girl can hope.

    Of course some LAW ADULT should also explain to Those Who Refute Reality that it’s:

    1. Dereliction of Duty to NOT raise the debt ceiling. The wording and the LAW of the 14th is clear: CONGRESS SHALL ENFORCE (America to pay her bills.) There is no choice. If they refuse, they can and should be removed from office for dereliction of duty. Then they can get a vote by those who are left.

    2. It’s also sedition to willfully crash the US Economy. It makes them a domestic enemy, which they are sworn to protect against.

    3. It’s beyond a conflict of interest bordering on treason to sign a loyalty pledge to ANYONE or ANYTHING that is held above the US CONSTITUTION.

    Those are just three reasons they SHOULD be removed from office.

    After they get a clean bill and raise the debt ceiling, they’ll tweak this bill some more, AFTER they do a JOBS bill which Obama could pound them with not passing until election day – then they’re swept from office, then the Bush tax cuts expire, and we can get some serious shit done during Obama2.

  3. Whoo Hoo!

    Good News, 3 Chics! Ametia’s post “Elizabeth Warren, Fierce Financial Consumer Advocate: In Her Own Words” will be spotlighted tomorrow on the homepage of and in the News & Politics topic as a BlogHer Editor’s Pick. A Big Congratulations to Ametia for an outstanding article.

  4. The Washington Post:

    House Democratic women seek rebuke of Rep. Allen West

  5. creolechild says:

    WHOOPS! Thank you, GottaLaff and The Political Carnival!

    Cenk Uygur Out At MSNBC

    A few days ago, Paddy posted a report that Al Sharpton might replace Cenk Uygur in the 3/6 pm slot on MSNBC. Rev. Al is still there. In fact, he’s on air as I type this very post. However, via Deadline, MSNBC is now saying Cenk is out, but nothing about whether or not Sharpton is his permanent replacement:

    “It’s unfortunate that Cenk has declined our offer to have him develop and host a program for another time slot.”

    Cenk is no shrinking violet. On Thursday, he’s going to teleconference his response to the press, saying he’ll “boldly discuss his departure from MSNBC.” I have no doubt about that. None.

    • opulent says:

      MSNBC has a winner in Al Sharpton. He brings out the issues. He challenges the lies, hypocrisy and batshytcraziness.

      He is bringing in a whole new audience…and he has the right tone and tenor for those looking for pundit who is pro-left policies.

      Plus today, he added the human picture to the questioning and just stuck it to that GOP he had on with MelissaHarris.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Scott plan to privatize prisons draws suit by police union

    The union representing correctional officers files suit to block Gov. Rick Scott’s plan to privatize prisons in South Florida

    Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

    TALLAHASSEE — — The union that represents state correctional officers is suing Gov. Rick Scott’s administration, seeking to derail a massive privatization of state prison operations in 18 South Florida counties.

    The suit, filed by the Florida Police Benevolent Association against Corrections Secretary Edwin Buss, hopes to block a plan to privatize 30 prisons in Miami-Dade, Broward and 16 other counties.

    Those prisons currently house about 20 percent of the state’s 102,000-inmate population.

    Buss said Tuesday he had not reviewed the lawsuit.

    “I’m not sure what the legal argument is, given that this was a legislative mandate,” Buss said. “To us, it’s like a bell that’s already been rung. We’re working under a very aggressive timeline and we need to get started on it right away.”

    The privatization plan was included as part of the 2011-12 state budget as a way to shave costs.

    As part of the budget agreement, the Legislature required the state to have vendors in place to run the prisons by Jan. 1, 2012.

    The union maintains that privatization will result in the loss of jobs by its members. The lawsuit claims the language in the budget mandating the outsourcing is unconstitutionally broad.

    “We want to stop prison privatization altogether, but we certainly want to stop this 18-county takeover,” said Matt Puckett, the Florida PBA’s executive director. “We consider this just a handout.”

    The legal challenge by the PBA is the seventh major lawsuit seeking to block or overturn policies initiated by Scott, a Republican who was elected last November, either through passage of new laws or executive orders.

    Other lawsuits take aim at an overhaul of the state elections code, mandatory drug testing for state employees, a freeze on new rule making by state agencies and a requirement that government employees contribute 3 percent of their pay to their pensions.

    The PBA suit, filed in Leon County Circuit Court in Tallahassee, says the state has not conducted a cost study to determine whether privatization would save money.

    It also says that the state failed to comply with a law requiring an agency to conduct a “business case” to justify any outsourcing in excess of $10 million

    Separate from its lawsuit, the correctional officers’ union has requested extensive public records from the prison system, including a list of every factor the state uses to determine the cost of running a prison.

    “We just want to see where they’re at in the process,” Puckett said.

    The PBA will hold a news conference in Miami on Thursday to elaborate on its decision to file the lawsuit. PBA President John Rivera and Jim Baiardi, president of the state chapter of correctional officers, will speak at the news conference at the headquarters of the Miami-Dade County PBA unit.

  7. rikyrah says:

    ‘Charter colleges’ among conservatives’ ideas to ‘radically transform’ higher ed
    By Mary Lee Grant | 07.19.11 | 2:03 pm ‘

    Efficiency-based reforms backed by Gov. Rick Perry have made Texas an early battleground in conservative efforts nationwide to make higher education leaner and more market-driven.

    But in a piece published last week, Robert Koons, a University of Texas philosophy professor and former senior fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, suggests TPPF’s controversial “Seven Breakthrough Solutions” don’t take the reforms nearly far enough.

    Minding the Campus, a national blog run by the conservative Center for the American University at the Manhattan Institute, published Koons’ piece, “Charter Colleges: A Market-Based Solution” on Thursday, in which he suggests the state university system would be best improved by a system of charter colleges, similar to primary and high school charters that receive state funding as public education alternatives.

    “The internal bureaucracy within each university is the main obstacle to real reform,” Koons writes:

    They are all committed to eliminating any real competition, while creating the illusion of a wide range of choices. Students can choose from more than one hundred majors and certificates, but each program is designed to shield faculty from competitive pressures. Dollars do not follow students, and so no department has any incentive to attract students. In fact, the actual incentives work in the opposite direction: the fewer students a department has, the freer its professors are to avoid undergraduate teaching and to concentrate on research.

    Koons had been the director of UT Austin’s Program in Western Civilization and American Institutions, before he was fired in 2009. Charter colleges, he argues, would allow greater freedom to teach basic western values like his program used to focus on.

    “As things stand now, students in the state universities of Texas have no opportunity to study the Great Books of Western civilization in a comprehensive and orderly way,” Koons writes. “They can’t study the history of Christian thought and art. Charter colleges could change all this, virtually overnight, and they could do so with no additional cost to students or taxpayers.”

    Koons, who is also a fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, writes that charter colleges would change all that:

    They would have the incentive to create innovative, student-centered curricula that would attract student demand, while also having the incentive to hold down costs and keep prices low. The competition provided by charter colleges would force the state universities’ existing departments to abandon their current, professor-centered models in favor of a market-oriented approach.

    In an opinion piece, published last year in the Austin American-Statesman, Koons suggested that university leadership take steps to make the standards for college curricula more objective, and describing those opposed to the reforms as “a coalition of left-leaning politicians and their academic allies.”

    Koons’ is only one of several conservative-backed reform proposals that would change the way American universities function. Others include a state-mandated focus on Western civilization over multiculturalism, and an Oxford-like comprehensive final exam system. The common thread is the argument that university curricula have been hijacked by liberals whose political agenda trumps academic interests.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 05:27 PM ET, 07/20/2011
    Is GOP quietly negotiating a surrender in debt ceiling fight?
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    Where do things stand in the debt limit mess? My best guess: What we’re really seeing right now is Republicans attempting to implement an organized retreat and surrender.

    Here’s why. Conservatives entered into the debt limit with entirely unrealistic expectations. Moreover, having already lost battles they apparently (and, again, unrealistically) expected to win on health care and the government shutdown showdown earlier in the year, many Republicans committed even more strongly to their unrealistic expectations on the debt limit. But Dems insisted on new revenues and drew a hard line on restructuring entitlements — and all signs were that they would not give.

    So Mitch McConnell’s original proposal to transfer control of the debt ceiling to the president with absolutely no deficit reduction was basically a strong warning to Republicans: you’re not going to get what you really want. He was letting them know that they could choose to negotiate their best surrender — or, if they refused to do so, they would wind up getting almost nothing at all.

    I think that’s also the best way to understand the Gang of Six revived package — it offers Republicans another way out of their mess. Of course, it’s almost entirely symbolic. Down the line it’s possible that some actual legislation can emerge from it, but there’s no chance that “down the line” will be before the debt limit is extended, and there’s no way to guarantee that “down the line” will ever happen. But this is nonetheless an escape hatch of sorts — Republicans could package a debt limit increase with a symbolic vow to implement the Gang of Six proposal later.

    So what choices to Republicans have now? They can choose the clean McConnell plan — no actual deficit cutting, but lots of symbolic blame for raising the debt limit thrown at Barack Obama and the Democrats. They can choose a modified McConnell, which would probably be packaged with a relatively small amount of spending cuts. Or they can package a debt increase with a symbolic Gang of Six vote, which would not by itself reduce the deficit.

    The key thing here is that every one of these options is a surrender.

    Yes, it’s true that under some of these options Republicans get spending cuts. But they would be nothing even remotely like what some of these folks, particularly the Tea Partyers, ran on and have been promising their constituents. And what’s basically happening now is that the relatively responsible GOP leaders are offering them various choices on how they’d like to give up.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 03:14 PM ET, 07/20/2011
    Conservatives whipping furiously to block McConnell proposal in House
    By Greg Sargent

    It’s worth taking a moment to appreciate how deadly serious conservatives are about ensuring that the McConnell escape-hatch proposal, should it come to that, does not pass the House — perhaps leading to default with untold consequences to follow.

    The latest: Some eighty House Republicans have now signed a letter calling on GOP leaders not to even let the McConnell plan get to the floor for a vote, a GOP aide tells me.

    As I noted here yesterday, one key metric for judging whether the McConnell plan can get through the House is a letter that Tea Party-backed Rep. Joe Walsh is distributing among colleagues. He’s hoping to amass 100 members on the letter, which would be a strong statement of opposition that would call into question whether the McConnell plan has any chance of passing.

    The GOP aide tells me he’s roughly 20 signatures away from that goal. The letter with final signatories wil be released tonight.

    So what does the 80 total mean? If the letter does get around 100 signatories, that would mean there are around 140 remaining Republicans. Even if all of them voted for the plan, that would mean you’d need roughly another 80 House Dems. That is probably gettable, though it may be difficult, given all the noise Dems are suddenly making against the proposal. One Dem aide tells me the question of how many Dems will support it turns heavily on the complexion of the $1.5 trillion in cuts that would be packaged with the McConnell proposal.

    That all sounds pretty ominous. But it’s also possible, as Senate GOP and Dem aides are hoping, that there will be a drop dead moment of terror next week that will, shall we say, persuade people to rethink their positions a bit. The idea is that if “cut, cap and balance” fails in the Senate over the weekend, and folks realize early next week that a cuts-for-revenues deal isn’t going to happen, House Republicans will suddenly realize that they are about to take the blame for default and possibly economic catastrophe. Peering into the abyss will cause them to pull back rather than lean forward and plunge to their doom. So goes the hope, anyway.

    Separately, the influential Club for Growth just blasted out an email on the Hill pressuring Republicans to sign the Walsh letter, threatening to take their position into account in evaluating each member’s record. Did I mention that these folks are dead serious about stopping this thing, the consequences be damned?

  10. rikyrah says:

    anyone here watch ALPHAS on Sci-Fi?

    if so, do you like it?

  11. Ex-business partner claims Buchanan ordered plan to violate election laws

    A former business partner has accused U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan in a court filing of ordering a plan to violate federal election laws, then threatening those he schemed with to cover it up.

    The explosive charges are contained in new documents filed in U.S. District Court in Jacksonville and threaten to derail any aspirations Buchanan has of running in the GOP primary to unseat U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson next year.

    Buchanan’s former business partner Sam Kazran states in the court documents that he has voice mails, emails, canceled bank checks and a list of witnesses to support his claims that Buchanan was the “sole individual responsible” for the illegal donations that have been under federal investigation since 2008.

    Kazran, in his first interview with the Herald-Tribune, said Wednesday Buchanan warned him repeatedly there would be “consequences” if he went to the media or federal authorities.

    “He told me, ‘Sam I’m going to be governor one day and you’ll want me to be on your side,’” Kazran said. “He’s put so much pressure on me. I’m just a regular joe who went into business with him. I didn’t want to get into some political war with him.”

    Buchanan’s campaign reiterated earlier denails that he had anything to do with the illegal donations. “Kazran is desperate and disgruntled after being sued by Vern for failing to repay a $3 million business loan,” said spokeswoman Sally Tibbetts. “An FEC investigation determined that Kazran, not Vern, violated federal campaign finance laws. The Buchanan campaign brought Kazran’s misconduct to the attention of the FEC nearly three years ago. So it is no wonder that he is now lashing out with false and ludicrious accusations.”

    The Federal Election Commission sued Kazran in federal court in December 2010, accusing him of reimbursing employees at a car dealership he owned with Buchanan for $68,000 in donations that went to help Buchanan win his 2006 and 2008 campaigns for Congress.

  12. DemRapidResponse:

    On CNN DNC Chair Discusses Debt Deal, Allen West, Romney

  13. creolechild says:

    The Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General’s (IG) office recently found that the Marine Corps allowed their contractors for a vital troop protection system to act as government employees, including directing and evaluating government employees’ work, grading their own work and writing up requirements for the follow-on contract. The contractors then bid on those requirements and won multimillion-dollar contracts.

    The IG issued a report this month with the mundane title, “Contract Management of Joint Logistics Integrator Services in Support of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles Needs Improvement.” The report points out, in glaring examples, how the Marine Corp allowed two companies to infiltrate and control two very important logistics and maintenance contracts.

    The program where this abuse occurred could not be more crucial to the troops. The program does maintenance support and logistics for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles program (MRAP). MRAP is a $17.6 billion program to build or modify military vehicles with a V-shaped hull to prevent or reduce troop injuries and death from IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices). MRAP was a rushed program because it had the potential to save lives and prevent severe injury at a time when IEDs were wreaking havoc on American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.


  14. creolechild says:

    The wealthiest nation on earth is not actually obliged to starve our senior citizens. We don’t need a military 670% more expensive than the next largest one on earth. We don’t need to fund health insurance corporations instead of healthcare. And we don’t need tax breaks for billionaires. In fact, we don’t need billionaires. That’s the message RootsAction is taking to Congress.

    Forbes magazine has been listing the 400 wealthiest Americans every year since 1982. Thirteen billionaires appeared on the original Forbes list. Now all 400 rate billionaire status. These 400, collectively, possess more wealth than the poorer half of America’s population put together. Sam Pizzigati explains how we got here.

    The United States now has a level of inequality that shocks much of the world. If Washington wants to balance its budget, it should do so on the backs of these 400 people, not the hundreds of millions of us who can’t afford it. Tax these billionaires into non-billionaires, and Washington’s financial worries — and our economic worries — will be gone for generations to come. The vast majority of us favor this approach.

    Only 1 percent of us are millionaires, with an “m”. Each billionaire has a thousand times that much money, or more. Sixty-six percent of senators are millionaires, as are 41 percent of House members, but they aren’t billionaires. They just work for them.

    Last year a list was leaked of attendees of an important rightwing planning conference organized by Koch Industries. This is an annual meeting at which the servants of plutocracy plot its further entrenchment. Eleven members of this year’s Forbes 400 were on the list. These are the hardcore plutocrats. These are the people who personally take the time to destroy our political system for their own short-term gain — and that of their families if their aristocracy of wealth is allowed to continue. These 11 people pay a fraction of the rate you pay on your income into Social Security and Medicare. They have no need for Social Security or Medicare. And they participate in a political movement that is trying to dismantle those programs. Meet your masters, fellow Americans.


  15. creolechild says:

    In what was dubbed last year as “foreclosuregate,” banks began relying more heavily than ever on so-called robo-signers and foreclosure mills — offices staffed by underqualified foreclosure “experts” — to cut corners during the foreclosure process, often wreaking havoc on homeowners’ lives. In response, the big U.S. banks promised to clean up their act. According to a new report from Reuters, that has not come to pass:

    SPECIAL REPORT: Banks still robo-signing, filing doubtful foreclosure documents

    NEW YORK/IMMOKALEE, Florida, July 18 (Reuters) – America’s leading mortgage lenders vowed in March to end the dubious foreclosure practices that caused a bruising scandal last year. But a Reuters investigation finds that many are still taking the same shortcuts they promised to shun, from sketchy paperwork to the use of “robo-signers.”

    You might remember that last fall, banks halted foreclosures in 23 states, ostensibly so they could address allegations of foreclosure fraud. Throughout the fall and winter, the banks started to engage in foreclosures once again, claiming they had reviewed their procedures and were confident they could move forward without incident. This spring, 14 of the banks signed consent orders at the behest of the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, promising “further internal investigations, remediation for some who were harmed and a halt to the filing of false documents. All such behavior had stopped by the end of 2010, they said.”

    However, Reuters reports that at least five of those 14 banks, plus a half dozen other large institutions, have continued to submit mortgage papers “of questionable validity.”


    • creolechild says:

      BREAKING NEWS~ By The Associated Press Posted 3:19PM 07/20/11

      Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) has agreed to pay $85 million to settle civil charges that it falsified loan documents and pushed borrowers toward subprime mortgages with higher interest rates during the housing boom. The fine is the largest ever imposed by the Federal Reserve in a consumer-enforcement case, the central bank said Wednesday.

      Wells Fargo, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing as part of the settlement. The bank agreed to compensate borrowers who were steered into higher-priced loans or whose income was exaggerated.

      The Fed alleged that Wells Fargo inflated borrowers’ incomes on loan documents to qualify for mortgages they otherwise couldn’t afford from 2004 until 2008. Wells Fargo sales personnel also pushed borrowers toward higher-interest, subprime loans, even though they were eligible for lower-interest mortgages, the central bank said. Between 3,700 and roughly 10,000 people could be compensated under the settlement, the Fed said. The payments will likely range from $1,000 to $20,000.


      See full article from DailyFinance:

      • creolechild says:

        Have you ever been turned down for a loan? Had your credit line slashed or interest rate bumped up? Well, starting Thursday, banks and other lenders will be required tell you a bit more about why. Thanks to the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act, the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Reserve Board are implementing a new rule requiring lenders to show consumers the credit score data they used to make their decision.

        In addition to the score, creditors must also give the score range, the date score was generated, up to four contributing factors that affected score, and which agency issued it. The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which opens for business on July 21, is responsible for enforcing the rule. For consumers, this is good news, as it adds a new level of transparency to the credit process. But when it comes to getting a credit score, it’s a little like getting your test result without seeing the grading curve, says Erik Larson, president and founder of, a consumer information resource for online services. “It may create more confusion than before because it will be difficult to put [the score] in context,” he says.

        Credit scores are calculated using a complex construction of formulas and factors, based on the information in a consumer’s credit report, as well as additional information. Some lending companies use proprietary scores, based on in-house formulas, while others use brand-name scores, like FICO or VantageScore, which they buy from the major credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. Both FICO and VantageScore have their own scale and formulas for creating a score. For example, a 660 FICO score, based on its 300 to 850 scale, is relatively higher than a 660 Vantage score, which is based on a scale of 501 to 990.


        Read more: DailyFinance:

      • creolechild says:

        Aaaah Ha… GOP b*tchez…don’t hate the player; hate the game!

        White House threatens veto of GOP bill curbing Consumer Bureau powers

        Elizabeth Warren is out, but not beaten; Richard Cordray is in, but not confirmed; and President Obama is challenged, but not yielding.

        Via The Hill:

        The White House announced Wednesday it would veto Republican attempts to curb the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). […]

        If Congress passes any legislation that undermines “the core reforms included in the Dodd-Frank Act,” President Obama’s senior advisors would recommend a veto.The CFPB, set to begin work Thursday, was created by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

        Maybe the We Hate Regulation Party should read this.

  16. HuffPostPol:

    Giffords aide killed in Tucson shooting may be honored with a permanent memorial at the Capitol:

  17. creolechild says:

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The school board in Memphis says it will indefinitely delay the start of class because of a dispute over money with the city government.

    The board for Memphis City Schools voted 8-1 Tuesday night to postpone school until the City Council hands over $55 million in tax revenue it has set aside for the system this coming year, according to The Commercial Appeal. The school board says the city owes significantly more than that after several years of shortfalls.


    Read more:

  18. creolechild says:


    California prison inmates who have chosen to go hunger strike due to barbarous conditions they deem akin to torture risk a number of health problems and their own lives to make this powerful statement–and the fact that officials are seeking a court order to force-feed them feels like it serves to illustrate their entire point about being treated as sub-human:

    More than 400 inmates in California prisons have refused food to protest what they call “inhumane” conditions in isolation units. Some of those inmates have not eaten for nearly three weeks, and say they’re prepared to die to make their point. On Tuesday, the head of the state corrections department said he’d seek a court order to allow officials to force-feed inmates if necessary to save their lives.

    This saga is an echo of the famous Northern Irish hunger strikes during the “Troubles” which have been immortalized in literature and film. Chances are the California story will continue to grow as prison reform becomes more and more of a mainstream issue.


    • opulent says:

      Wow. Don’t know how I should feel about this.

      • creolechild says:

        Hey, Opulent~ I know what you mean. On the one hand, you have to take into consideration the prisoners’ physical well-being. On the other hand, they’re protesting against inhumane conditions in the prisons. I don’t know if they’ll be allowed to force-feed the inmates. Legal precedent shot a similar move down when there was talk of forcing medication on that disturbed person who injured and killed injured several individuals in Arizona. (Can’t remember his name…)

        Pffftttt…These days, it’s anyone’s guess about what is legal and what isn’t–given the decisions that the courts in this country have been passing down over the past few years.

  19. rikyrah says:

    John Kasich and his old friends, and my new friends
    by Kay

    I’m puzzled, one could even say troubled, by the fact that national media seem to be promoting Ohio Governor John Kasich.

    This is from the Columbus Dispatch, during Kasich’s campaign for governor in 2010:

    While John Kasich’s old boss at Fox News couldn’t legally give him $1 million directly, Rupert Murdoch now acknowledges his “friendship” with Kasich sparked a million-dollar contribution to a group running ads bashing Gov. Ted Strickland. The donation went to the Republican Governors Association, which has bought more than $1 million worth of anti-Strickland ads – more than 3,000 spots – in central Ohio alone.

    Murdoch was asked last night whether the million-dollar gift to the Republican Governors Association might affect the public’s perception of Fox News, whose theme is “fair and balanced.” “It doesn’t reflect on Fox News,” he said, according to Politico, a Washington publication covering politics. “It had nothing to do with Fox News. The RGA (gift) was actually (a result of) my friendship with John Kasich.”

    Don’t pundits use the phrase “earned media” to describe a candidate making the tv rounds like Governor Kasich is doing? Can someone tell me what this far-Right deeply unpopular governor has done that has earned him all this free promotional time on national television? I’m not seeing the fabulousness of this person, and apparently I’m not alone. His charm is proving…elusive. We might have to start calling him John McCain if this keeps up.

    In any event, the Kasich/media campaign to repackage John Kasich and sell him to Ohioans doesn’t seem to be working:

    Kasich’s approval rating registered at a paltry 35% in the latest Quinnipiac poll of Ohio voters, with 50% disapproving of the Governor’s performance. Ohio was one of the major flash points in the fight between newly elected Republican governors and public employee unions over collective bargaining rights, compensation and benefits. The Quinnipiac poll showed that 56% of Ohioans think that SB 5, the new anti-union law passed by the Ohio Legislature and signed by Kasich, should be repealed, with 32% saying it should be kept. Independent voters favor repeal 52% to 33%, and even a little more than a third of Republicans want it scrapped. State residents may have that chance this November, as pro-union forces delivered more than five times the needed amount of signatures to force a ballot referendum.

    I went to a local planning session on the We Are Ohio effort to repeal SB5 last night. What’s interesting to me about this issue is that it is genuinely bipartisan, or perhaps nonpartisan is a better word.

    Democrats and liberals are a political minority where I live. I am familiar with the the volunteer activists or organizers who appear at every planning meeting, for one or another Democratic or liberal cause. They’re the same people, over and over. I mean that literally: the same twenty people. This is different. There’s new local faces at these We Are Ohio planning meetings.

    I know this is anecdotal and local, and may not mean much in the national scheme of things, but based on my (admittedly less that scientifically rigorous) observations, it’s true.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Kamikaze Republicans
    by BooMan
    Wed Jul 20th, 2011 at 02:17:04 PM EST

    The blow-up between south Florida Reps. Allen West (R) and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D) isn’t particularly interesting. Wasserman-Schultz, who also serves as head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), expressed surprise and amazement on the House floor that West would support handing Medicare recipients a bill for $6,000 when he serves a district so rich in Medicare recipients. When West found out that he’d been criticized on the House Floor (not by name, mind you), he lost his temper and sent a letter to Wasserman-Schultz (and copied to Pelosi and Cantor) in which he called her a bunch of nasty names.

    Anyone who has paid any attention to Rep. Allen West knows that his political support arises almost solely from an incident in Iraq where he fired a gun near the head of a detainee resulting in the loss of his command, a reprimand, and a fine. He’s popular because he treated an Arab roughly and paid a price for it. His rhetoric is consistently ridiculous, and it’s not at all clear that he has a firm hold on reality. It’s no surprise that he lost his marbles after some rather mild criticism from a fellow lawmaker.

    What’s lost in all this focus on West’s behavior is that Wasserman-Shultz had a good point. It used to be that you could count on a south Florida politician to do two things: protect entitlements and support the embargo of Cuba. Now we have a Tea Party Republican who doesn’t have the slightest sense of self-preservation. This is one more example of the larger problem with the Tea Party’s influence in Washington. If they don’t care about themselves, how can we expect them to care about the economy or our interest rates or the pain they’ll be causing to others?

  21. creolechild says:

    Thank you, Norbrook, for making this…this whole clusterf*uck which the Republicans are engaged in amazingly easy to understand!

    Idiot Republicans Don’t Know Business Budgeting Either

    Over at BPI, one of the commenters posted an e-mail from her Republican Congressman, who is apparently attempting to preemptively shift the blame if the debt ceiling isn’t raised:

    I have heard from quite a few concerned seniors and veterans in the last few days. The concern stems from the President’s suggestion that Social Security and other benefits won’t get paid in the absence of a deal to raise the debt ceiling. This is a scare tactic, pure and simple.

    Spending on Social Security, Medicare, veterans’ benefits and our troops has already been authorized by Congress, and the President has the authority to continue funding these priorities. If he chooses not to, it will be his decision and his alone.

    As Sheriff, I always had a contingency plan – hope for the best, but plan for the worst. My hope is that the President won’t play games with your Social Security check, but his current posturing doesn’t inspire much confidence.

    The bolding is mine, and it demonstrates a seriously poor understanding between “authorized spending” and “having the money to spend.” Because it’s not a scare tactic, it’s a potential reality. Anyone who has ever worked in the private sector (let alone government) for an employer of any real size should have grasped it immediately.

    Let me explain this. Way back when I used to work for a large business, I had to submit a budget request every year. That request covered salaries, benefits, utilities, supplies, equipment, and any other things that were needed to keep us running. There was usually some haggling involved, justifications for something having to submitted, and so on, but at the end of the process, I would have an “approved budget.” That was my authorization to spend money for a given purpose.

    All well and good, right? Not quite. You see, there’s a little issue called “cash flow” that entered into it. I might be authorized to purchase a 5000 dollar reagent kit (yes, that’s a real price), but if the cash wasn’t in the company’s account for it, it didn’t matter. It would be “delayed.” So my purchase order would sit in limbo until the money was available. It didn’t matter that I had a “budget authorization,” it didn’t matter that it was a priority for me, if the company didn’t have the cash on hand, it didn’t get ordered. Of course, sometimes you’d run into the situation where a supplier wouldn’t take the purchase order, because the company hadn’t paid them in a while.

    This particular company worked on a direct cash flow model. That is, the money they took in went into a bank account, from which the bills were paid. If the cash flow turned out to be variable, and not enough was coming in, things started getting shifted around. Purchases were delayed, bills went unpaid, and work scheduling was disrupted because you weren’t getting what you needed in a timely fashion. In good years, it didn’t happen, but in years when things were tight – or tight for someone else – it often resulted in a headache-inducing scramble.

    Anyone who has ever run a business (and I have) knows the “joy” of waiting for payments to come in, while looking at the bills to be paid. It doesn’t matter that next month you will have more than enough money in the account to pay off everything, you need the money now. Other companies get around this by using “short-term debt obligations.” That is, you have a line of credit which enables you to pay your bills and make your purchases, even if you don’t have the money immediately in the bank. It does a great job of smoothing out the ups and downs of revenue for you.

    So what does this have to do with the debt ceiling? That’s how the government works. Congress authorized the particular budget, and the spending. In order to meet those authorizations, the Federal government must borrow money. Failing to raise the debt ceiling puts the government into a direct cash-flow accounting position. Why is this a problem? Because the bills coming in aren’t going to match the revenue – and its timing. Which means that some bills will be paid, and others won’t. In other words, just like a business without a credit line, it doesn’t matter if spending has been “authorized.” If the money isn’t in the bank, it means it can’t be spent.

    Which is why this Republican – and apparently it’s the “party line” – is an idiot. He may tout his “experience” in contingency plans, but he’s never either worked in business or had to actually use contingency plans. The Administration does have a contingency plan, but it’s based on cold hard math:

    There’s only going to be $12 billion coming in, and $32 billion in spending due. That means a lot of things aren’t going to get paid, and there’s no getting around it. That’s the cold fact. Apparently, despite their claims of being “for business,” Republicans in Congress seem to have no clue about business budgeting, let alone government budgets. Because if they did have a clue, they wouldn’t be spouting the inane crap they are. They’re idiots. They really don’t grasp the difference between being “authorized” to spend money versus having the money to spend. They think it’s the same thing. Of course, there’s a reason for why they’re doing it. Because there were a lot of people who were stupid enough to vote them in in the first place, and they’re hoping that those same people are still stupid enough to believe them. But the first time that check those voters expected doesn’t appear in the mailbox, the reality will sink in, and no, the Republicans aren’t going to dodge the blame. It couldn’t happen to a better group.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    July 20, 2011 3:50 PM

    House GOP Suicide Squad gets bigger

    By Steve Benen
    By late yesterday, the political world seemed to be feeling optimistic about the debt ceiling again. The Gang of Six had made a lot of senators happy; President Obama seemed upbeat causing a sudden spike on Wall Street; and the House was wrapping up work on a pointless vanity project, clearing the way for real work. Maybe, folks thought, we’ll avoid that catastrophe after all.

    This afternoon, that optimism is evaporating again.

    On Monday, Rep. Joe Walsh, a radical GOP freshman, began circulating a letter among his House Republican colleagues drawing a line in the sand: they won’t accept the McConnell/Reid plan. Period. Full stop.

    Senate Republicans figured if the letter picked up no more than 50 signatures, the Senate’s “Plan B” could pick up some Democratic support, get through the House, and offer a way out of this mess. If Walsh’s effort picked up 100 signatures, we’re all in big trouble.

    Greg Sargent reports today on the Suicide Squad’s progress. The news isn’t good.

    …Some eighty House Republicans have now signed a letter calling on GOP leaders not to even let the McConnell plan get to the floor for a vote, a GOP aide tells me.

    As I noted here yesterday, one key metric for judging whether the McConnell plan can get through the House is a letter that Tea Party-backed Rep. Joe Walsh is distributing among colleagues. He’s hoping to amass 100 members on the letter, which would be a strong statement of opposition that would call into question whether the McConnell plan has any chance of passing.

    The GOP aide tells me he’s roughly 20 signatures away from that goal. The letter with final signatories will be released tonight.

    Let’s do a little arithmetic. It will take 217 votes to pass a bill in the House right now (it would ordinarily be 218, but there are a couple of vacancies). There are 240 House Republicans. If 80 GOPers refuse to even consider the McConnell/Reid compromise, Plan B would need 57 House Democrats. That’s a pretty large number for a center-right agreement that includes zero new revenue.

    If Walsh succeeds and the Suicide Squad reaches the 100-signature goal, Plan B would 77 House Dems for a bill Democrats really aren’t going to like.

    What about the Gang of Six plan? Even if it could be crafted and passed in the Senate quickly — I suspect that’s literally not possible — a growing number of House Republican leaders are concluding it’s just not right-wing enough to pass the lower chamber.

    So, where does that leave us? The House won’t pass a clean bill; it won’t pass a Grand Bargain; it won’t pass the Gang of Six proposal; and at least 80 House Republicans are prepared to try to kill the Plan B compromise.

    And the clock runs out in just 13 days.

    Maybe someone can talk some sense into the Suicide Squad. Maybe there will be a temporary extension (there are some whispers to that effect coming out of the White House today). Maybe President Obama will give that “Constitutional Option” a second look after all.

    But at this point, if you’re not nervous, you’re not paying attention.

  23. Ametia says:

    Former Insider: Michele Bachmann Headaches Frequent, Left Her ‘Unable to Function’
    By MATTHEW MOSK and BRIAN ROSS (@brianross)
    July 20, 2011
    An insider who once worked with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R- Minn.) told ABC News he believes her migraine headaches have been a persistent and vexing problem for years, often forcing the congresswoman to cancel meetings, shut her office, turn off the lights and lie down until they pass.

    “You’re probably talking once every two to four weeks where she would have severe headaches, and at times it would be more frequent,” the former insider told ABC News, speaking on the condition he not be identified because he was concerned about retribution. “They would come on in a matter of minutes. She would be down on her couch with the lights off and unable to function.”

    The GOP presidential candidate confirmed to reporters Tuesday that she suffers from migraine headaches, but she said they were controlled by medication and her condition would not affect her ability to serve as president.


  24. Ametia says:

    White House signals shift on short-term debt plan if tied to ‘larger deal’

    By David Nakamura, Lori Montgomery and William Branigin,
    Updated: Wednesday, July 20, 2:25 PM

    President Obama would consider a short-term measure aimed at raising the nation’s debt ceiling and avoiding a default by Aug. 2 if it were coupled with agreement on a “larger deal” to reduce the deficit, his spokesman said Wednesday.

    With time running out for reaching such a deal, Obama called House and Senate Democratic leaders to a White House meeting Wednesday afternoon as he sought to shore up his party’s support for a compromise deficit-reduction plan that could help break a political impasse over the debt limit and avert a U.S. default.

    Obama has steadfastly refused to entertain proposals to temporarily lift the debt limit during tense negotiations with congressional leaders over the past several weeks. But with less than two weeks remaining before economists say the government would risk defaulting on its obligations if the debt ceiling were not raised, the administration appeared to recognize the time constraints that could prevent a larger “grand bargain” from being enacted.

    “The president has been clear that he will not support a short-term extension of the debt ceiling,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said. But he added: “What we mean by that is we would not support a short-term extension absent an agreement to a larger deal. That’s not acceptable.

  25. Ametia says:

    The GOP’s fuzzy math
    Here’s the point: Even if we enacted the platonic ideal of sane entitlement reform, and trimmed defense (as we need to), Republican budget math still doesn’t come close to adding up. Instead, as my colleagues at the Center for American Progress have shown, shrinking spending to sub-Reagan levels while retiring the boomers would involve dramatic cuts in everything else Americans think of as government – from national parks to NASA to the FBI to cancer research to student loans.

    So why does the GOP pretend otherwise? Because acknowledging mathematical reality is too politically painful. Because uttering this simple phrase – “to accommodate the retirement of the baby boomers, taxes will need to rise” – is forbidden by official Republican doctrine.

    Because official Republican doctrine has banned honest math.

    Aversion to honest math explains why the Ryan budget embraced by the GOP doesn’t balance the budget — even after Medicare changes that may prove fatal to the party — until the 2030s and racks up at least $14 trillion in debt between now and then.

    That’s because the Ryan budget cuts taxes. Balanced budget math in an aging America doesn’t work without higher taxes

  26. rikyrah says:

    July 20, 2011 2:20 PM

    Would Republicans shut down the FAA?

    By Steve Benen
    It just never ends with these guys.

    A quarrel between the House and Senate over union organizing by airline and railroad workers could lead to a shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration.

    The FAA’s operating authority expires on Friday. The agency has operated under a series of 20 short-term extensions since Sept. 30, 2007, because lawmakers have been unable to agree on a long-term funding bill.

    If you’re thinking, “This must have something to do with Republicans hating unions,” give yourself a prize.

    In the House version of the FAA measure, Republicans included a measure to make it much more difficult for aviation and rail workers to unionize. The larger dynamic can get a little complicated, but the bottom line is this: under the status quo, workers can get together and hold a vote. The majority wins. Under the Republican proposal, workers who don’t participate in the vote would be counted as “no” votes. The point, of course, would be to make it extremely difficult for workers to organize.

    In the Senate version, the FAA is funded without the union-busting measure.

    As the AP report explained, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is willing to pass another temporary extension — the 21st in a row — while the chambers keep fighting, but only if Senate Democrats agree to eliminate funding for 13 rural airports, specifically targeting airports in the home states of Harry Reid (the Senate Majority Leader), Jay Rockefeller (chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee), and Max Baucus (chairman of the Senate Finance Committee that has jurisdiction over the aviation tax portions of the bill.

    The White House weighed in today with a Statement of Administration Policy, explaining that the administration supports another temporary extension, but won’t accept the House GOP scheme to deliberately punish rural airports as part of a childish, partisan scheme.

    And if this isn’t resolved fairly soon, the FAA would be shutdown. Air traffic controllers, designated “essential workers,” would remain on the job, but 16,000 other FAA employees would face furloughs.

    Imagine, just for a moment, how much smoother the U.S. government would function if the House Republican caucus included grown-ups — or if the caucus were back in the minority.

  27. rikyrah says:


    Pawlenty pulled from general poll after sinking too low
    By Jon Collins | 07.19.11 | 9:23 pm

    In a a sign that former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s campaign is still struggling, Public Policy Polling announced Monday night that Texas Gov. Rick Perry will replace Pawlenty in general election polling match-ups against Pres. Barack Obama.

    Pawlenty will still be included in the organization’s Republican primary polls, but his removal from this company’s general election poll match-ups bodes badly for Pawlenty, who has faltered in recent polls, leading some observers to speculate that his campaign is sinking.

    Public Policy Polling said on their Twitter account Monday that Pawlenty now comes in eighth place in their Republican general election polls.

    Just a few days ago, someone leaked a letter from Pawlenty Campaign Manager Nick Ayers reassuring campaign workers that Pawlenty was still a viable candidate:

    “National polls are largely irrelevant to the race at this stage but are great media fodder. If they mattered this early, Obama would have never beat Clinton, and McCain would have never beaten Giuliani and Thompson who were both leading in polls by a significant margin in July 2007.”

    As the Minnesota Independent noted last week, Pawlenty’s eggs are increasingly in the Iowa Straw Poll basket. If he doesn’t perform well in that straw poll, which measures organizational strength, he’ll likely not be able to continue in the race.

    Ayers dismissed claims that Pawlenty’s campaign is failing:

    [Y]ou would be hard pressed to find this counter narrative in some press stories of late. I don’t blame them, they have a job to do. That doesn’t mean their interpretation is accurate and in this instance they have not extrapolated all of the facts. We all know that campaigns ebb and flow. The reality is things are never as good as they seem, and things are never as bad as they seem.

    Ayers went on in the letter to predict that Pawlenty would earn the nomination and beat Obama in 2012.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Poll: Kasich Sinks Further, Ohio Voters Want To Repeal Union Busting Law
    Kyle Leighton | July 20, 2011, 11:54AM

    Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) had to be feeling pretty good a little over eight months ago when he knocked off incumbent Ted Strickland on his way to being the Buckeye State’s chief executive. Now it’s the people of Ohio who don’t feel that great about him.

    Kasich’s approval rating registered at a paltry 35% in the latest Quinnipiac poll of Ohio voters, with 50% disapproving of the Governor’s performance, directly in line with the current TPM Poll Average. Ohio was one of the major flash points in the fight between newly elected Republican governors and public employee unions over collective bargaining rights, compensation and benefits. Much of the poll shows a public resistance to Kasich’s policy in the area, but agreement that public employees should pay more of their health insurance and pension contributions.

    The Quinnipiac poll showed that 56% of Ohioans think that SB 5, the new anti-union law passed by the Ohio Legislature and signed by Kasich, should be repealed, with 32% saying it should be kept. Independent voters favor repeal 52% to 33%, and even a little more than a third of Republicans want it scrapped. State residents may have that chance this November, as pro-union forces delivered more than five times the needed amount of signatures to force a ballot referendum. The key here seems to be how the electorate viewed Gov. Kasich’s new policy personally, rather than on the Governor’s general argument that it would help the state avert fiscal disaster.

    “Even after the state budget has been approved as he promised without raising taxes, and even though the Quinnipiac University poll finds that 63 percent say they favor such an approach, Gov. Kasich’s name remains mud in the eyes of the Ohio electorate,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “Voters may say 2-1 they wanted him to balance the budget just through spending cuts rather than with a combination of spending cuts and tax increases, but they don’t like the cuts that he and the Legislature approved. By 50 – 32 percent, voters say the budget is unfair to people like them. When voters think a politician is treating them unfairly, that’s not good for the politician’s political health.”

  29. rikyrah says:

    July 20, 2011 12:35 PM

    Cantor’s wealthy backers: raise our taxes

    By Steve Benen
    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has scuttled any possible debt-reduction compromise, insisting House Republicans can’t agree to so much as a penny in new revenue. Every tax cut billionaires enjoy is sacred; every corporate-jet owner mustn’t be asked to sacrifice; every lucrative oil company must hang onto their tax subsidies.

    Politico had an interesting item this morning, though, with a tidbit I haven’t seen elsewhere.

    Adding an unusual twist to the political maneuvering, GOP aides say that wealthy donors have approached Cantor to push tax increases. […]

    A few wealthy donors have called Cantor to tell him they wouldn’t mind if their taxes are raised. During two closed meetings this week — one with vote-counting lawmakers, and another with the entire conference — Cantor told colleagues that some well-heeled givers have told them they’re willing to pay more taxes. Cantor, according to an aide, has responded that House Republicans aren’t standing up for the wealthy, but rather for the middle class, who want to see their taxes stay low.

    As a substantive matter, Cantor, as usual, has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about. House Republicans are exclusive standing up for the wealthy, while demanding harsh cuts to public investments that benefit everyone else. For that matter, “the middle class” have said they want and fully expect tax increases to be part of a debt-reduction compromise.

    But what I find most interesting about this is the fact that some wealthy donors — Republicans, mind you, not rich liberals — have gone to the trouble of contacting the House Majority Leader to give their blessing to raising their taxes. Cantor is fighting like hell to make sure these folks don’t have to pay an additional dime, but these same wealthy GOP contributors have effectively told the Majority Leader, “Go ahead; we don’t mind paying a little more.”

    So, to review, the White House wants the wealthy to pay a little more; most the Senate wants the wealthy to pay a little more; the Gang of Six expects the wealthy to pay a little more; polls show the vast majority of the American public wants the wealthy to pay a little more; economists believe having the wealthy pay a little more won’t hurt the economy; and the wealthy themselves are comfortable with paying a little more.

    But Eric Cantor and House Republicans still consider the very idea outrageous.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Senate Democrats Declare “Cut, Cap, and Kill Medicare” Dead On Arrival
    Senate Democrats today unleashed a torrent of criticism against the GOP’s Cut, Cap, and Balance Act which passed the House late last night via a heavily partisan vote, re-branding it as a political scheme that would “kill medicare” and one that would never pass in the Senate.

    “Let me make this as simple as I can: the Republican scheme to cap, cut, and kill medicare is dead on arrival in the senate,” declared Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) at a press conference in Washington. “[It] would wreak havoc on our country’s seniors, the middle class, military preparedness, and our country’s standing in the world – their plan to cut, cap, and kill medicare is the Ryan plan on steroids.”

    The legislation, detailed further here, would slash federal programs, institute a spending cap to keep spending below 18% of the GDP – a level not seen since the 1965 – and require a future vote on a Constitutional amendment that would force Congress to maintain a balanced budget while basically prohibiting any new tax increases.

    While the White House referred to the plan as “Duck, Dodge, and Dismantle” earlier this week, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) further piled on to the Democratic re-branding effort.

    “What a sham! What a scam! I’d be tempted to just to throw it off it were not so cruel, stupid, and dangerous,” exclaimed Mikulski.

    Theatrics aside, now that the House Republicans have flaunted their cost-cutting muscles in public, they may be willing to take on the issue of the looming debt ceiling default. Before that can happen, though, the ball bounces back to the Senate where the Gang of Six has renewed its efforts to bring a bipartisan plan to the floor.

    While the president has indicated his general support, both Republican and Democratic leaders in the senate have tempered their members’ enthusiasm for the new plan – which aims to cut the deficit by $3.7 – $4 trillion dollars over 10 years – primarily because of a lack of time to write and score the legislation before the debt ceiling needs to be raised.

    Sen. Schumer sounded an optimistic note that Republicans who support the plan despite the fact that it raises new revenues by closing tax loopholes and lowering rates is “certainly something of a breakthrough, they haven’t done that before.”

    Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is expected to discuss the framework later Wednesday with Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), a member of the gang.

    Top Senate democrats are also expected to huddle with the president at the White House where they will no doubt game out the Gang of Six budgetary plan, a vote on the Cut, Cap, and Balance in the Senate, and oh yeah – the general issue of a looming debt ceiling deadline.

  31. rikyrah says:

    July 20, 2011 10:00 AM
    Rep. Joe Walsh’s Strange Contradictions
    By karoli
    Rep. Joe Walsh’s weird, bullying, argumentative appearance on Hardball left me a little confused. Actually, Joe Walsh confuses me, and I’m thinking that’s probably intentional. In addition to his, um, spirited defense of the odious cut, cap, mangle bill that passed yesterday, he is pimping a letter to his colleagues encouraging them not, under any circumstances to take the McConnell deal.


    Freshman Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh circulated a letter he said was signed by roughly 50 members asking the House GOP leadership to “publicly disavow” the last-ditch debt-limit proposal pitched by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, vowing not to bring it up for a floor vote “in any form.”

    So, C&L readers, riddle me this, assuming the following facts:

    •Wall Street does not gain anything from a US Bond default. In fact, it will send markets into the tank yet again. While it’s true that bear markets are a time to pick up some bargains, it’s equally true that if the US defaults, we’re going to be looking for bargain bread heels, not stocks.
    •Business does not gain anything from a US Bond default. If our bonds are downgraded, interest rates go up, US Treasury bonds become higher-risk investments, rocking the entire bond market. Business won’t be exempt. Their rates go up.
    •Rep. Walsh and those others he’s gathering signatures from were heavily funded by Wall Street and still are. Walsh took in a haul in June, much of it from the financial services industry. Paul Ryan is one of their darlings, along with Eric Cantor, John Boehner and Spencer Bacchus. Tea Party candidates weren’t exempt, either. Michelle Bachmann, Louie Gohmert, and Paul Broun all received sizable contributions from the financial sector

    With that in mind, what incentive is there for these TeaBirchers to turn on Wall Street? Or flipping the question, what benefit to Wall Street is there in having rogue politicians that they’re funding as recently as June 30th threatening to blow up the US economy?

    This is the question I’ve been struggling to answer, and it seems to be one I haven’t seen asked in the mainstream. While everyone is calling the horserace and wondering whether Obama will wreck Social Security, Medicare and the like, no one is asking why on earth Congressmen who Wall Street helped elect would seemingly be biting their master on the ass.

    Here are a couple of thoughts I had, but take them for what they are, just thoughts. I’d be interested to hear what yours are on it.

    • Ametia says:

      I’d say ALL of the Above. If it’s one thing we NOW know about the GOP is that they will throw any and everything out and hopes any and everything will STICK.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011Ha-ha: Gallup chief puzzled by Obama’s approval numbers
    This is just too amusing on so many levels:

    Compared with other recent presidents, President Obama’s approval numbers are “overperforming,” given the struggling economy and Americans’ low levels of satisfaction with the direction of the country, says Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll…

    “Looking at history, particularly Clinton and Reagan, it is somewhat surprising that [Obama] has never yet fallen into the 30 percent range in our approval rating,” Newport said. “And yet both Reagan and Clinton, in their first terms when the economy was perceived as bad … both fell into the 30s.”

    Newport noted, “Satisfaction with the way things are going is … correlated with economic perceptions fairly strongly.” At the same time, Obama “is overperforming. Based on where every president has been, his approval rating now is higher than we would predict it to be based on” how satisfied American adults say they are…

    Gallup, he added, will be conducting research to get a more definitive answer to the question.

    Perhaps some of us in the pragmatic progressive blogosphere could help you with that Frank. Could it be that a lot of people recognize that we have an over-performing President and an under-performing Congress? Could it be that some folks see who is “the only adult in the room?” Could it be because the opposition party that finally gained control of the House hasn’t passed one jobs bill since getting elected – while the President goes all over the country doing everything he can alone on that front? Could it be that the “party of no” strategy combined with a willingness to take the entire global economy hostage in order to protect tax cuts for the wealthy does not fare very well up against a President who is willing to compromise with a balanced approach? Could it be that Americans are aware that this President walked into the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression and has worked tirelessly to do everything he can to reverse that – while the opposition has only one goal: make him a one-termer.

    In other words, could it be that the American public still has an ounce of sense left?

    Not to mention that this President has been kicking butt in terms of communicating with the public over these debt ceiling negotiations. Take a look…he’s had 5 press conferences/speeches in the last 2 weeks to explain things to the American public. Tell me when another President did that.

    Do your polling Frank. Some of us already know what the results will be.

    • opulent says:

      Reagan and Clinton did not have the youth nor black vote to the degree that Obama does.

      They were probably not even polling that demographic.

      Obama is unlike any prior POTUS in terms of national appeal and intelligence. He is afable and approachable and the American public understands and appreciates how his hands are tied. They know that he got a raw economic deal. Since they do not blame Obama for the economy…they continue to approve of what he does AND will re-elect him in a landslide…cause the lack of jobs and horrible economy is NOT HIS FAULT.

      • Ametia says:

        And the the Rethugs are showing their entire deck of cards, and it is full of JOKERS!

        I know a lot of folks who voted McCain/Palin, and they are giving PBO another glance now that they’ve seen what the GOP have done in the last 7 1/2 months. Even staunch Republicans have bee mighty quiet during the debt ceiling charade.

      • opulent says:

        I agree Ametia.

        The repubs with sanity that are ‘upper middle class” ( 70K-175K) are ALL looking at losing their homes, rising interest on credit cards, losing their health care and 401 mutual funds.

        YOU BET…they do NOT want to be in the poor house after working all this time!!

        So, even if they sit at home..cause they refuse to vote GOP, they are NOT going to vote for these idiots to have control again.

        Many are likely unemployed and this shyt is driving them to tears, along with their parents who are already on Medicare and SS. They know they won’t be able to take care of themselves, let alone their parents.

        Shyt getting nasty!!

  33. Ametia says:

    Murdoch scandal: How are his big US media outlets covering it?

    Source: Christian Science Monitor

    The Wall Street Journal, owned by Mr. Murdoch since 2007, ran a lead editorial on Monday that media analysts have characterized as a mixture of defiance, deflection, and denial. The editorial reads in part: “It is up to British authorities to enforce their laws.”

    * * *
    Meanwhile, Fox News, another News Corp. media outlet, has served up more than 90 segments on the Murdoch scandal, which centers on phone hacking at the now-defunct News of the World, a British tabloid also among the News Corp. holdings. Yet some media critics, including James Fallows of The Atlantic magazine, have found fault with Fox News’s coverage.
    * * *
    The New York Post, another key News Corp. holding in the United States, has offered a half dozen or so short stories on the phone-hacking scandal in the past two weeks. As of Monday morning, The New York Times, which is not affiliated with News Corp., had published about 100 pieces on the scandal. The Wall Street Journal had published 35.

    “This is about the future of the fourth estate,” says Richard Levick, president of Levick Strategic Communications in Washington – whether the public has lost faith in the media and whether journalism will take the lead in demanding the highest standards possible. “We have The Wall Street Journal interviewing its own corporate boss , saying that he has handled the crisis well, with no rebuttals,” he says.

    Read more:

  34. rikyrah says:

    July 20, 2011 08:00 AM
    Bill O’Reilly tries to reel in the wingnuts, admits GOP losing debt-ceiling PR campaign while bashing Michele Bachmann
    By John Amato

    Lately Bill O’Reilly has been trying to convince his Tea Party base that Michele Bachmann is too extreme and dangerous as a GOP presidential candidate and that Congress must raise the debt ceiling. If you missed his interview with Michele Bachmann from last week, check out the above video.

    It would seem that the grand Wizards of the GOP are using BillO to now try and rein in the Tea Party hardliners they’ve created. Last night he revealed that on his own website his viewers voted against raising the debt ceiling by a 60-40 split. No matter how hard he tries, they ain’t buying his sales pitch for sanity.

    Do you believe the economy will be harmed if a debt deal is not reached?

    He quickly announced the results of his poll as an afterthought. Bill again made the case that the debt ceiling must be raised. He’s been very mindful to include his usual 1930s view opposed to government spending and sprinkled in that Obama wants to take all their money and give it to the poor, all so he wouldn’t lose too much favor with his base.

    On paper, the debt thing is boring, and many Americans are not paying attention. But the controversy will define the future of the USA.

    On one side, President Obama and the Democratic Party want America to become an entitlement state that compels social justice, financially supporting Americans who can’t or won’t support themselves.

    We’re all lazy welfare queens who want nothing more than to live off unemployment and raise family. In Bill’s eyes working in Texas in below-minimum-wage jobs like those Rick Perry is creating is such a beautiful alternative. The hell with real job creation.

    The debt ceiling vote was always a formality vote until Obama took office. We all pay into Social Security and Medicare, so it’s not a handout from rich people, but the word entitlement conjures up that illusion. That’s why I try to stay away from it and use the term ‘social safety nets.’

    And Bill is very shrill about the reality that President Obama is proving his bully pulpit is still strong, since he’s turned all the earlier polling on the debt ceiling debate around completely to his side. Remember when all the polling looked like the latest one from Pew?

    By a 53% to 30% margin, most Republicans say that it will not be a major problem if the debt ceiling is not raised by Aug. 2

    Now poll after poll is coming out much like the latest Gallup which has flipped that dynamic around.
    I’ve been writing that I had wished Obama’s approach from the the beginning of his tenure would be to explain why Keynesian policies are needed at this time of a massive financial meltdown rather than the “tightening our belts” approach which is dominating the debate now.

  35. rikyrah says:

    July 20, 2011 10:40 AM

    Allen West’s ‘vile’ email

    By Steve Benen
    Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of South Florida, who happens to also be the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, spoke on the House floor yesterday to criticize the right-wing “Cut, Cap, and Balance Act.” Most notably, she wondered aloud how Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), who represents thousands of Medicare beneficiaries, could back a plan calling for deep Medicare cuts.

    West doesn’t take constructive criticism well.

    Representative Allen West, Republican of Florida, called Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democrat of Florida, “the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the U.S. House of Representatives” in an e-mail to her on Tuesday. […]

    “Look, Debbie, I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me. Let me make myself perfectly clear, you want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige,” he wrote.

    Mr. West sent the letter to the Republican leaders in the House, and added in the e-mail that “from this time forward, understand that I shall defend myself forthright against your heinous characterless behavior.”

    He concluded by saying that “you have proven repeatedly that you are not a lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!” and signed off with: “Steadfast and Loyal.”

    In his email, West went on to say he wants Wasserman Schultz to “shut the heck up.”

    Asked later if he might apologize for his hysterical tirade, West declined.

    As a rule, members of Congress don’t generally send emails like this to their colleagues, but it’s not necessarily the language that I find interesting. Allen West has already proven himself to be something of an unhinged partisan lunatic, and the fact that he’d lose his cool like this isn’t the least bit surprising. Besides, if a member really has conducted himself or herself in a “despicable” manner, I’m comfortable with that member being called out on it by colleagues in private correspondence.

    What struck me about West’s tantrum, though, is what caused it.

    Debbie Wasserman Schultz said on the House floor, “The gentleman from Florida, who represents thousands of Medicare beneficiaries, as do I, is supportive of this plan that would increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries, unbelievable from a member from South Florida.”

    This is “vile”? This is so outside the norms of civil discourse that the Democratic leader is “not a lady”?

    What a deeply strange man.

    • Ametia says:

      This negro right here and that joe walsh are the scum that the voters scraped off the bottoms of their shoes and elected last November. I hope they’re REAL proud of themselves.

    • Ametia says:

      This takedown of Joe Walsh was a THING.OF.BEAUTY. This is who got voted into congress last November. For shame, for shame. Another punk calling our President a liar.

  36. creolechild says:

    Dissatisfaction and anger with the federal government are at a nearly 20-year high, according to the results of a new ABC News/Washington Post poll released Wednesday. When asked how they felt about the federal government, 80 percent of poll respondents said that they felt dissatisfied or even angry about the work the government is doing. The last time such a peak of ill will was felt was during 1992’s economic slump, under President George Bush’s leadership.

    The public’s slumping opinion of the country’s political class can be actively attributed to the negotiations surrounding the debt ceiling: The dissatisfaction numbers rocketed up 11 points between this month and last.

    Indeed, congressional Republicans are facing the fire of poor public opinion. The ABC News/Washington Post poll shows a 28 percent approval rating for them, with 77 percent of participants saying the Republican leadership is unwilling to negotiate, further slowing debt talks.

    A CBS poll released earlier this week is even darker for the Republicans — they garnered only a 21 percent approval rating in that poll.

    President Barack Obama and the Federal Reserve have declared a rapidly approaching August 2 deadline for a solution to the nation’s debt.

  37. HuffPostPol:

    Obama’s calling top Dems from the House and Senate to the White House for a debt ceiling meeting.

  38. creolechild says:

    WASHINGTON — US authorities Tuesday arrested 16 people for cyber crimes including 14 over an online attack on the PayPal website claimed by the hacking group “Anonymous,” the Department of Justice (DoJ) said. The US indictment against the 14 hackers alleges the denial of service (DDoS) attacks on PayPal were “retribution” because the site terminated a donation account for the whistle-blowing group WikiLeaks.

    Anonymous hackers called the PayPal attacks “Operation Avenge Assange,” in reference to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, it said, adding that the US raids were coordinated with police in Britain and the Netherlands. The Paypal attack suspects were arrested in raids in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Washington DC, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico and Ohio, said a joint DoJ and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) statement. They conspired to “intentionally damage protected computers at PayPal” between December 6-10, 2010, it added.

    The cyber attackers, who used alias including “Toxic,” “Reaper,” “Anthrophobic” and “No,” were all expected to have appeared in court by the end of the day, in the districts where they were arrested. Separately two suspects were arrested under similar indictments in Florida and New Jersey, while British police arrested one suspect and Dutch police four, it said.

    In all FBI agents made 35 raids across the US as part of a probe into “coordinated cyber attacks against major companies and organizations,” the FBI said, adding that to date more than 75 searches have been carried out.


  39. creolechild says:

    A key Democrat testified Wednesday against a major provision of the healthcare reform law that is intended to help control Medicare costs, but that Republicans have alleged will encourage “rationing” of care. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (Pa.), the No. 2 Democrat on the House Budget Committee and a respected voice on healthcare policy issues, was invited by Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans to speak at a hearing on the law’s cost-control panel. She told The Hill that President Obama’s stated desire to beef up the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) in order to pare down Medicare costs “was one of the reasons I spoke out.”

    “There are Democrats who also have concerns about the IPAB,” she said, “and that’s been true from the beginning. I would say on behalf of myself and Democrats who care about this as well, it would be better to repeal this part of the law.”

    Obama in April proposed increasing the IPAB’s authority as an alternative to House Republicans’ Medicare overhaul. The president laid out a proposal he said would reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over 12 years, in large part by lowering the threshold when the IPAB kicks in Under the law, the IPAB issues recommendations that Congress must act on if the growth of Medicare costs exceeds a specific target.

    Schwartz, a former healthcare executive and current vice president of the centrist New Democrat Coalition, is one of eight Democrats who have signed on to Republican legislation to repeal the provision. She said she spoke to the White House and fellow Democrats in Congress about her intention, and made it clear to them that she remains a strong advocate of the healthcare reform law.


  40. creolechild says:

    President Obama and congressional Democrats have been put in a tough spot by California Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) request to cut Medicaid spending by 10 percent. Brown says he needs to make the cuts to the state Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal, to ease his state’s severe budget woes. But advocates say cuts of that size would be devastating to California’s most vulnerable residents.

    The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) — and, by extension, the White House — must choose between helping a Democratic governor who has been a leader on healthcare reform and signing off on a policy that advocates say would be devastating to people with disabilities. CMS also has to weigh the potential fallout from the decision, because giving California carte blanche to make Medicaid cuts could open the floodgates for other states to make similar requests.

    Brown’s request has sparked an outcry from some members of his state’s congressional delegation, with Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) leading the fight to protect the funding for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


    Read more:

  41. creolechild says:

    BUT, BUT, BUT…I heard that the President and the First Lady don’t care about poor communities…

    Incredibly good news!!! Downtown South Bend has been trying for a few years to attract younger, more affluent people to renovated condos in some of the buildings, and one of the main problems is that the area is bereft of fresh food opportunities because for so long no one gave a crap whether the poorer less affluent had access. Mrs Obama to speak on this today at 215p est.

    As a part of her campaign to combat childhood obesity, First Lady Michelle Obama will announce commitments from major food retailers to open stores to make healthy, affordable food available in more areas across the U.S.

    According to a White House official, “The commitments … will include opening or expanding over 1,500 stores to serve communities throughout the country that currently do not have access to fresh produce and other healthy foods.“

    The commitments come from the heavy hitters of the food industry including Walmart, Walgreens and Supervalu as well as regional stores around the country. Walgreens pledged carry more fresh fruits and vegetables in at least 1,000 stores, while Walmart and Supervalu plan to open more than 500 new stores combined in the next five years, primarily in areas without access to healthy grocery options, according the the White House official.

    Urban and rural areas without easy access to healthy foods are known as food deserts, and are thought to be one of the primary causes of the rise in obesity in the U.S.

  42. Google:

    Peas! :)

  43. creolechild says:

    Luther Olsen supported Gov. Scott Walker’s war on working families, who can’t get a word out over the protesters chanting, heckling, and “serenading” him.

    For all our posts on the Wisconsin recall elections, go here, and on Luther Olsen specifically, here, including this tidbit:

    At least three of the Wisconsin state Senate Republicans currently demanding that public workers sacrifice benefits, wages and even collective bargaining rights for the sake of the budget have applied for and received hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal farm subsidies, a Huffington Post review of state and federal records shows.

    From 1995 through 2009, state Sens. Luther Olsen, Dale Schultz and Sheila Harsdorf all had stakes in farms that received between them more than $300,000 in taxpayer funds.

    Thank you, GottaLaff and The Political Carnival!

    • opulent says:


      alll of them sucking off the government teat and whinning about everybody else.

  44. creolechild says:

    The Dallas Morning-News reports that Texas Governor Rick Perry is distancing himself from some of the participants and organizers of The Response, his August 4th prayer and fasting festival in Houston. As the likely GOP presidential candidate explained, “Just because you endorse me doesn’t mean I endorse everything that you say or do.”

    That’s a pretty standard politician defense, and there’s usually a little bit of truth to it. But this kind of misses the point. Sure, the event’s organizers hold some wacky views (which we’ve written about here and here) but the larger point is that Perry is, by holding a rally at the organizers’ behest, is consciously aiding a religious movement that has a clear and consistent purpose to bring the “seven mountains”—family, religion, education, business, arts, media, and government—under the dominion of Christians. For the uninitiated, the Texas Observer’s Forrest Wilder has a must-read piece on the New Apostolic Reformation—the religious movement behind The Response:


  45. creolechild says:

    So, there’s this company called Omega Protein, and it seems intent on catching as much as it possibly can of an obscure, tiny, practically inedible fish called the Atlantic menhaden. From Omega Protein’s perspective, hoovering up menhaden like they’re dust bunnies is a great idea. The company’s entire business model hinges on transforming the oily fish into everything from livestock feed to omega-3 pills for people. In fact, it owns a monopoly on Atlantic menhaden fishing and processing—and has been doing just that for years. The stock market values Omega Protein at a cool quarter-billion dollars.

    For the health of the ecosystem along the East Coast, though, declaring open season on the menhaden really, really sucks, as Alison Fairbrother and Randy Fertel say in their recent Gilt Taste piece, “The Most Important Fish in the Sea.” All along the eastern shore, menhaden have entered a phase of calamitous decline. Stocks have plunged 88 percent in the past quarter century, the authors report. As Omega Protein sucks them out of the ocean, things are getting quite out-of-whack down below. Fairbrother and Fertel explain:

    [T]heir nutrient-packed bodies are a staple food for dozens of fish species you have heard of, as well as marine mammals and sea birds. Located near the bottom of the food chain, menhaden are the favored prey for many important predators, including striped bass and bluefish, tuna and dolphin, seatrout and mackerel.

    And that’s not all. “Menhaden are filter feeders, swimming with their mouths open and straining phytoplankton (algae) and other particles with their gills,” Fairbrother and Fertel report. The little fish “have been removing damaging particles from our waters since time immemorial.” Thus menhaden have what I call ecological leverage. That is, if you fish them into oblivion, you’re not just destroying a single species; you’re also threatening to unleash a cascading set of effects that could lead to full-on ecosystem collapse. Other examples of ecological leverage include coral reefs, which act as engines of oceanic biodiversity but are under attack from a variety of forces, and tropical rainforests, which teem with biodiversity, too, and also help stabilize global climate by trapping vast amounts of carbon. We mess with ecological leverage at our peril.


  46. creolechild says:

    So suppose the debt ceiling deadline passes. Nothing to worry about, right? There’s still enough money for Social Security, Medicare, interest payments, military payrolls, and veterans benefits, isn’t there? That’s more or less true, but unfortunately, that’s all there’s money for. Megan McArdle runs down a small sample of the things that will have to be zeroed out:

    * You just cut the IRS and all the accountants at Treasury, which means that the actual revenue you have to spend is $0.

    * The nation’s nuclear arsenal is no longer being watched or maintained

    * The doors of federal prisons have been thrown open, because none of the guards will work without being paid, and the vendors will not deliver food, medical supplies, electricity, etc.

    * The border control stations are entirely unmanned, so anyone who can buy a plane ticket, or stroll across the Mexican border, is entering the country. All the illegal immigrants currently in detention are released, since we don’t have the money to put them on a plane, and we cannot actually simply leave them in a cell without electricity, sanitation, or food to see what happens.

    * All of our troops stationed abroad quickly run out of electricity or fuel. Many of them are sitting in a desert with billions worth of equipment, and no way to get themselves or their equipment back to the US.

    * Our embassies are no longer operating, which will make things difficult for foreign travellers.

    * No federal emergency assistance, or help fighting things like wildfires or floods. Sorry, tornado people! Sorry, wildfire victims! Try to live in the northeast next time!

    * Housing projects shut down, and Section 8 vouchers are not paid. Families hit the streets.

    * The money your local school district was expecting at the October 1 commencement of the 2012 fiscal year does not materialize, making it unclear who’s going to be teaching your kids without a special property tax assessment.

    * The market for guaranteed student loans plunges into chaos. Hope your kid wasn’t going to college this year!

    * The mortgage market evaporates. Hope you didn’t need to buy or sell a house!

    * The FDIC and the PBGC suddenly don’t have a government backstop for their funds, which has all sorts of interesting implications for your bank account.

    * The TSA shuts down. Yay! But don’t worry about terrorist attacks, you TSA-lovers, because air traffic control shut down too. Hope you don’t have a vacation planned in August, much less any work travel.

    * Unemployment money is no longer going to the states, which means that pretty soon, it won’t be going to the unemployed people.

    How about if we just call this the “Republican Budget Plan”? If you’d like it to be permanent, you can call it the “Michele Bachmann Plan.”

  47. creolechild says:

    That the wealthy are “job creators,” and therefore have interests that must be defended by the public at large, is a talking-point that, however facile, is so popular it slips effortlessly from the lips of conservatives every day. It can be deployed for any purpose – not only in calling for more tax breaks for the rich, but also when opposing public interest regulation, consumer litigation and worker protections. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, even used it to deflect attention from the “gay rehabilitation” services her clinic allegedly offers. When asked about it by ABC News, Bachmann merely acknowledged, “we do have a business that deals with job creation.” When pressed, she stuck with it: “As I said, again, we’re very proud of our business and we’re proud of all job creators in the United States.”

    It’s also complete nonsense; the opposite of the truth. Sure, the wealthy create a few jobs – people who offer exclusive services or sell them high-end goods. But the overwhelming majority of jobs in this country are “created” by ordinary Americans when they spend their paychecks.

    Consumer demand accounts for around 70 percent of our economic output. And with so much wealth having been redistributed upward through a 40-year class-war from above, American consumers are too tapped out to spend as they once did. This remains the core issue in this sluggish, largely jobless recovery. The wealthy, in their voracious appetite for a bigger piece of the national pie, are the real job-killers in this economic climate.

    Don’t take my word for it. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that “the main reason U.S. companies are reluctant to step up hiring is scant demand, rather than uncertainty over government policies, according to a majority of economists” the paper surveyed. That jibes with what business owners themselves are saying. Last week, the National Federation of Independent Businesses released a survey of small businessmen and women that found widespread “pessimism about future business conditions and expected real sales gains.”


  48. DNC challenges GOP & its candidates to reveal top fundraisers and forgo contributions from PACs & lobbyists.

  49. creolechild says:

    First Tucker Carlson, now Bill O’Reilly, who will be next?…

    Lately Bill O’Reilly has been trying to convince his Tea Party base that Michele Bachmann is too extreme and dangerous as a GOP presidential candidate and that Congress must raise the debt ceiling. If you missed his interview with Michele Bachmann from last week, check out the above video.

    It would seem that the grand Wizards of the GOP are using BillO to now try and rein in the Tea Party hardliners they’ve created. Last night he revealed that on his own website his viewers voted against raising the debt ceiling by a 60-40 split. No matter how hard he tries, they ain’t buying his sales pitch for sanity.

    Do you believe the economy will be harmed if a debt deal is not reached?

    He quickly announced the results of his poll as an afterthought. Bill again made the case that the debt ceiling must be raised. He’s been very mindful to include his usual 1930s view opposed to government spending and sprinkled in that Obama wants to take all their money and give it to the poor, all so he wouldn’t lose too much favor with his base.


    • opulent says:


      Too little too late
      a dollar short and a day late.

      They ALL looking at their portfolio’s evaporating!!

      they unleashed this Frankenstein and can’t put it back in the box
      and now THEY gonna pay.


      I know one thing…when I am homeless I will not be sharing my box with them!!
      If fact all of us homeless gonna beat the everlasting shyt out of the O’reilly MOFOS!!

      Got somethin to look forward to..even on a hungry stomach we will pummel these Bastards!

  50. Man who posted threats toward Obama online in 2008 has his convictions overturned:

  51. creolechild says:

    THIS coming from the person, and her associates, who had the nerve to accuse President Obama of running a “gangsta’ government.” Seems like projection to me….

    Michele Bachmann’s relationship with the press has always been tense at best, but it spilled over into open conflict on Tuesday as aides to the Congresswoman allegedly shoved ABC reporter Brian Ross. Ross was chasing after Bachmann after an event to ask about a Daily Caller story on her migraine condition. According to TIME’s Swampland blog, things went downhill from there:

    “That’s when things got interesting. Ross dashed after Bachmann, repeatedly asking whether she had ever missed a House vote due to a migraine. She ignored him. Ross pursued her into a parking area behind the stage. Her aides grew alarmed. When Ross made a beeline for the white SUV waiting to carry Bachmann away, two Bachmann men pounced on him, grabbing and pushing him multiple times with what looked to me like unusual force. In fact, I have never seen a reporter treated so roughly at a campaign event, especially not a presidential one. Ross was finally able to break away and lob his question at Bachmann one more time, but she ignored him again.

    Afterward, I asked Ross-a hard-nosed pro who nevertheless seemed slightly shaken-whether he’d ever been treated so roughly. “A few times,” he told me. “Mostly by mafia people.”

    TPM reached out to Bachmann’s camp for comment and will post their response.

    Update: ABC Vice President Jeffry Schneider condemned Bachmann’s behavior in an interview with the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent. He added that ABC has footage of the incident and will likely post it on their website soon. “He was certainly shoved around and pushed,” Schneider said. “It’s unfortunate when physicality is involved. He was just doing his job.”

    Second Update: The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake posted a response from Bachmann’s campaign on Twitter: “We didn’t have time for any questions and we made it clear … he disregarded repeated requests to stay back.”

  52. creolechild says:

    Let the saber rattling begin…(sigh).

    TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran is installing new uranium enrichment machines to speed progress in its nuclear program, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, a development that may increase Western concern about Tehran’s aims. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast appeared to confirm a Reuters story last week that Iran was installing two newer and more advanced models of the centrifuges used to refine uranium for large-scale testing at a research site.

    If Iran eventually succeeds in introducing the more modern centrifuges for production, it could significantly shorten the time needed to stockpile material which can have civilian as well as military purposes, if processed much further. “By installing the new centrifuges progress is being made with more speed and better quality,” Mehmanparast said, adding the move showed Iran was being successful in its “peaceful nuclear activity.”

    Mehmanparast said Iran had informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about the installment of new centrifuges. “The agency is aware that our peaceful nuclear activities are progressing … the installment is a confirmation of the Islamic Republic’s success in the nuclear field,” he said.

    Iran has for years been trying to develop centrifuges with several times the capacity of the 1970s-vintage, IR-1 version it now uses for the most sensitive part of its atomic activities. The United States and its allies accuse Iran of trying to develop bombs under cover of its nuclear program. Iran denies the allegation, saying it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity to meet its booming domestic demand. Iran’s refusal to halt uranium enrichment has led to four rounds of U.N. sanctions on the major oil producer, as well as tighter U.S. and European Union restrictions.

    Diplomatic efforts to find a solution to Iran’s nuclear dispute have stalled, after talks between Iran and six world powers over half a year ago failed to make any progress.


  53. creolechild says:

    ANOTHER oil spill pops up in the news…what’s going on?!!

    ANCHORAGE/LONDON (Reuters) – BP reported yet another pipeline leak at its Alaskan oilfields, frustrating the oil giant’s attempts to rebuild its reputation after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. BP said on Monday that a pipeline at its 30,000 barrel-per-day Lisburne field, which is currently closed for maintenance, ruptured during testing and spilled a mixture of methanol and oily water onto the tundra.

    The London-based company has a long history of oil spills at its Alaskan pipelines, including lines servicing Lisburne. The accidents have hurt BP’s public image in the United States, where around 40 percent of its assets are based.

    The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation said the spill occurred on Saturday and amounted to 2,100 to 4,200 gallons, affecting 4,960 square feet of gravel pad and about 2,040 square feet of wet and aquatic tundra. Production from the entire Lisburne field remains shut off while the spill is addressed, Alaska officials said.

    A BP spokesman said the cleanup was under way and the company would determine the cause “in due course.” Immediate efforts are focused on containment and cleanup, said Tom DeRuyter, state on-scene coordinator for the Department of Environmental Conservation. Cleanup must be completed before the pipe section is excavated, he added.


  54. creolechild says:

    Minnesota’s 20-day state government shutdown ended this morning, as lawmakers cast their final votes on the state’s budget and Gov. Mark Dayton signed the bills. The special session concluded just before 3:45 a.m. Wednesday after a marathon of votes on nine budget bills and a $500 million bonding bill. There was little fanfare when the deal was done and lawmakers had erased a projected $5 billion deficit largely through one-time borrowing.

    The dormant gears of Minnesota’s government will start moving again, after Dayton signed the bills at a 9 a.m. ceremony. Republican leaders said after the final votes that they were satisfied with the final product. “We were dealt a situation,” said House Speaker Kurt Zellers. “I think we dealt with it the best that we could.”

    Asked whether her members would run on or against this budget in the next election, Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch said they would stand behind it. “We’re going run on this budget,” Koch said. “We’re going to talk about closing a $5 billion forecast deficit without raising taxes. That’s a big thing. And we’re going to talk about the major reforms in these bills.”

    Both leaders said they learned during negotiations that Dayton is open to reforms. “He is an agent for reform and change,” Zellers said. One of the last bills to be approved was K-12 education, the largest slice of the state’s budget. The House signed off on the $13.6 billion bill just over an hour after it was made public. The bill includes a provision to delay an additional $700 million in school payments, a key part the final budget deal struck by Dayton and Republican leaders. Democrats wasted no time assailing the tactic, which forces schools to borrow additional funds.


  55. Think Progress:

    West defends sexist attack on Debbie Wasserman-Schultz #actlikealady

    • creolechild says:

      So, let me get this straight…Wasserman-Schultz states his party’s stance on the issues, which are a matter of public record, and he resorts to a nasty, vicious personal attack because….it touched a nerve perhaps? Why did he choose that route rather than defending the policies that he supports with such enthusiasm? Could it be that he knows that he really can’t–so he opted to distract from the issues raised in typical Republican style–which at this point is predictable. Sad, but predictable…

    • Ametia says:


      • opulent says:

        cause the GOP is into villification of the individual not analysis of policies or their impact.

        After all you gotta have intelligence to analyze..but the most rudimentary of brains can name call and hiss and spew.

  56. creolechild says:

    White House and congressional negotiators are currently in the process of striking a deficit reduction deal, as most Republicans in Congress are refusing to raise the federal debt ceiling without deep cuts to public investments and social insurance programs like Social Security and Medicare. By doing so, these Republicans are essentially holding the country hostage, threatening the United States with default unless Democrats agree to these cuts.

    Yet these Republicans were not always demanding hostages in exchange for allowing the country to pay its own bills. In November of 2004, Congress voted in both the House and Senate to hike the U.S. debt limit by $800 billion, which raised the total ceiling to $8.1 trillion.

    A ThinkProgress review of the votes in both the House and Senate finds that a whopping 130 congressional Republicans voted to hike the debt ceiling that November that remain in the U.S. Congress today (either in their same seats or by coming to the Senate). These members of Congress did not demand draconian cuts in public investment that would’ve driven up unemployment and threatened the economy in return.

    Of course, there was one other difference between then and today. President George W. Bush was in the White House, and Republicans did not have an incentive to try to politically damage him by holding the debt ceiling hostage. In 2002, during another hike in the nation’s debt limit under Bush, his press secretary Ari Fleischer said it was important to raise the debt ceiling because it was not the time “to engage in activites that could in any way raise questions about the full faith and credit of the United States”:


    • Ametia says:

      And the freshman baggers are asking POTUS for a written plan. GTFOH


      You come up with a viable plan and the POTUS gets out his gazillion pens and signs a two sentence bill.

      • opulent says:

        Since when did it become the job of the executive branch to write the plan for the legislative branch.

        Balance of power says legislative writes plan, presents plan to POTUS who gets to veto, or accept.

        The executive branch executes…the legislative branch WRITES.

        Bastards, always trying to kick their work up tot he executive branch…lazy sumbitches!!

      • Ametia says:

        LOL They want the negro to do it all, and them take credit for it all if it’s successful, and blame it ALL on the negro if it’s a failure. WASH, RINSE, REPEAT!

  57. creolechild says:

    CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf was taken to hospital because of blood pressure problems on Monday, and the swearing in of a much-changed cabinet was delayed.
    Sharaf, 59, underwent medical tests in Dar al-Fouad hospital in Cairo after suffering a fall in blood pressure, the state MENA news agency reported. A cabinet source said Sharaf later left the hospital. “His condition is stable,” said one security source.

    Sharaf’s admittance to hospital occurred after a ceremony to swear in his new cabinet scheduled for Monday was delayed until Tuesday. It was not immediately clear if it would be delayed further.
    The cabinet reshuffle was designed to placate protesters demanding deeper political and economic reforms by Egypt’s military rulers, who took over when Hosni Mubarak was driven from office in February by a popular uprising.

    The protesters, who have camped in Cairo’s Tahrir Square since July 8, have also demanded a quick trial of Mubarak. They said the reshuffle, changing half of the cabinet including the foreign and finance ministers, only partially met their demands. Interior Minister Mansour el-Essawy is set to keep his post. The police, who fall under his ministry, have been a particular target for protesters because of tough tactics used during and after the uprising that toppled Mubarak.
    Some protesters welcomed Essawy’s shake-up of top police officers last week. Others say he has not done enough.


  58. OH, NOES…James Murdoch is going to have to do MUCH better than this…

    TPM Reader JB took one look at this quote from James Murdoch in today’s phone hacking hearing before Parliament and had an epiphany:

    And I’m not saying that somebody should have told me. To my knowledge certain things were not known. And when new information came to light, with respect to my knowledge of these events, when the new information came to light, the company acted on it, and the company acted on it in a right and proper way as best the company could. But it’s difficult to say that the company should have been told something if it’s not known that a thing was a known fact to be told.

    Remind you of anyone?

    The Dude: I dropped off the money exactly as per… look, man, I’ve got certain information, all right? Certain things have come to light. And, you know, has it ever occurred to you, that, instead of, uh, you know, running around, uh, uh, blaming me, you know, given the nature of all this new shit, you know, I-I-I-I… this could be a-a-a-a lot more, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, complex, I mean, it’s not just, it might not be just such a simple… uh, you know?

    The Big Lebowski: What in God’s holy name are you blathering about?

    The Dude: I’ll tell you what I’m blathering about… I’ve got information man! New shit has come to light! And shit… man, she kidnapped herself. Well sure, man. Look at it… a young trophy wife, in the parlance of our times, you know, and she, uh, uh, owes money all over town, including to known pornographers, and that’s cool… that’s, that’s cool, I’m, I’m saying, she needs money, man. And of course they’re going to say that they didn’t get it, because… she wants more, man! She’s got to feed the monkey, I mean uh… hasn’t that ever occurred to you, man? Sir?

    • Ametia says:

      Rumsfeldesque wouldn’t you say?

      • creolechild says:

        I think after giving that response, James Murdoch should have received the same treatment that someone attempted to give his father yesterday! (:

      • Ametia says:


      • creolechild says:

        Okay. Let me try this again…

        A hat tip to BlueGal aka Fran who posted the Stooges video yesterday on Crooks and Liars’ Open Thread.

        And thank you, Metia, for that save! (:

      • Ametia says:

        My pleasure! :-)

      • creolechild says:

        OH, OH…this doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon!

        Phone hacking: Scotland Yard boosts probe team

        The police team investigating phone hacking has been boosted from 45 to 60 officers, Scotland Yard has said. Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers said the move came after a “significant increase in the workload” over the past fortnight. She said there had been a “surge of inquiries and requests for assistance from the public and solicitors”. Earlier, the Met was accused by MPs of a “catalogue of failures” in the News of the World phone-hacking inquiry.

        Meanwhile, News of the World owner News International said it had authorised law firm Harbottle & Lewis to answer any questions from Scotland Yard and the Commons home affairs committee about its work for the company. News International has said a May 2007 letter from the firm had made it believe that hacking was a “matter of the past” and confined to a single rogue reporter.

        During Wednesday’s House of Commons debate on the phone-hacking scandal, MPs called on News International to publish the full exchanges about e-mails examined by the legal firm. The law firm had said it was being prevented from responding to “inaccurate” comments made by News International chairman James Murdoch because the company would not allow it breach its duty of client confidentiality.


    • opulent says:

      It is so evident that the Murdoch minions and his son believe that

      The TRUTH is nothing BUT merely a LIE that can’t be disputed!!

  59. Gallup chief puzzled by Obama’s poll numbers

    President Obama posted a 45 percent approval rating in a recent USA Today/Gallup poll, which is higher than expected, says Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll.

    Compared with other recent presidents, President Obama’s approval numbers are “overperforming,” given the struggling economy and Americans’ low levels of satisfaction with the direction of the country, says Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll.

    The US unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent in June, the government reported earlier this month. And a Gallup poll conducted July 7-10 found that just 16 percent of Americans expressed satisfaction with the way things are going in the country – the lowest figure in two years. Still, Mr. Obama posted a 45 percent approval rating in the USA Today/Gallup poll conducted July 15-17.

    At a Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters Tuesday, Mr. Newport compared Obama’s approval ratings with those of President Reagan starting in 1981 and President Clinton starting in 1993. Both of the presidents were dealing with with troubled economies.

    “Looking at history, particularly Clinton and Reagan, it is somewhat surprising that [Obama] has never yet fallen into the 30 percent range in our approval rating,” Newport said. “And yet both Reagan and Clinton, in their first terms when the economy was perceived as bad … both fell into the 30s.”

    Newport noted, “Satisfaction with the way things are going is … correlated with economic perceptions fairly strongly.” At the same time, Obama “is overperforming. Based on where every president has been, his approval rating now is higher than we would predict it to be based on” how satisfied American adults say they are.

    Pollsters are not sure why Obama has fared better than expected in the polls. Newport offered two possibilities. “One theory has to do with personal characteristics of the man,” the Gallup executive said. “The other has to do with the nature of politics today.” Under that theory, Obama has “kind of a rock-hard coalition that are never going to abandon him in approval ratings, and therefore that is why his approval ratings will be propped up no matter what happens.”

    Gallup, he added, will be conducting research to get a more definitive answer to the question

    • “Looking at history, particularly Clinton and Reagan, it is somewhat surprising that [Obama] has never yet fallen into the 30 percent range in our approval rating,” Newport said. “And yet both Reagan and Clinton, in their first terms when the economy was perceived as bad … both fell into the 30s.”

      Translation: I’m puzzled and shocked that the _________ is out performing Clinton & Reagan. This ______ has never fallen into the 30% percent range in our approval rating. What’s up with that?

    • Ametia says:

      Scratching their heads are they? Just can’t figure out why that NEGRO’s so POP-U-LAR!

    • Ametia says:


  60. Rep. Allen West Attacks Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz for being ‘vile’ and ‘not a Lady’

    Rep. Allen West (R-FL) is a perplexing figure. The tea party hero has some of the most conservative political positions of anyone in Congress. West is among those in the House of Representatives who is against raising the debt ceiling as the August 2nd deadline approaches.

    Yesterday, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) took her fellow Florida congressperson to task for his opposition to raising the debt ceiling and his support for the House’s disastrous “Cut, Cap and Balance” symbolic vote.

    “The gentleman from Florida, who represents thousands of Medicare beneficiaries, as do I, is supportive of this plan that would increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries, unbelievable from a Member from South Florida,” Wasserman Schultz said, saying the legislation “slashes Medicaid and critical investments essential to winning the future in favor of protecting tax breaks for Big Oil, millionaires, and companies who ship American jobs overseas.”

    Congressman West did not take kindly to being called out by a strong woman Wasserman Schultz and sent a personal email cc’ing congressional leadership that reads (emphasis added):

    From: Z112 West, Allen
    Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 04:48 PM
    To: Wasserman Schultz, Debbie
    Cc: McCarthy, Kevin; Blyth, Jonathan; Pelosi, Nancy; Cantor, Eric
    Subject: Unprofessional and Inappropriate Sophomoric Behavior from Wasserman-Schultz

    Look, Debbie, I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me. Let me make myself perfectly clear, you want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige. You are the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up. Focus on your own congressional district!

    I am bringing your actions today to our Majority Leader and Majority Whip and from this time forward, understand that I shall defend myself forthright against your heinous characterless behavior……which dates back to the disgusting protest you ordered at my campaign hqs, October 2010 in Deerfield Beach.

    You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!

    Steadfast and Loyal

    Congressman Allen B West (R-FL)

    I don’t know if I should be taking deep breaths or if I should encourage Congressman West to. West clearly has proven with this personal attack on Wasserman Schultz that he can’t take a little heat on his unacceptable support for cuts in the social safety net which will definitely harm his reelection chances with the Florida electorate. Someone get this guy a tissue because he’s about to cry a river.

    Wasserman Schultz responded to his email saying simply, “the truth hurts.” Rimshot!

  61. Ametia says:

    Obama to talk economy, debt ceiling with more TV stations as deficit talks press on
    By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, July 20, 4:27 AM
    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama continues his push for an agreement to raise the debt ceiling by sitting down this morning for more broadcast interviews.

    He’ll talk with TV stations from Columbus, Ohio (WBNS), Los Angeles (KABC) and Kansas City, Mo. (KMBC).

  62. rikyrah says:

    July 20, 2011 8:00 AM

    House passes ill-fated ‘Cut, Cap, and Balance Act’

    By Steve Benen

    There was quite a bit of buzz on Capitol Hill yesterday, but nearly all of it was on the Senate side — the Gang of Six’s presentation of its debt-reduction blueprint caused quite a stir. House Republicans, meanwhile, were overshadowed while wasting an enormous amount of time debating, voting on, and passing a right-wing fantasy.

    House Republicans on Tuesday approved an ambitious but legislatively ill-fated plan to enact deep spending restraints that could clear the decks for a compromise over the debt limit.

    The so-called “cut, cap and balance” measure passed on a party-line vote, 234-190, as nine Republicans — including presidential candidates Michele Bachmann (Minn.) and Ron Paul (Texas) — and five Democrats defected.

    Democrats excoriated the GOP for advancing the bill, which the White House has threatened to veto.

    In general, major media outlets didn’t much care about developments in the House, and as editorial judgment goes, that was probably a wise move. Yesterday was about theater: House Republicans went through the motions in order to feel better about themselves, while signaling to the far-right GOP base that the House majority is every bit as radical as advertised.

    The nation doesn’t have time to waste — the drop-dead deadline is now 13 days away — but House Republicans said they needed this little vanity exercise. The plan will now go to the Senate, where it will die. In the exceedingly unlikely event it somehow passes the Senate, President Obama has already said he’d veto it.

    In theory, the House GOP simply needed to get this out of its system. Now that “Cut, Cap, and Balance” has its day in the sun, and far-right lawmakers have some political cover, policymakers can get down to the real work on preventing a catastrophe on Aug. 2. We know CC&B can pass the House; the next task is figuring out what else can pass the House.

    But before we move on from this ridiculous, right-wing plan, let’s not brush past too quickly exactly what House conservatives endorsed yesterday. Even if this was just theater, and even if everyone in the political world knew this was not a serious attempt at policymaking, it’s hard not to marvel at just how far these House Republicans are willing to go.

    Remember the radicalism of Paul Ryan’s budget plan? “Cut, Cap, and Balance” makes Ryan’s plan look centrist by comparison.

    We’re talking about a plan that would immediately take $100 billion out of the U.S. economy, eliminating thousands of jobs in the process. It would make draconian cuts to key public priorities, including education, infrastructure, and energy. It would gut Social Security and Medicare, and make it almost impossible for any Congress to ever raise taxes on anyone ever again. It goes out of its way to protect tax cuts for the very wealthy, while targeting the most vulnerable.

    It doesn’t even do an effective job of reducing the deficit, since that wouldn’t be the point — this is about dismantling the modern American government itself; not bringing the budget closer to balance. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Bob Greenstein explained that CC&B “stands out as one of the most ideologically extreme pieces of major budget legislation to come before Congress in years, if not decades.”

    The plan is practically a caricature of Republican priorities — it’s something liberals might come up with as an exaggeration to make the GOP look ridiculous — and yet, just yesterday, it passed the House, 234 to 190. As radical as this is, 96% of the House Republican caucus voted for it, even knowing it would fail. (The percentage would have been slightly higher, but some GOP members voted against it because, they said, it didn’t go far enough.)

    I’m glad Washington can now turn its attention to real solutions to the impending crisis, but these 234 conservatives, which included a handful of Blue Dog Democrats, shouldn’t be let off the hook too easily. This is a vote that should shame them indefinitely.

  63. rikyrah says:

    James O’Keefe’s Latest ‘Terrorist’ Medicaid Sting Goes After Woman For Following Law
    Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A man goes into a public assistance office in Charleston, South Carolina in a kilt, tells them he’s a member of the Irish Republican Army and asks for help for 25 fellow Irishmen in a hospital who need Medicaid.

    A government employee follows the rules and explains the process for filling out a Medicaid paperwork and the qualifications they’d need to meet. She informs them that a federal law intended to protect patient privacy requires her not to divulge any information he’s told her.

    So what happens next? James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas releases a deceptively edited video that makes the woman look like a terrorist sympathizer, though it isn’t even clear if she knows the background of the IRA.

    In the edited version, the woman says it would not be in her best interest to divulge anything because she could not afford it and she doesn’t want to go to jail. As it turns out, that’s what she’s supposed to do under the law.

    To his credit, O’Keefe posted the full unedited video of the “sting” directly after the edited version. Which makes it all the more curious that Project Veritas edited the tape in a way that paints the government employee in a bad light.

    “Like I said, someone would have to come here and subpoena our information in order for us to divulge any information, because like I said there’s something called the Health Insurance Accountability and Affordability Act — or portability — and anyway it went into effect several years ago, and that’s what we follow,” she said in the unedited video.

    “It is federal law, and they do threaten high fines — which they don’t pay me as much per year as they threaten to fine me — so it is definitely not in my own best interest to divulge anything to anyone because I cannot afford it, I do not want to go to jail,” she said.

    But even if baiting low level bureaucrats into saying slightly embarrassing things is O’Keefe’s goal — the woman featured in the latest video had to write her own name on her business cards — he’s only been moderately successful.

    The South Carolina Heath & Human Services employee explains that only U.S. citizens are eligible for Medicaid and says she’s not making any promises that the 25 purported IRA members would qualify.

    “The way it works with Medicaid is if you are just a visitor to the United States you can’t qualify,” she says. “If they’re going to stay in the United States then we could potentially qualify them for emergency services to cover with their hospitalization.” She even tells him that the hospital’s charity program might be a better bet.

  64. rikyrah says:

    July 20, 2011 8:35 AM

    When the Gang of Six meets the Gang of 435

    By Steve Benen

    The Senate sure was excited yesterday after the Gang of Six presented its $3.7 trillion debt-reduction plan. Several members immediately embraced it and predicted it could easily pass the chamber with bipartisan support. Perhaps my favorite reaction came from Sen. Roger Wicker (R) of Mississippi who declared, “We ought to declare victory, get it ready to vote on, and try to form some sort of supermajority critical mass and save the day.”

    Remember, Wicker had only seen a rough blueprint of the plan, the details of which are still being ironed out.

    At this point, there are three main questions to keep in mind: (1) does the Gang of Six’s plan offer a solution that can pass before Aug. 2; (2) can it pass the House; and (3) is the plan any good.

    I’m going with “no,” “probably not,” and “not really,” in that order.

    On the first point, the Gang is probably just too late, at least to meet the looming deadline. In 13 days, the United States will have exhausted its ability to pay its bills. Regardless of merit or enthusiasm, the Gang of Six has an outline, not a piece of legislation. It will take time to write the bill, maybe send it to a committee, get a congressional budget analysis/score, overcome a filibuster, hold a debate, and send it to the House in time for the lower chamber to do the same thing.

    There are experts in legislative procedure who can speak to this with more authority than I can, but at first blush, I think it’s literally impossible, even if the proposal has 60+ votes (which it may not).

    On the second point, senators may be impressed, but in case anyone’s forgotten, there’s a radicalized House Republican majority that believes new revenue is a part of a communist plot to destroy America — and the Gang of Six plan intends to bring in roughly $1 trillion in new revenue.

    The new de-facto leader of the lower chamber wasn’t exactly receptive to the plan.

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said in a statement that the plan contains “some constructive ideas for dealing with our debt,” but he objected to the revenue goals, arguing that “a tax increase is the wrong policy to pursue with so many Americans out of work.”

    The actual Speaker, who’s already been burned once endorsing a grand bargain, struck a similar tone.

    A spokesman for Speaker John A. Boehner said, “This plan shares many similarities with the framework the speaker discussed with the president, but also appears to fall short in some important areas.”

    In fairness, comments like these obviously don’t reflect firm rejections. It’s a stretch, but in the end, perhaps the House GOP would be open more amenable to compromise if the plan comes from a bipartisan Senate gang, rather than that rascally White House.

    But that strikes me as wishful thinking. House Republicans have demanded no new revenue for months, and the notion that they’ll suddenly embrace a plan with $1 trillion in revenue strikes me as plainly unrealistic.

    And finally, as to the plan’s merit, Ezra Klein published a good summary late yesterday. Long-story short: it looks an awful lot like Simpson-Bowles.

  65. rikyrah says:

    Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) Co-Founder Aaron Swartz Indicted for Wire and Computer Fraud***
    by ABL

    But you should totally sign their petition.

    As if being run by grifter Adam Green (to whom you should totally send three dollars, by the way) isn’t enough to stain PCCC and Bold Progressives’s reputation, PCCC’s co-founder Aaron Swartz was indicted for mail fraud today.

    From AP,

    A Harvard University fellow who was studying ethics was charged with hacking into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s computer network to steal nearly 5 million academic articles.

    Aaron Swartz, 24, of Cambridge, was accused of stealing the documents from JSTOR, a popular research subscription service that offers digitized copies of more than 1,000 academic journals and documents, some dating back to the 17th century.

    In an indictment released Tuesday, prosecutors say Swartz stole 4.8 million articles between September 2010 and January after breaking into a computer wiring closet on MIT’s campus. Swartz, a student at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, downloaded so many documents during one October day that some of JSTOR’s computer servers crashed, according to the indictment.

    Prosecutors say Swartz intended to distribute the articles on file-sharing websites.

    Swartz turned himself in Tuesday and was arraigned in U.S. District Court, where he pleaded not guilty to charges including wire fraud, computer fraud and unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer. He was released on $100,000 unsecured bond and faces up to 35 years in prison, if convicted.


    Swartz is an online activist who founded the website Demand Progress, which says it “works to win progressive policy changes for ordinary people.”

    The site describes Swartz as “the author of numerous articles on a variety of topics, especially the corrupting influence of big money on institutions including nonprofits, the media, politics, and public opinion.” It said he and another researcher once downloaded and analyzed more than 440,000 law review articles to determine their funding sources.

    Demand Progress’s executive director David Segal said on the website that the charges against Swartz don’t make sense.

    “It’s like trying to put someone in jail for allegedly checking too many books out of the library,” he said.

    A Harvard spokesman said Swartz was placed on leave from a 10-month fellowship after the university learned about the investigation. He said the fellowship ended last month.

    Swartz had legitimate access to JSTOR through Harvard, but the company has usage restrictions that would have prevented such colossal downloads.

    The nonprofit JSTOR, founded in 1995, enables libraries to save space, time and labor by digitally storing centuries worth of academic journals. Its oldest publication is a Proceedings of the Royal Society of London from 1665.

    Its annual subscription fees can cost a large research university as much as $50,000.

    According to the indictment, Swartz connected a laptop to MIT’s system in September 2010 through a basement network wiring closet and registered as a guest under the fictitious name, Gary Host, in which the first initial and last name spell “ghost.” He then used a software program to “rapidly download at extraordinary volume of articles from JSTOR,” according to the indictment.

    In the following months, MIT and JSTOR tried to block the recurring and massive downloads, on occasion denying all MIT users access to JSTOR. But Swartz allegedly got around it, in part, by disguising the computer source of the demands for data.

    In November and December, Swartz allegedly made 2 million downloads from JSTOR, 100 times the number made during the same period by all legitimate JSTOR users at MIT.

    The indictment also alleges that on Jan. 6, Swartz went to the wiring closet to remove the laptop, attempting to shield his identity by holding a bike helmet in front of his face and seeing his way through its ventilation holes. It said that he fled when MIT police tried to question him that day.

    An MIT spokeswoman said the school had no comment on the apparent breach.

    McGregor said JSTOR recognizes it’s very difficult for any institution at any level to protect its data.

    “Hacking is rampant,” she said. “Protecting systems is a huge challenge right now for any industry, and in the academic space it’s especially challenging because we all want to be as open as we can and have policies that promote use.”

    I’m stunned, and don’t even know what else to say. Just…dayum! grifters gonna grift

    • Ametia says:

      Hamsher, Greenwald, Green, Swartz, NOTHING BUT RATFUCKERS & GRIFTERS!

      And anyone listening to them and giving them money deserves everything they get.

  66. rikyrah says:

    Paul Ryan and the art of whiny resentment
    Hey, Republicans: Feel free to attack President Obama — but please spare us the imaginary grievances
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    I don’t think that Paul Ryan is running for president; I really don’t think he’ll ever run for president. But if he does, he sure has the resentment thing down cold.

    I wrote about Ryan and the budget process today over at Greg’s place, from an interview that Ryan did over at NRO, and I didn’t complain about the other stuff, but it really is awful:

    Indeed, in almost every sense, Ryan says, Obama has been “fundamentally un-presidential” throughout the summer, “dragging his feet, failing to address the looming debt crisis — which he knows is coming — because he remains committed to his ideology.”

    “This is, unfortunately, the way he operates,” Ryan says. “This is his pattern of behavior, this is his personality. For the next 18 months, it will probably be like this. It’ll be in-your-face class warfare, with bitter appeals to envy, fear, and anxiety, plus the demonization of the other side’s motives.”

    This is whiny, crybaby, thin-skinned crap. “In-your-face class warfare”? Never happened. “Demonization of the other side’s motives”? Find me a quotation, in context; it had better be at least as good as Ryan’s claim that Obama is deliberately willing to inflict harm on the nation in service of “ideology.” “Bitter appeals to envy, fear, and anxiety”? In Looking-Glass Land, only — the one where inventing a “looming debt crisis” doesn’t count as a scare tactic, but discussing the obvious consequences of not raising the debt ceiling does. Or, in which voting to transform Medicare into a voucher program constitutes supporting Medicare, while not doing that counts as destroying it.

    Ryan is apparently still upset, or still pretending to be upset, that the president attacked his budget a few months ago with Ryan present, which is apparently some sort of new ultimate sin against the politeness gods. Whatever; I’m sure that had Ryan not been present, then that would have been the new ultimate sin.

    Hey — Republicans are free to use whatever spin they want, no matter how petty it may be. But why anyone should take seriously a standard in which Ryan claims it’s impossible to work with Barack Obama because of “the president’s ‘very personal’ criticism of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor at the White House,” while meanwhile it’s fine to call Obama “fundamentally un-presidential.”

    I’d say, by the way, that calling Obama condescending in his recent press conferences and other remarks — not just to Republicans, but to Congress in general — would be a lot closer to the mark. The president has definitely been playing the role of the Only Adult in the Room, and calling him on that would, in my view, be entirely reasonable and fair.

    Perhaps Ryan and the other Republicans don’t want to do that because, after all, they actually are ceding that ground to him. Or maybe they’re honestly having a tantrum because they honestly think that their policy preferences and actions should be exempt from criticism. I don’t know; I don’t, I suppose, really care. I’m just annoyed that I have to listen to it.

  67. rikyrah says:

    Birth control coverage proposed for most health insurance plans

    By N.C. Aizenman, Published: July 19
    Virtually all health insurance plans could soon be required to offer female patients free coverage of prescription birth control, breast-pump rentals, counseling for domestic violence, and annual wellness exams and HIV tests as a result of recommendations released Tuesday by an independent advisory panel of health experts.

    The health-care law adopted last year directed the Obama administration to draw up a list of preventive services for women that all new health plans must cover without deductibles or co-payments. While the guidelines suggested Tuesday by a committee of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine are not binding, the panel conducted its year-long review at the request of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

    In a statement, Sebelius praised the committee’s work as “historic” and “based on science and existing literature.”

    “We are reviewing the report closely and will release the department’s recommendations . . . very soon,” she added.

    Although generally expected, the committee’s decision to put “the full range” of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives and sterilization procedures on its proposed list ignited immediate controversy.

    Jeanne Monahan, director of the Center for Human Dignity at the socially conservative Family Research Council, said that many Americans may object to birth control on religious grounds. “They should not be forced to have to pay into insurance plans that violate their consciences. Their conscience rights should be protected,” she said.

    Just as troubling, said Mona­han, was the inclusion of emergency contraceptives such as the so-called morning-after pill sold as Plan B and the more recently approved drug sold as Ella. Both primarily work by inhibiting ovaries from releasing eggs. But antiabortion advocates argue that there is evidence the drugs can also prevent an already-fertilized egg from implanting in the womb, which they consider equivalent to abortion.

    Adam Sonfield, a public policy expert at the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit research center, countered that the scientific basis for such claims is highly questionable and that in any case, the medical field defines pregnancy as beginning with the implantation, not the fertilization, of an egg.

    “They are purposely trying to confuse the American public about what contraception is and to try to tar it as abortion because . . . in truth they are not just antiabortion, they are anti-contraception,” he said. “And they know the American public overwhelmingly supports contraception.”

    For instance, Sonfield said, a Guttmacher study found that 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women and nearly 100 percent of evangelicals have used contraception at some point, compared to 99 percent of women overall.
    Other research by Guttmacher suggests that those with health insurance are already very likely to get some degree of birth-control coverage from their health plans. This is at least partly because of a recent surge in state laws mandating such coverage as well as a federal law that, since 2000, officials have interpreted to require employers to include contraception if they pay for other preventive services and prescription drugs. In 1998, Congress also added a birth-control coverage requirement to health plans for federal employees.

  68. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    July 19, 2011 4:55 PM

    Obama backs Respect For Marriage Act

    By Steve Benen
    I don’t have high hopes for the legislation — the House majority is still the House majority — but the Obama White House’s support for the Respect For Marriage Act is the latest in a series of encouraging steps on civil rights.

    President Obama is throwing his support behind the Respect For Marriage Act – the bill to repeal the 1996 Defense Of Marriage Act, which banned the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage even for couples married under state law.

    The president has “long called for a legislative appeal for the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which continues to have a real impact on families,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at Tuesday’s briefing. He said the president “is proud” to support the Respect For Marriage Act, “which would take the Defense of Marriage Act off the books for once and for all.”

    The bill was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

    This comes the same year as the Obama administration’s decision to stop trying to defend DOMA against federal court challenges.

    What’s more, it’s a heartening piece that fits into a larger mosaic. After two-and-a-half years, President Obama has successfully repealed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law; expanded federal benefits for the same-sex partners of executive-branch employees; signed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law; cleared the way for hospital-visitation rights for same-sex couples; lifted the travel/immigration ban on those with HIV/AIDS; ordered the Federal Housing Authority to no longer consider the sexual orientation of applicants on loans; expanded the Census to include the number of people who report being in a same-sex relationship; and hired more openly gay officials than any administration in history.

    There have also been more symbolic gestures, including the White House hosting an event to honor the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, announcing the first-ever transgender presidential appointee, nominating the first openly-gay man to serve on the federal judiciary, honoring same-sex couples in his Mother’s Day and Father’s Day proclamations, recording a video for the “It Gets Better” Project, and hosting Gay and Lesbian Pride Month events at the White House.

    And today, the president has offered his well-timed endorsement of the Respect For Marriage Act.

    I realize there are still a sizable number of people in the LGBT community who are unsatisfied with the pace of change, and consider President Obama someone who has ignored, and even betrayed, their interests. Some have even vowed not to lift a finger to help with the president’s re-election effort.

    I suspect many social-conservative activists, furious with the steps Obama has already taken to advance civil rights for the LGBT community, must find this inexplicable.

  69. rikyrah says:

    Associated Press
    Democrat holds onto Wis. Senate seat in recall
    By DINESH RAMDE , 07.19.11, 10:09 PM EDT

    MILWAUKEE — A Wisconsin state senator has survived a recall election that gave voters the most direct opportunity yet to react to a Republican-backed law that stripped most public workers of their collective bargaining rights.

    Democratic Sen. Dave Hansen defeated Republican challenger David VanderLeest with 69 percent of Tuesday’s vote, with 65 percent of precincts reporting
    Hansen was among nine state senators set for recall elections amid the fallout from the bitter fight over legislation backed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Hansen and two other Democrats were targeted for fleeing the state to prevent a vote, while six Republicans are facing recalls for supporting it.

    The stakes are high: If Democrats pick up a net of three seats, they’ll retake control of the Senate and gain key momentum in their efforts to recall Walker next year.

  70. Ametia says:

    CHART OF THE DAY: The Truth About Private Sector Growth Under Obama
    Joe Weisenthal | Jul. 19, 2011, 9:10 AM

    Yesterday on his company’s conference call, Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn went on a fantastic, blistering tirade against the Obama administration.

    He accused the administration of being a “wet blanket,” killing job growth by introducing so much uncertainty.

    So has the private sector really shriveled under Obama? No.

    This chart looks at GDP without net government spending (AKA the deficit, AKA the difference between how much the government is pumping in via spending compared to how much its taking out via taxes). What you’re left with, basically, is private sector growth.

    It turns out growth is robust: The private sector is growing at just under 5% right now.

    Not bad at all under an administration that supposedly hates business.

    And of course, this fits in with what other data has showed: It’s the public sector that’s shedding jobs right now (as stimulus wears off), and the private sector adding them.

    Read more:

  71. Ametia says:

    Smiling FACES; tell LIES. Ain’t that the TRUTH.

  72. Ametia says:

    Negotiating Election HeadwindsBy DAVID LEONHARDT
    Published: July 19, 2011

    Maybe it’s not the economy, stupid.

    White House officials have begun to entertain the idea that they can run for re-election without being able to point to a strengthening economy. For one thing, they may not have a choice. For another, they believe that recent Republican budget proposals have given President Obama an opportunity to draw contrasts in which he is more in line with most voters.

    The clearest statement of this idea has come from David Plouffe, Mr. Obama’s top political adviser. “The average American does not view the economy through the prism of G.D.P. or unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers,” Mr. Plouffe said at a recent Bloomberg Breakfast here. “People won’t vote based on the unemployment rate. They’re going to vote based on: ‘How do I feel about my own situation? Do I believe the president makes decisions based on me and my family?’ ”

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