Thursday Open Thread

TLC is an American musical trio whose repertoire spanned R&B, hip-hop, soul, funk, and new jack swing. Originally consisting of Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, rapper-singer Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, and singer Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, they found unprecedented success in the 1990s not only as a musical group but also for an extensive series of high profiled spats with the law, each other, and with their record label—all of which, helped to solidify them as one of the definitive recording acts to emerge during the aforementioned time span.

Initially, the group achieved commercial success following the release of their debut album Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip, selling a total of 4 million copies worldwide, but it was the release of their second studio album, CrazySexyCool that elevated them to superstar status going on to be certified diamond and eventually selling 22 million copies worldwide. They released four multi-platinum studio albums before going on hiatus due to the death of Left Eye in Honduras in 2002.

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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184 Responses to Thursday Open Thread

  1. Justice Department Prepares Subpoenas In News Corp. Inquiry

    The U.S. Justice Department is preparing subpoenas as part of preliminary investigations into News Corp. relating to alleged foreign bribery and alleged hacking of voicemail of Sept. 11 victims, according to a government official.

  2. Secret Service, FBI investigate racist threats sent to Obama, Jackson Lee–125895233.html?clmob=y

    WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement agencies led by the U.S. Secret Service and the FBI are investigating the origins of a threatening and racially charged cartoon sent by fax to the White House and the Houston office of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee depicting nooses and lynching posts intended for the president and the congresswoman.

    Beneath a headline which included a racial epithet referring to African-Americans, the one-page cartoon showed two L-shaped lynching posts with “Sheila Jackson Lee” written on one cross bar and “Hussein Obama” written on the second cross bar. The president’s full name is Barack Hussein Obama.

    The return address on the fax said: “Defecating on Obama.”

    “We are aware of the cartoon, and we are taking appropriate measures,” said Secret Service Special Agent Robert Novy, a spokesman for the agency. “Being a protective intelligence matter, the Secret Service has no further comment.”

    Jackson Lee said she received the cartoon in her congressional office in Houston.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Either way, the problem is Republicans

    So, I posted earlier today about what jackass crazy fuckwits run the Republican party and that’s why we’re in this current crisis, I suppose the inevitable thing happened in comments: I got scolded about my priorities. Apparently, I’m supposed to be focusing like a laser on how Obama is actually a double agent for the GOP and this was his evil plan all along to gut important social programs. Okay. I can actually sympathize with that point of view, since I remember being a newly minted lefist in college and feeling the allure of “rah rah Nader, Bush and Gore are no different”. It was a fairly useless point of view, but it made me feel self-righteous, and at 21, that felt really fucking good. Now I’m older and tired and I look back at Clinton and realize I was being unfair, because while he’s far from perfect, suggesting he was the problem is like having cancer and suggesting your hair falling out is your major problem. I was thoroughly cured by 8 years of Bush of this kind of thinking, and am mildly surprised to see how quickly everyone forgot about all that.

    Either way, I reject the notion that the complete batshit craziness of the Republicans is merely a distraction from the Real Problem that our who-knew dictator Obama isn’t so benevolent. For one thing, I seriously don’t think he has as much power, due to the constitutional republic thing, as his angry critics are attributing to him and therefore the theory that he’s selling the farm in a desperate bid to stop the crazies from driving this country over the cliff remains a persuasive theory. But more importantly, I don’t think it matters.

    Yes, I’m saying it right here: whether Obama is a secret Republican or whether he’s a well-meaning Democrat who is simply being blackmailed is irrelevant. The problem, either way, is Republicans.

    Let’s look at the competing theories to see what I mean.

    Theory #1: Benevolent Obama Theory.

    This theory holds that Obama is a moderate Democrat who, while made uncomfortable by deficits (which isn’t unreasonable, per se, but should be a secondary concern in an economic crisis) , still believes in a more liberal economic theory when it comes to recessions, due to the fact that history proves those theories correct. In this theory, he’s offering deep cuts to beloved and necessary programs because the Republicans are holding the very state of the world economy hostage, willing to plunge us into a Depression if he doesn’t start giving away the farm.

    The problem: Well, basically the Republicans. If it wasn’t for the batshit crazy Republicans willing to destroy our economy to get their way, none of this would be happening.

    Theory #2: Evil Obama Theory.

    This theory holds that Obama passed himself off as a moderate Democrat to get elected, but is in fact a secret conservative who has been aching for a chance to destroy Social Security, amongst other programs. I found this theory a little confusing at first, because it seemed to me that his secret plan would have been easier to enact when he had a majority party in Congress, so I asked around on Twitter, and this is the explanation I got: he couldn’t destroy Social Security then, because there’s enough liberals in the Democratic Party that they could have stopped him. It was only after Republicans got control of the House and went crazy that he had enough cover to do what he always hoped he could do.

    The problem: Well, basically the Republicans. If the batshit crazy Republicans weren’t there giving secretly conservative Obama cover, none of this would be happening.

    So, from my point of view, no matter what evil or non-evil lurks in Obama’s heart, the problem is that this country keeps electing frothing-at-the-mouth crazy Republicans, and if voters would stop doing that, we wouldn’t be having one politically provoked crisis after another. Sure, if Obama is a secret conservative, that is a problem. But we can’t actually know that. But what we do know for a fact is that no matter what lurks in Obama’s hearts, none of this would be happening if Republicans didn’t win the House. So I think that my priorities are just fine, thank you very much.

    And because I’m going to be accused of being a partisan shill for Obama, I just want to say that I’m really not. If he’s a secret conservative, that concerns me greatly. But even if he’s not, I do think he’s failed repeatedly to present his best game in negotiations with Republicans. But at the end of the day, I’m unconvinced that the greatest negotiator on the planet could beat people who are willing to pull the trigger on the entire world economy.

    Also, I’m just generally trying to let go of the intoxicating illusion of control. Quick fix solutions that will roll back decades of this country moving to the right appeal to that illusion, but don’t actually do much good. So I’m trying to let go of that and start thinking more broadly about what good can actually be done with the tools that are actually at hand, with the full realization that some times, the bad guys do win.

  4. President Obama Calls The International Space Station

  5. Bringing Healthy, Affordable Food to Underserved Communities

  6. Aquagranny, can you translate for us? 3 Chics subscribes to the Democratic, WH, & DemsRapidResponse videos and this was just uploaded.

    DNC TV AD: “En quien confiar”

    • Sorry, I just saw this and I will do my best:

      Announcing an attack by the Republicans.
      Republicans want to take away medicare and help for our elders. They give money to the rich. They don’t care about people. The history or experience of Obama is that he cares for families, children, he cares for you.

      Not word for word but close enough. It’s a good ad.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Waiting for the Black Ronald Reagan
    Allen West, Herman Cain and Tim Scott should learn from the first black president if they aspire to lead the GOP to the White House.

    By: David Swerdlick | Posted: July 21, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    Before Barack Obama was President Barack Obama, black Republicans had it pretty easy.

    No one really cared what former Rep. J.C. Watts thought about Afghanistan or what former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell thought about top marginal tax rates. All those guys had to do was offer themselves up as the buttoned-down alternative to lefty black spokesmen like Rev. Jesse Jackson or Rev. Al Sharpton, and they were pretty much good to go.

    But after Obama came along with his Norman Rockwell-esque family and extended the Bush-era tax rates on his way to killing Osama bin Laden, black Republicans’ job got just a little bit harder. They can’t get more hawkish than Obama — he’s fighting two inherited wars and one of his own. They might lower taxes some more, but it’d only be after Obama rebated $288 million in the stimulus. They could keep fighting gay marriage, but they’d be fighting a battle that they’ve already lost.

    That’s where presidential contender Herman Cain, Rep. Allen West and Rep. Tim Scott come in. So far at least, none has seized the mantle as standard-bearer for black conservatives. Even though all that any of them has to do is offer a buoyant, judicious, forward-looking face for black conservatism, none of them has done it yet. There’s a job opening out there for a black Ronald Reagan — but he’s just not one of these guys.


    Cain’s profile resonates: He’s a boardroom titan who crosses over to Tea Party rabble-rouser. He calls himself a “problem solver,” not a politician. But he’s managed to dig himself in deeper and deeper as a Muslim-baiter — a stance that does nothing to elevate him as a big-tent statesman.

    After saying he’d decline to appoint Muslim Americans to public posts — lest they “ease Shariah law and the Muslim faith into our government” — there’s no turning back for Cain, who now tells Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace that Muslim Americans in Murfreesboro, Tenn., have no right to build an Islamic center on private property because their neighbors call it “hallowed” ground. It’s an unconstitutional, ungracious and — to say the least — un-Reagan-like approach.

    • Ametia says:

      Neither Cain, West, or Scott are fit enough to shine shoes. They’ve shown us who they are. Sell out racist, Islamaphobic, mysogynistic coons. THE.END.

  8. creolechild says:

    Just came across two items that folks might be interested in…

    DADT On Last Legs
    David Kurtz | July 21, 2011, 6:30PM

    Pentagon to certify Friday that it’s ready for DADT repeal.

  9. Maya Soetoro-Ng, sister of US President Barack Obama, reads to children at a “Let’s Read! Let’s Move!” event July 20, 2011 at the Education Department in Washington, DC. The “Let’s Read! Let’s Move!” campaign highlights the importance of summer learning and encourages adults to read to children.

    • Ametia says:

      Maya is beautiful and resembles PBO.

    • What a Sweetie! I think she resembles both her brother and their Mom. Her face is a little fuller than PBO’s.

      I’m so happy she’s getting involved in the “Let’s read! Let’s Move” campaigns. I’m sure the ‘UGLY’ will try to get all over this before she can close that book!

  10. Maya Soetoro-Ng, sister of US President Barack Obama, arrives for a “Let’s Read! Let’s Move!” event July 20, 2011 at the Education Department in Washington, DC. The “Let’s Read! Let’s Move!” campaign highlights the importance of summer learning and encourages adults to read to children.

  11. creolechild says:

    It may surprise some that News Corp’s political donations history features so many Democrats, but by following the money we can see that this is politics as usual.

    ~The Hill published an article that was based a post on the Sunlight Foundation that emphasized News Corp’s donations to Democrats,

    Political donations by News Corp., its employees and their families were evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, with President Obama the all-time leading recipient, according to a report from the Sunlight Foundation.

    The transparency watchdog noted Tuesday that Democrats received 51 percent of contributions while Republicans received 49 percent, despite the firm’s highly publicized links to the GOP, such as a $1 million donation to the Republican Governors Association in August.

    That sounds like a juicy story, and it is, but not for the reason that you may think.

    Let’s follow money and see where it takes us.


    Read more:

  12. creolechild says:

    Fox News Attacks Obama For Celebrating His Birthday

    Fox News hit a new level of petty today when they attacked President Obama for planning to celebrate his birthday. [Click on link to view video of Fox and Friends via Media Matters]

    After discussing a Marist poll that found 55% of Americans aren’t booking a summer vacation this year, Steve Doocy said, “Don’t tell President Obama that. Even with no debt deal, he is still planning swanky vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. Oh, and that August 2nd debt deadline that the President keeps referring to Armageddon? Well, the Commander in Chief has a birthday blow out planned for the very next day.” Doocy then brought in Dick Morris to talk about how “tone deaf” Obama is.

    Fox News is now hammering Obama for celebrating his birthday, but they seem to have forgotten that while President Bush celebrated his birthday in 2004, four young American soldiers died in Iraq.

    From The Smirking Chimp: But, over the past four years, 193 young Americans have died during the month of the president’s birth: 56 died in July of 2005, 57 died in July of 2004, and 48 died in July of 2003. ” Last year, in the month George W. Bush was blowing out his candles, 42 young Americans perished in his war of choice in Iraq. It remains to be seen how many will die this July…

    On the actual day of the president’s birthday in 2004, for example, the following U.S. servicemen gave their lives in Iraq: Marine PFC Rodricka A. Youmans of Allendale, South Carolina; Marine Cpl. Jeffrey D. Lawrence of Tucson, Arizona; Marine Lance Cpl. Justin Hunt of Riverside, California; and Marine Lance Corporal Scott Dougherty of Bradenton, Florida. The first three were 22 years old when they died. Corporal Dougherty was only 20.


  13. Le Chele says:

    ‎”We should not allow our cynicism to take the place of our humanitarianism.”

  14. creolechild says:

    If you are using Google Chrome, there is a new app that will allow you to block all websites owned by News Corp. Extensions to block undesirable things are on the Internet are nothing new. For years people have been blocking ads or any other Internet annoyances, but Google Chrome is providing users the ability to take their blocking preferences to a whole other level. If you are sick and tired of Derek Jeter, there is the Jeter Filter.

    If the News Corp hacking scandal has so enraged you, or if you are sick of the bias of Fox News and don’t want to add to their profits, there is the Murdoch Block. The app does exactly what its name suggests. It blocks all the websites owned by News Corp from appearing on your browser. The list of blocked websites is customizable in case you want to make sure that you never visit Fox again, but still want your Hulu.

    Here is a mostly complete list of all the websites Murdoch’s News Corp owns:

    Hulu and WebMD would likely be the most missed sites on that list, but principle involves sacrifice. If you are a Google Chrome user and you want send a message to News Corp, install the Murdoch Block and you can enjoy an Internet experience that is totally free of the influence of Rupert Murdoch.

    • Ametia says:

      This explains the downfall of America’s news and communications

    • opulent says:


      Dang..why hulu gotta be caught up in this!!

    • I’ll go for it! I just wrote a long post at WSY about why I have not knowingly bought any product made by Nestle since 1973. I still try to keep an up to date list of their products.

      I can ban shit with the best of them! I might be only a gnat bite on their asses but it does give me great satisfaction to bite and keep gnawing!

  15. creolechild says:

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Thursday that it was “untoward” for House Republicans to take the weekend off at a time when the country was on the brink of default. “Coming in here today — I just heard there is an announcement in the House of Representatives that they’re taking the weekend off,” Reid said in a speech on the Senate floor. “I want everyone that can hear my voice to understand that time is of the essence. We are running out of time.”

    He continued: “I think this is a very bad picture for our country to have the House of Representatives out for this weekend when we have to likely wait for them to send us something, because I understand that negotiations taking place deal with revenues which constitutionally have to start in the House of Representatives.”

    “So I think it is just untoward — and that’s the kindest word I can say — for the House of Representatives to be out this weekend. What a bad picture that shows the country. We have 12 days left before our nation does the unthinkable, forever undermining the full faith and credit credit of our great country.”


  16. creolechild says:

    Bill O’Reilly finally lifted the veil of silence that has shrouded the hacking scandal involving News Corporation, which owns Fox News. It is unclear why he waited until Tuesday, (the same day that Rupert Murdoch had to eat humble pie during a British parliamentary investigation) to finally mention the scandal that has dominated coverage on every other major network. Perhaps he felt compelled to respond to a memo released by the watchdog group Media Matters, which O’Reilly to uphold his oft-stated commitment to “independence” from News Corp’s influence or perhaps the anchor was concerned that he could jeopardize his status as “the most trusted political reporter in America” if he failed to even acknowledge a major news story just because it involves the company he works for. Anyway, whatever his reasons, he finally decided that avoiding the issue was not going to make the story go away.


    You know look, people are exploiting this situation. It is a bad situation, anyone who broke the law should be held responsible. Everybody knows that. Journalists are citizens too. We break the law, we should be held responsible for it. But here in the United States there isn’t any intrusion of this story thus far on News Corp properties, none! Yet you have the New York Times absolutely running wild with the story, front page, front page, front page, column, column, column, vicious stuff and ah it’s all ideological! Is it now?

    Actually there is quite a bit of intrusion by News Corp properties in the United States into the story. O’Reilly may have missed the New York Times article detailing an enormous $655 million payout News Corp made on behalf of News America Marketing, its in-store and newspaper insert marketing business, “to make embarrassing charges of corporate espionage and anticompetitive behavior go away.”


  17. creolechild says:


    James Murdoch has been accused of lying to the parliamentary select committee this week in relation to phone hacking, igniting yet another fire for the embattled News International boss to extinguish. In a highly damaging broadside, two former News of the World senior executives claimed the evidence Murdoch gave to the committee on Tuesday in relation to an out-of-court settlement to Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association, was “mistaken”.

    The statement came as something of a bombshell to the culture, sport and media select committee, which immediately announced it would be asking Murdoch to explain the contradiction.
    Colin Myler, editor of the paper until it was shut down two weeks ago, and Tom Crone, the paper’s former head of legal affairs, said they had expressly told Murdoch of an email that would have blown a hole in its defence that only one “rogue reporter” was involved in the phone-hacking scandal. This contradicts what Murdoch told the committee when questioned on Tuesday.

    The existence of the email, known as the “for Neville” email because of its link to the paper’s former chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, is thought to have been critical in News International’s decision to pay out around £700,000 to Taylor in an out-of-court settlement after he threatened to sue the paper. James Murdoch is standing by his version of events. A statement issued by News Corporation said: “James Murdoch stands by his testimony to the select committee.”

    In their statement, Myler and Crone challenged this: “Just by way of clarification relating to Tuesday’s Culture, Media Select Committee hearing, we would like to point out that James Murdoch’s recollection of what he was told when agreeing to settle the Gordon Taylor litigation was mistaken. “In fact, we did inform him of the ‘for Neville’ email which had been produced to us by Gordon Taylor’s lawyers.”


  18. creolechild says:

    WASHINGTON — A US congressional committee on Wednesday voiced support for an extension of a Canadian oil pipeline, saying it offered a stable source of energy despite concern by environmentalists. The Republican-led House Foreign Affairs Committee voted 30 to 14 to approve a text saying that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “should promptly authorize” the 1,661-mile (2,673-kilometer) Keystone XL project. “Canada, as a democratic ally, offers a stable source of energy for the United States,” said the amendment sponsored by Representative Connie Mack, a Republican from Florida. “We could help a friend and ally in Canada and strengthen our relations with Canada instead of continuing to buy oil from Hugo Chavez in Venezuela,” said Mack, a staunch critic of the leftist president.

    The vote enjoyed support from a number of lawmakers from President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party. But the practical impact was likely limited as it came during a debate on an overall spending bill, which will likely face opposition in the Democratic-led Senate.
    Calgary-based TransCanada wants to build Keystone XL as an extension to its existing 2,154-mile (3,467-kilometer) pipeline that now terminates both in Oklahoma and Illinois. The expansion would go through the Great Plains and to the Gulf of Mexico.

    The proposal is fiercely opposed by many environmental groups as the oil would come from mining in Alberta tar sands, a process that produces far greater emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. The year-old Keystone pipeline has also suffered leaks, leading US regulators to shut it briefly last month. Seven Democratic senators recently sent a letter to Clinton urging a thorough review of the Keystone XL project before any decision, calling for assurances of “sufficient safety measures.”


    • creolechild says:

      Yes, by all means, let’s do that since we’re having no problems whatsoever with oil pipelines..(smirk).

      A pipeline operated by BP that ruptured over the weekend and spilled as much as 4,200 gallons of methanol, crude oil and other fluids into the Alaskan tundra took place at a facility that one of the company’s employees warned in an internal email to executives “was operating in [an] unsafe condition.”

      The email, obtained exclusively by Truthout and highlighted in an investigative report published a year ago, was written in January 2010 by an employee who works at BP Exploration Alaska’s Lisburne Production Center, site of the Saturday’s pipeline rupture.

      The employee was prompted to write that email following a November 29, 2009 pipeline rupture at the same facility, which spilled 45,828 gallons of oil and water into the tundra, one of the largest spills on the North Slope. BP blamed the rupture on ice plugs that built up inside the pipeline that resulted in increased pressure and finally the rupture. But the employee said BP’s negligence contributed to the disaster.


  19. creolechild says:

    The PCCC – Stealing People’s Money By Any Means Necessary!

    Angry Black Lady Chronicles has the story. Here is a clip from it, go read the whole thing, it’s really good…

    Adam Green is desperate for your money. So desperate that he is willing to lie, cheat, and steal to get it. You see, a couple weeks ago, Adam Green (PCCC’s Treasurer and Grifter-in-Chief) registered the domain name “ColberSuperPAC” in an attempt to bleed donations and membership from Colbert’s Super PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow (which can be found at>):

    “Progressive Change Campaign Committee Treasurer Adam Green purchased the URL, omitting the t in Stephen Colbert’s name, and then redirected that URL to his own PAC web site in an apparent attempt to steal critical membership and donations away from Colbert’s PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow. Colbert announced Friday night on his show, The Colbert Report, more than 100,000 previous ABTT members need to sign up a second time because the organization is now a super-PAC.”

  20. creolechild says:

    Thank you, Extreme Liberal!

    The Quote of the Week was in response to this statement about raising the debt ceiling, “‘When you say the drop-dead day is going to be August, I question that,’ said Rep. Tom Rooney (R., Fla.). ‘I’ll believe it when I see it.’” Source

    The reaction from a senior White House official, courtesy of Politico.

    “These are the kinds of people who get eaten by bears.”

  21. creolechild says:

    The Rick Scott administration’s proposal to privatize portions of state parks is running up against increasing opposition. Now the issue is gaining national attention. On a recent segment on his progressive talk show, The Big Picture, Thom Hartmann discussed a plan to turn portions of some of Florida’s most renowned state parks over to private corporations — for use as high-impact camping and RV sites.

    From the segment: Gov. Scott is telling his state’s Department of Environmental Protection to draw up plans to sell off huge chunks of 56 Florida state parks to private corporations. And, as you can imagine, corporations don’t really give a damn about the metaphysical experience you might enjoy while camping. They care about the bottom line. And what can be built on campsites to make the most profit. As in — let’s give Smokey the Bear a break from patrolling wildfires at campsites and put him… behind a McDonald’s counter to make sure the deep fryer doesn’t catch fire.

    This is how Gov. Scott plans to deal with his state’s budget shortfall. A budget shortfall that was partly created by massive tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires and corporations that Rick Scott himself pushed through as his first priority when he took office at the beginning of the year — plunging his state’s budget into the red.


  22. creolechild says:

    Despite the overwhelming acceptance of birth control among Catholics, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church continues to ask U.S. lawmakers to restrict access to contraceptive services. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has released a statement asking lawmakers to dismiss the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation to include contraception in a list of preventative health services in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

    Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the chairman of the conference’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, writes: I strongly oppose the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation today that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate coverage of three particular practices in almost all private health plans: surgical sterilization; all FDA-approved birth control (including the IUD, “morning-after” pills, and the abortion-inducing drug Ella); and “education and counseling” promoting these among all “women of reproductive capacity.”

    According to Catholics for Choice President Jon O’Brien, the bishops are being “disingenuous.”
    “What’s really going on,” he says, “is that they have failed to convince Catholics in their own churches. So, [the bishops] have to go through political lobbying to stop Catholics from using contraception.”

    A report from the Guttmacher Institute shows that 98 percent of Catholic women will use a form of contraception in their lifetime.


    • opulent says:

      Silent on gay marriage…but the church still trying to restrict wombs!!

      They need Catholic babies.

  23. creolechild says:

    What the…

    A Little Town In Arkansas Threatens To Ban Free Speech In The Home

    Gould, Arkansas, population 850, has outlawed congregating or even talking about the City in a group setting. The City Council wrote an ordinance on Monday night disbanding a citizen group and banning future groups from forming pending approval from the City Council. The ordinance extends to any situation where the city government may be discussed, not only in public groups, but even from a resident’s kitchen table. Mayor of Gould, Earnest Nash, would rather go to jail than to see this ordinance become law. Though he vetoed the bill, it can be re-introduced into a City Council meeting next month and could become law without his approval. “They can take me to court,” said Nash. “This is America and even though this is Gould, Arkansas, this is still part of America. And in America, you can’t just vote and violate peoples’ constitutional rights.”


  24. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:20 PM ET, 07/21/2011
    What happens when House Republicans stare into the abyss?
    By Greg Sargent
    It’s becoming increasingly clear that the fate of the economy may turn on the answer to that one question.

    As of last night, some 90 House Republicans had signed on to a letter being circulated by Tea Party Rep Joe Walsh that calls for the GOP leadership to oppose any vote on the McConnell escape hatch proposal to transfer control of the debt ceiling to the president.

    So can the McConnell plan pass the House? Jed Lewison has the most extensive look at the math I’ve seen yet:

    There are currently 432 members of the House (with three vacancies), so you need 217 votes to pass a bill. There are 239 Republicans, so if between 90 and 100 of them have ruled out supporting a “Plan B,” Boehner’s best case scenario is getting about 140 or 150 votes from his conference. That will leave him in the range of 70 to 80 votes shy of raising the debt limit.
    Obviously, those 70 to 80 votes must come from Democrats. In April, 81 of them voted for the budget deal compromise with President Obama, but House Democrats are going to be less eager to vote to raise the debt limit than they were to pass a funding bill.
    …if Boehner keeps on losing Republicans, there’s going to come a tipping point where loading up the debt limit vote with spending cuts [to win GOPers back] will make it increasingly difficult to win Democratic votes to pass it, because there’s only so many Blue Dogs out there who actually want to cut spending. At the same time, he’ll risk losing Republican and even some Blue Dog votes if he reduces the level of cuts. If and when we reach that point, the question will be whether he is able to deliver votes from members who may be unhappy with the level of spending cuts…If he can’t, the debt limit won’t be raised.
    Given the mounting signatures on the Walsh letter, the momentum is moving in exactly the wrong way in the House. That, plus the lack of clarity about where House Dems stand on the McConnell plan, mean it’s becoming increasingly clear that there will have to be a real shift among House Republicans in order for the debt ceiling to be raised. The only way that’s going to happen is if there’s a major “WTF do we do now” moment among House Republicans when they suddenly find themselves peering into the abyss — when they suddenly realize they are about to take the blame for allowing default and cratering the economy.

    How will they react when this moment arrives? As Ezra Klein notes, it’s still unknowable: “what no one quite knows is what the House GOP will accept when the clock is one minute from midnight, or, in more pessimistic tellings, the Dow is 1,000 points below whatever it was at the day before.”

    This “WTF do we do now” moment can take one of two forms: Either House Republicans agree to new revenues, or they agree to the McConnell proposal. But one of those two things has to happen. And that moment is almost upon us.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    July 21, 2011 2:25 PM

    Counting cuts vs. counting votes

    By Steve Benen
    Brian Beutler talked to a congressional aide about how the so-called “Grand Bargain” is shaping up. Though details are still elusive, this sounds rather horrifying.

    A Congressional aide briefed on ongoing negotiations between House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama says the two principals may be nearing a “grand bargain” on to raise the debt limit which would contain large, set-in-stone spending cuts but only the possibility of future revenue increases.

    “All cuts,” the aide said. “Maybe revenues sometime in the future.”

    Fox News, whose “reporting” should always be taken with a grain of salt, also quoted a congressional aide who said the agreement would include $3 trillion in cuts with “no revenues.”

    This sounds crazy. Given that there’s a Democratic Senate and a Democratic White House, and overwhelming polling data showing the public rejecting the Republican line, “crazy” doesn’t quite cut it.

    But as the negotiations continue, I’m not even sure how such a package could pass. Sure, most Republicans would like it, but won’t the final deal need a whole lot of Democratic votes in both chambers?

    Estimates vary, but there are roughly 60 House Republicans who won’t vote to raise the debt ceiling under any circumstances. That leaves 180 House Republicans needing at least 37 House Democrats to get to 217. If there 80 GOPers who refuse any deal, the bill would need 57 Dems. And so on.

    No matter how much pressure comes from the White House, there probably aren’t enough center-right Democratic votes to carry a spending-cut-only package across the finish line. Indeed, the pressure should be pushing the deal towards the left — if the right-wing Suicide Squad isn’t open to reason, figure out a way to make more House Democrats happy.

    And why isn’t that happening? Probably because (a) it would end John Boehner’s six-month tenure as Speaker of the House; and (b) Senate Republicans would filibuster a deal that House Dems liked.

    Speaking of the Senate, where the majority Democratic caucus has 53 members, a deal that effectively gives Republicans everything is also a ridiculously heavy lift for the leadership. A handful of GOP members, led by Jim DeMint, will likely oppose any debt-ceiling increase regardless of circumstances. Let’s say that leaves Senate Republicans with 43 votes for a deal. Are there 17 Senate Democrats willing to support a “compromise” that includes $3 trillion in cuts with no revenues?

    I can appreciate President Obama’s desire for a big deal. I can even appreciate the dilemma of trying to negotiate with a radicalized, criminally-reckless House majority. But the White House has to realize that the final agreement will need significant Democratic support, and asking several dozen congressional Dems to support a deal with $3 trillion in spending cuts and only the possibility of new revenue at some point in the future is almost certainly asking far too much.

    For more on head-counts, check out pieces today from Greg Sargent and Jed Lewison.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Water-Regulation-As-Federalism Bill Passes House, Looks A Lot Like ALEC
    After being fast tracked by a House panel and passing the House last week, a bill that would strip fundamental powers of the EPA to regulate water toxins crept closer to a Senate vote.

    It bears a striking resemblance to several pieces of “model legislation” recently leaked from The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and might be the newest testament to the organization’s potency.

    The mission of the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011 (H.R. 2018) is self-evident in its title. It would eliminate, wholesale, the EPA’s power to supersede individual states’ water pollution rules. States would no longer be held to federal water quality standards they disagree with, and the EPA would be unable to make changes to Clean Water Act quality standards without states’ approval.

    It would prohibit the federal government from “specification of any defined area as a disposal site for the discharge of dredged or fill material into navigable waters,” so if the state does not believe the dumped material would harm drinking water or fisheries, then chemical dumping and manufacturing runoff would not be prevented.

    The bill also makes it easier for developers to fill in wetlands, shortening the time the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has to file objections. The Service would also no longer be able to simply reject applications from companies wishing to dump waste material into bodies of water–they would now be required to file comments with each application within a 30 day time limit.

    Any new regulation proposed by the EPA would require a full analysis to “analyze the impact, disaggregated by state, of such action on employment levels and economic activity,” and post the analysis on their website. If a state is subject to lose more than 100 jobs or $1 million in revenue due to the regulations, notices would be placed in state capitol buildings and public hearings would be held.

    Now on the Senate calendar to be the 103rd bill introduced this session, the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011 is sponsored by John Mica (R-FL) and Nick Rahall (D-WV), the chair and ranking Democrat of the Transportation Committee. In Rahall’s state, the bill would stop the EPA from blocking new mountaintop removal coal mines, pollution from which has been recently linked to “significantly higher” rates of birth defects.

    “Under the current practices of the EPA the permits for surface mines throughout the Appalachian states have been bottled up for months,” Rahall recently explained to MetroNews Talkline, according to Coal Tattoo.

    ALEC, the organization that brings GOP legislators together with lobbyists and right-wing activists to draft model legislation, recently had scores of such bills leaked by the Center for Media and Democracy. Several such documents are notably similar to H.R. 2018, wrangling concepts of federalism in an environmental context.

    The “State Sovereignty Through Local Coordination Act,” for example, proposes to allow towns and cities to reject state and federal regulations if they are more restrictive than local ones. The “State Implementation of the Clean Water Act Requirements,” another ALEC draft, proposes that states determine the daily maximum load of contaminant that a body of water can legally contain, with “environmental, economic and technological feasibility” in mind.

    Other ALEC model legislation takes a similar–and perhaps foreshadowing–tone with the federal Clean Air Act, with titles like the “State Sovereignty for Air Quality and Visibility Act,” the “State Protection of Air Quality Related Values Act” and the “Resolution to Retain State Authority over Coal Ash as Non-Hazardous Waste.”

    “Untrammeled state authority on waters makes no sense whatsoever since waters don’t stop at state boundaries, and what one state does affects other states downstream,” David Goldston of the Natural Resources Defense Council wrote earlier this month, in an opinion piece titled “Federalism as Farce.”

    The Congressional Research Service filed a report on the bill, noting that “it is highly unusual for Congress to advance legislation that would broadly alter the federal-state partnership in order to address dissatisfaction with specific actions by EPA or another agency.”

    The chances of it passing the Senate are slim, and the White House has threatened to veto HB 2018 if it came to the President’s desk, on the basis that it would “roll back the key provisions of the [Clean Water Act] that have been the underpinning of 40 years of progress in making the Nation’s waters fishable, swimmable, and drinkable.”

  27. rikyrah says:

    More on Obama as Chess Master — or Pawn
    By James Fallows
    Jul 21 2011, 12:48 PM ET
    In three previous installments, readers weighed in on whether the evolving shape of the debt-and-deficit “negotiations,” and President Obama’s larger management of his domestic agenda, should be seen as brilliantly subtle strategy on his part, or sheer haplessness in the face of a more ruthless and disciplined opposition. For the most biting (and hilarious) version of the “hapless” assessment, see this “Middle-Man and the Debt Ceiling Debacle” cartoon by Tom Tomorrow.

    Today’s group of reader dispatches mainly takes the opposite view: that Obama is playing the wily, effective, and mature long game. [And all this is pending the breaking news of a possible budget deal, which I’m hearing about just at this moment. More on that later.]

    First, from reader DS, “the GOP is trapped”:

    the letters at this post are an interesting read. check them out.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Who Will “Win” The Debt Fight?
    Nate Silver advises “both sides in the budget debate to prioritize policy considerations”:

    My view … is that the electoral consequences of the budget debates are rather ambiguous. A “big deal” might tend to help Mr. Obama if economic growth is moderate, giving him another accomplishment to pitch to the public. But it could make his messaging awkward if growth is subpar, sacrificing some potential advantages stemming from the unpopularity of the Republican Congress. A major compromise on the budget also might not help Democrats if economic growth is stronger than expected, in which case their focus would turn to winning control of the Congress and would want to draw more rather than fewer contrasts.

    My view is that Obama has essentially won the argument but not yet the fight. Today’s ABC News poll shows that 62 percent believe we need a mixture of tax hikes and spending cuts to deal with the debt, compared with only 32 percent wanting spending cuts alone. By far the most popular specific measure for tackling the debt is ending the Bush tax cuts for those earning over $250,000 a year – with a whopping 72 percent support. Its only near rivals are more Medicare and social security means-testing for wealthy retirees. 77 percent think the GOP has been too unwilling to compromise, compared with 58 percent who say the same of Obama. If this were a boxing match in the world of ideas, it would already have been won.

    But the GOP believe they can destroy the US and global economy and from the wreckage ensure Obama is not re-elected. That is their sole true guiding principle. They terrify me.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Obama Presses Skeptical Dem Leaders On Big Deal With Boehner
    A Congressional aide briefed on ongoing negotiations between House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama says the two principals may be nearing a “grand bargain” on to raise the debt limit which would contain large, set-in-stone spending cuts but only the possibility of future revenue increases.

    “All cuts,” the aide said. “Maybe revenues some time in the future.”
    The status of negotiations has Democratic aides on both sides of the Capitol nervous and unhappy. And the notion that the impasse over the debt limit may be nearing an end is sparking denials from both the White House and Boehner’s office — in part, perhaps, because neither side has buy-in from their parties on a consensus plan.

    A White House spokesman called the claims from aides “not credible” — the result of having a “3rd hand version of the facts.”

    However two aides and a third source, close to the principals confirmed that Obama has been emphatic with Democratic negotiators that his preference is to negotiate a big deal with Boehner and squeeze it through Congress.

    Lacking still, including among Democratic sources, is any sense of what’s in the still-forming plan — vis a vis both spending and revenue. And Democrats, particularly in the House, will have a lot to say over whether the deal is acceptable — their votes will be necessary for Boehner to pull off a grand bargain.

    Earlier Thursday, I asked House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer whether the center of gravity of White House negotiations was on reaching a comprehensive deal on reducing deficits and raising the debt limit, or simply to avert a catastrophic default.

    “I think both,” Hoyer told me. “As I said you have a short-term [imperative] and a long-term and we’re discussing both.”

  30. rikyrah says:

    Just wondering: why is Tim Pawlenty considered a serious 2012 candidate?
    Tim Pawlenty gets covered like a major candidate. But he polls lower than Ron Paul, Herman Cain and Sarah Palin. What’s up with that?
    The media just won’t give up on TPaw.

    Unlike poor Jon Huntsman, whose brief, torrid love affair with the Beltway press ended on a lonely dock in New Jersey, when the Statue of Liberty failed to make it into the camera shot, and Huntsman’s delivery failed to move the crowd — Pawlenty, who’s just as dull, and nearly as DOA poll-wise, continues to get ink.

    But should he?

    Take a look at the RCP averages for the current GOP field, keeping in mind that it’s early, and some of these folks (Sarah Palin) aren’t even running:

    Poll Date Rom. Bach. Perry Palin Paul Cain Ging. TPaw Sant. Hunts.
    RCP Average 6/14 – 7/17 24.2 14.0 11.6 10.8 7.0 6.8 5.5 4.0 2.6 2.0
    NBC/WSJ 7/14 – 7/17 30 16 11 – 9 5 8 2 3 2
    PPP (D) 7/15 – 7/17 20 16 11 12 9 10 6 5 – 2
    Quinnipiac 7/5 – 7/11 25 14 10 12 5 6 5 3 1 1
    FOX News 6/26 – 6/28 18 11 13 8 7 5 3 3 2 3
    McClatchy/Marist 6/15 – 6/23 19 8 13 11 5 5 2 5 1 2
    Rasmussen 6/14 – 6/14 33 19 – – 7 10 9 6 6 2

    See All 2012 Republican Presidential Nomination Polling Data

    As you can see, Pawlenty’s 4.0 average is lower than totally not taken seriously candidates Ron Paul, Herman Cain and poor Newt Gingrich, as well as not-yet candidate Rick Perry and “potential candidate on teevee” Sarah Palin. He’s barely ahead of the hapless Mr. Huntsman and the Google-hating Rick Santorum, neither of whom get quoted about their thoughts on Michele Bachmann’s headaches and high heels.

    Is there something about TPaw that makes media types see him as credible when clearly, he has no name ID, and no intensity from the GOP base?

    And when will his polling numbers fall low enough (he’s at 2 percent in the new NBC/WSJ poll) that Pawlenty stops getting covered that way?

    I’ll bet Rick Santorum would like the answer to that one.

    UPDATE: Public Policy Polling has dropped Pawlenty from its general election polling. Okay so the answer to my question may soon be, “he’s not.”

  31. creolechild says:

    Time for some music! Here’s Rick Braun & Richard Elliot…

  32. rikyrah says:

    Referendum Officially Triggered In Ohio To Ax Kasich’s Anti-Public Employee Union Bill
    It’s official: As expected in the big swing state of Ohio, where Republicans gained control of state government in the 2010 wave and then enacted a new law to limit collective bargaining for public employee unions, voters will now head back to the polls in November 2011 — to potentially repeal that same law before it could ever take effect.

    If the bill is repealed by voters, it would be a significant defeat to Republican Gov. John Kasich, and a potential dry run for the 2012 campaigns in the state. A Quinnipiac poll released this week showed that repealing the bill had a lead of either slightly under or over 20 points, depending on the wording of the question.

    Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) has certified that the petition process, which put the law completely on hold, has met the signature thresholds, and that the bill be put up to a referendum this November.

    This move was widely expected, and was only a matter of working out the bureaucratic process, because it was already public knowledge that organizers had surpassed the minimum signatures by several times over.

    Triggering a referendum required organizers to collect signatures equal to just six percent of the total votes in the last gubernatorial election, with additional requirements that they be sufficiently spread out with at least three percent of the gubernatorial vote across at least half the counties in the state. In this case, organizers ultimately did a lot more than that.

    As the statistics posted on the Secretary of State’s site illustrate, opponents of the bill turned in a whopping 1.3 million signatures — more than four times the 231,150 threshold needed to trigger a referendum. State election officials then eliminated 351,925 signatures as invalid, leaving 915,456 signatures, nearly four times the minimum. The three-percent requirements were surpassed in all 88 counties.

  33. Think Progress: Rep. Allen West: I’m a threat to liberals because “I’m the guy that got off their 21st Century plantation”

    • Nigga Please! You’re blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other…

    • creolechild says:

      Ummmm…wasn’t he either booted out of the military, or retired, after years of service when he was brought up on charges because he PISTOL WHIPPED an innocent civilian?

      • opulent says:

        He did not pistol whip, so much as he shot a bullet pass an Iraqi interogatee’s head who he believed had info about an ambush of his troops. His commander relieved him of duty cuz he said he had shown it was OK to torture and terrorize a detainee. They did however decline to court martial him

      • creolechild says:

        Opulent~ thanks for the correction. I knew it had something to do with a gun and he was in the wrong. Gotta be more careful of that in the future. FACTS! FACTS! FACTS!

      • opulent says:

        NO had the gist of it!!

        Sounds pretty UN AMERICAN still to me!!

        This sum bitch is a control freak, who has no problem terrorizing people when he can.

  34. rikyrah says:

    July 21, 2011 1:20 PM

    Where things stand

    By Steve Benen

    About an hour ago, the New York Times raised a lot of eyebrows with an across-the-top, breaking-new headline that read, “Obama and Boehner Close to Major Budget Deal, Congressional Leaders Are Told.”

    It was eventually accompanied by this story.

    The Obama administration has informed Democratic Congressional leaders that President Obama and Speaker John A. Boehner were starting to close in on a major budget deal that would enact substantial spending cuts and seek future revenues through a tax overhaul, Congressional officials said Thursday.

    With the government staring at a potential default in less than two weeks, the officials said the administration on Wednesday night notified top members of Congress that a bargain with Mr. Boehner could be imminent. The Congressional leaders, whose help Mr. Obama would need to bring a compromise forward, were told that the new revenue tied to the looming agreement to increase the debt limit by Aug. 2 would be produced in 2012 through a tax code rewrite that would lower individual and corporate rates, close loopholes, end tax breaks and make other adjustments to produce revenue gains.

    Almost immediately, Boehner said the report is “false,” and added that the Senate should pass the radical “Cut, Cap, and Balance” nonsense that has no chance of becoming law. Minutes later, the White House’s Dan Pfeiffer also said the NYT piece is “wrong,” adding that President Obama is still pushing for a deal, but there’s “nothing new.”

    It’s tempting to think these are pro-forma denials, and a major breakthrough may actually be close at hand. I’m afraid that’s probably wishful thinking — the safer bet is that the NYT piece is jumping the gun.

    This not to say all is quiet on the Hill. On the contrary, Sam Stein reports this afternoon that the McConnell/Reid “Plan B” compromise, thought to be the only viable way out of this mess, “is close to being put on political life support.”

    Sources on the Hill Thursday morning expressed a newfound — at times defeatist — sense of worry about the political prospects of the proposal, which would cut roughly $1.5 trillion over ten years while granting authority to the president to suggest (but not sign off on) future spending cuts as a condition of raising the debt ceiling now. House Republicans have told leadership that they are sour on the idea, with more than 90 members pledging to oppose it. Another factor contributing toward its demise, however, has been the Obama administration’s decision to continue to push for a bigger deficit-reduction package, which has led many lawmakers to consider the McConnell-Reid option both insufficient and potentially unnecessary.

    This isn’t evidence of progress. On the contrary, I’d argue this paints an even more discouraging picture, since it leaves the resolution of a “Grand Bargain” as the surest way to avoid a disaster. That’s not good news at all, since (a) the “Grand Bargain” isn’t going to be a good bill; and (b) there’s still no reason to think Boehner can get it through the House.

  35. rikyrah says:

    July 21, 2011 07:00 AM
    Chris Christie’s poll numbers drop gain in NJ, but billionaires still begging for him to run in 2012
    By John Amato

    So far Roger Ailes, Chris Wallace, and the Koch Brothers — along with almost every conservative TV pundit on the planet — have all been clamoring for New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie to run for president, but to no avail. The latest group from the billionaire elites to beg for his services include some prominent donors and Hedge Fund managers:

    Fifty of the most prized donors in national politics, including several hedge-fund billionaires who are among the richest people in the world, schlepped to a Manhattan office or hovered around speakerphones Tuesday afternoon as their host, venture capitalist Ken Langone (pronounced LAN-goan), a co-founder of The Home Depot, implored New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to reconsider and seek the GOP presidential nomination. The governor was firm that it’s not in the cards this time, but left his spurned suitors with the impression he might well go in 2016. He impressed the audience with his emphasis on family and commitment, and flashes of disarming humor.

    Langone backed Rudy Giuliani in 2008, and his guests came from both parties, although most were moderate Republicans. Most are uncommitted in the presidential race. Participants who rank on the Forbes list of richest Americans included Bernie Marcus, Paul Tudor Jones (hedge funds; $3.3 billion), Stan Druckenmiller (hedge funds; $2.5 billion) and Bernie Marcus (Home Depot; $1.9 billion).

    Several of them said: I’m Republican but I voted for President Obama, because I couldn’t live with Sarah Palin. Many said they were severely disappointed in the president. The biggest complaint was what several called “class warfare.” They said they didn’t understand what they had done to deserve that: If you want to have a conversation about taxation, have a conversation. But a president shouldn’t attack his constituents – he’s not the president of some people, he’s president of all the people. Someone mentioned Huey Long populism.

    These whiny, vain men of wealth have only seen rocketing profits and have been insulated from prosecution or the financial collapse that has plagued middle America with high unemployment, but being called a few names is too much for them to handle. What wankers.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney’s Biggest Donors Are Wall Street Bankers
    By Travis Waldron on Jul 21, 2011 at 10:40 am

    On the campaign trail, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) has rarely missed an opportunity to lambast President Obama’s handling of the economy. The centerpiece of his argument is that Obama has fostered uncertainty among business leaders, and no place has that uncertainty had a greater impact, Romney argues, than in the financial sector. The passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, the financial regulatory overhaul that passed a year ago today, has become Romney’s number one enemy.

    And while Romney blasts Dodd-Frank on the trail, the law’s major opponents — Wall Street bankers — are filling up his campaign coffers, the Washington Post reported today:

    The largest corporate sources of money for Romney are mostly finance industry leaders, including Morgan Stanley and Bank of America. Goldman Sachs employees have given nearly a quarter of a million dollars in contributions. […]

    Nearly three-quarters of Romney’s money came from donors giving the maximum $2,500 contribution, and one in eight of Romney’s donors live in New York City and its suburbs.

    The bulk of Romney’s New York City fundraising came from one Wall Street event that netted his campaign nearly $1 million.

    Romney, a former venture capitalist, and bank executives oppose Dodd-Frank because of the host of regulations that prevent America’s largest financial institutions from operating the way they did before the 2008 financial crisis, when many of these firms, including all three named in the Post story, were bailed out by the federal government.

    Repealing the law would prevent new consumer protections from taking effect, including the establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which Republicans have opposed unequivocally. Romney, however, might not know about those protections. Even though he announces his staunch opposition to Dodd-Frank at nearly every campaign stop, he hasn’t yet found time to read it.

  37. creolechild says:

    Outselling even common drugs to treat high blood pressure and acid reflux, antipsychotic medications are the single top-selling prescription drug in the United States. Once reserved for hard-core, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest type of mental illnesses to treat hallucinations, delusions or major thought disorders; today, the drugs are handed out to unruly kids and absent minded elderly.

    A recent story in Al Jazeera by James Ridgeway of Mother Jones illuminates the efforts by major pharmaceutical companies to get doctors prescribing medicines like Zyprexa, Seroquel, and Abilify to patients for whom the drugs were never intended. Focusing on psychiatrists because they rely on subjective diagnoses, the drug reps have been so successful that they’ve changed the criteria for mental illness and disability payments. Ridgeway quotes former New England Journal of Medicine editor Marcia Angell.

    “[T]he tally of those who are so disabled by mental disorders that they qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) increased nearly two and a half times between 1987 and 2007 – from one in 184 Americans to one in seventy-six. For children, the rise is even more startling – a thirty-five-fold increase in the same two decades. Mental illness is now the leading cause of disability in children.” Under the tutelage of Big Pharma, we are “simply expanding the criteria for mental illness so that nearly everyone has one.” Fugh-Berman agrees: In the age of aggressive drug marketing, she says, “Psychiatric diagnoses have expanded to include many perfectly normal people.”

    Particularly vulnerable because medication decisions are often out of their hands the old and the young suffer most. For kids: the number diagnosed with bi-polar disorder rose 40-fold between 1994 and 2003 and one in five comes away from a psychiatrist with a prescription for an antipsychotic.

    Dosing the elderly at nursing homes has become so common that sales reps have coined the term “five at five” — meaning 5 milligrams of Zyprexa at 5 pm to sedate difficult residents.

    For all their nefarious wrangling, in 2009, Lily agreed to pay $1.4 billion, including a $515 million criminal fine. The largest ever in a health care case and the largest criminal fine on any corporation in the U.S. That year, Lilly sold $1.8 billion of Zyprexa alone.

    • rikyrah says:

      this makes me angry. i think they’re drugging our children on purpose

    • Ametia says:

      As a semi-retired RN, I’m here to tell you that SOME drug companies, doctors and pharmacist, hospitals, nursing homes are in COHOOTS for the $$$$$. The drug companies create all kinds of experimental drugs, peddle them to the pharmacies, and the pharmacies peddle them to the doctors and hospitals.

      THEY ALL GET RICH OFF DISEASES. It would behoove us to eat well and live a healthy a lifestyle as possible. these folks don’t care if you get well or not, they’re banking on you staying asleep, and sick. The bottom line is staying aware and taking responsibility for our HEALTH.

    • opulent says:

      It’s all about market share!

      If you broaden the base of defining who are depressed..Voila! more patients.

      Thus the commercials where you have all these symptoms that basically include any American who listens to the news:

      are you anxious, nervous have insomnia, feel paranoid, cry easily, feel the world is closing in on you?

      I mean like who the hell doesn’t feel like that after the 6o’clock news?

  38. creolechild says:

    CAIRO — Egypt’s ruling military council on Wednesday laid out its rules governing upcoming parliamentary polls, which it promised would be fair and transparent. The polls, originally scheduled for September, were delayed for up to two months, a military official said last week.

    “The delay was in response to demands by various political forces, parties and groups established after the revolution to have more time to get organised,” said Mamduh Shahin, a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. Shahin reiterated the electoral process — which includes presentation of candidacy, campaigning, fixing voter registration lists and defining constituencies — would start by September 30.

    Voting would be over three rounds, with 15 days between each round and, would be based on a mixed system combining a party list and single-seat system, Shahin told a news conference.
    Fifty percent of seats would be reserved for farmers and workers, and a women’s quota introduced by ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s government would be removed.

    “The elections will be studied the world over for their fairness and transparency,” Shahin said.


  39. creolechild says:

    Despite days of negotiations, House Republicans are still standing firm against increasing the federal debt ceiling, threatening the country with default unless their demands for huge spending cuts (and no tax increases) are met. Not only would failing to raise the debt ceiling do serious harm to the national economy, it would adversely impact state and local economies.

    In fact, earlier this week, the credit rating agency Moody’s warned that five states — Virginia, Maryland, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Tennessee — could have their credit downgraded if the federal government’s credit rating goes down, “because their dependence on federal revenue makes them vulnerable to a U.S. credit cut.” In response, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) urged Congress to come to a debt ceiling compromise “immediately“:


    “It’s not going to get done without some compromise and when it’s affecting states now, it’s creating great uncertainty, there’s massive unhappiness with the federal government generally over its inability to do the basic things that government needs to do.“


  40. Huntsman campaign manager resigns

    Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman’s (R) presidential campaign manager, Susie Wiles, is resigning and will be replaced by communications director Matt David, according to the campaign.

    Huntsman is announcing the changes to his staff at a meeting this afternoon. Top adviser John Weaver confirmed the changes to The Fix.

    “Susie has served the campaign well and was vital in getting it off the ground in such a short time-frame,” Weaver said in a statement provided by the campaign. “In just under three months, Governor Huntsman has returned from China, launched a campaign and created a strong infrastructure in the three early primary states. He’s built important relationships with donors, as well as political, policy and grassroots leaders that other candidates have been courting for half a decade.

    High-level staff departures early in a presidential campaign are generally not seen as a good thing, but thus far, Wiles is the only known departure from Huntsman’s team. (Another staffer recently took a leave for personal reasons.)

    The campaign did not expound on the reason for Wiles’s departure. Weaver said the campaign is simply shifting gears.

    “Now the campaign is moving into phase two, which will be more aggressive from a messaging and tactical standpoint, and Matt is prepared to take that on,” Weaver said.

    Huntsman, who officially got into the presidential race about a month ago, has yet to catch on in the polls, but has assembled a team of well-regarded political minds, many who guided Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2008 campaign, including Weaver and David.

  41. creolechild says:

    Continuing the fallout (or the detonations) from the Phone Hacking/Bribery/Influence peddling scandal currently engulfing Britain (and soon appearing at a hearing room near you), comes an appearance by Prime Minister David Cameron to an emergency session of Parliament, cutting short his visit to South Africa in order to attempt quelling of a growing concern in the Government.

    What did he know and when did he know it? Hard to say at the moment. How cozy was his relationship with disgraced former editor of News Of The World and Communications Director Andy Coulson? How much influence has been given with relation to the proposed BskyB takeover? Cameron, along similar lines to the Murdoch’s and Brooks, gives a hearty “I knew nothing” when asked repeatedly and at times contentiously. Prior to this appearance Cameron pointed to Coulson as a good and trusted friend. On this particular day, Coulson was reduced to the role of Anathema and Cameron was twisting himself in knots to make a point.


    Floorgraphics claimed in a lawsuit that News America Marketing stole business from the company by hacking into Floorgraphics website between October 2003 to January 2004. The company agreed to dismiss the case after receiving a $29.5 million payment from News America Marketing. A lawyer for News America Marketing admitted during that trial that someone hacked into Floorgraphics website “through a firewall at News America Marketing headquarters,” but that the company did not know who did it.


  42. Allen West refuses to apologize

  43. creolechild says:

    Here’s some much needed comic relief for the day from *yours truly* who couldn’t name any books or magazines that she reads on a regular basis. Need I say more…

    CBN aired for the first time Wednesday clips of an earlier interview where former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin explained that she just wants to help the mainstream media.

    “Much of the mainstream media is already becoming so irrelevant because there is not balance, there is, in many cases, David, there is not truth,” she told CBN’s David Brody. “I know that firsthand. I lived it every day.”

    “And what would give me great joy is if what would become irrelevant is just the untruthful, the misreporting out there. I want the mainstream media — and I’ve said this for a couple of years now — I want to help ’em. I have a journalism degree. That is what I studied. I understand that this cornerstone of our democracy is a free press, is sound journalism. I want to help them build back their reputation and allow Americans to be able to trust what it is that they are reporting. We are so far from being able to trust what so many of the mainstream media personalities, characters feed the American public that it scares me for our country. What would give me great joy is what would become irrelevant is the misreporting that comes out of the mainstream media.”

    Palin also shared her thoughts about Twitter. “I’m so thankful for the 140 characters, I’m going to use every single one of them. If you go back and you look at my tweets for the most part, it’s 140 characters on the nose. I want that space,” she said. [Tee hee hee…bet you do since 140 characters pretty much sums up everything you know!]

    “We’ve been griping about it for years in the world of media, that a politician, any person cannot get a real idea across in a ten-second soundbite. Why do you think we can get anything across in 140 characters? A lot of times, our tweets just create more confusion and more problems than they provide solutions.”

    Dave N.: Palin has trotted out this line previously, and I commented on it back then: A word about Sarah Palin’s journalism degree: She and I graduated from the same school, the University of Idaho. (She arrived at the school a year after I graduated.) The difference is that when I attended there, I was highly active in the communications community, and was editor of the school paper for a year. Sarah Palin, in contrast, never even wrote a story for the Argonaut, let alone for the J school’s other chief outlet, the UI News Bureau; no one at the school’s TV station remembers her or has any record of her doing work there. Indeed, the professor who signed her degree barely remembers her, as she was one of those students who simply showed up for class, got a grade, and went home.

    Given that kind of background, Palin was lucky to even get a shot at sports reporting for a small Alaska TV station, which was the extent of her actual experience as a journalist. So it hasn’t been surprising to watch Palin attack the “lamestream media”, because she is obviously someone whose understanding of modern communications is eggshell-thin, and whose insights are about as deep as Bristol Bay at a minus-5 tide. The idea that this woman considers herself capable of reforming the media is enough to give any professional journalist the shudders.

  44. West: Wasserman Schultz And Dems Attack Me Because I’m A Black Conservative (AUDIO

    Rep. Allen West (R-FL) is now making the rounds of the right-wing talk radio circuit, in the wake of his e-mail to DNC Chair and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), in which he declared that she has supposedly “proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!” His message for the GOP base: Liberals hate African-American conservatives like him for leaving their “21st-century plantation.”

    West appeared Wednesday evening on the Mark Levin radio show, and criticized Wasserman Schultz for, among other things, her remarks against his vote on the House Republicans’ budget proposal (for which he sent the e-mail), and for having organized a protest outside his campaign headquarters during the 2010 campaign in which he was accused of sexism. No mention was made during the interview about the conflicting reports that he claimed to have apologized, though both his own office and Wasserman Schultz say he has not.

    “The thing that really most aggravates me is that there is this double standard, in that the people on the hard left can continue to attack conservatives and especially minority conservatives, and female conservatives,” said West. “But yet when all of a sudden you stand up and you say that you will not tolerate this anymore, then they claim to be a victim — which I find just absolutely laughable.”

  45. creolechild says:

    Building bike paths alone will not get people out of their cars in the U.S. and onto bicycles. To create a thriving bike culture in America’s cities, people must begin to view bicycling as Europeans do — not just as a way of exercising, but as a serious form of urban mass transportation.

    – Elisabeth Rosenthal, in a Yale360 re-post

    This spring, curiosity propelled me onto a New York City subway bound for Prospect Park West in Brooklyn, where a new bike path along the edge of Brooklyn’s largest park had angry residents worked up into a lather. For those not familiar with the territory, Park Slope is one of New York City’s most prosperous and progressive neighborhoods, home to the famed Park Slope Food Cooperative and liberal U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. And yet… the creation of a simple green bike path — the kind that edges dozens of streets in Barcelona or Paris or Copenhagen — at the expense of one lane of car traffic and a few parking spaces evinced the kind of venom normally reserved here for The Tea Party.

    I expected to find a diversity of opinion about the bike path, which was created last year by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. I did not. Almost everyone I interviewed began with the following introduction: “Don’t get me wrong I love bikes, I ride all the time…” and then segued into a barrage of objections: The path was a hazard for old people and mothers with baby strollers crossing to enter the park. Riders pedaled too fast. They should just ride inside the park. The loss of a lane made parking worse and traffic slower. It made it harder to stop to drop kids at school. It was unsightly.


  46. @Nathan Empsall: Allen West says reason women don’t like it when he says “shut up” & calls them “vile” is because he’s black.

  47. creolechild says:

    The New York Times reports that Wall Street folks are really, truly, finally starting to come to grips with the fact that Republican lunatics in Congress might actually refuse to raise the debt ceiling on August 2nd:

    Even though many on Wall Street believe that a default remains unlikely, the financial markets are starting to become agitated. Volatility in stocks has soared, and some investors say stock prices are falling because a United States default could severely raise companies’ costs of doing business. In the Treasury market, investors are starting to sell, fearing that the government will not make good on some interest payments that will be due next month. And complex financial instruments that will pay out if the United States defaults have become twice as expensive to buy as they were at the start of the year.

    ….“The metaphor is a pile of sand,” said Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “You keep putting one piece of sand on the pile, nothing happens, and then, all of the sudden it just caves.” Wall Street helped elect ’em, and only now are they finally figuring out what they got themselves into. Who knows? If the GOP wackos really do run the train off the cliff, maybe rich people will finally figure out that paying a few more percentage points in income taxes isn’t such a high price to pay for sanity after all.


  48. creolechild says:

    Herman Cain: Austerity for You, Ritz Carlton for Me

    GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain wants you to believe that he is a dyed-in-the-wool fiscal conservative and a savvy businessman who can rescue a nation drowning in red ink. Cain points to his years in Corporate America, where he rescued companies such as Godfather’s Pizza that were hemorrhaging cash and employees, as proof of his business bona fides. “Serious but responsible belt tightening can save businesses,” his website reads, “and it can also save our country with the right leadership.” That message, however, is on a collision course with Cain’s own spending habits, which include $900-a-night hotels, five-figure private jet rides, and chauffeurs awaiting him when he arrives in the next city on his uphill climb toward the White House.

    A Mother Jones analysis of the latest federal campaign filings found that Cain’s presidential committee, Friends of Herman Cain, spent $448,000 on air travel in the first half of 2011. That comes out to nearly $2,500 a day. And when it came to hotels, Cain’s operation doled out nearly $100,000 in the first half of the year—or $538 a day—on some of swankiest hotels in America.

    Cain has spent less than his biggest rivals this election cycle—his $2.1 million trails Tim Pawlenty’s $2.5 million and Mitt Romney’s $5.6 million. But what separates Pawlenty and Romney is that their campaigns spend within their means, raising far more—Romney $17.1 million and Pawlenty $4 million—than they spend. Cain, on the other hand, contradicts his own fiscal responsibility message: his spending has outpaced his fundraising haul by nearly $43,000. (He’s in the black if you include the $500,000 loan Cain made to his campaign in his haul.)


    Read more:

  49. creolechild says:

    This goes out to the Tavis Smileys and Cornel Wests in the world, and all others afflicted with the disease of fame, fortune, and power who have access to public platforms and are not invested in finding solutions to problems but creating them–whether through cable TV, the Internet, or the radio. Thank you, Norbrook for providing food for thought!

    Fame, Fortune, and Power

    A little over 20 years ago I wrote a monthly column for a magazine, one of the prestigious ones in that field, which had subscribers around the world. My name was at the top of the page, along with my picture, and I even got paid for it. That sounds impressive, doesn’t it? I was famous! World-wide recognition, money, etc., etc., etc. The reality was that maybe (being extremely generous) 6000 people read my column, and what I got paid amounted to about an hour’s pay at my real job. The magazine was a hobby magazine, covering a sub-specialty in the hobby. All that really meant was that people who read it knew who I was, but in terms of the much larger hobby, let alone the rest of the world, I was unknown. In looking around at various “progressive” blogs, and in particular their owners, I get the impression that their perception doesn’t match reality. That is, much of their “rage” about the “lack of purity” on the part of Democrats (and particularly the President) is more due to the fact that the fame, fortune and influence they expected didn’t come to them.

    There have been a number of times when the attitude they have seems to be “Don’t you know who I am?“ That is, they act as if politicians should instantly “snap to” because of their fame. They run X blog site, which has Y thousands of readers every day! They are a major force in the blogosphere, someone whose site is an opinion leader! They raised tens of thousands of dollars, they even have their very own PAC. How could the Party ignore them, when they represent the base of the Party?

    They looked at their site traffic, they read the glowing comments they got from their readers and other bloggers, at the money their PACs were pulling in, and what the donation tallies for what they endorsed. All of which led these blog owners to fool themselves. They knew that if Democrats took over the White House and Congress, they were major players who were responsible for it. They were going to get a seat at the table for sure. Members of Congress and the Administration would be contacting them on a regular basis, to get their opinions, support and blessings. Any legislation they wanted was going to be fast-tracked through. They were going to be regular guests on all the news shows, interviewed for their opinion by newspapers and magazines, their books would be selling like hot-cakes, and they’d be in demand as speakers. Life was going to be good for them.

    The reality is something quite different. Fame in the blog world does not mean fame in the real world. Just as I was “famous” in a very limited circle, which didn’t mean much beyond that, so it is with them. I’ve been to Party functions. The number of people there who have heard of them turns out to be … not many. Mentioning their names or their web sites just draws a blank look from the person you mention it to, far more often than not. I know that because I’ve had that experience on a number of occasions. It’s actually easy to understand if you look at the math.

    Let’s say that this blog was drawing 700,000 unique visitors a day, who return each day to see what I’ve written. That number would put me in the upper levels of most web site rankings. Obviously I’d be “famous,” and that many readers would make me a “force to be reckoned with” in the Democratic Party, right? Well, that actually amounts to about 1 % of all Democrats, assuming that all my readers are Democrats. That means that even if I had one of the most popular blogs on the Internet, 99% of the people in my own political party would have absolutely no idea of who I was. I happen to know that the “big names” in the blog world don’t have anywhere near that number of readers. So many of the “famous” blog owners fame is limited to a small group of people. It’s like being the top-selling recording artist in Zambia. It means that in Zambia, you’re a big deal, but to the rest of the world you’re an unknown.

    What about the political action committees they run, and the fundraising they did? Wouldn’t that make them someone to take into account? It might, except that you have to look at what they’re actually raising, and what those PAC’s are doing. Compare their fundraising as a percentage of the total funds that politicians raise, and it turns out to be … a fairly small percentage. Their PAC’s, in the overall scheme of things, turn out to be very minor players, and looking at the FEC reports they’re required to file, it turns out that most of the money they raise gets spent on … themselves. If you’re talking the ability to run major advertising campaigns, someone who politicians know can swing major funding and campaign workers into a race, they’ve never demonstrated they’re able to do that. That doesn’t stop them from claiming credit for any time something like that happens if they’re in the vicinity. It’s like bragging about the national championship your school won when you were a 5′th string wide receiver. Yes, you were on the team, but your actual contribution to that record was that you … were on the team.

    Well, what about voting blocks? If there are tens of thousands of readers who are voting a certain way because of what they say, that counts, right? Not really. First off, “tens of thousands,” spread over a country amounts to miniscule fractions. Secondly, many of their readers are concentrated in various solidly blue areas. If I hold a gathering of them in those areas, I might attract a few hundred people. If I were to do the same thing around here, I’d get … maybe … 5 people. In terms of mobilizing voters, doing the “grunt work” of campaigns, funding and helping local parties, they’re not much in evidence. For all their posturing about voting, and making various politicians “pay a price” for crossing them, they’ve been unable to deliver on that.

    Their picture of their own standing wasn’t reality. Politicians of all stripes are very good at counting, and knowing who matters. In real terms, the blog site owners are minor players at best. Hence, the reason that what they expected to happen didn’t. Rather than accept that, and look at what they’d need to do to get to a point where have real influence, they decided that the politicians didn’t “get it,” and proceeded to attack them. Frustration (thus getting them called “the frustrati”) and anger about not getting “their due respect,” and not being admitted into the inner circles they thought they deserved led to their lashing out. Which only served to drive away not just the politicians they wanted to influence, but many of their previous supporters.

    Now here’s the funny thing about my tale of being “famous.” I actually did have a lot of influence and power in the hobby, but it had nothing to do with my being a columnist. I wasn’t trying to gain influence, or demanding it. It just naturally flowed from from spending years doing something. I raised money for various charities the hobby supported. I organized and worked at the shows. I belonged to clubs, served as an officer of some of them, put on educational programs, edited newsletters, lent a hand whenever needed, and even provided transportation to those who needed it. I developed the reputation as one of those “solid workers” that every group wants, the person who would always pitch in and help. Over time, I made a lot of connections, of people I could call on. No one was more surprised than I was to find out that made me a very influential person.

    The lesson is that fame does not give you influence or power. That’s just as true in a politics as it is in a hobby. Being the person who can be relied on to “get things done,” who shows up and works, helps out, and can deliver on their promises does. The “big name” bloggers who are solidly on the purity kick are complaining because they’re being ignored? That’s because they’re not really that famous, they haven’t done the work it takes on the ground – and no, blogging isn’t it – and they most certainly haven’t demonstrated any capability of delivering on their threats or promises. They can scream all they want about it, but it doesn’t change it. You see, the answer to their question “don’t you know who I am?” is “No, not a clue. Never heard of you.” And it drives them nuts.

  50. Ametia says:

    Breaking News Alert: FEC rules that John Edwards presidential campaign must repay $2 million in matching funds
    July 21, 2011 11:43:46 AM

    The Federal Election Commission says former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards’ 2008 presidential campaign should repay the U.S. Treasury $2.3 million.

    The commission on Thursday decided to order the repayment. Federal auditors said all but about $200,000 of the total came from federal matching funds the Edwards campaign received.

    The campaign got nearly $13 million in matching funds. Edwards dropped out of the race Jan. 30, 2008.

  51. rikyrah says:

    July 21, 2011
    Different eras, same arrogance
    This morning, while reclining on the Lusitania’s deck, Fareed Zakaria stages a philosophical seminar:

    In the standoff over the debt crisis, it’s easy to point the finger at the Tea Party…. But there have often been strong ideological movements in American politics, represented by politicians such as William Jennings Bryan, Barry Goldwater and George McGovern. Yet between elections, people still found ways to compromise and govern. What has steadily changed over the past three or four decades is not so much the ideological intensity (though it has grown) but the structure of politics, making it more beholden to narrow, specialized interests — including ideological ones — rather than broader national ones.

    Note the chronological launch of Zakaria’s historical instruction: postbellum, broadly, with Bryan. Altogether omitted were those three score and ten years of antebellum tumult driven by the clashing, intensifying ideologies of slavocracy and free labor. True, wrenching compromises were reached between elections, but each compromise was but a knowing postponement of an immense national fireball, which finally and ineluctably ignited in 1861.

    Bryan was an opportunistic hick, and McGovern a forgivable hiccup, but Barry Goldwater uncompromisingly picked up where the Old South left off: burnishing the ancient libertarian creed of states’ rights as well as those of the “right” people, both ideologically and pigmentationally. In time he matured politically and grew to regret his Rednecked Lordship of Creation, ca. early 1960s, however there’s no denying — nor did Goldwater bother — the hideously direct and incestuous lineage of Goldwaterism, the New Right, Reaganism, Gingrichism, W.-ism and Tea Partyism.

    And binding them all is a rough approximation not of the Founding Fathers’ contentious pluralism, but of John C. Calhounism, in which an ideologically immovable and spiritually corrupt minority may, whenever it pleases, flip higher civilization the finger, with impunity.

    Opposite Zakaria, E.J. Dionne mirrors my sentiment:

    T]he Tea Party’s legions are not interested in governing, at least as governing is normally understood in a democracy with separated powers. They believe that because the Republicans won one house of Congress in one election, they have a mandate to do whatever the right wing wants.

    For the Old South a numerical balance in the U.S. Senate permitted its effective dictation of national governance — and to hell with separated powers and presidential authority, such as it was, and evolving popular will and human rights and, well, you name it; for the Tea Party, it’s the U.S. House.

    Different eras, same arrogance.

  52. rikyrah says:

    I’ll say it.



    Rep. West is Confused and Paranoid
    by BooMan
    Thu Jul 21st, 2011 at 11:10:06 AM EST

    Yesterday, we discussed the brouhaha between southern Florida representatives Allen West (R) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D). Rep. West was offended that Rep. Wasserman Schultz implicitly criticized him on the House floor for endorsing a plan that would change Medicare in a way that would cost his elderly constituents at least $6,000 a year in out of pocket medical expenses. Rep. West sent an email to Ms. Wasserman Schultz in which he called her “the most vile, unprofessional ,and despicable member of the US House of Representatives.” He also copied several other people on the email, including Eric Cantor and Nancy Pelosi.

    Now Rep. West is going on hate radio and claiming that anyone who thinks he overreacted is using a double standard and motivated by racial considerations.

    The thing that really most aggravates me is that there is this double standard, in that the people on the hard left can continue to attack conservatives and especially minority conservatives, and female conservatives,” said West. “But yet when all of a sudden you stand up and you say that you will not tolerate this anymore, then they claim to be a victim — which I find just absolutely laughable.”…

    …”I grew up in the inner city, strong values, came from a strong military family and background,” West continues. “What we do is we totally invalidate the liberal social welfare policies and programs. And you know, I’m the threat because I’m the guy that got off their 21st-century plantation, and they cannot afford to have a strong voice such as mine out there, reverberating and resonating across this country.”

    While it is nice that Rep. West was able to have a military career (even if it ended in dishonor and disgrace) and get himself elected to Congress, people are not criticizing him because his example of success invalidates social welfare policies. Rep. Wasserman Schultz was perplexed that a politician who serves a district that is basically a giant retirement community would think it was a good idea to support a bill that would increase his constituents medical costs by at least $6,000 a year. So, that’s the first thing he was criticized about. The second thing he’s being criticized about is his decision to send out an intemperate email which was clearly a total overreaction to a legitimate question.

    • Ametia says:

      No go, West; YOU ARE STILL ON deh MASSA 21st PLANTATION. When you spew the vileness, disrepectful nonsense about a female collegue who merely telsl the truth as she sees it, you’re not FREE.

      You’re just doing teh GOP’s bidding of attacking a Deomcratic women with a strong voice. You can play the race card all you like, but it is you who is being played, negro!

    • Now Rep. West is going on hate radio and claiming that anyone who thinks he overreacted is using a double standard and motivated by racial considerations.

      No, West. This is not about your race. DWS hanked your jewels and rendered you impotent. DWS told the truth about your bs and what you endorsed. So now you’re mad? Racial considerations, my ass!

  53. rikyrah says:

    Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News ran ‘black ops’ department, former executive claims
    Dan Cooper, who helped launch Fox News as managing editor in 1996, said that a “brain room” carried out “counter intelligence” on the channel’s enemies from its New York headquarters.

    He was threatened after it found out he spoke to a reporter, he claimed.

    Another former senior executive said the channel ran a spying network on staff, reading their emails and making them “feel they were being watched”.

    The channel, which has come under pressure amid allegations that outlets owned by Mr Murdoch might have attempted to hack the voicemail messages of September 11 victims, firmly denies all the allegations.

    Mr Cooper, who left Fox News soon after its launch, provided a quote for a 1997 article about Roger Ailes, Fox News’s president, by the journalist David Brock in New York magazine.

  54. rikyrah says:

    Florida GOP Rejects Money To Fight Child Abuse And Neglect
    By Guest Blogger on Jul 20, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    In a partisan stand against the Affordable Care Act, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) and GOP lawmakers are turning away much-needed federal funds aimed at preventing child abuse and neglect. According to Linda Merrell of the Florida Child Healthcare Coalition, the state has missed out on up to $52 million in federal funding — $3.4 million of which Scott turned down this year and millions more in grants available under Section 2951 of the Affordable Care Act for home health visits.

    The money is sorely needed. In 2010, the state legislature cut a staggering 43 percent of the budget for its Healthy Families Florida program, which provides home visitation services to both expecting parents and parents with newborn children in order to prevent future instances of abuse. As a result, Healthy Families was forced to scale back, dropping services for 5,800 children in 3,500 high-risk families.

    But according to the annual study by the State Committee Child Abuse Death Review Committee, Florida should be beefing up its support of Healthy Families Florida to save its children, not cut its funding. After reviewing the deaths of 197 children statewide due to abuse and neglect, the committee offered its recommendations to Scott and the state legislature:

    “#2 Fully Fund Healthy Families Florida – Support the Department of Children and Families 2011-12 Legislative Budget Request to restore Healthy Families Florida funding to the 2009-10 funding level…

    With scarce resources, it is even more critical that the Governor and Legislature prioritize funding for programs and services that show consistent positive results and yield the greatest possible return for the recovery and future economic prosperity of Florida and its citizens. Healthy Families Florida, the state’s only nationally accredited, community-based home visiting program is one of these programs. […]

    Florida’s taxpayers pay an estimated $64,377 a year to care for an abused or neglected child, while Healthy Families Florida prevents the costs of child abuse and neglect for only $1,671 a year per child, saving taxpayers millions of dollars.

    A rigorous five-year independent study and follow up study shows that Healthy Families prevents child abuse and neglect, keeping families together and children out of the child welfare system — 98 percent of the children served by Healthy Families are abuse free.”

    Even though this report landed on the desks of Walker, Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon (R), and Senate President Mike Haridopolos (R) on Jan. 10, 2011, the legislature voted this year to keep the Healthy Families budget at 2010′s depressed level.

    By refusing to provide, pursue, or even accept funding for child-abuse prevention programs, Scott and his GOP allies are sacrificing Florida’s children in order to cling to a partisan talking point.

  55. rikyrah says:

    July 21, 2011 8:30 AM

    Ripple effects

    By Steve Benen

    When we think about what could happen on Aug. 3 if congressional Republicans refuse to raise the debt ceiling, we tend to think about a crisis at the federal level, a national economic disaster, Wall Street turmoil, and roiling international markets.

    But it’s worth appreciating the ripple effect of a disaster like this one.

    The U.S. Conference of Mayors is convening this week and the participants are pleading with Congress to do the right thing. ThinkProgress connected yesterday with the Republican mayor of Mesa, Arizona, who said failure on this at the federal level would severely affect local government.

    And why is that? Ezra Klein had a good piece on this the other day.

    The first to fall will be “directly linked” debt. These are bonds that rely on payments from the federal government. Naomi Richman, a managing director in Moody’s Public Finance division, puts it bluntly: “There are certain kinds of municipal bonds that are directly reliant on Treasury paying or some other direct payment,” she says. “If those bonds don’t receive their payment, they have no other source of revenue.” So down they go.

    Then there’s the “indirectly linked” debt. That’s debt from state government, local governments, hospitals, universities and other institutions that rely, in some way or another, on payments from the federal government. If Medicaid stops paying its bills, all the hospitals that rely on Medicaid’s payments become less creditworthy. If we stop funding Pell grants, then all the universities that enroll students who pay using financial aid become less creditworthy. And since the federal government passes one-fifth of its revenues through to the states, and the states pass those revenues through to cities, if the federal government stops paying its bills, all states and all cities are suddenly in worse financial shape, which will make it harder for them to get loans.

    And then there’s everything else. Mortgages. Credit cards. Loans that businesses take out to expand. Much of the debt in the American economy, and in fact globally, is “benchmarked” to Treasury debt.

    The entire credit infrastructure is premised on the notion that U.S. Treasuries are the safest possible investment — the full and faith and credit of the United States is impervious, and the nation’s credit rating is the best bet on the planet.

    Or it was, right up until Americans thought it was a good idea to give confused Republican extremists control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

    As Ezra noted in his piece, “If America’s credit rating falls, it’s taking a lot more than just Treasury securities with it.”

    If you’re wondering why someone hasn’t told congressional Republicans about this, many have tried. There have been countless briefings in which this has been explained in great detail, by all kinds of officials.

    But it doesn’t seem to matter. As Time reported this week, “Democrats are clearly baffled by the challenge of persuading opponents who not only have a different set of priorities, but a different set of facts. ‘There’s a question about how much the facts matter to them,’ says a Democratic official. ‘And I don’t know what to do about that.’”

  56. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 05:34 PM ET, 07/20/2011
    The futility of Cut, Cap and Balance, cont’d
    By Ezra Klein
    On Monday, I posted a cute graphic that the Center for American Progress drew up showing how hard it would be to abide by the spending cap Republicans want to write into the Constitution, which is 18 percent of the previous year’s GDP. The post has attracted some criticism, but most of it, I think, is the product of not reading the Cut, Cap and Balance legislation (pdf) closely enough — which is, in itself, telling.

    Over at Reason Magazine, Nick Gillespie tags me for misunderstanding the proposed law, writing that it would “exempt interest on the debt, Medicare, Social Security, War on Terror spending, veteran’s health care benefits, and virtually everything else in the budget,” and only limit spending to 19.9 percent of GDP. That’s not quite right.

    As far as I can tell, his confusion stems from the fact that the legislation includes two parts: First, a law limiting federal spending, and second, a constitutional amendment limiting federal spending. He’s looking at the limits in the law. I’m looking at the limits in the constitutional amendment.

    Until one of those constitutional amendments, or some variant of them, clears Congress, the debt ceiling can’t be lifted. And there are no exemptions for Medicare, Social Security, or anything else in either proposed amendment.

    The other objection came because I said that we’ve not been anywhere near 18 percent of the previous year’s GDP since 1966. Gillespie responds by saying that “Bill Clinton’s final budget spent just 18.2 percent of GDP.” The Heritage Foundation made a similar point.

    But I didn’t say we hadn’t spent 18 percent of GDP since the 1960s. I said we hadn’t spent 18 percent of the previous year’s GDP since the 1960s. That’s because S.J.Res.10 says we can’t spend more than “18 percent of the gross domestic product of the United States for the calendar year ending before the beginning of such fiscal year.”

    The reason they do that is clear enough: we don’t know what GDP will be in any given year until the year has ended, and you can’t set your budget as a percentage of a number you don’t actually know.

    But 18 percent of last year’s GDP is not the same as 18 percent of GDP. Because the economy and the population grow each year, GDP grows each year. If you use current estimates, 18 percent of last year’s GDP is likely to be something like 16.7 percent of this year’s GDP. The last year we cleared that bar was 1956. In 1965 and 1966, however, we were in the 17 percent range, which I considered close enough to count as “the last time we were anywhere near there.”

    It’s telling, I think, that the Cut, Cap and Balance proposal is much more extreme than most conservatives realize. These are pretty dramatic changes to want to make to both the Constitution and the American state, and it’s not clear to me that many of their proponents really understand them, or their implications. (Gillespie, I should say, is skeptical of the law, though only because he thinks that it’s much weaker than it actually is.)

    All that said, I think the attempt to point to Clinton’s final budget is actually telling. Ronald Reagan never saw spending fall below 21 percent of GDP. Aside from his first year, when it was still really Clinton’s economy, George W. Bush never got below 19 percent. So Republican control isn’t capable of getting anywhere near the 16.7 percent that the proposed amendment lays out. There’s no evidence that ideology, or a desire to restrain spending, can actually get you where this amendment would force you to go.

    The reason Clinton got to 18.2 percent in 2000 is that we’d just experience the longest and most dramatic peacetime boom in recent American history. In other words, we didn’t get to 18.2 percent because spending was so low, but because GDP was so high. But we can’t set budgetary rules based on the best economy we’ve seen in decades. If we’re going to set fiscal rules, they have to use targets that we can reach during good economiers and bad ones. And given that our economy doesn’t look likely to enter into a permanent boom, and demographics are in fact going to require higher federal spending, the targets in this legislation are completely unrealistic, and would likely lead to more constitutional crises than fiscal discipline. Pointing to Clinton’s final year in office only underscores that.

    Title III of the Cut, Cap and Balance legislation says the debt ceiling can’t be lifted until Congress passes a constitutional amendment balancing the budget, capping spending and imposing a supermajority for tax increases. It specifically mentions S.J.Res.10, which is the constitutional amendment introduced in the Senate and supported by every Senate Republican, and the one whose numbers I’m using. It also mentions H.J.Res.1.RH, which appears to include the same limits.

  57. creolechild says:

    UPDATE ~

    DOJ Charges Pakistani Americans With Conspiracy

    2011 hasn’t exactly been a banner year for US-Pakistan relations. Now comes this: on Tuesday, the Department of Justice charged two US citizens with participating in a long-running conspiracy to act as agents of the Pakistani government in the United States.

    The DOJ alleges that Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai and Zaheer Ahmad have spent over two decades working as agents of a foreign entity (in this case, Pakistan) without registering as required under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). According to an affidavit filed in federal court on Tuesday, Fai serves as the director of the Washington, DC-based Kashmiri American Council (KAC), an NGO that supposedly lobbies Congress on the issue of self-determination for the region. The group’s purported aim was to target members of Congress and draw media attention to the issue of the Kashmir, the disputed region between India and Pakistan that has been wracked by bloody violence and served as a hotbed for insurgency for decades. But the US government doesn’t buy that.

    The DOJ claims that KAC is nothing more than a front group for the Pakistani government and its spy service, the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI). Witnesses told investigators that, since the mid-1990s, KAC has helped launder some $4 million through Fai to lobby for Pakistani interests. That money, the affidavit alleges, was transferred to Fai via Ahmad and his networks in Pakistan. ProPublica reports that Fai himself has donated $23,000 to congressional candidates, including $7,500 to Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), and $2,000 to Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Penn.), Both men are frequent critics of India’s Kashmir policy. (The DOJ says there’s no evidence that any elected officials who received money from Fai or KAC knew that it came from Pakistan.)


    Read more:

  58. Ametia says:

    A higher calling
    Pastors urge W.H. to protect poor
    By ABBY PHILLIP | 07/20/11 6:36 PM Updated: 07/20/11 6:37 PM

    President Obama and senior members of his staff met with eight religious leaders at the White House on Wednesday to discuss protecting programs for the poor and vulnerable in deficit reduction and debt ceiling negotiations.

    The meeting occurred in the Roosevelt Room at 1:30 p.m., just before Obama met with Democratic Senate and House leaders about the debt ceiling and deficit-reduction talks. Obama stayed for 40 minutes of the hour-long session, according to Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners, a progressive evangelical organization.

    The pastors represent a coalition of evangelical, progressive, Catholic and other religious denominations that have launched an initiative called “Circle of Protection,” aimed at preserving social programs like food and nutrition assistance.

    According to Wallis, the attendees discussed the direction of deficit negations and participated in prayer and scripture reading.

  59. Cenk Uygur On Leaving MSNBC: Network Told Me To ‘Tone It Down,’ Didn’t Want To ‘Challenge Power’ (VIDEO)

    Cenk Uygur–the progressive online talk show host whose brief tenure as an MSNBC anchor ended on Wednesday–tore into the network in a lengthy monologue on Wednesday night, saying he had turned down a smaller role on MSNBC because he had been told he was too combative towards “those in power.”

    Uygur had been the 6 PM host the network since January. But that role came to an end on Wednesday, as the network announced that he would not be continuing. Now, every indication is that Al Sharpton will become the new 6 PM host. Sharpton has been guest hosting in the slot for the past few weeks, and his numbers have apparently improved on Uygur’s.

    Speaking on his “Young Turks” show, Uygur said that, though the ratings for his show had been satisfying MSNBC executives, his “tone” had not. According to his version of events, his departure from the network was the culmination of a lnegthy struggle with MSNBC management who wanted him to be more buttoned down.

    Uygur said that, in April, MSNBC president Phil Griffin called him in for a talk. Griffin allegedly told him that “people in Washington” were concerned with his tone on the show.

    “‘Outsiders are cool, but we’re the establishment,'” Griffin said, according to Uygur, who said he was also told to book more Republicans on the show. He claimed to have been stunned by the conversation, and said he ignored Griffin’s advice.

    Though his ratings increased, Uygur said that, a couple of weeks ago, he was informed that he would not be getting the permanent slot at 6 PM, but was instead offered a smaller contributor role for twice the salary. He said he turned it down because, in his words, he did not want to work at a place “that didn’t want to challenge power.”

    For his part, Griffin denied that anyone had ever tried to censor Uygur or control the content of his show. He told the New York Times on Wednesday that he had offered Uygur a weekend show, and that the “people in Washington” he had referred to were not people in the government, but MSNBC producers who said Uygur’s feisty attitude was making it hard for them to book guests. (Uygur is sticking by his version of events.)

    • creolechild says:

      I’m inclined to believe Griffin’s version simply because this is the same problem that Olbermann had–problems with management–not with “people in Washington.” Just sayin’…something doesn’t add up with Cenk’s version especially since the new management at MSNBC is exactly “Obama friendly.”

    • opulent says:

      Liar, Liar, Pants on FIRE!!

  60. creolechild says:

    The French-flagged ship, Dignité – al Karama, was halted by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) en route to the shores of Gaza this morning. The small vessel was boarded and reportedly towed to the Israeli port of Ashdod. There were 16 people on the boat, with French, Greek, Tunisian, Canadian and Swedish passengers among them. As coalition organizers stated, “It is now the representative of the entire Freedom Flotilla II.” The ten passengers, three crew and three journalists, including the respected Israeli journalist Amira Hass, Greek coalition representative Vangelis Pissias, al-Jazeera Television and a French member of Parliament, were in frequent contact with land teams until being cut off by Israeli forces. The boat was stopped while still in international waters and before entering Gazan waters (let alone Israeli waters, which the flotilla has never planned to enter).

    It became the sole representative of the flotilla to escape the clutches of the Greek Coast Guard when it was able to depart from the island of Kastelorizo late Saturday and head toward Port Said, Egypt on Monday. The ship did not dock in Egypt (for fear of being trapped by yet another government bowing to US-Israeli pressure), but rather anchored in international waters off the Egyptian coast overnight – precluding the threat of another predawn raid like the IDF pulled last year – to set sail in the morning for Gaza. Before embarking on their final Tuesday morning run, the activists had previously sent messages from the Mediterranean exclaiming, “Morale here is like the sky and sea, very good…. Gaza, off we go, stay connected!!!”

    As Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon announced Monday, “If this boat is on its way to Gaza, which is a breach of international maritime law (sic) and tries a provocative act – yes, we shall intercept it … But I assure you we shall try our best to make those on board very comfortable.” Clearly, the Israeli government is still smarting from the public relations drubbing Tel Aviv suffered last year in the wake of its state murder of nine flotilla passengers. Yet, so incongruous was the promise to be gentle that it was difficult not to read it more as some sort of ironic threat. When a mafia don offers you tea and biscotti, do you relax?


  61. creolechild says:

    Yet another instance where GREED trumps the public’s physical well-being…

    Fracking at Drinking Water Source for 80,000 Pennsylvanians Raises Alarms

    Cynthia Walter, an ecologist at St. Vincent College outside Pittsburgh, gets a lot of emails from local wildlife enthusiasts asking about “this bird” or “that amphibian.” But one day last year she got an uncommon request to inspect the forest cover around the Beaver Run Reservoir via Google Earth. The 1,300-acre lake is the main source of drinking water for 80,000 residents in southwestern Pennsylvania. It also rests atop the enormous Marcellus Shale gas reserve.

    “Are those natural gas wells on the peninsulas?” she recalls the email sender asking.

    Immediately, Walter spotted a square of barren earth on the satellite map. Later she learned that a company called CNX Gas had drilled more than a dozen wells on that bald patch from two sprawling well pads, using a controversial technique known as horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, to release gas trapped in layers of shale rock deep underground. “I was kind of shocked. I’ve been on Beaver Run for 27 years and had no idea,” Walter said. Nor was she aware that over the past decade or so about 100 shallow natural gas wells had been drilled throughout the reservoir.


      • creolechild says:

        WOW! Please…please…someone correct me if I’m wrong. Is Cenk trying to push the theory that he decided to reject the job offer for his own show because “he felt pressure not to be too hard on the Obama administration” among other things?!!

        Pffftttt….GTFOH with that! Really, Cenk, is that the best you can do? It’s a well-established fact that ALL cable shows go after the President hard and with personal attacks, including MSNBC (looking at you Rach).

        So, stop the bullsh*t and just admit that you had lousy ratings AND Al Sharpton outperformed you. There I fixed it for you! But nice job on shaping the narrative so people will feel sorry for you and tune in…wherever you land!

      • Ametia says:

        LOL Thank you for fixing the Cenk lie, creolechild. I have nothing to add to the fix.

        CARRY ON! :-)

  62. creolechild says:

    Ever wonder why military recruiters have called, or are calling, you when you son is in the last years of high school? Wonder no more…and thank the Bush administration for the pleasure of recruiters having access to your child’s information. This needs to be stopped!

    The setting changes but the scene does not: Men and women in crisply pressed uniforms enter public high schools across the country and cajole the teenagers they meet into signing on the dotted line to serve Uncle Sam.

    Thanks to Section 9528 of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, recruiters from the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy have the same access to secondary school students as college recruiters or potential employers. This, in concert with mandatory Selective Service registration for all 18-year-old males and the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery [ASVAB] exam that is given to nearly three-quarters of a million high school juniors and seniors each year, has prompted many domestic peace activists to organize opposition to the militarization of youth. They advocate “truth-in-recruiting,” arguing that lofty promises made at the time of enlistment — extensive travel, scholarships or an easy route to U.S. citizenship — often fail to materialize once service begins.

    On The Issues Magazine –
    ©Elise Engler

    What’s more, these peace activists say that they are paying particular attention to female recruits, warning them of potential pitfalls: The risks associated with wartime service even in “non-combat” positions, as well as the too-common experience of sexual harassment and assault by unit supervisors and peers.


  63. 11 States Trying Really Hard to Keep Poor, Black, and Student Voters From Voting
    The 2012 election is closer than you think–and just in time, states are passing a host of new bills aimed at making it harder to vote.

    Across the country, new Republican governors have found the policies that they’re enacting are less popular than the promises on which they campaigned.

    Voters are experiencing extensive buyer’s remorse in state after state, but while Republicans maintain control, they’re doing everything in their power to consolidate their power. And one of the best ways to ensure future victories is to make sure voters who oppose you don’t make it to the polls in the first place.

    So under the pretense that “voter fraud” (which is basically nonexistent) is a serious problem, conservative governors and state legislatures are pushing through laws that severely limit access to the vote. from the elimination of same-day voter registration to unduly strict voter ID requirements. These may not sound like that big of a deal. But when it comes to on-the-ground voting patterns, they can substantially impact turnout.

    It just so happens that these laws overwhelmingly target groups that tend to vote for Democrats: students, people of color, lower-income folks, and urban residents.

    Elimination of early voting periods means longer lines at the polls–and more people turning away because they simply don’t have the time to wait. And imagine a mailing telling thousands of confused new voters that their ID requirements have changed, then imagine being challenged over your documents — that’s straight-up voter intimidation. Many people will stay home rather than risk embarrassment, or simply forget until the last minute that they haven’t updated their driver’s license.

    • Ametia says:

      11 states with 11 GOP governors who know that the poor, blacks, and the youth vote OVERWHELMINGLY for DEMOCRATS.

      Get out and get the IDs, and help man the polls. Remember the GOP can’t win votes, don’t want to embrace diversity, so they will steal, lie, and cheat to win power.

  64. Talking Points Memo:

    Ohio Poll: Obama Bests All Challengers, Brown Up

    As any political pundit worth his or her salt will tell you, you can’t win the presidency as a Republican, Democratic, Whig or Bull Moose party member without winning the state of Ohio. Right now, President Barack Obama leads all GOP challengers there.

  65. Ametia says:

    Tiger no longer working with Steve WilliamsAfter 12-year relationship, Woods wishes caddie great success

    Tiger Woods announced Wednesday that he and caddie Steve Williams will not be working together in the future.

    “I want to express my deepest gratitude to Stevie for all his help, but I think it’s time for a change,” Woods said. “Stevie is an outstanding caddie and a friend and has been instrumental in many of my accomplishments. I wish him great success in the future.”

    Presently, a replacement has not been named.

    Woods continues to rest and rehabilitate his left leg. No decision has been made when he will return to competition on the PGA Tour.

  66. creolechild says:

    I’ve gotten to know someone recently, someone who I’ve posted about here before. Her name is Sally Kohn, and I suggest you keep your eyes open for her work. She’s an up-and-comer, is more and more visible on the Tee Vee Machine, is a wonderful commentator, a nice person, sharp as a tack, and should– and probably will– have her own show.

    Please click over to her latest post. Here’s a tease:

    While big business whimpers about high statutory tax rates, the effective tax rate paid by most corporations in America is often far lower than most other developed nations (thanks to loopholes and accounting tricks). Meanwhile, corporate tax receipts accounted for 30 percent of US federal revenues in the mid-1950s. In 2009, they made up just 6.6 percent of federal revenue streams.[…]

    Imagine if Oprah had to regulate the television spectrum for herself and that at random, bandwidth pirates could intrude on broadcasts of the Oprah Winfrey Show because there was no Federal Communications Commission monitoring ownership of and access to the public airwaves. […]

    What if, when Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, he couldn’t get a patent from the United States government to protect his idea? Or for that matter, if there had been no laws to protect private property and no law enforcement, Bell might have had to sit up all night with a gun guarding his invention – instead of going out in the world and figuring out how to use it. […]

    [I]’s shameful that corporations like General Electric and Bank of America effectively pay no taxes.

  67. creolechild says:

    Tax Cut Watch: “All enemies of education [should be] kicked out of power.”

    Today’s L.A. Times letter to the editor, because our voices matter:

    UC targets

    Re “UC regents OK 9.6% tuition hike for this fall,” July 15

    Many articles about the continuously increasing tuition for our universities and colleges have been accompanied by pictures of students protesting administrators. They have the wrong targets. They should picket at the offices of every state legislator who has signed a pledge never to raise any tax. Their philosophy to “starve the beast” refers to our government.

    Not only should these students be protesting, they should register to vote and encourage their families to do likewise so that all enemies of education are kicked out of power.

    Emil Lawton

    Sherman Oaks

    Thank you, Emil Lawton and Gotta Laff!

  68. creolechild says:

    With the international Quartet unable to relaunch talks between Israel and the Palestinians and the Arab League throwing its support behind a Palestinian bid at the United Nations, the prospect of a vote on Palestinian statehood in September is looming large on the horizon. But Israel and its U.S. ally are undertaking a furious diplomatic effort to avert the vote or defeat it, with a potential U.S. Security Council veto hanging over the proceedings.

    Henry Siegman, the president of the U.S./Middle East Project (USMEP), a former member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the former 16-year head of the American Jewish Congress (AJC), spoke by phone to ThinkProgress to share his thoughts on how we got here, what the Palestinians are looking to get out of the U.N. and what the U.S. should do about it all.

    You’ve shown support for the Palestinian initiative to have their statehood recognized by the U.N. Do you think the U.S. should get out of the way and not cast a veto in the Security Council?

    I think the United States ought to do more than that, but at the very least ought to stop being the major obstructer to progress in the situation by getting out of the way. The reason the United States so far has not only been unable to make any progress and bring the situation forward, but so far has been the main player preventing any progress, is because the United States has taken the position that the only way to make any progress in this situation is a renewal of the peace process, getting [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu and [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas to talk to each other. If there is anything to be learned from years of disappointment and failure, it’s that the so-called peace process is simply a vehicle for Israel to pretend there is some potential for progress even as on the ground they are making it impossible because of their settlement project. There is a basic dishonesty here. The United States, instead of saying, “This is a fraud,” says instead Israel wants to see a two-state solution, and thus provides a cover for Israel to expand its settlements on the ground and make an outcome absolutely impossible. So it’s in that sense that I’m saying the U.S. is the major obstacle. Because for years the assumption has been that the United States is uniquely in a position to bring about an agreement because of its leverage with Israel. But it turns out the U.S. is captive to Israel’s plans.


  69. creolechild says:

    Last week, ThinkProgress raised questions about the timing of a $1 million contribution from News Corp. to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that came shortly before the Chamber launched a high-profile campaign to weaken the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) — the very same anti-bribery law that News Corp. could be prosecuted under in the United States. The Chamber quickly dismissed any links between the News Corp contribution and its campaign as “preposterous.”

    Today, however, it was revealed that News Corp. has retained Debevoise & Plimpton, the firm of former Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasey, the very same lawyer who just so happens to be leading the Chamber’s campaign to weaken the FCPA. The legal blog Main Justice, which has been covering the unfolding scandal, spoke to a legal expert about News Corp.’s new lawyers and writes: The reports linking the two “might have been described fairly speculative before today,” said Heather Lowe, legal counsel at Global Financial Integrity. But the decision to hire Mukasey “goes a long way toward shoring up that allegation,” Lowe said.

    Last month, Mukasey testified before Congress and suggested changes to the FCPA, some of which would appear to potentially benefit News Corp., such as limiting the liability of a parent company if it can prove it was not aware of its foreign subsidiary’s criminal activities. (Yesterday during testimony before Parliament, James and Rupert Murdoch both disclaimed any knowledge of the alleged criminal activities taking place at U.S.-based News Corps’ U.K. subsidiary, News International.) For Mukasey’s services fronting their campaign to weaken the anti-bribery law, the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) paid Debevoise & Plimpton, News Corp’s new firm, $10,000 during the first quarter of this year. Just two days ago, Debevoise & Plimpton reported that it had been paid another $110,000 by the Chamber’s ILR during the second quarter. The Chamber’s ILR has also engaged several other DC lobbying firms to assist it with its campaign.


  70. creolechild says:

    FTC Returns Nearly $108 Million to 450,000 Homeowners Overcharged by Countrywide for Loan Servicing Fees
    Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 11:30 am by Paddy

    Yeah, who needs government regulations and oversight? Free Market, FREE MARKET!!!

    The Federal Trade Commission is mailing 450,177 refund checks worth almost $108 million to homeowners who were allegedly overcharged by Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. As part of the FTC’s efforts to protect financially distressed homeowners, the FTC reached a settlement with Countrywide last year over allegations that the company collected excessive fees from borrowers who were struggling to keep their homes.

    “It’s astonishing that a single company could be responsible for overcharging more than 450,000 homeowners,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said. “Countrywide’s unconscionable behavior harmed American consumers on a massive scale and we are proud to be getting every single dollar back to hundreds of thousands of struggling consumers who can least afford to lose the money.”

    The FTC’s June 2010 settlement order required Countrywide, which is now owned by Bank of America, to pay $108 million to be used for refunds and barred the company from taking advantage of borrowers who have fallen behind on their payments. The refunds are being distributed to consumers whose loans were serviced by Countrywide between January 1, 2005, and July 1, 2008, and who were subject to the company’s allegedly unlawful practices.


    • creolechild says:

      In other banking-related news…

      Bank of America’s $8.8 Billion Black Eye


      Time to Settle Up

      During the second quarter, Bank of America agreed on amends with a wide-ranging group of investors that includes BlackRock (BLK), MetLife (MET), and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The deal covers mortgages that had soured after being packaged into bonds. Assuming the agreement gets approved, Bank of America would pay the group $8.5 billion.

      Additional mortgage-related settlements during the quarter helped plunge the bank’s Consumer Real Estate Services segment to a $14.5 billion loss.


      Read more: DailyFinance:

      TRANSLATION: Now, it’s time to pay up for all of the havoc that was wreaked on unsuspecting clients with your bogus subprime loan scams…

      • creolechild says:

        This is a re-post from yesterday for those who may have missed it…Should quiet those who are insisting that NOTHING is being done to hold the banks accountable for the foreclosure epidemic which they helped to create.

        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:

      • Ametia says:

        Did you hear this Wells Fargo news, Tavis?

      • opulent says:

        No, Ametia
        Tavis ain’t heard
        he on his ‘poverty tour’

        pimpin poverty

        All in the name of love for my brother(s) Tavis and West

      • Ametia says:


  71. creolechild says:

    11 States Trying Really Hard to Keep Poor, Black, and Student Voters From Voting
    The 2012 election is closer than you think–and just in time, states are passing a host of new bills aimed at making it harder to vote.

    Across the country, new Republican governors have found the policies that they’re enacting are less popular than the promises on which they campaigned. Voters are experiencing extensive buyer’s remorse in state after state, but while Republicans maintain control, they’re doing everything in their power to consolidate their power. And one of the best ways to ensure future victories is to make sure voters who oppose you don’t make it to the polls in the first place.

    So under the pretense that “voter fraud” (which is basically nonexistent) is a serious problem, conservative governors and state legislatures are pushing through laws that severely limit access to the vote. from the elimination of same-day voter registration to unduly strict voter ID requirements. These may not sound like that big of a deal. But when it comes to on-the-ground voting patterns, they can substantially impact turnout.

    It just so happens that these laws overwhelmingly target groups that tend to vote for Democrats: students, people of color, lower-income folks, and urban residents. Elimination of early voting periods means longer lines at the polls–and more people turning away because they simply don’t have the time to wait. And imagine a mailing telling thousands of confused new voters that their ID requirements have changed, then imagine being challenged over your documents — that’s straight-up voter intimidation. Many people will stay home rather than risk embarrassment, or simply forget until the last minute that they haven’t updated their driver’s license.


    Read more:

  72. rikyrah says:

    Gov. Pat Quinn forced to provide pay raises
    The State Column | Staff | Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    Illinois governor Pat Quinn lost his battle to withhold pay raises for state employees Tuesday, when an arbitrator says Mr. Quinn violated a union contract with nearly 30,000 state workers by refusing to give them pay raises July 1.

    The announcement comes just weeks after Mr. Quinn said he had no choice but to stop the pay hikes from going into effect on July 1 because Illinois lawmakers did not set aside enough money to pay for the raises and keep government operating for an entire year.

    Read more:

  73. rikyrah says:

    Recalling Scott Walker — The Other Big Story For 2012?

    Wisconsin has been in the grips of one political battle after another, ever since the Republican wave of 2010 was followed up by Gov. Scott Walker’s legislation to eliminate most rights for public employee unions. The state Senate could potentially flip from Republican to Democrat in August, due to the recall elections called in response. But after that, it will be far from over — with the state Democratic Party’s public vow to recall Walker himself at some point next year.

    As of right now, the state Senate recalls are headed into the home stretch. Last week, Democratic primaries were held for races targeting six incumbent Republicans, with the official Democratic candidates all winning against fake Dem opponents — who were in fact Republican activists planted in the races by the state GOP in order to delay the general elections. And on Tuesday, in the first general election of the batch, Democratic state Sen. Dave Hansen won in a landslide against a politically and personally damaged Republican opponent, after the GOP had failed to collect a sufficient number of valid petition signatures for their recruited candidate.

    This leaves eight races to go. On August 9, general elections will be held in six races targeting incumbent Republicans. Then on August 16, two more races will be held targeting incumbent Democrats.

    But after that — and lurking underneath the surface of the campaigning this year — has been the Dems’ main recall threat, against Walker himself.

    For his part, Walker has been aggressively raising money, taking in $2.5 million in the first six months of the year, with $1.8 million cash on hand. While not explicitly tied to the possible recall, it is nevertheless prodigious fundraising.

    On a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, state Dem chair Mike Tate brushed off the news about Walker’s fundraising. “You know, I looked at that,” Tate said, in response to a reporter’s question, “and my first thought was, I think the Democratic Party raised more money than him.”

    But if the recall does occur, when will it be? Under Wisconsin’s state constitution, a recall can only begin after an elected official has been in office for at least one year — thus meaning that Walker could theoretically face a recall in early 2012. However, the state Democratic Party has publicly discussed a timeline to have the recall in November 2012, at the same time as the presidential election. Why?—-the-other-big-story-for-2012.php?ref=dcblt

  74. creolechild says:

    The Washington- and Jerusalem-based pro-Israel lobby organization The Israel Project (TIP) claims to be dedicated to “get(ting) facts about Israel and the Middle East to press, public officials and the public.” But it appears that the group is not always particularly interested in getting the facts out. A ThinkProgress investigation has revealed that not only is TIP connected to an Iran-focused media group allegedly based in London, but also the pro-Israel group appears to be trying to cover up those ties.

    Last year, a LobeLog investigation of TIP revealed ties between the group and a European media organization called Réalité-EU, a group that “focuses on developments in Iran and the Middle East which pose a global threat.” When asked about Réalité-EU’s connections to The Israel Project, TIP co-founder and president Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi intimated that the reporter (this post’s co-author, Eli Clifton, now at ThinkProgress) was a conspiracy theorist and asked that he “pls [sic] check your facts before you make me/TIP into some scary boogie man.”

    Now, ThinkProgress has learned that in 2008, the Réalité-EU project received a quarter-million dollars through a donation made to TIP by the Marcus Foundation. According to the foundation’s tax filings [PDF], TIP, at its K Street address, received the $250,000 for “Iran Media Project – Realite-EU,” which was listed as the “Project Title.” A screen capture of the grant can be viewed below:


    While TIP is focused on Israel first and foremost, the group also regularly focuses on the Iranian threat to Israel and the U.S. However, Réalité-EU is more narrowly focused on the Iranian threat in general. TIP has made no secret of its pro-Israel leanings and its mission of giving a “more positive public face” to Israel and Israeli government policies. But Réalité-EU has never presented itself as a pro-Israel organization or publicly associated with pro-Israel organizations like TIP.


  75. rikyrah says:

    Teachers sue to block voters from lifting ban on public funding of religious groups
    .Florida’s largest teachers union wants to stop the state from funneling money to religious institutions.

    By Michael C. Bender
    Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau
    TALLAHASSEE — A proposed constitutional amendment to lift the ban on public funding of religious groups should be ripped from the 2012 ballot because it is “misleading and insufficiently specific,” according to a lawsuit filed by Florida’s largest teachers union Wednesday in Leon County Circuit Court.

    “This is designed to open the state treasury to voucher schools, but this is not what the ballot summary says,” said Andy Ford, president of the Florida Education Association.

    Advocates for private-school vouchers, however, say the constitutional amendment would simply let the state deliver education, healthcare and social services irrespective of a provider’s religious affiliation.

    “Unions are more interested in protecting political monopolies than ensuring every Floridian has access to the high-quality services that best fit their needs,” said Jaryn Emhof, spokeswoman for Foundation for Florida’s Future, former Gov. Jeb Bush’s education think tank.

    By attacking the ballot summary as “misleading,” the teachers union takes aim at a sensitive issue for the Republican lawmakers, who have watched in recent years as the Florida Supreme Court used that very reason to block a series of constitutional changes from the ballot.

    In response to the legal challenges, the GOP-controlled Legislature passed a new law this year requiring the attorney general to fix any ballot titles or summaries a court deems problematic and return it to the ballot within 10 days.

    The teachers union is also trying to reverse that law in their suit, saying it violates the separation powers provision in the state Constitution.

    But even if the teachers are successful on both counts, lawmakers would get another shot at the 2012 ballot when they return for their annual lawmaking session in January.

    Sen. Thad Altman, a Melbourne-area Republican who first introduced the measure in the Senate two years ago, has argued that school vouchers were not the primary reason he pushed for the change.

    “Ultimately, we will prevail,” Altman said.

    In 2006, the state Supreme Court halted the so-called Opportunity Scholarship voucher program, which paid private-school tuition for students in failing public schools, because it violated a constitutional requirement for a uniform system of public schools.

    But the ban on public funding of religious institutions, known as the Blaine Amendment, was cited by the 1st District Court of Appeal in an earlier ruling against the program.

    Altman said his change would align the Florida and U.S. constitutions.

    “This is about religious organizations not being discriminated against,” Altman said. “I don’t think this in any way, shape, or form changes the court’s decision on vouchers.”

    But attorneys for the teachers union said the change goes beyond squaring the two constitutions.

    Read more:

  76. rikyrah says:

    West: I Apologized! Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Huh?
    Following Rep. Allen West’s (R-FL) Tuesday email to DNC chair and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in which he attacked her as “vile, despicable, and unprofessional,” and “not a Lady,” West claimed he apologized. However, now both Wasserman Schultz and West’s own spokesperson are saying he didn’t.

    Roll Call reported the apology earlier in the day, however, DNC aide Brad Woodhouse responded by calling the claim “a complete falsehood.” Wasserman Schultz also told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that she in fact did not receive an apology.

    Then, to complicate this escalating ‘he said/ she said’ fiasco, Angela Sachitano, a spokesperson for West also came out claiming the apology is “absolutely false.” She said that actually, West is waiting for an apology from Wasserman Schultz. Indeed, the signs are that West is actually using the incident for fundraising purposes.

    Several Democratic House congresswomen also sent a letter on Wednesday to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) calling on him to denounce the remarks as sexist and unbefitting of an elected representative.

    “We see this as a historic and systemic way that women have been subjected to sexism in particularly in this venue, in this political environment,” said Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) at a presser today. “Just once again, we have been told, that in order to be a ‘Lady’ we need to just stay in our places.”

    Rep. West fired out the email after Rep. Wasserman Schultz criticized him — though not by name — for supporting the GOP’s Cut, Cap, and Balance Act that would dramatically “increase costs for for Medicare beneficiaries,” troubled waters for a Florida representative.

    Meanwhile Wasserman Schultz’s colleagues appeared to take West’s comments personally, defending their fellow member against the accusations.

    “Allen West knows as much about being a ‘Lady’ as Rupert Murdoch knows about privacy,” said Rep. Donna Edwards.

  77. rikyrah says:

    Broadcaster Tavis Smiley and Princeton Professor Cornel West to Embark on The Poverty Tour

    15-city national tour hopes to raise awareness about the plight of the poor

    LOS ANGELES, July 20, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Broadcaster Tavis Smiley and Princeton professor Cornel West, hosts of the nationally syndicated public radio program Smiley & West from Public Radio International (PRI), announced The Poverty Tour: A Call to Conscience on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight Wednesday evening.

    The 15-city bus tour will highlight the plight of the poor of all races, colors, and creeds so they will not be forgotten, ignored or rendered invisible during this difficult and dangerous time of economic deprivation and political cowardice.

    Smiley & West will be on the road August 6-12, 2011, starting with a gathering of the nation’s often forgotten Native Americans on the Lac Coutre Oreilles Indian Reservation near Hayward, Wisconsin. The Poverty Tour will also stop in the nation’s capital, Washington D.C., and wrap in Memphis with a town hall conversation and a visit to the historic Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968, while in town for a march with poor sanitation workers. Smiley & West will meet with some of the 1968 sanitation workers.

    The tour will also stop on the Southside of Chicago for another town hall event on August 7 at the Faith Community of St. Sabina. Both town hall meetings are produced by High Quality Speakers Bureau (HQSB) and are free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.

    “We are taking Smiley & West into America’s communities,” Smiley said. “We want those people who are struggling in this current economy to know that they are not alone and not forgotten.”

    Smiley & West will meet America’s unemployed, victims of bank foreclosures, senior citizens, students, homeless veterans, educators and young families struggling to survive. They will also meet with organizers, activists, social entrepreneurs and others who are using creative solutions to address America’s biggest challenges: jobs, food, energy, housing, health care and education.

    “We hope to speak truths about the suffering of everyday people, so that poor and working folks are empowered by the legacy of Brother Martin,” added Cornel West, one of America’s leading public intellectuals.

    • Ametia says:

      ***SIGH*** Will these 2 negroes provide any tangiable support in the way of MONETARY contributions, working at free clinics, food shelters, etc., or will they just sit on a stage with Corporate sponsor banners splashed behind them?

      Who is paying for this 15 city tour?

      • creolechild says:

        Who else? I imagine Smiley’s corporate sponsor, Exxon, will foot the bill as usual to help them stir people up into a frenzy, not vote, and thereby dilute efforts for Exxon and other oil conglomerates to fight back against losing their oil subsidies and tax breaks–which we, as taxpayers, bear the burden…(sigh)

        Run tell that while you’re “educating” folks, Smiley and West. I dare you to!

      • creolechild says:

        Correction: that should have read to dilute efforts of those who are fighting FOR Exxon to lose their oil subsidies and tax breaks…

      • creolechild says:

        Don’t even get me started on Exxon. But since we are a FACT-BASED blog here is documentation which supports our opinions.

        Outrageous: Exxon Mobil Paid No Income Tax in 2009

        Last week, Forbes magazine published what the top U.S. corporations paid in taxes last year. “Most egregious,” Forbes notes, is General Electric, which “generated $10.3 billion in pretax income, but ended up owing nothing to Uncle Sam. In fact, it recorded a tax benefit of $1.1 billion.” Big Oil giant Exxon Mobil, which last year reported a record $45.2 billion profit, paid the most taxes of any corporation, but none of it went to the IRS:

        Exxon tries to limit the tax pain with the help of 20 wholly owned subsidiaries domiciled in the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands that (legally) shelter the cash flow from operations in the likes of Angola, Azerbaijan and Abu Dhabi. No wonder that of $15 billion in income taxes last year, Exxon paid none of it to Uncle Sam, and has tens of billions in earnings permanently reinvested overseas.

        Mother Jones’ Adam Weinstein notes that, despite benefiting from corporate welfare in the U.S., Exxon complains about paying high taxes, claiming that it threatens energy innovation research. Pat Garofalo at the Wonk Room notes that big corporations’ tax shelter practices similar to Exxon’s shift a $100 billion annual tax burden onto U.S. taxpayers. In fact, in 2008, the Government Accountability Office found that “two out of every three United States corporations paid no federal income taxes from 1998 through 2005.”

      • Ametia says:

        I <3 you, creolechild.

      • Ametia says:

        Get’em Creolechild!

      • creolechild says:

        COME CORRECT! Apparently, people need to “get up on some knowledge.” While I believe the “often forgotten Native Americans” statement, IS true, it doesn’t apply to THIS president! I’ve only listed a few initiatives but you can go to and scroll through 13+ pages of policies that have been enacted into law by President Obama to assist Native Americans.

        President Obama Announces Kimberly Teehee as Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs – Posted on June 15, 2009 at 03:40 PM EDT

        Kimberly Teehee as Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs WASHINGTON – Today, in taped remarks to the 2009 National Congress of American Indians Mid-Year Conference, President Barack Obama announced the appointment of Kimberly Teehee as Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs. As a member of the Domestic Policy Council, Teehee will advise the President on issues impacting Indian Country. President Obama also announced that the White House will hold a Tribal Nations Conference ..She is rightly recognized as an outstanding advocate for Indian Country, and she will provide a direct interface at the highest level of my Administration, assuring a voice for Native Americans during policy making decisions.

        For Native American Women, a Triumph of Justice
        Posted on January 18, 2010 at 10:20 AM EDT

        All Americans should be heartened by the recent announcement that the Department of Justice, under the leadership of Attorney General Eric Holder, is strengthening its commitment to fighting crimes of violence against Native American women … caseload…. On some reservations, violent crime is more than twenty times the national average—but women tend to suffer most. Some tribes face murder rates against Native American women of more than ten times the national average. And tribal leaders say there are countless more victims of domestic violence and sexual assault whose stories may never be told. As President Obama put it at the White House …

        * Achieving Health Equity for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders
        Posted on May 09, 2011 at 12:30 PM EDT

        * Statement by the President on Court Approval of Settlement of Native American Farmers Lawsuit Against USDA – Posted on April 28, 2011 at 06:07 PM EDT

        * Defying the Odds: End the Rise of HIV/AIDS in Native American Communities
        Posted by Charlie Galbraith on March 18, 2011 at 02:31 PM EDT

        * Presidential Proclamation–National Native American Heritage Month
        Posted on October 29, 2010 at 05:55 PM EDT

        * Innovatively Bridging the Healthcare Gap for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders – Posted on May 13, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT

        * Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Health and Fitness: Winning the Future for Our Youth – Posted on April 04, 2011 at 09:39 AM EDT


  78. creolechild says:

    Wisconsin has been in the grips of one political battle after another, ever since the Republican wave of 2010 was followed up by Gov. Scott Walker’s legislation to eliminate most rights for public employee unions. The state Senate could potentially flip from Republican to Democrat in August, due to the recall elections called in response. But after that, it will be far from over — with the state Democratic Party’s public vow to recall Walker himself at some point next year.

    [ Click on link to view TPM SLIDESHOW: Madison Comes to D.C: Protesters Swarm Lobby of GOP Fundraiser]

    As of right now, the state Senate recalls are headed into the home stretch. Last week, Democratic primaries were held for races targeting six incumbent Republicans, with the official Democratic candidates all winning against fake Dem opponents — who were in fact Republican activists planted in the races by the state GOP in order to delay the general elections. And on Tuesday, in the first general election of the batch, Democratic state Sen. Dave Hansen won in a landslide against a politically and personally damaged Republican opponent, after the GOP had failed to collect a sufficient number of valid petition signatures for their recruited candidate.

    This leaves eight races to go. On August 9, general elections will be held in six races targeting incumbent Republicans. Then on August 16, two more races will be held targeting incumbent Democrats. But after that — and lurking underneath the surface of the campaigning this year — has been the Dems’ main recall threat, against Walker himself. For his part, Walker has been aggressively raising money, taking in $2.5 million in the first six months of the year, with $1.8 million cash on hand. While not explicitly tied to the possible recall, it is nevertheless prodigious fundraising.


  79. creolechild says:

    Our Techno Culture Is Creating Dangerous Digital Dumps of E-Waste
    The global trade in e-waste is huge and growing, and is only partly illegal even though there have been attempts to regulate it.

    I teach in a University in New Delhi, the capital city of India. In one section of the building that houses my faculty, there is an enormous and motley collection of discarded computer-related items, stacked and piled in an unwieldy mess. This has been lying around for a while now, more than a year, not only because of the prolonged bureaucratic procedures involved in getting material “written off”, but also because no one knows what to do with the stuff once it has actually been written off.

    It is a sight that that is increasingly only too common in urban India, and now even in some more prosperous rural areas of the country: ramshackle piles of dismembered pieces of discarded electronic equipment such as computers, CD players, televisions and cell phones lying around in the odd corners of offices and homes. Or else simply dumped in the open in garbage heaps, and then being painstakingly searched through by rag-pickers of all ages, who look for any elements that can be resold.

    In most developing countries, where recycling occurs as a matter of course because of the widespread poverty and sharp inequality that mark our consumption patterns, this may seem as something quite obvious and hardly worthy of comment. Some may even see this as evidence of our greater ability to use and re-use material items more effectively than the wasteful West. Yet this cavalier attitude to electronic waste is a major hazard to the environment and human health.


    • creolechild says:

      This video will give you an idea of just how pervasive techno waste is here in the U.S. and how our patterns of consumption contribute to this problem–to the detriment of Third World countries. When you have a chance, watch the video, you’ll come away better informed about this issue, and several others that are related.

  80. creolechild says:

    Connecting Extreme Weather Dots Across the Map

    But for some reason we’re loathe to take the next step and connect the dots of extreme floods, heat waves, droughts, and storms popping up across the map. I took a cross-country road trip in late June that became a race to outrun the triple-digit heat waves that have literally buckled highways between the Midwest and the East Coast. The record-breaking scorcher was an apt send-off. As I weaved my way across the United States, I found the consequences of extreme weather everywhere I looked.

    After the heat, the first sign of something unusual came in Iowa. There, every creek I crossed seemed to overflow its banks. Water pooled in cornfields. By the time I reached Nebraska, radio advisories warning about bridges closed due to swollen waterways seemed routine. Late one night, I pulled under an overpass between Sydney and Potter, Nebraska to find refuge from hail big enough that it cracked my windshield. There, I met an off-duty police officer who said he’s spending more and more time cleaning up after an increasing number of tornados and micro-bursts like the one we were trapped in.

    Meanwhile, the drought-wracked southwest was blazing. New Mexico was experiencing the largest wildfire in state history, and an all-out battle was being waged by firefighters to steer the flames away from Los Alamos National Laboratory, where radioactive material for making nuclear weapons is housed. Now the concern is contaminated soil being washed into the Rio Grande by flash floods in deforested canyons. Fires in New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Colorado are adding up to a record-setting wildfire season. This year’s waves of floods and fires followed the unprecedented series of tornados that hammered towns in Missouri, Alabama, Kansas, Arkansas, Minnesota, and Massachusetts.

    Talking about the weather isn’t small talk any more. Something is amiss.


  81. Ametia says:

    Michelle Obama joins forces with Walmart, Walgreens to battle food deserts
    By Beth Marlowe

    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 to 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.

  82. Ametia says:

    Koch, Exxon Mobil Among Corporations Helping Write State Laws Across U.S.
    By Alison Fitzgerald – Jul 20, 2011 11:00 PM CT .

    Koch Industries Inc. and Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) are among companies that would benefit from almost identical energy legislation introduced in state capitals from Oregon to New Mexico to New Hampshire — and that’s by design.

    The energy companies helped write the legislation at a meeting organized by a group they finance, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a Washington-based policy institute known as ALEC.

    The corporations, both ALEC members, took a seat at the legislative drafting table beside elected officials and policy analysts by paying a fee between $3,000 and $10,000, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News.

    The opportunity for corporations to become co-authors of state laws legally through ALEC covers a wide range of issues from energy to taxes to agriculture. The price for participation is an ALEC membership fee of as much as $25,000 — and the few extra thousands to join one of the group’s legislative-writing task forces. Once the “model legislation” is complete, it’s up to ALEC’s legislator members to shepherd it into law.

    “This is just another hidden way for corporations to buy their way into the legislative process,” said Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause, a Washington-based group that advocates for limits on money in politics.

  83. Ametia says:

    A way out of our dysfunctional politics
    By Fareed Zakaria, Published: July 20
    In the standoff over the debt crisis, it’s easy to point the finger at the Tea Party. Even conservative commentators have argued that its uncompromising ideology is at the heart of the problem. But there have often been strong ideological movements in American politics, represented by politicians such as William Jennings Bryan, Barry Goldwater and George McGovern. Yet between elections, people still found ways to compromise and govern. What has steadily changed over the past three or four decades is not so much the ideological intensity (though it has grown) but the structure of politics, making it more beholden to narrow, specialized interests — including ideological ones — rather than broader national ones.

    There was no golden age in Washington when people were more high-
    minded than they are today. But 40 years ago, the rules and organizing framework of politics made it easier for the two parties to work together. Since then, a series of changes has led to the narrowcasting of American politics. Redistricting has created safe seats so that, for most House members, their only concern is a challenge from the right (for Republicans) and the left (for Democrats).

  84. Ametia says:

    GOP leaders must free themselves from the Tea Party’s grip
    By E.J. Dionne Jr., Published: July 20

    Media reports are touting the Senate’s Gang of Six and its new budget outline. But the news that explains why the nation is caught in this debt-ceiling fiasco is the gang warfare inside the Republican Party. We are witnessing the disintegration of Tea Party Republicanism.

    The Tea Party’s followers have endangered the nation’s credit rating and the GOP by pushing both House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor away from their own best instincts.

  85. creolechild says:

    Buyer’s Remorse?… Thank you, Paddy and The Political Carnival!

    Trying. Not. To. Explode. With. Schadenfreude

    Chris Christie’s popularity has declined significantly over the first half of 2011 and he would have a very difficult time winning reelection if voters in New Jersey went to the polls today.

    Only 43% of voters in the state approve of the job Christie is doing to 53% who disapprove. That -10 approval spread represents a 13 point decline from when PPP last polled the state in January, when Christie’s standing was 48/45. Christie’s numbers are steady with Republicans. But independents have really turned on him, going from approving by a 55/39 margin to disapproving by a 54/40 margin. And his crossover popularity with Democrats is on the decline as well- where 23% approved of him in January now only 16% do.

  86. creolechild says:

    With more than 10.7 million people in desperate need of food assistance across the Horn of Africa, the U.N. is expected to officially declare a famine in parts of Somalia tomorrow. The last time a major famine was declared in the region was 1984-85, when severe drought killed more than 1 million people in Ethiopia. Pervasive insecurity and cumbersome legal restrictions created to keep U.S. taxpayer dollars from falling into the hands of al-Shabaab, the armed al Qaeda-linked group that controls much of southern Somalia, has made humanitarian access difficult for many aid agencies. As a result, nearly 3 million people throughout southern Somalia are now in need of assistance. In addition, and due in part to the complexities of operating in a terrorist-controlled area, there is a $1 billion funding shortage.

    Last week, in a shift that indicates the severity of the humanitarian crisis, al-Shabaab publicly reversed its 2009 ban on international assistance. At a press conference in the embattled Somali capital, a spokesman noted: “Whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims, [if] their intention is only to assist those suffering, [international aid groups] can contact the committee which will give them access to the drought-hit areas. We are standing by to provide any assistance they need if their exact desire is helping the drought affected people. Anyone with no hidden agenda will be assisted…and those who intend to harm our people will be prevented to do so.”

    Immediately after the announcement, the U.N. began delivering food and medicine to civilians in al-Shabaab territory. To her credit, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent an important signal by pledging to “test the willingness” of al-Shabaab and re-start programs. The crisis, however, is urgent and many obstacles remain.


  87. creolechild says:

    The British House Of Commons released a scathing report Wednesday accusing Rupert Murdoch’s News International of “deliberately trying to thwart” the initial investigation into the News Of The World phone hacking allegations. “We are astounded at the length of time it has taken for News International to cooperate with the police but we are appalled that this is advanced as a reason for failing to mount a robust investigation,” the report said.

    The report was put out by the Home Affairs Committee, which examined Scotland Yard’s investigation from 2005-2006 into allegations that NOTW hacked into the phone records of murder and terrorism victims, public officials, and celebrities. The investigation resulted in the conviction of reporter Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, but the report criticizes Scotland Yard for narrowly focusing on those two convictions and not examining 11,000 pages of evidence that were seized from Mulcaire. “A huge amount of material that could have identified other perpetrators and victims was in effect set to one side,” the report said.


    Read more:

  88. creolechild says:

    As debates about deficit reduction continued to be heavily tilted toward cutting spending, which threatens to undermine a fragile recovery, rather than raising revenue from those who can afford it, it’s important to remember the budgetary impact of the Bush tax cuts.

    Nearly 10 years ago today, on August 1, 2001, the Associated Press reported that the Treasury Department was tapping $51 billion of credit in order to pay for the budgetary cost of the first round of Bush tax cuts’ rebate checks. The AP reported at the time that Democratic Party opponents of the tax cuts worried that they’d return government budgets to “red ink“:

    [Click on link to view original AP article.]

    The opponents of the tax cut turned out to be right. The 2001 and 2003 tax cuts combined have blown a $2.5 trillion hole in America’s budget and created deficits stretching on for years.

  89. creolechild says:

    The House Ethics Committee has hired a special prosecutor to handle the case against Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), a two-year investigation that has become mired in allegations of prosecutorial misconduct and partisan maneuvering. The panel announced the hire of Billy Martin, a partner at the Washington office of Dorsey & Whitney, in a lengthy statement Wednesday, which came in the wake of an unprecedented document leak airing the committee’s dirty laundry in excruciating detail. It was a unanimous decision, the panel said.

    The scores of Ethics Committee e-mails and memos, reported by Politico Monday with links to the documents, paint a picture of a committee consumed by partisan dysfunction and accusations of professional misconduct surrounding Waters’ case.

    “The Committee’s decision reflects the high priority of this unique matter and the need to resolve it with the upmost care, diligence, and integrity,” the panel said in a statement. “The Committee is firmly and unanimously resolved to protect the rights of Representative Waters and all respondents, as well as the responsibilities of the Committee on Ethics to the House community at large.”


  90. Whoo Hoo!

    Good News, 3 Chics! Ametia’s post “Elizabeth Warren, Fierce Financial Consumer Advocate: In Her Own Words” will be spotlighted today 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.

  91. PETITION: Stand with President Obama and tell the GOP to end tax breaks for Billionaires:

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