Serendipity SOUL | Wednesday Open Thread

Happy HUMP Day, Everyone!  Barbra Streisand Week continues with EVERGREEN.

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185 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Wednesday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    BOTTOM LINE: Ed Schultz, your ass is GUILTY ’cause you told the very folks in WISCONSIN what?

  2. rikyrah says:

    Republicans Begin Caving on Taxes

    I know, I know. The big shrill-shreeking story on the upcoming “supercommittee” that will work on additional deficit reduction is right now, “ZOMG, Republicans are appointing anti-tax hardliners, and Democrats are appointing Max Baucus – Noooo!” In fact, Cenk Uygur’s “The Young Turks” twitter feed claimed yesterday that “the fix was in” since Max Baucus was appointed by Harry Reid. But the entire Republican Congressional delegations are made up of anti-tax hardliners. The goal here is not to get the Republicans not to pick hardliners but to get them to break that hard line.

    They may already be starting to do that. The New York Times’ Jennifer Steinhauer reported on an interesting townhall meeting by four conservative House Republicans in Virginia:

    In a town-hall-style meeting in Virginia on Tuesday night with four Republican House members … audience members asked what, if any, revenues the representatives would accept…

    Of the four, three gave specific examples that they could possibly acquiesce to. Mr. Rigell – who had invited the other three House members to the meeting because it focused on health care and they are medical doctors – said he thought that at least a few forms of tax subsidies provided to oil companies should be on the table…

    Mr. Gingrey said he found the question “difficult” and suggested that he had been struggling with the answer himself. Raising the rates on those earning $250,000 a year – a category of beneficiaries under the Bush tax cuts that some Democrats have suggested be taxed more – was a no-go for him, but for those earning over $700,000, he said, “I’m not really sure.”

    Keep in mind that the committee has not even gotten started yet. And we already have legislators talking about “comprehensive tax reform that will close loopholes and revise the tax code.” Tax reform has been the code-phrase for revenue increases for a while now. And this might just be the first time a Republican member of Congress has sounded open to taxing at least millionaires a bit more. That’s something!

    And if any liberals doubt that closing tax loopholes can result in significant amounts of additional revenue for the federal government, let me set them straight. The practice of hiding profits offshore alone costs the US treasury between $70 billion and $100 billion every single year, found US PIRG (Public Interest Research Group). Just closing the offshore loophole, as Sen. Carl Levin aims to do in his Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, alone would result in as much additional revenue over the next decade as letting the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest 2% of income earners expire. Once again, that is just from closing off the off-shoring of profits alone.

    Cutting out the subsidies and domestic tax breaks for the oil and gas industry would result in another $77 billion in additional revenues over the next decade. Taking out another tax break that encourages betting on futures prices – such as trading oil futures would another $2-$3 billion.

    And all this doesn’t even go close to touching another rather straight-forward idea: reform the tax code to make “capital gains” and dividends – at least for the highest earners (the top 1% of Americans make two-thirds of capital gains and dividend income) – more equitable to ordinary income. Heck, even a Reagan rate of average 28% on capital gains would result in significant revenue increases.

    All of these are things the Republicans opened the door to – or more aptly stated – started caving to. And a mix and match of these things can easily comprise half or more of the deficit reduction that the supercommittee would be charged with delivering. Republicans know as well as anyone that the President has won the public debate over whether or not tax revenues have to go up – they do, as well as on where those revenues must come from – the tax welfare system enjoyed by the ultrea wealthy and multinational corporate behemoths. All that is left now is for them to try to find a way to couch the necessary tax increases in terms that the Norquistian Teahadists can be fooled by.

  3. Here comes Ed Shultz with the BS! Maybe Wisconsin wouldn’t be going through this if he hadn’t told voters to stay home and NOT vote! Loud mouth drama queen!

    • Ametia says:

      Fuck that tub of LARD. it’s all about Ed. Did you vote in the 2010 election, Ed? I, I, I! Bye BOY!

      • I had to mute MSNBC! I.cannot.take.Ed.Shultz! Who the fk is Ed Shultz to tell the President what to do? I loathe these mofos!

      • Ametia says:

        Breakdown of MSNBC:

        Ed’s & Rachel are for the whiny fake progressive who live to stay in a perpetual state of bitching and self-importance.

        Lawrence O is for the in between stages to hard core truth-telling Dems,

        Joey Scar’s Moaning Joke is for all the redneck so-called conservatives, white male frat boys, and teabaggers.
        Andrea Greenspan Mitchell is for all the suburban housewives and beckies

        Dylan Ratigan is for the Frat boys and Wall Street folks

        Rev. Al is for BLACK PEOPLE! Yeah, I said it!

        THERE , something for everyone!

  4. rikyrah says:

    August 10, 2011 4:35 PM
    Economic exceptionalism is a choice

    By Steve Benen

    Justin Fox had an interesting item the other day about the larger, global economic circumstances, and the end of American economic exceptionalism. (thanks to reader G.S. for the tip)

    [T]he U.S. political system at some point has to adjust to the reality that we are just one more country trying to make it in a big, bad global economy and probably ought to stop shooting ourselves in the foot on a regular basis. The debt ceiling debate was one example of this; the seeming inability to get a handle on increasing health care costs (or to talk rationally about it in the political arena) has been another. This was the most convincing justification the S&P gave for its downgrade, and while I’m enough of a Pollyanna to believe we’ll eventually get our act together, I don’t see any short-term fix.

    The other, scarier, problem is that, without the U.S. in the dominant role, the world needs to figure out a new approach to global economic governance. No other nation or group of nations is even remotely ready to step into the role of economic rulemaker. The European Union? Yeah, right. China? For all the harrumphing that Chinese officialdom and the Chinese media have been doing lately about U.S. irresponsibility, the Chinese still appear to be decades away from the political and economic maturity required to step into the role that the U.S. played from the 1940s through today. Which leaves us with … [the International Monetary Fund’s] Christine Lagarde. Go get ‘em, Madame Managing Director!

    It’s this apparent rudderlessness that may be the most convincing explanation for financial markets’ global swoon. Nobody’s in charge. It turns out investors don’t like that.

    This is all very compelling. Indeed, while there are a variety of factors contributing to the Wall Street sell-off and global anxiety, I agree with Ezra Klein’s recent analysis: “The right question is simple enough to pose: Where will the recovery come from? The problem is that no one has an answer. And as one hopeful hypothesis after another is dashed, the markets are beginning to panic.”

    Ezra wrote that six days ago. The panic has intensified since.

    From a purely political perspective, it’s worth emphasizing the fact that American economic exceptionalism remains an option — at least in theory. U.S. officials could take all kinds of steps to bolster demand, inject additional capital into the system, boost confidence, create jobs, etc. Those steps would very likely succeed, if only we could take them.

    The reason these steps aren’t happening — the only practical reason — is that Republicans won’t let them. They see American economic exceptionalism slipping away, they see the world losing confidence in American economic leadership, they see the recovery faltering, and GOP officials are content to do literally nothing.

    Actually, that’s not quite accurate. We would be lucky if they wanted to do nothing — what they actually want to do is weaken demand, take money out of the economy, worsen unemployment, and spend a few months telling the world the United States of America considers paying its bills optional.

    The world may very well want to look to Washington as the center of economic leadership, but Republicans actively prefer that the opposite. The world instead sees a dysfunctional mess, led by a rabid group of right-wing officials who appear to lack the knowledge, and some days even desire, to keep America on top.

    “This apparent rudderlessness” is a choice. It can be avoided. It’s not a matter of resources or wisdom; it’s a matter of political will. And for now, one of the nation’s major parties is content to watch us economic might falter.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    August 10, 2011 10:45 AM
    How about a Bachmann-inspired stimulus?

    By Steve Benen

    In public, Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann spends much of her time railing against government spending. In private, Bachmann spends quite a bit of time requesting government spending.

    A Freedom of Information Act request filed by The Huffington Post with three separate federal agencies reveals that on at least 16 separate occasions, Bachmann petitioned the federal government for direct financial help or aid. A large chunk of those requests were for funds set aside through President Obama’s stimulus program, which Bachmann once labeled “fantasy economics.” Bachmann made two more of those requests to the Environmental Protection Agency, an institution that she has suggested she would eliminate if she were in the White House.

    Taken as a whole, the letters underscore what Bachmann’s critics describe as a glaring distance between her campaign oratory and her actual conduct as a lawmaker. Combined with previous revelations that Bachmann personally relied on a federally subsidized home loan while her husband’s business benefited from Medicaid payments, it appears that one of the Tea Party’s most cherished members has demonstrated that the government does, in fact, play a constructive role — at least in her life and district.

    This isn’t the least bit surprising. Indeed, while Sam Stein uncovered important new details, this isn’t especially new — Bachmann’s love of government spending has been highlighted quite a bit in recent months.

    What’s more, the phenomenon certainly isn’t limited to Bachmann — all kinds of right-wing lawmakers who swear public investments are fundamentally evil, including plenty of this year’s radical freshman class, have spent a fair amount of time pleading for more public investment in their states and districts, insisting the spending would be good for the economy. Rachel Maddow did a segment on this last year that still stands out as devastating.

    The easy observation is to mock the GOP hypocrisy, but Bachmann gave me a new idea: how about a new stimulus package focused on granting Republicans’ requests for public investments?

    Here’s the pitch: have the White House take the several hundred letters GOP lawmakers have sent to the executive branch since 2009, asking for public investments, and let President Obama announce he’ll gladly fund all of the Republicans’ requests that have not yet been filled.

    This is especially important when it comes to infrastructure, a sector in which GOP members have pleaded for more investment in their areas. When pressed, these same Republicans will offer an explanation that “sounds like something out of the mouth of a Keynesian economist, rather than the musings of a congressman who proudly touts his support from the Tea Party movement.”

    So, how about it? If these Republican lawmakers have identified worthwhile projects in need of government spending, which they themselves insist will boost the economy, why not start spending the money GOP officials want to see spent?

  6. Ametia says:

    Check out MHP’s Tweets on her book and the help!/MHarrisPerry

  7. rikyrah says:

    August 10, 2011
    Time to adjust

    Like virtually all commentaries being written these days about President Obama, Maureen Dowd’s is devastating. Especially devastating, I’d add, because she spares the customary snark and hews to objective analysis. Snark works as a last resort against deadline when one’s critical skills cannot find a proper outlet; the cold long knives come out when ripe and momentous targets of opportunity emerge.

    That said, I differ with a major element of her analysis, thus encapsulated:

    [Obama] turns out to be the odd case of a pragmatist who can’t learn from his mistakes and adapt.

    I would elide the lead: simply, Obama turns out to be the odd case of a pragmatist who (perhaps) can’t adapt.

    “Mistakes”? In my minority view — and among the left, a heretical and almost undetectable view — until the debt deal, Obama’s tenure was damn near flawless. What others saw as irresolute compromise, I saw as brilliantly executed progressive incrementalism when he held both houses of Congress, and later, when the House fell to reactionary barbarians, as deliberate rope-a-dopism. Obama had to establish his “compromise” bona fides before he could strike back, and strike back hard.

    The strategy was both sublime and conspicuous (or so I thought). Yet when the mother of all ideal opportunities arose for Obama to finally land what would have been perceived as a near-knockout blow — i.e., a deeply principled refusal to negotiate on the debt ceiling — he retreated; inch by agonizing inch, mile by excruciating mile. All that pragmatic leg work, all those practical set-ups, obliterated in a toxic instant, and with far-reaching ramifications. The debt ceiling is no longer a political pawn; it’s been queened.

    So I wouldn’t say, as Dowd did, that President Obama failed to learn from some long line of mistakes; only that he failed to execute offensively when a righteous offense was so vividly, so singularly warranted. Which is to say, what Obama failed to do was what Dowd also noted: he failed to adapt.

    I certainly understand why he believed it was the right thing to do. He believed he was pulling us from a catastrophic brink. But that brink, ultimately, was a mirage. Not only was its avoidance fiscally cretinous — no fresh revenue, plus spending cuts(!) during a prolonged economic slump — and not only did it guarantee similarly bloody episodes down the road, but he had the electorate firmly on his principled side — and both Republican leaders, terrified of political repercussions, had repeatedly conceded there was no way they’d ever let the nation drop into default.

    In short, the only genuinely pragmatic move — one heavy on principle to boot — was to play it out.

    Well, what’s done is done, say many. Well, no it isn’t, really. For the vastly ill-advised debt deal has erected an immense logical obstacle in Obama’s political path: he now possesses no pragmatic alternative to lifting the sickest economy since the Great Depression except that of advocating (rather spiritually, given the Hooverian GOP) the kind of massive spending at which he just spent months taking a whack.

    That obstacle, however, is not insurmountable. There’s always that richest pearl of politics — the thundering flip-flop. So that, Obama can do; furthermore, he’d get away with it, since the electorate is demanding, above all else, what FDR provided: bold experimentation.

    The only question is, will he adapt accordingly? I believe he will, notwithstanding his recent “mistake.” Pragmatist that he is, he’ll adjust — because he must.

    • creolechild says:

      Here’s another one…PMCarpenter’s blog is usually the voice of reason in a sea of insanity. Apparently, he is going off the deep end too…along with all the others who get their boxers in a twist when President Obama doesn’t act, do, or say what “THEY FEEL” is best. Get a fuckin’ grip will ‘ya please!

  8. rikyrah says:

    The Newsweek Shot’s Right – Bachmann’s Crazy

    Date: Wednesday, August 10, 2011, 4:33 am
    By: Tonyaa Weathersbee,

    So, it seems Newsweek is catching a bit of flak for splashing a photo of Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann frozen in a wild-eyed gaze on its recent cover.

    Conservatives have complained that it’s unflattering and intended to make her seem scary. Feminists said that it was sexist; that a man would never be made to look unstable.

    I say that Newsweek is only keeping it real. Because Bachmann is as scary as they come.

    Yet, what’s really frightening isn’t that photo, but the fact that she’s a serious enough GOP contender to even rate being on Newsweek’s cover in the first place.

    That’s what ought to make all sane people shiver.

    Like most of the Tea Party people, the Minnesota Republican’s crazed moments probably kicked in on Jan. 20, 2009, after they were forced to come to grips with the reality that America had sworn in its first black president.

    Almost immediately, Bachmann and other hardcore ideologues began to fear that President Obama, whose ascent was made possible by the civil rights movement and other changes designed to make life fairer for minorities and other marginalized people, might threaten their privilege by trying to do more of the same.

    So, suddenly, government became the great oppressor, not poverty or 9 percent unemployment or the fact that millions of people go bankrupt each year because of medical bills. Suddenly, things like secessionism and segregated lunch counters began to be romanticized.

    Such romanticizing, however, requires a bit of revisionist history. And insanity.

    Which is what Bachmann engaged in recently when she signed a pledge by social conservatives in Iowa which stated “a black child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American president.”

    Not only is it nuts to imply that the high out-of-wedlock birth rate among black women started after Obama became president; it’s even nuttier to sign something that claims that black families were more stable under slavery.

    If anything, life was more unstable.

    Black mothers, fathers and children were property – and could be sold away from each other at any time. Masters often used the threat of selling a slave’s spouse or children to maintain power over them.

    Yet, Bachmann’s ignorance of black history and her signing off on a pledge that paints black people as being better off during slavery isn’t the only thing about her that’s frightening. What’s really scary is that such a pledge fits in with the fanaticism and revisionism that she, if elected president, might use to usher in the reign of a Christian Taliban.

    According to a recent article in The New Yorker, Bachmann attended the O.W. Coburn School of Law at Oral Roberts University – where its law review published essays that called for a pure Christian theocracy in which adulterers and homosexuals would be executed.

    Bachmann herself worked for John Eidsmoe, a professor who has made speeches in front of racist groups such as the Council of Conservative Citizens and has asserted that states have the constitutional right to secede.

    On top of that, Bachmann worked on a book with Eidsmoe in which he argues that many Christians opposed slavery, but didn’t free their slaves because “it might be very difficult for a freed slave to make a living in that economy; under such circumstances, setting slaves free was both inhumane and irresponsible.”

    How mighty white of them.

    And while one may say that Bachmann only worked for Eidsmoe, she hasn’t distanced herself from him. In fact, according to the article, she says he’s had a great influence on her and …..

  9. Ametia says:

    Melisssa Harris Perry is breaking it down on The Last Word about the movie “The Help.”

    And she ain’t HAPPY!

    • Ametia says:

      Ah shit, MHP is saying the Help is continuing what started in 1923 about Mammy, and exploiting the notion that black women somehow loved being slaves to missy Anne!


    • Melissa laid it down! You could tell she was highly insulted with that movie! Lawrence said Melissa tweeted MSNBC owes her worker’s comp for having to view that movie! DAMN!

    • rikyrah says:

      Thanks for telling me. I am not going to see this movie.

      • Ametia says:

        LOL The janitor at work came by my desk this afternoon to inform me that he was reading the book, and was going to see the movie. He looked at me, as if I was going to high five him. I said I don’t intend to read it or watch it, I’ve lived this shit. My mother cleaned many a white woman’s house back in the day, leaving my sisters to care for us. So don’t look at me to go watch and enjoy an experience that I lived through and loathed.

        Another movie for white folks to feel good about feeling superior and taking care of darkie, when the playing field was NEVER EQUAL for blacks to begin with. BYE BOY!

  10. creolechild says:

    Here’s TEDDY, singing Turn Off the Lights.

  11. creolechild says:

    Here’s Chante Moore and Keith Washington, singing Candlelight and You.

  12. creolechild says:

    I was slipping into darkness…without no music! Thank you,Metia~

  13. Ametia says:

    What’s with all these phucking polls? The papers and cable networks need to go climb athe highest pole and take a flying LEAP!

  14. Claire McCaskill Comes Out Against Further Unemployment Benefits [UPDATE]

    During a Tuesday visit to a factory in St. Charles, Mo., Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill said she opposed extending federal unemployment benefits.

    “I’m not for extending the unemployment benefits any further,” McCaskill said in response to a question from local TV station KMOV before saying she would support a continued payroll tax cut.

    It’s not clear from McCaskill’s statement whether she is opposed to giving the unemployed additional weeks of benefits or if she opposes renewing the existing extra weeks of aid. Members of Congress have frequently been confused on unemployment legislation. McCaskill’s office did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.

    [UPDATE: McCaskill’s office says additional context omitted from KMOV’s report would show that she was responding to a question about giving the unemployed extra weeks of benefits. Her office said she supports preserving the existing extended benefits.

    “Claire continues to fully support unemployment benefits for people who have lost their jobs by no fault of their own as a result of the struggling economy. This includes up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits. Unfortunately, expanding benefits beyond 99 weeks — as some suggest — is unaffordable and unrealistic because of staunch opposition in the House.”]

    Further extensions of unemployment insurance for the long-term jobless will need all the congressional support they can get. The federal benefits, which can last up to 73 weeks for workers who exhaust the standard 26 weeks of state benefits, are scheduled to expire at the beginning of 2012. Republicans oppose keeping the benefits because of their significant cost to the government — as much as $60 billion a year.

  15. Ametia says:

    Rev. Al gave Limpballs a royal smackdown for mocking him about a misread on the teleprompter last night. he challenged Rubbish Limpballs and his fans to watch his show. Al said he’s preaching to the choir with his viewership and would love to have Rush’s audience tune in to MSNBC

    BWA HA HA HA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA These crackas can’t handle the truth, just mockery an sppon fed white supreriority, that’s all they can handle.

  16. Ametia says:

    Woo hooo we’re back with our videos! Here’s one for all da HATERS!

  17. creolechild says:

    Rep. Burgess To Tea Party: Yes, We Need To Impeach Obama
    By karoli
    August 10, 2011 11:00 AM

    Here is a story of Teapublicans who love the Constitution and liberty…until they don’t. In my copy of the Constitution, impeachment of a President is a grave and solemn act of Congress which is used in situations where there have been high crimes and misdemeanors. However, a couple of years ago Floyd Brown, former director of Citizens United and now just an Obama-hater at large, went on Alan Colmes’ radio show, and I called in. I was fortunate (?) enough to discover exactly how Teapublicans view impeachment:

    So, I asked him. His answer was remarkable. With condescending patience, he explained that impeachment is a political, not legal action. He justifies his position by interpreting the phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors” as “bad behavior.” He further defends his allegation of “bad behavior” by claiming that President Obama has badmouthed the US in foreign countries, and acts in a way that “we don’t approve of.” When I pointed out to him in my mom voice that not only did the majority in this country approve of our President, he explained to me that he and his group did not.

    Remarkably, he went on to explain that in California where I live, recalls are the equivalent of a Federal impeachment (I could go on about his connection to the evil Howard Kaloogian, architect of the Gray Davis coup/installation of the Schwarzenegger puppet government, but the relationship map above explains it…look for Howard Jarvis).

    Alan Colmes summed it up pretty well when he shot this retort back at Brown: “So basically, you want to impeach him because you don’t like him. No other reason.”


  18. creolechild says:

    Thank you, Smartypants!

    Different standards for elections and governing

    The news this morning is that Democrats won 2 of the 6 recall elections in Wisconsin yesterday. There is a lot of back-and-forth about whether this is a win or loss for Democrats given that they needed 3 wins to take back the WI Senate. What’s interesting to me is that Markos calls it a real victory:

    I’ve got to say, I expected to be torn up if we didn’t get to three seats. I expected to suffer through yet another bout of electoral depression, bummed at coming up short yet again. And we did come up short! Short of what? Short of taking the Wisconsin Senate? Sure. That would’ve been nice. But let me just say, if tonight was a loss, I hope we have many more such “losses” in 2012…So yeah, I feel strangely energized and elated. It’s going to be a long year, and tens of millions of dollars of Koch money (in addition to hundreds of millions more from Rove and allies) are going to force us to fight like hell for every inch of territory. They won’t cede it willingly or fairly. They’ll do their best to cheat or buy whenever they feel they can’t win fairly. That’s our challenge. I, for one, am ready for it.

    I tend to agree. But what I find interesting is that – when it comes to elections – Markos is fine with celebrating incremental change. But when President Obama and Democrats in Congress face those same kinds of challenges from Republicans in governing, incremental change is considered “weak.” It sounds an awful lot to me like giving ourselves – as voters – a break that we’re not willing to extend to politicians.

  19. creolechild says:

    I don’t remember reading anything about this last year…

    Two bills to address steroid use among N.J. law enforcement officers, firefighters
    Amy Brittain & Mark Mueller
    Published: Monday, January 10, 2011 Updated: Monday, February 14, 2011

    Citing a drain on taxpayers and a potential danger to the public, a state assemblyman will unveil legislation today requiring law enforcement officers and firefighters who fill prescriptions for anabolic steroids or human growth hormone to undergo fitness-for-duty evaluations. Deputy Speaker John McKeon (D-Essex) calls the proposed law a balanced step that protects the interests of New Jersey’s residents while recognizing that some officers and firefighters might legitimately need the drugs. A second bill sponsored by McKeon and Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D-Burlington) urges Attorney General Paula Dow to add anabolic steroids and certain “designer drugs” to the list of substances for which law enforcement officers are randomly tested.

    The measures come in response to a three-part series in The Star-Ledger last month. The stories showed that hundreds of law enforcement officers and firefighters obtained steroids and growth hormone from a Jersey City doctor, now deceased, who often prescribed the drugs when they weren’t medically necessary. As a matter of routine, the officers and firefighters paid for the substances with their government health benefits, leaving taxpayers with a bill in the millions of dollars, the stories showed.

    “Like the rest of New Jersey, when I read this, I was outraged by what the cost of this will be to the taxpayer for many, many years to come,” McKeon said. “It’s not only the cost of the prescriptions. When you consider the known health risks that come along with steroid use and that these officers and firefighters are on state health benefits, it’s something taxpayers will be paying tenfold for.” McKeon said he also was concerned about the possibility of increased aggression among officers who use steroids, saying it could endanger the public and lead to big taxpayer-funded payouts in civil suits.


    Read more:

  20. creolechild says:

    Thank you, WhatISWorking!

    Principal Opens Food Pantry After Learning 10% of her Students Were Hungry
    Posted by Linda H on August 7, 2011

    Principal Maureen Binienda is not your typical high school principal – she is tiny with adorable freckles and a perky personality. And along with handling the administrative duties as principal of one of Worcester’s most culturally diverse inner city schools, she has taken on another responsibility: running a food pantry for needy students at South High. Due to a policy put forth by Worcester food banks, one must be 18 years old to receive food. This means that most of the homeless students at South High are stuck. They need to work to provide for their families and themselves, but if they work, they don’t have time to attend school and graduate. When Maureen and her staff realized that some of their kids were facing this situation, they just could not let that happen.

    It is this go-getter attitude that is most striking about Maureen. She collects donations from her dedicated staff to stock the pantry shelves and is so driven and energetic that she does not sleep. “Maybe just four hours a night,” South High nurse practitioner Eileen Keane tells baystateparent. Since Maureen tries to get to know everyone and is always on the go, she has been instrumental in teaming South High up with the fortune-500 insurance company, Unum, as corporate sponsor of the school. She also coordinates donations for the food pantry and beyond from Hanover Theater, Fallon Health Clinic, MLS Listings and Central Mass Podiatry. Maureen’s success “shows the power of the mind to move a school and community,” says Eileen. Maureen, who worked as a teacher and then assistant principal before becoming principal four years ago, has spent an impressive 34 years at South High. “Our staff goes above and beyond. Our teachers feel needed,” she says.

    The exam room at South High is not what most of us remember from our high school days. There are crackers, but not just a couple to soothe upset stomach aches. Instead, there are several shelves against the wall neatly packed with canned Goya green beans and corn, stacks of boxed Mac n Cheese, Kelloggs cereal and various other non-perishables. Heaps of clothing freshly washed by Maureen spill out of bags and boxes on the floor and one cardboard container contains children’s books. “For our teen moms,” the nurses explain.
    Most of the food is donated and organized by the teachers themselves who pick up extra peanut butter, pasta and beans during their routine weekly shopping.

    Students in need stop by the Health Center after school, pick up one of the ordinary-looking waiting backpacks and fill it with food. The great thing about the bag is its ambiguity. That lump in the front pocket could be a pencil case, or it could be a can of green beans. That rectangular edge could be the point of a science book or the corner of a box of rice. The students don’t have to let any of their friends or peers know their situation; although, this year Maureen and her staff are really trying to cultivate an atmosphere where there is no shame in being homeless or hungry.

    Maureen recalls a recent afternoon on bus duty. One of the students tapped her shoulder with one finger, tapped his backpack and then gave her a thumbs up. This secret appreciation is just one of the links in the chain Maureen has created with a few cans of food, some boxes of pasta and a whole lot of caring. One boy consistently comes after school on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to pick out rice and canned soup. He is the main food provider for his family, and this his his family’s version of grocery shopping.

    “Hunger is prevalent – and we’re not talking about kids living in the projects. We’re talking about families who are struggling hard in this economy to make it work. Parents are losing homes because they are buying food instead of paying their mortgage,” says Susan Sleigh, a nurse at South High. Maureen explains, “Many families have to choose between oil and food.”“These kids have a lot of resilience. If I had grown up in their houses, it would be hard to come in with a smile,” Maureen admits.

    Join Principal Maureen Binienda and the staff at South High in filling student backpacks with food by emailing Maureen at In addition to food donations, gift cards are always appreciated.

  21. creolechild says:

    Labor group to protest Wells Fargo, GOP
    By Sam Lane

    Minnesotans for a Fair Economy plans to rally outside the downtown Minneapolis offices of Wells Fargo Wednesday, according to a notice the group released Tuesday. The “Piece of the Pie Rally” — to “dramatize the need for a ‘slice of the pie’ for ordinary citizens” and the unemployed — is scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m. Officials hope to gather a crowd of “100-plus Minnesotans angry over the lack of good jobs, corporate political influence and continual budget cuts,” said the group, which describes itself as “a coalition of labor, community and faith organizations that are fighting for an economy that works for all of us.”

    “Wells Fargo Political Action Committee and executives have funded politicians like U.S. Reps. Paulsen, Kline, and Bachmann who are pushing radical budget cuts that will kill the jobs of teachers, nurses, and others,” the release said. “While bankers enjoy taxpayer bailouts and record profits, Wells Fargo has cut jobs in Minnesota while funding the politicians who aren’t doing anything about our crummy economy.”

    The march at South 6th St. and Marquette Ave. also will feature puppets, a march and a pie-eating contest. The demonstration isn’t the first time Wells Fargo has been in hot water with a labor group. The Service Employees International Union Local 284 has, on multiple occasions, urged Wells Fargo and Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank to not charge interest on loans sought by Minnesota public schools forced to borrow as a result of the state’s nearly-month long government shutdown. Brian Elliott, Executive Director of the SEIU Minnesota State Council, said the group has yet to receive a response from either group on its most recent request.

    • Ametia says:

      Wells Fargo leaves a really bad odor in the air. Hope folks are getting a whiff of their shady practices and running in the opposite direction.

  22. creolechild says:

    Mexican government: Migration to the U.S. has fallen to ‘almost nothing’
    By Scot Kersgaard

    Mexican immigration to the United States has slowed to a trickle, according to the Mexican government. Migration from Mexico peaked in 2006 or 2007, when roughly one percent of the population left the country each year. Today, the number is around one third of one percent per year, says Mexico. From The Washington Post: Mexico’s net outflow of migrants has fallen to “almost nothing,” as fewer migrants entered Mexico, but the number leaving dropped even faster, the government’s statistical unit said Monday. A report by the National Statistics Institute says Mexico lost about 0.09 percent of its population to migration as reflected in quarterly surveys carried out between March 2010 and March 2011. That was 83 percent lower than the outflow of 0.53 percent of the population in 2006 and early 2007, near the end of Mexico’s migration boom.

    “In the first quarter of 2011, there was practically no net loss of population due to international migration,” the institute said. “As a result, in relative terms the net migration balance was almost nothing.” About 0.38 percent of the country’s 112.7 million people migrated abroad in the most recent period studied, while about 0.29 percent immigrated to Mexico.

    Newsweek reported more than a year ago that immigration from Mexico to the U.S. was falling fast due to changing demographics in Mexico as well as an economic situation in Mexico that was enabling more people to find work. The magazine predicted that it will not be long before the United States is crafting policies to increase immigration to the country.

    Dee Dee Garcia Blase, executive director of Somos Republicans, a national organization representing Latino Republicans, told The Independent that the change has a lot to do with the relative economic strengths of Mexico and the U.S. Citing Bloomberg, she said the Mexican economy grew by 5.5% in 2010, whereas, the 2010 GDP of the U.S. was at 2.8%. Mexico’s Gross Domestic Product growth is expected to reach 4.5% for 2011.

    “U.S. baby boomers are choosing to retire in Mexico because the cost of living is less and medication/health care is less expensive,” Blase said via email. “The protectionist laws implemented by restrictionist GOP legislators are having a direct negative impact with much needed migration to support our agricultural industry and it goes against pro growth, pro small business ideas. Immigrants are the new taxpayers that will sustain the American economy and at some point we will be competing with Mexico for that population we will need.”


  23. creolechild says:

    West’s cancelled appearance in LGBT-friendly community generates more controversy
    By Marcos Restrepo

    The controversy surrounding the announcement and cancellation of an appearance by Rep. Allen West, R-Fort Lauderdale, at the Wilton Manors Business Association’s Aug. 8 meeting will not go away. In response to West’s announced appearance, Michael Rajner, legislative director of the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus, demanded that Celeste Ellich, president of the Business Association, disinvite West.

    A South Florida Sun Sentinel editorial responded with: “Intolerance is intolerable, and that’s why pressure on a Wilton Manors business group to disinvite a member of Congress is misguided.” The editorial added that if the GLBT Democratic Caucus “and its members choose to take their business elsewhere, as they have threatened, that’s their right,” and that the paper objects “to Rajner’s demand that the business group withdraw its invitation to Rep. West. One form of intolerance simply does not justify another.”

    In an op-ed published today in the Sun Sentinel, the author writes: If the infamous Klu Klux Klan leader, David Duke, were coming to Wilton Manors to speak and the NAACP and Anti-Defamation League were calling for the invitation to be rescinded, would the Sun Sentinel call them intolerant? That is the crux of the problem. The Sun Sentinel Editorial Board erred in equating Allen West’s well documented, inflammatory, bigoted, hate speech with the GLBT Democratic Caucus’s call to disinvite him. In your editorial, you attempted to compare the incomparable.

    A Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus press release issued Tuesday applauds the Wilton Manors Business Association for canceling West’s appearance. The release adds that “many qualified and respectful speakers exist on both sides of the aisle” According to the release, “the Caucus supports the efforts of our local chapter, the Dolphin Democrats, to raise awareness of Rep. West’s extremism on issues, offensive language and counter-productive behavior, all of which are an affront to the GLBT community and to fair minded Floridians who believe in equality for all Americans.”


  24. creolechild says:

    Conservative blog, Somos Republicans fight over Rubio, immigration policy
    By Marcos Restrepo

    Somos Republicans and Hispolitica, led by Hispanic Republicans from Arizona and Florida respectively, are accusing each other of not truly defending Hispanic conservative values.
    Hispolitica defines itself as a conservative video-driven news, commentary and opinion website. Somos Republicans states that its mission “is to promote political education and information needed to make more informed political decisions,” and lists leaders in a half-dozen states. Javier Manjarres, managing editor for Hispolitica and The Shark Tank, wrote this weekend that Somos Republicans is “almost certainly a Democrat front group.”

    According to Manjarres, Somos Republicans “openly states that they are a Republican group, but they have raised flags amongst conservative groups with their over the top pro-amnesty rhetoric and shameless attacks on conservative hispanic leaders like [Sen. Marco] Rubio and U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz.” Manjarres adds that “Somos Republicans’ own publication – for anyone that actually reads it- only deals with one issue, and that is immigration ‘reform’, and no other issues matter to this group- regardless if you’re pro-life, support low taxes, limited government, or the 2nd amendment- issues that the group identifies as its ‘core principles’ don’t matter at all if you oppose their amnesty position- hypocrisy at it’s finest.” He concludes that Somos Republicans’ purpose is “to deceive Hispanics and other voters.”

    Somos Republicans then responded, saying that Manjarres is a tea party extremist that is not happy with SOMOS REPUBLICANS (SR) because SR has been a strong advocate of legal immigration reform. We believe he is envious that SR managed to become the largest Hispanic Republican group in the nation during a difficult era that is anti-immigrant / anti-Latino. He is livid that we asked Marco Rubio to take back his anti-immigrant stances. Marco Rubio will not support the DREAM Act. Javier claims we are for amnesty, however, he is silent with regard to Cuban-Americans enjoying their unique amnesty privilege via the the Cuban Adjustment Act (wet-foot/dry-foot policy). Living in Florida, will Javier take a position to the [Cuban Adjustment Act] and the one year of entitlements?

    Somos Republicans doesn’t just criticize Republican lawmakers. The Iowa Independent reported last December that Somos Republicans called Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., “unfriendly to Hispanics.”

  25. creolechild says:

    Well, well, well…

    Despite Rhetoric, Bachmann Requested Stimulus, EPA Cash For District
    Benjy Sarlin

    For Michele Bachmann federal cash is absolutely disgusting — and the portions are so small!
    Despite repeatedly decrying the evils of federal spending, records obtained by the Huffington Post show Bachmann repeatedly requested money for her district even from agencies and programs she has vilified in her speeches. They include the stimulus program that she branded “fantasy economics” as well as the Environmental Protection Agency she’s said should be renamed the “Job Killing Agency.”

    Among the issues she discussed in letters with various federal agencies were a transportation project in Waite Park, MN that had received nearly $2.6 billion in stimulus funding. In one “urgent” letter in June 2009 to Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood she asked the DOT to reverse a decision that would threaten the project, and wrote the next month that she was “pleased to learn” that her own state transportation agency was not going to “pull the nearly $2.8 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding set aside for the project.” In September 2009, she wrote six separate letters to DOT requesting federal funds for six separate projects in her district.

    Perhaps most out of character were her interactions with the EPA, however. In 2007, she signed onto a joint letter with other Minnesota politicians asking the agency to help fund rural water initiatives in the state. In 2010, she asked for help with a $270,806 grant application to replace two vehicles at local bus company as part of the EPA’s Clean Diesel Grant Program. Despite Bachmann’s extensive requests for federal cash, the report concluded that she was largely an ineffective advocate for her district, having obtained the least stimulus funding of any district in Minnesota.

  26. HuffPostPolitics

    Tavis Smiley says Obama won’t give him an interview (or invite him to White House)

    • creolechild says:

      LOL! Oh, he haz a sad…he’s being ignored!

    • rikyrah says:

      we have passed over into the realm of the patently absurd.

      if he wants to visit the WH, he better apply for a WH Tour like the rest of us.

      here’s a hint Travis:

      Your Black Ass disrespected MICHELLE ROBINSON OBAMA.



      • Ametia says:


      • creolechild says:

        rikyrah~ thank you for bringing that up!

        Sen. Barack Obama’s letter to Tavis Smiley
        By Mary Mitchell on February 14, 2008

        The following letter dated February 13, was sent to Tavis Smiley asking him to reconsider his decision not to let Michelle Obama stand in for her husband at the 2008 State of the Black Union forum in New Orleans.

        February 13, 2008
        Mr. Tavis Smiley
        President and CEO
        The Smiley Group
        3870 Crenshaw Boulevard
        Suite 391
        Los Angeles, CA 90008

        Dear Tavis,

        Thank you for the invitation to participate in the 2008 State of the Black Union forum in New Orleans, Louisiana February 21-23. The exchange of ideas raised at this annual symposium are invaluable as our nation strives to address the critical issues facing not just African Americans, but Americans of every race, background and political party.

        I especially commend you for hosting this dialogue in New Orleans. On the eve of the Louisiana primary, I visited this great city for the fifth time since declaring my candidacy to share policy proposals for rebuilding the Gulf Coast so that we never experience another Hurricane Katrina. On February 9, I was deeply humbled to win the Louisiana primary with 86 percent of the African American vote and a 14 point lead among all voters who said they were adversely affected by Hurricane Katrina.

        Uniting our country and creating a national constituency for fundamental change is why I am running for President of the United States. We have come a long way in this race, but we still have a long road ahead. In the final stretch, I will be on the campaign trail everyday in states like Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin talking directly with voters about the causes that are at the heart of my campaign and the State of the Black Union forum such as affordable healthcare, housing, economic opportunity, civil rights and foreign policy. I am committed to touching every voter, and working to earn their vote.

        That is why with regret, I am not able to attend the forum. I understand that you have declined the campaign’s request to have Michelle Obama speak on my behalf. I ask that you reconsider. Michelle is a powerful voice for the type of real change America is hungry for. No one knows my record or my passion for leading America in a new direction more than Michelle Obama.

        Tavis, this is our movement and our time. I look forward to working closely with you throughout this election. Thank you for your continued support.


        Barack Obama

      • Let me repeat that…

        Your Black Ass disrespected MICHELLE ROBINSON OBAMA.

      • rikyrah says:


        thank you for this.

        and, I will remind folks…


        Travis had the nerve to LIE ABOUT IT

        and Roland Martin busted his ass about it.

      • creolechild says:

        If anyone had any doubts about Tavis Smiley and Cornel West’s true motivations, that letter should clear it up….and it also shows how petty and egotistical they are. “Highly esteemed Black intellectuals” my azz~

  27. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 10, 2011 12:40 PM

    Republicans announce ‘Super Committee’ selections

    By Steve Benen
    Senate Democrats got the ball rolling late yesterday, and Republicans in the House and Senate followed up this morning.

    House Speaker John Boehner said he’s tapped House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, to serve as co-chair of the committee. He’s also appointing House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., to the committee, as well as House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich.

    Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said he’s appointing Sens. Jon Kyl, Ariz., Pat Toomey, Pa., and Rob Portman, Ohio.

    There aren’t any major surprises here — GOP leaders picked six very conservative white men; who would have guessed? — though House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan was expected to get one of the slots. Nevertheless, let’s take a moment to note some of the first thoughts after glancing at the new list:

    * Jeb Hensarling is a prominent right-wing Texan who has a bad habit of saying dumb things. Given the nature of this panel’s work, it’s worth noting that Hensarling has described Social Security and Medicare as “cruel ponzi schemes.” He’s the GOP pick for co-chair of the committee.

    * Dave Camp is the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, and a rather generic Republican, though he does seem to believe working families don’t pay enough in taxes.

    * Fred Upton was known as a relative moderate, until his party fell off the right-wing cliff, at which point he jumped, too.

    * Jon Kyl is a far-right GOP leader who strongly believes Congress “should never have to offset” the cost of tax cuts, because the Tax Fairy magically ensures they pay for themselves. As part of the recent debt-reduction talks, Kyl ruled out any attempts to increase revenue and demanded $6 trillion in cuts.

    * Pat Toomey is the former head of the right-wing Club for Growth. He’s talked about privatizing Social Security; blames FDR for the Great Depression; and is on record comparing moderate Republicans to communists.

    * Rob Portman used to serve as George W. Bush’s budget director. No, seriously, he really did. After pleading with voters to ignore his entire record in public life, Portman was elected anyway and now Republicans want him to help shape a debt-reduction plan.

    If one of these six is likely to be reasonable and make the Super Committee a worthwhile exercise, I don’t see it.

    House Democrats will fill the remaining three slot before next Tuesday. They will have until Thanksgiving to come up with a plan and send it to the House and Senate floors.

  28. rikyrah says:

    One through nine, no maybes, no supposes, no fractions. You can’t travel in space, you can’t go out into space, you know, without, like, you know, uh, with fractions, okay? What are you going to land on – one-quarter, three-eighths? What are you going to do when you go from here to Venus or something? That’s dialectic physics.
    by John Cole

    David Frum read the hacktacular piece at the Politico yesterday, and his conclusion was “The attacks will tiptoe up to the line of outright anti-Mormon bigotry.” He then goes on to explain it all may be a “head fake” to get Romney off his game. In Frum’s fantasy world, this is how Romney has behaved to date:

    Perhaps this talk is a first draft of an actual campaign plan. But there’s another possibility, and it’s one that Team Romney should take very, very seriously: It’s a mind game.

    Thus far, Romney has resisted the temptation and the pressure to campaign against Barack Obama personally. Romney has not accused Obama of anti-Americanism. Romney has not mocked or ridiculed the First Lady. Romney has conscientiously eschewed any line of criticism that could be construed — or even cynically misrepresented — as racially coded. He has had no truck with Birtherism, he cold-shouldered the theory about Obama as a “Kenyan anti-colonialist,” and he never confuses Obama and Osama.

    Except, of course, this being David Frum, none of that is true:

    But even if the Obama campaign is privately talking about exploiting Romney’s “weirdness” factor — Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin are very good reporters, so their story likely reflects real insider chatter — it’s deeply absurd for Romney and his advisers to feign outrage over it. After all, they have frequently insinuated in a variety of ways that Obama is vaguely alien, culturally suspect, and potentially harbors ill intentions towards America.

    Indeed, Romney’s entire announcement speech was largely aimed at reinforcing the message that Obama isn’t one of us. He questioned Obama’s appreciation of America as “we” understand it, frequently described Obama’s policies as “European,” and suggested Obama has transformed our country into something no longer recognizably American. Romney has also accused Obama of “counterfeit values” that would “change the very character of America.” And Romney has also said: “I believe in the Constitution — and I believe in the greatness of America,” clearly insinuating that Obama doesn’t.

    On still other occasions, Romney has explicitly stated that Obama’s American-ness and cultural instincts will be central to the 2012 campaign. “The American people have established a perspective on the President which is going to be lasting — that he has not understood the nature of America,” Romney said in February.

    On a separate note, I know that the topsy-turvy rules of our discourse hold that being ”uncivil” or engaging in “personal attacks” is somehow worse than telling outright falsehoods, but Romney also repeated the lies that Obama apologized for America and that Obama made the recession “worse” even after they were exposed as false by independent fact checkers. This record makes the Romney campaign’s feigned concern about the state of our political discourse particularly laughable.

    So basically, what we have here is two clowns at the Politico insert their own opinion into a piece, implying that the Obama campaign will engage in anti-Mormonism. Except no one in the campaign ever said that, and there is no record of any hint of anti-Mormonism in anything Obama has ever said or done. Then, a former Bush speechwriter, one of the members of the worst administration ever, the folks who willingly stated they were creating their own reality, claims that not only is it true the Obama team will be running on anti-Mormonism, but they are doing it to get Romney to lose his cool and say things he never would say. Except, of course, he’s already said those things and more.

    Our entire fucking political discourse is like a hazy acid trip in which our pundits are all in a fugue state, discussing a fantasy world based on their own internal rapidly shifting alternate reality which itself was devised on a faulty premise that no one made. You and I are the lucky ones who get to see these freaks hiding in the light.

    • Ametia says:

      Politico Ben and nem can go run in the heaviest of traffic with gianormous scissors. Romeny does weird all by his lonesome.

      If these idiots want to play anti-Mormonism, they do that well on their own. I do believe that’s Donald Trump, and the birthers Modus operandi, not President Barack Hussein Obama’s.

  29. rikyrah says:

    August 10, 2011 1:35 PM

    The America that Scarborough grew up in

    By Steve Benen

    I’ve read Joe Scarborough’s latest Politico column a couple of times, trying to wrap my head around it. The gist of it has something to do with the America the MSNBC host grew up in and the way in which he fears the American dream may be slipping away.

    My mom and dad were born in the middle of the Great Depression, came of age during World War II and graduated college when Eisenhower was president. American power was at its zenith, millions of troops were joining the work force, our old rivals’ factories lay in ruins and interstate highways were springing up across the USA.

    America’s remarkable ascent in the middle of the 20th century framed my parents’ worldview while I was growing up in towns ranging from northwest Florida to upstate New York.

    Regardless of my family’s financial challenges, my mother and father always believed that in America there were no such things as short cuts, hard work was always rewarded and the good guys always won in the end.

    Scarborough talked about his family’s can-do spirit in the 1960s and 1970s, and their “faith in America.” He contrasts this with the problems he perceives plaguing the nation today: concentrated wealth and income disparity, a jobs crisis, a squeezed middle class, excessive corporate salaries and bonuses, and stagnant middle-class wages.

    Yes, Joe Scarborough, the former Republican congressman and conservative media personality, apparently wrote a column that could be endorsed by Bernie Sanders.

    And what does Scarborough suggest we do to address these systemic economic problems? Well, he never quite gets around suggesting any policies or solutions in his column, but he nevertheless notes his father “would ask what became of the America that he knew, where working hard and playing by the rules always paid off.”

    I suppose it’s heartening that Scarborough is at least acknowledging real economic crises that are usually only identified by the left.

    But let’s go a step further with this — which is to say, let’s actually explore what became of the America Scarborough’s dad once knew.

    Let’s put aside, at least for a moment, what the good ol’ days were like for women and minority groups, because the discrimination was a national disgrace. Instead, let’s just focus for now on economics.

    What’s striking is to realize how extraordinarily liberal the country was, economically, when Scarborough’s father was a young man. In the 1950s, the top marginal tax rate was 90% (nearly triple today’s figure); union membership was 30% (more than quadruple today’s figure); the Republican Party, which still had plenty of liberals, endorsed all kinds of progressive ideas (spending projects, living wage); and the economy was heavily regulated — airlines didn’t even set their own prices.

    Harold Meyerson explored this in even more detail last fall, emphasizing conservative activists’ misguided understanding of what it is they think has gone wrong.

    When the Tea Partyers get around to identifying how America has changed and to whose benefit, however, they get it almost all wrong. In the worldview of the American right — and the polling shows conclusively that that’s who the Tea Party is — the nation, misled by President Obama, has gone down the path to socialism. In fact, far from venturing down that road, we’ve been stuck on the road to hyper-capitalism for three decades now.

    The Tea Partyers are right to be wary of income redistribution, but if they had even the slightest openness to empiricism, they’d see that the redistribution of the past 30 years has all been upward — radically upward. From 1950 through 1980, the share of all income in America going to the bottom 90 percent of Americans — effectively, all but the rich — increased from 64 percent to 65 percent, according to an analysis of tax data by economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez. Because the nation’s economy was growing handsomely, that means that the average income of Americans in the bottom 90 percent was growing, too — from $17,719 in 1950 to $30,941 in 1980 — a 75 percent increase in income in constant 2008 dollars.

    Since 1980, it’s been a very different story. The economy has continued to grow handsomely, but for the bottom 90 percent of Americans, it’s been a time of stagnation and loss. Since 1980, the share of all income in America going to the bottom 90 percent has declined from 65 percent to 52 percent. In actual dollars, the average income of Americans in the bottom 90 percent flat-lined — going from the $30,941 of 1980 to $31,244 in 2008.

    In short, the economic life and prospects for Americans since the Reagan Revolution have grown dim, while the lives of the rich — the super-rich in particular — have never been brighter. The share of income accruing to America’s wealthiest 1 percent rose from 9 percent in 1974 to a tidy 23.5 percent in 2007.

    If Scarborough wants to reverse the trend, it will require a rather dramatic shift in his political ideology. The era he remembers was one in which New Deal policies created “economic security and opportunity” that were “widely shared,” thanks in part to high marginal top rates and wages that nearly kept pace with the cost of living.

    Scarborough may want to go back, but it’ll require a pretty sharp left-hand turn

  30. rikyrah says:

    August 10, 2011 2:25 PM

    American mainstream calls for higher taxes

    By Steve Benen

    Gallup asked Americans what they’d like to see Congress do next on debt reduction. The top response in the newly-released poll: “Increasing income taxes for upper-income Americans.” A large 66% majority endorsed this move, including 45% of self-identified Republicans. No, that’s not a typo.

    A new CNN poll asked the same question. Guess what was the most popular debt-reduction idea? “Increases in taxes on businesses and higher-income Americans,” which was backed by a 63% majority.

    A McClatchy/Marist poll (pdf) released yesterday found that 68% of Americans support raising taxes on income over $250,000. In this survey, a majority of self-identified Republicans supported the idea.

    Bruce Bartlett, a veteran of the Reagan and Bush administrations, has an updated list of 23 polls — all from the last nine months — which all show the same thing: consistent support from the American mainstream for higher taxes. The list isn’t selected — Bruce highlights (and links to) every poll he could find on this, and in each case, the margin was about 2-to-1 in support of tax increases for the wealthy.

    As Bruce explained a month ago:

    Contrary to Republican dogma, polls show that the American people strongly support higher taxes to reduce the deficit and improve income inequality.

    This clearly isn’t what the congressional GOP had in mind. As debt-reduction talks got underway months ago, Republicans assumed they had the better hand — all they had to do, the party assumed, was say those rascally Democrats want to “raise taxes.” The public would recoil, Dems would back down, and all would be right with the world.

    But it’s Democrats who are in sync with the public. Lately, it’s tough to get two-thirds of the country to agree on much, but they agree on raising taxes on the wealthy.

    The GOP is an increasingly unpopular party, pushing an increasingly unpopular agenda. Here’s hoping Dems notice as the process moves forward.

  31. rikyrah says:

    What Rich Republicans Don’t Understand
    by BooMan
    Wed Aug 10th, 2011 at 11:45:13 AM EST

    Over in England, the elites are debating the causes of the widespread looting and property destruction that has been spreading throughout the country like a wildfire. Roving packs of young people from the underclass are breaking into high-end stores and taking whatever they want. They’re robbing people in broad daylight with no concern that most of their actions are being captured by the ubiquitous cameras that film nearly every square-inch of England’s cities. They’re lighting cars and shops ablaze and then attacking the firefighters and police with projectiles.
    We know the spark that lit the match was the shooting death of a black man in the Tottenham section of North London, but that doesn’t explain why people are rioting in South London and Nottingham and Birmingham and Manchester, and even in Glouchester. It’s hard to come up with one single answer. First of all, the same thing has been happening right here in Philadelphia all year long. It’s just on a smaller scale. For example, this is from late June.

    UPPER DARBY — A mob of about 40 people stormed into the Sears department store on 69th Street Thursday, and in a flash stole thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, officials said.
    Police were able to round up 15 juveniles and one adult, 19, all from West Philadelphia.

    “They came in on the El train and hit Sears,” police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said. “They stole sneakers, socks, watches, whatever they could get their hands on, and left.”

    I think these girls have as good an explanation as you’re going to find. Having looted alcohol from a local shop, they calmly explained to a BBC reporter that the riots were all about showing the rich, the government, and the police that they could do whatever they want. When asked why they were destroying their own community, they said they were attacking the shop owners and people with money. And they thought the whole enterprise was a great deal of fun.

    Sometimes people say that there is no real left-wing in America, and that’s kind of true in Britain, too. But we do have a left-wing. It’s just a left-wing designed to kill the seductive power of communism and to build a bulwark against anarchism. Different countries chose different ways of responding to the economic catastrophes of the 1920’s and 1930’s. The Russians became totalitarian. Europe succumbed to fascism. We chose a New Deal. It was a middle road. It provided a safety net and tolerable working conditions. It created a huge middle class. It didn’t arouse the far right or far left instincts of the nation, but put them into sleep mode.

    Now we’re back to 1920’s level of income disparity. Conservatives are attacking every aspect of the New Deal. What rich people seem to be forgetting is that the opposite of the New Deal is not some idyllic paradise of free-market bliss. The opposite is rampaging mobs who light shit on fire just to show you that they can do whatever they want. Eventually, that can include burning down your business or your house, or, maybe, even taking your life.

    And it’s not just income disparity that’s a problem. Consider how this all started. A bunch of smart people set up a kind of scam using complex financial instruments that no one can understand. They got rich beyond all imagination, while the rest of us lost our jobs, lost our retirement money, lost, in some cases, our homes. And then we were told that there was no money for our cops, no money for our firefighters, our nurses, our teachers. And next we’ll be told that our Social Security check will be smaller and we’ll have to wait another year or two to get our Medicare. Meanwhile, the rich, represented ably by the Republicans, refuse to pay one dime in extra taxes.

    With that kind of attitude and that lack of accountability, it’s not hard to see why some people might start losing hope and might start losing respect for “the system.” If the rich don’t wise up quick, the scenes from England will be coming to America. Bet on it.

    • Ametia says:

      THIS: “And it’s not just income disparity that’s a problem. Consider how this all started. A bunch of smart people set up a kind of scam using complex financial instruments that no one can understand. They got rich beyond all imagination, while the rest of us lost our jobs, lost our retirement money, lost, in some cases, our homes.

      And then we were told that there was no money for our cops, no money for our firefighters, our nurses, our teachers. And next we’ll be told that our Social Security check will be smaller and we’ll have to wait another year or two to get our Medicare. Meanwhile, the rich, represented ably by the Republicans, refuse to pay one dime in extra taxes.

      The chickens will eventually come home to roost.

      Best piece of writing by Booman in a while, for me.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Progress in Wisconsin
    by BooMan
    Wed Aug 10th, 2011 at 09:26:38 AM EST

    I know everyone wants to spin the results in Wisconsin but this is ridiculous. I’m obviously not an expert on Wisconsin elections and I don’t dispute that it is disappointing to fall one seat short of taking control of the state Senate there. I also don’t dispute that the two seats that we won were relatively easy pickings, under the circumstances. But it’s also impossible to call this a huge loss for unions. And to write the following without making any reference to the tens of millions of dollars the Republicans poured into the state is an assault on reason:

    “The people” were supposed to be on the side of the unions who protested at the state capitol when Walker’s bill passed, limiting the unions’ collective bargaining privileges against taxpayers and school districts. But it turns out that “the people” had other ideas. In the end, even a massive infusion of cash and union volunteers was not enough to deliver the three state Senate recall races the unions needed, despite the fact that President Obama carried all six of the seats in question in 2008.

    For a while last night it looked like the Democrats might get their three seats by beating state Sen. Alberta Darling. Sen. Darling set a national record for most money raised for a state Senate election. And that doesn’t even include the money from outside groups.

    In any case, the Walker budget passed through the Senate on an 18-15 vote, with one Republican dissenting. With the Senate now split 17-16, it’s not clear that Walker can still ram home anything he wants. The Democrats came up a little short, but they improved their situation in a meaningful way.

    The one thing we ought to consider is the toxicity level of our politics.

    A review of ads posted on the “Ad Watch” section of reveals the toxicity. Of the 31 recall-related ads posted on the site between July 12 and July 29, all but eight are entirely or primarily attack ads. Some don’t even mention the names of the candidates they actually support, just the ones they oppose.
    Of the remaining ads, just two don’t disparage a candidate, one for state Sen. Robert Cowles, R-Allouez, and one for Sen. Robert Wirch, D-Pleasant Prairie.

    Dhavan Shah, a professor of mass communication and political science at UW-Madison, laments that quiet, mostly local elections have become “major television campaigns” driven largely by outside groups. (Only a third of the ads mentioned above were issued by candidates’ campaigns.)

    But what really troubles Shah is the “viciousness” of the ads. “It’s really gotten pretty ugly pretty quickly,” he notes. “I’m dispirited about the possibility of a more civil discourse.”

    Shah is not talking just about negative campaign messages but about “the broader climate of political polarization,” on the state and federal level. He thinks the nastiness of political campaigns has repercussions beyond the elections.

    “That anger doesn’t dissipate,” he says. “It stays with people. The climate of the campaigns spills over into day-to-day political behavior.”

    Now that is something truly dangerous.

    Most dedicated Democrats are pleased that the Democratic Party stood its ground in Wisconsin and fought with every tool at their disposal. Unfortunately, the possibility of a return to civil discourse is not what is called for when the Republicans are trying to radically change the rights and benefits we’ve earned over last century.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Bank Of America Has Activist Arrested For Telling The Bank About Dangerous Vacant Homes It Owns
    Two weeks ago, the Chicago city council passed a new statute that “will make lenders liable for the upkeep of vacant homes even when the borrower still holds the title.” The law was passed unanimously and will take effect in September. The importance of this new law came into focus last week when two firefighters were injured battling a fire that sprung up in a vacant home in the Englewood neighborhood on the south side of Chicago.

    As Aaron Krager notes, this outraged activists from Action Now, a local community group. Marsha Goddard, who is a board member of the organization, led a group of five people to a local branch of Bank of America, which owned the vacant property, to inform the bank about code violations that it would be liable for when the law goes into effect.

    The megabank responded by having Goddard arrested. Action Now explains that it was not engaging in a civil disobedience action and simply wanted to share the code violations with Bank of America:

    Marsha Godard, 52, a Westside mother and account holder at Bank of America, is a board member of Action Now. She led a group of five people into the Bank of America headquarters at LaSalle and Jackson today with copies of complaint forms filled out by community residents who want the bank to clean up and maintain the thousands of vacant properties the bank owns in neighborhoods across the city. Bank of America had refused to accept the complaints, and Marsha had said she wasn’t leaving until they did. They had her arrested immediately. […] This was not a planned civil disobedience action. We had no intention of taking arrests. In fact, we thought we had gone out of our way to do Bank of America a favor by doing the research for them on code violations.

    Goddard and her fellow activists are not deterred by the arrest. They plan to hold rallies outside the bank branch every day for the rest of the week and will continue to call attention to dangerous vacant properties that it will soon be liable for maintaining.

  34. rikyrah says:

    West and Smiley’s ‘Poverty Tour’ veers way off track
    By Zerlina Maxwell

    5:05 PM on 08/09/2011

    Say the word poor. Say it Mr. President. We want to hear you say it!”

    That was talk show host Tavis Smiley this past weekend as he lead a Chicago “Poverty Tour” audience in a chant. The packed house gave him a standing ovation.

    The “Poverty Tour” is billed on its website as Smiley and West “going on a road trip to highlight the plight of the poor people 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.” The bus tour is already being labeled as an “anti-Obama tour” with pro-Obama protesters disrupting a stop in Detroit.

    Tavis Smiley and Professor Cornel West have both bashed the president for the debt ceiling deal with Smiley saying, “I don’t understand how the president could agree to a deal that does not extend unemployment benefits, does not close a single corporate loophole and doesn’t raise the taxes on the rich,” said Smiley. “The poor are being rendered more and more invisible in this country. Nobody, not the president, not the Republicans in Congress, is speaking to the truth of the suffering of everyday people.”

    Smiley appears to willfully ignore the existence of congressional Republicans who would have blocked any help for the unemployed by not compromising and nearly lead us straight to default.

    Smiley and West’s tour has also revealed that they haven’t been paying close attention to President Barack Obama’s own words. While they the claim that Obama won’t even say the word poor, Smiley and West seem to have missed President Obama’s prepared remarks on July 25th in the middle of the debt ceiling debate to The National Council of La Raza where he said, “Not only is it not fair if all of this is done on the backs of middle-class families and poor families, it doesn’t make sense. It may sound good to save a lot of money over the next five years, but not if we sacrifice our future for the next 50.”

    President Obama then went on to say, “Are we a nation that asks only the middle class and the poor to bear the burden? After they’ve seen their jobs disappear and their incomes decline over a decade? Are we a people who break the promises we’ve made to seniors, or the disabled, and leave them to fend for themselves?”

    Or perhaps they ignored President Obama’s prime-time address a few days earlier on July 22nd where he said about the lack of revenues in a possible debt ceiling deal, “if you don’t have revenues, the entire thing ends up being tilted on the backs of the poor and middle-class families.”

    Also worth nothing is the fact that President Obama is set to embark on his very own jobs bus tour next week where he will push for, among other things, a pay roll tax cut which will certainly help the working class and poor families Smiley and West claim to care so deeply about.

    • creolechild says:

      Gil Scott-Heron was singing about the societal issues that were plaguing this country in 1974. The only thing that has changed for POC is that it’s now 2011 and the U.S has a black president, Barack Hussein Obama. 3Chics continues to ask this same question–over and over again–of the President’s detractors: What have you done to help or improve the situation? And the answer is always the same………….(crickets).

  35. rikyrah says:

    Jesse Jackson Blasts Obama For Not Supporting Black Voters
    By Alexis Garrett Stodghill

    In a recent interview with the German publication Der Spiegel, Jesse Jackson outlined his severe disappointment with President Obama’s service to the African-American community. Noting that black Americans were among his first supporters and that 96% of us voted for him in 2008, Jackson slammed the president for completely failing to address our political needs. He called Obama on his naivete in dealing with the Republican party, which has been ruthless in cutting programs benefiting working Americans while deflecting tax increases for the rich. From black unemployment to our deeper mortgage crisis, the president has failed — according to Jackson — to implement a single plan to ameliorate the black community’s troubles. Meanwhile, billions of dollars are being pumped into foreign nations like Afghanistan and Iraq to support democracy. What about the lack of fair opportunity here at home for African-Americans?

    Jackson believes Obama is giving away too much affecting blacks and the poor, wrongly anticipating that the GOP will play fair in return. He elaborated to Der Spiegel on the president’s miscalculations in appeasing the right:

    [Obama] underestimates how ideological the other side is, and how determined they are to destroy him, even when their actions harm the nation’s economy and millions of people. I think reconciliation is Obama’s goal — but the fight with the Republicans is like a fight with pit bulls, they never let go. Even worse, now the Republicans feel they can keep pushing and he will keep giving. They have not seen a stiff resistance on his part. The American people on the ground need a clearer, stronger, Lyndon B. Johnson-type voice from their president. Obama has that voice. It has to be used. For instance, I hear he will be taking a bus tour around the country now. I think that should have happened before the debt ceiling negotiations, so that people in every state know what they have to lose if the federal budget is cut even further.

    Jesse Jackson goes on to offer some sympathy for Obama, claiming to understand that he is in a difficult bind as our first African-American president. Bringing up Bill Clinton — who many affectionately call the “real” first black president — Jackson details how this former POTUS was free to court blacks directly because being white released him from possible accusations of favoritism. But Jackson does not see Obama’s race quandary as enough of an excuse for abandoning the community that made him.

    To this point he told Der Spiegel: “The black community was essential for Obama’s victory. He must nurture that base if he wants to be re-elected.”

    Numerous African-American leaders have voiced the same sentiment. Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West have been two of the most prolific Obama haters on the scene, having recently joined forces to trash the president’s debt ceiling compromise. Tavis recently called the deal a “declaration of war on the poor” while seated side-by side with West on CNN’s “American Morning.” We can only expect Obama’s negative performance ratings regarding blacks and the poor to increase in number during the months leading up to serious 2012 campaigning.

    Yes, it is true that the president has failed to address blacks’ needs directly. While Obama has thrown us a couple of bones through symbolic gestures like making an appearance at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network conference, on the record he has stated his belief that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” The president seems certain that any systemic racism blacks face can be thwarted by increasing overall opportunity. This certainty precludes the creation of special programs to address blacks’ issues.

    That is an ironic stance in light of last week’s announcement by Mayor Bloomberg of sweeping measures to help black and Latino men specifically in New York City. Despite the many opportunities in what many consider the capital of the world, these youths are among the most excluded from the city’s social, economic and intellectual life. Rather than waiting for the environment to automatically “lift” these young men of color — which hasn’t happened after many years of status quo policies — Bloomberg decided to help this community which was clearly being underserved. Some might see this as favoritism now, but when these men are steered away from a life of crime because they have better avenues of growth, all of society will benefit.

    President Obama could learn a lot from Mayor Bloomberg in this regard, which is utterly shocking. Bloomberg is a registered Republican, but is less interested in the rhetoric of his party than doing what practically right. If a billionaire GOPer can see the need for programs that target the needs of black men, Obama should realize that blacks nationwide need the same assistance.

    If the president does not address blacks’ needs in a similar fashion, many might jump ship instead of waiting for a theoretical tide to give us a boost.

    • creolechild says:

      Here we go with the BULLSHIT…yet again!…(sigh)

      • Ametia says:

        I’m guessing Jessie Jackson Sr. hasn’t gotten an invitation to the WH either. Couldn’t be that threat of cutting off then candidate Obama’s nuts having anything to do with it?

        Petty, small, whinning negroes..

      • creolechild says:

        “Jesse Jackson goes on to offer some sympathy for Obama, claiming to understand that he is in a difficult bind as our first African-American president. Bringing up Bill Clinton — who many affectionately call the “real” first black president — Jackson details how this former POTUS was free to court blacks directly because being white released him from possible accusations of favoritism. But Jackson does not see Obama’s race quandary as enough of an excuse for abandoning the community that made him.”

        Let’s look at some issues that are usually NOT discussed when Bill Clinton’s name comes up. First, we need to clear up the misconception about what Toni Morrison was referring to when she called Bill Clinton “the first black president,”–which wasn’t widely reported at the time. Read her statement and you’ll see why…

        10 Questions for Toni Morrison
        By Toni Morrison

        Do you regret referring to Bill Clinton as the first black President? —Justin Dews, Cambridge, Mass.

        People misunderstood that phrase. I was deploring the way in which President Clinton was being treated, vis-à-vis the sex scandal that was surrounding him. I said he was being treated like a black on the street, already guilty, already a perp. I have no idea what his real instincts are, in terms of race.,9171,1738507,00.html

      • creolechild says:

        The statements made by Ms. Veney about public policy during Bill Clinton’s time in office are FACTUAL, a matter of public record, and can be easily verified~

        The Myth of Bill Clinton
        By Cassandra R Veney
        Posted January 16th, 2008 by Guest Blogger in U.S. Affairs African Affairs


        Let me begin to unravel and dismantle the myth that Bill Clinton was good for and to African Americans by addressing his domestic record. First, an analysis of welfare reform is needed because not only did it adversely affect a lot of African Americans, it had a disproportionate negative effect on African American women who according to lawmakers and the media, would be the main beneficiaries of welfare reform. I clearly remember the day in 1996 when Clinton signed into law the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act on the White House lawn because the scenario was so racist.

        Clinton smiled widely as he signed the legislation, took questions from the media, and praised Congress for passing such an important and historic piece of legislation while two large African American women stood by his side. Although white women made up a larger share of the welfare rolls, the media, politicians, and white Americans were convinced that African American women followed by Latinas were the main recipients of welfare and this merely reinforced the stereotype. Therefore, the legislation was overdue; these women needed to stop having children out of wedlock for the taxpayer to support and they needed to join the workforce.

        African American women and others on welfare now had the options of working, attending school, or getting off welfare and they were given time limits depending on where they lived. Some women were given more time if they had children under a certain age or they suffered from disabilities and illnesses, but the bottom line was that the cycle of welfare dependency would no longer pass from one generation to the next.

        The results were mixed. There were some African American women who received educational and vocational training that allowed them to find gainful employment and to take care of themselves and their families. However, many women were not so fortunate. They were trapped in a never-ending cycle of dead-end, low paying jobs often in the service sector away from their places of residence with very few benefits including health and childcare. They ended up in a lose-lose situation. Once they began to work and to earn an income, they ran the risk of losing some of their benefits.

        At the same time, the jobs did not pay enough to cover transportation to work as they jobs were often located in suburban areas away from urban centers. If the women resided in rural or small towns, the jobs often required having a car and some women could not afford to purchase and maintain one. To makes matters worst, under the new legislation, women did not qualify for some benefits once they began to earn a certain income.

        Finally, some women were caught between the devil and the deep blue sea concerning childcare. They were forced to work or to attend school, but some of them did not have adequate childcare or they could not afford to pay for it. Women traveled long distances to work at this minimum wage jobs with few or no benefits while their children were often left alone, with older siblings, neighbors, or relatives. These jobs were not always nine to five. These were the hospital, nursing home, restaurant, Wal-Mart jobs where women often worked the night and overnight shifts.


        Clinton signed into law another two bills in 1996 that did not bode well for African immigrants and immigrants from the diaspora—the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) and the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act that resulted in thousands of individuals being detained and finally deported. In the war on crime, that was often associated with the Republicans and not the very progressive Democratic Clinton, this act expanded the categories of aggravated assaults.

        As a result, documented immigrants even permanent legal residents or “green card” holders were automatically detained and some were deported after being convicted and sentenced for crimes that included shoplifting, drunk driving, vandalism, assault, and selling marijuana. Some of the convictions did not result in a prison or jail sentence. To add insult to injury, the law was retroactive which meant that individuals who committed crimes years ago that were not considered aggravated felonies at the time, completed their sentences or served no jail time due to suspended sentences, did community service or completed their time on probation were still detained and deported.

        This meant that hundreds of Jamaicans, Trinidadians, Haitians, Guyanese, Brazilians, Nigerians, and Ghanaians were removed, oftentimes permanently, from this country. Many of them grew up in the United States, had relatives and children here, and did not had familial and cultural ties to those countries where they were deported. These ties to the community were not taken into consideration when the orders of deportation were issued. In other words, the effects of the deportation on children, spouses, and other family members had no weight in the decision to deport. Many children were separated from their parents; marriages did not survive the separation; some of the deportees lost property and businesses while the parents and relatives who remained here struggled to meet the needs of the family.

        Although African Americans cannot be deported, they can be permanently removed from society or at least for long periods of time through the court system and Clinton saw to that with the enactment of mandatory minimum sentencing, three strikes, and truth in sentencing—all interconnected and intertwined with the war on crime and drugs. These also coincided with the reduction of the state in welfare expenditures and in increase in state and local funding for the construction of new prisons that fueled the prison industrial complex.

        There may not have been money for public schools, job training program, healthcare, and food, but there was money for prisons and jails. Again, these are associated with Reagan-Bush presidencies, but they were carried over and made harsher under the Clinton Administration. As the crack epidemic heated up in many African American communities throughout the United States, the arrests, convictions, and sentences for drug-related offenses increased. Under new drug sentencing laws, judges now had little discretion in the sentencing of drug offenders.

        The rates of African American men and women who were charged, convicted, and sentenced for drug offenses increased under the Clinton Administration as judges were given little discretion in sentencing due to strict, statutory federal sentencing guidelines and mandatory minimum sentences for crimes that were committed three times. Similar to the situation of deportees, community ties and family relations should have been helpful in obtaining a reduced sentence or keeping the person out of prison. This was not the case even for women who were pregnant, had small children, or were responsible for other family members.

        States also adopted truth in sentencing (TIS) guidelines that gave way to the construction of more prisons. Prior to the enactment of TISs, parole boards could determine the actual amount of time one spent in jail. A convict could be released early for good behavior while in prison and placed on parole. This changed with the war on crime and drugs and now both violent and non-violent criminals including drug offenders must spend a larger proportion of their sentences behind bars and parole is often restricted.

        A federal TIS law passed during Clinton’s administration in 1994 sweetened the pot for states to adopt truth in sentencing. They were now entitled to receive federal funding if convicted criminals served eighty-five percent of their sentences.


        Read more:

      • creolechild says:

        So, Jesse, who is “the real first black president?” Let the readers decide who has their best interests at heart…

        “I don’t want to wake up four years from now and discover that we still have more young black men in prison than in college.”
        –Barack Obama, fund-raiser in Harlem, NY, Nov. 29, 2007.

        –How many times in the last year has this city lost a child at the hands of another child? How many times have our hearts stopped in the middle of the night with the sound of a gunshot or a siren? How many teenagers have we seen hanging around on street corners when they should be sitting in a classroom? How many are sitting in prison when they should be working, or at least looking for a job? How many in this generation are we willing to lose to poverty or violence or addiction? How many?

        BHO: Yes, we need more cops on the street. Yes, we need fewer guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. Yes, we need more money for our schools. Yes, we need more jobs and more job training and more opportunity in our communities.
        But we also need families to raise our children. We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception. We need them to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child–it’s the courage to raise one.

        –Eliminate Sentencing Disparities: Obama believes the disparity between sentencing crack and powder-based cocaine is wrong and should be completely eliminated.

        –Obama had a 2002 bill to stop police abuse. Chicago had become infamous for use of torture by police to help frame innocent people. Thirteen innocent men on Death Row were exonerated and released, some of them victims of these tortured confessions. Illinois desperately needed some action to restore confidence in the police. Obama’s proposal was to require videotaping of interrogations of suspects in capital cases. When Obama began, the idea of a bill was opposed by police, prosecutors, most of the senate and the governor. The governor was determined not to appear soft on crime, and had promised to veto any proposal for mandatory tapings. By the time Obama finished his work, the police and prosecutors embraced the bill, it passed in the Illinois Senate by a vote of 58-0. The governor took the unusual step of reversing himself to sign it, and Illinois became the first state to require such tapings.

        –Obama voted against a proposal to criminalize contact with a gang for any convicts on probation or out on bail. In 2001, Obama opposed making gang activity eligible for the death penalty. “There’s a strong overlap between gang affiliation and young men of color…. I think it’s problematic for them to be singled out as more likely to receive the death penalty for carrying out certain acts than are others who do the same thing.“

        –In 1999, Obama opposed mandatory adult prosecution for youth who discharge a firearm near a school, declaring, ”There is really no proof or indication that automatic transfers and increased penalties and adult penalties for juvenile offenses have, in fact, proven to be more effective in reducing juvenile crime or cutting back on recidivism.“

        –Principles that Obama supports to address crime: Implement penalties other than incarceration for certain non-violent offenders; increase state funds for programs which rehabilitate and educate inmates during and after their prison sentences; provide funding for military-style “boot camps” for first-time juvenile felons.

        –Obama co-sponsored reducing recidivism by giving offenders a Second Chance
        Recidivism Reduction and Second Chance Act of 2007 Amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to expand provisions for adult and juvenile offender state and local reentry demonstration projects to provide expanded services to offenders and their families for reentry into society. Directs the Attorney General to award grants for: state and local reentry courts; comprehensive and continuous offender reentry task forces; pharmacological drug treatment services to incarcerated offenders; technology career training for offenders; mentoring services for reintegrating offenders into the community; pharmacological drug treatment services to incarcerated offenders; prison-based family treatment programs for incarcerated parents of minor children; and a study of parole or post-incarceration supervision violations and revocations.
        (Legislative Outcome: Became Public Law No: 110-199.)

        Obama’s most significant contribution has been his legislative battles against the death penalty, and against the criminal justice system. In Illinois, it’s been a series of shocking exonerations of innocent people who are on death row. He was involved very intimately in drafting and passing legislation that requires the video taping of police interrogations and confessions in all capital cases. And he also was one of the co-sponsors of this very comprehensive reform or the death penalty system in Illinois, which many people say may trigger the retreat on the death penalty in many other states.

        –Q: In the last decade, whites were 70% of persons arrested, but only 40% of inmates. Why?

        BHO: The criminal justice system is not color blind. It does not work for all people equally, and that is why it’s critical to have a president who sends a signal that we are going to have a system of justice that is not just us, but is everybody. I passed racial profiling legislation at the state level. It requires some political courage, because oftentimes you are accused of being soft on crime.

  36. rikyrah says:


    The President of the United States cannot say what I’m going to say. I am going to say it loud so that it resounds all over this land. Racists, racists, racists! Racism is alive and SICK in America. Racial hatred is alive and SICK in America.
    Can I prove it? Yes, I can.

    I am 81 years old so I have lived through 13 administrations of presidencies: some weak and ineffective, some strong and yet neglectful; and yet a few, passionate, caring and humane.

    These Republicans and Libertarians today are still fighting the Civil War! There is Texas where the governor is Republican Rick Perry. This Southern state wants to engrave the Confederate flag on the license plates of all the citizens in the state. There are Southern boards of education including, but not limited to Tennessee, Texas and Virginia who want to rewrite the text books either to omit slavery or to revise and rearrange history to fit their biased views. These three states all have Republican governors. The Tea Party, a group of extreme right-wing conservative theorists are among the proponents of this revisionist, altered version of American history. There are those semi-literate legislators, like Republican Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, who say the Founding Fathers fought to eliminate slavery. There’s a Southern governor, Republican Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi, who knows nothing about slavery and racial tensions in the South. Ignorant! Yes, that’s a part of it; but, the main thing is their psyche. Taught at an early age to look down upon and to hate people of African descent, this hatred is buried deep, deep, within the throes of every fabric and fiber of their beings. Just as a light weight object put into a glass of water will float to the top, no matter how long racism has been festering in their bodies, confronted with a president of African descent, the covert racism rises to the top. All of the subliminal messages weighing them down for years since infancy, now surface; and unabashedly, they would rather see this Nation, this Democratic Republic crumble as long as they can blame this Black man and cause his Waterloo! This is not my position. This is not my inference. This is exactly what some of these racists legislators have said. There is concrete evidence that they said it. I don’t have to make it up or falsify what they said, it is there on video preserved for the lifetime of this Nation for the whole world to see that a group of racists legislators, like Republican Congressman Mitch McConnell, are so determined to make the presidency of President Barack Obama, a one-term presidency that they frankly, as Rhett Butler said, …don’t give a damn,,,”

    Collective bargaining came into existence in Wisconsin; but Republican Governor Scott Walker, a governor influenced by Libertarian billionaires, destroyed it with the stroke of a pen. Social Security signed into law by Democrat President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, one of the more effective, caring and humane presidents, is about to undergo the chopping block despite the fact that workers have paid into the system all of their working years. Medicare and Medicaid, humane programs signed into law by Democrat President Lyndon Baines Johnson, designed to aid the elderly, the infirm and women, infants and children are about to come under the blade of the guillotine!

    These programs benefit people most of whom have worked on minimum wage jobs all of their working years. Some of them are unmarried and/or divorced women, failed by the declining education system, find themselves unprepared to find work that will sustain themselves and their children.

    ombined with racism is also classism; and, viewed and pursued by some, they are one and the same. Classism divides Americans by social strata with three defined levels: upper class (those with wealth accumulated either by top earning occupations or by inheritance), middle class (those who are either professional, have managerial positions or government workers with wages above the minimum income level, sometimes referred to as white collar workers), and lower class (those who work in production whose manufacturing jobs for the most part have been shipped overseas, often referred to as blue collar workers). Then there’s the undefined and often ignored underbelly of society who are invisible because they make no demands on society. They are the ones who roam the streets at night or sleep over the grate or under bridges, in bus stations or wherever they can lay their heads as they use what little belongings they have as a pillow under their heads. They are the unemployed, the homeless and hopeless, many are former military personnel who served their country all the while being neglected by their country. Many Americans of African descent have managed to escape the net and the web woven that would keep them out of the middle class, have benefited from these social programs after retirement years which has sustained them, along with their pensions,and have managed to remain middle class.

    As one legislator decried, “This is class war!” Yes, it is! Though some semi-literate, misinformed legislators called President Obama an elitist, it is they, many formerly poor boys, who through their positions living off the dole of the citizenry, now look down on the very people from whom they rose. There are some ill reared and ill bred who call the President of the United States, a liar! Because my mind is alert and fertile, I challenge any American to refute any of the facts that I am stating. Never in the history of this country has an American President been openly disrespected as has President Barack Obama. One “pretender to the throne,” Republican part-time governor, Sarah Palin, while in India spoke derisively about the President while on foreign shores, all the while saying that this is inappropriate. One thug of a legislator, Republican Congressman Joe Wilson, of South Carolina, called out, to President Barack Obama, “You lie!” during the State of the Union Address. Just the other day in July, 2011, another barnyard pig of a legislator, Republican Congressman Joe Lucas, of the 8th District of Illinois, called the President of the United States a liar.

    Of course American ethics, morals and morality have gone to hell in a hand basket; but, when this same “pretender,” Sarah Palin, featured on the cover of a major magazine, Newsweek, dressed inappropriately in a tight sweater opened a bit too much, then the world can see for itself the depravity and degradation of American principles and the American people.

    As Republican President Abraham Lincoln stated eloquently, “ A house divided against itself, cannot stand,” we have reached that fork in the road and America is on the path to destruction at the hands of a few, petty, pampered, pretty boys who in their efforts to appease their “masters” are driving this country off a cliff!

    Until we get a Secretary of Psychiatry to free racists of the hatred they are harboring, America will not prosper. America is already close to being displaced by China as the world’s greatest power; and, this is only because of the pure unadultered racism pervasive throughout this land.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Forbes Columnist Suggests Public Servants, Welfare Recipients Should Lose “Voting Privileges”
    August 08, 2011 5:44 pm ET by Todd Gregory

    In an August 4 post titled “If On The Dole Why Do You Still Get To Go To The Poll?” Forbes columnist Bill Flax wrote, “Before we devolve into a Third World dictatorship where the mob denies the liberties of losing minorities we ought to ponder several potential solutions.” His list of suggestions:

    A basic literacy assessment;
    A non-partisan test ensuring competency of basic constitutional principles;
    A stake in the community reflected by property, employment or other measures;
    Restrict the franchise to lessen conflicts of interest regarding state employees, lobbyists, contractors, etc.;
    Surrender one’s voting privileges when seeking public assistance.
    The rest of Flax’s post touched on familiar right-wing falsehoods: half of Americans don’t pay taxes; fighting poverty is a waste of money; the poor in America aren’t really poor because they can buy appliances.

    As a reminder, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 banned the institution of “basic literacy assessment[s]” and other “voting qualifications or prerequisites” based on race. Apparently, Flax thinks it’s OK to discriminate against people based on their jobs — public employees — or economic status — the recipients of “public assistance” — by removing their ability to vote.

    Though Flax’s suggestion that voting rights should be rolled back came in a blog post, his writing is also published in Forbes magazine.

    Flax’s bio says he “live[s] in Cincinnati, Ohio and work[s] in the banking industry.” Last year, he had a book published called The Courage to Do Nothing: A Moral Defense of Markets and Freedom. The back cover says, “Read The Courage to do Nothing to learn economic truths ignored by the cultural elites determined to change America into a European-style socialist boondoggle.”

  38. creolechild says:

    Michele Bachmann Pledges to Have the EPA’s “Doors Locked and Lights Turned Off”
    By Stephen Lacey

    If Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann can’t abolish the Environmental Protection Agency like she promised in June, she may just try to lock employees out of the building. Speaking at campaign rally in Iowa last week, Bachmann made it clear that she’ll do anything it takes to stamp out environmental protection efforts – even if that means padlocking the front door and switching off the breakers, according to a report from the Des Moines Register:

    “I pledge to you I’m not a talker. I’m a doer,” she said…“And I guarantee you the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) will have doors locked and lights turned off and they will only be about conservation,” she said earlier today at a campaign stop in Cedar Rapids. “It will be a new day and a new sheriff in Washington, D.C.”

    Republicans have made anti-EPA statements a major part of their campaigns, with Bachmann making some of the most inflammatory remarks. In June, she famously called for “the mother of all repeal bills” focused on the EPA, which she re-named “the job killing organization of America.” Republican House leaders are also ratcheting up pressure on EPA regulations. Last week, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton called on President Obama to stop new EPA regulations on mercury and air toxics, calling them a “regulatory train wreck.”

    The EPA is a convenient bogey man for Republican leaders when it comes to their messaging on jobs. But what they don’t mention is that new regulations will be phased in over a 3-year period of time, giving most power companies enough time to meet standards. This has nothing to do with today’s economic issues. And over the next five years, the number of jobs created through retrofitting power plants with pollution controls could be in the tens of thousands, with virtually no impact on nation-wide rates, according to EIA projections. Over the 40-year history of the EPA, there’s simply no evidence of the kind of mass murdering of jobs that politicians claim. In fact, since the agency was created in the early 1970’s, GDP has grown by 200% and common pollutants have dropped by 63%. But the facts don’t seem to matter when it comes to environmental issues this campaign season.

    At least Bachmann’s plan to shut off all the lights at the EPA will conserve energy.

  39. creolechild says:

    Native American Punk Band Fights to Preserve Sacred Mountain from Ski Resort
    by: Lucy Hall and Sarah E. Lu, Vocalo

    Jeneda and Clayson Benally of the Native American punk band Blackfire are suing the U.S. Forest Service over plans to turn Flagstaff’s waste water into snow for a ski resort. The ski resort lies atop the San Francisco peaks–mountains that are spiritually and culturally sacred to indigenous people in the region.

    This story comes to us from Truth-out. Check out Martha Sorren’s article, “From the Reservation to the Airwaves: Navajo Band Battles Injustice.” This piece was produced by Lucy Hall and Sarah Lu, and features music from Blackfire and Broke for Free.

    [Click on link to listen to audio.]

    Thanks to Sari Gelzer and Maya Schenwar at Truth-out!

  40. creolechild says:

    New report: Household wealth has declined 66 percent for Hispanics
    By Marcos Restrepo

    The median wealth of white households is 20 times that of black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households, according to a report released today by the Pew Research Center.
    The report’s geographical analysis shows that in Florida median home prices dropped 38 percent between the end of 2005 and the end of 2009. That means that, along with Arizona, California, Michigan and Nevada, the median drop in household wealth for Florida Hispanics was around 88 percent. The Pew report adds that “a disproportionate share of Hispanics live in California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona, which were in the vanguard of the housing real estate market bubble of the 1990s and early 2000s but that have since been among the states experiencing the steepest declines in housing values.”

    The report finds that two out of every five Hispanics or Asians live in states where the home prices saw the lowest decline, while only one out of every five whites or blacks live in those same states.It also adds that “the bursting of the housing market bubble in 2006 and the recession that followed from late 2007 to mid-2009 took a far greater toll on the wealth of minorities than whites.” Household wealth among Hispanics fell 66 percent, from more than $18,000 in 2005 to a little more than $6,000 in 2009, while black households saw a 53 percent decrease and white households a 16 percent fall in household wealth.

    The report adds that “plummeting house values were the principal cause of the recent erosion in household wealth among all groups, with Hispanics hit hardest by the meltdown in the housing market.” The median level of home equity held by Hispanic homeowners declined by half, from about $100,000 to about $50,000, while the homeownership rate among Hispanics was also falling, from 51 percent to 47 percent from 2005 to 2009. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, the 2010 Census counted 50.5 million Hispanics, about 16 percent of the total population.

  41. creolechild says:

    NAACP holds first ever LGBT town hall at national convention
    By Marcos Restrepo

    The NAACP held its first ever town hall meeting to discuss LGBT issues during its 102nd annual convention in Los Angeles last week. Julian Bond, an activist and civil rights leader, said at the town hall that gay rights are civil rights. Bond said that black members of the LGBT community share a common history and a continued struggle to address issues of bigotry, yet their identities, talents and leadership are often diminished because of homophobia and the fear of physical violence.

    Bond added that within black America and the NAACP there are differences of opinion on the subject, saying that we know that sexuality is not a choice and that LGBT black people suffer a level of discrimination and harassment far beyond the levels felt by straight black women and men. Bond added, “If you disagree or if your Bible tells you that gay people ought not be married in your church, don’t tell them they can’t be married at city hall. Marriage is a civil rite as well a civil right, and we can’t let religious bigotry close the door to justice to anyone”:

    [Click on the link to hear his perspective on the subject.]

    Wanda Sykes, a lesbian comedian and actress, said at the town hall that she was raised in the church and taught that being gay was an “abomination.” She added that she suppressed everything and even got married, but her relationships could not go any further. “If you try not be gay, you are being this other person and miserable,” Sykes said. “You can’t pray it away.” “I consider myself a Christian and the one thing that Jesus told us was to love, above all, to love thy neighbor,” she said. “What’s this crap about ‘Hate the sin, but love the sinner’? That doesn’t even make any sense. Either you love somebody or you’re judging them; you can’t have it both ways”:


  42. creolechild says:

    Boehner Claims S&P Downgrade Happened Because Democrats Blocked The GOP’s Attempt To Eliminate Medicare – By Pat Garofalo

    Ever since the credit rating agency S&P downgraded U.S. credit to AA+ on Friday night, Republicans have desperately trying to pin the blame on President Obama, even though, as National Journal put it, “it’s hard to read the S&P analysis as anything other than a blast at Republicans.” S&P called out the GOP for using the debt ceiling as a political football and for its flat refusal to consider new revenue as part of any plan to reduce long-term deficits.


    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) blamed President Obama and the Democrats Tuesday for the recent downgrading of the U.S. credit rating, saying that if Democrats had joined with Republicans in passing the GOP budget, which the House passed in April, “it’s unlikely anyone would be talking about the United States being downgraded today.” […]

    “S&P said in its own report Friday that entitlement reform is the key to long-term financial stability. We passed a budget through the House in April that includes entitlement reform, and cuts more than $6 trillion. The Democrat-controlled Senate and President Obama have prevented most of those reforms from happening. And that’s why we have a downgrade,” Boehner said in an excerpt of his prepared remarks obtained by The Hill. […]

    “The President and the Democratic leadership in Washington are trying to blame the tea party, because they know this downgrade is on [the Democrats]. When we took the bold step of proposing entitlement reforms, they reacted not by embracing them and joining us, but by demonizing those proposals for political gain,” Boehner said.


  43. creolechild says:

    RNC Chair: GOP’s Historic Unpopularity Shows Americans Are Upset With Obama
    By Alex Seitz-Wald

    A new CNN/Opinion Research poll released today finds Republicans’ popularity badly bruised by the bitter debt ceiling debate, with the GOP’s unfavorable ratings climbing to an all-time high of 59 percent. The party’s favorable ratings, meanwhile, dropped eight points over the past month to just 33 percent. “The Democratic party, which had a favorable rating just a couple of points higher than the GOP in July, now has a 14-point advantage over the Republican party,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

    The network brought on RNC Chairman Reince Priebus this afternoon to respond to numbers. While saying he hadn’t studied poll in depth, Priebus embarked on stunningly brazen spin, blaming the drop in Republicans’ approval on President Obama. Despite host Brooke Baldwin’s repeated attempts to get Priebus to address the GOP’s unpopularity, the chairman kept going back to Obama:

    BALDWIN: To what do we attribute this? Fallout from the debt ceiling debacle?

    PRIEBUS: First of all, I haven’t really looked at it too deeply, other than the fact that I think it’s true that people are frustrated with a lot of what goes on in Washington. I think, most of all, people are frustrated with the president who continues not to lead during the most important in our country. But it’s not just a matter of leadership, Brooke, it’s a matter of what this president has put in place when he’s had the opportunity to lead. […] He put in Obamacare.

    BALDWIN: Hold on, Reince Priebus. […] You see the numbers right there. Now versus July.

    PRIEBUS: Okay, Brooke, and I told you, I think people are frustrated with politics in general. But the reality is we have a leader in Washington –

    BALDWIN: Well, you mentioned the president, but I’m asking you specifically about your party.

    PRIEBUS: I think people are frustrated with a lot of people in Washington. […] And we have a president who is not a willing partner.

  44. creolechild says:

    Part of merger deal, Comcast must provide low-income students with temporary broadband Internet
    By Marcos Restrepo

    Cable and Internet provider Comcast has launched a program to provide affordable high-speed Internet access to low-income families that have at least one child receiving free school lunches through the National School Lunch Program. According to Community Broadband Networks, “as a condition of its massive merger with NBC, the federal government is requiring Comcast to make affordable Internet connections available to 2.5 million low-income households for the next two years.” The organization adds that “it was only after the federal government mandated a low-cost option for disadvantaged households that Comcast realized everyone could benefit from access to the Internet.”

    Community Broadband Networks provides “news, information, research, and connections to the nation-wide movement of building broadband networks that are directly accountable to the community they serve.” The Miami Herald reported last week that the Miami-Dade School district will partner with Comcast to offer needy families discount high-speed Internet, computers and training.


  45. creolechild says:

    Feds award almost $1 million to independent community health centers in Florida
    By Ashley Lopez

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today announced it is awarding $28.8 million to 67 community health center programs across the country. Two independent community health centers in Florida were included in the award list. Collier Health Services in Immokalee was awarded $433,333. Bond Community Health Assoc. in Tallahassee was awarded $432,083. Unlike community health centers in Osceola County, which were also awarded federal funds, the Collier and Bond centers do not need approval from the state Legislature to receive the funds.

    The federal funds awarded to both Osceola and these two independent centers are allocated through the Affordable Care Act. Florida legislators have maintained a (somewhat inconsistent) policy of striking down money from the Affordable Care Act because the state is litigation with the federal government over the constitutionality of the law. A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health explains that the department “has no role in the dissemination of the grants won by independent entities in the state such as Collier Health Services and Bond Community Health Association. Therefore, these entities do not need to seek legislative spending authority through DOH.” The Health and Human Services recent press release states:

    As community-based and patient-directed organizations, health centers are well positioned to be responsive to the specific health care needs of their community. These grants will support new access points which are new full-time service delivery sites that provide comprehensive primary and preventive health care services. By maximizing the availability, access, and continuity of primary care services to the nation’s neediest populations, these sites will play a critical role in improving the health care status of medically underserved and vulnerable populations and decreasing health disparities throughout the United States. “We are making an investment in the health of people and the health of our communities,” said Secretary Sebelius. “These awards demonstrate a commitment to improving and expanding access to quality health care for local communities. We are removing barriers that stand in the way of affordable and accessible primary health services.”

    Florida currently has the second highest uninsured rate in the country.

  46. creolechild says:

    Due to budget losses, Healthy Start cuts jobs, serves fewer clients
    By Ashley Lopez

    It’s been a tough couple months for Healthy Start coalitions in Florida, ever since the Legislature cut more than $5 million from their budget and pulled back on one the few opportunities the organization has to fill in the recently created gaps. The Healthy Start coalitions of Florida, along with Healthy Families Florida, could have received millions of dollars from the federal government through the $3.4 million Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting grant allocated to the state through the Affordable Care Act.

    Healthy Start coalitions are community-based prenatal care centers for at-risk mothers and babies. They provide education and home visiting programs for at-risk first-time mothers, among many other services. However, the state Legislature has rejected federal funds because legislators say the state is currently in litigation with the federal government over the constitutionality of the law that allocates the funds. (The state did accept funds from the Affordable Care Act for abstinence-only education.)

    The move also exempts both programs from possibly receiving up to $50 million more for home visiting programs in Florida, which provide child abuse and neglect prevention. Several weeks after Healthy Start saw about a 15 percent decrease in its budget and the loss of possible grant money, the organization has started surveying the damage….Vitucci says that “already approximately 100 positions have been lost and about 7,183 clients will not receive Healthy Start services because of the loss of funding.” She says that is in the past few decades Healthy Start has helped decrease infant mortality in the state by more than 20 percent.


  47. creolechild says:

    Stand With 45,000 Workers on Strike: Tell Verizon to Stop Attacking the Middle Class
    By Lauren Kelley

    At midnight on Saturday, some 45,000 Verizon workers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions went on strike to protest their employers’ unreasonable demands:

    The strike is a result of a tough position Verizon took in its attempt to extract concessions from its workers. The company is attempting to change the contract terms to allow it to more easily fire workers, tie pay increases to job performance, halt pension accruals this year, and require union workers to contribute to health-plan premiums.

    Why are those demands so unreasonable? As ThinkProgress points out, it seems that “Verizon’s stockholders and executives are being treated well by the company while it demands sacrifice from its workers.” The company’s profits are soaring, thanks in part to its iPhone deal announced earlier this year, and its “stock returns are actually outperforming the wider market.” Oh, and Verizon is also a notorious tax-dodger.


    You can take action to stand with the union Verizon workers by signing this petition created by the Working Families Party. Targeting Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, the petition letter states, in part:

    I stand in solidarity with the 45,000 workers who are on strike. Over the last four years, Verizon has made $19 billion in profits while paying its top five executives $250 million in compensation and bonuses. With middle-class families already struggling, it’s time for Verizon to share its success with the hardworking Americans who made it possible. This is not a time for corporate greed. It is time to do the right thing.

    Read the entire letter — and sign it! — on the WFP website.

  48. creolechild says:

    How Wisconsin Election Law Saved The GOP, And Why That Changes In 2012
    By Ian Millhiser

    From the moment he took office, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) seized every opportunity to reshape his state’s law to improve the GOP’s chances on election day. Walker stripped state workers of their right to organize in order to weaken a traditionally progressive constituency. He gutted the state’s public financing system, which allows candidates to run effective campaigns without pleading for money from big dollar donors, and used this money to pay for a voter ID law that that disenfranchises numerous elderly voters, young voters, students, minorities and low-income voters.

    Yet it was not these attempts to un-level the playing field that saved Walker’s Senate majority in last night’s recall elections — where Democrats took two of the three seats they needed to flip control of the state senate. Rather, it was a longstanding quirk in Wisconsin law which protects elected officials from recalls during the first year of their term in office:

    (s) No petition for recall of an officer may be offered for filing prior to the expiration of one year after commencement of the term of office for which the officer is elected.

    In 2008, Barack Obama won a landslide victory for Wisconsin’s electoral votes, and Democrats rode a wave that allowed them to capture many elected offices that are typically out of their reach. In 2010, by contrast, economic discontent fueled a backlash against the incumbent party, and Republicans rode their own wave into various elected positions. For this reason, all of the Republican state senators who were eligible for recall in yesterday’s elections were Republicans who held on in 2008 despite the fact that they had to stand for election during a Democratic wave. Likewise, all of the Republicans who were elected in 2010 only because they were fortunate enough to run during a Republican wave were immune from recall. Come 2012, however, all of this changes.

  49. creolechild says:

    Part One: FEMA and Disaster – a Look at What Worked and What Didn’t From a FEMA Insider
    by: Leo Bosner

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency – FEMA – became an object of derision as it appeared to sit by helplessly as thousands suffered and died in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. But many have forgotten that FEMA responded quickly and effectively to countless emergencies and disasters during the 1990s. Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, the Oklahoma City Bombing, all saw a swift response from FEMA, a sharp contrast to FEMA’s performance after Hurricane Katrina.

    Leo Bosner worked at FEMA for nearly 30 years, from the time of the agency’s establishment in 1979 until his retirement in 2008. I have known Leo for 21 years and really appreciated the work he did inside the bureaucracy, often at the risk of his own job, to make this vital agency work. We are lucky to have someone with so much experience let us in on how FEMA worked or didn’t work through five presidents. In this four-part Solutions series, Bosner traces the development of FEMA during those years and offers his observations as to why a government agency like FEMA would perform so well one time and so poorly the next … and his ideas on the key factors that can lead FEMA to success in the future.

    -Dina Rasor, Solutions editor


    Read more:

  50. creolechild says:

    Dems, GOP Demand: If You’re Gonna Slash Medicare, Raise Taxes, Can You At Least Do So In Public?!
    Brian Beutler

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) appointed three Democrats to a 12-member deficit Super Committee Tuesday, giving observers and advocates an early indication of how the committee will function as it seeks over a trillion dollars in further deficit cuts by the end of the year. Just as important as who serves on the panel, though, is the question of whether it will function like most Congressional committees do — open to press and voters, with conflicts of interest disclosed publicly, if not always swiftly or conveniently. So often, high-stakes negotiations like these are conducted in private, where members feel free from accountability, and, to a lesser extent, from special interest influence. And because the debt ceiling statute that created the panel included no significant transparency requirements, the expectation has been that it will operate away from public scrutiny.

    But there is growing pressure on Congressional leaders to pull back the curtain on the panel, including from influential members of their own parties. And now it seems as likely as not that the proceedings will take place in a way that makes it difficult for members to hide deal-making from the public. “[F]rom the conversations I’ve had with the other leaders of both parties, I can tell you there’s a strong commitment to having open hearings and a public process,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told his members on a Monday conference call, according to his spokesman. That will come as a big relief to members of both parties — including conservatives in the GOP who haven’t always been on the same page as their leaders.

    “Transparency is paramount — you should operate in the full light of day as other committees do,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) told me in an interview Tuesday. “With such a small group, with such power transparency is imperative. The last thing you want to hear about is some closed door meeting where something’s getting done that nobody knows about. It’s the peoples business and should be done in the light of day.”


    • creolechild says:

      Poll: 63 Percent Want Super Committee To Raise Taxes On Wealthy

      A new CNN poll finds that 63 percent of Americans want the fiscal super committee to raise the taxes on wealthy individuals and business “so the government can use the money for programs to help lower-income Americans.” According to the poll research, “that sentiment has changed little since the 1990s.” Nearly two-thirds of those polled want no major changes to entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, and “nearly nine in ten don’t want any increase in taxes on middle class and lower income Americans.” Republican lawmakers, however, are taking the opposite approach by continuing their refusal to raise taxes on the wealthy and by insisting on cuts to entitlement programs instead.

  51. creolechild says:

    British Cities Hit By Looting, London Quiet
    Jodie Ginsberg and Stefano Ambrogi

    LONDON (Reuters) – Youths fought running battles with police in English cities and towns overnight but London, where thousands of extra police were deployed, was largely peaceful after three turbulent nights in which youths rampaged in parts of the capital virtually unchecked. Manchester and Liverpool in the northwest and Birmingham in central England suffered the worst of the overnight violence, which broke out in north London on Saturday after a protest over a police shooting of a suspect two days earlier.

    In Birmingham, police launched a murder inquiry after three Muslim men died after being run over by a car in the mayhem there. A friend of the men told BBC radio they had been part of a group of British Asians protecting their area from looters after attending Ramadan prayers at a mosque. “The car swerved toward them. It was cold-blooded murder,” the friend said. London itself was largely quiet, with some 16,000 police — 10,000 more than on Monday — sent onto the streets in a show of force in districts where gangs of hooded youths had looted shops and burned cars and buildings on the previous three nights.

    Stephen Kavanagh, deputy assistant commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police, said officers would be out in force again on Wednesday night. “Tonight we are going to plan for the worst again, that is what London deserves,” he told BBC radio. Prime Minister David Cameron, who cut short a family holiday in Italy to deal with the crisis, was due to chair a second meeting of COBRA, the government’s crisis committee, and recalled parliament, a rare occurrence, to debate the violence. The looting showed the world an ugly side of London less than a year before it hosts the 2012 Olympic Games, an event officials hope will serve as a showcase for the city.
    A visit by an International Olympic Committee went ahead on Tuesday “as planned” and the London organizers of the Games said the violence would not hurt preparations for the Olympics.


  52. creolechild says:

    LOL! ..Interesting remarks coming from an individual who wasn’t able to effectively “negotiate” so that he could hold onto his position as the governor of New York. BTW, Eliot, “negotiating” with “ladies of the evening” for service charges does not count ~

    Eliot Spitzer: Obama does not know how to negotiate
    By Eric W. Dolan

    Eliot Spitzer, former governor and attorney general of New York, appeared on Current TV’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann on Tuesday night to discuss the debt ceiling deal, ratings agencies and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Spitzer said Democrats were “taken to the cleaners” again and again during negotiations over raising the federal debt ceiling.

    “Disastrous negotiating tactics,” he added. “This White House doesn’t know how to negotiate.”
    Spitzer also said that credit rating agencies like Standard & Poor’s should be ignored.
    “These people have been wrong on anything that ever matters. It is mystifying to me that they even exist.”

    [Click on link to watch video, courtesy of Current TV]

  53. HuffPostPolitics

    Sen. Claire McCaskill: ‘I’m not for extending the unemployment benefits any further.’

  54. creolechild says:

    ‘Anonymous’ Hackers Vow to ‘Kill’ Facebook
    By Kristen Gwynne

    In a YouTube message from the collective that hacked the Syrian Ministry of Defense website Sunday, Anonymous says it will “kill” Facebook on November 5th, one day before election day, for the sake of “privacy.” Calling out Facebook for selling privacy and working for “authoritarian governments, such as those of Egypt and Syria,” Anonymous urges “hacktivists” and others to help them kill Facebook. Their message, in full text, reads:


    Attention citizens of the world, We wish to get your attention, hoping you heed the warnings as follows: Your medium of communication you all so dearly adore will be destroyed. If you are a willing hacktivist or a guy who just wants to protect the freedom of information then join the cause and kill facebook for the sake of your own privacy. Facebook has been selling information to government agencies and giving clandestine access to information security firms so that they can spy on people from all around the world. Some of these so-called whitehat infosec firms are working for authoritarian governments, such as those of Egypt and Syria.

    Everything you do on Facebook stays on Facebook regardless of your “privacy” settings, and deleting your account is impossible, even if you “delete” your account, all your personal info stays on Facebook and can be recovered at any time. Changing the privacy settings to make your Facebook account more “private” is also a delusion. Facebook knows more about you than your family.….


    Read more:

  55. creolechild says:

    Three arrested over fake bomb at Phoenix airport
    By Reuters

    PHOENIX (Reuters) – Three African refugees were arrested after one tried to board a flight at a Phoenix airport with a fake bomb, in what may have been a test of security, police said on Tuesday. Luwiza Daman, 51, was taken into custody at Sky Harbor Airport on Friday after security screeners noticed what appeared to be an improvised explosive device inside her carry-on bag as it passed through an X-ray machine, said Phoenix police spokesman Sergeant Steve Martos.

    The device, which contained organic material in a container with a cell phone attached, turned out to be a fake explosive, Martos said. Police said they still do not know the nature of the organic material. Police said that after speaking to Daman, who is from Ethiopia, they traced the object back to Shullu Gorado, 25, and Shani Asa, 34, who are both from Eritrea. Gorado and Asa have since been arrested. All three are charged with one count each of having a hoax device and conspiracy. “It could be an innocuous incident, but we wanted to make sure it wasn’t a test of security,” Martos said. “We have to take everything seriously.”


  56. creolechild says:

    Japan’s Prime Minister Fires Three Nuclear Energy Officials
    by: Martin Fackler

    Tokyo – Prime Minister Naoto Kan removed three top officials in charge of Japanese nuclear energy policy on Thursday, taking aim at cozy ties between regulators and the power industry that were exposed after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident. The three officials include Nobuaki Terasaka, the head of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, the nation’s main nuclear regulatory body. The agency has been criticized for allowing inadequate safety measures at the Fukushima plant, including insufficient defenses against the towering tsunami unleashed by a deadly earthquake on March 11.

    The agency, which is part of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, has also been accused of trying to manipulate public opinion by planting people at recent town hall-style meetings to speak in support of nuclear power. The other two officials are Kazuo Matsunaga, the top bureaucrat at the ministry, and Tetsuhiro Hosono, head of the ministry’s energy resources bureau, which promotes the power industry.

    Thursday’s announcement comes nearly five months after a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and massive tsunami left more than 20,000 dead or missing in Northern Japan. The twin disasters also damaged the Fukushima nuclear plant and spurred radiation leaks, the worst since the 1986 nuclear disaster in Chernobyl.


  57. creolechild says:

    ABC NEWS~ You Can Go First!!

    ABC News Suggests Eating Out of a Dumpster as Viable Alternative to “Spending”
    By MinistryofTruth

    This is just pathetic. ABCNews has hit a new low. In a puff-piece about the new found wonders of dumpster diving for food titled “Freeganism: Dumpster Diving to Buck the Spending Trend ABCNews is risking the health of the public by pushing an absurd notion that eating food retrieved from a dumpster is a legitimate alternative for people living in America. Eating out of a dumpster is DANGEROUS. But that doesn’t stop ABCNews from offering dumpster diving for food, or “Freeganism”, a term George Carlin would have torn to shreds, as a viable alternative to “spending”.

    Amid S&P downgrades and widespread panic about financial markets, an anti-consumerism movement quietly marches on: Freeganism. Freeganism, which popped up in the early 90s, rejects the idea of overspending as a “national addiction,” according to New York City freeganist, Madline Nelson. The movement goes beyond veganism’s rejection of animal products and bucks consumerism for sustainability. It has spread worldwide, with Freeganist websites in French, Norwegian and Portuguese. Freeganists practice dumpster diving for food, composting and recycling. They also walk or bike instead of driving, “squat” in abandoned buildings, eat local and “work less,” according to the website.


  58. rikyrah says:

    Obama Surges To Lead Against Generic Republican
    Beset by debt ceiling woes, President Obama has been trailing behind a hypothetical “generic Republican” in recent polls. But no longer! The latest from Gallup has him moving into a solid lead.

    According to the monthly survey, which was conducted from August 4 -7, Obama would win 45-39 against “the Republican party’s candidate.” The previous two polls from Gallup had the generic GOPer running strong with a 47-39 lead in July and 44-39 lead in June.

    Despite widespread anger at Washington over the last month’s debt ceiling negotiations and a week of brutal financial news, several polls this week have suggested that Obama and the Democratic brand are hanging tough for now. A look at Obama’s approval ratings across all 50 states released on Monday showed him gaining ground in a number of critical states since the Democrats’ disastrous midterm election. A CNN poll on Tuesday showed the Republican party more unpopular than ever in the wake of the debt ceiling fight while Democrats are holding steady.

  59. rikyrah says:

    August 10, 2011 9:30 AM

    Priebus blames Obama for GOP poll numbers

    By Steve Benen

    We talked at some length yesterday about the sharp drop off in public support for the Republican Party. To its credit, CNN asked Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus for his reaction to his party reaching its lowest level of support in a generation. He had a creative explanation:

    I think people are frustrated with a lot of what goes on in Washington. I think, most of all, people are frustrated with a president who continues not to lead in the most important debate in our country.”

    Pressed further about his party’s poor standing, the RNC chair added:

    “[W]e have a president who is not a willing partner to have tough conversations like the conversation that Paul Ryan was willing to have.”

    So, let me get this straight. President Obama has seen his support slip, but he’s still the most popular figure in Washington. Favorability ratings for the Democratic Party are surprisingly stable. And Republican popularity reaches a new low … and it’s Obama’s fault?

    Here’s a chart I whipped together, using CNN poll results, showing the GOP’s favorability/unfavorability over the last year or so. It might make Priebus feel better to blame a Democratic president for his party’s declining support, but that really doesn’t make any sense.

  60. creolechild says:

    Rare anthrax case diagnosed in Minnesota
    By Agence France-Presse

    CHICAGO — Minnesota health officials said Tuesday they are investigating a rare case of anthrax inhalation linked to exposure to the dreaded bacteria in the natural environment. The FBI briefly investigated the case because anthrax has been used in terror attacks. But the bureau determined there was “no evidence suggesting it was a criminal or terrorist act,” the Minnesota Health Department said in a statement.

    There was also no significant threat to the general public, officials said. “All evidence points to this case of anthrax being caused by exposure to naturally occurring anthrax in the environment,” said Minnesota state epidemiologist Ruth Lynfield. “Anthrax is not spread from person to person, and it is extremely rare for humans to become sickened with anthrax, especially through inhalation.”

    Hooved animals are regularly infected by the anthrax bacteria in many parts of the United States.
    People can become sickened by anthrax if they handle infected animal carcasses, ingest contaminated soil or meat from infected animals, or handle contaminated wool or hides from infected animals. The affected individual was hospitalized after traveling through western states — including North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota — and coming into contact with soil and animal remains.

  61. creolechild says:

    Scott says he will focus on immigration in 2012
    By Marcos Restrepo

    Gov. Rick Scott — who agrees that state law enforcement must be allowed to ask suspects about their immigration status — said Tuesday he’ll focus on immigration in 2012. The State Column reports that Scott “said Tuesday that he will focus on passing a comprehensive immigration reform package during the upcoming 2012 legislative session.” According to the Column, Scott said, “We should have done an immigration bill. The federal government should be securing our borders. They should have a logical, national immigration policy, a good work visa program policy.”

    One of Scott’s first acts as governor was to sign an executive order requiring that all state agencies — and all companies that enter into contracts with state agencies — use E-Verify to check the employment eligibility of their workers. Scott is part of a push by Republicans to pass immigration-enforcement laws similar to the Arizona’s controversial S.B. 1070.


  62. creolechild says:

    Lawmaker, civil rights advocates continue to decry rollback of felon voting rights
    By Travis Pillow

    It’s been months since Attorney General Pam Bondi and members of the Florida cabinet voted to roll back the state’s policy of automatically restoring the civil rights of felons, but the changes are still drawing scrutiny from civil rights advocates concerned about the impact they will have on offenders’ right to vote and efforts to prevent them from reoffending. Under the new rules, felons can no longer have their civil rights, including the right to vote, restored automatically once they complete their sentences. In most cases, they have to wait five years before they have a chance to begin applying to have their rights restored.

    Tens of thousands of people will now have to wait years before they can be granted the full rights of citizenship, including the right to vote. State Rep. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, sent a letter to the federal Justice Department late last week, arguing that the changes would have a “discriminatory impact” on minority voting rights. She said a raft of recent changes to state elections laws and the changes approved by the cabinet were “part of a device to eliminate certain individuals from the voting population.”

    ….Bondi says the new policy will help ensure that former offenders have reformed themselves and repaid their debts to society, and that she hopes the expanded time window will give the state’s Parole Commission a chance to clear its existing backlog of applications.


  63. creolechild says:

    Huntsman’s Big Endorsement: Jeb Bush Jr.
    Benjy Sarlin

    Jon Huntsman is headed to Florida on Wednesday to accept an endorsement from Jeb Bush Jr. – son of the state’s popular ex-governor Jeb Bush Sr. and a nephew of President George W. Bush.
    Huntsman had teased the Florida visit as a “major announcement,” sparking immediate speculation that Governor Bush, who has spoken highly of Huntsman in the past and is one of the party’s most highly respected figures nationally, might declare his support. But the junior Bush is an established figure in the state as well and has helped lead efforts to bring Latino voters into the Republican fold. Bush will join the Huntsman team to coordinate the campaign’s youth and young professionals outreach program.

    “I am confident that Jon’s vision will appeal to young voters, who are concerned about the trillions of dollars in debt being piled on their backs, and who desperately seek jobs and economic opportunity,” he said in a statement on the Huntsman campaign site. He notably name-dropped Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) twice in his statement, who has not yet backed a candidate. Bush previously worked on Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 campaign, which ended after a poor showing in Florida despite an intense effort by the candidate to win the state.

  64. creolechild says:

    The Koch Spider Web
    by: Allison Kilkenny, Truthout | News Analysis

    An election took place last fall in Virginia that didn’t garner national attention, but it should have – not for the candidates or issues – but for the giant pile of corporate cash manipulating events behind the scenes. Rick Boucher, a then-28-year incumbent Democratic Congressman from the Ninth District – the longest-serving Congressman in that district since the Civil War – was surprisingly defeated by Republican Morgan Griffith. The upset came as a shock to many, since an early October poll showed Boucher ahead by double digits, including one measure earlier in the month that put him ahead by 10 percentage points.

    C’est la vie. Such is political life. The National Republican Congressional Committee spent around $600,000 in ads, and the media framed the defeat as a Blue Dog, Boucher losing due to his support for cap-and-trade policies. Except, there was more to the story. A Democratic Party official from Virginia, who asked to remain anonymous because he is still serving in an official capacity, says the “Boucher is an enemy of coal” narrative is a lie and that actually far more sinister actions are at play in Virginia.


  65. creolechild says:

    Americans For Prosperity ‘Running On Empty’ Rallies Are, Well, Running On Empty

    Americans For Prosperity, the Tea Party astroturf group “founded and funded by infamous GOP rainmakers Charles and David Koch, rolled into Jacksonville Tuesday, and only roughly 15 people showed up” to their “Running on Empty” tour. Florida director Slade O’Brien told Politijax the turnout was “shocking.” AFP’s tour is trying to convince Floridians to support increased offshore drilling in the wake of the BP disaster.

  66. creolechild says:

    If the Tea Party Were Liberal
    By Tina Dupuy

    Just imagine there was a giant swarm of super-super liberal freshmen in Congress. They had given the President a “shellacking,” secured a large number of seats in the House of Representatives and had been on the job for eight months. Just a bunch of lockstep liberals clogging up the Capitol. In that time, they’d done amazingly little work while cashing their government paychecks. Sure, they’re supposed to represent a nation still wounded from the worst economic disaster in two generations, instead they spend all of their time debating and passing symbolic go-nowhere bills while going on television to blame the economy on the President. That’s when they’re not on recess. These freshmen hate Washington so much they’re almost never there. Oh, and their battle cry while doing nothing which keeps the government from functioning? “Washington is broken!”

    These imagined liberal freshmen are extremists. They’ve already signed a pledge with a liberal lobbyist saying that they will not – under any circumstances whatsoever – cut, alter or in anyway change social safety nets. So whatever burning national issue of overriding importance comes up their only solution is to adhere to their lobbyist’s pledge. The Smurfs use the word “smurf” for all verbs. As in: “I’m going to smurf you!” These extreme no-lawmakers use “social security.” As in: “We can social security our way out of this crisis.”

    And they want to re-write the Constitution. Yes, they say it’s a great document (blah blah blah) but it would be much better if it were amended to suit their sole goal of bringing down the incumbent President. So since the last amendment took 203 years from proposal to ratification – they decide no one can do anything until we have another amendment. Then the polls say that Congress’ approval rating is at an all time low. The margin of error looks more favorably on the Congress than the American public. As a direct result of the brazen incompetence and blind ideology – a rating agency downgrades the country’s Treasuries. The stock market tumbles. These liberal tea party-like folks are caught on video cheering at the news of the chaos they’ve caused. If they were liberals – Fox News would run headlines: “Liberals Hate America.” Well, basically Fox News would say pretty much the same stuff, but in this case it would be warranted.


  67. creolechild says:

    States benefit by lowering prison terms: ACLU
    By Reuters

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Six U.S. states that reduced incarceration rates by focusing on parole or probation instead of prison time have cut costs without increasing crime rates, according to a report released on Tuesday. The report by the American Civil Liberties Union highlights Texas, Mississippi, Kansas, South Carolina, Kentucky and Ohio as traditionally “tough-on-crime” states that benefited from reducing incarceration rates. Four more states — California, Louisiana, Maryland and Indiana — are in the midst of reform, said the report by the ACLU’s Center for Justice, an advocacy group that supports less-stringent penalties for nonviolent offenses.

    “The costs of using incarceration as an option of first — rather than last — resort far outweighs any benefit to public safety,” ACLU advocacy and policy counsel Inimai Chettiar said in a statement accompanying the report. State and federal governments spend about $70 billion annually on prisons and corrections, with state corrections spending having skyrocketed 674 percent over the last 25 years, according to the ACLU.

    Some of the changes noted by the report as having a positive impact include:

    * Decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana

    * Reducing sentencing disparity between different types of drugs

    * Ending mandatory minimum sentences

    * Pushing treatment and parole over prison for non-violent offenders

    * Letting prisoners earn credit toward early release

    * Creating parole programs for elderly prisoners who are no longer a threat.

    Sentencing reform has united political progressives like the ACLU with conservatives in states like Texas, said Michael Jacobson, the director of the Vera Institute of Justice, a nonpartisan criminal law research center in New York. “There’s a sense now that you’re just not getting a good return on your investment from dumping $70 billion a year into prisons,” Jacobson said. “A surprising number of conservative folks talk about this issue the way the ACLU might talk about it — we’re spending too much and getting too little.”

  68. creolechild says:

    US Pharmaceutical Companies Testing Drugs on India’s Poor
    by: Viji Sundaram

    U.S. pharmaceutical companies have moved their operations overseas in the past decade, testing their drugs on poor people in such lands as Russia, China, Brazil and Romania. It is a $30 billion business, and today around 105 countries are allowing such large corporations as Merck and AstraZeneca to conduct clinical trials on their soil. One country that has experienced a boom like no other in this industry is India, with its widely spoken English, an established medical infrastructure and welcoming attitudes towards foreign industry. Most importantly, these pharmaceutical companies are exploiting the country’s vast number of illiterate and poor people who are willing to become guinea pigs.

    Zeina Awad, a reporter for Al Jazeera’s “Fault Lines” program, traveled to India to investigate clinical research being conducted there. She explored what role the United States regulatory agencies are playing in overseeing the clinical trials, and whether the testing complies with international ethical standards. Her report, “Outsourced: Clinical Trials Overseas,” aired on Al Jazeera English recently. New America Media Health Editor Viji Sundaram interviewed Awad about what she found.


  69. creolechild says:

    School-bias challenges an unsung Obama feat
    Written by DeWayne Wickham

    PHILADELPHIA — Russlynn Ali came here to the National Association of Black Journalists convention to talk about the black-white achievement gap in public education, but what she had to say could also help close the achievement gap that worries Barack Obama’s key supporters. Ali has spent most of her professional life on the frontline of the struggle to improve educational opportunities — and results — for poor and minority schoolchildren. As the top civil rights enforcer in the U.S. Department of Education, she’s the cop on the block when it comes to making sure state and local school districts don’t violate anti-discrimination rules. In the little more than two years she has been on this beat — once patrolled less effectively by Clarence Thomas — Ali has amassed an impressive record.

    “We have launched more investigations than ever before. Much broader, bigger investigations” into whether school officials are unfairly disciplining black kids and shoving them “into the cradle-to-prison pipeline instead of the cradle-to-career pipeline,” she told me. By that, she means the Obama administration is robustly challenging school systems that deny black and Hispanic high school students access to science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses that would improve their chances for college admission. It’s also questioning disciplinary practices that treat black students more harshly than whites for similar offenses.

    In fact, the Obama administration has launched more than 70 Title VI investigations (for race, color and national origin discrimination) in a little over two years, according to Education Department data. That’s more than the Bush administration did in the previous eight years. And while it has stepped up probes in this long-neglected area, the department has not wavered in its pursuit of sex and disability discrimination cases, Ali said. This impressive performance is something Obama’s communications team has failed to trumpet. The biggest hurdle for the president to overcome en route to a second term isn’t the tea party-led, GOP scorched-earth attempt to unseat him; it’s the erosion of support for him among members of his political base.


    Read more:|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|s

  70. creolechild says:

    National Director of Koch’s Americans for Prosperity Created Mysterious WI Gun Group, Coordinated on Misleading Absentee Ballot Mailings
    By Brad Friedman

    Creator of ‘United Sportsmen of Wisconsin, Inc.’, John Connors, is a long-time AFP affiliate, has history of deceptive campaigns…On Saturday we posted an article detailing the similarities, and apparent coordination, in misleading “Absentee Ballot Application” mailers sent out to Democratic voters by both the David Koch-founded Americans for Prosperity – Wisconsin and a mysterious group calling themselves United Sportsmen of Wisconsin.

    The Americans for Prosperity mailer, sent out in Wisconsin last week in advance of tomorrow’s state Senate recall election of six Republican state Senators, included instructions that absentee ballots must be submitted by August 11th — even though the election in question is actually tomorrow, August 9th. The PO Box described as the “Absentee Ballot Application Processing Center” on those mailers belonged to a Rightwing family group tied to the anti-abortion movement. A spokesperson for the group, as we reported, said that while they were part of a “coalition” with AFP, they claimed to have had no idea AFP was using their PO Box on the mailers until they started receiving them, and that they hadn’t seen the mailer before it went out.

    For their part, AFP claimed the incorrect date was simply a “typo” in two districts where they had sent the mailings, and that “liberals” were making a “mountain out of a molehill” about it all. Late last week, however, in a followup mailing, the group admitted that it had gone out to “everyone” in all of the state Senate districts, rather than just the two where Democrats will face recall elections next week (as opposed to tomorrow’s GOP recalls) and blamed the incorrect date on their printer.


  71. creolechild says:

    Upper-class people less empathetic than lower-class people: study
    By Eric W. Dolan

    People from different economic classes have fundamentally different ways of thinking about the world, according to research recently published in Current Directions in Psychological Science. The authors of the study said the findings have important, but overlooked, implications for public policy. “Americans, although this is shifting a bit, kind of think class is irrelevant,” said Dacher Keltner of the University of California-Berkeley, who cowrote the article with Michael W. Kraus of UC-San Francisco and Paul K. Piff of UC-Berkeley. “I think our studies are saying the opposite: This is a profound part of who we are.”

    A study published in Psychological Science in November, for instance, found that people of upper-class status have trouble recognizing the emotions other people are feeling. People of lower-class status do a much better job. “What I think is really interesting about that is, it kind of shows there’s all this strength to the lower class identity: greater empathy, more altruism, and finer attunement to other people,” Keltner said.

    “One clear policy implication is, the idea of nobless oblige or trickle-down economics, certain versions of it, is bull,” Keltner added. “Our data say you cannot rely on the wealthy to give back. The ‘thousand points of light’—this rise of compassion in the wealthy to fix all the problems of society—is improbable, psychologically.” Those in the upper-class tend to hoard resources and be less generous than they could be.

    But the differences between people of upper and lower-classes seems to be the product of the cultural environment, not ingrained traits. Studies have found that as people rise in the classes, they become less empathetic. Keltner speculates that people of lower-classes are more empathetic because they need to rely on others more often to be successful. Those who can’t afford daycare service for their children, for example, turn to neighbors or relatives to watch the kids. “If you don’t have resources and education, you really adapt to the environment, which is more threatening, by turning to other people,” he explained. “People who grow up in lower-class neighborhoods, as I did, will say,’ There’s always someone there who will take you somewhere, or watch your kid. You’ve just got to lean on people.’”

  72. Ametia says:

    Video: Interview with Iman

    Editor’s note: Anderson talks to supermodel Iman about the famine in her home country and how the world can help.

    Watch it here:

  73. rikyrah says:

    Open Thread – Delusions of Grandeur
    by Sarah Proud and Tall

    One of my favorite bloggers, Lance Mannion, has up a lovely post about Andrew Sullivan.

    Sullivan :I haven’t had a credit card for years, because I actually live like a fiscal conservative.

    We’re sure you do, Andrew. But you know what else you live like?

    A man with a six-figure income and no children.

    Getting a little tired of being told by the well-to-do strolling down Park Avenue that the rest of us hoi polloi need to share in some more sacrifice and tighten our belts another notch.

    Sullivan also thinks we need to raise the age of retirement. Again not advice we want to hear from someone who can go on vacation for weeks at a time seemingly whenever he wants and who has a job he can do and do well until he’s 90, if his health allows.

    One of the things that drives us nuts about Sullivan is that it’s all so personal with him. I don’t mean he thinks it’s all about him. I mean that sometimes—-a lot of times—-he doesn’t seem able to imagine that not everybody in the United States is a gay ex-pat Brit living in Washington, D.C. whose big disappointment in life recently was being turned down for a mortgage on a second home.

    Yeah. Sullivan didn’t get to buy a summer house in Provincetown. The heart heart bleeds.

    Because Lance is a much nicer person than I am, his post doesn’t end there and it has some interesting ideas about why many of us keep reading Sullivan (despite Sullivan’s frequent wrongheadedness, weird man-crushes on people who would set him on fire if they could (Paul Ryan, anyone?), inexplicable belief that Margaret Thatcher was anything but a vile and termagant harridan who should have been murdered in a ditch with “Section 28” engraved on her forehead with a stanley knife, and the fact that when he goes on holiday he apparently turns his entire blog over to the tender mercies of a room full of particularly flatulent monkeys).

  74. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 05:26 PM ET, 08/09/2011
    Wisconsin recall fight ends where it began: With a Big Lie
    By Greg Sargent
    Whatever happens tonight in Wisconsin, it has been a constant of this fight that Republicans have consistently falsified the reason labor and Dems have waged this battle so bitterly. They have steadily downplayed the most extreme union-busting aspect of Scott Walker’s proposals, and have falsely asserted throughout that Dems and labor only made this stand because Walker asked public employees to cough up health and pension benefits.

    So it’s fitting that as the recall elections hit their climax, the leader of the national GOP repeated this lie in the most hilariously blatant way yet. Here’s RNC chair Reince Priebus on CNN this afternoon:

    ANCHOR: Is there buyers’ remorse in your home state of Wisconsin with Republican/Tea Party policy making?
    PRIEBUS: No. I don’t think there’s any buyers’ remorse at all. You have a leader in Scott Walker who asked state employees to pay just a little bit more in pension and healthcare benefits, which was about half of what the rest of the state pays in those benefits. And that’s all he did. Now, in reaction to that, the public employee unions took $25 million, they put together a petition drive, and now they’re dumping millions of dollars on television trying to recall the senators for trying to balance a state budget. It’s the same type of tough choice that is were made in Wisconsin that the Republicans are trying to present to Americans in Washington.

    This is a completely false rendering of what actually happened. In reality, the protests from Democrats were prompted by Scott Walker’s proposal to strip public employees of their bargaining rights, protests that were later sustained by the deep cuts in his budget, leading to the recall drive. Priebus doesn’t even mention the collective bargaining piece of the story, only citing the demand for pension and health concessions as the reason for the entire standoff. In the real world, of course, labor unions actually agreed to those concessions, yet Walker pressed ahead with his union-busting proposal anyway, which is what prompted the whole battle.

    Various efforts to submerge this truth have been central to conservative arguments about Wisconsin throughout this battle. Prominent conservative columnists such as Charles Krauthammer have pretended that Walker’s proposals shouldn’t have surprised Democrats, and that Dems subverted the will of the people by resisting them, which is a profoundly distorted history of what actually took place.

    Meanwhile, Scott Walker himself has sought from the beginning to downplay the importance of his union-busting proposal by insisting that he campaigned on it. Politifact decisively debunked that claim, and Walker himself subsequently admitted under questioning that he hadn’t explicitly campaigned on the proposal at all.

    The real reason Republicans and conservatives need to continue dissembling about what happened is that poll after poll has shown that the American people sided with public employees in this standoff, and don’t think their bargaining rights should be taken away. It’s fitting that the public face of the national GOP is seeking to elide this inconvenient fact and falsify the history of events in Wisconsin one last time on national television for all to see as this whole affair comes to its conclusion.

  75. rikyrah says:

    Wisconsin Dems Need 3 Seats To Take Back State Senate. They Have 2… But Vote Thief Kathy Nickolaus Is Holding Back 10 Precincts In Waukesha Co.
    Today was supposed to be an accountability day for native fascists who have infiltrated and taken over the Wisconsin Republican Party– as well as Republican Parties all over the country. Scott Walker’s unrelenting class warfare against working families and against democracy itself was responded to by massive grassroots organizing and an unprecedented get out the vote effort. Before the polls closed in Wisconsin, another special election in New Hampshire was won by a Democrat:

    “Bob Perry’s victory tonight is a complete and total rejection of Republican House Speaker Bill O’Brien’s reckless job killing agenda. In a historically Republican district, New Hampshire voters turned out in the middle of summer to send a loud and clear message to the out of control Republican majority. Its relentless attempts to make cigarettes cheaper but college more expensive, slash women’s health care, and kill jobs by taxing hospitals must stop immediately.

    “New Hampshire voters have seen enough of the radical Free State agenda this year with bills that would allow guns in schools and courts, would remove support for our United States’ Constitution out of the oath of office, and would eliminate public kindergarten.”

    At 8pm local time the polls closed in the 6 Republican Wisconsin senate district seats. AP called it for Republican incumbents in the 2 reddest districts right off the bat: Cowles and Harsdorf, and Fred Clark ran strong against Luther Olsen but missed out. So to win back the state Senate Democrats Sandy Pasch, Jennifer Shilling and Jessica King all needed victories. Shilling was the first Democrat to win, with a 55-45% victory, with big wins in La Crosse and Richland. Soon after, Jessica King beat Randy Hopper thanks to voters in Winnebago who gave victories to Ron Johnson and Scott Walker last year coming to their senses this year. Early on I saw that the uber-corrupt Republican machine in Waukesha– where stealing elections is what they do as a matter of course– was holding back 10 precincts there in case Alberta Darling needed them in her close race with Sandy Pasch. Pasch is way ahead and I’ll update that race as soon as the results are in. Why Kathy Nickolaus isn’t in prison is an affront to democracy.

    This morning Greg Sargent started the day by telling Wisconsin activists what they had already achieved. “Dems and labor,” he wrote “have already succeeded in one sense: They reminded us that it’s possible to build a grass roots movement by effectively utilizing the sort of unabashed and bare-knuckled class-based populism that makes many of today’s national Dems queasy.”

    As Chris Bowers pointed out yesterday at Kos, the path the pushback against fascism took in Wisconsin was an especially steep one. These 6 districts are not exactly Democratic-friendly territory.

  76. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 10, 2011 8:35 AM

    Reid picks his Super Committee team

    By Steve Benen
    Before the debt-ceiling agreement had even reached the Oval Office, the behind-the-scenes wrangling was already underway on the makeup of the so-called “Super Committee” — the bipartisan panel that is doomed to fail will work of identifying $1.5 trillion in debt-reduction savings.

    Each of Congress’ top four members — Harry Reid, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and Nancy Pelosi — will pick three members for the 12-person committee. Yesterday, the Senate Majority Leader went first in announcing his selections.

    Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, will be co-chairwoman of a powerful new Congressional committee that is supposed to recommend at least $1.5 trillion of additional deficit-reduction measures, the Senate majority leader announced Tuesday.

    The leader, Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, also appointed two other Democratic senators, Max Baucus of Montana and John Kerry of Massachusetts, to the panel.

    Mr. Baucus is chairman of the Finance Committee, which has authority over Medicare, Medicaid and taxes — three prime areas of attention for the new 12-member panel, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.

    Mr. Kerry, the Democrats’ presidential nominee in 2004, is chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

    Mrs. Murray, who won a tough re-election race last year, is a member of the Senate Democratic leadership, the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Budget Committee.

    If it were entirely up to me, these three probably wouldn’t be at the top of the Super Committee wish list, but I’m not terribly disappointed, either.

    Kerry is generally a progressive champion, and though he’s expressed some support for the so-called “Grand Bargain,” which I think was a mistake, Kerry seems likely to push for liberal priorities on the panel. Murray is also a reliably consistent voice for the left, has repeatedly demanded a “balanced” approach to debt reduction, and as the current chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, she’ll probably be mindful of the party’s 2012 campaign strategy as the process continues.

    It’s Baucus who stands out, however. The Montanan has a well-deserved reputation as a Democratic centrist and the kind of veteran lawmaker who knows how to strike deals. If it was inevitable that there’d be at least one Democratic moderate on the Super Committee, Baucus strikes me as preferable to some of the alternatives — he opposed Simpson/Bowles from the left; he’s protective of the Affordable Care Act; he hated Bush’s Social Security scheme; and in the Biden-led talks, Baucus was only willing to support entitlements cuts in exchange for new revenue.

    I fully appreciate why phrases like these are unsatisfying, but this group of Senate Dems definitely could have been worse. (You’ll notice, by the way, that none of the Gang of Six Dems made the cut.)

    For the record, I don’t doubt that the Super Committee will generate plenty of coverage and drama, but there’s every reason to believe this process won’t amount to much. Democrats will push for a balanced approach; Republicans will refuse; and the debate will turn to whether to pass a new law to prevent the trigger from being pulled. I’m yet to see an explanation as to how this panel can accomplish anything — over a fairly short period of time — so long as the GOP doesn’t believe in compromise.

    As for the rest of the committee, the other congressional leaders have until August 16 (next Tuesday) to make their selections.

  77. rikyrah says:

    August 9, 2011, 6:26 pm
    Reading the Wisconsin Recall Vote
    Wisconsin residents on Tuesday voted on whether to recall six Republican state senators, whose backing of Gov. Scott Walker in the dispute over collective bargaining rights this year made them targets for Democratic-aligned groups. Two Democratic state senators face a recall vote next Tuesday. (A third Democratic senator, Dave Hansen, easily survived a recall election on July 19.) Democrats will need to win three of the six Republican seats — without losing either of their own next week — to take control of the state senate.

    All of these seats can be classified as being in swing districts, having voted for Mr. Walker, a Republican, in 2010 but for President Obama in 2008. Most are a couple of points more Republican than Wisconsin as a whole. The closest thing to an exception is the 32nd Senate District in the western corner of the state, served by the Republican incumbent Dan Kapanke. It is more liberal than the others, having given Mr. Walker only a narrow plurality in 2010 and Mr. Obama 61 percent of its vote in 2008.

    There have been several polls of the recall efforts, but here is where I would urge some caution. Most of the polls have either been conducted by partisan groups, have unorthodox methodologies, or both. The polls do seem to find that Mr. Kapanke, being in the most liberal of the districts, is a favorite to lose. Otherwise, the margin of error on these polls is going to be very high. The further you go down the ballot, the more the margin of error on polls increases, and a recall election is an inherently unusual circumstance. Virtually anything — from a Democratic sweep to their picking up none or just one seat — is a plausible outcome.

    I would also urge some caution in interpreting the results. True, there are also other swing states, like Florida, Ohio and Michigan, in which there are unpopular Republican governors. But to the extent this is a problem for Republicans, the results in Wisconsin on Tuesday night will probably only provide us with a very fuzzy clue about that, in the same way that special elections to the House provide only the vaguest hints about elections fought under other circumstances. And unlike some special House elections, this one is being contested on explicitly local issues.

    The one thing it would be safe to say is that, if Democrats have a strong night, Mr. Walker will be in some jeopardy, as he could face his own recall election next year.

    If you are going to read into the results, it is probably best to compare them to Mr. Walker’s performance in 2010 rather than the margins that the state senators themselves achieved that year. Ordinarily, nobody pays much attention to state senate elections. If some Republican incumbent was re-elected with 70 percent of the vote in 2010, but survives the recall with 55 percent of the vote, it would be dubious to cite that as a sign of progress for Democrats since the elections were contested under substantially different circumstances.

    On the other hand, Mr. Walker carried the six districts on Tuesday’s recall ballot by an average of 13 percentage points in 2010 — better than his statewide margin of 6 percentage points. If Democrats were to split the vote across these districts about evenly, that would be a reasonably troubling sign for Mr. Walker, however many of the seats Democrats actually win.


  78. rikyrah says:

    August 10, 2011 8:00 AM

    Dems come up just short in Wisconsin

    By Steve Benen

    In the closely-watched Wisconsin state Senate recall elections, Democrats and their labor allies needed to pick up three GOP seats yesterday to win control of the chamber. As the dust settled last night, Dems came up one seat short.

    Democrats won two state Senate seats in Tuesday’s historic recall elections, but failed to capture a third seat that would have given them control of the chamber.

    By keeping a majority in the Senate, Republicans retained their monopoly on state government because they also hold the Assembly and governor’s office. Tuesday’s elections narrowed their majority — at least for now — from 19-14 to a razor-thin 17-16.

    Republicans — in Wisconsin and DC — are understandably delighted, and no doubt feel quite relieved. For the left in general, this has to feel like a tough setback.

    But I still consider the events of the last several months in Wisconsin rather remarkable. Just a half-year after Republicans scored major wins in a key swing state, up and down the ballot, labor and its Democratic allies managed to organize historic protests in Madison, rally the grassroots to collect thousands of petition signatures, force an unheard of six GOP incumbents into recall elections, and win a third of the races despite a considerable influx of outside conservative money.

    Also note the specifics of the electoral battleground: these six Wisconsin districts elected Republican state senators in 2008 — a great year for Democrats. In other words, yesterday’s recall elections were held in districts that can safely be described as GOP strongholds, making the left’s efforts that much more difficult.

    And Dems still managed to flip two districts from “red” to “blue.”

    The trees are clearly disappointing for much progressives, but the forest still looks pretty impressive to me.

    Markos Moulitsas explained overnight that he expected to feel dejected after the defeats, but sees plenty of reasons for optimism: “Beyond Wisconsin, if we can enjoy a similar ‘loss rate’ in Republican-held districts (picking up 33 percent of them), Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have a huge majority in 2013. We had a message that resonated with large numbers of working people in overwhelmingly white working-class districts that shifted hard against Democrats in 2010. GOP overreach is winning them back for us. Just think, before today, only 13 state legislators had been recalled in the entire history of this nation. So yeah, I feel strangely energized and elated.”

  79. rikyrah says:

    August 09, 2011 7:55 AM

    Obama Shows Gambling Streak in Debt-Ceiling Deal

    By Ron Klain

    Among the many misconceptions about Barack Obama is that he is cautious. In fact, it is hard to think of a modern president in recent times who has been more willing to take big risks, not because he is reckless, but because he is willing to suffer potential short-term setbacks to achieve a desired long-term result. It is in that context that the much-maligned debt-ceiling compromise must be understood.

    This sort of risk-taking goes beyond making policy choices, whose success or failure will always be debated, and can’t be known for years. What I am talking about are presidential decisions that can be demonstrably shown to be right or wrong in a relatively short window, with serious repercussions. That sort of risk-taking by presidents is fairly rare, and yet Obama hasn’t hesitated to take such gambles.

    One example early in his administration was his choice to “bail out” the automobile industry. There were many ways in which that could have gone wrong: Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Co. (GM) could have failed; management changes and bankruptcy filings that the administration insisted upon could have exacerbated problems; good money could have been thrown after bad.

    The safe course was the one that President George W. Bush followed: pumping in just enough money to be able to say he had made an effort, and letting the chips fall where they may. But Obama took action by investing substantial funds, demanding important management and strategic changes, requiring bankruptcy filings, and painfully shrinking auto-dealer networks. All were risky steps that could have quickly unraveled.

    Two years later, that choice is paying off: Car sales have risen, auto-industry employment is up, taxpayers are getting their money back, and U.S. cars are getting higher consumer ratings than ever.

    Health-Care Overhaul
    A second gamble came in early 2010, after Scott Brown won a Massachusetts Senate seat in an unexpected victory for Republicans, and vastly complicated the path for Obama’s health- care reform bill. With the loss of the 60th Senate vote for the measure, many of the president’s advisers urged him to abandon the push for a comprehensive bill, and pursue a far more limited approach. But Obama wouldn’t bend, and took a gigantic risk: He pressed for a House vote on a bill that was passed by the Senate the previous year and was unpopular with many House Democrats.

    Obama could have easily, and visibly, lost. Yet, once again, his gamble paid off, achieving a victory that had escaped his predecessors.

    Bin Laden Raid
    And earlier this year, the president once again rejected the play-it-safe advice of many advisers, and ordered SEAL Team 6 to carry out its heroic raid to kill Osama bin Laden. The safer alternative — a drone strike — would have minimized the fallout if the al-Qaeda leader wasn’t at the target, or if the assault went awry. But the president believed the bin Laden’s death could only be verified with a manned raid; once again, the risky decision was the right choice.

    So now we come to the recent debt-ceiling deal, in which the president took a gigantic political risk: publicly pressing for a “Grand Bargain” to tackle long-term budgetary challenges that would reverse years of unwillingness in Washington to consider revenue as part of the fiscal solution.

    This time, he came up short. We’ll never know how close we came to a “Grand Bargain,” but Obama didn’t get the revenue increases that he wanted.

    Yet instead of folding his hand, he decided to double down in the fiscal card game, an appropriate way to understand the debt-ceiling compromise.

    Long View
    In accepting a deal that swapped an increase of more than $2 trillion in the debt ceiling for discretionary spending cuts that Republicans wanted — without balanced, revenue-increasing measures — the president didn’t give up on his goal, as some progressive critics have alleged. Instead, he gambled that he would be able to reach his objective later.

    The key to this wager is the package of contingent cuts that will be triggered if Congress fails to pass additional deficit reduction after a so-called super-committee makes recommendations in November.

    The current betting in Washington is that the committee won’t yield much, and that Obama will come up short again. Republicans remain under huge pressure from the Tea Party, from anti-tax activists, and their base, not to yield on the revenue question.

  80. rikyrah says:

    Republicans’ No-Tax Stand Unsupported by History: View

    You would think that abysmal growth and jobs data, the first-ever downgrade of U.S. debt and heart- stopping gyrations in the financial markets would impel political leaders to at least take a second look at some of their assumptions about restoring confidence in the U.S. economy.

    Sadly, you would be mistaken.

    President Barack Obama called again this week for a deficit-reduction plan that includes both new revenue and spending cuts, a solution that he said would require “common sense and compromise.” Alas, we have seen little of either quality from Speaker John Boehner and the House majority leader, Eric Cantor. The Republican leaders reiterated their determination to oppose any solution to the U.S. fiscal mess that involves revenue increases.

    Whatever one thinks of the validity of Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade U.S. debt, it contained an admonition that we should take seriously: Spending cuts alone won’t be sufficient to place the debt, and by extension, the economy, on a sustainable path. In a memo to his Republican colleagues, Cantor warned that S&P’s analysis put the party under “pressure to compromise on tax increases” on the ground that there is “no other way forward.” His response: “I respectfully disagree.”

    As always, the Republican leaders justified their intransigence by invoking the demons of job

    killing taxes that would suppress the dynamism of overtaxed Americans, hampering growth.

    Low Taxes
    This is partisan nonsense. First, consider the claim that Americans are being taxed to death. In fact, in terms of the economy as a whole, federal taxes are at their lowest level since 1950. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that federal taxes would account for 14.8 percent of gross domestic product in 2011.

    That isn’t a one-year anomaly: Revenue was 14.9 percent of GDP in both 2009 and 2010. Compare that with a postwar average of about 18.5 percent of GDP, and an average of 18.2 percent during the administration of President Ronald Reagan.

  81. rikyrah says:

    Michelle Obama vacationing in Oregon, visiting brother Craig

    First Lady Michelle Obama is in Oregon, visiting brother Craig Robinson, the Oregon State University basketball coach and his family. This is her first visit to her brother’s Corvallis, Oregon home. The vacation, not announced by Mrs. Obama’s office, was reported by Oregon’s Register Guard and other news outlets. TV station KATU said her mother, Marian Robinson, is also traveling with her. Big tip Mrs. Obama is in town: a plane lands Monday at the Eugene, Ore. airport with, as the paper notes, “a U.S. flag on its tail and the words “United States of America” across its side.”

  82. rikyrah says:

    Colbert I. King
    Opinion Writer A city council member’s questionable honesty
    By Colbert I. King, Published: August 5
    On Sept. 20, 1994, Dynamic Energy Resources, Inc., an Oklahoma natural gas company owned by Nora T. Lum and her husband, Gene K.H. Lum, gave a $5,000 check to an officer of the company.

    That same day, the officer made a $1,000 contribution in his own name to the reelection campaign of Sen. Edward Kennedy, and he asked three company colleagues to contribute a total of $4,000 to the Kennedy campaign, for which he immediately reimbursed them.

    It was a dishonest act. It was also illegal. The Federal Election Campaign Act limits how much money a person can contribute to a federal candidate in an election.

    Evading that limit by giving money through another person is against the law. The officer in question funneled $4,000 to a federal candidate through “straw” donors after he had already contributed the maximum permitted under the law.

    The violator was Michael A. Brown, currently an at-large member of the D.C. Council.

    Brown pleaded guilty on Aug. 28, 1997, to a federal offense that carries a maximum penalty of one year of imprisonment and a fine of up to $100,000. In a negotiated plea agreement, Brown was sentenced on Nov. 21 of that year to three years of supervised probation, 150 hours of community service and a $5,000 fine — the maximum authorized under the sentencing guidelines. The court also ordered him to pay $7,800 for the costs of his probation.

    The Lums pleaded guilty to the scheme in which they funneled approximately $50,000 in unlawful campaign contributions through straw donors. On Sept. 9, 1997, they were each sentenced to 10 months’ detention and two years of supervised release and were fined $30,000. Their daughter, Trisha Lum, a political appointee in the Commerce Department when it was headed by the late Ronald E. Brown, also pleaded guilty on June 5, 1997, to allowing her name to be used to make a $10,000 contribution to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee with funds from Nora Lum and Dynamic Energy.

    Old news, one might say. True, Brown’s conviction got a public airing at the time, largely because he was the son of Ron Brown.

    Although it took place years ago, Michael Brown’s crime is not irrelevant. He wasn’t a child when it happened. The violation was no accident or innocent mistake. It was deliberate. Thus it goes to the matter of Brown’s honesty and integrity, qualities still regarded as essential in public officials.

    In December, Brown surreptitiously inserted a provision in a budget bill authorizing online gambling in the nation’s capital. He did that without public hearing or vetting of the legislation. That, too, was hardly an open and transparent act.

    In June, WAMU reported that the “Friends of Michael Brown” campaign committee received five checks or money orders on March 5 from Veteran Services Corp., or VSC, and several of its employees and family members.

    VSC, as WAMU noted, is the local partner of Intralot, the Greek company contracted by D.C. Lottery to provide the software for the online gambling scheme that Brown concocted. WAMU also reported that VSC owns 51 percent of the deal. “It’s all legal and that’s the world we live in,” Brown told WAMU, when asked about VSC profiting from the online gambling law that he sponsored.

  83. Ametia says:

    Kirkwood mom Lucy Nobbe sends message to DC by plane
    8:28 PM, Aug 9, 2011

    By Kasey Joyce

    Kirkwood, MO (KSDK) – A Kirkwood mom is so fed up with what’s going on in Washington and on Wall Street, she decided to send a message, by plane.

    The banner Lucy Nobbe paid to have made and flown over lower Manhattan today reads, “Thanks for the downgrade, you should all be fired.”

    Nobbe says she was so angry about the way lawmakers argued and bickered over the debt ceiling, that she couldn’t get it out of her head.

    The single mom and financial broker says she was woke up in the middle of the night on Sunday with an idea to send a plane flying around Washington, DC with her message to lawmakers. But there was a slight hiccup: there’s a no fly zone around DC, so she settled on New York instead. Today at 11:30 a.m. eastern time, the plane flew for 2 hours around lower Manhattan, generating lots of buzz online, in the headlines and with her two daughters.

    “I thought that is something that I could do that wouldn’t cost a million dollars and maybe someone would listen to me,” Nobbe said.

  84. rikyrah says:

    This is a very big deal.



    Judge: Former Mayor Daley can be sued as defendant in Burge case

    For the first time, a federal judge has ruled former Mayor Richard M. Daley can be sued as a defendant for his alleged role in what plaintiffs claim is a citywide conspiracy to cover up police torture.

    And Daley could be deposed by lawyers representing alleged victims, all African American, who charge their abuse came at the hands of a small band of predominantly white police officers under the command of former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge.

    The Burge case has already cost Chicago taxpayers more than $43 million in settlements and outside legal fees. Burge is in federal prison.

    Though Daley was questioned under oath by a court-appointed special prosecutor in 2006, it was widely criticized as an overly solicitous interview. This would likely be a more adversarial exchange.

    A July ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer is paving the way for civil rights attorney Flint Taylor to depose Daley.

    “He’s never been deposed in any of these cases,” said Taylor, who has represented many of those who say they were routinely and savagely abused. “He’s never been sat down and questioned for seven hours about his involvement. He’s always managed to avoid that.”

    Daley and his city-hired attorneys have received notice to appear for a deposition on Sept. 8.

    Burge was convicted last summer of perjury and obstruction of justice for lying in a civil court case when asked if he knew of the torture. He is serving a four-and-a-half year sentence in federal prison.

    The alleged cover-up dates back to the mid 1970s.

    Judge Pallmeyer allowed Daley’s name to be added to the list of defendants in a suit filed by Michael Tillman.

    “The court concludes Plaintiff [Tillman] has presented more than ‘naked assertions,’ and his conspiracy claim survives,” Pallmeyer wrote in her July 20 opinion.

  85. Ametia says:

    Happy HUMP day, Everyone!

  86. rikyrah says:

    Charles Gittens, 1st black Secret Service agent, dies
    By Associated Press, Published: August 9
    WASHINGTON — Charles L. Gittens, the first black Secret Service agent, has died. He was 82.

    The McGuire Funeral Home in Washington confirmed that Gittens died July 27. A spokesman for the agency confirmed that Gittens was the first black agent, but said no further details would be immediately available.

    According to an obituary in the Herald-Sun of Durham, N.C., Gittens became the first black special agent in 1956 in the Charlotte, N.C. office. He retired from the agency in 1979.

    Danny Spriggs, vice president of global security for The Associated Press, calls Gittens “just an outstanding guy” and said he mentored young African-Americans like him who were coming up through the ranks.

  87. rikyrah says:

    Seafood industry, Congress members fight migrant worker pay boost
    By Cory Nealon, | 247-4760

    11:37 p.m. EDT, August 9, 2011
    The U.S. seafood industry and members of Congress are fighting a federal order that will boost the wages of tens of thousands of migrant workers as much as 30 percent.

    The H-2B program connects up to 66,000 foreign workers with seafood dealers, landscapers and other businesses to fill seasonal, low-skilled jobs that many Americans avoid.

    The workers, many who come from Mexico, are typically paid the federal minimum wage, $7.25 an hour. That could change Oct. 1 when new Department of Labor rules kick in raising the hourly rate as much as $2.50 depending on the prevailing wage of where the business is located.

    Some seafood dealers, such as Graham & Rollins in Hampton, worry the pay hike will put them out of business.

    “This thing’s just a payroll nightmare,” said Johnny Graham, president of the company, which employs roughly 80 workers under the program.

    Graham began utilizing the program not long after its inception in 1990. He turned to migrant labor after he couldn’t find U.S. citizens willing to pick the millions of crabs that watermen gather annually from the Chesapeake Bay.

    He’s not alone. Other crab dealers and oyster shucking houses along the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico also rely on migrant workers. So do a variety of seasonal business, including horse trainers, the hotel industry and carnivals.

    Employers, such as Graham, often assist the workers with obtaining a temporary visa, and pay for their transportation, housing and other miscellaneous fees. The workers, in turn, are guaranteed wages that often surpass what they earn at home.

    The wage increase can be traced back to an Aug. 30, 2010 ruling in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The court faulted the calculation method used by the Department of Labor in 2008 — the waning days of the Bush administration — to determine prevailing wages. A Jan. 19 statement from the Labor Department said the method did not “ensure U.S. workers are adversely affected by the employment of H-2B workers.”

    The lawsuit was brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center and a coalition of immigrant rights organizations.

    Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Westmoreland, whose district includes the heart of Virginia’s commercial fishing industry, said he is working with a bi-partisan group of lawmakers to convince the U.S. Department of Labor that the wage increase needs additional study.

    “Any state with a seafood industry is going to be concerned about this,” said Wittman, who has collected signatures from 18 members of Congress that oppose the wage increase.,0,7395108.story

  88. rikyrah says:

    Whole Foods: “We Should Not Highlight Ramadan” – UPDATED

    Under pressure from right-wing bloggers who blindly associate Ramadan and Muslims with terrorism and burqas, Whole Foods has sent an email to its stores across the United States in which it specifically tells stores not to promote Ramadan this year.

    Just last week, Whole Foods began its promotion of Saffron Road’s line of halal products throughout the holiday, which ends on August 29, via writer Yvonne Maffei’s blog, My Halal Kitchen. That promotion was waylaid by what seems like a very small amount of criticism, according to an internal email that the Houston Press obtained recently.

    “It is probably best that we don’t specifically call out or ‘promote’ Ramadan,” reads a portion of that email. “We should not highlight Ramadan in signage in our stores as that could be considered ‘Celebrating or promoting’ Ramadan.”

    This is a significant departure from years past, when Whole Foods has promoted its halal items during Ramadan with small signs that displayed a crescent moon, the symbol of Islam. It’s also a striking difference from the way that the famously tolerant grocery chain promotes other holidays, including signage and in-store promotions for Passover, Easter and Christmas.

    “We recently introduced a line of frozen products in Grocery that are Halal certified (meet Muslim dietary laws) called Saffron Road,” continues the email. “With the introduction of this line company wide, and the beginning of Ramadan last week, we posted a product giveaway on the Whole Story blog (on July 31) to generate awareness and interest in the products. Some people have misinterpreted the blog post to mean we are celebrating or promoting Ramadan in our stores. The misinterpretation has generated some negative feedback from a small segment of vocal and angry consumers and bloggers.”

  89. rikyrah says:

    Evergreen is one of my favorite songs from Ms. Streisand.

  90. rikyrah says:

    Good MOrning, Everyone :)

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