Wednesday Open Thread

The bump was a primarily 1970s fad dance introduced by Johnny Spruce in which the main move is to lightly “bump” hips on every other beat of the music. As the dance (and the evening) progressed, the bumping could become more intimate, bumping hip to backside, low bending, etc. There were several songs that were inspired by the bump one of which was called “The Bump” by Kenny but the song that is most remembered[who?] is “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)” by George Clinton and Parliament, which was released in 1976. The lyric in the song is “we want the funk”, but has been mistaken for “we want the bump”. In the UK, possibly the most popular and evocative song[dubiousdiscuss] used for this dance was “Nutbush City Limits” by “Ike & Tina Turner“.

Can you shimmy, watusi, do the jerk, tighten up, mashed potatoes, twist, funky chicken, hustle, cabbabe patch, running man, electric slide, Texas two step? Want to learn a few steps of the oldies but goodies? Stay with 3 Chics this week, as we get down with it. don’t hurt yourselves, now!

About SouthernGirl2

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

  1. rikyrah says:

    It Looks Like It’s On
    by BooMan
    Wed Aug 17th, 2011 at 02:15:08 PM EST

    See? I make a suggestion and the White House races out to do my bidding.

    After pledging to send a job-creation package to Congress next month and daring Republicans to block it, President Obama offered few specifics Tuesday about the form the plan might take as he stuck to a broad outline of how to improve the economy…
    …And he continued to hammer away at Republicans in Congress, suggesting they stand in the way of economic growth, even as some Democrats expressed discomfort with what they saw as a potentially divisive stance.

    Naturally, this will please progressives, since they’ve been clamoring for confrontation for over a year now. I can include myself in that group since this is exactly what I suggested needed to be done.

    Also, naturally, there are Democrats who are terrified of confrontation.

    Congressional Democrats and former administration officials gave a mixed review of Obama’s declaration. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) welcomed the president’s feistier tone.
    “I heard more of that approach yesterday than I’ve heard in a while, and I think it’s very important,” she said in an interview. “He needs to say now, ‘I’ve tried it your way, and now we have to create an aggressive approach to creating jobs.’ ”

    But one Senate Democrat, who requested anonymity to speak candidly about the White House, was troubled by the president’s gambit.
    Voters are tired of the partisan back-and-forth and it would be a mistake for Obama to present Congress with a large-scale, high-stakes jobs bill and challenge them to pass it, the senator said. A more sensible approach would be for Obama to roll out a series of smaller proposals, the senator said, adding that the public “has very little patience for anything that looks like you’re beating up on the other side.”

    I would place a lot of money on this “Senate Democrat” being one Benjamin Nelson of Nebraska. But, who knows? It could be Mary Landrieu or Bill Nelson or Mark Pryor or Mark Warner, for all I know. This is what matters:

    White House spokesman Jay Carney wouldn’t comment on the shape or the scope of the plan or say whether it would take the form of legislation.
    But Carney reiterated the president’s threat that if Congress failed to act, Obama would not hesitate to leverage that failure politically.

    “If they don’t do it,” Carney said, “he will take his arguments to the American people.”

    Finally, I hope the White House has come around to seeing things Jared Bernstein’s way:

    Jared Bernstein, a former economic advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, said it was futile for Obama to try to accommodate Republicans determined to block the White House agenda. “If the president frames his jobs agenda based on what Republicans will accept, I don’t think he’s going to end up with much,” he said. “He has to prescribe what he and his team believes the country needs and fight for it.”

    This presents a challenge because polling (and the last election) shows that the people really do not like stimulus spending. It’s counterintuitive that you get out of debt by going further in to debt. To be effective, they’re going to have to argue for specific programs, like an investment bank or a national jobs fair, rather than talking vaguely about stimulus.

    There’s a lot that’s not known yet about how the administration is going to approach this. What will be inside the SuperCommittee and what will be outside? They might try to go for much deeper cuts in the SuperCommittee but attach an investment bank and other stimulative ideas to it as compensation. Or, they might keep things on separate tracks, feeling that the SuperCommittee needs to pass something, while the GOP can maintain their obstruction on the outside where he can make the most political hay out of it.

    It does appear, however, that the Grand Conciliator is going to stay on vacation for a while while the Great Campaigner gears up for a fight.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 17, 2011 3:35 PM

    Understanding this should be a SNAP

    By Steve Benen

    Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack talked to MSNBC yesterday and made a point about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program the right really didn’t like.

    “I should point out that when you talk about the SNAP program, or the food stamp program, you have to recognize that it’s also an economic stimulus,” Vilsack noted. “Every dollar of SNAP benefits generates $1.84 in the economy in terms of economic activity. If people are able to buy a little bit more in the grocery store, then someone has got to stock it, shelve it, package it, process it, ship it. All of those are jobs. It’s the most direct stimulus you can get into the economy during tough times.”

    The cast of “Fox & Friends” was incensed by the very idea, telling viewers as part of their coverage this morning:

    GRETCHEN CARLSON: Did you know that the food stamp program in America is actually an economic stimulus? We have spent more on food stamp program [sic] in the last couple of years than ever before in American history. More and more people are, unfortunately, using this program. But the spin of this program now is that actually people who are on food stamps stimulate the economy because every dollar generates $1.84 into the economy. You buy more groceries if you’re on food stamps. Do you buy that? Do you buy that as a stimulating part of the economy? […]

    BRIAN KILMEADE: So if you give people money that they didn’t earn, and you tell them to go spend it on stuff they normally couldn’t afford, everyone is better off.

    ERIC BOLLING: Can I say something very quickly? Jay Carney earlier this week or last week came out and said unemployment benefits are stimulus as well. This is — this is an administration that just doesn’t get it. It’s really — it’s socialism. They’re pointing right to being socialist. The more you give, the more you stimulate? No. Sorry.

    I don’t understand why Republicans don’t understand. It’s true that Jay Carney said that unemployment benefits are an effective stimulus, but that’s only because unemployment benefits are an effective stimulus.

    It’s tempting to take up a collection and offer remedial economic lessons to GOP media personalities.

    Food stamps are an excellent stimulus. When it comes to bang for the buck — the amount of economic activity generated for every public dollar spent — they’re arguably one of the single most effective forms of government stimulus available, and are vastly more beneficial than tax cuts.

    This isn’t just some pie-in-the-sky liberal rhetoric; this has been repeatedly documented. A March analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explained, “SNAP benefits are one of the fastest, most effective forms of economic stimulus because they get money into the economy quickly.” The director of the Congressional Budget Office agrees.

    It just requires a little thought. People who receive food stamps aren’t sticking the money in a mattress or a money-market fund; they’re spending it and doing so immediately because — you guessed it — they want to eat This injects demand and capital into the economy quickly, helping the beneficiaries and stimulating the economy.

    The “Fox & Friends” personalities heard the argument from Vilsack, but instead of responding with substance, they responded with incredulity — as if reality couldn’t possibly be true because it sounded weird to them.

    There’s a very good reason Fox viewers seem so terribly confused so often; they get their “news” from folks who struggle with the basics of current events.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 17, 2011 2:05 PM

    The lingering GOP support for social engineering

    By Steve Benen

    Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R), a former senator in his first year as governor, still complains quite a bit about federal spending. Brownback has even rejected health care funds to help communities reduce chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. It’s a simple political game — the governor doesn’t like federal spending, doesn’t like a federal role in health care, and would rather turn down the money than combat the diseases.

    Notice, however, when Brownback and his administration are willing to make exceptions.

    The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services is seeking $2.2 million a year for three years to pay for counseling that encourages unwed parents to marry. Free marriage licenses would be given to those who do.

    State officials portrayed the grant request as the state’s first major marriage initiative aimed at reducing child poverty.

    In giving up the $31 million, the governor said that every state should prepare for less federal cash, given that so many questions are swirling about government spending.

    So why ask for marriage money?

    Because Brownback’s principles are malleable, not consistent. When it comes to health care for struggling Kansans, the governor believes in less public spending and smaller government. It’s about fiscal responsibility and keeping DC out of individuals’ lives. When it comes to marriage-promotion programs, the governor believes in more public spending and bigger government. It’s an issue that Brownback cares about, so concerns about fiscal responsibility and keeping DC out of individuals’ lives are easily put aside.

    Granted, this isn’t entirely new ground for the far-right Republican. In 2006, Brownback spearheaded a federal initiative that literally paid low-income couples to tie the knot — he called the money “marriage bonuses” — giving them federal funds to help buy a home, pay for education, or start a business.

    This is, in other words, consistent with Brownback’s philosophy.

    But GOP politics have changed since 2006 and I’m curious about the extent to which conservatives support Brownback’s request. We are, after all, talking about federal grants to pay for marriage counseling and marriage licenses in Kansas. Is this what Tea Partiers had in mind?

    More to the point, I can’t help but laugh when I think of congressional Republicans who accuse Democrats of supporting “social engineering.” The right is supposed to be offended, at a fundamental level, by the idea of using federal spending to alter how people can and will behave. It’s supposed to be anathema for anyone who values “limited” government.

    Folks, when a state seeks federal funds to finance local marriage counseling and marriage licenses, that’s pretty much the definition of social engineering.

  4. creolechild says:

    Here is a look at another legacy–in the form of modern dance–that was left to us by Alvin Ailey.

  5. creolechild says:

    Bachmann Still Claiming Income From Federally-Subsidized Farm She Insists She Doesn’t Benefit From – By Pat Garofalo

    A few months ago, the Los Angeles Times pointed out that virulenty anti-government spending Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) was receiving income from a farm that collected federal subsidies. Bachmann responded by claiming, “the farm is my father-in-law’s farm, it’s not my husband and my farm. My husband and I have never gotten a penny of money from the farm.” However, Bachmann claimed income from the farm on her 2009 financial disclosure form. As McClatchy noted today, Bachmann — all her protests aside — claimed income from the farm again in 2010, which were filed last week:

    Despite repeatedly asserting that she has never received income from a family farm that has drawn federal subsidies in the past, Rep. Michele Bachmann again listed the farm as a source of income when she filed her 2010 personal financial disclosures late last week. Bachmann, R-Minn., also reported that the farm had more than doubled in value since 2009. […] Bachmann’s financial disclosures paint a different picture. Since 2006, she has reported receiving between $37,504 and $120,000 in income from the farm, including between $5,001 and $15,000 that she disclosed for the 2010 calendar year.

    Bachmann also reported that her farm doubled in value over the past year: “In 2009, Bachmann listed the farm as an asset worth between $100,001 and $250,000. In her 2010 forms, Bachmann valued the farm between $500,001 and $1 million.” The counseling clinic that Bachmann runs with her husband has also received federal funding.

  6. creolechild says:

    FLASHBACK: In 2000, Perry Said It’s ‘Almost Treasonous’ Not To Support George W. Bush
    By Guest Blogger on Aug 16, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Speaking yesterday in Iowa, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) said that “printing more money” is “almost treasonous”….As Matt Yglesias noted today, accusing the Chairman of the Federal Reserve of treason is not only inappropriate, but also betrays a certain ignorance of history on the part of Governor Perry. Under Reagan, after all, the Fed was happy to increase the monetary base. Governor Perry has drawn fire for his statement from conservatives, including none other than Karl Rove, who said that Perry’s remark was “not Presidential.” “You don’t accuse the chairman of the federal reserve of being a traitor to his country,” Rove told Fox News. Other former Bush aides have made similar criticisms.

    But the Bush camp didn’t seem to mind such language back in 2000, when Perry — then Bush’s Lieutenant Governor — said that supporters of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) were “almost treasonous“:

    Lt. Gov. Rick Perry, casting his Republican primary ballot early Monday, plugged George W. Bush’s presidential candidacy and urged Texans to join him in voting for the Texas governor. “Wherever your political philosophy might be, if you’re not for George Bush being the next president of the United States, I consider that to be almost treasonous if you’re a Texan,” Perry said.

    It’s instructive to consider how Perry responded in 2000 versus today. Back then, Perry’s aides moderated his language. His spokesman informed the Associated Press that the Lieutenant Governor was simply being “humorous.” No such excuse was offered today. Greg Sargent reports that, given another bite at the apple, the Perry camp “is not disavowing the implied threat in his original remarks.”

  7. creolechild says:

    Report Reveals Shared War Crimes in Somalia
    2011-08-16 07:42

    A Human Rights Watch report released Monday says all sides of the conflict in famine-stricken Somalia are guilty of war crimes. Neela Ghoshal, Africa Researcher, Human Rights Watch: ”All parties to Somalia’s armed conflict have committed serious violations of the laws of war and these are contributing to the country’s humanitarian catastrophe.” Titled “You Don’t Know Who to Blame: War Crimes in Somalia,” the report accuses government troops, Islamist rebels and peacekeepers of opening fire on civilians…forcing Somalians to flee the failed state.

    More than 12 million people in the Horn of Africa region have been caught in the worst drought in decades. Three point seven milllion Somalians – many in the southern area controlled by al-qaeda-inspired rebels – face the risk of starvation. Fighting the government in the latest chapter of a two-decade civil conflict, the rebels have blocked aid and food deliveries. Now hundreds of thousands of refugees are trying to escape war and disease… and find food.

    Geeday Mohammed Aden, Displaced Somali Woman: ”I lost three of my children in four days. They were dying of diseases and I do not have anything to give the three others because I lost everything in the drought and I do not know anyone in this town.” Somalia’s government has denied the charges by Human Rights Watch…blaming rebels for most of the war crimes.

  8. creolechild says:

    Chinese Train Maker Recalls 54 High-speed Trains over Safety Concerns
    2011-08-16 11:20

    The recall smacks a fresh blow on the country’s rail system – three weeks after the Wenzhou crash killed at least 40 passengers. According to the Chinese regime’s State Administration of Work Safety Minister Luo Lin, who’s in charge of the fatal crash investigation, there were serious defects in the train design. Some passengers are undeterred by the safety concerns. Liu Xiaolong, Bullet Train Passenger:
    “Of course, I am a little worried, but it is still very convenient. It’s not like taking a flight where you have to turn up a long time before it leaves, you can just go straight through. It’s convenient.”

    Once the crowning glory of China’s technological prowess, now the bullet rail system has become a political embarrassment for the Chinese regime. It has triggered public anger and catcalls on the Weibo micro blogging site. One Weibo user wrote, “Wasn’t this locomotive the most advanced type, and put into use only after many tests? So how come the problems were discovered after they were put into operation? What a miracle?”

  9. Ametia says:

    Joe Biden visits China for economic talks
    17 August 2011

    US Vice-President Joe Biden has arrived in China for talks likely to focus on the economy after the downgrading of US debt and ensuing market turmoil.

    China is the US government’s biggest foreign creditor, holding $1tn (£608bn) of debt, and has called on it to do more to reduce its budget deficit.

    Officials say Mr Biden will explain the finer points of a “very strong deficit reduction package” agreed by Congress.

    He will also talk of “tremendous mutual interest” in global economic recovery.

    Vice-President Biden is hoping to reassure Beijing that President Barack Obama’s administration has a handle on economic policy in the wake of a downgrade by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s, says the BBC’s Steve Kingstone in Washington.

    China’s state-run media was scathing over the recent political showdown in the US over how to increase the debt ceiling and avert a financial default.

    State media criticised the US “addiction to debt”, calling it irresponsible and demanding that America live within its means

  10. creolechild says:

    Clinton opposes budget cuts
    By Agence France-Presse

    WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Tuesday against budget cuts that could force an abrupt pullout of the US security presence in the Pacific at a time when China’s power is rising.
    The debate over reducing the US debt “does cast a pall over our ability to project the kind of security interests that are in America’s interests,” Clinton told officers at the National Defense University. “We need to have a responsible conversation about how we are going to prepare ourselves for the future and there are a lot of issues that are not in the headlines but are in the trendlines,” she said.

    “We are asserting our presence in the Pacific. We are a Pacific power. That means all elements of our national security team have to be present,” the chief US diplomat said in a conversation with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. “And we can’t be abruptly pulling back or pulling out when we know we face some long-term challenges about how we are going to cope with what the rise of China means,” she said in the conversation moderated by CNN television. Experts said the deal to avert a US debt default should have little effect on the Pentagon’s huge budget in the short term, but leaves the door open to sharp cuts that could force a strategy overhaul.

    The deal signed into law by Obama on August 2 calls for at least $2.1 trillion in cuts in government spending over 10 years. The White House said military spending will fall by $350 billion in the first round of $917 billion in cuts, in line with Pentagon expectations. A special congressional committee has been created to come up with a second round of $1.5 trillion in further cuts from all areas. But if the bipartisan committee fails, then cuts of $1.2 trillion would automatically come into force — divided evenly between military and non-military spending.

  11. creolechild says:

    Why Bachmann Won’t Be Able To Reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
    By Igor Volsky

    The New York Times’ James Dao reports that Michele Bachmann could easily reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell if she were elected president and made good on her promise to bring back the soon-to-be repealed policy: Turns out that it wouldn’t be hard to do, legal experts say. That’s because the law repealing the ban that President Obama signed last December did not expressly order the Pentagon to allow openly gay or lesbian troops in the armed forces. Congress merely laid out a process under which the ban could be lifted. Under that process, the president, secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had to certify that repeal would not undermine recruiting, retention, morale and other indicators of what is commonly called military readiness. Once that certification was made and sent to Congress, the secretary of defense then had to prepare and issue new regulations allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly. That is where the process is now: the regulations are being written and the ban will be lifted on Sept. 20. But because Congress did not require the military to allow open service, a new president could order his or her new secretary of defense to issue new regulations that effectively reinstate the ban, said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which advocates for gay and lesbian troops.

    But I would argue that there is some difference between having the authority to keep gay people out of the military and actually having the political capital to do so — particularly for a female president without military experience. To bring back the ban on open service, Bachmann would have to go head to head with the four service chiefs — all of whom authorized the repeal — and somehow convince the armed forces that it’s even operationally possible to push service members back into the closet. Would soldiers have to be trained to forget that some of their colleagues are gay? I mean, how would this even work? And even if she does manage to repeal the repeal, the order would be immediately challenged in court, with proponents relying on the Pentagon’s own study showing that servicemembers don’t mind serving alongside gay soldiers and the real world experience in which the services experienced few problems after the ban was lifted.

    And so at the end of the day — regardless of what Bachmann is now saying on the campaign trail — once that toothpaste is out of the tube, Bachmann or any other Republican isn’t going to be able to shove it back in.

  12. creolechild says:

    Here’s Faze O – with Riding High.

  13. Ametia says:

    For the ciitzens of Texas experiencing the drought

  14. rikyrah says:


    August 17, 2011 at 10:44 am
    Morning Joe was a blast this morning!

    Nicole Wallace aka Bush’s mouthpiece and spin doctor, Mark Halperin aka douchebag extraordinaire, Pat Buchanan aka Ye Olde Racist Scumbag and Willie Geist aka the benefactor of nepotism. In other words 4 republicans against The Reverend Al Sharpton. But thank you lord for Rev Al. Everyone who’s on twitter needs to send Rev Al a tweet and THANK HIM for the fantastic job he’s doing and the steel trap mind that just spits out facts, facts, zingers and whippersnappers of truth. This morning on Morning Joe he said he reads the tweets people send to him so please please please send him a thank you.

    They began the discussion with Rick Perry’s inflammatory statement against Fed Chair Ben Bernanke where he implied that if Bernanke was in Texas, they would take him out for printing money for “political” reasons. They asked Rev Al what he thought about it. Rev Al said it was disgusting and totally uncalled for that you have a Governor who has governed for about 10 years and been in politics for more than 25 years and is running for the highest office in the land making veiled threats that are unbecoming of the position and unbecoming of a supposed “leader.” Rev Al then said that it wasn’t only that statement that was disgusting, but the statement where Rick Perry questions whether President Obama loves America was just abhorrent. How dare Perry question President Obama’s love and patriotism of this country.

    That this is the same thing that happened during the 2008 campaign where Palin said Obama liked to pal around with terrorists and people started calling for the murder of Obama, calling him a terrorist and the republican party just kept on inciting them. Are they going to demand to see his birth certificate again? Rev said that to show you how disgusting his statement was even Karl Rove was offended that Perry said Bernanke was a traitor who was committing treason. Rev Al reminded them that Bernanke was a Bush appointee so if Perry was trying to level that slur at President Obama’s “incapability” of picking cabinet members, then he failed woefully. Pat Buchanan tried to suggest that what Perry said wasn’t all that offensive. That what was more offensive was then candidate Obama attending a church for 20 years where the pastor said “God damn America.” Rev Al swung back at Pat hard. He told Pat to stop beating a dead horse because it just makes him look desperate. Pat’s expression was priceless.

    He finally met someone who was not afraid to hit back hard and did not back down from any nonsense or slur Pat threw at the President. Rev Al continued on; saying that first of all Pat took the pastor’s words out of context, then candidate Obama rejected the pastor’s point of view, came out and gave a brilliant speech on race, and besides when the pastor was expressing those sentiments Barack Obama wasn’t in that church and never for one day echoed the pastor’s beliefs. On the other hand, Perry said those inflammatory words and never backed down from them. He opened his mouth and just kept spewing crap left, righ, and center.

    So Pat should never ever try and compare those two incidences and put them on the same level. They then played the clip of Wolf Blitzer’s interview where President Obama said he’d give Perry a pass on his statement because he’s just 2 or 3 days into his campaigning and people make mistakes, but he should be very careful because running for President, isn’t it the same as running for congress, local govt or governor. Pat then said the President should have laid into Perry harder.

    Rev Al asked him why? Why stop Rick Perry from making a fool of himself? It’s not up to the President to castigate Perry, it’s up to the President’s base; because President Obama isn’t in campaign mode yet. Rev Al said he hopes Rick Perry continues to gain more traction in the republican primary and win the republican nomination. He wishes him the best of luck. Hahaha. Mark Halperin then asked Rev Al what about Bachmann.

    Rev Al said he wishes her goodluck also. Halperin then said, Bachmann could pose a threat for the Obama team. Rev Al looked at him as though he was on crack. He said he wishes her well and hopes she and Perry duke it out for leader of the teaparty. Halperin then said if Rev Al was Bachmann’s consultant, how would he advice her to attack Perry. Rev Al said no amount of money would convince him to take on that task because Bachmann plays fast and loose with facts. So she could continue on in that vein. She doesn’t need facts to attack Perry, she should just open her mouth and let jumbled up words spill. Haha.

    They then talked about the economy and the big jobs package and policy speech President Obama is going to unveil and give in September, after labor day. Nicole Wallace said finally Obama (she kept calling him Obama in a very snide tone and Rev Al kept giving her the stink eye) is unveiling a plan on paper and is no longer whining and doing what he does best: blaming George Bush for the economy. Then she said maybe Robert Gibbs finally got the message and told the rest of the Obama team that blaming Bush will not fly this time. She’s such a liar.

    Gibbs was on Morning Joe this week and he never said they were running against the ghost of Bush or blaming Bush; Nicole said that. Rev Al rounded on her and said that he hopes no one ever forgets that Bush and his cronies messed up the American economy and President Obama did inherit a huge mess and if he wants to remind the American people of that fact or nuggett of truth, he is well within his rights. Pat then said that President Obama is getting desperate unveiling another jobs plan that likely includes tax reform, short term stimulus and entitlement reform.

    Rev Al told him that if that is indeed what is in the jobs plan and we don’t know the full details of it then it’s a good jobs plan and it does not smack of desperation. He said that people in the media wanted him to unveil a big jobs plan and now that he’s doing so they’re all ganging up on him and saying it smacks of desperation; which is utter crap. Rev Al said that the only people who smell of desperation are the media and the house and senate republicans and the teaparty caucus. He said when President Obama unveils this jobs plan, all he has to do is take it to the American people and 100% sell it. If the GOP keep blocking him, they’ll receive a huge backlash from the American public who want jobs and will not take kindly to anyone blocking a path that leads to more jobs and stabilizatiion of the economy.

    They then turned to the fact that President Obama is taking a vacation in Martha’s Vineyard which smacks of elitism. Pat then suggested that President Obama should take a vacation on the Outerbanks of North Carolina (redneck country) or in rural Texas in some far away podunk town where no one has to see him and his family riding bicycles, wearing helmets and smiling up and down. Translation go to East Texas where there are a huge majority of white conservatives, white supremacists who hate black people so we mysteriously never have to hear from you or your family again. Racist Jerk. Willie, Nicole, and Mark joined in the fun mocking President Obama and his love of riding bicycles around the coast, wearing a “fuddy duddy” helmet, instead of driving a car cross country on a “real” American vacation. When did bicycle riding along the coast or a bike trail become unAmerican? When did one wearing a hemet for safety become a cause for mockery? When did healthy living become fodder for insults?

    Rev Al shut all of them up by asking them if they ever castigated or mocked Bush on his “real” American vacations to his ranch in Crawford, TX? If they ever called out Bush for taking multiple vacations with his family? They all said no. Rev Al told them to quit their nonsense backbiting; it only smacks of jealousy, childishness and pettyness and is frankly more than enough whining than he’s willing to listen to. Haha. That shut them up real quick.

    Rev Al was AMAZING!!!! One man against 4 GOP schill machines and he came out on top. It was brilliant to watch. Just absolutely brilliant.

  15. creolechild says:

    How about a music break. Here’s MJQ (aka known as The Crusaders) with Marcella’s Dream.
    (I still love this song~)

  16. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney Attacks Obama For Going To Martha’s Vineyard — On The Same Day He Will Be There
    By Alex Seitz-Wald on Aug 17, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney repeatedly has attacked President Obama’s upcoming trip to Martha’s Vineyard, saying Obama should “devote some time” to jobs, “not just going to vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard.” “A lot of Democrats in Martha’s Vineyard, I don’t know know why,” Romney quipped Monday in New Hampshire. (Not everyone can be so lucky as Romney to have a $10 million lake house in the early primary state of New Hampshire.) Watch it:

    Romney’s Vineyard jab is ironic considering that he is scheduled to be on the chic Massachusetts island the very same day as Obama. The Boston Herald reported in late July that Romney planned to hold a $2,500-per-person fundraiser on Aug. 27, just across the island from where the Obamas are staying. “They could have a ‘This island isn’t big enough for the two of us’ moment,” a Boston University politics professor joked to the paper. Romney’s event appears to be a part of tour of his former state’s tonier summer communities, as it follows a fundraiser in Osterville, on Cape Cod, hosted by one of the Koch brothers, and another event on Nantucket.

    Romney held fundraisers on both Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket during his 2008 campaign as well.

  17. rikyrah says:

    August 17, 2011 1:20 PM

    Texas’ taxpayer-financed miracle

    By Steve Benen
    What Rick Perry’s economic vision lacks in accuracy it makes up for in clarity. As the Republican presidential hopeful sees it, he can boost the nation’s economy by cutting spending and making the federal government “inconsequential” in Americans’ lives as he can.

    Indeed, as far as the Texas governor is concerned, he’s already put his vision to the test, creating plenty of jobs in his home state. Jared Bernstein noted a relevant detail Perry would prefer voters forget.

    Over the last few years, government jobs have been awfully consequential in Texas: 47% of all government jobs added in the US between 2007 and 2010 were added in Texas. […]

    Texas employment wasn’t down much at all in these years, as the state lost only 53,000 jobs. But looming behind that number are large losses in the private sector (down 178,000) and large gains (up 125,000) in government jobs.

    In fact … the nation as a whole added 264,000 government jobs, 2007-10, meaning public-sector jobs added in Texas account for almost half of the nation’s public-sector jobs over these years.

    It turns out the “miracle” in Texas largely a taxpayer-financed one.

    Obviously, Perry’s anti-government rhetoric doesn’t match up well with this record. While his party takes it as a given that public-sector job growth is a problem in need of a correction — remember Boehner’s “so be it” line? — Perry certainly hasn’t governed this way.

    On a related note, the Texas Tribune reports that Perry relied heavily on federal stimulus — funding he said shouldn’t exist — to twice balance Texas’s budget, and prevent widespread layoffs.

    What’s wrong this? In practice, nothing. Perry made the right call using taxpayer money to save jobs, just as the Obama administration intended. But maybe some enterprising reporter can ask the governor how this dovetails with his economic philosophy and campaign rhetoric.

  18. rikyrah says:

    17 Aug 2011 10:59 AM
    How Does Murdoch Survive This?

    He can try and argue that he was ignorant of the crimes; but he cannot deny responsibility for the cover-up. And a classic cover-up it was. A critical piece of evidence, a letter from one of their chief phone-hackers, was edited to remove the money parts:

    As Marian Wang, a blogger for ProPublica, points out, another copy of Mr. Goodman’s letter was also supplied to the parliamentary committee by News International, in response to a request from the panel. What is most interesting about the version that News International produced is that it omits more than just names from the letter — two entire sections of Mr. Goodman’s letter are missing. Both sections relate to Mr. Goodman’s claim that the newspaper’s editor, Mr. Coulson, and its senior lawyer, Tom Crone, had assured the reporter that he would not lose his job as long as he “did not implicate the paper or any of its staff,” during his trial.

    This is obstruction of justice, it seems to me. Here’s the section that someone high up at News International removed before handing it to the parliamentary committee tasked with looking for evidence that hacking was more widespread than a lone rogue reporter:

    iii My conviction and imprisonment cannot be the real reason for my dismissal. The legal manager, Tom Crone, attended virtually every meeting of my legal team and was given full access to the Crown Prosecution Service’s evidence files. He, and other senior staff of the paper, had long advance knowledge that I would plead guilty. Despite this, the paper continued to employ me. Throughout my suspension, I was given book serialisations to write and was consulted on several occasions about royal stories they needed to check. The paper continued to employ me for a substantial part of my custodial sentence.

    iv Tom Crone and the Editor promised on many occasions that I could come back to a job at the newspaper if I did not implicate the paper or any of its staff in my mitigation plea. I did not, and I expect the paper to honour its promise to me.

    Coulson is toast.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Does Obama Want To Appear Weak?
    Well, it’s a theory:

    The weaker Obama appears today, the more likely the Republican Party elects a tea party candidate like Bachmann or Perry, and the more likely they are to lose a general election to the president. By contrast, the stronger Obama seems today, the more likely the Republican Party trades in its zeal for strategy and nominates the most electable candidate, Mitt Romney, giving itself its best chance to take the White House.

    I can see the strategic sense of this. But Obama only seems weak because he has been stymied by the GOP in the House, and because the severity of this recession was greater than we realized and the short term palliatives consequently mild. At some point, people will demand that something more be done to encourage employment and tackle the debt. If Obama proffers commonsensical ideas that at any other time would have commanded bipartisan support – and gets obstructed yet again – then he’s off to Truman-land.

    But on the whole, yes, the GOP is currently falling into a classic Obama trap.

    I may be wrong but the GOP may be confirming my long-ago expectation that they’d swing to the far right after Obama’s election, be given false confidence by a low turn-out mid-term, and then nominate someone essentially unelectable as a national figure.

    But in this economy, all predictions are unreliable. The toxic cloud of high unemployment, low growth, and a vanishing middle class will make volatility and populism the norms. Which means that we may not have the full roster of Republican candidates yet.

    • Ametia says:

      Sorry, Andrew, but PBO …

      and weak don’t belong in the same sentence. This is the manufactured term you folks like to equate this POTUS with.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Dissent Of The Day
    A reader is echoing many:

    Look, I’m against Perry and everything he represents. Not only were his statements regarding Bernanke unpresidential, they were downright moronic. But he came nowhere close to calling for or supporting a Texas lynching for the Fed Chairman. Yes, Perry claims that Bernanke is guilty of a capital offense, but that is light years away from advocating Texas justice outside the confines of the law. Furthermore, “Treating him ugly” does not have plain meaning as you suggest. It is subjective language carrying different meanings for different people. Indeed, a lynching is the last thing I would imagine when hearing the expression.

    Here’s the actual quote:

    If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I dunno what y’all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas.

    Notice the obvious physical threat: “do to him”. Not “say to him”, but “do to him.” Not “I’d do” something to him, but “we” would. And when someone says “we’d” like to “do” something “pretty ugly” to a public official – with a reference to Texas lore, where lynching was once commonplace, I’m sorry but this was a threat of violence, especially in the context of a capital offense which could go unpunished.

    This was a threat of a lynching. It’s one of the most disgusting things I’ve heard from a public official in a long time. It’s disturbing how the media decided that “treasonous” was the great offense here, when it wasn’t even close. And the thug still hasn’t apologized.

    Can you imagine what would be said if Obama said anything like that? Drudge would be offering photos of black rioters and thieves for weeks on end.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 17, 2011 12:35 PM

    Impeachment is not a toy

    By Steve Benen

    Last week, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) talked up the idea of impeaching President Obama, not over high crimes, but because “it would tie things up” in Washington for a while, making governing impossible. What would Republicans use as a justification for impeachment? The right-wing lawmaker said, “The articles would have to be drafted. They would have to be substantial. Right now, I don’t know that you have that substance behind them.”

    Yesterday, Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain was also asked whether he would support the GOP launching an impeachment crusade. He apparently likes the idea.

    “That’s a great question and it is a great — it would be a great thing to do but because the Senate is controlled by Democrats we would never be able to get the Senate first to take up that action, because they simply don’t care what the American public thinks. They would protect him and they wouldn’t even bring it up,” Cain said, citing the administration’s position on the Defense of Marriage Act as an impeachable offense.

    More from his answer: “So the main stumbling block in terms of getting him impeached on a whole list of things such as trying to pass a health care mandate which is unconstitutional, ordering the Department of Justice to not enforce the Defense of Marriage Act — that’s an impeachable offense right there.”

    I hesitate to even treat this as a substantive observation, but what Cain considers “impeachable offenses” is quite dumb. The administration concluded that a law is unconstitutional and decided not to defend it in court — it’s a move previous administrations have done with other laws, and it’s not a high crime. For that matter, passing a law with a health care mandate — which was a Republican idea, by the way — is also not grounds for impeachment.

    But the larger point is, a growing number of Republicans appear to consider presidential impeachment as just another partisan tool — or more accurately, just another toy to play with.

    Last year, before the midterm elections, I took an interest in the variety of Republican officeholders and candidates who said they’d like to impeach the president and there were, alas, quite a few. With Burgess and Cain talking it up, the contingent appears to be growing.

    For the record, no, I don’t really expect the House to impeach the president, at least not unless Obama gets a second term, at which point anything’s possible. But the fact that some Republicans are comfortable speaking like this, out loud and on the record, is a reminder of just how far gone the party really is.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Report: Chris Christie Exploring Presidential Run

    Perhaps Rick Perry isn’t the only late entrant into the Republican field. According to one report, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is considering a last-second bid as well.

    According to reporter Jonathan Alter on Twitter, “sources say NJ Gov. Chris Christie is conducting focus groups in preparation for a possible run for president in 2012.”

    Christie has long denied any interest in a 2012 run. Of course, so did Perry, but the New Jersey governor’s denials have been Shermanesque to the point of absurdity.

    “Listen, I threatened to commit suicide. I did, I said, ‘What can I do short of suicide to convince people I’m not running?'” Christie said in February. “Apparently, I actually have to commit suicide to convince people I’m not running.”

    But Christie has developed a strong following among grassroots and establishment Republicans alike with his combative style and many conservative commentators have openly pined for him to run. While it’s late in the campaign, a lot of top Republican donors have yet to take sides, meaning there’s still room to find donors. Or for donors to find Christie: a group of major GOP fundraisers led by Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone met with the governor last month to beg him to change his mind, according to Politico’s Mike Allen, only to be rebuffed when the governor gave a firm “no” based on family and state commitments.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Cantor Calls On House GOP To Avoid Government Shutdown Brinksmanship

    In a significant de-escalation of partisan brinksmanship on Capitol Hill, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is asking his members not to push for further cuts to discretionary spending in the wake of the debt limit agreement.

    “While all of us would like to have seen a lower discretionary appropriations ceiling for the upcoming fiscal year, the debt limit agreement did set a level of spending that is a real cut from the current year level,” Cantor wrote in a Wednesday memo to House Republicans. “I believe it is in our interest to enact into law full-year appropriations bills at this new lower level.”

    This essentially eliminates one of three potential impasses that, if not bridged, would lead to a government shutdown. The other two are specific appropriations — which government programs should receive what level of funding — and extraneous policy riders, meant to tie the Obama administrations hands at the helm of the executive branch.

    Earlier this year, all three of those turned into points of contention. Republicans initially demanded an overall $100 billion cut to non-defense discretionary spending. They wanted those reductions to fall disproportionately on programs liberals and Democrats value. And they wanted all federal agency funding to be contingent on the White House agreeing to scores of legal and regulatory restrictions on their governing authority.

    The fight took the government to the brink of shutdown, and, indeed, Republican rank and file agita over House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) willingness to negotiate back from the $100 billion demand nearly resulted in a replay of the ’95-’96 lapse in funding for federal programs.

    Citing the debt limit’s statutory requirement for billions in cuts in fiscal year 2012, Cantor has essentially taken that particular bone off the table. That doesn’t mean the other two won’t bring us to the same point at the end of September.

    “[W]e must put an end to the policy uncertainty constantly being driven by this Administration. That means stopping the constant threat of new regulations that add unnecessary costs to employers,” Cantor added.

  24. creolechild says:

    Yes, this has been posted here before. However, a reminder every now and then is always useful because the American public tends to have short memories or aren’t fully aware of what the POTUS has accomplished. Thank you PCTC Blog (aka Please Cut The Crap)!

    To Those Who Consider President Obama a Disappointment; You’re Just NOT Paying Attention!

    If you think President Obama is a failure, or you’re “disappointed” in him, the problem pretty much has to be you. So far, this president has done most of what he said he would do, and he’s only halfway through his first term. Not only is he NOT a “failure,” he’s pretty much the opposite. Hell; he even took out Osama bin Laden, something Bush couldn’t do in eight years. Of course, Bush also said several times that he really didn’t care bout bin Laden, anyway…

    Is he perfect? No, he’s human. Does he deserve some criticism? Sure. But criticism about certain specific problems is one thing; taking on an overall “Obama sucks” meme not only has the potential to put another Bush into power, but it’s also a lie to say, or even imply, he’s a lousy president.

    Here is a PARTIAL list of Obama’s accomplishments so far. Unlike many lists, I actually include a link to details. I also update this list regularly, so check back often. Anytime someone, right OR left, tells you Obama sucks, or is a “disappointment,” show them this list and tell them to kiss a part of your body not usually considered pleasant to kiss. The first section alone should make them sit down and shut up.

    Legislative Prowess – Despite the characterizations of some, Obama’s success rate in winning congressional votes on issues was an unprecedented 96.7% for his first year in office. Though he is often cited as superior to Obama, President Lyndon Johnson’s success rate in 1965 was only 93%.

    Fiscal Responsibility – Within days after taking office, he signed an Executive Order ordering an audit of government contracts, and combating waste and abuse.

    Created the post of Chief Performance Officer, whose job it is to make operations more efficient to save the federal government money.

    On his first full day, he froze White House salaries.

    He appointed the first Federal Chief Information Officer to oversee federal IT spending.

    He committed to phasing out unnecessary and outdated weapons systems, and also signed the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act to stop waste, fraud and abuse in the defense procurement and contracting system.

    Through an executive order, he created the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

    Improving the Economy, Preventing Depression – He pushed through and signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, otherwise known as “the stimulus package,” despite the fact that not one Republican voted for that bill. In addition, he launched, so that taxpayers could track spending from the Act.

    In his first year, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created and sustained 2.1 million jobs and stimulated the economy 3.5%.

    He completed the massive TARP financial and banking rescue plan, and recovered virtually all of its costs.

    He created the Making Home Affordable home refinancing plan.

    He oversaw the creation of more jobs in 2010 alone than Bush did in eight years.

    He oversaw investment in updated and improved manufacturing processes.

    He also doubled funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership which is designed to improve manufacturing efficiency.

    He signed the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act giving the federal government more tools to investigate and prosecute fraud in every corner of the financial system. It also created a bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to investigate the financial fraud that led to the economic meltdown.

    He signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act, which was designed to to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive credit card practices.

    He increased infrastructure spending after years of neglect.

    He signed the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, expanding on the Making Home Affordable Program to help millions of Americans avoid preventable foreclosures. The bill also provided $2.2 billion to help combat homelessness, and to stabilize the housing market.

    Through the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009, he and Congressional Democrats provided tax credits to first-time home buyers, which helped the U.S. housing market recovery.

    He initiated a $15 billion plan designed to encourage increased lending to small businesses.

    He created, which allows for online collaboration between small businesses and experts re managing a business. (The program has since merged with

    He played a lead role in getting the G-20 Summit to commit to a $1.1 trillion deal to combat the global financial crisis.

    He took steps to improve minority access to capital.

    He created a $60 billion bank to fund infrastructure improvements such as roads and bridges.

    He implemented an auto industry rescue plan, and saved as many as 1 million jobs. Many are of the opinion that he saved the entire auto industry, and even the economy of the entire Midwest.

    Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he saved at least 300,000 education jobs, such as teachers, principals, librarians, and counselors that would have otherwise been lost.

    Provided funding to states and the Department of Homeland Security to save thousands of police and firefighter jobs from being cut during the recession.

    He used recovered TARP money to fund programs at local housing finance agencies in California, Florida, Nevada, Arizona and Michigan.

    Crafted an Executive order stablishing the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability to assist in financial education for all Americans.

    Wall Street Reforms and Consumer Protection – Ordered 65 executives who took bailout money to cut their own pay until they paid back all bailout money.

    He pushed through and got passed Dodd-Frank, one of the largest and most comprehensive Wall Street reforms since the Great Depression.

    He made it so that banks could no longer use YOUR money to invest in high-risk financial instruments that work against their own customers’ interests.

    He supported the concept of allowing stockholders to vote on executive compensation.

    He wholly endorsed and supported the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of 2009 that would close offshore tax avoidance loopholes.

    He made a deal with Swiss banks that permits the US government to gain access to the records of criminals and tax evaders.

    He established a Consumer Protection Financial Bureau designed to protect consumers from financial sector excesses.

    Civil Rights and Anti-Discrimination – He advocated for and signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which made it a federal crime to assault anyone based on his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.

    He pushed through and signed a repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy that forced soldiers to lie to fight for their country, and put our troops at risk by disqualifying many qualified soldiers from helping.

    He appointed Kareem Dale as the first ever Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy.

    He extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.

    He’s appointed more openly gay officials than anyone in history.

    He signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, restoring basic protections against pay discrimination for women and other workers. This was after the GOP blocked the bill in 2007. Only 5 Republican Senators voted for the bill.

    Wrote and signed an Executive Order establishing a White House Council on Women and Girls to ensure that all Cabinet and Cabinet-level agencies evaluate the effect of their policies and programs on women and families.

    He expanded funding for the Violence Against Women Act.

    Fighting Poverty – He provided a $20 billion increase for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps).

    He signed an Executive Order that established the White House Office of Urban Affairs.

    Improved Foreign Relations and American Status Abroad – He visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any previous president during his first six months in office.

    As he promised, he gave a speech at a major Islamic forum in Cairo early in his administration.

    He did much to restore America’s reputation around the world as a global leader that does the “right thing” in world affairs, at least according to the rest of the world.

    He re-established and reinforced our partnership with NATO and other allies on strategic international issues.

    He established a new U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

    He established new, more reasonable policies in our relations with Cuba, such as allowing Cuban-Americans to visit their families and send money to support them.

    He ordered the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay. It was Republicans (and a smattering of Democrats) who prevented him from following through.

    Ordered a review of our detention and interrogation policy, and prohibited the use of torture, or what Bush called “enhanced interrogation.” He ordered interrogators to limit their actions to the Army Field manual.

    He ordered all secret detention facilities in Eastern Europe and elsewhere to be closed.

    He released the Bush torture memos.

    On his second day in office, he signed a detailed Executive Order that banned torture, reversed all Bush torture policies, and put the United States in compliance with the Geneva Convention.

    Better Approach to “Defense” – Created a comprehensive new strategy for dealing with the international nuclear threat.

    He authorized a $1.4 billion reduction in Star Wars program in 2010.

    He restarted nuclear nonproliferation talks and built up the nuclear inspection infrastructure/protocols to where they had been before Bush.

    He signed and pushed to ratification a new SALT Treaty.

    He created and executed a plan to end our involvement in Iraq in a responsible manner, and followed through.

    Through the Defense Authorization Act, he reversed the Bush Administration and committed to no permanent military bases in Iraq.

    He developed the first comprehensive strategy with regard to Afghanistan and Pakistan designed to facilitate the defeat of al Qaeda and the withdrawal of most troops, as well as the rebuilding of Afghanistan.

    He returned our focus to Afghanistan, stabilized the country, and began the process of withdrawing our troops from the country.

    Treating Soldiers and Veterans with Respect – He made sure that families of fallen soldiers could be on hand when the body arrives at Dover AFB, by providing funding for it. He also ended the media blackout on coverage of the return of fallen soldiers.

    He funded Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with an extra $1.4 billion to improve veterans’ services.

    He provided the troops with better body armor.

    Created the Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record program for military personnel, in order to improve the quality of their medical care.

    He put an end to the Bush-era stop-loss policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan beyond their enlistment date. (personal note: my son will be in harm’s way for six fewer months with Obama as president, so you know I love this one.)

    He supported and signed the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act, which made more money available to enable better medical care for veterans.

    He ushered through the largest spending increase in 30 years for the Department of Veterans Affairs for improved medical facilities, and to assist states in acquiring or constructing state nursing homes and extended care facilities.

    He created the Green Vet Initiative, which provided special funding to the Labor Department to provide veterans with training in green jobs.

    He oversaw a $4.6 billion expansion of the Veterans Administration budget to pay for more mental health professionals.

    Education – He has repeatedly increased funding for student financial aid, and at the same time cut the banks completely out of the process.

    Completely reformed the student loan program, to make it possible for students to refinance at a lower rate.

    Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , he invested heavily in elementary, secondary and post-secondary education. This includes a major expansion of broadband availability in K-12 schools nationwide , as well as an expansion in school construction.

    He passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which provided an extra $12.2 billion in funds.

    Greater Transparency and Better Government – He signed an order banning gifts from lobbyists to anyone in the Executive Branch.

    He signed an order banning anyone from working in an agency they had lobbied in previous years. He also put strict limits on lobbyists’ access to the White House.

    He held the first-ever first online town hall from the White House, and took questions from the public.

    The Obama White House became the first to stream every White House event, live.

    He established a central portal for Americans to find service opportunities.

    He provided the first voluntary disclosure of the White House Visitors Log in history.

    He crafted an Executive Order on Presidential Records, which restored the 30-day time frame for former presidents to review records, and eliminated the right for the vice president or family members of former presidents to do the reviews. This will provide the public with greater access to historic White House documents, and severely curtails the ability to use executive privilege to shield them.

    He improved aspects of the Freedom of Information Act, and issued new guidelines to make FOIA more open and transparent in the processing of FOIA requests.

    National Safety and Security – He’s restored federal agencies such as FEMA to the point that they have been able to manage a huge number of natural disasters successfully.

    Authorized Navy SEALS to successfully secure the release of a US captain held by Somali pirates and increased patrols off the Somali coast.

    Has repeatedly beefed up border security

    Ordered and oversaw the Navy SEALS operation that killed Osama bin Laden.

    Science, Technology and Health Care – He created a Presidential Memorandum to restore scientific integrity in government decision-making.

    Opened up the process for fast-tracking patent approval for green energy projects.

    He eliminated the Bush-era restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. He also provided increased federal support for biomedical and stem cell research.

    Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he committed more federal funding, about $18 billion, to support non-defense science and research labs.

    He signed the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act, the first comprehensive attempt to improve the lives of Americans living with paralysis.

    He expanded the Nurse-Family Partnership program, which provides home visits by trained registered nurses to low-income expectant mothers and their families, to cover more first-time mothers.

    Conducted a cyberspace policy review.

    Provided financial support for private sector space programs.

    He oversaw enhanced earth mapping, to provide valuable data for agricultural, educational, scientific, and government use.

    He ushered through a bill that authorized the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products. As a result, the FDA has Ordered Tobacco Companies to Disclose Cigarette Ingredients and banned sale of cigarettes falsely labeled as “light.”

    Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he provided $500 million for Health Professions Training Programs.

    He also increased funding for community-based prevention programs.

    He oversaw a 50% decrease in cost of prescription drugs for seniors.

    He eliminated the Bush-era practice of forbidding Medicare from negotiating with drug companies on price.

    Two weeks after taking office, he signed the Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act, which increased the number of children covered by health insurance by 4 million.

    He held a quick press conference, and urged Congress to investigate Anthem Blue Cross for raising premiums 39% without explanation. Rep. Waxman responded by launching a probe, and Anthem Blue Cross put the increase on hold for two months.

    Ushered through and signed the Affordable Health Care Act, which expanded health insurance coverage to 30 million more people, and ended many common insurance company practices that are often detrimental to those with coverage. He also established

    Through the Affordable Health Care Act, he allowed children to be covered under their parents’ policy until they turned 26.

    Through the Affordable Health Care Act, he provided tax breaks to allow 3.5 million small business to provide health insurance to their employees, and 29 million people will receive tax breaks to help them afford health insurance.

    Through the Affordable Health Care Act, he expanded Medicaid to those making up to 133% of the federal poverty level.

    Through the Affordable Health Care Act, health insurance companies now have to disclose how much of your premium actually goes to pay for patient care.

    Strengthening the Middle Class and Families – He worked to provide affordable, high-quality child care to working families.

    He cracked down on companies that were previously denying sick pay, vacation and health insurance, and Social Security and Medicare tax payments through abuse of the employee classification of independent contractor.

    Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , he cut taxes for 95% of America’s working families.

    Under Obama, tax rates for average working families are the lowest they’ve been since 1950.

    He extended and fully funded the patch for the Alternative Minimum Tax for 10 years.

    He extended discounted COBRA health coverage for the unemployed from 9 months to 15 months, and he’s extended unemployment benefits several times.

    Environment and Energy – He fast-tracked regulations to allow states to enact federal fuel efficiency standards that were above federal standards.

    He fast-tracked increased fuel economy standards for vehicles beginning with the 2011 model year. It was the first time such standards had been increased in a decade.

    He oversaw the establishment of an Energy Partnership for the Americas, which creates more markets for American-made biofuels and green energy technologies.

    His EPA reversed a Bush-era decision to allow the largest mountaintop removal project in US history.

    He ordered the Department of Energy to implement more aggressive efficiency standards for common household appliances.

    He ordered energy plants to prepare to produce at least 15% of all energy through renewable resources like wind and solar, by 2021. (As you can see, Republicans are trying hard to kill it.)

    He oversaw the creation of an initiative that converts old factories and manufacturing centers into new clean technology centers.

    Bypassed Republican opposition in Congress and ordered EPA to begin regulating and measuring carbon emissions.

    His EPA ruled that CO2 is a pollutant.

    He doubled federal spending on clean energy research.

    He pushed through a tax credit to help people buy plug-in hybrid cars.

    He created a program to develop renewable energy projects on the waters of our Outer Continental Shelf that will produce electricity from wind, wave, and ocean currents.

    He reengaged in the climate change and greenhouse gas emissions agreements talks, and even proposed one himself. He also addressed the U.N. Climate Change Conference, officially reversing the Bush era stance that climate change was a “hoax.”

    He fully supported the initial phase of the creation of a legally-binding treaty to reduce mercury emissions worldwide.

    He required states to provide incentives to utilities to reduce their energy consumption.

    Following Bush’s eight year reign, he reengaged in a number of treaties and agreements designed to protect the Antarctic.

    Created tax write-offs for purchases of hybrid automobiles, and later he and Democrats morphed that program into one that includes electric cars.

    Mandated that federal government fleet purchases be for fuel-efficient American vehicles, and encouraged that federal agencies support experimental, fuel-efficient vehicles.

    He strengthened the Endangered Species Act.

    His EPA improved boiler safety standards to improve air quality, and save 6500 lives per year.

    Through the EPA, he took steps to severely limit the use of antibiotics in livestock feed, to increase their efficacy in humans.

    He increased funding for National Parks and Forests by 10%

    Other Stuff – He has expanded trade agreements to include stricter labor and environmental agreements such as NAFTA.

    He oversaw funding of the design of a new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History, which is scheduled to open on the National Mall in 2015. He protected the funding during the recent budget negotiations.

    Oversaw and passed increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.

    He nominated Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Sotomayor is the first Hispanic Justice in the court’s history, and the women represent only the third and fourth women to serve on the court, out of a total of 112 justices.

    He appointed the most diverse Cabinet in history, including more women than any other incoming president.

    He eliminated federal funding for abstinence-only education, and he rescinded the global gag rule.

    He loosened the rules and allowed the 14 states that legalized medical marijuana to regulate themselves without federal interference.

    His FDA banned the use of antibiotics in livestock production.

    Ushered through and signed national service legislation, increasing funding for national service groups, including triple the size of the Americorps program.


  25. rikyrah says:

    Rick Perry Condemns Federal Farm Regulation — That Doesn’t Exist
    Rick Perry pulled a Michele Bachmann on Tuesday, passionately condemning a policy that does not actually exist.

    This time round it was over farming issues. “If you’re a tractor driver, if you drive your tractor across a public road, you’re gonna have to have a commercial driver’s license. Now how idiotic is that?” perry told a Des Moines crowd. “What were they thinking?”

    As it turns out, Perry’s claim is based off a false rumor that was circulating among farmers that the Department of Transportation recently put to rest. The Wall Street Journal reports that the confusion was over a federal review of a proposal by Illinois to require commercial licenses for farmers, but the DOT ultimately concluded — as Perry did — that “the common sense exemptions that allow farmers, their employers, and their families to accomplish their day-to-day work and transport their products to market” should not be tampered with by states.

    “We have no intention of instituting onerous regulations on the hardworking farmers who feed our country and fuel our economy,” DOT Secretary Ray LaHood’s said in a statement responding to Perry’s claim.

    Perry told the Des Moines Register that he had discussed the issue with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in Waterloo this week.

    “Your own United States senator, sitting there at the table, said, ‘That’s right.’ And I said, ‘What were they thinking, senator?’ And he said, ‘They weren’t.’ So that is the issue at hand here,” Perry said.

    Grassley’s aides told the Register that the Senator had put out an electronic newsletter on the issue last week — informing constituents of the DOT’s decision not to recommend the regulation.—-that-doesnt-exist.php

  26. rikyrah says:

    August 17, 2011 10:00 AM

    Perry never noticed the drones

    By Steve Benen

    Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry presumably knows a little something about immigration policy. After all, he’s the three-term governor of Texas, easily the nation’s largest border state, and Perry realizes how important the issue is to far-right activists who dominate in his party.

    With this in mind, it seemed noteworthy that Perry sketched out an idea this week, touting the use of Predator drones along the U.S.-Mexico border. The governor stressed that these unarmed drones could provide “real-time information to help our law-enforcement,” and if federal officials would commit to the idea, “we will be able to drive the drug cartels away from our border.”

    This sounds pretty reasonable, right? As it turns out, the Obama administration agrees — as Nathan Pippenger explained, the idea Perry recommends was already put in place years ago.

    If you’re an average voter (and not, say, the governor of Texas), you could be forgiven for not knowing the details of our current southwest border surveillance efforts, which include 250 towers with daytime and nighttime cameras, 38 truck-mounted infrared cameras and radar systems, 130 planes and helicopters, and, yes, a fleet of unmanned aircraft systems. The only possible charitable interpretation here is that by “drones,” Perry specifically meant autonomous unmanned aircraft, not remotely-controlled unmanned aircraft (“drone” technically refers only to the former, though it’s generally used to refer to both). It doesn’t sound like Perry was making that distinction, and in any case, it’s unimportant, because this is already policy. It is not, in any way, a new idea.

    In fact, The New York Times reported on the use of unmanned aircraft at the border almost two years ago. And it’s been over six months since DHS Secretary Napolitano gave a major speech announcing that Customs and Border Protection had Predators covering the entire southwest border, from the El Centro sector of California all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. She even gave the speech in El Paso! This shouldn’t be news to the governor of a massive border state.

    It’s not like Perry can claim he’s new to the job and didn’t realize these efforts were underway — drones have been used along Texas’ border for six years, utilized by the Bush and Obama administrations, and Perry has been governor the entire time.

    In other words, he’s touting an idea that was implemented years ago, which he should have known was implemented years ago, since it’s occurring in Perry’s own state.

    If pressed, I suspect that Perry, like Bush, would say he’s not especially interested in the details of public policy, and prefers to be more of an “idea man.” Remind me again, how’d that work out for us between 2001 and 2009?

  27. creolechild says:

    Oh, Rick, now you’ve done it~ You’ve managed to piss of one of the largest group of voters in this country…SENIORS!!

    As Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) barnstormed through Iowa in his first trip as a presidential candidate yesterday, he ran into pushback from senior citizens who feared what a Perry presidency could mean for Social Security. In his book Fed Up, Perry minces no words about his view that Social Security is an unconstitutional “Ponzi scheme.” Now, as Perry runs for president on a 10th Amendment platform that would include ending Social Security and declaring almost everything unconstitutional, many voters are understandably worried that the program they’ve been paying into their entire lives could be on the chopping block.


    • Ametia says:

      So these very seniors who are telling Perry hands off their BENEFITS, will they blackend the oval for this nitwit?

      • creolechild says:

        The last gentlemen shown in the video was quite knowledgeable about the Constitution. It’s highly unlikely that individuals such as him will vote for Perry–who doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about~

      • Ametia says:

        I hear you CC, but folks have very SHORT memories. I’m watching PBO’s townhall live right now. The body language of these folks tell a tale. They’re fearful, because they know the GOP are screwing them, yet the white men’s body language while listening to the POTUS, leads me to wonder if they will vote for him in 2012 or the GOP.

  28. Ametia says:

    This clip NEVER gets old.

  29. Ametia says:

    Here’s the Wolf Blitzer/ PBO inteview

  30. Ametia says:

    Orange Glo Boehner and Eric” CAN’T” Cantor don’t GET IT

    Boehner, Cantor urge Obama to embrace spending cuts, abandon tax hikes
    By Pete Kasperowicz – 08/17/11 09:17 AM ET

    The top two GOP leaders in the House have renewed their call for President Obama to abandon tax hikes.

    “With nervous markets, unemployment at more than 9 percent and millions of Americans asking, ‘Where are the jobs?,’ the worst thing Washington can do for our economy is raise taxes on the people we need to start hiring again,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) wrote in an op-ed in Wednesday’s USA Today.

    They said Obama must take further steps this fall to cut government spending without resorting to tax increases, and said generally that a tax hike is an area of “disagreement” that will only slow progress toward reaching agreement on deficit cuts.

  31. creolechild says:

    Ron Paul talking trash…whew…I almost choked on my yogurt~

    Ron Paul: If Iran Attacks Israel, Israel Should Deal With It
    By Ali Gharib

    The most-ignored presidential candidate of the Republican field took a lot of heat from Middle East hawks for implying during the recent GOP debate that the threat from Iran was grossly exaggerated. Today on Fox News, he doubled down on that position. But when pressed on his views by Fox host Megyn Kelly, Paul went even further, declaring that if Iran ever gets a nuclear weapon and attacks Israel, the United States should let Israel respond. Paul noted, however, that Iran probably wouldn’t attack Israel in this scenario because of the latter’s nuclear arsenal. “They’re not suicidal,” Paul said of the Iranians. Here’s the exchange:

    KELLY: If you were President Paul and it turned out you were wrong — that it turned out that Iran did have the bomb and it attacked Israel – would you step in?

    PAUL: No. I’d let Israel take care of ‘em. Why should we interfere with Israel? We’re always interfering with Israel when they wanna deal with their neighbors. We undermine their national sovereignty. We shouldn’t tell them how to manage their borders. I defended Israel when they took out the nukes in Iraq many many years ago.

    Israel has 300 [nukes]. […] There’s a lot of problems in Iran. There’s no doubt about it. But I tell you what: They’re not suicidal.

    [Click on the link to watch the video.]


  32. creolechild says:

    Joe Lieberman: Obama Has ‘Encouraged Israel’s Enemies’
    By Ali Gharib and Ben Armbruster on Aug 17, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Appearing on Fox News, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) told host Sean Hannity that President Obama has encouraged Israel’s enemies and made it more difficult for the Jewish State to make peace with its neighbors. Baited by Hannity into discussing one of his favorite topics — how anything short of right-wing orthodoxy is not pro-Israel enough — Lieberman jumped at the opportunity to accuse Obama of essentially giving moral support to opponents of Israel:

    HANNITY: I worry about the President. I didn’t feel he treated the prime minister [of Israel] correctly, when he came to town the first time. I didn’t like when he sprung on him, they got to go back to ’67 borders. I wanted to get your thoughts.

    LIEBERMAN: I agree with you. I think the President is not anti-Israel. I think he’s pro-Israel but I think he’s handled the relationship with Israel in a way that has encouraged Israel’s enemies and really unsettled the Israelis. Because the Israelis have one really good friend in the world, it’s us, it’s natural and of course, they are very loyal to us too. But when the President of the United States acts in a way that makes the Israelis wonder whether we are for them. Really what it does is to discourage them from taking the risk that they would ever have to take to have a peace agreement with the Palestinians or anybody else.


    Read more:

  33. Ametia says:

    Confederate plates could be touchy issue for Perry

    SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Reuters) — A decision on whether Texas should issue a license plate commemorating the state’s Confederate heritage has landed square in the lap of Governor Rick Perry — just as he begins his run for the presidency.

    Elected officials generally manage to insulate themselves from approving specialty plates, which can be a highly controversial topic with little gain for the politician.

    But when the nine-member board of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles met earlier this year to make a decision on whether to approve plates featuring the Confederate flag, one member was absent and the vote was a 4-4 tie, DMV spokeswoman Kim Sue Lia Perkes said.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Will Rick Perry Put Stars & Bars on Car Plates?
    by BooMan
    Wed Aug 17th, 2011 at 10:59:44 AM EST

    From what I can tell, use of Nazi flags is banned in Germany, France, Italy, Hungary, and Israel. Their use is somewhat restricted in several other countries. As a matter of free speech, their use is unrestricted in the United States. But, it’s clear that the flags, and other Nazi memorabilia, are a touchy subject. I think most Germans can point to an ancestor who served in the Wehrmacht under the banner of the swastika. And I can understand that some of them might want to honor their grandfather’s sacrifice, despite the horrid and unprecedented crimes that were committed during the Holocaust. Germany will allow that, provided people don’t start dressing up like Nazis and waving the flags around. Obviously, America will allow people to use the traitorous Stars & Bars Confederate flag, despite it being the most iconic symbol of slavery in existence. I fully support people’s First Amendment right to wave the Confederate flag around. But putting it on state-issued license plates is another thing entirely. Imagine if Germany put the swastika on license plates under the same principle that people wanted to honor their ancestors. Unless you think there is something forgivable about seceding from the Union before Lincoln could even take office and starting a war that killed or wounded over 600,000 people, all to protect the institution of slavery, you aren’t going to support putting a Confederate Flag on license plates. So, Rick Perry has a choice.

  35. rikyrah says:

    August 17, 2011 11:25 AM

    Strong and wrong

    By Steve Benen

    Rick Perry’s over-the-top rhetoric about Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve were certainly noticed by the political world. Whether it’s the sort of incident that damages the Republican presidential candidate’s campaign or not will depend in part on how the media spins the story.

    If, for example, the story is, “Thuggish buffoon threatens violence and casually throws around references to treason,” this is an important self-inflicted wound for the Perry campaign. If, however, the story is, “Tough, swaggering Texan speaks his mind, rejects criticism,” Perry won’t mind a bit.

    With this in mind, note Chris Cillizza’s report describing the governor as “brash, bold and unapologetic about being so.” (Remember, this is in direct reference to Perry arguing that Bernanke would be acting in a “treasonous” way for trying to boost the economy.)

    A look back across Perry’s rhetorical history suggests that this latest controversy is nothing new.

    Perry famously floated the idea of Texas seceding from the United States if the federal government kept trampling on states’ rights in 2009; he referred to the BP oil spill as an “act of God”; and he once asked Texans to pray for rain to end the state’s drought.

    In each case — and many, many more — his critics (and they are legion in Texas) seized on the remark as evidence that Perry was out of touch with average voters.

    And, time and again Perry refused to back away from his comments and felt no political pain as a result…. Put simply: Rick Perry doesn’t apologize — and it’s worked for him politically.

    As a factual matter, this isn’t quite right. As Adam Serwer noted, Perry has apologized and backpedaled on several occasions, but in nearly every instance, it was after the governor had offended conservatives and Perry felt the need to make them happy again.

    But there’s also the larger media issue to keep an eye on. If political reporters see all of Perry’s reckless and controversial comments through an agreed-upon lens — he’s the Texas Tough Guy Cowboy who doesn’t care about niceties — then every time the candidate says something outrageous, media outlets won’t even bother to take him to task. After all, it’ll just be Perry being Perry.

    I can only assume at his campaign headquarters, Cillizza’s “brash, bold and unapologetic about being so” line was quickly added to some bulletin board, alongside a post-it note that read, “The branding strategy is already working.”

  36. rikyrah says:

    Rick Perry: Climate Change Is A Hoax Drummed Up By Scientists Looking To Make Money
    Texas Gov. Rick Perry is a conservative Republican, and as such he does not believe that climate change is caused by human activity. But Perry went one step further than most in the mainstream climate change denier community on the presidential campaign trail in New Hampshire Wednesday, stating flatly that scientists drum up phony climate change data to make a buck.

    “A substantial number of scientists [have] manipulated data to keep the money rolling in,” New Hampshire Union Leader editorial page editor Drew Cline quoted Perry saying on the stump in a tweet. Before that, Cline quoted Perry saying, “I do believe the issue of global warming has been politicized.”

    Another Granite State reporter listening to Perry, this one from New Hampshire Public Radio, tweeted that Perry said “Scientists are ‘coming forward daily’ to disavow a ‘theory that remains unproven.'”

    Climate skeptics love Perry, and this kind of rhetoric is why. While Mitt Romney is out and about on the campaign trail agreeing with the overwhelming scientific status quo on the topic, Perry appears poised to take up a view of climate change on the presidential campaign trail that would be right at home in a Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) floor speech.

    Perry has been pushing the doctored science line for a while now. As ThinkProgress reported Monday, Perry’s book, Fed Up! takes a look a climate science and finds it to be “all one contrived phony mess that is falling apart under its own weight.”

    His climate views are legendary among the conservatives. No less than Grover Norquist — who knows a thing or two about ideological purity — told Politico there was no chance Perry would go all wishy-washy on climate change if he wins the White House.

    “If Perry was president, one of the things I’d not worry about is a carbon tax,” he said. “I’d worry about big spiders eating New Jersey first.”

  37. rikyrah says:

    WH paints entire GOP field as tea party
    Obama on trail: ‘That’s just not common sense’
    Updated: Wednesday, 17 Aug 2011, 9:46 AM EDT
    Published : Wednesday, 17 Aug 2011, 9:46 AM EDT

    CHARLES BABINGTON,Associated Press
    WASHINGTON (AP) — The rising profiles of Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann are giving the White House a new opening: linking the entire GOP field to the tea party, whose popularity has recently sagged.

    If the strategy works, it could cause guilt-by-association problems even for non-tea-party Republicans like Mitt Romney.

    That might be a lot to ask, however. Unflattering comparisons are a well-worn campaign tactic, and many Americans have only a hazy notion of the tea party movement. Still, President Barack Obama’s top aides are giving it a go.

    Republican candidates must decide whether to “swear allegiance to the tea party” or work with Democrats to create jobs, Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs said Tuesday. After last week’s GOP debate in Iowa, Obama campaign guru David Axelrod claimed the presidential contenders were “pledging allegiance to the tea party.”

    And a new video by the Democratic National Committee says Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates are “embracing extreme tea party policies.”

    Democrats first aimed such barbs at congressional Republicans, who hewed closely to tea party demands in shaping a debt-ceiling bill this month. It was harder to target the presidential field as long as attention centered largely on former governors Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman. All three are conservatives but not from the tea party mold, which places greater emphasis on uncompromising demands for unusually deep cuts in government spending and oversight.

    A quick succession of events changed that over the weekend.

    Bachmann, the House member from Minnesota who chairs Congress’ tea party caucus, won an Iowa straw poll. Pawlenty ended his campaign, and Perry, the Texas governor with tea party leanings, jumped in.

    Romney, whose presumed GOP front-runner status looks shakier than before, is responding by edging toward tea party positions, opening himself to the Democrats’ broad-brush criticisms.

    At last week’s Iowa debate, for instance, Romney joined all the others in saying he would reject a debt-reduction package if it included as much as $1 in tax increases for every $10 in spending cuts.

    “That’s just not common sense,” Obama told a Minnesota crowd on Monday.

  38. rikyrah says:

    Herman Cain: We Really Should Impeach Obama Over DOMA
    Evan McMorris-Santoro

    Herman Cain, fresh off his fifth-place finish in the Ames Straw Poll, is embracing another one of the extreme positions that have turned him into such a polling success.

    Politico reports Cain said Tuesday that impeaching Obama “would be a great thing to do” given Obama’s clearly impeachable offenses like signing the health care reform bill into law and declaring the Defense Of Marriage Act unconstitutional. But, sadly, Cain said, the divided Congress stands in the way of removing Obama from office.

    “It would be a great thing to do but because the Senate is controlled by Democrats we would never be able to get the Senate first to take up that action, because they simply don’t care what the American public thinks,” Cain said. “They would protect him and they wouldn’t even bring it up.”

    As for the impeachable offenses, Cain appears to be taking a page from another presidential contender with stellar poll numbers: Newt Gingrich. The former House Speaker who presided over the last presidential impeachment told Newsmax back in February that the White House’s decision to stop defending DOMA in court sounded impeachment-worthy to his ears.

    Gingrich later walked that back, saying that “impeachment is clearly not an appropriate action” to take after the White House’s DOMA decision. Other Republicans have differed with Gingrich on that, saying that the White House move definitely leaves Obama vulnerable to impeachment.

    Cain appears to stand with them.

    “Ordering the Department of Justice to not enforce the Defense of Marriage Act — that’s an impeachable offense right there,” he told the bloggers on the call. “The president is supposed to uphold the laws of this nation … and to tell the Department of Justice not to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act is a breach of his oath.”

  39. creolechild says:

    GOP Super Committee Member Pledges Not To ‘Chop’ Entitlement Benefits Or Raise The Retirement Age – By Marie Diamond

    Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) surprised many when he appointed a Republican widely perceived as a moderate, Rep. Fred Upton (MI), to serve as one of six GOP members on the congressional “super committee” tasked with finding $1.5 trillion in deficit savings by November. Conservatives are worried that Upton will not toe the GOP’s hardline stance against taxes because he’s expressed a willingness to raise revenues by eliminating tax loopholes. Yesterday at a public forum in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Upton gave another glimmer of hope that he would be willing to divorce himself from Tea Party dogma to do what’s right. Upton came out as a strong defender of entitlement programs, and vowed to protect current beneficiaries in the super committee’s deliberations:

    UPTON: It’s critical…for people that are benefiting today from Medicare and Social Security, that they do not see benefit reductions. It’s awfully hard to tell someone…who might be 82 that they’ve got to go back to work because their benefits are going to be chopped. That’s not going to happen. We’re not going to let that happen. [Click on link to view video.]

    In response to audience questions, he also said he doesn’t support raising the retirement age for Social Security over 67 (where it is for workers born after 1960). Upton’s unequivocal support for preserving entitlement programs, at least for today’s seniors, is encouraging when contrasted with the statements of his fellow GOP committee members who have called entitlements “cruel Ponzi schemes.” Like his fellow Republicans, however, Upton did not rule out cuts for future beneficiaries. Upton also reiterated his support for ending corporate tax dodging by reforming the tax code. “I’m not afraid of looking at tax loopholes,” he said. “I don’t think anybody was happy to see that GE didn’t pay any taxes.”

    Some liberals have voiced their concern that Upton is nothing but a conservative in moderate’s clothing who will ultimately go along with his party’s anti-entitlement agenda on the committee. Michigan constituents — and Americans across the country — should certainly keep a close eye on Upton to see if he keeps his promise to them to protect entitlements.

  40. Ametia says:

    Record Industry Braces for Artists’ Battles Over Song Rights
    Published: August 15, 2011

    Since their release in 1978, hit albums like Bruce Springsteen’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” Billy Joel’s “52nd Street,” the Doobie Brothers’ “Minute by Minute,” Kenny Rogers’s “Gambler” and Funkadelic’s “One Nation Under a Groove” have generated tens of millions of dollars for record companies. But thanks to a little-noted provision in United States copyright law, those artists — and thousands more — now have the right to reclaim ownership of their recordings, potentially leaving the labels out in the cold.

    When copyright law was revised in the mid-1970s, musicians, like creators of other works of art, were granted “termination rights,” which allow them to regain control of their work after 35 years, so long as they apply at least two years in advance. Recordings from 1978 are the first to fall under the purview of the law, but in a matter of months, hits from 1979, like “The Long Run” by the Eagles and “Bad Girls” by Donna Summer, will be in the same situation — and then, as the calendar advances, every other master recording once it reaches the 35-year mark.

  41. rikyrah says:

    Fla. Supreme Court rules Gov. Scott effort to freeze new regulations is unconstitutional
    Gov. Rick Scott suffered a legal setback Tuesday when the Florida Supreme Court ruled that an effort to hold up new state regulations was unconstitutional, but the practical effects of the decision are still unclear. #

    As part of his efforts to “hold government accountable” and crack down on “job-killing” regulations, Scott issued a temporary freeze on new regulations in one of his first formal acts as governor. Executive order 11-01 also created the Office of Fiscal Accountability and Regulatory Reform (aka OFARR), which was charged with reviewing new and existing rules to ensure they did not exceed legislative authority or stymie job creation. #

    Rosalie Whiley, a blind woman seeking to reapply for food stamps, filed a petition with the court in March, arguing that the order had ensnared a measure by the Department of Children and Families to create a streamlined application for the program. #

    The environmental group Audubon of Florida and advocates for the elderly and the disabled joined the case, arguing that Scott had exceeded his constitutional authority and violated the separation of powers by inserting a new layer of bureaucracy into the process of rulemaking, in which the Legislature delegates the power to fine-tune its laws to executive agencies. #

    Scott subsequently issued a new order, which replaced the original order and contained this passage, which was cited in Tuesday’s ruling: #

    I hereby direct all agencies under the direction of the Governor, prior to developing new rules or amending or repealing existing rules, to submit all proposed notices, along with the complete text of any proposed rule or amendment, to OFARR. These agencies shall also submit any other documentation required by OFARR, and no such agency may submit for publication any required notice without OFARR’s approval #

    The Supreme Court’s majority opinion, joined by five justices, supports the petitioners’ argument that Scott did not have the power to hold up the rulemaking process by requiring new rules to be approved by the office. #

    In their arguments before the court, Scott’s lawyers held that he was acting under the “supreme executive power” granted to the governor by the state constitution, and argued that because the heads of executive agencies serve at the pleasure of the governor — meaning he can fire them if he disagrees with their decisions — he could assert authority over how they conduct rulemaking. Tuesday’s opinion, however, holds that “the power to remove is not analogous to the power to control.” #

    Scott’s advisers said Tuesday’s ruling failed to show proper deference to the executive branch, and that if there was any way the governor’s efforts could conceivably be ruled constitutional, the court should have allowed them to stand. #

  42. rikyrah says:

    Insight: Will Buffett, Schultz debt plans be shunned?
    Warren Buffett and Howard Schultz want to change the conversation about how to fix the United States’ economic woes. But their solutions – more taxes on the rich and a boycott on political donations – risk falling on deaf ears among fellow business leaders.

    Few high-profile decision makers have publicly supported their pleas so far, and most in their target audiences decline to even discuss it, lest they get dragged into the debate.

    That isn’t the case outside the corporate elite.

    More than 40,000 Twitter users shared billionaire investor Buffett’s op-ed column in Monday’s New York Times calling for the wealthy to shoulder a bigger tax burden.

    CNBC’s largely corporate audience backed Starbucks Chief Executive Schultz’s call to fellow CEOs to stop sending political donations until Congress and the President come up with a long-term plan for a “fair, bipartisan” deal to curb U.S. debt, with 89 percent in favor in a poll.

    But public outrage will not make their suggestions reality. That would require other tycoons and top executives to jump on board to tell the Republicans and the Democrats that they had also had enough of the rancor that brought the United States close to a debt default earlier this month and contributed to the loss of the nation’s triple-A debt rating.

    “Getting Washington to do something about this, getting the GOP (Republican Party) to move off their ‘no new tax’ position, no funding of our deficit problem through raising tax revenue, I don’t see how that’s going to happen,” said Dal LaMagna, an entrepreneur and investor who has unsuccessfully run for national office.

    LaMagna has a history of outspokenness, but few are joining him in debating this question.

    While Schultz has managed to get NYSE Euronext Chief Executive Duncan Niederauer and Nasdaq OMX Group Chief Executive Robert Greifeld to pledge their support for his proposal, it isn’t easy to find many others.

    Reuters contacted more than three dozen politicians, CEOs, investors and celebrities on Tuesday to get their views on the Buffett and Schultz positions and almost all of them either declined to comment or did not return calls.

  43. creolechild says:

    Perry Proposes Economically Impossible State Takeover Of Social Security
    By Pat Garofalo and Scott Keyes on Aug 15, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) has made it quite clear that he believes Social Security is an unconstitutional “Ponzi scheme.” In his book Fed Up!, Perry writes that Social Security is “by far the best example” of a program “violently tossing aside any respect for our founding principles.” Today, at the Iowa State Fair, Perry responded to a question from Politico’s Ben Smith by saying that he thinks one of the ways to deal with his vehement objections to Social Security is to simply send the program to the states and let them figure out what to do with it:

    I’m for having a conversation with the country about how we find some solutions to have programs that are going to be sustainable. And I think having the states doing it is one of the ways. I’m not saying it’s the only way.


    Read more:

  44. rikyrah says:

    Country Last was a f-ing POW….how’d that work out for him Governor Good Hair.


    Rick Perry: Obama could have served
    The State Column | Staff | Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Texas Republican governor Rick Perry launched his political attack on President Obama Tuesday, questioning why the president failed to serve in the military.

    “The president had the opportunity to serve his country. I’m sure at some time he made the decision that isn’t what he wanted to do,” Mr. Perry said Tuesday.

    The Texas governor, who announced his bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination over the weekend, increase up his campaign rhetoric just days after traveling to Iowa and South Carolina as part of launching his campaign.

    Mr. Perry, who served in the Air Force from 1972-77 and departed with the rank of captain, cited his own background and experience, saying military leaders connect with him.

    “If you polled the military, the active duty and veterans, and said ‘would you rather have a president of the United States that never served a day in the military or someone who is a veteran?’ They’ve going to say, I would venture, that they would like to have a veteran,” Mr. Perry told supporters.

    The Texas Republican’s comments come as the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination continues to evolve. Mr. Perry’s entry into the race follows voter dismay related to the current field of candidates, which includes former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, both of whom are seen as contenders for the nomination.

    Read more:

  45. creolechild says:

    ConocoPhillips China Admits New Oil Leaks
    2011-08-15 12:00

    On Saturday, an official from the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, or CNOOC, apologized for new oil spills in the Bohai Bay. The country’s largest offshore oil producer said it would ask ConocoPhillips, who is being blamed for the leak, to bring the situation under control by the end of August. Earlier, the joint firm ConocoPhillips China admitted that two new leaks had been found in the seabed under Platform B of its oilfield, 35 feet away from the previous source of the oil spill.

    Jiang Yongzhi, China National Offshore Oil Corp.: “We have asked ConocoPhillips to make the actual situation public. We will continue to supervise their work and ensure the company meets the requirements of the state oceanic administration to curb the leak and clean up the polluted region. We will see to it.” But Jin Qinghuan, an expert from the Chinese Academy of Engineering, believes these efforts would be difficult to carry out. He believes temporary measures taken by CNOOC could not solve the problem completely.

    The oilfield in the Bohai Bay is jointly developed by China’s National Offshore Oil Corporation, and the US-based ConocoPhillips. Since the spill began, a total of 2,500 barrels of oil and mud have leaked, polluting over 2,000 square miles of the ocean. China’s State Oceanic Administration has warned new oil spill can happen at any time, posing a serious threat to the oceanic environment in the bay.

  46. creolechild says:

    I like this idea…it’s an interesting concept~

    Vertical Farming – Solution to Feeding Growing World Population
    2011-08-16 07:01

    Vertical farming is known as a highly promising means to meet the growing demand for food and clean water in growing cities around the world. Columbia University professor, Dr. Despommier, dubbed the Father of vertical farming, taught “Medical Ecology.” In 1999 his class gave birth to the concept of vertical farming. His students decided they wanted to do something practical with their education and started by growing food on rooftops. Rooftop farming uses a city’s rooftops to grow crops. But it turns out this method of farming can only produce a minimal output. Prof. Dickson Despommier, Columbia University: “Apparently that was a good idea at the time, but at the end of the day there wasn’t enough roof-top, to allow them to produce enough food to make a difference. Even in New York City. … So, why don’t we take your idea of rooftop farming and move it into a building.”

    In an area like Manhattan, rooftop farming could only feed about 2 percent of the inhabitants, while vertical farming can grow food on a much larger scale. The entire vertical structure of a building could be used to grow different food crops. According to Despommier, by the year 2050, close to 50 percent of the world population will live in cities or suburbs. Currently, throughout the world over 80 percent of the land suitable for raising crops is already in use. With a current global population growth rate of 1.1 percent, this could cause severe food shortages in the future. Scientists and politicians around the world are already faced with the question of how to deal with this situation. Prof. Dickson Despommier, Columbia University: “And the answer is, I hope, vertical farming. To put the farm right in the city where the people are living anyway.”

    Korea is one of the leading countries in applying this innovative concept. One example is Suwon, South Korea, where a three-story pilot project is growing vegetables in a high-rise building.This may work in countries like Korea and the US, but it might not be feasible for the less developed countries.
    Prof. Dickson Despommier, Columbia University: “The poor countries could not afford to develop this from scratch. It’s probably going to be managed mostly by the wealthier countries to begin with. If everybody wants one, then we’ll find a way to get them to everyone.” In future the vegetables that can be bought at the supermarket, may also be grown and packaged in the very same multi-story building.

  47. creolechild says:

    Libyan Rebels and Gaddafi Envoys Hold Talks in Tunis
    2011-08-16 07:48

    Muammar Gaddafi urged Libyans on Monday to free the country from “traitors,” as rebels in the west began to strangle a major lifeline to his capital. His broadcast appeal was made over a bad telephone line from an undisclosed location. In the following hours, a senior figure in his government showed up in Cairo with his family. Unnamed envoys of Gaddafi’s government were reported to have held talks with rebels at a Djerba hotel on Sunday, on a possible resolution of the six-month-old civil war. A dramatic advance on Saturday won rebels control of the town of Zawiyah, 30 miles west of Tripoli on the coast, enabling them to halt food and fuel supplies from Tunisia.

    Tripoli was under no immediate threat, but rebels are now in their strongest position since the uprising against 41 years of Gaddafi rule began in February.

  48. creolechild says:

    The Pentagon Since 9/11: By the Numbers
    —By Christopher Hellman

    [This story first appeared on the TomDispatch website.]

    The killing of Osama Bin Laden did not put cuts in national security spending on the table, but the debt-ceiling debate finally did. And mild as those projected cuts might have been, last week newly minted Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was already digging in his heels and decrying the modest potential cost-cutting plans as a “doomsday mechanism” for the military. Pentagon allies on Capitol Hill were similarly raising the alarm as they moved forward with this year’s even larger military budget. None of this should surprise you. As with all addictions, once you’re hooked on massive military spending, it’s hard to think realistically or ask the obvious questions. So, at a moment when discussion about cutting military spending is actually on the rise for the first time in years, let me offer some little known basics about the spending spree this country has been on since September 11, 2001, and raise just a few simple questions about what all that money has actually bought Americans.

    Consider this my contribution to a future 12-step program for national security sobriety. Let’s start with the three basic post-9/11 numbers that Washington’s addicts need to know:

    1. $5.9 trillion: That’s the sum of taxpayer dollars that’s gone into the Pentagon’s annual “base budget,” from 2000 to today. Note that the base budget includes nuclear weapons activities, even though they are overseen by the Department of Energy, but—and this is crucial—not the cost of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nonetheless, even without those war costs, the Pentagon budget managed to grow from $302.9 billion in 2000, to $545.1 billion in 2011. That’s a dollar increase of $242.2 billion or an 80 percent jump ($163.6 billion and 44 percent if you adjust for inflation). It’s enough to make your head swim, and we’re barely started.

    2. $1.36 trillion: That’s the total cost of the Iraq and Afghan wars by this September 30th, the end of the current fiscal year, including all moneys spent for those wars by the Pentagon, the State Department, the US Agency for International Development, and other federal agencies. Of this, $869 billion will have been for Iraq, $487.6 billion for Afghanistan.

    Add up our first two key national security spending numbers and you’re already at $7.2 trillion since the September 11th attacks. And even that staggering figure doesn’t catch the full extent of Washington spending in these years. So onward to our third number:

    3. $636 billion: Most people usually ignore this part of the national security budget and we seldom see any figures for it, but it’s the amount, adjusted for inflation, that the US government has spent so far on “homeland security.” This isn’t an easy figure to arrive at because homeland-security funding flows through literally dozens of federal agencies and not just the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). A mere $16 billion was requested for homeland security in 2001. For 2012, the figure is $71.6 billion, only $37 billion of which will go through DHS. A substantial part, $18.1 billion, will be funneled through—don’t be surprised—the Department of Defense, while other agencies like the Department of Health and Human Services ($4.6 billion) and the Department of Justice ($4.1 billion) pick up the slack.

    Add those three figures together and you’re at the edge of $8 trillion in national security spending for the last decade-plus and perhaps wondering where the nearest group for compulsive-spending addiction meets.


  49. creolechild says:

    Ron Paul’s new ad: ‘The one who can beat Obama’
    By Eric W. Dolan

    Texas Congressman Ron Paul’s latest television advertisement lumps his Republicans rivals together with Democrats and claims he is the only GOP presidential candidate that can defeat President Barack Obama in 2012. The 1-minuted ad, called “The One,” will air in Iowa and New Hampshire. A campaign spokesman said the ad cost at least six figures. “It’s the story of a lost city, lost opportunity, lost hope. A story of failed policies, failed leadership. A story of smooth talking politicians, games of ‘he said, she said,’ rhetoric and division,” the ad says, while transposing images of Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann with Congressional Democrats and Obama. “One man has stood apart,” the ad continues. “Stood strong and true. Voting against every tax increase, every unbalanced budget, every time. Standing up to the Washington machine, guided by principle. Ron Paul: the one who will stop the spending, save the dollar, create jobs, bring peace, the one who will restore liberty. Ron Paul: the one who can beat Obama.”

    Paul came in second place in the influential Ames Straw Poll, with 4,671 votes, barely falling below Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s 4,823 votes. In a previous ad from July, his campaign criticized Republicans from the 1980’s to the present day for compromising with Democrats over the debt ceiling. Like the most recent ad, it was also modeled on a movie trailer and said that Paul was “standing up to the Washington machine.” Paul, a libertarian, has gained an enthusiastic following for his strong views on limited government, free market economics and non-interventionist foreign policy. In the 2008 Republican presidential primary, his views clearly made him an outlier, but — thanks in part to the tea party movement — many of his economic positions have now been adopted by mainstream Republicans.

  50. creolechild says:

    Ex-U.S. soldier loses appeal over rape and killing of Iraqis
    By Agence France-Presse

    CHICAGO — A former US soldier serving a life sentence for the gang rape and murder of an Iraqi girl and the slaughter of her family lost his appeal Tuesday, court records showed. Steven Green, named as the ringleader in the March 2006 atrocity, was tried in civilian court after being discharged from the army due to a “personality disorder” before his role in the crime came to light. Three other soldiers were given life sentences by a military court for the attack, which they plotted over whiskey and a game of cards at a traffic check point in Mahmudiyah, south of Baghdad. Unlike Green, who has no possibility of parole, they can be released in as little as 10 years for participating in the rape and killing of 14-year-old Abeer al-Janabi and the murder of her mother, father and six-year-old sister.

    Green’s lawyers argued in their appeal of his 2009 conviction that the civilian court lacked jurisdiction because he was not properly discharged from the army. They said the statute that allowed him to be tried in a civilian court for crimes committed while serving in the military — which has its own system of justice — was unconstitutional. “We find that these arguments fail and thus affirm the decision of the district court,” Judge Boyce Martin wrote in a unanimous 23-page opinion. While there was “no question” of Green’s guilt, Martin wrote that “Green should never have been accepted by the Army” noting that his testing at enlistment was “marginal at best” and he only had “limited” training. “While many were to blame for the breakdown that led up to this tragedy, there was no single cause,” Martin wrote, adding that Green’s supervisors “failed in their duties.”

    • Ametia says:

      CNN’s John King talked to the Assistant Minority Leader, Rep. James Clyburn about
      August 16, 2011 05:00 PM

      Rep. Clyburn: The President is Going to Have to Lay the Jobs Problem at the Doorsteps of the Republican Leadership
      By Heather

      President Obama’s recent bus tour and his continued unwillingness to call the Republican leadership out directly for obstructing bipartisan legislation. Tons of bills that are pending in both houses of Congress to get Americans back to work.

      And I agree with the Congressman’s statement at the very end of the segment, after venting some of the frustration he and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus have had with the president for focusing on things like deficit reduction instead of jobs and for not going to some of the areas that have been hardest hit in this economy.

      KING: Do you prefer — you’re the assistant Democratic leader, you’re in the minority now. The Republicans control the House. Would you prefer the president not blame the people in Washington or the Congress and specifically say the Republicans?
      CLYBURN: Yes, I would prefer that and I’ve had those discussions with the president on other occasions —
      KING: And why won’t he get tougher with them? Why won’t he get tougher with them?
      CLYBURN: Well, I hope he will. I don’t know. I think the president by nature wants to be diplomatic. I’m the same way. I call myself a southern gentleman, but there are times when I put that aside and go right to the core of the problem. The problem is that the Republican leadership refuses to allow a jobs bill to come to the floor. I have one that’s got bipartisan support. It has a companion bill over in the Senate that has bipartisan support. The co- sponsorship is bipartisan.
      But we cannot get them to bring this to the floor. And I think the president sooner or later is going to have to lay this right at the doorsteps of the Republican leadership. We did not vote for all of these things that’s got us in this problem today. Democrats have supported his agenda and we still look forward to supporting him in the future. He needs to call the Republicans out. That’s who is stopping this legislation, not the Democrats.

  51. creolechild says:

    So, let me get this straight…this young man’s “crime” was coming close to a border. Unbelievable~

    Israelis kill Palestinian teenager in Gaza
    By Agence France-Presse

    GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — A Palestinian teenager was killed by Israeli gunfire in the Gaza Strip as he came near to the border with Israel, Palestinian medics and witnesses said. The 17-year-old had approached the border east of the refugee camp of Maghazi in the central Gaza Strip, the sources said. An Israel army spokeswoman confirmed to AFP that “soldiers opened fire at a suspect who was approaching the border fence in this sector, and hit the suspect.” The Israeli army opens fire systematically on Palestinians who go near the border fence separating the Gaza Strip from the Jewish State to prevent attacks on patrols, infiltration attempts or bids by suspects to plant bombs.

    Earlier on Tuesday Palestinian medics reported that a Palestinian was killed and seven wounded in at least four overnight Israeli air strikes across Gaza. The Israeli military said its aircraft had targeted four areas in the Gaza Strip in response to the firing of a Grad rocket from the Palestinian territory into southern Israel. [WHICH MOST LIKELY INJURED NO ONE BUT ISRAEL THOUGHT FOUR OVERNIGHT AIR STRIKES WAS APPROPRIATE RETALIATION?!! (SIGH)…]

  52. creolechild says:

    How Rick Perry and President Obama Handle Hecklers
    By karoli

    Texas Governor Rick Perry has opened his candidacy for the GOP nomination with dog whistles and bombast, hitting on Ben Bernanke and President Obama with equal fervor. But perhaps the best contrast between the two of them can be seen here, where each of them has someone heckling them for an answer in a hostile, crowded environment. Gov. Perry responds by poking his finger in the questioner’s chest and telling him he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. President Obama responds by engaging and correcting the misstatements of the tea party activists who are in his face, and after a couple of minutes, leaves the conversation after observing that they don’t appear to be interested in listening.

    Of course they’re not. They were looking for the “media moment,” which they’ve gotten on Fox News. That exchange at the end is so characteristic of what TeaPublican politics has done to our discourse. After the president explains the context and meaning to them, they just start shouting him down by cheerleading their cohorts to “stay strong.” The final exchange is the equivalent of a middle school spat on their part. When the President says they’re not interested in listening their response is that he’s not listening to them. At that, I roll my eyes and play my violin for them. Please. As if they care if he listens or not. For the record, it seemed that he was listening since he actually answered their questions.

    President Obama’s heckler was Ryan Rhodes. Rhodes is the state chairman for the Tea Party Patriots who organized protests against the president in 2010, bringing in other activists from six states. I wonder if the Koch brothers paid the bus fees. He wanted the press coverage, and now he has it. As time goes on, I’m sure there will be more of this kind of disruption at President Obama’s town halls, and I’m sure all of the conservative media outlets will use the confrontations to stoke up even more anger at him over nothing. Personally, I think he shouldn’t feed the trolls. They managed to hijack this news cycle, leaving everything he said about issues or engagement with Congress floating on the wind. If he hopes to get his actual message out, it might be good for him to simply ignore the Republican plants in every town and stay on the message he’s trying to convey.


    • Ametia says:

      I disagree with ignoring the plants. PBO knows how to handle the confrontations, and again, we can see the ugly for what it is. The news stations are going to cover what they cover, regardless of what this POTUS says or does.

      We all saw what the media did with the likes of “Joe teh DUMBER”

      • creolechild says:

        I’m in total agreement with you, Metia~ The time for ignoring their lies and misinformation is over. Remember how many people “ignored” the Tea Party because they were believed to be harmless. Now, their US lawmakers….

  53. creolechild says:


    The Plot to Kill the Post Office…And Its Union Contracts
    By Kenneth Quinnell

    Recently, a number of proposals have been floated about cutting back on the offerings of the United States Postal Service. Among the suggestions are eliminating Saturday service and closing numerous post offices across the country. These ideas are said to be necessary, according to Postal Service officials, because the Service is losing large sums of money in delivering the mail. Current proposals include eliminating 220,000 postal jobs through cuts and attrition by 2015. This is in a climate where the USPS has already eliminated 212,000 jobs in the last ten years. Also proposed is a plan to withdraw postal employees and retirees from the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and the creation of a new program that would almost certainly have weaker benefits.

    United States Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is on record as also proposing cuts to postal employees’ health and pension benefits. National Association of Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando sees clear signs that Donahoe is intent on attacking the collective bargaining rights of postal workers and that he wants to “override lay-off protection provisions in the postal unions’ contracts.” In a recent white paper titled “Workforce Optimization,” the Postal Service directly asked Congress to void lay-off protection provisions. The USPS developed its proposals without any input from NALC or any other unions.

    Rolando lays out the real root of the problem: “The problem lies elsewhere: the 2006 congressional mandate that the USPS pre-fund future retiree health benefits for the next 75 years, and do so within a decade, an obligation no other public agency or private firm faces. The roughly $5.5 billion annual payments since 2007 — $21 billion total — are the difference between a positive and negative ledger.” Postal Service management recently claimed: “If we were a private company, we would have already filed for bankruptcy and gone through restructuring—much like major automakers did two years ago.” NALC responded by calling this claim the “Big Lie.” If the USPS were a private company, NALC argued, it wouldn’t have been subjected to the pre-funding requirement and it would’ve been profitable, since the pre-funding requirement is responsible for 100 percent of the Service’s losses in recent years.


  54. creolechild says:


    Ailing Indonesians Lay on Train Tracks for Free Treatment
    2011-08-17 07:10

    It’s all about the electricity. They say the mild current that passes through their bodies when they lie across the track, makes pain go away and eases the symptoms of a range of conditions from rheumatism to diabetes. One particular track in western Jakarta has become popular with people who are either either too poor to afford conventional medical treatments or for whom those treatments have been ineffective. Husin, Local User: “I had an accident and caused a fracture in my bone, I could not do any activities before. But now I can wake up by myself and walk. Thanks to the therapy I did for 2.5 months recently.” Inah, Satisfied User: “I had uric acid in my hand joint which was hard to move, but thank god now it’s getting better.”

    According to government statistics more than 30 million Indonesians are officially poor. The country’s national health service is often accused of being too expensive for its poor. As a result alternative therapies are abound throughout the country. No studies have been conducted on the medical benefits of electricity from the railway tracks. But a local medical practitioner is concerned. Dr. Dwi Yani, Chief, Local Health Center: “Electricity is used for special cases and severe cases but it’s not used for all diseases. But here they use the therapy for all kinds of diseases and this situation will impact on physical body, brain and heart.”

    But for officials trying to keep the trains running safely and on time, the “therapy” seekers are an impediment. Suardi, Chain Station Chief: “We already see that the activities are very dangerous for them and they are also disturbing train travel.” Officials say there have been no accidents involving trains and therapy-seekers so far.

  55. creolechild says:

    Largest Solar Plant in Europe Powers Up
    2011-08-17 07:13

    Ukraine’s new solar power plant in Crimea switched on electricity supplies on Monday at the start of operations. It’s poised to become Europe’s largest solar station by the end of this year. Yevgeny Varyagin, Chief Specialist in Solar Panel Installation, Activ Solar: “As for today, the first stage has been put into operation. The second stage will start in the end of August, and the third in September, and the fourth in October this year.” The solar power plant in Okhotnykovo, Crimea, aims to reach a production rate of 100,000 megawatt-hours per year, making it the most powerful solar power plant ever built in the region and one of the largest in the world. A phased increase over the next few months should see the station’s reach extend further, as far as the town of Saki on the west Black Sea coast of Crimea.

    Yevgeny Varyagin, Chief Specialist in Solar Panel Installation, Activ Solar: “The station covers a plot 160 hectares in size. The station can produce 80 megawatts at full operating power. The electricity station provides around 20,000 houses with electricity.” The station was built by Austrian company Activ Solar as a commercial project and is part of Ukraine’s national Natural Energy project. Ukraine has traditionally relied on its rich coal deposits to meets its energy needs. However with these stocks in decline and international concern over its high carbon emissions, Kiev has looked to other sources, including gas from Russia, which has come with its own political price. The new power plant is expected to reduce Ukraine’s carbon dioxide emission by 80,000 tons. The Ukrainian government has stated that it aims to produce up to 30 percent of its electrical energy from renewable sources – sun and wind – by the year 2015.

  56. creolechild says:

    Europe’s Economy Drops as Investors Fear Global Slump
    2011-08-17 07:17

    Europe’s already fragile economy slowed in the second quarter dragged down by a sluggish performance by Germany. Growth for the 17-euro zone countries grew just 0.2 percent down from 0.8 percent in the first quarter. Germany is Europe’s largest economy and growth there has been one bright spot as economic clouds gather across the continent. However, German GDP growth missed expectations for the quarter – expanding just 0.1 percent. That’s its lowest rate of growth since the first quarter of 2009. Even Spain’s debt-ridden economy grew faster at 0.2 percent.

    Frankfurt trader Oliver Roth said the market had been caught by surprise. Oliver Roth, Trader, Close Brothers Seydler AG: “There were already a couple of investors very much concerned about the economic situation in the world but everybody was expecting that Germany will have a very good year. So we are really deeply surprised and concerned about the German GDP figures and that is what the market shows.” The euro also fell, adding further to worries over the state of the global economy. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicholas Sarkozy are holding a meeting to discuss long-term solutions to the debt crisis.

    But while many believe a common eurobond would be the best way to deal with the region’s debt, Roth says Germany is right to be skeptical. Oliver Roth, Trader, Close Brothers Seydler AG: “I am totally against the euro bonds. There are some advantages on the short term track like lower interest rates for the southern states of Europe but there are a lot of disadvantages, for example that Germany has to pay much more interest rates sooner or later.” The bonds in effect are IOUs issued to investors backed by the eurozone as a whole, rather than individual countries. And although Germany has long opposed the idea and says it will not be discussed in today’s meeting, support is beginning to emerge. The head of Germany’s leading export association says without the eurobond the world risks falling into depression.

  57. rikyrah says:

    The Black War Over Obama
    African-American leaders fear academic rebel Cornel West’s fierce attacks on the president could spell trouble in 2012.
    Aug 15, 2011 1:00 AM EDT PrintEmail
    (Page 1 of 2)
    How did Cornel West become the administration’s No. 1 gadfly? The noted African-American scholar and radio host may have helped Barack Obama into the White House, but he has spent the better part of the president’s term taking shots at him, calling him a “black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs,” among other names. “These last few weeks have only proven my point about Brother Obama,” West says in his signature “one love” voice as he talks about the debt-reduction debacle on Capitol Hill. “He simply caved in again.”

    Never mind the slings and arrows of Tea Partiers. The most politically problematic criticism of Obama these days is coming from his base. And there’s no question that there is a deep reservoir of frustration, confusion, and even rage among many in the African-American community for West to tap into. With unemployment hovering near 17 percent for African-Americans (the national average rate is 9 percent) and 11 percent of black homeowners facing imminent foreclosure, African-Americans have ample reason for anxiety about the coming budget cuts that Obama reluctantly signed into law this month. The Congressional Black Caucus chairman called the recent debt deal “a sugar-coated satan sandwich” that will do little to help communities already struggling.

    West and his longtime friend, radio host Tavis Smiley, have taken their criticism of Obama to the streets, launching a two-week, 15-city “poverty tour,” aimed at forcing the powers that be to once again focus on the “least among us” and getting the president to “wake up.” Their efforts are increasingly stoking fears among some African-American leaders that West and Smiley could discourage black voters from turning out when the nation’s first African-American president stands for reelection in 2012.

    “The negative discussion Dr. West is having can only put more apathy in the hearts of African-Americans and could ultimately cause them to lose more faith in the entire political process,” says the Rev. Otis Moss III, pastor of Obama’s former church in Chicago. “Where will that leave us?”

    Lately, Obama’s supporters in the black community are fighting back. As West and Smiley pulled up aboard their “Call to Conscience” bus in Detroit in early August, a crowd of hecklers awaited them outside the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center. “We will not stand silent as Smiley and West criticize the man who brought us health-care reform, one of the greatest accomplishments for the poor in this country’s history,” says a spokesperson for Detroiters for Better Government.

  58. rikyrah says:

    YOU KNOW Travis is having a hard time when the horn-rimmed one is punking him


    Posted at 07:00 PM ET, 08/16/2011
    Smiley ‘allergic’ to my poverty tour reaction
    By Jonathan Capehart

    Tavis Smiley didn’t like my post saying that he and Princeton University professor Cornel West have too much baggage to lead a bus tour on poverty. In it, I argued that their respective petty grievances with President Obama made their seven-day, 14-city bus tour suspect and that the call for a defined black agenda at the expense of an American agenda was counterproductive. And I let the words of radio host and comedian Steve Harvey speak for me and — judging by the response on Twitter and Facebook — many others who are shaking their heads over what Smiley and West are doing.

    An email arrived this afternoon from Smiley’s publicist with a letter from the best-selling author and television host.

  59. creolechild says:

    Bolivia Ablaze in Tire Fires and Roadblocks
    2011-08-17 07:29

    Burning car tires strewn over a highway outside the Bolivian capital – a symbol of discontent with the government of President Evo Morales on Tuesday. The road blockade is the work of the El Alto Neighborhood Federation. Its leaders say a national consensus that has been delayed by the national government is at the center of the protest. Ricardo Valencia, El Alto Community Leader: “Our districts are setting up the blockades but there will be more so. We won’t lift the blockades until we meet with the government. We will keep fighting and hope that El Alto gets a positive answer and they tell us what date the population and housing census will be done.”

    The blockades in El Alto started Monday and cut off access between the capital and its international airport. Flight passengers were seen on foot carrying their suitcases up the steep hill from La Paz to the large slum city of El Alto, on the outskirts of La Paz. Residents there say the lack of census data means not enough funds for infrastructure development are released. Rene Cabezas, Neighborhood Leader: “The government promised us a National Population and Housing Census in 2011. And now they say it is impossible to do. We understand that but believe that the census is important because we believe that El Alto has a much larger population than the figures from the 2001 census. But [without the data] it is difficult for the public works and the resources the city needs to be released.”


  60. rikyrah says:

    Go Political AnimalBlog
    August 17, 2011 9:30 AM

    GOP Birthers haven’t completely gone away

    By Steve Benen

    With the release of President Obama’s long-form birth certificate several months ago, the far-right’s “birther” madness has, thankfully, disappeared almost entirely.

    But as Republican Rep. Tim Walberg of Minnesota helped prove this week, some pathologies are needlessly tenacious.

    Responding to two questioners who brought up the issue of Obama’s birth place, Walberg did not tell the questioners that the issue had been settled by Obama when he released his birth certificate in April.

    “Regardless of whether the license that he showed is true or fake, I’ve not seen it other than what was portrayed in the news. The House is controlled by the majority party being the Republicans, the Senate by the Democrats, the attorney general by the Democrats. That’s the answer.”

    Walberg added he would “like to have that question finally answered as much as anybody else.”

    Remember, Tim Walberg is not some deranged man yelling on a street corner; he’s an elected member of Congress. Even with most Birthers slinking away months ago, here we have a federal lawmaker arguing in public that that reality may be fake and the bizarre conspiracy theory may be true, even if all of the evidence says otherwise.

    This is, by the way, the same Tim Walberg who last year suggested impeaching the president if he didn’t produce a birth certificate, which, of course, he’d already done. Now he’s a member of Congress in good standing, despite apparently being stark raving mad.

    If Americans are going to improve their tattered political system, they’re going to have to start electing more sane people to power public offices.

    • Ametia says:

      Translation: THAT NEGROE’S NOT MY PRESIDENT. Too bad Timmy, I hope you continue to dissent into madness and the men in white coats come for you.

  61. creolechild says:

    Our Real Jobs Problem (Hint: Its Initials Are “GOP”)
    —By Kevin Drum | Tue Aug. 16, 2011 5:58 PM PDT

    Dylan Matthews says that Eliot Spitzer’s list of things Obama could do to help the economy is one of the more plausible he’s seen. I love me some plausible ideas, so I clicked. Turns out Spitzer only has two suggestions for Obama:

    First, he should act dramatically to help the American homeowner….The administration, in conjunction with the Federal Reserve, should insist that banks, in return for all the taxpayer subsidies they have gotten and continue to receive, reduce any mortgage that exceeds the value of the house….Borrowers with reduced mortgages would have more money to spend, thus boosting the economy etc. etc.

    ….Second, the president should do more to help the American worker. He should establish a jobs program. Do the simple math: We are spending more than $110 billion annually in Afghanistan. Stop it. Or scale it back to the sort of covert operations and drone war that is warranted. Savings? Perhaps about $100 billion—per year. Use that money to create up to 5 million jobs at $20,000 each….Just as FDR did during the Great Depression, put these Americans to work in states, counties, schools, parks.

    I have two questions. First: Under what plausible legal authority can the president unilaterally demand that banks — along with all of the assorted other note holders who would have to buy into this plan — reduce the principal of underwater mortgages? Second: Under what plausible political scenario will House Republicans agree to spend $100 billion on federal makework jobs even if Obama is willing to offset the cost by bailing out of Afghanistan?

    I’m pretty sure the answers are (a) None and (b) None. At some point everyone needs to accept the plain political fact that on the jobs front Obama can do very little on his own and can’t do anything that requires cooperation from House Republicans. There are a few small-bore things he can do, and he can certainly mount a major PR campaign for his favorite employment ideas if he thinks it will help him politically. But actual, effective jobs programs? He’s a president, not a king. Republicans don’t want any jobs programs and that means we aren’t going to get any. End of story.

  62. rikyrah says:

    Gettin’ Worried: Scott Brown Begs For Money To Help Fight Elizabeth Warren
    Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) just might have a formidable opponent next year in former Harvard professor and progressive heartthrob Elizabeth Warren. And it looks like he’s starting to get nervous about it.

    On the heels of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee’s $100,000 campaign cash haul on Warren’s behalf, Brown’s up with a new fundraising appeal begging supporters to help him before it’s too late.

    “Help Scott fight back,” the fundraising appeal implores. Brown Finance Director John Cook lays out the stakes:

    The Democratic political establishment is going to pull out all the stops next year, doing whatever it takes to win back a seat that they think belongs to them by right but which we know actually belongs to the people. They are so obsessed with winning this seat back that Washington elitists are trying to push aside local Democrat candidates in favor of Professor Warren from Oklahoma.Republicans have been eager to remind people of Warren’s birthplace since talk of her running for Senate first came up. She’s lived in Massachusetts for nearly two decades.

    For now, she’s not an official candidate, though there are growing signs that she may be soon. Roll Call reports Warren is “attending house parties in the Boston area,” and “began reaching out to grass-roots Bay State activists last week.”

    That would be a shot in the arm for progressives, who are chomping at the bit to help Warren win the seat that was occupied by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D) until he died in 2009. Brown won the seat in a special election on a wave of tea party outrage, and has been shoring up his support in the blue Bay State ever since. Polls show it’s been working, with Brown showing more than decent approval ratings.

    He’s been raising plenty of money, too, building a campaign war chest approaching $10 million.

    But Warren’s supporters say she’s got the goods to defeat Brown. And they’re not moved by Brown’s fundraising successes, a large chunk of which comes from the financial sector.

    “Scott Brown’s ‘grassroots’ fundraising email is hilarious, given that his core financial support comes from Wall Street and other big corporations who own his vote,” PCCC spokesperson Neil Sroka said. “The genuine grassroots uprising for Elizabeth Warren is testament to how hungry Massachusetts voters are for someone who will fight for them.”

  63. creolechild says:

    Obama flays GOP in Congress as holding back economy
    By Lesley Clark

    PEOSTA, Iowa — President Barack Obama sharpened his criticism of congressional Republicans on Tuesday, charging that they were handcuffing the country’s ability to pull the economy out of a slump. Speaking at a community college here on a three-day tour of rural America, Obama outlined a number of initiatives that he said were aimed at sparking job growth in rural areas, but said he was blocked from doing more by a “faction in Congress.” His remarks came as a new Gallup Poll showed a 13 percent job approval rating for Congress, underscoring how unpopular his foil is even as he’s criticized for not doing enough to reduce a stubborn unemployment rate.

    “The only thing that is holding us back is our politics,” the president told the crowd, pointing to “the refusal of a faction in Congress to put country ahead of party. “That has to stop,” he said to cheers and applause. “Our economy can’t afford it.” Obama said his administration would ramp up efforts to get capital to small businesses in rural areas, speed development of next-generation biofuels to promote renewable energy and conservation, and help small hospitals recruit doctors and nurses. “But we could do even more if Congress is willing to get in the game,” he said. He blamed the Republican opposition for stalling three trade deals and an extension of payroll tax relief.

    Republicans have criticized Obama’s trip across three battleground states he easily won as a candidate in 2008 — Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois — as little more than a campaign swing disguised as an official presidential trip. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Tuesday rapped it as a “mission to save his own job,” saying that Obama has yet to offer much in the way of new ideas for job creation.


    Read more:

    • Ametia says:

      Keep on HAMMERING home the FACTS to the American people, Mr. President. The media is NOT going to lift one pinky to tell the TRUTH about what you or your admin are doing to serve us.

  64. creolechild says:

    Long-term unemployment wreaks mental toll on jobless
    By Daniel Lippman

    WASHINGTON — Lisa Banks feels hopeless. She’s lost an essential part of her identity: Her status as a proud full-time employee is gone. Ever since the 44-year-old Germantown, Md., resident was laid off from her job as an administrator for a federal contractor in May 2009, she’s sent out hundreds of resumes, but only had four interviews. She says she’s depressed enough to try to seek out psychological help. But no luck there either: She doesn’t have insurance to pay for it. “I’ve worked all my life. I’ve been a decent person,” she said. “(But now) I feel as if I’m invisible. Like I’m not worth anything to society anymore.”

    The one consolation she can take is that she’s not alone. Statistics show that 14 million unemployed Americans still suffer the effects of the recession. Of the jobless, more than 44 percent have been out of work for 27 weeks or more, a time frame the Bureau of Labor Statistics considers long-term. The average unemployed American has been out of a job for a record 40.4 weeks, a figure that’s grown steadily in the past three and a half years — from 17.5 weeks in January 2008. As Americans such as Banks struggle to find jobs, long-term unemployment is wreaking a psychological toll across the United States, with experts and a number of studies saying the jobless are especially at risk of depression, increased anxiety and physical ailments.

    The National Alliance on Mental Illness, an advocacy group, said in a March report that a cumulative $1.8 billion from mental health services was cut in 32 states and the District of Columbia from 2008 to 2010. “As a result, we’ve seen increasing burdens on other systems that are left to respond to people in crisis, like emergency rooms, like law enforcement and jails and prisons and homeless shelters,” said Ron Honberg, the group’s director of policy and legal affairs. “Really the impact has been very negative. We’re talking about extremely vulnerable people,” he added. He said states hadn’t made it easy for people, especially low-income residents, to find easy access to information about their mental health services, which he called “so fragmented” and “incredibly difficult to understand, let alone navigate.”


    Read more:

  65. creolechild says:

    Michele Bachmann gets her Elvis anniversaries mixed up
    By Michael Muskal

    It may not be a question of life and death. Actually, it really is a question of life and death. GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, who received a lot of unfavorable press for comments that some claimed mixed up movie icon John Wayne with serial killer John Wayne Gacy, was campaigning in Spartanburg S.C., on Tuesday when she urged her supporters to wish Elvis Presley happy birthday. Unfortunately, Tuesday was the 34th anniversary of the death of Presley. He was born on Jan. 8, 1935. Bachmann uses Presley’s music at some of her appearances and in South Carolina said she had played a bit from his “Promised Land” album. “Before we get started, let’s all say ‘happy birthday’ to Elvis Presley today,” Bachmann said, according to a video posted by Politico. “You can’t do better than Elvis Presley.”


    Read more:

  66. creolechild says:

    Chinese Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Still Not Free: Probation Period Over
    Ben Hedges, NTD News
    2011-08-16 11:26

    There is still no trace of Chinese rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng. On August 14th, 2006 Gao was sentenced to three years in prison and five years probation. Now five years are up and Gao should be free. Gao Zhisheng is a self-taught Christian lawyer. He was once considered one of the top ten lawyers in China. He took on some of the most sensitive cases in the country, often on a pro bono basis, winning rare victories against authorities. Mark Shan, China Aid Spokesperson: “He was not only trying to defend religious freedom for those in the Christian house church movement, for those victims of land eviction, he also defended those Falun Gong practitioners.”

    Falun Gong is a spiritual group banned by the Chinese regime in 1999, it remains one of the most persecuted groups in China. More than 3,400 deaths due to persecution and over 63 thousand cases of torture have been documented so far. It was Gao’s defense of Falun Gong that led to a clampdown by authorities. In 2005 the Chinese regime shut down Gao’s law firm in Beijing. Since 2006 Gao was in and out of custody suffering from torture himself. His current whereabouts are unknown. Mark Shan of China Aid, a U.S.-based Chinese Christian organization, says it’s no surprise Gao hasn’t been released. Mark Shan, China Aid Spokesperson: “We know how the Chinese government has treated Gao Zhisheng, as almost like the number one or number two enemy of the nation. So we don’t think they can let him go so easily. So it’s not a surprise at all.”

    Gao’s detention has taken its toll on his family. Gao’s wife, son and daughter managed to escape China in 2009 and now live in the United States. Gao’s daughter has been hit especially hard by his absence. Geng He, Gao Zhisheng’s Wife: “When we go to the home of friends from church, and my daughter sees a father with his daughter, carrying a musical instrument and the mother is also present, she can’t take it. She stands up and wants to walk out… So I know that when my daughter sees that warm, caring image of a whole family, it arouses deep feelings of past memories.”

    Vice president of the European Parliament, Edward McMillan-Scott, wrote a letter to Gao’s wife on August 12th where he expressed admiration for Gao Zhisheng. He wrote Gao “will one day be part of China’s future.” China Aid hopes the U.S. vice president can also play a role in securing Gao’s freedom. Mark Shan, China Aid Spokesperson: “We hope the vice president of America, Biden, he is visiting China this week, so we hope he can raise this issue as one important thing.” Gao has now been missing for 923 days. Almost 150 thousand people have signed a petition calling for his release.

  67. creolechild says:

    Biden heads to China to woo next Chinese leader
    By Agence France-Presse

    Vice President Joe Biden heads to China in hopes of winning favor with the rising power’s next leader, seeking a smoother relationship after Beijing’s sharp criticism of US fiscal policy. Biden will spend five days in China, an unusually long trip that comes at the invitation of Vice President Xi Jinping who is expected to take over as China’s leader by 2013 and is little known in US policy circles. “Simply put, we’re investing in the future of the US-China relationship,” said Tony Blinken, the vice president’s national security adviser. The number-two US leader will also visit close ally Japan, where he will go to an area hit by the March 11 mega-earthquake and encourage a quick recovery, and Mongolia to praise its embrace of democracy.

    In China, Biden will meet President Hu Jintao in Beijing and travel the country alongside Xi. In the southwestern boomtown of Chengdu, the vice presidents will dine at an informal restaurant and Biden will deliver a speech, Blinken said. Biden’s visit comes after stinging criticism in China’s state-run media of the US “addiction to debt” following a deal reached by US lawmakers that narrowly averted a default. China is the largest foreign holder of US debt. Lael Brainard, the undersecretary of the Treasury for international affairs, defended the controversial deal as “very strong” and, in a preview of Biden’s message, said that China must now also undertake reforms.


  68. creolechild says:

    Democrat questions TSA over Israeli-style ‘chat downs’
    By Eric W. Dolan

    Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) on Monday called for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to halt the implementation of a new behavioral screening program that is modeled after Israel’s airport security screening methods. He is a ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security.
    The 60-day Behavior Detection Officer pilot program began Monday at the Boston Logan International Airport. In the new “Assessor” screenings, TSA officers will ask passengers a few personal questions and look for signs that they may be hiding something. Suspicious passengers will be sent to a secondary screening or referred to a law enforcement officer.

    In a letter (PDF) to TSA Administrator John Pistole, Thompson questioned why the agency had decided to implement a “scientifically unproven technique,” noting there “is no scientific validation, limited or comprehensive, of the efficacy of the Assessor model of screening to detect persons who pose a security risk to aviation.” Thompson is skeptical that the results of the pilot program can determine how the agency should proceed with the “chat downs.” “Although the [Behavior Detection Officers] may not have interviewed a sufficient number of passengers to yield a statistically significant result during this 60 day period, TSA representatives indicated during the briefing that the agency plans on using the results of the pilot to determine whether the ‘assessor’ program should be expanded.”

    “As Congress and the Executive Branch continue to negotiate historic reductions in federal spending, it is curious that TSA continues to deploy personnel and divert dwindling budget resources to this unproven, costly and potentially ineffective security screening protocol,” he added. The Behavior Detection Officer pilot program is part of a nearly $1 billion national program called the Screening Passengers by Observation Technique (SPOT) program.

  69. creolechild says:

    BPing the Arctic, Again – Fast Tracking Shell’s Dangerous Drilling
    by: Subhankar Banerjee

    One of the riskiest and most destructive extreme energy oil exploration projects on the planet is moving toward implementation without scientific understanding or technical preparedness — Shell’s oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean of Alaska. On August 4, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) conditionally approved Shell’s plan to drill up to four exploratory wells in the Beaufort Sea of Arctic Alaska starting July 2012.

    A Los Angeles Times editorial correctly opined, “Shell Oil’s conditional permit to drill exploratory wells off Alaska should not have been granted. The hazards of drilling in such waters are in some ways worse than operating thousands of feet underwater. … It’s too early for any approval, conditional or otherwise.” Shell still needs several more permits including an air quality permit from the Environmental Protection Agency before they can do any drilling in the Arctic seabed. We must stop it.


    Read more:

  70. creolechild says:

    Panetta Confirms Pentagon Considering Replacing Military Retirement With 401(k) Plan
    By: Brian Beutler

    In a rare joint appearance with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the National Defense University Tuesday, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta confirmed a CBS News report that the Pentagon is considering a dramatic plan to overhaul the military’s once sacrosanct retirement plan. According to CBS, the plan “would eliminate the familiar system under which anyone who serves 20 years is eligible for retirement at half their salary. Instead, they’d get a 401k-style plan with government contributions.”

    Panetta largely confirmed the report, with a key caveat. “That report came as the result of an advisory group that was asked by my predecessor Bob Gates to look at the retirement issue,” he said. And they have put together some thoughts, they’re supposed to issue, actually, a more complete report the latter part of this month. No decisions have been made with regards to that issue…it’s the kind of thing you have to consider in terms of retirement reforms in the broad form, but you have to do it…in a way that doesn’t break faith, again, with our troops and with their families. If you’re going to do something like this you’ve got to think very seriously about grandfathering in order to protect the benefits that are there.


  71. Ametia says:

    The sad facts behind Rick Perry’s Texas miracle
    By Harold Meyerson, Published: August 16

    Rick Perry’s Texas is Ross Perot’s Mexico come north. Through a range of enticements we more commonly associate with Third World nations — low wages, no benefits, high rates of poverty, scant taxes, few regulations and generous corporate subsidies — the state has produced its own “giant sucking sound,” attracting businesses from other states to a place where workers come cheap.

    Perry’s calling card in the presidential race is his state’s record of job creation at a time when the national economy floundered. Yes, Texas has created lots of jobs, though that’s partly a reflection of the surge in oil prices, which in turn created tens of thousands of jobs in the oil and gas industries. What Perry touts in his stump speech, however, isn’t the oil boom but, rather, the low-tax, low-reg, handouts-to-business climate that prevails in Texas. It’s the kind of spiel that businesses hear every day from leaders of developing nations — Mexico and, even more, China.

  72. rikyrah says:

    August 17, 2011 8:35 AM

    Putting the ‘Super Committee’ to good use

    By Steve Benen

    The Obama White House has a problem. On the one hand, it wants and needs to take steps to improve the economy. On the other, it can’t do much without congressional approval, and House Republicans have made it abundantly clear they will not accept any measures intended to create jobs or boost economic growth.

    In theory, this situation would call for some kind of bargain, but President Obama and his team have severely limited leverage — they just don’t have much of anything the congressional GOP wants. On the contrary, what Republicans appear to want more than anything is a weak economy in advance of Election Day 2012, which necessarily makes it tricky to offer them incentives.

    There is, however, a vehicle, which the White House sees as an opportunity.

    President Barack Obama is considering recommending that lawmakers on a deficit committee back new measures to stimulate the lagging economy, people familiar with White House discussions said Tuesday.

    The plan Mr. Obama is considering also would recommend the congressional committee come up with a package that reduces the federal budget deficit by much more that its mandate of $1.5 trillion over the next decade, a senior administration official said, through changes in the tax code and social safety-net programs.

    “There’s no reason to stop at $1.5 trillion,” the official said.

    We don’t yet know if the Wall Street Journal article is reliable — other outlets haven’t reported anything similar — but for the sake of conversation, let’s assume it has merit. Indeed, it certainly makes a fair amount of sense, and the plan seems entirely plausible.

    Here’s how this is playing out: the president and his team are putting together a new economic plan, which Obama has alluded to several times during his bus tour in the Midwest. The package will likely include both job-creation and deficit-reduction measures, and be presented before the Murray/Hensarling “Super Committee” holds its first meeting a month from now.

    The details of the plan are reportedly still coming together, but it would presumably include measures that Republicans, at least traditionally, have either supported or found largely unobjectionable: the payroll tax break, unemployment insurance, an infrastructure bank, etc.

    And why on earth would congressional Republicans even consider such ideas, instead of just laughing and throwing the Obama economic plan in the trash? Because, as the White House will pitch it, Democrats would be more amenable to a Super Committee debt-reduction package if it includes provisions intended to help the economy in the short term. The panel’s goal is to reach $1.5 trillion in debt reduction, but, the argument goes, that total could be even higher if the GOP cooperates on creating jobs.

    If Republicans were at all serious about governing, I’d be more inclined to consider the viability of such a plan work. But they’re not. GOP lawmakers have already made clear they’ll refuse to help the economy, especially in the short term. They may be tempted by more debt reduction, but (a) Republican concern for the deficit is largely insincere; (b) undermining the economy appears to outweigh other factors; and (c) with the triggers, they’ll cut spending cuts anyway, even if the Murray/Hensarling panel achieves nothing.

    That said, I’m glad the White House at least appears to be getting its priorities straight, putting the economy high on the to-do list and tying it to the debt-reduction efforts. Democrats on the “Super Committee” would be wise to do the same, focusing the upcoming discussions in the right direction.

  73. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 16, 2011 5:00 PM

    Anti-union folks ‘have amnesia’

    By Steve Benen

    This may be familiar ground, but I was glad to see President Obama deliver an impassioned, impromptu defense of labor unions in Iowa.

    A retired high school teacher noted that union benefits have increasingly been under attack. The president agreed.

    “[L]et’s make one thing clear. The right of workers to come together and join a union is part of what built America’s middle class. It’s the reason why we’ve got a minimum wage. It’s the reason why folks have weekends. It’s the reason why you have basic protections on the job from an abusive employer.

    “There are a whole range of things that people take for granted, even if they’re not in a union, that they wouldn’t have had if it had not been for collective bargaining. So I think it is very important, whether you are in a union or not — and I speak particularly to young people, because you’ve grown up at a time when in a lot of circles ‘union’ somehow is a dirty word — to understand all this is is people joining together so they’ve got a little more leverage; so they’ve got better working conditions, better wages; they can better support their family.

    “And a lot of us entered into the middle class because our parent or a grandparent was in a union. Remember that. When I hear this kind of anti-union rhetoric and anti-union assaults, I’m thinking these folks have amnesia. They don’t remember that that helped build our middle class and strengthen our economy.”

    The president added that much of the trouble when it comes to assaults on collective bargaining are happening at the state level, where the administration’s influence is limited, but Obama noted the recent FAA dispute with House Republicans. “[W]e’re fighting back,” he said, “pushing back against these efforts to diminish the capacity to exercise their basic freedoms and their basic rights.”

    Like I said, this isn’t exactly new, but labor too often gets the short shrift in the larger political discussion. Hearing the president offer a full-throated defense of unions as part of his Midwest tour was heartening.

    • Ametia says:

      THIS: “The president added that much of the trouble when it comes to assaults on collective bargaining are happening at the state level, where the administration’s influence is limited, but Obama noted the recent FAA dispute with House Republicans. “[W]e’re fighting back,” he said, “pushing back against these efforts to diminish the capacity to exercise their basic freedoms and their basic rights.”

      So folks who voted these GOP governors into office in 2010, this is what you got.

  74. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    August 17, 2011 8:00 AM

    ‘We share the same type of philosophy’

    By Steve Benen
    Conan O’Brien joked the other day, “Rick Perry is a religious, right-wing conservative who’s a former pilot and the governor of Texas. Finally! One of those!”

    The next day, Jon Stewart told viewers, “Rick Perry is not George W. Bush on steroids; Rick Perry is what happens what happens if Lex Luthor distilled down George W. Bush essence in a laboratory and crossed it with gunpowder and semen from the finest thoroughbred in Lubbock — and then strapped that concoction onto a nuclear missile and shot it into the f**king sun.”

    I don’t doubt the similarities between Bush and Perry will analyzed in minute detail in the coming months; it’s inevitable. And for every piece highlighting the subtle differences between the two, there will be another stressing everything they have in common — public office, religiosity, political ideology, military background, and even physical appearance.

    For his part, Perry knows the comparisons are coming, and has a prepared answer.

    “I am Rick Perry and he is George Bush,” Perry declared as he marched through the Iowa State Fair, surrounded by reporters. “And our records are quite different.”

    Asked what the biggest difference is, Perry responded: “I went to Texas A&M. He went to Yale.”

    He did not answer when pressed to name a policy difference.

    Well, that’s persuasive, right? If Perry were to win the nomination, the Democratic message will be obvious: American can’t go backwards, and it’d be a tragedy to turn to yet another far-right Texas governor.

    To which Perry will say, “Don’t worry; Bush and I went to different colleges”?

    Given that most Americans are still inclined to blame Bush for the nation’s economic troubles, the Perry campaign’s line may need to be a little stronger.

    But that’s easier said than done. Dan Amira recently noted what Perry said in December 2000, when he was poised to become governor as President-elect Bush headed to Washington. “Certainly, you are not going to see a great philosophical difference between Rick Perry and George Bush,” Perry said. “We share the same type of philosophy.”

    It’s a quote voters are likely to see quite a bit in the near future.

  75. rikyrah says:

    August 16, 2011
    Perry gaffe watch con’t
    Karl Rove on the vile Gov. Perry, on Fox:

    You don’t accuse the chairman of the Federal Reserve of being a traitor to his country and being guilty of treason and suggesting that we treat him pretty ugly in Texas — that’s not, again, a presidential statement.

    This, too, from a former speechwriter for W., Peter Wehner:

    People shouldn’t throw around the words “almost treasonous” loosely; and certainly a person running for president shouldn’t do such a thing.

    The Establishment guns of August, with months to go

  76. Ametia says:

    Posted at 10:42 PM ET, 08/16/2011
    Democratic incumbents win Wisconsin recalls
    By Rachel Weiner

    State Sen. Bob Wirch (D) defeated corporate attorney Jonathan Steitz (R) in the 22nd district. State Sen. Jim Holperin (D) defeated tea party activist Kim Simac (R) in the 12th.

    Gov. Scott Walker (R) won both seats in the 2010 election, but the Republican-leaning 12th district was more seriously contested. Simac’s campaign was hobbled by some of her past statements and gaffes on the trail.

    That means Democrats have won two recalls in the state this summer; Republicans have won none. While they fell short of their goal — retaking the state senate — Democrats have narrowed the GOP majority while protecting their own members.

    It’s the culmination of a fight that began this spring, when the Republican-controlled legislature attempted to strip public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights.

    Democrats fled the state to avoid voting on the proposal; Republicans passed it without them through a parliamentary manuever. Recalls were attempted on both sides and elections successfully triggered against six Republicans and three Democrats.

    Millions of dollars from outside groups poured into what became a national fight over Republican governance and the future of labor unions.

    “This is an epic victory in the battle to loosen the Republican stranglehold on Wisconsin state government,” said Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee spokeswoman Carolyn Fiddler in a statement.

    But Tuesday night’s races are not as big a deal as they could have been. Last Tuesday, Democrats attempted to recall three or more Republican state senators, which would have given them control of the upper chamber. They failed. While the GOP failed to erase those wins tonight, Republicans still control the senate.

    The third Democrat, state Sen. Dave Hansen, faced a recall election in July because there was no primary in the race. He easily defeated a weak challenger after a more serious candidate failed to qualify for the ballot.

    Democrats argue that, having come close to flipping three Republican districts, they are well-positioned to recall Walker himself in 2012.

    “They declared war, and we picked off two of their members as we watched Scott Walker’s numbers plummet,” said Kelly Steele of the labor coalition We Are Wisconsin.

  77. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone. Happy HUMP day! :-)

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