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Archive for July 23rd, 2009

The Politics of Tenacity

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 23rd, 2009 4:45 am by HL

The Politics of Tenacity

Wow, what big and unexpected news! Reforming the health care system is really hard, and Republicans want President Obama to fail. Imagine that.

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A Phone to Die For

iPhone

After losing a prototype iPhone, a Chinese product manager for Apple’s overseas manufacturer killed himself by jumping from his apartment window. Apple doesn’t directly manufacture its products, but the company’s notorious and sometimes belligerent devotion to secrecy isn’t playing well in light of reports that Sun Danyong, 25, was harassed before his death by security personnel from his employer’s parent firm.

To be clear, Apple did not directly employ the man in question or the security personnel who are alleged to have searched his apartment.

The iPhone is manufactured in China by Taiwan-based Foxconn, which is itself owned by a company called Hon Hai.

A Hon Hai security official has been suspended, but it’s not clear there’s a link to the suicide.

(via Engadget)

Reuters via Yahoo:

But according to a report in the influential Nanfang Daily, Sun, a 25-year-old product manager, became frantic after discovering that one of 16 prototypes of Apple’s fourth-generation N90 iPhone had gone missing. The iPhone is Apple’s hottest-selling device and the latest version is a well-kept secret.

Sun vented his growing frustration in text messages to his girlfriend and a former classmate, and tried to find the missing device, the Nanfang Daily said. But company officials from Foxconn’s security division apparently got suspicious and raided his home.

The Yunnan native jumped from his 12th floor apartment the day after, according to the report.

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Rep. John Duncan’s Ex-Aide Claims Co-Workers Sprayed Perfume On Her Lunch

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 23rd, 2009 4:44 am by HL

Rep. John Duncan’s Ex-Aide Claims Co-Workers Sprayed Perfume On Her Lunch
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Warner Chabot: California is the Unwilling Star of a Slasher Film
The California budget situation is no longer a “suspense movie,” as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger referred to the negotiations, but now resembles a slasher film — full of deep and horrifying cuts.


NBC’s Almaguer offered no examples of wealthy “sharing” in the “pain” of CA budget deal

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 23rd, 2009 4:43 am by HL

NBC’s Almaguer offered no examples of wealthy “sharing” in the “pain” of CA budget deal

On the July 21 edition of NBC’s Nightly News, correspondent Miguel Almaguer stated that the proposed California state budget deal is “a compromise, what some characterize as shared pain and sacrifice.” Almaguer went on to note that the proposed deal includes “cuts across the board: $1.3 billion from health care; more than half a billion from welfare; another 1.2 billion from corrections, which could allow inmates out early” and that “[t]he biggest cuts come from education, affecting students from college to kindergarten.” But Almaguer did not offer any examples of “pain” the wealthy might “share” with other Californians, nor note that the deal will not raise their taxes. Indeed, due to an ultimatum from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and state Republicans, the deal includes no tax increases whatsoever.

During a June 18 speech, Schwarzenegger said of a series of referenda intended to close the budget gap which voters opposed in May:

As a matter of fact, the people overwhelmingly voted against those initiatives. And I think that they wanted to send to Sacramento a very clear message and the message was very simple; don’t come to us with those complex issues, do the job yourself, live within your means, get rid of the waste and inefficiencies and don’t raise our taxes.

He also stated:

This week the legislators came forward with their own proposal. Their budget still has too many of the gimmicks in there and I told them that yesterday at the meetings — I met with the Democratic leaders yesterday and with the Republican leaders two days ago — and I let them know that this has too many gimmicks still in there, one-time solutions and pushing the problem off into the future and actually pushing the problem off to the next legislature or to the next governor, which is something we don’t want to do.

And rather than turning inward and looking at government very carefully, of what can we do to save money and to provide those programs more efficiently, they looked outward. They looked at all of you and said, “Let’s raise the taxes again.” So even though just recently, just four months ago, we had the biggest tax increase in the history of California of $12 billion, now they want to come back to you again and raise your taxes once again.

And so I said to them, I said, “I will not sign a budget that has tax increases in that budget.” (Applause) I find it somewhat outrageous to go and to ask the people for a tax increase but at the same time to refuse a proposal that I put forward, which is to cut the state employees’ pay by 5 percent. They refused that and rejected that and voted it down. But to go to you then and ask you for more money, it doesn’t make any sense to me.

After reaching the tentative agreement with Senate and Assembly leaders on July 21, Schwarzenegger reportedly stated, “This is a budget that has no tax increases and this is a budget that is cutting spending and it deals with the entire $26 billion deficit.”

In a July 22 editorial supporting the deal because it is “not nearly the nightmare that would have resulted from continued gridlock,” the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that “[t]he refusal of the governor and Republican legislators to consider new taxes all but guaranteed that the solution would require a combination of excruciating cuts, buck passing and a dash of accounting gimmickry.” The Chronicle also stated of the Republicans who “remain united against any new taxes”: “It seems that many of them would sooner see their children in second-rate schools and their cars on Third World roads before they would break their anti-tax pledges and put themselves at the mercy of the right-wing talk radio blowhards.” From the editorial:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and California’s legislative leaders achieved the most difficult job imaginable — bridging a $26.3 billion shortfall — in the most tortuous way possible. The refusal of the governor and Republican legislators to consider new taxes all but guaranteed that the solution would require a combination of excruciating cuts, buck passing and a dash of accounting gimmickry. And the deal announced Monday night contained all three.

But before we get into the ugly details, let us pause a moment to praise the governor and top legislators for finally mustering the mettle to perform this grim duty before the Golden State plummeted into insolvency. As awful as this deal might be for Californians who work for the state or depend on its help in finding a job, going to college or getting basic health care … this is not nearly the nightmare that would have resulted from continued gridlock. California has reached the point of issuing IOUs and watching its nation’s-worst credit rating sink to near junk-bond status.

Without this deal — which still must pass both houses of the Legislature — the state will keep sliding toward insolvency, with each day adding $25 million to the gap between spending and revenue.

So for all the interest groups that want to pick apart this compromise in the name of saving your favorite program, we ask: Where is your solution that would survive the current political reality of Sacramento? The Republicans remain united against any new taxes — and it would take at least a few of their votes to reach the required two-thirds threshold. It seems that many of them would sooner see their children in second-rate schools and their cars on Third World roads before they would break their anti-tax pledges and put themselves at the mercy of the right-wing talk radio blowhards.

It’s a sad commentary on the state of governance in California, but it is a reality the Capitol’s voices of responsibility must confront.

From the July 21 edition of NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams:

BRIAN WILLIAMS (host): California is our biggest state in terms of population, and it long ago ran out of money. They’ve got nothing to pay the vendors they owe, and now they have struck a deal for more cuts, and these are going to hurt.

They’re going to allow offshore drilling for the money it will bring in. The LA Times reports tens of thousands of seniors and children would lose access to health care, prisoners will spend less time in prison, and the governor is going to sell cars, and furniture, and office supplies, and autograph some of it, he says, to raise more money. It’s an unbelievable turn of events. Miguel Almaguer is live for us in Los Angeles tonight to start us off.

Miguel, good evening.

ALMAGUER: Good evening, Brian. On Thursday, state legislators are expected to officially pass the budget. It is a compromise, what some characterize as shared pain and sacrifice.

[begin video clip]

ALMAGUER: A done deal — that’s what California’s top legislators say about the state budget.

SCHWARZENEGGER: It was like a suspense movie.

ALMAGUER: It played out more like a long drama, complete with midnight negotiations and an ending long overdue.

SCHWARZENEGGER: This is an emergency. We are in a fiscal crisis, we are in an economic crisis, and we did things that needed to be done.

ALMAGUER: Facing a $26 billion budget deficit, California was so broke it began issuing IOUs. There was also worries the state would go insolvent.

SHERRY BEBITCH JEFFE (political analyst): Because if California had gone insolvent, there would have been no money to pay for services, to pay vendors.

ALMAGUER: The plan to pull California out of the red includes cuts across the board: $1.3 billion from health care; more than half a billion from welfare; another 1.2 billion from corrections, which could allow inmates out early.

PROTESTERS: Shame on you! Shame on you!

ALMAGUER: The biggest cuts come from education, affecting students from college to kindergarten. And it’s not just the young, but also the old. San Diego’s Hope Adult Day Care center will eliminate meals and health care service two days per week.

JESSICA CANONIZADO (Hope Adult Day Care employee): If, you know, we lose those two days and they do end up in a hospital or institution, it could cost the state well over $500 a day per patient.

ALMAGUER: Counties and cities aren’t happy, either. San Diego balanced its budget, but the state money it was counting on won’t be coming.

JERRY SANDERS (Republican mayor of San Diego): That’s very real in terms of police officers in the street, firefighters on the rigs, potholes in the roads.

ALMAGUER: And to generate cash, the expansion of oil drilling near Santa Barbara, a move not seen off the Golden State’s scenic coast in 40 years.

[end video clip]

ALMAGUER: And, Brian, while the state may have a budget deal, some local cities and counties say they may sue California to get their earmarked money back.

WILLIAMS: Miguel Almaguer in Los Angeles starting us off tonight. Miguel, thanks.


CREW: DOJ Integrity Unit “Punted” On Ensign Complaint

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 23rd, 2009 4:42 am by HL

CREW: DOJ Integrity Unit “Punted” On Ensign Complaint
The Justice Department has responded to a formal complaint filed by a good-government group over the John Ensign matter by saying in a letter that the complaint should be filed with the FBI, rather than the department’s public integrity unit,…





C Street Rebranding: GOP Cheaters Need Our Discreet Counseling!
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Morning Joe Producer Offered “Friendly Place” For Sanford To Tell Story
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The Tattlesnake – Ear to the Ground on Health Care Edition

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 23rd, 2009 4:39 am by HL

The Tattlesnake – Ear to the Ground on Health Care Edition
Questions, I Have Questions… Your (Mostly) Obedient Tattlesnake is waiting for one of our Big Media professional interrogators, such as NBC’s David “We’ll Frame It Your Way!” Gregory, to ask one of these Congressional Republicans hyperventilating against the government paying for health care, why they accept health care paid for by government taxation. To my knowledge, […]


In Victory for Black Firefighters, FDNY Hiring Practices Ruled Racially Discriminatory

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 23rd, 2009 4:38 am by HL

In Victory for Black Firefighters, FDNY Hiring Practices Ruled Racially Discriminatory

July 22, 2009, New York, NY – Today, United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit charging the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) with racially discriminatory hiring practices. The case, which proved the FDNY examination was in violation of civil rights laws, was filed on behalf of the Vulcan Society, the fraternal organization of Black firefighters in the FDNY by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and co-counsel from Levy Ratner, P.C. and Scott + Scott, LLP.

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Reactions to Obama’s News Conference

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 23rd, 2009 4:37 am by HL

Reactions to Obama’s News Conference
President Obama’s hour-long news conference began with a nine-minute “mini-speech” on the need for health care reform and was then followed by 10 questions from reporters, nearly all of them on the topic of the night.

On health care, the president seemed a little defensive as he tried to stick to a tight script. It wasn’t until the last question that a more animated president offered his views about the controversy surrounding the arrest of Harvard African-American studies professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Tom Shales: “As usual, Obama turned in an admirably effective performance at the news conference, even if it did seem a little too tidy — and even rehearsed — for nearly all the reporters to fall in line and stick with the matter at hand rather than pursue their own little butterflies as in many administrations past.”

The Fix: “Obama’s great gift is the ability to rise above — or at least to give that impression — the partisan warfare that dominates Washington to appeal to the common sense of the American public. But, from his opening statement on, it was clear that part of Obama’s goal in the press conference was to directly rebut charges leveled against him and his health care plan by Republicans.”

Ben Smith: “The appearance was striking by its absence of a move that’s long characterized Obama’s political career: When in trouble, go big. Faced with a crisis of confidence or with a political furor, he’s repeatedly shown an ability to rise above the storm, and to broaden the playing field, as when he turned a flap over his pastor into a meditation on race in America. Now, facing his hardest test as President, Obama chose to go small.”

Dodd Faces Uphill Re-Election Fight
A new Quinnipiac poll in Connecticut finds Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) trails former Rep. Rob Simmons (R-CT) by nine points, 48% to 39%.

Said pollster Douglas Schwartz: “Dodd’s most glaring weakness continues to be that a majority of voters say he is not honest and trustworthy. This is not something that will be easy for Dodd to reverse. Another problem for Dodd is that the bad economy has put voters in a grumpy mood. Consequently, voters have little patience for politician’s missteps.”

Simmons is way ahead in the Republican primary race with 42%, while no other Republican tops 5% and 45% are still undecided.


The Wall Street-Health Care Connection: Fat Cats Want to Tax Your Benefits

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 23rd, 2009 4:36 am by HL

The Wall Street-Health Care Connection: Fat Cats Want to Tax Your Benefits
The conservative Democrats who want to tax your health-care benefits have friends in deep-pocketed places.

Gonzo Gastronomy: How the Food Industry Has Made Bacon a Weapon of Mass Destruction
The confluence of factory farming, the boom in fast food and manipulation of consumer taste created processed foods that can hook us like drugs.

Afghan Presidential Candidate: The U.S. Occupation Must End
The past 8 years have done more harm than good to women's rights in Afghanistan — the U.S. is waging a war, not winning a peace.

The Wall Street-Health Care Connection: Fat Cats Want to Tax Your Benefits
The conservative Democrats who want to tax your health-care benefits have friends in deep-pocketed places.


Hat On Your Head, Hope In Your Heart

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 23rd, 2009 4:35 am by HL

Hat On Your Head, Hope In Your Heart
Those of us who laughed and nodded our way through Christopher Hitchens’ God Is Not Great, yet put the book down thinking the author had somehow (well, entirely) missed the point, have a counter-text in Angels and Ages: Adam Gopnik’s…






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More Than Just Cultural Deviance
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Kit Bond says DeMint?s attack on Obama was ?way off base.?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 23rd, 2009 4:34 am by HL

Kit Bond says DeMint?s attack on Obama was ?way off base.?
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has been aggressively attacking President Obama recently, saying his efforts to reform health care will be his “Waterloo” and that it will ultimately “break him.” He’s also said the health care debate is “a real showdown between socialism and freedom.” When asked about DeMint’s charges during a conference call with local […]

kit-bond1Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has been aggressively attacking President Obama recently, saying his efforts to reform health care will be his “Waterloo” and that it will ultimately “break him.” He’s also said the health care debate is “a real showdown between socialism and freedom.” When asked about DeMint’s charges during a conference call with local reporters, Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) called them “way off base.” The Hill reports:

I didn’t like particularly the way that Sen. DeMint said it,” Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) said in a conference call with Missouri reporters when asked if he agreed with DeMint’s sentiments on stopping the president’s spending.

I think he was way off-base in his attack on the president,” added Bond, who is retiring from the Senate at the end of this term.

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) also distanced himself from DeMint’s “Waterloo” comment yesterday saying, “I don’t think that’s a good way to look at it.”