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Archive for April 17th, 2010

Insurance Companies Own Fast Food Stock

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 17th, 2010 4:51 am by HL

Insurance Companies Own Fast Food Stock
The fast-food industry has long been under fire for selling high-fat, high-calorie meals that have been linked to weight gain and diabetes, but the financial health of the industry continues to attract investors — including some of the leading insurance companies in the U.S., a new study reports. According to Harvard Medical School researchers, 11 large companies that offer life, disability, or health insurance owned about $1.9 billion in stock in the five largest fast-food companies as of June 2009.


Late Late Night FDL: Club Poodle

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 17th, 2010 4:50 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Club Poodle
Featuring new videos by FOALS and Caribou.

Early Show: FOALS “Spanish Sahara”
Late Show: Caribou “Odessa”

What’s on your mind tonight?


Geithner Pushes to Restrict, Not Ban Derivatives

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 17th, 2010 4:49 am by HL

Geithner Pushes to Restrict, Not Ban Derivatives
In a letter to a ranking Senate Democrat, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner called for restrictions on derivatives—those financial instruments whose value is derived from other instruments—but stopped at an outright ban on the trading practices that helped lead to the current financial crisis. Geithner said that derivatives were “at the very center of the financial crisis,” though he did not endorse a proposal by Democrats to ban the derivative business entirely. Read Geithner’s letter in pdf form here. The Wall Street Journal: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Thursday in a letter that tight restrictions on derivatives is “at the core” of a sweeping overhaul of financial rules but didn’t call for the outright ban on trading by banks that some Democrats are pushing. Mr. Geithner, in a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D., Ark.), said new financial rules must create restrictions on how over-the-counter derivatives are traded “in order to curb abuses that were at the very center of the financial crisis.” But he notably stopped short of endorsing a proposal from Ms. Lincoln to force large banks to spin off derivatives trading businesses entirely. His letter is the latest in a forceful push by the Obama administration to counter a lobbying effort by financial companies to scale back the derivatives rules. Read more

Geithner

In a letter to a ranking Senate Democrat, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner called for restrictions on derivatives—those financial instruments whose value is derived from other instruments—but stopped at an outright ban on the trading practices that helped lead to the current financial crisis.

Geithner said that derivatives were “at the very center of the financial crisis,” though he did not endorse a proposal by Democrats to ban the derivative business entirely.

Read Geithner’s letter in pdf form here.

The Wall Street Journal:

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Thursday in a letter that tight restrictions on derivatives is “at the core” of a sweeping overhaul of financial rules but didn’t call for the outright ban on trading by banks that some Democrats are pushing.

Mr. Geithner, in a letter to Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D., Ark.), said new financial rules must create restrictions on how over-the-counter derivatives are traded “in order to curb abuses that were at the very center of the financial crisis.” But he notably stopped short of endorsing a proposal from Ms. Lincoln to force large banks to spin off derivatives trading businesses entirely.

His letter is the latest in a forceful push by the Obama administration to counter a lobbying effort by financial companies to scale back the derivatives rules.

Read more

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Gays Get Hospital Visitation Rights
Addressing an important rights issue, President Barack Obama has written a memo ordering hospitals in the U.S. to grant to gay and lesbian partners the same visitation privileges already enjoyed by married heterosexual couples. One caveat of the order is that those hospitals required to allow visitation must explicitly receive Medicare and Medicaid money. Private hospitals without government support are still free to be as homophobic as they want. The memo also requires that all documents for power of attorney and health care proxies be accepted and honored, regardless of the patient’s sexual orientation. —JCL Los Angeles Times: President Obama late Thursday ordered most hospitals in the country to grant the same visitation rights to gay and lesbian partners that they do to married heterosexual couples. In a memo to his Health and Human Services agency, Obama ordered the secretary to ensure that all hospitals getting Medicare and Medicaid money honor all patients’ advance directives, including those designating who gets family visitation privileges. The order also requires that documents granting power of attorney and healthcare proxies be honored, regardless of sexual orientation. The language could apply to unmarried heterosexual couples too. Read more

Obama Pride

Addressing an important rights issue, President Barack Obama has written a memo ordering hospitals in the U.S. to grant to gay and lesbian partners the same visitation privileges already enjoyed by married heterosexual couples.

One caveat of the order is that those hospitals required to allow visitation must explicitly receive Medicare and Medicaid money. Private hospitals without government support are still free to be as homophobic as they want.

The memo also requires that all documents for power of attorney and health care proxies be accepted and honored, regardless of the patient’s sexual orientation. —JCL

Los Angeles Times:

President Obama late Thursday ordered most hospitals in the country to grant the same visitation rights to gay and lesbian partners that they do to married heterosexual couples.

In a memo to his Health and Human Services agency, Obama ordered the secretary to ensure that all hospitals getting Medicare and Medicaid money honor all patients’ advance directives, including those designating who gets family visitation privileges.

The order also requires that documents granting power of attorney and healthcare proxies be honored, regardless of sexual orientation. The language could apply to unmarried heterosexual couples too.

Read more

Related Entries



Murray Hill Inc.: Justice John Paul Stevens: Corporate Persons Everywhere Salute You!

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 17th, 2010 4:48 am by HL

Murray Hill Inc.: Justice John Paul Stevens: Corporate Persons Everywhere Salute You!
As the first corporation to run for federal office, Murray Hill Inc. took up the challenge as outlined by Justice Stevens and filed a voter registration with the Maryland Board of Elections.

Carl Pope: Back to the 90s
No, not the 1990s (Bill Clinton’s era). I’m talking about the 1890s, when William McKinley served as the 19th century’s last president. That’s where the…

Jerry Schweighart, Champaign Mayor: Obama Not An American (VIDEO)
Add Champaign mayor Jerry Schweighart to the short and oddball list of skeptics about Barack Obama’s birthplace. In a video shot by YouTube user illinoisgrads…


Right-wing media furious Obama “mock[ed]” tea partiers by correctly pointing out he lowered taxes

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 17th, 2010 4:46 am by HL

Right-wing media furious Obama “mock[ed]” tea partiers by correctly pointing out he lowered taxes

The right-wing media has attacked President Obama for “mocking average citizens”after he said “you’d think [the tea partiers] would be saying thank you,” because he has lowered taxes. Indeed, absent from the right-wing media’s outrage is the fact that Obama is correct; as the AP wrote, “[y]ou wouldn’t know it by the Tax Day rhetoric, but Americans are paying lower taxes this year.”

Right-wing media furious over Obama remarks that tea partiers should say “thank you” for lower taxes

Ace of Spades: “Obama: Ha ha…can you believe those anti-tax rubes?” Ace of Spades reported on April 15 that “taxes are at their lowest levels in 60 years, according to William Gale, co-director of the Tax Policy Center and director of the Retirement Security Project at the Brookings Institution.” CBS News further reported:

“The relation between what is said in the tax debate and what is true about tax policy is often quite tenuous,” Gale told Hotsheet. “The rise of the Tea Party at at time when taxes are literally at their lowest in decades is really hard to understand.”

Bruce Bartlett: “[F]ederal taxes are very considerably lower by every measure since Obama became president.” Bruce Bartlett, former adviser to President Reagan and Treasury Department economist under George H.W. Bush, wrote on March 19 that “federal taxes are very considerably lower by every measure since Obama became president. And given the economic circumstances, it’s hard to imagine that a tax increase would have been enacted last year”:

As noted earlier, federal taxes are very considerably lower by every measure since Obama became president. And given the economic circumstances, it’s hard to imagine that a tax increase would have been enacted last year. In fact, 40% of Obama’s stimulus package involved tax cuts. These include the Making Work Pay Credit, which reduces federal taxes for all taxpayers with incomes below $75,000 by between $400 and $800.

According to the JCT, last year’s $787 billion stimulus bill, enacted with no Republican support, reduced federal taxes by almost $100 billion in 2009 and another $222 billion this year. The Tax Policy Center, a private research group, estimates that close to 90% of all taxpayers got a tax cut last year and almost 100% of those in the $50,000 income range. For those making between $40,000 and $50,000, the average tax cut was $472; for those making between $50,000 and $75,000, the tax cut averaged $522. No taxpayer anywhere in the country had his or her taxes increased as a consequence of Obama’s policies.

AP: “You wouldn’t know it by the Tax Day rhetoric, but Americans are paying lower taxes this year.” The Associated Press reported on April 14, “You wouldn’t know it by the Tax Day rhetoric, but Americans are paying lower taxes this year, even with increases passed by many states to balance their budgets.” While noting that in future years, some taxes may increase for some Americans, the article said that “Tax Day rhetoric” does not match the reality of Americans’ tax burdens today. From the article:

Congress cut individuals’ federal taxes for this year by about $173 billion shortly after President Barack Obama took office, dwarfing the $28.6 billion in increases by states.

[…]

The massive economic recovery package enacted last year included about $300 billion in tax cuts over 10 years. About $232 billion was in cuts for individuals, nearly all in the first two years.

The most generous was Obama’s Making Work Pay credit, which gives individuals up to $400 and couples up to $800 for 2009 and 2010. The $1,000 child tax credit was expanded to more families, and the working poor can qualify for as much as $5,657 from the Earned Income Tax Credit.

There were also credits for qualified families who buy new homes or make energy improvements to existing ones, as well as tax breaks to help pay college tuition or buy new cars.

CBS: “Poll Reveals Most Americans Don’t Know They Got a Tax Cut.” A February 5-10 New York Times/CBS News poll found that only 12 percent of respondents “think the Obama Administration has … decreased taxes for most Americans.” CBS wrote that “[o]f people who support the grassroots, ‘Tea Party’ movement, only 2 percent think taxes have been decreased, 46 percent say taxes are the same, and a whopping 44 percent say they believe taxes have gone up.” Media Matters for America has noted that conservative media figures including Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal, Fox News contributor S.E. Cupp and Fox Forum columnist Peter Roff have denied that Obama cut taxes.


Lanny Davis Launches New Lobby Shop: ‘The Best Solution Is A … Bipartisan Solution’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 17th, 2010 4:45 am by HL

Lanny Davis Launches New Lobby Shop: ‘The Best Solution Is A … Bipartisan Solution’
Lanny Davis announced this week that he’ll launch his own law and lobbying shop, declaring: “In today’s Washington, there is usually no ‘Red’ solution or ‘Blue’ solution but almost always the best solution is a ‘purple’ or bipartisan solution.”


Koch Industries: We Don’t Fund Tea Parties (Except For The Tea Parties We Fund)
Koch Industries, a major backer of myriad right-wing causes, has never provided funding “specifically to support the tea parties,” said Koch spokeswoman Melissa Cohlmia in an unsolicited message that landed in our inbox last night in advance of Tax Day.



Osama, where are you?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 17th, 2010 4:41 am by HL

Osama, where are you?
Excerpt: As President Obama escalates the war in Afghanistan, and anywhere between 24 and 53 percent of your federal tax $’s are spent on defense, let’s not forgot about one of the boogeymen that got us in this mess in the first place. Where’s Osama Bin Laden? Besides a tape that Bin Laden supposedly made a few […]


Simon Johnson: Wall Street’s Stranglehold on Our Democracy Must Be Broken

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 17th, 2010 4:40 am by HL

Simon Johnson: Wall Street’s Stranglehold on Our Democracy Must Be Broken
The progressive economist talks about the fight to reform Wall Street, what Robert Rubin should do with his money, and why Jamie Dimon is the most dangerous man in America.

The progressive economist talks about the fight to reform Wall Street, what Robert Rubin should do with his money, and why Jamie Dimon is the most dangerous man in America.

Arizona: ICE, Tea Parties Panic Immigrants
What immigration authorities called the nation’s single largest operation to fight human smuggling spread fear and panic among residents in Phoenix and Tucson neighborhoods.

What immigration authorities called the nation’s single largest operation to fight human smuggling spread fear and panic among residents in Phoenix and Tucson neighborhoods.

The Roots of Stalin in the Tea Party Movement
The Koch family, America’s biggest financial backers of the Tea Party, would not be the billionaires they are today were it not for the godless empire of the USSR.

The Koch family, America's biggest financial backers of the Tea Party, would not be the billionaires they are today were it not for the godless empire of the USSR.


Jordan’s King Says Israel-Hezbollah-Lebanon War May Be “Imminent”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 17th, 2010 4:39 am by HL

Jordan’s King Says Israel-Hezbollah-Lebanon War May Be “Imminent”
Congressman Adam Schiff hosted a “Members Only” meeting of the ‘Congressional Friends of Jordan Caucus’ in the US House of Representatives this morning in the CVC Congressional Meeting Room with Jordan’s King Abdullah II. According to one attendee in the…


JordanAbdullah II of JordanMiddle EastAdam SchiffKing Abdullah

VIDEO: AIPAC Staffer Reveals How Lobby Works (In Berkeley and DC) ++ INSANE DAN PIPES ITINERARY
Now it’s on video. Top AIPAC staffer tells how AIPAC plans to turn around Berkeley vote on divestment. He says that AIPAC will take over Berkeley’s student government to install a pro-Israel student legislature. “This is how AIPAC operates…


American Israel Public Affairs CommitteeIsraelMiddle EastWarfare and ConflictIsrael-Palestine

The Whole List: Did Your Reps Sign The AIPAC Letter?
AIPAC has done it again — although getting the 76 Senators and 333 Representatives took a lot longer than it usually takes. There is nothing exceptional in the letters. They are the usual blah blah about how Israel is really…



American Israel Public Affairs CommitteeUnited StatesIsraelSenateMiddle East


The Week In Blog: End of Bipartisanship Edition

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 17th, 2010 4:38 am by HL

The Week In Blog: End of Bipartisanship Edition

The latest edition of The Week In Blog is up at BloggingHeads.tv featuring Matt Lewis and myself on blog reaction to Wall Street reform, the Tea Party express and Elena Kagan possible Supreme Court nomination. Watch it below.