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Archive for April 21st, 2010

The Party of Financial Responsibility

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 21st, 2010 4:50 am by HL

The Party of Financial Responsibility
Republicans have an ideological battle over financial reform.

Well, it is a day ending in “Y”, that means there must be some tale of GOP fiscal management to discuss.

The RNC spent more than $340K at a semi-annual meeting in Honolulu in Jan., the latest example of the party spending lavishly on itself while GOP officials worry they won’t have enough money to take advantage of a promising national landscape this fall…The $340K documented in FEC filings does not include airfare for each staffer, which could amount to tens of thousands more.

That is more than they will spend in some key House races, including one that is contested in Hawaii.

But we are talking about Republicans:

Federal law enforcement agencies have launched a criminal investigation into the use of American Express cards issued by the Republican Party of Florida to elected officials and staff…the IRS is also looking at the tax records of at least three former party credit card holders — former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio

Oh no, not Teabagger heartthrob Scott Brown Marco Rubio!

Fortunately, there is one Republican dedicated to real reform, Nevada Senate Candidate Sue Lowden.

I’m telling you that this works. You know, before we all started having health care, in the olden days our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor…I’m not backing down from that system.

Giving your chicken up for someone else to choke doesn’t sound like a great health care scheme, but it does sound like a typical RNC reimbursable expense.



Goldman Plays, We Pay

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 21st, 2010 4:49 am by HL

Goldman Plays, We Pay
The story of the financial debacle will end the way it began, with the super-hustlers from Goldman Sachs at the center of the action and profiting wildly. Never in U.S. history has one company wielded such destructive power over our political economy, irrespective of whether a Republican or a Democrat happened to be president.

Goldman Sachs

By Robert Scheer

The story of the financial debacle will end the way it began, with the super-hustlers from Goldman Sachs at the center of the action and profiting wildly. Never in U.S. history has one company wielded such destructive power over our political economy, irrespective of whether a Republican or a Democrat happened to be president.


Related Entries


‘Colbert Report’: The SEC Shafts Goldman Sachs
Stephen Colbert is outraged at the Obama administration’s attempt to thwart banks’ promotion of risky investments. After all, risky investments are like risky sex, and “if you make the banks wear a condom, they won’t be able to feel it when they’re f*&#ing us over.”

Colbert

Stephen Colbert is outraged at the Obama administration’s attempt to thwart banks’ promotion of risky investments. After all, risky investments are like risky sex, and “if you make the banks wear a condom, they won’t be able to feel it when they’re f*&#ing us over.”

Related Entries



Hispanic Lawmakers Disagree On Immigration Reform Strategy

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 21st, 2010 4:48 am by HL

Hispanic Lawmakers Disagree On Immigration Reform Strategy
A disconnect is growing among Hispanic lawmakers over the strategy for moving comprehensive immigration reform, with some pressuring President Barack Obama to push legislation this…

Robert Reich: A Short Citizen’s Guide to Reforming Wall Street
The Dodd bill now being considered in the Senate is a step in the right direction. Yet despite the hype, it’s a very modest step. It leaves out three of the most important things we need.

Jeff Danziger: Goldman Profit


Limbaugh responds to Clinton with torrent of incendiary rhetoric

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 21st, 2010 4:47 am by HL

Limbaugh responds to Clinton with torrent of incendiary rhetoric

In recent days, President Bill Clinton has warned that incendiary rhetoric and “demonizing the government” incited domestic terrorism during his presidency and threatened to do so again. On his April 19 broadcast, Rush Limbaugh responded by unleashing a torrent of incendiary rhetoric, claiming that the Obama administration is “ripp[ing] apart” and “overthrow[ing]” the country and blaming Clinton for the Oklahoma City bombing and the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Clinton: “Demonizing” gov’t, public servants can lead to domestic terror

In an April 16 speech, Clinton said of the 1995 bomb attack on an Oklahoma City federal building:

The second lesson we have to learn is that we can’t let the debate veer so far into hatred that we lose focus of our common humanity. It’s really important. We can’t ever fudge the fact that there is a basic line dividing criticism from violence or its advocacy. And the closer you get to the line, and the more responsibility you have, the more you have to think about the echo chamber in which your words resonate.

Look, criticism is part of the lifeblood of democracy. Nobody’s right all the time. But Oklahoma City proved once again that, beyond the law, there is no freedom. And there is a difference between criticizing a policy or a politician and demonizing the government that guarantees our freedom and the public servants who implement them. And the more prominence you have in politics or media or some other pillar of life, the more you have to keep that in mind.

[…]

But what we learned from Oklahoma City is not that we should gag each other or that we should reduce our passion for the positions we hold, but that the words we use really do matter because there are — there’s this vast echo chamber. And they go across space and they fall on the serious and the delirious, alike; they fall on the connected and the unhinged, alike. And I am not trying to muzzle anybody.

But one of the things that the conservatives have always brought to the table in America is a reminder that no law can replace personal responsibility. And the more power you have, and the more influence you have, the more responsibility you have. Look, I’m glad they’re fighting over health care and everything else; let them have at it.

But I think that all you have to do is read the paper every day to see how many people there are who are deeply, deeply troubled. We know, now, that there are people involved in groups — these “hatriot” groups, the Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters, the others — 99 percent of them will never do anything they shouldn’t do. But there are people who advocate violence and anticipate violence.

[…]

When George Washington served his two terms and went home to Mount Vernon to retire and John Adams became president, he was called out of retirement one time. You know what it was? He was called out of retirement to command the Armed Forces sent to Pennsylvania to put down the Whiskey Rebellion, because good Americans who had fought for this country crossed the line from advocating a different policy and opposing the current one to taking the law into their own hands in a violent manner.

Once in a while, over the last 200 years, we’ve crossed the line again. But by and large, that bright line has held, and that’s why this is the longest-lasting democracy in human history. That’s why there is so much free speech. That’s why people can organize their groups. It may seem like fringe groups that advocate whatever the livin’ Sam Hill they want to advocate. That’s why. But we have to keep the bright line alive. So that’s the second lesson.

Clinton offered similar comments in an interview aired on the April 18 edition of ABC’s This Week and in an April 19 New York Times op-ed.

Limbaugh says Obama administration is “authoritarian,” “overthrow[ing]” the country

Limbaugh: “The country is being overthrown,” “ripped apart, transformed, right before our very eyes.” Limbaugh responded by arguing that Clinton’s comments were part of an effort to smear the tea party movement. He stated: “The reality is that it’s the Obama crowd that doesn’t like government, that doesn’t like the country. It’s the Obama crowd and all of their related groups that have been protesting for as long as I’ve been alive that don’t like the country; the tea party people love this country.” He added that the tea party people are just angry because the “country is being overthrown. The country is being ripped apart, transformed, right before our very eyes, and in a fraudulent manner.”

Limbaugh: ” ‘Regime’ implies and defines authoritarian governments, which this one clearly is.” Responding to a critique of his use of the word “regime” to describe the Obama administration, Limbaugh explained that ” ‘regime’ implies and defines authoritarian governments, which this one clearly is.” 

Limbaugh: “I am treated as an enemy of the state.” Limbaugh stated: “I, a guy on the radio who can’t raise anybody’s taxes, can’t send anybody off to war, I cannot do one thing — I can’t harm you economically, I can’t do a damn — I am treated as an enemy of the state.”

Limbaugh: “Obama urges more opposition to us than he does Islamic terrorists.” Limbaugh stated: “I’m not saying that if we weren’t around they’d be beating Obama up. Don’t misunderstand. They would be full-throated supporters of Obama. But if we weren’t around it wouldn’t be this slavish, in the tank, sycophantic coverage. Because they now feel it necessary to defend themselves — and him — against us. Look at — Obama urges more opposition to us than he does Islamic terrorists.”

Limbaugh blames Clinton for the Oklahoma City bombing, 9-11

Limbaugh asks Clinton, “What words caused Timothy McVeigh to act,” says McVeigh was “outraged over the government invasion” in Waco. Responding to Clinton’s statement that “the words we use do really matter,” Limbaugh asked of Clinton: “What words caused Timothy McVeigh to act? Name one. I want to know what words and who spoke them. What are the words that Timothy McVeigh heard? What are the words he admitted that he heard that prompted him to act?” Limbaugh went on to say: “All I’ve ever heard is that Timothy McVeigh was outraged over the government invasion led by Janet Reno of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. And the Murrah building was blown up on that exact date two years later. … Somebody show me the words, Mr. President, that McVeigh heard and caused him to act.”

Limbaugh: “McVeigh was not inspired by anybody’s words, he was inspired by Mr. Clinton’s deeds.” Limbaugh said that “McVeigh was not inspired by anybody’s words, he was inspired by Mr. Clinton’s deeds. And this is what they’re trying to wash over; this is what they’re trying to erase from the historical record.”

Limbaugh: Clinton has “ties to the domestic terrorism of Oklahoma City.” Limbaugh said that Clinton, the Obama administration, and the press can “try to make Oklahoma City the result of a modern tea party movement,” but “President Clinton’s ties to the domestic terrorism of Oklahoma City are tangible; talk radio’s ties are nonexistent. We had nothing to do with it.”

Limbaugh: Because Clinton “ignored terrorism throughout the ’90s,” “the country was attacked on 9-11.” Limbaugh stated: “Let us not forget Bill Clinton ignored terrorism throughout the ’90s. As a result, the country was attacked on 9-11. Debra Burlingame with a great column in The Wall Street Journal today. It’s just not 9-11. How about the World Trade Center bombing in ’93 on Clinton’s watch; the Khobar Towers on Clinton’s watch? There were so many acts of terrorism in this country and around the world on Clinton’s watch. He didn’t care about it. He didn’t fight — he wanted to take on hard issues — he loved that 65 percent approval number.”

Limbaugh attacks Clinton for his role in “domestic violence,” “Waco invasion”

Limbaugh says children at Waco “really got abused by the U.S. government.” Discussing the standoff at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Limbaugh said: “Sixty-seven people died in the fire — we remember watching it — 20 children. Janet Reno said we have to go in there because children are being abused. Yep. They really got abused by the U.S. government.”

Limbaugh: “President Clinton … has had a direct and indirect role in so much pain and domestic violence.” Limbaugh stated: “So, throughout the ’90s, we are the victims of terrorism acts by people who Obama will not even call terrorists now. Bill Clinton and Janet Reno didn’t just threaten violence at Waco — they delivered it. As a result, American citizens — children, women, mothers — were killed. And what followed was a domestic terrorist bombing in Oklahoma City. And President Clinton, who has had a direct and indirect role in so much pain and domestic violence, lectures us about threats and acts of violence?”

Limbaugh: OKC bombing was “about the U.S. military invading a religious compound.” Limbaugh told listeners, “Don’t forget that the Oklahoma City bombing occurred two years to the day after the Waco invasion — two years to the day — and Tim McVeigh as much as said so.” Continuing, Limbaugh said that Clinton was involved in “an attempt to rewrite the history of the Oklahoma City bombing and the president’s role in it. … They know this is about Waco. They know this is about the U.S. military invading a religious compound.” 

Limbaugh: “You have President Clinton here simply lying about a terrible tragedy.” Limbaugh said: “You have President Clinton here simply lying about a terrible tragedy to try to chill free speech and libeling me and the tea party at the same time. It does not get more despicable than this.” 

Limbaugh: Tea party is “the first time” that “everyday citizens” have “risen up” “since the Civil War”

Limbaugh stated: “What is it that’s remarkable about the tea party is that it’s the first time an uprising of common, ordinary, average everyday citizens since the Civil War has risen up like this.”


SEC Enforcement Lawyer Who Quashed Stanford Probes Later Did Legal Work For Stanford

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 21st, 2010 4:46 am by HL

SEC Enforcement Lawyer Who Quashed Stanford Probes Later Did Legal Work For Stanford
Spencer Barasch, the chief of enforcement at the SEC’s Fort Worth office, who multiple times declined to pursue alleged Ponzi schemer Allen Stanford, later jumped ship to become a partner at a big private law firm where he proceeded to represent none other than ‘Sir’ Allen Stanford.


Judge: Kwame Kilpatrick Violated Probation
Disgraced former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, now living in north Texas and working as a salesman for a tech company, may be headed for jail after a Michigan judge ruled today he violated his probation by not disclosing assets as required under a plea deal.



Obama Gets No Health Care Bounce

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 21st, 2010 4:41 am by HL

Obama Gets No Health Care Bounce
A new Quinnipiac poll finds President Obama’s job approval at 44%, his lowest approval rating since his inauguration.

Notes pollster Peter Brown: “President Obama’s approval rating hovers at an all-time low. The White House had predicted passage of the health care overhaul would boost his fortunes, but that has not been the case, and that legislation itself remains decidedly unpopular.”

The survey also finds that 53% of American voters are “very confident” or “somewhat confident” the president will make the right decision in nominating a U.S. Supreme Court justice, while 46% percent are “not too confident” or “not confident at all.”

Five Senate Races the Tea Party Could Impact
The Daily Caller looks at the five Senate primary races where the Tea Party may play the biggest role in determining the winner.

They are: Nevada, Arizona, Kentucky, Florida and Utah.


The Media and Extremists Are Fanning the Flames of Hatred — Why Is the US Becoming So Uncivil?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 21st, 2010 4:40 am by HL

The Media and Extremists Are Fanning the Flames of Hatred — Why Is the US Becoming So Uncivil?
Our lack of civility in public discourse can be traced directly back to a lack of empathy. The only way to move forward is to actually listen to what the other side is saying.

Our lack of civility in public discourse can be traced directly back to a lack of empathy. The only way to move forward is to actually listen to what the other side is saying.

Toxic Nail Salons: Why Your Nail Polish Color Could be the Next Agent Orange
Nail salon workers, and potentially their customers, may be at risk from a toxic cocktail of chemicals that have been linked to cancer, birth defects and skin rashes.

Nail salon workers, and potentially their customers, may be at risk from a toxic cocktail of chemicals that have been linked to cancer, birth defects and skin rashes.

Study Settles It: Shocking Black & Latino Imprisonment Rates the Result of Racist, Punitive Impulse
How racist attitudes barely hide beneath the surface of ‘tough on crime’ policies.

How racist attitudes barely hide beneath the surface of 'tough on crime' policies.


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 21st, 2010 4:39 am by HL

Presented By:

TITLE: Top 10 Reasons I’m Breaking Up With You: An Open Letter in More Than 140 Characters
Though we’ve been involved now for over a year, we’ve gotten more serious in recent months.While we’ve always had our ups and downs, I’ve become worried that our relationship is overall unhealthy, imbalanced, and that I’ve become addicted to you….



HumorRecreationSocial NetworkingOnline CommunitiesScience in Society


Maryland Foster Agency Won?t Allow Muslim Mother To Foster A Child

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 21st, 2010 4:38 am by HL

Maryland Foster Agency Won?t Allow Muslim Mother To Foster A Child
Contemporary Family Services, a Maryland-based private foster agency that is “authorized by the state to place foster children with families,” has rejected the application of Tashima Crudup, a former foster child herself, to foster a child. A social worker who visited Crudup reported that she was “accepting of religious practices other than their own” and […]

con1Contemporary Family Services, a Maryland-based private foster agency that is “authorized by the state to place foster children with families,” has rejected the application of Tashima Crudup, a former foster child herself, to foster a child.

A social worker who visited Crudup reported that she was “accepting of religious practices other than their own” and was willing “to make arrangements to have a child attend the church of his or her own choice if so requested.” Nevertheless, Crudup’s application was rejected. Why? The agency expressed concern that Crudup does not keep pork in her house due to her Muslim faith:

Almost two decades ago, Tashima Crudup left her grandmother’s home and entered the city’s foster care system, where she learned firsthand what makes a good mother. As she shuffled from family to family beginning at age 8, Crudup encountered some attentive and loving foster parents, while others were unsupportive and constraining. “I always wanted to be a foster parent,” said the 26-year-old mother.

In July, Crudup — a practicing Muslim — contacted Contemporary Family Services, a private company authorized by the state to place foster children with families. She cleared an initial screening process and completed 50 hours of training classes for prospective parents. But after a home visit, her application was denied. The main reason: She doesn’t allow pork in her house.

In a letter addressed to Crudup, the company says that, although it respects her “personal/religious views and practices,” it also wants to “ensure that the religious, cultural and personal rights of each foster child” they place are upheld.

In an editorial, the Baltimore Sun responds, “There are thousands of kids across the state who desperately need stable homes and loving caretakers; that’s what foster care and adoption officials should be focusing on, not on which meat dish gets put on the table every night.”

The ACLU of Maryland, which has taken up Crudup’s case, is suing Contemporary Family Services and alleging anti-Muslim bias. “I have a hard time believing [the company] denies every vegetarian or Orthodox Jewish person a foster care license,” said Ajmel Quereshi, an attorney with the ACLU. The state’s Department of Human Resources (DHR), which gave the foster agency its contract to administer fostering services, has suggested that the company is violating the law. “The law does not permit the agency to make a determination solely on the type of food served in a home,” said DHR spokeswoman Nancy Lineman. (HT: Angry Mouse at DailyKos)

Texas? Cruel Push To Prevent Same-Sex Couples From Divorcing
Our guest blogger is Tobias Barrington Wolff, a Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Visiting Professor at NYU School of Law. He served as Chair of the National LGBT Policy Committee for the 2008 Presidential Campaign of Barack Obama. The AP has a report today that highlights one of the […]

Our guest blogger is Tobias Barrington Wolff, a Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Visiting Professor at NYU School of Law. He served as Chair of the National LGBT Policy Committee for the 2008 Presidential Campaign of Barack Obama.

Angelique Naylor The AP has a report today that highlights one of the dilemmas that same-sex couples face from discrimination under state and federal law. The story concerns Angelique Naylor and Sabina Daly, a Texas couple who married in Massachusetts in 2004, returned to Texas, and are now being forced to struggle with state officials in order to secure a divorce:

After the joy of a wedding and the adoption of a baby came arguments that couldn’t be resolved, leading Angelique Naylor to file for divorce. That left her fighting both the woman she married in Massachusetts and the state of Texas, which says a union granted in a state where same-sex marriage is legal can’t be dissolved with a divorce in a state where it’s not.

A judge in Austin granted the divorce, but Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is appealing the decision. He also is appealing a divorce granted to a gay couple in Dallas, saying protecting the “traditional definition of marriage” means doing the same for divorce.

A state appeals court is scheduled to hear arguments in the Dallas case on Wednesday.

There are now six jurisdictions in the United States where gay people have equal access to civil marriage: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Iowa, and the District of Columbia. When committed same-sex couples from other states want to marry, some of them travel to states like Massachusetts, perform the ceremony, and then return home, as Naylor and Daly did. Their home state may not recognize the marriage (most do not), but the marriage is still a legal relationship with consequences — to the status of the couple, who cannot marry anyone else while their original marriage endures, and to their rights relating to property, support, and custody of children.

Divorce is the legal mechanism that ensures protection for the rights of spouses and the well being of children when a marriage ends. In attempting to deny same-sex couples access to those legal protections, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott adds his state to a growing number that elevate hostility toward their LGBT citizens over good public policy.

If Texas has its way, couples like Naylor and Daly may not be able to secure a divorce anywhere. Most states, including Massachusetts, require that at least one spouse be a local resident before they can go to divorce court. A Texas couple can marry in Massachusetts, but they cannot divorce there without relocating.

And even securing a divorce in a state like Massachusetts will not guarantee a couple’s rights. When one state issues a divorce, other states are ordinarily required to enforce it, along with the division of property between the ex-spouses and any award of support. But the federal “Defense of Marriage” Act (DOMA) says that hostile states don’t have to enforce judicial proceedings “respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage…or a right or claim arising from such relationship.” DOMA is an invitation for hostile states to disregard the divorce decree of a same-sex couple altogether.

Consider what this means: Say that two men, both native to Iowa, get married and later divorce. If one decides to skip out on his obligations under the divorce decree, he can simply relocate to a place like Texas and dare his ex to come after him. If the couple were straight, the Texas courts would be required to enforce the decree. But since they’re a same-sex couple, Texas can invoke DOMA and pretend that the decree doesn’t exist, undoing all the property rights that were settled by the divorce.

There is only one word for this type of discrimination: Nasty. Texas should be ashamed.


Senate Budget Chairman Conrad goes further than Obama in plan to reduce deficits

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 21st, 2010 4:37 am by HL

Senate Budget Chairman Conrad goes further than Obama in plan to reduce deficits
A spending plan drafted by the Senate Budget Committee chairman would reduce deficits by slashing spending on programs unrelated to national security and forcing lawmakers to pay for popular tax policies, including provisions that protect middle-class families from the bite of the alternative…

Gates calls for overhaul of export licensing controls
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Tuesday that the government’s Cold War-era system of licensing the export of weapons and other high-tech goods was actually harming national security by blocking arms sales to allies and giving an advantage to foreign manufacturers.

As focus turns to economy, health care appears to be on White House back burner
Three months ago, at a private meeting of nervous House Democratic lawmakers, President Obama promised to put the full weight of his office behind the marketing of the health-care bill once it became law.

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