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Archive for June 11th, 2010

Cancer Booms in Chinese Factory Towns

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 11th, 2010 4:51 am by HL

Cancer Booms in Chinese Factory Towns
Polluting factories in rural communities are forming a deadly toxic cocktail for villagers in China, leading to surging rates of cancer. Chinese farmers are almost four times more likely to die of liver cancer and twice as likely to die of stomach cancer than the global average, according to study commissioned by the World Bank. “Before the factories were built, there was no cancer. We were free of strange diseases,” said Cui Xiaoliang, who lives near Luliang City Industrial Park. “Now, we hear every year that this person or that person has cancer, especially lung and liver cancer. My aunt never drank alcohol or smoked. Her cancer was completely caused by pollution.”


Late Late Night FDL: Black

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 11th, 2010 4:50 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Black
Pearl JamBlack.

Pearl JamBlack.

What’s on your mind?

Early Morning Swim: Victoria Jackson, Frank McCourt and Paul Broun (R-GA) Worst Persons in the World
Should lying on the floor of the US Congress be like, illegal or something?

Should lying on the floor of the US Congress be like, illegal or something?

BROUN: I wanted to put some perspective on 2008, too. That’s when the President’s chief economic adviser — I guess the Treasury Secretary — told him that the sky was falling and that we needed to pass the Toxic Asset Relief Program, or TARP, which many Republicans voted against. I didn’t buy the Democratic Treasury Secretary under a Republican President because that’s exactly what Hank Paulson is. He’s a Wall Street insider, a Wall Street banker. Wall Street believes in big government.

Yeah, Wall Street loves big government, which is why they’re giving so much money to Republicans.

Idiot.


Behold: The World’s Oldest Leather Shoe

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 11th, 2010 4:49 am by HL

Behold: The World’s Oldest Leather Shoe
Here’s some news the world has been waiting for: It’s about a size seven, and it’s around 5,500 years old, and it’s the oldest leather shoe to date. Hooray for archaeology!

shoe

Here’s some news the world has been waiting for: It’s about a size seven, and it’s around 5,500 years old, and it’s the oldest leather shoe to date. Hooray for archaeology!

Related Entries



Kyl, Sessions Blast Kagan’s ‘Troubling’ Clerking Memos As ‘Political Advocacy’ Rather Than ‘Serious Legal Work’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 11th, 2010 4:48 am by HL

Kyl, Sessions Blast Kagan’s ‘Troubling’ Clerking Memos As ‘Political Advocacy’ Rather Than ‘Serious Legal Work’
WASHINGTON — Two senior Republican senators criticized Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan Thursday for memos she wrote as a young law clerk to Justice Thurgood…

Saul Friedman: The Longest Day and the Longest War
The wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere have cost our treasury one trillion dollars. Imagine what even part of that could have done for health care, education and decrepit schools.

John McCain Backs Snooki’s Attack On Obama, Tanning-Bed Tax
PHOENIX — Arizona Sen. John McCain is taking to Twitter to slam President Barack Obama, this time in an exchange with a star from MTV’s…


Did the GOP commission Fox to rewrite the history books?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 11th, 2010 4:47 am by HL

Did the GOP commission Fox to rewrite the history books?

Appearing on Fox & Friends, purported business expert Stuart Varney made extensive revisions to U.S. economic history, among them: the false suggestion that President Obama has not cut taxes; the false suggestion that President Bush presided over strong job growth; and the false claim that after President Clinton took office, the economy did not improve until Republicans took control of Congress.

Erasing $288 billion in tax relief, Varney falsely suggests Obama has not cut taxes 

Varney: When Reagan took office, “he cut taxes”; when Obama took office, “he raises taxes.” From the June 10 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:  

VARNEY: Yes, well look. What happened when President Reagan took office in January 1981? We had double-digit unemployment. He cut taxes, set off a growth of prosperity for a generation. Now we’ve got President Obama in; he inherits a nasty recession, he raises taxes and raises spending. He has not cut unemployment. There’s a difference in reaction to a nasty situation. One works, one doesn’t work. I’m very partisan. I’m very clearly partisan. Sorry, ladies and gentlemen. 

In fact, Recovery Act included significant tax relief for individuals, families, and businesses. As Media Matters for America has noted, the Recovery Act contained $288 billion in tax relief, including the Making Work Pay tax credit, which is a two-year annual credit of $400 per individual or $800 for families. In addition, the Recovery Act included a temporary increase in the earned income tax credit, a temporary increase in the refundable portion of the child tax credit, an increase in the first-time homebuyer tax credit, and tax incentives for businesses. 

Bruce Bartlett: “[F]ederal taxes are very considerably lower by every measure since Obama became president.” Bruce Bartlett, former adviser to President Reagan and a Treasury Department economist under President 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: “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,” i.e. complaints by some of being overtaxed, does not match the reality of Americans’ current tax burdens. 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.

Tax-cut amnesia is News Corp.-wide phenomenon. In response to Obama’s State of the Union assertion that “we cut taxes,” Fox Forum columnist Peter Roff 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.” 

Accusing Dem of “cherry-picking,” Varney does just that to claim “Bush created 8 million new jobs”

Varney: From “2003 to 2007, George Bush created 8 million new jobs.” From the June 10 edition of Fox & Friends:

VARNEY: What you’re quoting there is Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida Democrat, who said on my show on FBN, she said, look, you take the first four months of this year, extrapolate out, and we’ve created more jobs in that year than Bush did in his eight years. Well, you’re cherry-picking time frames. You’re making a prediction of a trend, which simply isn’t there, and you’re ignoring reality. The reality is that in the middle of Bush years, and you’ve spoken about this, Brian [Kilmeade], 2003 to 2007, George Bush created 8 million new jobs. And that’s ignored here.

By cherry-picking just four years of Bush’s administration, Varney erased two recessions; in fact, only 1 million new jobs were created during Bush presidency. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of nonfarm jobs increased from 132.5 million in January 2001 to 133.5 million in January 2009, an increase of only 1 million jobs. By contrast, employment increased by 22.7 million under Clinton, 16.1 million under Reagan, 10.3 million under Jimmy Carter, and 2.6 under George H.W. Bush.

By including only data from 2003 to 2007, Varney erased the job impact of the recessions that began in 2001 and in 2007. The Washington Post reported in January 2009 that “economists, including some former advisers to Bush” say the expansion during the period Varney highlighted “was driven to a large degree by the interrelated booms in the housing market, consumer spending and financial markets,” which “have proved unsustainable.”

employmenthours

Bush employment growth worst of all post-WWII administrations. The New York Times reported on January 23, 2009, that during the Bush administration, “Employment grew at a compound annual rate of only 0.3 percent, half the 0.6 percent rate that his father had recorded in what had previously been the worst post-World War II performance.”

Fox & Friends makes misleading, apples-to-oranges comparison of unemployment rates

Doocy: “Obama is in a bad spot.” From the June 10 edition of Fox & Friends:

DOOCY: We’re looking at U.S. unemployment over the last 12 years — 12 months, that is to say. But when you look over the last number of decades, Obama is in a bad spot because when you look at, starting with LBJ, he had unemployment at 4 percent. Ike was under 5, Nixon 5, Clinton 5, Bush 43 5, JFK 6, Bush 41 — and just read along. Obama’s at the bottom with over 9 percent.

Fox compared unemployment rate of Obama’s first year-and-a-half, which came during the midst of a deep recession, to the average unemployment rates of past presidents. In two on-screen graphics, Fox & Friends prematurely compared the average unemployment rate over less than 1.5 years under Obama — who took office in the midst of a deep recession — to the average unemployment rates over the full presidencies of Bush and other former presidents. Fox & Friends listed the average unemployment rate under Bush as 5.3 percent. When Bush left office in January 2009, the unemployment rate was 7.7 percent and had been increasing for more than a year.

unemploymentchyron

unemploymentchart

Varney falsely claims that after Clinton took office, “economy was not stimulated” until “the Republicans swept in”

From the June 10 edition of Fox & Friends:

VARNEY: Look, when George Bush cut taxes in 2001, 2002, that was in a recession. It got us out of the recession —

BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Fifty-one consecutive months of growth —

VARNEY: And gave us 51 consecutive months of economic growth. That was the direct result of tax cuts, which stimulated the economy. Now, I know you’re gonna refer to President Clinton. First thing he did when he comes into office, he raises taxes on the top 1 percent of income earners. The immediate result of that was not to stimulate the economy. No, the economy was not stimulated until 1994, when the Republicans swept in, put a collar on government spending, and made sure that we were fiscally sound. Then the economy took off, and revenues took off.

Clinton’s 1993 budget plan also included spending cuts, as well as expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, Head Start, and other programs. Varney stated: “First thing [Clinton] did when he comes into office, he raises taxes on the top 1 percent of income earners. The immediate result of that was not to stimulate the economy.” According to the Brookings Institution, the 1993 package also “included significant spending reductions” and “concentrated the tax increases on upper-income taxpayers, while substantially expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, Head Start, and other government programs aimed at lower earners.”

Economy was recovering before Republicans took control of Congress. Contrary to Varney’s claim that “the economy was not stimulated until 1994, when the Republicans swept in, put a collar on government spending, and made sure that we were fiscally sound,” the economy had, in fact, been recovering before that point. According to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, GDP increased 4.1 percent in 1994, before the Republicans controlled Congress, and had been recovering since 1991, when GDP fell .2 percent. The economy continued to grow throughout the 1990s.

realgdp

Varney falsely claimed “we had double-digit unemployment” when “Reagan took office in January 1981”

From the June 10 edition of Fox & Friends:

VARNEY: Yes, well look. What happened when President Reagan took office in January 1981? We had double-digit unemployment. He cut taxes, set off a growth of prosperity for a generation.

In fact, unemployment reached double digits 20 months into Reagan’s term. According to BLS data, the unemployment rate was 7.5 in January 1981, when Reagan took office. The unemployment rate increased steadily over 20 months and passed 10 percent in September 1982.


Greene’s Filing Fee Check Featured Hand-Scrawled ‘Alvin M. Greene For Senate’ (PICTURE)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 11th, 2010 4:46 am by HL

Greene’s Filing Fee Check Featured Hand-Scrawled ‘Alvin M. Greene For Senate’ (PICTURE)
The check that Alvin Greene used to pay his filing fee to run for U.S. Senate is distinguished as a “campaign” check by the words “Alvin M. Greene for Senate” scribbled in pen in the upper right hand corner. See it here.


South CarolinaUnited States SenateAlvin GreeneUnited StatesPolitics

Clyburn Alleges Conspiracy To Plant Candidates In Three Dem Primaries In S.C.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn tells TPM he thinks there is a broader conspiracy going on in South Carolina — with Alvin Greene being one of three suspicious candidates he thinks were “plants” on Democratic primary ballots.



South CarolinaAlvin GreeneDemocratic PartyPrimary electionUnited States

Haley Home Free In South Carolina Governor’s Race?
After weathering two frantic weeks of claims of infidelity, polygraph stunts, and outright racism, South Carolina Republican Nikki Haley won big in the GOP gubernatorial primary Tuesday — though not quite big enough to avoid a runoff in two weeks with Rep. Gresham Barrett.



South CarolinaNikki HaleyRepublicanJ. Gresham BarrettGresham Barrett


The Tattlesnake – Primary Post-Mortem Edition

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 11th, 2010 4:42 am by HL

The Tattlesnake – Primary Post-Mortem Edition
“Dear Lord Jesus, I do not often speak with you and ask for things, but now, I really must insist that you help me win the election tomorrow because I deserve it and Paul Metzler doesn’t, as you well know. … I’m asking that you go that one last mile and make sure to put […]


Quote of the Day

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 11th, 2010 4:41 am by HL

Quote of the Day
“Now you’ve got to play ‘Where’s Sharron?’ because she’s hiding out, according to the local news. I might hide out, too, if I said I wanted to get rid of Social Security and Medicare.”

— Bill Clinton, quoted by the Las Vegas Review Journal, recalling the children’s book Where’s Waldo? when referring to Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R) who isn’t giving interviews after her primary win earlier this week.

Greene Meets Olbermann
South Carolina Senate candidate Alvin Greene (D) had a bizarre interview last night with Keith Olbermann. You just have to watch it.

Gawker: “On the surface, there seems to be literally nothing to Alvin Greene the Democratic Senate candidate. Every interview and profile has so far only deepened this nothingness, begging us to fill it in with our own conspiracy theories — he’s a plant! Someone’s tricking him! Watching his performance on Olbermann, lobbing almost perfect non-answers at Olbermann’s hard-hitting questions, you can’t help but wonder if maybe Alvin Greene really is just some random dude.”

Required Gadget in Obama’s Inner Circle
“The folks who gather early every morning in the West Wing office of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel have something new in common these days. Practically everyone has an iPad — or will have one very soon,” the Washington Post reports.


The LA Times Insults Obama Regularly

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 11th, 2010 4:40 am by HL

The LA Times Insults Obama Regularly
Why does one of the largest newspapers in the country allow its political writer to routinely disrespect the president in a casually insulting way?

Why does one of the largest newspapers in the country allow its political writer to routinely disrespect the president in a casually insulting way?

Younger People Are Fundamentally Less Concerned with Race, Putting the Republicans on the Defensive
Why conservatives are shuddering with apocalyptic anxiety about generational trends.

Why conservatives are shuddering with apocalyptic anxiety about generational trends.

Last Words of the Executed: Haunting Final Statements From The Condemned
A new book, Last Words of the Executed, illustrates the power of inmates’ choice of last words which are funny, odd, sad and haunting — a microcosm of the human experience.

A new book, Last Words of the Executed, illustrates the power of inmates' choice of last words which are funny, odd, sad and haunting — a microcosm of the human experience.

Years of Internal BP Probes Warned That Neglect Could Lead to Accidents
Internal investigations warned BP for years that the company had created a culture of disregard for safety and environmental rules and risked a serious accident.

Internal investigations warned BP for years that the company had created a culture of disregard for safety and environmental rules and risked a serious accident.


Barrasso Calls Temporary Moratorium On Deepwater Drilling ?A Second Assault On The Gulf?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 11th, 2010 4:39 am by HL

Barrasso Calls Temporary Moratorium On Deepwater Drilling ?A Second Assault On The Gulf?
Last month, the Interior Department instituted a six-month moratorium for wells deeper than 500 ft, directing them to “cease drilling any new deepwater wells, including wellbore sidekick and bypass activities.” “With the BP oil spill still growing in the gulf, and investigations and reviews still under way, a six-month pause in drilling is needed, appropriate, […]

Last month, the Interior Department instituted a six-month moratorium for wells deeper than 500 ft, directing them to “cease drilling any new deepwater wells, including wellbore sidekick and bypass activities.” “With the BP oil spill still growing in the gulf, and investigations and reviews still under way, a six-month pause in drilling is needed, appropriate, and prudent,” said Salazar.

But the “pause” in drilling is leading to some imprudent rhetoric from supporters of more oil drilling. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) sent a letter to the Obama administration on Monday claiming that the moratorium would cause more “economic devastation than the oil spill itself.” On PBS last night, Sen. John Barrasso called it “a second assault on the Gulf“:

LEHRER: Senator Barrasso, do you believe that the bulk of the responsibility and the lack of action, as you say, should go to B.P., or do you think it’s now the federal government’s responsibility?

BARRASSO: Well, today, in the Energy Committee hearing, the – – Secretary Salazar, the secretary of interior, said we have been on top of this and making the decisions from the beginning.

But I think, when the American people take a look at this, in day 51, and they see the oil continuing to spew out, they’re saying, is everyone helpless? What — what are the best ideas?

And — and I had additional questions for the secretary today about the moratorium, because I think that’s going to be a second assault on the Gulf, with — even by the department’s own recognition, that it’s over 100,000 jobs that can be lost if they don’t go back and continue to provide the energy for the people of the United States.

LEHRER: So, you’re — you — you are opposed to the moratorium?

BARRASSO: I am opposed to the moratorium.

In the same segment, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) defended the moratorium, saying that “we sure better know what went wrong before we continue to do this, because we sure don’t want to have another one of these things go off and fill the Gulf up all the more.” Barrasso wasn’t convinced, again calling it an “assault on the economy.” Watch it: