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Archive for December 28th, 2010

Late, Late Night FDL: Hold The Line

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 28th, 2010 5:50 am by HL

Late, Late Night FDL: Hold The Line
Toto – Hold The Line

Toto – Hold The Line

And because I can…

I’d promised That Guy I’d feature that kewl jewel he’d sent…! 😉

What’s on your mind tonite…?

A Reality Check for the GOP

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 28th, 2010 5:49 am by HL

A Reality Check for the GOP
It’s been not quite two months’ time since Republicans won a sweeping midterm victory, and already they seem divided, embattled and—not to mince words—freaked out. For good reason, I might add. By Eugene Robinson

It’s been not quite two months’ time since Republicans won a sweeping midterm victory, and already they seem divided, embattled and—not to mince words—freaked out. For good reason, I might add.

Related Entries

The Game-Changer List
This year was a game-changer, and what we need is a game-changer list. On that kind of list, I would drop one-off sensations, beginning with the oil spill, the Haitian earthquake and the mine rescue. No. 1 would be WikiLeaks. By Richard Reeves

This year was a game-changer, and what we need is a game-changer list. On that kind of list, I would drop one-off sensations, beginning with the oil spill, the Haitian earthquake and the mine rescue. No. 1 would be WikiLeaks.

Related Entries

Ronnie Shows: Obama Can Win by Securing the Middle

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 28th, 2010 5:48 am by HL

Ronnie Shows: Obama Can Win by Securing the Middle
President Obama’s move to the political middle, by extending Bush tax cuts and unemployment insurance for millions of out of work Americans, offers his best hope for re-election in 2012.

Number Of Uninsured Americans Soars Above 50 Million
Less than a year ago, Francis Campos-Dunn was still working at a county hospital in the San Francisco Bay Area, helping patients navigate the often-maddening…

Alvin Greene Vying To Make Political Comeback
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Alvin Greene, the unemployed Army veteran who suggested during his failed U.S. Senate bid that making action figures of himself would help…

NASA’s Ares Rocket Dead, But Congress Lets You Pay $500 Million More For It
Thanks to congressional inaction, NASA must continue to fund its defunct Ares I rocket program until March — a requirement that will cost the agency…

Sarah Palin Attempts To Explain ‘Refudiate’ Gaffe
Amid the familial banter that took place on Sunday’s episode of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” the former Alaska Governor went beyond criticism of conservationists to explain…

Frum Bungles Key Immigration Facts to Justify Killing Immigration Reform

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 28th, 2010 5:47 am by HL

Frum Bungles Key Immigration Facts to Justify Killing Immigration Reform

In a CNN.com opinion piece, CNN contributor David Frum attempted to justify the defeat of immigration reform bills, including the DREAM Act, by suggesting such measures would not help the United States attract highly skilled immigrants. In fact, both the DREAM and comprehensive immigration reform bills contain measures that would help attract such immigrants.

Frum Suggests Immigration Reform Measures Will Not Help Attract Highly Skilled Workers

Frum Advises Congress To “Return To The Drawing Board” And Rethink Immigration Following Failure of Immigration Bills. In his op-ed, Frum writes that the defeat of the DREAM Act and the comprehensive immigration reform proposed by Sens. John McCain and Ted Kennedy in 2007 show that “Congress will have to return to the drawing board on immigration.” Frum also claims that because America “does not suffer from a generalized labor shortage,” immigration goals have to change. From Frum’s CNN.com op-ed titled, “What’s the value of immigration?”:

The defeat of DREAM follows on the defeat of the McCain-Kennedy “pathway to citizenship” legislation of 2007. Two defeats of two major bills within three years — that begins to look like a message.

Congress will have to return to the drawing board on immigration. And it should start with this question: What is immigration for? What are we trying to accomplish?

A century ago, the answer seemed obvious. Factories and mines clamored for workers as an underpopulated continent beckoned settlers.

America in the 21st century, however, does not suffer from a generalized labor shortage. If labor were scarce, you’d expect wages to rise. Instead, wages were stagnating even before the recession hit in 2008. The typical hourly job in this country paid no higher wage in 2008 (adjusting for inflation) than in 1974. Add the value of fringe benefits, and you get a 37% increase since 1978.


If we chose our immigrants differently, immigration would upgrade the average skill level of the U.S. population. (As is, 31% of immigrants have not completed high school.) If we chose our immigrants differently, they could contribute more in taxes than they require in benefits. (As is, immigrants are 50% more likely to be poor than the native-born.)

Back in the 1950s and 1960s, immigrants arrived with higher skills and soon gained higher incomes than the native born. That’s how immigration still works in Canada and Australia. Their immigration systems are race-neutral and favor prospective immigrants who arrive with language skills, advanced degrees or capital to invest.

Someday, the United States will probably have to double back and do something for the hard cases showcased in the Senate hearings on the DREAM bill. But if we really want to do something useful, we should do more than help the hard cases. We should ask some hard questions. [CNN.com, 12/20/10]

In Fact, DREAM Act Fills A Gap In U.S. Workforce By Providing Incentives For College Attendance

New England Journal Of Higher Education: “Not Enough Americans Are Completing College” To Fill Coming Job Vacancies. From a September 10 article in the New England Journal of Higher Education:

In its most recent report, Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018, the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce has shown that by 2018, we will need 22 million new college degrees to meet employers’ demand — but at current graduation rates, we will fall short of that number by at least 3 million postsecondary degrees, associate or better.

This 3 million shortfall is the equivalent of 300,000 additional graduates each year between now and 2018, or a 10% [annual] increase in degrees conferred by colleges and universities nationwide. College degrees are not the only kind of credential the American economy will come up short on; we will also need at least 4.7 million new workers with postsecondary certificates. [The New England Journal of Higher Education, 9/10/10]

To Be Eligible For DREAM Act, An Immigrant Must Attend College Or Serve In the U.S. Military. From the Dream Act as introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin:

The alien has completed at least 1 of the following:

(i) The alien has acquired a degree from an institution of higher education in the United States or has completed at least 2 years, in good standing, in a program for a bachelor’s degree or higher degree in the United States.

(ii) The alien has served in the Armed Forces for at least 2 years and, if discharged, has received an honorable discharge. [S. 3992, 11/30/10]

CIS: At Least One Million Undocumented Immigrants “Will Eventually Enroll In Public Institutions … As A Result Of The Dream Act.” From a November report from the Center for Immigration Studies:

Assuming no fraud, we conservatively estimate that 1.03 million illegal immigrants will eventually enroll in public institutions (state universities or community colleges) as a result of the DREAM Act. That is, they meet the residence and age requirements of the act, have graduated high school, or will do so, and will come forward. [Center for Immigration Studies, accessed 12/23/10]

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Proposal Contained Other Measures To Attract Highly Skilled Immigrants

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Proposal Contained Increase In H-1B Visas For Foreigners With Highly Specialized Knowledge. The 2007 version of the comprehensive immigration reform proposal to which Frum referred included a [[section called]] version of the “DREAM Act” [[which was similar in scope to the bill introduced by Durbin]]. It also included a provision to permanently increase the cap on visas for highly skilled workers sought by U.S. employees from 65,000 to 180,000. The bill provided:

H-1B Amendments.– Section 214(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1184(g)) is amended–

(1) in paragraph (1) by deleting clauses (i) through (vii) of subparagraph (A) and inserting in their place–

(i) 115,000 in fiscal year 2008;

(ii) in any subsequent fiscal year, subject to clause (iii), the number for the previous fiscal year as adjusted in accordance with the method set forth in paragraph (2); and

(iii) 180,000 for any fiscal year. [S. 1639, 6/18/07]

CRS: H-1B Visas Go to People In Fields Such As “Architecture, Engineering, Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, Medicine And Health, [And] Education.” From a 2006 memo by the Congressional Research Service on H-1B Visas:

Nonimmigrant temporary workers seeking employment in the United States are generally classified in the “H” visa category. The largest number of H visas are issued to temporary workers in specialty occupations, known as H-1B nonimmigrants. The regulations define a “specialty occupation” as requiring theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor including, but not limited to, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, law, accounting, business specialties, theology, and the arts, and requiring the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent as a minimum. [Congressional Research Service, 3/20/06]

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Proposal Contained Increased Border Security Provisions To Stem The Migration of Low-Skilled Undocumented Immigrants. As detailed by the summary of the bill, the 2007 comprehensive immigration reform proposal contained myriad enforcement provisions designed to decrease the number of undocumented immigrants entering the United States. The summary stated that the bill:

Establishes specified benchmarks which must be met before the guest worker and legalization programs under this Act may be initiated respecting: (1) operational control of the the border with Mexico; (2) Border Patrol increases; (3) border barriers, including vehicle barriers, fencing, radar, and aerial vehicles; (4) detention capacity for illegal aliens apprehended crossing the U.S.-Mexico border; (5) workplace enforcement, including an electronic employment verification system; and (6) Z-visa (as established by this Act) alien processing.

Establishes in the Treasury the Immigration Security Account to assist the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in meeting benchmark requirements.

Sets forth border security and enforcement provisions, including provisions respecting: (1) personnel and asset increases and enhancements, including Shadow Wolves units; (2) a National Strategy for Border Security and a National Land Border Security Plan; (3) border security initiatives, including biometric data enhancements, document integrity, and additional ports of entry; (4) a biometric entry-exit system; (5) cooperation with Mexico; (6) forfeiture of conveyances; (7) border security on federal lands; (8) a border relief grant program for a tribal, state, or local law enforcement agency in a border-proximate or high-impact area county; and (9) increased federal detention space.

Northern Border Prosecution Initiative Reimbursement Act – Directs the Attorney General to carry out the Northern Border Prosecution Initiative to reimburse northern border entities for costs incurred for handling case dispositions of criminal cases that are federally initiated but federally declined-referred.

Secure and Safe Detention and Asylum Act – Sets forth detention procedures and standards. Establishes: (1) an Office of Detention Oversight; and (2) a detention alternatives program.

Sets forth interior enforcement provisions, including provisions respecting: (1) additional immigration personnel; (2) detention and removal; (3) alien sex offenders and protection of immigrants from convicted sex offenders; (4) alien street gang members; (5) illegal entry and reentry; (6) passport and immigration fraud; (7) criminal aliens, including continuation of the Institutional Removal Program (IRP); (8) voluntary departure; (9) detention and alternatives; (10) criminal penalties; (11) alien smuggling; (12) tribal lands security; (13) state and local enforcement of immigration laws; (14) expedited removal; and (15) the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transfer System.

Makes it unlawful to knowingly hire, recruit, or refer for a fee an unauthorized alien.

Sets forth employment eligibility verification system provisions.

Provides for: (1) disclosure of certain taxpayer identity information to DHS; (2) establishment of the state records improvement grant program which may be used to help states comply with REAL ID requirements; and (3) establishment of the voluntary advanced verification program to verify employee identity.

Sets forth Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) immigration-related enforcement provisions. [The Library of Congress, 6/18/07]

Frum Misleads Regarding Population Growth And Immigration Rates

Frum Attacked Immigration Policy For Supposedly Unnecessarily “Import[ing] Almost A Million People A Year Legally, Plus Nearly The Same Illegally.” From his CNN column:

Nor is 21st-century America underpopulated. While vast parts of the United States remain empty, the areas that attract immigration are as densely populated as Europe. In fact, New Jersey has a higher population density than any country in Europe except the Netherlands.

So why import almost a million people a year legally, plus nearly the same illegally? That’s a question that usually goes not only unanswered but unasked. [CNN.com, 12/20/10]

But Declining Population Growth Has Led To Decline Of “Working Taxpayers Relative To The Number Of Older Persons.” A February 2003 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that “the median age of the world’s population is increasing,” and the United States would soon have fewer working citizens relative to retirees dependent on medical benefits. From the report:

The increased number of persons aged >65 years will potentially lead to increased health-care costs. The health-care cost per capita for persons aged >65 years in the United States and other developed countries is three to five times greater than the cost for persons aged <65 years, and the rapid growth in the number of older persons, coupled with continued advances in medical technology, is expected to create upward pressure on health- and long-term–care spending (12). In 1997, the United States had the highest health-care spending per person aged >65 years ($12,100), but other developed countries also spent substantial amounts per person aged >65 years, ranging from approximately $3,600 in the United Kingdom to approximately $6,800 in Canada (13). However, the extent of spending increases will depend on other factors in addition to aging (12).

The demands associated with long-term care might pose the greatest challenge for both personal/family resources and public resources. In the United States, nursing home and home health-care expenditures doubled during 1990–2001, reaching approximately $132 billion (14); of this, public programs (i.e., Medicaid and Medicare) paid 57%, and patients or their families paid 25% (14). In addition, during 2000–2020, public financing of long-term care is projected to increase 20%–21% in the United Kingdom and the United States and 102% in Japan (15). However, these increases will be less if public health interventions decrease disability among older persons, helping them to live independently. [Centers for Disease Control, 2/14/03]

A Pew Survey Of “Nearly 5,000 Mexican Migrants” Found That Most Skewed Younger. From a March 2005 report:

Although some significant differences are apparent from city to city, a general portrait emerges of a young, disproportionately male, sample that has recently arrived in the United States (Table 9). Compared with the adult population of Mexico, the sample is relatively well educated, but it fares poorly in comparison with the general level of educational achievement of the U.S. population.

In the full sample, 57 percent of the respondents were male and 40 percent were female. The largest age group was the 48 percent of respondents who were 18 to 29 years old. Of the total, 43 percent said they had been in the United States for five years or less (Table 9). By comparison, only 34 percent of the full Mexican-born population living in the United States falls into the 18-to-29-year-old age range, and only 29 percent has been in the country for five years or less. [Pew Hispanic Center, 3/2/05]

Pew Research Also Contradicts Frum’s Claim About The Rate Of Immigration. Contrary to Frum’s claim that the United States brings in “almost a million people a year legally, plus nearly the same illegally,” a report by the Pew Hispanic Center found that around 650,000 people per year immigrate to the United States legally. The same report found the number of illegal immigrants per year was closer to half a million. From the report:

Over the 1998-2004 period, the inflow of undocumented immigrants exceeded arrivals of legal permanent residents. From 2005 to 2008, about 1.6 million new undocumented immigrants arrived (an average of 500,000 a year), compared with 2.1 million legal permanent residents (an average of 650,000 a year). Examination of the annual estimates points to 2007 as the year the turnaround occurred. [Pew Hispanic Center, 10/2/08]

A More Recent Report Finds Illegal Immigration Has Declined Even Further Since Then. From a Pew Hispanic Center report from September of this year:

During the first half of the decade, an average of about 850,000 new unauthorized immigrants entered each year, increasing the unauthorized population from 8.4 million in 2000 to 11.1 million in 2005. Since then, the average annual inflow dropped to about 550,000 per year from March 2005 to March 2007 and declined further to an average of 300,000 per year for March 2007 to March 2009. As a result, the unauthorized population in 2009 returned to the level it had been in 2005.[Pew Hispanic Center, 9/1/10]

Frum Downplays The Economic Benefits Of Immigration

Frum: Immigration “Add[s] Just Fractions Of A Penny To The National Income.” From his CNN column:

Of course immigration also creates jobs, too. There are benefits as well as costs. In 2007, the President’s Council of Economic Advisers tried to balance these gains and losses. They totaled all the gains, subtracted the losses and concluded that our present immigration conferred a net benefit of … hold your excitement … somewhere between 0.22% of national income and 0.60% of national income..

(And as economist George Borjas notes, the CEA could reach the higher end number, 0.6%, only by ignoring the economic harm done by new immigration to the immediately prior immigrants.)

Given the immense scale of the immigration we receive, it seems incredible that immigration yields so small a net benefit.

Yet the CEA’s estimate tallies with previous work by the National Academy of Sciences back in the 1990s. Their work supported the low-end estimate of a net benefit from immigration of about one quarter of 1% of national income.

That seems a poor payoff for the disruption caused by mass migration. Imagine if your kid’s classroom went from zero non-English-speakers to 10 in just a couple of years. Then you are told that this turmoil is adding just fractions of a penny to the national income? Surely you’d ask: Why are we doing this? [CNN.com, 12/20/10]

Actually, Immigration Is Adding At Least Tens Of Billions Of Dollars To The National Income. According to World Bank data, the gross national income for the United States was $14 trillion in 2009. Therefore, even if Frum is correct that immigration is adding 0.22-0.25 percent to the national income, 0.25 percent of that figure is still $35 billion, and 0.22 percent of that figure is $30.8 billion. [The World Bank, accessed 12/23/10]

Economist James P. Smith: Immigrants May Add “As Much As $10 Billion To The Economy Each Year.” The National Academy of Science, which Frum cites approvingly, released a press release quoting economist James P. Smith saying that immigrants “may be adding as much as $10 million to the economy each year”:

Immigration benefits the U.S. economy overall and has little negative effect on the income and job opportunities of most native-born Americans, says a new report* by a panel of the National Research Council. Only in areas with high concentrations of low-skilled, low-paid immigrants are state and local taxpayers paying more on average to support the publicly funded services that these immigrants use.

“Immigrants may be adding as much as $10 billion to the economy each year,” said panel chair James P. Smith, senior economist at RAND Corp., Santa Monica, Calif. “It’s true that some Americans are now paying more taxes because of immigration, and native-born Americans without high school educations have seen their wages fall slightly because of the competition sparked by lower-skilled, newly arrived immigrants. But the vast majority of Americans are enjoying a healthier economy as the result of the increased supply of labor and lower prices that result from immigration.” [The National Academies, 5/17/97]

Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 28th, 2010 5:46 am by HL

Presented By:

South Carolina NAACP President Rips Secession Ball Gala
Several new details have emerged from the divisive secession ball held Monday in Charleston, South Carolina — a gala dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the state’s signing of the Ordinance of Secession. About 120 protesters marched in opposition to…

Group Opposed To DADT Repeal To Fight On Against Shower Policy
Since 1993, the Center for Military Readiness has been fighting to keep gay men and lesbians from infiltrating the United States military. So now that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has been repealed, what’s next for the group that fought so hard to prevent the open service of gay and lesbian members of the armed forces?

Sarah Palin Has Some ‘Work Done’ Over the Holidays

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 28th, 2010 5:42 am by HL

Sarah Palin Has Some ‘Work Done’ Over the Holidays
“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” – Ben Franklin

Wage Theft Is Rampant in America — Is Your Boss Ripping You off?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 28th, 2010 5:41 am by HL

Wage Theft Is Rampant in America — Is Your Boss Ripping You off?
U.S. employers are stealing millions of dollars from their own employees — often right out in the open, unchallenged.

It’s the Revenue, Stupid

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 28th, 2010 5:40 am by HL

It’s the Revenue, Stupid
Today The New York Times’ editorialists ratify one of the top, upcoming bogus stories for 2011 — the fiscal crisis of the states. The bogosity lies not in the fact of crisis, but in the purported remedies, remedies sought after…

How Jerry Brown Saved the World
I had a bad case of the blues. My woman up and left me, my daughter is a juvenile delinquent, my cat does nothing but complain. I needed to be taken to another place. Sitting under a tree in the…

Barbour, the Citizens’ Councils, and the GOP
Every few years it seems the public is treated to an unguarded moment by a southern Republican of a certain age expressing admiration for his political forebears. The latest is Mississippi governor Haley Barbour’s celebration of the Citizens’ Councils as…

Exclusive: Huckabee Working With Scam Artist Notorious For Targeting Foreclosure Victims

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 28th, 2010 5:39 am by HL

Exclusive: Huckabee Working With Scam Artist Notorious For Targeting Foreclosure Victims
Fox News personality and former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) recently began appearing in television commercials calling for viewers to dial a 1-800 number to sign a repeal petition against health reform called “Repeal It Now.” The ad, a “project of Restore America’s Voice” (RAV), a political action committee run by Huckabee’s friend Ken Hoagland, also […]

Fox News personality and former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) recently began appearing in television commercials calling for viewers to dial a 1-800 number to sign a repeal petition against health reform called “Repeal It Now.” The ad, a “project of Restore America’s Voice” (RAV), a political action committee run by Huckabee’s friend Ken Hoagland, also directs viewers to a website that solicits donations. “Well now, we’ll do our spanking on the Congress,” says a cheerful Huckabee before claiming that Americans will “rule” again if the petitioned is signed.

Huckabee, who has a history of using his ubiquitous media presence to fundraise for political groups benefiting himself and his family, is again associating with a shady political venture. ThinkProgress has learned that Huckabee is working with a firm notorious for defrauding families facing foreclosure with false promises and predatory fees.

According to disclosures filed with the FEC, RAV’s campaign is managed by a firm called the 949 Media Group. 949 has been paid tens of thousands of dollars to set up RAV’s website and Google search optimization, and receives a regular commission of $10,000 for related media work from RAV. ThinkProgress spoke to a representative from RAV, who told us that 949 is run by an individual named Derek Oberholtzer. According to the representative, Oberholtzer has worked with RAV since the PAC formed in October.

Oberholtzer is well known as a scam artist who has used a myriad of tricks to defraud people out of their money. In addition to 949 Media Group, he started a number of companies, including “Apply 2 Save” (A2S) and Giant Media Works. Consumer report websites are rife with complaints about Oberholtzer’s odious business practices. In one scheme, Oberholtzer paid for radio and other advertisements telling distressed homeowners to contact his company A2S to pay a flat $595 fee to receive assistance in renegotiating their loans or to block a bank foreclosure. The Federal Trade Commission has prosecuted Oberholtzer for deceptive practices. In numerous cases, Oberholtzer took the $595 payment, and never did anything to stop a foreclosure or even contact the mortgage company in question. In many instances he continued billing his customers further fees totaling nearly $1,000 without lifting a finger to actually renegotiate their mortgage or halt a foreclosure, as his “Apply 2 Save” company promised.

On message boards discussing mortgage fraud, story after story details A2S’s trickery. There are heartbreaking tales of families spending their last savings on a lifeline promised by Oberholtzer’s company — only to be defrauded and forced out of their homes.

After receiving over 150 complaints about Oberholtzer’s companies charging up-front fees of over $1,500 without delivering on any foreclosure assistance, the Idaho attorney general banned Oberholtzer from engaging in the home loan business in his state. “Apply 2 Save operated for less than a year, signed up hundreds of clients, and took in millions of dollars,” said Lawrence Wasden, Idaho’s attorney general. “Yet few consumers ever received the mortgage modification services they purchased.” After a successful lawsuit, Wasden was able to win $45,000 from A2S to distribute to Oberholtzer’s victims. In Maryland, Oberholtzer has been served an order to cease and desist after the state commissioner of financial regulation received multiple complaints about Apply 2 Save’s fraudulent scheme. Eventually, A2S was forced into bankruptcy and a wave of legal action in Idaho spurred Oberholtzer to move to California. Oberholtzer also agreed to pay $4 million to settle a civil suit filed by the Federal Trade Commission.

Once he was driven out of the business of defrauding already desperate people facing foreclosure, Oberholtzer became active in Republican politics. The “Repeal It Now” campaign set up by Restore America’s Voice and 949 Media Group claims endorsements from Huckabee, Joe “The Plumber” Wurzelbacher, and somehow from deceased president Ronald Reagan. Olberholtzer also owns inactive domains called electmichele.org (presumably for Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), repeality.biz, electme2012.com, and ravpac.info. The “Repeal It Now” campaign Huckabee stars in does nothing to accurately discuss health reform or address the health care crisis. It only exists to rake in donations and spread right-wing hysteria.

As ThinkProgress has reported, there are a number of right-wing consultants who appear to orchestrate campaigns simply to enrich themselves. For example, one of the well-paid leaders of the Tea Party Patriots made a career before the Tea Party movement concocting pyramid schemes with herbal nutrient products and the Tea Party Express is run by an infamous Republican consulting firm known for starting front groups to funnel donations back to themselves. Similarly, people like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich seem to be willing to say or do anything to earn a quick buck. However, Huckabee’s central role in legitimizing fraudsters like Oberholtzer might be a new low, even for the radical right.

Rep.-Elect Walsh Joins Just Four Other Republicans In Forgoing Government Health Care For Themselves
Responding to Rep.-elect Andy Harris’ (R-MD) hypocritical demand for government-sponsored health coverage last month, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) circulated a letter among his colleagues calling on Harris and other members of Congress who want to repeal President Obama’s health care law to forgo their own government health care plans. At least four GOP congressmen have […]

Responding to Rep.-elect Andy Harris’ (R-MD) hypocritical demand for government-sponsored health coverage last month, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) circulated a letter among his colleagues calling on Harris and other members of Congress who want to repeal President Obama’s health care law to forgo their own government health care plans. At least four GOP congressmen have already announced they will turn down their congressional benefits, and a recent poll found that a majority Americans “think incoming Congressmen who campaigned against the health care bill should put their money where their mouth is and decline government provided health care now that they’re in office.” In an interview with the New York Times published yesterday, Rep.-elect Joe Walsh (R-IL) has said he too will forgo government health coverage:

And get this: he’s turned down the usual congressional health care, pension and retirement packages.

“I don’t think congressmen should get pensions or cushy health care plans,” he said. His wife is not exhilarated with the latter decision; she has a pre-existing medical condition and is now forced to hunt for a plan.

Walsh’s decision to forgo government coverage is noteworthy because it is extremely unusual. Of the eighty-plus incoming Republican congressmen, all of whom ran campaigns railing against the Affordable Care Act, and the hundreds of incumbent GOP lawmakers, ThinkProgress has been able to identify only five who are willing to put their money where their mouth is and turn down government health care for themselves. This translates to just 2 percent of the 242 GOP House members of the 112th Congress. Moreover, those who have turned down their congressional health plans are either covered by other government programs, such as veterans benefits, or are wealthy, like Walsh, and can afford to pay for their own coverage.

Walsh’s wife, however, may have a hard time finding coverage no matter what she’s willing to pay due to her preexisting condition. If only Congress has passed some sort of law barring insurance companies from discriminating against people with preexisting conditions…

Jonathan Capehart: Bipartisan ‘birther’ backlash in Hawaii

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 28th, 2010 5:38 am by HL

Jonathan Capehart: Bipartisan ‘birther’ backlash in Hawaii
Democrats and Republicans don’t agree on a heckuva a lot. But in the Aloha State of Hawaii when it comes to dealing with those seriously cracked people who refuse to accept that President Obama is an American citizen, there is bipartisan agreement that ‘birthers’ are a blot on the body politic. E…

Miller not done, but won’t stand in way of Murkowski’s Senate certification
Attorney Joe Miller has not finished fighting his months-long legal challenge over the Senate contest in Alaska, but he says he will not stand in the way this week when the state is expected to certify his opponent, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, as the victor in the closely watched race.

Activist groups take full advantage of new media outlets to spread their message
When black college students began the sit-in protests that led to the integration of the Jim Crow South, news spread quickly by word of mouth. Soon, students in several states were engaged in similar nonviolent sit-ins, spurring on the civil rights movement.

Ezra Klein: Why we’re not likely to get tax reform
There’s no issue that lends itself to as many applause lines as tax reform. At about 70,000 pages, the tax code is both intrinsically absurd and widely disliked. Rep. Dave Camp, the incoming chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has a particularly good one: “The tax code is 10 times lon…

Miss. Gov. Barbour takes heat for jet trips
Just a week after coming under fire for saying he didn’t remember the civil-rights era being that bad, Politico reports that Mississippi governor and potential 2012 presidential candidate Haley Barbour (R) has been flying lavishly on the taxpayer’s dime. According to records, Mississippi has spen…