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Archive for February 21st, 2011

You don’t matter

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 21st, 2011 5:46 am by HL

You don’t matter
At least the GOP is willing to show us where we can, er, kneel

via Lemontage at flickr.com

With a major protest of people coalescing around the union movement in Wisconsin, how many labor leaders were on yesterday’s chat shows?

Same as usual, zero.

Meanwhile our new Republican Congress has demonstrated its priorities. After voting to prevent funding Planned Parenthood for family planning, the same Congress moved to fund “family planning” for horses.

Good to know where the American people stand with the Republican Party…well not standing really, more prostrate actually (not that many Democrats are much better).


Loughner Trial Moves to San Diego

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 21st, 2011 5:45 am by HL

Loughner Trial Moves to San Diego
The trial of Jared Loughner, the alleged shooter who killed six people in an assassination attempt on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, is being moved from Tucson to San Diego because of worries over pretrial publicity and heightened local sensitivities. —JCL The Examiner: The federal trial of Jared Loughner has been moved from Tucson to San Diego due to the pretrial publicity and local sensitivities surrounding the case over concerns Loughner may not get a fair trial in a traumatized Arizona. Legal experts say the venue change could mean Loughner is less likely to be sentenced to death since California is considered to be less conservative than Arizona. It was on Jan. 8, 2011, outside a supermarket in Tucson, Arizona, when Loughner went on a mass shooting spree killing six people, wounding 13 in an assassination attempt on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who survived after being shot at point blank range to the head. Read more

The trial of Jared Loughner, the alleged shooter who killed six people in an assassination attempt on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, is being moved from Tucson to San Diego because of worries over pretrial publicity and heightened local sensitivities. —JCL

The Examiner:

The federal trial of Jared Loughner has been moved from Tucson to San Diego due to the pretrial publicity and local sensitivities surrounding the case over concerns Loughner may not get a fair trial in a traumatized Arizona.

Legal experts say the venue change could mean Loughner is less likely to be sentenced to death since California is considered to be less conservative than Arizona.

It was on Jan. 8, 2011, outside a supermarket in Tucson, Arizona, when Loughner went on a mass shooting spree killing six people, wounding 13 in an assassination attempt on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who survived after being shot at point blank range to the head.

Read more

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Peter Clothier: Wisconsin Rises

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 21st, 2011 5:44 am by HL

Peter Clothier: Wisconsin Rises
First, this is about the saddest must-read that I ever read. Thanks to my friend Michael for having brought it to my attention. Things have…

Andrew Reinbach: Tomfoolery and Criminal Negligence
Are we as Americans grown up enough to face reality and build policy around the facts, or will we keep pretending this is 1955 and we have plenty of time to make attractive choices?

Harvey J. Kaye: When FDR Recruited Thomas Paine to the Struggle for the Four Freedoms
Today the political right does its best to lay claim to the revolutionary patriot Thomas Paine and to harness him to the cause of constraining…


Issa Issues Broad Countrywide VIP Loan Subpoena

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 21st, 2011 5:43 am by HL

Issa Issues Broad Countrywide VIP Loan Subpoena
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, expanded a prior investigation into the Countrywide Financial Corporation’s infamous VIP loan program by issuing a wide-ranging subpoena aimed at exposing the mortgage giant’s efforts to win friends and influence people at the highest levels of government. Issa’s subpoena, announced Wednesday night, was sent to Bank of America, which purchased Countrywide just before the worst of the nation’s economic crisis hit. The subpoena asks for all documents and requests related to Countrywide’s VIP program, which implicated Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) and former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), the then-chairman of the Banking Committee.


Nir Rosen on Lara Logan Tweets: “I Was A Jerk” (VIDEO)
Anderson Cooper took journalist Nir Rosen to task last night for his inappropriate tweets about CBS chief foreign affairs correspondent Lara Logan, who was attacked and sexually assaulted in Cairo’s Tahrir Square during the chaotic celebration following Hosni Mubarak’s resignation….

Does The Administration Have A Bahrain Problem?
The spirit of popular uprising that in a matter of weeks has toppled regimes in Tunisia and Egypt has now spread to several other countries in the region. Iran, Libya and Yemen have all seen protests this week. But the trickiest situation for the American government to react to could be the one in tiny Bahrain.


Waves in the Drake Passage as high as the ship!

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 21st, 2011 5:40 am by HL

Waves in the Drake Passage as high as the ship!
Here’s the update I just e-mailed to my daughter Ashley: The waves here are humongous. Our boat creaks and howls like its very nails are screaming to get out. A wastebasket and a shoe just rolled past my bed. Dramimine is causing nightmares — I was stalked by an alien truck driver and Ruby served […]


RNC Pulls In Big Haul Under New Chairman

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 21st, 2011 5:39 am by HL

RNC Pulls In Big Haul Under New Chairman
The RNC raised $5.7 million last month, its first month under new chairman Reince Priebus, Roll Call reports.

Now the bad news: The RNC still had $21.4 million in debt and only $2.1 million on hand by the end of the month.


Cultish Christian Leader Teaches Women Should Submit to Husbands — Victims of His "Submission Theology" Speak Out

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 21st, 2011 5:38 am by HL

Cultish Christian Leader Teaches Women Should Submit to Husbands — Victims of His "Submission Theology" Speak Out
The cultish Evangelical leader Bill Gothard espouses a theology that tells men to rule over their families, and for wives and kids to submit entirely, no matter the circumstances.

10 Developments in the Huge Story of Wisconsin’s Uprising
The fight over Republican Governor Scott Walker’s Union-busting bill may have just begun. Here’s a run-down on the unfolding events.

Birth Control for Men? 3 Promising Advances
The joke in the male contraceptive field goes that we’ve always been five years away from male contraception being available.


Productivity Paradox

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 21st, 2011 5:37 am by HL

Productivity Paradox
U.S. GDP in March of 2008 was $14.546 Trillion and non farm employment was 137.841 million. Today, non-farm employment is 130.229 million and total GDP is $15.010 Trillion. So essentially we have $500 billion more output from almost 8 million…

After All This, US Will Veto UN Resolution Condemning Settlements
Anyone who thought that the United States has learned anything from the various revolutions upturning the Arab world has another think coming. We didn’t. On Thursday, as the Egyptian revolution was culminating with the collapse of the Mubarak regime, the…

The Obama Budget: And Why the Coming Debate Over Spending Cuts Has Nothing to Do With Reviving the Economy
President Obama has chosen to fight fire with gasoline. Republicans want America to believe the economy is still lousy because government is too big, and the way to revive the economy is to cut federal spending. Today (Sunday) Republican Speaker…


Powerless ?Power Player?? Wallace Omits GOP?s Plan To Gut Holly Petraeus?s Work For Military Families

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 21st, 2011 5:36 am by HL

Powerless ?Power Player?? Wallace Omits GOP?s Plan To Gut Holly Petraeus?s Work For Military Families

On today’s Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace heralded Holly Petraeus — Gen. David Petraeus’s wife — as his “Power Player of the Week.” Mrs. Petraeus is the new head of the Office of Servicemembers Affairs “which aims to strengthen and support military families financially as part of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau” (CFPB.) Created by the Wall Street reform law last year, CFPB will give Petraeus a vehicle to “enforce the laws” and “write new rules” in order “to ensure that federal and state agencies coordinate their activities to improve consumer protection measures for military families.” Touting Mrs. Petraeus’s ability “to help military families” through the new bureau, Wallace instructed “military famlies and all the rest of us” to use the CFBP to “register complaints” about fraud:

WALLACE: As part of new financial regulation reform, she’s setting up the office of servicemember affairs to protect military consumers…Petraues says on military bases, there are a lot of young people with guaranteed paychecks on their own for the first time.

PETRAUES: So you add those factors together and it makes them kind of easy pickings for somebody who is looking to rip them off.[…]

WALLACE: Now, as part of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, she’ll be able to help military families.

PETRAUES: It’ll give me the power to enforce the laws that are on the books, and also to write rules. […] I had a young CB who had heard me speak come up and tell me — i had been talking about a scam, a secret shopper scam — he said “you just saved us $3,000 dollars.” A moment like that makes you feel it’s all worthwhile.

WALLACE: Military families and all the rest of us can visit a new government website at consumerfinance.gov to register complaints against financial companies.

Watch it:

In his praise of this “Power Player,” Wallace breezed by the other powerful players dedicated to gutting Petraeus’s work on behalf of military families — Republicans. Not one House Republican voted to create the CFPB and now, they want to cut funding for the CFPB “nearly in half” in the new budget. Just last week, Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) introduced legislation in the House Financial Services Committee to “hamstring, or defund” CFPB, a goal House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) confirms is a GOP priority. Neugebauer expects the GOP-led House to pass his bill “if and when the proper vehicle arrives.”

The fact that such an effort would undermine help to military families and veterans won’t matter to a party already predisposed to fail in helping the troops. After all, it took considerable outrage from military families for Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) to finally relent on her draconian cuts to veterans’ benefits. The GOP plan to gut Petraeus’s efforts to help military families, thus, comes as no surprise. The fact that Wallace failed to mention it, however, does.

FLASHBACK: Abraham Lincoln Wrote Playbook For Wisconsin Dems Who Fled State

Wisconsin Democratic state senators who fled the state to block Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) union busting said today they have “no plans to return to the state until Walker could reach a reasonable negotiation with state employees.” Republican politicians and conservative commentators have lambasted the state senators all week for their supposed “dereliction of duty.” But those in the Party of Lincoln should look to the 16th president before they criticize the Wisconsin Democrats.

Indeed, 170 years before the Wisconsin Democrats fled Madison to deny a quorum, then-state Rep. Abraham Lincoln was fleeing the capitol in Springfield, IL — via a window, no less — to do the same in an attempt to save the State Bank of Illinois:

[Democrats] agreed to allow [the bank] to suspend its obligation to exchange its paper money for specie, but only for the remainder of the legislative session.

That’s when Lincoln determined to keep the legislature in session in order to buy precious time for the bank to find a way to survive, and that’s how he jumped into the national limelight on December 5, 1840. On that date, the Democrats proposed an early adjournment, knowing this would bring a speedy end to the State Bank. The Whigs tried to counter by leaving the capitol building before the vote, but the doors were locked. That’s when Lincoln made his move. He headed for the second story, opened a window and jumped to the ground!

Lincoln’s efforts failed, sadly, and “the bank was killed.” But as the Wall Street Journal pointed out yesterday, “The tactic of quorum avoidance by simply leaving dates back at least to the days when the U.S. Constitution was being debated”:

Legislators tried to stymie passage [of the Constitution] in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts that way, and some in Pennsylvania had to be dragged out of a tavern to vote. The Constitution passed.

There have been at least four occasions of blocking a quorum in Wisconsin’s legislature alone. … And one representative in 1951, Rep. Ruth Doyle, had to be retrieved from the women’s bathroom for a vote on a resolution for the legislature to hear Gen. Douglas MacArthur speak.

Indeed, the tactic has been used in the U.S. Senate on occasion as well. More recently, the tactic garnered national headlines in 2003 when Texas Democrats fled to New Mexico to block a GOP redistricting effort. Eliot Shapleigh, one of the “Texas Eleven” is now advising the Wisconsin Democrats. “Stay close. When one gets picked off, the game’s over,” Shapleigh told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel yesterday.


Democratic Strategy in Wisconsin

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 21st, 2011 5:31 am by HL

Democratic Strategy in Wisconsin
Amanda Terkel, Huffington Post
Final passage of Gov. Scott Walker's (R-Wis.) controversial proposal to strip away collective bargaining rights from public employees is currently stalled, thanks to Senate Democrats who left the state in order to prevent their GOP colleagues from reaching a quorum needed to move forward.But many remained worried that once they come back, Republicans will push through the legislation anyway. Democrats, however, haven't given up yet and say they have a two-pronged strategy for moving forward.

Who Rules America? The AARP
Robert Samuelson, Newsweek
WASHINGTON — The great question haunting Washington's budget debate is whether our elected politicians will take back government from the AARP, the 40 million-member organization that represents retirees and near-retirees. For all the partisan bluster surrounding last week's release of President Obama's proposed 2012 budget, it reflects a long-standing bipartisan consensus not to threaten seniors. Programs for the elderly, mainly Social Security and Medicare, are left untouched. With an aging population, putting so much spending off-limits inevitably means raising taxes,…

This is Much Bigger Than Wisconsin
Andy Stern, The Daily Beast
by Andy Stern Info Andy Stern is a senior fellow at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute and a former president of the Service International Employees Union.Gov. Scott Walker's fight with the unions isn't a simple Wisconsin issue, but a 15-state Republican campaign to strip workers of their rights, says former Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern.”You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” Rahm Emanuel, Mr. Obama's new chief of staff, told a Wall Street Journal conference of top corporate…