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Archive for April 26th, 2011

Boy in High Heels Removed from Class

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 26th, 2011 4:40 am by HL

Boy in High Heels Removed from Class
A male Florida high school student was removed from class and sent to the principal’s office for wearing high heels to class. “They make him feel more confident, and he just likes to wear them,” said Riverview High School senior Hayley Stepp, a friend of the student.



Late, Late Night FDL: It’s Chitlin Time

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 26th, 2011 4:39 am by HL

Late, Late Night FDL: It’s Chitlin Time
Kentucky Headhunters – It’s Chitlin Time, and, Delbert McClinton – Squeeze Me In

Kentucky Headhunters – It’s Chitlin Time

Some more Counter Culture…

Delbert McClinton – Squeeze Me In

Ain’t America grand…?

What’s on your mind tonite…?


Gingrich Shilling for Ethanol Industry?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 26th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Gingrich Shilling for Ethanol Industry?
Turns out that free-market evangelist—and former House speaker—Newt Gingrich is also a paid booster of the heavily government-subsidized ethanol industry. How does taking $300,000 a year to promote an industry that gets billions of dollars in subsidies annually square with Gingrich’s archconservative, small-government views? It’s hard to say, as his spokesman has not returned calls asking for comment. But since Gingrich is considering running for president in 2012, it’s something Americans ought to know.  —YL iWatch News, Center for Public Integrity: According to IRS records, the ethanol group Growth Energy paid Gingrich’s consulting firm $312,500 in 2009.The former House Speaker was the organization’s top-paid consultant, according to the records. His pay was one of the group’s largest single expenditures, as it took in and spent about $11 million to promote ethanol and to lobby for federal incentives for its use. In a Growth Energy publication, Gingrich was listed as a consultant who offered advice on “strategy and communication issues” and who “will speak positively on ethanol related topics to media.” Chris Thorne, a Growth Energy spokesman, said Gingrich was not hired again in 2010. The group was organized by ethanol producers from the Midwest in late 2008, Thorne said. Its members sought Gingrich’s counsel when it started because “they were people who were never involved in DC politics before, and they were looking for someone who knew how to get things done.” The organization’s IRS report for 2010 is not yet available. Gingrich’s support of ethanol subsidies does not fit well with conservative, free-market theory, said Thomas Schatz, the president of the public interest group Citizens Against Government Waste. And as voters express concerns over the soaring national debt, many in Congress, from both parties, are questioning the value of the $6 billion tax credit. “At $6 billion, that is real money, even here in Washington,” Schatz told iWatch News. “Not only is this tax credit expensive and unnecessary, it has produced many unfavorable consequences including higher food prices, lower fuel efficiency and increased incidences of engine damage in motor vehicles,” CAGW says in a report on its website. Read more  

Turns out that free-market evangelist—and former House speaker—Newt Gingrich is also a paid booster of the heavily government-subsidized ethanol industry. How does taking $300,000 a year to promote an industry that gets billions of dollars in subsidies annually square with Gingrich’s archconservative, small-government views? It’s hard to say, as his spokesman has not returned calls asking for comment. But since Gingrich is considering running for president in 2012, it’s something Americans ought to know.? —YL

iWatch News, Center for Public Integrity:

According to IRS records, the ethanol group Growth Energy paid Gingrich’s consulting firm $312,500 in 2009.The former House Speaker was the organization’s top-paid consultant, according to the records. His pay was one of the group’s largest single expenditures, as it took in and spent about $11 million to promote ethanol and to lobby for federal incentives for its use.

In a Growth Energy publication, Gingrich was listed as a consultant who offered advice on “strategy and communication issues” and who “will speak positively on ethanol related topics to media.”

Chris Thorne, a Growth Energy spokesman, said Gingrich was not hired again in 2010. The group was organized by ethanol producers from the Midwest in late 2008, Thorne said. Its members sought Gingrich’s counsel when it started because “they were people who were never involved in DC politics before, and they were looking for someone who knew how to get things done.” The organization’s IRS report for 2010 is not yet available.

Gingrich’s support of ethanol subsidies does not fit well with conservative, free-market theory, said Thomas Schatz, the president of the public interest group Citizens Against Government Waste.

And as voters express concerns over the soaring national debt, many in Congress, from both parties, are questioning the value of the $6 billion tax credit.

“At $6 billion, that is real money, even here in Washington,” Schatz told iWatch News.

“Not only is this tax credit expensive and unnecessary, it has produced many unfavorable consequences including higher food prices, lower fuel efficiency and increased incidences of engine damage in motor vehicles,” CAGW says in a report on its website.

Read more

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Barack OJimmy

By David Fitzsimmons, Cagle Cartoons, The Arizona Star

Mr. Fish's Cartoon

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Heather Taylor-Miesle: Rep. Upton Pitches Softball Questions to Big Donor at House Hearing

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 26th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

Heather Taylor-Miesle: Rep. Upton Pitches Softball Questions to Big Donor at House Hearing
Even some jaded eyebrows in Washington were raised last week when Rep. Fred Upton tossed a bunch of softball questions to the chairman of a DTE Energy, a company that is one of his largest political donors.

Why Did Gitmo Detainee Have BBC Phone Number?
Could the BBC be part of an extremist propaganda network? Thatâ??s one suggestion raised in the just-released trove of classified U.S. documents on prisoners held…

Levi Johnston Writing Book About Palin Family
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Levi Johnston is promising to set the record straight about the Palin family. Touchstone Publishing has a fall publication date for Johnston’s…

Poll: Obama’s Handling Of Afghanistan Losing Support
More Americans disapprove of President Obama’s management of the war in Afghanistan than support it, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, a finding…

Inside Haley Barbour’s Camp, Advisers Were Split On Whether He Should Run
As Haley Barbour neared the self-imposed deadline for his decision on a possible presidential run, the Mississippi Republican governor was weighing counsel from two camps…


“Let Them Default”: Right-Wing Media Cheerleads For “Global Financial Meltdown”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 26th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

“Let Them Default”: Right-Wing Media Cheerleads For “Global Financial Meltdown”

Right-wing media figures have dismissed the consequences of defaulting on America’s debt. Yet experts agree that if the U.S. were to default as a result of not raising the debt ceiling, it would have a catastrophic effect on the economic recovery.

Right-Wing Media Figures Cheerlead For Default

Bolling: “I Say Let Them Default.” As a guest co-host on Fox & Friends, Eric Bolling told Stuart Varney, “I say let them default. … What’s going to happen?” Varney replied, “Armageddon is going to happen.” From the April 13 edition of Fox & Friends:

VARNEY: There’s a great danger in that. As you approach this deadline, if you’re even talking about default, as even a possibility, a remote possibility, you really spook the world’s money people. You really spook them. 

BOLLING: I say let them default. 

VARNEY: Really? 

BOLLING: Let them go.  What’s going to happen? 

VARNEY: You’re a brave guy. 

BOLLING: What’s going to happen? 

VARNEY: Armageddon’s going to happen.

BOLLING: How is it going to be Armageddon? Let’s talk about that for a second.

VARNEY: OK. If we fail to allow ourselves to borrow any more money —

BOLLING: I know the process. And then everyone raises their hands and says, “Oh my God, the U.S. is going to default.” Well — where are they going to go?  If the U.S. defaults, every other country in the world is going to default, too.

VARNEY: We’re paying out —

BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): That sounds like Armageddon.

VARNEY: We’re paying out — yeah, exactly.

BOLLING: My point is they’re going to get the — the theory that let’s let it go and see what happens — I like it. I like it. Because we could default and then get the spending under control. Get everything we want in default. It’s — for my — for my dollar, let them go. Let them get to the point where —

KILMEADE: We can’t get a credit card for seven years after that. As a country.

BOLLING: We’ll get it the next day. China will be on our doorsteps saying, when can we give you money again?

VARNEY: You think?

BOLLING: Yeah, I do.

VARNEY: OK. If you don’t allow us to borrow any more money, you’ve got $350 billion every month going out and only $200 billion coming in.

BOLLING: That’s got to stop. That will force it to stop. That will guarantee —

VARNEY: So you’ve got an immediate $150 billion cut every month.

BOLLING: That will guarantee in order for it to come out of default, you have to stop spending. [Fox News, Fox & Friends4/13/11]

Limbaugh: “All [Defaulting] Means Is We Won’t Be Able To Borrow Anymore.” From the April 20 edition of Rush Limbaugh’s radio show:

LIMBAUGH: Here’s the point, it’s a scare tactic. It really isn’t possible, there is always money coming in. The government can count on tax revenue from any number of sources and activities, there will always be money coming in. They can always print money. This default business is a straw dog, it’s a straw man they’re throwing out there to you. You want to know what the actual manifestations of an official default would be —

CALLER: Yeah, absolutely. Because, I mean, just looking in recent history, we were listening to the media and they’re talking about how bad a government shutdown would be —

LIMBAUGH: It just — all it means is we won’t be able to borrow anymore. That’s all it means. All it means is we have to live within our means.

CALLER: Well I don’t think that would be too bad then.

LIMBAUGH: No, it’s not. You know, the whole business — I shocked a lot of people yesterday when I said not raising the debt limit is an option. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show4/20/11]

Hannity: “I Just Don’t Have The Great Fear” That Potential Default “Is Going To Be A Calamity.” From the April 21 edition of Sean Hannity’s Fox News show:

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: The real issue here is this, what should the Republicans demand in return for the debt limit? And what I think the Republicans ought to be doing right now, the House and the Senate leadership in the week or two between now and decision day, or at least when they’re going to have to come back and talk about it, is to find one proposal, a single one, not eight or 10, a range here to there, that everybody agrees on and says, here’s what we want in return for the debt limit. And I think it should be something really strong like a spending cap that could require a super majority to overturn, something like that. You are not going to get something revolutionary. But you’ve got to start with that.

HANNITY: I don’t know what’s worse though in my mind. I’m getting so concerned about these numbers. You know, is it worse that we default now and get our budget balanced or that America keeps continually taking on trillion in debts? It is a dangerous scenario evidenced by the S&P this week. And I just don’t have the great fear that others do that this is going to be a calamity.

KRAUTHAMMER: No, I think in the end, if you don’t raise it, it will be a calamity. We are the number one currency, the reserve currency in the world. It gives us tremendous advantages. If there’s any default even for an hour that will undo 100 years of reliability. You don’t want to do that. And politically, again, if you’re seen as irresponsible – you always have to look at it from the ordinary American, the centrist American, the independent who’s in the middle of the road. If the Republicans are seen as irresponsible, they are going to lose in 2012 and you are going to have six years of this and we are really going over a cliff. You have to keep your eye on the prize.

HANNITY: That’s a frightening scenario. [Fox News, Hannity4/21/11]

Debt Default Would Be Disastrous For Economy

Council On Foreign Relations: “Most Economists … Agree That The Impact Of A Government Default Would Be Severe.” From a report by the Council on Foreign Relations titled “U.S. Debt Ceiling: Costs and Consequences”:

Most economists, including those in the White House and from former administrations, agree that the impact of a government default would be severe. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has labeled a U.S. default a “recovery-ending event” (WSJ) that would likely spark another financial crisis. But short of default, officials warn that legislative delays in raising the debt ceiling could also inflict significant harm on the U.S. economy.

Geithner has argued that congressional gridlock will sow significant uncertainty in the bond markets and place upward pressure on interest rates. He warns that the increase would not only hike future borrowing costs of the federal government, but would also raise capital costs for struggling U.S. businesses and cash-strapped homebuyers. In addition, rising interest rates would divert future taxpayer money away from much-needed capital investments such as infrastructure, education, and health care. Estimates suggest that even an increase of twenty-five basis points on Treasury yields could cost taxpayers as much as $500 million more per month. [Council on Foreign Relations, 4/22/11]

CNNMoney: Default Is “A Nightmare Event That Would … In All Likelihood, Precipitate Another Global Financial Meltdown.” From CNNMoney.com:

The feds are on track to reach their $14.29 trillion borrowing limit in mid-May, and the Obama administration says juggling accounts can only buy time until July 8. After that date, the government will default on its debt — a nightmare event that would gut investor confidence in U.S. bonds, send our borrowing costs soaring, and in all likelihood, precipitate another global financial meltdown.

For months, the White House has been working behind the scenes to avert that outcome by lobbying for a simple, so-called “clean” hike of the debt ceiling. But Congressional Republicans are intent on demanding that any raise come with at least some of their deficit-cutting priorities. With market watchers nervously tracking the face-off as the clock winds down, it’s worth taking a look back at the last time a political fight nearly ended in default. [CNNMoney.com, 4/25/11]

Former Treasury Official: Default “Would Make The Lehman Brothers Bankruptcy Look Like A Walk In The Park.” The Hill reported on former Treasury Department official Jim Millstein’s comments to CNBC:

A former Treasury Department official who played a key role in the government’s efforts to recover from the financial crisis said Tuesday it would be “nuts” to even consider not raising the debt ceiling.

Jim Millstein, who oversaw the Treasury’s effort to restructure American International Group before leaving the public sector in February, argued on CNBC that the debt ceiling has to be raised to avoid “extraordinary” adverse consequences.

If lawmakers balk on boosting the ceiling and the government defaults, the former Obama Treasury official, said it “would make the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy look like a walk in the park on a sunny day.”

When Lehman declared bankruptcy during the heights of the 2008 financial crisis, it marked the largest bankruptcy in US history, and it played a major role in driving down financial markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 500 points the day the firm filed for bankruptcy — the largest at the time since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“There are a lot of people talking about this debt ceiling of being no consequence and we can blow right by it without any consequences, and I just think it’s nuts,” Millstein said. [The Hill4/12/11]

JPMorgan CEO: Default On America’s Debts Would Be “Catastrophic” And “Crazy.” The Hill reported:

The head of a major Wall Street company echoed White House officials Wednesday, warning that a default on America’s debts would be “catastrophic.”

Speaking at an event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., said America has a “moral obligation” to ensure it pays its debts on time.

“This chatter about not meeting our obligations, I just don’t understand it,” he said. “It’s a moral obligation to ourselves. … They should know that the United States is good for its money. Period.”

Dimon’s comments come as some conservative senators are vowing to vote against raising the current $14.3 trillion debt limit, which the Treasury Department expects to hit by May 31.

[…]

Dimon argued that refusing to raise the debt limit would inject uncertainty into the financial markets.

“If anyone wants to push that button … I think they’re crazy,” he said. [The Hill, 3/30/11]

Bernanke: Default Would Most Likely Be “A Recovery-Ending Event.” From The New York Times:

Republicans have also signaled that they will again demand fundamental changes in policy on health care, the environment, abortion rights and more, as the price of their support for raising the debt ceiling.

In a letter last week, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner told Congressional leaders the government would hit the limit no later than May 16. He outlined ”extraordinary measures” — essentially moving money among federal accounts — that could buy time until July 8.

Once the limit is reached, the Treasury Department would not be able to borrow as it does routinely to finance federal operations and roll over existing debt; ultimately it would be unable to pay off maturing debt, putting the United States government — the global standard-setter for creditworthiness — into default.

The repercussions in that event would be as much economic as political, rippling from the bond market into the lives of ordinary citizens through higher interest rates and financial uncertainty of the sort that the economy is only now overcoming, more than three years after the onset of the last recession.

Given the short time frame for action and the prospect of an intractable political clash, leaders in both government and business are already moving to avert a crisis that most likely would be ”a recovery-ending event,” as Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, testified recently in the Senate. He described a sequence of events that ”would cascade through the financial markets,” provoking another credit crisis like that in 2008 and causing interest rates to jump. [The New York Times, 4/10/11]


Conservative Lawyer Resigns After Law Firm Drops DOMA Defense

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 26th, 2011 4:35 am by HL

Conservative Lawyer Resigns After Law Firm Drops DOMA Defense
In a major setback for opponents of same-sex marriage, the law firm of King and Spalding is withdrawing from its agreement with House leadership to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court.

Bill Could Clear Way For Jindal’s Health Care Privatization Push
A bill that will soon be debated in the Louisiana legislature contains language that appears to clear the way for the state to use money from the potential privatization of the Office of Group Benefits (OGB), the agency that manages…


Terry Jones Threatens To Sue MI Officials After Arrest Over $1 Peace Bond
Anti-Islam pastor and Quran-burner Terry Jones is threatening to sue the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office in Dearborn, Michigan, after he was briefly arrested on Friday for initially refusing to pay a $1 peace bond related to his planned protest in front of a mosque.


Honest John Meets the Koch Head Party

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 26th, 2011 4:33 am by HL

Honest John Meets the Koch Head Party


Boehner Threatens Not to Hold Debt Limit Vote

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 26th, 2011 4:32 am by HL

Boehner Threatens Not to Hold Debt Limit Vote
House Speaker John Boehner “won’t guarantee a vote on raising the debt limit, the latest threat in an increasingly high stakes game of chicken with the White House over whether Congress will inch closer to letting the nation default on its credit,” Politico reports.

Said Boehner: “If the president doesn’t get serious about the need to address our fiscal nightmare, yeah, there’s a chance it could not happen. But that’s not my goal.”

Quote of the Day
“I heard he was a terrible student, terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard? I’m thinking about it, I’m
certainly looking into it. Let him show his records.”

— Donald Trump, in an interview with the AP, saying President Obama wasn’t Ivy League material.


1967 Borders: Disruptive Innovation

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 26th, 2011 4:31 am by HL

1967 Borders: Disruptive Innovation
Suddenly, it seems a forgone conclusion that the White House will be presenting a plan of some sort in advance of Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to a joint session of Congress in May. For those of us who have been advocating…

The Budget Debate, Revealed? Not Yet.
One of the better sketches of at what’s at stake in the budget debate comes from The New York Times’ Richard W. Stevenson, who suggests that it’s opening the philosophical and political chasm between two camps. Well, sort-of. On one…


Allen West: Liberal Women Are ?Neutering American Men?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 26th, 2011 4:30 am by HL

Allen West: Liberal Women Are ?Neutering American Men?

Last week, Tea Party favorite Rep. Allen West (R-FL) addressed his base at a Women Impacting Nation (WIN) meeting in Boca Raton, FL. WIN’s mission is to “educate and equip women with knowledge of God’s truth” and “to support those who take a stand for those Judeo-Christian values upon which our country is founded.” West used examples of “historical fiction” to instruct attendees on the proper role for American women — namely, to make strong men.

West first weaved the ancient society of Sparta — a culture that practiced eugenics and inspired Adolf Hitler — into an example of the role of women. “What made the Spartan men strong, it was the Spartan women,” he said. “Because the Spartan women at the age of nine gave up their male sons” to train for the army. West then exulted conservative women to come forth and “lock shields” to “strengthen up the men who are going to the fight for you.” Painting women’s rights advocates as “women that have been neutering American men,” West charged attendees to fight these apparent castrators who want to force male subservience:

WEST: We need you to come in and lock shields, and strengthen up the men who are going to the fight for you. To let these other women know on the other side — these planned Parenthood women, the Code Pink women, and all of these women that have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness — to let them know that we are not going to have our men become subservient. That’s what we need you to do. Because if you don’t, then the debt will continue to grow…deficits will continue to grow.

Watch it:

West’s blatant misogyny is made all the more ludicrous by the sources of his historical wisdom. In heralding Sparta, West holds up Spartan Queen Gorgo as the essential example of a woman who, speaking “out of turn” to a male emissary, said “Persian, beware, for it is Spartan women who raise Spartan men.” But this stirring confrontation comes not from ancient history but from slightly-less-ancient director Zack Snyder’s 2006 film, 300. In the movie, Queen Gorgo confronts a Persian man as West describes. But according to Plutarch, who first recorded the statment, Gorgo “is said to have” uttered the principle in response to “some foreign woman.

West continues in this vein, next heralding the 2003 film The Last Samurai as an example of the Samurai women raising “300 Samurai warriors.” West recounted a story of Samurai leader Saigo Takamori who West said died to protect “the old way” and to stand “against that technology that was brought before them, the repeating rifles, the Gatling guns, the cannons.” Of course, the fact that Takamori had 400 Samurai at the Satsuma Rebellion and actually used the Western military methods, guns and cannons takes away from the more dramatic interpretation starring Tom Cruise. “That’s a true story,” said West of the 2003 film. “That’s historical fiction.”

ThinkFast: April 25, 2011

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman says the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) budget proposal is the “only major budget proposal out there offering a plausible path to balancing the budget.” Krugman writes that serious deficit reduction must include raising revenues and that the CPC budget does exactly that.

A new International Monetary Fund (IMF) analysis concludes that “China’s economy will surpass that of America in real terms in 2016 — just five years from now.” The IMF estimates that under purchasing power parity, the Chinese economy will expand to $19 trillion in 2016 while the U.S. economy will expand to $18.8 trillion.

The Senate is moving a bill to cut the number of administration posts that are subject to Senate approval, a “rare voluntary surrender of Congressional clout” that is backed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “We are losing very good people because the process has become so onerous, so lengthy and so duplicative,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).

The Obama administration is considering sanctions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over “the increasingly violent crackdown against anti-government protesters.” The possible executive order would institute sanctions against Syrian officials leading the crackdown and may include freezing assets and banning business dealings with the U.S.

Televangelist Franklin Graham suggested he was unsure about whether President Obama was American, saying on ABC’s This Week yesterday that potential presidential candidate Donald Trump “may be right.” Graham went on to praise Trump and implied that he may end up endorsing the real estate mogul.

On CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) floated the possibility of a grand jury investigation into rising gas prices and whether they stem from illegal manipulation of oil markets. Blumenthal said the Justice Dept. should send a “very strong deterrent message” that illegal activity will not be tolerated.

The Obama administration is planning to unveil a proposal to overhaul corporate taxes, possibly as early as May. Economic advisers are exploring the willingness of business leaders to accept a closing of many corporate tax loopholes in exchange for dropping the top corporate rate from 35 percent to 26 percent.

And finally: Hollywood train wreck Charlie Sheen doesn’t want you to vote for potential presidential candidate Donald Trump, but not because of Trump’s birtherism. Sheen told an audience that Trump once gave Sheen a pair of faux cufflinks that Trump had said were platinum-and-diamond Harry Winstons worth $100,000. But when Sheen got the cufflinks appraised, he found out they were “f—king tin,” worth about $60.

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