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Archive for June 6th, 2011

Illegal Trade in Human Hair Booms

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 6th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Illegal Trade in Human Hair Booms
A spate of hair extension thefts across the US has put the spotlight on the lucrative market for human hair, the BBC reports. Salons across the country are on alert after a series of raids in which hair worth tens of thousands of dollars has been stolen. In Houston, one hair salon raid earned the perpetrators $120,000 of Indian “virgin hair” (unprocessed and untreated). Owner Lisa Amosu said the burglar didn’t even bother to raid the cash till.



The not-so-great Crusades

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 6th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

The not-so-great Crusades
The Right-Wing still knows how to become outraged about the important stuff…at least according to what the Village tells me.

One thing you have to hand it to the far right about, there’s really no topic too trivial to get worked up into a nice Santorum lather about. Take the quickly becoming middle-aged virgin Ben Shapiro. He’s totally “FoxNews style” outraged about the liberal, homosexual leanings, of Big Bird on Castro District Sesame Street. Clearly the only way to deal with this dangerous agenda are tax cuts, medicare cuts [and apparently “Supercuts“] with a dash of poisoned suet.

This is especially true, and follows just as logically, because as Sarah Palin will modestly tell you, it is somewhere between the one-hundredth and fiftieth anniversary of D-Day. Tens of thousands of Americans along with a couple Brits and maybe one Canadian (Gordie Howe?)  landed in France to liberate Europe from Hitler’s anti-Second Amendment agenda. Thousands died that day in bloody fighting (or as the Russians called it just another “Tuesday”). All this occurred, of course, against the wishes of the “Democrat Party” head, that guy on the dime.

?

Look it up, it’s all on Wikipedia people…or soon will be.



Possibly Carcinogenic

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 6th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Possibly Carcinogenic

By Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News

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Bacteria Mystery

By Olle Johansson, Cagle Cartoons, Sweden

Mr. Fish's Cartoon

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Death Of Political Subsidies: Who Really Loses?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 6th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Death Of Political Subsidies: Who Really Loses?
Prime Minister Stephen Harperâ??s plan to kill public subsidies of federal political parties will hurt his own partyâ??s pocketbook, but itâ??s the opposition parties who…

Nathaniel Zelinsky: Herman Cain Accidentally Channels Roger Sherman
The former Godfather’s Pizza CEO’s misstatement sheds light on an interesting historical anecdote: Not all the Founding Fathers were in favor of granting the Federal Government broad power with regard to bankruptcies.

HuffPost Radio: Both Sides Now: Debating Romney and Palin, Global Warming, Edwards and Weiner
Mary Matalin and Ron Reagan discuss why Romney isn’t doing better and whether Palin could do any worse. Plus there’s strong disagreement over global warming and Germany’s nuclear punt.

Jared Bernstein: “Nobody” Is a Very Tough Political Opponent
In politics, “nobody” is a tough opponent. Like my old boss the VP used to say, “don’t compare me to the Almighty, compare me to the alternative.” This is especially germane on the economy. Obama’s potential opponents will inevitably be singing from an economic policy songbook that’s no different from the one that got us into this mess. More tax cuts, less regulation. These ideas tickle the base, no doubt. But it’s hard to imagine this policy set resonating with the independents who may ultimately decide the next election. This is ultimately good news for the president.

Cliff Schecter: Our Own Private Mumbai
There is nothing as stark as seeing a video where a leader of a murderous group of thugs is able to announce the intention to use our own lack of common sense laws against us.


Mara Liasson Whitewashes Romney’s Job Creation Record

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 6th, 2011 4:35 am by HL

Mara Liasson Whitewashes Romney’s Job Creation Record

On Fox News Sunday, NPR’s Mara Liasson claimed job creation is Mitt Romney’s “brand,” adding that “this is his issue … and I think that that really helps him.” But as governor of Massachusetts, “Romney presided over one of the puniest rates of employment growth among the 50 U.S. states, at a time the nation’s economy was booming,” according to Reuters.

Liasson Claims Job Creation Is Romney’s “Brand”

Liasson On Romney: “Job creation is his brand.” From the June 5 edition of Fox News Sunday:

LIASSON: This was a pretty good week for Mitt Romney to announce. Job creation is his brand. He’s the turnaround artist. He can say that he’s created jobs. Democrats will point out he also shed some when he took over these companies, but this is his —

JOHN PODESTA (Center for American Program CEO and president): Shipped them overseas.

LIASSON: Yeah, shipped them overseas. This is his issue and that’s what this election is becoming about with a vengeance and I think that that really helps him. [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 6/5/11]

But Under Romney, Job Growth In Massachusetts Was Among Lowest In the Country

Reuters: “Romney Presided Over One Of The Puniest Rates Of Employment Growth … At A Time When The Nation’s Economy Was Booming.” From an April 12 Reuters report:

Romney stressed his experience as head of private equity firm Bain Capital when he announced on Monday he was forming an exploratory committee on seeking the Republican 2012 nomination to challenge Obama, a Democrat.

He made a fortune wheeling and dealing in companies, some of which endured big job cuts as part of restructuring. Some ultimately went bankrupt.

[…]

[A]s Massachusetts governor from January 2003 to January 2007, Romney presided over one of the puniest rates of employment growth among the 50 U.S. states, at a time the nation’s economy was booming.

Labor Department figures showed Massachusetts ranked 47th among the states in the rate of jobs growth in those four years — ahead of only Ohio, Michigan and Louisiana. [Reuters, 4/12/11]

WSJ‘s Brett Arends: Mass. Job Growth “Badly Lagged Other High-Skill, High-Wage, Knowledge Economy States.” According to a February 2010 MarketWatch article by Wall Street Journal columnist Brett Arends:

Romney, who may well be President Barack Obama’s opponent in 2012, he had great time last week blaming the president for the current jobs shortage.

Speaking to the CPAC right-wing conference in Washington, D.C., Romney said that the dismal employment situation, a year after Obama took office, showed the president was a “failure” who was “going downhill faster than… Lindsey Vonn.”

OK, let’s take him at his word. Then what does that say about Romney?

The Republican contender was the governor of Massachusetts from January 2003 to January 2007. And during that time, according to the U.S. Labor Department, the state ranked 47th in the entire country in jobs growth. Fourth from last.

The only ones that did worse? Ohio, Michigan and Louisiana. In other words, two rustbelt states and another that lost its biggest city to a hurricane.

The Massachusetts jobs growth over that period, a pitiful 0.9%, badly lagged other high-skill, high-wage, knowledge economy states like New York (2.7%), California (4.7%) and North Carolina (7.6%).

The national average: More than 5%.

This was after four years. So far Obama has been in office for just one year. How was Romney’s performance by his first anniversary?

Fiftieth out of fifty.

That’s right. In Romney’s first year in charge, Massachusetts ranked dead last in America in jobs growth. [MarketWatch, 2/23/11]

FactCheck.org: “Romney’s job record provides little to boast about.” In January 2008, FactCheck.org examined Romney’s claim that Massachusetts gained jobs “every single month” when he was governor and concluded:

Payroll jobs in Massachusetts hit their low point in December 2003 at the end of Romney’s first year in office. And the number of jobs declined in seven of the remaining 36 months of his term, as measured by total nonfarm employment, seasonally adjusted, which is the standard measure of payroll employment used by economists and journalists. The claim that jobs increased “every single month” is false.

Furthermore, Romney’s job record provides little to boast about. By the end of his four years in office, Massachusetts had squeezed out a net gain in payroll jobs of just 1 percent, compared with job growth of 5.3 percent for the nation as a whole. [FactCheck.org, 1/11/08]

Economist Andrew Sum: Wages Also “Stagnated During Romney’s Term.” From a June 2008 Reuters report:

The former Massachusetts governor issued a statement on Sunday titled “creating jobs” that focuses on 57,600 jobs added to the Massachusetts economy during his single term as governor from 2003 to 2007.

But Northeastern University economist Andrew Sum, who has researched Romney’s record, said the state lagged the U.S. average during that period in job creation, economic growth and wage increases.

“As a strict labor market economist looking at the record, Massachusetts did very poorly during the Romney years, he said. “On every measure you’ve got, the state was a substantial under-performer.”

[…]

His supporters contend the state’s job market was soft long before Romney’s term, which ended in January last year, blaming a Democratic-controlled Legislature for the weakness. His spokesman, Kevin Madden, has asserted that Romney brought Massachusetts “back from the brink of financial disaster.”

But Northeastern’s Sum said that while jobs were created under Romney, the rate was the third-lowest in the nation after Hurricane Katrina-hit Louisiana and Michigan. At the same time, wages in the New England state stagnated during Romney’s term.

The average weekly wage of Massachusetts workers, Sum said, rose by just a $1 between 2001 and 2006 after adjusting for inflation, while the state had the third-highest rate of population loss in the nation between July 2002 and July 2006.

Real output of goods and services — a broad measure of economic performance — grew 9 percent, below the 13 percent rate for the United States, he added. [Reuters, 1/20/08]


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 6th, 2011 4:34 am by HL

Presented By:

‘Sovereign Citizen’ Opens Fire On Store Because It Ran Out Of Crawfish
A ‘sovereign citizen’ in Pensacola, Florida allegedly opened fire at a seafood market after learning that they had run out of crawfish.

Eshoo: Chamber Having ‘Sissy Fit’ Over Campaign Disclosure
Lawmakers on Thursday offered two competing amendments to a bill addressing the anonymous flow of taxpayer money to third party political groups. One would have required disclosure of such donations, the other would ban the government from doing anything to shed any light on the financial flows.


Reid Agrees to Fine for Campaign Finance Scheme

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 6th, 2011 4:32 am by HL

Reid Agrees to Fine for Campaign Finance Scheme
Failed Nevada gubernatorial candidate Rory Reid (D) “agreed to pay a $25,000 penalty from his own pocket to settle accusations he skirted campaign finance laws,” the Las Vegas Review Journal reports.

“Reid was accused of funneling more than $900,000 to his gubernatorial campaign last year through 90 shell organizations in an effort to bypass limits on political donations.”

Perry Gets Serious About Presidential Bid
Mike Allen: “Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who had played coy about a 2012 presidential run but did not seem to be seriously considering it, is now talking about the possibility with his biggest financial backers in Texas. If Palin doesn’t get in, he sees a path to the nomination. Makes no sense to some of the nation’s top Republicans, who think American has Texas fatigue, and who found Perry’s comments about Texas secession to be boneheaded. Perry is still more likely to challenge Jeb in 2016.”

Operation Cupcake
British intelligence forces hacked into an al Qaeda website and replaced bombmaking instructions with a recipe for one of Ellen Degeneres’ favorite cupcakes, ABC News reports.

The Hollywoodification of Political Ads
NPR looks at some recent videos produced by Republican presidential candidates and notes one by Tim Pawlenty “with a soaring, heart-pounding score and lightning-fast edits” could be “the trailer for a Hollywood action flick.” Another by Mitt Romney is “almost as if you’re watching something produced by documentary filmmaker.”

Said Darrell West, author of Air Wars: Television Advertising in Election Campaigns: “Campaigns today really require a very strong storyline. There’s just so much information out there, you need a strong narrative to break through all that information clutter.”


Boehner Spokesman: Auto Industry Revival Is ?Nothing To Celebrate?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 6th, 2011 4:31 am by HL

Boehner Spokesman: Auto Industry Revival Is ?Nothing To Celebrate?
Last week, the Obama administration announced that Fiat has agreed to buy the final government share in Chrysler, officially completing that company’s trip through federally managed bankruptcy. The U.S. losses from the auto industry rescue, according to the latest projections, will be much lower than estimates showed over the last few years. In the first […]

Last week, the Obama administration announced that Fiat has agreed to buy the final government share in Chrysler, officially completing that company’s trip through federally managed bankruptcy. The U.S. losses from the auto industry rescue, according to the latest projections, will be much lower than estimates showed over the last few years.

In the first quarter of this year, all three of the Big Three auto companies were profitable. As President Obama said, were it not for the government rescue, “by the time the dominos stopped falling, more than a million jobs, in countless communities, in a proud industry that helped build America’s middle class for generations, wouldn’t have been around any more.”

But Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) would rather have seen those jobs disappear, as his spokesman said yesterday that the auto industry’s revival is “nothing to celebrate”:

“The administration’s auto bailout is nothing to celebrate,” said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican. “The model the White House should be touting is Ford, which, instead of relying on a taxpayer-funded bailout, saw trouble coming and made the tough decisions necessary to preserve jobs and weather the storm.”

This is hardly the first time that Boehner has been utterly unsympathetic to the prospect of widespread job losses. Back in February, for instance, Boehner said “so be it” when asked about the loss of federal jobs that would occur if the House Republicans’ desired spending cuts were implemented.

Boehner is also highlighting Ford’s refusal of money as if Ford did not benefit from the auto rescue. But as the Wall Street Journal noted, Ford will “benefit from many of the concessions that General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC exact from the suppliers, unions, dealers and debt holders shared by all three companies.”

As The Economist said regarding the auto rescue, “the doomsayers were wrong.” And since Republicans were totally opposed to the rescue, they are now scrambling to find some way to spin it as a failure.


Yemen’s future after Saleh worries U.S. officials

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 6th, 2011 4:30 am by HL

Yemen’s future after Saleh worries U.S. officials

The flight of Yemeni leader Ali Abdullah Saleh to Saudi Arabia deprives the United States of a fitful ally in the fight against al-Qaeda’s most dangerous affiliate and injects new uncertainty into counterterrorism operations that were already hampered by the country’s bloody internal strife, according to Yemen and security experts.

While Saudi Arabia, with U.S. backing, will almost certainly prevent Saleh’s return to Yemen, it is unclear who will replace him and whether there will be a change in attitude toward American efforts to target Islamic militants in the country.

Read full article >>

Gates discusses troop withdrawal in Afghanistan

KANDAHAR— Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday that the date for withdrawal of the full 30,000-troop surge in Afghanistan is even more important than the number of troops who leave next month.

During his farewell tour of military bases in Afghanistan, Gates said it’s “really not so much about where you start” that matters but the pace of the withdrawal over the next two years and when the surge troops will be leaving Afghanistan.

“What’s the bookend? Where are we headed? What’s the ramp look like?” Gates told reporters at Camp Dwyer in Helmand province. “I think that will be part of the discussion.”

Read full article >>

Among GOP, anti-tax orthodoxy runs deep

The Republican Party once had a home for the thinking of Tom Coburn, Mike Crapo and Saxby Chambliss. But that party is long gone.

The three U.S. senators banded together a few months ago in support of higher tax revenue as a means of balancing the federal budget. Even with drastic spending cuts, they concluded, Washington could not vanquish its soaring $14.3 trillion debt without additional income.

Such reasoning was common in the GOP circa 1963, when Republicans denounced tax cuts proposed by President John F. Kennedy as a road to red ink and rampant inflation. But today’s GOP adheres to a “no new taxes” orthodoxy that has proved far more powerful than the desire to balance the budget. As House Speaker John A. Boehner has said: Raising taxes is “unacceptable and a non-starter.”

Read full article >>

Santorum set to join Republican presidential field with western Pennsylvania announcement

SOMERSET, Pa. — Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was set to announce on Monday what has been expected for months: He is running for president.

Santorum, the former No. 3 Republican in the U.S. Senate and a favorite among his party’s anti-abortion rights bloc, planned to make official his White House aspirations from the western Pennsylvania coal fields where his Italian immigrant grandfather worked. He has already hired a small staff and has made frequent visits to early voting states New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina.

Read full article >>

Some gay couples seek green cards in final effort to fight deportation in light of changes

CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. — Faced with losing the life they’ve built together in the dusty California desert town of Cathedral City, Doug Gentry and Alex Benshimol are making a last-ditch effort to stave off the looming threat of deportation.

To a large degree, the couple is stuck. While the American information technology consultant and Venezuelan pet groomer wed at a romantic Connecticut ceremony last year, the federal government won’t recognize the marriage between the two men — and as a result, won’t approve their application for a green card.

Read full article >>


One-State Solution: Give Middle East to the Jews

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 6th, 2011 4:29 am by HL

One-State Solution: Give Middle East to the Jews
Andrew Klavan, PJM

Vouchercare Is Not Medicare
Paul Krugman, New York Times
What’s in a name? A lot, the National Republican Congressional Committee obviously believes. Last week, the committee sent a letter demanding that a TV station stop running an ad declaring that the House Republican budget plan would “end Medicare.” This, the letter insisted, was a false claim: the plan would simply install a “new, sustainable version of Medicare.” Paul Krugman But Comcast, the station’s owner, rejected the demand — and rightly so. For Republicans are indeed seeking to…

Palin and the Politics of Winging It
Mark Leibovich, New York Times
If a maybe-candidate for president does not issue an “official schedule” to the news media as she tours around in something that closely resembles a campaign bus, did the tour really happen?You betcha it did — as evidenced by the all-terrain coverage that, true to precedent, trailed Sarah Palin wherever she motored last week.But how dare she disregard the media like that?

California Starts Enacting Health Reform
Jonathan Cohn, New Republic
Some of the most interesting developments in health care policy these days aren’t taking place in Washington. They’re taking place in Sacramento and the rest of California, where public officials, private sector leaders, and activists are working to implement the Affordable Care Act.Remember, under the terms of the law, states must must do everything from setting up new insurance exchanges to slapping regulations on insurers. (If states don't, the feds step in.) That generally means enacting legislation and, this week, California lawmakers were busy doing…

Four Words: He Made It Worse
Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal
The debate in Washington is serious as a heart attack: whether the United States should raise its debt ceiling so it can borrow more money to stay afloat. The statutory ceiling on our national debt"”our legal borrowing limit"”is $14.3 trillion. That limit was reached, according to the Treasury Department, on May 16. Treasury says it can make do until early August, when the ceiling must be raised by $2.4 trillion. Congressional Republicans have made their stand clear: They will agree to raise the limit only if it is accompanied by spending cuts or reforms….