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Archive for July 23rd, 2011

Late Late Night FDL: Take Ten Terrific Girls

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 23rd, 2011 4:47 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Take Ten Terrific Girls
Statler and WaldorfTake Ten Terrific Girls, from episode 409 of The Muppet Show.

Statler and WaldorfTake Ten Terrific Girls, from episode 409 of The Muppet Show.

Grab your popcorn, put your feet up on the coffee table, and try to keep the spitballs off the screen please.  This is Late Late Night FireDogLake, where off topic is the topic … so dive in.  What’s on your mind?


Hyatt Turns Up the Heat on Unionized Protesters

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 23rd, 2011 4:46 am by HL

Hyatt Turns Up the Heat on Unionized Protesters
Hotel employees fearing replacement by low-cost temporary workers were demonstrating in front of a Hyatt in Chicago on Thursday morning when a manager at the facility turned on high-powered heat lamps directly above them. It was one of the hottest days of the year. The lamps were eventually shut off. Hyatt management previously agreed to the pay and benefits package demanded by the workers’ union, Unite Here, but employees were brought back into the heat by reports that Hyatt has been replacing long-term employees with cheaper temp workers nationwide. Demonstrations took place at the company’s hotels around the country Thursday. More than 100 people were arrested. —ARK The Huffington Post: On Thursday morning, hundreds of unionized hotel workers gathered outside of Chicago’s Park Hyatt. After nearly two years of negotiations, they demanded a new contract, protested working conditions and decried the company’s alleged plans to outsource jobs. The steamy weather did not keep workers away—and neither did heat lamps the hotel allegedly turned on during the demonstration. … Carrasquillo said he and his coworkers have been trying to negotiate a contract with the hotel for nearly two years. While Hyatt has agreed to the union’s pay and benefits package, Carrasquillo said benefits won’t help him if his job is outsourced. … According to Unite Here, the Hyatt has been replacing long-term employees with low paid temp workers nationwide. In Boston, the union said, Hyatt “fired its entire housekeeping staff at three non-union hotels, replacing women who had worked at Hyatt for decades with temporary workers at far lower rates of pay.” Read more

Hotel employees fearing replacement by low-cost temporary workers were demonstrating in front of a Hyatt in Chicago on Thursday morning when a manager at the facility turned on high-powered heat lamps directly above them. It was one of the hottest days of the year. The lamps were eventually shut off.

Hyatt management previously agreed to the pay and benefits package demanded by the workers’ union, Unite Here, but employees were brought back into the heat by reports that Hyatt has been replacing long-term employees with cheaper temp workers nationwide. Demonstrations took place at the company’s hotels around the country Thursday. More than 100 people were arrested. —ARK

The Huffington Post:

On Thursday morning, hundreds of unionized hotel workers gathered outside of Chicago’s Park Hyatt. After nearly two years of negotiations, they demanded a new contract, protested working conditions and decried the company’s alleged plans to outsource jobs. The steamy weather did not keep workers away—and neither did heat lamps the hotel allegedly turned on during the demonstration.

… Carrasquillo said he and his coworkers have been trying to negotiate a contract with the hotel for nearly two years. While Hyatt has agreed to the union’s pay and benefits package, Carrasquillo said benefits won’t help him if his job is outsourced.

… According to Unite Here, the Hyatt has been replacing long-term employees with low paid temp workers nationwide. In Boston, the union said, Hyatt “fired its entire housekeeping staff at three non-union hotels, replacing women who had worked at Hyatt for decades with temporary workers at far lower rates of pay.”

Read more

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Congress Forces Partial Shutdown Of FAA, Leaves Thousands Without Pay

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 23rd, 2011 4:45 am by HL

Congress Forces Partial Shutdown Of FAA, Leaves Thousands Without Pay
WASHINGTON — Thousands of Federal Aviation Administration employees will stop getting paid as of midnight on Friday after Congress left town without resolving a political…

Debt Ceiling Deadline Might Be August 10, Not August 2: Report
For months, markets have been girding themselves against the possibility that the U.S. will reach the limits of its borrowing ability on August 2 and…

Business Roundtable Celebrates Strengthened GOP Support On Trade Deals
WASHINGTON — A group of top CEOs celebrated Friday as a group of 12 Republican senators sent a letter to President Barack Obama announcing support…

Jamie Rappaport Clark: Extinction Rider Puts Us All in Danger
Next week, the U.S. House of Representatives plans to pass an ill-conceived budget bill for the Interior Department that would paralyze our nation’s programs for protecting imperiled plants and animals.

Coulson Quit Number 10 Midway Through Highest Level Security Checks
PRESS ASSOCIATION — Andy Coulson was part-way through the Government’s highest level of security checks when he quit as Downing Street communications chief, it has…


Bozell Downplays Reagan’s Warning Against Risking Default

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 23rd, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Bozell Downplays Reagan’s Warning Against Risking Default

Appearing on Fox & Friends, Media Research Center president Brent Bozell dismissed President Reagan’s 1987 warning that Congress should avoid using the debt ceiling for “brinkmanship” that would threaten default and harm the economy, pointing instead to comments Reagan made in the same speech opposing tax increases. But those comments in no way lessen Reagan’s warning against default.

Bozell Dismisses Reagan’s Warning That Risking Default Would Threaten The Economy 

Bozell: Dems Are “Despicable” For Pointing To What Reagan Said About Default. Bozell appeared on Fox News to discuss a Democratic ad that cites Reagan’s 1987 warning against using the debt ceiling for “brinkmanship.” Bozell called this use of Reagan’s comments “despicable” and “typical of the far left today”:

BRIAN KILMEADE (Fox & Friends co-host): But you say that they are taking him out of context, even though the issue of the debt ceiling was front and center? 

BOZELL: Oh, you better believe it. This is despicable. This is typical of the far left today, of the Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi machine, and of the national news media for not denouncing them. 

What did he also say in that very same speech that they’re quoting? He said, “For those who say that more taxes will solve, solve our deficit problem: they are wrong. Every time Congress increases taxes, the deficit does not decrease, spending increases.”

In other words, Ronald Reagan was attacking exactly what the Democrats are proposing.  

KILMEADE: Well, if the Republicans are smart they will take that section and put it in their ad. Brent Bozell, thank you very much for doing the research and looking at the entire speech. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/22/11]

But Reagan’s Comments About Taxes Do Not Contradict His Position That Congress Should Not Risk Default Over The Debt Ceiling

Reagan in 1987: “The United States Has A Special Responsibility To Itself And The World To Meet Its Obligations.” In a September 26, 1987, address, Reagan did criticize “those who say more taxes will solve our deficit problem.” But he also said, “I would have no problem signing an extension of the debt limit,” something that he said “we must do to avoid default on our obligations.” From his speech:

Unfortunately, Congress consistently brings the Government to the edge of default before facing its responsibility. This brinkmanship threatens the holders of government bonds and those who rely on Social Security and veterans benefits. Interest rates would skyrocket, instability would occur in financial markets, and the Federal deficit would soar. The United States has a special responsibility to itself and the world to meet its obligations. It means we have a well-earned reputation for reliability and credibility–two things that set us apart from much of the world.

Some in Congress will claim that if I reject this bill with its Gramm-Rudman-Hollings fix, then I’m against deficit reduction. But, of course, nothing is farther from the truth. Since 1980 when you first elected me to this office, I have led efforts to control Congress’ appetite to spend in deficit. Over a 5-year period, while revenues went up 28 percent, congressional spending went up 46 percent. From 1982 to 1987, for every dollar Congress cut from our national defense, they added $2 for domestic spending. Now, that’s not fiscal restraint. Two years ago, Congress took a first step to curb spending with Gramm-Rudman-Hollings, and I agreed. Its purpose was to get on a track to lower deficits and eventually a balanced budget. Well, the ink was not even dry before Congress walked away from its own plan. Instead of facing the tough choices to reduce Federal spending, Congress attempted to shift the burden to our national security and to you, the American taxpayers, in the form of new taxes.

For those who say further responsible spending reductions are not possible, they are wrong. For those who say the only choice is undermining our national security at a time when the United States is close to an agreement with the Soviet Union on reducing nuclear weapons, they are wrong. For those who say more taxes will solve our deficit problem, they are wrong. Every time Congress increases taxes, the deficit does not decrease, spending increases. It’s time for a clear and consistent policy to reduce the Federal budget deficit. [Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, The University of Texas, 9/26/87, accessed 7/22/11]

Reagan In 1983: “The Nation Can Ill Afford To Allow” For Consequences Of Default. In a November 16, 1983, letter to then-Senate Majority Leader Howard H. Baker Jr. (R-TN), Reagan warned:  

This country now possesses the strongest credit in the world. The full consequences of a default — or even the serious prospect of default — by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and the value of the dollar in exchange markets. The Nation can ill afford to allow such a result. The risks, the costs, the disruptions, and the incalculable damage lead me to but one conclusion: the Senate must pass this legislation before the Congress adjourns. [Reagan letter to Sen. Howard Baker, 11/16/83, via The Washington Post]

And, In Fact, Reagan Increased The Debt Ceiling 18 Times …

CBS News: Debt Ceiling Was Raised 18 Times During Reagan Administration. CBSNews.com reported that “[t]he debt ceiling was raised 18 times during Reagan’s eight years in office.” [CBSNews.com, 7/19/11]

… While Also Passing Tax Increases To Rein In Deficits 

Krugman: Reagan “Followed His Huge 1981 Tax Cut With Two Large Tax Increases.” In a June 8, 2004, New York Times column, Nobel Prize Winning Economist Paul Krugman wrote:

Ronald Reagan does hold a special place in the annals of tax policy, and not just as the patron saint of tax cuts. To his credit, he was more pragmatic and responsible than that; he followed his huge 1981 tax cut with two large tax increases. In fact, no peacetime president has raised taxes so much on so many people. 

[…]

The first Reagan tax increase came in 1982. By then it was clear that the budget projections used to justify the 1981 tax cut were wildly optimistic. In response, Mr. Reagan agreed to a sharp rollback of corporate tax cuts, and a smaller rollback of individual income tax cuts. [The New York Times, 6/8/04]

Newsweek: Reagan Raised Taxes In 1982 And 1983 In Part “To Compensate For Gaps” In Government Revenue. In a July 9, 2010, article titled “What Would Reagan Really Do?” Newsweek reported that:

In 1982, Reagan agreed to restore a third of the previous year’s massive cut. It was the largest tax increase in U.S. history. In 1983, he raised the gasoline tax by five cents a gallon and instituted a payroll-tax hike that helped fund Medicare and Social Security. In 1984, he eliminated loopholes worth $50 billion over three years. And in 1986, he supported the progressive Tax Reform Act, which hit businesses with a record-breaking $420 billion in new fees. When it came to taxation, there were two Reagans: the pre-1982 version, who did more than any other president to lighten America’s tax burden, and his post-1982 doppelgänger, who was willing (if not always happy) to compensate for gaps in the government’s revenue stream by raising rates. [Newsweek, 7/9/10]


Former Buchanan Business Partner Accuses FL GOPer Of Campaign Scheme Cover-Up

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 23rd, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Former Buchanan Business Partner Accuses FL GOPer Of Campaign Scheme Cover-Up
The co-owner of a car dealership formerly owned by Rep. Vern Buchanan accused the Florida Republican in federal court of a scheme to break election laws and making threats against his co-conspirators in an attempt to cover it up.


National Review Contributor Calls Polygamous Unions A ‘Current Project Of The Left’
Ed Whelan, president of the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center, claimed at a hearing on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that “the left” was currently working to make polygamous and polyamorous unions legal.


Emotional Testimony From Gay Partners At Senate Hearing On Repealing DOMA (VIDEO)
The day after President Barack Obama threw his support behind repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law preventing the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the topic featuring emotional testimony from gay and lesbians who have been harmed by the law.


In Bid for Control of GOP, Tea Party Brings U.S. to Brink of Economic Calamity

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 23rd, 2011 4:39 am by HL

In Bid for Control of GOP, Tea Party Brings U.S. to Brink of Economic Calamity
The Tea Party doesn’t care if it has to destroy the United States in order to grab the levers of GOP machinery.


The High Price of Nukes

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 23rd, 2011 4:38 am by HL

The High Price of Nukes
As President Obama and Republicans in Congress go down to the wire in negotiations over a package of budget cuts that would clear the way for raising the debt ceiling, we shouldn’t lose sight of one key source of reductions:…

ABOVE ALL, ACT
In wake of Friday’s dismal jobs data, it is past time to stick into any Congressional vehicle moving at any speed at all the following authorization: The Treasury shall auction the right to repatriate one trillion dollars of offshore profits,…


The LiberalOasis Radio Show: Politics For (Nobel Laureate) Dummies Edition

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 23rd, 2011 4:37 am by HL

The LiberalOasis Radio Show: Politics For (Nobel Laureate) Dummies Edition

In which we explain politics to a certain Nobel Laureate in economics. Plus, the Republican smear job on Michele Bachmann.

You can download the podcast at these links: (iTunes / XML feed / MP3).

Or you can simply listen below.


Coburn: It?s ?Stupid And Naive? To Think We Won?t Have Tax Increases

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 23rd, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Coburn: It?s ?Stupid And Naive? To Think We Won?t Have Tax Increases
Combining a bit of basic economic common sense and hard political calculus, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) said on CSPAN today that it’s “pretty stupid and naive” to think that anti-tax absolutists like activist Grover Norquist will be able to avoid raising taxes forever. Sounding almost progressive, the hard-right senator noted that government revenues are at […]

Combining a bit of basic economic common sense and hard political calculus, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) said on CSPAN today that it’s “pretty stupid and naive” to think that anti-tax absolutists like activist Grover Norquist will be able to avoid raising taxes forever. Sounding almost progressive, the hard-right senator noted that government revenues are at a 60-year-low and that people are unfairly benefiting from tax expenditures, thus loopholes will have to be closed and more revenue raised. He also made the obvious political calculation that Republicans only control the House, so they should not be dictating terms. Watch it:


Attorney: Freshman US Rep. David Rivera facing federal probe into possible tax evasion

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 23rd, 2011 4:35 am by HL

Attorney: Freshman US Rep. David Rivera facing federal probe into possible tax evasion

An attorney says his client is being interviewed by federal authorities investigating South Florida U.S. Rep. David Rivera over possible tax evasion.

Investigators are looking at whether taxes were paid on a secret million-dollar contract Rivera signed in 2006 to manage a campaign to expand gambling in Miami-Dade County.

Among those being interviewed by FBI and IRS agents is Lori Weems, an attorney who helped draw up the contract between the owners of a Miami casino and a company linked to Rivera. Her attorney, Andres Rivero, says at least five other people are being interviewed as witnesses.

Read full article >>

Obama campaign attracts Wall Street money, despite tensions

So much for President Obama’s Wall Street problem.

About a third of the money his top fundraisers have brought in this year has come from the financial sector, suggesting that strained relations with Wall Street have not hurt the president’s ability to attract donations there for his reelection campaign, according to data released Friday by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The numbers represent a notable increase from 2008, when bundlers in the investment and banking arena accounted for about 20 percent of the total brought in by top fundraisers for Obama.

Read full article >>

Budget cuts cut Social Security service

The Social Security Administration says it will close its field offices 30 minutes earlier every day to save money. Beginning Aug. 15, offices that currently are open from from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. will close to the public at 3:30 p.m.

“While agency employees will continue to work their regular hours, this shorter public window will allow us to complete face-to-face service with the visiting public without incurring the cost of overtime for our employees,” said SSA Commissioner Michael J. Astrue. “Congress provided our agency with nearly $1 billion less than the president requested for our budget this fiscal year, which makes it impossible for us to provide the amount of overtime needed to handle service to the public as we have in the past.”

Read full article >>

In Iowa, Mitt Romney wages a stealth campaign

DES MOINES — At this time four years ago, Mitt Romney was everywhere in Iowa. He popped up at ice cream stands. His glossy likeness landed in mailboxes. His sons drove a Winnebago they bought on eBay (the “Mitt Mobile”) to all 99 counties. And at Romney headquarters in Urbandale, two dozen paid staffers and an army of volunteers toiled in a space as sprawling as a supermarket.

This time, it’s Tim Pawlenty with the R.V. and campaign ads and shock troops. That big Urbandale headquarters? The former Minnesota governor has the lease now.

Read full article >>

A lose-lose political proposition on the debt ceiling debate

The death of a grand bargain on raising the debt ceiling — announced moments ago by President Obama — not only heightens the policy stakes as the default deadline rapidly approaches but creates the very real possibility that the issue will be a major political loser for everyone involved.

“We have now run out of time,” Obama said in a hastily called public event Friday evening in which he was barely able to contain his anger at the inability of the two sides to cut a deal.

He said he planned to bring the Congressional leaders of both parties to the White House on Saturday at 11 a.m. to figure out whether there was a way forward to avoid default.

Read full article >>