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Archive for September 3rd, 2011

Study: 40% of Charter Schools Worse

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 3rd, 2011 4:45 am by HL

Study: 40% of Charter Schools Worse
A national study of 2,500 charter schools found that “maybe 20 percent do better than the community public schools, 40 percent or so do worse and the rest are not having any significant difference,” said James Parisi, field representative and lobbyist for the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals. Parisi’s comments reference a 2009 Stanford nation-wide study and are backed up by PolitiFact, which rated his comments as true.



Late Late Night FDL: The Wizard of Oz (Muppet Style)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 3rd, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: The Wizard of Oz (Muppet Style)
Janice, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Scooter, Fozzie and Foo-FooThe Wizard of Oz, from the 1981 TV special The Muppets Go to the Movies.

Janice, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, ScooterFozzie and Foo-Foo –  The Wizard of Oz, from the 1981 TV special The Muppets Go to the Movies.

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?


American Officials Enjoy Lives Without Shame

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 3rd, 2011 4:43 am by HL

American Officials Enjoy Lives Without Shame
Three recent news headlines illustrate how shameless some American officials have become when it comes to breaking the rules or messing up and pretending that everything is still OK. They also prove that in modern America, it’s possible for screwups to continue their lives and careers with hardly a blip.

By Derek Lazzaro

Three recent news headlines illustrate how shameless some American officials have become when it comes to breaking the rules or messing up and pretending that everything is still OK. They also prove that in modern America, it’s possible for screwups to continue their lives and careers with hardly a blip.


Truthdigger of the Week: Lawrence Wilkerson
Former Vice President Dick Cheney launched his memoir this week, and on Tuesday, Lawrence Wilkerson, our Truthdigger of the Week, said he would be willing to testify in criminal court against Cheney should the opportunity ever arise.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney launched his memoir this week, and on Tuesday, Lawrence Wilkerson, our Truthdigger of the Week, said he would be willing to testify in criminal court against Cheney should the opportunity ever arise.



Mike Bonifer: Cenk Uygur Has a Tree in His Head

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 3rd, 2011 4:42 am by HL

Mike Bonifer: Cenk Uygur Has a Tree in His Head
Cenk Uygur has a tree in his head. I am currently studying the world-shaking work on storytelling in organizations by Dr. David Boje, who teaches…

The 2012 Speculatron Weekly Roundup For Sept. 2, 2011
It’s been less than three weeks since the Ames Straw Poll, and the narrative of this still-young campaign season is flush with Rick Perry triumphalism….

David Isenberg: War and Private Contractors: Can’t Live with Them, Can’t Live Without Them
Anybody who was dreaming that that the military was going to divest itself of contractors can put that fantasy to rest. Now that the CWC has said the government is over-reliant on contractors, you can see that we have a bit of a contradiction.

Arizona opts not to bring primary forward to January 31
PHOENIX, Sept 2 (Reuters ) – Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on Friday opted not to move up the state’s Republican presidential primary to January 31,…

Robert Redford: Is the Obama Administration putting corporate profits above public health?
One reason I supported President Obama is because he said we must protect clean air, water and lands. But what good is it to say the right thing unless you act on it?


Can’t Wait: Conservative Media Attack Obama’s Jobs Plan Before It’s Even Released

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 3rd, 2011 4:41 am by HL

Can’t Wait: Conservative Media Attack Obama’s Jobs Plan Before It’s Even Released

Conservative media have attacked President Obama’s jobs plan as a “catastrophe,” a “political stunt,” and a “giveaway” to groups that Obama “favor[s]” before the plan has even been released.

Obama’s Jobs Plan Has Yet To Be Released…

AP: President Obama Will “Deliver An Address On Jobs And The Economy To A Joint Session Of Congress On Sept. 8.” The Associated Press reported:

In a retreat after an hours-long test of wills Wednesday, President Barack Obama agreed to deliver an address on jobs and the economy to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 8, yielding to House Speaker John Boehner, who had balked at Obama’s request for a Sept. 7 speech.

Obama’s address still gives him a grand stage to unveil his economic agenda, but it falls on the same evening as the opening game of the National Football League season. White House officials were working on the precise timing of the speech. [Associated Press, 8/31/11]

…But Right-Wing Media Have Attacked It Anyway

Rush Limbaugh: “This Isn’t A Serious Job Proposal. It’s Just Another Political Stunt From Obama And The Opticians.” From the September 1 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: It is interesting to go through the drive-by media headlines on what happened regarding John Boehner’s refusal to agree to the date September the 7th for Obama’s political speech, a campaign speech before a joint session of — no, it wasn’t a jobs speech. It was never going to be a jobs speech. We already know what his jobs plan is. Jim DeMint had the best idea on this. Did you hear what Jim DeMint said? He had a great point in the middle of all this scheduling nonsense. DeMint said, “Look, if Obama has a jobs proposal put it in writing and give us a cost estimate, send it up here. I want to read the bill. I don’t want to listen to talking points off a teleprompter.” Now that’s the way a serious job proposal would be presented. But this isn’t a serious job proposal. It’s just another political stunt from Obama and the opticians. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 9/1/11]

Radio Host Chris Plante On Fox: Obama’s Jobs Plan Is “Just Another Catastrophe In A Long Line Of Catastrophes.” From the September 1 edition of Fox News’ America Live:

PLANTE: The president threw a political stink bomb down the hall just to pick a food fight because they don’t have a plan. The Washington Post said they’re struggling to come up with ideas. They’re going to be the same tired old ideas that we’ve heard before. The natural operating environment for this White House is to be in a food fight. As long as they’re in a food fight, they’ve got their Pretorian guard in the White House press room warming up for today’s briefing. And they think that they can look good if they just keep blaming somebody else, picking fights and coming out on top — thanks to their friends in the news media. I think the president did this quite deliberately to distract from the fact that they still don’t have a plan. They don’t have a plan for the economy, for jobs, or anything else.

[…]

MEGYN KELLY (host): But let me you ask you this here. Could there be another procedural misstep here, Chris? Because now we’ve already had such a build up to this jobs speech, right? Because the president was like, “It’s coming when I get back from Martha’s Vineyard. I’m going to unveil the big plan.” And people said, “Why not now? Why make us wait?” And then it started to leak details, buh-buh-buh-buh-buh. And now it’s even more because now it’s like we’re all talking about like the speech, the speech, “What night’s it going to be? Is it going to be in front of Congress? Should he do it in front of the Oval Office instead buh-buh.” So now it better be something fantastic, no?

PLANTE: Well, it better be but it’s not going to be. I mean, we’ve already heard from people who have the inside track in Washington what the essence of the speech is going to be and we’ve heard it all before. They may pick a couple of cherries from someplace else to throw on top but this is a catastrophe though — just another catastrophe in a long line of catastrophes. They have no budget. They have no plan. We’re two and a half years in. He’s added 4 trillion dollars to the debt and they don’t know where we’re going. Since they can’t lead, they must attack. They have nothing to defend so they must go on the attack. It’s what they do. It’s their nature. Honestly, I’m beginning to feel sorry for them. [Fox News, America Live, 9/1/11]

Fox Nation: Obama “Can’t Support A Real Jobs Program.” On August 29, Fox Nation linked to a Forbes article headlined “Why Obama Can’t Support A Real Jobs Program.” The article stated that Obama “cannot propose a real jobs program,” because it would “[attack] too many of the core beliefs of his party, such as minimum wages and higher taxes on the better off.” From Fox Nation:

[Fox Nation, 8/29/11; Forbes.com, 8/28/11

Fox’s Andrea Tantaros: In His Plan, Obama Will “Start To Cherry-Pick … Industries That Benefit Him Politically.” From the August 31 edition of Fox News’ Hannity:

SEAN HANNITY (host): [I]t’s interesting. The president just cannot resist. He’s got to spend more, raise more taxes, and I think with people paying a pretty high price at the pump they are not going to like seeing their gas prices stay high.

TANTAROS: And most importantly he’s got to reward his key constituencies — the unions. So he’s going to funnel more money to them through this jobs plan. I mean, he talks about also railing against these corporate welfare programs. This plan that he’s going to come out with is likely going to be another corporate welfare program. You watch. It’s not going to be tax credits for all businesses. He’s going to start to cherry-pick different industries that benefit him politically. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/31/11]

Fox’s Charles Payne: “Do You Get The Sense” That “What We’re Going To Hear Next Week Really Isn’t An Economic Policy Plan But” The “Unofficial Launch” Of Obama’s Presidential Campaign? From the August 30 edition of Fox Business’ Freedom Watch:

PAYNE (guest host): Ernest, do you get the sense then what we’re going to hear next week really isn’t an economic policy plan but more of a — sort of the launch, the official — unofficial launch if you will — of the presidential campaign? This is more of a plan of divide and conquer, “I’m in it to help you guys out” — you being Main Street – “against the bullies and big business and on Capitol Hill.”  

ERNEST ISTOOK (Heritage Foundation distinguished fellow): Unfortunately President Obama is about shifting blame. Of course he says, “Well, it’s the failed policies of the Bush administration,” or it’s because Republicans wouldn’t do his bidding. I think the thing is he wants to put out a plan out there that has enough in there that’s unacceptable to mainstream America so that he can then say, “Oh, it’s not my fault that things didn’t get better. It’s because the Republicans wouldn’t go along with me raising taxes, raising regulations, raising spending.” All of these other things that he wants somebody to be able to blame when he ought to be looking at himself. This is what I call mad hatter economics. It’s not thinking straight at all.

PAYNE: Well, you know what? I don’t know that we can go there, because ultimately for the president it might not be about the economy but being re-elected.

ISTOOK: Sure.

PAYNE: Divide and conquer swept him into office the first time around, so for his ultimate agenda and goal — being re-elected — that might be the only way he knows how to do it.

ISTOOK: Well, I think there’s a lot of truth in that. [Fox Business, Freedom Watch, 8/30/11]

Karl Rove Suggests Obama’s Plan Will “[Include] Only More Spending, More Deficit, More Debt.” From the August 21 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday:

BRET BAIER (guest host): You wrote in your Wall Street Journal column in June, quote “Failing to offer a well thought-out vision and defend it against White House demagoguery would set Republicans up for a loss in 2012.” If right now voters were trying to see the Republican plan for creating jobs and increasing growth — where is that? Where do they turn? What is that plan?

ROVE: Well, it’s — you turn to each one of the candidates, and that process will unroll as we go through the primaries. I’d like to go back to something that Bill said. Look, the president has had a Democrat Congress for over two-thirds of the time that he’s been in office and a Republican House and Democrat Senate for less than a third of the time. He did have a — he got what he wanted. He passed the stimulus bill in 2001. He increased spending during that year as well. He got Affordable Care Act. When the president passed the stimulus bill he said that unemployment by this time would be six percent, that five million more people would be working — nearly five million more people working today than are working. The president’s approval rating this week in Gallup on economy is 26 percent. There’s a reason why: his policies have utterly failed. This is the seventh, or eighth, or ninth time that we’ve heard the president talk about producing a plan. And each time that he’s sort of gotten around to tossing an idea onto the table, it has included only more spending, more deficit, more debt, and the American people are fed up with it. [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 8/21/11]

Fox’s Andrew Napolitano Predicts Obama’s Jobs Plan Will Be A “Giveaway To Select Groups That He And His Folks Favor.” During an interview with Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) on the August 17 edition of Fox Business’ Freedom Watch, host Andrew Napolitano stated: “Isn’t it almost a given that whatever [Obama] suggests in September — why he’s waiting until September I don’t know — is going to be another giveaway — another government giveaway to select groups that he and his folks favor?” [Fox Business, Freedom Watch, 8/17/11]


James Murdoch Declines His $6M Bonus But Rupert Murdoch Gets $12.5M

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 3rd, 2011 4:40 am by HL

James Murdoch Declines His $6M Bonus But Rupert Murdoch Gets $12.5M
James Murdoch declined his $6 million bonus from News Corporation in light of the phone hacking scandal, calling it “the right thing to do.”

Wis. Justice Prosser Recuses Self In Case Involving His Recount Attorney
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser has recused himself from a prominent case on campaign-finance regulations that is coming before the court, in the wake of objections that he would have a potential conflict of interest — because the lead attorney for the Tea Party groups challenging the regulations, Jim Troupis, was just recently Prosser’s own attorney in the recount of his very close re-election campaign.


The Self-Delusions of the Wealthy: Are They Really Worth What They’re Paid?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 3rd, 2011 4:38 am by HL

The Self-Delusions of the Wealthy: Are They Really Worth What They’re Paid?
“If the wealthy had to work as hard as the janitor, they’d demand enough money to hire someone else to do the job.” – Richard Sherricky As summer slides into fall, if not the financial fall that’s eventual, some things haven’t changed, such as the investment bank aristocracy of Wall Street, already wallowing in obscenely large salaries, […]


Fareed Zakaria’s Problem — and Ours

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 3rd, 2011 4:37 am by HL

Fareed Zakaria’s Problem — and Ours
Many people defer to Fareed Zakaria’s virtuosity and ubiquity as the neo-liberal consciousness-shaper of the moment. An immigrant from India and a Muslim by background whose parents have been prominent in Indian politics and news media, he owes a lot…


Bachmann & The Golden Bough
If there’s one book that’s familiar to every Liberal Arts major it’s probably James Frazer’s mighty tome on comparative religion, 1890’s “The Golden Bough.” For generations many undergraduates have probably used this classic work the way I did: as a…


Last Quarter, Corporate After Tax Profits Were Highest Since 1947

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 3rd, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Last Quarter, Corporate After Tax Profits Were Highest Since 1947
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Jared Bernstein notes that “corporate profits as a share of GDP, after tax, were the highest last quarter of any quarter in the history of these data going back to 1947.” Bernstein uses this stat to push back against conservatives who claim that corporate tax breaks will lead […]

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Jared Bernstein notes that “corporate profits as a share of GDP, after tax, were the highest last quarter of any quarter in the history of these data going back to 1947.” Bernstein uses this stat to push back against conservatives who claim that corporate tax breaks will lead to hiring. “Why should we believe that even higher after-tax profits would make a difference?” Bernstein asked. “All these supply-side tax cuts will do is boost their already high bottom lines.” Corporate cash holdings are already up 59 percent since 2008.

CHART: Comparing Public Sector Employment Following Recent Recessions
Our guest blogger is Isha Vij, a research assistant with the Economic Policy Team at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Since the onset of the current (horribly slow) economic recovery more than two years ago, state and local governments have shed over 600,000 jobs. Compare this to the same point in the recovery […]

Our guest blogger is Isha Vij, a research assistant with the Economic Policy Team at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Since the onset of the current (horribly slow) economic recovery more than two years ago, state and local governments have shed over 600,000 jobs. Compare this to the same point in the recovery for the past three recessions (early 1980s, early 1990s, and early 2000s), where state and local governments created roughly 290,000, 490,000 and 240,000 jobs respectively:

The U.S. has lost over 60 percent of these jobs in our current recovery and will continue to do so unless policymakers start making the necessary public sector investments — such as in education. Continuing to cut state and local budgets has an extremity destructive impact on our recovery efforts.

As Matthew Yglesias explained, “conservatives complain about the results because the President is a Democrat named Barack Obama. But the policy result is what conservatives say they want. Steady cuts to the government sector, offset somewhat by private sector growth.” Contractionary fiscal policy will continue to dampen hiring in the months to come, as funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are now mostly spent and 46 states and the District of Columbia have cut their budgets in the past year. Furthermore, it is estimated 42 states and the District of Columbia will experience significant budget shortfalls in the coming fiscal year, likely resulting in further cuts and even more job losses.

Job losses in state and local governments cause major repercussions to our already slowing economy. Last month’s Gross Domestic Product report showed that state and local government expenditures decreased by 2.8 percent in the last quarter in inflation-adjusted dollars. This is dragging down the recovery and preventing millions of Americans from getting back to work.


GOP Refuses to Consider Obama Nominees

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 3rd, 2011 4:31 am by HL

GOP Refuses to Consider Obama Nominees
Rep. Barney Frank, Wash Post
Once upon a time, we could have expected the following sequence: After considerable debate, Congress would have passed a bill creating an agency. The president would then nominate someone to head that agency. That nomination would be considered on its merits by the Senate.But this is now. The president has nominated Richard Cordray, an able, experienced and thoughtful former state attorney general who has a record of achievement in protecting individuals against financial abuse, to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And the Republican minority in the Senate has announced that it…

No Sunshine for Obama in OMB’s Forecast
Alexis Simendinger, RCP
Nine is a lonely number.The Obama administration anticipates voters could face a 9 percent unemployment rate when they go to the polls next year, according to a federal report Thursday that assessed where things stand with the budget and the economy.Nine percent.That would mean nearly one in every 10 Americans would be out of work 3 ½ years after the recession officially ended in June 2009. Today's unemployment rate is 9.1 percent. How will Obama respond when the GOP revives Ronald Reagan's classic 1980 campaign question: "Are you better off than you were four years…

The TV Is No Longer Loving Obama Back
David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun
75° F President Obama in TV address 10:57 a.m. EDT, September 1, 2011With this week's skirmish over whether President Obama or a debate among the GOP presidential candidates would dominate prime time Wednesday night, a couple of observations seem impossible to ignore.The first is yet another reminder of how wrong conventional wisdom can be especially when it involves major media change, such as the generally unexamined bromide that TV is a…

The Vigorous Virtues
David Brooks, New York Times
There’s a specter haunting American politics: national decline. Is America on the way down, and, if so, what can be done about it?The Republicans, and Rick Perry in particular, have a reasonably strong story to tell about decline. America became great, they explain, because its citizens possessed certain vigorous virtues: self-reliance, personal responsibility, industriousness and a passion for freedom.

Cheney: I Welcome Their Hatred
Paul Waldman, American Prospect
Dick Cheney's In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir is a book as dull and unimaginative as its title. Readers wouldn't have expected the former vice president and his daughter Liz (his co-author) to be a pair of subtle prose stylists, and they won't be disappointed. Slog through the early chapters on Cheney's life growing up in Wyoming (he fished, he played football), and you'll eventually reach more momentous events, which Cheney is able to render equally lifeless. That's in part because of the way Cheney confronts the controversies that have attended…