Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Well, the Supreme Court said they were people
It's getting personal now. In a shift still evolving, federal enforcers are targeting individual executives in health care fraud cases that used to be aimed at impersonal corporations.Push their executive noses into the shit and maybe they will stop doing it.
The new tactic is raising the anxiety level — and risks — for corporate honchos at drug companies, medical device manufacturers, nursing home chains and other major health care enterprises that deal with Medicare and Medicaid.
Previously, if a company got caught, its lawyers in many cases would be able to negotiate a financial settlement. The company would write the government a check for a number followed by lots of zeroes and promise not to break the rules again. Often the cost would just get passed on to customers.
Now, on top of fines paid by a company, senior executives can face criminal charges even if they weren't involved in the scheme but could have stopped it had they known. Furthermore, they can also be banned from doing business with government health programs, a career-ending consequence.
Many in industry see the more aggressive strategy as government overkill, meting out radical punishment to individuals whose guilt prosecutors would be hard pressed to prove to a jury.
The feds say they got frustrated with repeat violations and decided to start using enforcement tools that were already on the books but had been allowed to languish. By some estimates, health care fraud costs taxpayers $60 billion a year, galling when Medicare faces insolvency.
Your Daily Cenk Shot
Your Dylan Dally Moment
Cashiered Lt Col says Army needs toilet paper
Have we given up on unemployment?
Once again leadership is a word that people claim and a quality that they all lack.
Unemployment is a terrible scourge across much of the Western world. Almost 14 million Americans are jobless, and millions more are stuck with part-time work or jobs that fail to use their skills. Some European countries have it even worse: 21 percent of Spanish workers are unemployed.
Nor is the situation showing rapid improvement. This is a continuing tragedy, and in a rational world bringing an end to this tragedy would be our top economic priority.
Yet a strange thing has happened to policy discussion: on both sides of the Atlantic, a consensus has emerged among movers and shakers that nothing can or should be done about jobs. Instead of a determination to do something about the ongoing suffering and economic waste, one sees a proliferation of excuses for inaction, garbed in the language of wisdom and responsibility.
So someone needs to say the obvious: inventing reasons not to put the unemployed back to work is neither wise nor responsible. It is, instead, a grotesque abdication of responsibility.
Joe Nocera talks to a real banker
Karzai of the Afghans complains again
In one of his sternest warnings yet concerning civilian casualties, President Hamid Karzai said Tuesday that NATO must stop air attacks on Afghan homes immediately, or face “unilateral action” from the Afghan government.Ingrate! It is definitely time for the US to say we have had enough of this shitty little war. If you don't like us blowing up your people, we are taking our war toys and going home.
Speaking at a news conference at the presidential palace in Kabul, Mr. Karzai declined to say what actions the government would or could take, saying only that Afghanistan “has a lot of ways of stopping it.”
In an admonishment that carried an air of threat, he said NATO forces were on the verge of being considered occupiers rather than allies.
“If they continue their attacks on our houses, then their presence will change from a force that is fighting against terrorism to a force that is fighting against the people of Afghanistan,” he said. “And in that case, history shows what Afghans do with trespassers and with occupiers.”
Monday, May 30, 2011
Today is Memorial Day
Now go find a parade, enjoy the day with those who are living.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
A distant memory
Thursday, May 26, 2011
A song for Paul Ryan
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
The Pundits say Medicare killed the Beast
The smart candidates won't be one trick ponies.
Your Daily Cenk Shot
Republican congressman says his health care is free
Bank of America waist deep in the Big Shit Creek
A Bank of America Corp. (BAC) unit conducting home foreclosures in Utah is violating the law, the attorney general said in a letter as individual states advanced their investigations of mortgage servicing.I don't know how many that may be but it sure sounds definitive. Now if the other state AG's could borrow Mark Shurtleff's balls we might get somewhere.
ReconTrust Co. isn’t meeting requirements for carrying out foreclosures in the state, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said in a letter to Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan. The letter, dated May 19, was released today by Shurtleff’s office.
“All real estate foreclosures conducted by ReconTrust in the state of Utah are not in compliance with Utah’s statutes, and are hence illegal,” Shurtleff wrote.
Hell hath no fury like an Elizabeth Warren fan
Headline of the Day
Pope shuts down famous ‘party monastery’ with ‘prancing nuns’Just when the Church needs to attract new members. What was the Popenfuhrer thinking?
Is Mrs. Gingrich as dirty as The Newter?
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has dodged questions about his half-million dollar Tiffany & Co. tab all week. Now, it has been revealed that the House committee Gingrich's wife Callista worked for was heavily lobbied by the posh jewelry store.Callista seems perfectly suited to be Newticle's wife. The real question is why, with all the shit that is sticking to him, does The Newter continue his pretence of a campaign?
Politico revealed last week that in her 2005 and 2006 filings with the House Ethics Committee, Callista Gingrich disclosed that the former House Speaker had between $250,000 and $500,000 debt with Tiffany & Co. while she was working for the House Agriculture Committee.
"It's a standard no-interest account," Gingrich explained to CBS' Bob Schieffer Sunday. "We paid no interest on it. There was no problem with it. It's a normal way of doing business."
Over those those same years, Tiffany's doubled the amount of money they spent on lobbying, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The company spent $200,000 in 2006 alone.
Lobbying firm Cassidy & Associates, Inc. has reported that "[m]ining law and mine permitting -related issues" was the jewelry retailer's specific lobbying concern.
Can Kosher Mouse be saved?
One day after Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) stirred controversy by withholding funds for tornado relief, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) took the extraordinary step of declaring Rep. Cantor a disaster area.Those in the situation of Kosher Mouse are usually beyond saving and need to be put away in a nice quiet location where they can't botherdecent people.
Within hours of the declaration, FEMA officials were dispatched to assess the damage to Mr. Cantor’s status as a human being capable of empathy.
“I’ve seen a lot of hurricanes and tornados, but this is something new,” said FEMA spokesman Tracy Klugian. “Rep. Cantor appears to have been caught up in a moral vacuum.”
While concerned FEMA officials looked on, the morally ravaged House Majority Leader took to the floor of the House to make the case for denying funds to repair himself.
The FEMA spokesman said that the agency was currently trying to estimate the cost of rebuilding Mr. Cantor’s soul.
“Quite frankly, I’ve never seen devastation like this,” Mr. Klugian said. “It’s like there’s nothing there.”
Members of Congress trading on inside information?
Thankfully, once again their reputation for probity and honesty saves them from scandal. Up next a post about flying pigs.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Thank you Rep. Paul "Lyin" Ryan
Two months ago, the Democrat, Kathy Hochul, was considered an all-but-certain loser in the race against Jane Corwin. But Ms. Hochul seized on her Republican rival’s embrace of the proposal from Representative Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, to overhaul Medicare, and she never let up.It is nice to see that Karl Rove can't buy everything, but again, Paul Ryan deserves all the credit for this win.
Voters, who turned out in strikingly large numbers for a special election, said they trusted Ms. Hochul, the county clerk of Erie County, to protect Medicare.
“I have almost always voted the party line,” said Gloria Bolender, a Republican from Clarence who is caring for her 80-year-old mother. “This is the second time in my life I’ve voted against my party.”
Pat Gillick, a Republican from East Amherst, who also cast a ballot for Ms. Hochul, said, “The privatization of Medicare scares me.”
Scumball Rep. McHenry called Elizabeth Warren a liar
military-INDUSTRIAL-Complex alive and well.
The Pentagon is very encouraged by Wall Street's response to aerospace companies and arms makers, even as U.S. defense spending flattens, the top U.S. weapons buyer said on Tuesday.Or to put it another way, we will continue to spend $Billion and $Billions no matter how few soldiers we actually have.
"We are monitoring the health of our industry as it is seen by the financial community," said Ashton Carter, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. "And the information there is very encouraging to us."...
He spoke moments before outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in a major policy address, said his overarching goal was to "preserve a U.S. military capable of meeting crucial national security priorities, even if fiscal pressure requires reductions in that force's size."
Secaucus Fats called up short by NJ Supremes
The New Jersey Supreme Court ordered the Christie administration on Tuesday to increase state education aid by $500 million in the coming school year, saying it had failed to meet its constitutional obligation to provide adequate educational resources for poor and minority children.While he has said he will obey the courts order, he does indicate that he will be a prick about it, something that Republican/Teabaggers do so well.
In a 3-to-2 ruling, the court directed that the additional aid be distributed among 31 school districts in historically poor cities like Camden, Newark and Paterson — the so-called Abbott districts at the heart of a school financing case, Abbott v. Burke, that has roiled state officials and courts for three decades.
While the amount of additional aid the Supreme Court ordered was less than the $1.7 billion requested by some advocates, the decision was still seen as a blow to Gov. Chris Christie, whose efforts to rein in school spending and teachers’ salaries have won broad voter support across the state and helped establish him as a leader in national conservative circles.
Sen. Gillibrand stands up for the troops
In a speech to be delivered Tuesday afternoon at the Center for American Progress (CAP), the Democratic senator from New York will make clear that pushing for a drawdown in Afghanistan will increasingly be a priority of hers in the coming months. Gillibrand plans to call for a refocusing of America's military strategy toward al Qaeda networks in regions where the terrorist group is more of a threat.If you believe we should have a faster end to the useless waste of troops and wealth in Afghanistan, signup here.
"While exact combat troop withdrawal numbers should be decided solely by our military commanders on the ground, let me be clear -- I want to see more troops rather than less, return sooner rather than later," she will state, according to her prepared remarks. "I will urge for an aggressive drawdown of combat troops as rapidly as feasible."
"To ensure we have a firm completion date, which is essential to creating a sense of urgency for Afghan leaders to take security into their own hands, I have written to Secretary Clinton and Secretary Gates requesting the negotiation of a Strategic Redeployment Agreement with Afghanistan that includes a date certain for full combat troop withdrawal," she plans to say.
Gillibrand is a co-sponsor of the Safe and Responsible Redeployment of United States Combat Forces from Afghanistan Act, which would put lawmakers' backing behind the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces beginning on July 1. The bill would also require President Barack Obama to submit a plan to Congress by July 31 for the phased redeployment of U.S. combat forces, including a completion day. The measure was first proposed by Russ Feingold when he was in the Senate and is now co-sponsored by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).
That old Republican electoral strategy
Jane L. Corwin this afternoon obtained a court order from State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia barring a certification of a winner in the special 26th Congressional District race pending a show-cause hearing before him later this week.Because even the Republican machine in NY-26 couldn't deliver the "votes" needed for Corwin.
The Buffalo News obtained a copy of the show cause order Buscaglia signed this morning based on a petition the Republican candidate filed Monday.
Under the judge's 11-page order, attorneys for Corwin have until Wednesday to serve copies of the court order on the election boards of Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming, Livingston and Monroe counties, their sheriff's departments, the state Board of Elections and her three opponents.
Pending court proceedings before Buscaglia on Thursday at the earliest, the judge also impounded all voting equipment and enjoined the canvass of paper ballots "except as directed by this court" and "temporarily enjoined and restrained from certifying" the winner pending that court hearing.
T-Paw and the Child Molester
You can't keep a good grifter down
The evangelical Christian broadcaster whose much-ballyhooed Judgment Day prophecy went conspicuously unfulfilled on Saturday has a simple explanation for what went wrong -- he miscalculated.He is 89. Why he doesn't take the money and retire to a nice island with his 72 hired virgins is beyond me. No one can make that much money and honestly believe the crap he throws out there.
Instead of the world physically coming to an end on May 21 with a great, cataclysmic earthquake, as he had predicted, Harold Camping, 89, said he now believes his forecast is playing out "spiritually," with the actual apocalypse set to occur five months later, on October 21.
Camping, who launched a doomsday countdown in which some followers spent their life's savings in anticipation of being swept into heaven, issued his correction during an appearance on his "Open Forum" radio show from Oakland, California.
Today is Election Day in NY-26
How gentle is the rain?
Monday, May 23, 2011
Sensible Republicans have gone the way of the Dodo Bird
Westboro Baptist Church donates $50K to gay organization.
Your Daily Cenk Shot
Best Rapture Yet
Recall Rick Snyder Republican Gauleiter of Michigan
With most of Texas burned up this year
The Texas Forest Service faces almost $34 million in budget cuts over the next two years, roughly a third of the agency’s total budget. The cuts are in both the House and Senate versions of the proposed state budget. [...]And Gov. Good Hair says Texas is a model for emergency preparedness. Some one needs to recast their model.
Assistance grants [for volunteer fire departments] are likely to take the biggest hit. Volunteers — two of whom were killed in fighting this year’s fires — make up nearly 80 percent of the state’s fire-fighting force and are first responders to roughly 90 percent of wildfires in Texas.
Scott Brown should go to the beach more often
Brown now says he'll vote against the House GOP budget when Democrats bring it up for a vote in the Senate, completing the walkback he began shortly after he said he'd vote for the plan. He explains his final views in a Monday Politico op-ed, becoming the first high-profile, moderate Republican to actively explain his opposition -- and his critique sounds an awful lot like the one Democrats are making.Curiously, TPM calls this valueless Republican/Teabagger a moderate. Whatever he may or may not be, Massachusetts needs to give him a teabagger primary to save the DEmocrats the effort of reminding all of his flippity flops.
A Military Nightmare
One piece of good news
Princess Beatrice's adorable whatchamacallit of a hat has been sold on e-Bay. The price was 81,100 pounds ($131,648) and the proceeds will be donated to UNICEF and Children in Crisis.
The New Rules of Unemployment
1. Don’t Be OldNow you know, so happy job hunting, sucker!
2. Don't Be Unemployed
3. Don't Pin Your Hopes On College
4. Don't Expect To Make More Money At Your Next Job
Want to read more about Goldmine Sachs criminal activity?
The relationship forged by Wall Street's most prestigious firm, Goldman Sachs, with one of the nation's most wanton mortgage originators -- Fremont Investment & Loan -- is a case in point. Fremont, a company with a regulatory rap sheet and a history of aggressive lending, received $1 billion in financing from Goldman in 2005, fully one-third of the total it received from all of its Wall Street enablers.It's an ugly way to start the week.
Sometimes you have to hit them on the head
A coalition of progressive groups is warning swing state Democrats to think twice before embracing parts of the Republican budget plan that would privatize Medicare and cut Medicaid.It can be very difficult to show someone else what is best for them, but politicians are supposed to have a sharp sense for survival. We'll see.
Armed with a stark set of polls they plan to release this week, the groups -- Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America, MoveOn.org and Credo Action -- are telling Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jon Tester (Mont.), and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) to stand tall on the popular social safety net programs.
"Democrats need to say firmly that any tampering whatsoever with Medicare and Medicaid benefits is off the table," said Charles Chamberlain, Democracy for America's political director...
McCaskill's Missouri shows the largest divide in surveys done by the Democratically friendly Public Policy Polling, especially on Medicare. When asked, "In order to reduce the national debt, would you support or oppose cutting spending on Medicare, which is the government health insurance program for the elderly?" just 19 percent of respondents said they would, while an overwhelming 77 percent said they would oppose cuts.
Similarly, 20 percent back cuts in Brown's Ohio, while 76 percent oppose them. In Tester's Montana, it's 24 percent favoring cuts and 71 percent against. Just 26 percent of Minnesotans would want Klobuchar to vote to cut Medicare, while 69 percent say to vote against.
The numbers are almost as sharp on support for cutting Medicaid in all four states: Ohio is 33 percent in favor to 61 percent against; Missouri is 32 percent to 63 percent; Montana is 36 percent to 59 percent; and Minnesota 33 to 62 percent.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Krugman revisits the Confidence Fairy
Regarding the Republican/Teabagger dogs breakfast of candidates
Some Not Cowboy Music
Snow, snow everywhere
Thanks to a blizzard-filled winter and an unusually cold and wet spring, more than 90 measuring sites from Montana to New Mexico and California to Colorado have record snowpack totals on the ground for late May, according to a federal report released last week.The last time there was a snowpack like this was 1983 and since then a lot of people have built themselves in harms way, maybe. Some are ready for the worst and some aren't. No one really knows what will happen because they are all waiting on the weather.
Those giant and spectacularly beautiful snowpacks will now melt under the hotter, sunnier skies of June — mildly if weather conditions are just right, wildly and perhaps catastrophically if they are not.
Born to fail
The new normal in Baghdad
Fifteen explosions, including one that appeared aimed at a United States military convoy, shook Baghdad over the span of four hours on Sunday morning, killing 18 and wounding 77, according to an Iraqi security official.Now is the time to get ALL US troops out of Iraq. For those left behind it will probably be worse that missing the Rapture. And their troubles will serve no good purpose.
The most deadly attack occurred at about 9 a.m. in north Baghdad when a suicide bomber detonated explosives near police officers who had responded to the scene of an explosion near the American convoy, the security official said.
Twelve people, including eight police officers, died in the attack and 23 were wounded, including eight police officers, the official said.
A spokesman for the United States military in Iraq said he had not received any reports that an American convoy had been attacked.
The violence appeared to be part of a pattern in Baghdad on Sundays, the day that marks the beginning of the workweek.
Roger Ailes thinks Palin is stupid
Mitch Daniels not running for president
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Around 9 PM
The common thread between Snooki's vagina and Face Ripper Monkey
Public Service Announcement for NY-26
Another way to find the rapture?
Got tax problems?
Deutch's slide began in August, when then-Attorney General Jerry Brown sued her for allegedly swindling her clients. Brown alleged that Deutch's firm charged up to $4,700 per client, but did little work on their behalf. Less than 10 percent of clients had their federal tax debts resolved, he said.This one won't be settled for pennies on the dollar.
The lawsuit demanded that she return $34 million to customers and cease advertising. Later that month, a court order was issued to prevent Deutch from destroying evidence.
Brown's successor, Attorney General Kamala Harris, alleges that Deutch violated the court's orders "almost before they came off the printer" by embarking on a massive shredding operation that claimed as many as 2.7 million documents by the end of March.
A Sacramento Superior Court judge in April froze her assets. In addition to destroying documents, Deutch was accused of failing to meet a court deadline to pay about $435,000 in refunds to clients and diverting assets to family, friends and creditors in violation of court orders.
The new papal smoke
Indian Cos. setting up call centers in US
The TSA Hokey Pokey Pokey
May is Zombie Appreciation Month (who knew?)
Because they know she is an ignorant fuck
After it started getting media attention last weekend, commenters on tea party websites have threatened to publish her home address and some have threatened violence.Business as usual for Republican/Teabaggers, despicable hate filled attacks to protect their alternate reality. Scum.
The 16-year-old from Cherry Hill says several commenters have called her a “whore.”
Her father, Wayne, says he’s concerned for his daughter’s safety.
The Cherry Hill Courier Press reports that others “threatened violence, including rape” and that “several commenters threatened to publish the Myers’ home address.” Amy’s school has reportedly also received “threatening mail.”
Friday, May 20, 2011
Republican/Teabaggers think massive market uncertainty is OK
The most influential of these dissidents is Stanley Druckenmiller, a billionaire former-hedge fund manager who helped George Soros build his fortune. His recent comments to the Wall Street Journal have carried the day with senior Republicans like House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (WI), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA), and Sen. Pat Toomey (PA), all of whom now say the U.S. could weather three or four days of missed interest payments, as long as the U.S. debt ceiling were quickly lifted, and a credible debt reduction plan signed into law.No one would doubt the credit of the US, but thanks to the batshit crazy legislators, uncertainty would add a large cost and faith in the US would disappear. What is not said is how much these hairball idea men stand to make if they drive the US into default?
Druckenmiller did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But the ascent of his view alarms everyone from industry insiders to Treasury officials to economists, conservative and liberal, to non-partisan analysts who say the consequences of the U.S. missing even a single interest payment to a debt-holder would be catastrophic -- even if it was followed immediately by a legislative course correction.
"The U.S. dollar would be among the first casualties. If hot money were to flee what was once its safest haven, the dollar would sink and U.S. interest rates would rise," writes Princeton economist, and former Fed Chairman Alan Blinder, also in the Wall Street Journal. "The latter could lead us back into recession."
It's not that investors would no longer have faith in the U.S. government's technical ability to pay its bills. Nobody doubts that the U.S. can in theory manage its debt for years on the current fiscal trajectory before running into trouble with the markets. The fear is that buyers of U.S. debt would have to consider a new, previously unthinkable risk -- that the country's political system is too dysfunctional to set brinksmanship aside and steward the economy responsibly.
The Blackmailer revealed
Obama tells Israel to give up stolen lands
לך תזדיין, גנבנו את זה אנחנו שומרים את זהThis, while expected, at least has people talking.
R.I.P. Barbara Stuart
One man's answer to priestly pedophilia
The signs depict a priest wearing a long cassock chasing a boy and a girl, framed by a bright red warning circle.So I guess the Popenfueher's visit is off?
They're dotted along a southern Austrian wilderness path that cuts through a swath of forest owned by Sepp Rothwangl, and warn priests against entering his land in the company of kids. It's the wilderness camp owner's way of dealing with what he says was his own abuse by a clergyman as a child...
"Child Protection Area," declares a message in bold black writing beneath the sign. "Violations will be prosecuted. We are forced to take this action in the interests of unprotected children."
The message says clergy are prohibited from entering the forest in the company of children unless they are accompanied by parents, guardians or other authorized adults.
Goldmine Sachs expects document demands from DOJ
Goldman Sachs executives expect federal prosecutors to demand to see internal documents, as the government ramps up its investigation into the way the firm handled mortgage products, the Wall Street Journal reports.A Department of Justice under Eric Holder that is probably still riddled with leftover Bushies is not expected to come to any decision, now or in the future.
The subpoenas would come in response to the lengthy report on the financial crisis released by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations last month, the WSJ notes, citing sources. The report, which was referred to the Justice Department, alleges that Goldman executives deceived clients in order to profit at their expense, and then misled Congress when asked to explain their behavior...
The investigation into Goldman comes as the federal government is working with all 50 state attorneys general to reach a settlement with the nation's biggest banks over accusations of illegal foreclosures and fraudulent mortgage practices. This week, the inspector general at the Department of Housing and Urban Development concluded that the nation's five largest mortgage companies defrauded taxpayers in their handling of foreclosures, The Huffington Post reported. It's now up to the Department of Justice to decide whether to file charges.
T-Paw BridgeFail to announce presidential candidacy
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a laid-back Midwestern Republican who governed a Democratic-leaning state, is running for president and will declare his candidacy on Monday in the leadoff caucus state of Iowa, an adviser told The Associated Press.Pharmaceutical companies are expecting a large drop off in sleep aid sales.
The Defense Dept joins the party
The cost of building the F-35 fighter jet, set to replace a large part of the US warplane fleet, is "unaffordable" in its current version and must be reviewed, the Pentagon's top acquisition official said Thursday.How many years will it take to kill this program?
"Over the lifetime of this program, the decade or so, the per-aircraft cost of the 2,443 aircraft we want has doubled in real terms," said Ashton Carter, the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.
"That's our forecast for how much the aircraft's going to cost.
"Said differently, that's what it's going to cost if we keep doing what we're doing. And that's unacceptable. It's unaffordable at that rate."
The cost of the plane has jumped to $385 billion, about $103 million per plane in constant dollars or $113 million in fiscal year 2011 dollars, said Christine Fox, the Defense Department's director of cost assessment and program evaluation...
Carter attributed the cost overruns and delays to the plane's complexities and its radar-evading equipment, as well as the short-takeoff and vertical takeoff versions. And he said the culture of easy money at the Pentagon since 9/11 was also to blame.
From the Heart of Woodstock
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Planned Parenthood responds to Kansas' Big Gov't regulation of women.
Planned Parenthood announced Tuesday the grand opening of its long-planned $8 billion Abortionplex, a sprawling abortion facility that will allow the organization to terminate unborn lives with an efficiency never before thought possible.We hope they are up and running at full capacity soon, too many female high school seniors are opting for delivery of their babies over graduation.
During a press conference, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards told reporters that the new state-of-the-art fetus-killing facility located in the nation's heartland offers quick, easy, in-and-out abortions to all women, and represents a bold reinvention of the group's long-standing mission and values.
"Although we've traditionally dedicated 97 percent of our resources to other important services such as contraception distribution, cancer screening, and STD testing, this new complex allows us to devote our full attention to what has always been our true passion: abortion," said Richards, standing under a banner emblazoned with Planned Parenthood's new slogan, "No Life Is Sacred." "And since Congress voted to retain our federal funding, it's going to be that much easier for us to maximize the number of tiny, beating hearts we stop every day."
"The Abortionplex's high-tech machinery is capable of terminating one pregnancy every three seconds," Richards added. "That's almost a million abortions every month. We're so thrilled!"
Not Good news
China's Gen. Chen Bingde of the People's Liberation Army of the People's Republic of China took possession of the Pentagon today. The move was to secure their collateral in advance of the planned Republican/Teabagger default of the United States. Gen. Chen indicated that further moves were planned to protect Chinese investment in the US.
Republican/Teabaggers are saying default is no big deal
Too poor to provide adequate services
Big Oil Obedience School
Private prisons just another profit center
The conviction that private prisons save money helped drive more than 30 states to turn to them for housing inmates. But Arizona shows that popular wisdom might be wrong: Data there suggest that privately operated prisons can cost more to operate than state-run prisons — even though they often steer clear of the sickest, costliest inmates.Privitization, just another way to divert public assets into private pockets.
The state’s experience has particular relevance now, as many politicians have promised to ease budget problems by trimming state agencies. Florida and Ohio are planning major shifts toward private prisons, and Arizona is expected to sign deals doubling its private-inmate population.
The measures would be a shot in the arm for an industry that has struggled, in some places, to fill prison beds as the number of inmates nationwide has leveled off. But hopes of big taxpayer benefits might end in disappointment, independent experts say.
“There’s a perception that the private sector is always going to do it more efficiently and less costly,” said Russ Van Vleet, a former co-director of the University of Utah Criminal Justice Center. “But there really isn’t much out there that says that’s correct.”
Investigation says Massey Energy did it
The report, issued Thursday by an independent team appointed by the former West Virginia governor, Joe Manchin, and led by the former federal mine safety chief Davitt McAteer, echoed preliminary findings by federal officials that the blast could have been prevented if Massey had observed minimal safety standards.The mine wasn't safe and that was the way the corporation wanted it. Another situation where people need to go to jail but won't.
But it was more pointed in naming Massey as the culprit, using blunt language to describe what it said was a pattern of negligence that ultimately led to the deaths of 29 miners on April 5, 2010, in what was the worst American mining disaster in 40 years.
“The story of Upper Big Branch is a cautionary tale of hubris,” the report concluded. “A company that was a towering presence in the Appalachian coalfields operated its mines in a profoundly reckless manner, and 29 coal miners paid with their lives for the corporate risk-taking.”
Gail Collins looks at Republicans
A married congressman hunting for babes is bad. A married congressman hunting for babes by posting a half-naked photo of himself on the Internet is Republican.The Republicans would be in deep shit if the Democrats were the party of family values.
A married governor who fathers an illegitimate child is awful. A married governor who fathers an illegitimate child by a staff member of the family home and then fails to mention it to his wife for more than 10 years is Republican.
A married senator who has an affair with an employee is a jerk. A married senator who has an affair with an employee who is the wife of his chief of staff, and whose adultery is the subject of ongoing discussion at his Congressional prayer group, is Republican.
We haven’t even gotten to Newt Gingrich yet!
What part of illegal does he have trouble understanding?
Republican Senator Mark Kirk (IL) says that President Barack Obama should announce the end of the Justice Department's "unwarranted" investigation of CIA interrogators when he visits their headquarters on FridayComing from Illinois and having a tough time understanding what the law is all about allows us to wonder how long before he has his Blago moment.
"These Americans did their jobs at the direction of the President of the United States and this politically motivated investigation will have a chilling effect on the work of their colleagues and other national security professionals in the U.S. Government," the freshman senator said in a statement.
Dr. No sucks up to Obama
Republican Sen. Tom Coburn says that a long-term deficit reduction plan must include some revenue increases, because that's what Americans want.Has he seen the light or is the DoJ doing more than we think them capable of? Time will tell and hopefully bring some indictments.
"It's time for the Senate to earn its reputation as the world’s greatest deliberative body and help lead that effort," Coburn wrote in a Washington Post op-ed Thursday.
"The public rightly prefers spending cuts over revenue increases, but numerous polls indicate the vast majority of Americans would support the only type of plan that would ever make it out of Congress and be signed into law: one that favors spending cuts over revenue increases but includes both," he explained.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Hey Clarence Thomas! This is how you do it!
Executive Assistant District Attorney Karen Friedman Agnifilo, chief of the trial division at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, won’t work on the case, said the person, who declined to be identified because the matter isn’t public. Strauss-Kahn is charged with sexual assault and attempted rape in an alleged attack on a New York hotel housekeeper.See that Clarence? That is how an ethical lawyer or jurist acts in that situation. Give Ms. Agnifilo a call if you have any questions.
Agnifilo is married to Marc Agnifilo, an attorney at New York-based Brafman & Associates PC. Benjamin Brafman has been hired as defense counsel for Strauss-Kahn and has said his client will plead not guilty to the charges...
Agnifilo recused herself from the case “as soon as the law firm of Brafman & Associates, with which her husband is associated, was engaged as counsel for the defendant,” Erin Duggan, the chief spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., said in a statement. “This is consistent with routine practice.
A blast from the present
How to fool Sara Palin.
1) Palin doesn’t know who is buried in Grant’s Tomb.
(2) Palin couldn’t tell you when the War of 1812 was fought.
(3) Palin has no clue about the color of George Washington’s white horse.
(4) Palin wonders on what day Latinos celebrate the Cinco de Mayo.
(5) Palin isn’t sure what weighs more, a pound of bricks or a pound of feathers.
(6) Palin has no idea in what month the October Revolution took place.
(7) Palin is baffled by the question of who came up with the Monroe Doctrine.
(8) Palin would very much like to know who fought in the French and Indian War.
(9) Palin is puzzled as to who wrote “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.”
(10) Palin is at a loss regarding what were JFK’s initials.
A Public Service Announcement
Quote of the Day
Ron Paul may be the wackiest candidate in the GOP field. But for pure, blind stupidity nobody beats Santorum.Mark Salter, McCain aide responding to The Frothy One's remarks about Sen. McCain and torture.
If a sense of humor had teeth
This one's for you, bud
A possible defense strategy for DSK?
From the Dept. of Statistical Interest
To begin, then: We’re broke! We can’t afford any more taxes! (Well, America’s 400 wealthiest taxpayers certainly can. In 1955, according to the Campaign for America’s Future, the country’s 400 wealthiest taxpayers had an average income of $13.3 million (in 2008 dollars) and paid 51.2 percent of that in federal income taxes. In 2008, according to IRS calculations, they had an average income of $270.5 million and paid 18 percent of that in federal income taxes. And in 1955, by the way, we could afford to pave roads.)(my em)We've come a long way, baby.
It looks like off shoring worked
The nation’s factories have added 250,000 jobs since the beginning of last year — about 13 percent of what was lost during the recent recession — marking the first sustained increase in manufacturing employment since 1997.Replacing democracy with oligarchy because only rich people deserve a decent life.
But the new hiring also reflects another emerging reality of U.S. manufacturing: Many of the jobs don’t pay anything close to what they used to. Assembly-line workers who will be making the EdenPure products under the auspices of Suarez Corp. Industries will start at $7.50 an hour.
That’s a far cry from the $20 an hour that most workers made with Hoover, which shifted its century-old production lines to Mexico and El Paso in 2007 after concluding that it was too expensive to make its products in the industrial Midwest.
“The communities and workers in Ohio have been devastated over the past decade and are grateful for the opportunity to earn a living,” said Robert Baugh, executive director of the AFL-CIO’s Industrial Union Council. “But this is tempered by reality. One is that the jobs at Suarez, with wages and benefits well below the middle-class ones that were there before, are not a replacement for the ones that left.”
Republican/Teabaggers own the Big Oil Subsidies
The Senate on Tuesday blocked a Democratic proposal to strip the five leading oil companies of tax breaks that backers of the measure said were unfairly padding industry profits while consumers were struggling with high gas prices.Two oil state Democrats joined the Republican/Teabaggers. This was expected because they owe so much to Big Oil they dare not cross their corporate masters. Sen. Ben Nelson and his Famous Dead Rat also joined in though his motivation is unclear. What is clear is that Republican/Teabaggers don't give a damn for the debt or the country. Fortunately for them, their supporters are too damn dumb to figure it out.
Despite falling eight votes short of the 60 needed to move ahead with the bill, top Democrats said they would insist that eliminating the tax breaks to generate billions of dollars in revenue must be part of any future agreement to raise the federal debt limit.
“We have to stand up and say, ‘Enough is enough,’ ” said Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota. “While oil prices are gouging the pocketbooks of American families, these companies are on a pace for a record profit this year.”
Some old blues for Blueday
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
When Blogger shit the bed last week
Your Daily Cenk Shot
Your Dylan Dally Moment
Oil execs can whine and pout and cry
Schumer said the average American would more readily believe that a unicorn had appeared before the committee than that the oil companies needed tax incentives.
For cars and collectors
h/t Dependable Renegade
If Rand Paul were given the choice
Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul said during a Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing Wednesday that those who believe in a right to healthcare actually believe in slavery.We are forced to accept that the elder Dr. Paul believed in the efficacy of dropping a child on its head to improve its intelligence. Alien possession is the only other way to explain the strange pronouncements of Rand Paul.
"With regard to the idea of whether you have a right to health care, you have realize what that implies," the senator said. "It’s not an abstraction. I’m a physician. That means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me."
"It means you believe in slavery," Paul added. "It means that you’re going to enslave not only me, but the janitor at my hospital, the person who cleans my office, the assistants who work in my office, the nurses."
Why your grandchildren should learn to speak Pushtu
To Hannam, chairman of J.P. Morgan Capital Markets, Afghanistan represents a gigantic, untapped opportunity -- one of the last great natural-resource frontiers. Landlocked and pinioned by imperial invaders, Afghanistan has been cursed by its geography for thousands of years. Now, for the first time, Hannam believes, that geography could be an asset. The two most resource-starved nations on the planet, China and India, sit next door to Afghanistan, where, according to Pentagon estimates, minerals worth nearly $1 trillion lie buried. True, there is a war under way. And it's unclear how the death of Osama bin Laden will impact the country's political and economic environment. But Hannam is not your usual investment banker: A former soldier, he has done business in plenty of strife-torn countries. So have all the members of his team, two of them former special forces soldiers who have fought here.And how long before they are ripping off mountain tops and using acid leaching to get the gold and poison the rest of the valley? As long as they can get the suckers in the White House and Congress to believe it is in our national security to keep Imperial Forces there to protect the miners.
As he flies to the mine for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Hannam thinks back over the past 12 months. This little mine, where operations have yet to commence, is puny by J.P. Morgan's (JPM) standards, but he knows it might be the project for which he is remembered. A lot of powerful people, including the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, are counting on him to demonstrate that the country is safe for foreign investors. Hannam has chafed at times under the pressure from the Pentagon, and the cold-eyed realist in him wonders whether unrealistic expectations are being placed on this business venture.
Goldmine Sachs now to profit from Death
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), which bundled and sold billions of dollars of mortgage loans, now want to help investors bet on people’s deaths.If the Republican/Teabaggers can kill Medicare and institute their coupon plan, this could be another gold mine for Goldmine Sachs and J P Morgan and their dirty little Deutsche buddy.
Pension funds sitting on more than $23 trillion of assets are buying insurance against the risk their members live longer than expected. Banks are looking to earn fees from packaging that risk into bonds and other securities to sell to investors. The hard part: Finding buyers willing to take the other side of bets that may take 20 years or more to play out.
“Banks are increasingly looking to offer derivative solutions,” said Nardeep Sangha, 43, chief executive officer of Abbey Life Assurance Co., a London-based Deutsche Bank unit that helps pension funds manage the risk of retirees living longer than expected. “Making the long maturity of the risks palatable for investors, including sovereign wealth funds, private-equity firms and specialist funds, is the challenge.”
The Death of Public Education
Last week, in Ohio, the State House went for the whole hog and approved legislation that would allow for-profit businesses to open up their own taxpayer-financed charter schools.Which raises the question, will the poor kids be edumacated enough by White Hat Management to qualify for a McJob at the local Burger Paradise?
“It takes the public out of public education,” complained Bill Sims of the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
This exciting new plan, which seemed to have been inserted into the state budget bill by a magical invisible hand, would also reduce oversight. It got a rave review in The Columbus Dispatch from an op-ed contributor named Thomas Needles, who cheered legislators for trying to end the “drip-drop of wrongheaded regulation” of charter schools.
Needles is a consultant for White Hat Management, the largest company currently managing charter schools in Ohio — and with none too great a record, according to the National Education Policy Center, which said that only 2 percent of the schools White Hat runs have scored well on yearly progress tests. The owner of White Hat is a gynormous donor to the state Republican Party. Not that that would make any difference. Just saying.
Every day, in every way
Now we get news that Massachusetts securities regulators have a problem with how Goldmine used information from analysts in dealing with clients in meeting the terms of an earlier legal settlement. And because bad news comes in threes, Goldmine also reveals that the CFTC has them under investigation.
In a perfect world, the Department of Justice under Attorney General Holder would be dismantling Goldmine Sachs as a criminal enterprise. And we would all be living in the Big Rock Candy Mountains.
Coal Industry gets punked by the Yes Men
NY AG starts another investigation
The New York attorney general has requested information and documents in recent weeks from three major Wall Street banks about their mortgage securities operations during the credit boom, indicating the existence of a new investigation into practices that contributed to billions in mortgage losses.So many crimes, so little time.
Officials in Eric T. Schneiderman’s, office have also requested meetings with representatives from Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, according to people briefed on the matter who were not authorized to speak publicly. The inquiry appears to be quite broad, with the attorney general’s requests for information covering many aspects of the banks’ loan pooling operations. They bundled thousands of home loans into securities that were then sold to investors such as pension funds, mutual funds and insurance companies.
It is unclear which parts of the byzantine securitization process Mr. Schneiderman is focusing on. His spokesman said the attorney general would not comment on the investigation, which is in its early stages.
Whackistan and beyond
From Osama bin Fappin
To Huck and the Nuge
R.I.P. Harmon Killebrew
Wisconsin Boy Blunder won't run for Senate
The power to declare war at the President's pleasure.
A little noticed provision in the House Armed Services Committee's National Defense Authorization Act would authorize the United States to use military force anywhere there are terrorism suspects, including within the U.S. itself, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.Because the next Republican/Teabagger president may not be as smart as George W Cheney, they are making it easier for him. And in keeping with the shitass policies of the Republican/Teabaggers,
Section 1034 was added to the bill [PDF] by the committee's chairman, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA).
"Congress may soon vote on a new declaration of worldwide war without end, and without clear enemies," the ACLU warned in a statement. "A 'sleeper provision' deep inside defense bills pending before Congress could become the single biggest hand-over of unchecked war authority from Congress to the executive branch in modern American history."
Garamendi said the National Defense Authorization Act also extends the war in Afghanistan, delays the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and furthers billions of dollars in wasteful Pentagon spending.But we can't extend unemployment benefits with 9% of the working population out of a job because ZOMG we have a debt crisis.
Cured of AIDS
Timothy Ray Brown, a 45-year-old San Francisco man previously known to the medical community as “the Berlin patient,” has become the first person to ever be cured of AIDS.If this is true and scalable to a much larger group, it is better news than the death of the entire Republican Party.
After a stem cell bone marrow transplant, doctors say his HIV, the infection which causes AIDS, was eradicated.
His bone marrow donor was one of a very small percentage of people who are immune to HIV. He received a second bone marrow transplant after a resurgence of Leukemia, which he’s also since been cured of.
Behold, the Great American Revolving Door
A top telecommunications regulator who voted to approve Comcast Corp.'s takeover of NBCUniversal in January is leaving to join the company as a lobbyist.And I have this really nice bridge I need to sell.
Meredith Attwell Baker, one of two Republicans on the five-member Federal Communications Commission, will become senior vice president of government affairs for NBCUniversal.
Comcast said it did not begin discussions with Baker about a possible job until after the transaction had closed.
Another Fracking Song
Monday, May 16, 2011
It's not good to get a bad audit
A set of confidential federal audits accuse the nation’s five largest mortgage companies of defrauding taxpayers in their handling of foreclosures on homes purchased with government-backed loans, four officials briefed on the findings told The Huffington Post.It sure looks like orange jumpsuits and perp walks for all except for one small detail.
The five separate investigations were conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s inspector general and examined Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial, the sources said...
The federal audits mark the latest fallout from the national foreclosure crisis that followed the end of a long-running housing bubble. Amid reports last year that many large lenders improperly accelerated foreclosure proceedings by failing to amass required paperwork, the federal agencies launched their own probes.
The resulting reports read like veritable indictments of major lenders, the sources said. State officials are now wielding the documents as leverage in their ongoing talks with mortgage companies aimed at forcing the firms to agree to pay fines to resolve allegations of routine violations in their handling of foreclosures.
The audits conclude that the banks effectively cheated taxpayers by presenting the Federal Housing Administration with false claims: They filed for federal reimbursement on foreclosed homes that sold for less than the outstanding loan balance using defective and faulty documents.
The internal watchdog office at HUD referred its findings to the Department of Justice, which must now decide whether to file charges.Nothing to see here folks, let's move along.
Tom Tomorrow tells a fairy tale
In less than 1 week on the campaign trail
Newt Gingrich is condemning individual health insurance mandates today, finally ditching the policy after more than a decade of vocal support that he reiterated as recently as Sunday morning.Faster than a 30 year old virgin with his first woman.
"I am for the repeal of Obamacare and I am against any effort to impose a federal mandate on anyone because it is fundamentally wrong and I believe unconstitutional," he said in a video posted on his website on Monday and apparently shot this morning outside a Washington, D.C., hotel where Gingrich was addressing an Alzheimer's convention.
In the early 1990s, Gingrich joined many Republican in backing a health care law featuring an individual mandate as an alternative to President Clinton's proposal. He supported a similar policy throughout the 2000s in several of his books, echoing President Obama and Mitt Romney in backing an individual mandate buttressed by financial support for those who can't afford health insurance.
He repeated his support for such a plan yet again on Meet The Press this Sunday after David Gregory played a clip of Newt calling for an individual mandate in 1993.
"I've said consistently we ought to have some requirement that you either have health insurance or you post a bond or in some way you indicate you're going to be held accountable," Gingrich said, repeating Romney's argument that it was necessary to solve the "free rider" problem of how to pay for treating the uninsured. Asked whether this constituted a mandate, Gingrich replied it was "a variation on it."
Paul Ryan explains his plan
Also, unless I haven't been paying attention, Lyin' Ryan also unveiled a new haircut with the part on the side which makes him look like a dough faced oaf. His previous style was parted in the middle which made look like a douchbag. 6 of one, half dozen of the other.
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